Thursday, September 29, 2022

Six states sue Biden to block student loan forgiveness as illegal, hurtful to working class - John Solomon

 

by John Solomon

Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina argue Congress did not authorize such debt cancellation, meaning Biden lacked legal authority to take the action he announced last month.

Six Republican states on Thursday sued President Joe Biden to block his planned cancellation of hundreds of billion of dollars of student loan debt, arguing it was unlawful and harmful to working-class Americans.

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Missouri that Congress did not authorize such debt cancellation, meaning Biden lacked legal authority to take the action he announced last month.

They cited the recent Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency that concluded the executive branch cannot make law where Congress hasn't legislated.

"No statute permits President Biden to unilaterally relieve millions of individuals from their obligation to pay loans they voluntarily assumed," the states argued. "Just months ago, the Supreme Court warned federal agencies against “asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted” by statute."

The states also argued the U.S. "economy is not well" and the cancellation of the debt, estimated to cost at least $400 billion, will add to inflationary pressures, adding more harm to the country's middle- and working-classes and poor Americans.

"The burden of the economic loss and price increases will hit those who can least afford it – the working class and the poor," the lawsuit argued, adding that those who benefit from Biden's plan are in the top 60% of income earners. 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge explained why the states banded together to file the lawsuit.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” she said. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”


John Solomon

Source: https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/six-states-sue-biden-block-student-loan-forgiveness-illegal-and-hurtful

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Russian mobilized troops poorly trained, lack proper gear for war - western intel - Michael Starr

 

by Michael Starr

Russia has been grappling with supply and logistical issues since the beginning of the war, and the situation is no better for mobilized troops.

 

 Reservists drafted during the partial mobilisation smoke next to buses as they depart for military bases, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXEY PAVLISHAK)
Reservists drafted during the partial mobilisation smoke next to buses as they depart for military bases, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXEY PAVLISHAK)

The military reservists drafted as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilization are poorly prepared and lack proper military gear for combat in Ukraine, according to Western and Ukrainian intelligence agencies.

CIA Director Williams Burns told  CBS Evening News on Tuesday that even if Putin succeeded in mobilizing 300,000 soldiers, "many of whom are not going to be well trained, many of whom are not going to have the kind of equipment that they need or the logistical support that they need as well." 

The UK Defense Ministry said on Monday in an intelligence update that "Unlike most Western armies, the Russian military provides low-level, initial training to soldiers within their designated operational units, rather than in dedicated training establishments."

Normally Russian brigades would help in the training process, but these units were already deployed, said the ministry.

"Many of the drafted troops will not have had any military experience for some years," warned the UK Defense Ministry. "The lack of military trainers, and the haste with which Russia has started the mobilization, suggests that many of the drafted troops will deploy to the front line with minimal relevant preparation. They are likely to suffer a high attrition rate."

 A Russian serviceman addresses reservists at a gathering point in the course of partial mobilization of troops, aimed to support the country's military campaign in Ukraine, in the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia September 28, 2022.  (credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS) A Russian serviceman addresses reservists at a gathering point in the course of partial mobilization of troops, aimed to support the country's military campaign in Ukraine, in the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia September 28, 2022. (credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, described to Pravda how Ukraine had pursued a policy of quality, and Russia quality. 

"Unlike the Russians, who will once again send a mass of untrained reserves to the battlefield to show their numbers, it is much more important for us to have well-trained specialists," said Podolyak. 

However, as Burns told CBS, manpower was just one of the issue facing the Russian military.

"Russia will now face an administrative and logistical challenge to provide training for the troops," the UK Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Russian troops sorely underequipped

The Insider reported on Tuesday that despite assurances that troops would be given the equipment they need, lists of recommender gear to be brought by reservists included armor plate carriers, helmets, hydrogen peroxide, tourniquets, tampons to act as bandages.

Newly mobilized soldiers have been given rusty AK-47 and AKM Kalashnikov rifles, according to September 24 viral videos translated by The Insider. The soldiers were in an armored unit, and told that they would not need rifles if they have tanks. 

On Thursday, Interfax report that the production of Kalashnikov small arms had increased by 40% in 2022. Part of this came from civilian and foreign demands

"Our priority task is the timely and high-quality fulfillment of obligations for the supply of military products to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Ensuring the country's defense capability, especially in the current conditions, is a task that all divisions of the enterprise, without exception, are aimed at," said Kalashnikov head Alan Lushnikov.

A Russian government chatbot provided a list of items mobilized soldiers would be provided with small arms and could not bring there own. They could however, wrote Explain.RF, that one could bring night vision, rifle scopes, thermal gear and quadcopters. While it is not uncommon for soldiers in other militaries to bring some of these items on deployment, it is unusual to allow the use of civilian drones.

On Tuesday, Russian state media outlet TASS reported that Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine were in need of reconnaissance drones and loitering munitions. Civilian quadcopters have been used in asymmetric conflict for reconnaissance, and more recently have even been modified by Ukrainians to drop munitions. 

Russia has been grappling with supply and logistical issues since the beginning of the war. In the first phase, Russian movements sent deep into Ukrainian territory were stymied by overextended supply units, which were targeted by Ukrainian forces. 

Even in the initial invasion, soldiers were sent with spoiled rations and limited ammunition. The counter losses of vehicles and munitions, the military has been removing old gear from storage and refurbishing it. Soviet military gear as old as from the 1960s has been returned to service.

They had also opened refurbishing and repair sites for damaged and captured Ukrainian vehicles in the occupied territories. Some of these efforts have been hindered by corruption, with some formerly stored vehicles missing vital parts.

Production of new equipment has been limited by the reliance by Russia's defense ministry on foreign materials and electronics.

Russia has turned to foreign supplies such as Iran for drones and North Korea for munitions to keep up with the demands of the war.


Michael Starr

Source: https://www.jpost.com/international/article-718458

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Nord Stream sabotage will permanently shift global trade - analysis - Seth J. Frantzman

 

by Seth J. Frantzman

The damage to Nord Stream is important and symbolic, and will also likely usher in a new global economic world order.

 

 A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, September 10, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/FILE PHOTO)
A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, September 10, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/FILE PHOTO)

The destruction of two important pipelines that run from Russia to Europe will likely herald a new global phase of trade as Europe and the West cement their rupture in ties with Russia and become more self-reliant. Decades in which European countries sought to tie themselves to Moscow via energy deals and in which they believed that free markets and global trade would make regimes like Russia and China friendlier, have now led to a permanent shift.

The reasons for this shift have been a growing trend. The US has been warning for years about the problems with the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. According to the pipelines’ website, the two “1,224-kilometer [761-mile] offshore pipelines are the most direct connection between the vast gas reserves in Russia and energy markets in the European Union.”

Construction of the first line was completed in 2011. Billed as a “secure gas supply for Europe,” the lines were supposed to transport a combined total of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year. But over time, the US and other critics became concerned that this would enable Russia to have its hand on the spigot and use energy as a weapon, making Europe too dependent.

The US began sanctioning Nord Stream 2 in 2017. But European countries, especially Germany under former chancellor Angela Merkel, were in favor of the projects.

Now the pipelines have been damaged in a mysterious incident that unfolded over the weekend. It is widely believed to be sabotage, and it appears that Russia is behind it. This came as a new Baltic pipeline was being inaugurated. The action appears to send a message to the West that pipelines and energy are not safe. It is like Mafia blackmail in which European countries are now being told, “You never know when this might happen again.”

A worrying picture

 View towards Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link in the industrial area of Lubmin, Germany, August 30, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER) View towards Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link in the industrial area of Lubmin, Germany, August 30, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER)

Headlines on September 29 painted an increasingly worrying picture. CNN said that European security officials say Russian ships were in the waters near the pipeline when the leaks occurred. A fourth leak was discovered on Thursday. According to Reuters, “NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday attributed the leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines to acts of sabotage and said he had discussed the protection of critical infrastructure in NATO countries with the Danish defense minister.”

Reports say that seismic meters recorded the explosions that damaged the lines. Now there is concern that a new phase of “hybrid war” may be coming, and Russia could use these kinds of incidents to upset the global order.

It’s worth thinking about what this means globally. Nord Stream was seen as an important project worth tens of billions of dollars, mostly financed by banks in Europe and by Gazprom. Reports said that Gazprom’s investments were driven by Moscow’s interests and geopolitics.

Russia was not only working on these lines – bypassing Baltic states and trying to literally get Europe addicted to the line from Moscow directly – but Russia was also moving ahead with Turk Stream, a project under the Black Sea to Turkey. This means that Turkey was also angling with Russia to make Europe dependent.

How does this impact Israel?

This matters also for Israel and the Middle East because Israel, Greece and Cyprus wanted to partner on an East Med line. It’s not a coincidence that Iranian-backed Hezbollah has threatened the Karish gas field off the coast. Iran has exported drones to Hezbollah, which has tried to use them to threaten the infrastructure working the field. Russia is also acquiring Iranian drones and using them against Ukraine.

The threat that Hezbollah poses to offshore gas platforms – and that Russia apparently poses to undersea pipelines going to Europe – links to related aspects of this hybrid war and shows how non-Western regimes may work together to wreak havoc on energy supplies.

The realization that Russia cannot be trusted to supply gas securely to Europe is leading to an earthshaking, once-in-a-generation event. Global economies, which have been marching zombie-like in one direction toward globalization and knitting everyone together, are now moving in a new direction.

This regional protectionism is embodied not only by Europe’s shift away from relying on Russian gas, but also by forums like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and other regimes recently met. Those countries want to work together and they are almost all authoritarian regimes.

Meanwhile, the US, Europe and Western states, and their allies in Asia such as Japan, South Korea and India, also want to work together. Israel’s growing ties with the United Arab Emirates and with South Korea, with free trade talks recently resulting in a new deal, represent an important step for the global economy and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Connecting the dots between Europe, the US, Israel, the UAE, India, Australia and other countries makes economic sense – but it also showcases how global trade networks are shifting.

COVID enters the scene

At the same time, the COVID crisis – and Beijing’s decision to crack down internally and cut itself off from the world – reversed decades in which countries relied on and invested in China. Apple recently shifted some iPhone production to India, according to reports. This is a big shift in manufacturing strategy, CNBC said. Indeed, many companies and countries are now more wary of Beijing. China’s endless lockdowns and chaos, as well as the crackdowns in Hong Kong and other authoritarian trends, make it unclear how companies and countries can rely on China.

The lack of a full investigation into the origins of COVID, and missteps in handling the outbreak in December and January 2020, mean that countries know they can’t rely on an authoritarian regime for their health security, or for metals and microchips and other things. Now the West and big consumer countries will think twice.

The globalization trend was part of the US-led global world order inaugurated in the 1990s. The end of the Cold War brought economic and political liberalization. Neo-liberal agendas were supposed to wash away protectionism. But this didn’t work, and the global war on terrorism and other trends sabotaged the march toward a liberal, rules-based world order.

Instead, the new world order that George H.W. Bush had promised has turned into an authoritarian one. Democracies are finally understanding that hitching their economies to Moscow or Beijing can have catastrophic consequences. The damage to the Nord Stream pipeline is important and symbolic – and will also likely usher in a new global economic world order, amid a rise in tensions between the West and Russia.


Seth J. Frantzman

Source: https://www.jpost.com/international/article-718432

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Big Brother watching? Government agencies buying cell phone, internet data to track Americans - Aaron Kliegman

 

by Aaron Kliegman

A growing partnership between third party data brokers and law enforcement agencies is raising alarm bells among civil liberties lawyers.

 

In a little noted trend, law enforcement agencies at every level of government are increasingly buying data from private, third-party data brokers on Americans' phone and internet activities in order to track them, often without a warrant.

While proponents say this practice provides critical help for investigations, critics argue it poses a serious violation of civil liberties that needs to be addressed through legislation.

One of the latest revelations about this controversial public-private partnership came from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to "defending civil liberties in the digital world."

EFF recently obtained a trove of records through Freedom of Information Act requests on local and state police departments, as well as federal entities, purchasing a cellphone tracking tool that can monitor people's movements going back months in time.

The tool, Fog Reveal, is a product of the company Fog Data Science, which claims it has "billions" of data points about "over 250 million" devices that can be used to learn where people work, live, and associate.

Fog has past or ongoing contractual relationships with at least 18 local, state, and federal law enforcement clients, according to the documents reviewed by EEF.

Law enforcement has used the Fog data for a wide range of investigations, from the murder of a nurse in Arkansas to tracking the movements of a potential participant in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the Associated Press reported.

According to Fog, it's providing a helpful service so law enforcement agencies can better do their jobs.

"Local law enforcement is at the front lines of trafficking and missing persons cases, yet these departments are often behind in technology adoption," Matthew Broderick, a Fog managing partner, told the AP. "We fill a gap for underfunded and understaffed departments."

Others see the arrangement as a violation of Americans' civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution.

"Reporting and a recent investigation by EFF confirms that law enforcement across the country is regularly getting access to our private movements — with the ability to retrace our daily lives — often without a warrant," Aaron Mackey, senior staff attorney for EEF, told Just the News. "This is an end-run around the Fourth Amendment and permits broad surveillance that can sweep up anyone who happens to be near the scene of a crime."

Law enforcement agencies are getting much of this information from data brokers such as Fog, which harvest consumers' location data from app developers and then sell it to the agencies.

Specifically, various smartphone apps request location access in order to enable certain features. Once a person grants that access, the app is able to share it with other parties. Data brokers strike deals with the app developers — or with other data brokers — through various arrangements to obtain the information and sell it.

Many private entities, such as hedge funds and marketing firms, buy this location data for business purposes. However, other clients are from the government — namely federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as military and intelligence agencies.

The government's interest in such data extends beyond phones to internet usage.

Multiple branches of the U.S. military have bought access to an internet monitoring tool that claims to cover over 90% of the world's internet traffic and can also provide access to people's email data, browsing history, and other information such as their sensitive internet cookies, according to documents reviewed by Vice last week.

The documents reveal the sale and use of a monitoring tool called Augury, which is developed by the cybersecurity firm Team Cymru and bundles a massive amount of data together and makes it available to government and corporate customers as a paid service.

Vice found that the U.S. Navy, Army, Cyber Command, and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency have collectively paid at least $3.5 million to access Augury, allowing them to track internet usage and access large amounts of sensitive information.

In a letter last week to the inspectors general for the Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security departments, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote that a whistleblower contacted his office concerning the alleged warrantless use and purchase of this data from Augury by NCIS, a civilian law enforcement agency that's part of the Navy. According to Wyden, the whistleblower came to him after filing a complaint through the official reporting process with the Pentagon.

The purpose of Wyden's letter was to request the the agency watchdogs investigate the warrantless purchase of Americans' internet traffic data. Wyden expressed concern that by obtaining information from third-party data brokers and avoiding any judicial review process, government agencies were circumventing the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirements, which are meant to protect against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Last month, the House approved changes to next year's military budget requiring the Defense Department to disclose any purchases of smartphone or web browsing data that would normally require a warrant.

Government watchdogs have previously addressed the issue of warrants. Last year, for example, J. Russell George, inspector general of the Treasury Department, responded to an inquiry from Wyden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) about the IRS purchasing location data from data broker Venntel.

George wrote that IRS officials said they didn't need a warrant because "the information available had been voluntarily turned over through individual permissions" in the apps and devices they use.

The implication seems to be that when people allow location access and agree to all an app's terms, they also agree to potentially being surveilled by the government.

Among the largest government buyers of bulk location data is the Department of Homeland Security and several of its agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol.

DHS has paid millions of dollars in recent years to purchase, without warrants, cellphone location data from two companies to track the movements of both Americans and foreigners inside the U.S., at U.S. borders, and abroad, according to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union in July.

Also in July, the Heritage Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration demanding the release of all documents related to DHS' contract with Babel Street, a Virginia-based data mining and surveillance company.

The contract concerns a Babel Street product capable of retrieving and copying data both from online sources and from apps running on the smartphones and other devices of billions of people worldwide.

In announcing its lawsuit, Heritage expressed concern about DHS working with private companies to monitor Americans' social media accounts and the prospect of government agencies searching and aggregating the data.

Other federal departments and agencies have partnered with data brokers. The FBI last year released its own contracts with Venntel, although they were heavily redacted. The documents showed the bureau paid $22,000 for a single license to the Venntel Portal.

For critics, legislation is necessary to ensure the government doesn't infringe on the rights of citizens.

"Law enforcement's exploitation of our private digital data is dangerous and unconstitutional," said Mackey. "This harmful surveillance is only possible because there is no federal law that ensures that everyone can control their private data. It's past time Congress acted to protect our private information from both private and government surveillance."

Some senators are reportedly pushing for legislation that would limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to buy data to track people's whereabouts without a warrant.

Many of the federal government purchases aren't meant to surveil Americans inside the U.S.

In one project, for example, researchers at Mississippi State University used a service provided by Babel Street to track movements around Russian missile test sites, including those of high-level diplomats. The U.S. Army funded the project.

The Iowa Air National Guard and U.S. Special Operations Command have also used information from data brokers for operations overseas.

Still, the potential for surveilling Americans has many prominent legal experts concerned.

"The only reason we permit private people to track you for business purposes is because we assume that it won't end up in government hands," renowned civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz told the "Just the News, Not Noise" television show Tuesday. "If the government wanted to do the same thing, they'd need a warrant. I mentioned they tracked Mike Lindell He was hunting with his friends, and he was at Hardees — how did they find him? Did they buy data? Or did they have a GPS on him? Or did they track his cell phone? ...

"It's just too much Big Brother. And the connections now between private industry and the government is becoming one of the great issues of the 21st century: Google and Facebook and whether or not Google and Facebook have to take instructions from the government."


Aaron Kliegman

Source: https://justthenews.com/government/federal-agencies/big-brother-watching-government-agencies-buying-cell-phone-internet

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Planned Parenthood doctor tells Congress men can get pregnant: ‘This is medicine’ - Peter Kasperowicz

 

by Peter Kasperowicz

A Republican lawmaker replied, 'men cannot get pregnant and cannot give birth'

A Planned Parenthood doctor told a House hearing Thursday that men can get pregnant and have babies.

"Men can have pregnancies, especially trans men," said Dr. Bhavik Kumar, medical director for primary and trans care at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Kumar was testifying at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing called by Democrats to discuss how restricting abortions can harm patients. He was replying to a question from Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., who interrupted Kumar and specified that he was asking if biological men can become pregnant.

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing in June 2022. (Jason Andrew/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing in June 2022. (Jason Andrew/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

MICHIGAN MAN SAYS HE ACCIDENTALLY SHOT ELDERLY PRO-LIFE VOLUNTEER WHO WAS ALLEGEDLY ‘SCREAMING’ ABOUT ABORTION

"Somebody with a uterus may have the capability of becoming pregnant, whether they’re a woman or a man," Kumar said. "That doesn’t make a difference."

"OK, we’re done," Clyde replied.

"Not every person with a uterus has the ability to become pregnant," Kumar continued. "This is medicine."

McKayla Wolff, left, and Karen Wolff join hands as they rally for abortion rights at the capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on July 17, 2022. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

McKayla Wolff, left, and Karen Wolff join hands as they rally for abortion rights at the capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on July 17, 2022. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

MEGAN RAPINOE ‘100% SUPPORTIVE OF TRANS INCLUSION,’ IMPLORES PEOPLE TO LOOK AT ISSUE MORE BROADLY

Clyde rejected that answer and said basic biology holds that men and women have different chromosomes that make the two sexes different and gives only women the option of bearing children.

"I can’t believe it’s necessary to say this, but men cannot get pregnant and cannot give birth, regardless of how they identify themselves," Clyde said. "Why in the world would Democrats have brought in a person whose title is ‘director of trans care’ for an abortion hearing when only biological women can become pregnant?"

Clyde pressed another witness whether fetal heartbeats can be heard at six weeks of pregnancy, after Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate to be the next governor of Georgia, said there is "no such thing" as a heartbeat that early and parents are only hearing a "manufactured sound."

Parents across the country have voiced concern about schools pushing ideologies that promote gender transition on students.

Parents across the country have voiced concern about schools pushing ideologies that promote gender transition on students.  (YouTube/Screenshot)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD EDITS FACT SHEET TO SAY NO HEARTBEAT AT 6 WEEKS OF FETAL DEVELOPMENT

Clyde asked Dr. Nisha Verma, a fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, whether a fetal heartbeat is a manufactured sound, but Verma declined to answer his yes-or-no question.

"I’d love to answer your question but like so many things in medicine, it’s complex," she said. When pressed again, Verma said, "I’d love to answer your question, I need a little bit of time to do so."

Democrats and their witnesses used the hearing to stress the importance of making abortion as accessible as possible. Both witnesses and lawmakers argued that the Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is allowing states to impose abortion "bans" that limit women's freedom.

 
Peter Kasperowicz is a politics editor at Fox News Digital. He can be reached at Peter.Kasperowicz@Fox.com and his Twitter handle is @PeteKDCNews.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/planned-parenthood-doctor-tells-congress-men-can-get-pregnant-this-is-medicine

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John Podesta: Biden's New Green Investment Czar - Peter Schweizer

 

by Peter Schweizer

What is concerning here is the pattern Podesta has established of being involved on both sides of the table, and transiting Washington's revolving door.

  • In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke.

  • With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or perhaps someone possessing deep experience in the energy business who can spot the good (and bad) uses for all that money.

  • Although Podesta is listed on the corporate records, he failed to disclose his membership on the board of Stichting Joule Global Foundation (the holding company) in his federal financial disclosure forms when he officially joined the Obama White House as a senior advisor in 2013.

  • What is concerning here is the pattern Podesta has established of being involved on both sides of the table, and transiting Washington's revolving door. When the Biden administration chooses a "power broker" to be its decider over $370 billion worth of federal "investment" money that is intended to make green energy affordable, cost-effective or competitive with fossil fuels, we should not be surprised if large portions of that money will eventually be traced back to connections those companies have with that aforementioned power broker.

  • This is why you do not want the federal government to have individuals who are not experts -- who are operators and lobbyists -- making important decisions like that. They will pass out cash to people who have made them money in the past, and who will make them money in the future, or who have employed their family members. It is corrupt and it is cronyism. When you give people the opportunity to hand out other people's money, they are going to give it to families and friends. With Podesta, there is certainly a history of doing just that.

In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke. With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or deep experience in the energy business. Pictured: Podesta, then Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, at the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke.

The White House announced recently that John Podesta will oversee $370 billion in clean energy investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act. This makes him the decision-maker for handing out money to make green energy a viable, cost-effective replacement for fossil fuels. Green energy subsidies and other government giveaways have been tried before, and failed, but not at this scale. With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or perhaps someone possessing deep experience in the energy business who can spot the good (and bad) uses for all that money.

Podesta, now 73, is, as the New York Times primly calls him, "a power broker." His long career in Washington began in the Jimmy Carter era, then it was on to jobs on Capitol Hill. In 1988 he made his first trip through the famous "revolving door" to start a lobbying firm with his brother, Tony. During the Clinton administration, Podesta went through the revolving door again to several jobs, concluding as President Bill Clinton's last Chief of Staff in the White House. Post-Clinton, he founded the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank, and was later chairman of Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign.

Throughout the Obama administration, Podesta was behind the scenes working in various "advisory" capacities before finally officially joining the administration in 2013. In 2009, on behalf of the new administration, Podesta and CAP senior fellows held non-official talks with China in Beijing on issues including climate change, and he contributed to President Barack Obama's climate strategy. He also remained during this time a close advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a big supporter of the failed "Russian Reset" policy she famously championed. Podesta, who was not an official employee of the US government during this time, was also being compensated by serving on the board of an energy company that was involved in deals with Russia and that also had ties with the Clintons.

The Government Accountability Institute (full disclosure: I happen to be its president) issued a report in 2016 detailing Podesta's other members of Hillary Clinton's inner circle who became involved with a Moscow-based technology campus called "Skolkovo." During June and July of 2011, while advising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Podesta "joined the [executive] board of three related companies," Joule Unlimited, Joule Global Holdings, and Stichting Joule Global Foundation. Joule focused on solar energy and one investor for Joule, Hansjörg Wyss, consulted with Podesta. The Wyss Charitable Foundation gave "between $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation," and "Podesta was paid $87,000 by the Wyss Foundation in 2013." The payment total between Podesta and the Wyss Foundation is unknown as the disclosures for the years of 2011-2012 are "not cover[ed]."

Shortly after Podesta was placed on the boards of these three companies, Rusnano, a Russian energy investment firm sometimes called "Putin's child," invested $35 million in Joule Unlimited. Although Podesta is listed on the corporate records, he failed to disclose his membership on the board of Stichting Joule Global Foundation (the holding company) in his federal financial disclosure forms when he officially joined the Obama White House as a senior advisor in 2013.

McClatchy Newspapers reported in 2016 that Podesta stepped down from Joule's board when he joined the Obama administration. They reported that an email from the Wikileaks trove shows that Podesta had transferred his Joule shares to Leonidio Holdings LLC, a company controlled by his daughter, Megan Rouse, a certified financial planner. Following upon that story, the Wall Street Journal quoted a Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman saying at the time that Podesta had cut his ties with Joule when he returned to the White House in 2014, "transferred the entirety of his holdings to his adult children," and had "recused himself from all matters pertaining to Joule for the duration of his time at the White House."

Yet, after he left the White House in February 2015, the Journal found, he received a bill from the law firm Steptoe and Johnson for legal work regarding Joule, performed in April of 2015. That was related to a "Joule request for consent to appointment of Mr. Akhanov." This would be Dmitry Akhanov, who runs Rusnano's U.S. office, and is now listed as a member of Joule's board of directors, but seeking approval on a board appointment from someone no longer connected to the business is odd.

As The Nation noted in 2013, Podesta's Center for American Progress (CAP) boosted businesses that Podesta would later shower with federal money from the inside. CAP was a big backer of the Obama administration Energy Department's "$25 billion loan guarantee program for renewable energy projects, specifically praising First Solar, a firm that received $3.73 billion under the program, and its Antelope Valley project in California." CAP failed to mention First Solar's membership in its own Business Alliance, a secret group of corporate donors, according to The Nation. It added that CAP's acceptance of financial support from First Solar while touting its virtues to Washington policy-makers points to a conflict of interest which, critics argue, ought to be disclosed to the public. CAP's "promotion of the company's interests has supplemented First Solar's aggressive Washington lobbying efforts, on which it spent more than $800,000 during 2011 and 2012."

Finally, it must be noted that John Podesta's brother, Tony, restarted his well-known lobbying firm once the Trump administration left town. Tony Podesta reports only two clients as of the last look on OpenSecrets. One of those clients is Huawei, the controversial Chinese telecom giant, and the other is called Protos Energy SSC.

What is concerning here is the pattern John Podesta has established of being involved on both sides of the table, and transiting Washington's revolving door. When the Biden administration chooses a "power broker" to be its decider over $370 billion worth of federal "investment" money that is intended to make green energy affordable, cost-effective or competitive with fossil fuels, we should not be surprised if large portions of that money will eventually be traced back to connections those companies have with that aforementioned power broker.

Podesta is also a master of the art of being an unofficial "advisor" to politicians. He only goes "official" when it is absolutely necessary. This allows him to bypass financial disclosure laws and maintain other business relationships that he would have to divest if he were in regular government service.

Political actors placed in positions of authority reward their friends. A separate investigation done by the Government Accountability Institute in 2016 detailed how funds from consent decree settlements overseen by the Department of Justice were funneled by then Attorney General Eric Holder to progressive non-profits engaged in political activity.

This is why you do not want the federal government to have individuals who are not experts -- who are operators and lobbyists -- making important decisions like that. They will pass out cash to people who have made them money in the past, and who will make them money in the future, or who have employed their family members. It is corrupt and it is cronyism. When you give people the opportunity to hand out other people's money, they are going to give it to families and friends. With Podesta, there is certainly a history of doing just that.


Peter Schweizer, President of the Governmental Accountability Institute, is a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow and author of the new book, Red Handed: How American Elites are Helping China Win.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18943/john-podesta-green-investment

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Erdogan Threatens Greece - Uzay Bulut

 

by Uzay Bulut

"We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [the city of Smyrna]. Your occupying the [Aegean] islands will not stop us; we will do what is necessary when the time comes."

  • "We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [the city of Smyrna]. Your occupying the [Aegean] islands will not stop us; we will do what is necessary when the time comes. You know what we say: 'Unexpectedly one night we shall come to [conquer] you." — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sondakika.com, September 4, 2022.

  • "The final years of the Ottoman Empire were catastrophic for its non-Turkish, non-Muslim minorities. From 1913 to 1923, its rulers deported, killed, or otherwise persecuted staggering numbers of men, women and children in an attempt to preserve 'Turkey for the Turks,' setting a modern precedent for how a regime can commit genocide against its own citizens in pursuit of political ends, while largely escaping accountability." — George N. Shirinian, Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923.

  • The Turkish attacks against the Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna began [in 1922] with looting, rapes and massacres, and ended with a fire that destroyed the Christian districts of the city.

  • "In September 1922, the richest city of the Mediterranean was burned, and countless numbers of Christian refugees killed. The city was Smyrna, and the event was the final episode of the 20th Century's first genocide — the slaughter of three million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire. The slaughter at Smyrna occurred as warships of the great powers stood by — the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy." — Lou Ureneck, Smyrna, September 1922.

  • The Republic of Turkey actually boasts of its genocide.

  • Since the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, no factual information has been taught to Turkish schoolchildren about the extreme brutality, massacres, rapes, pillaging and other atrocities that indigenous Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna were subjected to at the hands of the Turks. The truth about the identity of the arsonists is categorically denied. For the past 100 years, Turkey has blamed the victims of the genocide for their own extermination.

  • September 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide in Smyrna. Although the Turkish government still takes pride in its slaughter, everyone else would do well to remember and honor the memories of the victims and prevent further Turkish aggression. One way for Western governments to do this is officially to recognize the 1913-23 genocide, but above all, stop Erdogan's continued threats against Greece.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is escalating his threats to invade Greece. Referring to Turkey's genocidal attack against Greeks and Armenians of the city of Smyrna in September 1922, he warned exactly 100 years later this month: "We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [Smyrna]... we will do what is necessary when the time comes." Pictured: Thousands of local Greeks, fleeing the genocidal Turkish army of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, attempt to escape by ship at the port of Smyrna in September 1922. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The president of a NATO member country, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is escalating his threats to invade Greece, another NATO member. On September 27, he said:

"The weapons stockpiled [by Greece] in Western Thrace and the islands make no sense to us because our power is far beyond them, but we remind you that this means a covert occupation [of Turkey by Greece]...

"We would like to remind Greece: Come to your senses. Do you think the support [for Greece] from the US and Europe will save you? It will not. You simply spin your wheels; it does nothing else."

Erdogan has been making similar hostile statements for months. On September 4, he again targeted Greece in a public speech:

"Greeks, look at history. If you go any further, the price will be heavy. We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [the city of Smyrna]. Your occupying the [Aegean] islands will not stop us; we will do what is necessary when the time comes. You know what we say: 'Unexpectedly one night we shall come to [conquer] you."

A week before that, on August 30, celebrated in Turkey as "Victory Day", Erdogan said:

"We see our [Greeks] enemies' destroying our cities during their withdrawal [from Anatolia in 1922] as proof of their vile character. Just as they are today."

When Erdogan told Greeks "not to forget Izmir", he was referring to Turkey's genocidal attack against Greeks and Armenians of the city, also known as Smyrna, in 1922.

The 1913-1923 Christian genocide by Ottoman Turkey was a deliberate attempt to eliminate the Greek, Assyrian and Armenian presence in the region.

The genocide began in 1913 and expanded across Ottoman Turkey, targeting Christian and Yazidi communities. The violent campaign -- motivated by both Islamic jihad and Turkish nationalism -- aimed at annihilating Christian peoples of Asia Minor to create a Turkish- and Muslim-dominated country.

The first phase of the genocide was committed by the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress, also known as the "Young Turks." The second phase, from 1919 to 1923, including the Smyrna attack and genocide by Turkish nationalist forces, almost completed the genocide.

George N. Shirinian's book, Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923, states:

"The final years of the Ottoman Empire were catastrophic for its non-Turkish, non-Muslim minorities. From 1913 to 1923, its rulers deported, killed, or otherwise persecuted staggering numbers of men, women and children in an attempt to preserve 'Turkey for the Turks,' setting a modern precedent for how a regime can commit genocide against its own citizens in pursuit of political ends, while largely escaping accountability."

Before the 1922 genocide, Smyrna, an ancient, prosperous, cosmopolitan city built by Greeks, and known as the "Pearl of the Orient" on the Aegean coast, was primarily Greek with large Armenian and other non-Muslim communities. This month marks the 100th commemoration if its destruction.

James Marketos, an attorney who sits on the board of the American Hellenic Institute, said in 2012:

"From ancient times, and through the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ages, the city remained essentially Greek. The later centuries saw the advent of Armenian, Turkish, Jewish, European and American influences, but through it all, the predominant spirit remained Greek."

"In that society," wrote scholars Evangelia Boubougiatzi, Ifigenia Vamvakidou and Argyris Kyridis, "Greeks had the dominant position, both in a demographic and an economic level."

The Turkish attacks against the Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna began with looting, rapes and massacres, and ended with a fire that destroyed the Christian districts of the city.

Eyewitness reports state that the fire began on September 13, 1922 -- four days after Turkish forces retook control of the city from the Greek administration -- and lasted until September 22. A short documentary produced by Glenn Beck describes the Smyrna fire.

Many of the genocide survivors fled to neighboring Greece. Properties and estates that the victims left behind in Smyrna were illegally seized by Turks.

Scholar Lou Ureneck describes the genocide of Smyrna:

"In September 1922, the richest city of the Mediterranean was burned, and countless numbers of Christian refugees killed. The city was Smyrna, and the event was the final episode of the 20th Century's first genocide — the slaughter of three million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire. The slaughter at Smyrna occurred as warships of the great powers stood by — the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy."

The Republic of Turkey actually boasts of its genocide. Turkey still claims it was the Greek military that set fire to Smyrna, destroying much of the city. The "1922 victory", which the Turkish state refers to as "the liberation or salvation of Izmir" is annually celebrated in official and non-official ceremonies. Despite all the evidence, the fire is solely referred to in Turkish schools as part of the Greek-Turkish war, in which, according to Turkish historiography, "Turks emerged victorious against the invading Greeks."

Since the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, no factual information has been taught to Turkish schoolchildren about the extreme brutality, massacres, rapes, pillaging and other atrocities that indigenous Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna were subjected to at the hands of the Turks. The truth about the identity of the arsonists is categorically denied. For the past 100 years, Turkey has blamed the victims of the genocide for their own extermination.

In 2007, however, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) officially acknowledged the genocide inflicted on the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek populations of the Ottoman Empire. IAGS' resolution stated:

"Whereas the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides."

Turkey's continual denial of its genocide, and even its callous pride in the event, has for decades been accompanied by the destruction, abuse and appropriation of the Greek and Armenian cultural heritage in the country. On June 21, 2019, Turkish media reported that the Saint-Jean Theologos Greek Girls School in Smyrna, which has been empty since 1922, was plundered; its doors and windows removed, and its valuables looted. The historic building, now owned by Turkish Undersecretariat of the Treasury, has mostly been used by homeless drug addicts.

According to a recent report in the Turkish media. the Armenian Surp Sarkis Church in the Menemen district of Smyrna will be "restored" as a "Memorial Museum Science and Art Centre" after being used as a warehouse and a stable.

September 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide in Smyrna. Although the Turkish government still takes pride in its slaughter, everyone else would do well to remember and honor the memories of the victims and prevent further Turkish aggression. One way for Western governments to do this is officially to recognize the 1913-23 genocide, but above all, stop Erdogan's continued threats against Greece.


Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18944/erdogan-threatens-greece

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Will Biden Get Bailed Out On, ‘She Was 12, & I Was 30?’ - Kevin McCullough

 

by Kevin McCullough

Why, exactly, did the crowd laugh?

 


You saw the creepy video right?

It muddied up social media feeds all weekend. People that have never expressed a single political viewpoint to me reacted with gross abhorrence to what Joe Biden appeared to seemingly imply.

As he wraps up some remarks in the video he spots someone in the crowd and in typical Biden stream of consciousness he abruptly changes subjects. Looking directly at the woman he has just spotted he bluntly instructs, “(You) gotta say ‘Hi’ to me.”

Then to the watching crowd he states, “We go back a long way, she was 12 and I was 30 but anyway…”

The crowd belly laughs.

Understanding that legitimate sexual misconduct claims abound all throughout the Biden family I began to ponder how this video—that went everywhere—can be dealt with.

In older chapters of Joe Biden’s life no one cares that Jill Biden was married when she first met Joe. They don’t much seem to care that she was still married when they began to date in March of 1975.

That Hunter Biden took up with his deceased brother’s wife also didn’t seem to matter.

Formal accusations of sexual misconduct by non-family members didn’t phase anyone. And the literally hundreds of  images of Joe Biden, touching, kissing, refusing to let go of, and of course sniffing bother some. He’s done it to women of all ages-school aged little girls all the way up to whatever age Hillary Clinton purports to be.

Yet in recent years there has been a bit of out-sized interest in some of the misconduct alleged of he and his family members.

When Hunter Biden’s gun ended up in a dumpster, supposedly put there by Hallie Biden, the FBI, not local law enforcement were called in. Odd because the genuinely low level of wrong doing alleged.

When Hunter Biden’s laptop was first unveiled, the FBI were again immediately brought in on the case. What amounted to a laptop being abandoned at a repair shop, the feds attempted to turn into a charge of wrong doing by the repair shop owner. They also sought to damage the reputation of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for obtaining a copy of the laptop’s hard drive. A laptop that had been abandoned.

The laptop itself is reported to have evidence of alleged crimes. Those who have examined it also report specific items of sexual misconduct are pervasive on it.

Similar charges have been leveled about Hunter Biden’s virtual cloud storage which was hacked more recently than the discovery of the laptop.

And then there was that diary…

The diary which Politifact and Reuters have attempted to claim was not verified as belonging to Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter. Yet court documents themselves (PBS and others have revealed) identify the diary in question as the property of Ashley Biden.

Funny thing about that diary though. It was also abandoned. Forgotten about. Left behind.

Until someone found it, read it, and decided to sell it to news outlets. That news outlet turned it over to local law enforcement without publishing it.

But it didn’t matter, that news outlet’s founder had his home raided. And the woman who found the abandoned diary is now facing five years in prison. All done by the feds, the FBI. Why? Isn’t this really low level to be having the bureau conducting raids over?

Oh… did I forget to mention that the diary alleges that Ashley Biden regrets taking showers with her father—the now *President?

The Bidens appear to have quite the appetite for sexual conduct that many Americans would deem unhealthy.

Must be nice to have the largest law enforcement bureau in the nation to come in and sweep up the mess.

But can you honestly do that when he says it on a live microphone to the watching universe?

“Gotta come see me! We go back a long way, she was 12 and I was 30 but anyway…”


Kevin McCullough 

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/will-biden-get-bailed-out-on-she-was-12-i-was-30/

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First Army Transgender Officer Was a Russian Spy - Daniel Greenfield

 

by Daniel Greenfield

foreign enemies are more than happy to exploit our insanity.

 


 

Stunning and brave.

In the past, obviously unstable people were kept away from sensitive positions because they were obvious security risks. Now they’re the heroic vanguard of identity politics.

And they’re still massive security risks. Just ask this great power couple.

The US Army’s first trans officer and her wife, a doctor at Johns Hopkins, have been indicted for attempting to pass medical records of senior military officers and their families to the Russian government.

Major Jamie Lee Henry and Dr. Anna Gabrielian were accused of using their secret security clearance at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg to steal the records from the base’s hospital, the Baltimore Banner reported.

Fort Bragg is among one of the most populated military installations in the world, housing about 52,000 active duty soldiers. The base is home to the US Army’s Delta Force, Forces Command, and Special Operations Forces.

Gabelian was married to Henry who made headlines for becoming the first transgender active duty army officer.

The 32-year-old Henry joined ROTC almost 15 years ago — at age 17. He has been “treating wounded, ill, and injured” service members for 10 years, ever since he did her first rotation in the psych ward at Walter Reed.

Three years ago, however, his life was in upheaval. It was a very difficult time — he even became homeless briefly — as he came out as transgender to the people in his life

Henry was obviously mentally unstable. Instead of treating his psychological problems, no doubt worsened by his job, his mental problems were enabled. After his divorce, who would marry him? Unsurprisingly, a foreign agent.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday, Gabrielian said she was motivated by her patriotism to Russia, with Henry using her clearance as a staff internist to help secure the files.

‘My point of view is until the United States actually declares war against Russia, I’m able to help as much as I want,’ Henry allegedly told the undercover agent when they met to set up the deal in August. ‘At that point, I’ll have some ethical issues I’ll have to work through.’

You’ll work through those ethical issues,’ Gabrielian allegedly replied, adding that Henry was a ‘coward’ over fears of breaking HIPPA.

It’s an old story with a slightly new crossdressing twist. But considering M. Butterfly, even that’s not so new. Identity politics undermines national security. While the military brass claims that DEI enhances warfighting potential, it consistently undermines it instead.

And foreign enemies are more than happy to exploit our insanity.

 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/first-army-transgender-officer-was-a-russian-spy/

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Biden Has Opened Door to Russian Nuke Strikes - Gordon G. Chang

 

by Gordon G. Chang

Unfortunately, arms-control advocates got it backwards. As evident from today's developments, America lacking low-yield nuclear warheads on cruise missiles is making nuclear war more likely, not less.

  • Russia's nuclear doctrine is called "escalate to deescalate" or, more appropriately, "escalate to win," which means threatening or using nukes early in a conventional conflict.

  • Even if Putin is now bluffing — most analysts think he is — he is getting what he wants with threats. Biden, for instance, has been cautious and even timid in providing military assistance to a beleaguered Ukraine. Putin has obviously noticed, which is the reason he has been making more such threats.

  • Why, then, doesn't the United States have what it needs at this crucial moment: nuclear-tipped cruise missiles like Putin's? The arms-control community, arguing that such low-yield weapons would make nuclear war more likely, persuaded American presidents not to build them. President Trump authorized their development, but Biden cancelled the program.

  • Unfortunately, arms-control advocates got it backwards. As evident from today's developments, America lacking low-yield nuclear warheads on cruise missiles is making nuclear war more likely, not less.

  • "The United States will need to reduce its nuclear arsenal to encourage Russia to do the same," wrote Tom Collina and Angela Kellett on the 21st of this month on the Defense One site.

  • Entice Russia into disarmament? Been there. Tried that. Failed miserably.

  • Is it possible to work with Putin at this time?

  • Even if we can put aside the morality of talking to a genocidal mass murderer — we cannot — it is reckless to believe Putin might actually honor arms-control agreements when he has continually violated them with impunity.

  • Moreover, it is bad enough to argue for disarmament in peacetime, but it is the height of folly to do so during war — and when China and North Korea are making first-strike nuclear threats of their own.

  • America's arms-control advocates have always been naïve. Now, they are delusional.

The use of nuclear weapons is fast becoming likely. Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to use nukes — presumably against Ukraine but perhaps others as well — was made at the time he announced a military mobilization, Russia's first since World War II. Pictured: Mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers on parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Sergey Pyatakov - Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )

"If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told NBC's "Meet the Press" on the 25th of this month, referring to threats to use nuclear weapons. "The United States will respond decisively."

Sullivan was responding to, among other things, a warning Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered in a televised address on September 21. "I want like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have," the Russian leader said. "In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us."

"This is not a bluff," he added.

"The idea of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, has become a subject of debate," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres the following day at a Security Council session on Ukraine. "This in itself is totally unacceptable."

Acceptable or not, the use of nuclear weapons is fast becoming likely. The world can thank President Joe Biden for helping create the conditions for history's first total war.

Putin's threat to use nukes — presumably against Ukraine but perhaps others as well — was made at the time he announced a military mobilization, Russia's first since World War II.

The Russian leader has made a series of implicit and explicit nuclear threats this year. On February 27, for instance, he put his nuclear forces on high alert. On March 1, he sortied his ballistic missile submarines and land-based mobile missile launchers in what was called a "drill."

Russia's nuclear doctrine is called "escalate to deescalate" or, more appropriately, "escalate to win," which means threatening or using nukes early in a conventional conflict.

Even if Putin is now bluffing — most analysts think he is — he is getting what he wants with threats. Biden, for instance, has been cautious and even timid in providing military assistance to a beleaguered Ukraine. Putin has obviously noticed, which is the reason he has been making more such threats.

"A nuclear war cannot be won," Biden stated in his September 21 U.N. General Assembly speech, but that applause line is not necessarily true.

With nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, the Russian leader could, in a moment, reverse his fortunes by incinerating Ukraine's cities and large concentrations of military assets, eventually allowing Russia to annex the entire country.

Could Putin get away with such a bold move? The main deterrent to a first strike with tactical nuclear weapons is a threatened second strike with nukes. At this time, the U.S. has tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, in the form of "gravity bombs" delivered by F-16 and F-35 jets.

These bombs, as destructive as they are, are not, as a practical matter, much of a deterrent to the first use of tactical nukes. They can be destroyed on the ground, and any that survive have to be flown long distances through contested airspace to reach targets. In short, Putin is unlikely to be afraid of America's bombs.

That leaves the president of the United States with only one other nuclear threat for deterrence purposes: the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles. ICBMs carrying nuclear warheads can completely destroy Russia, but Putin knows Biden will never make good on any threat to use these weapons in this situation. Putin knows that Biden knows that Putin can obliterate the United States in a second strike with his ICBMs.

When Sullivan says "catastrophic," Putin undoubtedly thinks "hollow." American threats to use its most destructive weapons are simply not credible in this situation.

Why, then, doesn't the United States have what it needs at this crucial moment: nuclear-tipped cruise missiles like Putin's? The arms-control community, arguing that such low-yield weapons would make nuclear war more likely, persuaded American presidents not to build them. President Trump authorized their development, but Biden cancelled the program.

Unfortunately, arms-control advocates got it backwards. As evident from today's developments, America lacking low-yield nuclear warheads on cruise missiles is making nuclear war more likely, not less.

So, what does the arms-control community now recommend?

"The United States will need to reduce its nuclear arsenal to encourage Russia to do the same," wrote Tom Collina and Angela Kellett on the 21st of this month on the Defense One site.

Entice Russia into disarmament? Been there. Tried that. Failed miserably.

"In 2010, we killed the Navy nuclear-armed cruise missile and Russia responded by confirming they were indeed building 32 new strategic nuclear systems of which 90% are now complete," the Hudson Institute's Peter Huessy tells Gatestone. "The comparable Chinese number is 28."

Nonetheless, Collina and Kellett urge the Biden administration to not let Putin's war prevent negotiations with Putin to limit nuclear weapons. "If we want to prevent Russia from using its nuclear weapons to enable more aggression against weaker states, we must find a way to work with Moscow to reduce its nuclear arsenal," write the pair in "War Is No Reason to Put Arms-Control Negotiations on Hold," their Defense One article.

Is it possible to work with Putin at this time?

Even if we can put aside the morality of talking to a genocidal mass murderer — we cannot — it is reckless to believe Putin might actually honor arms-control agreements when he has continually violated them with impunity.

Moreover, it is bad enough to argue for disarmament in peacetime, but it is the height of folly to do so during war — and when China and North Korea are making first-strike nuclear threats of their own.

America's arms-control advocates have always been naïve. Now, they are delusional.

 
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18942/biden-russia-nuclear-strikes

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