"The only safeguard to protect the American people from government's control over the money and the guns is the U. S. Constitution.  The only protection the Constitution has from government corruption or perversion, is the people demanding that the government adhere to the principles of the constitution or face the consequences of armed revolution." -- Ron Ewart

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President Biden used campaign donations to help pay his legal bills last year during the special counsel's probe into his handling of classified documents, according to two people familiar with the matter and an Axios review of campaign finance records.

Why it matters: The payments, made through the Democratic National Committee, are at odds with the Biden campaign's recent attacks on Donald Trump for spending his campaign funds on legal fees.

Driving the news: The DNC — which has been collecting the biggest donations to Biden's re-election effort — paid more than $1.5 million to lawyers or firms representing Biden during the probe, according to the committee's financial filings.

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By Tyler Durden

Q1 earnings season officially opened moments ago when JPM became the first mega bank to reports results, and even though JPM beat on across the board - and even unexpectedly released reserves instead of setting money aside for yet another quarter - the stock is lower by ~3% after Jamie Dimon had some gloomy words about the bank's net interest income (which dropped in Q1) and the bank's NII outlook for 2024 missed estimates. But before we get to all that, let's start with the Q1 historicals which were solid across the board:

  • Q1 Net Income of $13.4 billion, up 6% from $12.6 billion a year ago and stronger than the median estimate, which translated into EPS of $4.44 (and $4.21 ex the impact of First Republic), beating estimates of $4.15; JPM clarified that “excluding a $725 million increase to the FDIC special assessment," net income would have been $14 billion or $4.63 a share.

  • The EPS of $4.44 would be the second highest in the company's history, and the highest in three years, going back to Q1 2021 when JPM reported a record $4.50.

  • Q1 Adjusted revenue $42.55 billion, +8.2% y/y, and beating the estimate of $41.64 billion
    • FICC sales & trading revenue $5.30 billion
    • Equities sales & trading revenue $2.69 billion
    • Investment banking revenue $1.99 billion
    • CIB Markets total net revenue $7.98 billion, estimate $7.71 billion
      • Advisory revenue $598 million
      • Equity underwriting rev. $355 million
      • Debt underwriting rev. $1.05 billion
      • Corporate & investment bank IB fees $2.00 billion
  • Net charge-offs $1.96 billion, up from $1.1 billion a year ago, but below the estimate $2.2 billion
  • Provision for credit losses $1.88 billion, lower by 17% y/y, and far below the estimate $2.78 billion, thanks to a reserve release of $72 million, vs a $1.1 billion reserve build in Q1 2023.

Needless to say, the reserve release was a very favorable swing factor in the company's bottom line: a year ago, the reserve build was substantially higher, and rightfully so: charge offs have nearly doubled since then, rising from $1.1BN to $2.0BN.

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Via Middle East Eye

Turkey’s decision to halt the export of 54 products to Israel in response to its war on Gaza isn’t likely to have far-reaching results, since both countries' economies are complementary in nature rather than central to each other.

The Turkish trade ministry announced earlier this week that Ankara would continue to implement the restrictions as long as Israel denies uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip, citing UN Security Council decisions and an International Court of Justice (ICJ) preliminary judgment against Israel’s conduct in the coastal enclave. The export restrictions encompass items such as aluminium wire, steel, cement, construction materials, granite, chemicals, pesticides, engine oils, jet fuel and bricks.

Israel's Haifa commercial shipping port in the Mediterranean Sea, NurPhoto

Before the war, Turkish-Israeli ties had been steadier than they had been for years. After years of tensions over Palestine, the two normalized relations in 2022. Yet, while Turkey and Israel quarreled over the past decade, and even stopped cooperating with each other, trade had never been interrupted. In fact, it flourished over time.

The Turkish public has been outraged at Israel’s actions in Gaza, where reportedly more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in six months. Lists of ships carrying goods to Israel circulated on social media as Israel's onslaught grew. People also highlighted companies close to the Turkish government that continued commercial relations with Israel during the war.

Even though there is no evidence to back claims that Turkey sold weapons to Israel, the controversy was stoked by a small quantity of hunting gear or hunting equipment parts being found among the exports. They were broadly classified by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) as “weaponry”

In response to this domestic pressure and serious setbacks for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in local elections last month, the government decided to act against Israel.

Ties have been cut on the Israeli side, too. In October, several Israeli supermarket chains halted imports from Turkey in response to Ankara’s critical stance on the Gaza war. Israeli food company Strauss in December changed the packaging for one of its most well-known products, Elite Turkish coffee, adding an Israeli flag and patriotic slogans.

An important market

But is the trade between the two countries vital? Many say no, but Israel is nonetheless an important export market for Ankara. Turkey’s exports to Israel were worth $5.4bn in 2023, or 2.1 percent of its total exports, according to official data.

Although bilateral trade has dropped by 33 percent since the October 7 Hamas-led attack, it has nonetheless continued and exports to Israel have increased each month in 2024 so far. Both countries have had a free trade deal in place since 1996 and there have been no tariffs on certain products since 2000, which has enabled major increases in bilateral trade, largely favouring Turkey.

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Actor and television personality Whoopi Goldberg accused Republicans of doing their best to “bring slavery back.”

During Wednesday’s broadcast of the ABC midday talk show “The View,” Goldberg criticized an Arizona Supreme Court ruling that upheld a law banning most abortions. She then tied the high court’s ruling to what she believes is the goal of Republicans.

“Take a look at the things that they’re rolling back. Remember I said ages ago, you know, in their minds, they want to bring slavery back. They’re okay with it. Because, you see, things change. You know, one of the good things about the Supreme Court is you can fight to make sure you make stuff better. You don’t generally fight to make stuff worse,” she stated.

Webmaster addition: 

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Since purchasing Twitter, the social media platform he subsequently renamed X, in 2022, billionaire Elon Musk has come under fire for his endorsement of expanded free speech protections by users.

A number of U.S. lawmakers and regulators have complained that X has become a bastion of hate speech and misinformation, though Musk has rejected such allegations at every turn.

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Following a path blazed by the once and future Republic of Texas, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday signed into law a measure making it a state crime to enter the Hawkeye State after being deported or denied entry into the country. As an "aggravated misdemeanor," it would subject illegal immigrants to imprisonment for up to two years. 

Reynolds raced to sign the bill just one day after it cleared the state legislature. In a statement issued after the signing, she said President Biden's neglect of border security made it imperative for Iowa to step up and fill the void: 

“The Biden Administration has failed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, putting the protection and safety of Iowans at risk. Those who come into our country illegally have broken the law, yet Biden refuses to deport them. This bill gives Iowa law enforcement the power to do what he is unwilling to do: enforce immigration laws already on the books.”

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The United States general in command of the Middle East headed to Israel on Thursday to coordinate with Israeli defense officials after Iran threatened retaliation against the country for an attack in Syria. 

General Michael 'Erik' Kurilla's expected meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other senior Israel Defense Forces officials was first reported by Axios. Kurilla is commander of U.S. Central Command.

It comes after an Israeli strike on an embassy complex in Damascus killed Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and several others last week. 

Zahedi was the most senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer killed since the assassination of Qasem Soleimani in 2020.

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“The office district is empty, with boarded up towers, copper thieves, and failing retail,” reports the Wall Street Journal of Democrat-run St. Louis, Missouri. “[E]ven the Panera outlet shut down. The city is desperately trying to reverse the ‘doom loop.’”

Let’s look at the mayoral history of the doom-looping St. Louis, shall we?

Oh, look, there hasn’t been a Republican mayor in St. Louis since — not a typo — 1949. For 75 years, the people of St. Louis have voted for More of the Same, so excuse me if I don’t whip out a violin over all this unavoidable doom looping.

“Cities such as San Francisco and Chicago are trying to save their downtown office districts from spiraling into a doom loop,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “St. Louis is already trapped in one.”

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Authored by Will Porter via The Libertarian Institute, 

The Israeli military has employed yet another AI-based system to select bombing targets in the Gaza Strip, an investigation by +972 Magazine has revealed. The new system has generated sweeping kill lists condemning tens of thousands of Palestinians, part of the IDF’s growing dependence on AI to plan lethal strikes.

Citing six Israeli intelligence officers, the Tel Aviv-based magazine said the previously undisclosed AI system, dubbed ‘Lavender,’ has played a “central role in the unprecedented bombing” of Gaza since last October, with the military effectively treating its output “as if it were a human decision.”

“Formally, the Lavender system is designed to mark all suspected operatives in the military wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), including low-ranking ones, as potential bombing targets,” the outlet reported, adding that “during the first weeks of the war, the army almost completely relied on Lavender, which clocked as many as 37,000 Palestinians as suspected militants—and their homes—for possible air strikes.”

However, while thousands have been killed in the resulting air raids, the majority were “women and children or people who were not involved in the fighting,” the officers told the magazine, noting that Israeli field commanders often rely on the AI system without consulting more substantial intelligence.

“Human personnel often served only as a ‘rubber stamp’ for the machine’s decisions,” one source said, adding that many commanders spend a mere “20 seconds” review.

Claire's Observations:  Skynet writ large, courtesy of Israeli AI; computer-assisted assassinations!  What an incredibly vile use for the technology, which could be used to help heal, and help us understand so much we don't about our world.

Of course, with this genocide against the Palestinians, we need to remember;  Israel has earned the title of the Assassination Nation in the Middle East!  It's the winner!!

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When recalling past temperatures to make comparisons to the present, and, more importantly, inform future climate policy, officials such as Mr. Guterres and President Biden rely in part on temperature readings from the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

The network was established to provide an “accurate, unbiased, up-to-date historical climate record for the United States,” NOAA states, and it has recorded more than 100 years of daily maximum and minimum temperatures from stations across the United States.

The problem, say experts, is that an increasing number of USHCN’s stations don’t exist anymore.

They are physically gone—but still report data—like magic,” said Lt. Col. John Shewchuk, a certified consulting meteorologist.

“NOAA fabricates temperature data for more than 30 percent of the 1,218 USHCN reporting stations that no longer exist.”

He calls them “ghost” stations.


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Special Counsel Jack Smith hinted that he might ignore the Supreme Court if it overturns the obstruction statute this summer.

The US Supreme Court has just revealed that it will hear oral arguments in Fischer v. United States and at issue is statute 18 USC §1512(c)(2):

Whoever corruptly—

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Fischer v. United States, expected this summer, could potentially overturn numerous J6 cases.

Webmaster addition: This trend of ignoring the Supreme Court and just acting unilaterally signals the impending collapse of the US government.

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GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik dropped some breaking news on Thursday during a House Committee hearing on the FBI’s budget with Director Christopher Wray: There is audio of Biden telling his ghostwriter that he ‘just found all the classified documents downstairs.’

Robert Hur in February released a 345-page report on his investigation of the stolen classified documents.

Robert Hur found that Joe Biden “willfully retained” classified information, however, he decided not to charge him. Hur said there is evidence Biden retained classified notebooks, “knowing he was not allowed to do so.”

Biden was not charged even though he willfully retained SCIF-designated classified documents and shared material with his ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer.

According to Robert Hur, In 2017, Joe Biden read aloud classified passages about meetings in the Situation Room to his ghostwriter “verbatim on at least three occasions” – and Biden still wasn’t charged.

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A co-defendant in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ election interference case against former President Donald Trump says he’s preparing to take legal action against her over an incident that allegedly took place with his attorney in Maryland.

According to reports, Harrison Floyd alleges that Willis’ office unlawfully recorded a phone conversation with his lawyer in an unrelated criminal case in Maryland.

Floyd alleges that Willis and her office may have violated the Maryland Wiretapping Act, which requires consent from both parties before recording any in-person or telephone communication.

In a video posted to the social networking platform X, Floyd claimed that Willis was targeting him to further a “racist agenda.”

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America’s largest library association, which annually hands out prestigious literary prizes such as the John Newbery Medal for children’s literature, the Caldecott Medal for picture books for children, the Stonewall Award for LBGTQ+ books for young readers, and the Coretta Scott King award for African American authors and illustrators, has recently honored two authors with a track record of whitewashing Nazi collaborators.

This January, the American Library Association (ALA) published a list of Best Historical Materials for 2023, which includes Enemy Archives: Soviet Counterinsurgency Operations and the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement—Selections from the Secret Police Archives.

This compendium of Soviet documents was edited by Volodymyr Viatrovych and Lubomyr Luciuk. Viatrovych, who is currently a deputy in the Ukrainian parliament, is notorious for drafting laws glorifying Ukrainian Nazi collaborators and Holocaust perpetrators. He’s been condemned by Jewish organizations as well as the governments of Poland and Israel. Luciuk, a professor in Canada’s elite military college, has defended a Third Reich division accused of war crimes.

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas finally admitted that the southern border is in a state of “crisis.”

Mayorkas’ shocking admission occurred during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday when Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) pressed him on the border.

“Mr. Secretary, you dance around calling the crisis at our southern border not only a humanitarian crisis but a crisis. If you do not see it as that, why are you deploying our federal air marshals or FAMS to the southern border?” Hinson asked.

In response, Mayorkas said, “Congresswoman, I do understand the challenges at the border. I certainly don’t dance around them, as a matter of fact.”

Hinson interrupted him to get a direct answer, saying, “Would you call it at a crisis at the southern border?”

In a shocking admission, Mayorkas responded, “Yes, I would. And as a matter of fact, I work every single day with the men and women in the Department of Homeland Security to only strengthen the security of our southern border, as well as the northern border.”

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by Tyler Durden

Friday, Apr 12, 2024 - 04:22 AM

Update(1329ET): Israeli media sources have claimed that Iran is poised to launch a major attack on Israel, but that the strikes were postponed "at the last minute".

Israeli news website Ynet reported Thursday that "Tehran decided to either delay the strike or change the nature of its response to Israel's attack on its consulate in Damascus, likely due to warnings from the administration of United States President Joe Biden. According to more:

The outlet cited Iranian semi-official news agency Mehr as claiming the attack could happen "maybe tonight," but soon after deleting the video with the assertion.

The last 48 hours has seen Washington raise the possibility that it could intervene militarily in defense of Israel if Iran retaliates for the April 1st Israeli attack on its embassy in Damascus.

Meanwhile, some international airlines, most notably German airline Lufthansa, have paused their flights to Tehran, citing heightened fears of imminent military action in the region. Russia has also taken steps to warn its citizens against travel to the region, particularly Israel, as the region remains at boiling point.

Oil Price underscores that as the waiting game continues, an Iran Strike Threat Hangs Over Inflation-Focused Oil Markets. The industry publication observes, "Oil markets have not visibly responded to the threat hanging over the Middle East, with Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) trading down over 1% at 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday on inflation concerns that have led to speculation that the Federal Reserve may not implement a June rate cut."

Israel's military believes preparation for major attack currently underway...

Iranian officials have signaled they are taking a path of strategic patience but that a significant response is still coming.

We previously reported that Iran now considers Israel's embassies and diplomatic sites abroad as essentially fair game in the wake of Israel's April 1st airstrikes on Iran's embassy in Damascus, which killed two high-ranking IRGC generals and at least five others.

An analyst from the Middle East Institute, Jason Brodsky, observed last week that "There are reports Iran's regime may be eyeing hitting an Israel diplomatic compound in a third country via drones & missiles. Israel maintains embassies in Bahrain; UAE; Jordan; Egypt; Azerbaijan; & Turkey. I would keep an eye on Jordan."

Russia's Foreign Ministry had underscored in reacting to the Israeli strike on the Iranian consular compound "the inviolability of which is guaranteed by the relevant Vienna Conventions, to be categorically unacceptable." Indeed it was unprecedented for a nation's military to intentionally attack another state's sovereign embassy. Iran is outraged at the UN Security Council's silence

Claire's Observations:  The leadership of Iran may be many things, but one of the things it is not, is stupid.  They are waiting for what they believe to be the perfect time, to extract maximum value from a strike against Israel.  They've had their software crunch the numbers, and know precisely where the targets are which will offer them what they want here.  

Iranian patience is a strategic virtue, because being at full alert for a protracted period of time (as are Israel's soldiers) creates a stare of exhaustion, which , becomes very difficult to counteract.

But because Israel is desperate to see "US troops on the ground in Israel" ( considerably more than are already presently there, that is) do not discount the possibility of an Israeli "false flag", to be blamed on Iran, and off we go....

Please remember what Israel did to the USS Liberty, in their attempt to get the US to attack Egypt through a "false flag attack" on that ship.

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Iran feels obligated to punish Israel for attacking its diplomatic mission in Syria because the UN Security Council has failed in its duty, Tehran’s mission to the global organization said on Thursday.

The April 1 airstrike killed seven Iranian officers, including two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Had the UN Security Council condemned the Zionist regime’s reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus and subsequently brought to justice its perpetrators, the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime might have been obviated,” the mission posted on X (formerly Twitter).

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After six months of brutal fighting and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, multiple Israeli and western commentators have argued that Hamas is winning the war and making military history in the process.

Sir Tom Phillips, a former British diplomat who served as Ambassador to Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wrote on 9 April in Haaretz that Hamas had succeeded in its objective of “obtaining the release of as many Palestinians held in Israeli prisons as possible, and of re-asserting themselves as a force to be reckoned with.”

He added that Hamas had survived “the IDF onslaught for longer than any war Israel has ever fought,” and in “doing so, they have thoroughly dented Israel’s much vaunted deterrent status. In brief, and with daunting potential long-term consequences for Israel, the IDF no longer looks invincible.”

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