Jared Kushner Discusses His New Book “Breaking History” On Fox News’ Hannity Show

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Former President Trump’s Senior Adviser and Son-in-Law Jared Kushner, appeared on Fox News’ Hannity show (08/22/22) to discuss his new book, “Breaking History, A White House Memoir”. The basic premise of Kushner’s book is that his Father-in-Law accomplished quite a lot in four years, and would have done much more, had he not been subjected to “false investigations”.

Kushner specifically told host Hannity (1:50): “You were speaking earlier about all of the different accomplishments he was able to have economically. Those weren’t an accident. It’s been awful to watch the inflation that’s happened, the rising gas prices, but all that happened under the guise of all the investigations and attacks and I write extensively in the book. Every one who has read it says that it’s a very fast-paced read and that’s because I weave together all of the efforts to try to push forward on the different policies, while simultaneously dealing with all these false investigations that we had to fend off because even though they were based on crazy accusations from the beginning, whether it was the Russia hoax, or trying to get Trump, or impeach him for trying to  investigate corruption in Ukraine, they were serious accusations and we had to take it.”

Kushner also said his book lays out how former President Trump negotiated a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia in order to save our oil and gas industry. He appeared to blame the current problem we have with high gas prices, on the fact that President Biden doesn’t get along with world leaders like his Father-in-Law did.

He specifically told host Hannity(2:47): “President Trump got along with people in the world. He got along with Vladimir Putin, he got along with President Xi. That didn’t mean he didn’t have tough discussions with them, but I really go through the way that he dealt with them, which is how he kept the world peaceful. All the critics who were lying about the Trump administration for four years, they were saying that if Trump was elected, he would lead to world war three, but we had six peace deals during Trump’s time, and the world was a very very safe place. We go through all that extensively in the book.”

Kushner also talked about his efforts to broker a peace deal in the Middle East. He said(4:10): “One of the efforts that I worked on, that I detail in the book, was the efforts in the Middle East to try to bring peace between Israel and the Arab countries, and that’s something that the conventional thinking was that it would never happen, but President Trump was an outsider. He brought a businessman’s approach to Washington. Businessmen are results-driven, unlike politicians who generally want to just process…I write about how an outsider without a lot of political experience, and a team, came in and were able to achieve results that the political career people were not able to achieve, and so the book really goes through that in detail.”

The interview then came to the million dollar question which every viewer had probably tuned in for, and that is, whether former President Trump would run again in 2024. I got the sense from Hannity’s questioning, that he was almost dissuading Trump from running again because of the toll his presidency has had on his family, but I’ll let you be the judge on that.

Hannity(4:54): “When you factor in all that your family went through, we’re talking about Don Jr, and Eric, and Lara, and Ivanka…when you factor all of that in, do you want him to? Would you want to go through that again?”

Kushner responded in relevant part(5:31): “I think that the way we all viewed it, is that the cost of service, and of the attacks, was very small relative to the impact that President Trump and his administration were able to make for so many people and their families…”

I think it’s safe to say that any reasonable person presented with Kushner’s “small cost” response to Hannity’s question, would conclude that he believes former President Trump will indeed run again in 2024.

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Taiwan’s Representative To The U.S. Slams China For Using Pelosi’s Visit As A Pretext To “Manufacture A Crisis”

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Taiwan’s Representative to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to her country, which has caused an uproar in China. Rep Bi-Khim slammed China saying it was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit a pretext to “manufacture a crisis.”

Rep(0:24): “We have been living under the threat from China for decades, and we cannot let their ongoing threats define our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a kid being bullied at school, you don’t say, ‘you don’t go to school’, you try to find a way to deal with the bully, and that’s exactly what Taiwan is doing, working on making our society stronger and more resilient, fortifying our defenses so that we have means of managing risks. The risks are not posed by Taiwan, nor are they posed by the United States, the risks are posed by Beijing.”

Asked whether Taiwan is worried about a full scale military invasion from China, Rep Bi-Khim said (1:11): “The Chinese have not renounced the use of force. They have been intensifying threats towards Taiwan that is not only on a military level, it has involved a hybrid toolkit of public disinformation, cyberattacks, economic coercion, they have a broad toolkit that we have become more and more accustomed to. Again, that is not going to change our determination to defend our freedom.”

Asked whether she thought China’s military exercises at the Taiwanese coast following Speaker Pelosi’s visit were a drill, Rep Bi-Khim said it appears they have been preparing for this for a while, even before Speaker Pelosi decided to visit Taiwan.

Asked whether she had any assurances from the Biden administration that the U.S. will provide Taiwan with actual military protection as opposed to just providing them with weapons in the event China invaded, Rep Bi-Khim said (3:08): “We have a very strong security partnership that ensures the protection of our shared interest in the regional peace and stability”–which reasonable people will agree, is diplomat-speak for “yes”.

Asked about the criticism that Speaker Pelosi’s visit amounted to provocation, she responded (3:27): “I think the word provocation has only one place, and that’s with China right now. They are the ones that are provoking regional instability…Sometimes it’s hard for other countries from afar, to fully understand the feelings and perspectives of the Taiwanese people, and that is, for too long, we have been bullied, isolated, and surpressed, and banned from international organizations, so when friends come from afar, and wish to lend their support to Taiwan, we generally take that with gratitude.”

Asked about the reality that China’s invasion of Taiwan would be markedly different from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given the fact that China is far more powerful militarily and economically, and thus difficult to sanction, Rep Bi-Khim said that was part of the reason Speaker Pelosi visited–to give them assurances of support. Rep Bi-Khim specifically said (5:11): “I think that was one of the messages that Speaker Pelosi was trying to convey, and that is, despite all challenges, we have friends in the international community who will stand with us.”

Asked about China’s threat to pull out of important global negotiations on climate etc, if it doesn’t get its way with Taiwan, and the effect that may have on other countries (discourage them from defending Taiwan), Rep Bi-Khim responded (5:50): “Are we concerned? Yes we are concerned about the disruption of these very important discussions on global issues that are matters of interest to not only the United States, but to China and everyone in the world, but the fact is, again, congressional visits to Taiwan have been going on for decades, and for decades it hasn’t prevented the United States and China from having constructive discussions on matters of mutual interest…” Rep Bi-Khim added that Beijing was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to “manufacture a crisis”, and finished with this powerful admonition: “If China is to evolve as a responsible stakeholder in the global community, it’s really up to Beijing to decide if China’s rejuvenation will evolve with international respect, or with international condemnation.”

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Senator Mitch McConnell Discusses Inflation Reduction Bill On Fox News’ Special Report Show

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on Fox News Special Report w/Bret Baier (08/03/22) to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act currently being negotiated in the U.S. Senate. Senator McConnell said he found the way Democrats characterized the bill “laughable”, because in his opinion, the bill actually increases inflation. Senate Democrats appear poised to approve the measure on a straight party vote.

Senator McConnell said this about the Inflation Reduction Act (0:27): “First, I think all of us were somewhat shocked by Senator Manchin’s reversal of positions he’d taken as recently as last week, against raising taxes. This raises taxes, it increases the burden of taxation on lower income people significantly. Calling it inflation reduction bill is rather laughable. Independent analysis indicates it actually increases inflation in the next two years, and may have an impact over ten years, and their policies from last year have already produced 40-year high inflation, so it’s a terrible package. It appears as if they are all in line, but one, it will be up to Senator Sinema from Arizona, who’s quite independent, to determine what the final contours of the bill are.”

Asked about the charge by irate Republicans, that he was “played” by Democrats regarding the reconciliation bill, McConnell responded (1:28): “Reconciliation is something done by one party only. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent the Democrats from doing a bill that only they will vote for, so it’s not a question of being played here, what’s the story line here is that Senator Manchin had agreed to something that he had said publicly and privately over the last two weeks that he would never agree to. We’re not involved in the reconciliation bill. There won’t be a single Republican vote for it. There’s nothing we could do to deter it, other than to criticize it publicly, and that’s what we’re doing right here.”

Host Bret Baier then cornered Senator McConnell with a very interesting question as to why he has repeatedly cited renowned economists Larry Summers and Jason Furman on ways to tackle the current record inflation, yet now he refuses to follow their advice that the Inflation Reduction Act will help reduce inflation? Senator McConnell accused the economists of trying to appease President Biden. He specifically said (2:41):“The quotes they used me in, were Summers’ observations about what they [Biden Administration] did last year. Two trillion dollars they dumped on the economy, that both Furman and Summers predicted would produce rampant inflation, and it did. What they’ve done this year is kind of fall in line, and I assume they wanted to get back on the White House Christmas card list, but people who are not active Democrats, independent observers have said it has no impact on inflation, at all, over the long term, and actually increases it slightly in the short term. So Furman and Summers were certainly helpful as active Democrats in describing last year’s bill, but this year they’re sort of falling in line because I think they want to get back in the good grace of the White House.”

Asked about criticism from House Republicans, some of whom don’t want him as Senate Majority Leader any more, over what they perceive as him being “played” repeatedly by Democrats, and making President Biden look good, McConnell responded(3:55): “Well, I guess they’ve forgotten the Supreme Court that I’ve helped usher into–three new Supreme Court justices, the 2017 tax bill…I think just because you have closely divided government doesn’t mean you do nothing. The past two administrations tried to achieve bipartisan infrastructure, didn’t get it done, we needed to rescue the post office. Just because it’s a Democrat in the White House, I don’t think means Republicans should do nothing that’s good for the country. In the meantime, on the big issues, we are totally opposed to what this administration is trying to do, but on things like school safety, mental health, infrastructure, postal reform, why would we not want to make progress for the country no matter who’s in the White House?”

Asked about reservation by some Republicans, that expanding NATO to include Sweden and Finland, increases the likelihood of sending our troops into combat in Europe, Sen McConnell responded (5:08): “The NATO alliance is the most successful military alliance in world history. The way to prevent Americans from having to actively get involved in combat is to prevent it in the first place, and that’s what NATO is about. It won the cold war without firing a single shot. Putin has succeeded not only in actually expanding NATO and making it even more effective as a deterrent. Remember Reagan said peace through strength, and that’s what NATO is all about, and that’s why Finland and Sweden add a lot to NATO.”

Asked to pick between the Russia-Ukraine war, and the situation at our southern border, which one was a bigger national security threat to the United States, McConnell said both were threats that needed to be dealt with seriously–probably not the answer Fox News viewers obsessed with the southern border, wanted to hear.

Importantly, when asked about his earlier prediction that there would be a “red wave” in this year’s midterm elections, McConnell appears to have had a change of mind (probably due to Kansas), saying now that it will be a “very tight” election. McConnell specifically said (7:02): “I think it’s going to be very tight, we have a 50-50 Senate now, we have a 50-50 nation, and I think when the Senate race smoke clears, we are likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with either up slightly, or the Democrats up slightly”–a far cry from the “red wave” talk we heard earlier in the year from McConnell and his fellow Republicans.

Asked about the Kansas abortion vote heard around the world, McConnell responded (7:35): “I think what the Supreme Court has done is said people who are elected by the American people are going to deal with this highly sensitive issue, and it will be playing out all year, and I don’t think we really know until the end of the year, what kind of an impact putting this issue back into the hands of those of us who are elected, as opposed to nine unelected judges, will have on the country. We’re in the process of finding that out…It tells us that there are a lot of people interested in the issue in Kansas, there’s no question about that.”

Asked whether he would survive his leadership role if “Trumpified” candidates(J.D. Vance, Oz, Blake Masters, Ted Budd etc) win this November, Sen McConnell responded (8:37): “I’ve been elected eight times without opposition. I don’t own this job, and there’s always an election every two years for leader. If anybody wants to challenge me, have at it.” McConnell added that he will still hang on as Minority Leader if Republicans don’t take over the Senate this Fall.

Asked whether, given his lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, there is a single issue the modern Republican Party gets right, which the old Republican Party got wrong, McConnell was all over the place. He didn’t give an answer that specifically answered the question.

Bottom line folks, the key takeaway from Senator McConnell’s interview on Fox News is that the “red wave” fantasy is gone. Republicans now acknowledge that even with the challenging economic times, and President Biden’s low approval numbers, the 2022 midterm elections will be very competitive. Reasonable politicos will agree that given historical trends re midterms, the fact that Dems are even still in the ball game, tells you all you need to know about the state of affairs at Trump’s GOP. 

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Is Moldova Putin’s Next Target After Ukraine?

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CNN’s GPS show(07/24/22) aired a very interesting interview featuring Natalia Gavrilita, the Prime Minister of the small eastern European nation of Moldova, which shares a border with Ukraine. PM Gavrilita expressed her increasing fears that after Putin is done with Ukraine, he may set his eyes on her country, Moldova, because Moldova, like Ukraine, is on a rapid path towards E.U. integration.

The Russia-Ukraine war has had such an adverse global impact, that any talk of a possible Russian invasion of another country, should be cause for concern, not only for the United States, but for every democracy-loving country.

PM Gavrilita began by giving a brief introduction of Moldova, saying (1:13): “Moldova has had a troubled history in a complicated region, and it has not only been part of the Soviet Union, it has also been part of Romania between the first and second world war. The majority of the population is Romanian speaking, but we also have Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, and Gagauz, which is a Turkish speaking minority.”

She went on to tell host Fareed Zakaria that like Ukraine, Moldova is rapidly moving towards E.U. integration. She specifically said(1:43): “In the last elections, the people have voted massively for a pro-European majority, for going the course of democratic institutions, fighting corruption, ensuring the respect for human rights, and striving towards the European integration course, so achieving candidate status for E.U. integration has been a significant victory for Moldova, one that people have waited for for a long time, but it is very unfortunate that it happens in such a complicated context in the region, and such horrible times for Ukraine.”

There is no other way to interpret PM Gavrilita’s remarks other than (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), Moldova’s rapid move towards E.U. integration comes at a time when Russia is increasingly suspicious of the West/NATO’s intentions. As a result, Putin is more likely to attack Moldova either during his invasion of Ukraine, or immediately thereafter, to prevent Moldova from joining the European Union. In other words, PM Gavrilita is simply sounding an early alarm bell, for a possible Russian invasion.

She went on to say this about her fear of a Russian invasion(3:35):“We are worried of course, this is a risk. It’s a hypothetical scenario for now, but if the military actions move further into the southwestern part of Ukraine, and towards Odessa, then of course we are very worried, especially considering that[Russian] troops[are already]on the territory of the secessionist Transnistrian region. We are doing everything possible to maintain peace and stability and to ensure that the fighting does not escalate.”

She went on to say that if Russia/Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of large chunks of Ukraine, then no small country will be safe. She specifically said(4:26):“This is a very difficult position not just for Moldova, but for any small country, any country that relies on the rules-based international order. If a country can start an annexation war without any regard for international law, then in this sense, nobody is safe, and I think that a lot of countries are worried.”

Bottom line folks, the United States must develop a proactive approach when dealing with Russia and other adversaries. Where, as here, PM Gavrilita is sounding the alarm about a possible Russian invasion, the U.S. must do everything in its power to help Moldova prepare for any such eventuality. It’s better/cheaper to equip Moldova now, rather than after Russian tanks start rolling down their streets.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Europe appears to be churning out some very impressive female leaders lately–from Ursula von der Leyen, to Nicola Sturgeon, to Magdalena Anderson, to PM Gavrilita, who reasonable people will agree, was quite impressive on CNN’s GPS show. This begs the question: Is this the era of female/women leadership? The U.S. came very close (debatable point) to electing its first female president in 2016. Is 2024 the year the U.S. finally gets a female president? Hmm, Nikki Haley certainly thinks so. Oh, and by the way, Gavrilita is pronounced “Gavrilitsa”. Yeah, you didn’t know that.

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s Interview On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show (06/30/22)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with visiting Fox News host Tucker Carlson (06/30/22) for a wide ranging, and quite interesting interview, that covered issues such as his upcoming reelection fight, China’s expansion into Latin America, COVID, Christianity, the media, LGBTQ rights, and even a pitch by Tucker Carlson to Bolsonaro to allow Fox News in Brazil (yeah, he really did that, I promise).

President Bolsonaro and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban, are two notable world leaders who have struck a resonance with Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which appears to be on a path towards Christian Nationalism. Yours Truly was therefore very interested to hear what President Bolsonaro had to say regarding a whole host of issues, and so should you.

The first topic of discussion was Bolsonaro’s very interesting, even miraculous rise to the presidency. Here’s how he described it (video at 5:22): “My election itself was almost a miracle. I had nothing going for me to be elected. I was just an isolated member of Congress, known as the lower segment of national Congress in Brazil. I conducted my campaign anchored on a Biblical passage John 3:33–‘Thou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ The media never gave me any visibility or space, much to the contrary, they attacked me all the time throughout the campaign. On 09/06/2018, on the eve of the election, I suffered an attempted assassination. Doctors said my survival was a miracle. The same is true for my election, and a very important factor which you may perhaps not be aware of, is the fact that Brazil is a country that upon taking office as the President, the incumbent President surrenders strategic positions in the cabinet and political parties, including the cabinet ministries, state banks, state companies. I did not do that.”

Bolsonaro then went on to attack his left wing opponent, Lula da Silva, using strikingly similar attacks you hear Republicans in the United States leveling against Democrats. Bolsonaro, for example insinuated that the left was planning to rig the upcoming elections, that they are using the pandemic to bring down his administration, and importantly, that if the left defeats him, they will never lose any election again after that–an argument strikingly similar to the one used by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, and after his loss to Joe Biden. Bolsonaro then went on to list a long laundry list of Republican-like attacks against Lula/the left wing; that they want unfettered abortions, they are soft on crime, that the left is anti-freedom, that the left wants to disarm the public (Brazil’s “second amendment”, I guess), that the left wants amnesty, that the left is manufacturing opinion polls which show him losing, so as to suppress his vote. Very interesting indeed.

Asked how he plans to win reelection despite what Tucker Carlson characterized as “the entire Brazilian media” against him, Bolsonaro responded (11:25): “Yes, there is the weight of the media against me. True, but social media has been doing a great job in Brazil. My social media channels are the most interactive in the world. I believe that today we have 40% of the population who has not yet expressed their voting intentions. Most of the voters we believe, will vote for me in the elections.”

Tucker then pulled the quintessential “shameless plug” and pitched Fox News to President Bolsonaro (11:49): “Why is there no Fox News in Brazil? CNN is here, you got over 50 million votes in the last elections, CNN’s a political player here, so is Globo, but there’s no TV channel for your voter?” Bolsonaro responded to Tucker Carlson’s pitch saying (12:00): “Well if I could launch an appeal for you, I can only say that you will be the most welcome in Brazil. You will be an excellent counterpart to the other vehicles or outlets. There are very few media outlets that are really unbiased in Brazil.” Hmm, again sounds awfully similar to what Republicans say in the U.S.

Asked how he felt about opposition to him, not only inside Brazil, but also from virtually all the neighboring countries, Bolsonaro gave this interesting answer (12:50): “Brazil is an economic powerhouse in South America. The 10 countries with which we have political, geopolitical, physical borders are not that economically strong as compared to Brazil. We are what you might describe as a cherry on the cake. If Brazil goes down or collapses, the whole of South America will go down, and be colored red(bloodshed) if you understand…”

The interview then moved to the topic that shot President Bolsonaro into the international spotlight, and that is, his opposition/refusal to take the COVID vaccine at a time when COVID cases were sky high in Brazil. This move endeared him to anti-vaxxer movements worldwide, but alienated him from Western governments who were at that time (height of the pandemic), desperately trying to get sufficient numbers of their populations vaccinated.

Asked why he refused to take the COVID vaccine, here’s how he responded (22:05 ): “As I said before, maybe I was the only head of state in the world who did not accept restrictive measures, or was against restrictive measures, and perhaps one of the few heads of state in the world who did not take the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. The left was so worried about taking me out of office that they wanted me to take the vaccine, and I said well, ‘let me die, just let me die then and choose my policy.’ In South America we are the one country that best addressed the issue involving the need for vaccines, and we very properly and adequately equipped our hospitals with equipment and medications, and I believe we have pretty much turned the page there.”

To be clear, Bolsonaro’s argument was that he did not need a COVID vaccine because he had already contracted the virus. He therefore sought medications instead (including in Africa), that were being advertised at the time as cures for COVID. He says even though he was personally against the vaccines, he did make them readily available to the Brazilian public. He also said that part of his reluctance to take the vaccines, was the fine print from the vaccine manufacturers, which said they were not responsible for any side effects from their vaccines.

The interview then moved on to religion, and specifically, Christianity. Asked how he thought his opponent Lula and the left viewed Christianity, Bolsonaro responded (35:27): “The left wing, I mean the vast majority of them are atheists. They do not respect anything. They criticize priests and pastors and Lula himself has said that he will, if elected, he will place priests and pastors and the military in their rightful place, or in the right place in society. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed its understanding and ruling on abortion, the left wing in Brazil did not like that. We did like the new stance taken by the U.S. Supreme Court because we defend life from its very conception, but not so among the left wing people and Lula. Lula and the left wing, they often say that abortion is a matter of public health, and it is the woman that should decide. We believe that the life that has been given to a woman does not belong to the woman, and that is a stance espoused by our religion.” Hmm, interesting. Is this the TrumpGOP stance on abortion, too?

Asked about racism in Brazil, Bolsonaro, much like Republicans in the United States, blamed it on weaponized identity politics pushed by the left. He specifically said this about identity politics (38:17) :“It is a way to divide and conquer. Even before Lula took office in 2003, the left wing would already preach that, I mean, the division of people along identity lines such as Blacks and Whites, and employers and employees, and people from northeastern Brazil vis-a-vis southern Brazil. They have gained followers as a result of that approach, and the major divisionary split today is between employers and employees…and they say that, ‘hey you are not doing well today because of your employer’, and that divide approach or policy… has gained them at least one-fourth of the Brazil population. They have always been supported by at least one-fourth of the Brazilian population. My father-in-Law is…a Black man, and I am a blue-eyed White man. Racism is there in Brazil, yes, but not as it is often described. Most of our main football (soccer) players are, you know, people of African descent, no worries.”

The topic then shifted to gun control, where he was asked why he chose to make it easier for Brazilians to acquire firearms. He responded (39:25) :”I was unable to actually change the Brazilian law, but by means of a presidential decree, and also through ministerial orders, we interpreted the existing legislation as best as possible, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who legally own firearms in Brazil, and the consequences you see in the Brazilian media, is a drop in the number of people who are killed by firearms in Brazil. We understand that once people get armed, the crooks, the thieves will think twice before they break into other people’s property. If of course the number had gone up, I would be blamed, but just the opposite is going on today, and if reelected, if everything goes well, we will have a substantial support in Congress, and we’ll be able to pass laws on firearms, very much along the same lines as in the U.S.”

The topic then shifted to the Amazon rain forest, and specifically, whether it was being destroyed (deforestation) at an alarming rate causing global climate problems. Climate activists blame Bolsonaro’s administration for the deforestation. Here’s what Bolsonaro said when asked whether the Amazon was being destroyed at the high rates claimed by the news media (46:25): “No, that is not true. Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are currently preserved, and remain pristine, just as they were back in the 1500s when this country was discovered by the Portuguese. The criminal acts that do happen, we will not deny that, are ultimately given too much visibility because there is a huge interest in making our sovereignty over the Amazonian region a relative fact, or perceived in a relative light. I met with President Putin and thanked him because on two occasions when this issue was discussed with other countries, he stated that the Amazon region belongs to the Brazilian people, not to anyone else. The Amazon region is as vast as eastern Europe. It’s huge, it’s wonderful, it’s just not possible to, you know, take care of every square meter in the Amazon region. There is illegal deforestation, yes, there are fire outbreaks, yes, but not at the rate that is announced out there. California itself always you know, catches fire, and it’s not given that much visibility, French Guyana likewise, I mean, you can’t possibly set a rain forest to fire, but there is illegal deforestation, yes, and we are working to tackle that.”

Asked about criticism regarding the Amazon, by celebrities-turned-climate activists, like Mark Ruffalo, Bolsonaro said (49:30):”These are people who do not understand anything about Brazil. I think these people have never been to the Amazon region, and I would actually invite them to come to the Amazon region, and overfly the region…They talk about the Amazon region because it’s trendy, it’s a fad. I mean, in Europe, if someone says that the Amazon region is not being devastated, they are politically doomed to fiasco. So, it’s politically good for them, you know, the criticism yields power, yields media visibility, yields votes, and that’s what celebrities feed on. They are not at all familiar with the Amazon region. They are not at all knowledgeable about the region, and the difficulty of investing in it. They just criticize it because it’s a fad.”

Asked whether he has enjoyed being President of Brazil, Bolsonaro said (50:30): “I must admit, you know, I first launched myself as a candidate, of course I intended to become the President, but I was all too aware of the challenges and the difficulties, and the experiences we have undergone, or I have undergone, I could never ever have imagined what it would look like, but I am comforted by the fact that the other candidate, the Workers Party candidate, Haddad, if he had won, Brazil would certainly be what Venezuela is today. So that’s a source of comfort to me, and that encourages me to say to the population that God is the one who has placed me where I am today…A message to the Americans–God, the homeland, family and freedom.”

The final topic of discussion was China, which Tucker Carlson said, was the primary reason for his visit to Brazil. Carlson contends that China is on a quest to colonize Africa and S. America–basically invest heavily in these regions and then take them over as colonies.

Tucker Carlson(58:50): “Given your natural resources, are you worried about the level of Chinese investment in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro:”I would very much like the Americans to also take part in more investments in Brazil. We of course have trade flows with China, and they have of course at least at first shown interest in ensuring their food security.”

Bottom line folks, I came out with the impression that President Bolsonaro is trying very hard to identify himself with the Republican Party in the United States, and specifically,, Trump’s wing of the party. His campaign message appears to be:“If you want Brazil to be God-fearing, rich, prosperous, and free, like the United States, vote for me. If Lula wins, Brazil will become a socialist nation and descend into bloodshed. I am the only one standing between Brazil and socialism/bloodshed, so vote wisely.” Will this campaign pitch be enough to earn Bolsonaro a reelection victory? Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

***Updated to include the fact that on 08/04/2022, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas. Orban and Bolsonaro appear to be playing from the same playbook re American conservatives–Christian Nationalism ***

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ECB President Christine Lagarde Blames Less Focus On Job Retention During COVID For High U.S. Inflation

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde appeared for an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation(04/24/22) to discuss the current global inflation brought about by covid and the Russsia-Ukraine war. During her interview, President Lagarde made an interesting observation, telling host Margaret Brennan that inflation is higher in the U.S. because unlike Europe, the U.S. focused more on issuing covid stimulus/relief checks than on job retention. Europe’s primary focus during covid was on job retention. She said the resultant labor shortage in the U.S. is driving up wages, which are in turn, driving up costs. Hmm, interesting.

Host Margaret Brennan(video at 4:53):“In this country there’s a lot of debate around how much the government is to blame versus the central bankers for the inflation that we are experiencing. The U.S. spent $6 trillion on covid relief, $2 trillion of it on President Biden’s watch last Spring when the economy was already recovering. Do you think some of this spending in the U.S. exacerbated inflation, because Europe didn’t spend like this?”

President Lagarde:“We in Europe spent less in stimulus, and I think we spent differently. We spent pretty much half as much as what the U.S. government spent on stimulus, and heating up the economy. But we also spent differently because I think the focus was predominantly on keeping the jobs, not necessarily sending the checks, and as a result of that, people who managed to keep their jobs alive, while not necessarily going to work because covid stopped everybody from going to work at some point in time, they had their job. So when covid was over, they went back to their job. So, I think that the labor market that you have currently in the U.S., which is incredibly tense, where you have a lot of jobs that are not filled, where you have plenty of vacancies, we don’t have that in Europe at the moment, and the current situation you have on the labor market here in the U.S. is clearly contributing to possible strong inflation and second round effect, where prices go up, wages go up, short supply of labor, wages continue to go up, and that feeds back into prices. That’s one of the differences between our two economies.”

There’s no other way to interpret ECB President Lagarde’s remarks other than(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), the current strong inflation in the U.S. is largely driven by the fact that the government did not do enough to help people keep their jobs during covid. In other words, even though a lot of people could not physically go to work during covid, more should have been done to make sure their jobs would still be there for them after the pandemic–propping up their employers to keep them afloat. According to President Lagarde, this is precisely what Europe focused on–propping up the employers, and is the reason Europe is not seeing the high levels of inflation as the U.S.

For the record, this does not mean Europe did not hand out covid stimulus/relief checks to workers like the U.S. did. What President Lagarde is saying is that the primary focus in Europe was job retention. It’s also worth pointing out for the sake of fairness, that the entire U.S. covid response, and the resultant high inflation, cannot be pinned solely on the Biden administration. Reasonable people will agree that the Trump admin is equally to blame.

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Pompeo Slams Biden Admin For “Allowing China To Walk All Over Them” In The South Pacific

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle show(04/21/22) to discuss among other things, reports this week that China has signed a security pact with the strategically located Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Pompeo slammed the Biden administration over this, saying they are “allowing China to walk all over them.” He added that China will “park missiles” in the Solomon Islands, and could in the future use this strategic location to block trade routes that are important to the United States.

Pompeo specifically told host Ingraham(video at 1:20):“The Chinese have been trying to expand their footprint in the Pacific, and in particular, the South Pacific for an awfully long time. They began by building out a set of islands called the Spratlys. They put military bases on there after they promised President Obama they wouldn’t, and when they did, he did literally nothing. The Solomon Islands and other Islands in the Pacific are places where they can park missile systems, naval bases, other naval capabilities that they can use to foreclose trade, all of the important trade that moves through all of the South Pacific into the Eastern Pacific, into places that matter an awful lot to the United States of America. It’s why China is so focused on it, it’s why in the Trump administration we worked so diligently to try and build out alliances with those countries. The Biden administration has allowed China to walk all over them throughout the entire Pacific.”

Pompeo went on to add(video at 2:30):“I don’t think they[China]respect or fear the United States under the leadership of President Obama and the team…This administration hasn’t shown the same resolve and the same capacity to deter aggression that we did for 4 years…The Chinese Communist Party presents the single greatest external risk to the United States of America from any place in the world…We need to lead the effort to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t dominate global trade and dominate the global economy in the years and decades ahead. We can do it, but it takes American leadership.”

Bottom line folks, even though reasonable people will agree that Trump GOP is currently mired in frivolity(fights with Disney, hyperventilating over CRT, going after transgender athletes etc), the China issue remains one of the few legitimate arguments they still have. Simply put, the United States cannot allow a perception to fester out there, that China is always running us over. So you ask, “Why should we care about such a perception”? Look no further than the current Russia-Ukraine war. Make no mistake about it, Putin invaded Ukraine because (1) he knows he has China’s support and (2) the United States has demonstrated no willingness to confront China in any way out of fear of “disturbing our trade ties”. This dynamic has to change. We need to make China respect and fear the United States, not just for our own national security sake, but also to deter autocrats around the world who have figured out that they can commit atrocities while hiding under China’s umbrella.

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Trump Lashes Out At AG Barr For Not Going After Hunter Biden

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Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News’ Sean Hannity show(04/13/22) where he among other things, lamented the weaponization of law enforcement for political purposes. Trump joked that in the last five years, he has gone through “more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together.” Yours Truly found this quite interesting because even though weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes is a legitimate topic of concern, Trump’s DOJ was brazenly political, especially under Attorney General William Barr. As a matter of fact, Trump admitted to host Sean Hannity that he was frustrated with AG Barr’s refusal to prosecute President Biden’s son Hunter, during the 2020 campaign season.

Trump specifically told Hannity(video at 32:00 onwards): “I’ve gone through in five years, more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together…They’ve weaponized law enforcement essentially, they’ve weaponized the AGs in the states..and district attorneys…I mean, it’s such a horrible thing that they are doing, and I just don’t think the people of the country are going to take it. but I just, based on past, I think probably nothing will happen[to Hunter Biden]. Look, we also had a chance, but Bill Barr, the Attorney General, didn’t want to be impeached, they[Democrats] were vicious with him…How do you not get impeached? You just sit back and relax and wait out for your term to end, and that’s what he did, and it was a sad thing and a sad day for this country, then he writes his crummy book, which was so false…He was so afraid of being impeached, that he refused to do his job.”

There’s no other way to interpret Trump’s remarks on Hannity other than, he was infuriated by his own AG Bill Barr, for not prosecuting Hunter Biden during the runup to the 2020 presidential elections, a move that Trump knew would give him political advantage over his opponent Joe Biden. This, needless to say, would have been the quintessential weaponization of the criminal justice system. Put another way, Trump is not concerned about the legitimate problem surrounding the weaponization of the criminal justice system, he is just mad that his own AG refused to go along with it when it came to Hunter Biden.

Bottom line folks, as we have seen with many other issues involving former President Trump, projection is always a major theme. As Trump is now complaining about weaponization of the criminal justice system, it must not be left unsaid that his own DOJ was notorious for that. Trump’s remarks also raise serious questions about the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. If Bill Barr was against the investigation while he was AG, why is he now saying on cable TV that Hunter should be investigated?

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Rep Liz Cheney All But Admits Trump Committed Crimes Re January 6th Insurrection

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Rep Liz Cheney(R-WY) appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (04/10/22) where she all but admitted that the evidence currently in possession of the January6th Committee, would support a finding that former President Trump engaged in criminal conduct as related to the January 6th insurrection. Even though Rep Liz Cheney is limited as to what she can disclose publicly, given her position as Vice Chair of the January 6th Committee, there is no question that her response to host Jake Tapper’s question as to whether she believed Trump’s conduct was criminal, was a resounding yes.

Host Jake Tapper(video at 7:07 onwards):“You are the Vice Chair of the January 6th Committee. The New York Times is reporting this morning that your committee has concluded that you have enough evidence to make a criminal referral for President Trump to the Justice Department for obstructing an official proceeding and for conspiracy to defraud the United States. Is that true, do you have enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges?”

Rep Liz Cheney: “We have not made a decision about referrals on the committee. I think that it is absolutely the case, it’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful, they did it anyway. I think you certainly saw that in the decision that was issued by Judge Carter a few weeks ago, where he concluded that it was more likely than not that the President of the United States was engaged in criminal activity. I think what we have seen is a massive and well organized and well planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election. You’ve seen just in the last few days a plea agreement from one of the leaders of the Proud Boys which lays out in really chilling detail the extent to which violence was planned, the extent to which the message that went out on December 19th about the rally in Washington–and don’t forget Donald Trump tweeted out that message ‘be there, be wild’–that the day after that message, the organization and the planning started, and that they understood that they were going to attempt to use violence to try to stop the transfer of power. That is the definition of an insurrection and it is absolutely chilling.”

There is no other way to interpret Rep Cheney’s remarks other than, former President Trump, and his insurrectionists planned, and understood very clearly that on January 6th, they were going to use violence to stop the certification of President Biden’s electoral college victory, and that this conduct fits both of the criminal schemes pointed out by host Jake Tapper.

Bottom line the only question remaining now is whether (1) the January 6th Committee will make that criminal referral and (2) whether Garland’s DOJ will act on it. It cannot be left unsaid that if the January 6th Committee were to make a criminal referral against former President Trump, and Garland’s DOJ chose not to act on it, this will represent one of the biggest failures of the U.S. Justice department in modern DOJ history. It will essentially cement the running perception that Trump is for all intents and purposes, above the law– a sad state of affairs indeed.

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Why Is Putin’s Mistress Living A Life Of Luxury In Switzerland Amid Sanctions?

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President Vladimir Putin with former Olympic Gymnast Alina Kabaeva, believed to be the mother of his four children, and currently living in Switzerland

An interesting segment on CNN’s Outfront w/Erin Burnett show(04/06/22) delved into Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s very secretive family ties, and the effect the recently imposed economic sanctions may have on them. According to Russia expert Alina Polyakova who was a guest on the show, Putin has two adult daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Putina, from his previous marriage to Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, who currently resides in the Netherlands. Alina Polyakova also dropped a bombshell on the show saying Putin’s current mistress, former Olympic Gymnast Alina Kabaeva, who he put in charge of a powerful Russia media group, is apparently living in luxury with his four children in Switzerland. Alina rightly wondered why the West has not targeted Kabaeva with the kind of stiff sanctions they’ve meted out to Russian Oligarchs worldwide?

She told host Erin Burnett: “Alina Kabaeva has been kept really like a state secret from the media, from everyone else. Reportedly, in her role as leading this media group, she makes something around $11 million a year, quite significant. There are reports that she lives in Switzerland with four of Putin’s children, supposedly two boys, and a set of twin girls that were born in Switzerland, presumably have Swiss passports, presumably she does as well. Putin as a former KGB agent sees close ties and personal connection as a potential vulnerability, which is why he is likely hiding her…he is keeping her as protected as possible because he knows that she can be used as leverage against him, so certainly, this in my view, is absolutely the time to hit Putin where it hurts, where he fears it the most, where he sees his vulnerability. The war in Ukraine is absolutely brutal and it’s frankly absurd that his closest partner, the mother of potentially four of his children is getting to live a luxurious life in Switzerland. That just doesn’t make sense.”

Spot on, Alina Polyakova, it makes zero sense. Switzerland should immediately revoke Alina Kabaeva’s citizenship and deport her, with her children, back to Russia. Whatever financial assets she has in Switzerland should remain in Switzerland, or preferably be used to assist with humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Bottom line folks, the Biden administration and indeed all the democracy-loving Western governments, need to see to it that Putin’s family is not allowed to live in luxury overseas, as he butchers and maims Ukrainian families. As Alina Polyakova correctly stated, “this is absolutely the time to hit Putin where it hurts, where he fears it the most, where he sees his vulnerability.”

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