"It is the very nature of power that it attracts the very sort of people who should not have it. The United States, as the world's last superpower, is a prize that attracts men and women willing to do anything to win that power, and hence are willing to do anything with it once they have it. It is racist to assume that tyrants appear only in other nations and that somehow America is immune simply because we're Americans. America has escaped the clutches of a dictatorship only through the efforts of those citizens who, unlike the Germans and Russians of the 1930s, have the moral courage to stand up and point out where the government is lying to the people." -- Michael Rivero

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There has never been a "more blatant act of political persecution" in the United States than the civil fraud prosecution in New York City against former President Donald Trump and the multi-million fine that was levied against him as a result, Rep. Anthony D'Esposito said on Newsmax Saturday. 

"It's going to be a wake-up call for those who do business or try to do business in New York," the New York Republican told Newsmax's "Saturday Report." 

He noted that New York City leads the nation in migration in people moving south because they can't afford to live in the city and they are "fed up with the quality of life."

"Now we're going to have businesses and people doing business in New York," he said. "They're going to begin leaving because they can face the same consequences as Donald Trump."

New York Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a $364 million penalty against Trump Friday, ruling that for several years, he inflated his wealth in his dealings with banks and other businesses. He was also barred from serving as a director or officer of any corporation in the state for three years. 

Webmaster addition:  And all those New York people working for Trump? How do they earn a living?

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In laying the foundation for his sweeping decision against former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron observed that “this is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.” Yet, at $355 million, one would think that Engoron had found Trump to be the source of Original Sin.

The judgment against Trump (and his family and associates) was met with a level of unrestrained celebration by many in New York that bordered on the indecent. Attorney General Letitia James declared not only that Trump would be barred from doing business in New York for three years, but that the damages would come to roughly $460 million once interest was included. 

That makes the damages against Trump greater than the gross national product of some countries, including Micronesia. Yet the court admitted that not a single dollar was lost by the banks from these dealings. Indeed, witnesses testified that they wanted to do more business with Trump, who was described as a “whale” client with high yield business opportunities

Claire's Observations:  If this judgement is not righted on appeal, there is no justice in this country, period, end of discussion.

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Iran was able to transport $2.8 billion in oil to customers in 2023 using insurance from a US-based company, despite sanctions imposed on Iranian oil sales by the US Treasury, an investigation published by The New York Times (NYT) on Friday has found. 

The oil was transported aboard 27 tankers, using liability insurance obtained by the New York-based American Club. Tankers are typically required to have liability insurance to enter international ports, meaning the US Treasury could have blocked the sale of this oil by demanding the American Club revoke insurance for the tankers.

Claire's Observations:  This... is insanity writ large, and proof positive, that the right hand of By-di-Bye's administration has not a bloody clue as to what the left hand is doing.

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Several whistleblowers allege that the chief medical officer for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pressured his staff to smuggle fentanyl lollipops to a September United Nations General Assembly Meeting in New York last September, according to a report submitted to Congress on Friday.

Then-senior medical officer of operations, Dr. Alexander Eastman appears before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., in 2020. C-Span via NBC San Diego.

According to NBC News, Dr. Alexander Eastman's staff thought it was really strange that their boss would need to order fentanyl lollipops to take with him. What's more, his explanation was hilarious; he might need them as part of his duties in case any injured CBP operators needed pain management, should an emergency occur.

"Eastman spent copious hours of his and Office of the Chief Medical Officer staff time directing the OCMO staff to urgently help him procure fentanyl lollipops, a Schedule II narcotic, so that he could bring them on the CBP Air and Marine Operations helicopter on which he would be a passenger in New York City," the whistleblowers alleged in their letter. "Dr. Eastman claims that his possession of fentanyl lollipops was necessary in case a CBP operator might be injured, or in case the CBP Air and Marine Operations team encountered a patient in need."

Customs and Border Protection is the chief agency responsible for detecting and stopping the illegal flow of fentanyl into the U.S. across international borders

Claire's Observations:  I am having a double facepalm-to-forehead moment, at velocity,upon reading this.

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The U.S. Air Force needs to pair its manned combat aircraft with next-generation drones—known as collaborative combat aircraft (CCA)—to gain the air superiority needed in a war against China’s communist regime, according to a recent report by the Washington-based Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Four F-35A's of Hill Air Force Bases 388th and 419th fighter wings sit on the runway waiting for take-off in Hill Air Force Base, Utah, on Nov. 19, 2018. (George Frey/Getty Images)

The report, based on wargames run by the Mitchell Institute in counterair missions defending Taiwan against China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), demonstrates how CCAs were used as airborne sensors, decoys, jammers, or weapon launchers in cooperation with crewed aircraft like the Air Force’s 5th generation fighter F-35 and F-22 Raptor.

The Pentagon has characterized China as its pacing challenge amid the regime’s rapid modernization of its military. According to a 2023 report from the Department of Defense (DOD), PLA Air Force and PLA Navy Aviation had about 2,400 combat aircraft, and China “probably will become a majority fourth-generation force within the next several years.”

In comparison, the report notes that the U.S. Air Force currently “operates a force that is the oldest, smallest, and least ready in its history,” adding that it now consists primarily of 179 aging 4th-generation F-15C/Ds and 185 5th-generation F-22s

Claire's Observations:  The first logical question, which needs to be both asked and answered is, how the hell did we get here, with all the billions spent on defense?!?   Is this recommendation the only way to fix this problem, or are there alternative answers? And the next question is, who paid for the study?!?

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Following a year that saw little change in control of territory, the Russian army has secured a major victory in its war in Ukraine as Ukrainian forces have retreated from the eastern city of Avdiivka. 

Shortly after midnight Saturday in Ukraine, the country's newly-installed top commander, General Oleksandr Syrsky, announced that he had ordered troops to evacuate the city. Surrounded in three directions by the Russian army, Ukrainian soldiers in the city found themselves in a rapidly-tightening noose. 

“Based on the operational situation around Avdiivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen, I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines," said Syrsky in a Facebook post

Claire's Observations:  When the only option is "retreat" you know a battle is going very badly for the Ukrainians.

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Truck drivers transport between 70% to 73% of all freight in the United States. Therefore, when truckers begin discussing plans on social media to boycott loads to progressive hellhole New York City, it's important to pay attention. 

X user Chicago1Ray, who appears to be a Midwest truck driver, shared a video late Friday night detailing that a number of truck drivers will begin denying loads to NYC on Monday. 

"I don't know how far across the country this is - or how many truckers are going start denying loads to NYC - but I'll tell you - you f**k around and find out," Chicago1Ray said. 

Claire's Observations: It will be very interesting to see how this evolves,and how much potential damage this can do to the economy of New York; and believe me, these people DO understand the concept of "lawfare", and how it can hit a political candidate a particular city doesn't like, even if they don't know  all the fine details.


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On Friday I released my first portfolio update of 2024, examining how my 24 stocks I'm watching for the year have performed thus far on their own and compared to the S&P 500.

I also updated a bit of my macro thoughts and tossed around a couple of new ideas for the year (one potential black swan and one new name I’m buying): Trading The Shit Show: February 2024 Portfolio Review

Last weekend I also appeared on the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast to lay out my thoughts on Bitcoin even further. You can catch that full interview here.

As I’ve noted, last week was definitely the week of a bit of a bitcoin mea culpa, which is to say I publicly talked about bitcoin for the first time in a long time - while my subscribers know I have been buying the crypto (in small size relative to my gold miner positions) since late 2022 at prices around $16,500. Back in late 2022 I said I was going to read The Bitcoin Standard and do more research on it, but I never did

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