Twenty-Two House Republicans Demand Accountability on Biden’s $40b War Spending

The House of Representatives, on May 10, approved President Biden’s $33 billion package for the war in Ukraine, and then, on its own initiative, added $7 billion on top of it. That brought the new war spending authorization to $40 billion, on top of the $14 billion already spent just 10 weeks into this war, which U.S. officials predict will last years, not months. The House vote in favor was 368-57. All 57 NO votes were from GOP House members. All House Democrats, including the Squad, voted YES.

A similar scene occurred when the Senate, “moving quickly and with little debate,” overwhelmingly approved the same war package. All eleven NO votes were from Senate Republicans. All Senate Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), voted in favor, seemingly in direct contradiction to Sanders’ February 8 op-ed in The Guardian warning of the severe dangers of bipartisan escalation of the war. Efforts by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to delay passage of the bill so that some safeguards and accountability measures could be included regarding where the money was going and for what purposes it would be used were met with scorn, particularly from Paul’s fellow Kentucky GOP Senator, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who condemned Paul as an “isolationist.” Following the Senate vote, a jet was used to fly the bill across the world to President Biden in South Korea, where he signed it into law.

But the lack of any safeguards over the destination of the money and weapons prompted close to two dozen House Republicans, led by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM), to send a letter to the Biden White House on Monday demanding greater specificity and assurances about legal requirements on how weapons are used. The letter urges a public reckoning on the dangers of the U.S.’s bankrolling of the war in Ukraine: “We write today to express grave concern about the lack of oversight and accountability for the money and weapons recently approved by Congress for Ukraine,” it began.

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They’re Just Outright Telling Us That Peace In Ukraine Is Not An Option

US Senator Joe Manchin said at the World Economic Forum on Monday that he opposes any kind of peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

Manchin, who at the moment is one of the most powerful elected officials in Washington, added that only the complete forcible ejection of Russia from all of Ukraine is acceptable, that the war should ideally be used to remove Putin from power, and that he and the strategists he talks to see this war as an “opportunity”.

“I am totally committed, as one person, to seeing Ukraine to the end with a win, not basically with some kind of a treaty; I don’t think that is where we are and where we should be,” Manchin said.

“I mean basically moving Putin back to Russia and hopefully getting rid of Putin,” Manchin added when asked what he meant by a win for Ukraine.

Manchin clarified that he did not mean pushing Putin back to “pre-February”, ostensibly meaning with Russia still controlling the largely Moscowloyal Crimea and supporting separatist territories in the Donbass, but with Kyiv fully reclaiming all parts of the nation.

“Oh no, I think Ukraine is determined to take their country back,” Manchin said when asked to clarify, further clarifying that he wants his call for regime change in Russia to be carried out by “the Russian people.”

“I believe strongly that I have never seen, and the people I talk strategically have never seen, an opportunity more than this, to do what needs to be done,” Manchin later added. “And Ukraine has the determination to do it. We should have the commitment to support it.”

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Western Media Run Blatant Atrocity Propaganda For The Ukrainian Government

The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.

The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business InsiderThe Daily BeastThe Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.

“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”

At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:

“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”

In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.

“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.

The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:

I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.

 

I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!

 

The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!

This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.

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US Drawing Up Plans To Sink the Russian Black Sea Fleet: Ukrainian Official

Shortly after Reuters published an exclusive story that the White House was looking to move advanced anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, an official in Kiev said that the US is making a plan to sink Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko tweeted, “The US is preparing a plan to destroy the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet. The effective work of the Ukrainians on [Russian] warships convinced [the US] to prepare a plan to unblock the [Ukrainian] ports. Deliveries of powerful anti-ship weapons are being discussed.”

Gerashchenko cited the Reuters report on Washington’s effort to ship Harpoon and Naval Strike Missiles to Ukraine. The missiles have a range of up to 300 km and cost $1.5 million each.

Three US officials and two Congressional sources told the outlet the White House was still working out the details for sending the advanced weapons to Ukraine. Logistical issues and the possibility the US would have to remove a launcher from one of its ships to send to Ukraine are current obstacles to completing the transfer.

Responding to a question from Newsweek, the State Department did not deny it was working on a plan to take out the Russian fleet. “As the conflict is changing, so too is our military assistance to deliver the critical capabilities Ukraine needs for today’s fight as Russia’s forces engage in a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine,” a spokesperson said.

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U.S. aims to arm Ukraine with advanced anti-ship missiles to fight Russian blockade

The White House is working to put advanced anti-ship missiles in the hands of Ukrainian fighters to help defeat Russia’s naval blockade, officials said, amid concerns more powerful weapons that could sink Russian warships would intensify the conflict.

Ukraine has made no secret it wants more advanced U.S. capabilities beyond its current inventory of artillery, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and other arms. Kyiv’s list, for example, includes missiles that could push the Russian navy away from its Black Sea ports, allowing the restart of shipments of grain and other agricultural products worldwide.

Current and former U.S. officials and congressional sources have cited roadblocks to sending longer range, more powerful weapons to Ukraine that include lengthy training requirements, difficulties maintaining equipment, or concerns U.S. weaponry could be captured by Russian forces, in addition to the fear of escalation. read more

But three U.S. officials and two congressional sources said two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the Harpoon made by Boeing (BA.N) and the Naval Strike Missile made by Kongsberg (KOG.OL) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) were in active consideration for either direct shipment to Ukraine, or through a transfer from a European ally that has the missiles.

In April, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to Portugal to provide the Ukrainian military with Harpoons, which have a range of up to almost 300 km.

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Twitter To Ramp Up Censorship Of ‘Misinformation’ About The Ukraine War

Twitter has published what it calls a “crisis misinformation policy” announcing that it will be actively reducing the visibility of content found to be false which pertains to “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters.”

If you’ve been paying attention to the dramatic escalations in online censorship we’ve been seeing in 2022, it will not surprise you to learn that the Ukraine war is the first crisis to which this new censorship policy will be applied.

Twitter says that it “won’t amplify or recommend content” found to violate its new policy, and will also attach warning labels to individual tweets and even hide offending content behind a warning label and disable the retweet function on particularly naughty posts.

The problem here is of course the question of how to impartially establish whether something is objectively false without it turning into at best a flawed system guided by fallible human biases and perceptual filters and at worst a powerful institution shutting down unauthorized speech. Twitter says it formed its new policy with input from unnamed “global experts and human rights organizations,” and will be enforcing it with the help of “conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more.” This will come as no comfort to anyone who’s familiar with the history of propaganda peddling that can be found in every single one of those respective categories.

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Biden admin adds $100 million in arms for Ukraine on top of $40 billion aid package

The Biden administration has announced $100 million in arms funding to Ukraine on top of the newly approved $40 billion aid package.

On Thursday, the Senate approved $40 billion in aid for Ukraine as the nation continues to fight back against Russia’s invasion.

Just hours later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States would be sending an additional $100 million in arms.

In a statement, Blinken explained that Ukrainian forces have “remained firmly in the fight” against Russia, but are in need of assistance, namely arms and other equipment.

“Pursuant to a delegation from the President,” Blinken said, “I am authorizing our tenth drawdown of additional arms and equipment for Ukraine’s defense from US Department of Defense inventories, valued at up to $100 million.”

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US Borrowing Money From China to Fund Ukraine: Sen. Rand Paul

The United States can’t afford to send money to Ukraine without borrowing from China and taking on more debt to finance its obligations, said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a May 18 interview on the Breitbart News Daily Podcast.

On May 16, a bipartisan majority of U.S. senators voted to advance a $40 billion Ukraine aid package over an earlier objection from Paul. The Senate is on track for final consideration of the bill sometime later this week and is expected to pass the legislation.

“I think it’s important to know that we don’t have any money to send. I mean, we have to borrow the money from China to send it to Ukraine,” Paul explained. “And I think most people kind of get that, and many Republicans will say that and understand it when it’s a new social program, but if it’s military aid to a country, they’re like, ‘Well, we can borrow that. That’s a justified borrowing.’”

Currently, the U.S. national debt is inching toward $30.5 trillion, with annual federal spending outpacing annual federal revenue by over $2 trillion. To continue to fund obligations appropriated by Congress, the United States has to take on debt, much of which is purchased by Chinese buyers.

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On Bush’s Freudian Confession

Oh my God. It happened. I can’t believe it really happened.

During a speech in Dallas at Southern Methodist University’s George W Bush Presidential Center on Wednesday, the man himself, George W Bush, did the best thing ever. I am pretty sure it is the single best thing that has ever happened. I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that.

While criticizing Russia for having rigged elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following comment:

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”

And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.

And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Putin doing was hilarious to them.

There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.

As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”

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Reuters Uses Image of Men with Paintball Guns for Ukraine Story

Reuters made a questionable cover photo selection in an article about the conflict in Ukraine. For a recent news story on a reported Ukrainian assault in the Sumy region, the outlet went with a picture of soldiers armed with paintball guns.

The photo shows several military gear-clad men crouched in a defensive position with weapons. A close examination of the photo reveals that the men are armed with paintball guns. As would be expected, many Twitter users found the notion of insurgents fighting off a hostile foreign invasion with paintball guns to be absurd. A barrage of ridicule ensued.

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