Pablo Picasso Glass, bread and cheesee 1923
— TIME (@TIME) February 24, 2022
Sputnik. Propaganda from the other side.
Earlier this week, Russia officially recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and urged Kiev to stop attacks on Donbass. As shellings by Ukrainian forces escalated in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation aimed at the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine. “Ukrainian military infrastructure, air defence facilities, military airfields, and air forces are being neutralised by high-precision weapons”, the Russian Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The MoD stressed there are no threats to the civilian population. The tensions have been escalating over the past few days, with Ukrainian forces shelling the territory of Donbass, forcing thousands to evacuate to Russia.
Following an appeal from the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, Moscow recognised both as independent nations and called on Ukraine to stop the eight-year-long war in the region. Russia also stressed that it will protect the people of Donbass against any threats, as president Putin noted the actions of the Ukrainian regime in the region are genocide. In response to the ongoing attacks, President Putin authorised the military to conduct a special operation to protect Donbass, aiming at the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine and saying that people who committed war crimes during the eight-year-long bloodshed should stand trial.
Me, I wonder what Hunter Biden is doing right now..
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia had “no plans to occupy the Ukrainian territories” after announcing that a special operation was launched to defend the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from “Ukrainian aggression.” The operation’s ultimate goal is “to protect the people who have been subjected for 8 years to genocide by the Kiev regime,” Putin said in an adress on Thursday morning, adding that Moscow would “embark on a demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and handing over to justice those who committed numerous atrocities against civilians.”
The Russian president noted, however, that Moscow harbors no far-reaching plans to take over the whole territory of Ukraine. “We do not have plans to occupy Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” he said. Ukraine has been accusing Russia of illegally occupying Crimea, which was reabsorbed by Russia following a referendum in March 2014, following the US-backed coup that overthrew the elected government in Kiev. Kiev has also repeatedly accused Russia of having a military presence in Donbass, although Moscow consistently denied this claim.
“During the last two centuries Russia had to defend itself, with horrific casualties, against two huge invasions from the west.”
The military of Russia has launched an operation to disarm, and possibly regime change, the Ukraine. I do understand why Russia is doing this – it is either attack now or defend itself later with way more casualties and the danger of total defeat. I had hoped though that it would find other methods to protect Russia from further NATO aggression. In 2014 the U.S. instigated regime change in Kiev and has since controlled the Ukrainian government. It has build up the Ukraine as a base to strangle Russia economically and militarily. During the last two centuries Russia had to defend itself, with horrific casualties, against two huge invasions from the west. It is understandable that it does not want to repeat that experience.
It is difficult to discern what the planned end state of this operation is. Where is this going to stop? Looking at this map I believe that the most advantageous end state for Russia would be the creation of a new independent country, call it Novorussiya, on the land east of the Dnieper and south along the coast that holds a majority ethnic Russian population and that, in 1922, had been attached to the Ukraine by Lenin. That state would be politically, culturally and militarily aligned with Russia. This would eliminate Ukrainian access to the Black Sea and create a land bridge towards the Moldavian breakaway Transnistria which is under Russian protection. The rest of the Ukraine would be a land confined, mostly agricultural state, disarmed and too poor to be build up to a new threat to Russia anytime soon. Politically it would be dominated by fascists from Galicia which would then become a major problem for the European Union.
Thanks to Stalin’s additions to the Ukraine three countries, Poland, Hungary and Romania, have claims to certain areas in the Ukraine’s western regions. If they want to snatch those up again it is now probably the best time to do so. Despite being part of NATO, which likely would not support such moves, those three will have domestic policy difficulties to withstand the urge. I hope for a sharp but short fight which destroys the Ukraine’s military capabilities but causes as little casualties and other damages as possible. It is sad that NATO countries, including mine, did not have the courage to make the necessary concessions to prevent this from happening.
As Russia ordered troops into Ukraine on Monday, gas prices soared to their highest levels in over seven years. While the media focuses on the conflict in Ukraine, a major cause of the gas price spike has gone overlooked: Moscow’s partnership with Saudi Arabia has grown dramatically in recent years, granting the two largest oil producers in the world the unprecedented ability to collude in oil export decisions. The desert kingdom’s relationship with the U.S. has chilled in the meantime, as demonstrated earlier this month, when President Joe Biden pleaded with the Saudis to increase oil production — a move that would not only have helped to alleviate rising inflation and gas prices, but also reduced Russia’s extravagant profits amid its aggression against Ukraine. The Saudi king declined.
The Saudi and Russian relationship has blossomed under Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose first formal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin took place in the summer of 2015. MBS pursued the meeting after then-President Barack Obama declined to meet with him, The Intercept has learned from two sources with knowledge of the matter who were granted anonymity to describe sensitive discussions. Now, as Biden refuses to meet with MBS due to his culpability in the grisly murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the crown prince may again see a friend in Moscow, which is profiting handsomely off MBS’s refusal to increase oil production. Hints of MBS’s resentment over Biden’s refusal to meet with him occasionally spill out into the public, as they did last year, when the crown prince canceled a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on a day’s notice.
He opted instead to meet with Leonid Slutsky: a top Russian lawmaker who was sanctioned by the U.S. for his role in Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. (MBS canceled Austin’s visit because he was “holding out for a call from the president before responding to the administration’s entreaties,” according to senior officials cited by Council on Foreign Relations fellow Martin Indyk in Foreign Affairs magazine.) “Putin and MBS have much in common, including murdering their critics at home and abroad, intervening in their neighbors by force and trying to get oil prices as high as possible,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former CIA analyst with expertise in the Middle East, said in an email to The Intercept. “Putin will do MBS a great service if he invades Ukraine and sends oil prices through the roof.”
You’d think Russia tried to invade.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brought an end to the Emergency Act in the country after 10 days after it was used to widen the scope of government and police authority in order to remove and detain ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters who had shut down a major US-Canada border crossing as well as much of Ottawa over the last weeks. Addressing the nation on Wednesday evening, Trudeau said that the situation is “no longer an emergency.” The Canadian leader referred to the expanded authority given to law enforcement, which included targeting protesters’ funding, as “time-limited extra tools” that had helped the police to lift blockades plaguing downtown Ottawa. Trudeau said he is “confident” now that “existing laws and bylaws” are “sufficient to keep people safe.”
He, however, appeared to signal that the federal government was ready to step in if the situation goes awry. “We will continue to be there to support local and provincial authorities if and when needed”, the PM said. Nearly 200 people have been arrested as police cracked down on the Freedom Convoy protests, with over 100 facing various charges. Organizers like Tamara Lich were also arrested last week. Lich was denied bail with the judge stating this week that her continued detention is “necessary for the protection and safety of the public.” The prime minister’s decision, which takes effect Wednesday evening, came only two days after Canadian lawmakers greenlighted the extension the emergency powers. At the time, Trudeau that the situation was “fragile” and still an “emergency.”
Just 2 days ago they were saying it would be a long fight. Did Justin talk to a lawyer?
Canada told banks to unlock financial accounts belonging to individuals involved in a weekslong Covid-19 protest in Ottawa that police shut down this past weekend, according to a finance ministry official. “They started [Monday] to unfreeze accounts,” Isabelle Jacques, a senior official in Canada’s finance department, told lawmakers Tuesday. The step marks a reversal for the Liberal government, which has argued the sweeping power to freeze bank accounts and other assets was crucial during what was declared an emergency period. The power became available over a week ago, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked rarely used emergency measures in an effort to end a roughly three-week protest calling for all Covid-19 vaccine mandates and related social restrictions to be rescinded. The Ottawa protest, involving thousands of individuals and hundreds of trucks, inspired blockades at crucial U.S.-Canada border crossings.
[..] On Monday, Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland defended the freezings, which some financial-law experts warned could affect people unaffiliated with the protest. “These measures were put in place to disrupt illegal activity in Canada,” she said. “We were very clear that we would be following the money, that we would be using financial tools to disrupt illegal blockades and occupations. The focus absolutely has been on leaders and on the vehicles that were such an important part of the illegal blockades and occupations.” “The way to get your account unfrozen is to stop being part of the blockade and occupation,” she added.
Tick, tick, tick…
A large German health insurance provider said that it analyzed data from more than 10 million individuals regarding COVID-19 vaccine complications and suggested there were more than health authorities have reported. The insurer, BKK ProVita, concluded that the rate of vaccine side-effects is several times larger than earlier reports from the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, a German federal agency, according to a letter from the company. BKK board member Andreas Schöfbeck told Die Welt publication that the data is an “alarm signal,” adding: “The numbers determined are significant and urgently need to be checked for plausibility.” The Epoch Times has contacted the Paul-Ehrlich Institute for comment.
The letter, written by Schöfbeck, said BKK analyzed doctors’ billing data from 10.9 million insured people, finding that of that figure, some 217,000 received treatment due to vaccine side-effects. Overall, in Germany, which has a population of about 83 million, the Paul-Ehrlich Institute reported 244,576 suspected cases of COVID-19 vaccination side effects in 2021, the firm noted. “The data available to our company gives us reason to believe that there is a very considerable under-recording of suspected cases of vaccination side-effects after they received the [COVID-19] vaccine,” he wrote in his letter.
“If these figures are applied to the year as a whole and to” the entire population of Germany, Schöfbeck estimated, then “probably 2.5-3 million people in Germany been under medical treatment because of vaccination side effects after [COVID-19] vaccination.” Schöfbeck then concluded that based on their data, “there is a significant underreporting of vaccination side-effects” in Germany. Another letter that was sent out by BKK suggested that vaccination side effects reported across Germany are at least 10 times more common than what was reported by the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, reported the Nordkurier newspaper on Wednesday.
Researchers say one in 3 trillion chance Covid developed the code naturally …
But lots of questions.
Fresh suspicion that Covid may have been tinkered with in a lab emerged today after scientists found genetic material owned by Moderna in the virus’s spike protein. They identified a tiny snippet of code that is identical to part of a gene patented by the vaccine maker three years before the pandemic. It was discovered in SARS-CoV-2’s unique furin cleavage site, the part that makes it so good at infecting people and separates it from other coronaviruses. The structure has been one of the focal points of debate about the virus’s origin, with some scientists claiming it could not have been acquired naturally. The international team of researchers suggest the virus may have mutated to have a furin cleavage site during experiments on human cells in a lab. They claim there is a one-in-three-trillion chance Moderna’s sequence randomly appeared through natural evolution.
But there is some debate about whether the match is as rare as the study claims, with other experts describing it as a ‘quirky’ coincidence rather than a ‘smoking gun’. “Moderna filed the patent in February 2016 as part of its cancer research division, records show. The patented sequence is part of a gene called MSH3 that is known to affect how damaged cells repair themselves in the body. It was approved on March 7 the following year ” In the latest study, published in Frontiers in Virology, researchers compared Covid’s makeup to millions of sequenced proteins on an online database. The virus is made up of 30,000 letters of genetic code that carry the information it needs to spread, known as nucleotides. It is the only coronavirus of its type to carry 12 unique letters that allow its spike protein to be activated by a common enzyme called furin, allowing it to spread between human cells with ease. Analysis of the original Covid genome found the virus shares a sequence of 19 specific letters with a genetic section owned by Moderna, which has a total of 3,300 nucleotides.
“..the implosion of the real estate sector may cause a large hole in the national banks’ assets that may need the largest bailout in modern times..”
The real estate sector is enormous in China. Its direct and indirect weight, according to JP Morgan, is 25 percent of GDP, more than double the size of previous real estate bubbles in Japan or Spain. It’s impossible for the Chinese regime to contain the implosion of a sector that has massive ramifications that affect all the services sector and numerous side industries. The Chinese regime tries to disguise the risk by injecting liquidity into Chinese banks and cutting rates but, even if the vast majority of the property developers’ debt is in the hands of domestic savers, the collapse in investor confidence is difficult to contain. At best, the Chinese economy will see an inevitable slowdown.
In the worst-case scenario, the implosion of the real estate sector may cause a large hole in the national banks’ assets that may need the largest bailout in modern times. The outcome may lie somewhere in between. Many sectors in China may continue to thrive regardless of the property slump, but none of them, even all combined, can offset the impact of such a dominant part of the Chinese economy. If other global economies were unable to offset the burst of a property bubble even when the size of their real estate sectors in the total economy was extraordinarily lower than in the case of China, it’s virtually impossible to believe that the Asian giant will be able to achieve its growth target when the property bubble burst coincides with an unprecedented government intervention in other sectors.
Chinese property developers need to repay or refinance up to $100 billion in debt in 2022, according to Bloomberg. It isn’t difficult to predict that at least half will default, surpassing 2021’s record figure. Additionally, global and domestic demand for the largest Chinese sectors is weakening due to expectations of more government crackdowns in 2022. The combination of increasing government interventionism with the rising concern about the financial situation of debt issuers may be unsurmountable for the Chinese economy. Repeating failed Keynesian demand-side policies is not the answer. China needs to open its economy and abandon a debt-fuelled model.
“It got to the point, hilariously, where no one in the administration was even allowed to say the word ‘Tesla’!”
The White House is reportedly worried Elon Musk would be a bad guest if invited to meet with President Biden — a target of frequent mockery by the Tesla founder. Some of Biden’s top advisers have purportedly warned against inviting Musk to the White House over fears he would say something to embarrass the administration. The billionaire has repeatedly slammed the White House for failing to mention Tesla while discussing its plans for major nationwide investments in electric vehicles. Biden and his close advisers are said to be irritated with Musk’s public criticism and have no immediate plans to invite him to the White House for future events, CNBC reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
When CNBC asked about the White House’s apparent concerns, Musk responded with a pair of “roll on the floor laughing” emojis and suggested his attendance at a future meeting shouldn’t be a cause of concern. “They have nothing to worry about,” Musk said. “I would do the right thing.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki and others have suggested that Tesla has been snubbed from business events because the company’s factories aren’t unionized. In January, Biden met with the CEOs of Ford and General Motors while promoting his Build Back Better Bill and claimed that “companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.” That snub appeared to infuriate Musk, who referred to Biden last month as a “damp [sock] puppet in human form” and claimed the president was “treating the American public like fools.”
“It got to the point, hilariously, where no one in the administration was even allowed to say the word ‘Tesla’! The public outrage and media pressure about that statement forced him to admit that Tesla does in fact lead the EV industry,” Musk told CNBC. Biden went several months without discussing Tesla’s leading position in the electric vehicle market — only recently mentioning Musk’s company for the first time. On Feb. 8, the president referred to Tesla as “our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer.” Musk argued that Biden “pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn” while touting other companies. Despite the tensions, Musk also downplayed the severity of his rift with Biden and other White House officials, asserting that the “notion of a feud is not quite right.” “I have nothing against Biden otherwise, apart from general concern about more deficit spending, which would apply to any president, and actively supported the Obama-Biden election,” Musk told the outlet.
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