Margaret Gillies Charles Dickens 1844
I kid you not: People today blame NATO’s expansion on Putin.
Immune system shutdown
Russia has named 12 EU countries involved.
COVID vaccines have “rigorous standards that are much higher” than any in U.S. history
COVID vaccines have "rigorous standards that are much higher" than any in U.S. history, expert Paul Mango says pic.twitter.com/UIAvWJL4vD
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 12, 2022
Glenn Beck Ecohealth
EcoHealth Whistleblower Andrew Huff – alarming… pic.twitter.com/pj5iUr4Foo
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 12, 2022
“Printing $40 billion to send to a deeply corrupt nation in Eastern Europe”. Rand Paul wants oversight of how the money will be spent. He can’t have it. None of the people who voted in favor have actually read the bill. There was no time. This will go into next week, giving them that time. How many do you think will read it?
• Rand Paul Blocks Fast-Track Senate Vote for $40 Billion Ukraine Funding (CTH)
Senator Rand Paul has blocked a fast-track senate vote on the additional $40 billion funding package created by Joe Biden and House Democrats. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell approved a fast-track vote; however, senator Rand Paul (KY) stood defiant against their effort. Despite the high-profile pressure from the two Senate leaders, Rand Paul refused to move and that means the Senate will have to take procedural steps to overcome his objection, which could take several days. “My oath of office is the US constitution not to any foreign nation and no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said in his remarks before objecting to moving to swift passage of the bill. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”
The $40 billion supplemental spending bill for Ukraine is more than the total military budget of Russia. The combined Ukraine aid packages now exceed $60 billion, more than the entire budget for the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security including border protection. Rand Paul is on the right side of history with his position, and the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with him. However, the opinion of the people is irrelevant to the Senate. Even democrat Senator Chuck Schumer seemed to admit this point when he said Rand Paul’s position “was not the opinion of the overwhelming majority here,” meaning in the senate. Schumer would have used other terms if he thought the American people agreed with him. They don’t, and he knows it.
.@RandPaul: "My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation … We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy.” pic.twitter.com/aRqY3DwZyU
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) May 12, 2022
“..if this “express” entry of the Nordic country into the Alliance goes ahead, it will suppose an increment of more than double the length of the current border between NATO and Russia.”
• Finlandization of Ukraine, Ukraine-ization of Finland (Nuna Costa)
The Finnish President and Prime Minister today announced their support for the country’s membership of NATO at the forthcoming summit in Madrid on 29-30 June. I have no illusions, this is bound to happen without the will of the Finns for which a popular referendum had been promised on the matter, or that it will even be submitted to Parliament, where it would be approved anyway. The main internal requirement for the admission of new countries is that they “add security” to the bloc. Since when does this move make Europe safer? But there are more conditions and clauses of the international legal framework that are being purposefully violated, and shameless disregard for signed agreements.
Let us not even mention the still pending demands that the Kremlin notified in writing to NATO in December, which NATO chose not even to respond to, and which obviously clash with the current situation. Russia had already made it known that the entry of Sweden and especially Finland into NATO is perceived as a threat. Perhaps it was reasonable to understand the Russian point of view. The President of Croatia has recently made it known that he will veto the planned extension as it is “a very dangerous adventure”, in the words of his MFA. Any country can and should oppose this clear provocation, but we know that if this happens, those who are interested in the militarisation of Europe will spin the issue one way or another, as there have never been legal or procedural limits of any kind to this complex.
So, if this “express” entry of the Nordic country into the Alliance goes ahead, it will suppose an increment of more than double the length of the current border between NATO and Russia. This should be viewed with great caution, since all members will be affected by whatever may happen from there. This has been said here before, but today the irresponsibility becomes clearer and the concomitant danger more imminent. After long years of discussion about the so-called possible and reasonable Finlandisation of Ukraine’ as a militarily neutral zone between Europe and the nuclear superpower Russia, we are now much closer to the Ukraine-ization of Finland. Do you know what that means?
• The Guardian View On Expanding Nato: Putin Has Only Himself To Blame (G.)
Nato expansion has doubtless contributed to Mr Putin’s paranoid mindset. He sees the organisation as little more than an expression of US power. But it is primarily Russian aggression that has driven expansion, not vice versa. The fear of provoking Moscow tied the hands of its neighbour Finland, and Sweden, for years. Now the all-out assault on Ukraine has led many to conclude that there is nothing to lose – while Russia’s failures there have suggested that it may be less fearsome than they thought. Sweden and Finland joining Nato would leave Kaliningrad, home of Moscow’s Baltic Sea fleet, encircled. Predictably, Russia has vowed retaliation for the Finnish announcement. It had already said it would deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic, though the real threat is more likely to come in the form of disinformation, cyber-attacks, and other provocations.
Yet Moscow should not be the alliance’s only concern. It must also look closer to home. In the US, 57 Republicans voted against the $40bn aid package for Ukraine in the House of Representatives and it faces Republican objections in the Senate. As the Democrats flounder, the spectre of Donald Trump – or someone like him – as the 47th president looms larger. And despite the defeat of Marine Le Pen in last month’s French presidential election, ambivalence or antagonism towards Nato has not vanished from Europe. In Italy, where a general election is due next year, most voters oppose the government’s decisions to increase defence spending and send arms to Ukraine. The alliance exists to counter the threat on its eastern borders. It can only do so by remaining vigilant to internal vulnerabilities.
Will Russia cut off oil and gas to Finland? It gets 100% of both that way.
• ‘Finland Will Be A NATO Backwater’ (ZH)
A Kremlin spokesman earlier in the day warned that Finland joining NATO would “definitely” be a threat that would trigger “retaliatory steps” – but stopped short of identifying specific possible courses of action. “NATO is moving toward us. That’s of course why all of this will warrant a special analysis and the development of necessary measures needed to balance the situation and guarantee our security,” the initial Kremlin response stated. Later in the day Thursday – a number of hours after Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced the country will apply for NATO membership “without delay” – Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov elaborated on Moscow’s likely response in an interview with Sky News.
“Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of military and other nature, in order to curtail the threats that arise to its national security in this regard,” Chizhov stressed in the interview when asked about its neighbor Finland as well as Sweden applying to NATO. The two countries first sent strong signals regarding this complete U-turn in historic policy last month in response to Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine. The Russian ambassador said further in the UK television interview that he’s “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the development, while saying in a somewhat condescending tone that Finland has been “pushing above its weight, having become in the last few decades a major power in promoting European security architecture.”
Further he said the Scandinavian neighbor which shares an 810-mile border with Russia would inevitably become a “NATO backwater” if it does move forward in entering the military alliance. Sky News also quoted Chizov as explaining the following possible change in defense posture: The ambassador said such a move would “certainly necessitate rethinking of Russian defence posture” but wouldn’t “necessarily [involve] troops and tanks, but certain preparations definitely… like radars, perhaps”.
A long detailed overview.
• Two Months of Operation Z (Malenica)
From the author’s perspective, what is currently happening in Ukraine is a conflict between the Russian and Western concepts of war, that is, the concept of war as conceived by NATO. Among other things, this conflict is also a question of the prestige for the West, which has so far seen itself as the most militarily capable bloc on the planet. Having trained Ukrainian ground army to NATO standards and equipped it with anti-tank and anti-aircraft portable systems, the West is now observing performance of these forces against Russian troops. This is, as well, one of reasons for the omnipresent Western propaganda campaign. Moreover, within this conflict, it is necessary to view Ukrainian media and propaganda sources as organic offshoots of Western intelligence agencies and public relations firms, of which at least 150 have participated in creating and spreading propaganda for Kiev since the beginning of hostilities.
Likewise, make no mistake, majority if not all intelligence at disposal of Kiev is of NATO origin. In an event that Ukrainian troops are defeated by Russian units, it will be clear that equipping and training army in accordance with NATO standards does not guarantee the highest level of combat capability. At the same time, the possible defeat of Ukraine will shake the reputation of NATO itself, especially the United States, whose last year’s debacle in Afghanistan is still fresh in memory. Russia’s eventual victory would be the second major case in modern times where forces equipped and trained by the West have been defeated by non-Western armies.
In this context, one should also observe the huge military aid that has been pouring into Kiev for two months now by countries of the West and European Union. As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently pointed out, the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” This only confirms what many analysts have already pointed out, that Kiev and Moscow are not at war in Ukraine, but Russia against the collective West led by Washington. The United States needs, both for domestic and foreign policy, Russian defeat in Ukraine.
“..the indivisibility of security..”
“..signatories to these treaties are not free to develop their own military capability to the point where it poses a danger to their neighbors..”
• ‘Russia Started the War’ and Other Fallacies (Whitney)
On Monday, Putin delivered the annual “Victory Day” speech celebrating Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. The Russian president made none of the hyperbolic pronouncements the media had predicted but, instead, gave a brief recap of the events leading up to the war in Ukraine. There was none of the bravado you’d expect from a leader trying to gin up support for the ongoing war. Putin simply reminded the crowd that he had done everything he could to avoid the bloody conflict in which Russia is currently embroiled. Here’s part of what he said: “Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.”
This is an accurate account of what took place in the months preceding the war. Putin tried to avoid a confrontation by repeatedly asking the US to address Russia’s reasonable security concerns. Unfortunately, the Biden administration brushed off Putin’s demands without even providing a response. The US and NATO insist that Ukraine has every right to choose whatever security arrangement it wants. But that’s clearly not the case. The United States and every nation in NATO have signed treaties (Istanbul in 1999, and Astana in 2010) that stipulate they cannot improve their own security at the expense of others. The principle underlying these agreements is called “the indivisibility of security”, which means that the security of one state can’t be separated from the security of the others.
In practical terms, that means that signatories to these treaties are not free to develop their own military capability to the point where it poses a danger to their neighbors. These terms are especially applicable to Ukraine which is seeking membership in a military alliance that is openly hostile to Russia. NATO membership has always been a “red line” for Putin who has stated repeatedly that he will not allow NATO bases, combat troops and missile sites to be located on Ukrainian soil where they’d be just a stone’s throw from Moscow. As one critic from Texas put it, “You wouldn’t let a rattlesnake make its home on your front porch, would you?” No, you wouldn’t, and neither would Putin.
“..financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.”
• The Destiny of Civilization – Michael Hudson (Norton)
[..] finance capitalism is what has essentially de-industrialized the United States and turned the Midwest into a Rust Belt. Well, the alternative, obviously, are the societies that have not followed this neoliberal finance capitalist plan. And the most successful economy, obviously, has been China, which is why it has been spending so much time there. And China has done exactly what 19th-century United States, Germany, England, and France did. It has kept basic utilities, basic needs, housing, and above all, finance and banking, in the public domain, as public utilities. Instead of having an independent financial sector operating on its own self-interest, the Bank of China creates the money.
And the Bank of China lends money by deciding, where do we need to have investment in real estate to provide housing for the population at as low a price as we can make it? How do we build up the industry? How do we provide an educational system with training? How do we provide health? And the fact is that the central planning in an efficient socialist style, not the Stalinist planning that everybody refers to of Russia, but a mixed economy as you have in China, which is truly a mixed economy, with guidance, like the French planification. Well, that is obviously the way in which you survive and you avoid the kind of overloading the economy with debt service, with high rents, with high payments to the health-care monopoly in the United States, by avoiding all of this payment to a rentier class that has what the classical economists call unearned income, predatory income.
And instead of unseating them, we’ve put them in charge, and made the banks and Wall Street, and the city of London, and the Paris Bourse, the central planners. So we do have central planning much more centralized than anything that was dreamed by the socialists. But the planning, the centralized planning is done by the financial sector. And financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.
“..shortages of diesel fuel on the East Coast may happen in the coming week at some stores..”
• Diesel Fuel Shortage Sets Stage for Next Biden Created Crisis (CTH)
It has often been said that if you chase the global climate change ideology to its natural conclusion, we end up in communal groups sitting around a tepid campfire eating some form of sustainable algae cakes and picking parasites off each other… Prior to Joe Biden that prediction might have seemed like hyperbole. Now, not so much. Indeed, the Green New Deal energy policy of Joe Biden creates massive downstream consequences. Unfortunately, the White House doesn’t seem to care. The high prices and scarcity of critical goods are a feature, not a flaw, as they chase their climate friendly Build Back Better agenda. Following the continuum of intended consequence, now we have diesel fuel shortages beginning to hit the U.S. economy; and with scarcity comes higher prices of an almost astronomical scale.
“The national average price of diesel is now $5.54 per gallon, which is an increase of 22 cents from last week, which was when the most recent record was set. Data shows there’s no state that’s currently seeing diesel prices below $5.12 per gallon.” Making matters even worse is a drop in available inventory of diesel fuel which is about to become a crisis for the east coast of the U.S. Some Truck Stop operators like Love’s and Pilot are already warning their big rig customers they may not have fuel for truckers. […] “Love’s is monitoring the fluid situation on the East Coast, we have experienced minimal outages during low traffic hours,” Oklahoma-based Love’s Travel Stops said in an emailed statement. “The company has no plans to restrict purchases of diesel.”
[…] Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration said total inventories of distillates, which is mainly diesel fuel but also heating oil, fell last week to a 17-year low of 104 million barrels, which is 23% below normal. On the East Coast, the situation is even worse. The EIA said distillate fuel oil inventories in the so-called PADD 1 district that covers the Northeastern states fell by 1.1 million barrels last week to just 21 million barrels, the lowest ever recorded in data going back to 1990. Love’s truck stops, with some 550 locations across 41 states, also seemed to confirm reports on social media Wednesday that said Love’s and other truck stops such as Pilot were informing their fleet operators that shortages of diesel fuel on the East Coast may happen in the coming week at some stores.
• Meet the Head of Biden’s New “Disinformation Governing Board” (Golinkin)
Late last month, the Joe Biden administration publicly confirmed that a “Disinformation Governing Board” working group had been created within the Department of Homeland Security. The news prompted a flood of concern about the impact of such an Orwellian organ on America. But there’s no need to engage in hypotheticals to understand the dangers. One has to only consider the past of Nina Jankowicz, the head of the new disinformation board. Jankowicz’s experience as a disinformation warrior includes her work with StopFake, a US government-funded “anti-disinformation” organization founded in March 2014 and lauded as a model of how to combat Kremlin lies. Four years later, StopFake began aggressively whitewashing two Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups with a long track record of violence, including war crimes.
Today, StopFake is an official Facebook fact-checking partner, which gives it the power to censor news, while Jankowicz is America’s disinformation czar. If the Biden administration is serious about combating threats such as white supremacy, perhaps it should first reflect on the old Roman question: Who will guard the guardians? StopFake was founded right after Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan uprising ousted the country’s president and swept a new, US-backed government into power. Formed by professors and students from the Kyiv Mohyla Journalism School, StopFake presented itself as a plucky, grassroots group wielding hard facts and semi-permanent smirks as it shredded Russian propaganda. It gained notoriety by producing slick videos hosted by dynamic disinformation warriors debunking the Moscow lies of the day.
Western reporters—and checkbooks—were paying attention. Shortly after its creation, StopFake began receiving funding from Western governments, including the National Endowment for Democracy—an organization mainly funded by the US Congress—and the British embassy in Ukraine. It was also supported by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. (StopFake has run numerous episodes that cover Soros but fail to disclose this potential conflict of interest—a violation of basic tenets of journalism.) Among StopFake’s hosts was Jankowicz, a graduate of Bryn Mawr and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service who was already part of the burgeoning disinformation warrior industry while in Ukraine as a Fulbright Clinton Public Policy Fellow. On January 29, 2017, she hosted StopFake Episode 117, whose lead story dealt with a perennial obsession of Russian propaganda: Ukraine’s volunteer battalions.
“I’ll be fine whether I’m required to stay home for three days or seven.”
• Beijing Residents Swamp Supermarkets After Lockdown Rumours (CNA)
Beijing residents rushed to supermarkets on Thursday (May 12) as Chinese officials tried to curb mounting panic over a rumour the capital would be placed under stay-at-home orders. The city has been trying to stamp out a wave of cases in recent weeks, closing subway stations and telling many residents to work from home, with hundreds of communities sealed off to contain cases. On Thursday there were rumours online that authorities were about to impose a strict lockdown, prompting many to rush to food stores and stock up. Beijing residents fear they may face draconian measures similar to those that have trapped most of Shanghai’s 25 million people at home for weeks – after what was initially described as a days-long shutdown.
No lockdown was announced Thursday, but officials confirmed they will start three more rounds of mass testing for residents in 12 of the city’s main districts and “recommended” that people stay home and “reduce movement” during that time. AFP saw staff at one local supermarket in central Beijing rushing to restock as shelves of vegetables were emptied out. Sui Xin, 41, told AFP that he had gone to the store after he read on social media that the capital’s officials might keep residents at home. “Everyone is stocking up,” he said, buying eggs and instant noodles. “I’ll be fine whether I’m required to stay home for three days or seven.” “I’m just buying some chicken wings and instant noodles, there’s nothing left,” a shopper surnamed Huang said, queueing at another packed supermarket.
From “genetically modified” to “genetically edited”..
First you make them hungry, then you push their “new food” on them.
• “Genetically Edited” Food – The Next Stage of the Great Reset? (OffG)
But the part I found most interesting is the stated plan to “encourage agricultural and scientific innovation at home” via the proposed Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill. The proposed bill (which, for some reason is not available through the parliament website) follows on from DEFRA’s announced “loosened regulation” of genetic research back in January. To quote the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), the legislation would “take certain precision breeding techniques out of the scope of restrictive GMO rules”. Essentially, this would see new “gene-edited” foods as distinct from old-fashioned “genetically modified” foods, and therefore not subject to the same rules and oversight.
The claimed distinction is that gene editing, as opposed to genetic modification, doesn’t introduce DNA from other species. Therefore, in effect, is merely speeding up what could potentially naturally happen over time. Now, you might think this is just semantics, and that such a law will just provide a loophole for ALL “genetically modified” foods to simply rebrand themselves as “genetically edited” foods, and thereby avoid regulation. But that is disgustingly cynical and shame on you for even thinking it. All in all, this is pretty on-message stuff, and not especially surprising. What’s noteworthy is – by pure happenstance, I’m sure – it appears to coincide with a renewed push on the GM food front in other countries all over the world.
In December 2021, Switzerland added an amendment to its moratorium on GMO crops, permitting the use of certain “gene editing” techniques. Last month, Egypt announced their new strain of GM wheat. Just two days ago, Ethiopia’s National Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center announced they had researched, and the country will now be growing, genetically modified cotton and maize. Despite Russia’s sweeping ban on the cultivation and/or importing of genetically modified crops, they have nonetheless created a 111 billion Ruble project to create up to 30 varieties of genetically edited plants and farm animals. Britain’s deregulation of GM food is always described as a “post-Brexit” move – with the EU chided around the world for its “precautionary principle” on GM crops – and yet as long ago as last April, the EU was calling for a “rethink” on GM crops.
“Mother of Nature,” Beeple and Madonna collaboration – Video 1 of 3 pic.twitter.com/7dWRHWTuYQ
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 12, 2022
“Mother of Evolution,” Beeple and Madonna collaboration – Video 2 of 3 pic.twitter.com/o8gn7IsSix
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 12, 2022
“Mother of Technology,” Beeple and Madonna collaboration – Video 3 of 3 pic.twitter.com/4fQYQWHps5
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 12, 2022
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