Giovanni Bellini Pietà 1474
Build Back Amish.
Lately, a new derangement is overtaking Western Civ, for the excellent reason that Western Civ gave birth to techno industrial societies and is now first to undergo the alarming demise of that system. I speak of the World Economic Forum (under one Klaus Schwab) and its stated ambition to Build Back Better — based on its unstated premise that the current system must be nudged to its death sooner rather than later, and on-purpose. All the governments of Western Civ nations seem coordinated on this. But it’s not going to happen as Mr. Schwab and his followers hoped, for at least a couple of reasons. First, as already stated, God is a prankster and likes to throw knuckleballs at the human race.
Anyway, the “better” that Mr. Schwab expects is an ultra-techno-industrial “trans-human” scheme that is unlikely to come about if the support system of the older techno-industrial system is no longer available to support it. As currently conceived, BBB depends on electric power, and that is one of the major sub-systems of our system that already looks like it’s going janky. You get the idea, I’m sure, so I’ll cut to the chase for now. About a year ago I had my French easel set up on a country road nearby and was busy painting a motif at-hand when along came a horse-drawn wagon filled with four men in severe black-and-white clothing, wearing beards.
They were apparently a bit surprised by the strange sight of me painting a picture and they stopped to chat. They were Amish and had lately moved to the county from down in Pennsylvania, which was running out of farmland for their fruitful people. Not a half-hour later a second horse-drawn wagon passed by. I admit, the incident gave me a thrill — not just the sensory pleasure of the horses’ ripe animal smell, and the gentle rhythm of their clip-clopping along. But since I had lately been writing a bunch of novels about life in a post-economic collapse town like my own (the World Made by Hand series), I enjoyed the strange delight of being transported briefly into a scene of my own imagining — the prequel of my own books.
Many more Amish are landing in the county these days. I hear they go around to the failing or inactive farms with bundles of cash and make an offer, just like that. Evidently the method works. It’s given me a business idea: to start an Amish skills school, buy a few acres with a barn and hire some Amish men to teach all us non-Amish how to do a few things that might be good to know in the years ahead, like how to harness horses to a cart or a mule to a plow. (The Amish like to make a bit of cash-money when they can.) That’s my idea of how to build back better. What do you think?
Put Obama on the stand as well.
In an era where the hunt for disinformation has become a political obsession, Hillary Clinton has mostly escaped having to answer what role she played in spreading the false Russia collusion narrative that gripped America for nearly three years. On Friday, that dodge ended with a most unlikely witness: her former campaign manager Robby Mook, who was supposed to be a witness helping the defense of her former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI. Instead, under cross-examination by Special Counsel John Durham’s team, Mook was forced to concede two extraordinary facts. First, the Clinton campaign wasn’t “totally confident” about the accuracy of computer data suggesting Donald Trump had a secret communications channel to the Kremlin via Russia’s Alfa Bank.
And second, Hillary Clinton herself personally approved spreading the story to the news media, despite the concerns about its accuracy. “I discussed it with Hillary as well,” Mook testified. “I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,” Mook said. Prosecutors asked Mook if Clinton approved leaking the story to the media. “She agreed,” Mook testified. The testimony confirms what CIA Director John Brennan told President Barack Obama secretly in July 2016 and what the CIA later told the FBI two months later: There was intelligence that Clinton had approved a plan to dirty up Trump with Russia allegations to distract from her own email server scandal.
Kevin Brock, the FBI’s former assistant director for intelligence, called Mook’s revelation a “startling piece of testimony, particularly since he was a defense witness.” “On the surface it looks like a major victory for John Durham,” Brock said. “Don’t forget he’s trying to paint an overall picture here. Sussmann is just one pixel on that photo. “The trial is the vehicle that Durham is using to help bring out the truth, to tell a story of a political campaign that in two instances pursued information that was totally fabricated or at least misinterpreted with the Alfa Bank connection to Trump and use that disinformation to mislead the American voter,” he added.
Slowly over six years, the Russia collusion story has been exposed for what it was: a three-legged political dirty trick in which highly credible figures with deep law enforcement, intelligence and news media ties were paid by the Clinton campaign to flood the FBI, the CIA and the public with unproven allegations that Trump was secretly colluding with Russia to steal the election from Clinton.
Who investigates the FBI?
The FBI opened a full-fledged counterintelligence investigation into since-debunked Trump-Russia collusion claims just four days after Michael Sussmann pushed the allegations to the bureau. The electronic communication marking the opening of the investigation cited a “referral” from the Justice Department rather than saying the Alfa-Bank allegations came from a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The opening communication, titled “Alfa Bank,” was authored by FBI agents Curtis Heide and Allison Sands, both of whom may testify this week, and the investigation initiated on Sept. 23, 2016, four days after Sussmann’s meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker.
Sussmann was indicted in September for allegedly concealing his clients — Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe — from Baker when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty. Sussmann had worked at the Justice Department in the past, and testimony from Baker last week stated that he had a badge that allowed him access to the FBI. The case identification was “Alfa Bank, Russia — Contacts / Agents, Sensitive Investigative Matter,” and the opening document said it “documents the opening of a Full Field Investigation into the network communications between a U.S.-based server and the Russian ALFA BANK organization.” Enclosed was a “White Paper.”
“On or about September 19, 2016, FBI received a referral of information from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, detailing an unusually configured email server in Pennsylvania belonging to the TRUMP ORGANIZATION,” the FBI wrote in September 2016. “In that referral, the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE provided the FBI with a white paper that was produced by an anonymous third party. According to the white paper, a U.S.-based server that is owned by the TRUMP ORGANIZATION has been communicating with the Russian-based ALFA BANK organization in Moscow, Russia.”
Trying to cover their asses.
In the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutors on Monday called two FBI witnesses who testified that clarity regarding the source of allegations of a secret hotline between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank would have influenced the bureau’s investigative approach to the now-debunked collusion allegations. Special Counsel John Durham alleges Sussmann lied to former FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 when he said he was not representing any clients as he fed the bureau information purportedly revealing a Trump Organization backchannel to Moscow through Russia’s Alfa Bank. At the time, Sussmann was a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm and representing the Democratic National Committee and a tech company executive, according to the prosecution.
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge of making a false statement to the FBI. As part of its effort to substantiate the materiality of Sussmann’s alleged lie to the FBI, the prosecution brought FBI agent Ryan Gaynor and former FBI agent Allison Sands to the witness stand on Monday. Both were involved in the investigation into the Alfa Bank allegation Gaynor testified that had he known Sussmann was representing the DNC, he likely would not have volunteered to assist in the investigation. He also said that if Sussmann was paid by the DNC or the Clinton campaign, it might have impacted how the investigation was opened and the close-hold he says was placed on Sussmann’s identity, which prevented him from being able to discuss it with the Chicago branch.
Sands testified that she was informed the investigation began with a referral of information from the Department of Justice. Only later did she find out that the information actually came from then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. After that, she eventually learned that an anonymous third party gave Baker the data. Sands said that knowing the source of the information would have helped her assess its credibility. Sands explained that believing the information came from the DOJ gave it more weight than if someone just walked into the FBI with the data. She said that if the information hadn’t come through the Justice Department, then she didn’t know if it would have triggered a full investigation.
“..the Clinton-Obama attempted takeover of the government. (Call it the COAT campaign.)”
[..] the Journal explained how the Clinton campaign used the self-generated news of the investigation and the initial Slate article that came of it, both of which they had planted, as the basis for making tweet after tweet to the press about the Slate report to churn up mass coverage about it in the press and convince the public that the investigation was about something serious.
The concluding paragraphs of the editorial are worth quoting in full: “In short, the Clinton campaign created the Trump-Alfa allegation, fed it to a credulous press that failed to confirm the allegations but ran with them anyway, then promoted the story as if it was legitimate news. The campaign also delivered the claims to the FBI, giving journalists another excuse to portray the accusations as serious and perhaps true. Most of the press will ignore this news, but the Russia-Trump narrative that Mrs. Clinton sanctioned did enormous harm to the country. It disgraced the FBI, humiliated the press, and sent the country on a three-year investigation to nowhere. Vladimir Putin never came close to doing as much disinformation damage.”
The harm done to the United States by the perfidy of the Clintonistas cannot be overemphasized. That “three-year investigation to nowhere” represented the Clinton-Obama attempted takeover of the government. (Call it the COAT campaign.) With congressional Republicans unwilling to prevent the COAT campaign, the Trump administration was blocked from putting U.S.-Russia relations on a rational, mutually beneficial footing, to the point that, under the present Senate leadership, the specter of war with Russia is no longer an unthinkable thought. The COAT campaign succeeded in keeping the Ukraine pot boiling, with the water first heated by Obama’s stirring up of anti-Russian feelings in Ukraine, leading to the Maidan revolution that ousted the legitimately elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
A political opposition ready to lie about Donald J. Trump, supported by a media prepared to believe the worst about Mr. Trump has given us the current reality where the deep state is using NATO as an instrument to humiliate Russia, and Republican leaders in Congress are going along with the plans of the deep state to make the globe an unsafe place except for the globalist hegemony. Most of the press will indeed ignore disclosure of the source of the baseless accusations of Trump-Russia collusion — it is no accident that the New York Times ignored the Mook testimony in its May 20 editions. It is, moreover, unlikely that the press will be humiliated by its mendacious coverage of Hillary Clinton; the media, on the contrary, wears its mendacious coverage of Clinton and the anti-Trump neo-totalitarians as deserving of journalistic honors.
“Not an evacuation, not an exit, not an “extraction”, but captivity.”
The myth of heroic 82 day defense is already actively promoted by Ukrainian media, even though since late March that defense consisted largely of Azovite efforts to break out of the trap. First on helicopters, then with the help of Macron and Erdogan. And recently they’ve tried to involve everyone who came to mind: Israel, UN, Doctors Without Borders, the Pope, and Elon Musk. In the end, on May 16 and 17 we saw what we were fated to see. Some of the Azovites and AFU soldiers came out of Azov Steel underground, existed using the corridor specified by Russia’s military, were searched and sorted (the wounded to hospitals, the rest to filtration points) and…went into captivity.
Not an evacuation, not an exit, not an “extraction”, but captivity. A simple Russian word, though not a merry one. But that’s what we saw. The Ukrainian viewer saw and was told something entirely different. The Ukrainian language also contains a word for captivity. But Ukrainian media try to avoid it at all costs. Azov’s commander was actually the first. Already on the evening of May 16, as if anticipating questions, he said he’s implementing a decision by top military authorities. OK, but what decision? We know, but Ukrainians viewing his statement in a Telegram channel could not understand a thing and said as much. Then came Zelensky. He mentioned the AFU, UN, ICRC, and at the end: “…soldiers were transported to occupied territory for future exchange.”
Who did the transporting? Not a word about that. But instead we learned this is called an “operation to preserve the lives of Azov Steel defenders.” Russians think they took someone prisoner. But in reality there’s an ongoing military operation, so stop panicking. And it’s not just any operation. No, it’s an operation by Ukraine’s military intelligence (that’s how it was officially reported)! These announcements were picked up by not only Kiev-controlled media but also the most authoritative (well, until recently) world media platforms, including CNN. They also don’t use the word “captivity”, only “evacuation”!
The craziest plan to date.
Britain has backed in principle a proposal by Lithuania for a naval coalition “of the willing” to lift the Russian Black Sea blockade on Ukrainian grain exports. The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, proposed the plan during talks with the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, on Monday in London. “Time is very very short. We are closing in on a new harvest and there is no other practical way of exporting the grain except through the Black Sea port of Odesa,” he told the Guardian. “There is no way of storing this grain and no other adequate alternative route. It is imperative that we show vulnerable countries we are prepared to take the steps that are needed to feed the world.”
Landsbergis proposed that a naval escort operation – not run by Nato – could protect the grain ships as they headed through the Black Sea and past Russian warships. He suggested that, apart from Britain, countries that were affected by the potential loss of grain such as Egypt could provide the necessary protection. “What we have seen now is just the beginning. The worst is yet to come in the next five to seven weeks when the first harvest arrives and there is no place to put it, so that means people in northern Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia will be paying exorbitant prices for wheat, corn and the other commodities they need to put food on their table”. He said Ukraine needed to export 80m tonnes of wheat alone this year and the only option was through Odesa,.
His plan, under gestation for weeks, would require demining parts of the Black Sea to ensure safe passage, as well as the agreement of Turkey, which guards the entrance to the Black Sea. “This would be a non-military humanitarian mission and is not comparable with a no-fly zone,” he said. “In this endeavour military ships or planes or both would be used to ensure that the grain supplies can leave Odesa safely and reach the Bosphorus without Russian interference. We would need a coalition of the willing – countries with significant naval power to protect the shipping lanes, and countries that are affected by this”.
More such bills will follow.
Joe Biden signed a bill over the weekend that provides $40.1 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine. The Senate passed it on Thursday and the House had passed the thing the week before. It was a bit touch and go in the Senate following an objection by Rand Paul (R-KY), but all told the legislation practically flew through Congress, at least by Washington’s standards: Biden submitted the funding request to Congress on April 28 and it was sent back to his desk just three weeks later. Based on the bill text, I counted $40.1 billion worth of provisions; $24.6 billion for military programs and $15.5 billion for non-military ones.
Not all of the funding provisions are for aid. The money for for the Department of Treasury and Department of Justice to seize and track Russian assets aren’t, for example, and neither are a portion of the funding for the Pentagon to develop and procure weapons. Moreover, a good bit of the included appropriations covers the operating expenses and overhead of US agencies implementing the aid and not for the aid itself, like for the deployment and hazard pay of US troops to eastern Europe or extra operating expenses for USAID. Of the provisions that are unmistakably for military and non-military aid, it’s tough to say how much will end going to Ukraine, for two reasons. First, there’s a “…and other countries” suffix following most of the major economic, humanitarian, and military assistance provisions.
Second, the bill raises the legal limit on existing authorities that allow the executive branch to authorize additional aid transfers, which could raise the top line amount given to Ukraine (and/or other countries). I estimate that for-profit military contractors will derive about $17.3 billion in revenue from the bill, which exceeds the total amount of non-military aid included in the legislation ($15.5 billion). This doesn’t mean that the money going to military contractors isn’t going to Ukraine. It’s just that giving military aid to Ukraine (or wherever) means giving money to military contractors. The funds given to the Pentagon by Congress through the bill are generally to provide Ukraine either with goods (weapons, equipment) or services (logistical support, intelligence, training). Military contractors get paid by the Pentagon for both, to varying extents.
Welcome to the WEF.
With Russians banned from Davos, their den in the Swiss mountain resort was taken over by Ukraine and given a new name: “Russian War Crimes House”. The “Russia House” was traditionally used by Russians to hold events and network during the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps. But organisers excluded them from the meeting of the world’s business and political elite following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead of a place to entertain, the house with red shutters on Davos’ main street is now used by Ukrainians to display the atrocities the say Russia is committing. It features photos of cemeteries, people in body bags, a bloodied hand on a pavement, a child in a respirators in a hospital, a baby in a soldier’s arms, buildings in ruins.
Ukrainians are using the building to hold several events during the four-day Davos summit as part of efforts to win more support against Russia, three months after the invasion began. “If we tell the story of this tragedy as wide as possible, maybe it will save some lives,” said Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, whose foundation is among the organisers of the event. After the presentation at the “House of Russian War Crimes”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy used the WEF congress to plead for more weapons for his country, and more sanctions against Russia. A parade of Ukrainian lawmakers and officials attended other events on the summit’s first day to hammer home the need for weapons and sanctions to defeat Russia.
At the “Russian War Crimes House”, the goal is to bring attention to the alleged atrocities committed by Russia. Next to the photos, an entire wall is covered by a map that lists the “war crimes” committed by Russia. On top, a toll as of May 6: 4,177 civilians killed, including 226 children, and 4,378 wounded, including 417 children.
Klaus Schwab and Volodymyr Zelenskyy; Davos Annual Meeting 2022 pic.twitter.com/E59LhBp1So
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) May 23, 2022
Republicans plan on holding public health bureaucrats such as Dr. Anthony Fauci accountable after the 2022 midterm elections, according to a Republican Study Committee (RSC) memo on Monday from Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.). While many of the left’s COVID-19 policies “went unchallenged… public health authorities soon started issuing nonsensical, contradictory directives and embracing partisan rhetoric,” according to the memo. “If Congress fails to hold the Fauci clique accountable, and fails to reform public health agencies, we will be giving far-left bureaucrats a blank check to shut the country down whenever they want,” Banks said. “We need to send a message that the restrictions, the mandates and the school closures can never happen again.”
Republicans are likely to take back the House and gain what Banks has claimed will be a “historic majority.” As the RSC is the largest ideological congressional caucus, Banks’ memo may be a preview into GOP actions after midterms. “Holding partisan public health bureaucrats accountable should be a major oversight priority for House Republicans after 2022,” he wrote in the 4-page RSC memo. “Leftists have abused Americans’ willingness to make sacrifices for public health. They have sought to define everything from racism to policing to gun rights to the minimum wage as public health issues,” he noted. Republicans plan on reigning in the CDC’s “mission creep” by refocusing the agency on emergency public health response and requiring it to “be transparent,” among other things. The GOP will also consider restoring the basic science mission at the National Institutes of Health, which oversees Dr. Fauci and his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases department.
Laws do not apply to Pfizer.
Pfizer has asked a U.S. court to throw out a lawsuit from a whistleblower who revealed problems at sites that tested Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Brook Jackson, the whistleblower, alleged in a suit that was unsealed in February that Pfizer and associated parties violated clinical trial regulations and federal laws, including the False Claims Act. In its motion to dismiss, Pfizer says the regulations don’t apply to its vaccine contract with the U.S. Department of Defense because the agreement was executed under the department’s Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which gives contract holders the ability to skirt many rules and laws that typically apply to contracts. That means that Jackson’s claim that Pfizer must still comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulations “is simply wrong,” Pfizer said.
Warner Mendenhall, a lawyer who is working on Jackson’s case, said in a recent interview that Pfizer has “clearly not followed federal procurement laws.” “And now they’re saying, ‘of course we didn’t follow federal procurement laws, we didn’t have to—this was just for a prototype,’” he added. Mendenhall, who declined an interview request, said lawyers for Jackson are working on figuring out legal ways to counter Pfizer’s argument. “We may lose on this issue because their contract imposes … none of the normal checks and balances on quality control and consumer protection that we fought for decades in this country,” he said. [..] The government agreed to pay up to $1.9 billion for 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine pending U.S. regulatory clearance.
That included the manufacturing of the vaccine on top of researching and developing it. The contract was granted under the “prototype” provision, which falls under the OTA. The rules for prototypes state that just one of four conditions must be satisfied. The condition that was satisfied in the Pfizer contract was the involvement of a “nontraditional defense contractor.” Federal law defines nontraditional defense contractors as “an entity that is not currently performing and has not performed” a contract or subcontract for the Department of Defense for at least one year preceding the solicitation of the OTA agreement. Pfizer has dozens of contracts with the military.
How to cancel people completely.
Supermarket giants across the UK could soon ask shoppers to ditch cash and card payments, and instead use their face or fingerprints at the checkout. A trial is in place to increase shopper security at the tills, though some may see it as a step closer to a cashless society. Mastercard is trialling a biometric payment system that could see customers just use their face rather than contactless cards, smartphones or PINs. Shoppers would be able to smile or wave a hand at a scanner to pay for their shopping. It is understood that a customer would be able to scan their face or fingerprint using a supermarket’s smartphone app and link their likeness to a bank card. Payments Card and Mobile website says it would work in a similar way to Apple’s facial ID.
The Telegraph reports how Mastercard, the payments company, wants to roll the programme out worldwide for small and large retailers. Ajay Bhalla, the president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, was quoted in the Telegraph as saying: “The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security. Our goal with this new programme is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience.” A pilot programme is currently under way in Brazil at five St Marche supermarkets in Sao Paolo. More trials are also planned for Asia and the Middle East.
The biometric facial recognition software would lead to shorter queues, be more hygienic than tapping in a pin, and less vulnerable to fraud linked to credit and debit cards, Mastercard said. It said: “No more fumbling for your phone or hunting for your wallet when you have your hands full – the next generation of in-person payments will only need a quick smile or wave of your hand. The trusted technology that uses your face or fingerprint to unlock your phone can now be used to help consumers speed through the checkout. With Mastercard’s new Biometric Checkout Programme, all you will need is yourself.”
A vassal state.
Anthony Albanese, the newly-elected Australian prime minister, has what might be the best opportunity he will ever have to exchange Julian Assange’s freedom for Australia’s continued cooperation with U.S. aims in the Pacific region. Albanese is set to have his first bilateral meeting on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden after a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit in Tokyo, when the leaders of the four nations — Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. — meet to discuss relations with China. But in remarks made on Monday before he even left for Japan, Albanese already said his Labor government is fully on board with the Quad’s agenda, as the previous government of Scott Morrison had been. Perhaps more importantly, Albanese said Australia would sign on to Biden’s just announced creation of a new, 13-nation Asian economic bloc aimed at opposing China’s economic dominance in the region, according to reports in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Biden had only just announced the new bloc on Monday. Even before he was sworn in, Albanese apparently told Biden about Australia joining the bloc during a telephone conversation they had on Sunday as Biden flew to Japan. Albanese was quoted in The Australian as saying that “he would ‘send a message to the world that there’s a new government in Australia’, while reassuring partners there would be “continuity in the way that we have respect for democracy and the way that we value our friendships and long time alliances.” Albanese also spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Herald reported:
“Albanese spoke to UK counterpart Boris Johnson while flying to Tokyo on Monday. A spokesman described the conversation as friendly and positive. The discussion with Johnson included a commitment from Albanese to support the AUKUS alliance on nuclear submarines and talks on climate change.” Apparently asking for nothing in return, Albanese gave away the store to Biden and Johnson, not even raising Assange’s name, according to these reports. He had the leverage of asking Biden to drop the case and Johnson to block the extradition in exchange for continuity from the Morrison government on AUKUS, the Quad, and on joining Biden’s new economic bloc. Of course, not everything discussed between the leaders was reported. There remains an outside chance Albanese did raise Assange. But there has been no movement on Assange after Albanese gave Biden and Johnson what they wanted.
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) May 23, 2022
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