Andy Warhol Queen Elizabeth, Reigning Queens Series 1985
Not just the US.
• Putin Says US Decision To Print Money Is Behind Soaring Food Prices (ZH)
Earlier, we reported on the deranged, confused, false ramblings of a senile old man who is so out of his depth in running the world’s biggest economy, the catastrophic results will soon be obvious to even his most die-hard fans. Now, it’s time for his nemesis on the world scene, Russia’s Vladimir Putin to respond. Speaking in a TV interview on Friday evening, following a meeting with African leaders in Sochi, Putin accused Western leaders of trying “to shift the responsibility for what is happening in the world food market” and said that “restrictions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia and Belarus will only exacerbate the looming global food crisis by affecting fertilizer trade and sending the food prices further up.”
Instead of looking toward Russian, Putin said that the root causes of the crisis lie with the US decision to print record amounts of money which led to an increase in global food prices, as well as Europe’s over-reliance on renewables and short-term gas contracts, which have led to price hikes and rising inflation. High gas prices, the direct result of Europe’s catastrophic green/ESG policies which as we warned one year ago would spawn energy hyperinflation, resulting in under-investment in the traditional energy sector, have forced many fertilizer producers to shut down their businesses because of unprofitability; such developments have shrunk the fertilizer supply, which, in turn, has sent the food prices up, he added. This is another topic we have discussed extensively in the past (see our Oct 2021 article “Fertilizer Prices Hit Record Highs, May Pressure Food Inflation Even Higher”), and yes, Putin is correct again.
Yet, instead of making some real steps to remedy the situation, the western nations just pin the blame on Moscow, the Russian president remarked. The Russian president has dismissed all claims that Moscow is preventing the Ukrainian grain from being exported to other nations as a “bluff.” He has also said that Russia is ready to increase its own grain export up to 50 million tons. Putin has pointed to the fact that there are several ways to safely transport the grain from the Ukrainian territory, including through Poland and Hungary. He has also said that the Russian forces are about to finish demining the areas of the Black Sea it controls to facilitate safe transfer of goods through the Azov and Black Seas.
The Russian leader has also called the Belarus transport route “the cheapest way” of making the Ukrainian grain reach the customers around the world. Yet, using it would require western nations to lift sanctions they imposed against Minsk, he has added.
ECB Balance Sheet
Zelensky’s best friend.
• Biden: Ukraine Might Have To Give Russia Land In ‘Negotiated Settlement’ (NYP)
President Biden on Friday declined to rule out Ukraine having to cede part of its territory to Russia in order to end Moscow’s more than three-month-old invasion. “Does Ukraine have to cede territory to achieve peace?” a reporter asked Biden after his remarks on the May jobs report. “From the beginning, I’ve said and I’ve been — not everyone’s agreed with me — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Biden began his answer. “It’s their territory. I’m not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. “But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” the president added. “And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time. But in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can defend themselves.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russian forces currently occupy roughly one-fifth of his country. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war objectives remain murky, but Biden claimed in February that Putin was attempting “re-establish the former Soviet Union” by seizing territory that Moscow once ruled. Biden’s subordinates previously expressed an openness to Ukraine giving up land to placate Putin. For example, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said in March that she would not “pre-judge” the matter. But it’s unclear if Ukraine would actually agree to be carved up.
Part 6 of a series.
• The Inexorable Path To War (ITT)
Russia can cite military considerations in the face of a national security crisis as justification for its actions. However, it seems that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine may have been motivated by more than just a response to a national security threat. In March 2021, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine approved Defense Council Decree no. 117/2021, which declared the Ukrainian government’s “Strategy for De-occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.” The Ukrainian state information news agency—Ukrinform—stated that the strategy focused upon: “[D]iplomatic, military, economic, informational, humanitarian and other measures aimed at restoring the territorial integrity, state sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders through the de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea.”
In the months that followed, Ukrainian forces steadily increased their presence in the Donbas and Southern oblasts. The Ukrainian Defence minister insisted that this reinforcement was purely defensive. Ukraine’s stated intention to use all possible means to regain Crimea and to defeat the DPR & LPR, combined with its build-up of forces, created a reasonable cause for concern on the part of the Russian government. For example, Russia’s access to the vital strategic port of Sevastopol appeared to be under imminent threat. Ukraine’s efforts to regain its claimed territory were financed by the IMF, World Bank, EU member states, the UK and the US. IMF loans of $700 million were part of a $5 billion total package. Money and Ukraine’s resultant national debt appeared to be no object to this funding cartel.
NATO simultaneously undertook a series of provocative exercises. DEFENDER-Europe 21, Locked Shields 21 (cyber), CAPABLE DEPLOYER 2021, Ramstein Ambition 21 (electronic warfare), Spring Storm, Breeze 21, Iron Wolf II 21 and Atlantic Resolve 21 all took place in the spring and summer of 2021. Every one of these exercises focused on defending Eastern Europe as NATO markedly increased its surveillance over Ukraine and the Black Sea. Among the most provocative, from a Russian perspective, was Exercise Cossack Mace which ran throughout May and June 2021. NATO and Ukrainian forces war-gamed an attack from a “fictitious” Eastern adversary. Another one, Exercise Sea Breeze, saw the US and Ukrainian navies cooperate.
Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev.
• Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation (Patrushev)
The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of states. Covering their actions with words about the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, they are actually implementing the doctrine of the “golden billion”, which suggests that a limited number of people can flourish in this world. The destiny of the rest, as they believe, is to bend their backs in the name of their goal.
In order to increase the welfare of a handful of magnates in the City of London and Wall Street, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, controlled by big capital, are creating an economic crisis in the world, dooming millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation, limiting their access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources. By their actions they are provoking unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they are doing everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control over this region, the Europeans were put on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, disdainfully watching how they balance.
[..] Some experts express an opinion about the man-made coronavirus infection, believing that it could have been created in the Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. Clinton, Rockefeller, Soros and Biden funds were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of caring for the health of mankind, Washington spends billions on the study of new pathogens. In addition, Western medicine is increasingly practicing genetic engineering, synthetic biology methods, thereby blurring the line between artificial and natural.
[..] As they say, a thief’s hat is on fire. Today it is easier to say which of the largest international terrorist organizations did not arise with American assistance. The United States widely uses them as an instrument of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, under the control of American intelligence services, Al-Qaeda was created on Afghan soil to counter the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban movement to influence Afghanistan and Central Asia. Guided by their supposedly “national interests”, the United States overthrew objectionable regimes in Libya, Iraq by force of arms, and tried to do it in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases is radical groups, the further unification of which led to the creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State, following Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which got out of control of the Americans.
“..oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement..”
• The Ukraine War: a Colloquy (CP)
Russia’s invasion (illegal) of Ukraine has generated debate regarding how to end the war. It comes as no surprise that arguably the United States’ leading ant-war activist, Professor Noam Chomsky, has given extensive comment on this conflict. Committed already as a boy to opposing state aggression, now at age 93, Noam Chomsky likely is the world’s oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement, which has become synonymous with appeasement of states engaging in military adventures.
In May of this year, four economists from Ukraine (Bohdan Kukharskyy, Anastassia Fedyk, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, and Ilona Sologoub) working in the United States took umbrage with Chomsky’s comments on the war, or at least what they assumed were the ideas (and “patterns”) he expressed. They held some of his statements to be either inaccurate, or even when true, irrelevant to the conflict and/or giving succor to Russia’s war effort. The Ukrainian economists invited Dr. Chomsky to respond. What follows at bottom are Noam’s responses to their assertions, their rejoinders to his answers, and his following comments.
In the ensuing exchange Professor Chomsky demonstrates several of the positions he was purported to hold by the economists, simply were never articulated by him. Provided with two chances to substantiate remarks attributed to Chomsky, the four economists often could not. Moreover, some points which the four economists asserted were either false or contested, Dr. Chomsky demonstrated were true, with any “contestation” of them chiefly evasions of inconvenient facts. Parts of their debate comes down to points of language and meaning, which the four economists at one point concede that Dr. Chomsky is more precise in his use of.
To test it you must first have monkeypox?!
• $9.8 Million Given Last Year by Fauci Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment (CHD)
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, last year paid $9.8 million to government researchers to test a monkeypox treatment, the National Pulse reported. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), which oversees the NIAID, the research began Sept. 28, 2020 and will conclude Sept. 27, 2025. Its goal is to carry out a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of tecovirimat for the treatment of patients with monkeypox virus disease.” It is unclear if the grant provided for any payments in 2020. The NIAID awarded the grant to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, a federally funded research and development center in Frederick, Maryland, supported by the National Cancer Institute.
According to the grant abstract: “The similarity between monkeypox and the variola [smallpox] virus, coupled with concerns about the potential of the variola virus as a potential bioterrorism agent, have placed monkeypox treatments at the forefront of public health and scientific research agendas in many countries.” On May 25, SIGA Technologies Inc. announced that it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an intravenous formulation of the antiviral tecovirimat (called TPOXX) for the treatment of smallpox. Although smallpox was eradicated in 1980, the treatment was developed in the event smallpox were to be used as a bioweapon.
The U.S., Canada and Europe have approved an oral formulation of TPOXX for treating smallpox, and Europe also approved it for treating monkeypox and cowpox. As of May 30, the NIH project had not generated any publicly available studies, papers or patents, according to The National Pulse. The National Pulse called the timing of the grant “curious,” as it comes while pharmaceutical giants including Pfizer and Johson & Johnson are making record-level profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Lori Dodd, a mathematical statistician in the biostatistics research branch of NIAID, is the project’s principal investigator. On a recent segment of The Hill’s “Rising,” co-hosts Briahna Joy Gray and Kim Iversen reminded viewers that Dodd was “exposed for her involvement in the agency’s reported data altering of remdesivir trials to make [remdesivir] seem more effective against COVID.”
• US COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under 5 May Start by June 21 (ET)
The White House said it expects its COVID-19 vaccination rollout for children under 5 years of age to start on June 21, in the event of a swift approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, on Thursday walked reporters through a hypothetical timeline of how things may play out within the next month regarding the vaccines for the young cohort, but pointed out he is not there to “pre-judge” the outcome of the vaccine vetting process. “I’m not here to pre-judge the outcome of the process, but the administration is hard at work planning all sorts of scenarios based on whatever the outcome is from the process that’s playing out,” Jha said.
“We’ve been working very closely with states, local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, other health care providers, and pharmacies to get ready.” He said that “if and when” the FDA authorizes the vaccine, the administration will “move from planning to execution.” “FDA authorization will allow us to start shipping doses. These doses are specifically formulated for these young kids. These doses will be shipped to thousands of sites across the country,” he said. He said that the FDA’s independent advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), is set to meet June 14–15 to discuss requests for emergency use authorizations from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for their COVID-19 vaccines for children.
“We expect FDA to make its decision soon thereafter. Once FDA authorized—if they have authorized vaccines, we can begin shipping,” Jha continued. “We expect some of the shipments to start arriving to in their destinations over that long weekend. Remember Monday is an important federal holiday and many doctors’ offices may be closed. And we can’t ship vaccines until FDA has authorized these vaccines. And vaccination can’t start until CDC has issued its recommendations. “So we expect that vaccination will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout that week. It will take some time to ramp up the program and for vaccines to be more widely available.”
Free speech is a threat.
• Campaign Launched To Stop Musk Buying Twitter (AFP)
Advocacy groups on Friday launched a campaign to stop Elon Musk from buying Twitter as the proposed purchase cleared review by US antitrust authorities. Twitter said that the deal for Musk to acquire the company was a step closer to being sealed with the passing of a deadline for it to be challenged under a US antitrust law. The Tesla chief’s $44 billion deal to take the one-to-many messaging platform private still faces review by other regulators and must be approved by shareholders. A “Stop The Deal” campaign launched by a coalition of nonprofit groups aims to stop the takeover. “Elon Musk is a wolf in expensive sheep’s clothing whose Twitter takeover is motivated by ego and grievance,” Accountable Tech executive director Nicole Gill said in a release.
“If we don’t stop this deal, he’ll hand a megaphone to demagogues and extremists, who will cheer him as they incite more hate, harm, and harassment.” The campaign will involve pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies to closely scrutinize everything about the takeover deal. The coalition will also work to convince Twitter shareholders and advertisers to oppose Musk buying the San Francisco-based tech firm. The list of more than a dozen organizations involved in the campaign includes MoveOn, SumOfUs, Media Matters for America, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
“pause all hiring worldwide..”,
• Elon Musk To Slash Tesla Jobs, Has “Super Bad Feeling” About Economy (ZH)
Since mid-May, real-time indicators warned the labor market had hit a brick wall. Piper Sandler predicted last week that up to a million layoffs or more were ahead as the US economy is on the verge of recession. The latest sign of an impending job market shock is an email seen by Reuters from the world’s richest man, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who told executives the electric carmaker needs to cut staff by 10% because he has a “super bad feeling” about where the economy was headed. The email, titled “pause all hiring worldwide,” was sent to executives on Thursday and is the latest sign of mounting macroeconomic headwinds as lower-than-expected US new car sales in May could be a harbinger of a recession.
In an another email Tuesday, Musk told employees: “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week … If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” On Wednesday, Musk tweeted: “Recessions serve a vital economic cleansing function.” Tesla, which has EV factories worldwide, including ones in the US, Berlin, and China, employs about 100k staff, so reducing 10% of jobs could equate to 10k people. Musk’s stark warning of impending economic doom and the need for job cuts sent Tesla shares down nearly 4% in premarket, dragging down Nasdaq 100 futures about half a percentage point and other electric carmakers.
But Peter Navarro, same situation?!, was dragged off a plane, and put in handcuffs and leg irons.
• DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former Trump Chief Of Staff And Deputy (NBC)
Justice Department officials said Friday that prosecutors would not file criminal contempt of Congress charges against Mark Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff during former President Donald Trump’s last 10 months in office. The department also declined to prosecute Dan Scavino, who was deputy chief of staff, the DOJ officials said. The decisions were a defeat for the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. After both Trump officials refused to honor the panel’s subpoenas, the committee found them in contempt of Congress and referred the cases to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., for prosecution. But even if prosecutors had charged them and obtained convictions, it would not have required them to cooperate with the committee.
It would simply have punished them for their refusal. A senior Justice Department official said the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, notified the committee of its conclusions. The decisions were based “on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt,” according to the official. Meadows was “uniquely situated to provide critical information about the events of January 6,” the committee said in seeking his cooperation, as well as efforts taken by public officials and private individuals to spread the false message of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. He was “with or in the vicinity of” Trump when word of the riot at the Capitol reached the White House, it said.
[..] Earlier Friday, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was arrested at an airport on contempt of Congress charges — allegations he vowed to fight. Navarro, 72, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday after snubbing a subpoena from the House committee investigating Jan. 6 seeking testimony and documents.
• The FBI Tried To Ambush My Source. Now I’m Telling The Whole Story (Risen)
FBI agent Grayden Ridd had a confidential message for his informant. An FBI team had been given the green light by the Justice Department to ambush and derail a planned meeting between a reporter and a source, and the informant’s job was to let the FBI know when and where the meeting would take place. The reporter whose meeting they planned to target was me. It was January 2014, and I was an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times focusing on national security. The FBI wanted to stop me from obtaining documents that I’d been told would reveal the details of massive spying operations by the National Security Agency. The FBI was convinced that I was in contact with someone they had secretly nicknamed the “second Snowden,” who was about to give me an archive that they feared could go far beyond what former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had leaked about the agency’s spying operations the year before.
The FBI’s plan to grab my source at our scheduled meeting was approved by top officials at the FBI and the Justice Department during the Obama administration, according to audio recordings I obtained of several phone conversations between Ridd and his informant. At the time, Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general and James Comey was FBI director. “Right now, they are on board,” Ridd said in one phone conversation to plan the ambush operation, referring to top Justice Department and FBI officials. “I have to periodically go up to the throne room and recommit them. … We actually have a lot of buy-in and a lot of support, but I do need to feed the beast.” The FBI’s attempt to identify and catch my source came as the Justice Department was waging a seven-year legal campaign against me in connection with a separate leak investigation.
The Obama Justice Department had subpoenaed me and was demanding that I testify in court and reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I included the story in my book after the Times killed an article on the same topic under pressure from the White House and the CIA. The attempt to derail my reporting on the purported NSA leaks came during a critical period in my legal battle with the Justice Department. In January 2014 — just as the FBI was planning its ambush operation — the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to hear arguments over my subpoena in the leak case involving the mismanaged CIA program. At the time, I was facing the possibility of going to prison for refusing to reveal my sources if the Supreme Court did not rule in my favor. But the Justice Department did not disclose to the Supreme Court that the FBI was simultaneously targeting my reporting on a completely separate story.
“..the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life..”
Although we like to pretend that the technology which surrounds us is novel and world-changing, as physicist Tom Murphy has shown, much of it would be recognisable to someone in the USA of the 1950s: “Look around your environment and imagine your life as seen through the eyes of a mid-century dweller. What’s new? Most things our eyes land on will be pretty well understood. The big differences are cell phones (which they will understand to be a sort of telephone, albeit with no cord and capable of sending telegram-like communications, but still figuring that it works via radio waves rather than magic), computers (which they will see as interactive televisions), and GPS navigation (okay: that one’s thought to be magic even by today’s folk). They will no doubt be impressed with miniaturization as an evolutionary spectacle, but will tend to have a context for the functional capabilities of our gizmos.
“Telling ourselves that the pace of technological transformation is ever-increasing is just a fun story we like to believe is true. For many of us, I suspect, our whole world order is built on this premise.” The point is that most of these technologies have already reaped the cheap and easy, and, indeed, almost all of the hard and expensive improvements that are ever going to be made. In this respect, we are entering a period similar to the early twentieth century when we hit the limits to coal-powered technologies. The big difference today being that there is no even more energy-dense and easily available new energy source available to us to usher in a new suite of technologies in the way that oil-based technologies rapidly replaced coal in the years after World War Two.
From this viewpoint, the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life – and write-off a large part of the monetary claims on future exergy growth which will not be arriving – in order to bring our economies into line with the declining surplus energy available to us. The paradox though, is that – even at today’s higher prices – energy does not appear to be the biggest problem before us. For all of the complaints about the rapid and steep rise in fuel and electricity prices, they remain low in comparison to the benefits that we derive from them.
[..] Several decades ago, sociologist Joseph Tainter observed that collapsing civilisations have a habit of unconsciously entering into complexity traps, adding energy-intensive complexity in a desperate attempt to sustain themselves. Our turn to energy-intensive automation in an attempt to overcome our growing woes and to maintain economic growth is likely repeating the same folly. The difference – at least for those who see the economy as primarily an energy rather than a monetary system – is that we have the necessary knowledge to avoid our complexity trap if only we are prepared to actively simplify away from an economy based on mass consumption in favour of one based around material simplicity… I’m not holding my breath though.
99.9% of your body is only made of 11 chemical elements. More precisely. almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of 6 elements and only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements [source, full video, Beauty of Science: https://t.co/pQOfRXKPwd] pic.twitter.com/qSrPsoeww1
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 3, 2022
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