Edward Hopper The “Martha McKeen” of Wellfleet 1944
@HunterDeRensis: “The thing I love about this 1972 George McGovern pin is that fifty years later no modern Democrat would dare replicate it.”
Interesting opinions DeSantis
Ron DeSantis went on Hannity and things got SPICY pic.twitter.com/F22YqEjbFr
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 13, 2022
“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified..”
Donald Trump’s office told Just the News on Friday that the classified materials the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate were declassified under a “standing order” while he was president that allowed him to take sensitive materials to the White House residence at night to keep working. The official statement is likely to become the focus of the president’s legal defense as the FBI and Biden Justice Department investigate whether he stole records covered under the Presidential Records Act or mishandled classified materials under the Espionage Act, allegations included in a search warrant released by a federal court in Florida on Friday.
The president’s defense is rooted in the legal principal that the president and vice president are the ultimate declassifying authority of the U.S. government and through executive orders most recently issued in 2003 by George W. Bush and Barack Obama in 2009 that specifically exempt the president and vice president from having to follow the stringent declassification procedures every other federal agency and official must follow. Trump has maintained for weeks that any documents still containing classified markings in his possession after he left office were previously declassified. On Friday night, the statement issued to Just the News explained exactly how that declassification occurred in his mind.
The very fact that these documents were present at Mar-a-Lago means they couldn’t have been classified,” the former president’s office stated. “As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different. President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents including classified documents from the Oval Office to the residence. “He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified,” the statement added. “The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated BY THE PRESIDENT, needs to approve of declassification is absurd.”
Kash Patel: Documents were already declassified
Kash Patel: Documents were already declassified pic.twitter.com/g6MnjJiFZ6
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 12, 2022
There will be 100 cases vs Trump. Just to make sure he’s occupied.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe argued that it is “virtually impossible” to prosecute his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, for alleged mishandling of classified material. While chiding the FBI for “acting as the muscle” of the Democrats, the Trump-era spy chief hearkened back to Hillary Clinton’s email situation and surmised that Trump possessed the “ultimate declassification authority,” shielding him from liability. “I thought, surely this is not about classified documents and the president being in possession of those. It has to be more than that because the Department of Justice and the FBI have already set a standard that makes it virtually impossible to prosecute a case like that,” Ratcliffe told Fox Business’s Larry Kudlow, who is another former Trump administration official.
Although no president has ever been prosecuted for mishandling classified material, some experts dispute the notion that one could suddenly deem something declassified and argue that the president must instead follow a formal process. “I’ve seen thousands of declassified documents. They’re all marked ‘declassified’ with the date they were declassified,” Richard Immerman, assistant deputy director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, told NBC News. During a Monday raid, FBI agents carried out a search warrant of Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Lago resort and reportedly retrieved some 20 boxes of material while seeking documents with details about nuclear weapons.
A warrant released to the public Friday revealed that authorities were looking for material retained in violation of three federal laws, including the Espionage Act. “As people talk about Espionage Act and classified documents and all of that, the standard was set in 2016. Remember the Department of Justice and the FBI took the official position that Hillary Clinton, who was in possession of classified documents … that in possession of that — that wasn’t enough and that being grossly negligent … that’s not enough under the Espionage Act,” Ratcliffe continued. “The Department of Justice and FBI said six years ago, you gotta be able to prove intent. He’s already denied that he had the intent to do it,” he added.
“..if they file criminal charges against Trump, they know they will be unleashing a mix of anger and political forces that they cannot control.”
With the recent FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Florida home, the Democrats and the Biden administration have raised the political stakes to a level from which this country as we have known it may never return. All one can say to those that are demanding a criminal prosecution of the former president is: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. Although the raid ostensibly was to see if Trump took classified documents from the White House when he left in a chaotic move in January 2021, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes the Biden administration was again attempting to find that proverbial “smoking gun” tying Trump to the January 6 Capitol riot. Whether or not Attorney General Merrick Garland is able to grab the brass ring and prosecute Trump after yet one more fishing expedition is another story, although I doubt that any president has seen as many resources used to investigate him as has Donald Trump, but the Department of Justice has not filed charges yet.
Understand that anyone reading this article has committed a federal crime at some point, perhaps more than once. I adopted four children from overseas, and while I was not involved in the details (done through legitimate and registered adoption agencies), I can be held criminally responsible if anyone paid bribes in the countries where the adoptions took place. Even if investigators could not prove someone paid bribes, they could still charge me with a crime on a mere pretext. And the charges would stick, and most likely a federal jury would vote to convict. Remember that Democrats wanted Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two children from Haiti investigated. While the demands were overtly political, it was clear that the Democrats believed in using criminal law to achieve political purposes in her case, but using the law that way hardly is limited to operatives of the Democratic Party.
Anyone who has Democrat friends on social media knows that they are obsessed with having Trump charged, convicted, and thrown in prison. Because I spent many years researching and writing about federal criminal law, I can say that if federal authorities wish to charge someone with a crime, nothing, not even the law itself, stands in their way. So, if the Biden administration really wants to charge Trump with something, the FBI will have no trouble cooking up something to order. Furthermore, if the DOJ were to charge Trump with something, he would be tried in Washington, DC, facing a jury made up entirely of DC Democrats that almost surely will have decided guilt even before the trial begins. While the feds already know this, they also know something else: if they file criminal charges against Trump, they know they will be unleashing a mix of anger and political forces that they cannot control.
“..the intel-and-surveillance agencies are fighting for their lives — and the actual humans in charge must be keenly aware of their criminal liabilities.”
To America’s political Left, serving its masters in the runaway deep state, reality itself must be portrayed as “baseless,” as in nothing to see here, folks. Is it any wonder, then, that half the country has gone mental. The reality they don’t want you to see is that the intel-and-surveillance agencies of our Republic have taken on a rogue life of their own as a dominant “fourth branch of government,” and that some time ago they embarked on a crime spree against anyone threatening their operations. That would include especially target number one: Donald Trump. For a masterful explication of how this amazing clusterfuck developed, I commend you to The Conservative Treehouse website where the writer who styles himself as “Sundance” put together a four-part report on how the original sin of RussiaGate metastasized into the stage-four cancer of institutional necrosis that culminated in this week’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The gist is: it turns out that the president does not have sole authority, in practice, to declassify and release government documents. With the rise of the security state, many new procedures have been erected within that massive labyrinth to prevent it or slow-walk it. The most effective has been to make the president himself a target of, or a material witness in, drawn-out investigations. That was the exact purpose of the Mueller exercise. Any exculpatory documents released by Mr. Trump — for instance, the complete unredacted text exchanges of FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — could have been used to hang an obstruction of justice charge on the president.
Mr. Trump adroitly avoided that trap, and many other legal pitfalls the deep state laid for him, and might have won reelection but for the well-organized ballot fraud of 2020. But the epic blunders of “Joe Biden” are giving Mr. Trump, and the movement behind him, a pretty good shot at routing the incumbent regime. Doing so, first in the 2022 midterms and then in the 2024 presidential election, portends a now quite visible effort coming to dismantle that reckless, unelected “fourth branch” of government. So, the intel-and-surveillance agencies are fighting for their lives — and the actual humans in charge must be keenly aware of their criminal liabilities.
Despite all attempts to disable him in office, Mr. Trump, as president, got to see an awful lot of classified material, including all the evidence of Hillary Clinton’s Russia Collusion hoax, abetted by the FBI, the DOJ, CIA, and DOD, plus all the lawless shenanigans that took place in the FISA court. A lot of it was assembled when, late in the game, Mr. Trump was finally able to appoint Directors of National Intelligence he could trust — Ric Grenell and then John Ratcliffe — who wrested many documents out of the foot-dragging agencies. Further maneuvers by artful Attorney General William Barr — the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel and his drawn-out investigations — kept Mr. Trump from releasing any declassified RussiaGate material ever since. The catch was: he still had bales of that evidence in his possession among the personal papers he took with him from the White House.
Someone has to.
Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Friday announced that she had filed articles of impeachment against Attorney General Merrick Garland following the FBI’s Monday raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Greene posted the articles on Twitter, saying that Garland’s “personal approval to seek a search warrant for the raid on the home of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, constitutes a blatant attempt to persecute a political opponent.” FBI agents from the Washington Field Office on Monday raided Trump’s Florida estate in search of classified documents the former president may have removed from the White House. After Republicans near-unanimously denounced the FBI’s actions as political persecution, Garland issued a statement confirming that he had personally approved the raid.
Greene claims that the attorney general’s unsealing of “the search warrant for the home of former President Donald J. Trump constitutes an attempt to intimidate, harass, and potentially disqualify a political challenger to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.” Trump, however, announced early Friday morning that he would support the release of the warrant to the public. “Release the documents now!” he posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. Former President Barack Obama nominated Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, though then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked his confirmation, instead waiting until Trump took office to confirm his nominee, now-Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“On 245 occasions, Comey claimed under oath before the House Intelligence Committee that he had no memory or knowledge of key questions concerning his tenure.”
Wray took over from disgraced interim FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The latter admitted lying repeatedly to federal investigators and signed off on a fraudulent FBI FISA application. He faced zero legal consequences. McCabe, remember, was also the point man in the softball Hillary Clinton email investigation — while his wife was a political candidate and recipient of thousands of dollars from a political action committee with close ties to the Clinton family. McCabe took over from disgraced FBI Director James Comey. On 245 occasions, Comey claimed under oath before the House Intelligence Committee that he had no memory or knowledge of key questions concerning his tenure. With impunity, he leaked confidential FBI memos to the media.
Comey took over from Director Robert Mueller. Implausibly, Mueller swore under oath that he had no knowledge, either of the Steele dossier or of Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned Christopher Steele to compile the dossier. But those were the very twin catalysts that had prompted his entire special investigation into the Russian collusion hoax. FBI legal counsel Kevin Clinesmith was convicted of a felony for altering an FBI warrant request to spy on an innocent Carter Page. The FBI, by Comey’s own public boasts, bragged how it caught National Security Advisor-designate General Michael Flynn in its Crossfire Hurricane Russian collusion hoax. As special counsel, Mueller then fired two of his top investigators — Lisa Page and Peter Strzok — for improper personal and professional behavior. He then staggered their releases to mask their collaborative wrongdoing. Mueller’s team deleted critical cell phone evidence under subpoena that might well have revealed systemic FBI-related bias.
The FBI interferes with and warps national elections. It hires complete frauds as informants who are far worse than its targets. It humiliates or exempts government and elected officials based on their politics. It violates the civil liberties of individual American citizens. The FBI’s highest officials now routinely mislead Congress. They have erased or altered court and subpoenaed evidence. They illegally leak confidential material to the media. And they have lied under oath to federal investigators. The agency has become dangerous to Americans and an existential threat to their democracy and rule of law. The FBI should be dispersing its investigatory responsibilities to other government investigative agencies that have not yet lost the public’s trust.
That’s what I said recently: Schroeder is the ideal guy to make peace. “..last month the former chancellor made it clear that he would still use every opportunity to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the “diplomatic solution,” in his opinion, is the only way to end the Ukrainian conflict…”
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder could be a possible intermediary in the current dispute with Russia over reduced gas deliveries, incumbent chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday. It would be “commendable” if Schroder were to talk to Moscow about the turbine that is currently in Germany, Scholz said, speaking at his first summer press conference since entering office last year. According to Scholz, the return of the equipment vital for the functioning of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would prompt Russia to restart gas supplies via this route as soon as possible. The turbine has been embroiled in a major dispute between Russia and Germany, after having undergone maintenance in Canada. The equipment was meant to be shipped to the compressor station at the pipeline in Russia back in May, so that the gas flow to the EU could be maintained at full capacity.
However, its return was first delayed by Canada due to the country’s sanctions on Moscow. Now it is stuck in Germany because it lacks proper documentation, according to Russia’s Gazprom. The Russian state-run energy giant has been insisting that Western sanctions are hindering the return of the turbine from Germany and threaten future equipment repair at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The firm said that the paperwork for the turbine’s return is not in order as it was issued by Siemens Energy and not the firm that is contracted by Gazprom. Schroder, who was Germany’s chancellor between 1998 and 2005, has been repeatedly criticized for his business ties to Russian state-owned energy companies. In May, the former chancellor was forced to leave the supervisory board of the Russian energy giant Rosneft and turn down a nomination for a supervisory-board position at Gazprom. In late July, Schroder met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also urged the German government to reconsider its position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
He was German Chancellor for years, like Merkel, and now they want to deny him an office in Berlin. It’s not just the US that’s gone berserk.
He lives in both worlds. Invaluable. “Amid pressure over his ties with Russia, Schroeder stepped down from his position on the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft and declined a nomination for a position on Gazprom’s board.”
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has launched a legal bid to get back funding for his office and staff. The privileges were withdrawn in May by the Bundestag’s budget committee, his lawyers told broadcaster NDR on Friday. Since the launch of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, Schroeder has been fiercely criticized for his work with Russia. His perceived close relationship to Moscow, however, was not mentioned by the budget committee when it passed the motion to strip him of some privileges. Officially, the new rule, which can be applied to other former chancellors, states that funding will be based “on the ongoing obligations from the office” rather than on the status of the recipient. Schroeder’s lawyers filed a lawsuit on Thursday with the Berlin Administrative Court arguing that “the decision to deprive former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of his staffing is contrary to the rule of law.”
In an interview with NDR, one of the legal team stressed that Schroeder was not even given a chance to present his arguments to the committee or to talk to its chairman Helge Braun. This represents “a clear violation of human dignity,” the lawyer said. In a statement, sent to the DPA news agency, the legal team further explained that the Bundestag committee had claimed that Schroeder no longer takes care of the so-called “after-effects of official duties.” “However, it is not specified what ‘after-effects of official duties’ actually are, how their perception or non-perception is to be determined and what procedure is to be followed,” the statement read. Such decisions are reminiscent of an “absolutist princely state” and should not take place in a democratic country, the lawyers emphasized.
Last year, Schroeder’s office and travel expenses amounted to more than €400,000 ($412,000). The 78-year-old continues to receive a pension of €8,300 as well as personal security protection. Earlier this week, Schroeder, who was chancellor from 1998 to 2005, scored an important victory: The Hanover arbitration commission of the Social Democratic party ruled that his work with Russian state-owned companies had not violated its charter, and he avoided expulsion from the party. However, Lower Saxony’s SPD leader Stephan Weil told media that while the commission’s decision should be respected, it does not change the party’s stance. “For us it is clear: Gerhard Schroder is politically isolated with his positions in the SPD,” Weil claimed. [..] last month the former chancellor made it clear that he would still use every opportunity to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the “diplomatic solution,” in his opinion, is the only way to end the Ukrainian conflict.
“..China has overtaken the U.S. to become Germany’s biggest trading partner..”
Germany’s Wagnerian foreign policy spectacle is moving east. Spoiler alert: It’s even worse than the original. For months, Berlin has frustrated (read enraged) many allies with its one step forward, two steps back approach to confronting Russia over Ukraine. Yet that tortured episode is looking like little more than an overture to what’s brewing in Asia, as tensions over Taiwan force Berlin to weigh how it would respond if Beijing tries to seize the island nation, which China considers a breakaway region. If that happens, the U.S. and other Western allies would push for tough sanctions against China. Germany is unlikely to be among them, a course that could protect its export-driven economy, but damage both its own and Europe’s international credibility.
Asked Thursday whether Germany could afford to support sanctions in the event of a Chinese invasion, Chancellor Olaf Scholz dodged the question, while reprimanding German industry for ignoring the maxim “to not put all your eggs in one basket.” “The question of our country’s dependence in crucial areas concerning supply chains, raw materials and other things is a necessary element of our national security strategy, which we’re working on at the moment,” he added, without mentioning China by name. Others have been more direct. German industry’s reliance on exports has “created a dependency that leaves us helpless,” Norbert Röttgen, a prominent center-right MP, told German television earlier this week. Could Germany back sanctions against China?
“At the moment, not really,” said Röttgen, a former minister and longtime chairman of the German parliament’s foreign policy committee. While the debate is in many respects a redux of Germany’s manic handwringing over whether and how to confront Russia over Ukraine, this time even more is at stake. Germany’s big concern over antagonizing Moscow was losing access to cheap energy. With Beijing, it’s about losing the foundation of its economic prosperity. In recent years, China has overtaken the U.S. to become Germany’s biggest trading partner, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the country’s €2.6 trillion in foreign trade last year. What’s more, China, which has propelled the German economy for decades, remains a key growth driver. That’s why reducing German industry’s reliance on the country is easier said than done.
“gas shortages, energy problems, supply difficulties, possible recession, unemployment, but also the growing poverty right up to the middle class.”
Germany could be facing mass unrest this autumn and protests over the energy crisis could be hijacked by extremists, a regional head of the country’s domestic security agency has said. Stephan Kramer, who heads the BfV in the state of Thuringia, said Germany must be prepared for the possibility that “legitimate” protests over energy and economic crises could be “infiltrated by extremists.” He told ZDF broadcaster on Wednesday that demonstrations could be expected over “gas shortages, energy problems, supply difficulties, possible recession, unemployment, but also the growing poverty right up to the middle class.”
“Extremists” who could hijack the protests include the so-called “lateral thinkers” who rallied against coronavirus restrictions during the pandemic, and right-wing activists who have already been stirring the mood on social media in recent months, Kramer said. If such scenarios materialize, “we’re likely to be confronted with mass protests and riots,” the official warned. Due to Covid-19 and the economic fallout from EU sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, “we’re dealing with a highly emotionalized, aggressive, future-pessimistic mood in society, whose trust in the state, its institutions and political actors is fraught with massive doubts,” he explained.
“This highly emotional and explosive mood could easily escalate,” the security chief said, adding that if this happens the clashes seen by Germany during the pandemic will “probably feel more like a children’s birthday party” by comparison. According to the official, effective crisis management and cooperation between political forces on all sides of the spectrum would be required to avoid what he called a “hot autumn.” But the most important factor in avoiding unrest and maintaining social peace should be restoring the confidence of Germans in the authorities, he added. Kramer also advised the people to “think carefully about which protests and demonstrations you join, or better stay away from them altogether, so as not to support the enemies of democracy.”
“..60% of the region’s seaborne diesel imports originated from Russia last month…”
The European Union is heading into winter with seasonally low levels of diesel in storage tanks, Reuters reported on Friday, warning of major implications for the continent’s industries and drivers amid looming sanctions on Russian crude oil and refined product supplies. The latest data from Wood Mackenzie shows the region’s stockpiles of road diesel, heating oil and other diesel-type fuel are set to dwindle this November to the lowest levels on record in data that goes back to the start of 2011. According to a Reuters report, current prices trade at a premium to prices for future deliveries, which makes it uneconomical for traders to put diesel into storage and book a profit. “No one in their right mind would put diesel into tanks at those levels,” an unnamed European trader told the outlet.
The situation is deteriorating as the market is already tight due to refinery outages in Austria, which along with Germany and Switzerland is looking to build heating oil stocks ahead of winter. Meanwhile, surging natural gas prices, which are encouraging a switch to oil products for power generation could also tighten the market further, FGE Energy warns. The International Energy Agency on Thursday raised its forecast for oil demand growth for this year by 380,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 2.1 million bpd citing the gas-to-oil switch. Reuters pointed out, citing data from energy analytics firm Vortexa, that Europe continues to rely heavily on Russia to satisfy its diesel demand. Statistics show that 60% of the region’s seaborne diesel imports originated from Russia last month.
And with no evidence that companies are stockpiling ahead of sanctions, “traders expect Europe to be in for a winter shock,” the media outlet wrote. It quoted another European trader as saying “Who knows what is going to happen [at the] back end of this year, early next – looks like it will be carnage for a bit.” The European Union plans to stop buying all seaborne Russian crude oil from early December and will ban all refined products from the country two months later.
Most German PzH 2000 howitzers that have been supplied to Ukraine by the West have already broken down and are in need of repair, according to German Bundestag member Marcus Faber, who recently visited Ukraine. In a Wednesday interview with the German news outlet NTV, the politician claimed he was surprised to learn from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense that only five of the 15 German-made PzH 2000 howitzers supplied to Ukraine by Berlin and Amsterdam were still operational. He added that the cause of the failures was not Russian fire, but the fact that the guns were “massively used” by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. While Kiev has yet to officially confirm Faber’s statements, it was reported last month by Der Spiegel that Ukraine had informed Germany that a number of PzH 2000 howitzers were malfunctioning after extensive use.
According to the outlet, the German Ministry of Defense believed the issues may have resulted from high intensity firing, which may have impacted the artillery round loading mechanism. Der Spiegel said 100 shots a day was considered a “high level of shooting intensity” for the howitzer. Faber also stated that Kiev had requested more spare parts for the weapons and was “optimistic” that it could bring the howitzers back into working order. He noted that while Germany had already supplied Ukraine with spare parts packages, not all of them were “the right ones.” He pointed out that spare parts were not always enough and that larger repairs required special workshops, meaning the Ukrainians could only carry out minor repairs themselves.
According to Faber, Kiev has already requested help in building their own repair facilities in order to avoid having to send the howitzers out of the country for maintenance. Germany has so far supplied Kiev with ten PzH 2000 howitzers while another five were provided by the Netherlands, who have promised another three. Meanwhile, German arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann struck a deal with the Ukrainian government in late July that would see the firm produce and supply Kiev with some 100 PzH 2000 howitzers, according to a Der Spiegel report. A company spokesperson was quoted as stating that the arms deal was worth $1.72 billion – almost triple the cost of all military aid Berlin has sent to Kiev’s forces since Russia launched its military operation in late February.
However, Faber has pointed out that these 100 howitzers will not be delivered to Ukraine before the end of next year and has called on Berlin to send Kiev weapons out of its own reserves, which could then be replenished by Ukrainian order. Germany has previously supplied Ukrainian forces with thousands of portable anti-tank and anti-air missiles, tens of thousands of anti-tank mines, as well as millions of rounds of ammunition. However, Kiev and even the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany have still criticized Berlin for what they called reluctance to send military aid to Ukraine and the slow pace of deliveries. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Kiev, saying it only prolongs the conflict and increases the number of casualties.
“..their Black Sea exports make up just 0.9 percent of global wheat production..”
On July 5, the markets admitted they made a mistake. Despite betting for months that the war in Ukraine would produce a global shortage of wheat, speculators now believe that the hostilities will have had no meaningful impact on supply. That’s why the news that Russia will allow Ukraine’s Black Sea wheat exports to resume has barely registered. By the time that the belligerents came to this agreement on July 21, prices had already been “corrected” sharply downward to prewar levels. Then on August 4, oil prices also sank below their prewar price, marking a second admission by the market. Right now, just as much oil flows into the veins of the global economy as it did before the war began. The Kremlin’s war did not create a Malthusian nightmare of too little food and fuel for too many people.
But financial speculators in Wall Street and the City of London bet that it would, causing global prices to boom — and now bust. This speculation led to months of eye-watering prices based not on economic fundamentals but perception. Soaring food and fuel prices pushed 71 million of the world’s most vulnerable people into extreme poverty. The high prices triggered protests in Argentina, Chile, Cyprus, Greece, Guinea, Ghana, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Peru, Sudan, and Tunisia. In Sri Lanka, the prices sparked protests, toppled the prime minister, created a debt crisis, and last week deposed the president. Commodity driven inflation also hit the United States, hammered Joe Biden’s approval ratings, and despite now falling gas prices may have already condemned the Democrats to humiliating defeats in the coming midterms.
Why did the markets get it so wrong? As the Nobel laureate Robert Shiller has shown, behind every price move there is a narrative. In the weeks following the war’s outbreak, headlines issued dire warnings of crippling sanctions, embargoed oil, stranded wheat rotting in silos, blocked Russian ports, and Black Sea blockades. All of these stories were, in a literal sense, true. But the question is whether these “facts” justified the skyrocketing prices that followed. The verdict, based on the most recent market correction, is a firm no. This is not just a function of hindsight. For one, even oil embargos with broad international support fail to stop barrels crossing borders, let alone the lopsided and loophole-ridden effort from the United States and Europe to limit Russian exports.
Warnings of a coming global food crisis assumed that Russia and Ukraine’s wheat exports — 25 percent of the global total — would be stranded forever. But physical commodity traders are remarkably resilient at overcoming barriers — be they war zones, tariffs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, or pirates. Russians and Ukrainians alike stood to profit greatly from getting siloed grain to global markets since prices at the start of the year were already elevated. It’s no surprise that they did indeed find ways to do so: by reviving river routes, using Romanian ports, and smuggling stolen grain. Even if none of their combined grain left, their Black Sea exports make up just 0.9 percent of global wheat production, and grain stockpiles were already rising across the world in March as farmers had expanded production in 2021.
“..today, while giving a speech on the White House South Lawn, he couldn’t stop coughing for minutes at a time..”
President Biden, said by his doctor to be a “healthy, vigorous” seventy-nine-year-old man, finally left White House quarantine yesterday for Delaware, declared free of the covid-19 virus and re-joining his wife after a nightmarish 19-day covid ordeal. But today, while giving a speech on the White House South Lawn, he couldn’t stop coughing for minutes at a time, though his doctors declared him this morning free of the virus. Don’t say I didn’t warn you: You are about to enter Clown World. Coughing, fatigue, a sore throat, runny nose, and body aches dogged the president after his July 21 positive covid test. He was given Paxlovid, the absurdly flawed but highly profitable Pfizer drug approved by his administration for treatment of mild covid cases.
Biden was reported cleared of the virus, then suffered a rebound infection July 30 known, along with many perilous drug interactions, to be associated with Paxlovid. Dr. Robert Malone and other scientists speculated that in fact the virus never left the president’s body but kept dangerously mutating, “truly the worst case scenario for a single mechanism of action drug used as a therapy against COVID-19.” Dangerous for us all. Meanwhile, one of my good friends, an eighty-four-year-old man with heart disease and diabetes, came down with covid last week. He took a .4 mg/kg dose of ivermectin according to the world-renowned FLCCC.net covid treatment protocol, and was completely free of symptoms in two hours. His wife took the recommended prevention dose of .2 mg/kg and never got sick. To protect others, my friend stayed home for a few symptom-free days (still enjoying the company of his wife, unlike Joe), then happily walked four miles in the heat with friends yesterday. Yes, Clown World means in all likelihood you and your friends are better covid doctors than the president’s doctor.
This is the first known color film of London from nearly 100 years ago (1924) pic.twitter.com/wPKAjrn2HY
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) August 11, 2022
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