Saul Leiter Harlem 1960
Scott Adams has a hard time updating his list of hoaxes; there are too many.
Dr. Michael Vlahos & Col. Douglas Macgregor: Is the war in Ukraine entering its decisive phase? Pt.1
It brings a tear to my eye @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/Ib7LW0mVRB
— Eliza (@elizableu) December 8, 2022
Third batch. Much more to follow. Hard to keep up.
• THE TWITTER FILES: The Removal Of Donald Trump, Part 1
The third installment of Elon Musk’s release of internal Twitter communications has been released, once again via veteran journalist Matt Taibbi. In this episode, which is a 3-parter, we learn what happened behind the scenes which led to the banishment of former President Donald Trump from the platform. 2. The world knows much of the story of what happened between riots at the Capitol on January 6th, and the removal of President Donald Trump from Twitter on January 8th… 3. We’ll show you what hasn’t been revealed: the erosion of standards within the company in months before J6, decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies.
4. This first installment covers the period before the election through January 6th. Tomorrow, @ShellenbergerMD will detail the chaos inside Twitter on January 7th. On Sunday, @bariweiss will reveal the secret internal communications from the key date of January 8th. 5. Whatever your opinion on the decision to remove Trump that day, the internal communications at Twitter between January 6th-January 8th have clear historical import. Even Twitter’s employees understood in the moment it was a landmark moment in the annals of speech. 6. As soon as they finished banning Trump, Twitter execs started processing new power. They prepared to ban future presidents and White Houses – perhaps even Joe Biden. The “new administration,” says one exec, “will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary.”
7. Twitter executives removed Trump in part over what one executive called the “context surrounding”: actions by Trump and supporters “over the course of the election and frankly last 4+ years.” In the end, they looked at a broad picture. But that approach can cut both ways. 8. The bulk of the internal debate leading to Trump’s ban took place in those three January days. However, the intellectual framework was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots. 9. Before J6, Twitter was a unique mix of automated, rules-based enforcement, and more subjective moderation by senior executives. As reported, the firm had a vast array of tools for manipulating visibility, most all of which were thrown at Trump (and others) pre-J6.
10. As the election approached, senior executives – perhaps under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed – increasingly struggled with rules, and began to speak of “vios” as pretexts to do what they’d likely have done anyway. 11. After J6, internal Slacks show Twitter executives getting a kick out of intensified relationships with federal agencies. Here’s Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth, lamenting a lack of “generic enough” calendar descriptions to concealing his “very interesting” meeting partners.
May 28, 2020. Trump calls out Yoel Roth.
Trump was right about Roth and he was right about what would happen with mail in voting. pic.twitter.com/p6xeKWtffY
— Maze (@mazemoore) December 10, 2022
“This “smaller, more powerful cadre” of senior executives made decisions “on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches..”
• Twitter Files Unveil More FBI Collusion (RT)
US federal agencies worked closely with Twitter moderators to clamp down on “disinformation” during the 2020 election, while executives went to great lengths to scrub certain content they deemed false and dangerous following increasingly frequent sit-downs with law enforcement and intelligence orgs, according to the third installment of the “Twitter Files.” Shared on Friday by journalist Matt Taibbi, the trove of files includes a set of messages from Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth. The executive reveals he was running out of “generic” names on the company’s internal calendar to hide the increasingly regular meetings with federal officials ahead of the 2020 election. “DEFINITELY NOT meeting with the FBI I SWEAR,” he quipped in response to a colleague who suggested calling it a “Very Boring Business Meeting That Is Definitely Not About Trump.”
Another missive speaks of Roth’s “weekly sync” with officials from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), suggesting he consulted with three-letter agencies to discuss “election security.” The message also mentions a “monthly meeting” with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), a unit created to “identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States” in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential win. The FBI even went as far as to flag individual tweets thought to be problematic, in one case urging Twitter to censor a former Republican official – apparently on the basis of a Politifact article alone. The DHS, ODNI and “some NGOs that aren’t academic” were also involved in the process.
A special channel was created on October 8, 2020 for senior executives like Roth, Trust and Policy chief Vijaya Gadde and top lawyer Jim Baker – who previously worked as general counsel for the FBI – to coordinate election-related decisions, given the name “us2020_xfn_enforcement.” This “smaller, more powerful cadre” of senior executives made decisions “on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches,” while also “clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content,” Taibbi wrote, dubbing the group a “high-speed Supreme Court of moderation.” In yet another exchange involving Policy Director Nick Pickles, a staffer asked if the site’s marketing team could say that posts are reviewed in conjunction with “outside experts” in promotional material. However, Pickles raised doubts, saying “not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts,” instead suggesting the term “partnerships” alone.
Lawyer sundance has long said he doesn’t trust DeSantis, who he sees as representing larger forces behind the curtain. Since Bari Weiss supports DeSantis’ campaign, while also publishing the Twitter Files with Matt Taibbi, for Elon Musk, he doesn’t trust any of them either.
• Twitter Files Highlight the Mechanics of Controlling Platform Information (CTH)
The latest release of information behind the controversial “Twitter Files”, comes from Bari Weiss complete with the strategic promotion of a new website [The Free Press] launching via the booster provided by their access to the internal Twitter documents. Curiously intelligent people will note the Weiss website is structured to support the 2024 presidential bid of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is, not coincidentally, riding atop a multi-staged booster guided by Elon Musk and fueled by Wall Street billionaires. For the moment, just note and I digress – but please do not miss the connections. As noted by the former New York Times journalist, Ms. Weiss states, “the [website] authors have broad and expanding access to Twitter’s files. The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter.” [..]
Overall, the story as released walks through the process that Twitter used to control users and as a consequence control the flow of information on the platform. Accounts were subject to restrictions, manipulations and other inorganic engagement controls depending on the ideology of the content being provided. [..] To put it in brutally honest terms, The United States Dept of Homeland Security is the operating system running in the background of Twitter. You can debate whether Elon Musk honestly didn’t know all this before purchasing Twitter from his good friend Jack Dorsey, and/or what the scenario of owner/operator motive actually is. Decide for yourself. For me, I feel confident that all of the conflicting and odd datapoints only reconcile in one direction. DHS, via CISA, controls Twitter.
Wittingly or unwittingly (you decide) Elon Musk is now the face of that govt controlled enterprise. If you concur with my researched assessment, then what you see being released by Elon Musk in the Twitter Files is actually a filtered outcome as a result of this new ownership dynamic. And with that intelligence framework solidly in mind, I warn readers not to take a position on the motive of the new ownership. Put simply, DHS stakeholders, to include the DOJ, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), are mitigating public exposure of their domestic surveillance activity by controlling and feeding selected information about their prior Twitter operations.
“..Dorsey insisted that “we don’t have a censoring department.” Dorsey also expressly denied under oath that there was “shadow banning” based on political ideology.”
• How “Trust” Executives Misled Congress and the Public (Turley)
Calling executives the “Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust” (Vijaya Gadde) and the “Global Head of Trust & Safety” (Yoel Roth) doesn’t alter their status as some of the greatest censors in history. Yet the license for this massive system clearly came from Twitter’s very top. Shadow banning and “visibility filtering” are consistent with the policies of ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, who pledged the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the Internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.” So we now know that Twitter was not only banning dissenting voices on subjects ranging from COVID to climate change but was throttling or suppressing the traffic for disfavored writers.
Among those targeted was Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who wrote about how COVID lockdowns would harm children. He and others have been vindicated in flagging those worries, but Twitter secretly placed him on a “Trends Blacklist” to prevent his tweets from trending. It’s a telling list because it reflects an acknowledgment that such tweets would trend with users if the company didn’t suppress them. Some of us have been raising concerns over Twitter’s massive censorship system for years, including what I called the emergence of a “shadow state” where corporations carry out censorship the Constitution bars the government from doing. What’s striking is leading Democrats have been open about precisely this type of corporate manipulation of political speech on social media.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called upon these companies to use enlightened algorithms to protect users from their own bad reading choices. Even President Joe Biden called for such regulation of speech and discussions by wise editors. Without such censorship and manipulation, Biden asked, “How do people know the truth?” It is still early to determine possible legal implications of these files, but there are some areas likely to be of immediate concern for counsel. First, Elon Musk has suggested that some material may have been intentionally hidden or destroyed despite inquiries from Congress. Twitter was told to expect a congressional investigation into these areas. It’s not clear if this was material allegedly deleted as part of a regular process or a specific effort to destroy evidence of censorship or throttling.
Such obstruction cases, however, can be difficult to bring absent clear evidence. In 2005, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned accounting firm Arthur Andersen’s conviction for its destruction of documents under a standard record-management system. Second, destruction of documents could also prove relevant as part of an investigation into whether false statements were given under oath. Twitter executives denied such secret suppression efforts both in public and before Congress. Indeed, a recent federal filing revealed a 2021 email between Twitter executives and Carol Crawford, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s digital media chief. Crawford wanted to censor “unapproved opinions” on social media; Twitter replied that “with our CEO testifying before Congress this week [it] is tricky.”
At that hearing, social-media companies were asked about my prior testimony on private censorship in circumventing the First Amendment. In response, Dorsey insisted that “we don’t have a censoring department.” Dorsey also expressly denied under oath that there was “shadow banning” based on political ideology.
“Is it a stretch to imagine Mr. Baker’s former employer, the FBI — which, let’s face it, operates as a sort of blood-brotherhood — purposely installed Mr. Baker in that sensitive job at Twitter..”
• The Tool of Tools (Kunstler)
At what point in his arduous take-over of Twitter did Elon Musk realize that the package came with a joker in the deck: James A. Baker, formerly general counsel of the FBI? Did he wonder: what is this guy doing here? Were there any conversations between the two? Or did Mr. Musk just quietly observe his presence at a remove in nervous wonder, as one might, say, upon discovering a scorpion in the corner of his hotel room? Mr. Baker, you understand, was notoriously at the center of the FBI’s FISA court fuckery that got the ball rolling in the Crossfire Hurricane operation, Act One of RussiaGate, as well as the Alfa Bank caper concocted by Hillary Clinton (disclosed this year by special counsel John Durham), and probably every other sedition pie the FBI cooked in its oven in those years, considering Mr. Baker’s position as chief legal advisor to Director Chris Wray.
When the alt-news media caught onto Mr. Baker’s nefarious activities, he became inconvenient to the agency, was re-assigned to some nebulous task (polishing Mr. Wray’s cuff links?), and quit in May, 2018. He landed temporarily — or was he, rather, parked out-of-sight? — at the shadowy R Street Institute, an Intel Community cut-out, one of its countless PR channels in the DC Swamp. But then, mysteriously, Mr. Baker got hired by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in June of 2020 — the heat of a presidential election — to work under Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel (and chief of “legal, policy, and trust” [ha!]), where he remained until just the other day. Is it a stretch to imagine Mr. Baker’s former employer, the FBI — which, let’s face it, operates as a sort of blood-brotherhood — purposely installed Mr. Baker in that sensitive job at Twitter to help “moderate” the national conversation in the central forum that public debate had moved to in our time?
If so, he apparently did a crackerjack job, and just at the right time, too, after the FBI discovered, in emails they ripped off Rudolph Giuliani’s purloined cloud account, that Donald Trump’s attorney possessed of a copy of the laptop hard-drive of one Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden — said computer (the FBI knew full-well by then) being stuffed not just with pornographic photos of crack orgies and other personal infelicities, but also a trove of emails and deal memos laying out a bribery and money-laundering scheme that the younger Biden was running all over Eurasia as a family business.
“..the upcoming counteroffensive would give Russia control of the entire coast from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea..”
• Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)
Much has been made of Ukraine’s retaking of Kherson, but Russia regarded it as a city of little strategic value. Rather than waste resources fighting for it, they withdrew. The Russians also let the Ukrainians have the open land, which will later become a killing field for Russian artillery. That’s the reality you’re not being told. In the words of retired U.S. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor: “The Biden administration repeatedly commits the unpardonable sin in a democratic society of refusing to tell the American people the truth: Contrary to the Western media’s popular “Ukrainian victory” narrative, which blocks any information that contradicts it, Ukraine is not winning and will not win this war. Months of heavy Ukrainian casualties, resulting from an endless series of pointless attacks against Russian defenses in southern Ukraine, have dangerously weakened Ukrainian forces.”
In the meantime, Russia is preparing to launch a massive counteroffensive. It’s completed its 300,000-man mobilization, with over 180,000 of those troops now deployed behind Russian lines in combat formations. The remaining 120,000 troops will arrive soon. This brings total Russian strength up to about 30 divisions. Once again, Col. Macgregor: “The coming offensive phase of the conflict will provide a glimpse of the new Russian force that is emerging and its future capabilities…The numbers continue to grow, but the numbers already include 1,000 rocket artillery systems, thousands of tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones, plus 5,000 armored fighting vehicles, including at least 1,500 tanks, hundreds of manned fixed-wing attack aircraft, helicopters and bombers. This new force has little in common with the Russian army that intervened nine months ago on Feb. 24, 2022.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian strength has been greatly diminished due to high casualty rates and being stretched thin. Then What? If successful, the upcoming counteroffensive would give Russia control of the entire coast from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. It would also give Russia control of the Dnipro River, which separates the western part of Ukraine from the eastern part and connects Kyiv to the Black Sea. Ukraine would be left as a rump state between Kyiv and Lviv. Almost all the industrial, technological and natural resource capacity of former Ukraine would be under Russian control.
“If we are talking about a disarming strike, perhaps we should think about using the approaches of our American partners.”
• Putin: West is Using Ukrainians as ‘Cannon Fodder’ (Celente)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, once again, accused the West of using Ukrainian troops as cannon fodder as some of the war’s most intense fighting rages in Bakhmut, an eastern city in Donetsk. Putin said the West is fighting for global domination but acknowledged that Russia will have to make a deal vis-a-vis Ukraine at some point. He said he is concerned that countries like Germany and France, which would likely help broker any deals, may not be trust worthy. “The question of trust arises. And trust of course is almost at zero… But nevertheless, in the final analysis we have to come to agreements. I have already said many times that we are ready for these agreements,” Putin said in a video message, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the fighting playing out in the city has been compared to how forces used to square off in WWI.
The Financial Times described one of the scenes:“Then came the Russian infantry, charging in a first world war-style attack across a no man’s land of shredded trees and artillery craters. The Ukrainians popped up and mowed down many of them with machine guns and grenade launchers. Moments later, the scenes were repeated — although this time the Russian fighters had to navigate their comrades’ bodies. Again many were cut down by Ukrainian bullets. “It’s like a conveyor belt,” Kostyantyn, an exhausted Ukrainian machine-gunner who described the scene to the Financial Times, said of the Russian tactics. “For what? A fucking metre of our land.” The city is considered to be located at a valuable location and has been fortified by Ukrainian troops.
Both Russia and Ukraine have been tight lipped about their casualties in the city, but The Wall Street Journal said hospitals have been inundated with Ukrainian casualties. Ukrainian troops and civilians have taken to social media to post images from the city that show gutted buildings and charred homes. Sky News noted that Bakhumt has been called a meat grinder because of the “huge and growing number of casualties.”Putin also said in the video that Russia may look into updating its nuclear policy and take a new look at the possibility of a preventive nuclear first strike to disarm an opponent to its military doctrine, Bloomberg reported. “We’re thinking about this,” he said. “If we are talking about a disarming strike, perhaps we should think about using the approaches of our American partners.”
One after another. Never stop.
• US To Unveil New Military Aid Package For Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
Washington is about to send another security assistance package to Kiev, which will include anti-drone and air defense systems, Reuters reported, citing sources. The $275 million measure is expected to be officially announced on Friday. According to officials and documents cited by the news agency, the security aid will also include rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm ammunition, Humvee vehicles, and generators. At the same time, there are no details on the air defense equipment, the report says. In addition to this, the contents and the size of the aid package may change before it is approved by US President Joe Biden.
The new measure is expected to be covered by the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows Washington to dispatch military equipment quickly and without congressional approval. Supporting Ukraine with air defense systems has become an “absolute priority” for Western countries since Russia began targeting the country’s energy infrastructure, according to the US Department of Defense. The recurring bombardments picked up steam after Moscow accused Kiev of conducting “terrorist attacks” on Russian structures, including the strategic Crimea Bridge. In early November, the Pentagon announced a $400 million security package for Ukraine, which included ammunition for the HAWK air defense system as well as four Avenger air defense systems and additional Stinger missiles.
The same month, Ukraine received two first National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), with Washington promising to send another six. Since the start of the conflict, the US has committed more than $19 billion in security assistance to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly warned Western countries that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks both crossing Russia’s “red lines,” and could lead to their direct involvement in the conflict. Washington and its allies insist they are not a party to the hostilities, but continue sending arms shipments to Kiev. The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes on Ukraine’s power infrastructure were intended to degrade Kiev’s ability to transport troops, and Western-supplied weapons and equipment to the battlefield by rail.
“Beijing will be Washington’s strategic rival for decades to come. However, it’s not a threat to Western Europe, and it’s not a challenge. Indeed, cooperation with it is advantageous.”
• Western Europe Caught In A Strategic Trap, Unclear How It Can Escape (Lukyanov)
[..] the Democratic administration’s rhetoric was reminiscent of the Clinton era, which was arguably the golden era of US-European symbiosis. Back then, Washington regarded the continent as an important priority and made considerable efforts to beautify it in a pan-Atlantic spirit, which was then in line with the overwhelming European sense of what was beautiful. The current US president, Joe Biden, is an old-school politician, from a time when Europe was the center of American interests. But the old school involves a sober analysis of costs and benefits. And the ability to optimize the former by maximizing the latter.
After the Second World War, and especially the Cold War, Western Europeans abandoned strategic thinking and instead followed policies which ensured a comfortable existence. The US, on the other hand, has retained the ability, if not to think, then, at least, to feel strategically. Hence an understanding (or rather an instinct) of the changing geopolitical realities. Of course, gut feelings don’t guarantee the correctness of policy, but they do imply an alignment with current needs and circumstances. Ironically, Western Europe, historically famed for its rationalism, is now much less correlated with the consequences of its actions.
Whether Washington had a cunning plan to shift the brunt of the confrontation with Russia onto its European allies, we may someday find out. However, the behavior of the United States can perhaps be explained not by scheming, but rather by clever opportunism. The fallout from the Ukrainian crisis is spreading all over the place, with the US making decisions to manage the consequences or even to exploit them for the future. This causes consternation amongst the Western Europeans: the Americans can do it, but they themselves can not. Thus, when the Biden administration passes the Inflation Reduction Act, putting American citizens in a much better position than Europeans, it is perfectly in the interests of the US. So?
Western Europe is caught in a trap and it’s unclear how it can escape. Absolute solidarity with the US on the Russian question implies subordination to a stronger partner. That said, the EU and UK are ready for this, but it means (for objective reasons): 1) that they must bear most of the costs, and 2) they should follow a common strategic position on the other issues of principle for their patron. And the main one here is China. Beijing will be Washington’s strategic rival for decades to come. However, it’s not a threat to Western Europe, and it’s not a challenge. Indeed, cooperation with it is advantageous. But why should the big brother allow his little sidekick to help someone who is at odds with him?
“..Western companies made a killing inside Russia, tens of millions of people were robbed of their savings and pensions and millions died of poverty, despair, alcoholism and in nationalist wars in the Caucasus..”
• The New Russia and a Prophetic Ballad (Batiushka)
Tragically, instead of keeping the best of the old USSR, full employment, housing for all, free education, free health care, free culture and support for the exploited Third World, once the nouveau-riche nomenklatura had taken long-coveted power, they simply put in place a poor-quality imitation of the corrupt West, keeping only all that was worst in the old USSR, alcoholism, abortion and divorce on demand, corruption etc. It was the worst of both worlds. National assets were stolen (‘privatised’) by what were politely called ‘oligarchs’, tens of millions of abandoned Russians found they had become disliked minorities in new countries, Western companies made a killing inside Russia, tens of millions of people were robbed of their savings and pensions and millions died of poverty, despair, alcoholism and in nationalist wars in the Caucasus, which were directly provoked and supported by the West. It was one of the greatest thefts of resources and identity in the history of the world.
It is only since 2000 that Russian patriots have been able to develop something better to put in place of these monstrosities and despite them. This has been a generational project and could not be rushed. Only thirty years later, in 2022, was the project ready. The New Russia, purged of the parasites and traitors, is needed, but there are still institutions, like the Church, where the corrupt and infiltrators are present and so compromise them. These traitors are just like the aristocrats, generals, politicians and professionals who coveted power in 1917 and so brought the system down. Just like today’s aristocrats/oligarchs and bourgeois elite of traitors, they implemented the Western-planned February 1917 palace revolt and, once they had caused chaos, civil war and destruction, they irresponsibly ran away to the West.
Having rejected the corrupt and failed post-Soviet Russia and the bankrupted Soviet Russia (1917-1991), the patriots who wanted to form the New Russia had two past models to consider: the brief Imperial Russia (1721-1917) and the long pre-Imperial Russia (988-1721), whose ideal was ‘Holy Rus’. Interestingly the last Tsar, Nicholas II, seeing the appalling decadence of the upper class in Saint Petersburg, had looked back with nostalgia precisely to that pre-Imperial Russia and especially to one of its last rulers, Tsar Alexis (1645-1676). He named his only son after him, reconciling those who used the Old Ritual with the Church, worked towards the restoration of the Patriarchate, building churches in the national style of the previous age and reforming church singing and iconography according to that age’s standards
“..specific steps to retaliate against the measure will be outlined in the coming days through a presidential order..”
• Oil Price Cap Will Backfire, Warns Putin (RT)
The price ceiling imposed by the West on Russian oil exports will impact the nations adopting the measure rather than Russia itself, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. He noted that the cap is equal to prices at which the country is currently selling its crude. “We won’t sustain losses under any circumstances,” Putin said during a press conference following a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. The price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel, was introduced by the EU, the G7 countries and Australia on December 5. It bans Western companies from providing insurance and other services to shipments of Russian oil, unless the cargo is purchased at or below the indicated price.
Russia is not planning to sell oil to nations supporting the price cap, Putin said, adding that specific steps to retaliate against the measure will be outlined in the coming days through a presidential order. According to Putin, Russia will consider oil production cuts if necessary, although no decisions on the issue have been made so far. “We have an agreement with OPEC + on a known production target, we will think of something additional if necessary,” he said. According to the Russian leader, introducing a price ceiling will inevitably reduce investments into the oil sector, and send global crude prices skyrocketing.
“It was a serious defeat for her but there was nothing she could do about it. She therefore now comes up, ex post, with a Chamberlain excuse…”
• ‘Minsk II Was Agreed On To Arm Ukraine’ – Did Merkel Really Say That? (MoA)
Helmholtz Smith, Andrew Korybko and Andrei Martyanov have some thoughts about a recent interview the former German chancellor Angela Merkel gave to the German weekly broadsheet Die Zeit. Smith says it shows that the ‘West’ is not trustworthy. Korybko thinks it the interview will prolong the conflict in Ukraine. Martyanov says that Merkel is stupid. She isn’t. In the interview Merkel seems to claim that the Minsk agreements between the Ukrainian government and the Donbas region, which she negotiated and co-signed as guarantor, was never meant to be fulfilled. It was only meant to give time to build up the Ukrainian military. I however think that such an interpretation is wrong. Merkel is under very harsh critique not only in the U.S. but also in her own conservative party.
She is now out to justify her previous decisions as well as the current bad outcome in Ukraine. My hunch is that she is making things up. Unfortunately she also creates serious damage. The relevant passage of the interview is longer than the one paragraph Helmholtz Smith and other cite. The context is important. Here is my translation of it: “ZEIT: Do you ask yourself if the years of relative calm were also years of omissions and if you were not only a crisis manager, but also partly the cause of crises? Merkel: I would not be a political person if I did not deal with that. […some stuff about climate action …] Let us look at my policy towards Russia and Ukraine. I come to the conclusion that I made the decisions I made back then in a way that I can understand today. It was an attempt to prevent just such a war. The fact that this was not successful does not mean that the attempts were wrong.”
I think the above is genuine. The Minsk agreements were a serious attempt to prevent war by reintegrating Donbas into a federalized Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian president Poroshenko did not have the will and the political backing to fulfill the agreement. There was no chance that, under him, a federalization law would pass the Ukrainian parliament. Moreover the U.S., the only party who could have really pressured him, told him not to follow up on the agreement. But then came Zelensky who was elected by a large majority on the promise to fulfill Minsk II. He even made attempts to do that. But he soon found out that his own life was in serious danger if he continued to try. There was also U.S. pressure as it did not want Minsk fulfilled.
Merkel however can not say that out loud. By late 2019 she must have recognized that Minsk II was blocked forever. It was a serious defeat for her but there was nothing she could do about it. She therefore now comes up, ex post, with a Chamberlain excuse. The 1938 Munich agreement Chamberlain signed prevented Germany from immediately going to war and gave the UK and others time to arm up. The Minsk agreement, Merkel claims now, bought time for Ukraine to get its military into better conditions.
“This shift from “weekly change” to “cumulative balance” is kind of a funny way of doing something?”
• How Big Are the Fed’s Losses and Where Can We Go See Them? (WS)
The chart tracks the line item, “Earnings remittances due to the U.S. Treasury,” on the Fed’s weekly balance sheet (second “Table 6,” Liabilities). This is normally a line that tracks the weekly increase in the amount that the Fed estimates it owes the US Treasury as the year goes on. “Normally” means in times when the Fed is making money. Each week adds up. For example, in 2021, all the 52 weekly amounts, each in the range between $500 million and $4 billion, added up to $106 billion that the Fed would owe the Treasury Department. Close enough for an estimate of the $107.4 billion in remittance for the year. But when the Fed started losing money on a weekly basis in September, the account did a switcheroo. Instead of showing the “weekly change” as during normal times, it shows the “cumulative loss since September 2022.”
In other words, when the Fed started losing money on a weekly basis in September 2022, the account shifted from showing a weekly change of a positive balance, to showing the total cumulative negative balance. It now no longer shows the weekly change but its total loss since September 2022. This shift from “weekly change” to “cumulative balance” is kind of a funny way of doing something? But it sort of makes sense, and here’s why: In theory, if the amount that the Fed owes the US Treasury is negative, it would mean that the US Treasury owes this amount to the Fed and would have to pay the Fed. But that’s not their deal. Their deal is that the remittance is a one-way channel, from the Fed to the Treasury.
And when it turns negative, the Fed will just sit on the negative balance that will grow over the years as long as the Fed is losing money. And when the Fed is making money again, the Fed will not remit its net income to the Treasury Department, but will apply it to this pile of accumulated losses until the pile is gone. When the pile is gone, the Fed starts remitting its profits to the Treasury again. [..] The Fed calls this growing pile of accumulated losses a “deferred asset.” Storing losses on the balance sheet as an asset, rather than showing the loss on the income statement right away, is an old corporate accounting trick, encouraged by GAAP, and includes such infamous accounts as “Goodwill” and “Intangible Assets.” The Fed is sort of just sticking to devious corporate accounting 101 here.
[..] The Fed, which creates & destroys money, cannot run out of money. I mean, we knew this all along. The Fed is not Enron, though the loss-accounting might look similar. The Fed creates its own money. And the Fed’s losses – no matter how large – will not cause the Fed to run out of money because it can always create more. So we can take that off our worry list. For the Fed, a loss is just an accounting entry, not an existential crisis. The Fed won’t print money to pay for its losses — it won’t need to. But it’ll use some of the money from the QT roll-offs that would have been destroyed and pay interest with it. And so that money for interest payments goes out the door, and the balance sheet will shrink on track with QT.
“..global bodies like the World Bank’s “Climate Smart Agriculture” program, the UN’s “protected area initiatives,” the European Commission and armies of well-funded NGO’s are executing a wholly-comprehensive platform targeting Dutch farmers..”
• Dutch Farmers Battle Technocratic Forces Driving Them Into Oblivion (GZ)
Holland exports the most food on earth, behind only America, on a landmass roughly the size of Indiana. Farmers the world over come to study Dutch techniques. The country embraces what’s known as the Mansholt theory—a philosophy of ensuring food security and self-sufficiency that emerged from the second world war as a response to Nazi-imposed famine. To stave-off a similar tragedy, Dutch agriculture embraces the Haber-Bosch process, a method of infusing fertilizer with nitrogen to increase yield efficiency. Invented in the early 1900s by a pair of Nobel Prize-winning chemists, Haber-Bosch is responsible for the existence of half the world’s population today (and is known in Malthusian circles as “the detonator of the population explosion”), thanks to its ability to grow more food on less land.
But now global bodies like the World Bank’s “Climate Smart Agriculture” program, the UN’s “protected area initiatives,” the European Commission and armies of well-funded NGO’s are executing a wholly-comprehensive platform targeting Dutch farmers — restricting both organic and artificial fertilizer use — while asserting “biodiversity protection” as the pretext for snatching land from the productive. Dutch farmers, in protest, have driven tractors to the Hague, tossed flaming trash onto the roads and sprayed manure across government buildings. It’s worth reemphasizing that the Dutch government is carrying out the same radical experiment conducted in Sri Lanka earlier this year — eliminating nitrogen-based fertilizer, the basis of modern survival. In the southeast Asian country, it led to a famine that toppled the government.
The Sri Lankan “disaster” fronted a simple premise: replace something with nothing. And to eliminate Russian gas from the geopolitical scene. The Colombo declaration, signed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2019, celebrated the end of food security and sovereignty, offering in its place a model for import-dependency and agricultural destruction now being imposed on the Dutch. “They are sweeping the culture from the land,” says Sieta Van Keimpema, a sturdy 6-foot Dutchwoman in her 50s with short, wavy black hair. She is head of the European Milk Board, and leader of the Dutch farmers’ de-facto political arm, Farmer’s Defense Force (FDF). “Our government has made laws and laws that put us in a corner that you cannot come back from,” she says. “If people cannot put food on the table you get riots. You get an unstable society. I don’t see the benefits to this.”
If Harry Potter had been written by Dostoevsky:
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