Edward Hopper Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro 1930-33
“My expectation is in the next two months or so, Julian #Assange will be released.”
Hear, hear! ABC Global Affairs Editor John Lyons on @abcnews John talks about Julian’s declining health and his optimism for Albanese action.
— Australian Assange Campaign (@AssangeCampaign) January 1, 2023
Difference between BBC and RT is remarkable.
Air raid sirens sounded in Kyiv on Sunday night as the latest wave of drone and missile strikes from Russia continued. An attack which began shortly before midnight targeted critical infrastructure, Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said. One man in Kyiv was injured by debris from a destroyed Russian drone, the capital’s mayor said. The attacks have continued for several days over the New Year period. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said 400 Russian soldiers had been killed in on New Year’s Eve in Makiivka, in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region. In a rare move, pro-Russian authorities admitted to casualties. But Russia refused to confirm the number of deaths, and the BBC is unable to verify this.
It comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky wished for victory and a “return to normal” for Ukraine in 2023. In a new year address on Russian TV, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would fight to protest its sovereignty and independence. Kyiv’s military issued a warning of the latest attacks just after 01:00 (23:00 GMT) on Monday. “Air attack on Kyiv… Air alert is on in the capital,” it announced on the Telegram social media site. Serhiy Popko, the city’s military administration head, told people to stay in shelters. Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported an explosion in Kyiv’s northeastern Desnyanskyi district and said emergency services were attending. “An injured 19-year-old man was hospitalised in the Desnyanskyi district of the capital,” he said.
Mr Kuleba said the weapons were Iranian-made Shahed drones, adding that they were “targeting critical infrastructure facilities”. “The main thing now is to stay calm and stay in shelters until the alarm is off,” he said. It comes after a barrage of attacks on New Year’s Eve, which killed at least one person in Kyiv. Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure for several months, destroying power stations and plunging millions into darkness during the country’s freezing winter.
“Yeah, we completely agree with Satan on everything.”
The 118th United States Congress will be inaugurated on January 3, 2023, ushering in a number of changes, including Republican control of the House of Representatives and an attendant flip of the office of the speaker. That means that long-time Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi will have to give up her gavel and hand it over, most likely to Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. This has been Pelosi’s second tenure as speaker, as she served the first time from 2007-2011 and made history during that time by being the first – and so far only – woman to hold that title. Indeed, Pelosi’s record as the third-highest constitutional officer in the US has been historic – but maybe for some reasons that aren’t so savory. For one, the California Democrat is a notorious self-dealer. For instance, Pelosi was one of the most high-profile members of Congress implicated in a five-month corruption investigation by Business Insider.
She is reported to have deep holdings in companies such as Tesla, Disney, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Meta (Facebook’s parent company), which she is directly responsible for regulating as a member of Congress. And it should also not be a surprise that she has repeatedly come out against barring members of Congress from trading stocks and other financial assets, even if she did an about face when public pressure mounted. “We are a free-market economy. They (members of Congress) should be able to participate in that (trading),” she told reporters in December 2021. There is actually an argument to be made that indeed members of Congress should be able to engage in such investments. After all, they have to pay two sets of housing costs in their district and in the notoriously expensive Washington, DC area.
They also have to pay all of their own traveling expenses to and from their district. And they have to do all of that, plus probably also have a family, with a salary of $174,000. It’s not all that glamorous when you think about it. But if we look at Pelosi’s net worth of $114,662,521, according to 2018 data by OpenSecrets, then we can see that this argument hardly applies. In fact, if you look at the chart of her individual wealth over the years, you’ll notice that her wealth exponentially increased with her position as speaker. It’s like her power in Congress directly translates to her own personal wealth accumulation – which, I think we can all agree, would be the definition of corruption. Along with being greedy, the outgoing speaker is a devout war hawk. She once told reporters in Damascus in 2007, during George W. Bush’s presidency, that “there is no division on policy between us and President Bush, be it on Israel, Palestine or Syria.” For anyone familiar with Bush’s genocidal Middle East scheme, this is basically like saying, “Yeah, we completely agree with Satan on everything.”
[..] To put in perspective how unpopular Pelosi is, according to Public Policy Polling, a higher share of Americans believe that JFK was killed by a conspiracy (51%) and that Bush intentionally misled the public on Iraq’s WMDs (44%) than like Pelosi, with just a bit less (37%) thinking global warming is a hoax. For the sake of our country, it is to be hoped that the 82-year-old will retire from political life after her term as speaker comes to a close. But unfortunately, as is ever the case with Pelosi, her career might just outstay its welcome and drag on endlessly.
Atlas was completely silenced by Fauci and Birx. Strange story.
When discussing censorship, there are often “vague implications” on the effects of that restriction. But by censoring medical science and health policy, “you are killing people,” Dr. Scott Atlas firmly stated in an interview that aired on Newsmakers by NTD and The Epoch Times on Dec. 28. “Censorship of the correct science and medical information, during this pandemic, absolutely killed people. It prevented people from making intelligent decisions. It prevented people from making the appropriate use of caution,” Atlas alleged of Twitter censoring doctors such as himself. Furthermore, Atlas charged, Twitter’s censorship was particularly “harmful” and “shocking” because the United States was founded on freedom.
“This kind of censorship was, in my view, unheard of in the United States,” Atlas stated. “It’s reminiscent of everything that we, as a free society and democracy, abhor about countries that are authoritarian, like China, the former USSR and now Russia, North Korea. “This is the kind of censorship that occurs in those countries. And now it’s occurring in our country.” According to Atlas, censorship at the government’s behest isn’t limited to social media and is far more insidious than first imagined. “It’s not simply blocking information. It’s also—being less overt about it—it’s limiting the public’s access to information. It’s impugning people who are speaking correct information,” Atlas said.
In Atlas’s view, there was only one acceptable COVID-19 narrative at the height of the pandemic, and that was the one put forward by those in authority, specifically Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. Consequently, when other health authority figures, such as Atlas, advanced conflicting information, the above authorities enlisted help from the media to squash that dissent. “Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, etc., went to their friends in the media and undermined people like me. Who, in fact, were saying what was correct, what has been validated as being correct this entire time. “But the reality is, yes, the censorship of science kills people. And it killed people during this pandemic. There’s no doubt about that,” Atlas stated.
“..he threw around so much data confetti that a person could have easily believed that he was downplaying the severity to promote calm. His intention was the opposite.”
Anthony Fauci is finally gone from his government perch. Let us recall that it was he who set this calamity in motion, squandering his credibility, while taking down public health and much else with it. More than anyone, he bears responsibility, even if he was acting on others’ behalf. That is especially true if he was carrying out a hidden agenda (take your pick of theories). There was already growing political and societal panic on March 11, 2020, when the House Oversight and Reform Committee convened a hearing on the new virus circulating. Fauci was the key witness. The only question on everyone’s mind came down to the most primal fear: am I going to die from this thing, like in the movies?
This was one day before Trump’s announcement of the travel ban from Europe, the UK, and Australia, essentially sealing the borders of the US to an extent never before attempted, thus separating families and loved ones and trapping billions of people in their nation states. It was five days before the evil declaration by all health authorities to immediately shut down all places where people could congregate. These few days will remain a case study in irrationality and crowd madness. Fauci, on the day of his testimony, however, seemed like a paragon of stability. He was calm and clear, nearly bloodness in his tone. The substance of what he said, at the same time, was clearly designed to generate panic and create the conditions for a full lockdown.
He had the countenance of a doctor who was telling the family that a beloved father was terminally ill with 30 days to live. In particular, and in contrast to the testimony prepared by CDC/NIH, Fauci spoke to the severity of the virus. To the average member of Congress, the answer here was crucial because it addressed the only two serious issues: “Am I going to die?” and “Will I be blamed and politically punished if my constituents die?” To this, he responded with what seemed like science but was actually completely wrong, dreadfully wrong, catastrophically wrong. He claimed that we knew for sure that at best Covid was 10 times deadlier than the flu. In fact, he threw around so much data confetti that a person could have easily believed that he was downplaying the severity to promote calm. His intention was the opposite.
“A local official in Shanghai told The Epoch Times on Dec. 27 that his office had received instructions to do whatever it could to push the city into the COVID peak status.”
“Zero non-COVID” is the name that people in China are calling the regime’s new pandemic management policy. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has aggressively pushed the whole country towards an all-COVID-positive state. China’s annual rubber-stamp legislature is usually in session during the month of March. It is widely expected that the coming session will focus on saving China’s economy because it is on the edge of collapse after the three-year long zero-COVID policy. Party leader Xi Jinping is clearly willing to pay any price to reopen the country. Government employees of Chongqing City and Zhejiang Province received notices telling them return to their offices to work even if they have tested positive for COVID-19, as long as their symptoms are mild.
The total population of Chongqing City is more than 31 million, and Zhejiang province more than 57 million. Rumors on the Chinese internet talked about local governments of Chongqing City and Zhejiang Province being criticized by Beijing because these regions were too slow to reach a high percentage of COVID positive patients. A local official in Shanghai told The Epoch Times on Dec. 27 that his office had received instructions to do whatever it could to push the city into the COVID peak status. “Let those who are supposed to become positive become positive, and let those who are supposed to die, die,” said Song Wen (pseudonym). All state-owned media are mute about the current situation in the country, and reports from different government agencies are conflicting.
The Zhejiang Provincial government recorded one million new COVID cases on Dec. 25, while the Chinese national CDC only reported 2,983 new cases in the whole nation for the same day. The regime announced that on Jan. 8, 2023, China will totally reopen travel in and out of the country, which has triggered concern in countries around the globe. Italian officials reported on Dec. 28 that 50 percent of passengers on two flights from China tested positive for COVID. China, a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, moved from the zero-COVID policy to a zero non-COVID policy within a month. The sudden change has left health experts worldwide feeling uncertain, because the explosion in COVID cases in China may lead to the whole world being exposed to new variants.
The Western media have widely attributed the sudden policy change to the late November White Paper protests against the zero-COVID policy in China. However, according to World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies chief Michael Ryan, the COVID spike in China was not due to the lifting of the government mandated restrictions. Before the policy change, “the disease was spreading intensively because I believe the control measures in themselves were not stopping the disease. And I believe China decided strategically that was not the best option anymore,” Ryan said.
Wonder if this can/will carry over into other states. Perhaps not even necessary, depending on what they find.
A states grand jury to investigate Big Pharma for civil and criminal wrongdoing related to its COVID-19 mRNA vaccines has been approved by the Supreme Court of Florida. “A statewide grand jury shall be promptly impaneled for a term of twelve calendar months, to run from the date of impanelment, with jurisdiction throughout the State of Florida, to investigate crime, return indictments, make presentments, and otherwise perform all functions of a grand jury with regard to the offenses stated herein,” the court order stated. “The Petitioner, the Honorable Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, has alleged that good and sufficient reason exists and that it is in the public interest to impanel a statewide grand jury, with jurisdiction throughout the State of Florida, to investigate crime, return indictments, make presentments, and otherwise perform all functions of a grand jury with regard to the offenses listed,” the court order continued.
The grand jury probe will have sweeping scope and will include many targets for investigation.Those include: “Individuals, persons, and entities, including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical manufacturers (and their executive officers) and other medical associations or organizations involved in the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, marketing, representation, advertising, promotion, labeling, distribution, formulation, packing, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, or use of vaccines purported to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission.” The grand jury will also investigate “other criminal activity or wrongdoing that the statewide grand jury uncovers during the course of the investigation if it determines that pursuing the criminal activity or wrongdoing is in the best interests of the investigation.”
“The legacy media should worry about its reputation,” Musk retorted. “We have only just begun.”
Billionaire tech CEO Elon Musk is entertaining the idea of buying out top digital media companies. Journalist and media commentator Dave Rubin started a Twitter thread discussing the tremendous influence that Google and YouTube have on the nation’s politics. “Let me get ahead of this one right now…” Rubin tweeted. “I think YouTube’s (and Google’s) manipulation for political purposes is FAR worse than Twitter’s.” “And we might find out as @rumblevideo will get discovery in its lawsuit against Google…” Rubin added. One user suggested Musk should try to buy Substack, which is a subscription-based platform used by many influential journalists.“You would have the information layer with Twitter and the narrative layer. Corporate media would then have specialize on reporting government leaks, from ‘people familiar with the matter,’” the user said.
Musk responded by saying: “I’m open to the idea.” Earlier in December, Musk also suggested he could try to buy Wikipedia, but was informed it was not for sale by its founder Jimmy Wales. The “Twitter Files,” a series of releases on Twitter showing the prior regime’s coordination between Big Tech and U.S. government agencies, has been spearheaded by a number of notable journalists, such as Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger. The subsequent Fauci Files and forthcoming Covid Files have additionally spurred independent journalistic accountability that has been denied by corporate media and the U.S. Congress. On Wednesday, Musk dropped a ‘Fauci bomb’ that exposed Twitter’s extreme bias on Covid issues.
“Almost no one seems to realize that the head of bioethics at NIH – the person who is supposed to make sure that Fauci behaves ethically – is his wife,” Musk remarked. “‘Gain-of-function’ in this context is just another way of saying ‘bioweapon’,” Musk added. “Some good nuggets in article. Important to note that Fauci authored 2012 paper arguing for gain-of-function research! Obama wisely put this on pause, but Fauci restarted it.” “Despite these glaring issues, Twitter nonetheless had an internal Slack channel unironically called ‘Fauci Fan Club’,” he added. Dr. Pierry Kory in a Twitter Spaces on Wednesday praised Twitter for providing a forum for physicians and policy critics to discuss the pervasive bias in medicine, which would help correct the “information assymetry” that has been perpetuated by the mainstream media and in medical journals.
Elon Musk also fired a warning shot to the corporate media about his mission to protect free speech and develop a forum for actual journalism. His response came after an attack by Axios reporter Hope King on CNBC, who said that his “reputation is in danger.” “The legacy media should worry about its reputation,” Musk retorted. “We have only just begun.”
“Putin [..] probably has a greater influence on the dollar’s future than the US Treasury and the Fed combined.”
One of the factors which supported gold in the final quarter, offsetting moderate ETF liquidation of about 300 tonnes over the year has been central bank demand, which the World Gold Council estimates to have been 364 tonnes by October. Including more recent purchases by China and others adds nearly 300 tonnes. The Chinese purchase was confirmed in recent days by Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold, the world’s second largest gold mining corporation, who claimed China had bought “tonnes of gold around the high 200-tonnes mark”. Why China has bought this gold, when it has ample bullion additional to its declared reserves, is an interesting question. The answer probably lies with President Xi’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where it was agreed that sales of oil would be paid in yuan, replacing the petrodollar with petroyuan.
According to Aljazeera, Saudi exports to China are worth $33.4bn equivalent, while its imports are $31.8bn, so the net surplus is $1.6bn. The official communiqué referred to “levelling up trade, investment and financial cooperation”. We know that China is keen to internationalise its markets, which is what investment and financial cooperation is about. The international section of the Shanghai Gold Exchange will be used by Saudi Arabia for its yuan to gold transactions. It is therefore likely that some of China’s purchase of nearly 300 tonnes in recent weeks will be to provide liquidity to backstop this market. With regard to prospects for next year’s gold price, it should be noted that the major factor will be the fate of the dollar. It appears likely that dollar oil prices will increase in the coming months, while foreign holders of dollars will continue to reduce their dollar exposure, which in the year to October declined by $3.8 trillion.
But a rising interest rate trend leading to falling financial asset values and the petroyuan replacing the petrodollar, events could coalesce into a perfect storm for the dollar. This is not how conventional analysts look at the gold price. They would argue that higher interest rates, if they occur, will drive gold lower. But that is an argument that denies the role of gold as money. Tell that to President Putin, who by cornering global hydrocarbon supplies probably has a greater influence on the dollar’s future than the US Treasury and the Fed combined.
Still amazed at the strength of the USD in the face of so much opposition.
The last three years were complicated for the dominant reserve currency. At first there was the Fed’s $5-trillion money-printing orgy and interest-rate repression. Then there was raging inflation, which the Fed brushed off as “transitory.” Through this period, the dollar fell against other currencies. But then the Fed got religion and began to tighten: since March 2022, it has hiked rates by 425 basis points, accompanied over the past six months by $414 billion in QT so far. As a result, the dollar bounced off and shot higher against other currencies, particularly the euro and the yen – the #2 and #3 reserve currencies.
At the end of Q3, the share of US-dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves rose to 59.8%, the third quarter in a row of increases, and the highest since Q3 2020, according to the IMF’s new COFER data on reserve currencies. Since the end of 2021, the share of the dollar rose by nearly 1 percentage point. But this increase came off a 26-year low at the end of 2021. Note that this does not include the dollar-denominated assets on the Fed’s balance sheet, but only dollar-denominated assets held by foreign central banks and foreign official institutions.
[..] The euro is the second largest reserve currency. The Eurozone encompasses 19 countries with a population of 340 million people. Over two decades ago, when the euro was being promoted to Europeans, they often talked about “parity” of the euro with the dollar on all levels: as global reserve currency, as trading currency, and as financing currency. This reserve currency parity made progress until the Euro Debt Crisis brought to light the euro’s structural weakness. And that put an end to this parity talk. Since then, the euro has had a share of about 20% of global reserve currencies (in Q3, 19.7%), about as large as all also-rans combined. But it was far below the dollar (black line, red dots in the chart below).
The yen (purple line at the top of the colorful spaghetti at the bottom in the chart) had a share of 5.3%. It became the #3 reserve currency in 2018, when its share surpassed that of the British pound. The British pound, the #4 reserve currency, had a share of 4.6% (blue line just under the yen in the spaghetti). The Chinese renminbi, the #5 reserve currency, dipped to a share of 2.8% in Q3 — only 2.8%, despite the huge size and global interconnection of China’s economy!
“..the designed irrelevance of the European Union.”
This will be the year that Europeans realize the designed irrelevance of the European Union. The quagmire in Ukraine’s killing fields will bring on the realization of the need for a diplomatic process to end the war, but also the realization that the EU is radically incapable of playing any significant role in it. Who will represent Europe in these talks? The EU’s eastern and Nordic governments trust neither Paris nor Berlin – without whom, however, there can be no EU role.
On the economic front, the German mercantilist economic model will remain broken even as inflation abates – with dire repercussions for a eurozone still reliant on German surpluses. Europe’s deepening economic and geopolitical woes will, naturally, reinforce America’s hegemony and, with it, exacerbate its chosen policy of escalating a new cold war with China. Caught up in all this, humanity will be spending another year not investing in the green transition on which our species’ future hinges.
Competing with the BRI is just a weird pipe dream. They wanted to do it in a year. China’s been building it for many years.
In December 2021, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stood on a Brussels podium and confidently announced that the European Union’s new infrastructure drive would be a “true alternative” to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. “We are able to do that. Countries made their experience with the Chinese investments. They need better and different offers,” she said of Global Gateway, a spending drive that promised to mobilise up to €300 billion (US$318 billion) by 2027 for modern infrastructure projects outside the EU. With some blowback forming towards China’s trillion-dollar plan to connect China with the rest of the world after high-profile allegations of “debt-trap diplomacy”, both Europe and the United States were positioning to offer a different model, grounded in democratic norms, transparency of funding, and with sustainable objectives.
But one year on, observers are growing increasingly sceptical about von der Leyen’s claims. So far, Global Gateway has delivered plenty of hype, but little in terms of concrete projects, while confusion reigns in Brussels and beyond about what the initiative actually is. At a hearing in the European Parliament last month, lawmakers pressed officials for details, only to learn that none of the €300 billion would be “new”. “Global Gateway does not bring new financial means – there is no additional money when it comes to the EU level,” said Vincent Grimaud, an acting director in the commission’s department for international partnerships. The statement sparked incredulity from members of the parliament. “There’s no new money. And I’ve always held the view that if there’s no new money, there’s no new policy,” said Barry Andrews, an Irish lawmaker with the centrist Renew group.
“This is a communications exercise. It’s a strategy to put together what was already going to happen and present it as something new. And if our partners are tricked by this, then more fool them.” Hildegard Bentele, a German member from the centre-right European People’s Party, said she had been trying to find German companies who are “part of this adventure”, but had failed to locate any. “If I talk to journalists, journalists are asking me what are these Global Gateway projects? If I go on the website of the European Commission, I do not find it – this is really difficult,” she said. The commission’s efforts to promote the initiative have added to the bemusement. A recent gala event held in the metaverse to explain the Global Gateway concept to 18-35 year olds was lampooned online after just a handful of users logged on – despite the EU forking out €387,000 (US$410,000) to host it.
“..the utter failure of the “green energy shift” in the face of real-world tests..”
TVA=Tennessee Valley Authority.
So it is January 1st, 2023. Those reading this made it there. That’s good, I think. With that said here’s some “news” on The Ticker itself and my intentions going forward as to focus. You can take it for whatever you think its worth, but this, from my perspective, is the right way to look at things in the world. Of course there is room for plenty of other opinions all over the ‘net and so-called “traditional media” too, so it is what it is. If you remember a big shift occurred during the second Trump impeachment coverage, which I was doing on a daily basis, including most days a podcast. That of course was Covid, which showed up right on the tail end of that. That chapter has run in America and even the “mainstream media” is reporting that (like it or not, politicians) running stories about, for example, Atlantic City and its prospects forward – – and that they’re now returning to their regularly-scheduled debate (like, for instance, can you smoke in a casino?)
We’ve got plenty to talk about, such as, for instance, the utter failure of the “green energy shift” in the face of real-world tests. In a just world people would already be in irons and headed for prison; TVA, for example, was only able to produce 68% of its claimed capacity when all of it was required. WPLN tries to blame this on “natural gas being the bet” but in fact the reality of it is that TVA has shut down what was plenty of coal capacity and they did it on purpose over the space of years without replacing that with known reliable generation. In the summer the peak of demand tends to mostly-track with when the sun is up because its hottest and, while the peak shifts a bit off noon its not at 3:00 AM. In winter it is every time; its coldest when there’s no sun at all and thus the solar generation capacity is always zero at the times of peak demand in winter.
Thus any solar you put in must be counted as zero in the winter months when things get nasty, because it will either be snowing, icing (both of which wildly cut solar cell output) or at 3:00 AM when there’s no solar radiation available at all. Wind has similar issues; you can fit windmills with heating systems but obviously they require energy and they have both a lower and upper wind limit where they either produce nothing of value or must be intentionally shut down to avoid destruction. Thus you can’t count them as anything other than zero in the winter because you can’t count something that is less than 100% available, with proper maintenance and such, as “there.” We also know that in the face of such nasty weather EVs are worthless too. They’re nice secondary vehicles, basically, but when you must be able to rely on them they’re just not up to the job. People are figuring this out and that will continue; in short how you were sold these cars and light trucks was a lie and worse, the people selling them knew all that as they did the engineering on them.
— Coronavirus Plushie (@c_plushie) January 1, 2023
Sky News host Cory Bernardi says the WEF has been “upfront” about its “agenda” for the public.
Source: Sky News Australia (Youtube) pic.twitter.com/ZYtjtrtnca
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) January 1, 2023
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