Paul Cézanne Forest 1902-04
“Some of us still believe that, without freedom, human beings cannot become fully human and that freedom is therefore supremely valuable” – Aldous Huxley
December 2013: John McCain, live from Kyiv, tells CNN the US delegation in Ukraine is seeking to "bring about" a "transition" in the country (i.e., remove the government). Declares how "pleased" he is that Victoria Nuland is with him on the scene, attempting to achieve this goal pic.twitter.com/QGrhS2wQCx
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 5, 2023
Thank you @TuckerCarlson for having me on!
Today’s proceedings v Pres. Trump were choreographed as a political prop for Dems to influence 2024. This is an attack on all Americans – if they can concoct fake charges against a former POTUS w/o due process, they can do it to you! pic.twitter.com/1HJUr2PESk
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) April 5, 2023
Mark Levin on the the left’s endless witch hunts pic.twitter.com/EMJfxsDIUs
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) April 5, 2023
'You can only describe this as a fascist prosecution. Any politically inspired prosecution of the opposition that has no real basis, is a hallmark of a fascist state.'@RudyGiuliani and @Nigel_Farage react to the formal arrest of Donald Trump.#FarageOnGBNews pic.twitter.com/2NF5DOAG5Y
— GB News (@GBNEWS) April 4, 2023
Saudi FM Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud and Iranian FM Hossein Amirabdollahian have held the first Saudi-Iran official meeting in seven years in…… Beijing. They are starting to bury trillions of Exceptionalist dollars spent on Divide and Rule.
“Zelensky is visiting Poland to prepare a “diplomatic coalition” for eventual peace talks with Russia..”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is visiting Poland to prepare a “diplomatic coalition” for eventual peace talks with Russia, retired Polish general Waldemar Skrzypczak has claimed. He argued that Kiev cannot achieve its aims on the battlefield, and will need Western support for negotiations with Moscow. Skrzypczak was speaking to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper on Wednesday, as Zelensky arrived in Warsaw to meet senior officials. The former commander of the Polish Land Forces rejected the idea that Ukraine should use Western weapons for a last-ditch offensive against Russia – a scenario reportedly being pressed upon Kiev by its foreign backers. “Pushing the Ukrainians into an offensive is unjustified at the moment, because they are not ready for it. Now it’s time for politicians,” Skrzypczak argued.
The retired general believes that “neither side has an advantage” on the battlefield and that there is “no chance of a military end to [the conflict].” The Polish government is among the most vocal supporters of Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia. Zelensky has traveled to the country to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, among other officials. Warsaw has described the occasion as the first “official” visit by the Ukrainian leader since hostilities escalated in February 2022, even though Zelensky previously passed through Poland on his way to the US and the UK. According to Warsaw, the trip demonstrates Poland’s important international role. Publicly, the US and other Western nations have pledged to assist Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.
Kiev has vowed not to negotiate with Moscow until Ukrainian forces have regained control of all its former territories, including Crimea. Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks with Kiev on condition that it recognizes “the reality on the ground.” That includes the new status of four former Ukrainian regions which voted overwhelmingly to join Russia last autumn. Skrzypczak, who resigned his command under then-President Lech Kaczynski in 2009 but went on to hold several roles in the Polish Defense Ministry, predicted that Ukraine’s chances of a military victory in the long run would be undermined by a dwindling level of foreign support. “The West is slowly getting tired of the war, and voters that support aiding Ukraine are getting smaller in numbers. That is why it is necessary to build a front of support for Ukraine so that it has a strong voice in future talks,” he explained.
Tectonic plates are shifting.
There has been much talk and reporting of the coming Spring counteroffensive by Ukraine forces, but with the fight for Bakhmut not going so well for Kiev, there’s also been talk of the need for compromise, at a moment Ukrainian casualties in the east are believed to be high. Last week we reported on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s voicing rare doubts concerning Bakhmut – as if preparing his people for news of a devastating defeat. And now, on Wednesday, the Financial Times is reporting the single most important development to come out of the conflict in a long time: Zelensky’s office says he’s ready to compromise on the future of the Crimean peninsula.
Naturally, the Ukrainians present themselves as speaking from a position of having the upper hand, which is the general tone of the remarks that Andriy Sybiha, who is deputy head of Zelensky’s office, gave to FT. Per the publication, “Kyiv is willing to discuss the future of Crimea with Moscow if its forces reach the border of the Russian-occupied peninsula” – which marks the “most explicit statement of Ukraine’s interest in negotiations since it cut off peace talks with the Kremlin last April.” “If we will succeed in achieving our strategic goals on the battlefield and when we will be on the administrative border with Crimea, we are ready to open [a] diplomatic page to discuss this issue,” Sybiha said, previewing his high hopes for an imminent counteroffensive.
He explained however that “It doesn’t mean that we exclude the way of liberation [of Crimea] by our army.” But given that Ukrainian forces are nearly completely surrounded in the strategic city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, despite pouring in massive amounts of manpower and equipment, the whole notion of “liberation of Crimea” is a pipe dream. Western officials themselves have in many cases long acknowledged the extreme unlikelihood of any Ukraine attempt to take Crimea at reaching success. The FT report hints at this in the following: Sybiha’s remarks may relieve western officials who are skeptical about Ukraine’s ability to reclaim the peninsula and worry that any attempt to do so militarily could lead President Vladimir Putin to escalate his war, possibly with nuclear weapons. To date Zelenskyy has ruled out peace talks until Russian forces leave all of Ukraine, including Crimea.
All of this represents a public reversal of sorts from Zelensky’s prior hardened stance of seeking the return of every inch of Ukrainian territory. For example, last October while feeling emboldened after billions in defense aid was pledged from the US and Western allies, he declared in a nightly address, “We will definitely liberate Crimea.” “We will return this part of our country not only to the all-Ukrainian space, but also to the all-European space,” Zelensky had said, not for the first time. He also repeated the same as recently as Sunday. Interestingly, FT cites yet another high-ranking Western defense official who admits the near impossibility of Ukraine actually taking Crimea militarily:
Rear Admiral Tim Woods, the British defense attaché in Washington, said on Wednesday that Crimea would need “a political solution because of just the concentration of force that is there and what it would mean for the Ukrainians to go in there”. He added: “I don’t think there’s going to be a very quick military solution…hence we need to see what are favorable conditions for Ukraine to negotiate and I think Ukraine would be up for that.”
“..The results of sociological surveys also show that the people of Ukraine do not want peace but victory..”
Ukraine will not agree to peace agreements with the Kremlin regime and Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the Minister of Defense of the country Oleksii Reznikov, Report informs. According to him, the war may end this year: “The peace treaty with Russia is an exception. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would not sit down at the negotiating table with Putin. The results of sociological surveys also show that the people of Ukraine do not want peace but victory. Therefore, all our partners must understand: we will not compromise.” Reznikov said that the military-political leadership is ready for negotiations only under the conditions of Ukraine – no change in the position. The minister called the war in Ukraine the biggest war on the planet after the Second World War:
“Seizing control of the western territories of modern Ukraine, the so-called Kresy [‘borderlands’ in Polish], is the coveted dream of the Polish nationalists..”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky met his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Wednesday, during his first official visit to Poland since the beginning of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022. “You have stood shoulder to shoulder with us, and we are grateful for it,” Zelensky stated during the meeting, pledging “no borders in political, economic and – especially important – in historical terms” between the two countries. The Polish president, for his part, promised to continue supporting Kiev in the conflict, revealing that Warsaw was ready to send all its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine “in the future.” Poland has previously pledged 14 of its Soviet-made jets.
“Today we are trying to get for Ukraine… additional guarantees, security guarantees, which will strengthen Ukraine’s military potential,” Duda said, adding that Kiev had been protecting the whole of Europe from what he called the threat of “Russian imperialism.” Poland has been one of Zelensky’s top allies, transferring assorted hardware to bolster the Ukrainian military, including tanks and self-propelled howitzers, as well as rallying international support for such deliveries. Moscow, however, has claimed Warsaw has an alternate agenda, accusing it of pushing Kiev into a military catastrophe in order to seize western Ukrainian lands.
On Tuesday, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, claimed that Poland’s military assistance to Ukraine was actually part of a secret land grab plan aimed at certain territories that historically belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which today are part of Ukraine. “Seizing control of the western territories of modern Ukraine, the so-called Kresy [‘borderlands’ in Polish], is the coveted dream of the Polish nationalists,” Naryshkin said, adding that Warsaw sees “the collapse of Ukrainian statehood after a military defeat as a condition for implementing this idea.” Over the course of the ongoing conflict, Naryshkin has repeatedly warned of the alleged Polish designs on Ukraine’s territory. Warsaw, however, has denied such claims, dismissing them as an information warfare operation.
“NATO is an entity of American imperialism, which should have disappeared when the Cold War ended in the early 1990s.”
Finland’s accession to NATO is a provocation aimed at escalating the conflict with Russia, leader of France’s Les Patriotes (The Patriots) party Florian Philippot told TASS on Wednesday. “I view it as a provocation aimed at adding more fuel to the conflict with Russia,” Philippot said, commenting on Finland’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. “I consider this step to be inappropriate and aggressive,” the politician added. According to Philippot, “NATO is an entity of American imperialism, which should have disappeared when the Cold War ended in the early 1990s.” The French politician also called for France’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Alliance.
In May 2022, Helsinki and Stockholm submitted their applications to join the US-led alliance but the process was blocked by Ankara who demanded that the two Nordic countries extradite people to Turkey suspected of terrorism and being involved in the 2016 coup, and bans on weapons supplies to Turkey should be lifted. In order to resolve these issues, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum listing specific steps that, according to Ankara, the two Nordic nations should take. Turkey’s parliament passed a bill ratifying a protocol on Finland’s NATO membership on March 30. On Tuesday, Helsinki officially became NATO’s 31st member.
Imagine you’re invited to China and you start by insulting your host.
French President Emmanuel Macron said while visiting China that it was not in China’s interest to provide weapons to Moscow, Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting Macron as saying. “China’s interest isn’t to have a lasting war,” Macron said, adding that should China send any arms to Russia, it “would be complicit in a breach of international law.” According to Agence France-Presse, the French president said that at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping he was not going to threaten China with sanctions. On February 18, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that China was “strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia,” adding it might include ammunition and weapons.
In response, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said that the Chinese government did not accept coercion or pressure on Chinese-Russian relations from the US in context of China’s alleged military assistance to Russia. On Wednesday, Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen traveled to China on a visit that will last until April 7. It is Macron’s first visit to China in 3.5 years, since he visited Beijing in the fall of 2019 during his first term in office. Macron plans to focus on the Ukraine conflict and the bilateral French-Chinese ties, especially in the economic sphere, in Beijing.
“..And it props up Russia’s economy..”
NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has urged China to halt its “growing alignment” with Russia, warning that any military assistance from Beijing to Moscow during the conflict in Ukraine would be a “historic mistake” with major consequences. Speaking after the conclusion of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, Stoltenberg sounded alarms over Moscow’s friendly ties with the People’s Republic, suggesting Beijing could soon offer weapons to Russia despite its insistence that it has no plans to do so. “China refuses to condemn Russia’s aggression… And it props up Russia’s economy,” he claimed, adding “Allies have been clear that any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, with profound implications.”
While the NATO head did not elaborate on those “implications,” Washington has previously threatened a response to Chinese military support, while the US Treasury has already moved ahead with sanctions for several China-based companies accused of supplying parts for drones allegedly used by Russian forces. Beijing has rejected any suggestion that it intends to supply weapons to Moscow, insisting it is “completely objective” toward the conflict while accusing US officials of spreading “disinformation” on the matter. Russia, too, has denied previous reports that it requested Chinese military gear. The two countries have nonetheless stepped up relations over the last year, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping vowing to “further deepen military mutual trust” after talks at the Kremlin last month. However, Putin has since stated that Russia is “not creating any military alliance with China,” despite their “cooperation in the sphere of military-technical interaction.”
Noting that the latest NATO meeting was largely focused on Ukraine, Stoltenberg went on to say that the alliance had agreed to create a “strategic multi-year assistance program” for Kiev. He voiced hopes that the project would “increase Ukraine’s interoperability with NATO, and to bring it up to NATO standards,” as well as assist the country “on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.” During a press briefing after the first day of discussions in Brussels on Tuesday, Stoltenberg was asked when Kiev would be admitted into the bloc, but could not provide an answer, merely saying that NATO’s “position on membership is unchanged.” While the alliance first offered a seat to Ukraine back in 2008, it appears little progress has been made in the 15 years since, with one unnamed Western diplomat recently telling the Financial Times that NATO is simply “ignoring” Kiev’s membership application.
“It also condemned President Vladimir Zelensky for claiming last week that Ukraine was a bastion of religious freedom “in our part of Europe.”
Russia has demanded the release of Metropolitan Pavel, a senior bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), stating that it is concerned about his wellbeing. Pavel was taken into custody last week as Kiev sought to oust UOC monks from the historic monastery which he heads. In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was angered by the Ukrainian government’s pressure to remove the UOC from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. It added that Moscow is worried about the monks and priests, who “face the threat of a physical and moral crackdown,” and claimed Pavel’s arrest was a prime example of religious persecution. The leading bishop is being held under house arrest “in electronic shackles,” the statement remarked. It also condemned President Vladimir Zelensky for claiming last week that Ukraine was a bastion of religious freedom “in our part of Europe.”
Russian diplomats branded the remarks “the pinnacle of cynicism.” “We demand the immediate release of Metropolitan Pavel and his medical treatment,” the Foreign Ministry said. Pavel was taken into custody last Saturday, after the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) accused him of inciting religious hatred and “justifying and denying Russian military aggression.” The court which ruled on his arrest was forced to interrupt proceedings when the senior cleric complained of health issues. Pavel was removed from Kiev and ordered to stay in a village 50km from the capital. The SBU has conducted raids on UOC churches and clerics, claiming to be looking for stockpiled weapons and evidence of treason. A report by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said last month that the actions “could be discriminatory,” prompting a rebuke from Kiev.
Days before his arrest, Pavel blamed Zelensky personally for the crackdown on the UOC, vowing that God “will not forgive this action, neither to you nor to your family.” The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Zelensky of insulting the UOC’s ruling council by refusing to meet them and ignoring millions of people who support the church in Ukraine and beyond. “The Kiev regime stubbornly ratchets up its policy of moral terror against citizens and the faithful,” it said. Moscow also reiterated its criticism of the US government for a failure to address the situation, claiming that this proved Washington cannot be an arbiter on religious freedom. US reports on the issue are “bogus propaganda and puny political hackery,” the Foreign Ministry asserted.
Orthodox churches are being seized all over Ukraine, priests are being expelled. "Parishioners of the Radical Patriarchy" seized a church in the Chernivtsi region and beat believers – the Union of Orthodox Journalists
— Victor vicktop55 (@vicktop55) April 5, 2023
While Macron is in China.
French trade unions called for record turnout at protests on Thursday, after negotiations with the government over a controversial pension reform bill broke down. France has been consumed by protests and riots since President Emmanuel Macron’s government hiked the retirement age without a vote in parliament. Union representatives met with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Wednesday, warning beforehand that they would walk out if Borne refused to entertain the idea of bringing the retirement age for most workers back to 62 from 64. Borne refused, and the union representatives walked out, calling for strikes and mass demonstrations the following day.
“We again told the prime minister that the only democratic outcome could be the text’s withdrawal,” Cyril Chabanier, who heads the CFTC union, told reporters. “The prime minister replied that she wished to maintain the text, a grave decision.” “We decided to put an end to this useless meeting,” the leader of the CGT union, Sophie Binet, added. “The prime minister has chosen to send us back to the streets.” Borne passed the text in question last month, invoking special constitutional powers to enact the pension reform legislation without a parliamentary vote. Raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 has long been a project of President Emmanuel Macron, who described the move as a “just and responsible” way to keep France’s social security system afloat.
The bill’s passage triggered an immediate wave of demonstrations and riots, with the largest protest drawing more than a million people into the streets across the country. Marches in Paris and some other cities turned violent, with black-clad rioters setting fires, smashing storefronts, and hurling rocks at police. The union chiefs called for similar turnout on Thursday. “We have to continue mobilizing until the end, until the government understands there is no way out other than withdrawing this reform,” Binet told the AFP news agency. “We can’t move on to anything else until this reform is repealed.” The bill is currently being examined by France’s Constitutional Council, which will issue a verdict on its legality next week. While the council can strike down or amend parts of the text, it rarely tosses entire bills.
Ha ha ha. I offer to store your Russian gas …..
Ukraine offered up to 10 billion cubic meters of its gas storage facilities to European countries, the Brussels-based Euractive portal reported on Wednesday, citing Alexey Chernyshev, Chairman of the Board of Naftogaz of Ukraine. “We want to offer our storages to Europeans <…>. “Right now, we are able to provide up to 10 bcm of storage,” Chernyshov said as quoted by the publication. According to the portal, he made such an offer during a discussion between representatives of Ukraine and the EU on the results of the first heating season in Europe without full-fledged supplies of Russian gas.
Chernyshev also said that Ukraine has the largest gas storage facilities in Europe, with a total volume of about 31 billion cubic meters. This, according to him, is more than enough for domestic consumption. “I can guarantee that I can rent this empty space to European countries that can store gas in Ukraine. And when they need it, they can get it back to Europe,” said the head of the company.
“The Saudis are only doing what they need to do, and the White House has no say in the matter..”
All that the Western leaders can complain about is that the OPEC+ cut in oil output has come at an inappropriate time. But the woes of Western economies cannot be laid at the door of OPEC+ as there are inherent problems which are now coming to the surface. For instance, the large scale protests in France against pension reform or the widespread strikes in Britain for higher wages show that there are deep structural problems in these economies, and the governments seem helpless in tackling them. In geopolitical terms, the OPEC+ move came after a meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman in Riyadh on March 16 that focused on oil market cooperation. Therefore, it is widely seen as the tightening of the bond between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
In fact, in May, as the largest members of OPEC join Russia in its unilateral reduction, the balance of quotas and the ratio of market shares between and amongst the participants in the OPEC + deal will return to the level set when it was concluded in April 2020. The big question is, how Moscow might profit from the OPEC+ decision. The rise in crude oil prices particularly benefits Russia. Simply put, the production cuts will tighten up the oil market and thus help Russia to secure better prices for the crude oil it sells. Second, the new cuts also confirm that Russia is still an integral and important part of the group of oil producing countries, despite the western attempts to isolate it.
Third, the consequences of Sunday’s decision are all the greater because, unlike the previous cuts by the OPEC+ group at the height of the pandemic or last October, today, the momentum for global oil demand is up, not down — what with a strong recovery by China expected. That is to say, the surprise OPEC+ reduction further consolidates the Saudi-Russian energy alliance, by aligning their production levels, thus placing them on equal footing. It is a slap in the face for Washington. Make no mistake, this is another signal regarding a new era where the Saudis are not afraid of the US anymore, as the OPEC “leverage” is on Riyadh’s side. The Saudis are only doing what they need to do, and the White House has no say in the matter. Clearly, a recasting of the regional and global dynamics that has been set in motion lately is gathering momentum. The future of petrodollar seems increasingly uncertain.
“If the New York bench retains any integrity, this case will be thrown out as legally improper..”
For months, many have raised objections to the effort of Manhattan District Attorney to use a flawed legal theory to essentially litigate a federal election violation that the Justice Department opted not to charge. This bootstrap theory has been widely criticized, but many in the media sought to cut off that debate by suggesting that Bragg might be basing his prosecution on some unknown crime. Last week, Michael Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis went as far to “warn all the pundits and everyone speculating…that there are lots of facts, lots of documents, lots of evidence of multiple crimes.” We now have the indictment, and it is basically what many of us anticipated. It is a series of stacked counts of falsifying business records for the purpose of influencing the election.
The indictment seems to address the lack of legal precedent with a lack of specificity on the underlying “secondary” felony. Bragg has done nothing more than replicated the same flawed theory dozens of times. This is where math and the law meet. If you multiply any number by zero, it is still zero. If the New York bench retains any integrity, this case will be thrown out as legally improper with an admonition to Bragg and his office for politicizing the criminal justice process. That, however, may be asking a lot of state judges who are elected on both the trial and appellate levels. They also may prove to be lawyers on the Wilde side.
The cost, however, to the legal system will be immense. In a single indictment, Alvin Bragg bulldozed any high ground that the Democrats had after January 6th. He has fulfilled the narrative of the Trump campaign by supplying a raw and undeniable example of the politicization of the legal system. What is most shocking is that this attack on the rule of law was met with the rapturous applause of many, including lawyers and legal pundits. They not only will ignore the affront to the integrity of our legal system, but celebrate its demise. Bragg himself threw a flag on the effort to indict Trump being pushed by a lawyer brought in as a special assistant district attorney for that purpose. Mark F. Pomerantz and his colleague Carey R. Dunne resigned — and their resignation letter was then leaked to an eager media.
Pomerantz then took a step that floored many of us: he wrote a tell-all book based on the still ongoing investigation. However, Pomerantz admits that career prosecutors balked at his radical proposals to find a crime — any crime — to nail Trump. That included an entirely bonkers money laundering charge against Trump where he would be the victim of an extortion effort. In his book, Pomerantz admits that “many of the lawyers were relentlessly negative.” Some prosecutors were clearly so upset by his efforts that they “defected” from the team. He also admitted that Bragg told him “that the consensus among the group of prosecutors with whom he had been speaking was not to go forward.”
“..this case against the former American leader may ferment a further political crisis with dangerous consequences for the whole country..”
The legal proceedings against former US President Donald Trump are a testament to the rift in the US establishment and this case against the former American leader may ferment a further political crisis with dangerous consequences for the whole country, the board chairman of the Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai discussion club, Andrey Bystritsky, told TASS on Wednesday. The expert drew attention to yesterday’s reports about Trump’s two-hour arrest in the United States and the charges brought against him on 34 counts of falsifying the Trump Organization’s financial statements.
“This is a really big event and a very dangerous one for the United States, because it signals a deep split within the establishment and growing friction therein,” he stressed. Notably, the campaign against Trump gained momentum after the former president publicly expressed his intention to run for the US presidency again in 2024. The analyst called this a “big challenge” and did not rule out that the legal proceedings against Trump would ferment a deep political crisis. “This crisis didn’t start yesterday. In all likelihood, it will grow deeper [against the backdrop of the Trump case]. Things will get dicey,” the expert concluded.
On Tuesday, Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying the business records of the Trump Organization to bury allegations of extramarital affairs with porn actress Stormy Daniels that arose during his first White House campaign in 2016. The falsification of financial statements as such does not carry a prison sentence, but it becomes an aggravating circumstance, if the forgery was committed to cover up another crime. According to the prosecution, Trump tried to cover up certain offenses committed during the 2016 campaign. This is the first case ever of criminal charges brought against a former US president. Trump was kept in custody for about two hours under US procedural law. After his release he flew from New York to Florida.
“This could be the crisis where the panic moves from the banks to the dollar itself…”
“What’s going on is a crisis caused by a shortage of Treasury bill collateral to support derivatives positions and shrinking balance sheets as a consequence of the collateral shortage.”
[..] the 2008 crisis reached the acute stage on September 15, 2008, with the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers. But that crisis began in the spring of 2007 when HSBC surprised markets with an announcement that mortgage losses had exceeded expectations. It then continued through the summer of 2007 with the failures of two Bear Steans high-yield mortgage funds, and the closure of a Société Générale money market fund. The panic then caused the failures of Bear Stearns (March 2008), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (June 2008), and other institutions before reaching Lehman Brothers. For that matter, the panic continued after Lehman to include AIG, General Electric, the commercial paper market, and General Motors before finally subsiding on March 9, 2009.
Starting with the HSBC announcement, the subprime mortgage panic and domino effects lasted twenty-four months from March 2007 to March 2009. Averaging our two examples (1998, 2008) the average duration of these financial crises is about twenty months. This new crisis is one-month old. It could have a long way to run. On the other hand, this crisis could reach the acute stage faster. That’s because of technology that makes a bank run move at the speed of light. With an iPhone you can initiate a $1 billion wire transfer from a failing bank while you’re waiting in line at McDonald’s. No need to line up around the block in the rain waiting your turn. In addition, the regulatory response is faster because they’ve seen this movie before. That begs the question of whether regulators are out of bullets because they’ve already guaranteed almost everything so they don’t have more rabbits to pull out of the hat.
This could be the crisis where the panic moves from the banks to the dollar itself. If savers lose confidence in the Fed (we’re almost there) not only will the banks collapse, but the dollar will collapse also. At that point, the only solution is gold bullion. [..] Further evidence comes from the fact that no sooner was the Credit Suisse shotgun wedding completed than investors aimed their sights at Deutsche Bank, another perennial weak link in the chain. Who’s next? Barclays? Santander? We don’t know. Neither do regulators or investors. But we do know more failures are coming. By the way, this is not really a banking crisis even though it plays out in the form of bank failures. What’s going on is a crisis caused by a shortage of Treasury bill collateral to support derivatives positions and shrinking balance sheets as a consequence of the collateral shortage.
Why doesn’t the Treasury just issue, say, $2 trillion of new T-bills and let the primary dealers and Fed underwrite them with as much printed money as needed? One reason is that neither Jay Powell nor Janet Yellen understands what we just described. The other reason is that we’re up against the X-Date when the Treasury runs out of cash and can’t borrow more because of the debt ceiling. Is Congress ready to raise the debt ceiling? Nope. It’s the usual Democrat versus Republican game of chicken with no resolution in sight. So, we go from bank runs to a Treasury bill shortage to a debt ceiling standoff in no time. Do regulators and financial journalists understand this? No, they don’t know how to connect the dots. But you get it.
36,000 jobs lost?!
The takeover of the troubled Credit Suisse by rival banking giant UBS has allowed Switzerland’s economy to avoid major problems, including deposit runs at other banks, national regulator FINMA claimed on Wednesday. FINMA and the Swiss central bank brokered the historic takeover for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.3 billion) in a deal announced last month. As part of the transaction, the regulator ordered Credit Suisse to write down to zero some 16 billion Swiss francs ($17.6 billion) of its Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds – widely regarded as higher risk investments – with the aim of bolstering the bank’s capital and resolving its liquidity problems. According to FINMA CEO Urban Angehrn, the bankruptcy plan was “de-prioritized early on due to its high tangible and intangible costs.”
The chief executive pointed out that insolvency would have left the functional parts of Credit Suisse in operation as a Swiss-only bank, but one with a “damaged reputation.” A temporary takeover by the Swiss government would reportedly have exposed taxpayers to the risk of losses. “The parent bank Credit Suisse AG would have gone under – a Swiss bank with total assets of over 350 billion Swiss francs ($387 billion) and ongoing business also running into many billions,” Angehrn stated. “It is not difficult to imagine the disastrous impact the bankruptcy of a bank and wealth manager as large as Credit Suisse AG would have had on Switzerland’s financial center and private banking industry,” he explained. “Many other Swiss banks would probably have faced a run on deposits, as Credit Suisse itself did in the fourth quarter of 2022.”
The FINMA CEO went on to claim that “the damage to the Swiss economy, financial center and Switzerland’s reputation would have been enormous, with unquantifiable effects on tax revenues and jobs.” He also argued that the merger plan was ultimately favored both to stabilize Credit Suisse and to prevent a domino effect on the global banking sector. “The current fragile state of the financial markets due to the shift to monetary tightening in 2022, the uncertain economic outlook, the crisis at certain banks in the US and the whole geopolitical backdrop were also relevant to our decision,” Angehrn maintained. “There was a high probability that the resolution of a global systemically important bank would have led to contagion effects and jeopardized financial stability in Switzerland and globally.”
The US banking crisis exacerbated the troubles of Credit Suisse, which had been already battling a string of scandals, legal issues, and customer outflows. In addition, its biggest investor, Saudi National Bank, announced in March that it would not be able to provide financial assistance due to regulatory and statutory limits. Credit Suisse reported a 2022 net loss of 7.3 billion francs (nearly $8 billion) and warned that it would incur another “substantial” loss in 2023 before returning to profitability in 2024.
If you claim stuff like this, you better be on very solid ground (I don’t think they are):
“..someone who’s had 4 or 5 shots and is 30 years old today can now expect to live to 55 at the oldest.”
Those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with mRNA shots will lose 25 years of their life expectancy, a bombshell new study has revealed. Researchers analyzed government data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cleveland Clinic Data, and insurance company risk assessment data. The analysis uncovered a disturbing trend showing life spans plummetting in those who had multiple doses of the shots. The latest Cleveland Clinic Data and the latest US data were analyzed by Josh Stirling, founder of Insurance Collaboration to Save Livess and former #1 ranked Insurance Analyst. Stirling’s study shows an incredibly disturbing trend. The damage to health caused by each vaccine dose does not lessen over time as it appears to continue indefinitely.
In fact, CDC All-Cause Mortality data shows that each vaccine dose increased mortality by 7% in the year 2022 compared to the mortality in 2021. Those who have had 5 doses were 35% more likely to die in 2022 than they were in 2021. If you have had one dose then you were 7% more likely to die in 2022 than you were in 2021. If you are unvaxxed then you were no more likely to die in 2022 than you were in 2021. The data shows that every year, excess deaths are soaring dramatically as all forms of mortality accelerate, despite the level of injections people take going down. The issue is not isolated to the United States, however, and is impacting nations all around the world. Recent government data out of Australia shows that the excess deaths in 2022 were 5162% higher than in previous years.
A year ago, doubly vaccinated Australians were 10.72x more likely to catch Omicron than the unvaxxed. Now they are 20 times more likely and the triply or more vaxxed are 35x more likely, as the latest NSW Health stats show. According to the study based on government data out of Cleveland, the average age of a man is around 80 years if he’s unvaxxed. Yet, the rate of vaxxed deaths is growing in comparison to unvaxxed. The study found that someone who’s had 4 or 5 shots and is 30 years old today can now expect to live to 55 at the oldest.
Distortion in the Mercator map
These two snails live in different oceans, but their shell coils are identically inverted . Thatcheria mirabilis and Architectonica perspectiva fit together because their coils follow math rule known as Raup’s model
These two snails live in different oceans, but their shell coils are identically inverted
Thatcheria mirabilis and Architectonica perspectiva fit together because their coils follow math rule known as Raup’s model
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) April 5, 2023
I can imagine no heroism greater than motherhood.
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