Jun 262022
 


Caravaggio The Denial of St. Peter 1610

 

The Fantasy of Fanaticism (Scott Ritter)
US Commander: China’s ‘No-limits’ Support Of Russia Threatens Humanity (JTN)
G7 Face Battle For Unity As Cost Of Ukraine War Mounts (BBC)
Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget (CD)
Russia On Brink Of Default As Debt Deadline Looms (BBC)
Germany Fears Russia Could Shut Nord Stream 1 Within Weeks (ZH)
Just 5% Call Abortion Top Concern (WE)
“It’s Infuriating”: DC Democrats In Chaos, Demand Biden Act On Abortion (ZH)
Democrats Lived Rent-free For 50 Years Off Roe v. Wade
The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism (Turley)
Biden Undermines Supreme Court In Ways Unlike Predecessors (JTN)
EU Renews Digital Covid Pass Despite 99% Negative Public Feedback (Kogon)
Birx Had A Tough Day In Congress (El Gato)
Ghislaine Maxwell On Suicide Watch, May Seek Sentencing Delay (R.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) “..the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated..”

2) “Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked..”

The Fantasy of Fanaticism (Scott Ritter)

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently estimated that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day on the frontlines with Russia, and another 500 or so wounded. These are unsustainable losses, brought on by the ongoing disparity in combat capability between Russia and Ukraine symbolized, but not limited to, artillery. In recognition of this reality, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that Ukraine will more than likely have to make territorial concessions to Russia as part of any potential peace agreement, asking, “what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

Stoltenberg, speaking in Finland, noted that similar territorial concessions made by Finland to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War was “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.” To recap — the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated and Russia —instead of being humiliated on the field of battle and crushed economically — is winning on both fronts. Decisively. That the secretary general of NATO would make such an announcement is telling for several reasons.

First, Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks — more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom. In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip its own defenses down to literally zero. More telling, however, is what the numbers say about NATO’s combat strength versus Russia. If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. That’s right — Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked.

One can only imagine the calculations underway in Brussels as NATO military strategists ponder the fact that their alliance is incapable of defeating Russia in a large-scale European conventional land war. But there is another conclusion that these numbers reveal — that no matter what the U.S. and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war. The question now is how much time the West can buy Ukraine, and at what cost, in a futile effort to discover Russia’s pain threshold in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender.

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“..Jake Sullivan, said that a weak U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing.”

For some reason he doesn’t appear to include the US in that group of “would-be aggressors”.

US Commander: China’s ‘No-limits’ Support Of Russia Threatens Humanity (JTN)

China’s assertion of a “no-limits” partnership with Russia has alarmed the Pentagon and risks endangering all of humanity should the two nations continue to grow closer, according to the commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. “From where I sit, the most concerning aspect of [Russia’s war in Ukraine] is that the People’s Republic of China has declared a no-limits policy in support of Russia and what that means to both the Indo-Pacific and the globe,” Adm. John Aquilino, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said on Friday. “If those two nations were to truly demonstrate and deliver a no-limits policy, I think what that means is we’re currently in an extremely dangerous time and place in the history of humanity, if that were to come true,” said Aquilino, speaking at an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think-tank.

In February, Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, where they heralded their relationship in a sweeping joint statement. “Friendship between the two states has no limits,” the two leaders said. “There are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.” The meeting came three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion and has echoed Russian talking points about the war. Aquilino praised the Ukrainian people for defending their country and touted the efforts of the U.S. military and U.S. allies to help Ukraine defend itself.

“Globally what we see is that the world is certainly unwilling to accept a single person’s actions — illegitimate, unprovoked — to change the world order, the status quo, the international rules-based order through an unprovoked, illicit invasion,” he said. The commander’s comments came after President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that a weak U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing.”

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“..Germany has invited the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and South Africa to the summit..”

That’s two BRICS members, and three potential ones.

G7 Face Battle For Unity As Cost Of Ukraine War Mounts (BBC)

The Russian war against Ukraine will inevitably dominate the summit of G7 nations in Bavaria. And the leaders of the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan face a difficult challenge. They are aiming to put on a show of unity and resolve over the war. In recent months, the Western alliance has shown signs of strain and fatigue. Some voices – particularly in France, Germany and Italy – have asked if it might not be better for the war to end, even if it came at the cost of Ukraine having to cede territory. A recent cross-Europe opinion poll suggested some voters put solving the cost-of-living crisis ahead of punishing Russia. Others argue about the need to salvage some kind of relationship with Russia in the future.

Countries like the UK, Poland and the three Baltic States have been resisting these arguments, saying that any peace deal with Moscow that is not on Ukraine’s terms would lead to further Russian aggression in the future. President Zelensky is likely to reinforce this argument when he addresses the summit virtually on Monday. So the G7 leaders are expected to try to use the summit to clear these muddy waters, promising more weapons to Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia. The idea will be to send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West has the strategic patience to maintain its support for Ukraine, even if it faces domestic political pressure at home from voters concerned about rising prices. The problem for G7 leaders is they also face growing pressure to show they are tackling the global economic crisis. The soaring price of fuel and food is causing hunger and unrest across the world.

And some countries are pointing the finger at the West. Many countries in the global south do not share Western concerns about Russian aggression. They see the conflict as a European war and seem unmoved by Western arguments that Vladimir Putin is acting as a colonial aggressor. And they blame Western sanctions – as much as Russia’s invasion – for the rising costs of gas and oil, and the massive shortage of wheat and fertiliser. To try to resist this narrative, G7 countries are expected to use the summit to show they are acting to help countries round the world – with development aid, debt restructuring, climate finance, help finding alternative sources of energy and, of course, fresh efforts to get grain out of Ukraine’s ports. That is why Germany has invited the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and South Africa to the summit, to hear their perspective and show the rest of the world the G7 is listening.

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“If you’re supporting this amendment, you’re basically paving the way to a trillion-dollar defense [bill]..”

Adding $37 Billion to Biden’s Military Budget (CD)

Progressives expressed outrage after a House panel voted Wednesday to tack an additional $37 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s already gargantuan military spending request. The Biden administration’s March request for $813 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2023 already marked a $31 billion increase over the current, historically large sum of $782 billion. During its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House Armed Services Committee approved by a 42-17 margin Rep. Jared Golden’s (D-Maine) amendment to boost the topline budget by $37 billion. “Today members of the House Armed Services Committee put the demands of the military-industrial complex over the needs of the American people yet again,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement.

“Granting $37 billion to a war machine that can’t even pass an audit while saying that we ‘can’t afford’ what American families and communities need is quintessential hypocrisy,” said Weissman. “Congress can still correct this misstep — rerouting that funding into investments like economic stability, climate justice, and affordable healthcare for all Americans instead.” The House panel’s increase comes less than a week after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to add $45 billion to Biden’s $813 billion request, pushing the upper chamber’s total proposed budget for national military spending in the coming fiscal year to a whopping $857.6 billion — including $817 billion for the Pentagon, $30 billion for the Department of Energy and an additional $10.6 billion that falls outside NDAA jurisdiction.

During a speech Wednesday in which she explained why she voted against Golden’s “unconscionable” amendment, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Cailf.) stressed that “there are simply not military solutions to every problem.” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also voted against Golden’s amendment and explained his opposition in remarks delivered from the House floor. “If you’re supporting this amendment, you’re basically paving the way to a trillion-dollar defense [bill],” said Khanna. “Is that what we want in this country?” “I just want to be clear,” he added. “There is no country in the world that is putting over half its discretionary budget into defense and I would rather for us to be the preeminent economy of the 21st century by investing in the health of our people, in the education of our people, in the industries of the future.”

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“This whole situation looks like a farce.”

Russia On Brink Of Default As Debt Deadline Looms (BBC)

Russia is on the brink of its first debt default since 1998 as the Sunday deadline to make a $100m interest payment seems certain to be missed. Russia has the money and is willing to pay, but sanctions make it impossible to get the payments to international creditors. The Kremlin has been determined to avoid a first default since 1998, and a major blow to the nation’s prestige. The Russian finance minister branded the situation “a farce”. Russia has seemed on an inevitable path to default since sanctions were first imposed by the US and EU following the invasion of Ukraine.These restricted the country’s access to the international banking networks which would process payments from Russia to investors around the world.

The Russian government has said it wants to make all of its payments on time, and so far it has succeeded.About $40bn of Russia’s debts are denominated in dollars or euros, with around half held outside the country. A default would be the first since 1998, at the chaotic end of Boris Yeltsin’s regime. The $100m interest payment was due on 27 May. Russia says the money was sent to Euroclear, a bank which would then distribute the payment to investors. But that payment has been stuck there, according to Bloomberg News, and creditors have not received it. “They have not got it,” says Jay Auslander, a US lawyer who has worked on many government debt cases. “And the overwhelming probability is they’re not going to get it.”If this money has not arrived within 30 days of the due date, that is, Sunday evening, that will widely be considered a default.

Euroclear wouldn’t say if the payment had been blocked, but said it adheres to all sanctions. Default seemed inevitable when the US Treasury decided not to renew the special exemption in sanctions rules allowing investors to receive interest payments from Russia, which expired on 25 May. The Kremlin now appears to have accepted this inevitability too, decreeing on 23 June stating that all future debt payments would be made in roubles through a Russian bank, the National Settlements Depository, even when contracts state they should be in dollars or other international currencies. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov admitted foreign investors would “not be able to receive” the payments according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

This was for two reasons, he said. “The first is that foreign infrastructure – correspondent banks, settlement and clearing systems, depositories – ares prohibited from conducting any operations related to Russia. The second is that foreign investors are expressly prohibited from receiving payments from us.” Because Russia wants to pay and has plenty of money to do it, he denied that this amounts to a genuine default, which usually occur when governments refuse to pay, or their economies are so weak that they cannot find the money. “Everyone in the know understands that this is not a default at all,” RIA Novosti quoted him. “This whole situation looks like a farce.”

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Come -cold- winter, Europeans will not blame all this on Putin. They will demand their politicians make peace with Russia.

Germany Fears Russia Could Shut Nord Stream 1 Within Weeks (ZH)

The European Union has this week accused Russia of planning “rogue moves” regarding lowering natural gas flows to Europe, or in other words continuing to ‘weaponize’ its energy, to which the Kremlin has consistently responded with variations of ‘our gas, our rules’. This after Moscow has reduced Nord Stream 1 gas flows by 40% last week while citing technical issues, leading to a four- to sixfold rise in market prices, based on German energy officials. However, Berlin isn’t buying that needed maintenance on the key pipeline is all that’s happening here, instead seeing in it an underhanded Russian ploy to ramp up the pressure on Europe, giving way to fears that the saga could end in Russia halting its pipeline altogether.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” economy minister Robert Habeck said at a Thursday press conference while warning that his country is now approaching crisis supply levels which could see authorities turn to gas rationing. Habeck confirmed that the last days have seen a “significant deterioration of the gas supply situation” – following Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 also having to now undergo what the Russian energy company has scheduled as “annual maintenance” for a period of ten days, from July 11 to July 21. Habeck was asked in an interview this week with German broadcaster ZDF about the negative scenario possibility of Russia artificially extending the repair and maintenance period: “I’d be lying if I said I’m ruling it out. In fact, Putin has gradually reduced the amount of gas more and more,” he responded.

According to the German language publication, the economy minister bluntly spelled out that Putin is trying to use energy to drive a wedge among European allies: Putin’s plan is to put pressure on the market to make prices in Europe more expensive. According to Habeck, it is mainly a matter of stirring up social unrest and breaking down unity. He wants to make sure that Putin “does not win,” the economy minister told ZDF heute Journal. Measures are also being taken to ensure the unity of society.

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“Only 5% said abortion was top issue. That might change a little, but not with people who can’t afford food or gas or rent or medical bills..”

Just 5% Call Abortion Top Concern (WE)

Abortion, the No. 1 concern in today’s media and politics, ranks nearly dead last among areas voters care about as they struggle with paying daily bills, soaring inflation, and interest rate hikes, according to a just-released survey. While the Supreme Court’s decision overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade right to abortion has dominated today’s network and cable coverage, the latest McLaughlin & Associates poll said just 5% of voters call it a top concern. Just below abortion, at 1%, is reviewing the 2020 election, over which the media are also obsessing. By comparison, 54% cited the economy. “Only 5% said abortion was top issue. That might change a little, but not with people who can’t afford food or gas or rent or medical bills,” said pollster John McLaughlin, referencing the court’s decision today.

He also told Secrets, “This was no surprise. The decision was leaked a while ago. Most states will not change their laws. Biden’s handlers are desperate to change the subject from the imploding economy.” President Joe Biden said today that he plans to dig into ways to continue the rights under Roe, but John and Jim McLaughlin said their data show it’s a desperation play to recover his base. In their latest survey, just 23% of Democratic primary voters said Biden was their first pick to run in 2024. “People are focused right now on inflation, gas, cost of living, public safety, and the disintegration of America,” Jim McLaughlin said. “You know you’re struggling when 77% of Biden’s primary voters are looking for somebody else.”

And while the media were suggesting that the question of abortion will help drive a bigger Democratic turnout in fall elections, the McLaughlins said it also stands to help Republicans. In an April survey, they found that 93% agree with this statement: “Every human being represents a life that is precious and has value.” John McLaughlin said, “If the Republicans stand on principle and defend human life, Americans are on their side.”

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“Behind the carnival tent curtain..”

“It’s Infuriating”: DC Democrats In Chaos, Demand Biden Act On Abortion (ZH)

Democrats are seething with rage over Friday’s 6-3 majority decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, sending the question of abortion rights back to the state-level. “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” read the opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito. Pro-abortion protesters sprung to action, deploying posters which read “Bans off my Body” and other slogans. Hours after the news broke, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the decision “illegitimate,” and encouraged people to get “into the streets” to protest.


Her call for what we’re sure will be ‘mostly peaceful’ protests prompted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to accuse the Democrat of ‘launching an insurrection,’ adding “Any violence and rioting is a direct result of Democrat marching orders.” “I will explain this to you slowly: exercising our right to protest is not obstruction of Congress nor an attempt to overturn democracy,” AOC replied, to which Greene asked AOC why she won’t support pardons for Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, why she is “a shill for the MIC (military industrial complex) funding war in Ukraine,” or “are you too busy organizing baby killing riots?” Behind the carnival tent curtain, DC insiders are furious and are demanding that the Biden administration DO SOMETHING! “It’s infuriating. What the hell have we been doing?” one Democratic strategist told The Hill. “Why are we not talking about this every single day? Why hasn’t Biden made this the issue for Democrats? If we don’t step up, we’ve got ourselves to blame.”

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“..American liberals have lived rent free for 50 years on the Blackmun decision. They didn’t have to frame arguments. They didn’t have to persuade 50 legislatures…”

Democrats Lived Rent-free For 50 Years Off Roe v. Wade

Maybe it’s time everyone slowed down and looked at Roe for what it was. It was legal malpractice of the highest order that disenfranchised hundreds of millions of Americans by rationalizing that the Constitution had settled the question of abortion. An issue that rightly belonged in state legislatures where citizens could argue for and against was commandeered by the Blackmun court and settled. This is not merely a conservative view. Since Roe became law in 1973, a powerful consensus has been building among legal authorities left and right that Roe was constructed not on the breakwater of constitutional logic but on the seafoam of judicial activism. Here’s just a brief sampling from the left. And understand, I could easily add 20 more examples just like these:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court Justice): “The political process was moving in the early 1970 …not swiftly enough for advocates for quick, complete change, but majoritarian institutions were listening and acting. (Roe’s) heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” Edward Lazarus (attorney, clerk to Roe-author Justice Harry Blackmun): “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose, as someone who believes such a right has grounding elsewhere in the Constitution instead of where Roe placed it, and as someone who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather. …(Roe) has little connection to the constitutional right it purportedly interpreted.”

Jeffrey Rosen (Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic): “In short, 30 years later, it seems increasingly clear that this pro-choice magazine was correct in 1973 when it criticized Roe on constitutional grounds. Its overturning would be the best thing that could happen to the federal judiciary, the pro-choice movement and the moderate majority of the American people.” Michael Kinsley (Opinion editor, Los Angeles Times; co-host of Crossfire): “Although I am pro-choice, I was taught in law school, and still believe, that Roe v. Wade is a muddle of bad reasoning and an authentic example of judicial overreaching. I also believe it was a political disaster for liberals. Roe is what first politicized religious conservatives while cutting off a political process that was legalizing abortion state by state anyway. Three decades later, that awakened giant controls the government.”

John Hart Ely (law professor; Yale, Harvard, Stanford; clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren): “(Roe) is, nevertheless, a very bad decision. Not because it will perceptibly weaken the Court — it won’t; and not because it conflicts with either my idea of progress or what the evidence suggests is society’s — it doesn’t. It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

On Friday, President Joe Biden ignored this consensus and railed against today’s justices who agree with it. “Make no mistake,” said Biden. “This decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law. It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.” To the contrary, I’ve presented above just a fraction of the counterevidence that shows Biden is wrong. Just to restate, as early as the 1970s when Michael Kinsley was chasing paper at Harvard Law, it was common knowledge in Cambridge that Roe was “a muddle of bad reasoning” and judicial overreach. American liberals have lived rent free for 50 years on the Blackmun decision. They didn’t have to frame arguments. They didn’t have to persuade 50 legislatures. The Blackmun court handed them the ball, the game and the whistle when it was only just beginning.


CA bar exam

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[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be under- stood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism (Turley)

In the aftermath of the historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, politicians and pundits have denounced the Supreme Court justices and the Court itself for holding opposing views on the interpretation of the Court. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the justices “right-wing politicians” and many journalists called the Court “activists.” Most concerning were legal analysts who fueled misleading accounts of the opinion or the record of this Court. Notably, it is precisely what the Court anticipated in condemning those who would make arguments “designed to stoke unfounded fear.” Vice President Kamala Harris and others repeated the claims that same-sex marriage, contraceptives, and other rights are now in danger. The Court, however, expressly and repeatedly stated that this decision could not be used to undermine those rights: “Abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’”

The Court noted: “Perhaps this is designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights, but the dissent’s analogy is objectionable for a more important reason: what it reveals about the dissent’s views on the protection of what Roe called “potential life.” The exercise of the rights at issue in Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell does not destroy a “potential life,” but an abortion has that effect. So if the rights at issue in those cases are fundamentally the same as the right recognized in Roe and Casey, the implication is clear: The Constitution does not permit the States to regard the destruction of a “potential life” as a matter of any significance.”

Indeed, I cannot recall an opinion when the Court was more adamant in prospectively blocking the use of a holding in future cases. Only one justice, Clarence Thomas, suggested that the Court should reexamine the rationale for such rights but also emphasized that the majority of the Court was clearly holding that the opinion could not be used in that way. Thomas wrote: “The Court’s abortion cases are unique, see ante, at 31–32, 66, 71–72, and no party has asked us to decide “whether our entire Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence must be preserved or revised,” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 813 (opinion of THOMAS, J.). Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be under- stood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

Nevertheless, on CNN, legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers echoed the common claim that this decision could now be used to unravel an array of other rights and “criminalizing every single aspect” of women’s reproductive healthcare. However, Rodgers went even further. She suggested that states could ban menstrual cycle tracking: “Are they going to be able to search your apps—you know there’s apps that track your menstrual cycle. You know how far are these states going to try and go?”

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“Biden trampled his own promise to embrace government and the rule of law.”

Biden Undermines Supreme Court In Ways Unlike Predecessors (JTN)

Two months into his presidency, as he did often on the campaign trial, President Joe Biden asked America to embrace the legitimacy of government. “Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people,” the 46th president implored his country in a March 2021 speech on the anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdowns. On Friday, after being stung by abortion and gun rights rulings by the Supreme Court that he disagreed with, the president changed his tune and launched a verbal assault on America’s judicial branch of government and its iconic marbled court of nine justices. The president took a blowtorch to the Supreme Court in language clearly designed to undermine its legitimacy.

He accused the justices of waging a “deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law” and decried their “extreme and dangerous path”, as he insisted the nation’s highest court had made the “United States an outlier among developed nations” by reversing the half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision. A day earlier, he slammed the court’s verdict that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms extended to carrying in public, calling that decision “unconstitutional.” In so doing, Biden trampled his own promise to embrace government and the rule of law. He also veered from the civility most presidents and senior political leaders have shown the court, even when it ruled against their wishes.

Barack Obama, for instance, didn’t like the famed Heller gun ruling in 2008 that overturned DC’s restrictive handgun laws, but issued a statement that suggested good people could find common ground in it. “I will uphold the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen,” Obama said. “I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws.” George W. Bush showed the same deference when the justices rejected his arguments that Guantanamo Bay terrorist prisoners didn’t deserve full rights in the courts. “We’ll abide by the court’s decision,” Bush said. “That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.”

Likewise, Al Gore upheld the legitimacy of the legal system after losing the 2000 election in an epic Supreme Court ruling: ““I accept the finality of the outcome … And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession,” the then-vice president said. Biden’s angry strike at the court’s legitimacy drew a rebuke from many corridors, including from a famed liberal law professor who voted for him. “I am concerned about that,” Harvard University law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told “Just the News, Not Noise” television program Friday night when asked about Biden’s reaction.

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“And so on and so forth through 385,191 responses.”

EU Renews Digital Covid Pass Despite 99% Negative Public Feedback (Kogon)

Acting on a proposal of the European Commission, the European Parliament, as expected, voted yesterday to renew the EU Digital Covid Certificate for another year. The vote was 453 for, 119 against and 19 abstentions. The certificate regulation had been scheduled to expire on June 30. Earlier this month, a delegation from the parliament had already reached a “political agreement” with the Commission on renewing the certificate, thus making yesterday’s vote virtually a foregone conclusion. The certificate regulation was originally adopted in June of last year, ostensibly to facilitate “safe travel” between EU member states. But the EU digital certificate quickly evolved into the model and sometimes infrastructure for the domestic “health” or Covid passes that would serve to restrict access to many other areas of social life over the following year.

The EU has opted to extend the covid certificate despite the overwhelmingly negative results of a public consultation on the subject that was launched by the European Commission under the heading of “Have Your Say” and that was open to the public from February 3 to April 8. The consultation elicited over 385,000 responses – almost all of which appear to be opposed to renewal! In a letter to the European Ombudsman that the French member of the parliament Virginie Joron posted on her Twitter feed, Joron writes: “I read hundreds of responses at random with my team. I did not find any in favor of extending the QR code [i.e. the digital certificate]. Based on this large survey, it seems obvious that virtually all the responses were negative.”

The overwhelmingly negative tendency of the responses was indeed evident from the outset. The first full page of responses, all of them dating from February 4, is available here. They are, of course, in a variety of European Union languages: French, German, Italian, and also one in English. To provide readers an idea of the tenor, here is a translation of just the first line or two of the first several responses (starting from the bottom of the page): “I am completely opposed to the establishment of this certificate given what is currently happening with the EU’s disastrous handling of Covid…” “I want this cst [probably a reference to Belgium’s “Covid Safe Ticket”] or vaccine passport simply to be eliminated… ” “There are claims made in the draft document that are not scientifically supported. For example, it is claimed that the Covid certificate represents effective protection against the spread of the virus – what data can support this claim?…

“Hello, I am shocked and disgusted by the freedom-killing decisions taken in the EU … as regards this “European certificate” … ” “The covid certificate or green pass SHOULD BE ABOLISHED immediately as discriminatory and unconstitutional and not supported by any scientific data, because it is exclusively based on PUNITIVE measures for citizens… ” “I am opposed to the extension of the green pass, which serves no purpose other than creating discrimination… ” “I never want to be subjected to a discriminatory certificate again…” “And, finally, the English-language entry: “The digital Covid certificate should end immediately. There is so much data that supports the fact that digital passports have zero positive impact on transmission rates and in fact in the most vaccinated and highly regulated countries, there [sic.] covid rates are insane…” And so on and so forth through 385,191 responses.

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“Digging further into this is going to get really good. It’s clear these people are neither smart nor informed. They hipshot and hoped. And all the carnage and calamity it drove is going to land on them.”

Birx Had A Tough Day In Congress (El Gato)

Leaders do not, mostly, lead. They follow the public mood. And as that mood is shifting, it’s becoming ok to ask the pointy questions and start getting to the bottom of things. Debbie had a tough outing here and gets pinned on a simple and vital issue: When public health officials and agencies stridently told america that the covid vaccines would be a “dead end for the virus” and stop infection and spread, upon what did they base that claim and how did they get it so wrong? Once Jordan gets a hold of her, this is like a tuna filled piñata in a tiger cage. jj: Was the government lying when they said this? db: i don’t know. i was not part of the taskforce discussions Strong start. Non-denial denial, offers up others for the trip under the bus. Both evasive and self-protective. Politics 101.

She then speaks of her family still using “layered protection” because she knew that vaccine immunity would wane like natural immunity. This is both inaccurate and deeply dishonest. If she and her compatriots “knew” that, they certainly were not saying it in public. And boy oh boy do we have the receipts on that one… Jj: when the government told us the vaccinated could not transmit it (covid), was that a lie or a guess? db: “i think it was hope” See, now that seems like a pretty poor pretext for pushing vaccination as social duty, mandating jabs, and endless campaigns of vilification, othering and claims to be on the “side of science.” “we did it cuz hope.” Digging further into this is going to get really good. It’s clear these people are neither smart nor informed. They hipshot and hoped. And all the carnage and calamity it drove is going to land on them.

It’s clear they lack basic justification for their towering, condescending certitude. This fallback to “and that’s why i think scientists and public health leaders always have to be at the table being very clear what we know and don’t know” is awe inspiring in its manipulative mendacity. Sure, the statement is true, but could anyone produce a standard that less describes what was actually done? They expressed as iron bar certainty that which they now admit was “a hope.” They attacked viciously anyone who dared call their narrative into question. I seriously cannot believe she just said that. That she did not actually burst into flame getting that out is near certain proof that she’s wearing asbestos underpants.

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“If Ms. Maxwell remains on suicide watch, is prohibited from reviewing legal materials prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived, and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel, we will be formally moving on Monday for an adjournmen..”

You know who else is on suicide watch?

Ghislaine Maxwell On Suicide Watch, May Seek Sentencing Delay (R.)

Ghislaine Maxwell has been put on suicide watch at a Brooklyn jail, and may seek to delay her Tuesday sentencing for aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, her lawyer said on Saturday night. In a letter to the judge overseeing Maxwell’s case, Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said her client is “unable to properly prepare, for sentencing,” after officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center on Friday declared the suicide watch and abruptly moved Maxwell to solitary confinement. Sternheim said Maxwell was given a “suicide smock,” and her clothing, toothpaste, soap and legal papers were taken away. The lawyer also said Maxwell “is not suicidal,” a conclusion she said a psychologist who evaluated the 60-year-old British socialite on Saturday morning also reached.


“If Ms. Maxwell remains on suicide watch, is prohibited from reviewing legal materials prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived, and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel, we will be formally moving on Monday for an adjournment,” Sternheim wrote. Maxwell was convicted on Dec. 29 on five criminal counts, including sex trafficking, for recruiting and grooming four girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. Prosecutors have said Maxwell should spend at least 30 years in prison, citing her “utter lack of remorse.” Maxwell wants a term shorter than 20 years.

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Chicken Dog

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

Jun 252022
 


Arnold Böcklin Mermaids at play 1886

 

Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (ZH)
What Progressives Get Wrong About Overturning Roe (Turley)
Biden Claims Abortion Ruling Makes US ‘Outlier Among Developed Nations’ (Fox)
Putin Suggests Way Out Of Global Economic Crisis (RT)
China Promotes ‘Non-Western Multilateralism’ at BRICS Summit (NI)
US Gov’t Body Plots To Break Up Russia In Name Of ‘Decolonization’ (MP)
Why The West Risks Condemning Ukraine To Slow Strangulation (G.)
Concurrent And Hyperinflation Will Ravage The World (von Greyerz)
Don’t Fear The Recession (Denninger)
A Lemming Leading The Lemmings: The Terminal Collapse Of The Anti-war Left (Cook)
Prepare For A Tidal Wave Of Evictions (ZH)
When the Wicked Try to Flee (Kunstler)
Austria Set to Retire Vaccine Mandate by End of August (Eugyp)

 

 

 

 

Trump 2016 Roe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First thing we need to do is to stop making this a black and white issue. There are many shades here. Many will claim that I have no right to speak, because I am a man. But you can’t just silence half the population on crucial questions. We are not done talking.

Biden: The Supreme Court ‘took away a constitutional right’. No, that never existed.

In Europe, abortion is much more regulated than in the US under Roe v Wade. The Mississippi law that the Supreme Court upheld today bans abortion after 15 weeks. France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany ban abortion after 12 weeks. Italy 13 weeks. France, Austria, Spain after 14 weeks. UK 24 weeks. In the US, I see many voices claim abortion up to 8-9 months should be legal. That makes me very uncomfortable.

Another point: the Dems could have codified Roe v Wade into law under Clinton, Obama, even Biden. They did not. Some suggest this is because they want to be able to keep bringing it up time and again because it is an issue that is guaranteed to get them votes. Codify it, and those votes are gone.

Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (ZH)

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade, returning the decision on whether or not abortion is legal to individual states. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the Friday decision – the May 2 leak of which led to widespread protests and an attempted murder against Justice Brett Kavanaugh – the court overturned the 1973 case which guaranteed access to abortion nationwide. The case at issue – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenged a Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks. Lower courts, citing a previous ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey preventing states from banning abortion within the first 24 weeks of gestation, had prevented Dobbs from being enacted – which the Supreme Court just reversed.

In response to the ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Congressional Democrats would work to “enshrine Roe v. Wade into law” – while former President Obama said the ruling attacks ‘essential freedoms.’ Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted that “American women are having their rights taken by 5 unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the ruling is “courageous and correct.” Within an hour of the USSC Roe decision, Missouri ended abortion in the state. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden said that there would be a “mini revolution” in November’s midterm elections if the landmark decision was overturned – insisting that overturning the law would be “ridiculous” and would drive Democrat turnout in November’s midterm elections.

“I don’t think the country will stand for it,” he said, adding “If in fact the decision comes down the way it does, and these states impose the limitations they’re talking about, it’s going to cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote these folks out of office.” Earlier this year, Congressional Democrats tried and failed to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. Meanwhile, Biden said he was exploring the use of executive orders depending on the final Supreme Court decision. Biden also pushed voters to come out during midterms so that Congressional dems would have enough of a majority to codify abortion rights into law. “You gotta vote to let people know exactly what the devil you think,” he told Kimmel.

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“Now, it’s citizens who will decide.”

What Progressives Get Wrong About Overturning Roe (Turley)

With the release of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, politicians and pundits went public with a parade of horribles – from the criminalization of contraceptives to the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education. In reality, the post-Roe world will look much like the Roe world for most citizens. While this is a momentous decision, it is important to note what it does and does not do. The decision itself was already largely known. It did not dramatically change since the leak of an earlier draft. The conservative majority held firm in declaring that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided: “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

In the end, Chief Justice John Roberts cut a bit of a lonely figure in the mix of the court on the issue. His concurrence did not seriously question the majority view that Roe was not based on a good law. However, he would have stopped short of overturning the decision outright. It is the ultimate call of an incrementalist detached from the underlying constitutional interpretation. The court now has a solid majority of justices who are more motivated by what they view as “first principles” than pragmatic concerns. From a court that has long used nuanced (and maddeningly vague) opinions to avoid major changes in constitutional doctrine, we now have clarity on this issue. It will return to the citizens of each state to decide. The court anticipated the response to the opinion by those who “stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil … other rights.”

The opinion expressly does not address contraception, same-sex marriage or other rights. That claim has always been absurd but has become a talking point on the left. After the leak of the draft opinion, the New York Times opinion editors warned that some states likely would outlaw interracial marriage if Roe v. Wade is overturned: “Imagine that every state were free to choose whether to allow Black people and white people to marry. Some states would permit such marriages; others probably wouldn’t.” It takes considerable imagination because it is utter nonsense, though it must come as something of a surprise to Justice Clarence Thomas, given his interracial marriage, or to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, given her own interracial family.

Nevertheless, politicians lined up to lead the parade of predicting horrible consequences. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that “with Roe and their attempt to destroy it, radical Republicans are charging ahead with their crusade to criminalize health freedom.” [..] The court held that “it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Much of course has changed since 1973 when Roe was handed down. At that time, most states restricted legal abortions. Now, the overwhelming majority of Americans have supported Roe v. Wade and 16 states have guaranteed abortion, including states such as California, Illinois and New York that hold a significant percentage of the population. States like Colorado protect the right of a woman to make this decision without limitations on the stage of a pregnancy.

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It’s not.

Biden Claims Abortion Ruling Makes US ‘Outlier Among Developed Nations’ (Fox)

President Biden remarked Friday that the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade made the U.S. an “outlier” in the West. “With this decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court shows how extreme it is, how far removed they are from the majority of this country,” Biden said during a speech at the White House. “They have made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world. But this decision must not be the final word.” However, European nations largely have abortion laws that resemble regulations supported by many Republican-led state governments. The Supreme Court issued its decision Friday as part of a case regarding a Mississippi state law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Even states that ban abortion can’t make it illegal to travel to another state to abort a pregnancy, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurrence Friday. By comparison, abortion is only permitted in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger in Poland. In Ireland and Germany, abortion procedures are banned in the majority of cases after 12 weeks. Italy doesn’t allow abortions after 90 days, or just under 13 weeks. France, Austria and Spain have banned the procedure after 14 weeks. “Upholding laws restricting abortion on demand after 20 weeks would situate the United States closer to the international mainstream, instead of leaving it as an outlying country with ultra-permissive abortion policies,” the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life group, stated in 2014.

The report noted that the list of nations where abortion is legal past 20 weeks included North Korea, China and Vietnam. The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that 12 countries now allow abortion up to 20 weeks, a legal adviser for the group told Politifact last month. The U.K. allows abortions up to 24 weeks, according to the nation’s National Health Service. In addition, there are more than 20 countries that have “flexible” laws that permit abortion procedures at 20 weeks or later under certain circumstances, according to Politifact. For example, the Czech Republic allows abortions after 20 weeks for mental health reasons and Japan permits abortions after 22 weeks for socioeconomic reasons.

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BRICS. I stopped quoting RT when it was banned all over, I want people to be able to click links and read the original articles. 1 exception here, also because this is the entire article.

Putin Suggests Way Out Of Global Economic Crisis (RT)

The West’s selfish attempts to blame the entire world for its own mistakes have led to the global economic crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday, appearing via video link at the 14th BRICS Summit. “Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation is it possible to find a way out of this crisis situation that has gripped the global economy due to the thoughtless and selfish actions of certain states,” Putin explained.


The Russian leader stressed that today, as never before, the leadership of the BRICS countries is needed in order to develop a unifying policy for the shaping of a truly multipolar system of intergovernmental relations, and that it ought to be based on the universally recognized norms of international law and the key principles of the UN Charter. According to Putin, the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have a truly enormous political, economic, scientific, technological and human potential. Their influence on the global arena is increasing with every year, he pointed out. “Russia is ready to continue developing close multifaceted interaction with all the [BRICS] partners and contribute to the enhancement of its role in international affairs,” Putin promised.

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The west is not the future. That time is behind us. And many countries recognize this.

China Promotes ‘Non-Western Multilateralism’ at BRICS Summit (NI)

China hosted the first day of the fourteenth annual BRICS Summit—a series of meetings involving the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—on Wednesday, amid a series of major shifts in the global world order and rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Chinese president Xi Jinping opened the summit on Wednesday, emphasizing the five nations’ “shared desire to meet challenges together through cooperation,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. The Chinese leader also urged the countries in attendance to “embrace solidarity and coordination and jointly maintain world peace and stability.”

The BRICS group comprises the five largest developing economies; together, its members constitute forty percent of the world’s population and one-fourth of global gross domestic product. The group includes the two most populous nations in the world, China and India, as well as Russia, the largest in terms of land. Chinese state media has praised the role of the five-nation grouping, claiming that ties between the BRICS countries had increased “multilateral cooperation with non-Western styles, forms, and principles [of government”—marking a positive contrast to the actions of the United States, which it accused of “pulling its Western allies to ‘rebel’ against globalization.”

Despite considerable internal differences within the bloc, including a decades-old rivalry between China and India, all of the BRICS countries have resisted full political alignment with the West. Of the five BRICS nations, only one, Brazil, voted in the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine in February; Russia voted against the measure, while the other three countries abstained. Even Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro refused to personally condemn Putin, whom the West has widely framed as the driving force behind the Russian invasion. In his remarks on Wednesday, Xi appeared to criticize the United States and NATO, describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “wake-up call for all in the world.”

“Blind faith in the so-called ‘position of strength’ and attempts to expand military alliances and seek one’s own security at the expense of others will only land oneself in a security dilemma,” Xi said, repeating the controversial argument that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was mainly prompted by legitimate security fears rather than Putin’s personal ideology. A virtual meeting between Xi and his counterparts Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, and Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to take place on Thursday morning, followed by further meetings between high-level officials from the five countries. Analysts have predicted that Xi will defend China’s governance record and highlight the country’s successful development to the other attendees amid the lifting of strict Covid-19 lockdown measures in Shanghai and Beijing.

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War games.

US Gov’t Body Plots To Break Up Russia In Name Of ‘Decolonization’ (MP)

A US government body held a Congressional briefing plotting ways to break up Russia as a country, in the name of supposed “decolonization.” The participants urged the United States to give more support to separatist movements inside Russia and in the diaspora. They proposed the independence of numerous republics in the Russian Federation, including Chechnya, Tatarstan, and Dagestan, as well as historic areas that existed centuries ago such as Circassia. This is far from the first time that hawks in Washington have fantasized about carving up foreign countries. During the first cold war, the US sponsored secessionist groups inside the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the US-led NATO military cartel successfully dismantled Yugoslavia. And Washington has long backed separatists in the Chinese regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

After the overthrow of the USSR, neoconservative operative and future Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to slice up Russia into several smaller countries. Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski even published an article in elite Foreign Affairs magazine in 1997 proposing to create a “loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic.” Yet this Congressional hearing was one of the most high-profile and provocative calls for balkanization yet, held in broad daylight. Titled “Decolonizing Russia: A Moral and Strategic Imperative,” the June 23 briefing was organized by the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), known more commonly as the Helsinki Commission.

This commission claims to be “independent,” but it is a US government agency created and overseen by Congress. The event was introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee who co-chairs the commission. Representative Cohen claimed Russians “have in essence colonized their own country,” and argued that Russia is “not a strict nation, in the sense that we’ve known in the past.” At the virtual hearing, which was livestreamed on YouTube, the congressman was joined by veteran regime-change activists who have worked for an array of US government agencies. The event was moderated by Bakhti Nishanov, a senior policy advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

He excitedly noted, “We have many, many participants. I think this is pretty much a record for a House commission briefing.” Nishanov argued that Western condemnation of Moscow’s war in Ukraine should expand to opposition to “Russia’s interior empire.” He added that the panelists hoped to “come up with ideas that will actually contain Russia.”

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“..although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere..”

Why The West Risks Condemning Ukraine To Slow Strangulation (G.)

But it is the third theatre of war – the influence war – where the west is faring unexpectedly poorly. There is a growing awareness that the west’s narrative that Putin is fighting a colonial war and is responsible for its ripple effects is meeting indifference and even resistance in the global south. With more than 40% of wheat consumed in Africa usually coming from Russia and Ukraine, one of the key organisers of the G7 summit in Germany, Wolfgang Schmidt, said it was vital to prevent Moscow and Beijing dividing off the G7 from the so-called Brics countries by blaming western sanctions for the shortages. Germany had invited leaders from Indonesia, India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal in part to prevent Russia and China succeeding in their goal.

Schmidt said: “When you talk to leaders outside Europe and the alliance at the moment then you will realise their perception of the [ Ukraine] war is completely different from ours. They might say: ‘Yes, we are not OK with a country invading another.’ But and then comes the big but: ‘It is your sanctions that drive up food prices, energy prices and have a devastating effect on our population.’” Ann Linde, the Swedish foreign minister, said that during her meetings with Asian and African ministers she also came across a narrative that the west was more engaged in Ukraine, than it has been in wars in the south. Her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, said in his recent travels in India and the Middle East he discovered that although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere.

Outside Europe “we are the culprits. We are the reason for oil, seeds, grain and energy not being on the market or overpriced,” he said. “This is a war in Europe. But there’s another European war, because the shockwaves can be felt everywhere. It’s the first war since the second world war where you can feel the effects globally.” A massive battle is now under way to accuse Russia of using hunger as a weapon of war. The blame game could not have higher stakes. Largely due to drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, 16.7 million people in east Africa are already dependent on food assistance. That number is likely to increase by 20 million by September alone. The World Food Programme claimed the Ukraine ripple effect will mean a further 44 million people worldwide would be classified as “food insecure or at high risk”.

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FLATION. “Political turmoil and anarchy will be the rule rather than the exception as the people will blame the leaders for higher prices and taxes and deteriorating services in all areas.”

Concurrent Deflation And Hyperinflation Will Ravage The World (von Greyerz)

FLATION will be the keyword in coming years. The world will simultaneously experience inFLATION, deFLATION, stagFLATION and eventually hyperinFLATION. [..] With most asset classes falling rapidly, the world is now approaching calamities of a proportion not seen before in history. So far in 2022, we have seen an implosion of asset prices across the board of around 20%. What few investors realise is that this is the mere beginning. Before this bear market is over, the world will see 75-90% falls of stocks, bonds and other assets. Since falls of this magnitude have not been seen for more than three generations, the shockwaves will be calamitous. At the same time as bubble assets deflate, prices of goods and services have started an inflationary cycle of a magnitude that the world as whole has never experienced before.

We have seen hyperinflation in individual countries previously but never on a global scale. Currently the official inflation rate is around 8% in the US and Europe. But for the average consumer in the West, prices are rising by at least 25% on average for their everyday needs such as food and fuel. So the world is now approaching calamities on many fronts. As always in periods of crisis, everybody is looking for someone to blame. In the West most people blame Putin. Yes, Putin is the villain and it is his fault that food and energy prices are surging. Nobody bothers to analyse what or who prompted Russia to intervene, nor do politicians or main stream media understand the importance of history, which is the key to understanding current events.

In troubled times, everyone needs someone to blame. Many Americans will blame Biden who has both lost his grip on most US events as well as his balance. In the UK, the people blame Boris Johnson who has lost control of Britain since Partygate. In France the people are blaming Macron who just lost his majority in parliament, and in Germany people blame Scholz for sending money to Ukraine for weapons and money to Russia for gas. This blame game is only just beginning. Political turmoil and anarchy will be the rule rather than the exception as the people will blame the leaders for higher prices and taxes and deteriorating services in all areas. No country will be able to provide social security payments in line with galloping inflation. Same with unfunded or underfunded pensions, which will fall dramatically or even disappear totally as the underlying asset base of stocks and bonds implodes. As a consequence, many countries will be anarchic.

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Karl toots his own horn.

Don’t Fear The Recession (Denninger)

“Oh nos, there’s a recession coming!” CHEERS, say I. What, you say? You must be nuts! People lose their jobs in a recession and the economy stinks! Oh, so what’s going on right now doesn’t stink? Sky-high gas prices and a 50% inflation built into the PPI which has yet to work itself through the system — and won’t for at least another year even if all the crazy policies stopped now? Of course it does. The only reason to fear recessions and higher interest rates is if you, or your firm, is over-levered. To put not so fine a point on it you cheated to obtain what you claim as “prosperity” and now you’re staring down getting caught out while both unprepared and having done stupid things. Key to this is that you did the stupid things.


What was the smart thing to do in such a time? Live below your means and sock back capital during the good times. Why? Because then you have it, and its yours, when the bad times come — which means you get to pick on the people who did stupid things and, by doing so, get far ahead and you didn’t have to cheat in order to do so. Twice in my time running MCSNet I feasted on other people’s stupidity in regard to taking on leverage they could not service. Neither time was I personally responsible for the stupidity of said others, but both times I made out like a bandit — precisely because I had cash and, when the opportunity arose, could slap it on the table in exchange for what I wanted to grow the business at a ridiculous discount to what I would have otherwise paid.

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Noticed that.

A Lemming Leading The Lemmings: The Terminal Collapse Of The Anti-war Left (Cook)

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp? It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers). Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine. I recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia. But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason.

Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too. The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment. Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

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“..8.4 million Americans, or about 15% of all renters, who are behind on rent, are at risk of being evicted..”

Prepare For A Tidal Wave Of Evictions (ZH)

A tidal wave of evictions could be ahead. More than eight million Americans are behind on rent payments, and the CDC’s series of eviction moratoriums has long since expired. In other words, the government safety net to keep people off the streets is gone. With no federal eviction moratorium in place, 8.4 million Americans, or about 15% of all renters, who are behind on rent, are at risk of being evicted. The new figures were part of a Census Bureau survey conducted between June 1 to June 13 of households and was first reported by Bloomberg. The survey found that 3.5 million households were somewhat likely to leave their rented spaces (homes/apartments) within the next two months because of an eviction.


Most of these folks are of the working poor class and situated in large metro areas from New York to Atlanta, where the cost of living, including shelter, food, and fuel, has skyrocketed. About 6.7 million households said their rents increased, on average, $250 per month over the last year. The increase doesn’t sound like a lot but remember that many of these folks are being crushed under the weight of the highest inflation in four decades. Their credit cards are maxed out, and savings are drained as wages fail to keep up with soaring consumer prices. This shocking revelation is a reminder that today’s current economic backdrop, which some say is stagflationary, could quickly morph into recession and surging jobless. So who will the Biden administration blame for the coming tidal wave of evictions? He can’t keep blaming “Putin.”

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“The data tell us that people who got “vaccinated” and “boosted” are turning up with broken immune systems that leave them extra-specially open to repeated Covid-19 re-infection, and that each reiteration of the illness breaks down their immune systems even more..”

When the Wicked Try to Flee (Kunstler)

Dr. Anthony Fauci (White House Medical Advisor), Dr. Rochelle Walensky (CDC), and Dr. Robert M. Califf (FDA) are killing and harming Americans because… apparently, they don’t know why. As the old saw goes: they know not what they do. Or is that so? Is it even possible anymore? One must suppose it is possible if they are insane, which, you also understand, does not preclude them from being evil, too. Ms. Walensky says repeatedly that they are looking at or waiting on “the data.” No, she’s not. She’s just saying that, as if reciting a magic incantation that can deflect culpability. The data are in plain sight, not even hiding. The data are all over the world: this country, the UK, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Israel, Cuba, South Africa, Australia, name a country. The data are turning up now in respected medical journals, many news websites, substacks, and blogs, as well, even, here and there, in what we call mainstream media. A lot of the data until very recently were getting published in the agencies own collection organs, but they deliberately stopped it.

The data tell us that people who got “vaccinated” and “boosted” are turning up with broken immune systems that leave them extra-specially open to repeated Covid-19 re-infection, and that each reiteration of the illness breaks down their immune systems even more — which suggests that over time (think: the months ahead) more and more of them are going to die from all kinds of opportunistic viral and bacterial diseases, not to mention cancers, structural damage due to blood clots, heart tissue injury directly from spike proteins, and brain-and-neuro illness, ditto. Do you believe that the authorities somehow missed all this? Are they trying to pretend that they didn’t (take your pick): 1) fecklessly promote the biggest compound medical blunder in history? 2) conspire with pharma companies in a dastardly racketeering scheme? 3) carry out the orders of some shady, malevolent elite to cull the human population under a depraved, messianic, crypto-eco ideology? or 4) just…reasons….

Before too much longer they’ll have to tell us. At this point, resigning in order to just slink away from the scene of the crime is probably not possible. Francis Collins tried to step down from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) late last year, but we’ll know how to find him, and we certainly know what he did in enabling the creation of the Covid-19 pandemic and then its supposed savior “vaccines.” This is true, by the way, across the entire medical profession, including doctors, hospital directors, and, of course, the pharma executives. They’ll have to answer for why they continued vaxxing the public when caution was indicated (primum non nocere — first do no harm), and how come they stupidly and / or maliciously suppressed cheap and effective early treatment drugs.

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Austria arguably has the most damaging mandates.

Austria Set to Retire Vaccine Mandate by End of August (Eugyp)

Yesterday, Green Party health minister Johannes Rauch announced in a press conference that the Austrian vaccine mandate will be retired after 31 August. His announcement follows the decision in March to suspend the promised fines – as high as 3,600 Euros – for the unvaccinated, which were said to be “disproportionate” given the mildness of Omicron. Rauch explained: “The vaccine mandate has not increased the number of people getting vaccinated, and they have also opened up rifts in the population. I’m convinced that it won’t help us to achieve the goal of motivating as many people as possible to have a booster in autumn – rather the opposite. It’s time to close those rifts again. Abolishing the mandate is another step out of crisis mode, towards normalisation. We must learn to live with Covid-19.”

Of course Rauch also had excuses: The legislation was introduced at a totally different moment, in the midst of a Delta wave that had caused surging hospitalisations and brought intensive care units in Austria to their capacity limits. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, in a radio interview, concurred that the mandate “was not the appropriate measure to increase the vaccination rate.” It had instead caused social division, at a time when “We have to fight together against the virus and not against each other.” As recently as January, he had called the mandate “a way back to freedom” and explained that the unvaccinated would not have to pay heavy fines, as long as they showed “active remorse” and submitted to vaccination after all.

[..] I often hear that opposition to pandemic policies is hopeless and that we are condemned to accept nothing but loss after loss. That’s not true. This is a massive victory to Austrian opponents of mass vaccination, and it represents a serious defeat for the pandemicists, who can now only speak of their defunct mandate in apologetic tones and with vaguely embarrassed excuses. General vaccine mandates are dead all over Europe, and Omicron is only the indirect cause. The vaccinators were already at the limits of their strength even at the height of the Delta wave; improving disease statistics merely drained off enough of the ambient hysteria to make their battle wholly unwinnable.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo: Israel Provokes Russia

 

 

 

 

Birx

 

 


June 24

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

May 032022
 


Andy Warhol Judy Garland 1978

 

Supreme Court Has Voted To Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows (Pol.)
SCOTUS Draft To Overturn Roe v. Wade Leaked (TCS)
Upon Reread, It Looks Like FAKE NEWS (CTH)
This Is Why Nancy Pelosi And Adam Schiff Were In Kyiv Yesterday (CTH)
New Pure-bred ‘Schrödinger-seizable’ Euros (Vilches)
“Disinformation” is Just a Boot in Your Face (Kunstler)
The Clinton Campaign Is About To Lose Its Privilege Fight (Techno Fog)
Ghosting Propaganda (Dodsworth)
Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)
Your Face Is Now a Weapon of War (NI)
The Vacuum Effect of the US Dollar (Lacalle)

 

 

 

 

SBU

 

 

Cernovich:
Hack of the Supreme Court’s email must be presumed, even if that turns out to be inaccurate after a full investigation. This is far too important an issue to speculate that it was a leak. Immediate Special Counsel appointment, unlimited budget.

 

 

 

 

Not acceptable. How can the judges work this way? Was this leaked, or is the court’s email system compromised?

Supreme Court Has Voted To Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows (Pol.)

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months. The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.

No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term. The draft opinion offers an extraordinary window into the justices’ deliberations in one of the most consequential cases before the court in the last five decades. Some court-watchers predicted that the conservative majority would slice away at abortion rights without flatly overturning a 49-year-old precedent. The draft shows that the court is looking to reject Roe’s logic and legal protections.

A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week. The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.

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“The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.”

SCOTUS Draft To Overturn Roe v. Wade Leaked (TCS)

In an unprecedented turn of events, someone leaked a SCOTUS initial draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade to Politico. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” writes Justice Samuel Alito in the leaked document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” “…. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

The justices that support striking down Roe v. Wade and making abortion a state issue are Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, Justice Barrett, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Gorsuch, with Justice Roberts being a flip vote and the three Democrat Justices opposing the overruling. As many have pointed out, leaking a draft of a SCOTUS vote is unprecedented and appears to be a clear attempt to instigate left-wing riots across the country to pressure justices not to overturn Roe v. Wade. There are many potential reasons for doing this. As Politico notes, “Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled.


“The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.” Moreover, the leak will have huge ramifications regarding the upcoming midterms and even the 2024 general election, as both sides will indefinitely utilize the decision (and even the draft vote if it’s dropped) as the ultimate wedge issue to argue that if Americans don’t vote for a particular candidate, then Roe v. Wade will or won’t be overturned. As it stands, many on Twitter are already calling for the Biden administration to pack the courts, and the Supreme Court has been barricaded as they await the impending riots likely to pop off tomorrow afternoon.

Read more …

Twitter thread by Sundance. “The leak is real, the news is fake. Alito opinion is real. The justice’s concurrances or formal alignments are not. How does the court respond to an accurate Alito opinion, and a non factual alignment?

Why would Politico want to participate in a strategically explosive political effort to manufacture a fear of a not real SCOTUS opinion based on fabricated claims?”

Upon Reread, It Looks Like FAKE NEWS (CTH)

Having read the Politico article carefully, my original suspicions have shifted a bit. “Exclusive: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court.” First, Politico is in the Domestic DOJ/FBI pipeline with the New York Times. CNN = State Dept. WaPo = CIA/Intel. NYT/Politico = FBI/DOJ. So the outlet sourcing leans toward DOJ and Justice Branch coverage. Which makes sense given the leaker is inside SCOTUS giving stolen documents to Politico. However, there’s no citation in the article for the actual alignment of the other justices with the Alito opinion. Factually there’s nothing other than Politico author supposition for judicial alignment with Alito opinion.

There’s nothing cited in the politico report that would indicate this is anything more than just Alito telling his peers what his position on the oral arguments was/is. Essentially, here’s my draft of what I believe. There’s nothing more than that present. Reread it. With no factual citation for the claim that Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are in concurrence, the article framework could likely be much ado about absolutely nothing. It’s one justice’s opinion, which is not surprising as Alito has already outlined this opinion before. Nothing else. Every reaction is complete projection based on unsubstantiated claims (of concurrences) by the Politico journalist. The “majority” is the part that matters…. and there is zero evidence to substantiate a claim that a majority decision exists.

Upon reread, it looks like FAKE NEWS. Then you switch to motive. Why would Politico want to participate in a strategically explosive political effort to manufacture a fear of a not real SCOTUS opinion based on fabricated claims? The answer to that question is found in the immediate reaction from the political left. Just the accusation alone is enough to trigger the most extreme of leftist base political demands. From that perspective, everyone is reacting to a carefully coordinated con job…. that carries the odor of Ron Klain, the DNC, and a desperately needed political reset for 2022 all over it.

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“U.S. taxpayers are also going to subsidize farming in Europe and fund the climate change initiatives by paying for the development of alternate energy sources.”

This Is Why Nancy Pelosi And Adam Schiff Were In Kyiv Yesterday (CTH)

The details of the Joe Biden $33 billion supplemental budget allocation have been released. I would strongly urge everyone to read the proposal which now heads to congress for passage. The spending request outlines a massive amount of money for various ideological foreign policy initiatives under the guise of Ukraine relief (it isn’t). The proposal outlines a kickback and bribery scheme. Some of the spending includes an allocation of funds to the State Dept including funds to USAID to “provide $8.8 billion to the Department of State for economic support and assistance to the people of Ukraine and other affected countries, including direct budgetary support, as well as support for food security, democracy, anticorruption, cybersecurity, counter-disinformation, human rights, atrocity documentation, energy, and emergency infrastructure needs.” The request specifically authorizes the transfer of these funds globally, outside of Ukraine.

Apparently, the State Dept is going to set up an international version of DHS “disinformation governance board.” But wait, it gets worse… U.S. taxpayers are also going to subsidize farming in Europe and fund the climate change initiatives by paying for the development of alternate energy sources. “This would include [$500 million] support for small- and medium- sized agrobusinesses during the fall harvest and for natural gas purchases by the Ukrainian state energy company.” Mechanisms to legalize defense contractor kick-backs: “This request would authorize Ukraine to utilize Foreign Military Financing Program funds appropriated in this Act and prior Acts to the Department of State to contract directly with U.S. companies to procure defense related materials which would facilitate the delivery of military assistance and security sector support.”


Mechanisms to spread the money all over government institutions without prior approval: …”This request would provide the authority to reprogram funds appropriated in this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for assistance to Ukraine without regard to any minimum amounts specifically designated in such Acts. This authority would provide the needed flexibility to match resources with evolving needs and decrease reliance on new appropriations.” The last segment is a massive change in the U.S. government power to seize Russian private property and assets, sell them to whoever Biden chooses, and then give the proceeds of the sales to U.S. politicians, friends, family members, or perhaps Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

 

 

Pelosi Ze -again-

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“This will necessarily impact beyond belief a still clueless population which continues to play the role of vassal puppets to Anglo-Saxon malignant dictates..”

New Pure-bred ‘Schrödinger-seizable’ Euros (Vilches)

The EU had already promoted and achieved all-around chaos regarding very simple yet absolutely essential trading terms urgently to be agreed with the Russian Federation. As if that were not enough, now adding fuel to the fire EU member countries continue to dangerously play their traditional fiddles while declaring that “ some contracts are holier than others, didn´t you know ? ” This daring criterion also means getting back to square one with an ever larger and riskier conflict while everybody´s patience is running thin. If Europe does not reverse course within a very limited time frame it will needlessly smash itself head-on against a very harsh reality. Once triggered, the subsequent uncontrolled demolition cannot rewind no matter how many desperate “emergency meetings” EU officials call for.

The EU has now come up with a ground-breaking legal criterion that international jurisprudence should rapidly adhere to and possibly improve. Thus it could include it in Treaties and other important legislation and, in view of its apparent virtues, even apply it ex-post-facto such as in this case. By the way, with this new international flat-Earth public policy, the EU would be the only party entitled to unilaterally uphold some contracts and not others per its own wishes and convenience as if it were a God-given right. Not anybody else, no way. So Europe, supposedly the cradle of Western civilization, is now trying hard to earn “The Joker” award disregarding the livelihood of at least 800 million human beings plus serious negative impact upon the rest of the world. Granted, history will not be kind with EU leaders.

Obviously, in view of the above, the interruption of Russian imports – including very specific, exclusive, and unreplaceable grades of Russian natural gas, oil, and coal – is now definetly in the cards for some or all European countries. This will necessarily impact beyond belief a still clueless population which continues to play the role of vassal puppets to Anglo-Saxon malignant dictates without actually following how they are being had. Four weeks ago, in view of the massive seizure of its legitimate funds, Russia was left with the only option of requiring Rubles as payment for its exports as such currency is exclusively under Russia´s purview and thus cannot be freezed and/or seized by any stakeholder, EU included. And negotiations were making very definite progress along such lines up until the past week.

A month ago, the only real problem was for EU countries to find Rubles other than by selling their “theoretical” gold bullion vaulted in the UK and the US which many claim is either non-existent or highly encumbered with many dozens of claimees standing in line. So the alternative viable solution wisely found up until last week was to convert euros into Rubles at Russia´s Gazprombank as it had not been sanctioned – at least not yet – as possibly the EU had foreseen its role for the proposed solution at hand. So Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, took the trouble to personally explain the exact simple two-step payment procedure by phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. By the way, the procedure is so simple and so straight-forward that even tie-wearing boomers can understand it.

But now European governments and energy companies are proudly rejecting the idea of paying in Rubles on the basis that gas import contracts clearly specify that the allowed currencies to be used for payment are only euros or dollars, not Rubles. Accordingly, they argue that one side of the deal – in this case the Russian Federation – cannot change such contractual obligation by its own decision (!). The EU now says “This is an absolutely clear circumvention of the EU sanctions.” “Opening a Ruble account at Gazprombank in and by itself may breach the EU sanctions…”

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“If Mr. Biden is still on-the-scene in January next year, he’ll be the first president not only impeached but convicted and removed by the Senate..”

“Disinformation” is Just a Boot in Your Face (Kunstler)

Now we have the Disinformation Governance Board to be run by a TikTok musical comedy star, Nina Jankowicz, an instant laughingstock, since retailing disinformation has been her main occupation in the scant years she’s been on the Deep State scene. Ms. Jankowicz is a notorious RussiaGate hoaxer and psy-op agent in the October 2020 emergence of Hunter Biden’s laptop. She has zero credibility as anything but a professional falsifier. Her Disinfo Governance Board has no authority to regulate anything. It’s just a lame charade that can only draw more attention to the Left’s hatred of truth and reality. The Left pretends that free speech is a threat to civilization because, as usual, they are projecting psychologically. Their world is a mirror. In fact, the Left is a threat to civilization.

Behind all this is the growing panic in the Left that they are culpable for an enormous raft of crimes committed against their own country, and will eventually end up in court, in prison, or worse. Mr. Durham is just the leading edge of what will eventually be a heavy blade of judgment falling down on their necks. He’s busy sorting out the “Russia collusion” flimflam that turned into a coup to oust Mr. Trump, but that is only the beginning. In November, the Democrats will lose control of Congress and its oversight powers of agency operations, and in 2023 there will be inquiries galore into the neo-Jacobin craziness imposed on our country by the folks behind “Joe Biden.”

That includes such dicey matters as the several years of malevolent mismanagement of Covid-19, which looks more and more like a deliberate effort to kill a large number of citizens, and then moving along to the behind-the-scenes official support for those 2020BLM /Antifa riots, the ballot shenanigans around the last presidential election, the colossal failure to enforce border security (featuring Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorkis), the Biden Regime’s conduct in provoking and prolonging the war between Russia and Ukraine, and (not least) the overseas moneygrubbing of President Biden’s family, as documented in Hunter’s laptop. I’m sure I left a few things out.

If Mr. Biden is still on-the-scene in January next year, he’ll be the first president not only impeached but convicted and removed by the Senate. And if for some reason he avoids criminal prosecution for treason out of some pitiful need for the government to maintain official decorum before the rest of the world, his brothers and his degenerate son may not be so lucky.

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“..the DNC and Hillary for America violated the law by hiding the real purpose of payments meant for Fusion GPS as “legal and compliance consulting.”

The Clinton Campaign Is About To Lose Its Privilege Fight (Techno Fog)

As part of the prosecution of former Clinton Campaign/DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann: Special Counsel Durham is seeking the following e-mails/communications that have been either redacted or hidden from his review: Documents involving Fusion GPS’s provision of opposition research and media-related strategies to Hillary for America, the DNC, and Perkins Coie. This includes the Fusion GPS/Perkins Coie contract and 38 e-mails and attachments between and among Fusion GPS, Rodney Joffe, and Perkins Coie. Communications between Fusion GPS and Rodney Joffe relating to the Alfa Bank allegations, and “other emails that precede, and appear to relate to, those communications.” This include emails between Joffe and Laura Seago, whom Durham has subpoenaed as a trial witness.

The Clinton Campaign (including Robby Mook and John Podesta), Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie, Rodney Joffe, and the DNC are fighting to keep these e-mails and records secret, reasoning Fusion’s “role was to provide consulting services in support of the legal advice attorneys at Perkins Coie were providing to” the Clinton Campaign. That argument – that Fusion GPS was helping with “legal advice” – is hopefully the last conspiracy theory they’ll provide to the public, after Fusion GPS has already poisoned the America, through the FBI, DOJ, and the press, with baseless allegations of secret back-channels between Trump Organization and Russian marketing servers, piss tapes, and broader allegations of Trump/Russia collusion.

Today, Special Counsel Durham addressed those arguments by providing to the court the FEC findings where the agency found “probable cause to believe” the DNC and Hillary for America violated the law by hiding the real purpose of payments meant for Fusion GPS as “legal and compliance consulting.” In support, he provided the First (link) and Second (link) General Counsel Reports, which recommend that the Federal Election Commission find the DNC and Hillary for America violated election laws (52 USC 30104(b)(5)(A)) “by misreporting the payee of the funds paid to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie LLP.” While much of the information in these now-public reports has been known for years (Glenn Simpson’s testimony to Congress, for example), they provide additional context – and newly uncovered details – on how the FEC dismantled the bogus Hillary for America/DNC Billing.

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“He emblemised wartime courage as Father Christmas does the spirit of giving.”

Ghosting Propaganda (Dodsworth)

He was not written into existence by “Ukrainians” but by the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukraine Security Service originally showed a fighter pilot on Telegram, with a caption calling the Ghost of Kyiv an “angel” for downing 10 Russian planes. The Ukrainian military released a photograph on Facebook of the Ghost of Kyiv in March 2022 with the caption, “Hello, occupier, I’m coming for your soul!” His name evoked the dark hero of a fairy tale. His feats were exaggerated, gathering mythic status. Whereas an ‘ace’ might eliminate 5 enemy aircraft, the Ghost was reputed to have downed about 40 Russian pilots. He didn’t seem real. And now we know that he was a purposeful piece of propaganda. He emblemised wartime courage as Father Christmas does the spirit of giving.

[..] This has not been the only Ukrainian propaganda. (Of course there has been Russian propaganda too, but it’s not for this article.) BBC Breakfast used old footage of a Russian parade to show the invasion of Ukraine. It’s hard to see how it was used in error, but that’s the claim. An early, blurry video claiming to show a Ukrainian girl confronting a Russian soldier actually showed a Palestinian girl confronting an Israeli soldier. Billboards declaring “Be brave like Ukraine” were displayed in London, Rome, New York, Amsterdam, Washington and Stockholm. A powerful campaign entitled “Stop Bloody Energy” – again in English, for us and the international audience – linked buying Russian fuel directly with funding the Russian war campaign and calls on us to stop financing terror and genocide.

The masterfully produced but gruesome video includes real life footage of dead bodies. (Not necessarily verified.) The video is produced by Ukrainian energy companies. The irony is that every modern machine of war uses oil. (We’ve also never seen anything like this to persuade us of the immorality of buying goods from China which is arguably ethnically cleansing the Uyghurs.) Ukrainian propaganda has been enthusiastically received. Social media avatars switched from masked faces to Ukraine flag colours overnight. Beyond the support which is natural and due to a country which has been invaded, I wonder if the enthusiasm also signalled the relief of having a good old-fashioned baddie. During Covid, we were all vectors of disease and potential ‘enemy agents’. Once more, the enemy is located in a distant snowy country with a red button at his fingertips. We can follow a war which pits us against Russkies, not our neighbours, families and co-workers, and sink into a fear which is familiar. It’s close, but not too close.

Azov

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BMGF = Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)

Big Pharma (Pfizer and BMGF from what it looks to me) dropped another nuclear bomb on ivermectin 3 weeks ago with their successful publication of the fraudulent Brazilian TOGETHER trial. They did it in one of the world’s top read and rated medical journals, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a journal born in the year 1812, but captured by Pharma for who knows how long now. This is an open secret as per former Editor Marcia Angell in the book Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” -Dr. Marcia Angell.

First off, the saddest part of this fraud is that the TOGETHER trial’s published conclusion brazenly contradicted the data within the manuscript as it actually showed an 81% “Bayesian” probability of the superiority of ivermectin. But media and science reporters no longer critically analyze the data or questions the abstract’s conclusion, instead they all trumpet headlines in unison that “ivermectin doesn’t work in COVID.” Further contributing to the catastrophic toll of human life due to yet another deployment of “the Diversion,” a Disinformation tactic that Big Pharma employs when “science inconvenient to their interests” emerges.

Their first successful Disinformation campaign was against hydroxychloroquine in 2020, and despite Robert Kennedy’s in-depth, highly referenced and detailed exposing of the numerous sinister actions against HCQ in his best-selling book called “The Real Anthony Fauci,” they are again having success against ivermectin (just not as much – I would credit the work of the physician leaders and science experts of numerous non-profit, non-conflict-of-interest groups such as the US’s FLCCC, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, Truth For Health, Covid Early Treatment Fund, South Africa’s Transformative Health Justice, UK’s World Council for Health, the Canadian COVID Care Alliance, and the anonymous C19early.com group among others).

Yet real people, real families, across the world destroyed each day by a lack of access to or support for safe, effective, early treatments with repurposed, generic medicines such as ivermectin, fluvoxamine, or hydroxychloroquine. All a direct result of Big Pharma and BMGF tactics like this one. Time to remind ourselves that BMGF is not a philanthropic organization but rather a corporation with massive investments in vaccines (and many other problematic industries) that has been corrupting public health the world over in service of the vaccine industry for decades now, none more so than in the last two years. By the way, what kind of philanthropist organization.. increases its wealth in a global pandemic?

MEP

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“it plans to have scraped 100 billion facial images from the internet.”

Your Face Is Now a Weapon of War (NI)

Who owns your face? You might think that you do, but consider that Clearview AI, an American company that sells facial recognition technology, has amassed a database of ten billion images since 2020. By the end of the year, it plans to have scraped 100 billion facial images from the internet. It is difficult to assess the company’s claims, but if we take Clearview AI at face value, it has enough data to identify almost everyone on earth and end privacy and anonymity everywhere. As you read these words, your face is making money for people whom you’ve never met and who never sought your consent when they took your faceprint from your social media profiles and online photo albums. Today, Clearview AI’s technology is used by over 3,100 U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Postal Service.

In Ukraine, it is being used as a weapon of war. The company has offered its tools free of charge to the Ukrainian government, which is using them to identify dead and living Russian soldiers and then contact their mothers. It would be easy to shrug this off. After all, we voluntarily surrendered our privacy the moment we began sharing photos online, and millions of us continue to use websites and apps that fail to protect our data, despite warnings from privacy campaigners and Western security services. As so many of us sympathize with Ukraine and are appalled by Russia’s brutality, it is tempting to overlook the fact that Ukraine is not using Clearview AI to identify dead Ukrainians, which suggests that we are witnessing the use of facial recognition technology for psychological warfare, not identification. Some people will be fine with the implications of this: if Russian mothers have to receive disturbing photos of their dead sons, so be it.

To understand why we might want to rethink the use of facial recognition technology in conflict, consider the following thought experiments. First, imagine that it was Russia that had scraped Ukrainian biometric data from the internet to build a facial recognition technology tool which it was using to identify dead Ukrainians and contact their mothers. Liberal democracies would likely condemn these actions and add them to its growing list of Russia’s barbaric actions. Second, imagine a conflict in which the United States was fighting against an opponent who had taken American faceprints to train its facial recognition technology and was using it to identify dead American soldiers and contact their mothers. This would almost certainly cause howls of protest across the United States. Technology executives would be vilified in the press and hauled before Congress, where lawmakers might finally pass a law to protect Americans’ biometric data.

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“..the US dollar has created the conditions to be the most demanded currency simply because other central banks have been much more reckless.”

The Vacuum Effect of the US Dollar (Lacalle)

April 2022 will go down in history as a milestone that has only been seen on three previous occasions since 1973. A month in which the S&P500 Index and US Treasuries have fallen at the same time, 5% and 2% respectively. Additionally, the US dollar has appreciated against the main currencies with which it trades and reaches a new year high. Years of monetary laughing gas have not diminished the strength of the US dollar as world reserve currency, rather the opposite. Now we witness the vacuum effect. Inflows into the US dollar in a period of risk aversion. The PBOC, the Central Bank of China has had to give in and allow an aggressive devaluation of the yuan, although it tried to keep the currency stable via capital controls and a daily fixing.

The government-programmed weakness of the yuan is probably designed to provide a boost to the Chinese economy in a slowdown and dissolve part of the yuan-denominated debt. However, it reduces the Chinese yuan’s appeal as an alternative to the US dollar as global investors may fear both the central bank fixing as well as the tight capital controls imposed in China. It is not surprising, for example, that many commodity-exporting countries’ currencies have weakened against the US dollar despite rising exports and foreign exchange inflows. From the Norwegian krone to the currencies of major exporters, it seems only the Brazilian real appears to be holding strong… and that’s because it’s had several atrocious years, so it is more a bounce than an appreciation.

[..] It is very worrying that the European Central Bank is allowing the euro to get dangerously close to parity with the US dollar because of its obsession with staying far away from the normalization process of other central banks. The global demand for euros is falling, and the trade surplus that supported the European currency is diminishing. All those who defend a weak euro should look at reality. Empirical evidence shows that the eurozone does not export more due to a weak euro, but with products of higher added value. With a weak euro, imports skyrocket and become more expensive. Thus, the US dollar has created the conditions to be the most demanded currency simply because other central banks have been much more reckless.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Johnson

 

 

 

 

Seneff

 

 

Musk and mum

 

 

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Jan 262017
 
 January 26, 2017  Posted by at 10:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Arthur Siegel Zoot suit, business district, Detroit, Michigan 1942

Trump Loves Debt, But It Won’t Love Him Back (BBG)
US Tax Reforms Could ‘Transform’ Global Oil Market (R.)
Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties, UN (NYT)
Trump Starts A ‘Sanctuary City’ War With Liberal America (BBC)
Kyle Bass Calls Trump ‘Gasoline’ on Smoldering Fire in China (BBG)
China Keeps 3% Budget Deficit Goal For 2017 As Debt Risks Grow (R.)
China Is Becoming ‘Increasingly Risky’ Because Of Its Economy (CNBC)
Dutch Respond To Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ With International Safe Abortion Fund (G.)
Why the Corrupt, Worker-Hating New Democrats Must Be Purged (Bill Black)
Pippa Malmgren: The Social Contract In The West Is Broken (SLD)
Seymour Hersh Blasts Media For Promoting Russian Hacking Story (IC)
Austerity Economics Has Just Been Smashed. By The IMF. (GDB)
The Super Rich Are Preparing For The End Of The World (CNBC)
Rome Mayor Raggi Says She Received Summons From Prosecutors (BBG)
Deal On Greek Bailout’s Second Review Possible At February Eurogroup (R.)
“INAUGURATION DAY” (Bad Lip Reading)

 

 

Catch 20-something.

Trump Loves Debt, But It Won’t Love Him Back (BBG)

President Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed king of debt, may end up with a revolt on his hands.He wants to spend billions of dollars to rebuild American highways and bridges to double economic growth to about 4% a year. He wants to preserve medical benefits for the poor and elderly. And he’s selected someone to oversee the national budget who’s fundamentally opposed to huge piles of debt and pledges to reduce the nation’s deficit.This recipe doesn’t add up, either in theory or practice. Even if Trump finances his promised infrastructure plans entirely by cutting other government services, the nation’s debt load is forecast to surge by trillions of dollars over the next decade.

Trump faces two big problems when grappling with the U.S. debt load: an aging population that’s becoming sicker and inauspicious bond math. If Trump succeeds in fostering substantially higher growth rates, as he’s promised, then interest rates will most likely rise much more than forecast. That’ll make it materially more expensive for the nation to service its debt.Even without much more growth, the U.S. deficit will likely increase as interest rates rise. That’s according to the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan group that analyzes the U.S. economy, which just released its forecast for the nation’s deficit and debt load over the next decade.

Its baseline scenario calls for gradually rising benchmark borrowing costs, with 10-year Treasury yields leveling out at about 3.6% by 2022 from about 2.5% today. Even with that relatively modest projection, CBO analysts wrote that “the government’s interest payments on that debt rise sharply over the next 10 years — nearly tripling in nominal terms and almost doubling relative to GDP.”Interest expense will rise to $768 billion in 2027 from $270 billion in 2017 under the CBO’s base-case scenario.But let’s say Trump succeeds in his attempt to foster more economic growth. That’ll mean that inflation will rise, prompting investors to demand higher U.S. Treasury yields to offset steadily rising consumer prices. Jeffrey Gundlach, the bond guru who runs DoubleLine Capital, said after the election that U.S. 10-year government bond yields could reach 6% in five years. In that case, the interest expense would balloon much more than expected, substantially eating into the nation’s budget.

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“We expect WTI could move to a $10 per barrel premium to Brent from a $3 discount – a $13 (+25%) relative move immediately.”

US Tax Reforms Could ‘Transform’ Global Oil Market (R.)

The push by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for a shift to border-adjusted corporate tax (BTA) could push U.S. crude prices higher than the global benchmark Brent, triggering large-scale domestic production, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs on Tuesday. The measure, known as border adjustment, intends to boost U.S. manufacturing by taxing imports while exempting U.S. business export revenues from corporate taxation. Goldman said it anticipates a 25% jump in the prices of U.S. crude futures, also known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), and refined products in comparison to the global prices if the switch is implemented.

The investment bank, however, said that uncertainty on whether such a policy will go ahead is high due to concerns about WTO-non compliance and transition issues and oil futures currently only imply a 9% probability for such a shift. “If implemented, the impacts on the oil market would be significant,” Goldman said. “We expect WTI could move to a $10 per barrel premium to Brent from a $3 discount – a $13 (+25%) relative move immediately.” Brent crude futures were trading on Tuesday at a $2.40 per barrel premium to WTI. The appreciation in prices could be an incentive for producers to sharply increase activity, the bank said warning, that the ramp up in U.S. production in a market only starting to rebalance would create a renewed large oil surplus in 2018, which could lead to an immediate sharp decline in global oil prices.

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The UN is dysfunctional, but this risks cutting the few parts that do actually work.

Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties, UN (NYT)

The Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the United States’ role in the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as begin a process to review and potentially abrogate certain forms of multilateral treaties. The first of the two draft orders, titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” and obtained by The New York Times, calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria. Those criteria include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, or support programs that fund abortion or any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran or North Korea.

The draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that “is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or is blamed for the persecution of marginalized groups or any other systematic violation of human rights. The order calls for then enacting “at least a 40% overall decrease” in remaining United States funding toward international organizations. The order establishes a committee to recommend where those funding cuts should be made. It asks the committee to look specifically at United States funding for peacekeeping operations; the International Criminal Court; development aid to countries that “oppose important United States policies”; and the United Nations Population Fund, which oversees maternal and reproductive health programs.

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Interesting power fight. But there are laws.

Trump Starts A ‘Sanctuary City’ War With Liberal America (BBC)

Mr Trump’s border wall announcement will make most of the headlines today, given that it was a central focus of his presidential campaign and has increased diplomatic tension with the Mexican government. His plan to target US “sanctuary cities”, however, likely sets the stage for a much tougher, uglier domestic political fight. More than 400 jurisdictions across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle – major cities in left-leaning states that did not vote for Mr Trump – have enacted policies protecting undocumented immigrants within their boundaries. Officials in these designated areas, including local law enforcement, are not allowed to enquire as to an individual’s immigration status in the course of their duties.

Candidate Trump pledged to end this practice, and on Wednesday he put some teeth into his promise – authorising the federal government to withhold funds from cities that do not co-operate with immigration officials or comply with federal law. His executive order frames the issue as one of national security. “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States wilfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” it reads. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”

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Speeding up decline. Or exposing it, rather.

Kyle Bass Calls Trump ‘Gasoline’ on Smoldering Fire in China (BBG)

Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass likened President Donald Trump’s trade and tax policies to gasoline — hastening an economic restructuring in China while stimulating capital investment and growth in the U.S. China has “recklessly built a system that’s going to need to restructure and that just so happens to be metastasizing right when Trump becomes elected,” Bass told Bloomberg TV. “This is a fire that’s been smoldering and it’s now starting to burn, and Trump is just more gasoline.” Imposing tariffs on Chinese imports could have “profound consequences” for the nation’s economy, where credit over the last 18 months has grown by $6.5 trillion while deposits expanded just $3 trillion, said Bass, founder of Hayman Capital Management.

Early last year, Bass called for a 30% devaluation in the yuan against the dollar, and he’s since opened two Asia-focused funds to wager on the imbalances in the region, which he said could extend to Hong Kong and Taiwan. “The idea that China is now the driving economic power in the world, I think, is illusory or somewhat of a fallacy,” he said. “It’s safe to say that the Asian theater is where we’ve been focused.” In the U.S., Bass said, border tax adjustments will help finance a lower corporate tax rate that Trump has proposed, which in combination with the repatriation of capital offshore will be “extremely stimulative.” He said Trump’s accelerated policies would lead to real capital investment, competitiveness and an improvement in productivity.

The impact will be “positive for the United States and slightly negative for the rest of the world,” he said. “But it’s not the globalist nightmare, in my opinion.” Inflation, set to increase in the U.S., will also spike in Germany, which will prompt a tapering of the ECB’s bond-buying program and possibly an increase in interest rates, he said. The move to do so will be sped up by Trump, he said.

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“Total fixed-asset investment rose 8.1% in 2016, the slowest pace since 1999, despite an 18.7% increase in investment by state entities..”

China Keeps 3% Budget Deficit Goal For 2017 As Debt Risks Grow (R.)

China’s policymakers plan to keep their budget deficit target for 2017 at the same level as last year to underscore a focus on debt reduction and reform, though they have wiggle room to increase fiscal stimulus if the economy needs support again. A budget deficit target of 3% of GDP, unchanged from 2016, was endorsed by top leaders at the Central Economic Work Conference in December, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome. After government investment propped up activity for much of 2016, policymakers are looking for a recovery in private investment through public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects to drive growth this year. “Fiscal policy is clear. It’s necessary to maintain last year’s 3% deficit ratio, although there is room to increase it slightly,” said one of the sources, a policy adviser.

Preliminary finance ministry data this week implied an actual deficit of 3.8% of GDP in 2016. However, China’s budget accounting allows it to use unspent money from previous years and funds from a Central Budget Stabilization Fund so it can report a final deficit in line with the target. The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.7% last year, supported by higher government spending and record bank lending, though it was still the slowest growth in 26 years. Reuters reported last week that sources said the 2017 economic growth target would be around 6.5%, down from last year’s 6.5-7%. “If this year’s growth goal is not that high, there will be less pressure on the strength of policy support,” said a second policy source. [..] Total fixed-asset investment rose 8.1% in 2016, the slowest pace since 1999, despite an 18.7% increase in investment by state entities, as private investment grew just 3.2%, the weakest on record.

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A risk to the west, that is.

China Is Becoming ‘Increasingly Risky’ Because Of Its Economy (CNBC)

A major risk to U.S. markets is looming, and it’s bigger than headlines and President Donald Trump’s tweets, Goldman Sachs’ Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani told CNBC on Wednesday. The threat is the Chinese economy, the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management chief investment officer told “Squawk on the Street.” “We use the term that China could ‘submerge’ under the burden of its own debt,” Mossavar-Rahmani said. “If you look at any of the debt measures in China, they’re tremendously high.” Mossavar-Rahmani focused on the credit-to-GDP number from the BIS as a key measure of China’s accumulating debt. As of the second quarter of 2016, China’s ratio was 28.8%.

“China is about 30, the U.S. was at 12.4% just before the crisis. And if the U.S. didn’t avoid a financial crisis with all its strength, how can we assume that China will?” the wealth manager asked. China is still awaiting its 19th gathering of the National Congress of the Communist Party in the fall, which Mossavar-Rahmani said would weigh on the country’s economic position in 2018. The meeting will determine 370 of China’s Central Committee members for the next five years. “Then we have to see, in 2018, will they put structural reforms on the front burner or does it stay on the back burner?” Mossavar-Rahmani asked.

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The US has a large block of religious zealots. The rest of the west, not so much.

Dutch Respond To Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ With International Safe Abortion Fund (G.)

Up to 20 countries have indicated support for the Netherlands’ plan to set up an international safe abortion fund to plug a $600m funding gap caused by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag rule”, the Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, said on Wednesday. Ploumen took soundings from a number of her colleagues around the world on Tuesday evening after the Netherlands said it would act to mitigate the impact on hundreds of charities around the world. The “global gag rule”, also known as the Mexico City policy, was reimposed by Trump on Monday, and bans US federal funding for NGOs in foreign countries that provide abortion services or abortion advocacy. ‘We’re in talks with 15 to 20 countries and we’ve also spoken to foundations,” Ploumen told the Guardian.

“As well as contacting a number of European countries that we work with on these issues, we’re also in touch with countries in South America and Africa, as well as the foundations. It’s important to have the broadest possible support for the fund.” Ploumen did not identify which countries had been approached or how much money the Dutch government might commit to the scheme. She said the aim would be to continue support for existing programmes being run by organisations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the International Planned Parenting Federation and Marie Stopes International. “These are successful and effective programmes: direct support, distributing condoms, making sure women are accompanied at the birth, and making sure abortion is safe if they have no other choice,” she said.

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Damning. DO read.

Why the Corrupt, Worker-Hating New Democrats Must Be Purged (Bill Black)

This article explains three critical reasons why the Democratic Party’s leaders are far more insane than all but a few Democrats understand. It focuses on the leaders of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the New Democrats. The DNC leadership is composed of New Democrats. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to resign in disgrace when the leaks proved that she was putting the DNC’s thumbs on the scale to favor Hillary Clinton (a New Democrat) in the presidential nomination contest against Bernie Sanders. Wasserman Schultz also took large contributions from big finance and, until she faced the prospect of a serious primary challenger, she supported efforts by predatory lenders to use Congress to bar the regulators from stopping their abuses.

Donna Brazile, a New Democrat, now runs the DNC. In this article, I show that Brazile denounced Democrats who refused to cheer President Bush’s invasion of Iraq (and his “Mission Accomplished” declaration) as so disloyal that when their country needed them they went “AWOL.” Not satisfied with that libel, she added the homophobic smear that voters would view Democrats who failed to cheer Bush’s lies and invasion as “effete.” Best of all, she said that Democrats should take as their role models Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Frank Gaffney – Bush’s “chicken hawks” that devised the campaign of lies that led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Gaffney is now spreading hate of Muslims – and advising President Trump.

The DNC is also in the news because it has just accepted a $20 million “donation” funded by Third Way, a Wall Street front group, to study why the white working class “abandoned” Hillary Clinton. Clinton is a leader of the New Democrats. Wall Street has long been the largest single funder of the New Democrats various institutions. The New Democrats, at the behest of Wall Street, have waged the “long war” against the working class since their formation in 1984. The New Democrats did not simply abandon the working class – they targeted it for scorn and assaulted it with policies that harmed many Americans, but caused the greatest harm to the working class.

Particularly in light of the Trump’s election, the logical reaction of the DNC would have been to refuse to take the Wall Street buyout and announce that the New Democrats would never again do Wall Street’s bidding. They would return to the Democratic Party’s historic role as the party that championed the rights of workers. Brazile, of course, ensured that the DNC eagerly took the $20 million Wall Street buyout. The New Democrats not only continue to be for sale (or rent) by Wall Street – they continue to show that they continue to for sale for chump change. The DNC does not need $20 million to figure out why the white working class “abandoned” the New Democrats. They can check out from their local library Tom Frank’s books warning that this would happen and explaining in detail why the New Democrats’ long war against the working class was making it happen.

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When growth could not be delivered. “There is always a deal between citizens and their governments. But now governments are defaulting on their citizens because of the debt problem. They can’t deliver retirement at 65.”

Pippa Malmgren: The Social Contract In The West Is Broken (SLD)

Question: The inability of continental Europe to grow has been a clear part of the concern in Britain about Europe. What role has this played?

Malmgren: The British received more Foreign Direct Investment than any other locartion in the EU before Brexit. It was assumed this flow would fall after Brexit. But, I hear from my clients that they are even more interested in the UK now. That’s because money is like water. It flows to wherever it faces the least resistance – the lowest tax rates and least regulatory burden. I would challenge the British to end up with more regulation and higher taxes that the EU after Brexit. Frankly, that would take a huge effort! But the problems on the Continent are deeper than this; The real issue is that the social contract between citizens and governments in the West are being broken. There is always a deal between citizens and their governments. But now governments are defaulting on their citizens because of the debt problem. They can’t deliver retirement at 65. Now everybody has to work longer.

They can’t deliver the healthcare that had been expected. Frankly they can’t deliver police, fire departments or roads without potholes. The social contract in the EU is under even greater stress because growth has been so very poor. The night of the victory of Brexit, the markets attacked Italian banks, not British banks. What did the state in Italy do? They said they’d find 5b Euros to bail out the oldest bank which had lost 98% of its shareholder value. Meanwhile, they can’t find 5 cents for the young who are experiencing over 30% unemployment rates. This breaks the social contract and helps explain the new anti-EU sentiment. The Europeans are also increasingly uneasy about immigration issues. It was not part of the original deal in the European contract to have completely open borders. In my view, the British are not xenophobic, but want more process around immigration. They want a more secure movement of people within Europe.

The media talks all the time about the proposed Wall by Trump in the US with Mexico, but the reality is there a wall-building spree going on in Europe. Look at the new walls being constructed between Hungry and Serbia, between Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as new walls in Estonia, Poland and Lithuania are constructing one around Kaliningrad with watchtowers, etc. Frankly new walls will increasingly be digital. Processing of people will begin well before you get anywhere near what you think the border is. We will pass through borders without realizing we’ve already been assessed. We are in a period of history where the Europeans are fundamentally rethinking what they want Europe to stand for, the European Union to do, and how to generate economic growth again. As everywhere else, the public are questioning the establishment because they have failed to deliver on their promises.

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“I don’t think the notion of democracy is ever going to be as tested as it’s going to be now.”

The ‘media’ have lost so much credibility, and permamently. That is dangerous.

Seymour Hersh Blasts Media For Promoting Russian Hacking Story (IC)

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview that he does not believe the U.S. intelligence community proved its case that President Vladimir Putin directed a hacking campaign aimed at securing the election of Donald Trump. He blasted news organizations for lazily broadcasting the assertions of U.S. intelligence officials as established facts. Hersh denounced news organizations as “crazy town” for their uncritical promotion of the pronouncements of the director of national intelligence and the CIA, given their track records of lying and misleading the public. “The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said when I sat down with him at his home in Washington, D.C., two days after Trump was inaugurated.

“They were just so willing to believe stuff. And when the heads of intelligence give them that summary of the allegations, instead of attacking the CIA for doing that, which is what I would have done,” they reported it as fact. Hersh said most news organizations missed an important component of the story: “the extent to which the White House was going and permitting the agency to go public with the assessment.” Hersh said many media outlets failed to provide context when reporting on the intelligence assessment made public in the waning days of the Obama administration that was purported to put to rest any doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails.

The declassified version of the report, which was released January 7 and dominated the news for days, charged that Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election” and “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” According to the report, the NSA was said to have had a lower confidence level than James Clapper and the CIA about the conclusion that Russia intended to influence the election. Hersh characterized the report as full of assertions and thin on evidence.

“It’s high camp stuff,” Hersh told The Intercept. “What does an assessment mean? It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it? And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief. And they’ve done it many times.”

[..] While expressing fears about Trump’s agenda, Hersh also called Trump a potential “circuit breaker” of the two-party political system in the U.S. “The idea of somebody breaking things away, and raising grave doubts about the viability of the party system, particularly the Democratic Party, is not a bad idea,” Hersh said. “That’s something we could build on in the future. But we have to figure out what to do in the next few years.” He added: “I don’t think the notion of democracy is ever going to be as tested as it’s going to be now.”

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But it will just continue. Wanna bet?

Austerity Economics Has Just Been Smashed. By The IMF. (GDB)

A powerful new report finally kills off any remaining intellectual veil for a broken economics that is breaking society. Sometimes an ideology is so brilliantly propagated that observers might not even notice it’s an ideology. In the corridors of power and in mainstream discussion, it ceases to be questioned. Then it goes catastrophically wrong. And it begins to seen again for the ideology it is. It becomes questioned again. And, if they are smart, leaders hear this and start to self-correct. This is where we’ve got to with neoliberalism, austerity, and rising inequality. Except for the self-correct part. Right now, instead of self-correction, we’re seeing many mainstream politicians unable to shift away from dead economics, and what seems in too many countries like the start of social breakdown.

Change is well overdue. Who can prompt leaders to drop the old economic nostrums are causing so much harm? Enter the IMF with a sledgehammer. Progressives duck in case in the sledgehammer is meant for them. But then the IMF demolishes the case for neoliberalism and austerity. It sounds extraordinary, and it is. Today the IMF will launch a new report, “Macro-Structural Policies and Income Inequality in Low-Income Developing Countries”, the latest in series that mark the intellectual journey the IMF research department has been travelling in recent years. Packed with detailed quantitative analysis it demonstrates that much of what elites have been advancing as unquestioned economics is demonstrably harmful both to economic growth and to public wellbeing.

Of course what makes this surprising, and what may make some progressives unenthusiastic about welcoming this, is also what makes it so powerful: an institution that has been, for far too long, a defender of the free market story and the Washington Consensus – the idea that liberalizing trade, privatizing everything possible and cutting down public spending was a one-size-fits-all solution to any government in trouble – has now refuted it. This paper is not the first by the IMF to take a stand on inequality, but it is notable because it claims in no uncertain terms that public spending – i.e. the opposite of the budget cuts that it once advocated for – decreases income inequality. They even have a formula – a 1% increase in public spending, they report, leads to a 2.3% decrease in inequality after 5 years. The paper also takes a strong stand against prioritizing indirect taxes, such as VAT, showing that they increase inequality.

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Bit sensationalist, perhaps?

The Super Rich Are Preparing For The End Of The World (CNBC)

The Dow has hit 20,000 for the first time ever, but rather than celebrating, some of the richest of the rich are building bunkers to prepare for a potential apocalypse. These “preppers” are making other investments too. They’re buying houses in New Zealand, which has become a popular spot in case of calamity. Billionaire Peter Thiel just secured property and citizenship there. And they’re getting elective surgery. Steve Huffman, the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of the online community Reddit, got Lasik so that he’d be able to be more independent in case of emergency. “If the world ends — and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble — getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” the San Francisco resident tells Evan Osnos as part of The New Yorker’s chronicle of the elite’s end-of-the-world preparations. “Without them, I’m f—ed.”

In addition to the eye surgery, Huffman has accumulated guns, ammunition and motorcycles so that he won’t get caught in traffic jams during an evacuation. The notion of “doomsday prepping” was popularized in the mainstream by the National Geographic channel’s show by the same name. The show’s website offers a quiz titled “How prepped are you?” so you can test your own likelihood of surviving an apocalypse. Former Facebook product manager Antonio García Martínez bought wooded land in the Pacific Northwest that he has stocked with generators, solar panels and ammo, The New Yorker reports. “You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse,” García Martínez says. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

In particular, the political climate has made many coastal elites anxious about the future. “I think, to some degree, we all collectively take it on faith that our country works, that our currency is valuable, the peaceful transfer of power — that all of these things that we hold dear work because we believe they work,” says Huffman. “While I do believe they’re quite resilient, and we’ve been through a lot, certainly we’re going to go through a lot more.”

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The war on Grillo will intensify.

Rome Mayor Raggi Says She Received Summons From Prosecutors (BBG)

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, said she has received a summons from city prosecutors over a staff appointment. Raggi, a lawyer who was elected mayor last year, wrote in a post on Facebook that the summons concerns her nomination of Renato Marra as head of the tourism department, which she has revoked. She said she had informed Five Star co-founder Beppe Grillo and the city council of the summons. “I am very serene; I have full confidence in the judiciary, as ever,” Raggi wrote. “We are ready to give every clarification.” Raggi’s city hall administration has been plagued by resignations. Five Star, which wants a referendum on Italy’s membership in the euro area, has remained neck and neck with the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his predecessor Matteo Renzi in national opinion polls.

Five Star has made denunciations of political corruption one of its main themes, often calling for elected officials to resign if they are placed under investigation, long before a case comes to court. But under new rules posted on Grillo’s blog earlier this month, Five Star officials do not have to resign automatically if they are investigated. Italian newswire Ansa said Raggi was under investigation for alleged abuse of office in the personnel matter. [..] Alessandro Di Battista, a senior Five Star lawmaker, told La 7 television that Raggi had a duty to explain why she had made the appointment. “This isn’t about public money, or decisions which affect a right of citizens,” Di Battista said. “This would involve mistaken signatures, a mistaken nomination which was immediately revoked.”

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If not in February, forget 2017.

Deal On Greek Bailout’s Second Review Possible At February Eurogroup (R.)

Euro zone creditors could approve the completion of the second set of Greek bailout reforms at the next meeting of finance ministers in February, an euro zone official said on Wednesday. The approval of the outstanding reforms, mainly concerning Greek fiscal targets, the labor market and liberalization of the energy sector, would pave the way for further euro zone loans to Athens, which faces large repayments in the third quarter. Finance ministers of the 19 countries of the euro zone will meet on Thursday in Brussels but there hasn’t been sufficient progress in Greek reforms yet for them to sign off on a deal now, the senior official said, confirming what the EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday.

Still, the ministers are likely to produce an agreement to continue talks with a view to concluding them at the next Eurogroup meeting on Feb. 20, according to the official. “There is a good chance” that an agreement will be reached on Thursday to send euro zone negotiators back to Athens so that a deal can be reached in February, the official said. “February is the last month in which there is no politically significant election in relevant member states,” the official said, and this meant “February is not formally but realistically the time when we need to reach a political agreement”. The Netherlands go to the polls in March, and the French will vote in presidential elections in April and likely also in May. Germany, the biggest economy in the euro zone, will hold a general election in September. A comprehensive deal for Greece will also have to involve the IMF, the official said.

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Pretty brilliant.

“INAUGURATION DAY” (Bad Lip Reading)

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