Oct 132022
 
 October 13, 2022  Posted by at 8:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  60 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Sunken lane 1884

 

Putin ‘Totally Miscalculated’ Russia’s Ability To Occupy Ukraine – Biden (G.)
Some of Us Don’t Think the Russian Invasion Was “Aggression” (Mike Whitney)
NATO Planned A Pre-emptive Strike On Russia (Milacic)
Europe: Lack Of Russian Oil Could Spark ‘Worst Energy Crisis In Decades’ (ZH)
Energy Crisis In Europe Will Last For Years – Hungary (RT)
Orbán: With Merkel, We Wouldn’t Have A War (EURActiv)
Putin Says Russia Ready To Send Natural Gas To Europe Via Nord Stream 2 (OP)
Leak Found In Key Russian Oil Pipeline To Germany – Polish Operator (RT)
Russia Names Chief Suspect In Crimea Bridge Attack (RT)
Putin Ponders EU’s Energy Future (RT)
American Gas ‘Inferior’ To Russia’s – Putin (RT)
1962: Cool Heads Prevented A Soviet-US Naval Encounter Sparking A Nuclear War (RT)
Saudi Arabia Unveils Biden Oil Demand (RT)
NATO Eyes 10-Year Plan For Ukraine – Politico (RT)
$1m Offer To Steele Shows FBI Misled Congress On Russia Probe: Kash Patel (JTN)
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Turns Negative Within Months (ET)
Europe’s Pension Funds Are Gambling With Food Prices (EUO)
‘They Are Stealing Russia’ (Adam Curtis)

 

 

 

 

Kolakusic

 

 

 

 

Stop the Spread

Tulsi Joe Rogan

 

 

Tell me again: how did we get here?

 

 

 

 

Don’t know where Biden’s handlers get this stuff, but it’s nonsense. Or do they just want to make Putin look as stupid as Biden? Russia knew exactly what was going on nextdoor. On the same page as this article, the Guardian has a link to:

“Would Lukashenko really throw Belarus into a war Russia is losing?”

Says it all. Sad thing is, their readers believe this crap.

Putin ‘Totally Miscalculated’ Russia’s Ability To Occupy Ukraine – Biden (G.)

Joe Biden has said he believes Vladimir Putin is a “rational actor” who badly misjudged his prospects of occupying Ukraine, but does not believe he would resort to using a tactical nuclear weapon. The US president told CNN on Tuesday that he believed his Russian counterpart had underestimated the ferocity of Ukrainian defiance in the face of invasion. “I think … he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that where he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated,” Biden said. “I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.” When asked by interviewer Jake Tapper how realistic he believed it would be for Putin to use a tactical nuclear weapon, Biden responded: “Well, I don’t think he will.”


Biden’s comments came as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accused Russia of launching a “second wave of terrorist attacks” in the wake of the blast that engulfed Crimea’s Kerch bridge. Zelenskiy said in a video address that 20 of 28 missiles launched by Russia on Tuesday were shot down, as well as “most” of the 15 combat drones deployed. In smaller gains in announced by Ukraine’s Operational Command early on Wednesday, the army destroyed Russian equipment and an ammunition depot along Ukraine’s southern line. At least 23 Russian soldiers were killed, it said. Earlier, Zelesnkiy asked G7 leaders for more air defence systems and a monitoring mission on the Belarusian border, as Russia continued to attack key infrastructure in Ukraine with fresh missile strikes.

Biden 2016

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“They’re openly arming, training, funding, and directing Ukrainian troops to prosecute a war aimed at killing Russian soldiers and removing Putin from power.”

Some of Us Don’t Think the Russian Invasion Was “Aggression” (Mike Whitney)

Imagine if the Mexican army started bombarding American ex-pats living in Mexico with heavy artillery-rounds killing thousands and leaving thousands more wounded. What do you think Joe Biden would do? Would he brush it off like a big nothingburger and move on or would he threaten the Mexican government with a military invasion that would obliterate the Mexican Army, level their biggest cities, and send the government running for cover? Which of these two options do you think Biden would choose? There’s no doubt what Biden would do nor is there any question what the 45 presidents who preceded him would do. No US leader would ever stand by and do nothing while thousands of Americans were savagely slaughtered by a foreign government. That just wouldn’t happen. They’d all respond quickly and forcefully.

But if that’s true, then why isn’t the same standard applied to Russia? Isn’t the situation in Ukraine nearly identical? It is nearly identical, only the situation in Ukraine is worse, much worse. And if we stretch our analogy a bit, you’ll see why: Let’s say, the US Intelligence agencies discovered that the Mexican government was not acting alone, but was being directed to kill and maim American ex-pats on orders from the Chinese Communist government in Beijing. Can you imagine that? And the reason the Chinese government wants to kill Americans in Mexico is because they want to lure the US into a long and costly war that will “weaken” the US and pave way for its ultimate splintering into many pieces that China can control and exploit. Does any of this sound familiar? (Check out the Rand Strategy for weakening Russia here)

So, let’s say, the Chinese are actually the driving force behind the war in Mexico. Let’s say, they toppled the Mexican government years earlier and installed their own puppet regime to do their bidding. Then they armed and trained vast numbers of troops to fight the Americans. They supplied these warriors with cutting-edge weapons and technology, logistical support, satellite and communications assistance, tanks, armored vehicles, anti-ship missiles, and state-of-the-art artillery units all of which were provided with one goal in mind; to crush America in a proxy war that was concocted, controlled and micro-managed from the Chinese Capital of Beijing. Is such a scenario possible?

It is possible, in fact, this very same scenario is playing out right now in the Ukraine, only the perpetrator of the hostilities is the United States not China, and the target of this malign strategy is Russia not the US. Surprisingly, the Biden administration isn’t even trying to hide what they’re up-to anymore. They’re openly arming, training, funding, and directing Ukrainian troops to prosecute a war aimed at killing Russian soldiers and removing Putin from power. That’s the objective and everyone knows it.

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“..the Third World War was prevented only thanks to the Russian special operation in Ukraine.”

NATO Planned A Pre-emptive Strike On Russia (Milacic)

One of the largest French maritime exercises in the Mediterranean, POLARIS 21 (Préparation Opérationnelle en Lutte Aéromaritime, Résilience, Innovation et Supériorité), took place from November 18 to December 3, 2021 in the area west of the island of Corsica, between France and Spain. The exercise also included a segment on the Atlantic coast of mainland France. POLARIS 21 was set up entirely in the context of operational preparation on several fronts and had a high combat intensity, which was fully in line with the strategic vision of the Chief of the Armed Forces and the Mercator Acceleration 21 plan of the Chief of Staff of the Admiral of the French navy Pierre Vandier. In addition to naval warfare, the exercise also included the participation of many combat aircraft and surface-to-air defense.

[..] journalists came into possession of data related to the exercise POLARIS 2021. The data speak clearly about the advance preparation of the NATO to enter into an armed conflict with the Russian Federation in the event of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. According to the legend of the maneuvers, it was determined that in response to the alleged Russian intervention, the forces of the NATO coalition would form and send an aircraft carrier strike group led by the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to the combat area in order to “stop the invasion and preserve the sovereignty of Ukraine.” The context and scenario of the “exercise“ (the consonance of the names of countries, settlements, the names of political figures, the specifics of maneuvers, etc.) became for the Russian Federation a signal of the real preparation of NATO to the start of hostilities against Russia, as it happened similarly to the operation of the United Defender alliance grouping of forces before the intervention in Libya (the exercises Baltops-2010 and Frisian Flag-2010), when, after the maneuvers at the sea ranges, a full-scale operation followed to overthrow of the legitimate government of Muammar Gaddafi.


POLARIS 2021 was also a demonstration of NATO support to Kyiv in the event of an armed conflict with Russia and was supposed to push Kyiv to start hostilities with the Russian Federation, after which the intervention of the NATO was supposed. In principle, NATO was looking for an excuse to attack Russia, with the factor of surprise, so that Russia would not be ready for an adequate response. In this situation, the preventive start of the Special Military Operation of the RF Armed Forces in Ukraine became the only possible response to the inevitable aggression of the Kyiv regime and the NATO. There is no doubt that thanks to the Russian special operation in Ukraine and the fact that Russia launched a preventive strike, it was NATO that was surprised but also scared by the Russian determination to defend its interests. It is precisely this fact that is responsible for why there was not and will not be conflict between Russia and NATO, that is, the Third World War was prevented only thanks to the Russian special operation in Ukraine.

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“A European ban on most crude imports from Russia will come into effect in December..”

Europe: Lack Of Russian Oil Could Spark ‘Worst Energy Crisis In Decades’ (ZH)

A European ban on most crude imports from Russia will come into effect in December. For EU leaders, the next task at hand has been finding new sources of crude oil ahead of what could be a very dark and cold winter. The move by EU countries to endlessly sanction Russia for President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine by halting crude oil imports later this year is an attempt to “make the Kremlin pay” for the invasion, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently said. Though it’s only backfired as the Kremlin’s war chest has swelled by tens of billions of dollars as energy prices hyperinflate and new buyers are found in Asia. EU leaders have stepped up efforts to transition from Russian energy to other energy-rich countries, though they might find it challenging to increase energy imports due to limited spare capacity worldwide.

Monica Malik, the chief economist at the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, told the audience at an energy security panel hosted by the Institute of International Finance in Washington, DC, on Monday that the Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, won’t be able to increase production to replace Russian oil in Europe. After all, the world is moving into a much tighter oil market for the remainder of the year after OPEC+ cuts. This could unintentionally spur a supercycle in pricing as brent crude inches closer to $100 a barrel. So where will Europe source crude this winter if spare capacity worldwide is limited? Head of European Oil for Morgan Stanley Martijn Rats wrote in a recent note:

“The oil market is where it is because this question is so hard to answer. If we knew, we could all breathe a little easier.” Without spare capacity — EU leaders will find it challenging to source crude around the world because production cannot be quickly ramped up. Helima Croft, managing director at RBC Capital Markets LLC, warned, “I think we are facing the worst energy crisis in decades.”= Croft fears a populist backlash in Europe as sanctions against Russia has sparked a cost-of-living crisis. This could force some EU governments to focus on affordability. She said the probability of the US making deals with Venezuela or Iran to offset the energy crunch is unlikely. One top EU diplomat admitted: “Our prosperity has been based on cheap energy coming from Russia.”

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“..the sanctions “didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them,” while Europe is “slowly bleeding.”

Energy Crisis In Europe Will Last For Years – Hungary (RT)

The ongoing energy crisis in Europe is set to be a long one and will extend to 2023 and 2024, and possibly beyond, warned Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, following a meeting of EU energy ministers on Wednesday. “We are now seeing the first global energy crisis in history, and it is long-term,” proclaimed Szijjarto, explaining that the crisis is being fueled by underlying “structural geopolitical reasons tied to security,” which require “long-term solutions.” The diplomat noted that “international institutions which still retain a small amount of common sense” also warn that this is a long-term crisis and a problem which will exist “not just this winter, but the next one and the one after that as well.”

Szijjarto also mentioned that Hungary’s own energy supply has been secured, after the country reached an agreement with Russia and has been receiving gas through the TurkStream pipeline without interruption. “That is why the Hungarian government pays special attention to ensuring the physical and legal functioning of the Turkish Stream, as this is a fundamental interest of our national security,” he said, noting that Hungarian gas storage facilities are filled at 48.2% of annual consumption, while the average fill level for Europe is currently at 26.9%.

Hungary receives around 80% of its gas from Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. While Russia has cut off gas supplies to a number of countries, Hungary signed a deal with Moscow in late August for additional deliveries on top of already-agreed volumes. Hungarian President Viktor Orban had previously accused the EU leadership of sparking the ongoing energy crisis by introducing “counterproductive” sanctions on Russian energy over Moscow’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. Budapest has repeatedly called for “the failed policy of Brussels” to be changed, noting that the sanctions “didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them,” while Europe is “slowly bleeding.”

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Probably true.

Orbán: With Merkel, We Wouldn’t Have A War (EURActiv)

Russia’s war on Ukraine would not have happened if former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was still in office, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said during a visit to Berlin, where he met with both Merkel and current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.When Merkel announced that she would retire from politics, Orbán published a letter on his website saying the then-German Chancellor “understood us” and “we understood her”. Germany is Hungary’s main trading partner, accounting for approximately 27% of trade volume, while some 3,000 German companies are currently present in Hungary.

Merkel’s reaction to the 2014 crisis triggered by Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was “a master stroke,” Orbán told a public event in Berlin on Tuesday (11 October), explaining that a war could have broken out at the time but was avoided due to the German chancellor’s actions.“Thank you, Angela!” he added. Asked whether this means the current war would have been prevented if the conservative ex-chancellor was still in office, Orbán said: “for certain.” Merkel, meanwhile, has been criticised since the onset of the Ukraine war for failing to reduce energy dependency from Russia and maintaining close economic ties with Moscow during her 16-year rule.

Nord Stream 2 pipeline, for many, Europe’s Achilles’ Heel, was a thorny issue during Merkel’s mandate. The pipeline, which aimed to carry 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Germany, was backed by Merkel but is now frozen due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Back then, eastern European countries opposed the project, but Hungary did not voice any significant opposition.

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It will take a rebellion against US and NATO. But all these countries are members of NATO.

Putin Says Russia Ready To Send Natural Gas To Europe Via Nord Stream 2 (OP)

Russia is ready to supply gas to Europe on the one undamaged line on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if the EU wants to start the route, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an energy forum in Russia on Wednesday. Russia is ready to deliver additional volumes of natural gas to Europe this winter, but the ball is in the EU’s court to decide, Putin said, as carried by the Russian news agency Interfax. Putin also said that repairing the Nord Stream 1 and 2 lines that were found to have been sabotaged would only make sense if they will be used later, Interfax quoted the Russian president as saying. Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions. Before the Nord Stream 1 and 2 leaks were detected at the end of September, Putin said that Russia had nothing to do with Europe’s energy crisis and that if Europe wanted more gas, it just had to “push the button” on Nord Stream 2 and “everything will get going,” that is, lift the sanctions on Nord Stream 2. A few days later, Stephan Weil, Minister-President of the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony, said that Germany could never rely on Russia for energy supply again, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project would never go ahead.

Another few days later, the suspected sabotage on Nord Stream 1 and 2 lines in Swedish and Danish territorial waters in the Baltic Sea put Europe on heightened alert over the security of its energy infrastructure. Norway posted soldiers from its Home Guard to protect energy infrastructure as Western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer, and its Scandinavian neighbors are increasing security following the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.

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This pipeline is from the 1960s. More than 50 years older than Nordstream. Not the same quality.

Leak Found In Key Russian Oil Pipeline To Germany – Polish Operator (RT)

Polish operator PERN has said it’s discovered a leak on the Druzhba pipeline, which supplies Russian oil to Germany. The rupture was detected late on Tuesday by automated systems on one of the two strings of the pipeline, some 70 kilometers from the town of Plock in central Poland, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The damaged half was switched off immediately, and the other string continues to operate as normal, the company said. “At this point, the causes of the incident are not known,” PERN said, adding that its staff and firefighters were deployed to the site to assess the situation and secure the area.


The Druzhba pipeline is one of the largest oil transport networks in the world, spanning some 4,000km and bringing oil from Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. The leak on the Druzhba pipeline follows explosions that were detected in late September on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, connecting Russia to the EU via Germany. The incident is widely considered to be the result of sabotage.

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“The list of people in custody includes five Russians..”

Russia Names Chief Suspect In Crimea Bridge Attack (RT)

Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, has announced arrests over the attack on the Crimean Bridge. It has also revealed details of the alleged Ukrainian terrorist plot, including its mastermind.The agency accused the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry of being behind the explosion, which damaged the strategic structure last Saturday. It claimed that Commander, Kirill Budanov, was personally responsible for the operation. Russia has identified 12 individuals as suspected accomplices in the plot and has arrested eight of them, the FSB said. The list of people in custody includes five Russians and three foreigners, who have citizenship of Ukraine and Armenia.


The FSB claimed that the deadly cargo came from the Ukrainian city of Odessa. The explosives were disguised as rolls with plastic construction film, which were shipped on pallets and weighed 22,770 kg, the statement said.Investigators said the shipment left Odessa in August and went through Ruse, Bulgaria, to Poti in Georgia. It was then moved to Armenia, a country which has a free trade agreement and a relaxed customs regime with Russia. It was then imported into Russia via Georgia on October 4, according to the timeline. The transportation paperwork identified a non-existent firm in Crimea as the final recipient, according to the Russian agency. But the set of documents was only the latest of several used to disguise the movement of the cargo, it added.

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Germany will have to stand up for itself.

Putin Ponders EU’s Energy Future (RT)

Russia could move the transit volumes lost through the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea region, by establishing a ‘gas hub’ in Türkiye for EU supplies, President Vladimir Putin has said. He pointed out it was possible to repair the damaged pipelines but that Russia and the EU should decide their fate.“We could … thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Türkiye, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Türkiye,” Putin said, during an address on Wednesday to the Moscow Energy Week conference. “That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this. And economic feasibility also matters, of course.”

According to the president, Russian gas could still be supplied to the EU via one remaining part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that remains intact, but the ball was now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted this to happen. Russia could open the gas taps on that line if the bloc wanted it to, Putin stressed. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines abruptly lost pressure last month, following a series of powerful underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. The incident caused massive gas leaks, with large volumes entering the sea. The ruptures are widely considered to be the result of sabotage by an unknown party. The routes were designed to carry Russian natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing transit states, including Ukraine and Poland.

Moscow has called the incident a terrorist attack and said the US, a long-time critic of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy, stood to benefit most from the disabling of the routes, both politically and economically. Washington has denied any involvement. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.” Neither pipeline was operational at the time of the breach. Berlin refused to certify the newer Nord Stream 2 after its completion last year, and Russia halted supplies via the older Nord Stream 1 in late August, citing sanctions-related maintenance problems.

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Inferior not in quality, but in competitiveness.

“..the US “sells its liquefied natural gas at four times the price that it sets for its own industrialists..”

American Gas ‘Inferior’ To Russia’s – Putin (RT)

The US has ample opportunity to supply its shale gas to the EU now that Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been made inoperable, but this gas is “inferior” to Russian natural gas supplies, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. “It is quite clear who the beneficiaries [of the Nord Stream incident] are… the US, of course, which can now supply energy resources at high prices… It is now possible for them to force large liquefied natural gas volumes on European countries, which are clearly inferior in competitiveness to Russian pipeline gas,” the President said at the Russian Energy Week forum. He explained that the prices on US-produced LNG are much higher than those on Russian pipeline gas, “everyone was well aware of this before, and now is even more so,” and added that there are additional risks regarding US deliveries.

“The risks lie in the fact that all this supply is very unstable and can ‘float away’ to other regions,” Putin said, adding that US tankers carrying LNG to Europe may divert from Europe if sellers will be offered a higher price elsewhere. Putin’s words echo the statements made by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire earlier this week. Speaking at the National Assembly, he said that it is unacceptable that the US “sells its liquefied natural gas at four times the price that it sets for its own industrialists” and called for a “more balanced economic relationship on the energy issue” to be established between Brussels and Washington.

Russia used to cover over 40% of the EU’s gas needs prior to the start of the military operation in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions. Supplies dropped dramatically this year, especially after one of the major routes for gas deliveries was severed due to the under-investigation explosions that damaged Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines last month. The US, meanwhile, ramped up its supply of LNG to Europe over the past months, up to a point where it now accounts for nearly half of the bloc’s LNG imports, nearly twice the share recorded in 2021.

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Do such heads still exist in the west?

1962: Cool Heads Prevented A Soviet-US Naval Encounter Sparking A Nuclear War (RT)

On October 1, 1962, four Soviet submarines, each equipped with nuclear-armed torpedoes, departed Kola Bay in the Barents Sea en route to Cuba. The mini-fleet was intended to secretly bolster a vast Soviet military presence on and around the island and protect the construction of defensive missile sites requested by Havana in the wake of the CIA’s disastrous Bay of Pigs operation, in which Washington-backed rebel forces attempted to storm Havana and overthrow the popular Communist government of Fidel Castro. According to the private account of Vasily Arkhipov, the vice-admiral of submarine B-59, now published for the first time in commemoration of the event by the US National Security Archive, the weather during the transit was “generally conducive to keeping secrecy” over the long journey – “stormy weather, low clouds, low visibility, snow squalls, rain.”

Along the way, they detected “an elevated level of activity of anti-submarine aircraft radiolocation stations working in a short-interval regime,” but the covert convoy went unnoticed until October 18, when Soviet intelligence “intercepted a message from a French radio station informing some correspondents that Soviet submarines [had] entered the Atlantic and were now traveling to the American shores.” “How they discovered the submarine is hard to say…However, one can say with high confidence that the submarine was not discovered with aircraft radar,” Arkhipov claims. “[Soviet] commanders…were ordered to be on full alert and to continue to navigate in secret,” as a result, Arkipov recalled.


On October 24, the Soviet submarines arrived at their “designated areas” near Cuba, the very same day that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev told Washington’s high representative in Moscow that if US ships began searching Soviet merchant ships on the high seas, it would be considered piracy and he would give orders to Soviet submarines to destroy the harassing American vessels. It was a hugely tense situation and one that set the scene for what happened three days later, when a B-59 surfaced in order to recharge its batteries. According to the private account of Arkhipov, upon emerging it discovered: “An aircraft carrier, nine destroyers, four Neptune airplanes and three Trekkers, encircled by three concentric circles of coast guard forces…overflights by planes just 20-30 meters above the submarine’s conning tower, use of powerful searchlights, fire from automatic cannons (over 300 shells), dropping depth charges, cutting in front of the 5 submarine by destroyers at a dangerously [small] distance, targeting guns at the submarine, yelling from loudspeakers to stop engines, etc.”

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Output cut only after the midterms.

Saudi Arabia Unveils Biden Oil Demand (RT)

Saudi Arabia has said that OPEC’s decision to cut oil production was based solely on economic considerations, not politics, and that the organization resisted pressure from the United States to put off the move for several weeks.The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday pushing back on allegations that the oil cut was intended to benefit Russia, insisting it is not “taking sides in international conflicts” or making “politically motivated” decisions.“These outcomes are based purely on economic considerations that take into account maintaining balance of supply and demand in the oil markets, as well as aim to limit volatility that does not serve the interests of consumers and producers, as has been always the case within OPEC +,” the ministry said, adding that the cut was approved “unanimously by all member states” of the organization.

While Washington suggested “postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month,” the Foreign Ministry said US officials were informed such a delay “would have had negative economic consequences.” The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the request from the United States, noting that Riyadh considered the idea a “political gambit by the [Joe] Biden administration to avoid bad news ahead of the US midterm elections.”However, a National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, denied that characterization, telling the outlet that US officials “questioned a Saudi analysis that the price of oil was about to plunge and urged them to wait and see how the market reacted.”

“It’s categorically false to connect this to US elections,” Watson said. “It’s about the impact of this shortsighted decision to the global economy.” President Biden responded harshly to the production cut, suggesting the move would help Moscow reap higher prices for its energy exports as Western nations seek to choke off the Russian economy in retaliation for the war in Ukraine. Biden also vowed “consequences” for Saudi Arabia, and though he did not elaborate what that could mean, top NSC spokesman John Kirby later told reporters that the White House would review the US-Saudi relationship to ensure “it is serving our national security interests.”


Saudi Arabia confirms Biden attempted to coerce them to postpone oil cuts until after the midterms

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Treating Ukraine as de facto NATO member. Not wise.

NATO Eyes 10-Year Plan For Ukraine – Politico (RT)

The NATO alliance will soon launch a scheme to rebuild Ukraine’s defense industry over the next decade, hoping to phase out Soviet-era weapons in favor of Western gear as Washington and its allies pledge new rounds of military aid to Kiev. Officials from NATO and Ukraine are set to meet next week to discuss a “long-term commitment” to revitalize Kiev’s military-industrial complex following months of fighting with Russia, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a senior NATO official. “We will be looking at defense planning requirements to get Ukraine fully interoperable with NATO,” the unnamed official said. “It’s about shifting away from Soviet equipment … to NATO-compatible Western equipment.” Though the NATO staffer offered few details about the rebuilding effort, they said it would focus on Ukraine’s longer-term needs and likely involve several international partners.

The initiative will be separate from another NATO project discussed by acquisition officials earlier this month, which also seeks to bolster Ukraine’s defense sector while replenishing Western stockpiles after heavy arms shipments to Kiev. Earlier on Wednesday, the so-called ‘Ukraine Defense Contact Group’ met to discuss continued military support, with Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov stating that air defense systems are his country’s “top priority.” US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Washington and its allies would aim to provide such weapons, calling on members of the contact group to “chip in and help [Ukraine] rebuild and sustain an integrated air and missile defense system, specifically old systems.”

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, meanwhile, vowed to send additional anti-aircraft missiles during Wednesday’s meeting, saying the “only result [Russia] is achieving with [continued attacks on Ukraine] is that we are going to deliver even more.” Those pledges came soon after Germany delivered the first of four IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine, while France, the United States and Britain have each announced new weapons transfers of their own, including French truck-mounted howitzers, US-made NASAMS air defense systems and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles from the UK.

Maersheimer Cohen

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‘Nobody is going to catch us. We are going to break a constitutional republic’s 250-year tradition because we don’t like the guy in the White House, and we’re going to manufacture a crime on it.'”

$1m Offer To Steele Shows FBI Misled Congress On Russia Probe: Kash Patel (JTN)

Following the bombshell revelation from the trial of Igor Danchenko that the FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million to corroborate his dossier, former House Intelligence Committee investigator Kash Patel said this proves the bureau knew it hadn’t been able to verify the Trump-Russia collusion narrative and misled Congress. Danchenko, the primary source for the Steele dossier, is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI. As the prosecution opened its case against Danchenko Tuesday, Special Counsel John Durham questioned his first witness, FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten. Auten testified that in early October 2016, the FBI offered Steele “up to $1 million” to provide corroborating evidence for his dossier, but the former British spy didn’t provide any such information to the bureau.

As a result, Steele wasn’t given the money because he was unable to “prove the allegations.” An application the FBI submitted to a FISA court on Oct. 21, 2016 for a warrant to initiate electronic surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page included uncorroborated information from the dossier. Auten testified that before the FBI received the dossier, it didn’t have enough evidence to obtain a FISA warrant. Auten also said the FBI contacted other intelligence agencies regarding the specific allegations in the dossier, but none were able to corroborate them. Durham asked Auten, “On October 21, 2016 did you have any information to corroborate that information?” “No,” Auten replied. Patel was asked about the purported reward offer on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show Tuesday.

The House Intelligence panel chaired by then-Rep. Devin Nunes sent 17 congressional subpoenas “for information specifically related to payments and confidential human sources,” he said, “were denied this information, and we learn it four years after our investigation.” “That means somebody obstructed a congressional investigation with congressional subpoenas,” said Patel, a former national security prosecutor. This exposes “the depths that [the FBI] would go to to falsely corroborate the Steele dossier, which … shows they didn’t have it verified, which we’ve said the whole time,” Patel added. “And more importantly,” he continued, “they were willing to spend a million taxpayer dollars on shoveling political hot garbage through the federal court system just to surveil a political target that would have been totally baseless — it was baseless then.”

Referring to a group of senior FBI leaders during the James Comey era as “government gangsters,” Patel said “this bombshell” shows that they “were so arrogant, that they said, ‘Nobody is going to catch us. We are going to break a constitutional republic’s 250-year tradition because we don’t like the guy in the White House, and we’re going to manufacture a crime on it.'” Retired FBI supervisory special agent Bassem Youssef, one of the bureau’s most famous whistleblowers, said Tuesday’s revelation at the trial was unlike anything he ever saw in his three-decade FBI career.”Never in my entire career have I heard of such an offer to pay a source to corroborate their own information,” Youssef told Just the News. “The FBI queries other sources in order to validate the original source of information. It is unheard of that the FBI would offer to pay Steele $1 million to corroborate his own information.

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Just say no.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Turns Negative Within Months (ET)

The effectiveness of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine against infection turns negative over time, according to a new study that was funded by the vaccine maker. The effectiveness of three doses—a primary series and a booster—against infection remained above 50 percent after 150 days against BA.1, a subvariant of the Omicron virus variant, researchers estimated. However, against more recent strains, including the currently dominant BA.5, the effectiveness turned negative. Against BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5, the effectiveness went negative after 150 days; against BA.1.12.1, the effectiveness turned negative after 91 days. Negative effectiveness means that a vaccinated person is more likely to contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, than an unvaccinated person.

Researchers with Moderna and Kaiser Permanente, which carried out the study, also found that people who received three Moderna doses were more likely to become infected when compared to people who received just two doses. Researchers said that they attempted to reduce potential bias by taking actions such as adjusting for comorbidities, but that some confounding may remain. They said that some of the negative effectiveness estimates “could be due to differential risk behaviors among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals when protection from antibodies becomes minimal.” Hung Fu Tseng, a researcher with Kaiser Permanente Southern California and the study’s corresponding author, declined to provide evidence for the statement or otherwise comment on the negative effectiveness estimates.

A slew of other studies and analyses have found that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines turns negative over time, including a study that estimated the protection for children aged 5 to 11 turned negative after 18 or 20 weeks, and an analysis of data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing program that estimated the shielding turned negative around six months. Swedish researchers in September concluded that effectiveness turned negative within several months.

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“..these funds are funded by workers and yet they are “engaging in actions which destroy the living standards of those workers..”

Europe’s Pension Funds Are Gambling With Food Prices (EUO)

Some of Europe’s largest pension funds are investing billions of euros in volatile commodity markets, risking the hard-earned income of millions of workers while fuelling a global hunger crisis caused in part by such investments, a new investigation has found. The findings also raise questions over whether the European Union’s continued drive to deregulate its financial markets will worsen the situation in the future. The rules governing the bloc’s capital markets are currently under review. Soaring prices of key commodities such as food and energy have triggered a cost of living crisis around the world, including in Europe. The United Nations said the increases may have also pushed an estimated 71 million people in developing nations into poverty.

Lighthouse Reports, a European non-profit newsroom, analysed the accounts of more than 70 major pension funds in Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Finland and Denmark. While some funds explicitly forbid speculating in commodities, especially in food, 15 are currently investing in them, with the three biggest buyers the Netherlands, UK and Denmark held a total of €37.6bn between them at the end of 2021. According to Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the findings show that pension funds are amongst the financial institutions that have aggravated the problem of investor speculation driving food prices. This is “particularly egregious” because these funds are funded by workers and yet they are “engaging in actions which destroy the living standards of those workers”, she said.

Most funds do not disaggregate between hard commodities, such as gold and oil, and soft commodities, such as agriculture and livestock, but experts say the ultimate impact — rising commodity prices — is likely to be the same. “Whether it is in food or energy, both are equivalently terrible from the point of view of workers and developing countries because a fuel price increase translates into prices of all other prices going up,” says Ghosh. In addition, commodity markets are risky to invest in, said Ann Pettifor, one of the few economists who predicted the 2007-2008 global financial crisis. “I don’t want my pension fund to go near something as volatile as a commodity market, basically, especially the ones in energy and in food,” she said.

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When Adam Curtis makes a film (series), you watch. When Adam Curtis writes, you read.

“..on how hyper-capitalism wrecked a nation – and why Liz Truss must take heed..”

In the 1990’s, Russia male life expectancy fell by 15-20 years. That’s what Putin inhereted.

‘They Are Stealing Russia’ (Adam Curtis)

The central mystery of our time is why, at a moment when the whole political and social system is out of control and in total chaos, no one seems able to imagine any alternative. The economic system is not delivering the good life it once promised, but is instead creating chaos and hardship for millions. Meanwhile, those in charge of the system are profiting massively from that chaos, feeding off the uncertainty. And the political class are in thrall to an economic theory that has become absurd and corrupted. I’ve just made TraumaZone, a series of films about another time when that was happening. It was in Russia in the 1990s after communism collapsed. Those in charge began an experiment to create an extreme form of capitalism. I made it because I don’t think we in the west understand what the Russians went through: a cataclysm that tore apart the foundations of society.

The films are made using a unique source of material: thousands of hours of raw footage recorded by BBC crews in Russia during that time, much of it never seen before. What makes it so extraordinary is that it records the experiences of Russians at every level of society as their world fell apart: from inside the Kremlin to the frozen mining cities of the Arctic circle, from life in the tiny villages of the vast steppes to the strange wars fought in the mountains and forests of the Caucasus. As I watched the footage I decided that I shouldn’t use my voice or paste music over it. The material was so strong that I didn’t want to intrude pointlessly, but rather let viewers simply experience what was happening, because it is was out of this – the anger, violence, desperation and overwhelming corruption – that Vladimir Putin emerged.

But as I made the films, the growing chaos here in Britain made me see parallels. There are of course vast differences between our society and the Russia of 30 years ago, but the more you find out about the extreme economic experiment there, and what is happening here now with the present government, the more you see that they both share very similar roots that have nothing to do with either capitalism or communism. The clue lies in the man who imposed the “shock therapy” experiment on Russia. Called Yegor Gaidar, he was at the heart of the communist establishment. His grandfather was the most famous writer of children’s books in the Soviet Union, and Gaidar had married the daughter of one of the Strugatsky brothers, science-fiction writers who wrote the novel the film Stalker was based on.

This economist who would become acting prime minister set out to create a perfect capitalist system in Russia. He had to do it fast, he said, to stop communism from ever returning. Overnight, he removed all controls over prices, while the government gave up on any attempt to manage the system. The aim, said Gaidar, was to create a new zone of perfect freedom in which, despite initial pain, the system would find its own natural equilibrium. But if you look closer, you will see that his plan had little to do with freedom. It was in fact an odd, machine-like vision of the world driven by pseudoscientific ideas.

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US soldier

 

 

Hologram

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 102018
 


Jerry Bywaters Oil Field Girls 1940

 

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)
Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)
Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)
Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)
EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)
UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)
Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)
Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)
Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)
Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)
Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)
The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

 

 

Right. Questions: How much of the $32 trillion was made doing things that increased emissions? How much of it is presently invested in polluting companies? And how much are the investors prepared to lose in order to comply with whatever it takes to lower emissions?

To put it simply: these people are talking their books. They got rich by polluting. They intend to get even richer by going green.

If you’re serious about the topic, don’t join them.

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)

Global investors managing $32 trillion in assets have called on governments to accelerate steps to combat climate change, as policymakers meet for talks at a United Nations conference in Poland. A total of 415 investors from across the world including UBS Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments signed the 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change demanding urgent action. “The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” the statement said.

The intervention is the single largest on the topic to date, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change said, as talks continue in the Polish city of Katowice to agree how to slow global warming to below 2ºC. That goal was agreed at a 2015 meeting in Paris, but investors said national governments were being too slow in enacting the policies needed to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy. Failure to act could lead to permanent economic damage three or four times the scale of the impact of the financial crisis, British asset manager Schroders said.

As well as ramping up the involvement of the private sector, governments needed to commit to improving climate-related financial reporting, a move that would help investors better assess the risk and allocate capital to the right companies. “The reality is that the long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, Executive Director Responsible Investment, IFM Investors. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

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If these activist shareholders succeed, the value of their shares will plunge. That’s why in an earlier vote at Shell, 94% of shareholders votied against and 5% abstained. That reduces this to window dressing.

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)

BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil face a shareholder challenge to set carbon targets in line with the Paris climate agreement, as a green group seeks to repeat its success in pressuring Shell to set environmental benchmarks. When Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, laid out an ambitious long-term carbon target last year, he acknowledged the role played by a resolution on carbon targets submitted by Dutch activist shareholders Follow This. Follow This is hoping to use investor power to push other major oil and gas firms into setting similar goals. The organisation has bought shares in several major fossil fuel groups and has submitted two resolutions to the European firms BP and Shell. It will file identical resolutions with the US companies Chevron and ExxonMobil later this week if other parties do not submit a similar demand.

Investors at the firms’ annual general meetings next year will be asked to vote in favour of them publishing climate change targets in alignment with the international goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures well below 2C. Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, said: “Targets should be on the agenda of every oil company, given that the oil industry can make or break the Paris climate agreement.” The group has little chance of winning by persuading a majority of the four companies’ shareholders to back the resolution but it believes the tactic can put public and investor pressure on firms. Although backed by the Church of England and major pension funds, the resolution filed for Shell’s AGM on carbon targets failed in 2017, with 94% of shareholders voting against and 5% abstaining.

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New Davis have no idea how big the fall will be, no more than you or I. And besides, they think that by spring, “the pain will be largely behind the Street”.

Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)

The wild trading that’s gripped Wall Street may be no ordinary correction. According to Ned Davis Research’s Ed Clissold, a bear market is officially here. “If you take this as a typical bear market, not associated with a recession, it’s going to take you down around 20% — maybe a little bit more,” the firm’s chief U.S. market strategist told CNBC’s “Futures Now” last week. “That’s what we need to be thinking about over the next several months.” A bear market is defined as an environment when overwhelming pessimism sparks a 20% drop or more from recent highs. In this case, it would wipe out 588 points from the S&P 500’s all-time high of 2940.91 hit on Sept. 21. The index closed Friday in correction territory at 2,633.08. That’s down 10% from the high and 4.6% for the week.

Originally, Clissold called for a bear market to hit Wall Street in 2019, due to jitters over interest rate hike risks, U.S.-China trade tensions and slowing growth in earnings and the economy. However, he decided to move up his forecast due to “severe” technical damage from the October correction. Now, it appears the market may soon get hit with another batch of discouraging news. “Earnings growth is becoming a front-burner issue. Everybody expected it to slow down next year because we don’t have the benefit of tax cuts. But the slowdown is probably going to be more than expected,” said Clissold. [..] He may be predicting a deep pullback, but he does not see any signs of a recession. By spring, Clissold said, the pain will be largely behind the Street.

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Everyone still relies on central banks.

Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)

In the past two months we have written extensively on how most market participants got caught offside by the dramatic reversion in risk assets, and which after several attempts at bottom-fishing – attempts which have failed because as Morgan Stanley first noted two months ago the Buy The Dip trade no longer works…

… increasingly more traders have thrown in the towel, resulting in YTD returns which are truly “historic” with not one single asset generating positive returns for the first time since the Nixon presidency.

Well, that’s not exactly right: one asset is outperforming – the one which usually does best just as the economy slides into a recession or worse: cash. As Bank of America notes, the YTD score for the top global assets is the following: • equities -4.2%, • bonds -2.3%, • commodities -6.2%, • cash 1.7%, • US$ 4.9%.

Drilling down reveals an even uglier picture: the 2018 bear market has spared nobody with US Treasuries down -4.9%, the 5th largest loss since 1970, US IG bonds -3.3%, their 4th largest loss since 1970, meanwhile 1881 of 2767 global stocks are in a bear market, down more than 20%, 86 of 94 equity indices underwater, and the cherry on top – the FAANG bull market “leader” is down -26% from highs, which according to BofA’s Michael Hartnett is “a big nasty bear market.” The result, per Bank of America, is that “capitulation to lower credit & equity allocations begins but from high allocations to risk assets.” That’s the good news: the bad news is that even as investors are bailing out of risk assets, they are also dumping safe havens like treasuries, and in the last week we saw broad based risk-off flows, including $5.2BN outflow from equities, and $8.1BN outflow from bonds this week

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By the day, it becomes more like one of those Shakespeare plays with gossiping and backstabbing and all that. Love it.

Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)

Theresa May is set for the bleakest week of her time in power after leadership rivals publicly positioned themselves to grab the Tory crown if her Brexit plans collapse. Ex-cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey all signalled a willingness to bid for the leadership amid speculation that Ms May faces a heavy defeat in the crunch Commons vote on her proposed Brexit deal. More resignations were expected from the front bench in the run-up to the vote, with government insiders indicating it could still be delayed. If she survives the first half of the week, Ms May is expected to head to Brussels where she will implore the EU to offer a concession on the hated “Irish backstop” so that she can try to sell the deal to Tory rebels one last time.

The prime minister spoke to president of the European Council Donald Tusk on Sunday, who said afterwards that it would be “an important week for the fate of Brexit”. In London thousands of protestors waving union jacks joined a “Brexit betrayal” march sponsored by Ukip and addressed by far-right activist Tommy Robinson, while even more were said to have turned up to an anti-fascist counter-march. The febrile atmosphere as the week starts is only set to intensify as MPs return to Westminster on Monday, with talk of Conservative plots and leadership challenges filling the air. One Tory backbencher told The Independent: “No one knows if the prime minister is still going to be in Downing Street at the end of the week.

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Ha ha! Don’t forget to say thank you to the EU for your freedoms, Brits! Rumor has it May’s Plan B will include a second vote that does not have a Remain option.

EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)

The European Union’s top court ruled on Monday that the United Kingdom can unilaterally revoke its divorce notice, raising the hopes of pro-Europeans ahead of a crucial vote in the British parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal. Just 36 hours before British lawmakers vote on May’s deal, the Court of Justice said in an emergency judgement that London could revoke its Article 50 formal divorce notice with no penalty. May’s government says the ruling means nothing because it has no intention of reversing its decision to leave the EU on March 29. But critics of her deal say it provides options — either to delay Brexit and renegotiate terms of withdrawal, or cancel it altogether if British voters change their minds. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU,” the court said.

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Surprised? Don’t be.

UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)

A secret UK Government-funded infowars unit based in Scotland sent out social media posts attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. On the surface, the cryptically named Institute for Statecraft is a small charity operating from an old Victorian mill in Fife. But explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists. The “think tank” is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming “clusters” of friendly journalists and “key influencers” throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.

But our investigation has found worrying evidence the shadowy programme’s official Twitter account has been used to attack Corbyn, the Labour Party and their officials. [..] David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine. “People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”

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That’s not legal, is it?

Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)

Former FBI Director James Comey didn’t know a lot during Friday’s congressional testimony – claiming hundreds of times (245 according to Trump) that he simply couldn’t remember various things. What Comey did remember, however, confirms that the FBI could not verify the dossier submitted by former UK spy Christopher Steele – which the agency used as the foundation of a spy warrant application to surveil the Trump campaign. While Comey said the dossier came from “a reliable source with a track record, and it’s an important thing when you’re seeking a PC warrant,” he also admitted that the FBI was unable to corroborate the document’s claims.

“But what I understand by verified is we then try to replicate the source information so that it becomes FBI investigation and our conclusions rather than a reliable source’s,” Comey said, adding “That’s what I understand it, the difference to be. And that work wasn’t completed by the time I left in May of 2017, to my knowledge.” The FBI is required to fully vet information they submit to FISA courts, which they of course did not do in their haste to deploy a counterintelligence dragnet on the Trump campaign during the final months of the 2016 US election. Steele, meanwhile, was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the press while the agency was using him as a source. To get around this, the FBI went through former #4 DOJ official Bruce Ohr – who was demoted twice for lying about his contacts with Steele.

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for the embattled research firm Fusion GPS on the Trump dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their ongoing effort to investigate the Trump campaign and any ties with Russia. It was discovered in 2017 that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the campaign’s law firm Perkins Coie to investigate any alleged ties between Trump and Russia. More importantly, the FBI used information from Steele, a foreign source who was openly antagonistic about Trump. In fact, Ohr told FBI officials that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” as stated in the House Intelligence Committee investigation memo. -Sara Carter

Comey’s confirmation echoes comments made in a string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification – as reported last week by The Hill’s John Solomon. The emails – kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, “included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division,” according to the report – and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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In a worst case scenario, the US will use this as a reason to attack now, before Americans figure out they can’t win.

Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)

The advanced Sukhoi Su-57 multipurpose jet, Russia’s first domestically produced fifth-generation stealth fighter, will be armed with new hypersonic missiles, according to a Russian military source. “In accordance with Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027, Su-57 jet fighters will be equipped with hypersonic missiles,” a Russian defense industry source toldTASS news agency on December 06. “The jet fighters will receive missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles, but with inter-body placement and smaller size,” the source added. Moscow said the new Kinzhal (“Dagger”), a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, can hit speeds of up to Mach 10 and can perform evasive maneuvers that can render NATO’s US-led missile defense system completely “useless.”

The missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads with a range of about 1,200 miles. The new hypersonic missile will be much smaller than the current Kinzhal; this is due to size constraints of fitting the weapon inside the stealth aircraft’s weapons bay. The alternative would be mounting the missile on the outside of the plane, but that would increase the jet’s radar signature. No details within the report explain about a timetable for the development or the planned specifications for the new missiles. The Defense Ministry would neither confirm nor deny the information. The Kinzhal missile is currently being tested in field training exercises.

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The US needs to clean up its pharma, along with the entire healthcare system.

Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)

A huge proportion of scientists and doctors publishing in major medical magazines continue to conceal ties to corporations relevant to their research, while punishment for not declaring interests remains weak, says a new report. “The system is broken,” Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times and ProPublica, an investigative journalism non-profit. Jafari was one of the authors of a landmark study published back in August that took the names of the 100 doctors receiving the most funding from medical equipment and drug manufacturers, and then studied whether they declared a potential conflict of interest in their published research. Only 37 did.

For example, Dr. Howard A. Burris III, has been elected as the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that includes 40,000 members, and can make influential recommendations on cancer drugs worth tens of billions of dollars. Companies where Burris is an employee have been paid $114,000 in speaking fees, and $8 million in research funding by private corporations. Yet in none of his last 50 articles did the man, whose bio boasts that he “was selected by his peers as a ‘Giant of Cancer Care’ for his achievements in drug development,” think it was necessary to declare any potential biases resulting from corporate involvement.

In the latest investigation, the Times and ProPublica revealed that Dr. Robert J. Alpern, the dean of the Yale School of Medicine, writing about an experimental kidney disease drug failed to state that he was on the board of the company producing it. When journalists approached the publisher of the article, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, its editor discovered that all 12 authors of the article in question had interests they failed to declare.

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Really? Salvini is about to take on the Pope?

Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)

Italian priests have declared their willingness to “open the church doors of every single parish” to people expelled from reception centres as an anti-immigration law from Italy’s rightwing government threatens to make thousands homeless. The so-called “Salvini decree” – named after Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and leader of the far-right League – left hundreds in legal limbo when its removal of humanitarian protection for those not eligible for refugee status but otherwise unable to return home was applied by several Italian cities soon after its approval by parliament earlier this month. The Catholic church expressed its profound disapproval immediately after the vote.

The Vatican’s position is “very clear”, its secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said last week. “You don’t leave migrants in the street … A profound sense of solidarity must prevail. You cannot put people in this position. You must always focus on people and their rights.” According to Italy’s ministry of the interior, between 2016 and 2017 Italy provided humanitarian protection to 39,145 asylum seekers, who under the Salvini decree risk being made homeless within weeks. In early December, a letter announcing the expulsion of 50 people was sent to the reception centre in Mineo, Sicily: the largest in Europe after the Moria camp in Greece.

The bishop of Caltagirone, Monsignor Calogero Peri, said he was prepared to provide 40 beds in nearby facilities owned by the church to welcome people who risk expulsion. “And if there are not enough beds? I have already spoken with other bishops: we will open the church doors of every single parish under our control,” he said. “It’s not a question of politics. It’s a matter of protecting individuals. Imagine this: in Italy now it is a crime to abandon dogs, but it is not a crime to abandon people. Even worse, abandoning men, women and children is now the law.”

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A little nothing news. But cute.

Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)

The most traditional symbol you will find in Greece during the holidays is a small boat decorated with lights, usually placed in the main square of a town and close to the more international Christmas tree. To karavaki, or small boat is rooted in the traditions of a country with a symbiotic relationship with the sea. In fact on the many Greek islands the Christmas boats remain the most popular ornament of the holiday season. Different legends explain the tradition of the Christmas Greek boat. One of them is related to Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), the Patron Saint of Sailors. This saint is celebrated on December 6, the day when many households start decorating their houses for Christmas. Some agree that this is why boats are decorated, in order to honor the saint.

It’s also true that Greece is proud of the large amount of sailors, fishermen and intrepid captains the country has, which makes them as a symbol of local identity. Men would often be away for months at a time, and those back home would be anxiously waiting for their return. On the islands, the wives, mothers, and daughters of seaman used to spend the cold and dark winter months with their heart and mind at sea. There, their men were battling the stormy seas during the holiday season. These were months of expectation, hope, and prayer for their safe return. The joy of seeing the boats coming back, approaching the shores, made the women celebrate in relief. The boat is a symbol to honor those brave men coming back home.

The tradition wanted the small wooden boats placed inside close to the fireplace and pointing towards the center of the house, never towards the door. They were also lovingly decorated to give a warm welcome to the men of the household. Even kids prepared their own boats with paper and chips of wood, and on Christmas Eve, they used these little boats to collect the treats they had received when singing the carols (kalanda) from house to house.

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Don’t miss the fantastic Adam Curtis. He knows more about what makes our world go round than just about anyone. Watch his docs, all of them.

The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

Adam Curtis: “HyperNormalisation” is a word that was coined by a brilliant Russian historian who was writing about what it was like to live in the last years of the Soviet Union. What he said, which I thought was absolutely fascinating, was that in the 80s everyone from the top to the bottom of Soviet society knew that it wasn’t working, knew that it was corrupt, knew that the bosses were looting the system, knew that the politicians had no alternative vision. And they knew that the bosses knew they knew that. Everyone knew it was fake, but because no one had any alternative vision for a different kind of society, they just accepted this sense of total fakeness as normal. And this historian, Alexei Yurchak, coined the phrase “HyperNormalisation” to describe that feeling.

I thought “that’s a brilliant title” because, although we are not in any way really like the Soviet Union, there is a similar feeling in our present day. Everyone in my country and in America and throughout Europe knows that the system that they are living under isn’t working as it is supposed to; that there is a lot of corruption at the top. But whenever the journalists point it out, everyone goes “Wow that’s terrible!” and then nothing happens and the system remains the same. There is a sense of everything being slightly unreal; that you fight a war that seems to cost you nothing and it has no consequences at home; that money seems to grow on trees; that goods come from China and don’t seem to cost you anything; that phones make you feel liberated but that maybe they’re manipulating you but you’re not quite sure. It’s all slightly odd and slightly corrupt.

[..] No one is really sure what Trump represents. My working theory is that he’s part of the pantomime-isation of politics. Every morning Donald Trump wakes up in the White House, he tweets something absolutely outrageous which he knows the liberals will get upset by, the liberals read his tweets and go “This is terrible, this is outrageous,” and then tell each other via social media how terrible it all is. It becomes a feedback loop in which they are locked together. In my mind, it’s like they’re together in a theatre watching a pantomime villain. The pantomime villain comes forward into the light, looks at them and says something terrible, and they go “Boo!!”. Meanwhile, outside the theatre, real power is carrying on but no one is really analysing it.

This is the problem with a lot of journalism, especially liberal journalism at the moment. It’s locked together with those people in the theatre. If you look at the New York Times, for example, it’s continually about that feedback loop between what Trump has said and the reaction of liberal elements in the society. It’s led to a great narrowing of journalism. So in a way, he is part of the hypernormal situation because it’s a politics of pantomime locked together with its critics. [..] ..It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a distraction from what’s really happening in the world. I would argue that there is a sense—in a lot of liberal journalism—of unreality. They’re locked into describing the pantomime politics and they’re not looking to what Mr Michael Pence is really up to, and what’s really happening outside the theatre.

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Oct 192016
 
 October 19, 2016  Posted by at 9:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


NPC KKK parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 1925

The Curious Case Of China’s Remarkably Consistent Economic Growth (CNBC)
China Home Sales Value Rose 61% in September From Year Earlier (BBG)
Australians Ignore A Crisis Bigger Than Brexit: Chinese Debt (SMH)
America the Beautiful Bankrupt (MD White)
The Debt Trap Is Global (Mike Maloney)
France Burns Coal Like It’s 1984 as Prices Jump on Atomic Woes (BBG)
Legal Case for Brexit Is Surprisingly European (BBG)
UK Councils ‘Tell Homeless To Sleep On Streets So They Can Get Help’ (Ind.)
The Cycle of Civil Unrest & Martial Law (Martin Armstrong)
Half Of US Adults Are Recorded In Police Facial Recognition Databases (G.)
Hillary May Hand Control Over US Retirement Savings To Wall Street (IBT)
Vote-Rigging Felon Visits White House 340 Times During Obama Admin (ZH)
Adam Curtis – HyperNormalisation: Full BBC Documentary 2016
EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Dying in the Greek Islands (Spiegel)
World’s Mammals Are Being Eaten Into Extinction (G.)

 

 

Nice detail: China Jan-Sep home sales rose 43.2%.

The Curious Case Of China’s Remarkably Consistent Economic Growth (CNBC)

China’s economy has managed a curiously singular feat for any country: Growing a steady rate of 6.7% for the third quarter in a row. “It’s definitely unusual in an international context,” noted Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics on Wednesday. “There are almost no countries that have such stable GDP growth rates.” The GDP trifecta is the first since at least 1992 when Reuters began compiling data. “It suggests quite significant smoothing of the data behind the scenes. Even by Chinese standards, this is quite rare,” Evans-Pritchard said. [..] “In China, these numbers don’t tend to bounce around a lot. They tend to be remarkably smooth,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics.

“The authorities feel so strongly about the GDP numbers that the whole government apparatus are always doing everything they can, especially in terms of policies and stimulating growth to make sure that the activity numbers, the economic growth numbers are pretty close to what it’s targeting.” Kuijs said he viewed the focus on meeting the 6.5-7.0% economic growth target as a setback. He noted that last year, high-level policymakers had indicated that it would be acceptable to miss growth targets, but then late in 2015, the government returned to a rigid interpretation. “Many economists find that unfortunate,” Kuijs said. “If you have organic growth in your economy of around 5.5% in a context of a pretty subdued global economy, if you continue to insist on 6.5% growth, that means you have to rely on rapid credit growth and other macro-economic stimulus to achieve it.”

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And when you look at ‘value’, the number gets even higher…

China Home Sales Value Rose 61% in September From Year Earlier (BBG)

The value of China’s new home sales rose 61% in September from a year earlier, defying policymakers’ moves earlier this year to cool the property market. The value of homes sold rose to 1.2 trillion yuan ($178 billion) last month from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data the National Bureau of Statistics released Wednesday. The increase compares with a 33% gain the previous month. Residential transactions surged in an extended real-estate bull market, prompting local authorities in late September to roll out tougher curbs in big cities. At least 21 cities have introduced purchase restrictions and toughened mortgage lending since late September, reversing two years of easing to support buyers. Property-development investment growth, which expanded at the slowest pace in 15 years in December, was running at 5.8% in the first three quarters of this year, up from 5.4% in the first eight months.

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If Australians are not scared, then who is?

Australians Ignore A Crisis Bigger Than Brexit: Chinese Debt (SMH)

When our buttoned-down economic guardians start using words like “disruptive adjustment” it’s a sign something’s amiss. Over the past few weeks both the Reserve Bank and the IMF have used that same ominous phrase with reference to Australia’s biggest trading partner, China. In essence, the problem is a corporate debt binge. Credit growth in China has accelerated and is growing at twice the pace of its economic growth rate. Debt levels have ballooned to 250% of GDP and alarm bells are ringing. So how worried should we be here in Australia? No one knows for sure, but probably a fair bit. Economists often resort to the term “uncharted waters” to describe unusual conditions but in this case the cliche is apt.

It is notoriously hard to predict how and when debt bubbles will unwind in the most transparent of democratic systems. In a huge one-party-state like China it’s even more mysterious. Few institutions have invested as much over recent years in understanding the Chinese economy as the Reserve Bank of Australia. In its regular review of financial stability, released on Friday, it described China as “a key locus of risk” given its increasing size in the global economy and the run-up in borrowing. “The potential for a disruptive adjustment in China remains pronounced, given the ongoing increase in debt,” it said. The sheer pace of lending growth makes it likely many loans are going to marginal borrowers or unprofitable projects.

China’s growth is slowing and that will make it harder for highly leveraged firms to service their debts, especially if loans have funded unviable projects. To make matters worse much of the rapid growth has been from China’s less regulated “shadow banking” sector. China’s financial system “has become increasingly large, opaque and interconnected,” the Reserve warned.

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Our old friend Michael David White has this: “Greece is a savvy tycoon sitting on piles of money compared to the United States. Detroit is a model of careful planning. Venezuela is smooth and efficient in its operation.”

America the Beautiful Bankrupt (MD White)

Every person in America can sell everything they own two times — every house, car, bicycle, tent, stock, bond, blanket and kitchen sink — send all the money to the federal government, and Medicare and social security will almost be in good standing. Americans have $90 trillion of personal wealth and $210 trillion of federal debt. We are a dead man. We rest peacefully, in a lead coffin, at the bottom of the sea. We are underwater and we can’t pay our bills. We are dead broke. Plan B is now our destiny. The federal government’s debt of $210 trillion is two times greater than all of the personal wealth of all Americans combined. The federal government’s debt is 11 times greater than the debt of a country in bankruptcy.

And the federal government’s debt is more than 20 times greater than the mortgage debt on every American home. The Democratic Party, led by the progressive Big Media, whose signature legislation is social security and Medicare, has bankrupted the wealthiest country in the history of the world. The “social justice” initiatives of President Roosevelt and Johnson will end with the greatest financial crisis ever. The Roosevelt-Johnson global depression will spread poverty misery and violence far and wide. Socialism bankrupts host countries. America is going to learn the hard way and the world will be forced to go with us for a very long ride. Big Media will bury the story until the cities are burning.

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“..this is going to be a global recession and it’s going to be bad..”

The Debt Trap Is Global (Mike Maloney)

Mike shows you how much the government controls the economy today. And why it will be very difficult to get out of this mind-boggling level of debt. You’ll see this is not just a problem in the Western world, it’s the entire world. As Mike says, “this is going to be a global recession and it’s going to be bad.”

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So they still have the capacity to burn all that coal depsite years of relying on nucler power? Did they see this coming?

France Burns Coal Like It’s 1984 as Prices Jump on Atomic Woes (BBG)

France produced the most power from fossil fuels for September in 32 years to help meet demand as nuclear generation dropped. Output from coal and gas plants more than doubled as Paris-based Electricite de France was forced to keep reactors offline for inspections. French month-ahead power prices have risen to near the highest since 2009. “The availability of French nuclear continues to alarm market participants,” said Bruno Brunetti, managing director of global power at Pira Energy Group in New York. “With the lack of French exports supporting thermal generation, we have revised upward forecasts of coal-fired dispatching by roughly 5 terawatt-hours through 2017 in western Europe.”

EDF’s reactors produced 26.6 terawatt-hours of electricity in September, the least since August 1998, prompting “heavy use” of stations burning coal and gas in a trend that has been increasing since April, according to a report by French grid operator Reseau de transport d’electricite. Thermal power generation was 4,132 gigawatt-hours, or 11% of the total. France has seven fewer reactors available than at the same time last year after EDF announced it needed more time to carry out inspections to rule out potential anomalies on steam generators at 18 of its 58 units ordered by the nation’s nuclear regulator.

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Building on the lack of a British written constitution, conflicting arguments can be made.

Legal Case for Brexit Is Surprisingly European (BBG)

The constitutional argument against Brexit is clever and powerful. It’s being made by David Pannick, a member of the House of Lords and a particularly skilled and brilliant barrister. As articulated before the court it runs like this: A well-recognized principle of the U.K. constitution is that one law enacted by Parliament may only be changed by another law. Parliament enacted the European Communities Act in 1972. That law, which opened the way for the U.K. to join the European Economic Community, says that European laws apply in the U.K. European law today includes lots of individual rights, including those found in the European Declaration of Human Rights. Once the U.K. leaves the EU, the rights will no longer apply to Britons. Hence, Pannick says, the U.K. can’t leave the EU without a law authorizing withdrawal. And a law requires an act of Parliament.

If accepted by the courts, Pannick’s argument would have the effect of blocking PM Theresa May’s government from invoking Article 50 of the EU treaty, which allows member states to withdraw. The government would need to go to Parliament, which would say no – and Brexit would be blocked. So is Pannick right? There’s a somewhat plausible technical response to his claims. It says essentially that since the 1972 law incorporates European law, and Article 50 of the EU treaty is European law, there’s no need for another act of Parliament, because the 1972 law isn’t really being revoked but simply relied upon to withdraw. This would be a pretty cheap way for courts to solve the deeper problem, and I suspect the judges won’t want to reject Pannick’s claim on a technicality – or at least they shouldn’t.

The better, more substantive answer to Pannick’s argument is that while Parliament hasn’t enacted a new law for EU withdrawal, there has been a public pronouncement on the topic: the Brexit referendum. True, a referendum isn’t a law. But it is the voice of the people, at least as expressed on the fateful day of the vote. Here’s where things get really interesting from a constitutional standpoint. If the U.K. had a written constitution, it would probably say whether a referendum should be treated the same as a legislative vote. But because it doesn’t, the courts will have to decide whether a referendum is just as good as a legislative vote, or better, or worse. And that judgment will require some serious thought about the true nature of democracy.

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“In the past five years, the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled.”

UK Councils ‘Tell Homeless To Sleep On Streets So They Can Get Help’ (Ind.)

Homeless people are being told by councils to sleep rough so they can get help, research by a charity has found. People who turned to their local authority for help were often sent packing without support or instructed to sleep rough in order to access services, according to a report by St Mungo’s. The findings, based on interviews with 40 St Mungo’s clients, suggested that three-quarters of homeless people had slept rough the night after they asked a council for help because they had nowhere to stay. One of those interviewed by St Mungo’s said: “We decided to go to the local council and they told us that we had to sleep rough for three nights in a row before they could actually do anything to help us. We just felt complete despair.”

The charity is calling on the government to ensure that no one is sent away by local authorities when they have nowhere to go. St Mungo’s will take part in a mass lobby of Parliament on Wednesday in support of the Homelessness Reduction Bill. The research also found that 129 rough sleepers have died in London since 2010, while a quarter reported being physically assaulted when they were on the streets. One interviewee said: “I’ve been beaten up quite a few times sleeping in doorways, or even in cars, they smash the window in on top of you, spit on you, urinate on you, try and set you on fire. I’ve had all of those things happen to me.” In the past five years, the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled – with a 30% increase in the past year alone.

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A very useful history lesson on US protests, rebellion, goverment and courts.

The Cycle of Civil Unrest & Martial Law (Martin Armstrong)

All agencies are quietly being armed just in case there may be civil unrest which arises by rigging the election to defeat Donald Trump. Even Ben Carson has come out and explained why Trump beat everyone in the Republican field: “the people themselves have just gotten disgusted with being manipulated and controlled”. There is no question that we have entered a new age post-2015.75 that is one of betrayal and deception. Many people assume that Obama would never declare martial law and that the proposition is simply a conspiracy theory. This is simply not true. Martial law in the United States has been declared several times, so it is by no means off the table. The martial law concept within the United States legally is very closely linked with the right of habeas corpus, which has been suspended and reduced in many cases over the years.

That is why they keep Guantanamo open for if they are not on US soil, they cannot file a habeas corpus. Effectively, the right to a hearing on “lawful” imprisonment is embodied in the essence of habeas corpus that is under the supervision of law enforcement by the judiciary, which of course has been stacked with pro-government judges. The constitutional ability to suspend habeas corpus is related to the imposition of martial law. Under the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9 states; “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” There you have the authority to suspend the law if there is a “rebellion” based upon civil unrest that is political in nature. Obama can also claim “public safety” is at stake if Trump supports riot.

Therefore, under United States law, martial law is very limited by several court decisions that were handed down between the American Civil War and World War II. Don’t forget the Japanese Internment camps during World War II. You were locked up just because of your heritage without any rioting or committing some threatening act. It was just “presumed” you “might” do something and that was as good as guilt.

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1984.

Half Of US Adults Are Recorded In Police Facial Recognition Databases (G.)

Half of all American adults are included in databases police use to identify citizens with facial recognition technology, according to new research that raises serious concerns about privacy violations and the widespread use of racially biased surveillance technology. A report from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology found that more than 117 million adults are captured in a “virtual, perpetual lineup”, which means law enforcement offices across the US can scan their photos and use unregulated software to track law-abiding citizens in government datasets. Numerous major police departments have “real-time face recognition” technology that allows surveillance cameras to scan the faces of pedestrians walking down the street, the report found.

In Maryland, police have been using software to identify faces in protest photos and match them to people with warrants, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The report’s findings, along with revelations from the ACLU on police monitoring in Baltimore, suggest that the technology may be violating the rights of millions of Americans and is disproportionately impacting communities of color, advocates said. “Face recognition, when it’s used most aggressively, can change the nature of public spaces,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown’s privacy and technology center. “It can change the basic freedom we have to go about our lives without people identifying us from afar and in secret.”

The center’s year-long investigation, based on more than 100 police records requests, has produced the most comprehensive survey of facial databases to date and raises numerous questions about the lack of transparency and privacy protections. Law enforcement biometric databases have traditionally captured DNA profiles related to criminal arrests or forensic investigations. What’s alarming about the FBI’s “face recognition unit”, according to the report, is that it is “overwhelmingly made up of non-criminal entries”.

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Smells like ‘doing God’s work’.

Hillary May Hand Control Over US Retirement Savings To Wall Street (IBT)

While Hillary Clinton has spent the presidential campaign saying as little as possible about her ties to Wall Street, the executive who some observers say could be her Treasury Secretary has been openly promoting a plan to give financial firms control of hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement savings. The executive is Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group. The investment colossus is most famous in politics for its Republican CEO likening an Obama tax plan to a Nazi invasion. James, though, is a longtime Democrat — and one of Clinton’s top fundraisers. The billionaire sculpted the retirement initiative with a prominent labor economist whose work is supported by another investment mogul who is a big Clinton donor. The proposal has received bipartisan praise from prominent economic thinkers, and James says that Clinton’s top aides are warming to the idea.

It is a plan that proponents say could help millions of Americans – but could also enrich another constituency: the hedge fund and private equity industries that Blackstone dominates and that have donated millions to support Clinton’s presidential bid. The proposal would require workers and employers to put a%age of payroll into individual retirement accounts “to be invested well in pooled plans run by professional investment managers,” as James put it. In other words, individual voluntary 401(k)s would be replaced by a single national system, and much of the mandated savings would flow to Wall Street, where companies like Blackstone could earn big fees off the assets. And because of a gap in federal anti-corruption rules, there would be little to prevent the biggest investment contracts from being awarded to the biggest presidential campaign donors.

[..] Recently, [..] regulators, pension trustees, investment experts and academics have questioned whether retiree savings should be invested with firms like Blackstone in the first place. Some pensions are pulling out their money. Other pension systems have been turned into 401(k)-style plans, which are difficult for the alternative investment industry to break into because of federal laws that discourage those plans from buying into riskier, illiquid investments. In the face of these challenges, James’ proposal could provide a government-mandated flow of money from workers’ paychecks into the high-fee alternative investment industry.

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Hillary can’t wait for November 8. Her team won’t be able to hold back the floods much longer.

Vote-Rigging Felon Visits White House 340 Times During Obama Admin (ZH)

Earlier today we wrote about a new Project Veritas undercover video that uncovered several democratic operatives openly discussing, in explicit detail, how to commit massive voter fraud. One of the operatives was a person by the name of Robert Creamer who is a co-founder of a democratic consulting firm called Democracy Partners. Within the video, an undercover journalist details a plan to register Hispanic voters illegally by having them work as contractors, to which Creamer can be heard offering support saying that “there are a couple of organizations that that’s their big trick”. Unfortunately, the embarrassing video caused Creamer to subsequently resign from consulting the Hillary campaign as he issued a statement saying that he was “stepping back from my responsibilities working the [Hillary] campaign” over fears that his continued assistance would be a distraction for the campaign.

But voter fraud isn’t Creamer’s only criminal specialty. A quick look at Wikipedia reveals that Creamer spent 5 months in federal prison back in 2006 for a “$2.3 million bank fraud in relation to his operation of public interest groups in the 1990s.” So, with that kind of history, you can imagine our surprise when we discovered that a Mr. Robert Creamer showed up on the White House visitor logs 340 times beginning in 2009 when Obama took office and culminating with his latest visit in June 2016. Moreover, in 45 of those instances, Creamer was scheduled to meet with POTUS himself. Perhaps this is just two old Chicago “community organizers” hanging out?

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The full new Adam Curtis doc has arrived on YouTube, so anyone outside Britain can now view it too.

Adam Curtis – HyperNormalisation: Full BBC Documentary 2016

We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, random bomb attacks. And those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – they have no idea what to do. This film is the epic story of how we got to this strange place. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

It shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal. But there is another world outside. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago – that then festered and mutated – but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury. Piercing though the wall of our fake world.

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“The Balkans would turn into a battleground for migrants, smugglers, border guards and soldiers..”

EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Dying in the Greek Islands (Spiegel)

Abdul Shakoor thought nothing could shock him anymore. He has, after all, survived an assassination attempt by Pakistani security agents, he claims, in addition to torture in a Lahore prison. “But I was wrong.” Thirty-three-year-old Shakoor is standing in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and pointing at the overcrowded plastic tents inside of which women, children and the ill are lying pushed up against one another, at the cement wall that surrounds the camp, and at the barbed wire. “I would have expected these kinds of conditions in Pakistan or Afghanistan,” he says. “But not in Greece.” As a result of the refugee influx, the infrastructure on Lesbos and other Greek islands is in danger of collapsing. Europe’s model is no longer working.

Although the number of migrants dropped after the EU-Turkey deal came into effect in March, the number of refugees heading for Greece has once again gone up, partially in response to the failed military coup in Turkey on June 15. In August and September, 6,527 refugees crossed the Aegean, twice as many as in May and June. The crisis in Turkey, it seems, isn’t just scaring many Turks, it is also driving refugees out of the country. Currently, there are at least 15,000 migrants on the Greek islands, with the camps available only able to handle half that many. And new boats arrive every day. Skirmishes between camp residents – and between refugees and locals – have become a frequent occurrence.

The Greek government is facing a dilemma, says political advisor Gerald Knaus, whose think tank, the European Stability Initiative, helped conceive the EU-Turkey deal. The Greeks, he says, can no longer ignore the chaos on the islands. If Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras carries through on his recent pledge to move large numbers of refugees onto the mainland, it would be a signal to the smugglers in Turkey that the Aegean Route has reopened. “If the EU doesn’t do anything quickly,” Knaus warns, “the refugee deal will be dead in a few months.” Knaus, whom many people describe as the creator of the refugee deal, warns that if the deal fails, chaos could result. Hundreds of thousands of refugees, he says, would arrive in Greece and try to break through the fences to the north. The Balkans would turn into a battleground for migrants, smugglers, border guards and soldiers, Knaus says. “That would be the end of European asylum policy.”

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We are blind to God.

World’s Mammals Are Being Eaten Into Extinction (G.)

Hundreds of mammal species – from chimpanzees to hippos to bats – are being eaten into extinction by people, according to the first global assessment of the impact of human hunting. Bushmeat has long been a traditional source of food for many rural people, but as roads have been driven into remote areas, large-scale commercial hunting is leaving forests and other habitats devoid of wildlife. The scientists behind the new analysis warned that, without action, the wiping out of these species could lead to the collapse of the food security of hundreds of millions of people reliant on bushmeat for survival.

The work comes against the backdrop of the natural world undergoing the greatest mass extinction since a giant meteorite strike wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago, with species vanishing far more rapidly than the long term rate, driven by the destruction and invasion of wild areas by humans and their livestock and hunting. The researchers, whose study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, used the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list to identify the endangered land mammals that are primarily at risk from hunting for food. They found 301 such species, representing 7% of all the land mammals assessed by IUCN and about a quarter of all endangered mammals.

Other mammals are threatened by habitat loss or hunting for other reasons, such as elephants which are poached for their ivory. The 301 species include 168 primates, such as the lowland gorilla and mandrill, 73 hoofed animals, such as the wild yak and bactrian camel, 27 bats, such as the golden-capped fruit bat and the black-bearded flying fox, and 12 carnivores, such as the clouded leopard and several bear species. There are also 26 marsupials threatened by meat hunting, including the grizzled tree kangaroo, and 21 rodent species, such as the Sulawesi giant squirrel and the alpine woolly rat.

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