May 202022
 


Marion Post Wolcott Signboard along highway in Alabama 1939

 

Many Ukrainian Fighters Remain In Azovstal, ‘Operation Going On’ (R.)
Surrender “On Far Bigger Scale Than Kyiv Has Acknowledged” (ZH)
Biden Resists Ukrainian Demands For Long-range Rocket Launchers (Pol.)
When US Pivot Is Seen As An ‘Expansion’ Into Asia (Kukis)
US Aid To Ukraine Borrowed From China: Rand Paul (JTN)
US Adds $100 Million In Arms For Ukraine On Top Of $40 Billion Aid Package (PM)
Senate Blocks $48 Billion Aid For Restaurants, Other Small Businesses (Hill)
SpaceX Flight Attendant Said Elon Musk Exposed Himself (BI)
Half Of America Faces Power Blackouts This Summer (ZH)
Analysis of Hunter Biden’s Hard Drive (NBC)
How The Feds’ Civil Suit Against Steve Wynn Helps Hunter Biden (Turley)
Trump Lawyer Demands CIA Action Against Ex-agents on Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)
African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable (BCM)
A Theory of Impossibility (Fred Reed)

 

 

 

 

George W. Bush prank call

 

 

Poso WHO

 

 

The ones that remain are those who have most to fear from Russia. But ‘Operation Going On’ is BS, it’s over.

Many Ukrainian Fighters Remain In Azovstal, ‘Operation Going On’ (R.)

Russia’s siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol stuttered towards its end on Thursday, with hundreds of fighters still holed up in the Azovstal steel works and some 1,700 who have already surrendered facing an uncertain fate. A full abandonment of the bunkers and tunnels of the bombed-out plant would end the most destructive siege of a war that began when Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. It was unclear how many fighters remained inside. Russia’s defence ministry said 771 fighters from the Azov Regiment had surrendered in the past day, bringing the total of those who had given themselves up since Monday to 1,730. Ukrainian officials declined to comment, saying it could endanger rescue efforts.

Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy head of the Azov Regiment, released an 18-second video address on Thursday to say he and other commanders were still on the territory of the plant. “A certain operation is going on, the details of which I will not disclose. Thank you to the whole world and thank you to Ukraine for (your) support,” he said. Denis Pushilin, head of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, which now encompasses Mariupol, said more than half the fighters had surrendered, and that the uninjured had been taken to a penal colony near Russian-controlled Donetsk. “Let them surrender, let them live, let them honestly face the charges for all their crimes,” he told an online video channel.

[..] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Mariupol’s last defenders – regular soldiers as well as members of the National Guard, to which the Azov Regiment belongs – are national heroes, and that he hopes they can be exchanged for Russian prisoners. Moscow portrays the regiment as one of the main perpetrators of the alleged radical anti-Russian nationalism and neo-Nazism which it says threaten Ukraine’s Russian-speakers. read more The unit, formed in 2014 as a militia to fight Russian-backed separatists, denies being fascist, racist or neo-Nazi, and Ukraine says it has been reformed away from its radical nationalist origins. The Kremlin said the combatants would be treated in line with international norms, though some Russian lawmakers demanded they be tried for war crimes and one demanded they face the death penalty.

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Yesterday 771 surrendered, today’s number will probably be a bit lower.

Surrender “On Far Bigger Scale Than Kyiv Has Acknowledged” (ZH)

Russia’s defense ministry has now revised the numbers of Ukrainian fighters to have emerged from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol upward to more than 1,700 soldiers that have left the plant. A new Reuters headline has stressed that there’s ongoing “silence from Kyiv” as the surrender is on a much larger than expected scale: Moscow said on Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered in Mariupol over three days, including 771 in the past 24 hours, claiming a surrender on a far bigger scale than Kyiv has acknowledged since ordering its garrison to stand down. Statements from early in the week by Ukrainian officials, including President Zelensky, attempted to downplay this as “surrender” – avoiding the word altogether and instead stressing the end of the “combat mission” and that its Azov fighters were “evacuated”.

Russian-backed separatists in control of the area, Denis Pushilin, has recently said many of Azov’s top commanders still remain inside the huge, cavernous steelworks facility. Reuters observes, “The ultimate outcome of Europe’s bloodiest battle for decades remained publicly unresolved, with no confirmation of the fate of the hundreds of Ukrainian troops who had held out in a vast steelworks at the end of a near three-month siege.” “Ukraine, which says it aims to secure a prisoner swap, has declined to say how many were inside the plant or comment on the fate of the rest, since confirming that just over 250 had surrendered in the initial hours after it ordered them to yield,” the report added. Meanwhile, a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) suggests that indeed the number of fighters which were hold up at the plant for months is likely significantly higher that what was known. The Red Cross has thus far registered “hundreds”…

On Tuesday the ICRC started “to register combatants leaving the Azovstal plant, including the wounded, at the request of the parties,” it said in a statement from its headquarters in Geneva. “The operation continued Wednesday and was still ongoing Thursday,” it added. It was previously reported that the wounded are being transported by the Russian military to one of its administered hospitals in the Donbas, some 40km away. The Red Cross sought to stress that it is a neutral humanitarian organization which will monitor the transfer of the prisoners. “The ICRC is not transporting POWs to the places where they are held,” an official statement said. “The registration process that the ICRC facilitated involves the individual filling out a form with personal details like name, date of birth and closest relative.”

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I like the notion that Biden does anything at all. It adds comic value.

Biden Resists Ukrainian Demands For Long-range Rocket Launchers (Pol.)

Ukrainian officials are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s resistance to providing U.S.-made long-range rocket systems, a weapon Kyiv says is critical to outgunning Russia in the heavy artillery duels raging across the Donbas. Officials across the Ukrainian government have pleaded with the U.S. for months to send the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS. But three people familiar with the issue say the Ukrainians are concerned that the White House is holding back over worries the weapon could be used to launch strikes inside Russia, thereby expanding and prolonging the conflict. “There was momentum on it at Ramstein, but that seems to have cooled,” said one congressional staffer with knowledge of discussions last month in Germany, where 40 nations gathered to discuss the next steps in arming Ukraine.

“There’s definitely a frustration building” in Kyiv over these new caveats being placed on military aid, this person said. The weapon has been near the top of Ukrainian requests for months, and military and civilian leaders in Kyiv have made their case to their American counterparts directly on multiple occasions. A Biden administration official who asked to remain anonymous to discuss internal deliberations told POLITICO that the two countries remain “in active discussion” about the weapon, but that even with the $3.8 billion worth of military aid the U.S. has sent Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, not everything Kyiv asks for can be sent quickly. “We have to make decisions about what weapons systems provide the biggest bang for the buck,” with the money Congress allots to the Ukraine effort, the official said.

Over the past several weeks as the latest funding package began to be whittled down, the administration decided “it was more effective and efficient to send the 90 M777 [howitzers] because you can send more of them” and more munitions for the price than a much smaller number of MLRS. The U.S. has quietly provided older, Soviet-era multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine over the past several months after scouring the warehouses of allies who still operate the older weapons. But the more precise, more powerful American systems are what Kyiv is looking for to blunt Russian advances in the Donbas.

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Biden’s in Asia right now. Wonder what drugs they give him on these long flights.

When US Pivot Is Seen As An ‘Expansion’ Into Asia (Kukis)

Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders now more than ever have reason to feel encircled with Sweden and Finland moving to join NATO this week. Moscow’s persistent fear of Western military encroachment on Russian borders now stands as a stark reality in the wake of the war in Ukraine, a seismic development in European security all the more remarkable when taking a long look back at NATO expansion. Analysts and policymakers intensely debated the future of NATO in the early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia with a hobbled military that was in disarray. Countries close to Russia cried for protection from a future threat they were sure would emerge once Moscow reordered itself. Others saw a different future, one in which Russia became a cooperative and largely demilitarized nation integrated with Europe. NATO had no reason to exist in such a world, they said.

Remembering what was foreseeable and what was not in that period is important now when looking at the actions of the United States and its allies in East Asia, where a potentially fateful military buildup is underway. In the 1990s, it was not clear whether Russia would renew its military ambitions. But Russian officials plainly stated again and again that they regarded NATO expansion as a security threat. And even a basic reading of Russian history reveals how dire such a threat looms in the eyes of Russians who consider it their duty to safeguard the nation. Similarly now, it remains unclear whether China harbors imperialistic military ambitions as many in Washington contend. But Chinese leaders have made their feelings about an expanding U.S. military presence in Asia quite clear.

America’s pivot to Asia, which continues despite events in Europe, represents an existential security threat in the eyes of Chinese leaders. A basic understanding of geography and economics underscores why. The tradeways of the South China Sea are vital lifelines to China’s economic development. Any foreign military presence in that region operating outside of cooperation with Beijing looks like a hand reaching for the throat of the Chinese economy. Military pacts like AUKUS add to the sense of encirclement China clearly feels, a perception very similar to the one Moscow held as NATO looked to expand roughly a decade after the end of the Cold War. Leaders in Beijing today have good reason to think and act like leaders in Moscow did back in the early 2000s, when Russia grew serious about developing modern military capabilities and taking action in line with explicitly stated security aims. The start of the road to a future war in Asia stretches before us today in much the same way that the beginnings of the war in Ukraine trace back to seemingly slow-moving events almost 25 year ago in Europe.

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“To borrow the money from China simply to send it to Ukraine makes no sense and makes us weaker not stronger..”

US Aid To Ukraine Borrowed From China: Rand Paul (JTN)

Congress needs to borrow money from China to send aid to Ukraine, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told “Breitbart News Daily” on Wednesday, one day before the Senate overwhelmingly voted to send $40 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine and its allies. “I think it’s important to know that we don’t have any money to send,” Paul, a fiscal conservative, explained. “We have to borrow money from China to send it to Ukraine. And I think most people kind of get that, and many Republicans will say that when it’s a new social program, but if it’s military aid to a country, they’re like, ‘Well, we can borrow that, that’s a justified borrowing.'”

Paul voted against advancing the bill along with ten other senate Republicans: Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Indiana, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of West Virginia, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Rampant inflation is a major concern Paul said he has with the bill. “The problem is that it all leads to inflation, so it kind of hurts the Republican argument that Biden’s spending and Biden’s debt leads to inflation, except for when it’s bipartisan spending and that doesn’t really count,” he noted.

The United States is currently more than $30 trillion in debt. The U.S. owes China more than $1 trillion, Investopedia states. Paul temporarily blocked the Ukraine aid legislation from moving forward in the Senate, but he was overruled earlier this week. “To borrow the money from China simply to send it to Ukraine makes no sense and makes us weaker not stronger,” Paul said on the Senate floor about the aid package.

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Send them some more scrap metal, why don’t you.

US Adds $100 Million In Arms For Ukraine On Top Of $40 Billion Aid Package (PM)

The Biden administration has announced $100 million in arms funding to Ukraine on top of the newly approved $40 billion aid package. On Thursday, the Senate approved $40 billion in aid for Ukraine as the nation continues to fight back against Russia’s invasion. Just hours later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States would be sending an additional $100 million in arms. In a statement, Blinken explained that Ukrainian forces have “remained firmly in the fight” against Russia, but are in need of assistance, namely arms and other equipment. “Pursuant to a delegation from the President,” Blinken said, “I am authorizing our tenth drawdown of additional arms and equipment for Ukraine’s defense from US Department of Defense inventories, valued at up to $100 million.”


“This brings total US military assistance to Ukraine to approximately $3.9 billion in arms and equipment since Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. “The United States is committed to helping Ukraine continue to meet its defense needs and build its future capabilities,” he continued, “as well as to bolster Allies and partners across NATO’s Eastern Flank and the broader region.” The increasing amount of money has been criticized by Republicans, however only eleven voted against the recently passed $40 billion aid package.

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Sorry guys, we need it for Ukraine. Of course you support Zelensky from your closed store!

Senate Blocks $48 Billion Aid For Restaurants, Other Small Businesses (Hill)

The Senate on Thursday blocked a bipartisan bill to provide $48 billion to restaurants, gyms and other small businesses hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Senators voted 52-43 to hold a vote on the bill, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward. Just five GOP senators voted for the motion to proceed, with the bill’s opponents citing its impact on the federal deficit and inflation. The vote likely spells doom for the bill, which was crafted by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and backed by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a way to help struggling small businesses get out of debt accrued during the pandemic.

“Well, this was our best shot. Make no mistake about it, we’re disappointed that we weren’t able to get it done,” Cardin told reporters after the vote. “But you know, I’ll always fight for small businesses. I’ll continue to look for ways we can help.” Pressed after the vote on any potential plans for a similar measure in the future, Wicker told The Hill, “You know, time is a very fleeting commodity, so I just don’t know.” Advocates had argued that the additional funds were needed to prevent scores of debt-ridden small businesses from closing down. The bill would have provided $40 billion to a relief fund for struggling restaurants. Democrats provided $28.6 billion to the fund in their COVID-19 relief package, but the federal dollars quickly ran out, with only one out of three applicants receiving aid.

“Local restaurants across the country expected help but the Senate couldn’t finish the job,” Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, said in a statement. “Neighborhood restaurants nationwide have held out hope for this program, selling their homes, cashing out retirement funds, or taking personal loans in an effort to keep their employees working and their doors open.”

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You would hope for something cleverer than this. Business Insider should be deeply ashamed of itself.

SpaceX Flight Attendant Said Elon Musk Exposed Himself (BI)

SpaceX, the aerospace firm founded by Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Musk in 2018, Insider has learned. The attendant worked as a member of the cabin crew on a contract basis for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet. She accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage, according to interviews and documents obtained by Insider. The incident, which took place in 2016, is alleged in a declaration signed by a friend of the attendant and prepared in support of her claim. The details in this story are drawn from the declaration as well as other documents, including email correspondence and other records shared with Insider by the friend.


According to the declaration, the attendant confided to the friend that after taking the flight attendant job, she was encouraged to get licensed as a masseuse so that she could give Musk massages. It was during one such massage in a private cabin on Musk’s Gulfstream G650ER, she told the friend, that Musk propositioned her. After Insider contacted Musk for comment, he emailed to ask for more time to respond and said there is “a lot more to this story.” “If I were inclined to engage in sexual harassment, this is unlikely to be the first time in my entire 30-year career that it comes to light,” he wrote, calling the story a “politically motivated hit piece.” Insider extended the deadline and reiterated the offer to Musk to comment on the claims. He did not respond.

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Sometimes I’m sure they do it on purpose.

Half Of America Faces Power Blackouts This Summer (ZH)

Tens of millions of Americans could be thrown into a summer of hell as a megadrought, heatwaves, and reduced power generation could trigger widespread rolling electricity blackouts from the Great Lakes to the West Coast, according to Bloomberg, citing a new report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a regulatory body that manages grid stability. NERC warned power supplies in the Western US could be strained this summer as a historic drought reduces hydroelectric power generation due to falling reservoir levels and what’s expected to be an unseasonably hot summer.

Compound the hellacious weather backdrop with grids decommissioning fossil fuel power plants to fight climate change and their inability to bring on new green power generation, such as solar, wind, and batteries, in time, is a perfect storm waiting to happen that will produce electricity deficits that may force power companies into rolling blackouts for stability purposes. The regulatory body pointed out that supply-chain woes are delaying major Southwest solar projects, while some coal plants have trouble procuring supplies because of increased exports. They said there’s also an increasing threat of cyberattacks from Russia. By region, the Midwest power grid will be extremely tight. Across the Western US, power generation capacity has declined 2.3% since last summer, even as demand is expected to increase.

Grids in the region may have to source power from neighboring grids as extreme heat will cause people to crank up their air conditioners. A situation of low wind speeds could trigger blackouts, according to NERC. They outlined how the Midwest could face power shortfalls due to the removal of power capacity from retiring fossil fuel power plants. NERC issued a similar warning last year, stating power grids that serve 40% of the US population were at risk of blackouts. One year later, there was only one notable blackout last June during a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest that left 9,000 customers without power. But with reduced electricity generation capacity outpacing new green power sources, the risks of blackouts are increasing this year.

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Ha ha ha, from the very same people who called it Russian disinformation when that was convenient. Credibility zero.

Analysis of Hunter Biden’s Hard Drive (NBC)

From 2013 through 2018 Hunter Biden and his company brought in about $11 million via his roles as an attorney and a board member with a Ukrainian firm accused of bribery and his work with a Chinese businessman now accused of fraud, according to an NBC News analysis of a copy of Biden’s hard drive and iCloud account and documents released by Republicans on two Senate committees. The documents and the analysis, which don’t show what he did to earn millions from his Chinese partners, raise questions about national security, business ethics and potential legal exposure. In December 2020, Biden acknowledged in a statement that he was the subject of a federal investigation into his taxes.

NBC News was first to report that an ex-business partner had warned Biden he should amend his tax returns to disclose $400,000 in income from the Ukrainian firm, Burisma. GOP congressional sources also say that if Republicans take back the House this fall, they’ll demand more documents and probe whether any of Biden’s income went to his father, President Joe Biden. “No government ethics rules apply to him,” said Walter Shaub, a former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics who is now an ethics expert with the Project on Government Oversight. Shaub added, however, that “it’s imperative that no one at DOJ and no one at the White House interfere with the criminal investigation in Delaware.”

Shaub had previously raised questions about Hunter Biden’s new line of work, selling his own paintings, which created the potential to purchase a painting to buy perceived influence, and also because the White House became involved in the transactions, arranging that none of the buyers’ names be known to Biden, the White House or the public. Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI’s former assistant director for counterintelligence, said there is a national security risk when foreign powers like China see an opportunity to get close to someone like Biden. “It’s all about access and influence, and if you can compromise someone with both access and influence, that’s even better,” said Figliuzzi, now an NBC News contributor. “Better still if that target has already compromised himself.”

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Civil case vs criminal case. Yes, how convenient.

How The Feds’ Civil Suit Against Steve Wynn Helps Hunter Biden (Turley)

The Justice Department this week sued former casino mogul Steve Wynn for allegedly working as an agent for China. The lawsuit under the Foreign Agents Registration Act is bad news for Wynn, but it may be a win for another potential target: Hunter Biden. By bringing this action as a civil lawsuit, the Justice Department may have undercut the ongoing investigation by David Weiss, the US attorney for Delaware, into Hunter Biden’s foreign dealings. This civil suit doesn’t necessarily bar Weiss, but Hunter’s team can now argue that criminally charging him with a FARA violation would be inconsistent with contemporary investigations.

I recently testified in Congress on FARA prosecutions and noted that the Justice Department had largely dropped civil actions under the act in favor of criminal charges. Special counsel Robert Mueller targeted various Trump officials with FARA, using the law to investigate, search or charge attorneys from Paul Manafort to Rudy Giuliani to Victoria Toensing. I testified earlier that “after ramping up prosecutions in the last decade, the Justice Department has created precedent for the criminalization of what were previously treated as administrative violations. From Paul Manafort to the current investigation of Hunter Biden, there remain questions as to whether Justice Department will operate under a single, coherent and predictable standard.”

Some in the administration may be hoping that this charge will compel a consistent approach that would effectively decriminalize any violations under investigation in Delaware. The feds sued Wynn over his effort to intervene in the case of Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, a billionaire real-estate magnate and critic of the Chinese government. Beijing wanted the businessman back in China and hoped to persuade the US government to deny him a visa. Wynn spoke to President Donald Trump about the case, a call that carried added weight due to Wynn’s position as the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman. Wynn has interests in Macau, and his intervention was allegedly appreciated by high-ranking Chinese officials. The Justice Department asked Wynn to register as an agent, but he declined.

What is most striking about this case is how serious it is, particularly compared with past criminal cases like the prosecution of Paul Manafort. Here, Sun Lijun, then the Chinese vice minister for public security, was allegedly organizing the lobbying effort in 2017 and contacted figures like Elliott Broidy, a former RNC finance chairman, and Nickie Lum Davis, a top Trump fundraiser. Both Broidy and Davis later pleaded guilty in prosecutions. The question is why Broidy was criminally prosecuted in 2020 under FARA, including for work on the Guo matter, yet the Biden administration suddenly decided that the Wynn part of the deals should be treated as a civil matter. This is coming at the very time a grand jury is reportedly considering charges against Hunter Biden that could include FARA violations.

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“I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump. You’re welcome.”

Trump Lawyer Demands CIA Action Against Ex-agents on Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)

The attorney for former President Donald Trump is demanding the CIA take “immediate legal action” against the 43 former agency employees who signed a letter in October 2020 saying Hunter Biden’s laptop was not authentic and part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The laptop from President Joe Biden’s son and its contents showing questionable actions from the Biden family were proven to be authentic more than a year after the election. “Media outlets used this purportedly credible intelligence assessment as a justification to not report on the story. Some polls show that up to 17% of people who voted for President Biden would not have if they knew about the contents of the laptop at the time,” attorney Timothy Parlatore wrote in a letter obtained by Just the News to the CIA’s Prepublication Classification Review Board Chairman, John Hedley.


“It would not be an exaggeration to say that these former intelligence officials changed the outcome of the election through knowingly flagrant misconduct,” Parlatore said in his 12-page letter. One of the letter’s CIA signatories, John Sipher, said in March, “I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump. You’re welcome.” He quickly followed up that he was using “sarcasm.” Parlatore wrote the letter to Headley because his agency, the PCRB, is mandated to oversee the publication of letters such as the one signed by the 43 former CIA employees. “[I]t is beyond apparent not only that the letter did not undergo the mandatory PCRB review but that it further used violative behavior that could have threatened national security and attempted to play upon the nation’s trust in its intelligence agencies to support a political talking point,” Parlatore noted.

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Excellent argument for bitcoin.

African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable (BCM)

Doing business on the continent of Africa is very difficult. It is difficult to get payments in and very difficult to get payments out. For example, there is a black market exchange rate, and the government sanctioned exchange rate in Nigeria, meaning that there are two economies running in parallel, on top of the difficulty of moving money out. Bitcoin fixes all of this because anyone can send and receive bitcoin in any amount at any time, without permission, and its price is determined by the market, not the State. Saying “without permission” or “permissionless” as Bitcoiners do, is a phrase loaded with so much benefit that it is hard to describe to Westerners who have no idea of what it is like to do business on the continent of Africa. They take for granted that doing business and sending and receiving fiat money is a matter of pressing a button.

In Nigeria, for example, real life is not so. Moving money is fraught with difficulties and multiple ways of making a loss on a transfer. These piled up losses can make it impossible to earn a profit, and if you do, impossible to spend or recycle it where you need to spend or recycle it. Bitcoin makes all of this go away, as well as adding extraordinary speed to all transactions that are without precedent for Nigerians and many people living on the African continent. Given all of the advantages of Bitcoin, an intelligent person would ask, “Why then hasn’t Nigeria officially embraced bitcoin as a means of payment?” This is the correct question, and there are many answers to this, some cultural, that are preventing the Nigerian government from embracing reality and acting boldly like a leader nation as El Salvador and the Central African Republic has.

Trying to do any sort of Bitcoin business in Nigeria very often involves the invocation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has a stranglehold on all businesses and bank accounts in Nigeria. Bitcoin would abolish their societal status and the reign of terror that they’ve unleashed on the great people of Nigeria. It is a sure bet that this is one of the key reasons why they’re trying so hard to stamp out Bitcoin, rather than do their duty to serve the Nigerian people by embracing this new tool. That the most populous country on the continent of Africa is the number two nation on Earth for Bitcoin adoption (one-third of all Nigerians use it) in the face of withering and unethical restrictions is a testament to the powerful and resourceful character of the Nigerian people who are born futurists, natural capitalists and extraordinary entrepreneurs: highly intelligent, capable and motivated.

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This is delightful. Don’t miss.

A Theory of Impossibility (Fred Reed)

A problem of biology for years has been the inability of evolutionists to explain how life or many of its manifestations can have evolved, irreducible complexity and all that, the usual response being ok, we aren’t sure, but any day now we will have the answer. The check is in the mail. But in fact the inexplicability grows ever greater year on year as more and more complexity is discovered, such as epigenetics, and the more complexity, the less likelihood of coming about by chance. But we advocates of Impossibility Theory assert that not only can living things not have evolved, but also that they can’t function. Too many little gear wheels. Therefore life doesn’t exist.

Consider the retina, a very thin membrane consisting of ten distinct sublayers engaging in appallingly complex biochemistry, somehow maintaining position and function for, occasionally, a hundred years. These layers consist of millions of cells doing the impossibly tricky chemical dance mentioned above, more or less perfectly. In the rest of the eye you have the three layers of the eyeball, sclera, choroid, retina, and the five layers of the cornea, epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, stroma, Descemet’s membrane, and posterior lamina. And a lens consisting of a proteinaceous goop contained in a capsule, attached to the muscular ciliary body by suspensory ligaments, and an iris of radial and circumferential fibers innervated competitively by the sympathetic and parasympathetic subsystems of the autonomic nervous system.

No way exists of explaining how this purportedly evolved—or how it works for many years without the layers of intricacy, biochemical through mechanical, collapsing. (I know this stuff because I have eye problems connected with Washington’s foreign policy.) The intricacy of life is layered. We start with a zygote which, being a cell, is bogglingly complex. This little time bomb develops into a baby, which is impossible. If you don’t think so, try reading a textbook of embryology. The migration of cells, this control gradient, that control gradient, DGRNs, perfect inerrant specialization to form implausibly precise and complex things like incus, malleus, stapes, tympanum in the ear and (very) numerous other examples, all impossible individually and more so in aggregate. Impossible, at least, unless we can come up with an auxiliary explanation. Magic seems a good candidate.

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Oliver Stone: Vladimir Putin and War in Ukraine | Lex Fridman

 

 

Maersheimer

 

 

Nate Hagens – The Great Simplification – full movie

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 182022
 


Pablo Picasso Young girl throwing a rock 1931

 

After the NATO War is Over (Batiushka)
The War in Ukraine. Scott Ritter’s Switcheroo (Whitney)
Fate Of Hundreds Of Ukrainian Soldiers Unclear As Azovstal Resistance Ends (G.)
‘Defenders of Mariupol Are The Heroes Of Our Time’ (G.)
‘Conflict Observatory’ to Document Evidence of Russian War Crimes (Celente)
McConnell Says Congress Hopes to Approve Sweden’s NATO Bid by August (ET)
EU Diplomat: ‘We Are Reaching Our Limits With Sanctions Against Russia’ (Euractiv)
Orbán Warns West is Subjecting Itself to “Suicide Waves” of Decline (SN)
Putin: EU Oil Sanctions “Economic Suicide” Ordered By “American Overlords” (ZH)
Over 120,000 Hunter Biden Emails Uploaded To Searchable Database (ZH)
‘The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter’ – Musk (Fox)

 

 


Manhattan Project

 

 

Stella

 

 

Mercouris

 

 

“Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.”

After the NATO War is Over (Batiushka)

Make no mistake about it: The tragic war that is currently taking place on Ukrainian battlefields is not between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, but between the Russian Federation and the US-controlled NATO. The latter, also called ‘the collective West’, promotes an aggressive ideology of organised violence, a politically- economically- and militarily-enforced doctrine euphemistically known as ‘Globalism’. This means hegemony by the Western world, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’, over the whole planet. NATO is losing that war, which uses NATO-trained Ukrainians as its proxy cannon fodder, in three spheres, political, economic and military.

Firstly, politically, the West has finally understood that it cannot execute regime change in Moscow. Its pipedream of replacing the highly popular President Putin with is CIA stooge Navalny is not going to happen. As for the West’s puppet-president in Kiev, he is only a creature of Washington and its oligarchs. A professional actor, he is unable to speak for himself, but is a spokesman for the NATO which he loves. Secondly, economically, the West faces serious resistance to the 6,000 sanctions it has imposed on Russia and Russians. Those sanctions have backfired. In the West, we can testify to this every time we buy fuel or food. The combination of high inflation (10% +) and even higher energy prices, caused almost solely by these illegal anti-Russian sanctions, are threatening the collapse of Western economies, much more than threatening Russia or China.

As a result of this reverse effect of sanctions against Russia, the rouble is at a three-year high, standing at about 64 to the US dollar and rising, though immediately after the sanctions it had briefly gone down to 150 to the dollar. After strenuously denying that they would do it, already most countries in Europe (at least 17 for now), including Germany and Italy, have agreed to open accounts with Gazprombank, as Russia advised them to do and to pay for oil and gas in roubles. And this number is growing by the week. The problems will be even greater with food shortages, as the world food chain is highly integrated and the agricultural production of Russia and the Ukraine (now controlled by Russia) is at least 40% of the world’s grain production. Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.

Read more …

I had not see this when I wrote my piece yesterday. A curious turn around.

The War in Ukraine. Scott Ritter’s Switcheroo (Whitney)

On Sunday, the foreign policy blogs were abuzz with the news that Scott Ritter had done “an about-face in his assessment of the war”. It appears that the ex-Marine had examined recent developments in Ukraine and concluded that it’s going to be much harder for Russia to win than he had originally thought… Naturally, the news of Ritter’s reversal sent shockwaves across the internet, especially among the people who follow events in Ukraine closely and who greatly admire his even-handed analysis. Some of these people clearly felt betrayed by Ritter’s comments and blasted him as a “concern troll” which refers to a person who feigns sympathy while actually feeling the opposite. This is a terrible way to treat a guy who’s devoted so much of his time to informing people about an issue of which they might know very little without his research. Besides, Ritter is no hypocrite. Quite the contrary.

It’s fair to say, however, that Ritter has probably been the most outspoken proponent of the “Russia is winning” theory, a hypothesis that runs counter to everything we read in the legacy media or see on the cable news channels. Unfortunately, Ritter’s views on the matter have changed dramatically, and that’s due almost entirely to developments on the ground. As Ritter candidly admits, “The military aid the west is providing to Ukraine is changing the dynamic and if Russia doesn’t find a way to address this meaningfully… the conflict will never end.” That’s quite a turnaround from a statement he made just weeks earlier that, “Russia is winning the war, and winning it decisively.” So, what changed? What are the so-called developments that led to Ritter’s volte-face?

Here are a few excerpts from the interview that triggered the fracas. Ritter was joined by Ray McGovern and host Garland Nixon on Saturday Morning Live. (The quotes are copied from video. I accept blame for any mistakes.) Scott Ritter (start at 47:50 minute mark) — “The thing that frustrates me… is that, it was my assessment that it would be very hard for Ukraine to absorb this new equipment and material (Material– the additional lethal weapons that have recently been shipped to Ukraine) but the howitzers are already operating against Russia. (And) They are having an effect in the Kharkov region. Not all 90 of them, but they have several batteries in place that are being used. How did this happen?

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield. Not in the areas of main contention, like the Donbass, but on the periphery. This is why Russia has carried out tactical withdrawals north of Kharkov, because in order to match Ukraine’s best capabilities, Russia would have to divert resources from its main effort which Russia has decided not to do. So, they are re-configuring the battlefield. (trading land in different areas)…

Read more …

The Guardian. Rewriting history. Update: “959 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered at Azovstal since Monday: Russian ministry”

Fate Of Hundreds Of Ukrainian Soldiers Unclear As Azovstal Resistance Ends (G.)

The fate of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who have ended weeks of resistance at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol remains unclear, after the fighters surrendered and were transferred to Russian-controlled territory. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said they would be swapped in a prisoner exchange, but some Russian officials said on Tuesday they could be tried and even executed. MPs in Russia’s State Duma said they would propose new laws that could derail prisoner exchanges of fighters who Moscow claims are “terrorists”. Russian investigators have said they plan to interrogate the soldiers and could charge them with “crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime against the civilian population in south-east Ukraine”.

On Tuesday evening, seven buses carrying Ukrainian soldiers left the Azovstal plant in the port city and arrived at a former prison colony in the Russian-controlled town of Olenivka in Donetsk, Reuters reported. Russia called the Azovstal operation a mass surrender, while the Ukrainian army said the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and that the main goal was now to save their lives. For weeks, hundreds of troops have been holed up in a warren of tunnels and bunkers underneath the steelworks, as Russian forces took control of the rest of the city after turning much of it into an uninhabitable wasteland. Many of those stuck at Azovstal had serious injuries, with limited medical care and dwindling supplies.

In the last few weeks, civilians who had also taken cover in the plant were rescued after a deal was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow them to leave for Ukrainian-controlled territory. Ukraine had been pushing for a deal that would also allow the fighters to retreat to Ukrainian-controlled areas, or for their evacuation to a neutral country. However, with that not forthcoming, Ukrainian officials announced in the early hours of Tuesday that the defence of the plant was in effect over. Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, promised that the fighters who surrendered would be treated “in accordance with international standards”, but this was immediately undermined by statements from two other Russian officials.

Leonid Slutsky, a Russian MP who took part in negotiations with Ukraine earlier in the war, suggested Russia should lift its moratorium on the death penalty for fighters from the Azov regiment, one of the main forces defending the steelworks, calling them “animals in human form”. “Nazi criminals should not be exchanged,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, one of Russia’s most powerful officials and the chair of the State Duma, during a speech on Tuesday. “Our country treats those who surrendered or were captured humanely. But with regards to Nazis, our position should be unchanged: these are war criminals and we must do everything so that they stand trial.”

Read more …

More Guardian. What is wrong with these people?

‘Defenders of Mariupol Are The Heroes Of Our Time’ (G.)

Cut off from the world and low on food and ammunition, many of the hundreds of defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mauripol were wounded, some missing limbs. Their capitulation had been inevitable for weeks. That moment came late on Monday as more than 260 – bearded, filthy, emaciated, and including 51 severely injured – laid down their arms and were evacuated amid a wider concession of defeat after 82 days of fighting in the besieged port city. “The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement. “The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel … Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” it added.


And while several hundred fighters remained inside the plant, their commanders admitted their mission had “concluded” while officials continued with negotiations to “evacuate them”. Late on Monday, five buses carrying troops from Azovstal were seen arriving in nearby Russian-controlled Novoazovsk. In one, marked with a Z like many Russian military vehicles in Ukraine, men were stacked on stretchers on three levels. In a long-denied victory for the Kremlin, a battle that has gripped the world’s attention appeared finally over, leaving a city in ruins and perhaps thousands of civilians dead. With its urban areas sprawling along the coastline of the Sea of Azov in the shape of a comma, the siege of Mariupol came to define one of the most brutal episodes in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Read more …

“Wouldn’t it be worthwhile for the department to set up another website devoted to allegations of war crimes committed under the Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Biden administrations in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Syria?”

‘Conflict Observatory’ to Document Evidence of Russian War Crimes (Celente)

The U.S. State Department announced the launch of the “Conflict Observatory” program that will document evidence of war crimes committed by Russian troops during the Ukraine War to use in possible future prosecutions. The intention of the program is to “capture, analyze, and make widely available evidence of Russian-perpetrated war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” the statement read. The website will share this “documentation to help refute Russia’s disinformation efforts and shine a light on abuses.” “This new Conflict Observatory program is part of a range of U.S. government efforts at both national and international levels designed to ensure future accountability for Russia’s horrific actions,” a statement read. Wired reported that outside organizations, and international investigators would be able access the program’s database.

Ned Price the State Department spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday that the program is important because “no country – no matter how large, how potentially powerful, what types of weapons they may have in their arsenal – can escape accountability for the types of atrocities that we have seen Russia’s forces perpetrate against the Ukrainian people.” Ukraine has accused Russian forces of atrocities and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes, Reuters reported. “However long it takes, those responsible for war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine will be brought to justice. A new, publicly available Conflict Observatory will collect open-source evidence for future prosecutions,” he tweeted later.

ConflictObservatory.org resembles a news site. One of the headlines read, “Evidence of Widespread and Systemic Bombardment of Ukrainian Healthcare Facilities.” The Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, which is part of the effort, along with Esri, Alcis, and Quiet Professionals LLC, reported that it identified 22 healthcare facilities in Ukraine “that sustained damage from apparent Russia-aligned bombardment between 24 February and 29 March 2022.” “The HRL verified damage through cross-corroboration of very high resolution satellite imagery and open source information. Based on a review of nearly 300 facilities across five cities and regions, the HRL has concluded that Russia-aligned forces have engaged in widespread and systematic bombardment of Ukrainian healthcare facilities.”

[..] NBC News published a report in April that challenged Washington’s claim that Russia was planning a chemical attack against Ukrainian forces, with one unnamed official going as far as to say that the claim was an effort by the U.S. to get into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head. The report cited three U.S. officials who said there is no evidence that Russia is planning a chemical attack against Ukraine. While the mainstream media has generally ignored the latest D.C. lies, Antiwar.org was the first to point out the contradiction in the NBC News report that included a U.S. official who said the intelligence tied to chemical weapons was not “rock solid.” So the State Department wants to create a website built on evidence that is not rock solid? Wouldn’t it be worthwhile for the department to set up another website devoted to allegations of war crimes committed under the Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Biden administrations in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Syria? Don’t hold your breath.

Read more …

Who benefits? Not Finland and Sweden, they’re just painting targets on their own backs. Raytheon for the win.

McConnell Says Congress Hopes to Approve Sweden’s NATO Bid by August (ET)

“We hope to approve it before August,” he said. “We are confident it will be approved.” McConnell also shared a statement on Monday following his visit to both Sweden and Finland where he reiterated his support for both nations joining NATO, stating that both would “bring tremendous value as new NATO members and would strengthen the alliance significantly.” “Sweden and Finland already have long track records as two of the United States and NATO’s most capable friends and partners, even from outside the alliance,” the Senate Republican leader said. “Both countries have massive geographic importance, professional and well-equipped armed forces, strong military industrial bases, and significant interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Both nations’ robust commitments to defense funding mean that their accession would directly address longstanding concerns about burden-sharing and the financial contributions of our allies,” McConnell said.

He added that he would do “everything in my power to ensure that our part of their accession process moves smoothly and expeditiously.” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters in Stockholm on Monday that the decision to join NATO was driven in part by Finland’s recent move to join the alliance. Finnish leaders, with backing from lawmakers in the country, announced plans to officially seek NATO membership over the weekend. “Should Sweden be the only country in the Baltic Sea region that was not a member of NATO, we would be in a very vulnerable position. We can’t rule out that Russia would then increase pressure on Sweden,” Andersson said. The vote to approve new membership into NATO must be unanimous among all members.

However, Turkey has threatened to block the bid by Sweden and Finland, citing their alleged willingness to support terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and followers of Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of being behind the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. “Neither of these countries has a clear, open attitude toward terrorist organizations,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Monday. “How can we trust them?” Erdogan also described Sweden as an “incubation center for terrorist organizations,” and claimed that some members of Sweden’s Parliament supported the PKK. He also pointed to the fact that both Sweden and Finland imposed arms export embargoes on Turkey in 2019 after its incursion into Syria.

Read more …

Oh, you’re well past your limits…

EU Diplomat: ‘We Are Reaching Our Limits With Sanctions Against Russia’ (Euractiv)

“If there was such a mess with Russia’s oil, imagine what would happen with a proposal to ban gas”, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV after the end of the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday. “The 7th package of sanctions against Moscow will be extremely difficult […] We are very close to reaching our limits. What will the 7th package include?” the diplomat wondered.The diplomat explained that at the foreign affairs meeting yesterday, although there is ongoing progress in talks with Hungary to lift its veto over Europe’s proposal for an embargo on Russian oil, the atmosphere indicated that “we even took a step back”. “Hungary is doing everything to get guarantees […] essentially to get the money from the Recovery Fund and even more than that”, the diplomat said.


According to the diplomat, a deal between the Commission and Budapest is highly likely after the executive presents on 18 May its REPowerEU plan to phase out Russian fossil fuels. “It’s in no one’s interest to take the issue to the EU summit level […] Viktor Orbán knows he will be under huge pressure there, so he also wants a solution before that”, the diplomat noted. The diplomat stressed that Orbán’s stance on the matter brings other governments in a difficult position back to their homes, considering that if Budapest gets what it wants, it would be hard for others, such as Bulgaria, to explain why they did not get similar concessions. “The same happened with Spain and Portugal when they got the gas price cap,” the diplomat concluded.

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“They forget that man alone can never be free, only lonely..”

Orbán Warns West is Subjecting Itself to “Suicide Waves” of Decline (SN)

In a speech to mark him taking the oath of office, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned that the west is subjecting itself to “suicide waves” of decline in the form of self-inflicted economic wounds, mass migration and an obsession with identity politics. Orbán’s conservative Fidesz party swept to victory in the election last month with another two-thirds majority, despite a massive effort by globalist interests to derail his candidacy. During a speech in parliament, Orbán cautioned that the continent faced perilous times ahead. “Everything that has happened since 2020 points in one direction: Europe and the Hungarian people in it have entered an age of danger,” said Orbán. “The decade began with the coronavirus epidemic and continued with the war. The sanctions from the war brought an economic downturn.”

“The war and sanctions policy caused an energy crisis, and U.S. interest rate hikes brought an age of inflation,” he added. The Hungarian leader went on to lament that Europe was entering an “age of economic downturn” and a worsening mass migration problem. Orbán said we are now witnessing the “suicide waves of the Western world” characterized by the replacement of Christianity with a vacuous cult of identity politics. “Such is the program of the great European population exchange, the essence of which is to replace the missing Christian children with migrants. Such an experiment is a program of gender madness and a liberal Europe that transcends nation-states and Christianity, and puts nothing in their place,” said Orbán.

“They forget that man alone can never be free, only lonely,” he added.

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“Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries..”

Putin: EU Oil Sanctions “Economic Suicide” Ordered By “American Overlords” (ZH)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that EU countries are committing “economic suicide” by refusing Russian energy resources amid a push to impose an oil embargo, but which has been thus far blocked by Russian energy-dependent Hungary and a handful of others. As quoted in RIA Novosti, Putin described that the oil sector is busy undergoing a “tectonic shift” which will only be made worse by “ill-thought-out” sanctions by the West. The address was given virtually to an energy conference of the country’s industry heads. “Changes in the oil market are tectonic in nature and doing business as usual, according to the old model, seems unlikely,” he said. “In the new conditions, it is important not only to extract oil, but also to build the entire vertical chain leading to the final consumer.”

He called out the current EU-US trajectory of seeking to inflict maximum punishment on Moscow as a strategy ensuring higher energy prices and higher inflation. That’s when he observed: “Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries,” based on the AFP translation. At the same time, Putin additionally pointed out, Europe’s “chaotic actions” would eventually serve to boost oil and gas revenues for Moscow, also as Russia diverts energy supplies to “friendly” countries. He urged Russian industry authorities to be more proactive in leveraging the situation for the nation’s benefit. Putin described a scenario of Europe feeling the brunt of the crisis worst, according to state media:

“Rejection of Russian energy resources means that Europe will systemically become the region with the highest energy costs in the world. Yes, of course prices will rise and resources will go to this region, but it will not be possible to radically alter the situation. This will seriously – and according to some experts irrevocably – undermine the competitiveness of a significant part of European industry, which is already losing the competition to companies in other regions of the world,” Putin said, speaking at a meeting with officials devoted to energy issues on Tuesday. He added that Western officials and populations had long been overconcerned with “climate issues” – betting too big on the effectiveness of alternative energy, in a theme the Russian president has stressed for years.

Read more …

But key ones are missing?

Over 120,000 Hunter Biden Emails Uploaded To Searchable Database (ZH)

A former Trump White House staffer has uploaded more than 120,000 emails found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop to a searchable database this week, which can be found at the (slowly loading) website: BidenLaptopEmails.com. In addition to searching, visitors can download the emails as well. Set up by former Peter Navarro aide Garrett Ziegler, who worked in the Trump administration Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, the emails contain infamous hits such as the “10 for the big guy,” in which Hunter Biden’s business partner James Gillar suggested he should hold 10% of a multi-million-dollar deal with the Chinese. Ziegler posted the emails through his organization, Marco Polo.

“Another email in the database, previously published by DailyMail.com, shows Hunter describing an extraordinary apparent quid pro quo with a Mexican billionaire’s son, outlining how he got him into the White House and inauguration, and thanking him for visits to his villa. Some messages did not appear to be included in the database. One email published by DailyMail.com shows Hunter inviting his foreign business partners and associates to a 2015 dinner at Washington DC restaurant Café Milano. In the email he reveals that his father will secretly be joining – and says that the dinner is ‘ostensibly to discuss food security’. The White House at first denied the then-vice president was there, but eventually admitted it when photographs emerged from the event.”-Daily Mail

That said, the Daily Mail notes that the above email is not included in Ziegler’s database, which contains 14,603 fewer emails than a batch of 142,838 analyzed by cyber forensic firm Maryman & Associates last year for the Mail. “Here are the 128k emails from the Biden Laptop, which is a modern Rosetta Stone of white and blue collar crime under the patina of “the Delaware Way,”” reads the website, referring to a term frequently used by Joe Biden. “Prior to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, a number of ancient languages were mere gibberish and hash marks. Similarly, the emails on the Biden Laptop illuminated previously convoluted webs of the people you see leading the charge for global governance; truly, the emails can be considered a translation tool for Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering.”

Read more …

“The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”

‘The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter’ – Musk (Fox)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose purchase of Twitter remains ongoing, slammed President Biden in a podcast interview Monday and warned that if the government continues printing money, inflation will get worse and the U.S. might follow the path of Venezuela. Musk, who said he has voted “overwhelmingly for Democrats,” slammed the Democratic Party and Biden in particular. He suggested that Biden is something of an empty suit. “The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter,” the Tesla CEO said. “The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.” “I do feel like if somebody were to accidentally lean on the teleprompter, it’s going to be like Anchorman,” the CEO added, referencing the 2004 film in which Ron Burgundy reads whatever is written on the teleprompter, even if it would ruin his career.


“This administration doesn’t seem to get a lot done,” Musk said. “The Trump administration, leaving Trump aside, there were a lot of people in the administration who were effective at getting things done.” He also claimed that the Democratic Party is “overly controlled by the unions and by the trial lawyers, particularly the class action lawyers.” He argued that when Democrats go against “the interests of the people,” it tends to come from the unions and the trial lawyers, while when Republicans do that, “it’s because of corporate evil and religious zealotry.” “In the case of Biden, he is simply too much captured by the unions, which was not the case with Obama,” Musk said. The Tesla CEO defended Obama as “quite reasonable,” but insisted that Biden prioritizes the unions ahead of the public.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Stella

 

 

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May 172022
 
 May 17, 2022  Posted by at 5:16 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Herbert James Draper A Deep Sea Idyll 1902(?!)

 

 

You’re not going to hear it from the western media or politicians, let alone NATO, but overnight the Ukraine war, or special operation, ended. And Russia won, on all fronts and on their own terms. Thre’ll be some more skirmishes, and a few more body bags, but not because the outcome of the war could still be changed. It’s done.

It’s funny to see how the nazi Azov “soldiers” that surrendered are now portrayed as heroic defenders of Ukraine, after hiding in a steel plant for 80 days, but they still lost. There are probably a few hundred left there, the ones who have most to fear from being captured, and all Russia has to do is to wait for them to come out. Or not.

The reason they went from nazis to heroes in no time at all in the western and Ukrainian press was that they were counted on to be the “real fighters” their country needed. Now that they’ve surrendered, without “fighting to the end”, the country, army and civilians alike, will see its morale plummet. Ukraine lost, Zelensky lost, and NATO lost. While at the same time, “our” press keeps on coming up with stories of Russian losses and weakness etc. And war crimes.

The only sensible thing left to do is to negotiate a peace in the conflict, in which Russia will see -most of- its demands (no nukes, no nazis, no NATO) granted. It’s either that or Zelensky will become guilty of the death and long drawn-out misery of many of his compatriots, without gaining an inch, and it’s hard to see him desiring that. Don’t be surprised if Zelensky surrenders soon as well, or leaves the country, claiming that Russia wants him dead and his escape was “heroic”.

 

There is one alternative: a full scale NATO attack on Russia, but that would seem far-fetched. Behind the western rhetoric there are too many minds who have read about the defeats of Napoleon and Hitler when they tried that, and who also don’t like the risk of one of Russia’s 6,000 nuclear warheads landing on their territory.

The saddest thing is that there was never any reason for this. You can paint off Putin as a crazy monster a million times, and the special action as completely unprovoked, but you would have to ignore all of Russia’s warnings over decades that this is an “existential” issue for their country. Which means they won’t back down. And everybody knew.

And besides, a lot of NATO countries’ governments have an idea what would become of them without Russian resources, fertilizer, crops, oil, gas etc. They’re willing to support NATO only up to a point, including sanctions. They don’t want to be responsible for cold and hunger for their people. If only because that would end the careers of many a politician.

It’ll take some time to fabricate the language that allows for such a defeat to be presented as a victory, but Spin Doctors “R” Us. And all of the people who’ve displayed Ukrainian flags wherever they could will need to find a narrative to defend that as well, but time heals many wounds, also the imaginary ones.

 

And yes, all this changes the face of the world enormously. The US, and through it NATO, is officially no longer the unipolar ruler of the world. They will have to share that limelight with Russia, China, India and others (Brussels has sidelined itself). That may be bad news for whoever is in power in US/NATO, but for citizens it’s a different story. They have nothing to fear from Russia’s military, but a lot from missing out on Russian resources.

In short: the war is over. The US will try to send over another $40 billion in “aid” -at least half of it weapons-, but there’ll be nobody left to handle the small fraction that is not destroyed by Russia. And just like the Russians can simply wait for the last Azov troops to leave the steel compound, they can also sit back and track any NATO weapons deliveries, and then take them out. It is really over. Unless we go all out Napoleon. I don’t think we will.

Meanwhile, we should all be happy that the war is over. Well, are we?

 

 

 

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May 172022
 
 May 17, 2022  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  33 Responses »


Man Ray Le Violon d’Ingres 1924

 

At Least 300 Azov Fighters Surrender To Russians At Azovstal Plant (ZH)
Hundreds Of Ukrainian Troops Evacuated From Azobvstal After 82-Day Assault (G.)
Russia Has The Historical Right To Invade Ukraine (Finkelstein)
Death By A Thousand Cuts: Where Is The West’s Ukraine Strategy? (Escobar)
EU Plans Loans And Grants To Help Rebuild Ukraine (G.)
Turkey Says It Will Not Approve Sweden And Finland Joining NATO (G.)
States Must Pre-emptively Nullify Any WHO Pandemic Regulations (Blaze)
The New Rift Between WHO and China (Tucker)
Scandinavian Black Metal (Every)
The Twitter Bot Inquiry Intensifies (CTH)
Your Government Quietly Confirmed The Fully Vaccinated Are Developing AIDS (DE)
Feeding the Narrative (Kunstler)

 

 

The AZOV regiment in the Azovstal compound has surrendered to Russia. The MSM will tell you they were “evacuated”, “to save lives”. And of course it’s out of fashion to call them neo-nazis.

Russia has won, and on its own terms. But they won’t tell you that either. Zelensky’s message: “We hope to save the lives of our boys”. “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle.”

Yes, the neo-nazis have become (inter-) national heroes. Oh, the irony.

The effect on the morale of Ukraine will be huge, with one part of the “regular” army -and civilians- so far looking to Azov as a symbol of strength, and another part too scared to surrender themselves for fear of Azov reprisals. Don’t be surprised if this means much more of Ukraine will soon surrender too, including Zelensky.

But, but, what about the $40 billion the US will send? Don’t worry, the remaining oligarchs -in the US AND Ukraine-know just what to do with that. Most will need to take it abroad though, they can’t wait until Russia might come after them.

 

 

Baby formula. 42.6% corn syrup. 10.1% sugar. Get them addicted young.

 

 

Clarence Thomas

 

 

 

 

“..after previously vowing multiple to times to ‘fight till the end’..”

At Least 300 Azov Fighters Surrender To Russians At Azovstal Plant (ZH)

The more than month-long standoff at Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks plant is finally over, after for many weeks the siege of the large complex by Russian forces remained the focus of international headlines, and following a series of high-risk civilian evacuations, some of them under the auspices of UN and Red Cross emergency teams. The remnant hundreds of armed Ukrainian Azov battalion militants which had refused to come out have now surrendered in the Monday night hours. “Reuters saw about a dozen buses apparently carrying Ukrainian fighters leaving the plant on Monday. It was not possible to determine how many people were aboard.” Widespread reports say that some 300 Ukrainian fighters have laid down their weapons and emerged from the cavernous facility.

“More than 260 Ukrainian soldiers were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said. Another “53 heavily wounded (soldiers) were evacuated from Azovstal to the medical mortgage near Novoazovsk for medical aid,” according to Malyar’s statement. Azov issued a statement on Telegram saying they are “implementing the approved decision of the Supreme Military Command” in order to “save lives”. And the Russian side has since confirmed that “An agreement has been reached on the removal of the wounded,” according to a Russian defense ministry statement. “A humanitarian corridor has been opened through which wounded Ukrainian servicemen are being taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk.”

Russian media is also widely reporting the surrender at Azovstal, with RT airing some of the first footage of the evacuation of the last fighters to leave… The Moscow Times is quoting confirmation from Ukraine’s president – who is applauding the safe surrender: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “we hope to save the lives of our boys.” “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle,” he said in a video statement. Crucially, Novoazovsk – where the wounded Ukrainian fighters are being taken – is in Russian-controlled territory about 40km east of Mariupol. The surrendered troops are reportedly now in the custody of the pro-Moscow Donetsk People’s Republic. Likely Kiev will seek to negotiate their return for captured Russians currently in Ukrainian military custody.

Azov battalion, which has long been widely acknowledged even in prior mainstream media reporting as a neo-Nazi group, is asking the Ukrainian public for continued “support” – given this surrender (after previously vowing multiple to times to ‘fight till the end’) will likely be viewed by some as premature capitulation. During the long siege, all that were stuck in the facility had been running out of food, supplies, and ammunition as Russian forces had them completely surrounded. Last month President Putin is said to have ordered the military to simply wait them out, as opposed to what would have likely been a high death toll operation to enter the underground complex beneath the huge plant.

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“..the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and now the main goal was to save the lives of personnel.”

Hundreds Of Ukrainian Troops Evacuated From Azobvstal After 82-Day Assault (G.)

More than 260 Ukrainian soldiers, many of them wounded, have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol, appearing to cede control of the city to Russia after 82 days of bombardment. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said late on Monday that 53 heavily wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk. More than 200 others were transported through a corridor to Olenivka, Maliar said. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said that the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and now the main goal was to save the lives of personnel. By holding the steelworks, they stopped Russian forces from rapidly capturing the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, its statement on Facebook said.


It was unclear how many soldiers remained in the steel plant, but Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “We hope to save the lives of our boys”. “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle,” he said in a video statement. The evacuation is likely to mark the end of the longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war and a significant defeat for Ukraine. Mariupol is now in ruins after a Russian siege that Ukraine says killed tens of thousands of people in the city. For Ukrainians, the Azovstal plant has become a symbol of resistance, with hundreds of troops continuing to fight on there even after the rest of the city had fallen to Russian forces. Some 600 troops were believed to have been inside the steel plant.

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“But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it.”

Russia Has The Historical Right To Invade Ukraine (Finkelstein)

[..] if you agree that for 20 years—more than 20 years, more than two decades—, Russia has tried to engage in diplomacy; if you agree that the Russian demand to neutralize Ukraine —not occupy it, not determine its government, its form of economy, just neutralize it like Austria after World War II—, if you agree that was a legitimate demand; if you agree that the West was expanding and expanding NATO; if you agree that Ukraine de facto had become a member of NATO, weapons pouring in, engaging in military exercises in NATO; and if you agree… You know, Russia lost 30 million people during World War II because of the Nazi invasion, so there’s a legitimate concern by Russia with all of these —if you excuse my language— Nazis floating around in the Ukraine, then the simple question is: What was Russia to do?

I’m not saying I agree with the invasion, I’m not saying it went right, but I think one thing: the invasion showed… you know what the one thing the invasion showed, Briahna, was that Russia is kind of weak militarily, which is why all the more they may have been fearful of a NATO-backed Ukraine filled with Nazis, and probably at some point positioning nuclear missiles on its border. And I think 30 million, 30 million people… Listen to this: I think 30 million people is 30 million arguments in favor of Russia. Now I’m not going to say, because I’m not a general and I’m not a diplomat, so I’m not going… I’m not a military strategist so I’m not going to say it was the wisest thing to do.

I’m not going to say it was the most prudent thing to do. But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it. And I’m not taking that back. They had the right to do it. They had if I can call it the historic right to do it. 30 million people (killed during WW2), and now you’re starting again, you’re starting again. No, no, you know I can’t go for it, I can’t go for those who acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments made by Putin but then call the invasion criminal. I don’t see that.

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“The caliber of ‘strategic’ advice from the NATO realm was self-evident in the Serpent Island fiasco – a direct order issued by British ‘consultants’ to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.”

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Where Is The West’s Ukraine Strategy? (Escobar)

Ukraine was never about a military win. What is being accomplished is the slow, painful destruction of the European Union (EU) economy, coupled with extraordinary weapons profits for the western military-industrial complex and creeping security rule by those nations’ political elites. The latter, in turn, have been totally baffled by Russia’s C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities, coupled with the stunning inefficiency of their own constellation of Javelins, NLAWs, Stingers and Turkish Bayraktar drones. This ignorance reaches way beyond tactics and the operational and strategic realm. As Martyanov delightfully points out, they “wouldn’t know what hit them on the modern battlefield with near-peer, forget about peer.”

The caliber of ‘strategic’ advice from the NATO realm was self-evident in the Serpent Island fiasco – a direct order issued by British ‘consultants’ to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, thought the whole thing was suicidal. He was proven right. All the Russians had to do was launch a few choice anti-ship and surface Onyx missiles from bastions stationed in Crimea on airports south of Odessa. In no time, Serpent Island was back under Russian control – even as high-ranking British and American marine officers ‘disappeared’ during the Ukrainian landing on the island. They were the ‘strategic’ NATO actors on the spot, doling out the lousy advice.

Extra evidence that the Ukraine debacle is predominantly about money laundering – not competent military strategy – is Capitol Hill approving a hefty extra $40 billion in ‘aid’ to Kiev. It’s just another western military-industrial complex bonanza, duly noted by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. Russian forces, meanwhile, have brought diplomacy to the battlefield, handing over 10 tons of humanitarian assistance to the people of liberated Kherson – with the deputy head of the military-civil administration of the region, Kirill Stremousov, announcing that Kherson wants to become part of the Russian Federation. In parallel, Georgy Muradov, deputy prime minister of the government of Crimea, has “no doubts that the liberated territories of the south of the former Ukraine will become another region of Russia. This, as we assess from our communication with the inhabitants of the region, is the will of the people themselves, most of whom lived for eight years under conditions of repression and bullying by the Ukronazis.”

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Loans And Grants And Stolen Assets.

EU Plans Loans And Grants To Help Rebuild Ukraine (G.)

Ukraine could receive loans, grants and possibly the proceeds of seized Russian oligarch property to help pay the multibillion-euro cost of rebuilding the country after the ruinous war launched by the Kremlin, according to a leaked EU reconstruction plan. In the plan drafted in Brussels, the European Commission states that the Ukrainian government will have to take out loans to pay for rebuilding its war-ravaged country. Non-repayable grants from EU member states would provide another tranche of the funds needed to rebuild destroyed homes, schools, roads, railways, airports and bridges. The EU also proposes assessing the feasibility of using assets seized from sanctioned Russians and Belarusians after a proposal from the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, earlier this month.

“I am absolutely convinced that this is extremely important not only to freeze assets, but also to make possible to confiscate it, to make it available for the rebuilding of the country,” he told Ukraine’s Interfax news agency. Lawmakers in the UK and the US have also proposed seizing Russian property to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction and ease the plight of the country’s refugees. Brussels officials have also called for the EU to borrow as a bloc on international capital markets to finance loans for Kyiv, according to the leaked report. If agreed, it would be only the second time in its history that the EU has borrowed as a whole rather than as individual member states, after funding the landmark €750bn (£635bn) Covid recovery plan in 2020.

The idea is floated in a Ukraine relief and reconstruction plan seen by the Guardian that the commission is expected to publish on Wednesday. Figures have been left blank in the document, pending further discussions in Brussels. The paper notes, however, that the financial needs “are expected to be substantial” and that reconstruction would take more than a decade. It also estimates that damage to physical infrastructure alone may run to more than €100bn.

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“They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Excuse us, but they shouldn’t bother.”

Turkey Says It Will Not Approve Sweden And Finland Joining NATO (G.)

Turkey has said it will not approve Sweden and Finland joining it as Nato members, hours after Stockholm followed Helsinki in a historic Nordic security policy shift by formally confirming that it intended to apply for membership of the alliance. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said diplomatic delegations from the two countries, which have reversed decades of military non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, should not even bother coming to Ankara to discuss the move. “We will not say yes to those [countries] that apply sanctions to Turkey to join the security organisation Nato,” Erdogan said. “They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Excuse us, but they shouldn’t bother.”


The Turkish president’s comments came as Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said “a broad majority” in parliament backed Nato membership as “the best thing for the security of Sweden” – drawing a warning from Moscow. Sweden was “leaving one era behind us and entering a new one”, she said. The Finnish government confirmed its intention to join Nato on Sunday, shortly before Andersson’s ruling Social Democrats abandoned 73 years of opposition to the idea. Andersson said Sweden’s Nato ambassador would formally hand over Stockholm’s application to the alliance headquarters in Brussels “within the next few days” and that the membership request would be submitted simultaneously with Finland’s.

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Orwell lives.

States Must Pre-emptively Nullify Any WHO Pandemic Regulations (Blaze)

On May 22, the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the next step in its nefarious pandemic treaty and the quest to use “public health” to expand the WHO’s power over sovereign states. Representatives from 193 nations, including the U.S, will be attending. Interestingly, the only country not invited is Taiwan, of course, at the behest of its Chinese puppet masters. What is the nature of this pandemic treaty agenda? On Jan. 24, 2022, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, explained the treaty was a “priority” to “urgently strengthen WHO as the leading and directing authority on global health, at the center of the global health architecture.”

In chilling words he laid out the guiding principle of this wicked plot. “We all want a world in which science triumphs over misinformation; solidarity triumphs over division; and equity is a reality, not an aspiration,” he added. He concluded, “We are one world, we have one health, we are one WHO.” Until now, the Biden administration appeared awfully quiet about this treaty, unlike some of the other recent international climate treaties about which officials have been quite vocal. However, it has come to light that several months ago, the Biden administration quietly sent the WHO several amendments to a 2005 international health regulation to be considered at the May 22 meeting about the treaty. At the time, the White House never issued an official statement or held a press conference.

The draft was not made public until mid-April. What is the nature of these amendments? They would essentially allow the director-general of the WHO to declare a public health emergency in a country and unilaterally coerce its citizens to take certain actions. The proposed amendment deletes a critical sentence from Article 9 of the 2005 International Health Regulations: “WHO shall consult with and attempt to obtain verification from the State Party in whose territory the event is allegedly occurring…” What could be the benign reason for the Biden administration erasing an existing requirement that the WHO first consult with the government of that particular country before making a determination? If there was any doubt about the motivations of these amendments and the direction in which they want to take our sovereignty, look at the next proposed change:

The Biden administration wants all the emergency declarations to be mandatory and cut out all views of the concerned state. The amendments are also designed to truncate the period of time for approving this travesty. The current WHO regulations provide for an 18-month grace period during which a nation may withdraw its “yes” vote for the amendments. The Biden administration draft proposal would truncate that period to just six months.

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Perhaps Xi doesn’t like the WHO getting dictatorial powers?

The New Rift Between WHO and China (Tucker)

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization and China’s CCP have worked and spoken hand-in-glove, culminating in the Potemkin Village junket of mid-February 2020. The WHO-sponsored travel report – how wonderfully China had performed! – was written and signed by American public health officials who recommended Wuhan-style lockdowns, a disastrous policy that further inspired most governments in the world to do the same. Twenty-six months later, it turns out that China in fact had not “eliminated the virus fully within its borders,” contrary to the over-the-top claims of TV pundit Devi Sridhar in her new book Preventable. They only pushed cases into the future, as the CCP discovered when positive tests appeared all over Shanghai, leading to 7 weeks of brutal lockdowns.

This move on China’s part has been a disaster for the country and the world economy, and presently endangers the financial and technological future of the entire country. For Xi Jinping, lockdowns and zero-covid were his greatest achievement, one which was celebrated the world over, causing his political pride to swell beyond all bounds. Now, he cannot back off lest he face possible losses in upcoming party elections. Just this past weekend, he made it clear to the entire government that there would be no backing off the zero-covid policy: the CCP will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid,’ and resolutely fight against any words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.” The problem is acute: vast numbers in China likely need to acquire natural immunity via exposure.

The lockdown policy likely puts a damper on the achievement of endemicity. That means long-term damage to China’s future. Sensing this problem, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, offered a mild criticism: “Considering the behavior of the virus, I think a shift will be very important,” adding that he had discussed this point with Chinese scientists. What happened next is truly fascinating: Tedros’s comments were censored all over China and searches for the name Tedros were immediately blocked within the country. Implausibly, merely by stating the incredibly obvious point, Tedros has made himself an enemy of the state. Meanwhile, another WHO/China partisan, Bill Gates, has been sheepishly saying something very similar in interviews, namely that the virus cannot be eradicated.

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“.. the G7 warns of 43 million people going hungry if Russia won’t stop its blockade of the Black Sea, which it won’t..”

Scandinavian Black Metal (Every)

Think of Scandinavian Black Metal as Finland and Sweden officially announce bids for NATO membership, overturning decades and centuries of neutrality, respectively; as Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest, showing the tune the EU public is singing, and President Zelenskiy floats hosting it in demolished and occupied Mariupol; and as France and Germany come last, an EU-wide rejection of their continuous bids to harmonize with Russia. Think similarly as the G7 warns of 43 million people going hungry if Russia won’t stop its blockade of the Black Sea, which it won’t. That seems an undercount given recent surveys in even Western countries talking about 2 in 7 people facing some form of hunger, and a surge in the use of food banks. Worse, India just halted exports of wheat, or will only sell to those in real need, which injects another layer of (geo)politics into commodities trading.

Likewise, oil remains over $100 despite much of China in lockdown, which Shanghai may lift slightly from 16 May. Imagine how high oil would be with China open. Diesel is in short supply, and Bloomberg’s Javier Blass says at prices the equivalent of $200-250. There are warnings of diesel shortages in the north-east US, which will bring trucking to a halt. Recent conversations with taxi drivers in London and Singapore, which there are evident shortages of, complaining that current fuel prices mean they struggle to make ends meet. Nigerian domestic airlines have threatened to stop flying completely.

We can all name the tune that follows. Pro-China Sri Lanka is in chaos over rising food and energy prices. Pro-China Iran is seeing street protests, despite being a major energy producer – and is still no closer to a nuclear deal despite the EU thinking ‘Wandel Durch Handel’ will work in the Middle East in the same way it has not worked in eastern Europe or the Far East. China itself, besides sealing people into their homes, is restricting outbound international travel, clipping passports of those arriving, and according to one source, blocking overseas calls.

China also saw terrible data: industrial production -2.9% y-o-y vs. consensus of 0.5% and 5.0% in March; in year-to-date (y-t-d) terms, it was up 4.0%, down from 6.5% from last month; retail sales y-o-y were -11.1% vs. -6.6% consensus, and down from -3.5%, and in y-t-d terms were -1.2%, down from 3.3%; fixed investment y-o-y y-t-d was 6.8% vs. 7.0% consensus and down from 9.3%, the last leg standing; and property investment was -2.7% y-o-y y-t-d vs. -1.5% consensus and 0.7% in March, underlining that the investment seen was into infrastructure not housing. Indeed, residential property sales were -32.2% y-o-y y-t-d, and unemployment ticked up from 6.0% to 6.1%. China’s response was to cut mortgage rates 20bp for first-home buyers, but there was no rate cut in the MLF interest rate from 2.85% despite 50-50 market expectations of such a move.

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Will anything be left of Twitter?

The Twitter Bot Inquiry Intensifies (CTH)

If you accept that Twitter is manipulating the public conversation intentionally (they are), then Twitter bots would serve an ideological function. However, the issue of ‘bots’ operating on the Twitter platform is interesting when you consider the cost of platform operation. On one hand, extensive auto-generated ‘bots’ would be an issue of cost and data-processing, a net negative. On the other hand, the use of bots would be a manipulative practice for the creation of false impressions to generate advertising revenue. If the scale of data-processing was subsidized, an outcome of a network of data processing centers -the AWS cloud- linked to government resources, the bots would not be a cost issue for the operation. Despite the false impressions generated, bots would, however, under this weird situation, be useful for the manipulation of the conversation.

At the root of Elon Musk’s line of inquiry is the need to discover if this suspicion is true. If the scale of bots has been underestimated (likely by a willfully blind operation) the advertising fees charged by Twitter were potentially fraudulent. This is another operational reason (mitigating lawsuits from advertisers) for Musk to make the determination prior to the final purchase of the platform. Taking Twitter private as a company, eliminating bots (which is essentially removing fraudulent users) then carries the potential benefits of both lowering costs and positioning the company to increase genuine ad revenue from authenticated users as real people. Many people suspect the size of the political left on the Twitter platform is manipulated by programatic bots. Meaning there seems to be more people on the left side of the spectrum because bots are deployed to give the impression of like-minded users.

I am one of the people who believe this suspicion is accurate, because it would be a typical way the ideological left operates. The bots would be in addition to the deployment of algorithms that are designed to suppress speech the platform operators do not like. I have long suspected the Twitter algorithm process is essentially assigning certain users into specifically designed data-processing containers where their voice is suppressed. Some people call this ‘shadow-banning,’ I simply call it suppression. Elon Musk represents a threat to the way the platform was/is designed to operate. If Musk removes the discussion constraints, opens the containers and removes the restrictions, while simultaneously eliminating bots and fake accounts, the entire perspective of the platform could change very quickly. This is what I think the current board and operators are trying to avoid.

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“..Public Health Scotland, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada, the UK Health Security Agency, the Office for National Statistics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control..”

Your Government Quietly Confirmed The Fully Vaccinated Are Developing AIDS (DE)

Something is very wrong, and it is because of the Covid-19 injections. All around the world, Governments are publishing official data that all show the same thing. Those same Governments however are not willing to explain why. Instead, they are quietly publishing data in the hope that it will get swept under the carpet whilst they have you distracted by war in Ukraine and worrying about the cost of living; a crisis created by Government policy. But with the publication of confidential Pfizer documents, Governments around the world are running out of places to hide, and if these worrying trends continue, they will be forced to admit the Covid-19 injections are either causing Antibody-Dependent Enhancement or something much worse. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.


Whilst rare, it is perfectly possible for a medication or drug to cause Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and data published by Public Health Scotland, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada, the UK Health Security Agency, the Office for National Statistics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control strongly suggests the Covid-19 injections should be added to the list. How else can Governments around the world explain the fact the fully vaccinated are more likely to be infected with Covid-19, more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19, and more likely to die of Covid-19 than the unvaccinated? How else can Governments around the world explain the huge rise in all-cause mortality rates among the fully vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated? How else can Governments around the world explain the 1,145% to 33,715% increase in AIDS-related diseases, cancers and infections reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in 2021?

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“..it will promote the evolution of new-and-different iterations of novel Coronaviruses, and it will surely kill and maim a lot more people, including little children.”

Feeding the Narrative (Kunstler)

This is not 2020. The public may be better inoculated now against government gaslighting and mind-fuckery than they are against Covid-19 viruses. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted last week in his colloquy with Secretary Mayorkas, “Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The U.S. government.” Senator Paul is onto something. In the course of that hearing, he asked Mr. Mayorkas whether talk about Covid 19 on social media might be subject to official “disinformation” action by his agency. “I’ve said a million times that cloth masks don’t work; YouTube takes me down,” Senator Paul said. “They’re a private company. I can have that beef with them. What about you? You’re going to look at that? I often say that natural immunity from having had the infection is equal to the vaccine or better. You’re going to take that down?”

Rand Paul is a licensed physician, by the way, and Alejandro Mayorkas is not. Mr. Mayorkas answered that someone might claim that vaccination centers “are actually peddling fentanyl. Now, should I sit back and take that, or should I actually disseminate accurate information?” he asked. In reality, of course, this hypothetical fentanyl nonsense is not what is at issue regarding Covid-19 “vaccines.” What is actually at issue is the now-established fact that the mRNA products called “vaccines” do not prevent infection or transmission of Covid-19, and do provoke a broad array of harms to people that cause disability and death in, at least, tens of thousands of cases, which is a lot in terms of all prior medical standards.

The government has been lying about this consistently. And the news media have been obediently conveying those lies, in league with the pharmaceutical giants who produce the “vaccines.” The governor of my state, Kathy Hochul, still idiotically wants to mandate mRNA “vaccines” for children. Pfizer ran a commercial on CBS’s 60-Minutes Sunday night promising that further “vaccination” with their sketchy product will “open up the world” for people. In fact, it will do nothing to protect people, rather it will promote the evolution of new-and-different iterations of novel Coronaviruses, and it will surely kill and maim a lot more people, including little children.

Malone: myocarditis may be occurring in a majority of the vaccinated.

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May 052022
 


René Magritte Personal values 1952

 

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)
Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)
Return of the King (Streeck)
The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)
Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)
Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)
Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)
John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)
FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)
The Government Plays God (Whitehead)
The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)
Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

 

 

 

 

Ze 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azovstal

 

 

 

 

Well, well. The Guardian is now the bullhorn for the nazis. But Russia has denied invading the plant.

Also funny: the evacuation of citizens from the plant is being presented as another heroic act by Zelensky. But they could have left at any moment over the past 2 months. Why didn’t they? Often because the same nazis used them as human shields.

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)

Fierce fighting has continued inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the plant said, as more civilians fled the city on evacuation buses following weeks of brutal bombardment that have reduced much of it to rubble. Ukrainian forces were fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops for a second day, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, said in a brief video released on Telegram late on Wednesday. “I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” commander Denis Prokopenko said.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party in parliament, told RFE/RL that Russian forces had entered the plant, but he said that the country’s government remained in contact with the Ukrainian troops staging a last stand. The Kremlin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denied reports that Moscow’s forces were trying to storm the plant. “The order was publicly given by [Vladimir Putin] to cancel the storming,” Peskov said. “There is no storming.” Russia said its forces would cease firing at the factory on Thursday morning, and open a three-day humanitarian corridor for any civilians.


“The Russian armed forces will from 8am to 6pm (Moscow time, 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said. “During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities.”

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“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine, putting the leftist icon at odds with western powers. In an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday, the former president said it was irresponsible for western leaders to celebrate Zelenskiy because they are encouraging war instead of focusing on closed-door negotiations to stop the fighting. “I see the president of Ukraine, speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians,” Lula told the magazine. “This guy [Zelenskiy] is as responsible as Putin for the war,” he added.

Lula, who is on Time’s cover this week, is frontrunner for the October elections when he hopes to deny far-right President Jair Bolsonaro re-election and return to office after the annulment last year of corruption convictions that had put him in jail. The remarks will probably raise eyebrows in the US and Europe, which are supplying military support to Ukraine and have hit Russia with punishing sanctions over an invasion widely seen in the west as an act of unprovoked Russian aggression. Lula, 76, said Zelenskiy should have yielded to Russian opposition to Ukraine’s moves to join Nato and held negotiations with Putin to avoid a conflict.


Refering to Zelenskiy’s rise to fame as an actor and comedian, he added: “We should be having a serious conversation. OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.” The veteran leftist said Biden and European Union leaders failed to do enough to negotiate with Russia in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine in February. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

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King NATO

Return of the King (Streeck)

When kings return, they initiate a purge, to rectify the anomalies that have accumulated during their absence. Old bills are presented anew and collected, lack of loyalty revealed during the King’s absence is punished, disobedient ideas and improper memories are extirpated, and the nooks and crannies of the body politic are cleansed of the political deviants that have in the meantime populated them. Symbolic action of the McCarthy type is helpful as it spreads fear among potential dissenters. Throughout the West today, players of piano or tennis or relativity theory who happen to be from Russia and want to continue playing whatever they play are pressed to make public statements that would make their lives and those of their families back home difficult at best.

Investigative journalists discover an abyss of philanthropic donations by Russian oligarchs to music and other festivals, donations that have been welcome in the past but are now found to subvert artistic freedom, unlike of course the philanthropic donations of their Western fellow-oligarchs. Etc. Against the background of proliferating loyalty oaths, public discourse is reduced to spreading the King’s truth, and nothing but. Putin verstehen – trying to find out about motives and reasons, searching for a clue as to how one might, perhaps, negotiate an end to the bloodshed – is equated with Putin verzeihen, or forgiving; it ‘relativizes’, as the Germans put it, the atrocities of the Russian army by trying to end them with other than military means.


According to newly received wisdom, there is only one way of dealing with a madman; thinking about other ways advances his interests and therefore amounts to treason. (I remember teachers in the 1950s who let it be known to the young generation that ‘the only language the Russian understands is the language of the fist’.) Memory management is central: never mention the Minsk Accords (2014 and 2015) between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, don’t ask what became of them and why, never mind the platform of negotiated conflict settlement on which Zelensky was elected in 2019 by almost three quarters of Ukrainian voters, and forget the American response by megaphone diplomacy to Russian proposals as late as 2022 for a joint European security system. Above all, never bring up the various American ‘special operations’ of the recent past, like for example in Iraq, and in Fallujah inside Iraq (800 civilian casualties alone in a few days); doing so commits the crime of ‘whataboutism’, which in view of ‘the pictures from Bucha and Mariupol’ is morally out of bounds.

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“..the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.”

The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)

The most egregious and blatant official disinformation campaign in the U.S. took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden’s activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were “Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as “Russian disinformation,” and pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president.

The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post’s incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent. After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the “hallmarks” of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment?


This same strategic motive — to vest accusations of “disinformation” with the veneer of expertise — is what has fostered a new, very well-financed industry heralding itself as composed of “anti-disinformation” scholars. Knowing that Americans are inculcated from childhood to believe that censorship is nefarious — that it is the hallmark of tyranny — those who wish to censor need to find some ennobling rationale to justify it and disguise what it is. They have thus created a litany of neutral-sounding groups with benign names — The Atlantic Council, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, various “fact-checking” outfits controlled by corporate media outlets — that claim to employ “anti-disinformation experts” to identify and combat fake news. Just as media corporations re-branded their partisan pundits as “fact-checkers” — to masquerade their opinions as elevated, apolitical authoritative, decrees of expertise — the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.

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Elon! Help!

Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)

Several Twitter users known for questioning U.S. government COVID-19 messaging have found themselves locked out of their accounts or suspended, even as the social media company reckons with a takeover by pro-free-speech billionaire Elon Musk and advancing litigation by journalist Alex Berenson. It’s not clear whether the timing is coincidental or the last gasp of an old guard targeting so-called Team Reality before a new owner or courts force it to change direction. Twitter has ignored the vast majority of Just the News requests to explain how various sanctioned users violated its terms. The notices from Twitter, often posted by allies of the silenced users, cite violation of its policy against sharing “misleading and potentially harmful information” about COVID.

A federal judge greenlit breach-of-contract claims in Berenson’s lawsuit challenging his permanent suspension, which followed a tweet that said COVID vaccines neither stop infection nor transmission, both of which the CDC has acknowledged for several months. The former New York Times reporter said in February Twitter had quietly removed the “misleading” label from the tweet, which only he can see. The company didn’t respond to Just the News queries at the time. Berenson plausibly alleged Twitter “fail[ed] to abide by its own five-strike policy and its specific commitments” made by a PR executive directly to Berenson before his first strike, U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote April 29.


The same day Twitter permanently booted Daniel Kotzin, one of three sanctioned users jointly suing federal officials for coercing Twitter to censor purported COVID misinformation. It flagged his tweet citing “known potential side effects” of COVID vaccines, including myocarditis, “blood clots, and strokes.”

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‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized..’

Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)

Some of the most high-profile liberal figures have joined together to encourage advertisers to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk brings in his promised policy of unfettered ‘free speech.’ Twenty six NGOs and advocacy groups signed a letter expressing concern about the world’s richest man’s plan. Musk himself responded to the letter asking who funded them: the answer being an assortment of ‘dark money groups’ like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; NGOs founded by former Clinton and Obama administration staffers; wealthy Democrat donors and their family foundations; labor unions; and the governments of European nations.

‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized,’ they wrote. They warned that advertising on Twitter would see their company ‘risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.’ The authors continued: ‘Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.


‘Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account. We call on you to demand Musk uphold these basic standards of community trust and safety, and to pull your advertising spending from Twitter if they are not.’ Musk, in response to the letter, tweeted: ‘Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …’ Piqued by the critique, he added: ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ The letter signed by the 26 groups was sent on headed paper bearing the logos of Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and Ultraviolet.

Anti-Elon campaign

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They’re afraid of cancel culture.

Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)

Elon Musk is turning to an old, reliable group of financial backers to fund his $44 billion buyout of Twitter — even as talks to team up with a deep-pocketed private equity firm have stalled, The Post has learned. Sources close to the situation say Musk may be closing in on raising $10 billion in cash from equity co-investors — mostly venture capital firms who have backed his other companies including Space X. One source close to the talks declined to name the firms, but Musk’s past investors have included Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners. Musk has also turned to so-called family offices that control large pools of private money to back his Twitter bid. “He has more than $10 billion of committed equity,” one source close to the situation told The Post.

Musk is plowing ahead even as top executives at Thoma Bravo — a tech-focused buyout firm whose investments include nuts-and-bolts software firms like McAfee and Barracuda — are divided over partnering with Musk in the deal, with some fearing the bet would be too big and too risky, three sources close to the situation said. “Orlando Bravo was pushing for it,” one source close to the talks said, referring to the firm’s co-founder, a 52-year-old, Puerto Rican-born billionaire with a formidable track record among tech investors. “He spent hours talking to Elon.” On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk has been telling investors he aims to take the company public again within three years of the buyout.


As previously reported by The Post, Thoma Bravo sees an opportunity to slash costs at Twitter and was hoping to land a high-profile deal. Nevertheless, other top partners at Thoma Bravo fret that jumping into bed with Musk — who has posted a slew of sometimes bizarre tweets about his plans for Twitter, including that he plans to turn its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter — could be a disaster. “My sense is Orlando Bravo wanted to do it but one or two of his top partners don’t want to,” a second source said. Other major buyout firms including Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners also have turned Musk down altogether, a source said. Apollo Global Management, meanwhile, is only interested in providing debt financing, according to sources close to the talks.

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No go for attorney-client privilege.

John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)

Special Counsel John Durham scored two major wins on Wednesday ahead of the criminal trial for ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, as the judge ordered a key witness to testify and agreed to review memos the defense is trying to conceal with a claim of attorney-client privilege. During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper expressed skepticism that memos detailing the Fusion GPS firm’s opposition research on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia – some of which were shared with the news media and the FBI — were covered by attorney-client privilege and agreed to Durham’s request to review 38 of the documents that prosecutors want to introduce at trial later this month.

Cooper said he wasn’t convinced the Clinton campaign, Sussmann and his law firm and Fusion GPS should have blanket privilege over the documents, at one point citing a memo of Fusion’s contacts with a reporter as evidence of “assisting a media strategy” rather than legal advice. Cooper also unsealed his order to compel that granted Fusion GPS computer researcher Laura Seago limited immunity and ordered her to testify at trial as Durham sought. Seago’s lawyer informed prosecutors she planned to “invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination absent a court order of immunity compelling her to testify at trial,” according to the unsealed records.


Cooper signed an order mandating Seago “give testimony or provide other information which she refuses to give or to provide on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination as to all matters about which she might be interrogated at trial and any proceedings ancillary thereto.” The judge also ruled that “no testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against Laura Seago in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order.” Durham had argued that Seago’s testimony was “necessary to the public interest.” It did not specify what prosecutors believed her testimony would focus on.

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“..some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information..”

FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)

The FBI decision to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser hinged on an unsubstantiated rumor from a Clinton campaign-paid dossier that the Washington Post’s Moscow sources had quickly shot down as “bullshit” and “impossible,” according to emails disclosed last week to a D.C. court hearing the criminal case of a Clinton lawyer accused of lying to the FBI. Though the FBI presumably had access to better sources than the newspaper, agents did little to verify the rumor that Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had secretly met with sanctioned Kremlin officials in Moscow. Instead, the bureau pounced on the dossier report the day it received it, immediately plugging the rumor into an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Page as a suspected Russian agent.

The allegation, peddled to both the press and FBI in the summer of 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to dig up dirt on Trump during the presidential race, proved to be the linchpin in winning approval for the 2016 warrant, which was renewed three times in 2017 – even though the FBI learned there were serious holes in the story and had failed to independently corroborate it. The revelations of early media skepticism about the Trump-Russia narrative before journalists embraced it are included in a 62-page batch of emails between Fusion and prominent Beltway reporters released by Special Counsel John Durham, who is scouring the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for evidence of abuse and criminal wrongdoing.


The documents suggest that some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information served up by Clinton agents. (The FBI declined comment.) The new material also offers a look at the lengths to which those working on Clinton’s behalf went in order to seed the government with unverified rumors about Trump and Russia that amounted to a disinformation campaign. Among those targeted were powerful Democratic members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who proved to be a willing collaborator.

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This is the fundamental point: the rights of the unborn child. That video is scary.

The Government Plays God (Whitehead)

“Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the ‘right’ of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the ‘property rights’ of slave masters in their slaves.”
– Ron Paul

The government wants to play god. It wants the power to decide who lives or dies and whose rights are worthy of protection. Delve beneath the rhetoric and spin that have turned abortion into a politicized, polarized and propagandized frontline in the culture wars, and you will find a greater menace at work. Abortion may be front and center in the power struggle between the Left and the Right over who has the right to decide—the government or the individual—when it comes to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy, sexual freedom, the rights of the unborn, and property interests in one’s body, but there’s so much more going on here.

The Left would suggest that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and the only right that matters is a woman’s right to privacy in choosing whether or not to abort a pregnancy. The Right, while fixated on saving the lives of unborn babies, seems less concerned about what happens to those lives from birth to death. What few seem willing to address is that in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the government has come to believe that it not only has the power to determine who is deserving of constitutional rights in the eyes of the law but it also has the authority to deny those rights to an American citizen.

This is how the abortion debate—a politicized tug-of-war over when an unborn child is considered a human being with rights—plays into the police state’s hands by laying the groundwork for discussions about who else may or may not be deserving of rights. Even if (as a leaked draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests) the Supreme Court overturns its earlier rulings recognizing abortion as a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment, that will not resolve the larger problem that plagues us today: namely, that all along the spectrum of life—from the unborn child to the aged—the government continues to play fast and loose with the lives of the citizenry.

40 weeks

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“..a complete embargo of all Russian oil..”

The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)

There’s a lot of news flying around about the changes happening in global currency trading. From “Gas for Rubles” to “What the Hell is Going on With the Yen?” there are a lot of questions and very few answers as to what it all means and whose on which side of the divide. The Fed just hiked 50 basis points for the first time since 2000 and will be running off its balance sheet forcing the Treasury to stop issuing new debt at stupid rates. The European Union unveiled a sixth sanctions package against Russia which calls for a complete embargo of all Russian oil. Further to this the EU is now aping what the Trump Administration tried to do to Iran in 2018, sanctioning all services, including insurance, to all shippers of oil from doing any business with Russia and sanctioned Russian banks.

These sanctions, effectively politicizing every aspect of international business and trade, are ultimately nothing more than short-term annoyances for Russia or anyone else. It betrays a mindset that cares nothing for the downstream effects of these actions and, if anything, betray the desperation felt in Brussels today about its position in the global market. I’ve spilled hundreds of column inches trying to explain to the world that it is the EU’s totalitarian mindset based on their psychological imbalance and ideological need to be seen as the champions of humanity, that drives all of their decisions. The US is not so driven. We’re far easier to understand. We like power but only so long as it nets us a profit.


This sanctions package is prima facie evidence of their insanity and what happens when, like a cornered animal, they are faced with an existential choice. The EU is built on a foundation of insulating its leadership from the vicissitudes of public opinion. Populism is a four-letter word in the Eurocrat’s vocabulary. The consequences of this policy which was conceived of by the fart-sniffing buffoons at the World Economic Forum, The Davos Crowd, are irrelevant to them in the short-term. Yes, Europeans will suffer tremendously high inflation because, if successful at taking a majority of Russian oil off the global markets, will only ensure that prices go ballistic. Do you think the same people who have a stated depopulation agenda who mandated a 12% effective Pfizer vaccine and wasn’t tested at all on pregnant women lest they be barred from partaking of European society care one whit about the people they govern?

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Woke.

Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

There’s a saying, and I don’t know who coined it, but it goes something like, “Go woke; go broke.” I do know that former president Donald Trump said that “everything woke turns to s**t.” One company that’s learning this lesson the hard way — even though nobody there will admit it publicly — is Disney. David Ng at Breitbart is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has lost a whopping $63 billion in market capitalization over the past two months. “Shares of Disney have plummeted 23.5 percent since the start of March, falling from $145.70,” Ng writes. “Market cap is down $62.6 billion, from $265.3 to $202.7 billion.” (For the uninitiated, Investopedia defines market capitalization as “the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as ‘market cap,’ it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share.”)

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to wrap my head around losing that kind of money. I freak out if I lose a $20 bill, so losing tens of billions because I took a political position that appeases a percentage of my workforce and a smaller percentage of the world at large at the expense of everybody else would be disastrous. That amount of money may be chump change to Disney, but it’s still nearly a quarter of its market cap. Disney’s stock has performed poorly over the past several months, dropping 30% over the past year. Much, though not all, of this stems directly from Disney’s decision to speak out on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which the legislature passed into law and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of March.


The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media falsely dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which triggered the LGBTQ lobby among Disney cast members to pressure CEO Bob Chapek to stick the company’s nose into the state’s business. DeSantis and the Florida legislature decided to fight fire with fire, and they voted to end the 1967 special improvement act that allowed Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially act as its own government over the Walt Disney World property.

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TexasLindsay Global by income
https://twitter.com/i/status/1522055712653910017

 

 

 

 

Hodkinson

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 042022
 


Albert Gleizes The football players 1912-13

 

Medvedev Thinks That Zelensky Does Not Need ‘Any Peace Treaty’ (Tass)
Delegation Of Doom: Pelosi Visits Zelensky With Warhawk Dems (Celente)
Pope Admits NATO Likely Provoked Putin’s Invasion (ZH)
Good vs Evil (Yuri Podolyaka)
EU Plans For Russian Oil Ban: ‘We Want Ukraine To Win This War’ (BBC)
Russia Captures Commander of Canadian Army at Azovstal (APA)
Russian Oligarch With Close Ties To Putin Met With Hunter Biden In Moscow (DM)
Hunter Biden Laptop Repairman Sues Schiff, CNN, Politico, Daily Beast (NYP)
Russia Is Returning To The Gold Standard And China Is Going To Be Next (QTR)
Leaked Draft Opinion Rocks the Court and Washington (Turley)
The Irrational, Misguided Discourse On SCOTUS Controversies (Greenwald)
Study Into mRNA Vaccine Death Rates Sends ‘Danger Signals’ (Bhattacharya)
Face Mask Usage Correlates With Higher Death Rates (INN)
‘Brands Should Force Twitter To Uphold Content Policies Under Musk’ (CNN)

 

 

 

 

Donetsk

 

 

Eva K Bartlett: According to Western media, now copy-paste reporting the same claims, Russian forces apparently secretly buried *up to 9,000 Mariupol civilians* in “mass graves” in a town just west of the city.

 

 

“Not an inch of #NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”
—Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9 1990

 

 

“..using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.”

Gonzalo Lira: “Remember, Medvedev is considered dovish and pro-Western—so imagine what the hawkish anti-Westerners in Moscow are like.”

Medvedev Thinks That Zelensky Does Not Need ‘Any Peace Treaty’ (Tass)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky does not need any peaceful settlement, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev asserted. “Zelensky does not need any peace treaty. For him, peace is the end,” he said on his Telegram channel. According to him, this end would be “either a quick one – from the Nazis who will hang him for a deal with Russians, or a slower one, from his competition who will attain his dismissal as the president who lost a war.” He pointed out that Zelensky’s retinue confirms this saying that “there will be no peace treaty.” “That is why Zelensky in the future will keep begging the West for money and weapons, trying to prove he is still in the game, that he is the hope of the liberal world, that he is the last stronghold of European democracy which a bear in a cotton-padded jacket wants to tear apart,” Medvedev said.


He added that at the same time, Zelensky would “imitate concern for Ukrainians, periodically positioning them as a human shield against the Bandera followers.” Additionally, according to the deputy chairman, the Ukrainian president will continue “to send hired killers to Russian journalists, positioning himself as a tough exterminator, spawn criminal fake news about Russia’s military operation using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.” “There is no other way for Zelensky to remain in office. That is, if the office itself remains,” Medvedev concluded.

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Delusional on all levels.

Delegation Of Doom: Pelosi Visits Zelensky With Warhawk Dems (Celente)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat lawmakers arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit with President Volodymyr Zelensky and did just what the script said: they praised the comedian for his courage and promised more weapons to keep the killing going. It is not truly U.S. support unless it comes with a trigger. Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official to make the journey to Kyiv for a photo-op, promised Zelensky that more weapons were coming and Washington would continue to fund its proxy war against Moscow. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., was part of the delegation that genuflected at the Altar of Zelensky, and told reporters afterwards that there were three areas of focus: “weapons, weapons, and weapons.” He also posted a photo on his Twitter page promising Kyiv that the U.S. “is in this to win in and we will stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”

He did not clarify exactly what the U.S. was “in,” but the Biden administration has not announced publicly that the country is at war with Russia. Pelosi’s freak-show – which included Rep. Adam Schiff – was there to send an “unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.” “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” she said. Schiff, who looked like a school boy meeting his hero when waiting to shake Zelensky’s hand, also got the memo and, after the visit, said one thing is clear: “We must continue to give military aid to Ukraine, and humanitarian assistance to those seeking refuge at home and in neighboring countries like Poland.”

Schiff said he was in “awe of the courage of President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. In the face of extreme Russian brutality, Zelenskyy has inspired his people, and freedom-loving individuals across the world.” U.S. officials have been bolder in recent weeks because the propaganda campaign has been so effective. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who once sat on Raytheon’s board, said at the news conference last week that the U.S. wants to see Russia “weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” He continued, “So it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.” Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also told reporters that the U.S. wants “a free and independent Ukraine,” and “that is going to involve a weakened Russia, a strengthened NATO.”

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If we can ban a President, we certainly can censor a Pope…

Pope Admits NATO Likely Provoked Putin’s Invasion (ZH)

Pope Francis has said that he’s ready to meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in hopes of brokering an end to the war in Ukraine, according to the Vatican news agencies. He said in an interview published Tuesday by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, “I am not going to Kyiv for now; I feel that I must not go. First I must go to Moscow. First I must meet Putin. But I am also a priest, what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin would only open the door…”. The Roman Catholic leader’s criticisms of Russia’s actions in Ukraine were made clear throughout the interview, but among the more interesting and surprising lines came when he addressed the roots of the invasion and war which started on Feb 24. He told the newspaper that “the barking of NATO at the gates of Russia” is likely what motivated Putin to attack Ukraine.

Below is the relevant section of the interview, according to a machine translation from the Italian: “Pope Francis’ concern is that Putin, for the moment, will not stop . He also tries to think about the roots of this behavior, about the reasons that push him to such a brutal war. Perhaps the “barking of NATO at Russia’s door” prompted the head of the Kremlin to react badly and unleash the conflict. “An anger that I don’t know if it was provoked – he wonders – but perhaps eased, yes”. Also interesting is that Francis came close to condemning the international weapons transfers now pouring into Ukraine, led by the US which has lately authorized an unprecedented billions in military aid to Ukraine’s government.

“And now those who care about peace are faced with the great question of the supply of weapons by Western nations to the Ukrainian resistance,” the Pope began with his thoughts on this question. He admitted the question is controversial even within the Catholic world. “I can’t answer, I’m too far away, to the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians,” he said, before taking a swipe at the weapons industry. “The clear thing is that weapons are being tested in that land. The Russians now know that tanks are of little use and are thinking of other things. Wars are fought for this: to test the weapons we have produced.”

“This was the case in the Spanish Civil War before the Second World War. The arms trade is a scandal, few oppose it.” He then invoked the case of the years’-long Saudi-US war on Yemen, describing that “Two or three years ago a ship loaded with weapons arrived in Genoa which had to be transferred to a large freighter to transport them to Yemen. The port workers did not want to do it. They said: let’s think of the children of Yemen. It’s a small thing, but a nice gesture. There should be so many like that.”

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Saker: “Yuri Podolyaka is an analyst who recently had his channel terminated on YouTube..”

“..They know how the Russian prisoners are treated in Ukraine – they are beaten, tortured, sometimes even killed. Ukrainians are surprised that they are not even beaten…”

Good vs Evil (Yuri Podolyaka)

Ukraine is one of the fronts of the battle of Good against Evil, it is not the battle of countries or even ideas. Today is May 3rd and today I want to talk about what we’re all fighting against. It’s not even about what happens in Ukraine, but about what happens in the world in general. A Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, told us about how he was brought back to Russia . He was being transferred in manacles and they were removed only after US representative made absolutely sure the US exchange prisoner was aboard the Russian plane. Before that, for almost 24 hours, Konstantin couldn’t even drink water properly because of the manacles – he physically couldn’t take a bottle of water, so he had to ask the guard to pour water into his mouth.

That’s how Americans treat the prisoner who was already pardoned and was to be exchanged. The American prisoner was treated entirely differently, in humane conditions. And here I remembered the first thing that amazes the Ukrainian prisoners when they are taken captive – they don’t expect the decent treatment they get. They know how the Russian prisoners are treated in Ukraine – they are beaten, tortured, sometimes even killed. Ukrainians are surprised that they are not even beaten. This is a huge difference that can’t be ignored. This goes for journalism as well – the Russian journalists, like me, get regular death threats and are in real danger. There is not a single case of someone threatening a Ukrainian journalist that takes official Kiev position.

If someone makes calls to do something about them, it is about lawful actions. On another level – social networks – the situation is similar. Take note at how hateful the messaging is from Kiev-aligned posters – they call to kill children and women etc, while there’s not a single call for such things from our side. There’s like a Satanist hatred coming from their side, with constant lies – how during the first couple of weeks they called on regular Ukrainian citizens to make phone calls to their friends in Russia and lie “for the sake of Ukrainian victory”. We can see this “lying for the greater good” on all levels.

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“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion..”

What if Russia says no?

EU Plans For Russian Oil Ban: ‘We Want Ukraine To Win This War’ (BBC)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been giving details to the European Parliament of a sixth package of sanctions targeting Russia’s economy, its military and propaganda. She said that Russia’s Vladimir Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine from the map and would not succeed and it was his own country that was sinking. “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion,” she said. “So in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and at the same time be very careful that we minimise the impact on the global market.” Von der Leyen said crude oil imports would be phased out over six months and refined products by the end of 2022.


Although she made no mention of any exemptions, two countries that are most reliant on Russian oil, Slovakia and Hungary, are expected to be given longer to find alternative sources. “Thus we maximise pressure on Russia while at the same time we minimise the collateral damage on us and our partners around the globe. We have to ensure that our economy remains strong.” She went on to give details of a package of relief and reconstruction for Ukraine: “We want to Ukraine to win this war,” she said. Von der Leyen said Ukraine’s economic output was set to fall by 35%-50% in 2022 and it would need €5bn a month just to keep going. “We have to do our share too.”

Pipeline

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From Azerbaijan press.

What does a Canadian general do in Azovstal? You know, this time of year…

Russia Captures Commander of Canadian Army at Azovstal (APA)

General Trevor Cadieu (Trevor John Cadieu), captured by Russian troops while trying to escape from the cellars of Azovstal, was the commander of the Canadian Ground Forces, APA reports citing Mailbd. Seated in the catacombs under the Mariupol steel plant “Azovstal” nationalists staged a provocation, trying to hide the Canadian general’s attempt to escape. After the capture of a high-ranking foreign soldier by units of the RF Armed Forces, it became clear why so many efforts were made to save him.


A high-ranking mercenary tried to break out of the encirclement at Azovstal several times. It was for this that the West insisted on humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians: among them, foreign specialists had to leave the catacombs. According to media reports, the general’s name is Trevor Kadieu. Seven months ago, he was appointed to the post of commander of the Canadian Army, but before the inauguration, he was involved in a sex scandal. In the harassment that occurred back in 1994, he was accused by a former colleague. The general called the accusations false, but in April 2022 he retired from military service.

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Hunter sure was busy. Did the crack keep him going?

Russian Oligarch With Close Ties To Putin Met With Hunter Biden In Moscow (DM)

Hunter Biden flew to Moscow for a meeting with a now-sanctioned Russian oligarch with reportedly close ties to Vladimir Putin, laptop files reveal. Vladimir Yevtushenkov, 73, owned a company which reportedly supplied Putin’s forces with drones used for deadly bombing raids in Ukraine and until last year owned key Russian defense contractor RTI. But while he was added to the UK and Australian sanctions lists this month but remains one of a handful of oligarchs unsanctioned by the Biden administration. Hunter’s multiple meetings and apparent business deals with him are the latest in a troubling web of his connections to Putin-linked mega-rich individuals which has emerged from his abandoned laptop.

Emails show the president’s son and his business partners were courting Yevtushenkov for an investment in their real estate company in 2012 and 2013. Rosemont Realty was founded in 2008 by Hunter’s Yale schoolmates: Devon Archer and former secretary of state John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz. Hunter joined the firm’s advisory board in 2010 and was a part owner, earning him hundreds of thousands. Emails show that in 2011, his now-jailed business partner Archer was traveling to Russia, staying in luxury hotels and dining on bear meat, laying the foundations for future real estate deals that he believed could be lucrative for the firm. In November that year Archer wrote to an associate: ‘Moscow is going great… It does look like I will be back quite a bit based on our initial response to the real estate fund pitch.’

Three months later Hunter got involved, scheduling a trip to the Russian capital for a dinner with Yevtushenkov at the headquarters of his company Sistema on February 16, 2012, according to emails and calendar entries on his laptop. Documents published this week by journalist Vicky Ward on her blog suggest the Russian billionaire then took a trip to the US for meetings with Hunter and his Rosemont Realty business partners. A Sistema itinerary translated from Russian, which Ward reported was leaked to her from a source close to Yevtushenkov’s company, lists a March 14, 2012 ‘breakfast with Hunter Biden’ at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.

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“..Mac Isaac now has well-heeled backers at non-profit The America Project.. [retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn]..”

Hunter Biden Laptop Repairman Sues Schiff, CNN, Politico, Daily Beast (NYP)

The Delaware computer repairman who blew the whistle on Hunter Biden’s laptop — filed a multi-million-dollar defamation suit Tuesday against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN, The Daily Beast and Politico, saying they falsely accused him of peddling Russian disinformation. The former shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, decided to fight back after losing his business and being harassed for 18 months by Big Tech, the media and Delaware locals in President Biden’s home state. “After fighting to reveal the truth, all I want now is for the rest of the country to know that there was a collective and orchestrated effort by social and mainstream media to block a real story with real consequences for the nation,” the 45-year-old Mac Isaac told The Post.

“This was collusion led by 51 former pillars in the intelligence community and backed by words and actions of a politically motivated DOJ and FBI,” he continued. “I want this lawsuit to reveal that collusion and more importantly, who gave the marching orders.” Mac Isaac came to legally own the laptop after Biden’s son Hunter dropped it off at his store for repairs in April 2019 and never came back. The material on the laptop has raised serious questions about what Biden knew of his son’s overseas business deals, during which he and the president’s brother, Jim Biden, often invoked his powerful name. After handing over a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to the FBI in December 2019, eight months later Mac Isaac alerted then-President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who provided a copy of the hard drive to The Post.

When The Post’s first story broke in October 2020 — just three weeks before the presidential election — Twitter and Facebook moved to censor it. Then Schiff and 51 former intelligence officials labeled the laptop Russian disinformation. In the aftermath, Mac Isaac says his business and reputation was ruined. “Twitter initially labeled my action hacking, so for the first day after my information was leaked, I was bombarded with hate mail and death threats revolving around the idea that I was a hacker, a thief and a criminal,” Mac Isaac said. Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, “has some explaining” to do, Mac Isaac insisted. “Without any intel, the head of the intel committee decided to share with CNN and its viewers a complete and utter lie,” Mac Isaac said. “A lie issued in the protection of a preferred presidential candidate.”

Mac Isaac said he’s since endured false accusations of being a Russian spy and a “stooge” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The fight to get to the bottom of who told everyone this was Russian disinformation is far more important for the nation than me clearing my name,” Mac Isaac said. In the suit, which was filed in Montgomery County, Md., Mac Isaac claims Schiff defamed him in an interview on CNN two days after The Post began publishing revelations from the laptop. In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, Schiff told the CNN host — without citing evidence — that he believed “the Kremlin” was behind a smear of Joe and Hunter Biden.

Mac Isaac tried unsuccessfully to sue Twitter for defamation last year and was lumbered with the tech giant’s legal bills — an amount he says is roughly $175,000. But Mac Isaac now has well-heeled backers at non-profit The America Project, which was founded by Trump loyalists retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, brother Joe Flynn and businessman Pat Byrne. “[We are] honored to sponsor John Paul Mac Isaac in his fight against the injustice that has been done to him when the political elite coordinated with the leftist news media claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation – which was a blatant lie,” Flynn said.

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“..the west and our allies, with our “infinite” fiat, under the tutelage of rocket surgeon Neel Kashkari..”

Russia Is Returning To The Gold Standard And China Is Going To Be Next (QTR)

No sooner was it that I wrote an article talking about how Russia was going to back the ruble with gold than “one of the Russia’s most powerful security/intelligence officers and a close ally of Putin” has admitted the country’s intentions to do just that. And I’m predicting that no sooner will the gravity of this decision finally sink in with the West that China will follow closely in Russia’s footsteps and do the same. Russia backing its currency with gold represents one of the most drastic changes to the foreign currency market in decades. As of 2022, precisely zero countries still adhere to a gold standard, though many countries still hold gold in reserve.

The new global monetary system is likely going to look like Russia, China, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries with commodity-backed, sound money on one side – and the west and our allies, with our “infinite” fiat, under the tutelage of rocket surgeon Neel Kashkari, on the other. Despite the enormity of the situation, the news hasn’t really been digested by global markets yet. The FX market has been relatively calm, but for the ruble strengthening, and gold prices have crashed so far this week, with front month futures falling nearly $50/oz. on Monday, back down to about $1,860/oz. Aside from the FX market, the news also hasn’t been digested by US politicians or financial “thought leaders” yet.

However, there are underground rumblings starting to catch the ears of those who are actively listening. Ronan Manly wrote for BullionStar.com last week: “On Tuesday 26 April in an interview with newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta (RG), the Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said that Russian experts are working on a project to back the Russian ruble with gold and other commodities.” Manly was kind enough to translate the interview with RG, which stated Russia’s intentions to back the ruble with gold in crystal clear fashion:

RG Question: And what do we need to do to ensure the ruble’s sovereignty? Nikolai Patrushev: “For any national financial system to be sovereignized, its means of payment must have intrinsic value and price stability, without being pegged to the dollar. Now experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be backed by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, and to put the ruble exchange rate in line with the real purchasing power parity.” Manly concludes, matter-of-factly: “So there you have it. The Russian Government is actively working on creating a gold and commodity backed Russian ruble with intrinsic value which is outside the orbit of the US dollar.”


The ECB can’t hike or the euro is done

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“..the culprit will have to make a decision today of whether to radically increase the potential costs of this act..”

Leaked Draft Opinion Rocks the Court and Washington (Turley)

The leaking of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has rocked the Court and Washington. The 98-page draft opinion is dated Feb. 10, 2022 and authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. I have two columns (in USA Today and The Hill) today on the opinion and the disgraceful leak from within the Court. The opinion is joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. It declares that “Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The opinion can change but the damage done to the Court as an institution will likely be lasting. This shattered a long tradition of the Court of strict secrecy and integrity in the handling of drafts.

The leak is the greatest crisis faced by Chief Justice John Roberts and the greatest security breach in the history of the Court. While leaks have appeared periodically on internal strife or issues on the Court, I cannot recall anything of this scale. Roe itself was the subject of leaks. The Washington Post did run some leaks the court’s internal deliberations. Then there was a premature disclosure of information hours before the formal release of the opinions. A few hours before the release, word got out on the holding of the Court. However, that all pales in comparison to the release of a draft opinion months in advance of the expected release. Chief Justice Roberts has confirmed the legitimacy of the draft and the launching of an investigation. The question is how the Court will proceed in the investigation. Anyone taking this deeply unethical act is likely to have taken steps to hide their tracks.

I would be surprised if there were a paper trail or email record. However, anyone who would take such a reckless act may have been equally reckless in the means used to violate the Court’s rules. If the culprit is a lawyer, disbarment would seem a virtual certainty. This person may be a hero in the eyes of some, but will remain a pariah in the eyes of any ethical lawyer. Yet, disbarment could be the least of the problems. If a suspect lies to the FBI, there could be prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Thus, the culprit will have to make a decision today of whether to radically increase the potential costs of this act. There are a relatively small number of individuals with access to these drafts. It is likely that the culprit will be contacted quickly with others by investigators. That will prove a critical moment that could transform an unethical into a criminal act.

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“Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment.”

The Irrational, Misguided Discourse On SCOTUS Controversies (Greenwald)

Alito’s draft is written as a majority opinion, suggesting that at least five of the Court’s justices — a majority — voted after oral argument in Dobbs to overrule Roe on the ground that it was “egregiously wrong from the start” and “deeply damaging.” In an extremely rare event for the Court, an unknown person with unknown motives leaked the draft opinion to Politico, which justifiably published it. A subsequent leak to CNN on Monday night claimed that the five justices in favor of overruling Roe were Bush 43 appointee Alito, Bush 41 appointee Clarence Thomas, and three Trump appointees (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett), while Chief Justice Roberts, appointed by Bush 43, is prepared to uphold the constitutionality of Mississippi’s abortion law without overruling Roe.

Draft rulings and even justices’ votes sometimes change in the period between the initial vote after oral argument and the issuance of the final decision. Depending on whom you choose to believe, this leak is either the work of a liberal justice or clerk designed to engender political pressure on the justices so that at least one abandons their intention to overrule Roe, or it came from a conservative justice or clerk, designed to make it very difficult for one of the justices in the majority to switch sides. Whatever the leaker’s motives, a decision to overrule this 49-year-old precedent, one of the most controversial in the Court’s history, would be one of the most significant judicial decisions issued in decades. The reaction to this leak — like the reaction to the initial ruling in Roe back in 1973 — was intense and strident, and will likely only escalate once the ruling is formally issued.

Every time there is a controversy regarding a Supreme Court ruling, the same set of radical fallacies emerges regarding the role of the Court, the Constitution and how the American republic is designed to function. Each time the Court invalidates a democratically elected law on the ground that it violates a constitutional guarantee — as happened in Roe — those who favor the invalidated law proclaim that something “undemocratic” has transpired, that it is a form of “judicial tyranny” for “five unelected judges” to overturn the will of the majority. Conversely, when the Court refuses to invalidate a democratically elected law, those who regard that law as pernicious, as an attack on fundamental rights, accuse the Court of failing to protect vulnerable individuals.

This by-now-reflexive discourse about the Supreme Court ignores its core function. Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment. The Founders wanted to establish a democracy that empowered majorities of citizens to choose their leaders, but also feared that majorities would be inclined to coalesce around unjust laws that would deprive basic rights, and thus sought to impose limits on the power of majorities as well.

Tucker Roe

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Not Bhattacharya’s best. There was never any reason to use untested vaccines, be they adenovector-based or mRNA.

Study Into mRNA Vaccine Death Rates Sends ‘Danger Signals’ (Bhattacharya)

Do the covid vaccines save lives? That is the question on many people’s minds, that has led to heated discussions across the world. A bombshell new study by a distinguished team of Danish researchers led by Prof. Christine Stabell-Benn suggests a surprisingly nuanced answer. In the randomized trials of the covid vaccines, the adenovector-based vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, reduced all-cause mortality of study participants relative to people randomly assigned a placebo. Indeed, the reduction in mortality is larger than expected from the Covid effect and may suggest additional beneficial “non-specific effects” from those vaccines against other health threats.

On the other hand, Stabell-Benn and her colleagues found no statistically meaningful evidence in the trial data that the mRNA vaccines reduced all-cause mortality. The numbers of deaths from other causes including cardiovascular deaths appear to be increased in this group, compensating for the beneficial effect of the vaccines on Covid. Stabell-Benn is keen to stress that the sample is relatively small and is calling for further investigation, and also that the study took place during very low levels of Covid, so the relative advantage of protection against Covid would have been smaller at that time compared to at other points in the pandemic.

However, these preliminary results stand in sharp contrast to the unambiguous message from public health agencies and governments worldwide, which granted emergency authorization to the vaccines based on evidence from the trials that the vaccines reduce the likelihood of getting symptomatic covid. From a purely scientific perspective, preventing symptomatic covid is an interesting outcome to study. From a public health perspective, prevention of covid symptoms is not as important as prevention of death or disease transmission, which the randomized trials did not study. Dr. Stabell Benn and her colleagues have now looked at overall mortality for the first time.

At the very least, the plain implication (since both sets of vaccines are available) is that public health authorities should have recommended the cheaper adenovector vaccines over the mRNA vaccines all along for most patients. In other words, the international move to de-authorise the AstraZeneca vaccine across Europe and elsewhere looks like it may have been a mistake, and that AZ was actually a better option than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. It offers a potential contributory explanation for the better overall mortality outcomes in the UK (which overwhelmingly used the AZ vaccine) than much of continental Europe (which phased out the AZ vaccine) after the vaccine programme in the second half of 2021.

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“..the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant..”

Face Mask Usage Correlates With Higher Death Rates (INN)

A new peer-reviewed study entitled: “Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe” has demonstrated that use of face masks, even widespread, did not correlate with better outcomes during the COVID epidemic, based on data from 35 European countries with populations of over one million people each, encompassing a total of 602 million people. The study noted that the average proportion of mask usage in the period investigated (October 2020 until March 2021) was 60.9% ± 19.9%. Governments and advisory bodies have recommended and often mandated the wearing of face masks in public spaces and in many areas mandates or recommendations remain in place, despite the fact, the study notes, that randomized controlled trials from prior to and during the epidemic have failed to show a benefit to the wearing of such masks with regard to COVID transmission.

“Positive correlation between mask usage and cases was not statistically significant,” the study also found, “while the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039).” That is to say, more mask usage correlated with a higher death rate. The study used a variety of statistical methods to study correlation but “none of these tests provided negative correlations between mask usage and cases/deaths … Surprisingly, weak positive correlations were observed when mask compliance was plotted against morbidity (cases/million) or mortality (deaths/million) in each country.”

The study also noted that the public may have gained the impression that masks could be helpful due to the fact that mandates were usually implemented after the first peak of COVID cases had passed. However, it became evident that masks were not in fact helpful later that same year, when widespread mask usage does not appear to have mitigated the severity of the COVID wave of winter 2020. “Moreover,” the study concludes, “the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.”

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‘Brands Should Force Twitter To Uphold Content Policies Under Musk’ (CNN)

Some of the nation’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Disney and Kraft are facing calls to boycott Twitter if the company’s soon-to-be owner, billionaire Elon Musk, rolls back content moderation policies limiting hate speech and election misinformation. In a letter sent to brands Tuesday ahead of the 2022 NewFronts digital advertising conference, more than two dozen civil society groups said marketers should secure commitments from Twitter to retain its most critical policies, including on civic integrity and hateful conduct, and threaten to withdraw funding if Twitter does not comply. “As top advertisers on Twitter, your brand risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists,” the letter said, adding: “Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account.”

In an investor filing Monday, Twitter told advertisers “we have no planned changes to our commitment to brand safety” but that the company “cannot speculate on changes Elon Musk may make post closing.” The letter, first reported by CNN, urges advertisers to make their next ad deals with Twitter contingent on changes to platform policy under Musk. It offers the latest example of how some advocacy groups have leaned on the immense power of corporate speech — and specifically digital advertising, the lifeblood of many tech platforms — in attempts to shape tech companies’ behavior. It leverages years of growing realizations by the ad industry that brands can face reputational damage if their ads appear next to white supremacist content or other harmful material.

Tuesday’s initiative bears echoes of a far-reaching advertising boycott in 2020 that saw companies ranging from Adidas to Starbucks pulling their ads from Facebook over what they said were its failures to keep hate speech from spreading. But unlike that campaign, the groups behind Tuesday’s letter said advertisers have a chance to be more proactive and strategic this time, because Musk has already telegraphed what he plans to do with Twitter. (The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder has pledged to restore “free speech” to the platform by, among other things, easing up on content removals and account bans. He also wants to “authenticate all real humans” on Twitter.)

As advertisers prepare to negotiate forward-looking contracts with Twitter this week during the NewFronts conference, they can preemptively protect themselves from any damage to their brands resulting from Musk’s eventual takeover, said Angelo Carusone, CEO of Media Matters for America, one of the organizations behind the letter. “If Elon Musk comes in and gets rid of all the brand safety protections, I think Coca-Cola should be able to cancel their contract,” Carusone said. “It would be very revealing if Twitter refuses to or does not sign or does not give those cancellation options.” Tuesday’s letter targeted other big-name advertisers, as well, including Apple, Best Buy and HBO — the last of which is owned by WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent.

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Clare Daly

 

 

 

 

Earth Day 2022: A Reading with Nate Hagens

 

 

 

 

 

 

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