Dec 112022

Paul Gauguin Tahitians at rest (unfinished) 1891


THE TWITTER FILES part 4: The Removal Of Donald Trump, Part 2 (ZH)
Elon Musk Should Probably Do A Little Housecleaning (NR)
Musk Forces A Free-Speech Reckoning For Politicians And Pundits (Turley)
US Republicans Pledge To ‘Roll Out Red Carpet’ For Musk (RT)
The EU Demands That The Balkans Pick The ‘Right’ Side (Marsden)
France And Germany Owe ‘Genocide Compensation’ To Donbass – Moscow (RT)
EU Nations Multiply Trade With Russia – RIA (RT)
Fascism in the EU (Vogel)
Catastrophic Losses, Failing Wonder Weapons, NATO Escalation (MoA)
Pentagon Gives Ukraine Green Light For Drone Strikes Inside Russia (Times)
Prejudice Against COVID-19 Unvaccinated Around the World (ET)
EU’s Oil Price Cap Creates a Price Cap… on Stupidity (Luongo)
Federal Judge Declines To Hold Trump In Contempt Of Court (Fox)
















Shellenberger’s format is hard to do in the Debt Rattle format.

THE TWITTER FILES part 4: The Removal Of Donald Trump, Part 2 (ZH)

On January 7, @jack emails employees saying Twitter needs to remain consistent in its policies, including the right of users to return to Twitter after a temporary suspension. After, Roth reassures an employee that “people who care about this… aren’t happy with where we are” Around 11:30 am PT, Roth DMs his colleagues with news that he is excited to share. “GUESS WHAT,” he writes. “Jack just approved repeat offender for civic integrity.” The new approach would create a system where five violations (“strikes”) would result in permanent suspension. “Progress!” exclaims a member of Roth’s Trust and Safety Team.

The exchange between Roth and his colleagues makes clear that they had been pushing @jack for greater restrictions on the speech Twitter allows around elections. The colleague wants to know if the decision means Trump can finally be banned. The person asks, “does the incitement to violence aspect change that calculus?” Roth says it doesn’t. “Trump continues to just have his one strike” (remaining). Roth’s colleague’s query about “incitement to violence” heavily foreshadows what will happen the following day.

On January 8, Twitter announces a permanent ban on Trump due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.” On J8, Twitter says its ban is based on “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted.” But in 2019, Twitter said it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.” The *only* serious concern we found expressed within Twitter over the implications for free speech and democracy of banning Trump came from a junior person in the organization. It was tucked away in a lower-level Slack channel known as “site-integrity-auto.”

“This might be an unpopular opinion but one off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t appear rooted in policy are imho a slippery slope… This now appears to be a fiat by an online platform CEO with a global presence that can gatekeep speech for the entire world…”

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Twitter thread by Name Redacted.

“They were ALL hired since @realDonaldTrump was elected.”

Elon Musk Should Probably Do A Little Housecleaning (NR)

1. @elonmusk , Your new company @Twitter has many ex FBI/CIA agents in high ranks. Should probably do a little housecleaning.
2. Kevin Michelena – current Twitter Sr. Corporate Security Analyst. Ex FBI Intelligence Analyst 12 years
3. Doug Hunt – current Twitter Senior Director. Ex FBI Special Agent 20 years.
4. Mark Jaroszewski – current Twitter Director Corporate Security/Risk. Ex FBI 20 years
5. Douglas Turner – current Twitter Senior Manager, Corporate and Executive Security Services. Ex FBI 14 years. Ex Secret Service 7 years.
6. Patrick G. – current Twitter Head of Corporate Security. Ex FBI Special Agent 23 years.
7. Karen Walsh – current Twitter Director – Corporate Resilience. Ex FBI Special Agent 21 years
8. Russell Handorf – current Twitter Senior Staff Technical Program Manager. Ex FBI 10 years.
9. Michael B. – current Twitter Senior Corporate Security Manager. Ex FBI 23 years.
10. Vincent Lucero – current Twitter Senior Security Manager. Ex FBI Special Agent 22 years.
11. Kevin L. – current Twitter Corporate Security Manager. Ex FBI Special Agent 25 years.
12. Matthew W. – current Twitter Senior Director of Product Trust, Revenue Policy, and Counsel Systems & Analytics. Ex FBI 15 years.
13. Claire O. – current Twitter Senior Corporate Security Analyst. Ex FBI 8 years.
14. Bruce A. – current Twitter Director, Corporate Security. Ex FBI 23 years.
15. Jeff Carlton – current Twitter Senior Manager. Ex FBI & CIA Intelligence Analyst 3 years.
16. What do all of these Twitter employees have in common? They were ALL hired since @realDonaldTrump was elected. Why, after Trump was elected, did Twitter hire over a dozen ex FBI/CIA agents and place them in Senior Management roles?
17. @elonmusk – how many “Jim Bakers” are imbedded in Twitter, possibly working against you? or…..”watching” you. I’d advise you to do some investigating and clean house.

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“Twitter executives were praised for their speed to impose “visibility filters” so the tweet could not be “replied to, shared, or liked..”

Musk Forces A Free-Speech Reckoning For Politicians And Pundits (Turley)

What these files suggest is an utter license to control political speech on social media platforms. Twitter executives often sound like overlords determining what the public should be allowed to read or say. This is hardly surprising, given the constant stroking by many politicians and pundits who say they are saving democracy by limiting free speech. In speaking to media figures in April, former President Barack Obama called upon “our better angels” to shape voters’ opinions. Similarly, President Joe Biden has said social media editors are vital to protecting citizens from their own misguided values or assumptions. Without enlightened editors, he asked, “How do people know the truth?” Such comments show total contempt for the ability of people to make up their own minds on subjects ranging from elections to vaccinations.

Yet social media executives readily embraced their role in framing “the truth.” Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal pledged to “focus less on thinking about free speech” and more on “who can be heard.” While some of us denounced his anti-free-speech agenda, others rose in defense of Twitter maintaining one of the largest censorship systems in history. Now, these Twitter files show precisely what it means to manipulate “who can be heard” — a process that went beyond controversial suspensions of users to include a broader, secret effort to suppress disfavored viewpoints. The new documents show Twitter using blacklists and “visibility filters” to interfere with user searches or to shadow-ban individuals and prevent their tweets from trending.

The new material also indicates that “visibility filtering” was directed at various Republican campaigns, throttling or reducing candidates’ visibility before the 2020 election. Most striking in the latest documents is how Twitter censors knowingly discarded even their own policies to hamper then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In one tweet, Trump referenced a mail-in voting problem in Ohio that was found to be true. Nevertheless, Twitter executives were praised for their speed to impose “visibility filters” so the tweet could not be “replied to, shared, or liked,” and the staff received a censorship “attaboy”: “VERY WELL DONE ON SPEED.”

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“This is an investigation of Joe Biden, and that’s where the committee will focus in this next Congress.”

US Republicans Pledge To ‘Roll Out Red Carpet’ For Musk (RT)

US Republicans want Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk to testify before the House Oversight Committee next year. By revealing how his predecessors censored stories damaging to the Biden family, Musk has already done “a great service” to the committee, incoming chairman Rep. James Comer told the New York Post. “I have reached out to Elon Musk through backchannels to tell him that we would love for him to come before the committee,” Comer told the newspaper. “I’m pretty confident he’s going to provide more information, but he is welcome to come before our committee. We will roll out the red carpet for Elon Musk.” In the final weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Twitter banned the sharing of links to a New York Post story sourced from a laptop belonging to then-candidate Biden’s son, Hunter.

The story, and later articles that followed, alleged that Hunter Biden potentially earned tens of millions of dollars introducing foreign contacts – among them Mexican, Chinese and Ukrainian businessmen – to his father. Documents released by Musk last week showed that some of Twitter’s former senior executives – including legal head Vijaya Gadde, safety chief Yoel Roth, and General Counsel Jim Baker – deliberately suppressed the story and removed election-related tweets on behalf of the FBI and other government agencies. Musk’s disclosures also revealed that Twitter moderators regularly deleted content at the request of “the Biden team,” and planned the suspension of Donald Trump’s account months in advance.

“[Musk is] doing a great service to the Oversight Committee and America by disclosing all of the emails and correspondence between the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee and Twitter,” Comer continued. He added that Gadde, Roth and Baker have all been summoned to testify about their role in the censorship operation. Comer and incoming House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan announced last month that they will lead a twin-track investigation into the Biden family’s foreign business dealings and the alleged politicization of the Justice Department by President Biden, when Republicans hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives in January. “I want to be clear,” Comer stated at the time. “This is an investigation of Joe Biden, and that’s where the committee will focus in this next Congress.”

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“Von der Leyen rhetorically dive bombed into the region this week, pointing out that the world is divided between autocracies and democracies and that the Balkans needed to pick a side.”

The EU Demands That The Balkans Pick The ‘Right’ Side (Marsden)

The Russia-Ukraine conflict reflects on the Balkans as a struggle between “autocracies and the law of the strongest” and “democracy and the rule of law”, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said during an EU-Western Balkans partnership summit in the Albanian capital Tirana this week. The last Balkan country to actually ascend to European Union membership was Croatia, in 2013. And this year, the Balkans have had to contend with the spectacle of Brussels gushing over Ukraine and rushing to grant Kiev candidate status. For context, it took Albania five years to receive candidate status (which it did in 2014). It took Serbia three years (a candidate since 2012) and Montenegro two years (a candidate since 2010).

Just imagine: You’ve been waiting years for Brussels to make a commitment, or to even show signs that it’s serious about the relationship, and suddenly it only has eyes for Kiev and seems to have forgotten about your existence.So it’s not exactly surprising that the citizens of these countries would start feeling like maybe the bloc simply isn’t marriage material. At the moment, 55% of North Macedonians have a negative view of the EU, while just 21% of Serbs see the EU positively and a majority of them are now against joining the bloc. Even in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, confidence in European institutions has recently dipped. So it makes sense that the EU is running over there now for a big summit, worried about someone else stealing their loyalty – specifically Russia or China.

Serbia is a big friend of Russia, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said recently that Belgrade’s ties with Albania and North Macedonia in particular have never been better – even though Albania has been viewed over the past couple of decades by the West as one of its staunchest allies, including militarily, by committing troops to its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Serbia isn’t onboard with the EU and its anti-Russian sanctions and agenda, refusing to march in lockstep with Brussels on its foreign policy towards Russia. Vucic refused to sign the summit’s Tirana Declaration, whose top clause referred to Russia’s “escalating war in Ukraine,” and reiterated his disagreement with the bloc’s sanctions policy.

It’s not a stretch to imagine that Brussels could see a threat to its anti-Russia agenda in all of this, or be concerned that other Balkan countries that followed the Western sanctions lead could feasibly start comparing their economic and energy challenges to Serbia’s situation, which still enjoys the benefits of cheap Russian gas, comprising about 85% of its gas imports. So how does the EU handle this powder keg? With all the subtlety of a hand grenade. Von der Leyen rhetorically dive bombed into the region this week, pointing out that the world is divided between autocracies and democracies and that the Balkans needed to pick a side. “We notice very clearly that the Ukraine war is not only Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine, but also a question of whether autocracies and the law of the strongest will prevail. Or whether democracy and the rule of law will prevail. And this struggle is also noticeable in the Western Balkans,” Von der Leyen said.

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“..Putin said he was disappointed and shocked when he heard Merkel’s statement, adding that this was further proof that Moscow made the correct decision when it started its military operation in Ukraine..”

France And Germany Owe ‘Genocide Compensation’ To Donbass – Moscow (RT)

Berlin and Paris should pay reparations to the Donbass civilians who have been suffering Ukrainian attacks since 2014, according to Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma – Russia’s lower house of parliament. His comments came after former German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the Minsk peace agreements had been just a ploy to provide Kiev with enough time to build up its military. Merkel’s confession means that Berlin and Paris – who brokered the deal – “bear moral and material responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine,” Volodin wrote on Telegram on Saturday.

The premeditated failure to fulfill obligations under the accords constitutes “not only a loss of trust, but also a crime for which the signatories of the Minsk agreements – Merkel, [former French president Francois] Hollande, and [former Ukrainian president Pyotr] Poroshenko – must answer,” he stated. “They will have to pay compensation to the residents of Donbass for eight years of genocide and damages,” Volodin added. According to the MP, the ongoing Ukraine crisis has been brought about by “the deceitful policies” pursued by the French and German leaders. Volodin recalled that in 2014, Berlin and Paris also brokered a deal between the government of the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the nation’s opposition to stop violent riots in Kiev. The unrest erupted in Ukraine’s capital after Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the EU.

“It all ended with a coup d’etat in Kiev,” he stated, and “the genocide” of people in the Donbass. When the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics broke away from Kiev, Germany and France took part in signing the now-defunct Minsk agreements, which were supposed to pave the way for peace by giving the two territories a special status within the Ukrainian state. However, Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of failing to implement the terms of the accords. Volodin’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was disappointed and shocked when he heard Merkel’s statement, adding that this was further proof that Moscow made the correct decision when it started its military operation in Ukraine.

Putin Merkel


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“Russia’s trade with Bulgaria and Greece reportedly soared 240% and 230% respectively..”

EU Nations Multiply Trade With Russia – RIA (RT)

Three quarters of EU member states boosted their trade turnover with Russia in the first eight months of 2022, RIA Novosti is reporting on Saturday, citing data collected from the bloc’s various national statistics departments. Russia’s trade with Bulgaria and Greece reportedly soared 240% and 230% respectively, while trade turnover with Slovenia doubled during January-to-August period this year. At the same time, Austria and the Czech Republic boosted their trade with the sanctions-hit nation by 80%. Meanwhile, Russia’s trade turnover with both Hungary and Italy surged 70%. Belgium and Cyprus also registered increases, of 60%. All-in-all, 20 out of the 27 bloc members saw a year-over-year increase of 34% in mutual trade with Russia.

In monetary terms the trade turnover surged to €177.3 billion compared to €132.4 billion recorded for the same period a year ago. At the same time, Russia’s mutual trade with Malta saw a dramatic decline of 80%, while both Denmark and Sweden reduced their trade with the nation by 49%. Luxembourg’s trade turnover with Russia also declined, by 28%. Drops in Russia’s mutual trade with Finland and Lithuania totalled 7% and 6% respectively. Portugal reduced its trade turnover with the nation by 3%. Trade between these seven countries and Moscow amounted to €14.2 billion, against €17.3 billion a year earlier.

As a result, Russia-EU trade turnover saw an increase of 28% in January-August 2022 compared to the same period a year ago, and amounted to €191.5 billion. Of these, EU exports to Russia totalled €36.2 billion, while imports from Russia amounted to €155.3 billion. Thus, the EU’s trade deficit for the first eight months of the current year amounted to €119.1 billion, reaching its highest since 2008, when it amounted to €151 billion for the entire year.

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“..filters out the vast majority of “crimethink.”

Fascism in the EU (Vogel)

Supreme command is in the hands of EU governments. Even though in most EU nations, the separation of powers is enshrined in the constitution, in practice that separation is not evident. Thus, EU governments are able to use a combination of often overtly abusive police action and the judicial system (judges also being dressed in black!) to subdue the citizenry and to control public opinion and public debate. The media, or the so-called free press, both private and public (with the alleged guarantees to ensure its impartiality, like in Germany), also plays a key role in controlling public opinion. Expressed in military terms, EU governments enjoy “full-spectrum dominance” in the entire public domain.

Under these conditions, it was not difficult to ban Russian media from the EU a few days after the beginning of the Russian Special Military Operation in the Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The few voices raised in protest against this massive and unprecedented censorship were easily silenced and suppressed. It is perhaps no coincidence that EU censorship was decreed by a German, namely the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Germany is the European nation that has enjoyed the longest continuous censorship and strict media control anywhere: ever since Hitler ended press freedom in 1933, the Germans have been living with controlled media and the curtailment of speech. Free speech has now been banned in Germany for almost a century! Today, the very policies first applied by the nazis have become the norm and standard all over the EU.

An essential tool for managing and controlling public debate is to ridicule and frame the opposition. Thus anybody who does not buy into the official narrative is branded a “hater,” “denier” or “conspiracy theorist.” On that account alone, it is suggested such people are unfit to participate in the public debate. If they do so nonetheless, sharper weapons are produced. In that case, it is stated the culprit has “dangerous ideas” or that he is a “potential terrorist.” As such he needs to be taken care of, for instance thrown in jail or subjected to psychiatric treatment. Numerous EU journalists and others saying unwelcome truths have been indicted, thrown in jail or interned in a psychiatric ward. In case someone proves particularly difficult to deal with, he is eliminated by way of a car accident, a “lone wolf” or a suicide.

Fortunately, those violent methods rather rarely need to be applied. State censorship with the help of the police and kangaroo courts takes care of most cases. And even before that, the maintaining of “community standards” on social media such as Facebook, Apple (I-phone), Google, Youtube, Instagram, Amazon (until recently, Twitter as well) and other platforms filters out the vast majority of “crimethink.”

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“A unit that has 50% casualties is usually no longer able to fight and must be replaced. But the Ukrainians leave their units on the frontline until nearly nobody is left in them.”

Catastrophic Losses, Failing Wonder Weapons, NATO Escalation (MoA)

Newsweek spoke with a ‘former’ U.S. Colonel who, together with ‘volunteers’, trains Ukrainian soldiers. Here is what he says about Ukrainian losses: “Bakhmut is like Dresden, and the countryside looks like Passchendaele,” he said, referring to the German city destroyed by allied bombing in World War II and the infamously muddy and bloody World War I battlefield. “It’s just a horrible and miserable place. Ukraine closely guards its casualty figures, but its forces are believed to be suffering badly around Bakhmut. “They’ve been taking extraordinarily high casualties,” Milburn said of the units training with Mozart. “The numbers you are reading in the media about 70 percent and above casualties being routine are not exaggerated.”

Despite their “tremendous morale,” Milburn said the defenders “have an acute ‘regeneration problem,’ which means getting new recruits into the line as quickly as possible.” This means those being thrown into the fight have little beyond basic training. “Typically about 80 percent of our intake who are coming off of the line have never even fired a weapon before,” Milburn said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” A unit that has 50% casualties is usually no longer able to fight and must be replaced. But the Ukrainians leave their units on the frontline until nearly nobody is left in them. So the number of 500 casualties per day on the Bakhmut front seems realistic. Over the last months the daily report of the Russian ministry of defense listed on average some 300 Ukrainian casualties per day.

But the ministry does not report the casualties from Bakhmut as the operations of the private military contractor Wagner are not included in it. So the daily total over the last month, despite little movement of the front lines, must have been some 800 dead Ukrainians. In the 30 days between the two maps at the top at least 24,000 Ukrainian soldiers have left the battle field. It is no wonder that such high numbers can not be replaced. The mix of dead or wounded will likely be 1 to 1 as medical evacuation from the frontline trenches is extremely difficult. Most wounded will just die there. It is not only the men that are lost. The equipment they used is mostly lost with them. 24,000 men are the equivalent of 6 to 7 NATO brigades. The German army has now only 8 of those.

When I was it that army it had 36 brigades plus significant reserve units. The same large downgrade happened with the general state of NATO. It is not ready for a war with Russia. The western wounder weapons have done little for Ukraine. The Russians have update their air defense systems to now detect and shoot down HIMARS missiles. They report some 10 to 20 of such kills per day. The shooting down of small and medium sized Ukrainian drones has dropped from 20-30 per day in the summer to 2-3 per day. Either the Ukrainians have run out of drones or the weather has made theirs unusable.

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Pentagon Gives Ukraine Green Light For Drone Strikes Inside Russia (Times)

The Pentagon has given a tacit endorsement of Ukraine’s long-range attacks on targets inside Russia after President Putin’s multiple missile strikes against Kyiv’s critical infrastructure. Since daily assaults on civilians began in October, the Pentagon has revised its threat assessment of the war in Ukraine. Crucially, this includes new judgments about whether arms shipments to Kyiv might lead to a military confrontation between Russia and Nato. This represents a significant development in the nine-month war between Ukraine and Russia, with Washington now likelier to supply Kyiv with longer-range weapons. “We’re still using the same escalatory calculations but the fear of escalation has changed since the beginning,” a US defence source told The Times.

“It’s different now. This is because the calculus of war has changed as a result of the suffering and brutality the Ukrainians are being subjected to by the Russians.” Washington is now less concerned that new long-range strikes inside Russia could lead to a dramatic escalation. Moscow’s revenge attacks have to date all involved conventional missile strikes against civilian targets. Previously, the Pentagon was warier of Ukraine attacking Russia because it feared the Kremlin would retaliate either with tactical nuclear weapons or by targeting neighbouring Nato nations. However, Washington does not want to be seen publicly giving the green light to Kyiv attacking Russian soil.

Its position on Ukraine’s attacks inside Russia was defined this week by Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, who said: “We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia.” However, a US defence source said: “We’re not saying to Kyiv, ‘Don’t strike the Russians [in Russia or Crimea]’. We can’t tell them what to do. It’s up to them how they use their weapons. But when they use the weapons we have supplied, the only thing we insist on is that the Ukrainian military conform to the international laws of war and to the Geneva conventions. “They are the only limitations but that includes no targeting of Russian families and no assassinations. As far as we’re concerned, Ukraine has been in compliance.”

Within these limited constraints laid down by the Pentagon, Kyiv is now adopting a more aggressive, more persistent offensive against targets inside Russia. Ukraine has been careful to use its own drones, not US-supplied weapons, to carry out the strikes. The drones, based on Soviet Tupolev TU-141 Strizh surveillance systems developed in the 1970s, have been reprogrammed to give them longer range and a sizeable munition for launching at low altitude. The modified TU-141s were deployed this week in three raids against military bases 300 miles inside the Russian border and on fuel tanks about 80 miles across the Ukrainian border, in each case evading air defences. The drones can fly at 600mph at low altitude, like cruise missiles.

Putin counter strike

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Prejudice Against COVID-19 Unvaccinated Around the World (ET)

[..] participants were presented with brief descriptions of a series of fictitious individuals and asked to imagine that these are people whom one of their close relatives intends to marry. They were shown two profiles at a time, side by side, and asked to rate each profile by saying whether they agree or disagree with statements such as, “I would be unhappy if this person married one of my close relatives,” and “I think this person is untrustworthy.” One of the six attributes describing these targeted individuals has been their COVID-19 vaccination status, randomly varying between “fully vaccinated” and “unvaccinated.” The other attributes were age, occupation, hobbies, personality, and “family background,” which distinguished between people “born and raised in [the respondent’s country]” and people who “immigrated from the Middle East.”

Across six countries—Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, South Africa, and the United Kingdom—selected to represent both affluent Western and developing non-Western nations, the unvaccinated were found to be disliked among vaccinated people (14 percentage points) as much as people with drug addiction (15 percentage points), and significantly more so than people who had been in prison (10 percentage points), atheists (7 percentage points), or people with mental illness (6 percentage points). In addition, the overall dislike of the unvaccinated among vaccinated people (13 percentage points) was found to be two and a half times greater than that of Middle Eastern immigrants (5 percentage points).

In fact, according to the paper, unvaccinated people face significantly more hostility than immigrants even in 10 countries that are deemed unfriendly to immigrants. Interestingly, discriminatory attitudes against unvaccinated Middle Eastern immigrants were found to be just as strong as those toward unvaccinated natives. By contrast, researchers found that the unvaccinated respondents on average showed almost no discriminatory attitudes toward the vaccinated. “The results demonstrate that prejudice is mostly one-sided,” the authors wrote. “Only in [the] United States and Germany do we find that the unvaccinated feel some antipathy towards the vaccinated. But even here we do not find statistical evidence in favor of negative stereotyping or exclusionary attitudes.”

“The observation that vaccinated individuals discriminate against those who are unvaccinated, but that there is no evidence for the reverse, is consistent with work on the psychology of cooperation,” said leading author Alexander Bor, a political psychologist at the George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU).

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“..Janet Yellen may be stupid, but she’s not that stupid. She knows what this price cap she’s championed will do..”

“..push capital investment into competing energy technologies — like nuclear, hydrogen and unicorn farts.”

EU’s Oil Price Cap Creates a Price Cap… on Stupidity (Luongo)

The EU and the US went forward with their long-debated, long-telegraphed move to put a price cap on Russian oil at $60 per barrel. By believing they can pressure suppliers into not hauling Russian oil lest they run afoul of the sanctions that support the price cap, they believe they can take only Russian oil off the market for the long run. Because of the way oil is actually traded in the real world, versus the way it trades in Janet Yellen’s head, this policy is actually much harder to implement than it actually looks. You don’t buy oil at the crude oil counter at Target or Wal-Mart. There isn’t a price tag you can look at and say yes or no too. As Tsvetana Paraskova at Oilprice points out, crude contracts are written based on a discount or premium to a benchmark price at a particular moment in time.

“Physical traders rarely trade on a fixed price,” John Driscoll, chief strategist at JTD Energy Services Pte Ltd, told Bloomberg. “It’s a much more complex space where they trade on formulas and spot differentials to a benchmark crude for the trading of actual cargoes as well as for hedging that follows,” said Driscoll, who has more than 30 years of trading oil in Singapore. To complicate things further, the EU wants to remain flexible to change the cap at its discretion. “The price cap is not set in stone – it “is fixed for now but adjustable over time,” the EU said last week. If this sounds like a recipe for complete disaster, it is. No matter what happens here, the quantity of oil to be produced under this cap, even if it isn’t successful, will go down. Period. See chart below. If you disagree with this then you might just qualify to replace Yellen as Treasury Secretary of the US.

That said, Janet Yellen may be stupid, but she’s not that stupid. She knows what this price cap she’s championed will do. So, as always, with these people the question you shouldn’t be asking isn’t, “Will this work?” or “How will Russia respond?” but rather, “Is this the point of the exercise?” [..] If everyone involved knows that price floors and price ceilings always and without fail create production shortages, then why did they do this when the world clearly need more oil? Because this is a feature of the policy, not a bug. By doing this, like every other intervention into oil delivery since the start of the war in Ukraine, the goal was to take Russia’s supply offline and hope that other producers would see the opportunity to take market share from the evil Russians while simultaneously trying to push capital investment into competing energy technologies — like nuclear, hydrogen and unicorn farts.

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The Mar-a-Lago invasion.

Federal Judge Declines To Hold Trump In Contempt Of Court (Fox)

A federal judge has declined to take action to hold former President Trump in contempt of court during a closed-door hearing on Friday, according to two sources with knowledge of the proceedings. Friday’s hearing was in relation to a federal probe into Trump’s handling of classified material at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. Judge Beryl Howell urged lawyers from the Department of Justice and Trump’s team to work out the matter on their own during a 90-minute meeting in a Washington, D.C., federal court. The Justice Department has become increasingly frustrated with lawyers for Trump over the past few months for allegedly failing to comply with a subpoena asking for classified documents in Trump’s possession to be returned, sources tell Fox News.

[..] Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was the subject of a search warrant executed in August by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, where classified documents were allegedly found to have been in his possession. Steven Cheung, senior communications adviser to Trump, told Fox News Digital that the former president and his lawyers will continue to cooperate. “The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of Justice. Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 emails after they were subpoenaed by Congress, yet absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. If the Department of Justice can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with. President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement,” Cheung said.

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Gonzalo – Unconditional Surrender Is Now Russia’s Goal



Judge Nap/ Macgregor



Chief John Smith, a Chippewa Native American who was reputed to be 137 years old when he died.



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service @USFWS
Important announcement: We’re designating the northern cardinal as the best holiday season bird. It just makes sense and we won’t be taking any questions at this time. Thank you.



Pigeon cat



Striped Indian mackerels open their cavernous mouths as they swim, sieving zooplankton with gill rakers like a net. Photo Alex Mustard.





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Aug 012022
 August 1, 2022  Posted by at 8:14 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »

Salvador Dali The knight of death 1934



If you’re Chinese or Russian, and you watch videos of the top three “most powerful” people in the US, Biden, Kamala and Pelosi, what do you think? You think all three are incoherent and should not be anywhere near any decisive, let alone nuclear, lever.

If you’re anybody anywhere, and you look at the top three “most powerful” people in the world, Xi, Putin and Biden, what do you think? You think two of them have got it together (nothing to do with you liking them or not), and one can’t even read coherently from a teleprompter.

Nowhere near half of Americans understand these two things to be true, but probably some 90% of Chinese and Russians do, as well as a vast majority of people in other non-US/NATO/EU countries.

Another threesome: Sergei Lavrov (Russia), Tony Blinken (US) and Liz Truss (UK) are all foreign ministers (or Secretaries of State, give the beast a name). Who would you trust to represent your own interests best in the field of diplomacy? It’s not even a question, is it? If the US or UK had a Lavrov, he would be their man (he would most likely decline). But they don’t. The US has a nobody (they have lots of those!) in the role, and the UK has someone with zero qualifications who dreams of getting the top job.

The world outside of the G7 or G20 (give the wheel a spin) sees this happening. Is it any wonder they clamor to be part of BRICS? The “collective west” is fast finishing off itself, and yes, you’re right, that is a dangerous moment. It’s also why it very much looks like the “collective west” is trying to open a second theater of war in Europe. One that looks a lot like the one they opened in Ukraine. And the EU, to its utter shame, does nothing to prevent this from happening – on its “own” soil!.

I know, there’s Crazy Nancy on her way to Taipei as well as we speak, we’ll get to that yet. Imagine: you’re 80-odd years old, and you want your legacy to be WWIII. Not your grandchildren, but live nukes. Just imagine that.

Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia was recognized by the “main Western powers” in 2008. But not China, Russia, or the UN!. Not too long after Bill Clinton’s NATO bombed the heebeejeebees out of former Yugoslavia in 1990. Just because they could. Today, the US -and NATO- try to use a tiny sliver of former Yugoslavia to ignite a major fire in Europe, a second fire besides Ukraine.

Kosovo is the size of half a postage stamp, only two US states are smaller, Rhode Island and Delaware. 1.8 million people live there, it’s like one NYC borough. But you can use the historic hatred to rekindle the flames. Right, Blinken? Well, turns out there are still some Serbs living in Kosovo, because that’s where they grew up.

The brilliant Kosovo PM now has the fantastic idea to start a fight with these Serbs, over the fact that their cars have Serb license plates and they themselves have Serb IDs, a whole 14(!) years later. Yeah, that’s worth a fight, obviously.

So America’s “top diplomat” Blinken invited Kosovo president Osmani and PM Albin Kurti to DC last week.



I’ll let some people other than me explain this to you. First, political analyst Alexandar Pavic:

In Kosovo As In Ukraine, The Same Western ‘Invisible Hand’ Foments Conflict

In addition to the conflict in Ukraine, Europe is now faced with the prospect of renewed conflict in Kosovo, Serbia’s breakaway province (officially named Kosovo and Metohija according to the Serbian constitution). Kosovo’s unilateral secession was recognized by the main Western powers in 2008. This came nine years after NATO’s attack on Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, after which NATO forces occupied the province and helped install an ethnic Albanian-led government dominated by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army terrorist organization.

The current crisis was triggered by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, who initially wanted to force the majority Serb population in the north of the region to accept Kosovan license plates and ID papers starting from August 1, and to ban entry to the province or issue temporary papers to travelers with Serbian-issued plates and documents.

Kurti attempted a similar stunt in September 2021, triggering a crisis where local Serbs in northern Kosovo organized roadblocks and Kosovo police reportedly beat up and intimidated Serb civilians, while the authorities in Belgrade put the Serbian military on high alert and ordered overflights by fighter planes over the administrative border between Serbia proper and Kosovo. The EU eventually brokered a temporary agreement, pending a final deal that was supposed to have been reached by April 2022, under EU auspices. However, nothing has come of that.

From Kosovo to Ukraine, it seems there’s a pattern regarding agreements in which Western powers have a hand. Since the start of this year’s special military operation in Ukraine, Russian officials have repeated time and again that the West had never pressed Kiev to fulfill its part of the 2015 Minsk 2 peace agreement, intended to end Kiev’s standoff with the Donbass republics. Recently, former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko openly admitted that Ukraine never intended to fulfill the agreement but was merely buying time until it could build up an army capable of overrunning Donbass.

The situation with Kosovo is not much different. The EU brokered an agreement between Pristina and Belgrade in April 2013, the so-called Brussels Agreement, by which Serbia was supposed to dismantle its “parallel” police and judicial structures in Kosovo and convince the Kosovo Serbs to accept integration into the Kosovo police and legal system, without recognizing the territory’s independence. And the Belgrade authorities did this, despite a large public outcry over the move.


However, there was a second part to the agreement, by which Pristina was obligated to form an Association of Serb Municipalities, with substantial local powers and ties to Serbia proper. The Albanian part of the Brussels Agreement has not been fulfilled to the present day. Or, as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic noted on July 31, that 3,390 days have passed since the Brussels Agreement was signed, and still no sign of the Association.

As in the case of Ukraine, the collective West has put absolutely zero pressure on the side it supports to fulfill its part of a signed international agreement. And again, as in the case of Ukraine, this has encouraged Pristina to take an increasingly belligerent stance, which may very well lead to a more serious conflict.

There’s an additional ingredient to the Kosovo mix, thanks to the Ukraine conflict. Namely, the Serbs – both in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina – stand practically alone among European peoples in refusing to join Western sanctions against Russia, and in consistently demonstrating open support for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. As a result, the government in Belgrade has been under constant, increasing pressure by the main Western capitals, as well as the EU and NATO, to change its policy and join the West’s collective economic suicide.

Since Belgrade has proven to be a tough nut for the West to diplomatically crack when it comes to opposing Russia, it’s not at all far-fetched to imagine that the Kosovo Albanians just might be seen by the West as a useful tool by which to additionally turn the screws on Belgrade. In the same cynical way in which the unfortunate Ukrainians are being used to pressure and weaken Russia.


Next, from RT, about Richard Grenell. No love lost on my part about him, but he did negotiate a bunch of peace deals, and knows the territory much better than Blinken.

Trump’s Kosovo Envoy Slams US Over Crisis

Richard Grenell, who negotiated a Kosovo-Serbia deal under the Trump administration after a turn in charge of the US intelligence community, blamed the “reckless” prime minister in Pristina for the renewed tensions with Belgrade on Sunday and slammed the State Department for enabling him. “What’s happening in the Balkans isn’t Russia. Whoever says this to you is trying to manipulate you,” Grenell tweeted on Sunday evening. “This is about Albin Kurti trying once again to give it [to] Serbia. He is living in the past.”

“The people of Kosovo want peace and jobs, Albin. Stop picking fights,” Grenell added. Serbian military was placed on high alert and local Serbs put up roadblocks earlier in the day, after Kosovo police showed up at two administrative crossings with Serbia, intending to enforce Kurti’s decision to confiscate Serbian license plates and documents. This would have effectively cut off the remaining Serbs living in the north of the breakaway province.

According to Grenell, this was all about Kurti “making unilateral moves to reject Serbian IDs and license plates inside Kosovo,” which he called “unnecessary.” Describing the PM a “far left radical and experienced fascist,” Grenell further called his actions “foolish” and “reckless,” and urged Serbian leaders to “not take the bait.” “Even the Albanians know Kurti is the problem,”Grenell tweeted. He also blamed Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Kurti and Kosovo president Vjosa Osmani earlier in the week.

US President Joe Biden has “ignored the Balkans,” the envoy added, pointing out that he had negotiated multiple agreements between Kosovo and Serbia under President Donald Trump, trying to overcome the conflict through economic cooperation. Grenell also accused the EU of orchestrating war crimes charges against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci to punish him for working with Trump – resulting in Kurti and Osmani taking power.

And then Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

Why Are Serbia And Kosovo On The Brink Of War Again?

Tensions between Belgrade and Pristina occur regularly, as a result of the fact that the Kosovo issue has not been resolved since 1999, when the province de facto gained independence after the US-led NATO campaign against the former Yugoslavia. However, this time there is a risk of more or less routine friction escalating into a dangerous conflict, because the context has changed dramatically.

The problem of Kosovo was solved at the end of the twentieth century in strict accordance with the then dominant approach, and in the seeming absence of an alternative. Disputes in most of Europe (ie. outside the former USSR) were settled according to the EU’s ideas of fairness, and where they could not be worked out amicably, pressure was exerted on those who rebelled, up to the use of military force (primarily American, as always).

[..] it was the EU that regulated the processes taking place locally, and, in general, this setup was taken for granted. Moreover, other powers which have been traditionally active and important in the Balkans – Russia and Turkey – indicated their presence (sometimes quite clearly), but did not pretend to have a decisive voice in the way things were arranged. This framework also defined the room to maneuver for the countries of the region, including those who were most loudly dissatisfied, like Serbia.

Now two main circumstances have changed. First, the EU is in such a vulnerable state that it is not ready to take full responsibility for the extremely complex political situation in its immediate periphery. It cannot promise membership, and more precisely – even if such a pledge were made, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

The EU’s management of the central Balkan problems – in Bosnia and Kosovo – has not led to the desired outcome over the past quarter of a century. Thus, it’s all the less likely that it will work out now. Because the second circumstance is that Russia and the West (the EU plus the US and NATO) are in a state of acute confrontation.

As a result, there is no reason to expect Moscow’s assistance in resolving the situation (be it Kosovo or Bosnia). Right now, the West’s favorite practice of “selective interaction” (we work together with Russia where we need it, we refuse to engage on other issues) can no longer be applied. There will be no cooperation: Russia and the West will be on opposite sides of the barricades everywhere, no matter the issue at hand. We are in a systemic cold war. And this reality can greatly influence what will happen in the Balkans.

The question is to what extent regional actors have retained their passion for showdown, revenge or expansion. There are suspicions that this zeal has been exhausted and emasculated. But if it still burns, then external forces will enter the fray this time, supporting opposing sides.

Blinken et al, which very much includes his EU counterparts, see the past struggles in the Balkans as something they can reignite at their convenience today. The initial boundaries are simple. Russia will come to the aid of Serbia. Kosovo will appeal to Albania. And then to NATO. So the idea is you got this hot cauldron, with 5-6-15 nations, and NATO can do whatever it wants in there.

But NATO has no chance in Ukraine, and it doesn’t have one in Kosovo. But it can ship billions worth of weapons in there and pay Raytheon. Problem I see with this genius plan is that Russia saw it coming from lightyears away. And that is the same issue as the difference between Lavrov and Blinken: they may have the same job title, but there’s no comparison.




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Nov 092015
 November 9, 2015  Posted by at 1:33 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »

Giles Duley Afghan boy lands on Lesvos Nov 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel needs to do something, urgently, that should have been done months- if not more- ago. There has to be a UN emergency summit on the European refugee crisis, it has to involve leaders at the very highest levels, and it has to take place within weeks at the latest. Or else.

Of course any leader could call for the summit, and if Merkel waits too long -as she is wont to do- someone else should. But she is the best person for the job. No-one else who leads an entire continent looks ready to take this on, and moreover it’s her own country that quite possibly faces the gravest consequences of the crisis.

That is to say, for now Germany still comes in way after Greece in that regard, but if Alexis Tsipras would attempt to call such a summit, his appeal would fall on deaf ears, and at best lead to lots of international Merkel-style diddling (or ‘Merkeln’, as the Germans put it). And there’s already been far too much of that.

The renewed urgency comes from a number of directions. First, the continuing drownings of refugees in the Aegean sea. The lack of urgency with which those drownings have been met has become a huge and immediate threat to Merkel, if only because the entire European project has already died with the babies washing up on the shores of Greece.

Even if it will take a long time for people to recognize that, given the ideological ‘union’ blindness that pervades Brussels and European capitals. Angela’s legacy risks being not only her responsibility for thousands of deaths, but also the very demise of the EU. And that’s just for starters.

Secondly, It was Merkel herself last week who warned of renewed military conflicts in the Balkans if the approach to the refugee crisis wouldn’t change, and rapidly.

According to Merkel, if Balkan countries -continue to- build fences and razor wire barriers at their borders, one after the other, some countries risk ‘getting stuck’ with huge numbers of refugees on their territories that they are not in the least prepared for. Which makes Friday’s German announcement, mere days after Merkel’s warning, all the more ominous:

Germany Imposes Surprise Curbs On Syrian Refugees

Angela Merkel has performed an abrupt U-turn on her open-door policy towards people fleeing Syria’s civil war, with Berlin announcing that the hundreds of thousands of Syrians entering Germany would not be granted asylum or refugee status. Syrians would still be allowed to enter Germany, but only for one year and with “subsidiary protection” which limits their rights as refugees. Family members would be barred from joining them.

[..] the interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, announced that Berlin was starting to fall into line with governments elsewhere in the EU, who were either erecting barriers to the newcomers or acting as transit countries and limiting their own intake of refugees.

[..] the suddenness of the move by the country that has been pivotal in the EU’s biggest ever immigration crisis will ripple across the region with unknown consequences, particularly in the transit countries of the Balkans and central Europe through which hundreds of thousands have been trekking towards Germany.

The German curbs will encourage these countries to establish barriers of their own to the refugee wave. Merkel is also pressing countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia to establish “reception centres” or camps where refugees can be processed and screened before they reach Germany. The countries are resisting because no one knows what to do with those who are screened and do not pass muster for passage to Germany.

Around the same time that Germany pressures Balkan countries to establish ‘reception centers’, it votes down plans for ‘transit zones’ on its own territory. Some are more equal than others? Berlin had better beware.

The third ‘urgency’, curiously downplayed by media and politics, comes in the shape of a warning by the EU itself, albeit “buried in a 204-page report on the future of the European economy”.

European Union Predicts 3 Million More Refugees By End Of Next Year

The European Union predicted Thursday that up to 3 million additional asylum seekers could enter the 28-member bloc by the end of next year, suggesting the staggering pace of new arrivals in recent months shows no sign of abating. The forecast, buried in a 204-page report on the future of the European economy..

The EU expects 3 million refugees in 2016. This year, there will be ‘only’ 1 million. Of which resettlement deals have been made for 160,000, and at last count 116 have actually been resettled. Somebody better start taking this serious, or it will get very terribly out of hand. And that’s not to say it hasn’t already, with well over 3000 refugees having drowned in the Mediterranean, hundreds of them children.

This is a humanitarian disaster that nobody’s willing to recognize as one, and that is exactly what has to stop. The reason why this prediction is hushed up across the board is of course obvious: the 1 million refugees in 2015 have already strained resources, international relationships and indeed entire governments to such an extent, wars could start just because of that.

Add another 3 million, and the chances of a peaceful 2016 in Europe grow terribly slim. But not talking about it will of course slim down those chances further. And even if the total of 4 million refugees expected by the end of next year will be less than 1% of the EU’s 500 million population, someone better do something fast, or else.

The fact that Europe risks being strained to the point of military conflict, and there’s precious little reason to doubt Angela Merkel’s assessment of the situation, means that what needs to be done is to make the entire world aware that this is a global issue, not a regional one. And that’s where the UN emergency summit comes in.

Obviously, Germany is overwhelmed right now. But doing a U-turn on the open-door policy is not going to solve that problem. It will merely shift it, either within Germany itself, or towards the Balkan countries the refugees travel through to come to the Bundesrepublik.

Decision making by the EU Brussels has failed shamefully. And not only on the refugee crisis. But since Merkel is the no. 1 voice of power in Europe, that puts the shame on her as well. As we’ve said before, the only way to handle an issue such as this, is to put the people first.

You can’t let the people, the children, drown at random and expect to come away with your positions intact. And just because international politics these days focuses a lot on trying to deflect responsibilities by pointing to others, and to international bodies, blood on one’s hands doesn’t wash off easily, and in the end not at all.

Blaming the refugees themselves, as the head of EU border agency Frontex attempted once again by labeling them , is as useless as it is disgraceful. People fleeing war zones to save their lives are not ‘illegals’.

Blaming the ‘smugglers’, an even more popular EU pastime, makes no sense either. If the smugglers were Europe’s biggest concern, it would grant safe passage to refugees. That would stop ‘smuggling’ in one fell swoop. But it would demand a level of political courage that nobody, not Merkel either, possesses.

What drives policies across the board still comes down to the prevailing wish, fed to European populations by media and politics, to keep things as they are. To maybe invite the token refugee, but to prevent sudden or large changes in the society people happen to live in.

And while that may be understandable, it doesn’t mean it’s always realistic. Sometimes change is inevitable. We may find it easier to accept that when it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes than in the case of mass migrations, but all of these are regular occurrences throughout history. In the end, all we can do is make the best of it, in the most humane way we know of, or descend into mayhem.

One more thing that needs repeating time and again though politicians won’t like it: Europe’s leadership knew the refugee problem was coming. Angela Merkel was warned by her Bundespolizei at least eight months ago, but there were warnings even way before that. Everyone just chose to ignore them.

Refugee Crisis Was Not Unexpected, Top UN Official Says

Director-General of the United Nations office in Geneva, Denmark’s Michael Moller: [..] “The crisis we have today, we knew it was going to happen. The leaders of Europe were told it was going to happen at least two years ago.”

[..] there will be even greater problems, unless we sit down globally and figure out structures and ways to deal with this in the future. Not to reinvent the wheel every time that happens, but to rethink completely and strengthen the humanitarian system, because I guarantee you that it will happen again.

Moller say the same thing I do: “we need to sit down globally”. He doesn’t provide a timeframe, but between the lines it’s clear he doesn’t think either that there’s time to waste. A UN emergency summit may be all that stands between us and ‘anarchy’, in one way and shape or the other.

This summit must include the presidents and prime ministers of all major nations (and please leave out the EU). Obama, Putin, Xi Jinping and Merkel, but also the leaders of Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon (where the majority of Syrian refugees are) and all Balkan countries. Countries like Canada, Brazil and Australia can and must be called upon to grant asylum to many more refugees than they do now.

In this week’s issue of the New Yorker, George Packer describes how America took in more than a million refugees from South East Asia in one year 35 years ago, and how it can and should make such an effort once more:

America’s Apathy About The Syrian Refugees

[..].. the U.S. has accepted fewer than two thousand Syrians. In September, President Obama announced an increase in the quota for the coming year to ten thousand. That figure represents just half the monthly total of Indochinese refugees brought here in 1980. One refugee advocate called it “an embarrassingly low number.” And yet even this humble goal is unlikely to be reached.

The world has a narrow window left to prevent an already grave humanitarian disaster into something much worse, to prevent antagonism and military action that will set loose the evil genies of the Pandora’s box that is Europe’s past, once again, and genies of surrounding regions too. There is no need for that. Not yet.

The world, united in such a summit, must also look beyond the refugee crisis, and, as the UN’s Moller says, “rethink completely and strengthen the humanitarian system”. Because there are other dangers on the horizon, potentially much worse. Climate refugees are an obvious one, but even more, there’s the economic downturn nobody seems to be willing to acknowledge (at their own peril).

As I wrote a week ago, in an article quoted by Zero Hedge on Wednesday in their piece on German opposition parties warning of a domestic civil war:

Europe Will Never Be The Same; Neither Will The World

Ignorance and denial threatens to lead to a needless increase in nationalism, fascism, violence, misery, death and warfare. If we were to acknowledge that the change is inevitable, and prepare ourselves accordingly, much of this could be avoided.

There are two main engines of change that have started to transform the Europe we think we know. First, a mass migration spearheaded by the flight of refugees from regions in the world which Europeans have actively helped descend into lethal chaos. Second, an economic downturn the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 80 years or so (think Kondratieff cycle).

Negative ideas about refugees are already shaping everyday opinion and politics in many places, and this will be greatly exacerbated by the enormous economic depression that for now remains largely hidden behind desperate sleight-of-hands enacted by central bankers, politicians and media.

There are fine theories around coming from fine people, on how refugees can benefit a host country’s economic systems. But they are the kind of people who are perpetually looking at economic growth. And no such growth is guaranteed – to put it awfully mildly.

Therefore, it doesn’t really matter to the issue if refugees do or do not contribute ‘positively’ to a country’s economics, because all countries are facing a giant slowdown and depression caused by an inevitable debt deflation. And that makes it all the more urgent for people, and societies, to be prepared for all possible outcomes, including worst case scenarios.

The depression is guaranteed, and so are millions more people fleeing the ruins that were ones their homes, and their hopes for a decent future for their children.

Every day that Merkel loses in calling this highest-level, highest-urgency, UN summit, is a day that more people will drown. And that means one more day that we all will lose more of our own humanity, and of our claims for others to show us theirs.

In our own way, we’re all already drowning and washing up devoid of life, and of human values, somewhere on a cold and lonely distant beach.