Sep 202022
 
 September 20, 2022  Posted by at 8:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Salvador Dali Cadaques 1923

 

Russia Is Seeking Swift End To Ukraine Conflict – Turkey (RT)
Ukraine is Not a New Afghanistan (Batiushka)
German Politician Predicts Fate Of Nord Stream 2 (RT)
< Germany Boosting Russian Imports – Trade Mission (RT)
The European Union Is About to Rupture (Malinen)
French Warned Of Winter Blackouts (RT)
Dire Winter Scenario In Sight For EU (RT)
UN Chief Supports Moscow’s Aid Proposal (RT)
The Unintended Consequences Of The EU Energy Emergency Plan (OP)
Ukraine Claims Missile Hit Area Near Nuclear Power Plant (RT)
Why the World Economic Forum’s Plutocracy Should Be Dissolved (Shurk)
Whistleblower: FBI Uses Jan. 6 Cases To Create Illusion Of National Crisis (JTN)
A Walk on the Wild Side (Kunstler)
Why So Many Cling to Covid Panic (Oshinskie)

 

 

At least hundreds of Canadians have posted their life stories with the #TrudeauMustGo hashtag. He now calls them Putin puppets. It’s hard to show less respect for your own people. Twitter is now shadowbanning the hashtag.

 

 

 

 

Devine

 

 

 

 

Veneto, the richest region in Italy.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1570650331595542528

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erdogan the peacemaker. Lovely.

Russia Is Seeking Swift End To Ukraine Conflict – Turkey (RT)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin wants to see a swift conclusion to the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday in an interview with the PBS NewsHour program. Erdogan said he held “extensive meetings with Putin in Uzbekistan” during last week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. “I realized that they are actually trying to finish this as soon as possible. This situation is a big problem,” the Turkish leader said, referring to the conflict in Ukraine. Erdogan, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, said he wants Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to talk directly, in order to find a solution to the conflict, which has been underway since late February. “We have a persistent desire to bring these leaders together. Let’s bring them together. I want to hear everything from them. We haven’t succeeded yet, but I’m not without hope,” he stated.


The Turkish president claimed to have told both Putin and Zelensky that a negotiated end to the fighting is needed because “nobody will be winning at the end of the day.” The Kremlin earlier said the Russian and Ukrainian leaders should only meet to sign concrete agreements prepared for them by their negotiators. Turkey has maintained contacts with both Moscow and Kiev throughout the hostilities. It condemned the use of force by Russia, but at the same time refused to join the international sanctions against Moscow and continued dealing with the country. Ankara was also involved in the UN-brokered deal to allow export of grain from the Ukrainian ports, achieved between Russia and Ukraine in July. Russia recently complained that the part of the agreement, which calls for removing obstacles for shipments of its food products, remained unfulfilled by Western countries.

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“There’s an east wind coming all the same. Such a wind as never blew…. It will be cold and bitter….and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

– His Last Bow, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, October 1917

Ukraine is Not a New Afghanistan (Batiushka)

[..] we have two quite different and incomparable countries: Afghanistan at the centre [of the Eurasian Heartland] and the Ukraine on the Western margins – which is what its very name means. The Afghans live in inaccessible mountains, the Ukrainians on open steppes. The Afghans have a very strong identity, even if, like other mountain-dwellers, as in the Scottish Highlands or the Swiss Alps, they are divided into fiercely different and warring tribal clans and different languages according to the valley they live in. However, the Ukrainians in their open land are swayed one way and another, largely depending on who makes the best offer, on what way the wind blows and the tide flows.

The USA has constantly tried to chip off, occupy and control marginal pieces of Eurasia, islands like Iceland, the British Isles and Ireland, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan, peninsulas like South Korea, South Vietnam and Western Europe. In 1975 it was humiliated and chased out of South-East Asia when Saigon was at last liberated. Other areas it occupies, like Taiwan and Korea, are under threat. In 2021, after it had dared to occupy not a marginal area, but the very centre of the Eurasian Heartland in Afghanistan, it was humiliated and chased out. It was a classic example of hubris and overreach. ‘We’re American, we can do anything’. Actually, you can’t.

Now the USA is trying to cling on to Western Europe by shoring up its literal borderland, the Ukraine. This is one of the last US attempts to keep power in Eurasia. The USA fears Eurasia, for Eurasia is much stronger than it and the USA is isolated on its big island, placed, as if for quarantine, between the Atlantic and the Pacific. One day it will reluctantly be forced to admit that Eurasia is geographically indivisible, however much it tries to divide it politically and occupy it militarily. Then it will retire to its isolation on its big island, rejected by Afro-Eurasia, Oceania and Latin America, and start doing some very serious soul-searching about its own history. It is called repentance.

The USA has been expanding eastwards across the Atlantic for over three generations now. It has controlled the UK since 1942, from where it invaded the rest of Western Europe in 1944 and invaded Central Europe since 1989, using puppet elites, making assassinations and fiddling elections. Portugal under Salazar, Spain under Franco, Italy under every possible fraudster, Greece under the Colonels, France after it deposed the Last Frenchman, De Gaulle, the UK under the Conservatives, are only examples of its manipulations. [..] Exactly a generation after taking over Central Europe in 1989, since 2014 the USA has been trying to expand into Eastern Europe. We are now at an irreversible point. History books will be written as events ‘Before 2022 and After 2022’.

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“..this cooperation is irrecoverably destroyed”. “..Stephan Weil said Berlin would never be able to trust Moscow again as a reliable energy supplier..”

But Berlin is a reliable customer?! Can you even hear yourself?

German Politician Predicts Fate Of Nord Stream 2 (RT)

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was intended to pump gas from Russia to Germany, is doomed to remain idle indefinitely, the head of Germany’s Lower Saxony region has suggested. Stephan Weil said Berlin would never be able to trust Moscow again as a reliable energy supplier. In an interview with Germany’s DPA news agency published on Monday, Governor Weil said the pipeline project would not be revived even after Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves office. “The loss of trust is so fundamental that there will never again be a situation in which a German federal government can rely on energy from Russia,” the official noted. According to Weil, the “Nord Stream 2 will never go into operation.” The governor claimed that the Kremlin has burnt its bridges and that “this cooperation is irrecoverably destroyed.”

Weil concluded by proclaiming that the “West will recover from [the situation] faster than Russia.” The construction of the second leg of the existing Nord Stream pipeline began in May 2018. The project was expected to double Russian gas supplies to Germany. Despite opposition from the US and some EU member states, the German government staunchly defended the project, and the pipeline was completed. However, Berlin put its launch on hold indefinitely on February 22, after Russia recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, days before Moscow launched its offensive against Ukraine.

In July and August, Russia incrementally reduced gas supplies to Germany via Nord Stream 1, before shutting it down altogether in early September. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom cited technical issues caused by Western sanctions. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has made it clear that the pipeline will not resume operation until Western sanctions are lifted. sMeanwhile, Berlin has accused Russia of weaponizing gas supplies. Soaring prices coupled with the closure of the Nord Stream 1 saw the German government put in place emergency measures to ensure the country has enough energy to survive the winter. Earlier this week, President Putin suggested the West should give the green light to the Nord Stream 2 “if it’s that bad.”

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Yeah, yeah: “..this cooperation is irrecoverably destroyed”.

Germany Boosting Russian Imports – Trade Mission (RT)

The volume of German imports from Russia has risen over the first seven months of this year by 32.6% in annual terms, amounting to $27.9 billion, the Russian Trade Mission in Berlin told RIA Novosti on Monday, citing data from Germany’s federal statistical office, Destatis. According to the Russian trade representative in Germany, Andrey Sobolev, the rise in imports of fuel and energy products through July was 40.5%. Purchases of Russian gold have risen more than tenfold, while the volume of silver imports jumped by almost five times. The EU country has also boosted purchases of other metals from Russia, including copper, aluminum, and nickel.


The report also indicated that German exports to Russia decreased by 43.6% to $10.2 billion compared to the same period last year. Declining exports caused a $17.7 billion trade imbalance for Germany. The trade representative explained that, despite the general decline in exports to Russia, “there was an increase in supplies from Germany of pharmaceutical products, seeds and fruits.” Russia accounted for 2.3% of total German foreign trade and was the fourth most important country for German goods outside of the EU in 2021. In April, US analytics firm S&P Global warned of a possible financial shock if there’s a “trade rupture” between the two countries.

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It has become a prison.

The European Union Is About to Rupture (Malinen)

The functioning of the EU has, until recently, been built on two political pillars that now appear to be crumbling. Primarily, German growth has made possible the joint financing (through low-cost debt, the EU budget, and the central banks’ clearing system) of unsuccessful economies without the EU forcing them to commit to politically unacceptable reforms. Beneficent global developments have made possible the concentration on economic integration while going slow on the much more contentious integration of cultural, social, and foreign policies. The deterioration of the global economy, together with EU policies, now threaten industry and living standards in EU member states, reduce the scope of joint economic support, and force member states to rapidly evaluate their readiness for possibly radical reductions in their political self-determination.

This is most evident in Italy. The yields of Italian sovereign debt have reached levels that can be considered unsustainable, given the country’s high indebtedness and low rate of economic growth. For example, the yield of the Italian 10-year bond breached the 4 percent line late this past week. The maturity structure of Italian debt is also rather unfavorable. At the end of June, for example, Italy had issued only 52 percent of its needs for external financing in 2022. In addition, 35 percent of her outstanding debt will come due already in 2024. Half of her total debt will come due within five years. Without active country-specific support from the ECB, which the newly introduced Transmission Protection Instrument is designed to facilitate, Italian debt is unsustainable at current yields.

Disagreements among member states on the wisdom of filling the ECB with Italian bonds is bound to weaken the glue keeping the EU together as before. The energy crisis is also sowing seeds of serious inner conflict. The politics in the EU are becoming less forgiving as difficulties mount. Both Hungary and the Czech Republic have objected to the plans for a price cap of Russian gas, which now looks unlikely to be enforced. The European Commission is also planning to cut funding for the Hungarian government of Victor Orban due to “rule-of-law concerns.” This is unlikely to increase the incentives of Hungary to stay in the union. More generally, as funding is made conditional on countries meeting the test of adhering to “European values,” one can expect the list of such essentially political requirements to grow as economic conditions worsen and demands for uniform policies grow.

For example, Poland is fed up with constant extra demands from the EU, like the demand to walk back from the changes Polish government was planning to the judicial system, considering the distribution of funds from the Recovery Fund to its government. Krzysztof Sobolewski, the governing party’s secretary-general, has warned that without a clear change in the actions of Brussels, “We will have no choice but to pull out all the cannons in our arsenal and open fire.” Since a number of contentious decisions still require unanimity, such a threat might be unwise to take lightly. [..] Reports state that Russia is preparing a first shipment from its new liquefied natural gas plant to Greece. Hungary, as an outlier, is buying additional gas from Russia in accordance with their new agreement. It will be interesting to see what Germany may choose to do if the impact of energy scarcity on its economy and population is as large as some reports suggest.


CPI lags PPI: “German Consumer Prices (CPI) are likely to rise further after Producer Prices (PPI) increased by almost 46% in August, the strongest increase since 1949.”

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“We thought that we could gradually replace nuclear energy with renewable energy sources, but now we understand that we will need more energy. We need both sources..”

French Warned Of Winter Blackouts (RT)

Private households in France may face power outages this winter in the event of severe frosts, the head of the energy regulator CRE, Emmanuelle Wargon, told France Info radio on Monday. “Under no circumstances will there be gas shutdowns in private homes. But on the electrical side, we may be faced with having to make difficult decisions about limited shutdowns,” she said, adding “These can last for several hours and will be very local – at the commune or district level – with prior notification to citizens.” The regulator noted that shutdowns would not affect critical infrastructure, including hospitals. Extreme measures could be avoided if the winter is relatively warm, she added.


Wargon also admitted that the decision to close the Fessenheim nuclear power plant, decommissioned in 2020, “could not have been taken in the current crisis.” “We thought that we could gradually replace nuclear energy with renewable energy sources, but now we understand that we will need more energy. We need both sources,” she stressed. France relies on nuclear energy more than any other European country, generating about 70% of its electricity that way. However, about half of its 56 nuclear reactors have been shut down for maintenance, notably to repair corrosion problems.

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“..70% of nitrogen fertilizer production capacities in the EU have already been stopped, aluminum production has been reduced by 25%, and steel production by 5%.”

Dire Winter Scenario In Sight For EU (RT)

Reducing dependence on Russian natural gas supply is impossible for the European Union in the coming year without a massive production halt, RBK business daily reported on Monday, citing a study by McKinsey’s former Russian division, consulting company Yakov & Partners. Their research showed that, despite reports that EU stores are full, the bloc has not yet overcome its reliance on Russian energy and will not be able to get through the coming winter and next year “without maintaining gas supplies from Russia or a [effecting] significant reduction” in consumption.

The report outlined that, in order to meet their needs until the end of 2022, European countries will either have to maintain imports from Russia or reduce gas consumption by an additional seven to 12 billion cubic meters, “which is possible only with a complete or partial shutdown of a number of industries.” The deficit may grow to 20-30 billion cubic meters if China’s demand for LNG recovers or if the winter is cold and long, or in the event of disruptions in supply chains, it adds. Yakov & Partners indicated that 70% of nitrogen fertilizer production capacities in the EU have already been stopped, aluminum production has been reduced by 25%, and steel production by 5%. The authors of the study suggested that the decline in production is likely to continue “even in the event of a mild winter.”

“In the perspective of 2023, the rejection of Russian gas means a deficit of 40-60 billion cubic meters for European countries even while maintaining the current rate of gas savings for the whole of 2023,” said Elena Kuznetsova, a partner at the company. She explained that 60 billion cubic meters of gas is comparable to the annual gas consumption of France and Poland combined, or the total annual gas consumption of such industries as fertilizer production, petrochemistry, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, and all engineering. Stopping these industries will further affect other related industries, from agriculture to services, Kuznetsova warned.

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Guterres is doing some good work.

UN Chief Supports Moscow’s Aid Proposal (RT)

The UN chief has pledged to help Russia donate some 300 tons of fertilizers stranded in European ports to developing nations. “If Russia wants to provide fertilizers free of charge to developing countries, I believe the World Food Programme will be able to implement that desire,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, which was published on Monday. He acknowledged that EU nations will first have to be convinced to allow free the export of Russian fertilizers through their ports. The offer to donate an estimated 300 tons of Russian fertilizer, unable to leave EU ports due to anti-Russian sanctions, came last Friday from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In late July, the UN co-mediated an arrangement with Ukraine and Russia, which allowed the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. As part of the deal, the organization pledged to help ease Western restrictions on international trade that Russia says prevent it from exporting its food products and fertilizers. “This week I had an intensive series of contacts with the leaders of the EU. And I hope there will be a positive change with regard to the possibility of distributing Russian grain and fertilizers without obstacles through Europe to other markets,” Guterres told RIA Novosti in another part of the interview, which was published on Saturday.

Putin previously criticized the grain deal, saying that while it was touted as a way to help poor countries deal with surging global food prices, in practice Ukrainian exports mostly went to rich EU nations. The abundance of grain and other food products from Ukraine on European markets has apparently angered local producers, who are struggling to compete with the cheaper imports, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. The EU previously had quotas and steep tariffs for Ukraine trade, protecting its own farmers and forcing Ukrainians to export most of their produce to other places. But the restrictions were lifted after Russia attacked the country in February, and European governments rushed to support Kiev with various forms of assistance.

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“..the last three years included two pandemic years when a lot of companies in the oil and gas industries struggled to stay afloat, let alone post a profit..”

The Unintended Consequences Of The EU Energy Emergency Plan (OP)

This week saw the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen do something that would have probably been considered the opposite of democracy just a few years ago. She proposed that governments impose a ceiling on certain energy producers’ revenues and add a windfall profit for Big Oil majors. Called “a solidarity contribution” or “a crisis contribution,” the windfall tax’s aim is the same as the aim of the revenue ceiling: manage energy costs in a runaway inflation environment and get some additional money to, according to the plan, distribute among those who most need it. Like all grand plans, however, unintended consequences abound with this one, and one of the gravest is the discouragement of oil and gas investments at a time when global oil and gas investments are already lower than they should be in light of demand projections.

JP Morgan’s head of global energy strategy said it this week in an interview with Bloomberg. “If you’re planning your capital budget, you have to think twice now that you have a new risk,” Malek told Bloomberg. “It encourages majors to return cash to shareholders as they use that free cashflow that could have been used in investment.” Per plans, the EU seeks to “raise” some $140 billion from windfall taxes on non-gas electricity generators and oil gas, and coal companies for their “extraordinary record profits benefiting from war and on the back of consumers,” to quote Von der Leyen. Reaction from the industry was swift. Austria’s OMV said the consequences of such measures could be huge, adding that it was unfair to base the windfall levy proposal on oil companies’ profits from the last three years since these were not normal times, Reuters reported, quoting CEO Alfred Stern.

“We will keep an eye on that, as it can already have a massive impact,” Stern told media, noting, however, that the exact impact was difficult to glean because the proposal has yet to be fleshed out. Per von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech, in which she listed the windfall tax among measures to cope with the energy crisis, the idea is to tax oil and gas companies with 33 percent of any current-year profits that were 20 percent above the company’s average earnings for the last three years. OMV’s Stern noted that the last three years included two pandemic years when a lot of companies in the oil and gas industries struggled to stay afloat, let alone post a profit, with oil prices falling as low as $25 per barrel.

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Different plant, same tactics.

Ukraine Claims Missile Hit Area Near Nuclear Power Plant (RT)

A missile has hit a location in Ukraine’s Nikolaev Region close to the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed. The incident happened early on Monday morning, according to the president. The projectile landed some 300 meters from the facility, causing damage to windows and briefly disrupting power supplies to the grid, he wrote on social media. Zelensky posted surveillance footage purportedly showing the strike. The video shows a powerful explosion against the backdrop of the night skyline and was apparently filmed by a malfunctioning digital camera. The frames appear to be out of order, and the timestamps go back and forth. The president’s post also included photos of broken windows, presumably caused by the blast.


Zelensky accused Russia of “endangering the world” and said it should be “stopped, before it is too late”. The South Ukraine nuclear power plant is located near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, deep inside Ukraine-controlled territory in the south of the country. The facility has been operating since 1982 and has three VVER-1000 reactors. Zelensky’s accusations against Russia add to a long list of nuclear-related allegations. Kiev and Moscow have for weeks been pointing the finger at each other over attacks on the Russian-controlled city of Energodar, which hosts the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the facility earlier this month, confirming damage caused by multiple shelling incidents, but declining to attribute them to either side.

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100 years ago, the battle was for sharing the surplus. Now, it is for sharing the lack of it.

Why the World Economic Forum’s Plutocracy Should Be Dissolved (Shurk)

Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, appeared with David Gergen in 2017 at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and openly boasted of his influence over many national leaders: “I have to say when I mention names like Mrs. Merkel, even Vladimir Putin and so on, they have all been Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, but what we are really proud of now is the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau, the President of Argentina and so on. So we penetrate the cabinets. So yesterday I was at a reception for Prime Minister Trudeau, and I know that half of his cabinet or even more are Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum…. It is true in Argentina and it is true in France now….”

When the chairman of an international economic body publicly brags about his leverage over the leaders of sovereign nation states, he can hardly be mistaken as defending the merits of “democracy.” In a somewhat farcical display of the World Economic Forum’s control over individual nations, it has become eerily commonplace these last two years to hear the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States all parroting the same “Build Back Better” slogan propagated by Klaus Schwab’s economic club. With wealth and political power bonded densely into such haut monde cabals, the insular prerogatives of the WEF have succeeded in dominating government policies throughout the West.

Both in their immediate handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and their planned response to the harsh economic repercussions dovetailing from prolonged lockdowns, Western nation states have taken many of their cues directly from the World Economic Forum’s policy edicts. Whatever vestige of “democracy” still casts a shadow across North America, Europe, and the South Pacific, it has become unmistakable that plutocracy — rule by a wealthy elite — is fast assuming total control over the West’s future. Notably, today’s plutocrats have little interest in truly free markets. Unlike J.D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and other late-nineteenth-century industrialists and business magnates who made their fortunes in the heyday of economic growth before the massive expansion of the regulatory State, those with great wealth today often champion government intervention in markets.

The World Economic Forum, for instance, demands governments take urgent action to combat or address climate change, cybersecurity, online misinformation, artificial intelligence, overpopulation, the use of hydrocarbon energy, farm ownership, food supplies, the elimination of private vehicle ownership, and the imposition of citizen-control protocols to defend against future pandemics. Regulation of people and markets is now of paramount importance to those with wealth and power.

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“manipulative case-file practice”

Whistleblower: FBI Uses Jan. 6 Cases To Create Illusion Of National Crisis (JTN)

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said Monday a whistleblower has come forward detailing how the FBI is manipulating cases related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to create “the illusion” that domestic violent extremism is a widespread problem in the United States. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that the “manipulative case-file practice” was being conducted by the bureau’s Washington field office, which was instructing local FBI offices to open up cases on their books that were in fact simply related to the Capitol breach. “The FBI’s case categorization creates the illusion that threats from DVE are present in jurisdictions across the nation, when in reality they all stem from the same related investigation concerning the actions at the Capitol on January 6,” Jordan wrote.

“Such an artificial case categorization scheme allows FBI leadership to misleadingly point to ‘significant’ increases in DVE threats nationwide,” he added. The Republican lawmaker said the whistleblower’s description is “consistent with disclosures we have received from other whistleblowers that high-ranking FBI officials — including a senior WFO official — are pressing front-line agents to categorize cases as DVE matters to fit a political narrative.” The activity comes as President Joe Biden and his team try to make the case that supporters of Donald Trump are creating a crisis of extremism in the United States, a case he made in a widely panned speech in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.

Jordan said the FBI’s shifted focus is coming at the expense of other crimes, including the investigation of child sex exploitation. “The whistleblower disclosed that the FBI is sacrificing its other important federal law-enforcement duties to pursue January 6 investigations,” Jordan wrote. “The whistleblower recalled, for example, being told that child sexual abuse material investigations were no longer an FBI priority and should be referred to local law enforcement agencies.

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“Ultimately, the Left will choke to death on its many crimes and we can return to being a people who confidently know the difference between right and wrong.”

A Walk on the Wild Side (Kunstler)

What is the answer when faced with a large-scale religious disturbance in society, especially one displaying all the earmarks of overt, archetypal evil? You call in an exorcist. That has been Donald Trump’s true role in this millenarian mega-crisis. He is seeking to cast out evil spirits afflicting this sore-beset national community and the evil spirits are frantic to stop his ministrations by any means. He is, of course, a most untoward avatar in this war of good against evil. He came out of the infernal circle of New York real estate development. The assumption all along is that he must be tainted by dirty dealing with the mobs who ran the construction unions, but after six years of relentless investigation by the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the legions of hell came up with… nothing.

How was this possible? Well, they tried their darndest, and now they’re trying again with some double-jeopardy maneuvers. The law, to these degenerates, is just an instrument of their own will-to-power. Chugging toward the 2022 mid-term elections, Mr. Trump is out there giving moral support and focus to so-called “domestic terrorists” seeking to crush the Woke demonic religious persecution. He leads the substantial demographic of Americans who are determined to not play along with Woke absurdities, and they love him for it. Mr. Trump may or may not be the Republican nominee in 2024, but he is helping the country with a literal House-cleaning in advance of that, and it will open the door to a deluge of corrective truth-telling about what has gone on the past several years, in everything from the Covid 19 scam to the Green New Deal aimed at wrecking what’s left of Western Civ’s economies.

Americans, except for the very old, are not disposed to attending church, meaning they are not reminded at regular intervals, and formal rituals, that good and evil exists in all of us, and that we have a duty to our sacred consciousness to tend to the right side, to “the better angels of our nature,” Lincoln put it. Ultimately, the Left will choke to death on its many crimes and we can return to being a people who confidently know the difference between right and wrong.

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For the same reason they cling to believing in Santa.

Why So Many Cling to Covid Panic (Oshinskie)

The government and media have spent the past 30 months disingenuously building Corona fear and implementing a range of talismanic measures like lockdowns, school closures, masks, tests and shots to convince us that they were magically—yet always “Scientifically!—” protecting us all from death. Just as any thinking six-year-old figures out that Santa simply can’t put all of that toy freight into one sleigh, any thinking adult should have known that none of the hoary Corona crew: neither the elfin Fauci’s, Birx’s nor Biden’s rhetoric or theater made any sense, either in theory or in real-life outcomes; nor did similar alarmism or interventions by younger, hipper “liberal” governors, mayors and prime ministers. But just like my parents’ efforts to preserve the Santa myth, governments won’t let go of the Corona theater—especially the shots—and the media desperately continues to portray as experts those who “masterminded” the mitigation.


All of the empirical data have corroborated what was known on Day 1 of the lockdowns—namely that this virus threatens almost no one but the very old and infirm, that none of these interventions works and that each of these have caused–and will continue to cause–widespread, terrible secondary and tertiary damage. Instead of admitting this, governments and media persist in their campaign of terror, lies and bogus zero-Covid measures. Because to stop lying now would be to admit that it’s all been a delusion. And politically and morally, they can’t bring themselves to do that. A five-year-old might not know a scam when they see it. But even a ten-year-old does. Or at least should. They’re counting on adults to be like five-year-olds. It might work.

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Biden 8.3

 

 

Stop calling it clean energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 162022
 
 July 16, 2022  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  27 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Guernica [Study] V 1937

 

Useful European Idiots (Vilches)
The Imaginary War (Lawrence)
Is A US-Russia War Becoming Inevitable? (Pat Buchanan)
The Stupendous Tale (Tarik)
Europe’s Thirst For LNG Is Causing Blackouts In Developing Countries (OP)
Geert Vanden Bossche: Mass Covid Vax Triggering New Pandemics (NA)
Low Demand For Young Kids’ Covid Vaccines Is Alarming Doctors (Pol.)
Health Experts Are Quitting The NIH and CDC In Droves (DM)
Elon Musk Wants To Push Twitter Trial Back To 2023 (NYP)
A Tale of the Taco (Jim Kunstler)
Assange Fights Extradition To United States With Two Appeals (Dissenter)

 

 

 

 

Twitter board

 

 

 

 

NATO myths

 

 

 

 

“The US-UK cabal does not want Europe and Russia to trade, do business, relate, or grow together in any way, shape, or form.”

Useful European Idiots (Vilches)

“ Washington and London have drawn ´useful European idiots´ into an economic war against Russia ” – said former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev – adding that “the onset of a systemic crisis in the Eurozone is beginning to come true.” He added that Anglo-Saxons on both sides of the Atlantic conned EU members “like a couple of shell-game tricksters” by drawing them into an unwarranted economic war against Moscow which is actually an Anglo-Saxon project, not theirs. Paraphrasing James Carville, “it´s the Anglo-Saxons, stupid”. The US-UK cabal does not want Europe and Russia to trade, do business, relate, or grow together in any way, shape, or form. So they designed, built and forced upon Europe the current John Bolton-Ukraine war which had plan A (now failed) with Russia as target and plan B as substitute with Europe itself as the intended victim coming next.

What Dmitry Medvedev may not know though is that such ”useful European idiots” can be broken down into 3 fairly distinct categories starting with the EU “well-trained career idiots” basically focused on continuously earning salaries and perks way above their capabilities. So they know that (a) the EU system rewards them generously despite their obvious mediocrity and limitations and (b) thus do not dare to question, doubt, let alone defy the EU system or dictats. They all know and feel every day of their lives that the EU ´system´ has a very strict pecking order and what top-cock (or top-hen) says to do or say or think is to be summarily executed without questioning the mandate, even if against European best interests as is the case.

This simplifies the problem from the Washington-London perspective as by controlling a handful of EU leaders (more on that later) the rest just follow the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Furthermore, these EU-captured intellectual simpleton retards are not dumb enough to the extreme of questioning their unequivocal role (they are aware of it) and accordingly constantly strengthen their vested-interests relationship. In sum, they work hard at it. Then there is a second category of “useful European idiots” grouping the visible top EU leaders – many unelected — who can either be (a) plain corrupt as traditionally allowed for in Europe or (b) perceive themselves as God-chosen to lead Europe to a glorious yet undefined destiny no matter if actively hijacking any representational capacity and values they may have received.

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“.. a Marvel Comics of a conflict with little grounding in reality..”

The Imaginary War (Lawrence)

What were the policy cliques, “the intelligence community” and the press that serves both going to do when the kind of war in Ukraine they talked incessantly about turned out to be imaginary, a Marvel Comics of a conflict with little grounding in reality? I have wondered about this since the Russian intervention began on Feb. 24. I knew the answer would be interesting when finally we had one. Now we have one. Taking the government-supervised New York Times as a guide, the result is a variant of what we saw as the Russiagate fiasco came unglued: Those who manufacture orthodoxies as well as consent are slithering out the side door. I could tell you I don’t intend to single out the Times in this wild chicanery, except that I do.

The once-but-no-longer newspaper of record continues to be singularly wicked in its deceits and deceptions as it imposes the official but imaginary version of the war on unsuspecting readers. As Consortium News’s properly suspecting readers will recall, Vladimir Putin was clear when he told the world Russia’s intentions as it began its intervention. These were two: Russian forces went into Ukraine to “demilitarize and de–Nazify” it, a pair of limited, defined objectives. An astute reader of these commentaries pointed out in a recent comment thread that the Russian president had once again proven, whatever else one may think of him, a focused statesman with an excellent grasp of history. At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the Allied Control Council declared its postwar purpose in Germany as “the four D’s.” These were de–Nazification, demilitarization, democratization and decentralization.

Let’s give David Thompson, who brought this historical reference to my attention, a deserved byline here: “Putin’s reiteration of the de–Nazification and demilitarization principles established from the Potsdam Conference is not just some quaint tip of the hat to history. He was laying down a marker to the United States and the United Kingdom that the agreement reached at Potsdam in 1945 is still relevant and valid ….” The Russian president, whose entire argument with the West is that a just and stable order in Europe must serve the security interests of all sides, was simply restating objectives the trans–Atlantic alliance had once signed on to accomplish. In other words, he was pointing out said alliance’s gross hypocrisy as it arms the ideological descendants of German Nazis.

I dwell on this matter because the imaginary war began with the Biden regime’s and the press’s quite irresponsible misrepresentations of the Russian Federation’s aims in Ukraine. All else has flowed from it. You remember: Russian forces were going to “conquer” the whole of the nation, wipe out the Kiev regime, install a puppet government and then drive on to Poland, the Baltic states, Transnistria and the rest of Moldova, and who could imagine what after that. De–Nazification, we can now read, is a phony Kremlin dodge. Having lied outright on this score, the next edition of the comic went onto the market. Russia is failing to achieve its imaginary objectives. Low morale, desertions, poorly trained troops with not enough to eat, logistical failures, lousy artillery, inadequate ordnance, incompetent officers: The Russians were riding for a fall on Ukrainian soil.

The corollary here was the heroism, courage and battlefield grit of Ukrainian troops, least of all, the Azov Battalion, who were not any longer neo–Nazis. Never mind the Times, The Guardian, the BBC and various other mainstream publications and broadcasters had earlier told us about these ideological fanatics. That was then, this is now.

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Not yet.

Is A US-Russia War Becoming Inevitable? (Pat Buchanan)

At the NATO summit in Madrid, Finland was invited to join the alliance. What does this mean for Finland? If Russian President Vladimir Putin breaches the 830-mile Finnish border, the United States will rise to Helsinki’s defense and fight Russia on Finland’s side. If Putin makes a military move into Finland, the U.S. will go to war against the world’s largest nation with an arsenal of between 4,500 and 6,000 battlefield and strategic nuclear weapons. No Cold War president would have dreamed of making such a commitment — to risk the survival of our nation to defend territory of a country thousands of miles away that has never been a U.S. vital interest. To go to war with the Soviet Union over the preservation of Finnish territory would have been seen as madness during the Cold War.

Recall: Harry Truman refused to use force to break Joseph Stalin’s blockade of Berlin. Dwight Eisenhower refused to send U.S. troops to save the Hungarian freedom fighters being run down by Soviet tanks in Budapest in 1956. Lyndon B. Johnson did nothing to assist the Czech patriots crushed by Warsaw Pact armies in 1968. When Lech Walesa’s Solidarity was smashed on Moscow’s order in Poland in 1981, Ronald Reagan made brave statements and sent Xerox machines. While the U.S. issued annual declarations of support during the Cold War for the “captive nations” of Central and Eastern Europe, the liberation of these nations from Soviet control was never deemed so vital to the West as to justify a war with the USSR.

Indeed, in the 40 years of the Cold War, NATO, which had begun in 1949 with 12 member nations, added only four more — Greece, Turkey, Spain and West Germany. Yet, with the invitation to Sweden and Finland to join as the 31st and 32nd nations to receive an Article 5 war guarantee, NATO will have doubled its membership since what was thought — certainly by the Russians — to have been the end of the Cold War. All the nations once part of Moscow’s Warsaw Pact — East Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria — are now members of a U.S.-led NATO — directed against Russia. Three former republics of the USSR — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania — are now also members of NATO, a military alliance formed to corral and contain the nation to which they had belonged during the Cold War. Lithuania, with 2% of Russia’s population, has just declared a partial blockade of goods moving across its territory to Kaliningrad, Russia’s enclave on the Baltic Sea. To Putin’s protest, Vilnius has reminded Moscow that Lithuania is a member of NATO.

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Stupendously long, too.

The Stupendous Tale (Tarik)

I love Elvira. She’s my sweetheart, ma babe. Were I set to marry a central banker, she’d be the one. And if Putin is the Father of modern Russia, then Nabiullina is the fiercely protective Mother. Her handling of the Ruble attack after the Crimean intervention, was truly heroic. I can almost hear the strident cries from all her brats: the public, the business class, academia, media and the government, to lower rates and open wide the money spigot. Had she fallen under the pressure as they all do since Volker, had she not risen interest rates to 17%, the ruble would have been irrevocably broken.

The entire economy would have loaded up on unsustainable debt that would trigger the familiar hyper inflationary trend common to US$ vassals going rogue with no understanding of the money game (Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Turkey, Argentina…), and thus annihilated Putin’s achievements on all fronts. Instead, by letting inviable western focused businesses fail, financial resources could flow to local production and eastbound and southbound ventures. As a result the economy cleansed itself of obsolete dead weights, excessive unserviceable debt, and business discipline was enforced, leaving it lean and mean, ready do tackle any future rough patch.

Once the last treacherous FDI dollar and Euro left the space, the ruble stabilized, interest rates slowly normalized, dollar reserves now kept at strict minimum to cover trade requirements while overall reserves quickly recovered all losses. Sure some short term pain on certain sectors, but necessary and long term well worth it. No wonder Putin today would ask her for another term (note that he asked, she did not offer). With roughest seas ahead, he imperatively needs a proven captain that can handle any coming economic tempest. What’s funny, those accusing her of “Atlanticism” seem to have completely missed that her policies selectively strained precisely those western bent businesses, while protecting the Eurasianists and patriots. Some reproach her playing into IMF hands yet she kept the RCB free from its predatory loans, thus keeping Russia safe from the coercive influence. Go figure.

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BRICS getting stronger by the day. This is why.

Europe’s Thirst For LNG Is Causing Blackouts In Developing Countries (OP)

In June, the European Union imported more liquefied natural gas from the United States than pipeline gas from Russia for the first time ever. The unprecedented shift came as the EU scrambled to fill up its gas storage facilities ahead of the next heating season in fear Russia could turn off the gas tap at any moment. It also pushed LNG prices sky-high, making it unaffordable for developing countries. “Because of the Ukraine war, every single molecule that was available in our region has been purchased by Europe, because they’re trying to reduce their dependence on Russia,” Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said earlier this month as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.


Pakistan has been suffering from blackouts because of insufficient LNG supplies that the country needs to keep its power plants going. And the reason for the insufficient supplies is that Europe can pay more for the commodity, so traders are sending their cargos there, including cargos originally destined for Pakistan and other Asian countries. According to data from Wood Mackenzie cited by the Wall Street Journal, while Europe’s LNG imports soared 49 percent from the start of the year to mid-June, Pakistan’s imports fell by 15 percent during the same period, those to India shed 16 percent, and China’s LNG imports fell by more than a fifth. “The European gas crisis is sucking the world dry of LNG,” Valery Chow, head of Asia Pacific gas and LNG research at Wood Mackenzie, told the WSJ.”Emerging markets in Asia have borne the brunt of this and there is no end in sight.”

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“If the antiviral treatments are not made massively available to the vaccinated people, the highly vaccinated countries will likely experience a tsunami of hospitalizations and death..”

Geert Vanden Bossche: Mass Covid Vax Triggering New Pandemics (NA)

In his first interview with The New American, renowned scientist Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche described why mass vaccination with non-sterilizing (“leaky”) vaccines could not lead to herd immunity, and why he expected the Covid infection and disease to aggravate in the vaccinated individuals. The New American is proud to become the first media to speak with Dr. Vanden Bossche about his latest research dedicated to the issue of Covid mass vaccination initiating a chain reaction of new pandemics and epidemics with a potentially catastrophic impact on global health. In addition to that, the doctor explained how the constant Covid reinfections trigger relapse or metastasis of certain cancers in vaccinated people.


If the antiviral treatments are not made massively available to the vaccinated people, the highly vaccinated countries will likely experience a tsunami of hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated, especially the elderly and those vaccinated early on, said Dr. Vanden Bossche. The doctor pleaded with the parents NOT to vaccinate their children against Covid. The vaccination would irreparably damage their innate immune system and leave them vulnerable to infection and re-infection by Covid and a range of other deadly pathogens. That would result in a massive loss of children’s lives.

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They should listen to Geert.

Low Demand For Young Kids’ Covid Vaccines Is Alarming Doctors (Pol.)

States where parents have hesitated to inoculate their children against Covid-19 are now ordering fewer doses of the vaccines for children under 5 than others, underscoring the challenge facing the Biden administration as a highly transmissible variant sweeps the nation. Experts broadly agree states shouldn’t order more doses than they think they’ll use. But they worry the low demand in states such as Alabama and Mississippi is a warning sign of the widening ambivalence among many parents about the benefits of vaccinating children against the virus and continuing politicization of health care. “Never before have we had a vaccine available for young children that has been in billions of people before it was given to a young child,” said Kawsar Talaat, a vaccine expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“The distrust in government, the distrust in public health and the distrust in science is growing and is very, very worrisome.” OLITICO contacted each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to ask how many of the recently authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines they ordered and 38 jurisdictions provided that data. Several of the states that reported placing some of the lowest orders relative to their under-5 populations also have low Covid-19 vaccination rates for 5- to 11-year-olds, an early indication that vaccinations for the youngest kids could follow a similar pattern. Since they became eligible last fall, 36.6 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds have received one Covid-19 shot and only 30 percent are fully vaccinated, compared to 69 percent of adults aged 18 to 49.

Public health experts and doctors attribute the slow uptake in part to the fact that many parents don’t believe that the vaccine is necessary, effective, or that its benefits outweigh any risks. [..] Florida — the only state to explicitly advise against Covid-19 vaccines for young children — did not pre-order any of the 5-and-under vaccines. It has now permitted practitioners and health systems to order the shots through a state portal, but is not making them available in state-run health programs.

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No credibility left. Or trust.

Health Experts Are Quitting The NIH and CDC In Droves (DM)

Two of America’s top health agencies are reportedly hemorrhaging staff as poor decision-making, described by staff as ‘bad science,’ has led to low morale. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are both suffering staff shortages, according to Dr. Marty Makary, a top public-health expert at Johns Hopkins University, writes at Common Sense, the Substack run by former New York Times columnist, Bari Weiss. Major decisions made by the agencies that hurt morale included support for masking in schools, school closures during the pandemic and the authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children four and under.

Both agencies, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been mired in controversy throughout the pandemic for inconsistent messaging and for decision-making that didn’t seem to line up with available science. ‘They have no leadership right now. Suddenly, there’s an enormous number of jobs opening up at the highest level positions,’ an anonymous NIH scientist told Common Sense. Schools became a battleground of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. When the virus stormed the world in 2020, many officials immediately shut things down – schools, retail stores, entertainment venues, restaurants – out of an fear of the unknown. Initial data showed children suffered limited risk when they contracted the virus, though, and that it was mainly the elderly and severely immunocompromised that bore the virus’s burden.

Despite the evidence, the CDC still recommended schools stay closed until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. While individual school districts were allowed to make decisions for themselves – and many Republican leaning counties did quickly reopen schools – many major metropolitan areas under Democratic control kept schools closed for extended periods of time. Earlier this year, Makary told DailyMail.com that the decision to keep schools closed was one of the worst made in the pandemic, specifically citing that minority communities who disproportionately lived in these areas were set the furthest behind academically. ‘CDC failed to balance the risks of COVID with other risks that come from closing schools,’ an anonymous CDC scientist told Common Sense.

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“Human reviewers randomly sampled 100 accounts per day (less than 0.00005% of daily users)..” “That’s it. No automation, no AI, no machine learning.”

Elon Musk Wants To Push Twitter Trial Back To 2023 (NYP)

Elon Musk told a judge Friday that he needs until next year to respond to Twitter’s “meritless” claims that the mogul tried to scuttle the $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform. Musk’s attorneys accused Twitter of fudging the figures over fake accounts and want the trial pushed back until at least Feb. 13, 2023, to gather information over the disputed bot data, according to court documents filed with the Delaware court Friday evening. “The core dispute over false and spam accounts is fundamental to Twitter’s value,” Musk’s lawyers wrote in the 14-page filing. “It is also extremely fact and expert intensive, requiring substantial time for discovery.”

Musk, who first agreed to buy the site for $44 billion in April, pulled out of the deal last week after repeatedly claiming Twitter may be lying about what percentage of its users are bots — a move that Twitter’s lawyers blasted in their suit filed Wednesday as a “bad faith” attempt to walk away from the agreement. Twitter is seeking an unusually short four-day Delaware Court of Chancery trial starting in September, which some observers have interpreted as a show of confidence in its legal case. Musk’s lawyers called Twitter’s request an unjustifiable “bid for extreme expedition,” and accused the company of “a two-month treasure hunt of delays, technical bottlenecks, evasive answers, and, ultimately, refusals,”

“In a May 6 meeting with Twitter executives, Musk was flabbergasted to learn just how meager Twitter’s process was,” Musk’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “Human reviewers randomly sampled 100 accounts per day (less than 0.00005% of daily users) and applied unidentified standards to somehow conclude every quarter for nearly three years that fewer than 5% of Twitter users were false or spam. That’s it. No automation, no AI, no machine learning.”

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“Have Americans been wearing their masks over the wrong bodily orifice? Is anyone conducting a peer-reviewed study on this?”

A Tale of the Taco (Jim Kunstler)

Has anyone noticed, by the way, that the US is under an invasion of breakfast tacos? So many of them, and so many kinds! Huevos con chorizo… Huevos y tocino… Huevos con queso! The diversity is staggering! Oddly, the US fast food industry has remained silent on the issue, despite the threat to their operations. Someone, please, send a memo to Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas: a mighty influx of breakfast tacos marches day-and-night across our border with Mexico. They are being distributed — for free! — by bus and airplane from sea to shining sea — while millions of Egg McMuffins, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Croissan’wiches, Grand Slamwiches, Kickin’ Maple Chicken BreakFEASTs, Country Fried Steak Biscuits, Chocolate Chip/Pecan Waffles, and Texas Melts go uneaten, wilting under the infrared Glo-Ray warming bulbs of American franchise eateries.


The wonder really is: how can America even manage to eat breakfast with its head so far up its ass? Perhaps Dr. Jill Biden can address that question in an upcoming speech to the National Association of Colorectal Surgeons. Now that the mRNA vaccines have Covid-19 so well under control — ask Dr. Anthony Fauci (he knows!) — shouldn’t we be concerned with this new scourge of cranialrectosis (the next pandemic)? Have Americans been wearing their masks over the wrong bodily orifice? Is anyone conducting a peer-reviewed study on this?

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“..Baraitser failed to recognize that the US government “misrepresented” facts in the case and the case was “pursued for ulterior political motives.”

Assange Fights Extradition To United States With Two Appeals (Dissenter)

On June 23, grounds for appeal were submitted against Patel’s Home Office. They claimed Patel erred by failing to recognize that the US-UK Extradition Treaty prohibited extradition for a political offense.Edward Fitzgerald QC emphasized to the district judge that due process protections, like the Magna Carta of 1215, were enshrined in UK law for centuries. He noted the US Constitution contained protections against arbitrary detention as well. Yet as the “Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign” observed, during proceedings Baraitser acted like she could discard the Magna Carta in favor of a lesser law, which the UK Parliament passed.

Attorneys also maintained Patel erred when she accepted that “specialty arrangements” with the US government would protect Assange from the death penalty, criminal contempt proceedings, and further prosecution for “conduct outside of the extradition request.”The legal team filed long-awaited grounds of appeal against District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision on June 30. They claimed the district judge erred when she determined it would not be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite him given the passage of time. On human rights grounds, the attorneys maintained the district judge was wrong to determine extradition would not deny his right to fair trial, his right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, his right to freedom of expression, and his right to be free from a novel and unforeseeable extension of the law.

Further grounds of appeal included a claim that Baraitser failed to recognize that the US government “misrepresented” facts in the case and the case was “pursued for ulterior political motives. “His attorneys objected to Baraitser accepting a second superseding indictment that was sprung on Assange just weeks before the extradition hearing in September 2020. They contend she should have “excised” all allegations from this indictment to uphold “procedural fairness.” Patel approved Assange’s extradition on June 17, and the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered his extradition on April 20 after the UK Supreme Court refused to hear a prior appeal. But Assange’s legal team did not appeal that decision. They appealed an earlier decision issued by Baraitser on January 4, 2021.

Baraitser’s decision initially determined that extradition would be “oppressive” for mental health reasons and blocked extradition, however, the UK High Court of Justice overturned the decision after the US government appealed. The rest of the district judge’s decision was troubling to Assange’s attorneys, as well as press freedom and human rights groups opposed to the prosecution. It was not appropriate for the attorneys to file an appeal until after the US government’s appeal was settled. The challenge to the district judge’s refusal to recognize Assange’s right to freedom of expression is a relief to press freedom organizations. Human rights organizations like Amnesty International will appreciate the appeal related to the risk of cruel and inhuman treatment. Assange’s legal team requested an extension for drafting their appeals, and the US government did not object. The extension was granted by the UK High Court.

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Read the whole note

 

 


One of the best examples of cryptic plumage and mimicry in Australian birds is seen in the tawny frogmouth, which perch low on tree branches during the day camouflaged as part of the tree

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 252022
 


Vincent van Gogh Pietà (after Delacroix) 1889

 

America’s Ukraine Policy Is On A Collision Course With Reality (Moloney)
The Secret American Plan to Make Russia Great Again (Orlov)
Ukraine Official Blasts Kissinger Over Comment on Ceding Territory (Celente)
NATO vs Russia: What Happens Next (Escobar)
No Way Out but War (Chris Hedges)
Finland, Sweden Send Teams To Turkey After Erdogan’s ‘Don’t Even Bother’ (ZH)
Comey’s FBI Lied To Its Own Agents In Russia Hoax Cover-Up (Jarrett)
‘Fired Up’ FBI Leadership Pushed Trump Probe Despite Flimsy Evidence (JTN)
Individual Carbon Footprint Tracker (CTH)
Bill Gates Poured Millions into Dark Money Fund Attacking Elon Musk (BB)
One Billion People At Risk Of Power Blackouts As Global Grids Stretched
Biden Underwater On Almost All Issues Except Handling Of Covid (Hill)
Bayer Deploys Big Ag Buddies to Push Biden on Roundup Cancer Lawsuit (CHD)

 

 

 

 

Ricky Gervais is an absolute treasure
https://twitter.com/i/status/1529025826712391681

 

 

“..the holes in the upbeat Ukraine narrative have reached a point where the mainstream media no longer can credibly deny them..”

America’s Ukraine Policy Is On A Collision Course With Reality (Moloney)

If we accept the mainstream media narrative about Russia’s war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the emergence of the Biden administration’s greatest triumph to date. Under this roseate scenario, the Ukrainians are doing wonderfully well in their fight against Russia; the Russian troops are failing badly almost everywhere; NATO is enjoying a renaissance of unity not seen since the Cold War; and President Biden is being lauded globally for bold leadership and for proving once again that the United States is the world’s indispensable nation. Perhaps best of all is the narrative that Biden is delivering his long-promised bipartisan unity among Americans, as large numbers of Republicans sign onto his requests for more money and more weapons for Ukraine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are among the luminaries who paraded to Kyiv for coveted photo-ops with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In stark contrast to these upbeat perspectives about the war, however, a far less pleasant reality is forcing its way to the forefront of American consciousness: The U.S. economy is reeling through a historic crisis in the direction of an almost certain recession, with inflation far outpacing wage gains; income inequality soaring, as elites continue to prosper and the working class is crushed by the cost of living; frightening levels of violent crime plague large cities; and unprecedented numbers of illegal migrants are surging across America’s southern border.

In light of these less palatable realities, it cannot be surprising Biden’s approval rating and that of his Democratic Party are plummeting to new depths — including among bedrock elements of the Democratic coalition such as Hispanics, Black voters and, perhaps, educated suburban women. Traditional liberals such as Democratic strategist James Carville clearly see the looming electoral disaster of this fall’s midterms, but it’s being ignored by Pelosi and the party’s progressive wing, which continues to influence Biden’s policy initiatives. The disconnect between these two realities has become evident as new complications arise in Ukraine and America’s domestic disorders worsen. In particular, the holes in the upbeat Ukraine narrative have reached a point where the mainstream media no longer can credibly deny them, as John Walsh described in a recent Asia Times article, “NY Times shifts pro-war narrative.” Walsh draws attention to two items appearing recently in the Times: a front-page story about Russia seizing much of the East, and an opinion piece entitled, “America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t.”

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“After the Soviet collapse, very little was needed to speed along the collapse of Russia itself. But none of these steps have been taken, and the steps that were taken (with the ostensible goal of weakening and destroying Russia) have done the exact opposite.”

The Secret American Plan to Make Russia Great Again (Orlov)

It is generally a good idea to avoid ascribing nefarious intent to actions explained by mere stupidity. But this is a case where mere stupidity cannot possibly explain the long, steady procession of foreign policy errors spanning three decades, all of them specifically aimed at strengthening Russia. It is not possible to argue that a surplus of hubris, ignorance, greed and political opportunism and a deficit of competent foreign policy analysts can produce such a result, for that would be essentially the same as arguing that some monkeys armed with drills, mills and lathes can produce a Swiss watch. But the only alternative would be to claim that there is a network of Kremlin’s agents ensconced deep within the bowels of the American Deep State and that they are all working in concert to advance Russia’s interests while meticulously maintaining plausible deniability all the while and at all levels of the operation.

Ostensibly, the plan was to weaken and destroy Russia; but then, following the Soviet collapse, Russia was weakening and destroying itself very well all by itself, no intervention needed. What’s more, every US effort to weaken and destroy Russia has made it stronger; had there existed even a most rudimentary feedback mechanism, so vast a discrepancy between policy goals and policy results would have been detected and adjustments would have been made. Superficially, this may be explained by the nature of America’s sham-democracy, where each administration can blame its failures on mistakes made by the previous administration, but the Deep State remains in power throughout, and it would simply be forced to admit to itself that there is a problem with the plan to weaken and destroy Russia after a few cycles of this unfolding fiasco. The fact that it hasn’t detected any such problem brings us full circle, back to the suspicion that there are Putin’s agents toiling tirelessly deep within the Deep State.

But that’s pure conspiracy theory and we shouldn’t want to go anywhere near that. Suffice to say, there is at present no adequate explanation for what happened. After the Soviet collapse, very little was needed to speed along the collapse of Russia itself. But none of these steps have been taken, and the steps that were taken (with the ostensible goal of weakening and destroying Russia) have done the exact opposite. Why? Below are listed 10 of the most successful initiatives of what appear to be a US Deep State MRGA campaign. If you have an alternative explanation, I’d like to hear it. b

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Turns 99 on Friday. Terrible legacy. But today’s crop are far worse.

Ukraine Official Blasts Kissinger Over Comment on Ceding Territory (Celente)

Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, said Monday what The Trends Journal has been advocating since the start of the Ukraine War: President Volodymyr Zelensky should negotiate for a peaceful resolution and prevent thousands more from dying needlessly. “Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” Kissinger told the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante.” The 98-year-old said pursuing the war “beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.” He said Ukraine should be willing to cede territory in the peace process. Ukraine has said it will not stop fighting until Russia retreats from the country.

Kissinger saw some success during his time as the U.S.’s top diplomat with the Soviet Union and played a role in arms control treaties like the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He told the audience in Davos that it would be “fatal” for Western countries to disregard Russia’s position of power within Europe. “I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom,” Kissinger said. Kissinger’s comments were mocked on social media by “journalists” who -two months ago- didn’t know the difference between Kyiv and a quiche. One even suggested that he should die. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, was critical of Kissinger’s remarks and said he would as easily “allow to take Poland or Lithuania away,” Newsweek reported.

[..] Kissinger’s comments follow nonagenarian Noam Chomsky’s earlier statements about the dangers of a prolonged conflict in Ukraine. Chomsky, correctly, stated earlier this month that Ukrainian leadership’s cry for more heavy weapons is actually the Western “propaganda system.” Chomsky was criticized after saying in an interview that former President Donald Trump is the “one Western statesman of stature” who laid out a “sensible” solution for Ukraine. He said Trump spoke about facilitating negotiations instead of “undermining them and moving towards establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe in which there are no military alliances and mutual accommodation.”

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“Herr Schwab stressed that an actor impersonating a president defending neo-Nazis is supported by “all of Europe and the international order.”

NATO vs Russia: What Happens Next (Escobar)

Three months after the start of Russia’s Operation Z in Ukraine, the battle of The West (12 percent) against The Rest (88 percent) keeps metastasizing. Yet the narrative – oddly – remains the same. On Monday, from Davos, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab introduced Ukrainian comedian-cum-President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the latest leg of his weapons-solicitation-tour, with a glowing tribute. Herr Schwab stressed that an actor impersonating a president defending neo-Nazis is supported by “all of Europe and the international order.” He means, of course, everyone except the 88 percent of the planet that subscribes to the Rule of Law – instead of the faux construct the west calls a ‘rules-based international order.’

Back in the real world, Russia, slowly but surely has been rewriting the Art of Hybrid War. Yet within the carnival of NATO psyops, aggressive cognitive infiltration, and stunning media sycophancy, much is being made of the new $40 billion US ‘aid’ package to Ukraine, deemed capable of becoming a game-changer in the war. This ‘game-changing’ narrative comes courtesy of the same people who burned though trillions of dollars to secure Afghanistan and Iraq. And we saw how that went down. Ukraine is the Holy Grail of international corruption. That $40 billion can be a game-changer for only two classes of people: First, the US military-industrial complex, and second, a bunch of Ukrainian oligarchs and neo-connish NGOs, that will corner the black market for weapons and humanitarian aid, and then launder the profits in the Cayman Islands.

A quick breakdown of the $40 billion reveals $8.7 billion will go to replenish the US weapons stockpile (thus not going to Ukraine at all); $3.9 billion for USEUCOM (the ‘office’ that dictates military tactics to Kiev); $5 billion for a fuzzy, unspecified “global food supply chain”; $6 billion for actual weapons and “training” to Ukraine; $9 billion in “economic assistance” (which will disappear into selected pockets); and $0.9 billion for refugees. US risk agencies have downgraded Kiev to the dumpster of non-reimbursing-loan entities, so large American investment funds are ditching Ukraine, leaving the European Union (EU) and its member-states as the country’s only option.

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“It will signal the death of Pax Americana.”

No Way Out but War (Chris Hedges)

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses.

No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon. The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the US GDP of $ 24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $ 813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

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Arms embargo.

Finland, Sweden Send Teams To Turkey After Erdogan’s ‘Don’t Even Bother’ (ZH)

Finland and Sweden on Tuesday confirmed they are sending delegations to Ankara in hopes of resolving issues surrounding Turkey’s publicly voiced vehement opposition to the two countries’ bids to join NATO. They formally submitted their applications in a ceremony attended by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last week, which Turkey immediately sought to block. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the delegations will begin meetings with Turkish counterparts on Wednesday, even after days ago President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Finnish and Swedish diplomatic teams “shouldn’t bother coming” if they aren’t prepared to halt support for PKK terrorists.

Speaking during a panel discussion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Haavisto acknowledged, “We understand that Turkey has some of their own security concerns vis-a-vis terrorism.” He added: “We think that these issues can be settled. There might be also some issues that are not linked directly to Finland and Sweden but more to other NATO members.” US Secretary Antony Blinken and the Biden administration say they’re “confident” the issues will be smoothed over, despite Ankara officials still showing no sign of stopping the denunciations. Turkey has also demanded that Sweden extradite “terrorists” being hosted in its midst, along with the Nordic countries immediately lifting an EU arms embargo which took effect in 2019 in response to the Turkish military’s anti-Kurdish operations in northern Syria.

According to the latest statements from Turkey’s foreign ministry, Ankara is waiting on both countries to take concrete steps. “Sweden, which has applied for membership, is expected to take principled steps and provide concrete assurances regarding Turkey’s security concerns,” a statement said. “Since 2017, our country has requested the extradition of PKK/PYD and FETO terrorists from Sweden but has yet to receive a positive response,” it added in reference referring to Syria’s main Kurdish party PYD and the Gulenist group FETO.

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“Testimony has shown that the FBI opened its probe of Trump because Hillary’s lawyer warned the Bureau that the media was about to report on it.”

Yeah, because “Hillary’s lawyer” fed them the story. That’s how it becomes a story. And then a probe.

Comey’s FBI Lied To Its Own Agents In Russia Hoax Cover-Up (Jarrett)

As if the FBI’s gross misconduct couldn’t get any worse, we learned Monday in court that top bureau officials actively concealed from their own field agents that it was Hillary’s lawyer, defendant Michael Sussmann, who was peddling phony Trump-Russia collusion claims to the FBI. Instead of telling their agents the truth of the information source, FBI brass lied by wrongly attributed it as coming from the “Department of Justice,” thus giving it the imprimatur of greater credibility than it deserved. As Monday’s testimony showed, had agents been told that Hillary’s campaign lawyer was behind it they would have recognized it for what it was –a politically motivated smear and immediately discounted it as a lie.

Monday’s testimony also revealed that the FBI eventually concluded as early as January of 2017 –just as the new president was about to take office– that the so-called “Alfa-Bank secret back-channel communication” between Trump and the Kremlin was a hoax. Yet, Comey hid that critical information from Trump, congress, and the American people. As a consequence, the media kept up its false reporting in the same way it continued to flog the fabricated “dossier.” Comey and others at the FBI like Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok knew that “dossier” funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign was a collection of exaggerations and made-up stories that originated from her own people. Comey could have told the truth and refuted all of the false media stories, but he didn’t. He and his acolytes exploited it as a pretense to escalate their investigation of Trump to drive him from office.

It’s not surprising that CBS, NBC, ABC, and MSNBC have refused to report any of the stunning revelations in the Sussmann trial. They are shameless cowards. They spent the better part of three years obsessed with the collusion story with their non-stop coverage portraying Trump as a Russian asset. They were reckless and wrong. But now, they don’t want to draw attention to just how wrong they were by reporting on the trial. The Washington Post is worse. On Monday, the newspaper published a “news analysis” with the title, “Again: There’s no evidence Hillary Clinton triggered the Russia probe.” Like much of the Post’s reporting, it is completely untrue. Declassified CIA documents show that Hillary invented the hoax by approving a plan on July 26, 2016 to frame Trump. She also gave her personal approval to leak it to the media, according to her own campaign manager’s testimony in court on Friday. Testimony has shown that the FBI opened its probe of Trump because Hillary’s lawyer warned the Bureau that the media was about to report on it.

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“..not opening an investigation was not an option..”

‘Fired Up’ FBI Leadership Pushed Trump Probe Despite Flimsy Evidence (JTN)

In explosive testimony Tuesday in the Michael Sussmann trial, an FBI agent said “fired up” senior FBI leadership insisted on continuing the investigation into now-debunked allegations of a secret Trump back channel to Moscow via a Russian bank despite learning the story was unsubstantiated. FBI agent Curtis Heide was the co-case agent on the investigation into the allegation that there was a secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. He testified on Tuesday in the Sussmann trial that the bureau’s top brass pushed for the investigation.

Heide was told in an instant message from FBI Agent Joe Pientka, who was the supervisor leading the Crossfire Hurricane investigation regarding Trump-Russia collusion allegations, that senior leadership was “fired up” about the Alfa Bank and Trump Organization email servers and not opening an investigation was not an option. He received this message two days after Sussmann met with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker to give him the underlying, allegedly pretextual data. Sussmann, a 2016 Clinton campaign lawyer, is on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI in his September 2016 meeting with Baker by saying he was not representing any clients in sharing information purportedly substantiating a Trump Organization back channel to the Kremlin through Alfa Bank.

Special Counsel John Durham has provided evidence that Sussmann was representing clients at the meeting — both the Clinton campaign and then-Neustar tech firm executive Rodney Joffe. Heide testified that he concluded the allegation was unsubstantiated based on the analysis by the FBI cyber division, review of the internet data logs, cybersecurity company Mandiant’s independent assessment corroborating the FBI’s findings, discussions with Spectrum Health about a TOR (The Onion Router) exit node, and his own training regarding previous Russian cyber investigations. By Sept. 26, 2016, Heide believed the allegation was a bunk report. In an Oct. 3 email, he asked to interview the anonymous source who relayed the allegation because he believed the investigation was reaching a logical endpoint as the claims appeared unfounded.

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“The 5G telecommunications network is designed to use geolocation and behavioral tracking that will connect your digital identity to your individual behavior and facilitate the carbon footprint tracing process..”

Individual Carbon Footprint Tracker (CTH)

It is important to remember the ultimate goal of the ‘climate change’ promotors (World Economic Forum) is not an energy system that changes the global climate. The goal of the ‘climate change’ group is to create a carbon trading system; a new financial mechanism (a global tax program) to control human activity on a world-wide basis. This system also needs a digital identity in order to work {hint-hint}. You cannot tax, or trade, things you cannot track. As a result, there was always going to be a need for an individual tracking and monitoring system that would connect to the global digital identity and determine the carbon footprint. The carbon taxing and trading system will be more financially lucrative than any stock exchange or monetary banking system. It is the ultimate human control mechanism, and the preferred way to redistribute wealth under the guise of global equity.


Of course, the system will beta test as a consumer demand product until the government steps in to take over the allocation and distribution equity part. In this video segment, Alibaba Group president J. Michael Evans boasts at the 2022 World Economic Forum about the development of an “individual carbon footprint tracker” to monitor what you buy, what you eat, and where/how you travel.

The individual carbon tracker is the baseline for a global carbon trading system that involves everyone; at least, everyone connected to the outlook of western government. Carbon allocation creates the financial metric that replaces currency. You buy and sell carbon credits allowing you to engage in specific functions within society, like dining, traveling, home ownership and type, vehicle or transportation type, even the clothes you can purchase. Hence, “carbon trading” is the term most people are familiar with. In essence, you are a parasite to earth; therefore, you must offset your derogatory footprint on the planet by paying a fee to exist. If you cannot pay for the carbon credits needed to engage in the transaction (travel, home ownership, cooling, heating, etc.) you cannot engage in the regulated activity.


The carbon exchange process is at the end of the slippery slope created by a digital identity. The 5G telecommunications network is designed to use geolocation and behavioral tracking that will connect your digital identity to your individual behavior and facilitate the carbon footprint tracing process. We are already passed the “if” stage.

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“..a shape-shifting nonprofit group that uses aliases to push an array of left-wing causes from a shell office in Washington, D.C.”

Bill Gates Poured Millions into Dark Money Fund Attacking Elon Musk (BB)

Research exclusively shared with Breitbart News identifies hundreds of millions of dollars flowing from Bill Gates’ foundation to 11 of the 26 organizations that signed an open letter last month urging Twitter advertisers to boycott the company if Elon Musk restores free speech on the platform. Breitbart News’ report, based on research and analysis from the newly-formed Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO), analyzed public filings to trace hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions from the letter signatories back to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In total, 11 of the 26 anti-Musk organizations received funding from a Gates-backed entity.

[..] The open letter’s connection to the billionaire Microsoft founder is significant, as Gates is in the middle of a public feud with free speech advocate Musk. Last month, Gates revealed his $500 million short position against Musk-owned Tesla, prompting Musk to call Gates a “b*ner” killer alongside a meme of Gates as a pregnant man emoji. Gates is also an outspoken censorship proponent, frequently calling on tech companies to do more to stop “health misinformation” spreading online. Musk threatens to reverse Gates’ strongly desired censorship policies — and now faces the wrath of Gates-funded NGOs. Recently, Musk asked his 94 million Twitter followers to uncover the funding behind the 26 NGOs who signed an intimidation letter threatening to destroy the company’s advertising revenue if Musk reversed its censorship policies.

Musk followed up his request by highlighting one particular shadowy group, Accountable Tech, musing: “I wonder who funds them”. His curiosity was prompted by a Washington Free Beacon investigation into Accountable Tech, which sought to get to the bottom of the nonprofit’s financial sponsorship. The Free Beacon visited Accountable Tech’s corporate office in Washington and concluded the organization doesn’t “actually exist.” Rather, “Accountable Tech” was merely a “registered trade [name] for the North Fund, a shape-shifting nonprofit group that uses aliases to push an array of left-wing causes from a shell office in Washington, D.C.”

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A crisis created for the good of mankind.

One Billion People At Risk Of Power Blackouts As Global Grids Stretched

This summer, power grids worldwide won’t produce enough electricity to meet the soaring demand, threatening more than one billion people with rolling blackouts. Grids are stretched thin by fossil fuel shortages, drought and heatwaves, commodity disruptions and soaring prices due to the war in Ukraine, and the failed green energy transition where grid operators retired too many fossil fuel generation plants. Combine this all together, and a perfect storm of blackouts threatens much of the Northern Hemisphere. The power crisis, affecting a large swath of the world and top economies, could be less than a month away when summer begins on June 21. Regions that concerned Bloomberg are Asia, Europe, and the US, where there’s not enough power to go around when cooling demand is set to surge as households crank up their air conditions to escape the sweltering heat.

“Asia’s heatwave has caused hours-long daily blackouts, putting more than 1 billion people at risk across Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India, with little relief in sight. Six Texas power plants failed earlier this month as the summer heat just began to arrive, offering a preview of what’s to come. At least a dozen US states from California to the Great Lakes are at risk of electricity outages this summer. Power supplies will be tight in China and Japan. South Africa is poised for a record year of power cuts. And Europe is in a precarious position that’s held up by Russia — if Moscow cuts off natural gas to the region, that could trigger rolling outages in some countries.” –Bloomberg

BloombergNEF analyst Shantanu Jaiswal says the combination of “war and sanctions” disrupting commodity markets, “extreme weather,” and “an economic rebound from COVID boosting power demand” is a “unique” situation that he “can’t recall” the last time a “confluence of so many factors” happened together. As we noted in the beginning, it’s a perfect storm of factors.

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Ha ha ha!

Biden Underwater On Almost All Issues Except Handling Of Covid (Hill)

President Biden’s approval rating continues to be underwater on virtually every issue, with the exception being on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey from Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll. Biden’s overall approval rating sits at 41 percent in the survey, and the numbers are not much better when broken down by each issue. Only 35 percent of registered voters approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, 44 percent approve of his efforts to stimulate job growth and just 33 percent approve of his handling of inflation. Thirty-eight percent of respondents say they support his handling of immigration, and his approval rating on foreign affairs sits at 40 percent.


However, 52 percent of registered voters said they approve of his handling of COVID-19, the lone bright spot in the survey for the White House. Yet overall, his sagging approval ratings portend a political atmosphere this midterm cycle that will heavily favor Republicans — and warn that a 2024 reelection bid could be a slog. “Biden continues to struggle with the job and is particularly being slammed by the voters over inflation and immigration. No president has been reelected with numbers like these on job performance,” said pollster Mark Penn.

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Monsanto has real power.

Bayer Deploys Big Ag Buddies to Push Biden on Roundup Cancer Lawsuit (CHD)

Two weeks after a top Justice Department official advised the U.S. Supreme Court there was “no sound reason” for the high court to review a loss by Monsanto owner Bayer AG in nationwide Roundup cancer litigation, a coalition of large agricultural groups is demanding that President Joe Biden withdraw the opinion. Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2018, has looked to the high court as its last, and best, hope for putting an end to the ongoing litigation. Bayer has asked the justices to take up the case, which centers on allegations that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

But Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar advised the court in a May 10 brief that Bayer’s arguments for seeking Supreme Court review were “misconceived,” and said there was no valid dispute for the high court to consider. The agricultural groups responded Monday with a blistering letter to Biden, alleging Prelogar’s brief established a “new policy” that “poses great risks to our science-based regulatory system and global food systems.” The letter urges Biden to withdraw Prelogar’s brief and “consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the implications of this decision for food production, environmental sustainability, and science-based regulation.”

[..] Bayer filed its petition to the high court in August, asking the justices to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s May 14, 2021, decision that affirmed a district court’s judgment in Monsanto’s 2019 trial loss to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. The jury, in that case, agreed with Hardeman’s attorneys that exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide was a cause of Hardeman’s NHL and that Monsanto failed to warn of its product’s health risks, despite decades of science showing links between the herbicide and cancer. Hardeman was awarded approximately $80 million by the jury, though the award was cut by the trial court judge to roughly $25.2 million.

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Jun 212016
 


NPC District National Bank, Dupont branch, Washington, DC 1924

The Big Guns Are Out: Soros, Rothschild Warn Of Brexit Doom (ZH)
When Brexit Has Come And Gone, The Real Problems Will Remain (ZH)
IMF Calls On Japan To ‘Reload’ Abenomics (Nikkei)
India’s Rockstar Central Banker Defeated As Modi Revolution Stalls (AEP)
Yellen Makes ‘Uncertainty’ New Mantra (R.)
“Whatever It Takes” Wasn’t Enough (Noland)
The World’s Newest “Reserve” Currency Is Anything But (Balding)
China’s Developers Can’t Stop Overpaying for Property (WSJ)
China’s ‘Land Kings’ Return as Housing Prices Rise (WSJ)
Energy-Related Loan Losses Rising (B.)
California Power Grid Prepares For Heatwave, Power Outages (R.)
Australia Whistleblower Loses Job After Speaking Out On Refugee Camps (G.)

Vested interests at stake.

The Big Guns Are Out: Soros, Rothschild Warn Of Brexit Doom (ZH)

Just yesterday, we recounted the story of “Black Wednesday” when on September 16, 1992, the UK was forced out of the EU’s exchange-rate mechanism, or ERM, when the BOE tapped out and allowed the British pound to float freely, leading to 15% losses in the sterling. As we noted, this was George Soros’ infamous trade which “broke the Bank of England” and made the Hungarian richer by over $1.5 bilion. 24 years later Soros is back, and this time he is warning against the kind of devaluation that made him a billionaire and which he believes will be unleashed by Brexit, when in a Guardian Op-Ed he wrote that U.K. voters are “grossly underestimating” the true costs of a vote to leave the EU, saying that there would be an “immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, investment, prices and jobs.”

[..] It is notable that Soros’ warning comes just days after that of Jacob Rothschild himself who said in another Op-Ed, this time for The Times, that leaving the EU could lead to a “damaging and disorderly situation” in the UK as he urged Britons to vote ‘remain’. Just like Soros, Lord Rothschild, suddenly exhibiting a rare strain of humanitarian concern, said readers should not “risk the wellbeing of our country”and European countries are “better off together”. He said that “at present we enjoy being a permanent member of the UN security council and we are essential to the G8 and Commonwealth. But diplomacy, defence, the environment and our values of being a liberal democracy will all be at risk” adding that “I can see no good reason why we should accept our playing a diminished role on the world stage,” especially if his own personal fortune would be jeopardized.

Finally, completing the doom loop, was none other than Chancellor George Osborne who, according to the Telegraph, “refused to rule out suspending trading on the London stock market if Britons vote to leave the EU on Friday morning… The threat from the Chancellor, made in an LBC radio interview on Monday evening, after the market had closed could force shares down in London as early as Tuesday morning.”

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Everyone’s broke.

When Brexit Has Come And Gone, The Real Problems Will Remain (ZH)

In a few days, Brexit will come and go, and just a few days later it will be forgotten, as either outcome will be far less dramatic than has been widely predicted by the same fearmongering economist pundits who have been wrong about everything else for the past 8 years. Ironically, the better outcome for the market is precisely a Brexit as the panic selloff will prompt central banks around the globe to boost enough monetary stimulus to send risk assets to new all time highs. What will remain, however, are the real problems. Here is SocGen with a useful reminder of just what those are, and why the market may have already forgotten that just one week ago the Fed threw in the towel when addressing precisely these problems. From SocGen’s Andrew Lapthone:

“Global equity markets continued to struggle last week, with the MSCI World index off 1.8% pushing the index back into red for the year. Big losses were seen in Japan with the Topix 500 down 6% and the volatile Mothers index crashing 18.5% over the week as the yen continued to strengthen. According to the BOE measure, the trade-weighted yen is now up more than 20% over the past year and back to where it stood three years ago. In the battle for the weakest currency, Japan looks to have thrown in the towel.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit vote this week investors will still be facing the prospect of negative rates and negative yields on a huge range of bonds, massive corporate leverage with worryingly rising delinquencies and of course expensive equity markets and falling profits. To that extent these political events are a distraction from the main event, weak global economic growth and perverse asset markets. So whilst the market preference for the status quo might be celebrated in the short-term, actually when the fog clears all of the problems will still be there.”

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Forcing companies to raise wages?!

IMF Calls On Japan To ‘Reload’ Abenomics (Nikkei)

Japan needs bolder income policies such as penalizing profitable companies that do not increase wages, the IMF said on Monday after concluding its annual economic assessment of the country. Despite initial success, progress under Abenomics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trademark economic policies, has stalled in recent months. The inflation rate has dropped to negative territory again, while economic growth has remained anemic.The IMF now expects Japan’s economy to grow by about 0.5% in 2016, before slowing to 0.3% in 2017, with potential growth sliding to close to zero by 2030, due to the declining demographic. “Abenomics needs to be reloaded,” the IMF said in its report and argued that income policies combined with labor market reforms should “move to the forefront” of the country’s fight against lagging growth.

“The government can introduce a ‘comply or explain’ mechanism for profitable companies to ensure that they raise base wages by at least 3% and back this up by stronger tax incentives or – as a last resort – penalties,” the IMF wrote. Promoting intermediate contracts that balance job security and wage increases will “reinforce income policies,” it added. “Our perception is that much of the stasis of inflation [in Japan] comes from the legacy, the history of having negative inflation,” said David Lipton, first deputy managing director at the IMF, in a press conference in Tokyo. “Certainly firms have at this point the cash flow and resource at hand to provide some wage increases. There are wage increases evident in a wide range of companies across this economy, so our thought is to suggest that this be a broader practice and that it be more uniform.”

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“..Mr Rajan has been an acerbic critic of zero rates and quantitative easing by the western central banks…”

India’s Rockstar Central Banker Defeated As Modi Revolution Stalls (AEP)

India’s bid to become the ‘economic super-tiger’ of Asia is in serious doubt after an assault on the independence of the central bank and failure to deliver on promised reforms. The country has been the darling of the emerging market universe since the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi swept into power in May 2014 promising a blitz of Thatcherite reform and a bonfire of the diktats, but key changes have been blocked in the legislature. The government has turned increasingly populist. Matters have come to a head with the de facto ouster of Raghuram Rajan, the superstar governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), rebuked for keeping monetary policy too tight. It is part of a pattern of attacks on central banks by politicians across the world, and the latest sign that the glory days of the monetary overlords are waning.

Mr Rajan has been battling criticism for months but threw in the towel over the weekend, sending tremors through the Indian financial markets and provoking a flurry of warnings from global investors. “He has decided not to wait until he is refused a second term,” said Lord Desai from the London School of Economics. “This is ‘Rexit’ – India’s equivalent of ‘Brexit. It looks very bad for India and will not go down well in financial markets. He was defeated by the crony capitalists up against him,” he said. The government has dampened the impact with by relaxing barriers to foreign investment in the country, but it may have underestimated the totemic status of Mr Rajan outside India. He is seen by funds as the guarantor of good practice and market integrity. Mr Rajan is a former chief economist for the IMF, famed for warning that the US subprime debt bubble was out of control long before the Lehman crisis blew up in 2008.

[..] Mr Rajan has been an acerbic critic of zero rates and quantitative easing by the western central banks. He blames them for flooding the international system with excess liquidity that emerging markets could not easily control. This fueled dangerous boom-bust asset cycles. While QE might have ‘worked’ for the US, UK, and Europe – the jury is out even for them – Mr Rajan argues that the policy is a “Pareto sub-optimal” for the world as a whole, and ultimately increases the danger of a deflation-trap in the future. The Fed and the leading central banks of the West have never really answered his critique.

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I was going to say the Empress has no clothes, but I don’t want that image lingering on my retina.

Yellen Makes ‘Uncertainty’ New Mantra (R.)

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s dwindling confidence in its own outlook and resulting confusion among investors are creating a policy problem that may require chief Janet Yellen to lay out her own views more forcefully. The Fed chair’s next communications test comes on Tuesday and Wednesday during her semi-annual testimony to U.S. lawmakers, less than a week after the central bank kept interest rates unchanged near record lows and lowered its projections for hikes in 2017 and 2018. A self-described consensus builder, Yellen sees her job as reflecting the whole committee’s views rather than setting an agenda for others to follow.

“I think that’s a very laudable intent, but sometimes that produces a lack of clarity,” said former Fed staffer and current partner at Cornerstone Macro LLC Roberto Perli. “Sometimes there is a consensus for one reason and then next time there is a consensus for a different reason so the story shifts and people get confused.” In fact, Fed policymakers’ deepening uncertainty about their own projections has resulted in the central bank sending mixed messages – repeatedly ratcheting up rate hike expectations only to tone them down later.

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Important point: “Whatever it takes” was orchestrated specifically to expel any market doubt with regard to the viability and sustainability of European monetary integration.

“Whatever It Takes” Wasn’t Enough (Noland)

Back in 2012, Mario Draghi recognized how even the notion that a country might exit the euro could unleash market dynamics that would rather quickly place Europe’s markets and banking system in peril. “Whatever it takes” was orchestrated specifically to expel any market doubt with regard to the viability and sustainability of European monetary integration. On the back of a wall of liquidity and inflating securities markets, Draghi’s gambit held things together for a few years. That said, the ECB bet the ranch – and was compelled to ante up in response to market instability early this year. The outcome of the game is very much in doubt. While Britain is not even a member of the euro, Brexit provides a test of ECB policymaking. Is Europe robust or fragile?

Has relative financial stability been nothing more than a brittle ECB-fabricated façade? Are the forces mounted against integration and cooperation too powerful to disregard? Is European integration – along with the euro currency – viable long-term? It’s an untimely test, with confidence in Europe’s banks already waning. It’s furthermore an untimely test because of faltering confidence in the ECB and contemporary global central banking more generally. Global market instability has again resurfaced and there will be no resolution next week. The FOMC has confounded Fed watchers with its abrupt pivot back to ultra-dovishness. There shouldn’t be much confusion. Global market fragility has reemerged, and the Fed’s rapid retreat has confirmed the seriousness of what’s unfolding.

Central banks have thrown everything at the problem, yet markets remain as vulnerable as ever. At least the world was not facing the downside of China’s historic Credit Bubble back in 2012. The Fed has never admitted that global concerns have been dictating U.S. monetary policy since 2012. It has now become clear, throwing the analysis of policymaking into disarray. The harsh reality is also increasingly apparent: global monetary management is dysfunctional and central bankers have become perplexed – without a backup plan. Such an uncertain backdrop is pro-currency market instability and pro-de-risking/deleveraging.

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Nobody has a reason to use the yuan.

The World’s Newest “Reserve” Currency Is Anything But (Balding)

Last week’s decision by MSCI not to include Chinese shares in its primary emerging-markets stock index has been viewed – widely and rightly – as a blow to China’s hopes of internationalizing its financial sector. There’s worse news, though: Even the progress China’s made thus far is in danger of going into reverse. MSCI’s choice is a sharp contrast to the one made by the IMF last December, when it promised to begin including the Chinese yuan in its basket of “special drawing rights.” The move essentially conferred global reserve status on the currency, despite the fact that China arguably didn’t meet the conditions for inclusion: It was debatable whether the yuan could be considered “freely usable,” and in any case, it was hardly used. At its peak in August 2015, the yuan accounted for 2.79% of global payments, compared to 44.8% for the U.S. dollar.

The idea was that compromising now would encourage leaders in China to fulfill their pledges to liberalize the yuan fully by 2020. In fact, since the IMF’s decision, the yuan has if anything grown less international, not more. Since March 2015, yuan deposits in the three largest offshore centers – Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore – have fallen 16%, to a total of 1.24 trillion yuan or about $188 billion. The currency is being used in even fewer international transactions than before: Its share of global payments stood at 1.82% in April 2016. The fact that only a quarter of those international payments included a partner other than China or Hong Kong means that only about 0.5% of all yuan transactions are truly international in scope. This places the currency somewhere between those of Scandinavian powerhouses Norway and Denmark.

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Absolutely completely madness. The casino keeps adding new slot machines and crap tables.

China’s Developers Can’t Stop Overpaying for Property (WSJ)

If the cost of flour is higher than the price of bread, what should a baker do? Chinese property developers are choosing to buy more flour. Prices for land, the main ingredient of the property world, have hit record highs in auctions this year in many Chinese cities. The average land price per square meter for the top 100 cities in the first five months of this year jumped nearly 50% from the same period last year, according to Wind Information. Some land prices are even higher than housing prices nearby.

State-owned developer Poly Real Estate, for instance, bought a piece of land in a Shanghai suburb for 5.5 billion yuan ($835.5 million) last month. This translates to roughly 44,000 yuan per square meter of buildable space. Houses in the region meanwhile go for around 40,000 yuan per square meter. After taking into account construction costs, taxes and other expenses, property prices would have to nearly double for the developer to make money. Prime land in the biggest cities always costs a lot, but increasingly the voracious buyers are showing up in less prime locations and smaller cities. In Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, with a population of 1.1 million, land sales in the first five months of this year have already exceeded the total of last year. And average prices have doubled.

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It’s the same they do with raw materials: “..After winning an auction, financial firms with access to cheap funding can apply for a loan with the land as collateral..”

China’s ‘Land Kings’ Return as Housing Prices Rise (WSJ)

The “land kings” are back. That had been a nickname for Chinese developers paying sky-high prices for land parcels during China’s property boom earlier this decade, which left so-called ghost cities of unsold housing across China. Now, with housing prices in China’s larger cities again rising rapidly, frothy bids for land parcels are back. On June 8, Logan Property Holdings agreed to pay 14.1 billion yuan ($2.14 billion) for a piece of land in Shenzhen’s Guangming district, the largest-ever price tag in the southern Chinese city. Logan says it didn’t overpay, calling the price “relatively favorable” in a hot market. Earlier in June, a joint venture between two firms, one of which is backed by state-owned Power Construction Corp. of China, outbid 17 rivals with an 8.3 billion yuan offer for a plot in Shenzhen’s Longhua district.

The soaring land prices show the challenges facing the government as it tries to prevent property bubbles. Moves to stimulate China’s slowing economy and to trim excess housing in smaller cities across the country—such as interest-rate cuts and eased mortgage rules—have fed into speculative demand for homes in top-tier cities that are now scrambling to cool prices. Average housing prices in 70 Chinese cities were about 5% higher in May than a year earlier, the fifth straight month of increases. In top-tier cities, prices were up 19% to 53%. But land prices are shooting up not just in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, but also in lower-profile cities such as Hangzhou, Hefei and Zhengzhou. Officials face a dilemma in trying to tame land prices: Land is commonly used as debt collateral; a sharp drop in valuation could trigger defaults and produce a wave of bad loans, hurting the economy. On the other hand, runaway land prices make it harder for ordinary Chinese to afford apartments.

[..] There is also concern that financial firms with little experience as builders are viewing land as an opportunity for arbitrage. After winning an auction, financial firms with access to cheap funding can apply for a loan with the land as collateral, and use that to extend a construction loan at a higher rate to a partner, which is typically a property developer.

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“Like an oil lease, you’re easily disposable..”

Energy-Related Loan Losses Rising (B.)

“Like an oil lease, you’re easily disposable,” the villainous J.R. Ewing quipped to his beauty queen wife in the 1970s television series Dallas. Readers of the latest edition of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s quarterly southwest economy publication might want to keep that quote in mind. News from the oil patch — the 11th Fed district that encompasses the shale heartland — is not encouraging, as it reveals a sharper rise in souring energy-related loans. “The persistence of relatively low oil prices has begun taking a toll on district bank customers,” the Dallas Fed said in its report.

“Oil-price hedges become less effective the longer prices stay low, and the cushion built by energy firms during the good times gets thinner. Cash flow becomes stretched and collateral loses its value, further pressuring borrowers.” That forces them closer to default unless banks are able to keep their lending spigots open. Many of these loans fall under the umbrella of commercial and industrial (C&I) lending — a category which has been surging in conjunction with commercial real estate (CRE) lending in recent years. While regulators have kept a somewhat lazy eye on rising CRE loans since even before the 2008 financial crisis (and certainly after it), the boom in C&I lending has been met with far less scrutiny — resulting in charts which look like this:

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“..millions of electric customers in Southern California were warned they could suffer power outages of up to 14 days this summer..”

California Power Grid Prepares For Heatwave, Power Outages (R.)

California will have its first test of plans to keep the lights on this summer following the shutdown of the key Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility as temperatures in the Los Angeles area are forecast to hit triple digits this week. With record-setting heat and air conditioning demand expected in Southern California, the state’s power grid operator issued a so-called “flex alert,” urging consumers to conserve energy to help prevent rotating power outages – which could occur regardless. Electricity demand is expected to rise during the unseasonable heatwave on Monday and Tuesday, with forecast system-wide use expected to top 45,000 megawatts, said the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages electricity flow through the state.

That compares with a peak demand of 47,358 MW last year and the all-time high of 50,270 MW set in July 2006. That could put stress on the power grid, particularly with the shut-in of Aliso Canyon, following a massive leak at the underground storage facility in October. The facility, in the San Fernando Valley, is the second largest storage field in the western United States, according to federal data, and therefore crucial for power generation. All customers, including homes, hospitals, oil refineries and airports are at risk of losing power at some point this summer because a majority of electric generating stations in California use gas as their primary fuel. In April, millions of electric customers in Southern California were warned they could suffer power outages of up to 14 days this summer due to the closure.

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“The Border Force Act gives the Australian government the power to jail, for up to two years, anybody employed by the department..”

Australia Whistleblower Loses Job After Speaking Out On Refugee Camps (G.)

The trauma specialist who condemned the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia’s offshore detention regime as the worst “atrocity” he has seen has had his contract to work on Nauru terminated. Psychologist Paul Stevenson, whom the Australian government awarded an Order of Australia for his work counselling victims of the Bali bombings, had undertaken 14 deployments to Nauru and to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. He was due to return to Nauru on Thursday. But after he spoke publicly to the Guardian about his experiences working within Australia’s offshore detention regime – describing conditions in the camps as “demoralising … and desperate” – he was told his contract had been summarily cancelled.

PsyCare, the company through which he was employed to provide counselling to guards working in offshore detention, informed him by email his employment had been terminated. Stevenson said the news was not unexpected. “But the public needs to hear about the consequences people face for speaking out, and to understand the level they go to in minimising access.” [..] The Border Force Act gives the Australian government the power to jail, for up to two years, anybody employed by the department or its contractors who speaks publicly about conditions inside the offshore detention regime, including doctors advocating for better healthcare, or other workers exposing sexual and physical abuse of detainees.

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