Dec 212022
 
 December 21, 2022  Posted by at 9:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


VIncent van Gogh Weeping woman 1883

 

Musk Advocates Modern ‘Church Commission’ To Investigate FBI Corruption (ZH)
FBI Paid Twitter $3.5m ‘To Do Its Bidding’ (DM)
Twitter ‘Directly Assisted’ Pentagon’s Propaganda Campaign (RT)
White House Dodges Question About FBI Interference (RT)
Musk Announces Policy Change For Twitter Polls (RT)
The J6 Referral Falls Short of a Credible Criminal Case (Turley)
Dems Dump Trump Tax Data In Tuesday Night Release (ZH)
The Road from Serfdom (Batiushka)
Zelensky Planning To Visit US Capitol In Person On Wednesday (Hill)
Macron Doubles Down On ‘Security Guarantees’ For Russia (RT)
Nationalization Of German Gas Giant Approved – Reuters (RT)
Germany, Poland Order More Russian Oil – Transneft (RT)
The European Non-Union after Qatargate: Was it Designed to Fail? (Ugo Bardi)
S&D Chief Summons MEP Eva Kaili Over ‘Ghost’ Vote (RT)
The Most Important Dataset of the Pandemic was Just Released (GP)
White House Can’t Mandate COVID Jabs for Federal Contractors: Appeals Court (ET)

 

 

 

 

10 minutes

 

 

 

 

Redfield

 

 

 

 

Stick jump

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new Church Committee. Would it make any sense? It was hard enough to get anywhere investigating US intel in 1975, but now?! Musk has added Lee Fang to his team of journalists, and his contribution is CENTCOM files. They are all involved, all the agencies, and which politician, let alone a whole committee, will stand up to them? Twitter just sold themselves to the agencies; that was their business model.

“Brookings: Watergate shocked the American public and spurred many of its representatives in Congress to demand an investigation into the past activities of [the FBI, CIA,] NSA and others. The result was the creation of two congressional committees in 1975, chaired by Frank Church (D-ID) in the Senate and Otis Pike (D-N.Y.) in the House of Representatives. Their hearings exposed secret, arguably illegal wiretapping, bugging, and harassment of American citizens, including Supreme Court justices, reporters, and government officials, all in the name of collecting intelligence about threats to national security. The most notorious case, first exposed in the 1960s and fully documented by the Church Committee, was the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr. by the NSA and by the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, who believed him to be part of a Communist conspiracy.”

Musk Advocates Modern ‘Church Commission’ To Investigate FBI Corruption (ZH)

In the wake of the most recent ‘Twitter Files’ release – which showed that the FBI infiltrated the social media giant, then primed its ‘Trust & Safety’ head to interpret things like the Hunter Biden release as foreign influence – CEO Elon Musk asked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) whether he approved ‘hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution.”

Some have speculated that the speed at which Twitter reacted to the NY Post’s Hunter Biden bombshell was the result of a “powerful Dem” reaching out to the FBI’s operative, Elvis Chan. Musk also advocated for a modern-day Church Commission, responding to a suggestion promoted by investor David Sacks.

“Hear, hear!!” Musk replied. Of note, thought leaders such as Eric Weinstein have been calling for a new Church Commission for years to unravel revelations that the FBI participated in the Russiagate hoax against candidate – and then sitting President, Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in response to the Twitter Files revelation that the FBI was deeply embedded at Twitter, Rep. Jim Jordan said: “I have concerns about whether the government was running a misinformation operation on We the People.” Perhaps Jordan will get behind the new Church Commission idea?

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Why Twitter never needed a viable business model.

FBI Paid Twitter $3.5m ‘To Do Its Bidding’ (DM)

The FBI handed nearly $3.5 million of taxpayers money to Twitter to pay its staff to handle requests from the bureau as it sought to ban accounts. A Twitter employee wrote in a February 2020 email that the company’s Safety, Content & Law Enforcement (SCALE) had ‘collected $3,415,323’ in less than two years from the FBI for ‘law-enforcement related projects.’ The email, which was revealed by journalist Michael Shellenberger, stated that SCALE had instituted a ‘reimbursement program’ in exchange for devoting staff hours to ‘processing requests from the FBI’. The emails was entitled ‘Run the business – We made money!’. The accounts the FBI asked Twitter to ban were largely linked to conservatives and ‘foreign influence operations’.

Twitter initially believed the Hunter Biden laptop story was ‘Russian disinformation’. It was revealed Monday that Jim Baker, Twitter’s top lawyer and ex-FBI general counsel, personally intervened to say it should be banned. Baker told Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security, that the laptop story should be blocked – a day after getting a top secret briefing from his former FBI colleagues. He wrote: ‘There are some facts that indicate the materials may have been hacked. We simply need more information.’ We went on to write: ‘I’m guessing we are going to restrict access to their article as violation of our Hacked Materials policy.’ An investigation into Twitter’s behavior around the 2020 presidential election by the incoming Republican majority in the house has been promised with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling Fox News this week: ‘This is going to be a much bigger situation than people realize.’

Current Twitter CEO Elon Musk said of the emails: ‘Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public.’ In a previous dump, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted: ‘Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary.’ In response to the latest developments, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in an appearance on Mornings with Maria on Fox News: ‘We’re going to do more than just subpoena them. We’re going to change the course of where the FBI is today.’ He went on: ‘Every day we learn something more.’ The congressman from California continued: ‘Why are they [the FBI] able to do this? Working together, using private businesses to go after individuals right before an election, denying the American public the truth?’

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Lee Fang does the CENTCOM part of the Twitter Files.

Twitter ‘Directly Assisted’ Pentagon’s Propaganda Campaign (RT)

Twitter executives have granted the US Defense Department special privileges to use the social media platform for its covert online influence campaigns for at least five years, newly released internal company communications show. Investigative journalist Lee Fang published the eighth batch of documents on Tuesday, after the company’s new owner, Elon Musk, authorized the release in an effort to provide transparency about Twitter’s past decision-making. “Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the US military’s influence operations,” wrote Fang. The journalist was allowed to make requests for internal Twitter documents through an attorney, “meaning that the search results may not have been exhaustive.”

The exposed collusion spanned since at least 2017, when Nathaniel Kahler, an official working with the US Central Command, sent an email to Twitter, requesting verification and “whitelisting” of several dozen Arab-language accounts CENTCOM was using “to amplify certain messages.” The very same day, Twitter integrity team members applied a “special exemption tag” that essentially granted the accounts the privileges of verification without a visible blue check mark. While the Pentagon allegedly promised not to conceal their affiliation, at some point profile bios and photos of some of these accounts were changed, and they began posing as ordinary users or “unbiased” sources of opinion and information.

Some accounts on the list were promoting US-backed militants in Syria, and anti-Iran propaganda in Iraq. Another was used to justify US drone strikes as “accurate” and only killing terrorists, not civilians, in Yemen. “It sounds like DOD was doing something shady and definitely not in line with what they had presented to us at the time,” one former Twitter employee told The Intercept. Other emails obtained by The Intercept showed that high-level Twitter officials, including former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, attorney Stacia Cardille, and deputy general counsel Jim Baker, discussed the collusion as “potentially problematic” in the following years, but allowed many of the accounts to remain active.

In one email, Baker speculated that “DoD might want to give us a timetable for shutting them down in a more prolonged way that will not compromise any ongoing operations or reveal their connections to DoD.” However, none of the emails provided to The Intercept shed any light on what exactly was discussed at the classified meetings with the Pentagon officials. The influence campaign appears to be linked to a larger-scale operation that ran beyond those several dozen Twitter accounts and across many other internet platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Telegram, as initially highlighted by researchers at Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory back in August, and corroborated by a Washington Post investigation in September.

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“I’m just going to refer you to the FBI. I’m not going to comment from here about that..”

We ask about the FBI, and you refer us to…..the FBI?!

White House Dodges Question About FBI Interference (RT)

The White House has declined to comment on the latest revelations from the Twitter Files, which appear to show that the FBI was involved in a campaign to preemptively discredit reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and quash it after publication. “I’m just going to refer you to the FBI. I’m not going to comment from here about that,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a daily briefing on Monday, when asked about the allegations. The son of current president and then-candidate Joe Biden forgot his laptop at a repair shop in Delaware, the owner of which later was subpoenaed by the FBI to relinquish it. However, he made a copy of the information on the device, which was then handed over to the New York Post during the 2020 election campaign. When the Post published a story about Hunter Biden’s possible influence peddling, Twitter briefly banned users from sharing it on its platform.

According to bestselling author Michael Shellenberger, who was given access to internal Twitter communications by its new owner, Elon Musk, the FBI “primed” the company’s executives to treat the legitimate news as a “hack-and-dump” operation by a malicious actor. The federal agency sent warnings to Twitter about threats of foreign influence operations amid the 2020 elections, Shellenberger reported. It also had former FBI employees – “Bu alumni” – working for Twitter, who supported the narrative and later argued that the laptop was what the agency had been warning about. Ex-FBI General Counsel Jim Baker, who was a prominent figure in the ‘Russiagate’ saga, repeatedly insisted that “the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy,” Shellenberger said.

He added that considering how much time the FBI had to verify the authenticity of the laptop, it was “inconceivable” that Baker believed the New York Post reporting was not legitimate. The FBI took possession of the laptop in December 2019, while the Post published the story in October 2020. Other coverage of the Twitter Files by Shellenberger and journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss explained how the US intelligence community worked hand-in-glove with the platform to flag speech for suspension that the US government deemed “misinformation.” It also showed the FBI and Twitter locked horns over the agency’s claims of increased activity by ‘propaganda’ bots, of which Twitter said it found no evidence.

St. Pierre

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Blue checks only.

Musk Announces Policy Change For Twitter Polls (RT)

Twitter CEO Elon Musk stated on Monday that henceforth only Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to voice their opinions in polls about policy changes on the platform. The billionaire’s comments came after he ran a poll asking users if he should resign, which the majority voted in favor of. Following the poll, one Twitter user suggested that only Blue subscribers, who pay a monthly fee, should be allowed to vote on such matters, since they “actually have skin in the game.” “Good point. Twitter will make that change,” Musk replied. Another user told the platform’s CEO that it’s “unwise to run a poll like this when you are now deep state enemy #1,” claiming that his adversaries have “the biggest bot army on Twitter.” Echoing this sentiment, the third user asked: “did bots brigade the Elon poll yesterday”?

“Interesting,” Musk noted. Twitter Blue is a paid monthly subscription, which adds a distinguishing blue checkmark to a user’s account and offers early access to some of the platform’s new features. For US users, the price starts at $8 per month. Musk launched the poll on Sunday asking Twitter users “should I step down as head of Twitter?” while promising to abide by its results. More than 17 million users took part in the survey, with 57.5% voting that the billionaire should quit. Before the poll concluded, Musk also warned his audience to “be careful what you wish, as you might get it.” He added that “no one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”

After completing his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, Musk became its majority owner, which means that no one can force him out. However, in recent weeks, the CEO has introduced a number of controversial changes that have caused a massive public backlash. Those have included loosening the Covid-19 misinformation rules and an announcement that the platform would ban users for posting links to rival social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. In an apparent attempt at damage control, Musk later clarified that the new policy regarding other platforms would be “adjusted,” and that suspensions would only be applied “when that account’s primary purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no spam rule.”

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18 months of emptiness.

The J6 Referral Falls Short of a Credible Criminal Case (Turley)

This week the January 6th Committee voted to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department, including the proposed indictment of former President Donald Trump. However, the Committee’s splashy finale lacked any substantial new evidence to make a compelling criminal case against former President Donald Trump. The Committee repackaged largely the same evidence that it has previously put forward over the past year. That is not enough. Indeed, the reliance on a new videotape of former Trump aide Hope Hicks seems a case of putting “hope over experience” in the criminal Justice system. While still based largely on the failure to act, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Cal.) insisted that “if that’s not criminal, nothing is.” The opposite may be true from a First Amendment perspective. If the failure to act is criminal, it is hard to see what would not be criminal under this standard.

After members like Schiff, again, promised new evidence to support criminal charges, the Committee continued its pattern of rehashing previously known evidence with network-quality videotapes. The failure of the Committee to offer any new and direct evidence of criminal conduct was obvious at the outset. Vice Chair Liz Cheney began her remarks by again detailing what Trump failed to do. It was a repeat of the prior hearings and for some likely left the impression of actors who are refusing to leave the stage long after the audience departed. The one new piece of evidence was largely duplicative. It shows former aide Hope Hicks saying that she also called upon Trump to make a public statement calling for peace and telling him that there is no evidence of systemic fraud.

Nevertheless, the videotape has been heralded by figures like former acting Solicitor General Neil Katyal on MSNBC as “evidence I’ve never seen before from Hope Hicks.” Katyal bizarrely claims “I think that tells you all you need to know about premeditation. Call it criminal intent. The House committees evidence here is very strong.” So all you need for premeditation is the failure to accept the weight of evidence or to act promptly after the start of a riot. Katyal might “call it criminal intent” but many judges would likely call it something else. The fact is that the J6 Committee failed to change many minds largely because of what was on display in the final public meeting. It was the same highly scripted, one-sided account repeated mantra-like for months. There is justifiable anger over these accounts, but this hearing was billed as presenting the case for criminal charges. It missed that mark by a considerable measure.

Of course, to raise obvious legal barriers to prosecution today is to invite an Internet flash mob accusing you for being an insurrectionist or fellow traveler. Major media from the Washington Post to National Public Radio routinely refer to the riot as an insurrection despite a deep disagreement over the characterization of the criminal conduct. The media unrelentingly echoes this one view despite polls showing most citizens view that day as a reprehensible “riot” motivated by loyalty to Trump.

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And as J6 falls flat on its face, here’s some more revenge. The release time indicates more emptiness.

Dems Dump Trump Tax Data In Tuesday Night Release (ZH)

After a Tuesday vote, Democrats on the House and Ways Committee have voted to release six years of President Trump’s tax returns, in what Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, called a ‘new political weapon.’ “This meeting actually sets a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president,” Brady told reporters on Tuesday. “I won’t speculate on what the next Congress and this committee will focus on related to tax returns, but I do know that a major focus will be on the IRS.” The committee voted along party lines, 24-16, to make public the returns – which will span 2015 to 2020. While the returns could be released as soon as hours, per The Hill, Chairman Richard Neal said that ‘sensitive information’ would be redacted, which may take days.

Update: Hours after they voted to release Trump’s tax returns, House Democrats released a report which includes the data from Trump’s taxes. You can read the report below as we are currently doing, however upon first read – and the fact that it was quietly released on a Tuesday night instead of via a Washington Post bombshell detailing specific ‘evil things’ Trump’s done, we are going to – for now, assume this is a giant nothingburger. In a coordinated response to the release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there is an “urgent need for legislation to ensure the public can trust in real accountability and transparency during the audit of a sitting president’s tax returns – not only in the case of President Trump, but for any president,” adding “we will move swiftly to advance Chairman Richard Neal’s legislation requiring the Internal Revenue Service to conduct an annual audit of the President’s finances.”

In their closing observations, Democrats suggested that the IRS did not sufficiently audit Trump, and that high net worth individuals who use lawyers and accounting firms should be subject to enhanced actions. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, warned in a press conference, “Longstanding privacy protections for all taxpayers have been compromised. Going forward, the majority chairman in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will have nearly unlimited power to target or make public the tax returns of private citizens—and not just private citizens: political enemies, business and labor leaders or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves.”

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“The whole Western house is now on fire in an act of suicide.”

The Road from Serfdom (Batiushka)

Today, the whole free (= Non-Western) world is looking on and anxiously watching, basically supportive of Russia, but not too visibly – just in case this millennial transformation goes wrong. Fundamentally, the free world knows that if Russia loses, then the cause of freedom and sovereignty in the world is finished, independent China India are finished. Then the Klaus Schwab-style nightmare of the World Dictatorship of Serfs, ceases to be fantasy and is put into practice. There will be no further point in human life and so the world will end in the Apocalypse. Alternatively, others proclaim another, equally catastrophic scenario. This is that the West will not back down in its war in the Ukraine and therefore will make the future nuclear through a false flag nuclear incident in the Ukraine, which it will pin on Russia, like Flight MH17. But the cold and hungry of the West do not want nuclear war and even if some of the elite are so crazy as to want it, not all. Crazy elitists could be replaced. As for the journalists who have continually lied to date, they would simply say that they had previously only reported what they had been told to report.

In other words, a nuclear war is not an inevitable scenario. In any case, how can Russia lose? We all believe that Russia will win, because treasonous regime change in Russia is not going to happen as it did in February 1917, and that was the only reason why, fully armed and ready for victory, Russia lost then (4). Even the arms merchants behind NATO are fearful of any official involvement or of the war spreading and Russia itself is careful to avoid any spread of war to a NATO country. They only want to fill their pockets, not the Apocalypse. It is precisely the loss of the war by the West that could provide the solution to the Western problem. The solution to reverse the situation in the West has to be radical because, as we have said, the Western delusion is millennial, the delusion lies at its very roots (5). Warnings have been given for centuries but nobody has ever listened. It is rather like a child who you tell not to play with matches, but who still insists on playing with matches to see what will happen if he lights a match and then sets fire to the whole house. And that is what has happened. The whole Western house is now on fire in an act of suicide.

The solution is regime change in the EU and the US/UK, that is, the changing of the elites. Now, all the Western countries of the world are run by elites with their many hangers-on. The elites provide bipartisan dictatorships. The ironic fact that it actually dares call these dictatorships, by the rich on behalf of the rich, ‘liberal democracies’ is irrelevant. I doubt if any regime change will come through some sort of armed uprising and I would not encourage that either. Rather governments – together with their fantastical, anti-Russian rhetoric – will collapse through the weight of their own lies, injustices and corruption, of protests, strikes and bankruptcies, of cold, poverty and hunger among people who have never been so cold, poor and hungry before. In other words, Western regimes will collapse under pressure from the grassroots, because they are so rotten on the inside. Which will collapse first, the EU or the US/UK, Eurosodom or Gomerica? We suspect the Eurozionists of the EU because those countries are bearing the brunt of their own elites’ suicide bid on the orders of the US/UK elite, and there are already splits among them.

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“..the perfect ending to two years where President Biden has had some landmark successes..”

Zelensky Planning To Visit US Capitol In Person On Wednesday (Hill)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to visit the U.S. Capitol in person on Wednesday, sources confirmed to The Hill. The visit is not set stone, but hinges on security, according to a second source familiar with the planning. The media leaks, the source said, are “not helping.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) confirmed the plans to The Hill. If the visit does materialize, it would likely mark the first time the Ukrainian president has left his country since before Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday encouraging them to “be present for a very special focus on Democracy Wednesday night.” Punchbowl News first reported on the possible historic visit, citing several sources familiar with the plans.


The visit comes as Zelensky, his top military officials and aides have warned that Russia is planning to renew a large-scale ground invasion of Ukraine, and as the country suffers under devastating aerial attacks that have destroyed its energy and electricity infrastructure entering the winter season. Congress on Tuesday proposed to provide Ukraine with $45 billion in military, economic and other assistance related to Russia’s war against the country, as part of the omnibus spending package lawmakers hope to pass by the end of the week. “That President Zelensky is going to make his first trip outside the country since the war began to speak to us, to thank us and to challenge us to continue to support the Ukrainian people I think is the perfect ending to two years where President Biden has had some landmark successes,” he said.

Peskov

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Reason. Short supply.

Macron Doubles Down On ‘Security Guarantees’ For Russia (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his belief that the conflict in Ukraine will inevitably be resolved at the negotiations table, and that the West and NATO in particular will have to come up with security guarantees not only for Kiev, but Moscow as well, to secure a lasting peace.“The day of peace will involve discussions. First and foremost for guarantees to Ukraine, for its territorial integrity, its long-term security. But also for Russia, as a party that it will be to an armistice and peace treaty,” Macron said in an interview with the TF1 and LCI channels broadcast on Tuesday.The French leader first voiced the idea of “security guarantees” for Russia earlier this month, arguing that one of the “essential points” NATO had to address is Russia’s concern that the military bloc “comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”

His comments triggered a barrage of criticism not only from Kiev but also fellow EU leaders from Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states. French diplomats tried to downplay the comment, insisting that it was taken “out of context,” while Macron himself urged European allies not to “create controversy where there is none.”In the latest interview, Macron urged critics to explain what kind of alternative to eventual talks with Moscow they are proposing. “What the people who refuse to prepare this and work on it are proposing is full war. It will involve the whole continent,” he said.

Last December, Russia presented a list of security demands to the US and NATO, asking the West to impose a ban on Ukraine entering the military bloc, while insisting that NATO should retreat to its borders of 1997, before it began to expand.In January, the US and NATO refused, saying they would only be interested in strategic arms control talks. Since the conflict in Ukraine escalated in February, the bloc has also moved to welcome Sweden and Finland into the military alliance, though the expansion has yet to be finalized.

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“If approval is not granted, we would have to review very critically the so-called going concern forecast for our company..”

Nationalization Of German Gas Giant Approved – Reuters (RT)

Shareholders of struggling German gas importer Uniper on Monday approved the company’s state bailout, which has so far cost the government more than €50 billion ($54 billion), Reuters reports. The company’s investors reportedly voted in favor of the two main measures, an €8 billion ($8.4 billion) capital injection by the state and allowing a further injection of up to €25 billion (nearly $27 billion). Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach reportedly called a virtual extraordinary shareholder meeting earlier on Monday to approve the bailout plan and nationalization, warning that the firm will otherwise have to consider insolvency. The warning followed last week’s approval by the European Commission of the energy giant’s takeover by the German government. “(The measures) are indispensable for this company’s future,” Maubach said, as quoted by Reuters.


“If approval is not granted, we would have to review very critically the so-called going concern forecast for our company. In the Management Board’s view, a possible insolvency could lead to a complete loss for shareholders,” he warned. According to Maubach, Uniper currently has access to around €2.5 billion ($2.6 billion) of funds. The report indicated that as part of the bailout, the German government will end up owning just below 99% of Uniper. The German Finance Ministry will be responsible for the stake. Uniper, Germany’s top gas trader, has suffered one of the biggest financial losses in the nation’s corporate history due to skyrocketing energy prices and halted gas flows from its main supplier, Russia. The government has rushed in to rescue the firm to avoid a domino effect across the country’s energy sector.

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Meanwhile in the real world… (the ban is only for shipped oil..)

Germany, Poland Order More Russian Oil – Transneft (RT)

Russia’s Transneft has received applications from Poland and Germany to pump oil for December, 2023 and the first quarter of next year, respectively, despite reports of unwillingness to continue deliveries, Nikolai Tokarev, president of Transneft, said on the air of the Rossiya-24 TV channel, Report informs referring to TASS. “They announced that they would not take oil from Russia from January 1. Now we have received applications from Polish consumers asking for 3 million tons next year, and 360,000 tons for December, and Germany has already submitted an application for the first quarter, he said.On December 12, the Polish Cabinet called for the introduction of ‘full, comprehensive sanctions without exceptions’ against Russia, including ‘comprehensive sanctions against the northern pipeline (Druzhba).’


“If this does not happen, then we will continue discussions together with the [Orlen] concern, or the concern will decide what to do next with the commitments already made,” Anna Moskva, minister of Climate and Environment of Poland, who is responsible for energy issues, told reporters. Orlen has long-term oil supply contracts with Rosneft and Tatneft. The first provides for the supply of up to 300,000 tons of oil per month and expires in December 2022, the second is concluded for 200,000 tons of oil per month and expires in December 2024. Orlen supplies all these deliveries through pipelines. Russian oil in Poland is planned to be replaced through contracts with Saudi Aramco, supplies from Nigeria, Angola, the North Sea region and from the Norwegian shelf.

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“Maybe the whole European Union is a non-place. A non-union.”

The European Non-Union after Qatargate: Was it Designed to Fail? (Ugo Bardi)

You probably know the concept of “non-places.” The hall of a hotel is a good example. It looks like the living room of a home, but it is not the same thing. It is a place where people stay for brief periods of time, but do not interact with each other. They don’t know each other, they don’t even understand each other’s language. The Babel Tower was a good example of a non-place, but nowadays non-places are common. In addition to hotels, you have airports, train stations, shopping malls, waiting rooms, and many more examples.

Non-places are the ideal kind of places to engage in illegal or hidden operations. For instance, hotels are the typical place where you can meet your secret sexual partner, discuss illegal deals, or give or receive a bribe in cash. That doesn’t mean, of course, that all the customers of a hotel are criminals. It just means that non-places provide the anonymity you need for certain kinds of transactions. Anonymity makes you also vulnerable to attacks that can take the form of “character assassination,” as it happened to Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011.

The European Parliament provides a special kind of anonymity owing to its multinational organization. Each national delegation is jealous of its national language and its members would feel offended if they were asked to speak in English (*) which some of them are unable to do, anyway. That’s why the Union has 24 official languages and, consequently, the “Alcide De Gasperi” room in the palace of the European Parliament in Brussels has 24 translation boots, each one with at least two official interpreters. (theoretically, each boot should have 23 translators, but they would not fit inside, and I suppose that the translations are made first into English and then translated into the other 23 languages).

Given this organization, you understand the fragmentation of the European Parliament. A few years ago, I was there, and I noted how it looks mostly like the hall of a large hotel, a typical non-place. Throngs of people moving up and down, but very little interaction among those who don’t speak the same language. Even outside the parliament building, I found that the Italian delegation had a coffee shop that served Italian coffee, where everyone spoke Italian, and where you feel like being in Italy. I had the impression, and some Spanish friends confirmed it, that the whole central area of Brussels is a non-place: each national delegation had its coffee shops, restaurants, etcetera. Maybe the whole European Union is a non-place. A non-union.

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Remember, she said she acted on orders from Borrell and others.

S&D Chief Summons MEP Eva Kaili Over ‘Ghost’ Vote (RT)

The President of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, had summoned MEP Eva Kaili for her “ghost” vote at the LIBE committee on Qatar, but the meeting never took place as Kaili was arrested as part of the Qatar scandal investigation, Report informs, citing EURActiv. A vote at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Qatar’s visa liberalisation exposed Kaili as she was not a member of the committee. During the previous plenary session of the EU House, Kaili participated in the LIBE committee and voted in favour of Qatar’s visa liberalisation. It was the same period when Kaili spoke in the plenary, saying Qatar is a “frontrunner in labour rights”.

An S&D source told EURACTIV that Kaili was not even sitting with her S&D group but in the back seats with her partner Francesco Giorgi and two people who came directly from Doha. When the votes were counted at the end of the voting process, EU lawmakers realised that there was an additional vote, the one of Kaili. Then German S&D MEP Birgit Sippel (SPD), who voted against the Commission’s proposal for Qatar’s visa liberalisation, then filed an internal complaint against Kaili to the S&D chief Garcia. A source from Garcia’s office told EURACTIV that it was the first time that the S&D chief received a complaint against Kaili. “Iratxe Garcia had scheduled a meeting in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg for Kaili to explain why she was present at that vote and, above all, why she participated in the voting process”, a source from Garcia’s office told EURACTIV.

However, the meeting never occurred as Kaili was arrested for the Qatar scandal. The same source explained that Nikos Androulakis, the President of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok – S&D), told Garcia after the summer that Kaili would not be a candidate for the next EU elections without elaborating further. Another incident that surprised socialists, according to the source, was when the Greek MEP broke the S&D line for the selection of the next secretary of the European Parliament and voted in favour of the centre-right EPP candidate, Alessandro Chiocchetti. EURACTIV Greece reported last September that after the vote, a closed-door S&D meeting took place in which socialist lawmakers lashed out at her for her position.

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“..an increase in diagnoses of “sudden death” (R96) of +1,082 percent. With diagnostic key R96.1, the increase is even +1,673 percent..”

The Most Important Dataset of the Pandemic was Just Released (GP)

Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRNA vaccines, calls this the most important dataset of the Pandemic. Tom Lausen is a data activist. Via A Midwestern Doctor Lausen previously revealed the PEI and the RKI (the German equivalent of the CDC) were concealing concerning vaccine safety data. Lausen estimated that 90% of the suspicious deaths that occur after vaccination are not reported to the PEI, and approximately 90% of those reported come from the patient themselves or their relatives.

The National Association for Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (NASHIP) provided the data covering over 72 million insured Germans. NASHIP or “Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV),” is the coordinating body of all 17 State Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Germany. As of 2018, it represented about 175,000 office-based physicians and psychotherapists. “The association is also actively involved in negotiations on the range of services provided by statutory health insurance companies and the remuneration of doctors. Furthermore, the KBV carries out a “security mandate” in accordance with Section 75 (1) SGB V, which is intended to ensure that all legally insured patients can receive adequate outpatient care.”

Using coded data covering 72 million Germans available from the health insurers, the number of people who died “suddenly and unexpectedly” skyrocketed compared to previous years. “It was found that in 2021 not only were 2,487,526 patients with vaccination side effects seen by the doctor, but that there were also drastic changes in clinical pictures and deaths since the start of the corona vaccination.” The following diagnostic keys were evaluated in order to analyze the rise in sudden deaths:

R96.0 Sudden death
R96.1 Death occurring within less than 24 hours of onset of symptoms, unless otherwise stated
R98 Death without others present
R99 Other imprecise or unspecified causes of death
I46.1 Sudden cardiac death

According to KBV data, in 2021 there was an increase in diagnoses of “sudden death” (R96) of +1,082 percent. With diagnostic key R96.1, the increase is even +1,673 percent.

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“No one should have to fear losing their jobs just because they opt against getting a shot.”

Geez, we’re still discussing this?

White House Can’t Mandate COVID Jabs for Federal Contractors: Appeals Court (ET)

A federal appeals court on Monday struck down a White House rule requiring anyone employed by a federal contractor to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of government contracts. A three-panel judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to affirm a lower court judgment that barred President Joe Biden’s September 2021 executive order in three states after Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi sued to challenge the rule. These three states sued the Biden administration in the Western District of Louisiana in their capacities as federal contractors themselves, winning an injunction and stay by the district court.

In upholding the lower court finding, Judge Kurt Engelhardt, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said in his majority opinion that a broad interpretation of the law could have given Biden “nearly unlimited authority to introduce requirements into federal contracts.” He illustrated his point by saying that Biden could “hypothetically” mandate that all third-party federal contractors’ employees reduce their BMI (body mass index) below a certain number based “on the theory that obesity is a primary contributor to unhealthiness and absenteeism.” The U.S. government has contracts with hundreds of third-party contractors, and judges have indicated that the issue might affect up to 20 percent of American employees.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita touted the ruling as a legal victory against what he called President Joe Biden’s executive overreach. Rokita, who joined with two other plaintiff states in the legal action, decried Biden’s “truly unprecedented” use of the federal Procurement Act to wield executive power to impose the mandate on third-party contractors. “Hoosiers and all Americans should have the liberty to make their own decisions on whether to get vaccinated,” Rokita said in a statement. “That includes individuals who happen to work as federal contractors. No one should have to fear losing their jobs just because they opt against getting a shot.”

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Camouflage

 

 

Monkey man

 

 

Terry Hall and Sinead O’Connor

 

 

 

 

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Apr 172019
 


Jacques-Louis David Coronation of Napoleon in 1804 in Nôtre-Dame Cathedral 1805-7 (10 metres wide, 6 metres tall)

 

World Trade Suffers Biggest Collapse Since Financial Crisis (ZH)
Iran Parliament Declares US Central Command A ‘Terrorist Organization’ (RT)
CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump (MoA)
Affidavit Tries To Put WikiLeaks In Cahoots With The Taliban (ZH)
Suzie Dawson on Julian Assange’s Mistreatment (Unity4J)
Jesus Christ, Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies Of The State (JW)
First They Came For Assange (Varoufakis)
Macron Commits To Rebuilding Notre Dame Within Five Years (Ind.)
May Has ‘No Chance’ Of Avoiding EU Elections (Ind.)
Tory Deregulation Agenda Is Stalling Brexit Talks – Corbyn (G.)
Not In It To Win It: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Democrats’ 2020 Battle (G.)
Six-Decade Plankton Study Charts Rise Of Ocean Plastic Waste (G.)
Mark Carney Tells Global Banks They Cannot Ignore Climate Change (G.)
The Kids Aren’t Nearly Angry Enough (Spiegel)

 

 

The financial crisis is 11-12 years old. But the deception is brilliant: everybody thinks it’s over.

World Trade Suffers Biggest Collapse Since Financial Crisis (ZH)

The recent collapse in world trade volume is the worst since the financial crisis and as dangerous as during the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s, according to The Telegraph. Data from the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis revealed that world trade volume dropped 1.8% in the three months to January compared to the preceding three months as a synchronized global downturn gained momentum. “An industrial slump has been triggered by a perfect storm of factors, including China’s slowdown, the car industry downturn, Brexit paralysis and Donald Trump’s attempt to upend the international trade system with tariffs on European and Chinese goods,” explained The Telegraph.

A further escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China could spark a world trade recession. Already, Washington has imposed steep tariffs on Chinese imports worth $250bn in a tit-for-tat battle with industrial centers in Asia and Germany experiencing sharp drops in trade in recent months. The Telegraph describes the sudden loss in trade momentum is equivalent to the months after the dot com bubble imploded in 2001 when trade volumes sank as much as 2.2%. Today’s current move is the biggest fall since the financial crisis of 2007–2008 when global trade plummeted, diving as much as 12.7%. The IMF warned last week that this is a “delicate moment” for the global economy as many countries are in the midst of a severe slowdown.

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“We” are losing to Iran all over again.

Iran Parliament Declares US Central Command A ‘Terrorist Organization’ (RT)

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has been designated as a “terrorist organization” by the Iranian parliament, in a mirror response to Washington’s blacklisting of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard. All organizations, institutions and forces under CENTCOM command were acknowledged to be “terrorists” by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian MPs, who approved the contents of the bill, which also condemns the US move to blacklist the IRGC, an official military branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces. “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s government and Armed Forces are required to adopt preventive actions and preemptive defensive measures whenever necessary, to deter any hostile US forces’ use of any possibilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests,” the bill states, according to Fars news.


Anyone offering military, intelligence, financial, or any other support to CENTCOM and its affiliate forces will be considered supporters of terrorism. The 13-article legislation also mandates the general staff to begin gathering intelligence about CENTCOM activities so that the material can be used in Iranian courts to prosecute specific individuals. The bill, however, does not mention the exact mechanisms through which Americans are expected to be brought to justice under Iranian laws. Last week the US, for the first time ever, designated an official foreign military institution –the IRGC– as a terrorist organization, as tensions between the states were pushed to the limit following President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear deal (JCPOA) and the reintroduction of sanctions that followed.

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Ducks and babies. We kid you not.

CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump (MoA)

An ass kissing portrait of Gina Haspel, torture queen and director of the CIA, reveals that she lied to Trump to push for more aggression against Russia. In March 2018 the British government asserted, without providing any evidence, that the alleged ‘Novichok’ poisoning of Sergej and Yulia Skripal was the fault of Russia. It urged its allies to expel Russian officials from their countries. The U.S. alone expelled 60 Russian officials. Trump was furious when he learned that EU countries expelled less than 60 in total. The expulsion marked a turn in the Trump administration’s relation with Russia: “The incident reflects a tension at the core of the Trump administration s increasingly hard-nosed stance on Russia: The president instinctually opposes many of the punitive measures pushed by his Cabinet that have crippled his ability to forge a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “

Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel’s relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA’s position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose: “Last March, top national security officials gathered inside the White House to discuss with Mr. Trump how to respond to the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian intelligence agent. London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical. …

[..] During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the strong option was to expel 60 diplomats. Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.

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Can we throw in Pol Pot next? I’ll see your Bin Laden and raise you a Stalin.

Affidavit Tries To Put WikiLeaks In Cahoots With The Taliban (ZH)

The document uses maximal and hyped language to describe “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States,” yet struggles to ascertain whether “illegal agreement that Assange and Manning reached” specifically led to the release of the document trove (obviously crucial for charges against Assange to hold up). Concerning a potential extradition to the US, “probable cause” is cited to be the hundreds of messages sent between Manning and Assange on the Jabber platform. The argument is that Assange and Manning understood that it “would cause injury to the United States,” especially with US forces active on the ground in Afghanistan.

But on this point of whether the leaks did actual harm and damage to US efforts, the document is left reaching, trying to spin and insinuate a narrative that puts WikiLeaks and terrorist groups like the Taliban and al-Qaeda in cahoots. It starts by claiming that “after the release of the Afghanistan War Reports, a member of the Taliban contacted the New York Times.” The supposed Taliban member said, “We are studying the report… If they are US spies, then we will know how to punish them.” This strange and somewhat comical example is meant to support the notion that Assange ultimately aided America’s enemies with the leaks. [..] Worse, the affidavit makes Osama bin Laden — killed in a 2011 raid by US Navy Seals while living comfortably in an Abbottabad, Pakistan compound — out to be a WikiLeaks fan, given letters had been found instructing an al-Qaeda member to “gather” the publicly available material leaked by Manning.

Somehow this is meant to imply WikiLeaks in a round-about way assisted al-Qaeda’s mission. The FBI is perhaps left grasping with this “bin Laden benefited” theory given the relative flimsiness of evidence to support the original “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” aspect on which the case originated.

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Brilliant argument: “The question is not whether Julian is a journalist, the question is whether THEY are journalists.”

Suzie Dawson on Julian Assange’s Mistreatment (Unity4J)

Suzie Dawson powerfully expresses her feelings of righteous indignation on witnessing Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, and reflects on his mistreatment by the establishment and their propaganda arm, the complicit corporate media.

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So let that Pope of yours stand up for Julian. Do something useful with the $600 million already donated for the Notre Dame. THAT is what your Jesus would have done.

Jesus Christ, Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies Of The State (JW)

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Indeed, it is fitting that we remember that Jesus Christ—the religious figure worshipped by Christians for his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection—paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the police state of his day. A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus was a far cry from the watered-down, corporatized, simplified, gentrified, sissified vision of a meek creature holding a lamb that most modern churches peddle.


In fact, he spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire. Much like the American Empire today, the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day had all of the characteristics of a police state: secrecy, surveillance, a widespread police presence, a citizenry treated like suspects with little recourse against the police state, perpetual wars, a military empire, martial law, and political retribution against those who dared to challenge the power of the state. For all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.

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Yanis has this completely upside down, like so many other well-meaning people:

“Let’s join forces to block #Assange’s extradition from any European country to the #US so that he can travel to Stockholm & give his accusers an opportunity to be heard”.

The accusers, if they are real, which is by no means clear, have been silenced by the Swedish government for a reason. And to say now that you can’t speak on the allegations because you too are a man, only reinforces that reason.

Assange has offered for years to talk, and for his accusers to be heard. That never needed to take place in Stockholm, and it does not now. It wouldn’t help anyone.

First They Came For Assange (Varoufakis)

My meetings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange all took place in the same small room. As the intelligence services of a variety of countries know, I visited Assange in Ecuador’s London embassy many times between the fall of 2015 and December 2018. What these snoops do not know is the relief I felt every time I left. I wanted to meet Assange because of my deep appreciation of the original WikiLeaks concept. As a teenager reading George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, I, too, was troubled by the prospect of a high-tech surveillance state and its likely effect on human relations. Assange’s early writings – particularly his idea of using states’ own technology to create a huge digital mirror that could show everyone what they were up to – filled me with hope that we might collectively defeat Big Brother.

By the time I met Assange, that early hope had faded. Surrounded by bookcases featuring Ecuadorian literature and government publications, we would sit and chat late into the night. A device on top of a bookshelf emitted mind-numbing white noise to counter listening devices. As time passed, the claustrophobic living room, the badly hidden ceiling-mounted camera pointing at me, the white noise, and the stale air made me want to run out into the street. Assange’s detractors have been saying for years that his confinement was self-inflicted: he hid in Ecuador’s embassy because he jumped bail in the United Kingdom to avoid answering sexual assault allegations in Sweden. As a man, I feel I have no right to express an opinion regarding those allegations. Women must be heard when reporting assault.

Only the violence that men have inflicted upon women for millennia is viler than the disrespect and denigration to which women are subjected when they speak up. I recall saying to Julian that, had it been me, I would want to confront my accusers, and listen to them carefully and respectfully, regardless of whether official charges had been brought. He replied that he, too, wanted that. “But, Yanis,” he said, “if I were to go to Stockholm, they would throw me in solitary and, before I got a chance to answer any allegations, I would be bundled into a plane heading for a US supermax prison.” To drive the point home, he showed me his lawyers’ offer to Swedish authorities to go to Stockholm if they guaranteed that he would not be extradited to the United States on espionage charges. Sweden never considered the proposal.

During Assange’s years in Ecuador’s embassy, in circumstances that the United Nations deemed “arbitrary detention,” many friends and colleagues mocked his fear – and lambasted me for believing him. Last September, the historian and feminist intellectual Germaine Greer summed up that belief on Australian public radio: “He won’t be extradited to the United States,” she said derisively, blaming Julian’s lawyers for misleading him into fearing such an extradition while collecting his book’s royalties.

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Make that 50. Jesus himself would have to help. Alternatively, we can see this as a sign that Macron doesn’t expect to last as president for 5 years.

Macron Commits To Rebuilding Notre Dame Within Five Years (Ind.)

French president Emmanuel Macron promised that Notre Dame will be renovated within five years and will be “even better than before” after the devastating fire that ravaged much of the building. Investigators have already begun assessing the damage and questioning people to try to establish what started the blaze that consumed the roof and spire of the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece. More then €600m has already been raised for rebuilding and restoration and the UK has said it stands ready to help. Firefighters battled for 14 hours to extinguish the flames, as onlookers feared the entire structure would be wrecked. But Parisians breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear the twin medieval bell towers had been spared and later when fire investigators revealed that “most precious” treasures have been saved.


They included the Crown of Thorns, a relic venerated by Christians and believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ, as well as the cathedral’s 18th-century organ and a number of artworks. European Council president Donald Tusk called on the European Union’s member countries to help, saying the site in central Paris is a symbol of what binds Europe together. The fire, which began on Monday evening, is thought to have been caused by an accident rather than arson, the Paris public prosecutor said. Architects warned repairs could take decades but in a televised address to the nation Mr Macron said: “We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautifully, and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it.”

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“..experts have concluded..”

May Has ‘No Chance’ Of Avoiding EU Elections (Ind.)

Theresa May has “no chance” of passing her Brexit deal in time to pull the UK out of the European parliament elections and avoid a likely devastating defeat, experts have concluded. Time has already effectively run out on attempts to ratify the agreement by 22 May, they say – despite the prime minister insisting talks with Labour can still deliver a compromise before the deadline. The verdict puts the Conservatives on course to lose most of their MEPs, polls suggest, as Leave voters protest at the failure to deliver Brexit, a disastrous result that would trigger huge pressure on Ms May to resign. The staging of the elections will also be a personal humiliation for the prime minister, who repeatedly told MPs they should not take place, three years after the Brexit referendum.


More talks with Labour are planned, as No 10 claims the complex (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – required to ratify EU withdrawal – can clear parliament before voters go to the polls on 23 May. But two respected think tanks have told The Independent the timetable is a fantasy, with one suggesting it will take “several months” to approve the legislation, which could involve up to 100 votes. Unlike the simple meaningful vote, the full legislation will trigger lengthy and gruelling parliamentary trench warfare, with echoes of the bitter battles over the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties. Approval of Maastricht took 41 days in 1993, while Lisbon required 25 days in 2008 – but there are only 17 sitting days planned before 22 May.

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There is no way they could ever agree.

Tory Deregulation Agenda Is Stalling Brexit Talks – Corbyn (G.)

Jeremy Corbyn has said Brexit talks with the government are stalling because of a Tory desire for post-withdrawal deregulation, including as part of a US trade deal. Corbyn said Labour had been putting forward a robust case for a customs union during the talks over the past week but suggested he feared the two sides would not find common ground. “There has to be access to European markets and above all there has to be a dynamic relationship to protect the conditions and rights that we’ve got for environment and consumer workplace rights,” he said. “We’ve put those cases very robustly to the government and there’s no agreement as yet.”


Meetings are scheduled this week between ministers and shadow ministers on environmental protections, security and workers’ rights, which Corbyn described as “quite interesting, quite long technical discussions, particularly on environment regulations”. However, there will be no discussion before Easter on the big issues of a customs union or a confirmatory referendum. Corbyn underlined again that an agreement could only be reached if Theresa May was prepared to accept Labour’s central demand for a common external tariff policy with the EU. “The government doesn’t appear to be shifting the red lines because they’ve got a big pressure in the Tory party that actually wants to turn this country into a deregulated, low-tax society which will do a deal with Trump. I don’t want to do that,” he said.

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The Delusional Party.

Not In It To Win It: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Democrats’ 2020 Battle (G.)

Political scientists are quick to point out two reasons why a record number of candidates is running for president on the Democratic side in 2020. One: the Republican president, Donald Trump, is vulnerable with a low-40s approval rating, so the Democratic nominee has a good shot at winning the White House. Two: there’s no bigfoot candidate this time around – no incumbent, no Hillary Clinton – to dissuade other potential candidates from running. Those conditions have lured 15 major candidates so far into the race for the Democratic nomination, with as many as half a dozen more potentially getting in, including former vice-president Joe Biden, who has yet to officially declare. The previous record for major candidates in a presidential primary field was 17, on the Republican side in 2016.


But analysts also nod to a third factor inflating the gigantic 2020 Democratic field, a not-quite-dirty little secret about presidential politics. The fact is, not all of the people running for president are actually running for president. “There is almost always at least a few candidates in these kinds of fields that are either there to push an issue agenda, or these are candidates who are interested in building their name recognition, building their stature and status within the party,” said John Sides, professor of political science at George Washington University and editor-in-chief of The Monkey Cage politics analysis site.

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How much plastic is inside of you?

Six-Decade Plankton Study Charts Rise Of Ocean Plastic Waste (G.)

A trove of data showing when the Atlantic began choking with plastic has been uncovered in the handwritten logbooks of a little-known but doggedly persistent plankton study dating back to the middle of the last century. From fishing twine found in the ocean in the 50s, then a first carrier bag in 1965, it reflects how the marine refuse problem grew from small, largely ignored incidents to become a matter of global concern. The unique dataset, published in Nature Communications, is based on records from the continuous plankton recorder, a torpedo-shaped marine sampling device that has been towed across more than 6.5m nautical miles of ocean over the past 60 years.


Bryozoans, nudibranchs, crabs, and barnacles live on a clear plastic bottle in the ocean. Photograph: Justin Hofman/Greenpeace/PA

Based firstly in Hull, then Edinburgh and Plymouth, the long-running programme was initially designed to collect pelagic plankton, which are an indicator of water quality and also a source of food for whales and other marine life. But the operators have also kept a chart-and-counter track of entanglements that disrupted their work: what snared the equipment, where it happened and when. This has proved a valuable source of data on plastic waste, according to contemporary researchers. “This consistent time series provides some of the earliest records of plastic entanglement, and is the first to confirm a significant increase in open ocean plastics in recent decades,” the paper notes.

The start of the problem was so slow it was barely noticed. The log shows strands of fishing twine found off the east coast of Iceland in 1957, then a carrier bag in waters to the north-west of Ireland eight years later. The paper states this was a couple of years before the first reports of turtles and seabirds becoming ensnared in plastic. Over the following decades the problem grew steadily. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, fewer than 1% of tows were disrupted by entanglements with synthetic materials. By the 90s it was almost 2%, and in the first decade of this century the increase “was of an order of magnitude”, according to the paper. The figure is now hovering somewhere between 3% and 4%.

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Note: if you find yourself agreeing with Carney, and you fail to see the absurdity in this, seek treatment. Carney is a full-time douche. He’s saying going green is a profit opportunity.

Mark Carney Tells Global Banks They Cannot Ignore Climate Change (G.)

The global financial system faces an existential threat from climate change and must take urgent steps to reform, the governors of the Bank of England and France’s central bank have warned, writing in the Guardian. In an article published in the Guardian on Wednesday aimed at the international financial community, Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, and Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Banque de France, said financial regulators, banks and insurers around the world had to “raise the bar” to avoid catastrophe. They said: “As financial policymakers and prudential supervisors we cannot ignore the obvious physical risks before our eyes. Climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, in which the whole financial sector has a central role to play.”


The warning comes as concern over the impact of climate change and the lack of urgent action is increasing, reflected in the Extinction Rebellion protests and schoolchildren’s strikes across the world. The heads of two of the world’s most influential central banks urged other financial regulators around the world to carry out climate change stress tests to spot any risks in the system, while also calling for more collaboration between nations on the issue. They warned that a “massive reallocation of capital” was necessary to prevent global warming above the 2°C maximum target set by the Paris climate agreement, with the banking system required to play a pivotal role. “If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist,” Carney and De Galhau said.

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