Aug 302022
 


Henri Matisse Open window, collioure 1905

 

Europe Warned Of Danger For Many Winters To Come (RT)
Europe’s Economic And Social Suicide (MoA)
Western Europe Headed For ‘Energy Collapse’ – Hungary (RT)
One In Four Britons Won’t Turn On Heating This Winter (RT)
‘A Horrible Winter Lies Ahead’: Next PM Will Inherit An NHS On Its Knees (G.)
White House Sets Date For First ‘Hunger Conference’ In Decades (RT)
Zelensky Promises To Recapture Donbass (RT)
Ukraine’s Attempt At Counter-offensive Has Failed – Russia (RT)
Ukrainian Drone Downed Over Nuclear Plant – Russia (RT)
Moscow Urges ‘All Nations’ To Pressure Kiev Over Nuclear Site (RT)
Kissinger And The WEF’s Young Global Leaders Program (UH)
How Dick Cheney Created Anthony Fauci (Unherd)
The Wild West (Jim Kunstler)
Trump Calls for New Election Immediately (Celente)
Third of Pakistan Under Water – Official (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

German/Soviet deaths

 

 

[..] from 16th Aug, the UK Govt removed advice for pregnant & breastfeeding women to be vaccinated against #COVID19. Source:
https://gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19/summary-public-assessment-report-for-pfizerbiontech-covid-19-vaccine

 

 

 

 

Tasmania funeral director

 

 

 

 

“The real threat to the world is global cooling. Otherwise known as winter.” – Carlson

Europe Warned Of Danger For Many Winters To Come (RT)

Europe could face gas shortages for several winters as a result of the Russian supply cut, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told a news conference on Monday, as reported by Reuters. “I do not think this crisis is going to be limited to just one winter. It may well be that we will have a number of winters where we have to somehow find solutions,” van Beurden said. The chief executive pointed out that Europe will remain under pressure as it takes steps to scrap Russian gas supplies by 2027. “If there was no Russian gas supply at all… life would be very hard,” van Beurden noted, adding “We should all be very mindful and responsible when it comes to that.”


According to the Shell CEO, the expectation of a swift resolution to Europe’s energy crisis “is a fantasy we should put aside.” European gas and power futures contracts rocketed to record highs last week, with prices reaching around 10 times above the levels where they were a year ago. The rally followed Russian energy giant Gazprom’s announcement of an upcoming shutdown due to maintenance of the only operational turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Gas transit via the route will be entirely suspended from August 31 to September 2.

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“..The economic and financial breakdown of Europe will be much faster than the obviously necessary political change of its third rate leadership..”

Europe’s Economic And Social Suicide (MoA)

The U.S. has, out of purely egoistic reasons, dragged Europe, and especially Germany, into a trap that will lead to its economic and social destruction. Instead of recognizing the danger, and taking the necessary countermeasure, the European and the German ‘leaders’ committed themselves to help with the process. The best thing for Europe and Germany would of course have been to avoid the crisis. That failed because of a lack of insight and effort. But now, as Europe is deep down in a hole, the politicians should at least stop digging. It is in Europe’s and especially Germany’s obvious interest to keep the crisis as short as possible. But the lunatics who are ruling over Europe are still doing the opposite:

“Germany will keep up its support for Kyiv “for as long as it takes”, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday, calling for an enlargement of the European Union to eventually include Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia…. Germany had undergone a “fundamental change of heart” in recent months on its military support for Ukraine, he said. “We will keep up this support, reliably and, above all, for as long as it takes,” he told the packed university audience. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen echoed the “as long as it takes” promise to Kyiv in a speech in Slovenia, calling for “a new strategic thinking” to uphold European values.

As those ‘leaders’ seem to see it, affordable energy, warm homes, sufficient food, jobs and pensions of Europe citizens are not part of the ‘European values’ they intend to uphold. The economic and financial breakdown of Europe will be much faster than the obviously necessary political change of its third rate leadership. The only political sector that will not be damaged by all this, at least in France and Germany, is the far right. That in itself is also a danger.

Von der Leyen

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The solutions are obvious. They’re both called Nord Stream.

Western Europe Headed For ‘Energy Collapse’ – Hungary (RT)

Western Europe’s policy of rejecting Russian energy, even in the absence of suitable alternatives, could lead to systemic collapse when the public is left without heat this winter, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto warned on Monday. “All these statements … from Western Europe on the issue of energy supply simply do not work at all with winterr approaching,” Szijjarto explained to a meeting of his country’s diplomats, according to the Sputnik news agency. The Foreign Minister pointed out that while“ideological, political, communication statements with effective support from the international media can easily inflate balloons that cover people’s eyes,” all the ideology in the world won’t keep EU citizens warm when winter approaches.

It is very difficult to explain to someone in winter that they are not cold when there is no heating. Insisting that Hungary had not yet fallen into this trap, he warned that pressure from other EU governments would only get worse, as the current world order “is approaching a huge collapse, almost at the speed of an asteroid.”Russian sources are integral to European energy security, he argued, implying that without them, social discontent could lead to systemic collapse. Not only will Hungary not entertain talk of sanctions on Russian energy, but other nations will quietly back it on the matter – even if they won’t do so publicly, Szijjarto told the ambassadors.

While Budapest has pushed back against bloc-wide calls for an embargo on Russian oil and gas since the notion first began circulating among EU politicians, other states that once demanded Moscow be punished over Ukraine have quickly realized that no other source of energy can make up for the loss of Russian supplies. Electricity costs in Germany and France shot up to record heights on Friday, driven by Moscow’s threat to shut down the last operational turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for three days’ maintenance. Those countries are far from the only ones to feel the bite of sanctions that were supposed to punish Russia, however, and Europeans of all nationalities are stockpiling what fuel they do have – whether it’s firewood or coal – for the long winter ahead.

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“..placing the blame on the “zombie Government in Westminster, and two leadership contenders living on another planet.”

One In Four Britons Won’t Turn On Heating This Winter (RT)

Nearly one in four adults in Britain do not plan on turning on their heating this winter as energy bills are set to skyrocket, The Independent reported on Monday, citing researcher Savanta ComRes. According to a survey conducted by the firm on July 29 and 30, before the new price cap was announced, the figure is even higher for parents with children under 18. The study shows that 23% of those polled (more than 2,000 adults) said they will not turn their heating on at all. Seven in ten (69%) indicated they would switch their heating on less, and one in ten (11%) said they would take out a loan, with the latter figure rising for those with children under 18 (17%).The research comes amid warnings of a dire winter, as the energy price cap is set to rise 80% by October, pushing the average household’s yearly bill up from £1,971 to £3,549 ($2,300 to $4,150).


According to The Independent, the Liberal Democrats, which commissioned the survey, warned that British families are being forced to make difficult choices, with the country “on the brink of the worst cost-of living-crisis in a century.” “Families and pensioners across the country are making heartbreaking decisions because the Government has failed to save them,” the Liberal Democrats’ Cabinet Office spokesperson, Christine Jardine, said, adding, “It is a national scandal that parents are having to choose between heating their homes and feeding their children. It shouldn’t be like this.” Jardine warned that an “economic catastrophe”is “just a month away,” placing the blame on the “zombie Government in Westminster, and two leadership contenders living on another planet.”

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Is it only this bad in Britain?

‘A Horrible Winter Lies Ahead’: Next PM Will Inherit An NHS On Its Knees (G.)

In a television studio in Stoke-on-Trent last month, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak traded blows over everything from credit card economics to Channel migrants to the accessories chain Claire’s. The list of issues the pair clashed over was dizzyingly long. There was one glaring omission, however. In the hour-long debate there was not a single mention of the NHS – despite being engulfed in its biggest ever crisis. The NHS now shares the same traits as many of those relying upon it to keep them alive and well: it is elderly, has multiple comorbidities, and is in dire need of emergency care. Summer has left it on its knees. Worse is expected this winter.

“The new prime minister will inherit an NHS in its worst state in living memory,” says Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. “There is no escaping that the NHS is in a state of crisis.” The facts, he says, speak for themselves. “There are 105,000 vacancies. A&Es are overcrowded. Around one in seven hospital beds are occupied by patients who can’t be discharged. Some patients have had to wait over 40 hours for an ambulance. Care is being put at risk by neglected buildings due to underinvestment. And then there’s the waiting lists, which stretch into the millions across elective care, mental health and community care.”

Jeremy Hunt, the chair of the health and social care committee, is equally concerned. “The new PM will inherit an NHS facing the most serious crisis in its history,” he warns. “A&Es, ambulances, general practice and social care are in serious peril across the country.” The overriding problem for the new Downing Street incumbent is that, while in previous years problems in the NHS centred on specific areas, today the entire house is on fire. “The NHS has never been as challenged as it is now,” says Alastair McLellan, the editor of Health Service Journal. “There is not one area of NHS provision that isn’t really struggling … There is literally nowhere where it isn’t bad, and in some cases really bad.”

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Some things need to be read more than once.

“We will announce a national strategy at the Conference that identifies actions the government will take to catalyze the public and private sectors to drive transformative change and address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health,”

White House Sets Date For First ‘Hunger Conference’ In Decades (RT)

The White House has announced when it plans to hold the first Hunger, Nutrition and Health conference in over 50 years as the US continues to deal with rampant inflation, which is affecting food prices throughout the country. Set to be held on September 28 in Washington, DC, the conference will supposedly bring together “government leaders, academics, activists and Americans from all walks of life” to focus on issues affecting millions of citizens who are faced with food insecurity amid surging prices. “We will announce a national strategy at the Conference that identifies actions the government will take to catalyze the public and private sectors to drive transformative change and address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health,” a statement by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reads.

President Biden’s administration says it aims to improve food access and affordability, empower people to make healthy food choices and enhance food security research in areas experiencing destitution. Washington has claimed it plans to eradicate hunger in the US completely by 2030. “I’ll be convening the White House Conference with Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to bring together anti-hunger and nutrition advocates, food companies, local state governments, tribal and territory committees to lay out our plan to combat hunger and improve nutrition for every American,” Biden said in a video statement back in May. The meeting will come as inflation has put a noticeable strain on the food budgets of many American families as grocery store prices have gone up some 12.2% since last year, according to the Consumer Price Index.

Inflation has reached a 40-year high under the Biden administration, hitting 9.1% in June and currently sitting at 8.5%. With prices of food, fuel, and consumer goods rising, the Biden administration has continued to spend lavishly, with the president allocating more than $54 billion since February for military and economic aid to Ukraine and passing a $739 billion climate, healthcare, and tax reform bill earlier this month. While the bill is named the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, the Congressional Budget Office has noted that it will saddle middle-class Americans with around $20 billion in additional taxes over the coming decade, whilst having a “negligible” impact on inflation.

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Mad man.

Zelensky Promises To Recapture Donbass (RT)

President Vladimir Zelensky said in his daily evening address on Sunday that Ukraine will recapture Donbass, which is now almost fully seized by Russian forces. “We have not forgotten and will not forget any of our cities and any of our people,” he said. “Now Donbass is almost destroyed by Russian strikes, devastated. The proud and glorious Ukrainian Donetsk was humiliated by the Russian occupation and robbed. But Ukraine will return. For sure. Life will return. The dignity of the people of Donbass will return. The ability to live will return. The opportunity to live safely and happily,” the president added.


According to him, this is what the Ukrainian flag will symbolize “when we set it up in Donetsk, Gorlovka, Mariupol, in all cities of Donbass, Azov area, in all areas under Russian occupation – in Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson regions. And definitely in Crimea.” “Ukraine remembers everything,” Zelensky said. The US may be helping Ukraine prepare for an impending counteroffensive against Russia, the Washington Post claimed in a piece published this week, pointing to the type of weaponry making up the latest batch of military aid pledged to Kiev by the Pentagon. Last month, a number of top Ukrainian officials suggested that the country’s military would launch a counteroffensive in the south of the country in August to retake the city of Kherson.

Stephen Cohen RIP

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“Kiev has been talking about a “Kherson counteroffensive” all summer, while soliciting more weapons and ammunition from its Western backers.”

Ukraine’s Attempt At Counter-offensive Has Failed – Russia (RT)

Ukraine’s much-heralded “counter-offensive” in Kherson has “failed miserably,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday, listing the losses suffered by Kiev at the end of the day. Ukrainian forces attempted to attack in three directions on orders of President Vladimir Zelensky but made no gains, Moscow said. Russian troops caused “great losses” to the Ukrainian attackers during the day’s battles, including 26 tanks, 23 armored fighting vehicles, nine more armored vehicles, two SU-25 ground-attack jets and more than 560 troops, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday evening. The enemy’s another attempt at offensive actions has failed miserably.


Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian outlet Suspilne quoted Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk as saying that “offensive actions in various directions” had begun, “including in the Kherson region.” She offered no details, however, saying only that “any military operation needs silence.” By Monday evening, however, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine mentioned only a Russian attack near the village of Potemkino. Kiev has been talking about a “Kherson counteroffensive” all summer, while soliciting more weapons and ammunition from its Western backers. In a video address to the people on Sunday, Zelensky vowed that “Ukraine will return” to Donbass – as well as Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson and “definitely in Crimea.”

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“Ukrainian artillery launched at least eight large-caliber shells at the city on Sunday, with two of them landing near the nuclear power plant, according to the report.”

Ukrainian Drone Downed Over Nuclear Plant – Russia (RT)

Russian forces on Sunday shot down a Ukrainian drone that was apparently on a mission to strike the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the Russian military said on Monday. The drone was shot down by small arms fire and fell on the roof of one of the buildings at the nuclear site, the Russian Defense Ministry said during a daily briefing. The building in question serves as storage for nuclear fuel and waste, it said. The crash didn’t cause any significant damage, the statement added.


The incident was described as part of a pattern of Ukrainian attacks against the Russia-controlled facility and the city of Energodar, which hosts it. Ukrainian artillery launched at least eight large-caliber shells at the city on Sunday, with two of them landing near the nuclear power plant, according to the report. The Ukrainian staff at the facility “ensures the technical condition and operation” of the Zaporozhye plant, the Russian ministry added. It said there was no evidence of radiation leaks from the site.

https://twitter.com/A__Alimov/status/1564187762177331200

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“We’ve been waiting for this mission for a long time. We believe it to be necessary,” the Kremlin spokesman said..”

Moscow Urges ‘All Nations’ To Pressure Kiev Over Nuclear Site (RT)

Making Ukraine cease its attacks on the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant will require a joint effort from the whole international community, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. “We still believe that all countries are obliged to put pressure on the Ukrainian side, so that it stops endangering the European continent by shelling the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and adjacent areas,” Peskov told the media on Monday. The statement came hours after International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi announced that IAEA experts would visit the nuclear plant this week to assess the security situation and establish a permanent presence at the facility.

“We’ve been waiting for this mission for a long time. We believe it to be necessary,” the Kremlin spokesman said, adding that Moscow was ready to cooperate with the UN atomic agency. He assured that Russia would provide the necessary security to the IAEA inspectors once they reach the plant from Ukrainian-held territory. Peskov also commented on a suggestion by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the crisis at Europe’s largest nuclear power station could be resolved by setting up a demilitarized zone around the perimeter. “No, there’s no talk about it,” the Kremlin press secretary said when asked about the proposal.

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of targeting the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and the nearby town of Energodar with artillery and drones, warning that it could trigger a disaster that would eclipse the 1986 Chernobyl incident. Ukraine, meanwhile, has claimed that Russian forces have turned the nuclear plant into a military base and that they’ve been shelling the facility themselves to pin the blame on Kiev. Moscow, which has denied those accusations, has been insisting on a visit by the IAEA to the site.

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From Whitney Webb’s outlet.

Kissinger And The WEF’s Young Global Leaders Program (UH)

When the World Economic Forum began their Global Leaders for Tomorrow initiative in the early 1990s, Klaus Schwab’s organization implemented a program of recruitment and training for global leaders which was almost indistinguishable from Kissinger’s CIA-funded International Seminar. Schwab was treading in the footsteps of his mentor, Henry Kissinger, and it was the Dan David Foundation, while Kissinger was seated on their board, which eventually awarded Schwab with the initial funding required to create the current iteration of the program, the Forum for Young Global Leaders. The World Economic Forum has spawned many globalist-aligned heads of states, cabinet ministers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and other powerful actors, through their Global Leaders for Tomorrow and Young Global Leaders initiatives.

Schwab has even spoken openly on how his organization has gone on to “penetrate the cabinets” of supposedly sovereign states, and we should not be naive, as he has been planning on doing exactly this for at least three decades. However, it isn’t the thousands of participants who have completed these programs who we should be most concerned about. Our real concern should be with the billions of democratic voters who have been tricked into believing that any of the leaders produced by either Schwab or Kissinger have their best interests at heart.

Klaus Schwab became the heir to Henry Kissinger’s most important project, the infiltration of individuals and organizations in countries around the world with the aim of creating globalist-aligned governments built within the framework of an outdated and soulless conceptualization of American imperialism. Klaus Schwab’s activities since his time at Harvard can be seen as simply a direct continuation of Kissinger’s work during the 1950s and 1960s, and it would be naive of us to believe that there is not someone else, already groomed and trained, who is ready and willing to pick up Kissinger’s political baton from Schwab and continue in their joint mission towards globalist governance.

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Fauci’s been there since Reagan.

How Dick Cheney Created Anthony Fauci (Unherd)

Few people in America today are as powerful and polarising as Anthony Fauci. For the Left, Fauci is a consummate cool-headed scientist, emblematic of the essential role of government. On the Right, he is a Deep State operative who destroyed the lives of countless people to serve a hidden agenda, all while mysteriously taking home a bigger paycheck than any other of the country’s two million federal employees (including their collective boss, the President). The reality is that both narratives fundamentally misunderstand the position Fauci occupies in American government. Far from being a public health expert, Fauci sits at the very top of America’s biodefence infrastructure. And contrary to the notion that he is a Deep State string-puller of the Democratic party, it was George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who not only put Fauci there but created the very framework that the immunologist-physician commands.

This in part accounts for the otherwise inexplicable fact that Fauci, loathed by President Trump, was never fired by the notoriously vengeful politician who galvanised his brand with the phrase “You’re fired!”. But Fauci’s untouchability raises an even more perplexing question: Why did the media beatify him as the country’s beneficent, infallible Covid saviour rather than look into the reality of his position and the source of his nearly limitless authority? To understand the rise of Fauci, and his legacy as he retires this year, we must return to the first months of the 2000s, when a hawkish new administration was settling into power. While George W. Bush had come to Washington touting a new brand of “compassionate conservatism”, Cheney came carrying decades of Defense Department experience, including a term as Defense Secretary under George H.W. Bush during Operation Desert Storm.

Bush’s interest in biodefence and pandemic preparedness is frequently traced back to a 2004 book, The Great Influenza. The reality, however, is that the administration came to power with biological weapons and infectious disease very much top of mind, with Cheney seeking to address the gaping hole in America’s national security left by the country’s lack of a coherent biodefence strategy. But if biodefence wasn’t already a priority for the Bush White House, that swiftly changed a week to the day after the 9/11 attacks, a mere eight months into Bush’s first term, when the United States suffered the most serious biological weapons attack in its history. On September 18, 2001, a number of national media outlets, including CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, the New York Post and the National Enquirer, received a series of letters containing a dry white powder.

Three weeks later, a second round of letters was sent to the offices of senators Tom Daschle, then the Senate Majority leader, and Patrick Leahy, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Twenty-two people were infected with anthrax, five of whom died. Already in a state of unprecedented military alert, the United States was sent into near-chaos by the anthrax attacks, which, by essentially weaponising the postal system with one of the world’s most lethal pathogens, engendered a sense that the country was under attack by an unseen enemy with unfathomable capabilities.

Hilton Fauci

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“This is the third time in a hundred-odd years that Germany has attempted suicide, and this time it looks like it’s going to work.”

The Wild West (Jim Kunstler)

The West’s biggest project these days, the war it provoked over Ukraine, turned out to be a giant Acme land-mine under the West’s collective Wile E. Coyote ass. As Russia advances implacably there and financial sanctions fizzle, behold the scramble in Europe now among citizens desperate to not freeze to death in the months ahead. This is the third time in a hundred-odd years that Germany has attempted suicide, and this time it looks like it’s going to work. Farewell nice German cars, machine tools, and other symbols of industrial might. In feckless Poland, the folks are out gathering lumps of coal and scouring the forest floor for firewood — they’re forbidden by law from cutting standing timber. Mr. Macron tells France she must accept “reduced living standards.”

Looks like Brexit did not go far enough as the UK holds hands with the rest of NATO tromping into economic oblivion. Think the USA is doing better? The summer rally in financial markets was just another frame in the Loony Tunes festival that American life has become. The Fed Chair, Mr. Powell, said all the parts out loud at the annual Jackson Hole banker meet-up last week: look out below, we’ve decided to take this sucker down (in the immortal words of George W. Bush), since pretending to stoke prosperity via Modern Monetary Theory only results in, duh, ruinous inflation. This raises the question, though, as to which is more politically damaging: inflation or depression? It is really only the difference between having plenty of worthless money or having no money at all.

The institutional rot eating away at our national underpinnings got more exposed last week when Mark Zuckerberg stupidly blurted to Joe Rogan that, yes, in the fall of 2020 the FBI warned Facebook — “came to the folks on our team,” he put it, smarmily — about a Russian disinformation campaign underway, wink wink. And so, Facebook turned the volume down to zero on certain news about a laptop belonging to one Hunter Biden stuffed with selfie porn (prostitutes included), video evidence of narcotics use, and deal memos about worldwide influence peddling involving the whole dang Biden family.

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‘We thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s similar to that so just be vigilant.’ ”

Trump Calls for New Election Immediately (Celente)

Former President Donald Trump took to social media on Monday to call for an emergency presidential election after the latest developments on the Hunter Biden laptop story. “This is massive Fraud & ELECTION INTERFERENCE at a level never seen before in our country. REMEDY: Declare the rightful winner or, and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new election.” The move came after Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, told podcaster Joe Rogan about how his company handled the Hunter Biden story and its interactions with the FBI. “Basically, the background here is the FBI basically came to us, some folks on our team, and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know you should be on high alert,’ ” said Zuckerberg. “

‘We thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s similar to that so just be vigilant.’ ” The New York Post noted that when Rogan asked the tech head if the FBI had told Facebook to “be on guard specifically for our story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, Zuckerberg claimed, rather unconvincingly that he did “not remember . . . specifically” but “it basically fit the pattern.” Claiming it was a hoax and never existed, The New York Times reported in March that it was able to finally authenticate emails from Hunter Biden found on a laptop just before the 2020 election, but was snuffed out by Big Tech and mainstream media companies.

[..] The New York Post, citing invoices on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, reported that Burisma Energy in Ukraine, paid the Biden boy $1 million a year while his father was vice president—or about $83,333 per month. The holding company cut his pay in half when his father exited office, the report said. Twitter decided to block the Post’s story—at the height of the election season—due to its “Hacked Material Policy.” On Sunday, Trump called on FBI agents to stand up to their bosses. “When are the great Agents, and others, in the FBI going to say ‘we aren’t going to take it anymore,” much as they did when James Comey read off a list of all of Crooked Hillary Clinton’s crimes, only to say that no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute.,” Trump said.

“The wonderful people of the FBI went absolutely “nuts,” so Comey had to backtrack and do a FAKE INVESTIGATION in order to keep them at bay,” he wrote. “The end result, we won in 2016 (and did MUCH better in 2020!). But now the ‘Left’ has lost their minds!!!”

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With only 33 million of 242 million affected?

Third of Pakistan Under Water – Official (RT)

The country is faced with a crisis of “unimaginable proportions,” climate change minister Sherry Rehman says. A third of Pakistan is under water as a result of flooding caused by record monsoon rains, the South Asian country’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, has said. “It’s all one big ocean, there’s no dry land to pump the water out,” Rehman told the news agency AFP on Monday. Pakistan spans 881,913 square kilometers (340,509 square miles), which makes it the world’s 33rd-largest country by area, ahead of the likes of Turkey, France and Germany. Inhabited by almost 242 million people, it’s also the fifth most populated nation in the world. What’s happening in Pakistan now is “very far from a normal monsoon – it is climate dystopia at our doorstep,” the minister said.


The flooding has created a crisis of “unimaginable proportions” in the country, she added. In a separate interview with Deutsche Welle, Rehman claimed that “we’ve had to deploy the navy for the first time to operate in Indo-Pakistan” because such vast areas are being covered with water. The death toll since mid-June from the monsoon rains had reached 1,061 as of Monday, according to the National Disaster Management Agency. More than 3,000 roads have been destroyed, with 130 bridges and 495,000 homes damaged by flash floods, the agency said. Rehman estimated last week that the disaster had affected around 33 million people in the country.

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Reverse racism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ali in Paris

 

 

 

 

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Aug 222022
 
 August 22, 2022  Posted by at 8:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  63 Responses »


Edouard Vuillard The window 1894

 

‘Russophrenia’ From Supposedly Smart People In The West (Diesen)
Russian Ambassador: We Simply Have No Contact With Western Diplomats (Antiwar)
US And Its Allies Lack Self-awareness (Robert Bridge)
German Chancellor’s Ratings Hit New Low (RT)
Scholz Told Putin When Ukraine Could Join NATO (RT)
Scholz Promises Kiev More Weapons ‘Soon’ (RT)
China Is Preparing To Go To War (Chang)
Drought Causes Yangtze River To Dry Up, Sparking Shortage Of Hydropower (G.)
Britain Warned Of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ (RT)
UK Energy Bills To Skyrocket (RT)
British Soldiers To Prepare For Fighting Russia (RT)
Saskatchewan Warns Trudeau’s Federal Nitrogen Agents Could Be Arrested (TCS)
Peter Strzok: Fired FBI Official Is Making the Case Against Himself (Turley)
No Evidence Of Political Motivation Behind Mar-a-Lago Raid – Liz Cheney (CNBC)
In FBI vs. Trump, The People Lose (Maté)

 

 

Biden rent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker T celll damage

 

 


Swedish artist Karl Jilg shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars

 

 

 

 

“We have been moving slowly towards a major European war for 30 years and there are no good solutions anymore..”

‘Russophrenia’ From Supposedly Smart People In The West (Diesen)

The author and holocaust survivor, Victor Klemperer, identified two distinct styles of language that defined Hitler’s propaganda against the Jews: either “scornful derision” of the inferior race or “panic-stricken fear” of their threat to civilisation. Anti-Russian propaganda over the past centuries has similarly produced two contradictory positions – disdain for Russians as an uncivilised and backward people, and simultaneously an immeasurable threat looming over Europe. A state of affairs described by one writer as “Russophrenia: the idea that Russia is simultaneously about to fall apart, and also take over the world.” Russia is hopelessly inept and weak, yet it is also capable of subverting the democracies of the world and restoring a global empire.

Moscow is so impaired that the West does not need to acknowledge or accommodate its basic security interests, yet NATO’s 30 member states need ever-more weapons to defend against the dreaded Russians. Exaggerating the weakness or the strength of an adversary (or both) is a key component of propaganda, which carries with it the obvious risk of miscalculations, as the real capabilities of the opponent are not accurately assessed. The war in Ukraine is a good case study of this phenomenon. To encourage more NATO, more military spending and containment of Russia, it is commonly argued that we have underestimated the threat of the Russians. During the Cold War, it was falsely argued that the Soviets enjoyed a huge positive missile gap vis-à-vis the US, which incentivised further military spending in the US.

After the Cold War, NATO expansion and raison d’etre have continued to rely on an exaggerated Russian threat. To encourage a more forceful approach to Russia, it is now argued that we have overestimated Moscow’s strength. Case in point, an article by The Atlantic argues that “Ukraine Has Exposed Russia as a Not-So-Great Power”. It suggests that because the Russian army “has seized only 20 percent of Ukraine”, it is time to shed the illusion of Russia being a great power. This conclusion supports an even more hard-line position towards Russia as opposed to Kissinger’s argument that great powers must be accommodated for peace. In other words, more of the same policies that fuelled tensions and brought us to this horrific conflict. [..] We have been moving slowly towards a major European war for 30 years and there are no good solutions anymore. But an end to wishful thinking must be the beginning.

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“..the lack of contact between officials means there is no potential to end the war through talks.”

Russian Ambassador: We Simply Have No Contact With Western Diplomats (Antiwar)

In an interview with the Financial Times, a top Russian diplomat says there is no communication with Western diplomats at the UN. The complete freeze in contact led the Kremin to assess there is no possibility of a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told FT, “We do not have any contacts with the western delegations,” he said of his day-to-day work in Geneva. “On the protocol side we do not see each other … Privately we do not have any contacts, unfortunately … we simply do not talk to each other.” He said the lack of contact between officials means there is no potential to end the war through talks.

“Now, I do not see any possibility for diplomatic contacts. And the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution,” Gatilov said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has only spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once in the past six months. Gatilov said Western military support for Ukraine and preventing peace talks means the war will have a military end. “And so they [Kiev and its western supporters] will fight until the last Ukrainian,” he said. Lavrov said Ukraine made a workable proposal in March before Kiev broke off talks the following month. Multiple sources reported, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev as talks were progressing, discouraging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from engaging with the Kremlin.

Gatilov praised Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for attempting to facilitate a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine. Ankara has hosted talks between Kiev and Moscow. Turkey and the UN were essential in crafting a deal that allows wheat to be exported through Black Sea ports. While Russia is happy with Turkey’s mediation efforts, FT reported two weeks ago that Western diplomats were concerned about Ankara’s ties with Moscow. On Saturday, deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas that Russian companies and individuals are attempting to bypass Western sanctions in Turkey. Adeyemo warned the White House was attempting to enforce those sanctions.

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“.. Islamic State militants, who scattered their forces throughout the civilian population thereby turning civilians into ‘human shields’ – a technique now being employed by Ukraine.”

US And Its Allies Lack Self-awareness (Robert Bridge)

Efforts are underway in the US Senate to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Before going down that road, lawmakers may wish to consider some inconvenient facts. If Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is doing anything – aside from eradicating the resurgence of fascism on the European continent – it is revealing the shocking lack of self-awareness in Western capitals. Perennial American Russophobes from opposite sides of the political spectrum, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Lindsey Graham, are now agitating members of Congress to include Russia in Washington’s list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism,’ which presently includes North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Syria. Meanwhile, the Baltic State of Lithuania signed off on its own legislation in May declaring Russia a ‘terrorist state.’

Yet Vilnius didn’t stop there, accusing Russia of carrying out ‘genocide’ on its neighbor’s territory. The resolution states that Russia is committing “genocide against the Ukrainian people,” while saying that the Russian military, like some kind of modern-day Huns, “deliberately and systematically target civilian targets…”. Consider how US-led coalition forces ‘liberated’ the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State militants, who scattered their forces throughout the civilian population thereby turning civilians into ‘human shields’ – a technique now being employed by Ukraine. The US-led Coalition’s relentless four-month ‘precision’ bombardment against IS killed and injured thousands of civilians, while reducing homes, businesses and infrastructure to rubble. Surveying the damage on the ground, Amnesty International concluded that the US-led Coalition “launched strikes likely to cause excessive harm to civilians and failed to distinguish between military targets and civilians.”

The tragic irony of the situation, from Russia’s perspective, is that while Moscow is attempting to spare infrastructure and human lives, it is branded the ‘terrorist state,’ whereas Ukraine is granted hero status as it employs those same tactics that put civilian life at grave risk. Naturally, tragedies will occur and Russia, like any country that finds itself at war, will eventually be accused of killing innocent civilians. Yet these casualties are vastly exacerbated by the fighting techniques of the Ukrainian military, which, it should be emphasized, has been receiving its training from NATO forces since 2014. Time and again, when Russian troops enter a city, they find the enemy fortified behind civilian infrastructure, like hospitals, kindergartens and schools. This automatically turns the facility into a military target for Russian forces, which Ukraine then uses as ‘proof’ that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilians.

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Did Mutti pick this dude, for his lack of charisma?

German Chancellor’s Ratings Hit New Low (RT)

The approval rating of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reached the lowest mark since he took office in December. Only 25% of the public is satisfied with the job he’s doing, a survey published by Bild on Sunday reveals. “It’s not working” for both Scholz and the ‘traffic light’ coalition government, the tabloid said as it shared the results of the poll, conducted by Germany’s INSA research institute. A mere 25% of those surveyed approve of the chancellor’s job, with 62% expressing disapproval. If an election were held right now, Scholz would only finish third with 18% of the vote. Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the Green Party and Friedrich Merz, who heads the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), are currently more popular, backed by 25% and 19% respectively, the poll shows.

The numbers for the ‘traffic light’ coalition, which unites the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens, were as bad as those for Scholz. Only 27% told the pollsters they were happy with the government, while 65% said they have a negative view of its decisions. Scholz’s ratings have been on a steady decline since becoming chancellor eight months ago, Bild said. In March, when the conflict in Ukraine – in which Berlin sided with Kiev, supplying it with arms and slapping harsh sanctions on Moscow – had just started, he was backed by 46%, but in April, the number dropped to 38%.

Economic problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have been further exacerbated by the Western restrictions on Moscow and the subsequent decrease in Russian gas supplies to the EU. Despite being Europe’s top economy, Germany has been hit hard by soaring gas prices as it faces the risk of energy shortages this winter. On Sunday, the head of the German central bank warned that “an inflation rate of even 10% is possible in the autumn months,” something which has not been seen in the country for more than 70 years.

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Imagine you’re Putin and you have to listen to this:

“..Ukraine would have been blocked from joining NATO for 30 years..”

“..NATO was never a threat to Russia..”

Scholz Told Putin When Ukraine Could Join NATO (RT)

The German chancellor said he had sought to assure the Russian president that Ukraine would not join the bloc in the near future German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukraine would have been blocked from joining NATO for 30 years, in a bid to assure Moscow of the military bloc’s good intentions. Over the weekend, the German leader revealed some details of his talks with Putin before Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, adding that he now believes Russia sought to “conquer its neighboring country” all along. “NATO was never a threat to Russia,” Scholz said he told Putin. The chancellor did not specify which conversation he was referring to, though Scholz met Putin in Moscow in mid-February.


Speaking to journalists this weekend during an ‘open-doors day’ at the chancellor’s office, Scholz also denied that the military alliance had disregarded Russian security interests. When the two leaders spoke about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, Scholz assured Putin that “it will not happen in the next 30 years,” the chancellor revealed. Scholz also said that he would not abandon dialogue with Russia but struck a harsher tone when assessing Moscow’s motives. He particularly accused Putin of starting the conflict for “completely absurd” reasons. “This is a war that Putin, Russia, started, … clearly with the intention of conquering its neighboring country,” he told journalists, adding that he believes “that was the original goal” that Moscow had in its military campaign. The chancellor also recalled how Putin had “explained” to him that Ukraine and Belarus should not be “separate states.”

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Problem is, they don’t have them.

Scholz Promises Kiev More Weapons ‘Soon’ (RT)

Berlin supplies “a lot of weapons” to Kiev and will continue to provide Ukraine “with what it needs for its defense,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, in response to criticism from a former Bundeswehr general. Germany is currently “in the process of supplying the most modern and efficient equipment,” Scholz stressed during a traditional ‘open-doors day’ this weekend, citing recent multiple deliveries of self-propelled ‘Gepard’ anti-aircraft guns and PzH 2000 howitzers. The German leader claimed that his main focus remains on “ensuring that there is no escalation of the war,” when a retired Bundeswehr general Klaus Wittmann accused him of a lack of “leadership” and appearing “intimidated” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as cited by the German news outlet NTV.


Even more weapons “will be there soon,”Scholz vowed, apparently referring to the long-promised deliveries of an Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft missile system and a Cobra artillery radar, but providing no clear timeline. Back in June, Berlin promised to send Kiev one Iris-T unit for free, but Ukraine wants at least a dozen and has offered to purchase the rest directly from the manufacturer, even though Germany’s armed forces reportedly do not have enough air-defense systems themselves. Kiev is expected to receive the first such system no earlier than November, according to previous reports. Last month, Germany also committed a Cobraartillery radar to Ukraine, reportedly set for delivery in September. According to German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Kiev has already signed the contract for the materials and troops should have starting training to operate “this highly complex system.”

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Centralizing decision making.

China Is Preparing To Go To War (Chang)

Last month, a Chinese entrepreneur making medical equipment for consumers told me that local officials had demanded he convert his production lines in China so that they could turn out items for the military. Communist Party cadres, he said, were issuing similar orders to other manufacturers. Moreover, Chinese academics privately say the ongoing expulsion of foreign colleagues from China’s universities appears to be a preparation for hostilities. The People’s Republic of China is preparing to go to war, and it is not trying to hide its efforts. Amendments to the National Defense Law, effective the first day of last year, transfer powers from civilian to military officials. In general, the amendments reduce the role of the central government’s State Council by shifting power to the CMC, the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission.

Specifically, the State Council will no longer supervise the mobilization of the People’s Liberation Army. As Zeng Zhiping of Soochow University told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, “The CMC is now formally in charge of making national defense policy and principles, while the State Council becomes a mere implementing agency to provide support for the military.” In one sense, these amendments were window dressing. “Recent changes to China’s National Defense Law that diminish the power of the State Council are largely political posturing,” Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center told me soon after the amendments went into effect. “The Chinese Communist Party and particularly its subordinate CMC have always held supreme power over decisions regarding war and peace.”

Why then do we care about the National Defense Law amendments? The amendments, Fisher tells us, “point to China’s ambition to achieve ‘whole nation’ levels of military mobilization to fight wars and give the CMC formal power to control the future Chinese capabilities for global military intervention.” “The revised National Defense Law also embodies the concept that everyone should be involved in national defense,” reports the Communist Party’s Global Times, summarizing the words of an unnamed CMC official. “All national organizations, armed forces, political parties, civil groups, enterprises, social organizations, and other organizations should support and take part in the development of national defense, fulfill national defense duties, and carry out national defense missions according to the law.”

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Small impact for now.

Drought Causes Yangtze River To Dry Up, Sparking Shortage Of Hydropower (G.)

A record-breaking drought has caused some rivers in China – including parts of the Yangtze – to dry up, affecting hydropower, halting shipping, and forcing major companies to suspend operations. A nationwide drought alert was issued on Friday as a long-running and severe heatwave in China’s heavily populated south-west was forecast to continue well into September. The loss of water flow to China’s extensive hydropower system has sparked a “grave situation” in Sichuan, which gets more than 80% of its energy from hydropower. On Sunday the provincial government declared it was at the highest warning level of “particularly severe”, with water flow to Sichuan’s hydropower reservoirs dropping by half. The demand for electricity, meanwhile, has increased by 25% this summer, local media reported.

Last week the province suspended or limited power supply to thousands of factories and rationed public electricity usage due to the shortage. Toyota, Foxconn and Tesla are among companies reported to have temporarily suspended operations at some plants over the last fortnight. On Sunday the South China Morning Post reported plans to restart production this week had been postponed. The Yangtze is the world’s third largest river, providing drinking water to more than 400 million Chinese people, and is the most vital waterway to China’s economy. It is also crucial to the global supply chain, but this summer it has reached record-low water levels, with entire sections and dozens of tributaries drying up. Water flow on the Yangtze’s main trunk is more than 50% below the average of the last five years.

Shipping routes in the middle and lower sections of the river have also closed, the SCMP reported. Across the affected regions of China authorities are rushing to ensure water and power supply, as the region approaches harvest season for water-intensive crops like rice and soy. On Sunday authorities discharged 980m cubic meters of water from reservoirs in an effort to replenish lower levels of the river, state media said. The drought has affected at least 2.46 million people and 2.2m hectares of agricultural land in Sichuan, Hebei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Chongqing. More than 780,000 people have needed direct government support because of the drought, according to China’s ministry of emergency management.

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I’d venture it’s too late already.

Britain Warned Of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ (RT)

The UK could face a “humanitarian crisis” involving ill health, excess deaths and rising inequality if the government does not take urgent action on rising energy bills, the National Health Service (NHS) Confederation warned on Friday. The organization wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer, claiming that failing to act would add more pressure on health services that were already strained. According to the NHS, if energy bills become unaffordable, the country’s health and social care system will be left to “pick up the pieces.” “The country is facing a humanitarian crisis. Many people could face the awful choice between skipping meals to heat their homes and having to live in cold, damp and very unpleasant conditions,” wrote the head of the NHS Nadhim Zahawi.


“This, in turn, could lead to outbreaks of illness and sickness around the country and widen health inequalities, worsen children’s life chances and leave an indelible scar on local communities.” The NHS highlighted that, in addition to causing more sickness, mass fuel poverty was also likely to “increase the already high number of annual deaths associated with cold homes.” It noted the situation could also affect mental health. “Health leaders are clear that unless urgent action is taken by the government, this will cause a public health emergency,” Zahawi stressed. The warning comes as energy bills for the average household in Britain are projected to rise to more than £4,200 ($4,960) per year from January 2023 after the next increase in the price cap. Last October, it was set at £1,400 ($1,653).

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Worse than Germany?!

UK Energy Bills To Skyrocket (RT)

The average British household can expect to see annual energy bills soar to £6,000 (nearly $7,100) in 2023, according to the latest outlook issued by the UK independent energy consultancy Auxilione on Saturday. The analysts project that the price cap on bills, an officially set reference point, could reach £6,089 as soon as next April. The cap, which currently stands at £1,971, is expected to climb to £3,576 in October and £4,799 in January. Last October, it was set at £1,400 ($1,653). Earlier this month, the UK energy industry regulator Ofgem announced plans to adjust the cap quarterly rather than every six months due to the volatility in energy markets.


The latest figure represents a substantial increase to what was already a gloomy forecast made last week, when the consultancy projected annual average energy bills growing to more than £5,000 (nearly $6,100) next year. Auxilione expects bills to peak at over £6,000 in April before slowly decreasing in the second half of next year, eventually coming down to £5,160 in October. According to the latest poll by Opinium, about 40% of respondents said they would not be able to afford the rise in the cap due to be announced by the energy regulator Ofgem without falling behind on other essential bills.

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“We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”

Maybe feed your people first?

British Soldiers To Prepare For Fighting Russia (RT)

The UK’s top ‘other ranks’ soldier has said that British troops must be ready to fight Russia, and should prepare their families for the prospect of an “extended” deployment. His advice comes after the UK’s new head of General Staff said that British forces must become capable of “defeating Russia in battle.” Writing for the latest issue of the British Army’s ‘Soldier’ magazine, Carney said that “the Army is shaping itself to meet the threat from Russia,”and “will be ready, with the right equipment, to play our part in deterring a future war in Europe.” “Deterring” in this case seemingly means deploying. “I want us all to check we are physically fit for operations. And it is also important we prepare loved ones and families, who often have the hardest role in our absence,”he continued.

“My ask is that you have discussions about a potential deployment with them now…we could be out of contact for extended periods on tour.” Carney’s warning does not signal an imminent change in the UK’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. However, a warning in June by Britain’s new chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders, suggests that the Army views Russia as its next major opponent. “There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle,” Sanders wrote in a letter to his charges. “We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”

The UK has given Ukraine £2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) in military aid since Russia’s military operation began in February. British forces are currently training Ukrainian recruits in the UK, and its intelligence agencies are allegedly sharing information with their Ukrainian counterparts. The UK is a member of the NATO alliance, and in the event that it became involved in open war with Russia, the bloc’s 29 other member states, including the US, would be obliged to enter the conflict.

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Private land.

Saskatchewan Warns Trudeau’s Federal Nitrogen Agents Could Be Arrested (TCS)

Saskatchewan Minister Jeremy Cockrill has sent a warning to the Trudeau government that officers sent by Ottawa will be arrested if they continue to trespass on farmland to test nitrogen levels. According to Cockrill, Trudeau’s government has been unlawfully sending federal employees onto Saskatchewan farmlands to test for nitrogen levels without the consent of landowners. In the letter, the Minister raised multiple complaints from Saskatchewan farmers that raised “serious concerns about Government of Canada employees, in clearly marked Government of Canada vehicles, trespassing on private lands.” The farmers reporting these trespasses made clear that these government agents did not request permission to access the land and were not in any other manner given consent to access it.

Minister Cockrill further pointed out to the Trudeau government that these actions constitute a breach of the Saskatchewan Trespass to Property Act, and warned that these actions could carry with them serious penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to six months in prison. By sending this letter, the Saskatchewan government has provided a clear order to the Trudeau government to cease and desist with any unlawful trespasses and warned them that should it continue, their employees could face arrest and prosecution. What is more concerning to some than the actual trespass are the motivations of the federal agents. According to the land owners who confronted the federal agents trespassing on their land, they were told that the purpose of them being there was to test the water in the farmers’ dugouts to measure nitrate levels.

For those following recent news in the agricultural world, this is being seen as connected to the Trudeau government’s recently announced policy to reduce the use of fertilizer on Canadian farms by 30%. This policy has been widely criticized by farmers across the country and by provincial governments in the Western provinces. Some observers have said that there is reason to suspect that these actions are the first steps in replicating the attacks on farmers that have provoked widespread unrest in the Netherlands and other places in Europe. While the federal government has not yet confirmed it, there is speculation that the water sampling we now know is underway, will be used as baseline measurements to enforce reductions in fertilizer usage going forward.

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“After he was fired, the former special agent was given a lucrative book deal, lionized on the left, featured prominently as an expert by CNN, and given a teaching job at Georgetown.”

Peter Strzok: Fired FBI Official Is Making the Case Against Himself (Turley)

Peter Strzok is back in the news this week. Career colleagues at the Justice Department previously referred Strzok for possible criminal charges and he was fired for his bias and unprofessional conduct. However, Strzok was immediately embraced by many in the media and establishment for his anti-Trump sentiments. After he was fired, the former special agent was given a lucrative book deal, lionized on the left, featured prominently as an expert by CNN, and given a teaching job at Georgetown. It was an extraordinary recovery from a scandal where he showed flagrant bias, engaged in an affair with another married colleague at the FBI, and fought to continue to investigate Russian collusion claims despite early warnings over the questionable basis of the allegations pushed by the Clinton campaign. (Strzok’s colleague and former paramour, Lisa Page, was given a contract as a legal analyst with NBC and MSNBC).

Now, Strzok appears liberated in showing precisely the bias and unhinged hostility alleged by his critics. He has been in the news lashing out at Trump and trolling his objections to the raid on Mar-a-Lago. The seizure of Trump’s passports has raised more doubts about the seemingly unlimited scope of the search. One of the passports taken in the raid was Trump’s active diplomatic passport, according to an email from the Justice Department made public by Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich. The other two passports alleged were expired. Last week, Strzok was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon with CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell, who blasted out a tweet claiming DOJ sources refuting Trump’s claim that the FBI took his passports.

The “CBS Evening News” anchor reported that the Department of Justice did not have Trump’s passports, tweeting, “According to a DOJ official, the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports.” In fact, the FBI did take the passports and had to later return them. The clear import of O’Donnell’s tweet was that Trump was lying. That was clearly the message received by various critics, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is purportedly serving as an unbiased member of the January 6th committee. Kinzinger, R-Ill., wrote, “Lies lies lies and more lies.” Notably, Strzok was also among those eager to spread the O’Donnell report, tweeting, “And unsurprisingly, Trump’s statement turns out not to be true.” He later deleted it.

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None at all.

No Evidence Of Political Motivation Behind Mar-a-Lago Raid – Liz Cheney (CNBC)

Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told ABC News that there was no political motivation in carrying out an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s resort home in Palm Beach, Florida. “I’ve seen no evidence that there was any political motivation,” Cheney told ABC News when asked about the Mar-a-Lago raid carried out by FBI agents. “I was ashamed to hear Republicans immediately and reflexively attack the FBI agents who executed the search warrant. I was disgusted when I learned that President Trump had released the names of the agents when he released the unredacted search warrant, and that has now caused violence,” Cheney said in the interview, which aired on Sunday. “This is a really dangerous moment,” she added.

On the heels of her congressional primary loss, Cheney also said that she will work with bipartisan political leaders to ensure that Trump never holds the nation’s highest office again. “I think, I think we have to make sure that he is not our nominee,” Cheney told ABC News. Cheney warned that Trump’s characterizations of U.S. elections as rigged is dangerous and disrupts the “fundamental function and principle at the center of our constitutional republic.” “There’s just simply no way that the nation and in my view, excuse that and put him in a position of power again,” Cheney said, referencing Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss and then the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

When asked about the Jan. 6 committee, which she serves as vice chair, Cheney declined to say whether Trump would be called to testify. “I don’t want to make any announcements about that this morning. I think it’s very important. As I said in the first hearing and the second hearing. His interactions with our committee will be under oath,” she said. Cheney noted that the committee has been in discussions with former Vice President Mike Pence’s legal counsel. “When the country has been through something as grave as this, everyone who has information has an obligation to step forward. So I would hope that he will do that,” Cheney said.

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“..an intra-elite, symbiotic feud that simultaneously boosts Trump among his base, and the national security state among his foes..”

In FBI vs. Trump, The People Lose (Maté)

For my money, the early beneficiary of the FBI’s espionage investigation of Donald Trump is Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post, “Trump has told advisers that in the nearly two years since leaving office, no issue had better galvanized Republican voters around him.” A Politico poll of Republican voters in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid gave Trump a 10-point boost over his closest possible primary rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump’s ensuing fundraising campaign has done even better, quickly topping $1 million on at least two days, a jump of at least 700%. Over the long run, it is difficult to form a conclusive judgment on Trump’s potential culpability in the absence of any confirmed detail about both the contents of the documents that Trump allegedly mishandled, and the evidence to support the Justice Department’s suspicions.

But if the last six years of routine Trump standoffs with the national security state are any guide, the walls are nowhere closer to closing in. Whatever your views on Trump, it is undeniable that the permanent military-intelligence bureaucracy in Washington does not see him as one of their own, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to target him when it sees fit. It is also undeniable that the national security state’s spats with Trump have distracted the public from vital issues that impact working people’s lives and the future of the planet. This includes, I have long argued, Trump’s most harmful policies as president, which were routinely overshadowed and even exacerbated by his standoffs with the “deep state.”

Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect that this latest “scandal” over the potential mishandling of classified documents will continue the trend that has defined the Trump era: an intra-elite, symbiotic feud that simultaneously boosts Trump among his base, and the national security state among his foes. Pundits and politicians are resoundingly confident that the FBI must have the goods on Trump to have taken the unprecedented step of searching the former president’s home. This argument can only be made by ignoring that the FBI and other intelligence agencies took far more unprecedented and consequential actions against Trump when he was president, on grounds that were not only baseless, but fraudulent.

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Peptides

 

 

 

 

 

29/2 1956

 

 

 

 

Ode to Joy 2
https://twitter.com/i/status/1561070756343300096

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 052022
 


Piet Mondriaan Avond (Evening): The Red Tree 1908-10

 

Ukraine Violates War Laws, Endangers Civilians: Amnesty (NW)
Kiev Blasts Amnesty Report On Ukraine Risking Civilian Lives (RT)
NATO Working With Arms Industry to Get Ukraine More Weapons (Antiwar)
Gazprom Explains Complications In Turbine Row (RT)
How A Missile In Kabul Connects To A Speaker In Taipei (Escobar)
Kremlin Reveals ‘Real Threat’ To World Order (RT)
Irish Farmers Outraged Over 25% Emissions Reduction Plan (TCS)
Covid Vaccines Are Killing One in Every 800 Over-60s (DS)
Japanese Surgeon Calls for Suspension of COVID Boosters (ET)
The Truth About the Alex Jones Phone Records (SN)
Republicans’ Last-minute Cheney Lifeline (Axios)
Democrats Block Measures To Stop Gain-of-Function Research (JTN)
The Point of No Return (Thomas Sowell)
Parts of Great Barrier Reef Show Highest Coral Cover In 36 Years (CBS)
The Big Green Lie Almost Everyone Claims to Believe (ET)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555019724509089792

 

 

 

 

Tedros is unvaxxed
https://twitter.com/i/status/1554949172322869254

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human shields=war crimes.

Ukraine Violates War Laws, Endangers Civilians: Amnesty (NW)

Amnesty International has accused Ukraine of war crimes during its ongoing military conflict with invading Russian forces. The humanitarian organization said in a release on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military’s tactics “violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians” by operating weapons out of bases established in residential areas while civilians are present. Russia has previously been accused by Amnesty International of violating multiple international laws during the war. The organization on Wednesday said that Ukraine’s alleged violations “in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks.” “We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a statement.

“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.” While conducting an investigation of Russian attacks in the Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions of Ukraine between April and July, Amnesty International researchers said they discovered that the Ukrainian military was operating out of civilian buildings in at least 19 towns and villages. The discovery was corroborated by satellite images, according to the release. The organization said that Ukraine committed “a clear violation of international humanitarian law” by basing at least five military facilities in civilian hospitals. Russian airstrikes on health care facilities have resulted in a significant number of civilian injuries and deaths during the war, according to the World Health Organization.

Amnesty International also discovered that Ukraine had installed military bases in 22 out of 29 schools visited in the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions during the investigation, according to the release. The organization said that Russia later launched strikes on many of the same schools between April and late June, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.

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“We’ve been talking about this constantly, calling the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces the tactics of using civilians as a ‘human shield’,” Zakharova said.

Kiev Blasts Amnesty Report On Ukraine Risking Civilian Lives (RT)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba pushed back against an Amnesty International report that blames Kiev for placing its military assets in schools and residential areas, violating humanitarian law and putting civilians at risk. In his comments posted on social media on Thursday, the minister said that he was outraged by the NGO’s claim. “I understand that Amnesty will respond to criticism by saying that they criticize both sides of the conflict. But such behavior on Amnesty’s part is not about looking for the truth and presenting it to the world, but about creating a false balance between the criminal and his victim”, he said. Kuleba also urged the organization to stop “creating a fake reality” where everyone is “at fault for something.”

Amnesty should primarily focus on what Russia is doing in Ukraine and what devastation Moscow has brought upon this country, he argued. On Thursday, Amnesty released a report accusing Kiev of “a clear violation of international humanitarian law,” saying it was putting civilian lives at risk by placing its military close to civilian infrastructure. In 22 out of the 29 schools visited by Amnesty between April and July, the human rights group said it found evidence of current or prior military activity. In five locations, they witnessed Ukrainian troops using hospitals as bases. At the same time, the group said it was “not aware” that Ukraine tried to evacuate civilians from the areas in question.

However, Amnesty also noted that no Ukrainian troops were present in some areas where it assessed Russian forces had delivered strikes on residential areas. For that reason, the NGO said that Ukraine’s unlawful military use of civilian objects did not “in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks.” According to Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, the NGO’s report only confirmed what Moscow has known for a long time. “We’ve been talking about this constantly, calling the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces the tactics of using civilians as a ‘human shield’,” Zakharova said.

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“In July, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov made an offer to Western arms makers to use Ukraine as a testing ground for new weapons in a pitch for more arms..”

Offering his people as practice targets..

NATO Working With Arms Industry to Get Ukraine More Weapons (Antiwar)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said that the military alliance was working closely with the arms industry to get more weapons to Ukraine and said more must be done to support Kyiv for the “long haul.”“We are providing a lot of support but we need to do even more and be prepared for the long haul,” the NATO chief told Reuters. “Therefore we’re also now in close contact and working closely with the defense industry to produce more and to deliver more of different types of ammunition, weapons, and capabilities.” The Western response to the war in Ukraine has been a boon for US arms makers, who are cashing in on replacing stockpiles of weapons sent to Ukraine, direct sales to Kyiv, and European NATO allies increasing their military spending.


In July, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov made an offer to Western arms makers to use Ukraine as a testing ground for new weapons in a pitch for more arms. “We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here,” he said. The next big escalation in military aid for Kyiv could be the US or some of its NATO allies sending warplanes to Ukraine. US Air Force officials have said they are in talks on providing Kyiv with aircraft and sound very receptive to Ukraine’s request for F-15 and F-16 fighter jets.

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“According to Gazprom, only one of the six main gas compressor units is currently operational..”

Gazprom Explains Complications In Turbine Row (RT)

Western sanctions are hindering the return of a gas turbine from Germany and threaten future equipment maintenance at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Gazprom announced on Thursday. In the latest development in the gas turbine repair row between Moscow and Berlin, the Russian energy major has laid out the reasons why the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is not fully back on-line an why getting repaired equipment back is impossible.“The current anti-Russian sanctions are hindering the successful resolution of the issue of the transportation and repair of Siemens gas turbine engines for the Portovaya compressor station, which supplies gas to European consumers through the Nord Stream pipeline.” Gazprom wrote on its Telegram channel.


The crucial part that is stuck in Germany, after repairs in Canada, should have been sent back to Russia in May. But the paperwork for its return is not in order as it was issued by Siemens Energy and not the firm that is contracted to Gazprom, the gas giant claims. If the turbine is shipped to Russia, there is a risk that Canadian authorities will see this is a breach of contract, and withdraw permission for further maintenance of turbines to be carried out on its soil. According to Gazprom, only one of the six main gas compressor units is currently operational at the station with its daily delivery capacity reduced to roughly 20%. The remaining turbines require factory maintenance or overhaul, Gazprom adds. The company explained that other Western sanctions regarding the transportation of gas equipment may also apply to the turbine. All of which, given the current situation, makes the return of the equipment impossible, reiterated Gazprom.

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“..China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”

How A Missile In Kabul Connects To A Speaker In Taipei (Escobar)

Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of ‘historic’ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated. All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US ‘intel’ played every trick in the book – and outside the book – to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul. Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore – and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy ‘victory’ – the remixed Obama ‘Osama bin Laden moment’ that won’t even register across most of the Global South.

After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bush’s GWOT has long metastasized into the “rules-based,” actually “economic sanctions-based” international order. Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking “SPAR19” – the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan, in a spectacular waste of jet fuel to evade the South China Sea. Now compare it with hundreds of millions of Chinese who are not on Twitter but on Weibo, and a leadership in Beijing that is impervious to western-manufactured pre-war, post-modern hysteria.

Anyone who understands Chinese culture knew there would never be a “missile on a Kabul balcony” moment over Taiwanese airspace. There would never be a replay of the perennial neocon wet dream: a “Pearl Harbor moment.” That’s simply not the Chinese way. sThe day after, as the narcissist Speaker, so proud of accomplishing her stunt, was awarded the Order of Auspicious Clouds for her promotion of bilateral US-Taiwan relations, the Chinese Foreign Minister issued a sobering comment: the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland is a historical inevitability. That’s how you focus, strategically, in the long game. What happens next had already been telegraphed, somewhat hidden in a Global Times report. Here are the two key points:

Point 1: “China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi.” That’s exactly what President Xi Jinping had personally told the teleprompt-reading White House tenant during a tense phone call last week. And that concerns the ultimate red line. Xi is now reaching the exact same conclusion reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year: the United States is “non-agreement capable,” and there’s no point in expecting it to respect diplomacy and/or rule of law in international relations. Point 2 concerns the consequences, reflecting a consensus among top Chinese analysts that mirrors the consensus at the Politburo: “The Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner… China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”

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“..tensions in Europe have been stoked by aggressive NATO policies and encroachment toward Russia’s borders..”

Kremlin Reveals ‘Real Threat’ To World Order (RT)

The original threat to global order was the 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. Peskov pushed back on claims made by NATO’s secretary-general that Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine was to blame for the major shake-up. “The real threat to the world order and the situation in the world and … in Europe comes from the coup that took place in Ukraine in 2014, which was carefully orchestrated by, among others, NATO countries, despite the guarantees that the foreign ministers of a number of countries had provided. Hence the threat and danger to the world order,” he stressed.


According to Peskov, tensions in Europe have been stoked by aggressive NATO policies and encroachment toward Russia’s borders. “This situation has been maturing for several decades and in many ways it was fueled by the aggressive policies NATO pursued towards our country as they brought their infrastructure closer to Russia. This created additional threats for us,” Peskov noted, explaining that, faced with such reality, Moscow had no choice but to take action. On Thursday, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Ukraine conflict is the “most dangerous situation in Europe since World War Two,” and the West must do its best to stop Russia from winning. With that, he vowed to continue to support Kiev with arms and other types of aid.

Putin

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“That reduction of 22 cows effectively wipes out the economic sustainability of this farm and replicated through the neighbouring and similar farms. It undermines the viability of the wider rural community..”

Irish Farmers Outraged Over 25% Emissions Reduction Plan (TCS)

The Irish government had previously been debating what the cut on emissions from the agriculture industry would be, finally settling on a 25% reduction below 2018 levels by 2030. “Today, the government has agreed on a pathway to a 51% cut in economy-wide emissions by 2030. The emissions ceiling for agriculture has been set at a level requiring a 25% reduction by 2030. This falls within the target range assigned to the sector under the Climate Action Plan 2021. I am pleased to have reached this conclusion as a way of offering certainty to our farm families and their businesses over the next decade,” said Irish Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue in a press release. Many farmers had been expecting a cap on emissions but said they were preparing for something more moderate.

They’re now arguing that culling their herds, which would sabotage their own businesses in the process, will be the only way they can meet the lofty standards of the Irish government. “The target that we’ve been working towards has been 18%, maybe 22% but not 25%,” said Cork farmer Alan Jagoe. “We’re producing food on our farms. We’re not taking fossil fuels off the ground; we are not mining; we are producing food that we all eat. That has been lost in this debate.” Jagoe further stated that the policy was totally “unrealistic.” “We had a pathway and a direction, and I cannot overemphasize enough that the work it would take to get to an 18% target would be absolutely massive,” Jagoe continued. “It’s a fundamental change in the way we farm, the way we apply our fertilizers, the way we apply our slurry. This is a fundamental policy shift to get to 18%, and we were prepared to work towards it, but now we have been given 25%.”

According to the Irish Farmers Journal, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association president Pat McCormack is also baffled by the policy. He has stated that de-herding is already happening due to previous environmental regulations and that this will be exacerbated by the new policy, leading to a forced culling of herds and making family businesses less sustainable financially. Regarding one family farm with 30ha with 84 cows, McCormack stated that the farm would have to cut its livestock population by nearly 25%. “That reduction of 22 cows effectively wipes out the economic sustainability of this farm and replicated through the neighbouring and similar farms. It undermines the viability of the wider rural community,” McCormack said.

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“..the coagulation problems, myocarditis, we know that, but there are many more things happening at the moment.”

Covid Vaccines Are Killing One in Every 800 Over-60s (DS)

Covid vaccine boosters in older people are killing one person for every 800 doses administered and should be withdrawn from use immediately, a leading vaccine scientist has said. Dr. Theo Schetters, a vaccinologist based in the Netherlands who has played a leading role in the development of a number of vaccines, says he analysed the official data from the Dutch Government and found a very close correlation between when fourth vaccine doses were administered in the country and the number of excess deaths, as shown in the chart below. Importantly, in the Netherlands the booster rollout in different regions was staggered over a number of weeks allowing an analysis by region, which confirms the effect.

Dr. Schetters, who is a recipient of the Medal of Honour of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montpellier in France, told Dr. Robert Malone, an inventor of mRNA vaccine technology, that medical doctors are currently seeing “all sorts of symptoms that they do not know what it is” and that “in the Netherlands now it’s very clear that there is a good correlation between the number of vaccinations that are given to people and the number of people that die within a week after that”. It is essential to look at all-cause mortality, he said, as the vaccine “potentially affects all organs”.

So it potentially affects all organs. And that’s what the medical doctors now see, they see all sorts of symptoms that they do not know what it is. And because the adverse effects are so not just single one adverse effect, but can be anything, they surface very difficult to a statistical level. And that’s why we do analysis on all cause mortality, because say, okay, and if we do not know what is exactly related to vaccination, of course, the coagulation problems, myocarditis, we know that, but there are many more things happening at the moment. And so that’s why we look at all cause mortality, and in the Netherlands now it’s very clear that there is a good correlation between the number of vaccinations that are given to people and the number of people that die within a week after that. So let’s say in this week we gave 10,000 vaccinations. Then in this week, we have something like 125 excess in death in that week.

The correlation is striking, Dr. Schetters said, to the extent that if you have more vaccines in a week then you also have more excess deaths, and if you have fewer vaccines in a week, you have fewer deaths. He says he has written to the Director of the Institute of Health in the Netherlands to alert him to the findings.

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“..suppressed immune function is likely to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccination..”

Japanese Surgeon Calls for Suspension of COVID Boosters (ET)

In a letter to the peer-reviewed journal Virology, a Japanese cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Kenji Yamamoto, has called for the discontinuation of COVID-19 booster shots. “As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued,” Yamamoto wrote. Among his urgent concerns are the fact that the COVID-19 vaccines have been linked to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, which, in some cases, has been lethal to patients. Yamamoto works at Okamura Memorial Hospital in Shizuoka, Japan. In the letter he explains that he and his colleagues have “encountered cases of infections that are difficult to control,” including some that occurred after open-heart surgery and were still not under control after several weeks of treatment with multiple antibiotics.

These patients, says Yamamoto, showed signs of being immunocompromised, and some of them died. Yamamoto believes their suppressed immune function is likely to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccination. It is rare for a cardiac surgeon to get involved in government vaccination policy. It is even rarer for a practicing medical doctor to express an opinion like this that flies in the face of the medical status quo in a prestigious medical journal, and for the medical journal itself to publish the opinion. Other clinicians, too, who have never spoken publicly before are also voicing similar concerns.

“The signals in the best sources we have currently available, which is our VAERS data, have been screaming,” said Dr. Angelina Farella, a pediatrician based in Webster, Texas who has expanded her practice into family medicine and has been treating COVID patients when other doctors in her area refused to see them. “It’s an all-out red-alert, about heart disease, deaths, and vaccine injury,” said Farella. In over 25 years of practicing medicine, which, Farella said, has included giving vaccinations to children every day, she has never seen such a dangerous vaccine.


Yikes!

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Robert Barnes @barnes_law: “Turns out plaintiffs lawyer lied in court when he illicitly spied on attorney client emails & texts, which would make 1/6 committee subpoena a violation of 4th, 5th & 6th Amendment rights. The #AlexJones case keeps setting records for violating rights.”

The Truth About the Alex Jones Phone Records (SN)

An emergency protective order motion has been filed in the Alex Jones case relating to claims in court that lawyers had inadvertently obtained years worth of Jones’ phone records, with emails showing Plaintiffs had not been given approval to use the material in court as it would violate attorney client privilege. A video clip from the trial went viral yesterday showing Jones responding to the revelation by Mark Bankston that Jones’ lawyers had mistakenly sent Bankston what he described as “an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone, with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years.” “That is how I know you lied to me when you said you did not have text messages about Sandy Hook,” Bankston claimed.

This was then seized upon by media outlets to suggest that some kind of Hunter Biden laptop moment had occurred, apparently miring Jones in an even deeper scandal. However, according to an Emergency Motion for Enforcement of Protective Order filed by Jones’ lawyers, they did not given permission for the files, which only span a 6 month period from the end of 2019 through early 2020 and do not represent “an entire digital copy” of the cellphone, to be entered into evidence in court. “The file transfer link, however, inadvertently gave Plaintiffs access to dozens of other folders as well, including confidential documents, such as the medical records of Sandy Hook Parents who are Plaintiffs in the Connecticut litigation and other documents subject to various privileges, including attorney-client and work product,” states the motion.

An email shows that the issue was raised by Bankston, who told Jones’ attorneys in an email that the files contained “confidential information.” “My assumption is now that you did not intend to send us this? Let me know if I’m correct,” he enquired. Bankston was told by Jones’ attorney F. Andino Reynal to “disregard the link.” “It is now apparent that Plaintiffs’ counsel did not “disregard the link”, but has reviewed and used documents he acknowledged defendants “did not intend to send” and appeared to be “work product or confidential.” Defendants, therefore, seek Emergency relief pursuant to Rule 193.3 and the Court’s Protective Order,” states the motion.

The chunk of files were apparently sent to Bankston by a paralegal by mistake and were intended for lawyers in Connecticut representing other Sandy Hook families in separate cases, but were seized upon by Bankston and the media to suggest Jones had engaged in perjury or that he was hiding information. Jones responded to the controversy by asserting that he turned all his phones over to his lawyers and was merely trying to comply with discovery. Despite not being given permission to use the material in court, Bankston appears to have used it anyway as a PR stunt to sneak attack Jones, take him by surprise, and generate salacious media headlines.

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The Democrats don’t want her either; she’s toxic for votes.

Republicans’ Last-minute Cheney Lifeline (Axios)

A handful of Republican operatives are quietly mounting a last-ditch effort to rescue Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from a Trump-backed primary challenge, Axios has learned. The previously unreported effort shows how some Republicans are trying to surreptitiously undercut the former president’s revenge campaign, which has so far claimed the political lives of a significant chunk of GOP critics. Cheney — the vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee — could be the next casualty. She’s facing tough odds in her primary fight this month against Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman. Involved in the effort are Jeff Larson, the chairman of Republican research firm America Rising and a longtime Cheney backer, and Julia Griswold Dailer, a former Trump White House and inauguration committee aide.

Their strategy is two-pronged: Persuade Democrats to cross the aisle and back the Wyoming Republican in this month’s open primary, and dent her Trump-endorsed challenger by portraying her as insufficiently loyal to the former president. Two seemingly unrelated political groups recently popped up to try to beat back Hageman’s challenge. Wyomingites Defending Freedom and Democracy is running digital and television ads and encouraging Democrats in the state to cross party lines and vote for Cheney in the Aug. 16 primary. Conservatives for a Strong America is portraying Hageman as a fake conservative secretly in league with Cheney and critical of Trump. The latter group is also trying to boost two of Cheney’s other primary challengers in an apparent effort to split the anti-Cheney vote.

Tex McBride, a Wyoming rancher who leads WDFD, told Axios that Larson recruited him for that role. “They needed somebody that … has a voice in the state rather than just trying to bring in someone from the outside who nobody knows or trusts,” McBride said in an interview. “My involvement is really just to put people in touch with each other and they go do their own deal, and help raise some money, but that’s the extent of it,” Larson told Axios.

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Why?

Democrats Block Measures To Stop Gain-of-Function Research (JTN)

Senate Democrats on Thursday declined to offer unanimous consent to two measures to stop gain-of-function research, a process now infamous over its alleged connection to the spread of COVID-19. Republican Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall put forward both the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act and the SAFE Risk Research Act, which aimed to cut funding to universities conducting such research and foreign countries doing so, respectively. Gain of function is a process by which researchers genetically modify a virus. It has the potential for risk as an enhanced virus could potentially become a significant threat to humanity. Earlier this year, Congress banned funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a Chinese lab that U.S. intelligence and many Republicans suspect may have been the source of the coronavirus.


Marshall first introduced the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act in October of last year. Democrats denied Marshall’s Thursday bid for unanimous consent, meaning the bill’s passage will not be expedited. “It is disturbing that one of our top public health agencies directed this risky research to be offshored while encouraging the pause in that exact same research in the U.S.,” Marshall said on the Senate floor on Thursday, per a press release from his office. “Despite warnings and past lab accidents, our public health agencies like NIH continue to fund the WMD research, often in China nonetheless.” “Shockingly, Congress has minimal insight into the amount of this research at NIH,” he continued. “There is no transparency into their risk evaluation process.” “This is a national security issue,” Marshall insisted. “We must pause this research until national security experts can help create appropriate risk metrics, guardrails and processes for this research.”

Nipah virus gain of function

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“Why do we elect legislators to do what the voters want done, if unelected judges are going to make up laws on their own..”

The Point of No Return (Thomas Sowell)

This is an election year. But the issues this year are not about Democrats and Republicans. The big issue is whether this nation has degenerated to a point of no return — a point where we risk destroying ourselves, before our enemies can destroy us. If there is one moment that symbolized our degeneration, it was when an enraged mob gathered in front of the Supreme Court and a leader of the United States Senate shouted threats against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying “You won’t know what hit you!” There have always been irresponsible demagogues. But there was once a time when anyone who shouted threats to a Supreme Court Justice would see the end of his own political career, and could not show his face in decent society again.

You either believe in laws or you believe in mob rule. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the law or agree with the mob on some particular issue. If threats of violence against judges — and publishing where a judge’s children go to school — is the way to settle issues, then there is not much point in having elections or laws. There is also not much point in expecting to have freedom. Threats and violence were the way the Nazis came to power in Germany. Freedom is not free. If you can’t be bothered to vote against storm-trooper tactics — regardless of who engages in them, or over what issue — then you can forfeit your freedom. Worse yet, you can forfeit the freedom of generations not yet born.

Some people seem to think that the Supreme Court has banned abortions. It has done nothing of the sort. The Supreme Court has in fact done something very different, something long overdue and potentially historic. It has said that their own court had no business making policy decisions which nothing in the Constitution gave them the authority to make. Get out a copy of the Constitution — and see if you can find anything in there that says the federal government is authorized to make laws about abortion. Check out the 10th Amendment, which says that the federal government is limited to the specific powers it was granted, with all other powers going to the states or to the people. Why do we elect legislators to do what the voters want done, if unelected judges are going to make up laws on their own, instead of applying the laws that elected officials passed?

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“..an increase in average hard coral cover in the northern region of the reef to 36% in 2022 from 27% in 2021, and an increase in in the central region to 33% in 2022 from 27% in 2021..”

Parts of Great Barrier Reef Show Highest Coral Cover In 36 Years (CBS)

The central and northern stretches of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are showing the highest coral cover seen in 36 years, showing that the fragile UNESCO World Heritage site could still recover from decades of damage, a monitoring group reported Thursday. Coral cover in the southern region of the reef decreased, however, and the reef is vulnerable to increasingly common disturbances like mass bleaching events, the group said. There was an increase in average hard coral cover in the northern region of the reef to 36% in 2022 from 27% in 2021, and an increase in in the central region to 33% in 2022 from 27% in 2021, the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) said in its annual summary report.

Despite this, “a third of the gain in coral cover we recorded in the south in 2020/21 was lost last year due to ongoing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks,” Dr. Paul Hardisty, CEO of AIMS, said in a statement. “This shows how vulnerable the Reef is to the continued acute and severe disturbances that are occurring more often, and are longer-lasting.” AIMS has been monitoring the Great Barrier Reef since 1986. It said the increase in frequency of mass bleaching events — when coral, in response to stressful conditions like heat, loses its pigments and symbiotic algae, turns white, and potentially dies — were “uncharted territory.” “In our 36 years of monitoring the condition of the Great Barrier Reef we have not seen bleaching events so close together,” Hardisty said.

“Every summer the Reef is at risk of temperature stress, bleaching and potentially mortality and our understanding of how the ecosystem responds to that is still developing.” Dr. Mike Emslie, also from the AIMS monitoring program, said that most of the coral increase in the north and central parts of the reef was driven by fast-growing but fragile Acropora corals, and could therefore be reversed quickly. “These corals are particularly vulnerable to wave damage, like that generated by strong winds and tropical cyclones,” Emslie said. “The increasing frequency of warming ocean temperatures and the extent of mass bleaching events highlights the critical threat climate change poses to all reefs, particularly while crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones are also occurring. Future disturbance can reverse the observed recovery in a short amount of time.”

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Patrick Moore, past president of Greenpeace Canada: “Two of Canada’s smartest writers set the record straight. We are being lied to that CO2 is a “pollutant” when it is the basis for all life. The fate of civilization depends on our defeating this lie.”

The Big Green Lie Almost Everyone Claims to Believe (ET)

Almost every member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, pays homage to the Big Green Lie. So do all the past and remaining Conservative candidates vying to be prime minister of the UK and every candidate currently vying for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. So does virtually all of the mainstream press. The Big Green Lie—that carbon dioxide is a pollutant—is so pervasive that even those considered skeptics—including right-wing NGOs and pundits—generally adhere to the orthodoxy, differing not in their stated belief that CO2 is a pollutant but only in how calamitous a pollutant it is.

Because everyone now participates in the CO2-emissions-are-bad lie, the debate over climate policy hasn’t been over whether a CO2 problem exists but over how urgently CO2 needs to be addressed, and how it should be addressed. Do we have eight years left before Armageddon becomes inevitable or decades? Do we get off fossil fuels by building nuclear plants or wind turbines? Should we change our lifestyles to need less of everything? Or should we mitigate this evil—the view of those deemed climate minimalists—by shielding our continents from a rising of the oceans by enclosing them behind sea walls?

With almost everyone across the political spectrum publicly agreeing that curbing CO2 is a good thing, the debate has been between those who want to do good quickly by reaching Net Zero in 2040 and sticks in the mud who want to slow down the doing of a good thing. With discourse careening down rabbit holes, almost everyone gets lost pursuing solutions to Alice-in-Wonderland delusions—and wasting trillions of dollars in the process.

Patrick Moore
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555093266051342336

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1981
https://twitter.com/i/status/1553907150556110849

 

 

 

 


All countries of the world by real size arranged like the real map (via http://thetruesize.com)

 

 

 

 

Perpetual motion
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555201958734168065

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 232022
 
 July 23, 2022  Posted by at 8:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Salvador Dali Mme. Reese 1931

 

Deal Between Ukraine And Russia Aims To Ease Global Food Crisis (NYT)
Servant of the Corrupt (Gonzalez)
Russia About To Run Out Of Steam In Ukraine – MI6 Chief (BBC)
Western Currencies Will Fail (Vilches)
IEA Chief: Europe Must Cut Gas Usage 20% To Survive Winter (OP)
EU Debates Revised Plan To Reduce Gas Use After Opposition (R.)
Triple/Quadruple Vaccinated Account For 91% Of All UK Covid Deaths (DE)
Unvaccinated Fans Can Attend the U.S. Open. Why Can’t Novak Djokovic? (NW)
The State of Banks in China (Balding)
Trump ’25: A Radical Plan For Trump’s Second Term (Axios)
Liz Cheney Said Trump Family and Aides Have Now Publicly “Confessed” (Turley)
People, Get Ready (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

“Everybody that has an mRNA injection will die in 3 to 5 years.”

 

 

 

 

“If the research done on rats is applicable to humans we will see massive infertility in the next 5 years followed by death via various organ system failure and/or cancers.”

 

 

 

 

Bannon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1550527743565053953

 

 

 

 

Conflicting info.

Deal Between Ukraine And Russia Aims To Ease Global Food Crisis (NYT)

Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on Friday to free more than 20 million metric tons of grain stuck in blockaded Black Sea ports in Ukraine, a deal aimed at bringing down soaring grain prices and alleviating a mounting global hunger crisis. The breakthrough comes after months of talks and was brokered with the help of the United Nations and Turkey. The agreement provides a method for exporting Ukrainian grain through Turkey, and it comes after the United Nations gave Russia assurances that it can export its grain and fertilizers. If the agreement holds, it could help ease catastrophic food shortages that worsened when Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Ukraine is one of the world’s breadbaskets, and the invasion reverberated across the global economy, aggravating a growing food crisis, contributing to famine in Africa and threatening political unrest in some countries.

“This agreement did not come easy,” António Guterres, the U.N. secretary-general, said at the signing ceremony, calling the deal a “beacon in the Black Sea.” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to block food exports to gain international leverage has led to some of the gravest global consequences of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, undermining a global food distribution network that was already strained by pandemic-related disruptions and climate change. Senior U.N. officials said that the first shipments of grain out of Odesa, Ukraine, and neighboring ports were only weeks away and would quickly bring 5 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs to the world market each month. That would also free up storage space in Ukraine’s silos for freshly harvested grain, the officials said.

Ukraine and Russia have agreed on very little since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24. Peace talks held in Belarus that month and in March went nowhere, largely because Russia insisted on a change of government in Kyiv, Ukraine. Later in March, talks in Turkey were also ultimately fruitless. Negotiators have been able to reach agreements on prisoner exchanges and on the evacuation of a steel plant in Mariupol where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were holed up for 80 days. But Friday’s pact was the first time that representatives from the warring countries have publicly signed an agreement.

“It’s a big step forward,” said Stephen E. Flynn, founding director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University, crediting the Turks with an “elegant approach.” But he warned that it will be difficult to speedily deliver food to where it is most needed. The mechanics of transporting grain through the Black Sea under wartime conditions with little or no trust between the warring sides are extremely complex. “It will not move quickly,” he said.

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“It might be hard to believe now, but revelations from documents in the Pandora Papers [..] sent Zelensky reeling last year, threatening to end his political career.”

Servant of the Corrupt (Gonzalez)

In February 2021, by order of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine shut down three domestic television channels, accusing them of spreading Russian “propaganda.” Three months later, Zelenksky arrested Viktor Medvedchuk, who was at the time leading the second-biggest party in Ukraine’s national parliament, the pro-Russia and Eurosceptic Opposition Platform for Life (OPZZh). Zelensky didn’t have trouble incinerating vaunted democratic norms well-before Russia crossed the Rubicon into Ukraine this year. So it was no surprise when he did it again amid the war in late March, invoking emergency powers under martial law to nationalize TV channels and ban 11 opposition parties, including OPZZh — all supposedly done in the name of combatting Russian misinformation and Russian sympathizers, even though OPZZh’s then-chairman, Yuriy Boyko, denounced the war and called for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

Zelensky, however, wouldn’t miss another opportunity to clip the wings of political opposition in his country, certainly not now that Western media rationalizes and glorifies his every move. The portrait of the Ukraine president as a democratic paragon whitewashes the real Zelensky and conceals a vast web of corruption and international skullduggery of which Ukraine is situated in the center. Understanding the real Zelensky, requires seeing him as a creation of Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. He is, in truth, a puppet of intrigue. It might be hard to believe now, but revelations from documents in the Pandora Papers — millions of files from offshore service providers leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with partners around the world — sent Zelensky reeling last year, threatening to end his political career. Though the actor-turned-politico campaigned as an anti-corruption reformer, the Pandora Papers showed him to be just as crooked as his predecessors.

Of more than 300 politicians and public officials, including several current and former national leaders, in more than 91 countries and territories to whom the documents were linked, Ukraine was home to more secret offshore holdings than any other, including Russia. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which contributed to the investigation, found that just before Zelensky was elected president, “he gifted his stake in a key offshore company, the British Virgin Islands-registered Maltex Multicapital Corp., to his business partner — soon to be his top presidential aide. And in spite of giving up his shares, the documents show that an arrangement was soon made that would allow the offshore to keep paying dividends to a company that now belongs to his wife.”

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Spooks never lie.

Russia About To Run Out Of Steam In Ukraine – MI6 Chief (BBC)

Russia will struggle to maintain its military campaign and Ukraine may be able to hit back, the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service says. MI6 chief Richard Moore said Russia had seen “epic fails” in its initial goals; removing Ukraine’s president, capturing Kyiv and sowing disunity in the West. He was speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, in a rare public appearance. He called the invasion “the most egregious naked act of aggression… in Europe since the Second World War.” He said recent Russian gains were “tiny” and that Russia was “about to run out of steam”. “Our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to find manpower and materiel over the next few weeks,” Mr Moore told the conference in Colorado. “They will have to pause in some way and that will give the Ukrainians the opportunity to strike back.”

That view may be seen as optimistic and Ukraine’s ability to counter-attack may well depend on greater supplies of Western weaponry, which its officials say has often been too slow in arriving. The MI6 chief said some kind of battlefield success would be an “important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a winnable campaign” – particularly ahead of a winter which was likely to see pressure on gas supplies. “We are in for a tough time,” he said. A further reason to maintain support to help the Ukrainians win, or “at least negotiate from a position of significant strength”, he said, was because China’s leader Xi Jinping was “watching like a hawk”.

[..] On China, he said MI6 had “never had any illusions whatsoever about Communist China”. He revealed MI6 now devoted more effort to China than to any other single subject – the effort in this field having just moved past that devoted to counter-terrorism. He said it was “too early to tell” what lessons China would draw from Putin’s actions in Ukraine, but there were lots of signs officials in Beijing were going into overdrive to work out what they thought. “It is quite difficult to read at the moment,” he said. He said it was “important” to remind China’s leadership of how an invasion of Taiwan could go wrong. He said China’s leadership underestimated US resolve and power and this might lead them to miscalculate. “I don’t think it is inevitable,” he said when asked about a major conflict.

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“Russia does not need, care to have, or find a valid use for dollars or euros which are strictly Western nonsense, not Russia’s..”

Western Currencies Will Fail (Vilches)

As Prof. Michael Hudson has repeatedly explained, printing humongous ´money´ specially for the FIRE rentier sector (Finance Insurance Real Estate) and beyond anyone else has tremendously increased Western GDPs… but did not increase at all its effective, real-life tangible products and services economy that would benefit flesh & blood human beings. The GDP formula and its 4 terms by themselves are clear evidence of such a problem. So today Western central banks have painted themselves into a far away “false GDP” corner with no effective tools, space, or time left to maneuver with or issue yet “new” forward guidance (lip service) for their “financial policies” to change such outcome.

Per multi-billionaire and Bill Gates’ partner Warren Buffett — a.k.a. the ´Omaha Oracle´ — derivatives are a weapon of Financial Mass Destruction which today would sum up a notional sum exceeding USD $ 2 quadrillion. Of these, the central bank-induced and managed “paper gold chimera” could be as high as 30%. Flat-footed as they now are, central bankers can thus awkwardly run around in circles, but they can’t ever effectively hide. They might still be kings for a little while longer but they wear no clothes. And so back to the 2022 world, Russia now says “it´s our products so you pay in our Rubles, okay?” Why euros or dollars? The West plain robs them anyways, so Russia cannot give away something for nothing. Russia does not need, care to have, or find a valid use for dollars or euros which are strictly Western nonsense, not Russia’s.

This includes oil + nat-gas + LNG + refined products + wheat + everything else. And the Chinese may also start gradually doing something equivalent until a new, stable, fairer, BRICS-non-NATO monetary system is developed, installed, and accepted. How the transition will unfold is not yet very clear other than that it´d probably be a bumpy road and that it will take time. Of course, physical gold would work as perfect money so recall that the Global South has plenty of gold — and highly valuable silver — buried deep in the ground but still environmentally recoverable with adequate mining practices. This might turn out to be a game-changer both for these Global South regions of the world and for the Russian and Chinese investments to be made especially if the countries in question belong to BRICS and/or the BRI – Belt and Road Initiative.

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No, Europe must make peace.

IEA Chief: Europe Must Cut Gas Usage 20% To Survive Winter (OP)

After calling on all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% in the face of the threat of a complete Russian gas cutoff, the IEA says the European Union will need to cut even more in order to get through the winter. “Even if there is no single accident… #Europe still needs to reduce its gas consumption about 20% compared to today in order to have safe and normal winter months,” IEA chief Fatih Birol said, issuing what he called a “red alert” for energy markets. The short-term issue with the Nord Stream 1 pipeline may have been resolved, Birol told CNN, but “it’s too early to be happy about this”. The amount Europe is receiving now from Russia is only about one-third of what it was receiving prior to the force majeure, and the IEA chief warned that even that reduced flow “can be cut anytime”.

After a 10-day pause for regular maintenance, Russian gas flows via Nord Stream resumed on Thursday morning, with orders for gas set at around 40% of Nord Stream’s capacity, the level from before the maintenance after Russia slashed flows in mid-June. Flows early on Thursday were at around 21.5 GWh, compared to 30GWh prior to the start of maintenance on July 11th, and compared to 70 GWh before Russia reduced supplies by 60% on June 13th. On Wednesday, the European Commission unveiled measures for the bloc to conserve gas to pre-empt a Russian cutoff, asking member states to reduce consumption by 15% until next spring.

According to Birol, this won’t be enough to ensure a smooth winter for Europe, and there is no alternative to consumption reductions. Even assuming that the current Russian gas flow is maintained, and considering all the LNG Europe is getting from the United States and elsewhere, plus other natural gas sources, and even if there are no accidents that hamper supply, Europe still needs to reduce more, starting now, Birol said. There is not enough gas around the world for Europe to rely on, the IAE chief said, and there is no choice but to reduce consumption to avoid shortages and rationing this winter.

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Whistled back.

EU Debates Revised Plan To Reduce Gas Use After Opposition (R.)

European envoys debated revisions on Friday to a proposal by the EU executive that all bloc members cut natural gas use to prepare for potential Russian supply cuts, hoping for a compromise by next week after some governments, including in Greece, balked at the plan. The European Commission proposed on Wednesday that all EU countries should cut their gas use from August to March by 15%. The target would initially be voluntary, but would become mandatory if the Commission declared an emergency. But from the outset, the proposal met criticism from a range of countries. Spain, Portugal and Greece are among the most openly hostile, while diplomats say Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland also have reservations about giving the Commission the power to order cuts.

Under a proposal put forward by the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, EU governments would have to approve any proposal by the Commission to make the cuts mandatory, EU diplomats said. The revised text would also cut the time period for which the system would apply from two years to one, to emphasize the emergency nature of the measure. Some countries complain that a uniform 15% cut would inflict more pain than necessary on householders in some parts of the bloc, to protect gas-hungry industrial users in other regions. Envoys will discuss possible further revisions on Monday before energy ministers meet for an emergency session designed to forge an agreement. “It’s not just fine-tuning. There is still more work to be done,” an EU diplomat said.

Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said in a letter to the Commission on Friday that Spain shared the final goal of the EU executive’s proposals, but believed there were more effective measures than a uniform and mandatory gas demand cut. “It is essential that the European response to this situation not be perceived as unfair and economically damaging for our citizens and industry,” she wrote, adding Spain was committed to engage constructively. The Commission said on Friday the need for gas consumption cuts was clear and that an energy issue could quickly become a broader economic problem. “It’s based on the fact that there is a serious risk of cut-off of supply of gas from Russia and we need to prepare for this eventuality,” a spokesperson said. “This is not the first time that we are having fierce debates…. on crucial subjects.”

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And not because that many people went for the boosters.

Triple/Quadruple Vaccinated Account For 91% Of All UK Covid Deaths (DE)

In January, the vaccinated accounted for 85% of Covid-19 deaths, whilst the unvaccinated accounted for 15%. By March, the vaccinated accounted for 93% of Covid-19 deaths, whilst the vaccinated accounted for just 7%. And by May, the vaccinated accounted for 94% of Covid-19 deaths, whilst the vaccinated accounted for just 6%. Many people may believe that this is simply because, according to data published by the UK Health Security Agency, 50% of the population of England refused the third jab, and those vaccinated deaths are among the double vaccinated and partly vaccinated. But unfortunately, those people are wrong.

[..] Overall, there were 15,113 Covid-19 deaths by 31st May 2022, and a shocking 13,666 of those deaths were among the vaccinated population. But what’s even more shocking than this is that 12,442 of those deaths were among the triple/quadruple vaccinated population. This means the triple/quadruple vaccinated population have accounted for a frightening 91% of all Covid-19 deaths among the vaccinated since the beginning of 2022.

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Because he’s a symbol for failed policies.

Unvaccinated Fans Can Attend the U.S. Open. Why Can’t Novak Djokovic? (NW)

While Djokovic’s absence undoubtedly would be bad for the game, it also makes no sense from the standpoint of public health. First, it’s noteworthy that Djokovic had COVID-19 in December. Many sporting organizations—including the NCAA—recognize prior infection as a form of immunization, and rightly so. An abundance of scientific evidence shows that natural immunity offers as much protection as vaccination alone, if not more. A recent Cornell University-led study, for example, found that people with prior infection saw “little decline in protection even a year after their prior infection.” Their level of protection was higher than that of people who had received two Pfizer shots and a booster. Importantly, the study found that both vaccines and natural immunity offer “strong and durable protection” against COVID-related hospitalization and death.

These findings and others point to a simple reality: both natural immunity and vaccination offer significant protection against COVID, especially against a severe symptomatic reaction. Second, it’s worth noting that spectators are allowed to attend the Open regardless of their vaccination status. “At this time, ticket holders will not be required to show proof of COVID vaccination for admission into the US Open,” the event’s official website states. In other words, fans can attend the U.S. Open even if they haven’t had the shot—but the world’s greatest tennis star will not be able to set foot in the country. How we arrived here is not a mystery. Vaccination has become one of the most partisan and politicized issues in the world today.

People around the world (not just Americans) were divided over vaccines—not over whether they should be available or even whether they are safe and effective, but over whether it was okay to force people to take them. Coerced vaccination was always problematic because it violates a basic human right: bodily autonomy. But in light of abundant research showing the strength and durability of natural immunity, vaccine mandates don’t just look morally dubious; they look senseless. This helps explain why efforts to coerce vaccination are failing all around the world.

Tucker Harvey Risch

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“Chinese banks have significantly less capital to absorb losses and less cash on hand for withdrawal by depositors.”

The State of Banks in China (Balding)

The state of banks in China dominates concerns about the economy and global growth. With pictures of angry crowds outside banks and tanks on the street in one city to quell discontent about being unable to withdraw funds, it bears asking what the true state of Chinese banks is. Officially, Chinese banks are in fine shape. Nonperforming loans are low and are disposed of in a controlled manner. Banks remain comfortably within their regulatory limits of loan growth, and deposits continue to rise. However, as with all things China, a look behind the official statistics gives cause for concern. First, loan classifications in China fail to capture the true level of risk of defaults. Loan classification in China is notoriously pliable, so Chinese banks can set standards for loans being classified as nonperforming that would not pass regulatory scrutiny in other countries, a fact they openly acknowledge.

While an interest payment in most jurisdictions that was overdue by 90 days would change the classification, some Chinese banks have said they do not change the classification of the loan to doubtful until “the operations of the borrower have been suspended for at least half a year.” The cessation of a company’s operations would make any outstanding loans dubious. Second, Chinese banks are highly leveraged and short on capital. The weighted reserve rate for all banks in China is now just 8.4 percent of all capital. This is a drop from over 21 percent a decade ago. This means Chinese banks have significantly less capital to absorb losses and less cash on hand for withdrawal by depositors. These reserve figures are the official numbers, so even small changes to the bad loan numbers, an issue as just noted is highly suspect, can rapidly make that 8.4 percent even smaller.

Third, banks are facing a wave of stressed borrowers right as their capital is at historic lows, and they have been fudging the data for some time. Local governments have seen revenue plunge from lower economic activity from COVID-19 and real estate. The property sector, which is responsible for around 30 percent of GDP, is under enormous pressure, with buyers and developers alike feeling the pressure. In other words, right when banks need that capital most, they have the lowest capital levels in years. The bad news is that the choices available to Beijing are limited due to the years of pushing rapid expansion in fiscal and monetary policy to support growth. Recapitalizing the banks would require vast sums of money that would require significant inflation or devaluation of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar.

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Drain the Deep State.

Trump ’25: A Radical Plan For Trump’s Second Term (Axios)

Former President Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his “America First” ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios. The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say. During his presidency, Trump often complained about what he called “the deep state.”

The heart of the plan is derived from an executive order known as “Schedule F,” developed and refined in secret over most of the second half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 election. The reporting for this series draws on extensive interviews over a period of more than three months with more than two dozen people close to the former president, and others who have firsthand knowledge of the work underway to prepare for a potential second term. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive planning and avoid Trump’s ire. As Trump publicly flirts with a 2024 comeback campaign, this planning is quietly flourishing from Mar-a-Lago to Washington — with his blessing but without the knowledge of some people in his orbit. Trump remains distracted by his obsession with contesting the 2020 election results.

But he has endorsed the work of several groups to prime an administration-in-waiting. Personnel and action plans would be executed in the first 100 days of a second term starting on Jan. 20, 2025. Their work could accelerate controversial policy and enforcement changes, but also enable revenge tours against real or perceived enemies, and potentially insulate the president and allies from investigation or prosecution. They intend to stack thousands of mid-level staff jobs. Well-funded groups are already developing lists of candidates selected often for their animus against the system — in line with Trump’s long-running obsession with draining “the swamp.” This includes building extensive databases of people vetted as being committed to Trump and his agenda.

The preparations are far more advanced and ambitious than previously reported. What is happening now is an inversion of the slapdash and virtually non-existent infrastructure surrounding Trump ahead of his 2017 presidential transition. These groups are operating on multiple fronts: shaping policies, identifying top lieutenants, curating an alternative labor force of unprecedented scale, and preparing for legal challenges and defenses that might go before Trump-friendly judges, all the way to a 6-3 Supreme Court.

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1550704392315310080

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“Can a President who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?”

Cheney’s losing bigtime in the polls. Trump is not.

Liz Cheney Said Trump Family and Aides Have Now Publicly “Confessed” (Turley)

Cheney ended the hearing this week by calling for more officials to come forward and noting that Trump family members and former officials have now come forward with their own public “confessions.” As with past hearings, the summation included a direct call by Cheney for voters to oppose Donald Trump in the coming election: “Can a President who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?” It is the type of pitch that is as unnecessary as it is counterproductive. Many voters tuned out the hearings weeks ago due to the absence of any balance in the presentation of evidence. To add direct political pitches only reduces the audience further. The result is that it is left telling largely Democratically aligned voters not to vote for Trump.

Tucker Bannon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1550645124824186887

The alternative was to secure a larger audience by allowing more balance. It would not have altered the power of these accounts. It would have simply added greater credibility to the proceedings. It could have changed minds rather than just reaffirm preexisting views. Instead, once again, the Committee simply edited out conflicting evidence. For example, the Committee again edited out the line of Trump where he said “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” That line does not exonerate the former president. However, it is illustrative of the Committee’s refusal to hold these hearings for investigative rather than persuasive purposes.

What was particularly bizarre was Cheney’s effort to dismiss the need for any opposing views in the hearings. In one of the most counterintuitive and forced claims, Cheney said that such balance would not have made a difference: “And for those of you who seem to think the evidence would be different if Republican Leader McCarthy had not withdrawn his nominees from this committee, let me ask you this. Do you really think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that he would wilt under cross-examination? Pat Cipollone, Eric Herschmann, Jeff Rosen, Richard Donoghue?” No one is suggesting that Barr would have changed his testimony. Rather, the argument is that there were questions not being asked for the witnesses and evidence not being presented. For example, when the two former members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers testified, members carefully avoided a host of countervailing questions, including any direct contacts with Trump or the White House.

However, it was the true confessions moment that stood out in the closing summation. Cheney said that more people will be called to come forward. She then added: “The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies. It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family. They have come forward. And they have told the American people the truth.”

Dick Morris

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“We enter the new frontier of the Green New Deal and Build Back Better. In other words, the USA completely collapses.”

People, Get Ready (Jim Kunstler)

My political fantasy du jour: Thus, Kamala accedes to greatness! She must then appoint a new vice-president. That would be… wait for it… California governor Gavin Newsom — who else? (He was recently captured on video skulking into a back door of the West Wing while “Joe Biden” was out-of-town schmoozing up the honchos of Saudi Arabia.) Gov. Newsom is easily confirmed in the House and narrowly in the Senate when Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski vote with the Party of Chaos. Kamala soon resigns, citing “anxiety problems.” Now president, Mr. Newsom proceeds to accelerate the wrecking of the old USA along the lines of his recent work in California. All D.C. gas stations are ordered shut to promote the transition to renewables. The D.C. Mall is declared the National Homeless Camp….

I called it a fantasy, but this may be their only move left as the nation utterly loses its patience with the “Joe Biden” fiasco and the escalating disorders of Western Civ take us into August. The mid-term election must be revamped at all costs, they’ll say, “to save our democracy.” A new pandemic is declared in early October, complete with lockdowns, while Google partners with Facebook to roll out a new vote-by-phone app. By some miracle, then, the Democrats add thirty more seats to their house majority and five in the Senate. We enter the new frontier of the Green New Deal and Build Back Better. In other words, the USA completely collapses.

A dark scenario, I confess, but doesn’t that seem exactly where things are going? An epic crackup is upon us. Every place in the world is primed for meltdown, and a few lands in the periphery are already sinking. Sri Lanka is broke and out of gas after being set up as a WEF / Schwabenklaus low-carbon eco-state experiment. Panama is in revolt over extreme government corruption, food scarcity, and the after-effects of an especially severe two-year-long Covid lockdown that the rest of the world hardly heard about — perhaps because China has operational control over the vital Panama Canal and the CCP has operational control over the World Health Organization, which set up Panama as a lockdown lab project.

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Vicky Spit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 112022
 


Robert Campin Portrait of a woman 1430-35

 

The Goal Is Not To Help Ukraine, But To Fight Putin – Jacques Baud (TP)
Biden Tries Blaming Russia for White House Energy Policy and Inflation (CTH)
Ukraine Is Blackmailing The Global South By Demanding Weapons For Wheat (Kol.)
Traitors and Patriots (Batiushka)
UK: 5,000 Non-Covid Excess Deaths in the Last Five Weeks (DS)
Funding of Promising COVID-19 Treatment Withdrawn Without Explanation (DS)
Get Your Monkeypox On (Jim Kunstler)
Primetime Jan. 6 Hearings Air To Dismal TV Ratings (JTN)
Liz Cheney Said Trump Had A ‘Seven-part Plan’ To Overturn The Election (CNN)
Trump Pentagon First Offered National Guard to Capitol on Jan 2 (JTN)
Perry to Cheney: Your Pardon Story Is An Absolute Shameless, Soulless Lie (JTN)
Erdogan Threatens Greece Over ‘Militarizing’ Aegean Islands (ZH)
Agreement In The Dispute Over Spying Attacks On Julian Assange’s Lawyer (Zeit)

 

 

 

 

Ryan Cole
https://twitter.com/i/status/1535169325610553344

 

 

 

 

Kerseboom

 

 

Original from Swiss journal, Zeitgeschehen im Fokus.

Baud is a former strategic intelligence officer in the Swiss Department of Defense.

“This is about supporting decision-making based on facts and not on the basis of divine inspiration.”

The Goal Is Not To Help Ukraine, But To Fight Putin -Jacques Baud (TP)

JB: It is also interesting that if one takes some distance to assess the conflict and does not immediately side with Ukraine, one is declared a ” Putin-Empathizer.” This is unbelievable. What I think about Putin has nothing to do with the assessment of the situation. That is the business of the Ukrainians. I have said this several times: if I were Ukrainian, I probably would have taken up arms. But that is not the point. I, as Swiss, will not give up my Swissness. In order to help Ukraine, I don’t have to become a Ukrainian; but I have to look at the big picture I have as Swiss to bring a less passionate but more constructive point of view. The journalists who criticize me are more Russia-haters than Ukraine-lovers.

JB: When an onlooker sees an old lady being attacked by a thug on the street, he does not encourage her to fight back, but tries to separate the two. We are in the situation of this onlooker; but our response is to give weapons so that Ukraine fights. For a Ukrainian it is legitimate to want to fight. But for a Swiss or another European, our role is to try to limit the damage. But no one is even attempting to do that in the West. When Zelensky was looking for a mediator, he turned to Turkey, China, and Israel. He did not choose a European Union country or even Switzerland. He understood that Switzerland is no longer an independent partner.

[..] JB: Paradoxically, everything we give to Ukraine today only highlights the help and compassion we have not given to those who have been unjustly attacked by the West in the Middle East and elsewhere. This will have consequences in the future. Many have noticed this with the refugees. The “blond, blue-eyed” refugees are gladly helped; the others are not. Maybe we can understand this, even if we cannot approve of it. But what is incomprehensible, remains the fact that we keep silent about one attacker, while another is punished with more than 6 000 sanctions.

[..] It also doesn’t mean that you have to be in favor of Russia; that has nothing to do with it. If you look at Justitia, she is blind and holds a scale in her hand. That is exactly what is missing today. Western countries are partial and biased. The same applies to the European Union. A modern state should not be guided by passion, but by reason. These principles were established by Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau in the 18th century. Our “woke” culture has forgotten them. We let our feelings guide us and we follow them. That is the problem.

[..] The rule of law means that decisions are not based on feelings or intuitions, but on the basis of facts. That is why modern states have intelligence services. This is about supporting decision-making based on facts and not on the basis of divine inspiration. This is a fundamental difference between enlightened governance and despotic obscurantism. Fighting a dictatorship does not entitle us to forget the principles of the rule of law. Since the Balkan War, the West seems to believe that the end justifies the means. It is irrelevant what individual ministers think as persons, they are allowed to hate Putin, that is their right as citizens —but not as ministers. Feelings cannot be the basis of their policy.

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Kissinger in 2014: “Demonizing Vladimir Putin is not politics; it is an alibi for not having politics.”

Biden Tries Blaming Russia for White House Energy Policy and Inflation (CTH)

It’s worth paying attention to where and when Joe Biden is standing when he makes his ridiculous economic claims today about Russia being the cause of the energy policy from the White House. Do not let it go unnoticed that it’s June, the last month of the second quarter for economic data. Do not let it pass your reference that Joe Biden is speaking from the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) as he spins his nonsense about the inflation, he alone is responsible for. And do not overlook the attendee mentioned in this subtle statement, “And, John, I can’t thank you. You’re — you’re the real deal. Anybody — well, I won’t get into — get you in trouble, but thanks for sticking up for me.”

“John” is the White House Port Envoy John D Porcari. A severely partisan former Obama official who was selected by Joe Biden to lead the fraudulent effort to improve supply chains when the White House was under assault in the fall of 2021. Porcari was the person who designed “operation hide the ships” to give the illusion of port efficiency improvement, and it is almost a certainty that it was Porcari who leveraged his influence with the POLA to hold back the December 2021 import data in order to try and improve the GDP statistics. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters with negative GDP growth. The first quarter of 2022 was -1.5% as detailed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That means if April, May and June 2022 are also negative GDP then we are factually in an economic recession.

That makes this month, June 2022, critical for Joe Biden. The White House will do anything to avoid that label appearing on their economic policy when the reporting is released at the end of July. So it’s June, the last month of the second quarter…. and Joe Biden is giving a speech from the Port of Los Angeles….. and the White House will do anything and everything to avoid that “economic recession” label. What does that mean? That means it’s time for John Porcari to work his magic influence again and get the POLA import data held back and delayed so that it is not deducted from the GDP.

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Not how we prefer to see it.

Ukraine Is Blackmailing The Global South By Demanding Weapons For Wheat (Kol.)

Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasily Bodnar officially demanded weapons in exchange for resuming wheat exports by sea in what amounts to the blatant blackmailing of the Global South in the midst of the artificially manufactured food crisis. He said that “Effective security guarantees are required for maritime shipments to resume. These guarantees must be provided through the supply of appropriate weapons to Ukraine to protect its coasts from maritime threats and the involvement of the navies of third countries in protecting the relevant part of the Black Sea.” This comprehensively debunks the US-led Western Mainstream Media’s (MSM) fake news that Russia is the one that’s supposedly holding the Global South hostage by allegedly blockading Ukrainian ports.

The background context is that Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya already explained the artificially manufactured origins of the global food crisis late last month. In short, he blamed it on the economic consequences caused by the West’s response to COVID (particularly with respect to spiking inflation and influencing food demand); Ukraine’s mining of its own ports; and the anti-Russian sanctions. President Putin later reiterated these causes in a TV interview that he gave a little over a week later on the same day that he met with Macky Sall, the Chairman of the African Union. His guest extended credence to the Kremlin’s explanation by declaring that “Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat.”

All the while and in spite of the artificially manufactured origins of the food crisis that lie entirely beyond Russia’s control, Moscow has been doing its utmost to encourage Kiev to at the very least resume its wheat exports to the Global South. To that end, it proposed four potential corridors: the Azov Sea; the Black Sea; overland through Belarus en route to Baltic ports; and across Western Europe. Suffice to say, Kiev has flat-out refused to employ any of these means, though it’s also worth noting that Nebenzya mentioned in his speech late last month that Russia has “reasonable suspicions” to believe that Kiev is exporting wheat to those Western European countries that already have copious reserves of this commodity in exchange for arms exactly as happened with the Central Powers near the end of WWI.

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“..Putin has very slowly and very cautiously, but incrementally, been remedying the situation. It is his life’s work – to reverse treachery.”

Traitors and Patriots (Batiushka)

The prolific Russian nationalist author of 91 books, Oleg Platonov (born 1950), relates in his work on the fall of the Soviet Union how in the 1980s, on the eve of the country’s collapse, Westerners, whom The Saker rightly calls ‘Euro-Atlanticists’, betrayed the USSR. These ‘Euro-Atlanticists’ were the ‘Communists’ who in the 1990s overnight became super Capitalists, bought shares for almost nothing in valuable, about-to-be privatised national companies and so became ‘oligarchs’. Their shameful acts, in fact thefts of national property by those with insider knowledge, created an underclass of homeless. They reveal how these money-launderers sold out their own country and people and souls, often then going to live in Tel Aviv, New York, London, Nice, Marbella, Nicosia etc.

The Traitors were opposed by the Patriots, some of whom worked in the national intelligence services, where some of the best brains met. One of these Patriots, the future President Putin, was then a lowly colonel in Dresden in East Germany, working in the Soviet intelligence services (not a head of it, like so many US Presidents, heads of the CIA). When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, his office sought answers from Moscow as to what to do. And there was no answer. ‘Moscow is silent’. I believe the story is related in many places, among them in ‘The Putin Interviews’ by Oliver Stone. It was that paralysis and silence of the Centre in Moscow that was among the most decisive events in the future President’s life. He realised that Moscow was betraying the Soviet Union, that it had been taken over by the Traitors, the ‘Nomenklatura’. They believed in nothing, except in their own disgraceful gain. They were anti-Patriots.

Since coming to power in 2000, V. V. Putin has very slowly and very cautiously, but incrementally, been remedying the situation. It is his life’s work – to reverse treachery. In 19th century Russian history people like him were known as ‘Slavophiles’ and they were opposed by ‘Westerners’. These are very vague and rather crude terms, for there are many types of Slavophiles, from primitive and bigoted nationalists to genuine Patriots, who are well-educated realists and seek only the well-being of their people. Similarly, the term ‘Westerners’ can describe outright Traitors and murderers, like Litvinenko and Skripal, but also those who realise that if Russia is to defend itself against the West, it must fight obscurantism and make use of, and then improve on, Western technology. President Putin would probably not identify with either of these historical tags, but rather perhaps with aspects of both of them.

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We see this in lots of places. I added the New Brunswick chart.

Still, when Justin Bieber gets facial paralysis, it is reportedly from Covid….

UK: 5,000 Non-Covid Excess Deaths in the Last Five Weeks (DS)

New official data from the ONS released today add a further 730 non-Covid excess deaths in England and Wales to the total of the last five weeks, bringing the figure to 4,964. This means nearly 5,000 more people than usual have died in England and Wales in the last five weeks of causes other than COVID-19. The total deaths in the most recent week were 10.1% above the five-year average, as depicted in the chart below. The chart shows in blue that Covid deaths account for less than half of the excess deaths this week, though note that the chart over-counts Covid deaths as it includes any death with Covid. The 4,964 figure for non-Covid excess deaths quoted above is calculated using deaths due to Covid, i.e., where Covid is recorded as the underlying cause on the death certificate.

Private homes, care homes and hospitals are all experiencing excess deaths at present: 23.4%, 6.5% and 5.3% respectively in the most recent week. The ONS report does not comment on what might lie behind these worrying trends. The fact that it coincides with the spring vaccine booster campaign among older folk has raised worries for many, particularly in light of the ONS data showing hospitalisation rates for non-Covid reasons many times higher in the vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated, and the vaccine safety concerns raised by clinical practitioners who believe their vaccinated patients are at greater risk of disease and death.

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“..there did not seem to be enough support from the scientific community for a study on the benefits of fish liver oil against viral infections..”

Funding of Promising COVID-19 Treatment Withdrawn Without Explanation (DS)

In 2020 a cell culture lab-study performed by a group of Icelandic scientists led by Dr. Einar Stefánsson, Professor of Medicine at the University of Iceland, showed that free fatty acids found in fish liver oil can quickly destroy viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. The study was conducted in collaboration with U.S. partners. Laboratory results showed fish liver oil with 1% and 2% free fatty agents destroyed 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2 within 10 minutes. According to an article in Vidskiptabbladid in November 2020, the research, in collaboration with fish liver oil producer Lysi hf. had been approved by the Scientific Ethics Committee and the first phase of the study was being planned with the participation of 30 infected individuals.


Icelandic daily Fréttin recently contacted Professor Stefánsson for news of the project, but he said the research project had to be discontinued due to lack of funds. According to Dr. Stefánsson, the Icelandic Centre for Research, RANNÍS, had approved a “substantial grant” to finance the study, but later the grant was withdrawn without explanation. He said there did not seem to be enough support from the scientific community for a study on the benefits of fish liver oil against viral infections, so unfortunately the project had to be cancelled. Related to this, it might be noted that in April 2020 the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority banned an advertisement from Lysi hf. which claimed the consumption of fish liver oil might be beneficial against viruses such as herpes, RS and coronaviruses, preventing infection. The authority had shortly before warned consumers of advertisements for products that might strengthen the immune system, for example against SARS-CoV-2 infection, since information or claims of such product characteristics was “wrong and misleading” for consumers.

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“And now, the Party of Chaos is so keenly desperate to stay out of prison that they apparently seek to repeat the trick in the fall midterm..”

Get Your Monkeypox On (Jim Kunstler)

If the January 6th Committee show is short-and-sweet, say a few weeks, it will be quickly forgotten in the welling summertime heat as the great masses of America groan under $5… $7… maybe $10-a-gallon gasoline prices (or maybe no gas at all) while diesel prices at $6.50 today are already destroying the trucking industry — and thus the entire system for delivering all goods around the country. The zeitgeist is quivering with intimations of food shortages and the philosopher reminds us that any given body politic is just nine missed meals away from bloody rebellion. Have another look at that motley January 6th committee group photo and consider the lampposts along Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s a dangerous game trying to beat down the population this way, and to what end, exactly? I doubt that even the Blue Team could articulate it… or would dare to… because at this point their sole aim, really, is to hide their many acts of criminality over a span of the past six years and escape prosecution, a compelling motive. And it’s getting harder and harder to conceal all that, especially their campaign to physically harm over 200-million people with mRNA “vaccines.” The body-count is rising — way higher even than deaths from the hypothetical “pandemic” that the “vaccines” were supposedly concocted to vanquish, and spectacularly failed to.

And was this Covid-19 “pandemic” itself cooked up tacitly to disorder the 2020 election with mail-in ballots so easily replicated, harvested, and stuffed by the bale into drop-boxes under cover of night? Kind of looks like it, more and more. And now, the Party of Chaos is so keenly desperate to stay out of prison that they apparently seek to repeat the trick in the fall midterm, which is otherwise quite certain to sweep them ignominiously off the game board like so many misplayed quoits.

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Outdone by a rerun of Young Sheldon.

Primetime Jan. 6 Hearings Air To Dismal TV Ratings (JTN)

The primetime hearings for the Jan. 6 commission’s investigation into the 2021 Capitol riot were broadcast live on almost every major station, yet failed to capture national interest and produced ratings far below other comparable national televised political events. Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the hearings on Thursday night, according to The Hill. By contrast, President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in March pulled in 38 million viewers. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union attracted over 45 million, per the New York Post. The 20 million figure did stand above a typical congressional hearing, The Hill noted, citing the roughly 9 million viewers for Trump’s first impeachment trial.


Members of the Jan. 6 Commission have sought to present a case blaming Trump for the violence that occurred at the Capitol amid congressional efforts to certify the presidential election results. Their narrative stands in contrast to growing sentiment among the American public who increasingly do not blame the former president for the incident. An NBC poll released Monday, showed that only 45% of Americans blamed Trump for the riot which, while still a plurality, marked a seven-point decline in that sentiment from January of 2021. Republicans have largely denounced the hearings as a “kangaroo court” and slammed the commission’s Republican members for their participation in it.

Tucker J 6

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Trump is certainly not squeaky clean, but this is ridiculous.

Liz Cheney Said Trump Had A ‘Seven-part Plan’ To Overturn The Election (CNN)

Former President Donald Trump had a “sophisticated seven-point plan” to overturn the 2020 presidential election over the course of several months, January 6 committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney said, detailing how the panel plans to use its future hearings to tackle each part of the scheme. “On the morning of January 6, President Donald Trump’s intention was to remain president of the United States, despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his Constitutional obligation to relinquish power,” Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said in her opening statement at Thursday’s prime-time hearing.

Cheney did not detail the specific points of the plan in her opening statement. She said that the rioters who breached the Capitol and fought with police were motivated by Trump’s actions falsely claiming that the election was stolen from him. “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said, echoing the statement she made in 2021 when she voted to impeach Trump. A committee source later provided CNN the following description of the “sophisticated seven-part plan”: “President Trump oversaw a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 election and prevent the transition of presidential power.

  1. President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.
  2. President Trump corruptly planned to replace the Acting Attorney General, so that the Department of Justice would support his fake election claims.
  3. President Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes in violation of the US Constitution and the law.
  4. President Trump corruptly pressured state election officials, and state legislators, to change election results.
  5. President Trump’s legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archives.
  6. President Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the US Capitol.
  7. As the violence was underway, President Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.

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Trump himself said this too. But it was refused.

Trump Pentagon First Offered National Guard to Capitol on Jan 2 (JTN)

The Pentagon first raised the possibility of sending National Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol four days before the Jan. 6 riots, setting in motion a series of rejections by Capitol Police and Democrats that left Congress vulnerable as threats of violence were rising, according to government memos that validate Trump administration officials’ long-held claims. An official timeline of the Jan. 6 tragedy assembled by Capitol Police shows that a Defense Department official reached out to a Capitol Police deputy chief, Sean Gallagher, on Jan. 2, 2021 to see if a request for troops was forthcoming, but the offer was quickly rejected after a consultation with then-Chief Steve Sund.

“Carol Corbin (DOD) texts USCP Deputy Chief Sean Gallagher, Protective Service Bureau, to determine whether USCP is considering a request for National Guard soldiers for January 6, 2021 event,” the timeline reads in the lone entry listed for Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. The following morning, the timeline states, “Gallagher replies to DOD via text that a request for National Guard support not forthcoming at this time after consultation with COP Sund.” The rejection came as the Capitol Police department was beginning to change its assessment, recognizing that the massive Trump rally to protest the November 2020 election results planned for Jan. 6, 2021 had the potential for violence.

Earlier analyses suggested such violence was unlikely and the Jan. 6 event was likely to be “similar to the previous Million MAGA March rallies in November and December,” police records show For instance, Capitol Police had determined that as of Dec. 16, 2020 there was “no information regarding specific disruptions or acts of civil disobedience targeting this function.” But by late December, Capitol Police internal emails and documents show, information began flowing in that some groups expected to attend were talking on social media or fringe websites about tactics like blocking tunnels leading to the Capitol. On Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, just hours after Gallagher rejected the Pentagon’s initial offer, the Capitol Police issued a new and darker security assessment to its commanders and executives and to the two political appointees in Congress responsible for security, the House and Senate sergeants at arms, the timeline shows.

“Due to the tense political environment following the 2020 election, the threat of disruptive actions or violence cannot be ruled out,” the new assessment declared. “Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election. This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.” Within 24 hours, Sund had changed his mind and began seeking permission from the political powers surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to deploy the National Guard as a preventive measure on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

[..] “The Capitol Police timeline shows what we have been saying for the last year — that DOD support via the National Guard was refused by the House and Senate sergeant at arms, who report to Pelosi,” Patel said. “Now we have it in their own writing, days before Jan. 6. And despite the FBI warning of potential for serious disturbance, no perimeter was established, no agents put on the street, and no fence put up.”

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“..shameless and soulless..”

Perry to Cheney: Your Pardon Story Is An Absolute Shameless, Soulless Lie (JTN)

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) blasted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for claiming he sought a presidential pardon because he thought he may have done something wrong on Jan. 6. On the John Solomon Reports podcast Friday, when asked if he did anything wrong on Jan. 6, Perry said, “No, of course not. I was in the Capitol doing my legislative duties on January 6.” Rep. Scott Perry: Liz Cheney’s claim that I sought a presidential pardon for Jan 6, ‘an absolute shameless and soulless lie’ “[T]he notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself, or other members of Congress, is an absolute shameless and soulless lie,” he added.

“It’s just simply no surprise, considering this latest fabrications come from a sham committee using a breathtaking abuse of power to conjure up political theater to destroy their opponents and … distract the American people from the economic and national security nightmare. This is a nightmare created by their one-party rule and quite honestly, rogue Republicans — and you know, Republicans in name only — and their compatriots on the radical left. “This is a kangaroo court. And it’s more fitting to be aired with the filth of scripted reality TV than masquerading as a newsworthy item, which is why I’m using all my time as a member of Congress to try to address the fact that Americans can’t literally afford gasoline, groceries, their food, and … to suffer under the policies of those who control the sham committee.”

Perry asked where the primetime committee hearing was for the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and the inflation, border, and drug crises. “[T]hat’s what I’m working on and that’s exactly what the American people demand Congress work on, not producing political theater to the tune of $8 million to destroy their opponents.” During the Jan. 6 committee hearing aired on TV Thursday, Cheney said, “As you will see, Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a Presidential Pardon.” She added, “Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

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A senior Turkish diplomat says Erdogan is full of it. The 1923 Lausanne Treaty simply states that all islands more than 3 km from Turkey are Greek. No more, no less. There are over 2,400 islands. No-one tried to name them all for the Treaty. No need.

Erdogan Threatens Greece Over ‘Militarizing’ Aegean Islands (ZH)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Greece of militarizing its islands in the Aegean Sea with an eye toward threatening Turkey, in but the latest salvo in a series of tit-for-tat accusations between the two NATO members. Erdogan urged immediate demilitarization of the islands, stressing Turkey will never relinquish its “rights” in the Aegean Sea, statements which come weeks after he condemned Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for lobbying the White House to block impending US F-16 sales to Ankara. The fresh words also came on the final day of Turkey’s multi-national “Efes-2022” military drill, centered on the coastal city of Izmir. “We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,” Erdogan said.

“I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.” “I warn Greece to avoid dreams, acts and statements that will result in regret. Come to your senses,” he said in a televised speech related to the drills. “Turkey will not renounce its rights in the Aegean and will not back down from using rights that are established by international agreements when it comes to arming islands,” he added. Erdogan further vowed that Turkey would continue its controversial hydrocarbons exploration of the region, which Greece, Cyprus, and some EU countries like France have condemned as violating Greek and Cypriot territorial waters. Erdogan claimed that Greece is violating the1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Treaty. He declared that Greece was previously given the islands on condition that they’d remain demilitarized.

“The agreements are there but Greece is violating them. It’s arming them. If Greece does not stop this violation, the sovereignty of the islands will be brought up for discussion,” he said. “It’s that clear. You will abide by the agreements.” In questioning the “sovereignty of the islands,” Erdogan appeared to suggest Turkish military intervention is on the table, also given he uttered the veiled threat on the occasion of major Turkish-led military exercises. Greece responded by saying Turkey has long deliberately misinterpreted and misrepresented the content of the historic treaties, and further that Ankara’s standing threat of war justifies that Greece take steps to defend itself. As The Associated Press reports: In Athens, Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said Greece was dealing with Turkish “provocations” with “calm and determination.””It is clear to everyone that our country has upgraded its geostrategic and geopolitical footprint as well as its deterrent capacity to be able at any time to defend its national sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said.

Turkish ambassador
https://twitter.com/i/status/1535217612917026818

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Translation from Die Zeit.

Agreement In The Dispute Over Spying Attacks On Julian Assange’s Lawyer (Zeit)

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is in prison in the UK, has reached an out-of-court settlement with the UK government over allegations of spying. As the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg announced, the government in London recognized that the rights of lawyer Jennifer Robinson had been violated by spying attacks. Confidential journalistic material was also affected. Robinson received a payment of 1,000 pounds (around 1,170 euros), the statement said. The lawsuit before the Human Rights Court, which has now been dropped, was also about the disclosure of information to the United States, which wants to obtain Assange’s extradition.


How exactly the lawyer from the law firm Doughty Street Chambers is said to have been spied on is not known. The government is keeping it under wraps for national security reasons, Robinson said in an interview with the dpa news agency. “I’d really like to know that too, because it raises important questions about what information was shared.” After a court in London approved Assange’s extradition, Home Secretary Priti Patel is eagerly awaiting the decision. The US judiciary wants to put Assange on trial for allegations of espionage. He faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted. He is accused of having stolen and published secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan together with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, thereby endangering the lives of US informants.

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Gonzalo blame game

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Gallery
https://twitter.com/i/status/1535209164376576000

 

 

kid+dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1534956581321850880

 

 

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May 162021
 


John French Sloan Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair 1912

 

COVID Deaths Plummet As Excess Mortality Falls To Pre-Pandemic Levels (McMaken)
Harvard Epidemiologist Locked Out Of Twitter For Criticizing Masks (JTN)
CDC Chief Moves From ‘Impending Doom’ To No Masks In 45 Days (Fox)
Multiple Governors Drop Mask Mandates As CDC Rewrites Guidance (JTN)
CDC Tells Schools To Keep Students In Masks For Another Year (JTN)
Disquiet In UK Schools As Easing Of Mask Restrictions Nears (G.)
Sweden Records 30,000 Suspected Side Effects From Covid Vaccines (RT)
More Than 60,000 Ex-Corona Patients At The Physio (AD)
Toronto Cancels Entire Summer Of Events (ZH)
A Glorified Drug Cartel: How Big Pharma Made Americans Addicted To Opioids (RT)
Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role in Spreading “Russian Bounty” Story (Greenwald)
Circling the Wagons (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden Clarence Thomas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1393543000211562496

 

 

“..excess mortality began to plummet in early January and is now back to levels below the 2015-2019 average..”

COVID Deaths Plummet As Excess Mortality Falls To Pre-Pandemic Levels (McMaken)

In any given year during the past decade in the United States, more than 2.5 million Americans have died – from all causes. The number has grown in recent years, climbing from 2.59 million in 2013 to 2.85 million in 2019. This has been due partially to the US’s aging population, and also due to rising obesity levels and drug overdoses. In fact, since 2010, growth rates in total deaths has exceeded population growth in every year. In 2020, preliminary numbers suggest a jump of more than 17 percent in all-cause total deaths, rising from 2.85 million in 2019 to 3.35 million in 2020. The increase was not all due to covid. At least one-quarter to one-third appear to be from other causes.

In some cases, more than half of “excess deaths” were attributed to “underlying causes” other than covid. But whether due to untreated medical conditions (thanks to covid lockdowns), or drug overdoses, or homicides, total death increased in 2020. In other words, total excess mortality is a partial proxy for covid deaths. Whatever proportion of total deaths covid cases may comprise, it stands to reason that if total deaths decline, then covid deaths are declining also. Moreover, looking at total deaths helps cut through any controversies over whether or not deaths are properly attributed to covid. What has been the trend with these “excess deaths” in recent months? Well, according to data through mid-March reported by Our World in Data and by the Human Mortality Database, excess mortality began to plummet in early January and is now back to levels below the 2015-2019 average:

Excess mortality peaked the week of January 3 and then it began to collapse, dropping back to summer 2020 levels by mid February. By March 14, excess mortality was at 1 percent above the 2015-2019 average. All this occurred even as very few Americans were vaccinated. When excess deaths began to drop, less than one percent of Americans had been fully vaccinated. At the end of January, less than two percent of Americans had been fully vaccinated. By the end of March, when excess mortality returned to 2019 levels, 15 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated. As of May 11, only one-third of Americans had been fully vaccinated, although “experts” insist 60 to 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated before we can expect to see a drop-off in deaths like that which occurred earlier this year. Yet, as of the week of March 22—excess mortality was below both the 2015-2019 average and below the total for the last year before the official beginning of the covid pandemic (2019).

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Twitter knows better than Harvard.

Harvard Epidemiologist Locked Out Of Twitter For Criticizing Masks (JTN)

A high-profile Harvard epidemiologist this week was locked out of his Twitter account after publicly challenging the mainstream pandemic orthodoxy on face masks. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a biostatician and epidemiologist, on Friday wrote that “some older high-risk people” had been “naively fooled to think that masks would protect them,” leading some of them to “not socially distance properly” and consequently die from COVID-19. “Tragic,” he wrote further. “Public health officials/scientists must always be honest with the public.” Kulldorff was subsequently locked out of his account. Pictures circulated on Twitter of an apparent message from the company informing him the tweet had “violat[ed] the policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

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It’s mask day today, and confusion reigns.

CDC Chief Moves From ‘Impending Doom’ To No Masks In 45 Days (Fox)

In just about a month and a half, the leader of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dramatically changed her tone on COVID-19 and mask mandates. Today, the CDC announced it has revised its mask guidance again, now enabling those who are fully vaccinated to forgo wearing masks both indoors and outdoors. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated,” she continued.

Just 45 days ago, on March 29, Walensky warned the nation of dire days ahead. “I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she said during a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing. “But right now I’m scared. I know what it’s like, as a physician, to stand in that patient room gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved ones, because their loved ones couldn’t be there.” Walensky continued in the March livestream. The fearful sentiment from a top player in the response team sent a clear signal that though the rising vaccination rates were a positive indicator, there was not enough confidence to ditch the mask or change protocol.

In the weeks following Walensky’s March 29 comment, there was a surge in people running to get their vaccines. A month after her doom comments, and with a bump in new vaccination numbers, Walensky announced a mask revision on April 27 to allow people who are fully vaccinated to do most things outdoors, with some precautions. “We continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues such as packed stadiums and concerts where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance, and where many unvaccinated people may also be present.”

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Shouldn’t they all do the same thing when reading the same guidance?

Multiple Governors Drop Mask Mandates As CDC Rewrites Guidance (JTN)

Several state governors this week scrambled to drop the mask mandates they had unilaterally imposed last year following reissued CDC guidance stating that vaccinated individuals largely do not have to wear them. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday announced the rollback of his mask mandate, stating that current case numbers compelled him to “move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia.” “Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam claimed.


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday also announced the impending removal of his own mask mandate. “Our long, hard-fought battle against the worst global pandemic in more than a century is finally nearing an end,” Hogan declared in the announcement, also announcing the end to the capacity limits he had imposed on the state. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also declared on Friday he would remove his mask mandate “for most settings” in the state. “We can take this step today because the science shows our focus on getting people vaccinated is working,” Cooper said.

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Only masks for those least at risk. Makes sense.

CDC Tells Schools To Keep Students In Masks For Another Year (JTN)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told schools nationwide on Saturday they should plan to keep students in masks for the 2021-22 school year because of the limited vaccinations of children. “CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year,” the agency said in new guidance for students issued just days after it cleared vaccinated adults to ditch their masks in most instances.


“All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing,” it added. The agency also recommended regular testing in schools to “identify individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination for teachers and staff.” While vaccines are widely available for adults, they have not been distributed for most children. The Biden administration only in the last few days authorized Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines be administered for children as young as 12.

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Those poor kids. “Evie Hickman, 13, from Dorking, liked wearing a mask to avoid “talking to people“.

Disquiet In UK Schools As Easing Of Mask Restrictions Nears (G.)

Teachers, pupils and parents have greeted the easing of coronavirus safety measures in schools from Monday with a mixture of relief and, in the light of concern over the Indian variant, dismay and confusion. The government has announced that students will no longer need to wear face coverings in schools. But some areas in the north of England are being advised to continue measures, following rising numbers of cases of the new variant, known as B.1.617.2. For many pupils, wearing a face mask is one of many sacrifices they have made in the fight against the pandemic, and they are pleased the rules have changed. Jessie Wright, 12, from High Wycombe, said she would be “relieved” not to have to wear one in the classroom. “

The masks would get in the way of our learning. They are nice to wear when the weather is cold, but they’re uncomfortable when it’s hot.” Some teachers, she said, would let you “pull down your mask sometimes” at the end of the school day to allow yourself to “get your breath back”. “But other teachers would give you detention if you don’t wear your mask. It’s their decision,” she added. Evie Hickman, 13, from Dorking, liked wearing a mask to avoid “talking to people”. “I’m not going to wear a mask from Monday, but they were useful,” she said. “I’m quite anxious to not cough on others. I do wonder if people will get bullied if they continue to wear masks after next week, though.”

The Department for Education said on Saturday that “the latest data shows infection rates continuing to decrease” and that not having to wear masks would “improve interaction between teachers and students”. However, Bury and Bolton councils have written to parents, advising schoolchildren to “retain the use of face coverings as per the current arrangements, until further notice”, while Bedford borough council has called for all residents aged 16 and over to be vaccinated due to a rise of the variant first discovered in India.

Read more …

That would be about a million in the US?!

Sweden Records 30,000 Suspected Side Effects From Covid Vaccines (RT)

An official tally of suspected side effects resulting from Covid vaccination in Sweden has surpassed 30,000, with the majority of cases occurring in people inoculated with AstraZeneca’s shot. According to the Swedish Medical Products Agency, as of last week, the Scandinavian nation had received 31,844 reports of adverse reactions linked to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Sweden is currently offering three variants of the drug. There are currently 2,103 reports of side effects from the Moderna shot, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been associated with 9,117 health issues. But the number of suspected adverse reactions from the two shots seems relatively small when compared to the 19,961 reports linked to AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria.

The most common side effects for all three drugs were fever and headache. Other reported adverse reactions included nausea, joint pain, and dizziness. Notably, the AstraZeneca shot only accounts for about 26% of the roughly 2.7 million vaccines that have been administered so far in Sweden, but makes up around 63% of the side effects reports. Of the nearly 32,000 reports, 663 cases have been registered where it’s unclear which vaccine was administered. Two-thirds of the reports have been submitted by the general public. The agency cautioned that individual reports do not necessarily demonstrate a correlation between the medical episode and the vaccine.

Ebba Hallberg, an official with the Medical Products Agency, told Swedish media that it was unusual to receive so many reports of side effects, but noted that the figure was likely high because of public focus on the new vaccines. Healthcare providers are likely only reporting more “serious” side effects, the official theorized. Hallberg also said that it was possible that AstraZeneca was overrepresented in the data because the shot was given to many young people and healthcare workers, who are more tech-savvy and would therefore be more likely to report an issue. According to one Swedish outlet, the agency has received more reports of suspected side effects over the past several months than it typically does over four years.

Read more …

Google translate from Dutch.

More Than 60,000 Ex-Corona Patients At The Physio (AD)

Sixty to seventy-five thousand Dutch people with long-term corona complaints are being treated by a physiotherapist. Their number has more than doubled since the turn of the year. This is evident from a calculation based on data from the National Physiotherapy Database, in which some of the Dutch physiotherapists keep track of which treatments they perform. At the end of last year, an estimated 28,000 ex-Covid patients received help from a physical therapist. The treatment duration is an average of eighty days. According to the professional association, this means that a treatment period of several hundred days is no exception. The complaints for which people are treated, according to the KNGF, range from breathing problems, fatigue and loss of muscle mass to psychological problems, or a combination thereof.

Some of them are no longer able to work or participate in social activities. This site recently reported that many ex-Covid patients experience many problems with their brain in addition to physical discomfort. Physiotherapists therefore often work together with, for example, occupational therapists and psychologists. Some people who are being treated with corona have been in hospital, but according to physiotherapist Anne-Loes van der Valk it is 80 percent of people who went through their infection at home. “They are of all ages. I also see students aged 17, 18 who have to temporarily stop their studies. ” Van Woerkom says he expects that the number of ex-Covid patients needing physiotherapy will increase even further. Many people who became infected during the third wave have yet to turn to for help.

Due to the large increase in the number of patients, the pressure on physiotherapy practices is also high. Patients often require longer and more frequent treatment than regular patients, the KNGF warns. The professional association calls on the cabinet to extend the temporary rehabilitation care scheme with which these treatments are reimbursed. Van Woerkom: “The figures show that a lot of physiotherapy is still needed. An arrangement that would expire in three months would leave a huge number of patients out in the cold. ”

Read more …

So you go somewhere else

Toronto Cancels Entire Summer Of Events (ZH)

Despite widespread vaccination availability and even the U.S. CDC saying that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, Toronto has decided to cancel an entire summer’s worth of social functions. The city has cancelled “all major in-person events for a second straight summer,” CBC reported on Friday. As the city continues to fight off large numbers of Covid cases during the pandemic’s third wave (whatever that even means at this point), it has made cancellations all the way through Labour Day. Previously, provincial officials had been hoping for normalcy beginning in July or August. That doesn’t look like it’s going to be the case. The city has cancelled events like the Canadian National Exhibition, Taste of the Danforth, the Caribbean Carnival and Salsa in Toronto.

The city is making the decision in May because organizers asked for “as much advanced notification as possible”. So now they have it: Toronto will officially have nothing going on during the summer. Mayor John Tory said that he thought the city would be in better shape by late summer, but he wasn’t sure it would be safe to be “shoulder to shoulder” with large groups of people. Darrell Brown, Executive Director of the Canadian National Exhibition called the news “devastating for the community and staff” who will now face layoffs. “At this point in time we’re living on borrowed money in the short-term and will be completely out of funds by December,” he said. The event has lost more than $70 million in revenue over the course of the pandemic and it generates $128 million for the Ontario economy each year.

Last year was the first time the event was closed since World War II. Despite asking the government for relief, it has only gotten $20,000 from Ontario’s small business relief fund. Tory said: “I am working with the Canadian National Exhibition to help the fair through this difficult year and prepare for a bigger and better in-person event in 2022.” Toronto, meanwhile, has delivered 1.6 million doses of Covid vaccines. The city’s population stands at about 3 million. Despite this, the city’s stay at home order will remain in place until “at least” June.

Read more …

Pluck them clean.

A Glorified Drug Cartel: How Big Pharma Made Americans Addicted To Opioids (RT)

A new HBO documentary called ‘The Crime of the Century’ lays bare how firms like Purdue used bribery, dodgy marketing, and shady political deals to make fortunes by getting millions hooked on super-strong painkillers. What would it look like if an illegal international drug cartel were allowed to advertise? Perhaps it might take the form of slick music videos and glossy magazine ads promising an ‘end to pain’. Certainly, they would minimise the negative effects of their drugs on your life, your future, and your loved ones. If questioned about what they were doing, we can imagine them blaming those who use their drugs, not themselves for providing them. It sounds mad – madder still that anyone would believe them – but this is exactly what has been allowed to happen with large pharmaceutical companies and their marketing of highly addictive opioid drugs.

At least, this is the argument put forward in a new two-part HBO documentary series released this week entitled, ‘The Crime of the Century’. Across its nearly four-hour run-time, director Alex Gibney lays bare the bribery, underhanded marketing tactics, and shady political dealings that enabled the devastating overproduction and over-distribution of synthetic opiates. In devastating detail, the documentary portrays American pharmaceutical companies and the doctors who recklessly doled out prescriptions as elements of a glorified drug cartel – dealers in lab coats, suits and ties. Systematically overselling the benefits of synthetic opioids and downplaying the risk of addiction, the documentary traces how drug companies are driven to pursue ever stronger and more exotic medications as patents on old treatments run out and profits dry up.

In many ways, it traverses territory that is already well known, but is no less useful for highlighting in shocking detail just how much these companies have become a major risk to public health. This is particularly true in their penchant for ‘discovering’ and treating ever more chronic conditions. While the efficacy of opioids for treatment of acute pain and end-of-life care has been well known, there is little incentive to develop and provide drugs solely for such patients, who tend to be few and far between and whose needs are often short-term. No, the real money is in long-term use in greater numbers. And this is where the dangers of pushing these drugs on patients with any kind of pain became increasingly clear.

Read more …

Family recipe.

Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role in Spreading “Russian Bounty” Story (Greenwald)

In an interview on Tuesday with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) denied that she spread the discredited CIA “Russian bounty” story. That CIA tale, claiming Russia was paying Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was cooked up by the CIA and then published by The New York Times on June 27 of last year, right as former President Trump announced his plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The Times story, citing anonymous intelligence officials, was then continually invoked by pro-war Republicans and Democrats — led by Cheney — to justify their blocking of that troop withdrawal. The story was discredited when the U.S. intelligence community admitted last month that it had only “low to moderate confidence” that any of this even happened.

When Baier asked Cheney about her role in spreading this debunked CIA story, Cheney blatantly lied to him, claiming “if you go back and look at what I said — every single thing I said: I said if those stories are true, we need to know why the President and Vice President were not briefed on them.” After Baier pressed her on the fact that she vested this story with credibility, Cheney insisted a second time that she never endorsed the claim but merely spoke conditionally, always using the “if these reports are true” formulation.

Liz Cheney, as she so often does, blatantly lied. That she merely spoke of the Russian bounty story in the conditional — “every single thing I said: I said if those stories are true” — is completely and demonstrably false. Indeed, other than Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), there are few if any members of Congress who did more to spread this Russian bounty story as proven truth, all in order to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In so doing, she borrowed from a pro-war playbook pioneered by her dad, to whom she owes her career: the former Vice President would leak CIA claims to The New York Times to justify war, then go on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, as he did on September 8, 2002, and cite those New York Times reports as though they were independent confirmation of his views coming from that paper rather than from him.

Read more …

Still not over.

Circling the Wagons (Jim Kunstler)

Perhaps Arizona can adopt California’s new minority-friendly math curriculum before the election audit ordered by the Arizona State Senate is completed in a month or two. Under that new system of math, or maff, two plus two doesn’t equal four, it equals more, five plus five equals a lot more, and 1,672,143 minus X equals don’t-bother-me-with-your-racist-numbers. It’ll take some kind of math or maff to unravel the mystery of Arizona’s 2020 election results, and the people who run Maricopa County — that is, Phoenix and its suburban asteroid belt, or about 60 percent of the AZ population — don’t want that mystery solved. So, they are not responding to a court-ordered subpoena to produce the evidence, namely, the vote tabulation files from their Dominion Systems voting machines, the county’s server routers, or the chain-of-custody records of the precinct batches of paper ballots.

The county’s servers indicate that the folder containing the database of election results was deleted sometime after the election, so the county has no record of the vote. Hmmmm…. By a previous subpoena, the state Senate took possession of 2.1 million ballots and nearly 400 Dominion election machines and turned them over to the company, Cyber Ninjas, hired to do the audit. Problem was, the county didn’t hand over the passwords to the Dominion machines. Officials claim they never had the passwords, which suggests that the County Board of Elections never had control over their own elections, for which they are legally responsible. A curious situation, because the county says it conducted a previous examination of its voting machines weeks after the election. How’d they do that without the Dominion passwords?

Maybe the data was not stored on the Dominion machines but booted onto external hard drives, which would be against the rules. Or maybe the Dominion machines were connected to the Internet and information was booted into the Dominion machines from somewhere else on Planet Earth. That would be very very against the rules. If that was so, the log files on the machines would show time-stamps and where the outside information originated. Would that be enough for the State Senate to de-certify the Arizona election results? Or prompt audits in other states where the outcome is still contested: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin?

Read more …

 

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Apr 142018
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Fall of the Rebel Angels 1562

 

 

Lots of rants today, obviously, lots of -slightly- different angles.. Here’s Dr. D’s. He beat me to it…

 

 

Dr. D: Too annoyed to comment on the attack. But hey, really NOT attacking would be the change here.

There was a recent article, falsely saying:

“[H]is successful repression of the Chechen revolt…hardly endeared Putin to the Chechens.”

Oddly, this was from Russia Today. No, the Chechen war was a gruesome and unpopular war, however it was just part of the MacKinderesque plan of first lying, killing, then robbing Russia up front by lowering the price of Russia’s exports gold and oil (using Saudi oil and Canadian gold), starting an arms race, then collapsing the ruble and empowering every corrupt, criminal oligarch we could find using pallets of $100 bills. No joke, official record. Russia’s collapse and the Chechen war was no “accident”, no natural consequence of the socialism system or collapse, but a soup-to-nuts military operation. We had the nuts, and they were in the soup. The “accident” here was trusting anything the West says, ever. Haven’t they ever heard about the Indians?

Anyway, the 100-year-old plan of MacKinder, father of geopolitics, was believed by other tottering dinosaurs like Brzezinski in an age no longer run by the horse and cannon and that plan was to cut open the “long, soft underbelly” of Russia, which started with funding Islamic fighters (terrorists) out of Afghanistan (admitted and applauded), then move on through Islamic Chechens, Uzbeks, Kazaks, etc. Although completely crippled, Putin – who was put in power BY the west, BY Clinton – nevertheless stopped them in Chechnya, and was naturally savaged by the West for defending his nation in a proxy Civil War. For beyond hating men and families, they hate nations, for all these things restrain murderous self-serving psychopathy.

 

It’s a little more complicated than that as the USSR was broken up, there were cross-protectorate treaties, but that’s very typically 1,000-year Russian way. They don’t have ethnic and religious problems, or not in the western sense, because they do what America claims to do (with the States for example) and leave people alone, to be individual states, customs, religions, and people. They also don’t have a problem with Putin, as the Russian Way is really a sort of monarchism in the old sense, with a king and court and advisors, and always has been back through him, the Soviets, Stalin, Romanov, Peter, and back since they were Russian.

What’s my point? They don’t think about things the way we do. Not entirely. Chechnya was not “breaking away” and “fighting Russia” as reported, it was subverted by the West TO attack Russia. Chechens know this, but like all CIA ops, half of the target country were for and half were against. So when Putin wouldn’t stop sending the army in and leveled the country (like we’ve done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and everywhere else we’ve ever been) half the Chechen people were in support of Putin – or anyone! – to restore law, order, Chechen customs, and peace against the ISIS-like radical Wahhabists who were funded by Saudi Arabia as indeed he did, in the brutal respect-only-strength way they do things in that part of the world.

What? That’s crazy. Yes? So how do you explain that the present Chechen leader — a nation as sovereign as Canada — told Putin at the start of the Syrian war he would send any number of Chechen fighters to any place on the planet, and kill anybody Putin wanted, and consider it an personal honor. And these are deeply Islamic, hard-core militants. You see, despite also being hard-core Islamists and all around hard-bodies, they too hate Saudi Arabia, Wahhabists, and the intervention of the West that devastated their country. Killing millions of southern Russians for the goal of killing more northern Russians, as it were, every child growing up in rubble-filled war zone. What’s not to hate?

…But why would we report that? That we made a treaty with Russia, invaded on all sides anyway, then killed +2 million with Disaster Capitalism and +2 million more in the ‘Stans with the intent of wiping Russia off the map?

 

You see Reagan didn’t want to WIN the Cold War. He wanted to END it. The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Dr. Strangelove wing could never forgive that. His body wasn’t cold before they were back, this time behind Clinton, to finish the occupation of Russia as the last step to world domination. This is why the crazies back in the PNAC days were desperate to nuke the helpless Russia even then. They were right. If you didn’t nuke them, openly attack them, they would survive and escape, which would ultimamtely thwart the Neocon/Deep State plans to take over the world. And so they have.

But as we see today, they never give up. They’re still aching to start a world-wide nuclear exchange and openly agitating 24/7 on CNN to do so. No amount of bombing is enough, no number of bankrupted, shattered cities are too many just to get Russia out of the way, whose historic job, sadly but heroically, is to crush and utterly destroy the idiotic plans of meglomaniac warmongers from the West like Hitler and Napoleon, and dash them to pieces on the rocks of reality. Because the West never restrains its maniacs, it empowers them.

Being a country the size of Canada, Russia doesn’t escape this, but in the irrefutable monkey-hammering Russia gives, like say destroying 30 German divisions and 5 Million men with little more than hunting rifles and force of will – most of all the fighting in WWII – or killing 500,000 of Napoleon’s 650,000 and sending him back barefoot, well, even the western propaganda and passion for self-delusion can’t hide that…but it doesn’t help Russia any to get shot when finally facing down their violent, meth-addled neighbors. Russia knows this, and they will in fact bomb the West with iron resolve if we don’t cut it out, yet we show no signs of coming to our senses. We never have before. Russia is what stops them, going way back.

 

You’d think we’d learn something. Brzezinski did. Just before he died he said his life-long plan to destroy Russia, culminating in WWIII by cutting off the Ukraine with the New Charge of the Light Brigade was a complete failure. This is the 100 year plan of MacKinder, and these dinosaurs just won’t die. They won’t learn. They have no imagination, doing the same failed thing over and over, generation after generation. Maybe we’ll have to as well.

Maybe we — or rather the Deep State — won’t stop until Russia drops a Satan-II missile, a single one of which would destroy New England. Or a nuclear sub drone hits NY. Or their pop-up stealth pods level Charleston. Or they sink every U.S. surface ship on the planet in 5 minutes using the Sunburn missile. Easy as pushing a button. U.S. military power is leveled, the people set back 75 years, 120 Million dead. Is that what you want America? On behalf of whom? Dick Cheney, HSBC, the City of London?

But there is reason to hope, as core right figurehead Tucker Carlson recently gave a steely antiwar commentary to reach the dinosaur viewers of Fox News, Republicans-by-name. Although driven back to the darkest corners, what remains of the real Left is historically anti-war, although you’d never know it by the way 90% of the party acts. That’s seen in this far-left (or rather the People’s Left) far-left (or rather the People’s Left) Jimmy Dore video.

But if the Right and Left come together against collective bankruptcy and suicide, then they can only unite against the Deep State of Dr. Strangelove, and turn back to human priorities, against the God-knows-what priority of killing everyone on earth they can find, one by one, for any reason they can come up with. Doesn’t it sound like we should be against this? I am. Are you?

“Never fight a land war in Asia” — Princess Bride

 

 

Dec 202014
 
 December 20, 2014  Posted by at 12:59 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Debt Rattle December 20 2014


William Henry Jackson “Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans” 1885

Two Nations: 27% Of British Children Grow Up In Poverty (Independent)
Manufacturers Face ‘Bloodbath’ In Russia (BBC)
China Offers Enhanced Cooperation as Russia Struggles (Bloomberg)
Dollar Resumes Climb as Yellen Signals 2015 Interest-Rate Rise (Bloomberg)
UK Unions Call For North Sea Tax Breaks As Oil Slump Threatens Jobs (Guardian)
It’s Not Easy Being Green: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Half A Trillion Dollars (CNBC)
Bulgaria Ready To Issue South Stream Pipeline Permits (RT)
The Oil Train Glut Shows How Little The Keystone XL Pipeline Matters (Reuters)
2014: The Year We Piled Up Risks Like A Global Game Of Tetris (David Collum)
Wall Street Firms Endure Lost Decade After Goldman Peak in 2007 (Bloomberg)
Meredith Whitney’s Hedge Fund Said to Be in Turmoil (Bloomberg)
France Risks EU Split Over Russian Sanctions Relief (Bloomberg)
First Arrest In UK Foreign Exchange Market Rigging Investigation (Guardian)
Obama Authorizes ‘Economic Embargo’ On Russia’s Crimea (RT)
Antarctic Photo Science Archive Unlocked (BBC)
Wolves, Bears And Lynx ‘Now Plentiful In Europe’ (AFP)
Birds ‘Heard Tornadoes Coming’ And Fled One Day Ahead (BBC)
Dick Cheney Should Be In Prison, Not On ‘Meet The Press’: Greenwald (RT)
Will Religion Ever Disappear? (BBC)

How dare you?

Two Nations: 27% Of British Children Grow Up In Poverty (Independent)

Christmas shoppers are expected spend £1.2bn today, as 13 million consumers hand over £21m every minute. But while those who can afford it stock up in the desperate rush for gifts on “Panic Saturday”, another 13 million people will have more sobering reasons to worry – living in poverty in a festive Britain characterised as “two nations” divided. The Trussell Trust warned it is expecting its busiest Christmas ever in providing emergency rations – with one million people now relying on food banks run by the charity and other organisations. Many more are expected to get into debt to fund the cost of the festive season. Yet the indulgence will reach new peaks for others as shoppers will spend an average of £92 per person today, according to analysts. The Centre for Retail Research said consumers will spend £4.74bn in stores during the five days before Christmas Day – a 21% increase on last year.

Overall, spending during the final week before the day itself is expected to rise by 7% compared with last year. The predictions come a week after “Black Friday”, when retailers slashed prices encouraging a shopping surge in which sales grew at their fastest rate for 27 years, according to a CBI report released yesterday. About £6.5bn will have been spent by wealthier consumers in the UK’s top supermarkets alone in the two weeks to Christmas, according to analysts Nielsen. Charities warned that these spending figures disguise another Britain, in which families have so little they are unable to afford basics such as food, heating and housing costs. As 2014 draws to a close there are 13 million people in poverty – including 27% of the 2.5 million children in the UK, according to the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Inequality in the UK is now so extreme that the five richest families are wealthier than the bottom 20% of the entire population, according to Oxfam. Meanwhile, the housing charity Shelter predicts that 93,000 children will be homeless this Christmas, as the number of homeless families trapped in temporary or emergency accommodation exceeds 60,000. “This is a real, stark two-nations Britain that we are talking about,” said Trussell Trust chair Chris Mould. “At Christmas time, when people will be spending more than they have ever done before, we have also tens of thousands of people who haven’t got enough to buy food for themselves and families. “It’s not a tolerable situation. It’s got to be taken seriously. There is a consensus across the country that we can’t just accept this. We’ve got to take action.”

Read more …

How the west sinks its own companies.

Manufacturers Face ‘Bloodbath’ In Russia (BBC)

The chief executive of Renault Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, has said that manufacturers in Russia are facing a “bloodbath” because of the plunge in the value of the rouble. The currency has been dropping steadily for several months, but suffered very sharp falls earlier this week. The two firms have stopped taking orders for some new models and raised prices on others. Several rival manufacturers have taken similar steps. However, Mr Ghosn said he was confident the situation would stabilise, eventually. “We didn’t do it [suspend orders] overall, just on some models we said, ‘Sorry, until we see where this situation is going we don’t take orders,'” he told reporters in Tokyo. “When the rouble sinks it’s a bloodbath for everybody. It’s red ink, people are losing money, all car manufacturers are losing money,” he added. The French-Japanese Renault-Nissan alliance is a major player in Russia’s car industry. Not only does it sell vehicles under its own brands, it also controls the domestic manufacturer Avtovaz, better known as the maker of Lada cars.

Mr Ghosn said the group had suspended taking orders for some models, this included cars made in Russia, but also those which used large quantities of imported parts. Orders already placed would be honoured, he said. Other manufacturers have been taking similar steps in response to the decline of the rouble, which has halved in value against the dollar this year. General Motors, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover also suspended deliveries to Russian dealers earlier this week. If car sales in Russia do continue to decline, it could affect British manufacturing. Nissan says about 10% of the cars made at its Sunderland plant are exported to the region. “I certainly think there could be a potential impact on Nissan’s operations in the UK,” said David Bailey, professor of industry at Aston Business School. “It sells for example the Qashqai model in large numbers in Russia.” He said it could also have an impact on the premium end of Jaguar Land Rover, “albeit far less than in the case of Nissan”

Read more …

Are we sure this is what we want?

China Offers Enhanced Cooperation as Russia Struggles (Bloomberg)

China offered enhanced economic ties with Russia at a regional summit this week as its northern neighbor struggled to contain a currency crisis. “To help counteract an economic slowdown, China is ready to provide financial aid to develop cooperation,” Premier Li Keqiang said at a Dec. 15 gathering in Astana, Kazakhstan. While the remark applied to any of the five other nations represented at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization group, it was directed at Russia, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named as the plans weren’t public. Any rescue package for Russia would give China the opportunity of exercising the kind of great-power leadership the U.S. has demonstrated for a century — sustaining other economies with its superior financial resources.

President Xi Jinping last month called for China to adopt “big-country diplomacy” as he laid out goals for elevating his nation’s status. “If the Kremlin decides to seek assistance from Beijing, it’s very unlikely for the Xi leadership to turn it down,” said Cheng Yijun, senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “This would be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate China is a friend indeed, and also its big power status.” Russia isn’t in talks with China about any financial aid, said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. He said he didn’t know if China is preparing to offer aid. China’s Foreign Ministry, asked about assisting Russia, said the country is ready to work with all members of the SCO group to strengthen economic cooperation.

One-time Cold War ally China already proved a help to its neighbor embroiled in tensions with the U.S. and European Union earlier this year, signing a three-decade, $400 billion deal to buy Russian gas. Seeking China’s support is one of Russia’s most realistic options, the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times wrote in a Dec. 17 editorial. A decision on whether to use some of its windfall gains from falling oil prices to aid Russia would hinge on whether Putin’s government is willing to ask for assistance, said Cheng, who is also a research fellow at the Development Research Center, which is a unit of the State Council, or cabinet.

Read more …

America’s money comes home.

Dollar Resumes Climb as Yellen Signals 2015 Interest-Rate Rise (Bloomberg)

A gauge of the dollar rose for the eighth time in nine weeks after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled that the central bank is poised to increase interest rates next year starting as early as April. The greenback headed for gains this year against all except one of its 31 major peers, a feat it hasn’t accomplished since 1997, as Yellen said the impact of Russian turmoil on the U.S. economy is small. Hungary’s forint and the Polish zloty sank on concern the economic crisis that has driven the ruble down 44% this year will spread. The Swiss franc weakened the most in two months versus the euro after the central bank introduced negative interest rates.

Yellen is “really trying to say there’s a lot of volatility out there, but it’s not having a dramatic impact on the outlook of U.S.,” Kevin Hebner, a foreign-exchange strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said by phone yesterday in New York. The process of the market adjusting to the Fed’s rate-rise projections “is going to get the dollar appreciating, especially against the euro and yen.” Bloomberg’s gauge of the dollar rose 0.9% this week in New York to 1,125.58, the highest close since March 2009. That followed a 0.6% fall last week that snapped a seven-week rally. It has gained 10% this year.

Read more …

Yeah, why not?

UK Unions Call For North Sea Tax Breaks As Oil Slump Threatens Jobs (Guardian)

The role of the North Sea as a goldmine for future tax revenues and highly paid jobs is under threat unless something is done urgently to address a crisis triggered by plunging oil prices, the government was warned. Leading executives, politicians and union leaders said billions of pounds worth of Treasury income and 37,500 jobs were at risk and some want the tax burden to be lowered further in a bid to stimulate new activity and create longerterm fiscal revenues. Sir Ian Wood, a government adviser and former oil engineering boss, said 10% of the North Sea workforce could be in danger while Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry was “close to collapse”. Jake Molloy, oil and gas organiser for the RMT union, said oil and gas companies had already started to make hundreds of redundancies, delay projects and scrap drilling contracts.

“It is not just the oil price that is a recipe for disaster, its the level of taxes. Reducing them by 2% [as in the autumn statement] is not scratching the surface given they have been earlier raised by 40%.“ Frank Doran, MP for Aberdeen North, agreed. “I think we have reached a stage in the (oil price) cycle where tax cuts have to be seriously looked at. The North Sea is one of the most expensive places in the world but it is not just about tax. I would want to see tax cuts tied to a reduction in costs through companies becoming more efficient.” The North Sea is regarded as a high tax and “mature” basin with few opportunities for making the kinds of major discoveries still available in newer areas such as Brazil, Angola or even the deep water US Gulf. The tax rate on a barrel of oil produced in the North Sea is between 60% and 80% – and the industry wants that burden reduced.

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After all, there’s already $500 billion of it.

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Half A Trillion Dollars (CNBC)

For several years now, politicians have been pledging to cut fossil fuel subsidies and invest in green energy. Speaking at the UN Global Climate Summit in September, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We need to give business the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon. That means fighting against the economically and environmentally perverse fossil fuel subsidies which distort free markets and rip off taxpayers.” And while politicians may be using emotive language to preach change, for some the reality is different. “Fossil fuel subsidies are enormous,” Dimitri Zenghelis, Principal Research Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told CNBC’s Energy Future. “We’re talking about – according to both the OECD and the IEA – something like half a trillion dollars a year,” Zenghelis added.

In 2009, the G-20 group of nations made bold a commitment to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.” Five years down the line, are we on the way to seeing this pledge become a reality? According to the Overseas Development Institute think-tank, which this year released a report on the subject, not really. “What our report highlighted was, specifically, this perversity about fossil fuel subsidies and the objectives that these countries have on addressing climate change,” Shelagh Whitley, Research Fellow, Climate and Environment , told Energy Future. “What they’re doing is subsidizing fossil fuels to the tune of $88 billion a year, which means that they’re completely undermining their climate change targets,” she added. According to the ODI’s report, the United States is providing $5.1 billion, “in national fossil fuel exploration subsidies each year.” The report also states that in the U.K., the figure for fossil fuel exploration subsidies is up to $1.2 billion annually.

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“if Gazprom stops the project, despite the permits, it will be considered guilty and not Bulgaria.”

Bulgaria Ready To Issue South Stream Pipeline Permits (RT)

Bulgaria is ready to issue all the necessary permits for the construction of the South Stream pipeline, according to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He said it will up to Gazprom whether the pipeline is built or not. Borisov said he has the full support and understanding of the European Union and that Bulgaria is not in the wrong and should not suffer financial consequences for stopping the project, the Bulgarian news agency BGNES reports. Bulgaria was set to reap $600 million per year in transit fees, and investment on the Buglarian side was estimated at €3.5-4 billion. Russia was originally planning to build a pipeline to Southern Europe to directly export gas, but EU legislation was used to continually delay the project.

On December 1 during a visit to Turkey, Putin announced the pipeline would run through Turkey to Greece, instead of Bulgaria as originally proposed. “Thus, our country is now able to fulfill its obligations on the preparatory activities, particularly for the offshore part of the pipeline, and to issue a building permit,” Borisov said. The Prime Minister added that, “if Gazprom stops the project, despite the permits, it will be considered guilty and not Bulgaria.” A Bulgarian government delegation reportedly planned to fly to Moscow this week to clarify the situation over South Stream construction.

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“.. oil-train traffic has grown to an amazing 42-times its 2009 level”

The Oil Train Glut Shows How Little The Keystone XL Pipeline Matters (Reuters)

When it comes to moving petroleum through the United States, the Keystone XL pipeline is the rock star of transportation modes, garnering an extra large share of attention from politicians, activists and the press. Just this week, Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell announced that passage of a bill approving the pipeline will be his first order of business when the 114th Congress convenes in January. Opponents, meanwhile, point to environmental and safety concerns, often citing the adverse impact that the pipeline would have on climate change and fossil fuel dependency. But while the Keystone XL would move an estimated 830,000 barrels a day of oil over its 1200 miles from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, that’s not even a rounding error in the over 2.5 million miles of pipelines that weave their way throughout the country.

And even that isn’t enough to satisfy the pulsing demand for bubbling crude. On Monday, a Reuters report by Jarrett Renshaw highlighted the extent to which oil-carrying freight trains increasingly clog the nation’s rail lines, much to the concern of safety-minded local officials–especially after The devastating July train derailment in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic–and sometimes at the expense of taxpayers. According to the report, oil-train traffic has grown to an amazing 42-times its 2009 level, and while the railroad industry spends $24 billion per year building infrastructure, $84.2 million in taxpayer money has been written into 10 federal and state grants that either have been approved or are seeking approval.

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80HD

2014: The Year We Piled Up Risks Like A Global Game Of Tetris (David Collum)

Mavens in the US blamed bad weather for their complete inability to hit the dartboard. Oddly, German pundits blamed their joblessness on good weather, whereas Goldman suggested that the Germans actually have strong growth . . . because of the weather.Fed governor Plosser says the economy is great “despite the effects of severe weather.” The CEO of Walmart doubts the weather argument altogether, instead suggesting that everybody is unemployed and broke. Charles Dudley Warner insightfully noted, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” I suspect the vital signs of the economy are stable, albeit with help from a high-capacity monetary respirator.

The weather is whacking California. One of our breadbaskets is going bone dry owing to a multiyear, high-sigma (500-year) drought. Analogies to the Dust Bowl are inescapable. Some towns are shipping in all water by truck. California will soon run out of Nevada and Oregon’s water. One orange grower bulldozed 400 acres of trees (why?), suggesting that “if this persists in the next year, the devastation . . . will be biblical.” California halted fracking because it may be contaminating aquifers. (I must confess that of all the risks of fracking, destroying a big aquifer tops the list.) Of course, housing is considered central to our economy. Maybe I have Assburger’s syndrome or 80HD, but I go nuts trying to figure out whether housing is strong or weak. Choose an indicator and make any case you want. Owens Corning reported a weakness in roofing materials: the corporate numbers don’t lie. Just kidding. Sure they do.)

Some plots show existing home sales rising; others show existing home purchases rising. Dudes: they’re the same numbers—a kind of housing velocity that may offer evidence that the market is loosening finally. That said, 20 million homeowners are still underwater, rendering them professionally immobile. A nice list of the riskiest real estate markets in country shows Hartford, Connecticut, leading the pack with a potential downside of 35%. (Canada and England now make us look like pikers, however, given that their busts remain prospective.) And remember that iconic plot of mortgage resets foreshadowing (to those paying attention) the ’08–’09 crisis? Well the resets are back – $200 billion worth of resetting home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). When the Fed finally normalizes rates, price discovery is gonna be a real bitch. The Fed never had an exit strategy.

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So sad.

Wall Street Firms Endure Lost Decade After Goldman Peak in 2007 (Bloomberg)

Wall Street firms have failed to keep up with a stock market that’s boomed for more than five years, losing ground to industries including technology and health care. There were just 32 U.S. financial firms among the world’s largest 500 companies by market capitalization when trading closed yesterday in New York. That compares with 41 at the end of 2006, the last full year before the credit crisis. Some companies that remain on the list, like Citigroup and AIG) have shrunk to a fraction of the size of tech giants like Apple and Google. Goldman Sachs has a lower market value than its peak in 2007. While Google and Cupertino, California-based Apple have been adding new products and customers since then, Wall Street lost trading revenue and spent much of that time repaying bailouts, settling government probes or divesting assets under pressure from federal watchdogs.

“The culture in the large banks needed to be corrected,” Charles Peabody, a banking analyst at Portales Partners in New York, said in a phone interview. “That is a good thing. The extent of this adjustment process has been a lot more drawn out than any of us anticipated, and that’s not been a good thing.” Goldman Sachs went public in 1999, the same year that President Bill Clinton signed into law the repeal of barriers between commercial and investment banking. Market capitalization as of Dec. 18 dropped about 21% from the peak in October 2007 of more than $105 billion. Financial firms that fell off the list include Lehman, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, and Merrill Lynch, which struck a deal the same year to sell itself to Bank of America Corp. The U.S. group now makes up about 8.1% of the market value of the world’s largest 500 companies, compared with 9.7% at the end of 2006.

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I think I’ve been missing Meredith.

Meredith Whitney’s Hedge Fund Said to Be in Turmoil (Bloomberg)

The hedge fund Meredith Whitney started last year after she became one of Wall Street’s best-known analysts is in turmoil. Her biggest investor demanded his money back and two executives left in the past month, according to a person with knowledge of her firm. A fund connected to billionaire Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management asked to redeem its investment at least twice, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to describe the private exchanges. Her Kenbelle Capital LP started trading in November 2013 with about $50 million from BlueCrest partners and other investors, according to a fund presentation last year.

Stephen Schwartz, a co-founder and portfolio manager, left last month, his LinkedIn profile shows. Andrew Turchin, the chief financial officer, exited as well, the person with knowledge of the firm said. Chief Administrative Officer Brittani Caetano joined another hedge fund this month, according to LinkedIn. Whitney had aimed for returns of 12% to 17%, according to the fund presentation. Instead, her American Revival Fund LP lost 4.7% through the first half of the year, an investor letter this July showed. “Meredith is a brilliant woman and somebody who is indefatigable in her will to succeed and to win,” her attorney, Stanley Arkin, said today in a phone call. Colleagues left by “mutual agreement,” he added. BlueCrest’s redemption request violates their agreement and “had to do with the way the market is moving,” he said.

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The sanctions cost Europe too much money; they can’t be maintained.

France Risks EU Split Over Russian Sanctions Relief (Bloomberg)

French President Francois Hollande has floated the idea of rolling back EU sanctions against Russia, provided that Russia takes steps to remove troops from Crimea and Ukraine. Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” Europe stumbled into a debate over the end of sanctions on the economically distressed Russia after French President Francois Hollande became the first major leader to dangle the prospect of easing the curbs. Hollande’s appeal at a European Union summit yesterday was a reminder that the bans on financing of major Russian banks and the export of energy-exploration equipment will lapse next July unless renewed unanimously by the 28 EU governments.

Hollande urged the EU to offer early “de-escalation” to reward expected peace overtures by Russian President Vladimir Putin in eastern Ukraine, while others including German Chancellor Angela Merkel put off sanctions relief until a settlement emerges. “It will be very difficult to retain that unity among member states” when the sanctions are up for renewal, said Steven Blockmans, an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. “We might find the sanctions fizzling out when it comes to summer next year.” European leaders papered over the controversy at the first summit chaired by new EU President Donald Tusk, who as Poland’s prime minister had spearheaded moves to punish Russia for meddling with Ukraine.

A communique said the bloc “will stay the course” and maintained the threat of “further steps if necessary.” As with the response to the euro-zone debt crisis, a consensus on how to deal with Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and military support for eastern Ukrainian separatists was slow to emerge. The EU halted trade and visa negotiations with Russia and blacklisted 18 members of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian regime in March. It took the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in July to prompt wider economic curbs. Those steps and another set of economic restrictions imposed in September will run out in July 2015. They are locked in by the EU’s unanimity principle: it would take all 28 governments to scrap them earlier or prolong them.

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Huh, what? An arrest?

First Arrest In UK Foreign Exchange Market Rigging Investigation (Guardian)

A City banker has been arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with its investigation into the rigging of the £3.5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets. The banker is the first person to be detained in connection with the global foreign exchange rate-rigging scandal and was held following a dawn raid on his Essex home. “In connection with a Serious Fraud Office investigation, we can confirm one man was arrested in Billericay on 19 December,” an SFO spokesman said. “ Officers from the City of London Police assisted with the operation.” The arrest follows a record-breaking £2bn fine imposed on five global banks for their role in the scandal.

About 30 bankers have been sacked or suspended but until now no arrests have been made. Bankers were found by the UK’s City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to have colluded to fix rates between 2008 and October 2013. Bankers using online chatrooms – where they called themselves the “A-Team” , “The Three Musketeers” and “The Players” – colluded to fix rates to make millions for their employers and collect big bonuses for themselves, according to transcripts released by the regulator. The conversations between the bankers, some of whom used the name “1 team, 1 dream”, recorded one saying: “How can I make free money with no fcking [sic] heads up.”

Another message, sent after Swiss bank UBS made £322,000 in a single deal, read: “He’s sat back in his chair, feet on desk, announcing, that’s why I got the bonus pool. Made most people’s year.” In other messages traders made remarks such as “nice job mate” and “yeah baby” as they discussed foreign exchange rates. The FCA said it had found a “free for all culture” on trading floors that allowed the market to be rigged for such a long time. The fines, which were far bigger than those handed out for Libor rigging, were imposed on Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Citibank, JP Morgan and UBS.

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And Cuba is now our friend. Folly of the day.

Obama Authorizes ‘Economic Embargo’ On Russia’s Crimea (RT)

US President Barack Obama has authorized sanctions against individuals and entities operating in Russia’s Crimean peninsula, according to the White House statement. Obama has issued an executive order that “prohibits the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea,” according to the statement. The executive order also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on “individuals and entities operating in Crimea.” The move comes just a day after the European Union introduced similar action against the Russian region of Crimea and Sevastopol, accepted into the Russian Federation following the referendum last March.

The United States did not recognize the reunification and has been calling on Russia to “end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.” “We will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions, in close coordination with our international partners, to respond to Russia’s actions,” Obama’s statement reads. The bill that opened way for further sanctions against Russian economy – dubbed Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 – was signed on Thursday. However Obama was hesitant to introduce any new measures until they are synchronized with European partners.

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Should reveal a lot.

Antarctic Photo Science Archive Unlocked (BBC)

Aerial photos from the 1940s and 1950s are being used to probe the climate history of the Antarctic Peninsula. UK scientists are comparing the images with newly acquired data sets to assess the changes that have occurred in some of the region’s 400-plus glaciers. The old and modern information has to be very carefully aligned if it is to show up any differences reliably. And that is a big challenge when snow and ice obscure ground features that might otherwise act as visual anchors. But the researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Newcastle University and University of Gloucestershire believe they are cracking the problem. “We want to use these pictures to work out volume and mass-balance changes in the glaciers through time,” explained Dr Lucy Clarke from the University of Gloucestershire. “There are tens of thousands of these historical images, held by the British Antarctic Survey and the US Geological Survey.

“So, they’ve long been around, but it’s only now that we’ve had the capability to extract the 3D data from them.” Dr Clarke has been presenting the work at this week’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The Antarctic Peninsula – the northernmost extent of the White Continent which stretches up towards South America – has experienced quite dramatic warming in recent decades. The fronts of many of its glaciers have quite obviously retreated, and several of the marine-terminating ice streams have even seen their floating shelves disintegrate. But getting at the volume and mass changes in the glaciers has been a thorny issue. Satellites are used to track such trends today but their record spans only a few decades. The archive of aerial photos, on the other hand, goes back to the 1940s, and it represents an extraordinary account of the pioneering days of polar exploration.

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“Europe today has twice as many wolves as the United States even though its territory is half the size of North America and its population twice as dense.”

Wolves, Bears And Lynx ‘Now Plentiful In Europe’ (AFP)

After nearing extinction in Europe in the early 20th century because of hunting and shrinking habitats, large carnivores like the gray wolf, brown bear, lynx and wolverine are thriving once more. So say the results of a study carried out across the continent, except Russia and Belarus, by an international team whose report was published Thursday in the US journal Science. “The total area with a permanent presence of at least one large carnivore species in Europe covers 1,529,800 square kilometers (roughly one-third of mainland Europe), and the area of occasional presence is expanding,” the authors wrote. The study involved 76 scientists examining 26 countries. Brown bears were the most numerous of the four species, with nearly 17,000 specimens and a permanent presence in 22 countries. The gray wolf came next, with a population of more than 12,000 scattered across 28 countries, followed by the Eurasian lynx, 9,000 of which were to be found in 23 countries.

Wolverines were the scarcest of the four, with an estimated 1,250 of the cold-climate creatures found in three Nordic countries: Norway, Finland and Sweden. Although most populations of these large predators have been on the rise or stable in recent years, some are on the verge of extinction, such as the gray wolves of Spain’s Sierra Morena region, the Pyrenees bears or the lynx found in the Vosges region of France. All four species of carnivores live and reproduce mostly outside protected areas, such as national parks, in human-dominated landscapes. Their numbers suggest that they can coexist with humans in areas dominated by the latter, testifying to the success of European Union conservation policies, the authors wrote. For instance, Europe today has twice as many wolves as the United States even though its territory is half the size of North America and its population twice as dense.

“Our results are not the first to reveal that large carnivores can coexist with people but they show that the land-sharing model for large carnivores (coexistence model) can be successful on a continental scale,” the study stated. In the US, by contrast, protected species often live far from human-inhabited ones, such as wolves of Yellowstone National Park. The researchers said several factors explained the vitality of Europe’s populations of large carnivores, including the replenishing of stocks of prey such as deer and wild boars, which provides them with ample food. They also cited an exodus of people from rural areas in the 20th century, which allowed wolves, bears and lynxes to expand their territories. But the report mainly attributed the success to laws aimed at preserving species of wild animals and their habitats, such as the Berne convention of 1979.

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Get a warbler.

Birds ‘Heard Tornadoes Coming’ And Fled One Day Ahead (BBC)

US scientists say tracking data shows that five golden-winged warblers “evacuated” their nesting site one day before the April 2014 tornado outbreak. Geolocators showed the birds left the Appalachians and flew 700km (400 miles) south to the Gulf of Mexico. The next day, devastating storms swept across the south and central US. Writing in the journal Current Biology, ecologists suggest these birds – and others – may sense such extreme events with their keen low-frequency hearing. Remarkably, the warblers had completed their seasonal migration just days earlier, settling down to nest after a 5,000km (3,100 mile) journey from Colombia. Dr Henry Streby, from the University of California, Berkeley, said he initially set out to see if tracking the warblers was even possible.

“This was just a pilot season for a larger study that we’re about to start,” Dr Streby told the BBC.”These are very tiny songbirds – they weigh about nine grams. “The fact that they came back with the geolocators was supposed to be the great success of this season. Then this happened!” Working with colleagues from the Universities of Tennessee and Minnesota, Dr Streby tagged 20 golden-winged warblers in May 2013, in the Cumberland Mountains of north-eastern Tennessee. The birds nest and breed in this region every summer, and can be spotted around the Great Lakes and the Appalachian Mountains. After disappearing to Colombia for the winter, 10 of the tagged warblers returned in April 2014. The team was in the field observing them when they received advance warning of the tornadoes.

“We evacuated ourselves to the waffle house in Caryville, Tennessee, for the one day that the storm was really bad,” Dr Streby said. After the storm had blown over, the team recaptured five of the warblers and removed the geolocators. These are tiny devices weighing about half a gram, which measure light levels. Based on the timing and length of the days they record, these gadgets allow scientists to calculate and track the approximate location of migratory birds. In this case, all five indicated that the birds had taken unprecedented evasive action, beginning one to two days ahead of the storm’s arrival. “The warblers in our study flew at least 1,500km (932 miles) in total,” Dr Streby said. They escaped just south of the tornadoes’ path – and then went straight home again. By 2 May, all five were back in their nesting area.

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Word.

Dick Cheney Should Be In Prison, Not On ‘Meet The Press’: Greenwald (RT)

Journalist Glenn Greenwald said Dick Cheney is able to brag about the success of torture on weekend news shows because the Obama administration has decided to shield torturers rather than prosecute them. In a wide ranging interview about the CIA torture report, prospects for the 2016 presidential race, US-Cuba relations and the Sony hack, Greenwald told HuffPost Live that the discussion about the torture report is distorted since we are not hearing from the victims of torture themselves. In an interview on ‘Meet the Press,’ former Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that torture “worked” and announced he would “do it again in a minute” if given the opportunity. In response, Greenwald said that whether torture worked or not is completely irrelevant, and no one should be interested in that because everyone who tortures claims they do it for a good reason even though it has been banned under international treaties and laws. Greenwald said it was former Republican President Ronald Reagan who championed the idea that torture was never justifiable.

Reagan signed the international Convention against Torture in 1988, which became the primary international foundation of anti-torture law. Reagan said at the time the treaty would clearly express the United States’ opposition to torture, “an abhorrent practice unfortunately prevalent in the world today.” Greenwald said, “The reason why Dick Cheney is able to go on ‘Meet the Press’ instead of where he should be – which is in a dock in the Hague or in a federal prison – is because President Obama and his administration made the decision not to prosecute any of the people who implemented this torture regime despite the fact that it was illegal and criminal.” He added, “When you send the signal, like the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime to be punished – it is just a policy dispute to argue about on Sunday shows – of course it emboldens torturers, like Dick Cheney, to go around on Sunday shows and say, ‘What I did was absolutely right.’”

The journalist said that when Obama was running for president in 2007/08, he was asked if there should be legal accountability for people who committed war crimes. He said it was something for the Attorney General to decide and affirm this principle, but even before Obama was inaugurated he began walking back the idea. Pointing to a 2009 New York Times article, Greenwald said one reason why was that presidents know if they protect their predecessor and shield them from legal accountability for their crimes, they, too, will be shielded by successive administrations. “Which is another way of saying the most powerful officials in the United States have exempted themselves from the rule of law,” he added. “They are able to commit not just ordinary crimes but the most egregious crimes with the assurance that unlike ordinary citizens they will not be held accountable under the law. That is about as tyrannical and dangers as a framework we could have.”

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Deep.

Will Religion Ever Disappear? (BBC)

A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no afterlife and no divine plan. And it’s an outlook that could be gaining momentum – despite its lack of cheer. In some countries, openly acknowledged atheism has never been more popular. “There’s absolutely more atheists around today than ever before, both in sheer numbers and as a%age of humanity,” says Phil Zuckerman, a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and author of Living the Secular Life. According to a Gallup International survey of more than 50,000 people in 57 countries, the number of individuals claiming to be religious fell from 77% to 68% between 2005 and 2011, while those who self-identified as atheist rose by 3% – bringing the world’s estimated proportion of adamant non-believers to 13%.

While atheists certainly are not the majority, could it be that these figures are a harbinger of things to come? Assuming global trends continue might religion someday disappear entirely? It’s impossible to predict the future, but examining what we know about religion – including why it evolved in the first place, and why some people chose to believe in it and others abandon it – can hint at how our relationship with the divine might play out in decades or centuries to come. Scholars are still trying to tease out the complex factors that drive an individual or a nation toward atheism, but there are a few commonalities. Part of religion’s appeal is that it offers security in an uncertain world. So not surprisingly, nations that report the highest rates of atheism tend to be those that provide their citizens with relatively high economic, political and existential stability. “Security in society seems to diminish religious belief,” Zuckerman says.

Capitalism, access to technology and education also seems to correlate with a corrosion of religiosity in some populations, he adds. Japan, the UK, Canada, South Korea, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, France and Uruguay (where the majority of citizens have European roots) are all places where religion was important just a century or so ago, but that now report some of the lowest belief rates in the world. These countries feature strong educational and social security systems, low inequality and are all relatively wealthy. “Basically, people are less scared about what might befall them,” says Quentin Atkinson, a psychologist at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Yet decline in belief seems to be occurring across the board, including in places that are still strongly religious, such as Brazil, Jamaica and Ireland. “Very few societies are more religious today than they were 40 or 50 years ago,” Zuckerman says. “The only exception might be Iran, but that’s tricky because secular people might be hiding their beliefs.”

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Apr 082014
 
 April 8, 2014  Posted by at 3:30 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , ,  2 Responses »


MGM Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy in the film Riffraff 1936

Well, that’s great news, isn’t it? Blackwater is back. After a first wave of negative publicity over its involvement in Iraq, a major PR hush-hush campaign led to a series of mergers, takeovers and name changes; first, in 2009, it became Xe Services, only to turn into Academi in 2011. What a brilliant moniker for a bunch of modern day mercenaries that is. Who would expect a ruthless killing machine behind a name like that?

Russia quite matter of factly mentioned that it doesn’t appreciate the presence of 150 mercenaries from Academi affiliate Greystone in Ukraine, wearing, no less, Ukrainian special task police uniforms, where the soldiers of fortune are apparently being deployed, by US/EU/Ukraine, to stifle the protests in eastern cities like Donetsk and Kharkiv. Does make you wonder if the US would be just as matter of factly if a heavily armed Navy Seal style Russian or Chinese private army were active in Mexico or Canada.

The Russians are very aware of what Blackwater did in Iraq and Afghanistan, far more so than we as the public are. And even we, with the limited information we got, didn’t like what we saw one bit. Of course Blackwater wasn’t the only private contractor the US paid vast amounts of money to operate with impunity in Iraq and Afghanistan. It merely turned into the symbol of everything that’s wrong with hiring private entities to do, again: with impunity, that part of an army’s work that’s too dirty to live up to daylight exposure.

This next chapter in the sordid tale of one of the frighteningly deep black crevices in recent American history comes just as the US Congress declassified a report on what the perpetrators label ‘enhanced interrogation’ and everybody else says is called torture. And that brings back to mind the whole story of the “job well done” in Iraq by Halliburton, the company with such strong links to Dick Cheney, and it brings back Cheney and Rumsfeld to the forefront of news media, albeit only for a day or so, after which they can go back to bragging at private cocktail and hunting parties about their achievements in public service. Where’s Parkinson when you need him?

Mind you, both of these career psychopaths had some 50 years to refine their warped notions of what the nation should stand for while riding the revolving door train known as Capitol Hill. And when they finally got to step up to the big jobs, they weren’t going to be held back by such ideas as the ones they themselves were the first to loudly proclaim in front of every camera they could find: promoting democracy, freeing foreign nations from dictators, and bringing prosperity to the whole world. No, Rummy and Cheney had bigger things on their mind: there were huge power games to be played, and these came with a great bonus: you got to kill and torture people, and if you played your cards well, be praised for it.

Jon Stewart summarized it very eloquently last night: America has a history of doing a tremendous amount of things ‘we don’t do’. But America does do these things, and when a neutral observer gets to write the history books, the picture that emerges will be very different from the one the nation itself likes to propagate. And things don’t seem to get any better, either. While elite Special Ops forces were deployed in some 60 countries when Rummy and Cheney were still in charge, today that number has risen to 134. And that’s without the likes of Blackwater being added to the tally. Of which, incidentally, in its present Academi shape, Rummy/Cheney chum John Ashcroft, the Attorney General who forced his people into elaborate morning prayer sessions every day, is a key board member.

Here’s what Russian press agency ITAR-TASS said this morning:

Russia Urges Ukraine To Halt Military Preparations To Avert Civil War

The Russian Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations, which could instigate a civil war in the country, the ministry was quoted as saying on its Facebook.com account.

According to numerous reports, Ukraine is redeploying special task police units from all over the country to the southeastern regions of Ukraine in a bid to thwart anti-government protests, which flared up over the weekend. “According to our information, units of the Interior troops and Ukraine’s national guards as well as militants from the illegal armed formation ‘The Right Sector’ are being amassed in the southeastern parts of Ukraine and in the city of Donetsk,” the ministry said.

“We are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the [Ukrainian] special task police unit Sokol,” the ministry said. “Organizers and participants of such incitement are assuming a huge responsibility for threatening upon the rights, freedoms and lives of Ukrainian citizens as well as the stability of Ukraine,” the ministry added.

Ukraine makes no effort to try and deny Blackwater’s presence. Which points to the country’s conviction, along with the US and EU, that the portrayal of Putin and all Russians as blood thirsty land hungry bogeymen is working in the west:

Ukrainian parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov confirmed late on Monday night that special task police units have been redeployed to the southern and eastern parts of the country from other regions of Ukraine. “These special task units are ready to solve immediate tasks without paying attention to local peculiarities,” Avakov said. “I call on all hotheads to refrain from criticism and panic sentiments and help the police to take the situation under control.”

As for why the western “coalition” has deemed in necessary to engage Blackwater troops, the answer is the Ukrainian army and police force refuse to do the bidding of the new Kiev government under “Yats”:

The current situation particularly in the city of Kharkiv remained tense, but under control, Avakov said, adding that the majority of policemen failed to comply with their duties. “I had an opportunity today to evaluate the police work in Kharkiv and have to admit that the majority of the Interior Ministry’s law enforcers failed to appropriately fulfil their duties,” he said adding that the personnel reshuffle would follow.

A government that doesn’t have the support of either its army or its police force. That’s never a good sign. Moreover, a fight broke out in the Ukraine parliament today when communist MP Petro Symonenko accused the sitting government, and the right wing Svoboda party in particular, of instigating fights with, intimidating and arresting peaceful protesters. Good thing “Yats” brought in Blackwater when he did, right?

Americans really need to ask themselves if they want Blackwater/Academi to represent them around the world, in the same spirit the Cheney/Rummy/Halliburton interests did. When you ponder these things, it becomes hilariously ridiculous to claim that America stands for promoting democracy, or human rights, or any of the lofty goals people like to associate with the country, and the Constitution it was founded upon. It may not be too late yet to get that spirit back, but it’s certainly getting late.

S&P Tumbles From Record-High To Red Year-To-Date In 2 Days (Zero Hedge)

Well that didn’t take long… Friday morning’s post-payrolls record all-time high in the S&P 500 (because, as Steve Liesman said, “he can’t find any reason to be bearish about jobs data”) has rapidly collapsed to being negative year-to-date (and worst start to a year since 2009’s crash). Only the Transports remain green in 2014, with the Dow, Nasdaq (worst start to a year since 2008), and Russell all coincidentally gathered around a 2% negative return YTD.

But April is the best seasonal month in the year? Of course USDJPY is about to test 103 again so prepare for a bounce…

Biotechs are back to red after bouncing to various VWAPs (and Friday’s major volume plunge VWAP levels)… and breaking back below its 200DMA at $132

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Will Fed tapering lead to Asian countries hoarding US dollars? How could it not?

The Coming Currency Clash in Asia (WSJ)

Emerging markets realize that, no matter how sound their policies may be, they are subject to whiplash from the policies of advanced economy central banks. Top G-20 officials spoke loftily of central bank coordination at their recent summit in Sydney. But in reality, there is no mechanism to make central banks take measures that would contravene their national mandates for the benefit of other countries. So it’s not irrational for emerging-economy policy makers to conclude that the best way to insure themselves against a future crisis is to act today in a way that would encourage developed-economy leaders to help. And a reading of the criteria the Fed used when parceling out international assistance suggests dollar reserve accumulation is the best way to force the Fed to take notice.

The key question now is how much of a reserve is enough. Conventional views of reserve adequacy—enough to cover short-term external debt or six months of imports—are no longer relevant. During the worst of the crisis, some emerging markets with massive reserves lost nearly a third of them in less than a year. What’s for sure is that once speculators smell blood, they attack a currency relentlessly and reserves can evaporate quickly. The only way to protect a currency is to have enough reserves to deter speculators. No one knows exactly how much that will take. So the motto of central bankers has become more is better.

Today, while the Fed continues to taper, private capital has begun to flow back to emerging markets. Even economies such as India and Indonesia that were battered by capital flight last year have benefited. The Bank of Japan recently signaled it was getting ready to open the monetary spigots wider. The People’s Bank of China has taken forceful steps to prevent the yuan from appreciating even as it widened the currency’s trading band. These trends only add to the pressure on other Asian emerging economies to hold down the value of their currencies and accumulate reserves. All told, the events of the past year presage a return to uphill flows of capital and rising currency tensions. It certainly feels like monetary déjà vu all over again.

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Entertainment!

Accounting Trick Turns UK Into Nation Of Savers (FT)

A radical overhaul of the national accounts this autumn will double the official measure of household savings, presenting Britons as a nation of unexpected prudence and undercutting their widely held reputation for profligacy. For the first time in 15 years, the Office for National Statistics is preparing to rip up the way it measures Britain’s economy, with the new techniques showing a huge increase in the size of the economy, a higher level of public debt and a much increased savings ratio. There is also a good chance that the statisticians will significantly revise up growth recorded in the economy in 2012 and last year.

The reforms will have the potential both to overturn Britain’s reputation as a spendthrift nation and significantly improve the poor productivity performance of the past few years. The ONS will introduce new global accounting standards to gross domestic product and related measures in September, following similar changes already introduced in the US, Canada, Australia. Under the new system of accounts, research and development spending will count towards GDP rather than being seen as a cost of production, and building aircraft carriers and other weapons of war will also add to the size of the economy. The ONS said the change would add between 2.5% and 5% to the level of GDP, adding £40bn to £75bn to the total.

One of the largest changes, announced by ONS officials on Monday, arises from how savings are measured. From now on, the official figures will count future pension rights as if they were present income. With Britain one of the few countries to have a large funded defined-benefit pension system, the change will significantly raise measured household incomes, thereby increasing the savings ratio. Officials said the savings ratio would rise “by around 5 percentage points”, practically doubling the current 5.1% and putting it around 10%, far closer to those seen in other European countries.

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And more entertainment.

Nigeria Just Doubled The Size Of Its Economy With The Stroke Of A Pen (Simon Black)

Over the weekend, Nigeria’s government made an accounting adjustment in how it calculates its GDP statistics. By changing the base-year in GDP calculations from 1990 to 2010, Nigeria increased the reported size of its economy by 89% over the weekend. So with a stroke of a pen, the West African nation leapfrogged South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy. And in doing so the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio fell below 20%. The ratio of bad loans in the banking system when compared to the overall size of the economy also dramatically declined in proportion.

The same thing happened in Poland last year when the government there made a grab for private pensions, then counted those new assets against government debt. It was just another accounting scam. But it dramatically lowered Poland’s debt-to-GDP ratio on paper, even though the government had not actually gotten any ‘richer’. Just hours ago, the European Central Bank released its 2013 annual report, showing a massive 44% surge in profits. Diving into the numbers, though, it turns out that most of the ECB’s profits come from funny accounting tricks—revaluing a permanent swap line they have with the Federal Reserve, and moving funds from the “risk provision” column into the profit column.

I’m also reminded of the Federal Reserve’s own admission that they had $50+ billion in ‘unrealized losses’ due to the erosion of their portfolio of US Treasuries. This is almost as much as their entire capital reserve… meaning that the Fed is practically insolvent by its own admission. Not to worry, though. The Fed gets to employ its own accounting tricks to make these losses disappear, marking the assets on the balance sheet at their much higher ‘book value’, rather than the much lower ‘market value’. Of course, the US government does exactly the same thing… often conveniently leaving out huge portions of its total debt such as the non-marketable securities it owes to the Social Security trust funds.

All of this really just goes to show how absurd it is to rely on these numbers conjured by politicians and central bankers. Sure, the statistics are computed to multiple decimal places and wrapped up in lengthy reports. But there’s not a shred of truth to any of this false precision. It’s all about maintaining a false sense of confidence at all costs, no matter what lies they have to fabricate, no matter what fraud they have to commit.

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Russia Warns Use Of Force Could Tip Ukraine Into Civil War (AFP)

Russia on Tuesday warned Kiev that any use of force in Ukraine’s east, where pro-Kremlin militants have seized government buildings in several cities, could tip the country into civil war. “We call for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which are fraught with the risk of unleashing civil war,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. The warning came after pro-Russia activists seized state buildings in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Lugansk and Donetsk, where they also declared independence and vowed to vote on joining Russia.

Kiev accused Russia of fomenting the unrest and Washington warned the Kremlin to stop efforts to “destabilise Ukraine,” accusations that Moscow brushed off. The Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had information that Ukraine was sending internal security forces and volunteers from its National Guard including fighters from Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) ultra-nationalist group, to southeastern Ukraine including Donetsk.

It also alleged that Ukraine was deploying US private security operatives dressed as Ukrainian special forces. It said the mercenaries came from the Greystone Ltd security firm. It said Ukraine had tasked the forces with “suppression using force of the residents of the southeast of the country against the policies of the current Kiev authorities.” “The organisers and participants in this provocation are taking on a huge responsibility for creating a threat to the rights, freedoms and lives of peaceful Ukrainian citizens and to the stability of the Ukrainian state” it warned.

The ministry released the statement on its website following talks late Monday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsya. The ministry said in a statement that Lavrov stressed the “necessity of a respectful attitude to the aspirations of the inhabitants of southeastern Ukraine.” Lavrov said Kiev must not allow “attempts to react by force to their legal demands for their linguistic, cultural and social-economic rights.” Lavrov called for Kiev to take “urgent measures” to organise a national dialogue, saying it was ready to “support this process along with the European Union and the United States.”

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Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine (Zero Hedge)

In response to claims by the Ukraine government (and the west) that Russia provoking trouble in Eastern Europe – with The White House’s Jary Carney even suggesting that pro-Russia demonstrators were paid – Russia’s foreign ministry has responded. Posting via their Facebook page, Russia urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations which could instigate a civil war. But the kicker, for which we anxiously await a rebuttal, is Russia’s comment that they “are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries.”

The US administration perspective… (via WaPo)

In Washington, the Obama administration expressed deep skepticism that the scattered uprisings and building takeovers in cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv have been spontaneous. “There is strong evidence suggesting some of these demonstrators were paid,” said Jay Carney, the White House spokesman. “If Russia moves into eastern Ukraine, either overtly or covertly, this would be a very serious escalation,” Carney said.

The Ukrainian perspective…

The Ukrainian government dispatched its highest-level police and security officials to the region Monday in an effort to put down the separatist agitation. Kiev is confronting an attempt to “destabilize the situation,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at an emergency cabinet meeting Monday. “The plan is for foreign troops to cross the border and seize the country’s territory, which we will not allow.”

And the Russian perspective, as ITAR-TASS reports,

The Russian Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations, which could instigate a civil war in the country, the ministry was quoted as saying on its Facebook.com account. “According to our information, units of the Interior troops and Ukraine’s national guards as well as militants from the illegal armed formation ‘The Right Sector’ are being amassed in the southeastern parts of Ukraine and in the city of Donetsk,” the ministry said. “We are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the [Ukrainian] special task police unit Sokol,” the ministry said.

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Still the only sane voice in the US when it comes to Ukraine. And still utterly silenced in US media.

Ron Paul: ‘Ukraine Needs Economic Freedom, Not Foreign Aid’ (RT)

Ukraine needs a new economic system but not just a bailout program that would impoverish people rather than help them, former US Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul told RT. “If you just bail them out, like we just bailed out all our rich people during 2008-09, the system continues, but the poor get poorer and the middle class keeps shrinking,” he said on RT’s SophieCo show. Ron Paul believes that the Ukrainian people need “freedom, and the concept of property rights,” – they also need to work hard, have an incentive system and get rid of central economic planning, and “they would recover.”

“I don’t think a penny is going to go to the people; they’re going to get a freeze in their wages, and they are going to have higher prices for their fuel and their taxes are going to go up. So there is no benefit,” Paul added. He claims that the foreign aid packages never go to the people as that money is actually taken from them, which makes them even poorer. “It’s taken from the poor and it’s given to the rich in another country, because there is always the rich in the different countries and that of course is what we have to change,” he said.

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Not sure this is true.

Russia’s South Stream Pipeline In Deep Freeze As EU Tightens Sanctions (AEP)

The European Union is close to freezing plans to complete the $50bn (£30bn) South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea from Russia, the first serious EU action to punish the Kremlin for the seizure of Crimea. Key details emerged in a leaked briefing by the European Commission’s chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, to Bulgarian politicians, warning the country not to stand in the way of the EU’s tough new line on the project, or attempt to undercut a unified EU response over Ukraine. “We are telling Bulgaria to be very careful,” he said, according to reports in Bulgaria’s press. Mr Barroso said there are “people in Bulgaria who are agents of Russia”, a reference to figures in the ruling Socialist party who have been trying to clinch a bilateral deal with the Kremlin.

The warning came as Ukraine once again rattled investors. Russia’s Micex index of stocks fell 2.4% and the rouble slid 1pc against the dollar after armed pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and declared the region “independent”. They also stormed offices in Kharkiv and Luhansk. Ukraine’s premier, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of preparing the ground for seizure of the Donbass region, home to most of Ukraine’s heavy industry. “The aim of this scenario is to divide Ukraine into parts and turn part of Ukraine into a slave territory under a Russian dictatorship,” he said.

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Greece’s “revival” is a nothing but a great accounting trick.

Doom-to-Darling Greece’s Fault Lines Exposed by Cleaners (Bloomberg)

The fault line in Greece’s unprecedented return to favor with investors runs the length of 5-7 Nikis Street in Athens. There, in front of the six-story Greek Finance Ministry, a dozen or so of the 595 cleaning ladies set to lose their state-paid jobs staged protests almost daily at being added to the 27.5 percent of Greeks who are unemployed. The women were watched over by helmeted, baton-carrying riot police, among a group of security personnel due for a bonus next month. “They picked on us because they thought we wouldn’t speak up,” said Dimitra Manoli, 52, a mother of two who made 500 euros ($687) a month cleaning the tax office in the port of Volos, 320 kilometers from Athens. “They thought we would just go away, but we won’t. We can’t.”

The shrinking of Greece’s state employment machine slashed 8.75 billion euros from the public payroll, removing a hurdle to further international aid and ushering a return to capital markets in coming months. Yet beneath the headline figures, most of the 200,000 former state workers retired or were short-term contractors while the roster remains bloated with staff whose jobs-for-life are protected by the constitution. “The burden sharing has been extremely uneven,” said Jens Bastian, a former member of the European Commission’s Greek taskforce. Monthly unemployment bulletins “speak a terrifying language about who has had to do the heavy lifting,” he said.

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From the “Don’t touch my bonus” category.

Banks Urge Basel U-Turn on Global Asset-Backed Debt Rules (Bloomberg)

Banks from Deutsche Bank to Barclays attacked proposals to overhaul global capital rules for asset-backed debt, saying they risk choking securitization while clashing with efforts to boost lending to businesses. Proposals by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision would be so onerous for some securitizations that banks would shun investments in the debt, according to consultation responses published on the group’s website. “Left unchanged, the proposed rules would substantially reduce the incentives for banks to participate in securitizations” and could hamper “the availability of affordable credit to the wider economy,” Deutsche Bank said in its public response to the Basel group.

The rules risk being “very punitive,” Europe’s biggest investment bank by revenue said. Basel regulators have been grappling with how to set capital rules for asset-backed debt since the market collapsed in the wake of the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. While the Basel group has focused on ensuring banks have enough capital to cover risks from their holdings, other authorities have focused on ways to revive high-quality securitizations.

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Will Mario save the zombies?

Mario Draghi’s QE Catch 22 (RT)

Last week ‘Super Mario’ (the financial press fawn over central bankers with a certain ironic gusto) emerged from an ECB Council meeting to announce that finally the ECB was edging towards perhaps deploying a full QE program. As Britain, America and even Japan, amongst others, printed money with alacrity, the euro has, despite its broad range of fundamental maladies, actually increased in value! This has impacted on Europe’s export competitiveness, at a time when nations like Greece and Spain are still teetering somewhat on the cusp of economic survival. Therefore, faced with an overvalued currency, 12 percent average unemployment and, at best, economic stagnancy…well maybe it is time to do “whatever it takes.”

So is Mario Draghi’s finger poised over the red button to activate the money printing presses? Actually, Super Mario faces an incredible dilemma – damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. To work, QE must trickle into the real economy. Even in UK/US schemes, often the cash has remained stubbornly within the investment world chasing paper assets as opposed to invigorating the manufacturing and service economy. Within the EU the problem is not just this trickle down aspect. Rather vital issues with the banks themselves have not been addressed. Put simply: the political class remain in denial at the extent of banks’ problems. Many EU banks may fail the autumn round of stress tests. Gutless eurozone governments have palpably failed to take control of the economic situation, wrapping bandages around vast festering wounds.

Thus throughout the eurozone, there are many zombie banks, de facto insolvent entities being protected by stubborn (scared) politicians. These walking dead institutions are not merely in the depressed Mediterranean nations with rampant unemployment, they even exist in Angela Merkel’s otherwise prosperous German hinterlands. Given how she has sought to ‘punish’ incompetent governments, her hypocrisy in punishing other citizens (e.g. in Ireland) to protect her banks is rather incredible. It also threatens the long-term survival of the euro, let alone the EU. Mario Draghi faces a genuine Catch-22 situation. If he launches QE it may reduce the euro in value, but at the same time, even by the standards of QE, his ability to pump prime the economy through a trickle-down effect through the banking system is very modest. A massive tsunami of freshly minted euro might simply end up propping up zombie banks which need to be closed.

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US Warns China After Renminbi Depreciation (FT)

The US has warned Beijing not to go back to manipulating its currency, following a sharp depreciation of the renminbi since the start of 2014. “If the recent currency weakness signals a change in China’s policy away from allowing adjustment and moving toward a market-determined exchange rate, that would raise serious concerns,” said a senior Treasury official ahead of this week’s IMF, World Bank and G20 meetings in Washington.

The renminbi has fallen more than 2.5% against the US dollar since mid-February, a small amount for most emerging markets but a dramatic shift for the Chinese currency following years of slow and steady appreciation. It trades at Rmb 6.20 against the US dollar, roughly the same level as this time last year. The US comments highlight concern in Washington that China will be tempted to respond to a slowing economy by holding down its currency in order to boost exports. Such moves could lead China to reduce global demand at a time when several other regions of the world, such as the eurozone, are weak. That in turn could hamper US growth.

The fall in the renminbi has been widely seen as an engineered policy move by the country’s central bank, which has the ability to move the currency through a daily fixing rate, and through direct intervention. The renminbi can now trade higher or lower from its mandated fix by 2% a day following the recent widening of the official trading band.

However, most analysts believe that Beijing’s decision to weaken the renminbi was not a ploy to boost competitiveness. Instead, the authorities have sought to stamp out currency speculation from companies and investors who had treated the renminbi as a one-way bet by introducing more meaningful two-way volatility. It also has the positive side-effect of increasing domestic liquidity at a time when stress within the financial system is rising.

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Turns out the bubble’s entirely self defeating.

Hot Air Hisses Out Of Housing Bubble 2.0 (Wolf RIchter)

As home prices have soared in cities around the country, sales have cratered. The weather has been blamed, though the weather has been gorgeous in California where sales have crashed too, even in temporary boom town San Francisco. The “lack of inventory” and other excuses have been dragged out as well. In reality, homes have gotten too expensive …

Even for hedge funds, private equity funds, REITs, and other forms of Big Money with access to the Fed’s limitless free juice. They’d become powerful buyers over the last two years, gobbling up vacant homes sight-unseen by the thousands, in order to get them off the closely watched for-sale list and shuffle them over to the ignored for-rent list, where they might languish undisturbed. The hope is that they might rent them out somehow and sell them later at a big fat profit, to the dumb money via a ridiculously hyped IPO. But now their business model has collapsed.

“Prices have gotten to the stage where we cannot buy a house, renovate it, rent it, and still make a reasonable return,” explained Peter Rose, a spokesman for Blackstone Group, a private equity giant whose real-estate division, Invitation Homes, has grown in two short years from nothing to the largest landlord in the country with 41,000 rental single-family houses to is name. “There was a moment in time where it made sense,” Rose said. Not anymore. Blackstone already cut its purchases in California by 90% last year. It wasn’t alone. Another mega-buyer with access to nearly free money, Colony Capital, is doing the same thing. Oaktree Capital is trying to dump its portfolio of 500 homes before prices head south.

“Private capital made a lot of money early, and now they’re starting to pull back,” Dave Bragg, head of Residential Research at Green Street Advisors, told the LA Times. “Home prices are up significantly, and houses are definitely less attractive.” With these mass-buyers out of the market, volumes have collapsed to a four-year low, according to Redfin, an electronic real-estate broker that covers 19 large metro areas around the country. Because, let’s face it, who can still afford to buy these homes? Forget first-time buyers, the crux of a healthy housing market. In February, they only bought 28% of the homes, down from 30% a year earlier, down from the three-decade average of 40%, and down from the mid-40% range during good times. That hapless lot has been pushed out of the market a while ago.

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Father Of High Speed Trading: “The Market We Created Is A Casino” (Patterson)

The speaker who would set off the most fireworks was Peterffy, the founder of Timber Hill, one of early users of Island. He looked out over the podium at the upturned faces of his peers and grimaced. Peterffy had become extremely disillusioned with the market he’d helped create. It wasn’t just the deceptive tactics of firms like Trillium, it was the unregulated speed traders who were picking off his own firm’s orders, with no firm obligation to stick in the market during tough times. The stock market had been turned into a Wild West of dueling algos — and some firms, it seemed, had special advantages. Like Haim Bodek at Trading Machines, Peterffy was steamed that his orders were getting clipped time and time again. He wasn’t going to take the abuse without fighting back.

He cleared his throat, adjusted his glasses, and launched into his speech. “An exchange used to be a place, yes, a physical place, where people would come together to buy or sell, hoping to achieve the best price for themselves,” he said. “The more the exchange was able to attract all of the buy and sell interests in a product, the more the prices on the exchange would reflect the true state of supply and demand.” It was the old mantra: liquidity breeds liquidity. But something had changed.

“In the last twenty years came computers, electronic communications, electronic exchanges, dark pools, flash orders, multiple exchanges, alternative trading venues, direct access brokers, OTC derivatives, high-frequency traders … Reg NMS in the U.S. – and what we have today is a complete mess.” He looked out at the crowd. Dead silence. Peterffy hadn’t bothered to warm the audience up with a joke, a humorous anecdote. He cut straight to the point – and most in that room didn’t like what he was saying.

“It is not so much anymore that the public does not trust their brokers. They do not trust the markets, the exchanges, or the regulators either. And why should they, given our showing the past few years? To the public the financial markets may increasingly seem like a casino, except that the casino is more transparent and simpler to understand.” Visible tension spread through the room. Did Thomas Peterffy just call the market a casino? That was an attack they might have expected from the likes of Arnuk and Saluzzi or Senator Ted Kaufman – but from the founder of Timber Hill and Interactive Brokers, the godfather of electronic trading?

TP Speech Oct2010

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China’s economy is very much like an ocean liner: hard to change course, let alone turn around.

The Global Origins of China’s Domestic Conflicts (Diplomat)

Globalization divided China into two unequal parts: the successful, aligned and satisfied people on the top, versus the poor, frustrated and marginalized on the bottom. The large-scale outbreaks of social tensions in recent years, including the tensions in Xinjiang and Tibet, should not just be seen as isolated cultural or political battles, but rather should be heard as both the battle cry of China’s new class struggle and as a conflict of globalization. Based on the recent public opinion surveys, Chinese citizens have frequently ranked corruption, pollution, and social tension as their top concerns. In fact, all these issues are directly related to the factors of globalization that have helped China rise. The opportunities brought by globalization have hidden costs.

China’s embrace of globalization has aligned once fractious elites behind a banner of shared economic interest. China’s globalization dividends, including its trade surplus and the world’s highest reserves of foreign currency, have provided the government with huge resources to buy the loyalty of the intellectual and economic elites. Scholars, entrepreneurs, and government officials, who just 25 years prior stood divided in Tiananmen Square, have now found themselves as allies. They have become the stakeholders and co-owners of the new China Inc. People on the top are content, sharing the dividends of their prosperity while harmoniously singing the praises of globalization and the stability of one party rule.

By hitching its fate to the opportunities brought by globalization, China has risen at a roaring speed. However, the real danger for the regime is that it has now become reliant on the speed of economic development. Only if China can maintain its unbridled growth rate can it continue to meet the masses’ expectations regarding employment and a standard of living. Beijing used to call an 8% GDP growth rate as a “red line” of life or death. During the recent National People’s Congress session, Premier Li Keqiang tried to persuade the delegates to agree to lower the rate to around 7.5%. To some extent, Chinese society is now like the bus in the Hollywood movie Speed that must keep moving at a speed of 50 miles per hour; to fall below this speed will explode the bomb sitting just beneath the bus. Beijing is indeed playing a dangerous game.

Globalization has also tied Western leaders to the top of the bus, because a failed China would be catastrophic for the world’s economy. However, staying above the red line means that the wealth gap and socioeconomic marginalization will continue. Unfortunately, this may also mean that conflict will continue, especially when the marginalized have learned that the world will pay attention when violence is the messenger. Neither China nor the rest of the world can ignore this dilemma and paradox; with every “made in China” product we buy we are contributing to this rise in wealth, and the rise in frustration, social tension and air pollution.

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Overbuilding, oversupply, overpriced.

Chinese Developers Seen Facing More Challenges on Oversupply (Bloomberg)

Chinese developers will probably face more challenges this year because of an oversupply of housing in smaller cities, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Developers in regions where the housing market slowed and access to financing shrunk face rising default risks, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said in a Jan. 17 report. “Oversupply remains the top concern of the real estate sector,” Qinwei Wang, London-based economist at Capital Economics Ltd., wrote in the survey. “Inventories have continued to rise, with the situation vulnerable in some third cities. Looking ahead, the increase of demand for new properties will probably be far weaker than over the last decade.”

The pressure on Chinese developers as economic growth slows and the government allows local cities to implement their own housing curbs was underscored by the collapse of a developer in a city south of Shanghai last month. About 67% of housing under construction in China last year was in less affluent cities, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. While most respondents didn’t expect China’s property market to collapse this year, four out of five respondents, who see a crash, expect it to happen in smaller third-tier cities, according to the survey.

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When the economy goes down for real, Québec will revisit this.

Quebec Separatist Party Suffers Crushing Election Defeat (AP)

Quebec voters gave a resounding no to the prospects of holding a third referendum on independence from Canada, handing the main separatist party in the French-speaking province one of its worst electoral defeats ever. The Liberal Party, staunch supporters of Canadian unity, won Quebec’s legislative elections Monday, while the pro-independence Parti Quebecois suffered a crushing defeat that puts its dream of a sovereign Quebec on hold for years. The results will allow the Liberals to form a majority government, less than 18 months after voters had booted the party from power for the first time in nine years amid allegations of corruption.

With all but a handful of polling stations reporting, the Liberals had 41.5% of the vote and took 70 seats in the 125-member National Assembly. The Parti Quebecois had 25.4% and won 30 seats. The Coalition for Quebec’s Future, which downplayed the sovereignty issue to focus on the economy, was close behind with 23.1% and 22 seats. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, who led a minority government, called the snap elections last month in hopes of securing a majority for her PQ party. But the campaign stirred up speculation that a PQ majority would ultimately lead to another referendum on independence from Canada, an idea that has lacked support in recent years. Fears of a referendum galvanized supporters of the Liberals. Marois suffered a humiliating defeat, even losing her own seat, and announced that she would step down as party leader.

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Canada’s Economy Will Go to a Vote (Bloomberg)

Canada’s first Conservative majority government in a generation is facing an election next year, just as the country’s post-recession comeback is starting to falter. So this is a good time to start thinking about how to judge the Conservatives’ signature project: managing Canada’s economy. In a series of posts, I’ve looked at that question from different angles: Slowing growth rates, the uncertain labor market, stagnant wages and rising debt levels, rising poverty rates for seniors and more households going hungry, and carbon intensity figures moving in the wrong direction.

How much of this is the current government’s fault? Not all of it, to be sure. Many of these changes reflect a mix of forces, from global economic pressure to demographic and technological shifts. Some may have been too strong for the federal government to overcome, whichever party held the reins. But government action matters, especially when one party makes a strong economy the core of its argument for public support. So the question that ought to define the next election is whether, beneath the slogans and the happy talk, Canada’s economy can be judged a success — and what exactly the other parties propose doing differently.

Sounds obvious, right? If you think so, go back and watch the sole English-language debate among party leaders during Canada’s last federal election, when the opposition parties rambled on about the Conservatives’ perceived ethical faults, leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mantle of economic super-manager all but unchallenged. The scandals have only piled up since then, and with them the temptation to make the next campaign another attempt for the opposition to claim the moral high ground. They shouldn’t. If there’s one lesson from the last election, it’s that bad behavior is inherently subjective.

The economy, on the other hand, isn’t — or at least it doesn’t need to be. But an election campaign that fails to generate a debate on a handful of key economic problems, with each party explaining how it would address those problems and why, is one that gives the winners a free hand to act as they please, pursuing a mandate so vague — who does not want a stronger economy, for the middle class or anyone else? — as to be meaningless.

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Forward Guidance (Jim Kunstler)

Guess what? There is none. Rather, the Federal Reserve practice of Delphically divulging its intentions ought to be understood as the master pretense of US economic life — the delusion that wise persons are actually in control of anything. The result of this guidance continues to be the mis-pricing of everything, especially the cost of money as represented in the operations of debt, and hence the value of everything denominated in money.

The interventions of our central bank have really been aimed at one objective: to compensate for the contraction of real wealth in an economy that replaced purposeful activity with Kardashian studies and tattoo art. Purposeful economic activity provides surpluses that allow for the repayment of debt. Kardashian study and tattoo art lead to entropic entrapment, aka, a death spiral of culture and economy. That’s where we are at. The debt is now eating us alive, and the central bank trick of piling on additional debt to mask the failure of repaying old debt is losing its palliative punch.

One big problem with the Fed’s policies is that the mis-pricing of everything ends up being expressed in the very statistics (GDP, unemployment, inflation) that are used to justify further interventions that produce ever deeper perversities. That is, the Fed distorts prices, which distort statistics used to make policy, which prompt the fed to ramp up policies that further distort prices, a dangerous recursive dynamic. Since prices are the basic information for running an economy, we end up in a situation where nothing really adds up. The antidote to that has been pervasive accounting fraud — the covering-up of mis-pricing, pretending that things add up when they don’t.

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Welcome To Terminus (Jim Quinn)

As I watch the hordes of hideous brain dead zombies shuffling across the apocalyptic landscape seeking to satiate their basest cravings I can’t help but see the parallels with the millions of mindless tattooed obese slobs waddling across mall parking lots past vacant store fronts staring zombielike at their iGadgets as they seek to satisfy their basest desires at Macy’s and Chipotle. A virus has overspread our country causing a vast swath of the population to gratuitously assuage their every want without thinking of the consequences. The sickness is caused by being imprisoned for twelve years in government run public schools, watching thousands of hours of propaganda emitted by the corporate media, viewing hundreds of brain cell destroying reality TV shows, reading and sending thousands of texts and tweets, and being overwhelmed by the delusional belief spending more than they make, saving nothing, and piling up mountains of debt is the path to success in our contaminated society. [..]

There are 318 million Americans and a majority of them fall into the category of zombies in my estimation. Every American has the zombie virus within them. It has been incubated by corrupt vote seeking politicians, control hungry government sociopaths, mind numbingly worthless public education, and the relentless dumbing down through corporate media propaganda and vacuous reality TV entertainment. Once cogent thinking aware citizens have been zombiefied into mindless impulsive consumers.

How can you not see the parallels between American society and the zombies in the Walking Dead? Walk down any city street in America and you see hordes shuffling along staring with blank faces and glazed over eyes at their iGadgets. Black Friday is identical to flinging a freshly slaughtered hog in front of the flesh eating zombies. Americans flock to malls across our apocalyptic suburban sprawl landscape and proceed to stampede, gouge, and punch their way to an fantastic bargain on a Chinese slave labor produced microwave they must have to cook their toxic frankenfood created by one of our corporate food conglomerates. The Black Friday crowds actually make the zombies from the Walking Dead seem well behaved. While the American zombies are shambling through superficial lives of pleasure seeking, mass consumption, and a delusional faith in debt based wealth, there is still a minority of rational thinking people who can control their impulses and resist the disease devouring our culture.

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Australian Unemployment Heads For 11-Year High (Guardian)

Australia’s sluggish economy could need further rate cuts by the end of the year as unemployment looks set to hit an 11-year high, economists have warned. Business confidence fell from seven points in February to four in March, according to the National Australia Bank monthly survey on Tuesday. Business conditions remained subdued but lifted slightly to one point in March. Optimism was at its lowest level since its post-federal election bounce last year and mining was the least confident industry, the report said.

“Rather than conditions rising to confirm the improvement in confidence, it seems that confidence is beginning to succumb to the continuing softness in conditions,” NAB economists said. With unemployment figures on Thursday expected to show the jobless rate at 6.1%, its highest since 2003, the authors of the report believe that the Reserve Bank of Australia may be forced to reduce the cost of borrowing again.

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Wonderful!

This Couple Built Their Own Tiny Home For $10,000 (Yahoo!)

McMansions may be making a comeback in the U.S., but it’s nice to see the tiny-house movement is still going strong. Tiny-home singles even have their own dating site, Tinyhousedating.com. The site launched two weeks ago and already has more than 400 members, according to founder Kai Rostcheck. “It’s hard to meet other people who are making that same [lifestyle] choice,” Rostcheck told Yahoo Finance. But is it really possible to thrive as a couple in such a, well, tiny space? What do you do when the inevitable argument heats up and you’ve only got 100 square feet of breathing room? How do you pare down not only your life but your partner’s life to fit in a home no bigger than a tool shed?

We caught up with Rhode Island couple Jess Belhumeur, 28, and Dan Sullivan, 26, who chronicle their tiny-home lifestyle on their blog, Living In A Tiny House. In January they completed their 128-square-foot abode, which they built and furnished for a mere $10,000. “I had already owned a home before this and I realized that I only used two rooms — the kitchen and the living room,” Jess says. “I felt ridiculous. I was in a stressful financial situation and I wasn’t even making use of the house I had.”

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Oklahoma Swamped by Surge in Earthquakes Near Fracking (Bloomberg)

There have been more earthquakes strong enough to be felt in Oklahoma this year than in all of 2013, overwhelming state officials who are trying to determine if the temblors are linked to oil and natural gas production. The state on April 6 experienced its 109th earthquake of a magnitude 3 or higher, matching the total for all of 2013, according to Austin Holland, a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey. More quakes followed, including a magnitude 4 near Langston about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City.

A surge in U.S. oil and gas production by fracturing, or fracking, in which drillers use a mix of water and chemicals to coax liquids from rock formations, has generated large volumes of wastewater. As fracking expanded to more fields, reports have become more frequent from Texas to Ohio of earthquakes linked to wells that drillers use to pump wastewater underground. “We certainly likely have cases of earthquakes being caused by different oil and gas activity,” Holland said in an interview. “Evaluating those carefully can take significant amounts of time, especially when we’re swamped.”

Within the past year, earthquakes thought to be tied to wastewater disposal wells were recorded in Azle, Texas; Jones, Oklahoma; and northeastern Ohio, according to Art McGarr, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Pumping fracking wastewater underground has been linked to a sixfold jump in quakes in the central U.S. from 2000 to 2011, according to the science agency, part of the Interior Department.

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Why money needs to be banned from politics, chapter 826.

Monsanto And Co. Pouring Money Into Defeating County Measure To Ban GMOs (RT)

Monsanto and five other top agrochemical companies have donated a combined $455,000 to defeat an Oregon county ballot initiative that would restrict the growth of genetically-modified crops in area farms. The internationally-powerful “Big Six” chemical companies are flooding the Measure 15-119 ballot campaign in Jackson County, Oregon with lucrative donations that have helped opponents of the measure amass an eight-to-one spending advantage, according to state figures.

Monsanto ($183,294), DuPont Pioneer ($129,647), Syngenta ($75,000), Bayer ($22,353), BASF ($22,353), and Dow AgroSciences ($22,353) have donated a combined $455,000 to Good Neighbor Farmers, the political action committee fighting Measure 15-119, which county voters will consider on the May 20 ballot. “This is a staggering amount of money for a local ordinance,” said Center for Food Safety senior attorney George Kimbrell. “For every vote they might get, Monsanto and its pals could afford to take each voter out for a fancy steak dinner.” Overall, Good Neighbor Farmers has $556,000 cash on hand, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. The Center for Food Safety reported that, all in all, opponents of the measure have a total of $799,000.

Meanwhile, two political action committees supporting the measure, GMO Free Jackson County and Our Family Farms Coalition, have a combined $102,368. Measure 15-119 “would ban any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing ‘genetically-engineered’(defined) plants in Jackson County.” Kimbrell’s group says that even before the latest contribution avalanche from the “Big Six,” about 95% of donations in the campaign had come from outside Jackson County. “It goes to prove just how much money is coming from outside of our county,” Elise Higley, director of Our Family Farms Coalition, told The Oregonian. “The general reaction is that people are really angry that outsiders are pouring this much money into a county measure.” [..]

The vast majority of conventional processed foods in the US are made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Around 93% of all soybean crops planted in the US last year involved genetically-modified, herbicide-tolerant (HT) variants, the US Department of Agriculture has acknowledged. HT corn and HT cotton constituted about 85 and 82% of total acreage, respectively. GMO crops are now grown in 28 countries, or on 12% of the world’s arable land, with the acreage doubling every five years. However, in the European Union, only two GMO varieties (compared to 96 in the USA) have so far been licensed for commercial harvesting. Russia, for instance, recently barred the import of GMO products.

Powerful food industry and biotechnology players are currently banding together on other fronts to protect their investment in GMO technology despite national and international pushback. Their main effort in the US is seen in potential federal legislation that would block states from passing mandatory GMO labeling measures despite the “right to know” movement’s rising popularity.

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