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 February 1, 2024  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Wassily Kandinsky Clear connection 1925

 

Let Me Get This Story Straight (Teslaconomics)
A Cult Whose Demise Should Probably Be Regretted (Karganovic)
White House Staffer Reveals What Biden Aides ‘Can’t Say Publicly’ (RT)
Greg Abbott and the Invasion of the Border Snatchers (Jeffries)
Chinese Defense Chief Promises Support To Russia On ‘Ukrainian Issue’ (RT)
NATO’s Big Hitters Oppose Ukrainian Membership – FP (RT)
Breakthrough On All Fronts Ahead Of Schedule (Helmer)
ICJ Rejects Ukraine’s Terrorism-Related Complaints Against Russia (TASS)
Zaluzhny May Become More Dangerous for Zelensky if Fired (Sp.)
US Troops Told To Prepare For War In Gaza – Media (RT)
No US Threat Will Go Unanswered – Iran (RT)
Will the Hegemon Ever Accept a New Westphalian World Order? (Pepe Escobar)
Monitor’s Report: Factual Inaccuracies, Disingenuous – Trump Attorney (ET)
Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize (RT)
Trillions Spent on ‘Climate Change’ Based on Faulty Temperature Data (ET)

 

 

January 23 2018

 

 

 

 

X thread. “..if Elon were to not hit these milestones, he would have been paid essentially nothing..”

Let Me Get This Story Straight (Teslaconomics)

So Elon’s 2018 compensation package was approved by ~80% of Tesla shareholders during a time the company’s valuation was ~$60B ($20 per share). The plan would require him to grow the market cap by $50B increments with the first milestone starting at a $100B valuation with the final milestone being $650B, in addition to aggressive revenue, pretax profit growth targets that many thought would be impossible, especially knowing the company was facing bankruptcy dead in the eyes during this time. If Elon were to hit all the milestones, he would then be granted this full $55B compensation package that gave him stock options to purchase Tesla stock at a heavily discounted price and the stock could not be sold for another 5 yrs after exercising the options to prevent an “exercise & run”.

He hit all the milestones and created real value for the company & its shareholders (today, the valuation of Tesla sits at ~600B, a 10X from the year the comp package was approved, and a world class financial war chest). Also, btw, if Elon were to not hit these milestones, he would have been paid essentially nothing. Then in 2019, a shareholder named Richard Tornetta (who held 9 shares of Tesla) filed a lawsuit claiming that the compensation package was excessive & unfair, claiming the board had not acted in the best interest of its shareholders. Then today, the Delaware judge named Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick voided this compensation package claiming it was excessive and the process for coming up with Elon’s comp plan wasn’t independent bc he controlled the BOD and the directors who approved the plan weren’t truly independent.

Further claiming that the shareholders who approved the comp plan weren’t made aware of this controlled relationship. Wow… you really can’t make this stuff up, this is literally what just happened. Personally, I’m not so concerned about Tesla bc I believe the board & shareholders will approve an even better & more aggressive compensation package for Elon (e.g. include the $55B 2018 comp that he deserves, give him 25% voting share, include milestones for Tesla to become the largest valued company in the world & more, etc.) which will ultimately keep Elon motivated to stay at Tesla and build the future of AI & robotics within the company. However, my main concern here is the fundamental foundation of capitalism that America is built upon.

The CEO of a company was incentivized with a compensation package & it was approved by its shareholders to create value and he did. He hit all the milestones that were laid out, it wasn’t a pump or dump, and he didn’t steal or deceive shareholders. He simply went all in, put his blood, sweat, and tears into building the best products to change the world for the better, which created tremendous value for the ones that believed, invested, and stuck through. And now a judge has retroactively removed the reward for the leader that got the company to where it is today. Why would any CEO/founder in America want to work hard, when the result of his or her hard work can easily be taken away unfairly like this? What happened today, is very wrong and if nothing is done to fix it, it will crush the entrepreneurial spirit & heartbeat that America was originally built upon.

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There appears to be a strong link between this and what’s happening to Elon. A way of thinking, a culture, that’s falling apart.

A Cult Whose Demise Should Probably Be Regretted (Karganovic)

It would be unforgivably simplistic to attribute the implosion of the Soviet Union mainly to unfavourable demographics. That was a complex operation in which a multitude of factors played a role. But the virtue of the diagnostic investigation conducted forty years ago by Emmanuel Todd was that he demonstrated how seemingly minor yet tell-tale signs could point to undercurrents and important processes that unjustifiably may have been overlooked. And indeed, it is in the West now that tell-tale indications of disarray are increasingly emerging, to the consternation of those who have eyes to see and historical perspective to make comparisons. These signs point to a variety of breakdowns, only some of which are purely mechanical. They appear mostly to be cultural in essence, and therein lies the danger. A few recent random examples will serve to make the point.

Exhibit A: Political corruption. Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake, who many suspect was cheated out of victory in the race for governor in 2022, is again the subject of political controversy in her state. A few weeks ago, she published the tape recording of a disgraceful bribe offer made to her by the state chairman of her own party. After requesting a confidential tête à tête conversation, that individual visited Lake in her home to inform her that wealthy and powerful “people back East” (in America that is a universally understood metaphor for deep state power centres) were prepared to satisfy Ms. Lake’s financial requirements if she would withdraw from the Senate race, presumably to make way for a controllable Establishment candidate. She only had to name her figure. To her credit, she flatly refused. Readers from “third world” countries will be nonplussed by these revelations. But the matter should be viewed in context. In America political corruption is not unknown, but the brazenness of this particular proposition made in Arizona is a quantum leap in relation to previously recorded outrages of that nature.

Exhibit B: Academic corruption. Harvard University President Claudine Gay was compelled to resign because of multiple plagiarisms discovered in her thin scholarly opus. Harvard was the flagship of the dozen leading Ivy League academic institutions in America. Its reputation for integrity is unimpeachable and sacrosanct. The appointment of the scarcely qualified Ms. Gay, apparently selected for her politically correct external characteristics rather than serious scholarship, was sufficiently problematic. But now her fall from grace, triggered by the embarrassing charge of plagiarism, gravely compromises not just Harvard but inescapably the American academe as a whole. And if that were not enough, also at Harvard another academic scandal is brewing. Credible allegations have been put forward, and are being investigated, that researchers at the Dana-Farber cancer institute affiliated with Harvard Medical School had manipulated images and research data.

One of the papers under review was authored by Dana-Farber CEO Laurie Glimcher. Molecular biologist Sholto David suggested Adobe Photoshop was used to copy and paste images in some of the papers. If correct, it is quite an adolescent way of cobbling together an academic research study. “We are committed to a culture of accountability and integrity. Therefore, every inquiry is examined fully to ensure the soundness of the scientific literature,” and so on and so forth without missing a single platitude, responded Dana-Farber’s research integrity officer Barrett Rollins in a statement issued after the embarrassing allegations were made public. But big words cannot hide the damage that had been inflicted nor suppress questions about the implications. Merely alleging such academically unbecoming trickery would have been unimaginable a very short time ago.

Exhibit C: Mechanical breakdown. Aviation does not seem to be fairing much better either. Boeing is an iconic American corporation. It is to industrial manufacturing roughly what Harvard is to higher education. That is a very important fact to remember when assessing the implications of several unprecedented Delta and Alaska Airlines incidents which occurred recently, involving Boeing commercial airplanes on which inadequately secured exit doors had been blown off in-flight. To make matters worse and disturbingly indicative of the quality of workmanship in the new normal, when these incidents occurred the airplanes (minus the critical plug bolts) were in mint condition, having come off the Boeing assembly lines just weeks before. Providentially, no one was sucked out into the surrounding stratosphere, but there is no guarantee that next time the passengers and crew will be as lucky.

The implications of these failures, that are only on the surface mechanical, may be colossal. They go to the core of Amiel’s observation about the cult of excellence that once upon a time reigned in the West. The question is: what has happened to it, what explains its disappearance?

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“She’s not popular, but you can’t remove the first black lady to be vice president from the g*****n presidential ticket..”

White House Staffer Reveals What Biden Aides ‘Can’t Say Publicly’ (RT)

A White House aide has admitted that his colleagues are worried about US President Joe Biden’s deteriorating cognitive skills and the unpopularity of his vice president, Kamala Harris, but they can’t publicly voice those concerns as the president seeks reelection later this year. Speaking in a hidden-camera interview posted online by undercover journalist James O’Keefe on Wednesday, White House cybersecurity analyst Charlie Kraiger acknowledged that the 81-year-old Biden is “slowing down.” He also said that there had been discussions about removing Harris from the 2024 ticket, given her struggles as vice president, but the Democratic Party’s nominees are set in stone.

“I think they need to get rid of him or get rid of her, but I don’t think they’re gonna do that,” Kraiger told O’Keefe, who disguised himself for the conversation by dyeing his hair and wearing fake glasses. Asked if White House staffers could speak publicly and truthfully regarding the fitness of Biden and Harris to seek another term, he added, “No, no, they’ve got to toe the line.” Kraiger admitted that staffers are “really concerned” about Biden’s mental state, which O’Keefe called “dementia,” but they have to keep those worries private. “They know it; of course, they do. But it’s the optics and, like, the scandal, I think they feel wouldn’t be worth it. I’m just telling you what I’ve heard. Does it make sense? No, but that’s what I’ve heard.”

Kraiger works in the White House Executive Office as a cybersecurity analyst and foreign affairs desk officer, according to a now-locked LinkedIn account. He told O’Keefe that he manages security of the computer networks at the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The staffer said White House officials probably understand the severity of Biden’s mental decline, “but no one in modern history has ever said, like, we’re not gonna renominate the president for a second term. That just hasn’t happened.” White House aides are similarly fatalistic about the first female US vice president, who was born of a black father and an Indian mother. “She’s not popular, but you can’t remove the first black lady to be vice president from the g*****n presidential ticket,” he said.

“Like, what kind of message are you going to send to, like, African-American voters?” He added that Harris was unable to retain black staffers, who “quit on her en masse,” but administration officials “sadly” decided to keep her as Biden’s running mate after an internal debate. Kraiger described himself as “fairly high up” in the Biden administration and, ironically, he claimed to be “good at keeping secrets.” O’Keefe outed himself at the end of the interview, asking Kraiger how a White House security official wound up meeting with a famous hidden-camera journalist. “We’re running a good cybersecurity operation,” the staffer insisted. O’Keefe replied, “Obviously not, because you’re meeting with me. Did you not do your research? What is this clown show you guys are running over at the White House?”

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“The Founding Fathers (sorry, there were no Founding Mothers, and certainly no Founding Transgenders)..”

Greg Abbott and the Invasion of the Border Snatchers (Jeffries)

We’ve come a long way from the Boston Tea Party. What would happen to “extremists” throwing tea into a harbor today? Independence Hall. Lexington and Concord. The Articles of Confederation. Patrick Henry declaring, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to my dying day your right to say it.” The Founding Fathers (sorry, there were no Founding Mothers, and certainly no Founding Transgenders) would all be marginalized if they were living and breathing in the Orwellian mess that is America 2.0. They’d be relegated to writing on Substack. Maybe some of them would be subscribers of mine. No mainstream media outlet would give them even a momentary platform. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Keep your “insurrectionist” thoughts to yourself. That little line should be confined to Ben Franklin’s womanizing. Yes, Ben actually used “would you like to join me in the pursuit of happiness?” as an eighteenth century pickup line. When he wasn’t consorting with prostitutes dressed as nuns in his demonic Hellfire Club.

Aside from Franklin, and certainly the bankers’ stooge Alexander Hamilton, the Founders were a legendary lot. The “greatest generation” if such a thing ever existed. As recently as 1963, Thomas Jefferson was thought so highly of that President Kennedy would tell a state dinner comprised of some of the leading cultural figures of the time, “The is the greatest assemblage of talent ever gathered together in the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” That kind of comment would get any Democrat, and probably any American, “cancelled” today. Sally Hemings was the real talent behind Jefferson. She wrote the Declaration of Independence. Designed Monticello. Ask any court historian. He was a racist rapist.

One of the few responsibilities ceded to the central government under the Constitution is defending the border. Article 4, section 4, states clearly that “The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…” Our southern border has been under an invasion of illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, undocumented migrants, whatever you want to call them, for over forty years now. More significantly, the federal government has gone beyond enabling this invasion. They have assisted it. Made it possible. Probably financed much of it. Greg Abbott has been governor of Texas since 2015. He epitomizes the Stupid Party’s tradition of issuing lukewarm rhetoric about “border security,” but ultimately doing nothing to stop the invasion. For unclear reasons, he has now stepped up the rhetoric decisively. After the Supreme Court- Trump’s supposed court, with his lovely nominee Amy Coney Barrett voting with the Left as usual- made one of its trademark disastrous decisions, Abbott threw down the gauntlet.

The Court ruled that Texas can not try to stop the Feds from cutting down the barbed wire fencing they’ve put up in places, in a laughable attempt to stop the flow of immigrants. Think about that; the highest court in the land- the Supreme Court- has ruled that a state cannot defend its borders. True, the Feds are constitutionally delegated with that power, but they quite blatantly have neglected to do this for several decades now. Under the Biden administration, the numbers coming across the border with literally no resistance from U.S. authorities, have reached such a critical mass that it has finally caught the attention of even the sleeping Republicucks. When you have one of the three branches in government- the Executive- aiding and abetting a foreign invasion, another- the Legislative- encouraging it as well, and now the Judicial branch giving the invasion a legal imprimatur, then you understand the situation.

Abbott’s fiery statements brought to mind visions of Sons of Liberty dancing in our heads. He has sounded remarkably like the Confederates did back in 1860, when he charged that the federal government has broken their “compact” with the states. This was the central premise behind the decision of the southern states to secede. Our fast food culture insists it was all about slavery. The dastardly, tobacco spitting whiter than White secessionists wanted their slaves, and that was that. Abraham Lincoln, the secular saint of our crumbling civilization, responded by declaring, “The Union of these States is perpetual.” That contradicted, of course, the guiding principle of our War for Independence, which was that all people have a right to consent to those who govern them. In 1860, the Confederate states no longer consented.

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“Russia and China are not “creating military blocs,” and their military cooperation is not “directed against third countries.”

Chinese Defense Chief Promises Support To Russia On ‘Ukrainian Issue’ (RT)

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun has told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, that strategic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing is a pillar of maintaining peace around the globe, in his first public appearance since his appointment at the end of last year. As two great powers, Russia and China should deepen their cooperation and decisively respond to global challenges, the defense chiefs said during a video call on Wednesday. “We have supported you on the Ukrainian issue despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side,” Dong stated, promising that Beijing “will not change or abandon our established policy course over this,” even under the threat of more sanctions.

At the same time, China feels “strong support from the Russian side on the Taiwan issue as well as on other topics of our key interests,” Dong added. “As the two most important and key forces in the world, we should decisively respond to global challenges.” Beijing’s newly-appointed defense chief claimed that “the US is always targeting Russia and China, seeking to retain its hegemony around the globe,” but added that “history and the reality prove that hegemony is doomed to failure.” Shoigu agreed that unlike Western states, Russia and China are not “creating military blocs,” and their military cooperation is not “directed against third countries.” The defense chief noted that “Russian-Chinese relations in the military sphere are developing steadily in all areas,” and said he was looking forward to “close, productive cooperation” with his Chinese counterpart.

China’s position on the Ukraine crisis has put it at odds with the US, with some American officials accusing Beijing of actively supporting Moscow rather than maintaining neutrality. Beijing has blamed NATO’s expansion in Europe for the crisis in Ukraine and has denounced the use of unilateral sanctions by the US and its allies as a tool of geopolitical pressure. Moscow perceives the Ukraine conflict as part of a Western proxy war against Russia, which is being waged in an attempt to preserve US hegemony on the world stage. Chinese officials have said that Washington is stuck in a “Cold War mentality.”

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US and Germany.

NATO’s Big Hitters Oppose Ukrainian Membership – FP (RT)

The US and Germany are resisting calls by NATO allies to invite Ukraine into the bloc at a major summit later this year, fearing that the move could trigger a full-scale clash with Russia, Foreign Policy magazine reported on Tuesday. Citing a dozen current and former officials, the American magazine wrote that both Kiev and some of its most ardent backers, including Poland and the Baltic states, are pushing for Ukraine to be accepted into the US-led bloc at a key summit in Washington, DC in July. Proponents of fast-tracking Ukraine’s NATO bid argue that only full-fledged membership for Kiev could force Russia to end the conflict, while claiming that the move would be cheaper in the long run than arms shipments in perpetuity.

However, according to the article, the US and Germany, the two top supporters of Ukraine in terms of military aid, disagree. Officials in these countries reportedly believe that while Kiev should eventually join NATO, now is not the right time, adding that the West should instead focus on supplying Ukraine with weapons. FP added that admitting Ukraine into the bloc while it is locked in a conflict with Russia could trigger a full-scale clash between NATO and Moscow, stemming from Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty which stipulates that an attack on one member of the bloc is an attack on all members.

According to FP, the stand-off is exacerbated by the stance of several EU members, including Hungary and Slovakia, who have opposed sending arms to Ukraine. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that Kiev’s membership in the bloc could draw NATO into the conflict. His Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, has said the move could spark World War III. The US has reportedly urged EU members not to raise the issue at the summit, arguing that it could expose behind-the-scenes divisions. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against providing military aid to Ukraine, saying it will only prolong the conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that Kiev’s push to join NATO, which was enshrined in its constitution as a strategic objective in 2019, was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

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“I imagine we’ll start seeing Russian tanks with fuel tanks fitted for extended range appearing and Russian airborne troops making air assaults in the Ukrainian rear within weeks.”

Breakthrough On All Fronts Ahead Of Schedule (Helmer)

When the General Staff have been discussing with President Vladimir Putin the timing of the Russian offensive to force the Kiev regime into capitulation, it has been agreed, understood, and repeated that the strategic reserves of the Ukrainian forces should be destroyed first, together with the supply lines for the weapons and ammunition crossing the border from the US and the NATO allies. This process, they also agreed, should take as long as required with least casualties on the Russian side, as determined by military intelligence. Also agreed and pre-conditional, there should be no repeat of the political intelligence failures of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) which precipitated the failed special forces operation known as the Battle of Antonov (Hostomel) Airport from February 24 to April 2, 2022.

Taking account of the mistakes made then by the SVR director, Sergei Naryshkin, and the subsequent mistakes of military officers around Yevgeny Prigozhin, the General Staff has also accepted that their tactical operations must run least risk of Russian casualties through March 17, the final day of the presidential election. Reinforcing these preconditions for the timing of the Russian offensive, General Winter and General Patience, have joined the Stavka meetings. This week military sources believe there has been a turning point – on the Ukrainian battlefield, and on the Russian clock. The daily Defense Ministry briefing and bulletin from Moscow reported last Thursday, before the Friday weekly summary, that the Ukrainian KIA (killed in action) for the previous twenty-four hours totaled 795, with the ratio of offensive tactics to defence, 3 to 3. On Monday, the KIA total was 680, the ratio 4 to 3. On Tuesday, KIA came to 885, the ratio 5 to 1. The casualty rate is unusually high; the shift to offence is recognizably new, if not announced.

The “Stavka Project”, a military briefing which is broadcast by Vladimir Soloviev, confirms the positional breakthroughs this week on several of the fronts or “directions”, as the Defense Ministry calls them, along the Donbass line; click to watch (in Russian). In Boris Rozhin’s summary of the Defense Ministry briefing materials, published before dawn on Wednesday morning, the leading Russian military blogger (Colonel Cassad) identifies “small advances”, “slight movements”, some positional “successes”, other positional “counter-fighting”, and “no significant progress yet”. The adverb is military talk for timing. According to a military source outside Russia, “the Russian breakthrough is beginning to happen now. It’s being coordinated with strikes and raids along the northern border. The commitment of the ‘crack’ Ukrainian brigades at the expense of other sectors shows how desperate [General Valery] Zaluzhny is to plug the holes.

He knows that the target is the isolation of Kharkov, the establishment of a demilitarized ‘buffer zone’, as well as the development of a situation whereby all Ukrainian forces east of the Dnieper are threatened with being cut off… and he’s quickly running out of ammunition, not to mention cannon fodder.” “By the end of the winter,” the source has added overnight, “the Ukrainians will barely be able to move along the roads they use to feed the front due to the Russian drone, missile, conventional air, and artillery strikes. Once they can no longer plug the gaps with mechanized units acting as fire-fighting brigades, it’s just a matter of time before the big breakthroughs and encirclements begin. At the current burn rate of Ukrainian forces, I imagine we’ll start seeing Russian tanks with fuel tanks fitted for extended range appearing and Russian airborne troops making air assaults in the Ukrainian rear within weeks.”

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“Ukraine sought to prove that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic are terrorist organizations..”

ICJ Rejects Ukraine’s Terrorism-Related Complaints Against Russia (TASS)

The UN International Court of Justice has found most of Ukraine’s complaints against Russia in a lawsuit over potential violations of the convention that fights the financing of terrorism to be groundless, court President Joan Donoghue said as she read out the verdict. She said Russia failed to conduct investigations into people who could allegedly finance terrorism in Ukraine. The court rejected Ukraine’s accusations that Russia violated the other clauses of the convention, which were listed in the Ukrainian lawsuit. On 16 January 2017, Ukraine filed a lawsuit with the court accusing Russia of violating the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. As part of the case, where it concerns the convention on stopping the financing of terrorism, Ukraine sought to prove that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic are terrorist organizations, and Russia gave them funding and weapons.

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“London is more interested in the continuation of the conflict and in waging a “terrorist war.” But Washington is much more keen to freeze the conflict, given the forthcoming presidential elections..”

Zaluzhny May Become More Dangerous for Zelensky if Fired (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is still seeking to replace Zaluzhny despite dismissing the rumors of the general’s sacking earlier, the Financial Times reported. The newspaper’s sources claimed that Zaluzhny was offered a position as a defense adviser, but that he turned it down. Possible candidates for Zaluzhny’s replacement are said to be Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, and Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the country’s military intelligence directorate. But the Economist and the Times report that both have refused to fill Zaluzhny’s shoes. The British press drew attention to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s opposition to Zelensky’s apparent move: “Firing Zaluzhny, if true, would hit at the heart of national unity,” wrote Poroshenko.

“The fact is that there was an attempt to replace Zaluzhny; it was an impromptu attempt that failed, because Zelensky hoped to remove a political competitor, not so much a military one,” Alexander Dudchak, leading researcher at the Institute of CIS Countries, and expert on the ‘Another Ukraine’ movement, told Sputnik. “And the fact that he offered [Zaluzhny] the position of adviser [speaks volumes]. By assuming that role he would have moved away from military affairs while not becoming a political competitor,” Dudchak said. “But in Ukraine, two different Western groups are trying to solve their problems: one from Washington, the other from London, with slightly different visions of the future of Ukraine, how to use it and what to do with it now, and in general — there are forces through which they accomplish their tasks.”

It is these forces who are playing the Zaluzhny card right now, the researcher argued. According to Dudchak, the so-called pro-US faction includes Zaluzhny, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and some figures in the President’s Office. The other grouping is pro-British and includes the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (GUR), its chief Budanov and Syrsky.”So far the replacement has been cancelled. This does not mean that Budanov changed his mind or that Syrsky did not want to [assume the position]. Who’s asking them? Syrsky has no opinion of his own. He even changed the language he speaks. Because listening to him speaking Ukrainian is weird. And will he show some kind of opinion? No way,” Dudchak explained.

“So for now, the operation to replace Zaluzhny has simply been postponed. This does not mean that he will not be removed. Therefore, these figures which look suitable for replacing Zaluzhny have remained in a standby mode for now.” The decision to replace Zaluzhny could stem from the West’s changing goals in Ukraine. The researcher outlined two scenarios, apparently sought by Washington and London: London is more interested in the continuation of the conflict and in waging a “terrorist war.” But Washington is much more keen to freeze the conflict, given the forthcoming presidential elections in November 2024.

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“..on standby to forward deploy to support troops in the case of on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war..”

US Troops Told To Prepare For War In Gaza – Media (RT)

US Air Force personnel in Iraq have been ordered to remain on standby in case of “on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war,” The Intercept reported on Tuesday, citing a Pentagon memo. Circulated earlier this month, the memo instructs an unknown number of troops to be placed “on standby to forward deploy to support troops in the case of on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war,” the news site reported. The standby order applies to troops stationed in Iraq since last year, according to a separate Pentagon document seen by The Intercept. The White House has stated on several occasions since October that its support for the Jewish state would not involve American soldiers fighting alongside their Israeli counterparts.

The US responded to Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel by immediately dispatching two aircraft carriers to the region and preparing 2,000 additional troops for deployment to the Middle East, but White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on October 10 that “there is no intention to put US boots on the ground” in Israel or Gaza. However, US special forces have been active in Israel since October, with senior official Christopher Maier telling reporters at the time that American commandos were “actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things.” The Pentagon has also admitted to flying spy drones over Gaza “in support of hostage recovery efforts.” Since the conflict began, US troops in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan have come under fire more than 150 times, with Iran-aligned Shi’ite militias subjecting their bases to regular drone and rocket barrages.

One such attack on an outpost in Jordan on Sunday killed three US soldiers and injured several dozen others. American ships and warplanes have also launched several strikes against Houthi militants in Yemen, in a bid to break the Houthi blockade on “Israel-linked” merchant shipping passing through the Red Sea. The Houthis have responded by targeting US commercial and military vessels in the area. On Wednesday, the militants announced that they had fired multiple missiles at the destroyer USS Gravely. US Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said that the Graveley shot down one incoming missile, and suffered no damage or casualties.

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“These groups decide and act based on their own principles and priorities as well as the interests of their country and people..”

No US Threat Will Go Unanswered – Iran (RT)

Iran will not let any threat from the US go “unanswered,” the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Wednesday. The statement came after US President Joe Biden said he had drawn up a response to an attack on American troops in Jordan. Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he had decided how to respond to the drone attack, which left three US soldiers dead and dozens more injured on Sunday. The White House blamed the assault on Iranian-aligned militants operating in Iraq and Syria, while Biden said he holds Iran responsible for the deaths, “in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it.” The US president did not reveal what kind of response he had planned.

“We hear threats coming from American officials, [and] we tell them that they have already tested us and we now know one another, no threat will be left unanswered,” Major General Hossein Salami said at an event in Tehran, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. “We are not looking for a war, but are not afraid of war either,” the IRGC commander added. Iran’s envoy to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, issued a similar warning on Tuesday night. “The Islamic Republic will decisively respond to any attack on the county, its interests and nationals under any pretexts,” Iravani said, according to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA.

Tehran has denied orchestrating the fatal attack on US troops. While Iran arms and trains numerous Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that these fighters “do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” “These groups decide and act based on their own principles and priorities as well as the interests of their country and people,” a ministry spokesman said. Militant groups have launched more than 150 attacks on US bases in the Middle East in recent months, but Sunday’s incident marked the first time American troops in the region were confirmed killed by enemy fire since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

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“..the permanent NATO obsession in preventing a solid rapprochement between Germany and Russia, by any means necessary..”

Will the Hegemon Ever Accept a New Westphalian World Order? (Pepe Escobar)

A new book by scholar Glenn Diesen, The Ukraine War & The Eurasian World Order, out in mid-February, asks the make-or-break question of the young 21st century: will the Hegemon accept a new geopolitical reality, or will it go Captain Ahab on Moby Dick and drag us all to the depths of a – nuclear – abyss?

[..] Diesen offers a concise, easily accessible mini-history of how we got here. He starts to make the case harking back to the Silk Roads: “The Silk Road was an early model of globalization, although it did not result in a common world order as the civilizations of the world were primarily connected to nomadic intermediaries.” The demise of the Heartland-based Silk Road, actually roads, was caused by the rise of the thalassocratic European powers reconnecting the world in a different way. Yet the hegemony of the collective West could only be fully achieved by applying Divide and Rule across Eurasia. We did not in fact had “five centuries of western dominance”, according to Diesen: it was more like three, or even two (see, for instance, the work of Andre Gunder Frank). In a historical Long View that barely registers.

What is indeed The Big Picture now is that “the unique world order” produced by controlling “the vast Eurasian continent from the maritime periphery is coming to an end”. Diesen hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Russia-China strategic partnership – on which the overwhelmingly majority of European intellectuals is clueless (a crucial exception is French historian, demographer and anthropologist Emmanuel Todd, whose latest book I analyzed here.) With a lovely on the road formulation, Diesen shows how “Russia can be considered the successor of the Mongolian nomads as the last custodian of the Eurasian land corridor”, while China revives the Ancient Silk Roads “with economic connectivity”. In consequence, “a powerful Eurasian gravitational pull is thus reorganizing the supercontinent and the wider world.”

Poviding context, Diesen needs to engage in an obligatory detour to the basics of the Great Game between the Russian and British empires. What stands out is how Moscow already was pivoting to Asia all the way to the late 19th century, when Russian Finance Minister Sergei Witte started to develop a groundbreaking road map for a Eurasia political economy, “borrowing from Alexander Hamilton and Friedrich List.” Witte “wanted to end Russia’s role as an exporter of natural resources to Europe as it resembled ‘the relations of colonial countries with their metropolises’”. And that implies going back to Dostoyevsky, who argued that “Russians are as much Asiatics as European. The mistake of our policy for the past two centuries has been to make the people of Europe believe that we are true Europeans (…) It will be better for us to seek alliances with the Asiatics.” Dostoyevsky meets Putin-Xi. Diesen also needs to go through the obligatory references to Mackinder’s “heartland” obsession – which is the basis of all Anglo-American geopolitics for the past hundred and twenty years.

Mackinder was spooked by railway development – especially the Trans-Siberian by the Russians – as it enabled Moscow to “emulate the nomadic skills of the Scythians, Huns and Mongols” that were essential to control most of Eurasia. Mackinder was particularly focused on railways acting “chiefly as feeders to ocean-going commerce”. Ergo, being a thalassocratic power was not enough: “The heartland is the region to which under modern conditions, sea power can be refused access.” And that’s what leads to the Rosetta Stone of Anglo-American geopolitics: to “prevent the emergence of a hegemon or a group of states capable of dominating Europe and Eurasia that could threaten the dominant maritime power.” That explains everything from WWI and WWII to the permanent NATO obsession in preventing a solid rapprochement between Germany and Russia, by any means necessary.

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“..fees paid by the Trump Organization. Ms. Jones has been paid $2.6 million in her 14-month period as an independent monitor..”

Monitor’s Report: Factual Inaccuracies, Disingenuous – Trump Attorney (ET)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Monday responded to a recent report issued by a court-appointed independent monitor regarding Trump Organization finances, disputing former judge Barbara Jones’s characterization of the financial statements as incomplete and inconsistent. Ms. Jones recommended that third party monitoring of Trump Organization continue, and concluded that “misstatements and errors may continue to occur,” which defense attorneys said was an effort to continue the monitor’s “exorbitant” fees paid by the Trump Organization. Ms. Jones has been paid $2.6 million in her 14-month period as an independent monitor on the case. Ms. Jones’s team has received Trump Organization financial disclosures to third parties, including lenders and insurers; agreements and documents related to transactions; documents related to Trump Organization entities and dissolutions; bank statements; and documents provided to tax authorities.

Attorney Clifford Robert claimed that the Jan. 26 report, submitted at the request of the court, was also meant to “fill the gaping hole in the Attorney General’s case” and was issued “in bad faith.” “The January 26 Report also contains numerous factual inaccuracies (casting serious doubt on the Monitor’s competency), fails to reference governing standards of any kind, and is otherwise misleading and disingenuous,” the letter reads. The report pointed out errors on seven disclosure items, three inconsistencies, and five clerical errors, which the defense argues are immaterial amid the thousands of pages of financial data related to the 400 entities Ms. Jones is monitoring.

“The Monitor was appointed to report any financial reporting misconduct, suspicious activity or any suspected or actual fraudulent activity,“ the letter reads. ”The Monitor was not appointed to identify math errors or otherwise sensationalize minor and inconsequential accounting discrepancies scattered throughout the financial reports of the over 400 companies comprising the Defendants’ global enterprise.” Mr. Robert pointed out that the biggest discrepancy Ms. Jones identified was a difference of $1 million in an “internal trial balance presentation,” and had no actual impact. Mentions of delays in implementing transactions had provided “no evidence of any inappropriate or untoward conduct,” he added, claiming this representation as an effort to “malign such disclosures.”

Mr. Robert noted that the words “misconduct,” “suspicious activity,” “suspected fraud,” or “actual fraud” do not appear in Ms. Jones’s report at all, and argued the errors she cites have been blown out of proportion. “Moreover, as the Reports and the January 26 Report make clear, every item identified has been resolved to the full satisfaction of the Monitor,” he added. “She has not and cannot point to even a single instance of controversy or complaint between any of the Defendants and outside third parties.”

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Abraham Accords.

Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has been put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the signing of a treaty that helped normalize relations between Israel and several Arab states. The proposal was made by Republican congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who told Fox News on Tuesday that Trump was “instrumental” in facilitating the “historic” Abraham Accords, which she said were “the first peace agreements in the Middle East in almost 30 years.” The lawmaker praised the former president and GOP frontrunner, saying Trump had proven many foreign policy pundits wrong who argued for decades that additional Middle East peace agreements were impossible without a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

”The valiant efforts by President Trump in creating the Abraham Accords were unprecedented and continue to go unrecognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, underscoring the need for his nomination today,” Tenney stated, adding that the move comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s “weak leadership” on the global stage has put national security at risk. Over the weekend, three US service members were killed and dozens were injured in a drone attack on a military outpost in Jordan. Biden has pledged to respond, blaming the incident on Iranian-backed militias. Tehran has denied any involvement in the attack. The Abraham Accords were a series of US-mediated bilateral agreements signed in late 2020 between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. They helped bring the Jewish state and the Arab nations closer, with the UAE and Bahrain also recognizing Israel’s sovereignty.

However, the treaty has been criticized for emboldening Israel to ignore the rights of Palestinians, as it resulted in Arab states dropping the demand to recognize the state of Palestine. Some experts have argued that the move paved the way for the recent surge in violence. Trump had already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times. In 2020, he was put up for the award by Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who praised the former president for what he described as his peace-making efforts in the Middle East. That same year, Trump was nominated by Swedish MP Magnus Jacobsson, who cited his role in brokering a deal between Serbia and its breakaway region of Kosovo. Trump’s nomination is considered valid as it was submitted by a member of a national assembly or national government. The 2024 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo, Norway in October and awarded in December.

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“..the methods that NOAA employs to try to reduce this don’t work because the bias is so overwhelming..”

Trillions Spent on ‘Climate Change’ Based on Faulty Temperature Data (ET)

To preserve a “livable planet,” the Earth can’t warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the United Nations warns.Failure to maintain that level could lead to several catastrophes, including increased droughts and weather-related disasters, more heat-related illnesses and deaths, and less food and more poverty, according to NASA. To avert the looming tribulations and limit global temperature increases, 194 member states and the European Union in 2016 signed the U.N. Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty with a goal to “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” After the agreement, global spending on climate-related projects increased exponentially. In 2021 and 2022, the world’s taxpayers spent, on average, $1.3 trillion on such projects each year, according to the nonprofit advisory group Climate Policy Initiative.

That’s more than double the spending rate in 2019 and 2020, which came in at $653 billion per year, and it’s significantly up from the $364 billion per year in 2011 and 2012, the report found. Despite the money pouring in, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2023 was the hottest year on record. NOAA’s climate monitoring stations found that the Earth’s average land and ocean surface temperature in 2023 was 1.35 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. “Not only was 2023 the warmest year in NOAA’s 174-year climate record—it was the warmest by far,” said Sarah Kapnick, NOAA’s chief scientist. “A warming planet means we need to be prepared for the impacts of climate change that are happening here and now, like extreme weather events that become both more frequent and severe.”

But a growing chorus of climate scientists are saying the temperature readings are faulty and that the trillions of dollars pouring in are based on a problem that doesn’t exist. More than 90 percent of NOAA’s temperature monitoring stations have a heat bias, according to Anthony Watts, a meteorologist, senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute, author of climate website Watts Up With That, and director of a study that examined NOAA’s climate stations. “And with that large of a number, over 90 percent, the methods that NOAA employs to try to reduce this don’t work because the bias is so overwhelming,” Mr. Watts told The Epoch Times.“The few stations that are left that are not biased because they are, for example, outside of town in a field and are an agricultural research station that’s been around for 100 years … their data gets completely swamped by the much larger set of biased data. There’s no way you can adjust that out.”

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Marmot

 

 

Chase
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752376130449895755

 

 

Boops

 

 

Cat Fox

 

 

Bamboo

 

 

Sponge cake

 

 

Texas long horn

 

 

Wind

 

 

 

 

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Nov 102023
 


Pablo Picasso Femme à la Montre 1932
Sold for $139 million on November 8

 

Letter to the Children of Gaza (Chris Hedges)
Biden’s Frankenstein (Patrick Lawrence)
Ceasefire in Gaza Depends on US as It ‘Fully Controls’ Conflict – Hamas (Sp.)
Hamas Not Interested in Keeping Civilians Hostage – Erdogan (Sp.)
Turkey Ready To Act As Guarantor In Resolving Gaza Crisis – Erdogan (TASS)
Russia Can’t Be Defeated On Battlefield – Kremlin (RT)
West Preparing for Military Coup Against Zelensky – Larry Johnson (Sp.)
Ukraine ‘Has No Russian Minority’ – Deputy PM (RT)
US Aiming To ‘Kill’ Major Russian Energy Project – Pyatt (RT)
Russia May Downgrade Diplomatic Relations With US – Deputy FM (TASS)
Polls In Key States ‘Scary’ – Top-Ranking Biden Diplomat (RT)
Hillary Clinton Likens Trump To Hitler And Warns He Would End Democracy (G.)
Trump Is ‘Toast’ In New York Fraud Trial – Former Watergate Prosecutor (G.)
Claimed ‘99% Consensus’ on Climate Change Demolished by New Report (DS)
US Congress Members Call for Biden to Drop Assange Extradition Request (Sp.)

 

 

“Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75” – Benjamin Franklin

 

 


Elon Musk: “Best economist ever”

 

 

Iversen Ritter

 

 

 

 

Nap/Crooke

 

 

 

 

Belgium Petra De Sutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I am a reporter. It is my job to see this. You are a child. You should never see this.”

Letter to the Children of Gaza (Chris Hedges)

Dear child. It is past midnight. I am flying at hundreds of miles an hour in the darkness, thousands of feet over the Atlantic Ocean. I am traveling to Egypt. I will go to the border of Gaza at Rafah. I go because of you. You have never been in a plane. You have never left Gaza. You know only the densely packed streets and alleys. The concrete hovels. You know only the security barriers and fences patrolled by soldiers that surround Gaza. Planes, for you, are terrifying. Fighter jets. Attack helicopters. Drones. They circle above you. They drop missiles and bombs. Deafening explosions. The ground shakes. Buildings fall. The dead. The screams. The muffled calls for help from beneath the rubble. It does not stop. Night and day. Trapped under the piles of smashed concrete. Your playmates. Your schoolmates. Your neighbors. Gone in seconds. You see the chalky faces and limp bodies when they are dug out. I am a reporter. It is my job to see this. You are a child. You should never see this.

The stench of death. Rotting corpses under broken concrete. You hold your breath. You cover your mouth with cloth. You walk faster. Your neighborhood has become a graveyard. All that was familiar is gone. You stare in amazement. You wonder where you are. You are afraid. Explosion after explosion. You cry. You cling to your mother or father. You cover your ears. You see the white light of the missile and wait for the blast. Why do they kill children? What did you do? Why can’t anyone protect you? Will you be wounded? Will you lose a leg or an arm? Will you go blind or be in a wheelchair? Why were you born? Was it for something good? Or was it for this? Will you grow up? Will you be happy? What will it be like without your friends? Who will die next? Your mother? Your father? Your brothers and sisters? Someone you know will be injured. Soon. Someone you know will die. Soon.

At night you lie in the dark on the cold cement floor. The phones are cut. The internet is off. You do not know what is happening. There are flashes of light. There are waves of blast concussions. There are screams. It does not stop. When your father or mother hunts for food or water you wait. That terrible feeling in your stomach. Will they come back? Will you see them again? Will your tiny home be next? Will the bombs find you? Are these your last moments on Earth? You drink salty, dirty water. It makes you very sick. Your stomach hurts. You are hungry. The bakeries are destroyed. There is no bread. You eat one meal a day. Pasta. A cucumber. Soon this will seem like a feast.

You have seen foreign reporters. We wear flak jackets with the word PRESS written on it. We have helmets. We have cameras. We drive jeeps. We appear after a bombing or a shooting. We sit over coffee for a long time and talk to the adults. Then we disappear. We do not usually interview children. But I have done interviews when groups of you crowded around us. Laughing. Pointing. Asking us to take your picture. I have been bombed by jets in Gaza. I have been bombed in other wars, wars that happened before you were born. I too was very, very scared. I still have dreams about it. When I see the pictures of Gaza these wars return to me with the force of thunder and lightning. I think of you. All of us who have been to war hate war most of all because of what it does to children.

Safe place

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“..Biden, Blinken and the rest of the regime’s national security crew are now aware that Biden’s open-door, open-wallet support for Bibi’s frenzied violence against Palestinians has turned into a political disaster from which it will be difficult to recover.”

Biden’s Frankenstein (Patrick Lawrence)

The new wave of violence in Israel and Gaza now enters its second month. More than 10,000 people have been killed, The Associated Press reports, 40 percent of them children. Where is this catastrophe going? What are the limits of Israel’s inhumanity? Does the Biden regime, in its unforgivable support and encouragement of this ethnic-cleansing operation, have another Frankenstein on its hands—a monster it cannot control? There is the Ukraine case, a contrast as we consider this question. Volodymyr Zelensky is pure cartoon creation—the greatest put-up job of our century, posing as a defender of democratic freedom while running a crypto–Nazi regime and, along with his generals and ministers, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. But Ukraine—weak, broke, and losing the proxy war against Russia—is easily managed. Biden could unplug the electrodes from Zelensky’s temples any time he chose to do so. He won’t, but he could.

It starts to look as if Biden and his foreign policy people have lost what control they may have had over Bibi Netanyahu and the fanatical regime he directs. Last week Antony Blinken, on his second trip to Israel since the Hamas assault on southern Israel October 7, asked the Israeli prime minister to “pause”—we must not propose a ceasefire—Israel’s daily bombing campaign up and down the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu refused the American secretary of state more or less point blank. Ask yourself: Who was in charge of that meeting, who was running the show? I have to say, Blinken does come over as a diplomatic pipsqueak time and time again, as he did last summer in Beijing, when the Chinese leadership actually scolded him before sending him home with nothing but lectures to show for his effort.

The Biden White House has been making sotto voce requests such as Blinken’s for the past couple of weeks, all to very little avail. Dim and wanting in all subtlety, even Biden, Blinken and the rest of the regime’s national security crew are now aware that Biden’s open-door, open-wallet support for Bibi’s frenzied violence against Palestinians has turned into a political disaster from which it will be difficult to recover. West Asian nations may not stand with Palestinians to the extent one would like to see, but the old client relationships with Washington appear to have been altered more or less permanently. It all looks so very bad. Last week the Latin Americans began recalling their ambassadors to Tel Aviv, Bolivia going so far as to sever relations, and bravo for the Bolivians.

This week Jordan, Bahrain, Turkey, Chad and South Africa followed suit. The Israelis show no sign of giving a damn, but look at the names: America has traditionally counted these nations among its friends (or clients). Now they stand among those treating apartheid Israel as the pariah state it deserves to be called. Think about where this will leave Washington out in the middle distance. It will be another case of U.S. support for South Africa before the apartheid regime gave up the ghost in 1990, or for Rhodesia before it became Zimbabwe 10 years earlier. It will be embarrassing and costly. There are cracks in the façade at home, too. There are murmurs in Congress that the Israelis have gone too far, although very few have made the daring leap from ineffectually suggesting a “temporary pause” in the bombing to demanding a ceasefire.

Unnamed officials now acknowledge that Israel’s hysterical violence has nothing to do with self-defense and everything to do with preserving the Israeli Defense Force’s reputation for merciless retribution. I read these sorts of admissions as indications of dissatisfaction and disapproval, if not disgust. The Pentagon appears to be especially restive as the Israeli campaign to ethnic-cleanse Gaza proceeds. Two weeks ago it dispatched senior officers to advise the IDF to reconsider the deadliness of urban combat—the street-to-street, door-to-door stuff. The New York Times has since quoted a senior Defense Department official saying “the operations so far have not come close to destroying Hamas’s senior and middle leadership ranks.”

Ehud Barak (ex-Israel PM) has resurfaced. He collected his frequent flyer points on the Lolita Express.

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“..If the US administration wanted the ceasefire, it would have been reached by now..”

Ceasefire in Gaza Depends on US as It ‘Fully Controls’ Conflict – Hamas (Sp.)

A ceasefire in Gaza depends on the United States as it “fully controls” the Middle East conflict, Hamas Political Bureau member Mousa Abu Marzouq said on Thursday. “The ceasefire depends on the US. The US is the main supporter of Israel: American drones are in the skies over Gaza, military ships are off the Palestinian coast. They supply both arms and money. They also provide political cover for the process. All the states in the region are under pressure to save Israel. That is why the ceasefire depends on the US. If the US administration wanted the ceasefire, it would have been reached by now,” Marzouq said in an interview with Turkish newspaper.

The official added that Hamas expected Islamic countries to take practical measures in the crisis, up to and including cutting off oil supplies to Israel. At the same time, the US is threatening regional countries so they do not impose sanctions on Israel, Marzouq said. “We are well aware of the fact that in the past, during the wars in the Middle East, an oil embargo was imposed to support the Arab actions. Today, it is possible to cut off oil supplies to those who help this Zionist structure. The Arab and Muslim states can take more steps towards a ceasefire. The Islamic states should not stop with statements and condemnations. Practical steps must be taken,” he added.

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“..20-30 trucks pass through Turkiye [to Gaza] every day, as of now. Of course, this is not humanitarian aid. It was proposed to increase this figure to at least 500 trucks.”

Hamas Not Interested in Keeping Civilians Hostage – Erdogan (Sp.)

The Hamas movement is not interested in keeping civilian hostages, and a mutual process on freeing Israelis and Palestinians is necessary, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. “On the issue of hostages, Hamas is not interested in holding civilians hostage. On the contrary, there must be a release of Palestinians held by Israel. If we, as Turkiye, intervene, then Israel must immediately release the Palestinians, and on the other hand, the Israelis held by Hamas must be released immediately,” Erdogan told reporters on his way back from Tashkent. Hamas does not have a “determination” to not release hostages, and the movement said that they are ready to free them, Erdogan added. “Of course there are [also] soldiers there [in Hamas’ captivity]. Among these soldiers there are also high ranks. But the lack of principles of Israel, which takes … children hostage, is also obvious. If positive steps are taken, we will take any risk and try to contribute to resolving this issue,” Erdogan said.

Turkiye has proposed to the United States to increase passage of trucks with humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to 500 per day during talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. Earlier this week, Blinken visited Turkiye where he held talks with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. “Recently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Turkiye and held discussions with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. During the negotiations, surely, the foreign minister made some proposals. For example, 20-30 trucks pass through Turkiye [to Gaza] every day, as of now. Of course, this is not humanitarian aid. It was proposed to increase this figure to at least 500 trucks. I was told by Hakan Fidan … that he [Blinken] also reacted positively to this,” Erdogan told media. Turkiye aims to open a corridor for the transfer of injured people out of the Gaza Strip and receives positive signals on this issue, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added.

“Our desire here is not only a corridor for humanitarian aid to pass through. We also want to increase pressure on Israel to ensure the transfer of wounded, oppressed Palestinians. Our goal is to ensure the passage of all these people from Gaza to areas where we can provide medical assistance … We have completed preparations for this, some positive signals are coming … If we can really take them to our hospitals, we will fulfill our humanitarian and Islamic duty,” Erdogan told reporters. Turkiye has received some positive signals regarding its diplomatic efforts for the Gaza Strip, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. “There is no such thing as hopelessness. Of course, we have hope [for a ceasefire in Gaza]. We hold these events because we have hope … We seem to be getting some positive signals in our diplomatic attacks,” Erdogan told reporters on his way back from Tashkent.

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“..The Muslim world needs to take a united stance and increase pressure on Israel..”

Turkey Ready To Act As Guarantor In Resolving Gaza Crisis – Erdogan (TASS)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that Ankara is ready to act as a guarantor in resolving the Gaza crisis. At a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, Erdogan called on the Muslim world to come together and put pressure on Israel, the Turkish presidential office said in a statement. “President Erdogan pointed out that Turkey was ready to contribute to resolving the issue, taking responsibility as a guarantor. The Muslim world needs to take a united stance and increase pressure on Israel,” the statement reads.

The Turkish and Iranian presidents discussed the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip and the steps that should be taken to resolve it, as well as bilateral and regional issues. “President Erdogan said at the meeting that an end to Israel’s violence would facilitate efforts to ensure peace in the region and the world in general. According to him, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) needs to make efforts at its extraordinary summit to find a fair solution,” the statement added. The OIC is expected to hold a summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on November 12.

Disparity

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“..Ukraine’s hopes of defeating Russia had been “absurd” right from the outset..”

Russia Can’t Be Defeated On Battlefield – Kremlin (RT)

There is no way the Russian military can be defeated, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has insisted. His comments follow recent claims by President Vladimir Putin that Western governments were lowering their expectations regarding the outcome of the Ukraine conflict. Speaking to Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin on Thursday, Peskov stated “it is high time that everyone in Kiev and Washington realized: it’s impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield.” Putin claimed on Friday that Western powers were “changing their tune now [and] saying different things” compared to their previous insistence on inflicting a military defeat on Russia.

Also last week, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, admitted in an article published by The Economist that Kiev’s troops were unlikely to pull off a “deep and beautiful breakthrough” in the conflict with Russia, unless provided with more advanced weapons by the West. He suggested that the fighting was deadlocked and could “drag on for years,” although Peskov responded to that assessment by insisting that Moscow’s forces were not at a stalemate. He further claimed that Ukraine’s hopes of defeating Russia had been “absurd” right from the outset. Citing anonymous US officials, NBC reported last week that behind closed doors Washington had been pushing Kiev toward negotiations with Moscow. The outlet also claimed that the US had been conducting “delicate” unofficial discussions with Kiev regarding concessions Ukraine would be willing to make in potential peace talks.

A State Department spokesperson denied the claims, while Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky repeated that his government would not negotiate unless Russia withdraws its troops from territory within Ukraine’s 1991 borders. According to NBC, Western officials are increasingly concerned that Ukraine is “running out of forces,” and also harbor fears about their own ability to shore up Kiev with weapons shipments in the long run amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Media speculation has recently intensified after Ukraine failed to make any notable gains despite a months-long counteroffensive. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev has lost more than 90,000 troops in the operation, which began in early June.

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“..It’s not just calling each other names and maybe hurting someone’s feelings. This is becoming a blood match.”

West Preparing for Military Coup Against Zelensky – Larry Johnson (Sp.)

The writing is on the wall for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the Western elite seemingly seek someone else to fill his shoes, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official Larry Johnson told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. Signs of a behind-the-scenes struggle in Ukraine have recently manifested themselves in Commander-in-Chief Gen. Valery Zaluzhny’s open defiance of Volodymyr Zelensky’s non-stop war plans; a mysterious death of Zaluzhny’s close aide; and the Ukrainian president’s refusal to hold elections next year. CIA veteran Larry Johnson believes that the “invisible hand” of the West is orchestrating what may end up in regime change in Ukraine. Per him, Zaluzhny’s extensive “stalemate” interview to the British press, which prompted so much ire on Bankovaya Street – a Ukrainian presidential residence – was by no means coincidental.

“It’s always important to pay close attention to what’s going on in the media because these stories don’t just appear out of nowhere,” Johnson told Sputnik. “It’s not like some intrepid Economist’s reporter is saying, ‘Hey, you know, I think it’d be a pretty nifty if I could go interview General Zaluzhny.’ Because I think that that entire arrangement was made possible through the intervention of MI6 to get Zaluzhny’s profile raised in the West. And remember in that Economist magazine, he was interviewed, he then wrote an op-ed and they gave him a longer piece online, the ‘Economist online’. So Zaluzhny got three hits. And he was seen as undermining the message that had been coming out of Ukraine.”

Likewise, the death of Gennady Chastyakov, an assistant to the commander-in-chief, reeks of a potential sabotage from the Ukrainian infamous security service, according to the former CIA analyst. “This grenade that went off… I’ve seen in a couple of different accounts that someone gave him a live grenade and then his son was playing with it and accidentally pulled the pin and it went off. But it sure seems like sabotage. And Zelensky still has support within the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and it would not be at all beyond the SBU for Zelensky to think it’s a good idea to send a message like this to try to intimidate Zaluzhny.” However, it’s not Zaluzhny who is Zelensky’s major problem, but the Ukrainian president’s fading support in the West, both in the UK and the US, according to Johnson:

“Remember a week ago, Time magazine – who had featured Zelensky on its front cover in 2022 as Man of the Year, they described him as like ‘the reincarnation of Winston Churchill’, and ‘this great military strategist’. He now was put on the front cover of Time and decried as basically like Adolf Hitler in his last days, delusional, out of touch with reality, crazy. So when I see those kinds of articles appear from both British sources and American sources, it’s telling me that the political establishments in both places are preparing the exit ramp for Zelensky. And Zaluzhny may be seen as someone that they want to replace Zelensky with. So we’re at the stage now in this entire affair where the infighting is now becoming lethal. It’s not just calling each other names and maybe hurting someone’s feelings. This is becoming a blood match.”

Johnson drew attention to the fact that in addition, NBC News broke on November 4 that US and European officials have begun “quietly talking” to the Kiev regime about possible “peace negotiations with Russia” to end the stalemate. It seems Western decision-makers have zero illusions about Zelensky: they know that he had zero qualifications to take on the presidency, but was “a comedian notorious for his ability to use his genitalia to play the piano,” per the CIA veteran. For his part, Zaluzhny appears to be someone “who could negotiate with Russia, because Zaluzhny back in the day at least had contacts with and trained with members of the Russian military before the split when Ukraine sort of went in its own direction,” Johnson stressed.

Larry Johnson

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Problem too big for you? Just ignore and deny it..

“..the use of the Russian language is not something that the European Commission will pay attention to..”

Ukraine ‘Has No Russian Minority’ – Deputy PM (RT)

The European Commission cannot have complaints about discrimination against the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine because there is no such section of the population, Kiev’s deputy prime minister for European integration, Olga Stefanishina, has claimed. Some EU members have raised concerns over Ukraine’s treatment of ethnic minorities under laws adopted since the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, including the government pushing the use of the Ukrainian language through education and media regulations. However, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Stefanishina insisted that “there is no Russian minority in Ukraine. It does not exist. There is not a single judicially defined community identifying itself as a Russian minority.”

She added that “when I want to, I speak Ukrainian, and when I want otherwise, I speak Russian.” Stefanishina claimed she did not need permission to do that from the EU or “Moskals” – a pejorative term used by some Ukrainians to describe Russians. The politician further stated that officials in Brussels shared her stance. On Wednesday, the European Commission recommended that talks should begin on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. The commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, argued that Kiev had made strides on implementing certain reforms on minority issues. Stefanishina’s remarks apparently confirm reports in the Russian media on Wednesday, which claimed that Brussels had chosen to ignore allegations of anti-Russian discrimination in Ukraine. “Let me be absolutely clear: the use of the Russian language is not something that the European Commission will pay attention to,” an EU source was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

EU recommendations regarding language policy will only apply to Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians, the source claimed, adding that Kiev was moving forward on meeting those demands. In a recent example of a language row, a Russian-speaking driver in Kiev was banned by a rideshare service operator after he rejected demands by two passengers to speak Ukrainian. A video of the incident went viral in late October and drew the attention of language ombudsman Tarask Kremen, who vowed that the defiant driver “will not escape punishment.” In a survey conducted in September by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology at the EU’s request, respondents cited language discrimination as the most common type of prejudice in Ukraine, with 45% saying it was a problem.

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Pyatt is the ultimate tool. He was US envoy to Ukraine in 2014, known for phone calls with Victoria Nuland. Now he’s “US assistant secretary of state for energy resources”.

US Aiming To ‘Kill’ Major Russian Energy Project – Pyatt (RT)

The White House is aiming to “kill” Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 energy project, according to US assistant secretary of state for energy resources, Geoffrey Pyatt. The project in the northern Gydan Peninsula is operated by independent Russian LNG producer Novatek. It will feature three LNG trains, with a total annual production capacity of 19.8 million tons. The first train was launched in July, while the remaining two are scheduled for 2024 and 2025. Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on US national security interests in Ukraine on Wednesday, Pyatt stated: “Last week, for instance, we levelled new sanctions against the Arctic LNG 2, which is Novatek’s flagship project”.

“Our objective is to kill that project,” he stressed, claiming that the project had been set up with the aim of turning Russia into the world’s largest LNG exporter.According to Pyatt, Russia’s plans are being stifled by sanctions imposed through cooperation between the US and its allies in the G7 and beyond. The US official also said the White House is “working with the countries [that] historically have depended on Russian energy, and [are] paying in to the Kremlin’s resources.” Pyatt claimed that this has been done “quite successfully” in the EU. “We need to keep focusing on the Asian front,” he added, stressing that the current price cap coalition would help to achieve that objective.

According to Pyatt, the $60 per-barrel price ceiling on Russian seaborne oil exports imposed by EU and G7 countries in December has managed to cut Moscow’s energy revenues, while keeping Russian crude on global markets and avoiding further destabilization. Earlier this week, Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said that sanctions on the Arctic LNG 2 project could have a major negative impact on business in Japan, adding that Tokyo would work with the G7 to maintain stable energy supplies. Japan had previously exempted Russian LNG projects in Sakhalin and the Arctic from sanctions and continued to provide architectural and engineering services to the country.

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“..we have seen the Americans take a series of irresponsible and escalatory steps with regard to Ukraine, and not only there..”

Russia May Downgrade Diplomatic Relations With US – Deputy FM (TASS)

Washington’s behavior may compel Moscow to downgrade diplomatic relations or even cut ties, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said. “We are indeed going through an acute crisis in relations, the likes of which we have never seen before. We need to carefully calibrate and verify the steps we are taking to prevent further escalation. Our leadership encourages the Foreign Ministry and other federal government agencies to act this way, which is what we are guided by. However, we have seen the Americans take a series of irresponsible and escalatory steps with regard to Ukraine, and not only there,” the senior diplomat said in an interview with RTVI.

“That is why, if we look at Washington’s current behavior model from this perspective, I don’t rule out anything at all. The level [of diplomatic ties] may be lowered; and the severance of diplomatic relations is also possible,” he added. Still, the deputy foreign minister stressed that Russia did not plan to initiate the severance of diplomatic relations with the US. “We believe that diplomatic relations are an element of international affairs that need to be taken care of because otherwise we will lose all that’s left of civilized channels for sending messages to each other,” Ryabkov said. In this regard, he pointed out that November 16 would mark 90 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

“Our relations have been through various phases; there was even a period of allied ties and brotherhood in arms in the fight against a common enemy, Hitlerite Germany, that was waging a war against us and our allies, which included the US back then. Later, there were the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and a period of detente. We’ve seen many things,” the Russian deputy foreign minister noted. The senior diplomat also pointed out that Russia would always respond to any US challenges and provocations. “I think the Americans know us by now, watching how firmly and consistently we defend our interests in all areas,” Ryabkov emphasized.

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“Voters, by a 59% to 37% percent margin, said they trusted Trump more than Biden when it comes to the economy – the largest gap of any issue…”

Polls In Key States ‘Scary’ – Top-Ranking Biden Diplomat (RT)

US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen has recently revealed that fresh polling in key swing states paint quite a grim picture for incumbent President Joe Biden, who leads in only one key state out of six for the 2024 presidential election. “For people in Canada or the United States who are concerned or troubled by a prospective second term for Donald Trump, those polling results are sobering and scary,” Cohen told a conference of manufacturers and exporters in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, on Tuesday. He then said that this information just means there’s a lot of work that needs to be done over the next year and that no one should panic. “I am certainly not looking at the current state of play and saying, ‘Oh, my God, it’s all over. There’s no way Joe Biden can get re-elected’,” Cohen added. “Anyone who has that attitude is probably making a big mistake.”

According to Politico, his comments represent “an unusual swerve into domestic US politics by a sitting ambassador and a striking admission of Biden’s vulnerability by one of his most loyal political allies.” The Biden campaign has spent much of the past few days trying not avoid “fretting” – as they said in a statement – about the latest wave of grim polling on the 2024 election, which showed that former President and current candidate Donald Trump is leading Biden significantly in five of the six most important battleground states. A survey by The New York Times and Siena College published on Sunday indicated Trump is holding an 11-point lead in Nevada and smaller margins across Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Only Wisconsin favored Biden – and only by a two-point margin.

The 3,662 polled voters were mostly concerned about the age of Biden – who turns 81 later this month, making him the oldest president in American history – and expressed dissatisfaction over his handling of the economy. Voters, by a 59% to 37% percent margin, said they trusted Trump more than Biden when it comes to the economy – the largest gap of any issue. That result bodes particularly poorly for Biden, given that nearly twice as many voters said economic issues would determine their 2024 vote compared to social issues, such as abortion or gun laws. And those economic voters favored Trump by a landslide 60 percent to 32 percent. The survey also showed that, for the most part, Trump is so far politically surviving the 91 felony charges he is currently facing.

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He’s more Hitler than Hitler himself was. And he can live rent-free in her head until the end of time.

Hillary Clinton Likens Trump To Hitler And Warns He Would End Democracy (G.)

Former senator and secretary of state says Nazi leader was initially elected and that ‘Trump is telling us what he intends to do’ Hillary Clinton has compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler as she offered a blunt warning about the dangers of a second Trump presidency. Trump back in the White House, Clinton said during an appearance on ABC’s daytime talkshow The View on Wednesday, “would be the end of our country as we know it, and I don’t say that lightly”. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state said: “When I was secretary of state, I used to talk about ‘one and done’. What I meant by that is that people would get legitimately elected and then they would try to do away with elections, and do away with opposition, and do away with a free press.”

Then Clinton added: “Hitler was duly elected. All of a sudden somebody with those tendencies, dictatorial, authoritarian tendencies, would be like ‘OK we’re gonna shut this down, we’re gonna throw these people in jail.’ And they didn’t usually telegraph that. Trump is telling us what he intends to do.” Clinton’s comments came days after a Washington Post report detailing how Trump is discussing how to use the justice department to investigate political rivals and former allies who have been critical of him should he return to the White House. He is also discussing invoking the Insurrection Act on his first day in office, which would allow him to use the US military domestically to quell protests and dissent, something he was talked out of by military leaders during his one-term presidency.

Trump’s team is also preparing to staff a potential administration with more radical rightwing lawyers who are less likely to stymie efforts to get in his way as he pushes the bounds of presidential power, the New York Times reported. A New York Times/Siena poll released on Sunday shows Trump leading Joe Biden in several key battleground states. Trump faces criminal charges in four different cases, set to go to trial next year. Winning the presidency is widely understood to be Trump’s best chance of escaping liability. And the poll shows that many voters who were asked would switch back to Biden if Trump is convicted. But Clinton gave a clear warning. “Trump is telling us what he intends to do,” Clinton said on The View. “Take him at his word.”

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Don’t worry, it’s just the Guardian.

“In New York, a judge can draw an adverse inference from a decision to invoke the fifth amendment in a civil case. “You’ve got contradictory testimony. You can use his assertion of the fifth amendment against him. To basically find that he’s lying..”

Trump Is ‘Toast’ In New York Fraud Trial – Former Watergate Prosecutor (G.)

Donald Trump is “toast” in the civil fraud trial involving his business empire and put himself in an incredibly bad position when he agreed to testify in person after previously invoking his fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination, Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, told CNN on Wednesday. “Basically at this point, Donald Trump is toast,” said Akerman, who was an assistant special prosecutor on the 1970s team that investigated President Richard Nixon and top aides for their involvement in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel and subsequent revelation of other nefarious political activities. “I mean he is basically going to be found to be a liar by the judge.”

Trump testified on Monday as part of an ongoing trial in which the New York attorney general, Letitia James, is suing the former president for fraudulently inflating the value of business assets to secure more favorable terms on loans and insurance contracts. The judge overseeing the case, Arthur Engoron, already ruled Trump and the family company, the Trump Organization, did in fact commit fraud – the trial taking place in Manhattan is to determine what penalty they will pay. James is seeking $250m and to bar the former president from conducting real estate business in the state of New York. Trump sat for a deposition in the case in August 2022 and invoked the fifth amendment more than 400 times. Despite that, he testified in court last week that he did not commit fraud.

Trump used his appearance on the stand to rail against the judge and what he said was unfair treatment in the trial, bringing sharp rebuke from the bench. In New York, a judge can draw an adverse inference from a decision to invoke the fifth amendment in a civil case. “You’ve got contradictory testimony. You can use his assertion of the fifth amendment against him. To basically find that he’s lying,” Akerman said. “I just don’t see how this judge, at the end of the day, is not gonna find with respect to Donald Trump ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’.” Akerman added that in the 40 years he had been practicing civil law, a handful of his clients had taken the fifth amendment, but had “never seen somebody do such a stupid move as to suddenly start testifying after you’ve taken the fifth”.

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“..work not supporting the political narrative on climate is now almost impossible to get published in the major science journals..”

“..only about 0.5% of the papers explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly human caused..”

Claimed ‘99% Consensus’ on Climate Change Demolished by New Report (DS)

The invented political notion that 99% of climate scientists believe humans have caused all or most recent global warming has been dealt another significant blow. A group of Israeli scientists has examined the widely-publicised claim by the climate activist Mark Lynas that there is a 99% ‘consensus’ that humans cause most warming. Led by Yonatan Dubi, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Ben Gurion University, the scientists found that massive flaws and biases riddled the Lynas work, implying the conclusions of the study do not follow from the data. This work matters. The claims of a 99% consensus, along with an earlier 97% figure, are widely used in political and media circles to shut down debate over anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Sceptical scientists – even those as distinguished as last year’s Nobel Physics Prize winner Dr. John Clauser – can be dismissed as cranks and deniers.

Of course consensus is not proof, which is notably lacking in the model-driven climate science field. However the Israeli authors observe a consensus claim is “influential in bolstering the reception of a particular thesis within the broader public sphere”. This leads to “less quantifiable statements”, such as humanity is facing an imminent climate crisis, and is followed by global calls for action. Not to put too fine a point on it, the collectivist Net Zero project relies on a fake scientific consensus that crumbles when exposed to the most basic scrutiny. The Lynas et al. paper, which examined the ‘abstracts’ of 3,000 papers, is riddled with errors. It assumes that all papers taking ‘no position’ on AGW are in support of the hypothesis.

The Israeli authors note that sceptical scientists tend not to emphasise scepticism in the opening abstract as work not supporting the political narrative on climate is now almost impossible to get published in the major science journals. Careful analysis of how sceptical papers diplomatically “fit the consensus” suggests the actual number of scientists agreeing with AGW may be on the “low side”, conclude the examining authors. The dictionary definition of consensus is a “general agreement” or “the judgement arrived at by most of those concerned”. The authors are clear in their judgement: “No claim for consensus can be made from the data presented in Lynas et al.” This is not the first time such outlandish ‘consensus’ claims have been critically examined. In 2013, John Cook asserted that 97% of 11,944 peer-reviewed science papers explicitly endorsed the opinion that humans had caused the majority of the warming over the last 150 years.

But, 7,930 of those papers took no position on anthropogenic change and were excluded from the 97% claim. It was subsequently revealed that only about 0.5% of the papers explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly human caused. At the time, a former IPCC author Professor Richard Tol said that Cook’s nonsense paper showed the climate community still had a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. For their part, the Israeli scientists note that their criticisms also apply in general to earlier consensus studies based on abstract scanning, and it is to be regretted that they were “not taken into consideration” by Lynas et al. “It is thus crucially important to understand the limitations of, and the good practices required of, these types of consensus studies”. The matter is said to be too important to be left “blurry and subjective”.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marjorie Taylor Greene are an odd couple. There’s not much they agree on.

US Congress Members Call for Biden to Drop Assange Extradition Request (Sp.)

Sixteen Democratic and Republican members of US Congress have called for US President Joe Biden to withdraw the extradition request by the United States against Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a document published by Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, showed Thursday. “As Members of Congress deeply committed to the principles of free speech and freedom of the press, we write to strongly encourage your Administration to withdraw the U.S. extradition request currently pending against Australian publisher Julian Assange and halt all prosecutorial proceedings against him as soon as possible,” the document, published by Stella Assange on X (formerly known as Twitter), read.

The Members of Congress, namely James McGovern, Thomas Massie, Rashida Tlaib, Eric Burlison, Ilhan Omar, Paul Gosar, Ayanna Pressley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Pramila Jayapal, Matthew Rosendale, Greg Casar, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Jesus Garcia, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Senator Rand Paul, said in the document that “deep concerns about this case have been repeatedly expressed by international media outlets, human right and press freedom advocates, and Members of Congress, among others.” The Members of Congress said they believe the US Department of Justice “acted correctly in 2013 … when it declined to pursue charges against Mr. Assange for publishing the classified documents because it recognized that the prosecution would set a dangerous precedent.” They added that “it is the duty of journalists to seek out sources, including documentary evidence, in order to report to the public on the activities of government.”

“The United States must not pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalizing common journalistic practices and thus chilling the work of the press. We urge you to ensure that this case be brought to a close in as timely a manner as possible,” the document read. Since April 2019, Assange has been held in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison while he faces prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act. If convicted, the WikiLeaks founder could face 175 years in prison. In December 2022, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to fight his extradition. WikiLeaks was founded by Assange in 2006 but rose to prominence in 2010 when it began publishing large-scale leaks of classified government information, including from the US.

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Ed Dowd CBDCs

 

 

 

 

Tucker Mackey

 

 

Choir

 

 


Compared to other bears, polar bears are huge. The largest polar bear, reportedly weighing 1,002 kg, was a male shot at Kotzebue Sound in Alaska in 1960. This specimen, when mounted, stood 3.39 m (11 feet) tall on its hindlegs.

 

 

Chase

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 312023
 
 July 31, 2023  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Henri Gervex Rolla 1878

 

Nuclear War No Worse Than Climate Change – Blinken (RT)
DOJ Tries To Jail Key Hunter Biden Witness Devon Archer (NYP)
Elon Musk Says Russia, Ukraine Should Start ‘Turning Other Cheek’ (Sp.)
Zelensky Frustrated Over Downing of US-Made HIMARS Missiles by Russia (Sp.)
UK Training Elite Ukrainian Force To Seize Crimea Before Christmas (RT)
Veteran US Army Officer Sizes Up Russia’s Naval Power Against US, China (Sp.)
Germany May Face Irreversible Deindustrialization – CDU Chair (Sp.)
Ye Restored To X (RT)
‘Facebook Files’ Show Biden Admin Even Targeted Jokes For Censorship (Turley)
Former US President Trump Spends $40 Million On Legal Fees (Az.)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1685608840748789760

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idiot.

Nuclear War No Worse Than Climate Change – Blinken (RT)

The threat of nuclear annihilation is no more serious than the threat of climate change, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. Blinken’s critics argue that Washington is risking nuclear war by arming Ukraine. In an appearance on 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday, Blinken was asked whether nuclear war or climate change represented “the greater threat to humanity.”“Well, you can’t, I think, have a hierarchy,” he replied. “There are some things that are front and center…including potential conflict, but there’s no doubt that climate represents an existential challenge to all of us.” “So for us, this is the existential challenge of our times,” he continued, adding that this “doesn’t mean that in the meantime there are not severe challenges to the international order like Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

With July set to go down as the hottest month in history, the UN has called for “accelerated action” to reduce carbon emissions, including a global end to coal use by 2040. Earlier this summer, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry demanded an overhaul of the world’s agricultural system to reduce carbon emissions from farming in a bid to avert “half a degree of warming by mid-century.” In Ukraine, however, President Joe Biden’s administration continues its policy of open-ended support for Kiev’s military. The US and its NATO allies have armed Ukraine with long-range missiles and are currently discussing the supply of American-made fighter jets to Kiev, amid repeated warnings from Moscow that such weapons dramatically raise the chances of an all-out war between Russia and the West.

Kiev’s forces have also made repeated attempts to target Russian nuclear power plants, the Kremlin warned earlier this month, accusing Ukraine and its sponsors of “nuclear terrorism.” In the US, warnings about the imminent threat of nuclear conflict have primarily come from the isolationist wing of the Republican Party. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump have been two of the loudest voices calling for an end to the US’ support for Kiev, with Trump declaring in April that the world was facing “the most dangerous period” in history because of nuclear weapons and “incompetent” leadership in Washington. “Every day this proxy battle continues, we risk global war,” Trump said in March, arguing that “we should support regime change in the United States” to avert this risk.

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Confusing.

DOJ Tries To Jail Key Hunter Biden Witness Devon Archer (NYP)

The Justice Department is pushing for Devon Archer to report to prison — just days ahead of the former Hunter Biden business partner’s hotly anticipated congressional testimony, according to new court documents. Manhattan federal prosecutors on Saturday filed a letter requesting a judge set a date for Archer, 58, to start his one-year sentence in a fraud case unrelated to the first son’s various scandals. The request came after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Archer’s 2018 conviction last Tuesday on two felony charges for his role in a conspiracy to defraud a Native American tribe. Archer — who is set to deliver closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Monday about Biden — had been challenging the conviction.


In light of the appeals court ruling, the DOJ “respectfully requests that the defendant be ordered to surrender, at a date and time determined by the Court, to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons to commence his term of imprisonment,” reads the letter to Judge Ronnie Abrams. Archer’s attorney, Matthew Schwartz, said Sunday his client would still testify on Capitol Hill as planned despite allegations the DOJ letter was an intimidation tactic. “We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee,” Schwartz said in a statement, per Politico. “To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation,” Schwartz added. “In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators.”

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“there are no angels in war..”

Elon Musk Says Russia, Ukraine Should Start ‘Turning Other Cheek’ (Sp.)

Entrepreneur Elon Musk believes that Ukraine and Russia should act according to an old Christian principle of ‘turning the other cheek’ and should forgive each other to get out of the vicious cycle.”The thing is that people in Ukraine and in Russia can find a million reasons to hate the other side, if you just look at the history,” Musk said on Friday in an online conversation on X platform. “So this is why you know, the Christian principle of turning the other cheek is a very wise one because if you do not ultimately forgive your enemy, you’re stuck in a cycle of retribution forever.” There has to be some realism and we cannot label Russia as “pure devil” and Ukraine “pure angel” because “there are no angels in war,” Musk added.


“As we speak the flower of Ukrainian youth is dying in trenches,” the entrepreneur continued. ‘Turning the other cheek’ is an old Christian phrase that has its origin in the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. One should respond to the other with retort. Elon Musk had an online discussion on his newly named platform “X” with the American entrepreneur and a candidate in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries Vivek Ramaswamy on Friday. Musk spent a considerable amount of time talking with Ramaswamy about the Ukrainian crisis. Ramaswamy voiced his opinion that NATO should not admit Ukraine and that the Pentagon’s leadership needs new people.

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“We did not understand that the Russian population actually supports its government,” Macgregor underscored.”

Zelensky Frustrated Over Downing of US-Made HIMARS Missiles by Russia (Sp.)

Over the past few months, the Russian air defense systems have destroyed a whole array of Kiev’s HIMARS missiles in the special military operation zone in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is uneasy over the fact of the Russian air defenses successfully downing advanced missiles that the US delivers to Kiev, foreign policy expert and former Pentagon adviser Douglas Macgregor has told a YouTube channel. “The Russian air defenses are superb, is the best word that I can come up with. There is no such thing as perfect integrated air defenses; something will always get through, but overwhelmingly, they manage to shoot down HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] and all sorts of missiles,” Macgregor said.

According to him, Russia downing HIMARS missiles prompted “the frustration that we saw in Mr. Zelensky,” who was “furious, angry, and distraught.” “The losses inside his country are horrific; it’s only American cash that really sustains this Ukrainian state. It’s on life support and a humane thing would be to put an end to it and negotiate […],” Macgregor added, in an apparent reference to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF)’s massive death toll. The remarks followed the ex-Pentagon adviser’s interview with another YouTube channel, in which he referred to Russia-related mistakes the US made before getting involved in the Ukraine conflict.

“[…] They [in Washington] were wrong about Russia. They did not understand what were they dealing with. They thought that Russia was still the backward, confused, chaotic state that it was in the 1990s. They missed entirely all of the things that had been done in the last twenty years by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and his supporters. I’m not here to say that everything that they’ve done is perfect or has worked brilliantly, but it very definitely recovered Russia from the ash-heap of history. At the same time, we did not understand that Russians had maintained this large scientific and industrial base to produce and manufacture military equipment. We did not understand that the Russian population actually supports its government,” Macgregor underscored.

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2,000? Know how big Crimea is?

UK Training Elite Ukrainian Force To Seize Crimea Before Christmas (RT)

British instructors are training an elite Ukrainian unit that is supposed to help Kiev retake Crimea, the Sunday Express has claimed, citing sources. Ukrainian officials have been talking for months about plans to take back the Russian peninsula during its much-hyped counteroffensive, which has so far failed to live up to expectations in the West. According to the report, more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers comprising “an elite commando brigade” arrived at a training camp in Devon in southwest Britain to prepare for an attack that is supposed to “recapture Crimea before Christmas.” The brigade is expected to “form the tip of the spear” and will be supported by two other forces, the tabloid’s sources claimed.

The Express also noted that the operation would involve combined strikes from air, land, and sea, with Kiev’s armored formations attempting to breach Russian defenses while being backed by long-range attacks using Western-supplied missiles. An unnamed senior defense source told the paper that UK instructors aim to teach Kiev’s troops how to use NATO tactics to “shape the battle space” before committing forces for a decisive thrust. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky outlined Kiev’s ambition to reclaim Crimea through a major counteroffensive back in late April. However, when Ukraine launched its push against Russian lines in the early days of June, it failed to gain any ground and suffered heavy casualties, according to Moscow.

Despite apparent problems with the counteroffensive, Kirill Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, claimed on Saturday that Kiev would take Crimea “soon,” without giving an exact timeline. Last year, he already predicted that this would happen in the spring of 2023, a projection that failed to come true. Meanwhile, in March former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that, should Ukraine attempt to seize back Crimea, Moscow could resort to “all means of protection,” including its nuclear arsenal. The Crimean Peninsula overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia in a public referendum in 2014 following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Neither Ukraine nor Western countries have recognized its results.

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“..only 5 percent of the components for military shipbuilding are “dependent on foreign imports.”

Veteran US Army Officer Sizes Up Russia’s Naval Power Against US, China (Sp.)

Today, Russia celebrates Navy Day, a national holiday that is observed annually nationwide on the last Sunday of July. This year’s Navy Day is being celebrated as Russia continues to upgrade and enhance its naval capabilities, despite the US-led West doubling down with their endless economic sanctions. Yet even as Washington and its allies seem willing to pull all the stops in its economic war against Russia, it seems that the West’s sanctions failed to harm Russia’s naval projects, says Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and an international consultant “Sanctions have had little impact on modernization efforts,” Rasmussen told Sputnik, referring to Moscow’s drive to upgrade its naval capabilities. “Russia has taken steps to move weapon and defense security manufacturing to be based on internal/domestic capabilities.”

He pointed out that Alexei Rakhmanov, who heads the United Shipbuilding Corporation, earlier revealed that the West’s sanctions against Russia’s shipbuilding industry were feeble and had next to no effect whatsoever, brading them “practically unnoticeable,” since only 5 percent of the components for military shipbuilding are “dependent on foreign imports.” According to Rasmussen, the Russian Navy is currently considered “the third strongest globally after the United States and China to include a strong submarine presence,” and while many of its elements are either aging or are nearing their “life expectancy,” Russia’s efforts “have focused on the modernization of both new and upgraded forces.” “Several surface vessels are under development and will soon see active surface. Additionally, developments are underway with submarine modernization across 6 different submarine classes/types each providing unique capabilities to include the ability to carry [the] newest weapon systems,” the US veteran remarked. “Russia’s submarine modernization is the largest since WW2.”

He also argued that growing naval cooperation between Russia, China and Iran should be a cause for concern for the “foreign policy and defense makers” in Washington. “One of the main concerns for decades has been the potential of Russia and China developing an alliance. The current US administration policies have accelerated this partnership as well as adding Iran,” Rasmussen mused. “Hence, three of the strongest regional players globally seem more aligned than ever with increased cooperation and strategic alignment. Current western policymakers seem to be living in a world of past years and have not come to fully appreciate today’s reality.” Rasmussen’s remarks come mere days after the conclusion of the Russo-Chinese joint naval exercise dubbed North/Interaction–2023 in the Sea of Japan. This exercise involved Russian and Chinese warships and their crews practicing a variety of tasks such as convoying ships, anti-submarine warfare and naval combat.

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Wannabe Green.

Germany May Face Irreversible Deindustrialization – CDU Chair (Sp.)

The German economy is expected to be the worst-performing among the G7 nations this year, with the country’s GDP likely to plummet by at least 0.3%. Germany is facing further economic decline and deindustrialization, Friedrich Merz, the chairman of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has told a German news agency. He pointed to the country’s grim economic indicators, including a summer rise in unemployment, a contraction in industrial production and a 16% increase in bankruptcies in the first half of 2023. “Germany is losing competitiveness. This is not an abrupt process that triggers an overnight economic crisis [and] instead, we are experiencing a gradual process of deindustrialization in our country. You have to take this very seriously [because] something is happening here at the moment that may no longer be reversible. The federal government must react to this now,” Merz warned.

The CDU chairman spoke after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claimed earlier this week that Germany would be the worst-performing major economy in the world this year as the country’s manufacturing sector remains under pressure. According to the IMF, the German economy will suffer the only contraction in the Group of Seven (G7) before the end of the year, with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expected to fall 0.3%. The IMF earlier forecast that growth in Germany’s GDP would stay near zero in 2023, before gradually increasing to between 1% and 2% in the period of 2024 to 2026. This was echoed by Clemens Fuest, president of the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, who told a US news agency that “it looks like the German economy is really having a hard time getting out of this recession.”

The Ifo earlier reported that the German Business Climate Index declined to 87.3 points in July versus last month’s 88.6 and the consensus forecast of 88.0. The index is calculated on the basis of a survey of about 9,000 German enterprises and remains the main indicator of the economic situation in the country. Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels, told Sputnik in this context that “long term, reliable, low cost and abundant energy supplies from Russia have been pivotal to German industrial sector development and strength.” He added that the destruction of the North Stream pipelines in September 2022 was “highly symbolic (cutting German energy ties with Russia and Eurasia) and it has had tremendous consequences for the German economy.”

Raffone warned that “without the convenient Russian energy supplies, Germany has entered (again) a period of industrial difficulty that impacts the general economy and the life of people.” Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) part, for his part, told Sputnik that Nord Stream’s collapse and Berlin’s move to join the West’s energy sanctions against Russia are “not the only source of Germany’s declining economic fortunes.”

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Just 5 years ago (or even 1?!), nobody would have had any idea what this headline meant.

Ye Restored To X (RT)

Kanye West was reinstated to X on Saturday after the social network formerly known as Twitter was provided with assurances that the controversial rapper will not use the platform to spread anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive content, the Wall Street Journal reported. West, legally known as Ye, was suspended from the social network – newly rebranded by owner Elon Musk – late last year, shortly after he posted an image of a swastika merging with a star of David. The ban was overturned on Saturday – a move which came after Musk restored numerous prominent Twitter accounts that had been suspended under its prior ownership. According to the Wall Street Journal, who cited an anonymous source close to the situation, X has been assured that West’s newly restored account will not be used to distribute anti-Semitic rhetoric.

He has not yet posted to the social network as of Sunday afternoon. West’s formal suspension from Twitter followed a string of anti-Semitic statements in interviews and on social media last year, including an October tweet in which he said he would go “death con 3” on members of the Jewish community. His account was locked by Twitter afterwards, before he was later readmitted to the platform. Shortly after his return last year, West praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on Twitter before posting the swastika image which appeared to lead to his suspension. Elon Musk declared at the time: “I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”

In March, West said that he “liked Jewish people again” while speaking about the movie ‘21 Jump Street’ featuring the American actor Jonah Hill. West will not be allowed to monetize his account under the terms of his readmission to Twitter, the WSJ added in its Saturday report. Elon Musk announced earlier this year that certain high-profile content creators would receive a share of revenue from advertisements linked to their posts. 24-time Grammy Award winner West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has spoken about his struggle with mental health. He was released from a high profile partnership with sportswear company Adidas in October following public backlash against his offensive statements. This came just days after West said in an interview that, “I can say anti-Semitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me.”

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“Facebook executives were facing the same insatiable government desire for censorship..”

‘Facebook Files’ Show Biden Admin Even Targeted Jokes For Censorship (Turley)

COVID-19, the flu and the common cold all walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “what is this? Some kind of sick joke?” Indeed, it is one of the many COVID-19 jokes that raged on the internet during the pandemic. What citizens did not know is that the Biden administration was tracking the laugh lines for censorship, along with other views it found neither funny nor helpful.The newly released “Facebook Files” revealed a concerted effort by the Biden administration to censor not just false information, but also true information, along with jokes that its functionaries simply found annoying. Months ago, I testified before Congress on censorship after Elon Musk’s release of internal Twitter communications, also known as the Twitter Files.

I warned that the government was engaging in “censorship by surrogate,” using corporate allies to do indirectly what it is legally prevented from doing directly. Facebook had refused to open its own files on government censorship efforts. That came to an end when the House Judiciary Committee finally moved to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress. The resulting Facebook Files confirmed what many of us have suspected for years. Indeed, the emails proved to be a mirror image of what had occurred at Twitter — a massive effort by the government to pressure the company to censor its critics and other dissenting voices. Facebook executives used similar language to lament the “overwhelming” effort of the government to censor citizens and its unwillingness to take “no” for an answer.

Over at Twitter, executives described a deluge of demands for censorship from federal officials at the FBI and other agencies. One official wrote that “[t]he FBI has some folks in the Baltimore field office and at HQ that are just doing keyword searches for violations. This is probably the 10th request I have dealt with in the last 5 days.” In January 2020, Twitter’s then-director of policy and philanthropy, Carlos Monje Jr., expressed unease about the pressure coming from the FBI. “They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff),” he said. One email from August 2022 sent “long lists of newspapers, tweets or YouTube videos” deemed to be voicing “anti-Ukraine narratives.” Even satirical and comedy sites were reportedly designated by the government for removal.

Now we know that Facebook executives were facing the same insatiable government desire for censorship. In an April 2021 email, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president for global affairs, wrote to colleagues that Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to Biden who was steering COVID-19 policy, “was outraged — not too strong a word to describe his reaction — that [Facebook] did not remove this post.” The post was actually a humorous meme shared by a user named Timothy McComas. It featured actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from the film “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” pointing at a TV with a beer and cigarette in hand. The caption read: “10 years from now, you will be watching TV and hear…. ‘Did you or a loved one take the COVID vaccine? You may be entitled…’”

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Campaign funds.

Former US President Trump Spends $40 Million On Legal Fees (Az.)

Former US President Donald Trump’s political action committee is expected to report on Monday that it has spent about $40 million in legal fees in the first half of 2023 to defend Trump and his advisers, among others, the Washington Post reported, Report informs. The New York Times separately reported that the PAC has sought the return of $60 million it made to another group supporting Trump, a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

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Moonwalk
https://twitter.com/i/status/1685700030710116352

 

 

tail

 

 


Discovered by researchers with the Census of Marine Life at a depth of 2,750 meters, this sea cucumber is so transparent that its digestive tract is on spectacular display

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 142021
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Children’s games 1560

 

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine With Comirnaty Label Still Not Available in US (ET)
Modelling: Covid Cases Could Peak At 5,300 A Week In Auckland Next Year (G.)
Aspirin Not Recommended For Most Adults To Prevent Heart Attacks (Hill)
Unexpected Allies (Ishmael)
Southwest CEO Says No Employees Will Be Fired Over Vaccine Mandate (AmG)
Chicago Police Union Head Urges Cops To Defy Vaccine Mandate (AP)
Vaccine Mandate Challenges Falter, Judges Shrug At Natural Immunity (JTN)
Victoria Nuland Is In Moscow Negotiating The Status Of Ukraine’s Donbass (ZH)
The Hidden $150 Trillion Agenda Behind The Climate Change “Crusade” (ZH)
Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class (Webb)

 

 

In England during weeks 36 to 39 in 2020, there were 571 COVID deaths.
In the same period in 2021, there were 3,026 COVID deaths.
2,281 (75%) of these deaths were fully vaccinated, i.e. >= 14 days post dose 2.

 

 

Rogan and Gupta

 

 

“You cannot interchange BioNTech’s Cominarty with Pfizer’s [shot] from a legal standpoint. They are legally distinct.”

What an odd game this has become.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine With Comirnaty Label Still Not Available in US (ET)

Officials in 19 states confirmed this week to The Epoch Times they have not received doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine labeled Comirnaty. So did pharmacies in New York, California, and Missouri. A Pfizer spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that there are no doses of Comirnaty in the United States as of Oct. 12. “The FDA-approved Comirnaty and the EUA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have the same formulation and, according to the FDA labeling, can be used interchangeably to provide the COVID-19 vaccination series,” a Pfizer spokesman told The Epoch Times. However, lawyers representing clients challenging vaccine requirements, say the lack of availability means vaccine mandates based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval are unlawful.

“Under the emergency use authorization, everyone has an option to accept or refuse the product. And that means every person, military and civilian. So this is critical. All of the mandates, from the military to the civilian population, are violating federal law,” Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group, told The Epoch Times. The situation would be different if Comirnaty was available, Staver said. “You cannot interchange BioNTech’s Cominarty with Pfizer’s [shot] from a legal standpoint. They are legally distinct.” Contact with state and federal officials and pharmacies revealed widespread confusion regarding the differences between the approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the version that received emergency use authorization (EUA) in December 2020 and continues to be administered under EUA now.

A number of officials were unaware of any differences and others insisted they were the same for all intents and purposes, including several officials with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which handles distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s the same thing,” an HHS official told The Epoch Times. That’s a different message than that being sent to states, some of which have been told by federal officials not to expect doses of Comirnaty for a while. “The CDC anticipates that Comirnaty will begin to ship some time in November at the earliest,” a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Health told The Epoch Times in an email, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The Maryland Department of Health has been told by the CDC that Comirnaty will not ship until the end of October/beginning of November,” a spokesman with the Maryland Department of Health told The Epoch Times in an email.

Read more …

What a success story!

Modelling: Covid Cases Could Peak At 5,300 A Week In Auckland Next Year (G.)

New Zealand is preparing to face up to 5,300 cases of Covid-19 a week in Auckland and the neighbouring region of Northland alone next year, even with a vaccination rate of 90%, according to modelling from the Ministry of Health. The minister of health, Andrew Little revealed the plan for how the health system could manage a surge in cases after the current vaccination drive, as the country recorded 71 new cases on Thursday. It includes upping intensive care (ICU) beds, preparing to relocate health staff to smaller regions if an outbreak emerges, giving nurses preemptive ICU training and preparing to support people recovering at home.


The number of people in ICU and high dependency units (HDU) is currently at roughly two-thirds of capacity and 16% of available ventilators are being utilised. The capacity ICU and HDU beds nationwide can be surged to 550 beds from its current capacity of 320-340 beds. Ministry of Health chief medical officer Andrew Connolly said the system is well prepared, but any system would be overwhelmed if the numbers became too great. Between 0.2 and 0.4% of Delta patients will require ICU care, while the others may need a “short, sharp burst” of hospital-level care, Connolly said. Providing vaccination levels are high, the vast number of cases would be able to recover at home in the future, with about 5% needing hospital care, Little said.

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Mere days after it was recommended for Covid. Next week: vitamin D.

Aspirin Not Recommended For Most Adults To Prevent Heart Attacks (Hill)

An influential U.S. panel of experts changed its recommendations for people who take low dosages of aspirin in order to prevent first heart attacks or strokes. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in a draft proposal released Tuesday recommended that adults ages 40 to 59 should only be taking low dosages of the blood thinner if their physician determines that they are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Aspirin acts as an anticoagulant, which means it aids in preventing blood clots from forming, which is how heart attacks and strokes typically develop. Taking daily doses of aspirin was thought to lower the risk of these clots, and therefore lower the risk of heart disease and stokes.

In addition, the new guidance detailed in the draft recommends that people over the age of 60 not take aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes. Previously, guidance had recommended a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin for people over the age of 50 who were at higher risk for heart attacks or strokes in the next decade, as long as they were not at a higher risk of bleeding. This move marks the first time that a U.S. health task force has recommended that adults in their 40s speak with their doctors about aspirin for heart health. This draft recommendation does not apply to people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke. The task force still recommends that those people take aspirin preventatively.

“The latest evidence is clear: starting a daily aspirin regimen in people who are 60 or older to prevent a first heart attack or stroke is not recommended,” Tseng said in a statement. “However, this Task Force recommendation is not for people already taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke; they should continue to do so unless told otherwise by their clinician.”

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Ishmael is Karl Denninger’s alter ego.

Unexpected Allies (Ishmael)

Strikes and quitting jobs are the last peaceful means left before the guns and gasoline come out. If the right 10% of Americans quit, the ones who move people and freight around the country, clown world would disappear in a week. Even idiots in D.C. will understand when their grocery store shelves are bare. When planes and trains don’t move, they’ll get it. Those folks have the ability to end it the quickest, but what about everyone who doesn’t work in transportation? Same thing, strikes and walkouts work. Twenty percent of the workers at any job do 80% of the work. If you’re in the 20%, you leaving throws things into chaos. Oh, the company might not realize it for a while since many have a lot of vacation and sick leave to burn before slamming the door. Companies who pontificated how replaceable everyone is are going to find out the hard way they’re wrong.

Oops. When 80% of the money and productivity walk out the door they can’t import an H1B or hire a recent college grad. Training? Forget it. The company is stuck with a huge, gaping knowledge hole and the only one capable of training the replacement walked out the door! Don’t have one of those sexy jobs? You might be part of the 20% and not realize it. This could be as simple as being the only person who knows how to order supplies in a timely manner or does all the little things everyone takes for granted but no one knows exactly who does it. The secretary throws sand into the gears on her way out because a design engineer has to figure out how to order post-its. And God help you if the person who walks is in payroll. Whoever you are, you have the ability to bankrupt the company.

Who are your allies? What pool of people out there are most likely to act along with you (striked and quitting)? Some allies are obvious: folks in the “ain’t no way, no how, no body jabbing me,” crowd are natural allies. Their actions perfectly align. Jab mandate? Good-bye, and the door will not hit them on the way out. Some people got the first round of clot shots, but don’t believe in mandates. If they strike or walk, they’re allies. Some will, some won’t. If they are supportive, they aren’t enemies, which counts for something. Some want you to take the jab because they did. These are not allies. They range from idiots to true believers. Don’t engage with idiots. Don’t explain how to pour water out of a boot, they’ll never acknowledge the boot or water exist. Save your energy for the enemy: the true believer. There’s the pool of potential allies.

Looks pretty shallow: purebloods with ****-you money and maybe a few sympathizers. Remember the 20% rule and don’t lose hope. But wait purebloods, there is another group of natural allies: Those who got ****ed by the vax and survived (so far). People whose loved ones face expensive health problems are going to sit this one out. The parent who was “so proud” of their kid for getting the clot shot only to have him end up in the ICU with a heart attack? They are going to do whatever it takes to pay for the best treatments possible, including ****ing themselves up the ass to keep their insurance. These are not the allies. The working adults who got screwed by the vax are. Screwed. Hospitalizations, cancer, autoimmune disorders, permanent disabilities. Not sick for three days, screwed by life altering side effects. Why are they allies? ALLIES ACT. The act is “not working.”

Read more …

Mixed messages at best.

Southwest CEO Says No Employees Will Be Fired Over Vaccine Mandate (AmG)

During an interview with ABC News Tuesday, Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, stated that no employees will be fired over the company’s vaccine mandate. However, the airline announced on October 4 that all 56,000 U.S. Southwest employees needed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 24, or face termination. The CEO also told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that there was “no evidence” that any type of demonstration against the mandate had contributed to the massive service disruptions over the holiday weekend. Over 2,000 Southwest flights were cancelled, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded. “There’s just no evidence of that,” Kelly said. “Our people are working very hard, they’re doing a great job, I’m very proud of them.”

He did acknowledge that the vaccine mandate is “very controversial,” and not something he wanted for his company. “This is a government mandate, it’s a presidential order, and we’re doing our best to comply with that according to the deadlines that have been set,” Kelly said. The CEO told employees last week that the airline had no choice but to comply with the regime’s vaccine mandate. “Southwest Airlines is a federal contractor and we have no viable choice but to comply with the U.S. government mandate for employees to be vaccinated, and — like other airlines — we’re taking steps to comply,” Kelly said. An executive order was issued last month requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated, but no executive order, or federal regulation has yet been issued for private companies.

Joe Biden on September 9 unveiled his draconian plan to force all private businesses with more than 100 employees to make their workers get inoculated with the experimental COVID vaccines, or face weekly testing. A month later, no official guidance on the alleged mandate has been issued by the White House, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or the Department of Labor. During his interview on ABC Tuesday, Kelly stated that Southwest would not be terminating any employees who refuse the injections. “We’re not going to fire any employees over this. We’re urging all of our employees to get vaccinated. If they can’t get vaccinated, we’re urging them to seek an accommodation, so we’ll do everything we can to support our people here,” he said. The guidance below went out to all Southwest employees on October 4:

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“I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history.”

Chicago Police Union Head Urges Cops To Defy Vaccine Mandate (AP)

The head of the Chicago police officers union has called on its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave. In the video posted online Tuesday and first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the work week. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who won’t submit to semiweekly coronavirus testing will be placed on unpaid leave.

Catanzara suggested that if the city does enforce its requirement and many union members refuse to comply with it, “It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up.” In the video, Catanzara instructs officers to file for exemptions to receiving the vaccine but to not enter that information into the city’s vaccine portal. He said that although he has made clear his vaccine status, “I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history.”

During a news conference Wednesday, Lightfoot accused Catanzara of spreading false information and dismissed most of his statements as “untrue or patently false.” She said COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be effective and that getting vaccinated would protect city workers and their families. “What we’re focused on is making sure that we maximize the opportunity to create a very safe workplace,” Lightfoot said. “The data is very clear. It is unfortunate that the FOP leadership has chosen to put out a counter narrative. But the fact of the matter is, if you are not vaccinated, you are playing with your life, the life of your family, the life of your colleagues and members of the public.”

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Hot potatoes.

Vaccine Mandate Challenges Falter, Judges Shrug At Natural Immunity (JTN)

Legal challenges to COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the basis of natural immunity are faltering, even as more research shows the comparable durability of the protection that natural antibodies afford against infection. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney denied a preliminary injunction Friday against Michigan State University’s mandate, citing an order last month that left in place the University of California’s mandate as litigation proceeds. The course of litigation seems to be substantiating a warning by University of Notre Dame Law Professor Gerard Bradley, a vocal critic of mandates, that judges would be “very wary” of lawsuits that are “very heavily dependent upon medical facts and statistics.”

Religious challenges are faring better. A federal judge Tuesday blocked New York Gov. Kathy Hochul from removing religious exemptions from a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers originally imposed by her predecessor, the disgraced Andrew Cuomo. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is also seeking to “clarify” a state law that bans discrimination by public or private institutions based on a person’s “conscientious refusal to receive” healthcare services. Pritzker’s spokesperson told ABC 7 the Health Care Right of Conscience Act is at risk of being “misinterpreted by fringe elements.” The Fraternal Order of Police said it’s considering invoking the law against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID vaccine mandate for city employees.

As noted by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which is representing MSU employee Jeanna Morris, Judge Maloney previously issued an injunction against a vaccine mandate that violated the religious beliefs of student athletes, who “had no immunity whatsoever.” The public interest law firm didn’t answer a query from Just the News on whether it plans to revisit its litigation strategy in the wake of these setbacks. Its first natural immunity challenge prompted George Mason University to issue a medical exemption to law professor Todd Zywicki, but the vaccine mandate remains in force. The latest study to verify the protective power of natural immunity was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

In a study of more than 800,000 Swedish families, Scandinavian university researchers found that family members without “immunity” — prior infection or vaccination — had a 45-97% lower risk of COVID infection “as the number of immune family members increased.” “The results were similar for the outcome of COVID-19 infection that was severe enough to warrant a hospital stay,” they wrote. Notably, the researchers weren’t able to perform a sensitivity analysis in fully vaccinated individuals because too few participated in the study. Vaccination is also proving insufficient to protect older people, according to U.K. government figures published last week that showed fully vaccinated older age groups now had higher infection rates than unvaccinated younger age groups.

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In what context do you send someone that you know the other side absolutely despises?

Victoria Nuland Is In Moscow Negotiating The Status Of Ukraine’s Donbass (ZH)

Look who’s back in Eastern Europe – this time forced to deal directly with the Kremlin after a half-decade of military and political stalemate in war-torn eastern Ukraine. Victoria “F*ck The EU” Nuland is currently in Moscow for high-level talks with top Russian officials. Among multiple tense issues, there’s reportedly been progress on the situation in eastern Ukraine, related to working out a potential lasting political settlement leading to the cessation of violence there. As Biden’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Nuland kicked off three days of talks Tuesday and into Wednesday with Yury Ushakov, the top foreign policy aide to Putin. Interestingly the Kremlin agreed to a temporary lifting of travel sanctions against her just to enter the country for the meeting.

After initial meetings, Nuland hailed “the frank, productive review” of US-Russia relations, noting that the two sides are “committed to a stable, predictable relationship,” according to a US Embassy statement. On Tuesday after her arrival she had met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, reportedly for more than an hour-and-a-half. The US side has indicated “no breakthroughs” in US-Russia relations as of yet, which comes after a year of sanctions and counter-sanctions targeting diplomats and mutual restrictions on media entities. It’s among the highest level meetings since Putin and Biden’s June summit in Geneva where the two leaders pledged better, frank and open communication – given Nuland is the number three highest official at the State Department.

While the American delegation hasn’t commented to this level of specifics, Russian media is citing Kremlin deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak as saying after Wednesday meetings that “A thorough and constructive dialogue took place regarding the settlement of the conflict in south-east Ukraine.” Kozak told the top daily newspaper Kommersant that there’s general agreement over mutual recognition of special autonomy for Donbass – where the Russia-backed, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic have been in a military stalemate with Ukrainian national forces for the past six years: “It was confirmed that the Minsk agreements remain the only basis for a settlement,” he continued. “During the talks, the US confirmed its position… that significant progress towards the settlement of the conflict is unlikely without any agreement on future parameters of Donbass autonomy. In other words, giving the region a special status within Ukraine.”

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You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.

The Hidden $150 Trillion Agenda Behind The Climate Change “Crusade” (ZH)

Responding rhetorically to the key question, “how much will it cost?”, BofA cuts to the case and writes $150 trillion over 30 years – some $5 trillion in annual investments – amounting to twice current global GDP! At this point the report gets good because since it has to be taken seriously, it has to also be at least superficially objective. And here, the details behind the numbers, do we finally learn why the net zero lobby is so intent on pushing this green utopia – simple answer: because it provides an endless stream of taxpayer and debt-funded “investments” which in turn need a just as constant degree of debt monetization by central banks.

Consider this: the covid pandemic has so far led to roughly $30 trillion in fiscal and monetary stimulus across the developed world. And yet, not even two years later, the effect of this $30 trillion is wearing off, yet despite the Biden’s admin to keep the Covid Crisis at bay, threatening to lock down society at a moment’s notice with the help of the complicit press, the population has made it clear that it will no longer comply with what is clear tyranny of the minority. And so, the establishment needs a new perpetual source (and use) of funding, a crisis of sorts, but one wrapped in a virtuous, noble facade. This is where the crusade against climate change comes in.

Much digital ink has been spilled on the philosophy and debate behind the green movement, and we won’t bore you with the details, but we will instead focus on the very clear, and very tangible financial consequences of a world where the establishment agrees, whether with democratic support or not, to allocate $5 trillion in new capital toward some nebulous cause of “fighting global warming.” Here are the highlights from Bank of America:

• Will it be inflationary? Yes, expect 1-3% pa shock. This is for the next 30 years… over and on top of any already present inflation!
• What are the bottlenecks? Geopolitics, climate wars and EM.
• Do we have the resources? Nickel and Lithium are just two that could be in deficit as soon as 2024.
• Is green technology really green? Not really (see below).

Drilling down on the absolutely staggering costs, at an estimated $150 trillion over 30 years, boosting funding sources to $5tn a year is equivalent to the entire US tax base, or 3x the COVID-19 stimulus this decade. Here are the details: The energy transition to a net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) economy by 2050 will be a very expensive exercise, estimated by the IEA at $150tn of total investment, over a period of 30 year. At $5tn p.a, the IEA see it costing as much as the entire US tax base every year for 30 years. Not high enough for you? Hang on then because… BNEF has a higher estimate that the total investment needed for energy supply and infrastructure could be as high as $173tn through 2050, or up to $5.8tn annually, which is nearly three times the amount invested on an annual basis today.

Read more …

Nature exists to be exploited.

Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class (Webb)

Last month, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced it had developed a new asset class and accompanying listing vehicle meant “to preserve and restore the natural assets that ultimately underpin the ability for there to be life on Earth.” Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end of goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.

Though described as acting like “any other entity” on the NYSE, it is alleged that NACs “will use the funds to help preserve a rain forest or undertake other conservation efforts, like changing a farm’s conventional agricultural production practices.” Yet, as explained towards the end of this article, even the creators of NACs admit that the ultimate goal is to extract near-infinite profits from the natural processes they seek to quantify and then monetize. NYSE COO Michael Blaugrund alluded to this when he said the following regarding the launch of NACs: “Our hope is that owning a natural asset company is going to be a way that an increasingly broad range of investors have the ability to invest in something that’s intrinsically valuable, but, up to this point, was really excluded from the financial markets.”

Framed with the lofty talk of “sustainability” and “conservation”, media reports on the move in outlets like Fortune couldn’t avoid noting that NACs open the doors to “a new form of sustainable investment” which “has enthralled the likes of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink over the past several years even though there remain big, unanswered questions about it.” Fink, one of the world’s most powerful financial oligarchs, is and has long been a corporate raider, not an environmentalist, and his excitement about NACs should give even its most enthusiastic proponents pause if this endeavor was really about advancing conservation, as is being claimed.

The creation and launch of NACs has been two years in the making and saw the NYSE team up with the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), in which the NYSE itself holds a minority stake. IEG’s three investors are the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin America-focused branch of the multilateral development banking system that imposes neoliberal and neo-colonalist agendas through debt entrapment; the Rockefeller Foundation, the foundation of the American oligarch dynasty whose activities have long been tightly enmeshed with Wall Street; and Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm chiefly focused on the digital healthcare space. Notably, the IADB and the Rockefeller Foundation are closely tied to the related pushes for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and biometric Digital IDs.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 092021
 
 August 9, 2021  Posted by at 4:50 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Up Stories Evia 2021

 

 

The IPCC came out with another report today, which is a lead-in to another climate conference, this time in Glasgow in Oct-Nov 2021. All the headlines and reactions are exactly the same as they always are: There is no time to lose!, We have to act now!, but also: There is still hope! Since it’s all the same, I thought I’d repost an article from December 2015, ahead of the Paris conference named COP21. All I had to do was change the number and call this one not CON21 but CON26.

No, we’re not going to act in time, and no, there is no hope to halt the degradation of our planet. It’s all long baked into the cake, and if it wasn’t we’d still not stop it. We can do things as individuals but not as a group, let alone as a species. We cannot change our approach to the problems because we cannot change who we are.

 

 

I don’t know what makes me lose faith in mankind faster, the way we destroy our habitat through wanton random killing of everything alive, plants, animals and people, through pollution and climate change and blood-thirsty sheer stupidity, or if it is the way these things are being ‘protested’.

I’m certainly not a climate denier or anything like that, though I do think there are questions people gloss over very easily. And one of those questions has to be that of priorities. Is there anyone who has thought over whether the COP21 stage in Paris is the right one to target in protest, whatever shape it takes? Is there anyone who doesn’t think the ‘leaders’ are laughing out loud in -plush, fine wine and gourmet filled- private about the protests?

Protesters and other well-intended folk, from what I can see, are falling into the trap set for them: they are the frame to the picture in a political photo-op. They allow the ‘leaders’ to emanate the image that yes, there are protests and disagreements as everyone would expect, but that’s just a sign that people’s interests are properly presented, so all’s well.

COP21 is not a major event, that’s only what politicians and media make of it. In reality, it’s a mere showcase in which the protesters have been co-opted. They’re not in the director’s chair, they’re not even actors, they’re just extras.

I fully agree, and more than fully sympathize, with the notion of saving this planet before it’s too late. But I wouldn’t want to rely on a bunch of sociopaths to make it happen. There are children drowning every single day in the sea between Turkey and Greece, and the very same world leaders who are gathered in Paris are letting that happen. They have for a long time, without lifting a finger. And they’ve done worse -if that is possible-.

The only thing standing between the refugees and even greater and more lethal carnage are a wide, even confusingly so, array of volunteers, and the people of the Greek coastguard, who by now must be so traumatized from picking up little wide-eyed lifeless bodies from the water and the beaches, they’ll live the rest of their lives through sleepless nightmares.

Neither Obama nor Merkel nor Hollande will have those same nightmares. And let’s be honest, will you? You weren’t even there. And still, you guys are targeting a conference in Paris on climate change that features the exact same leaders that let babies drown with impunity. Drowned babies, climate change and warfare, these things all come from the same source. And you’re appealing to that very same source to stop climate change.

What on earth makes you think the leaders you appeal to would care about the climate when they can’t be bothered for a minute with people, and the conditions they live in, if they’re lucky enough to live at all? Why are you not instead protesting the preventable drownings of innocent children? Or is it that you think the climate is more important than human life? That perhaps one is a bigger issue than the other?

Moreover, the very same leaders that you for some reason expect to save the planet -which they won’t- don’t just let babies drown, they also, in the lands the refugees are fleeing, kill children and their parents on a daily basis with bombs and drones. Dozens, hundreds, if not thousands, every single day. That’s how much they care for a ‘healthy’ planet (how about we discuss what that actually is?).

And in the hallways of the CON21 conference they’ve been actively discussing plans to do more of the same, more killing, more war. Save the world, bombs away! That’s their view of the planet. And they’re supposed to save ‘the climate’?

There are a number of reasons why the CON21 conference will not move us one inch towards saving this planet. One of the biggest is outlined in just a few quoted words from a senior member of India’s delegation -nothing new, but a useful reminder.

India Opposes Deal To Phase Out Fossil Fuels By 2100

India would reject a deal to combat climate change that includes a pledge for the world to wean itself off fossil fuels this century, a senior official said, underlying the difficulties countries face in agreeing how to slow global warming.

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for most of its energy needs, and despite a pledge to expand solar and wind power has said its economy is too small and its people too poor to end use of the fossil fuel anytime soon. “It’s problematic for us to make that commitment at this point in time. It’s certainly a stumbling block (to a deal),” Ajay Mathur, a senior member of India’s negotiating team for Paris, told Reuters in an interview this week.


“The entire prosperity of the world has been built on cheap energy. And suddenly we are being forced into higher cost energy. That’s grossly unfair,” he said.

This means the ‘poorer’ countries, -by no means just India; China has 155 more coal plants in the pipeline despite their pollution levels moving ‘beyond index’-, the poorer counties won’t volunteer to lower their emissions unless richer nations lower theirs even a lot more. US per capita emissions are over 10 times higher than India’s, those of the EU six times. Ergo: Step 1: lower US emissions by 90%. It also means that richer nations won’t do this, because it would kill their economies.

Which, in case you haven’t noticed, are already doing very poorly, much worse than the media -let alone politicians- will tell you. In fact, the chances that the richer countries will ‘recover’ from the effects of their debt binge are about on par with those of renewable energy sources becoming cheaper than fossil fuels -barring subsidies. If only because producing them depends entirely on those same fossil fuels. All the rest of what you hear is just con.

The people of India obviously know it, and you might as well. It’s going to cost many trillions of dollars to replace even a halfway substantial part of our fossil energy use with renewables, and we already don’t have that kind of money today. We will have much less tomorrow.

Besides, despite all the talk of Big Oil turning into Big Energy, Shell et al are not energy companies, they’re oil -and gas- companies, and they’ll defend their (near) monopolies tooth and claw. Especially now that their market caps are sinking like so many stones. They have no money left to invest in anything, let alone an industry that’s not theirs. They lost some $250 billion in ‘value’ this week alone. They’re getting killed.

In the same vein, China can’t close more than a token few of its most polluting plants. China’s getting killed economically. And for all nations and corporations there’s one principle that trumps all: competitive advantage. If going ‘green’ means losing that, or even some of it, forget it. We won’t volunteer to go green if it makes us less rich.

And who do you think represents big oil -and the bankers that finance them- more than anyone else? Right, your same leaders again, who make you pay for the by now very extensive and expensive security details that keep them from having to face you. Just like they’re planning to make you pay dearly for the illusion of a world running on renewables.

Because that’s where the profit is: in the illusion.

Whatever makes most money is what will drive people’s, corporations’, and nations’ actions going forward. Saving energy and/or substituting energy sources is not what makes most money, and it will therefore not happen. Not on any meaningful scale, that is.

There will be attempts to force people to pay through the nose to soothe their consciences -which will be very profitable for those on the receiving end-, but people’s ability to pay for this is shrinking fast, so that won’t go anywhere.

The only thing that could help save this planet is for all westerners to reduce their energy use by 90%+, but, though it is theoretically and technically feasible, it won’t happen because the majority of us won’t give up even a part of our wealth, and the powers that be in today’s economies refuse to see their profits (re: power) and those of their backers go up in -ever hotter- air.

The current economic model depends on our profligate use of energy. A new economic model, then, you say? Good luck with that. The current one has left all political power with those who profit most from it. And besides, that’s a whole other problem, and a whole other issue to protest.

If you’re serious about wanting to save the planet, and I have no doubt you are, then I think you need to refocus. COP21 is not your thing, it’s not your stage. It’s your leaders’ stage, and your leaders are not your friends. They don’t even represent you either. The decisions that you want made will not be made there.

There will be lofty declarations loaded with targets for 2030, 2050 and 2100, and none of it will have any real value. Because none of the ‘leaders’ will be around to be held accountable when any of those dates will come to pass.

An imploding global economy may be your best shot at lowering emissions. But then again, it will lead to people burning anything they can get their hands on just to keep warm. Not a pretty prospect either. To be successful, we would need to abandon our current political and economic organizational structures, national governments and ‘up’, which select for the sociopaths that gather behind their heavy security details to decide on your future while gloating with glee in their power positions.

Better still, we should make it impossible for any single one of them to ever be elected to any important position ever again. For now, though, our political systems don’t select for those who care most for the world, or its children. We select for those who promise us the most wealth. And we’re willing to turn a blind eye to very many things to acquire that wealth and hold on to it.

The entire conference is just an exercise in “feel good”, on all sides. Is there anyone out there who really thinks the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson will do anything at all to stop this world from burning to the ground? You have any idea what their ecological footprints are?

Sometimes I think it’s the very ignorance of the protesting side that dooms this planet. There’s a huge profit-seeking sociopathic part of the equation, which has caused the problems in the first place, and there’s no serious counterweight in sight.

Having these oversized walking talking ego’s sign petitions and declarations they know they will never have to live up to is completely useless. Branson will still fly his planes, Gates will keep running his ultra-cooled server parks, and Obama and Merkel will make sure their economies churn out growth ahead of anything else. Every single country still demands growth. Whatever gains you make in terms of lower emissions will be nullified by that growth.

And in the hallways, ‘smart’ entrepreneurs stand ready to pocket a ‘smart’ profit from the alleged switch to clean energy. At the cost of you, the taxpayer. And you believe them, because you want to, and because it makes you feel good. And you don’t have the knowledge available to dispute their claims (hint: try thermodynamics).

You’re seeking the cooperation of people who let babies drown and who incessantly bomb the countries these babies and their families were seeking to escape.

I’m sorry, I know a lot of you have a lot of emotion invested in this, and it’s a good emotion, and you’re thinking this conference is really important and all, and our ‘last chance’ to save the planet. But you’ve been had, it’s as simple as that. And co-opted. And conned.

And it’s not the first time, either. All these conferences go the same way. To halt the demise of the planet, you can’t rely on the same people who cause it. Never works.

 

 

 

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May 242021
 


Edvard Munch Separation 1896

 

Hodkinson – “When The History Of This Madness Is Written..” (DE)
The Covid Scandal, With Tucker Carlson: Part 2 (CW)
Wuhan Lab Workers Were ‘So Sick They Sought Hospitalization’ (ZH)
How Hard Will Biden Press For A Probe Of Wuhan? (Peters)
CDC Studies Cases Of Heart Inflammation Among Vaccinated Young People (RT)
Faster Than A PCR Test: Dogs Detect Covid In Under A Second (G.)
Rand Paul First Senator To Announce He Won’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine (ZH)
Oxford Secretly Used Cell Phone Data To Track Millions In Vaccination Study (RT)
‘War’ Footing Needed On Climate Change – Steve Keen (CNBC)
US & EU Denounce Emergency Plane Landing In Belarus (RT)
Operation Likely Carried Out With Help Of Foreign Secret Agents In Greece (K.)

 

 

 

 

In case you weren’t worried enough yet…

Hodkinson – “When The History Of This Madness Is Written..” (DE)

He said: “I’m a serious evidence-based career pathologist who has done everything in pathology at national and provincial levels and I take evidence-based science very, very seriously. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m none of the above. But when I see certain things in the literature that could – underlined – have serious potential long-term sequelae, I think it’s my duty to stand up and blow the whistle and say ‘hey, stop the train, have you seen this? It needs to be looked at. I hope it’s wrong but show me the data’.

“The data I’m talking about is well-described in the literature, that of the significant expression of the ACE 2 receptor in both the placenta and the testes. And more importantly, in the testes it’s the cells that actually produce the spermatozoa, the precursors, called spermatogonia. Clearly there is an excess of spike protein circulating as a result of an unexpected surge in some people who get the vaccine. “And that circulation takes the spike protein everywhere, including the placenta of women who happen to be pregnant at the time, which is a one-time hit for that particular pregnancy, probably not for subsequent ones. But there is also potential for a hit on the testes, which of course is not a one-time hit, it could be a permanent hit.

“In a world where we know that sperm counts have dropped 40 per cent over the last 10 or 20 years – a massive unexplained drop in sperm counts – we don’t need some additional hits on male fertility. “There have been disturbing reports, to be verified, of increased miscarriages following vaccination. I’m concerned about that for sure but I’m more concerned of the potential of male infertility which could be permanent. A lot of this is could, maybe etc, etc, it’s merely appropriate caution given the scientific literature. “You cannot test for fertility in a trial that lasts six months. Last time I checked, pregnancy lasts nine months. And in order to test for sequential pregnancies and the need for longer-term fertility studies, it cannot be done outside of a two-to-four years window, which is the normal time frame for a new vaccine trial.”

Read more …

Tucker Carlson and Dr Peter McCullough

The Covid Scandal, With Tucker Carlson: Part 2 (CW)

P McC: Well, for very good grounds. Covid-recovered patients so far are racking up a terrific track record of freedom from reinfection. It’s nearly airtight. Think about SARS-CoV-1 is 80 per cent homologous to SARS-CoV-2 . . . SARS-CoV-1 and 2 are 80 per cent the same. The first SARS pandemic, people had durable and complete immunity. Seventeen years so far. You don’t get it twice. We’ve had 111million people in the world who’ve gotten this infection. If there was a chance for double and triple infections in the same person, we would have seen it by the millions. Millions. If you look in the literature, maybe you can find a hundred cases, where someone says, ‘You know, I think they got reinfected.’ And we look and almost always it’s a misinterpretation of one of these PCR tests, which is commonly false positive. (Unclear) One of the false narratives out there is you can get the infection twice. It’s a false narrative.

And the FDA and the sponsors knew that, of course, they excluded Covid-recovered patients. They know you can’t get it again. They’re not going to have them in a clinical trial and have the clinical trial go to the null. They knew that. But when it came out, I think in an air of caution, this would be the innocent explanation, air of caution. They said, ‘You know what, we’ll make it available to everybody’. But quickly making it available to everybody started to become a coercive thing.

[…]

I think America needs to take a deep breath and understand we’re treating Covid. We’ve got it under control. It’s manageable. Let’s see some deep dives on safety. I think we need an independent data safety monitoring board to look at all the safety events being reported to the CDC. America can see them. It’s in the VAERS programme, if you go to VAERS.com, it’s right there, America can see the numbers racking up in the categories. And they ought to ask, let’s have an independent data safety monitor board, look at all the events with the eye of risk mitigation.

The idea that we’re going to roll out products and get it right the first time, how often does that happen in medicine? We always got to tweak things. Maybe there’s certain groups that shouldn’t get it. Maybe the doses are too high. Maybe the doses ought to be weight-based. There’s all kinds of things to consider.

[…]

P McC: The Covid patients who recover, they have antibodies, they have T cell protection and innate emission. The antibodies are a pretty nice indication that you’re protected. But these T cell tests are terrific. This T cell direct test, that’s actually next generation sequencing. That is permanent protection. That’s your microbiological evidence of permanent protection.

TC: Can you get that test? Can a civilian get that test?

P McC: Somebody can go online, order it, and their medical director approves it, go to the lab and get it. No doctor needed. It’s wonderful. I think what parents ought to know is that children who are Covid-recovered, the clinical diagnosis is good enough to confer immunity. I think the big question is suspected Covid-recovered, you don’t know. You never got a test or you’re not sure. Then get the antibodies or the T cell test or both and show proof of immunity. I hope some rational thinking comes down on America to say, ‘Listen, proof of having Covid or proof of being a survivor recovered will be good enough,’ because otherwise this is getting out of control. I’ve said for these passports, people are talking about green passports, I say, ‘Why don’t you give a gold passport for the Covid-recovered? They should get first class. They can’t give it.’ Remember, the vaccines are not perfect. But that’s not even under consideration. That’s not even a public conversation.

McCullough

Read more …

What role does the WHO play in this?

Wuhan Lab Workers Were ‘So Sick They Sought Hospitalization’ (ZH)

Three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were so sick in November of 2019 that they sought hospitalization, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a previously undisclosed US intelligence report “that could add weight to growing calls for a fuller probe of whether the COVID-19 virus may have escaped from the laboratory.” “The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet, issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”

The disclosure of the number of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.” -WSJ. “The information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality. It was very precise. What it didn’t tell you was exactly why they got sick,” one source told the Journal, while another person said the information, provided by an “international partner,” was potentially significant but still in need of further investigation and corroboration.

The Wuhan lab has notably refused to share raw data, safety logs and lab records of its extensive experiments with bat coronaviruses, which a US-funded NGO, EcoHealth Alliance, collaborated with. Beijing, meanwhile, has repeatedly denied that COVID-19 escaped from one of its labs – going as far on Sunday as to cite a WHO-led team’s conclusion that a lab leak was unlikely. A WHO team, mind you, which included EcoHealth’s Peter Daszak, the guy paid $666,000 per year by Anthony Fauci’s NIH to collaborate with the Wuhan lab. “The U.S. continues to hype the lab leak theory,” China’s foreign ministry told the Journal in response to a request for comment. “Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?”

Trump

Read more …

“..how hard will Western leaders press for a thorough investigation knowing that if it were to conclude a lab leak, it would require a political response that could turn the world upside down?”

How Hard Will Biden Press For A Probe Of Wuhan? (Peters)

The world’s worst disaster in a century killed 7.1mm-12.7mm across the planet. The total continued rising. No one knew exactly when it would end, only that the poorest nations would bear the brunt. They always do. European and Asian countries lost more citizens than they had since WWII. The US lost more than in any war. Children fell behind. Economic costs spiraled, leaving each nation’s finances forever changed. Monetary and fiscal policy merged in the West. Inflation reappeared. Despots tightened their grip. America’s president was voted out.

In the emergency of the moment, the world’s leaders mostly kept their nations focused on dealing with the disaster. But as the crisis in the developed world subsided, focus turned to the origin of it all. The world’s leading biologists felt that the preliminary analysis lacked scientific rigor and appeared incomplete. To prevent a repeat of such tragedy, they insisted on doing what they are trained to do. And in this search for the truth, they had to seriously explore the possibility that the disaster was not of natural origin, but an accident.

Having suffered the consequences, people throughout the world rightly sought the truth. But the hunt for truth in epidemiology is a rather different matter than the search for truth in geopolitics. The former is infinitely cleaner and easier than the latter. And to compound that difficulty, the geopolitical consequences of this disaster having been a laboratory accident are so vast that it is difficult to quite imagine. Would nations hold China to account? If so, how? War reparations? How would international debts be treated? Equity? These barely scratch the surface.

Every person on the planet should hope the truth is the virus struck humanity naturally, unluckily (I sure do). Beijing certainly wants this to remain the explanation. They rebuked Australia for questioning it. So how hard will Western leaders press for a thorough investigation knowing that if it were to conclude a lab leak, it would require a political response that could turn the world upside down? And yet, if they do not press hard, how will Western governments retain their already diminished credibility when it comes to national security?

Read more …

Playing it down.

CDC Studies Cases Of Heart Inflammation Among Vaccinated Young People (RT)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced they are investigating reports of heart issues in young patients who have received a Covid-19 vaccine. There have been “relatively few” cases of young people developing heart symptoms following their inoculations, but the CDC is requesting that “information about this potential adverse event” be provided to clinicians to “enhance early recognition and appropriate management of persons who develop myocarditis symptoms.” Myocarditis is an inflammation in the heart muscle. The few dozen cases so far have involved teenagers and young adults, mostly males, who have received either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The CDC’s vaccine safety group has not determined whether the condition is directly related to the vaccinations, and said the cases have been “mild” thus far.


Patients have reported their symptoms within four days of receiving a vaccine dose. Follow-up cases are currently ongoing. The agency has not specified the exact ages of the patients reporting symptoms, but the Pfizer-BioNTech has been approved for people 16 years or older since December, and to people between the ages of 12 and 15 since last month. In April, Israel’s Health Ministry also announced it was looking into a handful of cases of heart inflammation, possibly linked to the Pfizer vaccine. The cases reported had been from people aged 30 or below. “Adverse events are regularly and thoroughly reviewed and we have not observed a higher rate of myocarditis than what would be expected in the general population. A causal link to the vaccine has not been established,” Pfizer said at the time in a statement.

Read more …

There’s more money in PCR, we suspect.

Faster Than A PCR Test: Dogs Detect Covid In Under A Second (G.)

Faster than PCR and more accurate than lateral flow tests, the latest weapons against Covid-19 have four legs and a wet nose. A study published on Monday found that people who are infected with coronavirus give off a distinct odour, which these highly trained dogs can detect with pinpoint precision. Tala, a golden labrador in a red work jacket, greets me with a cursory sniff, before returning to his handler. I’m relieved to have passed the test, but feel a wet train of mucus on my hand where I petted him. This mucus fulfils an important purpose: dissolving odour molecules from the air and transporting them to olfactory receptors in the top of their nose, where the magic happens. Whereas humans have about 5m of these receptors, dogs have up to 300m.

Dr Claire Guest has always been fascinated by dogs, and humans’ relationship with them. After studying psychology, she worked for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, where she met a woman who said her pet dalmatian had diagnosed a malignant melanoma on her calf. “She kept saying, ‘The dog sniffed it,’” Guest recalled. In 2002, Guest joined forces with an orthopaedic surgeon, John Church, to test whether dogs could be trained to distinguish between urine from healthy people and those with bladder cancer. The research, published in the BMJ, showed that they could. Medical Detection Dogs was formed in 2008. The charity trains companion dogs that can detect odour changes in people with type 1 diabetes and other severe disorders, emitted shortly before their health deteriorates, alerting them to take action.

It also researches dogs’ abilities to detect cancers, and other diseases, including Parkinson’s. When the pandemic hit it had just completed a study with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), demonstrating that dogs can detect malaria. Tala is one of six dogs who took part in the Covid study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. It found that dogs could detect Covid-19 on clothing worn by infected people with up to 94.3% sensitivity: they would correctly identify 94 out of every 100 infected people. This compares with a sensitivity of 58-77% for lateral flow tests, and 97.2% for PCR tests. However, dogs beat PCR tests on speed, making a diagnosis in under a second. “This includes people who are asymptomatic and also people with a low viral load,” said Prof James Logan of LSHTM, who co-led the study.

Tala was the most accurate sniffer, achieving 94.5% sensitivity, and a specificity of 92% – the proportion of uninfected people that he would correctly identify.

Read more …

Ron Johnson was the first?!

Rand Paul First Senator To Announce He Won’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine (ZH)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced this weekend that he will not get vaccinated against COVID-19, explaining that he already contracted the virus last year and has “natural immunity.” Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, said that he has not seen evidence proving the vaccine is more effective than having survived the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus, so he won’t get the shot. “Until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers, or being hospitalized or getting very sick, I just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul, who appears to be the first senator to announce he won’t get vaccinated, told WABC 770 AM on Sunday, according to news reports.

Paul has made similar remarks in the past when interviewed about vaccines. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who also recovered from COVID-19, suggested he wouldn’t get vaccine earlier this year. Paul tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020, becoming the first senator to contract the virus. At the time, Paul said he did not develop any notable symptoms and wasn’t hospitalized. The senator also noted that the pressure from various institutions to get vaccinated flies in the face of individual liberty. “In a free country you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision, that it wouldn’t be a big brother coming to tell me what I have to do,” Paul said in the interview, suggesting that the pressure campaign around vaccines could be an attempt to manufacture consent for other power grabs.

“Are they also going to tell me I can’t have a cheeseburger for lunch? Are they going to tell me that I have to eat carrots only and cut my calories?” the Kentucky senator said. “All that would probably be good for me, but I don’t think big brother ought to tell me to do it.”

Read more …

What are these people thinking?

Oxford Secretly Used Cell Phone Data To Track Millions In Vaccination Study (RT)

The UK government has admitted it used phone data to analyse people’s movement patterns without their knowledge as part of a vaccination study, a new report claims. Officials are said to have preserved the subjects’ anonymity. The Telegraph cited a report by the Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) which said researchers from the University of Oxford discretely used data from mobile phones as part of their study into how vaccination affects people’s lifestyles. SPI-B advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which in turn advises the government. The University of Oxford, which developed the Covid-19 vaccine along with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, conducted the study on SPI-B’s behalf.


The scientists were said to have dug through the “cell phone mobility data for 10 per cent of the British population” in February and singled out 4,254 people that were vaccinated. They then monitored the group’s movement patterns for the week before and the week after vaccination. The researchers did “various robustness checks,” sorted by age, and measured “distance from home to vaccination point,” among other things, according to the Telegraph. By comparing the movement of the vaccinated people to a different group, the scientists found that their “average pre-vaccination mobility increased by 218 meters [sic].” Privacy group Big Brother Watch says the findings are “deeply chilling and extremely damaging to public trust in medical confidentiality.”

Read more …

““I think we should throw the economists completely out of this discussion..”

‘War’ Footing Needed On Climate Change – Steve Keen (CNBC)

Economic forecasts predicting the potential impact of climate change have grossly underestimated the reality and delayed global recovery efforts by decades, according to a leading professor. Mainstream economists “deliberately and completely” ignored scientific data and instead “made up their own numbers” to suit their market models, Steve Keen, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Strategy, Resilience and Security, told CNBC on Friday. Now, a “war-level footing” is required to have any hope of repairing the damage, he said. “Fundamentally, the economists have totally misrepresented the science and ignored it where it contradicts their bias that climate change is not a big deal because, in their opinion, capitalism can handle anything,” Keen told “Street Signs Asia.”

Keen said the repercussions of climate change were foretold in the 1972 publication “The Limits to Growth” — a divisive report on the destructive consequences of global expansion — but economists then and since failed to heed its warnings, preferring instead to rely on market mechanisms. “If their warnings had been taken seriously and we’d done as they’d suggested, changing our trajectory from 1975 on, we could have done it gradually using things like carbon tax and so on,” he said. “Because economists have delayed it by another half century, we are, as a species, putting three to four times the pressure on the biosphere.” As a result, he said, “the only way we can (reverse) this is effectively a war level footing of motive mobilisation to reverse the amount of carbon we’ve put into the atmosphere to drastically reduce our consumption.”

Referring specifically to a report produced by economists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was instrumental in outlining global climate targets including those presented at the Paris Agreement COP21, Keen said even their most severe estimates were a “trivial underestimate of the damage we expect.” That is because they “completely and deliberately ignore the possibility of tipping points,” a point at which climate change can cause irreversible shifts in the environment. “I think we should throw the economists completely out of this discussion and sit the politicians down with the scientists and say these are the potential outcomes of that much of a change to the biosphere; we are toying with forces far in excess of ones we can actually address,” he said.

Read more …

I seem to remember a similar story with a plane the US thought Snowden was on.

Also, this guy was picked on for doing what Assange did.

US & EU Denounce Emergency Plane Landing In Belarus (RT)

The US joined the EU Commission in condemning the forced landing of a Vilnius-bound Ryanair flight in Belarus, reportedly over a bomb threat, which resulted in the arrest of the editor of an opposition Telegram channel. In a statement on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanded an international investigation into the diversion of a Ryanair flight that made an emergency landing in Minsk shortly before leaving Belarusian airspace due to reports of a bomb threat. After the plane landed, the exiled editor of Telegram channel Belamova, Roman Protasevich, who was on board, was arrested by the Belarusian authorities.

Protasevich, who previously worked as editor-in-chief of Polish-based opposition Telegram channel NEXTA Live, is wanted in Belarus on charges of inciting mass unrest, social enmity and discord. The accusations stem from mass anti-government protests that rocked Belarus in the wake of the August presidential election, which were extensively covered by Warsaw-based NEXTA. [..] Blinken suggested that the diversion of the plane was “based on false pretenses,” demanding Protasevich’s “immediate release.” “This shocking act perpetrated by the Lukashenka regime endangered the lives of more than 120 passengers, including U.S. citizens,” the statement read.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined in the condemnation, calling for more sanctions to be imposed on Belarus after the incident. “Enough is enough. The US and EU must significantly expand sanctions on Lukashenka’s dictatorship,” he said. The remarks by the US politicians echoed those of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who referred to the emergency landing as a “hijacking.” “The outrageous and illegal behaviour of the regime in Belarus will have consequences,” she tweeted, hinting at possible sanctions for those responsible for the plane’s emergency stop.

[..] Adding fuel to the fire, there were reports carried by a Telegram channel considered to be close to the Belarusian government that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered a MiG-29 fighter jet to escort the plane to the Minsk airport. In its statement, Ryanair made no mention of the reported escort, noting only that “the aircraft landed safely” and that “security checks were completed by local authorities” after the passengers disembarked. The company said the decision to divert to the Minsk airport was made after Belarusian air traffic control (ATC) notified the crew of “a potential security threat on board.”

Read more …

But an insane story nevertheless.

Operation Likely Carried Out With Help Of Foreign Secret Agents In Greece (K.)

The arrest of a prominent opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president on Sunday after the airplane in which he was traveling was diverted to the country following a bomb threat appears to have been carried out with the help of secret agents operating on Greek territory, Kathimerini understands. 26-year-old Raman Pratasevich, who faces charges that could bring 15 years in prison, was aboard the Ryanair flight from Athens, to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius when it changed course to head for Minsk. The incident was described by some EU leaders as a hijacking.


While still at Athens International Airport, Pratasevich is said to have informed colleagues via the Telegram messaging application that he was approached by an unknown Russian-speaking man who took a snap of him. If the information is confirmed, then there is reason to believe that foreign secret agents were operating at the Greek airport. According to reports, 170 passengers were aboard the Ryanair flight from Athens. After seven hours on the ground in Minsk, the plane took off without six of the passengers: Pratasevich, his partner and four Russian nationals. It is likely that these four men took part in the operation.

Read more …

 

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Mar 202019
 


Johannes Vermeer The lacemaker 1669-71

 

You could probably say I’m sympathetic to the schoolchildren protesting against climate change, and I’m sympathetic to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her call for a Green New Deal. Young people are the future, and they deserve a voice about that future. At the same time, I’m also deeply skeptical about their understanding of the issues they talk about.

In fact, I don’t see much understanding at all. I think that’s because they base their comprehension of the world they’ve been born into on information provided by the very people they’re now protesting against. Look kids, your education system sucks, it was designed by those destroying your planet, you need to shake it off and get something better.

But I know what you will do instead: you’re going to get the ‘proper’ education to get a nice-paying job, with a nice car (green, of course) and a nice house etc etc. In other words, you will, at least most of you, be the problem, not solve it. And no shift towards wind or solar will make one iota of difference in that. Want to improve the world? Improve the education system first.

 

Climate change is just one of an entire array of problems the world faces, and in the same way the use of fossil fuels is just one of many causes of these problems. And focusing on only one aspect of a much broader challenge simply doesn’t appear to be a wise approach, if only because you risk exacerbating some problems while trying to fix others.

In order to fix what’s broken, you’re first going to have to find out what broke it. The impression I get is that fossil fuels have been named the designated culprit, and people think that if only we have access to some other form(s) of energy we’ll be fine. But species extinction appears to be at least as large an issue as climate change, and the loss of 60% of all vertebrates, and 90% of flying insects in some places, since 1970 is linked to climate change only sideways.

 

 

It’s one thing to run into problems you could not have foreseen. It’s quite another to run into them because you elected to ignore readily available knowledge. But it’s the latter issue that’s behind by far most of the problems we’re running into. Because, again, our education system is broken.

And perhaps we should try to be forgiving when well-meaning children and young politicians don’t have a full grasp of political and economic issues heaped upon them by older generations. But physics? That you can only and always ignore at your own peril.

The First Law of Thermodynamics says energy cannot be created or destroyed; the total quantity of energy in the universe stays the same. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the use of energy produces waste (because entropy tends to increase). Neither law talks about fossil fuels.

This brings me once more to one of my favorite quotes of all time (because it explains so much):

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”
– Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend

And unfortunately, as I’ve said before in Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity:

What drives our economies is waste. Not need, or even demand. Waste. 2nd law of thermodynamics. It drives our lives, period.

Not only do we produce waste with every calorie of energy we burn, our economic systems depend on us burning as much as we can. We ‘optimized’ them for it. Energy efficiency is the enemy of our economies. We transport ourselves in vehicles that are 20 times our own weight, and that use only 10% of the fuel we put in them for the purpose of transporting us. That’s what keep the economic engine going. It’s also what destroys the planet.

 

There’s probably no moment of deeper despair for the world than when I see a Swedish schoolgirl and a Dutch historian pop up at Davos to tell the billionaires and power hungry ‘the truth’. Davos is the last place to be when you have good intentions. All those people owe their money and power to the system you say you’re protesting. You think they’re going to give it up, or even risk it?

What those people will tell you, and what many of you are already parroting (check the Green New Deal), is that ‘going green’ will be a very profitable undertaking. Get the best of both worlds and eat it too. Tempting, for sure, but also incredibly stupid.

I covered that before as well in Heal the Planet for Profit, in which I cited an article by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney literally called How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change.

That epitomizes the Davos crowd. Stay away from that. There’s nothing for you there. They just want you to be inefficient in the use of another form of energy, only more this time. “We’re going to use a huge sh*tload of fossil fuels to build an infrastructure that allows us to use less fossil fuels.” Darn, that makes a lot of sense. “We’re saved!”.

See, saving the planet, and all the species we’re eradicating as we speak, will at the very least require an enormous decline in energy use. Because that’s the only way to reduce waste production. But that in turn will mean a huge hit to the current economic system, which cannot continue without the principle of maximizing waste production that it’s based on.

There appears to be a principle in nature that says when you hand a species an X amount of ‘free’ energy, that species will burn through it as fast as it can. Perhaps that’s simply a move towards equilibrium. The species will maximize energy use per individual, and proliferate, create more individuals, it’s a very predictable process, from bacteria in a petri-dish to the human species.

So maybe it cannot be helped, or stopped. But you can try. It’s just that, if you want to do that, you’re not going to achieve it by insulting your own, and my, intelligence through the complete disregard for the laws of physics, the most reliable gauges we have when it comes to understanding our world and the impact we have on it.

That goes for the schoolchildren, and it goes for Ocasio-Cortez and other Green New Deal proponents too: ask yourself what physics says about it. Ask yourself what will happen to the economy. Never presume it will be easy or even profitable. You’re not going to save the planet for profit; you’ll have to find a different incentive.

And get educated. But forget about universities, they’re one of the leading drivers behind the mess you find yourselves in.

 

 

 

 

Dec 102018
 


Jerry Bywaters Oil Field Girls 1940

 

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)
Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)
Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)
Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)
EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)
UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)
Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)
Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)
Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)
Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)
Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)
The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

 

 

Right. Questions: How much of the $32 trillion was made doing things that increased emissions? How much of it is presently invested in polluting companies? And how much are the investors prepared to lose in order to comply with whatever it takes to lower emissions?

To put it simply: these people are talking their books. They got rich by polluting. They intend to get even richer by going green.

If you’re serious about the topic, don’t join them.

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)

Global investors managing $32 trillion in assets have called on governments to accelerate steps to combat climate change, as policymakers meet for talks at a United Nations conference in Poland. A total of 415 investors from across the world including UBS Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments signed the 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change demanding urgent action. “The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” the statement said.

The intervention is the single largest on the topic to date, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change said, as talks continue in the Polish city of Katowice to agree how to slow global warming to below 2ºC. That goal was agreed at a 2015 meeting in Paris, but investors said national governments were being too slow in enacting the policies needed to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy. Failure to act could lead to permanent economic damage three or four times the scale of the impact of the financial crisis, British asset manager Schroders said.

As well as ramping up the involvement of the private sector, governments needed to commit to improving climate-related financial reporting, a move that would help investors better assess the risk and allocate capital to the right companies. “The reality is that the long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, Executive Director Responsible Investment, IFM Investors. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

Read more …

If these activist shareholders succeed, the value of their shares will plunge. That’s why in an earlier vote at Shell, 94% of shareholders votied against and 5% abstained. That reduces this to window dressing.

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)

BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil face a shareholder challenge to set carbon targets in line with the Paris climate agreement, as a green group seeks to repeat its success in pressuring Shell to set environmental benchmarks. When Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, laid out an ambitious long-term carbon target last year, he acknowledged the role played by a resolution on carbon targets submitted by Dutch activist shareholders Follow This. Follow This is hoping to use investor power to push other major oil and gas firms into setting similar goals. The organisation has bought shares in several major fossil fuel groups and has submitted two resolutions to the European firms BP and Shell. It will file identical resolutions with the US companies Chevron and ExxonMobil later this week if other parties do not submit a similar demand.

Investors at the firms’ annual general meetings next year will be asked to vote in favour of them publishing climate change targets in alignment with the international goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures well below 2C. Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, said: “Targets should be on the agenda of every oil company, given that the oil industry can make or break the Paris climate agreement.” The group has little chance of winning by persuading a majority of the four companies’ shareholders to back the resolution but it believes the tactic can put public and investor pressure on firms. Although backed by the Church of England and major pension funds, the resolution filed for Shell’s AGM on carbon targets failed in 2017, with 94% of shareholders voting against and 5% abstaining.

Read more …

New Davis have no idea how big the fall will be, no more than you or I. And besides, they think that by spring, “the pain will be largely behind the Street”.

Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)

The wild trading that’s gripped Wall Street may be no ordinary correction. According to Ned Davis Research’s Ed Clissold, a bear market is officially here. “If you take this as a typical bear market, not associated with a recession, it’s going to take you down around 20% — maybe a little bit more,” the firm’s chief U.S. market strategist told CNBC’s “Futures Now” last week. “That’s what we need to be thinking about over the next several months.” A bear market is defined as an environment when overwhelming pessimism sparks a 20% drop or more from recent highs. In this case, it would wipe out 588 points from the S&P 500’s all-time high of 2940.91 hit on Sept. 21. The index closed Friday in correction territory at 2,633.08. That’s down 10% from the high and 4.6% for the week.

Originally, Clissold called for a bear market to hit Wall Street in 2019, due to jitters over interest rate hike risks, U.S.-China trade tensions and slowing growth in earnings and the economy. However, he decided to move up his forecast due to “severe” technical damage from the October correction. Now, it appears the market may soon get hit with another batch of discouraging news. “Earnings growth is becoming a front-burner issue. Everybody expected it to slow down next year because we don’t have the benefit of tax cuts. But the slowdown is probably going to be more than expected,” said Clissold. [..] He may be predicting a deep pullback, but he does not see any signs of a recession. By spring, Clissold said, the pain will be largely behind the Street.

Read more …

Everyone still relies on central banks.

Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)

In the past two months we have written extensively on how most market participants got caught offside by the dramatic reversion in risk assets, and which after several attempts at bottom-fishing – attempts which have failed because as Morgan Stanley first noted two months ago the Buy The Dip trade no longer works…

… increasingly more traders have thrown in the towel, resulting in YTD returns which are truly “historic” with not one single asset generating positive returns for the first time since the Nixon presidency.

Well, that’s not exactly right: one asset is outperforming – the one which usually does best just as the economy slides into a recession or worse: cash. As Bank of America notes, the YTD score for the top global assets is the following: • equities -4.2%, • bonds -2.3%, • commodities -6.2%, • cash 1.7%, • US$ 4.9%.

Drilling down reveals an even uglier picture: the 2018 bear market has spared nobody with US Treasuries down -4.9%, the 5th largest loss since 1970, US IG bonds -3.3%, their 4th largest loss since 1970, meanwhile 1881 of 2767 global stocks are in a bear market, down more than 20%, 86 of 94 equity indices underwater, and the cherry on top – the FAANG bull market “leader” is down -26% from highs, which according to BofA’s Michael Hartnett is “a big nasty bear market.” The result, per Bank of America, is that “capitulation to lower credit & equity allocations begins but from high allocations to risk assets.” That’s the good news: the bad news is that even as investors are bailing out of risk assets, they are also dumping safe havens like treasuries, and in the last week we saw broad based risk-off flows, including $5.2BN outflow from equities, and $8.1BN outflow from bonds this week

Read more …

By the day, it becomes more like one of those Shakespeare plays with gossiping and backstabbing and all that. Love it.

Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)

Theresa May is set for the bleakest week of her time in power after leadership rivals publicly positioned themselves to grab the Tory crown if her Brexit plans collapse. Ex-cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey all signalled a willingness to bid for the leadership amid speculation that Ms May faces a heavy defeat in the crunch Commons vote on her proposed Brexit deal. More resignations were expected from the front bench in the run-up to the vote, with government insiders indicating it could still be delayed. If she survives the first half of the week, Ms May is expected to head to Brussels where she will implore the EU to offer a concession on the hated “Irish backstop” so that she can try to sell the deal to Tory rebels one last time.

The prime minister spoke to president of the European Council Donald Tusk on Sunday, who said afterwards that it would be “an important week for the fate of Brexit”. In London thousands of protestors waving union jacks joined a “Brexit betrayal” march sponsored by Ukip and addressed by far-right activist Tommy Robinson, while even more were said to have turned up to an anti-fascist counter-march. The febrile atmosphere as the week starts is only set to intensify as MPs return to Westminster on Monday, with talk of Conservative plots and leadership challenges filling the air. One Tory backbencher told The Independent: “No one knows if the prime minister is still going to be in Downing Street at the end of the week.

Read more …

Ha ha! Don’t forget to say thank you to the EU for your freedoms, Brits! Rumor has it May’s Plan B will include a second vote that does not have a Remain option.

EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)

The European Union’s top court ruled on Monday that the United Kingdom can unilaterally revoke its divorce notice, raising the hopes of pro-Europeans ahead of a crucial vote in the British parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal. Just 36 hours before British lawmakers vote on May’s deal, the Court of Justice said in an emergency judgement that London could revoke its Article 50 formal divorce notice with no penalty. May’s government says the ruling means nothing because it has no intention of reversing its decision to leave the EU on March 29. But critics of her deal say it provides options — either to delay Brexit and renegotiate terms of withdrawal, or cancel it altogether if British voters change their minds. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU,” the court said.

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Surprised? Don’t be.

UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)

A secret UK Government-funded infowars unit based in Scotland sent out social media posts attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. On the surface, the cryptically named Institute for Statecraft is a small charity operating from an old Victorian mill in Fife. But explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists. The “think tank” is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming “clusters” of friendly journalists and “key influencers” throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.

But our investigation has found worrying evidence the shadowy programme’s official Twitter account has been used to attack Corbyn, the Labour Party and their officials. [..] David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine. “People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”

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That’s not legal, is it?

Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)

Former FBI Director James Comey didn’t know a lot during Friday’s congressional testimony – claiming hundreds of times (245 according to Trump) that he simply couldn’t remember various things. What Comey did remember, however, confirms that the FBI could not verify the dossier submitted by former UK spy Christopher Steele – which the agency used as the foundation of a spy warrant application to surveil the Trump campaign. While Comey said the dossier came from “a reliable source with a track record, and it’s an important thing when you’re seeking a PC warrant,” he also admitted that the FBI was unable to corroborate the document’s claims.

“But what I understand by verified is we then try to replicate the source information so that it becomes FBI investigation and our conclusions rather than a reliable source’s,” Comey said, adding “That’s what I understand it, the difference to be. And that work wasn’t completed by the time I left in May of 2017, to my knowledge.” The FBI is required to fully vet information they submit to FISA courts, which they of course did not do in their haste to deploy a counterintelligence dragnet on the Trump campaign during the final months of the 2016 US election. Steele, meanwhile, was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the press while the agency was using him as a source. To get around this, the FBI went through former #4 DOJ official Bruce Ohr – who was demoted twice for lying about his contacts with Steele.

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for the embattled research firm Fusion GPS on the Trump dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their ongoing effort to investigate the Trump campaign and any ties with Russia. It was discovered in 2017 that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the campaign’s law firm Perkins Coie to investigate any alleged ties between Trump and Russia. More importantly, the FBI used information from Steele, a foreign source who was openly antagonistic about Trump. In fact, Ohr told FBI officials that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” as stated in the House Intelligence Committee investigation memo. -Sara Carter

Comey’s confirmation echoes comments made in a string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification – as reported last week by The Hill’s John Solomon. The emails – kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, “included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division,” according to the report – and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Read more …

In a worst case scenario, the US will use this as a reason to attack now, before Americans figure out they can’t win.

Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)

The advanced Sukhoi Su-57 multipurpose jet, Russia’s first domestically produced fifth-generation stealth fighter, will be armed with new hypersonic missiles, according to a Russian military source. “In accordance with Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027, Su-57 jet fighters will be equipped with hypersonic missiles,” a Russian defense industry source toldTASS news agency on December 06. “The jet fighters will receive missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles, but with inter-body placement and smaller size,” the source added. Moscow said the new Kinzhal (“Dagger”), a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, can hit speeds of up to Mach 10 and can perform evasive maneuvers that can render NATO’s US-led missile defense system completely “useless.”

The missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads with a range of about 1,200 miles. The new hypersonic missile will be much smaller than the current Kinzhal; this is due to size constraints of fitting the weapon inside the stealth aircraft’s weapons bay. The alternative would be mounting the missile on the outside of the plane, but that would increase the jet’s radar signature. No details within the report explain about a timetable for the development or the planned specifications for the new missiles. The Defense Ministry would neither confirm nor deny the information. The Kinzhal missile is currently being tested in field training exercises.

Read more …

The US needs to clean up its pharma, along with the entire healthcare system.

Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)

A huge proportion of scientists and doctors publishing in major medical magazines continue to conceal ties to corporations relevant to their research, while punishment for not declaring interests remains weak, says a new report. “The system is broken,” Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times and ProPublica, an investigative journalism non-profit. Jafari was one of the authors of a landmark study published back in August that took the names of the 100 doctors receiving the most funding from medical equipment and drug manufacturers, and then studied whether they declared a potential conflict of interest in their published research. Only 37 did.

For example, Dr. Howard A. Burris III, has been elected as the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that includes 40,000 members, and can make influential recommendations on cancer drugs worth tens of billions of dollars. Companies where Burris is an employee have been paid $114,000 in speaking fees, and $8 million in research funding by private corporations. Yet in none of his last 50 articles did the man, whose bio boasts that he “was selected by his peers as a ‘Giant of Cancer Care’ for his achievements in drug development,” think it was necessary to declare any potential biases resulting from corporate involvement.

In the latest investigation, the Times and ProPublica revealed that Dr. Robert J. Alpern, the dean of the Yale School of Medicine, writing about an experimental kidney disease drug failed to state that he was on the board of the company producing it. When journalists approached the publisher of the article, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, its editor discovered that all 12 authors of the article in question had interests they failed to declare.

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Really? Salvini is about to take on the Pope?

Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)

Italian priests have declared their willingness to “open the church doors of every single parish” to people expelled from reception centres as an anti-immigration law from Italy’s rightwing government threatens to make thousands homeless. The so-called “Salvini decree” – named after Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and leader of the far-right League – left hundreds in legal limbo when its removal of humanitarian protection for those not eligible for refugee status but otherwise unable to return home was applied by several Italian cities soon after its approval by parliament earlier this month. The Catholic church expressed its profound disapproval immediately after the vote.

The Vatican’s position is “very clear”, its secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said last week. “You don’t leave migrants in the street … A profound sense of solidarity must prevail. You cannot put people in this position. You must always focus on people and their rights.” According to Italy’s ministry of the interior, between 2016 and 2017 Italy provided humanitarian protection to 39,145 asylum seekers, who under the Salvini decree risk being made homeless within weeks. In early December, a letter announcing the expulsion of 50 people was sent to the reception centre in Mineo, Sicily: the largest in Europe after the Moria camp in Greece.

The bishop of Caltagirone, Monsignor Calogero Peri, said he was prepared to provide 40 beds in nearby facilities owned by the church to welcome people who risk expulsion. “And if there are not enough beds? I have already spoken with other bishops: we will open the church doors of every single parish under our control,” he said. “It’s not a question of politics. It’s a matter of protecting individuals. Imagine this: in Italy now it is a crime to abandon dogs, but it is not a crime to abandon people. Even worse, abandoning men, women and children is now the law.”

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A little nothing news. But cute.

Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)

The most traditional symbol you will find in Greece during the holidays is a small boat decorated with lights, usually placed in the main square of a town and close to the more international Christmas tree. To karavaki, or small boat is rooted in the traditions of a country with a symbiotic relationship with the sea. In fact on the many Greek islands the Christmas boats remain the most popular ornament of the holiday season. Different legends explain the tradition of the Christmas Greek boat. One of them is related to Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), the Patron Saint of Sailors. This saint is celebrated on December 6, the day when many households start decorating their houses for Christmas. Some agree that this is why boats are decorated, in order to honor the saint.

It’s also true that Greece is proud of the large amount of sailors, fishermen and intrepid captains the country has, which makes them as a symbol of local identity. Men would often be away for months at a time, and those back home would be anxiously waiting for their return. On the islands, the wives, mothers, and daughters of seaman used to spend the cold and dark winter months with their heart and mind at sea. There, their men were battling the stormy seas during the holiday season. These were months of expectation, hope, and prayer for their safe return. The joy of seeing the boats coming back, approaching the shores, made the women celebrate in relief. The boat is a symbol to honor those brave men coming back home.

The tradition wanted the small wooden boats placed inside close to the fireplace and pointing towards the center of the house, never towards the door. They were also lovingly decorated to give a warm welcome to the men of the household. Even kids prepared their own boats with paper and chips of wood, and on Christmas Eve, they used these little boats to collect the treats they had received when singing the carols (kalanda) from house to house.

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Don’t miss the fantastic Adam Curtis. He knows more about what makes our world go round than just about anyone. Watch his docs, all of them.

The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

Adam Curtis: “HyperNormalisation” is a word that was coined by a brilliant Russian historian who was writing about what it was like to live in the last years of the Soviet Union. What he said, which I thought was absolutely fascinating, was that in the 80s everyone from the top to the bottom of Soviet society knew that it wasn’t working, knew that it was corrupt, knew that the bosses were looting the system, knew that the politicians had no alternative vision. And they knew that the bosses knew they knew that. Everyone knew it was fake, but because no one had any alternative vision for a different kind of society, they just accepted this sense of total fakeness as normal. And this historian, Alexei Yurchak, coined the phrase “HyperNormalisation” to describe that feeling.

I thought “that’s a brilliant title” because, although we are not in any way really like the Soviet Union, there is a similar feeling in our present day. Everyone in my country and in America and throughout Europe knows that the system that they are living under isn’t working as it is supposed to; that there is a lot of corruption at the top. But whenever the journalists point it out, everyone goes “Wow that’s terrible!” and then nothing happens and the system remains the same. There is a sense of everything being slightly unreal; that you fight a war that seems to cost you nothing and it has no consequences at home; that money seems to grow on trees; that goods come from China and don’t seem to cost you anything; that phones make you feel liberated but that maybe they’re manipulating you but you’re not quite sure. It’s all slightly odd and slightly corrupt.

[..] No one is really sure what Trump represents. My working theory is that he’s part of the pantomime-isation of politics. Every morning Donald Trump wakes up in the White House, he tweets something absolutely outrageous which he knows the liberals will get upset by, the liberals read his tweets and go “This is terrible, this is outrageous,” and then tell each other via social media how terrible it all is. It becomes a feedback loop in which they are locked together. In my mind, it’s like they’re together in a theatre watching a pantomime villain. The pantomime villain comes forward into the light, looks at them and says something terrible, and they go “Boo!!”. Meanwhile, outside the theatre, real power is carrying on but no one is really analysing it.

This is the problem with a lot of journalism, especially liberal journalism at the moment. It’s locked together with those people in the theatre. If you look at the New York Times, for example, it’s continually about that feedback loop between what Trump has said and the reaction of liberal elements in the society. It’s led to a great narrowing of journalism. So in a way, he is part of the hypernormal situation because it’s a politics of pantomime locked together with its critics. [..] ..It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a distraction from what’s really happening in the world. I would argue that there is a sense—in a lot of liberal journalism—of unreality. They’re locked into describing the pantomime politics and they’re not looking to what Mr Michael Pence is really up to, and what’s really happening outside the theatre.

Read more …

Nov 182018
 
 November 18, 2018  Posted by at 10:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Gabriel Loppé The Eiffel tower struck by lightning 1902

 

Habitat And Species Loss Threatens All Our Futures (G.)
John Kerry: ‘People Are Going To Die Because Of The Decision Trump Made’ (G.)
Bear Market Growls (Roberts)
APEC Leaders Divided After US, China Spat (AFP)
Pence Vows No End To Tariffs Until China Bows (R.)
Trump Calls CIA Assessment Of Khashoggi Murder Premature But Possible (R.)
Trump ‘Not Considering’ Extraditing Gülen to Turkey (Ind.)
White House Press Pass Has Nothing To Do With The First Amendment (McMaken)
Brussels Tells Theresa May Delaying Brexit Will Cost UK £10 Billion (O.)
Tory MPs Warn Hardliners They May Abandon Brexit (Ind.)
Activists Who Blocked Migrant Deportations Face Life in Prison In UK (IC)
Glass Was Forged Inside The Heart Of An Exploding Ancient Star (AFP)

 

 

Why does climate change get so much more attention than species extinction? Because people see more profit in it.

Habitat And Species Loss Threatens All Our Futures (G.)

As a UN conference convenes to work out a new deal for protecting the planet’s biodiversity, the focus falls on the nations that are not attending. Amid the worst loss of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs, the agenda at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh could hardly be more important, but the spirit of international collaboration appears to be as much at risk of extinction as the world’s endangered wildlife. The United States has never signed up and Brazil is among a growing group of countries where new nationalist leaders are shifting away from global cooperation.

The two-week meeting of the CBD is its first in two years. It has always been the neglected sibling of its twin, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The two organisations were conceived amid great hope at the Rio Earth summit in 1992 but while the energy transition has attracted heads of state interested in billion-dollar renewable projects, the effort to save the natural world has been left to weak environment ministries, conservation NGOs and underfunded scientists. Media research suggests there is only one news story about UN biodiversity talks for every 20 about UN climate negotiations. Coverage tends to focus on a few totemic species, such as lions, chimpanzees and pandas, rather than the collapsing ecosystems on which we depend.

[..] Since 1970 humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles, according to the latest Living Planet report by WWF, which warned that the loss of wildlife was now an emergency that is threatening our civilisation. This followed a report earlier this year that one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction. Recent studies have also tracked calamitous declines of pollinating insects in the US, Costa Rica and Germany, promoting warnings of ecological Armageddon. Cristiana Pasca Palmer, the head of the CBD, says we must stem the loss of biodiversity or face the prospect of our own extinction. But the global mechanics to do that are missing.

Part of the reason for the low level of interest is that the last two major biodiversity agreements – in 2002 and 2010 – have been ineffectual. At Nagoya in Japan eight years ago, the 196 signatory nations to the CBD signed up to the Aichi biodiversity targets: to at least halve the loss of natural habitats, ensure sustainable fishing in all waters, and expand nature reserves from 10% to 17% of the world’s land by 2020. With two years left in the Aichi plan, the conference this year will show that many of the 20 targets have been missed. And even apparent progress in the creation of new protected areas is misleading because governments from Brazil to China have done little to police these “paper reserves”.

Read more …

The level of sociopathy here is blinding. Just count the dead on Kerry’s watch. But again, he’s talking about climate change. Because that’s where the money is. Makes you wonder what the real issue is: rising temperatures or people looking to get rich off of them. Remember the braindead Michael Bloomberg/Mark Carney paper I wrote about when it came out, on getting rich while saving the planet. Who’s your enemy, really?

John Kerry: ‘People Are Going To Die Because Of The Decision Trump Made’ (G.)

“Here’s my feeling. And I’m certain of this.” He slows down. “I. Do. Not. Take. It. Personally. I’m sorry for the world. I’m sorry for my country, which looks ridiculous. Look, I’ve known all my life that this is a tough business, that politics is hard – that there are ups and down and if you personalise them you’re never going to survive.” Also, he points out, “I feel better than a lot of people think”, because Trump cannot affect the 194 countries still “doing Paris”, or even the 38 US states (plus Washington DC) committed to renewable energy portfolios regardless of the president’s edicts. The Iran deal is wounded, but still exists, he says. “In fact France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China all met few weeks ago in New York with the foreign minister of Iran, to talk about how to keep the deal moving forward.”

Surely he is angry, though? “You know what I’m angry about? People are going to die because of the decision Donald Trump made. My kids and my grandkids are going to face a difficult world because of what Donald Trump has done. But if you sound angry all the time, people aren’t going to listen to you.” Anger boiled over into a tweet last week, when he could not bear the farrago unfolding on Remembrance Day. “It was just a sad moment, for our country and for the presidency. The president of the United States did not go to an event because of rain, when those guys died in the rain, died in the snow, died in the gas, died in the mud, and not to honour them I thought was brutal.”

Read more …

I’d say you don’t need to know much more than this. It’s just that the game of guessing which straw breaks the camel’s back doesn’t strike me as particularly useful.

Bear Market Growls (Roberts)

Fortunately, up to this point, there has not been a triggering of margin debt, as of yet, which remains the “gasoline” to fuel a rapid market decline. As we have discussed previously, margin debt (i.e. leverage) is a double-edged sword. It fuels the bull market higher as investors “leverage up” to buy more equities, but it also burns “white hot” on the way down as investors are forced to liquidate to cover margin calls. Despite the two sell-offs this year, leverage has only marginally been reduced.

If you overlay that the S&P 500 index you can see more clearly the magnitude of the reversions caused by a “leverage unwind.”

The reason I bring this up is that, so far, the market has not declined enough to “trigger” margin calls. At least not yet. But exactly where is that level? There is no set rule, but there is a point at which the broker-dealers become worried about being able to collect on the “margin lines” they have extended. My best guess is that point lies somewhere around a 20% decline from the peak. The correction from intraday peak to trough in 2015-2016 was nearly 20%, but on a closing basis, the draft was about 13.5%. The corrections earlier this year, and currently, have both run close to 10% on a closing basis.

Read more …

Does China think Trump will give in?

APEC Leaders Divided After US, China Spat (AFP)

Leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific nations failed Sunday to bridge gaping divisions at a summit overshadowed by a war of words over the US and China as they vie for influence in the region. For the first time in the history of the APEC grouping, leaders were unable to agree on a formal written declaration amid sharp differences over trade policy. “The leaders agreed that instead of a traditional leaders’ declaration, they would leave it to the hands of PNG as the chair to issue a chair statement on behalf of all the members,” said Zhang Xiaolong, a spokesman from the Chinese foreign ministry. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted there were “different visions on particular elements with regard to trade that prevented full consensus on a communique document.”

The annual gathering, held for the first time in Papua New Guinea, was overshadowed by speeches from Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice President Mike Pence, which appeared to represent competing bids for regional leadership. Pence warned smaller countries not to be seduced by China’s massive Belt-and-Road infrastructure programme, which sees Beijing offer money to poorer countries for construction and development projects. The “opaque” loans come with strings attached and build up “staggering debt”, Pence charged, mocking the initiative as a “constricting belt” and a “one-way road”. He urged nations instead to stick with the United States, which doesn’t “drown our partners in a sea of debt” or “coerce, corrupt or compromise your independence”.

In a speech to business leaders just minutes before Pence, Xi insisted the initiative was not a “trap” and there was no “hidden agenda” – amid criticism that it amounts to “chequebook diplomacy” in the region. Xi also lashed out at “America First” trade protectionism, saying it was a “short-sighted approach” that was “doomed to failure”. [..] Trump — and Russian President Vladimir Putin – both decided to skip the gathering, leaving the spotlight on Xi who arrived two days early to open a Chinese-funded school and road in Papua New Guinea’s dirt-poor capital Port Moresby.

Read more …

Putin and Trump were both absent. Why have the summit then? So Xi can shoot himself in the foot?

Pence Vows No End To Tariffs Until China Bows (R.)

The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to U.S. demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday. In a bluntly worded speech at an Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea, Pence threw down the gauntlet to China on trade and security in the region. “We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China,” Pence declared. “We put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number.” “The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways.”

The stark warning will likely be unwelcome news to financial markets which had hoped for a thaw in the Sino-U.S. dispute and perhaps even some sort of deal at a G20 meeting later this month in Argentina. U.S. President Donald Trump, who is not attending the APEC meeting, is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina. Pence’s warning on Saturday contrasted with remarks made by Trump on Friday, when he said he may not impose more tariffs after China sent the United States a list of measures it was willing to take to resolve trade tensions. [..] There was no hint of compromise from Pence.“China has taken advantage of the United States for many years. Those days are over,” he told delegates gathered on a cruise liner docked in Port Moresby’s Fairfax Harbour.

Read more …

Killing the petrodollar is a big responsibility. But the CIA wouldn’t have issued the assessment without strong evidence.

Trump Calls CIA Assessment Of Khashoggi Murder Premature But Possible (R.)

President Donald Trump on Saturday called a CIA assessment blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “very premature” and said he will receive a complete report on the case on Tuesday. Trump, on a trip to California, said the killing “should never have happened.” The report on Tuesday will explain who the U.S. government believes killed Khashoggi and what the overall impact of his murder is, Trump said. It was unclear who is producing the report. Trump also said the CIA finding that bin Salman was responsible for the killing was “possible.” Trump made the remarks hours after the State Department said the government was still working on determining responsibility for the death of Khashoggi.

“Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.” Nauert said the State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the journalist’s killing accountable “while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.” Trump discussed the CIA assessment by phone with the agency’s director, Gina Haspel, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while flying to California on Saturday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

The CIA had briefed other parts of the U.S. government, including Congress, on its assessment, sources told Reuters on Friday, a development that complicates Trump’s efforts to preserve ties with the key U.S. ally. A source familiar with the CIA’s assessment said it was based largely on circumstantial evidence relating to the prince’s central role in running the Saudi government. The CIA’s finding is the most definitive U.S. assessment to date tying Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler directly to the killing and contradicts Saudi government assertions that Prince Mohammed was not involved.

Read more …

NBC egg on face. ‘T is the season?

Trump ‘Not Considering’ Extraditing Gülen to Turkey (Ind.)

President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is “not considering” extraditing an Islamic cleric self-exiled in the United States to Turkey. The extradition of Fethullah Gulen, accused of plotting a failed coup in 2016 to overthrow Turkish President Tayipp Erdogan, would be a strategic effort to persuade Turkey to lessen scrutiny on Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In recent months, the Trump administration has been vigorous in its defence and flattery of its close ally Saudi Arabia – and the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – in hopes Riyadh will serve its role in carrying out the president’s Middle East foreign policy.

“No, it’s not under consideration,” Mr Trump said when pressed on whether or not he would extradite the Turkish cleric, a political opponent of Erdogan, to his home country. “We are looking, always looking at whatever we can do for Turkey.” Mr Trump’s statement comes three days after NBC News reported that his administration is looking into whether or not extraditing Mr Gulen could convince the Turkish president to soften pressure on Saudi Arabia for reportedly killing Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh, in its Istanbul consulate earlier last month.

Read more …

The Jim Acosta show continues. CNN should cancel it.

White House Press Pass Has Nothing To Do With The First Amendment (McMaken)

It’s difficult to see how something so limited and so unavailable to nearly everyone could be called a right. After all, not even all reporters can hope to secure a White House press pass. And non-reporters have even less chance of ever getting access. Access to White House media facilities and forums are a privilege reserved for a select few —and most of those few are wealthy operatives of extremely powerful media corporations. A press pass is clearly not a right in the same sense as a trial by jury, a right to be secure in one’s personal property, or a right to peaceably assemble. In theory at least, those rights apply to everyone unless voluntarily waived, or unless revoked through some sort of public due process.

Nor is it the case that just anyone who is recognized as a journalist gets access to the White House press room. The room, of course, is of a finite size — there are 49 seats — and access is limited. Only a select group of people is allowed in, and the credentialing process is controlled in part by the White House Correspondents’ Association which hardly hands out credentials as if they were a human right. [..] even if everyone who wanted it were somehow magically given space in the White House press room, it’s hard to see how hobnobbing with the White House communications staff forms a pillar of a free press or free inquiry. In other words, the very premise that a White House press pass is a critical component of a free press is questionable at best. After all, the press room, the communications staff, and the entire White House media apparatus exists to make the president look good.

It’s not there to offer a frank exchange of information, or to divulge any information the White House doesn’t want released. To find that sort of information, one would have to engage in real investigative journalism in which journalists uncover facts that powerful government officials would rather not be uncovered. That, of course, is what Julian Assange has done. But you won’t find many establishment American journalists defending him. No, in the minds of the Jim Acostas of the world, “journalism” consists of repeating the official talking points released at official press conferences. And this is a lucky thing for presidents, many of whom have long understood that the purpose of White House communications is to manipulate the press.

Read more …

Delay will be at least a year if it happens.

Brussels Tells Theresa May Delaying Brexit Will Cost UK £10 Billion (O.)

The latest Opinium poll for the Observer on Sunday delivers more bad news for May, with Labour opening up a three-point lead. It shows Tory Leave supporters appear to be deserting May’s party in droves. Compared with a month ago, the Conservatives have dropped five points to 36% while Labour has gained three to stand on 39%. The proportion of Leavers backing the Tories has dropped by 10 points in one month. As May’s allies sprang to her defence and said she was “winning over the country”, Brussels threw a new spanner in the works by saying any extension of the 21-month transition period designed to smooth the UK’s exit must last at least a year beyond the end of December 2020.

May told an EU leaders summit last month that she might ask for a “few months” extra time if that was what was needed to complete an EU-UK trade deal and prevent the Irish backstop from coming into force. But on Saturday night Brussels was making clear that if the UK wants an extension of the transition – during which it is tied to the EU economic system but with no say over its rules – it must last at least a further year. A year-long extension would cost about £10bn on top of the £39bn divorce bill already agreed. Such a prospect will appal hardline Brexiters who already complain that the UK will have to spend almost two more years tied to the EU after Brexit on 29 March next year.

Read more …

No Brexit at all is also still an option. The problem may well be that Brexit means something different to every single person.

Tory MPs Warn Hardliners They May Abandon Brexit (Ind.)

Moderate Conservatives have warned they will push Britain towards tighter relations with the EU or even turn against Brexit altogether if “purists” in their party tear down Theresa May’s draft withdrawal deal. A string of Tory MPs told The Independent that Eurosceptic colleagues who have begun a sustained push to bring down both Ms May and her Brexit plans, should not be mistaken that a no-deal exit risking the livelihoods of British people is obtainable. The moderates say the only remaining option if Brexiteers block Ms May’s approach will mean being more closely bound to the single market or even revisiting the 2016 referendum result. Their warning comes as the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservatives launched a coordinated campaign against the draft deal to be signed off at an EU summit next weekend, and pushed for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

Ms May is set to continue her media offensive defending the deal on Sunday with a live interview in the morning, but Eurosceptics have also been in force attacking it. The pushback from Tory moderates began with pointed words from serving frontbencher Alistair Burt, who indicated that if Ms May’s plans fell, Brexiteers could not expect Remain-voting MPs to continue to go along with the result of the 2016 referendum regardless of the consequences. He wrote on Twitter: “Be very clear. If an agreed deal on leaving between the Govt and the EU is voted down by purist Brexiteers, do not be surprised if consensus on accepting the result of the referendum by Remain-voting MPs breaks down. “Parliament will not support no deal.”

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Picking people up just to fill seats on a plane. Morals we have none.

Activists Who Blocked Migrant Deportations Face Life in Prison In UK (IC)

Smoke is a founding member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, a group created in 2015 to stand in solidarity with migrant communities in the U.K., and also part of End Deportations, a group campaigning to end deportations that originally formed around the Stansted action. They chose to focus on one particular aspect of the U.K.’s deportation system: charter flights. While some migrants and asylum-seekers are deported on commercial flights alongside passengers traveling for business or pleasure, others are deported via private flights chartered by the Home Office, the government department responsible for immigration, security, and law and order. The Titan plane around which the Stansted 15 locked themselves in March 2017 was one of the latter.

[..] Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the Home Office chartered 93 deportation flights from January 2016 through May 2018, including the flight grounded by the Stansted 15. Most of these flights went to Pakistan, Albania, Nigeria, and Ghana, although a few also flew to Germany, France, and Bulgaria. Some carried over 50 deportees; most had less than 20 passengers being deported because of a criminal conviction. These destinations have shifted over time as the population of asylum-seekers has changed: Charter deportation flights in 2014 also frequented Afghanistan and Kosovo. The Stansted 15, along with many others who research or campaign around deportation, take issue with numerous aspects of deportation charter flights, starting with the way in which migrants and asylum-seekers are notified of them.

“It’s a weird numbers game where the government needs to fill seats on this plane to make it economically viable,” says Morten Thaysen, one of the co-founders of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants. There will often be “raids in the weeks leading up to the flight,” according to Thaysen. “People [are] being taken from marketplaces, workplaces, their home, and put in detention centers – these kind of immigration prisons – and then taken in the middle of the night on these secret flights where there are no witnesses. So it’s the brutality of how they function.” Some people, activists also argue, are not notified of their impending deportation with enough time to appeal the decision. “We see so many people on these flights whose cases haven’t been properly finished, haven’t had their cases heard properly,” says Thaysen.

Read more …

“Silica makes up around 60 percent of the Earth’s crust..”

Glass Was Forged Inside The Heart Of An Exploding Ancient Star (AFP)

The next time you’re gazing out of the window in search of inspiration, keep in mind the material you’re looking through was forged inside the heart of an exploding ancient star. An international team of scientists said Friday they had detected silica — the main component of glass — in the remnants of two distant supernovae billions of light years from Earth. Researchers used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to analyse the light emitted by the collapsing mega-cluster and obtain silica’s “fingerprint” based on the specific wavelength of light the material is known to emit. A supernova occurs when a large star burns through its own fuel, causing a catastrophic collapse ending in an explosion of galactic proportions.

It is in these celestial maelstroms that individual atoms fuse together to form many common elements, including sulphur and calcium. Silica makes up around 60 percent of the Earth’s crust and one particular form, quartz, is a major ingredient of sand. As well as glass windows and fibreglass, silica is also an important part of the recipe for industrial concrete. “We’ve shown for the first time that the silica produced by the supernovae was significant enough to contribute to the dust throughout the Universe, including the dust that ultimately came together to form our home planet,” said Haley Gomez, from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. “Every time we gaze through a window, walk down the pavement or set foot on a sandy beach, we are interacting with material made by exploding stars that burned millions of years ago.”

Read more …

Jun 072018
 
 June 7, 2018  Posted by at 2:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Everything That Dies Does Not Come Back


Charles Sprague Pearce The Arab jeweler c1882

 

 

There are a lot of industries in our world that wreak outsized amounts of havoc. Think the biggest global banks and oil companies. Think plastics. But there is one field that is much worse than all others: agro-chemicals. At some point, not that long ago, the largest chemical producers, who until then had kept themselves busy producing Agent Orange, nerve agents and chemicals used in concentration camp showers, got the idea to use their products in food production.

While they had started out with fertilizers etc., they figured making crops fully dependent on their chemicals would be much more lucrative. They bought themselves ever more seeds and started manipulating them. And convinced more and more farmers, or rather food agglomerates, that if there were ‘pests’ that threatened their yields, they should simply kill them, rather than use natural methods to control them.

And in monocultures that actually makes sense. It’s the monoculture itself that doesn’t. What works in nature is (bio)diversity. It’s the zenith of cynicism that the food we need to live is now produced by a culture of death. Because that is what Monsanto et al represent: Their solution to whatever problem farmers may face is to kill it with poison. But that will end up killing the entire ecosystem a farmer operates within, and depends on.

However, the Monsantos of the planet produce much more ‘research’ material than anybody else, and it all says that the demise of ecosystems into which their products are introduced, has nothing to do with these products. And by the time anyone can prove the opposite, it will be too late: the damage will have been done through cross-pollination. Monsanto can then sue anyone who has crops that show traces of its genetically altered proprietary seeds, even if the last thing a farmer wants is to include those traces.

Anyway, when reading John Vidal in the Guardian yesterday, I was struck by some numbers. Bayer-Monsanto, soon to be just Bayer, own 60% of proprietary seeds and 70% of agrochemicals in the world. That’s roughly comparable to the numbers of vertebrates and insects that have vanished from the countrysides of Germany, France and England. Life itself is dying. Species extinction is now a bigger threat than climate change. Vidal:

 

Who Should Feed The World: Real People Or Faceless Multinationals?

“Through its many subsidiary companies and research arms, Bayer-Monsanto will have an indirect impact on every consumer and a direct one on most farmers in Britain, the EU and the US. It will effectively control nearly 60% of the world’s supply of proprietary seeds, 70% of the chemicals and pesticides used to grow food, and most of the world’s GM crop genetic traits, as well as much of the data about what farmers grow where, and the yields they get.

It will be able to influence what and how most of the world’s food is grown, affecting the price and the method it is grown by. But the takeover is just the last of a trio of huge seed and pesticide company mergers.” It will be able to influence what and how most of the world’s food is grown, affecting the price and the method it is grown by.

But the takeover is just the last of a trio of huge seed and pesticide company mergers. Backed by governments, and enabled by world trade rules and intellectual property laws, Bayer-Monsanto, Dow-DuPont and ChemChina-Syngenta have been allowed to control much of the world’s supply of seeds.

Do note that although Dow-DuPont and ChemChina-Syngenta may be large companies, Bayer-Monsanto alone own 60% of proprietary seeds and 70% of agrochemicals. Since they ‘only’ own 60% and 70%, they can’t be accused of running a monopoly. But their main product, glyphosate (Roundup) is also produced by Dow, DuPont and Syngenta. So together they do effectively run a monopoly. Just not ‘technically’. These guys have the world’s best and biggest legal, lobbying and PR teams. Because they’re after global control.

[..] because most farmers in rich countries already buy their seeds from the multinationals, opposition has barely been heard. Instead, it is coming from the likes of Debal Deb, an Indian plant researcher who grows forgotten crops and is the antithesis of Bayer and Monsanto. While they concentrate on developing a small number of blockbuster staple crops, Deb grows as many crops as he can and gives the seeds away.

This year he is cultivating an astonishing 1,340 traditional varieties of Indian “folk” rice on land donated to him in West Bengal. More than 7,000 farmers in six states will be given the seeds, on the condition that they also grow them and give some away.

This seed-sharing of “landraces”, or local varieties, is not philanthropy but the extension of an age-old system of mutualised farming that has provided social stability and dietary diversity for millions of people. By continually selecting, crossbreeding and then exchanging their seeds, farmers have developed varieties for their aroma, taste, colour, medicinal properties and resistance to pests, drought and flood.

The battle is between biodiversity and Monsanto, and the latter is winning big. Monsanto-Bayer wants farmers to grow only a few crops, that it has patents on, and to kill off everything else with the chemicals without which these crops will not grow. Monoculture on steroids, raised in sterile environments bereft of life. 75% of insects gone in Europe’s countrysides, 60% of vertebrates, birds and butterflies becoming a rarity.

It is insanity in its purest form. Insanity of individual people, insanity of legal systems, insanity of governance. No-one, and no country, should be obliged to prove that Monsanto’s products are killing off biodiversity. We have an instrument called the precautionary principle, and we must use it. Like Hippocrates’ First Do No Harm. It is not complicated.

But I must admit I sometimes think it’s already too late. Once you kill off 70% of any form of life, in any ecosystem, how is it going to recover? Because mind you, with the Bayer-Monsanto merger being approved worldwide, things are only going to get worse at ever increasing speed. The agro-chemical industry is a culture of death that relies for its profits on a giant die-off, probably worse than whatever it is that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

And the odds that mankind will survive this one are slim to none. Our survival depends one on one on the diversity in the ecosystems we reside in. But yeah, I hear you: intelligent species.

 

 

Here’s something I first published in December 2016. Things have gotten much worse much faster than I could have predicted back then. Kill Monsanto before it kills your children.

 

 

Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity

 


Caters Extremely rare albino elephant, Kruger National Park in South Africa

 

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back …

Springsteen, Atlantic City

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”
Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend

 

What drives our economies is waste. Not need, or even demand. Waste. 2nd law of thermodynamics. It drives our lives, period.

First of all, don’t tell me you’re trying to stop the ongoing extinction of nature and wildlife on this planet, or the destruction of life in general. Don’t even tell me you’re trying. Don’t tell me it’s climate change that we should focus on (that’s just a small part of the story), and you’re driving an electric car and you’re separating your trash or things like that. That would only mean you’re attempting to willfully ignore your share of destruction, because if you do it, so will others, and the planet can’t take anymore of your behavior.

This is the big one. And the only ones amongst us who don’t think so are those who don’t want to. Who think it’s easier to argue that some problems are too big for them to tackle, that they should be left to others to solve. But why should we, why should anyone, worry about elections or even wars, when it becomes obvious we’re fast approaching a time when such things don’t matter much anymore?

The latest WWF Living Planet Report shows us that the planet is a whole lot less alive than it used to be. And that we killed that life. That we replaced it with metal, bricks, plastic and concrete. Mass consumption leads to mass extinction. And that is fully predictable, it always was; there’s nothing new there.

We killed 58% of all vertebrate wildlife just between 1970 and 2012, and at a rate of 2% per year we will have massacred close to 70% of it by 2020, just 4 years from now. So what does it matter who’s president of just one of the many countries we invented on this planet? Why don’t we address what’s really crucial to our very survival instead?

 

 

The latest report from the WWF should have us all abandon whatever it is we’re doing, and make acting to prevent further annihilation of our living world the key driver in our everyday lives, every hour of every day, every single one of us. Anything else is just not good enough, and anything else will see us, that self-nominated intelligent species, annihilated in the process.

Granted, there may be a few decrepit and probably halfway mutant specimens of our species left, living in conditions we couldn’t even begin, nor dare, to imagine, with what will be left of their intelligence wondering how our intelligence could have ever let this happen. You’d almost wish they’ll understand as little as we ever did; that some form of ignorance equal to ours will soften their pain.

It’s important to note that the report does not describe a stagnant situation, there’s no state of affairs, not something still, it describes an ongoing and deteriorating process. That is, we don’t get to choose to stop the ongoing wildlife annihilation at 70%; we are witnessing, and indeed we are actively involved in, raising that number by 2% every year that we ‘live’ (can we even call it that anymore, are you alive when you murder all life around you?) in this world.

This is our only home.

 

 

Without the natural world that we were born into, or rather that our species, our ancestors, were born into, we have zero chance of survival. Because it is the natural world that has allowed for, and created, the conditions that made it possible for mankind to emerge and develop in the first place. And we are nowhere near making an earth 2.0; the notion itself is preposterous. A few thousand years of man ‘understanding’ his world is no match for billions of years of evolution. That’s the worst insult to whatever intelligence it is that we do have.

Much has been made through the years of our ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and much of that is just as much hubris as so much of what we tell ourselves, but the big question should be WHY we would volunteer to find out to what extent we can adapt to a world that has sustained the losses we cause it to suffer. Even if we could to a degree adapt to that, why should we want to?

Two thirds of our world is gone, and it’s we who have murdered it, and what’s worse – judging from our lifestyles- we seem to have hardly noticed at all. If we don’t stop what we’ve been doing, this can lead to one outcome only: we will murder ourselves too. Our perhaps biggest problem (even if we have quite a few) in this regard is our ability and propensity to deny this, as we deny any and all -serious, consequential- wrongdoing.

 

 

There are allegedly serious and smart people working on, dreaming of, and getting billions in subsidies for, fantasies of human colonies on Mars. This is advertized as a sign of progress and intelligence. But that can only be true if we can acknowledge that our intelligence and our insanity are identical twins. Because it is insane to destroy the planet on which we depend one-on-one for everything that allows us to live, and at the same time dream of human life on another planet.

While I see no reason to address the likes of King of Subsidies Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking is different. Unfortunately, in Hawking’s case, with all his intelligence, it’s his philosophical capacity that goes missing.

Humanity Will Not Survive Another 1,000 Years If We Don’t Escape Our Planet

Professor Stephen Hawking has warned humanity will not survive another 1,000 years on Earth unless the human race finds another planet to live on. [..] Professor Hawking, 74, reflected on the understanding of the universe garnered from breakthroughs over the past five decades, describing 2016 as a “glorious time to be alive and doing research into theoretical physics”. “Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution,“ he went on.

”The fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come this close to understanding the laws that govern us and the universe is certainly a triumph.” Highlighting “ambitious” experiments that will give an even more precise picture of the universe, he continued: “We will map the position of millions of galaxies with the help of [super] computers like Cosmos. We will better understand our place in the universe.”

“But we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity. I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

The tragedy is that we may have gained some knowledge of natural laws and the universe, but we are completely clueless when it comes to keeping ourselves from destroying our world. Mars is an easy cop-out. But Mars doesn’t solve a thing. Because it’s -obviously- not the ‘fragile planet’ earth that is a threat to mankind, it’s mankind itself. How then can escaping to another planet solve its problems?

What exactly is wrong with saying that we will have to make it here on planet earth? Is it that we’ve already broken and murdered so much? And if that’s the reason, what does that say about us, and what does it say about what we would do to a next planet, even provided we could settle on it (we can’t) ? Doesn’t it say that we are our own worst enemies? And doesn’t the very idea of settling the ‘next planet’ imply that we had better settle things right here first? Like sort of a first condition before we go to Mars, if we ever do?

In order to survive, we don’t need to escape our planet, we need to escape ourselves. Not nearly as easy. Much harder than escaping to Mars. Which already is nothing but a pipedream to begin with.

Moreover, if we can accept that settling things here first before going to Mars is a prerequisite for going there in the first place, we wouldn’t need to go anymore, right?

 

 

We treat this entire extinction episode as if it’s something we’re watching from the outside in, as if it’s something we’re not really a part of. I’ve seen various undoubtedly very well-intentioned ‘green people’, ‘sustainable people’, react to the WWF report by pointing to signs that there is still hope, pointing to projects that reverse some of the decline, chinook salmon on the North American Pacific coast, Malawi farmers that no longer use chemical fertilizers, a giant sanctuary in the Antarctic etc.

That, too, is a form of insanity. Because it serves to lull people into a state of complacency that is entirely unwarranted. And that can therefore only serve to make things worse. There is no reversal, there is no turnaround. It’s like saying if a body doesn’t fall straight down in a continuous line, it doesn’t fall down at all.

The role that green, sustainability, conservationist groups play in our societies has shifted dramatically, and we have failed completely to see this change (as have they). These groups have become integral parts of our societies, instead of a force on the outside warning about what happens within.

Conservationist groups today serve as apologists for the havoc mankind unleashes on its world: all people have to do is donate money at Christmas, and conservation will be taken care of. Recycle a few bottles and plastic wrappings and you’re doing your part to save the planet. It is utterly insane. It’s as insane as the destruction itself. It’s denial writ large, and in the flesh.

It’s not advertized that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not how it works. Saying that ‘it’s not too late’ is not a call to action as many people continue to believe. It’s just dirt poor psychology. It provides people with the impression, which rapidly turns into an excuse, that there is still time left. As almost 70% of all vertebrates, those animals that are closest to us, have disappeared. When would they say time is up? At 80%, 90%?

 

 

We do not understand why, or even that, we are such a tragically destructive species. And perhaps we can’t. Perhaps that is where our intelligence stops, at providing insight into ourselves. Even the most ‘aware’ amongst us will still tend to disparage their own roles in what goes on. Even they will make whatever it is they still do, and that they know is hurtful to the ecosystem, seem smaller than it is.

Even they will search for apologies for their own behavior, tell themselves they must do certain things in order to live in the society they were born in, drive kids to school, yada yada. We all do that. We soothe our consciences by telling ourselves we mean well, and then getting into our cars to go pick up a carton of milk. Or engage in an equally blind act. There’s too many to mention.

Every species that finds a large amount of free energy reacts the same way: proliferation. The unconscious drive is to use up the energy as fast as possible. If only we could understand that. But understanding it would get in the way of the principle itself. The only thing we can do to stop the extinction is for all of us to use a lot less energy. But because energy consumption provides wealth and -more importantly- political power, we will not do that. We instead tell ourselves all we need to do is use different forms of energy.

Our inbuilt talent for denying and lying (to ourselves and others) makes it impossible for us to see that we have an inbuilt talent for denying and lying in the first place. Or, put another way, seeing that we haven’t been able to stop ourselves from putting the planet into the dismal shape it is in now, why should we keep on believing that we will be able to stop ourselves in the future?

Thing is, an apology for our own behavior is also an apology for everyone else’s. As long as you keep buying things wrapped in plastic, you have no right, you lose your right, to blame the industry that produces the plastic.

 

 

We see ourselves as highly intelligent, and -as a consequence- we see ourselves as a species driven by reason. But we are not. Which can be easily demonstrated by a ‘reverse question’: why, if we are so smart, do we find ourselves in the predicament of having destroyed two thirds of our planet?

Do we have a rational argument to execute that destruction? Of course not, we’ll say. But then why do we do it if rationality drives us? This is a question that should forever cure us of the idea that we are driven by reason. But we’re not listening to the answer to that question. We’re denying, we’re even denying the question itself.

It’s the same question, and the same answer, by the way, that will NOT have us ‘abandon whatever it is we do’ when we read today that 70% of all wildlife will be gone by 2020, that 58% was gone by 2012 and we destroy it at a rate of 2% per year. We’re much more likely to worry much more about some report that says returns on our retirement plans will be much lower than we thought. Or about the economic growth that is too low (as if that is possible with 70% of wildlife gone).

After all, if destroying 70% of wildlife is not enough for a call to action, what would be? 80%? 90? 99%? I bet you that would be too late. And no, relying on conservationist groups to take care of it for us is not a viable route. Because that same 70% number spells out loud and clear what miserable failures these groups have turned out to be.

We ‘assume’ we’re intelligent, because that makes us feel good. Well, it doesn’t make the planet feel good. What drives us is not reason. What drives us is the part of our brains that we share in common with amoeba and bacteria and all other more ‘primitive forms of life, that gobbles up excess energy as fast as possible, in order to restore a balance. Our ‘rational’, human, brain serves one function, and one only: to find ‘rational’ excuses for what our primitive brain has just made us do.

We’re all intelligent enough to understand that driving a hybrid car or an electric car does nothing to halt the havoc we do to our world, but there are still millions of these things being sold. So perhaps we could say that we’re at the same time intelligent enough, and we’re not.

We can see ourselves destroying our world, but we can not stop ourselves from continuing the destruction. Here’s something I wrote 5 years ago:

Most. Tragic. Species. Ever.

We have done exactly the same that any primitive life form would do when faced with a surplus, of food, energy, and in our case credit, cheap money. We spent it all as fast as we can. Lest less abundant times arrive. It’s an instinct, it comes from our more primitive brain segments, not our more “rational” frontal cortex. It’s not that we’re in principle, or talent, more devious or malicious than more primitive life forms. It’s that we use our more advanced brains to help us execute the same devastation our primitive brain drives us to, but much much worse.

That’s what makes us the most tragic species imaginable. We’ll fight each other, even our children, over the last few scraps falling off the table, and kill off everything in our path to get there. And when we’re done, we’ll find a way to rationalize to ourselves why we were right to do so. We can be aware of watching ourselves do what we do, but we can’t help ourselves from doing it. Most. Tragic. Species. Ever.

The greatest miracle you will ever see, that you could ever hope to see, is so miraculous you can’t even recognize it for what it is. We don’t know what the word beautiful means anymore. Or the word valuable. We’ve lost all of that, and are well on our way, well over 70% of it, to losing the rest too.

 

 

 

PS Please note I could not gather all sources for all pictures here, but I’d be more than happy to add them. It’s not that I don’t recognize the effort that goes into them; it’s an emotional thing.