Oct 032022
 October 3, 2022  Posted by at 2:12 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »

Jessie Willcox Smith From The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald 1920



We need to renew the discussion about climate (change) because one side of that discussion claims that the science is settled. And yes, that is the same thing that happened with Covid, and you can even say the same thing that has happened with Ukraine, and with Donald Trump.

In all these cases, one side of the talking controls politics, media and intelligence agencies. But that doesn’t mean they’re right, even though they may seem to be, in everything you read and hear. And if you’ve followed the Covid discussion, and how could you not have, you know how dangerous this can be, how much open discussion is needed.

There are voices who say that the whole Covid thing was just a dress rehearsal meant to gauge how compliant people can be made, with the ultimate target being make them bend over and take it for the climate. For me, the cultural culmination of this is the move from “sustainable energy” to “green energy” to now “clean energy”. All three are absurdly nonsensical terms, but people use them without a second thought.

What strikes me about this discussion, if you can still call it that, is that the people alarmed about the climate never come with actual solutions. Wind and solar cannot ever replace oil and gas, but that is how they advertized. They only so-called solutions I see all lead to economic collapse (see Europe today), and that inevitable results in the use of dirtier, not cleaner energy. Just wait till people start burning plastic to keep warm.

I’ve long said that the only answer is using less energy, and that, given our wasteful ways, this is absolutely possible, we can cut our energy use by 90% is se put our minds to it with very little discomfort, but using less energy is not on the agenda. Of course I’ve also long said that we are -biologically- programmed to use as much surplus energy as we can (as all organisms are), so there are plenty dilemmas and contradictions involved.

Why did the age of fossil fuels make us multiply to now have a population of 8 billion, when we started with half a billion? To burn the stuff faster, of course. As much as our transport modes are incredibly energy inefficient, we can still only drive one car at a time.

I’ll start off this new discussion with our commentariat. Long time commenter TAE Summary provides a …summary of points for and against in the climate discussion, while sometime commenter Bishko lets his light shine from his own chemistry background: “I run a business measuring air pollution.” Here we go.



TAE Summary:

A Tale of Two Narratives, Climate Change Edition

Disclaimer: These narratives are based on multiple sources and neither may represent any particular person’s beliefs

• The Mainstream Narrative

– Greenhouse gasses absorb dark radiation and re-emit it. With more such gasses in the atmosphere, radiation and its attendant heat stays in the earth’s atmosphere instead of escaping into outer space and so the atmosphere and earth itself warm up.
– CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas inducing warming. It has increased from about 280 ppm to 420 ppm, an increase of 50% in the last 200 years and is higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. The effect of greenhouse gasses is non-linear and a significant tipping point will be at around 450 ppm.
– There is a proven correlation between CO2 levels and global warming both long and short term. Increases in CO2 have caused mass extinction in the past. It takes a long time for life forms to adjust to big changes in CO2 levels.
– One of the effects of global warming is a disruption of the jet stream which causes extreme temperatures both higher and lower than normally seen.
– Another effect of increased CO2 is the acidification of the oceans as CO2 combines with water to form carbonic acid. If left unchecked this will terminate much of the life in the oceans.
– That the earth is getting warmer is obvious to anyone over the age of 50.
– CO2 emission and therefore global warming is primarily due to humans burning coal, oil and natural gas.
– Nothing is being done to actually combat climate change because of the immense profits to be made from selling fossil fuels. Climate change is a consequence of our continued financial ponzi scheme. None of the so-called climate change initiatives are sincere or effective.
– Expect mass extinction on earth including humans by 2050.
– People who deny climate change ignore the facts and are victims of propaganda. Their beliefs are similar to religious hopium.


• The Counter Narrative

– While it is true that greenhouse gasses absorb and re-emit dark radiation, it has not been proven that this action increases global temperatures. Energy absorption by CO2 levels off as concentrations increase after which there just isn’t much more energy to absorb. The models used to predict the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are too simplistic.
– The CO2 increase in the last 200 years is only from 0.028% to 0.04% or 0.016%, an insignificant amount. Such a small increase in concentration has little effect. Water vapor is much more prevalent in the atmosphere and more involved in warming than CO2.
– CO2 is necessary and beneficial for plant life and higher concentrations will increase crop yields and be a net benefit for mankind. Epochs with higher levels of CO2 had more abundant life compared to now. Plants today could use more CO2.
– There is no proven correlation between CO2 levels and global warming. The earth has had both dramatically hotter and cooler temperatures with the same level of CO2 we have now. The earth has not gotten any warmer in the last 20 years. We are just experiencing normal, erratic weather. We have recently seen a lot of extremely cold weather which contradicts global warming.
– Increased CO2 will not acidify the oceans. As CO2 is absorbed by the oceans it will form insoluble carbonates and act as a carbon sink. Even with ocean acidification fish will survive like they did in other epochs with high CO2.
– The idea that humans can affect the climate is hubris. The climate changes naturally, always has and always will. Solar radiation is the biggest contributor to warming of the planet and especially the oceans and is outside human control. Human activity is insignificant to the climate.
– The global war on climate change is a way to grab power, reduce the population and save resources for the elites. It is a political tool. The people preaching climate change are themselves big CO2 emitters and huge hypocrites.
– Humans are very adaptable. Even with the natural shifts in climate that we are experiencing mankind will continue to thrive for a good long time.
– People who believe in climate change ignore the facts and are victims of propaganda. Their beliefs are similar to religious paranoia.




“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
– HL Mencken

The Great Lie. One of the Hobgoblins.

If you want to better understand the Anthropomorphic Climate Change Hoax read on.

I am a chemist. I run a business measuring air pollution. In chemistry there is a scientific tool known as spectroscopy. The principle of spectroscopy is measuring the absorption or transmission of “light” through matter.

“Light” is in quotes because for true scientists the electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum of frequencies that begins with the very very low frequencies, say below one cycle per second, (alpha brain waves are 8 cps btw) all the way up to ultra high frequencies of X-rays and Gamma rays and beyond.

Different forms and compositions of matter absorb or transmit different frequencies of “light”. For example, a 0.1 mm thickness of aluminum can stop visible light that would easily transit one hundred miles through air. However, in spectroscopy, we vary the frequency of the light that we use to “study” the material so that we end up with a “Spectra” of the material as we vary the frequency. In chemistry, these Spectra are used to tease out compositions of materials as well as their concentrations.

In chemistry, we immediately run into the phenomenon known as “Extinction” or the “Extinction Coefficient” where our sample, suspended in the “light” beam blocks the light so completely that there is no useful data coming through the sample like the aluminum above. The Spectra is at complete absorption or 0% transmission. Not useful. When this happens, you dilute the sample or make it thinner so there is greater penetration of the “light” so you can obtain a Spectra.

In the other extreme, your sample may be too transparent in the spectrum that interests you to obtain a Spectra. The Spectra is a complete transmission or 0% absorption or near enough. Also not useful. In this case you make the sample more concentrated or increase the path length of the cell making the sample “thicker”.

As this relates to our atmosphere. The “cell length” of absorption of solar radiation is a somewhat abstract concept. If you assume that the atmosphere “ends” at 50 or 100 miles above us, you can make calculations. However, at any one time there is only one point in the atmosphere where the sun is coming down at exactly 90 degrees.

This changes moment by moment as the earth rotates and seasons change. Everywhere else the sun is coming down at an angle which increases it’s path length. At the poles much of the sun goes straight through the atmosphere and never touches the earth and exits out the other side. The perfect tangent. This is what causes the “ozone holes” not the fluorocarbons. A separate hoax and separate discussion.


So, with all these varying path lengths, and variable densities (absorption also changes with pressure) and changes of state (clouds are liquids suspended in gas) you get a complex absorption process.

However, you can easily measure the solar spectrum at the earth’s surface (or at any altitude) to obtain the measurements that show you which frequencies are absorbed partially or totally or not at all. This spectrum shows thousand of “holes” where thousands of frequencies of light zip through the atmosphere, carrying their entrained “photonic energy”.

The “Hard UV” radiation that hits our upper atmosphere is absorbed by the oxygen molecules when they are still quite dilute at 20 to 25 miles up where the atmospheric pressure is almost a vacuum. These UV frequencies are at “extinction” because they never penetrate very far into our atmosphere. The UV frequencies that are “softer” the so-called UVA and UVB are of a lower frequency and exist at what is considered the Ultra Violet Cutoff for our atmosphere.

Hard Ultra Violet frequencies cannot penetrate down to the surface since they are absorbed to “extinction” at much higher altitude. Our atmosphere at sea level would need to be near these vacuum conditions for these “Hard UV” photons to reach the surface, or there would need to be no oxygen in the atmosphere. Neither would allow life to exist here.

Any and all light the reaches the earth’s surface is either absorbed, reflected or refracted. Some of the absorbed light enters into chemical reactions where it is “trapped” as chemical energy. Photosynthesis comes to mind but there are others. This is a very small fraction of the total received. Some is reflected. The fact that you can “see” is a confirmation that a great deal of the light that reaches the earth is reflected. Since all of this light that reached the surface has already been “filtered” through the atmosphere, these reflected photons have a great propensity to “exit” the atmosphere as well since their frequencies have not been shifted very much.


The multi spectral sunlight that hits a green leaf is partially absorbed and partially reflected. The reflected light is green because the “useful” frequencies have been deducted from the spectrum by the chlorophyll to operate the plant’s chemical factory. The remaining non-useful light is reflected away as waste. That color green was always “inside” that sunlight that came down and is reflected away to your eye, camera, bird wing or to space. This is why you can see green forests from the space station, that green frequency is not absorbed by the components of the atmosphere.

All these processes occur on femtosecond time scales. The light travels from the sun in about 8 minutes transits our atmosphere in about 5/10,000 of a second, hits the leaf and is reflected back out to space in another 5/10,000 of a second and continues it’s journey throughout the universe to an unknown end.

Light that is absorbed by material at the earth’s surface has a different journey. The energy is absorbed by the electronic configuration of the molecules that it hits. This forms an electronic “excited state” where the electrons of the material move to a “higher” orbit. This excited state can be used by plants to run their chemical processes, or, in inanimate matter, can exist for a period of time (usually only femtoseconds) until it is re-emitted as a lower frequency photon or photons.

Thermodynamics forbid the new photon from being re-emitted at the same or a higher frequency (higher energy) although there are modern high tech exceptions to this (thermal imaging scopes &c where additional energy is added to the matrix).

So this new lower frequency photon is once again either absorbed, reflected or transmitted out into space.


If the new lower frequency photon is absorbed onto something, it means that it’s frequency was just right to enter into the electron cloud of this new molecule forming a new “excited state”. This is once again re-emitted as a new-new lower frequency photon which follows the same process of reflection, transmission or absorption. All matter is constantly emitting photons that are being absorbed by the matter around them.

The higher energy (from hotter atoms) photons relatively quickly reach equilibrium with its surroundings. Hotter things emit faster and more energetic photons. Think of a hot skillet taken off the stove. Doesn’t take but a few minutes to “cool” to room temperature. Some convection, some radiation of photons. All the convected heat also gets emitted as photons from the atoms that did the convecting.

Once again, all these things occur at very short time scales.

The photon that get’s absorbed and re-emitted at infrared frequencies follows this cascade in nanoseconds depending on the time it takes the photon to travel to the next absorption site, either microns away to kilometers. If the photon’s frequency is of a wavelength where it cannot exit the atmosphere since there are many molecules of say CO2 there to absorb it, it gets absorbed and then re-emitted at a lower frequency. Eventually, the photon is emitted at a frequency that has no “absorbers” around. All it sees is open sky and is gone. Nanoseconds. The atmosphere has many “frequency holes”.

CO2 has a Spectra, look at it if you can find one wide enough, see the thousands of holes in it. The fact that it can absorb in some infrared frequencies does not mean that it absorbs all infrared frequencies. The infrared spectrum is much much broader than the visible spectrum.

Clouds are a complicating issue in all this since they are composed of small droplets of liquid. The Spectra of liquids is usually different from the gas phase. However, that said, clouds are quite transparent to some frequencies of infrared light. Infrared imaging cuts right through fog and clouds thus no absorption at those frequencies.


So, overall, the sun’s energy that enters earth’s system does not stay here long. The heat that builds up during the day in the soil, rocks, water and air spends the next few hours emitting and re-emitting lower and lower frequency photons to each other and to the sky as they approach the new dawn. Cloudy nights can offer a reflecting surface to slow their exit from the atmosphere of certain frequencies but even a cloudy night gets quite cold by morning since those lower frequency infrared photons pass right through the clouds.

If you ever spent a sunset in a desert you realize how quickly the air loses it’s heat to infrared photons and the desert’s surface does not reheat the air above it much. The radiation pressure of a clear night sky is very weak and these infrared photons coming off the land are exiting en-mass.

The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has also reached “extinction” in that the frequencies that CO2 absorbs, almost none of those photons escape back out of the atmosphere to space. They are, however, re-emitted at lower frequencies almost as soon as they are absorbed. This is the point of the person who wrote about the “sunglasses” analogy where more CO2 is just adding more sunglasses.

I like to use the ink in the pool analogy. If you are underwater in your pool and looking across to the light under the diving board you are getting near 100% transmission (of the visible not IR). If someone throws an ink well into the pool and stirs it around, your ability to see the light drops. Adding additional ink makes it drop more. At some point you have complete absorption and cannot see any light. Adding more ink to the pool does not make you see less. You have reached “extinction”.

You could of course swim towards the light until you could see it again. Then more ink would make it opaque again. CO2 in our atmosphere has reached “extinction” a very long time ago, long before life arrived. This CO2 Hobgoblin has been so effective since almost none of the people, and unfortunately almost none of the scientists understand, or they refuse to understand these principles.

This dissertation is a slightly simplified version of reality. I tried to keep the concepts intact without going into too many sidelines. A nit picker, including myself can find many nits to pick, but I think that I’m getting the main points across.

These concepts are not difficult to understand. It is all founded in base level physics and chemistry. Applying your intellect to the understanding of how all this works clears away the “fog of agenda”.

Plant potatoes.



A hobgoblin is a spirit of the hearth, typically appearing in folklore, once considered helpful but since the spread of Christianity has often been considered mischievous. Shakespeare identifies the character of Puck in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a hobgoblin.




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Sep 152022
 September 15, 2022  Posted by at 8:49 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »

Salvador Dali Neo-Cubist Academy (Composition with Three Figures) 1926


Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)
“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)
US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)
The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)
Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)
Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)
EU May Punish Hungary (RT)
Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)
Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)
End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)
Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)
Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)
Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)
UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)



Art Berman @aeberman12
The real energy transition is a reduction in energy use. This will never happen VOLUNTARILY. Another slide from my talk last night at Houston Geological Society.





Twitter whistleblower





The Fibonacci week. How long do the days feel?





“..the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.”

Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)

Ukraine’s newly published proposal for Western security guarantees is an invitation for the economic self-immolation of the EU, according to Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian diplomat believes that the proposed international agreement which Kiev released on Tuesday is an economic trap for EU nations set by the US with Ukraine’s assistance. Most of the measures included in the document “are already being implemented” by Kiev’s backers, but Washington’s EU allies are expected to pledge to keep the Ukraine aid money flowing for the foreseeable future, Zakharova said in an interview on Wednesday. If signed, the ‘Kiev Security Compact’ would mean “harsh slavery” for the bloc which it would not recover from anytime soon, she claimed.

“A total commitment to supporting the Kiev regime would simply mean immolation [for the EU]. And this proposal is addressed to nations that are debating how they can live through the winter,” Zakharova said, in reference to the energy shortages that EU member states are struggling to confront. Developed EU nations face an economic and humanitarian disaster after taking directions from the US on how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, according to the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. The situation is ironic, she believes, as the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.

This is Washington’s diabolical plan to destroy what was previously called the common European space. The Ukrainian security proposal was prepared by a group co-chaired by Andrey Yermak, the chief of staff of President Vladimir Zelensky, and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The 10-page document outlines NATO-like security guarantees for Ukraine by the US and its allies that would benefit Kiev until it formally joins the Washington-led military bloc. It also calls for continued military and financial aid for Ukraine by the guarantors.

Read more …

“..a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)

Ukraine wants a ‘NATO-esque’ bloc which can be called upon to immediately defend borders with Russia, which was proposed by a working group established by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Crucially it would include the United States and other NATO allies providing Ukraine with “security guarantees”. Kiev officials stressed in unveiling the plan Tuesday that it’s not meant as a replacement for NATO, but as a legally binding alliance to be in place while Ukraine eventually pursues full NATO membership, as Newsweek describes of the proposal: “The Kyiv Security Compact (KSC)—proposed by Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen—would also establish a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

The Kremlin’s reaction has been swift and fierce, with Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warning that it is “really a prologue to the Third World War” if it gets enacted. He described that nuclear holocaust would be the end result. According to a translation of Medvedev’s reaction in state media, which had been posted in a statement to Telegram, he blamed “dull idiots” from “stupid think tanks” for concocting such a “hysterical appeal”. Medvedev wrote: “And then the Western nations will not be able to sit in their clean homes, laughing at how they carefully weaken Russia by proxy. Everything will be on fire around them. Their people will harvest their grief in full. The land will be on fire and the concrete will melt.”

“Yet still the narrow-minded politicians and their stupid think tanks, thoughtfully twirling a glass of wine in their hands, talk about how they can deal with us without entering into a direct war. Dull idiots with a classical education.” He said that already the conflict in Ukraine is sliding into unknown, unpredictable territory of escalation due to the West’s “unrestrained pumping of the Kiev regime with the most dangerous types of weapons.” He added to the statements as follows according to a translation: “The Kyiv camarilla gave birth to a project of “security guarantees”, which are a prologue to the third world war. Of course, no one will give any “guarantees” to the Ukrainian Nazis. After all, this is almost the same as applying Article 5 of the North Atlantic Pact (Washington Treaty) to Ukraine. For NATO – the same shit, only a side view. Therefore, it’s scary.”

Read more …

Insanity squared.

US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)

The US and its allies are in talks over whether to send Ukraine more advanced weapons in the future, including fighter jets, US defense sources have said, according to the Financial Times. The Kharkiv counteroffensive has apparently emboldened Ukrainian officials to press Washington harder for more advanced and longer-range weapons, now that some degree of success in rolling back Russian forces can be demonstrated. The idea is that if Ukraine’s forces can prove they’ve taken back significant territory with what defense systems the US has provided so far, they can ultimately make the case that the whole of the east and south is within their reach – and even the potential to liberate Crimea while they’re at it – if longer range and more advanced arms are made available.

The Financial Times reports this week that active discussions between the US and Ukraine are underway concerning Kiev’s weapons wish list: “A senior US defense official said Washington and its allies were discussing Ukraine’s longer term needs, such as air defenses, and whether it might be appropriate to give Kyiv fighter aircraft in the “medium to longer term”. To date, the US and its allies have declined to do so. But interestingly and quite tellingly, the report immediately follows with the acknowledgement that Ukrainian leaders are perhaps naturally incentivize to exaggerate battlefield gains at this moment. Here’s more from the FT as the Pentagon offers a “cautiously optimistic” assessment of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensives in the east and south:

“Ukrainian military officials have said in recent days they have taken more than 3,000 sq km of terrain in what has become Moscow’s biggest military setback since it was forced to scrap plans to conquer Kyiv. But late on Monday night President Volodymyr Zelenskyy practically doubled those claims as Ukraine’s forces continued to advance.” Something Ukraine has additionally long been asking for is longer-range missile systems. A Monday Wall Street Journal report detailed that Kiev is now requesting from the Pentagon the Army’s Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile system with the capability of reaching about 190 miles. This would be far and beyond the range of missiles transferred to Ukraine thus far in the conflict.

The Biden administration in the early months resisted sending longer range missiles, admitting its fears that doing so could draw the US and Russia into direct conflict – given longer range munitions means Ukrainian forces would have the capability of hitting inside Russian territory. This has already happened with Crimea, and even recently with bases inside Russia proper near the border. But now US defense officials are looking over a new strategy proposal and weapons request submitted by Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s force. WSJ details of the document: They argued that Russia has long-range cruise missiles that greatly outdistance the systems in the Ukrainian inventory. A turning point could come if the Ukrainians also had longer-range systems, they argued, specifically mentioning the ATACMS. “The only way to radically change the strategic situation is, without a doubt, for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to launch several consecutive, and ideally, simultaneous counterattacks during the 2023 campaign,” they wrote.

Read more …

“Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.”

The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)

Wars are not won by psyops. Ask Nazi Germany. Still, it’s been a howler to watch NATOstan media on Kharkov, gloating in unison about “the hammer blow that knocks out Putin”, “the Russians are in trouble”, and assorted inanities. Facts: Russian forces withdrew from the territory of Kharkov to the left bank of the Oskol river, where they are now entrenched. A Kharkov-Donetsk-Luhansk line seems to be stable. Krasny Liman is threatened, besieged by superior Ukrainian forces, but not lethally. No one – not even Maria Zakharova, the contemporary female equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods – knows what the Russian General Staff (RGS) plans, in this case and all others. If they say they do, they are lying.

As it stands, what may be inferred with a reasonable degree of certainty is that a line – Svyatogorsk-Krasny Liman-Yampol-Belogorovka – can hold out long enough with their current garrisons until fresh Russian forces are able to swoop in and force the Ukrainians back beyond the Seversky Donets line. All hell broke loose – virtually – on why Kharkov happened. The people’s republics and Russia never had enough men to defend a 1,000 km-long frontline. NATO’s entire intel capabilities noticed – and profited from it. There were no Russian Armed Forces in those settlements: only Rosgvardia, and these are not trained to fight military forces. Kiev attacked with an advantage of around 5 to 1. The allied forces retreated to avoid encirclement. There are no Russian troop losses because there were no Russian troops in the region.

Arguably this may have been a one-off. The NATO-run Kiev forces simply can’t do a replay anywhere in Donbass, or in Kherson, or in Mariupol. These are all protected by strong, regular Russian Army units. It’s practically a given that if the Ukrainians remain around Kharkov and Izyum they will be pulverized by massive Russian artillery. Military analyst Konstantin Sivkov maintains that, “most combat-ready formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now being grounded (…) we managed to lure them into the open and are now systematically destroying them.” The NATO-run Ukrainian forces, crammed with NATO mercenaries, had spent 6 months hoarding equipment and reserving trained assets exactly for this Kharkov moment – while dispatching disposables into a massive meat grinder.

It will be very hard to sustain an assembly line of substantial prime assets to pull off something similar again. The next days will show whether Kharkov and Izyum are connected to a much larger NATO push. The mood in NATO-controlled EU is approaching Desperation Row. There’s a strong possibility this counter-offensive signifies NATO entering the war for good, while displaying quite tenuous plausible deniability: their veil of – fake – secrecy cannot disguise the presence of “advisers” and mercenaries all across the spectrum.[..] This is an existential war. A do or die affair. The American geopolitical /geoeconomic goal, to put it bluntly, is to destroy Russian unity, impose regime change and plunder all those immense natural resources. Ukrainians are nothing but cannon fodder: in a sort of twisted History remake, the modern equivalents of the pyramid of skulls Timur cemented into 120 towers when he razed Baghdad in 1401.sIf may take a “hammer blow” for the RSG to wake up. Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.

Read more …

“Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another.”

Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)

The Ukrainian battle plan has “Made in Brussels” stamped all over it. The force composition was determined by NATO, as was the timing of the attacks and the direction of the attacks. NATO intelligence carefully located seams in the Russian defenses and identified critical command and control, logistics, and reserve concentration nodes that were targeted by Ukrainian artillery, which operates on a fire control plan created by NATO. In short, the Ukrainian army that Russia faced in Kherson and around Kharkov was unlike any Ukrainian opponent it had previously faced. Russia was no longer fighting a Ukrainian army equipped by NATO, but rather a NATO army manned by Ukrainians.

Ukraine continues to receive billions of dollars of military assistance, and currently has tens of thousands of troops undergoing extensive training in NATO nations. There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase … as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military, or Russia exhausts its willingness to fight an inconclusive conflict in Ukraine.

[..] In the end, I still believe the end game remains the same — Russia will win. But the cost for extending this war has become much higher for all parties involved. The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive needs to be put into a proper perspective. The casualties Ukraine suffered, and is still suffering, to achieve this victory are unsustainable. Ukraine has exhausted its strategic reserves, and they will have to be reconstituted if Ukraine were to have any aspirations of continuing an advance along these lines. This will take months. Russia, meanwhile, has lost nothing more than some indefensible space. Russian casualties were minimal, and equipment losses readily replaced.

Russia has actually strengthened its military posture by creating strong defensive lines in the north capable of withstanding any Ukrainian attack, while increasing combat power available to complete the task of liberating the remainder of the Donetsk People’s Republic under Ukrainian control. Russia has far more strategic depth than Ukraine. Russia is beginning to strike critical infrastructure targets, such as power stations, that will not only cripple the Ukrainian economy, but also their ability to move large amounts of troops rapidly via train. Russia will learn from the lessons the Kharkov defeat taught them and continue its stated mission objectives.

The bottom line – the Kharkov offensive was as good as it will get for Ukraine, while Russia hasn’t come close to hitting rock bottom. Changes need to be made by Russia to fix the problems identified through the Kharkov defeat. Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another. For Ukraine, the huge losses suffered by their own forces, combined with the limited damage inflicted on Russia means the Kharkov offensive is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory, one that does not change the fundamental reality that Russia is winning, and will win, the conflict in Ukraine.

Read more …

The IAEA can’t speak. Ukraine=NATO.

Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)

Ukraine’s attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant are creating an unacceptable risk, the chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on Tuesday. Moscow will act to prevent a disaster from happening, while the US does not seem to care about the potential damage to Ukraine and its European NATO allies, the speaker of the Russian parliament has said. “Kiev’s terrorist actions are putting the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. We cannot allow this to happen,” Volodin said, opening the legislature’s autumn session. While the US may be far away from the plant, “their NATO allies in Europe stand to suffer” in case of a radioactive release, Volodin noted, adding that the US government and EU parliaments are silent about the threat, but many other states around the world share Russia’s concern about the situation.

Russia has controlled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March. Attacks on the facility started in July, with the Russian Defense Ministry documenting more than 30 artillery and drone strikes, as well as two attempts by Ukrainian commandos to storm the plant, one during the visit of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission earlier this month. Kiev has accused Moscow of staging the shelling to make Ukraine look bad, even though its military eventually admitted to targeting the area.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who personally led the mission to inspect the plant, said on Monday that both Russia and Ukraine are “interested” in a proposal for a local ceasefire and a security zone around the ZNPP. All of its six reactors are currently offline, due to the ongoing artillery threat. Moscow has rejected any notion of withdrawing its troops from the area, however, with the Kremlin saying that the only discussion at this time is “about forcing the Ukrainian side to stop the barbaric shelling” of the premises. In his remarks on Tuesday, Volodin said, “time has once again shown the correctness of the decision” by President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine in February.

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“The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies.”

Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)

The EU will review the sanctions on Russia and could lift some of them as soon as this autumn, Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Tamas Menczer predicts. The restrictions imposed on Russian trade to punish it for attacking Ukraine have failed to change Moscow’s behavior and actually rewarded it with increased revenues, after they triggered a spike in energy prices, the MP said during an appearance on M1 TV on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the European countries that imposed the sanctions are facing energy shortages. “Reality knocks on the door of every country,”Menczer said, explaining why he believes the sanctions will be lifted sooner rather than later. Member states are set to review their sanctions policies later in the autumn.

The Hungarian MP confirmed that his country, which criticized the EU’s drive to decouple the economy of the bloc from Russian energy, opposed the idea of introducing a price cap on gas bought from foreign nations. He called the proposal absurd and impractical, citing Moscow’s promises to cut supplies to customers that try to dictate the price. The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies. Brussels is also urging EU nations to impose various energy-saving measures to better prepare for peak consumption during the winter. Last week, Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kover claimed that the EU is the “loser” in the Ukraine conflict due to the economic damage caused by the sanctions.

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“..as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance..”

EU May Punish Hungary (RT)

The European Commission will recommend withholding funds from the Hungarian government over allegations of corruption in the country, Bloomberg claimed on Wednesday, confirming earlier reports in the Hungarian press. The assessment is expected to be unveiled as soon as Sunday. The EU launched a probe against Hungary shortly after its prime minister, Viktor Orban, shored up his domestic position by winning the April general election in a landslide. The investigation was triggered under a recently adopted EU law that links payments of subsidies to member states to their compliance with the bloc’s rule-of-law norms.According to Bloomberg’s sources, the European Commission is almost ready to release its conclusions. The executive body is to recommend slashing the funding pending improvement in adherence to the norms, senior EU officials told the agency.

The final decision will be made within three months after the report is released, with a qualified majority of votes by the bloc’s members required to adopt it. Brussels may give Budapest a grace period of up to three months to follow its recommendations and to implement a number of measures that the Hungarian government promised to enact to alleviate the EU’s concerns, according to Bloomberg. According to EUobserver, a publication specializing in covering EU policies, as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance. The total sum would amount to over €40 billion, according to the Bloomberg report. The Orban government was blocked from accessing the EU money during the probe.

The anti-corruption measures that Budapest proposed in late August include creating a new authority to oversee the spending of EU funds and amending Hungarian laws on public procurements. The country’s justice minister, Judit Varga, met EU officials last week to discuss the package. The timeline for the release of the graft report was first revealed by the Hungarian newspaper Nepszava on Tuesday evening. Its sources said that 20% of EU subsidies were at risk of being suspended unless Budapest meets Brussels’ demands. The punishment, if implemented, would be the first case of its kind. The EU leadership has voiced concerns about the rule of law in several Eastern European countries, most notably Hungary and Poland.

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Half the world population.

Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)

A regional summit this week where Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet China’s Xi Jinping and other Asian leaders will showcase an “alternative” to the Western world, the Kremlin said Tuesday. Putin and Xi will be joined by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on Thursday and Friday. The SCO — made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries — was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions. The meeting will be part of Xi’s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and comes with relations between Russia and the West shattered by the conflict in Ukraine. “The SCO offers a real alternative to Western-centric organisations,” Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.

“All members of the SCO stand for a just world order,” he said, describing the summit as taking place “against the background of large-scale geopolitical changes”. The SCO, he said, “is the largest organisation in the world, it includes half the population of our planet”. Putin will hold talks with Xi, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday, Ushakov said, before attending the main session of the summit on Friday. On Friday he will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev. “The meeting with Xi is of particular importance, major international and regional topics will be discussed,” including the conflict in Ukraine and growing Russia-China economic ties, Ushakov said.

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History lesson.

Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)

Even now, many pages in the history of the Soviet Union remain a mystery. One of these concerns the ethnic composition of the country’s leadership. Such information was not published by the Party’s Central Committee until 1989, and biographies of members of the governing bodies during the entire Soviet period were not released until 1990, just before the dissolution of the USSR. All of these documents confirmed that many of its statesmen, politicians, diplomats, as well as military and intelligence officers, had been born in Ukraine. However, information about their ethnic origin was often omitted. Also, many of those who originated from Ukraine were registered as ‘Russian’ or simply as ‘Soviet’. This is why it is so difficult to assess the full scope of political influence Ukrainians had on the decision-making process in the Soviet Union.

It is true that Ukrainians contributed a great deal to building socialism. If we round them all up, we see that there had always been very large numbers of people from Ukraine in the top tiers of power. Two of them, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, ruled the country as general secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. The country’s final ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, was the descendant of Ukrainian peasants who had moved to Stavropol. [..] The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was managed by local elites, which is completely at odds with the modern myth of Ukraine having been an ‘oppressed nation’ in the Soviet Union. Moreover, so many Ukrainians held key positions in the Soviet government that any allegations made by the present-day Ukrainian authorities about the Ukrainian SSR struggling under the yoke of the Russian SFSR and being de facto Soviet Russia’s colony simply don’t have a leg to stand on.

On the contrary, by the 1950s, the Ukrainian SSR had become a full-fledged statelet that had its own constitution and flag and even parliament. In fact, its structure mirrored that of the government of the Soviet Union itself. Ukraine’s policy was determined by the Communist Party of Ukraine with the Politburo being its highest body of power; its legislative branch was represented by the Supreme Council (this later became the Verkhovna Rada); and executive power was wielded by the Council of Ministers.

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But vaccinate!

End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared on Wednesday that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is close at hand. While the virus is still spreading at the same level as last year, despite mass vaccination, deaths have fallen significantly. “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,”Tedros said at a press briefing. Claiming that vaccination and other public health measures have reduced the threat posed by the virus, the WHO chief called on governments to push for 100% vaccination of vulnerable people and healthcare workers, and 70% vaccination of the general public.

“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view, she runs harder with all the energy that she has left,” he said. “Now is the worst time to stop running.” The impact of vaccines, masks, lockdowns, and other public health measures on the virus’ spread has been a controversial issue, with near-totally vaccinated countries like Singapore still experiencing waves of infection this summer that dwarfed similar spikes in 2021 and 2020. Some 3.1 million cases of Covid-19 were confirmed globally in the week ending September 5, compared to 3.9 million in the same week in 2021, and 1.9 million in the same week in 2020.

Deaths have fallen, however, with 11,000 linked to the virus in the week ending September 5, the lowest weekly total since March 16, 2020. Tedros announced that the WHO would release six policy briefs for governments later on Wednesday, outlining the steps the organization thinks are necessary to avoid “more variants, more deaths, more destruction and more uncertainty.” Among these steps are the aforementioned vaccination push, the maintenance of infection control measures in hospitals, increased testing and sequencing, and the administration of appropriate treatment to patients.

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“However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)

A 14-minute video (below) that has been overlooked for nearly two years has now resurfaced, exposing stunning information about the COVID-19 jabs and why health officials don’t want individual vaccine vials examined by independent scientists. The reason, it turns out, is because the vials are all different — and the mRNA in the shots “is not intact.” Both of these pose potentially serious problems. In an Aug. 31 Substack article, Steve Kirsch explains: “Even if you are getting 100% intact mRNA which would be really rare, you’re still not getting anything that resembles the virus. So the efficacy as far as PROTECTING you will be next to nothing. “However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

The video notes that members of the European Parliament were only allowed to read the contracts with the drug makers after they’d been heavily redacted. Why the heavy-handed secrecy, even toward legislators? The finding that the mRNA in the shots was of questionable quality was revealed in a British Medical Journal feature investigation article published in March 2021. As explained by the author, journalist Serena Tinari, cyber attackers retrieved more than 40 megabytes of Pfizer COVID-19 jab data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in December 2020. The hacked data was subsequently sent to journalists and academics worldwide. It was also published on the dark web. Some of the documents show European regulators had significant concerns over the lack of intact mRNA in the commercial batches sampled.

Compared to the clinical batches, i.e., the shots used in the clinical trial, 55% to 78% of the commercial shots had “a significant difference in % RNA integrity/truncated species.” In one email, dated Nov. 23, 2020, a high-ranking EMA official noted that the commercial batches failed to meet expected specifications, and that the implications of this RNA integrity loss were unclear. In response to the findings, the EMA sent a list of questions and concerns to Pfizer. While we do not know if and how the EMA’s concerns were actually addressed and corrected, the EMA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 jab Dec. 21, 2020.

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Next please.

Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)

Denmark will bar almost everyone under 50 from receiving more mRNA Covid jabs, the Danish Health Authority said yesterday. Denmark had already ended Covid shots for nearly everyone under 18. The new rules go much further. Danes under 50 will only be allowed to receive the shots if they are “higher risk of becoming severely [emphasis added] from Covid-19.” The Danish Health Authority has not yet defined those groups, but they will likely include only a handful of people, such as those receiving cancer treatments that suppress their immune systems. Pregnant women are unlikely to be included.

Denmark did not explicitly say the risks of mRNA jabs now outweigh their benefits for healthy people under 50. But that view is implicit in the announcement, which does not merely discourage but actually bans shots for those people, even though Denmark expects “a large wave of [Covid] infection” in the next few months. In other words, the health authority is not stopping shots because Covid has ended. It now believes most people are better off getting the coronavirus than taking more mRNA. The Danish move is particularly significant because Denmark has an excellent national health care system and has aggressively collected data on Covid and vaccines.

Denmark was among the first countries to stop giving Covid shots to healthy children and teenagers. Now other European countries are beginning to follow, with Britain ending mRNA shots for almost all children 10 and under. In yesterday’s announcement of the new policies, Denmark explicitly dropped any effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and said that it will focus only on protecting people at very high risk: “We expect that a large part of the population will become infected with covid-19 during the autumn, and we therefore want to vaccinate those having the highest risk so that they are protected from severe illness.”

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It’s time for science. Before the climate lockdowns come.

Suppose the climate alarms follow the same pattern the Covid ones do. Take it from there.

Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)

Four leading Italian scientists have undertaken a major review of historical climate trends and concluded that declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is not supported by the data. Reviewing data from a wide range of weather phenomena, they say a ‘climate crisis’ of the kind people are becoming alarmed about “is not evident yet”. The scientists suggest that rather than burdening our children with anxiety about climate change, we should encourage them to think about issues like energy, food and health, and the challenges in each area, with a more “objective and constructive spirit” and not waste limited resources on “costly and ineffective solutions”.

During the course of their work, the scientists found that rainfall intensity and frequency is stationary in many parts of the world. Tropical hurricanes and cyclones show little change over the long term, and the same is true of U.S. tornadoes. Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity show no “clear positive trend of extreme events”. Regarding ecosystems, the scientists note a considerable “greening” of global plant biomass in recent decades caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Satellite data show “greening” trends over most of the planet, increasing food yields and pushing back deserts.

The four scientists are all highly qualified and include physics adjunct professor Gianluca Alimonti, agrometeorologist Luigi Mariani and physics professors Franco Prodi and Renato Angelo Ricci. The last two are signatories to the rapidly growing ‘World Climate Declaration’. This petition states that there is no climate emergency and calls for climate science to be more scientific. It also calls for liberation from the “naïve belief in immature climate models”. In future, it says, “climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science”.

‘Extreme’ weather events attributed by climate models – somehow – to anthropogenic global warming are now the main staple of the climate alarmist industry. As the Daily Sceptic reported on Monday, Sir David Attenborough used a U.K. Met Office model forecast in the first episode of Frozen Planet II to claim that summer Arctic sea ice could be gone within 12 years. But the likelihood of hardy swimming galas over the North Pole by 2035 seems somewhat remote, not least because Arctic sea ice has been growing in many summers since 2012. According to a recent report from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, at the end of August “sea ice extent is likely to remain higher than in recent years”.


Read more …

The list of absurdities gets longer.

• 100 staff at Charles III residence sacked
• £200 million tax avoided by Charles on his inheritance
• 1,000 Cancer treatments cancelled for Monday
• Arrests for disapproving of unelected head of state
• Food banks closed on Monday

UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)

British Cycling has U-turned on its previous “strong recommendation” that people should refrain from using their bicycles during the Queen’s funeral next week. Though the UK government had stressed there was no obligation to cancel or postpone any events during a period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday, some sports such as football have widely postponed matches as a mark of respect to the monarch. Adopting a similar stance, British Cycling released guidance that said it “strongly recommends that anybody out riding their bike on the day of the state funeral does so outside of the timings of the funeral service and associated processions, which will be confirmed later this week.”

This caused consternation among cyclists, with one noting that the funeral on Monday, September 19, clashes with their work hours. “Is it OK with you if I don’t follow your absolutely ridiculous advice and bike to work? Or would you rather I, as a mark of respect, pollute the air with my car? Maybe I can honk the national anthem on my horn?” they asked.British Cycling has since deleted the section of its guidance that says people shouldn’t cycle at all during the funeral for the 96-year-old Queen, but fresh recommendations have insisted that amateur cyclists should not go on rides with their clubs on Monday. “As a mark of respect to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, British Cycling’s guidance is that no formal domestic activities should take place on the day of the State Funeral, Monday 19 September,” it stated.

“This includes cycle sport events, club rides, coaching sessions and community programs (such as Breeze rides).”With good weather expected which often prompts long rides with clubs, this has also drawn criticism and has seen the organization dubbed a “joke” with conduct “worthy of the Stasi,” in reference to the former German state security service in operation from 1950 to 1990. Some cyclists have threatened to cancel their membership, with one balking that British Cycling is “an embarrassment at a time when hatred towards cycling feels at an all-time high.”

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Wesley Clark



Bridge of Hands, Vietnam



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Feb 152021
 February 15, 2021  Posted by at 3:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »

Giorgione The Tempest 1508



“Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.”


I wrote that 4 years and 2 months ago today, and I’m still thinking about it. It came to mind again, along with the article it comes from, see below, when I saw a few recent references to climate change, and to how any policy to halt it should be financed. It’s all painfully obvious.

Bill Gates, while on a virtual book tour, says governments should pay. In particular for the innovation needed. We’re going to solve it all with things we haven’t invented yet. That kind of thinking never fails to greatly boost my confidence in people and their ideas.

Overall, Gates’ words feel like a stale same old same old been there done that tone. But one thing is changing. Since Joe Biden became the most popular US president ever, according to his vote count, there is now a climate czar at the US Treasury, and a climate change team at the US Fed. Progress! At least for those seeking to use your money to solve their problems.


Bill Gates: Solving Covid Easy Compared With Climate

Mr Gates’s new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, is a guide to tackling global warming. [..] Net zero is where we need to get to. This means cutting emissions to a level where any remaining greenhouse gas releases are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. One way to do this is by planting trees, which soak up CO2 through their leaves. Mr Gates’ focus is on how technology can help us make that journey. Renewable sources like wind and solar can help us decarbonise electricity but, as Mr Gates points out, that’s less than 30% of total emissions.

We are also going to have to decarbonise the other 70% of the world economy – steel, cement, transport systems, fertiliser production and much, much more. We simply don’t have ways of doing that at the moment for many of these sectors. The answer, says Mr Gates, will be an innovation effort on a scale the world has never seen before. This has to start with governments, he argues. At the moment, the economic system doesn’t price in the real cost of using fossil fuels. Most users don’t pay anything for the damage to the environment done by pollution from the petrol in their car or the coal or gas that created the electricity in their home.

“Right now, you don’t see the pain you’re causing as you emit carbon dioxide,” is how Mr Gates puts it. That’s why he says governments have to intervene. “We need to have price signals to tell the private sector that we want green products,” he says. That is going to require a huge investment by governments in research and development, Mr Gates argues, as well as support to allow the market for new products and technologies to grow, thereby helping drive down prices.


Yes, a climate change team at the US Fed. Which has been handed yet another mandate. Because the Treasury can only do so much, after all. What you want and need is something unlimited to pay for all those yet-to-be-invented tools that Bill Gates and his ilk will be happy to research with your money. Jim Rickards has this:


Green New Deal Is Underway

The overall Green New Deal calls for ending the use of oil and natural gas, moving to electric vehicles, solar, wind and geothermal power, imposing carbon taxes to reduce C02 emissions and providing government subsidies to non-carbon-based energy technologies. The U.S. would also seek to embed these policies and priorities in new trade treaties and multilateral agreements. President Biden has already begun this process by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, which actually doesn’t mean much; it’s mostly for show. The Paris Accord is also a platform for pursuing the Green New Deal.

[..] With the job creation mandate in its portfolio, the Fed was empowered to interfere with almost every aspect of the real economy, including jobs, inflation, interest rates, liquidity and financial regulation. As if that weren’t enough, economist Barry Eichengreen now calls on central banks, especially the Fed, to use their regulatory powers to control climate change! Part of the agenda would address racial inequality, income inequality and credit access for underprivileged groups. These may be laudable goals, but it’s a long way from the Fed’s role as lender of last resort.

What’s frightening about this push to expand the Fed’s mandate is not that it can’t work, but that it could. A central bank could require commercial banks to lend money to solar and wind generating companies and deny credit to oil companies. A central bank could require more loans to disadvantaged neighborhoods and require that no credit be made available to gun manufacturers or gun dealers. There is no aspect of the economy and business activity that could not be affected positively by mandatory credit or destroyed by the lack of credit and access to the payments system.

This is already being done to some extent by cabals of commercial banks. It would be even more powerful if required by central banks. This is exactly the outcome that has been warned about for centuries by philosophers and political scientists. It is exactly the reason Americans abolished two U.S. central banks in the 19th century.


This is precisely what I was warning about in December 2016, when the protagonists were Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg, who wrote “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change”. If you are serious about saving your planet, you’re not going to listen to the ideas of billionaires and central bankers. Because they are the people behind the original problem, and the only tools they know of are the ones who created that problem.

You can’t solve a problem with the same tools that created it. And you’re not going to solve the climate problem by seeking to make a profit from it. Here’s from 2016. Oh wait, do remember that our societies and economies don’t run on using energy, but on wasting it. If you haven’t internalized that one, take a few steps back and try again.



Heal the Planet for Profit (December 16, 2016)


Parisians duck down to evade German sniper fire following Nazi surrender of Paris, 1945



If you ever wondered what the odds are of mankind surviving, let alone ‘defeating’, climate change, look no further than the essay the Guardian published this week, written by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney. It proves beyond a moonlight shadow of a doubt that the odds are infinitesimally close to absolute zero (Kelvin, no Hobbes).

Yes, Bloomberg is the media tycoon and former mayor of New York (which he famously turned into a 100% clean and recyclable city). And since central bankers are as we all know without exception experts on climate change, as much as they are on full-contact crochet, it makes perfect sense that Bank of England governor Carney adds his two -trillion- cents.

Conveniently, you don’t even have to read the piece, the headline tells you all you need and then some: “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” really nails it. The entire mindset on display in just a few words. If that’s what they went for, kudo’s are due.

These fine gents probably actually believe that this is perfectly in line with our knowledge of, say, human history, of evolution, of the laws of physics, and of -mass- psychology. All of which undoubtedly indicate to them that we can and will defeat the problems we have created -and still are-, literally with the same tools and ideas -money and profit- that we use to create them with. Nothing ever made more sense.

That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.

Profit, or money in general, is all these people live for, it’s their altar. That’s why they are successful in this world. It’s also why the world is doomed. Is there any chance I could persuade you to dwell on that for a few seconds? That, say, Bloomberg and Carney, and all they represent, are the problem dressed up as the solution? That our definition of success is what dooms us?

Philosophers, religious people, or you and me, may struggle with the question “what’s the purpose of life?”. These guys do not. The purpose of life is to make a profit. The earth and all the life it harbors exist to kill, drill, excavate and burn down, if that means you can make a profit. And after that you repair it all for a profit. In their view, the earth doesn’t turn of its own accord after all, it’s money that makes it go round.


The worrisome thing is that Mark and Michael will be listened to, that they are allowed a seat at the table in the first place, whereas you and I are not. A table that will be filled with plenty more of their ilk, as the announcement of Bill Gates’ billionaire philantropist energy fund says loud and clear:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a group of high-profile executives are investing $1 billion in a fund to spur clean energy technology and address global climate change a year after the Paris climate agreement. Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund on Monday along with billionaire entrepreneurs such as Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma and Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos. The fund seeks to increase financing of emerging energy research and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to help meet goals set in Paris, according to a statement by the investor group known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Yes, many of the same folk and/or their minions were sitting at the table with Trump on Dec 14. To see if there are any profits to be made. When a profit is involved they have no trouble sitting down with the same guy they insulted and warned against day after grueling day mere weeks ago. They have no trouble doing it because they insulted him for a potential profit too. It’s business, it’s not personal.

Billionaires will save us from ourselves, and make us -and themselves- rich while doing it. What is not to like? Well, for one thing, has anybody lately checked the energy footprint of Messrs. Bloomberg, Gates, Ma, Zuckerberg, Bezos et al? Is it possible that perhaps they’re trying to pull our collective wool over our eyes by pretending to care about those footprints? That maybe these ‘clean energy’ initiatives are merely a veil behind which they intend to extend -and expand- said footprints?

The ones in that sphere who wind up being most successful are those who are most convincing in making us believe that all we need to do to avert a climate disaster is to use some different form of energy. That all the talk about zero emissions and clean energy is indeed reflecting our one and only possible reality.

That all we need to do is to switch to solar and wind and electric cars to save ourselves (and they’ll build them for a subsidy). That that will end the threat and we can keep on doing what we always did, and keep on growing it all and as the cherry on the cake, make a profit off the endeavor.


None of it flies even a little. First of all, as I said last week in Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity, there are many more problems with our present lifestyles than ‘only’ climate change, or the use of carbon. Like the extinction of two-thirds of all vertebrate life in just 50 years leading up to 2020. There’s -close to- nothing wind and solar will do to alleviate that.

Because it’s not oil itself, or carbon in general, that kills; our use of it does. And the rush to build an entire new global infrastructure that is needed to use new energy forms, which will depend on using huge amounts of carbon, is more likely to kill off that globe than to save it. “Carbon got us in this, let’s use lots more of it to get us out”.

The trillions in -public- investment that would be needed will make us all dirt poor too, except for the gentlemen mentioned above and a handful of others who invent stuff that they manage to make us believe will save us. Still convinced?


The lifestyles of the last 10 generations of us, especially westerners, are characterized more than anything else by the huge increase in the use of energy, of calories and joules. As we went from wood to peat to coal to oil and gas, the energy return on energy investment kept going higher. But that stopped with oil and gas. And from now on in it will keep going down.

“Free carbon excess” was a one-off ‘gift’ from nature. It will not continue and it will not return. Different forms of carbon have offered us a one-time source of free energy that we will not have again. The idea that we can replace it with ‘clean energy’ is ludicrous. The energy return on energy investment doesn’t even come close. And you can’t run a society with our present levels of complexity on a much lower ‘net energy’. We must dress down. No profit in that, sorry.

We built what we have now with oil at an EROEI of 100:1. There are no forms of energy left that come remotely close, including new, unconventional, forms of oil itself. Peak oil has been a much maligned and misunderstood concept, but its essence stands: when it takes more energy to ‘produce’ energy than it delivers, there will be no production.

This graph is a few years old, and wind and solar may have gained a few percentage points in yield, but it’s still largely correct. And it will continue to be.



We have done with all that free energy what all other life forms do when ‘gifted’ with an excess of available energy: spend it as fast as possible, proliferate to speed up the process (we went from less than 1 billion people to 7 billion in under 200 years, 2 billion to 7 billion in 100 years) and, most of all, waste it.

Ever wonder why everybody drives a car that is ten times heavier then her/himself and has a 10% efficiency rate in its energy use? Why there’s an infrastructure everywhere that necessitates for every individual to use 1000 times more energy than it would take herself to get from A to B on foot? Sounds a lot like deliberately wasteful behavior, doesn’t it?

The essence here is that while we were building this entire wasteful world of us, we engaged in the denying and lying behavior that typifies us as a species more than anything: we disregarded externalities. And there is no reason to believe we would not continue to do just that when we make the illusionary switch to ‘clean’ energy.

To begin with, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says there’s no such thing as clean energy. So stop using the term. Second, that we call wind and solar ‘clean energy’ means we’re already ignoring externalities again. We pretend that producing windmills and solar panels does not produce pollution (or we wouldn’t call it ‘clean’). While enormous amounts of carbon are used in the production process, and it involves pollution, loss of land, loss of life, loss of resources (once you burn it it’s gone).


An example: If we want to ‘save’ the earth, we would do good to start by overthrowing the way we produce food. It presently easily takes more than 10 calories of energy -mostly carbon- for every calorie of food we make. Then we wrap it all in (oil-based) plastic and transport it sometimes 1000s of miles before it’s on our plates. And at the end of this process, we will have thrown away half of it. It’s hard to think of a more wasteful process.

It’s a process obviously devised and executed by idiots. But it’s profitable. There is a profit to be made in wasting precious resources. And there is a key lesson in that. There is no profit in producing food in a more efficient way. At least not for the industries that produce it. And perhaps not even for you, if you produce most of your food – it takes ‘precious’ time.

It would still be hugely beneficial, though. And there’s the key. There is no direct link between what is good for us, and the planet, on the one side, and profit, money, on the other. What follows from that is that it’s not the people whose entire lives are centered around money who are the most obvious choices to ‘save the planet’. If anything, they are the least obvious.

But in an economic and political system that is itself as focused on money as ours is, they are still the ones who are allowed to assume this role. It’s a circle jerk around, and then into, a drain.


Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.

We would need to gain much more knowledge of who we are and what makes us do what we do, and why. But that is not going to happen if we focus on making a profit. Using less energy means less waste means less profit.

Yes, there may be energy sources that produce a bit less waste, a bit less pollution, than those that are carbon based. But first, our whole infrastructure has been built by carbon, and second, even if another energy source would become available, we would push to grow its use ever more, and end up initially in the same mess, and then a worse one.



I stumbled upon an excellent example of the effects of all this today:

The Shattering Effect Of Roads On Nature

Rampant road building has shattered the Earth’s land into 600,000 fragments, most of which are too tiny to support significant wildlife, a new study has revealed. The researchers warn roadless areas are disappearing and that urgent action is needed to protect these last wildernesses, which help provide vital natural services to humanity such as clean water and air. The impact of roads extends far beyond the roads themselves, the scientists said, by enabling forest destruction, pollution, the splintering of animal populations and the introduction of deadly pests.

An international team of researchers analysed open-access maps of 36m km of road and found that over half of the 600,000 fragments of land in between roads are very small – less than 1km2. A mere 7% are bigger than 100km2, equivalent to a square area just 10km by 10km (6mi by 6 mi). Furthermore, only a third of the roadless areas were truly wild, with the rest affected by farming or people.

The last remaining large roadless areas are rainforests in the Amazon and Indonesia and the tundra and forests in the north of Russia and Canada. Virtually all of western Europe, the eastern US and Japan have no areas at all that are unaffected by roads.



It’s a good example because it raises the question: how much of this particular issue do you think will be solved by the promotion of electric cars, or windmills? How much of it do you think can be solved for a profit? Because if there’s no profit in it, it will not happen.

One more for the philosophy class: I know many people will be inclined to suggest options like nuclear fusion. Or zero point energy. And I would suggest that not only do these things exist in theory only, which is always a bad thing if you have an immediate problem. But more than that: imagine providing the human race with a source of endless energy, and then look at what it’s done with the free energy available to it over the past 10 generations.

Give man more energy and he’ll just destroy his world faster. It’s not about carbon, it’s about energy and about what you yourself do with it. And no, money and profit will not reverse climate change, or any other detrimental effects they have on our lives. They will only make them worse.




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Jan 202020

Edvard Munch Ashes 1894


I have a lot of sympathy for young(er) people who are upset about what has happened, and still is happening, to the planet they were born on, during their lifetime and that of the generations before them. I have less sympathy for the “climate movement” even if those same young people thinnk it represents them, because it has grown too big and too diverse, and has come to rely (for no reason) too much on hype and exaggeration. Don’t feed your opponent or enemy.

The movement also has too little attention for what younger people themselves contribute to the descent into chaos. If you don’t start with yourself, how are you ever going to tell others what to do? How many phones and gadgets and cars do you have? Do your clothes also say Made in China? Personal question.

Naming one’s movement “Extinction Rebellion” strikes me as odd, because the movement appears to be, from what I can see, based almost exclusively on the deleterious effects of carbon emissions, though these have -at least so far- played just a small part in the actual extinction of -far too many- species, much less than the use of chemicals, the loss of forest, and land use in general, just to name some examples.

I have a lot of sympathy for Greta Thunberg, and I’m sure she means very well. But I have no sympathy for the PR people that she allows to surround her, and who make millions of dollars off of her name and appearances. Nor do I think Greta had grasped at age 16 the full complexity of the systems that have led to what she protests against. Very few adults have either, so that’s hardly her fault.

I still think, just like I said a year ago when she was first unloaded upon the Davos conference by those same PR people, that not only is there nothing for her there, but her time would be better spent trying to educate herself about that “full complexity”. Because today, it all appears to me to be too much about what she does not want, rather than about what she does, and to a large extent that’s because she simply doesn’t know. Protesting for something is harder than protesting against it.


Because of all these things, the climate movement is actively though unwittingly helping the rich, who got rich through their use of fossil fuels, to get richer still off of society’s adaptation to a world in which fossil fuels play a smaller role.

Yes, there are enormous amounts of irony involved in this. People like the idea of a green economy. They like the sound of it. But if you would ask them what it means in practice, they would picture something very close to the present economic system, just green, i.e. powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels.

And that is nonsense. In the same way that “fossil free” living is utter nonsense, but nevertheless it’s terms like that which are most prominent in headlines. Carbon neutral, carbon free, fossil free, those terms all describe fantasies; they are terms straight out of a PR campaign book. There’s even carbon negative. But who among the activists understand what this means? You got to be careful guys, because the way this is going, you will all end up being accomplices of the very people you should be protesting.


Here’s what going to happen (and already has), Greta and all of you Greta fans.

You’re getting to Davos and meet with all these rich people, and they all already have their plans ready. They’re going to tell you that they agree with just about everything you have to say. But they do and they don’t at the same time.

The fossil fuel industry, along with carmakers, governments et al, have solved the riddle: what appeared at first to be a huge threat to them, now turns out to be their next golden goose: they’re going to get paid more to move away from fossil fuels and emissions than they previously did to produce them. Pretty smart, right?

Only you will find out not even that is true. Do you know what an electric car produces in pollution, in CO2 emissions? I read the other day that an electric car has to drive 30,000-50,000 km a year over its “lifetime” to pollute less than a petrol one. Details are not terribly important there, it sounds kind of right. Unless you’re in Poland or certain parts of Germany or Eastern Europe, than it’s much higher still. Brown coal.

How did the rich and the worst polluters do it? How did they solve the riddle? By promoting Greta and the entire climate movement, with the help of the media they own, and then steering their priorities to be in line with their own. Piece of cake for them. They have been among the most powerful forces in western society forever, and it wasn’t too hard for them to figure this one out.

And that’s why these days, and increasingly as Davos has started (timing is everything), climate is a well advertized topic, and why the likes of BlackRock and Microsoft -and many others- just days ago announced that they will “go green”, divest out of fossil fuels etc.


They do this because they see a profit to be made. So don’t flatter yourselves, it has nothing to do with you. Or rather, it does, but not the way you thought and wanted. Your worst adversaries are using you for their promotion and advertizing platforms. The more banners you fly, the more words Greta utters, the more governments will make trillion dollar promises, ane the more Big Oil will make profits. Like this one today (just one example in fat growing long row):

UN Decarbonisation Target For Shipping To Cost Over $1 Trillion

At least $1 trillion of investment in new fuel technology is needed to enable the shipping industry to meet U.N. targets for cuts in carbon emissions by 2050, a study published on Monday showed. The global shipping fleet, which accounts for 2.2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, is under pressure to reduce those emissions and other pollution. About 90% of world trade is transported by sea.

A trillion euros for 2.2% of CO2 emissions. We can all do the math here, right?! And yes, Greta and her fellow schoolkids contributed a lot to that amount by seeking publicity, but also by being promoted by other interests. Only to become part of a giant publicity machine.

You see, Greta, the message the rich get is not that they must listen to you, it’s that others do listen who control a lot of money, individuals, governments, and so there will be money to be made if they just promote your ideas enough. You’ve been co-opted and pre-empted, so to speak. And what are you going to do now? You’re in cahoots, whether you like it or not, with the likes of Exxon, Shell, and Mercedes.

The oil companies have long rebranded themselves as energy companies (this started when BP’s logo turned green years ago) and invested billions in solar and wind turbines. The carmakers are betting big on electric vehicles. And this is supposed to achieve your goal of carbon neutrality? Let’s get real, shall we?

You’re way out of your league. You’re up against people who represent decades if not centuries-old interests, as well as -aspiring- politicians in every Parliament and even city counsel who know full well their careers will be nipped in the bud if they don’t go along with those interests. And then there’s 10,000 Middle East sheiks.


Davos is not your stage, Greta, and it’s not the stage for the people who believe in you. You’re betraying them by going there, because you have no control over the stage. Still, the other side really want you to think it is, the oil companies do, US and EU governments do, Mercedes and Toyota and Ford, do. Because you are their meal ticket.

They want you to believe that the problem that keeps you up at night can be solved with electric cars and solar panels and wind turbines. Because they have invested heavily in companies that produce all of those.

And now there’s a trillion here and a trillion there, because people listen to you. No government, no chosen official or appointed civil servant at any level, can anymore be forgiven for not budgeting heavily for climate change effects, even if they are ignorant about what those are.


The entire climate change issue is about energy, not about a duscussion of sources of energy. And as I argued late last year in Energy vs DNA and Energy vs Waste, mankind, like any other organism, is driven to use all surplus energy at its disposal as fast as it can. If only so other organisms can’t benefit from it, or even other humans.

And all energy use produces waste, not just fossil fuels. I suggest you read those. In the meantime, Greta, go home, enjoy the snow and the northern lights on your skin, have the youth you’re supposed to have, share your views with your friends, study study study and keep things in perspective. Your fans are not in Davos, but you are; that’s an ego-trip that will backfire on you because you’re being played for a fool.

Also, dump the PR teams; you’re bigger than that.



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Jan 182020
 January 18, 2020  Posted by at 10:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »

Esther Bubley Watching parade to recruit civilian defense volunteers, Washington DC 1943


Sanders Campaign Looks At Warren For Vice President AND Treasury Secretary (IC)
US Seeks To Determine If Yovanovitch Was Under Threat – Pompeo (R.)
Grave Tendings (Kunstler)
A Malicious Indictment (Buchanan)
New IMF Boss Says Global Economy Risks Return Of Great Depression (G.)
Battle of the Ages To Stop Eurasian Integration (Pepe Escobar)
China’s Growing Economic Collapse (WRB)
UK Cops Block Bid To Trace Prince Andrew’s Location 19 Years Ago (NYP)
Rich People Are Staying Healthy For Almost A Decade Longer Than Poor People (CNN)
Children, Young Adults Can’t Sue US Government Over Climate Change – Court (R.)



The fight didn’t poll well, methinks.

Sanders Campaign Looks At Warren For Vice President AND Treasury Secretary (IC)

The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders has researched the question of whether the same person can serve as both vice president and treasury secretary, according to three sources on the campaign. The person the Sanders campaign had in mind with the inquiry was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his rival for the nomination and the bane of Wall Street over the last decade. The answer the lawyers came back with was yes: There is nothing in the Constitution that bars the vice president from also serving as treasury secretary. Sanders has made no final decisions on a potential running mate or cabinet officers, considering such questions premature and presumptuous, but the research into the question of Warren’s dual eligibility reflects the political affinity that has long existed between the two — an affinity that was dealt a setback over the past week, as the pair clashed over the contents of a year-old private conversation.

Warren and Sanders have been allies since at least 2008, before she came to Washington to chair a panel with oversight of the Wall Street bailout. An author of books on the struggles of the middle class and an expert on bankruptcy law, she was invited by Sanders to a Vermont town hall, where the two talked about their shared agenda. Sanders was a strong supporter of her effort to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the wake of the financial crisis and privately lobbied President Barack Obama to name her the head of the new agency. Ideologically, Sanders and Warren are largely aligned when it comes to Wall Street, though Warren has concentrated more attention on bankers, meaning the two different skill sets could complement each other in the same administration.

Read more …

Still no idea how Parnas went from very major Dem enemy to posing with Maddow in no time. Everyone just stopped thinking?

US Seeks To Determine If Yovanovitch Was Under Threat – Pompeo (R.)

The U.S. State Department will do everything necessary to determine whether former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under threat in Ukraine, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday. Documents released this week indicated Lev Parnas, a Ukraine-born U.S. citizen, helped U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani investigate U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. They also showed Parnas was involved in monitoring Yovanovitch’s movements before Trump removed her in May. Yovanovitch, a respected career diplomat, was a key witness in the U.S. House of Representatives’ investigation of Trump before he was impeached in December.

Late on Friday, a Democratic aide said House Democrats will be sending additional text messages, photographs and other documents provided by Parnas for the Senate impeachment trial that gets underway in earnest next week. Some of the documents appeared to show communications between Parnas and an aide to Representative Devin Nunes, the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. In his first comments on the issue since the documents were released on Tuesday evening, Pompeo said he had never met nor communicated with Parnas, adding that he thought much of what had been reported on the issue would be proven wrong.

“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” he told conservative radio host Tony Katz in an interview. “I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of state, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that,” he said. Yovanovitch testified she had received a late night call from Washington warning her that she needed to return to the United States urgently and that there were concerns about her safety.

Read more …

Jim is hurting some of his earlier fans.

Grave Tendings (Kunstler)

Wouldn’t you like to hear from the legendary “whistleblower,” since his actions provoked this chapter of the three-year orchestrated coup to oust Mr. Trump? If it’s a basic tenet of law that a defendant has a right to face his accuser, can there be any further excuse for concealing this person’s identity — whose supposed right to anonymity, by the way, has been one of the signal frauds of the whole episode. Would it not be instructive to seat his mentor and former boss, John Brennan, in the witness chair and give him another opportunity to perjure himself? We must also hear from Michael Atkinson, the “whistleblower’s” enabler and Lawfare warrior Mary McCord, Atkinson’s former boss at the DOJ national security desk, who apparently stage-managed the “whistleblower’s” doings through Adam Schiff’s House intel Committee. Mr. Schiff would be the ripest witness of all, of course, since he has left a trail of falsehoods and fabrications longer than the Pacific Trail — but it’s unclear just now whether the Senate rules will allow a manager to be called to testify.

There is also much to be unraveled about the American mischief in Ukraine — which includes, but goes far beyond — the arrant grift of Hunter Biden. For example, the relationships between between the George Soros-backed NGO Atlantic Council and Burisma, the NatGas company that put Hunter B on its board, and Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, board member of the Atlantic Council (and $25-million contributor to the Clinton Foundation), and Dmitri Alperovitch (also Atlantic Council) co-founder of Crowdstrike, the company that “examined” the supposedly “hacked” DNC servers, and Hillary Clinton herself, the self-dealing Secretary of State behind the international pay-for-play charity fraud she operated while in office. Also bring back former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to ‘splain the actions she took to conceal all these machinations, as well as her role in operating the 2016 Kiev Hillary campaign office.

What would soon be obvious is that the precipitating “whistleblower” caper was an effort to divert attention from a network of Americans that used a politically captive Ukraine — following the Maidan Revolution of 2014 — to protect an enormous racketeering operation threatened by the candidacy, and then the election, of Mr. Trump. Naturally, they are desperate to get him out of the way. So many of the facts are already publicly known and documented about these matters that the legal machinery has yet to catch up with it all. And when it does, the Democratic Party will have driven a wooden stake through its own depraved heart.

Read more …

Pat Buchanan doesn’t let up either.

A Malicious Indictment (Buchanan)

Assume Zelenskiy, without prodding, sent to the U.S., as a friendly act to ingratiate himself with Trump, the Burisma file on Hunter Biden. Would that have been a crime? Why is it then a crime if Trump asked for the file? The military aid Trump held up for 10 weeks — lethal aid Barack Obama denied to Kyiv — was sent. And Zelenskiy never held the press conference requested, never investigated Burisma, never sent the Biden file. There is a reason why no crime was charged in the impeachment of Donald Trump. There was no crime committed. Not political, said Pelosi. Why then did she hold up sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a month, after she said it was so urgent that Trump be impeached that Schiff and Nadler could not wait for their subpoenas to be ruled upon by the Supreme Court?

Pelosi is demanding that the Senate get the documents, subpoena and hear the witnesses, and do the investigative work Schiff and Nadler failed to do. Does that not constitute an admission that a convincing case was not made? Are not the articles voted by the House inherently deficient if the Senate has to have more evidence than the House prosecutors could produce to convict the president of “abuse of power”? Can we really have a fair trial in the Senate, when half of the jury, the Democratic caucus, is as reliably expected to vote to remove the president as Republicans are to acquit him? What kind of fair trial is it when we can predict the final vote before the court hears the evidence?

It is ridiculous to deny that this impeachment is partisan, political and personal. It reeks of politics, partisanship and Trump-hatred. As for patriotic, that depends on where you stand — or sit. But the forum to be entrusted with the decision of “should Trump go?” is not a deeply polarized Senate, but with those the Founding Fathers entrusted with such decisions — the American people.

Read more …

But the IMF will save us, I’m sure.

New IMF Boss Says Global Economy Risks Return Of Great Depression (G.)

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability. Speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, Kristalina Georgieva said new IMF research, which compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” that culminated in the great market crash of 1929, revealed that a similar trend was already under way. While the inequality gap between countries had closed in the last two decades, it had increased within countries, she said, singling out the UK for particular criticism.

“In the UK, for example, the top 10% now control nearly as much wealth as the bottom 50%. This situation is mirrored across much of the OECD, where income and wealth inequality have reached, or are near, record highs.” She added: “In some ways, this troubling trend is reminiscent of the early part of the 20th century – when the twin forces of technology and integration led to the first gilded age, the roaring 20s, and, ultimately, financial disaster.” She warned that fresh issues such as the climate emergency and increased trade protectionism meant the next 10 years were likely to be characterised by social unrest and financial market volatility. “If I had to identify a theme at the outset of the new decade, it would be increasing uncertainty,” she said.

Read more …

Pepe’s starting to sound a bit like a broken record. We already know what he thinks about this. he should try a different angle.

Battle of the Ages To Stop Eurasian Integration (Pepe Escobar)

The Deep State and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the “indispensable nation” economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. The Pentagon officially designates the three Eurasian nodes as “threats.” Hybrid War techniques – carrying inbuilt 24/7 demonization – will proliferate with the aim of containing China’s “threat,” Russian “aggression” and Iran’s “sponsorship of terrorism.” The myth of the “free market” will continue to drown under the imposition of a barrage of illegal sanctions, euphemistically defined as new trade “rules.” Yet that will be hardly enough to derail the Russia-China strategic partnership. To unlock the deeper meaning of this partnership, we need to understand that Beijing defines it as rolling towards a “new era.”

That implies strategic long-term planning – with the key date being 2049, the centennial of New China. The horizon for the multiple projects of the Belt and Road Initiative – as in the China-driven New Silk Roads – is indeed the 2040s, when Beijing expects to have fully woven a new, multipolar paradigm of sovereign nations/partners across Eurasia and beyond, all connected by an interlocking maze of belts and roads. The Russian project – Greater Eurasia – somewhat mirrors Belt & Road and will be integrated with it. Belt & Road, the Eurasia Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank are all converging towards the same vision.

So this “new era”, as defined by the Chinese, relies heavily on close Russia-China coordination, in every sector. Made in China 2025 is encompassing a series of techno/scientific breakthroughs. At the same time, Russia has established itself as an unparalleled technological resource for weapons and systems that the Chinese still cannot match. At the latest BRICS summit in Brasilia, President Xi Jinping told Vladimir Putin that “the current international situation with rising instability and uncertainty urge China and Russia to establish closer strategic coordination.” Putin’s response: “Under the current situation, the two sides should continue to maintain close strategic communication.”

Russia is showing China how the West respects realpolitik power in any form, and Beijing is finally starting to use theirs. The result is that after five centuries of Western domination – which, incidentally, led to the decline of the Ancient Silk Roads – the Heartland is back, with a bang, asserting its preeminence. On a personal note, my travels these past two years, from West Asia to Central Asia, and my conversations these past two months with analysts in Nur-Sultan, Moscow and Italy, have allowed me to get deeper into the intricacies of what sharp minds define as the Double Helix. We are all aware of the immense challenges ahead – while barely managing to track the stunning re-emergence of the Heartland in real-time.

Read more …

This would be a good angle for Pepe. How do countries integrate that are in serious trouble?

China’s Growing Economic Collapse (WRB)

China’s $40 Trillion banking system dwarfs the American system at double the size, with over 4,000 small, medium and massive, state-owned banks. The world’s four largest banks, including behemoth ICBC ($4TN), are all Chinese. The failure of just three banks was important enough that Chinese regulators submitted Chinese banks to a stress test and the results were shocking. China’s central bank admitted that China’s banking sector is “showing signs of strain.” The stress tests had revealed that over 13% of China’s 4,379 lenders were designated “high risk” by the central bank’s report. With this amounting to over 570 banks, and thus multiplied by the three existing examples of bank bail-out funding, with the Chinese economy following the world into recession, the financial numbers and likelihood of any future series of bail-outs are truly biblical. If not, fiscally impossible.

Separately, the PBOC also stress-tested 30 medium- and large-sized banks in the first half of 2019. In the base-case scenario, assuming GDP growth dropped to 5.3% – or well above where China’s real GDP is now – nine out of 30 major banks failed and saw their capital adequacy ratio drop to 13.47% from 14.43%. In the worst-case scenario, assuming GDP growth of 4.15%, or just 2% below the latest official Chinese GDP report, seventeen out of the thirty of these major banks failed the test. Separately, a liquidity stress test at 1,171 banks, representing nearly three-quarters of China’s banking sector by total assets, showed that ninety failed in the base-case and 159 in the worst-case scenario. The metrics of any collective bail-out indicates that China has upwards of an insurmountable $20 trillion problem rapidly approaching.

Read more …

I kid you not: for “national security” reasons. All they talk about is Big Ben bongs and blaming Meghan for being chased out of town by the paparazzi.

UK Cops Block Bid To Trace Prince Andrew’s Location 19 Years Ago (NYP)

British police have blocked a legal bid to trace Prince Andrew’s bodyguards’ movements on the night he allegedly first had sex with a Jeffrey Epstein accuser. The disgraced royal claims that he could not have had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre in London in March 2001 — because he was grabbing pizza with his daughter at a chain restaurant in the small town of Woking. With no witnesses of the prince’s pie date, the Mirror Online submitted a Freedom of Information Act request hoping that his royal protection officers’ movements would help prove his whereabouts that day. But London’s Met police rejected the request, citing national security concerns — and sparking an immediate backlash, the UK news site said.

Graham Smith, of anti-monarchy group Republic, slammed the decision. “Revealing locations from 19 years ago cannot possibly reveal personal data, either directly or indirectly,” Smith told Mirror Online. “The police are tasked with protecting the royals from physical harm, not from legitimate inquiry, criminal investigation or embarrassment.” Giuffre — who claims to have had sex with Andrew three times after being trafficked by late pedophile Epstein — attacked the “lies after lies” that she claims protect the prince. “There could only be one reason the prince’s bodyguards would not to expose where the prince had been on March 10th 2001- the night in question, bc he wasn’t at Woking Pizza with his daughter B,” she tweeted, referring to Princess Beatrice.

Read more …

Health care, education etc. must be universal. Or you can aim for the majority to be sick and stupid.

Rich People Are Staying Healthy For Almost A Decade Longer Than Poor People (CNN)

Rich people live healthy, disability-free lives an average of nine years longer than less wealthy people, according to a major study that lays bare the troubling economic inequalities behind lifespans in the US and UK. Researchers analyzed data on more than 25,000 adults over 50, looking for factors that could predict how long they lived before they started suffering from age-related disabilities, like being unable to get out of bed or cook for themselves. The biggest socioeconomic factor in predicting when those problems began was wealth, the team discovered, with richer people enjoying almost an extra decade before experiencing difficulties.

From the age of 50, the wealthiest men analyzed could expect another 31 healthy years of life — compared with the least well-off, who could only expect another 22 to 23 healthy years. For women, the wealthiest were projected to enjoy 33 more years of good health, compared with 24 for the poorest. “While life expectancy is a useful indicator of health, the quality of life as we get older is also crucial,” lead author Paola Zaninotto, a public health specialist at University College London, said in a statement. “By measuring healthy life expectancy we can get an estimate of the number of years of life spent in favorable states of health or without disability.”

The study — the work of researchers from a team of universities in Europe and the US — is far from the first to pinpoint the importance wealth plays in how long people live, though most have focused on life expectancy rather than quality of life. Research in 2016 found that men in the top financial 1% in the US can expect to live until the age of 87.3, nearly 15 years longer than those in the bottom 1%. The gap for women was 10 years. And in the UK, a study in 2018 found that poor people die around a decade earlier than those who are better off. [..] In general, the global life expectancy at birth in 2016 — the latest year for which data is available — was 72 years, according to the World Health Organization. The global average life expectancy rose by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, the fastest increase since the 1960s, WHO said.

Read more …

They probably need to be much more specific. How do they intend to achieve their goal? And don’t say electric cars.

Children, Young Adults Can’t Sue US Government Over Climate Change – Court (R.)

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday threw out a lawsuit by children and young adults who claimed they had a constitutional right to be protected from climate change, in a major setback to efforts to spur the U.S. government to address the issue. In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs, who were between the ages of 8 and 19 when the lawsuit began in 2015, lacked legal standing to sue the United States. Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz said the majority reached its conclusion “reluctantly,” given “compelling” evidence the government had long promoted fossil fuels despite knowing they could cause catastrophic climate change, and that failing to change policies could hasten an “environmental apocalypse.”

Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based non-profit behind the lawsuit, said in a statement that it would seek an 11-judge panel of the court to review the decision. The ruling had “catastrophic implications,” said Julia Olson, the group’s executive director. A Department of Justice spokesman said the government was pleased with the outcome. The 21 children and young adults had accused federal officials and oil industry executives of violating their due process right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life,” by knowing for decades that carbon pollution poisons the environment but doing nothing about it. The government argued that neither U.S. law or history supported the young people’s claim of a fundamental right to a “livable climate.”

It also called the lawsuit an unconstitutional attempt to control the entire country’s climate and energy policy through a single court. Hurwitz said the case left “little basis for denying that climate change is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace,” but that addressing it required “complex policy decisions entrusted, for better or worse, to the wisdom and discretion” of the White House and Congress. “That the other branches may have abdicated their responsibility to remediate the problem does not confer on Article III courts, no matter how well-intentioned, the ability to step into their shoes,” he wrote.

Read more …


Ali would have turned 78 yesterday




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Jan 132020

G.G. Bain Three-ton electric sign blown into Broadway, New York. 1912


‘I’m Spending All My Money To Get Rid Of Trump’: Michael Bloomberg (R.)
What If @realDonaldTrump Is Brilliant? (Papachelas)
Warren, Sanders Campaigns Spar In Rare Show Of Discord (R.)
How Bad Can The Climate Crisis Get If Trump Wins Again? (G.)
Avoid UK Recession By Kickstarting Green Economy, Says Thinktank (G.)
China Is Really Worried About Unemployment, Social Unrest (CNN)
Ford’s China Vehicle Sales Drop 26% In Third Straight Year Of Decline (R.)
Downing of PS-752 Already Being Used To Smear MH-17 Skeptics (OffG)
Bolivia Exiled Ex-President Morales Calls On Radio For Armed Militias (R.)
Somebody Snuck A Potato Into CES 2020 (F.)



All of the money, none of the prospects. Will he be the first to spend a full billion? Don’t change your station.

‘I’m Spending All My Money To Get Rid Of Trump’: Michael Bloomberg (R.)

U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg told Reuters he is ready to spend much of his vast fortune to oust Republican President Donald Trump from the White House in 2020, rejecting criticism from rivals for the Democratic nomination that the billionaire is trying to buy the U.S. election. Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American, Bloomberg has flooded U.S. airwaves and social media feeds with messages that he stands the best chance to beat Trump, spending more on campaign ads since he launched his campaign in November than his main Democratic rivals have over the last year.

“Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump. I’m spending all my money to get rid of Trump,” Bloomberg told Reuters aboard his campaign bus on Saturday, during a nearly 300-mile (483-km) drive across Texas, one of the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday on March 3. “Do you want me to spend more or less? End of story.” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic presidential contenders who has vowed to get money out of politics, blasted Bloomberg when he launched his campaign with a $37-million TV advertising blitz, accusing the former New York City mayor of trying to buy American democracy. “These are just political things they say, hoping they catch on and they don’t like me doing it, because it competes with them, not because it’s bad policy,” Bloomberg said.

After entering the race late and missing the first six Democratic debates, Bloomberg generally sits fifth in national public opinion polls behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Warren and Pete Buttigieg. But not just the two liberal standard-bearers of Warren and Sanders, all of the four are too liberal to beat Trump, Bloomberg said. “One of the reasons I’m reasonably confident I could beat Trump is I would be acceptable to the moderate Republicans you have to have,” said Bloomberg, a former Republican who made his fortune selling financial information to Wall Street firms. “Whether you like it or not, you can’t win the election unless you get moderate Republicans to cross the line. The others are much too liberal for them and they would certainly vote for Donald Trump.”

Read more …

No, I don’t think Trump is brilliant, thank you. Just funny to see this coming from Greece.

What If @realDonaldTrump Is Brilliant? (Papachelas)

History is often written by those who don’t follow the rules or, rather, by those who ostentatiously throw them onto the trash heap of history. Donald Trump is one of those people, whether we like it or not. In an era where political correctness and slick public relations are the norm in politics and beyond, Trump came along with his own unique style and turned everything on its head. This started during his candidacy for president. A one-time close associate of his described how his team tried to convince him to start using prepared speeches, reading from a teleprompter. He didn’t like the idea at all but he agreed to give it a go.

When the moment came for his first public speech, he started reading from the teleprompter, darting looks to his left and right, clearly uncomfortable with the whole process. At one point, his patience at an end, he petulantly threw down the screen and blamed his awkwardness on his team, declaring that he preferred making speeches without teleprompters. His associates were aghast for a few minutes. But after seeing the rave reception of the move by Trump’s supporters, they realized that his instinct and political brilliance was probably beyond them.

He pulled it off in domestic politics; could he also do it in foreign policy? All the relevant literature, handbooks and collected wisdom of experts far and near suggest that such a feat is impossible. What is essentially a negotiating tactic from the Manhattan real estate world cannot work in the forum of international politics. The art of pushing someone to the end of their tether and then making a deal at the last minute would be rejected as unenforceable. But that’s exactly what Trump is testing now. The assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq by American forces was a very extreme act which all Trump’s predecessors had avoided, as had even successive Israeli governments. Trump did it.

And by doing so he simultaneously sent a clear message to the Middle East that the USA is no longer dependent on its oil and natural gas reserves. Iran responded in a relatively reasonable fashion. In a few weeks, it will become clear whether those who believe that Iran will hit back harder – albeit under or over the radar – are right, or whether a new balance of power will finally emerge that puts it “in its place” and possibly leads to a new deal. That’s when a lot of so-called experts will be banging their heads against the wall.

Read more …

Prepare for 11 months of this, getting uglier as we go along.

Warren, Sanders Campaigns Spar In Rare Show Of Discord (R.)

A rare sign of discord emerged on Sunday between progressive Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders over a report that Sanders’ campaign volunteers had called her a candidate of the elite in conversations with voters. “I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” Warren told reporters after a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa, which will hold the nation’s first nominating contest on Feb. 3. “I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.” Warren and Sanders, who are friends, fellow U.S. senators and their party’s progressive standard-bearers, agreed early in the nominating contest to an informal non-aggression pact and have largely avoided criticizing each other.

Politico reported late on Saturday that Sanders’ campaign had distributed talking points for volunteers on what to say to voters who are thinking of supporting his main rivals – former Vice President Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Warren. The guidance suggested that volunteers argue Warren was supported by “highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what,” rather than motivating people who do not normally vote, Politico reported. Sanders said on Sunday he did not approve the negative talking points about other candidates. “We have over 500 people on our campaign. People do certain things. I’m sure that on Elizabeth’s campaign people do certain things as well,” Sanders told reporters after a rally in Iowa.

Read more …

Blaming Trump for a process that has taken centuries to develop is as silly as it is lazy. There is no government anywhere that is willing to commit anything other than lip service to this.

How Bad Can The Climate Crisis Get If Trump Wins Again? (G.)

Climate pollution in the US is up under Donald Trump and threatens to undermine international efforts to stall the crisis, especially if he wins re-election this year and secures a second term in the White House. While US climate emissions fell 2.1% in 2019, they rose significantly in 2018, according to estimates from the economic analysis firm Rhodium Group. On net, emissions are slightly higher than in the beginning of 2017, when Trump’s administration began enacting dozens of environment rollbacks aimed at helping the oil and gas industry. Trump is still working to further weaken bedrock standards. This week he proposed to allow major projects like pipelines and highways to bypass reviews of how they will contribute to global warming.

The draft rule is unlikely to become final before the November election, but it is yet another reason industries weighing climate choices might delay significant action. “What they have done is created confusion within the business community and the environmental world as to what are going to be the standards,” said Christine Todd Whitman, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under the Republican president George W Bush. “Essentially every regulation the agency promulgates gets a lawsuit that goes with it, almost inevitably … that’s the only good thing you can say about it.” Whitman called the approach “mindless” and said “whoever is a bigger donor gets to tell them what the environmental policy should be, it seems”.

In the absence of any federal climate action, states, cities and businesses have pledged their own efforts, seeking to encourage other big emitters like China and India to continue to slow their growing climate pollution. Andrew Light, a climate negotiator for President Barack Obama’s state department, said the world is taking note of those efforts, but if Trump is re-elected “you are going to see a lot of people who are worried anew about what the US can do.” Americans choosing Trump would send the signal that they don’t care about the climate, Light said.

America’s Pledge, a project to quantify ongoing US emissions reductions, estimates that non-federal actors – like states and cities – could cut climate pollution 37% below 2005 levels by 2030. A Democrat in the White House could increase that to 49% with what Light described as modest, politically achievable policy changes. Experts are increasingly calling for the US to halve its emissions by 2030 and neutralize them by 2050.

Read more …

Next up: $50 trillion. You’re being had.

Avoid UK Recession By Kickstarting Green Economy, Says Thinktank (G.)

The government fightback against the next recession should include pumping as much as £50bn into green projects, in a move that would help reboot the economy and tackle the climate emergency, according to a left-leaning thinktank. Against a backdrop of concern among economists that Britain is ill-equipped to combat another downturn on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis, the New Economics Foundation thinktank said a green plan to beat a future slump was required. In the event of a recession, it said the government should spend at least 2% of GDP, or around £30bn, to decarbonise the economy, by investing in renewable energy projects, planting trees, transport infrastructure, electric vehicles, and retrofitting homes with new insulation.

For a larger economic shock, as much as 3% of GDP, or around £50bn, could be spent. Leading economists including former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, have called on governments around the globe to prepare for future economic shocks with readily available blueprints to raise government spending. It comes as central banks, including the Bank of England, have limited capacity to provide support because interest rates remain close to the lowest levels on record more than a decade after the financial crisis. Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, has hinted that Threadneedle Street could cut rates soon, while warning that it is running out of ways to combat recessions.

The foundation said that raising investment in green infrastructure was required regardless of whether Britain was facing a recession or not. However, it said that a plan for fighting a future downturn should have decarbonisation at its core. [..] It said that spending around £10.5bn on a mass insulation programme for homes – equivalent to only a third of the coalition government’s tax cuts between 2010 and 2013 – would have enabled residential emissions to fall by around 30% by 2018.

Read more …

Why would CNN run a piece like this, at this point in time?

China Is Really Worried About Unemployment, Social Unrest (CNN)

The Chinese government wants to do whatever it can to protect the economy in 2020. It’s got an enormous task ahead of it. Beijing has made clear that the world’s second largest economy cannot spiral into a slump and risk mass layoffs as it tangles with rising debt, cooling domestic demand and an ongoing trade war with the United States. That’s particularly important this year because it marks the conclusion of the government’s 13th Five-Year Plan, during which it promised to establish a “moderately prosperous society” and end poverty. Senior members of the Communist Party’s Politburo — the seven most powerful men in China — said last week that all efforts must be taken to achieve those goals in 2020.

In recent weeks, the government has bombarded the economy with a wave of stimulus measures, from tariff reductions that could help soothe the pain from rising prices, to rate cuts that could fuel more bank lending. Authorities are also amping up the language they’re using to describe the situation. China’s State Council last month called on local governments to “go to all lengths” to prevent massive job losses this year — what it characterized as the country’s top policy priority. The chief administrative office even warned that the country could face “massive unexpected incidents” if unemployment balloons — a euphemism in China widely understood to refer to social unrest and riots, and one that is rare in public government documents.

In recent years, the government has said it has to create 11 million new jobs annually to keep employment on track. While China’s official unemployment data has barely budged over the last several years, hovering between 4% and 5%, Beijing’s messaging suggests that it is unusually worried about the slowing economy and the challenges that the year could bring. “Beijing is much more worried about social unrest than about ballooning local debt, which at one point seemed to be a priority, ” said David Zweig, director of Transnational China Consulting Limited and a professor emeritus at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Huge protests, after all, have for months consumed Hong Kong, which local officials said last November would sink into its first annual recession in a decade.

The protests have focused on calls for greater democracy, but economic factors such as the soaring cost of housing and an increasingly competitive labor market have been fueling a growing sense of dissatisfaction, particularly among the city’s young people. Social unrest might be the “black swan” risk facing the country, Zweig added, using a phrase that Chinese President Xi Jinping himself uttered last year to describe an improbable but chaotic event. “2020 is going to be very difficult, and mass unemployment may be the most feared problem,” said Frank Ching, a China political commentator and adjunct associate professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not just an economic issue — it could develop into a political one. “

Read more …

And 15% for GM. Who’s taking over? Reuters doesn’t say.

Ford’s China Vehicle Sales Drop 26% In Third Straight Year Of Decline (R.)

Ford Motor Co’s China vehicle sales fell for a third consecutive year, by 26.1%, as it battles a prolonged overall sales decline in its second-biggest market that has hit demand for its mass-market Ford brand and sports utility vehicles. The U.S. automaker delivered 146,473 vehicles in China in the fourth quarter, down 14.7% year-on-year, Ford said in a statement. In total, it sold 567,854 vehicles over 2019. Ford has been trying to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 37% in 2018, after a 6% decline in 2017. Anning Chen, president and chief executive of Ford Greater China, said that while 2019 was a “challenging” year for the automaker, it saw its market share in the high-to-premium segment stabilize and its sales decline in the value segment start to narrow in the second-half of the year.

“The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020, and we will put more efforts into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers’ profitability.” The automaker plans to launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which over a third will be electric vehicles. It has also said it would localize management teams by hiring more Chinese staff and aimed to improve relationships with joint venture partners. [..] Its larger U.S. rival General Motors last week said its sales in China fell 15% from a year earlier to 3.09 million vehicles in 2019, its second year of decline.

Read more …

Waiting for the Belingcat “analysis”.

Downing of PS-752 Already Being Used To Smear MH-17 Skeptics (OffG)

Many have noted that Iran’s honorable decision to take responsibility for the catastrophe is in sharp contrast with Washington’s response in 1988 when the U.S. Navy shot down Iran Air Flight 655 scheduled from Tehran to Dubai over the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 occupants, after failing to cover it up. Just a month later, Vice President George H.W. Bush would notoriously state he would “never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.” Although he was not directly referring to the incident, one can only imagine what the reaction would be if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were to say the same weeks after shooting down the Ukrainian plane, let alone an American one.

Predictably, Tehran’s transparency has gone mostly unappreciated while the Trump administration is already trying to use the disaster to further demonize Iran. Oddly enough, Ukrainian International Airlines is partly owned by the infamous Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch, politician and energy tycoon Igor Kolomoisky, who was notably one of the biggest financiers of the anti-Russian, pro-EU coup d’etat which overthrew the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Kolomoisky is also a principal backer of current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose dubious phone call with Trump resulted in the 45th U.S. president’s impeachment last month.

In another astounding coincidence, Kolomoisky’s Privat Group is believed to control Burisma Holdings, the Cypress-based company whose executive board 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter was appointed to following the Maidan junta. The former Vice President admitted that he bribed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor who was looking into his son’s corruption by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. Kolomoisky, AKA “the Chameleon”, is one of the wealthiest people in the ex-Soviet country and was formerly appointed as governor of an administrative region bordering Donbass in eastern Ukraine following the 2014 putsch.

He has also funded a battalion of volunteer neo-Nazi mercenaries fighting alongside the Ukrainian army in the War in Donbass against Russian-speaking separatists which the military aid temporarily withheld by the Trump administration that was disputably contingent upon an investigation of Biden and his son goes to. In 2014, another infamous plane shootdown made international headlines when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) scheduled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Read more …

Can Evo make a come-back?

Bolivia Exiled Ex-President Morales Calls On Radio For Armed Militias (R.)

Bolivia’s exiled former president Evo Morales on Sunday defended a call he made for the formation of armed groups, a recording of which was leaked on public radio. Speaking exclusively to Reuters on Sunday night in Argentina where he is in exile, the defiant former president confirmed his was the voice in a recording played on Bolivian radio calling for creation of armed militias “as in Venezuela”. He said people have a right to defend themselves if the new government was attacking them. He said he had not meant armed with guns and was referring to citizen defense groups that had always loosely existed. “In Bolivia, if the armed forces are shooting the people, killing the people, the people have the right to organize their security,” he said in the interview with Reuters.

“We´re not talking arms, more like slingshots,” he said. “In some times (these groups) were called militias, in other times they were called union security or union police and in some places it is called communal guard. It is not new.” In the recording released by radio station Kawsachun Coca Tropico, Morales said he and his supporters had been “too trusting” ahead of last year´s presidential election, and should have had a “Plan B.” “If between now and in a little while… I were to return (to Bolivia) or someone else goes back, we must organize as in Venezuela armed militias of the people,” Morales said in the recording. “We were too trusting. The blunder: we did not have a ‘Plan B’.”

Read more …

Is all innovation positive? Given how it’s promoted, one might think so. But that’s just because of the money involved.

Somebody Snuck A Potato Into CES 2020 (F.)

I almost walked right by it. But then I realized the object the young man was holding up, apparently thrilling the small crowd gathered around his tiny CES 2020 booth, was a potato. The vegetable in question looked like an ordinary, chunky Idaho spud, although protruding out of one side was some kind of antenna, a black plastic appendage bent upward. Close to the potato’s surface, the exterior of the antenna became a thin, blade-like electrode that pierced the skin, clearly doing… something. The man was regaling the crowd with his incredible smart product, which he said was finally unlocking the awesome decision-making power of the potato. The antenna, which he called the NeuraSpud, tapped into the potato’s “artificial intelligence.”

Once you connected your smartphone over Bluetooth to the device and launched the accompanying app, you could ask the potato anything — with your voice, no less — and it would spout an answer on the screen, the digital-vegetable equivalent of a Magic Eight Ball. If the smart potato sounds like a big, stupid stunt, that’s because it is. The man behind the idea, Nicholas Baldeck from France, told me he brought his admittedly ridiculous “invention” to CES to make a point about the torrent of smart gadgets at the show, many of which don’t really solve problems at all. “This product has way more chance of success than 60% of the startups here,” Baldeck says. “I am skeptical of this idea of ‘connected everything.’

Now it looks like innovation is about putting a chip into any object. I’m not sure the word ‘smart’ makes more sense before the word toothbrush than the word potato.” Baldeck went to a lot of trouble to make his point. His booth cost $1,000, and he spent about $4,000 in travel, equipment and marketing. Plus the electrode-driven antenna he brought really works, he says — though “works” in this context is somewhat fungible, since what the electrode is “reading” from the juices inside the potato to create the answers is probably just random junk. He also had to buy a bunch of potatoes.

Read more …




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Feb 262019

Leonardo da Vinci Saint John the Baptist 1513-16


There are lots of people talking about how they much disagree with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, how silly she is, how dumb and impossible and irresponsible her Green New Deal is, but I think they’re missing a point or two. First of all: what’s the alternative? Who would you trade her for? Hillary? Feinstein? Pelosi? Bernie Sanders? Cory Booker?

Would you rather things stay the same? I can see that from the Hillary Pelosi camp, but not from any other Democrats – nor, obviously, Republicans. Three quarters of America must be dead sick of that cabal, the 50% that are GOP, plus the half of Democrats that would also prefer to vote for someone below 75 years old because 90% are themselves younger than that.

85-year old Dianne Feinstein told a bunch of climate protest kids last week that she’d been in Washington for 30 years and she ‘knows what goes on’. If she can’t see what the problem is with that, then she merely confirms 30 years is far too long in such a spot; Feinstein has been in Washington longer than Ocasio has been alive. Who does she represent that has an actual future left?

Someone wrote the other day that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s way of presenting herself showed she was “savvy beyond her years”, and I thought: you have that upside down. Those older than her couldn’t have presented themselves the way she does, because being 29 years old, born in 1989, she’s the first generation to literally grow up with internet and new media being everywhere. For anyone older, it’s acquired skills.


This is simply her time, and she uses it in the same way Donald Trump used the 2016 campaign being his time: they both found a gaping vacuum in power and credibility in their parties, and both jumped in. Even if that would be the only similarity between the two, it would still be an important one.

But of course there’s another one that’s obvious: social media use. Ocasio communicated through ‘new’ media from her days as a toddler, while Trump’s Twitter use is much more instinctive, but both are strong. And if we can agree that such skills are now required for any 2020 candidate, then I got to tell you I don’t see any politician who comes even close to their savvy and effectiveness on social media.

Are these skills one can learn, acquire? Well, anyone can type in a quasi-coherent bunch of characters, but with a billion or two people doing it, you’re going to have to stand out, and do that every single day. I for one am not at all sure that is teachable. You must be provocative up to and beyond the point of being fearless.

There’s a third major similarity between Trump and Ocasio, and that one is connected directly to Ocasio’s Green New Deal: both our protagonists – and antagonists- throw out bold ideas and plans and then wait and see what sticks. In other words, the Wall, and the Green New Deal. And bringing troops home. And creating meaningful employment.



Now of course you can say Ocasio’s Green New Deal is not realistic and she is clueless and dumb, but that risks taking you right back to what’s behind Door no. 1: Hillary, Pelosi, Bernie. Which is a good choice if you like young Americans invading foreign nations, the one thing Feinstein’s almost 30 years in the Senate can actually guarantee, but a terrible option if you want that kind of thing to stop.

And a terrible option, too, if you are even the slightest bit worried about the climate. The establishment, both Democrat and Republican, are absolutely useless when it comes to that, and they’ve had multiple decades to prove it. And even if that doesn’t rock your boat, you better realize that not only has the time come for Ocasio et al, the time for their, for new, ideas has arrived too.

There will be a version, some version, of the Green New Deal starting in the near future. Those schoolkids ‘confronting’ Feinstein are not smart enough to get it, and they’re being educated in the same school system that has duped all these generations into becoming pawns in a grand chess game, instead of thinking for themselves, but I bet you they are much more likely to vote Ocasio than Feinstein nonetheless.

And yes, those particular kids are too young to vote, and Ocasio’s too young to run, but pray stay with the larger program: Trump is where he is because the GOP had become such an outright failure that Donald could very simply waltz in and take over. The same is true for Ocasio and the Democrats: the incumbents represent the past, and not just because of their ages.

The ideas and policies America has been based on until now have functioned really only to keep the incumbents in their seats. But they have failed the country, whether you talk about climate, species extinction, global politics or the US economy. For all these things they find themselves at or over a dead end. And in comes Ocasio with her version of the Art of the Deal. So what matters (most) for now is that it’s green and it’s new.

Those clueless schoolkids are the vanguard of a new generation of Americans, and they’re going to demand change. Regardless of whether they actually understand the issues (I say they don’t), the climate is set to be a much more prominent election theme. Personally, this doesn’t exactly re-assure me, because the only thing I’ve seen so far is people promising to make money from producing less CO2.

And that’s something I wrote about many times, for instance in December 2016 in Heal the Planet for Profit:

If you ever wondered what the odds are of mankind surviving, let alone ‘defeating’, climate change, look no further than the essay “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” the Guardian published this week, written by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney. It proves beyond a moonlight shadow of a doubt that the odds are infinitesimally close to absolute zero (Kelvin, no Hobbes).

[..] That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”.

Claiming that we can continue as we were if only we switch energy sources is so in conflict with the most basic of physics, that is: thermodynamics, that those who claim it are either real thick or, perhaps more likely in politicians and business people, lying through their teeth. In either case they’re unfit to build the future, any future. They should be stripped of their jobs and their money and be sent back to school.


I’m no fan of Ocasio saying she’s a socialist, since it may be the one step too far in America today that’s also entirely unnecessary. But by the same token I have no patience for those who claim capitalism is so much better than socialism while they’re getting or staying rich off of central bank interference, which for all intents and purposes is the exact opposite of capitalism.

In the same way that Ocasio stands out against her -much- older peers because of her exposure to ‘new media’, she and her actual peers also differ from most because they have grown up surrounded by scary climate stories. That doesn’t mean they understand the issue, and it doesn’t mean the stories are -all- true, but it does mean the issue is much more important to them than to Dianne Feinstein et al.

We cannot see -into- the future. But some things we can see: the next generation of Americans and American politicians will communicate much more than those before them though new media, whatever form these may take.

And since they have grown up with images of a decaying climate situation on top of ever-increasing poverty and an ever-declining American dream, who can blame them for wanting a Green New Deal that can at least alleviate some of the misery they inherit from the generations before them, even if they don’t know exactly from the start what that Green New Deal should look like and be made of?

I would perhaps suppress your first urge a bit to call it a stupid idea and all that. Because it’s not, really, it’s chapter 1 in the Art of the Deal (now available at Amazon at 90% off?!). Think of it as a first step towards something that will come no matter what you think. Or think about how both Trump and Ocasio not only dominate the game from the moment they start playing, they change the very rules of the game.


I haven’t read it, but I’m thinking the first principle of the Art of the Deal should be something like this:

You have to present your plans in a way that in and of itself will change the way those same plans are judged.

It’s easy to criticize Ocasio, and it may be justified too. But I don’t think we can gauge that yet, the Green New Deal doesn’t offer sufficient material for it. Still, I think she’s got that first principle down.

One last thing: Tulsi Gabbard is 37, young enough to matter and old enough to run (she is), and a staunch opponent of US regime change projects. Here’s hoping the two girls can find common ground. They would seem just about unbeatable together. And again, look at the alternative: Feinstein, Pelosi, and their appointed heiress, Kamala Harris.


“None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.”





Nov 172018
 November 17, 2018  Posted by at 10:43 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »

René Magritte Youth 1924


US Has Spent $6 Trillion On Wars That Killed Half A Million Since 9/11 (NW)
US ‘Might Lose’ War Against China Or Russia – Report To Congress (Ind.)
UK Austerity Has Inflicted ‘Great Misery’ On Citizens – UN (G.)
Growing Number Of Tory MPs Join Attempt To Topple Theresa May (G.)
Ministers Push To Reshape Theresa May’s Deal Ahead Of EU Summit (Ind.)
‘No Question’ Of More Negotiations If Brexit Deal Rejected – Merkel (Ind)
Protesters Plan To Bring France To A Halt (BBC)
CIA Says Saudi Crown Prince MbS Ordered The Killing Of Jamal Khashoggi (CNBC)
Turkey To Use Intercepted Saudi Comms To Demolish Khashoggi Cover-Up (MEE)
Planning Of Khashoggi’s Murder Caught On Audio, Turkish Reporter Claims (RT)
Prosecution of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom (Greenwald)
Policies of China, Russia and Canada Threaten 5ºC Climate Change (G.)



Not counting the 500,000 killed in Syria. Sidenote: all the omney and all the dea haven’t led to one single US victory.

US Has Spent $6 Trillion On Wars That Killed Half A Million Since 9/11 (NW)

The United States has spent nearly $6 trillion on wars that directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 people since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs published its annual “Costs of War” report Wednesday, taking into consideration the Pentagon’s spending and its Overseas Contingency Operations account, as well as “war-related spending by the Department of State, past and obligated spending for war veterans’ care, interest on the debt incurred to pay for the wars, and the prevention of and response to terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security.”

The final count revealed, “The United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $5.9 trillion (in current dollars) on the war on terror through Fiscal Year 2019, including direct war and war-related spending and obligations for future spending on post 9/11 war veterans.” “In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” the report concluded. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”

[..] Wednesday’s report found that the “US military is conducting counterterror activities in 76 countries, or about 39 percent of the world’s nations, vastly expanding [its mission] across the globe.” In addition, these operations “have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties, in the US and abroad.” Overall, researchers estimated that “between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.” This toll “does not include the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011”..

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The military-industrial complex asking for more money, though the US already spends ten times more than Moscow, which spends its money far more efficiently.

US ‘Might Lose’ War Against China Or Russia – Report To Congress (Ind.)

The US could lose a future war against Russia or China, a new report to Congress has suggested. America is losing its edge while rivals innovate and blend conventional, cyber and even non-military capabilities to gain the upper hand in key regions, according to a dozen national security experts tasked by politicians with scrutinising Donald Trump’s national defence strategy. The bipartisan group, led by former undersecretary of defence Eric Edelman and Gary Roughead, an ex-chief of naval operations, wrote: “The US military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict.

“It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia. The United States is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously. US military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe.” The unquestioned dominance the US enjoyed at the end of the Cold War no longer holds, the expert commission concluded following interviews with key defence officials and reviews of secret documents, and Washington faces serious challenges to its interests in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The experts identified Mr Trump’s tax reform bill – which greatly benefited the most wealthy – as having drained potential defence funding, alongside tax cuts by both his immediate predecessors.

The White House should look to increase taxation and slash entitlements to drastically increase funding available for the military despite the short-term “pain” the move would cause, they suggested. [..] the commission recommended that the base defence budget be increased by between 3 and 5 per cent above inflation over the next several years. According to the authors, Barack Obama’s 2011 Budget Control Act had had “pronounced detrimental effects on the size, modernisation, and readiness of the military”. Mr Trump made building up America’s armed forces a central campaign pledge and the experts said his strategy was on the right track, but did not go far enough.

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In a few years time, 40% of UK children will be living in poverty. The architect of much of this misery has been Theresa May. And she’s the PM?

UK Austerity Has Inflicted ‘Great Misery’ On Citizens – UN (G.)

The UK government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity, the United Nations poverty envoy has found. Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that despite being the world’s fifth largest economy, levels of child poverty are “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”. About 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials, he said, citing figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

He highlighted predictions that child poverty could rise by 7% between 2015 and 2022, possibly up to a rate of 40%. “It is patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty,” he said, adding that compassion had been abandoned during almost a decade of austerity policies that had been so profound that key elements of the post-war social contract, devised by William Beveridge more than 70 years ago, had been swept away. In a coruscating 24-page report, which will be presented to the UN human rights council in Geneva next year, the eminent human rights lawyer said that in the UK “poverty is a political choice”.

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The chaos is just beginning.

Growing Number Of Tory MPs Join Attempt To Topple Theresa May (G.)

Theresa May is battling to halt a growing revolt from the Tory right after half a dozen more backbenchers came out in favour of a no-confidence vote and the organiser of the rebellion publicly predicted more MPs would follow next week. The prime minister held a conference call with local association chairmen on Friday afternoon as she fought to head off a coup and sell her hard-won Brexit deal to a sceptical and partially hostile party. Her efforts came after the number of backbenchers calling publicly for a no-confidence vote in May’s leadership increased to 23. Rebellious MPs said they were confident of reaching the required threshold of 48 letters to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee. Adam Holloway, one of the MPs demanding a vote, said his letter had been delivered “with regret”.

But, complaining about May’s Brexit plans, he added: “You cannot have someone leading a mission who does not believe in the mission. The country needs leadership.” Others who went public with their demand to hold a vote included the former cabinet minister John Whittingdale, Maria Caulfield, Marcus Fysh, and Chris Green. David Jones was also named as being among those who had written to Brady. The party rules allow for a no-confidence vote if 15% of the party’s MPs – currently 48 – submit letters. Brady would organise a vote within a couple of working days of the threshold being met. Whittingdale said he wanted the government “to pursue a proper free trade agreement” but he believed that May was not willing to do so. “Therefore I felt there is no alternative but to seek a vote of confidence,” he said.

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Useless. But yes, chaos ensured. Confidence vote next week, EU summit a few days later.

Ministers Push To Reshape Theresa May’s Deal Ahead Of EU Summit (Ind.)

Cabinet ministers are planning a final push to remould parts of Theresa May’s Brexit strategy in a bid to find a way through the political crisis engulfing the government. Brexit-backing members of Ms May’s team will meet within days to discuss their approach, with a drive to change the text of the UK’s withdrawal agreement not ruled out. It emerged as Ms May sought to shore up her leadership following a wave of resignations, by appointing staunch ally Amber Rudd back to the cabinet six months after she was forced to resign over the Windrush scandal. Downing Street is on high alert as rebel backbenchers submitted further letters calling on Ms May to quit, ahead of a possible vote of no confidence next week. The Independent understands that House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom is set to convene the meeting of Brexiteer frontbenchers to decide how Ms May’s strategy might evolve ahead of a critical European summit in just over a week.

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The EU won’t start the entire process from scratch.

‘No Question’ Of More Negotiations If Brexit Deal Rejected – Merkel (Ind)

There is “no question” of further Brexit negotiations if the deal struck by Theresa May is rejected, Angela Merkel has said. Speaking in Berlin, the German chancellor welcomed the deal but warned a chaotic exit was still possible as a “worst case” scenario. “We have a document on the table that Britain and the EU 27 have agreed to, so for me there is no question at the moment whether we negotiate further,” the Chancellor said. The warning follows EU officials close to talks saying the controversial document, which has been panned on all sides in Westminster, is “the best we can do” given the prime minister’s red lines and the bloc’s own rules.

Ms May has publicly stood by the plan, but the Huffington Post reported on Thursday night that allies of the prime minister are trying to win over Brexiteer rebels in the Conservative party with the offer of further concessions from Brussels if they fall in line. Speaking at a news conference ostensibly about her government’s digital strategy, Ms Merkel told reporters: “I am very happy that after long negotiations which were not easy, a proposal has been pulled together.

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Macron has won battles vs the unions so far. But his popularity has now reached Arctic levels.

Protesters Plan To Bring France To A Halt (BBC)

Drivers plan to disrupt traffic across France on Saturday by blocking roads, bridges and toll booths in a mass protest at rising fuel prices. Dubbed the “yellow vests” after the high-visibility jackets they use as their symbol, they are expected to muster in at least 700 locations. They accuse President Emmanuel Macron of abandoning “the little people”. Mr Macron admitted this week that he had not “really managed to reconcile the French people with its leaders”. Nonetheless, he accused his political opponents of hijacking the movement in order to block his reform programme.

Officials have warned that, while they will not stop the protests, they will not allow them to bring the French road network to a standstill. The price of diesel, the most commonly used fuel in French cars, has risen by around 23% over the past 12 months to an average of €1.51 ($1.71) per litre, its highest point since the early 2000s, AFP news agency reports. World oil prices did rise before falling back again but the Macron government raised its hydrocarbon tax this year by 7.6 cents per litre on diesel and 3.9 cents on petrol, as part of a campaign for cleaner cars and fuel. The decision to impose a further increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol on 1 January 2019 was seen as the final straw.

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How much longer do we have to watch this circus? it’s obvious what happened.

CIA Says Saudi Crown Prince MbS Ordered The Killing Of Jamal Khashoggi (CNBC)

The CIA has determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, NBC News reported Friday, citing a person briefed on the CIA’s assessment. The CIA declined NBC News’ request for comment Friday night. The Washington Post, which first reported the CIA findings, said the U.S. intelligence agency has high confidence in its findings. Khashoggi was a resident of the United States from Saudi Arabia, and he was a columnist for the Washington Post. The Saudi Embassy in Washington denied the reports. “The claims in this purported assessment are false,” the embassy said in a statement.

“We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations.” According to the Post’s report, the CIA looked into a phone call between the crown prince’s brother, who also serves as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Khalid bin Salman and Khashoggi. Sources told the Post that during that call, Khashoggi was directed to pick up documents at the consulate. While the Post said it was not clear whether Khalid bin Salman knew that Khashoggi would be killed, sources told the Post that he made the call at his brother’s request.

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Gina Haspel had a team of 35 experts with her last month in Ankara. And Turkey knows just about everything.

Turkey To Use Intercepted Saudi Comms To Demolish Khashoggi Cover-Up (MEE)

Turkey has a complete record of communications in and out of Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate in the week of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, a senior Turkish source has told Middle East Eye. The communications will be used to tear apart Riyadh’s latest version of the killing. These recordings, MEE has learned, have given Turkey a detailed picture of the various operatives, teams and missions issued from Saudi Arabia. And the contents of these communications, the source said, will turn the screw on a Saudi leadership that has sought to insulate itself from the scandal. According to the source, Turkey intends to drip feed the information gleaned from the communications to the media, as it has been doing ever since Khashoggi was brutally murdered by a team of 15 Saudis on 2 October.

The Khashoggi-related conversations that Turkish intelligence intercepted began when the Washington Post columnist first came to his country’s consulate on 28 September in an attempt to get papers required to remarry. The plan to kill Khashoggi, who was told to return to the consulate four days later, began to be hatched the moment he left the building, the source said. Key conversations, the source said, were those between Consul-General Mohammed al-Otaibi and Saudi security attache Ahmed Abdullah al-Muzaini. Muzaini has so far been spared much of the spotlight. It is unknown if he is one of at least 21 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia. But Turkish newspaper Sabah, which is close to the government, has described Muzaini as the brains behind the plot.

On the day of Khashoggi’s murder, the conversations of one man are especially important. MEE understands that Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib, the leader of the death squad sent to kill the journalist, made 19 calls to Riyadh on 2 October. [..] Puzzling to the Turkish source, however, is US intelligence’s knowledge of a phone conversation between Mutrib and Riyadh, where the team leader is apparently heard saying “tell your boss” following Khashoggi’s death. [..] When CIA chief Gina Haspel visited Turkey on 23 October for consultations over Khashoggi, she apparently arrived with a team of some 35 people. Amongst them were experts in deciphering recordings, linguists, people familiar with the Saudi accent and people who could enhance audio, the source said.

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The Turkish information drip.

Planning Of Khashoggi’s Murder Caught On Audio, Turkish Reporter Claims (RT)

A Saudi team had planned all along to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi and never tried to talk him into anything, a Turkish daily reports, citing recordings held by police that call Riyadh’s statement on the matter into question. An audio tape, allegedly in the possession of Turkish investigators, features a 15-minute conversation, in which “the Saudi team discusses how to execute Khashoggi,” the Turkish Hurriyet Daily wrote on Friday, citing its columnist Abdulkadir Selvi. In a recording that was allegedly made even before the journalist entered the Saudi consulate, “they are reviewing their plan, which was previously prepared, and reminding themselves of the duties of each member,” he said.

The Hurriyet report contradicts the statement made by the Saudi deputy public prosecutor, Shaalan al-Shaalan, who said that the team was actually sent to Istanbul to retrieve the journalist and bring him back to Saudi Arabia. A decision to murder the reporter –and outspoken critic of Riyadh– was allegedly taken by the head of the team after its ‘persuasion’ failed. Some other audio evidence obtained by the Turkish investigators also allegedly shows that the version of Khashoggi’s killing presented by Riyadh just does not add up, Selvi reports. “Khashoggi’s desperate attempts to survive could be heard in a seven-minute audio recording. There is no hint of anyone trying to persuade him,” he says, referring to another tape, which allegedly proved that “Khashoggi was strangulated in 7-8 minutes.”

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Glenn Greenwald knows much more than most about the situation. But he doesn’t even mention the lies involved in the Assange persecution by Mueller.

Prosecution of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom (Greenwald)

Recall that the DNC itself is currently suing WikiLeaks and Assange for publishing the DNC and Podesta emails they received: emails deemed newsworthy by literally every major media outlet, which relentlessly reported on them. Until this current Trump DOJ criminal prosecution of Assange, that DNC lawsuit had been the greatest Trump-era threat to press freedoms – because it seeks to make the publication of documents, which is the core of journalism, legally punishable. The Trump DOJ’s attempts to criminalize those actions is merely the next logical step in this descent into a full-scale attack on basic press rights.

The arguments justifying the Trump administration’s prosecution of Assange are grounded in a combination of legal ignorance, factual falsehoods, and dangerous authoritarianism. The most common misconception is that unlike the New York Times and the Washington Post, WikiLeaks can be legitimately prosecuted for publishing classified information because it’s not a “legitimate news outlet.” Democrats who make this argument don’t seem to care that this is exactly the view rejected as untenable by the Obama DOJ. To begin with, the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment isn’t confined to “legitimate news outlets” – whatever that might mean.

The First Amendment isn’t available only to a certain class of people licensed as “journalists.” It protects not a privileged group of people called “professional journalists” but rather an activity: namely, using the press (which at the time of the First Amendment’s enactment meant the literal printing press) to inform the public about what the government was doing. Everyone is entitled to that constitutional protection equally: there is no cogent way to justify why the Guardian, ex-DOJ-officials-turned-bloggers, or Marcy Wheeler are free to publish classified information but Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are not.

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The dead end: Always blame the others. The more you do that, the less you have to change yourself.

Policies of China, Russia and Canada Threaten 5ºC Climate Change (G.)

China, Russia and Canada’s current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries. The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating. The study, published on Friday in the journal Nature Communications, assesses the relationship between each nation’s ambition to cut emissions and the temperature rise that would result if the world followed their example.

The aim of the paper is to inform climate negotiators as they begin a two-year process of ratcheting up climate commitments, which currently fall far short of the 1.5-to-2C goal set in France three years ago. [..] India is leading the way with a target that is only slightly off course for 2C. [..] On the opposite side of the spectrum are the industrial powerhouse China and major energy exporters who are doing almost nothing to limit carbon dioxide emissions. These include Saudi Arabia (oil), Russia (gas) and Canada, which is drawing vast quantities of dirty oil from tar sands. Fossil fuel lobbies in these countries are so powerful that government climate pledges are very weak, setting the world on course for more than 5C of heating by the end of the century.

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Oct 092018

Pieter Bruegel the Elder Two monkeys 1562


And there we go again. Another IPCC report, and they all keep getting more alarming than the previous one. And then nothing substantial happens. Until the next report is issued and makes everybody’s headlines for a day, or two. Rinse, spin and repeat. “Now we really have to do something!”. “World leaders have a moral obligation to act!”.

Oh boy. To start with that last bit, world leaders don’t act because of moral obligations. They act to stay in, or get in, power. And they all know that to achieve that goal they must keep their people happy, even if dictators do this differently from ‘democratically elected’ leaders.

The first tool they have for this is control of the media, control of the narratives that define -or seem to- their societies. If a society is in bad shape, they will control the media to show that it is doing fine. if it’s actually doing fine, they will make sure all the praise for this is theirs and theirs alone.

So what makes their people happy? One thing far ahead of anything else is material comfort. If leaders can’t convince people that they’re comfortable, their power is in danger. Once enough people are miserable or hungry, a process is set in motion that threatens to push leaders aside in favor of someone who promises to make things better. There’s never a shortage of those.


Leaders, politicians, think short-term. They may see further into the future than the next election, but that is not useful information. If they enact measures aimed at 10 years from today or more, they risk being voted out in 2 years, or 4. It’s not even their fault, it’s how the system works. It is different for dictators, but not even that much.

The general notion is clear. But that means we can’t rely on our leaders to act against the climate change the IPCC keeps warning of. because is has a -much- longer time window than the next elections -or the next coup in dictator terms. Even if every IPCC report depicts a shorter window than the last one, it’s still not inside those 4-year election cycles (numbers vary slightly, 4 is typical).

A typical ‘response’ to the climate threat are the COP meetings and agreements. I have fulminated plenty against COP21, the Paris accord, even named it CON21. Because that was signed by those very leaders tied down in their election cycles. Completely useless. That most of the other signees were business leaders who represent oil companies, airlines and Big Tech with huge server parks seals the reality of the deal.

These are not the people who will solve the problems. They have too much interest in not doing so. The CEO’s have their profits to think about, the politicians their elections. They should be kept out of the decision-making process. But they’re the only ones who are in it.

I still think the issue was never better epitomized than in the December 2016 piece in the Guardian by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney entitled “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” , about which I said at the time:

These fine gents probably actually believe that this is perfectly in line with our knowledge of, say, human history, of evolution, of the laws of physics, and of -mass- psychology. All of which undoubtedly indicate to them that we can and will defeat the problems we have created -and still are-, literally with the same tools and ideas -money and profit- that we use to create them with. Nothing ever made more sense.

That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.

Profit, or money in general, is all these people live for, it’s their altar. That’s why they are successful in this world. It’s also why the world is doomed. Is there any chance I could persuade you to dwell on that for a few seconds? That, say, Bloomberg and Carney, and all they represent, are the problem dressed up as the solution?

This week’s IPCC report says the efforts to keep warming at acceptable levels (1.5ºC) will cost many trillions of dollars every year. But a billionaire publisher and a central bank head want to make a profit?! Hey, perhaps they can, as long as you and I pay… But they won’t solve a thing. if only because not doing that will be too profitable. Still, while they’re at it, maybe they can do us a favor.

You see, what is hardly ever mentioned, let alone acknowledged, is that we have more than one major existential problem, and they exist in such a form of symbiosis that solving only one doesn’t make much difference.

We have a changing climate, we have accelerating species extinction, we have plastics in our fish, and we have a global economy that’s about to topple over. The common thread in all these is an overkill in energy use and therefore an overkill in waste. Thermodynamics, 2nd law. Waste kills. By raising temperatures, finishing off wildlife, plugging rivers and oceans with plastics, making increasing amounts of people economically miserable.

But as I wrote a while ago, our economies exist to produce waste, it’s not just a by-product -anymore-. If we stop making things we don’t need, and things that do harm to our world and our lives, our economies will collapse. We must continue on our path or see our lifetstyles plummet. They will anyway, we’re just delaying the inevitable, but we’re stuck.

And politicians are utterly useless and utterly unfit in situations like this. But ask yourself: are you any better? If you were told that in order to ‘save the planet’, you’d have to cut your energy use in half, which would take away many of your comforts and luxuries, would you do it?

A better question yet is, if you would agree to do that, and then see that your neighbor does not, would you still cut your driving and flying and electricity? That’s hard enough on an individual level, but how about if one nation does, while another refuses? Or when nations that have much lower per capita energy consumption tell the West: you go first?


What do you think the odds are that we’ll find a global solution, approach, before the 2030 cutoff date the IPCC provides in its latest report? While the likes of Bloomberg and Carney still talk about climate change as a profit opportunity? I know what I think.

The report says we need to drastically ‘reform’ our economies and lifestyles. Cutting our energy use in the West in half won’t be enough, if only because billions of people demand more energy at their disposal. Will you cut into your lifestyle, will your children, when they see their neighbors increasing their energy use, when they see entire nations increase theirs?

We don’t have ‘leaders’ that can stop species extinction or a warming planet or an economic collapse, because they either are clueless or they will be voted out of power if they tell the truth. Extend and pretend is a term that’s used to describe economic policies a lot, but it actually paints an accurate picture of everything we do.

“Free”, surplus, energy can come in the shape of sugar in a petri dish full of bacteria, or of stored carbon on planet earth. In both cases, the outcome is as predictable as can be. Can we, with our billions of cars and billions of miles flown every year, and billions of phones and computers, return to the energy use of only 100 years ago? Don’t think so.

On the contrary, we’re constantly increasing our energy consumption. Just like the bacteria do in the petri dish. Until they no longer can, until reality, physics, thermodynamics, sets a limit. One of my favorite themes is that we are the most tragic species ever because we can see ourselves doing things that we know are harmful to us, but we can’t stop ourselves from continuing.

The best we can hope for is that tomorrow morning everything will be the same again as where we started today. But no, that’s not sufficient, either, many of the things we’ve unleashed have 20+ year runtimes, and they’re already baked into the cake of our futures. We can’t start afresh every morning, no Groundhog Day for us. Every morning the alarm goes off things have gotten worse. And we can’t stop that.



Oct 082018
 October 8, 2018  Posted by at 9:18 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »

Paul Gauguin The Great Buddah 1897


World Must Take ‘Unprecedented’ Steps To Avert Worst Of Global Warming (R.)
Energy Sector’s Carbon Emissions To Grow For Second Year Running (G.)
Clouds Gather Over The IMF’s Paradise (O.)
US Inflation Is The World’s Most Important Economic Variable (CNBC)
Ron Paul: US Barreling Towards A Stock Market Plunge Of At Least 50% (CNBC)
China Stocks Return From Holiday, Tumble 3% As PBOC Eases Bank Rates (MW)
FBI’s Smoking Gun: Redactions (Solomon)
Italy’s Di Maio Predicts ‘Political Earthquake’ For European Union (RT)
Salvini Resists Germany’s Plans To Send Migrants Back To Italy (RT)
Austerity Is The Wrong Prescription For The World’s Wellbeing (G.)
Greece ‘to Claim €280 Billion’ in War Reparations from Germany (GR)
‘The World Is Against Them’: New Era Of Cancer Lawsuits Threaten Monsanto (G.)



Sure, but do what? Has anyone defined that?


It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C states that the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C. Staying below 1.5C will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. It will be hugely expensive, the report says, but the window of opportunity is not yet closed. After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.

The critical 33-page Summary for Policymakers certainly bears the hallmarks of difficult negotiations between climate researchers determined to stick to what their studies have shown and political representatives more concerned with economies and living standards. Despite the inevitable compromises, there are some key messages that come through loud and and clear. “The first is that limiting warming to 1.5C brings a lot of benefits compared with limiting it to 2 degrees. It really reduces the impacts of climate change in very important ways,” said Prof Jim Skea, who is a co-chair of the IPCC.

“The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C – changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation.” “Scientists might want to write in capital letters, ‘ACT NOW IDIOTS’, but they need to say that with facts and numbers,” said Kaisa Kosonen, from Greenpeace, who was an observer at the negotiations. “And they have.” The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below 2 degrees this century then the changes we would experience would be manageable.

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The IPCC’s estimates have been off by a large margin. Political pressure?

World Must Take ‘Unprecedented’ Steps To Avert Worst Of Global Warming (R.)

Society would have to enact “unprecedented” changes to how it consumes energy, travels and builds to meet a lower global warming target or it risks increases in heat waves, flood-causing storms and the chances of drought in some regions as well as the loss of species, a U.N. report said on Monday. Keeping the Earth’s temperature rise to only 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) rather than the 2C target agreed to at the Paris Agreement talks in 2015, would have “clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems,” the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday in a statement announcing the report’s release.

The IPCC report said at the current rate of warming, the world’s temperatures would likely reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 after an increase of 1C above pre-industrial levels since the mid-1800s. Keeping the 1.5C target would keep the global sea level rise 0.1 meter (3.9 inches) lower by 2100 than a 2C target, the report states. That could reduce flooding and give the people that inhabit the world’s coasts, islands and river deltas time to adapt to climate change.

The lower target would also reduce species loss and extinction and the impact on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems, the report said. “There were doubts if we would be able to differentiate impacts set at 1.5C and that came so clearly. Even the scientists were surprised to see how much science was already there and how much they could really differentiate and how great are the benefits of limiting global warming at 1.5 compared to 2,” Thelma Krug, vice-chair of the IPCC, told Reuters in an interview. “And now more than ever we know that every bit of warming matters,” Krug said.

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And after all the big words, here is reality.

Energy Sector’s Carbon Emissions To Grow For Second Year Running (G.)

Carbon emissions from the energy sector are on track to grow for the second year running, in a major blow to hopes the world might have turned the corner on tackling climate change. Preliminary analysis by the world’s energy watchdog shows the industry’s emissions have continued to rise in 2018, suggesting that an increase last year was not a one-off. The finding comes as the world’s leading climate scientists issue a landmark report on whether the world can meet a tougher global warming target, of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C.

Dr Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told the Guardian: “When I look at the first nine months of data, I expect in 2018 carbon emissions will increase once again. This is definitely worrying news for our climate goals. We need to see a steep decline in emissions. We are not seeing even flat emissions.” Emissions largely flatlined in 2014–16 after climbing for decades, raising hopes that global action on climate change was beginning to turn the tide – but in 2017 they grew by 1.4%.

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Silliest metaphor ever? “..while it is tempting to sail alone, countries must resist the siren call of self-sufficiency – because as the Greek legends tell us, that leads to shipwreck..”

Clouds Gather Over The IMF’s Paradise (O.)

On Tuesday, the [IMF] will update its World Economic Outlook and has already warned that the effects of rising debt and trade wars are affecting the global projections. Last week, the IMF’s head, Christine Lagarde, said the outlook “has become less bright”, despite projections during the summer that there would be 3.9% growth for 2018 and 2019. [..] Adding to Lagarde’s comments, there were warnings last week in the IMF’s global financial stability report, which said there was a risk of another financial meltdown because both governments and regulators have failed to put in place needed reforms to protect the system. Lagarde said that while expansion of the global economy was running at its fastest rate in seven years, there were signs of slowdown.

In September, factory activity dropped as a result of changes in trading with the US – and Donald Trump did not escape (admittedly veiled) criticism. The growing use of trade barriers had resulted in a drop in imports and exports, Lagarde said, and investment and manufacturing output had also been hit. Trump has consistently championed unilateral trade deals in an effort to further his “America First” agenda. “History shows that, while it is tempting to sail alone, countries must resist the siren call of self-sufficiency – because as the Greek legends tell us, that leads to shipwreck,” said Lagarde. Also central to the concerns about the future of the global economy are debt levels, currently well above those seen at the time of the 2008 crash. The IMF warned that there was a risk that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a panic.

The rise of unregulated “shadow banks” and the lack of restrictions on insurers and asset managers were pinpointed as concerns – as was the growth of global banks to a scale larger than 2008 and the fear that they are again “too big to fail”. Lagarde has said she is concerned that the total value of global debt has risen by 60% in the last 10 years to reach an all-time high of £139tn. As central banks in more advanced economies raised interest rates, attracting investors back to them, she said, developing countries were suffering. “That process could become even more challenging if it were to accelerate suddenly. It could lead to market corrections, sharp exchange rate movements, and further weakening of capital flows.”

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I think perhaps it’s that 1.5ºC one?!

US Inflation Is The World’s Most Important Economic Variable (CNBC)

U.S. inflation is the world’s most important economic variable. That proposition is explained by its corollary: Rising inflation is the only problem the U.S. Federal Reserve cannot solve by increasing its money supply. The Fed can deal with structural problems in credit markets by means of enhanced supervision, regulatory provisions and, all else failing, by open-ended lending in cases of systemic threats to the financial system’s stability. But none of those measures are applicable to situations of accelerating inflation and a deteriorating outlook for the value of fixed-income assets. That is a problem the Fed must address with sustained liquidity withdrawals, increasing credit costs and the ensuing growth recession of the U.S. economy.

[..] U.S. inflation has reached a point in an accelerating economy where the Fed needs to step in with a prompt and credible action to anchor inflation expectations. Markets are signaling that such measures are long overdue. The Fed is now well beyond the stage where it could think of fine tuning the economic activity in an environment of stable costs and prices. The U.S. economy is moving along at twice the rate of its noninflationary growth potential. That is unsustainable. As in the past, the restoration of American price stability will lead to a growth recession of unknown amplitude and duration.

The global reach of the dollar, and of the American financial system, are direct and powerful channels through which the Fed’s rising interest rates will affect demand, output and employment in the rest of the world. Those who think that they can avoid the impact of U.S. monetary policies should think again. The dollar remains an irreplaceable linchpin to the international monetary system. And that’s the way it will be for the foreseeable future. There is simply no viable alternative to the dollar’s global role as a unit of account, a means of payment, a transactions currency and a store of value.

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The name is Bonds. Sovereign bonds.

Ron Paul: US Barreling Towards A Stock Market Plunge Of At Least 50% (CNBC)

Ron Paul believes the bond trading pits are giving investors a dire message about the state of the nation’s economy. According to the former Republican Congressman from Texas, the recent jump in Treasury bond yields suggest the U.S. is barreling towards a potential recession and market meltdown at a faster and faster pace. And, he sees no way to prevent it. “We’re getting awfully close. I’d be surprised if you don’t have everybody agreeing with what I’m saying next year some time,” he said last Thursday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.”

His remarks came as the benchmark 10-Year Treasury yield, which moves inversely to its price, rallied to seven year highs, intensifying fears over rising inflation. It may be beneficial for personal savings accounts, but it could deliver irrevocable damage to those in adjustable mortgages, or for auto buyers looking to finance a new vehicle. “It can be pretty well validated by looking at monetary history that when you inflate the currency, distort interest rates and live beyond your means and spend too much, there has to be an adjustment,” he said. “We have the biggest bubble in the history of mankind.”

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The world’s fastest growing economy for years now needs stimulus.

China Stocks Return From Holiday, Tumble 3% As PBOC Eases Bank Rates (MW)

Chinese stocks led weaker action across Asia markets on Monday, as traders returned to work after a weeklong holiday, brushing aside the latest rate cut by the People’s Bank of China. Chinese stocks returned from the Golden Week holiday with opening declines of 2% after last week’s wide selling in Asia and a U.S.-listed benchmark of mainland companies falling nearly 5%. The major indexes in both Shanghai and Shenzhen were last down around 3%. On Sunday, the PBOC made a one percentage-point cut in banks’ reserve-requirement ratios. The central bank was widely expected to cut the metric again before year-end amid ongoing stimulus efforts.

But Monday was expected to be an up-and-down day as investors try and price in not just what’s happened so far this month but also what continues to lie ahead on the trade front. “This monetary policy tweak is the fourth in 2018 and despite the weakening Yaun and the Feds embarking on a more aggressive rate hike tangent than expected, suggests the Pboc are putting their greatest energies behind stimulating the flagging economy as opposed to the U.S.-China trade wars or Fed policy for that matter,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC, at OANDA. A survey of China’s service sector came in mixed, with the sector expanding at a faster pace in September, but a subindex of employment abruptly contracted, falling to its lowest level since March 2016.

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FBI’s Smoking Gun: Redactions (Solomon)

To declassify or not to declassify? That is the question, when it comes to the FBI’s original evidence in the Russia collusion case. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI have tried to thwart President Trump on releasing the evidence, suggesting it will harm national security, make allies less willing to cooperate, or even leave him vulnerable to accusations that he is trying to obstruct the end of the Russia probe. Before you judge the DOJ’s and FBI’s arguments — which are similar to those offered to stop the release of information in other major episodes of American history, from the Bay of Pigs to 9/11 — consider Footnote 43 on Page 57 of Chapter 3 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report earlier this year on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Until this past week, the footnote really had garnered no public intrigue, in part because the U.S. intelligence community blacked out the vast majority of its verbiage in the name of national security before the report was made public. From the heavy redactions, all one could tell is that FBI general counsel James Baker met with an unnamed person who provided some information in September 2016 about Russia, email hacking and a possible link to the Trump campaign. Not a reporter or policymaker would have batted an eyelash over such a revelation. Then, last Wednesday, I broke the story that Baker admitted to Congress in an unclassified setting — repeat, in an unclassified setting — that he had met with a top lawyer at the firm representing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received allegations from that lawyer about Russia, Trump and possible hacking.

It was the same DNC, along with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, that funded the unverified, salacious dossier by a British intel operative, Christopher Steele, that became a central piece of evidence used to justify the FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign in the final days of the election And it was the same law firm that made the payments for the dossier research so those could be disguised in campaign spending reports to avoid the disclosure of the actual beneficiaries of the research, which were Clinton and the DNC. And it was, in turns out, the same meeting that was so heavily censored by the intel agencies from Footnote 43 in the House report — treated, in other words, as some big national security secret.

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He might well be right.

Italy’s Di Maio Predicts ‘Political Earthquake’ For European Union (RT)

The bloc may expect a “political earthquake” after the 2019 European Parliament election, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio warned. Di Maio said he believes that what happened in Italy after the general election in March 4, when the popular vote brought an unlikely coalition of two anti-establishment parties to power, will happen in the whole Europe. The pro-EU centrist parties shrank significantly as a result of the latest Italian parliamentary elections. With the plebiscite that is scheduled for May next year “there will be a political earthquake at the European level,” Di Maio, who is also the Minister of Economic Development and the head of the Five Star Movement (M5S), stated. “All the rules will change,” the Italian high-ranking politician promised.

The Italian government and the EU authorities are at loggerheads over Rome’s targeted budget deficit at 2.4 percent of the GDP that exceeds the limits set by the EU. Rome believes that the forthcoming elections would favor the opponents of austerity. “The Europe of bankers, founded on mass immigration and economic insecurity, keeps on threatening and insulting Italians and their government? Relax, in six months 500 million voters will fire them. We keep going,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said.

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“Rome fears that Germany might eventually attempt to send back to Italy as many as 40,000 people..”

Salvini Resists Germany’s Plans To Send Migrants Back To Italy (RT)

Rome has still not reached an agreement with Berlin on the repatriation of asylum seekers who had first registered in Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said, vowing to close airports to German flights transferring refugees. “If someone in Berlin or Brussels thinks of dumping dozens of migrants in Italy via unauthorized charter flights, they should know that there is not and there will be no airport available,” Salvini said in a statement, adding that Italy will “close the airports” just as it earlier closed its ports to NGO vessels carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. His sharp statement comes in response to the rumors first circulated by the Italian La Repubblica daily that Germany plans to speed up repatriation procedures ahead of the regional elections in the state of Bavaria, the home state of the Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

The first charter flight carrying asylum seekers from Germany to Italy is reportedly scheduled for Tuesday, October 9, the media reported. Other media reports set the date of the flight on Thursday, October 11. Germany’s refugee and migration agency, the BAMF, allegedly already sent “dozens of letters” to the would-be repatriates informing them about the planned transfers to Italy, according to La Repubblica. Earlier, the German dpa news agency also said that such a flight is scheduled for “the coming days.” This information, however, was neither confirmed nor denied by the German authorities. Rome fears that Germany might eventually attempt to send back to Italy as many as 40,000 people, who arrived there from the southern European country, the Italian media report.

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“The country’s death rate had risen by about 5.6% in the decade running up to the first bailout in 2010 but then jumped by 17.6% in the six years that followed.”

Austerity Is The Wrong Prescription For The World’s Wellbeing (G.)

Greece, which endured a slump longer and deeper than the Great Depression in the US, was forced by the so-called troika of the IMF, the EU and the ECB to cut health expenditure at a time when other European countries were raising theirs. Under Greece’s bailout, health spending fell from 9.8% of GDP in 2008 to 8.1% in 2014, a time when national output was contracting rapidly. The country’s death rate had risen by about 5.6% in the decade running up to the first bailout in 2010 but then jumped by 17.6% in the six years that followed. The rate rose three times faster than the rate in Western Europe overall.

[..] The troika’s austerity programme helped French and German banks avoid losses on their loans but at the expense of a rising Greek death rate. That has resulted in 50% less public hospital funding in 2015 than 2009, hospitals being left without basic supplies, the long-term unemployed stripped of their health insurance and those on low pay finding drugs more expensive because of a 20% cut in the minimum wage. The number of individuals with unmet healthcare needs has nearly doubled since 2010, with a considerable fraction reporting cost as the main reason for not receiving the recommended healthcare services.

Greece is not short of healthcare expertise. It has the second highest number of doctors per 1,000 people in the EU but that medical workforce has been forced to watch impotently as the health system has descended into chaos and people have died when they could have been saved. For the past eight years, Greece has been used in a laboratory experiment to test out a theory. The evidence from the report in the Lancet could hardly be clearer. Austerity kills.

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Not a chance, but kudos for trying.

Greece ‘to Claim €280 Billion’ in War Reparations from Germany (GR)

Greece is about to launch a campaign to claim €280 billion ($323 billion) in war reparations from Germany, reports Der Spiegel. The German magazine notes that as long as Greece was dependent on EU support, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had avoided raising the issue. But now, after the end of the third bailout program, Athens is ready to take initiatives to claim the money, it says. The issue is resurfacing a few days before the official visit of Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Athens where he will meet the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Tsipras. Der Spiegel says it is no coincidence that the two highest ranking Greek politicians have both raised the issue in the last few days.

It marks the beginning of a long campaign, which, according to the German magazine, will start in November. The Greek Parliament will endorse an audit report ready since August 2016, according to which Greece is entitled to €269.5 billion of repairs from the Second World War. In addition, Greece demands the repayment of a €10.3 billion occupation loan. The report remained under wraps throughout the last two years, but Tsipras seems ready to bring it back to the surface and start a campaign for war reparations, says Der Spiegel. In the second phase, Greece intends to present its arguments at world organizations such as the European Parliament, the European Council, and the UN.

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8,700 plaintiffs.

‘The World Is Against Them’: New Era Of Cancer Lawsuits Threaten Monsanto (G.)

[Dewayne Johnson’s] award of $289m, which included $250m in punitive damages, is a game-changer for the 46-year-old, who will leave behind a wife and three children. But Monsanto is fighting to keep it from him. “It’s a big red flag for the company,” said Jean M Eggen, professor emerita at Widener University Delaware Law School: “It brings more people out who might not otherwise sue.” Roughly 8,700 plaintiffs have made similar cases in state courts across the country, alleging that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides led to various types of cancer. The impact could be huge if Monsanto continues to fight and lose in jury trials, and an accumulation of wins could force the company to consider settling with plaintiffs. “It could become very costly,” said Eggen, comparing the fight to the tobacco industry, which aggressively fought cases in court but eventually decided settlements were the best option. “It’s really a business decision.”

Monsanto may ultimately consider changing the labels to warn consumers about cancer risks and work to settle with consumers who have had high exposures, said Lars Noah, University of Florida law professor: “It’s sort of a wake-up call that their strategy was unrealistic.” Of the thousands of cases, there are more than 10 trials on track to start in 2019 and 2020, with court battles ramping up in California, Montana, Delaware, Kansas City and St Louis (where Monsanto is headquartered). Farmers, gardeners, government employees, landscapers and a wide range of others have alleged that Monsanto’s products sickened them or killed their loved ones. “This is a tremendous number of trials for one year and will allow plaintiffs to get critical evidence in front of juries – evidence not seen before,” said the attorney Aimee Wagstaff.

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