Roy DeCarava Woman walking above, New York 1950
There’s a story here. Germany’s BILD Zeitung reports that Ukraine’s military no. 1, Valery Zaluzhny, called for a withdrawal from Bakhmut weeks ago. Other reports say the US wanted such a withdrawal since late January. Zelensky kept refusing. And now the story has become that everyone agrees to stay in Bakhmut, while at the same time downplaying its importance, either militarily or as a symbol.
It’s PR thing now, pure and simple. NATO can blame Zelensky from here on in, and is scot-free. AND: NATO’s not losing, Zelensky is. If only he’d listened, he’s be winning.
• Pentagon Chief Downplays Importance Of Bakhmut (RT)
The city of Artyomovsk, or Bakhmut as it is known by Ukraine, is of more symbolic than operational importance, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claimed on Monday, according to Reuters. The battle for the city – a major stronghold and logistics hub for Kiev’s forces in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) – has continued for months, being described by some as the fiercest in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.Yan Gagin, an adviser to the DPR’s acting head Denis Pushilin, said on Monday that Russian forces have encircled the key city, trapping around 10,000 Ukrainian troops inside. The Pentagon chief, however, said he wouldn’t consider it a strategic setback if Ukrainian troops decide to reposition themselves on new defense lines west of the city. “The fall of [Artyomovsk] won’t necessarily mean that the Russians have changed the tide of this fight,” he said. While acknowledging the possibility of a defeat for Ukraine in Artyomovsk, Austin refused to speculate on whether or when it’ll happen.
German tabloid Bild reported on Monday that the city had become a source of internal conflict between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces General Valery Zaluzhny. Insiders in Kiev told the outlet that Zaluzhny had called for a withdrawal from the city weeks ago. However, Zelensky’s office said on Monday morning that his top generals supported continuing the defensive operation in Bakhmut. According to Western media reports, the US government has been urging Kiev to pull out of Artyomovsk since late January and to prepare instead for future counter-offensives in other areas. However, Zelensky has insisted the city will fight for as long as possible. Senior Biden administration officials told the Washington Post in late February that the Ukrainian leader “attaches symbolic importance” to the city and fears a setback to morale if it’s captured by Russian forces.
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“US officials have assessed that its loss to Russia would not affect the strategic situation..”
• Zelensky At Odds With Top General – Bild (RT)
An internal conflict is underway between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and General Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, according to government sources cited by Bild on Monday. Kiev insiders told the German tabloid that the military commander called for a withdrawal from a key Donbass city weeks ago. Zaluzhny advised the president to abandon Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, rather than keep defending it as Russian troops threatened to take control of the city, the newspaper reported. However the Ukrainian leader declared the city a fortress, and refused to pull troops back.
Russian forces have made notable advances in the fight for Artyomovsk this year. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private military company Wagner Group, claimed last Friday that it was “de-facto completely surrounded,” with only one road available for possible evacuation. According to US media, Washington has been urging Zelensky to pull out of Artyomovsk and focus on preparing a major counteroffensive for the spring using Western-supplied weapons, but the Ukrainian president fears a morale hit that such a move would cause. The city is part of a 70km Ukrainian defense line created since Kiev initiated the fighting in Donbass in 2014. US officials have assessed that its loss to Russia would not affect the strategic situation.
Bild sources claimed that Ukrainian troops on the ground in Artyomovsk “do not understand why the city is being held” and believe they should have withdrawn a long time ago. Zelensky recently stated that Ukrainian forces would defend it as long as it “remains reasonable” to do so. The German tabloid also noted that Zaluzhny’s popularity for leading the military campaign against Russia makes him a viable challenger to Zelensky in a potential presidential run. The general has not publicly announced any ambition to run for office, but rumors have been circulating in Ukraine for months regarding Zelensky’s concerns over possible competition.
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Seniors and teenagers.
• Zelensky’s Office Says Zaluzhny Supports Further Battles In Bakhmut (TASS)
The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny, and the commander of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian armed forces, Alexander Syrsky, have supported further battles in Artyomovsk, a town known in Ukraine as Bakhmut, and efforts to reinforce Ukrainian positions in the town, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office said on Monday. The statement followed news media reports that Zelensky and Zaluzhny had differences. Zelensky held a meeting of top military officers that, among other things, had an in-depth discussion of the situation in Artyomovsk, and asked Zaluzhny and Syrsky about further plans of Ukrainian forces in the area.
“They [Zaluzhny and Syrsky] spoke in favor of continuing the defense operation and further reinforcement of our positions in Bakhmut,” said the statement that was published on the Ukrainian presidential website.The Bild newspaper earlier reported, citing sources, that the situation around Artyomovsk caused disagreement between Zelensky and Zaluzhny. According to the report, Zaluzhny told Zelensky a few weeks ago that Ukrainian troops needed to be pulled out of Artyomovsk. The Ukrainian president, however, had a fundamentally different view on the issue. Artyomovsk is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the DPR and is an important transportation hub for supplying Ukrainian troops in Donbass.
Fierce fighting has been raging for the town. Denis Pushilin, the interim head of the Donetsk People’s Republic said on February 16 that Russian forces had seized control of all key heights near Artyomovsk. Zelensky said on February 20 that Ukraine would fight for Artyomovsk “while it makes sense.” Additional units continue to be sent to the town. Andrey Marochko, a retired lieutenant-colonel of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic, told TASS that Kiev had sent even underage children to take part in the hostilities. Yan Gagin, an adviser to interim head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said on Monday that Ukrainian forces in Artyomovsk were trapped just like they were in Debaltsevo in 2015.
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“..Prigozhin said that tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops were fiercely resisting Russian forces in Artyomovsk.”
• About 10,000 Ukrainian Troops Remain In Bakhmut – DPR Advisor (TASS)
There are currently some 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen in Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, Yan Gagin, who is an advisor to acting leader of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin, said on Monday. “Quite a large garrison of [Ukrainian troops] is still deployed in Artyomovsk – some 10,000 people or, perhaps, somewhat more. Parts of it have already left the city, and some parts have been attempting to leave it, while our artillery has been trying to hit them,” the expert told Rossya-1 television. Earlier on Monday, Gagin also said that the cauldron in Artymovosk was similar to the one Ukrainian troops got encircled into in 2015. On March 1, founder of the Wagner private military company Yevgeny Prigozhin said that tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops were fiercely resisting Russian forces in Artyomovsk.
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“..the Ukrainian military admits that several of its best-trained army units have been destroyed near Artyomovsk in recent months..”
• Ukraine Sustains Big Losses In Bakhmut – El Pais (TASS)
Ukraine’s armed forces have sustained huge losses in Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), despite the fact that several of their best brigades were deployed to the city, Spain’s El Pais reported on Monday. According to the newspaper, on Friday Ukrainian troops blew up two small bridges linking the only Ukraine-controlled access road to Artyomovsk and erected a floating bridge instead. The newspaper also reported that several small groups of Ukrainian soldiers arrived in the city as reinforcements. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Ukrainian military admits that several of its best-trained army units have been destroyed near Artyomovsk in recent months. Although data on Ukraine’s losses are classified, some officers acknowledge the losses on condition of anonymity. Artyomovsk, a major transport hub used as a logistics center for the Ukrainian army in Donbass, is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Fierce fighting continues for control of the city. Acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin said on February 16 that Russian forces had taken control of the high ground around Artyomovsk.
Retreat from Bakhmut
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Guys like Col. Macgregor put the ratio at 8:1, and likely worse. NATO claims 1:5. Oh, sure.
• NATO Estimates Russia Lost 5 Times More Soldiers In Bakhmut Than Ukraine (Az.)
NATO intelligence estimates that for every Ukrainian soldier killed defending Bakhmut, Russian forces have lost at least five, a military official with the North Atlantic alliance told CNN on Monday, Report informs. The official cautioned the five to one ratio was an informed estimate based on intelligence.The official spoke to CNN on the condition they remain anonymous because they are not allowed to discuss this intelligence. Despite the favorable ratio, they also said Ukraine was suffering significant losses defending the city. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly claimed they were inflicting heavy losses on Russia as Moscow tried to take Bakhmut.
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And a few actually want peace….
• Direct Talks Between Russia, US Needed To Settle Conflict In Ukraine – Hungary (TASS)
Hungary believes the settlement of the armed conflict in Ukraine requires direct talks between Russia and the US, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in the country’s parliament on Monday. “We would welcome direct talks between the US and Russia” on Ukraine, the minister said. He brought up the brief conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 20 countries in India on March 2. “It would be nice if they had more time to talk. With the few minutes they had, it was quite hard to discuss paths to a lasting settlement [in Ukraine],” Szijjarto said.
He also said that most countries support the establishment of peace in Ukraine as soon as possible.”Peace requires peace talks, and for this to happen we must keep the channels of communication open,” the minister said. Earlier, the Hungarian government has repeatedly stated it believed that in order to resolve the Ukrainian conflict, negotiations should go not only between Ukraine and Russia, but also between Russia and the United States, since Washington provides most political and military support to Kiev.
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Two EU countries profiteer from the war: Bulgaria and Norway.
“Last year alone, at least $1 billion in arms was transferred from Bulgaria to Ukraine, mostly through Poland and Romania..”
• Bulgaria Profiteering From Ukraine Conflict (RT)
Bulgarian arms makers exported products worth billions of dollars to Ukraine using third-party countries as intermediaries, EURACTIV revealed in an investigation published on Monday. It had earlier been reported that former prime minister Kiril Petkov claimed credit for the scheme, which circumvented opponents of such transactions in the Bulgarian government. The outlet’s findings indicate that the practice of indirect arms supplies predated the outbreak of Russian-Ukrainian hostilities. However once the conflict escalated in February 2022, Bulgarian manufacturers enjoyed a rapid increase in profits, doubling sales last year. Bulgaria is a major producer of munitions compatible with Soviet-designed weapons, which Ukraine used extensively before the US and its allies supplied it with Western-produced alternatives.
Last year alone, at least $1 billion in arms was transferred from Bulgaria to Ukraine, mostly through Poland and Romania, sources told EURACTIV. No direct arms contracts were signed, the outlet added. The funneling of arms was done through foreign schemes and funded using foreign finance, according to Velizar Shalamanov, the former acting defense minister and a vocal supporter of shipping arms to Ukraine. There is a program with good funding in Great Britain, the United States and Poland. Through this program, the armaments needed for Ukraine are bought, that is, the money is not Ukrainian but British, American, Polish or European. That is why it is bought through other companies,” he told EURACTIV.
The clandestine deliveries were repoerted in January by the German daily Die Welt, which gave credit for the scheme to former Bulgarian prime minister Kiril Petkov and ex-finance minister Asen Vasilev. They are both Harvard University graduates and belong to the same pro-NATO political movement, which they founded together. “We estimate that around a third of the ammunition needed by the Ukrainian Army came from Bulgaria in the early stages of the war,” Petkov said at the time. The prime minister had taken the steps contrary to public opinion, which was overwhelmingly opposed to giving extensive aid to Ukraine, over concerns that their country would be dragged into the conflict, Die Welt reported.
Petkov’s government was backed by a coalition of four parties, and, according to the German paper, he went behind the back of the Socialists – a coalition member that publicly opposed any armament supplies to Ukraine. Petkov lost his position in a no-confidence vote last June. The Bulgarian parliament failed to form a stable government after snap elections in October and is currently preparing for a new national ballot in April. The country approved its first official military aid package to Kiev in December, with President Rumen Radev declining to block the proposal backed by parliament.
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After During Ukraine War.
• Norway Earns Record Oil, Gas Revenue After Ukraine War (RT)
The Norwegian state raked in record oil and gas revenues last year after the war in Ukraine sent energy prices soaring, official figures showed Monday, Report informs via Barron’s. Norway earned 1.5 trillion kroner ($140 billion) in revenues from oil and gas, according to estimates by Statistics Norway (SSB). It was “by far the highest ever recorded in the statistics” and almost three times the 498 billion kroner earned in 2021, according to SSB. Norway became Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas in 2022 as Russia cut deliveries and the Scandinavian country increased its own exports. Oslo’s income was buoyed by record high European gas prices over the summer which have since subsided. The exceptional revenues have sometimes earned Norway the label of “war profiteer”, a label that Oslo rejects. Norway has pledged 75 billion kroner in civil and military aid to Ukraine over the next five years (2023-2027), or 15 billion kroner per year.
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“He answered in the negative when asked whether there would be recommendations from the Kremlin to Gazprom on this matter..”
• Nord Streams’ Fate To Be Decided By Gazprom, Other Shareholders – Kremlin (TASS)
The decision about the future of the Nord Stream pipelines will be made by Gazprom and other shareholders of the project, and there will be no recommendations from the Kremlin on this matter to the company, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. When asked about the future of Nord Streams, the Kremlin official advised to contact Gazprom, which “is a shareholder in this international project.” “Of course, this is a decision that should be made collectively by all shareholders – this is an international project,” Peskov stressed. He answered in the negative when asked whether there would be recommendations from the Kremlin to Gazprom on this matter. “First of all, you need to contact Gazprom,” the Kremlin spokesman repeated.
Earlier, Reuters reported citing sources that the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines are set to be sealed up and mothballed. On September 27, 2022, Nord Stream AG reported unprecedented damage that occurred the day before on three strings of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipelines. On September 26, 2022, Swedish seismologists registered two explosions on the pipeline routes. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case based on charges of international terrorism. On February 8, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article, which said, citing sources, that US Navy divers had planted explosive devices under the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise in June 2022, and Norwegians activated the bombs three months later.
According to the journalist, the decision to conduct the operation was made by US President Joe Biden personally, following nine months of discussions with White House security specialists. White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a comment to TASS that Hersh’s account was “utterly false and complete fiction.” At a meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers on March 2, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow will continue to seek a prompt and impartial investigation of sabotage at the gas pipelines. Moscow insists on its participation in this probe, he added. He noted that the call of the Russian Federation to reflect the need for a fair investigation into Nord Stream in the G20 declaration was ignored.
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“As more and more countries “stop fearing Western diktat” and start to assert their national interests more actively, the former colonial powers are bound to lose their hold on the regions they once thought were theirs..”
• Medvedev Eyes ‘Final Nail’ In Neocolonialism’s Coffin (RT)
Russia is ready to help the world do away with the vestiges of a Western-dominated colonial past, former president Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. The official argued that as a nation “which has never had any colonies,” Russia is well-placed to take part in this process. In an article published on Monday, Medvedev claimed that “geopolitical turbulence has cut open an abscess of the old problems of our world.” The ex-president and now deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, argued that the “malignant tumor of a colonial past” is a problem that calls for “international surgery.” He noted that the Soviet Union played a major role in dismantling the colonial system of the 20th century. “We, together with other countries, can now drive the final nail in the coffin of the Western world’s neo-colonial aspirations,” Medvedev proclaimed in the piece, posted on the United Russia party website.
As an example, the former president cited Argentina’s decision to renounce a 2016 deal with the UK with respect to the disputed Falkland/Malvinas islands in the South Atlantic, which were at the center of a military conflict in 1982. On Thursday, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said he had notified his British counterpart, James Cleverly, of the move during a meeting in New Delhi, India, on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Buenos Aires “has proposed to resume negotiations on the question of sovereignty” in compliance with the mandate of the UN General Assembly and the world body’s Committee on Decolonization, Cafiero clarified. Medvedev argued that the decisions to show French troops the door last year by two of France’s former colonies in Africa, the Central African Republic and Mali, fit this pattern too.
Medvedev pointed out, however, that there are still a number of dependent territories around the globe ruled by Western powers such as the UK and France. He expressed skepticism that those nations will willingly relinquish control of the remains of their former empires. As more and more countries “stop fearing Western diktat” and start to assert their national interests more actively, the former colonial powers are bound to lose their hold on the regions they once thought were theirs, he concluded. Following the start of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine last February and amid fierce confrontation with the West, top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have increasingly advocated the establishment of a “multipolar world” which does not center around the wishes of one single superpower.
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“If everyone thinks that we are guaranteed to win the war, it seems very unlikely.”
Interesting piece of video of Arestovich.
• A Massive Global Restructuring is Underway (IM)
We’ve long said that Hungary was going to leave the EU. It is just a question of time. The daily news announced that “hundreds of high-ranking military officers sacked in Hungary”. From the article: “Multiple Hungarian media outlets reported that Hungary’s defense minister sacked hundreds of high-ranking military officers. The people concerned have two months to leave and will get 70 percent of their current salaries as a pension-like allowance even if they continue to work. The minister says the move served the rejuvenation and modernisation of the army. The opposition believes the government fired pro-NATO officers.” To be clear, I don’t know if this is true. But as with most things, you piece together multiple bits of information and a picture forms providing probabilities. It is with these probabilities that we begin to price outcomes and assets accordingly.
Where most probable outcomes coincide with cheap or expensive asset classes is where we find asymmetry. So what we do know is that Hungary has been against the Ukraine war from the get go. Orban has been a thorn in the EU’s side, refusing to bow to ever increasing levels of control and mismanagement. He is extraordinarily popular at home and this has the pointy shoes in Brussels in a tizz. How dare he? The article goes on to explain the mass sacking. “The ministry says this move served the aim to modernise the army and pave the way to the rise of a new officer generation. Media reports about more than a hundred generals, colonels and other high-ranking officers sent away. Meanwhile, the former defence secretary and the Democratic Coalition’s MP, Ágnes Vadai, counted around 170 officers on Thursday. She added the officers sent away were pro-NATO.”
What may have prompted this? Well, I did note this…This guy with the dress sense of a circus clown just resigned. He is — or should I say was — advisor to Zelensky’s chief of staff. A recent article announced that Oleksiy Arestovich resigns as advisor to Zelensky’s office. “Oleksiy Arestovich submitted his resignation from the position of external adviser to the office of the president of Ukraine. “I want to show an example of what civilized behavior is: a fundamental error, then resignation,” he wrote on his social media, attaching a photo of his letter.” After his resignation he went on political analyst Yuri Romanenko’s Youtube channel and had this to say. “I’m an unofficial person already, I can say what I want.” Then having said that, spat this out… “If everyone thinks that we are guaranteed to win the war, it seems very unlikely.”
This is particularly interesting since the former actor (I know right, it’s like the entire cabinet are actors) coined the name. I’d say propagandist but whatever. His job, as far as I can tell, was to run a Youtube channel, which earned him the nickname “Therapist-in-Chief” and was devoted to assuring Ukrainians that the situation was under control, Ukraine had the upper hand, and that the war would be over soon. So basically a professional liar. A Ukrainian version of the BBC and CNN. So as you can see, quite a turnaround for the “everything’s under control” kid. I guess the cocaine dwarf didn’t funnel enough of the Western taxpaying serfs’ money through Europe’s laundromat to him in order to keep up the charade. Or he quite possibly actually fears for his life because at some point a Russian bullet may exit the back of his head. Who knows?
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“CNN bent over backwards to knock down what former President Trump and members of his administration said lending credibility to the lab-leak theory..”
• CNN Boss Ordered Staff Not To Chase Down Covid Lab Leak Theory (Fox)
CNN has long referred to itself as “the most trusted name in news” and famously launched its “Facts First” campaign during the Trump era, but like many other outlets, that sentiment fell by the wayside when it came to the COVID lab-leak theory. In recent days, the theory that COVID originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been embraced by FBI Director Christopher Wray and a bombshell report indicated that the U.S. Energy Department believes the virus likely started in the lab, a sentiment expressed by top Trump administration officials nearly from the outset. But in the early months of the pandemic, then-CNN president Jeff Zucker would not allow his network to chase down the lab-leak story because he believed it was a “Trump talking point,” according to a well-placed CNN insider.
“People are slowly waking up from the fog,” the insider told Fox News Digital. “It is kind of crazy that we didn’t chase it harder.”Throughout Zucker’s tenure as CNN’s chief, he pulled what was once widely seen as a straight-news organization to an anti-Trump operation. CNN bent over backwards to knock down what former President Trump and members of his administration said lending credibility to the lab-leak theory, as the White House was deemed a nemesis by the network. On March 28, 2020, CNN’s Oliver Darcy published a story headlined, “Here’s how to debunk coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories from friends and family,” that offered advice about dealing with pesky loved ones who didn’t believe in mainstream COVID-19 narratives at the time.
“While the coronavirus pandemic has isolated family and friends inside their homes, it has in many cases increased online or over-the-phone communication with loved ones,” Darcy wrote. “But, in some cases, relatives and friends share poor information – whether it is bad science related to how to prevent the virus, debunked rumors about cities being put on lockdown, or conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid-19. While any strain of misinformation is not ideal, misinformation related to a public health crisis has an especially dangerous element to it,” Darcy continued before declaring that “bad information during a public health emergency poses a risk to those who fall victim to it.” Darcy’s admonition came as CNN was one of many mainstream outlets to declare the lab-leak notion utterly preposterous.
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Scott Atlas was an early Fauci/Birx victim.
• America’ COVID Response Was Based on Lies (Scott Atlas)
Almost all of America’s leaders have gradually pulled back their COVID mandates, requirements, and closures—even in states like California, which had imposed the most stringent and longest-lasting restrictions on the public. At the same time, the media has been gradually acknowledging the ongoing release of studies that totally refute the purported reasons behind those restrictions. This overt reversal is falsely portrayed as “learned” or “new evidence.” Little acknowledgement of error is to be found. We have seen no public apology for promulgating false information, or for the vilification and delegitimization of policy experts and medical scientists like myself who spoke out correctly about data, standard knowledge about viral infections and pandemics, and fundamental biology.
The historical record is critical. We have seen a macabre Orwellian attempt to rewrite history and to blame the failure of widespread lockdowns on the lockdowns’ critics, alongside absurd denials of officials’ own incessant demands for them. In the Trump administration, Dr. Deborah Birx was formally in charge of the medical side of the White House’s coronavirus task force during the pandemic’s first year. In that capacity, she authored all written federal policy recommendations to governors and states and personally advised each state’s public health officials during official visits, often with Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the entire task force. Upon the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci became chief medical advisor and ran the Biden pandemic response.
We must acknowledge the abject failure of the Birx-Fauci policies. They were enacted, but they failed to stop the dying, failed to stop the infection from spreading, and inflicted massive damage and destruction particularly on lower-income families and on America’s children. More than 1 million American deaths have been attributed to that virus. Even after draconian measures, including school closures, stoppage of non-COVID medical care, business shutdowns, personal restrictions, and then the continuation of many restrictions and mandates in the presence of a vaccine, there was an undeniable failure—over two presidential administrations—to stop cases from rapidly escalating.Numerous experts—including John Ioannidis, David Katz, and myself—called for targeted protection, a safer alternative to widespread lockdowns, in national media beginning in March of 2020. That proposal was rejected. History’s biggest public health policy failure came at the hands of those who recommended the lockdowns and those who implemented them, not those who advised otherwise.
[..] None of us are so naïve as to expect a direct apology from critics at my employer, Stanford University, or in government, academic public health, and the media. But to ensure that this never happens again, government leaders, power-driven officials, and influential academics and advisors often harboring conflicts of interest must be held accountable. Personally, I remain highly skeptical that any government investigation or commission can avoid politicization. Regardless of their intention, all such government-run inquiries will at least be perceived as politically motivated and their conclusions will be rejected outright by many. Those investigations must proceed, though, if only to seek the truth, to teach our children that truth matters, and to remember G.K. Chesterton’s critical lesson that “Right is right, even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong about it.”
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By Marianna Spring – BBC “Disinformation and social media correspondent”.
Saw part of the doc, fell asleep. Disinformation for these people is anything they don’t agree with. They drag out a rape victim and blame her misery on Elon Musk.
• Twitter Insiders: We Can’t Protect Users From Trolling Under Musk (BBC)
Twitter insiders have told the BBC that the company is no longer able to protect users from trolling, state-co-ordinated disinformation and child sexual exploitation, following lay-offs and changes under owner Elon Musk. Exclusive academic data plus testimony from Twitter users backs up their allegations, suggesting hate is thriving under Mr Musk’s leadership, with trolls emboldened, harassment intensifying and a spike in accounts following misogynistic and abusive profiles. Current and former employees of the company tell BBC Panorama that features intended to protect Twitter users from trolling and harassment are proving difficult to maintain, amid what they describe as a chaotic working environment in which Mr Musk is shadowed by bodyguards at all times. I’ve spoken to dozens, with several going on the record for the first time.
The former head of content design says everyone on her team – which created safety measures such as nudge buttons – has been sacked. She later resigned. Internal research by Twitter suggests those safety measures reduced trolling by 60%. An engineer working for Twitter told me “nobody’s taking care” of this type of work now, likening the platform to a building that seems fine from the outside, but inside is “on fire”. Twitter has not replied to the BBC’s request for comment. My investigation also reveals:
• Concerns that child sexual exploitation is on the rise on Twitter and not being sufficiently raised with law enforcement
• Targeted harassment campaigns aimed at curbing freedom of expression, and foreign influence operations – once removed daily from Twitter – are going “undetected”, according to a recent employee.
• Exclusive data showing how misogynistic online hate targeting me is on the rise since the takeover, and that there has been a 69% increase in new accounts following misogynistic and abusive profiles.
• Rape survivors have been targeted by accounts that have become more active since the takeover, with indications they’ve been reinstated or newly created.
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“My gawd, it’s going to be a long haul, but have a little faith — remember what that is? (It’s the conviction that all of us together stand in some meaningful relation to existence.)”
• Allegorical Intermezzo (Kunstler)
The credibility of finance was thrown overboard a long time ago. Capital was sloshing around in the bilges as the ship heaved and pitched in the angry waters, and it had to go somewhere. The next turn will be when you go looking for where it went and you discover to your nauseated chagrin that the capital is just… gone! Through some legerdemain of physics, it disappeared… turned into a kind of anti-matter… fell through a black hole (possibly ripped by that iceberg), or up the smokestacks, like it was never there at all. When that happens, our collective attention finally gets galvanized as by no shock before. When capital is truly gone, transmogrified into a whole lot of nothing, the time for standing by making faces and whining is over.
By the way, this is the way the world ends for the vacuum known as “Joe Biden” and the Party of Chaos he is propped up to represent. Chaos, we will be astounded to learn, is not your friend, is not the solution to anything, least of all a polity that is floundering in lifeboats over cold, dark, deep water a thousand leagues from dry land. What’s more, there are no ships coming to the rescue. Guess why they put oars in the boats. Get set to pull, me hardies! Yes, we’re at sea now, without a compass. Yet the stars sparkle dazzlingly above, and some aboard can actually read what they say and what they point to. If safety and sanity will not find us, maybe we can pull together toward wherever they wait.
My gawd, it’s going to be a long haul, but have a little faith — remember what that is? (It’s the conviction that all of us together stand in some meaningful relation to existence.) Even if you’re too mentally drained to believe it, act as if it is so. Or, in post-modern parlance, fake it till you make it. Didn’t think it would come to this when you signed on to the voyage? I guess so. You were comfortably ensconced one winter night in the mini-McMansion, on the overstuffed sofa, entertained by some Netflix inanity, scarfing down the microwaved cheeze morsels… when the wife said, “Hey, let’s book a cruise!” Seemed like a good idea at the time, which is what everything in the annals of history is and was. And now, look at where you are!
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‘Easier’ to inform public when there were fewer communication channels..’
• FDA Pledges to ‘Save Lives’ by Policing Online Content (CHD)
Since U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf began his second tenure as the agency’s head in February 2022, he has made combating “misinformation” one of his top priorities, arguing it is “a leading cause of preventable death in America now” — though “this cannot be proved,” he said. In an interview [last] Tuesday with The Associated Press (AP), Califf, who also headed the FDA between 2016 and 2017, reiterated his pledge to “save lives” by policing online content. One year into his second tenure as FDA commissioner — and despite waning public trust in the FDA — Califf has launched several FDA initiatives aimed “‘helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health’ in the face of a tsunami of confusing and misleading information.”
In his AP interview, Califf said increasing “distortions and half-truths” about vaccines and other medical treatments are “a leading cause of death in America.” “Almost no one should be dying of COVID in the U.S. today,” he said, adding that people who deny themselves the vaccines “are dying because they’re misinformed.” Combating “misinformation” is one of Califf’s priorities, along with “restructuring the agency’s food safety program and more aggressively deploying FDA scientists to explain vaccine decisions in the media.” When he took the helm last year, Califf called for the FDA to be more proactive in “countering misinformation.” Upon being sworn in last year, he said: “These kinds of distortions and half-truths that find their way into the public domain do enormous harm, both by leading people to behavior that is detrimental to their health and by causing them to eschew interventions that would improve their health. “A purely reactive mode is not appropriate, particularly in this new era of social media.”
Califf said, at the time, that he expected to take about a year to develop a strategy to combat medical “misinformation,” in a process that would involve public meetings. Six months into his term, on Aug. 5, 2022, Califf tweeted: “The distortions and half-truths of misinformation and disinformation pose enormous dangers to the effectiveness of science and to public health itself, through the negative impact it has on individual behavior. “That’s why I’ve made combating misinformation one of my priorities. Providing factual info is the key to helping people make the best informed decisions about their health.” According to Pharma Intelligence, Califf’s interest in targeting so-called “misinformation,” particularly on social media platforms, stems from his previous job at Verily, a life sciences company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.
Califf has frequently panned the proliferation of communication channels and platforms for this alleged rise in “misinformation.” Speaking at the TCT 2022 (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics) conference, Califf said the FDA in the past would make decisions and then employ a system it had in place to directly communicate those decisions to hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, insurers and others. Now, FDA announcements are often met with “faux outrage and lies,” according to Califf, making it difficult for the “average patient to separate the truth from the lies.”
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“..if hydrogen is available in gaseous form in the ground, the economics suddenly work.” So, the energy problem is solved. Move on, folks, now we can restart economic growth. ”
• Those Pesky Savanna Monkeys and Their Dreams of Gold Hydrogen (Ugo Bardi)
By now, you probably heard the story of “Natural Hydrogen,” (or “Gold Hydrogen”), the new source of clean energy that should come for free to us, outgassed from the depths of Earth. In 2020, the idea had been reviewed by Zgonnnik (see also an earlier paper), but the concept is becoming popular after it was described in a lengthy article on “Science” of Feb 17, 2022, and then taken up in an enthusiastic article in the NY times on Feb 27, where Peter Coy defines natural hydrogen as a “Gold Mine of Clean Energy Hiding Under our Feet.” Citing from the “Times” article, “….from an economic point of view, it doesn’t make any sense” to use electricity to produce hydrogen, transport the gas and then extract the energy through combustion or a fuel cell. But if hydrogen is available in gaseous form in the ground, the economics suddenly work.” So, the energy problem is solved. Move on, folks, now we can restart economic growth.
What’s wrong with this idea? Nothing. And everything. There is nothing wrong with finding hydrogen seeping out from the ground. Earth is a huge ball of rock, and it may well be that, somewhere, it contains free hydrogen, maybe even large amounts in comparison with human needs. Unfortunately, everything is wrong with the idea of exploiting that hydrogen as an economic resource. Here, we always stumble on the same problem: most people don’t understand the difference between amount, and concentration. A resource is not a resource if it is not concentrated enough. Actually, it has to be concentrated a lot if extracting it has to make sense in economic terms. Think of the two resources that made our modern world: oil and gas. By a miracle of geology, you can find them concentrated and nearly pure in the structures we call “wells.” Drill a hole into one of these wells, and often oil will flow out by itself in huge gushes.
Sometimes you have to pump it out, but it still remains a miracle that you can have so much of it, and so concentrated. That’s how we could create an entire civilization based on it. It is not always so easy: concentrated mineral resources are very rare in Earth’s crust. The problem is best explained by the example of gold. There are large amounts of it dissolved in seawater: tens of millions of tons. It is a lot of gold, but that’s because there is a lot of seawater. If you look at the concentration, we are talking of something around 0.005 parts per billion (ppb) or, if you prefer, a few parts per trillion. That’s way too low to make extraction feasible, as it was discovered by the German chemist Fritz Haber in the 1920s when he tried to extract gold from the sea to replenish the coffers of the German state, depleted by the Great War. Actually, he had been experimenting with the idea even before the war, but he failed anyway; it was simply impossible. If it is not concentrated enough, it is not a resource.
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Tucker’s off to a promising start.
• Jan. 6 Footage Shows Capitol Cops Escorting QAnon Shaman To Senate Floor (NYP)
Newly revealed surveillance footage from Jan. 6, 2021, shows two Capitol police officers escorting Jacob Chansley, the be-horned so-called “QAnon Shaman” who has come to symbolize the riot, through the halls of the Capitol and to the very door of the US Senate. The footage aired on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Monday night shows the officers closely following Chansley as he wanders the corridors of the Capitol, bare-chested and wearing face paint and a luxuriant fur hat with Viking horns.“Virtually every moment of his time inside the Capitol was caught on tape,” says Carlson, who was granted exclusive access by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to 40,000 hours of surveillance footage from that day inside and around the Capitol, which has never been seen before by the public. “The tapes show the Capitol police never stopped Jacob Chansley. They helped him. They acted as his tour guides.”
At one point, the officers are seen walking Chansley past seven other police officers milling around outside the Senate chamber, who barely give him a second look.Then they escort him to various entrances of the chamber which appear to be locked. Eventually they help him open a door, and he enters the chamber. Chansley, a 33-year-old naval veteran from Arizona, has been jailed for almost four years for “obstructing an official proceeding.” In a jailhouse interview played by Carlson he says: “The one very serious regret that I have [is] believing that when we were waved in by police officers that it was acceptable.” In a statement the Capitol police suggest that one of the officers with Chansley was trying to “de-escalate” the situation because he was outnumbered.
But that does not explain why Chansley, who was unarmed, was able to walk past seven more officers without being apprehended. “Not one of them even tried to slow him down,” says Carlson. He “understood that the Capitol police were his allies. . . . If he was in the act of committing such a grave crime, why didn’t the officers standing right next to him place him under arrest?” And yet in the narrative formed that day by the Democrats and much of the media, “Jacob Chansley became the face of January 6, a dangerous conspiracy theorist dressed in an outlandish costume who led the violent insurrection to overthrow America’s democracy,” says Carlson. McCarthy has been criticized for releasing the footage to Carlson who plans to air five stories based on the footage over two nights which he says “demolishes” the Democratic narrative of January 6.
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Rick and Jerry
Comorbidities – Foul Play With Death Certificates:
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