Jun 242022
 


Georges Seurat A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 1884

 

Frustration Grows In Ukraine, Casualties Spike, Russia Wins Territory (NBC)
EU Leaders To Grant Ukraine Candidate Status In Blow To Putin (G.)
The Third Incarnation of Russia since 1721 (Batiushka)
German Economic Minister Announces Restart of Coal Power Plants (CTH)
The Supreme Court Hands Down Major Gun Rights Victory (Turley)
Liberal Policies Have Killed Black Communities: Clarence Thomas (NYP)
Joe Biden Flashes Official Cheat Sheet: ‘YOU Take YOUR Seat’ (JTN)
Biden Is Hiding His Plan To Rig The 2022 Midterm Elections (Fed.)
Prosecuting Trump: Being A Jerk Isn’t Criminal (Turley)
The CDC Just Pushed Fake News on Covid Child Mortality
Study Finds mRNA Vaccines Lead To Increase Of Serious Adverse Events (TCS)
Alarming Levels of 29 Chemicals Affecting Fertility Found in Men’s Urine (CHD)
Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents (MPN)

 

 

 

 

Clare Daly

 

 

 

 

“We are funding the Ukrainian government, if we stop funding everything would collapse, Mr Zelensky would climb on an airplane where he owns a mansion.”
– Colonel Douglas Macgregor.

 

 

 

 

No, no, NBC, this is not the official narrative…

Frustration Grows In Ukraine, Casualties Spike, Russia Wins Territory (NBC)

Russia’s invasion in February prompted a wave of public support for the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as millions of Ukrainians raced to help defend their homeland. Four months later — amid Russian advances and spiking casualties — anger and frustration over the handling of the war is swelling. In interviews with Ukrainians who have family members fighting the invaders, many said they were upset with the military leadership for deploying inexperienced people to the front lines, and at times sending them into battle without as much as a medical or a psychological examination. “I am ready to protest,” said Viktoriia Bilan-Rashchuk, 43, of Kyiv, whose husband, Volodymyr, a theater actor with no previous military experience, is fighting on the eastern front line in Sievierodonetsk.

Last month, she said, she raised money to send his unit protective headphones — standard military equipment used to prevent hearing loss for soldiers firing off rocket systems. “The government isn’t doing enough to support them. The longer this goes on, the more people will become upset,” Bilan-Rashchuk said in Ukrainian, speaking through a translator. Since Russia invaded in February, thousands of Ukrainians with no military background have volunteered to fight. To boost its war efforts, the Ukrainian government has also banned men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country in case it needs to start a draft. In May, Zelenskyy said the country’s military had 700,000 service members, including women. Through a relentless campaign of appearances, interviews and statements, Zelenskyy has fought to keep morale high among troops and the general public and plead the country’s case to the international community.

But Russian artillery attacks have intensified in the east in recent months, pushing the Ukrainian military death toll to between 100 and 200 soldiers a day in combat, with another 500 injured every day, according to Ukrainian officials, the BBC reported earlier this month. In his daily address June 14, Zelenskyy called the losses “painful” but said Ukrainians “have to hold on.” Despite the high death toll, Ukrainian officials have maintained that troops are well taken care of, with sufficient training, food, equipment and rest. But as the war grinds on, what makes some Ukrainians especially angry is the lack of basic military equipment for those on the front lines. Some military families have been forced to organize donation drives to send medical supplies and military equipment to the front lines.

Read more …

It will be a blow to the EU.

EU Leaders To Grant Ukraine Candidate Status In Blow To Putin (G.)

European leaders are poised to grant Ukraine candidate status, in a historic decision that opens the door to EU membership for the war-torn country and deals a blow to Vladimir Putin. EU leaders meeting in Brussels are expected to approve Ukraine’s candidate status later on Thursday, nearly four months after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy launched his country’s bid to join the bloc in the early days of the Russian invasion. The move from applicant to candidate usually takes years, but the EU has dramatically accelerated the process, amid outrage over the brutality of the unprovoked Russian attack, and to show solidarity with Ukraine’s defenders.


“Ukraine is going through hell for a simple reason: its desire to join the EU,” tweeted the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, on the eve of the summit. The commission last week called on EU leaders to grant Ukraine’s candidate status. “Our opinion acknowledges the immense progress that [Ukrainian] democracy has achieved since the Maidan protests of 2014,” Von der Leyen said. Welcoming the expected positive decision, Zelenskiy said: “This is like going into the light from the darkness.” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said candidate status would “draw a line under decades of ambiguity and set it in stone: Ukraine is Europe, not part of the ‘Russian world’”.

Read more …

Great history lesson.

“The break with the West and the ‘obsolete geopolitical illusions’ of its elite’s superiority complex, essentially a form of Nazism, is irreversible.”

The Third Incarnation of Russia since 1721 (Batiushka)

Until the whole of the Ukraine is demilitarised, and it is continually being remilitarised by the West, the liberation cannot stop. Moreover, with potential threats from NATO-armed Poland and Lithuania towards Kaliningrad and from Romania towards Moldova, from arms shipments from Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Lands and the Baltic States, especially from the US puppet-government in Lithuania, with threats from Sweden and Finland to join NATO, where will it stop? The West has to be freed from Nazism/woke liberalism (it is the same thing. As they say: there is nothing so intolerant as liberalism). True, Germany, France and Italy, their economies crippled by US-imposed, anti-Russian sanctions, are showing reason. This is unlike the laughable bluster coming from the militarily feeble Johnson-regime in the UK, which may well be toppled by popular internal discontent and a wave of strikes.

However, it is the economic aspect, with its international dedollarisation, of the Third Incarnation of Russia which is truly world-changing. In the light of the speech of Vladimir Putin at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum of June 2022, we can say that Russia is returning to its historic path. It wants to leave aside the errors of the past, become a sovereign nation again and no longer be a Western colony. This is unlike the EU, which is clearly just a US vassal, both economically and politically. The future world order will be formed only by strong sovereign states, independent of the dollar and the massive debts of Western countries. These have been caused by their inflationary printing of money that is not based on real commodities such as cereals, oil, gas, minerals, metals, rare earth elements, fertilisers, timber, manufactured goods and gold.

The break with the West and the ‘obsolete geopolitical illusions’ of its elite’s superiority complex, essentially a form of Nazism, is irreversible. Russia will invest in internal economic development in microeconomic and macroeconomic terms, ensuring ‘technological sovereignty’ (which means for instance that Russia already has unique hypersonic missiles), encouraging free enterprise against bureaucracy, improving infrastructure, but also ensuring social justice, fighting against poverty and supporting the family, encouraging far more ‘families to have two, three or more children’. The ideal of social conservatism together with social justice is what is intended. Russia will also help nations in Africa and the Middle East to avoid Western-imposed famine. True, this is an ambitious programme for the future, but this Third Incarnation of Russia is beginning now.

Read more …

What a defeat. Trump warned them and they laughed…

German Economic Minister Announces Restart of Coal Power Plants (CTH)

To say the recent remarks from German Economic and Climate Minister Robert Habeck showcase the stupidity of the western sanctions would be an understatement. In a broad energy policy announcement to the German people, Minister Habeck has announced that natural gas is now urgently being stored and built up in order to survive next winter. Additionally, the German parliament is being called into emergency session to re-write climate laws allowing coal-fired electricity power plants to be brought back on-line. Essentially, years of German renewable energy investments and initiatives are now being reversed in order to maintain the commitment to NATO sanctions against Russia.

GERMANY – Minister Robert Habeck […] “The situation on the gas market has deteriorated in recent days. The missing quantities can still be replaced, and the gas storage tanks are still being filled, albeit at high prices. Security of supply is currently guaranteed. But the situation is serious. We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption. […] In order to reduce gas consumption, less gas is to be used to produce electricity. Instead, coal-fired power plants will have to be used more. […] That means, to be honest, more coal-fired power plants for a transitional period. That’s bitter, but in this situation it’s almost necessary to reduce gas consumption. We must and we will do everything we can to store as much gas as possible in summer and autumn. The gas storage tanks must be full in winter. That has top priority, ”said Habeck.

In order to unbuckle themselves from dependence on Russian pipelines, Habeck also announced that floating Liquified Natural Gas terminals will have to be created so they can source LNG from other nations. Currently Germany has no port system to offload LNG, they will be purchasing and leasing floating ships to act as LNG terminals. I am reminded of the prior warning to Germany from U.S. President Donald Trump. It’s worth remembering that U.S. media blasted President Trump for being so brutally honest in his NATO remarks where he warned about the danger of Germany being so dependent on Russia for oil and gas.

Read more …

JUSTICE THOMAS: “Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, and the definition of “bear” naturally encompasses public carry.”

The Supreme Court Hands Down Major Gun Rights Victory (Turley)

As predicted, the Supreme Court handed down a momentous opinion in favor of Second Amendment rights today in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. In what will likely prove one of the most important decisions in his illustrious career as a conservative jurist, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 6-3 majority opinion that brought greater clarity to this and future challenges under the Second Amendment. In 2008, the Supreme Court recognized the right to bear arms as an individual right in District of Columbia v. Heller. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

This case concerned concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts upheld the New York law, but there were ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” New York wanted to exercise discretion in deciding who needs to carry guns in public while gun owners believe that the law flips the constitutional presumption in favor of such a right. Thomas rejected the two-part analysis used by lower courts and held that the presumption must be in favor of the individual right to possess a handgun in public like other rights in the Bill of Rights. The Court held “consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

Accordingly, “because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul immediately declared “Shocking, absolutely shocking that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions.” The Claude Rain moment aside, it was shocking that Hochul would be shocked. Many of us were predicting a major loss for over a year and New York, as usual, litigated a bad case and made more bad law for gun control advocates. Gov. Hochul added ““This is New York. We don’t back down.” That may be welcomed news for gun rights advocates given the record in cases like this one in reinforcing Second Amendment rights. As previously discussed, New York has proven a fountain of cases strengthening gun rights.

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“We didn’t want to be right; we wanted to be wrong. It wasn’t about winning an argument. No, we wanted to lose the argument. We did not want the damage to occur..”

Liberal Policies Have Killed Black Communities: Clarence Thomas (NYP)

Michael Pack: You have talked a little today about how life in the black community has not been improved by many well-intentioned social programs. Do you think, in some sense, it is worse than when you grew up? Clarence Thomas: It’s a disaster. When I grew up, you had family, you didn’t have drugs, you didn’t have gang-banging. You could walk down the street. There was a change in our society. I think that these programs certainly had an impact. Just go back to Savannah and take a look around you. Our worst fears were realized. We didn’t want to be right; we wanted to be wrong. It wasn’t about winning an argument. No, we wanted to lose the argument. We did not want the damage to occur; that’s why we were involved. I don’t particularly like public life; I never wanted to be in public life. I’d like to go to football games.

“I’d like not to make decisions about other people’s lives, but what drags you into it is when you see these principles being undermined, which leads to such destruction. The policies destroy people, and, ultimately, I think, we’re going to destroy the very thing that allows us to have liberty and to have a free society. MP: So the heirs to those movements, like Black Lives Matter, focus on other things: mass incarceration, police brutality. What do you think of the current movements for racial justice? CT: I don’t really follow the movements du jour. I don’t quite understand them. It’s fascinating to me that the radical groups in the sixties, that we all were aware of and fond of back then, like the Black Panthers — that’s kind of mainstream now.

But we knew they were more marginal back then. I don’t know what to say about this. But if you look at some of the things that still are problematic, like bad education, unsafe neighborhoods, drugs, alcohol, breakdown in families, it seems like these are things that we warned about back then. We were told, basically, take a long walk on the short pier. And I understand that. I understand people not wanting to hear an opposing view. But at the same time, we’re not taking ownership of these policies’ having a significant role in the damage that’s been done.

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Guess it’s a good thing he can still read..

Joe Biden Flashes Official Cheat Sheet: ‘YOU Take YOUR Seat’ (JTN)

President Joe Biden on Thursday accidentally displayed an official White House card with specific instructions telling him, “YOU take YOUR seat,” and other similar reminders. Biden, 79, flashed the card to the cameras while at a meeting with wind industry executives. He spoke for nearly eight minutes at the event despite the fact that the sheet also instructed him to speak for two minutes. The “Sequence of Events” sheet also tells him: “YOU enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants.” The card then instructs him to ask AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler a question.


“YOU thank participants,” and “YOU depart,” the instructions conclude. Biden’s mental fitness for office has been under scrutiny since before his election. CNN’s Don Lemon asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the commander-in-chief’s cognitive abilities earlier this month. “Don, you’re asking me this question, Oh my gosh,” Jean-Pierre told Lemon. “He’s the president of the United States. … This is not a question that we should be even asking,” she responded.

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Susan Rice works in the shadows.

Biden Is Hiding His Plan To Rig The 2022 Midterm Elections (Fed.)

President Biden really does not want the public to know about his federal takeover of election administration. Dozens of members of Congress have repeatedly asked for details, to no avail. Good government groups, members of the media, and private citizens have filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Not a single one has been responded to. All signs indicate a concerted effort to keep the public in the dark until at least after the November midterm elections. The lack of transparency and responsiveness is so bad that the Department of Justice and some of its agencies have been repeatedly sued for the information.

When President Biden ordered all 600 federal agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process” on March 7, 2021, Republican politicians, Constitutional scholars, and election integrity specialists began to worry exactly what was up his sleeve. They had good reason. The 2020 election had suffered from widespread and coordinated efforts by Democrat activists and donors to run “Get Out The Vote” operations from inside state and local government election offices, predominantly in the Democrat-leaning areas of swing states. Independent researchers have shown the effect of this takeover of government election offices was extremely partisan and favored Democrats overwhelmingly.

At the time the order was issued, Democrats were also hoping to pass H.R. 1, a continuation of the effort to destabilize elections throughout the country via a federalized takeover of state election administrations. Biden gave each agency 200 days to file their plans for approval by none other than Susan Rice, his hyperpartisan domestic policy advisor. Yet fully nine months after those plans were due, they are all being hidden from the public, even as evidence is emerging that the election operation is in full swing. There are several major problems with Biden’s secret plan, critics say. It’s unethical to tie federal benefits to election activity. It’s unconstitutional to have the federal government take authority that belongs to the states and which Congress has not granted. And, given that all 50 states have different laws and processes governing election administration, it’s a recipe for chaos, confusion, and fraud at a time when election security concerns are particularly fraught.

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“According to The New York Times, the hearings were framed with the intent to use the select committee largely to “recast the midterm message..”

Prosecuting Trump: Being A Jerk Isn’t Criminal (Turley)

“SECVNDINVS CACOR.” When those words were found recently on an ancient stone in Northumberland, England, there was great excitement about what might be revealed about Roman life in the 3rd Century. As it turned out, the painstakingly chiseled words (which were accompanied by the image of a giant phallus) simply said that a guy named Secundinus was … well … human fecal matter. The stone was an impressive effort just to establish for all posterity that Secundinus was a jerk. The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is an equally impressive effort to painstakingly debunk election fraud claims and to show how former President Donald Trump refused to accept his electoral defeat. If the purpose were to proclaim “TRUMPUS CACOR,” it would likely get little argument, given the testimony about elected officials and election workers hiding out in their homes after being called out by name by the then-president.

The hearings have created a lasting, damning record leading up to Jan. 6. Yet, some members of the select committee have claimed they have established clear evidence of criminal acts by Trump. It has to be more than Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) insistence that the evidence would show Trump was not “an honorable man” on Jan. 6 — an assertion that even some Trump supporters might endorse. That claim is important to avoid confirmation of what was widely reported before the hearings. According to The New York Times, the hearings were framed with the intent to use the select committee largely to “recast the midterm message” and “give [Democrats] a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.” In other words, chiseling out “Trumpus Cacor” before the November election.

The fact is that this evidence is important for Americans to hear and see. Yet, the claims of established crimes this week seemed to run from the visceral to the recreational. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe declared that Trump can now be charged with the attempted murder of former Vice President Mike Pence “without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt, and the crimes are obvious.” In addition to declaring that he is certain Attorney General Merrick Garland will now charge Trump, Tribe said: “There are other crimes that have been proven. Those are plenty to start with.”

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“..babies and toddlers are 25 times likelier to die of an accident than of Covid.”

The CDC Just Pushed Fake News on Covid Child Mortality

Only because “an internet rando is more knowledgeable and paying closer attention than our top scientists and doctors” do we know that the CDC just publicized false information about the deadliness of Covid-19 to small children. This misinformation, presented at a conference among top experts, went viral and was promoted, notes Substack columnist Matt Shapiro, by dozens of well-known physicians and other media commentators and specialists, including CNN mainstay Dr. Leana Wen and a former surgeon general of the United States. Wen’s promotion of the false claim is still up on Twitter as of 6:45 p.m. on June 22. The CDC displayed a slide at a conference that falsely claimed Covid-19 was the fourth or fifth leading cause of death for all pediatric age groups.

A writer who is publicly known only by the name Kelley immediately saw that the claim was “completely and utterly false.” Among several errors, which are so blatant as to seem like intentional massaging of the numbers, Kelley discovered that all data from a 26-month period were being crammed into one year, and that deaths were attributed to Covid, regardless of whether the death was caused by Covid, if the disease was mentioned on the death certificate. The CDC slide, which cited a pre-publication British study that is now being re-examined, also bumped up the numbers by altering the definition of pediatric (ordinarily understood to mean under 18) to include 18- and 19-year-olds. The danger to children from Covid is very, very low. For instance, babies and toddlers are 25 times likelier to die of an accident than of Covid.

And all-cause pediatric mortality in the pandemic era for young children (up to 12) is 30 percent lower than it was a generation ago, in 1999. All-cause mortality for children over 12 has spiked in the pandemic era because of accidents, drug abuse, and other factors unrelated to disease. Covid barely registers as a cause of death for teens or small children. Writes Shapiro in his Substack column, Marginally Compelling: This is a massive data error, and yet it persisted through a supposedly rigorous data check from 11 authors and was selected by top-tier scientists for their landmark presentation to the most knowledgeable experts in the field. No one in any of these meetings recognized this error. This slide was presented uncritically to the nation’s top doctors and epidemiologists who are in charge of setting the national policy on COVID vaccines for children and no one even noticed it.

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“..mRNA vaccines pose a greater risk than the possibility of catching COVID..”

Study Finds mRNA Vaccines Lead To Increase Of Serious Adverse Events (TCS)

A new study has found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were associated with “an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest” that likely outweighs any benefit of taking them. As per the study’s results: “Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest, with an absolute risk increase of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 respectively.” “Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an absolute risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000. The excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest surpassed the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group in both Pfizer and Moderna trials (2.3 and 6.4 per 10,000 participants, respectively).”

The study was undertaken by American researchers at several reputable institutions, including Stanford University, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and the Navarre Health Service. When undertaking the study, researchers analyzed journal publications and trial data on the FDA and Health Canada’s websites to locate serious adverse event results tables. These stemmed from Pfizer and Moderna’s one phase III randomized trials. However, researchers found proper long-term randomization became compromised as many placebo recipients in the trials were eventually offered the actual vaccine. Thus, to preserve randomization and the accuracy of their findings, researchers used the interim datasets that were the basis for emergency authorization in December 2020, approximately four months after trials commenced.

As for what researchers considered a severe adverse event, the following were considered: death; life-threatening at the time of the event; inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization; persistent or significant disability/incapacity; a congenital anomaly/birth defect; and medically important events, based on medical judgment. Overall, according to the researchers, who received no funding support, the excess risk of serious adverse events found in the study justifies future formal harm-benefit analysis, especially “those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization or death.” Put simply, researchers found that mRNA vaccines pose a greater risk than the possibility of catching COVID and becoming seriously ill or dying.

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Just add an mRNA vaccine….

Alarming Levels of 29 Chemicals Affecting Fertility Found in Men’s Urine (CHD)

A study published last week in Environment International showed “alarming” amounts of 29 endocrine disruptors in the urine samples of 98 Danish men, EuroNews reported. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that affect human fertility by disrupting the normal functioning of the endocrine system. The team of researchers, led by Andreas Kortenkamp, Ph.D., professor of molecular toxicity at Brunel University London, conducted a chemical analysis of urine samples from 98 Danish men, ages 18-30. Prior research has shown a number of chemicals to be problematic for male reproductive health, but the new study was the first of its kind to measure the health risk produced by 29 total endocrine disruptors.


The researchers completed their analysis in three steps. First, they measured the amount of nine endocrine disruptors in the urine samples of the 98 men. Second, the researchers used existing data, mostly from the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA), to estimate the men’s likely exposure to 20 other endocrine disruptors. Finally, the team compared these measurements with exposure levels deemed acceptable according to the scientific literature. In doing so, the team was able to generate an overall risk measure — or “hazard index” — for the cocktail of compounds. The authors said they were “astonished” by their findings: The magnitude of the resulting hazard index showed exposure levels more than 100-fold greater than acceptable exposure rates.

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“..there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate.”

Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents (MPN)

Twitter has been on a recruitment drive of late, hiring a host of former feds and spies. Studying a number of employment and recruitment websites, MintPress has ascertained that the social media giant has, in recent years, recruited dozens of individuals from the national security state to work in the fields of security, trust, safety and content. Chief amongst these is the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The FBI is generally known as a domestic security and intelligence force. However, it has recently expanded its remit into cyberspace. “The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies,” the “About” section of its website informs readers. “The FBI has divided its investigations into a number of programs, such as domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence [and] cyber crime,” it adds.

For example, in 2019, Dawn Burton (the former director of Washington operations for Lockheed Martin) was poached from her job as senior innovation advisor to the director at the FBI to become senior director of strategy and operations for legal, public policy, trust and safety at Twitter. The following year, Karen Walsh went straight from 21 years at the bureau to become director of corporate resilience at the silicon valley giant. Twitter’s deputy general counsel and vice president of legal, Jim Baker, also spent four years at the FBI between 2014 and 2018, where his resumé notes he rose to the role of senior strategic advisor. Meanwhile, Mark Jaroszewski ended his 21-year posting as a supervisory special agent in the Bay Area to take up a position at Twitter, rising to become director of corporate security and risk.

And Douglas Turner spent 14 years as a senior special agent and SWAT Team leader before being recruited to serve in Twitter’s corporate and executive security services. Previously, Turner had also spent seven years as a secret service special agent with the Department of Homeland Security. When asked to comment by MintPress, former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley said that she was “not surprised at all” to see FBI agents now working for the very tech companies the agency polices, stating that there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate. This created a serious conflict of interests in her mind, as many agents have one eye on post-retirement jobs. “The truth is that at the FBI 50% of all the normal conversations that people had were about how you were going to make money after retirement,” she said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke and Dawe

 

 

 

 

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Jun 212022
 


Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

 

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)
‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)
The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)
Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)
Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)
A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)
Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)
Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)
Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)
The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)
Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)
Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)
Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)
Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)
Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

 

 

 

 

Tucker going green

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua..”

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)

For three decades, since the old Soviet Union ended in a whimper, reincarnated Russia asked “the West” for very little, almost nothing, really, certainly not the kind of “aid” that the USA used like a fungo-bat to beat lesser states around the world into hegemonic submission. All Russia asked, after seventy-five years of mass formation communist insanity, was to be treated once again like a normal European nation. Early on, Russia even floated a possible application to NATO, which NATO laughed off — among many other insults to follow. But slowly after 1991, and then all at once, Europe and the USA fell under their own mass formation spell, apparently at the instigation of a certain Schwabenklaus and his WEF factotums implanted throughout Western Civ, like poison raisins in a fruitcake, rendering the EU members and the USA insane, which is to say no longer normal nations able to entertain normal relations with others.

And so, by February of 2022, you get this coalition of lunatic countries — preoccupied at home with the rankest political degeneracy disguised as virtue — provoking a proxy war in Ukraine with the aim of impoverishing, humiliating, and weakening Russia. And despite the massive funding and training of a 200,000-man Ukrainian military poised against the Donbas, the whole thing collapsed in misadventure as a strategic Russian meat-grinder chews through the West’s proxy army like so much lunchmeat… bringing us up-to-date. As the psychologist Mattias Desmet points out in his just-published book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, the people tragically locked into a mass formation develop, among many other delusions and psychopathologies, the grandiose idea that they have an ethical duty to destroy other nations.

Hence, perhaps, you can see how the dangerous mischief of RussiaGate, Hillary Clinton’s spoofish punkery that Russia “interfered” in the 2016 election, mutated into an American foreign policy psychosis. By “Hillary Clinton” you must understand I refer not just to the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua herself, but the Party of Chaos she helped create out of the diverse-and-inclusive body parts stitched together from the graveyard of Leftist politics — socialists, communists, feminists, anarchists, Maoists, and Gawd-knows whatever other diverse ists this increasingly crazed coalition of Jacobin maniacs could enlist for beating a path straight into World War Three.

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“And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange..”

‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)

Western arms, usually third-rate from stocks anyway, are making hardly any difference in the Ukraine. Most, together with munitions, get destroyed before they can be used. Much that has been promised cannot be used because it will take months to instruct Ukrainians on how to use them. The rate of attrition of the Kiev Army, up to 1,000 a day according to Kuleba, the Kiev Interior Minister, is simply unsustainable. Once the fortifications in the Donbass, built by Kiev and NATO over the last eight years, have been overwhelmed, there will be a clear run to Odessa, Transdnestria, Kharkov and Kiev or indeed anywhere that Russia wants. This could happen soon. Yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defence released figures on mercenaries. = The picture is dismal for the Ukraine.

Of some 6,000 mercenaries in the Ukraine from 64 different countries, some 2,000 have been killed and some 2,000 have fled. Perhaps they thought that they were going to fight in a Third World country, where the enemy just had Kalashnikovs and not world-beating hypersonic missiles? How long the remaining 2,000 or so will remain alive remains to be seen. Poland supplied the greatest number of mercenaries, with 1,831. Presumably as with other countries like Canada (601 mercenaries), USA (530), Romania (504), Germany and France, the majority of these were actually Ukrainians who have lived outside the Ukraine for some years, rather than native people. In third place for mercenaries from Europe comes the UK with 422, of whom 102 have been killed and 98 have fled.

According to General Konashenkov who released the figures, the number of mercenaries coming has stopped and indeed been reversed. It is too dangerous to stay and get killed in the Ukraine. This leaves the two foolish British mercenaries, not killed in action with the 102 others, but taken prisoner. And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange. That would upset the Americans. On the other hand, the British mercenaries, Eslin and Pinner, have already been sentenced to death. If that sentenced is carried out, it is going to make Johnson even more unpopular than he already is. Perhaps that is why Johnson went to Kiev to plead.

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“Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse.”

The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)

The Biden administration is defined by failed expectations, from its stymied Build Back Better Plan to its refusal to raise the minimum wage. It is running on fumes, using gimmicks, empty rhetoric, spectacle and fear to intimidate the electorate. The descent is pathetic to watch, reminiscent of the moment Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu tried desperately to placate an unruly crowd from the balcony of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania building by offering to raise pension and family allowance by $2 a month. He and his wife were executed four days later. The discredited East German Communist Party, which like the Romanian revolution I also covered as a reporter, made similar empty gestures, promising to open its closed party headquarters to the public long after anyone cared.

The billionaire class, or at least many of them, would prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to an emasculated democracy. It gives them the veneer of respectability. But this is not to be. The rage of the betrayed is articulated by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Corporations and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under a cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic and environmental breakdown will accelerate.

Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse. It will be replaced by Millenarian cults, such as the Christian fascists, and bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and groups that must be eradicated. Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.

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And we pay for this?!

Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)

The definition of the modern “western democracy” in Ukraine is increasingly showcased as the goal for modern totalitarian government. The inflection point away from representative democracy was first evident in the way COVID-19 was leveraged by “western” governments in the U.S, Canada, Australia and the European Union. Totalitarian minded leaders within those democracies, including governors in the United States, began operating without any elected representative feedback. Everything shifted from legislative representation to a system of dictatorial fiats with no opposition allowed in the arbitrary rules and regulations. From forced lockdowns and arbitrary determinations of “essential workers,” various western government leaders were drunk on their new power.

Those who were already predisposed to the benefits of communism (aka Justin Trudeau) and various shades therein, dropped all pretense of believing there were limits to their power and began dispatching opposition views. It did not take long before we saw things escalate into lockdowns, travel bans, forced business closures, quarantine camps and ultimately forced vaccinations and checkpoints for transit. Collectively, none of these efforts ever went before a representative body for debate and consent; they were done through brute force and power of a top-down centralized authoritarian government. It did not seem as if most people realized how ‘western democracy’ changed overnight through the use of the pandemic.

What we see taking place in Ukraine is an outcropping of this newly defined ‘western democracy.’ Using a declaration of emergency power, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now banned all opposition voices, taken control of broadcast media and now today banned the second largest political party in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Opposition Platform For Life (OPPL) was the second largest political force in the Ukraine Parliament. As of today, the party is officially banned by a Ukrainian court at the request of the Zelenskyy Ministry of Justice. All assets, funds and property belonging to OPPL have been seized and transferred to the state.

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“He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)

Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian oblast which has a total population of some one million people (with Kaliningrad city including almost 450,000 – and 800,000 total if outlying suburbs are counted) is urging calm: Urging citizens not to resort to panic buying, Alikhanov said two vessels were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be in service by the end of the year. “Our ferries will handle all the cargo”, he said on Saturday. Russian officials and media have long warned against what they dubbed Western aims to “blockade” Kaliningrad. Crucially, the EU enforcement measure being implemented from Vilnius marks a complete break in a three decade long treaty that’s been in effect…

Ahead of the new Lithuanian transit ban taking effect, the state railways service was reportedly awaiting final word from the European Commission on enforcing it: The cargo unit of Lithuania’s state railways service set out details of the ban in a letter to clients following “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying the sanctions. Previously, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas said the ministry was waiting for “clarification from the European Commission on applying European sanctions to Kaliningrad cargo transit.” Brussels then ruled that “sanctioned goods and cargo should still be prohibited even if they travel from one part of Russia to another but through EU territory,” according to Rueters/Rferl.

In Moscow’s eyes, this is tantamount to laying economic siege to part of Russia’s sovereign territory and one million of its citizens. When the EU first proposed the blockage of goods as part of the last major sanctions package in early April, Kremlin officials warned of war given Moscow would have to “break the blockade” for the sake if its citizens. According to an April 6th statement in Russia’s TASS by a state Duma official: Statements from the West about a possible blockade of Kaliningrad is testing the waters, but Russia can ‘break the blockade’ in case these threats become a reality, it has an experience, Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the Federation Council upper house’s Committee for International affairs, said on Wednesday.

“I think that for now, this is a game, testing the waters <…>. In case of a blockade, as they are saying, the Soviet Union knows how to break the blockades, we (Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union – TASS) have vast experience,” the senator said. “If they want to go to the length of making us break this blockade to save the lives of our people, who live there, we can do this,” Dzhabarov said in a video interview at the press center of Parlamentskaya Gazeta (Parliamentary Newspaper). He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

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“..a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control..”

A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)

The world isn’t flat, it’s all too round…. That’s why Islam is once again at war with Europe, Russia is invading Ukraine, China is relaunching its empire, and the ‘flatland’ is experiencing a dimensional shift. Globalization advocates had just recreated Marxist central planning with a somewhat more flexible global model in which massive corporations bridged global barriers to create the most efficient possible means of moving goods and services around the planet. Borders would come down and cultural exchanges would make us all one ushering in the great union of humanity. Market consolidation due to government regulations has left a handful of companies sitting atop the market. When one of them, like Abbott for baby formula, has a hiccup, the results are catastrophic

[..] others like Procter & Gamble, which controls about half the menstrual products market, don’t have to worry about losing market share to competition. Similar consolidation in food, paper products and supermarkets have replaced a dynamic economy with cartels. Behind all the brands on the product shelves is a creaky Soviet system in which a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control and feel little competitive pressure to perform better. The only thing that is still American about the supermarket experience is the advertising. Interdependence hasn’t even led to the world government that globalists wanted, but global chaos in which impotent western powers try to talk the rest of the world out of fighting to avoid being swamped by refugees, high energy bills and empty shelves in supermarkets.

After selling off American economic sovereignty, globalists proved unable to maintain global stability. Lacking the will to actually stand up to China, Iran or Russia, all they can do is hold more international conferences and build up a useless multinational bureaucracy. Say what you will about the League of Nations, but it only had 700 employees in Geneva. The UN’s 44,000 employees are just the tip of the iceberg in the huge ranks of multinational organizations who all claim to be upholding the international order while running up the tab.

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“Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

“..the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.”

Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has hit back at a letter addressed to him by 44 MEPs, which directly accused his government of backing Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In the letter, dated June 14, MEPs expressed their dismay at the Hungarian government for securing an exemption on the latest energy sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, claiming that “the exemption for Russian oil pipelines will continue to finance Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine.” The European lawmakers further lament what they describe to be “the unfortunate prioritization of national economic gain and personal political interests to the detriment of the lives of the Ukrainian people.” The MEPs included members of the Renew Europe, EPP and S&D groups in the European Parliament.

Orbán responded in a letter on Thursday, dismissing the notion that his government is supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and vowing to continue rejecting proposals that “run counter to common sense and threaten to impoverish Hungarian and European families.” “We condemn the Russian attack on the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine and the violation of the Budapest Convention. We want peace. The armed conflict must end, and the disputes must be settled through negotiation. We also need to help Ukraine and take care of the refugees. So far, almost 800,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary from Ukraine, who have been provided with food, accommodation, and medicine. We are providing education for children and work for adults. Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

The Hungarian prime minister insisted his government had acted consistently with the “consensual principle that the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.” Orbán vowed to continue to speak with “sincere words and calm arguments” against proposals that would disproportionately affect the Hungarian economy and its people. “I am sure that I will find more and more partners among you in this endeavor,” Orbán predicted as the war continues, arguing that ensuring the sustainability of his country’s economy “is not only in the interest of Hungary, but also all of Europe.”

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“..immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals..”

Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)

Recently, The Lancet published a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the waning of immunity with time. The study showed that immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals. According to European Medicines Agency recommendations, frequent COVID-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible. The decrease in immunity can be caused by several factors such as N1-methylpseudouridine, the spike protein, lipid nanoparticles, antibody-dependent enhancement, and the original antigenic stimulus.


These clinical alterations may explain the association reported between COVID-19 vaccination and shingles. As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued. In addition, the date of vaccination should be recorded in the medical record of patients. Several practical measures to prevent a decrease in immunity have been reported. These include limiting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen to maintain deep body temperature, appropriate use of antibiotics, smoking cessation, stress control, and limiting the use of lipid emulsions, including propofol, which may cause perioperative immunosuppression. In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients.

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You can never get to zero.

Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)

Thanks to the nationalised provision of healthcare in the UK, the author group from the UK Health Security Agency were able to link up data from children with a positive Covid-19 test between March 2020 and December 2021 with healthcare data from the NHS. They looked for anyone aged <20 years who died within 100 days of a positive test for Covid-19. The family doctors of the patients were surveyed for clinical details, and hospital discharge paperwork, death certificates and post-mortem reports reviewed. The medical teams who cared directly for the children were contacted where more information was needed. Decisions on whether Covid-19 contributed to the death was made by 2 independent study team members and conflicts were resolved by author group discussion. Where it was unclear, Covid-19 was assumed to have contributed.

The headline result was that during this period there were 185 deaths within 100 days of a positive Covid-19 test, of which 81 were due to Covid-19. Using estimated Covid-19 infections in each age group during this time period, the highest infection fatality rate (IFR) was in children <1 year (1.7 deaths per 100,000 infections), followed by 16 – 19 years (1.5/100,000), then 12 – 15 years (0.9/100,000) and lowest in 1 – 11 years (0.3/100,000). Every death of a child is tragic, but these numbers are reassuringly small. Looking at each variant, the risk of death declined quite significantly for each subsequent wave. The IFR for the original virus was 1/100,000, for Alpha was 0.8/100,000 and for Delta was 0.6/100,000 (no data yet for Omicron, but given we know it is significantly less virulent than Delta we can expect this to fall further still).

The overall risk of death for people aged <20 years from Covid-19 during this time period was 0.7 deaths per 100,000 infections (7 per million, or 0.0007%). This is the same as the average risk of death to someone runnjng a marathon, going skiing for 10 days, or going on a return flight from London to New York City. More than half of all deaths due to Covid-19 occurred within a week of the positive test, and >90% within 30 days. Covid-19 was responsible for 1.2% of all deaths in children during this time period. One of the most important part of the analysis is regarding the comorbidity status of the children who sadly passed away due to Covid-19. Of the 81 deaths, 61 (75%) occurred in children with significant comorbidities, including severe neuro-disability, immunocompromise, congenital syndromes or chronic heart disease.

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“The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)

So, the government of New Normal Germany is contemplating forcing everyone to wear medical-looking masks in public from October to Easter on a permanent basis. Seriously, the fanatical New Normal fascists currently in charge of Germany’s government — mostly the SPD and the Greens — are discussing revising the “Infection Protection Act” in order to grant themselves the authority to continue to rule the country by decree, as they have been doing since the Autumn of 2020, thus instituting a “permanent state of emergency” that overrides the German constitution, indefinitely.

Go ahead, read that paragraph again. Take a break from the carnage in non-Nazi Ukraine, the show trials in the US congress, monkeypoxmania, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, Sudden Bovine Death Syndrome, family-oriented drag queens, non-“vaccine”-related facial paralysis, and Biden falling off his bike, and reflect on what this possibly portends, the dominant country of the European Union dispensing with any semblance of democracy and transforming into a fascist biosecurity police state.

OK, let me try to be more precise, as I don’t want to be arrested for “spreading disinformation” or “delegitimizing the state.” Germany is not dispensing with the semblance of democracy. No, the German constitution will remain in effect. It’s just that the revised Infection Protection Act — like the “Enabling Act of 1933,” which granted the Nazi government the authority to issue any edicts it wanted under the guise of “remedying the distress of the people” — will grant the New Normal German government the authority to continue to supersede the constitution and issue whatever edicts it wants under the guise of “protecting the public health” … for example, forcing the German masses to display their conformity to the new official ideology by wearing medical-looking masks on their faces for six or seven months of every year.

In addition to a ritualized mass-demonstration of mindlessly fascist ideological conformity (a standard feature of all totalitarian systems), this annual October-to-Easter mask-mandate, by simulating the new paranoid “reality” in which humanity is under constant attack by deadly viruses and other “public health threats,” will cement the New Normal ideology into place. If not opposed and stopped here in Germany, it will spread to other European countries, and to Canada, and Australia, and the New Normal US states. If you think what happens in Germany doesn’t matter because you live in Florida, or in Sweden, or the UK, you haven’t been paying attention recently. The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

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Yellen does not understand energy, and should be silent about it.

Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)

I’m getting tired of political feelz being paraded around as alleged “facts”. “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the Biden administration’s policies are not responsible for record-high gas prices, and the only way to fix the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to move towards “renewables to address climate change.”… “Actually, consumption of gas and fuels are currently at lower levels than pre-pandemic, and what’s happened is the production has gone down. Refinery capacity is declined in the United States and oil production has declined. ….” Refinery capacity and production declined because Biden said he would ban both and, within days of being inaugurated, took concrete steps to do both.

Refineries and pipelines have a 30, 40, 50 or more year service life. Nobody in their right mind is going to put forward capital investment with a 30 year payback when you’re told that investment will be destroyed and that threat is credible because the people making it then act in accordance with same, thus confirming that its not mere election-year rhetoric (which we all know happens and usually means nothing.) “Yellen argued that the best way to address the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to transition the country off of fossil fuels.” That’s a thermodynamic impossibility within the current realm of knowledge. In short: You can’t. To make an EV battery you must dig up 500,000 lbs. of earth. For one battery. Which has a service life, after which it must be replaced.

Which has no current means of economically recycling the components either, so unless you’d like the price of the pack to wildly exceed the crazy levels it is at now you will throw the old away and buy another one with another half-million pounds of earth dug up. All of which are dug up, transported and processed using fossil fuels because there is no other rational way to do so. Renewables in the form of wind and solar require these fossil fuel inputs, as do storage batteries. Because the energy they produce is uncertain, that is the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, you can never guarantee how much output you will have from them even if you could somehow resolve the fossil fuel requirement for creating the panels, concrete and blades for the windmills, and rare earth materials you must dig out of the ground and refine to make them. For this reason the energy they produce will always fluctuate wildly in price simply due to fluctuations in supply.

If you build “enough” that you’re comfortable you will not be short there will be times there is so much supply the price is zero and the economic incentive to build them will likewise be zero. At any build-out less than this there will be times when you demand it but can’t have it. Of course the time when you demand it and can’t have it will be at the most inconvenient time of all, typically when its freezing-butt cold or broiling hot. Look at the price of these things and the fossil alternatives over long periods of time. Natural gas has seen wild spikes in both directions in price. So has wind power, solar and similar. There are only two that do not over our history of use: Coal and fission-based nuclear.

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“We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)

Wall Street bets are growing that the U.S. economy tumbles into a recession next year as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at the fastest pace in two decades in order to cool scorching-hot inflation. Bank of America Global Research strategists have ratcheted up the odds of an economic downturn to 40% in 2023, with gross domestic product – the broadest measure of goods and services produced in a nation – slowing to almost zero by the second half of next year. “Our worst fears around the Fed have been confirmed: They fell way behind the curve and are now playing a dangerous game of catch up,” analysts led by Ethan Harris wrote. “We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Fed policymakers last week approved a 75-basis point interest rate hike – the first since 1994 – as they race to catch up with runaway inflation, pushing the federal funds target range to 1.5% to 1.75%. Another hike of that magnitude could be on the table in July amid signs of stubbornly high inflation, Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters after the meeting, prompting investors to reassess the economic outlook. Officials also laid out an aggressive path of rate increases for the remainder of the year. New economic projections released after the two-day meeting showed policymakers expect interest rates to hit 3.4% by the end of 2022, which would be the highest level since 2008.

Hiking interest rates tends to create higher rates on consumer and business loans, which slows the economy by forcing employers to cut back on spending. Mortgage rates are already approaching 6%, the highest since 2008, while some credit card issuers have ratcheted up their rates to 20%. Harris slammed the Fed for waiting too long to begin tightening monetary policy and said the delay has raised the chances of a so-called “boom-bust” scenario.

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Another made up story.

Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)

At the height of the Stalinist purges, Soviet internal affairs minister Lavrentiy Beria famously boasted: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” U.S. Border Patrol agents may be wondering if the Beria standard is back in vogue with the Biden administration. The reason: Fox News has reported that the Department of Homeland Security is moving to charge several agents with administrative violations after they were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants last September in Texas. The agents likely felt their fates were sealed the minute that President Biden promised to punish them, before an official investigation had even started. Either the president was wrong, or the agents must be guilty … of something. The controversy began when the Border Patrol responded to a large influx of undocumented migrants in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19.

Officials ordered a mounted unit to an under-defended part of the border. Mounted units are commonly used by federal, state and local police agencies for crowd control. The agents found themselves facing a large group of Haitian migrants crossing the border, and they positioned themselves on the river’s edge to block entry. A photographer captured the scene, which included agents using bridle reins to guide their skittish horses. While the entire videotape clearly shows the agents using the reins on their mounts, not on the migrants, some clearly misleading still shots appeared to make it look like the opposite was happening. Condemnations immediately erupted from politicians and pundits; some media reports presented the abuse allegations as fact — as the “whipping (of) Haitian asylum seekers.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) declared that the alleged whipping was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery” and condemned “the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol — including the use of whips,” and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) described the incident as “white supremacist behavior.” For his part, President Biden rode the wave of media outrage, declaring: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.” Of course, the Soviet Union’s Beria was a model of efficiency compared to Biden’s Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, who promised last September that the investigation would be “completed in a matter of days, not weeks.” Then months dragged on, and Mayorkas and his department went into virtual radio-silence.

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“The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all..”

Famous last words.

Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)

The Dutch joined Germany and Austria in reverting to coal power on Monday following an energy crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Netherlands said it would lift all restrictions on power stations fired by the fossil fuel, which were previously limited to just over a third of output. Berlin and Vienna made similar announcements on Sunday as Moscow, facing biting sanctions over Ukraine, cuts gas supplies to energy-starved Europe. “The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024,” Dutch climate and energy minister Rob Jetten told journalists in The Hague.


The Dutch minister said his country had “prepared this decision with our European colleagues over the past few days”. Germany however said it still aimed to close its coal power plants by 2030, in light of the greater emissions of climate-changing CO2 from the fossil fuel. “The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all,” economy ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said at a regular news conference. The target was “more important than ever”, he added.

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Petros G. Molyviatis, a retired career diplomat, was, successively, diplomatic adviser and director of the cabinet of Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis (1974-80), Secretary-General of the Greek Presidency (1980-85 and 1990-95), Member of Parliament (1996-2004) and Foreign Minister from 2004-6 and in two caretaker governments in 2012 and 2015.

Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

Honorable Secretary General of NATO,

Recently, you have been making statements about the crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. These statements appear to keep an equal distance between the two countries. In reality, however, they are formally unacceptable, essentially favoring the aggressor to the detriment of the victim, and are ultimately detrimental to the Alliance. The NATO Secretary-General is an employee of the governments that appoint him and pay his salary from the money of their taxpayers. He does not formulate policy – this is the work of the member governments – and does not express positions without their approval. And obviously the Greek government has not approved these statements. The obvious reason for the existence of any alliance is solidarity among its members. But here we have a NATO member, Turkey:

• Formally and publicly claiming territories of another member, Greece. Namely, 152 islands, islets and rock outcroppings in the Eastern Aegean sea. • Performing daily overflights of warplanes over these territories. • Having deployed against these islands the largest amphibious fleet in the Mediterranean and at the same time demanding their disarmament. When you, Mr. Secretary-General, call on Greece to engage in dialogue with Turkey to resolve their differences, you are essentially asking Greece to make its territorial integrity the subject of negotiations with Turkey. And you ask this while representing an Alliance that was set up and still exists for this very reason, namely the protection of the territorial integrity of its members.

This is not equidistancing. This is encouraging the aggressor against the victim. And this, in the end, does not lead to the strengthening of the Alliance’s cohesion but, rather, to its dissolution. If, Mr. Secretary-General, you do not possess the authority to intervene to remedy this unprecedented and unacceptable situation within the Alliance, I think the best thing to do is to remain silent until your term ends.

Sincerely,

Petros G. Molyviatis

Greek citizen

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Jun 202022
 
 June 20, 2022  Posted by at 8:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Henri Matisse Notre-Dame, une fin d’après-midi 1902

 

Boris Urges World Leaders To Hold Their Nerve For A Long War In Ukraine (DM)
Prepare To Fight Russia In A Third World War – Britain’s Top General (DM)
Lithuania Bans Transit Of Sanctioned Russian Goods To Kaliningrad (RFE)
Russia’s New Rules (Luongo)
St. Petersburg Sets The Stage For The War of Economic Corridors (Escobar)
OSCE: Ukraine Started Shelling Donbas Nine Days Before Russian Attack (KK)
Ukraine’s EU Accession Plan Is a Suicide Pill for Desperate EU (Jay)
Pfizer’s mRNA Jabs “Temporarily” Impair Semen Concentration’ (Wiley)
Pfizer Vaccine Effects On Total Motile Count In Sperm Donors (El Gato)
FDA Unanimously Approve Covid Vaccine For 0-4 Years (HART)
Experts Question CDC’s Approval Of Covid Vaccines For Under-5s (DM)
Germany Turns To Coal For Electricity Amid Gas Shortage Concerns (JTN)
Macron Faces 5 Years Of Gridlock After Stunning Parliamentary Defeat (Pol.eu)
Australia Government Lobbying Behind The Scenes For Assange’s Freedom (SMH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russell Brand: “The problem with ‘following the science’ is that the science follows the money”

 

 

Maersheimer

 

 

 

 

He’ll do anything to divert attention from his troubles.

Boris Urges World Leaders To Hold Their Nerve For A Long War In Ukraine (DM)

Boris Johnson has urged world leaders to hold their nerve for a long war in Ukraine, or risk the ‘greatest victory for aggression in Europe since the Second World War’. In a thinly-veiled barb at Emmanuel Macron’s pleas to ‘make nice’ with warmonger Putin, the Prime Minister has said a Russian victory in Ukraine would be ‘catastrophic’ and urged the international community to use its power to expel Moscow’s invading armies. ‘We’ve got to make it clear that we are supporting the Ukrainians in their ambitions… to expel the Russians, expel Putin’s armies, from everything that he has obtained since February 24, and make sure the Ukrainians are not encouraged to go for a bad peace, something that simply wouldn’t endure.’

Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Johnson said: ‘Time is now the vital factor. Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack. Our task is to enlist time on Ukraine’s side.’ The Tory leader, himself battling inflation spiralling domestic fuel prices, told allies that economic concerns should not lead to a rushed settlement in war-torn Ukraine. Allowing Russia to keep territory in Ukraine ‘would be the greatest victory for aggression in Europe since the Second World War’, Mr Johnson added. [..] Speaking after his second visit to Kyiv, Mr Johnson said: ‘It would a catastrophe if Putin won. He’d love nothing more than to say ”Let’s freeze this conflict, let’s have a ceasefire like we had back in 2014”. For him, that would be a tremendous victory. You’d have a situation in which Putin was able to consolidate his gains and then to launch another attack.

‘We’ve got to make it clear that we are supporting the Ukrainians in their ambitions… to expel the Russians, expel Putin’s armies, from everything that he has obtained since February 24, and make sure the Ukrainians are not encouraged to go for a bad peace, something that simply wouldn’t endure.’ [..] Mr Johnson told Mr Zelensky yesterday that the UK is prepared to launch a major operation to train Ukrainian armed forces, training up to 120,000 troops every 120 days to prepare them for combat against Putin’s soldiers. Mr Johnson said that it was important to prevent the Russians ‘freezing’ the conflict so they could consolidate their gains before mounting another attack.

He said the Ukrainians should be supported in their ambition to regain territory occupied by the Russian forces since they invaded in February. However, he stopped short of calling for the recovery of all the lands Ukraine had lost since 2014 – including Crimea – something Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has previously called for.

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No.

Prepare To Fight Russia In A Third World War – Britain’s Top General (DM)

Britain’s top army general has told his troops to prepare to fight and beat Putin’s armies in a European land war, it has emerged tonight. General Sir Patrick Sanders, who assumed overall command of the British Army this week, warned soldiers ‘we are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again’ as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocks global stability. In a tub-thumping message to British troops, he wrote: ‘I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power… The scale of the enduring threat from Russia shows we’ve entered a new era of insecurity. ‘It is my singular duty to make our Army as lethal and effective as it can be. The time is now and the opportunity is ours to seize.’

It comes as Putin menaces NATO countries and this week taunted former Soviet states in Europe by declaring: ‘They are part of historic Russia’. Putin made the comments in response to a dramatic statement by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who sensationally declared he did not recognise the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Tokayev, sat metres away from the brooding Russian despot at the St Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF) yesterday, described the DPR and LPR as ‘quasi-state territories’. ‘We don’t recognise Taiwan, Kosovo, South Ossetia or Abkhazia… we apply this principle to the quasi-state territories, which in our view, are the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics’, the Kazakh President said in a daring defiance of Putin’s war in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian President sat quietly, considering Tokayev’s comments, before appearing to deliver a calm but quietly menacing warning. ‘What is the Soviet Union?’ Putin asked rhetorically. ‘This is historic Russia.’ He went on to paint Kazakhstan as a nation friendly to Russia, but quickly added: ‘The same thing could have happened with Ukraine, but they wouldn’t be our allies.’

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Provocation, trying to make a bigger war.

Lithuania Bans Transit Of Sanctioned Russian Goods To Kaliningrad (RFE)

Lithuania has begun a ban on the rail transit of goods subject to European Union sanctions to the Russian far-western exclave of Kaliningrad, transport authorities in the Baltic nation said on June 18. The EU sanctions list includes coal, metals, construction materials, and advanced technology. Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian oblast, said the ban would cover around 50 percent of the items that Kaliningrad imports. Alikhanov said the region, which has an ice-free port on the Baltic Sea, will call on Russian federal authorities to take tit-for-tat measures against the EU country for imposing the ban. He said he would also seek to have more goods sent by ship to the oblast.


The cargo unit of Lithuania’s state railways service set out details of the ban in a letter to clients following “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying the sanctions. Previously, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas said the ministry was waiting for “clarification from the European Commission on applying European sanctions to Kaliningrad cargo transit.” The commission stated that sanctioned goods and cargo should still be prohibited even if they travel from one part of Russia to another but through EU territory. [..] Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, became part of the Soviet Union after World War II. It has a population of about 430,000 people and hosts the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic sea fleet.

 

 

Gonzalo Lira – A message for Americans

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“..perpetuate old colonialist behavior well past its use-by date..”

Russia’s New Rules (Luongo)

Russia is done with the West. The divorce is nearly complete. In the past few days we’ve heard from all major Russian leaders the same thing, “The West will play by our rules now.” You can decide for yourselves whether Russia is writing checks they can’t cash, but in the words of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov telling the BBC bluntly, “We do not care about the eyes of the West.” Lavrov has always been the soul of politeness and discretion when dealing with European media. His open hostility towards his BBC interviewer was not only palpable, it was hard to argue with. He followed that up with: “I don’t think there’s even room for maneuver left anymore,” Lavrov replied. “Because both [Prime Minister Boris] Johnson and [Foreign Secretary Liz] Truss say publicly: ’We must defeat Russia, we must bring Russia to its knees. Go on, then, do it.”

Russia’s leadership never talks in such openly blunt terms. It’s almost like Lavrov was channeling comedian Dennis Miller who used to say, “Feeling froggy, take that leap.” See where it gets you. Russia knows it has the West on the ropes. We need what they produce and now they are determined to set the rules on who gets them and for what price. It knows that European leaders are puppets with Klaus Schwab’s hand up their asses. And it knows Davos has zero leverage over Russia’s actions from here on out. Which brings me to the statements linked above by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, speaking at a panel at the St. Petersburg Economic Investment Forum (SPEIF) who just put the situation in the starkest terms there is.

“The game of nominal value of money is over, as this system does not allow to control the supply of resources. …Our product, our rules. We don’t play by the rules we didn’t create.” Miller’s statement should be thought of as a statement of principle across all theatres of operation for Russia. This doesn’t just apply to natural gas or oil. This is everything, all of Russia’s dealings with the West from here on out will be on its terms not the West’s. This is clearly the biggest geopolitical middle finger in the post WWII period. Miller is clearly laying out the rules for a new, commodity-centric monetary system, one based on what Credit Suisse’s Zoltan Poszar called ‘outside money’ — commodities, gold, even bitcoin — rather than the West’s egregious use of ‘inside money’ — debt-based fiat and credit — to perpetuate old colonialist behavior well past its use-by date.

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Much more here from Pepe. Do read.

St. Petersburg Sets The Stage For The War of Economic Corridors (Escobar)

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum has been configured for years now as absolutely essential to understand the evolving dynamics and the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration. St. Petersburg in 2022 is even more crucial as it directly connects to three simultaneous developments I had previously outlined, in no particular order: First, the coming of the “new G8” – four BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), plus Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, whose GDP per purchasing parity power (PPP) already dwarfs the old, western-dominated G8. Second, the Chinese “Three Rings” strategy of developing geoeconomic relations with its neighbors and partners. Third, the development of BRICS+, or extended BRICS, including some members of the “new G8,” to be discussed at the upcoming summit in China.

There was hardly any doubt President Putin would be the star of St. Petersburg 2022, delivering a sharp, detailed speech to the plenary session. Among the highlights, Putin smashed the illusions of the so-called ‘golden billion’ who live in the industrialized west (only 12 percent of the global population) and the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies of the G7 countries.” The Russian president noted how “EU losses due to sanctions against Russia” could exceed $400 billion per year, and that Europe’s high energy prices – something that actually started “in the third quarter of last year” – are due to “blindly believing in renewable sources.” He also duly dismissed the west’s ‘Putin price hike’ propaganda, saying the food and energy crisis is linked to misguided western economic policies, i.e., “Russian grain and fertilizers are being sanctioned” to the detriment of the west.

In a nutshell: the west misjudged Russia’s sovereignty when sanctioning it, and now is paying a very heavy price. Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the forum by video, sent a message to the whole Global South. He evoked “true multilateralism,” insisting that emerging markets must have “a say in global economic management,” and called for “improved North-South and South-South dialogue.” It was up to Kazakh President Tokayev, the ruler of a deeply strategic partner of both Russia and China, to deliver the punch line in person: Eurasia integration should progress hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).


The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)

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More intensified than started.

OSCE: Ukraine Started Shelling Donbas Nine Days Before Russian Attack (KK)

It is important to remember that the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine started in 2014 after the Obama administration and U.S. Congress members installed a new government in Ukraine, in what the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor called “the most blatant coup in history.” In response to the U.S.-backed coup, the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the Donbas held a referendum on seceding from Ukraine, in which 96% of Luhansk and 89% of Donetsk voted for the creation of two new self-described independent republics in eastern Ukraine. Moscow said the vote reflected the “will of the people,” but the EU called the elections “illegal and illegitimate”, which quickly turned violent and descended into an all-out conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatist forces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Between 2014 and 2022 the War in Donbas killed an estimated 14,000 people, forcing millions of people to flee the region, and turning the conflict zone into one of the world’s most mine-contaminated areas. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has had observers on-the-ground monitoring the situation in Donbas since the outbreak of open conflict began in 2014. The OSCE has been the only international civilian observer mission allowed to collect information from both sides of the contact line, and its data, while incomplete, remains the best available. The OSCE observer mission provides maps in daily reports documenting the location of ceasefire violations and explosions along the contact line between the Ukrainian military and the Donbas republics.

These maps clearly show that Ukraine began artillery strikes against the Donbas republics on February 16th, 2022. In other words, Ukraine began shelling the independent republics of Donetsk and Luhansk nine days before Russia announced its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. While the western corporate media remained completely silent, explosions documented by the OSCE increased from 76 on February 15th, to 316 on February 16th, to 654 on February 17th, and to 1,413 on February 18th. When you look carefully at the daily maps of these explosions, it is clear that the vast majority of explosions occurred on the Russian separatist side of the ceasefire line.

Feb 14: 174 ceasefire violations, 41 explosions
Feb 15: 153 ceasefire violations, 76 explosions
Feb 16: 509 ceasefire violations, 316 explosions
Feb 17: 870 ceasefire violations, 654 explosions
Feb 18: 1,566 ceasefire violations, 1,413 explosions
Feb 19-20: 3,231 ceasefire violations, 2,026 explosions
Feb 21: 1,927 ceasefire violations, 1,481 explosions
Feb 21: Russia recognizes independence of Donetsk and Luhansk
Feb 22: 1,710 ceasefire violations, 1,420 explosions
Feb 24: Russia launches ‘special military operation’

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All 27 countries will agree? Can’t see it.

Ukraine’s EU Accession Plan Is a Suicide Pill for Desperate EU (Jay)

It might take a decade for Ukraine to even join the EU club, but Macron and others are upbeat about Ukraine becoming an EU member state, ahead of a key vote by all 27-member states in Brussels. In reality, the grandiose, if not desperate move pushed by the French president, won’t go through as at least three member states have said already that they won’t back it. But what’s the real story behind this somewhat banal plan to make Ukraine a member of the European Union? Is there a hidden agenda? Well of course there is. It is simply that in 2028 Macron is hotly tipped to be running the EU. In this year, two top jobs will become vacant in Brussels – European Commission President and European Council of Ministers chief – and he is an obvious choice to take one of them.

Macron’s dream is that before then, France takes a leading role – if not the leading role – within the EU and that the bloc’s so-called ‘foreign policy’ is more or less run by him and his team. So what’s the link? In a nutshell, federalists like Macron dream of an EU which punches above its weight and despite the Maastricht treaty in 1992 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, the EU’s efforts to garner more power away from member states towards Brussels haven’t amounted to much in practical terms. On paper, the EU has a considerable amount of clout on the international circuit in terms of peacekeeping and humanitarian stuff. You know the sort of thing.

But in real terms whenever the EU wants to actually soldier ahead with something big, right at the last moment member states themselves hold back from pressing the button and block the move. This explains why only a couple of weeks into the Ukraine war, Macron himself went in person to visit Putin while the EU’s top diplo wonk, Josep incredibly-boring Borrell went to Washington to give a joint press conference with his left-wing US president. That tells you all you need to know about the EU’s real powers when it comes to the international stage. The EU’s top foreign policy chief didn’t go to Moscow as probably Putin wouldn’t have received him as, to be fair, Borrell hasn’t really much to say and no real power to do anything.

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mRNA affects both men and women’s reproductive systems.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/andr.13209

Pfizer’s mRNA Jabs “Temporarily” Impair Semen Concentration’ (Wiley)

37 semen donors from three sperm banks that provided 220 samples, were included in that retrospective longitudinal multicenter cohort study. BNT162b2 vaccination included two doses, and vaccination completion was scheduled 7 days after the second dose. The study included four phases: T0 – pre-vaccination baseline control, which encompassed 1–2 initial samples per SD; T1, T2 and T3 – short, intermediate, and long terms evaluations, respectively. Each included 1–3 semen samples per donor provided 15–45, 75-120, and over 150 days after vaccination completion, respectively. The primary endpoints were semen parameters. Three statistical analyses were conducted: 1) generalized estimated equation model; 2) first sample and 3) samples’ mean of each donor per period were compared to T0.


Repetitive measurements revealed -15.4% sperm concentration decrease on T2 (CI -25.5%–3.9%, p = 0.01) leading to total motile count 22.1% reduction (CI -35% – -6.6%, p = 0.007) compared to T0. Similarly, analysis of first semen sample only and samples’ mean per donor resulted in concentration and TMC reductions on T2 compared to T0 – median decline of 12 million/ml and 31 million motile spermatozoa, respectively (p = 0.02 and 0.002 respectively) on first sample evaluation and median decline of 9.5◊106 and 27.3 million motile spermatozoa (p = 0.004 and 0.003, respectively) on samples’ mean examination. T3 evaluation demonstrated overall recovery. Semen volume and sperm motility were not impaired.

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El Gato’s take on the study above.

Pfizer Vaccine Effects On Total Motile Count In Sperm Donors (El Gato)

these mRNA drugs are broadly systemic and concentrate in (amongst others) reproductive organs and effects on menstrual cycles are widely documented. In light of this quite worrying fact (especially with a compound carrying high CG enrichment relative to high virus and the attendant risks thereof) it has been surprising to me that there have no been more studies on this topic. But a few are starting to emerge. this israeli study was published 2 days ago: and the results are, well, nuts. (sorry). There was strong a priori reason to suspect effects, especially in light of the higher and more persistent prevalence of vaccine induced S proteins vs natural infection and the CG enrichment issued mentioned above.


“Over the first pandemic months, there was insufficient data regarding the possible impact of Covid-19 on human reproduction. Yet, it was clear it employs the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for cellular entry. Various testicular cells including Leydig, Sertoli, spermatogonia and spermatozoa express ACE2 and related proteases resulting with viral fusion. Cytokine storm-induced dysfunction, autophagy regulation and damaged blood-testis barrier were also suggested as possible pathogenic mechanism for testicular damage. Clinical reports of orchitis, supported by histological findings, further emphasized testicular involvement. Therefore, detrimental impact on both spermatogenesis and testosterone production 10 seem an obvious outcome they evaluated donors from 3 sperm banks over a longitudinal period commencing before pfizer vaccine and following up after.”

“Conclusions: Systemic immune response after BNT162b2 vaccine is a reasonable cause for transient semen concentration and TMC decline. Long-term prognosis remains good”. But i am left wondering about these claims and fear they may provide an example of the sort of “nerf or refute your own findings in the abstract so that we can publish this without massive controversy” behavior that has become all too common in medical and scientific journals who withhold peer review from those whose findings look too worrying if stated plainly. (but that will often let such data out if buried deep in supplements and appendixes).

I’m struggling to see how one could call this “recovery.” Post day 150, sperm concentration was -15.9% vs baseline, lower even than in the 75-120 day period. Average time post vaxx for T3 collection was 174 +/- 26.8 days so we’re talking about 6 months post vaxx with NO recovery in sperm concentration. Total motile count was slightly recovered from T2, but was still down 19.4% vs baseline, seeming to make up somewhat in volume what is lost in concentration.

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Cabal.

FDA Unanimously Approve Covid Vaccine For 0-4 Years (HART)

The FDA met on 15th June and despite all the evidence of non-efficacy from the infant Pfizer vaccine and the still total lack of data on long-term harms, they voted to go ahead. If the last eighteen months are anything to go by, the MHRA will follow soon, followed after a respectable few weeks by the JCVI. Indeed, vaccination for this age-group is already listed for JCVI discussion. Before the UK regulators make any decision, they would do well to read a detailed letter to the FDA from Senator Robert F Kennedy.

It was depressing that in the FDA open meeting, none of the members pointed out that 2 months follow-up is totally inadequate for assessing safety, nor questioned the use of an antibody level as a measure of success. No specific level of antibody exists which provides protection against covid so how can this be used as a useful measure? For young children, much of their reduced risk from covid arises from their superior innate immunity. In the presentation to the FDA, Pfizer presented evidence that the only antibodies produced in the children were to the Wuhan spike with no detectable antibodies to the Omicron spike. Moderna was also authorised for children at the same meeting, despite several countries having dropped it for all under 30s. Their lengthy document (189 pages of single-spaced typing) was only sent to members two working days ahead of the meeting.

But what of the Pfizer data on which the decision was apparently based? The Pfizer submission must be the most extreme case of data manipulation and bad science ever presented to the FDA. The study was approved on the basis of 4,500 participants but 3,000 of them did not make it to the end of the trial. That alone is enough to make the findings null and void. There are three other measures that were used to assess efficacy: total covid, ‘severe’ covid and hospitalisations. The researchers found that there were 30% more covid cases in the vaccine arm in the three weeks after first dose, so they ignored that data. They also ignored the data after the second dose where there was no benefit. They then ignored a full week after the third dose too.

In total 97% of the covid cases in the trial were ignored. Finally, they focused on 7 cases in the placebo arm more than a week after vaccination and 3 in the vaccine arm and on the basis of those tiny numbers over that very short period, they claimed efficacy. Pfizer described this issue thus: “Vaccine efficacy post Dose 3 cannot be precisely estimated due to the limited number of cases accrued during blinded follow-up, as reflected in the wide confidence intervals associated with the estimates.”

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“Pfizer study used just THREE children to prove it works..”

Experts Question CDC’s Approval Of Covid Vaccines For Under-5s (DM)

In the wake of the CDC’s approval of Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for babies as young as six months, at least one expert has questioned the move. Dr. Sarah Long, an infectious diseases expert at the Drexel University College of Medicine, told the New York Times: ‘We should just assume that we don’t have efficacy data.’ That comes off the back of Pfizer’s own reporting that said their statements of 80% effectiveness in children under five was based on the responses of just three children. Those children were part of a group of ten but seven were given a placebo. And there are also concerns about the Moderna shot, which is only between 37 per cent and 51 per cent effective, depending on the age of the child receiving it.


According to the Times report, the CDC noted in their meeting this past Friday on whether or not to approve the vaccines that Pfizer’s metric was unreliable. Dr. Long said that despite this she was ‘comfortable enough’ in approving the vaccines based on other data. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines were shown to have a success rate of around 95% in adults. However in Moderna’s case, that number is just 37% in children aged two through five. The shot is effective in 51 per cent of children aged between six months and 23 months. Earlier in June 2022, FDA advisors met to discuss new vaccines to deal with new mutations of Covid-19. Public health authorities have expressed a worry that a new mutation in the latter part of the year, could undermine vaccines, reports CNBC.

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Coming full circle.

Germany Turns To Coal For Electricity Amid Gas Shortage Concerns (JTN)

Germany plans on limiting the use of natural gas and increasing the use of coal to generate electricity over concerns about a possible gas shortage as Russia cuts supplies, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck. “That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,” Habeck, an environmentalist Green party member, said, the Associated Press reported. Russia’s majority state-owned Gazprom announced plans last week to sharply reduce gas to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Although the company cited technical reasons, Haebeck said the move appeared political. Germany has been scaling back gas imports because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.


The nation was attempting to phase out coal-generated power. Germany is set to shut down its last coal-fired power plant no later than 2038, The German government is asking citizens to reduce their energy use due to the supply situation. The European country is hoping to fill its gas storage facilities to 90% capacity by this fall in order to ensure heat throughout the winter. The facilities are currently at less than 60% capacity.

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“Macron’s Ensemble coalition is on track to win 245 seats, down from 345 in the outgoing chamber..”

Macron Faces 5 Years Of Gridlock After Stunning Parliamentary Defeat (Pol.eu)

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to face a potentially tumultuous five years of deadlock after his centrist alliance fell short of an absolute majority in a parliamentary runoff on Sunday, just weeks after he was reelected to the Elysée. Voters massively came out in support of the far-right National Rally and the left-wing coalition NUPES, depriving Macron of a ruling majority. With almost all votes counted, Macron’s Ensemble coalition is on track to win 245 seats, down from 345 in the outgoing chamber. NUPES, led by the far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon is set to win 141 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s National Rally will likely walk away with 89 seats. The runoff vote determines the composition of the National Assembly, the parliament’s lower chamber.


In the first round of voting last Sunday, Macron’s coalition of parties was neck and neck with the NUPES alliance, sparking concern among some in Macron’s camp that the French president’s popularity was sharply in decline. On Sunday, Macron’s supporters were left reeling after several party big guns, including the speaker of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand and Christophe Castaner, Macron’s party whip in the outgoing chamber, lost their seats. Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon and Environment Minister Amélie de Montchalin also lost their seats — which will likely force their resignations, as has been convention since the Sarkozy era. The newly appointed Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who won her seat in Normandy with a slim majority, said Ensemble would work to broaden its support in parliament and build a “majority of action.”

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“in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”

Australia Government Lobbying Behind The Scenes For Assange’s Freedom (SMH)

The federal government is lobbying US counterparts behind the scenes to secure the freedom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, after the United Kingdom’s decision to approve his extradition to the United States. The Trump administration brought charges against Assange under the Espionage Act relating to the leaking and publication of the WikiLeaks cables a decade ago. The UK Home Office announced late on Friday (AEST) that “after consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange to the US was ordered”. “In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. “Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court and will do so while he remains in Belmarsh prison. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, while still opposition leader in December, said “enough is enough” and that it was time for Assange to be returned to Australia. Asked about Assange’s extradition on Saturday, he told The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that he stood by the comments he made in December. At the time, Albanese said “he [Assange] has paid a big price for the publication of that information already. And I do not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange”. Albanese met US President Joe Biden at the Quad meeting in Tokyo in late May, days after the federal election, but there has been no indication that he raised the Assange matter with him during their meeting.

A source in the federal government, who asked not to be named so they could discuss the matter, has confirmed to The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that Assange’s case has been raised with senior US officials. Former foreign minister Bob Carr said the discussions over Assange’s release would be “governed by sensitive, nuanced alliance diplomacy appropriate between partners”. “I trust the judgment of Prime Minister Albanese on this, given his recent statement cautioning against megaphone diplomacy and his comments last December,” he said. But Carr predicted that “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”. “The Yank has had her sentence commuted; the Aussie faces an extradition and a cruel sentencing.

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Hinton Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound On

 

 

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

 

 

 

Mar 172021
 


Vincent van Gogh Peach trees in blossom 1888

 

Russia Stoked Ukraine Allegations To Undermine Biden – US Intel (Pol.)
Big Media Outlets “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods (Greenwald)
US Admits Waging InfoWar Against Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)
Biden Gets Away With Exactly What Cuomo Is Accused Of (Emmons)
Pandemic Blunder (Hirschhorn)
New Covid-19 Variant Found In Brittany May Not Show Up In Regular Tests (RT)
Why We All MUST Reject Vaccine Passports (Krainer)
Wall Street Is Greenwashing The Financial World (Fancy)
US Joins India And China In Ramping Up Coal Usage (ZH)
Courts Close In On Gig Economy Firms Globally (G.)
Getting Hyperinflation Right (Dmitry Orlov)

 

 

 

 

This stuff must stop, but it won’t. These idiots are endangering the entire world. And that wanking rodent Schiff pops up again too.

Russia Stoked Ukraine Allegations To Undermine Biden – US Intel (Pol.)

Russia tried again last year to help then-President Donald Trump win the White House, the U.S. intelligence community said Tuesday in a long-awaited postmortem — adding that a “primary” tactic in that effort was the spreading of corruption allegations involving Democratic challenge Joe Biden and Ukraine. But the effort fell short of the Kremlin-backed efforts to assist Trump in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton, the spy community wrote in its unclassified assessment of foreign threats to the 2020 U.S. federal elections. And the agencies found no attempts by foreign countries to change vote tallies or final results.

“We assess that Russian President [Vladimir] Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.,” the assessment said. “The primary effort,” the document added, “revolved around a narrative-that Russian actors began spreading as early as 2014-alleging corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other US officials and Ukraine.” It said Russia’s intelligence services “relied on Ukraine-linked proxies and these proxies’ networks-including their US contacts-to spread this narrative.”


Unlike in 2016, however, “we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure,” added the document, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Iran, meanwhile, waged a “covert influence campaign intended to undercut” Trump’s reelection bid without directly promoting his rivals in order to “undermine public confidence in the election process” and “sow division and exacerbate societal tensions” in the country. “We assess that Supreme Leader Khamenei authorized the campaign and Iran’s military and intelligence services implemented it using overt and covert messaging and cyber operations,” the examination states. The agencies found no efforts by China to interfere in the election, although one intelligence official maintained in a minority opinion that Beijing “took at least some steps to undermine” Trump’s chances, “primarily through social media and official public statements and media.”

Schiff

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Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia

Big Media Outlets “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods (Greenwald)

For a few weeks following the issuance of the Mueller report, Democrats and media figures gamely attempted to deny that it obliterated the conspiracy theories to which they had relentlessly subjected the country for the prior four years. How could they do otherwise? They staked their entire reputations and the trust of their audience on having this be true. To avoid their day of reckoning, they would hype ancillary events such as Paul Manafort’s conviction on unrelated financial crimes or Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for a minor and dubious charge (for which even Mueller recommended no prison time) or Roger Stone’s various process charges to insist that there was still a grain of truth to their multifaceted geopolitical fairy tale seemingly lifted straight from a Tom Clancy Cold War thriller about the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

But even they knew this was just a temporary survival strategy and that it was unsustainable for the long term. That the crux of the scandal all along was that key Trump allies if not the President himself would be indicted and imprisoned for having conspired with the Russians was too glaring to make people forget about it. That was why former CIA Director John Brennan assured the MSNBC audience in March — just weeks before Mueller closed his investigation with no conspiracy crimes alleged — that it was impossible that the investigation could close without first indicting Trump’s children and other key White House aides on what Brennan correctly said was the whole point of the scandal from the start: “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians . . . . whether or not U.S. persons were actively collaborating, colluding, cooperating, involved in a conspiracy with them or not.”


Brennan strongly insinuated that among those likely to be indicted for criminally conspiring with the Russians were those “from the Trump family.” As we all know, literally none of that happened. Not only were Trump family members not indicted by Mueller on charges of “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians,” no Americans were. Brennan believed there was no way that the Mueller investigation could end without that happening because that was the whole point of the scandal from the start. To explain why it had not happened up to that point after eighteen months of investigation by Mueller’s subpoena-armed and very zealous team of prosecutors, Brennan invented a theory that they were waiting to do that as the final act because they knew they would be fired by Trump once it happened. But it never happened because Mueller found no evidence to prove that it did.


The Advocate, Mar. 10, 2017

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“Combatting malignant influence in the Americas…”

Who’s the actual malignant influence?

US Admits Waging InfoWar Against Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)

The Kremlin on Tuesday called out what’s it’s dubbed the “unprecedented” propaganda war against Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The words were issued by spokesman Dmitry Peskov in response to widespread allegations that the Untied States is actively trying to dissuade its allies from purchasing the Russian-produced vaccine. This despite the emerging scientific consensus that’s found it to be at least 91% effective while further preventing inoculated persons from becoming severely ill. The Kremlin is responding to newly emerged proof that the US intervened with the largest country in South America, Brazil.


The Washington Post details that “Buried deep in the dry, 72-page annual report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lay a startling admission: U.S. health officials under President Donald Trump worked to convince Brazil to reject Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.” Brazil has long stood as the second highest COVID-19 infected country in the world behind the US, with over 11.5 confirmed infections so far (with the US now approaching the 30 million mark). Here’s the key controversial section from the 71-page document. The section is entitled “Combatting malignant influence in the Americas”…

“Examples include using OGA’s Health Attache office to persuade Brazil to reject the Russian COVID-19 vaccine,” the government report spelled out explicitly. Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since claimed it never received directives or “consultations” such as are described in the report from the US, with a statement saying, “the Embassy of Brazil in Washington has not received consultations or actions from United States authorities or companies regarding the possible purchase, by Brazil, of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19.” Kremlin spokesman Peskov in his comments didn’t name the allegations specifically but only denounced generally that “In many countries the scale of pressure is quite unprecedented… such selfish attempts to force countries to abandon any vaccines have no prospects.

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“Cuomo is not liked and, now, not useful. If Biden becomes similarly expendable in the future, he may finally face the same kind of treatment.”

Biden Gets Away With Exactly What Cuomo Is Accused Of (Emmons)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of unwanted touching and sexual harassment. President Joe Biden has been accused of everything from creepily sniffing women’s hair to sexual assault. Yet Biden is the one who gets the folksy treatment, perceived as merely touchy-feely, while Cuomo, despite his status as prince of the pandemic press conference, could be facing the end of his career. Prominent Democrats have called for the governor’s resignation over the scandal. Seven women now say they experienced unwanted touching at the governor’s hands. Cuomo claims he never did it, and apologized for making anyone feel bad. By his own admission, Cuomo may be a little handsy. He’s said that “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people . . . it is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

The public is meant to believe that it’s simply part of his charm. Contrast this to Biden in 2019, who said “I’m not sorry for any of my intentions, I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I have never been disrespectful intentionally or a man or a woman. So that’s not the reputation I’ve had since I was in high school for God’s sake.” Cuomo apologized and he’s going down. Biden refused to apologize, and he’s practically sanctified. “Social norms are changing. I understand that,” Biden said, “and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”

But has he? He barely gave a glance at Tara Reade’s accusations, never mind the myriad other women who stepped forward to say that Biden made them uneasy either with touching or his penchant for sniffing. The charges against Biden are well-documented, but it’s Cuomo that’s in the hot seat, and Biden chilling in the Oval. A take down of Biden over sexual harassment charges is simply not politically expedient. But for Democrats, Cuomo has got to go. While they are loath to admit it, the outcry over the sexual harassment scandal is likely about something else. Cuomo is embarrassing for Democrats who praised him during the COVID-19 outbreak. An investigation by the attorney general’s office found that not only did the Cuomo administration undercount nursing home deaths by up to 50 percent, they did so on purpose in order to avoid political fallout.

The Democrats who are intent on hounding Cuomo out of office do not want the political fallout of the nursing home deaths. It’s easier to hold Cuomo’s hands to the fire over these allegations of unwanted touching than it is to deal with the intentional cover-up of elder deaths, in which they may find themselves to have been complicit. In short, Cuomo is not liked and, now, not useful. If Biden becomes similarly expendable in the future, he may finally face the same kind of treatment.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1371660114629849094

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Hirschhorn reached out to me after I published VandenBossche’s piece. I haven’t read his book -yet-. The video seems interesting.

Pandemic Blunder (Hirschhorn)

A huge amount of data and information not covered by mainstream media are in Pandemic Blunder that tells the story of how over 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 unnecessarily because the government has blocked early home treatment and prevention.  With 500,000 COVID deaths, learning about safe and effective early home treatment/prevention more important than ever. About the Book: Pandemic Blunder contains considerable medical information and data to support a number of proven safe, cheap generic medicines and protocols that knock out the coronavirus when given early. Read about the pioneering, courageous doctors who have been using innovative approaches to prevent their COVID patients from needing hospital care and facing death.

The book includes many expert opinions from doctors who support the view that 70 to 80 percent of COVID deaths could have been prevented—and still can be. Don’t be victimized by disinformation and propaganda from leftist media. Learn how corrupt forces are aiming to make billions of dollars from expensive medicines and vaccines, and how hundreds of thousands of deaths could have—and should have—been prevented! Pandemic blunder is defined as the failure of the United States public health system and federal agencies to support and promote early home/outpatient treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic disease. 

Considerable medical information and data convincingly show that when given early a number of proven safe, cheap generic medicines and protocols knock out the coronavirus. Early means within the first few days of getting symptoms or a positive test. Some pioneering and courageous doctors have been using innovative approaches to prevent their covid patients from needing hospital care and facing death. Many expert views of doctors support the view that 70 percent to 80 percent of covid deaths could have been prevented – and still can for future victims of the disease.  Learn how hundreds of thousands of deaths could have and should have been prevented.

This book does more than describe the pandemic blunder, particularly in terms of the influence of Dr. Anthony Fauci. It can help Americans protect their lives by not being victimized by disinformation and propaganda from leftist media.  Pandemic management has failed because of corrupt forces aiming to make billions of dollars from expensive medicines and vaccines. There has been a widespread dereliction of duty on the part of many local, state, and federal government officials.

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The virus is endemic. New variants will keep emerging.

New Covid-19 Variant Found In Brittany May Not Show Up In Regular Tests (RT)

France’s health ministry has warned that a new variant of Covid-19 found in the country’s north may evade conventional PCR testing, but initial analysis suggests it is not more contagious or deadly. On Monday, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) said in a press release that a new Covid-19 variant was being investigated after genomic sequencing confirmed the existence of 8 cases at a single hospital, where the new strain had been identified but had initially not shown up after PCR tests. The DGS said the new variant does not appear to be more contagious or deadly, although this is a very early assessment.


The statement adds that the virus appears to have evaded RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test results on nasopharyngeal samples. Instead, the diagnosis had to be made “by serology or by performing RT-PCR on deep respiratory samples.” The statement concludes by noting that the local authorities and prefectures are stepping up measures to curb the transmission of the virus, “as a precaution.” Measures include “speeding up vaccination, reminding people of the importance of social distancing and limiting gatherings.” In a message to healthcare professionals, the DGS said analysis carried out by the Pasteur Institute had revealed the new variant was “carrying nine mutations in the region encoding the S protein but also in other viral regions.”

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Freedom.

Why We All MUST Reject Vaccine Passports (Krainer)

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.
– Mohandas Gandhi


To ‘normalize’ vaccine passports, the idea is increasingly being discussed in the media as we trudge on through the umpteenth version of lockdowns. On Saturday (13 March 2021) I got accosted by the police in Cap d’Ail (south of France) for the offense of taking my kids out in the sun without having a justificatif. I have long lost track of the ever changing rules and shifting logic, but I didn’t feel like arguing. The police were just doing their jobs, enforcing shitty rules that harass and antagonize people. For example, I would have been allowed to be where I was if it were a working day, but since it was Saturday, it was verboten. The objective of such rules is nothing to do with public health; they are intended to exasperate us all to the point where we yield to the indignity of vaccine passports when they are rolled out, just so we can live our lives and be left in peace.

Alexis de Tocqueville understood the nature of this dumb, slow march of bankers’ tyranny. In “Democracy in America” (1835) he predicted that the society would fall into a new kind of servitude which, “covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules,” which “does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the sheppard.” De Tocqeville’s book was published mere two years after President Andrew Jackson ended the Second Bank of the United States, and the struggles between the bankers and the society was very pertinent to his observations.


The small complicated rules are a sinister trap and it is imperative that we not fall into it. Even if we are ready to yield on vaccines and vaccine passports to end our present predicament, our children and grandchildren will have to live with the consequences of our compromises. We therefore have no right to decline this struggle.

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Former chief investment officer of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock

Wall Street Is Greenwashing The Financial World (Fancy)

The financial services industry is duping the American public with its pro-environment, sustainable investing practices. This multitrillion dollar arena of socially conscious investing is being presented as something it’s not. In essence, Wall Street is greenwashing the economic system and, in the process, creating a deadly distraction. I should know; I was at the heart of it. As the former chief investment officer of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world with $8.7 trillion in assets, I led the charge to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) into our global investments. In fact, our messaging helped mainstream the concept that pursuing social good was also good for the bottom line. Sadly, that’s all it is, a hopeful idea. In truth, sustainable investing boils down to little more than marketing hype, PR spin and disingenuous promises from the investment community.

In many instances across the industry, existing mutual funds are cynically rebranded as “green” — with no discernible change to the fund itself or its underlying strategies — simply for the sake of appearances and marketing purposes. In other cases, ESG products contain irresponsible companies such as petroleum majors and other large polluters like “fast fashion” manufacturing to boost the fund’s performance. There are even portfolio managers who actively mine ESG data to bet against environmentally responsible companies in the name of profit, a short-selling strategy. Risk managers are focused on protecting their investment portfolios from potential damages done by a worsening climate rather than helping prevent that damage from occurring in the first place.


As disheartening as this reality is, claiming to be environmentally responsible is profitable. Last year alone, ESG mutual funds and exchange-traded funds nearly doubled. The investment community understandably reacted to this with cheers. But those cheers were only for fund managers and their bottom lines. No matter what they tout as green investing, portfolio managers are legally bound (as well as financially incentivized) to do nothing that compromises profits. To advance real change in the environment simply doesn’t yield the same return.

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Green New Deal.

US Joins India And China In Ramping Up Coal Usage (ZH)

Major users of coal across the world are set to ramp up their usage of the fossil fuel in coming months. Power plants in the U.S. are expected to consume 16% more coal this year than in 2020 and another 3% on top of that in 2022. China and India also have “no plans to cut back” their use of burning the fossil fueld. In fact, “it’ll almost be as if the pandemic-induced drop in emissions never happened,” Bloomberg reports. Inevitably, this will result in higher emissions, which stands at stark odds with the climate initiatives that President Joe Biden ran on. Amanda Levin, policy analyst at the New York-based National Resources Defense Council said: “We’re going to see a really marked increase in emissions with coal consumption at U.S. power plants returning almost to 2019 levels.”

She says that changes to mitigate usage could happen quickly if Biden implements his planned green-energy policies. In the U.S., the ramp comes as a result of both costlier natural gas, and a broad re-opening from the pandemic. For India and China, the steady use is indicative of growing demand, despite the fact that both countries are trying to use wind and solar, as well. China’s power consumption, for example, has grown, despite the country reducing coal’s share in the nation’s energy makeup. President Biden’s upcoming infrastructure bill is expected to include plans to “fulfill his campaign pledges on climate change, making the U.S. best poised to salvage progress in reducing global emissions,” Bloomberg reports. In China, President Xi Jinping has committed to net-zero emissions by 2060.

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It will be a long fight.

Courts Close In On Gig Economy Firms Globally (G.)

Gig economy companies, including Uber and Deliveroo, have faced at least 40 major legal challenges around the world as delivery drivers and riders try to improve their rights. The analysis of 39 employment cases, and seven linked cases on matters such as competition law, covers legal action in 20 countries including Australia, Chile, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and across Europe. The cases have been brought by gig economy workers seeking access to basic rights, such as minimum wages and sick pay. Put together by the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network of more than 600 lawyers from at least 70 countries, the report highlights a string of court rulings in favour of drivers including in Italy, where authorities have fined Uber Eats, Glovo, Just Eat, and Deliveroo €733m (£628m) for misclassifying 60,000 couriers. That case is being appealed against.

A court in Spain ruled last year that drivers for food delivery firm Glovo were employees and the government in Madrid has since announced legislation confirming delivery riders’ status as salaried staff. In South Korea, a driver working via the Tada van hailing app was also ruled to be an employee. Last month, the UK supreme court dismissed Uber’s appeal against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays. On Tuesday night, Uber announced it will guarantee its 70,000 UK drivers a minimum hourly wage, holiday pay and pensions, in a dramatic u-turn which could put pressure on other gig economy firms to change tack.


Jeff Vogt, at the Washington DC based Solidarity Center workers rights group, said there was a clear trend towards recognising improved rights and employment status for those working for gig economy companies dealing with food delivery and taxi hire. “The courts are closing in on them,” he said. However, the report also warns that not all claims are successful and states must act to enforce the regulations as gig economy firms use their considerable resources to defend their practices. Tactics include contracts with mandatory arbitration clauses, which fend off legal action by forcing those with a grievance to pay costly administration and filing fees in the preliminary stages. This has proved a particular problem in the US.

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”..we have the technology to make hyperinflation safe, comfortable, convenient and fun for the whole family!”

Getting Hyperinflation Right (Dmitry Orlov)

The sheer mechanics of hyperinflation—of printing and issuing ever more notes, repeatedly exchanging older, increasingly worthless notes for newer ones, making payments using cartloads and wagonloads of cash—become increasingly burdensome. When it takes an entire suitcase of cash to pay for a pack of cigarettes or a bar of soap, soap and cigarettes themselves become a makeshift form of currency. Hyperinflation is most unpopular with people who insist on storing their savings in the form of cash. In response, they turn to buying up and hoarding other things, causing shortages and further driving up prices. But all of these problems can now be solved because we have the technology to make hyperinflation safe, comfortable, convenient and fun for the whole family!

However, this requires a change in mindset and a different approach to money. To start with, we need to recognize that money is not a physical quantity. It is dimensionless because it can only be measured relative to other currencies. Unlike any physical quantity, it is measured with infinite precision; any physical measurement, be it in kilograms, cubic meters or kilowatt-hours, has to have error bars on it to be meaningful, while monetary quantities, no matter how large, are precise down to the last penny. It is circularly defined: money derives its value from things that can be purchased with it, and these things in turn derive their price from the value of money.


Although money can be given a physical representation in the form of coins or paper currency, its essential nature is ephemeral, nonphysical and intangible. In essence, money only exists as pure thought in the minds of people who are involved in its exchange. Its physical embodiments are just theatrical props. Its reality is conceptual, similar to that of the irrational number π, which can also be given a physical representation—as, say, a one-meter-diameter circle carved in stone that has a circumference of π meters—but that would be pointless. Just as π is ubiquitous in mathematics, money is ubiquitous in economics.

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Jan 152020
 
 January 15, 2020  Posted by at 10:39 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Magazine and cannonballs at Battery Rodgers, Alexandria, defending Washington during the Civil War 1863

 

At The Iowa Debate, Bernie Sanders’s Most Vociferous Opponent Was CNN (IC)
McConnell: Senate Impeachment Trial To Start Next Tuesday (Hill)
GOP: There Aren’t 51 Votes To Dismiss Trump Articles Of Impeachment (Hill)
McConnell Opens Door For Hunter Biden Testimony At Trump Trial (Hill)
Michael Flynn Seeks To Withdraw Guilty Plea (G.)
Five Biggest US Stocks Are Dwarfing The Rest Of The Stock Market (CNBC)
Non-Commitment Probe Into Iran By France, Germany & UK ‘Groundless’ – Russia (RT)
Australia PM Backs Coal After BlackRock Quits (AFR)
‘Orwellian’ China Silencing Dissent At Home And Abroad – HRW Chief (G.)
Former Boeing Quality Manager: Fly Something Else (Big Think)
Boeing Sees Lowest Orders In Decades (BBC)
Malaysia Airlines Suspends Boeing 737 MAX Deliveries Due To Grounding (R.)

 

 

It’s just entertainment by now, and a poor sort at that. CNN ratings are plummeting, so they seek out controversy. And if smearing Trump doesn’t work, there’s Bernie.

At The Iowa Debate, Bernie Sanders’s Most Vociferous Opponent Was CNN (IC)

Ahead of the August 2015 Fox News debate, the company’s chair, Rupert Murdoch, issued a directive to debate moderator Megyn Kelly: The Donald Trump thing has gone on long enough, it’s time to take him down. Kelly took a bat to candidate Trump, listing off his most misogynistic remarks, asking how he could explain them to voters. But Trump ended up winning that war. Democrats assembled in Iowa Tuesday night for the opportunity to take him on in the upcoming general election. This time, though, it was CNN moderators who brought out the bat and swung it hard at Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont independent had topped the important Iowa poll last week, compounding fears that have only recently emerged among the party establishment that he may be on course for the nomination.

In contrast to Sanders’s treatment, former Vice President Joe Biden, the national front-runner, was barely touched — either by moderators or his rivals. CNN moderator Abby Phillip opened a line of questioning on the recent feud between Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “CNN reported yesterday, and, Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?” The moderator’s use of Warren to confirm a version of the story that originally came from Warren’s account of the meeting at the time signaled which side CNN was taking in the he-said/she-said, but it was confirmed by the framing of the question — “Why did you say that?” — rather than asking whether he said it.

Sanders denied the accusation, noting that he had been ready to stand aside for Warren to run in 2016, though she declined to. Phillip pressed to be clear he was denying the charge, then pivoted to Warren, and waved away his denial with such force — “Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” — that Sanders and the audience laughed. After the debate, the candidates shook hands — all except Warren and Sanders. Warren pulled her hand back and the two had a tense exchange that couldn’t be heard as the mics had been cut off, but left both walking tersely off, Sanders turning his back on Warren.

The debate opened with a long discussion of war in Iran and Iraq, which included no mention of the costs of occupation.Yet CNN moderators did eventually ask Sanders how he would pay for Medicare for All, among other plans. Host Wolf Blitzer asked why the government should do anything to lower drug prices when nobody trusts the government. Philip later asked Sanders how he would keep his plans “from bankrupting the country?”

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Politicians can’t resist the circus at this time of year.

McConnell: Senate Impeachment Trial To Start Next Tuesday (Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the Senate will begin debating an organizing resolution to start the Senate trial on Tuesday of next week. The GOP leader said Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in senators as jurors this week, before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. “NEW: Sen. Mitch McConnell says “the House is likely to finally send the articles over to us tomorrow,” allowing Senate to take steps “which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday.” — ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 14, 2020.


McConnell said the House is expected to send over articles of impeachment on Wednesday and the Senate will then have to go through a series of preliminary steps and housekeeping measures. “We hope to achieve that by consent, which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday,” the GOP leader added. McConnell clarifying that a debate and vote on the organizing resolution, which will set up time for the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team to make their opening arguments, as well as time for senators to ask questions, will happen next week. Then the Senate will notify the president’s defense team to appear for the Senate and give the White House several days to respond.

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There are Republicans who think Trump should shine in the circus.

GOP: There Aren’t 51 Votes To Dismiss Trump Articles Of Impeachment (Hill)

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters on Monday that the Senate Republican caucus doesn’t have the votes to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Trump, who endorsed an “outright dismissal” over the weekend. “I think our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss. … Certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, told reporters after a closed-door leadership meeting. Republicans have warned for months that they will not dismiss the two articles of impeachment against Trump, predicting a trial will end with votes on either acquitting or convicting him. But Trump revived talk of trying to dismiss the articles over the weekend, saying the Senate was “giving credence” to the allegations against him by having a trial.


“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted on Sunday. Dismissing the articles of impeachment would require 51 votes. Because no Democrats would support the effort, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could afford to lose only two GOP senators and still successfully dismiss the articles. Multiple Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Rob Portman (Ohio), have indicated they would oppose a motion to dismiss, arguing that both Trump’s legal team and House impeachment managers should be able to make their case.

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Is the fight over witnesses going to take longer than the actual trial?

McConnell Opens Door For Hunter Biden Testimony At Trump Trial (Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says Republicans could subpoena Hunter Biden to testify about his business dealings with a Ukrainian gas company if Democrats insist on having witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton testify at the Senate impeachment trial. “We’ll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial and I think it’s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses they wanted to hear from,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked about GOP senators who want Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, to testify. “When you get to that issue, I can’t imagine that only the witnesses that our Democratic colleagues would want to call would be called,” he said.


The GOP leader also noted “there is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss” the articles of impeachment immediately, adding, “our members feel that we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.” McConnell confirmed that all 53 Republican senators support passing an organizing resolution at the start of President Trump’s trial that would set up time for the House prosecutors and the president’s defense team to lay out their opening arguments and for senators to submit questions to the chair in writing. Votes on subpoenaing witnesses such as Bolton or acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney will be considered after what McConnell calls “phase one of the trial.”

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When prosecutors say Flynn grew “antagonistic”, what they mean is he hired Sidney Powell. Who’s not going to stop at getting him exonerated. She’ll demand a huge amount in damages.

Michael Flynn Seeks To Withdraw Guilty Plea (G.)

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to Donald Trump who was due to be sentenced for lying to federal investigators, is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea “because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement”, his lawyers said in a court document filed Tuesday. Flynn was the first senior White House official to cut a deal in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference. After pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition between Barack Obama and Trump, he went on to provide extensive information to federal prosecutors in exchange for leniency.

But in recent months, he grew less cooperative and suggested he hadn’t committed any crimes, leading prosecutors to recommend that he should be sentenced to up to six months in prison. “Far from accepting the consequences of his unlawful actions, he has sought to blame almost every other person and entity involved in his case, including his former counsel,” prosecutors wrote in a document filed last week. It appears Flynn and his legal team have doubled down, saying that the federal government breached the plea agreement with Flynn. They allege that prosecutors asked him to lie in another investigation, into his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian. Rafiekian was convicted for illegally lobbying to have a Turkish exile returned from the US, but a federal judge threw out the conviction, citing a lack of sufficient evidence.

In the court filing, Flynn’s lawyers said the justice department was attempting to “rewrite history” by suggesting he had not been forthcoming and should receive prison time. “Mr Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation,” Flynn’s legal team wrote. “He endured massive, unnecessary, and frankly counterproductive demands on his time, his family, his scarce resources, and his life.” As part of his plea deal, Flynn admitted he had lied to the FBI about discussing US sanctions on Russia with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time. Flynn also said he lied about conversations with Kislyak discussing a UN security council resolution condemning Israel.

[..] Federal prosecutors had initially said Flynn was entitled to avoid jail time, before reversing course after Flynn grew antagonistic. In June, Flynn fired his longtime attorneys and replaced them with a new team that included the former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, a fierce critic of the Mueller investigation.

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It’s much easier for the Fed and the Treasury to create a false picture of a strong economy when they help build huge monopolies.

Five Biggest US Stocks Are Dwarfing The Rest Of The Stock Market (CNBC)

It’s no secret that a handful of tech giants have been dominating the stock market, but their leadership has reached a level that is raising eyebrows on Wall Street as being unsustainable. The top five U.S. companies — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook — now make up 18% of the total market capitalization of the S&P 500, the highest percentage in history, according to Morgan Stanley. “A ratio like this is unprecedented, including during the tech bubble,” Mike Wilson, the bank’s head of U.S. equity strategy, said in a note Sunday. “Capital concentration is following corporate inequality like never before.”

These mega tech firms have been the front-runners in this record-long bull market as investors bet on superior growth and dominant market share in their respective industries. They were the biggest contributors to the market’s historic gains last year and the trend shows no signs of stopping in 2020. However, multiple Wall Street strategists are sounding alarms on the increasing dominance of Big Tech, warning of a potential pullback in the stocks ahead. Apple’s weighting in the S&P 500 surpassed 4% in October, the sixth time the iPhone maker has crossed that threshold. But if history is any guide, it could be a ominous sign for the stock, according to Leuthold Group analyst Phil Segner.


He noted during the previous five times when Apple topped the 4% threshold, the stock underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 9% on average in the next 12 months. “With history as a guide, its most recent climb into the 4% Club looks like another selling opportunity,” Segner said in a note. Going back to 1990, only five stocks — Apple, Microsoft, Generic Electric, Cisco Systems and Exxon Mobil — have claimed more than 4% of the S&P 500, and their leader status has typically been short-lived, Segner noted. General Electric stayed the longest — 15 months — above the threshold, while Cisco only lasted a month, he said.

Apple and Microsoft, which surged 86% and 55% in 2019, respectively, together accounted for nearly 15% of the S&P 5002 s advance last year. No other stock even came close to their contribution. The megacap stocks are leading the market again in the new year. In fact, the 50 largest stocks in the S&P 500 are up the most this year with an average gain of 1.22%, according to Bespoke Investment Group. “The larger, the better so far in 2020,” Paul Hickey, Bespoke’s co-founder, said in a note Friday. “Market cap has seemingly been the most important factor in terms of performance so far this year.”

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Lap dogs.

Non-Commitment Probe Into Iran By France, Germany & UK ‘Groundless’ – Russia (RT)

The European trio’s accusation that Iran violates the key restrictions of the nuclear deal are unjustified, the Russian Foreign Ministry said urging the countries not to increase tensions that could endanger the pact. Paris, Berlin and London officially reported Iran’s non-compliance with the 2015 agreement to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism. This step could potentially lead to the UN Security Council being forced to decide on whether or not to bring back sanctions against Tehran. “We can’t rule out that the ill-considered actions of the European trio will lead to a new escalation around the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and make the return to the implementation of the ‘nuclear deal’ in its initially agreed format unachievable,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


Iran rolled back on its uranium enrichment constraints detailed in the international agreement earlier this month after one of its top military commanders, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in an American drone strike in Iraq. Tehran’s decision to put its commitments on hold was a response to the actions of the US, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reintroduced restrictions against Iran, the ministry reminded. However, the country keeps allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors to its nuclear sites – and “the transparency of the Iranian nuclear program has been one of the key clauses of the nuclear deal.”

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His days are counted.

Australia PM Backs Coal After BlackRock Quits (AFR)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected criticism of Australia’s $70 billion coal export industry and its links to global warming after the world’s largest fund manager announced it was quitting thermal coal. BlackRock is dumping more than half a billion dollars in thermal coal shares from all of its actively managed portfolios, as part of a more active global stance on climate change driven by chief executive Larry Fink. Asked about BlackRock’s announced withdrawal from thermal coal, Mr Morrison said the resources industry was “incredibly important to Australia” and that coal exports were worth about $70 billion a year. “This is important to so many communities across the country,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.


“Our government’s plan is to meet and beat our emissions reduction targets … without putting higher taxes on people and without putting up electricity prices and not pulling the rug from regional communities.” Mr Morrison famously showed off a lump of black coal during Parliament’s question time in 2017. Thermal coal, which is burnt to generate electricity, accounted for $26 billion in export income last financial year. This was a relatively small share of Australia’s total resource and energy export earnings forecast of $281 billion for 2019-20. Metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, delivered $44 billion in export revenue.

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China’s Catch 22: it has to open up if it wants to expand its economical role, but Xi doesn’t want the potential risk to his power.

“In principle, we support the rights and work of human rights defenders around the world.”. Yeah, just not in China.

‘Orwellian’ China Silencing Dissent At Home And Abroad – HRW Chief (G.)

The head of Human Rights Watch has accused the Chinese government of not only constructing “an Orwellian high-tech surveillance state” at home but using its growing economic clout to silence critics abroad. Kenneth Roth said on Tuesday that China was carrying out “the most intense attack on the global system for enforcing human rights since that system began to emerge in the mid-20th century”. He warned that if human rights weren’t defended, the world could face “a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors”, with a global rights system so weakened that it can no longer serve as a check on government repression.

Roth was speaking at the UN Correspondents Association in New York after being denied entry to Hong Kong, where he had been scheduled to release the rights group’s annual report. It begins with his keynote essay entitled China’s Global Threat to Human Rights. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said on Monday that: “It is China’s sovereignty to allow one’s entry or not.” He indicated that Human Rights Watch is among organisations that support and instigate “anti-China activists … to engage in radical violent crimes, and incite separatist activities hyping Hong Kong independence.” “These organisations deserve sanctions and must pay a price,” he said.


UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, asked on Tuesday about Roth’s denial of entry to Hong Kong, said: “In principle, we support the rights and work of human rights defenders around the world.” Chinese diplomat Xing Jisheng, who attended the UN press launch, spoke at the end and said the was report “very prejudicial”, saying it has “fabrications” and telling journalists “we completely reject the content”. In the essay, Roth said the Chinese Communist Party is “worried that permitting political freedom would jeopardise its grasp on power” and “is running scared of its own people”. “The consequence under President Xi Jinping is China’s most pervasive and brutal oppression in decades,” he said.

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Not at all surprising, but first time I see this confirmed: a new leadership team who had previously worked on Boeing’s military projects began overseeing work on the commercial airliner.

Former Boeing Quality Manager: Fly Something Else (Big Think)

Slipping through the cracks of the Boeing controversy – which has taken on new twists and turns almost daily – were comments we recently uncovered by a former Boeing quality manager, who said last month that he thinks Boeing’s problems aren’t just limited to the 737. John Barnett was a quality manager for Boeing for 30 years before he was transferred to South Carolina to work on the 787, according to Big Think. It was there that a new leadership team who had previously worked on Boeing’s military projects began overseeing work on the commercial airliner. Barnett says that team lowered safety standards significantly. He stated: “They started pressuring us to not document defects, to work outside the procedures, to allow defective material to be installed without being corrected.

“They started bypassing procedures and not maintaining configurement control of airplanes, not maintaining control of non-conforming parts — they just wanted to get the planes pushed out the door and make the cash register ring.” At first, it was just administrative issues, Barnett said. But then, it got worse. “Over time it got worse and worse. They began to ignore defective parts installed on the planes and basic issues related to aircraft safety,” he said. According to Barnett, one audit uncovered that 25% of oxygen masks didn’t work. Defective parts were getting lost in the system before being discovered flying on aircraft. Barnett says he remembered “several defective bulkheads being installed without having been repaired.”


He also said that there was an issue with metal slivers. 3-inch-long slivers of razor-sharp metal would fall into areas where planes have sensitive wiring and electronics, he said. He continued: “That surface below the floor board is where all of your flight control wires are, that’s where all of your electronic equipment is. It controls systems on the airplane, it controls the power of the airplane. All of your electronic equipment is down where all of these metal slivers are falling.” He said these slivers would cause shorts and fires at the plant. As planes vibrate, these metal slivers work their way into wire bundles and can cause issues during flights, he said. Barnett filed complaints with multiple members of the Boeing team, which he said led to his reassignment to a department that isolated him.

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The military division will have to make up the losses.

Delta is surging because it doesn’t fly any 737MAX.

Boeing Sees Lowest Orders In Decades (BBC)

Boeing has reported its worst annual orders in at least two decades – as it remains in crisis over its 737 Max model. The company also said deliveries of its planes slumped to an 11-year low last year. It means the US firm has lost its title as the world’s biggest plane maker to European rival Airbus. The 737 Max has been grounded since March after two crashes in which 346 people were killed. Boeing said net orders after cancellations for 2019 totalled just 54 planes. That compares with 893 the previous year. At the same time deliveries fell by 53% to 380 planes, the lowest number since 2007. The company last month halted production of what had been its best-selling commercial airliner.


The grounding of the 737 Max means it is impossible for the firm to deliver the planes to customers. In comparison, Boeing’s main rival Airbus said earlier this month that it delivered a record 863 planes in 2019 and racked up a net 768 orders after cancellations. A bright spot for the Chicago-based plane maker was a record number of deliveries of 787 Dreamliners in the last three months of 2019. The company delivered 45 of the wide-body passenger jets, which first went into service in 2011. Boeing’s new chief executive David Calhoun took the helm of the manufacturer on Monday. Mr Calhoun said he is “confident in the future” of the firm, telling staff his “primary focus” will be returning the 737 Max to the skies.

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Plus Virgin Australia, Norwegian Air, Jet Airways, keep ’em coming.

Malaysia Airlines Suspends Boeing 737 MAX Deliveries Due To Grounding (R.)

Malaysia Airlines said on Wednesday it had suspended deliveries of 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets, citing the plane’s delayed return to service since it was grounded last year following two fatal crashes. The decision represents another setback for Boeing, which on Tuesday reported its worst annual net orders in decades, along with its lowest number of plane deliveries in 11 years, as the grounding of the 737 MAX saw it fall far behind main competitor Airbus. “In view of the production stoppage and the delayed return to service of the 737-MAX, Malaysia Airlines has suspended the delivery of its orders,” the airline said in an email, without saying when it wanted the deliveries to resume.

“As there is no clarity yet from various authorities on its return to service, our technical due diligence is still ongoing,” Malaysia Airlines said. The airline said it had previously planned to have five 737 MAX jets delivered this year, the first in July. Last year, its chief executive had said it was possible the craft’s introduction to service could slide beyond July. Boeing said it was sorry for the disruption the 737 MAX situation had caused Malaysia Airlines. “We are working to support them and all of our customers in every way possible to ensure complete confidence in the 737 MAX and a safe return to commercial flight,” Boeing said in a statement.


Analysts said cash-strapped carriers like Malaysia Airlines that over-ordered planes could take advantage of the 737 MAX grounding to negotiate with Boeing to restructure their orders. Virgin Australia said last year it would delay taking the first deliveries of 737 MAX jets for nearly two years to reduce capital spending. Norwegian Air said last year its Dublin-based leasing subsidiary had reached an agreement with Boeing to postpone delivery of 14 737 MAX planes that were originally due in 2020 and 2021. Boeing on Tuesday reported a net negative of 183 orders for the 737 MAX in 2019 including cancellations, but many were associated with the collapse of a major customer, India’s Jet Airways.

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Jan 072020
 


Jack Delano Worker inspecting locomotive, Proviso Yard 1942

 

China Pledges ‘Prudence’ In Diversifying Foreign Exchange Reserves (SCMP)
Experts Urge Fed To Consider Radical Approaches To Fight Next Recession (MW)
Iran ‘Not Interested’ In Having Nukes – UN Envoy (RT)
McConnell Urges Lawmakers To Wait For Facts On Soleimani Killing (R.)
McConnell Has The Votes To Block Democrats’ Impeachment Witness Demands (Hill)
A Very Real Scenario Of A Protracted, Bizarro World Democratic Primary (Pol.)
China Must Cancel New Coal Plants To Achieve Climate Goals (R.)
American Airlines Reaches Secret Settlement With Boeing Over 737 MAX (R.)
Chelsea Clinton Reaps $9 Million From Corporate Board Position (Hill)
Australia To Kill Thousands Of Camels As They Drink Too Much Water (Hill)
Australian Owners Say Cultural Burning Saved Their Property (Age)
New Neural Activity Suggests Our Brains Even More Powerful Than We Think (RT)

 

 

Read between the lines. China suffers from capital flight. It can’t keep the dollars at home. But sure, it’s tempting to call this diversifying.

China Pledges ‘Prudence’ In Diversifying Foreign Exchange Reserves (SCMP)

China will “steadily and prudently” diversify its US$3.1 trillion foreign exchange reserve holdings, the government agency managing the assets pledged in its 2020 work plan, suggesting a subtle policy change in the way Beijing uses its hard currency holdings. The careful approach would “promote the diversified use … and ensure the safety, flow, and preservation and appreciation of foreign exchange reserve assets,” China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement published on Sunday, which summarised the results of its annual work conference last week. It is the first time that SAFE, headed by Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, has called for “prudence” in diversifying China’s reserve assets in its annual work conference statement.

The regulator also vowed to improve its management of reserves “with Chinese characteristics”, although it did not explain what that meant. SAFE added it would prevent risks caused by external shocks endangering “national economic and financial security” in 2020. China’s diversification strategy for its foreign exchange reserves – which generally indicates a reduction in holdings of US government bonds for other riskier assets – has gained speed in the past decade after the creation of a separate sovereign wealth fund in 2007. SAFE has created a special office of lending dollars to institutions like the China Development Bank to finance overseas projects and launched a number of overseas offices for investment.

In its 2018 annual report, SAFE revealed for the first time the share of US dollar denominated assets in its reserves portfolio for the period 2005 to 2014. Dollar assets accounted for 58 per cent of China’s total reserves by 2014 – the most recent data provided – down from 79 per cent in 2005, the report showed. By international standards, the share of US dollar assets in China’s reserves in 2014 was below average. The latest data from the International Monetary Fund showed that 61.8 per cent of the world’s reserves assets were denominated in US dollars at the end of the third quarter last year.

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Ha ha! Larry Summers as the expert.

Experts Urge Fed To Consider Radical Approaches To Fight Next Recession (MW)

Two monetary-policy experts, contradicting former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, said they wanted the central bank to consider new “radical” approaches to fight the next recession, out of a concern that existing tools might not be as effective as they were in the last crisis. In a Sunday morning panel at the American Economic Association annual meeting, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the Fed’s QE program, in which the central bank would buy government bonds to bring down long-term rates, might not pack so much punch because the 10-year Treasury note is already close to 1%. “I’m less optimistic about the incremental efficacy of QE,” Summers said.

“I don’t think pushing 10-year rates down from 100 basis points to 50 basis points or 20 basis points has [a] significant incremental effect.” In a speech to the AEA on Saturday night, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said he thought the Fed had to the tools, including QE, to successfully combat a severe downturn. Bernanke said he thought QE, and verbal guidance from the Fed, would be equivalent to a 300-basis-point easing of the central bank’s benchmark federal funds rate. Adam Posen, a former policy maker at the Bank of England, urged the Fed to consider “radical” approaches, including a new tool called “yield-curve control” to fight the next downturn.

The Bank of Japan has already been using yield-curve control since 2016 to fight deflation. “The BOJ has gotten it right. Yield-curve control is a success story,” Posen said. Under this policy, last used in the U.S. during World War II, the Fed would announce it intended to peg the 10-year Treasury rate at a specific low rate. Low rates would help spur activity. And with the Fed guaranteeing low rates, Congress could boost government spending. “It enables fiscal policy, it doesn’t judge it,” Posen said. It was used during World War II precisely because the government needed to boost fiscal spending.

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A consistent point of view. The west makes sure nobody here believes it, but Iran has said the same thing for many years. It’s a religious issue. And just because we warp Christian values to allow for the inclusion of nukes, doesn’t mean they should do the same with the Islam.

Iran ‘Not Interested’ In Having Nukes – UN Envoy (RT)

Prohibited by the supreme leader’s decree, nuclear weapons are inconsistent with Iran’s defensive doctrine, the country’s UN envoy said after Tehran announced the suspension of limits under the 2015 deal. Iran’s decision to lift restrictions on uranium enrichment – after a US drone strike killed General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport – made headlines in Western media, with some speculating that the Islamic Republic could be seeking nuclear weapons. However, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, reassured the public that this is not the case – even though the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is now in jeopardy.


There is “no place for nuclear weapons in Iran’s defensive doctrine,” he told PBS Newshour, adding that the country is also abiding by the Non-Proliferation Treaty – a 1968 pact that aims for nuclear disarmament and sets standards for arms control. We are not interested in having a nuclear weapon, because we have a very clear, clear-cut religious edict by our supreme leader prohibiting nuclear weapons. Tehran has meticulously followed the provisions of the nuclear deal even, though it has received “almost nothing in return,” Takht-Ravanchi said. And while the European parties to the JCPOA (from which Tehran expected to receive benefits) “didn’t act in accordance with the deal,” Iran has chosen not to abandon it completely. “If Iran is given the benefits of the deal, we will go back to the full implementation of it,” the ambassador stated.

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That’s not how social media work these days, Mitch. Everyone needs to form an opinion within seconds.

McConnell Urges Lawmakers To Wait For Facts On Soleimani Killing (R.)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday U.S. lawmakers should wait for the facts before criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to kill top Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad last week. “We can and we should learn more about the intelligence and thinking that led to this operation and the plan to defend American personnel and interests in the wake of it,” McConnell said at the U.S. Capitol after lawmakers returned from winter break. “Unfortunately, in this toxic political environment, some of our colleagues rushed to blame our own government before even knowing the facts. Rushed to split hairs about intelligence before being briefed on it.”

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So that’s that?!

McConnell Has The Votes To Block Democrats’ Impeachment Witness Demands (Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes to quash Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer’s (N.Y.) demands to require additional witnesses testify at the start of President Trump’s impeachment trial. Two key moderate senators, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), on Monday evening backed McConnell’s position that the Senate should follow the precedent of the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial and defer until later in the process the question of calling additional witnesses. Collins told reporters at Monday evening votes that the Senate should follow the 1999 precedent and consider the question of subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents only after House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team present their opening arguments.


She noted in a statement Monday that then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) adopted a resolution in 1999 to set out the rules for the proceeding that didn’t include any agreement for specific witnesses to testify. “The process moved to a period during which the Senate debated and voted that three witnesses should be deposed. I believe that this process — the Clinton approach — worked well,” she said. Murkowski also urged colleagues to follow the path laid out during the Clinton trial. “I think we need to do what they did the last time they did this unfortunate process and that was to go through a first phase and then they reassessed after that,” she told reporters.

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A whole new game. Maybe Bloomberg still has a shot. But really, the time between Super Tuesday and the elections should be used to form a united front. Not going to happen. Trump is the only thing that keeps the Dems together.

A Very Real Scenario Of A Protracted, Bizarro World Democratic Primary (Pol.)

Democrats are now beginning to confront a very real scenario where the nomination — and the winnowing — will not be decided in states where campaigns have been plowing ground for more than a year, but in places and calendar dates so deep into primary season that until recently they’ve received almost no attention at all. The Iowa field is bunched together with little daylight between a handful of well-funded candidates. Each of the four early voting states continues to present the prospect of a different winner. And, at the end of that gauntlet on Super Tuesday, a free-spending billionaire — Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor — is waiting to challenge whichever candidate or candidates emerge.

It’s a unique set of circumstances that has the campaigns — and party officials — scrambling to make sense of the reconfigured landscape. Looking at the possibility of a still-contested nomination even after Super Tuesday’s massive delegate allocation on March 3, Washington state Democratic Party chair Tina Podlodowski said mid-March will “probably matter more than ever before.” One strategist working with a presidential candidate said, “We’ve never had a situation where we get past Super Tuesday and there’s still five people in the field,” predicting that possibility this year. “We’re in bizarro world here,” the strategist said.

[..] “Super Tuesday is typically a wild scramble, and anybody who’s still surviving is usually limping a little bit in terms of money. They’re spread thin in terms of where to go,” said Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist. “Campaigns can’t pay to have simultaneous overhead in all of the early states and all of the next round of states with quality people. So they put all of their best people in early states and then cut and paste them into the next states.” For later states, said Matt Bennett, a veteran of the 2004 presidential campaign and a co-founder of the center-left group Third Way, “The strategy is wait and pray. There is no other strategy … I just think you basically ignore it, and then they’ll frantically run around in those states for a week.”

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Look at per capita emissions. In the end that’s all that counts. Now imagine Europe, China and the US at the same levels as India. That’s our future.

China Must Cancel New Coal Plants To Achieve Climate Goals (R.)

China must end the construction of all new coal-fired power plants in order to meet long-term climate goals in the most economically feasible manner, according to a study co-authored by a government-backed research institute. China’s energy strategy over the next decade is under close scrutiny as it aims to bring climate warming carbon emissions to a peak by 2030 and fulfill a pledge made as part of the 2015 Paris agreement. But with economic growth at its slowest pace in nearly 30 years, Beijing has continued to approve new coal-fired plants, raising fears the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gas is backtracking on its commitments.

Beijing is capable of phasing out coal to help meet a global target to keep temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, but only if it embarks on a “structured and sustainable” closure strategy to minimize the economic impact, according to the study by Chinese government researchers and the University of Maryland Center for Global Sustainability published on Monday. The report, which evaluated more than 1,000 existing coal-fired power plants, said China must first end new construction and then rapidly close older and inefficient plants. As much as 112 gigawatts (GW) does not meet environmental standards and could be shut down immediately, it said.

China currently has over 1,000 GW of coal-fired power, accounting for about 60% of the country’s total installed generation capacity. “Well-designed policies can help lower the cost of coal-power deep decarbonization,” said Jiang Kejun, research professor with the Chinese government-backed Energy Research Institute, one of the report’s authors. [..] Beijing promised last year to show the “highest possible ambition” when drawing up new climate pledges for the coming decade, but it has built 42.9 GW of new coal-fired power capacity since the start of 2018, with another 121 GW under construction.

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We need a whistleblower.

American Airlines Reaches Secret Settlement With Boeing Over 737 MAX (R.)

American Airlines said on Monday it had reached a confidential agreement with Boeing to address damages the airline incurred in 2019 due to the ongoing grounding of its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. American, the largest U.S. airline, said the compensation will be received over several years. The airline will use more than $30 million of the compensation for the airline’s 2019 employee profit-sharing program. American said it does not expect any material financial impact of the agreement to be realized in its fourth-quarter 2019 earnings and it will continue talks regarding compensation for damages related to the MAX grounding beyond 2019. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines’ 28,000 flight attendants, said it welcomed the news about compensation, and was evaluating the details.

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Et tu, Hunter?

Chelsea Clinton Reaps $9 Million From Corporate Board Position (Hill)

Chelsea Clinton has reaped $9 million in compensation since 2011 for serving on the board of an internet investment company, according to Barron’s, the financial publication. Barron’s reported Sunday that Clinton has profited handsomely as a board member for IAC/InterActiveCorp, a media and internet investment company that has an ownership stake in 150 well-known brands, such as Vimeo, Tinder, Angie’s List and Home Advisor. Clinton, the only child of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has served on IAC’s board since 2011 and receives an annual $50,000 retainer and $250,000 worth of restricted IAC stock units, Barron’s reports.


She reported owning $8.95 million worth of IAC stock to the Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of December. Barron’s notes that IAC’s stock has risen 89 percent, 50 percent and 36 percent in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, a far steeper rise than the broader stock market. Clinton’s public profile has proved a valuable commodity. She earned an annual salary of $600,000 working as a special correspondent for NBC News in 2013 and part of 2014. Clinton was named to the board of Expedia Group in March of 2017, a position that typically earned $250,000 in 2015, according to a report at the time by The Guardian. Both IAC and Expedia are controlled by Barry Diller, the business and television mogul, who is a friend of Hillary Clinton.

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It’s all their fault, of course.

Australia To Kill Thousands Of Camels As They Drink Too Much Water (Hill)

Officials will kill thousands of camels in Australia as they drink too much water amid the wildfires. Leaders in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in northwest Australia will send helicopters to kill up to 10,000 camels in a five-day campaign starting Wednesday, The Australian reported. The order to kill comes as a drought makes the camels more desperate for water, causing chaos in local communities. Marita Baker, an APY executive board member, told the newspaper that the camels were causing problems in her community of Kanypi. “We have been stuck in stinking hot and uncomfortable conditions, feeling unwell, because the camels are coming in and knocking down fences, getting in around the houses and trying to get to water through air conditioners,’’ she said.


The State Department for Environment and Water will send the helicopters up. The camels’ bodies will be burnt or buried if they are accessible, but in remote areas, their bodies will be left. The camels are also being removed due to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, since camels emit one ton of carbon dioxide per year. The animal’s population also doubles every nine years if not regulated. The National Feral Camel Management Plan estimated about one million camels lived in three states and the Northern territory in 2010, according to the newspaper. One million camels is the equivalent of having 400,000 more cars on the roads, Tim Moore, chief executive of carbon farming specialists RegenCo, told the newspaper.

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Think the white Aussies will change their ways now?

Australian Owners Say Cultural Burning Saved Their Property (Age)

Aboriginal cultural fire practitioner Dennis Barber led a series of cultural burns on six hectares of bushland at Ngurrumpaa in 2015 and 2016 – the first burns in the area since a wildfire swept through in 1994. “There’s nothing more powerful than doing it and feeling like you’re doing the right thing, and seeing the results,” he said. Unlike hazard reduction burning, cultural burns are cooler and slower moving, usually no taller than knee height, leaving tree canopies untouched and allowing animals to take refuge from the flames. Small fires are lit with matches, instead of drip torches, and burn in a circular pattern. Mr Barber says the ancient practice is informed by thousands of years of traditional knowledge.

“It’s more than just putting the fire on the ground – it’s actually knowing the country, knowing what’s there … the soil types, the geology, the trees, the animals, the breeding times of animals, the flowering times of plants,” he said. The timing and frequency of burns depend on the environmental “system”. A former park ranger with 15 years’ professional firefighting experience, Mr Barber says he had a “light bulb moment” at a cultural burning workshop with Indigenous elders in far north Queensland in 2010. “Everything that I’d been doing as a professional firefighter, thinking that I was doing the right thing, was wrong, because I viewed fire in the landscape totally differently after that week,” he said.

“That’s where I got the bug to come back and actually spread that knowledge and see it happening in other parts of Australia.” The Wiradjuri man started Koori Country Firesticks in 2016 to promote cultural burning as an alternative to hazard reduction techniques in NSW. The organisation has culturally burnt around 50 hectares of land across the Hunter Valley and Sydney, mainly on private properties at the request of owners. But the 55-year-old has met plenty of resistance from governments, professional firefighters, national parks and even ecologists. “It’s been a little bit frustrating, but I’ve just decided I’m not going to let that stand in the way anymore,” he said.

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Wait. If our brains are indeed more powerful than we think, why are we not already thinking that?

New Neural Activity Suggests Our Brains Even More Powerful Than We Think (RT)

Scientists have discovered a new form of brain activity related to how cells process information. The incredible find suggests our brains might be even more powerful than previously thought, according to the team. The new research, conducted by German and Greek scientists and published in Science, centers on signals sent and received by the ends of neurons, known as ‘dendrites.’ The information passed by these parts of the brain is key to how the organ decides subsequent actions. Working with slices of human brain tissue, the team found unexpectedly complex electrical activity in the dendrites of human pyramidal neurons.


Modeling this activity then showed that single neurons were capable of solving computational problems which were thought to need a lot more brain power. “The dendrites are central to understanding the brain because they are at the core of what determines the computational power of single neurons,”said study co-author Matthew Larkum, a neuroscientist at Humboldt University of Berlin. “There was a ‘eureka’ moment when we saw the dendritic action potentials for the first time.” Little is currently known about how dendrites operate in other species, or if this kind of high-computational activity is uniquely human. However, it’s incredibly difficult to record dendrite activity in humans or animals while they’re alive, and Larkum says more research is needed to fill in these blanks.

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Nov 212019
 
 November 21, 2019  Posted by at 9:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Dorothea Lange Missouri drought refugees. Broke, baby sick, car trouble.’ U.S. 99 near Tracy, California 1937

 

Ukraine Expands Probe Into Head Of Firm That Employed Hunter Biden (RT)
Ukrainian MP Claims $7.4 Billion Obama-Linked Laundering (ZH)
Story About Migrant Children Scrubbed As UN Said It Happened Under Obama (RT)
China Says Will Strive To Reach ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal With US (R.)
Do Not Despair of This Election (Craig Murray)
‘Downward Mobility’ A Reality For Many British Youngsters Today (G.)
A Deadly Game of Chicken in Iraq and Lebanon (Cambanis)
Why Won’t Carrie Lam Allow An Independent Inquiry? (SCMP)
Jeffrey Epstein Guests Were Secretly Filmed In Every Bedroom And Toilet (Sun)
China’s Appetite For Coal Power Returns Despite Climate Pledge (G.)

 

 

Fire the prosecutor!

Ukraine Expands Probe Into Head Of Firm That Employed Hunter Biden (RT)

Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, is mentioned in several probes relating to Burisma’s founder, the Ukrainian prosecutor has said, as leaked documents allege that he was part of a money-laundering scheme. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said that a long-running probe into Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma natural gas company, has been expanded to include allegations of large-scale embezzlement of government funds. Hunter Biden sat on the firm’s board of directors. The on-and-off investigation into alleged shady dealings at Burisma was galvanized in August, when Ryaboshapka ordered a review of criminal cases involving the company.

Since the start of an ongoing impeachment inquiry into whether US President Donald Trump offered his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky a ‘quid pro quo’ of military aid in return for reopening an investigation into Biden, the case has become a critical part of US political discourse. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ryaboshapka said that he did not have any contact with US officials, and was in no way “asked” or “pressured” into going after the Biden family. The prosecutor said that there was no “Burisma case” per se, but noted that investigators have been handling 13 cases related to Zlochevsky. When asked if any of those pertained to Burisma’s legal woes, Ryaboshapka spilled some beans, revealing that the company’s name, as well as that of the younger Biden, have popped up in “several” of those cases.

While the prosecutor has yet to provide any additional details as to why Biden’s name was included in the papers, in a separate press conference two Ukrainian MPs claimed they had obtained documents which detail prosecutors’ suspicions that the son of the US presidential hopeful and other “consultants” were paid opulent salaries with money “obtained through criminal means,” which was then laundered with the help of Zlochevsky. [..] The case against Zlochevsky, who was also Ukraine’s minister for ecology and natural resources from July 2010 until April 2012, has now stalled, with authorities unable to locate him. Ryaboshapka confirmed on Wednesday that the ex-minister has been put on a wanted persons list.

Read more …

Where and when corruption rules. But don’t investigate, you’d be meddling in the US election. Can’t have that.

Ukrainian MP Claims $7.4 Billion Obama-Linked Laundering (ZH)

A Ukrainian MP says a document leaked from the Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General contains claims against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky, as well as Hunter Biden and his partners – who allegedly received $16.5 million for their ‘services’ – according to Alexander Dubinsky of the ruling Servant of the People Party. Dubinsky made the claim in a Wednesday press conference, citing materials from an investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma. “Zlochevsky was charged with this new accusation by the Office of the Prosecutor General but the press ignored it,” said the MP. “It was issued on November 14.”

“The son of Vice-President Joe Biden was receiving payment for his services, with money raised through criminal means and money laundering,” he then said, adding “Biden received money that did not come from the company’s successful operation but rather from money stolen from citizens.” According to Dubinsky, Hunter Biden’s income from Burisma is a “link that reveals how money is siphoned [from Ukraine],” and how Biden is just one link in the chain of Zlochevsky’s money laundering operation which included politicians from the previous Yanukovich administration who continued their schemes under his successor, President Pyotr Poroshenko.

“We will reveal the information about the financial pyramid scheme that was created in Ukraine and developed by everyone beginning with Yanukovich and later by Poroshenko. This system is still working under the guidance of the current managerial board of the National Bank, ensuring that money flows in the interest of people who stole millions of dollars, took it offshore and bought Ukrainian public bonds turning them into the Ukrainian sovereign debt,” said Dubinsky, adding that “in both cases of Yanukovich and Poroshenko, Ms. Gontareva and companies she controls were investing the stolen funds.”

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This is how we roll.

What the Trump impeachment inquiry really shows is that elites on both ‘sides’ – Republican and Democrat, the Giulianis and Bidens of this world – are elbow-deep in money-laundering the plunder of the planet’s last resources. There are *no* good guys here – Jonathan Cook

Story About Migrant Children Scrubbed As UN Said It Happened Under Obama (RT)

Several news agencies have opted to delete a story stating that 100,000 migrant children were detained in US border facilities after the United Nations clarified that the number is years old, predating the age of Trump. After media outlets published stories trumpeting the 100,000 figure earlier this week, based on the word of UN refugee specialist Manfred Nowak, the expert was forced to correct his initial statement on Tuesday. As it turns out, the figure Nowak cited to reporters dates back to 2015, meaning the dramatic number of detentions he revealed occurred under the watch of President Barack Obama, rather than Donald Trump, who is often assailed by progressive critics over his border policies.


Instead of issuing corrections, however, Nowak’s clarification prompted several outlets to withdraw their stories altogether, including Reuters and AFP, who both said no replacement story would be forthcoming. Once responsibility for the vast number of detentions was passed from Trump to Obama, however, Nowak decided to clarify further that the 100,000 figure referred to the cumulative number of migrant children detained at any point in 2015, rather than all at one time, another caveat he apparently forgot to explain to reporters previously. Despite frequent and vocal criticisms of President Trump’s border policies, his predecessor’s approach to immigration was not entirely different, even earning Obama the moniker of “Deporter in Chief.” During his first term, President Obama deported some 400,000 migrants each year, setting a record for himself in 2012 at over 409,000. President Trump, meanwhile, has deported fewer than 300,000 each year since taking office in 2017.

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I have the impression they make these statements every now and then just to make markets go up, not because they’re real.

China Says Will Strive To Reach ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal With US (R.)

China will strive to reach an initial trade agreement with the United States as both sides keep communication channels open, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, in an attempt to allay fears talks might be unraveling. China is willing to work with the United States to resolve each other’s core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and will try hard to reach a “phase one” deal, Gao Feng, spokesman at the ministry, told reporters. “This is in line with the interests of both China and the United States, and of the world,” Gao said. Economists warn that the prolonged trade dispute between China and the United States is escalating risks to the global economy by disrupting supply chains, discouraging investment and dampening business confidence.


Completion of a phase one deal could slide into next year, trade experts and people close to the White House told Reuters previously, as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks and the U.S. administration counters with heightened demands of its own. Officials from Beijing had suggested that Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump might sign a deal in early December. Some experts said the next date to watch was Dec. 15, when U.S. tariffs on about $156 billion in Chinese goods are set to take effect, including holiday gift items such as electronics and Christmas decorations.

Read more …

I’m tired of the Brexit issue, but I like Craig Murray, so here.

Do Not Despair of This Election (Craig Murray)

I have had moments in the last few days which led me to feel pretty hopeless. Perhaps the worst was in the ITV debate when Corbyn was roundly jeered by a substantial section of the audience for stating that climate change impacted hardest on the poorest people in the poorest countries. That encapsulated for me the current far right political climate in England, dominated by boorish, selfish stupidity. I do not come from a left wing political background and I have never subscribed to the romanticisation of “the people”. Years living in the UKIP heartland of Ramsgate made me realise that “the people” en masse can be very unpleasant and racist indeed. I have always for that reason eschewed direct democracy and subscribed to a very Burkean view.

That however falls down when, as now, you have a political class who are becoming even more base and vicious than the most unpleasant mob. But the growl of that studio audience, infuriated that Corbyn cared about the foreign poor, is a warning klaxon of the state of English society. A close second despair-inducing moment was Jo Swinson’s interview following the debate when, asked if she would press the nuclear button, she replied without a millisecond of hesitation: “yes”. As I reported last week, when asked at the Lib Dem campaign launch why she would not put Corbyn into Downing St in any circumstances, she had instantly replied that he would not be prepared to instruct submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons. sThe woman is deranged.

I come from a Liberal tradition. Probably the two books which most influence my thinking are On Liberty by John Stuart Mill and Imperialism, A Study by J A Hobson. The line of British liberal thinking that comes down through writers including Hazlitt, Shelley, Byron, Carlyle, Mill, Hobson, Russell and Keynes is a tradition which looks set to disappear from British political thought. That makes me horribly sad. One thing I am sure of is that Swinson has read none of them. That the Lib Dems had moved economically so far to the right was already worrying me. Their completely illiberal opposition to Scottish Independence upset me still further. But that the party to which I belonged for 30 years and which was once led by my friend, the gentle and wise Charlie Kennedy, could now be led by an arm whirling, narcissistic, female version of Dr Strangelove, is beyond my wildest nightmares.

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And these are still the good times.

‘Downward Mobility’ A Reality For Many British Youngsters Today (G.)

Downward mobility – the phenomenon of children doing less well than their parents – will become a reality for young people today unless society makes dramatic changes, according to two of the UK’s leading experts on social policy. The UK is among the worst of the developed countries for social mobility. It appears increasingly unlikely that people will be able to escape economic disadvantages linked to their background. However, in a paper published by the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin warn that even the “dream of just doing better, let alone climbing the social ladder, is disappearing”.


Elliot Major is chief executive of the Sutton Trust, a UK foundation improving social mobility, and an adviser to the Office for Fair Access, while Machin is a professor of economics at the LSE and director of the CEP. Downward mobility is already in evidence in home ownership, according to research the pair have done for their book, What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Social Mobility?, which is due to be published in 2020. The pair found that people aged 42 in 2012, with parents who did not own their own homes, were 15% less likely to own a home than those who were 42 in 2000. “Thus the generational divide in the housing market has worsened significantly as intergenerational home ownership mobility fell,” Elliot Major said.

Read more …

I like this story, but I don’t see why the author limits himself to those two countries.

A Deadly Game of Chicken in Iraq and Lebanon (Cambanis)

The popular revolts in Iraq and Lebanon may be against different governments, but they represent a linked challenge to despotism and regime violence in the Arab world. And both share a central element: They are quintessential showdowns. Because the regimes refuse to consider incremental reform, the only way forward is to win. Defeat, for either side, will be absolute. Gradual reform might be the best theoretical outcome for these troubled states, but, alas, it isn’t on offer. To that end, demonstrators have put their lives on the line for months on end to demand change. It’s a risky move. They’re making it impossible for the ruling clique to continue its extractive rule, leaving it with only two choices: destroy the demonstrations, or change their ways.

But the demonstrators are using the only method available, short of resorting to an armed rebellion or a coup, to resist predatory regimes that foreclose any reasonable attempt at incremental or democratic reform. In both cases, the popular movements have internalized some of the lessons of the Arab revolts that came before: Issue concrete demands, pay attention to the national political narrative, try to persuade the wider public, and innovate tactics in order to maintain momentum. (Unfortunately, they’re less clear on the benefits of naming leaders and contesting hard-power institutions.) Regimes have studied the other revolts too, and as a result have opted to use force from the get-go—in Iraq’s case, lethal force. If the protests subside or fracture, the ruling authorities will use all the tools at their disposal to destroy them.

The zero-sum nature of the revolts stems from the recalcitrance of the regimes. They are unable to reform even slightly, because their entire system is built around extraction, rather than governance. Traditionally, even a corrupt regime benefits from economic growth—there’s more to steal. But the regimes in Iraq and Lebanon have opted to rely on mainline extortion and Ponzi schemes. Even disruption and collapse that harm the population can benefit the rulers. The governors no longer share common interests with the governed. That disconnect fuels the popular desire for a radical overhaul of the system.

Read more …

Carrie Lam has nothing to say. Beijing rubbishing the High Court ruling on face masks made that clear – again.

Why Won’t Carrie Lam Allow An Independent Inquiry? (SCMP)

In the street a few days ago, a young woman approached me with a simple question, “Mrs Chan, what can be done?” How I wish I had an answer or, rather, how I wish I had an answer that our Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her team of advisers would act on. The Hong Kong government is effectively dead in the water, unable to either do what must be done to defuse the crisis, or convince its masters in Beijing that clamping down harder on the protests is not a solution. After more than five months of increasingly violent unrest, there is not one scintilla of evidence to support this strategy. On the contrary, it is clear that anger at and, in some cases, downright hatred of the police has been the trigger for protesters’ more extreme reactions.


There is much talk of the need for dialogue. But just as you need two to tango, dialogue requires the participation of two parties at least willing in principle to work to find some common ground on which to build reconciliation, something that is currently sorely lacking. The shocking escalation in violence that we have witnessed over the past two weeks underlines the urgency for both sides to step back from the brink, before further deaths and serious injuries occur. The wanton destruction of our campuses, railway stations and shopping malls, the blocking of key motorways and attacks on ordinary citizens simply trying to get to work are not just unacceptable, they are becoming counterproductive.

Read more …

That was not obvious yet?

Jeffrey Epstein Guests Were Secretly Filmed In Every Bedroom And Toilet (Sun)

Jeffrey Epstein’s guests were secretly filmed in every bedroom and toilet of his New York City home, one of his accusers has claimed. Maria Farmer alleges she was abused by the disgraced paedo when she was a 26-year-old aspiring model in 1996. The now 49-year-old told CBS This Morning how Epstein’s’ home was under constant TV surveillance. She told co-host Anthony Mason how Epstein showed her the ‘media room’. Maria said: “The main thing he did when I walked in and thought was interesting, he showed me where the men monitoring everything were. “So if you’re facing the house, there’s a window on the right that’s barred – that’s the room, the ‘media room’ is what he called it.

“And so there was a door that looked like an invisible door with all this limestone and everything and you push it and you go in and I saw all the cameras. She then points to how she remembers the televisions were stack on top of each other. Maria said: “What it was – was like old televisions basically, like stacked.” “They were monitors inside this cabinet and there were men sitting here and I looked on the cameras and I saw toilet, toilet, bed, bed, toilet, bed. “And I was like I’m never going to use the restroom here and I am never going to sleep here.” In the same interview, Maria labelled Prince Andrew “revolting and disgusting” over his BBC Newsnight interview.

After watching the Duke of York’s interview about his links with his paedo pal Epstein, Maria said of the prince: “He is revolting and disgusting. Shame on you! “I would like to know why is his memory so poor? Does he really believe that we can think that at his age he forgets these things?”

Read more …

All China’s ever done is to pay lip service to the issue. Most of those new coal plants have been in the planning for a long time.

China’s Appetite For Coal Power Returns Despite Climate Pledge (G.)

China’s growing appetite for new coal-fired power stations has outstripped plant closures in the rest of the world since the start of last year, data shows. Elsewhere countries reduced their capacity by 8GW in the 18 months to June because old plants were retired faster than new ones were built. But over the same period China increased its capacity by 42.9GW despite a global move towards cleaner energy sources and a pledge to limit the use of coal. Christine Shearer, an analyst at the NGO Global Energy Monitor, said: “China’s proposed coal expansion is so far out of alignment with the Paris agreement that it would put the necessary reductions in coal power out of reach, even if every other country were to completely eliminate its coal fleet.”

More than 30 countries plan to phase out coal-fired power to help reduce carbon emissions and keep global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. The UK has just five coal-fired power stations, with one in south Wales scheduled to close next year and two more to be converted to gas within the next two years. Global Energy Monitor said the gulf between China and other countries was on track to widen as Beijing pursued plans to build more new plants than the rest of the world combined. China is also helping to finance a quarter of all the new coal projects in the rest of the world, including in South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

China’s coal investments, including domestic projects, mean it is backing more than half of all global coal power capacity under development. The country has a pipeline of 147GW of coal plants that are either under construction or suspension but are likely to be revived, the report says. This is more than all existing coal plants in the EU combined and almost 50% higher than the 105GW of capacity planned in the rest of the world.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

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May 062019
 


Gustave Courbet The man made mad by fear 1844

 

If I’ve said once that those among us who tout renewable energy should pay more attention to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, I must have said it a hundred times. But I hardly ever get the impression that people understand why. And it seems so obvious. A quote I often use from Herman Daly and Ken Townsend, when I talk about energy, really says it all:

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

Using energy produces waste. Using more energy produces more waste. It doesn’t matter -much- what kind of energy is used, or what kind of waste is produced. The energy WE use produces waste, in a medium of which WE cannot survive. The only way to escape this is to use less energy. And because we have used such an enormous amount of energy the past 100 years, we must use a whole lot less in the next 100.

We use about 100 times more energy per person, and a whole lot more in the west, than our own labor can produce. We use the equivalent of what 500 billion people can produce without the aid of fossil fuel-powered machines. We won’t solve this problem with wind turbines or solar panels. There really is one way only: cut down on energy use.

Because it’s exceedingly rare to see this discussed, even among physicists, who should know better since they know thermodynamics, it’s good to hear it from someone else. An article in Forbes today discusses a May 3 article in German magazine Der Spiegel on the problems with the Energiewende, the country’s drastic turn towards renewables.

The Forbes article is written by Michael Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress and Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.” (sigh..) Let’s take a walk through it:

The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To

Over the last decade, journalists have held up Germany’s renewables energy transition, the Energiewende, as an environmental model for the world. “Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset,” thanks to the Energiewende, wrote a New York Times reporter in 2014. With Germany as inspiration, the United Nations and World Bank poured billions into renewables like wind, solar, and hydro in developing nations like Kenya.

Oh well, perhaps we shouldn’t expect journalists and politicians to understand the world they live in. They’re mostly into feel-good items, that’s a job requirement.

But then, last year, Germany was forced to acknowledge that it had to delay its phase-out of coal, and would not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction commitments. It announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and forest in order to get at the coal underneath it. After renewables investors and advocates, including Al Gore and Greenpeace, criticized Germany, journalists came to the country’s defense.


“Germany has fallen short of its emission targets in part because its targets were so ambitious,” one of them argued last summer. “If the rest of the world made just half Germany’s effort, the future for our planet would look less bleak,” she wrote. “So Germany, don’t give up. And also: Thank you.” But Germany didn’t just fall short of its climate targets. Its emissions have flat-lined since 2009.

The stage is set: everybody’s favorite renewables producer has fallen flat on its face. And don’t forget, Angela Merkel, the Mutti behind the Energiewende, is a physicist by training. Thermodynamics must have been a class she missed.

Now comes a major article in the country’s largest newsweekly magazine, Der Spiegel, titled, “A Botched Job in Germany” (“Murks in Germany”). The magazine’s cover shows broken wind turbines and incomplete electrical transmission towers against a dark silhouette of Berlin. “The Energiewende — the biggest political project since reunification — threatens to fail,” write Der Spiegel’s Frank Dohmen, Alexander Jung, Stefan Schultz, Gerald Traufetter in their a 5,700-word investigative story (the article can be read in English here).

Germany has already spent $180 billion on its switch to renewables, only to find it doesn’t work. And much much more will be needed. But for what exactly?

Over the past five years alone, the Energiewende has cost Germany €32 billion ($36 billion) annually, and opposition to renewables is growing in the German countryside. “The politicians fear citizen resistance” Der Spiegel reports. “There is hardly a wind energy project that is not fought.” In response, politicians sometimes order “electrical lines be buried underground but that is many times more expensive and takes years longer.”

 

 

As a result, the deployment of renewables and related transmission lines is slowing rapidly. Less than half as many wind turbines (743) were installed in 2018 as were installed in 2017, and just 30 kilometers of new transmission were added in 2017. Solar and wind advocates say cheaper solar panels and wind turbines will make the future growth in renewables cheaper than past growth but there are reasons to believe the opposite will be the case. Der Spiegel cites a recent estimate that it would cost Germany “€3.4 trillion ($3.8 trillion),” or seven times more than it spent from 2000 to 2025, to increase solar and wind three to five-hold by 2050.

A total expenditure of some $150 billion per year, every year from 2025 to 2050. On a rapidly failing project. Note: the numbers are “flexible”: just above, it says “Over the past five years alone, the Energiewende has cost Germany €32 billion ($36 billion)” , and seven times that is much more than $150 billion annually. Later in the article, the author says “Germans, who will have spent $580 billion on renewables by 2025 ..” General rule of thumb: it will cost much more than any estimate will tell you.

Between 2000 and 2018, Germany grew renewables from 7% to 39% of its electricity. And as much of Germany’s renewable electricity comes from biomass, which scientists view as polluting and environmentally degrading, as from solar.

Of the 7,700 new kilometers of transmission lines needed, only 8% has been built, while large-scale electricity storage remains inefficient and expensive. “A large part of the energy used is lost,” the reporters note of a much-hyped hydrogen gas project, “and the efficiency is below 40%… No viable business model can be developed from this.”

Meanwhile, the 20-year subsidies granted to wind, solar, and biogas since 2000 will start coming to an end next year. “The wind power boom is over,” Der Spiegel concludes.

Think Mutti Merkel has read this?

.The earliest and most sophisticated 20th Century case for renewables came from a German who is widely considered the most influential philosopher of the 20th Century, Martin Heidegger. In his 1954 essay, “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger condemned the view of nature as a mere resource for human consumption. The use of “modern technology,” he wrote, “puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such..

But then starting around the year 2000, renewables started to gain a high-tech luster. Governments and private investors poured $2 trillion into solar and wind and related infrastructure, creating the impression that renewables were profitable aside from subsidies. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk proclaimed that a rich, high-energy civilization could be powered by cheap solar panels and electric cars.

Journalists reported breathlessly on the cost declines in batteries, imagining a tipping point at which conventional electricity utilities would be “disrupted.” But no amount of marketing could change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells, to produce the same amount of energy.

Note: these issues only arise when you talk about large-scale projects, but then those are the only ones even considered.

Efforts to export the Energiewende to developing nations may prove even more devastating. The new wind farm in Kenya, inspired and financed by Germany and other well-meaning Western nations, is located on a major flight path of migratory birds. Scientists say it will kill hundreds of endangered eagles. “It’s one of the three worst sites for a wind farm that I’ve seen in Africa in terms of its potential to kill threatened birds,” a biologist explained.

We are incapable of seeing an ecosystem as a whole and functioning entity, because we have never learned to look at things that way. So we see a landscape as containing an X-amount of animals and plant life, and can’t figure out why we must be careful with its balance. Landscapes to us look, first, empty, unless there’s -lots of- human activity.

Heidegger, like much of the conservation movement, would have hated what the Energiewende has become: an excuse for the destruction of natural landscapes and local communities. Opposition to renewables comes from the country peoples that Heidegger idolized as more authentic and “grounded” than urbane cosmopolitan elites who fetishize their solar roofs and Teslas as signs of virtue.


Germans, who will have spent $580 billion on renewables by 2025, express great pride in the Energiewende. “It’s our gift to the world,” a renewables advocate told The Times. Tragically, many Germans appear to have believed that the billions they spent on renewables would redeem them. “Germans would then at last feel that they have gone from being world-destroyers in the 20th century to world-saviors in the 21st,” noted a reporter.

Germany to save the world. Yeah, they would love that. Better find another project for that, though. Germany has an enormous car industry, and electric cars, as this article should by now have shown, won’t save the environment. They can’t. Only not driving a car can.

Shellenberger then finishes with a nice, almost philosophical conclusion, which is also his headline:

Many Germans will, like Der Spiegel, claim the renewables transition was merely “botched,” but it wasn’t. The transition to renewables was doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how Romantic they are, do not want to return to pre-modern life. The reason renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.

The reason why anyone ever thought renewables could power modern civilization is the same that Angela Merkel thought that: we all learn from failing education systems and have a very poor understanding of even the most basic principles of physics, including by physicists. We want to feel good more than we want reality.

Schools, universities, media and politics are all geared towards believing in growth and progress, in unlimited quantities. Because we all want to believe that there will be energy in unlimited quantities, it’s in our genes.

But look at it this way: in Nate Hagens’ presentation Earth vs. The Amoeba, which I posted a few days ago, there’s a slide that says fossil fuels provide us with a labor subsidy of the equivalent of some 500 billion people, 100 people (energy slaves) for each of us in the global workforce, and many more in the west. Is there anyone amongst you who thinks wind and solar could ever do the same, even in the most ideal conditions imaginable?

If not, it would seem to be time to reconsider a few things. First of all: stop advocating renewables, start advocating the use of less energy. I’m not saying it will be much use, I have this deep-seated fear that we, as a species, won’t be able to stop until nature itself stops us. What you don’t use, someone else can and will. But renewables are now dead. So there. Thanks for making that clear, Mutti, even if you didn’t mean to.

 

 

 

 

Dec 182018
 


Caravaggio St. John the Baptist in the wilderness 1604

 

S&P 500 Drops More Than 2% To New Low For 2018, Dow Dives 500 Points (CNBC)
The Latest Key Death Cross Is Poised To Engulf The Stock Market (MW)
Stock Market On Pace For Worst December Since Great Depression (CNBC)
How The Federal Reserve Could Spark A ‘Santa Claus’ Stock Rally (Yahoo!)
You Have A “Trading” Problem (Roberts)
China Politics Getting In The Way Of Reforms (G.)
China To Mark Economic Miracle That Pulled 700 Million People Out Of Poverty (RT)
Australia’s Central Bank Sees Risks From High Debt As House Prices Fall (R.)
‘No Existing Countermeasures’ To Russian Hypersonic Weapons – US Gov’t (RT)
The Bigotry Behind NY Times’ ‘Russians Targeted African-Americans’ (GJ)
Racist ‘Russians’ Targeted African-Americans In 2016 Election – Reports (RT)
Russia! The Gift That Keeps Giving For The BBC, Even In France (Bridge)
Fatal Over-Reach (Kunstler)
Coal Demand Will Remain Steady Through 2023 -IEA (CNBC)

 

 

Can’t wait for Christmas amd some days off. Close it down and it can’t fall further. Either that or give Jay Powell a call.

S&P 500 Drops More Than 2% To New Low For 2018, Dow Dives 500 Points (CNBC)

Stocks tanked on Monday, pushing the S&P 500 to a new low for the year amid growing concerns that the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates could be too much for the economy and stock market to handle. The S&P 500 fell as much as 2.5% to 2,530.54, surpassing its February intraday low of 2,532.69. The broad market index finished the session down 2% at 2,545.94, its lowest close for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 507.53 points to close at 23,592.98, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points. Shares of Amazon and Goldman Sachs led the declines.

The Dow and S&P 500, which are both in corrections, are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, down more than 7% so far for the month. The S&P 500 is now in the red for 2018 by 4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.2% to finish the day at 6,753.73 as Microsoft dropped 2.9%. The Russell 2000 — which tracks the performance of smaller companies — entered a bear market, down 20% from its 52-week high. DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday that he “absolutely” believes the S&P 500 will go below the lows that the index hit early in 2018. “I’m pretty sure this is a bear market,” Gundlach told Scott Wapner on CNBC’s “Halftime Report. The major averages fell to session lows following his comments.

Read more …

There are so many death croses lately, the term loses meaning.

The Latest Key Death Cross Is Poised To Engulf The Stock Market (MW)

Ominous-sounding death crosses have been emerging in the stock market like weeds, with the latest — and arguably, the last important such cross — about to take hold in the Dow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on the verge of joining other major equity benchmarks in a so-called death cross, where the 50-day — a short-term trend tracker — crosses below the 200-day, used to determine a long-term trend in an asset. Chart watchers believe that such a cross marks the point where a shorter-term decline graduates to a longer-term downtrend.

Currently, the Dow’s 50-day moving average stands at 25,173.14, compared against its 200-day average at 25,083.23, according to FactSet data, as of Friday’s close of trading. That puts the 50-day less than 90 points shy of breaching the long-term average, which could occur by the end of this week or next, based on the current pace of decline. The Dow has suffered a series of punishing drops on nagging fears of slowing global growth, unresolved trade worries and the pace of the Federal Reserve’s rate increases, with Monday’s action placing the Dow at its lowest close since March 23, 2018.

Read more …

Thank the Fed.

Stock Market On Pace For Worst December Since Great Depression (CNBC)

Two benchmark U.S. stock indexes are careening toward a historically bad December. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since 1931, when stocks were battered during the Great Depression. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 7.8% and 7.6% this month, respectively. December is typically a very positive month for markets. The Dow has only fallen during 25 Decembers going back to 1931. The S&P 500 averages a 1.6% gain for December, making it typically the best month for the market, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac. While the S&P 500 began dissemination in 1950, the performance data was backtested through 1928. It’s worth noting that historically, the second half of December tends to see gains.

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The Fed has absolute control. I don’t see nearly enough people being afraid of that.

How The Federal Reserve Could Spark A ‘Santa Claus’ Stock Rally (Yahoo!)

After a bruising few months for stocks, investors are banking on a ‘Santa Claus’ rally to close out 2018. Even with just a handful of trading sessions left in 2018, there is still one remaining catalyst that could spark a stock rally: the Federal Reserve. The market is pricing in a 78% chance the Fed announces a rate hike Wednesday, when it wraps up its two-day policy meeting, according to CME futures data. The rate hike itself wouldn’t spark the rally. In fact, rate hikes make stocks less attractive. But this rate hike is so priced in, that not going forward with it could signal that the Fed is worried about the economy. This would be the Fed’s fourth interest rate hike of 2018. It was in June that the Fed telegraphed this fourth rate hike.

Instead, the stock rally could be sparked by the Fed’s guidance about monetary policy in 2019. “For U.S. stocks to drift higher this week, the Fed will have to strike an easier tone about future rate hikes without signaling undue concerns about U.S. economic growth,” wrote Nick Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, in a note to clients Monday. But doing so may force them to downgrade U.S. economic growth forecasts for 2019, Colas said. “Changing course on rates without that air cover will make it look like the Fed is targeting asset price volatility (a.k.a. the “Fed Put”) or – worse – that the central bank is taking orders from the White House,” Colas noted, referring to President Trump’s months-long criticism — which occurred as recently as Monday — of the Fed’s monetary tightening.

[..] the Fed’s statement on Wednesday, roughly 200 words in length, will be scrutinized by investors. “The Fed could delete the words ‘gradual increases’ — meaning a hike every quarter is no longer a working assumption,” said Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former Fed advisor and CEO of Quill Intelligence. “That would take March off the table in theory and could spark a rally, even if based only on technicals, that could run into year-end.” The Fed has started to use the phrase “gradual increases” when referring to interest rate hikes in its statements starting in June. Prior to that, many of the statements included the phrase “gradual adjustments.” “Investors are hungry for even a morsel of dovishness, and what they do not say could be even more powerful than what they do say,” Booth noted.

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I don’t think the problem is where Lance sees it.

You Have A “Trading” Problem (Roberts)

As Sy Harding says in his excellent book “Riding The Bear:” “No such creature as a ‘buy and hold’ investor ever emerged from the other side of the subsequent bear market.” Statistics compiled by Ned Davis Research back up Harding’s assertion. Every time the market declines more than 10%, (and “real” bear markets don’t even officially begin until the decline is 20%), mutual funds experience net outflows of investor money. To wit: “Lipper also found the largest outflows on record from stocks ($46BN), the largest outflows since December 2015 from taxable bond ($13.4BN) and Investment Grade bond ($3.7BN) funds, and the 4th consecutive week of outflows from high yield bonds ($2.1BN), offset by a panic rush into cash as money market funds attracted over $81BN in inflows, the largest inflow on record.”

Most bear markets last for months (the norm), or even years (both the 1929 and 1966 bear markets), and one can see how the torture of losing money week after week, month after month, would wear down even the most determined “buy and hold” investor. But the average investor’s pain threshold is a lot lower than that. The research shows that it doesn’t matter if the bear market lasts less than 3 months (like the 1990 bear) or less than 3 days (like the 1987 bear). People will still sell out, usually at the very bottom, and almost always at a loss. So THAT is how it happens. And the only way to avoid it – is to avoid owning stocks during bear markets. If you try to ride them out, odds are you’ll fail. And if you believe that we are in a “New Era,” and that bear markets are a thing of the past, your next of kin will have our sympathies.

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Xi is not reforming, he’s trying to keep China above water.

China Politics Getting In The Way Of Reforms (G.)

Xi’s speech comes as the Chinese leadership is facing criticism over slowing growth and confrontation with the US. Observers hoped his speech would lay out new directions or reforms needed to help the Chinese economy, weighed down by debt and lagging consumption, and an overly dominant state sector. Instead, Xi stressed that the Party’s leadership and strategy up to now have been “absolutely correct.” He promised to support the state sector while continuing reforms in appropriate areas. His remarks lacked any detail about new policies and failed to inspire confidence in Asian markets. Hong Kong and Shanghai both dropped sharply during the speech. They are now off 1% for the day while losses have deepened to 1.8% in Tokyo and more than 1% in Sydney.

“President Xi was perhaps unsurprisingly long on rhetoric and short on details,” said Tom Rafferty, regional manager for China at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “There will be a sense of disappointment, among both local and international investors, that Xi did not give clearer signals about the direction of future economic reform at a time when the Chinese government’s commitment to market liberalisation is seen to have waned.” Critics say politics are getting in the way of needed reforms – a rare challenge to Xi, who has amassed power more quickly than any of his predecessors.

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Central question is how much of it was borrowed. How much is based on unproductive investments and sheer waste?

China To Mark Economic Miracle That Pulled 700 Million People Out Of Poverty (RT)

China has pledged more economic reforms to push growth higher and help offset any impact from the US trade conflict. It comes as the world’s second-largest economy marks the 40th anniversary of “reform and opening up” this week. Statistics show that more than 700 million Chinese people have shaken off poverty since Beijing started its program of economic reforms four decades ago. The figure accounts for over 70% of global poverty reduction during that period. The first wave of reform, which lasted from 1978 to 1989, was characterized by agricultural reform and revival of the private sector. The second wave of reform (from 1992 to 2012) resulted in the legalization of the market economy, China’s accession to the WTO, and a booming private sector.

China’s record in poverty reduction since reform and opening up is without parallel in human history, according to Wang Yiwei, professor of the School of International Studies at Renmin University. “Between 1978 and 2017, China’s economy expanded at an annual average 9.5% growth rate, increasing in size almost 35 times,” he told Xinhua News. The total expansion of China’s economy over a 39 year period was almost three times as much as Japan’s, Ross noted, adding that “No other economy commencing sustained rapid economic growth even remotely approaches the 22.3% of the world’s population as China had in 1978 at the beginning of reform and opening up.”

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Australia hasn’t gone down in 2 decades. That takes a lot of debt.

Australia’s Central Bank Sees Risks From High Debt As House Prices Fall (R.)

A combination of falling home prices, stratospheric household debt and low wage growth posed downside risks to the Australian economy, the country’s central bank warned on Tuesday, even as it predicted the next move in interest rates would likely be up. Minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) December policy meeting showed members spent a considerable time discussing the recent slowdown in global growth momentum, partly caused by a bitter tariff dispute between the United States and China. Australia is heavily leveraged to global trade with China its No.1 trading partner so any deceleration in momentum overseas will likely be negative for the A$1.8 trillion economy.

Indeed, Australia’s gross domestic product expanded at a weaker-than-expected 2.8% pace last quarter, when policy makers were hoping for “above-trend” 3%-plus growth. Dismal private consumption was a major factor hurting economic activity, even though there were some early signs of a small uptick in wages growth. “The outlook for household consumption continued to be a source of uncertainty because growth in household income remained low, debt levels were high and housing prices had declined. Members noted that this combination of factors posed downside risks,” the RBA said.

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The key to why Russia is seen as a problem. And that in turn leads to all the articles following this one.

‘No Existing Countermeasures’ To Russian Hypersonic Weapons – US Gov’t (RT)

The US is currently unable to repel an attack from the hypersonic weapons that are being developed by Russia and China, as they can pierce most missile defense systems, a recent US government report has revealed.
“China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons because their speed, altitude, and maneuverability may defeat most missile defense systems, and they may be used to improve long-range conventional and nuclear strike capabilities,” the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reads. The report also highlights the challenges to American security posed by Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons and stealth aircraft that “could fly faster, carry advanced weapons, and achieve further distances.”

The rapid development of the cutting-edge technology “could force US aircraft to operate at father distances and put more US targets at risk,” the report notes. Speaking at a Valdai Club session in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia surpassed its rivals in terms of hypersonic weapons, calling Russia’s prevalence in the field “an obvious fact.” “Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already,” Putin said. In March Putin unveiled several advanced weapons systems, including the Avangard hypersonic glider warheads and the Kinzhal –or Dagger– hypersonic cruise missile. The Kinzhal can fly at Mach-10 speed and has a reported range of 2,000 km (1243 miles).

It was reported that Russia’s advanced Sukhoi Su-57 jet might soon be armed with a missile similar to the Kinzhal. While the Avangard is about to enter military service, the Kinzhal has already been deployed with the force. Faced with the unmatched hypersonic capabilities, the Pentagon has launched about a dozen programs to protect the US from hypersonic weapons. A project named ‘Glide Breaker’ to develop an interceptor capable of neutralizing incoming hypersonic gliders has been in the works with The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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If you were African-American and you’re told all the time that you would have voted Hillary if not for the Russians co-opting you with $5,000 in ads, you would get mad too.

The Bigotry Behind NY Times’ ‘Russians Targeted African-Americans’ (GJ)

This morning, the New York Times decided to stop insulting our intelligence and instead chose to insult decency. In an article written by Scott Shane and Sheera Frenkel, Russians allegedly unleashed an intricate plot to targeted African-Americans in order to foment discontent and dupe “black people” to vote against their self-interest. According to the corporate recorders at the NY Times, the reason that African-Americans did not uniformly vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is because they were too dimwitted to think for themselves and were subsequently manipulated by foreign agents. [..] Let me dispel some myths here about people who refused to vote for Hillary since I happen to be one of them.

I chose to withhold my support not because Russians conditioned me to think that way but because I refused to support a warmongering sociopath otherwise known as John McCain in pantsuits. I’ve followed Hillary’s career long enough to know that she is a corporate courtesan who can’t get enough of destabilizing nations and enriching herself by trading access for cash. Eight years of Obama catering to Wall Street and furthering George Bush’s war first policies was enough for me to tap out. [..] In other words, just because my skin color is “black” does not mean I owe my vote and loyalty to Democrats. True enough, there was a time where I was an unflinching supporter of team blue, but after seeing how Democrats are no different than Republicans, I chose to wake up.

[..] The level of duplicity on display by establishment voices is truly astounding. If leading Democrats and media personalities want to know who is responsible for the rise of Trump, they should look in the mirror. After all, it was Hillary Clinton’s “pied piper” strategy—heeded by her sycophants in the press—that elevated a reality show clown into a serious contender. Hillary Clinton and her cronies rigged the primaries, spent more than $1.2 billion and Trump was given more than a billion dollars in free media by CNN, MSNBC and their ilk, yet we are supposed to believe that $5,000 in Google ads and $50,000 on Facebook was enough to tilt the outcome of the 2016 elections.

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Who exactly here operates a troll factory?

Racist ‘Russians’ Targeted African-Americans In 2016 Election – Reports (RT)

Low voter turnout among African-Americans is usually blamed on purged voter rolls or decades of socioeconomic stasis – but in 2016, ‘evil’ Russia was the main culprit, according to two controversial reports for the US Senate. Though described as “Senate reports” by mainstream US media outlets, the two documents were actually compiled by third parties. The first was produced by a consultancy called New Knowledge, with the help of two other researchers, while the second was done by a group at Oxford University and the UK research firm Graphika. By the social media giants’ own admission, the criteria for labeling posts as “Russian” is so broad as to be practically meaningless.

That hasn’t stopped the authors of the two reports, though, who saw President Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints on every keyboard and under every bed. In particular, they argued, the “Russians” sought to depress the 2016 turnout by targeting Black Americans. Both groups relied on posts provided to the US government by Twitter, Facebook and Google and identified as coming from the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), also known as the “troll factory.” “These campaigns pushed a message that the best way to advance the cause of the African-American community was to boycott the election and focus on other issues instead,” said the Oxford report.

“The most prolific IRA efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” says the New Knowledge report. While some African-American activists saw the reports as recognition of their community’s influence in US politics, others pointed out that blaming the “Russians” downplayed very real and long-standing racism in American society.

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African-Americans have no opinions of their own, and neither do Yellow Vests. They’re all like Putin’s zombie armies. Next up is Orban blaming Putin for Hungary’s protests.

Russia! The Gift That Keeps Giving For The BBC, Even In France (Bridge)

Given the rash of conspiracy theories leveled against Russia of late, it is no surprise that the BBC is deep-sea fishing for a Kremlin angle to explain the protests against the government of French President Emmanuel Macron. This new and improved beast of burden to explain every uprising, lost election, accident and wart, popularly known as ‘Russia’ – a strategy rebuked by none other than President Putin as “the new anti-Semitism” – provides craven political leaders with a ready-made alibi when the proverbial poo hits the fan. Yes! It can even rescue Emmanuel Macron, who just experienced his fifth consecutive weekend of protests in the French capital and beyond.

Here is the real beauty of this new media product, which promises to outsell Chanel No.5 this holiday season. Reporting on ‘Russia’ does not require any modicum of journalistic ethics, standards or even proof to peddle it like snake oil to an unsuspecting public. Simply uttering the name ‘Russia’ is usually all it takes for the fairytale to grow wings, spreading its destructive lies around the world. ‘Russia’ is truly the gift that keeps on giving! Allow me to demonstrate how easy it is to apply. Just this weekend, BBC journalist Olga Ivshina was engaged in correspondence with a stringer in France. In an effort to explain what has sparked the French protests, Ivshina gratuitously tossed out some live ‘blame Russia’ bait.

“And maybe some Russian business is making big bucks on it,” the BBC journalist solicited in an effort to conjure up fake news out of thin air. “Maybe they are eating cutlets out there en masse, for example. Or maybe the far-right are the main troublemakers?” When the question only managed to elicit an uncomfortable laugh from the stringer, the nonplussed BBC journalist exposed more trade secrets than was probably advisable. In fact, what followed seems to have been the only nugget of truth to emerge from the discussion. Ivshina confided that she was “looking for various angles” since the broadcaster, like a modern day Dracula flick, was “out for blood.”

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The next scheduled chapter in the story is Gen. Flynn’s sentencing this Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Judge does not observe that Mr. Mueller has acted in contempt of court. Ditto if the charge against Gen. Flynn is not thrown out.

Fatal Over-Reach (Kunstler)

Last Friday morning, we adjourned the blog in anticipation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handing over certain FBI documents in the General Flynn matter demanded by DC District Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan no later than 3:00 p.m. that day. Guess what. Mr. Mueller’s errand boys did not hand over the required documents — original FBI 302 interrogation reports. Instead, they proffered a half-assed “interview” with one of the two agents who conducted the Flynn interrogation, Peter Strzok, attempting to recollect the 302 half a year after it was written. Of course, Mr. Strzok was notoriously fired from the Bureau in August for bouts of wild political fury on-the-job as FBI counter-intel chief during and after the 2016 election. (This was the second time he was fired; the first was when Robert Mueller discarded him from the SC team in 2017 as a legal liability.)

So, 3:00 p.m. Friday has come and gone. It appears that the FBI 302 docs have come and gone, too. Actually, we have reason to believe that nothing ever created on a computer connected to the internet can actually disappear entirely. Rather, the data gets sucked into the bottomless well of the NSA server-farm out in Utah. Most likely, the original 302s exist and Mr. Mueller is pretending he can’t find them. In effect, it appears that Mr. Mueller has responded by gently whispering “fuck you” to Judge Sullivan.

Interestingly, The New York Times didn’t even report the story (nor The WashPo, nor CNN, nor MSNBC). Since their “Russia Collusion” narrative is foundering, they can’t tolerate any suggestion that their Avenging Angel of Impeachment, Mr. Mueller, is less than the sanctified plain dealer he affects to be. Judge Sullivan kept his own counsel all weekend. The next scheduled chapter in the story is Gen. Flynn’s sentencing this Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Judge does not observe that Mr. Mueller has acted in contempt of court. Ditto if the charge against Gen. Flynn is not thrown out. After all, the main articles of evidence against him apparently don’t exist.

And if it turns out that Mr. Mueller and his team are disgraced by their apparent bad faith behavior in the Flynn case, what then of all the other cases connected to Mueller one way or another: Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos? And the other matters still in question, such as the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian “Magnitsky” lawyer and Golden Golem Junior, the porn star payoffs… really everything he has touched. What if it all falls apart?

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This is it. Given recent claims that emissions must be cut five times more than is now recognized, and there are just 2 years left to do anything meaningful concerning climate change, this is it.

Coal Demand Will Remain Steady Through 2023 -IEA (CNBC)

Coal consumption is expanding after two years of decline, but miners should brace for another period of sluggish growth, according to the International Energy Agency. In its latest annual report, the IEA forecasts global coal demand will remain essentially stable over the next five years, inching up by just over 1% between 2017 and 2023. The reason for coal’s stagnation remains unchanged from recent years: Developed nations are ditching the fossil fuel, while India and other emerging economies are turning to coal to quickly scale up electric power generation.

“In a growing number of countries, the elimination of coal-fired generation is a key climate policy goal. In others, coal remains the preferred source of electricity and is seen as abundant and affordable,” said the IEA, a Paris-based agency that advises developed nations on energy policy. The IEA’s forecast comes on the heels of a series of reports that the world is falling short of commitments to prevent catastrophic impacts from climate change and running out of time to take action. Burning coal for electric power and industrial purposes such as steelmaking is a major contributor to global warming.

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Oct 152017
 
 October 15, 2017  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Piet Mondriaan Composition in color A 1917

 

Tesla Shareholders: Are You Drunk On Elon Musk’s Kool-Aid? (Lewitt)
ECB Suffers from “Corporate Capture at its Most Extreme” (DQ)
ECB Still Believes In Eventual Inflation, Wage Rise: Draghi (R.)
China Credit Growth Exceeds Estimates Despite Debt Curb Vow (BBG)
PBOC Governor Zhou Says China’s 6.9% Growth ‘May Continue’ (BBG)
In China, The War On Coal Just Got Serious (SMH)
IMF Steering Committee Warns Global Growth Is At Risk Of Faltering (BBG)
Corbyn Has A Washington Ally On Taxing The Rich. But No, It’s Not Trump (G.)
Brexit Has Made The UK The Sick Man Of Europe Once More (NS)
UK MPs Move To Block May From Signing ‘No Deal’ Brexit (G.)
Forget Catalonia, Flanders Is The Real Test Case Of EU Separatism! (OR)
Europe’s Migration Crisis Casts Long Shadow As Austria Votes (R.)

 

 

Funny but very serious. Recommend the whole article.

Tesla Shareholders: Are You Drunk On Elon Musk’s Kool-Aid? (Lewitt)

Tesla shareholders (and bullish Wall Street analysts) are either geniuses or delusional and I am betting on the latter. Typical of the lack of gray matter being applied to this investment is a recent post on Seeking Alpha, often a place where amateurs go to pump stocks they own. Someone calling himself “Silicon Valley Insights” issued an ungrammatical “Strong Buy” recommendation on October 11 based on the following syllogism: (1) “Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated very firmly that they can and will reach his goal of producing 5,000 cars per week by the end of this year.” (2) “Musk has a history of setting aggressive targets (more for his staff than investors) [Editors’s Note: That is a lie.] and then missing them on initial timing but reaching them later. [Editor’s Notes: That is another lie–Musk has NEVER reached a production target.]

(3) “Reaching anything [sic] significant portion of that 5K target (say 1-2K) by the end of December could drive TSLA shares significantly higher.” This genius then suggests that investors stay focused on the Model 3 ramp as the key price driver over the coming weeks and months and argues that the announcement that only 260 Model 3s were produced in the third quarter leaves “much of the risk…now in the stock price.” He is correct – there is a great deal of risk embedded in a stock trading at infinity-times earnings with no prospect of profitability , a track record of breaking promises, a reluctance to sell equity to fund itself even at price levels above the targets of most analysts, and a market cap larger than rivals that are pouring tens of billions of dollars into putting it out of business.

Undeterred, he offers two investment strategies. The first he terms a “reasonable and conservative” one that waits to invest in TSLA shares until the early November third quarter earnings call. In my world, a reasonable and conservative strategy would be to run for the hills or short the stock (as I am doing). A “more aggressive and risky strategy” (compared to skydiving or bungee jumping) would be “to buy shares before that third quarter report and call on the bet that the Model 3 production update will be taken positively.” No doubt investors like Mr. Silicon Valley Insights will put a positive spin on whatever fairy tales Elon Musk spins on that call, but that is a big bet indeed.

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Bankers involved in LIbor and other scandals regulate themselves. This is the exact opposite of an independent central bank. It’s a criminal racket.

ECB Suffers from “Corporate Capture at its Most Extreme” (DQ)

No single institution has more influence over the lives of European citizens than the European Central Bank. It sets the interest rates for the 19 Member States of the Eurozone, with a combined population of 341 million people. Every month it issues billions of euros of virtually interest-free loans to hard-up financial institutions while splashing €60 billion each month on sovereign and corporate bonds as part of its QE program, thanks to which it now boasts the biggest balance sheet of any central bank on Planet Earth. Through its regulatory arm, the Single Supervisory Mechanism, it decides which struggling banks in the Eurozone get to live or die and which lucky competitor gets to pick up the pieces afterwards, without taking on the otherwise unknown risks. In short, the ECB wields a bewildering amount of power and influence over Europe’s financial system.

But how does it reach the decisions it makes? Who has the ECB’s institutional ear? The ECB has 22 advisory boards with 517 seats in total that provide ECB decision-makers with recommendations on all aspects of EU monetary policy. A new report by the non-profit research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reveals that 508 of the 517 available seats are assigned to representatives of private financial institutions. In other words, 98% of the ECB’s external advisors have some sort of skin in the game. Of the nine seats not taken by the financial sector, seven have gone to non-financial companies such as German industrial giant Siemens and just two to consumer groups, according to the CEO report. In response to questions by CEO, the ECB said that its advisory groups help it to gather information, effectively “discharge its mandate”, and “explain its policy decisions to citizens.”

[..] Many of the above institutions were implicated in two of the biggest financial crimes of this century, the Forex and Libor scandals. In fact, according to CEO, banks involved in a separate forex manipulation scandal that emerged in 2013 have been heavily represented on the ECB’s Foreign Exchange Contact Group. In other words, these banks are supposed to be under direct ECB supervision, and yet they have been repeatedly caught committing serious financial crimes. And now it turns out that they enjoy more influence over ECB decision making than anyone else..

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Spot the nonsense: ”..already bought over 2 trillion euros worth of bonds to cut borrowing costs and induce household and corporate spending..”

They buy bonds and magically households will start spending. They don’t belive that themselves either.

ECB Still Believes In Eventual Inflation, Wage Rise: Draghi (R.)

Wages and inflation in the 19-country euro zone will eventually rise but more slowly than earlier thought, requiring continued patience from policymakers, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Saturday. Wage growth has failed to respond to stimulus for a list of reasons but the ECB remains convinced that labor markets and not a structural change in the nature of inflation is the chief culprit behind low prices, Draghi told a news conference on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meeting. Having fought low inflation for years, the ECB is due to decide at its Oct. 26 meeting whether to prolong stimulus, having to reconcile rapid economic expansion with weak wage and price growth.

Sources close to the discussion earlier told Reuters that the ECB will likely extend asset purchases but at lower volumes, signaling both confidence in the outlook but also indicating that policy support will continue for a long time. “The bottom line in terms of policy is that we are confident that as the conditions will continue to improve, the inflation rate will gradually converge in a self-sustained manner,” Draghi said. “But together with our confidence, we should also be patient because it’s going to take time.” Even as the euro zone has enjoyed 17 straight quarters of economic growth, wage growth has underperformed expectations, due in part to hidden slack in the labor market and low wage demands from unions.

Some policymakers also argue that globalization and technological changes have made value chains more international, making low inflation a global phenomenon and limiting central banks’ ability to control prices in their own jurisdiction. Draghi acknowledged the debate but said the ECB was convinced the main problem was the labor market and even if there was a broader issue, it would not lead to policy change. The ECB has kept interest rates in negative territory for years and already bought over 2 trillion euros worth of bonds to cut borrowing costs and induce household and corporate spending.

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They say one thing and do another.

China Credit Growth Exceeds Estimates Despite Debt Curb Vow (BBG)

China’s broadest gauge of new credit exceeded projections, signaling that the funding taps remain open even as the government pushes to curb excessive borrowing. Aggregate financing stood at 1.82 trillion yuan ($276 billion) in September, the People’s Bank of China said Saturday, compared with an estimated 1.57 trillion yuan in a Bloomberg survey and 1.48 trillion yuan the prior month. New yuan loans stood at 1.27 trillion yuan, versus a projected 1.2 trillion yuan. The broad M2 money supply increased 9.2%, exceeding estimates and picking up from the prior record low. Policy makers have been clamping down on shadow banking while also working to keep corporate borrowing intact to avoid impeding growth.

The central bank said Sept. 30 it will reduce the amount of cash some banks must hold as reserves from next year, with the size of the cut linked to lending to parts of the economy where credit is scarce. “Momentum continues to be very strong,” said Kenneth Courtis, chairman of Starfort Investment Holdings and a former Asia vice chairman for Goldman Sachs. “Loan demand of the private sector has finally turned up in recent months.” “This means that there is little hope of further policy easing in the fourth quarter as the monetary policy is very accommodative,” said Zhou Hao, an economist at Commerzbank in Singapore. “There could be even a tightening bias.”

“Household short-term loans have increased too rapidly, with some funds being invested in stock and property markets,” said Wen Bin, a researcher at China Minsheng Banking Corp. in Beijing. “Regulators have started to pay attention to the sector and required banks to strengthen credit review. I think the momentum will show signs of slowing in the fourth quarter.” “Deleveraging is not happening if we look at any measure of credit growth,” according to Christopher Balding, an associate professor at the HSBC School of Business at Peking University in Shenzhen. “Lending in 2017 has actually accelerated significantly from 2016.”

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Yeah. Financed by debt.

PBOC Governor Zhou Says China’s 6.9% Growth ‘May Continue’ (BBG)

Economic indicators show “stabilized and stronger growth” and the momentum of a 6.9% expansion in the first six months of 2017 “may continue in the second half,” People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said. Imports and exports increased rapidly, fiscal income grew, and prices have been steady, Zhou said, according to a statement the central bank released Saturday after he attended meetings of global finance chiefs this week in Washington. The effects of a campaign to rein in leverage are showing, and China will monitor and prevent shadow banking and real estate risk, he said. China’s broadest gauge of new credit, released Saturday, exceeded projections, signaling that the funding taps remain open even as the government pushes to curb excessive borrowing. “Positive progress has been achieved in economic transformation,” the statement said.

“China will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, with a comprehensive set of policies to strengthen areas of weakness.” Zhou’s comments, delivered before a gathering of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers, come before the release of third-quarter GDP, scheduled for Oct. 19. Economists project a moderation to 6.8% growth from the 6.9% pace in the second quarter amid government efforts to reduce overcapacity and ease debt risk. Steady growth in the world’s second-largest economy gives policy makers additional room to push ahead with reforms. Zhou recently made a fresh call to further open up the financial sector, warning that such an overhaul will become more difficult if the window of opportunity is missed. Some analysts say they expect reforms will pick up should President Xi Jinping further consolidate power after the 19th Party Congress starting next week.

The IMF this week increased its global growth forecast amid brightening prospects in the world’s biggest economies. It also raised its China growth estimate to 6.8 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2018, up 0.1 percentage point in each year versus July. “We expect that the authorities can and will maintain a sufficiently expansionary macro policy mix to meet their policy target of doubling 2010 GDP by 2020,” Changyong Rhee, the fund’s Asia and Pacific director, said at a briefing Friday in Washington. “However, as this expansionary policy comes at the cost of a further large increase in debt, it also implies that there’s more downside risk in the medium-term due to this rapid credit expansion.”

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Beijing seems to be getting scared of people’s reactions. Still, when you think about it, closing down 50% of steel production says something about the country’s needs for steel.

In China, The War On Coal Just Got Serious (SMH)

Beijing: In Australia, politicians continue to debate the existence of climate change. Donald Trump’s Environment Protection Agency declared this week that the “war on coal is over”. In China, the outlook could not be more different. The war on coal reached fever pitch here this month. As a deadline looms to achieve clean air targets by the end of 2017, October has seen unprecedented measures come into force to curb air pollution and reduce emissions. Steel production has been halved in major steel cities, coal banned in China’s coal capital, factories closed down for failing pollution inspections, and hundreds of officials sacked for failing to meet environmental targets. The complete shutdowns, or 50% production cuts, will stay in place for an unprecedented five months.

The winter heating season in China is approaching, when coal use has traditionally spiked, worsening northern China’s notorious air pollution. But cities are under pressure to meet important domestic targets for clean air, set five years ago by the State Council in response to a public outcry over pollution. China can’t allow a repeat of last winter, when, after several years of improvement, air quality suddenly worsened in some cities. For a few days in January 2016, the sky darkened and it looked possible that the “airpocalypse” of 2013 – which first drew global attention to Beijing’s severe air pollution – was back. Social media went into overdrive. Fighting air pollution is a matter of social stability, Environment Protection Minister Li Ganjie said a fortnight ago. So now the Chinese government has brought out the “iron fist”.

That was the phrase used by the environment protection bureau in China’s most polluted province, Hebei, as 69 government officials were sacked and 154 handed over to police for investigation last month for failing to implement pollution control measures. Meeting emissions targets has become a key performance indicator for local Communist Party bosses and mayors alike. Local governments that don’t enforce the pollution controls will have environmental assessments for new property developments suspended by the Ministry for Environment Protection, effectively blocking deals. A battle plan has been drawn up by the ministry to cover 28 northern cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, where 7000 pollution inspectors will be deployed to expose violations and look for data fraud. The curbs on industry, particularly steel making, are hitting world resources prices, including Australia’s biggest exports, as demand for iron ore and coal fall.

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Let me guess. They want more reforms.

IMF Steering Committee Warns Global Growth Is At Risk Of Faltering (BBG)

The IMF’s steering committee warned that global growth is at risk of faltering in coming years given uncomfortably low inflation and rising geopolitical risks, injecting a cautious note into an otherwise improving economic outlook. “The recovery is not yet complete, with inflation below target in most advanced economies, and potential growth remains weak in many countries,” the International Monetary and Financial Committee said in a communique released Saturday in Washington. “Near-term risks are broadly balanced, but there is no room for complacency because medium-term economic risks are tilted to the downside and geopolitical tensions are rising.” The panel didn’t specify which geopolitical risks it was most concerned about.

In the past few weeks the U.S. and North Korea have engaged in shrill rhetoric about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. And on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump took steps to confront Iran and renegotiate a 2015 multinational accord to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. At the same time, the U.K. is in the middle of negotiations on the terms of its exit from the EU. The panel nonetheless described the global outlook as strengthening, with rising investment, industrial output and confidence – conditions that make it ripe for nations to “tackle key policy challenges” and enact policies that boost the speed limit of their economies. “It’s when the sun is shining that you need to fix the roof,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said at a press briefing to discuss the statement.

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The best part of the iMF is not the front office, it’s the anonymous workers.

Corbyn Has A Washington Ally On Taxing The Rich. But No, It’s Not Trump (G.)

The IMF has been on quite a journey from the days when it was seen as the provisional wing of the Washington consensus. These days the IMF is less likely to harp on about the joys of liberalised capital flows than it is to warn of the dangers of ever-greater inequality. The fund’s latest foray into the realms of progressive economics came last week when it used its half-yearly fiscal monitor – normally a dry-as-dust publication – to make the case for higher taxes on the super-rich. Make no mistake, this is a significant moment. For almost 40 years, since the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street and Ronald Reagan in the White House, the economic orthodoxy on taxation has been that higher taxes for the 1% are self-defeating.

Soaking the rich, it was said, would punish initiative and lead to lower levels of innovation, investment, growth and, therefore, reduced revenue for the state. As the Conservative party conference showed, this line of argument is still popular. Minister after minister took to the stage to warn that Jeremy Corbyn’s tax plans would lead to a 1970s-style brain drain. The IMF agrees that a return to the income tax levels seen in Britain during the 1970s would have an impact on growth. But that was when the top rate was 83%, and Corbyn’s plans are far more modest. Indeed, it is a sign of how difficult it has become to have a grown-up debate about tax that Labour’s call for a 50% tax band on those earning more than £123,000 and 45% for those earning more than £80,000 should be seen as confiscatory.

The IMF’s analysis does something to redress the balance, making two important points. First, it says that tax systems should have become more progressive in recent years in order to help offset growing inequality, but have actually become less so. Second, it finds no evidence for the argument that attempts to make the rich pay more tax would lead to lower growth. There is nothing especially surprising about either of the IMF’s conclusions: in fact, the real surprise is that it has taken so long for the penny to drop. Growth rates have not picked up as taxes have been cut for the top 1%. On the contrary, they are much weaker than they were in the immediate postwar decades, when the rich could expect to pay at least half their incomes – and often substantially more than half – to the taxman.

If trickle-down theory worked, there would be a strong correlation between growth and countries with low marginal tax rates for the rich. There is no such correlation and, as the IMF rightly concludes, “there would appear to be scope for increasing the progressivity of income taxation without significantly hurting growth for countries wishing to enhance income redistribution”. With a nod to the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, the fiscal monitor also says that countries should consider wealth taxes for the rich, to be levied on land and property.

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Why am I thinking it’s the Brit(on)s themselves who’ve done that?

Brexit Has Made The UK The Sick Man Of Europe Once More (NS)

Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, the years preceding 2017 now resemble an economic golden age for the UK. After the damage imposed by the financial crisis and excessive austerity, Britain recovered to become the fastest growing G7 country. Real earnings finally rose as wages increased and inflation fell (income per person grew by 3.5% in 2015). And then the Brexit vote happened. Though the immediate recession that the Treasury and others forecast did not materialise, the UK has already paid a significant price. Having previously been the fastest growing G7 country, Britain is now the slowest. Real earnings are again in decline owing to the inflationary spike caused by the pound’s depreciation (the UK has the lowest growth and the highest inflation – stagflation – of any major EU economy).

Firms have delayed investment for fear of future chaos and consumer confidence has plummeted. EU negotiator Michel Barner’s warning of a “very disturbing” deadlock in the Brexit talks reflects and reinforces all of these maladies. While Leavers plead with Philip Hammond to set money aside for “a no-deal scenario”, the referendum result is daily harming the public finances. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast a £15bn budgetary hit (the equivalent of nearly £300m a week). To the UK’s existing defects – low productivity, low investment and low pay – new ones have been added: political uncertainty and economic instability. The Conservatives, to annex former Chancellor George Osborne’s phrase of choice, failed to fix the roof when the sun was shining.

Rather than taking advantage of record-low borrowing rates to invest in infrastructure (and improve the UK’s dismal productivity), the government squandered money on expensive tax cuts. The Sisyphean pursuit of a budget surplus (now not expected until at least 2027) reduced the scope for valuable investment. Productivity in quarter two of this year was just 0.9% higher than a decade ago – the worst performance for 200 years. Having softened austerity, without abandoning it, the Conservatives are now stuck in a political no man’s land.

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Cross-party action against May. It’s quite something. But it’ll just be more fighting.

UK MPs Move To Block May From Signing ‘No Deal’ Brexit (G.)

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy. One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome. Concern over Brexit policy reached new heights this weekend after the prime minister told the House of Commons that her government was spending £250m on preparations for a possible “no deal” result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.

Several hundred amendments to the EU withdrawal bill include one tabled by the former cabinet minister Dominic Grieve and signed by nine other Tory MPs, together with members of all the other main parties, saying any final deal must be approved by an entirely separate act of parliament. If passed, this would give the majority of MPs who favour a soft Brexit the binding vote on the final outcome they have been seeking and therefore the ability to reject any “cliff-edge” option. A separate amendment tabled by Clarke and the former Labour minister Chris Leslie says Theresa May’s plan for a two-year transition period after Brexit – which she outlined in her recent Florence speech – should be written into the withdrawal bill, with an acceptance EU rules and law would continue to apply during that period. If such a transition was not agreed, the amendment says, exit from the EU should not be allowed to happen.

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Some nice history, but a weird anti-Islam stance. And a somewhat dubious conclusion.

Forget Catalonia, Flanders Is The Real Test Case Of EU Separatism! (OR)

To concisely summarize, there’s a very distinct possibility that the EU’s liberal-globalist elite have been planning to divide and rule the continent along identity-based lines in order to further their ultimate goal of creating a “federation of regions”. Catalonia is the spark that could set off this entire process, but it could also just be a flash in the pan that might end up being contained no matter what its final result may be. Flanders, however, is much different because of the heightened symbolism that Belgium holds in terms of EU identity, and the dissolution of this somewhat artificially created state would be the clearest sign yet that the EU’s ruling elite intend to take the bloc down the direction of manufactured fragmentation. Bearing this in mind, the spread of the “Catalan Chain Reaction” to Belgium and the inspiration that this could give to Flanders to break off from the rest of the country should be seen as the true barometer over whether or not the EU’s “nation-states” will disintegrate into a constellation of “Balkanized” ones.

{..] It’s important to mention that the territory of what would eventually become Belgium had regularly been a battleground between the competing European powers of the Netherlands, the pre-unification German states, France, the UK, and even Spain and Austria during their control of this region, and this new country’s creation was widely considered by some to be nothing more than a buffer state. The 1830 London Conference between the UK, France, Prussia, Austria, and Russia saw the Great Power of the time recognize the fledgling entity as an independent actor, with Paris even militarily intervening to protecting it during Amsterdam’s failed “Ten Day’s Campaign” to reclaim its lost southern province in summer 1831.

[..] Flanders contributes four times as much to Belgium’s national economy as Catalonia does to Spain’s, being responsible for a whopping 80% of the country’s GDP as estimated by the European Commission, and it also accounts for roughly two-thirds of Belgium’s total population unlike Catalonia’s one-sixth or so. This means that Flemish independence would be absolutely disastrous for the people living in the remaining 55% of the “Belgian” rump state, which would for all intents and purposes constitute a de-facto, though unwillingly, independent Wallonia.

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Austria is as much of a threat to the EU as Flanders is. The Visograd anti-migrants idea is moving west. This worries Germany, which shares quite a long border with Austria.

Europe’s Migration Crisis Casts Long Shadow As Austria Votes (R.)

Austria holds a parliamentary election on Sunday in which a young conservative star hopes to beat the far right at its own game with a hard line on refugees and pledging to prevent a repeat of Europe’s migration crisis. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who is just 31, propelled his conservative People’s Party (OVP) to the top of opinion polls when he became its leader in May, dislodging the far-right Freedom Party from the spot it had held for more than a year. He is now the clear favorite to become Austria’s next leader. Kurz has pledged to shut down migrants’ main routes into Europe, through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean. Many voters now feel the country was overrun when it threw open its borders in 2015 to a wave of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats (SPO) are currently in coalition with Kurz’s OVP, but Kurz called an end to the alliance when he took over the helm of his party, forcing Sunday’s snap election. Opinion polls have consistently shown the OVP in the lead with around a third of the vote, and second place being a tight race between the Social Democrats and the Freedom Party (FPO), whose candidate came close to winning last year’s presidential election. “We must stop illegal immigration to Austria because otherwise there will be no more order and security,” Kurz told tabloid daily Oesterreich on Friday night. Campaigning has been dominated by the immigration issue. Kurz plans to cap benefit payments for refugees at well below the general level and bar other foreigners from receiving such payments until they have lived in the country for five years.


Now or never

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