Apr 272024
 


Herri met de Bles c1510-after 1555 Saint Jerome medidating

 

Trump Responds to Main ‘Hush Money’ Trial Witness’s Claims (ET)
Immunity for Me but Not for Thee (Woodruff)
Justices Signal a Desire to Avoid Both Cliffs on Presidential Immunity (Turley)
Emergency-O-Rama (Kunstler)
Trump Plans To Sanction Countries For Refusing To Use Dollar – Bloomberg (RT)
The Impotence of Antony Blinken (Patrick Lawrence)
Blinken Threatens China Over Russia Ties (RT)
Here’s What Makes Blinken’s Job In China So Difficult (Blankenship)
Facade of Diplomacy Masks US Efforts to ‘Smear, Isolate, Suppress’ China (Sp.)
Russia Must Fear NATO – Poland (RT)
Congress Panics Over Ukraine as Russian Drones Kill Abrams Battle Tanks (Sp.)
Ukraine’s Deep Manpower Shortage Overshadows Arms Deliveries (Sp.)
Pelosi Insulting Americans – Zakharova (RT)
US Congress Probing 13 Banks For January 6 ‘Collusion’ (RT)
Biden: White Americans Are the Threat (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

Tucker fraud poll

 

 

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https://twitter.com/i/status/1783877767827775661

 

 

Rogan Tucker Dumb

 

 

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“..the former president “had no idea what [he] was talking about” when he asked about reimbursing Mr. Cohen.”

Trump Responds to Main ‘Hush Money’ Trial Witness’s Claims (ET)

Former President Donald Trump praised the first witness in his New York City “hush money” trial, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, as he is scheduled to deliver more testimony in the case on Friday. “He’s been very nice. David’s been very nice. He’s a nice guy,” President Trump said on Thursday, responding to a question about Mr. Pecker’s testimony over the past week or so. During cross-examinations Thursday, Mr. Pecker detailed how he obtained potentially damaging stories about the candidate and paid out tens of thousands of dollars to keep them from the public eye. But when it came to the seamy claims by adult performer Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the former National Enquirer publisher said he put his foot down.

“I am not paying for this story,” he told jurors Thursday at President Trump’s trial, recounting his version of a conversation with President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about attempts to suppress allegations that prosecutors claim amounted to election interference in the 2016 campaign. Mr. Pecker said that he remembers saying he “didn’t want to be involved in this.” President Trump has maintained he is not guilty of any of the charges, and says the stories that were bought and squelched were false. “There is no case here. This is just a political witch hunt,” he said before court in brief comments to reporters on Thursday. Ms. Daniels was eventually paid by Mr. Cohen to not speak about her claim of a 2006 sexual encounter with President Trump. The ex-president denies it happened, while his lawyers have said that she is using the claims to make money and bolster her fame.

Although he did not buy her story, Mr. Pecker told Mr. Cohen that someone should make a move to suppress the claims from going public. “I said to Michael, ‘My suggestion to you is that you should buy the story, and you should take it off the market because if you don’t and it gets out, I believe the boss will be very angry with you,’” he said. Later, Trump defense attorney Emil Bove opened his cross-examination by asking Mr. Pecker about his recollection of specific dates and meanings. He appeared to be laying further groundwork for the defense’s argument that any dealings President Trump had with the National Enquirer publisher were intended to protect himself, his reputation, and his family, not his campaign.

At one point on Thursday, Mr. Pecker said that when he spoke to President Trump about the former president reimbursing Mr. Cohen for paying Ms. Clifford, the former president told him that he had no idea what Mr. Pecker was referring to. He specifically testified that the former president “had no idea what [he] was talking about” when he asked about reimbursing Mr. Cohen. He also said that he purchased the rights to former model Karen McDougal’s story as well but he stipulated that President Trump never told him to purchase that story—only that he and Mr. Cohen were concerned about the McDougal story from emerging.

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Hot potato.

Immunity for Me but Not for Thee (Woodruff)

“Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office?” That is the question the Supreme Court will answer when it hears oral argument in Trump v. U.S. on April 25, 2024. Legacy media and the ladies of “The View” nearly lost their collective minds when the Court agreed to hear Trump’s appeal of the D.C. Circuit’s decision denying him immunity for his actions surrounding the events of Jan. 6, 2021. However, even Jack Smith, the Special Counsel prosecuting the case, argued that it was of “imperative public importance” that the Court resolve the immunity question before trial. But forget about Trump for the moment. The issue is bigger than Trump and his legal woes. As the partisan divide between the left and the right grows larger, there is a real risk that the criminalization of policy differences could raise our current state of “lawfare” to a new level.

Several retired four-star generals and admirals, as well as former cabinet officials, have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that granting immunity to former presidents for actions within the outer perimeter of their official duties would raise questions about the ability of the United States to peacefully transfer power from one administration to another, and thereby pose a grave risk to national security. The retired officials’ brief also argues that granting immunity would undermine civilian control of the military and undermine trust and confidence in the military as an institution. The “parade of horribles” in the retired officials’ brief assumes that a future president would instruct subordinate military officers to carry out illegal orders for which they, but not the president, would be criminally liable. The brief also suggests that an unrestrained incumbent would use the military to retain power and, thus, destabilize America’s diplomatic and military standing among nations. Of course, none of the hypotheticals feared by the brief writers occurred in the case pending before the Court. Apparently, they are afraid not of Donald Trump but of some unidentified future president. To analyze the pros and cons of immunity, however, there is no need to speculate about what some future president might do. We need only look at actual events from our recent history.

Situation #1. President Obama ordered a drone strike in Yemen to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and Islamic Imam critical of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Before releasing the drones that killed al-Awlaki and two others, the White House sought and received a Memorandum from the Department of Justice providing legal justification for the attack. Several questions come to mind. Should the memo from DoJ authorizing the killing of an American citizen abroad without judicial due process immunize President Obama for violating the federal criminal statute that imposes criminal penalties for the extra territorial killing of an American citizen? Could a subsequent President, a member of the opposing political party, direct a new Attorney General to investigate whether the killing of the U.S. citizen by drone attack in Yemen violated federal criminal law? If an indictment is returned against the now former President for that killing, should President Obama be allowed to claim immunity or be forced to stand trial?

Situation #2. President Biden revoked many of President Trump’s Executive Orders addressing border security when he took office. He also halted construction of physical barriers intended to secure the southern border and stem the flow of illegal border crossings and the smuggling of dangerous drugs. The number of illegal border crossings skyrocketed. Instead of remaining in Mexico until asylum claims were adjudicated, migrants were “paroled” into the interior of the United States and given a court date for their asylum claim years into the future. The quantity of illegal drugs, and the deaths of American citizens from accidental drug overdoses smuggled across the southern border, escalated astronomically. Federal law imposes criminal penalties on those who enter the United States illegally. It also punishes conspiracies to violate federal law. So, if the White House switches parties when President Biden leaves, should the new president’s Attorney General seek an indictment against Biden for conspiring with the Secretary of Homeland Security to violate U.S. immigration laws by facilitating the illegal entry of millions of migrants into the United States? Or should those policy choices be protected by a cloak of immunity?

Situation #3. Eager to deliver on a campaign promise, President Biden announced a policy to “forgive” billions of dollars in student loan debt. The Supreme Court struck down the President’s plan and held that Congress had not authorized the Executive to unilaterally forgive student loan debt. Instead of seeking legislative authority, President Biden reworked his plan to rely upon a different statute for authority. Assume the courts dismissed lawsuits challenging Biden’s “Plan B” because the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. “Plan B” went forward and billions of dollars in federal student loans became “grants” instead of loans that had to be repaid. The federal Anti-deficiency Act imposes criminal penalties on anyone who authorizes the expenditure of federal funds without a valid congressional appropriation. When President Biden leaves office, can he be indicted and tried because his “Plan B” loan scheme violated federal law?

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“..Alvin Bragg is the very personification of the danger immunity is meant to avoid..”

Justices Signal a Desire to Avoid Both Cliffs on Presidential Immunity (Turley)

Writer Ray Bradbury once said, “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” In Thursday’s case before the Supreme Court on the immunity of former President Donald Trump, nine justices appear to be feverishly working with feathers and glue on a plunge into a constitutional abyss. It has been almost 50 years since the high court ruled presidents have absolute immunity from civil lawsuits in Nixon v. Fitzgerald. The court held ex-President Richard Nixon had such immunity for acts taken “within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility.” Yet in 1974’s United States v. Nixon, the court ruled a president is not immune from a criminal subpoena. Nixon was forced to comply with a subpoena for his White House tapes in the Watergate scandal from special counsel Leon Jaworski. Since then, the court has avoided any significant ruling on the extension of immunity to a criminal case — until now.

There are cliffs on both sides of this case. If the court were to embrace special counsel Jack Smith’s arguments, a president would have no immunity from criminal charges, even for official acts taken in his presidency. It would leave a president without protection from endless charges from politically motivated prosecutors. If the court were to embrace Trump counsel’s arguments, a president would have complete immunity. It would leave a president largely unaccountable under the criminal code for any criminal acts. The first cliff is made obvious by the lower-court opinion. While the media have largely focused on extreme examples of president-ordered assassinations and coups, the justices are clearly as concerned with the sweeping implications of the DC Circuit opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts noted the DC Circuit failed to make any “focused” analysis of the underlying acts, instead offering little more than a judicial shrug.

Roberts read its statement that “a former president can be prosecuted for his official acts because the fact of the prosecution means that the former president has acted in defiance of the laws” and noted it sounds like “a former president can be prosecuted because he is being prosecuted.” The other cliff is more than obvious from the other proceedings occuring as these arguments were made. Trump’s best attorney proved to be Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. If the justices want insight into the implications of denying any immunity, they just need to look north to New York City. The ongoing prosecution of Trump is legally absurd but has resulted in the leading presidential candidate not only being gagged but prevented from campaigning.

Alvin Bragg is the very personification of the danger immunity is meant to avoid. With cliffs to the left and the right, the justices are looking at a free-fall dive into the scope of constitutional and criminal law as they apply to presidential conduct. They may be looking not for a foothold as much as a shorter drop. Some of the justices are likely to be seeking a third option where a president has some immunity under a more limited and less tautological standard than the one the DC Circuit offered. The problem for the court is presidential privilege and immunity decisions are meant to give presidents breathing room by laying out bright lines within which they can operate. Ambiguity defeats the purpose of such immunity. So does a test that turns on the motivation of an official act.

Turley

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“Whichever way the verdict goes in the Alvin Bragg case, epic looting and rioting will commence..”

Emergency-O-Rama (Kunstler)

So far, the spring rioting has mostly been fun for the rioters. Unlike the J-6-21 “paraders,” locked up in the putrid DC jail for years pending trial, the Hamas frolickers are at near-zilch risk of any serious consequences. Few will even be suspended from school. They are doing exactly what the schools trained them up for: destroying Western Civ, one acanthus leaf at a time. According to the shadowy stage-managers behind “Joe Biden,” this will save our democracy.

That and stuffing Donald Trump in jail for the rest of his natural life. Alas, the lawfare cases cooked up toward that end appear defective to a spectacular degree. It really says something about the true authors of these beauties brought by Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, Fani Willis, and Jack Smith. I speak of the behind-the-scene blob lawfare ninjas Norm Eisen, Andrew Weissmann, Matt Colangelo, and Mary McCord, who wrote the scripts for all four of this year’s big elephant trap cases against the former president. You have to wonder how that bunch made it through their law boards. The current extravaganza in Manhattan that centers on alleged book-keeping errors in furtherance of an unstated federal offense is due to go on a few more weeks. The howling errors of both the prosecution and Judge Juan Merchan are so extravagant that the proceeding looks like it was cribbed from the pages of Lewis Carroll.

Yet, there is near unanimous sentiment that the Trump-deranged New Yawk jury will convict, no matter how much more idiotic the case turns out to be. By then, we will be verging on summer. The college campuses will be shuttered and the youth-in-revolt action will necessarily move to the regular streets. Whichever way the verdict goes in the Alvin Bragg case, epic looting and rioting will commence. Sometime this summer, I predict, the Mar-a-Lago documents case will get tossed on something like malicious prosecution. Jack Smith’s DC case, kneecapped by SCOTUS, won’t start before the November election (or maybe ever) and ditto the Fani Willis fiasco in Atlanta. George and Alex Soros will pour millions into box lunches for the kids burning down what’s left of the cities and the demure gals of the Ivy League Left will find plenty of love in the ruins.

The two major party conventions in July (Republican) and August (Democrat) are sure to out-do the 1968 lollapalooza in Chicago (I was there) in mayhem and property damage. “Joe Biden” — really the blob behind him — will ache to declare a national emergency, perhaps even a second emergency after the recently unveiled “climate emergency” supposedly pending any day. The USA will be in an historic horror movie you could call Emergency-O-Rama. If you think the financial system, and the US economy that has become the tail on the finance dog, can survive all this, you will be disappointed. The army may have to step in and put an end to these shenanigans. Don’t think it can’t happen.

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“I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war..”
]
Sorry, but that train has sailed.

Trump Plans To Sanction Countries For Refusing To Use Dollar – Bloomberg (RT)

Economic aides to former US President Donald Trump are looking for options to stop countries from shifting away from the US dollar as it faces a growing challenge from emerging markets, including BRICS nations, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The presumptive Republican nominee for the November presidential election and his team are discussing penalties against both allies and adversaries who seek to divert their trade from the greenback to other currencies. The options could include export controls, currency manipulation charges, and tariffs, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the matter. The global trend toward using national currencies in trade instead of the dollar gained significant momentum after Russia was cut off from the Western financial system and had its foreign reserves frozen in 2022, as part of Ukraine-related sanctions.

A bill with provisions authorizing the US to confiscate frozen Russian assets, which Biden signed on Wednesday, could further spur de-dollarization, financial experts have warned. The so-called REPO Act, which was incorporated in the $61 billion military aid package for Kiev, authorized the US president to seize Russian state assets held in American banks. As quoted by Bloomberg, Trump warned on Thursday that with US President Joe Biden, “you’re going to lose the dollar as the standard. That’ll be like losing the biggest war we’ve ever lost.” According to the news agency, Trump’s economic advisers and his campaign team have specifically considered curbing de-dollarization efforts by BRICS countries.

The group – which recently expanded and now comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt – is boosting the use of national currencies in mutual trade. It has even signaled the possibility of introducing a new single currency in the coming years. Trump has repeatedly said that he wants the dollar to remain the world’s reserve currency. “I hate when countries go off the dollar,” Trump told CNBC in March. “I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war,” he said, adding that it would be a “hit” for the US.

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“..there’s no mileage in predicting success when Blinken boards a plane for the great “out there.”

The Impotence of Antony Blinken (Patrick Lawrence)

Antony Blinken is now in China for his second such journey as secretary of state and his third encounter with senior Chinese officials: This is our news as April marches toward May. I have to say, it is a stranger state of affairs than I can figure when the State Department and the media that clerk for it tell us in advance that America’s top diplomat is going to fail to get anything done as he sets out for the People’s Republic. “I want to make clear that we are realistic and clear-eyed about the prospects of breakthroughs on any of these issues,” an unnamed State Department official said when briefing reporters last week on Blinken’s agenda. This is how State warns in advance that the secretary will be wasting his time and our money during his encounters in Shanghai and Beijing. What is this if not an admission of our secretary of state’s diplomatic impotence? Or do I mean incompetence? Or both?

This is the man, after all, who arrived in Israel five days after the events of last Oct. 7 to announce, “I come before you as a Jew.” Does this guy understand diplomacy or what? The media followed the State Department’ lead, naturally, in advising us of the pointlessness of Blinken’s sojourn in China—this at both ends of the Pacific. CNBC: “Washington is realistic about its expectations on Blinken’s visit in resolving key issues.” Japan Times: “While crucial for keeping lines of communication open, the visit is unlikely to yield major breakthroughs.” Matt Lee, the very able diplomatic correspondent at The Associated Press, got it righter than anyone in his April 22 report: The point of Blinken’s three days of talks with top Chinese officials, he reported, is to have three days of talks with top Chinese officials. “The mere fact that Blinken is making the trip might be seen by some as encouraging,” Lee wrote, “but ties between Washington and Beijing are tense and the rifts are growing wider.”

This is our Tony. As the record makes pitifully clear, there’s no mileage in predicting success when Blinken boards a plane for the great “out there.” This is unequivocally so in his dealings with the western end of the Pacific. There is a long list of the topics Blinken was set to raise with Chinese officials, notable among these Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Taiwan and the South China Sea, military-to-military contacts, artificial intelligence applications, illicit drug traffic, human rights, trade: These are standards on the American menu when a U.S. official addresses Chinese counterparts. The last is especially contentious just now, given the Biden regime’s disgraceful determination to subvert those Chinese industries with which the U.S. cannot compete. With plans to block imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles already afoot, last week President Biden announced new tariffs on imports of Chinese steel. And it is now “investigating” China’s shipping and shipbuilding industries, which sounds to me like prelude to yet more measures to undermine China’s admirable economic advances.

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Imagine you’re mini-me and the CEO of China is persuaded to receive you. What do you do then? Well, you insult him, of course…

Blinken Threatens China Over Russia Ties (RT)

Washington is ready to introduce more sanctions against China over its alleged transfer of dual-use goods and components, which it claims can be used by the Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. Speaking at a press conference in Beijing following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the US official recalled that Washington has already imposed sanctions against more than 100 Chinese entities and is “fully prepared to act” and “take additional measures.” Blinken claimed that China’s alleged support for the Russian defense industry raises concerns not only about the situation in Ukraine, but also about a “medium to long-term threat that many Europeans feel viscerally that Russia poses to them.” Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal also reported that the US was drafting sanctions that could cut off some Chinese banks from the global financial system unless Beijing severs its economic ties with Russia.

The outlet claimed that US officials believe trade with China has allowed Russia to rebuild its military industrial capacity and could help it defeat Ukraine in a war of attrition. Beijing, in turn, has accused the US of hypocrisy for providing billions of dollars in assistance to Ukraine while “unreasonably criticizing the normal trade and economic relations between Russia and China.” “This is a very hypocritical and irresponsible approach,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday in response to Blinken’s concerns about Beijing’s support of Moscow. China has also vehemently rejected accusations leveled by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of “fueling” the Ukraine conflict. Beijing has instead blamed NATO for instigating the crisis by continuing its expansion in Europe and refusing to respect Russian national security concerns. Following his meeting with Blinken, Xi suggested that the US and China “should be partners, not rivals” and should strive towards achieving “mutual success and not harm each other.”

“I proposed three major principles: mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. They are not only a summary of past experience, but also a guide to the future,” the Chinese leader was quoted as saying. Beijing has maintained a policy of neutrality on the Ukraine conflict, with Chinese officials repeatedly stating that the country is not selling weapons to either Russia or Ukraine. Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Ning insisted that China “regulates the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations,” urging “relevant countries” not to “smear or attack the normal relations between China and Russia.” In December last year, US President Joe Biden issued a decree which enabled sanctions on foreign financial institutions that continue to deal with Russia. It targeted lenders outside US and EU jurisdictions that help Russia source sensitive items, which reportedly include semiconductors, machine tools, chemical precursors, ball bearings, and optical systems.

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TikTok.

Here’s What Makes Blinken’s Job In China So Difficult (Blankenship)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in China on Wednesday to kick off a three-day trip. It is reported that he will speak with his Chinese counterpart and potentially with President Xi Jinping. As the New York Times reported, quoting officials privy to the visit, one of the main topics will be China’s alleged support of Russia, which includes the supposed sale of weapon components and dual-use products. It also comes at a time of increased tensions. Relations have shown a flicker of warmth since US President Joe Biden and Xi’s encounter at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco last year. However, this visit comes sandwiched between significant moves by the Biden administration. On the one hand, Biden recently signed off on a hefty military aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, coupled with a divest-or-ban provision for the Chinese social media juggernaut, TikTok.

On the other, a historic trilateral summit involving the US, Japan, and the Philippines hints at potential formal military collaborations down the road, with the US deploying medium-range missiles in the Philippines, a move with unmistakable implications for China. Blinken’s trip also follows closely on the heels of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to China, which coincided with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s presence in the country. Lavrov’s visit underscored the enduring bond between Russia and China, while Yellen’s seemed to foreshadow potential trade tensions over what Beijing perceives as baseless accusations of “overcapacity.” Behind the diplomatic niceties lies a deeper agenda: the concerted effort by the US and some of its allies to curb China’s economic and technological ascent. This was laid bare when EU officials on Tuesday executed unannounced raids on the offices of a Chinese company in Poland and Denmark.

The European Commission said that its “unannounced inspections” are based on “indications that the inspected company may have received foreign subsidies that could distort the internal market pursuant to the Foreign Subsidies Regulation.” Despite this explanation, it appears the EU is mirroring Washington’s growing scrutiny of and hostility against Chinese firms. The EU’s alignment with the US on trade policy, particularly regarding China, signals a loose front aimed at constraining China’s global economic reach. The issue of Russia is also another excuse to limit China. The bilateral partnership has been extraordinarily beneficial for both sides: their trade reached a record $240.1 billion in 2023, and Russia’s economy grew by 3.6% the same year despite Western sanctions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Russia’s economy will grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024.

This is due in no small part to trade with China, the world’s second-largest economy, but it’s also due to the fact that many other large countries, such as Brazil and India, have not joined Western sanctions on Russia – they just aren’t trading in strategic sectors of the economy like China is. But even in those sectors, the US and its allies have never revealed evidence that Beijing is directly helping Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1783971853981155437

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“Imagine them [China] looking at Elon Musk and saying that you need to sell Tesla or else,” suggested Thomas. “It’s just astonishing stuff.”

Facade of Diplomacy Masks US Efforts to ‘Smear, Isolate, Suppress’ China (Sp.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s second visit to China in less than a year this week signifies the importance the Biden administration places on Sino-US relations in addressing various global challenges, according to Chinese commentator Anna Ge. “The United States aims to sustain dialogue with China and collaborate on addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues and also domestic issues,” said the CGTN Radio host, who frequently discusses China-related issues in mainstream media in South Africa, India, and Central Asia. But the US maintains its own motives in such discussions, according to Ge, frequently using China as a scapegoat for its own geopolitical and economic difficulties. The political commentator joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Friday to discuss the issue. “It is interesting to see how China-US relations develop today,” said Ge as host Jamarl Thomas noted the often chaotic nature of diplomacy between the two countries in recent years.

US President Joe Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” the last time the two met in the United States, a gaffe judged to have damaged relations between the two countries. “We are left with a contradiction [between] messages and reality,” she said. “On the one hand, we hear relations are more stable with the personal diplomacy of [Janet] Yellen and Blinken in attending cultural events, etcetera. in line with the increase of flights and other types of people-to-people exchanges. These were impossible last year when the weather balloon lies and provocation in Taiwan and the South China Sea were edging towards a military confrontation.” “On the other hand we have become accustomed to anticipating negative developments shortly after high level US officials depart, often leading to any positive outreach being subsequently retracted or modified by the American side… Washington has been testing China’s limits unilaterally,” the commentator highlighted.

Biden signed a bill likely banning the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok shortly after Blinken arrived in Shanghai this week, an unprecedented measure. TikTok CEO Shou Chew, a Singaporean businessman, has vowed to oppose pressure to sell the social media platform to an American owner, which would result in the application being banned unless the company succeeds in launching a judicial challenge. US politicians have cast TikTok as a threat to US security and Americans’ privacy, but a raft of concessions won by former US President Donald Trump resulted in all data associated with the platform being hosted in the United States, with periodic auditing from US-based companies. Critics have claimed the strongarm tactic is merely a strategy to undermine competition from a successful Chinese competitor, as when the United States pressured European allies to ban 5G technology from the Shenzhen-based Huawei. “Imagine them [China] looking at Elon Musk and saying that you need to sell Tesla or else,” suggested Thomas. “It’s just astonishing stuff.”

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They do not.

Russia Must Fear NATO – Poland (RT)

Russia should fear clashing with NATO because such a war would end in “inevitable defeat” for Moscow, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in parliament on Thursday, claiming that the US-led military bloc has several times more troops and resources. Sikorski’s comments come as a number of European leaders have raised concerns that Russia may attack an EU member state if it is allowed to defeat Ukraine on the battlefield. “It is not we, the West, who should fear a clash with Putin, but the other way around,” he insisted, adding that “it is worth reminding [people] about this” to show that an attack by Russia on any NATO member would end in Moscow’s defeat. “Putin’s only hope is our lack of determination,” he stated. The minister said the US-led military bloc remains a “defensive pact,” but nevertheless boasted that it has three times as many military personnel, three times the aerial resources, and four times as many ships as Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk had previously also warned that Europe is in a “pre-war era,” while President Andrzej Duda has expressed the country’s readiness to host US nuclear weapons under NATO’s nuclear-sharing program. The move would place the bloc’s nuclear arsenal on the border of Belarus – a key Russian ally. Moscow has responded by stating that its military would take “all necessary countermeasures” to ensure its security if US nuclear weapons were deployed to Poland. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also slammed Warsaw’s statements as a “provocation” and an attempt to “snuggle up” to Washington with its “deeply hostile policy towards Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Moscow has no plans to attack any US “satellites” in Eastern Europe, and insists that claims of a potential Russian invasion are merely government propaganda aimed at scaring citizens “to extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden [of funding Ukraine] on their shoulders.”

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So-so tanks.

Congress Panics Over Ukraine as Russian Drones Kill Abrams Battle Tanks (Sp.)

The rush to fast-track $6 billion in military aid to Ukraine on Friday reflects the panic felt by the Biden administration and in Congress that the Zelensky regime’s forces are collapsing, veteran UK diplomat, former ambassador and political commentator Peter Ford told Sputnik. Reports that Russia’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now proving successful at targeting and destroying US-supplied Abrams Main Battle Tanks causes a lot of concerns among the Biden administration and Congress, according to Ford. “The haste to release billions of dollars of funds for Ukraine betrays US alarm at the dire situation facing its client state on the battlefront,” he said on Friday. On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a $95 billion bill containing approximately $61 billion in Ukraine-related funding, including via a loan. US President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

The US Department of Defense later unveiled a $1 billion military aid package for Kiev, including cluster munitions and air defense supplies. In addition, the Pentagon announced on Friday its largest-ever $6 billion military aid package that will include interceptors for Ukraine’s Patriot and NASAMS systems, more counter-drone systems, significant amounts of artillery ammunition, and air-to-ground munitions. However, the move came amid reports that the Ukrainian armed forces moved Abrams tanks from the frontlines due to threats from Russian drones. Ford observed that the rush to send so many more advanced weapons systems to Ukraine came hard on the heels of these reports. “The announcement coincides with reports that the Ukrainians are withdrawing US Abrams tanks from the front because they have shown themselves to be vulnerable to drone attack,” the analyst highlighted.

However, the main US defense contractors were oblivious to the multiple failures of their weapons systems on the battlefields of Ukraine and were only interested in further expanding their already enormous profit margins, the ex-diplomat emphasized. “Never mind, the main aims are being achieved. Not to help Ukraine – how naive! – but to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars down the gullet of the arms manufacturers,” Ford clarified. The other purpose of the otherwise futile and too late new arms package was to give Biden domestic credibility before his re-election campaign against former President Donald Trump this fall, he explained. The $6 billion arms package was therefore meant “to make Biden look resolute and consistent as he positions himself for the presidential election campaign,” the analyst said. The people of Ukraine once again had become the victims of cynical and ruthless US political manipulations and intrigues, Ford stressed.

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“..the former Ukrainian lawmaker estimates that about 1.5 million men of military age are currently on the run across Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s Deep Manpower Shortage Overshadows Arms Deliveries (Sp.)

New arms deliveries from the US cannot compensate for Ukraine’s deep manpower shortage and exhaustion, Volodymyr Oleynyk, a Ukrainian politician and former member of the Verkhovna Rada, told Sputnik.
Although the lack of ammunition has been alleviated to some extent by foreign aid, Ukraine’s main weakness is an acute shortage of soldiers, the Western press acknowledges. Since the beginning of the special military operation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have lost nearly 500,000 servicemen, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. To make matters worse, Ukraine has been “plagued by draft dodging,” with young men evading conscription and failing to register as required, Politico reported in March. “Many [Ukrainian] commanders say that their combat units suffer from a 30-40% deficit in manpower,” Volodymyr Oleynyk told Sputnik.

“Entire brigades break the law, violate orders and arbitrarily leave combat positions. Some of them are elite brigades. One of them was disbanded – the one that included the Right Sector*, which is considered very ‘patriotic’.” In recent months, there has been a significant increase in the number of Ukrainian troops using the special “Volga” 149.200 radio frequency to communicate their desire to disarm, according to Sputnik’s sources. The frequency was set up by Russian forces for Ukrainian troops wishing to surrender. Oleynyk quoted the head of the Ivano-Frankovsk regional military commissar as saying last month that some 30,000 potential conscripts were in hiding in the region. By 2020, Frankovshchyna will have a population of only 1.3 million. Doing the math, the former Ukrainian lawmaker estimates that about 1.5 million men of military age are currently on the run across Ukraine.

In addition, Ukrainian military personnel are increasingly deserting, Oleynyk added. “I’ve analyzed the situation for the first quarter of this year: about 20,000 criminal cases related to desertion have been opened over the past three months,” he said. “In general, it is believed that about 100,000 deserters are on the run. How many cases have been sent to court? Over these three months only 80 criminal cases were sent to court. This shows that even the judicial system does not want to consider these cases, because officials are afraid of later revenge by those convicted.”

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“..trying to blame Moscow for a wave of pro-Palestinian protests across the country..“

Pelosi Insulting Americans – Zakharova (RT)

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insulting American voters by trying to blame Moscow for a wave of pro-Palestinian protests across the country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. The senior Democrat has linked pro-Palestinian protests in the US with alleged foreign influence on multiple occasions, most recently in an interview with Irish public broadcaster Raidio Teilifis Eireann (RTE) this week. Pelosi also took issue with the ‘Genocide Joe’ nickname that US President Joe Biden has been branded with over his failure to pressure Israel into showing more restraint in its military campaign in Gaza. Pelosi acknowledged that pro-Palestinian sentiment could impact Biden’s support during the US presidential vote in November, and claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the presumptive Republican candidate, Donald Trump, to be elected.

“It’s in Putin’s interest for – what’s his name? – to win. And therefore I see some encouragement on the part of the Russians of some of what is going on,” she alleged of the demonstrations. Pro-Palestinian activists are genuine in their feelings, she conceded, but “some of it has a Russian tinge to it.” Responding to Pelosi’s remarks in a social media post, Zakharova said they “can only be taken as an insult to the Americans and a disregard for democracy.”

In January, the former House speaker called on the FBI to investigate the financing of pro-Palestinian groups, claiming that their demands for a ceasefire in Gaza were “Putin’s message.” Pelosi was also caught on camera lashing out at hecklers outside her home, telling them to “go back to China,” supposedly where their “headquarters” were located. Biden’s approval ratings have taken a hit among Democratic voters over his pro-Israeli stance, although Pelosi insisted that the president has been “the biggest advocate for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians” amid the conflict in Gaza. “The groups outside with their protest lay some blame at his doorstep, when he is the only one advocating at that level,” she added.

This week, local authorities across the US used force to disperse pro-Palestinian rallies at university campuses, with mass arrests reported in some cases. Protesters were targeted at Yale, Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Southern California, and other institutions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the US crackdown, branding the activists “anti-Semitic mobs” and comparing them to Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s. Putin has publicly stated that he would be more comfortable with “predictable” and “old-school” Biden than Trump as the next US president.

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Your bank spies on you…

US Congress Probing 13 Banks For January 6 ‘Collusion’ (RT)

Republicans in the House of Representatives have sent letters to 13 financial institutions they suspect of colluding with the FBI and the Treasury Department to spy on Americans without a warrant in relation to the 2021 Capitol riot. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had stormed the legislature just as Republican lawmakers were starting to register objections to certifying the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden. Democrats labeled the unrest as an “insurrection” and sought to arrest over 1,000 people involved in any way. Some of these people were apparently targeted by financial institutions working with the FBI and Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), according to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by the Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee remain concerned about how and to what extent federal law enforcement and financial institutions continue to spy on Americans by weaponizing backdoor information sharing and casting sprawling classes of transactions, purchase behavior, and protected political or religious expression as potentially ‘suspicious’ or indicative of ‘extremism’,” said a letter from Jordan, which the Daily Mail obtained exclusively on Thursday. Jordan has pointed to evidence that the FBI and FinCEN instructed banks to look for purchases of Bibles or search terms such as “Trump” or “MAGA,” the acronym for the 45th president’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Congress was already investigating Bank of America, Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank and Truist. Thursday’s letter was sent to Charles Schwab, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, PayPal, Santander, Standard Chartered and Western Union. That makes 13 banks or financial institutions potentially involved in the dragnet.

Bank of America alone sent data on 211 individuals to the FBI and FinCen by January 17, 2021. However, its Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) was sent after the federal agencies asked banks to look for “extremist” purchases. Four of the 211 were tagged for a follow-up and visited by FBI agents. None of them ended up being charged with anything. “This kind of warrantless financial surveillance raises serious concerns about the federal government’s respect for Americans’ privacy and fundamental civil liberties,” Jordan wrote in a separate letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, also obtained by the Daily Mail. Since 2021, the FBI has targeted “radical-traditionalist Catholics” as well as parents who spoke up at school board meetings – on issues such as mask mandates or critical race theory – as potential domestic terrorists. Both programs were officially denounced after being revealed by whistleblowers.

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” What future can such a collection of morons have?”

Biden: White Americans Are the Threat (Paul Craig Roberts)

The Main Goal of the Biden Regime Is to Sell-out the Majority White American Population and to declare them as a menace. Tucker Carlson points out that president Biden, illegitimately in office due to the theft of the 2020 election, has as president of the United States defined America’s majority white population as the major cause of racism and a threat to national unity. Note: it is the majority that is the threat. Yet, tens of millions of dumbshit white Americans designated as America’s worst threat by Biden vote for him. What future can such a collection of morons have?

A white heterosexual who votes for Biden is expressing a death wish. It is the US whose Democrat Government is alienated from its own white majority population that intends to fight wars against Russia, Iran, and China. This is insanity. Who is going to fight these wars for Biden? The answer is Europeans and the immigrant-invaders into America thanks to Biden’s open border policy. Like Rome in its own self-inflicted decay, the US will be dependent on troops from the immigrant-invaders overrunning its own borders to fight its wars abroad in defense of the borders of foreign countries.

There is no discussion of this whatsoever.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Swan

 

 

Tokyo

 

 

Fukuoka Imaya Hamburger
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783862345821016170

 

 

70 meters

 

 

Tusk

 

 

Rope

 

 

Drink of water

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 162024
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)
Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)
Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)
US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)
US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)
Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)
A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)
Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)
Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)
Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)
Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)
Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)
Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

 

 

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758242279196672503

Yeartie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758162535197376793

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker radicalized


https://twitter.com/i/status/1758104468971769856

 

 

Mastery

 

 

 

 

The levels of collusion are out of this world. And still, “Stormy Daniels” is the only case left that still seems alive.

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)

Three separate prosecutors reportedly met with White House aides before indicting former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s political opponent. The reported meetings suggest a coordinated attack against Biden’s 2024 rival. If coordination occurred, it lends credence to Trump’s belief that the indictments are election interference. The timing of the indictments are peculiar. After Trump announced a reelection bid against Biden, four indictments hit Trump in four separate jurisdictions, each following revelations about the Biden family business. In three cases, prosecutors reportedly met with the Biden administration before indicting Trump:
Alvin Bragg: New York – “Stormy Daniels” Case (state)
Jack Smith: Miami – “Documents” Case (federal)
Fani Willis: Fulton County, Georgia (state)

First Case: “Stormy Daniels”
The first indictment occurred on April 4, 2023, the same day that former Biden aide Kathy Chung testified about Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, contradicting Biden’s version of events. On March 17, 2023, Bragg asked for a meeting with federal law enforcement ahead of the Trump indictment Trump, a court source told Fox News. A year earlier, Bragg’s office hired a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Matthew Colangelo, who spent years targeting Trump at the Justice Department. He also attacked Trump in his role in the New York Attorney General’s office. “Bragg has been very discredited by the indictment because the people that read it, even Democrats—they’re saying this is not an indictment,” Trump exclusively told Breitbart News after the indictment: Some are saying this is unconstitutional because there’s no crime. He’s been absolutely discredited. It’s a shame. They’re willing to destroy our country. This is all run by the White House, by the way, just in case you have any questions. In fact, they put a man from the White House into one of the top White House/DOJ officials is right there—Matthew Colangelo. He’s the one that’s leading it. He was sitting in the front row in the court during the whole thing. He was in the front row. This is all done by the White House because they don’t want to run against us.

Second Case: “Documents”
Smith filed the second indictment on June 8, 2023, the same day an FBI 10-23 form surfaced alleging Joe Biden was bribed $5 million. Later in June, Smith filed a superseding indictment in the case the day after Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal in Delaware fell apart. Months prior, in March, a member of Biden’s counsel’s office met with a top member of Smith’s team, just nine weeks before he indicted Trump in the classified document case, Breitbart News reported. The meeting “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Post. “There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter.” Trump slammed the indictment as election interference. Biden does not want to “run” against him, Trump exclusively told Breitbart News in July. “They didn’t want to run against me. That’s why they did it,” he said. “They did this so I wouldn’t get the nomination… They don’t want to run against me, that’s why they did it.”

Third Case: Georgia Case
Willis filed the third indictment against Trump on August 14, 2023. The official court website of Fulton County, Georgia, published what appeared to be an indictment against Trump before deleting it. Months before the indictment, Willis’ top county prosecutor met twice with Biden’s White House counsel on May 23 and November 18, 2022, a year before Trump’s August indictment, Breitbart News reported. Willis’ prosecutor reportedly charged Fulton County taxpayers $2,000 for each meeting, billing $250 an hour for eight hours. Neither Willis nor the prosecutor dispute the allegations, but a spokesperson for Willis’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would later respond in court filings. “[T]he district attorney was totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC. “They say she’s in far more criminal liability than any of the people she’s looking at.” Once again, the timing of the indictment was suspect. Willis indicted Trump on the same day former FBI supervisory special agent confirmed Biden’s 2020 transition team was tipped off about its plan to interview Hunter Biden.

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“He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.”

Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)

The judge in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25. The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump’s now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC. Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election. Thursday marked Trump’s first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump’s attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date – arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination. “It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche. Merchan at one point told Blanche “Stop interrupting me.” In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial – which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports. Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP. Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters. At the time, Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined “catch-and-kill.” Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.

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Why the Five Eyes? “..the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)

New reporting suggests the lengths the US deep state went to to undermine former US President Donald Trump. Since 2016, Democratic Party officials have accused former US President Donald Trump of illegally colluding with the Russian government as part of the discredited “Russiagate” narrative. Now, it appears such claims may represent a case of projection on the part of Trump’s critics. That’s the takeaway from a bombshell report by “Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger this week that suggests that CIA officials under former US President Barack Obama worked through English-speaking intelligence partners to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign. The report alleges that the CIA under intelligence chief John Brennan worked with Five Eyes intelligence partners to circumvent legal restrictions against domestic spying by the agency. Five Eyes is an alliance of intelligence agencies in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Brennan’s CIA allegedly colluded with these foreign intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. The spy agency also reportedly targeted prominent people associated with the campaign, operating from a list of 26 figures that intelligence assets could attempt to extract information from. Attorney Steve Gill and analyst Daniel McAdams joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the shocking revelations. “It’s now becoming clear that despite all the claims that Trump didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that his campaign operatives were being spied on by the federal government – they were,” noted Gill. “It is deplorable that we have a federal government that is spying on our citizens, not because of a legitimate national security interest, but because the deep state is trying to protect their interests rather than the interests of fair and free elections,” he added.

“You know, they’re targeting their political opponent. This is the stuff that you see in third-world countries and allegedly in Russia, and it is despicable that it’s not getting the backlash from the public and the media that it deserves.” Host Jamarl Thomas then cut to a clip of a 2020 appearance by Trump on the 60 Minutes television program. “The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign,” said Trump to reporter Leslie Stahl. “They spied on my campaign.” An argument then ensued between Trump and Stahl over whether the alleged spying actually took place. “He was right,” Thomas observed after playing the clip. “Leslie Stahl should be fired by 60 Minutes today,” said Gill.

“All these people that have collected their Emmys and their awards for their journalistic integrity and their successes, including those that denied that the Russia hoax was being pushed by Hillary Clinton… at the very least they should be turning in their awards as they exit their positions of power in the media.” Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also commented on the bombshell report during the final hour of the program Thursday. “The revelations about the spying on the Trump campaign now that have come out thanks to Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger… [are] astonishing because it tells you that the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

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“Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)

There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the “Five Eyes” agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan. According to Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag, foreign intelligence agencies were asked to conduct the surveillance, including “bumping” the associates — a term for making contact with or casually engaging a target to generate intelligence. These encounters may also have been used to generate intelligence reports used to support further intelligence efforts by the United States in the Russian investigation. The journalists reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters intelligence apparatus, or GCHQ, went ahead in contacting the Trump’s associates as early as March 2016.

Keep in mind that this was the same month that George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. It was also when Papadopoulos met a London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who Papadopoulos was led to believe had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” On March 21, 2016, Trump identified Papadopoulos and Carter Page as members of his foreign policy team. If true, the question is the basis for such surveillance of U.S. citizens associated with the opposing political party and a presidential campaign. The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treason.” He later said that he did not mean real treason when he said it was nothing short of treason. Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was “political.” Now these sources are claiming that agents from the Five Eyes “were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016.” Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified evidence to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Shellenberger and Taibbi have a record of investigating in areas long avoided by other journalists, particularly in exposing the massive censorship system funded and coordinated by the government. There is much to learn about these allegations and their underlying support. If proven, it would appear that neither the Inspector General nor John Durham were given the full picture of the origins of the Russian investigation. Moreover, there are intriguing questions over a referenced binder that sources said contained much of this intelligence and analysis. That binder or binders allegedly disappeared from the CIA. Once again, this is still the early reporting and we need to have more confirmation on these facts. However, Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

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“..intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said..”

US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)

The US intelligence community fabricated claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag reported on Thursday. An Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published by the US Director of National Intelligence in January 2017 purported that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. However, the assessment’s authors fabricated the intelligence on the claim, the report said, citing sources close to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal. The findings of the HPSCI investigation are being blocked from release, according to the report. Evidence indicates that Putin actually preferred Clinton, the report said.

The House investigators found that US intelligence analysts had information about Russians calling Trump unreliable and unsteady, the report said. In contrast, intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said. Former CIA Director John Brennan led the attempt to frame Trump as Putin’s preferred candidate in the ICA, the report said. The HPSCI investigation determined that the intelligence community conducted the assessment for political purposes, the report said. On Wednesday, Putin said in an interview with Russian media that it would be better for Russia for current US President Joe Biden to remain in office because he is more predictable. Trump called Putin’s remarks a “great compliment” and said that Biden would give up everything to Russia.

Russia will work with any president elected by US citizens, Putin added. In the wake of the 2016 election campaign, former President Trump was investigated by federal agencies for possible ties between his aides and Russia. Both Trump and Russia denied allegations of collusion. A four-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. A subsequent investigation by US Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should have never launched the probe into the collusion allegations.

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“..why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?”

Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)

Former head of the Sinohawk company Tony Bobulinski testified behind closed doors before US lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry on February 13. Commenting on the testimony, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Wednesday that Bobulinski had revealed that “Joe Biden knew [Tony] was going in business with Hunter and with [Joe’s brother] Jim Biden, and he knew that the business was selling the Biden brand.” In an explosive opening statement, Bobulinski alleged that Joe Biden could be probed in relation to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “From publicly available information alone, it seems clear that the Biden family monetized Joe’s public offices for decades, just as the Clinton family seems to have done, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Clintons,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

“We also know from [Joe Biden’s] tax returns that he declared very low incomes for decades. Miraculously after he left the vice presidential mansion on January 20, 2017, his declared income soared. But the murky ventures that may have paid him millions of dollars have never accurately been explained. Like other corrupt, dynastic families in both political parties, the Bidens, until now, have never been forced to explain how they obtained their mansions and other assets, and whether they have paid all required income and other taxes on these cash flows.” Ortel drew attention to the fact that Bobulinski has been trying to make his case against the Biden family “business” for years; and yet over the same period, the FBI, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service have refused to prosecute many Biden family members and associates for corruption, influence peddling, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

“The really damning questions here include why did government officials protect so many potential, high-level defendants and who has been involved in this decision-making process?” the Wall Street analyst asked. “As in my case in December 2018, when I tried to persuade the FBI to investigate Clinton Foundation crimes unsuccessfully, I think the real timing question is why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?” There are crucial questions concerning Bobulinski’s interaction with the Biden family and Chinese business tycoons which require answers, according to Jason Goodman, a US investigative journalist and founder of CrowdSource the Truth. “Bobulinski was in business with an individual who was addicted [Hunter Biden] to crack which is obviously illegal and dangerous,” Goodman told Sputnik. “Either he didn’t notice this, or he knew and didn’t think it was a concern. Either reflects poorly on his judgment.

Even without the crack, a reasonable person might have questions about getting into business with a bunch of Chinese nationals and the vice president’s moron son who clearly was doing exactly nothing for the business. It really is a very strange circumstance and hard to understand how a legitimate businessperson could find themselves in such a situation.” Charles Ortel also wonders “why [Bobulinski] agreed, initially, to get anywhere near the Biden family in these ‘ventures’. “Having stepped forward with his explosive allegations, Bobulinski runs the risk of being hunted by the Biden administration’s “justice machine”, according to Sputnik interlocutors. “One hopes Bobulinski is safe, but I believe another Biden accuser who deserves a fair hearing – Tara Reade – fled to Russia in fear of being attacked,” Ortel remarked. “Bobulinski will be repeatedly audited and harassed by the IRS. Also, given personal experience, his computer will be hacked by government operatives,” suggested retired certified public accountant Robert Bishop in an interview with Sputnik.

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“..Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019..”

A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)

With President Joe Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline taking central stage just months before the presidential election, Democrats need to discuss ‘the Kamala problem.’ As the US speeds towards the 2024 presidential election, the Democrats find themselves in a rather untenable position. Not only is the incumbent US President Joe Biden suffering visibly on the mental front – reminiscing aloud over meetings he’s never had with long-dead world leaders – but his second in command lacks the essential support of the Democratic base. While Biden’s approval rating sits in the basement at 39%, Vice President Kamala Harris has managed to outdo him with 37.5%. This should come as no surprise considering that Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019. How did she manage to alienate so many people within her own party?

Earlier in her career as California’s district attorney, Harris, the child of immigrants from Jamaica and India, had a reputation as a ‘top cop’ who worked against the interests of victims. She frequently failed, for example, to exercise her authority to investigate charges of misconduct and abuse by police and prosecutors. At the same time, she often kept people – many of them poor black people – behind bars even when there was ample evidence of wrongful convictions, while opposing legislation that would have demanded her office to investigate fatal police shootings. During the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard called out Harris over her record. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst possible way.”

Harris never denied the charges, only saying that she was responsible for “reforming California’s justice system.” More recently, Harris’ popularity has taken a hit because she has failed to show any real accomplishments in the past four years on the VP job. On the most important issue that Biden tasked Harris with, which was to investigate what was driving waves of illegal immigrants to America, she dropped the ball, neglecting to even visit the US-Mexico border. A former Biden administration senior official told Axios: “She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing [the border] was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach.” This is what happens when you elect a candidate based on their identity, not their competence – it’s nearly impossible to relieve them of their duties.

Should the Democratic Party take the decision to replace Harris, 59, at this particular juncture, the fallout would be fierce and swift. Anyone who dares criticize Harris, the first woman and first Black American to hold the office of vice president, will be accused of holding her to a higher standard than past (male, white) politicians. As far as Harris is concerned, she firmly believes that she can lead the nation should something untoward happen to Joe Biden. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week, just days before the release of a damning report emphasizing her boss’ failing memory. The report, penned by Special Counsel Robert Hur after an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and derided him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The public relations fallout has become so critical for the White House that there are rumors of invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession. This empowers the vice president and cabinet to remove the president from office through a majority vote in the event it’s determined he or she is no longer fit to hold office. The amendment has never been invoked in US history, and it probably won’t be invoked now since the specter of a Harris presidency is even less attractive than sitting through a Biden speech. Whatever the case may be, Donald Trump will not miss an opportunity to throw a spotlight on Harris and her inglorious stint as vice president, nor should he, considering that chances are high that Biden won’t serve out his term through age 86. In other words, Trump would be reminding Americans that a vote for Joe Biden is essentially a vote for Kamala Harris. Such a strategy will likely attract many swing voters into the Trump camp.

Read more …

And peace is of course bad.

Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner and ex-US leader Donald Trump is planning to pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia if he wins an expected rematch against incumbent Joe Biden for the White House, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. Should Trump become president, he may also retract a number of defense commitments to some NATO allies, according to reports. People familiar with the matter said Trump advisers had talked about ways of bringing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his Russian counterpart to the negotiating table shortly after the potential inauguration. One adviser, according to Bloomberg, suggested that Washington could push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive military assistance, adding that Russia could be swayed by the threat of increasing that aid instead.

Bloomberg sources also stressed that Trump aides had not discussed the matter with Russian officials, as it would be illegal for private US entities to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the administration. Russian officials have repeatedly said they are open to talks with Ukraine, but noted that any dialogue would take place only after Zelensky cancels his decree banning negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The Ukrainian leader introduced the ban last autumn after four of Kiev’s former regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Another facet of Trump’s presumed foreign policy appears to be a concept of “a two-tiered NATO alliance” in which a common defense clause would be applied only to those nations that had reached a certain defense-spending threshold, Bloomberg reported, adding that no final decision had been made on the matter.

Still, the agency noted that such an approach could “upend decades of US policy” while risking “fracturing” the defense alliance. During his term as president, Trump repeatedly pushed NATO countries to increase military spending to 2% of GDP, a threshold many have struggled to reach. As of July, only 11 NATO members had met or exceeded that level. Bloomberg’s report came after Trump claimed last week that, while in office, he had threatened not to defend those ‘delinquent’ NATO members that did not pay their fair share of defense spending if they were attacked by Russia. His remarks triggered condemnation both from the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans or interest in attacking the US-led military bloc.

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“I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars..”

Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas has slammed the US Senate for passing a $95 billion bill for Ukraine and Israel without including provisions for securing the southern border, calling the bill an “abomination.” The Democratic-led upper house passed the international security assistance package on Tuesday with a 70-29 vote after a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks to back the measure – but it has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Roy proposed submitting a bill to rename the state of Texas as Ukraine, quipping that “then, maybe this administration and senators will work on securing the border of the United States.” “I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Roy went on to call out GOP senators who supported the Senate bill, and who argued that much of the $60 billion for Ukraine would in fact support the US defense-industrial base and help American business. “Since when do we have economic development that is being driven by funding war overseas?” the congressman asked, insisting that “anybody that’s sane and sees what’s happening at our southern border would know that you cannot fund foreign wars, while our border is wide open and exposed to criminals and lawlessness and terrorists.” Roy stated that border security remains a priority for the American people as well as for Republicans in Congress, and vowed to block the Senate-approved bill when it gets to the House.

House speaker Mike Johnson has strongly opposed further funding for Ukraine unless it is tied to border security and tougher immigration laws. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to speed up approval of the aid for Ukraine, arguing that stalling the funds plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Moscow in the future. Biden has claimed the Russia could attack a NATO state if it manages to defeat Ukraine, which would require Washington to intervene, in line with the bloc’s mutual defense guarantee. Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied having any intention to attack NATO – with Putin stressing that Russia has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so, and would only engage in hostilities if attacked first.

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“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)

Western media reports claiming that Russia could place nuclear weapons in space are nothing more than a ploy by the White House to convince US lawmakers to approve further military aid to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Citing sources, several US media outlets reported this week that American intelligence had obtained information on purported Russian plans to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in orbit, although the idea supposedly remains at the developmental stage. ABC News claimed that while the system would not be used to attack targets on Earth, US officials still consider it “very concerning and very sensitive.” Responding on Thursday, Peskov suggested that the administration of US President Joe Biden is using the issue to force a vote to approve Ukraine aid. Moscow, however, will wait and see what comes from an upcoming White House briefing on the topic, Peskov added.

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he said. Nuclear weapons in space are banned under the Outer Space Treaty, which was opened for signature by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK in 1967, as Moscow and Washington sought to ease tensions during the Cold War. More than 100 countries have since joined the treaty. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mike Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed to have shared information “concerning a serious national security threat” with US lawmakers, while urging Biden to declassify the relevant materials. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to brief congressional leaders on security issues on Thursday.

When pressed on whether he would address Turner’s concerns, he declined to respond, noting he was “surprised” by the statement, given the upcoming meeting on the matter. His comments came after the New York Times suggested, citing sources, that Turner – whom it described as the administration’s ally on Ukraine aid – had pushed the nuclear issue into the spotlight, to “perhaps to create pressure” on lawmakers to approve $60 billion in supplemental funding for Kiev. The Biden administration has been urging Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine since the autumn. Its efforts have been met with opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House do more to improve security on the southern US border in return.

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“..Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein have sued the FBI, alleging that the agency failed to properly investigate the notorious sex offender. They claim that the FBI sat on reports about Epstein’s activities for two decades, allowing the victims to be “trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened.” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on Wednesday by 12 women, all of whom are referred to in the document as anonymous Jane Does. “For over two decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation permitted Jeffrey Epstein to sex traffic and sexually abuse scores of children and young women by failing to do the job the American people expected of it,” the complaint alleges. “As a result of the continued failures of the FBI, Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom – once and for all – of the FBI’s role in Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”

According to the lawsuit, the FBI began receiving tips, reports, and complaints about Epstein’s alleged trafficking and abuse of minors in 1996, but failed to open a case or share this information with other law enforcement agencies. The FBI eventually opened a case in 2006, two years before Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in Florida. A controversial plea deal saw Epstein register as a sex offender and serve 13 months on supervised release in lieu of a possible life sentence. Despite the fact that he had been convicted for one offense and dodged a litany of other sex-trafficking charges, the FBI continued to ignore tips that flowed in over the next decade, the lawsuit claims. “As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI’s negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened,” the complaint said. Epstein was eventually arrested in 2019 and charged with the trafficking of dozens of minors. He died awaiting trial in a Manhattan jail cell a month later, with his death officially ruled a suicide.

Epstein’s girlfriend and “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for child sex trafficking in 2022. According to testimony from victims, Epstein and Maxwell recruited girls to perform sexual acts on themselves and their rich and powerful associates, and instructed these girls to recruit additional victims. Among the powerful men accused of abusing the girls was Britain’s Prince Andrew, who settled out of court with an accuser in 2022. The plaintiffs behind the latest lawsuit are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and damages from the US government. The FBI has already been accused of negligence in its handling of the Epstein case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December, agency Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn’t do more to stop the notorious pedophile. Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

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Egypt has started building refugee camps.

Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)

Here’s a blurb from Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion who said: “You are no doubt aware of the [Jewish National Fund’s] activity in this respect. Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” He concluded: “Jewish power [in Palestine], which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.” (1948) This same line of reasoning has persisted through the decades although today’s Zionists tend to express themselves more brashly and with less restraint. Take, for example, popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro who presented his views in an article titled “Transfer is Not a Dirty Word”. Here’s what he said:

“If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum…. The Jews don’t realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It’s not genocide; it’s transfer…. It’s time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution”. Transfer is Not a Dirty Word, Narkive “Squeamish”? Shapiro thinks that anyone who recognizes the appalling moral horror of driving people off their land and forcing them into refugee camps is squeamish?

This is the essence of political Zionism and it dates back to the very beginning of the Jewish state. So, when critics claim that Netanyahu has assembled the “most right-wing government in Israel’s history”, don’t believe them. Netanyahu is no better or worse than his predecessors. The only Prime Minister who veered even slightly from this ‘iron law’ of Zionism, was Yitzhak Rabin who was (predictably) assassinated by an opponent of Oslo. What does that tell you?It tells you there was never going to be a “two-state” solution; it was a charade from the get-go. And (as Netanyahu intimated recently) Israeli leaders merely played along with the hoax in order to buy-time to prepare for the solution that is being imposed today. Have you ever wondered why so many Israelis support Netanyahu’s murderous rampage in Gaza?

(Hint) It’s not because Israeli Jews are homicidal maniacs. No. It’s because they know what he is doing. They’re not taken-in by the “Hamas” diversion, that is merely propaganda pablum for the West. They know that Netanyahu is implementing a plan to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And, in doing so, he is achieving the territorial ambitions of his Zionist ancestors. So, even though the majority of Israelis despise Netanyahu and think he should be prosecuted for corruption, they are willing to look the other way while he does their bidding. What onlookers need to realize is that the current strategy is not new at all, in fact, it has a 75 year-long pedigree that aligns with the demographic objectives of the Zionist leadership. None of this of course has anything to do with Hamas which is merely the pretext for the eradication of the indigenous people. What we are seeing is the actualization of the Zionist dream, the modern version of Plan Dalet, the original roadmap for ethnic cleaning that was drawn up in 1948.

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“He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations..”

Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)

Liberal financier George Soros has bought a major stake in the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 stations across the country, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Soros Fund Management purchased around $400 million of debt owed by the Audacy media group during its bankruptcy process, the newspaper reported, citing court filings. The billionaire bought the debt at roughly 50 cents on the dollar from hedge fund HG Vora, the report continued, noting that once the deal is approved by a bankruptcy court, Soros will own about 40% of Audacy’s overall debt. While 40% is not a majority stake, a source told the New York Post that Soros could nevertheless gain “effective control of the media giant when it emerges from bankruptcy.”

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead as reported, Audacy will be the latest addition to Soros’ growing media empire. Soros Fund Management joined a consortium of creditors to purchase Vice Media last summer, paying $350 million to acquire a former media juggernaut once valued at $5.7 billion. An “insider source” cited by the New York Post described the Audacy deal as “scary,” saying he believed that Soros intended to use his stake to influence public opinion ahead of this year’s presidential election.

A hedge fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, Soros is among the wealthiest men on earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations. Soros is an advocate for mass immigration to Western countries, European federalism, and economic and political liberalism. He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations. As well as direct donations to candidates and activist groups, Soros reportedly gave $300,000 to a group of TikTok influencers who collaborated with the White House to promote President Joe Biden’s policies. The Open Society Foundations announced last year that Soros, who is 93 years old, would step down from the helm of the organization and hand control to his 38-year-old son, Alex.

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“..“no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times..”

Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)

Beijing reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that the European Union plans to target three Chinese companies as part of the bloc’s 13th round of sanctions against Russia. The move by the EU follows claims that Chinese and Indian businesses have helped Russia “circumvent” European sanctions by providing them with electronic components used in the manufacturing of drones and other military equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia since the intensification of the Donbass conflict in early 2022. Beijing blasted the EU restrictions as “illegal” and criticized the “long-arm jurisdiction” against Chinese companies. China has benefited in recent months as Western sanctions against Russian energy have hampered European competitiveness, forcing companies in Germany and other EU nations to raise prices as they rely on more expensive American liquified natural gas.

Seen in this light, the EU’s attempts to punish Chinese businesses may be viewed as a desperate attempt to hobble the competition as Europe increasingly faces economic crisis and deindustrialization. Economist Richard Wolff joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to discuss the grim economic outlook for the continent. “Europe, which has been kind of a dominant player in the whole world for a couple of thousand of years, is in what I believe to be – and I’m far from the only one – a crisis so profound it may be what we look back on and call the terminal crisis, the last one, because it literally cannot survive,” Wolff speculated. “On the one hand, it is being outcompeted by the United States, which has dominated it for the last 75 years anyway,” he noted. “But now the new player in the world economy, the People’s Republic of China and its allies, known generally as the BRICS, competing and challenging Europe, from the other side of the planet, if you like, means that Europe is caught between them.”

Wolff claimed the cultural, historical, and linguistic differences between EU countries have undermined the continent’s attempts to unify in recent decades. Now, Europe is a “junior partner” Wolff claimed, caught between the US-led G7 economic bloc and the China-led BRICS countries. While Europe previously benefited from its relationship with Russia in the form of cheap natural gas, Russia has now turned towards China and the other nations of the BRICS bloc after being “betrayed by the rest of Europe.” If the solidifying of new alliances has economically harmed Europe, it has benefitted Russia, Wolff claimed, which has been able to sell its oil and gas to India and China. “The Russian ruble is in fine shape. The Russian economy is growing faster than last year, [faster] than the United States is and is in no way falling apart,” the economist insisted. Meanwhile “no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times,” Wolff warned ominously.

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“.. in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds..”

Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

This article will consider several proposed alternatives for diffusing what Warren Buffett called a time bomb waiting to go off. That sort of bomb just detonated in the Chinese stock market, contributing to its fall; and the result could be much worse in the U.S., where the stock market plays a much larger role in the economy. A Jan.30 article on Bloomberg News notes that “Chinese stocks’ brutal start to the year is being at least partly blamed on the impact of a relatively new financial derivative known as a snowball. The products are tied to indexes, and a key feature is that when the gauges fall below built-in levels, brokerages will sell their related futures positions.” Further details are in a Jan. 23rd article titled “’Snowball’ Derivatives Feed China’s Stock Market Avalanche.” It states, “China’s plunging stock market is leading to losses on billions of dollars worth of derivatives linked to the country’s equity indexes, fuelling further selling as retail investors offload their positions…. Snowball products are similar to the index-linked products sold in the 2008 financial crisis, with investors betting that U.S. equities would not fall more than 25% or 30%,” which they did.

The Chinese stock market is much younger and smaller than that in the U.S., with a much smaller role in the economy. Thus China’s economy remains relatively protected from disruptive ups and downs in the stock market. Not so in the U.S., where speculating in the derivatives casino brought down international insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis of 2008-09. AIG had to be bailed out by the taxpayers to prevent collapse of the too-big-to-fail derivative banks, and Lehman Brothers went through a messy bankruptcy that took years to resolve. In a December 2010 article on Seeking Alpha titled “Derivatives: The Big Banks’ Quadrillion-Dollar Financial Casino,” attorney Michael Snyder wrote, “derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens, derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again…. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system … is totally dominated by the big international banks.”

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Ron Paul Assange

 

 

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Bear and Moose

 

 

 

 

Lion turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758108922764804147

 

 

Dinosaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758103418093064324

 

 

India and Pakistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758122937905820057

 

 

Bach

 

 

Legend

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 032022
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Belshazzar’s feast 1635-38

 

Unicorns Are Real (Batiushka)
Soul Man (Jim Kunstler)
Physical Integrity Of Nuclear Plant ‘Violated Several Times’ – IAEA Chief (RT)
IAEA Nuclear Watchdog Should Be Mistrusted ‘By Default’ – Zelensky Aide (RT)
The Moment of Greatest Danger (Schryver)
Russia To Halt All Oil Exports To Countries That Impose “Absurd” Price Cap (ZH)
Gazprom “Completely Halts” Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak (ZH)
EU Country Bulgaria Wants To Negotiate Gas With Russians Again (NOS)
Hungary Reveals What Weakened EU (RT)
Biden’s Hateful Rhetoric Presents The GOP With A Sterling Opportunity (AT)
US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS (PG)
College-Loan Forgiveness Plan Reveals Biden’s Constitutional Cynicism (Turley)
The Pandemic Did This? New York Times Fails Fact Check (Lerman)
Only Nine Percent of Law Professors Identify as Conservatives (Turley)
Biden-Big Tech Collusion Suit Reveals ‘Massive, Sprawling’ Censorship (JTN)
Hunter’s Techies Funded China Bat Virus Researcher (McCormick)

 

 

 

 

I thought he was in jail.

 

 

UDUMBASS
https://twitter.com/i/status/1565441789871415297

 

 

The NIH sneaked back in ivermectin.

 

 

DeSantis War Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die.”

Unicorns Are Real (Batiushka)

An autumn chill is descending on every European country, though in each country in different ways. Gas-dependent Germany and Italy are desperate for Russian gas. It is not just homes, but whole factories which face imminent closure in energy-intensive industries. The result of that will be mass unemployment. By ‘mass’, I mean 20% and more. In France there is popular rejection of President Macron who has told his people that they (i.e. not him) must suffer so that the Ukraine can ‘win’. September is the first month of the annual strike-season in France. French people do not like being cold. Expect some headlines. In Latvia the Russian minority are fearful for their future, but so is everyone else. Heating will not be an option this winter. With a pension of just over 100 euros a month, many pensioners are simply going to die of the cold.

From Slovakia we have received the following: ‘Thanks for your email. Just to give you some idea of the current manufacturing costs here in Slovakia and to be brutally honest throughout the upside down world, We paid last year 85,000 euros for electricity, this year it’s going to be around 500,000 euros. As of 1 Jan 2023 it’s going to be 1.2 million euros at best. So that’s just the electricity, never mind the gas, the increase in raw materials, salaries and all other manufacturing costs, This is a hard way of saying it’s impossible to reduce and every customer of ours has to accept it or not. Surprisingly we have never ever been as busy! You cutting margins down low is of course difficult, but at least you have margins. We simply do not have anything to reduce’.

In Moldova the crisis is profound. As in Latvia and Lithuania up to half the population have fled their countries after they were pillaged by the EU (even though officially Moldova does not even belong to the EU!). Previously medicine came from the Ukraine. Now that is unobtainable, they have to use medicine from Germany. Only that costs ten times more. Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die. In Romania, which has lost a quarter of its population to emigration after the great EU pillage, and where a salary of 600 euros per month is considered very good, food prices are the same as in Western Europe, where average salaries are four to five times more, and diesel costs even more than elsewhere. In Ireland restaurants are closing because they cannot afford their energy bills, which have increased by 1,000% (yes, one thousand per cent).

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“The country is verging on an economic catastrophe more consequential than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the harbinger of it, a financial market crash, is sure to occur before November 8th.”

Soul Man (Jim Kunstler)

“Joe Biden’s” guardian of the rule of law, the DOJ under Merrick Garland, is on a rampage, not just seeking long prison sentences on J-6 misdemeanor defendants, but now going after their very attorneys, officers of the court, for daring to represent them. There is the recent Mar-a-Lago caper, of course, in which the FBI snatched a bale of documentary evidence Donald Trump had collected detailing these agencies’ four-year campaign to overthrow him. And, having gotten their mitts on it, the AG declared all the material part of a bogus “ongoing investigation” in order to prevent the docs being introduced in Mr. Trump’s just-opened defamation and racketeering lawsuit against HRC, her posse of Lawfare ninjas, and most of the people who worked in leadership of the FBI and DOJ circa 2016-2021.

In short, the FBI stole evidence of their own prior crimes to evade prosecution. Something tells me that’s not going to work out so well for AG Mr. Garland and Chris Wray of the FBI. You realize, don’t you, that all of “Joe Biden’s” scripted maundering about “democracy” and “justice” and “the rule of law” is a smokescreen sent up to hide the many crimes committed by his shadowy managers just now breaking into disclosure, and they are running out of dodges and distractions to divert the pliable center of the voting public from seeing it all.

Following Mark Zuckerberg’s epic mistake telling Joe Rogan that the government used his company, Facebook, and Jack Dorsey’s Twitter, to squash the first amendment, the wheels came off any pretense that this was not direct interference in the 2020 election by activists in government. For a whole year, the FBI sat on evidence that candidate “Joe Biden’s” family was running an international grifting operation fronted by his son Hunter, and when news reports about the notorious laptop began to leak out, the agency used its considerable powers of intimidation to make the news disappear.

[..] Thursday night, “Joe Biden” heralded a US economy firing on a gazillion cylinders. “American manufacturing has come alive across the heartland, and the future will be made in America, no matter what the white supremacists and the extremists say,” he declared. Is that so? Of course not. The country is verging on an economic catastrophe more consequential than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the harbinger of it, a financial market crash, is sure to occur before November 8th. Everybody and his uncle on Wall Street knows that. The shadow regime behind “JB” knows that. He didn’t dare mention the word inflation, as if no one has noticed it. (Anyway, white supremacists did that.)

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“We are glad that the Russian Federation did what it did to keep our inspectors safe”

Physical Integrity Of Nuclear Plant ‘Violated Several Times’ – IAEA Chief (RT)

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi has confirmed that damage had been done to the Russian-held Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine, but refrained from naming the guilty party. “It’s obvious that… the physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times. By chance or by deliberation, we don’t have the elements to assess that, but this is the reality that we have to recognize,” Grossi told reporters after returning to Ukrainian-controlled territory on Friday. “I worried, I worry and I will continue to worry about the plant until we have a situation that’s more stable, that’s more predictable,” he added.

Grossi, who headed the team of IAEA experts that arrived at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Thursday, said that he “saw a lot”during the visit, personally inspecting some of the “key areas” at the facility, including emergency systems, diesel generators and control rooms. The atomic agency was “not going anywhere”from the plant now, he assured reporters, reiterating that the UN nuclear watchdog plans to establish a permanent presence at the facility. The official also said that some experts from his team will remain at the station until Sunday or Monday to “dig deeper” and collect more data for the report.

Russia said that Ukraine has shelled the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and sent commandos to storm it on Thursday in a failed attempt to use the UN inspectors as “human shields.” Grossi acknowledged that the security situation at the plant was “difficult” during his visit.“There were moments where fire was obvious – heavy machine gun, artillery, mortars,” he said, adding that on two or three occasions things got “very concerning” for the UN team. Zaporozhye nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since March, but has continued to be operated by the Ukrainian staff. The IAEA chief has praised the “incredible degree of professionalism” of those employees, saying that he saw them “calm and moving.”

Ukrainian attempt to hold IAEA team hostage

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Translate: If they say anything not positive about Ukraine, remember: they cannot be trusted. And translate that in turn: Ukraine is worried about what IAEA will find.

IAEA Nuclear Watchdog Should Be Mistrusted ‘By Default’ – Zelensky Aide (RT)

International organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are “cowardly” and cannot be trusted, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said. “I don’t like international institutions and mediation missions in general. They look extremely ineffective, extremely cowardly and extremely unprofessional,” Mikhail Podolyak said in an interview on Thursday evening. This applies “not only to the IAEA”, but also to the UN, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ukrainian official claimed, adding: “By default, you should not trust them.” Podolyak’s remarks came as he criticized the IAEA mission to the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which arrived earlier in the day.

He expressed his low expectations from the mission, based on the positive remarks that Director General Rafael Grossi made after touring the facility in Ukraine. The Ukrainian official said he was willing to give the IAEA inspectors the benefit of the doubt and wait for them make an official report that would “show the depth of their inner destruction”. He explained his concerns, citing several aspects of Grossi’s visit. They include its relatively short duration, which Podolyak assessed was too short for a proper fact-finding mission. He also criticized the willingness of the IAEA chief to talk to a representative of the Russian atomic energy body Rosatom, who, Podolyak said, “delivered a strange long speech” to the UN official.

The IAEA experts arrived at the station from Kiev despite continued military action in its vicinity. Kiev and Moscow have accused each other of being behind the shelling and of trying to derail the inspection. Some members of the mission stayed behind to monitor the situation, while Grossi and others left. Podolyak said the IAEA should blame Russia for attacks on the plant, and if their report fails to do so, only stating that inspectors witnessed evidence of strikes, his opinion about the organization will be vindicated.

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“..in 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin delivered a landmark speech wherein he put the Empire on notice that Russia was drawing a line in the sand beyond which it would not permit further NATO expansion.”

The Moment of Greatest Danger (Schryver)

[..] this war has reached the stage equivalent to Nazi Germany in mid-January 1945: the war is lost; everyone knows it is lost, and all that remains is the positioning in advance of the inevitable surrender, the unrestrained looting, and the occasional harassment of the never-say-die snipers who will fight to their last round of ammo and last drop of blood. In other words, we’ve finally arrived at the most dangerous juncture of this conflict. You see, as I have frequently observed, this war, at its deepest root, has always been an existential struggle between Russia and the rapidly declining fortunes and dominion of the long-since irredeemably corrupted American Empire. Beginning with the fall of the Soviet Union, and continuing throughout the 1990s, the western vulture capitalists raced to divide, conquer, and despoil the unfathomable natural resource wealth of the former USSR.

And indeed, in ten short years, they managed to extract a massive pile of treasure at Russia’s expense, only to be prematurely thwarted by the unforeseen rise of the previously obscure Vladimir Putin. At first, the finely accoutered locusts believed they could manipulate Putin as easily as they had his immediate predecessors. But they were soon disabused of that fallacy. So then they began to pressure Putin and Russia by methodically assimilating into their “defensive alliance” all the previously unaligned nations that stood between NATO’s 1997 borders and the Russian frontier. This, of course, awakened in Russia a sober sense of their increasingly precarious position, and in 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin delivered a landmark speech wherein he put the Empire on notice that Russia was drawing a line in the sand beyond which it would not permit further NATO expansion.

That line extended from eastern Poland to northern Armenia. Predictably, Putin’s declarations were first mocked and then summarily dismissed. I suspect this was the point at which Russia came to see that war was very likely inevitable in order to retain its sovereignty and security. Nevertheless, Putin exhibited extraordinary patience. While initiating an aggressive military upgrade and expansion program, he bided his time for the next several years. But with the threat to Russia’s strategic naval base in Syria and the US-orchestrated coup d’etat in Ukraine, he was compelled to act, albeit with considerable restraint, to alter the trajectory of events. He dispatched an expeditionary force to Syria to prevent the fall of the Assad regime at the hands of US-supported “moderate rebels”; he moved to reclaim historically Russian Crimea, and to much more aggressively support the ethnic Russian separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine who were waging a tenuously balanced civil war against the US-installed regime in Kiev.

American designs in Syria were foiled. But the ongoing de facto NATO assimilation of Ukraine continued, as the US and its NATO allies set out to methodically construct what would eventually become the most formidable proxy army in history, with ambitions to lure Putin into a Slavic civil war that would sap Russian strength, mortally wound its still-fragile economy, and induce social unrest within Russia and discontent among its various loci of domestic power, and ultimately effect “regime change” in the Kremlin. But, at every juncture, Putin out-maneuvered them.

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“..companies that impose a price cap will not be among the recipients of Russian oil.”

Janet Yellen sounds especially thick.

Russia To Halt All Oil Exports To Countries That Impose “Absurd” Price-Cap (ZH)

It did not take long for the Kremlin to respond to the G-7 plan to impose price-caps on Russian oil, with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warning that Moscow will ban exports of oil and other petroleum products to countries that impose a cap on the price of Russian crude. Novak made the remarks to reporters in Moscow on Sept. 1, according to Russian state media Tass, which came as Western powers were preparing to meet on Sept. 2 to agree on a Russian oil price cap. “We will simply not supply oil and petroleum products to such companies or states that impose restrictions, as we will not work non-competitively,” Novak said, while denouncing the price cap as “completely absurd.”

“It will completely destroy the market,” Novak continued, arguing that interference in market mechanisms in a key commodity like oil would have a destabilizing impact on energy security in countries across the world. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took the opportunity of G-7 agreement to a nothingburger plan to take a victory lap: “The price cap will advance our two key objectives; The first, of course, is reducing revenues that Putin needs to continue waging his war of aggression. And the second is maintaining a reliable supply of oil to the global market and putting downward pressure on the price of energy for people in the U.S., in the UK, and around the world.”

But, echoing Novak’s remarks about a Russian oil export ban targeting countries that sign onto the cap, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call on Sept. 2 that “companies that impose a price cap will not be among the recipients of Russian oil.”

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This will continue as long as the sanctions do. Remember, only one of six turbines were/are working.

Gazprom Completely Halts Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak (ZH)

After a 3-day halt, Russian energy giant Gazprom was expected to resume critical supplies of nat gas to Europe via Nord Stream 1 tomorrow, but it appears that Putin is enjoying the game of cat and mouse a little too much, and gas flows won’t be getting restored any time soon, because moments ago Gazprom announced that it had “completely halted” transport of gas to Nord Stream until a previously undetected oil leakage is rectified. That could take hours, days… or months.
• GAZPROM ISSUES STATEMENT ON NORD STREAM 1 MAINTENANCE
• GAZPROM: TRANSPORT OF GAS TO THE NORD STREAM PIPELINE HAS BEEN COMPLETELY HALTED UNTIL FAULTS ARE RECTIFIED
• GAZPROM: DURING ROUTINE MAINTENANCE WORKS OIL LEAKAGE WAS DETECTED GAS SUPPLIES TO NORD STREAM FULLY STOPPED


That means that Europe will now be forced to rely even more on… well… Russian gas, in the form of much more expensive LNG resold by China. And after tumbling by more than 50% in the past few days, we fully expect European gas prices are about to go super parabolic and take out all time highs as soon as trading returns on Monday.

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Google translate from Dutch.

That makes Hungary, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and some in Austria think of joining.

EU Country Bulgaria Wants To Negotiate Gas With Russians Again (NOS)

Balkan country Bulgaria has made a 180-degree turn towards Russia. The government supported Ukraine and subsequent European sanctions and was subsequently cut off from Russian gas. Meanwhile, there is an interim government in power that cares little about European solidarity. The government is even reaching out to the Russians again, it was announced in a television interview this week: “Talks are being held at the highest level,” Prime Minister Galab Donev said. That announcement – that negotiations are underway with Russia – is causing great concern in the capital Sofia. Hundreds of protesters blocked the main entrance to the government building in recent days. They demand the resignation of the interim government, which has been in power for less than a month.

[..] In the capital Sofia, gas is used for communal district heating. The winters are quite cold and residents in the working-class neighborhoods already have high bills. At the district heating office, Bulgarians walk in and out worrying about their payment. They have no problem with their country renegotiating with Gazprom. Pro-European Prime Minister Kiril Petkov came to power in December. He promised to end corruption and wanted independence from Russia. His government condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and supported European sanctions. At the end of April, Gazprom turned the tap off for Bulgaria and Poland because of the refusal to pay in rubles. The two countries were thus the first European member states to be cut off from Russian gas. A difficult situation for Bulgaria, the country was 90 percent dependent on gas from Russia.

Prime Minister Petkov then signed an agreement with the United States to supply seven liquefied gas (LNG) tankers to “improve Bulgaria’s energy security”. An agreement mediated by the European Commission. But the Petkov government was overthrown after a vote of no confidence. President Radev appointed an interim government with an energy minister who was quick to announce that “it is practically inevitable that Bulgaria will enter into negotiations with Gazprom Export on the recovery of gas resources under the current contract”.

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“..EU leaders’ failure to “protect people in Europe” has resulted in citizens paying the price for a “war they are not even responsible for.”

Hungary Reveals What Weakened EU (RT)

The armed conflict in Ukraine has “catastrophically” weakened the European Union, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has claimed. Speaking at the ‘Open Balkan’ summit in Belgrade on Friday, Szijjarto argued that the Ukraine conflict along with its “economic influence and a ruinous energy crisis… has led to a catastrophic weakening of Europe and the EU.” The diplomat went on to claim that EU leaders’ failure to “protect people in Europe” has resulted in citizens paying the price for a “war they are not even responsible for.” The Hungarian minister stressed that talks are needed within the bloc to ensure that the consequences of the conflict are not “fatal to the continent.” Szijjarto added that food shortages in developing countries caused by the fighting in Ukraine have left “hundreds of thousands of people under the threat of famine,” leading to a “new level of migrants’ aggression” at Hungary’s borders.


The official also stressed the importance of the EU’s expansion in the Western Balkans. Unlike most other EU member states, Hungary has remained relatively neutral since the start of the conflict in February, refusing to provide weapons to either Ukraine or Russia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has argued that such shipments could see Hungary getting dragged into direct military confrontation – which is not in the country’s interest. Moreover, officials in Budapest have repeatedly criticized EU sanctions against Moscow, insisting that the punitive measures hurt the bloc itself more than they do Russia. Hungary has also called for dialogue with Russia to put an end to the Ukraine conflict.

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But this writer fails to use that opportunity.

Biden’s Hateful Rhetoric Presents The GOP With A Sterling Opportunity (AT)

Never before have government institutions been hijacked and misused to target political opponents. Never before has a virus been misused to impose lockdowns that infringe on the right to freedom of movement and the right to earn a living. Never before have vaccines been mandated causing people to be fired from their jobs or suffer from health issues. Never before has the U.S. government demonized its own citizens, calling them domestic terrorists. Never before has the U.S. government set up a ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ that sits in judgment of the utterances of citizens. Never before has the U.S. been subjected to prolonged disinformation campaigns, the Russian collusion hoax, the Ukraine call hoax, and now the insurrection hoax.

Never before has the U.S. had a president whose cognitive abilities are so impaired that he struggles to read off a teleprompter and causes citizens to wonder who is in charge. Biden continues by claiming that the Republican party is “dominated, driven, intimidated by Donald Trump” and his supporters, calling it “a threat to this country” because “they refuse to accept the results of a free election.” Perhaps Biden forgot the Russian collusion hoax concocted by the Democrats that baselessly attempted to delegitimize the results of the 2016 presidential election. It was the Democrats who refused to accept the results of a free election. Perhaps Biden forgot that big media and big tech suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal prior to the 2020 elections.

A recent poll shows that nearly four of five Americans believe that “truthful” coverage would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Perhaps Biden forgot about Mark Zuckerberg spending $419 million to infiltrate sacrosanct electoral infrastructure of the 2020 elections and push for mail-in voting. Perhaps Biden forgot that 69% of voters nationwide cast their ballot nontraditionally i.e., by mail and/or before Election Day for the 2020 elections. Mail votes are highly vulnerable to fraud. Biden also alleged that the “MAGA forces” are aligned with white supremacists, violent extremists, and other undesirables. Perhaps Biden forgot violent Democrat extremists threatening Supreme Court Justices, vandalizing Catholic churches, pregnancy centers, and the offices of pro-life groups.

McCabe

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“..Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush”.

US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS (PG)

First Amendment of the US constitution- ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ It is commonly stated that the press (aka the proverbial ‘4th estate’) in the US is ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and ‘essential for the functioning of a free society’, serving as a ‘watchdog’ on government actions and policies and vital to protect the ‘liberty’ of American citizens. As is often the case, things are not always as they seem. In a recent interview with Brian Berletic, Mark Sleboda commented that “Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush”.

While there is no doubt that Western (read corporate) media is indeed promoting US foreign policy, it is not the US government that formulates these polices, rather they are formulated and developed by the ruling elite, using corporate-funded foundations and ‘think tanks’, academic institutions and prominent politicians. These include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rand Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, American Heritage Foundation, Atlantic Council, Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Academic institutions such as The Kennedy School (Harvard), Hoover Institution (Stanford), Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown) and School of Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins) not only provide ‘experts’ and government officials, such as Wendy Sherman (Kennedy School) current US Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden Administration, they serve as training grounds for government officials and corporate management, some of whom are employed by above listed universities and foundations.

Once formulated, these policies are ‘sold’ to the American public by a compliant and well-disciplined media. Approximately 90% of US media is controlled by six large corporations- Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, Paramount Global, Sony, and Fox, with a combined market cap of circa $500 billions. Like other large corporations, media conglomerates have the same class interests as the financial elite, i.e., promoting policies which increase corporate power and profits and maintain US global hegemony. So called ‘public’ media, such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the BBC, in the UK, function in a similar manner. Corporate media is closely integrated with large financial interests and serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pentagon and US foreign policy.

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“The idea of a president giving away such a fortune with the stroke of a pen should alarm every American.”

College-Loan Forgiveness Plan Reveals Biden’s Constitutional Cynicism (Turley)

In 1987, President Reagan reached a milestone in sending to Congress the first trillion-dollar budget. The size of it caused intense debate in Congress over the debt load, but an eventual “consensus” budget was reached. What is shocking today is not simply the size of the more than $4 trillion federal budget but that President Biden just wiped out what is estimated to be $1 trillion owed to the country — the size of the Reagan budget — without a single vote, let alone approval, by Congress. The idea of a president giving away such a fortune with the stroke of a pen should alarm every American. Not only will the massive payout likely fuel inflation but critics have objected to having working-class people subsidize the debts of college-educated citizens.

Others object that it is unfair to those who sacrificed to pay off their loans or those of their children. When one such father asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) whether he would get a refund after struggling to pay off his daughter’s college education, Warren dismissed him with an “of course not.“ Some Democrats in Congress have joined Republicans in condemning the plan. Biden knew he could never get Congress to agree to such a massive write-off, so he did not try. Instead, he acted unilaterally, and Democrats like Warren expressed euphoria, although Warren wanted five times more debt forgiveness. The former law professor saw little problem with a president giving away hundreds of billions of dollars.

As was the case under President Obama when he circumvented Congress, Warren and others are celebrating their own constitutional obsolescence. This is not supposed to happen in a constitutional system based on shared, limited powers: The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, but Biden just gave away the store. James Madison described the essence of our system of separation of powers in Federalist 51 as premised on the belief that “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” No branch is supposed to have enough power to govern alone. Biden just did, however.

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“What can a pandemic NOT do?”

The Pandemic Did This? New York Times Fails Fact Check (Lerman)

Yesterday, September 1, 2022, The New York Times had a front page story entitled: “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading.”The first paragraph states that “National test results released on Thursday showed in stark terms the pandemic’s devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with the performance of 9-year-olds in math and reading dropping to the levels from two decades ago.” Further down, the article says: “Then came the pandemic, which shuttered schools across the country almost overnight” and “experts say it will take more than the typical school day to make up gaps created by the pandemic.”

The definition of a pandemic, according to the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (ref: Last JM, editor. A dictionary of epidemiology, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001) is “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.” According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, “an epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people.” Thus, a pandemic is a disease that spreads rapidly to many people all over the world. Based on this pretty much universally accepted definition, a pandemic can do exactly one thing: it can spread disease to many people around the world.

What can a pandemic NOT do? A pandemic cannot impose mandates or lockdowns. A pandemic cannot block borders or force people to stop traveling. A pandemic cannot shutter schools – overnight or otherwise. A pandemic cannot impact math and reading. A pandemic cannot cause learning gaps. What can our response to a pandemic do? If we decide to shut down schools for months and years on end in response to a pandemic, then it is our response that has caused whatever educational deficits and devastation to children ensue. It is not the pandemic. In case there’s any doubt that the effects of a pandemic are separate and distinct from society’s response to the pandemic, we can take a look at Sweden, where schools were never shut down, and where there was no learning loss and much less devastation to schoolchildren than in countries that closed schools during the Covid pandemic.

Blaming the pandemic for anything other than disease and/or death is misinformation. The New York Times headline and article contain clear and uncontestable instances of misinformation. Here is the information from the article, stated in a factually correct way: US public health leaders and politicians mandated prolonged school shutdowns in response to the Covid pandemic, and these school shutdowns had devastating effects on schoolchildren, creating learning gaps and erasing decades of progress in math and reading.

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Disaster around the corner.

Only Nine Percent of Law Professors Identify as Conservatives (Turley)

A new study offers further evidence of the alarming decline of ideological diversity on our law faculties. A study by Georgetown University’s Kevin Tobia and MIT’s Eric Martinez was featured on College Fix that finds that only nine percent of law school professors identify as conservative at the top 50 law schools. Notably, a 2017 study found 15 percent of faculties were conservative. This is the result of years of faculty replicating their own ideological preferences and eradicating the diversity that once existed on faculties. When I began teaching in the 1980s, faculties were undeniably liberal but contained a significant number of conservative and libertarian professors. It made for a healthy and balanced intellectual environment. Today such voices are relatively rare and faculties have become political echo chambers, leaving conservatives and Republican students increasingly afraid to speak openly in class.

The trend is the result of hiring systems where conservative or libertarian scholars are often rejected as simply “insufficiently intellectually rigorous” or “not interesting” in their scholarship. This can clearly be true with individual candidates but the wholesale reduction of such scholars shows a more systemic problem. Faculty insist that there is no bias against conservatives, but the obviously falling number of conservative faculty speaks for itself. In racial and gender discrimination cases, this type of pattern of de facto hiring preferences is routinely the basis for lawsuits. Obviously, intellectual diversity is different from racial discrimination. This is no protected class and there is no statutory mandate to support challenges. Faculties know that it is near impossible to challenge their hiring decisions. However, the de facto result of years of biased hiring practices is reflected in the low number of conservative faculty at these schools.

When confronted, faculty will often shrug and say that they are open to promising conservative faculty but they simply have not found any. They will also question what is a conservative or a liberal — even though professors seem to have little problem in answering such polls with those terms. There is little sympathy for conservative and libertarian students who have few faculty offering opposing views — or liberal students who would like exposure to the full array of legal thought and interpretations. Having taught for over three decades, I have never seen a more intolerant and orthodox environment. Schools have reached an ideological critical mass where faculties are replicating their own preferences. The overwhelming composition of faculties then serves to replicate and promote the views of liberal faculty on journals and in conferences.

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“..a 711-page “joint statement on discovery disputes.”

Biden-Big Tech Collusion Suit Reveals ‘Massive, Sprawling’ Censorship (JTN)

Even as President Biden warns the nation of the “extremist threat to our democracy” from Republicans in this fall’s elections, new evidence suggests a much wider campaign by his administration to sic Big Tech on critics than previously thought, going so far as removing a parody of Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci. The First Amendment lawsuit by Republican attorneys general and a civil liberties group against Biden, Fauci and several other high-level officials has revealed a “massive, sprawling federal ‘Censorship Enterprise'” related to COVID-19 and elections, the plaintiffs said in a 711-page “joint statement on discovery disputes.”

“If there was ever any doubt the federal government was behind censorship of Americans who dared to dissent from official Covid messaging, that doubt has been erased” by what the defendants have already turned over, New Civil Liberties Alliance lawyer Jenin Younes said. The Justice Department cited its 15,000-page document production to oppose the “anything but reasonably tailored” discovery requests by Missouri’s Eric Schmitt, Louisiana’s Jeff Landry and NCLA, which DOJ called “grossly disproportionate” to this stage of litigation. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram parent Meta, Google’s YouTube and LinkedIn provided information separately.

The “defendants’ position” left out the elephant in the room: the likelihood of even greater harm to Democratic prospects if sensitive communications including Fauci and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre are required to be divulged before the midterms. Schmitt is the GOP nominee for retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat. The plaintiffs are keen to compel Fauci to discuss the “nature and content” of his oral conversations with Zuckerberg, who gave the long-serving public health bureaucrat his personal cell phone number in March 2020. They also want all Fauci communication with social media platforms related to the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration and its authors, who are represented by NCLA, as well as Trump coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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“Mike McCormick was Joe Biden’s stenographer and witnessed Biden in action around the world. In a recent blog post he claims there’s much more to Hunter Biden’s involvement in the Wuhan lab and Biden’s meetings with President Xi in China.”

Hunter’s Techies Funded China Bat Virus Researcher (McCormick)

Mere days after he returned from his infamous Air Force Two trip to China with his dad in December 2013, Hunter Biden, along with his Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners pals, began a long, intimate, and lucrative business relationship with biowarfare contractor Metabiota — at the very same time its scientists were collaborating on research with virologists associated with Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance. [..] Also as an eyewitness to Joe’s dealings — I traveled with him to Ukraine and China — I will present further evidence that he and his staffers directed even more USAID and Department of Defense (DOD) funding towards his and Hunter’s investment in Metabiota for its activities in Ukraine and China. Joe Biden enriching himself and his family by lining up government funding Metabiota is malfeasance, an impeachable offense.

But in my opinion, impeachment hardly answers for his criminal affiliation with this pandemic “predictor.” But the question that must be asked, and it’s only me asking: Who had the idea for Hunter and RSTP to back Metabiota — Joe or Xi? And understand, the only people that can answer that question are Joe and Xi. Because given that prominent CCP virologist Shi Zhengli was leading the Chinese side of this research collaboration, it is entirely reasonable that Xi Jinping would have known about her project. It’s also reasonable that he knew a lot about her research partners, meaning it’s quite likely he knew Metabiota and its founder, Wolfe, were tied to the DOD and highly regarded by the WEF. Whether Metabiota was a biowarfare contractor or a biotech software company, there is no doubt the CCP was keeping close tabs on it, and thus so was Xi.

So now what to make of Joe Biden and his four-and-a-half-hour meeting with Xi Jinping as crude, cruel, and callous Hunter waited in the wings. [..] At this point in time, Xi, the deadly serious president of China, the world’s most “ascendant” nation, thinks he is scheduled to talk to Joe Biden, the often ridiculous vice president of the United States, for only about an hour. Boy, was he wrong. So what changed? What was Joe up to? And why did Xi tolerate it? The meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People, adjacent to Tiananmen Square. It was supposed to adhere to the traditional world leader bilateral formula of a one-hour meeting with advisors present, followed by brief innocuous remarks to the press. But that’s not how it went. I know because I was there … sort of.

Chinese security denied me entry to the building. No reason given. So I retreated to a van in the motorcade and waited and waited and waited. So no, I was not in the meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. But then, no one was. No senior staffers. Not a one. From either side. And based on reports from White House staffers who did get in the building, they spent four hours sitting on the hard floor of an empty hallway and were as put out as the Chinese by what transpired.Joe had all the advisors leave — Chinese and American. Not Xi, Joe. It was just him and Xi and interpreters — off script, off schedule, off plan. Most unusual. And Joe knew it. His remarks after the meeting began with an apology to Xi’s advisors for not only kicking them out of the room, but then monopolizing Xi’s time.

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Posobiec Dutch farmers

 

 


You don’t have to put on the red light.

 

 


Kingfisher in action. Photo Jaap La Brijn

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 142022
 


Pablo Picasso Guernica [Study] II 1937

 

Russia And China Haven’t Even Started To Ratchet Up The Pain Dial (Escobar)
Russia State TV: War Will Expand To Poland If US Continues To Arm Ukraine (NYP)
NATO and EU Sound Alarm Over Risk Of Ukraine Weapons Smuggling (FT)
The International Political Debacle: The Unipolar System Is Crumbling (Wilbert)
The Fed’s Financial Nuke Will Obliterate The Global Economy (McDonald)
Letter To My Friends From America (Faina Savenkova)
Climate Mandates Imposed on Dutch Farmers Will Ruin Their Livelihoods (ET)
German Firm Calls For Energy Price Cap To Avoid Social Unrest (R.)
#VaccineInjured Trends on Twitter After British Report (Celente)
UK Excess Deaths Not From Covid Approach 9,000 in Last 10 Weeks (DS)
Doctors Push Hard for Child Vaccination Despite Their Own Research (BI)
Federal Judge Orders Biden Admin to Cooperate in Social Media Collusion Lawsuit (ET)
Court Rejects Bayer’s Latest Attempt to Duck Liability in Roundup Case (CHD)
Jury Convicts CIA Programmer Of Leaking To WikiLeaks (Dissenter)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Ray Epps
https://twitter.com/i/status/1547385947817484290

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything plays into Putin’s hands.

Russia And China Haven’t Even Started To Ratchet Up The Pain Dial (Escobar)

A case can be made that Putin and Russia’s Security Council are implementing a tactical trifecta that has reduced the collective West to an amorphous bunch of bio headless chickens. The trifecta mixes the promise of negotiations – but only when considering Russia’s steady advances on the ground in Novorossiya; the fact that Russia’s global “isolation” has been proved in practice to be nonsense; and tweaking the most visible pain dial of them all: Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. The main reason for the graphic, thundering failure of the G20 Foreign Ministers summit in Bali is that the G7 – or NATOstan plus American colony Japan – could not force the BRICS plus major Global South players to isolate, sanction and/or demonize Russia.

On the contrary: multiple interpolations outside of the G20 spell out even more Eurasia-wide integration. Here are a few examples. The first transit of Russian products to India via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is now in effect, crisscrossing Eurasia from Mumbai to the Baltic via Iranian ports (Chabahar or Bandar Abbas), the Caspian Sea, and Southern and Central Russia. Crucially, the route is shorter and cheaper than going through the Suez Canal. In parallel, the head of the Iranian Central Bank, Ali Salehabadi, confirmed that a memorandum of interbank cooperation was signed between Tehran and Moscow. That means a viable alternative to SWIFT, and a direct consequence of Iran’s application to become a full BRICS member, announced at the recent summit in Beijing.

The BRICS, since 2014, when the New Development Bank (NDB) was founded, have been busy building their own financial infrastructure, including the near future creation of a single reserve currency. As part of the process, the harmonization of Russian and Iranian banking systems is inevitable. Iran is also about to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September. In parallel, Russia and Kazakhstan are solidifying their strategic partnership: Kazakhstan is a key member of BRI, EAEU and SCO. India gets even closer to Russia across the whole spectrum of trade – including energy. And next Tuesday, Tehran will be the stage for a crucial face-to-face meeting between Putin and Erdogan. Isolation? Really?

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Russia state TV is kind of wild, and not the Kremlin.

Russia State TV: War Will Expand To Poland If US Continues To Arm Ukraine (NYP)

A Russian state TV host warned Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine could expand to Poland if the US continued to arm Kyiv’s forces. On a broadcast of Russia Channel 1’s “60 minutes,” TV host Olga Skabeyeva made the veiled warning saying that if the West continued to send aid to Ukraine the conflict could intensify, Newsweek reported. “If God forbid, Americans deliver missiles that can travel 186 miles. Then we simply can’t stop,” the TV host said. “We’ll go all the way to Warsaw.” Skabeyeva referenced the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which the US started sending to embattled Ukraine last week. Russia’s latest warning comes after the US pledged several more units to Ukraine. The Polish foreign ministry has yet to make any comment on the threat.

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This is Poland:

“All these weapons land in southern Poland” “..we have no idea where they go, where they are used or even if they stay in the country.”

NATO and EU Sound Alarm Over Risk Of Ukraine Weapons Smuggling (FT)

Nato and EU states are pushing for better tracking of weapons supplied to Ukraine in response to fears that criminal groups are smuggling them out of the country and on to Europe’s black market. Since Russia launched its war against Ukraine, western states have pledged more than $10bn in military support, from portable rocket launchers and armoured vehicles to rifles and vast amounts of ammunition. A number of Nato member states are discussing with Kyiv some form of tracking system or detailed inventory lists for weapons supplied to Ukraine, two western officials briefed on the talks told the Financial Times. Ukraine’s government is setting up a more extensive weapons monitoring and tracing system with the help of western countries, a third person familiar with the situation said.


“All these weapons land in southern Poland, get shipped to the border and then are just divided up into vehicles to cross: trucks, vans, sometimes private cars,” said one of the western officials. “And from that moment we go blank on their location and we have no idea where they go, where they are used or even if they stay in the country.” The potential for US weapons sent to Ukraine to fall into the wrong hands is “among a host of considerations” given the “challenging situation” on the ground in the country, said Bonnie Denise Jenkins, US under secretary for arms control and international security, on Tuesday. s“The US very seriously takes our responsibility to protect American origin defence technologies and prevent their diversion or illicit proliferation,” Jenkins told reporters in Brussels, adding that the US was in “continued contact” with Kyiv on the issue.

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The west accelerates its own demise.

The International Political Debacle: The Unipolar System Is Crumbling (Wilbert)

The multipolar world was going to emerge one way or another, but the mistakes of the Western leaders accelerated a process that would still take some years, and it can’t cope since it governs for less than 1 billion people (G7 population). And Operation Z in Ukraine was the trigger for a lack of diplomatic tact and will to war that even caused Ukraine’s allied leaders to fall, such as Boris Johnson. The bankruptcy of Europe was also imminent, since the various economic dependencies, including on Russian gas, prove that the continent, despite being so-called First World, was unable to generate an economy based on a real production of resources. And all attempts to escape from this dependency would lead to at least 10 years of pipeline works and economic agreements-treaties between other countries and them.

So it’s not like it was easy either to have prevented what was predestined to happen, but it could have been delayed if there was the right diplomacy, since the war was avoidable. But how? Simple. I’ll explain. What was Putin’s key argument? “Ukraine cannot join NATO!” And what could the West have done? Generated a document in multilateral coordination with the appropriate entities recognizing that the security of Russia, a member of the UN Security Council, was an important issue and Ukraine would not join the Atlanticist military alliance. Or: they could put 50,000 or 100,000 troops inside Kiev to stand up to the Russians since Biden shortly before the Special Military Operation began, acknowledged that Putin would “invade Ukraine,” so they knew the risks. But they did neither.

They wanted this war but it is not going as planned because the political debacle is happening, with the leaders who support the Atlanticist platforms falling away little by little, leaving the enthusiasts of the multipolar world standing like Putin and Xi Jinping in their proper nuclear strongholds. Moreover, it is interesting to note how parts of the Global South opposed the various diplomatic and economic sanctions on Russia, showing that they were unwilling to continue functioning as American semi-colonies in diplomatic and other matters.

It was inevitable that a totally new world would emerge out of the totally destroyed old world, because that is the natural way of what comes after destruction: reconstruction or new construction. And that is what is happening to the world at present, in that we see prominent leaders being murdered in the open or resignations due to inability of governance, clear signs of destruction. And after the destruction will come the construction, of which we don’t know what it will look like yet, but the first bricks have already been laid.

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“Volcker was jacking rates into a planet with about $200T LESS debt.”

The Fed’s Financial Nuke Will Obliterate The Global Economy (McDonald)

We are living in a period of mass “Jonestown” economic delusion. Just twenty months ago – central bankers were offering to buy nearly every junk bond known to mankind, dramatically distorting the “true cost of capital.” All the way from crypto to emerging markets – it was a moral hazard overdose. Everyone on earth was borrowing money at fantasy-land bond yields. Now, the Fed is promising endless rate hikes and $1T of balance sheet reduction onto a planet with emerging market and Euro-zone credit markets in flames. Listen, all I have is an economics degree from the University of Massachusetts, but after having spent the last 20 years trading bonds professionally and embarking on a 20k feet deep autopsy on the largest bank failure of all time – from my seat the current Fed agenda is sheer madness and will be outed very soon.

The true cost of capital was distorted for so long, we now have hundreds of academics– clueless to the underlying serpent inside global markets. When the 6 foot seven, Paul Volcker walked the halls of the Marriner S. Eccles Building of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, our planet embraced about $200T LESS debt than we are staring down the barrel at today. Please call out the risk management imbeciles that make any reference of “Powell to Volcker.” In 2021, global debt reached a record $303T, according to the Institute of International Finance, a global financial industry association. This is a FURTHER jump from record global debt in 2019 of $226T, as reported by the IMF in its Global Debt Database. Volcker was jacking rates into a planet with about $200T LESS debt. Please call out the risk management imbeciles that make any reference of Powell to Volcker.

Many economists in 2022 are highly delusional – a very dangerous group indeed. When you hike rates aggressively with a strong dollar you multiply interest rate risk, which was already off the charts coming from such a low 2020 base in terms of yield – it’s a convexity nightmare. Interest rate hikes today – hand in hand with a strong U.S. Dollar – carry 100x the destructive power than the Carter – Reagan era. At the same time, you add lighter fluid on to the credit risk fire in emerging markets with a raging greenback. Global banks have to mark to market most of these assets. If global rates reset higher and stay at elevated levels, the sovereign debt pile is in gave danger. The response to Lehman and Covid crisis squared (see above) has left a mathematically unsustainable bill for follow on generations.

The Fed CANNOT hike rates aggressively into this mess without blowing up the global economy. We are talking about mass – Jonestown delusion on roids. Then Covid-19 placed a colossal leverage cocktail on top. Emerging and frontier market countries currently owe the IMF over $100B. U.S. central banking policy + a strong USD is vaporizing this capital as we speak. A dollar screaming higher with agricultural commodities – priced globally in dollars – is a colossal tax on emerging market countries – clueless academics at the Fed are exporting inflation into countries that can least afford it.

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The 13-year-old girl from Lugansk.

Letter To My Friends From America (Faina Savenkova)

Two events have recently occurred in the world. In America – in the suburbs of Chicago – people died during the celebration of Independence Day. And during these three days, 5 children died from artillery shelling of Ukraine in the Donbass – in Donetsk and Makeyevka. A 10-year-old girl was torn apart by an incoming Ukrainian shell. According to the data and evidence collected by the Russian Foundation for Combating Repression, the Ukrainian military was given direct orders to use weapons to kill against civilians of Donbass. Here are the proofs of that https://fondfbr.ru/en/articles/sergey-yudayev-en/

But did American journalists notice this? No. I can understand why America mourns the dead on Independence Day. But at the same time, she stubbornly does not want to see what Ukraine is doing. I live in Donbass, and after the murder of children with weapons supplied by you and Europe, probably, should hate you and rejoice that the Lord punishes those because of whom our children die. But I am Russian and I have been living in the war for eight years now. I understand what death is, so I don’t feel anger and hatred. And I grieve with you for the dead. Human life is priceless, and murder is always terrible, because it is impossible to bring back those who have been lost, it is impossible to drown out this pain. Just as it is impossible to isolate yourself from the war, because the war, in which your government is no less to blame than the rest, will surely return to you.

I am very sorry that many in America do not know that it all started 8 years ago. And Ukraine is killing civilians, destroying our cities, killing children. But it is unlikely that your politicians pay attention to this. They are ready to fight to the last Ukrainian and, apparently, believe that they will defeat Russia in a nuclear war. It won’t be like that. I would like you to understand that war is bad, as well as the killing of innocent people. I hope that all this will end soon, and humanity will once again understand the value of life and a peaceful future, and Russia and America will be friends.

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The quiet last few days will make Rutte think he’s winning. But the farmers will be back; they know it’s now or never.

The farmers are simply the easiest target. If nitrogen is the problem, force people to fly and drive 30% less. Much more effective. But that costs votes.

Climate Mandates Imposed on Dutch Farmers Will Ruin Their Livelihoods (ET)

The livelihoods of Dutch farmers are under attack due to the Dutch government’s proposed nitrogen policy, which could necessitate the mass slaughter of livestock and potentially shut down almost a third of the country’s farms. If this policy is implemented, it will have “major security consequences, not just for the Netherlands, but for all of Europe and the world,” said Michael Yon, a war correspondent who has recently arrived in the Netherlands to report on the ground from the Dutch farmers’ protests. The Netherlands is a small country in Europe with a population of 17 million people, but it is the second-largest food exporter in the world, Yon said in a recent interview for EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program. “They have the most efficient farmers in the world.”

In 2021, the Netherlands’s coalition government proposed slashing livestock numbers in the country by 30 percent to meet nitrogen greenhouse gas emission targets. The country has already implemented stringent restrictions on new construction, intending to curb nitrogen emissions. Dutch bank Rabobank has argued that those new hurdles have slowed home building in the Netherlands, intensifying a housing shortage in the densely populated coastal nation. On June 10, Christianne van der Wal, the Dutch Minister for Nitrogen and Nature Policy, unveiled a plan to reduce nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The Dutch Provinces are responsible for developing corresponding measures to reach the nitrogen emission reductions between 12 and 70 percent, depending on the area,” the statement said.

“Farmers in some provinces will be particularly hard hit … and the Dutch government acknowledged ‘there is not a future for all {Dutch} farmers within [this] approach.’” The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce says that nitrogen environmental pollution comes from burning fossil fuels but also from manure produced by livestock and fertilizers used in farming. It is estimated that to implement the proposed plan, farmers would need to reduce their cattle herds by 30 percent, according to Barron’s. But Yon said Dutch farmers are not polluting the environment and that they’ve been farming the land for thousands of years. Nitrogen is being labeled as a pollutant and used as a decoy by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to put the farmers out of business and control the food supply, Yon said.

[..] Dutch farmers and truckers realize that their government is following the recommendations of the WEF, which has been trying to take their land and control their food supply, Yon said. “If you control the food supply, you control that population completely,” he said. Dutch farmers are very educated, and they are both businesspeople and farmers, Yon said. They know that if they lose, they will lose their livelihood, and the consequences of their loss will be felt for many generations, he said. “The farmers are rising up. They know they’re going to be put out of business … which would put all of Europe on its knees, foodwise,” Yon said.

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“..twice as much now, and three times at the end of the summer.”

German Firm Calls For Energy Price Cap To Avoid Social Unrest (R.)

Household energy costs could triple in Germany as Russian gas supplies dwindle, officials in the sector said, and one company representative raised the possibility of social unrest unless there was a cap on prices. In an interview with the RND newspaper group published on Thursday, Klaus Mueller, head of the Federal Network Agency regulator urged consumers to reduce consumption and set aside money. And in an interview with Reuters, the head of the municipal works of Chemnitz, one of the 900 city-owned public companies that are a major part of Germany’s energy landscape, went further. “We must help average households and set an upper limit for energy costs,” Roland Warner said, warning that annual bills of 1,500 euros could rise to 4,700 euros in October. “If we get social unrest the state won’t be able to cope.”

Energy minister Robert Habeck has in the past rejected calls for state price caps, saying the state cannot fully offset increased prices and that attempting to do so would send the wrong signal about the need to conserve energy. After prospering from cheap Russian gas for decades, Europe’s largest economy is facing a crunch as Russia dials back supplies. Western governments say Moscow is retaliating against sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine, but Moscow blames technical problems. Some analysts warn that public backing for a tough line against Moscow could weaken further if living standards decline.

A Forsa poll published on Wednesday found that support for a boycott of Russian gas – a major source of finance for what Moscow calls its “special operation” in Ukraine – had fallen from 44% of respondents six weeks ago to just 32% now. With spot prices soaring, Mueller warned that end-consumers rolling over their fixed-term contracts now would find themselves paying twice as much now, and three times at the end of the summer. “Some prices on exchanges are up sevenfold,” said Mueller. “It’s not all going to come through immediately, and won’t be fully passed on, but it’s going to have to be paid eventually,” he said.

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Good on GB News.

#VaccineInjured Trends on Twitter After British Report (Celente)

The hashtag #vaccineinjured trended on Twitter late Wednesday after GBN, a British news channel, aired a special on those who said their lives were upended after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of these individuals held up photos of loved ones they said died after taking the vaccine, or said they suffered from an adverse reaction. The show was intended to shed light on these cases and criticized social media platforms for silencing them.

The COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness could drop to about 20 percent a few months after the booster shot is administered, according to an Italian review of COVID studies. “Booster doses were found to restore the VE [vaccine effectiveness] to levels comparable to those acquired soon after administration of the second dose; however, a fast decline of booster VE against Omicron was observed, with less than 20% VE against infection and less than 25% VE against symptomatic disease at 9 months from the booster administration,” the authors wrote in the paper. The study found that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were less than 5 percent effective at preventing a symptomatic infection with the Omicron variant, which is famous for evading the immune defense system. Three doses were up to about 22 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection.

A recent Pew Research poll found a dramatic shift in the trust Americans have in health officials after more than two years of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey found that President Joe Biden has lost public support in his handling of the outbreak. The survey pointed out that about 65 percent of Americans said they were confident in his ability to deal with the virus at the beginning of his presidency. The survey now says 56 percent of Americans believe he is doing a “fair or poor job” in handling the outbreak. Just 43 percent polled said he is doing an excellent job.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1547300429754761216

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900 a week in the UK alone.

UK Excess Deaths Not From Covid Approach 9,000 in Last 10 Weeks (DS)

There have been over 8,750 more deaths than usual from causes other than COVID-19 in England and Wales in the past 10 weeks, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics show. In the week ending July 1st, the most recent week for which figures are available, there were 10,357 deaths registered, which is 1,128 or 12.2% above the five-year average. Of these, 332 were registered with Covid as a contributory cause and 212 were registered as due to Covid as underlying cause. This leaves 916 excess deaths from an underlying cause other than COVID-19, bringing the total non-Covid excess deaths in the 10 weeks since the recent spike began in late April to 8,756 deaths.

Experts have called for an urgent investigation of this alarming trend, though the Government has yet to signal it intends to do this or to offer any explanation of the high rate of deaths. Looking at deaths by date of occurrence, if we compare them to the rollout of vaccine doses in the spring booster campaign among over-75s in England we can see what appears to be a correlation, meaning a possible connection should be investigated. The sharp drop in the most recent week may be an indication that the wave is easing, though with the crisis in ambulance services and hospital capacity ongoing that remains to be seen.

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Iceland.

Doctors Push Hard for Child Vaccination Despite Their Own Research (BI)

According to a study recently published in the Paediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the risk of COVID-19 to children is truly minuscule. The study tracks the outcomes for Icelandic children with a positive COVID-19 test, covering all the children who tested positive during the study period. It concludes that out of the 1,749 children tracked, none had severe symptoms and no child needed hospitalisation. A fifth of the children showed no symptoms. It is curious, then, that when Icelandic health authorities decided to offer COVID-19 vaccination to 5-11 year-old children earlier this year, two of the four study authors were among the most vocal advocates of the policy.

At the time, the health risks related to COVID-19 vaccines were becoming increasingly clear, with the rate of reported serious adverse effects in Iceland 75-fold the rate for flu vaccines in 2019. The French Medical Academy had recommended against vaccinating healthy young children, Swedish authorities had decided not to offer them vaccination and the JCVI had recommended against it. But Icelandic authorities decided to go ahead with an organised campaign. Earlier, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Valtyr Thors, a prominent paediatrician, had said vaccination was not needed for young children, but in January 2022 he suddenly reversed his opinion and strongly recommended vaccination to “protect children against infection and serious illness”. At that time, the Omicron variant had already taken over in Iceland, and numbers showed vaccine protection against infection to be zero or negative.

Late December 2021, another author, paediatrician Dr. Asgeir Haraldsson, Professor of Medicine at the University of Iceland, said five to 10 out of every thousand healthy children would need hospitalisation after COVID-19 infection and strongly recommended vaccination, claiming both Delta and Omicron variants posed a considerably higher threat to children than previous variants. The study shows only 12% of infections among children occured in school. However, in late 2021 the importance of keeping schools open was repeatedly mentioned as an additional justification for the vaccination of children. In December 2021, Dr. Thors claimed infections in schools were a major problem and Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Thorolfur Gudnason suggested lifting quarantine requirements for vaccinated children under 16, while keeping them in place for the unvaccinated.

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“‘Government can’t outsource its censorship to Big Tech,’ Missouri attorney general says..”

Federal Judge Orders Biden Admin to Cooperate in Social Media Collusion Lawsuit (ET)

A federal judge ordered the Biden administration on July 12 to comply with information requests in a lawsuit brought by Missouri and Louisiana officials about alleged federal government collusion with social media companies to suppress important news stories in the name of fighting so-called misinformation. The lawsuit could help bring to light the Biden administration’s behind-the-scenes efforts to discourage the dissemination of information related to the advent of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 and the ongoing Hunter Biden laptop scandal, according to Eric Schmitt, Missouri’s Republican attorney general.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump claim that if the story about the laptop belonging to the president’s troubled son hadn’t been suppressed, President Joe Biden would have lost the 2020 presidential election. Republicans say the laptop provides evidence of the son’s misbehavior and of the Biden family’s corruption. Facebook and Twitter infamously restricted the distribution of information related to the computer’s contents. Biden supporters claimed the story was manufactured by the Russian government as disinformation. Social media also suppressed numerous stories related to the origins of COVID-19, possible medical treatments to prevent, treat, or cure the disease, and discussions about government and corporate policies implemented to deal with the virus, many of which curbed personal freedoms.

Many government and corporate employees have been fired in the pandemic era for refusing to take government-approved vaccines, which they say have limited effectiveness and potentially severe side effects. The lawsuit could also provide fodder for Republicans who promise multiple investigations into government wrongdoing should they retake Congress in the November elections. Among the defendants are President Joe Biden, his former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, former Disinformation Governance Board executive director Nina Jankowicz, and Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to court documents, the states allege that the administration “colluded with and/or coerced social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms by labeling the content ‘disinformation,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘malinformation.’” The states “allege the suppression of disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and contents constitutes government action and therefore violates Plaintiff States’ freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

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“..a cancer warning would deviate from Roundup’s EPA-approved labeling..”

Court Rejects Bayer’s Latest Attempt to Duck Liability in Roundup Case (CHD)

A federal appeals court has rejected a bid by Monsanto owner Bayer AG to head off claims brought by cancer victims alleging that Monsanto failed to warn them of the risks of Roundup. In a decision handed down Tuesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a “failure to warn claim” brought against Monsanto in Georgia by Roundup user John Carson is not preempted by requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as lawyers for Monsanto, and its owner Bayer, have argued. Bayer has sought — and now failed — in multiple courts to find backing for its argument that it should be protected from allegations that Monsanto failed to warn users of a cancer risk associated with its products. (Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018.)

The company asserts that if it had placed cancer risk warnings on product labels it would have conflicted with provisions of FIFRA that give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversight of labeling language. The EPA has said in its assessment, that the herbicides are “not likely” to be carcinogenic. “It’s another resounding rejection of Monsanto’s preemption defense,” said attorney Brent Wisner, who served as co-counsel for the first trial to take place in the nationwide Roundup litigation, which resulted in a unanimous jury decision finding Monsanto had hidden the cancer risks of its weed killers. “It is safe to say that their argument is dead. Every court to consider this issue has sided with plaintiffs,” Wisner said.

Bayer said in a statement that it believes the federal appeals court erred in its ruling. “We respectfully disagree with the Eleventh Circuit’s decision, as a cancer warning would deviate from Roundup’s EPA-approved labeling, render the product misbranded, and require the company to make a label change that would be contrary to the consistent conclusions of EPA’s scientific assessments for more than four decades. “The court’s determination that the FIFRA’s statutory registration process is not sufficiently formal to trigger preemption is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent, and the company will review its legal options regarding further proceedings.”

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Not what the Espionage Act was meant for, even back in 1917.

Jury Convicts CIA Programmer Of Leaking To WikiLeaks (Dissenter)

A federal jury in New York convicted former CIA employee Joshua Schulte of violating the Espionage Act when he allegedly released materials on the CIA’s hacking capabilities to WikiLeaks. This was the second trial against Schulte. In March 2020, his first trial ended in a mistrial on several Espionage Act charges, but he was found guilty of contempt of court and lying to the FBI. Unlike the first trial, Schulte represented himself and argued his case. He again maintained he was not the source of the leaks published by WikiLeaks. A jury deliberated for nearly three days before announcing a verdict. Judge Jesse M. Furman in the Southern District of New York did not schedule a sentencing date because there are other charges pending against Schulte.

Known as the “Vault 7” materials, WikiLeaks began releasing documents on March 7, 2017. They came from what WikiLeaks described as an “isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence.” Documents revealed how the CIA could target iPhones, Androids, and Samsung TVs and convert the devices’ microphones into bugs used to spy on targeted persons. Malware was also developed to infect Microsoft Windows users, and the CIA was “hoarding” security vulnerabilities in software and hardware that they could use for their covert operations instead of notifying companies that users were at risk of being hacked.

It was one of the largest leaks of information in the history of CIA and a huge embarrassment for then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who responded by labeling WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence agency” and developing “secret war plans” against the media organization that included kidnapping or even killing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The US government has charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act, and the UK government authorized his extradition in June. Assistant US Attorney Michael D. Lockard asserted that on April 20, 2016, Schulte “stole the entirety of the CIA’s highly sensitive cyber intelligence capabilities.” This occurred just days after the CIA “locked the defendant out of the secure restricted vault-like location on the network.”

“Shortly after stealing this extraordinarily sensitive intelligence information, the defendant transmitted those backups to WikiLeaks, knowing full well that WikiLeaks would put it up on the internet,” Lockard argued. “In the weeks following this break-in, the defendant took every step he would need to take in order to transmit those files to WikiLeaks. He downloaded a program that WikiLeaks itself recommends to leakers to use to send stolen data.” [..] US prosecutors never presented any forensic evidence to specifically tie Schulte to the publication of the CIA hacking materials on WikiLeaks. Schulte acted very confident during his closing argument. He insisted that Lockard was “worried about the lack of evidence” because he had told the jury the “lack of evidence is not evidence of innocence.”

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Oborne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 242022
 
 May 24, 2022  Posted by at 8:27 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Giovanni Bellini Pietà 1474

 

We’re in It Now for Sure (Kunstler)
False Russia Collusion Story Began And Ended With Hillary Clinton (JTN)
FBI Alfa-Bank Inquiry Based On DOJ ‘Referral’ That Came From Sussmann (WE)
Durham Puts FBI Investigators On Stand (JTN)
What It Means That Hillary Clinton Did It (AT)
A Major National Embarrassment Is Being Hidden From Ukrainians (Storozhenko)
UK Backs Lithuania’s Plan To Lift Russian Blockade Of Ukraine Grain (G.)
A Breakdown Of The Ukraine Aid Bill (Semler)
In Davos, Ukrainians Host “Russian War Crimes House” (Y!)
Republicans Will Target ‘Public Health Bureaucrats’ When In Majority (JTN)
Pfizer Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit From COVID-19 Vaccine Trial (ET)
Supermarkets Could Soon Urge You Not To Use Cash Or Card To Pay (MEN)
Albanese Squandering Leverage on Assange (Lauria)

 

 

 

 

Tulsi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1528687472359575552

 

 

 

 

Build Back Amish.

We’re in It Now for Sure (Kunstler)

Lately, a new derangement is overtaking Western Civ, for the excellent reason that Western Civ gave birth to techno industrial societies and is now first to undergo the alarming demise of that system. I speak of the World Economic Forum (under one Klaus Schwab) and its stated ambition to Build Back Better — based on its unstated premise that the current system must be nudged to its death sooner rather than later, and on-purpose. All the governments of Western Civ nations seem coordinated on this. But it’s not going to happen as Mr. Schwab and his followers hoped, for at least a couple of reasons. First, as already stated, God is a prankster and likes to throw knuckleballs at the human race.

Anyway, the “better” that Mr. Schwab expects is an ultra-techno-industrial “trans-human” scheme that is unlikely to come about if the support system of the older techno-industrial system is no longer available to support it. As currently conceived, BBB depends on electric power, and that is one of the major sub-systems of our system that already looks like it’s going janky. You get the idea, I’m sure, so I’ll cut to the chase for now. About a year ago I had my French easel set up on a country road nearby and was busy painting a motif at-hand when along came a horse-drawn wagon filled with four men in severe black-and-white clothing, wearing beards.

They were apparently a bit surprised by the strange sight of me painting a picture and they stopped to chat. They were Amish and had lately moved to the county from down in Pennsylvania, which was running out of farmland for their fruitful people. Not a half-hour later a second horse-drawn wagon passed by. I admit, the incident gave me a thrill — not just the sensory pleasure of the horses’ ripe animal smell, and the gentle rhythm of their clip-clopping along. But since I had lately been writing a bunch of novels about life in a post-economic collapse town like my own (the World Made by Hand series), I enjoyed the strange delight of being transported briefly into a scene of my own imagining — the prequel of my own books.

Many more Amish are landing in the county these days. I hear they go around to the failing or inactive farms with bundles of cash and make an offer, just like that. Evidently the method works. It’s given me a business idea: to start an Amish skills school, buy a few acres with a barn and hire some Amish men to teach all us non-Amish how to do a few things that might be good to know in the years ahead, like how to harness horses to a cart or a mule to a plow. (The Amish like to make a bit of cash-money when they can.) That’s my idea of how to build back better. What do you think?

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Put Obama on the stand as well.

False Russia Collusion Story Began And Ended With Hillary Clinton (JTN)

In an era where the hunt for disinformation has become a political obsession, Hillary Clinton has mostly escaped having to answer what role she played in spreading the false Russia collusion narrative that gripped America for nearly three years. On Friday, that dodge ended with a most unlikely witness: her former campaign manager Robby Mook, who was supposed to be a witness helping the defense of her former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI. Instead, under cross-examination by Special Counsel John Durham’s team, Mook was forced to concede two extraordinary facts. First, the Clinton campaign wasn’t “totally confident” about the accuracy of computer data suggesting Donald Trump had a secret communications channel to the Kremlin via Russia’s Alfa Bank.

And second, Hillary Clinton herself personally approved spreading the story to the news media, despite the concerns about its accuracy. “I discussed it with Hillary as well,” Mook testified. “I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,” Mook said. Prosecutors asked Mook if Clinton approved leaking the story to the media. “She agreed,” Mook testified. The testimony confirms what CIA Director John Brennan told President Barack Obama secretly in July 2016 and what the CIA later told the FBI two months later: There was intelligence that Clinton had approved a plan to dirty up Trump with Russia allegations to distract from her own email server scandal.

Kevin Brock, the FBI’s former assistant director for intelligence, called Mook’s revelation a “startling piece of testimony, particularly since he was a defense witness.” “On the surface it looks like a major victory for John Durham,” Brock said. “Don’t forget he’s trying to paint an overall picture here. Sussmann is just one pixel on that photo. “The trial is the vehicle that Durham is using to help bring out the truth, to tell a story of a political campaign that in two instances pursued information that was totally fabricated or at least misinterpreted with the Alfa Bank connection to Trump and use that disinformation to mislead the American voter,” he added.

Slowly over six years, the Russia collusion story has been exposed for what it was: a three-legged political dirty trick in which highly credible figures with deep law enforcement, intelligence and news media ties were paid by the Clinton campaign to flood the FBI, the CIA and the public with unproven allegations that Trump was secretly colluding with Russia to steal the election from Clinton.

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Who investigates the FBI?

FBI Alfa-Bank Inquiry Based On DOJ ‘Referral’ That Came From Sussmann (WE)

The FBI opened a full-fledged counterintelligence investigation into since-debunked Trump-Russia collusion claims just four days after Michael Sussmann pushed the allegations to the bureau. The electronic communication marking the opening of the investigation cited a “referral” from the Justice Department rather than saying the Alfa-Bank allegations came from a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The opening communication, titled “Alfa Bank,” was authored by FBI agents Curtis Heide and Allison Sands, both of whom may testify this week, and the investigation initiated on Sept. 23, 2016, four days after Sussmann’s meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker.

Sussmann was indicted in September for allegedly concealing his clients — Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe — from Baker when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty. Sussmann had worked at the Justice Department in the past, and testimony from Baker last week stated that he had a badge that allowed him access to the FBI. The case identification was “Alfa Bank, Russia — Contacts / Agents, Sensitive Investigative Matter,” and the opening document said it “documents the opening of a Full Field Investigation into the network communications between a U.S.-based server and the Russian ALFA BANK organization.” Enclosed was a “White Paper.”

“On or about September 19, 2016, FBI received a referral of information from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, detailing an unusually configured email server in Pennsylvania belonging to the TRUMP ORGANIZATION,” the FBI wrote in September 2016. “In that referral, the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE provided the FBI with a white paper that was produced by an anonymous third party. According to the white paper, a U.S.-based server that is owned by the TRUMP ORGANIZATION has been communicating with the Russian-based ALFA BANK organization in Moscow, Russia.”

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Trying to cover their asses.

Durham Puts FBI Investigators On Stand (JTN)

In the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutors on Monday called two FBI witnesses who testified that clarity regarding the source of allegations of a secret hotline between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank would have influenced the bureau’s investigative approach to the now-debunked collusion allegations. Special Counsel John Durham alleges Sussmann lied to former FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 when he said he was not representing any clients as he fed the bureau information purportedly revealing a Trump Organization backchannel to Moscow through Russia’s Alfa Bank. At the time, Sussmann was a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm and representing the Democratic National Committee and a tech company executive, according to the prosecution.

Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge of making a false statement to the FBI. As part of its effort to substantiate the materiality of Sussmann’s alleged lie to the FBI, the prosecution brought FBI agent Ryan Gaynor and former FBI agent Allison Sands to the witness stand on Monday. Both were involved in the investigation into the Alfa Bank allegation Gaynor testified that had he known Sussmann was representing the DNC, he likely would not have volunteered to assist in the investigation. He also said that if Sussmann was paid by the DNC or the Clinton campaign, it might have impacted how the investigation was opened and the close-hold he says was placed on Sussmann’s identity, which prevented him from being able to discuss it with the Chicago branch.

Sands testified that she was informed the investigation began with a referral of information from the Department of Justice. Only later did she find out that the information actually came from then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. After that, she eventually learned that an anonymous third party gave Baker the data. Sands said that knowing the source of the information would have helped her assess its credibility. Sands explained that believing the information came from the DOJ gave it more weight than if someone just walked into the FBI with the data. She said that if the information hadn’t come through the Justice Department, then she didn’t know if it would have triggered a full investigation.

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“..the Clinton-Obama attempted takeover of the government. (Call it the COAT campaign.)”

What It Means That Hillary Clinton Did It (AT)

[..] the Journal explained how the Clinton campaign used the self-generated news of the investigation and the initial Slate article that came of it, both of which they had planted, as the basis for making tweet after tweet to the press about the Slate report to churn up mass coverage about it in the press and convince the public that the investigation was about something serious.

The concluding paragraphs of the editorial are worth quoting in full: “In short, the Clinton campaign created the Trump-Alfa allegation, fed it to a credulous press that failed to confirm the allegations but ran with them anyway, then promoted the story as if it was legitimate news. The campaign also delivered the claims to the FBI, giving journalists another excuse to portray the accusations as serious and perhaps true. Most of the press will ignore this news, but the Russia-Trump narrative that Mrs. Clinton sanctioned did enormous harm to the country. It disgraced the FBI, humiliated the press, and sent the country on a three-year investigation to nowhere. Vladimir Putin never came close to doing as much disinformation damage.”

The harm done to the United States by the perfidy of the Clintonistas cannot be overemphasized. That “three-year investigation to nowhere” represented the Clinton-Obama attempted takeover of the government. (Call it the COAT campaign.) With congressional Republicans unwilling to prevent the COAT campaign, the Trump administration was blocked from putting U.S.-Russia relations on a rational, mutually beneficial footing, to the point that, under the present Senate leadership, the specter of war with Russia is no longer an unthinkable thought. The COAT campaign succeeded in keeping the Ukraine pot boiling, with the water first heated by Obama’s stirring up of anti-Russian feelings in Ukraine, leading to the Maidan revolution that ousted the legitimately elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

A political opposition ready to lie about Donald J. Trump, supported by a media prepared to believe the worst about Mr. Trump has given us the current reality where the deep state is using NATO as an instrument to humiliate Russia, and Republican leaders in Congress are going along with the plans of the deep state to make the globe an unsafe place except for the globalist hegemony. Most of the press will indeed ignore disclosure of the source of the baseless accusations of Trump-Russia collusion — it is no accident that the New York Times ignored the Mook testimony in its May 20 editions. It is, moreover, unlikely that the press will be humiliated by its mendacious coverage of Hillary Clinton; the media, on the contrary, wears its mendacious coverage of Clinton and the anti-Trump neo-totalitarians as deserving of journalistic honors.

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“Not an evacuation, not an exit, not an “extraction”, but captivity.”

A Major National Embarrassment Is Being Hidden From Ukrainians (Storozhenko)

The myth of heroic 82 day defense is already actively promoted by Ukrainian media, even though since late March that defense consisted largely of Azovite efforts to break out of the trap. First on helicopters, then with the help of Macron and Erdogan. And recently they’ve tried to involve everyone who came to mind: Israel, UN, Doctors Without Borders, the Pope, and Elon Musk. In the end, on May 16 and 17 we saw what we were fated to see. Some of the Azovites and AFU soldiers came out of Azov Steel underground, existed using the corridor specified by Russia’s military, were searched and sorted (the wounded to hospitals, the rest to filtration points) and…went into captivity.

Not an evacuation, not an exit, not an “extraction”, but captivity. A simple Russian word, though not a merry one. But that’s what we saw. The Ukrainian viewer saw and was told something entirely different. The Ukrainian language also contains a word for captivity. But Ukrainian media try to avoid it at all costs. Azov’s commander was actually the first. Already on the evening of May 16, as if anticipating questions, he said he’s implementing a decision by top military authorities. OK, but what decision? We know, but Ukrainians viewing his statement in a Telegram channel could not understand a thing and said as much. Then came Zelensky. He mentioned the AFU, UN, ICRC, and at the end: “…soldiers were transported to occupied territory for future exchange.”

Who did the transporting? Not a word about that. But instead we learned this is called an “operation to preserve the lives of Azov Steel defenders.” Russians think they took someone prisoner. But in reality there’s an ongoing military operation, so stop panicking. And it’s not just any operation. No, it’s an operation by Ukraine’s military intelligence (that’s how it was officially reported)! These announcements were picked up by not only Kiev-controlled media but also the most authoritative (well, until recently) world media platforms, including CNN. They also don’t use the word “captivity”, only “evacuation”!

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The craziest plan to date.

UK Backs Lithuania’s Plan To Lift Russian Blockade Of Ukraine Grain (G.)

Britain has backed in principle a proposal by Lithuania for a naval coalition “of the willing” to lift the Russian Black Sea blockade on Ukrainian grain exports. The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, proposed the plan during talks with the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, on Monday in London. “Time is very very short. We are closing in on a new harvest and there is no other practical way of exporting the grain except through the Black Sea port of Odesa,” he told the Guardian. “There is no way of storing this grain and no other adequate alternative route. It is imperative that we show vulnerable countries we are prepared to take the steps that are needed to feed the world.”

Landsbergis proposed that a naval escort operation – not run by Nato – could protect the grain ships as they headed through the Black Sea and past Russian warships. He suggested that, apart from Britain, countries that were affected by the potential loss of grain such as Egypt could provide the necessary protection. “What we have seen now is just the beginning. The worst is yet to come in the next five to seven weeks when the first harvest arrives and there is no place to put it, so that means people in northern Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia will be paying exorbitant prices for wheat, corn and the other commodities they need to put food on their table”. He said Ukraine needed to export 80m tonnes of wheat alone this year and the only option was through Odesa,.

His plan, under gestation for weeks, would require demining parts of the Black Sea to ensure safe passage, as well as the agreement of Turkey, which guards the entrance to the Black Sea. “This would be a non-military humanitarian mission and is not comparable with a no-fly zone,” he said. “In this endeavour military ships or planes or both would be used to ensure that the grain supplies can leave Odesa safely and reach the Bosphorus without Russian interference. We would need a coalition of the willing – countries with significant naval power to protect the shipping lanes, and countries that are affected by this”.

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More such bills will follow.

A Breakdown Of The Ukraine Aid Bill (Semler)

Joe Biden signed a bill over the weekend that provides $40.1 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine. The Senate passed it on Thursday and the House had passed the thing the week before. It was a bit touch and go in the Senate following an objection by Rand Paul (R-KY), but all told the legislation practically flew through Congress, at least by Washington’s standards: Biden submitted the funding request to Congress on April 28 and it was sent back to his desk just three weeks later. Based on the bill text, I counted $40.1 billion worth of provisions; $24.6 billion for military programs and $15.5 billion for non-military ones.

Not all of the funding provisions are for aid. The money for for the Department of Treasury and Department of Justice to seize and track Russian assets aren’t, for example, and neither are a portion of the funding for the Pentagon to develop and procure weapons. Moreover, a good bit of the included appropriations covers the operating expenses and overhead of US agencies implementing the aid and not for the aid itself, like for the deployment and hazard pay of US troops to eastern Europe or extra operating expenses for USAID. Of the provisions that are unmistakably for military and non-military aid, it’s tough to say how much will end going to Ukraine, for two reasons. First, there’s a “…and other countries” suffix following most of the major economic, humanitarian, and military assistance provisions.

Second, the bill raises the legal limit on existing authorities that allow the executive branch to authorize additional aid transfers, which could raise the top line amount given to Ukraine (and/or other countries). I estimate that for-profit military contractors will derive about $17.3 billion in revenue from the bill, which exceeds the total amount of non-military aid included in the legislation ($15.5 billion). This doesn’t mean that the money going to military contractors isn’t going to Ukraine. It’s just that giving military aid to Ukraine (or wherever) means giving money to military contractors. The funds given to the Pentagon by Congress through the bill are generally to provide Ukraine either with goods (weapons, equipment) or services (logistical support, intelligence, training). Military contractors get paid by the Pentagon for both, to varying extents.

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Welcome to the WEF.

In Davos, Ukrainians Host “Russian War Crimes House” (Y!)

With Russians banned from Davos, their den in the Swiss mountain resort was taken over by Ukraine and given a new name: “Russian War Crimes House”. The “Russia House” was traditionally used by Russians to hold events and network during the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps. But organisers excluded them from the meeting of the world’s business and political elite following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead of a place to entertain, the house with red shutters on Davos’ main street is now used by Ukrainians to display the atrocities the say Russia is committing. It features photos of cemeteries, people in body bags, a bloodied hand on a pavement, a child in a respirators in a hospital, a baby in a soldier’s arms, buildings in ruins.

Ukrainians are using the building to hold several events during the four-day Davos summit as part of efforts to win more support against Russia, three months after the invasion began. “If we tell the story of this tragedy as wide as possible, maybe it will save some lives,” said Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, whose foundation is among the organisers of the event. After the presentation at the “House of Russian War Crimes”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy used the WEF congress to plead for more weapons for his country, and more sanctions against Russia. A parade of Ukrainian lawmakers and officials attended other events on the summit’s first day to hammer home the need for weapons and sanctions to defeat Russia.

At the “Russian War Crimes House”, the goal is to bring attention to the alleged atrocities committed by Russia. Next to the photos, an entire wall is covered by a map that lists the “war crimes” committed by Russia. On top, a toll as of May 6: 4,177 civilians killed, including 226 children, and 4,378 wounded, including 417 children.

WEF

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Promises promises.

Republicans Will Target ‘Public Health Bureaucrats’ When In Majority (JTN)

Republicans plan on holding public health bureaucrats such as Dr. Anthony Fauci accountable after the 2022 midterm elections, according to a Republican Study Committee (RSC) memo on Monday from Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.). While many of the left’s COVID-19 policies “went unchallenged… public health authorities soon started issuing nonsensical, contradictory directives and embracing partisan rhetoric,” according to the memo. “If Congress fails to hold the Fauci clique accountable, and fails to reform public health agencies, we will be giving far-left bureaucrats a blank check to shut the country down whenever they want,” Banks said. “We need to send a message that the restrictions, the mandates and the school closures can never happen again.”


Republicans are likely to take back the House and gain what Banks has claimed will be a “historic majority.” As the RSC is the largest ideological congressional caucus, Banks’ memo may be a preview into GOP actions after midterms. “Holding partisan public health bureaucrats accountable should be a major oversight priority for House Republicans after 2022,” he wrote in the 4-page RSC memo. “Leftists have abused Americans’ willingness to make sacrifices for public health. They have sought to define everything from racism to policing to gun rights to the minimum wage as public health issues,” he noted. Republicans plan on reigning in the CDC’s “mission creep” by refocusing the agency on emergency public health response and requiring it to “be transparent,” among other things. The GOP will also consider restoring the basic science mission at the National Institutes of Health, which oversees Dr. Fauci and his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases department.

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Laws do not apply to Pfizer.

Pfizer Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit From COVID-19 Vaccine Trial (ET)

Pfizer has asked a U.S. court to throw out a lawsuit from a whistleblower who revealed problems at sites that tested Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Brook Jackson, the whistleblower, alleged in a suit that was unsealed in February that Pfizer and associated parties violated clinical trial regulations and federal laws, including the False Claims Act. In its motion to dismiss, Pfizer says the regulations don’t apply to its vaccine contract with the U.S. Department of Defense because the agreement was executed under the department’s Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which gives contract holders the ability to skirt many rules and laws that typically apply to contracts. That means that Jackson’s claim that Pfizer must still comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulations “is simply wrong,” Pfizer said.

Warner Mendenhall, a lawyer who is working on Jackson’s case, said in a recent interview that Pfizer has “clearly not followed federal procurement laws.” “And now they’re saying, ‘of course we didn’t follow federal procurement laws, we didn’t have to—this was just for a prototype,’” he added. Mendenhall, who declined an interview request, said lawyers for Jackson are working on figuring out legal ways to counter Pfizer’s argument. “We may lose on this issue because their contract imposes … none of the normal checks and balances on quality control and consumer protection that we fought for decades in this country,” he said. [..] The government agreed to pay up to $1.9 billion for 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine pending U.S. regulatory clearance.

That included the manufacturing of the vaccine on top of researching and developing it. The contract was granted under the “prototype” provision, which falls under the OTA. The rules for prototypes state that just one of four conditions must be satisfied. The condition that was satisfied in the Pfizer contract was the involvement of a “nontraditional defense contractor.” Federal law defines nontraditional defense contractors as “an entity that is not currently performing and has not performed” a contract or subcontract for the Department of Defense for at least one year preceding the solicitation of the OTA agreement. Pfizer has dozens of contracts with the military.

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How to cancel people completely.

Supermarkets Could Soon Urge You Not To Use Cash Or Card To Pay (MEN)

Supermarket giants across the UK could soon ask shoppers to ditch cash and card payments, and instead use their face or fingerprints at the checkout. A trial is in place to increase shopper security at the tills, though some may see it as a step closer to a cashless society. Mastercard is trialling a biometric payment system that could see customers just use their face rather than contactless cards, smartphones or PINs. Shoppers would be able to smile or wave a hand at a scanner to pay for their shopping. It is understood that a customer would be able to scan their face or fingerprint using a supermarket’s smartphone app and link their likeness to a bank card. Payments Card and Mobile website says it would work in a similar way to Apple’s facial ID.

The Telegraph reports how Mastercard, the payments company, wants to roll the programme out worldwide for small and large retailers. Ajay Bhalla, the president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, was quoted in the Telegraph as saying: “The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security. Our goal with this new programme is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience.” A pilot programme is currently under way in Brazil at five St Marche supermarkets in Sao Paolo. More trials are also planned for Asia and the Middle East.

The biometric facial recognition software would lead to shorter queues, be more hygienic than tapping in a pin, and less vulnerable to fraud linked to credit and debit cards, Mastercard said. It said: “No more fumbling for your phone or hunting for your wallet when you have your hands full – the next generation of in-person payments will only need a quick smile or wave of your hand. The trusted technology that uses your face or fingerprint to unlock your phone can now be used to help consumers speed through the checkout. With Mastercard’s new Biometric Checkout Programme, all you will need is yourself.”

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A vassal state.

Albanese Squandering Leverage on Assange (Lauria)

Anthony Albanese, the newly-elected Australian prime minister, has what might be the best opportunity he will ever have to exchange Julian Assange’s freedom for Australia’s continued cooperation with U.S. aims in the Pacific region. Albanese is set to have his first bilateral meeting on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden after a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit in Tokyo, when the leaders of the four nations — Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. — meet to discuss relations with China. But in remarks made on Monday before he even left for Japan, Albanese already said his Labor government is fully on board with the Quad’s agenda, as the previous government of Scott Morrison had been. Perhaps more importantly, Albanese said Australia would sign on to Biden’s just announced creation of a new, 13-nation Asian economic bloc aimed at opposing China’s economic dominance in the region, according to reports in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Biden had only just announced the new bloc on Monday. Even before he was sworn in, Albanese apparently told Biden about Australia joining the bloc during a telephone conversation they had on Sunday as Biden flew to Japan. Albanese was quoted in The Australian as saying that “he would ‘send a message to the world that there’s a new government in Australia’, while reassuring partners there would be “continuity in the way that we have respect for democracy and the way that we value our friendships and long time alliances.” Albanese also spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Herald reported:

“Albanese spoke to UK counterpart Boris Johnson while flying to Tokyo on Monday. A spokesman described the conversation as friendly and positive. The discussion with Johnson included a commitment from Albanese to support the AUKUS alliance on nuclear submarines and talks on climate change.” Apparently asking for nothing in return, Albanese gave away the store to Biden and Johnson, not even raising Assange’s name, according to these reports. He had the leverage of asking Biden to drop the case and Johnson to block the extradition in exchange for continuity from the Morrison government on AUKUS, the Quad, and on joining Biden’s new economic bloc. Of course, not everything discussed between the leaders was reported. There remains an outside chance Albanese did raise Assange. But there has been no movement on Assange after Albanese gave Biden and Johnson what they wanted.

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

 

 

 

Sep 282020
 


Dorothea Lange Abandoned cafe in Carey, Texas “Carey is fast becoming a ghost town of the Texas plains.” 1937

 

New York Times Mysteriously Obtains Trump Financial Records (RS)
New York Times Fails at Outlining President Trump’s Taxes Again (CT)
Project Veritas Uncovers ‘Ballot Harvesting Fraud’ In Minnesota (NYP)
Appellate Court Halts Wisconsin Ballot-Counting Extension (AP)
As Mueller Probe Fizzles, Anti-Trump Cabal Hatches New Collusion Tale (Smith)
COVID-19 Patients Who Get Enough Vitamin D Are 52% Less Likely To Die (DM)
New Covid Fines Of Up To £10,000 Come Into Force In England (G.)
Amy Coney Barrett: A New Feminist Icon (Pol.)
Federal Judge Gives Temporary Reprieve To TikTok (NBC)
Azerbaijan & Armenia Carry On Fighting Over Contested Nagorno-Karabakh (RT)

 

 

Will we ever find out who leaked Trump’s tax returns from Cyrus Vance’s offices? And does anyone still care that this is highly illegal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZeroHedge Nothing Illegal

Balding tax returns

 

 

The New York Times once upon a time had intelligent journalists with a lot of integrity working -hard- for it. Now they go an yet another fishing trip looking to catch something illegal, but they fail, and still try to dress it all up as something terrible. No pride, no integrity.

New York Times Mysteriously Obtains Trump Financial Records (RS)

The New York Times reports that it has obtained President Trump’s ‘tax information” going back “over two decades.” The leak is from New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., or one of his underlings. We know Vance has obtained all of the financial records Trump had on file with Deutsche Bank, his primary lender. We know Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena. And, via the New York Times, we know that these records go back into the 1990s or, in the parlance of the day, “over two decades.” If the New York Times is correct, Trump’s finances being something of a hot mess is not a shocker. Trump has been on the edge of bankruptcy before and has employed mighty financial kung fu to stay solvent.

[..] From the tenor of the article, they think the revelation that Trump was getting a $72.9 million tax refund and only paying $750 in federal income taxes will be damaging. I really doubt that will be the case. There are things in this story that lead me to believe that either the people writing it are stupid or they think you are stupid. For instance: “In fact, those public filings offer a distorted picture of his financial state, since they simply report revenue, not profit. In 2018, for example, Mr. Trump announced in his disclosure that he had made at least $434.9 million. The tax records deliver a very different portrait of his bottom line: $47.4 million in losses.” These two things are not incompatible, and the fact that you declare earnings on a report that asks for earnings and not profit is not deceptive. The technical term is “compliance.”

By far, the most notable thing about this story is the willingness of the New York Times to engage in election interference by timing their release within 60 days of the election (that’s the standard, right? 60 days?). That and the role that seems to have been played by the Manhattan DA’s office in leaking records ostensibly demanded from Deutsche Bank as part of a criminal investigation to facilitate a political hit. The fact that a district attorney’s office is using such records as part of a political attack on the President within 60 days of an election is unprecedented (that’s the word, right? unprecedented?). The actions by Vance or his office virtually guarantee that any tax returns released to that office will find similar use as political ammunition.

There is a good chance that this story was intended to launch much closer to the election had the scope and extent of Hunter Biden’s financial shenanigans and the degree to which the ChiComs have their tentacles sunk into Sundown Joe not come to light…and will get even more light, I suspect, on Tuesday night. When the dust settles on this, I think the story is going to be “very rich guy with a fascination for high-risk business ventures pays lots of brilliant tax lawyers and accountants a crap-load of money to minimize and avoid (but not evade) income taxes and says he makes more money than he really does to golf partners.”

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Excellent question from sundance: “Now let’s figure out how DC politicians making $200k/yr are able to become multi-millionaires while holding office..”

New York Times Fails at Outlining President Trump’s Taxes Again (CT)

Once again the New York Times attempts to make an issue out of President Trump’s real estate holdings working as a tax shelter and reducing income taxes. In the article the Times completely obfuscates the way income taxes are strategically offset by depreciation, mortgage interest and the entire reason why real estate ownership is viewed as a business. John Carney writing for Breitbart gets it: […] So imagine our guy took out an $8 million mortgage at five percent, paying $2 million cash. Now he’s got to pay $400,000 in mortgage payments. He wants to make at least that much so he charges tenants an aggregate of $425,000, which after upkeep comes out to $410,000 of net income. (Remember, if the bank didn’t think he could make more in rent than the mortgage payment, it probably wouldn’t have lent him the money.)

“The interest payment on the loan–let’s call it $390,000–is deductible from his income, leaving him with $20,000 in net income. He gets to keep that and pay no taxes on it, however, because he still gets to apply the $370,000 depreciation charge. He tells the IRS he lost $350,000. Under our tax code, ordinary business expenses can be deducted in the year they are incurred. But when a business pays for a long-lasting item expected to produce income–like machinery, vehicles, or an apartment building–it is considered a capital investment. Instead of getting to write-off the cost all at once, the business is required to write it off over the course of decades. After the 1986 tax code, this was set at 27.5 years for residential real estate.” d

Anyone who has ever operated a business knows that offsetting income is one of the primary reasons to be self-employed. Additionally, the Times completely skips over the tens-of-millions in payroll taxes paid by the Trump organization and tens-of-millions in property and sales taxes paid by all of the various Trump properties. In the commercial real estate market it is common sense to offset income tax liabilities with a host of valid annual expenses, long-term capital depreciation and mortgage interest payments. With over 500 individual business entities within the Trump organization the ability to offset income in one asset with expenses in another is simply good accounting.

Additionally, President Trump donates his $400,000 government salary back to the U.S. government. So to accuse President Trump of only paying $750 in income taxes totally ignores all of the other donations and tax payments he makes. In practical terms no President before Trump has ever had his actual business portfolio so deeply connected to the success of the American economy. It doesn’t cost the American taxpayer a dime to have President Trump in office…. Now let’s figure out how DC politicians making $200k/yr are able to become multi-millionaires while holding office. Anyone?

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It’s getting serious. O’Keefe says they have been filming this for months.

Project Veritas Uncovers ‘Ballot Harvesting Fraud’ In Minnesota (NYP)

A ballot-harvesting racket in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis district — where paid workers illegally gather absentee ballots from elderly Somali immigrants — appears to have been busted by undercover news organization Project Veritas. One alleged ballot harvester, Liban Mohamed, the brother of Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman, is shown in a bombshell Snapchat video rifling through piles of ballots strewn across his dashboard. “Just today we got 300 for Jamal Osman,” says Mohamed, aka KingLiban1, in the video. “I have 300 ballots in my car right now . . . “Numbers don’t lie. You can see my car is full. All these here are absentee ballots. . . . Look, all these are for Jamal Osman,” he says, displaying the white envelopes.

“Money is the king in this world . . . and a campaign is driven by money.” The video, posted on July 1, was obtained by Project Veritas and included in a 17-minute video expose released Sunday night. Under Minnesota law no individual can be the “designated agent” for more than three absentee voters. The allegations come just five weeks before a presidential election plagued with predictions of voter fraud. Both President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have warned that the increased use of mail-in ballots, due to COVID-19 concerns about in-person voting, are vulnerable to fraud, especially when unsolicited ballots are mailed to all voters in certain states.

Project Veritas’ investigation in Minneapolis will pour gasoline on the fire, only 48 hours before Trump debates Joe Biden in the first presidential debate Tuesday, addressing topics including election security. “Our investigation into this ballot harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities” said James O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas. The alleged involvement of Ilhan Omar, a controversial member of the Squad, and frequent Trump target, is claimed on camera by two people in Veritas’ investigation, including whistleblower Omar Jamal, a Minneapolis community leader and chair of the city’s Somali Watchdog Group.

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First of how many?

Appellate Court Halts Wisconsin Ballot-Counting Extension (AP)

A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily halted a six-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s presidential election, a momentary victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump in the key presidential battleground state. As it stands, ballots will now be due by 8 p.m. on Election Day. A lower court judge had sided with Democrats and their allies to extend the deadline until Nov. 9. Democrats sought more time as a way to help deal with an expected historic high number of absentee ballots. The Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and allied groups including the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.


U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled Sept. 21 that ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day will count as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Sunday’s action puts Conley’s order on hold until the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court issues any further action. [..] State election officials anticipate as many as 2 million people will cast absentee ballots to avoid catching the coronavirus at the polls. That would be three times more absentee ballots than any other previous election and could overwhelm both election officials and the postal service, Conley wrote. If the decision had stood it could have delayed knowing the winner of Wisconsin for days. The Republican National Committee, the state GOP and Wisconsin’s Republican legislators argued that current absentee voting rules be left in place, saying people have plenty of time to obtain and return their ballots.

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Second installment of a two-part excerpt from Lee Smith’s book “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President”.

“According to the story the CIA officer and his colleagues would tell, Trump was again in league with a foreign power to defeat a rival candidate. They rotated Ukraine in for Russia and Biden for Clinton.”

As Mueller Probe Fizzles, Anti-Trump Cabal Hatches New Collusion Tale (Smith)

Just two days after the curtain dropped on the Mueller investigation, Ciaramella was rebooting the collusion narrative. According to the story the CIA officer and his colleagues would tell, Trump was again in league with a foreign power to defeat a rival candidate. They rotated Ukraine in for Russia and Biden for Clinton. The operation’s personnel drew from the same sources as the Russia collusion operation — serving officials from powerful government bureaucracies, the CIA, Pentagon, and State Department, as well as elected officials, political operatives, and the press. Therefore, the process was also the same: The actors would work the operation through the intelligence bureaucracy and the media to start an official proceeding, in this case an impeachment process. The play was set to begin.

Ciaramella first expressed his concern to a CIA lawyer. Frustrated that his action wasn’t moving quickly enough, he turned to the intelligence community inspector general responsible for oversight of all 17 of the nation’s agencies. On August 12, he filed a whistleblower’s report with ICIG Michael Atkinson. It was a version of the dossier, allegations based on second- and thirdhand sources. Steele said that his information came from anonymous Russians; Ciaramella claimed his came from unnamed Americans. “In the course of my official duties,” wrote Ciaramella, “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. elections.”

He even replicated a key feature from Steele’s memos that helped the FBI obtain the FISA warrant. The dossier alleged that the Trump campaign had agreed to two Ukraine-related quid pro quos. One, in exchange for the hack and release of DNC emails, the Trump team would sideline Ukraine as campaign issue. Two, in exchange for dropping Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, a Putin ally promised Trump advisers energy deals. Ciaramella also alleged a Ukraine-related quid pro quo. His August 12 report added a detail missing from the July 26 memo. He claimed in his document he’d learned earlier in July that Trump had “issued instructions to suspend all security assistance to Ukraine.” With this, the CIA official had planted the seed that would grow into the basis of the impeachment charges brought against Trump:

The president had withheld foreign aid in exchange for something that would benefit him personally — an investigation of his political rival. Ciaramella and his confederates had simply taken the boastful blunder Biden made in front of the Manhattan audience and hung it on Trump. Now he was the one using U.S. aid to secure a favor from a Ukrainian president. It was an audacious move, but the Ciaramella dossier was also a defensive maneuver. “It was born out of desperation,” says one of his former colleagues. “He wasn’t just trying to protect Biden,” says the source, a former senior Obama administration intelligence official. [..] When he finds out Trump may get the Burisma investigation restarted, he’s worried for himself, too.”

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And 54 percent less likely to catch coronavirus in the first place. And if you do anyway, zinc hinders virus (RNA) replication in your cells. Two simple and cheap ways to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

COVID-19 Patients Who Get Enough Vitamin D Are 52% Less Likely To Die (DM)

People who get enough vitamin D are at a 52 percent lower risk of dying of COVID-19 than people who are deficient for the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ new research reveals. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system and may combat inflammation. These features may make it a key player in the body’s fight against coronavirus. Rates of vitamin D deficiency are also higher in some of the same groups who have been hardest hit by coronavirus: people of color and elderly people. It’s by no means a causal link, but suggests that vitamin D could play a role in who gets COVI-19, who gets sickest from it, and who is spared altogether.

Boston University’s Dr Michael Holick found in his previous research that people who have enough vitamin D are 54 percent less likely to catch coronavirus in the first place. Following on that work, he and his team have found that people who don’t get enough of the vitamin are far more likely to become severely ill, develop sepsis or even die after contracting coronavirus. Because vitamin D deficiency is common in people with other disease that raise coronavirus risks, it’s impossible to say exactly how many lives would be spared if we all got our daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. But we know that about 42 percent of the US population is vitamin D deficient. If that rate held true for the more 203,000 Americans who died of coronavirus, perhaps some 85,000 would have fared better with improved vitamin D levels.

In Britain 20 per cent of the population suffer from the deficiency, according to the British Nutrition Foundation. When the rate is applied to the UK’s 41,936 deaths from coronavirus, it suggests 8,387 of them could have been helped with improved levels of Vitamin D. ‘This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19,’ Dr Holick said. Dr Holick and his colleagues took blood samples from 235 patients admitted to hospitals in Tehran for COVID-19. Overall, 67 percent of the patients had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL.

There isn’t a clear marker for the ideal level of vitamin D, but 30 ng/mL is considered a sufficient. Anything below that is ‘insufficient,’ but won’t necessarily have broad-ranging health consequences, while levels below 20 ng/mL are considered ‘deficient.’ About 60 percent of elderly people living in nursing homes, for example, are thought to be vitamin D deficient. The most likely explanation is that they simply spend too much time indoors. Sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D. When we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in rays of sunshine, it reacts with cholesterol in our skin, triggering the production of vitamin D. In an increasingly indoor world, rates of vitamin D deficiency have climbed.

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Behind a paywall, the Times reports pub curfew does not apply to bars in Parliament. Way to go.

New Covid Fines Of Up To £10,000 Come Into Force In England (G.)

A new, more robust chapter in English coronavirus regulations begins on Monday, with fines of up to £10,000 for people who refuse to self-isolate when asked, and enforcement including tip-offs from people who believe that others are breaching the rules. The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law. It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff, but not for those simply using the Covid-19 phone app, which is anonymous. At the same time, the government is introducing a new system of payments of £500 for people on lower incomes who are unable to work because of the mandatory 14-day self-isolation, a system being implemented by councils.

The two-pronged approach, intended to create better compliance with self-isolation rules, was described by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, as “imperative” in helping keep down coronavirus infection rates. According to a health department statement setting out the new system, local authorities are expected to have their test-and-trace support schemes up and running within two weeks, with those self-isolating before then given backdated payments as needed. However, the Local Government Association, which represents councils, has warned it will be “challenging” for these to be set up at speed, adding that “urgent clarity is needed about how councils will be reimbursed for costs of setting up these schemes and the payments themselves”.

To be eligible for the payment, people must have been told to self-isolate by test and trace – having tested positive for coronavirus or being in close contact with someone who has – as well as having lost income as a result, and be recipients of one or more of a series of benefits, including universal credit, income support and housing benefit. Those who do not self-isolate when told to could face fines, which start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offences, or those who instigate breaches of the law, such as an employer who orders or permits people to come to work when they should not. Test-and-trace call handlers will check on those told to self-isolate, with police taking a role in areas or groups seen as high risk, as well as acting on tip-offs from neighbours or others who spot suspected breaches, the government announcement said.

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We need tolerance of people who do not think exactly like we do.

Amy Coney Barrett: A New Feminist Icon (Pol.)

Amy Coney Barrett has been praised for her topflight legal mind, even by those who disagree with her. At 48 years old, she is poised to help shape the court for a generation or more. But that’s not all her elevation to the high court has the potential to accomplish. Barrett’s expected confirmation should serve as a catalyst for rethinking the most powerful social movement in the last half century: feminism. Over the last week, as Justice Ginsburg’s body laid in repose outside the Supreme Court, the nation has rightly celebrated Ginsburg’s trailblazing 1970s legal advocacy, one which pushed both law and culture to reexamine the ways in which women had been pigeonholed as caregivers and men as providers. The late justice’s antidiscrimination wins opened up a new era in which both men and women could respectably and responsibly engage in both avenues of fulfillment, according to their personal talents and circumstances.

But Ginsburg also viewed abortion rights as central to sexual equality, and her leadership helped give rise to a movement that remains laser focused on abortion to this day. Yet rather than make women more equal to men, constitutionalizing the right to abortion as the court did in Roe has relieved men of the mutual responsibilities that accompany sex, and so has upended the duties of care for dependent children that fathers ought equally to share. Barrett embodies a new kind of feminism, a feminism that builds upon the praiseworthy antidiscrimination work of Ginsburg but then goes further. It insists not just on the equal rights of men and women, but also on their common responsibilities, particularly in the realm of family life. In this new feminism, sexual equality is found not in imitating men’s capacity to walk away from an unexpected pregnancy through abortion, but rather in asking men to meet women at a high standard of mutual responsibility, reciprocity and care.

At Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing in 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein tellingly remarked, “You are controversial because many of us that have lived lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems, and Roe entered into that, obviously.” Barrett’s life story puzzles older feminists like Feinstein because bearing and raising a bevy of children has long implied retaining a traditional life script — like staying home with the children — that Barrett has obviously not heeded. To be sure, few mothers of seven could become federal judges, never mind Supreme Court justices. Barrett – “generationally brilliant,” according to her Notre Dame colleague, O. Carter Snead — is likely alone in this set.

It all seems so unlikely: She has risen to the pinnacle of her profession while at once being “radically hospitable” to children, as Snead has described her. An enigma to many, she doesn’t easily fit into any ideological box. If we’re really intent as a country on seeing women flourish in their professions and serve in greater numbers of leadership positions too, it would be worthwhile to interrupt the abortion rights sloganeering for a beat and ask just how this mother of many has achieved so much.

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Much ado about an app. China’s worried about the source code.

Federal Judge Gives Temporary Reprieve To TikTok (NBC)

A federal judge granted a temporary reprieve Sunday to TikTok, the short-form video app that was facing a Trump administration-imposed midnight deadline that would have prevented users from downloading it. The order from U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols of Washington, D.C., allows U.S. app stores to continue offering downloads. Nichols did not rule on a second, more comprehensive ban that would halt U.S. companies from working with TikTok. In a statement, TikTok said that it was pleased with the ruling and that it “will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”


“At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement,” it said. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, struck a deal with Oracle this month to move the company’s headquarters to the United States. The software giant would oversee its operations. Walmart is also involved in the deal. TikTok has been under scrutiny from the Trump administration for nearly a year over concerns that the Chinese government could gain access to American users’ data. President Donald Trump said in July that he would ban the app. Trump said this month that he had given his “blessing” to the deal and that he had approved it in concept.

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This is real war. Stop it.

Azerbaijan & Armenia Carry On Fighting Over Contested Nagorno-Karabakh (RT)

Intense hostilities between Armenian and Azeri forces continued overnight along the border of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both sides claimed local victories and reported inflicting heavy casualties on one another. Azerbaijan and Armenia, two historical rivals, kept on fighting throughout Sunday night and Monday morning despite mounting calls from international leaders to hold fire and disengage troops. There have been skirmishes “of different intensity” overnight on the Nagorno-Karabakh border, a spokesperson for the Armenian Defense Ministry reported earlier on Monday. “The adversary resumed offensive using artillery and armor, including the heavy flamethrower system TOS,” the official revealed.

The Armenian military are deterring the attack, “inflicting significant losses on the enemy in manpower and equipment.” Baku, meanwhile, blamed its arch-nemesis for targeting civilian-populated areas. On Monday morning, Armenian forces have been shelling Terter, a border town of roughly 19,000 people, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry told the media. “Proper measures” will be taken if the bombardment doesn’t stop, the ministry warned. Previously, Baku suggested at least 550 Armenian soldiers were killed or injured in the Azeri “counteroffensive,” along with dozens of tanks, howitzers, and air defense systems lost in action. Yerevan promptly rebuked the claim as “unfounded.” Nagorno-Karabakh itself reported a loss of 31 Armenian soldiers in the fighting.

The lingering hostilities broke out previously on Sunday morning. Yerevan accused Baku of using combat aircraft and heavy artillery to bomb targets within Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region administered and populated by ethnic Armenians but claimed by Azerbaijan as part of its territory. Baku, in turn, said it had counter-attacked in response to Armenian “provocations.” Both sides – which have fought on numerous occasions since the Soviet Union’s demise – sent reinforcements to the frontline and blamed one another for targeting civilians.

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“We are victims of the post-Enlightenment view that the world functions like a sophisticated machine, to be understood like a textbook engineering problem and run by wonks. In other words, like a home appliance, not like the human body.”
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 302020
 


Pablo Picasso Girl Before A Mirror 1932

 

Rapid Home COVID19 Tests Could Help Find People While They Are Contagious (NP)
DNI Ratcliffe: Election Security Briefings Will Now Come In Written Form (JTN)
3/4 of Democratic Voters Still Believe Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia (JTN)
Will Hillary And The Dems Get The Civil War They Are Trying To Provoke? (Saker)
Michael Moore Warns That Donald Trump Is On Course To Repeat 2016 Win (G.)
Steele Associate Offered To ‘Feed’ Michael Flynn Story To WaPo Columnist (DC)
With New Monetary Policy Approach, Fed Lays Phillips Curve To Rest (R.)
Ex-Australia PM Menzies Boasted Of Delivering Large Budget Deficits (ABC.au)
Italy Evacuates Dozens From Overcrowded Banksy-Funded Migrant Rescue Boat (RT)
Airlines Warn Flying Back 100,000 Stranded Australians Will Take 6 Months (G.)

 

 

We passed 25 million global cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan:
– Population: 126 Million
– COVID deaths: 1,255 (10/M)
– % Obese: 4%

USA:
– Population: 328 Million
– COVID deaths: 183,000 (558/M)
– % Obese: 40%

If the US had the same obesity as Japan, we would have only 3,280 COVID deaths. 179,720 lives would have been saved…

 

 

Anti Face Mask Issue Solved

 

 

There is so much wrong with PCR tests, yet the “experts” refuse to even discuss rapid tests. Time to change that, test people every day in 15 minutes, not let them wait for days or weeks.

Rapid Home COVID19 Tests Could Help Find People While They Are Contagious (NP)

Cheap, rapid COVID-19 tests simple enough to use anywhere — home, school, the office — could help us climb out of the pandemic disaster, says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Andrew Morris. Just spit into a tube or swab your nose, wait a few minutes for the stripes to change colour — results available within minutes. With no vaccines or “fantastic therapies” for COVID, the best we can do is keep infected people out of buildings to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus, says Morris. Which is why he finds it “absurd” that Heath Canada says the risks of home or self-testing kits outweigh the benefits and that it will reject applications for such devices “without compelling new evidence to the contrary.”

The federal health agency worries that, “without the guidance of a health-care professional,” people would use the home test kit improperly or “misinterpret the results” and that it could be impossible to collect test results — information that’s key to “important health decisions involving disease control during an outbreak,” the department said in an emailed statement. “If it’s done in a haphazard way … you might actually create more problems, confusion than the actual benefits because you might get maybe a higher risk of false negative results,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Tuesday during a COVID-19 briefing. Morris wants the government to seriously rethink its position on home testing. They’re not the solution to COVID, but they are part of it, he believes.

Cheap, rapid testing is the backbone of infectious disease management, says Morris, of the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto. “But if Health Canada says ‘we aren’t even interested in these tests,’ they are neither being open-minded nor strategic in understanding the potential of these tests.” It has echoes of earlier federal dismissals of face masks, when officials worried masks would lead to a “false sense of security” and more face-touching. “The current strategy is not to trust the public… and we need to change that,” Morris says. The gold standard of testing today is a workhorse called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, which amplifies SARS-CoV-2 from nasal swabs, so that minute amounts of RNA can be detected.

Anyone who is sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19, or who thinks he or she may have been exposed, can get PCR testing. But PCR testing isn’t designed around getting our lives back to normal, Morris says. It’s expensive, testing capacity is seriously limited and it can take days to get results. Vancouver has seen traffic gridlock at testing sites as B.C. battles with a surge in cases. Ottawa has had four-hour-long waits at its COVID testing sites. “The only way we can get our society back up and running is by having some better situational awareness than what we have,” Morris says.

[..] Rapid tests aren’t perfect. They aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests. But they don’t need to be perfect, argues Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Michael Mina. Mina says the tests can detect the virus when a person is most infectious, with high viral loads. “The vast majority of PCR positive tests we currently collect in this country are actually finding people long after they have ceased to be infectious,” Mina told Harvard Magazine. Paper-strip test could cost less than one or two U.S. dollars to produce, he says. Millions could take them daily or every other day. Frequent testing, with fast results, would help break chains of transmission, Mina tweeted this week. Morris has heard talk the FDA is expected to authorize several lateral flow assay tests for COVID-19 in the coming weeks. “And nothing by Health Canada. To me, this is a massive, massive blind spot.”

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I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he provokes this gem from Adam Schiff (is this the 1950s?): “..the Trump administration “clearly does not want Congress or the country informed of what Russia is doing.”

DNI Ratcliffe: Election Security Briefings Will Now Come In Written Form (JTN)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe informed senators and representatives on Friday that election security briefings, previously given to Congress in person, will between now and the November elections be delivered in written form. The letter, which was sent on Friday and declassified on Saturday afternoon, notes that the intelligence community has given Congress dozens of briefings on election security over the past two years. “While many of these engagements and products have been successful and productive, others have been less so,” Ratcliffe wrote in the document.

“In order to ensure clarity and consistency across the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s … engagements with Congress on elections,” Ratcliffe continued, “the ODNI will primary meet its obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed leading into the Presidential election through written finished intelligence products.”

Ratcliffe said the move will help ensure that intelligence information is neither “misunderstood nor politicized,” and that the new protocol will “protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse.” Democrats on Saturday evening slammed the decision. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter that the move represented “a shocking abdication of [ODNI’s] responsibility to keep Congress informed.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, meanwhile, claimed that the Trump administration “clearly does not want Congress or the country informed of what Russia is doing.”

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Schiff can also claim a large role in this. Where’s that evidence, Adam? We’re still waiting.

3/4 of Democratic Voters Still Believe Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia (JTN)

Three-quarters of Democratic voters believe that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Asked whether it was more likely that Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 or that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign that year, 73% of Democrats said the Russia collusion theory was more likely to have occurred. In contrast, 67% of Republicans expressed more belief in the claim that the Obama administration spied on Trump during that election. Overall, 43% of voters put more stock in the Russia story.


The Russia collusion theory dominated headlines and politics for roughly the first three years of the Trump administration. A 22-month, special counsel probe led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller concluded without finding evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election. The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Rasmussen using a mixed-mode approach from August 20-22.

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“The Dems won’t get their civil war – but they will suffer the blowback for their attempts to destroy the United States.”

Will Hillary And The Dems Get The Civil War They Are Trying To Provoke? (Saker)

I don’t see a civil war happening in the US. But I do think that this country can, and probably will, break-up into different zones so to speak. In some regions, law and order will be maintained, by force is needed, while in others something new will appear: what the French call “des zones de non-droit“, meaning “areas of lawlessness” in which law enforcement will be absent (either because the political leaders will refuse to engage them, or because they will simply have to withdraw under fire). Typically, such zones have a parallel “black” economy which can make the gangs which control such zones very wealthy (think of Russia in the 1990s). Eventually, a lot of people will flee from such zones and seek refuge in the safer areas of the country (this process has already begun in New York).


Right now, there are a little over two months before the election, and I think that it is safe to say that the situation will deteriorate even faster and much worse. By November 2nd the country will be “ready” (so to speak) for a massive explosion of violence followed by months of chaos. Many will probably vote Trump just because they will (mistakenly) believe that he is the only politician who will stand against what the Dems promise to unleash against the majority of “deplorables” who want to keep their country and traditions. At the core, the conflict we are now witnessing is a conflict about identity, something which most people deeply care about. Sooner or later, there will be push-back against the Dems attempt to turn the USA into some kind of obese transgender liberal Wakanda run by crooks, freaks and thugs. The Dems won’t get their civil war – but they will suffer the blowback for their attempts to destroy the United States.

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Michael Moore’s winning slogan and strategy: the Democrats are terrible, but you DO have to vote for them.

Michael Moore Warns That Donald Trump Is On Course To Repeat 2016 Win (G.)

The documentary film-maker Michael Moore has warned that Donald Trump appears to have such momentum in some battleground states that liberals risk a repeat of 2016 when so many wrote off Trump only to see him grab the White House. “Sorry to have to provide the reality check again,” he said. Moore, who was one of few political observers to predict Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, said that “enthusiasm for Trump is off the charts” in key areas compared with the Democratic party nominee, Joe Biden. “Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to pull this off?” Moore posted on Facebook late on Friday.

Moore identified opinion polling in battleground states such as Minnesota and Michigan to make a case that the sitting president is running alongside or ahead of his rival. “The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states – but not Michigan. Sound familiar?” Moore wrote, presumably indicating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race when she made the error of avoiding some states that then swung to Trump. “I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,” he later added. He continued to voters: “Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”

Moore, a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders’s leftwing candidacy, warned in October 2016 that “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘f*** you’ ever recorded in human history – and it will feel good,” even as Clinton appeared to be sailing to victory. “Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting, and that’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump,” Moore warned at that time.

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A lot of people in that camp were actively working on this. There are new names just about every day.

Steele Associate Offered To ‘Feed’ Michael Flynn Story To WaPo Columnist (DC)

A former associate of Sen. John McCain served as a key conduit between journalists and dossier author Christopher Steele in early 2017, going so far as offering to “feed” stories about Trump associates to a Washington Post columnist, according to documents from a British court proceeding. David Kramer, a former State Department official who worked at the McCain Institute, kept Steele apprised of his contacts in January 2017 with journalists from BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post regarding aspects of the dossier. Kramer relayed information he learned from reporters at ABC News and the Journal regarding the dossier’s allegation that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague, according to text messages read at a defamation trial against Steele in London last month.

The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a transcript of the closed-door court proceedings, which were held in London from July 20-24. Steele, a former MI6 officer, is being sued by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman who Steele’s dossier accuses of hacking Democrats’ computer systems in 2016. Kramer was already known to have met with reporters to discuss the dossier. He has acknowledged providing the dossier to a reporter for BuzzFeed News, which published the salacious document on Jan. 10, 2017. But the Steele messages suggest Kramer played a more proactive role in trying to put negative stories in the media about Trump associates. Kramer’s most eye-catching references are to David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist who writes about national security issues.

“The Flynn calls story is picking up legs,” Kramer wrote to Steele, seemingly referring to a Jan. 12, 2017, column by Ignatius that revealed that Flynn spoke by phone weeks earlier with Sergey Kislyak. According to text messages read at the trial, Kramer suggested to Steele that he would provide dirt on Trump associates to Ignatius. “I think it’s time to get that other [Manafort] story out there,” Kramer wrote in a message to Steele, referring to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “And Ignatius is the one I’ll feed it to,” he also wrote. Steele insisted during his testimony that Kramer was suggesting feeding a story to Ignatius about Flynn rather than Manafort. “It’s a Michael Flynn story, isn’t it?” Steele asked during the cross-examination.

He went on to say that the information regarding Flynn he discussed with Kramer was not found in the dossier. “Any story here about Michael Flynn is completely independent of anything in the dossier,” said Steele. The former spy did not describe the Flynn story, but Kramer told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that Steele told him that he believed that Flynn had an affair with a Russian-British researcher in the United Kingdom. The unverified allegation matches closely with stories that appeared in the media in March 2017 that alleged that Flynn had improper contacts with former Cambridge researcher Svetlana Lokhova in 2014, when Flynn visited the historic university as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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“Decades of thought at the Fed are now being pushed aside.”

In most other jobs, if you’ve been wrong for decades, you get fired or resign. But when you’re handling trillions of dollars, there are different standards.

With New Monetary Policy Approach, Fed Lays Phillips Curve To Rest (R.)

One of the fundamental theories of modern economics may have finally been put to rest. In the several years before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the global economy, Federal Reserve policymakers watched as the U.S. unemployment rate fell lower and lower and waited for the jump in inflation typically associated with such a tight labor market. The expectations were based on a rule that has shaped decades of monetary policy decisions: the Phillips curve, or the concept that inflation tends to rise when the unemployment rate falls, and vice versa. But the inflation that Fed officials anticipated never arrived, and in a monumental speech delivered on Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced that the U.S. central bank’s policymakers are done waiting.

The Fed chief, speaking during the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference, unveiled the central bank’s new approach to monetary policy, which puts more emphasis on shortfalls in employment, and less weight on the fear that low unemployment could spark higher inflation. “The conditions in the economy have changed to such an extent that this upwardly sloped relationship between inflation and employment has now changed,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for RSM. “Decades of thought at the Fed are now being pushed aside.” With its landmark policy shift, the Fed is putting new weight on bolstering the labor market and less on inflation, promising to aim for 2% inflation on average over a period of time rather than using that figure as a hard annual target, as it had done since 2012.

With their new approach, Fed officials are essentially saying they are no longer worried about the unemployment rate falling too low. Now that inflation expectations are anchored at low levels, the economy has room to keep adding jobs. Policymakers can also wait a little longer for the gains to reach the workers on the margins – including Black, Hispanic and low-income workers – who are often the last to reap the benefits of a tight labor market, Powell said. “It is hard to overstate the benefits of sustaining a strong labor market, a key national goal that will require a range of policies in addition to supportive monetary policy,” Powell said on Thursday, reflecting on the strong U.S. labor market that existed before the pandemic.

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h/t Steve Keen.

Ex-Australia PM Menzies Boasted Of Delivering Large Budget Deficits (ABC.au)

There’s a lot we’ve forgotten about Robert Menzies. Take his name, for example. Younger Australians may not know it, but our country’s longest-serving prime minister, one of the founders of the Liberal Party, was nicknamed “Ming”. He was our first prime minister to have two Australian-born parents, but his paternal grandfather was Scottish and he was proud of that heritage. He preferred his surname to be pronounced the way the Scots pronounce it — Ming-iss — but his attempts to convince his countrymen to do so were in vain. He received the nickname “Ming” instead. Then there was his time as prime minister, when he boasted about delivering a bigger budget deficit than Labor would have, for the good of the country. That’s right.

The father of Australia’s Liberal Party was proud of spending whatever was necessary to ensure full employment, even when the economy wasn’t in recession. A speech Mr Menzies gave in August 1962 about his budget that year is worth reading. He’d won the federal election eight months earlier, defeating the Labor opposition led by Arthur Calwell. During the campaign, Mr Calwell promised to deliver a deficit large enough to eradicate unemployment, and he figured that meant a deficit of 100 million pounds. Here’s Mr Menzies explaining why he was spending more than Labor pledged. “Too few people realise that a cash deficit of 120 million [pounds] … will of itself have a most expansionary effect,” he said.

“We shall pay out to the citizens 120 million [pounds] more than will be collected from them. “So, far from being timorous — I think that was another of the words used by the deputy leader of the opposition — this is adventurous finance. “Add to the deficit the tax refunds now being made, and it is clear that purchasing power in Australia this financial year will be uncommonly high. “The real task of any government today, as well as of the business community and all sensible citizens, is to get that purchasing power exercised.” It was uncomplicated Keynesian logic. As John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1933: “Look after the unemployment, and the budget will look after itself.”

[..] Mr Menzies’ second stint as prime minister lasted from 1949 to 1966. For his last nine budgets he delivered deficits, and the size of his last deficit, at 3.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), was 0.3 per cent larger than the deficit in Wayne Swan’s last budget in 2013. So why wasn’t the public angry? Because Australia’s economy, like economies in other western nations, grew strongly in the post-war period. In the 1940s, its average growth rate was 3.8 per cent. In the 1950s, it was 4.2 per cent. In the 1960s, it was 5.3 per cent. And that constant growth meant the size of Australia’s government debt relative to the size of the economy (the ratio of debt-to-GDP) shrank dramatically, too. All while the government was handing down budget deficits.

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How much extra attention because of Banksy’s involvement?

Italy Evacuates Dozens From Overcrowded Banksy-Funded Migrant Rescue Boat (RT)

Some 50 people were evacuated from the migrant rescue boat Louise Michel that got stranded off Malta’s coast after taking more than 200 people aboard. After one person died, the crew accused Europe of ignoring its pleas for help. The vessel, which reported rescuing a total of 219 people from the sea over the past few days, including “many women and children,” had become so “overcrowded” that a life raft was attached to its side, and it lost its ability to maneuver. The crew’s Twitter feed suggests they have been desperately sending distress signals and making calls to various European maritime authorities to no avail. To make the matters worse, one of the migrants died on the ship as conditions deteriorated.

“Louise Michel is unable to move … above all due to Europe ignoring our emergency calls for immediate assistance,” a tweet from the crew read. Following about a day of pleas for help, Italy’s coast guard arrived at the scene and took 49 of “the most vulnerable” migrants in. While describing the development as “great,” the Louise Michel crew said it leaves the majority “still waiting.” It added that another NGO migrant rescue ship, Sea Watch 4, arrived to “do what Europe falters to do.” Photos and videos apparently taken on board the vessel – a 31-meter motor yacht once owned by French customs authorities, now named after a French anarchist – show it is extremely crowded with people who are cooped up literally everywhere, from the foredeck to the aft and even on top of the captain’s bridge.

[..] Painted in white and bright pink and featuring a Banksy artwork of a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped flotation device, Louise Michel is said to have set sail in secrecy from a Spanish port of Burriana, near Valencia. The first post in its Twitter account appeared about a week after what was called its first successful mission. The ship, flying a German flag, is captained by Pia Klemp, a controversial German boat captain credited with rescuing more than 1,000 North African migrants between 2011 and 2017. The woman was charged with colluding with human smugglers by the Italian authorities in 2019 and defiantly snubbed Paris’ highest civilian award months later.

[..] Reports claim that Klemp was personally contacted by the artist as early as in September 2019 and was offered assistance with buying a new boat. She told the Guardian that she sees the effort as “part of anti-fascist fight,” while adding that Banksy’s involvement in the project is limited to financial support. “Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists,” she said.

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And you thought your “leaders” were incompetent.

Airlines Warn Flying Back 100,000 Stranded Australians Will Take 6 Months (G.)

Frustrated airlines continuing to fly into Australia are warning it will take six months to repatriate more than 100,000 Australians stuck overseas if the country’s strict arrival caps are not eased. Pressure is also mounting within government ranks to address the growing number of Australians stranded by the caps, with Coalition MPs complaining the limits are “probably the biggest area of concern” raised with them by constituents currently, who claim airlines are repeatedly bumping them off flights to prioritise more expensive tickets and remain profitable under the caps. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, on Friday criticised the government’s position of recommending those affected by the caps rely on early super withdrawals to fund what could be an indefinite period away from their jobs, families and secure accommodation.

“The government should be offering financial support to stranded Australians who need it. People shouldn’t be forced to raid their super or launch a GoFundMe fundraiser in order to return home,” she said, noting earlier reports that consular staff had told Australians to start crowdfunding sites to sustain living costs and business class flights. Wong said she had been contacted by a pensioner forced to sleep in a car in France because his flight had been cancelled and he couldn’t get a refund. Wong also criticised the government for recent travel exit exemptions – including allowing Tony Abbott to fly to the UK, and an entrepreneur to collect a yacht in Italy – calling it “special treatment for the privileged few” with “everyone else being left behind”.

Qatar Airways on Friday announced it had suspended sales of tickets into Australia until the caps are lifted, and said it will have to cancel the tickets of “thousands” more Australian citizens who are currently scheduled to fly home with the carrier in the coming months. The airline has acknowledged it has been forced to prioritise customers who pay more for tickets after reports its aircraft were landing in Sydney with as few as four economy passengers. The Guardian has been inundated by stories of Australians who have been forced to live in caravans for months, exhaust all their paid leave, and forgo seeing dying parents in Australia while they wait for airlines to honour their economy flights home.

Read more …

 

 

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If Greece and Turkey go to war, it’s over this:

 

 

Long time favorite. Possibly the ultimate Calvin and Hobbes:

 

 

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Jul 132020
 


Berenice Abbott New York City at Night 1932

 

Florida Sets Record For Single-Day Covid19 Cases As Disney World Reopens (DL)
Who When Where: No Word On WHO Experts’ Coronavirus Trip To China (SCMP)
One In Three South Korean COVID19 Patients Improve With Remdesivir (R.)
Looming Evictions May Soon Make 28 Million Homeless In US (CNBC)
“Too Big To Fail” Banks face Their Worst Quarter Since The Financial Crisis (ZH)
Coronavirus Brings Record $1 Trillion Of New Global Corporate Debt In 2020 (R.)
Tesla Slashes Model Y SUV Price Four Months After Launch (R.)
Coronavirus Has Shown us How to Stop a Climate Disaster (BT)
American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government (ZH)
That Kind Of Memory Hole Is A Nightmare (Higgins)

 

 

The WHO says yesterday set a new world record. They’re two days behind Worldometer. But bad enough anyway. Florida is something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt Fauci

 

 

“This is an American tragedy.”

Florida Sets Record For Single-Day Covid19 Cases As Disney World Reopens (DL)

Even as Disney World reopens and the Florida state government was being pushed to host in-person classes for the fall school semester, the Sunshine State is setting new records for COVID-19 cases. The Florida Department of Health reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases Sunday. That’s the highest total for any state since the pandemic started. Florida holds the dubious record for second-highest as well, coming in with 11, 434 new cases on July 4, per Johns Hopkins University. Florida’s test positivity rate is a whopping 19.60%, Johns Hopkins said.


Florida Rep. Donna Shalala said the virus is “out of control,” and said it’s likely a second economic shutdown looms. “It’s out of control across the state because our governor won’t even tell everybody to wear masks. At least in Miami-Dade county, everyone must wear a mask when they’re outside,” she told CNN Saturday night. “This is an American tragedy.” About 40 hospitals across Florida have no ICU beds available, according to state data.

Read more …

What should we expect from this? Water under the bridge.

Who When Where: No Word On WHO Experts’ Coronavirus Trip To China (SCMP)

A World Health Organisation advance team is in the Chinese capital this weekend but few other details have been released about a mission that could lay the groundwork for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO said last week that two experts – an animal health specialist and an epidemiologist – would start work on Saturday but by Sunday evening there was still no word on the name of the specialists, the schedule of the trip, and their agenda. Chinese authorities did not make a statement about the visitors on the weekend and the Chinese media did not report their arrival. And no Chinese institution, including the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that it had or would confer with the WHO experts.


Associated Press reported that the two experts were in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday. Their mission is to work with Chinese health officials and scientists to prepare for a larger WHO-led international task force at an undisclosed date. The mission is widely seen as a way to bring more transparency and cooperation to the search for the animal origins of the virus, first identified in Wuhan in central China late last year. But the origins of the pandemic are mired in politics. Some senior members of the US administration have blamed China for the pandemic, including making unsupported claims that the virus could have emerged in a Wuhan laboratory. Chinese officials have pushed back, defending the country’s handling of the outbreak and saying the identification of the virus in China does not mean it originated there.

Read more …

This is an ad. It’s about the headline. Read the article and there’s nothing there: “More research was needed to determine if the improvement was attributable to the drug or other factors..”

One In Three South Korean COVID19 Patients Improve With Remdesivir (R.)

One in three South Korean patients seriously ill with COVID-19 showed an improvement in their condition after being given Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) antiviral remdesivir, health authorities said. More research was needed to determine if the improvement was attributable to the drug or other factors such as patients’ immunity and other therapies, they said. Remdesivir has been at the forefront of the global battle against COVID-19 after the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a U.S. clinical trial. Several countries including South Korea have added the drug to the list of treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. There is no approved vaccine for it.


In its latest update on the drug, Gilead said on Friday an analysis showed remdesivir helped reduce the risk of death in severely ill COVID-19 patients but cautioned that rigorous clinical trials were needed to confirm the benefit. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Saturday results from a first group of 27 patients given remdesivir in different hospitals. Nine of the patients showed an improvement in their condition, 15 showed no change, and three worsened, KCDC deputy director Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing. The result had yet to be compared with a control group and more analysis was needed to conclude remdesivir’s benefit, Kwon said.

Read more …

This is not a fantasy, it’s set to happen. The bottom is falling out.

Looming Evictions May Soon Make 28 Million Homeless In US (CNBC)

Emily Benfer is the chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction and co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. CNBC: How does the eviction crisis brought on by the pandemic compare with the 2008 housing crisis? Emily Benfer: We have never seen this extent of eviction in such a truncated amount of time in our history. We can expect this to increase dramatically in the coming weeks and months, especially as the limited support and intervention measures that are in place start to expire. About 10 million people, over a period of years, were displaced from their homes following the foreclosure crisis in 2008. We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.

CNBC: You study the intersection of housing and health. What will all these evictions mean for people’s health during the pandemic?

EB: Eviction negatively impacts the trajectory of an individual’s life, and it can do that in a permanent way. Studies have demonstrated that eviction causes increased mortality and causes respiratory distress, which in the Covid-19 pandemic can put people in even greater peril. It results in depression, suicides and other poor health outcomes. And the primary response to Covid-19 has been to shelter in place. If there’s an increase in homelessness [one economist estimates homelessness could rise by more than 40% this year], that could spread the virus.

CNBC: You’ve been keeping track of what states are doing to protect tenants, mostly through eviction moratoriums. How do you feel the efforts have fallen short?

EB: Some of the moratoriums are limited to different segments of the population, and in their duration. They were also not coupled with financial assistance to ensure that renters don’t accrue this backed-up debt and are stabilized enough to stay in their unit. Another issue is that in some states, landlords were allowed to go forward with a hearing on eviction, and even receive an order of eviction, and it was only forestalled at the execution stage. That means that there are a number of evictions that are just waiting for the sheriffs to execute. The moment the moratoriums lift, all of those families will be immediately put out. And right now, 29 states lack any state level moratorium against evictions.

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As millions of Americans will be evicted, the banks will be bailed out.

“Too Big To Fail” Banks face Their Worst Quarter Since The Financial Crisis (ZH)

U.S. banks could be setting up for their worst quarter in more than a decade as loan loss provisions and the pandemic are set to wreak havoc on bottom lines. Next week, many of the “too big to fail” banks are set to report earnings and are likely going to show that a drop in consumer spending and higher loan losses were not offset by better trading gains. Loan-loss provisions should reach their highest levels since the financial crisis, Barclay’s predicts. Kyle Sanders, an analyst at Edward Jones, told Bloomberg: “We’ve got a full three months of the pandemic coming through the numbers now. The first quarter was rough, but it really only reflected a couple of weeks in March.”

Loan losses are expected to rise as spiking unemployment has left many unable to service, or pay back, their loans. New loans have also dried up as banks tighten their belts. Service charges and credit card fees are also likely going to fall, as large portions of the American economy were shut down for months, suffocating economic activity. And while many banking stocks have recovered somewhat, the S&P 500 Financials index is still down 26% since last December. Wells Fargo alone is down 55% this year and is expected to announce a dividend cut. Bloomberg has predicted that despite increasing provisions in the first quarter of the year, banks are still going to have their worst quarter in a decade when they report this upcoming week.


Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry commented last month that the bank would likely set aside more for bad loans in Q2 than the $4 billion it set aside in Q1. Banks will be looking to trading and underwriting to help try and salvage the quarter. Stock and bond trading was likely up about 31% in Q2 according to estimates. JP Morgan is expected to post the largest increase of about 50%. Citigroup Inc.’s Richard Zogheb, global head of the debt capital-markets division, said he thinks there will be record volumes in trading for the quarter. This stands at odds with previous cyclical downturns, where investment banking and trading revenue would fall as much as 30%.

Read more …

Free money. Much of it will also be bailed out, so why worry?

Coronavirus Brings Record $1 Trillion Of New Global Corporate Debt In 2020 (R.)

Companies around the world will take on as much as $1 trillion of new debt in 2020, as they try to shore up their finances against the coronavirus, a new study of 900 top firms has estimated. The unprecedented increase will see total global corporate debt jump by 12% to around $9.3 trillion, adding to years of accumulation that has left the world’s most indebted firms owing as much as many medium-sized countries. Last year also saw a sharp 8% rise, driven by mergers and acquisitions, and by firms borrowing to fund share buybacks and dividends. But this year’s jump will be for an entirely different reason – preservation as the virus saps profits. “COVID has changed everything,” said Seth Meyer, a portfolio manager at Janus Henderson, the firm that compiled the analysis for a new corporate debt index.


“Now it is about conserving capital and building a fortified balance sheet”. Companies tapped bond markets for $384 billion between January and May, and Meyer estimates that recent weeks have set a new record for debt issuance from riskier “high yield” firms with lower credit ratings. Lending markets had slammed shut for all but the most trusted firms in March, but have been opened up wide again by emergency corporate debt buying programmes from central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan. Companies included in the new debt index already owe almost 40% more than they did in 2014, and growth in debt has comfortably outstripped growth in profits.

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“..the first time in the company’s 17-year history that one of its new vehicles turned a profit in its first quarter..”

Tesla Slashes Model Y SUV Price Four Months After Launch (R.)

Tesla cut the price of its sport utility vehicle Model Y by $3,000, just four months after its launch, as the U.S. electric carmaker seeks to maintain sales momentum in the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction follows price cuts in May on Tesla’s Model 3, Model X and Model S. The company headed by Elon Musk this month posted a smaller-than-expected fall in car deliveries in the second quarter, resilient results despite the pandemic that hit the global auto industry. The Model Y now starts at $49,990, down nearly 6% from its previous price of $52,990, according to the carmaker’s website.


Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The company started deliveries of the Model Y in March, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European carmakers like Volkswagen rolling out their own electric rivals. In April, Tesla had said the Model Y was already profitable, marking the first time in the company’s 17-year history that one of its new vehicles turned a profit in its first quarter.

Read more …

So we’re going to stop the climate disaster through sheer incompetence?

Sorry, but these sort of things bring out the skeptic in me like little else. I get that they mean well, but…

Let’s begin with scrapping terms like zero carbon, zero emissions and green energy. They are misleading nonsense.

“..for the first time ever, a group of intellectuals associated with Extinction Rebellion (XR) lay out a post-COVID-19 vision for the policies that could deal with the multiple crises we now face — and how a renewal of democracy is essential to save us from future health and ecological disasters. This statement is published exclusively in Byline Times by the XR ‘Brains Trust’, a group of thinkers including David Graeber, Illona Otto, Rupert Read, Jason Hickel, Steve Keen, Steve Melia, Henry Muss, George Barda and Rebecca Bowers.

Coronavirus Has Shown us How to Stop a Climate Disaster (BT)

According to economic textbooks, the role of finance is to allocate economic resources towards best meeting future needs. In the process, we are always told, this guarantees freedom, happiness, and well-being. Global financial markets are, therefore, a kind of superior, planetary substitute for state systems of central planning. But if so, it’s hard to imagine how they could do a more disastrous job, careering from crisis to crisis, requiring endless bailouts, while concentrating most of the world’s wealth in a tiny number of hands, wiping out species after species, and, immanently, rendering large swathes of the planet uninhabitable.

The only plausible explanation is that the economic textbooks are wrong. Global financial markets aren’t really ways of directing resources towards future benefit. They aren’t even really markets. They are power arrangements, which mainly operate by colluding with Governments to extract rents, largely, by creating public and private debt. In these areas, the public and private sector become so closely entwined that it’s difficult to even distinguish them. For instance, the crisis has made clear that Governments with their own currencies are perfectly capable of creating money at will, simply by getting the Central Bank to buy bonds from the Treasury. This can either be done directly, or via the contrivance of selling them first to the finance sector and then buying them back.

So, it follows, the same resources now devoted to keeping destructive industries afloat could simply be redirected to do the opposite. There is no reason not to allow fossil fuel, air travel, and much of current construction to simply collapse for lack of subsidy; redirecting the money instead to green projects, retraining, and a basic citizen’s income. The only way to guarantee humans are protected from future catastrophe then is to ensure a dramatic shift of power relations. Do we expect Governments to just go right ahead and implement this? Obviously not.

Governments are ultimately answerable to their citizens, and one thing citizens clearly don’t want, is to go back to how things were before. A recent survey found only 9% of British citizens want to return to life as it was pre-COVID-19. We can be certain there will never again be such reliance on air travel or commuting. And it’s unlikely citizens will ever again blindly accept ‘there’s just no money’ as an argument for failing to invest or to help the poor. The magic money tree was found, after all, this April.

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“..de facto gatekeepers of information..”

American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government (ZH)

In late October 2016, Jason Sullivan – then chief Twitter strategist for Roger Stone, used a data-mining tool he created, Power10, to peer into the public sentiment of the election. Outgunning the antiquated polling surveys that got it so wrong, Sullivan witnessed candidate Hilary Clinton catch up to Trump two weeks before the election in real time. He then saw, a few days later, how FBI Director James Comey gave Clinton a temporary boost that helped her overtake Trump when he announced the bureau would reopen the investigation into her email scandal. Since that time, Jason Sullivan hasn’t told his story about what happened behind the scenes leading to the biggest presidential upset election in more than a century. He wasn’t able to.

That’s because the FBI swept Sullivan up in a dawn raid in early 2018, after intimidating other members of his family. The FBI hauled him off to testify under oath of perjury before the Mueller team. Surviving the FBI interrogation, Jason Sullivan retreated from the social media spotlight. That was until this June when he saw the establishment’s coordinated effort to tilt the 2020 election against President Trump, again. The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns gave blue states cover for an all mail-in paper election. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa protests, looting and riots further shut down cities across the United States. Some posed the theory that funds donated to BLM flow through ActBlue, another political front company, and into the DNC.

The biggest lever in tilting the election this year, however, emerges with the collusion between the mainstream media and the tech giants as de facto gatekeepers of information. They wield tremendous power to determine what can and cannot be said, seen, shared and posted. They include Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube, among others. All this boils down to one objective: Censorship. Surviving the Mueller interrogation, Sullivan developed a strong opinion on both censorship and what transpired during the last presidential election. “On November 8th, 2016, all the laws of gravity were completely defied, and the legitimacy of every last one of the traditional political polls were utterly destroyed and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be completely inaccurate in what went down as the single biggest political upset in modern-day history,” Sullivan said.

“The DNC, Hilary Clinton, the Obama administration, all the Democrats, all the leading newspapers and publications, the establishment Republicans and the RINOs were ALL completely caught flat-footed! If any one of the traditional polls were remotely accurate, candidate Trump did not stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the presidential election.” Sullivan concluded his first salvo, stating, “There is no one today who will argue that Donald Trump won the presidency because of social media … not even President Trump. But social media is what allowed candidate Donald Trump to completely circumvent the mainstream media and get his message out directly to the people.”

On Twitter shadow-banning, Sullivan observed the “systemized censorship that if Twitter staff members didn’t like a user’s tweet, they would zap the user’s account, for a period of time. Meaning, everything the user would post would not show up on any of his followers news feeds. It’s like getting hit with a digital stun gun.”

Read more …

Orange Man Bad is a profit machine for left and right.

That Kind Of Memory Hole Is A Nightmare (Higgins)

Liberals are losing their minds over the Lincoln Project, a political action committee made up of a coalition of Republican strategists and admen who raised $16.8 million this past quarter to continue their mission of making commercials and posts aimed at upsetting Donald Trump. The group has been regularly praised for its “fearlessness” and the “powerful” content of its ads, liberals say, deeming the anti-Trump commercials “MUST WATCH” because “they are driving him crazy.”

A recent example used the coronavirus pandemic to make the case that Trump is an existential threat to the country. “If we have another four years of this, will there even be (big dramatic pause) an America?” asks a passably Ronald Reagan-imitating voice actor as somber music plays in the background in the punny “Mourning in America”-titled ad that came out this week. It was celebrated by Politico’s Joanna Weiss as a “masterful nugget of compact filmmaking.” Unsurprisingly for a group of former aides to Republican campaigns and party attachés who have run in the same circles for decades, the Lincoln Project is made up of exactly the kind of people who liberals profess to loathe: a collection of right-wing ghouls dominated by angry white men with bigoted, racist views that they’ve seldom been shy about sharing.

The group is reportedly little more than a slush fund for its members. A study on the Lincoln Project from the Center for Responsive Politics in May found the group’s finances suspect, at best, and that the organization was acting as a funnel for what The Atlantic called the coalition’s “motley crew” of leadership by directing the PAC’s cash to the interests and businesses of its directors and staff. “The Lincoln Project reported spending nearly $1.4 million through March,” the Center explained. “Almost all of that money went to the group’s board members and firms run by them.”

The Lincoln Project’s Team is led by eight founders and ten senior advisors, but the group’s core four is made up of George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Rick Wilson. The quartet self-importantly announced the formation of their PAC in a tedious opinion piece for the New York Times last December, claiming that Trump represents some great departure from American conservatism (beyond saying the quiet part loud) and concluded the piece by likening their consultancy-trough-feeding and make-work organization to the Union forces in the Civil War.

Read more …

 

 

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The man’s making a very good point.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Jul 172019
 


Salvador Dali Mme. Reese 1931

 

The circus will be coming to town a week later, but not to worry, the show will go on longer and there will be many added attractions, including a full troop of 800-pound gorillas and an entire herd of 8000-pound elephants in the room. And once the balancing acts, the clowns and the ferocious beasts pack up and move on, America might find itself without a Democratic Party, or at least one it would recognize.

The circus is the testimony of Robert Mueller before the House Judiciary (extended to 3 hours) and Intelligence Committees (2 hours). The Democrats will aim to use Mueller’s words to finally achieve their long desired impeachment of Donald Trump. But is there anyone who’s not a US Democrat who thinks that is realistic? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t seem to think so.

In order for the Dems to get their wish, Mueller would have to say a lot of things that are not in his report. It all appears to hang on the interpretation of his assessment that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted, which the Dems take to mean that there actually was a crime that could -or should- be prosecuted.

It’s not clear why the hearing was delayed from July 17 to 24, but don’t be surprised if it has to do with US District Judge Dabney Friedrich’s decision that Mueller must stop talking in public about a case that is in front of her, because his words might prejudice a jury. That is the case that Mueller brought in February 2018 against Internet Research Agency, Concord Management, their owner Yevgeniy Prigozhin (aka Putin’s cook), and 12 of his employees.

Mueller thought he could get away with presenting a case against them because they would not show up, but Prigozhin did hire a major law firm. Ironically, Friedrich has reportedly also decided that the lawyers cannot talk about the case to their own client(s). She hasn’t thrown out the case or anything, she’s simply told everyone including Mueller to stop discussing it in public.

 

So it’s quite possible that once the House Democrats figured this out (the decision stems from May 28 but was unsealed only on July 1), they had to change strategy. Mueller has been barred from saying a single word about it, including in the House.

In his report, Mueller tried to establish a link between the Russian firms and the Kremlin, but never proved any such link. They are accused of meddling in the 2016 election through emails and social media posts, an accusation that looks shakier by the day.

With that part of his report out of the way, what is left for him to talk about? He himself already gave up on the whole collusion narrative, which would appear to leave only obstruction. Well, there’s the Steele dossier, but with John Solomon blowing another gaping hole in it yesterday, that may not be the wisest topic to discuss on the House floor. By now, only the very faithful still believe in the dossier.

The Republicans surely don’t, and they also happen to be House members, and get to ask questions of Mueller on the 24th. The spectacle last night where Nancy Pelosi insisted on calling Trump a racist was nutty (you don’t do that in the House), but the Mueller hearings promise to be much much more nuts still.

 

In the background a second investigation is playing out: DOJ IG Michael Horowitz has been probing if DOJ or FBI officials abused their powers to spy on the Trump campaign. His report has been delayed, if reports are correct, because Christopher Steele at the very last minute agreed to testify. Those talks apparently were long and detailed. Wonder what he had to say.

And there’s a third probe too: AG Barr has tasked John Durham, the US attorney for Connecticut, to follow up on the Horowitz report and look at whether officials at the CIA, the NSA, and/or foreign intelligence agencies (think MI6), violated protocols or statutes.

That case is about whether the FISA court was misled to secure a warrant to put Trump campaign aide Carter Page under surveillance. It can also take a new look at the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, messages that Trump tweeted about on Saturday: “This is one of the most horrible abuses of all. Those texts between gaga lovers would have told the whole story. Illegal deletion by Mueller. They gave us “the insurance policy.”

The deletion reportedly may have been accidental. But it does set the tone. The door is wide open for the Republicans to go after Mueller. And he knows it, always has. He never wanted the hearings, he said it was all in his report. But the Dems wanted more, they want Mueller to say Trump is guilty of obstruction (of a probe that perhaps should never have taken place).

Personally, I wonder whether a Republican congressman/woman will have the guts to ask Mueller why he refused to talk to Julian Assange, the most obvious person for him to talk to in the whole wide world. But since the GOP hates Assange as much as the Dems, I don’t have high hopes of that happening.

What they certainly will ask is when he knew his probe wasn’t going anywhere. And if that was perhaps as much as a whole year before he presented his report. The Dems will tear into Mueller looking for obstruction. Like: if Trump were not the president, would you sue him? Problem with that is none of this would have happened if Trump were just a citizen.

But I lean towards Ray McGovern’s take, who says that the circus may not come to town on July 24 either. Because there’s no there there (something Peter Strzok himself said about the Steele dossier), and because the Dems know this is their last shot at glory. And the GOP doesn’t mind another week or so of preparation.

Since the Democrats, the media, and Mueller himself all have strong incentive to “make the worst case appear the better” (one of the twin charges against Socrates), they need time to regroup and circle the wagons. The more so, since Mueller’s other twin charge — Russian hacking of the DNC — also has been shown, in a separate Court case, to be bereft of credible evidence. No, the incomplete, redacted, second-hand “forensics” draft that former FBI Director James Comey decided to settle for from the Democratic National Committee-hired CrowdStrike firm does not qualify as credible evidence.


Both new developments are likely to pose a strong challenge to Mueller. On the forensics, Mueller decided to settle for what his former colleague Comey decided to settle for from CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC despite it’s deeply flawed reputation and well known bias against Russia. In fact, the new facts — emerging, oddly, from the U.S. District Court, pose such a fundamental challenge to Mueller’s findings that no one should be surprised if Mueller’s testimony is postponed again.

And I was serious when I said before that once the Mueller hearings are done, “America might find itself without a Democratic Party, or at least one it would recognize”. Because if and when the Mueller circus fails to provide the impeachment dream (try elections!), where are they going to go, what else is there to do?

They’ve been clamoring for impeachment for collusion (big fail), for obstruction (Mueller wouldn’t have it) and now racism, but that is merely based on interpretation of tweets. Nancy Pelosi wrote about ‘women of color’, not Donald Trump.

America needs a strong Democratic party, and it certainly doesn’t have one right now. The Dems should be calling for an end to regime change wars, that is a popular theme among their voters. But they don’t, because guess where their money comes from. They are in a very deep identity crisis, and Trump just has to pick them off one by one. They should look at themselves, not at him. Do these people ever do strategy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 072019
 


Peter Paul Rubens Daniel in the lions’ den c1615

 

Zero Hedge ran an article about omissions from the Mueller report and/or investigation. It’s instructive, but there is more. First, some bits from that article:

Major Mueller Report Omissions Suggest Incompetence Or A Coverup

Robert Mueller’s 448-page “Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” contains at least two major omissions which suggest that the special counsel and his entire team of world-class Democrat attorneys are either utterly incompetent, or purposefully concealing major crimes committed against the Trump campaign and the American people.

First, according to The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland (a former law clerk of nearly 25 years and instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame) – the Mueller report fails to consider whether the dossier authored by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele was Russian disinformation, and Steele was not charged with lying to the FBI.

“The Steele dossier, which consisted of a series of memorandum authored by the former MI6 spy, detailed intel purportedly provided by a variety of Vladimir Putin-connected sources. For instance, Steele identified Source A as “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” who “confided that the Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”


Other supposed sources identified in the dossier included: Source B, identified as “a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin”; Source C, a “Senior Russian Financial Officer”; and Source G, “a Senior Kremlin Official.” -The Federalist

As Cleveland posits: “Given Mueller’s conclusion that no one connected to the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the election, one of those two scenarios must be true—either Russia fed Steele disinformation or Steele lied to the FBI about his Russian sources.”

Mueller identified only two principal ways Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election: “First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents.”


Surely, a plot by Kremlin-connected individuals to feed a known FBI source—Steele had helped the FBI uncover an international soccer bribery scandal—false claims that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia would qualify as a “principal way” in which Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

[..] the only lawmaker to even mention this possibility has been Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who raised the issue with Attorney General William Barr last week: “My question,” said Grassley, “Mueller spent over two years and 30 million dollars investigating Russia interference in the election. In order for a full accounting of Russia interference attempts, shouldn’t the special counsel have considered whether the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation and interfere campaign?” [..] Barr said that he has assembled a DOJ team to examine Mueller’s investigation, findings, and whether the spying conducted by the FBI against the Trump campaign in 2016 was improper.

 

Mueller’s second major oversight – which we have touched on repeatedly – is the special counsel’s portrayal of Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud as a Russian agent – when available evidence suggests he may have been a Western agent.

Weeks after returning from Moscow, Mifsud – a self-described Clinton Foundation member – ‘seeded’ the rumor that Russia had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016, according to the Mueller report.

As Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) noted on Fox News on Sunday, “how is it that we spend 30-plus-million dollars on this, as taxpayers and they can’t even tell us who Joseph Mifsud is?” “…this is important, because, in the Mueller dossier, they use a fake news story to describe Mifsud. In one of those stories, they cherry- pick it,” Nunes added.

[..] As conservative commentator and former US Secret Service agent Dan Bongino notes of Mifsud, “either we have a Russian asset who’s infiltrated the highest echelons of friendly Intelligence Services, or we have a friendly who was setting up George Papadopoulos.”

 

This poses questions about Mueller, Mifsud and Steele and many other people and organizations involved, but the central question remains unaddressed: did Russia truly meddle and interfere in the 2016 election?

We don’t know, we have only Mueller’s word for that, and he’s ostensibly based it on reports from US intelligence, which has very obvious reasons to smear Russia. That Mifsud is presented as a Russian agent, with all the doubts about that which we have seen presented, doesn’t help this point.

That Steele hadn’t visited Russia since 1993 when he complied his dossier is not helpful either. His information could have originated with “the Russians”, or with US intelligence, and he would never have been the wiser. That is, even IF he was a straight shooter. What are the odss of that?

And of course the strongest doubts about Russian meddling and interference, along with offers of evidence to underline and reinforce these doubts, have been offered by Julian Assange and the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) group.

But as I’ve repeatedly said before, after Mueller had to let go of the “Russia collusion with the Trump campaign” accusation, he was free to let the “Russian meddling aided and abetted by Julian Assange” narrative stand, beacuse he didn’t have to provide proof for that, as long as he didn’t communicate with either the Russians (easy), the VIPS (whom he stonewalled) or Assange (who’s been completely silenced).

 

So we have -at least- 4 major omissions in the Mueller investigation and report:

1) the Mueller report failed to consider whether the dossier authored by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele was Russian disinformation (and Steele was not charged with lying to the FBI).

2) Mueller’s portrayal of Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud as a Russian agent – when available evidence suggests he may have been a Western agent.

3) Mueller declined to talk to the VIPS, who offered evidence that the DNC servers were not hacked but content was copied onto a disk at the server’s location

4) Mueller refused to hear Julian Assange, who offered evidence that it was not the Russians that had provided WikiLeaks with the emails.

 

Mueller was supposedly trying to find the truth about Trump’s ties to Russia/Putin, and he refused to see and hear evidence from two organizations, WikiLeaks and the VIPS, which he absolutely certainly knew could potentially have provided things he did not know. Why did he do that? There’s only one possible answer: he didn’t want to know.

Why not? Because he feared he would have had to abandon the “Russian meddling and interference” narrative as well. If, as both WikiLeaks and the VIPS insisted, the emails didn’t come from “the Russians”, all that would have been left is an opaque story about “Russians” buying $100,000 in Facebook ads. And that, too, is awfully shaky.

That’s an amount Jared Kushner acknowledged he spent every few hours on such ads during the – multi-billion-dollar – campaign. Moreover, many of these ads were allegedly posted AFTER the elections. And we don’t even know it was Russians who purchased the ads, that’s just another story coming from US intelligence.

It is not so hard, guys. “Omissions” or “oversight” is one way to put it, but there are others. Assange could have cleared himself of any claims of involvement in meddling and perhaps proven Guccifer 2.0 was not “Russian”. His discussions with the DOJ, preparations for which were in an advanced stage of development, were killed in 2017 by then-FBI head James Comey and Rep. Mark Warner.

Mueller never wanted the truth, he wanted to preserve a narrative. The VIPS, too, threatened that narrative by offering physical evidence that nobody hacked the emails. Mueller never reached out. Mueller, the former FBI chief, who must know who these men and women are. Here’s a list, in case you were wondering:

 

Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
• William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
• Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)
• Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
• Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
• James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)
• Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)
• Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)
• John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
• Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
• Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)
• Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)
• Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
• David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
• Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
• Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)
• Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
• Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)
• Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)
• Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

 

And then you lead a Special Counsel investigation, you spend 2 years and $30 million, you get offered evidence in what you’re investigating, and you just ignore these people?

And there are still people who want to believe that Robert Swan Mueller III is a straight shooter? They must not want to know the truth, either, then.

Here’s wondering if Bill Barr does, who’s going to investigate the Mueller investigation. Does he want the truth, or is he just the next in line to push the narrative?

Is there anyone in power left in America who has any courage at all to expose this B-rated theater?

Tulsi Gabbard has been reviled for talking to Assad. Why not talk to Assange as well, Tulsi? How about Rand Paul? We know he wanted to talk to Assange last year. Anyone?