Dec 252023
 


Velázquez The Immaculate Conception 1619

 

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)
How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)
Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)
Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)
Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)
Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)
Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)
‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)
Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)
Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)
Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)
Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepe Escobar

 

 

Republic Democracy

 

 

 

 

He proudly stated…

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)

US President Joe Biden told reporters on 23 December that he did not ask for a ceasefire during his latest call with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I had a long talk with Netanyahu today, and it was a private conversation,” the president said, adding that he “did not ask for a ceasefire.” The White House said Biden and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli war on Gaza and its “objectives and phasing.”The US president “emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population, including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting,” according to the White House statement.

Biden’s phone call came one day after the UN Security Council passed a barebones resolution that called for increased humanitarian aid but failed to demand an immediate ceasefire. The Security Council had been trying to draft a resolution for several days but was forced to tone down the language at the insistence of US officials who opposed a call for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The US and Russia abstained from the UNSC vote. Washington has vetoed two previous resolutions calling for a ceasefire. “This resolution has been watered down to the point that its impact on the lives of civilians in Gaza will be nearly meaningless,” said Avril Benoit of Doctors Without Borders.

On Saturday, Israel’s Broadcasting Authority revealed Tel Aviv is planning to switch to a new phase of the war in the coming weeks, bringing to an end to ground operations and shifting the focus to continued heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. While Washington has been calling for a switch to lower-intensity operations to “protect civilians,” maintaining air raids of Gaza is expected to keep the staggering death toll on the rise. Young voters in the US have increasingly shown support for the Palestinian cause, plunging Biden’s approval ratings. A poll earlier this month showed that 53 percent of US citizens “disapprove of the president.”

Read more …

“..the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships..”

How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)

From the minute after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMT) learned that the oil tanker MV Chem Pluto had been hit by an exploding drone in the Indian Ocean 1,600 kilometres east of the Red Sea and Yemen coast, they also knew why. Through a joint venture between a Japanese and a Singapore holding company operating through a Dutch management cutout, the vessel is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli shipping magnate. The Chem Pluto strike is the second by a drone against one of Ofer’s vessels in the Indian Ocean. The first strike was on November 24, when the container carrier CMA CGM Symi was targeted in the northeastern sector of the Indian Ocean. The Symi is owned by Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping in Singapore.

On December 18, drone strikes were reported by CENTCOM against the Swan Atlantic oil tanker and the bulker MV Clara. The first vessel is owned by a Norwegian company but management, with hidden equity, belongs to the Israeli Zodiac group, owned by Idan Ofer’s brother, Eyal Ofer. The second vessel, the Clara, is owned and managed by a German company, Johann MK Blumenthal; no Israeli trace has been found to date, but the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships. On November 19 they did more than that. On that day an Israeli-owned car carrier, Galaxy Leader, was captured by Houthi commandos in the Red Sea. Follow their operation as they filmed it; here is the vessel now receiving tourists at anchor off Al-Salif port, Yemen. Ownership by the Israeli Abraham Ungar was concealed behind by a Japanese ship management entity and a company registered under the Isle of Man-headquartered Ray Car Carriers, which in turn is owned by a Tel Aviv company called Ray Shipping.

Houthi political and military spokesmen have repeatedly made clear they are attacking Israeli shipping, as well as vessels of any nationality trading in and out of Israel’s ports. “Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Houthi military official, said on the group’s television station on November 20, following the capture of the Galaxy Leader. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” a Houthi press statement declared on December 9. CENTCOM and Pentagon releases to the press have also claimed to have intercepted Houthi drone and missile attacks on US warships in the Red Sea attempting to protect the Israeli-owned or Israel-bound shipping.

Less successful in hitting Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat, the Houthi campaign has been effective in cutting off the port by striking at vessels in the Red Sea, and then extending the range of strikes to the eastern Indian Ocean. Eilat accounts for 45% of car imports to Israel and 5% of all the goods imported to Israel by sea. The Houthi campaign has cut Eilat’s port revenue by 80% since October 7. The impact has expanded to all shipping in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean if their management and ownership are based in the US and the European states allied with Israel in the Gaza war, and also with the US in the war against Russia in the Ukraine. It is this coalition of states which US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin attempted to rally for naval convoy and counter-threat operations on December 18, calling the plan OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN.

This operation is now coming apart in recriminations because commercial vessel owners in France, Spain, and Italy have accepted that if they negotiate Israel-boycott deals directly with the Houthis, they can continue to operate through the Red Sea. They resent the commercial competition from Russia and China which are operating oil tankers and dry-cargo carriers without hindrance or threat. The obviousness of the targeting by the Houthis, and of Houthi deal-making by the Russians and Chinese, are being concealed, however, in the US and UK maritime industry media and the mainstream press. They are advocating maximum use of force by the Israel and US-led operation in the region to attack both Houthi and Iranian targets.

Read more …

That coalition fell apart in record time. Or did Austin just make it up to begin with?

Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)

The Houthis have dismissed the US-led military coalition being assembled against them, warning that they have “multiple options” to continue targeting Israel if the IDF’s operations in Gaza aren’t halted. “If the Zionist regime does not stop its assaults on Gaza or anywhere else across the Palestinian lands and doesn’t lift its siege, our forces will exercise more options,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi, the Houthi-led government of national salvation’s defense minister, warned in a speech before other militia leaders late Friday. “Our eyes are monitoring and closely following the movements of the [Israeli] entity worldwide,” al-Atifi added. “The recent decisions by foreign military forces and their regional mercenaries have put many tasks before us, the most daunting of which is the exercise of vigilance and watchfulness,” the senior Houthi official said, referring to the US-led coalition.

Brig. Gen. Youssef al-Madani, commander of the 5th Military Region – situated to the east of the Red Sea along the coastal Al Hudaydah governorate, said his forces are fully cognizant of the “sensitivity” of the current phase of Houthi operations, emphasizing that the militias are “prepared, vigilant and eager to confront the Zionists and those who are fighting with them.” Al-Atifi stressed that the Houthis are fighting for the sake of the national security of the Arab and Islamic World, and that their actions “serve the interests of countries working to liberate themselves from the domination of the Zionist entity and the United States on a global scale.” “There are countries that cannot even consider using force because the situation requires brave and strategic decisions. The leader of the nation, Sayyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, possesses courage, audacity and independent decision-making,” Al-Atifi said. He went on to slam the international community for failing to adopt an “appropriate” stance on Israel amid the ongoing Gaza crisis.

The Houthis managed to effectively shut down the Red Sea to Israeli-owned and Israeli-bound maritime traffic via a spate of hijackings, missile and drone attacks on commercial carriers over the past month, starting with the seizure of the Israeli-owned ro-ro car carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19. The unrelenting attacks prompted international shipping giants including Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and CMA CGM to suspend operations through the Red Sea, adding billions of dollars to shipping costs as vessels are forced to find alternate routes. Israeli ports have faced particularly heavy losses from the Houthis’ actions, with the nation’s Eilat Port facing an 85 percent drop in activity, and Israeli cargoes facing skyrocketing insurance costs. The US began amassing warships in the region last week, and on Monday Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, “an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.”

Austin listed ten nations he said were participating in the coalition, including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Bahrain and the Seychelles. The Pentagon upped the number to “over 20 nations” on Friday, but did not elaborate on which countries specifically are involved. But part from the ships of US Task Force 153, which includes between three and five US destroyers, the British HMS Diamond missile destroyer and a Greek Navy frigate, the coalition is shaping up to include only a handful of troops from US-allied countries, including the Netherlands (which is sending two officers), Norway (10 officers), Australia (11 troops), Canada (three officers), and Denmark (one officer). France and Italy have each indicated that any naval forces they have in the region will remain under national command, while Spain said it will not take part in any military operation unless it is under the direction of NATO or the EU.

Read more …

“..The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo..”

Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)

The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines commissioned by US President Joe Biden was primarily aimed at Germany rather than Russia, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has claimed. The decision to destroy the key pipelines was prompted by US fears that Berlin might not follow Washington’s lead amid the Ukraine conflict, Hersh wrote in a new article on the affair on his Substack blog on Friday. The sabotage of the pipelines was ordered weeks before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, Hersh wrote, adding that the American operatives assigned to it believed it was meant to deter Moscow. The attack on the pipelines was ready by late May, but “the plan was called off on short notice by Biden,” the journalist claimed. Instead, the team was tasked with planting explosives on the pipelines, which could be detonated remotely at a later date, he said.

The timing of the attack, which ultimately occurred in late September 2022, appeared to be aimed at Berlin rather than Moscow. “Biden’s timing seemed aimed at Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz. Some in the CIA believed that the president’s fear was that Scholz, whose constituents were lukewarm in their support for Ukraine, might waffle with winter coming on and conclude that keeping his people warm and his industries prosperous was more important than backing Ukraine against Russia,” Hersh wrote. The destruction of the pipelines played a major role in Germany’s economic hardships – the country, which once “dominated the world’s markets with its luxury cars and industrial machinery… is now in a process of what some have called rapid deindustrialization,” Hersh said.

Apart from this, Germany has experienced a surge in popularity of right-wing parties, including Alternative for Germany (AfD), and its economic woes have contributed to this. However, Washington’s “most controversial factor in Germany’s recent hard times” – the Nord Stream sabotage – remains largely ignored in the West, according to the journalist. “In the ten months since I published my first account of the Nord Stream sabotage the German government and media, as in the United States, have either ignored or provided alternate accounts of the how and why the pipelines were destroyed. The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo,” Hersh wrote.

The veteran journalist provided his first detailed account on the pipeline attack on February 8, 2023, publishing a lengthy article relying on anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” The allegations prompted strong denials from Washington, with US National Security spokesman John Kirby dismissing the report as a “completely false story” at the time. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s findings, suggesting the attack only benefited Washington to reinforce its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.

Read more …

Dumb legacy media propaganda to climb back from earlier assertions. Not terribly impressed with how Tyler covers it.

Putin hasn’t changed his views or goals one bit. That is not true of the west. But then, they lost.

Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)

In a fresh weekend report The New York Times says that President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate an end to the nearly two year-long ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, at a moment most of the territory which forms the four ‘annexed’ oblasts remains firmly under Russian military control. However, to some degree, Putin has consistently held open the chance to negotiate… it’s just that “negotiate” in the Kremlin context would be on the basis of Crimea and the Donbass being fully recognized as Russian Federation territory. Until recently, the West considered this an impossibility, but US and European officials have more recently quietly admitted Moscow has more or less ‘won’. The NY Times quotes Putin in the following: Buoyed by Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive and flagging Western support, Mr. Putin says that Russia’s war goals have not changed. Addressing his generals on Tuesday, he boasted that Ukraine was so beleaguered that Russia’s invading troops were doing “what we want.”

“We won’t give up what’s ours,” he pledged, adding dismissively, “If they want to negotiate, let them negotiate.” But in a recent push of back-channel diplomacy, Mr. Putin has been sending a different message: He is ready to make a deal. The report cites Russian diplomatic sources who say Putin has for the first time been open to ceasefire which would include a freezing of all frontline fighting. American officials say the same, per the report: “In fact, Mr. Putin also sent out feelers for a cease-fire deal a year earlier, in the fall of 2022, according to American officials.” “That quiet overture, not previously reported, came after Ukraine routed Russia’s army in the country’s northeast. Mr. Putin indicated that he was satisfied with Russia’s captured territory and ready for an armistice, they said.” Very obviously, Ukraine’s leadership and society has been fracturing under the strain of the invasion and immense death toll, with Kiev officials recently admitting monumental problems with manpower and ammo supply.

But the reality is that Russian society is likely facing deep fractures and uncertainty too, though it’s far less evident. Countless mothers, fathers, and families are grieving and dealing with the loss of loved ones killed in action. Conservative estimates have said at least 50,000 Russian troops have died in the war (and that is based just on data as of mid-summer). US officials have claimed a figure in the hundreds of thousands, but there are reasons to be doubtful of this. Angry families of fallen soldiers have increasingly formed the locus of a small but increasingly visible Russian anti-war movement, suggesting broader quiet societal angst concerning the direction of the war in Ukraine. They don’t want Ukraine to be Russia’s “endless war”.

[..] According to more in the NYT report on Putin’s supposed new-found readiness for serious negotiations: Mr. Putin’s repeated interest in a cease-fire is an example of how opportunism and improvisation have defined his approach to the war behind closed doors. Dozens of interviews with Russians who have long known him and with international officials with insight into the Kremlin’s inner workings show a leader maneuvering to reduce risks and keep his options open in a war that has lasted longer than he expected. While deploying fiery public rhetoric, Mr. Putin privately telegraphs a desire to declare victory and move on. “They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a cease-fire,’” said one senior international official who met with top Russian officials this fall. “They want to stay where they are on the battlefield.”

Read more …

So pump more weapons into it?!

Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)

A retired French general and former NATO commander has painted a chilling picture of Ukraine’s prospects over the next several months in its conflict with Russia, saying the best that Kiev and its Western sponsors can hope for is to avoid losing further ground this winter. “The Ukrainians are going to experience a terrible winter,” Jean-Paul Palomeros, ex-chief of staff for the French Air Force, said on Friday in an interview with online broadcaster Franceinfo. “We must not hide our eyes. At best, they will be able to defend the positions they currently have. We must not hope for better.” Palomeros, who served as one of NATO’s two strategic commanders after leaving the French Air Force in 2012, argued that European nations must boost their aid to Ukraine.

“Europeans must invest better and more if they want to be able to support the war effort in Ukraine,” he said. “For the moment, this is not the case.” The retired general made his comments as French President Emmanuel Macron visited France’s troops in Jordan, where he vowed to continue supporting Ukraine. “We cannot let Russia win,” the French leader said. However, Macron admitted in an interview on Wednesday with broadcaster France 5 that the US and its European allies had failed to cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. He also acknowledged that an uncertain political situation in the US was clouding the outlook for Ukraine’s prospects. The latest round of European aid for Ukraine failed to pass earlier this month at the EU summit in Brussels, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voted down the bloc’s €50 billion ($54 billion) pledge.

Meanwhile, a $60 billion US aid proposal for Kiev has stalled in Washington, where Republican lawmakers have opposed giving more money until Kiev and its backers come up with a clear victory strategy. US President Joe Biden’s administration has warned that without congressional approval, funding for Washington’s aid to Ukraine will run out at the end of this month. Palomeros lamented the increasing struggles in the West to provide Ukraine the support that it needs. “The message is clear,” he said. “Now we must match words with actions.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conceded in an interview earlier this month that Ukraine had failed to achieve any battlefield breakthroughs during its long-awaited counteroffensive. “We have to be prepared for bad news,” he said of the outlook for Kiev. “Wars move in phases, but we must stand by Ukraine in good and in bad times alike.”

Read more …

“..while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled..”

Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)

It is time for all countries involved in the Ukraine conflict to start looking for a political solution to the crisis, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said on Saturday. The defense chief noted, as quoted by the ANSA news agency, that as the fighting between Moscow and Kiev is about to enter its third year, “it is important to take paths that lead to a political solution.” He stressed, however, that these efforts must coincide with continued military support for Ukraine. The minister pointed out that while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled. “What cannot be achieved militarily… can be achieved by opening a diplomatic and political front to try to achieve the same result through peace talks,” he said.

Crosetto also highlighted that “what existed before the war must be restored, and what could not be done with weapons must be done in another way.” NATO member states, including the US, which has emerged as Kiev’s main backer, have insisted that they would continue their support for Ukraine “as long as it takes” while taking steps to bring the embattled country closer to the bloc’s military standards. Russia, which has historically seen NATO’s expansion toward its borders as a threat, has said the Ukraine’s push to join the bloc was one of the key reasons behind the conflict. The Italian defense minister already warned in early October that the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev were unlikely to be resolved on the battlefield.

At the time, he explained that the “more time passes, the more the possibility of helping Ukraine with resources that are not unlimited decreases,” while pointing to serious problems Kiev had encountered in its unsuccessful attempts to push back Russian troops. Kiev launched a much-hyped counteroffensive in early summer but has failed to gain any significant ground while suffering heavy losses both in manpower and Western-supplied equipment. Moscow has estimated Ukrainian casualties since the start of the offensive at around 160,000 troops. While President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow last autumn after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia, Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks with Kiev.

Read more …

“..not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.”

Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called out what it called “caveman Russophobia” after ex-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu suggested that EU member states should prevent Russian embassies from opening polling stations for next year’s presidential election. The vote is slated for a three-day period from March 15 to 17, with the winner to be inaugurated in May. Speaking to RIA Novosti on Sunday, a Foreign Ministry representative said that Moscow is “not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.” It was also noted that the former Estonian minister’s proposal runs counter to the West’s professed adherence to the principles of democracy, with the right to vote being among its cornerstones.

“We see in this nothing but an attempt to introduce one more discriminatory measure against compatriots living in Estonia,” the ministry added. Russian officials also pointed out that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not oblige embassies to apply for the host nation’s permission to open polling stations on their premises – contrary to what Reinsalu appeared to suggest. The latter argued that it would be “absurd if European countries allow polling stations to open in Russian embassies on their territory in March.” Reinsalu later clarified to the media outlet Postimees that Moscow would have to request permission from the Estonian Foreign Ministry, which could refuse.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially filed papers to register as an independent presidential candidate with Russia’s Central Election Commission. If victorious, he would serve a fifth term in office. Several major Russian parties, including the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), and New People have also signaled they will put forward candidates. Furthermore, a number of public figures and politicians have also announced their intent to run as independents.

Read more …

Maidan 2.0.

‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)

Pro-Western demonstrators have attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has called an attempted “color revolution.” Vucic claims he was tipped off about the plot beforehand. Thousands of opposition protesters gathered outside the Belgrade City Assembly on Sunday to protest the victory of Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) over the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition in parliamentary elections last week. The protest turned violent with a group of demonstrators attempting to batter down the doors of the building, until they were dispersed by police. “There is no revolution underway,” Vucic said in a public address. “Nothing will go their way,” he continued, referring to the protesters. “Those who swear to fight against violence have shown that they are real thugs.”

The SPN coalition emerged out of anti-government protests following a pair of mass shootings in May. While the protest movement initially demanded the resignations of Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic and intelligence chief Aleksandar Vulin, it soon called for the fall of Vucic’s government. Vucic claimed that the protest was sponsored by Western powers who wanted him removed from office over his cordial relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo, citing reports from foreign intelligence services. He reiterated these allegations in Sunday’s address, thanking unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing.” The term ‘color revolution’ describes a protest movement funded and organized by a Western government – usually the US.

Aimed at toppling leaders opposed to US interests, these revolutions are typically backed by American intelligence agencies, and organized by a panoply of US-funded NGOs. While the term became widely known following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the first successful use of color revolution tactics took place in Yugoslavia in 2000, when a US-backed student movement forced the resignation of Slobodan Milosevic. The anti-Milosevic movement began with claims that the Yugoslavian leader had engaged in fraud in that year’s election, claims bolstered by Western-funded ‘election monitors’ who were brought in. “Serbia is fed up with your revolutions,” Vucic said during the initial ‘anti-violence’ protests earlier this year. “Serbia is fed up with the arrival of those under foreign influence and the destruction of everything that is Serbian.”

Read more …

“When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has expressed gratitude to the Russian security services, which alerted Belgrade to plans for riots in the capital. Pro-Western demonstrators attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade on Sunday evening, in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an attempted color revolution. While Vucic initially thanked unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing,” Brnabic later revealed that Belgrade was tipped off by Moscow. “I feel that it is important, especially tonight, to stand up for Serbia and to thank the Russian security services who had that information and who shared it with us,” Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday night. “I can only say thank you, and it probably won’t be popular with those from the West,” the prime minister said, adding, “When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Anti-government protests erupted in Serbia on Monday, with the opposition accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of “vote theft” during last week’s parliamentary elections, in which the party defeated the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition. Vucic dismissed the allegations as “lies,” claiming that the protests were sponsored by the West, which wants him removed due to his relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. Following the unrest in Belgrade, Vucic is expected to host Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko at his residence just across the square from the assembly where the protest took place, local media reported, citing the presidential press service. Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has also scheduled a meeting with the Russian envoy.

Read more …

“Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media..”

Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed a 2024 budget bill on Saturday in protest at the newly elected government’s controversial overhaul of the country’s state media outlets. Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s new cabinet revealed on Wednesday that it had fired the top executives at government-run TV and radio stations and news agency and appointed new management boards in their place, citing a need to restore “impartiality.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Duda explained that he could not consent to the bill, which included 3 billion zlotys (€690 million) earmarked for public media, “given the blatant violation of the Constitution and the principles of a democratic state of law.” “An attempt to finance public media through a budget related law (by the parliamentary majority) is in the current situation unacceptable,” he continued, vowing to send his own version of the budget through parliament “immediately after Christmas.”

This version will include the spending commitments promised by the ruling coalition led by Tusk. Duda urged the leaders of both houses of parliament to call sessions and adopt his draft before the year’s end. The new government would have fulfilled several of its electoral promises with the budget, which included a 30% pay raise for teachers and a 20% increase for public sector workers. The controversial overhaul came just a day after parliament approved a resolution calling for “all state authorities to immediately take action aimed at restoring constitutional order in terms of citizens’ access to reliable information and the functioning of public media,” seemingly fulfilling Tusk’s campaign pledge that he would “change the system of public media” in the space of 24 hours if elected.

The former European Council president and his allies had accused the government-run media properties of acting as propaganda mouthpieces for the Law and Justice (PiS) party previously in power by attacking its political enemies and fomenting anti-EU sentiment. Tusk’s predecessor, Mateusz Morawiecki, denounced his replacement’s “illegal actions,” charging that the new coalition government intended to violate the law “at every step” and vowing to resist accordingly. “We will not allow for a dictatorship to be built in Poland,” the PiS politician wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. The party, which lost power to Tusk’s coalition in October’s elections, has pointed out that the management of public media properties can only be fired by the National Media Council. Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media, according to the BBC.

Read more …

“Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection..”

Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden has said he sees no reason for presidents to enjoy absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, a position vehemently advocated by his predecessor Donald Trump. The statement came in response to a reporter’s question as President Biden left the White House for Camp David, where he plans to spend the Christmas holiday. The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday not to expedite a ruling on Trump’s immunity case was a setback for federal prosecutors seeking to begin a trial related to the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump maintains that his actions leading up to the events of January 6, 2021 were within the scope of his official duties.

The riot saw his supporters violently storm the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers’ certification of Biden’s victory.The trial, scheduled to begin on March 4, was delayed after Independent Special Counsel Jack Smith sought an expedited resolution from the nation’s highest court to ensure the scheduled start date. With the Supreme Court granting the expedited request, a lower federal appeals court will now consider the immunity claim, raising the possibility that the trial could extend into the heart of the upcoming general election or beyond. Looking ahead to the 2024 race, Biden’s campaign plans to frame the upcoming contest, which will likely feature a rematch with Trump, as a replay of the 2020 showdown, but with even higher stakes.

Last week, Biden’s campaign circulated a memo characterizing Trump as a significant threat to US democracy, citing his behavior leading up to the January 6 events and his alleged threats against political opponents. While Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection” on January 6, he stopped short of endorsing a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that could bar the former president from appearing on the state’s ballot. When asked, Biden said, “That’s up to the court.” The January 6, 2021 incident occurred when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the Electoral College vote count following Trump’s election loss, claiming it was rigged. Since the riot, more than 1,200 people have been charged with crimes related to the breach.

Read more …

“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is..”

Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said on Saturday that the Supreme Court will likely decide if former US President Donald Trump is allowed on all or none of the ballots in the 2024 Presidential election. Simon’s comments come after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump will not be allowed on the ballot in that state because it determined that he is responsible for the riot on January 6, 2021, and therefore had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion and is not eligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment. Trump has not been charged with insurrection or rebellion. The Colorado court stayed its order, expecting Trump’s legal team to appeal to the Supreme Court. Simon told US media in an interview on Saturday that the highest court in the land will “have to” take up the appeal.

“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is,” Simon explained. “He will either be on the ballot everywhere or nowhere, and the US Supreme Court is going to make sure of that.” However, just because Simon is confident that the Supreme Court will ensure Trump’s inclusion on ballots nationwide will be all or nothing, he is not as confident that they will decide on the issue of whether the 14th Amendment applies to Presidents or if Trump engaged in an insurrection. “There’s so many different ways that the Supreme Court could go, there are multiple off ramps for them, for example, to decide the case without deciding the ultimate issue, which is, did Donald Trump engage in or help an insurrection?” Simon said. “They don’t have to decide that. There are a number of ways they can dispose of the case and get an outcome without deciding that question.”

Lawsuits in several states had tried to remove Trump from the ballot, but most were thrown out of court and were seen as longshot cases. The Colorado ruling surprised many. Officials in several Democrat-controlled states have argued the same could be done there, including California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who on Wednesday, asked California Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to remove Trump. Recent polling shows that Trump is leading his likely opponent in the 2024 election, President Joe Biden in seven swing states, which means he’d likely beat Biden if the election were held today. After the Colorado ruling, Trump took to his Truth Social, saying “I’m not an Insurrectionist.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 


Chemistree

Santa Mobile

 

 

Dog toys
https://twitter.com/i/status/1735177799970021804

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 232023
 


Gustav Klimt Pine forest I 1901

 

In Moscow, Xi And Putin Bury Pax Americana (Escobar)
Multipolarity Was Triggered By The 2003 US Invasion Of Iraq (Kneissl)
Why Hypersonic Weapons Change Everything (Krainer)
EU ‘Delusional’ In Its Push To ‘Decouple’ From Russia – Austrian FM (RT)
Results Of Xi’s Visit To Russia Matter, Not Western Reaction – Kremlin (TASS)
China Gives US Advice On Ukraine (ZH)
West Wants Ukraine To Be Destroyed – Moscow (RT)
West Brings Humankind Closer To Nuclear Armageddon – Antonov (TASS)
UK’s Depleted Uranium Plan Threatens All Of Europe – Moscow (RT)
Russia Calls On US Not To Escalate Situation (TASS)
Russia, China Reject Import Of ‘Color Revolutions’ To Central Asia (TASS)
Russia and China Sign Long-Term Nuclear Deal (RT)
Macron Will Not Seek Re-election, Ready To Sacrifice His Popularity (TASS)
US Trying To ‘Cover Up’ Nord Stream Sabotage Role – Seymour Hersh (RT)
US Must Respond To Nord Stream Accusations – Mexican President (RT)
Elon Musk Urges US To Guarantee All Bank Deposits (RT)
Hunter Biden Used FBI Mole Named ‘One-eye’ To Tip Him Off To China Probes (NYP)

 

 

 

 

Nuland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Moderna

 

 

Rand Paul Blinken

 

 

 

 

Gaddafi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638532760477528064

 

 

 

 

 

 

IVM

 

 

 

 

Very few in the west have an overview of how the world changed last weekend.

“..the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground. In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.”

In Moscow, Xi And Putin Bury Pax Americana (Escobar)

What has just taken place in Moscow is nothing less than a new Yalta, which, incidentally, is in Crimea. But unlike the momentous meeting of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in USSR-run Crimea in 1945, this is the first time in arguably five centuries that no political leader from the west is setting the global agenda. It’s Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that are now running the multilateral, multipolar show. Western exceptionalists may deploy their crybaby routines as much as they want: nothing will change the spectacular optics, and the underlying substance of this developing world order, especially for the Global South. What Xi and Putin are setting out to do was explained in detail before their summit, in two Op-Eds penned by the presidents themselves. Like a highly-synchronized Russian ballet, Putin’s vision was laid out in the People’s Daily in China, focusing on a “future-bound partnership,” while Xi’s was published in the Russian Gazette and the RIA Novosti website, focusing on a new chapter in cooperation and common development.

Right from the start of the summit, the speeches by both Xi and Putin drove the NATO crowd into a hysterical frenzy of anger and envy: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova perfectly captured the mood when she remarked that the west was “foaming at the mouth.” The front page of the Russian Gazette on Monday was iconic: Putin touring Nazi-free Mariupol, chatting with residents, side by side with Xi’s Op-Ed. That was, in a nutshell, Moscow’s terse response to Washington’s MQ-9 Reaper stunt and the International Criminal Court (ICC) kangaroo court shenanigans. “Foam at the mouth” as much as you like; NATO is in the process of being thoroughly humiliated in Ukraine.

During their first “informal” meeting, Xi and Putin talked for no less than four and a half hours. At the end, Putin personally escorted Xi to his limo. This conversation was the real deal: mapping out the lineaments of multipolarity – which starts with a solution for Ukraine. Predictably, there were very few leaks from the sherpas, but there was quite a significant one on their “in-depth exchange” on Ukraine. Putin politely stressed he respects China’s position – expressed in Beijing’s 12-point conflict resolution plan, which has been completely rejected by Washington. But the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground. In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.

Read more …

“..orientation comes from Orient.”

Multipolarity Was Triggered By The 2003 US Invasion Of Iraq (Kneissl)

In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, there was a great deal of division among UN Security Council (UNSC) members. US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented questionable evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, while the foreign ministers of Germany and France publicly opposed the aggression, for which they occasionally received applause in the Council. China and Russia, who vehemently opposed the war, began coordinating their decisions and responses, in part because of their respective oil interests in Iraq. This cooperation between Moscow and Beijing set the stage for a coordinated multilateral approach between the two nations. Both governments understood that a war would open Pandora’s box, leading to the collapse of Iraqi institutions and resulting in widespread regional disharmony.

Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened. The subsequent years saw weekly attacks, an expansion of Salafi terror groups like Al Qaeda, the rise of ISIS in 2014, and perpetual internal Iraqi conflict. Anyone familiar with the country‘s conditions was aware of the looming catastrophe when the illegal invasion of Iraq began on 20 March, 2003. Twenty years to the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a three-day state visit to Moscow, and the focus will extend beyond bilateral energy relations, which have been a consistent priority since 2004. As previously stated in their joint declaration in Beijing in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart aim to coordinate their foreign policy and advance it together. Their discussions may also touch on the Ukraine dossier, although media expectations in the west may be overestimated.

It may be pure coincidence that the meeting coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Yet it also highlights how extensively Russian and Chinese strategies have intertwined over the past two decades. Today, increasingly, “orientation comes from Orient.” Cooperative geostrategic leadership and sound alternative propositions to resolve global conflicts are being shaped in Beijing and Moscow – because the old centers of power can offer nothing new. Twenty years after the US invasion of Iraq, a failed ‘war on terror,’ the proliferation of extremism, millions of dead and displaced in West Asia, and never-ending conflict, China and Russia have finally teamed up to systematically advance their view of the world, this time with more resolve and global clout.


Brzezinski 1997

Read more …

“Russia is the only country in the world that has deployment-ready hypersonic missiles – not one but three types..”

Why Hypersonic Weapons Change Everything (Krainer)

It was in 2018 that Vladimir Putin took the stage to present Russia’s new hypersonic weapons. The term “hypersonic” refers to missiles that fly at speeds of 5 mach and higher. At the time, many in the west dismissed Putin’s claims and thought it was a bluff. We now know that he wasn’t bluffing. Russia is the only country in the world that has deployment-ready hypersonic missiles – not one but three types: Zircons, Kinzhals and Avantguards. Domazet explained why these weapons are radical game changers in warfare. Namely, in World War 1, tanks were the game changing military technology. Since World War 2, it’s been the air-force. Aircraft carrier strike groups have been an irresistible force wherever they travelled, dominating the seas ever since. But hypersonic precision missiles have rendered that force obsolete overnight.

The main military front in today’s global conflict, according to Domazet, are the Anti-Ballistic (ABM) batteries which the US has set up on the Poland-Romania axis, and the Russians on the North Pole-Kaliningrad-Crimea-Syria axis. These are defensive systems, conceived to intercept incoming nuclear missiles (though they can easily be converted to offensive nuclear missiles). However, today’s ABM systems are only effective against missiles flying at speeds up to mach 3.5 (3.5 x the speed of sound). Russia’s new Kinzhal missile flies at speeds of mach 12 to mach 15 and nothing in western defensive arsenals can stop its strike. During the war in Ukraine, Russia staged a stunning demonstration of its power.

The first Kinzhal strike, delivered one month after the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine, was perhaps the most significant: Russian forces targeted a large weapons depot in Ukraine which had been built during the Soviet times to withstand a nuclear strike. It was buried 170 meters (over 500 ft) underground and protected by several layers of armored concrete. The Kinzhal flies at altitudes of between 20 and 40 km, with a maximum range of 2,000 km. When above target, it dives perpendicularly and accelerates to 15 mach, generating enormous kinetic energy in addition to its explosive payload. That first strike with a single Kinzhal missile destroyed Ukraine’s nuke-proof underground weapons depot. This was a message for the west.

[..] Western intelligence estimated that Russia had some 50 Kinzhals at the start of the war in Ukraine, and thus far it has used only 9 of them. Last week, they fired six Kinzhals in a single salvo. That too, was a message. Here’s how Domazet explained it: United States have 11 aircraft carrier strike groups. Of these, fewer than half will be active at any one time (while others are in dock for maintenance, or in preparation). Firing six Kinzhals in one go is military-speak for, “we have the capability to sink ALL of your aircraft carriers at once.”

Read more …

“91% of Western companies are still in Russia and doing what is sensible: waiting, containment, ring fencing.”

EU ‘Delusional’ In Its Push To ‘Decouple’ From Russia – Austrian FM (RT)

Russia will always remain important for Europe, Austria’s foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday as he defended Raiffeisen Bank’s continued operations in the sanctioned country. Alexander Schallenberg made his comments after the US sanctions authority launched a probe into the Austrian lender over its business related to Russia last month. “Let’s get real,” he said. “91% of Western companies are still in Russia and doing what is sensible: waiting, containment, ring fencing.” Raiffeisen Bank International is Austria’s second-largest lender and, despite sanctions, still plays a critical role in the Russian economy.


It’s one of only two foreign banks on the Russian central bank’s list of 13 systemically important credit institutions. The other is UniCredit, a pan-European commercial bank. “To think that there won’t be Russia anymore and we can decouple in all areas is delusional,” Schallenberg told Reuters, adding that while Austria would loosen ties, this “can’t happen overnight.” Schallenberg also discouraged Europe from introducing further sanctions against Russia. “It is a very blunt weapon,” he said. “We’ve had massive sanctions packages. Give them time to work.”

Bulgaria

Read more …

“Dmitry Medvedev [..] pointed out that he was pleased that most Westerners were furious about Russia-China high-level talks..”

Results Of Xi’s Visit To Russia Matter, Not Western Reaction – Kremlin (TASS)

It is the results of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia that matter, not the Western coverage that was predictably hostile, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “Undoubtedly, the most important thing is not the West’s reaction after all, but the results of these talks that have taken place. The main thing is the results of the state visit itself,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “As for the reaction of the Western countries, it is practically on all issues nothing but unfriendly and deeply hostile, this is not a secret to anyone. The coverage of this important visit is not an exception,” Peskov stressed.


Chinese President Xi Jinping was on a state visit in Russia from March 20 to 22. On Monday, he had a tete-a-tete informal meeting with Putin, which lasted for 4.5 hours. On Tuesday, the Chinese leader met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and then arrived in the Kremlin for official talks with Putin. The leaders signed two joint statements after the talks. They both pointed out that the talks were successful. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, who was part of the expanded circle of Russian delegates at the talks, pointed out that he was pleased that most Westerners were furious about Russia-China high-level talks.

Read more …

“..contrary to popular assumptions in the West, the global community stands by China on the side of diplomatically pursuing peace.”

China Gives US Advice On Ukraine (ZH)

Putin had told Xi that the peace plan “correlates to the point of view of the Russian Federation”; but the message out of Biden officials was “don’t be fooled” as it’s all about Moscow seeking to “freeze the war on its own terms,” in the words of Secretary of State Blinken. Also on Tuesday, NSC spokesman John Kirby said China is not an impartial mediator and that China “keeps parroting the Russian propaganda”. On Wednesday the Chinese foreign ministry hit back, charging that Washington is “adding fuel to the fire” of the conflict by its “continuous supply” of weapons to the battlefield. Spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked directly about Kirby and Blinken’s comments from the day prior.

“The US side claims that China’s stance isn’t impartial. But is it impartial to continuously supply weapons to the battlefield? Is it impartial to constantly escalate the conflict? Is it impartial to allow the effects of the crisis to spill over globally?” Wang said. “We advise the American side to rethink its own stance on the Ukraine issue, turn away from the erroneous path of adding fuel to the fire, and stop shifting the blame to China,” he added. The spokesman further insisted Beijing has “no selfish motives on the Ukraine issue, has not stood idly by… or sought profit for itself,” but that “what China has done boils down to one thing, that is, to promote peace talks.” He went on to assert that contrary to popular assumptions in the West, the global community stands by China on the side of diplomatically pursuing peace. According to a transcript:

“On the Ukraine issue, voices for peace and rationality are building. Most countries support easing tensions, stand for peace talks, and are against adding fuel to the fire. This is also China’s position. President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace. It has been warmly received internationally. We call on the US to reflect on its own role in the Ukraine issue, stop fueling the flames, and stop deflecting the blame on China.”

Read more …

“..if London follows through with its plans, then “Russia will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.”

West Wants Ukraine To Be Destroyed – Moscow (RT)

The British government’s plans to send depleted uranium shells to Kiev for use in the conflict with Moscow show that Western claims of caring about peace and the future of Ukraine are lies, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. Speaking to Radio Sputnik on Wednesday she insisted that the statement by London is a sign of the “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity” of the US and Britain when it comes to international affairs. She stressed that munitions containing depleted uranium are not only more powerful and have greater penetrating ability, but they also contaminate the soil with radiation, delivering lasting damage to the environment and affecting many generations of people living in the area.

“Everything that we hear from those countries [the US and UK] about peace, the settlement of the conflict, the future of Ukraine, the well-being of the Ukrainian people – it’s all a lie, falsehood and absolute disorientation of the international community. In reality, the goal is completely different,” Zakharova said. After the UK announced plans to supply armor-piercing depleted uranium shells to the Kiev government, “there can’t be any doubts that we’re talking about is the strongly pronounced intention of the collective West, headed by the US and Britain, to see Ukraine completely destroyed,” she stressed. On Monday, Annabel Goldie, the UK Minister of State for Defense, said that “alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium.”

According to the official, such ammunition should be sent to Kiev because it is “highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles.” The announcement by Goldie is “yet another British provocation,” which is aimed at escalating the conflict in Ukraine to a new level, Zakharova said. It’s no coincidence that it was made during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which were focused on international stability and the Chinese peace initiative for Ukraine, she suggested. The rounds containing depleted uranium are actually “weapons of mass destruction with a nuclear component,”the spokeswoman insisted, adding that “the WMD issue is part of Anglo-Saxon logic of destabilizing the global international situation.” She recalled how Washington’s unsubstantiated claims that the government of Saddam Hussein had been in possession of weapons of mass destruction became a pretext for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

She also noted that NATO had used munitions with depleted uranium during its bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. “Some 15 tons of depleted uranium 238” were dropped on Yugoslav territory back then, and Serbia is still suffering from the fallout, reporting record numbers of some forms of cancer, Zakharova added. After the announcement of the deliveries of shells with depleted uranium to Ukraine, “we have no grounds anymore to doubt in principle who stands behind the activation, the launch of the conflict in Ukraine in all its phases. It is certainly the NATO-centric collective West, which is headed, in the first place, by the US and UK,” she insisted. Speaking about the issue on Tuesday, President Putin warned that if London follows through with its plans, then “Russia will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.”

Read more …

“There is a continuous flow of lethal weapons to Ukraine, which are used to annihilate civilians, residential areas, schools, hospitals, kindergartens..”

West Brings Humankind Closer To Nuclear Armageddon – Antonov (TASS)

Western countries led by the US have decided to bring the humankind to the brink of a nuclear Armageddon, Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in Washington on Wednesday. He was responding to statements by US officials that depleted-uranium munitions are a standard type of weapons that’s been used for decades and doesn’t pose any heightened risk. “Commenting on this kind of nonsense is really hard. US officials have reached a new low with their irresponsible statements. There is a continuous flow of lethal weapons to Ukraine, which are used to annihilate civilians, residential areas, schools, hospitals, kindergartens,” Antonov said, according to a statement from the embassy.


“It seems that the enlightened West, led by Washington, has irrevocably decided to bring humanity to a dangerous line, beyond which a nuclear Armageddon is looming ever more distinctly.” According to a statement published on Monday, UK Minister of State for Defense Annabelle Goldie wrote in response to an inquiry from a member of the House of Lords that the British government would send Ukraine munitions containing depleted uranium and featuring enhanced effectiveness against armored vehicles. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia will have to react appropriately to the fact that the “collective West begins using weapons with a nuclear component.”.

Read more …

“..depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come..”

UK’s Depleted Uranium Plan Threatens All Of Europe – Moscow (RT)

The British decision to supply depleted uranium munitions to Kiev is part of a dangerous trend that makes the Ukraine conflict a threat to the whole of Europe, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has warned. “The war to the last Ukrainian could become a war to the last European,” the politician said in a social media post. Numerous Russian officials have claimed that Kiev’s Western backers are prepared to sacrifice every Ukrainian for their geopolitical interests. Volodin argued that Kiev’s acquisition of depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come, could become a stepping stone to even more dangerous weapons. The next step “could be the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime or the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon,” added Volodin.

President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the British decision earlier this week, warning that Russia “will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.” The Russian military claimed last October that two organizations in Ukraine had been given instructions to build a so-called ‘dirty bomb’, using materials that Kiev has had access to since it was part of the Soviet Union. The Russian Defense Ministry provided a list of locations in Ukraine where nuclear fuel and nuclear waste is present. A dirty bomb has a conventional explosive core surrounded by a radioactive jacket, and when detonated, it causes serious contamination.

Kiev denied the allegations and invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, to inspect several of its atomic facilities, including the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in Dnepropetrovsk Region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in the Ukrainian capital. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reported in November that monitors found no evidence of undeclared activities at those two locations or a third site, a rocket-building plant in the city of Dnepr. The British government announced on Monday that it will send Ukraine armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium, alongside Challenger 2 main battle tanks that had already been promised.

Lukashenko
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638487524862459904

Read more …

“They consider supplying the Kiev regime with even more lethal, longer-range, modern sophisticated systems. Thus, the United States once again shows itself as a party directly involved in the conflict..”

Russia Calls On US Not To Escalate Situation (TASS)

Russia urges the United States not to continue down the path of escalation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on the US Congress’ calls to supply Kiev with cluster munitions. “We call on the US side not to escalate,” he said, answering a question from TASS. The senior diplomat also pointed out that the US once again proved its direct involvement in the Ukrainian crisis by supplying Kiev with more and more lethal weapons. “They consider supplying the Kiev regime with even more lethal, longer-range, modern sophisticated systems. Thus, the United States once again shows itself as a party directly involved in the conflict,” the diplomat said.


Ryabkov pointed out that the US Congress didn’t even realize “what consequences such an initiative could lead to for the security of the US-led NATO and for any chances of potentially normalizing relations with Washington.” The Politico newspaper reported earlier that four high-ranking Republicans in the US Senate and the House of Representatives sent US President Joe Biden a letter, urging the American leader to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions.

Read more …

“The sides are ready to strengthen mutual coordination to support Central Asian countries’ efforts to ensure their sovereignty and national development..”

Russia, China Reject Import Of ‘Color Revolutions’ To Central Asia (TASS)

Russia and China reject attempts to organize “color revolutions” and foreign interference into domestic affairs of Central Asian countries, according to the joint statement signed by Russian and Chinese Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, after their talks in Moscow on Tuesday. “The sides are ready to strengthen mutual coordination to support Central Asian countries’ efforts to ensure their sovereignty and national development. They reject attempts to import ‘color revolutions’ and foreign interference into regional affairs,” the statement reads. The two leaders also lauded the positive contribution of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to regional security and the potential of cooperation between the CSTO and China to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Read more …

“China already operates five Russian nuclear reactors and currently has four more under construction..”

Russia and China Sign Long-Term Nuclear Deal (RT)

Russia and China are deepening their partnership in nuclear energy and will draw up a roadmap for cooperation in developing so-called fast-neutron reactors for decades to come, Russia’s state-run nuclear energy giant Rosatom announced on Wednesday. According to the company, the comprehensive program lays the ground not only for bilateral cooperation, but will essentially influence the shape of the global nuclear energy sector. The document signed between Rosatom and the China National Nuclear Corporation covers “key areas” and is focused on expanding current cooperation as well as launching new projects “related to fast-neutron reactors, the production of uranium-plutonium fuel and the management of spent nuclear fuel.”


The announcement of a long-term nuclear deal came among a raft of agreements presented during a three-day visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow. China already operates five Russian nuclear reactors and currently has four more under construction, which makes Russia the largest nuclear supplier to the country. Last year, Rosatom launched the construction of the Xudabu-4 reactor and the Tianwan-8 reactor in the Jiangsu province in eastern China. The reactors will be powered by third-generation pressurized water reactor technology supplied by Rosatom, with operations set to begin between 2026 and 2028, according to the agreement. The cost of construction at each site is estimated to be $1.7 billion.

Read more …

He should just leave.

Macron Will Not Seek Re-election, Ready To Sacrifice His Popularity (TASS)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday against the backdrop of the pension reform unfolding in the country that he was ready to sacrifice his popularity for France’s interests as he did not intend to be re-elected. “I am not going to do another term, I cannot do it according to the Constitution. Between the opinion polls and the interests of the country I will choose the latter,” he told the TF1 and France-2 TV channels in an interview. “If I have to face unpopularity, I am ready for it,” he added. The head of the state admitted that he had a responsibility to “settle the understandable anger”, however, he pointed out that this anger should not turn into violence, which he said was unacceptable.


“Rallies, the participants of which show protest – this is legal. But its legality should not exceed the legality of democratic decisions, which come to life through the decisions of the people’s deputies,” Macron said. A draft pension reform to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 years was presented in January. This initiative sparked rallies and strikes across the country. On March 16, the head of the French cabinet, Elisabeth Borne, used her constitutional powers and announced that the bill would be adopted without a vote in the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament). This decision sparked a new wave of rallies, which often ended in clashes with the police.

Read more …

Hersh’s newest is behind a paywall.

US Trying To ‘Cover Up’ Nord Stream Sabotage Role – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims the US intentionally provided false stories to the media to cover up Washington’s involvement in the destruction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In a post on his Substack blog, the veteran reporter claims the CIA was tasked with preparing a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence to provide the American and German press with an “alternative version” of the Nord Stream 2 explosions. “In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was ‘to pulse the system’ in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipeline’s destruction,” Hersh wrote, citing an anonymous source with access to diplomatic intelligence. He noted that the CIA had completed its task and, with the help of Germany, planted stories in the New York Times and German weekly Die Zeit. These referred to a supposed “ad hoc ‘off the books’ operation” carried out by a “pro-Ukrainian group,” which allegedly used a luxury sailing yacht to plant explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines.


“It was a total fabrication by American intelligence that was passed along to the Germans, and aimed at discrediting your story,” a source within the American intelligence community reportedly told Hersh. “The disinformation professionals inside the CIA understand that a propaganda gambit can only work if those on receiving are desperate for a story that can diminish or displace an unwanted truth. And the truth in question is that President Joe Biden authorized the destruction of the pipelines,” he added. In February, Hersh published a bombshell report on last September’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline blasts, accusing Washington of orchestrating the attack. The White House denied responsibility. Last week, several Western media outlets claimed the culprits may have been linked to Ukraine. Moscow dismissed the reports as “a coordinated media hoax campaign.”

Read more …

“the US has “never been ones to indicate that we are the government of the world or some kind of edict like that.”

US Must Respond To Nord Stream Accusations – Mexican President (RT)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has argued that the US should respond to allegations that it sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. The remarks came as the Mexican leader hit out at Washington following criticism of his country. “If we are talking about acts of violence, how is it that an award-winning journalist in the United States claims that the US government sabotaged the gas pipeline from Russia to Europe?” Lopez Obrador asked during a press conference on Tuesday. The Mexican president was referring to claims by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh that the Biden administration blew up the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia and Germany last year. Lopez Obrador’s remarks came as part of a rebuttal to accusations of “violence” by Mexican authorities, made in an annual human rights report issued by the US State Department this week.

The report alleged “significant human rights issues” in Mexico and cited “credible reports” of unlawful or arbitrary killings by the police, as well as torture and forced disappearances. Lopez Obrador rejected the findings as “lies,” and noted Washington’s own list of alleged wrongdoings. According to the Mexican president, that includes the US extradition demands against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in detention in the UK. In addition, Lopez Obrador pointed to failed American efforts to halt the opioid crisis plaguing the country, which caused over 71,000 deaths in 2022 alone from fentanyl-linked overdoses and drug poisonings. The Mexican leader went on to argue that “lying” and “politicking” is in Washington’s nature, and asserted that the US “do[es] not want to change, so they believe they are the government of the world, and they only see the speck in someone else’s eye and not the beam in their own.”

State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel responded to Lopez Obrador’s remarks by insisting that the US has “never been ones to indicate that we are the government of the world or some kind of edict like that.” Patel suggested that the Mexican police, military, and other government structures were responsible for serious acts of corruption and unlawful killings, which is why these issues were highlighted in the State Department report. Lopez Obrador, however, has repeatedly insisted that there is an “anti-Mexico” conservative element within the US government that is trying to inflame tensions between the two countries. “Mexico is safer than the United States,” Lopez Obrador insisted earlier this month.

Read more …

“..Moody’s downgraded its outlook for the US banking system from ‘stable’ to ‘negative,’ citing the “rapidly deteriorating operating environment.”

Elon Musk Urges US To Guarantee All Bank Deposits (RT)

Elon Musk has proposed a solution to the current banking crisis in the US. The government must do away with the current $250,000 insurance cap on all deposits to stop panicking clients from withdrawing their money, the Tesla CEO wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday. His comments come in response to a media report that US officials are studying ways to temporarily insure deposits beyond the current limit, without having to get approval from Congress. “Absolutely required to stop bank runs,” Musk wrote. The banking crisis began in the US earlier this month with the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a major US lender focused on the tech and startup sectors. Over 92% of deposits in the bank were uninsured and the lender was shut down by regulators after massive deposit outflows.

SVB’s failure caused the closure of another lender, Signature Bank. Panicked customers have withdrawn tens of billions of dollars in cash from the smaller banks and placed them with bigger lenders. The billionaire entrepreneur and head of Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX, first proposed the idea last week. “FDIC needs to change to unlimited coverage to stop bank runs… Right now,” he wrote on March 18. The government has guaranteed all deposits of SVB and Signature Bank customers. However, according to a recent study, nearly 200 American banks are facing similar risks. SVB, like many other banks, had invested billions in US government bonds when interest rates were at near-zero and suffered losses when the Federal Reserve hiked them in a bid to curb inflation.

The failures of SVB and Signature Bank sent ripples across the entire US banking industry. Many other financial institutions have seen their stocks plunge, with the six largest Wall Street banks losing around $165 billion in market capitalization, or some 13% of their combined value. Last week, credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded its outlook for the US banking system from ‘stable’ to ‘negative,’ citing the “rapidly deteriorating operating environment.”

Read more …

“..Ye offered Hunter $1 million to be his “private counsel” and flew to China, leaving his wife, daughter, son, mother, and nanny in his $50 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West. He was detained in Shanghai three months later and disappeared.”

Hunter Biden Used FBI Mole Named ‘One-eye’ To Tip Him Off To China Probes (NYP)

Hunter Biden had an FBI mole named “One-Eye” who tipped off his Chinese business partners that they were under investigation, according to an Israeli energy expert arrested in Cyprus last month on gunrunning charges. The House Oversight Committee is investigating the explosive claims by Dr. Gal Luft, a former Israel Defense Forces lieutenant colonel with deep intelligence ties in Washington and Beijing, who says he was arrested to stop him from revealing what he knows about the Biden family and FBI corruption — details he told the Department of Justice in 2019, which he says it ignored. Luft, 56, first made the claims on Feb. 18 on Twitter, after being detained at a Cyprus airport as he prepared to board a plane to Israel.

“I’ve been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the U.S. The U.S., claiming I’m an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. I’ve never been an arms dealer. “DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim, and Hunter Biden. “Shall I name names?” Luft remains in jail awaiting extradition to the US over what he says are trumped-up charges of arms trafficking to China and Libya, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Through his American lawyer, Robert Henoch, Luft said he tried four years ago to inform the DOJ that Chinese state-controlled energy company CEFC had paid $100,000 a month to President Biden’s son Hunter and $65,000 to Joe’s brother Jim, in exchange for their FBI connections and use of the Biden name to promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative around the world.

Luft learned about the scheme through his own relationship with Hunter’s Chinese business partners, Patrick Ho and Ye Jianming, the chairman of CEFC. From 2015 to 2018, Luft organized international energy conferences in partnership with Ho’s think tank, the nonprofit China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC-USA), a front organization for Ye’s CEFC. Ye confided to Luft that Hunter had an informant in the FBI “or formerly of the bureau, extremely well placed, who they paid lots of money to [provide] sealed law enforcement information,” says Henoch. The FBI mole was called “One-Eye.” “One-Eye” told Ye that the Southern District of New York was investigating him and/or Ho in late 2017, and that “an Asian, an African, and a Jewish guy” were named on a sealed indictment, says Henoch. Soon after that tipoff, Ye offered Hunter $1 million to be his “private counsel” and flew to China, leaving his wife, daughter, son, mother, and nanny in his $50 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West. He was detained in Shanghai three months later and disappeared.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Kubrick

 

 


The giant Pacific octopus is the largest octopus in the world: the largest individual on record weighed an impressive 270 kg and measured 9 m across in length. Along with 8 arms, an octopus also has 3 hearts and 9 brains

 

 

Dead leaf

 

 


Every row, left to right:
Eastern box turtle
Pancake tortoise
Bell’s hingeback tortoise
Radiated tortoise
Florida box turtle
Burmese star tortoise
Spotted turtle
Bourret’s box turtle
European pond turtle

 

 

Owls
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638248451367399435

 

 


Jonathan is 189 years old

 

 


Jacanas are colorful water birds with long legs and incredibly long toes/claws. The super-long toes spread the bird’s weight over a large area. This allows them to walk across floating vegetation, especially lily pads. This is a baby Jacana

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 072021
 


Russell Lee Sign Along the Road Near Capulin New Mexico 1939

 

Zero Covid Is A Mirage – The Virus Is Here To Stay (Jonathan Sumption)
Oxford Covid Jab Less Effective Against South African Variant (R.)
Supreme Court Lifts California Worship Bans Prompted By Coronavirus (Pol.)
Long-Term Unemployment Is Close To A Great Recession Record (CNBC)
UK Exports To EU Slashed By 68% Since Brexit (G.)
Google Reverses Course, Opens Paid Platform For (Some) Australian News (ZH)
There Was A Color Revolution In The US After All (RT)
How Ecuador’s US-backed ‘Ecosocialist’ Candidate Aids The Right-Wing (GZ)
Pentagon Goes Rooting For ‘Extremists’ Among Its 3.6mn Trained Killers (RT)
Hunter Biden Memoir #1 In ‘Chinese Biography Bestsellers’ On Amazon (RT)

 

 

 

 

Let’s be a bit contrarian this Sunday, shall we?

Zero Covid Is A Mirage – The Virus Is Here To Stay (Jonathan Sumption)

Coronavirus has divided society. A chasm of mutual misunderstanding and resentment has opened up. On one side are people who want to be allowed to make their own judgments about risk, in the light of their own vulnerabilities and those of the people around them. On the other side are people who think their safety depends on coercing their fellow citizens into accepting the judgment of Government Ministers. Despite the optimism created by the vaccines, powerful voices are still exploiting public fears to keep us locked up for longer and impose distancing rules indefinitely in pursuit of the mirage of zero Covid. There is concern that medical scientists are moving the goalposts, changing their objectives in a way that would keep us locked up for longer, perhaps indefinitely.

Those of us who point to the staggering collateral cost of such policies are drowned out by outbursts of emotion and abuse from people who behave as if nothing matters except reducing the Covid death toll. As a society, we have been urged to suppress the most basic instinct of the human spirit – our interaction with each other. In the process, we turned a public health crisis into something much worse: a public health crisis AND an economic, social and educational crisis. Our economy is being laid waste, with small businesses snuffed out and job prospects destroyed for a generation of young people. Yet no society ever reduced deaths by making itself poorer. We have shut down our cities and crippled a once-flourishing musical, artistic and sporting culture.

We have created an acute crisis of mental health among the young. We are depriving children of their education, perhaps the most important benefit that the state can give them, at untold cost for their future. We are locking the elderly into islands of loneliness and wretchedness, depriving them of the stimulus of human contact. Dementia – a bigger killer than Covid-19 – is hitting unprecedented levels. None of this is the result of the disease. It is all due to the lockdown. To escape this situation, we need to understand how we got into it. Covid-19 is serious, but it is no worse than the scenario for which governments have planned for years. A pandemic caused by a new respiratory disease has topped the National Risk Register since 2008. In 2017, it assumed that a new pathogen might cause 750,000 deaths.

The principles of any response were set out in a 2011 Department of Health strategy. They were designed to ensure the minimum of disruption. The aim was to shield the sick and the vulnerable, not isolate the healthy and economically active. It was to ‘encourage those who are well to carry on with their normal lives for as long and as far as that is possible’. The Government would not close borders or stop mass gatherings. Lockdown was not even an option. Minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) show that the same policies were the basis of its advice to Ministers right up to the moment last March when the first lockdown was decided.

Read more …

One of many problems with reliance on hasty vaccines.

Oxford Covid Jab Less Effective Against South African Variant (R.)

British drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Saturday that its vaccine developed with the University of Oxford appeared to offer only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of Covid-19, based on early data from a trial. The study from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University showed the vaccine had significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant, according to a Financial Times report published earlier in the day. Among coronavirus variants now most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants, which appear to spread more swiftly than others.


“In this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said in response to the FT report. The newspaper said none of the more than 2,000 trial participants had been hospitalised or died. “However, we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalisation given that subjects were predominantly young healthy adults,” the AstraZeneca spokesperson said. The company said it believed its vaccine could protect against severe disease, given that the neutralising antibody activity was equivalent to that of other Covid-19 vaccines that have demonstrated protection against severe disease.

Read more …

A splintered court.

Supreme Court Lifts California Worship Bans Prompted By Coronavirus (Pol.)

A splintered U.S. Supreme Court blocked California from enforcing coronavirus-related bans on indoor worship services, but declined to upset other state rules banning singing and chanting and limiting the number of worshipers. The ruling issued just before 11 p.m. ET Friday produced four separate statements by the justices, as well as a convoluted description of what relief various justices would have granted to churches objecting to the limits. However, a majority of the court was only willing to lift the ban California has applied on all indoor worship in Tier 1 counties — those most challenged by Covid-19. The other restrictions remain undisturbed, for now.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Friday night ruling: new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative Catholic views drew suspicion from many liberals in advance of her confirmation last year, declined to grant the churches the most sweeping relief favored by her most conservative colleagues. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas would have granted all the churches’ requests, lifting the singing and chanting bans and barred California from enforcing a 25 percent capacity limit that applies to many indoor facilities. Justice Samuel Alito would have had such a ban kick in 30 days from now if the state didn’t make certain showings in court.

“Even if a full congregation singing hymns is too risky, California does not explain why even a single masked cantor cannot lead worship behind a mask and a plexiglass shield. Or why even a lone muezzin may not sing the call to prayer from a remote location inside a mosque as worshippers file in,” Gorsuch wrote. Barrett opted for a middle-ground position with Justice Brett Kavanaugh that did not go as far as Gorsuch, Thomas or Alito. “The applicants bore the burden of establishing their entitlement to relief from the singing ban. In my view, they did not carry that burden—at least not on this record,” she wrote in a brief opinion.

Read more …

“It would take approximately 29 years to get back to get back to pre-recession levels at the current pace of job growth..”

Long-Term Unemployment Is Close To A Great Recession Record (CNBC)

Long-term unemployment is edging toward a historical peak, almost a year into the pandemic-fueled downturn. Workers are deemed to be “long-term unemployed” when their jobless spell is longer than six months. It’s an especially dangerous period of unemployment, according to labor economists. For one, household income may drop significantly. But the dynamic also makes finding a new job more difficult, scars workers’ long-term earnings potential and raises the odds of losing a job (if they find one) down the road, economists said. Almost 40% of jobless workers in January were long-term unemployed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The share has grown steadily since the spring and is approaching the record set in April 2010, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. At that time, nearly 46% of the unemployed were out of work at least six months. “I think that is one of the many concerning things we see in this report,” Nick Bunker, economic research director at job site Indeed, said of January’s uptick in long-term unemployment. “I think it’s even more concerning when you see job gains continue to slow down.” The U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy shed 227,000 jobs in December, the first drop since the rebound began in the spring. Meanwhile, there are about 10 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic.


It would take approximately 29 years to get back to get back to pre-recession levels at the current pace of job growth, according to Heidi Shierholz, director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. (Her analysis uses the average growth over the past three months.) “There’s a massive hole to fill,” said Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor.

Read more …

That’s a lot.

UK Exports To EU Slashed By 68% Since Brexit (G.)

The volume of exports going through British ports to the EU fell by a staggering 68% last month compared with January last year, mostly as a result of problems caused by Brexit, the Observer can reveal. The dramatic drop in the volume of traffic carried on ferries and through the Channel tunnel has been reported to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove by the Road Haulage Association after a survey of its international members. In a letter to Gove dated 1 February, the RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, also told the minister he and his officials had repeatedly warned over several months of problems and called for measures to lessen difficulties – but had been largely ignored.

In particular he had made clear throughout last year there was an urgent need to increase the number of customs agents to help firms with mountains of extra paperwork. The number now, around 10,000, is still about a fifth of what the RHA says is required to handle the massive increase in paperwork facing exporters. Burnett told the Observer that in addition to the 68% fall-off in exports, about 65%-75% of vehicles that had come over from the EU were going back empty because there were no goods for them to return with, due to hold-ups on the UK side, and because some UK companies had either temporarily or permanently halted exports to the EU. “I find it deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts,” he said.

Contact with Gove had been limited and had achieved little over recent months. “Michael Gove is the master of extracting information from you and giving nothing back,” he said. “He responds on WhatsApp and says he got the letter but no written response comes. Pretty much every time we have written over the last six months he has not responded in writing. He tends to get officials to start working on things. But the responses are a complete waste of time because they don’t listen to what the issues were that we raised in the first place.” According to the House of Commons library, UK exports to the EU were £294bn in 2019 (43% of all UK exports) while UK imports from the EU were £374bn (52% of the total). The overwhelming majority of exports to the EU from the UK go through ports rather than by air.

Read more …

And now go global.

Google Reverses Course, Opens Paid Platform For (Some) Australian News (ZH)

The Australian government has possibly obtained a rare, partial victory in its standoff with Google. The US-based tech giant has appeared to reverse course as Australia holds hearings aimed at enacting legislation that would effectively force Google to pay local sources for news it links to and features in its search engine. Google last month threatened to pull its search engine off the continent altogether, with Canberra counter-threatening that they won’t budge. But on Thursday Google made the following official announcement: “To meet growing reader and publisher needs, last year we increased our investment in news partnerships and launched Google News Showcase.”

The ‘Showcase’ app is the result of the company negotiating to pay some Australian news producers who sign up for the program. It’s an attempt to undercut legislation being proposed to require the company to pay for all such content. It’s not likely to stop the new legislation, however, but Google is offering it as an ‘alternative’. The move shows that the tech giant is arguably feeling the pressure and is looking to compromise. The Google announcement continued, “Today we are happy to announce we are rolling out an initial version of the product to benefit users and publishers in Australia, with a keen focus on leading regional and independent publishers given the importance of local information and the role it plays in people’s everyday lives.”

“News Showcase is designed to bring value to both publishers and readers by providing a licensing program that pays publishers to curate content for story panels across Google services, and gives readers more insights into the stories that matter,” it said. While the details have yet to be revealed, for example just which publishers will eventually be enabled to join the platform, it’s being reported as a significant compromise which is likely to first reward major national Australian outlets, as Reuters details: With the legislation now before a parliamentary inquiry, Friday’s launch of News Showcase in Australia will see it pay seven domestic outlets, including the Canberra Times, to use their content.

Read more …

About the Time article.

There Was A Color Revolution In The US After All (Malic)

The 2020 US presidential elections wasn’t “rigged,” oh no, but “fortified” by a conspiracy of activists united in saving “Our Democracy” from the Bad Orange Man, now proud to share their story in a friendly tell-all piece in TIME.“There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes,” writes Molly Ball – a biographer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by the way – in TIME magazine this week, describing it as a “vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election – an extraordinary shadow effort.” Ball’s article reveals a lot, from why there were no street riots by Democrats either on November 4 or on January 6 – the organizers of this “conspiracy” stopped them – to who was behind the push to alter election rules in key states and set up mail-in voting, who organized “information” campaigns about the results of the election, and who even threatened election officials into making the “right” decision to certify the vote.

While everyone – myself included – was focused on the summer riots as a possible “color revolution,” they turned out to be misdirection. According to TIME, the real action was taking place behind the scenes, as Democrat activists and unions joined forces with NeverTrump Republicans, Chamber of Commerce, corporations, and Big Tech to make sure the 2020 election turns out the way they wanted. They call this a victory of democracy and the will of the people, of course, for no one is ever a villain in their own story. “Their work touched every aspect of the election,” Ball writes, from getting states to “change voting system laws” and fending off “voter-suppression lawsuits,” to recruiting “armies” of poll workers and pressuring social media companies to “take a harder line against disinformation.”

Then, after Election Day, “they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.” Alarmed yet? Maybe you should be. So who are these shadowy saviors of Our Democracy? One of them is union organizer Mike Podhorzer of AFL-CIO, a traditional Democrat powerhouse. Another is Ian Bassin, associate White House counsel in Barack Obama’s first administration. The roster of his “nonpartisan, rule-of-law” outfit called Protect Democracy includes a lot of Obama lawyers, a John McCain campaign aide, an editor from the defunct neocon Weekly Standard, and someone from SPLC, while among their advisers is the NeverTrump failed presidential candidate and ex-CIA spy Evan McMullin.

Bear that in mind when you read Bassin’s quote that “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” but “it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.” Chilling words.

Read more …

Trojan horse.

How Ecuador’s US-backed ‘Ecosocialist’ Candidate Aids The Right-Wing (GZ)

Ecuador’s historic February 7 election could bring a popular revolutionary movement back from the dead and help fuel a new wave of socialist governments in Latin America. The contrast between the two main presidential candidates could hardly be more stark: On one side is a conservative banker backed by Ecuadorian elites and the United States, Guillermo Lasso; and on the other is a youthful left-wing economist, Andrés Arauz, who follows in the footsteps of socialist former President Rafael Correa and wants to return to his Citizens’ Revolution. But a third candidate who has stayed in the race until the end, despite all polls showing him significantly behind, has helped to divide Ecuador’s left-wing vote by running what has been marketed as a progressive environmentalist campaign.

Yaku Pérez Guartambel, an Indigenous leader from Ecuador’s party Pachakutik, purports to be the true left-wing option in the election. But his political record suggests he is a Trojan Horse for the left’s most bitter enemies. Pérez supported right-wing US-backed coups targeting Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, demonizing the countries’ socialist governments as “racist.” His political views fuse ultra-leftist, anarchistic critiques of existing left-wing states with an objectively right-wing political agenda. And his opposition to state power is deeply opportunistic. While Pérez harshly criticizes China, he has simultaneously pronounced he “would not think twice” about signing a trade deal with the United States. Pérez’s ostensibly progressive ideology is filled with contradictions. While the Correista candidate Arauz has proposed giving $1000 checks to one million working-class Ecuadorian families, Pérez has attacked the plan on the grounds that poor citizens would spend all the money on beer in one day.

The party of Pérez, Pachakutik, identifies as “ecosocialist” and claims to represent Ecuador’s Indigenous communities. But like the candidate that leads it, it employs left-wing rhetoric to paper over regressive goals. Pachakutik is closely linked to NGOs funded by Washington and EU member states. The party’s leaders have been trained by the US government-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI), a CIA cutout that operates under the auspices of the National Endowment for Democracy. In the past, Pérez and Pachakutik helped lead protests against Ecuador’s former President Correa, forming an unspoken alliance with the country’s right-wing oligarchs in a bid to destabilize and overthrow the socialist president. In fact, Pachakutik played a significant role in a US-backed 2010 coup attempt that came close to undemocratically removing Correa from power.

Pachakutik’s ties to Washington are extensive. One of its most prominent former members is Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian journalist who spearheaded a disinformation campaign targeting journalist Julian Assange, peddling discredited but deeply damaging claims about the Wikileaks publisher through the neoliberal British newspaper The Guardian. Villavicencio’s anti-Correa activism also appears to have been funded by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy.

Read more …

“Indeed, what’s denounced as extremism “back home” is very likely to be praised as bravery “over there.”

Pentagon Goes Rooting For ‘Extremists’ Among Its 3.6mn Trained Killers (RT)

The US military is making a big show of cleansing its ranks of ‘extremism’ – because nothing says tolerance like raining fiery death on innocent strangers at the command of a guy who just stepped down from Raytheon’s board. With “domestic extremists” now officially the enemy du jour in Washington, the top order of business has become finding some. On Wednesday, newly-anointed secretary of defense (and former Raytheon board member) Lloyd Austin ordered a two-month stand-down so that commanders could engage in “needed discussions” with their subordinates on the issue. Did we mention they have a lot of subordinates? There are 3.6 million service members in the most expensive military in the world, and evaluating every single one of them for a characteristic that lacks even a universally-agreed-upon definition is certain to be both time-consuming and frustrating.

It’s also quite likely to backfire. Being spuriously accused of “domestic extremism” is the sort of thing that might turn an ‘ordinary’ soldier into an anti-government ‘extremist.’ After all, what sort of gratitude is rewarding a person who just signed up to die for their country with the ideological equivalent of a prostate exam? The FBI, DHS and other security agencies have, at various times, declared almost every American to be some sort of anti-government extremist or other, from “conspiracy theorists” to, well, veterans, depending on that season’s trend in fear. But even the most ambitious diversity consultant can’t just lock up millions of Americans for thoughtcrime – yet.

It takes extreme conditioning indeed to abandon one’s humanity and learn to kill on command – “Thou shalt not kill” isn’t just a religious commandment. Former military personnel describing the process through which they were transformed from “normal” people into killing machines talk about a radicalization process quite unlike anything ever posted to 4chan or wherever 21st-century “radicals” are supposed to be born from. Yet anti-extremism nonprofits wring their hands when confronted with the seemingly disproportionate number of Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois, and other militia and quasi-militia groups that have served in the military. Do they expect veterans to simply forget their entire training upon returning to civilian life?

Indeed, what’s denounced as extremism “back home” is very likely to be praised as bravery “over there.” Such doublethink makes it difficult for many returning veterans to readjust to civilian life – and the government – and it doesn’t help that Washington basically washes its hands of them once they remove their uniforms. What good is all that college money they dangle in front of young recruits’ faces if all that “life experience” leaves you a dysfunctional PTSD-stricken shell of a person, incapable of forming meaningful relationships or even sleeping through the night? Not every service member sees conflict, of course, but those who do are irrevocably changed by it.

Read more …

“a personal book about his own personal journey..”

Hunter Biden Memoir #1 In ‘Chinese Biography Bestsellers’ On Amazon (RT)

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter briefly hit bestseller status in Amazon’s ‘Chinese biography’ section for a new memoir, for which he was reportedly paid $2 million by the same publisher who scrapped GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s book. The ‘Chinese biography’ listing was first reported on Friday by the New York Post, the same newspaper censored on social media in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential election over a story about Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. After a few hours at the top of the section, however, Amazon scrubbed the ranking, relocating Biden’s memoir to the number-one spot in its ‘Lawyer & Judge biographies’ category. Biden was reportedly paid a $2 million advance for the book, titled ‘Beautiful Things’ and said to contain an account of his struggle with drug abuse, among other things.


News of the contract – reportedly signed secretly in late 2019 – was only announced on Thursday. The memoir is scheduled to be published in early April by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster – the very same publisher who canceled Hawley’s ‘Tyranny of Big Tech’ after the January 6 unrest at the US Capitol. Asked about the memoir on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it “a personal book about his own personal journey.” Psaki also quoted a statement “in their personal capacity as parents” from Joe and Jill Biden, who said they “admire our son Hunter’s strength and courage to talk openly about his addiction so that others might see themselves in his journey and find hope.”

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that.”
– George Carlin

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in 2021. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Nov 072020
 


David Hockney The Big Tree in Autumn 30 October 2020

 

Gottlieb: Number Of New Daily US Covid Cases ‘At Least Half A Million’ (CNBC)
Human Recombinant Soluble ACE2 Shows Promise For Treating Severe COVID19 (Nat.)
Counties With Worst Virus Surges Overwhelmingly Voted Trump (AP)
Game-On for the Coup? (Anton)
Banana Follies: The Mother Of All Color Revolutions (Escobar)
Justice Alito Orders Late PA ballots Be Kept Separate (JTN)
Michigan County Flips Back To Trump After Repair Of Software Glitch (JTN)
Rate Of Rejected Mail-In Ballots 30 Times Lower In PA Than In 2016 (JTN)
‘The Hammer’ And ‘Scorecard’: Weapons Of Mass (Vote) Manipulation?
With or Without (Kunstler)
Erdogan Fires Turkish Central Bank Governor (ZH)

 

 

Good find: Trump concession speech

 

 

Keep in mind, these “cases” are really “positive PCR tests”. The virus is endemic.

Gottlieb: Number Of New Daily US Covid Cases ‘At Least Half A Million’ (CNBC)

Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Friday offered a dismal assessment of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, suggesting the real number of new infections per day is more than 500,000 — more than four times the current record of daily new diagnosed Covid-19 cases. That record came Thursday, when 121,888 new infections were reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. A day earlier, the country saw its daily case count top 100,000 for the first time ever, part of a trend of record-high daily infections as the country’s epidemic ascends further into its third peak ahead of the holiday season.

“Remember 120,000 cases aren’t 120,000 cases. We’re probably, at best, diagnosing 1 in 5 cases right now, maybe a little bit less than that, so this is at least half a million cases a day, probably more in terms of actual numbers of infection,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” The situation also is unlikely to improve without targeted interventions to reduce transmission in the hardest-hit states, according to Gottlieb, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner under President Donald Trump. “But we’re not doing that right now,” he said. “We’re building up a lot of trouble for the future, and I think that this is going to explode in several weeks.”

“You have to be really worried what January is going to look like, what December is going to look like right now given the way this is rising,” added Gottlieb. The worrisome indicators extend beyond just case counts, Gottlieb said. Hospitalization data is troubling, he said. The average number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 is up by at least 5% in 36 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. [..] In the U.S. overall, more than 53,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project. More than 10,000 people are in intensive care units, Gottlieb said. “That’s a lot, and it’s growing very quickly.”

Read more …

Not sure I follow the entire thing.

Human Recombinant Soluble ACE2 Shows Promise For Treating Severe COVID19 (Nat.)

ACE2 is a crucial receptor target of SARS-CoV-2, which plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of COVID-19, as it enables viral entry into target cells (Fig. 1). The binding affinity between ACE2 and the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein is 10- to 20-fold higher compared to that with the RBD of SARS-CoV, which likely underpins the higher pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infections. ACE2 is a transmembrane protein typically known for its carboxypeptidase activity and its physiological role in the renin-angiotensin system. ACE2 hydrolyzes angiotensin II to its metabolite, angiotensin 1–7 and angiotensin I to angiotensin 1–9 to protect diverse tissues from injury (Fig. 1). ACE2 is expressed in several human organs at varying levels. It is highly expressed in the lungs (on the surface of type II alveolar epithelial cells), heart (on myocardial cells, coronary vascular endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle), kidney (on proximal tubule cells), and small intestine (on the enterocytes).

While membrane-bound ACE2 may mediate cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, a genetically modified soluble form of ACE2, called hrsACE2, may decrease cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 competing for membrane-bound ACE2. APN001 is a hrsACE2 designed by Apeiron Biologics to imitate the human enzyme ACE2. As such, it may decrease cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 to minimize lung injury, and multiple organ dysfunction (Fig. 1). Experimental support for this theoretical idea has come from in vitro studies showing that hrsACE2 reduces viral growth of SARS-CoV-2 by a factor of 1000–5000 in cell-culture, engineered human blood vessels and kidney organoids.4 To date, hrsACE2 has been documented to be safe and tolerable in 89 healthy volunteers in phase-I studies and patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome in phase-II clinical studies. APN01 as a promising therapeutic against COVID-19 has appealing potential and sound underlying scientific rationale.

Read more …

Not surprising.

Counties With Worst Virus Surges Overwhelmingly Voted Trump (AP)

U.S. voters went to the polls starkly divided on how they see President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in places where the virus is most rampant now, Trump enjoyed enormous support. An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas. Most were rural counties in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin — the kinds of areas that often have lower rates of adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing and other public health measures, and have been a focal point for much of the latest surge in cases.

Taking note of the contrast, state health officials are pausing for a moment of introspection. Even as they worry about rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, they hope to reframe their messages and aim for a reset on public sentiment now that the election is over. “Public health officials need to step back, listen to and understand the people who aren’t taking the same stance” on mask-wearing and other control measures, said Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “I think there’s the potential for things to get less charged and divisive,” he said, adding that there’s a chance a retooled public health message might unify Americans around lowering case counts so hospitals won’t get swamped during the winter months.

The electoral divide comes amid an explosion in cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. and globally. The U.S. broke another record in the 7-day rolling average for daily new cases, hitting nearly 90,000. The tally for new cases Thursday was on track for another day above 100,000, with massive numbers reported all around the country, including a combined nearly 25,000 in Texas, Illinois and Florida. Iowa and Indiana each reported more than 4,000 cases as well.

Read more …

Weird turnout rates.

Game-On for the Coup? (Anton)

[..] throughout election day, the president consistently outperformed the polls. He crushed his 2016 performance in Florida. He also outperformed in Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Senators he was supposed to drag down with him, including Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell, won handily. Even Susan Collins, who was supposed to be sure goner and lose by at least three, won by nine. A party that was “certain” to lose the Senate has kept it and gained (so far) six seats in the House. Looking at states no one expected Trump to lose, his overperformance is even more stark. The polling average for West Virginia was Trump +17; he won it by 39. Kansas was estimated at +9; the result was +15.

Throughout the day the president was also outperforming his expected result in key states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He even, for a time, looked like he was within striking distance in Virginia, a state Hillary Clinton won by five points in 2016. At one point the New York Times’s “meter” had Trump’s chances in North Carolina at 92%. The needle was also sliding in the president’s direction in Arizona and Georgia, among others. And then, suddenly, the counting stopped in at least five states (or parts of states): Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; all but one with a Democratic governor (coincidence, surely!).

When has that ever happened? Well, it happened in Broward County, Florida, in 2018, when a dodgy Democratic election official appeared to be intervening, illicitly, on her party’s behalf. The process only got back underway when the state’s (Republican) governor intervened and had her removed from the process. But getting back to election night, some time in the wee hours, additional ballots were “found” and added to early totals which had Trump ahead. To no one’s surprise, those votes were overwhelmingly—literally as much as 100% in some batches—for Biden. According to Nate Silver, no one’s idea of a Trumpist, one tranche of 23,277 votes that turned up in Philadelphia were “all for Biden.” Absent some kind of harvesting or fraud (or both), that’s a logical and statistical impossibility.

Through the night, all such ballots came from heavily Democratic areas posting unusually, improbably high turnout. 85% in Milwaukee? A city that turned out at only 61% in 2016, and even with Obama on the ballot in 2012, at 71%? But 85% for Sleepy Joe? According to one report, seven Milwaukee precincts returned more presidential votes than they have registered voters. Turnout in Wisconsin overall is alleged to have been 89.25%, more than five standard deviations for the state’s mean turnout since 1960—another statistical impossibility. [..] Why stop the count? Because that’s the only way to know how many votes you need to “win.” Sure, you can just brute force things by backing up a truck full of ballots. But that looks bad. You might even end up counting more votes than there are registered voters in the state. Better to eke out a narrow win. As Joseph Kennedy, Sr. allegedly said to his second son, “I’m not paying for a landslide.”

Read more …

It was all gamed?

Banana Follies: The Mother Of All Color Revolutions (Escobar)

A gaming exercise of the perfect, indigenous color revolution, code-named Blue, was leaked from a major think tank established in the imperial lands that first designed the color revolution concept. Not all the information disclosed here about the gaming of Blue has been declassified. That may well elicit a harsh response from the Deep State, even as a similar scenario was gamed by an outfit called Transition Integrity Project. Both scenarios should qualify as predictive programming – with the Deep State preparing the general public, in advance, for exactly how things will play out. The standard color revolution playbook rules usually start in the capital city of nation-state X, during an election cycle, with freedom fighting “rebels” enjoying full national and international media support.

Blue concerns a presidential election in the Hegemon. In the gaming exercise, the incumbent president, codenamed Buffoon, was painted Red. The challenger, codenamed Corpse, was painted Blue. Blue – the exercise – went up a notch because, compared to its predecessors, the starting point was not a mere insurgency, but a pandemic. Not any pandemic, but a really serious, bad to the bone global pandemic with an explosive infection fatality rate of less than 1%. By a fortunate coincidence, the lethal pandemic allowed Blue operators to promote mail-in ballots as the safest, socially distant voting procedure. That connected with a rash of polls predicting an all but inevitable Blue win in the election – even a Blue Wave.

The premise is simple: take down the economy and deflate a sitting president whose stated mission is to drive a booming economy. In tandem, convince public opinion that actually getting to the polls is a health hazard. The Blue production committee takes no chances, publicly announcing they would contest any result that contradicts the prepackaged outcome: Blue’s final victory in a quirky, anachronistic, anti-direct democracy body called the “electoral college”. If Red somehow wins, Blue would wait until every vote is counted and duly litigated to every jurisdiction level. Relying on massive media support and social media marketing propelled to saturation levels, Blue proclaims that “under no scenario” Red would be allowed to declare victory.

Election Day comes. Vote counting is running smoothly – mail-in count, election day count, up to the minute tallies – but mostly favoring Red, especially in three states always essential for capturing the presidency. Red is also leading in what is characterized as “swing states”. But then, just as a TV network prematurely calls a supposedly assured Red state for Blue, all vote counting stops before midnight in major urban areas in key swing states under Blue governors, with Red in the lead. Blue operators stop counting to check whether their scenario towards a Blue victory can roll out without bringing in mail-in ballots. Their preferred mechanism is to manufacture the “will of the people” by keeping up an illusion of fairness. Yet they can always rely, as Plan B, on urban mail-in ballots on tap, hot and cold, until Blue squeaks by in two particularly key swing states that Red had bagged in a previous election.

Read more …

“Initial Supreme Court order to segregate ballots received after Election Day ignored by Pennsylvania counties, Justice Alito issues SECOND order to segregate and separately count these disputed ballots!”

Justice Alito Orders Late PA ballots Be Kept Separate (JTN)

Justice Samuel Alito ordered Friday that any Pennsylvania ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day must be segregated and kept secure, and they must be counted separately. Election officials were already supposed to be doing that with the late-arriving ballots, but now they are under a Supreme Court order to comply. According to Alito’s Order, “… neither the applicant (PA GOP) nor the Secretary has been able to verify that all boards are complying with the Secretary’s guidance, which, it is alleged, is not legally binding on them.” Alito ordered the state to reply by 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Read more …

“47 counties [in Michigan] use this same software in the same capacity..”

Michigan County Flips Back To Trump After Repair Of Software Glitch (JTN)

An election-software glitch in Michigan’s Antrim County that had incorrectly directed Democratic votes to presidential candidate Joe Biden was fixed Friday, putting thousands of votes correctly into President Trump’s totals. The software had reportedly caused a significant number of votes to be allotted to Biden in a county that has for years been reliably red. In the presumed final count, Biden had originally led in the county by roughly 3,000 votes. Revised totals show that Trump won the county by around 2,500. Addressing the alleged software glitch, Michigan GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox said Friday during a press conference that “47 counties [in Michigan] use this same software in the same capacity.” “These counties that use this software need to closely examine their results for similar discrepancies,” she said.

Read more …

Strange number.

Rate Of Rejected Mail-In Ballots 30 Times Lower In PA Than In 2016 (JTN)

Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania so far this year have been accepted at almost 30 times the rate predicted by historical rejection numbers, raising potential questions in a state in which Democratic challenger Joe Biden is maintaining a lead of just several thousand votes. A county-by-county review by Just the News of accepted and rejected mail-in ballots throughout the state of Pennsylvania show that, when added up, the state only rejected 951 of 2,614,011 mail-in ballots this year, or a rate of 0.03%. That is significantly less than the historical rate of mail-in ballot rejection, which generally hovers around 1%. For first-time mail-in voters the rate can jump as high as 3%.

In 2016, the state saw about 266,208 mail-in ballots; just under 1% of them, 2,534, were rejected, roughly in line with historical expectations, according to the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey. At that historical rate of rejection, around 26,000 mail-in ballots would be rejected from this year’s final Pennsylvania tally. Such numbers would not have been unexpected: Last month, for instance, the Bucks County Courier Times estimated that, based on predicted vote-by-mail turnout, around 28,000 Pennsylvanians might have had their ballots pulled, rather than the 951 that were ultimately dumped.

[..] Voting by mail, unsurprisingly, has a significantly higher rejection rate than voting in person. Voters who use mail-in ballots often make errors such as miswritten forms, non-matching signatures and improper vote tabulation. That number goes up for first-time mail-in voters, with rejected rates among that group sometimes reaching rates as high as 3%. Millions of Americans voted by mail for the first time during the 2020 election, largely out of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. In Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon, the race between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump was razor-thin, with nearly all the ballots counted and Biden leading by around 13,000 votes.

Sidney Powell “software glitches”

Read more …

Scorecard, Hammer, Dominion. Powerful tools that warrant much more scrutiny then they get.

‘The Hammer’ And ‘Scorecard’: Weapons Of Mass (Vote) Manipulation?

In February 2009, the Obama administration commandeered a powerful supercomputer system known as THE HAMMER. THE HAMMER includes an exploit application known as SCORECARD that is capable of hacking into elections and stealing the vote, according to CIA contractor-turned-whistleblower Dennis Montgomery, who designed and built THE HAMMER. THE WHISTLEBLOWER TAPES, confidential audio recordings released by U.S. DIstrict Judge G. Murray Snow’s courtroom in November 2015, revealed that SCORECARD was deployed by the Obama team against Florida election computers to steal the 2012 presidential election on behalf of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

SCORECARD is now being activated to steal the vote on behalf of Joe Biden once again. Biden utilized THE HAMMER and SCORECARD while running for Vice President in 2012. Votes are again being stolen on Joe Biden’s behalf as he runs for President of the United States in 2020. This time, SCORECARD is stealing votes in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona, according to Montgomery. SCORECARD steals elections by tampering with the computers at the transfer points of state election computer systems and outside third party election data vaults as votes are being transferred. SCORECARD uses a prismatic scoring algorithm that Montgomery created, to achieve the desired results by those that control THE HAMMER and SCORECARD.

In Florida, one of the transfer points is VR Systems Inc, based in Tallahassee. Software vendor VR Systems operates in eight U.S. states. The Democrats tested their technology during the Democrat party primaries. Otherwise Bernie Sanders would have won the 2020 nomination. SCORECARD was utilized on behalf of Joe Biden during the 2020 primary against Bernie Sanders. The Democrat primary was stolen from Bernie Sanders. CIA whistleblower Dennis Montgomery turned over a massive cache of illegally harvested surveillance and election data in August 2015 and December 2015 to the FBI and CIA under two immunity agreements that were granted to Montgomery by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis and FBI General Counsel James Baker.

Montgomery testified regarding SCORECARD and THE HAMMER while under oath and while being videotaped at the FBI’s secure Washington DC Field Office SCIF (Sensive Compartmented Information Facility). If CIA whistleblower Montgomery had lied about anything he would be in prison today for lying to the FBI. Montgomery is not in prison.

Read more …

“..a now lethal loss of faith in the essential fairness of American life and the institutions that were created to insure it.”

With or Without (Kunstler)

The matrix of interests, parties, and people styling themselves as The Resistance, who tried unsuccessfully to cough up Donald Trump like a hairball for four years, may finally succeed by harvesting the magical crop of mail-in ballots delivered by unicorns in the gathering darkness this post-election week of mathematical wonders. America walked wide-eyed into this signal institutional failure, the one that lowers us to the level of places in the world where the loincloth is a business suit and the only instrument of persuasion is a machete. The Attorney General, Mr. Barr, warned the country months ago in so many words that mail-in voting would invite massive fraud, and so it has gone, but exactly as predicted, in plain sight, shamelessly.

The Resistance dared to work this operation because there were no consequences to their previous seditions and felonies. Nobody ever answered for the many crimes of RussiaGate (and possibly never will). The lying slattern Christine Blasey Ford slunk back to her cushy life in California with a big GoFundMe bundle after defaming Judge Kavanaugh. Eric Ciaramella and his UkraineGate accomplices, IC Inspector General Michael Atkinson and Col. Alexander Vindman, never even faced an inquiry over their janky scheme. Judge Emmet Sullivan still refuses to follow the DC Circuit order to close the General Flynn case. Rep. Adam Schiff never paid any price for knowingly lying his ass off, nor did The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg are allowed to suppress the news and deform the public conversation because they’re more important than the rest of us, and they know better, too.

No consequences for these actors in a rough and dirty game, but great consequences for the USA — a now lethal loss of faith in the essential fairness of American life and the institutions that were created to insure it. Shame on us for letting it get this far.

Read more …

He will blame anybody but himself.

Erdogan Fires Turkish Central Bank Governor (ZH)

So what happens next? Well, for one, the latest firing will cement the reality that the Turkish central bank is now merely a branch of Erdogan’s executive presidency, one where the higher the inflation the lower the interest rates. More importantly for Turkey and its residents, Erdogan’s action will trigger a new and even more acute crisis for the Turkish lira, now that it is clear that Erdogan will resume another aggressive rate cut cycle. Only instead of sparking growth, the imminent rate cuts will end up destroying any “carry” currency value the Turkish lira may have had to western investors, leading to what will be a historic dump, perhaps as soon as Monday.


In short, we expect this to be the first salvo in what ultimately culminates as a full-blown currency crisis for the Turkish nation, and while Erdogan may try to impose capital controls, it won’t last for one simple reason: the Turkish central bank is almost out of FX reserves. And once those are gone, the Turkish lira will promptly go bidless and will follow in the footsteps of the Venezuela bolivar.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.