Mar 032024
 
 March 3, 2024  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Edward Hopper Cape Cod evening 1939

 

Ukraine is Major Defeat for West Who Has Been Dominating Planet Earth (Sp.)
NATO Teetering on Edge of Direct Conflict With Russia (Sp.)
Ukraine Will Be ‘The Largest Operation In CIA History’ (HE)
NATO’s Presence in Ukraine is ‘Hardly Surprising for Anyone’ (Sp.)
Germans Plotting Attack on Russian Infrastructure: A Bridge Too Far (Jay)
‘Sheer Incompetence and Ignorance’ Led to Plan to Attack Crimean Bridge (Sp.)
German and French Leaders ‘Don’t Get Along’ – Bloomberg (RT)
Erik Prince Calls For ‘Ugly Peace’ In Ukraine (RT)
German Healthcare System Should Prepare For War – Minister (RT)
The West Can’t Be Trusted To Observe Its Own ‘Red Lines’ In Ukraine (Amar)
Settlement In Ukraine Impossible Without Moscow – China (TASS)
Heavy Losses Inflict ‘Dramatic Manpower Crisis’ On Israel (Cradle)
Trump Trounces Haley In Idaho, Missouri, And Michigan (ZH)
The Pipe Bombs Before Jan. 6: Capital Mystery That Doesn’t Add Up (Julie Kelly)
Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding? (AMD)

 

 

 

 

View

 

 

 

 

Hatch Act

 

 

 

 

Elon open source

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/Real_RobN/status/1763616646617526400

 

 

 

 

Dangerous moment.

“..now are going to have to get accustomed to a bitter new reality..”

Ukraine is Major Defeat for West Who Has Been Dominating Planet Earth (Sp.)

The conflict in Ukraine represents a major defeat for powers who have gotten used to “dominating planet Earth for hundreds of years” and are going to have to “get accustomed to a bitter new reality,” Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of History at the University of Houston told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Friday. The topic of discussion was French PM Emmanuel Macron’s comments that he would not rule out sending NATO troops into Ukraine to fight Russia, which led to several of Macron’s allies, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ruling out the possibility. Russian President Vladimir Putin in turn warned against the escalations, saying that it could lead to nuclear war. “Everything that they are thinking up now, that they are scaring the world with, it all really poses the threat of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, and therefore, the destruction of civilization. Don’t they understand this?” Putin asked during his annual state-of-the-nation speech.

“[Western politicians] have already forgotten what war is,” Putin said, adding later that they apparently “Think that these are just some cartoons.” Horne explained that NATO’s position is “the worst of both worlds,” because “it is enmeshed in a war it cannot win, but it can’t afford to lose. And when you are in such a corner, inevitably, it leads to the kinds of intemperate remarks of Mr. Macron, it leads to Rishi Sunak of London dispatching the flower of British youth to an uncertain fate in Ukraine,” he said, referring to comments by Scholz that there are already UK personnel in Ukraine operating Storm Shadow missile launches. “I think taxpayers and US citizens should ask themselves how all these think thanks and bureaucrats at the State Department and Pentagon… manage this kind of potential quagmire that NATO and the United States are now enmeshed in?”

The international situation is not what the White House bargained for, Horne said, but “rather than make a sober assessment and trying to make the best out of this rather daunting situation, they’re floating ideas about nuclear conflict, they’re floating ideas about escalation in Ukraine, they’re floating rather harebrained ideas concerning Russia, supposedly putting weapons in outer space. “We see that this is a major defeat that has been inflicted upon the powers that have been dominating planet Earth for hundreds of years, and now are going to have to get accustomed to a bitter new reality,” Horne said.

Read more …

“They are spilling the beans in order to somehow stop this, so that the public of their countries support them, so as not to cross the Rubicon, so as not to get involved in a direct open war..”

NATO Teetering on Edge of Direct Conflict With Russia (Sp.)

A recording of German military officers discussing a potential attack on the Crimean Bridge was released by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT and Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group, on March 1. Judging from the transcript, NATO soldiers from the UK, the US and France have been operating in the Ukraine combat zone for quite a while. “A significant part of the weapons used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces is supplied from the West,” Leonid Reshetnikov, a retired lieutenant general of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told Sputnik. “In addition, there is a considerable presence of Western intelligence operatives from NATO countries in Ukraine. They have long settled there, in Ukraine, even before 2014 – the intelligence services of the US, the UK, and also other countries.”

Likewise, when transferring sophisticated and high-precision weapons to Ukraine, NATO countries usually also dispatch maintenance personnel, repair staff and crews to operate this equipment to the combat zone, the retired intelligence officer continued. “They have no time for training the Ukraine military in the midst of the special military operation. Therefore the crews of these [NATO] countries have been operating or firing systems such as Patriot air defense systems and other systems supplied by the Americans, NATO members, the French, and the British for quite a while. Of course, they are not deployed at the very forefront, but they operate artillery, air defense systems, and partially tanks,” Reshetnikov said. Similarly, NATO Special Forces disguised as mercenaries have also been deployed in the zone of the special military operation, according to the intelligence veteran.

“Yes, there are indeed some mercenaries [in Ukraine] who had been engaged in this business well before the special military operation. But starting from the mid-2022 or the beginning of 2023, there has been a systematic recruitment of active [NATO] units,” he said. Reshetnikov explained that under this scenario, NATO Special Ops soldiers formally leave their unit and go to the zone of the special military operation as volunteers. However, they are not only paid for participating in hostilities on Ukraine’s side, but also retain the income they received while serving in the army of a NATO country. Thus, Special Forces from the US, the UK and France are fighting on the ground pretending to be mere mercenaries. Given all of the above, one can see that NATO is really involved in the Ukraine conflict and is actively fighting on the side of the Kiev regime, the intelligence veteran emphasized.

Prior to the Bundeswehr release, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz came under fierce criticism for disclosing information about the presence of the British and French military in the combat zone in Ukraine. According to Scholz, Western soldiers have been dispatched to operate long-range Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles and help Ukrainian fire at Russian targets. Speaking to journalists in Berlin earlier this week, Scholz explained why Berlin hesitates to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine. “This is a very far-reaching weapon,” Scholz said about the Taurus. “What the British and French are doing in terms of target control and support for target control cannot be done in Germany.” Berlin’s French and British allies lambasted the German chancellor for what they called a “flagrant abuse of intelligence”.

[..] Reshetnikov outlined two opposite trends. According to him, there are Western politicians, who, like Emmanuel Macron, are willing to expand NATO’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict. However, there are also others, who fear that the alliance’s presence in the conflict zone may lead to direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. The latter are openly speaking about NATO’s involvement to trigger a public debate and resentment about getting bogged down in Ukraine, according to the intelligence veteran. “They are spilling the beans in order to somehow stop this, so that the public of their countries support them, so as not to cross the Rubicon, so as not to get involved in a direct open war,” he stressed.

Read more …

“We were riding high and riding dirty. And that’s what this was, we thought we were unstoppable and we could just coup anyone we wanted, there’d never be any repercussions..”

Ukraine Will Be ‘The Largest Operation In CIA History’ (HE)

Jack Posobiec hosted guest Mike Benz on Human Events Daily Thursday to hear his take on the New York Times article that detailed the CIA’s involvement in Ukraine prior to the Russia invasion, which Benz said will reveal itself to be “the largest operation in CIA history.” The pair unpacked the reasoning behind the New York Times releasing their story which essentially agreed with what conservative commentators such as Posobiec have been saying since the war began. “This is actually such a shocking moment in American journalist history,” Benz stated. “These are highly highly, highly classified operations.” He said that “It’s my contention that when the dust settles on this, the Ukraine skirmish in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup is going to ultimately be the largest operation in CIA history.” Compared to the CIA’s Syrian operation under Barack Obama, which was revealed to be the most expensive operation up to this point, Ukraine will blow it out of the water once all said and done, Benz said.

Posobiec clarified that Benz was implying the NYT article was a “limited hangout” when “an operation becomes so compromised, or public knowledge or public interest becomes so obvious around something,” that the CIA begins to unveil pieces of the big picture, like an “onion.” When the US involved itself in Ukraine in the Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Brennan era, “We were riding high and riding dirty. And that’s what this was, we thought we were unstoppable and we could just coup anyone we wanted, there’d never be any repercussions, and no one would ever stand up for themselves, and Russia would never actually backstop it,” Benz said. This, however, was a “serious miscalculation.” “And when it turned out that their own population didn’t support these dirty tricks, either in the form of the rise of a populace presidential candidate like Donald Trump who was running on putting America first in domestic priorities over foreign policy,” he explained, “then all hell broke loose.”

Read more …

“We are being made a target for Russian weapons and this matter must be discussed. The citizens must be informed about how carelessly and irresponsibly politics [in Germany] are being conducted..”

NATO’s Presence in Ukraine is ‘Hardly Surprising for Anyone’ (Sp.)

The German military made headlines this week after a recording of officials discussing the possible shipments of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine and the use of these weapons against targets in Russia was disclosed by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT and Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group. In the recording, the German officers can be heard mulling various issues related to the transfer of Taurus missiles to the Kiev regime, as well as how to avoid implicating Germany’s involvement in the conflict while doing so. According to Eugen Schmidt, a member of the German parliament from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the officers in question were likely not pursuing objectives of their own but were merely preparing for the possibility of Berlin approving the transfer of the missiles to Kiev.

“They act on political directives coming from above. That is, they follow orders, just like any military does. They do not act on their own initiative. So if a political decision on shipping the missiles is made, they would have to follow through,” Schmidt said. The lawmaker compared the current situation with the Taurus missiles to the Leopard tanks, which Germany was initially reluctant to supply to Ukraine but ultimately did after caving in to pressure from both the German political opposition and the “so-called allies from across the ocean.” “I do not know what really goes on in the defense ministry, but I suspect that the military were expecting certain political factions to force through the decision on missile shipments,” he said. “Besides, the French and the British are already sending similar missiles [to Ukraine], so the military likely assumed that Germany would have to do the same. And so they started calculating what would they have to do to make it happen.”

Commenting on the remarks made by the German officers during the conversation about a British and US military presence in Ukraine, Schmidt noted that NATO does wage a war against Russia, just not directly but by using Ukraine as a proxy. “So the presence of [foreign] military personnel there is hardly surprising to anybody, especially when it comes to planning operations, maintaining NATO military hardware and so on,” he said. At the same time, Schmidt pointed out, the powers that be in Western countries keep telling their citizens that there is no NATO military personnel in Ukraine. “They are painting a whole different picture for the common people, even though everyone realizes that there is NATO personnel there, a lot of them, not on the frontline but, shall we say, in the second or third echelon,” he added.

Schmidt also lamented that only the AfD, the German political party he represents, openly declares that a conflict with a nuclear power and the actions of the German government are detrimental to Germany’s security whereas other parties in the country prefer to keep quiet on such matters. “We are being made a target for Russian weapons and this matter must be discussed. The citizens must be informed about how carelessly and irresponsibly politics [in Germany] are being conducted at the expense of our safety,’ he said.

Read more …

“..the Germans have decades ahead of them in how be an effective fighting force on the international stage when they are so plagued by rank amateurism..”

Germans Plotting Attack on Russian Infrastructure: A Bridge Too Far (Jay)

When, at the beginning of the Ukraine war Scholz had his “moment” in the German parliament where he announced a new level or military spending many Germans paused and became nervous about the possibility of history repeating itself. But they were not alone. Many Europeans wondered about how wise the move was as it propelled a weak and ineffective coalition government down a dangerous and treacherous path towards exactly the same circumstances which led to the collapse of democracy in the 1930s and the rapid emergence of Hitler and his so-called “socialist” party: nationalism. Also, comical are the number of times these officials talk about the British who they call “the English” and how they consider them to be such important partners in the war against Russia, not only from a strategic standpoint but also a financial one. Roger and Fritz are closer than they’ve ever been.

But the obsession with the Crimean bridge is interesting as the transcripts reveal that it is on the Ukrainian side where the idea to hit it comes. The German airforce senior officials are sceptical about hitting the bridge with sufficient impact to actually destroy it and even less convinced that the Ukrainians can do this on their own. The idea of a French made Rafael jet is suggested for the job, but they believe that it would require 20 Taurus missiles to destroy it to any significant level. What exactly the Russians do while a French fighter jet repeats sortie after sortie dropping its bombs is unclear. There is also the problem of how to deflect attention or finger pointing when the job is done. It’s here where we see that the German air force commanders are woefully ignorant and misinformed about the realities on Russian intelligence.

The Germans actually believe they can protect themselves with a ring of disinformation and amateur distractions – like having their own people, while in Kiev talk with strong American accents while doing the training and logistics right through to insisting that the Ukrainians make a documented approach to the Germans for the equipment and training. As though this would temper the Russians even if they believed it once the bridge is destroyed! We are really in the land of amateur spooking here which leads the reader to believe that the Germans have decades ahead of them in how be an effective fighting force on the international stage when they are so plagued by rank amateurism – the same dismal lack of planning which made them lose the battle of Barbarossa in the second world war.

Planning is a word which comes up in the conversation transcripts a lot as it is an obsession of German public servants, whether they be in the military or work for Deutsche Welle news department – the latter a public funded German propaganda station which is so bad that even Germans gave up watching it years ago, forcing its executives to scrap the German language service. And yet it is the lack of planning, but merely the talk of it, which is the real heart of the problem of German thinking. A Bridge Too Far, in fact.

Read more …

Ray McGovern: “If I were Putin, I would have my focus on full alert because one of these acolytes [might] say ‘hey, Mr. Biden… we did the cluster ammo, we did the depleted uranium, who’s going to complain if we do just a mini-nuke?’”

‘Sheer Incompetence and Ignorance’ Led to Plan to Attack Crimean Bridge (Sp.)

On Friday, RT and the Rossiya Segodnya media group (Sputnik’s parent company) Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan published leaked audio of a conversation involving four German senior military officers, including the head of the German Air Force, General Ingo Gerhartz. The audio included operational and targeting details of Taurus missiles even though in public, sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine remains a matter of debate. Significantly, the four officers discussed hitting the Crimean bridge and how to maintain plausible deniability for their involvement in such operations. Ray McGovern, a peace activist and former CIA analyst with over 27 years of experience, told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour that only “sheer incompetence and ignorance” would lead NATO to consider such plans.

McGovern said that the leaked German conversation, which has since been reportedly confirmed as authentic by German officials, reflected comments that former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made during an interview with Western media. “If you want to give the Russians pause, if you want to interrupt that sense of momentum that they have, why not be able to do things like drop the Kerch Strait Bridge? That would have a big impact on the Russians, I think, psychologically as well as militarily,” Gates said during the interview. “Here’s this wise man, Bobby Gates, saying ‘Oh let’s get into World War Three,’” McGovern said. “I mean, if he is speaking for an influential element not only in the White House but also the German Army, my God.”

“It’s just sheer incompetence and ignorance,” McGovern continued later. “He reads the intelligence. Previous presidents and previous CIA directors are given special treatment, they can read the latest and most sensitive intelligence. … The intelligence has been so bad that Bobby Gates could be led to believe this would teach the Russians a lesson.” After noting that Gates wrote in his autobiography that “it has never been on top of [Gates’] job jar to please the Russians,” McGovern warned that “it may not be on top of the jar of people to make Putin or the Russians happy, but my God, they have to recognize that they don’t want to alienate the Russians or make the Russians think that [the West is] so unpredictable that the Russians may have to use this advantage that they have now in strategic weaponry.” Co-host Wilmer Leon asked about comments from US Senator and vice chair of the Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL) that Ukraine needs to end in a negotiated settlement. McGovern said he doubted Rubio’s intentions but said the comments were still significant.

“He’s the same guy that voted vociferously to give [$60 billion] more to Ukraine, and of course $14 billion to Israel, X billion to Taiwan and whoever else. So I don’t know. A lot of this is rhetoric now, but it is significant that the rhetoric itself is changing,” McGovern explained. “If they don’t get a negotiated settlement or something they [can] depict as the same, it’s going to be just a disastrous loss.” But anytime a world nuclear power is cornered, it can be extremely dangerous, McGovern warned. “As John Kennedy said in that wonderful American University speech ‘Never give another nuclear power a choice between a humiliating retreat and using nuclear weapons’… Joe Biden is faced with humiliating retreat, he’s got lots at stake here,” McGovern warned. “If I were Putin, I would have my focus on full alert because one of these acolytes [might] say ‘hey, Mr. Biden… we did the cluster ammo, we did the depleted uranium, who’s going to complain if we do just a mini-nuke?’ So that’s the danger here.’”

Read more …

Good cop bad cop?

German and French Leaders ‘Don’t Get Along’ – Bloomberg (RT)

The relationship between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron has long been strained, but Macron’s recent refusal to rule out sending troops to Ukraine has driven tensions to boiling point, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The rift between Paris and Berlin was exposed earlier this week when Macron declared that while “there’s no consensus today to send… troops on the ground” to Ukraine, “we cannot exclude anything.” Responding a day later, Scholz told reporters that there will be “no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil, who are sent there by European or NATO countries,” and that the alliance’s leaders were “unanimous as far as this question is concerned.”

Macron’s statement was “deliberately ambiguous,” and intended to “create uncertainty in the mind of Russian military planners,” Bloomberg reported, paraphrasing anonymous officials. However, it was made “against the express wishes of Scholz’ office,” the same officials said. In a further dig at the German chancellor, Macron followed up his comment by calling out NATO members who had offered Ukraine nothing but “helmets and sleeping bags” when the conflict with Russia began in February 2022. According to Bloomberg, this was perceived as an insult by the chancellery, considering that Scholz rapidly overcame his initial reluctance to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, with Germany now Kiev’s second-largest provider of military aid. Despite Macron’s apparent willingness to escalate, Germany has sent Ukraine 27 times more bilateral military aid than France (€17.7 billion to €0.64 billion), according to figures from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

“In Berlin,” Bloomberg noted, “Macron is seen as a monarchical figure who is better at issuing grand visions than delivering.” Close aides to Scholz acknowledged to Bloomberg that “the two don’t get along.” On the other hand, “Macron sees Scholz as a leader without courage and ambition who cannot think beyond the short term,” a French official told the American news site. Further evidence of this rift emerged on Monday when Macron announced that he was leading a coalition of states to provide Ukraine with “medium and long-range missiles and bombs” to strike deep into Russian territory. On Thursday, Scholz said that he was reluctant to send long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev, as they could potentially be used to strike Moscow.

Scholz also angered British and French officials earlier in the week when he said that British Storm Shadow and French SCALP-EG cruise missiles – which are already being used by Ukraine and are roughly equivalent to the Taurus – required British and French crews to operate, a statement implying that both countries already had military personnel on the ground in Ukraine.. In his annual state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Western leaders toying with the idea of intervening in Ukraine “have already forgotten what war is.” Russia, he said, has a massive nuclear arsenal, and therefore “the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic” than in bygone eras.

Read more …

“The Western defense base is pathetic and you’re not going to out-conventional war the Russian bear..”

Erik Prince Calls For ‘Ugly Peace’ In Ukraine (RT)

The West should pull the plug on the Ukraine conflict as soon as possible because it will not be able to outperform Russia’s defense industry, Erik Prince, founder of the American private military company Blackwater has said. Speaking to the podcast PBD on Friday, Prince, who served as the CEO of the mercenary group until 2009 and now heads Frontier Resource Group, a private equity fund, expressed doubts about whether Kiev and its Western backers could prevail in the conflict with Russia, which has just entered its third year. “We need to bring this war to a close because all Ukraine is doing right now is destroying itself demographically,” he said, adding that hostilities are “chewing up the next generation of Ukrainian manpower,” which will be almost impossible to replace. “The Western defense base is pathetic and you’re not going to out-conventional war the Russian bear,” Prince argued.

According to the former US Navy SEAL, in this light, the “ugly peace” and a freeze in hostilities would be a better option both for Kiev and its Western supporters than “whatever their idea of an ideal war is,” adding “let them [Russia] keep Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk. Whatever.” The majority Russian-speaking Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum after a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Donetsk and Lugansk, regions which had declared independence from Ukraine, followed suit in September, 2022 after the start of the current conflict. However, Prince did not mention Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, which also held successful referendums to join Russia in the fall of 2022. “It’s not the American taxpayer’s obligation to spend another hundred billion in Ukraine when there’s been significant corruption and really nothing to show for it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk appeared to agree with Prince. Commenting on the Blackwater CEO’s quotes, which were cited by American investor David Sacks, he wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Unfortunately, that is true.” Russia maintains it is open to talks on Ukraine; however, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow after the referendums in Kiev’s four former regions, which it immediately condemned as illegitimate. At the same time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last year that Moscow is opposed to a freeze in the Ukraine conflict, saying that it will not stop until its goals are accomplished and national interests protected by military or other means. Russia has repeatedly said that its main goals are to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine.

Read more …

Next up: food rationing?!

German Healthcare System Should Prepare For War – Minister (RT)

Germany must improve its healthcare system to be able to swiftly respond to crisis situations, such as a new pandemic or a military conflict, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said. Legislation for reforms expected to be presented this summer will be “a turning point for the healthcare system,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician told the newspaper Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday. Though the ruling ‘traffic light coalition’ has already pushed for reforms following the Covid-19 pandemic, the health minister said that with the Ukraine conflict, the challenges have become even more important. “In the event of a crisis, every doctor, every hospital, every health authority must know what to do. We need clear responsibilities – for example, for the distribution of a high number of injured people among the clinics in Germany,” Lauterbach explained.

The minister said hospitals must also conduct drills to practice their response to disasters, dismissing accusations of scaremongering by arguing that “doing nothing is not an option.” “It would be silly to say we are not preparing for a military conflict and then it won’t come. According to this logic, there would be no need for a Bundeswehr,” he said. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated last November that the country must become “war-capable,” and insisted again in January that Berlin and all of NATO should arm itself more actively to be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us.”

Last month, Bundeswehr General Carsten Breuer called for a “change in mentality” in German society, insisting that the nation needs to build credible “deterrence” to prepare for a potential war with Russia within five years. Commenting on claims that Russia could be planning an attack on Germany or any other NATO state, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in January that EU officials were “inventing an external enemy” to divert attention away from domestic problems. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that “no one wants a big war,” especially Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the claims as “complete nonsense,” insisting that Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in starting a conflict with NATO.

Read more …

“..Germans might rally round the flag, or they might openly rebel against an already deeply unpopular government..”

The West Can’t Be Trusted To Observe Its Own ‘Red Lines’ In Ukraine (Amar)

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have disagreed publicly over how to support Ukraine – which has been ruthlessly deployed by the West as a geopolitical proxy – in its conflict with Russia. Macron used a special EU meeting he had convened, rumor has it directly inspired by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, to state, in effect, that sending Western combat troops into Ukraine was an option. Of course, the West already has troops on the ground, including those flimsily camouflaged as volunteers and mercenaries, or otherwise participating in the conflict (for instance by planning and targeting), as a recent leak of US documents has confirmed. But an open intervention by ground forces would be a severe escalation, directly pitting Russia and NATO against each other, as Moscow has quickly pointed out, and making nuclear escalation a real possibility.

Russia has deliberately tolerated a certain degree of Western intervention, for its own pragmatic reasons: In essence, it seeks to win the war in Ukraine, while avoiding an open conflict with NATO. It is willing to pay the price of having to deal with some de facto Western military meddling, as long as it is confident it can defeat it on the Ukrainian battlefield. Indeed, the strategy has the added advantage that the West is bleeding its own resources, while the Russian military is receiving excellent hands-on training in how to neutralize Western hardware, including much-touted “miracle weapons.” You do not have to believe Moscow’s words, but simply consult elementary logic to understand that there is an equally hard-headed limit to this kind of calculated tolerance. If the Russian leadership were to conclude that Western military forces in Ukraine were endangering its objectives (instead of merely making achieving them harder), it would raise the price for certain Western countries. (Selective treatment would be adopted to put under stress – quite possibly to breaking point – Western cohesion.)

Consider Germany, for instance: Berlin is by far Ukraine’s biggest bilateral financial supporter among EU states (at least in terms of commitments). Yet militarily, for now, Russia has been content with, in essence, shredding German Leopard tanks as they arrive on the battlefield. And, in a sense, punishing Germany’s meddling can safely be left to its own government: the country has already taken massive hits to its economy and international standing. But if Berlin were to go even further, Moscow’s calculations would change. In that case, as little as German mass media allow German citizens to think about it, a “sobering” (to use a term from Russian doctrine) strike – initially probably non-nuclear – on German forces and territory is possible. The domestic consequences of such an attack are unpredictable. Germans might rally round the flag, or they might openly rebel against an already deeply unpopular government that has been sacrificing the national interest with unprecedented bluntness to Washington’s geopolitics.

If you think the above sounds a little far-fetched, I know of someone who clearly does not share your complacency: the German chancellor. Stung by Macron’s provocation, Scholz countered with telling alacrity. Within 24 hours after the surprise French move, he publicly ruled out the sending of “ground troops” by “European nations or NATO nations,” underlining that that this red line has always been agreed on. In addition, the chancellor also chose exactly this moment to reaffirm that Germany will not deliver its Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev, as escalation that proponents have long demanded, including inside Germany. With, according to Scholz, the capability of striking Moscow, Berlin’s missiles in Ukrainian hands and Macron’s hypothetical ground forces have one thing in common: they come with a serious risk of spreading direct fighting beyond Ukraine, in particular to Western Europe and Germany.

Read more …

“..in addition to Russia, he will visit the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France..”

Settlement In Ukraine Impossible Without Moscow – China (TASS)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin and Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui during a meeting in Moscow stated that any discussion of the settlement in Ukraine is impossible without Russia’s participation and taking into account its security interests, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “An engaged and detailed exchange of opinions on the Ukrainian crisis took place. It was stated that any discussion of the political and diplomatic settlement is impossible without Russia’s participation and consideration of its interests in the security sphere,” the foreign policy agency said.

“That said, it was noted that ultimatums to Russia promoted by Kiev and the West and related dialogue formats only harm the prospects of any settlement and cannot serve as its basis,” the ministry stressed. The meeting was held in a traditionally friendly and trusting atmosphere, typical of Russian-Chinese relations, the agency added. On March 2, Li launched his second tour aiming to seek ways to settle the Ukrainian conflict. It is expected that, in addition to Russia, he will visit the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France. The previous tour took place in May 2023.

Read more …

Tolerance for body bags is not high in Israel.

Heavy Losses Inflict ‘Dramatic Manpower Crisis’ On Israel (Cradle)

The Israeli military is demanding an addition of at least 7,000 soldiers to its forces due to a serious manpower crisis. The 7,000 are needed on top of the soldiers already enlisting, the Israeli army said on 1 March. “The army requires standards for another 7,500 officers and noncommissioned officers, while the Treasury currently approves only 2,500. These are unprecedented numbers, which indicate the shock that befell the IDF following almost 150 days of fighting, which began with heavy losses on 7 October,” Hebrew news site Ynet reported, citing the army’s General Staff. “The army is compiling the data that will explain how dramatic the manpower problem is,” it added. Just one day ago, Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, called to end draft exemptions for members of the ultra-Orthodox community. Gallant said he would only support legislation allowing for continued exemptions if all members of the ruling coalition backed it.

The minister asserted that “all parts of society” must “bear the burden” of service. Gallant’s position could result in tension with ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition, viewed as integral to the current government’s survival, according to Hebrew media. However, the army’s demand for a boost in manpower “has nothing to do with politics or the demand for equal burden: The situation is simply not good and does not match the threat map,” Ynet wrote. Israel is taking severe losses in its genocidal war in Gaza and its attempt to eradicate the Palestinian resistance. While Israel claims that Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah is the final Hamas stronghold, the group’s military wing, along with several other factions, continue to fiercely confront Israeli troops across the strip.

A source from within the resistance told Al-Mayadeen on Thursday that the Israeli army has been forced out of Gaza City’s Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, where it had been operating over the past eleven days in an attempt to clear out Hamas fighters. The source added that the neighborhood is a “graveyard” for Merkava tanks, and the “bloodied and torn” uniforms of Israeli soldiers are spread out across the battlefield. Clashes between the resistance and the army continued to rage on 1 March in several areas of Gaza, including the southern city of Khan Yunis and the Jabalia area in the northern strip.

Read more …

“..a Republican event on Sunday in the District of Columbia (they have Republicans?)..”

Trump Trounces Haley In Idaho, Missouri, And Michigan (ZH)

Donald Trump dominated in Saturday’s primary races, inning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri – while sweeping the delegate haul at a Michigan party convention. The former president earned every delegate at stake on Saturday, bringing his overall count to 244 vs. Nikki Haley’s 24. To secure the Republican nomination, Trump will need 1,215 delegates in total. In Michigan, Trump won all 39 delegates at the Republican convention in Grand Rapids, after winning the state’s primary on Tuesday with 68% of the vote vs. Haley’s 27%. In Missouri, Trump won 51 delegates. Things went particularly not well for Haley at one point: “The steep odds facing Haley were on display in Columbia, Missouri, where Republicans gathered at a church to caucus. Seth Christensen stood on stage and called on them to vote for Haley. He wasn’t well received. Another caucusgoer shouted out from the audience: “Are you a Republican?” An organizer quieted the crowd and Christensen finished his speech. Haley went on to win just 37 of the 263 Republicans in attendance in Boone County.” -AP.

Earlier in the day, Missouri Trump supporters inside a church in Columbia linked up to appeal for the former president. “Every 100 days, we’re spending $1 trillion, with money going all over the world. Illegals are running across the border,” said Tom Mendenall, an elector for Trump in 2016 and 2020. “You know where Donald Trump stands on a lot of these issues.” And in Iowa, Trump won 32 delegates, once again smoking Haley. Next on deck is a Republican event on Sunday in the District of Columbia (they have Republicans?), followed by Super Tuesday two days later, when 16 states will hold primaries – and the date Haley suggested she’d be dropping out if things don’t start going her way. This is going to be fun, no? From tonight’s speech in Virginia:

Read more …

Once the main Jan. 6 story.

The Pipe Bombs Before Jan. 6: Capital Mystery That Doesn’t Add Up (Julie Kelly)

The now defunct Select Committee to Investigate the Attack on the U.S. Capitol barely mentioned the pipe bomb threat in its final report; the committee did not include video of the incident or the suspect during any televised hearings. This strikes some observers as odd for two reasons: The pipe bombs seemed to offer the strongest evidence for the Committee’s case that Jan. 6 was an act of domestic terrorism, and the direct threat to the life of the vice president, who was at the DNC for nearly two hours as the device sat undetected outside the building. The major news organizations that initially devoted significant space to promote the idea that a supporter of Donald Trump tried to blow up buildings near the Capitol on Jan. 6 have also lost interest in the case. But a handful of outlets led by Revolver News stayed on the story. And the same media once fixated on the pipe bomber now considers poking holes in the government’s official story little more than right-wing conspiracy-mongering.

The government’s seeming ineffectiveness, however, and lack of forthrightness regarding an allegedly deadly plot filled with unanswered questions has also created a wellspring of distrust. The presence of bombs in the nation’s capital as the joint session of Congress convened to debate the outcome of the Electoral College vote animated the notion that Jan. 6 represented an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by Trump supporters. Reports that two explosives were found just blocks from the U.S. Capitol initiated the first wave of panic that accelerated throughout the afternoon. It began when a 37-year-old woman from Madison, Wisc., named Karlin Younger, who said she was walking to do her laundry near the RNC, discovered a device in an alley around 12:40 p.m. Although it is not clear whether the Jan. 6 committee interviewed Younger – her name does not appear in its final report – she gave numerous media interviews in the weeks and months following Jan. 6.

In November 2021, Younger told Business Insider, “When I cast my eyes down, I just saw something kind of metallic, and it was just a very passing glimpse, and all I thought is someone must have missed the recycling bin. And I was going to recycle it, because I’m about that life. I just looked, and it was so completely unbelievable. You’re not on high alert. You don’t think you’re under attack. I’m not in Iraq. This is Capitol Hill.” She beckoned an RNC security guard whose name has not been made public to confirm her suspicions. “Holy shit, it’s a bomb!” Younger said he exclaimed. The FBI interviewed Younger a few days later after she contacted the bureau’s Jan. 6 tip line. But it doesn’t appear she was interviewed again by the FBI.

The FBI official leading the investigation, Washington FBI Field Office assistant director in charge Steven D’Antuono, told House Republicans he did not “recall” who discovered the device. Had the FBI come knocking again, Younger certainly would have consented to another interview. At the time, Younger worked for a public-private partnership called FirstNet, which provides interoperable broadband for first responders across the country. The month before Jan. 6, the FBI awarded a $92 million grant to FirstNet. Authorities quickly dispatched officers to the DNC located a few blocks away. A similar device reportedly was found on the ground between two benches outside one of the building’s entrances at 1:07 pm.

In response, police immediately evacuated a few congressional buildings including the nearby Cannon House Office building. “I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside,” Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria tweeted at 1:46 p.m. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots. I don’t recognize our country today and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans.” The Capitol Police stated on Jan. 7 that both devices, which it said were “hazardous and could cause great harm to public safety,” were “disabled and turned over to the FBI for further investigation and analysis.”

Read more …

Please don’t miss. Ron Johnson was slow out of the blocks, but he’s become a solid Covid voice. The only one in DC.

“..in 2022, he decided to postpone his retirement to go through a grueling re-election campaign so there would be someone in the government who could advocate for everyone whose lives had been ruined by the COVID vaccines.”

Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding? (AMD)

Ron Johnson has gradually become one of my favorite senators in American history. In 2020, he repeatedly advocated for early COVID-19 treatments to be made available to Americans (which had they been made available would have ended the pandemic). Throughout 2021, he spoke out against the vaccine mandates and in November hosted a panel at the Senate which scrutinized the federal vaccine mandates and exposed how poorly those who experienced severe COVID-19 vaccine injuries were being treated. In January 2022, he hosted a panel which scrutinized the entire COVID-19 response, and in December of 2022, he hosted a panel focusing on everything we now know about the vaccines. Being one of the most outspoken critics of the vaccination program in American history got him a lot of pushback, and in 2022, he decided to postpone his retirement to go through a grueling re-election campaign so there would be someone in the government who could advocate for everyone whose lives had been ruined by the COVID vaccines.[..]

Since the entire panel was 4 hours long, I recognize that many of you will not be able to watch all of it. For that reason, I tried to highlight what I felt were it’s most important parts. First, in Johnson’s opening statement, he discusses just how hard it has been over the last three years to get any of the information his office is legally entitled to from the government. For example with (Fauci’s) NIH: “We are down to the last 50 pages [of the 4000 he originally requested]. They will not release these. It’s been now going close to 2 years. This is what has been provided to us. Do you think there might be some incriminating information in this?” Likewise, these agencies have completely brushed off all evidence something is wrong. For example, with the NIH: Just like former NIH director Francis Collins Collins told me when I asked about all the deaths being reported on VAERS, [he said], “Senator, people die.” The fact that both of these statements are as true as they are callous highlights the challenge we face in exposing the truth.

While with the FDA: “I’ve written 4 [letters on hot-lots] starting in December of 2021. The first letter compared 25,000 lots of COVID vaccine to 22,000 lots of flu vaccine. One COVID lot had 5,297 adverse reactions associated with it. The worst flu lot had a 137. So 5,300 versus 137. 365 COVID lots had more than 100 adverse events. Only 10 flu lots had more than 100. And 80% of the serious adverse events, those with emergency room visits, hospitalization, or death were associated with only 5% of the lots. So, again, to me, I’m from manufacturing. That shows to me a manufacturing process out of control. [It] took us a year to get some kind of response and, basically, response from the agencies was, “we don’t see any variation in lots.” Johnson then illustrates how the current political climate has undermined everything science once stood for:

“Vaccine injuries are rare.” “The benefits outweigh the risk and that the science is clear and overwhelming.” “And anyone challenging this narrative is an is an anti science conspiracy theorist.” In other words, second opinions are not allowed. To me, this attitude is the antithesis of science. I am amazed at the knowledge mankind has obtained over the millennia. But I would argue that what we don’t know vastly exceeds what we do know. So as we pursue truth, we must pursue it with the humility that that reality demands.” Johnson’s opening statement was then followed by Robert Malone: “I’ll be succinct. The SARS CoV 2 modified mRNA based vaccine products were deployed via emergency use authorization without adequate nonclinical and clinical testing and without full disclosure of known patient risk and efficacy data. This violated well established legislatively mandated patient informed consent requirements. The FDA and HHS justified these actions as necessary due to reliance on deeply flawed modeling data indicating that SARS CoV 2 was associated with an infection fatality rate of 3.4%.”

Note: the IFR was subsequently shown to average between 0.018%-0.03% for everyone under 60 and was approximately 0.506% for those between 60-69 years of age. Subsequent clinical research experience has revealed a number of problems with the genetic vaccine technology based SARS COV 2 products, which have been marketed as vaccines. In most cases, there has been an effort to obscure or deny facts in public communication by government and pharmaceutical industry representatives. Malone then listed the key issues with the vaccines, to which Johnson replied: Doctor Malone, I think one of the things that always bothers me is [that] so much of what we’re learning in terms of harms of these vaccine was clearly known before they were rolled out.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Could it be this simple?

 

 

Harder/Smarter

 

 

 

 

Choke a horse
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763844457420509217

 

 

Good child

 

 

Yanis

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 242023
 
 September 24, 2023  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  18 Responses »


Jackson Pollock Shooting Star 1947

 

‘New World Order’ Vs ’Empire Of Lies’ – Lavrov at UN (RT)
Is World War III About to Start? Part I: Drift Toward War (Cook)
Defeat (Michael Brenner)
McCarthy Reverses Course, Maintains Ukraine Aid in Pentagon Funding Bill (Sp.)
Kiev’s Counteroffensive Unlikely To Achieve Its Goals – US Officials (RT)
Jackson Hinkle: Western Elites Want War Against Russia, China (Sp.)
RFK, Jr. As A Third-Party Candidate (AT)
California Democrats Could Guarantee Trump 2024 Win (Seiler)
Middle East Security Requires Solution to Palestinian Issue – Saudi FM (Sp.)
Elon Musk: Media ‘Instructed Not To Cover’ Border Crisis (Fox)
What Biden’s Open-Border Agenda Means For The US (Robert Bridge)
Rhino Population Increasing In Africa For 1st Time In Decade (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fauci 30 yrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..[if they want it] to be on the battlefield, let it be on the battlefield..”

‘New World Order’ Vs ’Empire Of Lies’ – Lavrov at UN (RT)

The world has a chance to achieve “authentic democratization” in international relations by establishing a multipolar world order, marking the first such opportunity since the end of World War II, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday. The US and its Western allies seek to prevent such a development by stirring up new conflicts to divide humanity and keep their “hegemony of the global minority” in place, he added. The US and its allies still reject the principle of equality in international relations, Lavrov said. Americans and Europeans keep looking down on the rest of the world and that leads to their “total intractability” in any negotiations. Washington and its allies “keep making promises left and right” that end up being reneged-on, the Russian minister added. “As Russian President Vladimir Putin put it, the West is now the real ‘empire of lies’,” he said.

NATO activities have reached “unprecedented” levels since the end of the Cold War, the top Russian diplomat believes. The US-led forces of the bloc have conducted drills that involved simulating nuclear strikes against Russia, he claimed, adding that Washington is also actively seeking to project its military might in the Asia-Pacific through establishing military-political “alliances” with nations like Australia, South Korea or Japan and pushing them towards closer cooperation with NATO. Such actions “risk creating a new explosive geopolitical hotspot in addition to the … European one,” Lavrov warned, adding that Western politicians have been so blinded by a feeling of impunity that they’ve lost “the sense of self-preservation.” For the first time since 1945, when the United Nations was established, the world has a chance to establish a truly democratic world order, the Russian foreign minister said.

The “global majority” – ie the nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America – are increasingly seeking independence and equality, as well as respect for their sovereignty in international relations. “It is obvious for Russia that there is no other way,” Lavrov told the UNGA, adding that this fact “encourages optimism in those believing in the rule of international law and wishing to see the UN restored to its role of a central coordinating body of world politics.” The US and its allies seek to stall the onset of a multipolar world order, in particular by “stirring up conflicts that artificially divide humanity into hostile blocs and prevent it from achieving common goals,” the Russian minister pointed out. The West wants the world to “play by its infamous and self-serving rules,” he said, adding that the international community should instead strive for a world where everyone “agrees on how to solve issues together, on the basis of a fair balance of interests.”

Russia is calling for “an immediate and full” lifting of sanctions imposed against such nations as Cuba, Venezuela and Syria, Lavrov said, adding that such unilateral punitive measures “blatantly violate the principle of sovereign equality of nations” and interfere with these countries’ rights to development. “One should put an end to any coercive measures imposed in circumvention of the UN Security Council as well as to the West’s … practice of manipulating its sanctions policies to exert pressure on those deemed undesirable,” he added. Russia’s top diplomat also blasted the US over what he called threats against nations willing to work with Moscow. “It is shameful for a great power to run around like this and threaten everyone and only demonstrating its obsession with domination,” he told journalists after the UNGA session.

Moscow is ready for talks on its ongoing conflict with Kiev at any time, Lavrov told a press conference on the sidelines of the UN assembly. However, Russia will not consider any deals involving a ceasefire, he said, adding that Moscow and Kiev had supposedly almost reached an agreement in the first months of the conflict following a series of talks in Belarus and Türkiye only for this process to be disrupted, supposedly by Ukraine’s Western backers.“Putin said it very clearly: yes, we are ready for talks but we will not consider any ceasefire proposals because we did so once and were deceived.” Russia also respects Ukraine’s sovereignty in accordance with the Ukrainian declaration of independence and its constitution, Lavrov said, adding that both documents also declare the non-aligned status of Ukraine and respect for the Russian language and Russian-speaking minorities.

Ukraine’s sovereignty “was destroyed by those who staged and supported a coup, the leaders of which then declared a war on their own people,” Lavrov said, referring to the 2014 Maidan coup. The US and its allies are de-facto engaged in a conflict with Russia, Lavrov told the press conference. “We call it a hybrid war but it does not change things,” he said. Western nations are sending arms to Kiev and training its troops, he explained, so “They are de-facto fighting against us with the hands and bodies of Ukrainians.” Western nations also openly say that “Russia should be defeated on the battlefield,” Moscow’s top diplomat said, adding that Moscow is ready for such a development. “Under such circumstances, [if they want it] to be on the battlefield, let it be on the battlefield,” he said.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1705689214296129785

Read more …

“The only alternative would then be to activate a gigantic airlift of additional forces into Europe with U.S. cargo planes sitting ducks for destruction en route. Impossible.”

Is World War III About to Start? Part I: Drift Toward War (Cook)

Now the U.S., with the Neocons firmly entrenched in the State Department and elsewhere, surrounded Russia with military bases and attacked its perimeter with color revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, following on the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. President Barack Obama then situated the Aegis Missile Defense System in Poland and Romania with the potential to activate missiles that could reach Moscow with nuclear warheads in six minutes. Talk was current of a possible “decapitation” strike against the Russian leadership. Finally, in 2014, with “cookies” Victoria Nuland and Vice President Joe “Burisma” Biden in charge, the U.S. fomented a coup in Ukraine with the aid of paid snipers to drive out a president friendly toward Russia and his replacement with a NeoNazi junta that put Ukraine on a war footing.

In response, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, where Sevastopol is the home of its Black Sea fleet, with 85 percent popular approval, while the eastern Ukrainian Donbass provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, ethnically-Russian, declared independence. Finally, after eight years of Ukrainian provocations, the death from Ukrainian shelling of more than 10,000 Donbass civilians, and the treachery of Germany and France in failing to uphold the Minsk agreements they had guaranteed, Russia entered Ukraine with its military forces in February 2022. The conflict was on, a conflict that Russia is winning. U.S.-led sanctions against Russia failed to bring down its economy or force regime change against Putin. But each Ukrainian setback on the battlefield has been followed by more weapons and money supplied to the Volodymyr Zelensky regime by the U.S., UK, Germany, France, and other NATO members.

But who was calling the shots? In March 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators reached agreement on a tentative settlement at meetings in Istanbul. UK prime minister Boris Johnson then rushed to Kiev to induce Zelensky to tear up the agreement and continue the war. Western escalation has included billions of dollars worth of heavy tanks and other weapons to Ukraine, along with cluster munitions and depleted uranium projectiles. There have been drone attacks on Russia itself and on Crimea. But the Ukrainian counteroffensive has collapsed, with speculation increasing of a major Russian counterattack, possibly even cutting Ukraine off from the Black Sea.

We have now come full circle. Warnings from Washington continue that Putin had better not go nuclear, which can be read as inviting him to do so. This is obviously a new phase of brinkmanship that could give the U.S. a pretext for themselves moving to nuclear war. Meanwhile, the U.S. understands that it could in no way challenge Russia in a conventional war even with the entire NATO alliance being activated. Even then, divisiveness within NATO and the absence of sufficient military force anywhere in Europe make this impossible at present. Veteran military analyst Scott Ritter writes in Sputnik News on September 21, 2023, that even were the U.S. to activate its entire military force stationed in Europe against Russia, it would be defeated within one to two weeks of intensive combat. The only alternative would then be to activate a gigantic airlift of additional forces into Europe with U.S. cargo planes sitting ducks for destruction en route. Impossible.

Read more …

“..deep emotions rather than reasoned thought are propelling us toward an avoidable, potentially catastrophic conflict..”

Defeat (Michael Brenner)

The march to war with China defies all conventional wisdom. After all, it poses no military threat to our security or core interests. China has no history of empire-building or conquest. China has been the source of great economic benefit via dense exchanges that serve us as well as them. Therefore, what is the justification for the widespread judgment that a crossing-of-swords is inescapable? Sensible nations do not commit themselves to a possibly cataclysmic war because China, the designated number one enemy, builds radar warning stations on sandy atolls in the South China Sea. Because it markets electric vehicles more cheaply than we can. Because its advances in developing semi-conductors may outclass ours.

Because of its treatment of an ethnic minority in western China. Because it follows our example in funding NGOs that promote a positive view of their country. Because it engages in industrial espionage just the way the United States and everybody else does. Because it wafts balloons over North America (declared benign by General Milley last week). None of these are compelling reasons to press hard for a confrontation. The truth is far simpler – and far more disquieting. We are obsessed with China because it exists. Like K-2, that itself is a challenge for we must prove our prowess (to others, but mainly to ourselves), that we can surmount it. That is the true meaning of a perceived existential threat. The focal shift from Russia in Europe to China in Asia is less a mechanism for coping with defeat than the pathological reaction of a country that, feeling a gnawing sense of diminishing prowess, can manage to do nothing more than try one final fling at proving to itself that it still has the right stuff – since living without that exalted sense of self is intolerable.

What is deemed heterodox, and daring, in Washington these days is to argue that we should wrap up the Ukraine affair one way or another so that we might gird our loins for the truly historic contest with Beijing. The disconcerting truth that nobody of consequence in the country’s foreign policy establishment has denounced this hazardous turn toward war supports the proposition that deep emotions rather than reasoned thought are propelling us toward an avoidable, potentially catastrophic conflict. A society represented by an entire political class that is not sobered by that prospect rightly can be judged as providing prime facie evidence of being collectively unhinged.

Second, amnesia may serve the purpose of sparing our political elites, and the American populace at large, the acute discomfort of acknowledging mistakes and defeat. However, that success is not matched by an analogous process of memory erasure in other places. We were fortunate, in the case of Vietnam, that the United States’ dominant position in the world outside of the Soviet Bloc and the PRC allowed us to maintain respect, status and influence. Things have now changed, though. Our relative strength in all domains is weaker, there are strong centrifugal forces around the global that are producing a dispersion of power, will and outlook among other states. The BRICs phenomenon is the concrete embodiment of that reality. Hence, the prerogatives of the United States are narrowing, our ability to shape the global system in conformity with our ideas and interests are under mounting challenge, and premiums are being placed on diplomacy of an order that seems beyond our present aptitudes. We are confounded.

Read more …

Yeah, America loves flip-floppers.

McCarthy Reverses Course, Maintains Ukraine Aid in Pentagon Funding Bill (Sp.)

In a surprising shift, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced he will keep $300 million in Ukraine aid within the Pentagon funding bill, going back on his earlier decision to remove it due to opposition from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). McCarthy’s decision was explained during a press briefing at the Capitol, where he revealed that he had reconsidered after realizing that another spending measure, which is set to be considered next week and funds the State Department and Foreign Operations, also includes financial support for Ukraine. Stripping Ukraine aid from the State Department and Foreign Operations bill became “more difficult to do,” leading McCarthy to choose to maintain the funding for Ukraine in both appropriations measures.

The House is scheduled to take a procedural vote next week to advance four appropriations bills, including those that fund the Pentagon and the State Department and Foreign Operations. McCarthy acknowledged that despite his decision to retain Ukraine aid in both bills, there will still be votes on amendments to remove the aid from both spending bills, according to Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA). However, these votes may not take place if lawmakers block the measures from being debated. A coalition of House conservatives had previously opposed the rule for the Pentagon appropriations bill twice this week, preventing the legislation from advancing to debate and a final vote.

These unexpected failures to pass the rule have presented challenges for McCarthy, who is trying to advance spending bills ahead of the September 30 government funding deadline. The Pentagon funding bill includes $300 million earmarked “to provide assistance, including training; equipment; lethal assistance; logistics support, supplies and services; salaries and stipends; sustainment; and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine… for replacement of any weapons or articles provided to the Government of Ukraine from the inventory of the US.” McCarthy is facing threats of a “vote to vacate” from members of his own party, which would boot him from his speaker position.

Read more …

NYT appears to lead the change in MSM narrative.

Kiev’s Counteroffensive Unlikely To Achieve Its Goals – US Officials (RT)

Officials in Washington have suggested that Ukraine’s military forces won’t be able to cut Russia’s land bridge to Crimea as part of their counteroffensive or achieve other key goals, the New York Times has reported. “Some American officials have said that the Ukrainian counteroffensive appears likely to fall short of its strategic goals,” the paper reported in an article on Friday. Kiev’s forces are struggling to achieve the aim of reaching the Sea of Azov in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region, because the minefields set up by Moscow’s forces, they say, have proven to be “a potent defense,” the Times added. According to US officials, conducting offensive operations would also soon become even more difficult for Ukraine “as the ground becomes soft and muddy”in the region.

The NYT also said that some in Washington have warned that “within a few weeks, the Ukrainian army will need time to rebuild their stockpile of equipment and to rest forces exhausted by the summer fighting.” The Ukrainian counteroffensive was launched in early June, although Kiev has so far only reported the capture of a handful of small villages some distance away from the main Russian defense lines. President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Ukraine has lost more than 71,000 troops and over 540 tanks since the beginning of summer, while failing to achieve any significant results on the battlefield. On Friday, President Vladimir Zelensky told journalists in Washington that Kiev “will do everything not to stop during difficult days in autumn with poor weather and in winter.”

Zelensky claimed that Ukraine has a “very, very comprehensive plan”to “de-occupy” Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) and two other cities, which he refused to name, in the coming months. Ukraine suffered huge losses trying to defend Artyomovsk and the strategic city in Donetsk People’s Republic nonetheless fell under Russian control in May, after months of fighting. The NYT pointed out that US intelligence and military had warned the Zelensky government against spending its manpower and resources in Artyomovsk, suggesting that it would be better focused on operations in Zaporozhye Region. “Some American officials say the fight in [Artyomovsk] has become something of an obsession for Mr Zelensky and his military leaders,”the paper said.

Read more …

‘there’s nothing like that right now in the White House. There’s no communication whatsoever.’

Jackson Hinkle: Western Elites Want War Against Russia, China (Sp.)

The US establishment is not hesitant to start World War Three to maintain its globalist dominance, American political commentator Jackson Hinkle told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast.” I guess Tucker [Carlson] has got a point when he says, ‘I’m willing to bet my house that Joe Biden is going to start World War Three with Russia,’ because look what they’ve done,” Jackson Hinkle told Sputnik. “These people are insane. Even like, taking [ex-House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi on her jet to go to Taiwan and meet with Taiwanese officials. There was a lot of people, myself included, who were thinking, ‘Goodness, the [Chinese] People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is going to shoot her out of the sky or something right now? Is this going to be how it all begins?’ They’re reckless. They are completely Russophobic and beating the drums of war to go to war with China.”

Moreover, the American elite’s hostility toward Russia has surpassed that of the Cold War era, leading to a worrying breakdown in communications between Washington and Moscow, according to the political commentator. “The level of communication breakdown is so severe compared to the Cold War,” he said. “I got to meet the guy that actually developed the telephone, they had the red hotline telephone between the US and the USSR during the Cold War. And he told me he’s like, ‘there’s nothing like that right now in the White House. There’s no communication whatsoever.’ And we’re not too far off from that same sort of a lack of dialogue with the Chinese, because they want to go to war against the Chinese.”

It did not happen overnight, according to the analyst. Over the past 30 years, Washington and its allies have reneged on all the pledges they made to Moscow at the end of the Cold War. One of them was a verbal promise that NATO would not extend an inch east of Germany. “NATO since then, at the behest of the US, has violated that promise on 16 occasions now,” Hinkle remarked. The transatlantic alliance does not conceal its plans to draw in Ukraine and possibly Georgia, thus moving even closer to Russia’s borders.”

Read more …

“You won’t see RFK, Jr. tripping on stairs, falling off his bicycle at 5 mph, or saying I have to go to bed now during a news interview.”

RFK, Jr. As A Third-Party Candidate (AT)

Even as President Joe Biden leads in the 2024 primaries, Democrat presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has higher favorability and lower unfavorability numbers than either President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, (Trump 43%, Biden 41%, RFK, Jr. 14% unfavorability) according to a new poll by The Economist/YouGov. Rasmussen reports that a survey also revealed that twenty-five percent (25%) of likely Democrat voters would vote for RFK Jr. in the 2023 primaries for President. Three percent (3%) of Democrats favor author Marianne Williamson in the primaries, while seven percent (7%) would vote for another candidate. The Rasmussen Report is based on a national survey of 998 U.S. likely voters conducted September 14 and 17-18, 2023.

Teddy Roosevelt ran for president in 1912 on the Progressive Party ticket, a third party, against incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. Taft was elected president in 1908, the successor of Teddy Roosevelt, but was defeated for reelection in 1912 by Woodrow Wilson because Roosevelt’s third party split the Republican vote. The Republicans won in 1920 with a campaign positioned around opposition to Wilson’s policies with Warren G. Harding promising a “return to normalcy.” Sound familiar? The Progressive Party was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party when Roosevelt boasted that he felt “strong as a bull moose” after losing the Republican nomination at the June 1912 convention in Chicago. RFK, Jr. is as strong as a bull moose both physically and mentally. RFK, Jr. is jacked and that is well documented. At 69, he is ripped like few others his age. He’d beat Putin in a Mr. Universe Senior contest. You won’t see RFK, Jr. tripping on stairs, falling off his bicycle at 5 mph, or saying I have to go to bed now during a news interview.

Don’t let spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary spasms in the larynx, cloud your judgement about RFK, Jr.’s mental acuity or toughness. He lived through the tragedy of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy and his dad’s assassinations, and has had an extraordinarily successful career as an environmental lawyer fighting for sane policies against the U.S. Department of Environment Protection and big business. His ideas on foreign policy, the economy, and other critical issues are clear, logical, and convincing. His detractors want you to believe he is feeding Americans’ hunger for conspiracies. Americans have been fed conspiracies constantly by the extreme Left. The Left bombards us every day with “conspiracy theories” that is if you liken a conspiracy to a lie.

RFK, Jr. explained convincingly the circumstances and facts surrounding his uncle’s death in a recent speech at a private residence New Hampshire. Attend one of his campaign events to find out firsthand that JFK, Jr. is a straight shooter, extremely well versed, and perspicacious on a multitude of topics affecting Main Street America. Can RFK, Jr. win the presidency on a third-party ticket? Who knows? At the very least a third party would in all likelihood obtain enough votes to allow a pro-Main Street America candidate like former President Donald J. Trump. This country needs to return to what made America great: hard work, freedom to choose, and the right to speak without fear of disparagement, or worse.

Read more …

It’s sort of amusing. But mostly, it’s deeply sad.

California Democrats Could Guarantee Trump 2024 Win (Seiler)

Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 supposedly made him the leader of an “insurrection.” The best argument against that was advanced by former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in the Wall Street Journal: “The use of the term ‘officer of the United States’ in other constitutional provisions shows that it refers only to appointed officials, not to elected ones. In US vs Mouat (1888), the Supreme Court ruled that ‘unless a person in the service of the government … holds his place by virtue of an appointment … he is not, strictly speaking, an officer of the United States. Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated the point in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010): ‘The people do not vote for the Officers of the United States.” ”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Hypothetically, what if Mr. Mukasey’s argument doesn’t hold up in the courts? Then California and other states’ attorneys general and governors, or lawsuits by political groups, could throw Mr. Trump off the ballot. Especially critical would be the swing states with Democratic governors: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Or Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fani Willis, already prosecuting Trump for allegedly interfering in the 2020 election, could do it. But then, Republicans could do it in their swing states, throwing President Joe Biden off the ballot. They could say his alleged bribes from Communist China disqualify him under the 14th amendment’s Section 3 wording for having “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Republicans governors invoking that clause could include Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Joe Lombardo of Nevada, and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire. It would be what in military parlance is called Mutual Assured Destruction. If that happened, neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden would reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency in the Electoral College. Then what? Then we would have the fourth of what s called a Contingent Election, although the phrase itself isn t in the Constitution. It means the matter is decided by the House of Representatives (or the Senate for vice presidents). There have been three so far: Thomas Jefferson beat Aaron Burr in 1800; John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson in 1825. And in 1837 the vice presidential election was given to Richard Mentor Johnson over Francis Granger.

Under a Contingent Election in the House, all 435 members don’t get to vote. Rather, each state delegation gets one vote, 50 votes total. On Sept. 18 Canadian political writer Stephen Marche wrote an article for the left-wing Guardian titled, Here’s the scary way Trump could win without the electoral or popular vote: In a contingent election, he could lose the popular vote, electoral college and all his legal cases and still end up the legal US president. He calculated: State delegations in the House would favor Republicans as a matter of course. In the struggle for congressional delegates, Republicans would have 19 safe House delegations and the Democrats would have 14, as it stands, with more states leaning Republican than Democrat. So California, by knocking Mr. Trump off the ballot, could guarantee he becomes president.

Again, none of this is likely to happen. If any state tries to keep him off the ballot, the courts almost certainly would put him back on, possibly reasoning along the lines Mr. Mukasey detailed. There’s one thing this whole escapade teaches us: A large number of California’s politicians hold in contempt the Constitution, democracy, and the people of the state they claim to represent. In this train-wreck of a state, with housing, homelessness, drug addiction, schooling, budget, and countless other problems festering—don’t they have anything better to do?

Read more …

“..guaranteeing the right of the Palestinian people to create an independent state within the 1967 borders..”

Middle East Security Requires Solution to Palestinian Issue – Saudi FM (Sp.)

Security in the Middle East requires a fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said on Saturday. “Security in the Middle East requires an acceleration in the search for a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem based on international law and the Arab peace initiative, guaranteeing the right of the Palestinian people to create an independent state within the 1967 borders,” the Saudi minister said at the UN General Assembly, adding that his country rejects any actions that impede the resolution of the Palestinian issue Bin Farhan Al Saud also noted the need for de-escalation in Sudan, called for a solution to the Syrian crisis and declared the country’s interest in security and stability in Yemen.

In addition, the minister said that Riyadh is striving to stabilize energy prices. On Wednesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud said that the country is “getting closer every day” to normalizing relations with Israel. On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is on the verge of a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, which will change the face of the Middle East. Relations between Palestine and Israel have been adversarial since the latter’s founding in 1948. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition of their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas despite objections from the United Nations.

Read more …

“..if you’re going to leave your country, go somewhere else.”

Elon Musk: Media ‘Instructed Not To Cover’ Border Crisis (Fox)

Billionaire and X, formerly known as Twitter, owner Elon Musk on Thursday accused news outlets of ignoring the crisis along the southern border because they were “instructed” not to cover it. FOX News national correspondent Bill Melugin posted on social media how local news networks are covering the migrant crisis more than other national news networks. “Watching the TVs at gym in Eagle Pass. Every single local news station in the San Antonio market, both English & Spanish, are leading their shows and have much of their A blocks centered on the border crisis and the mass illegal crossing in Eagle Pass today,” he wrote. “National networks were MIA at the bridge today, other than @FoxNews.” Musk responded to Melugin’s post by writing, “This gets no coverage because the media NPCs are instructed not to cover it.”

NPC stands for “non-player characters,” meaning scripted characters in video games that are programmed with specific behavior rather than directly controlled by a human being. The term is used online for someone who doesn’t think for themselves. Thousands of predominantly Venezuelan adult illegal immigrants moved into Texas and gathered under a nearby bridge on Wednesday. Texas troopers told FOX News that their initial count of the number of migrants moving across the water into Eagle Pass on Wednesday was about 4,000. The migrants gathered under the bridge and were waiting to be processed by Border Patrol, in the hope of being released into the U.S. Concern about the border has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks as even some Democrats are warning that the crisis has gotten out of control, while other liberal figures still reject those claims.

Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams made an ominous warning about the immigration crisis at a town hall meeting earlier this month. “I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City,” he said. MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan responded by ridiculing the mayor in a social media post, referring to him as a “Trump knock-off.” Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., similarly faced mockery after telling migrants, “We don’t have capacity, so we have to also message properly that we’re at our limit, if you’re going to leave your country, go somewhere else.”

Read more …

“..entering the US illegally now ranks up there with “basic American values.”

What Biden’s Open-Border Agenda Means For The US (Robert Bridge)

The defenders of open US borders like to sell the happy, optimistic narrative that asylum seekers are primarily innocent people looking to build a better life in the United States. The raw data, however, points to a much more complicated story. It’s the rarest occurrence of all when politicians admit that they were wrong, but that’s what is (almost) happening in Democrat-ruled cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, which are being forced to absorb a continuous influx of migrants, together with a large slab of humble pie. “Let me tell you something New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to — I don’t see an ending to this,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told a hushed audience in Manhattan as he called for federal assistance just days before the anniversary of 9/11. “This issue will destroy New York City.” “We are past our breaking point,” Adams continued with his apocalyptic plot. “New Yorkers’ compassion may be limitless, but our resources are not.”

Back on the campaign trail in 2021, Adams’ campaign posted on what was then Twitter: “We should protect our immigrants. Period. Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.” Much of the Democratic Party’s headache stems from the creation of so-called ‘sanctuary cities,’ defined as a municipality that limits or rejects cooperation with the federal government in enforcing immigration law. In other words, the sort of neighborhood Antifa would fully endorse. Sanctuary policies have been around since the late 1970s, but they were practically unheard-of until quite recently. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that 564 US jurisdictions had adopted sanctuary policies in 2018. To put that into perspective, there were just 40 such protected zones when Barack Obama was sworn into the White House in 2009.

Not surprisingly, many illegal migrants, without any means of supporting themselves, flock to these ‘arrest-free’ zones where they can take advantage of social services such as housing, health care and public education without any fear of deportation. But it goes beyond just free handouts. Here is how FAIR describes sanctuary cities, and the obstacles they place in front of law enforcement and border patrol: “In their various forms, [sanctuary policies] forbid state and local officials (including law enforcement officers) from asking people about their immigration status; reporting suspected illegal aliens to the federal government; holding criminal aliens for arrest by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); or otherwise cooperating with or assisting federal immigration enforcement agents. These policies endanger public safety and enjoy very little public support. Rather, they are the product of intense pressure from well-funded groups that oppose nearly all forms of immigration enforcement, or due to the capitulation by local officials in the face of threatened lawsuits by self-anointed ‘civil liberties’ organizations.”

The ACLU, for example, is of the opinion that the actions of sanctuary cities “represent basic American values: a spirit of inclusiveness and respect for individual rights.” In other words, entering the US illegally now ranks up there with “basic American values.”

Read more …

1900: 500,000
1970: 70,000
2022: 23,290

Rhino Population Increasing In Africa For 1st Time In Decade (RT)

The African rhino population is growing across the continent for the first time in a decade, despite poaching remaining high, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced. According to the figures released ahead of the World Rhino Day on Friday, there was an estimate of 23,290 total rhinos at the end of 2022, an increase of 5.2% from the year before. Most notably, the number of white rhinos, which were assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2020, has grown by 5.6% and now stands at around 16,803 animals. This is the first increase since 2012.

“With this good news, we can take a sigh of relief for the first time in a decade. However, it is imperative to further consolidate and build upon this positive development and not drop our guard,” said Dr Michael Knight, Chair of the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG). According to IUCN’s website, the positive development is attributed to a combination of protection and biological management initiatives by the privately owned Platinum Rhino project, which is aimed at protecting and breeding the species to prevent extinction. Earlier this year, the project was sold to the African Parks Foundation, which plans to rewild 2,000 rhinos over the coming decade. There are five species of rhino in the world, with Africa being a home to the white and black rhinos, while the remaining three – the Sumatran, Javan and Indian rhinos – live in Asia.

Poaching remains a huge problem. According to official figures, 448 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2022, with neighboring Namibia recording 93 poached rhinos. While the numbers are still concerning, they represent a significant decline from in 2015, when 1,349 African rhinos were poached. At the beginning of the 20th century, about 500,000 rhinos roamed Africa and Asia. Their numbers dropped to just 70,000 by 1970. Despite southern white rhinos currently thriving in protected sanctuaries, the western black rhino and northern white rhinos have recently become extinct in the wild. The only two remaining northern white rhinos are kept under 24-hour guard in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs ball
https://twitter.com/i/status/1705482313700712594

 

 

Elephant

 

 

Sandstone

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 032023
 
 September 3, 2023  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Claude Monet Bain à la Grenouillère 1869

 

Biden’s Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him (Turley)
Zelensky Sponsor Kolomoysky Charged With Money Laundering (RT)
Russia Is ‘Absolutely Invincible’ – Putin (RT)
US Laying Groundwork for Defeats in 2 Wars of Choice, vs Russia & China (Sp.)
Moscow Warns Of Direct Clash With NATO (RT)
Ukraine’s Western Backers Are ‘Pro-Nazi Coalition’ – Medvedev (RT)
Is Ukraine Losing Because Foreign Fighters Are Walking Away? (ZH)
Funny Old Man Borrell Typifies The Arrogant Mediocrities Running The EU (Bordachev)
German Chancellor Says Nuclear Power ‘Dead Horse’ Despite Energy Crunch (Sp.)
Sanctions Against Russia Turning Germany Into ‘Kamikaze’ – MP (RT)
EU Migration System ‘Has Been Broken For Years’ – Austria (RT)
Alexander Dugin: Global Liberalism in Crisis (Sp.)
7 Civilisations -1 Against 6 (Alexander Dugin)
Why They Hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. (Haider Mehdi)

 

 

 

 

Imagine Putin doing this. Or Trump. What excuses this behavior?

https://twitter.com/i/status/1697988586425954547

 

 

 

 

RFK Pfizer trial
https://twitter.com/i/status/1698081641296437328

 

 

 

 

Maui

 

 

 

 

“People under 50 kilograms banned from the streets in China due to Typhoon Saola”

 

 

 

 

Look who’s back…

”..Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal ..”

Biden’s Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him (Turley)

Last year, at an event at the White House, former president Barack Obama jokingly referred to the current president as “Vice President Biden.” At the time, it was described as the more popular politician “reminding Biden who’s boss.” Yet, this needling carried an added bite, given reports of Obama’s private doubts about Biden’s judgment. In 2020, Obama had famously warned fellow Democrats, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” Obama is now being asked to bail Biden out from another debacle of his own making, going back to his time in Obama’s administration. Various committees and private groups are seeking more than 5,000 emails from Biden in which he used an array of aliases during the Obama administration.

Under the Presidential Records Act, Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal over the influence-peddling operation run by Biden’s son, Hunter. Recently, it was learned that Joe Biden went by a variety of code names and false names, including Robin Ware. Robert L. Peters, JRB Ware, Celtic and “The Big Guy.” House investigators believe that may only be a partial list. For many Americans, it is understandably unnerving to learn that their president has more aliases than Anthony Weiner. However, while the number seems unusual, the practice is not unprecedented. Top officials have used such aliases in the past for emails, including former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.

During the Obama administration, the practice was defended by then-White House press secretary Jay Carney, who assured the public that any such emails would still be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congressional inquiries. He added, “We do not use and should not use private email accounts for work.” The problem is that there was “work” being discussed on some of these emails, including official foreign travel plans and the hiring of associates of Hunter for high-level positions. More importantly, some emails are relevant to the clients of Biden’s son. Biden has previously lied that he knew nothing of these dealings, but these emails could reveal even more about his knowledge and involvement.

Congress is investigating more than $20 million that was transferred to members of the Biden family from foreign sources through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts. Even the Washington Post has been forced to admit that the president has lied in the past about aspects of Hunter’s dealings. Devon Archer recently confirmed that Joe Biden’s long-standing denial of any knowledge of their business dealings is “categorically false.” Most reporters now admit that Hunter was clearly engaging in influence-peddling, Washington’s favorite form of corruption. Yet in the face of this growing evidence, Democrats insist that Hunter and his associates were merely selling “the illusion of influence,” not actual access or influence over Joe Biden. Obviously, these foreign clients believed that they were buying more than an illusion for the millions they spent. One corrupt Ukrainian figure said that Hunter Biden was dumber than his dog, but that he paid him anyway for access to his father.

Read more …

Is Kolomoysky the target, or Zelensky?

Zelensky Sponsor Kolomoysky Charged With Money Laundering (RT)

Ukrainian authorities have informed oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, whose support helped Vladimir Zelensky secure the presidency, that he is suspected of fraud and real estate laundering amid Kiev’s ongoing crusade against rampant corruption. In a statement on Saturday, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said that the billionaire – whom it described as the “de facto owner of a large financial and industrial group” – had legalized more than 500 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($13.5 million) by “transferring it abroad, while using the infrastructure of banking institutions controlled by him.” Ukrainian officials stated that Kolomoysky, who has Cypriot and Israeli citizenship, was informed that he is suspected on two counts – fraud, and legalization of property obtained by criminal means.

The development was also confirmed by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, which said that Kolomoysky was “served with a motion to choose pre-trial restrictive measures,” adding that the agency is continuing its investigation into the matter in coordination with the SBU and Economic Security Bureau. This comes after Kolomoysky’s home was searched by SBU operatives in early February, according to local media reports. At the time, the raid reportedly focused on Kolomoysky’s potential involvement in the alleged embezzlement of 40 billion hryvnia ($1.1 billion) and evading customs duties at the oil companies Ukrtatnafta and Ukrnafta. Kolomoysky burst on to the political scene in 2014, when he was appointed governor of the southeastern Dnepropetrovsk Region following a Western-backed coup in Kiev.

A year later, however, he was dismissed from his post over a conflict with then-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko amid a struggle for control of Ukrnafta and state-owned oil pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta. In 2016, Ukrainian authorities also nationalized Kolomoysky’s PrivatBank after declaring it a major threat to the country’s financial system following allegations of large-scale fraud. Kolomoysky is also widely considered to have played a major role in the rise to power of incumbent President Vladimir Zelensky. Before launching his political campaign in 2019, Zelensky was a comedian, whose show was hosted by a Kolomoysky-controlled media holding. The magnate himself said he “wanted” Zelensky to become president, but denied close contacts with him.

In 2021, the US State Department sanctioned both Kolomoysky and his family members, citing his involvement “in corrupt acts that undermined rule of law and the Ukrainian public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions.” In July 2022, media in Ukraine reported that he was stripped of his Ukrainian passport. However, while the news was confirmed by several officials in Kiev, the relevant presidential decree is classified while the oligarch himself dismissed the reports as “nonsense.”

Read more …

Talking about the spirit of the Russian people. Ergo, WWII.

Russia Is ‘Absolutely Invincible’ – Putin (RT)

Russia has always been and remains “absolutely invincible,”President Vladimir Putin told a group of students at an open lesson marking the start of the academic year on Friday. The mentality of the Russian people makes it impossible for the country to be defeated by anyone, he added. The president recalled the history of his own family, telling students about his ancestors who lived through World War II. According to Putin, his grandmother was fatally shot by a Nazi soldier but, even as she was dying, she was still thinking about her husband and told Putin’s grandfather “not to cry” in order not to upset her in her final moments. “Do you understand the depth of these relationships between the ordinary people, this love?” the president said, adding that, even in the face of death, his grandmother was caring for her loved one.

“How can we not take that for a model?” he added. Putin also said that all members of his family felt deep respect for each other and had a “strong inner culture.” Putin also said he believes most families in Russia are like this. “And here I understood why we won the Great Patriotic War,” the president said, referring to the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany in World War II. “One cannot defeat a people with such a mentality,” he said, adding that “we have been absolutely invincible. And we remain as such now.” His words came as Russia has been locked in a conflict with neighboring Ukraine for more than a year and a half. The latest developments have seen Kiev’s forces unable to breach Russian defenses in nearly three months since the start of the much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Read more …

“..US establishment politicians maintain that “if the US does not defend Ukraine, China will invade Taiwan”, a theory the report says is flawed.”

US Laying Groundwork for Defeats in 2 Wars of Choice, vs Russia & China (Sp.)

In an effort to live up to its promise to “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian,” the Biden administration is “laying the groundwork for defeats in two more wars of choice, against Russia and China,” a US report has asserted. The Democrat POTUS has been burning through cash (although national debt stands at $33 trillion), and munitions stockpiles in an effort to prop up the Kiev regime. The US announced a new package of military assistance for Ukraine on 29 August, worth $250 million, that includes AIM-9M missiles for air defense, munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets, three million rounds of small arms ammunition, as well as other items.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on 29 August that the US and its allies “will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes”. Some of the contenders for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination fully support this stance – former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley recently stated: “A win for Russia is a win for China. We have to know that. Ukraine is the first line of defense for us.” According to the report, US establishment politicians maintain that “if the US does not defend Ukraine, China will invade Taiwan”, a theory the report says is flawed. “If China does make a move on Taiwan in the next few years, stockpiles already reduced by Ukrainian aid will make aiding Taiwan more difficult and expensive if policy makers decide to do so. The foreign policy establishment that lost in Iraq and Afghanistan is laying the groundwork for defeats in two more wars of choice, against Russia and China—both nuclear powers, putting human civilization on the line,” the American media outlet highlighted.

The US military aid donated to Ukraine thus far amounts to more than $41 billion, with a further $100 billion appropriated for supporting Kiev, the report’s author emphasized. But by continuing to pile military aid worth billions upon Kiev the US is purportedly fast-depleting its own military stockpiles of various weapons. Accordingly, America’s own manufacturers are left “struggling” to replace the hollowed-out weapons caches. Amid its botched counteroffensive, launched on 4 June, Ukraine has been rapidly chewing through all the weapons funneled from the West. However, Kiev still has no territorial gains to show for it, with its military sustaining tremendous losses. As of 30 August 2023, Ukraine has reportedly lost 466 airplanes, 247 helicopters, 6,234 unmanned aerial vehicles, 433 air defense missile systems, 11,570 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, as well as 12,528 special military motor vehicles since the beginning of the special military operation.

Macgregor

Read more …

“Anything could happen. Nothing is ruled out amid such an intense proxy-standoff between NATO and Russia..”

Moscow Warns Of Direct Clash With NATO (RT)

The military confrontation in Ukraine has reached a point where it could easily spiral into a full-blown conflict between Russia and NATO, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Friday. The diplomat blamed the US-led military bloc’s ever deeper involvement in the fighting between Moscow and Kiev. “We have repeatedly warned that the situation is quite dangerous and there is a big risk of a direct clash between Russia and NATO,” Polyansky said while answering questions on X (formerly Twitter). The US-led alliance is already supporting Ukrainian forces by every means possible, except for direct troop deployment, he said.

Moscow sees “many indications that there are some instructors, mercenaries” in Ukraine, the deputy envoy stated. He also pointed to some “strange messages” about the deaths of NATO officers and generals. “That does raise major suspicions,” he said, adding that “we cannot rule out that they [NATO specialists] are participating in certain actions in Ukraine,” Polyansky added, without naming any specific examples. Polyansky also claimed that the current situation is “very bad” for the Ukrainian military and that “Western aid is their only salvation.” Many people in the US and elsewhere “are starting to understand that the Kiev regime is losing,” he added.

“Anything could happen. Nothing is ruled out amid such an intense proxy-standoff between NATO and Russia,” the diplomat warned. Ukraine’s Western backers maintain that they are not directly participating in the conflict despite having sent more than $100 billion in arms to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly said that continued weapons supplies only prolong the conflict and extend human suffering as well as increase the risks of a direct confrontation between Russia and the US-led military bloc. It has also blasted the US and its allies, accusing them of enabling Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian civilians, and labeling them as “sponsors of terrorism.”

Read more …

“..Russia should not “lapse into sweet daydreaming” about achieving reconciliation with the West and joining what he called a “big polyamory family of non-binary genders.”

Ukraine’s Western Backers Are ‘Pro-Nazi Coalition’ – Medvedev (RT)

Washington and its allies in Europe and elsewhere continue to support Kiev despite it acting increasingly like the Nazis during World War II, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a Telegram post on Saturday. Moscow should abandon hope of reconciling with the West and see it for what it is, he believes. The leaders of Ukraine are “increasingly talking about ‘holding all Russians accountable’,” Medvedev said, adding that Kiev sees all Russian citizens as ‘Russians’ regardless of their ethnic background. In a thinly veiled reference to the Nazis’ plans for the Soviet Union, the former president said that the world had already seen similar aspirations. Medvedev noted that Ukraine is still being supported by almost every single Western leader, as well as by the heads of Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

All of them “are direct and obvious Nazi accomplices,” he stated, adding that “they should be treated as the leaders of a pro-Nazi coalition.” The former president, who now serves as the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council and the Military Industrial Committee, then insisted that Russia should not “lapse into sweet daydreaming” about achieving reconciliation with the West and joining what he called a “big polyamory family of non-binary genders.” Medvedev had earlier condemned what he called open glorification of Nazism in Ukraine, pointing to an initiative calling for the establishment of the Stepan Bandera Order that would supposedly be awarded to Ukrainian servicemen.

Bandera was a notorious Ukrainian nationalist leader during World War II whose organization was responsible for mass killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine. The petition requesting the creation of such an order in Ukraine appeared on the official website of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in May. It has since received nearly 2,300 signatures of the required 25,000. Medvedev blasted the initiative by comparing it to Germany establishing an order of Adolf Hitler or Italy introducing an order of Bennito Mussolini. “What is there to be ashamed of?” Medvedev mockingly wrote on Telegram at the time. “Let’s just glorify all European Nazis at once. This appears to be the new European ideology,” he added.

Read more …

“..One potential explanation is the sheer number of foreign fighters joining with Ukraine last year that are now gone..”

Is Ukraine Losing Because Foreign Fighters Are Walking Away? (ZH)

It has been almost 3 months since the launch of Ukraine’s long anticipated counter-offensive which many “experts” claimed would be the fatal blow that would remove Russian forces from the country altogether. The initial action gained little; around 90 square miles of territory in June and a handful of villages, and at great cost. There are no accurate casualty reports for Ukraine, which is by design, but estimates suggest that the nation’s military has doubled its number of dead since the counter offensive began. Official numbers from the DoD claim that Ukraine has lost over 100,000 troops since the beginning of the conflict (almost double the amount of US dead during the entirety of the Vietnam War). Other estimates are far higher.

Foreign fighters back from the front lines report a mismanaged and chaotic Ukrainian military using ill conceived tactics. Some say that the units they were assigned to have lost 80% or more of their men in recent months. Ukraine military leadership has also been misusing their fleet of tanks and armored vehicles from NATO, sending them ‘straight into mine fields’ in some cases. As volunteers note, the Ukrainians were given training on how to operate the vehicles, but no training on how to use them effectively in a fight. There is also a flurry of reports suggesting that friendly fire has been doing significant damage, so much so that “mercenaries” have taken to covering themselves in reflective blue or yellow tape so that they aren’t mistaken for Russian troops.

This disorganization seems to be far removed from the precision shown by Ukraine in their 2022 offensive, which forced Russia to reposition a large number of forces and give up over 3000 square miles of territory. Numerous successful strikes on Russian armored columns were widely publicized, all with a suspicious level of expertise employed by Ukraine. Yet, by 2023 their momentum was stopped cold. They were tied up in Bakhmut where they lost thousands of soldiers. And now, Ukraine’s hyped up counter action has been effectively dragged down to a crawl. You wouldn’t know it by reading sensationalized western media reports and propaganda, but Ukraine is losing, badly. So what happened? What changed since the end of 2022?

One potential explanation is the sheer number of foreign fighters joining with Ukraine last year that are now gone. While the data on volunteers is limited, multiple sources claim at least 20,000 mercenaries (many with prior combat experience) joined with Ukraine in 2022. Then, there are the covert operatives – At least one General out of the UK let slip that Royal Marine units were in fact deployed on high risk operations in Ukraine. Sources also indicate that US special operations teams have been stationed out of the US embassy in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. Though officials claim that the soldiers do not go to the front lines and stay near the embassy (which begs the question – what’s the point of having them there?). The presence of highly trained western covert ops troops in Ukraine would help explain the far more effective offensive in 2022.

Read more …

“..You are already in paradise, fellow Western Europeans, what more do you need?..”

Funny Old Man Borrell Typifies The Arrogant Mediocrities Running The EU (Bordachev)

Josep Borrell, the head of the European Union’s diplomacy, known and loved by us, in Moscow, for his paradoxical statements, has reported on the effectiveness of his bloc’s economic war against Russia. In the first lines of his message, he claims that “sanctions are working” and that those who claim otherwise are simply telling untruths. But the main indicator of the effectiveness of sanctions for Borrell is not even the dynamics of the Russian economy. The emphasis in the report is on the reduction of Russia’s bilateral trade with EU countries: This is what particularly pleases their chief diplomat. However, for him, it doesn’t matter that Russia’s trade with the rest of the world, with the exception of the US, has grown at the same time (even Japan and South Korea do not show a significant decline in trade turnover).

The EU’s chief diplomat is known to live in his own ‘Garden of Eden’, and everything outside this hallowed ground has no meaning for him. One could simply mock the degradation of the Western European perception of the surrounding reality embodied in Borrell’s remarks. But this approach is not an aberration; it reflects the whole philosophy of the EU’s relations with the rest of the world. It is only now that we have seen the inadequacy of such a strategy in a reality which there will never again be a center and a vast periphery to serve its interests. We are now really opening our eyes to the – to put it politely – uniqueness of our partners in Western Europe. What the Russian foreign policy culture, in a delicate manner, has tried not to talk about for the past 30 years is becoming public knowledge.

The question is what lessons can be learned for the future when the active military phase of relations with the West subsides somewhat? This will happen sooner or later, unless the world really splits into opposing closed camps. And then it will be extremely dangerous for us to harbor illusions about the fundamental intentions of our Western neighbors towards the rest of humanity. Josep Borrell is a somewhat caricatured but still credible embodiment of the nature of EU foreign policy. This funny old man is certainly a product of his time – the ‘beautiful 80s and 90s’ in Spanish and European history. In those days, either the most backward or the least ambitious, went into politics. And they are a product of a Western European order which educates its elite in a spirit of exclusivity and contempt for others.

From the point of view of mass psychology, exceptionalism is a very good means of control. Those who consider themselves special, the best and unparalleled in their superiority, never compare their own position with others. This means that they are ready to accept not only aggression against “outsiders,” but also the restriction of their rights: they are still the best in the world. You are already in paradise, fellow Western Europeans, what more do you need?

Read more …

It will get dark in Germany. Too late to prevent it now.

“..Anyone who wanted to build new nuclear power plants would need 15 years and would have to spend €15-20 billion ($16.2-21.6 billion) each..”

German Chancellor Says Nuclear Power ‘Dead Horse’ Despite Energy Crunch (Sp.)

Berlin’s move to join the West’s energy sanctions against Russia and ditch Moscow’s reliable and abundant energy supplies, along with the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and the “green agenda” aimed at replacing fossil fuels and phasing out nuclear energy, have all contributed to Germany’s dismal economic data and looming deindustrialization. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that nuclear energy “is over” in Germany, and firmly dismissed calls from Free Democrats (FDP) lawmakers in his coalition government to re-embrace the technology in light of the ongoing energy crunch. “The issue of nuclear energy in Germany is a dead horse. Anyone who wanted to build new nuclear power plants would need 15 years and would have to spend €15-20 billion ($16.2-21.6 billion) each,” the chancellor said in an interview for German radio.

He added that the phase-out “has been done by law… I don’t need to put my foot down at all.” The issue of nuclear energy has fired off a fierce debate among Germany’s coalition partners in the government: Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Free Democrats, and the Greens. The energy crisis and soaring electricity costs have prompted the FDP to argue the need for halting the dismantling of Germany’s nuclear power plants. The door for resorting to nuclear power ought to be left open, the FDP – a proponent of the technology – has argued. The FDP’s parliamentary group approved a policy statement earlier in the week that called on Germany “to stop the dismantling of the nuclear power plants that are still fit to use,” adding: “That is the only way we will remain capable of acting in every situation.”

Read more …

“..Germany should “react accordingly to the new multipolarity.” “Germany and Europe need a sovereign foreign policy that is no longer subordinate to the US and NATO..”

Sanctions Against Russia Turning Germany Into ‘Kamikaze’ – MP (RT)

Western sanctions have failed to destabilize Russia and are now backfiring on the countries that imposed them, including Germany, Sevim Dagdelen, a German MP from the Left Party (Die Linke) wrote in an op-ed for the Berliner Zeitung published on Friday. According to the lawmaker, Russia’s economy has successfully weathered the restrictions and is steadily adjusting to the new economic realities. “In order to ruin Russia, it was hoped that the punitive measures that violate international law will have a long-lasting effect. But the reality is different. Even the Russian auto industry is recovering. Chinese companies are stepping in for the German manufacturers who leave Russia,” Dagdelen wrote. “Contrary to what was hoped, Russia has not been ruined. The consequences of the sanctions are evident, but on our side.

“While Germany’s economy collapsed by 0.3% in the last quarter and stagnation is also threatening the Eurozone, Russia is now forecast to grow by 2.5% this year. As is often the case, a merciless idealism characteristic of the German ruling party obscures the view of reality.” According to the lawmaker, the sanctions are strengthening Russia while the German government “is ruining domestic economy with open eyes.” “The federal government acts here like a kamikaze pilot, replacing politics with dubious morality and is happy about a friendly nod from Washington,” she stated, noting that double-digit inflation in Germany is the product of sanctions, as well as the “ever increasing military support for Ukraine.” Dagdelen also noted that the sanctions war has prompted the largest redistribution of capital in the country, with large corporations boosting profits while ordinary German consumers suffer from a drop in real wages and a cost-of-living crisis.

The lawmaker criticized the government that “wants nothing to do with diplomacy” and urged Berlin to distance itself from Washington and NATO. She suggested closer ties with BRICS, a G7 rival economic bloc of countries that includes Russia and that will represent nearly 40% of global GDP after it officially admits new members at the beginning of next year. According to Dagdelen, Germany should “react accordingly to the new multipolarity.” “Germany and Europe need a sovereign foreign policy that is no longer subordinate to the US and NATO. Supporting the BRICS peace initiative would be a first step towards freeing ourselves from the socially and politically fatal paternalism of the US. It would represent a step towards democratic sovereignty. No war is our war, not even this one.”

Read more …

No solutions here.

EU Migration System ‘Has Been Broken For Years’ – Austria (RT)

The EU must urgently fix its dysfunctional asylum system to prevent another iteration of the 2015 migration crisis that could potentially lead to the collapse of the entire bloc, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in an interview published on Saturday. Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Nehammer railed against the current EU regulations, claiming that the bloc’s “asylum system has been broken for years” and calling for immediate action. He admitted that while European policymakers have finally got “more sense of reality” and had started discussing migration, “the road is far from over.” According to the chancellor, migration is among the serious issues that need to be addressed at the European level, “as irregular migration can be an issue that can divide and possibly even destroy the European Union.”

To solve the problem, Nehammer proposed a list of changes, including the creation of effective border protection, rapid asylum procedures both at the EU’s external borders and in third countries, and concluding agreements with other nations allowing for the rapid deportation of migrants. He also strongly opposed an initiative supported by Germany and the EU Parliament that would exempt women with children from these suggested practices, branding it “impractical and ultimately counterproductive.” According to Nehammer, such an exemption would result in women and children being sent off by their relatives “on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean and helplessly handed over to unscrupulous traffickers.”

“Such a derogation would be practically an invitation for women with children to risk illegal migration to Europe – and, if protection is granted, to bring the entire family to join them,” Nehammer told the German newspaper. The bloc saw a sharp increase in asylum applications between June 2022 and May 2023, according to EU data. The number is approaching the record levels of the 2015 crisis, when some 1.3 million migrants sought refuge in the EU. In 2022 alone, the number of asylum applications in the bloc hit almost one million, with the most people coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and Türkiye. Furthermore, the bloc’s social welfare system remains under severe pressure from refugees who fled to the EU from Ukraine.

Read more …

“.. there is no other possible vision of the future in the modern Western liberal civilization outside of global decay..”

Alexander Dugin: Global Liberalism in Crisis (Sp.)

Liberalism is headed for “catastrophe” following decades of global ideological hegemony, political philosopher Alexander Dugin told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 allowed liberalism to emerge as the undisputed, dominant global ideology. Over the past several years, however, the ideology’s future has come increasingly under question. Populist upheavals in the United States and Europe exposed growing discontent with the inability of liberal institutions to cope with foreign policy and economic failures. At the same time, new emerging powers such as Russia, China, and India among others have begun to put forth their own ideological alternatives. Dugin said that liberalism had no solutions for the problems it helped create – a fact that is implicitly admitted by the ideology’s own supporters.

Liberalism’s only path forward, he warned, was to double down on its mistakes. “If we consider the futuristic vision in the cinema and the art made by the Liberal West, we don’t see a single positive scenario. Everything is a ‘Mad Max’, everything is Armageddon – atomic catastrophe, atmospheric catastrophe, or ecological catastrophe,” he said. “So, there is no other possible vision of the future in the modern Western liberal civilization outside of global decay. That offers a revelation of liberalism’s inner void because liberalism started as an individualistic version of humanism, but now it is approaching anti-human, transhuman individualism.” “That is precisely the political agenda of [Joe] Biden, of Kamala Harris, of modern day progressives in the United States that are openly post-human,” he added.

“They are trying to destroy history, the family, the sexes, and all kinds of traditional institutions. It is just a kind of imperative, political imperative of destruction of humanity. So, that is the catastrophe [of liberalism].” Dugin argued that liberalism was a “disguised path to the abyss” from the very beginning due to its intrinsic desire to tear down all forms of collective identity, such as religion, family, and nationality, in the name of individualism. The Russian philosopher insisted that it was only a matter of time before the ideology began trying to deconstruct the very concept of humanity. “The last thing [liberals] needed to accomplish on their way is to liberate individuals from their human identity – precisely because it is the last form of collective identity,” he said. As evidence of liberals’ increasingly “anti-human” worldview, Dugin pointed to the growing popularity of transhumanism, a movement that advocates for the use of emerging technologies to remake human beings, and radical environmentalism among Western elites.

Read more …

“..Fukuyama is left only doomed to lecture the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity..”

7 Civilisations -1 Against 6 (Alexander Dugin)

But at the XV summit, held from 22 to 24 August 2023 in Johannesburg, the final formation of the multipolar club took place. The entry of three Islamic powers – Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and the UAE – was fundamental. Thus, the direct participation in the multipolar world of the entire Islamic civilisation, represented by both branches – Sunnism and Shiism – was assured. In addition, along with Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Spanish-speaking Argentina, another strong and independent power, joined the BRICS. Even in the mid-twentieth century, theorists of South American unification into a consolidated “Greater Space” – primarily Argentine general Juan Perón and Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas – considered a decisive rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina to be the first principle of this process. If this is achieved, the process of integration of the Latin American ecumene (term of A.Buela) will be irreversible. And that is exactly what is happening now in the context of the accession of the two major powers of South America, Brazil and Argentina, to the multipolar club.

The admission of Ethiopia is also highly symbolic. It is the only African country that remained independent throughout the colonial era, preserving its sovereignty, its independence and its unique culture (Ethiopians are the oldest Christian people). Combined with South Africa, Ethiopia strengthens by its presence in the multipolar club the African continent as a whole. In fact, the new composition of the BRICS gives us a complete model of uniting all poles – civilisations, “Greater Spaces”, with the exception of the West, which desperately seeks to preserve its hegemony and unipolar structure. But now it faces not disparate and fragmented countries, full of internal and external contradictions, but a united force of the majority of humanity, determined to build a multipolar world. This multipolar world consists of the following civilisations:

— The West (the USA+EU and their vassals, which includes, alas, the once proud and sovereign Japan now degraded to passive puppet of the Western conquerors);
— China (+Taiwan) with its satellites;
— Russia (as an integrator of the entire Eurasian space);
— India and its zone of influence;
— Latin America (with the core of Brazil+Argentina);
— Africa (South Africa+Ethiopia, with Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, etc., liberated from French colonial influence).
— Islamic world (in both versions – Shiite Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia and UAE).

At the same time, one civilisation – the Western one – claims hegemony, while the other six deny it, accepting only a multipolar system and recognising the West as only one of the civilisations, along with others. May be still strongest (relatively and not for too long) but not unique. So the rightness of Samuel Huntington, who saw the future in the return of civilisations, has been confirmed in practice, while the fallacy of Fukuyama’s thesis, who believed that the global hegemony of the liberal West (the end of history) has already been achieved, has become obvious. Therefore, Fukuyama is left only doomed to lecture the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity, for which Russia in Ukraine is fighting today.

August 2023 can be considered the birthday of the multipolar world. Multipolarity is established and somehow institutionalized. It is time to take a closer look at how the civilisational poles themselves interpret the situation in which they find themselves. And here we should take into account that virtually every sovereign civilisation has its own idea of the structure of history, the nature of historical time, its direction, the goal and the end. Contrary to Fukuyama, who ambitiously proclaimed a single end of history (in his liberal version), each sovereign civilisation operates with its own understanding, interpretation and description of the end of history.

Read more …

X thread.

Why They Hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. (Haider Mehdi)

*Why they hate Imran Khan? A Short Note. Haider Mehdi. 1 Sep 2023*

He took away religion from the Molvis. Took away Spirituality from the Sufis. Took away intellectualism from the intellectuals. Took away social welfare from the socialists/ leftists / communists. Took away patriotism from the Military. Took away machismo from the so called hulks. Took away fame from the rich and famous.

Every man, father, husband, brother hates him because their wives, sisters and daughters fell madly in love with him! He left everybody without their pretentious personas. Naked! Except the poor. To whom he gives dignity and compassion and well being. And the Youth to whom he gives hope and pride. And the Nation to whom he gives self respect and honour! He’s a rare one. Value him. Save him. Fight for him. Sacrifice for him.

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697966780788924516

 

 

Future or climate killer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 102023
 


Priest and scribe Ka-aper ca. 2465-2323 BC

 

Ukraine Defeat Ominous to Team Biden Admitted by US Press (Sp.)
US Stokes Tension in Persian Gulf as It Loses Control, Needs More Wars (Sp.)
West’s ‘Neo-Colonial Geopolitical Crusade Against Russia’ Is Doomed – Moscow (RT)
US Told Pakistan To Remove Imran Khan From Power – Intercept (RT)
US Regime Change Karen Wants To Speak To The Manager In Niger (Marsden)
All-Africa War Possible – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)
GOP Memo: Hunter Sold ‘Biden’ Brand for At Least $20 Million As Joe Was VP (Sp.)
Trump: Biden ‘Petrified of China’ Because They Pay Him Millions of Dollars (Sp.)
Search Warrant Was Issued For Donald Trump’s Twitter Account (BBC)
Critical Mineral Shortage to Put US Energy Security at Risk (Sp.)
Shakespeare Banned In US School Districts Over ‘Sexual Content’ (RT)
The “Magic Negro Of The Billionaire Industrial Complex” (ZH)

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

RFK Dore

 

 

Watters

 

 

 

 

“CNN is telling it as it sees it, in its own limited way. “

Ukraine Defeat Ominous to Team Biden Admitted by US Press (Sp.)

Having lauded the Kiev regime’s resolve and the Ukrainian military’s resourcefulness for quite some time, the US mainstream press has suddenly changed its tune, being forced to admit that the well-advertised Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed. Some established American newspapers went even so far as to report that the US military tactics had proven almost useless on the Ukrainian battlefield. “After two months of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the US press is finally waking up to the fact that the offensive is going extremely poorly,” Daniel Lazare, an independent journalist, author, and writer, told Sputnik. “Ukraine has made minimal gains due to very dense Russian defenses, including mines and drone swarms, which are completely changing the battlefield equation. This is devastating news for the Biden administration, which after the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan in August 2021, is now two years later facing an equally dangerous situation in Ukraine.”

As of August 4, Ukraine had lost more than 43,000 soldiers and over 4,900 units of various weaponry, including 26 planes, nine helicopters, 1,831 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, including 25 German-made Leopard tanks, seven French-made AMX wheeled tanks, and 21 US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), as well as 747 field artillery guns and mortars, since the beginning of Kiev’s counteroffensive, per Russia’s Ministry of Defense. Thus, Ukraine’s attrition rate is so high it could hardly be ignored by Western politicians and corporate press. “These articles are not a ploy. That’s not how the US mass media works. They’re honest,” Lazare said. “CNN is telling it as it sees it, in its own limited way.

And after months of pro-Pentagon propaganda, where CNN essentially toed the Defense Department line all the way, essentially now it realizes it can’t do that much longer because the facts are running strongly against it. So CNN, The New York Times, Politico, etc., are forced to recognize the reality of what’s happening in Ukraine. And it’s extremely negative from a US perspective. I think it is a sobering-up process. They are alerting their readers to how dangerous and negative the situation in Ukraine is becoming in terms of American strategic interests. And therefore, they are preparing them for worse to come. But it’s honest in the sense that no one is bribing CNN and it has no ulterior motive in mind. It simply is telling the truth in its own half-witted, politically distorted fashion.”

Still, those who have followed the Ukraine conflict from the very beginning have already noticed that the US media’s prognoses don’t work. So, for them the Ukraine counteroffensive failure was hardly surprising, per US independent journalist and geopolitical analyst Max Parry. “There is no way anyone could follow this conflict closely without noticing Western corporate media’s continuous pattern of failure in its predictions about the outcome of the war in favor of Kiev and then backtracking each time only to come up with excuses as to why its prognostications have been wrong,” Parry told Sputnik. “As a result, it has only revealed the incompetence of Washington’s military strategists and NATO, whose forces have trained Ukraine, and the media’s own role as a propaganda arm of the US.”

Read more …

“..its coveted superior role of “being the world policeman that the laws don’t apply to” slipping from its grasp..”

US Stokes Tension in Persian Gulf as It Loses Control, Needs More Wars (Sp.)

The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, which plays a crucial role for global trade, have yet again found themselves in the focus of the US military, as Washington has accused Iran of “seizing and harassing” civilian vessels – a practice that the Islamic Republic has resolutely denied employing. The United States realizes that it is losing control, and cannot maintain it without creating more wars, which explains why it is stoking tension in the Persian Gulf, Laith Marouf, a broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, told Sputnik. With increasingly more countries rejecting the US-driven so-called “rules-based order,” and America feeling that its coveted superior role of “being the world policeman that the laws don’t apply to” slipping from its grasp, Washington is desperate to fan hostilities in the region, Marouf underscored.

According to the US press, thousands of US Marines and sailors have been brought to the Persian Gulf by the USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, as part of a buildup ongoing for months. On August 4, unnamed US officials told the press that the Pentagon was considering putting armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, as a part of an intensified response from Washington to the allegedly destabilizing activity caused by Iran’s “harassment and seizure of merchant vessels.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry dismissed the US’ claims as untrue. “In the last two years, we saw multiple ships confiscated by the United States – some in international waters – that belong to Iran,” Laith Marouf pointed out, adding:

“It seems like the United States wants to police the world, and in this situation, they want to become a valet service for these international shipping companies that are looting oil from the Gulf… The more the United States acts in such pirate ways, the more we will lose control of the situation.” Reports of more than 3,000 US military personnel having arrived in the Red Sea on board two warships following Washington’s allegations of Iran “seizing” several civilian ships in the waterways is a dangerous escalation, Mazda Majidi, long-time antiwar and social justice activist from Iran, told Sputnik. “It’s really an escalation that’s not really called for by actual developments on the ground,” the activist said, underscoring that it was pretty much a “war footing.” Washington accuses Iran’s Navy of no less than 20 such incidents involving commercial vessels over the past two years.

“The average, accordingly, is less than one a month,” underscored Mazda Majidi, who has written extensively on the nuclear deal and other issues pertaining to Iran and the Middle East. He added that, like the Iranian Navy has said, some of the instances were a reaction to a distress signal, when they went in to see if they could help. “But in the bigger picture, the ongoing problem is the continual US seizure of Iranian oil tankers around the globe. And while the US claims that these are based on the sanctions on Iran, that sanctions that the US has placed on Iran. Those sanctions do not apply to international waters. In other words, the US Navy has no legal right to seize Iranian oil tankers anywhere it sees fit. So in that sense, the Iranian reaction is related to what the US has been doing to tankers carrying Iranian oil,” Mazda Majidi said.

Read more …

“Russia will achieve peace on its own terms.”

West’s ‘Neo-Colonial Geopolitical Crusade Against Russia’ Is Doomed – Moscow (RT)

The West is treating Ukraine the same way it treated Georgia, as a proxy against Russia to be used and abandoned, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN Dmitry Polyansky has said. August 8 is a “sad day in Georgian history,” Polyansky tweeted on the anniversary of the 2008 conflict. “It’s very hard to rectify the bloody mistakes of [the] Saakashvili regime which acted in 2008 as a puppet of the West. Now Saakashvili is in prison in Georgia but his poisonous legacy is still felt.” The “Kiev regime is doing a far more nefarious mistake right now naively hoping that the West will not abandon it after NATO’s proxy war with Russia until the last Ukrainian,” Polyansky added. “And Washington and its allies are still bringing death and devastation to the post-Soviet space in their futile neo-colonial geopolitical crusade against Russia.”

Mikhail Saakashvili became the president of Georgia in the US-backed ‘Rose revolution’ in 2003. In August 2008, as the world’s attention was on the Beijing Olympics, he launched an attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, hoping to overwhelm the Russian peacekeeping battalion stationed there since the 1990s. Moscow’s quick reaction surprised both Tbilisi and Washington. Georgia’s Western-trained military was dismantled within five days. Saakashvili lost the 2012 election and went to the US, then to Ukraine after the US-backed coup in Kiev. Russia’s president at the time, Dmitry Medvedev, also commented on the anniversary of the conflict. In a Telegram post, he said that Saakashvili had been a proxy of the West, “which was trying to stir up the situation in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders even then.”

Washington and its vassals are “once again waging a criminal war by proxy” against Russia, Medvedev added. “Just like in August 2008, our enemies will be crushed, and Russia will achieve peace on its own terms.” The US and NATO have sent over $100 billion worth of weapons, equipment and ammunition to Kiev, as well as cash to keep the Ukrainian government afloat, while insisting they were not a party to the conflict with Russia. Earlier this year, they supplied modern Western tanks to the Ukrainian military, with the expectation of a grand spring-summer offensive that would push the Russians into the sea. Kiev launched the offensive in early June, but has achieved little while losing 5,000 vehicles and 43,000 soldiers, according to Russian Defense Ministry estimates. Earlier this week, senior US and Western officials told CNN that it was “extremely, highly unlikely” the Ukrainians could make progress on the battlefield that could change the balance of the conflict.

Read more …

Smells like Nuland around here.

US Told Pakistan To Remove Imran Khan From Power – Intercept (RT)

The US State Department pressured Pakistan to remove its popular prime minister, Imran Khan, last year over the latter’s neutrality regarding the conflict in Ukraine, The Intercept reported on Wednesday, citing a secret diplomatic cable obtained from a Pakistani military source. The cable documents a meeting between US State Department officials and Pakistan’s ambassador to the US on March 7, 2022. “People here and in Europe are quite concerned about why Pakistan is taking such an aggressively neutral position” on Ukraine, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu warns his Pakistani counterpart in the cable, blaming the PM alone for the offending policy.

While Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan attempts to correct the American, pointing out that Pakistan’s position on Ukraine is shared across the government, Lu counters that it is the PM’s behavior that is the problem, but that “if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeds, all will be forgiven in Washington.” “Otherwise, I think it will be tough going ahead,” he threatens, adding that Europe will follow the US’ lead in the “isolation of the prime minister.” Ambassador Khan reflects in his notes that the threat seems to be coming directly from the White House and suggests a strong diplomatic response. Khan, who apparently obtained a copy of the cable in the weeks following the meeting, pointed at the US as the director of his ouster after he was removed following a no-confidence vote last April – just as Lu had suggested.

His successor, Shehbaz Sharif, admitted the cable existed and that some of its messaging was inappropriate, but stopped short of acknowledging its confirmation of Khan’s claims. Washington has categorically denied pressuring Islamabad to remove Khan. While the document obtained by The Intercept does not technically constitute a direct order, it attaches strongly-worded threats to noncompliance, hints at rewards for obedience, and confirms both were viewed as coming directly from President Joe Biden. Immediately following Khan’s ouster, Pakistan reversed its neutrality on Ukraine, demonstrating its fealty to Washington by supplying copious amounts of weapons to Kiev.

Its military was reportedly rewarded with a defense pact covering “joint exercises, operations, training, basing and equipment.” While polls have suggested Khan would easily win an election were he permitted to run again, he was sentenced to three years in prison last week on corruption charges, blocking him from contesting elections expected to take place this year. He has been charged with numerous crimes since his ouster, from insulting state officials to terrorism, and last month it was announced he would be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for revealing the contents of the cable documenting the conspiracy to oust him.

Read more …

I meant Karen.

US Regime Change Karen Wants To Speak To The Manager In Niger (Marsden)

France has been kicked out of Niger by its new military government, by extension placing US interests there in peril. Who would ever have thought that the US footing the bill for training Nigerien soldiers would result in a net gain for Russia and China? Apparently not the US State Department. Enter Victoria Nuland with demands to speak to those in charge. Officially the acting US deputy secretary of state, Nuland should really change her title to ‘Regime Change Karen’. In modern parlance, a ‘Karen’ is a middle-aged woman “who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors.” Karens can often be spotted at the customer service desks of big box stores demanding to speak to the manager – or in this case, the military leaders now in charge of Niger.

Nuland rocked up to Niger and demanded to speak to the ousted president, but was refused the opportunity. Instead, she got to meet with one of the coup leaders – the new army chief of staff, Brigadier General Moussa Salaou Barmou, who not only trained at Fort Benning and at Washington’s National Defense University, but was photographed alongside US Special Operations in Africa Commander Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga just a few weeks ago at a US drone base in Niger. In a State Department teleconference on Monday, Nuland said that she was in Niger “because we wanted to speak frankly to the people responsible to this challenge to the democratic order.” That didn’t actually require a foreign trip, though. She could have just stayed home and called a staff meeting. You made this mess yourselves, guys. “The benefit from the joint mortar training event is twofold – providing Nigerien soldiers with a tangible skill, while also bolstering the partnership between US and Niger forces,” the Pentagon said in 2021 of a joint training exercise. Looks like all those skills came in handy when it came to kicking out US-allied France.

“We met with the self-proclaimed chief of defense of this operation, General Barmou, and three of the colonels supporting him,” Nuland said. “I will say that these conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult because, again, we were pushing for a negotiated solution.” Interesting how peace and negotiations suddenly appear on the table when Washington loses its foothold, finds itself in too weak or precarious a position to start dropping bombs, and needs to buy some time to regain the upper hand. Such was the case with the Russia-Ukraine Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, which used peace as a pretext for better arming Kiev against Moscow as Western allies trained and supplied Ukrainian neo-Nazis at Russia’s doorstep. Nuland not so subtly hinted at Washington’s priorities when she said that she “had a chance first to sit with a broad cross-section of Nigerien civil society,” describing them as “long-time friends of the United States.” In other words, to better shore up the in-country proxies to defend US interests.

Read more …

Not what Russia needs right now. That’s why it’s happening.

All-Africa War Possible – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)

A military intervention in Niger could set off a broader war, Antinekar al-Hassan, a political adviser to the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “I don’t think ECOWAS will make the mistake of intervening militarily in Niger, because if they intervene militarily, that means all of Africa will be at war,” al-Hassan said. Bazum was arrested on July 26, by a group of Nigerien military officers led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to deploy troops unless he was restored to power, but their ultimatum to Niamey expired on Sunday. In the meantime, the bloc has closed borders and stopped all trade and transactions with Niger. Al-Hassan said he was against these sanctions, calling them “illegal and illegitimate.” “We’re against the sanctions. They will hurt the people of Niger, not the junta,” he said.

The new military government has refused any talks with the ousted president, who has no intent of stepping down, according to al-Hassan. “He did not sign anything and is not preparing to resign. He would rather die than resign,” al-Hassan said. In an op-ed supposedly written from prison and published in the Washington Post on August 4, Bazoum had appealed to the “US government and the entire international community to help us restore our constitutional order.” ECOWAS military chiefs reportedly finalized their war plans last Friday, but noted the actual intervention requires a political decision by the bloc’s governments. Chad and Guinea have opposed both sanctions and intervention in Niger, while Burkina Faso and Mali said they would regard any military move against Niamey as a declaration of war against both of them as well.


According to the French broadcaster RFI, which was banned in Niger, ECOWAS was mustering a force of about 25,000 troops, most of them from neighboring Nigeria. The new military government in Niamey accused France on Wednesday of setting free terrorists so they could attack a military camp in Niger and violating the country’s airspace as part of a campaign of destabilization. Paris denied that any terrorists were set free, or that any attack took place, and insisted the French aircraft were operating in Nigerien airspace under a military pact with Bazoum’s government. France refused to recognize the generals’ repudiation of the deal last week, and vowed to keep some 1,500 troops in the Sahel country.

Read more …

How much more proof is required? Asking for a friend.

GOP Memo: Hunter Sold ‘Biden’ Brand for At Least $20 Million As Joe Was VP (Sp.)

Companies related to the Biden family received a whopping $20 million from foreign nationals during Joe Biden’s vice presidency, as per the GOP-led House Oversight and Accountability Committee. On August 9, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability Majority Staff released a third bank records memorandum within the framework of the ongoing investigation of the Bidens’ alleged influence peddling schemes. The committee identified over $20 million in payments from foreign sources to the Biden family and their business associates during Joe Biden’s vice presidential tenure. Per House GOP investigators, Biden family members and partners routinely collected money from Ukrainian, Kazakh, Chinese, Russian, and Romanian nationals in exchange for protection, assistance, and access to then-Vice President Joe Biden.

“Joe Biden was ‘The Brand’ sold around the world to enrich the Biden family and he was used to ‘signal’ their access, influence, and power,” the congressional memo reads. “Then-Vice President Biden met – in person, for significant periods of time – with those individuals or their representatives. Then-Vice President Biden joined approximately 20 phone calls on speakerphone with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates and attended dinners with foreign oligarchs who paid huge sums of money to Hunter Biden. Joe Biden, ‘the brand,’ was the only product the Bidens sold.” The memo also referred to the change of the White House’s narrative regarding Joe Biden’s apparent involvement in his son’s business dealings.

While, previously, Team Biden had claimed that Joe was unaware of Hunter’s financial activities and never discussed them, now they say that the “President was not in business with his son.” Still, the White House staff refuses to comment about this departure from previous statements, the memo noted. Commenting on the release of the third memo, Committee Chairman James Comer opined that the data obtained by the committee confirms the assumption that the Bidens, including Joe, were involved in “pay-for-play.” Comer particularly drew parallels between bank records and Hunter’s partners getting access to then-Vice President Biden, including two dinners in April 2014 and 2015 at Washington, DC’s Café Milano.

Most recently, US renowned legal scholar Jonathan Turley brought focus on the discussions surrounding Joe’s visits to Café Milano. The lawyer noted that the testimony by Devon Archer – Hunter’s longtime business partner – indicated that the elder Biden had indeed spent time with his son’s clients and was aware of Hunter’s business schemes. “Then-Vice President Joe Biden dined with oligarchs from around the world who had sent money to his son. It’s clear Joe Biden knew about his son’s business dealings and allowed himself to be ‘the brand’ sold to enrich the Biden family while he was Vice President of the United States,” Comer emphasized.

Read more …

By the balls.

Trump: Biden ‘Petrified of China’ Because They Pay Him Millions of Dollars (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes incumbent President Joe Biden is “so petrified of China” because they are paying him “millions and millions of dollars.” “I believe we have a compromised president. I believe he’s so petrified of China because they know how much money has been given to him, and they know where it is,” Trump said during an interview with US media. “As of today, I think $32 million that went into his accounts, the various accounts of the family. That’s a tremendous amount of money. And nothing was done for it. It was just a bribe … I’m amazed nothing was ever done.”

Trump added during the interview that Biden “is so afraid of China, and the reason he’s afraid is because I believe they paid him a tremendous amount of money, and he doesn’t want people to find out about it.” The former US president claimed that he believes China paid the Bidens “a lot more than that.” “You look at the University of Pennsylvania, you take a look at what’s going on over there, where China pays millions and millions of dollars at Biden’s center. I guess they’re paying him a million dollars a year, or I think they have it at 999,000 dollars a year.

That way you don’t have to maybe reproach because it’s under a million,” Trump claimed. The former commander-in-chief claimed that all signs point to China paying Biden “a fortune” because he has not seen “anyone so weak on China” before. Trump went to reference Beijing’s influence in Cuba and South America over the last three years. At one point during the interview, Trump went so far as to describe Biden as a “Manchurian candidate,” otherwise known as an individual who has become a puppet for a foreign nation. Trump later shifted and called on congressional lawmakers to undertake impeachment proceedings against Biden over evidence gathered by the House Oversight Committee regarding the Biden family’s business dealings.

Read more …

Michael Tracey: “Amazing: Jack Smith tried to impose a gag order on Twitter by arguing Trump was likely to “flee from prosecution” if it came out that his account had been seized. DC district court then *affirmed* the validity of this claim. Later, the claim was mysteriously retracted as “errant”.

“..may have included unpublished posts..”

Search Warrant Was Issued For Donald Trump’s Twitter Account (BBC)

The US special counsel investigating Donald Trump obtained a secret search warrant for the ex-president’s Twitter data in January, unsealed records show. Jack Smith requested “data and records” relating to Mr Trump’s account which may have included unpublished posts. After initially resisting the warrant, Twitter eventually complied, but missed a court-ordered deadline by three days. The delay resulted in the company being handed a $350,000 (£275,000) fine for contempt of court. The existence of the search warrant and the legal fight over it was revealed in court documents unsealed on Wednesday. According to the unsealed ruling, which still includes some redactions, Twitter’s lawyers did not object to the warrant itself, but disputed the nondisclosure order which kept it secret.

The company, now known as X under the ownership of Elon Musk, argued that it should be allowed to notify customers whose accounts are subject to search warrants. X handed over the data in February, but appealed the fine. Its case was rejected by a US appeals court last month. There is little indication in the documents about what exactly Mr Smith was seeking, with the court filing noting that only that the warrant directed the company “to produce data and records” related to Mr Trump’s account. The US congressional panel investigating the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot found that Mr Trump had drafted – but never sent – a tweet urging his supporters to come to Washington. It said: “I will be making a Big Speech at 10 a.m. on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!”

The @realdonaldtrump account, which has 86.5m followers, was suspended after the riot. It was reinstated in November 2022 after Mr Musk ran a poll asking users whether the former president should be allowed back on the platform. Mr Trump has not posted on X since being reinstated, instead preferring to use his own Truth Social network. Experts have noted that his Truth Social business contracts mean he potentially stands to lose millions if he resumes posting on X. Mr Trump responded to news of the search warrant on Truth Social, writing that it was a “major ‘hit’ on my civil rights… These are DARK DAYS IN AMERICA!”

Read more …

Casus belli?

Critical Mineral Shortage to Put US Energy Security at Risk (Sp.)

Last week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) in a new assessment expanded its list of critical materials, defined as those indispensable to the clean energy transition with high supply risks, adding six new elements in 2023. The DOE warned the list will only grow bigger amid the global race to net-zero emissions and underscored the importance to energy security of establishing reliant and robust critical mineral supply chains.
Nickel, platinum, and silicon carbide join lithium and magnesium as critical in the medium term (2025-2035), while graphite, terbium, and iridium join cobalt, gallium, dysprosium and neodymium as elements considered critical in both the short and medium term (from now until 2035).

The DOE raised the status of copper and aluminum from non-critical to “near critical” in the medium term largely due to their importance to electrification across a wide spectrum. The report, citing International Energy Agency (IEA) data, said critical mineral demand will have to grow by up to 600% by 2040 if the world is to achieve net-zero by 2050. The demand for critical minerals is being driven by a surge in the adoption of electric vehicles, which the IEA says could account for 60% of all auto sales by 2030. The swift growth in EV sales and green electricity networks boosted demand for vital components such as lithium-ion batteries and rare earth magnets, the report noted. The report was released just as the US-China trade war escalated even further, with Beijing’s export controls on gallium going into effect, unveiled last month in retaliation to Washington’s restrictions on Chinese technology.

The US, and many Western allies, have invested heavily in trying to achieve supply chain independence from China. The Biden administration intensified efforts last week in discussions with Mongolian officials about “creative ways” to extract rare earth minerals from the landlocked country, which neighbors both China and Russia. The US faces a daunting task in breaking its mineral dependence on China. For example, China is the leading producing nation for 30 of 50 minerals the US Geological Survey classified as critical to the economy with vulnerable supply chains.

Jonathan Poston, a business strategy consultant for Artax Consulting, shed more light on the implications involving China’s dominance of key critical minerals, most particularly, rare earth elements. “Rare earth elements are a group of 17 elements that are essential for a wide range of clean energy technologies, including magnets, batteries, and catalysts,” Poston told Sputnik. “China is the world’s leading producer of rare earth elements, along with graphite – critical to lithium-ion batteries – and there are concerns about China’s control of the global supply chain.”

Read more …

To be replaced with Barbie.

Shakespeare Banned In US School Districts Over ‘Sexual Content’ (RT)

Multiple Florida schools leery of running afoul of a controversial new law banning books with sexual content are dropping Shakespeare plays from their curricula, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Wednesday. Hillsborough County public schools will only be assigning excerpts from the works of Shakespeare during the coming academic year, district officials revealed. While they told the Times they had altered their instructional guides for teachers because of “revised state teaching standards and a new set of state exams that cover a vast array of books and writing styles,” district spokeswoman Tanya Arja admitted the decision was “also in consideration of the law,” referring to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law.

Better known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, the measure took effect last month, requiring schools to suspend access to reading material alleged to contain pornography, depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct, pending resolution of any complaints from parents or the state. “I think the rest of the nation – no, the world, is laughing at us,” Joseph Cool, a teacher at Gaither High, told the Times on Tuesday, pointing out that “taking Shakespeare in its entirety out because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet is somehow exploiting minors is just absurd.” Because of uncertainty over what constitutes forbidden content, school districts have been preemptively removing books from their libraries in order to avoid parental challenges while trained “media specialists” screen the contents for anything that could potentially run afoul of the law.

If the specialists flag a book, a district-level panel is required to review it and make the final decision on whether it remains in the library. Parents may also file a complaint about any book on the school district’s website, requiring the district to pull the title within five days and keep it out of libraries until it can be reviewed. Local CBS affiliate WJAX found earlier this week that Duval County had removed 19 titles from its shelves ahead of the 2023-2024 school year, while St. Johns County had dropped 31 books and Clay County pulled 115.

Read more …

Zero Hedge lifts out a reference to Obama’s presumed homosexuality, but the David Samuels interview for Tablet Magazine with David Garrow has a lot more.

The “Magic Negro Of The Billionaire Industrial Complex” (ZH)

“I also found the Cuba thing deeply puzzling and offensive,” Garrow said. “It’s a fucking dictatorship that imprisons all sorts of truly progressive, creative people.” Many of the regime’s political prisoners are black but in the style of Frank, Obama is basically uncritical of the regime’s all-white Stalinist dictatorship. But then, as David Garrow says, the composite character is not a normal politician or human being. In one of his first actions, Obama canceled missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic, and Garrow laments his “failure to object to Russia taking Crimea and the Donbas.” “For Barack, everything has to be a success,” Garrow explained. “Everything has to be a victory.”

And on his own terms, Obama may be the most successful president ever. He transformed the nation into a place where the outgoing president picks his successor and deploys the FBI and DOJ to help Hillary Clinton and harm candidate and President Donald Trump. “From the first time I saw it,” Garrow said, “I realized that Christopher Steele’s shit was just complete crap. It was bad corporate intelligence, even. It was nonsensical.” Samuels is also concerned. “A new milieu had been created consisting of party operatives, the people in the FBI and the CIA who are carrying out White House policy, and the press,” Samuels explains. “That’s something people still seem loathe to admit, even to themselves, in part because it puts them in a state of dissonance with this new kind of controlled consensus that the press maintains, which is obviously garbage. But if you question it, you’re some kind of nut.”


The interview keeps returning to Dreams from My Father, which biographer David Garrow exposed as a novel, infuriating the president. “There was something about this fictional character that he created actually becoming president,” contends Samuels, “that helped precipitate the disaster that we are living through now.” The nation has been transformed into a “Gilded Age oligarchy” by Obama, the “Magic Negro of the billionaire industrial complex.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 102022
 


James Ensor The oyster eater 1882

 

Washington Starts Blame Game Over Defeat In Ukraine (MoA)
We’re Almost Out Of Ammunition And Relying On Western Arms, Says Ukraine (G.)
The US/UK Proxy War Forestalling Peace Negotiations in Ukraine (CD)
Nuclear Deployments in Finland & Sweden Not Ruled Out, NATO Says (LI)
Greek Court Overturns Ruling on Seizure of Iranian Ship (GR)
Will The Global South Break Free From Dollarized Debt? (Escobar)
Dershowitz Says Admin Using ‘Stupidest Argument’ On Executive Privilege (JTN)
Trump: ‘January 6th Was Not Simply a Protest’ (GP) /span>
So You Say You Want a Revolution? (Turley)
COVID Vaccines Appear To Cause Abnormally Long Blood Clots (JTN)
Unfunded State Pension Liabilities Grow To $8.28 Trillion (JTN)
Welsh Schools to Feed Primary Students Insects (VT)
Judge: CIA May Have Received Illicitly Recorded Assange Conversations (ElP)

 

 

 

 

Jan 6

 

 

“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

 

 

Tucker Jan 6

 

 

 

 

“It is cover your ass time and Zelensky prominence in the ‘west’ makes it possible to blame him personally for the outcome of the war.”

Washington Starts Blame Game Over Defeat In Ukraine (MoA)

The New York Times, here via Yahoo, has some rather weird piece over alleged lack of intelligence on Ukrainian warplanes: U.S. Lacks a Clear Picture of Ukraine’s War Strategy, Officials Say: “President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has provided near-daily updates of Russia’s invasion on social media; viral video posts have shown the effectiveness of Western weapons in the hands of Ukrainian forces; and the Pentagon has regularly held briefings on developments in the war. But despite the flow of all this news to the public, U.S. intelligence agencies have less information than they would like about Ukraine’s operations and possess a far better picture of Russia’s military, its planned operations and its successes and failures, according to current and former officials.”

[..] Andrei Martyanov rants about the piece: “Well, NYT decided to start steering clear of this whole Russia “lost in Ukraine” BS it promoted together with neocon crazies, and begins this ever familiar tune of the “intel failure”. Right.” […] Larry Johnson thinks there is another another motive behind the story: “Frankly, I find it hard to believe that there are not solid analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency who know the answers to all these questions. The real problem may not be a lack of intelligence. Nope. It is the fear of telling the politicians hard truths they do not want to hear.”

I do not believe for one moment that U.S. intelligence services do not know what is going on in Ukraine and in Kiev. They know that the Ukraine has lost the war and will have to sue for peace as soon as possible. They also have told the White House that this is a case and that the whole idea of setting up the Ukraine to tickle the Russian bear was idiotic from the get go. The question now is who will take the blame for the outcome. Who can the buck be passed to? There is always the option for politicians, as Andrei assumes is the case, to blame the intelligence and the various agencies which provide it. This was done when the war on Iraq, based on false claims weapons of mass destruction, started to go bad for the U.S.

But what the NYT piece does is passing the buck from the intelligence community to president Zelensky of Ukraine: “He did not inform us about the bad position his country was in.” It is cover your ass time and Zelensky prominence in the ‘west’ makes it possible to blame him personally for the outcome of the war.

Read more …

Straight from the Lockheed Martin PR department.

We’re Almost Out Of Ammunition And Relying On Western Arms, Says Ukraine (G.)

Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now almost solely reliant on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay. “This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”. “Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us,” said Skibitsky. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.” Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, according to Skibitsky.

“We have almost used up all of our [artillery] ammunition and are now using 155-calibre Nato standard shells,” he said of the ammunition that is fired from artillery pieces. “Europe is also delivering lower-calibre shells but as Europe runs out, the amount is getting smaller.” The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said last week that between 60 and 100 Ukrainian soldiers were dying each day and a further 500 were being injured. Ukraine has kept the total number of its military losses secret. Soldiers speaking to the Guardian from Ukraine’s frontlines this week painted a similar picture. Skibitsky emphasised the need for the west to supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems to destroy the Russian artillery pieces from afar.

This week the Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told the Guardian that Ukraine needed 60 multiple-rocket launchers – many more than the handful promised so far by the UK and US – to have a chance of defeating Russia. Ukraine is set to ask the west for a list of weapons and defensive equipment at the contact group meeting with Nato in Brussels on 15 June. Skibitsky thinks the conflict will remain predominantly an artillery war in the near future and the number of rocket attacks – which can be launched from Russia and have hit civilians – will remain at their current rate.

Read more …

“If you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not..”

The US/UK Proxy War Forestalling Peace Negotiations in Ukraine (CD)

The British government, as ever following the US lead, is sending longer range missile systems to Ukraine for the first time. The government described the M270 weapon system they are despatching as a “cutting edge” military asset which can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away “with pinpoint accuracy.” Ukrainian soldiers are due to be brought to Britain for training in how to use the missiles. Britain and the US appear to have abandoned even the limited military restraint they showed early on in the war. Their policy of pumping in the weapons and pushing for outright victory risks disaster. They must be stopped.

As even some of the mainstream media point out, on top of the four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems sent by the US last week, this decision marks a new stage in the war in which the West is prepared to provide the Ukrainian military with the capacity to strike deep in to Russian territory, something they previously carefully avoided. This is one in a series of escalations on the part of the Western powers. It provoked immediate retaliation in words and deeds from Vladimir Putin—including the first bombardment of Kiev for five weeks—as Western leaders must have known it would. It underlines the fact that the West is still pushing for nothing less than the complete defeat of Russia while Russian troops continue their offensive.

As British Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said in a statement announcing the new weapons shipment, “If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win”. As part of this policy of proxy war, the West has been deliberately trying to head off moves towards serious negotiations. The leading pro–Western Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported recently that Boris Johnson himself appeared in Kyiv early in May almost without warning, urging Zelensky not to negotiate with Putin. “If you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not,” Johnson said, insisting it was instead the time to “press him.” Johnson later confirmed to French president Emmanuel Macron that he had “urged against any negotiations with Russia on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion.”

Read more …

“I do not believe it is necessary, in the current context, to provide any guarantees whatsoever to Russia on our military posture in the region.”

Nuclear Deployments in Finland & Sweden Not Ruled Out, NATO Says (LI)

The NATO military alliance will not offer Russia any guarantees regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons to prospective member states Sweden and Finland, with a senior official in the bloc stressing that such decisions must be left to individual nations. Speaking to Swiss broadcaster RTS for an interview over the weekend, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Camille Grand was asked whether Western powers should provide nuclear assurances to Moscow in light of recent membership applications from Stockholm and Helsinki, which asked to join alliance following Russia’s attack on Ukraine earlier this year.

“Every country is free in the nuclear field to deploy or not to deploy such weapons. We are not talking about setting up some principle restrictions on the possible actions of the alliance,” he said, adding “This is a discussion that centers on the sovereignty of each member state of the alliance.” Five NATO states currently host American nuclear weapons on their soil, including Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Seven other members participate in the bloc’s SNOWCAT program – under which non-nuclear nations offer conventional air support for nuclear operations – while all 30 members of the alliance with the exception of France belong to its nuclear planning group.

Grand went on to say that the accession of the two Nordic states would not “radically change the strategic or military situation” in the region, arguing that “We do not have the intention nor the means to invade Russia, or carry out offensive actions against Russia,” and that Moscow “know this very well.”

Read more …

It might not be the smartest move to start seizing ships if you have so many ships out there yourself.

Greek Court Overturns Ruling on Seizure of Iranian Ship (GR)

A Greek court on Wednesday overturned an earlier court ruling that allowed the confiscation by the United States of part of a cargo of Iranian oil on an Iranian-flagged tanker off the Greek coast. The incident had led to an angry response by Iran, with Iranian forces last month seizing two Greek tankers in the Gulf after Tehran warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens. The Iranian embassy in Greece had earlier announced that “Following intensive follow-ups, the Greek Court of Appeals will revoke the ruling of the initial court to confiscate oil belonging to Iran and the entire oil shipment will be returned.” On April 19, the Greek Coast Guard seized the Russian tanker Pegasus, operating under the Iranian flag, off the island of Evia.


The Greek government announced that it would deliver 115,000 tons of Iranian oil on the Lana tanker to the United States, but Tehran called the move an act of piracy by Athens. Iranian Ambassador to Greece Ahmad Naderi, in continuation of intensive diplomatic and legal activities over the past few weeks to prevent US piracy off the coast of Greece, visited the port of Karistos and met with the captain of the ship to review the latest developments, according to a report in the Iranian News Agency MNA. Following the seizure of the Iranian ship in Greek waters, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Greek Charge d’affaires to convey a strong protest of Iran to the Greek officials.

Read more …

“The US economy is indeed a lame post-modern remake of the late Roman empire: “dependent on foreign tribute for its survival in today’s global rentier economy.”

Will The Global South Break Free From Dollarized Debt? (Escobar)

With The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism, Michael Hudson, one of the world’s leading independent economists, has given us arguably the ultimate handbook on where we’re at, who’s in charge, and whether we can bypass them. Let’s jump straight into the fray. Hudson begins with an analysis of the “take the money and run” ethos, complete with de-industrialization, as 90 percent of US corporate revenue is “used to share buybacks and dividend payouts to support company stock prices.” That represents the apex of “Finance Capitalism’s” political strategy: to “capture the public sector and shift monetary and banking power” to Wall Street, the City of London and other western financial centers.

[..] To a large extent, nostalgia for the rape-and-pillaging of 1990s-era Russia fuels what Hudson defines as the New Cold War, where Dollar Diplomacy must assert its control over every foreign economy. The New Cold War is not waged only against Russia and China, “but against any countries resisting privatization and financialization under US sponsorship.” Hudson reminds us how China’s policy “followed almost the same path that American protectionism did from 1865 though 1914 – state subsidy for industry, heavy public-sector capital investment…and social spending on education and health care to upgrade the quality and productivity of labor. This was not called Marxism in the United States; it was simply the logical way to look at industrialization, as part of a broad economic and social system.”

But then, finance – or casino – capitalism gained steam, and left the US economy mainly with “agribusiness farm surpluses, and monopolies in information technology (largely developed as a by-product of military research), military hardware, and pharmaceutical patents (based on public seed-money to fund research) able to extract monopoly rent while making themselves largely tax-exempt by using offshore banking centers.” That’s the current State of Empire: relying only “on its rentier class and Dollar Diplomacy,” with prosperity concentrated in the top one percent of establishment elites. The inevitable corollary is US diplomacy imposing illegal, unilateral sanctions on Russia, China and anyone else who defies its diktats.

The US economy is indeed a lame post-modern remake of the late Roman empire: “dependent on foreign tribute for its survival in today’s global rentier economy.” Enter the correlation between a dwindling free lunch and utter fear: “That is why the United States has surrounded Eurasia with 750 military bases.” Delightfully, Hudson goes back to Lactantius, in the late 3rd century, describing the Roman empire on Divine Institutes, to stress the parallels with the American version: “In order to enslave the many, the greedy began to appropriate and accumulate the necessities of life and keep them tightly closed up, so that they might keep these bounties for themselves. They did this not for humanity’s sake (which was not in them at all), but to rake up all things as products of their greed and avarice. In the name of justice they made unfair and unjust laws to sanction their thefts and avarice against the power of the multitude. In this way they availed as much by authority as by strength of arms or overt evil.”

Read more …

“Who’s ever going to talk to a president in confidence when she or he knows that their conversation can be revealed if the new president of a different party decides to waive the privilege..”

Dershowitz Says Admin Using ‘Stupidest Argument’ On Executive Privilege (JTN)

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said the Biden Administration is putting forward “the stupidest, dumbest legal argument” he has heard by claiming that the current president can waive the executive privilege of a former president. Dershowitz, who admitted to voting for President Joe Biden in 2020, slammed the White House’s legal claims during an interview with “Just the News, Not Noise” on Thursday. “The way it works is if Congress wants to enforce a subpoena, it goes to court. It has a hearing in which both sides are presented, not to a political body like Congress, but to a neutral judicial body like the court and the court decides whether or not the claim of privilege prevails,” Dershowitz responded to editor-in-chief John Solomon, who had asked for the legal scholar’s opinion on the case of former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro.


The former White House advisor was arrested last week for defying a Jan. 6 committee subpoena, which he refused to follow citing executive privilege. “I voted for Biden,” Dershowitz prefaced before continuing: “The Biden administration has put forward the dumbest legal argument I have heard in my almost 60 years of practicing law, the dumbest legal argument. “They claim that the current president, Joe Biden, can waive executive privilege that was invoked by the former president. That would mean the end of executive privilege,” he warned. “Who’s ever going to talk to a president in confidence when she or he knows that their conversation can be revealed if the new president of a different party decides to waive the privilege. It is the stupidest, dumbest argument,” Dershowitz stressed.

Read more …

“The Unselects have ruled Pelosi ‘off limits, no questions.’ The hearing is another political HOAX to counter Inflation etc.”

Trump: ‘January 6th Was Not Simply a Protest’ (GP)

Donald Trump has weighed in on January 6 ahead of the made-for-tv House committee hearing spearheaded by Democrats and a few RINOS. In a post on his social media platform, TRUTH Social, Trump said that “January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again.” Trump began, “The Unselect Committee didn’t spend one minute studying the reason that people went to Washington, D.C., in massive numbers, far greater than the Fake News Media is willing to report, or that the Unselects are willing to even mention, because January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again. It was about an Election that was Rigged and Stolen, and a Country that was about to go to HELL..& look at our Country now!”

An hour later, in a subsequent post, Trump added, “The Unselect Committee of political Thugs, essentially the same group who brought you the now fully debunked and discredited RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA HOAX (and many others!), refused to study and report on the massive amount of irrefutable evidence, much of it recently produced, that shows the 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged and Stolen. They want NOTHING to do with that topic because they cannot win on the facts. CANCEL & DENY, call it ‘THE BIG LIE,’ is all they can do. Corrupt Politicians!” Trump pointed out that he had suggested and offered up 20,000 National Guard troops prior to January 6, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined.

“The Unselect Committee has now learned that I, as President, suggested & offered up to 20,000 National Guard, or troops, be deployed in D.C. because it was felt that the crowd was going to be very large,” Trump continued. “Crazy Nancy Pelosi turned down the offer, she didn’t like the way it looked. Likewise, the Mayor of D.C. Had they taken up the offer, there would have been no January 6th. The Unselects have ruled Pelosi ‘off limits, no questions.’ The hearing is another political HOAX to counter Inflation etc.”

Read more …

“He expressly told his followers “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

So You Say You Want a Revolution? (Turley)

“So you say you want a revolution.” When they sang those lines, the Beatles could well have been talking about Democratic leaders today. Revolution seems much in the minds and the rhetoric of politicians who are continuing to threaten swift responses to the Court if it rules against their wishes. The latest armchair revolutionary is President Joe Biden himself who went on Jimmy Kimmel to do the first sit down interview in months. To his credit, Biden was promising only a “mini-Revolution.” Others have gone full revolutionary. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., joined the growing ranks of members of Congress in issuing a warning to the Supreme Court: reaffirm Roe v. Wade or else. The “else” varies from promises to pack the Court to personal accountability for justices. For Shaheen, it is a promise of “revolution.”

Clearly, these leaders are using over-heated rhetoric and do not support violence. They no more want true revolution than Sen. Chuck Schumer was calling for the killing of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch when he declared on the steps of Supreme Court “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Calling for revolutionary change in politics is as common as calling on people to “fight” political opponents or legislative actions. For example, with rioting continuing in Brooklyn Center, Minn. and around the country, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, went to Minnesota and told the protesters that they “gotta stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.”

However, these same politicians have insisted that such references are literal when made by their opponents. Notably, Democrats are holding hearings this week on how Republicans bear responsibility for the Jan. 6th riot due to their calls to “fight” against certification of the 2020 election. On that day, there is no question that Trump whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I was critical of the speech while he was giving it. However, Trump never actually called for violence or a riot. Rather, he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to express opposition to the certification of electoral votes and to support the challenges being made by some members of Congress. He expressly told his followers “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Read more …

2-3-foot-long clots…

COVID Vaccines Appear To Cause Abnormally Long Blood Clots (JTN)

Unusually long blood clots are being found in people who received COVID-19 vaccines, according to Dr. Ryan Cole of Cole Diagnostics in Boise, Idaho. Cole’s laboratory receives tissue samples from morticians across the country. He reports that they are finding long blood clots — including several that are inches-long and even a couple that are a foot long — in corpses that contained the COVID vaccine. Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom legal advocacy nonprofit currently representing military members seeking vaccine mandate exemptions, recently interviewed Cole. His lab “is able to determine the difference between a spike protein caused by the virus and a spike protein caused by the COVID shots, which are demonstrably different and much more pronounced and serious,” according to the organization.

Cole told Greg Hunter on USAWatchdog earlier this month that a Stanford University study found that, unlike a COVID infection, which leaves the body in a week or two, the vaccine causes the spike protein to remain in the body longer. “[T]hose who had a natural infection cleared the virus within that first week or two — their body had the ability to clear it,” Cole said. “But when you put the synthetic sequence in, the body is not clearing it,” he explained. “It’s persistently making spike protein. And that sequence is persisting, and then it’s damaging the organs chronically over time, it’s damaging the immune cells chronically over time, it’s causing clots … chronically over time.”

With mRNA vaccines, the spike protein can stay “up to 8 weeks postvaccination in some cases,” according to the study. Cole’s lab is “seeing mushy organs, we’re seeing incredibly inflamed organs,” he said. “We know the spike protein cause all the … bad outcomes that the virus did in 2020. And a lot of comorbid individuals, we know that spike protein is causing inflammation in the lung, the brain, the liver, the kidneys, the heart — it’s causing the same damage that the virus was causing.” However, “in the body, the shots are persisting and making more spike protein than if you had a natural infection,” he added. Cole also cited studies by South African doctor Resia Pretorius, who found that the COVID “spike protein alone causes the proteins in our blood to clump,” he said.

“That spike protein is thrombogenic — it causes clots, and it causes a lot of clots.” Morticians usually “put a dissolving fluid in to break up clots so they can get their embalming fluid in,” Cole said in a March interview with Steve Kirsch. “And they were getting back pressure on the system, saying, ‘What in the world is going on?’ They ended up “pulling out, you know, 6-inch clots, 12-inch clots, 2-3-foot-long clots,” he said. “Because you know from the hip down into the leg, you have a long vein called the saphenous vein. And so they were pulling long clots out of your longer veins. And … they hadn’t seen anything like this previously.”

Read more …

This has me wondering how other countries’ pension systems are doing.

Unfunded State Pension Liabilities Grow To $8.28 Trillion (JTN)

Unfunded state pension liabilities have climbed to $8.28 trillion, or nearly $25,000 for every person in the United States, according to a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council. The American Legislative Exchange Council released the latest edition of its report on pensions in all 50 states Thursday. The report, “Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2021,” shows just a handful of states with outsize pension liabilities account for a large share of overall pension debt in the U.S. The report looked at 290 state-administered government pension plans and their assets and liabilities from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2020. An example of state-administered government pension plans in Illinois would cover state employees, teachers, university workers, judges and lawmakers.

The states with the most unfunded liabilities were California ($1.53 trillion), Illinois ($533.72 billion), Texas ($529.70 billion), New York ($508.70 billion) and Ohio ($429.53 billion). These five states alone account for more than $3.5 trillion in unfunded liabilities, or about 43% of all unfunded liabilities in the U.S. The bottom 10 states make up $4.9 trillion, or 59.36% of all unfunded liabilities, according to the ALEC report. On a per capita basis, the bottom five state were Alaska ($42,829), Illinois ($41,656.79), Connecticut ($40,427.58), Hawaii ($39,939.43), New Jersey ($39,849.02) and California ($38,713.16).

“As state pension plans invest their funds in increasingly risky assets, the gap between expected rates of return and actual rates of return widens, with results falling far short of expectations,” the authors of the report wrote. “When investment returns fail to meet expectations, taxpayers and plan members must make up the difference through increased contributions.” [..] No state in the U.S. has fully funded its pension plans. The state with the highest funding ratio in the nation is Wisconsin at 56% and New Jersey was the lowest at 18%.

Read more …

Anyone ever wonder why our ancestors didn’t grow up eating insects? Much easier than hunting gazelle…

Welsh Schools to Feed Primary Students Insects (VT)

This week, students at four primary schools in Wales will be offered insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, locusts and mealworms to eat in an effort by researchers to determine their appetite for “alternative proteins.” Researchers are hoping to gain insight into how to best educate children on the environmental and nutritional benefits of edible insects and in turn, hope to influence their parents’ behavior concerning the dinner table. The project will employ surveys, workshops, interviews and focus groups to gauge students’ understanding and experiences concerning alternative proteins. One of the schools participating in the research is Roch Community Primary School in Pembrokeshire.


Carl Evans, the school’s Headteacher, said the research will provide students with insight into the connection between their local community and food production. “There is an important connection between our local community, food production and wider global issues surrounding sustainable development,” said said, adding that, “These issues are important to children, but also difficult to make sense of an can often be confusing for them.” One researcher involved in the study, Christopher Bear, of Cardiff University wants children to consider edible insects as a choice for nourishment today rather than in the future. “We want children to think about alternative proteins as real things for now, rather than just as foods for the future, so trying some of these foods is central to the research,” he said.

Read more …

It would make the entire process illegal.

Judge: CIA May Have Received Illicitly Recorded Assange Conversations (ElP)

The conversations between Julian Assange and his lawyers illicitly recorded by the Spanish security company UC Global at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder took refuge for years, could have been delivered to agents of the US secret services, according to Santiago Pedraz, the judge at Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, in charge of the espionage case. Delivery to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or to US authorities of details about the defense strategy of the cyberactivist, whom the US wants to have extradited from the UK, is reflected in a court order issued by Pedraz to which EL PAÍS has had access. In this document, which deals with procedural issues, the judge explains to the British authorities why he needs to take witness testimony from the British lawyers and Assange’s doctors who were spied on at the embassy.

These individuals include Gareth Peirce, 82, the famous British lawyer who was played by actress Emma Thompson in the 1993 movie In the Name of the Father. Proving that US intelligence services learned about Assange’s defense strategy by spying on his lawyers could annul the extradition by questioning the illegal methods used by the US to get Assange tried there, according to legal sources. If Spain is allowed to take testimony, as victims of US espionage, from lawyers and doctors who are now defending him in the extradition case, the British justice system would be left in an embarrassing situation, according to the same sources. It could be argued that the process was flawed because the right of defense was violated by the country requesting the extradition.

The judge sent a European Investigation Order (EIO) to the British justice more than two years ago, when he requested permission to question Assange in a videoconference from London as a witness in the case against Undercover Global. But British authorities have been reluctant to cooperate, and have asked for additional information on top of documents that were sent months ago without receiving a response. The EIO is a common judicial tool to speed up cooperation between judges and circumvent laborious rogatory letters based on instruments of international law. In this case, however, the British justice has been blocking the investigation. The British lawyers spied on at the embassy by order of UC Global owner David Morales, and whom Pedraz is asking to interrogate, are the same ones who are now defending Assange in the US extradition request that a British judge has just approved. Home Secretary Priti Patel, one of the toughest members of Boris Johnson’s government, has two months to make the final decision.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were small & thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,
Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, & ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled
We could stream through the eye of a needle

– Seamus Heaney

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 202015
 
 May 20, 2015  Posted by at 10:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


NPC District National Bank, Dupont branch, Washington, DC 1924

The Low Velocity Economy – US Money Velocity At All-Time Low (CI)
Euro Plunges As ECB Official Pledges To Speed Up Bond Purchases (Bloomberg)
5 Bubbles Draghi’s QE Is Already Blowing (MarketWatch)
Is The UK In The Early Stages Of Deflation? (Guardian)
Bernie Sanders Wants Wall Street To Pay For Your College Tuition (Vox)
The Economy for Young Americans Is Still Terrible (Atlantic)
Theft Of Greek Bank Deposits To Send Shockwaves Around The World (KWN)
Greek Deception, Greek Tragedy, German Farce, German Myth (Steve Keen)
Athens Proposes Bank Transaction Levy, Creditors Reject VAT Plan (Kathimerini)
Varoufakis’ Overhaul Of VAT System May Skyrocket Food & Utility Prices (KTG)
Europe’s Moment Of Truth (Tassos Koronakis, Central Committee of Syriza)
China Slowdown Deepens Provincial Economic Divide (FT)
John Kerry Admits Defeat Over Ukraine, And That’s A Good Thing (Salon)
It Begins: Ukraine Takes First Real Steps To Default (Mercouris)
Angela Merkel Has Been Abandoned By Kerry, Nuland And Putin (Helmer)
No, You Can’t Go Back To The USSR! (Dmitry Orlov)
Dead Nation Walking (Jim Kunstler)
Air Bag Defect Triggers Largest Auto Recall In US History (Guardian)
I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Warren’s Right to Be Concerned (Politico)
Italian Coastguards: Military Action Will Not Solve Migrant Crisis (Guardian)
Anti-Euro Far Right Set To Enter Government Coalition In Finland (Guardian)
The Best Show This Summer: Pope’s ‘Morality Vs. Capitalism’ (Paul B. Farrell)
That’s Billion, With A Bee: The Massive Cost Of Hive Collapse (Reuters)

This spells deflation.

The Low Velocity Economy – US Money Velocity At All-Time Low (CI)

The velocity of money is a measure of the economic activity. It looks at how many times a unit of currency ($1 in the case of the United States) flows through the economy and is used by the various members of the economy. In the case of M2 velocity (includes cash and checking deposits (M1) as well as savings deposits, money market mutual funds and other time deposits), it is at an all-time low after peaking in 1998.

An alternative measure of velocity is MZM. MZM represents all money in M2 less the time deposits, plus all money market funds. Like M2 velocity, MZM velocity is at an all-time low.

Here is a chart of MZM velocity against the 10 year constant maturity Treasury rate.

What this chart says is that the economy is not catching fire despite the massive amount of money in circulation. And wage growth is terrible as well, despite Fed intervention.

Here’s to our policy makers in Washington DC!

1972GratefulDeadEurope72

Read more …

Back on the road to parity and beyond.

Euro Plunges As ECB Official Pledges To Speed Up Bond Purchases (Bloomberg)

The euro tumbled the most in two months against the dollar after a European Central Bank official said the bank will speed up its bond-buying program before an anticipated mid-year lull. The single currency extended Monday’s decline after Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said the ECB will increase purchases under its quantitative-easing program from €60 billion in May and June, ahead of an anticipated drop-off in market liquidity. The euro was already weighed down by speculation Greece’s banking system is weeks away from insolvency, and fell versus all 16 of its major peers. Coeure’s remarks “provided an acute reminder of how fragile and volatile the markets have been in 2015,” said Lee McDarby at Nomura Holdings Inc. in London. “The euro weakened by over 1% almost instantly in response.”

The euro dropped as much as 1.4% to $1.1160, the lowest level in a week. A decline through $1.10 would reignite calls for a drop to parity with the dollar, McDarby said. Coeure’s comments about injecting money more quickly into the euro-zone economy emerged Tuesday morning as the text of a speech delivered in London the day before. ECB Governing Council member Christian Noyer said separately in Paris on Tuesday that the central bank is ready to extend QE if needed. The euro stayed lower after reports Tuesday showed regional consumer-price growth flatlined in April and German investor confidence declined this month by more than forecast in a Bloomberg economist survey.

Greece’s travails were already hurting Europe’s single currency, undoing a 4.6% rally in April that snapped nine months of losses. That rebound came amid signs of improvement in the 19-nation economy. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Monday they were optimistic a deal to unlock bailout funds was within reach, even as creditors warned the country has yet to comply with the terms of its emergency loans. “We’re coming closer to the endgame for Greece,” said Lee Hardman at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. “The expectation is still an agreement will be reached between Greece and its creditors, but there’s a risk that they fail to reach one,” which may send the euro lower, he said.

Read more …

Just a start.

5 Bubbles Draghi’s QE Is Already Blowing (MarketWatch)

Sixty billion euros here. A hundred billion there. To paraphrase Everett Dirksen’s apocryphal quote about the U.S. budget, pretty soon you are talking about real money. Earlier this year, the European Central Bank launched its quantitative easing program with €60 billion a month of asset purchases by the central bank. Now, in response to some mild turbulence in the bond market, it is talking about front-loading QE, taking the total of fresh cash minted in Frankfurt every month up to 100 billion or even more. In short, real money. Academics will no doubt be discussing the effectiveness of QE in lifting the real economy for a couple of generations at least, and probably not reaching any definitive conclusions.

Perhaps it pulls countries out of a recession, or perhaps they would have eventually started to grow again anyway? One thing we can say for sure, however, is that it boosts asset prices. In fact, it is already happening. A series of Mario Draghi bubbles are already inflating across the eurozone. Where exactly? Well, Spanish construction is booming, Dublin house prices are soaring, German wages are accelerating, Malta is riding a wave of hot money, and Portuguese equities are among the best performers in the world. For a lucky few investors, QE is already working its magic.

The ECB president probably had no choice but to finally bite the bullet and launch the ECB’s own version of QE earlier this year. The continent was sliding rapidly into deflation, with prices dropping in countries such as Spain. The economy was slipping into a depression, and unemployment was rising relentlessly even as the rest of the global economy was recovering. The only real surprise was that it took so long. That doesn’t mean, however, that the money created won’t blow up asset prices. Indeed, it is already happening.

Read more …

“Deflation is where prices fall across the board for a sustained period.” No, it is not. And how can you solve a problem you don’t understand?

Is The UK In The Early Stages Of Deflation? (Guardian)

Blink and you ll miss it. That sums up what the experts think about inflation turning negative in the UK for the first time since 1960, a time when Dwight Eisenhower was the US president and before the pre-fame Beatles had played a single note in Hamburg. That year, the period when the annual cost of living was falling proved to be brief, and the expectation is that it will be this time too. Why? Because the reason inflation has dipped below zero is largely due to the halving of oil prices in the second half of last year. Unless those falls in the cost of crude are repeated this year and it s almost certain they won t inflation will start to pick up again. The timing of Easter, which has an impact on the cost of air and sea travel, was also a factor. So, for now, it is a mistake to say the UK is in the early stages of Japanese-style deflation.

Deflation is where prices fall across the board for a sustained period. It is an environment in which consumers put off making major purchases because they assume that the TV, car or freezer they want will be cheaper in the future than it is today. With consumer confidence high and unemployment falling, there seems no immediate prospect of this happening. Indeed, the opposite may well happen, with consumers tempted to increase their spending because their monthly pay cheques stretch further. Earnings growing at around 2% a year in conjunction with inflation 0.1% lower than a year ago equals a modest increase in real incomes that are likely to keep shop tills jangling in the months ahead.

A cut in average earnings growth from 2% to 1% would suggest the economy was in a downward wage-price spiral All that said, a wary eye needs to be kept on the inflation numbers. Core inflation the cost of living excluding volatile items such as energy and food fell to 0.8% in April, the lowest since 2001. If it fell further, the risk of deflation proper would increase. he unknown factor that could push core inflation lower is wages. Despite two and a half years of steady growth and shortening dole queues, earnings are still only growing at around their pre-crisis levels of 4%. The Bank of England believes they will start to pick up because firms will struggle to find workers from a shrinking pool of labour. But if the supply of labour continues to increase, employers could respond to falling inflation by making their pay offers less generous.

Read more …

Good plan. No chance.

Bernie Sanders Wants Wall Street To Pay For Your College Tuition (Vox)

The big banks got bailed out, and presidential contender Bernie Sanders says they should pay it forward. The independent senator from Vermont introduced his plan on Tuesday, which would use a tax on stock trades to help pay students’ tuition. The price of attending a public college has been climbing since the 1980s. Sanders’s plan would shift the burden to pay for college away from students and families and back onto the government. Sanders’s bill, which he says would cost $47 billion in the first year, doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate. But it highlights an important question for higher education policy: can the federal government force states to make college more affordable?

Public college tuition has risen 30% in the past decade. Since 2004, published tuition rates have jumped from $6,448 in 2004 to $9,139 in 2014. Net tuition at public colleges — the amount students actually pay after financial aid is taken into account — has, meanwhile, nearly doubled since 2000. Part of this is a story about rising tuition costs, as the price to attend both public and private colleges has grown rapidly in recent years. But there is a second story here, one about states’ funding for higher education not keeping pace with all the students who want to attend — and leaving students to pay a bigger chunk of their bill.

In the late 1980s, only about a quarter of public college revenue came from tuition. The rest came from the state or other sources. Now students cover about half the cost of their education — and may soon provide the majority of public college revenues. In general, public colleges spend about the same amount per student that they did in 1987. States are spending more on higher education than they did in the past. But more people go to college than used to, and state budgets haven’t been able to keep up with enrollment increases and inflation. Students at public universities are now increasingly likely to borrow, and more likely to graduate with debt: 59% of students at public colleges took out loans in 2012, and students who borrowed graduated with an average of $25,600 in debt.

Sanders’s plan would set up a grant program to cover the share of tuition that students currently pay. The federal government would pay for two-thirds of the grant program’s budget, using a new tax on stock trades to raise an estimated $47 billion in revenue. States would be required to chip in the additional one-third of funding, as well as keep up their current spending levels on higher education. While Sanders’s proposal is far to the left of many Democrats, the type of grant program he proposed isn’t totally different from other proposals floated on Capitol Hill. Requiring states to fund higher education has been tried before, and it worked.

Read more …

Screwed by boomers.

The Economy for Young Americans Is Still Terrible (Atlantic)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the labor market for a longer forthcoming piece, and one of the mysteries I’ve been grappling with is: How do you describe how this economy is treating young people? Let’s start by singing the necessary praises. Last year was was the best for job-creation this century. We’re in the middle of the longest uninterrupted stretch of private-sector job creation on record. After creating mostly low-paying service jobs for the first few years of the recovery, the labor market is finally churning out more high-skill jobs. All of these things should be great news for young people. Should. But a deeper look at the Young-American Economy today suggests that, in contrast to the overall labor market, it is still sort of terrible.

To start with the camera lens zoomed all the way out: The majority of young people aren’t graduating from a four-year university. Rather they are dropping out of high school, graduating from high school and not going to college, or dropping out of college. Millennial is often used, in the media, as a synonym for “bachelor-degree-holding young person,” but about 60% of this generation doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. And how are they doing, as a group? Young people don’t seem to have a jobs problem—their jobless rate is a bit elevated, but not alarmingly so. Rather they have a money problem. The jobs they’re getting don’t pay much and their wages aren’t growing. A recent analysis of the Current Population Survey last year found that the median income for people between 25 and 34 has fallen in every major industry but healthcare since the Great Recession began.

Zoom in on recent college graduates, and the picture gets more complicated. In The Washington Post, Ylan Q. Mui says “the era of the overeducated barista is coming to a close.” That would be nice, indeed. But the data suggests that the era is hardly over: Overeducated baristas, once totally ubiquitous, are now merely super-abundant. Under-employment (the share of college grads in jobs that historically don’t require a college degree) is high. The quality of jobs that underemployed young people are getting is getting worse. And for these reasons, wages are growing incredibly slowly, if at all.

Read more …

The EU, ECB and IMF have their eyes on Greek bank deposits.

Theft Of Greek Bank Deposits To Send Shockwaves Around The World (KWN)

The troika of the EU, ECB and IMF have not yet pulled the plug on the Greek banks, but the following quote in the Financial Times from this weekend should be a warning to anyone who still has money on deposit in that country: “The idea of a ‘Cyprus-like’ presentation to Greek authorities has gained traction among some eurozone finance ministers, according to one official involved in the talks.” The ECB is up to its eyeballs swimming in unpayable Greek debt that it holds. The ECB is not going to take a loss on this Greek paper on its books. Because Greece does not have the financial capacity to repay what is now about €112 billion of credit exposure on the ECB’s books, the ECB has only two alternatives.

It can push the €112 billion of Greek debt it holds to the national central banks of the Eurozone and on to the backs of the taxpayers in those countries, which is politically untenable. Or it can confiscate depositor money in Greek banks, like it did in Cyprus and as the FT has now reported. The difference is that Greece presents a problem that is an order of magnitude bigger than Cyprus because of the huge debt it has outstanding. That means the shockwaves from a ‘Cyprus-like’ confiscation of bank deposits will reverberate throughout the Eurozone and far beyond because bank depositors in other countries will start asking, which country is next to confiscate bank deposits?”

Read more …

Steve’s excellent takedown of austerity.

Greek Deception, Greek Tragedy, German Farce, German Myth (Steve Keen)

There is no prospect of Schäuble’s program working without a substantial write-down of Greek government debt—yet this is something the Troika refuses to countenance. In this sense the Troika’s program is the essence of farce, since it is persisting with a ludicrously improbable program. Schäuble’s assertion that the program imposed on Greece is “not blind “austerity”” also cannot be reconciled with the fact that the Troika’s program has had a far worse impact on Greece than the Troika expected. A European Parliament study pointed out that the Troika predicted that unemployment in Greece would peak at 15% in 2012, and fall thereafter. Instead, it rose to over 25%, and remains above this level today. Who else but the blind—or those acting in a farce—could ignore such a huge disparity between the ambitions of the Troika’s program and its actual results?

This failure is not because the Greeks haven’t tried hard enough—far from it. The cutbacks that were imposed at the direction of the Troika were extreme. They included, for example, a reduction in the minimum wage of more than 20%, and a 25% cut to hospital funding. How can this last measure be reconciled with Schäuble’s description of the Troika’s policies as “preparing aging societies for the future”? The Troika’s program has failed on its own terms because it had a far more drastic negative impact on the Greek economy than the Troika’s economic models predicted. The economy has contracted by 6% a year in nominal terms for several years—and by as much as 10% in inflation-adjusted terms. What was expected to be a “short, sharp shock” followed by a return to sustained growth has instead become a Greek Great Depression.

Read more …

Tell the creditors to go take a hike.

Athens Proposes Bank Transaction Levy, Creditors Reject VAT Plan (Kathimerini)

Athens is promoting the idea of a special levy on banking transactions at a rate of 0.1-0.2%, while the government’s proposal for a two-tier value-added tax – depending on whether the payment is in cash or by card – has met with strong opposition from the country’s creditors. A senior government official told Kathimerini that among the proposals discussed with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund is the imposition of a levy on bank transactions, whose exact rate will depend on the exemptions that would apply. The aim is to collect €300-600 million on a yearly basis.

Available data show that the annual level of bank transactions comes to over €660 billion but the government will likely exempt debit card transactions, such as cash machine withdrawals, given that the Finance Ministry is eager to promote the use of debit cards as part of its efforts to combat tax evasion. The precise terms of the levy have not yet been addressed but the idea is being discussed in principle, as it is seen to have considerable fiscal benefits and a low impact on ordinary household budgets. As for the proposal for shaving three percentage points from the VAT rate when a transaction is not made in cash, Greece’s creditors are opposed to the scheme, arguing that it would bring annual losses of 6.5 billion euros for state coffers.

Instead, they propose the main rate to be set at 18-20% and the low one (applying to food, drugs and books) to stand at 8%. At the same time, they want the discounted rate that applies on Aegean islands to be scrapped. Athens proposed a top VAT rate of 18%, dropping to 15% for cash-free transactions, and a 9.5% rate for food, drugs and books, falling to 6.5% for card transactions. Following the rejection of this idea from the country’s lenders, the Finance Ministry sent a new proposal that includes three VAT rates. According to sources, these are 7.5%, 15 and 21 or 22. It is estimated that this scheme would bring in an additional €800 million in revenues. However, €200 million of this would be returned to the Aegean islands to compensate for the increase in their VAT rates.

Read more …

The creditors want even higher rates.

Varoufakis’ Overhaul Of VAT System May Skyrocket Food & Utility Prices (KTG)

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said it clearly Monday night on political program on private STAR TV. There will be a flat Value Added Tax of 18% for cash-transactions and a 3% discount – ie. 15% V.A.T. – for payments with credit or debit card. He assured that “the low V.A.T. of 6.5% will still be valid for food items, medicines, books, newspapers and other print material” provided the payments will be done via non-cash transactions. Otherwise,the VAT for these items will be 9.5%. With the current state of V.A.T. there is hardly any basic food item with 6.5% V.A.T. except bread and pasta. Varoufakis’ proposal for a rather complicated V.A.T. system will be submitted to the creditors with the aim to tackle Value Added Tax evasion, which is estimated to be €9.5 billion per year.

At the same time, the new system will allow tax authorities to follow step by step all purchases done by taxpayers due the online access of tax offices to bank accounts. It will not only give incentives of 3% V.A.T. discount to consumers for the purchase of products and services and force entrepreneurs to accept the “new deal and sell innovation”, it will also enable the tax authorities to check each newspaper, each shampoo and each carrot you buy, then sum the purchases up and check if taxpayers’ tax declaration and income matches to the expenses he/she has done. This however has not so much to do with people’s tax evasion or not.

It has to do with the unfair tax system of “deemed and fictitious income and taxation” imposed by the Troika in 2012 (or 2011) and according to which the tax office considers that each person needs €3,000 per year to cover his basic needs (food, cleaning material etc.). The person is then been taxed accordingly independently of whether it has an income or not. In fact, this measure is been implemented to people without income, that is Greece’s famous 25% jobless labor craft. If the person happens to live in own or rented apartment, another €2,000-3,000 are being added and the jobless has to be tax for the €5,000-6,000 income he does not have. Furthermore, with this measure it will be time for the Greeks to say Goodbye to privacy of their purchases and dirty little habits.

Read more …

From the Syriza desks.

Europe’s Moment Of Truth (Tassos Koronakis, Central Committee of Syriza)

Dear friends, After almost four months of intensive negotiations, we have reached a moment of truth for our common European project. The Syriza-led government does its best to reach an honorable agreement with its European and international partners that respects both the obligations of Greece as a European member-state, but also the Greek peoples’ electoral mandate. The Syriza-led government has already started a series of reforms that tackle corruption and widespread tax-evasion. Spending is reined in and collected tax revenue exceeds expectations, reaching a primary budget surplus of 2.16 bn (January-April 2015), far above the initial estimation for a 287m deficit. Meanwhile, Greece has honored all debt obligations by its own resources, a unique case among European nations since any disbursement of funds has been cut off since August 2014.

Four months of exhausting negotiations have passed, where Greece’s creditors systematically insist on forcing on the SYRIZA-led government the exact austerity program that was rejected by the Greek people in the January 25 elections. Liquidity asphyxiation, orchestrated by the Institutions, has led to a critical situation for our country’s finances, making it unbearable to serve upcoming debt obligations. The Greek government has done its best to reach an agreement, but red lines -having to do with sustainable and not unrealistic primary surpluses, the restoration of collective contracts and the minimum wage, workers protection from massive lay-offs, the protection of wages, pensions and the social security system from further cuts, stopping fire-sale privatizations etc- are to be respected.

Popular sovereignty and democratic mandates are to be respected. Greek people’s patience and goodwill is not to be mistaken as willingness to succumb to unprecedented blackmail. European democracy is not to be asphyxiated. Times are crucial; political will from our European partners is needed to overcome the current stalemate. This call is not just a call for solidarity, it is a call for due respect of the foremost of European values. In this framework, SYRIZA appeals to all progressive and democratic social and political actors who acknowledge that Greece’s fight is not limited within its national borders, but constitutes a fight for democracy and social justice in Europe.

In these critical moments, we are calling for acts of social and political solidarity, ranging from the organization of rallies and awareness campaigns across Europe, to institutional initiatives in local, regional and national parliaments and personal or collective statements of support to the efforts of Greece to swift the European paradigm from disastrous austerity to a new model for sustainable growth. Your support is of utmost importance, not only for the people of Greece, but for the fate of the European idea.

Read more …

“Our economy here has relied almost entirely on building housing but everyone who can afford an apartment already has one..”

China Slowdown Deepens Provincial Economic Divide (FT)

Last month more than 30 provincial taxi drivers drank poison and collapsed together on the busiest shopping street in Beijing in a dramatic protest against economic and working conditions in their home town. The drivers, who the police say all survived, were from Suifenhe, a city on the Russian border in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. Such lurid acts of protest are an ancient tradition in China but the extremity of their action highlights one of the biggest problems facing Beijing as it tries to manage the worst economic slowdown in nearly three decades: a deepening provincial economic divide. An examination of regional growth rates across the country shows the slowdown has affected some areas far worse than others. Perhaps predictably, the worst-hit places are those that can least afford it.

Heilongjiang is among the poorest performers. While national nominal growth slipped to 5.8% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier — its lowest level since the global financial crisis — the province’s nominal GDP actually contracted, by 3.2%. In the provincial capital of Harbin, signs of economic malaise are everywhere. A large upscale mall in the centre of town with half a dozen boarded-up shopfronts is abandoned inside apart from a luxury home furnishing shop and a Bentley dealership with three salespeople asleep on couches in the corner. A short drive from the city centre and the primary reason for the region’s economic woes becomes clear. As far as the eye can see there are empty or half-built residential tower communities boasting names such as “Jade Lake World”, “River Chateau”, “Polyup Town” and Intime City”.

Each tower holds roughly 400 units and each community has between 20 and 50 towers. In the new Qunli district alone there are more than 30 completed or half-built communities. Without much industry, Harbin’s economy has traditionally relied on agriculture, tourism and trade with Russia but in the past five years it has been boosted by the enormous residential property construction binge seen all over China. “In the past few years a decent-sized cement company could sell 1m cubic metres of cement annually but now they are lucky to sell 100 cu m a day and they are all losing money,” says Chen Liyong, a 31-year-old taxi driver who lost his job at a cement company late last year. “Our economy here has relied almost entirely on building housing but everyone who can afford an apartment already has one and we don’t have anyone moving here from other places.”

Read more …

As I said: a kow-tow.

John Kerry Admits Defeat Over Ukraine, And That’s A Good Thing (Salon)

It is just as well Secretary of State John Kerry’s momentous meetings with Russian leaders last week took place in Sochi, the Black Sea resort where President Putin keeps a holiday home. When you have to acknowledge that two years’ worth of pointless hostility in the bilateral relationship has proven none other than pointless, it is best to do so in a far-away place. Arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, Kerry spent three hours with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s very competent foreign minister, and then four with Putin. After struggling with the math, these look to me like the most significant seven hours the former senator will spend as this nation’s face abroad.

Who cannot be surprised that the Obama administration, having turned the Ukraine question into the most dangerous showdown since the Cold War’s worst, now declares cordiality, cooperation and common goals the heart of the matter? The question is not quite as simple as one may think. On the one hand, the policy cliques’ long swoon into demonization has been scandalously juvenile, and there has been no sign until now of sense to come. Grown men and women advancing the Putin-is-Hitler bit with straight faces. Getting the Poles, paranoids for understandable reasons on all questions to with Russia, to stage ostentatious displays of teenagers in after-school military exercises. American soldiers in those silly berets they affect drilling Ukrainian Beetle Baileys in “war-making functions,” as the officer in charge put it.

When the last of these theatrics got under way in mid-April, it was time for paying-attention people to sit up. As noted in this space, it seemed to indicate that we Americans were prepared to go to war with another nuclear power to rip Ukraine from its past and replant it in the neoliberals’ hothouse of client states—doomed to weakness precisely because corrupt leaders were enticed with baubles to sever their people from history. On the other hand, it took no genius to see what would eventually come. This column predicted long back—within weeks of the American-cultivated coup that deposed President Yanukovych in February of last year—that the Obama administration would one day be forced to retreat before it all came to resolution.

Read more …

Trying to stiff Russia. Not a good idea.

It Begins: Ukraine Takes First Real Steps To Default (Mercouris)

The Ukrainian government is on the brink of declaring default. The Ukrainian government has proposed a bill allowing the government to impose a “moratorium” on payment of the country’s external debts. Such a moratorium is just another word for a default. It is the same device the Russian government used when it defaulted on its external debt in 1998. This is not quite the end of Ukraine’s debt saga. Ukraine will only be formally in default when it misses a payment. It is possible Ukraine has taken this step as a negotiating tactic to put more pressure on its Western creditors. It is also possible Ukraine is hoping to preserve some financial credibility by picking and choosing which creditors it will pay. As we have discussed previously, it might try to go on paying its Western creditors while defaulting on the debts it owes to Russia.

Frankly, this all looks unlikely and it seems that what we are looking at is an across-the-board default. In truth, as has been pointed out by several people — notably by Eric Kraus — the numbers of the various IMF plans have never added up, and a default looked increasingly inevitable from the moment the Maidan coup happened, when it became clear the Ukrainian government was heading into a confrontation with its economically critically important eastern regions and with its biggest trade partner Russia. The accelerating collapse of Ukraine’s economy (with GDP contracting by 17% in the first quarter by comparison with last year) and the deadlock in the negotiations with the Western creditors, appears to have made today’s default announcement unavoidable.

Read more …

“../the word Merkel said, “verbrecherische” has rarely been used by her before; it carries the connotation in colloquial German of gangsterism — and of Nazism.”

Angela Merkel Has Been Abandoned By Kerry, Nuland And Putin (Helmer)

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, would do almost anything to get and keep power. That, in the opinion of powerful German bankers, includes making herself look ready for war with Russia in order to make her political rival, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the coalition Foreign Minister and opposition leader in Berlin, look too weak to be electable when the German poll must be called by 2017. So, sources close to the Chancellery say, Merkel insulted President Vladimir Putin and all Russians to their faces last week. This week Victoria Nuland, the junior State Department official who told the chancellor to get fucked a year ago, was in Moscow, replacing Merkel with a settlement of the Ukraine conflict the Kremlin prefers.

“We are ready for this,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last Thursday after meeting Secretary of State John Kerry. Referring to Nuland, Lavrov added: “we were not those who had suspended relations. Those, who had done it, should reconsider their stance….But, as usual, the devil is in the details.” Lavrov meant not one, but two devils, who have sabotaged every move towards a settlement of the Ukraine conflict since the start of 2014 – Nuland and Merkel. Merkel’s Kaput! moment came on May 10, when she went to Moscow to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Deutsche Welle, the state German press agency, called it Merkel’s “compromise after she stayed away from a Russian military parade the day before.”

At the following press conference with Putin, Merkel said: “We have sought more and more cooperation in recent years. The criminal and illegal annexation of Crimea and the military hostilities in eastern Ukraine has led to a serious setback for this cooperation.” German sources say the word Merkel said, “verbrecherische” has rarely been used by her before; it carries the connotation in colloquial German of gangsterism — and of Nazism. “Merkel doesn’t seem to care what she says any longer,” a high-level German source says. “She exhibits more and more emotion these days, more irritation, and less care for what she says, and where. Putin understood exactly what she meant, and on the occasion she said it. He acted with unusual generosity not to react.”

The Kremlin transcript omitted Merkel’s remarks altogether. The Moscow newspapers ignored Merkel’s word and emphasized the positive Putin ones. “Our country fought not against Germany,” Putin replied to Merkel, “but against Nazi Germany. We never fought Germany, which itself became the Nazi regime’s first victim. We always had many friends and supporters there.

Read more …

“He who doesn’t regret the collapse of the USSR doesn’t have a heart; he who wants to see it reborn doesn’t have a brain.” (Putin)

No, You Can’t Go Back To The USSR! (Dmitry Orlov)

One of the fake stories kept alive by certain American politicians, with the help of western media, is that Vladimir Putin (who, they vacuously claim, is a dictator and a tyrant) wants to reconstitute the USSR, with the annexation of Crimea as the first step. Instead of listening to their gossip, let’s lay out the facts. The USSR was officially dissolved on December 26, 1991 by declaration 142-H of the Supreme Soviet. It acknowledged the independence of the 15 Soviet republics, and in the place of the USSR created a Commonwealth of Independent States, which hasn’t amounted to much. In the west, there was much rejoicing, and everyone assumed that in the east everyone was rejoicing as well.

Well, that’s a funny thing, actually, because a union-wide referendum held on March 17, 1991, produced a stunning result: with over 80% turnout, of the 185,647,355 people who voted 113,512,812 voted to preserve the USSR. That’s 77.85% not exactly a slim majority. Their wishes were disregarded. Was this public sentiment temporary, borne of fear in the face of uncertainty? And if it were to persist, it would surely be a purely Russian thing, because the populations of all these other Independent States, having tasted freedom, would never consider rejoining Russia. Well, that’s another funny thing: in September of 2011, fully two decades after the referendum, Ukrainian sociologists found out that 30% of the people there wished for a return to a Soviet-style planned economy (stunningly, 17% of these were young people with no experience of life in the USSR) and only 22% wished for some sort of European-style democracy.

The wish for a return to Soviet-style central planning is telling: it shows just how miserable a failure the Ukraine’s experiment with instituting a western-style market economy had become. But, again, their wishes were disregarded. This would seem to indicate that Putin’s presumptuously postulated project of reconstituting the USSR would have plenty of popular support, would it not? What he said on the subject, when asked directly (in December of 2010) is this: He who doesn’t regret the collapse of the USSR doesn’t have a heart; he who wants to see it reborn doesn’t have a brain. Last I checked, Putin does have a brain; ergo, no USSR 2.0 is forthcoming.

Read more …

Third world.

Dead Nation Walking (Jim Kunstler)

Many people seem to think that America has lost its sense of purpose. They overlook the obvious: that we are striving to become the Bulgaria of the western hemisphere. At least we already have enough vampires to qualify. You don’t have to seek further than the USA’s sub-soviet-quality passenger railroad system, which produced the spectacular Philadelphia derailment last week that killed eight people and injured dozens more. Six days later, we’re still waiting for some explanation as to why the train was going 100 miles-per-hour on a historically dangerous curve within the city limits.

The otherwise excellent David Stockman posted a misguided blog last week that contained all the boilerplate arguments denouncing passenger rail: that it’s addicted to government subsidies and that a “free market” would put it out of its misery because Americans prefer to drive and fly from one place to another. One reason Americans prefer to drive — say, from Albany, NY, to Boston — is that there is only one train a day, it never leaves on time or arrives on time, and it takes twice as long as a car trip for no reason that makes any sense. Of course, this is exactly the kind of journey (slightly less than 200 miles) that doesn’t make sense to fly, either, given all the dreary business of getting to-and-from the airports, not to mention the expense of a short-hop plane ticket.

I take the popular (and gorgeous!) Hudson River Amtrak train between Albany and New York several times a year because bringing a car into Manhattan is an enormous pain in the ass. This train may have the highest ridership in the country, but it’s still a Third World experience. The heat or the AC is often out of whack, you can’t buy so much as a bottle of water on the train, the windows are gunked-over, and the seats are often broken. They put wifi on trains a couple of years ago but it cuts out every ten minutes.

Anyway, even if Americans seem to prefer for the present moment to drive or fly, it may not always be the case that they will be able to. Several surprising forces are gathering to take down the Happy Motoring matrix. Peak oil is actually not playing out in the form of too-high gasoline prices, but rather a race between a bankrupt middle class unable to pay the total costs of motoring and an oil industry that can’t make a profit drilling for hard-to-get oil. That scenario is plain to see in the rapid rise and now fall of shale oil.

Read more …

Are there any cars left that have not been recalled?

Air Bag Defect Triggers Largest Auto Recall In US History (Guardian)

Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata is expected to declare about 33.8m vehicles defective on Tuesday, a move that is expected to lead to the largest auto recall in US history, the Detroit News reported, citing three officials briefed on the announcement. The company is expected to announce that it has filed a series of four defect information reports with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), declaring both driver and passenger air bag inflators defective in the vehicles, the report said. The US Department of Transportation and the NHTSA said earlier that they would make a “major” announcement related to the air bag recall.

The number of vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags recalled globally since 2008 has risen to about 36m following recalls over the past week by Japan’s Toyota, Nissan and Honda. The automakers have said that they decided to proceed with the recalls after finding some Takata air bag inflators were not sealed properly, allowing moisture to seep into the propellant casing. Moisture damages the propellant and can lead to an inflator exploding with too much force, shooting shrapnel inside the vehicle. Six deaths have been linked to the defective air bags, all in cars made by Honda, which has borne the brunt of the Takata recalls to date and which gave a disappointing profit forecast last month due to higher costs related to quality fixes.

Read more …

Great piece from a ‘cleared advisor’ to the government.

I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Warren’s Right to Be Concerned (Politico)

“You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal.

We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice. So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.

What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

Read more …

Of course it won’t. It will kill people.

Italian Coastguards: Military Action Will Not Solve Migrant Crisis (Guardian)

The Italian coastguards leading migrant rescue missions in the southern Mediterranean have voiced concern about the EU’s migration strategy, arguing that military operations will not stop migration to Europe and calling instead for European navies to prioritise search-and-rescue missions. Speaking on Monday before EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch military operations against Libyan smugglers, coastguard captain Paolo Cafaro said a military campaign would not eradicate the root causes of the Mediterranean crisis. His colleagues Admiral Giovanni Pettorino and Capt Leopoldo Manna called for an increased focus on saving migrants’ lives, with Manna urging European navies, including that of Britain, to give him more control over their boats in order to streamline Mediterranean search-and-rescue activities.

All three are senior officers within Italy’s Guardia Costiera, a semi-autonomous wing of the Italian navy. Pettorino leads its search-and-rescue division; Cafaro is in charge of the division’s planned rescue missions; and Manna heads its emergency response control room, which has ultimate responsibility for managing how coastguard, navy, and merchant vessels of all nationalities respond to migrant SOS calls. Cafaro said: “The problem of migration, of desperate people, will not be solved with these [military] measures. It will assume other forms. They will try to find other ways.” Cafaro admitted it was desirable “to stop all the involvement of criminal organisations in this traffic, all the money that they earn from this traffic, this is [something that is] necessary to destroy. But the problem of migration cannot be solved with measures like these.”

Cafaro also questioned whether European navies would be able to target smugglers’ boats before they are used for migration missions, due to both the absence of a blessing from Libya’s official government and the UN, as well the complexities of the smuggling process. Smuggling boats are often simply fishing boats bought in the days prior to a trip, and kept in civilian harbours until the night of their departure. Cafaro said: “I think that different European navy ships at sea can intercept and destroy wooden boats – that I think is very possible and feasible. [But] they can’t do that in Libyan territorial waters. They must do that when they are in international waters, after the people on board have been rescued, and then they can do it.”

Read more …

Of course the Guardian can’t help itself: it must label Syriza ‘a populist party’.

Far Right Set To Enter Government Coalition In Finland (Guardian)

Finland’s government is expected to include far right representation after the new prime minister, Centre party leader Juha Sipilä, confirmed that he was opening negotiations to bring the populist Finns party (PS) into coalition for the first time. The PS’s charismatic leader, Timo Soini, is poised to become a minister, probably with the finance or foreign affairs portfolio, after the party finished second in the general election on 19 April. Sipilä said it was the “best option” to meet the challenges facing the country, notably the economy. He said he wanted a strong coalition capable “of making reforms and implementing those decisions”.

The third partner in the coalition will be the conservative National Coalition party, led by outgoing premier Alexander Stubb. The coalition will have a comfortable majority, with 123 seats out of 200. Negotiations have begun on a detailed agenda for government. The Social Democrats, part of the previous government, will be in opposition after their crushing election defeat. Throughout the campaign, Soini, 52, assured voters he was ready to govern. He is a well-known Eurosceptic and a critic of the financial rescue package for Greece.

Soini avoided any reference to the euro on the campaign trail, though his party manifesto clearly states that Finland should renegotiate the terms of European Union membership and recover powers from Brussels. Soini also toned down his criticism of immigration, though he made no attempt to condemn the xenophobic comments of some other PS candidates. There is a consensus view, shared by the three main parties that have governed in the past, that it is preferable to have the populists on board, rather than allow them to gain ground in opposition. Along with Belgium and Greece, Finland is the third EU country with populist Eurosceptics in government.

Read more …

“WWIII: Capitalism vs Morality, the Final Battle to Save the World.”

The Best Show This Summer: Pope’s ‘Morality Vs. Capitalism’ (Paul B. Farrell)

Yes it’s summertime, folks! Family vacations! Rock stars on concert tours across America: Garth Books. Katy Perry. U2. One Direction. Plus endless movie blockbusters opening in theaters near you: “Mad Max.” “Jurassic World.” “Age of Ultron.” “Terminator Genisys.” “Tomorrowland.” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” But one blockbuster tour is destined to beat all competition, break all records, hit the music charts at No.1 with a bullet, fill stadiums seating millions and rattling enemies with endless screenings condemning the dark side of capitalism, while raking in billions for humanity. Yes, when ticket sales ante up, Pope Francis will crush the competition with his summer-long blockbuster rollout: “WWIII: Capitalism vs Morality, the Final Battle to Save the World.”

On the surface it’s “WWIII: Capitalism vs Climate.” But in fact, capitalism’s at war with morality. Capitalism has lost its soul, has no moral code. Yes, capitalism does hate the very mention of global warming, bristles at any suggestion of protecting Planet Earth from climate change. But bottom line, this is a battle to the death with morality, capitalism’s at war with the gods. In their arrogance and narcissism, capitalists really do believe they are superior, the “Invisible Hand” of God. Unfortunately they don’t see what’s about to hit them, some even dismissing the pope as politically irrelevant. Big mistake. They’re also distracted by the traveling tent circus overcrowded with 20 GOP presidential candidates fighting for money from rich donors, headlines in local newspapers, broadcast sound bites, all to get a few voters out in Iowa cornfields.

But so far, this is little more than a noisy distraction, previews of coming attractions for a home movie. So what’s ahead for capitalists? Some talking points already emerged from the pope’s recent trial balloon. A “Declaration of Religious Leaders, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners” was released right after the Vatican’s “Climate Summit” at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences in Rome. The summit opened with a clear declaration that everyone, rich and poor, has a “moral duty” to protect the environment. Listen:

“Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity … the poor and excluded face dire threats from climate disruptions, including the increased frequency of droughts, extreme storms, heat waves, and rising sea levels … The world has within its technological grasp, financial means and know-how to mitigate climate change while also ending extreme poverty … through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable the shift of public financing from military spending to urgent investments for sustainable development.”

Read more …

Permaculture understands this: “.. attracting wild bees (in this case, by planting wildflowers at the edge of a crop) could aid in crop pollination – up to 50% of it, at least.”

That’s Billion, With A Bee: The Massive Cost Of Hive Collapse (Reuters)

In farming, technology will only take you so far. GPS can help drive automated harvesters around the fields, satellites help to ensure the right crops get planted at the right time. But if you want your crops to grow, you’ll have to rely on something a little more old-fashioned: honey bees. And they’re dying in enormous numbers: The makers of insecticides containing neonics, Bayer and Syngenta chief among them, have a lot to lose if regulatory bodies end up siding with the environmentalists. More than 90% of the corn in the U.S. is treated with neonics, according to this release from Bayer. To put this in perspective, last year the USDA estimated that around 91.6 million acres of corn were planted in the United States. That’s a lot of neonic’d corn.

So what happens if — or when — we run out of honey bees? In addition to posing a huge risk to global food supply, there would be dire economic repercussions. Right now, the honey bee adds more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy alone, through its pollination of fruits, vegetables and other crops, according to a 2014 report from the White House. Worldwide, that number is around $365 billion per year. And it’s not just traditional farmers who would suffer. The honey bee industry in the U.S. pulls in more than $300 million in revenue a year, according to a December 2014 IbisWorld report.

But as the bees die, some fear the industry will go with them. The American Beekeeping Federation told the Wall Street Journal that its membership has been massively depleted over the past 20 years. The solution to a lack of honey bees might just be… different bees. At least that’s according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study, which showed that attracting wild bees (in this case, by planting wildflowers at the edge of a crop) could aid in crop pollination – up to 50% of it, at least.

Read more …