Nov 202022
 
 November 20, 2022  Posted by at 2:20 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


Ivan Aivazovsky Sea channel with lighthouse 1873

 

 

I suggest we have three “pairings” of people. In Russia, there’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. In the US, we have Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. In the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. Of course, there’s also President Biden and Putin; the EU has no president, it only has von der Leyen. Likewise, you at times see Russian and American Defense misters, but the EU doesn’t have one of those either. It sort of makes do with Borrell.

For the three pairings, the job titles are different, but these are the people you see talking most when Ukraine is the topic. Certainly Lavrov, but also Zakharova, are diplomats. Blinken and Borrell like to call themselves that, but they are obviously not. The job of a true diplomat is to always leave channels open to talk with everyone, and never condemn or speak ill of, anyone -in public. It’s bad manners. But Blinken is a neocon who’s been cheering on various US invasions for 30 years, and that disqualifies him from diplomacy. As for Jean-Pierre, let’s not even discuss her. We don’t want to insult Zakharova by even trying to make a comparison.

Von der Leyen and Borrell have the disadvantage that their power is not genuine. They have never been elected to their posts, other than by a small group of insiders that are easily controlled. Moreover, the EU has no army, it depends 100% on the US, so independent decisions are out of the question. The EU is talking again about its own army, and even about building its own fighter jet, but each would cost at least 10 years, and thus be useless in the current situation.

Perhaps that’s why Von der Leyen and Borrell talk more, and more aggressively, than the others. But with that talk, along with the sanctions they have made the bloc’s policy, they have brought a lot of misery to the people in their member countries. Of course, they claim this is inevitable, and it’s all Russia’s fault, but that is merely a claim. Just like the idea that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was totally unprovoked. That practically no country outside the “collective west” think it’s true says a lot.

And the next colossal and fully unnecessary blunder appears to come next week, when the European parliament is poised to declare Russia a “Terrorist State”. What they hope to achieve by that, who knows? Bragging rights? Diplomats don’t do those. Even the US refuses to go there, because “none of these efforts at keeping some kind of potential negotiations open would be possible if the US slapped a ‘terrorist state’ label on Russia.” The ‘terrorist state’ label comes straight from Zelensky, and the EU appears set to still follow him closely. While the US is creating some distance from him. The talk in Turkey last week between the US and Russian intelligence chiefs should not be overlooked. And yes, that’s right, the EU doesn’t have an intelligence chief.

When Zelensky and Poland tried to lure the US into a NATO war against Russia in reaction to the “missile over Poland”, the US for the first time said a firm “NO”. A turning point? It’s the US making clear they will not enter the war. Because as Lidia Misnik wrote: ‘The US Won’t Sacrifice Chicago For Warsaw’ What’s more, as Batiushka said, “In Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to [Saddam] Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all.”

 

 

The best thing to do for the EU would be to get rid of both Borrell and von der Leyen, and adopt a less antagonistic and more diplomatic position vs Russia, but that may be hard to achieve, given the power structure in Brussels. Still, there must be a few French and German real diplomats left. But, ironically (?!), the US may not agree. They may want for the EU to continue it’s self-destructive path for a while, at the same time that the US washes its hands clean(er). European pain is American gain in many ways. Just look at EU purchases of weapons and LNG. Once Europe freezes over, this will not be a viable attitude, but for now…until Christmas…

From RT via Azerbaycan:

Borrell’s Ideas Deepen EU Divisions – Moscow

The EU’s policies towards Moscow promoted by foreign policy chief Josep Borrell only deepen the divisions in the bloc, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday. Earlier this week, the top EU diplomat proposed six points to serve as guidelines for diplomacy towards Russia amid the Ukraine conflict. Commenting on Borrell’s plans, Zakharova said that while it is “too soon” to speak about what it may entail, Moscow “does not harbor any illusions” about the bloc’s political thinking. “Unfortunately, the ideas which are being sold to EU members by… Borrell do not contain even a hint of the EU’s strategic vision [regarding Russia].”

“They only work to deepen the … divisions in Europe,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the EU has not proposed any measures to solve the numerous problems in bilateral relations. Revealing his six-point plan, Borrell described the stand-off with Russia as a “geopolitical battle,” and insisted that the EU should, among other things, isolate Russia internationally, hold it accountable for its alleged misdeeds, while cooperating with the bloc’s partners and supporting civil rights groups. While trying to root out any alternative points of view, the EU has fully embraced the idea of isolating Russia, Zakharova said, adding that “this is hopeless and will only impose costs on EU countries and their citizens, who are forced to pay out of their own pockets for the strategic blunders of their politicians.”

“It’s emblematic that most global capitals are not ready to follow … Brussels, which, in its medieval logic, is bringing the world back to the age of schism, high walls, and besieged fortresses,” she said. Her comments come as EU countries face protests over high energy prices and surging costs of living, which have been worsened by the sanctions on Russia. In late October, thousands of Czech citizens rallied in Prague to decry the rampant inflation, while calling on the government to begin direct talks with Moscow over gas imports.

EU member state Hungary has repeatedly spoken out against the sanctions. Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed that they “have failed” and have only backfired on the EU and damaged the economy. Following the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, relations between the EU and Russia deteriorated rapidly as Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow. In June, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed that EU-Russian ties had frayed to the point that it would be difficult to damage them any further.

 

 

You can just about watch the EU under the present “leadership” commit hara kiri in real time.

From Zero Hedge:

European Parliament Set To Designate Russia A “Terrorist State”

The European Parliament has prepared a resolution recognizing Russia as a “terrorist state” – to be subject of a vote held during a session in Strasbourg next week, according to a spokesperson’s briefing at a Friday news conference. The largely symbolic resolution was drafted by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and cites Russia’s “intimidation and destruction of Ukrainians as a nation,” according a draft previously seen by Euronews. The political blocs Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists are also said to be backing a formal declaration which could come as early as next Wednesday.

While not legally binding, the resolution can be used for the EU to slap further sanctions on Moscow, and can create momentum for other countries like the UK to adopt the ‘terror state’ label for Russia. However, the UK has so far resisted these calls from some individual British politicians and officials. So far, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been the first to legally recognize Russia as a terrorist state. The Biden administration has also thus far resisted some isolated Congressional calls to do so, as the Kremlin has warned such a measure would destroy all ties and communications. It would make negotiated settlement in Ukraine almost an impossibility.

So far it’s especially been the Pentagon which has sought to keep an open line of communications. The CIA director William Burns was also in Turkey this week meeting with this Russian intelligence counterpart. But none of these efforts at keeping some kind of potential negotiations open would be possible if the US slapped a ‘terrorist state’ label on Russia. The US is also chiefly interested in pursuing prisoner swaps, with citizens like Brittney Griner now serving long prison sentences.

There are things shifting and moving, especially on the US side. It’s very much the question if that will happen fast enough for the people of Europe, who will be cold, and Ukraine, who will be cold and in the dark..

 

 

 

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Oct 302022
 


Balthus Girl at the window 1955

 

Americans Support Quick Diplomatic End To War In Ukraine (ReSt)
‘Russia Will Lose The Energy Battle,’ Says IEA Chief Fatih Birol (EN)
Russian Energy ‘Will Never Return’ – IEA (RT)
US LNG Cannot Replace The Russian Natural Gas That Europe Has Lost (OP)
Putin: “The Situation Is, To A Certain Extent, Revolutionary” (Escobar)
‘Massive’ Drone Attack On Black Sea Fleet – Russia (BBC)
Russia Suspends Its Participation In Grain Deal (RT)
British Navy Involved In Nord Stream 2 ‘Terrorist Attack’ – Russia (RT)
German Bailout Of Struggling Energy Giant May Reach €60 Billion – BBG (RT)
Orbán Says Hungary Is ‘Exempt’ From The Conflict (Dalos)
Japan Unveils Massive Spending Package (RT)
GM “Paused” Ads on Musk’s Twitter (WS)
Writers, Publishers, Editors Call for Termination of Barrett Book Deal (Turley)
UN Seeks $4 to 6 Trillion Per Year to Address Climate (Mish)

 

 

“Tough times never last but tough people do.”
~Robert H. Schuller

 

 

 

 

Tucker fair fight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Daly

 

 

 

 

Twitter just reinstated Peter McCullough, but there’s more:

Senator Ron Johnson @SenRonJohnson:
“Hearing Dr. Peter McCullough has been stripped of his medical certifications. On what basis did this occur? He has dedicated his life to saving others. This is outrageous and must be reversed.”

 

 

 

 

You read this, you think: a voice of reason. But they still have to resort to blatant lies: “The poll’s release comes after Vladimir Putin doubled down on Russia’s war in Ukraine by mobilizing reserves and issuing threats to use nuclear weapons after recent gains by the Ukrainian military near the country’s eastern border with Russia.”

Putin mentioned nukes exactly once, and that was long before Ukraine’s “recent gains”. It was also not a threat. It was a statement.

Americans Support Quick Diplomatic End To War In Ukraine (ReSt)

Nearly 60 percent of Americans would support the United States engaging in diplomatic efforts “as soon as possible” to end the war in Ukraine, even if that means Ukraine having to make concessions to Russia, according to a new poll. The survey, conducted by Data for Progress on behalf of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, also found that a plurality (49 percent) said the Biden administration and Congress have not done enough diplomatically to help end the war (37 percent said they had). The poll’s release comes after Vladimir Putin doubled down on Russia’s war in Ukraine by mobilizing reserves and issuing threats to use nuclear weapons after recent gains by the Ukrainian military near the country’s eastern border with Russia.


Moscow has also recently orchestrated referendums in some Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine on whether citizens there want to secede and become part of the Russian Federation, leading experts to believe that regardless of the outcome, Putin plans to illegally annex parts of Ukraine. The survey also found that 47 percent said they support the continuation of U.S. military aid to Ukraine only if Washington is involved in ongoing diplomacy to end the war, while 41 percent said they would support aid regardless of whether the United States is engaged in negotiations. Just six percent said Russia’s war in Ukraine is among the top three most important issues facing the United States today, with the top three being inflation (46 percent), jobs and the economy (31 percent), and gun violence (26 percent).

Read more …

Fatih Birol has been issuing nonsense for many years. That’s precisely why he’s kept his job all this time.

But it’s very simple: if you have all the “energy”, you cannot lose the battle for it.

‘Russia Will Lose The Energy Battle,’ Says IEA Chief Fatih Birol (EN)

Russia will lose the energy battle it is waging against the West, according to Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). “Just before the invasion [of Ukraine], about 65% of the Russian total gas exports went to Europe and 55% of the Russian oil export went to Europe,” Birol told Euronews on Friday afternoon. “Europe was by far the largest market, the largest client for Russia, and Russia lost this client forever. The biggest client.” Birol’s comments appeared to refer to the retaliatory action that the European Union has taken in response to the Ukraine war: a near-total oil embargo of Russian gas and a highly expensive push to diversify gas suppliers, mainly through liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Asked if Russia could replace European clients with other regions, Birol said that would not be easy because “a big chunk” of Russian gas originates in Western Siberia and then flows to Europe via pipelines. Building brand-new pipelines to China or India could take up to 10 years, he predicted, and a significant amount of technology and investment. “You are not selling onions in the market, you are selling natural gas. It’s a different business,” Birol said. “So to replace the natural gas exports to Europe with Russia is, in the short term, a pipe dream.” But Russia is not the only country going through troubled times. In his interview with Euronews, recorded at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris, Birol spoke of an international crisis of unprecedented scope and reach, wreaking havoc in all corners of the world.

“We are in the middle of the first truly global energy crisis. Our world has never, ever witnessed an energy crisis with this depth and with this complexity,” he said. “In the 1970s, we had an oil crisis, but it was only oil. Now we have oil, natural gas, coal, electricity. The reason is very simple: Russia, the country that invaded Ukraine, is the largest energy exporter of the world.” Birol described Europe as the “epicentre” of the storm and characterised its decades-long reliance on cheap Russian fuels as a “mistake” at the root of the present crisis. The IEA chief predicted the continent will be able to make it through the upcoming winter with just some “economic and social bruises” and no major damage — but only if the winter “is not too long and not too cold, and if there are no major surprises.”

Birol, however, expressed greater concern about the 2023-2024 winter, citing three key factors: Europe’s absence of Russian gas, China’s economic recovery and tighter conditions in the LNG markets. “In the next few years, we have to be ready [to deal] with volatile and high energy prices and we have to find solutions,” he said. “But to be very frank, this winter is difficult and next winter may be even harder.”

Read more …

More Birol.

Russian Energy ‘Will Never Return’ – IEA (RT)

Russia may “never” regain its position in the global energy market due to Western sanctions in response to the country’s military operation in Ukraine, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its yearly World Energy Outlook, published on Thursday. The events in Ukraine are prompting a wholesale reorientation of global energy trade, leaving Russia with a much diminished position.All Russia’s trade ties with Europe based on fossil fuels had ultimately been undercut by Europe’s net zero ambitions, but […] now the rupture has come with a speed that few imagined possible … Russian fossil fuel exports will never return – in any of our scenarios – to the levels seen in 2021,” the agency said. It predicts that Russian oil and gas revenues will drop by more than half in the coming years, from around $75 billion last year to less than $30 billion in 2030.


Western sanctions prompted Russia, which previously supplied around 20% of the globe’s fossil fuels, to reorient its energy exports toward Asian markets, but according to the IEA the country is unsuccessful in finding markets for all of the flows that previously went to Europe. Longer term prospects are weakened by uncertainties over demand, as well as restricted access to international capital and technologies to develop more challenging fields and LNG projects, the agency explained. Overall, according to the IEA the world is facing a crisis of unprecedented depth and complexity in terms of energy, with a profound reorientation of international energy trade already underway. The agency predicts that the energy crisis is likely to force countries to speed up their energy transition, as solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicles, are deemed less vulnerable to political crises and sanctions than fossil fuels.

Read more …

Not even close.

US LNG Cannot Replace The Russian Natural Gas That Europe Has Lost (OP)

Europe cannot rely solely on imports of U.S. LNG to offset the pipeline gas supply it will have lost from Russia when it starts rebuilding inventories after the end of this winter, according to BloombergNEF. So far this year, American LNG has been crucial in meeting demand in Europe, which is scrambling for gas supply and willing to pay up for spot deliveries, outbidding most of Asia. The United States is shipping record volumes of LNG to Europe to help EU allies and nearly 70% of all American LNG exports were headed to Europe in September, according to Refinitiv Eikon data cited by Reuters. However, the significant drop in Russian gas supply this year occurred only in June, meaning that Europe could still stock up on some Russian gas earlier this year.

Ahead of the 2023/2024 winter, however, the gap in gas supply in Europe will be much wider without Russian gas. Europe will not be importing much Russian gas—or none at all if Russia cuts off deliveries via the one link left operational via Ukraine and via TurkStream—compared to relatively stable imports from Russia in the first half of this year, before Moscow started gradually cutting volumes via Nord Stream in June until shutting down the pipeline in early September. “The year-on-year increase is not sufficient to offset a total cut in Russian piped supply with under half of these volumes met by LNG increases,” BNEF analyst Arun Toora said.

“The good news is that Russia looks close to having played its last card in terms of gas leverage over Europe. However Europe’s challenges will not disappear with the daffodils next spring,” London-based consultancy Timera Energy said in a winter gas market outlook at the beginning of October. Without most of the Russian gas supply, Europe will likely need to offset around 40 bcm of additional lost Russian flows next year. LNG alone cannot meet this volume, considering a lack of new global liquefaction capacity in the short-term, including in the U.S., limited further demand elasticity in Asia, and European regasification capacity constraints. Therefore, European demand will need to fall, Timera Energy said.

Read more …

“Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.”

Putin: “The Situation Is, To A Certain Extent, Revolutionary” (Escobar)

[..] the heart of the matter at Valdai is its 2022 report, “A World Without Superpowers”. The report’s central thesis – eminently correct – is that “the United States and its allies, in fact, no longer enjoy the status of dominant superpower, but the global infrastructure that serves it is still in place.” Of course all major interconnected issues at the current crossroads were precipitated because” Russia became the first major power which, guided by its own ideas of security and fairness, chose to discard the benefits of ‘global peace’ created by the only superpower.” Well, not exactly “global peace”; rather a Mafia-enforced ethos of “our way or the highway”.

The report quite diplomatically characterizes the freezing of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves and the “mop up” of Russia’s property abroad as “Western jurisdictions”, “if necessary”, being “guided by political expediency rather than the law”. That’s in fact outright theft, under the shadow of the “rules-based international order”. The report – optimistically – foresees the advent of a sort of normalized “cold peace” as “the best available solution today” – acknowledging at least this is far from guaranteed, and “will not halt the fundamental rebuilding of the international system on new foundations.” The foundation for evolving multipolarity has in fact been presented by the Russia-China strategic partnership only three weeks before imperially-ordered provocations forced Russia to launch the Special Military Operation (SMO).

The Valdai report duly acknowledges the role of Global South medium-sized powers that “exemplify the democratization of international politics” and may “act as shock absorbers during periods of upheaval.” That’s a direct reference to the role of BRICS+ as key protagonists. On the Big Picture across the chessboard, the analysis tends to get more realistic when it considers that “the triumph of ‘the only true idea’ makes effective dialogue and agreement with supporters of different views and values impossible by definition.” Putin alluded to it several times in his address. There’s no evidence whatsoever the Empire and its vassals will be deviating from their normative, imposed, value-laden unilateralism.

As for world politics beginning to “rapidly return to a state of anarchy built on force”, that’s self-evident: only the Empire of Chaos wants to impose anarchy, as it completely ran out of geopolitical and geoeconomic tools to control rebel nations, apart from the sanctions tsunami. So the report is correct when it identifies that the childish neo-Hegelian “end of history” wet dream in the end hit the wall of History: we’re back to the pattern of large scale conflicts between centers of power. And it’s also a fact that “simply changing the ‘operator’ as it happened in earlier centuries” (as in the US taking over from Britain) “just won’t work.” China might harbor a desire to become the new sheriff, but the Beijing leadership definitely is not interested.

And even if that happened the Hegemon would fiercely prevented it, as “the entire system” remains “under its control (primarily finance and the economy).” So the only way out, once again, is multipolarity – which the report characterizes, rather vaguely, as “a world without superpowers”, still in need of “a system of self-regulation, which implies much greater freedom of action and responsibility for such actions.” Stranger things have happened in History. As it stands, we are plunged deep into the maelstrom of complete collapse. Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.

Read more …

“..in recent days, Kyiv has accused Moscow of deliberately delaying the passage of ships, creating a queue of more than 170 vessels.”

How does a massive attack solve this?

‘Massive’ Drone Attack On Black Sea Fleet – Russia (BBC)

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out a “massive” drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. The attack began at 04:20 (01:20 GMT) and involved nine aerial and seven marine drones, Russian officials said. At least one warship is said to have been damaged in the strikes. Ukraine has not yet acknowledged the incident. Ukrainian troops have been successfully retaking territory occupied by Russians recently. Russia has replied by launching large-scale attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly on the country’s energy grid. Mikhail Razvozhaev, the Russian-installed governor of the Sevastopol, said Russia’s navy had repelled the latest attack. The strikes were the “most massive” on the city since Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine in February, Russian state media quoted the governor as saying.

He said that all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) had been shot down and no “civilian infrastructure” had been damaged. At least one vessel sustained minor damage, the Russian Ministry of Defence said. “In the course of repelling a terrorist attack on the outer roadstead of Sevastopol, the use of naval weapons and naval aviation of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed four marine unmanned vehicles, three more devices were destroyed on the internal roadstead,” a statement from the ministry read. Russia also claimed the ships targeted on Saturday morning were involved in ensuring the “grain corridor” as part of the international initiative to export agricultural products from Ukrainian ports.

The agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowed Ukraine to resume its Black Sea grain exports, which had been blocked when Russia invaded the country. It was personally negotiated by the UN secretary general and celebrated as a major diplomatic victory that helped ease a global food crisis. But Russia complains that its own exports are still hindered, and has previously suggested it might not renew the deal. In recent days, Kyiv has accused Moscow of deliberately delaying the passage of ships, creating a queue of more than 170 vessels.

Read more …

“Russia “is suspending its participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports..“

Russia Suspends Its Participation In Grain Deal (RT)

Moscow has halted its compliance with a grain deal with Kiev, brokered by the UN and Türkiye, after Ukraine launched a major drone attack on ships involved in securing safe passage for agricultural cargo, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday.In a post on its Telegram channel, the ministry said Russia “is suspending its participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports”. It explained that the move was prompted by “a terror attack” against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the grain corridor. The ministry also alleged that the bombing was organized with the involvement of British military.

Read more …

Still no investigation results. Top secret.

British Navy Involved In Nord Stream 2 ‘Terrorist Attack’ – Russia (RT)

Britain’s Royal Navy played a part in orchestrating and staging the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday. The accusation follows the Russian Foreign Ministry’s claim that NATO conducted a military exercise during the summer, close to the location where the undersea explosions occurred. Writing on its official Telegram channel, the ministry alleged that Royal Navy operatives “took part in planning, supporting and implementing” a “terrorist attack” to blow up the gas pipelines on September 26. According to the Defense Ministry, the same British operatives were involved in the training of Ukrainian military personnel who recently attacked ships of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which were implementing a grain deal between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Türkiye.

The pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Germany, abruptly lost pressure on September 26, following a series of underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. Both Western countries and Russia sounded the alarm about the incident, with Moscow denouncing it as a terrorist attack and calling for an investigation into the matter. In late September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that this summer, NATO conducted military drills not far from Bornholm, which featured intensive use of “deep-sea equipment’’. Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal, citing German officials familiar with the investigation, reported that the blasts which damaged the pipelines were caused by sabotage.

While the officials stopped short of naming the culprit, they were said to be “working under the assumption that Russia was behind the blasts.” Moscow has repeatedly denied that it had anything to do with the incident. Meanwhile, Sky News has cited a UK defense official as saying Nord Stream 1 and 2 could have been damaged by a remotely detonated underwater explosive device. At the time, the broadcaster said the pipelines might have been breached by mines lowered to the seabed, or explosives dropped from a boat or planted by an undersea drone.

Read more …

At some point, someone will say that is an awful lot of money to keep a bunch of neo-nazis in power.

German Bailout Of Struggling Energy Giant May Reach €60 Billion – BBG (RT)

Berlin is getting ready to boost financial aid to Uniper, the country’s largest gas supplier, which has been brought to the brink of insolvency due to rising energy prices, Bloomberg reported citing sources familiar with the matter. According to the report, the government may up the aid to €60 billion ($60 billion). The plan comes as the company’s financial situation is quickly worsening due to growing wholesale gas prices prompted by diminishing flows from Russia. Uniper’s adjusted net loss for the first nine months of the year reportedly amounted to €3.2 billion ($3.2 billion). And if gas prices do not subside, which is unlikely due to the approaching winter and the subsequent growth in demand, the government will have to spend twice as much to bail out the energy giant than previously expected.

German authorities announced plans to nationalize Uniper last month as part of efforts to keep the energy industry afloat amid the crisis. Uniper has been promised around €31 billion in aid from Berlin’s €200 billion energy aid package. In exchange, the government will acquire a 98.5% stake in the firm, which effectively means its full nationalization. The law cementing the deal is reportedly scheduled to be confirmed by the German Senate on Friday, and the funds could be transferred to Uniper next week, Bloomberg sources said. In an interview with Bloomberg, German Deputy Finance Minister Florian Toncar said Berlin will do all in its power to ensure Uniper remains operational but did not comment on the size of the aid.

“Uniper is a crucial company for the gas supply in Germany, otherwise we wouldn’t jump to such high stakes,” he was cited as saying. While European benchmark gas futures have fallen about 70% from their August highs on nearly full storage and liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries, gas prices remain around three times higher than the five-year average. According to Uniper, the company is forced to pay much more for gas now than it did for the pipeline supplies from Russia.

Read more …

The Guardian found an anti-Orban Hungarian.

Orbán Says Hungary Is ‘Exempt’ From The Conflict (Dalos)

The invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 will go down in the annals of European history. Russia’s undeclared war has cast an almost apocalyptic shadow. And it has dramatically altered the relationships that had prevailed between east and west since the collapse of the USSR. Whenever or however this armed conflict ends, it will undoubtedly take a long time for a new peace-guaranteeing equilibrium to be established. At the very least, the European Union and Nato now have to reckon with a hostile power on their borders and to prepare for a new phase of the cold war. Hungarians voted in general elections just weeks after the invasion, in April, and it seems reasonable to assume that the war next door had an influence on the result.

Given the climate of fear that the devastating “special military operation” created, Hungarians voted to keep Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in power rather than risk an untested six-party coalition. This assumption also underlies Orbán’s response, which is to stay out of the conflict to the point of being “exempted”, a position that has been condemned as a betrayal by Hungary’s western allies. Hungary refuses to allow arms shipments destined for Kyiv to transit Hungarian territory and blocks the extension of EU sanctions against Russia to the energy sector. This latter stance is intended to enable an already controversial Russian-Hungarian project to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube (Paks II) to go ahead unaltered. The exemption clearly goes too far, even if Hungary does have special interests that merit consideration.

It has a 136km (84-mile) border with Ukraine and there are roughly 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in the Transcarpathian oblast in south-west Ukraine, many of them married to Ukrainians. It should be remembered that, while in purely geographical terms, Hungary stayed the same after 1989: the former Hungarian People’s Republic now borders five countries that owe their statehood to the end of the USSR and the dissolution of larger, multi-ethnic entities. To the south, the collapse of the former Yugoslavia led to the creation of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Its northern border is no longer with the former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic but with Republic of Slovakia and independent Ukraine. What now connects most of these newer political entities with Hungary, and indeed its old neighbours, Romania and Austria, is EU membership.

Serbia is on the waiting list, Ukraine has been awarded candidate status. But in the 1990s, all these countries made the transition to parliamentary democracy, during which the rivalries between the various political groups played out openly and, not infrequently, violently. Every twist and turn and every internal conflict in these republics still affects Hungary’s interests because of the Hungarian minorities living there: 1.5 million in Romania, 500,000 in Slovakia, 300,000 in Serbia, 16,000 in Croatia, 15,000 in Slovenia and 150,000 in Ukraine.

Read more …

Japanese govt bonds are bought by the BOJ AND the citizens. A closed loop.

Japan Unveils Massive Spending Package (RT)

The Japanese government has announced an economic package worth around 39 trillion yen (nearly $270 billion) to support the economy amid rising inflation and a weakening national currency, broadcaster NHK reported on Friday. The package includes local and central government spending, and is “aimed at overcoming rising prices and reviving the economy… to protect people’s livelihoods and businesses,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in Tokyo. The government plans to lower utility bills to help households save an equivalent of $19 a month on electricity and $6 a month on gas, according to Kyodo News.


Inflation in Japan has seen its sharpest increase in 40 years, with core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of nationwide figures, rising 3.4% in October from a year earlier, according to official figures. The increase has been attributed to rising energy, raw material and food prices amid the economic fallout of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as other factors, the Kyodo News said. The Bank of Japan, however, has been swimming against the global current of increasing interest rates as it kept its short-term interest rate at -0.1% on Friday. Last week, the Japanese yen fell to its weakest level against the dollar since August 1990, having lost more than a fifth of its value against the greenback this year alone.

Read more …

“..Twitter, is owned as of yesterday by the CEO and largest shareholder of Tesla. And the automakers that compete with Tesla, and are getting their clocks cleaned by Tesla, are now finding themselves advertising on Elon Musk’s platform.”

GM “Paused” Ads on Musk’s Twitter (WS)

Automakers spend lavishly on advertising, and they advertise heavily in the social media. But now, one of the social media platforms, Twitter, is owned as of yesterday by the CEO and largest shareholder of Tesla. And the automakers that compete with Tesla, and are getting their clocks cleaned by Tesla, are now finding themselves advertising on Elon Musk’s platform. And when you think about it, that’s kind of a hoot. No one likes to advertise on a competitor’s platform, for all sorts of reasons, but particularly because on a social-media platform, the competitor gathers the consumer tracking data and can get important insights into current and potential customers and their reactions to the products and ads – without even passing on those insights to the automaker.

Advertising on a competitor’s social media platform is a particular problem because of the vast amount of user data that those platforms collect – data on your customers and potential customers that you may actually not see yourself, unless the platform decides to share it with you. General Motors is the first automaker out the gate: It announced on the first day after Musk closed the acquisition of Twitter that it “paused” its paid advertising on Twitter. “We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue,” GM said in a statement emailed to CNBC.

Stellantis, which owns the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands, among a bunch of other brands, tweeted this morning via its Citroën account, pointing specifically at the issue: “Hello to the social media platform owned by one of our competitors.” This isn’t about advertisers’ concerns, if any, with Musk’s potential content moderation policies. Musk already tried to soothe those fears with his open letter, addressed to advertisers, that was suddenly full of lovey-dovey language, posted on Twitter, of course. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all.” And he said, “I very much believe that advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain, and inform you.” And he said, “Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”

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“The focus of the letter is the fact that Barrett voted with the majority in the Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Writers, Publishers, Editors Call for Termination of Barrett Book Deal (Turley)

We have been discussing the rising support for censorship on the left in the last few years. Silencing opposing views has become an article of faith for many on the left, including leading Democratic leaders from President Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama. What is most distressing is how many journalists and writers have joined the call for censorship. However, even with this growing movement, the letter of hundreds of “literary figures” this week to Penguin Random House is chilling. The editors and writers call on the company to rescind a book deal with Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett because they disagree with her judicial philosophy. After all, why burn books when you can simply ban them?

The public letter entitled “We Dissent” makes the usual absurd protestation that, just because we are seeking to ban books of those with opposing views, we still “care deeply about freedom of speech.” They simply justify their anti-free speech position by insisting that any harm “in the form of censorship” is less than “the form of assault on inalienable human rights” in opposing abortion or other constitutional rights. Yet, the letter is not simply dangerous. It is perfectly delusional. While calling for the book to be blocked, the writers bizarrely insist “we are not calling for censorship.” While the letter has been described as signed by “literary figures,” it actually contains many who are loosely connected to the “broader literary community” like “Philip Tuley, Imam” and “Barbara Hirsch, Avid reader.” It also includes many who are simply identified by initials or first names like “Leslie” without any stated connection.

Nevertheless, there are many editors and publishing figures who list their companies (including HarperCollins, Random House and other companies) and university presses (including Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan Northwestern, Oxford) with their titles in calling for censorship. The list speaks loudly to why dissenting or conservative authors find it more difficult to publish today. These are editors who are publicly calling for banning the publication of those who hold opposing views from their own. It also includes academics like Ignacio Leopoldo Götz Römer, Stessin Distinguished Professor Emeritus, New College of Hofstra University and Carole DeSanti, Elizabeth Drew Professor of English Language and Literature, Smith College (and former VP and Exec Ed, PenguinRandomHouse).

The focus of the letter is the fact that Barrett voted with the majority in the Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Barrett has been the singled out in the past due to her judicial philosophy (which is shared by many federal judges and millions of citizens). Her home has been targeted and activists have published school information on her young children. Recently, Rhodes College alumni sought to strip references to Barrett from the college because they disagree with her views. Her college sorority was even forced to apologize for simply congratulating her for being one of a handful of women to be nominated to the high court. No attack appears to be beyond the pale for media or the left. Barrett sat through days of such baseless attacks on her character, but even had to face attacks referencing her children. Ibram X. Kendi, the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, claimed that her adoption of two Haitian children raised the image of a “white colonizer” and suggested that the children were little more than props for their mother.

Read more …

We’re rich!

UN Seeks $4 to 6 Trillion Per Year to Address Climate (Mish)

The Guardian reports UN finds ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’: “The UN environment report analysed the gap between the CO2 cuts pledged by countries and the cuts needed to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C, the internationally agreed target. Progress has been “woefully inadequate” it concluded. Current pledges for action by 2030, if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C and catastrophic extreme weather around the world. A rise of 1C to date has caused climate disasters in countries from Pakistan to Puerto Rico. If the long-term pledges by countries to hit net zero emissions by 2050 were delivered, global temperature would rise by 1.8C. But the glacial pace of action means meeting even this temperature limit was not credible, the UN report said. A study published this week found “large consensus” across all published research that new oil and gas fields are “incompatible” with the 1.5C target.”

What Would It Cost? Hooray! Only $4 trillion to 6 trillion per year. “A global transformation from a heavily fossil fuel- and unsustainable land use-dependent economy to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least US$4–6 trillion a year,” stated the UN report (page 26 of 132).
Q: US$4–6 trillion a year for how many years?
A: Based on figure ES.6 (lead chart) least eight years.
Q: What Percent of GDP?
A: 4 to 9 percent for developing countries, and 2 to 4 percent for developed countries. And developing countries will gladly fork over up to 9 percent of GDP every year for eight years. Yeah, right. Meanwhile, the EU is burning more trees and coal. Burning trees is magically deemed environmentally neutral.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephant drum
https://twitter.com/i/status/1586018731385397248

 

 

 

 

Steller’s sea eagle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1586251819071590400

 

 

 

 

Good boi

 

 

 

 

Lyrebird

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 282022
 
 September 28, 2022  Posted by at 8:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Salvador Dali Bather 1924

 

Four Regions Vote To Join Russia: What’s Next? (RT)
Russia’s Main Gas Pipeline To EU Suffers Unprecedented Damage – Operator (RT)
Kremlin Comments On Possible Causes Of Nord Stream Damage (RT)
European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk (ZH)
Putin Blasts West’s ‘Predatory’ Food ‘Swindle’ (RT)
Ukraine Can Use Western Weapons Against ‘Territories Seized By Russia’ – US (RT)
Americans Are Growing Tired Of Support For Ukraine Without Diplomacy (BI)
US Preparing $1.1 Billion Arms Package for Ukraine (Antiwar)
Questions Over The Value Of Military And Political Alliances (Bordachev)
White House Mulling Potential Yellen Departure After Midterms (Axios)
Nadler Feuded With Schiff, Pelosi Over Unconstitutional Trump Impeachment (Fox)
Liberal Former PM Renzi Dismisses ‘Fascism’ Brewing in Italy Claims (BB)
Meloni Contra Mundum (Gonzalez)
Human Sacrifices: are They Coming Back? (Ugo Bardi)
Pro-Vaccine Doctor Suspects Pfizer Booster Sent His Cancer Into Overdrive (CHD)
CDC Finds Lasting Post-vaccine Heart Problems In Young Adults (JTN)

 

 

I’ve assembled so much material on the pipeline sabotage, I’ll -largely- deal with that separately.

 

 

 

 

Hurricane vaccine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Koire

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Immediately the Russian Constitution will come into force in relation to these territories where everything is very clearly stated in this regard..”

Four Regions Vote To Join Russia: What’s Next? (RT)

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) along with Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye Region in southern Ukraine have voted to join Russia in referendums that were held between September 23 and 27. In Lugansk, more than 98% of voters have supported the idea to join Russia, official figures show with all the ballots counted. Donetsk has shown similar results with more than 99% of voters supporting the move. Both Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have process all the ballots by late Tuesday, with 93% and 87% of voters respectively backing the split from Ukraine and reunification with Russia. The process of integrating new regions into Russia may take some time as it requires the approval of the country’s parliament and the president.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he was “convinced it will be fast enough.” Under the Russian constitution and the federal law on the accession of new constituent members, the procedure includes several steps. Once the regions willing to become part of the Russian Federation submit their proposals to Moscow, the president should inform parliament and the government on the matter, Senator Konstantin Kosachev explained in a Telegram post last week. If a political agreement on the accession is reached, “draft international treaties on the admission of foreign states or parts of them” to Russia should be developed, Kosachev, the vice speaker of the upper house of parliament, said.

These agreements regulate issues such as the name and status of new territories, citizenship, succession, the functioning of public authorities, the operation of legislation, and so forth. After these treaties are signed, the Russian Constitutional Court should verify if they comply with the country’s supreme law. If there are no violations, the next step will be the ratification of the documents by the lower house, the State Duma, and their approval by the upper house, the Federation Council. Simultaneously, a draft federal constitutional law on the admission of new constituent units to Russia should be submitted to the Duma. If approved, it then goes to the upper house for consideration. “This law enters into force no earlier than the entry into force of the international treaties themselves,” Kosachev noted.

Moscow warned earlier that if the Donbass republics and the two southern Ukrainian regions united with Russia, it would consider any attempts by Kiev to retake them as attacks on its own land. “Immediately the Russian Constitution will come into force in relation to these territories where everything is very clearly stated in this regard,” Peskov told journalists last week. Shortly after the regions decided to hold referendums, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization that involved calling to arms some 300,000 reservists, according to the military. Media reports have suggested that Moscow allegedly plans to mobilize up to a million.

Read more …

“Experts say repairs on both pipelines could take up to several years.”

Russia’s Main Gas Pipeline To EU Suffers Unprecedented Damage – Operator (RT)

The simultaneous destruction of three gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea is unprecedented, Nord Stream AG, the operator of Nord Stream 1, said on Tuesday. It declined to provide a deadline for repairs. The pipeline had been supplying gas to the EU until late August, when Russia slashed deliveries, citing technical difficulties resulting from Western sanctions. “The destruction that occurred on the same day at once on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented. It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure,” the company said.

On Monday, Danish authorities spotted a gas leak near the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, and closed off an area of five nautical miles (9.26km) around the site. The discovery came shortly after the defunct Nord Stream 2 pipeline suffered a drastic loss of pressure overnight. German and Danish authorities are investigating the incidents. Nord Stream spokesman Ulrich Lissek said a “large bubble field near Bornholm” was spotted, adding that “the pipeline was never in use, just prepared for technical operation, and therefore filled with gas.” Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Sweden’s Maritime Authority also reported leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of the Bornholm island in Swedish and Danish waters, Reuters reported, citing the country’s officials.

“There are two leaks on Nord Stream 1 – one in the Swedish economic zone and one in the Danish economic zone. They are very near each other,” a Swedish Maritime Administration spokesperson said. As the German Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Tuesday, Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged as a result of attacks. “A pressure loss in the two gas pipelines that occurred in rapid succession” could have happened due to a “targeted action,” it said. Experts say repairs on both pipelines could take up to several years. Lissek warned that it would be complicated to determine the reasons for the drop in pressure due “the sanctions regime and the lack of personnel on the ground.”

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“..a deliberate attack on the pipeline could only have been carried out using special forces, navy divers or a submarine”

Kremlin Comments On Possible Causes Of Nord Stream Damage (RT)

The Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged in an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested when asked about the possible reasons for sudden pressure loss in three of the Baltic Sea gas network’s lines. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Peskov commented on a statement made by Nord Stream AG, the operator of the network, which said three offshore lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system sustained “unprecedented”damage in just one day. “No option can be ruled out right now,” Peskov said when asked if the damage may have been the result of sabotage. He added that Moscow is very concerned about the situation, and called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident, which has implications for energy security on the “entire continent.”

Pressure in line A of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was pumped with gas but had yet to go into operation, suddenly dropped overnight between Sunday and Monday. Shortly after that, on Monday afternoon, both of Nord Stream 1’s pipelines also suffered a sharp loss of pressure. Sweden and Denmark’s coastguards have since reported gas leaks off the coast of Bornholm island in the Baltic Sea – one in the Swedish economic zone and one in the Danish zone – and closed off the area to maritime traffic. According to a report from the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Tuesday, Berlin believes the sudden pressure drop in three gas pipelines at the same time could not be a coincidence and is likely a “targeted attack” from either Ukraine or Russia.

The outlet explained that a deliberate attack on the pipeline could only have been carried out using special forces, navy divers or a submarine. Berlin reportedly believes the sabotage was carried out by either “Ukraine-affiliated forces” or by Russia itself as a “false flag” operation to make Ukraine look bad and drive energy prices in the EU even higher. Nord Stream 1 was completed in 2011. Construction work on Nord Stream 2 (NS2) began in 2018, and suffered delays due to political pressure and sanctions from the US. NS2 was finished and pressurized in September 2021. However, two days prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the German government put its certification on indefinite hold, and has categorically rejected any suggestion from Moscow – or domestically – to unblock the pipeline.

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With Nordstream gone, they have to pay transfer fees again, to Ukraine and Poland. In dollars and euros.

European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk (ZH)

In a day of constant news surrounding European gas flows, including the potential sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, moments ago, Russia state-owned gas giant Gazprom PJSC warned that another major source of gas flows to Europe was at risk, just hours after three massive gas pipelines were hit by suspected sabotage. As Bloomberg reports, in a dramatic escalation of the energy standoff between Russia and Europe in little over 24 hours, the Nord Stream pipeline was knocked out by what German officials said looked like sabotage. Gazprom then said that one of two remaining routes bringing gas to Europe – via Ukraine – was at risk because of a legal spat. Specifically, as Reuters notes, Gazprom rejected all claims from Ukraine’s energy firm Naftogaz in arbitration proceedings over Russian gas transit, and had notified the arbitration court.

It also said that Russia may introduce sanctions against Naftogaz in case it further pursues the arbitration case, meaning Gazprom would be prohibited by the sanctions from paying Ukraine the transit fees. Naftogaz had initiated a new arbitration proceeding against Gazprom earlier this month, saying the Russian company did not pay for the rendered service of gas transportation through Ukraine. The company had said “funds were not paid by Gazprom, neither on time nor in full” for the gas transit. Gazprom said on Tuesday that Naftogaz had no “appropriate reasons” to reject its obligations on transit via the Sokhranovka point, a key route for Russian gas exports to Europe. In May, Ukraine suspended the flow of gas through Sokhranovka, which it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

Following the report that Russia may soon halt natgas transit via Ukraine, gas prices quickly jumped almost 20% as traders factored in the prospect that Europe will have to live without Russian gas this winter – and beyond. Gazprom said that a legal dispute risks prompting Moscow to sanction Ukraine’s Naftogaz. If that happened, then Gazprom would be unable to pay transit fees, the company said on Telegram, putting at risk flows. “In practice, this will mean a ban on Gazprom from fulfilling obligations to sanctioned bodies under completed transactions, including financial transactions,” the company said. If, or rather when, supplies through Ukraine are shut down, it would leave Gazprom sending gas only via the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey and a handful of European countries that haven’t severed business ties with Russia.

Winter is coming

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“Russia is set to harvest a record amount of grain this year [..] But Russian food products have a difficult time finding their way to the global market due to Western economic sanctions, as do Russian fertilizers..”

Putin Blasts West’s ‘Predatory’ Food ‘Swindle’ (RT)

“Predatory” monetary and trade policies pursued by the US and its allies are the primary cause of the global food crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. Western nations are using their wealth and ability to print money to vacuum up food products from the global market, the Russian leader said during a government meeting on Tuesday. The unfolding crisis has been in the making for several years, he claimed. “Some leading nations have financial and food policies that led to the result we are observing now,” Putin said, adding that the behavior could be described as “predatory, without any exaggeration.” He noted that the US was a net exporter of food products last year, but now it is a net importer.

The Russian leader also reiterated his criticism of the Ukraine grain deal, which allowed Kiev to export food via the Black Sea. The arrangement was mediated by the UN and Türkiye, but Russia believes it is not working as intended, arguing that the shipments do little to alleviate food shortages in needy nations. Putin cited last week’s maritime traffic statistics in relation to the scheme, pointing out that most of the ships carrying Ukrainian grain that didn’t report Türkiye as their destination went to one of the EU nations. “Are they the poorest nations or what? The situation remains the same. Embarrassing as it sounds, but this is plain swindle, and nothing else,” he said.

Russia is set to harvest a record amount of grain this year, which is predicted to reach 150 million tons, including some 100 million tons of wheat, Putin said. But Russian food products have a difficult time finding their way to the global market due to Western economic sanctions, as do Russian fertilizers, he added. The West “is causing the global food crisis,” he claimed. The US and its allies deny that the restrictions they have imposed on Russian trade over the country’s military campaign in Ukraine are targeting its food and fertilizer exports. Officials in Moscow say that, while those products are technically not banned, restrictions on things like insurance and port services for Russian merchant ships effectively curb the country’s ability to export food and fertilizers.

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“Blinken also accused Russia of a “diabolical scheme” to deport or “disappear” the local Ukrainian population and “bus in” Russians..”

Ukraine Can Use Western Weapons Against ‘Territories Seized By Russia’ – US (RT)

Washington has no objections to Kiev using Western-supplied weapons to target territories that may decide to join Russia, as the US considers the vote to do so illegitimate, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday. The US and its allies have supplied Ukraine with a variety of weapons, including tube and rocket artillery. At a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Washington, Blinken was asked if the US had any objections to Ukraine using those weapons to attack targets in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson, which just wrapped up a vote on joining Russia. “We will never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia,” Blinken told reporters.

“Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself throughout its territory, including to take back the territory that has been illegally seized, one way or another, by Russia. And the equipment, the weapons that we and many other countries are providing, have been used very effectively to do just that.” Russia’s “annexation” of the Donbass republics and the two regions will make zero difference to either Ukraine or the US, Blinken insisted. “The Ukrainians will continue to do what they need to do to get back the land that has been taken from them. We will continue to support them in that effort.” In June, when the US first sent long-range HIMARS rocket artillery to Ukraine, Blinken said he had received “assurances” from Kiev that they will not be used on Russian territory, and that he believed them due to a “strong trust bond.”

Kiev’s forces have since used the US-supplied weapons to target civilians in Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which are under Russian control. Ukraine has also bombed Crimea and border towns in the Russian regions of Kursk and Belgorod. Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014, after the US-backed coup in Kiev, while Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence. Blinken also accused Russia of a “diabolical scheme” to deport or “disappear” the local Ukrainian population and “bus in” Russians who would then vote in a manipulated referendum to get annexed by Moscow.

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Given that there is no real information available in the US, this is quite the poll.

Americans Are Growing Tired Of Support For Ukraine Without Diplomacy (BI)

A new poll suggests that many Americans are growing weary as the US government continues its support of Ukraine in its war with Russia and want to see diplomatic efforts to end the war if aid is to continue. According to a poll conducted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Data for Progress, 57% of likely voters strongly or somewhat support the US pursuing diplomatic negotiations as soon as possible to end the war in Ukraine, even if it requires Ukraine making compromises with Russia. Just 32% of respondents were strongly or somewhat opposed to this. And nearly half of the respondents (47%) said they only support the continuation of US military aid to Ukraine if the US is involved in ongoing diplomacy to end the war, while 41% said they support the continuation of US military aid to Ukraine whether the US is involved in ongoing diplomacy or not.

The Biden administration and Congress need to do more diplomatically to help end the war, according to 49% of likely voters, while 37% said they have done enough in this regard, the poll showed. “Americans recognize what many in Washington don’t: Russia’s war in Ukraine is more likely to end at the negotiating table than on the battlefield. And there is a brewing skepticism of Washington’s approach to this war, which has been heavy on tough talk and military aid, but light on diplomatic strategy and engagement,” said Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute. “‘As long as it takes’ isn’t a strategy, it’s a recipe for years of disastrous and destructive war — conflict that will likely bring us no closer to the goal of securing a prosperous, independent Ukraine.

US leaders need to show their work: explain to the American people how you plan to use your considerable diplomatic leverage to bring this war to an end,” Parsi added. The poll found close to half of likely US voters (48%) somewhat or strongly oppose the US providing aid to Ukraine at current levels if long-term global economic hardship, including in the US, occurs. Meanwhile, the poll showed that only four-in-10 Americans somewhat or strongly support the US providing aid to Ukraine at current levels if this occurs.

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“..will bring total US spending on the war since Russia invaded to $65.9 billion, which is the same number as Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.”

US Preparing $1.1 Billion Arms Package for Ukraine (Antiwar)

The US is preparing a new $1.1 billion arms package for Ukraine that will be announced soon, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing unnamed US officials. The weapons package will likely include HIMARS rocket systems, HIMARS ammunition, counter-drone systems, radar systems, training, and technical support. The arms package is expected to be provided to Kyiv using the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) as opposed to sending the arms directly from US military stockpiles. The USAI allows the Biden administration to purchase military equipment for Ukraine from the US arms industry.


The new package will bring the total amount of US arms pledged for Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 to over $16 billion. Funds for Ukraine are still being pulled from the $40 billion aid package President Biden signed into law back in May, but Congress is preparing to authorize more spending to support the war. Congress unveiled on Tuesday a new $12.3 billion aid package for Ukraine that will be included in a stopgap funding bill that needs to be passed this week to avoid a government shutdown. The $12.3 billion includes military and economic support for Ukraine and will bring total US spending on the war since Russia invaded to $65.9 billion, which is the same number as Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.

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Valdai Club Programme Director Timofey Bordachev.

Questions Over The Value Of Military And Political Alliances (Bordachev)

The continuing military and diplomatic clash between Russia and the West, led by the United States, raises questions to which, until recently, the answers seemed obvious. These include the phenomena of permanent alliances and allied relations. It is no secret that the behaviour of Moscow’s formal allies in the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in today’s environment raises questions for the Kremlin, while Russia’s opponents are raising hopes that the existence of these blocs is no longer an advantage, but a problem, for Russia’s foreign and defence policy. We see examples of individual member countries of the CSTO or the EAEU meeting US demands in matters related to economic warfare against Russia. This makes one wonder how important and necessary are Russia’s allies when it cannot, like the US, exercise authoritarian control over its foreign and defence policies?

The phenomenon of permanent alliance relations is a relatively recent invention in international politics – it emerged after the Second World War and it is entirely unknown whether the next round of global upheavals of a similar scale will see it survive. Even if we are not all blown to bits by a general nuclear catastrophe in the coming years, what is happening makes the prospects for all the phenomena that have shaped the fabric of international life in recent decades, without exception, highly uncertain. Today, the benchmark example of a permanent alliance of sovereign states is European integration. Another similar example is the NATO bloc, in which participation is cemented by the unconditional authority of a power far superior to its allies and not shy in making that clear.

It is no coincidence that the conflict around Ukraine, the first major war of the new era in international politics, is linked to the development of these two alliances. A strong group of states inevitably creates conflicts around itself. Indeed, this becomes a consequence of the fact that it protects the interests of its members. [..] the whole idea of an alliance in the usual sense of the word has lost all meaning. First and foremost, for its leading participant. The small member states obviously have neither alternative options nor the military, political or demographic resources for fully independent survival. This helps us to solve the problem of the formal preservation of such associations, even if they lose much of their necessary functions and content. However, it should be understood that, in the future, Russia, like its neighbors, will either have to give up the idea of institutionalizing its relations or resort to rather more authoritarian methods of governance.

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A decade of financial disaster.

White House Mulling Potential Yellen Departure After Midterms (Axios)

White House officials are quietly preparing for the potential departure of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen after the midterms, the first and most consequential exit in what could be a broad reorganization of President Biden’s economic team, according to people familiar with the matter. While her potential departure would give Biden an opportunity to respond to public concern over his handling of the economy, it would also create an immediate political headache: finding a successor who can be confirmed by the Senate. The process is in the early stages and a decision on Yellen, or any Cabinet replacement, has not been made. Multiple sources stressed the outcome of November’s election, including who controls the Senate, will factor into whether she stays.

Yellen will also have some say in her fate, and with the world’s economy teetering, there could be a convincing case for her to stay. In addition to Yellen, officials are also considering the possibility that Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, will leave early next year. Deese’s departure would present an opportunity for Gene Sperling, who is currently coordinating the implementation of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, to serve an unprecedented third term as NEC director after holding that post in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, is also expected to return to her academic post in the spring of 2023, opening up another Cabinet-level economic position.

Yellen, an economist by trade and at heart, has been reluctant to make overly political arguments when they violate her core academic beliefs. The former Fed and CEA chair has disagreed with the White House on several high-profile issues, including the White House faulting corporations for increasing inflation and — most recently — Biden’s decision to forgive some student debt. She has also made several statements that White House officials have privately viewed as blunders. Yellen publicly admitted this summer she was wrong on inflation, and last year said it would be a “plus” if the Fed raised interest rates.

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“..that Trump would not be able to face his accusers before being impeached did not sit right with Nadler, who warned Pelosi and Schiff of the ramifications it would have in the long run.”

You made your bed, Jerry. Lie in it.

Nadler Feuded With Schiff, Pelosi Over Unconstitutional Trump Impeachment (Fox)

A new book reveals that House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., was at odds with how House Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of impeachment proceedings against former President Trump, insisting that the methods used by the prominent Democrats were “unconstitutional” and could be used to attack the party. The revelation comes in a book set to be released on October 18 titled, “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” written by Politico Playbook co-author Rachael Bade and Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian. The book chronicles the methods Democrats used to target Trump.

In October 2019, amid the Democrats’ plan to hold a full House vote on a resolution outlining the structure of impeachment proceedings against Trump, Nadler, according to the book, took issue with how Schiff, who was tapped by Pelosi to lead impeachment efforts, was prepared to proceed with the impeachment without due process for Trump. Worried about the situation and the likelihood that his Judiciary Committee would not be able to cross-examine witnesses as the committee had done traditionally, Nadler confronted Schiff about the planned process, and, according to the book, said: “It’s unfair, and it’s unprecedented, and it’s unconstitutional.” “I don’t appreciate your tone,” Schiff allegedly responded. “I worry you’re putting us in a box for our investigation.”

Sidelined by Pelosi to handle impeachment proceedings in the House, the book claims Nadler made an “effort to get back into Pelosi’s good graces” and that his “aides sucked up to her staff relentlessly” in an attempt to show that his panel was prepared to step in and assist. Striving to earn approval from Pelosi, Nadler hired attorneys and had his team pour through records and books from the impeachments of former Presidents Nixon and Johnson. Those efforts worked and led Pelosi and Schiff to reconsider the Judiciary Committee’s involvement in the process, although they had “their own ideas about how he should run his committee process,” according to the book.

“She didn’t want the Judiciary panel to interview witnesses at all,” the book’s authors wrote. “Pelosi simply didn’t trust the panel — which was stacked with liberal crusaders and hotheaded conservatives — to handle the rollout of the complex Ukraine narrative with the careful, compelling treatment it required. She couldn’t afford another Nadler screwup. The Judiciary chairman could focus on the legal business of crafting the articles of impeachment and have academics testify, she allowed. But that was it.” Nadler’s frustration with the pair of Democrats grew. Research conducted by his team proved that presidents facing impeachment from Congress had been allowed to defend themselves before the House Judiciary Committee, with attorneys for the president having the opportunity to attend hearings, as well as cross-examine testifying witnesses or call their own.

That did not matter to Schiff, and the fact that Trump would not be able to face his accusers before being impeached did not sit right with Nadler, who warned Pelosi and Schiff of the ramifications it would have in the long run. “If we’re going to impeach, we need to show the country that we gave the president ample opportunity to defend himself,” Nadler told them, according to the book.

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“She is my rival and we will continue to fight each other, but the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.” – Renzi

Liberal Former PM Renzi Dismisses ‘Fascism’ Brewing in Italy Claims (BB)

Former liberal Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi has dismissed alarmist claims in the global media that incoming Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is a “danger to democracy”, telling CNN “the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.” “Personally, I was against Giorgia Meloni. I’m not her best friend. We grew up together in politics, but we are, and will be, rivals, always,” said Renzi, who served as Prime Minister of Italy for nearly three years until December 2016, and is the leader of the liberal “Italia Viva” party. “At the same time, I think [Meloni] is not a danger [to] Italian democracy,” Renzi continued. “She is my rival, and we will continue to fight each other, but the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.”


The former Prime Minister went on to say that Meloni won Sunday night’s election, “particularly because populism, a lot of times, [wins] in Italy.” “She has a majority coalition, and probably she will be — I think next month — the next Prime Minister,” Renzi said, before doubling down on his claim that “democracy” is not at risk. “That is very important, because I fought against her, but at the same time, I think there is not a danger for fascism in Italy,” Renzi affirmed. Elsewhere in the interview, Renzi mentioned that he is “exactly the opposite of Giorgia Meloni, because she is a sovereigntist and I’m for Europe” [the European Union]. The international media has been quick to compare her to wartime fascist leader Mussolini, a serious allegation. Yet as Renzi’s comments demonstrate, not even Meloni’s own opposition inside Italy believes this to be true.

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“Me, I believe Mussolini was a good politician,” Meloni said in an interview. “By which I mean that everything he did, he did for Italy.”

Meloni Contra Mundum (Gonzalez)

[..] liberal democracies across the West unified this weekend in denouncing the democratic will of the Italian people, who have just propelled Giorgia Meloni and her right-wing Italian nationalist party to electoral victory. Man is a symbolic animal, and Meloni’s victory is seen as a symbolic rejection of Western liberalism. Whether she lives up to that potential is yet to be seen. But the electricity of the moment is palpable: the Italians have voted against the times. It’s difficult to dislike this atypical politician. Meloni’s father abandoned his family when she was just 11 years old, leaving her mother to raise her alone. She has working-classes bona fides, working as a nanny, waitress, and bartender to support herself. She has been politically engaged since she was a teenager and has never been shy about her views.

“Me, I believe Mussolini was a good politician,” Meloni said in an interview. “By which I mean that everything he did, he did for Italy.” Though she may not have read Legutko, Meloni has also noticed the similarities between communism and liberal democracy. “We did not fight against and defeat communism in order to replace it with a new internationalist regime,” she said during the National Conservatism conference in Rome, “but to permit independent nation-states once again to defend the freedom, identity, and sovereignty of their peoples.” Meloni has denounced the mass immigration of non-European people to European lands and called for naval blockades in the Mediterranean to thwart migrant smugglers. She also went against the grain on COVID-19 vaccines and lockdowns. Meloni was the only party leader to oppose the so-called Green Pass—a vaccine passport that would have been required to work, travel, and shop.

Under different circumstances, the West might be celebrating the ascent of this underdog. But her politics are, for the most part, outside the West’s liberal democratic consensus, which is why Italians love her. Most of all, Meloni breaks the consensus on social and cultural issues at the center of liberalism’s moral universe. She emphatically opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, rejects gender ideology and the promotion of alternative sexual lifestyles. At a rally before an audience that stood to its feet and applauded ceaselessly at her words, Meloni thundered: “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death, no to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people.”

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“You may not like ms. Meloni’s political orientation but she is a human being and, as such, she deserves respect, especially considering that she has taken upon herself a tremendously difficult task.”

Human Sacrifices: are They Coming Back? (Ugo Bardi)

If there ever was a society under stress, it is ours. We passed all the limits of survival: destroyed the oldr-growth forests, killed off large number of species, poisoned the atmosphere, depleted our mineral resources, eroded the fertile soil, polluted water and the atmosphere, set the planet on a path to an irreversible warming and a few more little things, including having deployed a sufficient number of nuclear warhead to wreck the ecosystem and, most likely, kill everybody. And we haven’t renounced to our beloved habit of making war against each other. Would you be surprised if we were to indulge in large scale human sacrifices? We are not yet there, but the path seems to be traced. Have you noted how popular are the “Zombie” movies?

Take a look at them in light of what I have been saying here: do you see them as a blueprint for the mass extermination of suburbanites? First starve them, easy: just stop the delivery to the local supermarkets and service stations. Once they run out of food and fuel, they are doomed. Then, while they are still able to stumble along, finish them off with a bullet to the head. Truly, the fascination with this idea casts much light on what our society has in mind for the near future. We are not yet to the point of seeing the elites booking zombie-killing safaris in the suburbs of our cities. But other possible large scale sacrifices are possible. I already mentioned how the German government had hired the country’s doctors to cull the undesirables. They had complied, happily. That could be easily done in our times, too.

The concept of human sacrifice, though, is not about numbers, but about the visible high-status of the victim. Now, after the electoral victory of Giorgia Meloni in Italy, many people commented by publishing on their social accounts the images of Mussolini’s dead body and of his lover Claretta Petacci. A clear message to Ms. Meloni, just as the many published images showing her upside-down, just like Mussolini and Petacci were. Will she undergo the same treatment as Mussolini? For sure, Italy is going toward a difficult period and whoever will lead the country risks being deemed responsible for whatever disaster will befell Italy in the near future. And it is also true that people can be extremely nasty when they are in a dire situation. You may not like ms. Meloni’s political orientation but she is a human being and, as such, she deserves respect, especially considering that she has taken upon herself a tremendously difficult task. We can and we should wish her success. Good luck, Giorgia, you’ll need a lot of it.

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They don’t want to believe themselves.

Pro-Vaccine Doctor Suspects Pfizer Booster Sent His Cancer Into Overdrive (CHD)

Michel Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of immunology and pharmacotherapy at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, suspects his third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine may have sent his cancer into overdrive. Goldman, 67, is one of Europe’s best-known champions of medical research and a lifelong promoter of vaccines. But he told The Atlantic he wants discussion of the COVID-19 vaccine to be transparent — so he went public about his suspicion that the Pfizer booster shot he received on Sept. 22, 2021, may have induced rapid progression of his angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), a type of lymphoma he’d been diagnosed with before he got the booster shot. After his diagnosis, Goldman said he rushed to get the booster shot, believing he would need it more than most people because once he started chemotherapy, his immune system would be compromised.

But after receiving the shot, Goldman’s follow-up CT scan showed something unexpected: Within only a few days, his cancer had grown so fast that cancerous points were lighting up all over his scan. “It looked like someone had set off fireworks inside Michel’s body,” The Atlantic reported. Goldman and his brother, Serge Goldman, a fellow scientist and head of nuclear medicine at the teaching hospital of the Université libre de Bruxelles, suspected Goldman’s COVID-19 booster shot may have triggered the rapid proliferation of cancerous growth in his body. The initial CT scan had been “a bit disturbing,” Serge Goldman told The Atlantic, because it showed an asymmetrical cluster of cancerous nodes around Goldman’s left armpit, where Michel’s first two doses of vaccine had been delivered.

The CT scan done after Michel’s third dose showed the cancer’s asymmetry had flipped and was clustered by his right armpit, where he received the third shot. The brothers knew it could be a mere coincidence, but they thought it was important to investigate the possibility that the vaccine might be behind the clustering — because it could mean other people with certain forms of cancer might be at risk of a COVID-19 vaccine causing their cancer to progress more rapidly. So on Nov. 25, 2021, the brothers — who had written prior papers together — and other colleagues published a case report in which they described Michel Goldman’s experience and urged the scientific community to study the phenomenon to see if it occurred in patients diagnosed with AITL.

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The CDC is politics disguised as science.

CDC Finds Lasting Post-vaccine Heart Problems In Young Adults (JTN)

The CDC continues to erase distinctions by COVID-19 vaccination status in public health guidance as ongoing global research — including its own — documents the mediocre performance of COVID vaccines and their unexpectedly high rates of lasting harm in some groups. Vaccination status is no longer used “to inform source control, screening testing, or post-exposure recommendations” for healthcare personnel, the Friday update to their CDC guidance says. The agency “[c]larified” that healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, have discretion on whether to screen-test asymptomatic personnel. It also now says asymptomatic patients “in general” do not require “empiric use of Transmission-Based Precautions” after exposure to an infected person.

A CDC study of 12-29 year-olds with heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination, published last week in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, found that 1 in 6 still had not “fully recovered” at least 90 days after myocarditis onset, including 1 in 100 who hadn’t improved at all. Myocarditis has increased so markedly among youth since vaccines were authorized for them that an Ivy League-affiliated hospital started running TV ads this month for its treatment in children. New York-Presbyterian marked the ad’s Sept. 6 YouTube video private less than two weeks later, following criticism that it was trying to “normalize” a vaccine-induced condition. The CDC’s COVID-19 Response Team found more than 800 myocarditis reports to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System from Jan. 12 to Nov. 5, 2021 that matched the parameters for age and time since onset.

Excluding those without phone numbers or who couldn’t be reached, they studied 393 individuals whose healthcare providers, mostly cardiologists, completed a survey. The median age was 17 and overwhelmingly male. The team deemed four in five patients “fully or probably fully” recovered (320). But two-thirds of those initially required non-intensive care hospitalization, and 27% required intensive care. At their last provider followup, 28% of the fully recovered were still on doctor-ordered physical activity restrictions. The figures for the 65 patients who were not fully recovered: 62% non-intensive hospitalization and 18% intensive, and 48% still on physical activity restrictions. Less than a third had been cleared for physical activity, half the figure for the fully recovered, who had a median clearance of 10 fewer days (104).

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Beach front

 

 

 

 

 

 


Staircase

 

 

 

 

Bird

 

 

 

 

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Jul 302022
 
 July 30, 2022  Posted by at 8:27 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


Claude Monet Impression, sunrise 1872

 

Europe Hypnotized Into War Economy (Vilches)
Russia Claims Ukraine Had A Reason To Kill Its Own POWs (RT)
Russia and Ukraine Trade Blame Over Prison Blast (BBC)
Ukraine and Russia Trade Blame For Attack Killing Mariupol Prisoners (WaPo)
Ukraine Is ‘Shooting Blind’ – Top Official (RT)
A Panicking Biden Administration Seeks Talks With Russia (MoA)
West Prepares To Plunder Post-war Ukraine (MP)
Gazprom Explains Gas Flow Reduction To EU (RT)
American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama (Michael Hudson)
Playing Chicken with the Fates (Kunstler)
David Lynch Tells ‘Zelensky’ To Have A Beer With Putin (RT)
Trump Warns Something Worse Than Recession Is Coming (ET)
Health Care Workers Settle COVID Shot Mandate for $10.3 Million (Bridle)
Triathlete, 27, Becomes 5th Toronto Area Doctor To Die In July (TSun)
Meta from 5th Most Valuable Stock to 11th In 10 Months. $647 Billion Lost (WS)

 

 

Read at least twice.

 

 

Winter is coming
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552787710187917312

 

 

Share of countries with 6%+ CPI

 

 

Bro Bridle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552918465312342017

 

 

CannoneerMarine thread

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jorge Vilches has it exactly right. Europe is shedding infrastructure and deals for which they have zero replacement: “without which Europe as we know it will cease to exist.”

Europe Hypnotized Into War Economy (Vilches)

Thirty two years ago Germans enthusiastically took down the Berlin wall. Now, captured by cunning Anglo-Saxon global elites, Germans are helping other European “useful idiots” to erect a much higher and thicker wall to cut themselves off from Russia leading them into a war economy. But as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned… “the approach has clearly failed — sanctions have backfired — and our car now has 4 four flat tires” … Question: vehicles don´t carry more than 2 spare tires on them, do they? So, one quick and innocent way to explain such unfathomable European miscalculation is to assume the EU leadership is immersed in a deep hypnotic trance and just blindly following US-UK instructions under Stoltenberg-Johnson war-mongering policies.

The supply lines that up to 2022 successfully linked Europe and Russia took decades of very hard work to develop. This now means that almost all of such over-abundant contracts necessarily have no effective substitute because (a) no other vendors have such high quality at low price plus decades of vetting and proven experience + (b) the un-replaceable short freight distance and shipping time from nearby Russia. So, by definition, both (a) + (b) mean that today no equivalent supply lines could ever be found no matter how much Europe tried simply because it would be either too soon or too far …and always too hard and too pricey. So short cuts will be taken and corners rounded-off…. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

The impact of the above cannot be overstated though as the now-broken Euro-Russian supply lines were essential for the Just-In-Time strategy that Europe and world markets still require and cannot wait years to develop and iron out. Logistics 101: proven experience and performance with excellent price plus quick delivery from nearby sources cannot be substituted fast enough, or possibly ever. On purpose, Europe´s worst enemies couldn´t have inflicted worse harm than what a US-UK mesmerized Europe (what else ?) is doing to itself. So EU sanctions are now cutting off dozens of key and highly varied Russian produce without which Europe as we know it will cease to exist. This involves foodstuffs, minerals of every sort, energy re oil & gas & coal & refined products thereof, etc., etc., plus key technologies and products from space rocket engines to nuclear fuels.

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It’s quite simple. If the attack was done with HIMARS, it’s the Ukraine. WaPo fantasizes that Russians transported HIMARS pieces from elsewhere to the crime scene, but Ukraine was shelling this site for months. Only now, they have the HIMARS to do it with.

• Elena Evdokimova @elenaevdokimov7· May 17!!
Ukrainian artillery has been shelling the DPR village of Elenovka with BM-21 Grad. It is the settlement, where the prisoners have been transported from Azovstal. Looks like the deliberate attempt to destroy their own surrendered units.

• Azov POWs are extremely high value assets to Kremlin propagandists. Capturing Azov neo-Nazis & putting them on trial to justify Russia’s invasion has been a top propaganda priority from start. It’d be bizarre for RU to bomb & eliminate their prized pr assets before show trials.

• So they’re really going with the theory that Russia shelled a prison on DPR territory to kill Azov militants whom they could have just as easily publicly hanged to the thunderous applause of virtually everyone in Russia & half of Ukraine?!

Russia Claims Ukraine Had A Reason To Kill Its Own POWs (RT)

Kiev’s forces shelled a detention center holding Ukrainian POWs early Friday morning to “threaten” their own troops who may want to surrender, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed. “A large number of Ukrainian servicemen are voluntarily laying down their arms, and know about the humane treatment of prisoners by the Russian side,” the ministry said, calling the attack “outrageous.” Authorities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said that the death toll in the missile strike has grown to 53, while 75 were wounded. DPR Deputy Information Minister Daniil Bezsonov posted a graphic video on his Telegram channel, which shows multiple mutilated and charred bodies inside the destroyed building. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry and local authorities, Ukrainian troops used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to strike the detention center near the village of Yelenovka.


The ministry said the facility held members of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, whose fighters surrendered to Russian and Donbass forces during the siege of the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol. The battalion is notorious because it includes fighters with nationalist and neo-Nazi views. Speaking to Russia’s TV Channel One, DPR head Denis Pushilin claimed that the Ukrainians “deliberately” targeted the detention center in order to kill Azov members who had been providing testimonies about possible war crimes by their commanders. The Ukrainian military released a statement on Friday, accusing Russian troops of shelling Yelenovka. Moscow destroyed the prison in order to pin the blame on Kiev, as well as to “hide the torture of prisoners and executions,”the statement alleged.

HIMARS
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552948606214225920

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“Russia accuses Ukraine of being willing to massacre its own prisoners of war, saying Kyiv insisted that prisoners from the Azov Battalion be housed in this particular warehouse.

Russia and Ukraine Trade Blame Over Prison Blast (BBC)

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for a rocket attack that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the occupied part of Donetsk region. Ukraine says the prison was targeted by Russia in an effort to destroy evidence of torture and killing. For its part, Russia said the prison camp in Olenivka was hit by Ukrainian precision rockets. Unverified Russian video footage of the aftermath shows a tangle of wrecked bunk beds and badly charred bodies. An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky said the scene looked like arson, and that a missile strike would have scattered the bodies. Those detained are said to have included members of the Azov battalion, who were the last defenders of Mariupol and whom Russia has sought to depict as neo-Nazis and war criminals.


Ukraine’s new Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin said he had opened a war crimes investigation into the blast. His office added that it believed about 40 people were killed in the strike and 130 were injured. Daniil Bezsonov, a spokesperson for the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, said the strike had been a “direct hit on a barracks holding prisoners” and the number killed might increase. Russia’s defence ministry said the strike had been carried out with US-made Himars artillery and it accused Ukraine of a “deliberately perpetrated” provocation. The ministry produced fragments of what it said were rockets fired by the Himars system.

HIMARS
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552992046402658311

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I include the BBC and WaPo takes mostly to illustrate how they have manipulated the perceived views.

The neo-nazis are now “the famed Azov Regiment”“whom Russia has sought to depict as neo-Nazis and war criminals.” , and the HIMARS systems “are helping shift the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor”.

Ukraine and Russia Trade Blame For Attack Killing Mariupol Prisoners (WaPo)

Dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war from the famed Azov Regiment were killed Friday in a strike against their detention center in the Russian-occupied eastern region of Donbas, but it was unclear how the attack happened or who carried it out. At least 53 POWs were killed and 75 injured in the strike, according to Darya Morozova, an official for the Donetsk People’s Republic, the pro-Russian breakaway region where the prison is located. Ukraine and Russia traded blame for the strike, with each saying the other had carried it out to silence the prisoners. All or most of the POWs were members of the Azov Regiment who had surrendered when Russian troops captured the city of Mariupol in May after a two-month siege. Their fate had been the focus of fraught prisoner-exchange negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.

Russia’s Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack using U.S.-supplied HIMARS — High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — launchers, which are helping shift the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor. The ministry framed the incident as “a bloody provocation” intended to discourage Ukrainian soldiers from surrendering. Russian media commentators suggested that Ukraine hit the detention center to stop the prisoners from providing testimony to interrogators about war crimes committed by Ukrainian forces. Ukraine denied any involvement and accused Russian forces of carrying out the attack, which it called a war crime. Ukraine did not conduct any shelling or artillery strikes Friday in the vicinity of Olenivka, the town where the detention center is located, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a post on its Facebook page.

Rather, the General Staff said, it was Russia that staged the attack and used it “to accuse Ukraine of committing war crimes as well as to cover up the torture and execution of prisoners.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in a posting on his Twitter account, called on the world to condemn what he called a “petrifying war crime” and a “brutal violation of international humanitarian law.” Ukrainian officials also questioned whether the incident had been caused by an artillery strike at all. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted that explosives specialists who had examined images of the burned-out detention center believe that the destruction may have been caused by an explosion or fire “inside the building itself, rather than the result of shelling.”

Videos of the aftermath of the blast broadcast by Russian media outlets show a tangle of twisted, burned metal bunks inside a blackened warehouse-like structure with a large hole in its roof. Charred bodies and body parts are strewn around the wreckage Russian media outlets also posted photos showing what they claimed were fragments of HIMARS rockets found at the scene. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify that the shards had been fired by HIMARS launchers, but a senior Defense Department official in Washington pointed out that Russia could have gathered them from attacks elsewhere. “The Russians have a lot of pieces of HIMARS. The Ukrainians have been sending a lot of HIMARS their way,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to brief the media. He cautioned against reaching any conclusions on the limited information available.

Yelenovka

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“..Kiev needed about 50 HIMARS for effective defense, and a least 100 for “an effective counteroffensive.”

Ukraine Is ‘Shooting Blind’ – Top Official (RT)

US-made HIMARS are “a good first step,” but Kiev needs the means to take accurate shots, a senior Ukrainian official has said The deliveries of US-made HIMARS rocket systems are “a good first step”, but the West did not provide Kiev with the necessary technologies to accurately hit targets, a high-ranking Ukrainian official complained in an interview published on Thursday. “HIMARS and heavy artillery are a good first step, but if we do not have the technology to find and correct targets for artillery strikes, then we’re just shooting blind,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, told Newsweek magazine.

Earlier this month, Vadim Skibitskiy, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Directorate of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defense, claimed that Kiev views the Crimean Peninsula as a legitimate target for long-range weaponry, including US-made M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS, supplied by Western powers. His words were echoed by Alexey Arestovich, a top aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, who said that the Ukrainian military would target the Crimean Bridge as soon as Kiev obtains the capability to carry out such a strike. Russia pushed back on these threats, with Mikhail Sheremet, an MP who represents the region in the Russian parliament, warning Kiev that retaliation will be so harsh that Ukraine will never be able to recover from it. In his telling, the would-be strike will be followed by “a crushing blow to decision-making centers in Kiev, military infrastructure and arms-supply logistics channels.”

[..] On Friday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense and DPR authorities accused Kiev of having used HIMARS to target a prison holding POWs, killing 53 and wounding scores more. Ukraine rejected the claim and pinned the blame on Russian troops. According to the Pentagon, as of July 22, the US has provided Ukraine with 16 M142 HIMARS systems, while the UK has provided another three launchers capable of firing the same munitions. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov said that Kiev needed about 50 HIMARS for effective defense, and a least 100 for “an effective counteroffensive.”

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“..Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov was too busy to talk with Mr. Blinken now.”

They did talk yesterday. But Blinken is not very important.

A Panicking Biden Administration Seeks Talks With Russia (MoA)

The New York Times reports of a potential prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia: “[T]he Biden administration has proposed trading the merchant of death for the imprisoned basketball player as well as a former marine held in Russia on what are considered trumped-up espionage charges. In the harsh and cynical world of international diplomacy, prisoner exchanges are rarely pretty, but unpalatable choices are often the only choices on the table. Whether the swap would go through remained unclear. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken made the offer public in part to reassure the families of Brittney Griner, the basketball player, and Paul N. Whelan, the former marine, that the administration is doing all it can to free them. Russian officials, who have long sought the release of the arms trafficker Viktor Bout, confirmed the discussion on Thursday but said Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov was too busy to talk with Mr. Blinken now.”

Typically prisoner swaps are not talked about publicly before they happen: “Some veteran hostage negotiators were perplexed that Mr. Blinken made the offer public. “It is baffling why the U.S. would announce this proposal in the midst of the negotiations,” said Rob Saale, the former head of the F.B.I.-led Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell. “If you’re in sensitive negotiations why would you want to air this out publicly? It makes me wonder if the Russians haven’t already declined the deal.” Mr. Saale suspicion was justified as the Washington Post now reports:

“The Biden administration disclosed publicly that the United States had made “a substantial offer” to Russia to secure the release of two American prisoners because closed-door negotiations had stalled, an administration official said Thursday. The administration hopes public pressure will lead Moscow to engage in negotiations resulting in basketball star Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan being released from Russian prison, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations. U.S. officials say they have tried for weeks to broker the releases of Griner and Whelan. But the lack of progress, and the prospect of Griner soon facing conviction and sentencing on drug charges, prompted the administration this week to make the negotiations public.”

I do not understand why the administration had started such negotiations even before the Griner court case has been closed. In general such prisoners will only be pardoned and released to the other side after they have been sentenced. Anything else would raise accusations of executive interference in the judicial process. The Brittney Griner case, over admitted smuggling of cannabis oil, is still in court. The Russian government will obviously refrain from doing anything about her before the judicial process has ended. One suspects that the prisoner exchange is much more about Paul Whelan, who likely is a CIA asset.

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They’ll have to settle for what Russia leaves them. And that’s not what they counted on.

West Prepares To Plunder Post-war Ukraine (MP)

While the United States and Europe flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars of weapons, using it as an anti-Russian proxy and pouring fuel on the fire of a brutal war that is devastating the country, they are also making plans to essentially plunder its post-war economy. Representatives of Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland this July to plan a series of harsh neoliberal policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.” Ukraine has been destabilized by violence since 2014, when a US-sponsored coup d’etat overthrew its democratically elected government, setting off a civil war. That conflict dragged on until February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded the country, escalating into a new, even deadlier phase of the war.

The United States and European Union have sought to erase the history of foreign-sponsored civil war in Ukraine from 2014 to early 2022, acting as though the conflict began on February 24. But Washington had sent large sums of weapons to Ukraine and provided extensive military training and support over several years before Russia invaded. Meanwhile, starting in 2017, representatives of Western governments and corporations quietly held annual conferences in which they discussed ways to profit from the civil war they were fueling in Ukraine. In these meetings, Western political and business leaders outlined a series of aggressive right-wing reforms they hoped to impose on Ukraine, including widespread privatization of state-owned industries and deregulation of the economy.

On July 4 and 5, 2022, top officials from the US, EU, Britain, Japan, and South Korea met in Switzerland for a so-called “Ukraine Recovery Conference.” There, they planned Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and performatively announced aid commitments – while salivating over a bonanza of potential contracts. New NATO candidates Finland and Sweden committed to assure reconstruction in Lugansk, roughly 48 hours after Russia and separatist forces announced the region had fallen fully under their control. But the Ukraine Recovery Conference was not new. It had been renamed to save the expense of a new acronym. In the previous five years, the group and its annual meetings were instead referred to as the “Ukraine Reform Conference” (URC).

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Siemens has eliminated no more than a quarter of the identified malfunctions at the Nord Stream turbines. Correspondence regarding the repair of engines will be made public via media.
– Deputy Chairman of Gazprom Markelov

Gazprom Explains Gas Flow Reduction To EU (RT)

Gazprom has published some of its correspondence with Siemens as it blames the German company for a reduction in gas flow Russia had to reduce its gas flow to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to turbine malfunctions, Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Vitaly Markelov said on Friday. The issues are due to Germany’s Siemens company – which produces the turbines – failing to fulfill its commitments, he told the Rossiya 24 TV Channel.
Siemens has so far eliminated only one-fourth of the total number of discovered malfunctions affecting its turbines, Markelov said. On Wednesday, the Nord Stream 1 operator Gascade reported that gas flow through the pipeline had been reduced to one-fifth of its maximum capacity. A day before that, Gazprom warned that it would have to stop the operation of its second Siemens turbine for an overhaul.

After the switch-off, gas flow through Nord Stream 1 was not expected to exceed 33 million cubic meters per day. The move came as the energy giant was still waiting for another turbine for the pipeline that was due to arrive from Germany after undergoing maintenance in Canada. “Our European partners accuse us of reducing gas supply to Europe without sufficient reasons. Yet, nothing can be further from the truth,”Markelov said, adding that it was the company’s Western partners who “fail to fulfill their obligations – contractual obligations – for the compressor station maintenance.” According to an earlier report by business daily Kommersant, several turbines at the Portovaya compressor station located on Russia’s Baltic coast are in need of servicing.

The current licensing agreement allows Siemens Energy to accept five more turbines for maintenance work before the end of 2024. “We call on our partners to resolve their own issues as soon as possible,” the deputy CEO said, adding that the gas supply to Europe would then “go back to normal in no time.”Markelov added that his company planned to release part of its correspondence with its Western partners to the public. Some documents were published hours later. The reduction of supply from Russia has led to a spike in gas prices in Europe, which rose by more than 20% to over $2,500 per thousand cubic meters on Wednesday. European leaders then blamed Russia for the gas price hikes.

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“What is euphemized as U.S.-style democracy is a financial oligarchy privatizing basic infrastructure, health and education.”

American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama (Michael Hudson)

As in a Greek tragedy whose protagonist brings about precisely the fate that he has sought to avoid, the US/NATO confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is achieving just the opposite of America’s aim of preventing China, Russia and their allies from acting independently of U.S. control over their trade and investment policy. Naming China as America’s main long-term adversary, the Biden Administration’s plan was to split Russia away from China and then cripple China’s own military and economic viability. But the effect of American diplomacy has been to drive Russia and China together, joining with Iran, India and other allies. For the first time since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, a critical mass is able to be mutually self-sufficient to start the process of achieving independence from Dollar Diplomacy.

Confronted with China’s industrial prosperity based on self-financed public investment in socialized markets, U.S. officials acknowledge that resolving this fight will take a number of decades to play out. Arming a proxy Ukrainian regime is merely an opening move in turning Cold War 2 (and potentially/or indeed World War III) into a fight to divide the world into allies and enemies with regard to whether governments or the financial sector will plan the world economy and society. What is euphemized as U.S.-style democracy is a financial oligarchy privatizing basic infrastructure, health and education. The alternative is what President Biden calls autocracy, a hostile label for governments strong enough to block a global rent-seeking oligarchy from taking control. China is deemed autocratic for providing basic needs at subsidized prices instead of charging whatever the market can bear.

Making its mixed economy lower-cost is called “market manipulation,” as if that is a bad thing that was not done by the United States, Germany and every other industrial nation during their economic takeoff in the 19th and early 20th century. Clausewitz popularized the axiom that war is an extension of national interests – mainly economic. The United States views its economic interest to lie in seeking to spread its neoliberal ideology globally. The evangelistic aim is to financialize and privatize economies by shifting planning away from national governments to a cosmopolitan financial sector. There would be little need for politics in such a world. Economic planning would shift from political capitals to financial centers, from Washington to Wall Street, with satellites in the City of London, the Paris Bourse, Frankfurt and Tokyo.

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“Turns out that Agent Brian Auten was also involved in favorably vetting the Steele Dossier when it was used to justify FISA court warrant..”

Playing Chicken with the Fates (Kunstler)

How is it that the Hunter Biden laptop, stuffed with incriminating memoranda of bribery, treason, and diverse felonies, and in the FBI’s possession for two-and-a-half years now, just sat gathering dust in some sub-sub-basement cubby-hole — while “Joe Biden,” the putative president (or, more likely, the enigmatic claque behind him) was allowed to carry out a demolition of America’s economy and culture? The answer is one Brian Auten, FBI Senior Analyst, who engineered a scheme to label Hunter’s laptop “Russian disinformation,” which allowed FBI Director Christopher Wray to throw a switch that turned off any further inquiry in the matter beginning in August before the 2020 presidential election.


In turn, other senior FBI officials had all the documents pertaining to the decision process on that matter locked up in a special file that would never see the light of day. Auten’s action led to the release of a letter signed by “fifty former intelligence officials” labeling the laptop as a Russian disinfo op — which became the basis for social media to conspire to censor any discussion of the laptop and its contents. And so it was that a political puppet deeply in the pay of foreign interests got shoehorned into the White House. Well, that and widespread election fraud. Turns out that Agent Brian Auten was also involved in favorably vetting the Steele Dossier when it was used to justify FISA court warrants against figures in Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, part of the RussiaGate operation that disordered and disabled President Trump’s entire four-year term. Well now you know. Perhaps Special Counsel John Durham knows this, too. (If he didn’t before, he must now.)

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Lynch is not as crazy as Stephen King.

David Lynch Tells ‘Zelensky’ To Have A Beer With Putin (RT)

Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky should have a beer with his Russian counterpart Putin and talk peace, American filmmaker David Lynch insisted in an “interview” with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus. The first fragment of the interview was published on the Russian video hosting website RuTube on Thursday, while the full-length version is expected to be released in the coming days.= Speaking to whom he thought was the Ukrainian leader, the Twin Peaks director insisted that the only way to end the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine was through peace. Lynch said it was his “job”to inform Zelensky about “technologies” that exist for achieving a lasting peace and that these methods were far more effective than “war and murder,” referring to letters he had previously sent to the Ukrainian president.

“Now is the time for peace, and the technology to achieve true peace exists. You need to use them and form such groups of experts on a peaceful settlement in the interests of Ukraine,”he noted. Vovan and Lexus, posing as Zelensky, asked the filmmaker whether he thought there should be direct talks with Putin in the interest of reaching peace, to which Lynch emphatically replied “Yes!”, stressing that there were a number of ways to do so, such as an ordinary telephone call or a virtual dinner with a couple of beers. Lynch insisted that during the conversation over beer and dinner the two presidents could come to a mutual realization that they are both human beings and would be able to discuss the problems between their countries.

“Think peace, think friendship” urged the filmmaker, calling on Zelensky to “stop” the current crisis, talk to Putin, and think about how to get along and help each other. The conversation with Lynch comes a week after the duo’s prank with American horror writer Stephen King, whom they also tricked into believing he was talking with Zelensky. During the call, King praised WWII-era Nazi collaborator and war criminal Stepan Bandera as a “great man” and compared him to US founding fathers Washington and Jefferson. The writer later admitted that he was pranked and claimed that he didn’t actually know who Bandera was or what he had done.

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Depression.

Trump Warns Something Worse Than Recession Is Coming (ET)

Former President Donald Trump has warned that America’s economy is on track for a bigger disaster than a recession, with his remarks coming shortly before government statistics showed GDP printing negative for the second consecutive quarter, which is a rule-of-thumb definition for a recession. “Where we’re going now could be a very bad place,” Trump said at a rally in Arizona last week. “We got to get this act in order, we have to get this country going, or we’re going to have a serious problem.” The former president singled out the collapse in Americans’ real wages, a historically depressed labor force participation rate, and the Democrat push for the Green New Deal that he said would crush economic growth.

“Not recession. Recession’s a nice word. We’re going to have a much bigger problem than recession. We’ll have a depression,” the former president said. Trump’s remarks came several days before the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released data showing that real U.S. GDP fell by an annualized 0.9 percent in the second quarter after contracting 1.6 percent in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth are a common rule-of-thumb definition for a recession, although recessions in the United States are officially declared by a committee of economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) using a broader definition than the two-quarter rule.

[..] In his remarks, Trump also took aim at President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy, blaming him for soaring inflation. “Biden created the worst inflation in 47 years. We’re at 9.1 percent, but the actual number is much, much higher than that,” Trump said. While the former president didn’t provide his own estimate for the true rate of inflation, an alternative CPI inflation gauge developed by economist John Williams, calculated according to the same methodology used by the U.S. government in the 1980s, puts the figure at 17.3 percent, a 75-year high. Trump also said that persistently high inflation combined with an economic slowdown has put the country “on the verge of a devastating” spell of stagflation, which is a combination of accelerating prices and slowing economic growth.

Inflation is “going higher and higher all the time,” Trump said, adding that it’s “costing families nearly $6,000 a year, bigger than any tax increase ever proposed other than the tax increase that they want to propose right now.” In Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017, the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation gauge came in at 2.8 percent in annual terms. While the CPI measure fluctuated during his tenure, the highest it ever reached was 2.9 percent in July 2018, while in his final month in office, January 2021, inflation clocked in at 1.4 percent. Under Biden, inflation has climbed steadily, soaring 9.1 percent year-over-year in June 2022, a figure not seen in more than 40 years.

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$25,000 each. Hmm. Still, this may spread like wildfirre.

Health Care Workers Settle COVID Shot Mandate for $10.3 Million (Bridle)

Today, Liberty Counsel settled the nation’s first classwide lawsuit for health care workers over a COVID shot mandate, for more than $10.3 million. The class action settlement against NorthShore University HealthSystem is on behalf of more than 500 current and former health care workers who were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate. The agreed upon settlement was filed today in the federal Northern District Court of Illinois. As a result of the settlement, NorthShore will pay $10,337,500 to compensate these health care employees who were victims of religious discrimination, and who were punished for their religious beliefs against taking an injection associated with aborted fetal cells.

This is a historic, first-of-its-kind class action settlement against a private employer who unlawfully denied hundreds of religious exemption requests to COVID-19 shots. The settlement must be approved by the federal District Court. Employees of NorthShore who were denied religious exemptions will receive notice of the settlement, and will have an opportunity to comment, object, request to opt out, or submit a claim form for payment out of the settlement fund, all in accordance with deadlines that will be set by the court. As part of the settlement agreement, NorthShore will also change its unlawful “no religious accommodations” policy to make it consistent with the law, and to provide religious accommodations in every position across its numerous facilities. No position in any NorthShore facility will be considered off limits to unvaccinated employees with approved religious exemptions.

In addition, employees who were terminated because of their religious refusal of the COVID shots will be eligible for rehire if they apply within 90 days of final settlement approval by the court, and they will retain their previous seniority level. The amount of individual payments from the settlement fund will depend on how many valid and timely claim forms are submitted during the claims process. If the settlement is approved by the court and all or nearly all of the affected employees file valid and timely claims, it is estimated that employees who were terminated or resigned because of their religious refusal of a COVID shot will receive approximately $25,000 each, and employees to were forced to accept a COVID shot against their religious beliefs to keep their jobs will receive approximately $3,000 each.

The 13 health care workers who are lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit will receive an additional approximate payment of $20,000 each for their important role in bringing this lawsuit and representing the class of NorthShore health care workers. Liberty Counsel will receive 20 percent of the settlement sum, which equals $2,061,500, as payment for the significant attorney’s fees and costs it has required to undertake to sue NorthShore and hold it accountable for its actions. This amount is far less than the typical 33 percent usually requested by attorneys in class action litigation.

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Not sure if No. 6 is also from Toronto.

“In all four cases, their hospitals made it clear their deaths “were not related to the COVID-19 vaccine.” Made it clear how? Where are the autopsies?

Triathlete, 27, Becomes 5th Toronto Area Doctor To Die In July (TSun)

The fifth GTA doctor to die in July “radiated positivity” and “lived a vibrant and active life.” But what the world lost in the sudden and tragic death of Dr. Candace Nayman was a woman who had dedicated her life to the health of children. The 27-year-old, who was a resident doctor at McMaster Children Hospital in Hamilton, collapsed while swimming as she competed in a triathlon on Sunday. She subsequently died on Thursday. Friends kept an around-the-clock prayer vigil for the much-loved Nayman who lost her fight and, at her request, had her organs donated to help others.She was “the loving daughter of Nicole and Gary, and the sister of Lauren, her twin, and Maurice, as well as partner to Seth Kadish,” reads an obituary on the Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel.

A triathlete, Dr. Nayman routinely commented on social media about her love of training and racing. “Candace Brooke Nayman passed away Thursday, July 28, 2022 competing and doing what she loved,” her obituary states. Family, friends and peers gathered Thursday for her funeral, which has not only shaken her family but rocked the already shaken medicine fraternity. “Everyone in the pediatrics department here at McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital is devastated by the loss of Dr. Candace Nayman.” said Dr. Angelo Mikrogianakis, the chief of pediatrics at Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “Candace was an aspiring pediatrician who exemplified hard work, radiated positivity, lived a vibrant and active life, and had a positive impact on her fellow residents, colleagues, faculty and patients.”


[..] Four other local doctors have died this summer. Trillium Partners staff physicians Dr. Jakub Sawicki, Dr. Stephen McKenzie and Dr. Lorne Segall died last week, just days after the tragic death of North York General Hospital’s Dr. Paul Hannam, an Olympian who died during a run at 50 years old. In all four cases, their hospitals made it clear their deaths “were not related to the COVID-19 vaccine.”

6 Canadian doctors

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Zuckerbucks.

Meta from 5th Most Valuable Stock to 11th In 10 Months. $647 Billion Lost (WS)

Despite the rally on Friday, the shares of Meta Platforms lost more ground, falling 1.0% to $159.10 at the close, and more after-hours, same price where the shares had first been on July 13, 2017. Five years of nothing, with an exciting roller-coaster-ride in between. Four years and two months up, 10 months down. Since the peak in September 2021, the shares have plunged 59%. Meta still doesn’t qualify for my growing list of Imploded Stocks, for which the minimum requirement is a 70% plunge from the peak, but it’s working hard to get there (data via YCharts):

The market value plunged from $1.077 trillion in September to $431 billion today. So, $647 billion have vanished in 10 months. This is no biggie obviously because people who bought the shares at the IPO for $38, and thereby participated in the biggest tech IPO in US history at the time, still made 318% at today’s price, and the shares could fall another 50%, and they’d still make a ton of money. Those who bought in 2021, OK, win some, lose some. And this dump in market cap caused something else to happen over the past two days: While other stocks surged, Meta fell out of the top 10 most valuable companies in the US, into 11th place, behind Visa (data via YCharts):

Back in September 2021, Meta, with a market cap of $1.077 trillion, was the fifth most valuable stock by market cap in the US. Easy come, easy go (data via YCharts):

Despite the summer rally, the Nasdaq composite is still down 23.6% from the peak in November, and lots of stocks slid, skidded, and plunged, and this re-arranged the deck a little among the top 11, but left the top four in the same position. There are a host of reasons for Meta’s plunge, including that the shares should have never shot up in this crazy manner in the first place. But hey, this was the pandemic, the Fed was printing money hand over fist, the Fed’s interest rates were near 0% even as inflation had begun to rage, and nothing mattered, everything shot higher. To the moon!

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Tamara Lich

 

 

Dutch farmer

 

 

Holland

 

 

It would be good if the farmers, or someone else, can keep the WEF forum out of Holland.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 162022
 


Pablo Picasso Maison 1931

 

Sweden Joins Finland In NATO bid, Ending 200 Years Of Non-Alignment (Week)
Why Russia’s Oil Ban Is Impossible (Vilches)
European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm” (ZH)
McConnell Urges Biden To Name Russia A State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Hill)
Russian Lawmaker Says Poland Next In Line for ‘De-Nazification’ (ET)
Is Diplomacy Between Russia and the West Still Possible? (Haass)
Unmasking – Part 1 (Jotwani)
Can We Find Our Way Back to Freedom? (Ruechel)
Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)
Elon Musk: The Next Joe Rogan (Hill)
Elon Musk Issues Warning on Twitter Algorithm (ET)
Leaked Emails Expose Secret Intelligence Coup To Install Boris Johnson (GZ)

 

 

 

 

THE PLAN

 

 

 

 

Fauci trying to get Trump re-elected

 

 

WHO total control

 

 

200 years, 2 world wars, always neutral. Makes me wonder: Is Switzerland next?

Sweden Joins Finland In NATO bid, Ending 200 Years Of Non-Alignment (Week)

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats on Sunday said they now support joining NATO, hours after Finland’s leaders affirmed their intention to get parliamentary approval for membership as early as Monday. “For us Social Democrats, it is clear that the military non-alignment has served Sweden well, but our conclusion is that it won’t serve us as well in the future,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said. “We’re now facing a fundamentally changed security environment in Europe.” Public opinion in Sweden and Finland swung sharply toward NATO membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Andersson said Sweden would be left in a “vulnerable position” if it were the only country in the Baltic region that was not part of the military alliance. She also said the Social Democrats oppose Sweden hosting NATO bases or nuclear weapons.

Sweden has steered clear of military alliances for 200 years, since the Napoleonic Wars, and Finland has remained neutral since battling Soviet Russia — and losing 10 percent of its territory — in World War II. “This is a historic day,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Sunday. “A new era begins.” NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Berlin, reiterated that both Nordic countries would be welcomed if they apply and suggested security guarantees could be provided for the period between application and accession. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sweden and Finland’s applications would be fast-tracked, but it could still take up to a year.

Every NATO member state would have to ratify the memberships, and only Turkey so far has voiced reservations. But in Berlin, the Turkish Foreign Minister said the issue is not NATO expansion but rather what he called Sweden and Finland’s support for Kurdish rebels in the PKK, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, and also “unacceptable” restrictions both countries have placed on weapons sales to Ankara. Turkey is not issuing any threats or seeking leverage, he added. “Turkey has made it clear that their intention is not to block membership,” Stoltenberg said.

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Quantity AND Quality.

Why Russia’s Oil Ban Is Impossible (Vilches)

Beware: the reliable provision of Russian oil to the EU is essential because of its quality, quantities, price, service and delivery enlargement that Europe needs to constantly grow. Banning Russian oil means finding many different oils – from many new unproven vendors – that would have to render the same homogenized profile of delivery, quality, quantity, price, service and enlargeability that Russia reliably provides today. Nothing less, of course. Think about it. Otherwise we cannot have the Europe we now know and the future Europe we need. All 6 factors are required. Not enough quantity adequately delivered means degraded European lives and failing economy, with shut down plants and refineries affecting transportation, heating, hospitals & schools, highly limited military, unemployment, etc., etc.

A different or lower oil quality means poor performance and operational risks with serious breakdown troubles and injuries plus down-time probably beyond repair. Not low enough price — Russian fuels are good & cheap — means disrupting the EU and the world with inflation beyond imagination. And as Procurement Depts. know well, an utmost reliable vendor service is paramount also to allow for mutual growth. Russia is a vetted, close-by, one-stop, well “oiled” 6-criteria compliant vendor. Instead, the EU´s losing proposition is a far away beach-front bazaar with seaborne delivery only, shipped by a fleet too small for purpose. A single non-compliant vendor is simply unacceptable, period. Furthermore, Russia´s oil sales to Europe provide a stabilizing critical mass to compensate for world market variations

The huge problem is that there are 3 and only 3 ways out of this terribly EU mis-managed fuel sourcing hellish-crazy messy mess. For all 3 options in order to comply with the 6 oil criteria briefly explained before (more on that later) the EU would be required to import variable quantities from several different yet unknown vendors having (1) fully compliant export-ready oil grades to be produced beyond and incremental to current production and/or… (2) fully compliant oil grades found deep underground somewhere yet unknown per definition 0% available today (3) modify every single piece of machinery in the EU to fuel them with different non-compliant non-Russian oils… and with no possible “toggle switch” to convert from one type of oil to another… We’d have a forcefull life-long linkage between one vendor and his supposedly constant oil deliveries, which would be different from other vendors and their supposedly constant deliveries made to other EU consumers. NO interchangeability here.

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Your leaders are conspiring to make you have nothing and be happy.

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm” (ZH)

A top commodity research firm in Norway warns a “perfect storm” is brewing as European energy security worsens following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could result in the tripling of natural gas prices. “There simply is not enough LNG around to meet demand. In the short term, this will make for a hard winter in Europe. “For producers, it suggests the next LNG boom is here, but it will arrive too late to meet the sharp spike in demand. The stage is set for a sustained supply deficit, high prices, extreme volatility, bullish markets, and heightened LNG geopolitics,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst for Gas and LNG at Rystad Energy, wrote.

Rystad Energy said the EU has an “ambitious target to reduce dependence on Russian gas by 66% within this year – an aim that will clash with the EU’s goal of replenishing gas storage to 80% of capacity by 1 November.” The firm said shunning Russian natgas from the continent destabilizes the entire global natgas market, which had a turbulent 2021 year-end with prices skyrocketing across Europe because of the lack of supplies. EU is currently reducing reliance on Russian natgas and has unveiled the possibility of banning Russian fossil fuels. This will only lead to more trouble for the EU, where prices could rise even higher. According to the report, 155 billion cubic meters of Russian natgas flowed into Europe in 2021, representing about 31% of the continent’s natgas supply.

“Replacing a significant portion of this will be exceedingly difficult, with far-reaching consequences for Europe’s population, economy, and for the role of gas in the region’s energy transition,” Rystad Energy noted. In one apocalyptic scenario, the energy firm cautioned about the severe economic implications if Russian natgas flows were immediately halted. They said it would come at a time when natgas stocks (only 35% full) would be depleted by the end of the year, resulting in a tripling of natgas prices from current levels to $100 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Such a dramatic price move in natgas would have tremendous implications on the economy, such as “industrial curtailments,” Rystad Energy said, adding, “in an extreme scenario of a severely cold winter, not even the residential sector would be safe.”

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“My definition of victory is whatever Zelensky and the Ukrainians conclude is a satisfactory end..”

McConnell Urges Biden To Name Russia A State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Hill)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday urged President Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, which would lift sovereign immunity protections shielding the country from being sued for civil damages. “I think it’s a good idea, and I would support that,” he told reporters during a press call from Stockholm. “The president could do it on his own, and I would urge him to do it.” McConnell made his recommendation to designate Russia a sponsor of terrorism after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday. Three other Republican senators, Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Susan Collins (Maine), also attended the meeting.

McConnell said he assured Zelensky that “support for Ukraine in this war against the Russians is bipartisan” and that the “overwhelming majority” of national security-minded Republicans support the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, despite recent criticism of a $40 billion Ukrainian aid package by prominent Republicans such as former President Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.). “This naked aggression must not stand,” McConnell said. “I wanted to assure them that within the Congress there was very, very broad support for continuing the fight.” The GOP leader made his comments after Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a resolution last week calling for the designation of the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The bipartisan measure would call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to put Russia on the list, where it would join Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria. Recently departed White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the U.S. had already imposed crippling “economic sanctions” and “sanctions on individuals,” rendering Russia “a global pariah” but added that “we’ll see what happens in Congress.” [..] McConnell on Sunday reiterated his view that U.S. military assistance of Ukraine should continue for as long as Ukrainians want to fight off the Russian invasion. “The question always is, how does it end? And my view remains that that’s a decision for the Ukrainians to make. My definition of victory is whatever Zelensky and the Ukrainians conclude is a satisfactory end,” he said.

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Sounds bad, but only until you read what those Polish dudes have said… Yikes.

Russian Lawmaker Says Poland Next In Line for ‘De-Nazification’ (ET)

A Russian lawmaker has issued a fiery warning that Warsaw is next in line for “de-nazification” after Poland’s Prime Minister penned an op-ed calling Russia’s imperialist “Russkiy Mir” ideology a “cancer” consuming Russian society and a “deadly threat” to other countries. Oleg Morozov, chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Control, wrote in a message on Telegram on Friday that the Polish leader’s comments have essentially made Poland a target. In his remarks, Morozov resorted to the Kremlin’s rhetoric in its military operation in Ukraine of so-called “de-Nazification,” a label Moscow has used to vilify its geopolitical adversaries and justify the war.

“With its statements about Russia as a ‘cancer’ and about the ‘indemnity’ that we must pay to Ukraine, Poland encourages us to put it in first place in the queue for de-Nazification after Ukraine,” Morozov wrote, according to a translation of his statement. Morozov’s remarks were prompted by statements made by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Polish President Andrzej Duda, who have both been highly critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Duda has said Russia should be forced to pay compensation to Ukraine for war damages while Morawiecki said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “more dangerous” than both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin because he has nuclear weapons and a massive propaganda machine at his disposal.

Morawiecki wrote in a column in the British newspaper The Telegraph that “the cursed phantoms of the 20th century have risen again over Ukraine,” alleging that Russia’s invasion of its neighbor bears the hallmarks of fascism, “has already opened the gates to genocide,” and is driven by a “monstrous new ideology” that he called “Russkiy Mir.” Morawiecki alleged that in the name of this ideology, Putin and his military entourage have ordered Russian forces into war, “convinced them of their superiority, and encouraged them to commit inhuman war crimes—the murder, rape, and torture of innocent civilians.”

“Putin’s ‘Russkiy Mir’ ideology is the equivalent of 20th-century communism and Nazism,” Morawiecki wrote, calling it a “cancer which is consuming not only the majority of Russian society, but also poses a deadly threat to the whole of Europe.” It’s not enough to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s attack, Morawiecki argued, “we must root out this monstrous new ideology entirely.”

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Yes, where are the peace talks?

Is Diplomacy Between Russia and the West Still Possible? (Haass)

Amid more than two months of intense media focus on the war in Ukraine, one story was largely overlooked. In late April, the United States and Russia carried out an exchange of prisoners. Russia released an American (a former marine) whom it detained some three years ago, while the US released a Russian pilot imprisoned over a decade ago on drug smuggling charges. What makes the exchange noteworthy is that it took place at a time when Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has brought relations with the US to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The US has opted to avoid direct military involvement in the war, but it is doing a great deal to affect its trajectory, including providing Ukraine with large quantities of increasingly advanced arms, intelligence, and training so that it can successfully resist and potentially defeat the Russian forces. The US has also taken steps to strengthen NATO and impose severe economic sanctions on Russia.


The war is likely to stretch on for some time. Although Ukraine’s fundamental interest is to end the war and prevent more death and destruction, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desire for peace is conditional. He seeks to regain territory that Russia occupies and ensure the country’s sovereignty is respected so that, among other things, Ukraine can join the European Union. He also wants those responsible for war crimes to be held accountable. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, needs to achieve an outcome that justifies his costly invasion lest he appear weak and be challenged at home. There is little chance that a peace could be negotiated that would bridge the gap between these two seemingly irreconcilable positions. It is far more likely that the conflict will continue not just for months, but for years to come. This will be the backdrop for US and Western relations with Russia.

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“If Russia and China had played along with these well-established globalized “liberal” frameworks of looting, they would not be seen as adversaries.”

Unmasking – Part 1 (Jotwani)

A thinking person must be on guard against any false doctrines, including of course those of “liberals”. Why? Because we all must cherish and conserve the much good there is in life; it would be foolish not to do so. Succumbing to false doctrines is a sure way to lose all the good that one has in one’s life. Many false doctrines arise from obsessive/compulsive quantification. Modern scholars in the “liberal” mould have invented the dangerously tragi-comic game of quantifying all that is deemed by them to be “good”. But true goodness is known only deep in the heart. How can one quantify what is felt deep in the heart? How can one quantify the immeasurable goodness in life which comes in the form of love, empathy, care?

A quantifying economist, for example, would reckon that a greedy doctor who charges a thousand dollars for treatment adds more to GDP than a kind doctor who charges a hundred dollars for it. The former’s treatment is deemed to be ten times better – and thus overcharging becomes an economic virtue! Inevitably, such views of life are blind to love, empathy, care. Absent these life-giving virtues, a “liberal” is liberal only with what belongs to others. But, in true Jekyll-Hyde mode, the “liberal” remains jealously and fiercely protective of what been salted away by him or her under the cover of darkness.

As we will see in the sequel, “liberal” causes need a copious supply of other people’s money. Therefore greedy, cunning, heartless money-monsters are needed to support such “liberal” causes – towards selfish ends of their own, needless to say. In an earlier era, these money-monsters raked in copious amounts of colonial loot from the world over. Today financial and corporate loot is replacing colonial loot, but the dirty game is still on. If Russia and China had played along with these well-established globalized “liberal” frameworks of looting, they would not be seen as adversaries. But they are not playing along. They have their own vision, and therefore they will be painted by “liberal democracies” as the most “illiberal” of societies!

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Fourth turning.

Can We Find Our Way Back to Freedom? (Ruechel)

We were already a society experiencing an identity crisis, casting about for meaning, searching for a sense of belonging, and desperate for a new unifying “grand narrative” to bind us together. The “emergency” created by Covid and the public demand for “safety at any cost” provided institutions with an excuse to abandon their constitutional restraints, giving the people inside these institutions free rein to act out the philosophical impulses that have been growing throughout society for a long time. Covid was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. It opened the door to a new “fourth turning”. The system is now in flux. In retrospect, it is easy to recognize society’s growing loss of confidence in classical liberal principles like individual liberty, bodily autonomy, personal responsibility, freedom of speech, tolerance, meritocracy, private property, sound money, inalienable rights, and so on.

The postmodernists (neoliberals) have been busily eroding the philosophical foundations of classical liberalism for a long time, robbing society of the words, ideas, and historical awareness with which to defend ourselves against illiberal postmodernist beliefs. And we have been complacent. We surrendered the landscape of the imagination to the deconstructionists, the activists, and the cynics. How can a constitution provide a philosophical anchor for a society in which nothing is sacred? What we are witnessing now is the attempted institutionalization of society’s embrace of learned helplessness, safety culture, cancel culture, redistribution, and all the other “gems” of postmodern philosophy. Our uprooted institutions are trying to “re-invent” themselves by attempting to put down fresh roots around postmodern neoliberal philosophy.

The institutionalized forms of these destructive cultural trends are unlikely to turn out anything like society’s utopian postmodern fantasies, but at least we know the shape of the mirage they are chasing. Society wanted an all-powerful feelgood shepherd, and there are plenty of grifters willing to cater to that illusion. But we’re still early in the chaotic transition period. What is being institutionalized now isn’t necessarily going to stick, especially as the yoke of dictatorial government begins to chafe. Brace for the unexpected as other competing visions of the future emerge and are drawn into a zero-sum struggle for dominance. The battle of the grand narratives has begun.

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“..the most brazenly fraudulent conduct of any trial I have studied..”

Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)

In part I of my post on the TOGETHER trial of ivermectin, I presented the context of this trial within Big Pharma’s decades-long Disinformation campaign against “science inconvenient to their interests.” I argued that no science has ever been a greater threat to Pharma than the massive efficacy data of the generic drug ivermectin in COVID-19. I detailed how they have long deployed “studies designed or conducted to fail” and/or “studies manipulated to show positive results.” They do both. Repeatedly. They then publish these studies in a small number of captured high-impact scientific journals which influence the captured media and then are recommended for or against by captured health agencies.

Note that the importance of the wording of the conclusion in a trial’s abstract, published in high-impact journal, cannot be overstated. Only a small minority of physicians read and think critically about the full study manuscript. Even less read the full study abstract. Sadly, the overwhelming majority simply read the abstract’s conclusion. In this manner, and particularly in the case of the TOGETHER trial, they can baselessly and erroneously convince the vast majority of doctors and citizens that ivermectin is ineffective. In the case of ivermectin, they did this via less than a handful of severely flawed “Big RCT’s” despite the overwhelming mountain of valid OCT’s and RCT’s and health ministry program successes in COVID. The TOGETHER trial on ivermectin was never going to be a positive trial. Ever. That was a foregone conclusion.

So what I want to do here is break down exactly how they accomplished this feat, using the most brazenly fraudulent conduct of any trial I have studied. This is NOT to say that I have never witnessed fraudulent studies, but this trial displays an unprecedented amount of targeted tactics designed to deny, suppress, and distort the evidence of efficacy.

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“Elon Musk, who has taken the baton from Rogan on the whole this-powerful-person-needs-to-be-stopped-because-he’s-a-real-threat-to-democracy front..”

Elon Musk: The Next Joe Rogan (Hill)

After two-thirds of cable news ran endless segments explaining what a threat Rogan is to America, the news cycle moved on. And when the dust cleared, Rogan wasn’t just left standing but, thanks to all the ridiculous media coverage, he was propelled into a different stratosphere of popularity, adding 2 million subscribers to the 10 million he already had. “The problem that I have with misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” Rogan explained at the time. “Like, for instance, eight months ago if you said, ‘If you get vaccinated, you could still catch Covid, and you could still spread Covid.’ You would be removed from social media.”

He was correct — and those removals were largely happening on Twitter, which soon may be owned by billionaire Elon Musk, who has taken the baton from Rogan on the whole this-powerful-person-needs-to-be-stopped-because-he’s-a-real-threat-to-democracyfront. Musk, a self-described free-speech absolutist, has offered to buy the social media giant. This greatly upset many on the left since Twitter has conducted itself in such an exemplary fashion in recent years. (Yes, that’s more sarcasm.) This is a company whose former CEO, Jack Dorsey, admits it wrongly censored accounts and suppressed information it deemed as misinformation. Conservative accounts were locked simply for sharing the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, or for questioning whether COVID-19 may have come from a lab in Wuhan, China, that studies coronaviruses.

[..] Over on cable news, as it dealt with the Musk deal, the hyperbole was so crazy it became the best unintentional comedy to be found. “When a petulant and not so bright billionaire casually bought one of the world’s most influential messaging machines and just handed it to the far-right,” one MSNBC host declared last month. Yep. The world’s richest man – the CEO of Tesla, and the guy who made available his Space-X’s Starlink satellite system to provide a besieged Ukraine with internet access amid Russia’s invasion of that country – is “not so bright” and a pawn of “the far-right.” “I think we can look to the western countries in Europe for how they are trying to limit it but you need — you need controls on this. You need regulation,” CNN contributor David Zurawik told “Reliable Sources.”“You cannot let these guys control discourse in this country or we are headed to hell. We are there. Trump opened the gates of hell and now they’re chasing us down,” he added.

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“..there is some chance it might be over 90 percent of daily active users…”

Elon Musk Issues Warning on Twitter Algorithm (ET)

Elon Musk warned Twitter users that they are “being manipulated” and told them to turn off the platform’s algorithmic newsfeed, coming as the firm’s legal department apparently said he committed a violation of a non-disclosure agreement. “You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you do not realize … Easy to switch back and forth to see the difference,” Musk wrote on Twitter. The Tesla CEO advised other users to switch to seeing the latest Twitter posts immediately by tapping the Twitter home button, tapping the stars button on the upper right of the screen, and selecting “latest tweets.” “I am not suggesting malice in the algorithm, but rather that it is trying to guess what you might want to read and, in doing so, inadvertently manipulate/ amplify your viewpoints without you realizing this is happening,” Musk continued in another post.

Musk announced his intentions to purchase Twitter on April 25 as he criticized the firm’s content moderation policies. Both he and Twitter said that Musk would attempt to purchase the firm for $44 billion, allowing him to take the platform private after the purchase. But on May 13, the deal appeared to be on thin ice after Musk posted that the agreement was “on hold” after reports said that bots and automated accounts make up fewer than 5 percent of the overall users. Hours later, Musk confirmed that he is still committed to the purchase. “Twitter (TWTR) legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the billionaire wrote on Saturday, referring to a study on bots.

Musk posted early Sunday that he’s not seen any analysis that suggests that bots comprise fewer than 5 percent of Twitter accounts. He later said that “there is some chance it might be over 90 percent of daily active users.”

Read more …

MI6 and Brexit.

Leaked Emails Expose Secret Intelligence Coup To Install Boris Johnson (GZ)

Leaked emails and documents reviewed by The Grayzone have exposed the dimensions of a wide-ranging conspiracy managed by a shadowy cabal of hardcore Leavers to sabotage former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, remove her from office, replace her with Boris Johnson, and secure a ‘hard’ withdrawal from the EU. The emails demonstrate that a group of operatives linked to the intelligence services and wealthy, reclusive pro-Brexit financiers spied on campaign groups, infiltrated the civil service, and targeted high-profile Remainers with reputational destruction. While the majority of British voters elected to assert their independence from the EU, this clique of mostly unknown influence agents sought to subvert the process and manage it according to their own elite interests.

Among their key objectives was to strengthen the security relationship between London and Washington, thus supplanting EU authority with more substantial US oversight. The cabal, which continues to exert insidious, undue influence on British politics, politicians and policy to this day, is composed of wealthy financiers, representatives of the military and defense establishment, and intelligence officials. The origin of the tranche of emails, which were shared with The Grayzone anonymously, is unknown. However, this reporter has verified the authenticity of the emails and documents contained therein through their metadata, among with other evidentiary sources. Much of the content would be impossible to counterfeit or doctor. The public interest in these private communications is abundantly clear, as the actions exposed in the tranche are so flagrantly anti-democratic they could lead to criminal investigations of at least some of the actors involved.

The cabal appears to be led by Gwythian Prins, a member of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategy Advisory Panel, former NATO and Ministry of Defence advisor, and board member of pro-Brexit group Veterans for Britain. Prins’ bio on his speakers’ bureau advertises him as a “leading thinker on strategy” who has “worked with leading decision makers around the globe from business leaders all the way up to heads of state, helping them to improve their decision making by educating them on the complex psychological processes underpinning theses[sic] decisions.” He is joined by former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove, who is frequently dubbed “C” in the leaked emails, a reference to the operational initial granted to all heads of Britain’s foreign intelligence service. At one point, Dearlove and Prins sought to recruit their apparent friend, Henry Kissinger, and his consulting firm as trans-Atlantic lobbyists for their version of Brexit.

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WHO Neil Oliver
https://twitter.com/i/status/1525527462196793345

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 122018
 
 June 12, 2018  Posted by at 9:19 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Henri Matisse The pink studio 1911

 

Trump And Kim Sign “Comprehensive” Letter To End Historic Summit (ZH)
Dennis Rodman Cries As He Hails Trump-Kim Summit: ‘I’m So Happy’ (G.)
Trump, Kim Meet, But Body Language Shows Some Nerves (R.)
IMF’s Lagarde Says Global Economic Outlook Darkening By The Day (R.)
If Trump Wants To Blow Up The World Order, Who Will Stop Him? (Varoufakis)
World Wrassling Diplomacy (Jim Kunstler)
Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World (CJ)
ECB Set To Begin The Process Of Its Easy Money-Exit (CNBC)
Corporate Executives Cash In On Stock Buybacks (CNBC)
US Net Neutrality Rules Expire, Court Battle Looms (R.)
Stranded Migrant Rescue Boat Unable To Make Voyage To Spain (Ind.)
The Last Bat: The Mystery Of Britain’s Most Solitary Animal (G.)

 

 

Went exactly as expected. No big deal. But Trump’s reeled in Kim, who will now have to deliver.

Trump And Kim Sign “Comprehensive” Letter To End Historic Summit (ZH)

Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signed what the US president described as a “very important, comprehensive” document following the conclusion of their “really fantastic” whirlwind historic summit in Singapore, the first between a US president and North Korean leader that came after decades of hostility. “The letter that we are signing is very comprehensive, and I think both sides will be very impressed with the results,” Trump said as he sat alongside the North Korean leader at a large wooden table in front of a bank of U.S. and North Korean flags to endorse the document, which however produced no new specific commitments from Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear weapons aside from broad generalities.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said that the two countries would “leave the past behind” in signing the “historic”agreement and that “the world will see the major change,” adding that “I would like to express gratitude to President Trump for making this meeting happen.” Trump said more information would come out “in just a little while” and did not say what the agreement entailed, but some had already managed to extract the key contents from the letter Trump held up. The letter says that the U.S. and North Korea “will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” and that North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The pair also agree to “establish new U.S.-DPRK relations, and the two leaders “have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.” Notably, the U.S. and N. Korea agree to follow-on negotiations led by Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and a DPRK counterpart. In other words this is just the first of many summits. Speaking to reporters, Trump also said the he would “absolutely” invite Kim to the White House to continue their talks, meanwhile Kim called the document “historic” and said it would lead to a new era in the U.S.-North Korea relationship. “We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind, and we are about to sign a historic document,” he said through a translator. “The world will see a major change.”

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Perspective is everything.

Dennis Rodman Cries As He Hails Trump-Kim Summit: ‘I’m So Happy’ (G.)

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump had barely exchanged pleasantries outside the Capella hotel when their mutual friend Dennis Rodman appeared on TV to provide a characteristically bizarre sideshow to the main event in Singapore. In a rambling interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo from Singapore, a highly emotional Rodman claimed credit for predicting that today’s summit – which seemed unlikely just months ago – would happen. Wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap and a T-shirt bearing the name of his sponsor Potcoin, Rodman sobbed as he described his feelings about the summit and recalled the abuse he had received over his controversial visits to Pyongyang to meet Kim. “I said to everybody, the door will open,” he said.

“It’s amazing, it’s amazing, it’s amazing. When I said those things, when I went back home, I got so many death threats … and I believed in North Korea, and I couldn’t even go home, I couldn’t even go home, I had to hide out for 30 days, I couldn’t even go home. “But I kept my head high, brother, I knew things were going to change … I knew it, I was the only one. I never had no one to hear me, I had no one to see me. But I took all those bullets, I took all at that … but I’m still standing. Today is a great day for everybody, Singapore, Tokyo, China, everybody … it’s a great day. I’m here to see it. I’m so happy.”

The former NBA star is one of the few westerners to have met Kim, with whom he struck up an unlikely friendship over their shared love of basketball. Describing his meetings with Kim, Rodman said: “He’s more like a big kid, even though he’s small. He wants to come to America. He wants to enjoy his life.” Rodman said he had tried to pass on what he heard from Kim to Barack Obama but was “brushed off”.

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Reuters has called in a body language expert. Stay tuned for Aunt Mille’s take on their astrological signs. June 14 is Trump’s 72nd birthday.

Trump, Kim Meet, But Body Language Shows Some Nerves (R.)

In their first moments of meeting each other, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un both sought to project a sense of command but displayed some anxiety at the start of their high-stakes summit in Singapore. Body language experts said that in the 13 seconds or so the U.S. president held on to the hand of Kim for the first time, he projected his usual dominance by reaching out first, and patting the North Korean leader’s shoulder. Not to be outdone, Kim firmly pumped Trump’s hand, looking him straight in the eye for the duration, before breaking off to face the media.

“It wasn’t a straight-out handshake,” said Allan Pease, an Australian body language expert and author of several books on the topic, including “The Definitive Guide to Body Language”. “It was up and down, there was an argy-bargy, each one was pulling the other closer. Each guy wasn’t letting the other get a dominant grip,” he told Reuters by telephone from Melbourne. Trump and Kim are meeting in Singapore for historic talks aimed at finding a way to end a nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula. Should they succeed, it could bring lasting change to the security landscape of Northeast Asia, like the visit of former U.S. President Richard Nixon to China in 1972 led to the transformation of China.

Ahead of the meeting, Trump had said he would be able to work out within the first minute whether his North Korean counterpart was serious about making peace. Projecting authority comes easily to Trump, who as a global leader, businessman and former television personality is well-versed in using body language effectively. He also has a height advantage over Kim. While both men walked to the library where they held their first face-to-face meeting, Trump sought to ease any tension in the air by chatting to Kim, and letting him walk slightly ahead. Trump, however, maintained control over the chat by patting Kim, and using his hand to guide him, who is almost half his age, into the room. Kim also patted Trump, in an attempt to assert control. He mainly looked down, listening, as Trump spoke, but did look up at several times during the conversation.

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She doesn’t really think that, but needs a stab at Trump for upsetting the order that gave her the seat she has.

IMF’s Lagarde Says Global Economic Outlook Darkening By The Day (R.)

IMF chief Christine Lagarde led an attack by global economic organizations on U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy on Monday, warning that clouds over the global economy “are getting darker by the day”. Trump backed out of a joint communique agreed by Group of Seven leaders in Canada at the weekend that mentioned the need for “free, fair and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism. The U.S. president, who has imposed import tariffs on metals, is furious about the United States’ large trade deficit with key allies. “Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,” he tweeted on Monday.

In response, Lagarde unleashed a thinly veiled attack on Trump’s trade policy, saying challenges to the way trade is conducted were damaging business confidence, which had soured even since the weekend G7 summit. The IMF is sticking to its forecast for global growth of 3.9% both this year and next, she said, before adding: “But the clouds on the horizon that we have signaled about six months ago are getting darker by the day, and I was going to say by the weekend.” “The biggest and darkest cloud that we see is the deterioration in confidence that is prompted by (an) attempt to challenge the way in which trade has been conducted, in which relationships have been handled and in which multilateral organizations have been operating,” Lagarde said.

[..] Earlier, Germany’s economy minister said Berlin saw no immediate solution to the trade row between the United States and other major economies but remained open to talks “among friends”, seeking to head off a full-blown global trade war. As Europe’s biggest exporter to the United States, and with more than one million German jobs at stake, Germany is desperate to avoid an EU trade war with the United States. “I believe a win-win situation is still possible,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, one of Merkel’s closest lieutenants, told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “At the moment, however, it seems that no solution is in sight, at least not in the short term.”

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I thought we agreed we didn’t like the world order.

If Trump Wants To Blow Up The World Order, Who Will Stop Him? (Varoufakis)

The Trump administration is building up a substantial economic momentum domestically. First, he passed income and corporate tax cuts that the establishment Republicans could not have imagined even in their wildest dreams a few years ago. But this was not all. Behind the scenes, Trump astonished Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat’s leader in the House of Representatives, by approving every single social program that she asked of him. As a result, the federal government is running the largest budget deficit in America’s history when the rate of unemployment is less than 4%. Whatever one thinks of this president, he is giving money away not only to the richest, who of course get the most, but also to many poor people.

With demonstrably strong employment, especially among African American workers, inflation under control and the stock market still buoyant, Donald Trump has his home front covered as he travels to foreign lands to confront friends and foes. The US anti-Trump establishment prays that markets will punish his profligacy. This is precisely what would have happened if America were any other country. With a fiscal deficit expected to reach $804bn 2018 and $981bn in 2019, and with the government expected to borrow $2.34tn in the next 18 months, the exchange rate would be crashing and interest rates would be going through the roof. Except that the US is not any other country. As its central bank, the Fed, winds down its quantitative easing program by selling off its stock of accumulated assets to the private sector, investors need dollars to buy them.

This causes the number of dollars available to investors to shrink by up to $50bn a month. Add to this the dollars German and Chinese capitalists need to buy US government bonds (in a bid to park their profits somewhere safe) and you begin to see why Trump believes he will not be punished by a run either on the dollar or on government bonds. Armed with the exorbitant privilege that owning the dollar presses affords him, Trump then takes a look at the trade flows with the rest of the G7 and comes to an inescapable conclusion: he cannot possibly lose a trade war against countries that have such high surpluses with the US (eg Germany, Italy, China), or which (like Canada) will catch pneumonia the moment the American economy catches the common cold.

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“..it is hard to imagine two characters less prepared by the rigors of reality than this pair.”

World Wrassling Diplomacy (Jim Kunstler)

I’m all for world peace, and I would like to attempt to take the Kim-Trump meeting seriously, but it is hard to imagine two characters less prepared by the rigors of reality than this pair. Each has been dwelling in a magic kingdom of his own life-long. Both exhibit behaviors typical of children: sulking, threats, bluster, and mysterious mood shifts. The supposedly serious adults around Mr. Trump must be going through the Xanax like Tic-Tacs. The military attachés around the inscrutable Kim might recall the 2016 execution of two NK ministers shot to death with anti-aircraft guns for displeasing the boss — one of them for merely falling asleep during a Kim speech. Who cleaned up that mess, I wonder.

Maybe something good can come out of this improbable set-up. I expect a kind of vaudeville act: a few moments of the two principals pretending that they understand what each is saying… a hopeful communiqué announcing the blooming of a million flowers, and a fateful blowup a few hours into the honeymoon when Kim, Trump, and all the spear-carriers on both sides realize that they had no idea what they were talking about. Then, on Thursday or thereabouts the long-awaited DOJ Inspector General’s report comes out, after a going-over by the very folks at the FBI whose conduct is the subject of that review. I expect a new layer in the mighty cake baked by the white knights of the Resistance. This one will be called Redacto-Gate.

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Things that should be obvious to every 5-year old, but are not:

2. Money rewards sociopathy.

3. Wealth kills empathy.

Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World (CJ)

In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.

1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.
In the quest to understand why governments move in such irrational ways, why expensive, senseless wars are fought while homeless people die of exposure on the streets, why millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer while everyone else struggles to pay rent, why we destroy the ecosystem we depend on for our survival, why one elected official tends to advance more or less the same harmful policies and agendas as his or her predecessor, people often come up with explanations which don’t really hold water.

The most common of these is probably the notion that all of these problems are due to the malignant influence of one of two mainstream political parties, and if the other party could just get in control of the situation all the problems would go away. Other explanations include the belief that humans are just intrinsically awful, blaming minorities like Jews or immigrants, blaming racism and white supremacy, or going all the way down wild and twisted rabbit holes into theories about reptilian secret societies and baby-eating pedophile cabals. But really all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.

Our evolutionary ancestors were pack animals, and the ability to rise in social standing in one’s pack determined crucial matters like whether one got first or last dibs on food or got to reproduce. This impulse to rise in our pack is hardwired deeply into our evolutionary heritage, but when left unchecked due to a lack of empathy, and when expanded into the globe-spanning 7.6 billion human pack we now find ourselves in due to ease of transportation and communication, it can lead to individuals who will keep amassing more and more power until they wield immense influence over entire clusters of nations.

2. Money rewards sociopathy.
The willingness to do anything to get ahead, to claw your way to the top, to betray whomever you need to, to throw anyone under the bus, to step on anyone to pass them in the rat race, will be rewarded in our current system. Being willing to underpay employees, cheat the legal system, and influence legislators will be rewarded exponentially more. People with a sense of empathy are often unwilling to do such things, whereas sociopaths and psychopaths are. About four percent of the population are sociopaths, and about one percent are psychopaths, with some five to fifteen percent falling somewhere along the borderline. The less empathy you have, the further you are willing to go, and the further up the ladder you can climb.

Read more …

Don’t hold your breath.

ECB Set To Begin The Process Of Its Easy Money-Exit (CNBC)

“We never pre-commit.” This was the rule broken last week by the European Central Bank’s Chief Economist Peter Praet, one of the more dovish members of the bank’s Governing Council, as he openly said it would start to discuss the gradual exit from of its quantitative easing (QE) program this week at its meeting in Riga, Latvia. What has changed? Recent headline inflation was stronger than expected and close to the ECB’s target, mainly due to the rise in oil prices. At the same time the situation in Italy has calmed down again. But there still are risks to the growth outlook from other issues such as the U.S.-EU trade spat.

“We think a ‘flexible tapering’ announcement is more likely than an unconditional commitment to an end date for QE,” said ECB watcher Frederik Ducrozet at Pictet Wealth Management in a note. “The ECB could say that there will be ‘no further large expansion of asset purchases’ barring an unwarranted tightening of financial conditions. The modalities of QE tapering could be decided in July.” Whether the details come in June or July, the overwhelming majority of economists polled by Reuters expect the purchases to end by the end of this year. “Irrespective of whether the exit announcement is in June or July, we expect QE to end in December after a taper in (the fourth quarter) and the first policy rate hike in June 2019,” said Mark Wall, the chief economist with Deutsche Bank, in a research note.

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And it’s legal!

Corporate Executives Cash In On Stock Buybacks (CNBC)

Corporate executives are using tax cuts and share buybacks to boost their own compensation, a top regulator said Monday. Companies have announced a record-breaking level of share buybacks since Congress passed the Republican-backed tax reduction in December. Critics of the $1.5 trillion measure had worried that it would lead to big rewards for shareholders and only limited benefit to the broader economy. Robert Jackson Jr., a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said corporate bigwigs have been selling their shares after the buyback announcements hit, cashing in from the stock price surge that often happens after a repurchase notice.

The rules exempting companies from securities law violations for the timing and pricing of buyback announcements need to change, said Jackson, who President Donald Trump appointed earlier this year to fill a designated Democratic SEC seat. Jackson pointed out that the Dodd-Frank banking reforms passed after the financial crisis included language aimed at keeping investors informed about how executives cash out their shares, but specific rules remain in limbo. “But it’s not just that the regulations haven’t been finalized. It’s that the problem itself keeps getting worse,” he said. “You see, the Trump tax bill has unleashed an unprecedented wave of buybacks, and I worry that lax SEC rules and corporate oversight are giving executives yet another chance to cash out at investor expense.”

Indeed, buybacks totaled $178 billion during the first quarter, hit a record $171.3 billion in May alone and have seen $51.1 billion announced so far in June, according to market data firm TrimTabs. At the same time, insider selling has totaled $23.6 billion. Wall Street analysts expect full-year buybacks to total as much as $800 billion, part of what UBS recently forecast to be a $2.5 trillion tsunami of cash pumped into repurchases, dividends, and mergers and acquisitions activity.

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Sometimes you wonder how much longer for the internet as we know it.

US Net Neutrality Rules Expire, Court Battle Looms (R.)

The U.S. open internet rules expired on Monday, handing sweeping new powers to internet providers to block, throttle or offer paid “fast lanes” for web traffic, but a court battle remains ahead. The Federal Communications Commission repealed the 2015 Obama administration’s landmark net neutrality rules in December by a 3-2 vote, sparking a firestorm of criticism on social media websites, opposition from internet firms like Facebook and Alphabet, and protests among Democrats in the Republican-controlled Congress. New regulations that took legal effect Monday give internet service providers (ISPs) sweeping power to slow, block or offer “paid prioritization” to some websites as long as they disclose the practices.

The 2015 order subjected internet providers to strict regulations by the FCC, arguing consumers needed protection from internet provider practices and said internet providers could engage in “just and reasonable conduct.” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last week the rollback will ensure more investment by providers and will ensure “better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people.” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who voted against the repeal, said Monday that the decision put the FCC “on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.”

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Rescue the poor souls already.

Stranded Migrant Rescue Boat Unable To Make Voyage To Spain (Ind.)

A rescue boat loaded with hundreds of refugees which has been stranded in the Mediterranean Sea after Italy and Malta refused to allow the boat to dock, is unable to make the journey to Spain where the government has said it can land. Bad weather in the area is forecast to get worse, making the three-to-five-day voyage dangerous, according to French humanitarian group SOS Meiterranee France. According to the organisation, 629 migrants have been taken on board the Aquarius rescue boat, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women. On Monday evening the group put out a message which read: “Reaching Spain would take several days. With 629 people on board and weather deteriorating, the situation could become critical.”

“Priority must remain the safety of all survivors. It is the responsibility of the Italian maritime authorities to find a safe and fast solution for the 629 people aboard the #Aquarius.” The boat was refused entry to Italian ports after Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini, who is also leader of far-right party Lega Nord (Northern League) said that all Italian ports were closed to the Aquarius. In a Facebook post he called on Malta to take in the vessel. [..][ the new Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, who took office just over a week ago, then said Spain would allow the rescue vessel to dock in the city of Valencia, where the rescued migrants and refugees could finally disembark. Despite the offer, it now looks unlikely the boat will attempt to reach Spain.

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What was it, one in every 3 mammals is a bat?!

The Last Bat: The Mystery Of Britain’s Most Solitary Animal (G.)

We cannot speak of its loneliness, but it must be Britain’s most solitary animal. For the last 16 years, every winter, a male greater mouse-eared bat has taken up residence 300 metres inside a disused and exceedingly damp railway tunnel in West Sussex. The greater mouse-eared bat has been all but extinct in this country for decades. This is the only remaining one we know of. The future of the species in Britain appears to rest with one long-lived and very distinctive individual. The greater mouse-eared bat is so large that observers who first discovered it in Britain likened one to a young rabbit hanging from a wall. In flight, its wings can stretch to nearly half a metre – an astonishing spectacle in a land where bats are generally closer to the size of the rodent that inspired their old name: flittermouse.

The bat has large, mouse-like ears and its feeding habits are as striking as its size. Rather than zig-zagging through darkening skies collecting flying insects, like most bats, Myotis myotis descends earthwards, flapping its wings very slowly as it covers the ground, picking up grasshoppers, crickets, dung beetles and other flightless insects as it goes. Often, it will flop on to the ground, wings outstretched to fold over its prey. The solitary individual who spends the winters in West Sussex has never been observed in flight. Where it goes each spring is not known, and what it does is not known, nor which other animals, if any, it encounters. All that is known is that each winter the bat faithfully returns to its dark tunnel, where it hangs, almost motionless, for five months.

[..] Bats have been evolving for so long, and with so many specialised attributes, from echolocation to drastically extended forelimbs, that the order of Chiroptera – “winged hands” in Latin – accounts for one in five species of mammal. They are supremely successful animals. As one expert puts it: when you have been evolving for so long, you’ve perfected the business of being a bat. That business is becoming tricker in a human-dominated world. In older times, they were feared and despised. Modern people may be more tolerant, but even beneficent parts of society – from harvesters of renewable energy to vicars – are often hostile to bats. Energy-efficient homes seal up roof spaces where bats once roosted.

New roads – and the planned route of the HS2 railway – block traditional foraging routes. LED lighting is particularly disturbing for bats. Wind farms chop them up: according to a study published in 2016, researchers using sniffer dogs to find and retrieve bat carcasses calculated that 29 onshore windfarms killed 194 dead bats per month – a kill-rate that would dispatch 80,000 bats a year across Britain, without accounting for migrating bats taken out by the rapidly expanding rows of offshore turbines.

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