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.”

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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