Oct 042022
 
 October 4, 2022  Posted by at 8:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  68 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Cafe Royan [The Coffee] 1940

 

Developing Developments (Kunstler)
The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Sabotage (Monkeywerx)
Macgregor: US Likely Attacked Nord Stream Pipelines to Isolate Germany (SN)
In Nord Stream Attack, US Sees ‘A Tremendous Opportunity’ (Maté)
Jeffrey Sachs Offers Nord Stream Theory (RT)
Medvedev Comments On Musk’s Ukraine Proposal (RT)
Duma Ratifies Accession Treaties For Donbass, Kherson, Zaporozhye (RT)
Kremlin Comments On Borders Of New Territories (RT)
Kiev’s Counter Attacks On Kherson Have Failed – Official (RT)
British Intelligence Predicted Ukraine War 30 Years Ago (Dec.uk)
Ukraine Grain Deal Not Enough – Moscow (RT)
Belgium Suffers Unplanned Nuclear Reactor Shutdown (RT)
Ukraine Scolds EU Over Aid Delays (RT)
Truss Exposes The Inherent Instability Of Western Democracies (Hryce)
Trump Seeks $475 Million In Defamation Suit Against CNN (ZH)
Hunter Biden Probe to Look Into ‘What Happened in 2020’: Jim Jordan (ET)
The Biggest Problem China Faces Isn’t Real Estate (Balding)

 

 

Best amicus brief ever?!

 

 

Tucker regime change

 

 

 

 

Greenwald Donbass

 

 

Hey! Sanctions!

 

 

 

 

“The Russian negotiation table is open for business. Failing to report to it, Ukraine will have to decide what sort of rump state it will become — a merely half-assed agricultural backwater or a fully ass-blown-off failed state.”

Developing Developments (Kunstler)

What no government official can acknowledge — even among the Euroland victim nations of this awesome stupidity — is that the US demolition of the Nord Streams was an act-of-war against our own allies. By the way, the blogger who styles himself as “Monkey Werx,” notable for tracking the world-wide military flight movements, presents a comprehensive play-by-play of just exactly how the mission was accomplished. I’ll summarize but you can read his full report (click here) for yourself. MW reports that overnight on the 26th of September, a Navy P8 Poseidon submarine-hunter jet flew out of the US to the Baltic. It did not land in the UK to refuel — thus avoiding any tracking complications — but rather rendezvoused over Grudziadz, Poland, with a US Bart-12 mid-air refueling plane, which it hooked up with for more than an hour.

The P8 was equipped with Mk54 air-launched torpedoes. After un-docking from the Bart-12 refueler, the P8 followed a route west along the Nord Stream pipelines, descended to bomb-run altitude, and dropped its weapons. Kaboom. Then, fully refueled, the P8 flew directly back to the USA. Days later, when confronted at the UN by Russia with a yes-or-no question as to US responsibility for the Nord Stream caper, the US representatives refused to answer one way or another. Cute. So, the questions loom: How many more days before Germany and the rest of Euroland begin to apprehend how they have been hosed by America into an economic collapse scenario? (How many days before a team of competent professionals hunts down Klaus Schwab and his colleagues somewhere in Switzerland?) When will the Eurofolk turn on their idiot government leaders and flush them out of office?

When will all (except for psychotic Poland) bail out of the USA’s Ukraine crusade? I will tell you: this will all begin pretty darn soon. And if so, that will be the end of the NATO alliance. Meanwhile, the US-led propaganda campaign has Russia utterly on-the-ropes against a raging and triumphant Ukraine army. Nothing could be further from the truth. Russia made a few tactical retreats the past month in preparation for a final systematic and methodical mopping-up of the remaining Ukraine army. Russia is bringing in Iskander hypersonic missiles, not necessarily nuclear-armed, and will assemble Russian army regulars to replace the mash-up of Donbas militia volunteers who have borne the brunt on the thinly defended line leading to the much talked-about tactical retreat around the Kharkov-Izium-Lyman front. The Russian negotiation table is open for business. Failing to report to it, Ukraine will have to decide what sort of rump state it will become — a merely half-assed agricultural backwater or a fully ass-blown-off failed state.

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“..why fly an aircraft all the way from the United States and not land in the UK for refueling, but instead hook up for an hour plus with another US Air Force refueler out of Germany?”

The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Sabotage (Monkeywerx)

As we sit here today, October 1, 2022, the United States has no official statement on the sabotage although Biden is pushing the standard doublespeak rhetoric and as they say, the best defense is a good offense. There is, however, an official release from the White House back in February 2022 that states the United States will take further action with Germany to end the Nord Stream Pipeline 2. So let’s look at the flight data logically… The United States has Navy P8’s stationed in the UK so why fly an aircraft all the way from the United States and not land in the UK for refueling, but instead hook up for an hour plus with another US Air Force refueler out of Germany? Could it be that the UK’s new Prime Minister would not condone the activity?

We have already seen her call out Nancy Pelosi who we know is a bobblehead and not in line with the New World Order, and we know the new UK PM is indeed a WEF appointee which is part of the NWO. Clearly, the United States did not want to land in the UK or anywhere else for a reason. Could it also be because it was armed with external weapons or they didn’t want any record of the aircraft in the area? Landing would create a log and even though we see them wipe the flight record data, the airport log is still intact. Let’s talk about the P8 weaponry for a minute. The Navy P8 Poseiden has 11 external hardpoints for mounting weapons as well as an internal bomb bay, and one weapon, in particular, is a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) system. HAAWC is an all-weather add-on glide kit that enables the Mk54 torpedo to be launched near or below the cruising altitude of the P8 Poseidon.

What that means: the flight path and altitude of the P8 in question are indeed capable of conducting a “bomb run” on the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. Now let’s look at the flight specifics. Note the last flight path just before exiting the area runs right along the pipeline in which they could have released the ordinance and continued their climb out, thus exiting the area and returning to the United States. Also, note the little hump just before the climb out (red arrow). That is consistent with a weapons release. Pitch down, increased AoA, weapon release, little bubble up, then a climb out (the blue line is the inbound leg of the same flight). You may also not the flight path. It circles over the area first, then flies downrange and starts the initial bomb run, then it does a quick readjustment on a final bomb run, releases, and exits immediately.

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“You have several inches of concrete around various metal alloys to move the natural gas. So it’s not something that you could simply drop a grenade down at the end of a fish line and disrupt. ”

Macgregor: US Likely Attacked Nord Stream Pipelines to Isolate Germany (SN)

A former Pentagon advisor says the most likely culprits behind the Nord Stream pipeline blasts are the United States and Britain, and that the attack was carried out to prevent Germany from bailing on the war in Ukraine. Retired US Army colonel Douglas Macgregor made the comments during an appearance on the Judging Freedom podcast. Macgregor said a process of elimination rules out Germany, because they are dependent on Nord Stream for their energy security, while it also served no benefit for Russia to have sabotaged its own infrastructure. “Would the Russians destroy their own pipeline? 40 percent of Russian gross national product or GDP consists of foreign currency that comes into the country to purchase natural gas, oil, coal and so forth. So the Russians did not do this. The notion that they did I think is absurd,” Macgregor said.

Referring to Polish MEP Radoslaw Sikorski’s infamous deleted tweet in which he wrote, “Thank you, USA,” Macgregor noted, “Who else might be involved? Well the Poles apparently seem to be very enthusiastic about it.” However, citing reports that more than 500 kg of TNT had been detected in both explosions, the former Pentagon advisor suggested only the United States and British Royal Navy had the capability to pull off the attack. “Then you have to look at who are the state actors that have the capability to do this. And that means the Royal Navy, the United States Navy Special Operations,” said Macgregor. “I think that’s pretty clear. We know that thousands of pounds of TNT were used because these pipelines are enormously robust. You have several inches of concrete around various metal alloys to move the natural gas. So it’s not something that you could simply drop a grenade down at the end of a fish line and disrupt. That means it takes a certain amount of sophistication,” he added.

Macgregor suggested that the motive behind the attacks was to prevent Germany from bailing on the Ukraine war after Berlin began “to give the impression that they were no longer going to go along with this proxy war in Ukraine.” “I’m hesitant to say ‘we know it must have been Washington’. I can’t say that because we just don’t know. But it’s very clear that we have foreclosed Berlin’s options. Berlin was drifting away from this alliance. [Chancellor] Olaf Scholz said ‘I’m not sending any more equipment, I won’t send any tanks’. Now he’s in a bind because the United States has simply robbed him of the option of bailing out. Who’s going to supply him gas and oil and coal and everything else if he bails out? Where does he turn now? And remember, the Germans, who are facing terrible consequences at home refuse to restart nuclear power plants,” the former official said.

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“Nord Stream 2, Trump declared in July 2018, is a “tragedy.“

In Nord Stream Attack, US Sees ‘A Tremendous Opportunity’ (Maté)

Western sanctions on Russia have already led to job losses, skyrocketing bills, and fears of energy rationing amid forecasts of exceptionally cold temperatures ahead. Just before the Nord Stream blasts, the head of German’s steel federation warned that without Russian energy, “a winter of de-industrialization threatens us in Germany.” Ahead of this feared winter of de-industrialization, Blinken’s optimistic response to a now assured shut-off of Russian gas might seem odd for a top diplomat. But it is perfectly consistent with a longstanding US effort to kill Nord Stream for good. In waging a multi-year campaign against Nord Stream, the US has sought to weaken Russia’s economy; undermine Russian integration with the rest of Europe; preserve lucrative transit fees for the US client state in Ukraine; and increase European dependence on US energy, in particular Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

In short, the “tremendous opportunity” that Blinken draws from the Nord Stream sabotage derives from the very goals that he imputed to Putin: “the weaponization of energy” for “imperial designs.” As one of Blinken’s predecessors, Condoleezza Rice, explained in 2014: “Over the long-run, you simply want to change the structure of energy dependence. You want to depend more on the North America energy platform.” The US drive to promote dependence on North American energy was escalated by President Donald Trump, who imposed sanctions to stop the Nord Stream 2’s construction while urging the German government to buy American LNG instead. Nord Stream 2, Trump declared in July 2018, is a “tragedy.” In his view, “it’s a horrific thing that’s being done, where you’re feeding billions and billions of dollars… primarily from Germany, into the coffers of Russia.”

Trump’s disdain for the “horrific” Russia-Germany energy project strained US relations with both countries. But because his actions contradicted the predominant Russiagate narrative that he was in fact a Kremlin asset being blackmailed to do Vladimir Putin’s bidding, the Nord Stream sanctions were among many confrontational Trump policies toward Russia that went widely ignored at home. Trump’s sanctions on Nord Stream 2 caused such a rift with Germany that Biden, upon taking office, initially waved them. But the Ukraine crisis gave Biden a backdoor opportunity to revive Trump’s quest. As Russian forces amassed on Ukraine’s borders in 2021, Biden pressured Germany to commit to cancelling Nord Stream 2 in the event of an invasion. When the Germans still refused, the White House announced that it would achieve its goal with or without them. “If Russia invades…then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” Biden declared on February 7, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at his side. “We will bring an end to it.”

Trump NS2

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Includes Sachs’ role in the Shock Doctrine. Rarely mentioned.

Jeffrey Sachs Offers Nord Stream Theory (RT)

Economist Jeffrey Sachs speculated on Monday that the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines was the work of the US and maybe Poland, to the chagrin of Bloomberg TV hosts who quickly tried to change the subject. Now a professor at Columbia University, Sachs became notorious in Russia for masterminding the “shock therapy” reforms in the 1990s – but has been sharply critical of the West’s approach to the conflict in Ukraine in recent months. Invited to Bloomberg’s ‘Surveillance’ show on Monday, Sachs was asked to comment on Russia he “knew so well” under President Boris Yeltsin. Instead, the hosts scrambled to cut him off after he said the conflict is “on the path of escalation to nuclear war” and did not start in February 2022.

“Most of the world doesn’t see it the way we describe it,” Sachs told Bloomberg’s Tom Keene, at which point co-host Lisa Abramowicz tried to change the subject to inflation in Europe. The EU is in a “very sharp economic downturn,” Sachs agreed. The continent was “getting hammered” by energy shortages, made worse by “the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline which I would bet was a US action – perhaps US and Poland,” he managed to add before Keene cut him off, asking for evidence of that claim. “Well first of all, there’s direct radar evidence that US helicopters, military helicopters that are normally based in Gdansk, were circling over this area. We also had the threats from the US, earlier in this year, that ‘one way or the other, we are going to end Nord Stream.’ We also have the remarkable statement by [US] Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken last Friday in a press conference; he says ‘this is also a tremendous opportunity.’ Sorry, it’s a strange way to talk if you’re worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance,” Sachs retorted.

“I know this runs counter to our narrative, you’re not allowed to say these things in the West, but the fact of the matter is – all over the world, when I talk to people, they think the US did it,” he added. Abramowicz again tried to change the subject, saying Bloomberg couldn’t provide “counterbalance” to what he was saying. Undeterred, Sachs answered the next question by describing the current situation as “the most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis” in 1962, with the US picking fights with both Russia and China, without any attempts to de-escalate things. Currently director of the Center for Sustainable Development at New York’s Columbia University, Sachs gained notoriety among the Russians for his “shock therapy” reforms in 1991-1993. The overhaul of the entire Soviet economy ended up destroying the lives of millions of Russians and handing the country’s wealth over to a handful of oligarchs.

Sachs

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“Musk sent hundreds of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites and terminals to Ukraine. Though their stated purpose was humanitarian, Kiev has since admitted to using them for the war effort.”

Medvedev Comments On Musk’s Ukraine Proposal (RT)

After Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and Kiev’s online troll army savaged Elon Musk’s proposal for ending the conflict with Russia, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev jokingly called the Tesla and SpaceX founder a “shadowy agent” of the Kremlin, comparing him to Stierlitz, the legendary fictional Soviet spy. “Kudos to [Elon Musk]! However, the shadowy agent has lost the cover. Deserves a new rank, fast. His next tweet will run like, Ukraine is an artificial state. Anticipating…” Medvedev tweeted, in English, on Monday evening. On his Telegram channel, in Russian, instead of “shadowy agent” the former president called Musk “Eustace” – a reference to the code name of the main character in the Soviet-era series ‘17 Moments of Spring,’ better known under his German alias Otto von Stierlitz.


Both references were clearly tongue-in-cheek and poked fun not at Musk, but at the utter hysterics of the Ukrainian government and its online influencers over the American billionaire’s earnest peace proposal. Crimea would remain Russian and have its water supply guaranteed, Ukraine would declare neutrality, and the four regions that just joined Russia hold UN-supervised referendums on their fate, Musk suggested earlier in the day. The poll was quickly swamped by what he called the “biggest bot attack I’ve ever seen.” It wasn’t just Kiev’s info-warriors and their Western NAFO backers, however. Ukraine’s departing ambassador to Germany used some very un-diplomatic language, while President Vladimir Zelensky himself launched a poll asking his followers if they preferred Musk who supported Ukraine over this one, who “supports Russia.” Early on in the conflict, Musk sent hundreds of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites and terminals to Ukraine. Though their stated purpose was humanitarian, Kiev has since admitted to using them for the war effort.

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Russia calmly goes through the legal moves. Important point:

“..accession to Russia is the only way to save the people living in the four former Ukrainian territories from shelling by Ukrainian troops. “The only way to end this is reunification [with Russia],”

Duma Ratifies Accession Treaties For Donbass, Kherson, Zaporozhye (RT)

The State Duma has unanimously ratified the treaties on the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, to the Russian Federation. President Vladimir Putin submitted the documents regarding the four former Ukrainian territories to the lower house of parliament on Sunday. All four voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia in referendums held between September 23 and 27. Addressing legislators before the vote, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that accession will “serve the interests of all people of our multiethnic country.” He added that Kiev had oppressed Russian-speaking people, which made the existence of certain territories within the Ukrainian state impossible.


State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin argued that accession to Russia is the only way to save the people living in the four former Ukrainian territories from shelling by Ukrainian troops. “The only way to end this is reunification [with Russia],” he said. The accession treaties, which were signed by Putin on Friday, were then approved by the Russian Constitutional Court. The next step in the accession process is ratification by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament. The DPR and LPR broke off from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Russia recognized them as independent states in February.

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Kremlin is mocked in the west for not knowing exactly what they incorporated. No, because they want to be precise. To that end, Lavrov has been given special powers to negotiate borders.

Kremlin Comments On Borders Of New Territories (RT)

Moscow has yet to determine the future borders of Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which are set to be incorporated into Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told journalists. “We will continue to consult with the residents of those regions on the issue of borders,” the official said on Monday. The two former Ukrainian regions voted last month to break away from Kiev and request being accepted into Russia. However, parts of them are still controlled by Ukrainian troops. The issue of borders came up last week, when President Vladimir Putin signed orders recognizing the two regions’ independence. The documents did not include any reference to the demarcation of the territories. When asked by journalists for clarification, Peskov promised to give an answer later.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that Russian forces are in control of a small chunk of Ukraine’s Nikolaev Region, which borders Kherson Region. Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Kherson administration, claimed last week that the land would be incorporated into Russia. This week, the Russian parliament is scheduled to ratify the unification treaties with the two regions, as well as the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The latter two territories, which were recognized as independent by Russia in February, are defined “by the 2014 borders,” according to Peskov. Russian troops and Donbass militias have since seized much of the disputed land, but not all of it.

Kiev blasted the referendums that paved the way for the accession as a “sham”and reiterated its intention to defeat Russia on the battlefield and oust its troops from all land that it claims as Ukrainian. Moscow said the ballots were a legitimate exercise of the right to self-determination.

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180º different from western and Kiev stories.

Kiev’s Counter Attacks On Kherson Have Failed – Official (RT)

Attempts by Ukrainian forces to break through Russia’s defenses in Kherson Region have been thwarted, the deputy head of the local administration, Kirill Stremousov, has said. In a Telegram post on Monday, Stremousov stated that “everything is under control in the Nikolayev direction,”despite Kiev’s efforts to retake the region. He noted that Ukraine’s forces had advanced southward along the Dnieper River to the village of Dudchany before “taking a beating” from Russian Aerospace Forces. The official admitted that the Ukrainians were able to advance a little bit, but noted that the region’s defense systems were working and that “at the moment, the situation is completely under control.” Stremousov concluded by urging people not to give into panic because of what they hear and read on social media. “This is not Kharkov, this is not [Krasny] Liman, we are holding the fence,” he proclaimed.


Russia’s Defense Ministry has also confirmed repelling the attack, stating that over 400 Ukrainian servicemen, 43 tanks and 89 units of special military equipment were eliminated in the Nikolayev-Krivoy Rog area. The announcement comes as Kiev’s forces have mounted large-scale offensives along several points of engagement with Russia. On Saturday, Russian troops were forced to withdraw from their defensive positions in the town of Krasny Liman in the Donetsk People’s Republic after they were nearly encircled by Ukrainian forces, which had brought in reserves and reached a “considerable superiority in men and material.” It has been noted, however, that the Ukrainian side has been suffering significant casualties in the offensive, having reportedly lost over 500 soldiers (200 dead, 320 injured), as well as ten tanks and 25 infantry fighting vehicles during the attack on Krasny Liman, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

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“It is not entirely clear, even to the Ukrainians, still less to the Russians, that Ukraine is a real country..”

British Intelligence Predicted Ukraine War 30 Years Ago (Dec.uk)

When British intelligence warned that Vladimir Putin was about to attack Ukraine earlier this year, the spooks’ foresight won many plaudits. Yet their prediction mirrored a scenario Whitehall had long known might unfold. In May 1992, just six months after the Soviet Union broke up, Britain’s then Prime Minister John Major was being briefed by his staff. They were concerned about a potential clash between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. [..] Major’s foreign policy advisor and former ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite, wrote a confidential background note that would today be considered heretical. “It is not entirely clear, even to the Ukrainians, still less to the Russians, that Ukraine is a real country,” Braithwaite noted. “Hence the tensions between the two.”

Braithwaite, who went on to chair the Joint Intelligence Committee later in 1992, gave the Prime Minister a potted history of the region, stretching back to the middle ages. He highlighted the “artificial famine which [Soviet leader Joseph] Stalin imposed on the Ukraine in 1930-31, when many millions of peasants were deported or starved to death.” “So it was not surprising then very many Ukrainians greeted the Germans as liberators in 1941, and that large numbers agreed to join the German army”, Braithwaite reasoned, referring to Nazi collaborators during World War II. Although these resistance groups were ultimately defeated by Stalin, Ukrainian nationalism survived as a political movement. “Throughout 1990 the number and size of popular demonstrations for independence swelled,” Braithwaite noted, adding that Russia looked like an “empire” to Ukrainians.

On the other hand, he said: “Russians would simply not recognise the picture. For Russians, the Ukraine is an integral part of Russia, its history and its culture. The Ukrainian language is no more than a dialect”. He went on: “I have not met a single Russian, even among the most sophisticated, who really believes that the Ukraine is now permanently severed from the motherland.” In a candid remark, Braithwaite said: “The Ukrainians know that. They also know that Ukraine itself is divided: between the ultra-nationalist…Western Ukraine…and the East which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Russians.”

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“In the second half of 2022 we will be able to export up to 30 million tons. This is exactly the volume that we promised within the framework of our agreements with the UN to solve the problem of world hunger..”

Ukraine Grain Deal Not Enough – Moscow (RT)

The deal that unblocked Ukrainian grain exports is not enough to help poor nations put food on the table, Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said in an interview with RBK news, published on Monday. “As part of this deal, about 4.6 million tons of agro-industrial products were exported from Ukrainian ports. The main product, a little less than half, was corn, about 1.2 million tons was wheat. Of course, this cannot cover the needs of starving countries, including the need for grain. In fact, it is merely a variation in the global market,” the minister stated. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko recently said that, according to estimations, the global grain market is about 800 million tons.

Patrushev also noted that the main recipients of Ukrainian grain are European countries, which “are not countries that really need it.” The official explained that Russian agricultural products could make a difference, but there are still restrains, which need to be overcome. “There are still barriers that continue to hold back our exports. If we call things by their proper names – these are hidden sanctions on the transportation of [Russian] products… Primarily, it is the limited availability of ships. International logistics companies prefer not to work with our exporters,” the minister explained. He also noted, however, that the problems are being worked out with exporters, and Russian companies which have their own fleet have fewer problems in that area.

According to Patrushev, since the beginning of the agricultural year which stared on July 1, Russia has already delivered about 8.3 million tons of grain to foreign markets, “and the growth rate of exports is increasing every day.” “This season we see an opportunity to supply no less, and maybe even more than 50 million tons of grain to the world market. In the second half of 2022 we will be able to export up to 30 million tons. This is exactly the volume that we promised within the framework of our agreements with the UN to solve the problem of world hunger,” the minister said.

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When it rains.

Belgium Suffers Unplanned Nuclear Reactor Shutdown (RT)

One of Belgium’s six functioning nuclear reactors has shut down unexpectedly, the plant’s operator Engie told VRT News on Monday. The reactor, called Tihange 3, underwent an automatic shutdown at around 8:25am local time at which point “employees then brought the power plant into a safe condition,” the company said. The reasons for the stoppage are unclear but an investigation into the incident has been launched. According to local media, the unexpected shutdown of a reactor that provided 1,038 megawatts of electricity to Belgium would not jeopardize the country’s energy supply. Belgium shut down one of the reactors at its Doel plant “for good” just over a week ago, following through on long-held plans to dismantle its nuclear energy infrastructure even as the EU finds itself in an energy crisis.

Electrabel, which runs the Doel plant, explained that the company was merely fulfilling a 2003 agreement to enact a “gradual phase-out of nuclear energy for industrial electricity production.” Belgium’s reactors had previously supplied half of the country’s electricity needs. All were due to close by 2025 until the government signed a tentative agreement with Electrabel in March to potentially extend the life of the two newest reactors by ten years. This came amid concern about the country’s increasing dependence on fossil fuels, especially from Russia. The unexpectedly stricken Tihange 3 thus had its demise postponed until 2035, as did another reactor at the Doel plant. However, the deal is not binding and efforts to similarly extend the life of the neighboring Tihange 2 reactor past its planned shutdown date of February 1, 2023 were rebuffed in July.

The Belgian government has stressed that clinging to its once-scorned nuclear energy capacity in the EU’s time of need should not be seen as discarding its commitment to renewable energy. At the same time as it revealed the draft agreement to keep Tihange 3 and Doel 4 operational until 2035, it announced a €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) investment in wind, hydrogen, and solar energy “to give a boost to the transition to climate neutrality.” The investment will also pay for small modular nuclear reactors. As early as 2007, Belgian scientists were warning that closing the country’s nuclear plants would double the price of energy, harm the country’s energy independence, and increase its reliance on fossil fuels. Costs are already at or near record highs across the EU due to sanctions on Russian energy, a situation exacerbated by last week’s alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline that had previously carried Russian gas to Europe.

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Bite the hand.

Ukraine Scolds EU Over Aid Delays (RT)

Delays in economic aid from the European Union to Ukraine are “unacceptable” and must be resolved to avert disaster, a senior Ukranian official warned, pointing to massive budget shortfalls as the EU approved another $4.9 billion (€5 billion) assistance package. Speaking to Politico on Monday, a top economic adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Oleg Ustenko, slammed the European bloc after it agreed to send another tranche of aid between mid-October and the end of the year, insisting his country’s needs must be met sooner. “Our minister of finance is under extreme high pressure, when he sends these checks to the military, to pension funds … we have to have this money in his hands. So something like one week or several weeks’ delay is just not acceptable,” Ustenko told the outlet.

While the EU initially approved $8.8 billion (€9 billion) in assistance last May, only a small fraction of that has been sent so far. The latest move would break up a $4.9 billion (€5 billion) payment into three installments to be transferred before the end of 2022, though the rest of the original package likely won’t be sent until next year. Monday’s agreement followed months of debate between EU member states over the exact form the aid should take, with Germany arguing in favor of grants instead of loans. Berlin has accepted a plan to provide the latest $4.9 billion as a loan, but the body has yet to reach a consensus on the remaining funds. Ukraine has heavily relied on foreign aid since Russia’s attack commenced in February, with the country’s economic output taking a massive hit of up to 40% this year and the government facing a budget gap of some $5 billion per month.

While the United States has raced to inject cash into Ukraine, approving some $20 billion in economic and humanitarian assistance alone, the EU has been more hesitant, instead sending a little over $13 billion between all of its members, according to an aid tracking tool created by the Kiel Institute. American weapons transfers to Kiev have also dwarfed those of Europe by nearly ten-fold. Washington has reportedly noticed the disparity, with US officials recently telling Bloomberg that the Joe Biden administration “has pressed Europe to do more” to support Ukraine and take on “more burden sharing.” Talks on future aid from the EU will be held at an upcoming meeting in the German capital later this month, where Ustenko voiced hopes that member states will be convinced to speed up the process, saying “Berlin is going to be just the next step of these discussions.”

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UK is especially unstable. She has, what, two more weeks?

Truss Exposes The Inherent Instability Of Western Democracies (Hryce)

Even fervent believers in the stability of Western democracies must surely have had their faith shaken last week by the extraordinary economic and political crises created by the newly-minted UK prime minister, Liz Truss. In the week after the prime minister’s hand-picked chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, handed down a ‘mini-budget’ on September 23, the English pound crashed; the government bond market took a dive; interest and mortgage rates rose; some mortgage markets shut down; the Bank of England staged a highly unusual fiscal intervention to prevent the collapse of major pension funds; and the IMF criticized Truss in a manner usually reserved for the leaders of debt-ridden banana republics. The global importance of these events and the ongoing economic and political disruption that they will inevitably cause should not be underestimated.

Political commentator Alastair Campbell, formerly Tony Blair’s chief of staff, accurately described last week as “the week that everything changed.” Quite simply, the fact that the Truss mini-budget provided for billions of pounds worth of unfunded and uncosted tax cuts – including, most provocatively, a cut in the 45% top level income tax rate – caused the financial markets to register a serious vote of no confidence in the Truss government, with all the attendant consequences that followed. Incidentally, the events of last week show where real power ultimately lies in the West – and it is definitely not with politicians. Truss’s mini-budget is, of course, a product of the crude neo-liberal economic ideology that she so fanatically believes in, and which proved decisive in attracting the 80,000 or so Thatcher-worshipping members of the Tory party that anointed Truss prime minister only a few weeks ago.

Faced with an economic disaster entirely of her own making – one of her first acts as prime minister was to sack the head of the Treasury – Truss simply doubled down, and retreated petulantly to her Downing Street bunker. She did emerge briefly late last week to do a round of disastrous radio interviews with regional BBC stations – in which Truss continued to robotically tout the benefits of ‘trickle-down economics’, and (unsuccessfully) tried to blame the economic crisis entirely on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the conflict in Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of commentators in the UK – irrespective of their political affiliations – have been strongly critical of the Truss mini-budget and the prime minister herself. Even Daily Telegraph columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard accused Truss of having “embarked on a course of sheer madness.”

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The Nic Sandmann case may have opened some venues.

Trump Seeks $475 Million In Defamation Suit Against CNN (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against CNN tonight, claiming the so-called news outlet defamed him in an effort to reduce his chances of running for president again in 2024. The suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alleges Trump has been a “long-time critic” of CNN, “not because CNN does a bad job of reporting the news, but because CNN seeks to create the news.” “CNN’s campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the Plaintiff has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears the Plaintiff will run for president in 2024,” the suit reads. “As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the Left, CNN has tried to taint the Plaintiff with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler.’”

Trump seeks $475 million in punitive damages, alleging that CNN “has sought to use its massive influence – purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source – to defame the Plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.” The former president notified the outlet in July of his intention to sue for “repeated defamatory statements.” Trump also warned he would sue other outlets he alleges have “defamed and defrauded the public” about the 2020 presidential election results.

As a reminder, Trump had a lawsuit against 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and former top FBI officials tossed in early September by U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who said Trump was “seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum.” That is “a high legal bar to clear given First Amendment protections granted to the free press under the Constitution,” according to The Hill. “The New York Times, for example, has not lost a defamation case in more than 50 years.” However, as JustTheNews reports, winning such a case is not impossible, however. Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann successfully secured considerable financial settlements from both CNN and the Washington Post for their coverage of a controversy that suggested the high schooler instigated a confrontation with an Indian activist.

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“51 former intelligence officials signed a letter..”

Hunter Biden Probe to Look Into ‘What Happened in 2020’: Jim Jordan (ET)

If the GOP takes a majority in the House, one of the “key elements” of its investigatory plans into Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, next year will involve looking into “what happened in 2020,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the New York Post ran a story about Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings in Ukraine and China, which was promptly dismissed as dubious by mainstream media outlets and suppressed on social media platforms. At the time, 51 former intelligence officials signed a letter claiming that the New York Post’s story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” In an interview with Breitbart, Jordan said that he wants to know on what intelligence the 51 former officials based their letter.

“We had 51 former intelligence officials tell us that this was Russian disinformation. We had the FBI sit down with Facebook and say, ‘Hey, be careful, wink wink. We think there’s Russian disinformation.’ … All that was done to suppress that story, which had an impact on how people voted in the most important election we have, the election for president of the United States,” Jordan told Breitbart. “Did someone from The New York Times tell them something? Did someone from the FBI leak some false—was it this Timothy Thibault, who [has] since left the FBI, who suppressed that information at the FBI? I want to know. That’s pretty important stuff, so I really want to look into that angle.”

Most of the investigative activities related to Hunter Biden would be headquartered at the Oversight Committee, with Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) expected to lead it. Jordan will continue to remain a member and chair of the Judiciary. Comer plans to look into Hunter Biden’s suspicious banking and business transactions, he added.

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They cannot have a real weight in a reserve currency basket. Not when Xi can devalue by 50% tomorrow morning just because he’s constipated. Nobody wants the yuan, including the Chinese.

The Biggest Problem China Faces Isn’t Real Estate (Balding)

After it joined the World Trade Organization in 2000 and anchored the Chinese yuan (a.k.a. renminbi) to the U.S. dollar, China linked its economy to the United States. Enforcing a fixed exchange rate regime with strict capital controls, China benefited from large inflows and relatively low-interest rates due largely to the low-interest rate environment in the United States. What happens to the Chinese economy when interest rates increase in the United States? Sovereign currency policy faces the intractable dilemma of what economists call the “impossible trinity.” Countries can have a fixed exchange rate, free capital flow, or sovereign monetary policy but must choose only two of three. Economics textbooks give clean and clear definitions of each. Still, in reality, China tried to manipulate each and come out worse due to its attempts to manipulate the laws of economics.

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) technocrats attempted to create a system where they could enjoy the best of the three options and leave behind the worst parts. China implemented a quasi-fixed exchange rate, which is effectively a U.S. dollar index, with tightly controlled capital flows, and a semi-sovereign monetary policy. What almost no one noticed with the convoluted creation of Chinese currency policy attempting to adhere to the ‘impossible trinity’ was that for the last 20 years, China benefited from business cycle synchronization with the United States. Because the yuan was tied directly to the U.S. dollar and the United States kept interest rates low, China could keep its interest rates low. Now that the Federal Reserve (Fed) is raising interest rates, what impact will this have on China?

First, the days of easy money flows to China are over. For large parts of the last 20 years, Chinese interest rates were 3-5 percent higher than the United States. With either a fixed or semi-fixed exchange rate, this gave investors in China access to easy higher returns. With portfolio returns and foreign direct investment based upon interest rate differentials between the United States and China, this drew investor capital with fixed or heavily managed exchange rates creating easy returns. Investors have soured on China as an investment destination for a range of reasons. But when baseline returns are higher in U.S. government debt without any of the China issues, the financial motivation will dry up the biggest reason to send money.

Second, this will place enormous upward pressure on Chinese interest rates right as China’s economy is teetering. For most of the period since 2000, the Chinese and U.S. economies have been highly correlated. This allowed Chinese interest rates to follow the United States and enjoy a sustained period of low-cost money. However, now as the Fed is seeking to tamp down inflation and overheated demand, China is suffering through its weakest economy in probably post-opening up history.

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The atlas moth has wings that mimick two cobras watching her back.

 

 

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