Feb 162024
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)
Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)
Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)
US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)
US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)
Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)
A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)
Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)
Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)
Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)
Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)
Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)
Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

 

 

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758242279196672503

Yeartie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758162535197376793

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker radicalized


https://twitter.com/i/status/1758104468971769856

 

 

Mastery

 

 

 

 

The levels of collusion are out of this world. And still, “Stormy Daniels” is the only case left that still seems alive.

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)

Three separate prosecutors reportedly met with White House aides before indicting former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s political opponent. The reported meetings suggest a coordinated attack against Biden’s 2024 rival. If coordination occurred, it lends credence to Trump’s belief that the indictments are election interference. The timing of the indictments are peculiar. After Trump announced a reelection bid against Biden, four indictments hit Trump in four separate jurisdictions, each following revelations about the Biden family business. In three cases, prosecutors reportedly met with the Biden administration before indicting Trump:
Alvin Bragg: New York – “Stormy Daniels” Case (state)
Jack Smith: Miami – “Documents” Case (federal)
Fani Willis: Fulton County, Georgia (state)

First Case: “Stormy Daniels”
The first indictment occurred on April 4, 2023, the same day that former Biden aide Kathy Chung testified about Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, contradicting Biden’s version of events. On March 17, 2023, Bragg asked for a meeting with federal law enforcement ahead of the Trump indictment Trump, a court source told Fox News. A year earlier, Bragg’s office hired a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Matthew Colangelo, who spent years targeting Trump at the Justice Department. He also attacked Trump in his role in the New York Attorney General’s office. “Bragg has been very discredited by the indictment because the people that read it, even Democrats—they’re saying this is not an indictment,” Trump exclusively told Breitbart News after the indictment: Some are saying this is unconstitutional because there’s no crime. He’s been absolutely discredited. It’s a shame. They’re willing to destroy our country. This is all run by the White House, by the way, just in case you have any questions. In fact, they put a man from the White House into one of the top White House/DOJ officials is right there—Matthew Colangelo. He’s the one that’s leading it. He was sitting in the front row in the court during the whole thing. He was in the front row. This is all done by the White House because they don’t want to run against us.

Second Case: “Documents”
Smith filed the second indictment on June 8, 2023, the same day an FBI 10-23 form surfaced alleging Joe Biden was bribed $5 million. Later in June, Smith filed a superseding indictment in the case the day after Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal in Delaware fell apart. Months prior, in March, a member of Biden’s counsel’s office met with a top member of Smith’s team, just nine weeks before he indicted Trump in the classified document case, Breitbart News reported. The meeting “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Post. “There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter.” Trump slammed the indictment as election interference. Biden does not want to “run” against him, Trump exclusively told Breitbart News in July. “They didn’t want to run against me. That’s why they did it,” he said. “They did this so I wouldn’t get the nomination… They don’t want to run against me, that’s why they did it.”

Third Case: Georgia Case
Willis filed the third indictment against Trump on August 14, 2023. The official court website of Fulton County, Georgia, published what appeared to be an indictment against Trump before deleting it. Months before the indictment, Willis’ top county prosecutor met twice with Biden’s White House counsel on May 23 and November 18, 2022, a year before Trump’s August indictment, Breitbart News reported. Willis’ prosecutor reportedly charged Fulton County taxpayers $2,000 for each meeting, billing $250 an hour for eight hours. Neither Willis nor the prosecutor dispute the allegations, but a spokesperson for Willis’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would later respond in court filings. “[T]he district attorney was totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC. “They say she’s in far more criminal liability than any of the people she’s looking at.” Once again, the timing of the indictment was suspect. Willis indicted Trump on the same day former FBI supervisory special agent confirmed Biden’s 2020 transition team was tipped off about its plan to interview Hunter Biden.

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“He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.”

Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)

The judge in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25. The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump’s now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC. Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election. Thursday marked Trump’s first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump’s attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date – arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination. “It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche. Merchan at one point told Blanche “Stop interrupting me.” In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial – which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports. Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP. Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters. At the time, Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined “catch-and-kill.” Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.

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Why the Five Eyes? “..the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)

New reporting suggests the lengths the US deep state went to to undermine former US President Donald Trump. Since 2016, Democratic Party officials have accused former US President Donald Trump of illegally colluding with the Russian government as part of the discredited “Russiagate” narrative. Now, it appears such claims may represent a case of projection on the part of Trump’s critics. That’s the takeaway from a bombshell report by “Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger this week that suggests that CIA officials under former US President Barack Obama worked through English-speaking intelligence partners to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign. The report alleges that the CIA under intelligence chief John Brennan worked with Five Eyes intelligence partners to circumvent legal restrictions against domestic spying by the agency. Five Eyes is an alliance of intelligence agencies in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Brennan’s CIA allegedly colluded with these foreign intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. The spy agency also reportedly targeted prominent people associated with the campaign, operating from a list of 26 figures that intelligence assets could attempt to extract information from. Attorney Steve Gill and analyst Daniel McAdams joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the shocking revelations. “It’s now becoming clear that despite all the claims that Trump didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that his campaign operatives were being spied on by the federal government – they were,” noted Gill. “It is deplorable that we have a federal government that is spying on our citizens, not because of a legitimate national security interest, but because the deep state is trying to protect their interests rather than the interests of fair and free elections,” he added.

“You know, they’re targeting their political opponent. This is the stuff that you see in third-world countries and allegedly in Russia, and it is despicable that it’s not getting the backlash from the public and the media that it deserves.” Host Jamarl Thomas then cut to a clip of a 2020 appearance by Trump on the 60 Minutes television program. “The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign,” said Trump to reporter Leslie Stahl. “They spied on my campaign.” An argument then ensued between Trump and Stahl over whether the alleged spying actually took place. “He was right,” Thomas observed after playing the clip. “Leslie Stahl should be fired by 60 Minutes today,” said Gill.

“All these people that have collected their Emmys and their awards for their journalistic integrity and their successes, including those that denied that the Russia hoax was being pushed by Hillary Clinton… at the very least they should be turning in their awards as they exit their positions of power in the media.” Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also commented on the bombshell report during the final hour of the program Thursday. “The revelations about the spying on the Trump campaign now that have come out thanks to Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger… [are] astonishing because it tells you that the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

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“Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)

There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the “Five Eyes” agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan. According to Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag, foreign intelligence agencies were asked to conduct the surveillance, including “bumping” the associates — a term for making contact with or casually engaging a target to generate intelligence. These encounters may also have been used to generate intelligence reports used to support further intelligence efforts by the United States in the Russian investigation. The journalists reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters intelligence apparatus, or GCHQ, went ahead in contacting the Trump’s associates as early as March 2016.

Keep in mind that this was the same month that George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. It was also when Papadopoulos met a London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who Papadopoulos was led to believe had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” On March 21, 2016, Trump identified Papadopoulos and Carter Page as members of his foreign policy team. If true, the question is the basis for such surveillance of U.S. citizens associated with the opposing political party and a presidential campaign. The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treason.” He later said that he did not mean real treason when he said it was nothing short of treason. Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was “political.” Now these sources are claiming that agents from the Five Eyes “were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016.” Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified evidence to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Shellenberger and Taibbi have a record of investigating in areas long avoided by other journalists, particularly in exposing the massive censorship system funded and coordinated by the government. There is much to learn about these allegations and their underlying support. If proven, it would appear that neither the Inspector General nor John Durham were given the full picture of the origins of the Russian investigation. Moreover, there are intriguing questions over a referenced binder that sources said contained much of this intelligence and analysis. That binder or binders allegedly disappeared from the CIA. Once again, this is still the early reporting and we need to have more confirmation on these facts. However, Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

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“..intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said..”

US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)

The US intelligence community fabricated claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag reported on Thursday. An Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published by the US Director of National Intelligence in January 2017 purported that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. However, the assessment’s authors fabricated the intelligence on the claim, the report said, citing sources close to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal. The findings of the HPSCI investigation are being blocked from release, according to the report. Evidence indicates that Putin actually preferred Clinton, the report said.

The House investigators found that US intelligence analysts had information about Russians calling Trump unreliable and unsteady, the report said. In contrast, intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said. Former CIA Director John Brennan led the attempt to frame Trump as Putin’s preferred candidate in the ICA, the report said. The HPSCI investigation determined that the intelligence community conducted the assessment for political purposes, the report said. On Wednesday, Putin said in an interview with Russian media that it would be better for Russia for current US President Joe Biden to remain in office because he is more predictable. Trump called Putin’s remarks a “great compliment” and said that Biden would give up everything to Russia.

Russia will work with any president elected by US citizens, Putin added. In the wake of the 2016 election campaign, former President Trump was investigated by federal agencies for possible ties between his aides and Russia. Both Trump and Russia denied allegations of collusion. A four-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. A subsequent investigation by US Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should have never launched the probe into the collusion allegations.

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“..why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?”

Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)

Former head of the Sinohawk company Tony Bobulinski testified behind closed doors before US lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry on February 13. Commenting on the testimony, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Wednesday that Bobulinski had revealed that “Joe Biden knew [Tony] was going in business with Hunter and with [Joe’s brother] Jim Biden, and he knew that the business was selling the Biden brand.” In an explosive opening statement, Bobulinski alleged that Joe Biden could be probed in relation to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “From publicly available information alone, it seems clear that the Biden family monetized Joe’s public offices for decades, just as the Clinton family seems to have done, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Clintons,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

“We also know from [Joe Biden’s] tax returns that he declared very low incomes for decades. Miraculously after he left the vice presidential mansion on January 20, 2017, his declared income soared. But the murky ventures that may have paid him millions of dollars have never accurately been explained. Like other corrupt, dynastic families in both political parties, the Bidens, until now, have never been forced to explain how they obtained their mansions and other assets, and whether they have paid all required income and other taxes on these cash flows.” Ortel drew attention to the fact that Bobulinski has been trying to make his case against the Biden family “business” for years; and yet over the same period, the FBI, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service have refused to prosecute many Biden family members and associates for corruption, influence peddling, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

“The really damning questions here include why did government officials protect so many potential, high-level defendants and who has been involved in this decision-making process?” the Wall Street analyst asked. “As in my case in December 2018, when I tried to persuade the FBI to investigate Clinton Foundation crimes unsuccessfully, I think the real timing question is why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?” There are crucial questions concerning Bobulinski’s interaction with the Biden family and Chinese business tycoons which require answers, according to Jason Goodman, a US investigative journalist and founder of CrowdSource the Truth. “Bobulinski was in business with an individual who was addicted [Hunter Biden] to crack which is obviously illegal and dangerous,” Goodman told Sputnik. “Either he didn’t notice this, or he knew and didn’t think it was a concern. Either reflects poorly on his judgment.

Even without the crack, a reasonable person might have questions about getting into business with a bunch of Chinese nationals and the vice president’s moron son who clearly was doing exactly nothing for the business. It really is a very strange circumstance and hard to understand how a legitimate businessperson could find themselves in such a situation.” Charles Ortel also wonders “why [Bobulinski] agreed, initially, to get anywhere near the Biden family in these ‘ventures’. “Having stepped forward with his explosive allegations, Bobulinski runs the risk of being hunted by the Biden administration’s “justice machine”, according to Sputnik interlocutors. “One hopes Bobulinski is safe, but I believe another Biden accuser who deserves a fair hearing – Tara Reade – fled to Russia in fear of being attacked,” Ortel remarked. “Bobulinski will be repeatedly audited and harassed by the IRS. Also, given personal experience, his computer will be hacked by government operatives,” suggested retired certified public accountant Robert Bishop in an interview with Sputnik.

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“..Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019..”

A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)

With President Joe Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline taking central stage just months before the presidential election, Democrats need to discuss ‘the Kamala problem.’ As the US speeds towards the 2024 presidential election, the Democrats find themselves in a rather untenable position. Not only is the incumbent US President Joe Biden suffering visibly on the mental front – reminiscing aloud over meetings he’s never had with long-dead world leaders – but his second in command lacks the essential support of the Democratic base. While Biden’s approval rating sits in the basement at 39%, Vice President Kamala Harris has managed to outdo him with 37.5%. This should come as no surprise considering that Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019. How did she manage to alienate so many people within her own party?

Earlier in her career as California’s district attorney, Harris, the child of immigrants from Jamaica and India, had a reputation as a ‘top cop’ who worked against the interests of victims. She frequently failed, for example, to exercise her authority to investigate charges of misconduct and abuse by police and prosecutors. At the same time, she often kept people – many of them poor black people – behind bars even when there was ample evidence of wrongful convictions, while opposing legislation that would have demanded her office to investigate fatal police shootings. During the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard called out Harris over her record. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst possible way.”

Harris never denied the charges, only saying that she was responsible for “reforming California’s justice system.” More recently, Harris’ popularity has taken a hit because she has failed to show any real accomplishments in the past four years on the VP job. On the most important issue that Biden tasked Harris with, which was to investigate what was driving waves of illegal immigrants to America, she dropped the ball, neglecting to even visit the US-Mexico border. A former Biden administration senior official told Axios: “She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing [the border] was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach.” This is what happens when you elect a candidate based on their identity, not their competence – it’s nearly impossible to relieve them of their duties.

Should the Democratic Party take the decision to replace Harris, 59, at this particular juncture, the fallout would be fierce and swift. Anyone who dares criticize Harris, the first woman and first Black American to hold the office of vice president, will be accused of holding her to a higher standard than past (male, white) politicians. As far as Harris is concerned, she firmly believes that she can lead the nation should something untoward happen to Joe Biden. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week, just days before the release of a damning report emphasizing her boss’ failing memory. The report, penned by Special Counsel Robert Hur after an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and derided him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The public relations fallout has become so critical for the White House that there are rumors of invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession. This empowers the vice president and cabinet to remove the president from office through a majority vote in the event it’s determined he or she is no longer fit to hold office. The amendment has never been invoked in US history, and it probably won’t be invoked now since the specter of a Harris presidency is even less attractive than sitting through a Biden speech. Whatever the case may be, Donald Trump will not miss an opportunity to throw a spotlight on Harris and her inglorious stint as vice president, nor should he, considering that chances are high that Biden won’t serve out his term through age 86. In other words, Trump would be reminding Americans that a vote for Joe Biden is essentially a vote for Kamala Harris. Such a strategy will likely attract many swing voters into the Trump camp.

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And peace is of course bad.

Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner and ex-US leader Donald Trump is planning to pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia if he wins an expected rematch against incumbent Joe Biden for the White House, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. Should Trump become president, he may also retract a number of defense commitments to some NATO allies, according to reports. People familiar with the matter said Trump advisers had talked about ways of bringing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his Russian counterpart to the negotiating table shortly after the potential inauguration. One adviser, according to Bloomberg, suggested that Washington could push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive military assistance, adding that Russia could be swayed by the threat of increasing that aid instead.

Bloomberg sources also stressed that Trump aides had not discussed the matter with Russian officials, as it would be illegal for private US entities to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the administration. Russian officials have repeatedly said they are open to talks with Ukraine, but noted that any dialogue would take place only after Zelensky cancels his decree banning negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The Ukrainian leader introduced the ban last autumn after four of Kiev’s former regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Another facet of Trump’s presumed foreign policy appears to be a concept of “a two-tiered NATO alliance” in which a common defense clause would be applied only to those nations that had reached a certain defense-spending threshold, Bloomberg reported, adding that no final decision had been made on the matter.

Still, the agency noted that such an approach could “upend decades of US policy” while risking “fracturing” the defense alliance. During his term as president, Trump repeatedly pushed NATO countries to increase military spending to 2% of GDP, a threshold many have struggled to reach. As of July, only 11 NATO members had met or exceeded that level. Bloomberg’s report came after Trump claimed last week that, while in office, he had threatened not to defend those ‘delinquent’ NATO members that did not pay their fair share of defense spending if they were attacked by Russia. His remarks triggered condemnation both from the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans or interest in attacking the US-led military bloc.

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“I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars..”

Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas has slammed the US Senate for passing a $95 billion bill for Ukraine and Israel without including provisions for securing the southern border, calling the bill an “abomination.” The Democratic-led upper house passed the international security assistance package on Tuesday with a 70-29 vote after a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks to back the measure – but it has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Roy proposed submitting a bill to rename the state of Texas as Ukraine, quipping that “then, maybe this administration and senators will work on securing the border of the United States.” “I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Roy went on to call out GOP senators who supported the Senate bill, and who argued that much of the $60 billion for Ukraine would in fact support the US defense-industrial base and help American business. “Since when do we have economic development that is being driven by funding war overseas?” the congressman asked, insisting that “anybody that’s sane and sees what’s happening at our southern border would know that you cannot fund foreign wars, while our border is wide open and exposed to criminals and lawlessness and terrorists.” Roy stated that border security remains a priority for the American people as well as for Republicans in Congress, and vowed to block the Senate-approved bill when it gets to the House.

House speaker Mike Johnson has strongly opposed further funding for Ukraine unless it is tied to border security and tougher immigration laws. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to speed up approval of the aid for Ukraine, arguing that stalling the funds plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Moscow in the future. Biden has claimed the Russia could attack a NATO state if it manages to defeat Ukraine, which would require Washington to intervene, in line with the bloc’s mutual defense guarantee. Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied having any intention to attack NATO – with Putin stressing that Russia has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so, and would only engage in hostilities if attacked first.

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“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)

Western media reports claiming that Russia could place nuclear weapons in space are nothing more than a ploy by the White House to convince US lawmakers to approve further military aid to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Citing sources, several US media outlets reported this week that American intelligence had obtained information on purported Russian plans to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in orbit, although the idea supposedly remains at the developmental stage. ABC News claimed that while the system would not be used to attack targets on Earth, US officials still consider it “very concerning and very sensitive.” Responding on Thursday, Peskov suggested that the administration of US President Joe Biden is using the issue to force a vote to approve Ukraine aid. Moscow, however, will wait and see what comes from an upcoming White House briefing on the topic, Peskov added.

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he said. Nuclear weapons in space are banned under the Outer Space Treaty, which was opened for signature by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK in 1967, as Moscow and Washington sought to ease tensions during the Cold War. More than 100 countries have since joined the treaty. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mike Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed to have shared information “concerning a serious national security threat” with US lawmakers, while urging Biden to declassify the relevant materials. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to brief congressional leaders on security issues on Thursday.

When pressed on whether he would address Turner’s concerns, he declined to respond, noting he was “surprised” by the statement, given the upcoming meeting on the matter. His comments came after the New York Times suggested, citing sources, that Turner – whom it described as the administration’s ally on Ukraine aid – had pushed the nuclear issue into the spotlight, to “perhaps to create pressure” on lawmakers to approve $60 billion in supplemental funding for Kiev. The Biden administration has been urging Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine since the autumn. Its efforts have been met with opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House do more to improve security on the southern US border in return.

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“..Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein have sued the FBI, alleging that the agency failed to properly investigate the notorious sex offender. They claim that the FBI sat on reports about Epstein’s activities for two decades, allowing the victims to be “trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened.” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on Wednesday by 12 women, all of whom are referred to in the document as anonymous Jane Does. “For over two decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation permitted Jeffrey Epstein to sex traffic and sexually abuse scores of children and young women by failing to do the job the American people expected of it,” the complaint alleges. “As a result of the continued failures of the FBI, Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom – once and for all – of the FBI’s role in Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”

According to the lawsuit, the FBI began receiving tips, reports, and complaints about Epstein’s alleged trafficking and abuse of minors in 1996, but failed to open a case or share this information with other law enforcement agencies. The FBI eventually opened a case in 2006, two years before Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in Florida. A controversial plea deal saw Epstein register as a sex offender and serve 13 months on supervised release in lieu of a possible life sentence. Despite the fact that he had been convicted for one offense and dodged a litany of other sex-trafficking charges, the FBI continued to ignore tips that flowed in over the next decade, the lawsuit claims. “As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI’s negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened,” the complaint said. Epstein was eventually arrested in 2019 and charged with the trafficking of dozens of minors. He died awaiting trial in a Manhattan jail cell a month later, with his death officially ruled a suicide.

Epstein’s girlfriend and “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for child sex trafficking in 2022. According to testimony from victims, Epstein and Maxwell recruited girls to perform sexual acts on themselves and their rich and powerful associates, and instructed these girls to recruit additional victims. Among the powerful men accused of abusing the girls was Britain’s Prince Andrew, who settled out of court with an accuser in 2022. The plaintiffs behind the latest lawsuit are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and damages from the US government. The FBI has already been accused of negligence in its handling of the Epstein case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December, agency Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn’t do more to stop the notorious pedophile. Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

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Egypt has started building refugee camps.

Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)

Here’s a blurb from Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion who said: “You are no doubt aware of the [Jewish National Fund’s] activity in this respect. Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” He concluded: “Jewish power [in Palestine], which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.” (1948) This same line of reasoning has persisted through the decades although today’s Zionists tend to express themselves more brashly and with less restraint. Take, for example, popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro who presented his views in an article titled “Transfer is Not a Dirty Word”. Here’s what he said:

“If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum…. The Jews don’t realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It’s not genocide; it’s transfer…. It’s time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution”. Transfer is Not a Dirty Word, Narkive “Squeamish”? Shapiro thinks that anyone who recognizes the appalling moral horror of driving people off their land and forcing them into refugee camps is squeamish?

This is the essence of political Zionism and it dates back to the very beginning of the Jewish state. So, when critics claim that Netanyahu has assembled the “most right-wing government in Israel’s history”, don’t believe them. Netanyahu is no better or worse than his predecessors. The only Prime Minister who veered even slightly from this ‘iron law’ of Zionism, was Yitzhak Rabin who was (predictably) assassinated by an opponent of Oslo. What does that tell you?It tells you there was never going to be a “two-state” solution; it was a charade from the get-go. And (as Netanyahu intimated recently) Israeli leaders merely played along with the hoax in order to buy-time to prepare for the solution that is being imposed today. Have you ever wondered why so many Israelis support Netanyahu’s murderous rampage in Gaza?

(Hint) It’s not because Israeli Jews are homicidal maniacs. No. It’s because they know what he is doing. They’re not taken-in by the “Hamas” diversion, that is merely propaganda pablum for the West. They know that Netanyahu is implementing a plan to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And, in doing so, he is achieving the territorial ambitions of his Zionist ancestors. So, even though the majority of Israelis despise Netanyahu and think he should be prosecuted for corruption, they are willing to look the other way while he does their bidding. What onlookers need to realize is that the current strategy is not new at all, in fact, it has a 75 year-long pedigree that aligns with the demographic objectives of the Zionist leadership. None of this of course has anything to do with Hamas which is merely the pretext for the eradication of the indigenous people. What we are seeing is the actualization of the Zionist dream, the modern version of Plan Dalet, the original roadmap for ethnic cleaning that was drawn up in 1948.

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“He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations..”

Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)

Liberal financier George Soros has bought a major stake in the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 stations across the country, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Soros Fund Management purchased around $400 million of debt owed by the Audacy media group during its bankruptcy process, the newspaper reported, citing court filings. The billionaire bought the debt at roughly 50 cents on the dollar from hedge fund HG Vora, the report continued, noting that once the deal is approved by a bankruptcy court, Soros will own about 40% of Audacy’s overall debt. While 40% is not a majority stake, a source told the New York Post that Soros could nevertheless gain “effective control of the media giant when it emerges from bankruptcy.”

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead as reported, Audacy will be the latest addition to Soros’ growing media empire. Soros Fund Management joined a consortium of creditors to purchase Vice Media last summer, paying $350 million to acquire a former media juggernaut once valued at $5.7 billion. An “insider source” cited by the New York Post described the Audacy deal as “scary,” saying he believed that Soros intended to use his stake to influence public opinion ahead of this year’s presidential election.

A hedge fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, Soros is among the wealthiest men on earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations. Soros is an advocate for mass immigration to Western countries, European federalism, and economic and political liberalism. He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations. As well as direct donations to candidates and activist groups, Soros reportedly gave $300,000 to a group of TikTok influencers who collaborated with the White House to promote President Joe Biden’s policies. The Open Society Foundations announced last year that Soros, who is 93 years old, would step down from the helm of the organization and hand control to his 38-year-old son, Alex.

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“..“no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times..”

Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)

Beijing reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that the European Union plans to target three Chinese companies as part of the bloc’s 13th round of sanctions against Russia. The move by the EU follows claims that Chinese and Indian businesses have helped Russia “circumvent” European sanctions by providing them with electronic components used in the manufacturing of drones and other military equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia since the intensification of the Donbass conflict in early 2022. Beijing blasted the EU restrictions as “illegal” and criticized the “long-arm jurisdiction” against Chinese companies. China has benefited in recent months as Western sanctions against Russian energy have hampered European competitiveness, forcing companies in Germany and other EU nations to raise prices as they rely on more expensive American liquified natural gas.

Seen in this light, the EU’s attempts to punish Chinese businesses may be viewed as a desperate attempt to hobble the competition as Europe increasingly faces economic crisis and deindustrialization. Economist Richard Wolff joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to discuss the grim economic outlook for the continent. “Europe, which has been kind of a dominant player in the whole world for a couple of thousand of years, is in what I believe to be – and I’m far from the only one – a crisis so profound it may be what we look back on and call the terminal crisis, the last one, because it literally cannot survive,” Wolff speculated. “On the one hand, it is being outcompeted by the United States, which has dominated it for the last 75 years anyway,” he noted. “But now the new player in the world economy, the People’s Republic of China and its allies, known generally as the BRICS, competing and challenging Europe, from the other side of the planet, if you like, means that Europe is caught between them.”

Wolff claimed the cultural, historical, and linguistic differences between EU countries have undermined the continent’s attempts to unify in recent decades. Now, Europe is a “junior partner” Wolff claimed, caught between the US-led G7 economic bloc and the China-led BRICS countries. While Europe previously benefited from its relationship with Russia in the form of cheap natural gas, Russia has now turned towards China and the other nations of the BRICS bloc after being “betrayed by the rest of Europe.” If the solidifying of new alliances has economically harmed Europe, it has benefitted Russia, Wolff claimed, which has been able to sell its oil and gas to India and China. “The Russian ruble is in fine shape. The Russian economy is growing faster than last year, [faster] than the United States is and is in no way falling apart,” the economist insisted. Meanwhile “no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times,” Wolff warned ominously.

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“.. in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds..”

Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

This article will consider several proposed alternatives for diffusing what Warren Buffett called a time bomb waiting to go off. That sort of bomb just detonated in the Chinese stock market, contributing to its fall; and the result could be much worse in the U.S., where the stock market plays a much larger role in the economy. A Jan.30 article on Bloomberg News notes that “Chinese stocks’ brutal start to the year is being at least partly blamed on the impact of a relatively new financial derivative known as a snowball. The products are tied to indexes, and a key feature is that when the gauges fall below built-in levels, brokerages will sell their related futures positions.” Further details are in a Jan. 23rd article titled “’Snowball’ Derivatives Feed China’s Stock Market Avalanche.” It states, “China’s plunging stock market is leading to losses on billions of dollars worth of derivatives linked to the country’s equity indexes, fuelling further selling as retail investors offload their positions…. Snowball products are similar to the index-linked products sold in the 2008 financial crisis, with investors betting that U.S. equities would not fall more than 25% or 30%,” which they did.

The Chinese stock market is much younger and smaller than that in the U.S., with a much smaller role in the economy. Thus China’s economy remains relatively protected from disruptive ups and downs in the stock market. Not so in the U.S., where speculating in the derivatives casino brought down international insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis of 2008-09. AIG had to be bailed out by the taxpayers to prevent collapse of the too-big-to-fail derivative banks, and Lehman Brothers went through a messy bankruptcy that took years to resolve. In a December 2010 article on Seeking Alpha titled “Derivatives: The Big Banks’ Quadrillion-Dollar Financial Casino,” attorney Michael Snyder wrote, “derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens, derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again…. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system … is totally dominated by the big international banks.”

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Ron Paul Assange

 

 

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Bear and Moose

 

 

 

 

Lion turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758108922764804147

 

 

Dinosaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758103418093064324

 

 

India and Pakistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758122937905820057

 

 

Bach

 

 

Legend

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 242024
 
 January 24, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Nicolas de Staël Paris la nuit 1954

 

Trump ‘Honored’ By New Hampshire Win, Says Republican Party ‘Very United’ (Fox)
Israel Risks Dragging Egypt Into War (Blade)
Russia Will Do Everything to Integrate Egypt Into BRICS – Putin (Sp.)
UN Agency Says 570,000 People in Gaza Strip Face Dire Hunger (Sp.)
No Direct Threat From Russia – NATO (RT)
Germans Told To Prepare For Another War With Russia (RT)
Germany Can’t Afford Rearmament, Let Alone a ‘War’ With Russia (Sp.)
Davos Admits Possibility Of Ukraine Defeat (ZH)
Ukraine Spy Chief: Win “Not Even Conceivable” Without Mass Mobilization (ZH)
The German Establishment Wants To Ban AfD (Amar)
Pelosi’s J6 Committee Deleted Over 100 Encrypted Files (PB)
No One Is Safe in an Era of Kafkaesque Absurdity (Brooks)
Mayorkas Says Border Is Secure But Biden Says It Isn’t (MN)
Supreme Court Rules Texas Must Replace Barbed Wire With Giant Red Carpet (BBee)
Supreme Court Rules It’s Illegal For National Guard To Guard Nation (BBee)

 

 


New Hampshire Governor Sununu’s home town.

 

 

Vivek

 

 

Tucker Canada
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749645597827887333

 

 

Tucker Rand Paul

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749817785122013580

 

 

Kash Patel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749514005725475192

 

 

Trump Jan 22

 

 

Kari Lake

 

 

Trump hotel jobs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749671123778748611

 

 

 

 

Time for dirty tricks?!

Trump ‘Honored’ By New Hampshire Win, Says Republican Party ‘Very United’ (Fox)

Former President Trump said he is “very honored” by his New Hampshire primary win Tuesday night, telling Fox News Digital that the Republican Party is “very united” behind his candidacy. Trump won the first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday night, defeating former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Trump also won the Iowa caucuses last week. During an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital shortly after the race was called, Trump said he was honored. “I’m very honored by the result,” Trump said. Trump also said he is “looking forward to going against the worst president in the history of our country.” New Hampshire – where independent voters who make up roughly 40% of the electorate can vote in either major party’s contest and have long played an influential role in the state’s storied presidential primary – was considered fertile ground for Haley.

And Haley spent plenty of time and resources in the state, securing the influential endorsement of popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. But Trump dominated for a second week in a row, cruising to victory in both critical early voting states. When asked if he felt Haley would suspend her campaign, he said, “I don’t know. She should.” “She should because, otherwise, we have to keep wasting money instead of spending on Biden,” Trump said. “If she doesn’t drop out, we have to waste money instead of spending it on Biden, which is our focus.” Trump, who was joined at a rally Monday night in New Hampshire by his former opponents who then endorsed him, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, said the party is united.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign on Sunday and endorsed Trump. “The party is very united except for her,” Trump said. “The party is very united, and we’re looking forward to going against the worst president in the history of our country,” he said. But Haley, during a speech after the race was called, noted that she got close to half of the vote in New Hampshire. She said she is “the last one standing next to Donald Trump” and added that the race is “far from over.” “New Hampshire is the first in the nation, not the last,” Haley said. She is now looking ahead to South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 24.

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“..Netanyahu understands the importance of these strategic relations with Cairo and he will not damage those ties..”

Israel Risks Dragging Egypt Into War (Blade)

It’s been more than a hundred days since Israel kicked off its Iron Swords operation in Gaza following the bloody attack of October 7, when more than 1,200 Israelis were brutally murdered at the hands of Hamas militants. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to punish those responsible for the massacre, which also left more than 5,000 people wounded. He further promised to eliminate the Islamic group that controls Gaza, and to de-militarize the enclave that has posed a threat to Israel’s security. But more than three months down the line, officials in West Jerusalem still seem to be scratching their heads over how to achieve those goals. The main challenge is the continuous flow of arms, technology, and money to Gaza, from which the militants of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to fire rockets. And Israel believes it is coming from the Sinai Peninsula, smuggled through the border via the so-called Philadelphi Route.

The term emerged in 1982 following the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and the subsequent demarcation of the border. According to that agreement, both sides deployed troops on their respective sides along the 14km line, a move that promised stability and security. But several years later, in 1987, during the First Intifada, Palestinians started digging tunnels under the axis, through which they smuggled goods and weapons, as well as militants and money. By 2005, when Israel evacuated its 17 settlements from Gaza and handed over control of the axis to the Palestinian Authority, the Islamic group already had hundreds of such tunnels, and their numbers continued to grow – especially after Hamas seized power in the enclave in 2007. “Initially, Egypt didn’t exert any significant efforts into stopping that smuggling, simply because it brought a lot of economic benefits to both sides,” said Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

“It was during this time that Hamas boosted its arms arsenal, smuggling in weapons, money and technologies. It was also then, when Iranian and Hezbollah experts and technicians arrived in Gaza and taught Hamas engineers on how to develop their own industry,” he added. Then, in 2011, came the Arab Spring. The long-term ruler of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was deposed, and the radical elements in Sinai started rearing their heads. Terror attacks have become a regular phenomenon, especially after 2014, when Daesh (Islamic State/IS) took control over most jihadist groups on the peninsula, establishing the so-called Wilayat Sinai. “These groups were against the newly established government of President Abdel Fattah A-Sisi. They were targeting the army and killing civilians across the country, so Cairo came to realize that there was cooperation between Hamas and those terrorists and it decided to break that link,” said Karmon.

Over the years, Cairo exerted multiple efforts into fighting the threat emanating from Sinai. It boosted its military presence on the peninsula, launched counterterrorism operations, and flooded hundreds of tunnels that linked Gaza to Egypt. But experts in Israel believe not all the loopholes were eliminated. Even more so, they are still being used to smuggle militants, weapons, and potentially Israeli hostages. This is why in recent weeks, a number of Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, have stated that the Philadelphi Route should be recaptured, with Israel establishing full control over the territory. Karmon maintains Israel has no intention of occupying the area. Instead, the idea is that his country would just beef up its military presence in the region to maintain security. “Recapturing the area would be very difficult to execute, simply because we have a peace agreement with Egypt. Of course, there are right-wing voices who are calling for the occupation of Gaza or the building of settlements there, but Netanyahu understands the importance of these strategic relations with Cairo and he will not damage those ties,” the expert asserted.

However, in Egypt some are still worried. Hany Soliman, executive director of the Arab Center for Research and Studies (ACRS) in Cairo, says Netanyahu’s words are backed by actions. These include negotiations with the Americans on the construction of an underground wall on the Egyptian side. The project, which promises to be 1km deep and 13km long, will be equipped with sensors and other technology, enabling digging to be detected, and as such deterring radicals from trying their luck. The project is set to be funded by the US. But the possibility of such an endeavor taking place depends largely on the will of the Egyptians, says Soliman, and they might not want to rush it. “Firstly, on the political and security levels, Egypt will not sign such a protocol, especially at a time when there is a lack of clarity on Israeli intentions and when there are concerns about Israeli attempts to pass and impose their displacement plan,” he said. “And, secondly, let’s not forget the Palestinian Authority. It has full rights to object to this project. They can claim that the occupation of the Philadelphi axis is inconsistent with the Oslo Accords and that it infringes on their sovereignty”.

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“During the Russian presidency of the BRICS this year, we will try to do everything possible for Egypt to effectively integrate into the work of the group..”

Russia Will Do Everything to Integrate Egypt Into BRICS – Putin (Sp.)

Russia expects that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi will attend the BRICS summit in Russia’s Kazan scheduled for later in the year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. “We are waiting for you, dear Mr. Sisi, at the unification summit [of BRICS] in Kazan in October this year,” Putin said during the ceremony of the start of the construction of the fourth power unit of Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP). Russia has planned more than 200 BRICS events, and Moscow expects that representatives of Egypt will take an active part in them, the president said. “New promising opportunities for building up our fruitful cooperation are opening up in connection with Egypt’s accession to the BRICS. I would like to emphasize that from the very beginning, Russia sincerely supported the desire of the Egyptian side to become a full member of this association. During the Russian presidency of the BRICS this year, we will try to do everything possible for Egypt to effectively integrate into the work of the group,” Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi launched on Tuesday the construction of the fourth power unit of the Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP) in Egypt via videoconference. Pouring the first concrete into the foundation of the building where the nuclear reactor will be located means the start of the construction of the entire new power unit. After this, the project will be implemented to full capacity — all four blocks of the nuclear power plant will be built simultaneously. Speaking about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the launching ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is in constant contact with his Egyptian counterpart on the issue.

“And in general, Sisi and I are in constant contact … we regularly discuss all the most significant issues on the international and regional agenda for our countries. In particular, we exchange opinions and coordinate positions in connection with the tragic development of the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and resolve issues of a humanitarian nature,” Putin said during the ceremony to launch the construction of the fourth power unit of the Dabaa nuclear power plant.

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“..catastrophic hunger. Intense fighting, access denials & restrictions + communications blackouts..”

UN Agency Says 570,000 People in Gaza Strip Face Dire Hunger (Sp.)

About 570,000 people in the Gaza Strip face dire hunger, and the work of humanitarian organizations is difficult due to access and communication problems, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Tuesday. “570,000 people in Gaza face catastrophic hunger. Intense fighting, access denials & restrictions + communications blackouts are hampering UNRWA’s ability to safely & effectively deliver aid. As risk of famine grows, UN calls for a critical increase in humanitarian access,” the UNRWA said on X . On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip, while its fighters breached the border and opened fire on the military and civilians.

As a result, more than 1,200 people were killed in Israel and some 240 others were kidnapped. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and launched a ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave with the stated goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. More than 25,000 people have been killed in Gaza so far as a result of the Israeli attacks, according to local officials. On November 24, Qatar brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas for a temporary ceasefire and the exchange of some prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The truce was extended several times and expired on December 1.

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“At the same time, he stressed that the bloc nevertheless “closely monitors what Russia does”..”

No Direct Threat From Russia – NATO (RT)

NATO sees no threat from Russia toward any of its members, the US-led bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday during a press conference in Brussels. His comments come as several countries, including Germany and the Baltic states, have raised concerns of a potential future Russian attack. Answering questions from journalists following the signing of major new investments in artillery ammunition productions, Stoltenberg stated that, “We don’t see any direct or imminent threat against any NATO ally.” At the same time, he stressed that the bloc nevertheless “closely monitors what Russia does” and has increased its “vigilance and presence in the eastern part of the alliance,” in order to prevent any attacks on allied nations.

Meanwhile, German news outlets have reported in recent weeks that Berlin was preparing for a scenario in which Russia launches an “open attack” on NATO as early as the summer of 2025 after securing a major victory in Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also warned on Monday that his country should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack even though there is no real threat as of now. “Deterrence is the only effective means of positioning oneself against an aggressor from the outset,” Pistorius told ZDF, calling on Germany and its NATO allies to commit to strengthening their military capabilities. Similar concerns have been voiced by other NATO members, such as Estonia, whose Prime Minister Kaja Kallas suggested last week that the bloc has three to five years to prepare for a possible direct confrontation with Russia.

Moscow has dismissed any claims that it intends to attack any NATO members as “complete nonsense,” with President Vladimir Putin arguing that Russia has “no geopolitical, economic … or military interest” in doing so. At the same time, the Kremlin has for decades voiced concerns that it was the US and its NATO allies’ continuous expansion to the east that posed an existential threat to Russia. Moscow has cited this expansion, which it believes threatens its national security, as well as the refusal to rule out Ukrainian NATO membership in the future, as some of the key reasons for launching its offensive against Kiev in February 2022.

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There are more EU countries that tell these absurd stories.

Germans Told To Prepare For Another War With Russia (RT)

Germany should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned. He said that to prepare for such a scenario, Germany and its NATO allies must commit to strengthening their military capabilities. In an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF on Monday, the defense chief pointed out that while Germany is not currently under a direct threat of attack, the country should do its best to be prepared for it. If Germany wants to be ready for an attack “that you don’t know if and when it will occur, then that means you have to arm yourself – and that’s what we’re currently doing together with allies in NATO,” he explained.

Pistorius went on to say that “deterrence is the only effective means of positioning oneself against an aggressor from the outset” as it signals to a potential adversary that the target is capable of striking back. To achieve such a posture, however, Germany must have “a credible deterrent” and be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us,” he noted. Commenting on a potential scenario in which Russia attacked the Baltics, Pistorius remarked that Berlin was setting up its “Lithuania Brigade” specifically to address those concerns. The unit, composed of about 4,800 soldiers is expected to be ready by 2027 and will be the first German force to be permanently stationed abroad since World War II. Pistorius suggested that amid the Ukraine conflict it would take Russia at least several years to be ready for a full-scale offensive, and that Western countries should use the time to intensively arm themselves.

The German tabloid Bild reported earlier this month, citing a classified document, that Germany is preparing for a scenario in which Russia launches an “open attack” on NATO in mid-2025, following major victories in Ukraine. Moscow mocked the prediction as a “zodiac forecast.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Russia could attack NATO as “complete nonsense,” arguing that Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in doing so. Still, the Kremlin has for decades voiced concerns about the US-led military bloc’s expansion towards Russian borders, viewing it as an existential threat.

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“Not only is Germany’s justification for rearmament in question but also the nation’s ability to afford it..”

Germany Can’t Afford Rearmament, Let Alone a ‘War’ With Russia (Sp.)

Germany must take into account the possibility of a military conflict with Russia and prepare for it over the next three-five years, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told ZDF on January 22. He insisted that the German Bundeswehr armed forces should become “a credible deterrent,” and that a German combat brigade would be deployed in the Baltics to become “fully combat-ready” by 2027. In December, Pistorius signed an agreement for the permanent deployment of a Bundeswehr brigade to Lithuania. and announced that the reintroduction of compulsory military service in Germany is now on the table. Does Russia really present an imminent threat to German national security? “If you ask me, and if you ask most people in my party, the answer is unequivocally no,” Gunnar Beck, Member of the European Parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party who is currently Vice-President of the Identity & Democracy Group in the Parliament, told Sputnik.

“Ever since 1990, at the end of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has gone out of its way to intensify economic relations between Russia and Germany. We had extremely favorable energy contracts with Russia. And Russia was a growing export market for our agricultural and industrial goods. It’s due to our government’s policy, vis-a-vis Ukraine conflict that relations with Russia are now almost at an all time low. So, on the one hand, I think, German policy and EU policy has been a provocation. Nonetheless, I think that the Russian reaction to the sanctions in particular has been tough, but at the same time measured. So in my view, Russia is no immediate security threat to Germany. Categorically not.” Not only is Germany’s justification for rearmament in question but also the nation’s ability to afford it, according to Beck. German industry is in a dire state as a result of the government’s policies, he stressed.

“Germany currently finds itself in what is probably the most serious economic crisis since the Second World War,” Beck said. “The government’s policies (…) are affecting all leading branches of German industry, which is suffering from high inflation, lack of qualified labor, bureaucracy and high tax levels. As a result, our exports have declined significantly. So we are in crisis, and German industry, which has always been the backbone of German prosperity, in particular, is in crisis.” He listed three major reasons for the new talk of militarization: First, the German government’s energy and climate change policy; Second, unprecedented migration into Germany from outside Europe of unskilled workers and the astronomical cost to German public finances; Third, Germany’s policies on Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the Russian economy.

Berlin’s decision to follow Washington’s lead and slap sweeping sanctions on Russia has backfired on Germans on a much greater scale than on any of their Russian counterparts, according to the politician. “In my view, Germany is in no fit state economically and financially to embark upon a massive rearmament program,” Beck said. “If the German government seriously did so, the consequence would be a further significant worsening of the economic crisis. The only way to finance such rearmament would be through a complete reversal of all the other policies and massive remigration of migrants from Germany. The government has given no indication that it is prepared to do so. In other words, I think these declarations are probably largely symbolic. Germany simply cannot afford it.”

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“The situation is becoming undeniable and the fact that the elites are allowing discussion about a Ukraine loss suggests that defeat might be closer than we know..”

Davos Admits Possibility Of Ukraine Defeat (ZH)

In a move that would have been unthinkable a year ago, the WEF has formed a discussion panel at their annual Davos conference titled “What If Ukraine Loses?” The panel represents, at the very least, an admission by the globalists that Ukraine could be defeated by Russia despite the deluge of money, armaments and intel assets that Ukraine has been given access to by western governments.Since 2022, the narrative has shifted from talk of complete victory over Russia including the retaking of the Donbas and even Crimea, to merely holding the current front and keeping a steady supply of ammo and recruits. The realities on the ground cannot be denied. The long vaunted “counter-offensive” that was supposed to crush Russian forces was a complete failure. No significant ground was gained and no significant victories have been won. It was a considerable propaganda error to hype up the counter-offensive the way Ukraine did, because when it turned out to be a dud all their other claims quickly came under suspicion.

At the end of 2023, the average age of Ukrainian soldiers was older than 40 (compare this to the US where the average age is 27). Rumors out of Ukraine abound that most younger soldiers are dead and that collection teams (government enforcers) now prowl the streets of cities like Kiev. They search for and kidnap any fighting age men they find, only to send them to the front with little or no training. These are the kinds of stories that go mostly ignored by the wider western media. When they are mentioned, it is usually in support of the Ukrainian government, chastising people who don’t want to fight and die in a globalist proxy war as “draft dodgers.” The level to which journalists have acted as a propaganda arm of NATO and Ukraine has been grotesque, but it does help to explain why so many Americans and Europeans were deluded about the war for so long. All they have heard about for the past two years is that Ukraine is on the verge of imminent victory.

It’s simply not true. This is likely why the WEF is now forced to address the issue at Davos – The situation is becoming undeniable and the fact that the elites are allowing discussion about a Ukraine loss suggests that defeat might be closer than we know. The panel itself is largely made up of Ukrainian representatives who are there to spin the facts, not have a frank discussion about the realities in the trenches. Journalist Niall Ferguson seems to be the only member with a modicum of honesty on the panel, as he admits the situation in Ukraine has degraded dramatically. He does, however, join with the Ukrainians in admonishing the American public’s growing opposition to monetary and military support. The underlying message? If Ukraine loses, it will be your fault.

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Make peace you fools.

Ukraine Spy Chief: Win “Not Even Conceivable” Without Mass Mobilization (ZH)

“The shortage [of manpower] is palpable,” Ukraine’s military top spy chief, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, told Financial Times in a new interview, describing the most pressing situation facing the country after nearly two years of war.He warned that “it is not even conceivable to think that we can do without mobilization” — which reflects the consensus of the military’s leadership, and strongly points to staggering losses by the Ukrainian side, though an official running casualty count has never been revealed. Russia has also likely suffered immense losses, but can tap into much greater manpower and artillery, which is also allegedly being supplied from such nefarious actors as North Korea. As part of its report, FT has reviewed that Zelensky recently revealed that his army chiefs requested him “to mobilize about 400,000 to 500,000 new soldiers to replace those killed or wounded, and to rest those involved in the most intense fighting.”

Still, Budanov tried to paint an optimistic picture at a moment that even mainstream US press has lamented the current state of the war as a total failure and disaster for Ukraine: Ukrainian troops never managed to decisively breach Russia’s heavily fortified defences: the frontline remains almost the same as it looked a year ago. But Budanov maintains he was not wrong. “Although the original plans suggested something different, we kept our promise. This summer, our units repeatedly entered Crimea,” he said, referring to his commandos sneaking on to the peninsula to carry out raids on Russian bases. Not only have Ukrainian operatives done brief but ineffective raids into Crimea, but the last several weeks have seen stepped-up cross border drone and rocket attacks against Russian border regions, particularly targeting Belgorod city, resulting in dozens of casualties over months of sporadic waves of strikes.

Many war analysts have looked upon these attacks on Russian territory as a sign of increasing desperation. The Ukrainian strikes have been focused on civilian areas of Belgorod, and have little or no strategic value, but is more an act of ‘revenge’ and perhaps part of seeking to impose a “cost” on the Russian population in hopes of pressuring the Putin government. Kiev has been mulling a new mass mobilization since at least December, when media reports first cited Zelensky as saying, “This is a serious number,” while explaining further he has to look at more arguments to support this direction.” He added at the time, “I need concrete information on what will (then) happen with the one-million military of Ukraine,” according to The Kyiv Independent.

Any new mass mobilization is likely to be met with fierce pushback among the population and some government officials. Already there have been signs of fracture within the government over what to do as it’s increasingly clear Ukrainian forces are ‘losing’ – especially in manpower, arms, and ammo. Zelensky’s security services and military recruiters have also been accused of abusing their power under martial law, also amid allegations of corruption, with The New York Times having previously reported Ukrainian army recruiters have become “increasingly aggressive in their efforts to replenish the ranks, in some cases pulling men off the streets and whisking them to recruiting centers using intimidation and even physical force.” There have even been reports of men with diagnosed mental disabilities being subjected to attempted drafts. Currently, men ages 18-60 may be mobilized and still have no right to leave Ukraine, per the stipulations under martial law.

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On its way to first place.

The German Establishment Wants To Ban AfD (Amar)

With really bad ideas, you can often ask two pertinent questions. First, why will it not work? Second, why would it be harmful if it did? That rule holds in Germany, where the really bad idea of banning the party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is currently getting much debate. The background of this debate is simple. Founded a decade ago, the AfD has established itself as a lasting feature of the political landscape. A populist right-wing party (roughly comparable to, for instance, the Austrian FPÖ), it brings together politicians and voters across a spectrum of positions. In the AfD, this spectrum ranges from very solidly conservative to far right. Still comparatively small, the AfD is significant. With currently just over 40,000 members, it holds 78 of 736 seats in the Bundestag, the central parliament in Berlin.

Importantly, it is also well-represented in 14 of 16 regional parliaments, where it occupies 242 seats of 1898 (for all regional legislatures taken together). In terms of its impact on national debates, it clearly punches far above this quantitative weight. Most importantly, however, the AfD is on a roll, on both the central and regional levels. If Germans were to vote for the Bundestag now – and thus in effect the chancellor’s office – the AfD would net 23%. That can be compared with the traditional center-left SPD, leading the hapless coalition government, at 14%. All parties from the ruling coalition (SPD, Greens, and the market-liberal FDP) together muster just 31% approval. On the regional level, the picture is largely the same, with particularly pronounced AfD advances in the area of the former East Germany.

For the Land of Brandenburg, for instance, a poll has the AfD in the lead with 28%, easily beating both the CDU mainstream conservatives (18%) and the SPD (17%). Adding insult to injury, AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla is also surpassing the SPD’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the personal-popularity scale, which is admittedly a low bar, as Scholz has managed to become one of the most disliked German politicians ever. No wonder that Germany’s under-qualified and somewhat hysterical minister of the economy, Robert Habeck, in whose head all of Russia seems to live rent-free, is publicly hallucinating that the AfD wants to make Germany like Russia. (The irony is, of course, is that with Habeck’s own mismanaged ministerial portfolio, quite a few Germans would welcome having Russia’s growth rates.)

Such rhetoric, as well as the timing of when the idea of an AfD ban is being floated, betrays the fact that the attempt to popularize the idea of outlawing the AfD is an opportunistic response to its increasing electoral clout, which of course cannot be openly admitted. So, those in favor of a ban argue that the AfD is an extremist party. But crucially here, extremism has a specific, legally (and narrowly) defined meaning. According to the German Constitution (Article 21.2), the Constitutional Court (and only that court) can prohibit a party when it substantially endangers the constitutional order of the Federal Republic or its existence itself. An important and often overlooked caveat, is it is not enough for a party to display hostility to the constitutional order. A prohibition is only an option if the party does so in an “active-combative, aggressive manner,” as Germany’s Ministry of the Interior puts it.

Only two parties have ever been banned, a far-right one in 1952 and a far-left one in 1956. Other attempts to proscribe parties (or to be precise, the same party) have also failed twice: In 2003 and again in 2017, the Constitutional Court refused to outlaw the very far-right NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands).

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Half the “evidence” is gone. How convenient.

Pelosi’s J6 Committee Deleted Over 100 Encrypted Files (PB)

It has been confirmed that the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 deleted more than 100 encrypted files from their investigation just days before Republicans gained control of the House. The House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee, chaired by Republican Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, is conducting an inquiry into January 6, 2021. The panel is looking at the security shortcomings that day, as well as the “actions” of the previous select committee investigating the Capitol riot. Loudermilk told Fox News Digital last week that his inquiry has entered a “new phase” with increased backing from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) who has pledged extra resources to the panel’s investigation. According to sources familiar with Loudermilk’s investigation, the former J6 select committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was required by House rules to turn over all documents from its investigation to the new, GOP-led panel after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives following the 2022 midterm elections.

According to Fox News Digital, Thompson promised Loudermilk that the J6 select committee would give over four terabytes of archival material, but the new committee got just around two terabytes. Loudermilk’s committee hired a digital forensics outfit to search hard drives for material they were not provided. According to people familiar with the investigation, the forensics team discovered 117 files that had been erased and encrypted. The sources revealed that the files were erased on January 1, 2023, just days before Thompson’s staff was scheduled to transmit the material to the new committee. The forensics team has successfully retrieved all 117 deleted and encrypted files. Loudermilk is now requesting answers and passwords to get access to the material. Loudermilk issued to Thompson asking access to his forensic team’s retrieved digital data.

“As you acknowledged in your July 7, 2023 letter, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (Select Committee) did not archive all Committee records as required by House Rules,” Loudermilk wrote. “You wrote that you sent specific transcribed interviews and depositions to the White House and Department of Homeland Security but did not archive them with the Clerk of the House.” Loudermilk added that Thompson “claimed that you turned over 4-terabytes of digital files, but the hard drives archived by the Select Committee with the Clerk of the House contain less than 3- terabytes of data.” The Republican Congressman said that after doing a forensic study of the data and archived hard drives, he was able to retrieve “numerous digital records from hard drives archived by the Select Committee.”

“One recovered file disclosed the identity of an individual whose testimony was not archived by the Select Committee,” Loudermilk wrote. “Further, we found that most of the recovered files are password-protected, preventing us from determining what they contain.” Loudermilk requested that Thompson provide him “a list of passwords for all password-protected files created by the Select Committee” so that his committee could “access these files and ensure they are properly archived.” Meanwhile, the congressman sent letters to the White House general counsel and the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, asking for “unedited and unredacted transcripts” of White House and DHS testimony before the old select committee. Loudermilk’s committee is aware that transcripts of these interviews exist, but claims they were not given over by the Thompson-led investigation.

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“..the man Americans elected as the 45th president—and his team members—has been subjected to more bizarre allegations, secret investigations, partisan impeachments, preposterous indictments, and prejudiced legal proceedings than even Kafka could have imagined..”

No One Is Safe in an Era of Kafkaesque Absurdity (Brooks)

“Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.”—Franz Kafka, “The Trial.”

In Kafka’s early-20th-century novel, a reputable bank clerk is caught up in a prosecutorial nightmare. The story of Josef K. begins when court authorities suddenly arrive at his residence to tell him he’s to be indicted, but they can’t or won’t explain the exact nature of the charges against him. Josef K.’s accusers leave him with feelings of apprehension and anxiety. Throughout the novel, he struggles to defend himself within a hostile and complex legal process. At the end of the story, he’s led away to a summary execution. During the entire ordeal, the accused never really understands the reasons behind his mysterious prosecution. This dark story about the destruction of an innocent man led to the term “Kafkaesque” entering the English language as a way to describe situations in which honorable people are threatened by unfounded allegations. Kafka had a special talent for identifying the convergence between reality and absurdity.

A hundred years after “The Trial” was first published, the West has descended into an era in which absurd allegations are the new normal. In the Rainbow Reichs of the woke, witch hunting has become the order of the day.
One of the most notorious Kafkaesque events in modern history developed around the unforeseen political success of President Donald J. Trump.Over recent years, the man Americans elected as the 45th president—and his team members—has been subjected to more bizarre allegations, secret investigations, partisan impeachments, preposterous indictments, and prejudiced legal proceedings than even Kafka could have imagined. President Trump has endured some of the most savage and desperate partisan assaults in U.S. history. Despite it all, he has retained the loyalty of legions of ordinary citizens and is the leading candidate for reelection in 2024. Individuals throughout North America are praying that President Trump’s landslide victory in Iowa will lead to a decisive victory for the “Make America Great Again” movement.

[..] Few drag queen story hours feature the novels of Kafka, but the author’s insights remain valuable. Kafka understood that corrupt authorities have the capacity to ruin almost anyone they disapprove of. “The Trial” shows how Orwellian legal institutions can isolate individuals, make them appear guilty, and render them helpless. So far, President Trump has overcome the moral failures of the American judicial system, and he has an excellent chance of winning back the White House in 2024. Donald T. isn’t likely to suffer the same fate as Kafka’s Josef K. Francine C.’s future is considerably less certain. Without political support, financial resources, and professional help, challenges to the left by intrepid citizens are unlikely to continue. That’s why the suffocating nature of our Kafkaesque culture must be forthrightly resisted by honorable men and women.

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“The president’s been clear, he’s been clear that we need to move on the border, he needs resources to deal with the situation at the border.”s

Mayorkas Says Border Is Secure But Biden Says It Isn’t (MN)

During the White House press briefing Monday, a reporter asked Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to explain why Joe Biden and DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas give conflicting answers when asked if the border is secure or not. As we highlighted, last Friday Biden admitted that the border is not secure and stated that has has not believed it has been secure for a decade, despite the fact that Mayorkas has stated and testified multiple times that he believes the border is secure. “On Friday, President Biden said that he does not believe the border is secure, which is different from what Secretary Mayorkas has testified multiple times on the hill, why do they have two different views of the security of the border?” the reporter asked during Monday’s briefing.

Jean-Pierre used the tired excuse that Biden is waiting on Congress to provide more funding for border security. “The president’s been clear, he’s been clear that we need to move on the border, he needs resources to deal with the situation at the border. That’s why they’re having this conversation at the Senate, on the senate level and that’s why he’s asking for more resources,” Jean-Pierre said, adding “There’s an issue at the border, we need to deal with it and we have to act now. There’s an urgent need to act now.” The claim that Biden is waiting for funding for more security is laughable considering that he is ordering Border Patrol to actively take down barriers erected by Texas state authorities and the National Guard:

Elsewhere during the briefing Monday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy pointed out that “authorities in Fairfax County, Virginia, ignored an ICE detainer. They released an illegal immigrant from Honduras, who was charged with sexually assaulting a Virginia minor and production of sexual abuse material.” He then asked Jean-Pierre “Doesn’t that go to show that, as record numbers of people appear at the border, you guys have no idea what kind of people are coming into this country?” Jean-Pierre, of course, denied the charge and again blamed Congress. She also claimed that Biden has recently visited the border, when in reality he hasn’t been there for over a year, and even that only visit was little more than a pit stop.

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“..It says that in the Constitution somewhere. Like, in Section 3 Article B or whatever.”

Supreme Court Rules Texas Must Replace Barbed Wire With Giant Red Carpet (BBee)

In yet another 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that Texas must remove all barbed wire along the border and replace it with a massive, plush red carpet. “How will migrants be able to get in the country if there’s barbed wire in the way?” said a visibly confused Justice Sotomayor. “They might get hurt! An elegant red carpet makes much more sense. It’s soft and red and can helpfully point the way to gaps along our border and make our new migrants feel welcome. It says that in the Constitution somewhere. Like, in Section 3 Article B or whatever.”

The border patrol responded to the ruling immediately and is now hard at work cutting gaps in the barbed wire fence and rolling out a red carpet across the border. “Hooo boy! This is just like in the Hollywood picture shows!” said one officer while rolling out a carpet for a small band of Al Qaeda operatives and Somali pirates. “Welcome to America, friends! You’re all stars to us!” The ruling also specified that migrants be supplied with limousines, bodyguards, and expensive gift bags filled with face creams and jewelry. “It’s the least we could do,” said Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. “It says that in the fourth paragraph of the 38th Amendment, I’m pretty sure.” At publishing time, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had desperately attempted to deter migrants by lining the red carpet with bear traps.

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“Texas is being ordered to open its border completely and let millions of people flood the state and the rest of the country until everything Americans hold dear is left a smoldering ruin..”

Supreme Court Rules It’s Illegal For National Guard To Guard Nation (BBee)

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that it’s now illegal for the Texas National Guard to guard Texas or the nation. “Using the National Guard to guard the nation is an egregious misuse of the National Guard,” wrote Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sided with the majority. “When the federal government has decreed that the nation not be guarded so that millions of illegal immigrants will swarm the border and settle in cities across the nation to swing the 2024 presidential election for Biden, states have no right to disobey that decree by guarding their states.” As a result of the ruling, Texas is being ordered to open its border completely and let millions of people flood the state and the rest of the country until everything Americans hold dear is left a smoldering ruin. “It’s the compassionate thing to do,” said Jackson. At publishing time, the government had asked the National Guard to return to its normal task of fighting endless foreign wars.

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Excess deaths


https://twitter.com/i/status/1749923876920762767

 

 


One of the two remaining northern white rhinos in the world, guarded 24 hours a day.

 

 

Acorn

 

 

Chicken hypnosis

 

 

Owl

 

 


Pecteilis radiata is a species of orchid found in China, Japan, Korea and Russia. It is commonly known as the white egret flower. It is easily grown from tubers, and rewards you with blooms shaped like white birds with wings spread in flight.

 

 

Pi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 112023
 
 December 11, 2023  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


MC Escher Still life and street 1937

 

Israel Cannot Win – Jordan (RT)
Erdogan Blasts US For Blocking Gaza Peace Resolution (RT)
Israel Is Trying To Force Gazans Into Egypt – UN Official (RT)
Leadership In Kiev Has Gone ‘Totally Crazy’ – Putin (RT)
US Veteran Ridicules Claim That Russia Poses Threat to Europe (Sp.)
Zelensky’s Anti-Russian Narrative Faces Resistance in Latin America (Sp.)
German Chancellor Lying About Gas – Medvedev (RT)
Maduro’s Iron Fist: Why Would Venezuela Risk An All-Out War? (RT)
Hunter Biden Launches Attack on Elon Musk (RT)
Musk Wants Answers From Biden And Zelensky About Fate Of Gonzalo Lira (RT)
George Floyd: The Complete And Total Collapse Of Justice In America (Paul Craig Roberts)
Biden’s Clinton Defense: I Did Not Have Interactions with Those People (Turley)
Trump Not To Testify In Fraud Proceedings (TASS)
UK Tories Plotting Boris Johnson Comeback – Daily Mail (RT)
Al Gore: Access to Non-Mainstream Information ‘Threatens Democracy’ (MN)

 

 

Take your children to work. So at least you can die together.

 

 

Gaza teaches life

 

 

 

 

Biden bombs

 

 

Vivek
https://twitter.com/i/status/1733418258642993633

 

 

Tucker Trump

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The animosity created by the violence in Gaza will haunt the Middle East for generations..”

Israel Cannot Win – Jordan (RT)

Jordan’s foreign minister has claimed Israel cannot achieve military victory in Gaza and has already suffered a strategic defeat by alienating the entire region. Speaking on Sunday at the Doha Forum – an annual gathering of diplomats in the Qatari capital – Ayman Safadi said the goal of Israel’s operation against Hamas is to oust the Palestinian population, rather than to defeat the militant group. The destruction in Gaza in the past two months “is an indication of an Israeli policy that seems determined to expel the residents” of the enclave, he said, adding that top Israeli officials, including Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, have been quite candid about that intention.

Safadi brought up the Friday vote at the UN Security Council, in which the US vetoed a proposal by Arab nations urging for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. It was the only vote against, with American ally the UK being the only member of the 15-strong body to abstain. The top Jordanian diplomat noted that despite the veto, Washington was publicly calling on Israel to change its military tactics. “Simply put, Israel is defying everyone – its allies, international law, and the United Nations,” he said. “Israel has created an amount of hatred that will haunt this region and that will define future generations. It harms its people as much as it affects everyone in the region.” This is a war Israel cannot win. Israel has already suffered a strategic defeat. The minister blamed Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and systematic obstruction to the creation of a Palestinian state as the root cause of the hostilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who attended the event in Qatar via video link, remarked that the US has blocked several proposals for a ceasefire in Gaza at the UN. He called the unresolved status of Palestinian statehood the “single most dangerous factor igniting extremism in the Middle East.” Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza after Hamas fighters broke through the border wall on October 7 and raided several settlements and military bases in southern Israel. Israeli officials said over 1,200 people were killed as a result. The death toll in Gaza stood at more than 17,700 as of Sunday, as updated by the local health ministry. Around two-thirds of the Palestinians killed were women and children, the report noted.

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“A fair world is possible, but not with America..”

Erdogan Blasts US For Blocking Gaza Peace Resolution (RT)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Saturday, stating that it has become a “protector of Israel” due to the influence of Washington. This statement followed the US blocking a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. “Due to a veto by the US, no decision was reached. It’s essential for the UN Security Council to be reformed,” Erdogan stressed in his address at the World Human Rights Day event in Istanbul. The Turkish leader argued that the world extends beyond the five permanent members of the UNSC with veto power: China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US. Expressing disappointment in the UNSC, Erdogan, despite Türkiye being a NATO ally of the US, said, “We have lost our hope and expectation from the UN Security Council.”

Erdogan asserted that since October 7, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated attacks on Gaza in response to an incursion by the Palestinian armed group Hamas that killed at least 1,200 people, the UNSC, “whose mission is to establish global peace, has turned into a protector of Israel.” “The Israeli administration, which has the unwavering support of Western countries, is committing murderous atrocities and massacres in Gaza that will make all humans blush… A fair world is possible, but not with America, because America sides with Israel,” the Turkish president insisted. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the death toll from Israeli actions in the past two months stands at 17,700 people, with 48,800 others injured. Following the breakdown of a week-long humanitarian pause with Hamas, Israel resumed its military offensive in Gaza on December 1. The US vetoed the UNSC resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on Friday, with the vote in the 15-member council being 13-1 and the UK abstaining.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood justified the move, stating that a halt in fighting would allow Hamas to maintain control of Gaza and “only plant the seeds for the next war.” Wood emphasized Washington’s preference for a “durable peace” based on a two-state solution, but he argued that Hamas has “no desire” for such an outcome. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US veto, asserting that “the correct stance [was] taken by the US.” He also criticized the UNSC members who supported the ceasefire, stating that it is impossible to both endorse the elimination of Hamas and call for an end to the war against the group. “Other countries should understand that it is impossible to both support the elimination of Hamas and call for an end to the war aimed at eliminating Hamas,” the PM said.

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“After the destruction of the north, the destruction of the south is ongoing, except this time, people have nowhere to go.”

Israel Is Trying To Force Gazans Into Egypt – UN Official (RT)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are setting the stage for the mass expulsion of Palestinians into Egypt while creating conditions that will make it impossible for them to ever return to their destroyed homes in Gaza, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency chief has claimed. “The United Nations and several member states, including the US, have firmly rejected forcibly displacing Gazans out of the Gaza Strip,” UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) chief Philippe Lazzarini wrote on Saturday in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. “But the developments we are witnessing point to attempts to move Palestinians into Egypt, regardless of whether they stay there or are resettled elsewhere.” An Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman denied Lazzarini’s accusation, saying West Jerusalem has never had a plan to push Gazans into Egypt.

However, two Israeli lawmakers wrote last month in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that they would like to see countries around the world welcome Gazan refugees who choose to relocate. The Israel-Hamas war has driven more than 1.8 million Gazans from their homes, the largest forced displacement of Palestinians since 1948, Lazzarini said. Nearly 18,000 people have been killed in Gaza, and an Israeli study found that 61% of the people who perished in IDF airstrikes were civilians. The war began when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. The Palestinian casualties have included more than 270 people who were sheltering in UNRWA facilities at the time they were killed.

Lazzarini said many of those shelters were in areas of central and southern Gaza that were thought to be safer than the north, where Israel’s bombing campaign was primarily focused. “The sad reality is that Gazans are not safe anywhere: not at home, not in a hospital, not under the UN flag, not in the north, middle, or south,” he added. The survivors are now besieged and holed up in a “tiny area” of southern Gaza, near the Egyptian border, Lazzarini said. Many are being left with only one option: Leaving the Palestinian enclave altogether. “Judging by policy and humanitarian discussions underway, it is hard to believe that the Palestinians of Gaza who are displaced today will be allowed –or even willing– to return to their destroyed homes anytime soon,” the UN official said.

If this path continues, leading to what many are already calling a second Nakba, Gaza will not be a land for Palestinians anymore.” A UN Security Council resolution that would have brokered a ceasefire in Gaza was vetoed by the US on Friday. President Joe Biden’s administration has claimed that the US is doing more than any other nation to help civilians in Gaza, but it’s also aiding the Israeli war effort. A CBS News poll released on Sunday found that only 20% of Americans believe that Biden is making a peaceful resolution to the conflict more likely.

Lazzarini said civilians are being used as pawns in the war, with Hamas abdicating all responsibility for their well-being to the UN and Israel inflicting “collective punishment” on the more than two million people of Gaza. The “meager” humanitarian supplies that Israel has allowed to trickle into the enclave have provided little relief, he added. “Bombardment and a tight siege are again creating conditions under which nothing more than mere survival is possible,” Lazzarini said. “The deprivation of humanitarian aid is key to this plan. After the destruction of the north, the destruction of the south is ongoing, except this time, people have nowhere to go.”

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“Have they gone completely crazy? Are they completely – how can I put it more bluntly – nuts?”

Leadership In Kiev Has Gone ‘Totally Crazy’ – Putin (RT)

Persistent persecution of ethnic Russians in Ukraine was one of the key reasons behind Moscow’s decision to launch its special military operation in that country, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that the Ukrainian authorities have since gone completely “crazy” in their policies. The president made the remarks earlier this week when he hosted distinguished servicemen at the Kremlin to award them Hero of Russia medals. Excerpts from Putin’s speech on the sidelines of the event were published by Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin on Sunday. “We would never have done anything like [the special military operation] if they had not started to destroy Russia in our historical territories, expel people from there, declared Russians a non-indigenous ethnic group in Ukraine.

Have they gone completely crazy? Are they completely – how can I put it more bluntly – nuts?” Putin told the medal recipients. The president was apparently referring to Ukraine’s Law On Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2021. The legislation recognized only three ethnic groups – Crimean Tatars, Crimean Karaites and Krymchaks (Crimean Jews) – as the country’s indigenous peoples. The legislation denied indigenous designations to Russians, which amounted to at least one fifth of Ukraine’s population, according to various estimates, and to other minorities, such as the ethnic Hungarians and Belarusians who reside in the country’s west and north, respectively. Moreover, all three ethnic groups recognized by the ‘indigenous peoples’ law predominantly live in Crimea, which split from Ukraine in 2014 and joined Russia after a peninsula-wide referendum.

In addition to questionable ethnic policies, the Ukrainian leadership has been openly courting and honoring Nazis, Putin said, invoking a recent scandal in Canada’s House of Commons. The legislature celebrated Ukrainian-Canadian Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Waffen SS veteran, hailing him as a “Canadian hero” who’d “fought the Russians” during World War II. The whole body, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in attendance, engaged in a standing ovation to honor Hunka. “And who exactly fought Russians during the war? Nazis. Everyone knows that and the Ukrainian president knows that. The entire parliament stood up and applauded him. What is it, if not a manifestation of Nazism?” Putin asked, adding that a large proportion of Nazi atrocities were committed by Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated with them.

“They are not just fools, they are also neo-Nazis. It’s an obvious fact. They are ready to cooperate with just anyone to try and hurt Russia,” the president noted. The Hunka affair triggered a major international scandal, which led to the downfall of the House Speaker Anthony Rota, who accepted entire responsibility for inviting the Waffen SS veteran to the legislature. Russia has charged Hunka in absentia with genocide, claiming that archive documents serve as evidence that he and fellow SS Galicia members had killed at least 500 civilians in late February 1944, and Moscow is now seeking the extradition of the Nazi veteran.

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“..it’s ridiculous to believe that Russia wants to attack the West or re-create the USSR..”

US Veteran Ridicules Claim That Russia Poses Threat to Europe (Sp.)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s December 2 claim that Russia poses an immediate threat to Europe is absurd, according to retired Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow for defense priorities at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “[Austin] claims that all of Western Europe and NATO would be ‘directly threatened’ – this was the term that he used – if [Vladimir Putin] wins here and that’s just nonsense. That’s just absurd,” Davis said on Stephen Gardner’s podcast. “Why would he ever do it? (…) Everything [Putin] has done, everything he has said over the past 15 years is that he wants to protect his borders. They are historically afraid of Western incursions because Russia itself has been invaded many times throughout its history from the West.” Per Davis, it’s ridiculous to believe that Russia wants to attack the West or re-create the USSR, stressing that Austin is either “disingenuous or doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

According to Austin, “Ukraine matters profoundly to America and to the entire world. And it matters for four key reasons.” “First, Putin’s war poses a stark and direct threat to security in Europe and beyond,” the Pentagon chief claimed at the Reagan National Defense Forum. The second reason, argued Austin, is that Russia’s special military operation is “a clear challenge to [US] NATO allies.” The third is that Moscow’s actions are an attack on “democratic values and decency.” And finally, Russia’s special op is a “frontal assault on the international rules-based order,” according to him. But that is not all. Earlier this week, ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his podcast that Austin allegedly threatened to send lawmakers’ “uncles, cousins and sons to fight Russia” if Ukraine aid is not approved.

Commenting on the alleged threat, Davis highlighted that under the US Constitution the Pentagon chief has zero authority to send any combat troops to Ukraine. What’s more, any direct confrontation with Russia over Ukraine is not in the US national interest, the retired lieutenant colonel emphasized. “There is nothing in that war… the war is militarily unwinnable. We’ve been saying that since the outset of this war.” The military expert said that everything that has happened on the ground since the beginning of Kiev’s summer counteroffensive has validated his assumption.

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The West has lost the Global South. But Milei wants to support Ukraine. i.e. the US. Faux pas.

Zelensky’s Anti-Russian Narrative Faces Resistance in Latin America (Sp.)

Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the inauguration of president-elect Javier Milei. The Ukrainian president is seeking to strengthen ties with the Global South, but Kiev’s rapprochement with Buenos Aires won’t help him win the hearts and minds of Latin Americans, says an Argentine newspaper. Zelensky’s presence in Buenos Aires at the inauguration of Javier Milei’s government is apparently seen by Kiev as a PR coup aimed at restoring the Ukrainian president’s tarnished image as Western support for Ukraine wanes, according to Pagina 12, a left-leaning Argentine publication. “At this time, and due to the diminished support of the governments of the Atlantic alliance, Ukraine’s priority interest is to achieve the support of the countries of the Global South,” writes Daniel Kersffeld, Pagina 12 contributor.

According to Kersffeld, Zelensky’s greatest hope is to make Milei a strategic ally in the conflict against Russia, which would accept Kiev’s unrealistic “peace formula” during a Ukraine summit proposed by Milei. The scholar notes that Kiev also expects Buenos Aires to impose sanctions on Russia. Earlier, President-elect Milei signaled his full support for Zelensky in a clear break with the policy of his predecessor, Alberto Fernández. In late November, the new Argentine leader offered the Ukrainian president to hold a conference on Ukraine in the South American country. “They are organizing a peace conference in Latin America and Ukraine, and we have offered ourselves as a venue if it is appropriate,” Milei’s foreign policy adviser Diana Mondino told reporters last month.

Still, Zelensky’s biggest bet is that the new Argentine government – with Washington’s backing – will bring the governments of the region together and persuade them to support Zelensky and turn their backs on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kersffeld added. Alas, “the Ukrainian government’s preaching against Moscow was never able to gain footing in the Latin American context, despite various mechanisms of enticement and political and economic pressure imposed by Washington which, among other aspects, sought to provide weapons to Ukraine or, directly, the breaking of relations with Russia,” the scholar underscored.

Despite ideological differences among Latin American governments, there is a consensus in the continent that it must be a “region of peace” and not interfere in overseas conflicts, Kersffeld stressed. “It would be very risky for Argentina to get involved in a foreign conflict not so much in search of peace, but to get a positive nod from Joe Biden’s administration,” the article’s author warned. Meanwhile, Zelensky’s biggest problem is that Kiev’s summer counteroffensive has yielded zero results on the battlefield and failed to achieve any of the Zelensky regime’s goals, making the West increasingly skeptical about pouring money into Ukraine and supporting its incumbent president, according to Kersffeld.

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“..They rejected it themselves, they screwed over their own people because of the hatred for Russia..”

German Chancellor Lying About Gas – Medvedev (RT)

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council and the country’s ex-president, has accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of “lying” after the latter shared his take on the roots of the energy crisis in Europe. Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin on Saturday, Scholz accused Russia and, personally, President Vladimir Putin of halting the gas supply to the EU. “It was the Russian president who stopped gas supplies through undamaged gas pipelines. Thus, 50% of Germany’s gas supply was called into question. 50 billion cubic meters of gas that went through them became inaccessible,” Scholz claimed during the event, hailing the government’s efforts to buy gas elsewhere. The remarks drew the ire of Medvedev, who took to the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to flatly accuse the German chancellor of “lying” and trying to shift the blame for their own actions on Moscow.

“The German is lying through his teeth! They rejected it themselves, they screwed over their own people because of the hatred for Russia, and now they are dodging and lying!” While Scholz did not elaborate on the matter during his speech, he was apparently referring to the troubles around Nord Stream that unfolded last summer, shortly before the pipelines ended up being destroyed in a sabotage attack on September 26. At the time, Russian energy giant Gazprom was forced to drastically reduce gas deliveries through the pipelines owing to technical issues related to the maintenance of turbines for Nord Stream 1. The difficulties with servicing the turbines stemmed from Western sanctions on Russia, which effectively prevented the maintenance and timely delivery of spare parts.

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“..Where is Guaido now? He’s a political exile who rode on a failed dream and eventually joined the scrapheap of puppets used, abused and discarded..”

Maduro’s Iron Fist: Why Would Venezuela Risk An All-Out War? (RT)

The South American nation of Venezuela has purportedly voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to affirm its territorial claim to part of the neighboring nation of Guyana. Caracas, which was recently subject to an unsuccessful American regime change attempt to topple its leader Nicholas Maduro, argues the oil reach territory known as the Essequibo region was its own historically, but had it stolen away by the British Empire. Such grievances may be found all over the world. While an invasion of the region remains unlikely at this point, given the role of regional power Brazil and obvious opposition from the nearby US, it is a telling sign about the world today that Venezuela feels it can viably affirm its claims like that. Only a few years ago, the US imposed crippling sanctions on the country and appointed Juan Guaido as an “interim president.” Where is Guaido now? He’s a political exile who rode on a failed dream and eventually joined the scrapheap of puppets used, abused and discarded as Washington’s political preferences shift – the likely looming fate of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

But more to the point, it is an affirmation that the US-led world order is fragmenting and that American power is declining. This is paving the way for other countries to reshape the international order to address what are deemed to be historic grievances or injustices. The weakening of the unipolar political order’s ability to assert its authority presents a window for overt challenges to the status quo for nations that were previously unable to do so. In 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein attempted to do the same, but massively miscalculated the shift towards American unipolar hegemony at the end of the Cold War, believing Washington did not have the will to fight. Seeking to rectify the perceived partition of Iraq by the British Empire and the creation of the Sheikdom of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein invaded and attempted to annex the Gulf State.

The US and its allies hit back with a powerful response, and George H.W. Bush famously proclaimed the objective of creating a “new world order.” His message was essentially that American hegemony was here, and that the US would now reshape the world on its own terms. That message was backed by the overwhelming use of military force, which crushed Saddam’s forces, opening the way to decades of unopposed US-led regime changes and wars, including in Iraq again. However, within those passing decades the world has changed. The US is no longer the only geopolitical force in town and the distribution of power has diversified. New actors, such as a resurgent Russia, China, India, and Iran, among others, have changed the geopolitical landscape towards multipolarity and because of this, other states may now find political space to make their own moves without suffering the same fate as Saddam Hussein.

The two wars of 2022-2023 have been instrumental in changing this. First of all, the US and its allies have not been able to muster the political will to defeat Russia in Ukraine or, as they had assumed, even crush the economy of the Russian Federation. Second, America’s support of Israel and its attempts to squeeze Iran have provoked a war in Gaza, with Hamas successfully sensing an opportunity to lure Israel into a destructive conflict which will crater its credibility and global standing for generations. As the US has become distracted by the emerging crises and seemingly unable to resolve them, Venezuela thus sees an opportunity to strengthen its hand by reaffirming its territorial claims over Guyana as a nationalism-driven bargaining chip.

Venezuela is not a major military power and its geographic location means that an attempt to forcibly occupy the Essequibo would be defeated, as the US is on its doorstep and would do everything it takes to crush hostile states in the western hemisphere. However, Washington’s failed regime change, combined with its need to negotiate sanctions relief due to the impact on global oil markets, mean its own hand against Caracas has shrunk, and the US is not in a position to crush Venezuela as of present. Even without the military dynamic, an extended territorial claim gives a country diplomatic leverage that it can use to extract concessions and assert its authority, just like China in the South China Sea, over Taiwan, or Russia incorporating a number of Ukrainian oblasts into its own territory. All these are part of a long list of historic problems which the given states have been unable to address before, held back by American hegemony, but we now live in a different world and because of that, the political map as we know it is changing.

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“..the “dumbest smart person I think that the world has ever known.”

Hunter Biden Launches Attack on Elon Musk (RT)

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, has raised doubts about Elon Musk’s intellectual acumen, claiming the billionaire lacks regard for US democracy and freedoms. Biden also accused Musk of spreading “disinformation” about his personal life and business dealings. These comments followed one day after the US Department of Justice filed nine new tax-related charges against Biden, alleging that he had led an “extravagant lifestyle” while evading taxes. In an interview with musician-turned-podcaster Moby published on Friday, Hunter Biden expressed concern that criticisms from right-wing detractors could jeopardize his safety, citing a past attack on Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, where the assailant mentioned Biden as a potential target. According to the 53-year-old, some people have come to view him as an “embodiment of evil” over his alleged wrongdoings that have circulated in the media, especially outlets affiliated with the political right.

Biden asserted that figures like Musk are amplifying narratives damaging to his reputation. “One thing about Elon Musk that I’m certain of is there’s another very damaged human being,” the president’s son told Moby, calling the billionaire the “dumbest smart person I think that the world has ever known.” The attorney-by-profession went on to say that “Elon Musk doesn’t care about the goddamn First Amendment… Elon Musk doesn’t care about democracy; Elon Musk doesn’t care about our freedom to vote.” Responding to these remarks on X (formerly Twitter) that same day, the entrepreneur replied: “Exactly what ‘misinformation’ is he talking about?” Musk quipped, “The dude made so many videos of himself doing crime that he should get an award for cinematography!” – an apparent reference to multiple videos and photos of Hunter that have emerged over the past few years, which depict him spending time with prostitutes and smoking crack cocaine.

Meanwhile, court documents suggest that the younger Biden son was “engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019.” A press release emphasized that his income would have allowed him to pay his taxes but that he had allegedly squandered the money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties,” among other things. The charges include three felony and six misdemeanor tax offenses, potentially leading to a maximum sentence of 17 years if convicted on all counts. In addition to the tax case, Hunter Biden faces another legal challenge related to allegations of lying about his drug use during the purchase of a firearm. He has also dealt with previous misdemeanor tax-related charges. The combination of legal issues has put the president’s son under significant public scrutiny.

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The White House wanted Lira arrested and disappeared. Ukraine had already picked him up twice and let him walk. When Lira went after Biden and Kamala, who he called stupid, they saw a chance to get rid of him and blame it on Zelensky. An American citizen. Lived his whole life in America, as per his dad.

Musk Wants Answers From Biden And Zelensky About Fate Of Gonzalo Lira (RT)

Elon Musk has addressed US President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky about the status of US-Chilean journalist and critic of the Kiev government Gonzalo Lira, who remains under arrest in Ukraine since summer. On Saturday, US political commenter Tucker Carlson published an interview on X (formerly Twitter) with Lira’s father, who said that his son is currently awaiting trial in Ukraine “because he was exercising his right of freedom of speech.” According to Gonzalo Lira Senior, the US embassy “haven’t done a thing” for the detained American passport holder, who is being defended by a court-appointed Ukrainian lawyer with no knowledge of the English language. In his comment on the interview, Musk wondered how it was possible that “an American citizen is in prison in Ukraine after we sent over a $100 billion” to support Kiev amid its conflict with Russia.

“Is there more to this story than simply criticizing Zelensky? If that’s all it is, then we have serious problem here,” the SpaceX and Tesla CEO posted on X. Carlson responded to the message, by saying that the “crime” committed by Lira, who is an author of several novels and a filmmaker with Hollywood experience, was “saying unapproved things.” On Sunday, Musk also addressed the issue on his own account, writing: “What is the status of this American journalist, Joe Biden?” The post included a link to Lira’s last post on X before his third arrest by the Ukrainian authorities in early August. In his message, the journalist said that he was about to cross from Ukraine into Hungary in search of a political asylum. “Either I’ll cross the border and make it to safety, or I’ll be disappeared by the Kiev regime,” he warned followers.

When addressed on the issue by Strana.ua news outlet, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) confirmed that Lira had been arrested on the border with Hungary. The US journalist is currently in custody in Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkov, with the court being scheduled to consider his case on December 12 and 21, he added. According to the spokesman, Lira violated Ukrainian law as he “systematically justified” Russia’s actions in Ukraine and “disseminated pro-Russian views on his social media accounts.” In his videos he “also claimed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were shelling their own territory, while a neo-Nazi regime reigned in Ukraine,” the spokesman stated. Lira, who had been living in Kharkov since the mid-2010s, was actively covering Russia’s military operation in the country from its very start in February 2022. He said that it was a tragedy for Ukraine and its people, whom he loved, but stressed that the conflict had been provoked by the Zelensky government and its Western backers. Among other things, the journalist argued that Ukraine had no chance of winning against Russia and predicted the failure of the sanctions against Moscow.

He also decried attempts by Western media to portray Ukraine as a democracy, speaking about corruption in the government and publishing a list of Zelensky’s opponents who, he claimed, had been “disappeared” by the Kiev authorities. Lira was first arrested by the SBU in April 2022 but released without charge a week later as the story made international headlines. The 55-year-old continued his reporting and, in May, was again taken into custody, in this instance accused of “producing and distributing materials justifying the armed aggression” by Russia against Ukraine. On August 1, the journalist briefly reemerged on social media, posting several videos in which he said that he had been released on bail and was trying to flee to neighboring Hungary in order to avoid a lengthy prison term. He hasn’t been heard from since then.

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“..Chauvin’s frame up was a product of the intimidating violence Democrats and media encouraged and justified..”

George Floyd: The Complete And Total Collapse Of Justice In America (Paul Craig Roberts)

Derek Chauvin was convicted on the basis of false evidence. His conviction rested on a video taken at an angle that produced a misleading view. As I reported at the time, up close police videos showed Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s shoulder, an approved restraint illustrated in the approved police practices handbook. This information was buried under constantly repeated showings by the irresponsible and witch-hunting American media of the video which from the angle it was taken made Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s shoulder look like it was on Floyd’s neck.. The three officers, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao (a black, a white, and an Asian) convicted along with Chauvin were simply convicted for being present on the scene. As I pointed out at the time, Chauvin was indicted and convicted by the irresponsible American media with endless repetition of “Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes despite Floyd’s plea ‘I can’t breathe.’”

This was a lie. Chauvin was convicted by a lie. I remember when it was a cause for moving a trial to a neutral or objective location or even for dismissal of the charges if media or public officials said a defendant was guilty prior to conviction by a jury. The reason was the media would have polluted the jury pool with the idea that the defendant was guilty. In Chauvin’s case the Minneapolis city government further polluted the jury pool by awarding Floyd’s family $27 million dollars in damages prior to the trial. I do not know whether the ban against conviction in the media has been repealed or become a dead letter requirement or whether it was just suspended in Chauvin’s case. Intimidation also played a role in the wrongful conviction of Chauvin. The Black Lives Matter riots, which the Democrats permitted, encouraged and justified, convinced prosecutors, judges, and jurors that a guilty verdict was required whatever the facts of the case or there would be more looting and burning.

It is clear that Judge Cahill withheld exculpatory evidence from being presented to the jury. He was an asset to the prosecution and enabled Chauvin’s wrongful conviction. I also reported at the time that the coroner’s report stated that Floyd’s blood contained a higher dose of fentanyl than is normally required to kill a person. This evidence played no role in the trial of Chauvin. I also reported the autopsy report’s conclusions that there were no injuries to Floyd’s neck and that Floyd had heart problems that would make his death likely under the influence of drugs. Chauvin’s frame up was a product of the intimidating violence Democrats and media encouraged and justified and of the prosecution and judge’s withholding of exculpatory evidence. It was also a product of years of media reports emphasizing gratuitous police violence against blacks. The same police violence was used against whites, but the media only reported the instances where blacks were the victims.

Some experts attributed the police violence to the Israeli firms that were hired to train US police, pointing out that in Israel police are trained to deal with terrorists, not with ordinary crimes. The years of media emphasis left a negative image of police. The misrepresentation of George Floyd’s death has even intimidated the US Supreme Court which refused to hear Chauvin’s evidence-based appeal. One consequence of Chauvin’s wrongful conviction is that media, Democrats, and Black Lives Matter have learned that they can use violence and intimidation to convict the accused, thereby decreasing the importance of evidence. Another consequence is that policing in Minneapolis is dead. Forty-four percent of the force resigned.

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“..the House has interviews, documents, photos and even audiotapes contradicting Biden’s continuing denial of having any knowledge of his son’s financial dealings.”

Biden’s Clinton Defense: I Did Not Have Interactions with Those People (Turley)

With a formal House vote on an impeachment inquiry expected next week, President Joe Biden was confronted this week about his knowledge and involvement in alleged influence peddling by his son and brothers. An irate Biden seemed to morph into Bill Clinton and — echoing his predecessor’s “I did not have sex with that woman” denial of an earlier scandal — effectively declared that he did not have relations with “those people.” As with Clinton, the denial was absurd, even insulting. Roughly 70% of voters (including 40% of Democrats) believe Biden has acted either unlawfully or unethically in the overseas business dealings of his family. More importantly, the House has interviews, documents, photos and even audiotapes contradicting Biden’s continuing denial of having any knowledge of his son’s financial dealings.

This includes testimony from Hunter Biden’s associates that Joe Biden called in as many as 20 times (and was put on speakerphone) at dinners and meetings with Hunter’s associates. It also includes sworn testimony from figures like Hunter’s ex-associate, Tony Bobulinski, that he discussed dealings directly with Joe Biden. And it includes a statement by Devon Archer, Hunter’s close friend and business partner, that the president’s denials of knowledge were “categorically false.” Yet, according to the president, it is all lies, lies, lies. When finally confronted this week about interacting with these associates, Biden barked back, “I did not and it’s just a bunch of lies. They’re lies. I did not. They’re lies.”

It may become Biden’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” moment, a line that is likely to be repeated with the same frequency as Clinton’s denial before being impeached in 1998. In the face of a formal vote for an impeachment inquiry, Biden is sticking with the same rhetorical chest-poking done by his predecessor. Despite the photos of Clinton with Lewinsky and his long history of womanizing, Clinton expected the media and the public to ignore their lying eyes. The Starr investigation and impeachment forced his hand in eventually admitting the obvious. The Bidens have their own vices, of course, but it seems the family signature has been influence peddling. It appears to have been, as I have written previously, virtually a family business.

Like Clinton, however, Biden is in a bind. He spent the last election categorically denying any knowledge or involvement in Hunter’s business dealings. He continues those denials despite evidence that Hunter discussed these dealings with his father and used Air Force 2 as transport to work on foreign clients during official trips with his father. For years, much of the media refused to acknowledge the authenticity of the emails on Hunter’s abandoned laptop. Yet, in the last year, many have reached the limit of plausible deniability and now acknowledge that Hunter was involved in a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling scheme. The final line of defense has become that Joe Biden did not directly benefit. Even now, some are frantically joining Biden in calls for blind denials.

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) has even doggedly maintained that the laptop may really be Russian disinformation, despite confirmation of its content by witnesses, government investigators, and several media organizations. It won’t work. Biden clearly lied when he denied knowledge of his son’s business operations, and he has continued to lie during his presidency. Moreover, besides the benefits to his family (which would legally constitute benefits in criminal cases), there are references in Hunter’s emails to giving his father income, paying bills, and using shared accounts and credit cards. Now, the National Archives is finally turning over tens of thousands of emails, including many in which Joe Biden reportedly used false names in communicating with Hunter’s associates. And various key figures, including Hunter, face testimony or contempt proceedings. Thus, Biden is caught in a trap of his own making.

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Might as well let real estate insiders do the talking.

If Engoron and Letitia really want to go with a $26 million valuation of Mar-a-Lago, by all means let them make fools of themselves.

Trump Not To Testify In Fraud Proceedings (TASS)

Ex-US President Donald Trump made the decision not to testify before a New York court in proceedings on fraud when appraising assets of the Trump Organization. The ex-President was expected to arrive in New York and speak before the court on Monday, December 11. “I have already testified to everything & have nothing more to say other than that this is a complete & total election interference (Biden campaign!) witch hunt, that will do nothing but keep businesses out of New York,” Trump wrote on his page in the Truth Social network. “I will not be testifying on Monday,” he added. The Office of the New York State Attorney General sent its action against Trump and Trump Organization to court in September 2022. The Attorney General of the State alleged that the company had overstated the asset value for more comfortable terms of loans and insurance. The defense insists that claims are ungrounded and the property value may change over time due to different reasons.

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“..an ‘Advent calendar of sh*t.’”

UK Tories Plotting Boris Johnson Comeback – Daily Mail (RT)

Tory rebels are considering a plan to “crash” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government and reinstall Boris Johnson as leader as concerns rise over flagging poll figures and surging support for the opposition Labour Party ahead of an expected general election next year, according to the Daily Mail. Amid the high-profile cabinet departures of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, Sunak’s authority over Tory ranks is set to be further tested this week when he faces a pivotal vote over his flagship Rwanda migrant-handling plan. Citing anonymous Conservative MPs, the Daily Mail wrote on Saturday that Tory insiders are urgently attempting to address a growing revolt – with peerages being offered to possible rebels to convince them to toe party lines.

The tabloid claims that disgruntled Tories will increasingly seek to “crash” the Sunak government with a series of Commons votes and outspoken interventions, which the newspaper’s sources said is crudely referred to as an ‘Advent calendar of sh*t.’ Furthermore, the outlet cites anonymous sources as saying there is a belief within the party that Johnson – who stood down as prime minister in September 2022 – is the only person who possesses the necessary skills to pose a challenge to Labour leader Keir Starmer. The newspaper also notes that the Reform Party, the successor to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, is siphoning votes that might otherwise have gone to the Conservatives – with a so-called Johnson/Farage “dream ticket” being floated. It also notes that Farage’s appearance on a popular UK reality television series has bolstered support for the Brexit architect.

Johnson, who is a columnist for the Daily Mail, did not elaborate on his possible political ambitions when contacted by the newspaper. A spokesperson for Farage, who, like Johnson, is not currently an MP, said that any political alliance between the two would “soon end in tears.” “Reform are going to kill us,” the newspaper cites an anonymous Tory MP as saying. “We have to buy Farage off. The plan is we get him into the Lords, give him some brief like we did with [David] Cameron – maybe even home secretary – then go to the country with the ‘Dream Team.’” Another possibility for a post-Sunak scenario, per the Mail, would be for Johnson ally and former Home Secretary Priti Patel to be appointed as temporary PM while Johnson seeks a ‘safe’ seat in the election – after which he would hypothetically return to Downing Street. Recent polling has indicated that Labour holds a commanding lead over the Tories ahead of the next general election, which must take place before January 2025.

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“..Gore has a storied history of making climate change predictions that turn out to be spectacularly wrong. No wonder he wants to ban dissent.”

Al Gore: Access to Non-Mainstream Information ‘Threatens Democracy’ (MN)

Al Gore says that people having access to information outside of mainstream media sources is a threat to “democracy” and that social media algorithms “ought to be banned.” Yes, really. Gore made the comments during an appearance at the Cop28 climate change hysteria conference in Dubai. Gore whined that social media had “disrupted the balances that used to exist that made representative democracy work much better.” The former Vice President said that functioning democracy relied on a “shared base of knowledge that serves as a basis for reasoning together collectively” but that “social media that is dominated by algorithms” upsets this balance. According to Gore, people are being pulled down “rabbit holes” by algorithms that are “the digital equivalent of AR-15s – they ought to be banned, they really ought to be banned!”

Gore claimed, “It’s an abuse of the public forum” and that people were being sucked into echo chambers. “If you spend too much time in the echo chamber, what’s weaponized is another form of AI, not artificial intelligence, artificial insanity! I’m serious!” he added. Apparently, the only echo chamber that should be allowed to exist is Gore’s own rabbit hole, wherein the earth is constantly on the brink of destruction thanks to people not obeying his technocratic mandates. Perhaps Gore is unhappy at his own misinformation being fact checked by individuals who have access to information not produced by corporate media sources that are friendly to him. Gore infamously predicted that the north polar ice cap would be “ice free” within 5 to 7 years. It never happened. As Thomas Cartenacci documents, Gore has a storied history of making climate change predictions that turn out to be spectacularly wrong. No wonder he wants to ban dissent.

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To date, the inquiry has spent over £70 million

 

 

Excess deaths

 

 

 

 

Watters climate

 

 

Stringballs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1733821362341318951

 

 

Owl legs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1733641444328353883

 

 

Baby owl

 

 

Lots of memories..

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 162023
 
 October 16, 2023  Posted by at 9:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust 1932

 

Israel Wants to Flatten Gaza; Egypt, Qatar to Handle Refugees – Sy Hersh (Sp.)
One Of The Possible Scenarios Of Further Escalation In The Middle East (Dugin)
Hezbollah Says ‘Prepared’ for Action Against Israel When Time Comes (AAA)
Slouching Towards the Final Solution (Pepe Escobar)
Biden Speaks On Hamas, Israel, Iran, Corridors and Ukraine (Sp.)
‘Injustice’ Against Palestinians Can’t Continue – China (RT)
China Offered ‘Realistic Basis’ For Ukraine Peace Talks – Putin (RT)
Russia In Relations With West Prepares For War, But Wants Peace – Putin (TASS)
Putin: ‘Rules-Based Order’ Merely A Cover For Colonialism (RT)
Trump’s Strategic Delays Risk Upending Federal Trials (Sp.)
68% Believe Joe Biden Acted Illegally or Unethically in Hunter’s Deals (Turley)
Do White People Have Enough Intelligence to Survive? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Only 2% of Americans Have Received New COVID Vaccine: CDC (ET)

 

 

 

 

Nap Maersheimer

 

 

Rabbi

 

 

 

 

Finkelstein
https://twitter.com/i/status/1713293124112380106

 

 

 

 

Shahid Bolsen: Message to the Israeli people

 

 

Draft
https://twitter.com/i/status/1713490835562528862

 

 

 

 

Macgregor: It is inconceivable that the Israeli’s had NO ready forces positioned in the South or the North to deal with potential violence on the anniversary of 1973. For Israel, this is deadly serious. If Hezbollah sits this out, the IDF will systematically crush Gaza. However, serious attacks from Southern Lebanon will stretch the IDF ground force to the limit. “Egypt will be unable to sit it out. Jordan may fall apart under the pressure of internal unrest. In short, the world could change dramatically.”

 

 

 

 

“..the Israeli planners don’t trust their infantry,” with the journalist clarifying that the Israeli leadership is concerned about their soldiers’ potential “disastrous lack of combat experience.”

“This was a carefully planned operation, and Hamas knew exactly what the Israeli reaction would be. Urban warfare is awful..”

Israel Wants to Flatten Gaza; Egypt, Qatar to Handle Refugees – Sy Hersh (Sp.)

In the days that followed the Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, Israeli forces kept pounding the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in preparation for a ground assault against the densely-populated Palestinian enclave. Israeli authorities have also instructed the Gaza Strip’s civilian population via airdropped leaflets to effectively abandon their homes and evacuate south to the border crossing with Egypt. While it remains to be seen whether Egypt would be willing to accommodate thousands of Palestinian refugees that might participate in this veritable exodus, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claims citing an Israeli insider that Tel Aviv is trying to convince Qatar to “join with Egypt in funding a tent city for the million or more refugees awaiting across the border.” According to Hersh, the Israeli insider told him that “it’s not a done deal” and that both Qatar and Egypt were warned that the Palestinian refugees would have to “go back to Gaza” in lieu of what the journalist described as a landing site.

“The Israeli hope is that Qatar and Egypt will take the refugee crisis off its hands,” Hersh surmised. The Israeli insider also admitted that his country essentially took a page from the US’ playbook with this plan for Palestinian refugee relocation, referring to the so-called Strategic Hamlet Program from the Vietnam War era. Under the auspices of said program authorized by John F. Kennedy’s administration, Vietnamese civilians living in contested areas were forcibly relocated to housing built in the South Vietnam-controlled areas. “Their deserted lands were then declared to be Free Fire Zones where all who stayed could be targeted by American troops,” Hersh added, referring to the Vietnam War era program. The plan for the relocation of Palestinian civilians would essentially ensure that “at least the people would not all be killed,” the Israeli insider said, claiming that Hamas wants to keep some civilians within the Gaza Strip to use them as “human shields.”

Once the civilian population of the Gaza Strip gets evicted and flees, Israel intends to launch a full-scale bombing campaign that would result in the destruction of the city, if Hersh’s revelations are to be believed. First, the Israeli Air Force would wipe out the “remaining structures in Gaza City.” Then, Israeli aircraft would start dropping US-made 5,000-pound bunker buster bombs in the “flattened areas” of the Gaza Strip in order to destroy the Hamas’ underground facilities hidden deep beneath the enclave. An Israeli insider told Hersh that the “current Israeli war planners” believe such munitions – “upgraded version of JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) with larger warheads” – would be able to penetrate up to 50 meters deep before exploding and “killing all within one-half mile.” After the bunker busters do their job, Israeli infantry forces would move in to conduct mop-up operations.

One Israeli Defense Force veteran, however, told Hersh that “the Israeli planners don’t trust their infantry,” with the journalist clarifying that the Israeli leadership is concerned about their soldiers’ potential “disastrous lack of combat experience.” The Israeli planners thus seem reluctant to immediately send IDF forces into the Gaza Strip to engage in urban combat with Hamas militants, and seek to first flatten the city before commencing ground operations there. Meanwhile, a former European intelligence official expressed his skepticism about the Israeli plan, telling Hersh that “a city in rubble is just as dangerous as at any time” and that “the talk of JDAMS is the talk of people who don’t know what to do.” The official argued that Hamas’ tunnels are situated so deep underground they can withstand the attacks with JDAMs. “This was a carefully planned operation, and Hamas knew exactly what the Israeli reaction would be. Urban warfare is awful,” Hersh’s European source said.

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X thread.

“The path to building the Third Temple is cleared. But… a billion Muslims, of whom 50 million (officially) are in Europe, start an uprising now in the West itself. Civil war erupts in Europe.”

One Of The Possible Scenarios Of Further Escalation In The Middle East (Dugin)

Let us try to describe one of the possible scenarios of further escalation in the Middle East. The Palestinian uprising begins in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abbas cannot contain the situation, and seeing Israel carrying out a full-blown genocide in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians launch an all-out revolt. The IDF continues to massacre civilians in the Gaza Strip. There are growing protests around the world against Western pro-American liberal elites standing unanimously in favor of Israel. Hezbollah gets involved and crowds of Arabs from Jordan break through the cordons at the border. The U.S. launches preemptive strikes against Iran, which is increasingly involved in the conflict, and Iran strikes back against Israel. Syria enters the war, attacking the Golan Heights.

There is a rapid mobilization of the entire Islamic world. Pro-American Islamic states – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar etc. – are being forced to join the confrontation on the side of the Palestinians. They are joined by Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia. The story of the Taliban sending troops to the Middle East from fake news becomes reality. The black banners of Khorassan are hoisted over the world. Problems between Salafists and traditionalists, including Shiites, fade into the background. The great jihad of the Islamic world against the West and Israel is beginning. Russia takes first a neutral position, but does not rush to support Israel, as it is at war in Ukraine with the West, which in turn is completely on Israel’s side. At some point in the uprising in East Jerusalem, Palestinians proclaim the need to cordon off the Al-Aqsa Mosque for protection from the IDF.

Al-Aqsa Mosque was mentionned in the beginning of the uprising in the Gaza Strip — Al-Aqsa Flood. Israel, in the course of fighting armed Palestinian militias and in self-defense, launches a rocket attack on the mosque. It collapses. The path to building the Third Temple is cleared. But… a billion Muslims, of whom 50 million (officially) are in Europe, start an uprising now in the West itself. Civil war erupts in Europe. Some Europeans are on the side of LGBT, Soros and Atlanticist elites, and some make an alliance with Muslims (on the model of Alain Soral) and join the anti-liberal Revolution. The US uses tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Russia launches a tactical nuclear strike against Ukraine, which seeks to cling to the West at any cost and provokes Moscow in every possible way. World War III erupts with the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

Russia finally makes up its mind and sides with the Muslims. American dispensationalists realize that the hour has come. Russia is attacking — albeit indirectly — Israel. Gog is here. In the Russian vision, the West is under direct rule of Antichrist. Many world leaders die, new ones with far more radical beliefs appear. China attacks Taiwan, distracting the U.S. and NATO to a new target. India refrains from the direct support the US is counting on. The evening of history ceases to be languid. Feminists, gay activists and environmentalists demand an end to it all, but no one listens to them. The West is forced to fight against everyone in the name of some goal it can no longer articulate – all the old theses about “human rights”, “civil society” and other incantations have disappeared in the harsh reality of the coming total death. Elon Musk admits that he has completely stopped understanding what is happening. Israel is beginning, under blows from all sides, to build the Third Temple. Only Moshiach can save the situation… This is where the text of the predictive analysis (prophecy) abruptly ends.

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“So far, Hezbollah has made limited moves in the war, but analysts believe it may be forced to open a new front if Israel launches a ground attack on Gaza.”

Hezbollah Says ‘Prepared’ for Action Against Israel When Time Comes (AAA)

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it would be fully prepared to take action against Israel to support the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip when the time is right. During a solidarity rally in Beirut, Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem said: “We, as Hezbollah, are contributing to the confrontation and will (continue) to contribute to it within our vision and plan.” “We are fully prepared, and when the time comes for action, we will take it,” he said, adding: “We will contribute to the confrontation within our plan… when the time comes for any action, we will carry it out.” Outreach by “major countries, Arab countries, and envoys from the United Nations, directly and indirectly, asking us not to interfere in the battle, will not affect us,” he said, adding: “Hezbollah knows its duties.”

On Friday, over a thousand participants joined Beirut’s southern suburbs’ rally to support Gaza, carrying Palestinian flags and solidarity banners. Najwa Ali, a Palestinian refugee born in Beirut 57 years ago, participated in the solidarity rally. “I have never seen Palestine, but when I go back one day, it will be with my head held high, without an Israeli soldier telling me where to go or what to do,” she told AFP. She indicated that the Israelis attacked and expelled her ancestors from Palestine in 1948, asserting that “blood will not stop flowing until we regain Palestine.” Fatima, 25, stresses that the Lebanese will not push towards war, but it will break out if Israel invades Gaza.

Hundreds gathered in various cities and villages across Lebanon and Palestinian refugee camps to support Gaza and protest the Israeli atrocities. So far, Hezbollah has made limited moves in the war, but analysts believe it may be forced to open a new front if Israel launches a ground attack on Gaza. Israel has been targeting Lebanese areas daily, and Hezbollah has targeted Israeli sites in a disputed border area since Sunday. Despite the exchange of bombings that raised the tension at the border, Hezbollah’s direct intervention remains limited. A balance of deterrence has prevailed between the two sides since the 2006 war, which left more than 1,200 dead on the Lebanese side, mostly civilians, and 160 dead on the Israeli side, mainly from the military.

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“..my stepfather survived Auschwitz, Dachau and Majdanek”. Impressive, that’s three concentration camps in a row. The secretary is obviously oblivious to the fact that the USSR liberated all three.”

Slouching Towards the Final Solution (Pepe Escobar)

It’s by now confirmed that Egyptian intel warned their Israeli counterparts only 3 days before Al-Aqsa Flood that something “big” was coming from Hamas. Tel Aviv, its multi-billion dollar security apparatus and the IDF, “the strongest army in the world”, chose to ignore it. That configures two key vectors. 1) Tel Aviv get its “Pearl Harbor” pretext to implement a remixed “war on terror” plus a sort of Final Solution to the “Gaza problem” (already in effect). 2) The Hegemon abruptly changes the narrative away from the incoming, inevitable, cosmic joint humiliation of the White House and NATO in the steppes of Novorossiya – a strategic defeat that configures the previous humiliation in Afghanistan as a masked ball in Disneyland. The total blockade of “human animals” (copyright Israeli Defense Ministry) in Gaza, in fact a civilian population of 2.3 million, has been imposed this past Monday. No food, no water, no fuel, no essential commodities.

That’s a war crime and a crime against humanity, thrashing the four basic principles of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) – everything duly applauded or at best completely ignored by NATOstan and its assorted oligarch-controlled mainstream media. Christians, Muslims, Jews and other ethnic groups lived peacefully in Palestine for centuries until the imposition of the racist Zionist Project – complete with all the Divide and Rule attributes of settler colonialism. The Nakba is an old memory of 75 years ago. We are now way beyond apartheid – and entering total exclusion and expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. In January 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu himself stressed, “the Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel.”

Now, the IDF sent no less than an order to the UN to completely evacuate all residents of northern Gaza – 1.1 million people – to southern Gaza, close to Rafah, the only border crossing with Egypt. This forced mass deportation of civilians would be the prelude to raze all of northern Gaza to the ground, coupled with expulsion and confiscation of ancestral Palestinian land – edging closer to a Zionist Final Solution. Netanyahu, a sociopath with a proven track record, can only get away with serial war crimes because of total support by the White House, the “Biden” combo and the State Department – not to mention inconsequential EU vassals. We just witnessed a U.S. Secretary of State – a low-IQ functionary out of his depth on every single issue – going to Israel to support collective punishment “as a Jew as well”.

He said his grandfather “fled pogroms in Russia” (that was in 1904). Then came the direct – Nazi – connection to “my stepfather survived Auschwitz, Dachau and Majdanek”. Impressive, that’s three concentration camps in a row. The secretary is obviously oblivious to the fact that the USSR liberated all three. Then came the connection Russia-Nazis-Hamas. At least it’s all clear. [..] With Russia we reach heavy metal territory. Earlier this week, Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, was finally received, after several attempts by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. It was Israel who practically begged for a meeting. Bogdanov cut to the chase, bluntly: Ben Zvi was warned that the IDF plan to literally destroy Gaza, expel the indigenous population and practice the ethnic cleansing of those “human animals” was “fraught with the most devastating consequences for the humanitarian situation in the region.”

That advances a quite possible scenario – whose consequences can be equally devastating: Moscow – in collaboration with Ankara – launching a Global South-supported blockade-busting operation against Israel. It’s no secret – apart from the modus operandi – that Putin and Erdogan have discussed a possible Turkish humanitarian naval convoy to Gaza, which would be protected from an Israeli attack by the Russian Navy out of its Tartous base in Syria and the Russian air Force out of Hmeimim. That would raise the stakes to unforeseen levels.

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“Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust.”

Biden Speaks On Hamas, Israel, Iran, Corridors and Ukraine (Sp.)

Asked whether there should be a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, US President Joe Biden said in an interview for CBS that Israel has to go after Hamas and called them a “bunch of cowards.” “Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And so, I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians,” Biden said. Gaza is a small, densely populated 140.9 square meter area with over 2 million people. Travel in and out of Gaza is heavily controlled by Israeli forces. Biden emphasized that Hamas needs to be “eliminated entirely.” Biden also said that he is in talks with Egypt and Israel about the establishment of a humanitarian corridor in the area.

“We’re also talking to Egyptians whether there is an outlet to get these children and women out of that area at this moment. But it’s hard,” Biden said in the interview. The US President also responded “yes” when asked if he supported humanitarian aid being sent to Gaza, something Israel has been blocking, including food, water and electricity, though Israel announced on Sunday that some water services had been turned back on. At least 13 Americans have been missing since Hamas’ attack, and 30 Americans have been confirmed dead. Biden said that the US is trying every avenue they have to see its remaining citizens returned safely but would not provide details. The interviewer noted that Biden had called the missing Americans’ families and spoke to them on Zoom.

While Biden consistently stressed throughout the interview that the United States supports Israel in their fight against Hamas, he suggested that they do not attempt to occupy Gaza. “I think it’d be a big mistake. Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people. And I think that … It would be a mistake … for Israel to occupy … Gaza again,” Biden said. Biden added that he does not think committing American troops will be necessary in the conflict. The President stressed that he still supports a two-state solution in the area, which has long been the official US policy, but said that right now is not the time to press for it. He also said that the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia is not dead because of the conflict. “The Saudis, and the Emiratis, and other Arab nations understand that their security and stability is enhanced if there’s normalization of relations with Israel,” Biden said. “It’s just going to take time to get done.”

Biden also addressed the conflict in Ukraine, saying that the United States can handle both it and Israel at the same time. “We’re the United States of America for God’s sake, the most powerful nation in the history– not in the world, in the history of the world. The history of the world. We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense.” The United States has provided at least $111 billion to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special operation. Earlier this month, an additional $24 billion in aid was blocked by a group of House Republicans. That debate resulted in the ousting of House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Congress is now frozen until a new speaker is elected. The White House has continued to ask Congress for aid for both Ukraine and Israel. When asked if the situation in Congress threatens world security, Biden responded “yes,” putting the blame on “MAGA Republicans.”

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China’s voice will become louder.

“The Jewish nation is no longer homeless in the world, but when will the Palestinian nation return to its home?”

‘Injustice’ Against Palestinians Can’t Continue – China (RT)

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that China will continue to stand on the side of international law, peace and justice, condemning all acts of violence against civilians in Israel’s war with Hamas. The unprecedented militant raid claimed over 1,300 lives and prompted Israel to declare war, with hundreds of Palestinians now dying in retaliatory strikes on Gaza every day. “China condemns all acts that harm civilians and opposes any violation of international law,” China’s top diplomat said, as he met with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in Beijing on Friday. Wang Yi said that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “rapidly deteriorating” and already “critical.”

However, China’s top diplomat insisted that the “root cause of this question lies in the long delay in realizing the dream of an independent State of Palestine and the failure to redress the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people.” “Israel has the right to statehood, so does Palestine,” Wang Yi stated. “The Israelis have obtained the safeguards for survival, but who will care about the survival of the Palestinians? The Jewish nation is no longer homeless in the world, but when will the Palestinian nation return to its home?” “There is no shortage of injustices in the world, but the injustice to Palestine has dragged on for over half a century. The sufferings that plagued generations must not continue. ”

Beijing said that the top priority is to “stop the fighting as soon as possible” to “prevent it from spreading endlessly,” and “make every effort to ensure the safety of civilians, open up a humanitarian rescue and assistance passage as quickly as possible.” The international community, including the United Nations, should “play its due role in resolving” the crisis, while the sides of the conflict should “stay calm and exercise restraint, take an objective and just position, and work for de-escalation.” The only answer to the decades-old conflict is the “two-state solution and an independent State of Palestine,” Wang Yi insisted, expressing hope that this way “Palestine and Israel could coexist in peace and how the Arabs and Jews could live in harmony.”

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“Russia’s special military operation is not the start of a war, it is an attempt to stop it.”

China Offered ‘Realistic Basis’ For Ukraine Peace Talks – Putin (RT)

Russia is grateful to China for its proposals on ways to end the Ukrainian crisis, but the government in Kiev keeps rejecting any constructive talks while stubbornly seeking Russia’s defeat on the battleground and suffering “enormous” losses in its failed counteroffensive, President Vladimir Putin has said. “We are aware, of course, of the proposals of our Chinese friends… I think they are quite realistic, at least they could be the basis for peace agreements. But, unfortunately, the opposing side is unwilling to conduct any negotiations,” Putin said in an interview with the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) network that was aired on Monday. Moscow and Kiev have not sat down at the negotiating table since talks in Istanbul in late March 2022, a month after the outbreak of the conflict.

Russia, which initially expressed optimism on the peace process, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all progress achieved in Türkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev’s negotiators. Putin recalled how as soon as the Russian troops moved away from Kiev under that preliminary memorandum, Ukraine “immediately threw all these agreements into the dustbin,” and “announced that they would seek Russia’s defeat and victory on the battlefield, Russia’s strategic defeat.” “How is it possible to negotiate if they do not want to do so and have also issued a legal document that forbids these negotiations?” Putin wondered, insisting that Moscow was open for talks back then, and is “ready” now, but it was up to Kiev to declare they are ready for constructive negotiations.

The 12-point peace roadmap released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry early this year involves a range of measures, from a ceasefire and peace talks to abandoning “Cold War mentality” and sanctions, while promoting global stability and international supply chains. Welcomed by Moscow, the roadmap was received poorly by Ukraine and its Western backers, who continue to push Kiev’s own so-called “peace formula” which demands Russia to unconditionally withdraw to its pre-2014 borders, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals.

In the latest interview, the Russian leader reiterated that the entire conflict stems from Moscow’s legitimate security concerns over the creeping NATO expansion, and its announcement in 2008 that Ukraine was “expected” to join the US-led military bloc, long before the Western-backed “coup d’état” in Kiev in 2014. “And so, year after year, year after year, the situation escalated… With the hands of the Kiev regime, [Western powers] launched hostilities in south-eastern Ukraine, in the Donbas, and conducted these hostilities for eight years, killing women and children. No one in the West paid any attention to this or pretended not to,” Putin said. “Russia’s special military operation is not the start of a war, it is an attempt to stop it.”

Putin Xi

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“”I don’t think these are healthy thoughts that came to the minds of healthy people..”

Russia In Relations With West Prepares For War, But Wants Peace – Putin (TASS)

Russia in its relations with West follows the old adage to prepare for war if it wants peace, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Rossiya 1 television. He was responding to a request from the host of the television program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.” to comment on a recent recommendation by a US Congress panel for the US to prepare for possible simultaneous wars with Russia and China that could include the engagement of nuclear weapons. “I don’t think these are healthy thoughts that came to the minds of healthy people, because to say that the US is preparing for war with Russia, well… We are all preparing for war because we follow the well-known ancient principle: If you want peace, prepare for war. But we act on the assumption that we want peace,” Putin said.

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“..no one has ever written them, and no one has ever agreed to them with anyone. How can we talk about order based on rules that no one has seen?”

Putin: ‘Rules-Based Order’ Merely A Cover For Colonialism (RT)

The Western-promoted “rules-based order” is merely a cover for colonialism, as the presumed rules have never been agreed-on by anyone and are ever-shifting from one case to another, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. The president made the remarks in an exclusive interview with state-run broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) that was aired on Monday. “Have you ever seen these rules? No, because no one has ever written them, and no one has ever agreed to them with anyone. How can we talk about order based on rules that no one has seen?” Putin stated. While such a situation definitely looks “from the point of common sense” as “nonsense,” it’s extremely beneficial for the proponents of the said “rules-based order,” the president explained.

“If no one has ever seen these rules, it means that those who talk about this themselves come up with these rules from case to case in a way that suits their own interests. This is the essence of the colonial approach,” Putin noted. Colonialism has always been based on supremacist ideas, segregating people into different “classes.” “Colonial countries have always believed themselves to be first-class people. After all, they always said that they bring enlightenment to their colonies, that they are civilized people and bring the benefits of civilization to other peoples, who are considered to be second-class,” Putin stressed. The colonial mindset remains strong, he noted, with all the US talk of its “exceptionalism,” for instance, stemming precisely from it.

“That is, when they say that they are exceptional in the United States, it means that there are other people, people of some other second class. How else can we perceive this? These are the rudiments of the colonial mindset, nothing else,” he added. The approach exhibited by Russia and China is entirely different from that shown by the West, with Moscow and Beijing both believing that treating all nations equally is the cornerstone of the emerging multipolar world and the basis of cooperation between the two nations themselves, Putin stressed. “We proceed from the fact that all people are equal, everyone has the same rights, the rights and freedoms of one country and one people end where the rights and freedoms of another person or of an entire state start. This is how a multipolar world should gradually be born,” the president explained.

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“Trump’s attorneys have been clear in their intent to prevent these trials from taking place before the election..”

Trump’s Strategic Delays Risk Upending Federal Trials (Sp.)

Former President Donald Trump has adopted a deliberate strategy of seeking incremental delays in his federal trials, potentially jeopardizing their timelines and impacting the broader political landscape.Legal expert Ankush Khardori, a former federal prosecutor, describes this approach as an incremental strategy. While some of Trump’s motions have been on technical matters, related to how classified information is handled in trial, the aggregate effect could potentially delay these cases significantly. “This is sort of an incremental strategy; you don’t expect to win all at once. Over time, the aggregate effect can be to push things out,” Khardori told US media. One key element of Trump’s recent motions revolves around the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which governs the handling of classified evidence in trials.

Trump’s team has requested delays in meeting CIPA deadlines, arguing that the government is rushing the process. They claim the government’s delays in sharing certain documents, primarily due to their classified nature, have justified their requests. However, prosecutors contend that these delays only warrant minor extensions. The core of the dispute centers on Section 4 of CIPA, which deals with redacting or summarizing classified evidence as a protective measure before sharing it. Trump’s team wants to postpone what former CIA attorney Brian Greer refers to as the “first substantive stage” of CIPA by three months, while the government emphasizes the need for an orderly process. In addition to schedule-related motions, Trump has sought to dismiss all charges in the election interference case, arguing immunity from prosecution based on his official duties.

This motion may ultimately reach the Supreme Court. Prosecutors have urged the judge to compel Trump’s team to formally assert their defense in court rather than on the airwaves, which they argue could lead to substantial disruptions and delays. Experts believe that Trump’s incremental approach might be most effective in Florida, where the trial is set for May, approaching the convention season and potentially influencing the election. Trump’s attorneys have been clear in their intent to prevent these trials from taking place before the election, indicating their hopes for potential future developments if Trump were to regain office. The strategic delays by Trump’s legal team pose a significant challenge to the federal trials, with the potential to reshape their timelines and consequences, ultimately impacting the broader legal and political landscape.

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“..Only 30% of American adults believe Biden has “not done anything wrong”..

68% Believe Joe Biden Acted Illegally or Unethically in Hunter’s Deals (Turley)

A new AP-NORC poll is out and, consistent with earlier polling results, shows that there remains a disconnect between the media coverage and public opinion over the Biden corruption scandal. Despite the continued dismissal or downplaying of the scandal by many in the media, a massive 68 percent of Americans believe that President Biden acted either illegally or unethically in his involvement in his son’s foreign dealings. The largest group (36%) believe that the president has done something illegal. The second largest group (33%) believed Biden has done something unethical. Only 30% of American adults believe Biden has “not done anything wrong” as he has repeatedly claimed. It seems like the same 30% has remained supportive on every issue for Biden — the same unchanging support that we have found at the extremes of every poll for both Biden and Trump.

Notably, however, 40% of Democrats now believe Biden has done something illegal or unethical in his handling of his son’s business dealings. The percentage is overwhelming among Republicans at 96%. What should worry Biden is that 74% of the key independent vote believes that he has done something illegal or unethical. What is most striking about these polls is that the public has reached these conclusions despite a media that is overwhelmingly protective of the President. Most major media outlets downplayed or ignored the Hunter Biden laptop story while adopting ever-changing narratives to excuse the President’s role. Just this week, the Boston Globe ran a story titled “Attacking Biden, GOP tries to have it both ways; He’s old and feeble — and a master criminal?” Of course, you do not have to be a genius to engage in influence peddling. You just need to be corrupt. Menendez was no Brainiac in taking cash and cars from foreign sources.

Moreover, one of Hunter Biden’s corrupt clients reportedly viewed him as dumber than his dog but still gave him millions. The labyrinth of shell companies and accounts were set up by others, not the President or his son. Despite the media running cover for the Bidens for years, the public is just not buying it. Indeed, they are not buying the media. The Washington Post recently acknowledged that it will lose $100 million and announced a new round of layoffs or buyouts. CEO Patty Stonesifer blamed the continuing loss of readers and revenues on being “overly optimistic” about its growth in readership, subscriptions and ads for the past two years. There is a continued effort at failing media outlets to blame their losses on everything other than their embrace of advocacy journalism and writing off half of the country with its strident political bias.

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“Bloomberg news reported last month that the S&P 100 corporations hired 300,000 employees, 94% of whom are blacks, and 6% are white.”

Do White People Have Enough Intelligence to Survive? (Paul Craig Roberts)

This is a valid question. White ethnicities once had the confidence and self-belief to colonize the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia. Today they accept colonization of themselves by their former colonial subjects. White ethnic nations are disappearing. Within themselves massive, unassimilable third world immigrant-invaders are turning them into towers of babel. The disappearance of European nations is sped along by their loss of sovereignty to the European Union (EU). In place of Germany, France, Italy, and the other historic ethnicities, there is a European Union with one central bank and a common currency. The German mark, French franc, and Italian lira no longer exist and neither does the sovereignty of European countries over their monetary policy. The white West has been turned against itself by decades of demonization by its own intellectuals and college professors.

Taught that they are racist colonialist exploiters of people of color, white ethnicities lack the confidence to defend their own borders. White confidence in the US suffers additionally from being taught that America is the country responsible for slavery and that the US Constitution is a racist document that protects white privilege. As the young are rebellious against the status quo, they are susceptible to these messages that destroy the confidence and self-belief of white Americans, many of whom have become advocates for the people of color who are displacing them. The displacement is far advanced. Since the 1960s people of color in the US have had racial privileges that white people do not have to preferential treatment in university admissions, employment, and promotion. This is a violation of the 14th Amendment, but no attorney general or member of the judiciary has done anything to restore equality under the law.

American corporations with largely white executives and boards have publicly announced that it is their current policy to hire and promote blacks and not whites. The Pentagon has announced that promotions of whites are on hold due to its preference for black promotions. If corporations and the Pentagon announced that they were hiring and promoting by race that favored white people, the Department of Justice (sic) would bring lawsuits against them. Effectively, White Americans now are second class citizens in a two-tiered legal system in which equality before the law no longer exists. The impact on white employment from racial discrimination against them is enormous. Bloomberg news reported last month that the S&P 100 corporations hired 300,000 employees, 94% of whom are blacks, and 6% are white.

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“These vaccines will prevent severe disease for COVID-19,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, told reporters. There’s no evidence that’s true..”

Only 2% of Americans Have Received New COVID Vaccine: CDC (ET)

About 2 percent of all Americans have received the updated COVID-19 booster shot after it was authorized and recommended by federal health officials several weeks ago, according to updated data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More than 7 million Americans have taken the updated shot, which is authorized for people aged 6 months and older, said an HHS spokesman. That’s approximately 2 percent of all Americans. “COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which has shifted to the private market, is a lot different than it was last year when the government was distributing them,” said a spokesperson for HHS about the vaccination data. It added that the agency is “directly with manufacturers and distributors to ensure that the vaccines are getting to” various locations.

The statement added that 91 percent of Americans aged 12 years and older “can access the vaccine within 5 miles of where they live,” adding that 14 million updated boosters for COVID-19 have been shipped to pharmacies and other locations. The vaccine was approved about a month ago by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it was recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortly thereafter. It came as some people reported that it’s difficult to find doses of the new vaccines at local pharmacies and doctors. Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said on X in September that her vaccine appointment was canceled due to a lack of supply.

The 7 million figure is up since Oct. 6 when Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the CDC, told reporters that 4 million had received the new vaccines. The HHS said Thursday that the latest updated vaccinate rate is about the same as the initial bivalent booster shot when it was rolled out in 2022. However, demand for the 2022 booster vaccine was similarly low, according to CDC data. Data has shown that about 17 percent of the U.S. population got that previous updated shot, or around 56.5 million people.

The updated vaccines were meant to target the COVID-19 XBB.1.5 variant, which was spreading across the United States when companies like Moderna and Pfizer came up with the new version. Observational data for the bivalent vaccines, or the previous versions, found weak initial effectiveness that quickly waned. CDC officials made unsupported claims during the briefing, part of a trend for the agency. “These vaccines will prevent severe disease for COVID-19,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, told reporters. There’s no evidence that’s true.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Stella

 

 

Olympics
https://twitter.com/i/status/1713378637397782831

 

 


69,460 European cities that are home to at least 1000 people. Map by @datavizstefan

 

 

Canary

 

 

Manatee
https://twitter.com/i/status/1713628499297063230

 

 

 

 

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Apr 212023
 
 April 21, 2023  Posted by at 6:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  3 Responses »


Keith Haring Untitled 1983

 

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

Debunking The Latest Fake News Narrative

CNN published an exclusive piece on Thursday alleging that “Evidence emerges of Russia’s Wagner arming militia leader battling Sudan’s army”. They claim that satellite imagery shows increased Russian military transport activity between Libya and Syria in the run-up to Sudan’s “deep state” war. According to CNN, this confirms rumors that General Haftar is supplying Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (“Hamedti”) with surface-to-air missiles (SAM) on behalf of Wagner.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published their own exclusive piece the day prior on Wednesday alleging that “Libyan Militia and Egypt’s Military Back Opposite Sides in Sudan Conflict”, so these two stories complement one another. Both Hamedti and Wagner have denied these claims, however. The Sudanese Ambassador to Russia also confirmed that “Russia is a friendly country to us so we have been in direct contact with [the] Russian Foreign Ministry since the very beginning of those events last Saturday.”

That diplomat’s reaffirmation of Sudan’s close ties with Russia is especially important since he represents the government that’s internationally recognized as being led by Chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who commands the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and is one of the two figures vying for power. At present, Khartoum therefore doesn’t extend credence to the emerging US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) narrative that Russia is arming the RSF via Haftar-Wagner, but that could soon change.

Preconditioning The Public For Another Proxy War

Unless the present three-day Eid ceasefire holds and leads to the start of peace talks that ultimately end this “deep state” war, which is unlikely since both sides made clear their intent to completely destroy the other, then this conflict is expected to resume in the near future. Should the SAF fail to defeat the RSF and possibly even be placed on the backfoot, then Burhan might gamble that it’s in his best interests to parrot the MSM’s anti-Russian accusations in an attempt to receive direct Western military support.

That scenario isn’t all that far-fetched either considering that the Associated Press and Politico both cited unnamed officials on Thursday to report that the US is assembling additional troops in nearby Djibouti to prepare for the possible evacuation of Americans from Sudan. This pretext could easily be exploited to arm the SAF and/or attack the RSF, especially if the Pentagon claims that the latter tried stopping its operation by building upon last week’s claim that its forces shot at an armored US diplomatic vehicle.

In the event that Burhan repeats the MSM’s emerging anti-Russian narrative and promises to rubbish Sudan’s naval base deal with Moscow upon defeating the RSF, then the Biden Administration can “justify” its military intervention on the basis of “defending Sudanese democracy from a Kremlin coup”. The public would then be told that the latest conflict was sparked by Russia’s support for the “insurgent” RSF, which the MSM would attribute to its interests in defending Wagner’s mining operations there.

American Meddling In Russian-Egyptian Relations

This would predictably precede an unprecedented but preplanned information warfare campaign painting Russia as a “destabilizing” force in Africa, which would be aimed at counteracting its hitherto highly successful efforts at presenting itself as a force of stability in support of legitimate governments. The purpose of this aforesaid operation would be to erode Russia’s newfound “Democratic Security” appeal across the continent with a view towards reversing the decline of Western influence there.

Furthermore, Burhan’s potentially opportunistic piggybacking on the earlier described emerging anti-Russian narrative could have serous implications for Moscow’s ties with Cairo due to the perception of them backing opposite sides in Sudan’s “deep state” war. Russian-Egyptian relations have recently been beset by scandal upon the latest Pentagon leaks alleging that Cairo abandoned its supposedly secret plan to supply rockets to Moscow under pressure from Washington and agreed to arm Kiev instead.

Considering this context, the scenario of Egyptian-backed Burhan blaming Russia for sparking the latest conflict could therefore lead to the rapid deterioration of Russian-Egyptian ties, especially if Cairo decides to indirectly retaliate against Moscow by curtailing its investment rights in Port Said. Those two signed an additional agreement on this industrial zone last month, which was first approved in 2018 and is supposed to help Russia expand its economic engagement with the broader region.

Punishing The Emirates For Its Close Relations With Russia

That goal could be jeopardized if Egypt decides to punish Russia through these means in response to Burhan opportunistically piggybacking on the MSM narrative in an attempt to obtain direct Western military support against the RSF. Furthermore, the UAE’s ties with Egypt and the US could also become much more complicated in that event too since Abu Dhabi is accused of backing reportedly RSF-allied Haftar, being favorable disposed to that armed Sudanese group, and secretly allying with Russia.

The last-mentioned accusation was brought to the public’s attentions as a result of the previously mentioned Pentagon leaks, which were denied by the UAE but coincided with the weakening of its ties with Washington that are partially over that Gulf country’s growing ones with Moscow. There are more factors at play than just the Russian-Emirati relationship, but the point is that the UAE’s problems with the US could be amplified by the MSM if Burhan accuses Russia of arming the RSF via Haftar-Wagner.

It also deserves mentioning that America’s other ulterior interest in its incipient propaganda campaign against Russia in Sudan is to complicate its geopolitical opponent’s logistical connections with the Central African Republic (CAR), which owes its continued existence as a state to Moscow’s military support. The Kremlin largely relies on transit across Sudan in order to supply its forces and its ally’s there, but this could be cut off if Burhan jumps on the anti-Russian bandwagon and revokes Moscow’s privileges.

The Chadian Connection

Lastly, another strategic factor behind this latest information warfare offensive against Russia is that it could ruin that country’s surprisingly solid relations with regional military heavyweight Chad. As explained in this recent analysis here, N’Djamena ended up expelling the German Ambassador earlier this month for meddling instead of the Russian one despite the US telling its counterparts in late February that Moscow is using Wagner in the CAR and Libya to arm anti-government rebels against it.

The Associated Press cited an African analyst from a Western risk assessment firm in their article on Thursday about 320 SAF troops fleeing to Chad to claim that this development could prompt N’Djamena into taking those forces’ side in Sudan’s “deep state” war. According to Benjamin Hunter, “N’Djamena is likely to oppose (Dagalo) due to fears that RSF dominance in Darfur could empower Chadian Arabs to unseat the (president’s) regime. Many within (Dagalo’s) Rizeigat tribe live across the border in Chad.”

If Chad becomes embroiled in Sudan’s “deep state” war on Burhan’s side, then it might be susceptible to Western suggestions that jumping on the anti-Russian bandwagon like he would have already done in this scenario could lead to them suspending their regime change campaign against N’Djamena. Should that happen, then this regional military heavyweight might also support any potentially forthcoming rebel/terrorist offensive that its historical French partner could soon plot against Russia in the CAR.

Concluding Thoughts

Putting everything together, the US plans to achieve the following strategic objectives by introducing the narrative that Russia is arming the RSF:

  1. Entice Burhan to extend credence to these claims in exchange for US military support;
  1. Demand that he also rescinds Russia’s naval base rights and cuts off its overflight access to the CAR;
  1. Consider direct support to the SAF on the pretext of commencing an “evacuation operation” in Sudan;
  1. Discredit Russia and the UAE’s African engagement policies by framing both as “destabilizing forces”;
  1. Attempt to provoke a crisis in Russia’s relations with Sudan’s Chadian and Egyptian neighbors;
  1. Exploit the above scenario to assemble a regional coalition for pushing back against Russia in Africa;
  1. Encourage Chad to support a French-backed rebel/terrorist offensive in the Russian-allied CAR;
  1. Plot a copycat proxy war in Russian-allied Mali in order to crush the Kremlin’s influence in the Sahel;
  1. Perfect this new Hybrid War method prior to employing it all across the continent;
  1. And thus turn Africa into the top proxy war battleground of the New Cold War.

The US therefore has many reasons to push this fake news campaign, though it’s unclear whether it’ll ultimately achieve any of its envisaged objectives or not.

 

 

 

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May 152022
 


Jacques-Louis David Coronation of Napoleon in 1804 in Nôtre-Dame Cathedral, Paris (10 metres wide, 6 metres tall) 1805-7

 

US-led War On Russia Escalates (WSWS)
US Senate GOP Delegation Meets With Zelensky In Kiev (CNN)
Guy Mettan: Ukraine is the First Battle of the Third World War (G&E)
Ten More European Gas Buyers Open Ruble Accounts For Payments (BBG)
The Real Reason Behind the EU’s Drive to Embargo Russian Oil
NY Times Op-ed Warns Of ‘Fantasies Of Regime Change’ (Fox)
India Bans Wheat Exports, Irks G7 (AFP)
India Reverses Prior Position and Will Now Block Further Wheat Exports (CTH)
Survey Shows Over 500,000 Killed By The Covid Vaccines So Far (Kirsch)
Egypt Considers Issuing Bonds In China’s Yuan (Al-M)
Karine Jean-Pierre Has History Of Accusing Things Of Being Racist (NYP)
Biden Phrase “Ultra MAGA” Came from Six Month Study (CTH)

 

 

 

 

Why Did Lloyd Austin Call Sergei Shoigu?

 

 

 

 

Russia, China at UN on biolabs

 

 

 

 

Dr. Cole about Vanden Bossche’s theory

Urso about Vanden Bossche’s theory

Malone about Vanden Bossche’s theory

 

 

Playing war games on Russia’s border.

US-led War On Russia Escalates (WSWS)

A day after Finland pledged to join NATO “without delay,” Sweden’s ruling social democrats accepted a parliamentary report also calling to join the US-led alliance. NATO is threatening to turn Scandinavia and the entire Baltic Sea into a second front in the war on Russia it has waged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Finnish and Swedish troops are joining US and Ukrainian forces in NATO “Hedgehog” war games next week in Estonia, whose border with Russia is just 150 kilometers from Saint Petersburg. The exercise, involving 15,000 troops, will simulate war between NATO and Russia in Estonia. This underscores that Finland’s vast,1,300-km border with Russia is becoming a potential war zone.

Asked on Thursday about Finland joining NATO, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said: “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard.” Russian officials have said that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, they will try to maintain a regional balance of power by stationing nuclear missiles in Russia’s Baltic port enclave at Kaliningrad. This week, former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev admitted that Europe is rapidly moving towards all-out war. “NATO countries pumping weapons into Ukraine, training troops to use Western equipment, sending in mercenaries and the exercises of Alliance countries near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia,” he said. “Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war.”

Nonetheless, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is to schedule a debate on joining NATO tomorrow. With staggering recklessness, the Swedish social democrats are scrapping a two-century policy of non-alignment in foreign wars that Sweden has observed since the Napoleonic wars ended in 1814, as the Finns scrapped the neutrality they observed since World War II. At a press conference last night, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist admitted that Sweden’s announcement could provoke war with Russia, but dismissed the danger: “If Sweden chooses to seek NATO membership, there is a risk of a reaction from Russia. … Let me state that, in such a case, we are prepared to deal with any counter-response.”

The Swedish government’s case for joining NATO is a mixture of political lies and self-delusion. By joining NATO, Sweden is not, as Linde argues, deterring Russia from attacking it by making clear Moscow would potentially run the risk of a military clash with NATO. Rather, Sweden is signing up to a NATO war drive against Russia already being led by Washington, London and Berlin. Hultqvist’s statement that the Swedish government is prepared for “any counter-response” from Russia is astonishing. It appears Sweden’s defense minister has forgotten that Russia has over 6,000 nuclear warheads: In case of a major escalation of the NATO-Russia war, Russia’s “counter-response” could obliterate Sweden.

Read more …

So brave to travel into a war zone.

US Senate GOP Delegation Meets With Zelensky In Kiev (CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a congressional delegation led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kyiv Saturday, and called for Russia to officially be recognized as a “terrorist state,” he said Saturday in his nightly address. McConnell said in a statement Saturday evening the delegation “just left” Ukraine and called it an “honor” to meet with Zelensky and his senior advisers. McConnell was joined on the unannounced trip by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas. McConnell and the other senators became the latest US officials to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded the eastern European nation in late February.

The Kentucky Republican said in the statement the delegation “reaffirmed” to Zelensky “that the United States stands squarely behind Ukraine and will sustain our support until Ukraine wins this war. It is also essential that America not stand alone. He continued: “It is squarely in our national interest to help Ukraine achieve victory in this war and to help Ukraine and other countries deter other wars of aggression before they start.” In his nightly address Saturday, Zelensky said he discussed US support for Ukraine and tightening sanctions on Russia with the delegation. “I believe that this visit once again demonstrates the strength of bipartisan support for our state, the strength of ties between the Ukrainian and American nations,” Zelensky said.

CNN previously reported Zelensky has asked President Joe Biden to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The Ukrainian president added that he “expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program” during the GOP delegation’s visit. Biden earlier this week signed into law the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. The new law, which eases some of the requirements for the US to lend or lease military equipment to Ukraine, passed with a bipartisan majority in the US House and Senate. Its sponsors said the legislation gives Biden much broader authority to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia and addresses how the US can get weapons to Ukraine faster.

Read more …

Apologies for sound quality.

Guy Mettan: Ukraine is the First Battle of the Third World War (G&E)

Guy Mettan discusses the deep thousand year history of Russophobia which informs the current Ukraine crisis. Europe had divided in two parts along religious lines which can still be seen in Ukraine today. He traces Russophobia from medieval Germany to France to Britain and back again to Germany and today the U.S. and EU. Brzezinski outlined the importance of conquering Ukraine because it’s the pivotal power of Europe. Ukraine is the first battle of the Third World War. It won’t be a total war, it will be a global unlimited war, unlimited in space and time where everybody will be affected. He agrees that there is a neo-totalitarian trend in the West and that democracy is a false flag. He’s pessimistic regarding the future development of our world as the U.S. and EU develop into a totalitarian new empire. But he’s optimistic that the light of the truth can’t be extinguished.

Read more …

The EU finds ways to circumvent its own sanctions.

Ten More European Gas Buyers Open Ruble Accounts For Payments (BBG)

Ten more European gas buyers have opened accounts in Gazprombank JSC, doubling the total number of clients preparing to pay in rubles for Russian gas as President Vladimir Putin demanded. A total of twenty European companies have opened accounts, with another 14 clients asking for the paperwork needed to set them up, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters. He declined to identify the companies. European buyers have been struggling for weeks to figure out how they can meet Putin’s order to pay for Russian gas in rubles starting April 1 and not fall afoul of European Union sanctions imposed over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the new mechanism, clients have to open two accounts: one in foreign currency and one in rubles in Gazprombank. After Poland and Bulgaria rejected these terms, Gazprom PJSC halted gas flows to them in late April. As deadlines for payment for April supplies loom later this month for major West European buyers, Russia has moved to address EU concerns that the payment mechanism may violate sanctions. The person close to Gazprom said the current terms mean that the transaction is effectively completed once the buyer pays foreign currency to Gazprombank, since the subsequent conversion to rubles is automatic and doesn’t involve Russia’s central bank, which is subject to EU sanctions.

The bloc so far hasn’t said whether the Russian changes allay its concerns, but Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Wednesday companies will be able to pay for gas in rubles without breaching the restrictions. “Most of the gas importers have already opened their account in rubles with Gazprom,” he told a press conference. He said that Germany’s top gas importer had already paid in rubles. Like Italy, Germany is a massive consumer of Russian gas. The person close to Gazprom said the number of customers who’ve paid in rubles remains at four, the same as late last month. Payments from other buyers are due later this month, he said.

Read more …

“The war by the West against Russia has long been in the planning stages.”

The Real Reason Behind the EU’s Drive to Embargo Russian Oil

The idea that Europe fears a Russian invasion of Poland or even Germany, which necessitates NATO’s expansion to its border in the Donbas, is ludicrous. Russia’s military is not built along these lines nor is its performance in Ukraine evidence it is capable of such an operation. What is unfolding now is a script that was written a long time ago. The war by the West against Russia has long been in the planning stages. The Russians understand this better than many are willing to accept. Their leadership, Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have articulated this very clearly at every stage of the war to date. They are under no illusions about where the West and Davos are willing to take this conflict, which is why they have made serious threats about striking out at the real “decision centers” who give the Ukrainian Armed Forces their marching orders.

These are warnings not to our politicians, but to us. This is where things lead. They have asked for a parting of the ways, peaceably, between East and West, but that is not part of the agenda. Like classic narcissists with the burning need to control everything, Russia and the rest of Asia will not be allowed to walk away from Davos and their Eurocrat quislings, because they are the righteous saviors of humanity. And we are just, at best, “the help” and at worst an inconvenience. The bigger Davos plan of destroying the old global order to Build it Back Better, where they own everything and you will own nothing and like it or else, is the script.

They are now committed to this plan. It does not matter now whether it will work or not. This is what we have to realize in all of our analyses. Do the Russians and their friends in Asia and across the Global South have the means and the tools to come out on top? Possibly. But the bigger question is whether or not this conflict escalates to the point where winning is an irrelevant concept. When you see a bloc as powerful as the European Union willing to commit acts of domestic vandalism this big—and blaming the victim of their unbridled aggression—it tells you we are far past the point of rational settlement.

Read more …

“..the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict..”

NY Times Op-ed Warns Of ‘Fantasies Of Regime Change’ (Fox)

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed warning that the United States risks war with Russia if it continues to pursue an expansive strategy in Ukraine. “Nuclear weapons are discussed in easy tones, not least on Russian television. The risk of cities being reduced to corium remains low without NATO deployment in Ukraine, but accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted,” wrote Tom Stevenson. The op-ed, titled “America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t,” cautions that while America’s initial actions to provide support to Ukraine, American leaders’ willingness to speak in increasingly bold terms about regime change in Russia and “draining” the country poses a risk to American security.

“By expanding support to Ukraine across the board and shelving any diplomatic effort to stop the fighting, the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict,” Stevenson wrote. “They are taking a risk far out of step with any realistic strategic gain,” he added. “The early U.S. response to the invasion was simple: Supply the defenders and apply America’s unique financial weaponry to the Russian economy. The new strategy — call it bleed Russia — is quite different. The underlying idea is that the United States and its allies should seek to recover more from the rubble of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk than the survival of Ukraine as a polity or even a symbolic frustration of Russian aggression.” Stevenson notes that Russia discusses nuclear tensions “in easy tones” and warned that “accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted”.

“It is unclear what more there is to gain by weakening Russia, beyond fantasies of regime change,” he said. “The war was dangerous and destructive enough in its initial form. The combination of expanded strategic aims and scotched negotiations has made it more dangerous still. At present, the only message to Russia is: There is no way out.”

Read more …

Much less wheat from Ukraine, Russia and now India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer. It adds up.

India Bans Wheat Exports, Irks G7 (AFP)

India banned wheat exports without government approval Saturday after its hottest March on record hit production, in a blow to countries reeling from supply shortages and soaring prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement drew sharp criticism from the Group of Seven industrialized nations’ agriculture ministers meeting in Germany, who said that such measures “would worsen the crisis” of rising commodity prices. “If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference in Stuttgart. Global wheat prices have soared on supply fears following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12% of global exports.

The spike in prices, exacerbated by fertilizer shortages and poor harvests, has fueled inflation globally and raised fears of famine and social unrest in poorer countries. It has also led to concerns about growing protectionism following Indonesia’s halting of palm oil exports and India putting the brakes on exports of wheat. India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said that factors including lower production and sharply higher global prices meant it worried about the food security of its own 1.4 billion people. Export deals agreed to before the directive issued Friday could still be honored, but future shipments need government approval, it said. But exports could also take place if New Delhi approved requests from other governments “to meet their food security needs”.

“We don’t want wheat to go in an unregulated manner where it may either get hoarded and is not used for the purpose which we are hoping it will be used for –- which is serving the food requirements of vulnerable nations and vulnerable people,” said BVR Subrahmanyam, India’s commerce secretary. On Thursday New Delhi said it was sending delegations to Morocco, Tunisia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon “for exploring possibilities of boosting wheat exports from India”. [..] India said that it planned to increase wheat exports this financial year, starting April 1, to 10 million tons from seven million tons the year before. While this is a tiny proportion of worldwide production, the assurances provided some support to global prices and soothed fears of major shortages.

Egypt and Turkey recently approved wheat imports from India. But India endured its hottest March on record – blamed on climate change – and has been wilting in a heatwave in recent weeks, with temperatures upwards of 45 degrees Celsius. This has hit farmers hard, and this month the government said that wheat production was expected to fall at least five percent this year from 110 million tons in 2021 — the first fall in six years.

Read more …

About the India export ban. Food, energy and politics.

India Reverses Prior Position and Will Now Block Further Wheat Exports (CTH)

In April India said it was hoping to expand its wheat exports from 7 million tons to 10 million. However, as precarious winter wheat harvests reflect lower outputs, they are reversing position and will now block any wheat exports in order to ensure their own supply. INDIA – “[…] The announcement drew sharp criticism from the Group of Seven industrialized nations’ agriculture ministers meeting in Germany, who said that such measures “would worsen the crisis” of rising commodity prices. [..] India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said that factors including lower production and sharply higher global prices meant it worried about the food security of its own 1.4 billion people. Export deals agreed to before the directive issued Friday could still be honored, but future shipments need government approval, it said.”

Don’t look now, but there’s an ideological alignment in the background of these decisions. Turkey and Egypt will be receiving wheat export from India, both nations are aligned against the western position toward Russian sanctions. Turkey said a few days ago they would not approve of Finland joining NATO (the irony of Turkey in NATO not withstanding). We need to watch carefully, but there are indications in the geopolitical decision making of nationalist-minded countries, that seem to align with the previously discussed energy alliance cleaving. The food alliance per se’, is lining up in similar fashion to the energy sector oil alliance. If this geopolitical and ideological alignment of food imports/exports continues, what we will see is Europe become even more dependent on the U.S. for food exports. That type of reality has the potential to play well for Biden’s pressure and blackmail campaign forcing NATO to stay committed to the war in Ukraine.

Due to sanctions, Western European allies have already become more dependent on the U.S. for energy products including heavy oil, and liquified natural gas (LNG) which is being exported from the U.S. at the highest rate in history; unfortunately, driving up the prices we pay. Now we can overlay food exports as another angle for Biden to keep blackmailing NATO to support his proxy war in Ukraine. Americans are already paying more for energy because we are subsidizing Europe. Now Americans will pay more for food products because we are subsidizing Europe. That, my friends, is a hot mess. This sanctions map starts to take on a new dimension beyond energy. The western team in yellow trading energy and foodstuffs between themselves based on common ideology and outlook. The team in grey trading energy and foodstuff based on common ideology and outlook.

Read more …

Time to broaden the survey.

Survey Shows Over 500,000 Killed By The Covid Vaccines So Far (Kirsch)

A simple survey of my readers provided some extremely compelling evidence that 1) the US government has killed over 500,000 previously healthy Americans and 2) that the vaccine actually caused the deaths. It took me around 30 minutes to create the survey and 11 hours to wait for highly statistically significant results. I was able to accomplish something in less than 12 hours that the CDC has been unable to accomplish in 18 months: prove causality. We see both dose dependency and enormous changes in ACM deaths pre- vs. post-vaccine. We satisfy all five Bradford-Hill criteria applicable to vaccines. We used 400 independent observers. I should note that all follow my Substack so they are correlated: all have excellent judgment, high intelligence, and immunity from mass formation effects. So they have the ability to see what is truly going on.

The survey compared the all-cause mortality (ACM) death rates just PRIOR to a vaccine dose to the ACM death rates immediately AFTER the dose. I predicted they would be dramatically higher after the dose and the effect would be dose dependent. It appears I was right. In fact, the survey projects far more deaths than I thought possible. The number of deaths computed from the reports could be as high as 2M Americans, but the 500,000 number seems more credible, so I’m discounting the result by 4X to account for biases and confounders. I don’t think there is any way anyone is going to be able to “explain away” these results once we redo the survey with a better set of controls (the next step). And these results are ONLY counting the all-cause mortality increase for just the one month after each shot. We know you can die a year later from these vaccines.

We found Dose #4 caused only a 1.27X increase compared with 5.5X to 8.3X for doses 1 and 2 respectively and 2.3X for Dose #3. If this were a highly biased population, Dose 4 would have caused a larger discrepancy, but it’s approaching 1:1 as we’d expect. The decreasing ACM increase with later shots makes sense… The vaccine eliminates anyone whose immune system is susceptible to auto-immune attacks on the spike protein. If it hasn’t killed you after 3 shots, it’s less likely to kill you on shot #4. You’re immune due to both survivor bias and the fact that your immune system has recognized the vaccine as an invader and clears it from the system quicker than on shots 1 and 2. This of course says nothing about it’s impact on effectiveness against the virus which is likely pretty minimal at this point which is a story for another day.

Read more …

Question is: who will buy them? China?

Egypt Considers Issuing Bonds In China’s Yuan (Al-M)

Egypt may soon sell bonds that are priced in China’s currency the yuan. Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait made the announcement yesterday alongside the People’s Republic’s Ambassador in Cairo Liao Liqiang. The move would help diversify Egypt’s financial resources and target China’s large bond market, the state-owned Al-Ahram reported. Bonds are a type of financial security that represent the holder’s obligation to repay the buyer. Governments issue bonds to help finance their expenses. Egypt has pursued several new bond strategies recently. The country is currently preparing to sell Islamic bonds. An Islamic bond, or sukuk, complies with Islamic law’s prohibition on usury.


In February, Egypt named six banks to manage the future sukuk sale. Last year, Egypt issued bonds in Japan’s currency the yen. The move could threaten the position of the US dollar as the world’s dominant currency. Many countries around the region sell bonds in dollars or their own currency. Doing business in yuan is becoming more appealing to some countries. Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering accepting yuan as payment for oil sales to China Egypt recently secured foreign investment from its Gulf allies to mitigate the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine. The war has wreaked havoc on Egypt’s wheat supply, for example.

Read more …

Where does Biden find these women?

Karine Jean-Pierre Has History Of Accusing Things Of Being Racist (NYP)

Newly installed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has a long history of accusing policies and political enemies of “racism,” a review of her social media and TV news appearances show. The Post looked at Jean-Pierre’s tweets between 2015 and 2020 and found a staggering 57 instances where she accused people, policies, ideas, or words of being “racist.” And Jean-Pierre accused people and ideas she was opposed to as “racist” at least 43 times in TV appearances too, according to video clipping service Grabien, whose available analysis spanned just the first two years of President Trump’s term in office. Her target on both social media and TV was overwhelmingly Trump.

“If it walks like a racist, talks like a racist, acts like a racist, it is a racist and we have a racist president in the White House who really pushes his racism like a peacock,” she told a smirking panel on the MSNBC show “AM Joy” in 2018. “Donald Trump is a RACIST!” she railed in a tweet from Jan 2018, echoing what became a common refrain from her during his presidency. “Donald Trump is the most outwardly racist President that we have seen in generations and African Americans voters aren’t blind to that. He uses his megaphone to divide people, spew racism, and give cover to white supremacists,” she tweeted in 2020. Her new boss, President Biden, got in on the act in during the 2020 presidential campaign, claiming Trump was “one of the most racist presidents’ we’ve ever had.”

Trump was far not alone as an object of her derision — Jean-Pierre also ripped the former president’s staff and confidants as racists too. “Steve Bannon is a white Supremacist. Steve Bannon is a white Nationalist. Steve Bannon is a racist,” she thundered in September 2018, of the president’s former White House counselor. She levied the same accusation on Sebastian Gorka, another Trump White House advisor. Jean-Pierre also blasted former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “a bigot & a racist,” who “views brown and black people as less than, not even human,” according to a tweet from June 2018. She also called racists Texas Sen. John Cornyn in 2020, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2018, and Former Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie in 2017.

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“..a few days ago White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the terminology “ultra-MAGA” was an “organic utterance” from Joe Biden. Whoops.”

Biden Phrase “Ultra MAGA” Came from Six Month Study (CTH)

The Washington Post is reporting the shift from the White House to disparage their political opposition with the terms “MAGA”, “Ultra-MAGA” and President Trump as the “Great MAGA King,” came from a six-month poll study led by Anita Dunn, the latest senior advisor in the White House. Keep in mind, a few days ago White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the terminology “ultra-MAGA” was an “organic utterance” from Joe Biden. Whoops. WASHINGTON DC – […] Biden’s attempt to appropriate the “MAGA” brand as a political attack was hardly accidental. It arose from a six-month research project to find the best way to target Republicans, helmed by Biden adviser Anita Dunn and by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal group.

The polling and focus group research by Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group found that “MAGA” was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like “Trump Republicans.” In battleground areas, more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a “MAGA Republican” than would be more likely. The research also found that the description tapped into the broad agreement among voters that the Republican Party had become more extreme and power-hungry in recent years.” On May 5th the White House announced Anita Dunn would return to the JoeBama administration as senior advisor.

Dunn’s specific expertise is using pressure, blackmail and political leverage to control information distribution by media organizations. Apparently “ultra-MAGA” was Dunn’s first branding effort for the White House. The reappearance of Anita Dunn aligns with the expressed intent of the DHS ‘disinformation’ board. Dunn’s professional political skillset surrounds being a paid media fixer. She has done this for multiple democrat politicians including Obama. It was Anita Dunn who used her position in the Biden campaign to demand that media stop allowing Rudy Guiliani to explain the Biden family ‘pay to play’ financial system of selling influence. Anita Dunn also advised Harvey Weinstein how to remove media stories of his Hollywood rape issues. Dunn reappearing makes sense, as the U.S. government objective to control information is now in full swing.

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May 212021
 
 May 21, 2021  Posted by at 9:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Herri met de Bles Landscape with Saint Christopher 1535 – 1545

 

Israel-Palestinian Ceasefire Comes Into Force (Y!)
Celebrations In Gaza As Ceasefire Takes Hold (AlJ)
US Arms Makers Make a Killing Off of Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza (MPN)
Existing Cheap Drugs Could Rapidly Reduce Covid-19 Cases, Deaths In India (ToI)
Why Big Pharma’s Arguments Against Patent Waivers Don’t Add Up (CP)
If You Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Your Teeth – Putin (RT)
Koch Funded Eviction Push While Buying Real Estate Stakes (DP)
US No Longer Wants To Buy Greenland, Blinken Confirms (G.)
The Squad Enables Pelosi’s Massive Capitol Police Spending Bill (Greenwald)
The Largest Iceberg on Earth Has Just Broken Off of Antarctica (Vice)
Lazy Entitled Boomers Told To Get A Jab (Chaser)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not the US. Not Putin. Egypt.

Israel-Palestinian Ceasefire Comes Into Force (Y!)

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip, came into force early Friday after 11 days of deadly fighting that pounded the Palestinian enclave and forced countless Israelis to seek shelter from rockets. Celebrations were heard on Gaza streets in the minutes after the truce began as cars honked their horns and some guns were fired in the air, AFP journalists said, while in the occupied West Bank, joyful crowds also took to the streets. With no alerts sounding in Israel to warn of incoming Hamas rockets, the ceasefire appeared to be holding in the early hours of Friday. The truce brokered by Egypt, that also included Gaza’s second-most powerful armed group, Islamic Jihad, was agreed following mounting international pressure to stem the bloodshed which erupted on May 10.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the deal. “I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working toward it,” Biden said at the White House, hailing Egypt’s role in brokering the agreement. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendation of all of the security officials … to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions”. Hamas and Islamic Jihad also confirmed the ceasefire in statements. “This is the euphoria of victory,” said Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas figure, in front of a crowd of thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in the streets to celebrate.

The Israeli statement said its aerial campaign had made “unprecedented” achievements in Gaza, a territory it has blockaded since 2007, the year of Hamas’s takeover. “The political leadership emphasises that it is the reality on the ground that will determine the future of the operation,” it added. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he would be “prepared at any time to go to Israel, to the Middle East, if that would serve the purpose of moving beyond the violence and helping to work on improving lives for Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

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“At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.”

Celebrations In Gaza As Ceasefire Takes Hold (AlJ)

A ceasefire came into force in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Friday morning after Egypt brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas to halt 11 days of conflict. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional … ceasefire.” Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad then confirmed the ceasefire in a statement, saying it would come into force at 2:00am on Friday (23:00 GMT on Thursday). Thousands of people in Gaza and the Palestinian territories poured onto the streets to celebrate the ceasefire, waving flags and flashing ‘V’ signs for victory. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

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US tax dollars pay Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin.

US Arms Makers Make a Killing Off of Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza (MPN)

As diplomatic powers and regional players meet behind closed doors for ceasefire talks, Israel continues showering Gaza with missile fire. Israeli airstrikes have so far killed at least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, and injured 1,710 others. The heavy bombardment has also wiped out entire residential buildings and houses, leaving 72,000 people homeless, and has destroyed media offices, schools, libraries and charities. According to the Israeli Air Force (IAF), on Wednesday night Israel fired 120 missiles in the span of 25 minutes. The most recent attack hit the city of Khan Yunis in Gaza, killing one and injuring eight. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) could not provide an exact number of how many bombs are being dropped on Gaza per hour. The IAF did not respond to press inquiries.

The Times of Gaza, however, reported that more than 100 airstrikes occurred in a 30 minute period on May 14. Amid the rubble, Palestinians in Gaza have found unexploded missiles with writing indicating these bombs were manufactured in the United States. The use of American-made weaponry in Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is renewing discussions on U.S. foreign assistance to Israel and U.S. complicity in Israeli state violence. [..] Boeing makes the F-15 fighter jets and Lockheed Martin manufactures F-16 and F-35 warplanes. But these are not the only American corporations involved in the production of Israel’s military aircraft.

General Electric produces the engines for F-15 and F-16 jets. Raytheon Technologies creates the missiles used to arm F-15 and F-35 planes. According to the American Friends Service Committee’s Investigate Database, Northrop Grumman manufactures “approximately 35% of the Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft, including its center fuselage, radar, avionics, electro-optics, navigation, communications and identification subsystems, and mission systems and mission-planning software.” The arms manufacturer has also partnered with the Israeli military industry to build the LITENING targeting pod, a weapons laser navigation system used on F-16 warplanes.

Military sales to Israel generate massive profits for these American corporations. Boeing secured a $2.4 billion sale to Israel from the U.S. State Department last year. In February, the aerospace behemoth scored a whopping $9 billion deal with Israel’s Ministry of Defense. In the last decade, Raytheon’s contracts to Israel have totaled more than $4 billion. Lockheed Martin’s most recent sale to Israel is estimated at more than $2 billion. In 2016, General Electric obtained part of a $300 million sale to Israel. Northrop Grumman is less transparent about its international sales. Out of Northrop Grumman’s reported $36.8 billion in sales in 2020, 14 percent were international.

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India has its back against the wall.

Existing Cheap Drugs Could Rapidly Reduce Covid-19 Cases, Deaths In India (ToI)

The COVID-19 humanitarian calamity unfolding in India is on a scale not seen in this pandemic. This is an extraordinary situation – and it may benefit from an extraordinary response. There exist affordable, readily available and minimally toxic drugs approved for non-COVID-19 use which show remarkable promise in preventing or treating the new coronavirus. Deploying these drugs in India is likely to rapidly reduce the number of COVID-19 patients, reduce the number requiring hospitalization, supplemental oxygen and intensive care and improve outcomes in hospitalized patients. Some of these drugs are being tested in large-scale randomized clinical trials in the US and abroad but in most cases, definitive efficacy data is pending. With the current COVID-19 situation in India, we do not have time to wait for results of these studies.

Importantly, currently available safety and outcomes data on these drugs is strong enough that it is time to incorporate them into national practice guidelines. Indian authorities should issue such guidelines on the most promising drugs for each stage of COVID-19. By so doing, physicians will be encouraged to use these interventions. The resulting real world data from a few healthcare settings in select cities should be tracked in real time and guidelines suitably revised. If such measures were adopted, we could see effects in 3-4 weeks. This strategy might be unusual but it is not unheard of: France has the Temporary Recommendation for Use, a “regulatory instrument which aims to allow, on a temporary basis, the use of a medicinal product to allow its effectiveness to be evaluated on the basis of its use.”

The choice of drugs is critical. We have worked closely with personnel at the Food and Drug Administration and have connected with the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the merits of repurposed drugs. Based on a mechanistic rationale, data in animal models, human retrospective analyses, clinical trials (some randomized, others not) and anecdotal human data, we created a prioritized list of interventions that hold the greatest promise and that could be deployed at scale. For instance, there is strong data from a randomized trial and a real-world study that administering fluvoxamine sharply reduces the need for hospitalization in COVID-19 outpatients. Moreover, anecdotal unpublished data in over 400 acutely ill COVID-19 patients from several community practitioners suggests that administering fluvoxamine and ivermectin together may be even more efficacious.

Intervention as early as possible after symptom onset is key. Ivermectin is already listed as a “MAY DO” on the ICMR and Indian government guidelines for treatment of acute mild COVID-19 and we suggest that fluvoxamine be added in this category. Also, ivermectin in the prophylactic setting merits serious consideration. For the hospitalized, there are treatments currently used for other conditions that might reduce the need for ventilator support and lower the risk of death. These include inhaled adenosine, cyproheptadine and dipyridamole. For ideas for which there is rather limited human data, the government should offer pre-approved pilot protocols and funding for rapid implementation in select centers rather than issue a recommendation for use.

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It’s Bill Gates again.

Why Big Pharma’s Arguments Against Patent Waivers Don’t Add Up (CP)

Days after he publicly opposed the waiving of patents for lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates had a change of heart. He released a statement saying, “No barriers should stand in the way of equitable access to vaccines, including intellectual property, which is why we are supportive of a narrow waiver during the pandemic.” His statement came after President Joe Biden, in a surprising move, and in contrast to his European allies, backed a temporary waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement saying, “extraordinary circumstances… call for extraordinary measures.” Immediately, the big drugmakers’ share prices fell, and they shot back in anger with a litany of dire predictions.

Gates had been singing a different tune just a few weeks earlier, expressing opposition to vaccine patent waivers when he said in an interview, “The thing that’s holding things back in this case is not intellectual property. There’s not like some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines.” Gates’ initial opposition echoes the pharmaceutical industry’s staunch resistance to waiving the intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccine technology. In a letter to the Biden administration, members of an industry group called Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) wrote, “Eliminating those protections would undermine the global response to the pandemic, including ongoing effort to tackle new variants, create confusion that could potentially undermine public confidence in vaccine safety, and create a barrier to information sharing.”

The signatories added, “Most importantly, eliminating protections would not speed up production.” Walden Bello, co-founder of the advocacy organization Focus on the Global South and an international adjunct professor at SUNY Binghamton, told me in an interview from Manila, Philippines, that “these arguments are really quite spurious.” Bello had penned an opinion column in the New York Times saying, “A short-term Trips waiver would allow developing nations to quickly ramp up vaccine production and save lives at an affordable cost.” The demand for vaccine patent waivers originated in October 2020 when the governments of India and South Africa proposed a temporary suspension of the World Trade Organization’s 1995 TRIPS agreement. Now, more than 100 nations support the call. TRIPS stands for the “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights,” and for years has been a boon to corporations that have manufactured products with the help of public investment and reaped massive profits through the 20-year monopolies that the agreement grants them.

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“As one of our emperors said, ‘Our enormity terrifies everybody,’” Putin added..”

If You Try To Bite Russia, We’ll Knock Out Your Teeth – Putin (RT)

President Vladimir Putin has issued a fiery rebuke to those who, he says, are intent on bringing about the breakup of the world’s largest country, insisting that Russia will defend itself from potential interference from overseas. In a speech on Tuesday to the ‘Victory’ organizing committee, which is responsible for memorializing those killed in the Second World War, the Russian leader claimed that “everyone wants to bite us somewhere, or to bite something off of us.” If or when this happens, he said the country will “knock out the teeth” of those who try. He said that Russia’s size and its natural resources meant that rivals would always find reasons to attempt to clip its wings as it grew stronger. “As one of our emperors said, ‘Our enormity terrifies everybody,’” Putin added. The full quote, attributed to Tsar Alexander III, claims this is the reason that “Russia has no friends.”


The president went on to criticize those who claim that the country’s natural resources – much of them in lumber, minerals and energy reserves in the vast expanses of Siberia – should not belong to one country alone. “It’s strange to hear these things, especially in public, but they sometimes come up,” he said. Russian officials have repeatedly attributed a quote to former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, in which she purportedly claimed that “the colossal natural resources of Siberia should not belong to Russia alone.” However, there is no clear evidence that Albright said this, and she herself has denied that these were her words. However, the idea that Russia could disintegrate or be broken up has been a longstanding concern within the country, with some Western analysts arguing in favor of the idea.

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“..since 2012, “its affiliated funds have acquired and operated more than 30,000 homes.”

Koch Funded Eviction Push While Buying Real Estate Stakes (DP)

Billionaire Charles Koch’s foundation has bankrolled three conservative legal groups leading the court battle to eliminate prohibitions against tenant evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, Koch’s corporate empire has suddenly stepped up its real estate purchases during the pandemic — including making large investments in real estate companies with a potential financial interest in eliminating eviction restrictions. In the last few months, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and the New Civil Rights Alliance have been pushing federal courts to strike down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium, which is designed to protect millions of Americans from being thrown out of their homes during the pandemic. The groups have so far won two rulings.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Charles Koch Foundation contributed almost $7.7 million to those three conservative organizations, according to the foundation’s tax returns reviewed by The Daily Poster. Koch has been among the biggest financiers of conservative advocacy groups and political causes, and he is one of the wealthiest people on the planet thanks to his stake in Koch Industries, which is the nation’s second-largest privately held company and best known for its investments in fossil fuels. But since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Koch Industries has been plowing money into real estate. In March this year, The Wall Street Journal published a report headlined “Charles Koch Is Betting Big on Distressed Real Estate.”

The paper reported that the billionaire’s corporate conglomerate “is emerging as a major real-estate investor during the pandemic, using its robust cash reserves to buy properties at beaten-down prices and betting on a longer-term recovery.” Last April, a month into the pandemic, Koch Real Estate Investments made a “$200 million preferred-equity investment in Amherst Holdings LLC’s single-family rental business,” according to the corporate law firm Jones Day, which said it advised the Koch Industries subsidiary on the deal. Amherst says that since 2012, “its affiliated funds have acquired and operated more than 30,000 homes.”

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Must have been a very slow news day.

US No Longer Wants To Buy Greenland, Blinken Confirms (G.)

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has confirmed that America no longer wants to buy Greenland. Blinken visited the Danish autonomous territory as he ended a four-day trip that included a meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering the Arctic. “I am in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger,” Antony Blinken told reporters on his final stop of the Arctic tour. He stressed that he was not there to buy the country, signalling a change in policy from the Trump administration. Asked whether the US had definitively ruled out any plans to buy Greenland, Blinken replied with a smile: “I can confirm that’s correct.”

Former US President Donald Trump announced in August 2019 that he was considering buying the land mass, which is a quarter of the size of the US. “Denmark essentially owns it,” he said at the time. “We’re very good allies with Denmark, we protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly I’d be.’ Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No1 on the burner, I can tell you that.” The purchase would be “essentially a large real estate deal”, he said at the time. Trump’s proposal, described as “absurd” by the Danish government, caused a diplomatic kerfuffle.

Last year, the US reopened a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk, and pledged $12m in aid for civilian projects. While he spoke of potential additional funding, Blinken was vague about new US projects, even though the new Greenlandic local government had floated the idea of a free trade agreement earlier in the week. “We would like to find ways to strengthen even more the commercial relationship,” Blinken said.

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“Three Squad members — all of whom recently chanted “Defund the Police” – all had the power to kill a $1.9 billion increase in Capitol Police and security spending. Instead, @AOC, @JamaalBowmanNY and @RashidaTlaib ensured its passage.”

The Squad Enables Pelosi’s Massive Capitol Police Spending Bill (Greenwald)

By a margin of one vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that allocates $1.9 billion to intensify security and increase policing at the U.S. Capitol. Among other things, the bill would boost armed security for members of Congress, fortify security protections at the Capitol, provide funds in “reimbursement” to the National Guard, and increase funding for the Capitol Police. A small portion of it would provide counseling services to Capitol Police officers dealing with trauma. The 213-212 vote was a party line vote with six exceptions. All Republicans voted against it. All Democrats voted for the bill except for six. Three members of the left-wing faction of the House known as the “Squad” joined their GOP colleagues to vote against the bill: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

But the other three members of the Squad — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — voted neither “yes” nor “no” but rather “present.” All six had previously told activist groups that they opposed the bill. Had any of these three Squad members voted “no” instead of “present,” then the bill would have been defeated. In other words, this faction of the Squad had the power fully in their hands to block passage of a bill that would increase police funding and enhance the power of the security state to prevent the public from entering the U.S. Capitol: a bill they claimed to oppose. But they chose not to use that power and instead allowed this pro-police, pro-security-state bill to pass the House.

It now heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has vowed to bring it to a floor vote, though it remains uncertain if they will be able to find ten Republican Senators needed for it to pass the Senate and be sent to the White House for signing. There are several amazing aspects to this episode. To begin with, all three Squad members who abstained today on this bill — which effectively ensured its passage — have spent the last year chanting and tweeting that the police should be defunded. [..] In the summer of 2020, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez left no doubt about what she favors when she invokes this mantra: “Defunding police means defunding police,” she said. The Congresswoman was criticizing cuts to New York City’s police budget as insufficient and the byproduct of accounting tricks rather than real defunding efforts.

And yet, what do we have today? When it comes to their own security, these three Squad members are evidently eager for close to $2 billion to be spent in additional funds to increase the police presence around them and fortify the armed guards and other security state mechanisms that protect them. This is always a key point of “Defund the Police” campaigns.

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70 times the size of Manhattan.

The Largest Iceberg on Earth Has Just Broken Off of Antarctica (Vice)

The largest iceberg on Earth, measuring over 100 miles across 15 miles wide, has just broken off of Antarctica. Named A7-6, the gigantic iceberg was calved from the southern continent’s Ronne Ice Shelf and is now floating across the Weddell Sea. The huge chunk of ice was first spotted by Keith Makinson of the British Antarctic Survey last week, and has been imaged from space by the Copernicus-Sentinel-1 mission, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). A-76 has a rectangular shape similar to Manhattan Island, though it is about 70 times bigger.


The structure has snatched the mantle of the world’s largest iceberg from A-23A, its neighbor in the Weddell Sea, which is about 10 percent smaller. Icebergs are named after their quadrant of origin, in this case A, and then given sequential numbers. These enormous floating ice structures break off of Antarctic ice sheets as part of a natural seasonal cycle, and scientists have not linked the birth of A-76 directly to climate change. However, warming global temperatures may accelerate the collapse of some of Antarctica’s ice sheets in the future.

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”Put down the avocado toast, be a grown up and get a vaccine!”

Lazy Entitled Boomers Told To Get A Jab (Chaser)

Young people around the country have been seen telling Boomers to put down the avocado toast, stop being so entitled and go out and get a jab. This comes after research suggests nearly 30% of Australians are now hesitant to get the life saving vaccine over a blood-clotting risk potentially high as 0.0017%, which has led to the Boomer generation to be way to ‘choosy’ about which vaccine to have. Now young people have had enough and have told the lazy Boomers to ‘go out an get a vaccine, any of the vaccines are better than nothing.’ “Have you bothered to go get a vaccine yet?” said Mike a 26 year old after getting home from trying to find an entry level job that doesn’t require 5+ years of experience in the field and a degree.

“All you do is sit around watching tv. Put down the avocado toast, be a grown up and get a vaccine! I don’t care if it isn’t your dream vaccine, it is at least a vaccine that works. Go now, it’s for your own good.” “Classic old people they are just so entitled these days,” said Lauren a 20 year old full time-student who also has 2 jobs so she can pay her bills, “they just expect everything to be handed to them. They have been spoiled their entire lives and now they refuse to do anything for themselves. Growing up with these cheap houses meaning rent money is just handed to them, it’s made them so selfish and lazy. You know in my day, we have to go out and find a roommate to be able to afford rent in a run-down 1 bedroom apartment, but we do because we know what is important.”

“First the housing market and now vaccines, they just hoard everything for themselves even if they don’t actually want to use it. What a selfish and rude generation they are!”

Read more …

 

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Feb 152020
 


Harris & Ewing Gettysburg 50th reunion: Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans 1913

 

Massive Medical Response As China Death Toll Reaches 1,526 (SCMP)
Beijing To Quarantine All Arrivals As Economic Life Struggles To Pick Up (R.)
Xi Puts On Brave Face, Vows To Deliver Economic Goals Amid Coronavirus (SCMP)
Egypt Confirms Coronavirus Case, The First In Africa (AlJ)
Chinese Medical Staff Pay ‘Too High A Price’ In Battle To Curb Virus (SCMP)
Wandering Ship Becomes ‘Best Cruise Ever (R.)
Sidney Powell: One Atrocity After The Other In Michael Flynn Case (SAC)
Barr Assigns Outside Prosecutor To Review Case Against Flynn (ZH)
DOJ Drops Investigation Of Former FBI Deputy Andrew McCabe (UPI)
Roger Stone Asks For New Trial (Hill)
Carville Slams Sanders For ‘Hack’ Slam: ‘At Least I’m Not A Communist’ (Hill)
United Airlines Pulls Boeing 737 MAX From Schedule Until September 4 (R.)
Impure Thoughts (Kunstler)
US Soldiers in Deathly Scuffle With Syrian Civilians (Whitney Webb)
Varoufakis Submits Recordings Of Eurogroup Talks To Greek Parliament (K.)
Multibillion Mystery Of The Great British Gold Sale (Conway)

 

 

And we’re off to the races again. With the renewed attention for the FBI and DOJ shenanigans in the cases past and present of Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and even Andrew McCabe, it’s easy to get too many articles for an effective aggregator.

 

• Cases 67,102, up 2,661 from yesterday. 11,053 – 18% of cases listed as severe.

• Deaths 1,526, up 143 from yesterday

First death in Europe, a Chinese tourist in France. Close the borders!

• 2,420 new cases (total 54,406) and 139 new deaths in Hubei province

• Chinese experts expect surge in confirmed cases inn coming days.

• 4 more cases in Japan, 3 more cases in Hong Kong

• Infected passengers and crew aboard ‘the Diamond Princess’ climbs to 218

• Lockdown in Beijing

• 217 medical teams sent to provinces, including 25,033 medical professionals to Hubei, in addition to 181 teams of army doctors in Wuhan and 36 army medical teams across Hubei

 

 

 

 

They’re even sanitizing coins and bank notes with UV light.

Massive Medical Response As China Death Toll Reaches 1,526 (SCMP)

China reported 2,641 new confirmed cases and 849 new severe cases on Saturday. A total of 143 more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 1,526. There are 2,277 suspected new cases. The total number of confirmed cases across the country stands at 66,492, of which 11,053 – 18 per cent – are severe. In Hubei province – epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak – 2,420 new confirmed cases were reported with 1,923 of those in provincial capital Wuhan. The city also accounted for 107 of the 139 new deaths reported in Hubei on Saturday. National Health Commission deputy director Wang Hesheng said nine medical shelters had been opened to accommodate patients with mild symptoms, as well as people with suspected infections.

It was Wang’s first press conference since his arrival in Wuhan – provincial capital of Hubei where the novel coronavirus emerged – about a week ago. Wang and Chen Yixin, secretary general of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the Communist Party’s top law enforcement body, were sent to Wuhan in response to public uproar about the death of ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, widely regarded as a whistle-blower about the new virus. Wang said China had sent 217 medical teams across provinces, including a total of 25,033 medical professionals to Hubei. These were in addition to the 181 teams of army doctors in Wuhan and a further 36 military medical teams in other cities in the province.


[..] Fan Yifei, vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China, said money supply in the country would be ensured, with 4 billion yuan (US$572 million) in new bank notes already allocated to Hubei before the Spring Festival holiday. Fan said the central bank would temporarily store bank notes from major government institutes or state enterprises in warehouses to prevent the disease spreading through the handling of cash. Banks have also been told to sanitise notes before giving them to enterprises. Fan said cash from hospitals and wet markets were being stored and bank notes and coins sanitised with UV light before they were released back into circulation.

Read more …

Imagine this in Paris, London, New York.

Beijing To Quarantine All Arrivals As Economic Life Struggles To Pick Up (R.)

The Chinese capital Beijing on Friday imposed a 14-day self-quarantine on people returning to the city from holidays to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, and threatened to punish those who failed to comply. It was not immediately clear how the restriction, relayed by the official Beijing Daily newspaper, would be enforced, or whether it would apply to non-residents of Beijing or foreigners arriving from abroad. [..] Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak began, has the most acute problem. With all public transport, taxis and ride-hailing services shut down in the city, volunteer drivers are responding to requests on ad hoc messaging groups to ferry medical staff and others in vital jobs to and from work, risking their own health.


Others work round the clock to find accommodation for medical workers in hotels that have volunteered rooms. Many of the drivers keep their identities secret to avoid objections from family and friends. “Everyone in our group has such a strong sense of mission,” said 53-year-old Chen Hui, who runs one of the ad hoc ride services. [..] “From now on, all those who have returned to Beijing should stay at home or submit to group observation for 14 days after arriving,” read the notice from Beijing’s virus prevention working group cited by the Beijing Daily. “Those who refuse to accept home or centralised observation and other prevention and control measures will be held accountable under law.”

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He’s starting to acknowledge he can’t do both. How to save face?

Xi Puts On Brave Face, Vows To Deliver Economic Goals Amid Coronavirus (SCMP)

Shrouded in utmost secrecy, the Politburo Standing Committee is the inner circle of China’s power structure. The seven-member body, which is the core of the 25 member Politburo cabinet with general secretary Xi Jinping as its head, rarely publishes meeting schedules or agendas before or even after meetings. The details of only four standing committee meetings have been published in the two and half years since Xi consolidated his power in late 2017, even though the group is believed to have met on a weekly basis. Two of the meetings were to listen to work reports from China’s government, parliament and the top court, one was a discussion about a grand plan to build an entirely new city in Xiongan, Hebei province, and the fourth concerned a low-quality vaccine scandal.

This all changed last month with the outbreak of the coronavirus, which causes the disease now officially known as Covid-19. The conclusions of three standing committee meetings in three consecutive weeks have since been published, an attempt to make it clear that China’s leadership, in particular Xi himself, has a strong message to send to the country’s ruling apparatus and the general public. During Wednesday’s meeting, Xi said control of the coronavirus had entered a critical stage despite “positive developments” in containing the outbreak, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. However, Xi emphasised that the outbreak of coronavirus should not stop China from achieving its social and economic goals, while also continuing the country’s long-term rise.


“This year is the last year to complete the goal of building up a comprehensively well-off society” said Xi, with all levels of the government expected to ensure economic stability and social harmony to achieve set goals despite the coronavirus. The meeting came just a day after Xi told his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, that China “has the capability, confidence and certainty to score an outright victory over the epidemic”. “We must see that the long-term sound fundamentals of our economy haven’t changed. The impact of the outbreak will only be short-term and [China] won’t be intimidated by the current problems and difficulties,” Xi said according to Xinhua.

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Africa is an ideal breeding ground for a virus like this. But who’s going to do the testing, and with what? A hospital in Cairo may do it, but what about the Congo for instance? There are at least a millionn Chinese working in Africa. Come to think of it, what will COVID19 mean for Belt and Road?

Egypt Confirms Coronavirus Case, The First In Africa (AlJ)

Egypt has confirmed its first case of a deadly coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year and has since spread to more than two dozen countries around the world. Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed said in a statement on Friday that the affected person was a “foreigner” who did not show any serious symptoms. Officials were able to confirm the case through a follow-up programme implemented by the government for travellers arriving from countries where the virus has spread. The ministry statement said the person was hospitalised and in isolation. It did not specify the person’s nationality or their point of entry. The development made Egypt the first country in the African continent to report a confirmed case, and the second in the Middle East region, after the United Arab Emirates late last month diagnosed its first cases.

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China must ask for mass assistance.

Chinese Medical Staff Pay ‘Too High A Price’ In Battle To Curb Virus (SCMP)

More than a thousand health care workers have been infected with Covid-19, many of whom contracted the virus that causes the disease in the early weeks of the outbreak when there was a shortage of protective equipment and the authorities said there had been few cases of human-to-human transmission. One specialist warned that frontline medical workers were paying “too high a price” in the battle to contain the disease and warned that the high number of infected health care staff increased the risk of cross-infection in hospitals. On Friday the government said a total 1,716 health care workers had been infected with the disease. The number is far higher than that recorded during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic, although there have been 12 times more confirmed cases of Covid-19.

[..] Cai Haodong, a communicable diseases specialist from Beijing’s Ditan Hospital, said the absolute number of health care worker infections was far higher than during the Sars epidemic because there were many patients who had not initially shown any symptoms. “The enemy (coronavirus) is in the dark. The awareness of doctors of non-communicable disease was not strong. They may have lowered their guard when the patient did not show any symptoms.” Health care workers were also forced to go to the frontline without proper protective clothing and masks, she added. “The doctors in Wuhan don’t have sufficient protective gear and they are forced to go to the frontline. The price is just too high,” she said.


The large number of health care worker infections increases the risks of cross-infection in hospitals. “When doctors are infected, they may infect patients and cause cross-infections. That is why the United States requires doctors to have influenza vaccines so that they won’t pass it on to patients,” Cao said.

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How much did the industry pay for this commercial?

“We had free internet and free wine. We had three-course meals. There was so much choice..”

Wandering Ship Becomes ‘Best Cruise Ever (R.)

After nearly two weeks cast away in search of a port that would take them, passengers aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship spoke of an ordeal that was anything but harrowing. “Everyone says ‘poor you’. But there was no poor you. We had free internet and free wine. We had three-course meals. There was so much choice,” said Zahra Jennings, a retired staff nurse from Britain. How was it? “Lovely,” she said. The 1,544 passengers and 802 crew had never expected a port stop in Hong Kong to metastasize into full-blown fear that some of the ship’s passengers carried the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year and has killed more than 1,500 people.

Turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand, it was Cambodia that finally let the lost ship dock – and it was discovered there that none of the passengers was infected. The only complaint aboard? “They ran out of hash browns a couple of days ago, and tomato sauce,” said Robert Sayers, a 60-year-old chemical company employee from New Zealand. “But that was it. It was fine, really.” Cruise ships around Asia face widespread fears they may be spreading the virus since it was found aboard the Diamond Princess that is now at anchor in Yokohama and where 218 of the passengers have been diagnosed with the virus.

Vietnam turned back two ships on Friday. It was Valentine’s Day when the first passengers disembarked from the Westerdam. The prime minister, Hun Sen, flew in from the capital, shaking hands with passengers and handing out roses. Government officials draped “Welcome to Cambodia” banners on buses. All passengers were given free visas. Hun Sen, an authoritarian ruler condemned by Western countries for human rights abuses said: “Our current disease around the world is fear and discrimination,” he said. “If Cambodia didn’t allow this ship to dock, where should these 2,000 passengers go?”


Holland America sent letters to all passengers saying it would reimburse the cost of the cruise, give them another free 14-day cruise, and charter them flights home. The company, it said, would do its best to match the class of flight they had originally booked. The cruise had been scheduled to end in Shanghai on Saturday. In Shanghai it was 14 Celsius, overcast and raining. In Sihanoukville, it was 27C and sunny.

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He was led to believe that he wasn’t being investigated, so he didn’t need a lawyer, and now we’re off to the races.

Sidney Powell: One Atrocity After The Other In Michael Flynn Case (SAC)

Sidney Powell, the attorney for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn told Sean Hannity on Friday that there has been “one atrocity after another” in the proceedings. “So not only was [Michael Flynn] not warned of his rights, he didn’t even know that he was being investigated,” Powell told host Sean Hannity. “In fact, he was led to believe that he wasn’t being investigated.” Powell added that Michael Flynn’s case was the first instance she had heard of in which a defendant accused of making false statements to the FBI was not warned of his rights or informed that he was under investigation. “They say they can’t find [it], he can’t produce it [the 302 form],” she said of Michael Flynn prosecutor Brandon Van Grack. who she claimed has a separate conflict of interest in the case. “There is one atrocity after the other in this case.”

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Would this have happened if Powell hadn’t taken over? I don’t believe it for a second.

Barr Assigns Outside Prosecutor To Review Case Against Flynn (ZH)

A week of two-tiered legal shenanigans was capped off on Friday with a New York Times report that Attorney General William Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the government’s case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, which the Times suggested was “highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors.” Notably, the FBI excluded crucial information from a ‘302’ form documenting an interview with Flynn in January, 2017. While Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to misleading agents over his contacts with the former Russian ambassador regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to oppose a UN resolution related to Israel, the original draft of Flynn’s 203 reveals that agents thought he was being honest with them – evidence which Flynn’s prior attorneys never pursued.

His new attorney, Sidney Powell, took over Flynn’s defense in June 2019 – while Flynn withdrew his guilty plea in January, accusing the government of “bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement.” In addition to a review of the Flynn case, Barr has hired a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review several other politically sensitive national-security cases in the US attorney’s office in Washington, according to the Times sources. Of particular interest will be cases overseen by now-unemployed former US attorney for DC, Jessie Liu, which includes actions against Stone, Flynn, the Awan brothers, James Wolfe and others. Notably, Wolfe was only sentenced to leaking a classified FISA warrant application to journalist and side-piece Ali Watkins of the New York Times – while prosecutors out of Liu’s office threw the book at former Trump adviser Roger Stone – recommending 7-9 years in prison for process crimes.


[..] New York Times: “The moves amounted to imposing a secondary layer of monitoring and control over what career prosecutors have been doing in the Washington office. They are part of a broader turmoil in that office coinciding with Mr. Barr’s recent installation of a close aide, Timothy Shea, as interim United States attorney in the District of Columbia, after Mr. Barr maneuvered out the Senate-confirmed former top prosecutor in the office, Jessie K. Liu. Mr. Flynn’s case was first brought by the special counsel’s office, who agreed to a plea deal on a charge of lying to investigators in exchange for his cooperation, before the Washington office took over the case when the special counsel shut down after concluding its investigation into Russia’s election interference”.

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But that’s not the end of the line for McCabe, says Jason Chaffetz. Stay tuned.

DOJ Drops Investigation Of Former FBI Deputy Andrew McCabe (UPI)

The Justice Department has dropped its investigation into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over accusations he leaked information to news media, his attorneys said Friday. A letter to McCabe’s lawyers said the Justice Department declined to pursue criminal charges. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed,” said the letter, signed by J.P. Cooney and Molly Gaston of the Fraud & Public Corruption Section of the Justice Department. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe from the FBI in March 2018 after the Justice Department’s inspector general determined he’d authorized FBI officials to reveal sensitive information to media about an investigation related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


The IG report accused McCabe of subsequently misleading investigators about his role in the matter. McCabe had stepped down from his role as deputy director of the FBI months earlier. McCabe’s lawyers, Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Washington, D.C., notified them the case was closed.

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How can the request be refused? Hard to see.

Roger Stone Asks For New Trial (Hill)

Attorneys for Roger Stone on Friday requested a new trial, a day after saying they were looking into potential bias by a juror who voted to convict the longtime Trump associate of lying to Congress and witness tampering. The request also comes after President Trump accused the juror of harboring “significant bias” following reports that her social media activity contained posts that were critical of Trump. “Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias. Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the “Justice” Department. @foxandfriends @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted Thursday.

Stone’s attorneys would not reveal the contents of the motion, which was filed under seal to protect sensitive information, saying only that an un-redacted version will be submitted later for public filing. However, a day earlier they indicated they were looking into the newly surfaced social media activity of jury foreperson Tomeka Hart. “Mr. Stone and his defense team are diligently reviewing the newly reported information to determine any appropriate next steps,” said attorney Grant Smith, who did not refer to the juror by name. Hart’s role as the jury foreperson became publicly known Wednesday when she confirmed to CNN that she had written a Facebook post defending the prosecutors in Stone’s case.


The four-person prosecution team quit Tuesday after their recommended sentence of seven to nine years in prison was overruled by top Justice Department officials, sparking questions about whether the White House had put undue political pressure on the department to seek a lighter sentence for Trump’s longtime associate. Stone, a 67-year-old right-wing provocateur, was found guilty in November of lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to provide the Trump campaign inside information about WikiLeaks in 2016. [..] It was unclear if the request for a new trial — Stone’s second attempt after the first was denied — would delay his scheduled Feb. 20 sentencing.

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Carville is THE symbol of the demise of the Democratic Party in the past 30 years. He’s a sleaze like Roger Stone, only he’s free.

Carville Slams Sanders For ‘Hack’ Slam: ‘At Least I’m Not A Communist’ (Hill)

James Carville fired back at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for calling him “a political hack,” calling the self-described democratic socialist “a communist.” The back and forth follows a week in which Carville has repeatedly sounded the alarm about a potential Sanders match-up against President Trump in November, calling the scenario “the end of days” for the Democratic Party while referring to Sanders supporters as “a cult.” Sanders returned fire on Wednesday night during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, arguing that “political hack” Carville represents the establishment his campaign is running against.

“James, in all due respect, is a political hack,” Sanders said. “We are taking on Trump, the Republican establishment, Carville and the Democratic establishment. But at the end of the day, the grassroots movement that we are putting together — of young people, of working people, of people of color — want real change.” Carville, who worked as a campaign strategist for former President Clinton, escalated the feud Thursday on Snapchat with former CNN reporter Peter Hamby. “Last night on CNN, Bernie Sanders called me a political hack,” Carville said. “That’s exactly who the f— I am! I am a political hack! I am not an ideologue. I am not a purist. He thinks it’s a pejorative. I kind of like it! At least I’m not a communist.”


Trump also recently referred to Sanders as a communist. “I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity before the Super Bowl. Sanders dismissed Trump’s comment a week later in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders said, adding that maybe Trump “doesn’t know the difference.”

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Does anyone think the 737 MAX will fly again this year? How about ever?

United Airlines Pulls Boeing 737 MAX From Schedule Until September 4 (R.)

United Airlines said on Friday it is extending the cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights until Sept. 4, a fresh delay that comes as sources told Reuters that the timing of a key certification flight may not happen until at least April. U.S. airlines that operate Boeing’s737 MAX, which was grounded worldwide last March after two fatal crashes, had last pulled the jet from their flight schedules until early June. On Thursday, Southwest Airlines extended its MAX cancellations until Aug. 10.

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“..it is a peculiar feature of our times that a lot of things have an appearance that doesn’t sync with reality..”

Impure Thoughts (Kunstler)

..companies doing business need a revenue stream to service their revolving debts. They have to make stuff, and move stuff, and get paid for it. What happens when there is no revenue stream? The workings of this hyper-complex financial system depend utterly on the velocity of these revenue streams. They can’t just… stop! Everybody who follows these things understands that China’s banking system is 1) a hot mess of confabulated public and private lending relationships, 2) completely opaque as regards the true workings of its operations, and 3) shot through with fraud, swindling, and Ponzis. Did China’s ruling party just put its banking system in an induced coma while Corona virus plays out? How can that possibly not affect the rest of global finance, which is plenty janky, too?

The USA gets everything from car parts to pharmaceuticals from China. How long will it take for the manufacturing lock-down to show up in American daily life? What if it continues for some months going forward? You can easily draw your own conclusions. Here’s another interesting angle on that: Corona virus might give President Donald Trump an easy out from being the bag-holder for a stock market crash and banking train wreck. The signal weakness of Mr. Trump’s term-in-office was his taking ownership of a magical mystery stock market that climbs ever-higher day after day, defying all known rules of physics as applied to money.


This longest “expansion” in US history (if that’s what it was, and I’m not so sure about it) seems to have hit a speed bump last September when something broke in the short-term “re-po” lending markets, at which time (and ever since), Jay Powell’s Federal Reserve began jamming hundreds of billions of dollars into them to smash down zooming interest rates and prevent a heart attack in the system. That creation of “liquidity” — money from thin air — appears to have stabilized the situation. But then, it is a peculiar feature of our times that a lot of things have an appearance that doesn’t sync with reality.

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Time to go before things get out of hand.

US Soldiers in Deathly Scuffle With Syrian Civilians (Whitney Webb)

As resistance to U.S. troop presence in both Iraq and Syria gains steam, a rare scuffle between Syrian civilians and U.S. forces broke out on Wednesday resulting in the death of one Syrian, believed to be a civilian, and the wounding of another. A U.S. soldier was also reportedly injured in the scuffle. The event is likely to escalate tensions, particularly in the Northeastern region where the incident took place, as Syria, Iraq and Iran have pushed for an end to the U.S. troop presence in the region following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The clash between U.S. forces and Syrian locals took place near the town of Qamishli where the U.S. forces were conducting a patrol that, for reasons that are still unclear, entered into territory controlled by the Syrian government instead of territory occupied by the U.S. and its regional proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). At a Syrian military checkpoint, the U.S. patrol was met by Syrian civilians of a nearby village who gathered at the checkpoint and began throwing rocks at the U.S. convoy. Then, one Syrian took a U.S. flag off of one of the military vehicles. Reports from activists on the ground and Syrian media then claim that U.S. troops opened fire using live ammunition and fired smoke bombs at the angry residents, killing one and wounding another.


A U.S. soldier was said to have received a superficial wound, though the nature of the wound was not specified. After the scuffle, the protests grew larger, preventing more U.S. troops from arriving at the scene. In one video of the protests, a local was seen ripping a U.S. flag as he approached an American soldier. The obstruction of the road prevented the U.S. patrol from advancing and two military vehicles had to be towed after becoming stuck in the grass after an apparent attempt to circumvent the roadblock created by the Syrian military checkpoint and supportive Syrian civilians.

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After the Greek House speaker refused to accept the recordings, Varoufakis -through DiEM25- said this:

“No one has the right to keep a sovereign Parliament, nor citizens, in the dark. This is why by the end of February we will release all recordings, so that all European citizens finally get to see the hypocrisy of the Establishment and the despicable way in which governments behave, in their name, behind closed doors.”

Varoufakis Submits Recordings Of Eurogroup Talks To Greek Parliament (K.)

The head of Mera25 party and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on Friday submitted to Parliament an envelope allegedly containing his secret audio recordings from the Eurogroup meetings while he was negotiating for Greece’s SYRIZA-led government in the first half of 2015. Varoufakis said he expected House speaker Kostas Tasoulas to forward the content to Greek lawmakers. Tasoulas, however, said he had no intention of sharing the recordings. “Parliament will not shoulder [Varoufakis’] responsibilities,” he said. The exchange took place during a debate on labor issues.


Tasoulas’ reaction was welcomed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. In a statement, Mera25 said that Tasoulas’ refusal to accept the transcripts “confirms that Eurogroup’s wall of intransparency suited and still suits many people, while truth and transparency terrifies [them].” “All European citizens have a right to directly access the statements, the dialogues and the decisions that shape their future,” it said. Eurogroup rules do not explicitly prohibit participants from recording talks as long as the contents are kept confidential.

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Intruiging. But no answer.

Multibillion Mystery Of The Great British Gold Sale (Conway)

Every so often you encounter a chart that takes your breath away. This week I saw just such a graph and I’m still struggling to get my head round it. It depicts something which on the face of it sounds mundane — exports of gold from the UK — and it looks like a hockey stick. You’ve probably seen a hockey-stick chart before. There’s the one Al Gore put up on the big screen in An Inconvenient Truth showing temperatures hovering at about the same level for century after century before shooting up in recent decades. Or the one of GDP going back to the dark ages: for most of history we subsisted on meagre earnings until the industrial revolution came along and catapulted GDP into the stratosphere.

The one this week has much the same shape. Not much of anything for month after month from 1998 when it begins until October 2019. Sure, there were occasional months when the amount of gold leaving British hands would hit a few hundred million pounds. Once or twice it ticks over a billion. But nothing like what occurs in November and December last year: in those months it skyrockets at a rate that doesn’t make any sense. Until then, the monthly average of gold exports was £126 million. Then in November they leapt to £4 billion. In December they doubled to £8 billion. [..] Britain does not mine any significant quantity of gold yet we are the world’s hub for the trade in physical bullion.

This is something of an accident of history, in much the same way as we are also the world’s centre for the trade in fine wine, despite the fact that we produce very little of the stuff ourselves. Yet gold bullion is so valuable that every time it changes hands it massively distorts the trade figures. Consider: Britain has not achieved a goods trade surplus, which is where we export more goods than we import, in any single month since comparable records began more than two decades ago. Yet in December that astonishing leap in gold exports meant that the headline figures published this week showed Britain achieving its first goods trade surplus in modern times. That this was almost entirely down to a mysterious movement of gold bars was seemingly lost on Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, who promptly issued a press release hailing a “record-breaking year for UK exports”.

[..] why did gold exports soar at the end of last year? Was it down to Brexit, with traders switching out of gold in the run-up to Brexit day? Was it to do with the election? Was it central banks repatriating gold or investment banks shifting their portfolios from UK-domiciled funds to EU ones? We still don’t know. I have spoken to statisticians, to gold analysts and economists, to traders and industry experts. None of them have the foggiest idea what is going on. One analyst took a look at the chart and spluttered a four-letter word. “That’s crazy,” he said. “Must be a mistake.” Another person pointed to the fact that Poland flew back about £4 billion worth of gold from the UK last year, before remembering that this happened before December and, oh, these kinds of things don’t count as official exports anyway.


The most plausible explanation I’ve heard is that this was simply an accounting change: one of London’s leading gold custodians, an American investment bank, shifted some of the gold from one column of its accounts to another. The gold didn’t leave the country; someone simply fiddled with a spreadsheet. Even so, that raises further questions: is that bank in trouble? Why do it now? Who ordered it: the bank holding the gold or the gold’s owners? If the latter, then who owns so much gold that they could single-handedly distort this country’s trade figures and surface in Britain’s national accounts?

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Valentine’s.

 

 

 

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Jul 102018
 


John Swope Trees in fog (Chile) 1939

 

Leveraged-Loan Risks Are Piling Up (WS)
UK House Prices Should Be Frozen For Five Years – Think Tank (Ind.)
24 Hours of Brexit Mayhem (Ind.)
Britain Has Gone To Huge Trouble To Humiliate Itself (Fintan O’Toole)
Novichok In Wiltshire Death ‘Highly Likely’ From Batch Used On Skripals (G.)
Nissan Says Emissions And Fuel Economy Tests Were Falsified (R.)
Trump Slams Pfizer After July 1 Drug Price Hikes (R.)
Judge Rejects Trump Request For Long-Term Detention Of Immigrant Children (R.)
Egypt Rejects Europe’s Intent To Set Up ‘Regional Disembarkation Centres’ (AW)
If You Love Greece, Help Us Get Rid Of Alexis Tsipras And His Zombie Party (G.)
When Collapse Goes Kinetic (Kunstler)
As Trial Opens, Man Dying Of Cancer Blames Monsanto’s Roundup (AFP)

 

 

Not learned a single thing in the past 10 years.

Leveraged-Loan Risks Are Piling Up (WS)

US junk-bond issuance in June plunged 31% from a year ago to just $14.5 billion, the lowest of any June in five years, according to LCD of S&P Global Market Intelligence. During the first half of the year, junk bond issuance dropped 23% from a year ago to $110.6 billion. Is investor appetite for risky debt drying up? Have investors given up chasing yield? On the contrary! They’re chasing harder than before, but they’re chasing elsewhere in the junk-rated credit spectrum: leveraged loans. Leveraged loans are another way by which junk-rated companies can raise money. These loans are arranged by banks and sold either as loans or as Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLOs) to other investors, such as pension funds or loan funds.

They’re a $1 trillion market and trade like securities. But the SEC, which regulates securities, considers them loans and doesn’t regulate them. No one regulates them. In the first half, companies issued $274 billion of non-amortizing leveraged loans, and $97 billion in revolving and amortizing leveraged loans, according to LCD, for a total of $371 billion, on par with the record set in the first half last year. This is well over triple the amount of junk bonds issued in same period ($110 billion). Many of these loans have floating interest rates, typically pegged to the dollar-Libor. And in an investment environment where the Fed has been trying to push up interest rates, Libor has surged, and floating-rate loans, whose interest payments increase as Libor ratchets higher, are very appealing to investors – despite the additional risks these higher interest payments pose for the companies that are already struggling with negative cash flows.

[..] Leveraged loans come with covenants that are supposed to protect investors during the term of the loan and in case of default. With strong covenants and good collateral, leveraged loans tend to be less risky than junk bonds issued by the same company. Alas, investors have the hots for this debt, and companies are taking advantage of it by weakening covenants, giving investors fewer protections and the company more leeway – such as paying interest with more debt rather than cash if it runs out of cash (payment-in-kind or PIK); normally, not being able to pay interest would constitute a default, but not with these “covenant lite” or “cov-lite” loans. The boom in cov-lite has started years ago and has surged to massive record proportions. When these loans default, investors are exposed to much greater losses.

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Interesting idea. Decades too late though.

UK House Prices Should Be Frozen For Five Years – Think Tank (Ind.)

UK house prices should be frozen for five years to help prevent another financial crisis, the think tank IPPR has said. The group has urged the Bank of England to freeze property prices under a separate new inflation target and said this could lead to house prices falling by around 10 per cent in real terms as other prices and wages continue to rise, making homes more affordable. Under the IPPR’s proposals, house prices would be allowed to increase “only after expectations of constantly rising house prices have been ‘reset’”. The think tank also said prices would be allowed to grow “no faster than the general consumer price inflation target of 2 per cent, meaning no further growth in the real value of people’s homes”.

The IPPR said its recommendations were part of a wider plan to “rebalance the UK economy away from finance” so as to avoid another financial crisis. According to the IPPR, the financial sector’s “dominance” since the 1980s has contributed to a strong pound, which has hurt exporters, and has attracted surplus money from other countries, which has been channelled into loans for speculative investors, including mortgage lending. This speculation over house prices, the think tank said, has helped drive up prices and at the same time made the economy more vulnerable to a crisis, because it has reduced funds available for more productive investment, created regional inequalities with disproportionate growth in London and the South East, and “concentrated market power into the hands of a small number of large banks”.

[..] Grace Blakeley, IPPR research fellow, said: “Since the 1980s, the UK’s business model has rested on attracting capital from the rest of the world, which it has channelled into debt for UK consumers. The 2008 crisis proved that this is unsustainable. “We need to move towards a more sustainable growth model, one built on production and investment rather than debt and speculation. To do this, we must break the cycle of ever-rising house prices driving property speculation, crowding out investment in the real economy.”

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A confidence vote looks inevitable.

24 Hours of Brexit Mayhem (Ind.)

Theresa May is clinging on to power following the dramatic resignation of Boris Johnson and a bruising 24 hours of conflict with Tory Brexiteers. Mr Johnson became the third minister to quit in the space of a day, accusing Ms May of pursuing a Brexit that would lock Britain into “the status of colony”. In a scathing letter, he said her plans for negotiating with Europe decided at Chequers last week equated to going into battle with “white flags fluttering”. But despite the resignations and the looming threat of a “vote of no confidence”, Ms May survived the day and finished it with a swipe at Mr Johnson, in which she appeared to question his motives for quitting.

After David Davis left his job as Brexit secretary just before midnight on Sunday, speculation grew as to whether there would be a slew of resignations, bringing down the government. He had been followed by fellow Brexit minister Steve Baker, but it was not until 3pm on Monday, when it emerged that Mr Johnson was walking, that Ms May looked at her most precarious. It was claimed that Downing Street leaked news of his resignation before he could write his letter, which the prime minister’ aides guessed would be wounding. When it came it said: “Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward looking global economy. “The dream is dying, suffocated by needles doubt.”

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“Instead of the Star Trek vision of boldly going where no imperial nostalgic society had gone before, this Brexit would not have enough thrust to get the UK out of the gravitational pull of the European Union”

Britain Has Gone To Huge Trouble To Humiliate Itself (Fintan O’Toole)

The best headline about British prime minister Theresa May’s short-lived triumph over the hard Brexiteers last Friday was undoubtedly the one on Pádraig Collins’s report in the Guardian: “Possum rescued after getting head stuck in Nutella jar”. Admittedly, Collins was actually reporting, not from Chequers, but from Brisbane, Australia. Yet the accompanying photograph was the perfect image of what May is trying to do. It showed the furry creature all curled up and immobilised with its head completely encased in a glass jar streaked with visible residues of sticky brown stuff. As a spokesman for the Australian RSPCA explained, the dumb animal “managed to get his head in the jar, but obviously couldn’t get it out”.

The rescuer put “towels around the possum so she could get him out of the jar without getting scratched by his claws”. The story saves me the trouble of thinking up a metaphor. The Brexiteers have their heads stuck in a jar of sticky brown stuff that seemed so sweet and enticing. May’s compromise deal and the White Paper she is still expected to publish this week are the towels wrapped round the Brexiteers’ claws so that their heads can be pulled out of the jar without her premiership getting scratched to death.

The only problem is that David Davis and Boris Johnson, having been successfully extracted, decided to bare their claws again. As any possum or two-year-old child will tell you, sticking your head inside a glass jar is quite a thrill. You get to see the world through a distorting lens that creates a comforting distance between you and reality. You can’t hear unwanted voices raising awkward questions. Brexit has so far been conducted through a glass darkly. It has been seen through glorious fantasies of imperial revival and layers of self-pity about imaginary oppression. What May has been attempting, very late in the day, is to force her more deluded colleagues to get their heads out of the jar and look directly at Brexit.

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The story is the two have been exposed to high dose of novichok. That is not possible; they would have died in instants.

Novichok In Wiltshire Death ‘Highly Likely’ From Batch Used On Skripals (G.)

Britain’s counter-terrorism chief has said it is highly likely the novichok that killed Dawn Sturgess in Wiltshire came from the same batch used four months earlier to attack a former Russian spy and his daughter at their Salisbury home. The Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu also said the substance that led to Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley falling ill on Saturday was in a vessel or container when the couple came across it. Police have opened a murder investigation after Sturgess died in hospital on Sunday at 8.26pm. Basu said: “It is both shocking and utterly appalling that a British citizen has died having being exposed to a Novichok nerve agent.

“But make no mistake, we’re determined to find out how Dawn and her partner, Charlie Rowley, came into contact with such a deadly substance; and we will do everything we possibly can to bring those responsible to justice.” Basu said Sturgess and Rowley got a high dose of novichok after handling a container containing the nerve agent. It was most likely that the container police are hunting for was linked to the attack four months earlier on the Skripals. [..] “In the four months since the Skripals and Nick Bailey were poisoned, no other people besides Dawn and Charlie have presented with symptoms. Their reaction is so severe it resulted in Dawn’s death and Charlie being critically ill. This means they must have got a high dose. Our hypothesis is they must have handled the container we are now seeking.”

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“The carmaker blamed staffing shortages for the scandal..”

Nissan Says Emissions And Fuel Economy Tests Were Falsified (R.)

Nissan has said it has found evidence of misconduct relating to exhaust emissions and fuel economy measurements for 19 models sold in Japan. The Japanese carmaker said on Monday it had discovered the testing environments for emissions and fuel economy in final vehicle inspections at most of its factories in Japan were not in line with requirements, and inspection reports were based on altered measurements. “A full and comprehensive investigation of the facts … including the causes and background of the misconduct, is under way,” Nissan said. The problems were found during voluntary compliance checks following an improper vehicle inspection scandal last year.

In October, a recall of 1.2m vehicles was triggered after Nissan said uncertified inspectors had signed off on final checks for cars sold in Japan. The carmaker blamed staffing shortages for the scandal, which caused annual operating profit to slide. Nissan said the latest misconduct did not compromise the safety of the affected models, and mileage readings were in line with levels presented in product catalogues. It was in the process of compiling data for the GT-R sports car to confirm it satisfied safety standards. The carmaker said it would take appropriate action to prevent similar problems in future.

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Time to keep promises.

Trump Slams Pfizer After July 1 Drug Price Hikes (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday took aim at Pfizer Inc and other U.S. drugmakers after they raised prices on some of their medicines on July 1, saying his administration would act in response. “Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason.” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter on Monday. “We will respond!” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar followed up with his own tweet saying that drugmakers who have raised prices have created a tipping point in U.S. drug pricing policy. “Change is coming to drug pricing, whether painful or not for pharmaceutical companies,” Azar wrote. Neither Trump nor Azar detailed what policy changes would be implemented to decrease prices.

Trump had said in May that some drug companies would soon announce “voluntary, massive” cuts in prices, but none have materialized yet. During his presidential campaign, he promised lower U.S. drug costs. Pfizer raised list prices on around 40 medicines earlier this month. Those include Viagra, cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis treatment Xeljanz, according to Wells Fargo. List prices do not include rebates and discounts drugmakers may offer. “The list price remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines. Our portfolio includes more than 400 medicines and vaccines. We are modifying prices for approximately 10 percent of these, including some instances where we’re decreasing the price,” Pfizer spokeswoman Sally Beatty told Reuters.

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Enough of this already. Stop it.

Judge Rejects Trump Request For Long-Term Detention Of Immigrant Children (R.)

A U.S. federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow long-term detention of illegal immigrant children, a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s push to detain immigrant families taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border. Los Angeles U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as “dubious” and “unconvincing” the U.S. Justice Department’s proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children cannot be held in detention for long periods. The government made its request in June after public outcry over its policy of separating children from parents who entered the United States illegally.

A judge in a different case in San Diego ordered the government last month to reunite the families it had separated. The government asserted in its Flores filing that the San Diego ruling would necessitate longer-term detention of children, since that would be the only way to both reunite them with their parents and keep the parents incarcerated during their immigration proceedings. Gee rejected that argument. “Defendants advance a tortured interpretation of the Flores Agreement in an attempt to show that the … injunction permits them to suspend the Flores release and licensure provisions,” she wrote.

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“The solution to the problem will be to resettle these refugees in their countries..” “This can only happen when the conflicts raging in these countries are settled.”

Egypt Rejects Europe’s Intent To Set Up ‘Regional Disembarkation Centres’ (AW)

Egypt’s opposition to establishing camps for screening migrants heading to Europe has made the European Union’s “regional disembarkation centres” proposal seem even more implausible. Cairo’s stand has underscored the deep worries in the Egyptian administration about the country’s increasing refugee responsibilities, analysts said. “This is a burden Egypt shoulders alone, without any support from the international community,” said MP Ghada Agamy, a member of the Egyptian parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Egypt said it would not be able to accommodate “regional disembarkation centres” for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe just hours after European leaders reached a controversial migration deal that included refugee centres in North Africa and “controlled centres” in European countries. Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria have rejected the idea of regional disembarkation centres. The Egyptian government said establishing refugee camps would violate the Egyptian constitution. Refugees, Egyptian parliament Speaker Ali Abdel A’al said, can live wherever they want in Egypt. “We do not establish camps here,” he said. Egyptian officials are concerned about Cairo’s ability to shoulder refugee-related burdens, analysts said, particularly at a time of economic transition.

[..] Instead of asking economically struggling countries to act as refugee hosts, European leaders need to solve the problems that cause these refugees to leave their countries in the first place, particularly the unrest that has engulfed many countries, Egyptian specialists said. “The solution to the problem will be to resettle these refugees in their countries,” said Youssef al-Metany, a refugee lawyer at local NGO Egyptian Network for International Law. “This can only happen when the conflicts raging in these countries are settled.”

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Zoe Konstantopoulou is the former president of the Hellenic parliament.

If You Love Greece, Help Us Get Rid Of Alexis Tsipras And His Zombie Party (G.)

Last week was the third anniversary of the 2015 referendum, in which the Greek people voted no to more austerity, and no to the violation of democracy by the creditors. The week before Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister who betrayed the brave no of the Greek people, visited London to present his capitulation to the troika of the European commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank as an achievement.

Imagine how the British people would view a prime minister elected to end privatisation, and who instead privatised almost every piece of public property; who was elected to serve peace, and who instead facilitated military action against targets in Syria and agreed to sell weapons to countries accused of committing international crimes; who was elected to protect people’s homes, and who stood by while banks seized them, leaving people homeless; who was elected to serve democracy and the independence of his country, and who instead turned it over to the EU, the IMF and the ECB. This is what Tsipras did to the Greek people.

I was a Syriza MP and president of the Greek parliament during the seven months of the first Syriza government. When Tsipras signed the toxic third memorandum in 2015, I fought hard to protect our parliamentary procedures that he and the troika violated. In spite of continuous pressure, I refused to bend our democratic rules and accept more illegal debt for our people. Together with dozens of other Syriza MPs, I voted against the monstrous agreement. Tsipras then dissolved parliament prematurely to get rid of me and the dissenting MPs.

Three years on, his capitulation to the troika has proved the disaster many of us predicted. People’s lives have become unbearable. Youth unemployment has become the norm and an estimated 8% of the population has left in search of work. The minimum salary doesn’t pay the bills, and hundreds of thousands of families go without electricity for extended periods of time. This tragedy began in 2010, but Tsipras’s so-called left government has done everything to prove that it can implement austerity better than its predecessors. It even brags about exceeding the troika’s cruel targets in cuts and taxes.

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“..the landscape as demolition derby..”

When Collapse Goes Kinetic (Kunstler)

I suppose many who think about the prospect of economic collapse imagine something like a Death Star implosion that simply obliterates the normal doings of daily life overnight, leaving everybody in a short, nasty, brutish, Hobbesian free-for-all that dumps the survivors in a replay of the Stone Age — without the consolation of golden ages yet to come that we had the first time around. The collapse of our techno-industrial set-up has actually been going on for some time, insidiously and corrosively, without shattering the scaffolds of seeming normality, just stealthily undermining them. I’d date the onset of it to about 2005 when the world unknowingly crossed an invisible border into the terra incognito of peak oil, by which, of course, I mean oil that societies could no longer afford to pull out of the ground.

It’s one thing to have an abundance of really cheap energy, like oil was in 1955. But when the supply starts to get sketchy, and what’s left can only be obtained at an economic loss, the system goes quietly insane. In the event, popular beliefs and behavior have turned really strange. We do things that are patently self-destructive, rationalize them with doctrines and policies that don’t add up, and then garnish them with wishful fantasies that offer hypothetical happy endings to plot lines that do not really tend in a rosy direction. The techno-narcissistic nonsense reverberating through the echo-chambers of business, media, and government aims to furnish that nostrum called “hope” to a nation that simply won’t admit darker outcomes to the terrible limits facing humanity.

Thus, we have the Tesla saga of electric motoring to save the day for our vaunted way of life (i.e. the landscape as demolition derby), the absurd proposals to colonize distant, arid, frigid, and airless Mars as a cure for ruining this watery blue planet ideally suited for our life-form, and the inane “singularity” narratives that propose to replace grubby material human life with a crypto-gnostic data cloud of never-ending cosmic orgasm. The psychological desperation is obvious. Apparently, there are moments in history when flying up your own butt-hole is the most comforting available option.

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But how do you prove it?

As Trial Opens, Man Dying Of Cancer Blames Monsanto’s Roundup (AFP)

A lawyer for a California groundskeeper dying of cancer took aim at Monsanto Monday as a jury began hearing the lawsuit accusing the chemical giant of ignoring health risks of its top-selling weed killer Roundup. “For the past 40 years, Monsanto has known the primary ingredient in Roundup can produce tumors in lab animals,” attorney Brent Wisner told a California state court. A jury is hearing the case brought by Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two. Diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells, Johnson used a Monsanto generic version of Roundup called “Ranger Pro” repeatedly in his job at a school in Benicia, California, after being promoted to groundskeeper in 2012.

In his opening statement, Wisner said Monsanto opted against warning consumers of the risks and that instead “they have fought science” by playing down the suspected link between the chemical herbicide and cancer. “Monsanto has gone out of its way to bully scientists and fight researchers,” he told the jury. The case in California Superior Court is the first trial in which Roundup is said to have caused cancer, a claim repeatedly denied by the chemical company. If Monsanto loses, the case could open the door to hundreds of additional lawsuits against the company recently acquired by German-based pharmaceutical and chemical group Bayer.

Johnson had little warning about the risks of Roundup, his lawyer said. “He was told you could drink it, it was completely non toxic,” Wisner said with his client sitting in the San Francisco courtroom. “You will hear testimony from him that he got drenched in it, repeatedly.” The lawyer said Johnson, who is between rounds of chemotherapy, “is actually on borrowed time, he is not supposed to be alive today.” A key to Johnson’s case will be convincing jurors that Monsanto’s pesticide — whose main ingredient is glyphosate — is responsible for the illness. Wisner contended glyphosate combined with an ingredient intended to help it spread over leaves in a cancer-causing “synergy.”

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Oct 022017
 
 October 2, 2017  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Claude Monet Boulevard des Capucines 1873

 

Catalans Signal They May Declare Independence Within a Week (BBG)
Catalan Referendum Results Show 90% In Favour Of Independence (G.)
Catalan Independence Referendum Is A Smokescreen For Other Issues (Ind.)
Global Retirement Reality: A $400 Trillion Shortfall (Mauldin)
Hedge Funds Are ‘Dancing On The Rim Of A Volcano’ (BI)
CDO Redux: Credit Spreads & Financial Fraud (Whalen)
No, Trump Didn’t Botch the Puerto Rico Crisis (BBG)
Trump Urges Staff To Portray Him As “Crazy Guy” (Axios)
Egypt Fears Disaster From Largest Hydroelectric Dam In Africa (AP)
Planes, Ships, Barges: The DIY Evacuation Of Vanuatu’s Volcano Island (G.)
Climate Change Will Make Some Countries Richer – IMF (BBG)

 

 

An appeal from Puerto Rico via Nicole:

Hurricane Maria destroyed many of Puerto Rico’s local seed and organic food-producing farm crops. Please, if you can, send me seeds. Even fruit seed for the tropics – I can plant them quickly. I will hand them out to those in need – as well as start flats in order to jumpstart their crops. Thank you!

Mara Nieves
PO BOX 9020931
Old San Juan, PR
00901-0931

 

 

Ready for more confrontation.

Catalans Signal They May Declare Independence Within a Week (BBG)

Catalan separatist leaders signaled they may be moving toward a unilateral declaration of independence as early as this week after hundreds of activists were injured on Sunday as they sought to stop Spanish police from shutting down an illegal referendum. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont appealed to the European Union for support as he pledged to inform the regional parliament of the result of the vote in the coming days. The assembly will then act in line with the referendum law, Puigdemont said — and that could lead to a unilateral declaration of independence within 48 hours of the notification. “The citizens of Catalonia have won the right to have an independent state,” Puigdemont said in a televised statement, flanked by members of his regional administration.

Two million Catalans backed independence out of 2.3 million votes cast in total, government spokesman Jordi Turull said at a press conference in the early hours of Monday. Just over 5 million people were eligible to vote. Before the government crackdown began, separatist leaders said they would be comfortable declaring independence with about 1.8 million votes. Puigdemont’s time frame could see him announce the formation of a Catalan republic on Oct. 6, exactly 83 years since his predecessor as regional president, Lluis Companys, also declared independence. Companys was executed by the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. [..] Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is wrestling with his country’s biggest constitutional crisis since Franco’s death in 1975 as Puigdemont looks to harness decades of frustration to force Catalonia out of Spain.

Heading a minority government, Rajoy is fighting to maintain his authority as allies peel off in the national parliament and his officials struggle to enforce the law in the rebel region. While a declaration of independence would have no legal force, and would most likely not be recognized by the international community, it would nevertheless constitute a historic challenge to the authority of the Spanish government and state institutions. On Sunday night, Rajoy praised police for their “calmness” in defending the constitutional order after they raided polling stations and seized ballot boxes in their efforts to shut down the vote. As forces deployed, camera phones beamed the confrontations to the world. In one video, broadcast by a local newspaper, a woman is seen being thrown down a flight of stairs.

In another, police rip ballot boxes from the hands of would-be electoral officials. “We’ve proved that our rule of law has the resources to repel an attack on democracy of this magnitude,” Rajoy said in a televised statement. “Look for no culprits other than those who organized an illegal act and have broken our common bonds. We’ve witnessed the type of behavior that would be repugnant for any democrat: the indoctrination of children, persecution of judges and journalists.”

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Just weeks ago there wasn’t even a majority in the polls.

Catalan Referendum Results Show 90% In Favour Of Independence (G.)

Catalan officials have claimed that preliminary results of its referendum have shown 90% in favour of independence in the vote vehemently opposed by Spain. Jordi Turull, the Catalan regional government spokesman, told reporters early on Monday morning that 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted Sunday chose yes. He said nearly 8% of voters rejected independence and the rest of the ballots were blank or void. He said 15,000 votes were still being counted.The region has 5.3 million registered voters. Turull said the number of ballots did not include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids which resulted in hundreds of people being injured. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported to have been hurt, including at least two people who were thought to have been seriously injured.

Catalonia’s regional leader, Carles Puigdemont, spoke out against the violence with a pointed address: “On this day of hope and suffering, Catalonia’s citizens have earned the right to have an independent state in the form of a republic. “My government, in the next few days, will send the results of [the] vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.” Puigdemont had pressed ahead with the referendum despite opposition from the Spanish state, which declared the poll to be illegal, and the region’s own high court. He told crowds earlier in the day that the “police brutality will shame the Spanish state for ever”. The Spanish government defended its response after hundreds of people were hurt when riot police stormed polling stations in a last-minute effort to stop the vote on Sunday.

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Background.

Catalan Independence Referendum Is A Smokescreen For Other Issues (Ind.)

Tensions are running high in Catalonia, with riot police out in force and protesters advocating their right to vote being shot with rubber bullets. At the time of writing, more than 300 people have been injured and at least one person is currently undergoing surgery as a result of clashes between police and protesters. Police repression, the arresting of politicians and the intransigence of the Spanish government (“there will be no referendum” has been Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s favourite refrain over the last few weeks) make the temptation to simplify this into a simple left-right or good-bad discourse tantalising. But this issue is far from simple. Both sides in this debate are using the referendum to further their own political agendas.

Spain’s governing party, the Partido Popular (PP), is a right-wing party housing a spectrum of thought from neoliberalists to the hard-line right. The ruling party in Catalonia, PDeCAT, is a centre right party of the Catalan bourgeois which has historically been the natural ally of PP and not a traditional supporter of independence. Interestingly, their move to advocate a referendum has stopped their support from dropping in recent months. Alongside this, neither the national government nor the Catalan parliament are strangers to corruption in politics. PDeCAT has been plagued with allegations of corruption, debate around which has receded significantly as demands for independence have increased. PP, for its part, has often sought conflict as a means of garnering public support.

Positioning this referendum and the spectre of independence as a threat to Spanish citizens and their economic future – as well as tugging on the strings of nationalist patriotism in demanding the continued unity of Spain – PP has engaged widespread support. In recent days, Spanish flags have poured from windows and balconies, and in towns throughout Spain people have cheered the Civil Guard – Spain’s law enforcement agency which operates on military lines – with football chants advocating the defeat of the opposition. Against this political background, Spain is beginning to emerge from the crisis of which it has been in the grasp of since 2008. However, unemployment, particularly among young people, is still extremely high, with poverty and homelessness rates continuing to rise. Both Catalan and Spanish politicians have invoked nationalism as the banner beneath which popular support can be raised, allowing the referendum and its surrounding debates to create a vacuum in which these pressing social issues are demoted.

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John Mauldin is a scary man.

Global Retirement Reality: A $400 Trillion Shortfall (Mauldin)

I wrote a letter last June titled “Can You Afford to Reach 100?” Your answer may well be “Yes;” but, if so, you are one of the few. The World Economic Forum study I cited in that letter looked at six developed countries (the US, UK, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, and Canada) and two emerging markets (China and India) and found that by 2050 these countries will face a total savings shortfall of $400 trillion. That’s how much more is needed to ensure that future retirees will receive 70% of their working income. This staggering figure doesn’t even include most of Europe.

[..] The chart below shows the percentage of GDP needed to cover government pension payments in 2015 and 2050. But consider that the percentage of tax revenues required will be much higher. For instance, in Belgium the percentage of GDP going to pensions will be 18% in about 30 years, but that’s 40–50% of total tax revenues. That hunk doesn’t leave much for other budgetary items. Greece, Italy, Spain? Not far behind. And there is other research that makes the above numbers seem optimistic by comparison. The problem that the European economies have is that for the most part they are already massively in debt and have high tax rates. And they can’t print their own currencies. Many of Europe’s private pension companies and corporations are also in seriously deep kimchee. Low and negative interest rates have devastated the ability of pension funds to grow their assets.

Combined with public pension liabilities, the total cost of meeting the income and healthcare needs of retirees is going to increase dramatically all across Europe. Macron, the new French president, really is trying to shake up the old order, to his credit; and this week he came out and began to lay the foundation for the mutualization of all European debt, which I assume would end up on the balance sheet of the ECB. However, that plan still doesn’t deal with the unfunded liabilities. Do countries just run up more debt? It seems like the plan is to kick the can down the road just a little further, something Europe is becoming really good at. In this next chart, note the line running through each of the countries, showing their debt as a percentage of GDP. Italy’s is already over 150%. And this is a chart based mostly on 2006 and earlier data. A newer chart would be much uglier.

I could go on reviewing the retirement problems in other countries, but I hope you begin to see the big picture. This crisis isn’t purely a result of faulty politics – though that’s a big contributor – it’s a problem that is far bigger than even the most disciplined, future-focused governments and businesses can easily handle. Look what we’re trying to do. We think people can spend 35–40 years working and saving, then stop working and go on for another 20–30–40 years at the same comfort level – but with a growing percentage of retirees and a shrinking number of workers paying into the system. I’m sorry, but that’s magical thinking. And it’s not what the original retirement schemes envisioned at all. Their goal was to provide for a relatively small number of elderly people who were unable to work. Life expectancies were such that most workers would not reach that point, or would at least live just a few years beyond retirement.

As I have pointed out in past letters, when Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security for people over 65 years old, US life expectancy was about 56 years. If the retirement age had kept up with the increase in life expectancy, the retirement age in the US would now be 82. Try and sell that to voters. Worse, generations of politicians have convinced the public that not only is a magical outcome possible, it is guaranteed. Many politicians actually believe it themselves. They aren’t lying so much as just ignoring reality. They’ve made promises they aren’t able to keep and are letting others arrange their lives based on the assumption that the impossible will happen. It won’t.

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“..betting on the VIX is a ‘quick way to lose money.'”

Hedge Funds Are ‘Dancing On The Rim Of A Volcano’ (BI)

The market is calm. Perhaps too calm. The lack of price swings has investors mired in a sea of complacency, which has them ignoring potential risks, says Societe Generale. The firm specifically cites the CBOE Volatility Index – or VIX – which is used to track nervousness in the US stock market. Not only is the so-called fear gauge locked near the lowest levels on record, but hedge funds are betting it’ll decline even further. Their VIX positioning is the most bearish on record, according to data compiled by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “Compare that with dancing on the rim of a volcano,” a group of SocGen strategists led by Alain Bokobza, the firm’s head of global asset allocation, wrote in a client note. “If there is a sudden eruption (of volatility) you get badly burned.”

This isn’t the first time SocGen has issued a warning about low volatility. Two weeks ago, the firm drew parallels to conditions leading up to the 2007 financial crisis. Describing the current situation as a “dangerous volatility regime,” the firm cited the strong mean-reverting tendency of price swings as a big reason why investors should be bracing themselves. Other heavyweights in the investment field have also spoken out about the low-price-swing situation that they see as untenable. In late July, JPMorgan global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy Marko Kolanovic compared rock-bottom volatility to the conditions leading up to the 1987 stock market crash. [..] Laszlo Birinyi, the investment guru who predicted the bull market and has been repeatedly correct over its 8 1/2-year run, said that betting on the VIX is a “quick way to lose money.”

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“..the large banks cannot survive without cheating customers, creditors and shareholders..”

CDO Redux: Credit Spreads & Financial Fraud (Whalen)

The moral of the story with Citi and other large banks is that there is no free lunch, but sadly no one on the FOMC seems to appreciate this subtlety. When the Fed pushes down interest rates and then manipulates credit spreads to achieve some illusory goal in terms of monetary policy, the result is a change in the behavior of investors and lenders that is profound. The fact that Citi, JPM and GS are now pushing back into the dangerous world of off-balance sheet (OBS) derivatives just illustrates the fact that the large banks cannot survive without cheating customers, creditors and shareholders. And just as retailers cannot compete with AMZN, Citi and GS certainly cannot compete against the monopoly power of the House of Morgan. In the case both of Citi and JPM, just half of the banks’ operating business comes from lending, while the remainder comes from risk bearing investments and trading.

With some $50 trillion in off-balance sheet (OBS) derivatives, which is almost six standard deviations above the $1.8 trillion peer average for large banks, Citi and JPM are now the outliers on Wall Street in terms of derivatives exposure. A move of 30bp in the OBS derivatives book of either bank would wipe out their capital. Chart One below shows the OBS derivatives exposure of Citi, JPM, GS and the other major banks. Notice that all three of the leading derivatives dealers have been increasing exposures since last year. Note too that the relatively small GS has a notional OBS derivatives book of more than $41 trillion, almost as large as that of Citi and JPM. More alarming, a move of just 7bp in the smaller bank’s OBS derivatives exposures would wipe out the capital of Goldman’s subsidiary bank. This gives GS an effective leverage ratio vs its notional OBS derivatives exposures of 8,800 to 1.

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Yesterday it was the HuffPo, now Bloomberg. Blaming Trump unfairly is a bad approach. Exit echo chamber.

No, Trump Didn’t Botch the Puerto Rico Crisis (BBG)

[..] to look at the larger context of the entire relief operation, I decided to talk to someone whose experience rivals that of General Honore: retired Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix. Now a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security, Hendrix served for decades both on the high seas and in high-level staff jobs, including with the Chief of Naval Operations’ Executive Panel and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy’s Irregular Warfare Quadrennial Defense Review. Few people know more about military history than Hendrix, who has degrees from Purdue, Harvard, the Naval Postgraduate School and a Ph.D. from Kings College in London. Little wonder that in 2012 was named the service’s director of naval history.

TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration’s response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?

JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact. These are large ships that have large flight decks to land and dispatch heavy-lift CH-53 helicopters to and from disaster sites. They also have big well-decks – exposed surfaces that are lower than the fore and aft of the ship – from which large landing craft can be dispatched to shore carrying over 150 tons of water, food and other supplies on each trip. These are actually the ideal platforms for relief operations owing to their range of assets. The ships, due to their designs to support Marine amphibious landings in war zones, also have hospitals onboard to provide medical treatment on a large scale. That these ships were in the area should be viewed as a huge positive for the administration and the Department of Defense.

TH: Your plaudits toward the White House on all this are surprising to say the least. But where does the response still need to improve?

JH: One area in which the Trump administration could possibly lend additional assistance would be looking at a more robust activation of its assets in the Defense Department’s Transportation Command to include more heavy-lift and cargo aircraft, as well as Maritime Administration shipping to move the logistics-heavy large infrastructure items on the ocean. Everything from bulldozers to transformers needs to come by ships, and it’s been decades since it was really flexed to its full capacity. This would have the dual purpose of revealing any significant weaknesses in the Transportation Command assets and readiness should we need it in a military emergency down the road.

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Does this mean everybody gets what they want?

Trump Urges Staff To Portray Him As “Crazy Guy” (Axios)

In an Oval Office meeting earlier this month, President Trump gave his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, an Art of the Deal-style coaching session on how to negotiate with the South Koreans. Trump’s impromptu coaching came in the middle of a pivotal conversation with top officials about whether or not to withdraw from the U.S.-Korean trade deal. Sources familiar with the conversation recounted the exchange for Axios, and the White House did not dispute this account. A number of senior officials and cabinet secretaries were present for the conversation, including Defense Secretary Mattis, Agriculture Secretary Perdue, and Secretary of State Tillerson. At issue was whether the U.S. would withdraw from the Korean trade deal — an action Trump threatened but still hasn’t done.

“You’ve got 30 days, and if you don’t get concessions then I’m pulling out,” Trump told Lighthizer. “Ok, well I’ll tell the Koreans they’ve got 30 days,” Lighthizer replied. “No, no, no,” Trump interjected. “That’s not how you negotiate. You don’t tell them they’ve got 30 days. You tell them, ‘This guy’s so crazy he could pull out any minute.'” “That’s what you tell them: Any minute,” Trump continued. “And by the way, I might. You guys all need to know I might. You don’t tell them 30 days. If they take 30 days they’ll stretch this out.” Why this matters: Plenty of world leaders think the president is crazy — and he seems to view that madman reputation as an asset. The downsides are obvious: the rhetoric can unnerve allies and has the potential to provoke enemies into needless, unintended war. But Trump keeps using the tactic, with varying degrees of success:

Just today, the president undercut his secretary of state by suggesting diplomacy with “Little Rocket Man” in North Korea was a waste of time — implying that only military action would resolve the conflict. “Save your energy Rex,” Trump tweeted, “we’ll do what has to be done!” We’ve never seen anything like this before. Trump’s tweet, undercutting Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts, comes a day after Tillerson acknowledged for the first time that the administration was in direct communication with North Korea. Trump’s tweet also undercuts a statement made Tuesday by Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dunford: “The military dimension today is in full support of the economic and diplomatic pressure campaign the secretary of state is leading in North Korea.”

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The kind of thing that can lead to war.

Egypt Fears Disaster From Largest Hydroelectric Dam In Africa (AP)

The only reason Egypt has even existed from ancient times until today is because of the Nile River, which provides a thin, richly fertile stretch of green through the desert. For the first time, the country fears a potential threat to that lifeline, and it seems to have no idea what to do about it. Ethiopia is finalizing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, its first major dam on the Blue Nile, and then will eventually start filling the giant reservoir behind it to power the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa. Egypt fears that will cut into its water supply, destroying parts of its precious farmland, hampering its large desert reclamation projects and squeezing its bourgeoning population of 93 million people, who already face water shortages. Dam construction on international rivers often causes disputes over the downstream impact.

But the Nile is different: few nations rely so completely on a single river as much as Egypt does. The Nile provides over 90% of Egypt’s water supply. Almost the entire population lives cramped in the sliver of the Nile Valley. Around 60% of Egypt’s Nile water originates in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile, one of two main tributaries. Egypt barely gets by with the water it does have. Because of its population, it has one of the lowest per capita shares of water in the world, some 660 cubic meters a person. The strain is further worsened by widespread inefficiency and waste. With the population on a path to double in 50 years, shortages are predicted to become severe even sooner, by 2025. That is despite the fact that Egypt already receives the lion’s share of Nile waters: more than 55 billion of the around 88 billion cubic meters of water that flow down the river each year.

It is promised that amount under agreements from 1929 and 1959 that other Nile nations say are unfair and ignore the needs of their own large populations. Complicating the issue, no one has a clear idea what impact Ethiopia’s dam will actually have. Addis Ababa says it will not cause significant harm to Egypt or Sudan downstream. Much depends on management of the flow and how fast Ethiopia fills its reservoir, which can hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. A faster fill means blocking more water at once, while doing it slowly would mean less reduction downstream.[..] One study by a Cairo University agriculture professor estimated Egypt would lose a staggering 51% of its farmland if the fill is done in three years. A somewhat slower fill over six years would cost Egypt 17% of its cultivated land, the study claimed

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“..its 83 islands are stuck right in the middle of hurricane alley and they dot the border of the “ring of fire”..”

Planes, Ships, Barges: The DIY Evacuation Of Vanuatu’s Volcano Island (G.)

Vanuatu is no stranger to the rumblings, shakings, flood waters and wrecking winds of natural disaster. The south Pacific island nation was rated the most at-risk country in the world in a 2016 United Nations study. Its 83 islands are stuck right in the middle of hurricane alley and they dot the border of the “ring of fire” – a belt around the Pacific prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Despite their precarious situation being a day-to-day reality, the country has been galvanised by the prime minister Charlot Salwai’s order to evacuate the entire island of Ambae because of the threat that the volcano at its centre will blow. “People’s lives must be our first priority,” Salwai said. “Everybody has to go.” What followed has been Vanuatu’s own version of the Dunkirk evacuation. Folk began organising even before Salwai gave the order.

The Ni-Vanuatu – the people of this archipelago – are defined by two things: land and family. From the moment a state of emergency was announced, members of the Ambae community in Port Vila, the capital, began to mobilise. They knew better than to wait for the cash-strapped, resource-starved government and instead jury-rigged a disaster response centre at a church. Local companies began donating goods immediately. Before long they had stockpiles of water, food, bedding and other essentials ready to send. Then they chartered a ship. The MV Makila was one of the first of Vanuatu’s ragtag fleet of inter-island barges and coasters to reach Ambae with supplies. It unloaded those goods then took more than 100 passengers to safety on the nearby island of Espiritu Santo. Then it went back and did it again.

There was no hesitation, no reflection. The ships had to run. So the community members dug deep and shifted for themselves. [..] Nadia Kanegai has been a personal assistant to a prime minister, and a former political candidate herself. A past master at getting things done by Vanuatu’s often shambolic bureaucracy, she didn’t flinch at the difficulties presented by moving hundreds of her home island’s most vulnerable inhabitants to safety. She just hired a plane and told the pilot to keep flying until everyone was out. Kanegai won’t discuss how much this airlift is costing her, but whistle-stop charter flights to the outer islands typically cost the equivalent of £1,000 for a return hop. Her plane made 18 flights on the first day alone.

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Bloomberg headline “Why Russia Should Love Climate Change Deniers”. Because that sells better than Mongolia?

Climate Change Will Make Some Countries Richer – IMF (BBG)

President Donald Trump and other climate-change deniers probably don’t think of themselves as contributing to Russia’s future prosperity. But judging from a new International Monetary Fund report, that’s what they might be doing. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF offers a sobering analysis of global warming’s potential repercussions. Looking at the historical relationship between climate and economic output, it finds that poor countries in hot regions – home to a majority of the world’s population – are likely to suffer the most as average temperatures rise. Here’s a map showing the effect of a one-degree-Celsius temperature increase on per-capita GDP, with countries scaled to reflect their populations:

Gazing at the map, though, I couldn’t help but ask: What about the winners? Those green areas in the north certainly suggest that somebody stands to gain. So I downloaded the data to see which countries would get a per-capita GDP boost. Mongolia, Iceland, Finland and Russia topped the IMF’s list. Here’s the whole thing:

To be sure, this doesn’t mean that the countries will turn into a tropical paradises. For one, the researchers derived their estimates from the relatively small weather fluctuations of the past – nobody can really know what will happen if temperatures go beyond what humans have experienced. Also, don’t forget bigger natural disasters, forced migrations and all the other ills that climate change is expected to bring. That said, the data do suggest that Russia could, at least initially, be an unintended beneficiary of what amounts to a global injustice of epic proportions. Look again at that map: The poor countries in the south stand to bear the brunt of a catastrophe created largely by the wealthy countries in the middle, while the countries in the north get a windfall. That’s an outcome to which Trump, by downplaying the dangers of global warming and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, has already made a significant contribution.

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