Apr 132023

John William Godward Dolce Far Niente (Sweet Idleness, or A Pompeian Fishpond) 1904


Waiting For The End of The World (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky, Team Stole At Least $400 Million Of Western Aid – Seymour Hersh (RT)
US Admin Losing Trust Among Its Intelligence Community – Seymour Hersh (TASS)
Musk Calls Out BBC Reporter Over ‘Lies’ (RT)
Six Things We Learned From Elon Musk Interview (BBC)
Ukrainian Counteroffensive Could Be Postponed – PM (RT)
US Planning For ‘Wild Card’ Scenarios In Ukraine – NYT (RT)
Xi Warns Armed Forces To Prepare For ‘Actual Combat’ – Chinese Media (RT)
Putin Warrant Could Derail BRICS Summit – South Africa (RT)
Joe Biden Boosted Ukraine Gas Industry As Hunter Took Burisma Role (NYP)
Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit vs Michael Cohen (RT)
Ten Men, $1 Trillion, and the Personalization of American Capitalism (Schultz)
The Retreat From the Enlightenment Can be Stopped (BI)
The COVID Vaccines Were Never Tested for Safety (Kirsch)
Doctors Received Millions in Bonuses for Vaccinating Medicaid Patients (CHD)
US Government Borrows $6 Billion a Day (Whitehead)



Polish PM Morawiecki visited the White House



According to Russia, the Ukrainian biolabs were/are testing 200+ deadly pathogens



Ritter Geneva











Trump Tucker



Surovikin : I don’t want to sacrifice any more Russian soldiers in a guerrilla war against hordes of fanatics armed by NATO. We have enough forces & technical means to bring Ukraine to complete surrender”





“Xi and Putin, with one Sun Tzu move, immobilized Orientalism, Eurocentrism, Exceptionalism and, last but not least, Neo-Colonialism..”

Waiting For The End of The World (Pepe Escobar)

We cannot even begin to fathom the non-stop ripple effects deriving from the 2023 geopolitical earthquake that shook the world: Putin and Xi, in Moscow, de facto signaling the beginning of the end of Pax Americana. This has been the ultimate anathema for rarified Anglo-American hegemonic elites for over a century: a signed, sealed, comprehensive strategic partnership of two peer competitors, intertwining a massive manufacturing base and pre-eminence in supply of natural resources – with value-added Russian state of the art weaponry and diplomatic nous. From the point of view of these elites, whose Plan A was always a debased version of the Roman Empire’s Divide and Rule, this was never supposed to happen. In fact, blinded by hubris, they never saw it coming.

Historically, this does not even qualify as a remix of the Tournament of Shadows; it’s more like Tawdry Empire Left in the Shade, “foaming at the mouth” (copyright Maria Zakharova). Xi and Putin, with one Sun Tzu move, immobilized Orientalism, Eurocentrism, Exceptionalism and, last but not least, Neo-Colonialism. No wonder the Global South was riveted by what developed in Moscow. Adding insult to injury, we have China, the world’s largest economy by far when measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), as well as the largest exporter. And we have Russia, an economy that by PPP is equivalent or even larger than Germany’s – with the added advantages of being the world’s largest energy exporter and not forced to de-industrialize. Together, in synch, they are focused on creating the necessary conditions to bypass the US dollar.

Cue to one of President Putin’s crucial one-liners: “We are in favor of using the Chinese yuan for settlements between Russia and the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.” A key consequence of this geopolitical and geoeconomic alliance, carefully designed throughout the past few years, is already in play: the emergence of a possible triad in terms of global trade relations and, in many aspects, a Global Trade War. Eurasia is being led – and largely organized – by the Russia-China partnership. China will also play a key role across the Global South, but India may also become quite influential, agglutinating what would be a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on steroids. And then there is the former “indispensable nation” ruling over the EU vassals and the Anglosphere rounded up in the Five Eyes.

The Hegemon, under its self-concocted “rules-based international order”, essentially never did diplomacy. Divide and Rule, by definition, precludes diplomacy. Now their version of “diplomacy” has degenerated even further into crude insults by an array of US, EU and UK’s intellectually challenged and frankly moronic functionaries. It’s no wonder that a true gentleman, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, has been forced to admit, “Russia is no longer a partner of the EU… The European Union ‘lost’ Russia. But the Union itself is to blame. After all, EU member states… openly declare that Russia should be dealt a strategic defeat. That is why we consider the EU to be an enemy organization.” And yet the new Russian foreign policy concept, announced by Putin on March 31st, makes it quite clear: Russia does not consider itself an “enemy of the West” and does not seek isolation.

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“..Zelensky “was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals..”

Zelensky, Team Stole At Least $400 Million Of Western Aid – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his senior officials are skimming American taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed on Wednesday. The alleged grift even includes schemes involving trade with Russia itself. Zelensky and his entourage embezzled at least $400 million from US funds meant for diesel procurement last year, Hersh claimed in a new article on Substack, citing a CIA estimate. Meanwhile, Kiev has allegedly been buying diesel fuel, which is essential for the war effort, from Russia itself – and in the process skimming large sums of US funds earmarked for diesel payments. Reports had earlier surfaced about how oil products originating in Russia had made their way to Ukraine through Bulgaria and Latvia. The scheme involving the Baltic state, which was reported in detail by the Latvian television program Neka Personiga, may have violated the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions.

An expert cited by Hersh compared the level of corruption in Ukrainian procurement to what was seen in Afghanistan, when a US-backed government was in charge in Kabul. According to his sources, ministries in Kiev compete to set up front firms in order to export weapons and ammunition, with the relevant officials profiting from kickbacks. The US government , meanwhile, has stated that it has seen no evidence of Western-supplied weapons in Ukraine being diverted elsewhere. Hersh cited an intelligence source who referred to the January meeting between Zelensky and CIA Director William Burns. The US official allegedly presented a list of 35 generals and ministers known to the CIA to be corrupt. Senior Ukrainian officials also complained that Zelensky “was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals,” the source explained, comparing the meeting to a scene from a 1950s mob movie.

Hersh contends that the Ukrainian leader’s response was to fire staff from the Cabinet of Ministers, regional administrations, and other parts of the Ukrainian government. Kiev claimed the move was part of its anti-corruption strategy. Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who became mired in a scandal over purchases of overpriced food for troops, was widely expected to be sacked at the time, but he survived the purge. Hersh’s sources blamed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for the ongoing crisis in the US government, which allegedly suffers from discord between the White House and intelligence community. The two top foreign policy officials have shown “strident ideology and lack of political skill” over the Ukraine conflict, according to the sources.

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“..depicting Blinken “as little more than a ‘jumped-up congressional staffer’ and Sullivan as ‘a political campaign manager’.”

US Admin Losing Trust Among Its Intelligence Community – Seymour Hersh (TASS)

The indecisiveness and indifference of US President Joe Biden’s administration on a number of issues is leading to a breakdown in trust between the White House and some arms of the intelligence community, US investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh said in an article posted on the Substack subscription network on Wednesday. A lack of leadership is “leading to a ‘total breakdown’ of trust between the White House and some elements of the intelligence community,” he wrote.

Among other things, the work of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is a source of dissatisfaction for the intelligence community, since “the president and his two main foreign policy advisers ‘live in different worlds’ than the experienced diplomats and military and intelligence officers assigned to the White House,” he wrote. Hersh quoted “a prominent retired American diplomat who strenuously opposes Biden’s foreign policy toward China and Russia” as depicting Blinken “as little more than a ‘jumped-up congressional staffer’ and Sullivan as ‘a political campaign manager’.” The diplomat qualified them as ‘decent pols’ who “suddenly find themselves front and center in the world of high-powered diplomacy ‘with no empathy for the opposition’,” Hersh said.

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Apart perhaps from global political leaders, Musk is one of the most interesting people for a news outlet to interview. The BBC gets the chance, and what do they do? They send in amateur hour.

BBC: “Hate speech has risen on twitter. I’ve seen it personally” @elonmusk “Can you name an example”. BBC reporter: “No, because I don’t use that feed after you took it over..

Musk Calls Out BBC Reporter Over ‘Lies’ (RT)

Elon Musk has accused a BBC reporter of lying about hate speech on Twitter. An audio excerpt from a Twitter Spaces discussion showed US-based tech journalist James Clayton struggling to justify his own questions on the alleged rise of offensive content on the social media platform. At one point in the interview, Clayton asked Musk to respond to claims that hate speech had become more prevalent on Twitter, and that there was not enough moderation staff after Musk admitted to laying off over 80% of the company’s workforce since his takeover last October. After Musk asked the reporter to clarify the allegations, Clayton claimed that he had personally seen more “hateful content” in his ‘For You’ feed since the billionaire took over the company.

Musk BBC

The Twitter CEO then asked the journalist to define what he meant by “hateful content” and to provide at least one example of an offensive post he had seen. Clayton replied that he views “hateful content” as “slightly racist” and “slightly sexist,” but struggled to provide any examples, admitting that hadn’t actually used the feed for several weeks. “Then, I say, sir, that you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Musk interjected. You can’t provide a single example of hateful content, not even one Tweet. And yet, you claimed that hateful content was high. That is false. You just lied. The BBC reporter insisted that there are “many organizations” that have noted a rise in offensive content on the platform. Musk dismissed that notion, stating that “people say all sorts of nonsense,” which prompted Clayton to move on to the next topic.

The journalist then asked Musk about Twitter changing its Covid misinformation rules. The billionaire replied that “Covid is no longer an issue” and argued that the BBC itself could be accused of spreading misinformation about the virus and failing to report on the side-effects of vaccinations. “And what about the fact that the BBC was put under pressure by the British government to change their editorial policy?” Musk asked. Clayton deflected by saying the interview “wasn’t about the BBC.” The British broadcaster later aired parts of the interview and simply ran with the headline: “Elon Musk speaks to the BBC.” Despite his criticism of the broadcaster, Musk said during the interview that Twitter will change the BBC’s recently added “government-funded organization” label on the social media platform to say that it is “publicly-funded” instead.

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And no, BBC, you can’t make up for that interview disaster.

Six Things We Learned From Elon Musk Interview (BBC)

1. He denies hate speech on Twitter has spiked. Mr Musk refused to accept there was more hateful content on the platform since he took over. Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, some Twitter insiders have argued that the company is no longer able to protect users from trolling, state-coordinated disinformation and child sexual exploitation, following lay-offs and changes under owner Mr Musk. In March, Twitter said it removed 400,000 accounts in one month alone to help “make Twitter safer”. In order to assess Mr Musk’s claims fully you’d need two things which we don’t have at present – access to Twitter’s data before and after his takeover and, crucially, a clear understanding of how he defines misinformation and hate speech. There is no blanket definition of hate speech under American law, which is generally much more permissive than other countries because of the first amendment to the US Constitution.

[..] 3. He says Twitter is beating the bots in war on disinfo. Mr Musk claimed his efforts to delete bots – automated accounts – had decreased misinformation on Twitter after his takeover. “My experience is there is less misinformation rather than more,” he told our reporter. Some outside experts disagree. A study from Newsguard which tracks online misinformation – and there are quite a few other studies along the same lines – found that engagement with popular, misinformation-spreading accounts spiked after Mr Musk’s takeover. In the week following his acquisition of Twitter, the most popular, untrustworthy accounts enjoyed an almost 60% increase in engagement in the form of likes and retweets, according to the survey. The BBC has also independently analysed more than 1,000 previously-banned accounts that had been let back on Twitter after Mr Musk’s takeover, and found that since being reinstated, over a third of them had spread abuse or misinformation. This included false anti-vax claims, misogyny and anti-LGBT rhetoric, and the denial of the 2020 US election result.

4. He’s against banning TikTok. Mr Musk says he doesn’t use the most downloaded app in the US but he is against any moves to close it down. The US is considering a ban due to security concerns over TikTok’s Chinese ownership. Some other countries have banned it from the phones of government employees. “I’m generally against banning things,” said Mr Musk, although he says a ban would benefit Twitter because it may mean more people spending time on his platform.

5. He would turn down $44bn for Twitter. Mr Musk initially claimed in the interview that if someone offered to buy Twitter right now for what he paid for it, he’d refuse. If he did sell, he said it would be more important to find a buyer who cherishes the “truth” rather than how much they’d pay because, as he says: “I don’t care about the money.” But is that true? Remember, he desperately tried to back out of the deal. Mr Musk said Twitter had just months left to live when he took over and was being run like a non-profit. Twitter’s costs were outstripping the amount of revenue it was generating. In its last full-year results published before Mr Musk took over, total sales hit $5bn in 2021 but costs and expenses reached $5.5bn. In fact, it has only had two profitable years since 2012. He reckons Twitter is now close to breaking even. No wonder – sacking 6,500 workers does tend to lighten one’s costs.

But he has also been proactive in finding ways to boost sales through things such as changing Twitter users for “blue tick” verification. So yes, Twitter might be nearing breaking even now because of drastic cost-cutting. But the question is whether it can sustain that path to profitability and make the company worth that $44bn price tag.


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“..Kiev faced significant “force generation and sustainment shortfalls.”

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Could Be Postponed – PM (RT)

The much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive may not get underway until this summer, the country’s prime minister has told The Hill. Denis Shmigal also called on Kiev’s Western backers to provide it with more weapons, including fighter jets, to ensure that Ukraine prevails on the battlefield. In an interview published by the US outlet on Tuesday, Shmigal claimed that Ukraine does not “feel the pressure from our friends and partners vis-a-vis the start of the offensive.” Instead, he argued it is the Ukrainian public that is demanding decisive action soon. The senior official noted that there is consensus among Kiev’s backers that it needs to be “100%, and even more percent prepared” before launching its push.

“To be prepared for [a] counteroffensive, we need more artillery, ammunition. We need more middle, or average and long-range missiles, we need tanks and we will need fighter jets,” Shmigal asserted. While expressing gratitude for the defense aid already provided by the US, the premier did criticize Washington for its reluctance to consider Ukraine’s accession to NATO in the foreseeable future. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing alleged leaked Pentagon documents, that US intelligence had been skeptical in February as to whether Ukraine would be able to make significant territorial gains with a counteroffensive. According to a supposedly classified document, Kiev faced significant “force generation and sustainment shortfalls.”

A separate part of the leaked trove suggested that five out of the 12 “combat credible” new brigades expected to spearhead the counteroffensive had yet to start training at that point. Half of those fresh brigades badly lacked the necessary equipment as of late February, the paper claimed, citing supposed analysis by the US military. The Pentagon is also said to have raised the alarm over the depletion of Kiev’s air defenses – another factor that could prevent the anticipated counteroffensive from being a success, the Post reported. While some of the documents from the trove appear to have been doctored, US defense officials have acknowledged that at least some of the information could be “sensitive and highly-classified material.” An investigation has been launched to establish the source of the leak.

Ritter Wagner

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“The four outcomes considered by the DIA are the deaths of either Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky or Russian President Vladimir Putin, the removal of leadership within the Russian Armed Forces, or a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin.”

US Planning For ‘Wild Card’ Scenarios In Ukraine – NYT (RT)

The Pentagon has gamed out four “wild card” scenarios that could affect the conflict in Ukraine, including the sudden deaths of the presidents of Russia or Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing a leaked document. According to the NYT, the document was compiled by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in February and published on social media in recent weeks, along with a trove of other classified files, most relating to the US’ involvement in the Ukraine conflict. The four outcomes considered by the DIA are the deaths of either Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky or Russian President Vladimir Putin, the removal of leadership within the Russian Armed Forces, or a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin. The DIA reportedly believes that a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin could lead to “a full-scale military mobilization” in Russia or a threat by Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Alternately, the American planners think that such a brazen escalation by Kiev could force Putin “to negotiate a settlement to the war.” The NYT did not elaborate on which outcome the Pentagon views as most realistic, or on the likelihood – in Washington’s eyes – of a Ukrainian strike on Moscow. The newspaper also declined to spell out the consequences of Zelensky or Putin’s deaths, or a leadership rotation within the Russian military. Original copies of the document appear to have been scrubbed from the Discord server where they were initially posted, leaving this article the only immediately-available source. US officials did not confirm whether the document was genuine, but did not dispute its authenticity, the NYT noted. The Pentagon has taken a similar stance on all of the recent Ukraine-related leaks, acknowledging that some of the material is “similar in format” to its intelligence briefings, without issuing a direct confirmation.

Other files in the leak detail the US’ war plans and the number of NATO special forces on the ground in Ukraine, Kiev’s rapidly deteriorating ammunition situation and military readiness, and other “sensitive” material related to Ukraine, China, the Middle East, and terrorism. Moscow is considering the possibility that the documents could be forgeries, disseminated to the media in order to lull the Kremlin into a false sense of security about Ukraine’s military capabilities. “Because the US is a party in the conflict [in Ukraine] and is essentially waging a hybrid war against us, such tricks to deceive the enemy, meaning Russia, are possible,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.

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“Formally, Washington still professes to adhere to the ‘One-China’ principle.”

Xi Warns Armed Forces To Prepare For ‘Actual Combat’ – Chinese Media (RT)

President Xi Jinping has urged the Chinese military to prepare for real combat, national media reported on Wednesday. The remarks came days after Beijing held massive military drills around Taiwan which reportedly involved the simulation of precision strikes on the self-governing island. Addressing military personnel at a navy base in Southern China on Tuesday, Xi called for the strengthening of “military training oriented toward actual combat,” as quoted by the state-run CCTV channel. The Chinese leader is reported to have named the defense of Beijing’s “territorial sovereignty and maritime interests” as well as the protection of “overall peripheral stability” as the navy’s core mission. On Saturday, China launched three-day military exercises codenamed ‘United Sharp Sword’ in the vicinity of Taiwan.

According to Taipei’s military, it detected nine warships and some 71 warplanes in the area the following day. Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, described the vessels and aircraft as “encircling” the island. He clarified that the drills were meant as a warning “against the collusion between separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and external forces, and against their provocative activities.” The military maneuvers came on the back of a visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the US last week, when she met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The meeting was the second time Tsai had sat down with a US House speaker in less than a year. A visit by McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan in August infuriated Beijing, which responded with its largest-ever drills in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan has been de facto independent since 1949, when the losing side in the Chinese civil war fled to the island and established its own administration. While only a handful of nations have recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state, the US has long maintained close, unofficial ties with Taipei, both militarily and economically. Formally, Washington still professes to adhere to the ‘One-China’ principle. Beijing considers the island to be an inalienable part of its territory that has been seized by separatists, and accuses the US of meddling in its domestic affairs and encouraging “secessionist” politicians. While the Chinese leadership says it prioritizes a peaceful ‘reunification’, it has not ruled out military options.


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“..South African officials applied to withdraw from the court, a decision that was later reversed after a High Court ruling determined that such a move was unconstitutional..”

Putin Warrant Could Derail BRICS Summit – South Africa (RT)

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown a “spanner in the works” of an upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa in August, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday. As a signatory to the 2002 Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to enforce the ICC’s warrant for Putin’s arrest. However, the country is also hosting this year’s BRICS summit, at which the leaders of the world’s largest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are due to meet. “All heads of state would be expected to attend the summit. But now we have a spanner in the works in the form of this ICC warrant,” Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, told reporters.

“What that dictates is that there be further engagements in terms of how that is going to be managed, and those engagements are underway,” Magwenya continued. “Once they’ve been concluded, the necessary announcements will be made.” Ramaphosa’s government has been aware of the dilemma surrounding the warrant since its issue, with Magwenya last month declining to say whether Pretoria would enforce it. Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that he would dispatch an envoy to Washington to clarify his “non-aligned” stance on the Ukraine conflict. South Africa and Russia have been close partners since the Soviet Union backed the anti-apartheid African National Congress, which today is led by Ramaphosa. Under his leadership, South Africa has refused to condemn Russia’s military operation in Ukraine or impose sanctions on Moscow, while the country’s military took part in joint exercises with Russian and Chinese forces earlier this year.

Pretoria has its own issues with the ICC, and was chastised by the court in 2017 for failing to arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015 for an African leaders’ summit. Following the incident, South African officials applied to withdraw from the court, a decision that was later reversed after a High Court ruling determined that such a move was unconstitutional. In issuing the warrant, the court accused Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova of the “unlawful deportation” of children from “occupied areas of Ukraine.” The charges refer to Russia’s efforts to evacuate civilians away from areas – mostly in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Donbass – shelled by the Ukrainian military. Russia – which like the US, China, and India, does not recognize the court’s authority – has dismissed the warrant as “null and void from the legal standpoint.”

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Looking at Biden and Trump, it’s clear there’s no such thing as equal justice in the US. That is a threat.

Joe Biden Boosted Ukraine Gas Industry As Hunter Took Burisma Role (NYP)

Then-Vice President Joe Biden visited Ukraine on a mission to bolster the country’s energy industry days after his son Hunter joined the board of natural gas company Burisma in 2014 — which a former White House stenographer claims implicates the now-80-year-old in a foreign influence-peddling “kickback scheme.” Mike McCormick says he was with current national security adviser Jake Sullivan — then a Biden aide — in the press cabin of Air Force Two en route to Kyiv on April 21, 2014, as he outlined how the world’s wealthiest country would help the deeply corrupt post-Soviet state build its gas industry. Giving a rundown of Biden’s priorities for the trip, Sullivan — described as a “senior administration official” — said the then-vice president would “discuss with [Ukrainian officials] medium- and long-term strategies to boost conventional gas production, and also to begin to take advantage of the unconventional gas reserves that are in Ukraine.”

Asked for details, the Biden aide said the US was interested in providing “technical assistance to help [Ukraine] be able to boost production in their conventional gas fields, where presently they aren’t getting the maximum of what they could be” while offering “technical assistance relating to a regulatory framework, and also the technology that would be required to extract unconventional gas resources; and Ukraine has meaningful reserves of unconventional gas according to the latest estimates.” In December of that year, amid broader Obama administration support for Ukraine, Congress approved $50 million to support the country’s energy sector, including the natural gas industry. McCormick, who worked more than a decade at the White House, told The Post this week he believes the timeline of events demonstrates Joe Biden was using his position to help his son’s foreign business interests.

“Joe Biden was over there telling them, ‘You can’t be corrupt! You can’t be corrupt!’ while he was corrupt,” McCormick says. “Look, this is Air Force Two. This is Joe Biden’s plane. He’s in control of it. Jake Sullivan was in the front of the plane with Joe Biden in a meeting and then he walks back in the plane to talk to the press.” Now, McCormick tells The Post that he wants to testify before the federal grand jury in Delaware considering charges against Hunter — saying he has relevant information that the FBI ignored. “They’ve been looking at Hunter Biden, but this ties Joe Biden and [Sullivan] into promoting a kickback scheme with Ukraine,” he said. “It’s the timeline that does it.”


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“..the former president and “those in his orbit” should be held accountable “because it saves and it preserves democracy.”

Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit vs Michael Cohen (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has sued Michael Cohen for more than $500 million in damages, saying his former lawyer damaged his reputation by spreading falsehoods about him and releasing confidential information that he was contractually and legally required to keep secret. The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in US District Court in Miami, accuses Cohen of violating attorney-client privilege and breaching a confidentiality agreement “with malicious intent and to wholly self-serving ends.” The filing comes one week after Trump was arrested on a 34-count criminal indictment in New York City, where Cohen is expected to serve as a key witness to allegations that his then-boss falsified business records to cover up violations of election laws during his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen began breaching his fiduciary duty as Trump’s lawyer and violating his confidentiality agreement around 2018, when he was facing federal charges for tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, the lawsuit claimed. The most “egregious” breaches occurred in Cohen’s two books and his podcast, the filing said. He also made multiple media appearances, accusing Trump of being racist and suggesting that he might turn over state secrets to America’s enemies to ward off prosecution. The lawsuit claimed Cohen used insider information about Trump and “numerous inflammatory and false statements” to unjustly enrich himself. He also allegedly overstated his expenses as a Trump employee, claiming $74,000 in fictitious costs.

A $130,000 hush-money payment that Cohen allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump is at the center of the New York criminal case against the former president. Prosecutors claim that Trump falsely reported the cost as a legal expense. Trump’s lawsuit alleged that Cohen decided on his own to pay off Daniels to keep silent about her claims of an affair with the billionaire real state mogul. Trump said he relied on Cohen’s legal advice and acted out of a desire to protect his family from “malicious and false claims” by Daniels. Cohen told CBS News earlier this month that the indictment against Trump is about accountability. “I should not be held accountable for Donald Trump’s dirty deeds,” he said. He added that the former president and “those in his orbit” should be held accountable “because it saves and it preserves democracy.”

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“.. it has fallen to become one of the least equal among any countries in the world that likes to consider themselves democracies.”

Ten Men, $1 Trillion, and the Personalization of American Capitalism (Schultz)

Capitalism has always been about the accumulation and the concentration of wealth. Marx and Engels first described that phenomena in their 1848 Communist Manifesto. Thomas Piketty has also reminded us of that. But what they never focused on was the personalization of wealth in capitalism and what that means for society. The latest rankings of the richest individuals in America reminds us of the persistence and personalization of wealth. Forbes just released its ranking of the richest individuals in the world. Topping the list is Frenchman Bernard Arnault of LVHM, the fashion and cosmetics empire, with a net wealth of $211 billion. Yet if we focus simply the ten wealthiest in the world, seven of them are located in the US, with a combined wealth of $786 billion. The ten richest Americans, including the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, total $1 trillion dollars.

And this list does not even include the Waltons who own the Walmart empire or the Koch family. Of the twenty-five richest individuals in the world seventeen are American. For some this is God Bless America! It is the story of the American dream where any of us can become billionaires, or if all else fails, at least millionaires. Yes while the US has the greatest number of billionaires in the world and perhaps the greatest density of billionaires per capita, it’s Gini coefficient, which measures economic inequality on a scale of 0 (totally equality) to 100 (extreme inequality), has fallen from 0.39 in 1970 to 0.43 in 1990 to 0.49 in 2022. While the US was never an economically egalitarian nation, at least in recent history, it has fallen to become one of the least equal among any countries in the world that likes to consider themselves democracies.

Combine this with the decline in social mobility in the US that is getting progressively worse by generation, and it is hard to conclude that the American Dream does exist except for a few. Capitalism has always been personalized, especially in the US. It was once the story of the Vanderbilts, Duponts, Carnegies, and the Rockefellers who made money in railroads, finance, or oil. They made billions at the expense of the workers whom they exploit, and then we lionize the latter as heroes and beg for their money when they created charitable trusts or foundations. We view them as benevolent and generous, forgetting how they made their money. They were literally the faces of nineteenth and twentieth century American capitalism. Today’s personification is Silicon Valley, social media, and tech. In addition to Musk, Bezos, Ellison, and Bloomberg, it is also Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page, and Steve Ballmer. It is still an American plutocracy, except the nature of the capitalist wealth and their faces have changed.

But we should not forget the other faces of American capitalism These are the faces that John Steinbeck talked of in his Grapes of Wrath to Michael Harington’s The Other America to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed to apropos Faces of Povertythe documentary. We have nearly thirty-eight million people officially in poverty, each a story of how the American dream is merely a dream for them. It is no coincidence that there is a connection between poverty and billionaires. The more that a fewer and fewer number of individuals are rich the greater the number of individuals who will be poor. Compare the $1 trillion in wealth for ten Americans to the fact that the bottom fifty percent of Americans—roughly 165 million individuals—have a combined wealth of $4.1 trillion. If your net worth is between $43,760 and $201,800, you are in the middle class. Once you get below the middle class, there is no net worth—individuals are in the hole and owe more than they own.

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Enlightenment vs globalism.

The Retreat From the Enlightenment Can be Stopped (BI)

The war that the Enlightenment is now having to fight to defend itself against the globalists seems like a David and Goliath match-up. Western state bureaucracies and the big companies that have infiltrated them are encircling their populations with propaganda, digital money, travel passes, renewed and more abhorrent sin stories and deepening poverty for the many, while ‘the bosses’ get richer. Mainstream media colludes by vomiting out a steady stream of exaggerated emergencies, ranging from climate change to Chinese hegemony to nitrogen pollution, to keep the population distracted, fearful, and docile. Our health systems push anxiety and big companies’ specious products rather than helping populations to become healthier, while our educational institutions have embarked upon an all-out war on patriotism and cultural unity, which ordinarily would be natural counterbalances to globalism. Our schools produce traumatised children, alienated from each other and their parents, unable to engage in critical thinking. Social media circuitry wires it all together by enabling rapid communication of agitprop and fear. The Enlightenment is in full retreat.

Bright spots exist. We’ve seen Elon Musk break ranks with other billionaires by opening the door just a crack on Twitter to permit reasoned debate. But even this was a pyrrhic victory, considering that Twitter’s advertising revenue dropped 71 percent in December 2022 when more than half of the company’s top 1,000 advertisers pulled the plug amid a concerted pushback from Big Business. The EU turned its censorious Twitter thumbscrews tighter, with not a whimper of protest from the US government for this blatant disregard for the US Constitution. Indeed, it is clear Washington is telling those EU bureaucrats what censorship to enforce in the US. Still, scratch a little deeper and you will find reasons for optimism if you, like us, are working and hoping for a new Enlightenment. Here we discuss five.

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“The tests are cheap and dispositive. We can fix this in a New York minute, but nobody wants to know the answer.”

The COVID Vaccines Were Never Tested for Safety (Kirsch)

There were 31.2% higher deaths in the “gold standard” Pfizer Phase 3 clinical trials. There is only one way to know whether or not the vaccine caused any of the deaths in the 21 vaccinated patients who died: proper histopathology. Pfizer never did it and the FDA never asked for it. This was the biggest mistake in the pandemic and nobody has acknowledged that or lifted a finger to correct it (as I point out below). Had they done the proper testing on the 21 deaths, the vaccine would never have been approved. In lieu of the proper tests, there were assurances from Pfizer that nobody died from the vaccine. That’s absurd. We need the tests, not assurances. The tests are cheap and dispositive.

We can fix this in a New York minute, but nobody wants to know the answer. Today, only Ryan Cole is doing the proper histopathology and in 100% of the cases he’s been asked to look at, he can attribute the deaths to the vaccine. Someday, I hope that we’ll have leadership at the CDC that is not corrupt and that will ask Medical examiners to do the proper tests. This can literally happen instantly. For example, the CDC says that tomorrow, every Medical Examiner in the US should do histopathology looking for the vaccine as a cause of death on the next person who dies. This is no big extra burden for a medical examiner… just a few extra steps.

Or they can ask just a few medical examiners in highly vaccinated regions to run the extra tests on everyone who has an autopsy for the next 30 days (and to make sure that everyone who “dies suddenly” gets an autopsy done). The bottom line is this: we could almost instantly have proof of whether the vaccine is safe and effective or not and the costs in time and money is de minimis. The CDC is simply not interested in finding the truth about the vaccines, even though their job is to protect America from health threats.

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But the oath… Sue them all.

Doctors Received Millions in Bonuses for Vaccinating Medicaid Patients (CHD)

The federal government and insurers incentivized healthcare providers in Kentucky and California to vaccinate Medicaid patients against COVID-19 by offering bonuses based on the percentage of patients successfully vaccinated. “[This is] truly sickening and I am embarrassed for my profession by this,” Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist and biological warfare epidemiologist, wrote on her Substack, where she posted several documents relating to the COVID-19 vaccine provider incentive programs. The documents help to draw a picture of the broader effort at the federal, state and local levels to unleash a range of strategies targeting low-income and people-of-color communities, which tended to have lower vaccination rates.

The strategies included providing hundreds of millions of dollars for the creation of “culturally tailored” pro-vaccine materials and for training “trusted” and “influential messengers” to promote COVID-19 and flu vaccines to communities of color in every state. Nass’ revelations showed these efforts went beyond advertising, fear campaigns, payments to patients and payments to trusted community actors and included, in some cases, direct financial incentives to healthcare providers. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky told physicians in 2021 it would “recognize your hard work by offering incentives for helping patients make the choice to become vaccinated.” The more people vaccinated, the higher the per-person incentive.

For physicians who treated an Anthem Medicaid cohort with a minimum of 25 patients in their practice, Anthem Medicaid offered incentives for vaccination by Sept. 1, 2021, that ranged from a $20 bonus per vaccinated person for physicians who vaccinated 30% of the cohort, to $125 per vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 75% of the cohort, with several incremental steps in between. As time went on, the rates increased. Between Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, physicians received payments ranging from $100 per newly vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 30% of their patient cohort, to $250 per newly vaccinated person for those who vaccinated 75% of their patient cohort.

In 2022, the Anthem provider incentive program changed to a flat rate. Providers received $50 per newly vaccinated Medicaid patient. This included children ages 6 months to 4 years and kids 12 and older vaccinated between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, and children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2022. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on Aug. 6, 2021, announced $350 million in incentive payments — $250 million to providers and $100 million for direct non-monetary payments, such as gift cards, to vaccine recipients — to encourage vaccination among Medi-Cal’s 14 million beneficiaries. Of the $350 million, $175 million came from state general funds and $175 million from federal funding. The funding period lasted from Sept. 2, 2021, through Feb. 29, 2022.

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“The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $31 trillion and will grow another $19 trillion by 2033.”

US Government Borrows $6 Billion a Day (Whitehead)

We’re not living the American dream. We’re living a financial nightmare. The U.S. government is funding its existence with a credit card. The government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones being forced to foot the bill for the government’s fiscal insanity. According to the number crunchers with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the government is borrowing roughly $6 billion a day. As the Editorial Board for the Washington Post warns: “The nation has reached a hazardous moment where what it owes, as a percentage of the total size of the economy, is the highest since World War II. If nothing changes, the United States will soon be in an uncharted scenario that weakens its national security, imperils its ability to invest in the future, unfairly burdens generations to come, and will require cuts to critical programs such as Social Security and Medicare. It is not a future anyone wants.”

Let’s talk numbers, shall we? The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $31 trillion and will grow another $19 trillion by 2033. That translates to roughly $246,000 per taxpayer or $94,000 for every single person in the country. The bulk of that debt has been amassed over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the fiscal shenanigans of four presidents, 10 sessions of Congress and two wars. It’s estimated that the amount this country owes is now 130% greater than its gross domestic product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). In other words, the government is spending more than it brings in. The U.S. ranks as the 12th most indebted nation in the world, with much of that debt owed to the Federal Reserve, large investment funds and foreign governments, namely, Japan and China.

Interest payments on the national debt are estimated to top $395 billion this year, which is significantly more than the government spends on veterans’ benefits and services, and according to Pew Research Center, more than it will spend on elementary and secondary education, disaster relief, agriculture, science and space programs, foreign aid, and natural resources and environmental protection combined. According to the Committee for a Reasonable Federal Budget, the interest we’ve paid on this borrowed money is “nearly twice what the federal government will spend on transportation infrastructure, over four times as much as it will spend on K-12 education, almost four times what it will spend on housing, and over eight times what it will spend on science, space, and technology.” In ten years, those interest payments will exceed our entire military budget. This is financial tyranny.

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The Konark Sun temple located in India, presents an iconography on a grand scale. It has 24 elaborately carved stone wheels which are nearly 3.7 m in diameter which are also sundials, and can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute











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Dec 182022
 December 18, 2022  Posted by at 12:25 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »

Edgar Degas In front of the mirror 1889



This piece came to me in an unusual way. A British friend sent it, after his wife sent it to him. He said: “Well written piece! Pulled from Jean‘s friend on Facebook!”. All I really know is the author’s name is Janet Daley, and she’s in all likelihood British. I like how she points out the correlation between what the church allowed people to think and know and express in the Middle Ages+, and what we are allowed by government and media and industry to think and know and express today.

And then makes the link between the past 3 years of covid info, and climate change “science”. Going forward, you will find out how much Fauci declaring himself “The Science” has hurt the entire climate campaign. And maybe that’s not so bad. Let’s talk about these things. There doesn’t appear to be much sense in “saving the Planet” if the only way to do that is to kill your economy and society.

It would have been better is she had included the same “conglomerate”‘s control over the Ukraine issue, but we can’t have everything. Hey, I would include the Trump “RussiaRussiaRussia” campaign, but that might be a step too far for many. Maybe we need to explain this one step, one topic, at a time. For the Automatic Earth, it all has meant censorship, and lots of lost ad revenue, but also more readers, and their donations, because, luckily, there are still people left who, in Janet’s words: Argue. Question. Disagree. This light ain’t dying.



Janet Daley:

Governments have learnt that fear works – and that is truly terrifying

We have returned to the world of Galileo vs the Vatican. Scientific dissidents are again silenced and ostracised for their opinions


As the year in which life officially returned to normal comes to an end, we must ask an uncomfortable question. What on earth just happened? We have lived through a period of what would once have been the unthinkable suspension of basic freedoms: interventions by the state into personal life that even most totalitarian governments would not have dared to impose. And we, along with most (not all) of the democratic societies of the West, accepted it. Before that era slips into the fog of convenient forgetfulness, it is absolutely imperative that we – the country as a whole – hold a thorough post hoc examination, because our governing classes have certainly learnt something they will remember.

The critical lesson that has been indelibly absorbed by people in power, and those who advise them, is that fear works. There is, it turns out, almost nothing that a population (even one as brave and insouciant as Britain’s) will not give up if they are systematically, relentlessly frightened.

The Covid phenomenon has provided an invaluable training session in public mind-control techniques: the formula was refined – with the assistance of sophisticated advertising and opinion-forming advice – to an astonishingly successful blend of mass anxiety (your life is in danger) and moral coercion (you are putting other people’s lives in danger). But it was not just the endless repetition of that message that accomplished the almost universal, and quite unexpected, compliance. It was the comprehensive suppression of dissent even when it came from expert sources – and the prohibition on argument even when it was accompanied by counter-evidence – that really did the trick. Now the prescription is readily available for any governing elite hoping to initiate a policy likely to meet with strong public resistance. First tell people that they, or their children and grandchildren, will die if they do not comply. Then prohibit any mitigating argument or critique of this prediction.

If the laws of the land do not permit you to stamp out all such deviant opinions, you can simply orchestrate an avalanche of opprobrium and disrepute on those who express them so that their professional reputations are undermined. But that is yesterday’s battle. Covid – as a historic event – is over. Let’s talk about how the Fear programme, now an accepted part of the armoury of democratic politics, is likely to work in the present and future. As it happens, there is what looks like a remarkably similar model of anxiety-plus-moral-blackmail being applied to the matter of climate change. Note: these observations have no bearing on whether or not there is a true “climate crisis”. What I want to consider is how the policies that are being formulated to address it are being framed.

We find ourselves back in the Middle Ages when scientists were forbidden to contradict authority

Words are terribly important here. There seems to be an alarming similarity between the language in which the climate campaign is being conducted and the one used to sell the authoritarian Covid lockdowns. There is, for example, a curious anthropomorphising of the threat in both cases. The virus was depicted regularly by both politicians and their medical officials as a sentient adversary with an “agenda” (that word was, believe it or not, actually used) to destroy human lives. It was likened to a wartime enemy – except that it was more sinister because it was “invisible”. This was not strictly true, of course: it was an organism clearly visible under a microscope as was demonstrated repeatedly in scary images widely reproduced in the media. Now, the Planet (the word is usually capitalised as if it were a proper name) is being described as if it too was a conscious being whose innocent life was being threatened by the thoughtless rapaciousness of human beings. So we – and our inclinations – are once again the potential danger.

None of this nonsense has anything to do with science. It is the language of horror movies or particularly gruesome fairy tales designed to frighten children into good behaviour. The great offence that is being committed by these machinations, in fact, is against scientific endeavour itself, which relies on disagreement and open debate to progress. Somehow, we have found ourselves back in the Middle Ages when scientists were forbidden to contradict the inviolable truth of authority. Who would have thought that, centuries after the Enlightenment, we would return to Galileo vs the Vatican? This is not intended to imply that religious belief is always the enemy of scientific rationality. I personally believe that human intelligence is the greatest of God’s gifts and that the traducing of it is truly sinful as well as utterly irresponsible. As it happened, there was one more affirmation of the irreplaceable importance of intellect and inventiveness just last week with the successful experiment in nuclear fusion, which may, literally, save the future of all those who inhabit the earth (if, in fact, it is genuinely in danger).

What intelligence and innovation rely on above all is criticism and disputation. That is the nature of the thing. It should be what education is for. We cannot, must not, stop fighting for the right to disagree. It is appalling that it has become necessary to legislate to enforce this freedom on academic institutions that were once dedicated to free discussion. The imperatives that must be taught to the young have not changed since Plato’s day. Argue. Question. Disagree. Expose received ideas to rigorous interrogation. Express doubt when you are unpersuaded. Seek truth through endless dialogue. Certainly some mistakes will be made in the name of liberty, but they can only be corrected if we do not, literally, lose our minds in the name of safety. The lines by Dylan Thomas, which were intended to be about physical death, could just as easily be applied to the death of Reason:

“Do not go gentle into that good night,

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”




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