Jun 242022
 


Georges Seurat A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 1884

 

Frustration Grows In Ukraine, Casualties Spike, Russia Wins Territory (NBC)
EU Leaders To Grant Ukraine Candidate Status In Blow To Putin (G.)
The Third Incarnation of Russia since 1721 (Batiushka)
German Economic Minister Announces Restart of Coal Power Plants (CTH)
The Supreme Court Hands Down Major Gun Rights Victory (Turley)
Liberal Policies Have Killed Black Communities: Clarence Thomas (NYP)
Joe Biden Flashes Official Cheat Sheet: ‘YOU Take YOUR Seat’ (JTN)
Biden Is Hiding His Plan To Rig The 2022 Midterm Elections (Fed.)
Prosecuting Trump: Being A Jerk Isn’t Criminal (Turley)
The CDC Just Pushed Fake News on Covid Child Mortality
Study Finds mRNA Vaccines Lead To Increase Of Serious Adverse Events (TCS)
Alarming Levels of 29 Chemicals Affecting Fertility Found in Men’s Urine (CHD)
Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents (MPN)

 

 

 

 

Clare Daly

 

 

 

 

“We are funding the Ukrainian government, if we stop funding everything would collapse, Mr Zelensky would climb on an airplane where he owns a mansion.”
– Colonel Douglas Macgregor.

 

 

 

 

No, no, NBC, this is not the official narrative…

Frustration Grows In Ukraine, Casualties Spike, Russia Wins Territory (NBC)

Russia’s invasion in February prompted a wave of public support for the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as millions of Ukrainians raced to help defend their homeland. Four months later — amid Russian advances and spiking casualties — anger and frustration over the handling of the war is swelling. In interviews with Ukrainians who have family members fighting the invaders, many said they were upset with the military leadership for deploying inexperienced people to the front lines, and at times sending them into battle without as much as a medical or a psychological examination. “I am ready to protest,” said Viktoriia Bilan-Rashchuk, 43, of Kyiv, whose husband, Volodymyr, a theater actor with no previous military experience, is fighting on the eastern front line in Sievierodonetsk.

Last month, she said, she raised money to send his unit protective headphones — standard military equipment used to prevent hearing loss for soldiers firing off rocket systems. “The government isn’t doing enough to support them. The longer this goes on, the more people will become upset,” Bilan-Rashchuk said in Ukrainian, speaking through a translator. Since Russia invaded in February, thousands of Ukrainians with no military background have volunteered to fight. To boost its war efforts, the Ukrainian government has also banned men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country in case it needs to start a draft. In May, Zelenskyy said the country’s military had 700,000 service members, including women. Through a relentless campaign of appearances, interviews and statements, Zelenskyy has fought to keep morale high among troops and the general public and plead the country’s case to the international community.

But Russian artillery attacks have intensified in the east in recent months, pushing the Ukrainian military death toll to between 100 and 200 soldiers a day in combat, with another 500 injured every day, according to Ukrainian officials, the BBC reported earlier this month. In his daily address June 14, Zelenskyy called the losses “painful” but said Ukrainians “have to hold on.” Despite the high death toll, Ukrainian officials have maintained that troops are well taken care of, with sufficient training, food, equipment and rest. But as the war grinds on, what makes some Ukrainians especially angry is the lack of basic military equipment for those on the front lines. Some military families have been forced to organize donation drives to send medical supplies and military equipment to the front lines.

Read more …

It will be a blow to the EU.

EU Leaders To Grant Ukraine Candidate Status In Blow To Putin (G.)

European leaders are poised to grant Ukraine candidate status, in a historic decision that opens the door to EU membership for the war-torn country and deals a blow to Vladimir Putin. EU leaders meeting in Brussels are expected to approve Ukraine’s candidate status later on Thursday, nearly four months after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy launched his country’s bid to join the bloc in the early days of the Russian invasion. The move from applicant to candidate usually takes years, but the EU has dramatically accelerated the process, amid outrage over the brutality of the unprovoked Russian attack, and to show solidarity with Ukraine’s defenders.


“Ukraine is going through hell for a simple reason: its desire to join the EU,” tweeted the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, on the eve of the summit. The commission last week called on EU leaders to grant Ukraine’s candidate status. “Our opinion acknowledges the immense progress that [Ukrainian] democracy has achieved since the Maidan protests of 2014,” Von der Leyen said. Welcoming the expected positive decision, Zelenskiy said: “This is like going into the light from the darkness.” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said candidate status would “draw a line under decades of ambiguity and set it in stone: Ukraine is Europe, not part of the ‘Russian world’”.

Read more …

Great history lesson.

“The break with the West and the ‘obsolete geopolitical illusions’ of its elite’s superiority complex, essentially a form of Nazism, is irreversible.”

The Third Incarnation of Russia since 1721 (Batiushka)

Until the whole of the Ukraine is demilitarised, and it is continually being remilitarised by the West, the liberation cannot stop. Moreover, with potential threats from NATO-armed Poland and Lithuania towards Kaliningrad and from Romania towards Moldova, from arms shipments from Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Lands and the Baltic States, especially from the US puppet-government in Lithuania, with threats from Sweden and Finland to join NATO, where will it stop? The West has to be freed from Nazism/woke liberalism (it is the same thing. As they say: there is nothing so intolerant as liberalism). True, Germany, France and Italy, their economies crippled by US-imposed, anti-Russian sanctions, are showing reason. This is unlike the laughable bluster coming from the militarily feeble Johnson-regime in the UK, which may well be toppled by popular internal discontent and a wave of strikes.

However, it is the economic aspect, with its international dedollarisation, of the Third Incarnation of Russia which is truly world-changing. In the light of the speech of Vladimir Putin at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum of June 2022, we can say that Russia is returning to its historic path. It wants to leave aside the errors of the past, become a sovereign nation again and no longer be a Western colony. This is unlike the EU, which is clearly just a US vassal, both economically and politically. The future world order will be formed only by strong sovereign states, independent of the dollar and the massive debts of Western countries. These have been caused by their inflationary printing of money that is not based on real commodities such as cereals, oil, gas, minerals, metals, rare earth elements, fertilisers, timber, manufactured goods and gold.

The break with the West and the ‘obsolete geopolitical illusions’ of its elite’s superiority complex, essentially a form of Nazism, is irreversible. Russia will invest in internal economic development in microeconomic and macroeconomic terms, ensuring ‘technological sovereignty’ (which means for instance that Russia already has unique hypersonic missiles), encouraging free enterprise against bureaucracy, improving infrastructure, but also ensuring social justice, fighting against poverty and supporting the family, encouraging far more ‘families to have two, three or more children’. The ideal of social conservatism together with social justice is what is intended. Russia will also help nations in Africa and the Middle East to avoid Western-imposed famine. True, this is an ambitious programme for the future, but this Third Incarnation of Russia is beginning now.

Read more …

What a defeat. Trump warned them and they laughed…

German Economic Minister Announces Restart of Coal Power Plants (CTH)

To say the recent remarks from German Economic and Climate Minister Robert Habeck showcase the stupidity of the western sanctions would be an understatement. In a broad energy policy announcement to the German people, Minister Habeck has announced that natural gas is now urgently being stored and built up in order to survive next winter. Additionally, the German parliament is being called into emergency session to re-write climate laws allowing coal-fired electricity power plants to be brought back on-line. Essentially, years of German renewable energy investments and initiatives are now being reversed in order to maintain the commitment to NATO sanctions against Russia.

GERMANY – Minister Robert Habeck […] “The situation on the gas market has deteriorated in recent days. The missing quantities can still be replaced, and the gas storage tanks are still being filled, albeit at high prices. Security of supply is currently guaranteed. But the situation is serious. We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption. […] In order to reduce gas consumption, less gas is to be used to produce electricity. Instead, coal-fired power plants will have to be used more. […] That means, to be honest, more coal-fired power plants for a transitional period. That’s bitter, but in this situation it’s almost necessary to reduce gas consumption. We must and we will do everything we can to store as much gas as possible in summer and autumn. The gas storage tanks must be full in winter. That has top priority, ”said Habeck.

In order to unbuckle themselves from dependence on Russian pipelines, Habeck also announced that floating Liquified Natural Gas terminals will have to be created so they can source LNG from other nations. Currently Germany has no port system to offload LNG, they will be purchasing and leasing floating ships to act as LNG terminals. I am reminded of the prior warning to Germany from U.S. President Donald Trump. It’s worth remembering that U.S. media blasted President Trump for being so brutally honest in his NATO remarks where he warned about the danger of Germany being so dependent on Russia for oil and gas.

Read more …

JUSTICE THOMAS: “Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, and the definition of “bear” naturally encompasses public carry.”

The Supreme Court Hands Down Major Gun Rights Victory (Turley)

As predicted, the Supreme Court handed down a momentous opinion in favor of Second Amendment rights today in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. In what will likely prove one of the most important decisions in his illustrious career as a conservative jurist, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 6-3 majority opinion that brought greater clarity to this and future challenges under the Second Amendment. In 2008, the Supreme Court recognized the right to bear arms as an individual right in District of Columbia v. Heller. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

This case concerned concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts upheld the New York law, but there were ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” New York wanted to exercise discretion in deciding who needs to carry guns in public while gun owners believe that the law flips the constitutional presumption in favor of such a right. Thomas rejected the two-part analysis used by lower courts and held that the presumption must be in favor of the individual right to possess a handgun in public like other rights in the Bill of Rights. The Court held “consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

Accordingly, “because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul immediately declared “Shocking, absolutely shocking that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions.” The Claude Rain moment aside, it was shocking that Hochul would be shocked. Many of us were predicting a major loss for over a year and New York, as usual, litigated a bad case and made more bad law for gun control advocates. Gov. Hochul added ““This is New York. We don’t back down.” That may be welcomed news for gun rights advocates given the record in cases like this one in reinforcing Second Amendment rights. As previously discussed, New York has proven a fountain of cases strengthening gun rights.

Read more …

“We didn’t want to be right; we wanted to be wrong. It wasn’t about winning an argument. No, we wanted to lose the argument. We did not want the damage to occur..”

Liberal Policies Have Killed Black Communities: Clarence Thomas (NYP)

Michael Pack: You have talked a little today about how life in the black community has not been improved by many well-intentioned social programs. Do you think, in some sense, it is worse than when you grew up? Clarence Thomas: It’s a disaster. When I grew up, you had family, you didn’t have drugs, you didn’t have gang-banging. You could walk down the street. There was a change in our society. I think that these programs certainly had an impact. Just go back to Savannah and take a look around you. Our worst fears were realized. We didn’t want to be right; we wanted to be wrong. It wasn’t about winning an argument. No, we wanted to lose the argument. We did not want the damage to occur; that’s why we were involved. I don’t particularly like public life; I never wanted to be in public life. I’d like to go to football games.

“I’d like not to make decisions about other people’s lives, but what drags you into it is when you see these principles being undermined, which leads to such destruction. The policies destroy people, and, ultimately, I think, we’re going to destroy the very thing that allows us to have liberty and to have a free society. MP: So the heirs to those movements, like Black Lives Matter, focus on other things: mass incarceration, police brutality. What do you think of the current movements for racial justice? CT: I don’t really follow the movements du jour. I don’t quite understand them. It’s fascinating to me that the radical groups in the sixties, that we all were aware of and fond of back then, like the Black Panthers — that’s kind of mainstream now.

But we knew they were more marginal back then. I don’t know what to say about this. But if you look at some of the things that still are problematic, like bad education, unsafe neighborhoods, drugs, alcohol, breakdown in families, it seems like these are things that we warned about back then. We were told, basically, take a long walk on the short pier. And I understand that. I understand people not wanting to hear an opposing view. But at the same time, we’re not taking ownership of these policies’ having a significant role in the damage that’s been done.

Read more …

Guess it’s a good thing he can still read..

Joe Biden Flashes Official Cheat Sheet: ‘YOU Take YOUR Seat’ (JTN)

President Joe Biden on Thursday accidentally displayed an official White House card with specific instructions telling him, “YOU take YOUR seat,” and other similar reminders. Biden, 79, flashed the card to the cameras while at a meeting with wind industry executives. He spoke for nearly eight minutes at the event despite the fact that the sheet also instructed him to speak for two minutes. The “Sequence of Events” sheet also tells him: “YOU enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants.” The card then instructs him to ask AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler a question.


“YOU thank participants,” and “YOU depart,” the instructions conclude. Biden’s mental fitness for office has been under scrutiny since before his election. CNN’s Don Lemon asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the commander-in-chief’s cognitive abilities earlier this month. “Don, you’re asking me this question, Oh my gosh,” Jean-Pierre told Lemon. “He’s the president of the United States. … This is not a question that we should be even asking,” she responded.

Read more …

Susan Rice works in the shadows.

Biden Is Hiding His Plan To Rig The 2022 Midterm Elections (Fed.)

President Biden really does not want the public to know about his federal takeover of election administration. Dozens of members of Congress have repeatedly asked for details, to no avail. Good government groups, members of the media, and private citizens have filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Not a single one has been responded to. All signs indicate a concerted effort to keep the public in the dark until at least after the November midterm elections. The lack of transparency and responsiveness is so bad that the Department of Justice and some of its agencies have been repeatedly sued for the information.

When President Biden ordered all 600 federal agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process” on March 7, 2021, Republican politicians, Constitutional scholars, and election integrity specialists began to worry exactly what was up his sleeve. They had good reason. The 2020 election had suffered from widespread and coordinated efforts by Democrat activists and donors to run “Get Out The Vote” operations from inside state and local government election offices, predominantly in the Democrat-leaning areas of swing states. Independent researchers have shown the effect of this takeover of government election offices was extremely partisan and favored Democrats overwhelmingly.

At the time the order was issued, Democrats were also hoping to pass H.R. 1, a continuation of the effort to destabilize elections throughout the country via a federalized takeover of state election administrations. Biden gave each agency 200 days to file their plans for approval by none other than Susan Rice, his hyperpartisan domestic policy advisor. Yet fully nine months after those plans were due, they are all being hidden from the public, even as evidence is emerging that the election operation is in full swing. There are several major problems with Biden’s secret plan, critics say. It’s unethical to tie federal benefits to election activity. It’s unconstitutional to have the federal government take authority that belongs to the states and which Congress has not granted. And, given that all 50 states have different laws and processes governing election administration, it’s a recipe for chaos, confusion, and fraud at a time when election security concerns are particularly fraught.

Read more …

“According to The New York Times, the hearings were framed with the intent to use the select committee largely to “recast the midterm message..”

Prosecuting Trump: Being A Jerk Isn’t Criminal (Turley)

“SECVNDINVS CACOR.” When those words were found recently on an ancient stone in Northumberland, England, there was great excitement about what might be revealed about Roman life in the 3rd Century. As it turned out, the painstakingly chiseled words (which were accompanied by the image of a giant phallus) simply said that a guy named Secundinus was … well … human fecal matter. The stone was an impressive effort just to establish for all posterity that Secundinus was a jerk. The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is an equally impressive effort to painstakingly debunk election fraud claims and to show how former President Donald Trump refused to accept his electoral defeat. If the purpose were to proclaim “TRUMPUS CACOR,” it would likely get little argument, given the testimony about elected officials and election workers hiding out in their homes after being called out by name by the then-president.

The hearings have created a lasting, damning record leading up to Jan. 6. Yet, some members of the select committee have claimed they have established clear evidence of criminal acts by Trump. It has to be more than Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) insistence that the evidence would show Trump was not “an honorable man” on Jan. 6 — an assertion that even some Trump supporters might endorse. That claim is important to avoid confirmation of what was widely reported before the hearings. According to The New York Times, the hearings were framed with the intent to use the select committee largely to “recast the midterm message” and “give [Democrats] a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.” In other words, chiseling out “Trumpus Cacor” before the November election.

The fact is that this evidence is important for Americans to hear and see. Yet, the claims of established crimes this week seemed to run from the visceral to the recreational. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe declared that Trump can now be charged with the attempted murder of former Vice President Mike Pence “without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt, and the crimes are obvious.” In addition to declaring that he is certain Attorney General Merrick Garland will now charge Trump, Tribe said: “There are other crimes that have been proven. Those are plenty to start with.”

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“..babies and toddlers are 25 times likelier to die of an accident than of Covid.”

The CDC Just Pushed Fake News on Covid Child Mortality

Only because “an internet rando is more knowledgeable and paying closer attention than our top scientists and doctors” do we know that the CDC just publicized false information about the deadliness of Covid-19 to small children. This misinformation, presented at a conference among top experts, went viral and was promoted, notes Substack columnist Matt Shapiro, by dozens of well-known physicians and other media commentators and specialists, including CNN mainstay Dr. Leana Wen and a former surgeon general of the United States. Wen’s promotion of the false claim is still up on Twitter as of 6:45 p.m. on June 22. The CDC displayed a slide at a conference that falsely claimed Covid-19 was the fourth or fifth leading cause of death for all pediatric age groups.

A writer who is publicly known only by the name Kelley immediately saw that the claim was “completely and utterly false.” Among several errors, which are so blatant as to seem like intentional massaging of the numbers, Kelley discovered that all data from a 26-month period were being crammed into one year, and that deaths were attributed to Covid, regardless of whether the death was caused by Covid, if the disease was mentioned on the death certificate. The CDC slide, which cited a pre-publication British study that is now being re-examined, also bumped up the numbers by altering the definition of pediatric (ordinarily understood to mean under 18) to include 18- and 19-year-olds. The danger to children from Covid is very, very low. For instance, babies and toddlers are 25 times likelier to die of an accident than of Covid.

And all-cause pediatric mortality in the pandemic era for young children (up to 12) is 30 percent lower than it was a generation ago, in 1999. All-cause mortality for children over 12 has spiked in the pandemic era because of accidents, drug abuse, and other factors unrelated to disease. Covid barely registers as a cause of death for teens or small children. Writes Shapiro in his Substack column, Marginally Compelling: This is a massive data error, and yet it persisted through a supposedly rigorous data check from 11 authors and was selected by top-tier scientists for their landmark presentation to the most knowledgeable experts in the field. No one in any of these meetings recognized this error. This slide was presented uncritically to the nation’s top doctors and epidemiologists who are in charge of setting the national policy on COVID vaccines for children and no one even noticed it.

Read more …

“..mRNA vaccines pose a greater risk than the possibility of catching COVID..”

Study Finds mRNA Vaccines Lead To Increase Of Serious Adverse Events (TCS)

A new study has found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were associated with “an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest” that likely outweighs any benefit of taking them. As per the study’s results: “Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest, with an absolute risk increase of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 respectively.” “Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an absolute risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000. The excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest surpassed the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group in both Pfizer and Moderna trials (2.3 and 6.4 per 10,000 participants, respectively).”

The study was undertaken by American researchers at several reputable institutions, including Stanford University, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and the Navarre Health Service. When undertaking the study, researchers analyzed journal publications and trial data on the FDA and Health Canada’s websites to locate serious adverse event results tables. These stemmed from Pfizer and Moderna’s one phase III randomized trials. However, researchers found proper long-term randomization became compromised as many placebo recipients in the trials were eventually offered the actual vaccine. Thus, to preserve randomization and the accuracy of their findings, researchers used the interim datasets that were the basis for emergency authorization in December 2020, approximately four months after trials commenced.

As for what researchers considered a severe adverse event, the following were considered: death; life-threatening at the time of the event; inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization; persistent or significant disability/incapacity; a congenital anomaly/birth defect; and medically important events, based on medical judgment. Overall, according to the researchers, who received no funding support, the excess risk of serious adverse events found in the study justifies future formal harm-benefit analysis, especially “those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization or death.” Put simply, researchers found that mRNA vaccines pose a greater risk than the possibility of catching COVID and becoming seriously ill or dying.

Read more …

Just add an mRNA vaccine….

Alarming Levels of 29 Chemicals Affecting Fertility Found in Men’s Urine (CHD)

A study published last week in Environment International showed “alarming” amounts of 29 endocrine disruptors in the urine samples of 98 Danish men, EuroNews reported. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that affect human fertility by disrupting the normal functioning of the endocrine system. The team of researchers, led by Andreas Kortenkamp, Ph.D., professor of molecular toxicity at Brunel University London, conducted a chemical analysis of urine samples from 98 Danish men, ages 18-30. Prior research has shown a number of chemicals to be problematic for male reproductive health, but the new study was the first of its kind to measure the health risk produced by 29 total endocrine disruptors.


The researchers completed their analysis in three steps. First, they measured the amount of nine endocrine disruptors in the urine samples of the 98 men. Second, the researchers used existing data, mostly from the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA), to estimate the men’s likely exposure to 20 other endocrine disruptors. Finally, the team compared these measurements with exposure levels deemed acceptable according to the scientific literature. In doing so, the team was able to generate an overall risk measure — or “hazard index” — for the cocktail of compounds. The authors said they were “astonished” by their findings: The magnitude of the resulting hazard index showed exposure levels more than 100-fold greater than acceptable exposure rates.

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“..there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate.”

Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents (MPN)

Twitter has been on a recruitment drive of late, hiring a host of former feds and spies. Studying a number of employment and recruitment websites, MintPress has ascertained that the social media giant has, in recent years, recruited dozens of individuals from the national security state to work in the fields of security, trust, safety and content. Chief amongst these is the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The FBI is generally known as a domestic security and intelligence force. However, it has recently expanded its remit into cyberspace. “The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies,” the “About” section of its website informs readers. “The FBI has divided its investigations into a number of programs, such as domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence [and] cyber crime,” it adds.

For example, in 2019, Dawn Burton (the former director of Washington operations for Lockheed Martin) was poached from her job as senior innovation advisor to the director at the FBI to become senior director of strategy and operations for legal, public policy, trust and safety at Twitter. The following year, Karen Walsh went straight from 21 years at the bureau to become director of corporate resilience at the silicon valley giant. Twitter’s deputy general counsel and vice president of legal, Jim Baker, also spent four years at the FBI between 2014 and 2018, where his resumé notes he rose to the role of senior strategic advisor. Meanwhile, Mark Jaroszewski ended his 21-year posting as a supervisory special agent in the Bay Area to take up a position at Twitter, rising to become director of corporate security and risk.

And Douglas Turner spent 14 years as a senior special agent and SWAT Team leader before being recruited to serve in Twitter’s corporate and executive security services. Previously, Turner had also spent seven years as a secret service special agent with the Department of Homeland Security. When asked to comment by MintPress, former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley said that she was “not surprised at all” to see FBI agents now working for the very tech companies the agency polices, stating that there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate. This created a serious conflict of interests in her mind, as many agents have one eye on post-retirement jobs. “The truth is that at the FBI 50% of all the normal conversations that people had were about how you were going to make money after retirement,” she said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke and Dawe

 

 

 

 

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Jun 122022
 
 June 12, 2022  Posted by at 8:27 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Caravaggio The seven works of mercy (Sette opere di Misericordia) 1607

 

Pitchforks Soon In Europe? (Vilches)
No Ammo, More Casualties, Thin Lines, Propaganda And Passing The Buck (MoA)
Biden Throws Zelensky Under The Bus (ZH)
Ukraine Slams Biden’s Comments on Zelensky Not Heeding Warnings (NW)
Ukraine Fears It Might Lose Western Support Over ‘War Fatigue’ (Antiwar)
EU Will Likely Grant Ukraine Candidate Status To Join Bloc – Von Der Leyen (G.)
Pentagon Finally Admits Running 46 Biolabs In Ukraine (GGI)
The Warmonger’s Legacy (CGTN)
How The Jan. 6 Committee Undermined Its Own Legitimacy (Turley)
Comey Lied to Congress’ ‘Gang of 8’ Over Russiagate (Sperry)
Biden’s Homeland Secretary Lied Under Oath About Disinformation Board (ET)
Smoking (AGAIN): It’s NOT Transitory (Denninger)
Britain’s Dire Economic Outlook (O.)
A New Molecule That Kills Even The Deadliest Cancer (IE)
Headwind2 – The Debate – Malone and Vanden Bossche (Headwind)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunt

 

 

 

 

“It´d be plenty enough for Russia to just shut off your nat-gas supply, period. And not even to the whole of Europe.”

Pitchforks Soon In Europe? (Vilches)

Dear Europeans For your own children´s sake — on my knees and with my saddened eyes humbly looking downwards — I beg of you to please stop the current self-destructive nonsense dead in its tracks by immediately demanding from your political class to import the bloody Russian oil normally once again as Europe had been doing for dozens of years. The impact that the ban on Russian oil has upon your daily lives now and for years yonder is such that at the very least a Referendum should have been held. But it was not, and without consultation, the EU leadership acted on their own. Please be advised that the EU un-elected brass simply does not represent you or your needs. They were all voted amongst themselves into their positions like members of a committee in a private country club.

If left unchecked, EU politicians will now continue misrepresenting you and, on your behalf — with your hard-earned assets and livelihoods – will keep on picking a most unnecessary and prolonged armed conflict with Russia, eventually forcing upon you a total war scenario where chances play out all very strongly against you, with Russia probably resulting unscathed. European leaders crave for their war, so they can´t think of a better way to provoke it than by applying ever larger and ´meaner´ sanctions on Russia as if (a) sanctions were effective and (b) as if Europe could win such war (not). Accordingly, we now have yet another set of spanking new EU “sanctions” in package No. 6 that will eventually backfire flat on Europe´s face – like all the others — such as banning the insurance and financing of oil tankers that carry Russian oil. Accordingly, the EU is now trying its very best to

(1) bankrupt the successful Western oil tanker insurance business by reducing the number of participants
(2) induce higher shipping and insurance costs worldwide by reducing the number of participants
(3) foster the development of yet another Russian import substitution service namely oil tanker insurance & financing
(4) seriously hinder the world´s economy by not allowing deliveries of any oil tankers carrying Russian oil anywhere (EU or non-EU) thus cutting off some 15% of the world´s oil supply from the world market and necessarily sending its price yet higher with yet more EU-induced inflation as if we had not had enough already, please brace for it.
(5) force the construction of a new Russian-Chinese-Indian oil tanker fleet leaving idle part of today´s fleet
(6) tempt Russia to embargo strategic value-chain upstream items with captive consumers cascading into multiple failures thru lack of nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, etc.

Russia does not need to fire a single shot or land a single missile on European territories to win such a total war. Think tanks in Europe and elsewhere know this but say nothing. It´d be plenty enough for Russia to just shut off your nat-gas supply, period. And not even to the whole of Europe. It could possibly be to only, say, some limited area in Germany. But you need not put up with any of this. Europe should already have learned from history books and its generals not to underestimate or discriminate against Russia. Let alone cheat on it repeatedly as Europe has done since the downfall of the former Soviet Union. Yet again, history will not be kind to anyone directly or indirectly involved, including yourselves.

Read more …

“Zelensky did not listen to us and he didn’t inform us how bad the war was going,” will become the standard line as soon as the Ukrainian army is on the run.”

No Ammo, More Casualties, Thin Lines, Propaganda And Passing The Buck (MoA)

To match Russia’s 50,000 rounds per day, with each round weighing 50 kilograms, some 2,500 metric tons of ammunition would have to be moved per day from Ukraine’s western border to the east. After reaching some railhead in the east they would have to be loaded on some 350 trucks to be distributed while being under fire from long ranging Russian weapons. This would have to happen each and every day. The U.S. has large depots of ammunition but even those would be emptied within a few month if no large scale production of new rounds would be happening. Munition production is usually done only on a small but steady scale of a few hundred rounds per week. The west would have to scale up production to allow for the supply Ukraine would need to match Russia.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense Ukraine’s artillery has lost 506 multiple launch rocket systems and 1,859 field artillery and mortars since the beginning of the war. The daily reported number of pieces hit have changed over time from 50+ per day to now single digits. The total numbers in the Russia report are too high (as they usually are in similar ‘western’ reports). They amount to more than what the Ukraine had at the start of the war. But we can safely guess that more than 90% of Ukraine’s guns and missile systems have been destroyed. Meanwhile the ‘west’ has promised the Ukraine some 200 gun and some 50 missile systems. Half of those are former soviet types. The other half are newer and need ‘western’ ammunition. They seem to arrive only in trickles.

The U.S. has send some 100 M-777 lightweight howitzers. Only a few have been seen at the front in the east and some were already destroyed there. Others are used to fire on non-military targets in Donetsk city. We can guess where the rest is. The M-777 is lightweight (4.2 metric tons) because it is largely made from titanium which has a ten times higher scrap value than steel. Some entrepreneurs in Ukraine’s west seem to have found that recycling the guns (or selling them elsewhere) is of more value than sending them to the east where they would surely be destroyed within a few days. Ten days ago the Ukrainian comedian and president Zelensky had admitted that some 60 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are getting killed per day. That number was highly qualified and an advisor to Zelensky has now doubled it:

“A senior Ukrainian presidential aide has told the BBC that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every day. Mykhaylo Podolyak said Ukraine needed hundreds of Western artillery systems to level the playing field with Russia in the eastern Donbas region.” The real numbers are certainly higher than anything the Zelensky regime will ever admit. In a World War I like artillery dominated conflict (but without gas attacks) the number of wounded to dead is historically some 4 to 1 with one of the wounded additionally dying later from his wounds. This historic ‘sanitation deaths’ rate of wounded later dying from their wounds has since been halved by the use of antibiotics. But in Ukraine it may well be higher than usual in modern wars as its medical infrastructure is in a quite bad shape and as many medical personnel have fled the country.

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This is no coincidence. They’re looking to save face.

Biden Throws Zelensky Under The Bus (ZH)

President Joe Biden on Friday told a donors conference in Los Angeles, California on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brushed aside US warnings saying a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent. He described of the situation ahead of the Feb.24 invasion and his communications with Zelensky, according to The Associated Press: “Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating,” Biden said, according to the outlet. He added the US had data that showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to invade. “There was no doubt,” Biden continued. “And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it.”

Biden in the fresh remarks admitted that the possibility of Putin launching a full-scale invasion may have seemed far-fetched at the time, acknowledging, “I understand why they didn’t want to hear it.” Top Ukrainian officials in the days and weeks prior to the invasion had pushed back against Washington, blaming the repeat warnings from US intelligence agencies for sowing “panic”. At that time, Zelensky had even personally told Biden to “calm down the messaging” on the invasion fears. Rarely does US intelligence take its classified assessments public in order to preemptively warn of action it predicts will occur. This highly unusual public stance also fueled widespread skepticism of the constant invasion warnings from the administration even among longtime Russia experts and observers.

It has since been revealed in recent testimony by US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines that Biden had taken the rare step of declassifying intelligence related to the prepared invasion in order to convince skeptical allies that it was likely going to happen. Down to the last days before the invasion, there was hope among many Western officials of an “off ramp” that might quickly de-escalate the situation amid the Russian and Belarusian troop build-up along Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders. Indeed this “off-ramp” might have come in the form of Ukraine and its backers pledging that the ex-Soviet state would never join NATO.

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“I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating and Zelensky didn’t want to hear it..”

Ukraine Slams Biden’s Comments on Zelensky Not Heeding Warnings (NW)

Aides to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have responded to Joe Biden’s comment that the Ukrainian president “didn’t want to hear” American warnings before Russia’s invasion. Speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Los Angeles on Friday, the president said that the U.S. knew before the start of the war on February 24 that Vladimir Putin was going “to go in, off the border.” “Nothing like this has happened since World War II,” Biden said, according to the Associated Press. “But I knew we had data” that showed Putin’s intent. “I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating and Zelensky didn’t want to hear it,” Biden added.

Zelensky’s spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said the Ukrainian leader had “three or four telephone conversations” with Biden before the war started, during which they discussed assessments of the situation in detail. “Therefore, the phrase ‘didn’t want to hear’ probably needs to be clarified,” Nikiforov told Russian-language Ukrainian news outlet LIGA.net. “In addition, if you remember, the president of Ukraine called on partners to introduce a package of preventive sanctions in order to encourage Russia to withdraw troops and de-escalate the situation. “Here we can already say that our partners ‘did not want to hear us,'” Nikiforov said.

Meanwhile, Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podolyak told the same news outlet that Biden’s comments were “not entirely true” and that Kyiv had been “well aware that Russia was developing various expansion scenarios.” “[Volodymyr] Zelensky always had relevant analytics on his desk, based on high-quality intelligence,” he said. “The president also carefully reacted to all the words and warnings of our partners.” Podolyak said that Ukraine understood that Russia was planning an invasion and was preparing for it. The question, he said, was over its scale. “It is absurd to blame a country that has been resisting a superior aggressor for more than 100 days when key countries were unable to prevent the Russian Federation [from invading],” he added.

Although Zelensky has been hailed around the world for his wartime leadership, there are question marks over his preparation for the war, the AP reported. Weeks before Putin invaded, Zelensky took exception to warnings by the Biden administration about a possible Russian invasion, fearing it would harm Ukraine’s economy. On Saturday, Zelensky told the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit in Singapore that the war had consequences for the global order. “It is on the battlefields of Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided,” he said via video link. He also said that his country’s forces are facing fierce Russian attacks in the country’s east, particularly around the city of Severodonetsk.

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“Zelensky has made clear that his goal is to drive Russia out of the territory it has captured since February 24..”

Ukraine Fears It Might Lose Western Support Over ‘War Fatigue’ (Antiwar)

As the war in Ukraine drags on, Ukrainian officials fear that Kyiv might lose some Western support due to “war fatigue,” The Associated Press reported on Friday. The US and its allies have committed billions of dollars in weapons, but some Western European leaders have been calling for a negotiated solution to end the fighting, an idea Ukrainian officials have rejected. “The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [another] outcome for ourselves,” Zelensky said. The current situation on the battlefield is not looking good for Ukraine. An advisor to Zelensky said Thursday that they are losing between 100 and 200 troops each day as Russia continues to make slow but steady gains in the east.


Zelensky has made clear that his goal is to drive Russia out of the territory it has captured since February 24, which would require a massive military offensive. While there is some sentiment among European leaders for Ukraine to make concessions to Russia to achieve peace, top US and NATO officials are encouraging Ukraine to keep fighting. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that Ukraine shouldn’t drop the goal of driving Russia out of all of its territory, including Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014. Stoltenberg also said last week that the Western military alliance should be prepared to support Ukraine for the “long haul.”

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Too much resistance. And it would end the EU if it incorporates such corruption.

EU Will Likely Grant Ukraine Candidate Status To Join Bloc – Von Der Leyen (G.)

The EU executive will next week make a recommendation on whether Ukraine should be given candidate status to join the bloc, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said. Such a recommendation would be a preliminary step on a long road to full membership, and Ukraine would need the backing of all 27 EU governments before candidate status was given. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been pushing for rapid admission into the EU to provide the country with more security since the Russian invasion. “We want to support Ukraine in its European journey,” Von der Leyen said in a joint press conference with Zelenskiy on a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday. Heavy fighting is continuing in the eastern Donbas region, where Russia has been making incremental gains.

“The discussions today will enable us to finalise the assessment by the end of next week,” Von der Leyen added, saying that the Ukrainian authorities had “done a lot” towards a candidacy, but that there was “still need for reforms to be implemented, to fight corruption for example”. Speaking alongside Von der Leyen, Zelenskiy said that the EU’s decision on Ukraine would “determine” the future of Europe. “It is now being determined what the future of a united Europe will be, and whether there will be a future at all. A positive response from the European Union to the Ukrainian application will signify a positive answer to the question of whether the European project has a future at all,” he said. “All of Europe is a target for Russia, and Ukraine is just the first stage in this aggression,” he added.

Since Russia’s invasion on the 24 February, senior EU officials, including Von der Leyen, who was making her second trip to Kyiv since the start of the war, have spoken in favour of putting Ukraine on a speedy path to the EU accession by granting it candidate status. And while a number of EU states including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have backed these calls, there are still doubts in Berlin and Paris and other western European capitals over whether it is possible to begin the formal process already. On Thursday, Bloomberg, citing a diplomatic note, reported that Denmark believed Kyiv did not sufficiently fulfil the criteria to apply to join the EU, saying that the country “would need to fundamentally improve its legislative and institutional framework”.

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“46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.”

i.e. they were already there when Yanukovich was president.

Pentagon Finally Admits Running 46 Biolabs In Ukraine (GGI)

In a recent document, the Pentagon admitted to running 46 biolabs in Ukraine but says they are peaceful efforts to improve nuclear and radiological safety and security, disease surveillance, chemical safety and security, and readiness to respond to epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19. According to the Pentagon, the US government has funded 46 biological research facilities in Ukraine over the last 20 years, but only as part of a peaceful public health endeavor rather than to develop weapons. Russia and China have been accused by the US military of “spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust” about its efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In a document titled ‘Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts,’ the US Department of Defense for the first time revealed the specific number of such facilities its government has sponsored in Ukraine.

According to the Pentagon, the US has “worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health,” by providing support to “46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.” These programs have focused on “improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.” The Pentagon insisted that the work of these biolabs was “often” carried out in collaboration with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and that it was “consistent with international best practices and norms in publishing research results, partnering with international colleagues and multilateral organizations, and widely distributing their research and public health findings.”

Only three laboratories in Ukraine had the required safety criteria to undertake the type of research they were doing, according to the Russian military last month. Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, the head of the Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces, referenced Ukrainian government sources to point to a series of problems at one of those sites in Odessa, as an example. The Russian military has given evidence of the Pentagon’s role in funding laboratories in Ukraine in a series of briefings that began in March. Kirillov accused Kiev of carrying out “inhumane experiments” on Ukrainian patients and of launching a biological attack against the breakaway territory of Lugansk in early May. Other evidence suggests that when Russia moved soldiers into Ukraine in February, attempts were made to weaponize drones to spread pathogens and to destroy compromising materials.

Between 2005 and early 2022, the US poured more than $224 million into biological research in Ukraine, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee. According to Moscow, the conspiracy involved Western pharmaceutical giants, organizations, and even the Democratic Party of the United States.

George Webb

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From China.

The Warmonger’s Legacy (CGTN)

Six hundred and twenty thousand civilians died in the Vietnam War, yet they have never received justice… Iraq was invaded, accused of developing weapons of mass destruction, yet this has been shown to be a lie. And for 20 years Afghanistan was a battleground in the war on terror, yet ultimately the Taliban regained power. Lies, self-interest and profit have created a vast web of international conflict, devastating the lands and peoples caught in it. And the responsibility rests with one country alone. The documentary “The Warmonger’s Legacy” reveals the shocking truth.

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“..for 230 years, Congress maintained the need for bipartisan membership..”

How The Jan. 6 Committee Undermined Its Own Legitimacy (Turley)

In 1924, Lord Gordon Hewart famously declared, “Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” The lord chief justice of England, he believed that even a small allegation of possible bias by a court clerk meant justice was not seen to be done and, thus, was not done. Lord Hewart’s quote came to mind while watching the opening night of the House’s Jan. 6 select committee public hearings. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) decided a year ago to break from tradition and blocked two Republican committee members selected by GOP leaders. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pulled his other committee nominees, and Pelosi then seated two staunchly anti-Trump Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois).

Congress has a long history of bipartisan investigatory and select committees. Many were formed during deep political rifts — yet, for 230 years, Congress maintained the need for bipartisan membership. That was the case with the Watergate committees, the House Committee on Assassinations, the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions and other investigations. It would have been easy to stack the decks and limit the members by party on each of those committees, but past congressional leaders understood that the credibility of such investigations required balance, including opposing views. Pelosi’s decision to gut that process was something of a signature muscle play.

As a witness in the first Trump impeachment, I was highly critical of her insistence that the House would impeach before Christmas rather than conduct the traditional impeachment investigation with witnesses. Instead of building a more convincing case, Pelosi preferred to impeach with virtually no record, for a certain defeat in the Senate. In the second impeachment, she went one better: She held no hearing at all and pushed through the first “snap impeachment.” The Jan. 6 committee was similarly stripped of any pretense. It was as subtle a political move as Pelosi’s ripping up President Trump’s State of the Union speech. Asked what she hoped to achieve from the committee on the first day of hearings, Pelosi tellingly referred to it as a “narrative.” It is the difference between seeing and simulating justice.

According to The New York Times, that narrative is meant to “recast the midterm message” and “give [Democrats] a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.” It was packaged with the help of a high-powered media figure brought in to help stage the event. Much of the media touted how the hearings would be “must-see TV” and would force voters “not to look away” from Trump’s “coup.” Countervailing evidence was edited out. Thus, Trump was shown calling for the protesters to “march” on the Capitol — but not his additional words to do so “peacefully.”

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So many of these people have lied, where to begin?

Comey Lied to Congress’ ‘Gang of 8’ Over Russiagate (Sperry)

The FBI deceived the House, Senate and the Justice Department about the substance and strength of evidence undergirding its counterintelligence investigation of President Trump, according to a recently declassified document and other material. A seven-page internal FBI memo dated March 8, 2017, shows that “talking points” prepared for then-FBI Director James Comey for his meeting the next day with the congressional leadership were riddled with half-truths, outright falsehoods, and critical omissions. Both the Senate and the House opened investigations and held hearings based in part on the misrepresentations made in those FBI briefings, one of which was held in the Senate that morning and the other in the House later that afternoon.

[..] The talking points were prepared by Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer who later resigned from the bureau amid accusations of anti-Trump bias, and were used by Comey in his meeting with Hill leaders. They described reports the FBI received in 2016 from “a former FBI CHS,” or confidential human source, about former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Carter Page (no relation to Lisa Page) allegedly conspiring with the Kremlin to hack the election. Quoting from the reports, Comey told congressional leaders that the unidentified informant told the FBI that Manafort “initially ‘managed’ the relationship between Russian government officials and the Trump campaign, using Carter Page as an intermediary.”

He also told them that “Page was reported to have had ‘secret meetings’ in early July 2016 with a named individual in Russia’s presidential administration during which they discussed Russia’s release of damaging information on Hillary Clinton in exchange for alterations to the GOP platform regarding U.S. policy towards Ukraine.” But previous FBI interviews with Carter Page and other key sources indicated that none of that was true – and the FBI knew it at the time of the congressional briefings. The Lisa Page memo anticipated concerns about the quality of information Comey was relaying to Congress and suggested he preempt any concerns with another untruth. The memo advised Comey to tell lawmakers that “some” of the reporting “has been corroborated,” and to point out that the informant’s “reporting in this matter is derived primarily from a Russian-based source,” which made it sound more credible.

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Under oath. In the Senate. And he still has his job?

Biden’s Homeland Secretary Lied Under Oath About Disinformation Board (ET)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas misled Congress when he testified under oath in May that the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) “had not yet begun its work,” two Republican senators claim. In fact—according to documents obtained from a DHS whistleblower by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)—planning, decision-making, and concrete work by senior DHS officials, including Mayorkas, had begun at least as early as September 2021. In addition, the documents provided to the senators show that Mayorkas was asked by DHS officials tasked with planning and establishing the DGB for his approval to proceed as early as January 2022 and that Mayorkas gave his approval for doing so in February 2022.

“On May 4, 2022, Secretary Mayorkas testified under oath to Senator Hawley that the Disinformation Governance Board ‘had not yet begun its work.’ “On May 1, 2022, the secretary told the news media that the board would be focused on disinformation ‘from foreign state adversaries [and] the cartels’ and would not monitor American citizens,” the GOP senators said in a joint statement. “At the White House on May 2, White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the board would be focused on ‘human traffickers and other transnational criminal organizations.’” Despite those claims by Mayorkas and Psaki, Grassley and Hawley said in their statement that the documents they were provided reveal a different picture of the DGB’s development.

The documents said the DGB was conceived from the beginning in part to monitor the domestic speech of U.S. citizens concerning “conspiracy theories about the validity and security of elections” and “disinformation related to the origins and effects of COVID-19 vaccines or the efficacy of masks.” They added that Mayorkas and his team sought a partnership with social media outlet Twitter designed to censor content unapproved by the DGB and planned a meeting with Twitter executives to discuss such a joint effort.

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“..what Biden has done since being in office is add another monstrous inflationary impulse which has not yet shown up in the general price level..”

Smoking (AGAIN): It’s NOT Transitory (Denninger)

I hope you like bad things and bad times; they’re coming. “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.0 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.6 percent before seasonal adjustment. The increase was broad-based, with the indexes for shelter, gasoline, and food being the largest contributors. After declining in April, the energy index rose 3.9 percent over the month with the gasoline index rising 4.1 percent and the other major component indexes also increasing. The food index rose 1.2 percent in May as the food at home index increased 1.4 percent.”

As Chief noted on Stocks-n-Jocks yesterday the monetary aggregates have stopped skyrocketing. What’s not being said is why they skyrocketed in the first place — which is that all spending bills originate in the House and all Fed Action when it comes to monetary aggregates are based there, and only there, because without deficit spending The Fed has nothing to operate against. It is also known that it takes time for inflation to go through the economy. And much depends on where government spending goes. If government spends money in deficit to build a highway, for example, and that construction causes efficiency in business to increase by more than the highway cost then there is no inflationary impact. But if the spending is direct to consumption, which all of the pandemic “relief” spending was then it is all inflationary impact.

Spending collapses are thought of as “bad.” They’re not; they are often good. If you as a business owner get out over your skis and go bust that means I can come in and buy up your assets for pennies on the dollar. This means where someone else has 10% of their operating capital tied up in a building for their employees I only have 5% of mine, which means I now have a 5% cost advantage against my competitors. That, in turn, means I get to take your customers and the consumer benefits with lower prices, better goods and services — or both. Allegedly “protecting” the economy from this is, on the other hand, often through of as “good.” But protecting bloated business cost structures is bad in the intermediate and longer term because while it may look “good” it protects pricing and that, in turn, is bad for the consumer.

Unfortunately what Biden has done since being in office is add another monstrous inflationary impulse which has not yet shown up in the general price level. It will. That M2 has stopped wildly expanding is good over time but that’s 12-18 months out into the future and it presumes that Congress will stop the wildly-excessive deficit spending. May I remind you that there’s an election coming up and Congress has to pass spending bills for the next fiscal year, which starts October 1st, before said election? What do you think the odds are that they won’t add yet another spike to M2 before November?

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“..the gloomiest of all developed nations..”

Britain’s Dire Economic Outlook (O.)

Britain’s growth prospects are the gloomiest of all developed nations. The OECD predicted last week that the UK economy would not grow at all next year, the worst outlook for any OECD nation. This follows warnings in April from the IMF that the UK will experience the worst growth out of the G7 nations in 2023. After a decade of stagnant wages, it seems Britons need to resign themselves to the fact that the buoyant growth of the 2000s is but a distant memory. Every country has suffered the shock of the pandemic, followed by the spike in oil and wheat prices triggered by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. But other developed economies have proved more resilient, enjoying export-driven recoveries in the wake of Covid. Here in Britain, the economic malaise left exposed by the 2008 financial crisis is long term and structural.

This crisis was supposed to prompt a big economic rethink: a reckoning with Britain’s addiction to growth fuelled by rising levels of consumer debt enabled by rising house prices. The then shadow chancellor George Osborne pledged to rebalance the economy away from debt-driven growth to more productive development, driven by business investment and exports, underpinned with an expansion of the UK’s manufacturing base and a reduction in the huge regional inequalities between the south-east and the rest of the country. No such thing materialised. Instead, the least affluent areas of the country were forced to bear the biggest burden of cuts to public services, undermining their potential to attract investment.

Britain’s sluggish recovery from the financial crisis – average GDP growth in the decade after 2008 was a full percentage point lower than it was in the run-up to the year – was propelled by consumer spending and resurgent house prices. Productivity growth dropped substantially, taking Britain from second in the G7 for productivity growth pre-financial crash, to the second slowest post crash.

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ERX-41

A New Molecule That Kills Even The Deadliest Cancer (IE)

Recently, a tiny group of people with rectal cancer saw their disease vanish after experimental treatment. It was a very small trial done by doctors at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, wherein the patients took a drug called dostarlimab for six months. At the end of their trial, every single one of their tumors disappeared. Now, in another breakthrough, a new compound synthesized by Dr. Jung-Mo Ahn, a University of Texas at Dallas researcher, has been found to kill a broad spectrum of hard-to-treat cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer, leaving healthy cells unscathed. He exploited a weakness in cells that were hitherto not targeted by the other drugs.

The study, which was carried out in isolated cells, both in human cancer tissue and in human cancers grown in mice, was published in the journal Nature Cancer. Ahn, a co-corresponding author of the study and a UT Dallas associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, has been working on small molecules that target protein-protein interactions in cells for more than a decade. Previously, he had developed potential therapeutic candidate compounds for treatment-resistant breast cancer and prostate cancer. In his current research, Ahn and his colleagues tested a new compound he synthesized called ERX-41 for its effects on breast cancer cells – those that contained estrogen receptors (ERs) and those that do not.

Now, there are effective treatments for patients with ER-positive breast cancer, but only a few treatment options for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) exist. It lacks receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2. TNBC is known to affect women under 40 and has worse outcomes than other types of breast cancer. “The ERX-41 compound did not kill healthy cells, but it wiped out tumor cells regardless of whether the cancer cells had estrogen receptors,” Ahn said. “In fact, it killed the triple-negative breast cancer cells better than it killed the ER-positive cells. “This was puzzling to us at the time. We knew it must be targeting something other than estrogen receptors in the TNBC cells, but we didn’t know what that was.”

Soon, the researchers discovered that ERX-41 binds to lysosomal acid lipase A (LIPA), a cellular protein. LIPA is found in a cell structure called the endoplasmic reticulum, an organelle that processes and folds proteins. “For a tumor cell to grow quickly, it has to produce a lot of proteins, and this creates stress on the endoplasmic reticulum,” Ahn said. “Cancer cells significantly overproduce LIPA, much more so than healthy cells. By binding to LIPA, ERX-41 jams the protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum, which becomes bloated, leading to cell death.”

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Dr Malone and dr Vanden Bossche meet each other for the first time ..

Headwind2 – The Debate – Malone and Vanden Bossche (Headwind)

In this third episode of the Headwind documentary series dr Robert Malone and dr Geert Vanden Bossche debate on the pathway the virus will take, the new virulent strains the relentless vaccine boostering will produce and the crime against humanity which is the totally unnecessary Covid19 vaccination of children. Dr Malone and dr Vanden Bossche meet each other for the first time and debate on all these issues, with the stunning landscape of Southern Spain as a gorgeous backdrop.

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Ted Turner: Healing the planet for profit

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 012022
 
 June 1, 2022  Posted by at 8:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Pierre-Auguste Renoir Riding in the Bois de Boulogne (Madame Henriette Darras or The Ride) 1873

 

The FBI Maintains a Workspace Inside the Law Firm of Perkins Coie (CTH)
Michael Sussmann Has Been Acquitted (Techno Fog)
Who Is John Durham Targeting Next? (ET)
Ukraine Official Fired Over Handling of Russian Sexual Assault Claims (NW)
Europe Now Cheats Or Suffers (Vilches)
Iran-Russia Are Setting New Rules (Escobar)
Inside A Biden White House Adrift (NBC)
Careening Towards Grace (Kunstler)
Monkey Pox Update (Malone)
47 African Nations Have Blocked The WHO Amendments (SB)
The Man Who Built His Own Cathedral (G.)

 

 

 

 

Yellen

 

 

America is much further down the rabbit hole than you knew.

The FBI Maintains a Workspace Inside the Law Firm of Perkins Coie (CTH)

There is very little that surprises me, but this is completely stunning. An FBI whistleblower came forth to inform Rep Jim Jordan and Rep Matt Gaetz that the FBI maintains a workspace inside the law firm of Perkins Coie. In response to a letter sent by Rep. Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, Perkins Coie, the legal arm of the DNC and Hillary Clinton, admitted they have been operating an FBI workspace in their Washington D.C. office since 2012. Pay attention to that date, it matters. This is a huge development. Essentially, what is being admitted in this claim is that a portal existed into FBI databases within the law firm that represents democrats. This means access to FBI database searches exists inside the office of the DNC and Clinton legal group. Think about the ramifications here.

CTH has long claimed there was some kind of direct portal link between the Clinton campaign team and the FBI databases. There were too many trails of extracted non-minimized research evidence in the hands of the Clinton team that CTH could not trace to a transferring FBI official. If Perkins Coie operated a portal in their office that allowed them to conduct search queries of American citizens, then everything would make sense. That access portal is exactly what is being claimed and admitted in this report. The start date of 2012 is important for several reasons, not the least of which is FISA presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer criticizing the scale and scope of unlawful FBI database access going back to exactly 2012. Keep in mind a FISA-702 search, is simply an unlawful FBI warrantless electronic search of an American (“702” represents the American citizen) into the central database -maintained by the NSA- that contains all electronic data and communication.

I have been in the deep hole of the FISA-702 database search query violations for so long I don’t even need a flashlight. The report from Matt Gaetz about Perkins Coie access to FBI databases, is in direct alignment with Rosemary Collyer’s prior report on FBI abuses of the database, 702 violations. Notice the dates and scope Judge Collyer references. Non-compliant queries since 2012. 85% of the FBI and contractor searches are unlawful. Many of those searches involved the use of the “same identifiers over different data ranges.” Put in plain terms, the same people were continually being tracked, searched and surveilled by querying the FBI database over time. The non-compliant searches go back to 2012. The same date mentioned for the FBI portal to begin operating inside the Perkins Coie office.

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Juror speaks to some media after Sussmann verdict. “I don’t think it should have been prosecuted,” she said of the case. “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI.”

Michael Sussmann Has Been Acquitted (Techno Fog)

The acquittal is no surprise. This is a DC jury, after all. In the Roger Stone case, for example, we documented how a juror lied to get on the panel. (That judge didn’t care.) Making matters worse, the Sussmann judge wrongly allowed for a woman to remain on the jury, despite the fact that her daughter and Sussmann’s are on the same high school crew team. One can’t help but think that juror had her own daughter’s interests in mind – the cohesion of the crew team, sparing her of teenage drama, etc. – when she reached a decision. After the verdict was announced, the jury’s forewoman held court before the media and expressed her displeasure that the Special Counsel prosecute a false statement case: “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI.”

This juror was never impartial – despite her assurance to the judge. On the facts, the evidence was more than sufficient to prove Sussmann’s guilt. Sussmann lied to then-FBI general counsel James Baker via text message in order to get a meeting to pass the Alfa Bank hoax materials to the FBI. Sussmann lied again during the meeting – stating he was not there on behalf of a client – in order to get the FBI to open an investigation into the Trump Organization’s purported ties with Alfa Bank. Later, during testimony to Congress, Sussmann admitted he met with Baker on behalf of a client. Billing records proved he had been working on the Alfa Bank project on behalf of the Clinton Campaign. Evidence also demonstrated that Sussmann billed the Clinton Campaign for the thumb drives passed to Baker during the meeting. How was the Clinton Campaign billed? Sussmann referenced the “confidential project” – the Alfa Bank project.

I won’t say the verdict doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. It would have proven that a DC jury can convict one of their own. It would have resulted in accountability for lying to the FBI. Not the gravest of crimes, but it is still a crime. In large part, the prosecution of Sussmann was hamstrung by the FBI’s investigation into the Alfa Bank allegations. That goes to materiality. How can the lies be material if the FBI’s investigation was so sloppy? That was always an unconvincing defense, as Sussmann’s lies helped trigger the FBI’s investigation into the Trump/Alfa hoax. How does Sussmann convince the skeptical New York Times to take another look at the Alfa Bank story? By showing them that the FBI is investigating the matter. How can Sussmann convince the FBI to start the Alfa Bank investigation as soon as possible? By orchestrating leaks of the information to the press.

Turley

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Danchenko.

Who Is John Durham Targeting Next? (ET)

The trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is coming to an end but rather than provide definitive answers to the origins of the Russiagate hoax, the trial has brought to light many new mysteries and unanswered questions. Durham’s overarching trial narrative was that the FBI was duped by Sussmann when he presented them with data purportedly tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin via the Russian Alfa Bank. It may have been Durham’s only viable strategy, given the fact he was facing a jury of 12 Washington D.C. residents, a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 20 to 1. This strategy did give Sussmann’s team the opportunity to highlight serious misconduct by the FBI, with a flurry of new information about FBI malfeasance and abuses coming to light.

What does this all mean for Durham? Can he now do a U-turn and go after the FBI that he spent the past two weeks calling a victim? Can he go after Sussmann’s associates such as tech executive Rodney Joffe? And what about Hillary Clinton, who we learned greenlighted the plan to vilify Trump? Durham’s most immediate concern will be his second big case—that being against Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source, Igor Danchenko. Danchenko was indicted in November 2021 for lying to the FBI, the same type of charge that Sussmann faced. Specifically, Danchenko is alleged to have lied about his own sources, making up a conversation with Sergei Millian, a man he never met, and concealing from the FBI his conversations with Clinton operative Charles Dolan.

There are a number of crucial differences between Sussmann’s and Danchenko’s situations. Perhaps most importantly, Danchenko was charged in Virginia, not in Washington D.C. That means the jury pool will be more favorable to Durham. Like Sussmann, Danchenko talked to the FBI in Washington but, unlike Sussmann, he later repeated his lies at his home in Virginia when the FBI came for follow-up interviews. That Durham chose to charge Danchenko in Virginia, where the lies were repeated, instead of in Washington where they were first told, gives us an insight into how Durham views the Washington jury pool.

Kevin Brock

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Before nobody believes anything out of the propaganda machine anymore.

What remains is people will say: well, some of it must be true. Job done.

Ukraine Official Fired Over Handling of Russian Sexual Assault Claims (NW)

Ukrainian official has been relieved of her duties over her handling of reports detailing sexual assault allegations made against Russians in Ukraine.On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, removed Lyudmila Denisova, the parliament’s commissioner for human rights, from her post, according to Ukrainska Pravda. No new appointment has been made to fill the role. The move to dismiss Denisova came after outrage about the wording used in public reports about alleged sexual assaults committed by Russians, as well as the alleged dissemination in those reports of unverified information. Despite accusations from Ukraine, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied that Russian soldiers have committed war crimes or sexual assaults during the invasion.


Last week, Ukrainian media outlets and journalists signed an open letter in which they requested that reports concerning rape and sexual assault be “published with caution,” particularly when involving children, according to an English translation of the letter. The open letter also stated that “it is important to understand that sexual crimes during war are an instrument of genocide, an instrument of waging war without rules, but they cannot serve as illustrative material to inflame the emotions of the audience.” The letter from the journalists indicated how reports from Denisova went into great detail about the alleged rape of children, some as young as 6 months old, by Russians. The letter also criticized Denisova for including details of cases that the journalists said were unverified and asked her to “check the facts before publication” and “disclose only information for which there is sufficient evidence.”

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This should be the end of the EU. Either that or goverments will be overthrown. This is what the WEF’s “you’ll own nothing” means in practice.

Europe Now Cheats Or Suffers (Vilches)

Europe has now painted itself into an infamous corner with only two choices left, nothing else. Both are definitely bad and terribly expensive — probably un-payable — in political and financial terms. On May 30, Brussels (a) dropped its previous declared strategy of ´buying Russian oil to prevent Moscow from selling it elsewhere at soaring prices´ (???) and (b) approved its sanctions package No. 6 imposing a ban on Russian seaborne oil imports. But by Christmas such ban will supposedly exceed 90% of total Russian oil as Germany and Poland have ´volunteered´ to reduce their own pipeline imports by then. Still, 65% of European consumers who today import Russian seaborne oil will suddenly face either one of the only two possible highly detrimental options explained hereinafter.

Meanwhile the remaining 35% would theoretically benefit from the Russian Druzbha pipeline which will continue to safely feed them with the excellent Urals oil. But not quite and not really, because an ugly catch is awaiting Europe already cocked — line, hook and sinker — as if planned by its enemies, not its leaders as is the case. Migrations and unemployment cannot be avoided with the self-destructive ideology now rampant in the EU political mindset. Probably unknowingly, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paraphrased Mao Zedong by considering this “a big step forward”. There is a very important game-changing rub that short-sighted EU politicians haven´t yet fathomed, let alone sorted out. And it will hit them hard, head-on, blindsided without any protection whatsoever.

Not even their favorite protection, i.e, political cover for an obvious self-inflicted harm that public opinion is now witnessing front & center. Because, as duly forewarned, there will be tons of very serious problems with the 65% of consumers using — and most negatively affected by — the new non-Russian seaborne oil blends which literally no one would be exempt from. Not even the remaining 35% of supposedly “Druzbha safe” oil consumers. How come ? In one minute you´ll find out.

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China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Iran.

Iran-Russia Are Setting New Rules (Escobar)

The first Eurasia Economic Forum, held last week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, should be regarded as a milestone in setting the parameters for the geoeconomic integration of the Eurasian heartland. Sergei Glazyev, Russia’s Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), is coordinating the drive to design an alternative monetary-financial system – a de facto post-Bretton Woods III – in cooperation with China. According to Glazyev, the forum “discussed the model of a new global settlement currency pegged to baskets of national currencies and commodities. The introduction of this currency instrument in Eurasia will entail the collapse of the dollar system and the final undermining of the US military and political power. It is necessary to start negotiations on signing an appropriate international treaty within the framework of the SCO.”

Glazyev described the initiative to upend the western global financial system in more detail during an exclusive interview with The Cradle in April. It’s particularly relevant to understand how Glazyev interconnects the EAEU’s drive with the increasing geopolitical and geoeconomic role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which unites at the same table key Eurasian powers: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Iran. That connects directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, supporting the extension of a temporary free trade agreement between the EAEU and Iran, which is the newest (and only West Asian) full member of the SCO. Putin said this should go ahead despite the “confrontation by the collective West.”

The EAEU, inaugurated in 2015 with five full members – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia – represents a market of 184 million people and a collective GDP of over $5 trillion. The next step with Iran will be to implement a full free trade agreement, possibly before the end of the year, according to Iranian deputy trade minister Alireza Peymanpak. Egypt, Indonesia and the UAE are also candidates to strike deals with the EAEU. Iran, which has for over four decades now been forced to find creative solutions to bypass serial, imperial sanction packages, may have a conceptual lesson or two to teach Russia. Barter arrangements are gaining ground: Tehran is offering spare parts and gas turbines to Moscow’s power plants in exchange for much needed zinc, aluminum, lead and steel for its metal and mining industries, according to Iranian trade and industries minister Reza Fatemi Amin.

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The MSM takes notice. Biden is setting new records every day for unpopularity. So NBC worries about its popularity too. And CNN etc.

Inside A Biden White House Adrift (NBC)

Faced with a worsening political predicament, President Joe Biden is pressing aides for a more compelling message and a sharper strategy while bristling at how they’ve tried to stifle the plain-speaking persona that has long been one of his most potent assets. Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say. Crises have piled up in ways that have at times made the Biden White House look flat-footed: record inflation, high gas prices, a rise in Covid case numbers — and now a Texas school massacre that is one more horrific reminder that he has been unable to get Congress to pass legislation to curb gun violence.

Democratic leaders are at a loss about how he can revive his prospects by November, when midterm elections may cost his party control of Congress. “I don’t know what’s required here,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., whose endorsement in the 2020 Democratic primaries helped rescue Biden’s struggling candidacy. “But I do know the poll numbers have been stuck where they are for far too long.” Speculation is churning that Biden could shake up the West Wing staff, although that’s not about to happen right away. Multiple people close to the White House said they’ve heard that chief of staff Ron Klain will depart at some point after the midterms, and one has heard him discuss leaving.

Should Klain go, a potential successor is Anita Dunn, a White House adviser and Biden confidant whom he often turns to when his fortunes look bleak. Dunn began working at the White House at the start of the term, then left and returned in early May at Biden’s specific request. No woman or person of color has ever been the White House chief of staff since the position was created after World War II.

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“Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, the inverse reincarnation of Adolf Eichmann..”

Careening Towards Grace (Kunstler)

The World Economic Forum (WEF), a.k.a. the Davos Gang, held its 2022 schmoozefest in that tidy Swiss alpine village last week, after a nearly three-year hiatus on account of the coronavirus pandemic they generously arranged for the rest of us. These are the self-defined leaders of the Great Re-set — Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and Klaus’s scaly majordomo, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, the inverse reincarnation of Adolf Eichmann, famous for declaring that “humans are hackable animals.” Did he mean, like, with a meat cleaver? Who do these schnitzel-scarfing, Krug-guzzling punks think they are? Or, to paraphrase the immortal words of one Pete Hogwallop, who elected them boss of this outfit?

Nobody, that’s who, on this whole, wide, ever-turning world, which they literally aim to take over. Actually, from the way they talk, it already looks like they’ve hijacked the sucker and us “worthless” and “useless” humans on it, as Dr. Harari has labeled the multitudes riding the planet in economy class. Kind of looks like we’re in for a rough landing. As first hallucinated in Herr Doktor Schwab’s pulsating brain, apparently many years ago, the Great Re-set was initially scheduled for 2050, a sort of leisurely stroll-in-the-park to the shimmering gates of transhumanism. Then the gang got nervous and pushed it up to 2030 (climate change, and all). When that retrograde monster of US politics, Donald Trump, came on the scene, they panicked and re-set their Re-set for 2023.

Now, despite the surface decorum of this year’s Davos meet-up, it looks like they are — as we say here in the old New World — losing their shit. How come? Well, for one thing, we appear to be in a close race between Klaus’s controlled demolition of the global economy and the US midterm elections this November, and perhaps the gang perceives that won’t go so well for them. Their key project in the 2022 offensive, the War in Ukraine, isn’t working out, either. The idea, it seems, was to bog down and humiliate the Russians so as to bring on the defenestration of Mr. Putin, who, believe it or not and despite the tsunamis of aspersion loosed on him by WEF-funded propagandists, is strangely and actually a defender of Western Civ. Yeah, I know, a stunner, right? (God works in mysterious ways — but the Davos Gangsters don’t believe in him / her / they.)

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“..fearporn peddlers.”

Monkey Pox Update (Malone)

I almost cannot believe that I am writing this, but since my original substack article on this topic, we had the reveal of an Event 201-style wargame exercise modeled around a bioterror-related release of an engineered Monkeypox virus “caused by a terrorist attack using a pathogen engineered in a laboratory with inadequate biosafety and biosecurity provisions and weak oversight.” With amazing (coincidental?) prescience, the “table top exercise” of March 2021 (one year and three months into the Covidcrisis) models a Monkeypox bioterror attack initiated on May 15, 2022. Note the date of the CNN/Jake Tapper fearporn piece – May 20, 2022. The modeling deployed in the scenario upon which the “exercise” was based predicts 3.2 billion cases and 271 million deaths by December 01, 2023.

Of course, the predictive accuracy of the simplistic public health models such as that used to support this scenario have repeatedly proven to be absolutely horrid, and these types of models should be either relegated to the trash heap (or ongoing dumpster fire) as unscientific speculation which is all too frequently weaponized by the fearporn peddlers such as CNN, MSNBC, NYT, Washington Post. By now we all know the usual USG and WEF-controlled media players. As the Italian’s like to say: Niente e lasciato al caso. Nothing happens by chance.

As we now know, the amazing foresight of this modeled date immediately preceded a seminal WHO meeting which has just concluded, in which international health regulation (IHR) modifications which would grant the WHO unprecedented powers to bypass national constitutions (proposed on January 23, 2022 by the US HHS) were actively considered but tabled for a future meeting (~November 2022?) largely due to African nation concerns regarding infringement of national sovereignty.

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They’ll just buy their leaders, as they’ve always done.

47 African Nations Have Blocked The WHO Amendments (SB)

In a rare show of African power and solidarity, several African member states objected to proposed International Health Regulations amendments, discussed at the World Health Assembly 75 this week – a move many believe might shake up the World Health Organization’s dominance. A well placed source shared: “The resolution on IHR amendments was not passed at the WHA, as African countries were concerned that there was inadequate consultation amongst member states, and the process was being rushed. Botswana read the statement on behalf of the 47 AFRO members and I was personally present.”

According to Reuters, “if Africa continues to withhold support, it could block one of the only concrete reforms expected from the meeting, fraying hopes that members will unite on reforms to strengthen the U.N. health agency’s rules as it seeks a central role for itself in global health policy.” The IHR seeks to define and detail WHO members’ obligations around public health emergencies and other health matters. The United States government proposed 13 controversial IHR amendments, which give the WHO DG Tedros unilateral power to declare actual or potential health emergencies and expect a response in 48 hours.The draft proposal yet to be formally decided also aims to change article 59 of the IHR, and would accelerate the implementation of future amendments.

Bear in mind, a few countries at the WHA submitted draft resolutions to the IHR, which would need, at least according to the WHO process, four months to be considered. These countries are Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, European Union and its Member States, Japan, Monaco, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the United States of America.The African #WHA75 delegation expressed reservations about these IHR amendments, saying all reforms should be tackled together as part of a “holistic package” at a later stage. “The African region shares the view that the process should not be fast tracked…,” Moses Keetile, deputy permanent secretary in Botswana’s health ministry, told the assembly on Tuesday on behalf of the Africa region.

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If I can get just one of you to read this wonderful story, my day is good.

The Man Who Built His Own Cathedral (G.)

One late spring evening in 2018, Justo Gallego Martínez said he would show me his grave. The old man was warming his hands by a stove in the dim back room of his cathedral. A dusty film coated the concrete floor. The shelves and tables were full of relics, screws, chipped wood, crushed glass, half-eaten loaves of bread. A bare hanging bulb cast the room in jaundiced light. “I want to be buried here,” Justo said, signalling around him to the cathedral’s cavernous nave and the 20 trembling towers sprawled across thousands of square feet of his own land on the outskirts of Madrid. The cathedral’s crypt would be his burial place. And he’d be buried there because it was his cathedral.

He’d designed it entirely in his head, without a single measurement or calculation on paper, without a record of any of the materials he’d used. And he had done it largely by himself. I sat near Justo in the gloom and watched as the fire nearby threw shadows across his sunken eyes and recessed temples. He was nearly a century old, a jumble of protruding bones, but energy still pulsed through him. “Come on, let me show you,” he grumbled. Grabbing my arm, Justo winched himself up from his seat and led me out the door to the ambulatory. His baggy blue coat hung from his frame like wet clothes on a washing line.

Outside, the uncovered frame of a dome, 35 metres high and 10 metres wide, loomed above us. The nave lurched around 45 metres to our left, covered by a half-barrel vault whose exposed beams curved upwards like a whale’s ribcage. The rest of the cathedral was an architectural Frankenstein’s monster propped up on mismatched bricks, tires, wheels, food cans, plastic and excessive quantities of concrete. Large chunks of the building were already in decay, invaded by moss and rising damp. In the aisles dusty cement bags were piled as high as the first-floor gallery. Other rooms erupted with broken tiles, dismantled cement mixers, motorbikes, rotten wood, oxidised saws, festering ropes, chicken carcasses and plastic bags fossilised in pigeon shit. It sprawled over an area the size of a football pitch.

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Feb 222022
 
 February 22, 2022  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  166 Responses »


Salvador Dali Portrait of Gala with Two Lamb Chops Balanced on Her Shoulder 1933

 

“Joe Biden” Wins World War Three (Kunstler)
How the United States Has Provoked the Ukraine Crisis (Cathey)
Putin Recognizes Donbass Independence as Violence Soars (Lauria)
What Accounts for Putin’s Assertiveness on Ukraine? (Ray McGovern)
How Much The EU Has Destabilised Ukraine (Nuttall)
Donbas or Ottawa? The Dizzying Spiral of Government Violence! (Daniel McAdams)
The Neoliberal War On Dissent In The West (Greenwald)
In The Age Of COVID, We’re Reminded An Unjust Law Is No Law At All (McMaken)
Future UK Covid Waves Will Be Treated With Drugs Not Restrictions (Peston)
The Demise of Restaurants (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

 

 

Australia true Covid stats
https://twitter.com/i/status/1495853869242494983

 

 

 

 

Not okay

 

 

Rogan Maajid Nawaz decentralization

 

 

Canada Military
https://twitter.com/i/status/1495749143142322180

 

 

“His Democratic Party is looking everyday more and more like some hell-borne spawn of Satan bent on wrecking what’s left of the old USA.”

“Joe Biden” Wins World War Three (Kunstler)

Enter Monsieur Macron of France. After two years of antagonizing his countrymen with lockdowns and put-downs, he needs a boost for the national election forthcoming in April. So, he has heroically sued Mr. Putin of Russia for a Ukraine “ceasefire.” Note: the Russians haven’t fired. Anyway, that opened the way for a proposed “summit” meeting between “Joe Biden” and Mr. Putin — when the Russians feel like it. They’re playing it a little coy for the moment, letting the West twist slowly, slowly in the wind. If a summit does happen, what will the two summiteers talk about? Mr. Putin will reiterate that the US and NATO made a solemn promise (in writing) to not expand NATO along Russia’s borderland in 1990 when the Soviet Union fell apart, and y’all reneged on that… and now it stops with Ukraine… really… got it?

“Joe Biden” will not have a coherent response. Maybe he’ll want to talk ice cream flavors or dogs. He is, as the Russians say, not negotiation-worthy, though he can be trotted out for photo ops. But “Joe Biden” needs a big win so he can brag on something in his State of the Union address. His Democratic Party is looking everyday more and more like some hell-borne spawn of Satan bent on wrecking what’s left of the old USA. Everything they’ve done since 2016 has degraded the life of the nation — weaponizing the “Intel Community,” queering a national election, besetting the people with race-and-gender mindfuckery, and inflicting the deadly “vaccines” on the population to “fix” the Fauci-created Covid-19 crisis. Never has the country seen a president so obviously incompetent and unpopular. The people backstage running him like an animatronic automaton are in a panic.

By default, then, the summit meeting will be game-set-and-match, Mr. Putin, only both parties will pretend that it’s some kind of moral victory for “JB,” while Russia gets exactly the terms it seeks: Nord Stream-2 will be completed and Germany will get natgas; there will be no additional stupid sanctions and get rid of the old ones; and the US will close up its CIA shop in Kiev and quit all the pointless antagonism. There will be peace in that corner of the world. And then, on cue, the West’s financial system will implode.

Yes, that’s what is actually going on in the background. That roar you hear is bad credit whooshing out of the banks. It looks like we’re going to get both a ripping inflation and a collapse of equities and assets all at once — with a side-dish of disappearing livelihoods, vaporizing pensions, and sinking standards-of-living. One surmises that all the meshugas over Ukraine was designed as a distraction from the financial disorders now at hand. The news media has faithfully played the Ukraine story to the max while ignoring the growing disarray in North America.

The Toronto Star barely even reported today on the weekend dispersion of truckers in Ottawa — like it never happened… a kind of national hallucination. The big rigs are gone from the streets around Parliament Hill, but one suspects the action isn’t over. Mr. Trudeau’s stupid vaxx mandates are still in place and every passing day more is known about their inefficacy and ghastly after-effects. Nor has the national legislature of Canada voted, as required, in support of the Emergencies Act — meaning that the financial punishments inflicted on the truckers and their supporters was arguably illegal.

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“..a conflict, into which the US and NATO can pour support and implement various measures, economic and financial and, eventually, military against Russia, while blaming the Kremlin for starting it.”

How the United States Has Provoked the Ukraine Crisis (Cathey)

The very simple conclusion that may be drawn from what is occurring is this: our foreign policy elites–Neoconservatives and their zealous followers in both the GOP and the Democratic Party–see Russia as a major obstacle in the continuing process of imposing economic and political control over countries which have heretofore not acceded to their hegemony (i.e., Russia and Hungary). Using NATO as a strategic shell and Ukraine as its frontline player, the Neocon/globalist combine seeks to:

(1) prevent an economic disaster for the US of a functioning Nord Stream II pipeline, which would give Germany and potentially other European countries, a climb off ramp from economic domination by the US (journalist Mike Whitney has written conclusively on this topic in the Eurasia Review); and (2) eventually impose politically a pliant government in Moscow, which has become the chief stumbling block in preventing Neocon globalist hegemony and the realization of “the Great Reset.” Russia, like Hungary, has expelled CIA-infested and Soros-sponsored NGOs which in many locations around the world have incited “color revolutions” to install favorable client governments.

More concretely, the Biden administration and US foreign policy establishment (with congressional Republicans in tow) are accusing Russia of “false flag” operations, or more specifically, accusing the pro-Russian secessionists in Lugansk and Donetsk republics of violent attacks against Ukraine (on civilians, schools, all the usual claimed targets), while in fact it is elements of the Ukrainian military, with American encouragement and technical “advisors” embedded, who are responsible for the shelling and the attacks across the cease-fire line. This is one more example of disinformation strategy, projecting onto the Russians what we are actually guilty of.

Just listen to the braindead Biden essentially mouthing this propaganda line. If warfare breaks out it will be because the US State Department and our agents have impelled the Ukrainians to launch such “false flag” actions, literally forcing the Russians to react and thus producing a conflict, into which the US and NATO can pour support and implement various measures, economic and financial and, eventually, military against Russia, while blaming the Kremlin for starting it.

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“The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts.”

Putin Recognizes Donbass Independence as Violence Soars (Lauria)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the independence from Ukraine of two breakaway provinces in Donbass as violence in the region continues to escalate. In Monday evening televised remarks after signing decrees recognizing the independence of Lugansk and Donetsk, Putin denounced the government of Ukraine as “puppets” of the United States. He said: “As for those who captured and are holding on to power in Kiev, we demand that they immediately cease military action. If not, the complete responsibility for the possibility of a continuation of bloodshed will be fully and wholly on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.” After Putin had spoken by phone earlier on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday, the Kremlin issued this statement:

“The president of Russia said that he intended to sign the relevant decree in the near future. The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts.” The Duma last week passed a resolution recommending that Putin recognize the provinces’ independence from Ukraine. Putin had resisted for eight years recognizing the independence of the self-declared republics of Lugansk and Donetsk in the Donbass, insisting instead that Kiev implement the 2014-15 Minsk agreements that would have given autonomy to the provinces, while they remained within Ukrainian territory. The decision by Putin effectively declares that the Minsk process is over.

It does not mean at this point, however, that the people of Lugansk and Donetsk are ready to hold a referendum to join Russia or that Moscow is interested in making them part of Russia, as happened in Crimea in 2014. The two provinces declared independence after the 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Kiev that overthrew democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the violent capital to the Donbass, his base of support, exactly eight years ago today, on Feb. 21, 2014. On the next day Parliament, with only opposition leaders present, impeached him. After anti-Russian language laws were passed by the coup government, hand-picked before the coup by the United States, and after neo-Nazis burned dozens of people alive in a building in Odessa on May 3, 2014, both Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence nine days later on May 12.

The coup government launched a civil war against the separatists, whom they called “terrorists.” In essence the Donbass was defending their democratic rights to vote, as a majority of the region voted for Yanukovych, in an election certified by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In the eight years since, as many as 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting. The violence from that continuing conflict has soared since Thursday with thousands of ceasefire violations and explosions in and around Lugansk and Donetsk reported by OSCE monitors on the ground.


Putin speech Feb 21

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Xi.

What Accounts for Putin’s Assertiveness on Ukraine? (Ray McGovern)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s well choreographed decision yesterday to recognize the independence of the pro-Russian Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk points to two key realities: (1) Putin despairs of persuading U.S. allies, Germany and France, to press Ukraine to honor its commitments under the Minsk accords that provide for regional autonomy as well as a ceasefire; and (2) Putin feels assured of very strong backing from China (as long as he is not stupid enough to invade Ukraine). What about this China factor? Why do Western pundits/savants pay so little heed to this game-changer? It should not require my half-century of studying/reporting on Russia-China relations to notice that China and Russia have never been so strategically close as now. Putin and Xi have done their part to demonstrate that. Why cannot most Western pundits and savants see it and recognize the implications?

There are, happily, notable exceptions – for example, Edward Wong’s Bond Between China and Russia Alarms US and Europe Amid Ukraine Crisis. Wong writes of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s speech on Feb. 21 in Munich: “It was the latest instance of what Western officials say is China taking a bold new swing at the United States and its allies by wading into European security issues to explicitly back Russia.” Wong includes quotes from a PR person, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, and a true expert on China, former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd. Kirby: “China’s support for Russia is deeply alarming, and, frankly, even more destabilizing to the security situation in Europe.” Rudd: “China’s explicitly pro-Russian position on European security is new and significant and quite a radical departure from the past.”

Kevin Rudd is right, of course; and it’s nice to know that the Pentagon, too, is aware. Crazed as the generals and admirals have long shown themselves to be, it is questionable whether even they would want to risk war on two fronts with major adversaries – for another star on their shoulder. I recall Amb. Chas Freeman telling me last December, “It is clear that the Sino-Russian entente is expanding under the pressure of US threats to both. Nothing will happen on either Taiwan or Ukraine without coordination between Beijing and Moscow.

That nothing will happen on either Ukraine or Taiwan without coordination between Beijing and Moscow seems to be key to understanding why Putin is feeling his oats. Yesterday, Chas further reminded me that “China agrees with Russia that the US global sphere of influence needs rollback. It does not agree that Ukraine should be invaded, occupied, or annexed. Ironically, China is this century’s citadel of Westphalianism.

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“..after more than a year of protracted negotiations, Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement in November 2013, which set off a chain of events that eventually led to his downfall.”

How Much The EU Has Destabilised Ukraine (Nuttall)

Eight years ago, a democratically elected president was removed from office by protesters waving European Union flags. Viktor Yanukovych had been elected as president of Ukraine in 2010 to serve a five-year term. His time in office was, however, brought to an abrupt end when he was removed for his refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU. The first decade of the 20th century was a golden period for the EU. The euro currency had been launched, the bloc was expanding, and Eurosceptic movements in its existing member states had barely got off the ground. The federalist ideologues in Brussels confidently believed that this was to be the EU’s century, and nothing could prevent it from accruing more powers and expanding further eastwards.

After the accession of central European countries and the Baltic states, Ukraine was the next logical step –highlighted by a vote in the European Parliament in 2005, which floated the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the bloc. As a consequence, EU cash was poured into Ukraine as a precursor to eventual accession. The first step towards this eventuality was a deepening of economic ties, and to this end an association agreement was initiated in 2012. However, after more than a year of protracted negotiations, Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement in November 2013, which set off a chain of events that eventually led to his downfall.

[..] Now Yanukovych may have been a bad president, but that is not really the point. He was elected to serve a five-year term, and if the electors wanted rid of him, and it seems a sizeable number did, then they could have waited another year and voted him out of office. That is, after all, how democracy works. Nevertheless, with Yanukovych out of the way, the Ukrainian government signed the association agreement with the EU in March 2014. The EU proudly holds itself up as a defender of democracy – although anyone who understands how it really works knows what a contradiction this is – so you would assume that Brussels would have roundly denounced these ugly scenes in Kiev. But no, EU chiefs instead acted as enthusiastic cheerleaders.

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“Even insane San Francisco is in the process of eliminating its mandates, yet somehow Justin Trudeau’s Canada is willing to literally go to war with its own people..”

Donbas or Ottawa? The Dizzying Spiral of Government Violence! (Daniel McAdams)

Will the Russians attack? Well, they’ve been clear for years: a Kiev attack on three-quarters of a million Russian citizens in eastern Ukraine – who because of a Washington coup found themselves ruled by a government that came to power illegitimately – will be met with a Russian military response. In the breathless world of the braindead media hacks, the world began yesterday. But actually we are seeing a situation similar to 2008 in South Ossetia, where Russian passport holders (and Russian OSCE monitors) found themselves under attack by Georgia. The result was lightening fast, effective, and limited. Russia could have held and “regime-changed” Tbilisi. They did not. They made their point and left.

Even the US government-funded RFE had to admit that yes, in fact, it was Georgia that started the hostilities…and Russia that ended them. Will Russia come to the aid of Donbas? Yes. They are not trying to hide it. They’ve been saying it for years . The renowned historian and international relations theoretician Edward Luttwak – never accused of being a political partisan – put it best on Twitter: “The latest IC forecast: war is imminent and Russian forces will rely on exceptionally intense artillery bombardments, of Kiev too. That implies a reckless-gambler Putin, willing to make Ukrainians hate Russia & Russians forever. Neither is congruent with Putin’s record so far.”

This is the difference between astute analysts and the cardboard cut-outs who populate the media. People of intellectual substance like Luttwak are not in the business to grind an axe. They analyze past behavior and seek the truth. Sadly these days we are stuck with the former, with the latter being rarities. Meanwhile in Canada, a liberal Western democracy has declared war – literally – on its own peaceful citizens who have gathered to oppose the absurd continuation of Covid-related mandates. Even insane San Francisco is in the process of eliminating its mandates, yet somehow Justin Trudeau’s Canada is willing to literally go to war with its own people to keep them in place.

What is funny about Canada (and this is also true of the US and many “Western” liberal democracies), is that they are very happy to preach to the rest of the world that peaceful protests must be allowed while literally at the same time brutally cracking down on same protests in their own countries. As in the late Soviet era, the hypocrisy is impossible to ignore. The regime disintegrates under the weight of its own contradictions.

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“The term “dissent,” in Western democracies, connotes legitimacy, so that label must be denied them.”

The Neoliberal War On Dissent In The West (Greenwald)

This last decade of history is crucial to understand the dissent-eliminating framework that has been constructed and implemented in the West. This framework has culminated, thus far, with the stunning multi-pronged attacks on Canadian truckers by the Trudeau government. But it has been a long time in the making, and it is inevitable that it will find still-more extreme expressions. It is, after all, based in the central recognition that there is mass, widespread anger and even hatred toward the neoliberal ruling class throughout the West. Trump, Brexit and the rise of far-right parties in places where their empowerment was previously unthinkable — including Germany and France — is unmistakable proof of that. Rather than sacrifice some of the benefits of inequality that have generated much of that rage or placate or appease it with symbolic concessions, Western neoliberal elites have instead opted for force, a system that crushes all forms of dissent as soon as they emerge in anything resembling an effective, meaningful or potent form.

So many of the controversies over the last decade, often analyzed in isolation, have been devoted to this goal. The pervasive surveillance systems constructed by the West — revealed during the Snowden reporting but only partially reined in at best since then — are crucial tools, as surveillance powers always are, for monitoring and thus stifling dissent. We have now arrived at the point where the U.S. Government and its security state is officially and explicitly clear that it regards the greatest national security threat not as a foreign power such as China or Russia, and not as non-state actors such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, but rather “domestic extremists.” For years, this has been the unyielding message of the DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA and DOJ: our primary enemies are not foreign but are our fellow citizens who have embraced ideologies we regard as extremist.

This new escalation of repression depends upon a narrative framework. Those who harbor dissenting ideologies — and particularly those who do not embrace that dissent passively but instead take action to advocate, promote and spread it — are not merely dissenters. The term “dissent,” in Western democracies, connotes legitimacy, so that label must be denied them. They are instead domestic extremists, domestic terrorists, seditionists, traitors, insurrections. Applying terms of criminality renders justifiable any subsequent acts of repression: we are trained to accept that core liberties are forfeited upon the commission of crimes.

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“..when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue.”

In The Age Of COVID, We’re Reminded An Unjust Law Is No Law At All (McMaken)

We could contrast the rhetoric surrounding the trucker protest with that of the Black Lives Matter protests. In the case of the BLM protests, illegal acts were downplayed and ignored, with one obvious riot labeled a “mostly peaceful” protest. when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue. The regimes of the world, of course, like to use legality as a standard for judging human behavior because the regimes make the laws. Whether or not the laws actually have anything to do with human rights, private property, or just basic common sense is another matter entirely. Thus history is replete with pointless, immoral, and destructive laws. Slavery has been lawful throughout much of human history. Temporary slavery—known as military conscription—is still employed by many regimes.

In the US, the imprisonment of peaceful American citizens of Japanese descent was perfectly lawful under the US regime during World War II. Today, employers can face ruinous sanctions for hiring a worker who lacks the proper immigration paperwork. Worldwide, people can be jailed in many jurisdictions for years for the “crime” of possessing an illegal plant. During covid, the reality of arbitrary law came very much to the fore when unelected health bureaucrats and lone elected executives began ruling by decree. They closed businesses, shut people up in their homes, and imposed vaccine and mask mandates. Those who refuse to comply—and businesses who refuse to enforce these edicts—are condemned as lawbreakers and subject to punishment.

All of these legal provisions, acts, and sanctions represent mockeries of basic natural rights rather than protections of them. The notion that laws can be perversions of true justice has long been obvious to many. In fact, the disconnect between morality and legality is a fundamental aspect of Western civilization. The basic notion is very old, but the idea’s endurance in the West was reinforced by the fact that Christianity began as an illegal religion and early Christians were often considered to be criminals deserving of the death penalty. It should be no surprise, then, that Saint Augustine declared an unjust law to be no law at all and compared kings to pirates: the decrees of pirates, of course, are not worthy of obedience or reverence. And if kings are like pirates, kingly decrees are of equal respectability. This same tradition fueled Saint Thomas Aquinas’s support for regicide (in certain cases). Needless to say, regicide has been always and everywhere declared illegal by the would-be targets.

Yet, unfortunately, declaring something to be “illegal” remains an effective slur. There is no shortage of people who proudly consider themselves to be blind supporters of “law and order” and who insist “lawbreakers” are axiomatically in the wrong. Their simple-minded refrain is “if you don’t like the law, change it” and many of these people naïvely believe that acts of legislators and regulators somehow reflect “the will of the people” or some sort of moral law. The opposite is often the reality. We could contrast the rhetoric surrounding the trucker protest with that of the Black Lives Matter protests. In the case of the BLM protests, illegal acts were downplayed and ignored, with one obvious riot labeled a “mostly peaceful” protest. when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue.

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“..paxlovid and molnupiravir.” Count your blessings.

Future UK Covid Waves Will Be Treated With Drugs Not Restrictions (Peston)

The core of the strategy to deal with another frightening Covid-19 wave will be pharmaceutical and medical interventions rather than lockdowns and restrictions on our lives, the PM will announce this afternoon. But this means laying in stocks of antivirals like paxlovid and molnupiravir, to protect the vulnerable, and that will cost money. And a second source of cost is a testing and surveillance system to catch a new wave early enough to distribute the antivirals. Which is also far from cheap. Hence the dispute this morning between the Treasury and the Deptartment of Health and Social Care. The Treasury seems to have won and Sajid Javid will “reprioritise” from within his existing budget.

A government source confirmed: “A minimum level of response needs to be maintained so that we have the ability to rapidly scale up and deal with future waves through pharmaceutical interventions rather than restrictions – as we did with Omicron.” UPDATE: To keep us safe, and to keep the economy open, there has to be fairly extensive Covid testing, surveillance and genome sequencing regime. Without it, we wouldn’t know if a new and dangerous strain were here, till too late to contain it with antivirals and booster vaccines As I said earlier, this monitoring regime – plus the perceived imperative of maintaining adequate stocks of antivirals – is pricey.

Over the weekend the row between the Department of Health and the Treasury has not been about new money to pay for it, though it was before, but has been a dispute about whether this Covid insurance policy was necessary at all. The Health Secretary Sajid Javid wanted it. Sunak was sceptical. In the end, Javid won this argument and will pay for it by cutting other programmes.

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“the twin impact of depletion and pollution is pushing the Western economy back to what it was a couple of hundred years ago.”

The Demise of Restaurants (Ugo Bardi)

As I said, restaurants have always been a typical middle-class thing. They appeared together with the European middle class, and they are following its destiny. During the past few decades, the middle class has been gradually pushed back into the fold of the lower class. The restaurant business could not avoid being affected by the trend. The tradition of eating out is still alive in the West, but the resources for doing that are not there anymore for a middle class that’s struggling to survive, and failing at that. On their side, the rich don’t eat at restaurants, at least not at the same kind of restaurants that the deplorables can afford. For the very rich and politically exposed persons (PEPs), appearing at a restaurant without an armed escort would be dangerous (*). They have their private cooks and exclusive places. And they socialize with each other throwing expensive parties at their homes. A habit that we find in ancient history, even in Roman times and earlier.

You may have seen the picture of Bill Gates supposedly standing in line waiting for his turn for a burger. It is surprising that many Westerners seem to believe in this kind of cheap PR stunts. In the old Soviet Union, if Leonid Brezhnev had diffused a picture of himself standing in line to buy shoes, people would have laughed themselves to death. But it is known that Westerners are sensitive to propaganda. In any case, the current Western elites are acting just like the Soviet elites of old. They don’t care about what the commoners eat, although they are worried that starving them may lead them to revolt. So, they tend to allow a basic supply of food, but they consider restaurants (and the associated tourism) as a waste of resources. They much prefer to funnel the surplus produced by the economy into their own pockets rather than having it dissipated by the commoners.

They can use several methods to obtain this result: lockdown worked nicely, but could not be imposed forever. Other methods were later used to make the restaurant experience unpleasant for the customers. Different factors reinforced each other. One result of the financial strain is that the quality of the food and of the service is going down (I can testify that myself). Finally, the QR code is the perfect method to keep the deplorables out. It is a more sophisticated and tuneable tool than the old written menu. So, Western restaurants are in the crosshair and it is unlikely that they will survive, at least in the form we are used to seeing them. It is not so much because the PTB are evil — they are no more evil than most categories. It is mostly because the economic contraction coming from the twin impact of depletion and pollution is pushing the Western economy back to what it was a couple of hundred years ago.


a Sumerian QR code to assign rations of beer. Some things never change, some things always return.

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Crowther

 

 

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Dec 122021
 


Vincent van Gogh On the Outskirts of Paris 1887

 

WHO: No Deaths Reported as a Result of Omicron Variant to Date (ET)
Vaccine Nation Forever (Malone)
Japan Puts Myocarditis Warning on ‘Vaccines’ – Requires Informed Consent (RAIR)
Original Antigenic Sin: a Very Serious Reason to Stop Mass Vaccination (Eu.)
The Manufactured Illusion of an Unprecedented Virus (Ruechel)
Natural Immunity Protects Better Against Infection Than the Pfizer Vaccine (DS)
The Social Division Has Long Since Reached Schools (Welt)
Von der Leyen Won’t Provide Info About Billion-Dollar Deal With Pfizer (NP)
Pentagon Considering Covid Booster Mandate For All Troops (AT)
Ukraine Takes Delivery Of American Rockets (RT)
Chinese State-Run Media Says Beijing Ready To Use Force Against US (RT)
Julian Assange Has Had A Stroke In Belmarsh Prison (DM)

 

 

 

 

Rona the red spike protein
https://twitter.com/i/status/1469868738820386817

 

 

 

 

Vaccine Propaganda

 

 

Good thing Moderna is preparing a 3-shot vaccine against this harmless variant. Pfizer can’t be far behind.

WHO: No Deaths Reported as a Result of Omicron Variant to Date (ET)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has informed The Epoch Times that it has not documented any deaths from the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19. According to the WHO, “for Omicron, we have not had any deaths reported, but it is still early in the clinical course of disease and this may change.” When reached for comment by The Epoch Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its report on the Omicron variant in the United States from Dec. 1 through 8. It shows that there were no documented deaths from Omicron during that period. The WHO’s latest weekly epidemiological update for Dec. 7 showed that all 212 Omicron cases documented across eighteen European Union (EU) countries were either mild or asymptomatic.


“While South Africa saw an 82 percent increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19 (from 502 to 912) during the week 28 November–4 December 2021, it is not yet known the proportion of these with the Omicron variant,” the report noted. Omicron has also been detected in the United States, first in California and later in Colorado, New York, Maryland, Utah, and many other states. The first American patient with the variant was identified in San Francisco, testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 29 after returning from a trip to South Africa on Nov. 22. Yet the California Department of Public Health has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the variant was present in wastewater as early as Nov. 25.

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“..the data show a 90.5% adverse event rate compared to 30% in placebo treated patients..”

Vaccine Nation Forever (Malone)

Panel A: Efficacy data


Note the subtle lower placement of the Fluzone data graphs, making the mRNA product appear more effective than it is relative to the licensed traditional Fluzone graphs. In a sharp-eyed tweet, @RobertLKruse gets the gold star for pointing out this trick in Moderna’s slide comparing early efficacy data from its flu shot to a competitor. The y-axis being lower for Fluzone’s shot is lower makes it look worse (and $MRNA’s shot better) if glancing quickly and comparing the two graphs. For some reason, Moderna seems to have failed to perform statistical comparison of Fluzone versus Moderna flu jab data. Perhaps because they do not have enough capital to hire competent biostatisticians to run the numbers?

Panel B: Safety – Adverse events


This is the real bombshell! Note that the dose for Moderna’s COVID-19 jab is 100 micrograms, so focus on that column when comparing to placebo- 92% of patients >= 50 years old had adverse events, compared to 33% in the placebo. Even in 18 – 50 year olds – who really have no reason to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with these products- the data show a 90.5% adverse event rate compared to 30% in placebo treated patients. This does not look good. What we can infer from this is that the adverse event profile for the mRNA COVID-19 jabs that has so many of us (including myself!) alarmed is not just due to the Spike protein, but a significant proportion of the risk seems to be due to the artificial pseudouridine-containing mRNA combined with the novel synthetic cationic lipid (positively charged synthetic fat carrier molecule).

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Interesting take. “Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided.”

Japan Puts Myocarditis Warning on ‘Vaccines’ – Requires Informed Consent (RAIR)

Japan announces that public and private sectors can not discriminate against those who refuse the experimental mRNA gene therapy injections. Japan is now labeling Covid “vaccines” to warn of dangerous and potentially deadly side effects such as myocarditis. In addition, the country is reaffirming its commitment to adverse event reporting requirements to ensure all possible side effects are documented. These efforts from Japan’s health authority are in stark contrast to the deceptive measures taken by other countries to coerce citizens into taking the injection, downplaying side effects, and discouraging proper adverse event reporting. Additionally, Japan is emphasizing informed consent and bodily autonomy. Until the coronavirus pandemic, the concept of “informed consent” was considered sacred to healthcare professionals in the West.

Japan is particularly raising concerns about the risks of myocarditis in young men injected with Pfizer or Moderna’s gene–therapy treatment. The country is enforcing a strict legal reporting requirement of side effects that must take place within 28 days of the injections. Three Covid-19 gene-therapy treatments are currently offered in Japan. They include the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Takeda’s Moderna formulation. The product descriptions state that “this product contains an additive that has never been used in a vaccine before.” Furthermore, the pharmaceutical companies urge you to consult your doctor about the additive if you plan to be injected with it. In addition to the Pfizer and Moderna gene-therapies, Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca) is also administered in Japan. However, Japan only recommends it to people 40-year-old and over. Reference is also made to the new type of additive in the Vaxzevria injections.

Japan’s Ministry of Health of health website encourages citizens to receive the “vaccine”; however, they stress it is not mandatory, “Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided.” In addition, the government recommends those who are considering taking the shot carefully consider both its effectiveness and side effects. “Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent.” Furthermore, they stress that businesses do not force employees to receive the experimental gene therapy. Nor should employees discriminate against those who refuse the injections,

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“These concerns are particularly acute in the case of children, who may well be exposed to the risk of very serious illness in the future, if vaccination permanently misdirects their immune system.”

Original Antigenic Sin: a Very Serious Reason to Stop Mass Vaccination (Eu.)

The severity of Corona infection varies wildly across the population. Children have generally mild or asymptomatic infections, while adults having a wide range of responses. Everyone always assumed that cross-immunity was part of the answer to this conundrum. The problem, is that it is shaping up to be a not very reassuring part of that answer. The untrained, innate non-specific immune response of children looks more and more like a big part of the reason they are spared severe infection. Adults with immune systems tightly calibrated to the common human coronaviruses , meanwhile, often have more severe symptoms. They suffer from Original Antigenic Sin. Over 4.2 billion people across the earth have received at least one dose of vaccine against SARS-2.


The majority of these vaccines have elicited antibodies only against an early form of the spike protein that is no longer in circulation. This would seem to be one reason why many western countries with high vaccination rates appear to have locked themselves into an indefinite phase of heightened SARS-2 transmission. In the United Kingdom, 96% of adults have antibodies to the spike protein – most of these first acquired by vaccination. Shortly after they concluded their vaccination campaign, cases skyrocketed, and they have remained high ever since. Original Antigenic Sin is a real phenomenon. It seems not only to permanently influence the immune response to the spike protein itself, but also to inhibit the development of antibodies to other SARS-2 proteins.

A worst case scenario, would be a future spike mutation that entirely escapes the anti-spike antibodies elicited by our vaccines. In this case, it seems possible that many vaccinated people will be stuck with permanently suboptimal immune responses. If Omicron is indeed circulating primarily among the vaccinated, as some data shows, this would be a good reason why. These concerns are particularly acute in the case of children, who may well be exposed to the risk of very serious illness in the future, if vaccination permanently misdirects their immune system.

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“Frequent re-exposure solves the problem of a rapidly evolving virus by updating our immune system.”

The Manufactured Illusion of an Unprecedented Virus (Ruechel)

Frequent re-exposure solves the problem of a rapidly evolving virus by updating our immune system to recognize and neutralize closely related variants before we lose all our protective immunity from a previous infection. As long as the interval between exposures is not too long, you will still have cross-reactive immunity from your last exposure to protect you during your next “update”. Re-infection does not necessarily mean you will get sick. As long as it happens while you still have partial cross-reactive immunity, your “update” might be mild or you may not get any symptoms at all. In other words, we have to stop thinking of our immune systems as mere protective shields. They are much more than that.

We need to remind ourselves that our immune systems are self-improving protective shields that need frequent exercise in order to maintain and update their skillset to keep up with an evolving enemy. The propaganda during Covid has not denied this fact, it has merely distorted it to the point where many people have lost faith in their immune systems, have become terrified about every “variant of concern”, and have become fixated on vaccines as the only path to salvation. Fear doesn’t just blind us to what is standing before our eyes. It also makes us doubt our own senses and forget our long-established understanding of the world. Frequent re-exposure is nature’s solution to booster shots. Vaccine boosters make more sense for diseases in which re-exposure is so rare that immunity wears off entirely before you are likely to get a natural update.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that there are over 200 respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus and yet, despite the fact that they are permanently circulating in our communities, we do not get sick with dozens and dozens of colds and flus every year. Although we won’t be exposed to every single one of these 200 viruses every single year, we will cross paths with many of them. But as long as our immune systems have not been weakened by some serious pre-existing health condition (i.e. obesity, cancer, HIV, etc.) or by lifestyle choices that temporarily suppress our immune systems (i.e. poor sleep, lack of exercise, vitamin C or D deficiencies, stress, depression, isolation, etc.), most of these “updates” will merely be mild or asymptomatic infections because our immune systems encounter them so often.

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Why did we ever allow this to be questioned, let alone denied?

Natural Immunity Protects Better Against Infection Than the Pfizer Vaccine (DS)

At the end of August, a study was published showing that natural immunity provides much better protection against infection than the Pfizer vaccine. It was described by UCL’s Francois Balloux as “a bit of a bombshell”. Subsequent studies have compared natural and vaccine-induced immunity at the cellular level. One found that infection-induced antibodies “exhibited superior stability and cross-variant neutralisation breadth” than vaccine-induced antibodies, suggesting that people who’d already been infected had better immunity against the then-novel Delta variant. However, as I noted in my write-up of the “bombshell” study, its findings still needed to be replicated. After all, certain datasets or methods of analysis can sometimes yield quirky results, which don’t survive independent empirical tests.

Encouragingly, the findings now have been replicated – by another team of Israeli researchers, using a different dataset. In the latest study, Yair Goldberg and colleagues tracked all the individuals in their dataset (of people in Israel) who had tested positive or received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine before 1st July, 2021. They then compared the number of infections in previously infected versus vaccinated individuals from August to September of 2021. The researchers also examined the number of infections among those with so-called ‘hybrid immunity’ – i.e., previously infected individuals who got vaccinated. For each of the three groups, they counted the number of infections and the number of days ‘at risk’ (i.e., the total number of people multiplied by the number of days on which they were ‘at risk’ of becoming infected). Adjustments were made for age, sex, ethnicity, calendar week and a measure of risk exposure.

Results are shown in the chart below. Each bar corresponds to the infection rate per 100,000 ‘risk days’. The reason the researchers used ‘risk days’, rather than just ‘people’, is that the composition of each group changed over time. For example, some previously infected people chose to get vaccinated. Notice that the labels for the horizontal bars are not the same for each group. Since we want to compare apples with apples, look at the bars labelled “Recovered 6–8 months” and “Vaccinated 6–8 months”. This comparison shows that, 6–8 months after the corresponding event, infection rates were more than six times higher among vaccinated individuals – 89 per 100,000 versus only 14 per 100,000 among previously infected individuals.

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Google translate.

“There are teachers who call children individually and ask them about their vaccination status: those who are vaccinated receive applause, those who do not have to justify themselves.”

“It seems as if it has been forgotten that the vulnerable group does not sit in kindergartens and schools.”

The Social Division Has Long Since Reached Schools (Welt)

Hardly anything is discussed as emotionally as concerns about children in the pandemic. The reasons for this could not be more different, there is only consensus that almost all parents feel abandoned by politics. Although the previous plans of the traffic light parties no longer provide for nationwide school closings, regionally these will also be possible in the future. Conditions that include alternating and distance lessons as well as distance rules are not expressly excluded. In some federal states, compulsory attendance has already been lifted and the first schools have been closed again.Many parents are now ready to accept further measures if only the educational institutions remain open this winter. At the same time, scenes are playing out in schools that would have sparked an outcry from society before the pandemic. There are boards with the vaccinated on one side and the non-vaccinated on the other, who then have to undergo regular tests in front of the assembled class.

There are teachers who call children individually and ask them about their vaccination status: those who are vaccinated receive applause, those who do not have to justify themselves. Adolescents remind their classmates of their “social responsibility” by mistakenly assuming that it is they who have a responsibility for adult society, not for them. The social division has long since reached schools. This is certainly not the case in all schools, but unfortunately they are not isolated cases either. The medical benefit of the vaccination for 12 to 17-year-olds is given, but limited, as Stiko member Rüdiger von Kries recently emphasized in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk. Most young people are – and rightly so – not afraid of infection. Nevertheless, many would like to be vaccinated: because they want to live their youth, want to evade the pressure exerted on them and avoid the requirements that apply to those who have not been vaccinated.

The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) generally recommends vaccinating children and adolescents from the age of 12 against Covid-19, but has explicitly opposed vaccination for children and adolescents to participate in education, culture and other social activities is made dependent. So it says in the recommendation. But politics, with its sometimes disproportionate measures against this age group, prevents their social participation. So 2G is spreading even further for this age group. Children and adolescents from 12 (or 16) years of age no longer have access to public facilities in many places, regardless of their negligibly low risk of developing a serious disease. Von Kries calls such an obligation “simply absurd”. And now that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the vaccine for children under the age of 12, it must be feared that the younger ones will face the same threat.

A fact-based classification on the basis of scientific evidence no longer seems possible. The parents’ trust in political decisions for the benefit of adolescents has been lost. It seems as if it has been forgotten that the vulnerable group does not sit in kindergartens and schools.

German kids

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Google translate. Note the neat trick: much of the correspondence is done with text messages, like Whats App. Which are not archived (“by their nature short-lived”), and therefore don’t exist, officially. Handy when an FOIA request comes in. Click here for the uncensured 104-page contract.

Von der Leyen Won’t Provide Info About Billion-Dollar Deal With Pfizer (NP)

The European Commission does not want to make possible agreements between Ursula von der Leyen and the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer transparent. This emerges from a response from the Commission to the EU ombudswoman Emily O’Reilly, which netzpolitik.org has now published. Specifically, it is about messages that the EU Commission President is said to have exchanged directly with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in order to thread a vaccine deal. The New York Times reported on the existence of the news in April. The deal involved 1.8 billion doses from Pfizer-BioNTech. The billion dollar deal for the vaccine was agreed this spring, when the great majority of Europeans were still unvaccinated, via the short official channel in calls and messages directly between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, according to the report of the renowned US newspaper . The “text messages” referred to there can mean both SMS and messages via messengers such as Signal or WhatsApp.

Its vaccine Comirnaty makes the consortium of Pfizer and the German company BioNTech the most important vaccine supplier to the EU. But how it sets prices for its vaccines and which countries are preferred for delivery remains in the dark, according to an investigative research by the Financial Times. “How Pfizer is exercising its newfound power – and what the company is planning next – he is keeping top secret.” Despite criticism from MPs and NGOs who are calling for more transparency in EU billion-dollar deals, the EU Commission does not want to give any insight into the purchase of vaccines. As with contracts with other manufacturers, the Commission has disclosed a preliminary agreement and a purchase agreement for its business with Pfizer, but essential details such as the delivery price and liability issues have been blacked out in these.

Not only the contracts, even the initiation of the business remains in the dark. The EU Commission rejected a request for freedom of information from netzpolitik.org on the news between Commission chief Von der Leyen and Pfizer boss Bourla in July: “No documents could be found that fall within the scope of your request,” says the Answer by the Secretary-General of the Commission, Ilze Juhansone. In this case, netzpolitik.org lodged a complaint with the ombudswoman O’Reilly. As a result, there was recently a virtual meeting between seven top officials: from the Commission and five from the Ombudsman. In it, the Commission set out in detail how it deals with SMS or messenger services such as WhatsApp and Signal. Such messages are “by their nature short-lived” and are therefore neither used in formal decision-making nor do they produce binding commitments by the institution. As a result, SMS or messenger messages have never been filed in the Commission’s archive system.

Read more …

For a six-month booster shot. What happens when that is changed to three months? Automatic update?

Pentagon Considering Covid Booster Mandate For All Troops (AT)

Defense Department officials are reviewing whether to make a coronavirus booster shot mandatory for all active-duty and reserve troops, but have not come to any final decisions on the need yet, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday. “There are discussions in the department about the efficacy of a booster mandatory policy as well,” he told reporters during a press conference. “Should there be an addition to the [department’s] mandatory vaccine requirement, we will clearly communicate that and be transparent about it.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all Americans age 16 and older get both the initial two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (or the one-dose version produced by Johnson & Johnson) and a booster shot six months after completing the initial regimen.


Earlier this month, White House officials announced that all eligible Americans should get a booster shot “as soon as possible” to help counter the recent surge in COVID-19 variant cases spreading worldwide. The military services have required all active-duty troops to be vaccinated with the initial doses, and Guard and Reserve troops to get their shots by next summer. Kirby said that more than 96 percent of the active duty force has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, with 90 percent fully vaccinated. Guard and reserve numbers are significantly lower — for the military as a whole, the fully vaccinated rate is 74 percent. However, some of those numbers could be lower because of a lag in collecting and reporting information from guard and reserve units.

Read more …

“..more and more forces and equipment are being accumulated on the line of contact in the Donbass, supported by an increasing number of Western instructors.”

Ukraine Takes Delivery Of American Rockets (RT)

The Pentagon has disclosed details of the shipment of anti-tank missile systems and projectiles supplied to Kiev, as Moscow grows increasingly concerned about the prospect of a full-blown conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region. In a statement received by Russian news outlet TASS on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth said that “the $60 million package… included 30 Javelin command and control launchers, as well as 180 missiles.” According to him, the rocket launchers were delivered to Ukraine on October 23. “In 2021, the US allocated more than $450 million in aid to Ukraine for security tasks as part of our continued commitment to support the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesman added.

Semelroth’s comments come amid warnings from Moscow over tensions in the war-torn region close to Russia’s borders. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “more and more forces and equipment are being accumulated on the line of contact in the Donbass, supported by an increasing number of Western instructors.” At the end of November, the top diplomat said that claims Ukraine’s troops had deployed American-made Javelin rocket launchers were a matter of grave concern and could lead to a full-blown offensive in the war-torn region. “In recent weeks, we have seen a stream of consciousness from the Ukrainian leadership – especially when it comes to the military – that is excessively inflamed and dangerous,” Lavrov said.

Just hours before, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, Kirill Budanov, revealed that advanced US-made Javelin systems had been tested by Ukraine’s troops and were being used by soldiers in the Donbass. Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, warned the White House earlier in November that supplying Ukraine with deadly armaments could diminish hopes for peace in the region, stating that Moscow believes “another opportunity to encourage Kiev to stop the war has been missed.”

Read more …

“The op-ed concludes by advising Sullivan to weigh his words carefully going forward and not to “have a big mouth,” lest he “create more embarrassment” for the US.”

Chinese State-Run Media Says Beijing Ready To Use Force Against US (RT)

A Chinese state-run media outlet has warned Washington that Beijing will not hesitate to strike US forces should they try to prevent China’s reunification with Taiwan, as promised recently by a top American official. The Global Times picked up on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s statement on Tuesday, in which he said that the US was “going to take every action that we can take, from the point of view of both deterrence and diplomacy” to prevent a scenario where China takes over Taiwan militarily. The message was echoed the same day by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned China that a military scenario vis-a-vis Taiwan would be a “very serious mistake.”

However, the Chinese outlet surmised that Sullivan’s assurances should not be construed as a “manifesto of US policy,” as the “US simply cannot build a deterrent to prevent the Chinese mainland from carrying out reunification by force when necessary.” The op-ed goes on to claim that Washington does not really have the “will to defend Taiwan at all costs.” The article takes a yet more bellicose turn when it says it is “credible” that US troops, should they come to Taiwan’s rescue, would be “heavily attacked” by the People’s Liberation Army if “reunification by force” does happen. The Global Times predicts Sullivan would be likely to “recall or downplay” his statement later, since the “US cannot afford” to defend Taiwan “at the cost of a deadly war.”

The op-ed warns that “reunification by force will definitely happen” unless Washington convinces Taiwan authorities to accept the concept of ‘one country, two systems’ and engage with mainland China “on the path of peaceful reunification.” The article blames Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which came to power in 2016, for the escalation, adding that the situation has possibly already gone beyond the point of no return. The op-ed concludes by advising Sullivan to weigh his words carefully going forward and not to “have a big mouth,” lest he “create more embarrassment” for the US.

Read more …

This happened on October 27. The High Court, when reading its verdict this week, undoubtedly knew about it.

Jeffrey Sterling @S_UnwantedSpy: “I can guarantee that in a US prison he would not receive medical attention. It took the attention of a US senator for me to receive proper medical attention. #Assange won’t have that “assurance”.

Julian Assange Has Had A Stroke In Belmarsh Prison (DM)

Julian Assange has had a stroke in Belmarsh Prison, his fiancee Stella Moris revealed last night. The WikiLeaks publisher, 50, who is being held on remand in the maximum-security jail while fighting extradition to America, was left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage. He believes the mini-stroke was triggered by the stress of the ongoing US court action against him, and an overall decline in his health as he faces his third Christmas behind bars. It happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link from Belmarsh in October. A ‘transient ischaemic attack’ – the interruption of the blood supply to the brain – can be a warning sign of a full stroke. Assange has since had an MRI scan and is now taking anti-stroke medication.

Ms Moris, 38, a lawyer, said: ‘Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. ‘It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.’ She said he was kept in his cell for long periods and was ‘short of fresh air and sunlight, an adequate diet and the stimulus he needs’. Assange faced a major legal setback on Friday when the High Court overturned a judgment made this year preventing extradition to the US to face charges under the US Espionage Act.

His lawyers successfully argued he would be kept in conditions in the US that could lead to a serious risk of suicide. The High Court reversed the earlier ruling after the US government offered assurances about his potential imprisonment. But Ms Moris said: ‘I believe this constant chess game, battle after battle, the extreme stress, is what caused Julian’s stroke on October 27. He was feeling really unwell, far too ill to follow the hearing, and he was excused by the judge but could not leave the prison video room. ‘It must have been horrendous hearing a High Court appeal in which you can’t participate, which is discussing your mental health and your risk of suicide and in which the US is arguing you are making it all up. ‘He had to sit through all this when he should have been excused. He was in a truly terrible state. His eyes were out of synch, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry.’

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Where does goverment money come from? A very revealing video from Canada.

 

 

 

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Apr 282021
 


Jean-Michel Basquiat In this case 1983

 

 

 

One might have expected that as the Covid drama unfolds, the world would return to its scientific senses. But the opposite appears to be happening, we’re moving away from our senses. Fear is a bad advisor. Earlier today, I wrote:

“I forget who drew my attention to this UK government report, Covid-19 Response Spring 2021, but it paints a very stark and completely ignored reality: only 66% of people can ever be successfully vaccinated and may be protected.

34% either can’t be jabbed for medical reasons, or the vaccines don’t catch on. And that’s assuming full uptake, which of course you’ll never ever get. So the number of not successfully vaccinated will be higher than 34%, perhaps quite a bit, no matter the PR campaigns and threats.

This should put the entire Covid response on its head, but for some reason it doesn’t. Those 34+% would appear to be ineligible for a “vaccine passport” as well, depriving them of basic human rights.”

Graph from the February 2021 report:

A few relevant quotes from the report (it’s over 60 pages):

Vaccine efficacy and effectiveness

[..] First, the vaccine is preventing people from catching COVID-19.

[..] The vaccines have transformed our efforts to tackle COVID-19 and will prevent many deaths. However, they will not guarantee protection to everyone. Vaccines will not be given to 100% of the population. This is because the vaccine is currently not authorised for some groups, such as children, and some people will not take up the offer of a vaccine.

[..] a significant proportion of the population could still be infected, either because they have not been vaccinated or because the vaccine is not effective for them.

Preparing for revaccination

[..] the Government is planning for a revaccination campaign, which is likely to run later this year in autumn or winter. Any revaccination is likely to consist of a single ‘booster’ dose of a COVID-19 vaccine: the ideal booster may be a new vaccine specifically designed against a variant form of the virus. Over the longer term, revaccination is likely to become a regular part of managing COVID-19.

Ergo: the UK government is preparing to declare over a third of its citizens 2nd rate. And not because they refuse to be part of a medical experiment and be injected with untested substances (which is a basic human right that no-one can be punished for), but because these substances are either prohibited for them, or simply have no -positive- effect. No matter, says Whitehall, you don’t count. So here come the corona passports.

 

NHS App To Be Used As Coronavirus Passport For International Travel

Britons will find out which countries they will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to this summer “in the next couple of weeks” – as the transport secretary confirmed an NHS app will be used as a COVID passport for travel abroad. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, international travel without one of the current exemptions – which exclude holidays – will not be allowed any earlier than 17 May.

Ministers have set out plans for a “traffic light” system to be used this summer to categorise different destinations. And, speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed “in the next couple of weeks” he will be able to give details on which countries have made it on to the “green list”. These will be destinations where Britons will be able to travel without having to quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a COVID test before their departure, as well as on their return to the UK.

Mr Shapps also confirmed an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID jab, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad. “It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” he added. “I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised.”

Government sources clarified the app would not be the NHS COVID app – currently used to “check in” to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes – but would instead be the NHS app used to book general appointments.

Remember, there is no evidence that the “vaccines” protect anyone from getting infected or infecting those around them, but that little factoid has been swept under the carpet -along with the unfortunate third of Britons who can’t even pretend to be “protected”. The government simply claims without evidence that “the vaccine is preventing people from catching COVID-19“, and gets away with it. That’s our world today.

Ciarán McCollum has more for EU Observer:

 

Legal Worries On EU’s ‘Green Certificates’ For Covid Travel

An instrument of unusual significance is quietly on its way to becoming law in Europe: the proposal for a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ (DGC). Up for a vote in the European Parliament’s plenary on Wednesday, it erects a “universal framework” for the control of disease within the Schengen area. The EU Commission has presented it as a return to freedom of movement, essentially suspended by member states since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. However the DGC, which creates certificates for Europeans showing the bearer has been vaccinated, tested or achieved immunity, is already beginning to lose its sheen. Last week, the WHO asked that any plans for making proof of vaccination a condition of entry be abandoned, after the US ruled out enforcing vaccination cards on its territory.

So is it wise for Europe to continue with its own? Freedom of movement is perhaps the European Union’s most cherished achievement, certainly among northerners seeking a visa-free sun holiday. In my home of Northern Ireland, with our ever-fragile cross-border peace agreement, we have a special appreciation for the importance of keeping borders open. The recent EU threat to impose a ‘vaccine border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic imperilled that peace. The EU can’t afford another blunder on borders, so it’s in its own interest that the DGC does what it says on the tin. However a cursory glance at the contents suggests a case of mislabeling or at least a lack of legal certainty. The commission assures us that the DGC will not restore (or entrench) border controls.

But “universal framework” can only be read as a euphemism for checks within the Schengen zone. It is article 3 of the DGC that creates certificates of vaccination, testing and immunity. Border guards will have to inspect these. As it’s put in Article 3(1), there will be “cross-border verification”, performed by the member state “authorities” mentioned in Article 9(2). In the absence of such checks, the certificates would be useless and the “universal framework” would not exist. With vaccinated Europeans travellers separated from non-vaccinated, infected from non-infected, and immune from non-immune—the DGC, if applied, would be a guarantee of discrimination within the EU.

This is simply not permissable under the Schengen Code. Chapter II of the Schengen Borders Code allows for the temporary reintroduction of internal borders in some circumstances, but that does not include a public health emergency. The whole endeavour is even more absurd if one acknowledges the scientific certainty that being vaccinated does not mean that one cannot be a carrier of the virus, nor infect others.

We already know from the European Medicines Agency and WHO, confirmed by a decision this month of the Conseil d’État (France’s Supreme Court), that no proof exists of vaccination halting the spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, in the last months many courts including the Lisbon Court of Appeal and Administrative Court of Vienna have held that PCR testing is unreliable and cannot be relied on for determining infection; a physician must perform a proper medical diagnosis. Thus the DGC certificates are useless as proof of whether you are infected, or can or cannot spread the virus.

They’re going to do it anyway, ain’t they, laws or no laws, human rights or no human rights, science or no science. And 2/3 of Britons -and other countries’ citizens- are cheering them on, because they are promised they will regain their “freedom”. Some freedom, if you must first give up your rights. The virus is far from the biggest danger here. It’s the people. We could have known.

 

 

 

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@danielkotzin: “Children do not need protection from Covid. They need protection from government and health officials.”

 

 

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Jan 152021
 
 January 15, 2021  Posted by at 4:56 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »


Salvador Dalí The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus 1959

 

 

And just like that, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg belatedly found they had fallen on their own swords, as these were already sticking out of their backs. Let’s see it as poetic justice. They thought they had the power- after all, they’re just private companies!- to restrict Donald Trump’s access to their organizations, and then ban him altogether, only to find that they themselves will now be restricted and perhaps even banned as a result.

They figured since most of the world doesn’t like Trump, it would applaud the moves as much as the US Democratic party does. But most of the world doesn’t. What it sees, what its leaders see, is a threat to everyone else’s freedom of speech, not just Trump’s. Those countries and their leaders have been suspicious of the might of US tech companies for longer, and they will now look elsewhere for social media functionality. It’s no accident that Facebook alone lost some $47 billion in market cap since the Trump ban.

This does not come from Trump supporters. Angela Merkel, not a Trump fun at all, summarizes the worries: “Her spokesman said Monday the German leader found it “problematic” that corporate managers could deny someone access under rules not defined by law.” That’s it right there, the heart of the matter: “law”. Twitter and Facebook act as judge, jury and henchman, and that is not legal, not even for private companies.

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook of all places (love the irony): “Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not.” “There can be no consent to censorship.” Poland is drafting legislation which would make it illegal for social media companies to remove posts that did not break Polish law. “Removing lawful content would directly violate the law, and this will have to be respected by the platforms that operate in Poland.”

While Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said: “Yes, social media should not be used to incite violence and all that, but this cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression.” “How can a company act as if it was all powerful, omnipotent, as a sort of Spanish Inquisition on what is expressed?” AMLO is actively seeking a coalation of countries in the world to counter social media’s recent policies.

It’s quite something that Dorsey and Zuckerberg were/are blind to this. That they were apparently thinking in “American terms” only when banning Trump, and given political sentiments thought they could get away with it, but did not see the broader international implications. Their shareholders will not appreciate that blind spot. The US is not their only market.

 

The first things that will happen now is that the EU will look at measures to curtail social media’s freedoms in its territory. This is not an obvious matter, many of its countries – see Poland’s example- will claim they have their own laws and standards, and they often do, but, if only for internal EU political reasons, that won’t stick.

Social media are important platforms in politics these days. In EU elections, national parties form coalitions with each other, and these then form bigger coalitions (blocs). A candidate for the European Parliament could potentially be banned in one country, while one from another country, but belonging to the same party or bloc, would not. That can’t be, it’s too messy even by EU standards, so legislation will have to be pan-EU.

The funniest thing that might come of this is Facebook and Twitter re-opening Trump’s accounts to appease Merkel et al, but it’s too late. There are plenty EU companies more than eager to fill the void that Silicon Valley would leave behind (or they can order Chinese). And Jack and Mark will not win the world’s trust back in time, they stepped over the line.

Replacing Facebook won’t happen overnight. But if access to it is cut in large parts of the world, it could happen faster than you think. As for Twitter and WhatsApp, oh well, dime a dozen. They can kill Parler, but already large numbers of people are switching over to Signal and Telegram. Can’t kill ’em all, @jack.

Talking of which, did you see the Project Veritas video secretly made by a Twitter employee? This is exactly why Twitter will be restricted and banned. @jack threatening to give many other people the same treatment as Trump is a scary sight for many people across the world, politicians or citizens. You know who’s next? You are next.

 

 

@jack Veritas

 

 

Plenty politicians want to ban people from all manner of things, but they want to be the ones doing the banning, not @jack. But as Merkel observes, banning someone with no basis whatsoever in law is not what anyone should want. In the end, refusing someone access to social media turns into the same thing as refusing them access to a computer. Or, maybe an even better example, to a phone. Things like that happen very rarely, and never to a President of the United States. Ma Bell, Baby Bells, AT&T, maybe that’s the future of Facebook and Twitter. If they’re lucky.

And while we’re at it, we haven’t even mentioned Google yet. Let’s turn them into baby-Googles too. Because the biggest threat that Silicon Valley poses is not that they ban Trump and actively tried to influence a US presidential election (remember Zuckerberg’s $500 million election fund)?

No, the biggest threat is their algorithms used to spy on you and me to “optimize” us as victims clients for their advertizers. That’s why this is not just about Facebook and Twitter, but certainly also about Google. These are virtual monopolies we’re talking about. And while you’re at it, add Apple and Amazon. It’s their ties to intelligence services that make these companies the most threatening. In the US, this is too far advanced to stop now. But in Europe, there may still be a chance.

This is a big fight when it comes to liberty and personal space. And if you don’t fight it now, you’ve already lost. Pay attention please.

 

 

 

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Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

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Dec 062020
 
 December 6, 2020  Posted by at 10:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Absinthe Drinker 1901

 

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)
The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)
US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)
Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)
COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)
Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)
The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)
Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)
Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)
UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

 

 

Vaccines and autoimmune

 

 

 

 

 

 

First (though admittedly, China is a mystery).

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)

A wide-ranging anti-coronavirus vaccination campaign began in Moscow on Saturday, with thousands signing up for shots online, in the Russian capital. Frontline workers were given first priority, as previous indicated. Those wishing to participate have to sign up online before receiving their initial dose of Sputnik V at one of the city’s 70 specialist clinics. The vaccine consists of two separate injections, the second jab must be administered 21 days after the first one. The whole procedure, which includes the time needed to cool down the formula after it’s removed from the freezer, takes less than an hour, officials said. Injections are administered to people aged between 18 and 60 that present no chronic health conditions. Those who have had respiratory infections, like flu or common cold, less than two weeks ago, are not eligible. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are also barred, for now.


On Friday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on his blog that 5,000 people had signed up for the vaccine in five hours after online registration was launched. He said they were doctors, care workers, and teachers, who were “risking their health and lives the most.” Vaccination is free for Russian citizens. Senior health official Alexey Kuznetsov announced that Sputnik V’s maximum commercial price will be 1,942 rubles ($26) for both injections. President Vladimir Putin authorized the start of a large-scale vaccination campaign on Wednesday. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said all of Russia’s regions would roll out their campaigns next week. Meanwhile, select groups of doctors and nurses had already been getting the vaccine, with the priority given to those on the frontline against Covid-19. The vaccination began in some army units as well.

Read more …

Expect horror stories about Russian vaccines.

The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)

The ruble rose sharply versus the dollar this week, collapsing below the critical 76 level to close this week below 74. More evidence that with Putin’s announcement of Sputnik V vaccine distribution starting Russia the markets are looking for a home where capital can have a prayer in hell of being treated well. Because that will most certainly not be the case in Europe. The only reasons the euro is rising in on political instability in the U.S. and the lack of forward budget thanks to the veto by Hungary and Poland. Because while the euro may be breaking out versus the dollar the bellwether bond markets in Europe, namely German bunds, are rising in yield.

While this isn’t a bear market in any sense since the selling hasn’t overwhelmed ECB buying, it’s also hard to determine if that would ever happen given just how much of the European sovereign debt market the ECB actually owns now. Investors in the West are trying to beat the COVID-19 narrative, pinning their hope of economic recovery on the vaccine restoring normality. But if there is one thing I’ve noted over and over again over the past ten months, it is that the goal posts for normality keep getting moved. Remember 15 days to flatten the curve? Now it’s a 100-day mask mandates with state-by-state full lockdowns. Anyone thinking that we’ll ever return to anything resembling the old world is terminally naïve.

The race for global capital begins now with Russia’s roll out of Sputnik V by the millions of doses. It doesn’t matter if the vaccine works or it doesn’t. Pfizer’s doesn’t. What matters is what excuses politicians can make to fit their agenda. Putin wants to make Russia a destination for global capital, keeping Russia open for business. Russia pushing Sputnik V out the door this quickly is forcing the West’s hand. They wanted bigger lockdowns for longer. Asia will stay open while the West plays games resetting its system. They are really angry at the Russians for being good at math and science.

That is why the race for the vaccine is actually the race for global capital in the end. Because the rollout of the vaccine asymmetrically around the world will be followed by where watching where the capital will flow to. Russia will be one of those places along with everyone they sell it to and everyone they do business with. COVID-19 is a litmus test of governments. Investors are looking around now looking for where the political risk really lies over the next decade. Sanctions, threats and capital controls can only slow the outflow but it can’t stop it.

Read more …

Winter is a bigger factor than most acknowledged.

US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.

“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021. The United States, which has the world’s third largest population, leads the planet with more than 186,000 COVID-19 deaths and 6.1 million coronavirus infections.

[..] The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues forecasts only four weeks in advance, and its latest estimate is for 200,000 to 211,000 dead by Sept. 26. But the institute said with so many Americans still refusing to wear masks, there remains “an extraordinary opportunity” to save lives. “Increasing mask use to the levels seen in Singapore would decrease the cumulative death toll to 288,000, or 122,000 lives saved compared to the reference scenario,” it said. “Mask use continues to decline from a peak in early August. Declines are notable throughout the Midwest, including in some states such as Illinois and Iowa with increasing case numbers,” the report said.

Although U.S. infections have declined to around 45,000 per day from a peak of around 70,000 per day in July, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death, the institute said. That would place it behind only heart disease, having surpassed cancer as a cause of death in the United States.

Read more …

How much sense can you make?

Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)

The Florida Department of Health is requiring that all labs in the state report the critical “cycle threshold” level of every COVID-19 test they perform. In a press release this week, the department said that, regarding COVID-19 tests, “cycle threshold (CT) values and their reference ranges, as applicable, must be reported by laboratories to FDOH via electronic laboratory reporting or by fax immediately.” “Cycle thresholds” are the level at which widely used polymerase chain reaction test can detect a sample of the COVID-19 virus.


The higher the number of cycles, the lower the amount of viral load in the sample; the lower the cycles, the more prevalent the virus was in the original sample. Numerous epidemiological experts have argued that cycle thresholds are an important metric by which patients and the public can make an informed decision about how infectious and/or sick an individual with a positive COVID-19 test might be. However, health departments across the country are failing to collect that data.

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Keep rates low or else!

COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)

The world’s appetite for borrowing is growing with global debt expected to reach the next milestone of $200 trillion as early as this year, according to ratings agency S&P Global. That will reportedly account for 265 percent of the world’s annual economic output, amounting to a 14-point rise as a percentage of world GDP. The dramatic surge was triggered by both the economic plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the extra borrowing that governments, firms and households have had to fall back upon, the New York-based agency said. “Global debt-to-GDP has been trending up for many years; the pandemic simply exacerbated the rise,” the report reads.


Despite mounting debt and a series of defaults over the coming year, the S&P doesn’t expect a major crisis any time soon. “The projected 14-percent surge in global debt-to-GDP in 2020 is unlikely to cause a near-term debt crisis, provided economies recover, vaccines are widely distributed, interest rates remain very low, and borrowing behavior moderates,” the agency said. The global debt-to-GDP ratio will reportedly ease back to 256 percent within two years, as soon as the world economy gets back on its feet after the pandemic. “We expect the debt growth of corporates, governments, and household to ease as they tend to after recessions,” the report reads.

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Bernie never recovered from the smears.

Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)

That Putin wanted Tump to win was one of the leading themes used by Democratic-Party-allied media outlets to attack Trump, rendering it crippling for Sanders to be similarly tied to Moscow, particularly given the perception that Putin would help Sanders because the Kremlin judged him to be the weakest candidate against the GOP president. Indeed, The Post article explicitly drew the Sanders/Trump comparison (emphasis added): The disclosure of Russian assistance to Sanders follows a briefing to lawmakers last week in which a senior intelligence official said that Russia wants to see Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments. . . .

The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia’s broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. Reflecting his 2020 strategy of trying to appease the Democratic establishment in lieu of his more successful 2016 strategy of proudly positioning himself as its adversary, Sanders by this point had repeatedly echoed the maximalist conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia, leaving him with little room to maneuver once this Cold War tactic was predictably deployed against him. After suggesting the leak to The Post was intended to harm his campaign, he had no other options beyond sputtering with faux-toughness about how he would show Putin who was boss.

In other words — both prior to the leak and after — Sanders repeatedly validated rather than scorned the CIA’s Russia narrative (just as he did with the equally cynical Bernie Bro attacks). So it put him in a defensive crouch for the rest of the campaign, unable to explain why Putin — Public Enemy Number One among the Democratic Party base — was trying to help him win.

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“..it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.”

The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)

It seems the subject of Donald Trump, like necessity, is the mother of invention, at least when it comes to legal analysis. From bribery statutes to constitutional provisions, legal experts routinely and unfailingly conclude that Trump or his family can be prosecuted or impeached for an endless array of misdeeds. Even theories denied by the Supreme Court are seen as valid when used against Trump. Now the same certainty has been declared on whether Trump can grant himself a pardon. One of the longest standing debates in constitutional law is dismissed as ill-informed by some of the same experts. His role as a catalyst for clarity was apparent in an interview by Harvard professor Laurence Tribe.

After host Lawrence O’Donnell said he believed a president could give himself a pardon, Tribe proclaimed such a view is “incoherent and incompatible” as a constitutional matter. The declaration likely surprised few on MSNBC. Tribe has been an outspoken critic of Trump, whom he has denounced as a “terrorist,” and he has supported a wide array of criminal and constitutional claims against him. These views are popular as are Tribe’s increasingly personal diatribes, including vulgar attacks on Republican leaders and even a false attack on Attorney William Barr for his Catholic faith. For the record, I have maintained that a president can grant himself a pardon. I held that position before Trump took office. I also believe a president can be indicted in office.

The reason is the same: The Constitution prohibits neither a self-pardon nor a presidential indictment. This is not the first time that Tribe and I have disagreed. Two decades ago, we testified together at the impeachment hearing of President Clinton. At that time, Tribe was far more restrictive in his legal and constitutional interpretations, declaring that lying under oath in the Clinton case would not be an impeachable offense. While a federal court and Democrats agreed that Clinton knowingly committed perjury, Tribe insisted that a president could commit perjury in certain circumstances and not be impeached. Thus, a president can commit a felony for which thousands have been incarcerated, including those prosecuted by his own administration, but he should not be removed from office for the same act.

[..] The stronger argument against a presidential self-pardon is not the textual one raised by Tribe but, simply, that the Constitution should be read to include a principle against self-dealing. Yet presidents regularly engage in all forms of self-dealing, from nepotism to favoritism to cronyism, without a hint of constitutional difficulty. Bill Clinton not only appointed his wife to head a major federal commission on health care but pardoned his own half-brother. The Framers did not bar such forms of self-dealing any more than they barred self-pardons. This is why Trump can pardon himself, and why he should not do so. Just as I denounced Clinton for abusing the pardon powers, I believe such a step by Trump would be an even greater abuse. In other words, it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.

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Dec 8 and Dec14 are arbitrary dates. Only Jan 20 is cast in stone.

Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) faces an uphill battle if he challenges the Electoral College and backs President Trump on Jan. 6, when Congress is scheduled to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Brooks said this week he has been sharing his plan with fellow House members in hopes of invoking the 12th Amendment and helping Trump win. At least one senator must partner with Brooks to trigger a vote on an electoral challenge, and Brooks told Fox News Radio on Thursday, “We have some leads for United States Senators who may do it.” Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, in a contingent election no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, and the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives.

There, each state’s delegation has one vote, and a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of state delegations to win. Because of the calendar, the new Congress is the one that decides, not the outgoing one. In the new Congress, there are more states with Republican delegations than Democratic ones, so in that scenario, Trump would win. “Thank you to Representative Mo Brooks,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning after news of Brooks’ intention broke. “Ask your senators and congressman if they will object to any Electoral College certification of Joe Biden on January 6,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch tweeted Nov. 23. It’s unlikely, however, that Brooks would be able to successfully invoke the 12th Amendment if he can’t get a majority of both the House and the Senate to support his efforts.

Brooks said he doesn’t think he needs a majority. Legal experts disagree, arguing that while a single member of the House and Senate can raise an objection, majorities in both the House and the Senate would have to approve it for any electoral votes to be tossed out. This would not happen under a Democratic-controlled House. “They are misunderstanding the law,” says election law expert Hans von Spakovsky. The procedures for the counting of Electoral College votes in Congress are set forth in 3 U.S.C. 15, according to von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission and manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative.

“What it says is that an objection can be filed to the certification of votes from the states when they are being counted in the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, if it is signed by one member of the House and one member of the Senate,” he told Just the News. “However, the Senate and the House then each have to stage a vote on the objection, which obviously will not go forward unless a majority of senators and a majority of representatives approve of the objection.”

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Poland and Hungary are becoming a very big problem for Europe.

Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)

It’s all happening at once for the EU. Fundamental problems and disputes, long fudged, postponed or ignored, are simultaneously coming to a head. Is this a union of shared values or of economic interests? Who pays the bills? How is Europe best defended when the US cannot be trusted? What about Turkey? And then there’s “bloody Brexit”. Little wonder some are predicting a nervous collapse. These fraught issues and more will converge at this week’s “doomsday” EU summit, presaging greater-than-usual fractiousness. But if it is as inconclusive as many previous gatherings, the European project faces serious trouble. Implementation of the €1.1tn, seven-year EU budget and €750bn Covid recovery fund cannot sensibly be delayed much longer. Yet two states – Poland and Hungary – are blocking the way.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s rightwing populist leader, and Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, jointly declared last week they would veto the budget if it retained “rule of law” criteria requiring adherence to EU-defined standards of judicial independence. Both governments are in long-running disputes over what Brussels views as their illiberal, “un-European” policies on judges, media freedom and women’s and gender rights. They reject what they call “politically motivated” meddling. The fact that the row is blocking timely pandemic relief shames the EU. If it cannot unite to fight this unprecedented human emergency, voters will ask, then what can it do? Even the experienced German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who holds the EU presidency, is flailing as the French and others insist they will not bow to authoritarian diktats.

This dispute, plus ongoing tensions over the cost of an expanded budget now UK contributions are ending, prompted an intriguing intervention last week from António Costa, the Portuguese prime minister. Portugal assumes the EU presidency next month, and is staring aghast at the can of worms it’s inheriting. Costa’s proposal was suitably radical: effectively split the EU in two, and thus save it, by recognising irreconcilable internal differences. This variation on the old idea of a two-speed or two-tier Europe would be based not on geography but on values, Costa suggested. It would separate the so-called “frugal” states – the Netherlands, Austria and Nordic countries concerned about high spending and fiscal transfers – plus east European states opposed to rule of law mechanisms and migrant quotas – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – from the remainder.

“Basically, it is whether the EU is a union of values or whether, on the contrary, it is primarily an economic instrument,” Costa argued. Countries opposing further integration would benefit from “variable geometries” while others like France, and southern states such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, could pursue their version of ever closer union. It’s a brave idea that Costa, reportedly with French backing, will pursue at a special spring summit in Lisbon. Yet it has a major flaw. Germany, the EU’s chief paymaster with a current net budget contribution of €12.8bn, gives lip service to EU integration and solidarity. But it has a deeply ingrained horror of underwriting the profligacy and pipe-dreams of indebted fellow eurozone members.

This same German reluctance hinders Emmanuel Macron’s ambitions for a unified “global Europe” to match the US and China: Berlin fears it will end up footing the bill, financially and politically. When France’s president called again last month for a sovereign European defence strategy, Germany’s defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, slapped him down. “The idea of strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it nurtures the illusion that we could ensure Europe’s security, stability and prosperity without Nato and the US … Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves without America’s nuclear and conventional power. This is simply a fact,” she said. Macron was furious.

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Not going to happen.

UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

Britain must end all oil and gas extraction in the North Sea as a matter of urgency if it is to maintain its position as a credible climate champion. That was the stark warning issued by green campaigners yesterday in the wake of last week’s decision by Denmark to halt its exploration for new North Sea reserves as part of its commitment to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The Danish decision is an embarrassment for Boris Johnson who announced last week that Britain would take a lead in the battle against global heating by cutting national carbon emissions by 68% by 2030, a rate faster than any other major economy. However, the UK has not announced plans to end exploration in the North Sea for new gas and oil fields or to halt extraction there – despite the established link between global warming and fossil fuel extraction and burning.

By announcing its North Sea ban last week, say campaigners, Denmark has undermined Johnson’s attempt to portray himself as a world climate leader next Saturday when he is scheduled to co-host a virtual Climate Ambition summit of world leaders. “If the UK is to be a real global climate leader, it must follow Denmark’s lead by stopping issuing new oil and gas exploration licences and delivering a managed phase-out of oil and gas extraction,” said Ken Penton, UK climate campaigner for the international NGO, Global Witness. “This must include funding a just transition for oil and gas workers and their communities to ensure they can benefit from the new green economy and do not suffer the fate of UK coal miners and their communities.”

The Danish government voted on Thursday to cancel the country’s next North Sea oil and gas licensing round, 80 years after it first began exploiting its hydrocarbon reserves. Denmark’s 55 existing platforms, spread across 20 oil and gas fields, will be allowed to continue extracting fossil fuels but the decision to end the hunt for new reserves will guarantee an end to Denmark’s fossil fuel production.

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Stephanie Kelton Deficits

 

 

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Nov 262020
 
 November 26, 2020  Posted by at 10:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  17 Responses »


JMW Turner Lake Llanberis and Snowdon Color Study c.1800

 

Pa. Commonwealth Court Orders Halt To Certification Process (PG)
Sidney Powell Sues Georgia Officials: ‘Massive Scheme To Rig Election’ (JTN)
Giuliani, Trump Pull Off ‘One Hell Of A Hearing’ On PA Election Fraud (ZH)
Trump Pardons Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (JTN)
Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions On Religious Services
Should COVID19 Vaccines Be Mandatory? (Conv.)
Cuba Could be on the Brink of a Revolutionary COVID Vaccine (MPN)
WHO Names Line-up For International Team Looking Into Coronavirus Origins (SCMP)
EU Parliament Votes Against Referring to Julian Assange in Rights Report (Sp.)

 

 


If the same percentage of votes were rejected as in 2016, Trump would win

 

 

A man does not yield when the mere universe has turned against him; he yields when his own heart has turned against him. We surrender, not when circumstances are miserable, but when we are miserable.

– G. K. Chesterton

 

 

Let the chips fall where they may.

Pa. Commonwealth Court Orders Halt To Certification Process (PG)

Pennsylvania is prohibited from certifying the rest of its election results in down ballot races — and from taking any further action in regards to yesterday’s certification of the presidential race — pending a hearing on Friday in an appellate court, or intervention by the state Supreme Court. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in an order signed by Judge Patricia McCullough, issued an injunction Wednesday that stops the state from continuing its certification, and intends to hear evidence in a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell about the constitutionality of mail-in ballots. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Gov. Tom Wolf and the state — named as defendants in the suit — appealed the Commonwealth Court order to the state Supreme Court.

As it stands now, the hearing in Commonwealth Court is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday. The state certified the results in the race for president on Tuesday, giving its 20 electoral votes to Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. The court order said the state is prohibited from acting “to the extent that there remains any further action to perfect the certification of the results” of the races for president and vice president. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote on Twitter that the order “does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors.” In their suit, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Parnell are arguing that state lawmakers violated Pennsylvania’s Constitution by adopting Act 77 last year, which expanded the mail-in balloting option to let all qualified voters to vote by mail without an excuse.

They allege that absentee voting — which required an excuse from a set of allowed reasons — was rebranded as no-excuse mail-in voting “absent any constitutional authority.” The Republican-controlled state Legislature responded, in legal filings, that the case should be dismissed because Act 77 didn’t alter the requirements of who constitutes a qualified voter, and that the Legislature is constitutionally authorized to prescribe the method by which those electors may cast their votes.

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And now you need evidence.

Sidney Powell Sues Georgia Officials: ‘Massive Scheme To Rig Election’ (JTN)

Prominent defense attorney Sidney Powell sued Georgia’s top officials late Wednesday, alleging in federal court that the GOP-run state government permitted a massive voter fraud scheme that rigged the Nov. 3 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on behalf of several Georgia residents, electors and Republican Party officials and named Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and state election board members as defendants. The 104-page complaint asked the court to issue an injunction “prohibiting the Governor and Secretary of State from transmitting the currently certified results to the Electoral College based on the overwhelming evidence of election tampering.”

“The fraud was executed by many means, but the most fundamentally troubling, insidious, and egregious is the systemic adaptation of old-fashioned ‘ballot-stuffing,'” Powell’s suit alleged. “It has now been amplified and rendered virtually invisible by computer software created and run by domestic and foreign actors for that very purpose. Mathematical and statistical anomalies rising to the level of impossibilities, as shown by affidavits of multiple witnesses, documentation, and expert testimony evince this scheme across the state of Georgia. “This scheme and artifice to defraud affected tens of thousands of votes in Georgia alone and ‘rigged’ the election in Georgia for Joe Biden,” the suit added.

Powell’s suit made a variety of allegations, including that:

• At least 96,600 absentee ballots were requested and counted but were never recorded as being returned to county election boards by the voter. “Thus, at a minimum, 96,600 votes must be disregarded,” the suit said.
• Kemp and Raffensperger “rushed through the purchase of Dominion voting machines and software in 2019 for the 2020 Presidential Election” without due diligence and disregarded safety concerns.
• “There is incontrovertible physical evidence that the standards of physical security of the voting machines and the software were breached, and machines were connected to the internet in violation of professional standards and state and federal laws.”
• Fulton County election workers used a claim of a water leak to evacuate poll watchers and workers for several hours on Election night, even as “several election workers remained unsupervised and unchallenged working at the computers for the voting tabulation machines until after 1:00 AM.
• State officials in a settlement with Democratic parties made changes to election procedures that violated both state law and the U.S. Constitution.

Strenstrom Missing USB cards
https://twitter.com/i/status/1331678008210464768

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Quite the video footage.

Giuliani, Trump Pull Off ‘One Hell Of A Hearing’ On PA Election Fraud (ZH)

Upon the request of Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano (R), the state’s Senate Majority Policy Committee is holding a public hearing to discuss election issues and irregularities at 12:30 ET. Former NYC Mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani will appear. President Trump was slated to join him, only to cancel following adviser Boris Epshteyn’s Covid-19 diagnosis.

[..] President Trump joined the PA hearing by phone and was immediately on the offense, saying that “this is an election we won easily. We won it by a lot. This election has to be turned around.” “What we saw on November 3rd was not the United States of America. Democrats cheated. It was a fraudulent election. It would be very easy for me to wait 4 years and try again. We can’t wait for 4 years. Don’t be intimidated by these people. They don’t love our country!” “They kept poll watchers in pens in Philadelphia and then they threw them out of the building. You couldn’t see a thing on those cameras. They could have been playing a baseball game.”

“It’s a disgrace this is happening to our country. We got 11 million more votes than we did 4 years ago. At 10pm in the evening we were way ahead. Everybody knows we won it. The whole world is watching us. We can’t let them get away with this. We have more votes than voters!” Trump ends his remarks by telling Giuliani over speakerphone: “This is going to be your crowning achievement because you’re saving our country.”

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Pardoned against his will. But the court case would never have finished, so he’s relieved all the same.

Trump Pardons Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (JTN)

President Trump on Wednesday fully pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, bringing to end a tumultuous four-year criminal case that felled the three-star general before prosecutors reversed course and declared they had improperly pursued his prosecution. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about talking with a Russian diplomat during the 2016 Trump administration transition period. Attorney General William Barr earlier this year asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to allow the Justice Department to drop the case. However, the matter has since been tied up in legal proceedings.

Trump informed the general and his lawyer Sidney Powell of the decision Wednesday afternoon, ahead of Thanksgiving Day. Flynn was elated by the news and the two men talked “like they had never missed a day since the campaign or early White House days,” an eyewitness told Just the News. Trump announced the news on his Twitter page. “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn, and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” he tweeted. Sidney Powell, the defense lawyer who doggedly sought to prove Flynn’s innocence post conviction, applauded the decision, suggesting it was necessary because the U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had refused to dismiss the lying charge, even after DOJ pleaded it be done.

“The pardon of Michael Flynn is solely up to the President, but given the corruption we have witnessed in the judiciary and multiple agencies of government executed against General Flynn, this persecution should end,” she said. “The FBI and DOJ have been a national embarrassment for more than 15 years. It was my fervent hope to make our judicial system work to exonerate an innocent man–as all the Left would want were he anyone but Trump or Michael Flynn, but enough is enough. This is sick. It’s painfully obvious Judge Sullivan is playing an evil political game with a good man’s life and family. The entire country deserves better.”

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“But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions On Religious Services

The Supreme Court late Wednesday struck down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings, as new Justice Amy Coney Barrett cast one of her first high-impact votes and Chief Justice John Roberts sided in dissent with the court’s liberal bloc. In a 5-4 decision, the court said Cuomo’s restrictions violated the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of worship and granted an injunction barring the rules from being enforced. “Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” the majority opinion said. “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”


Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion siding with the conservative majority, saying churches and synagogues were treated differently than commercial institutions by the state. “It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques,” Gorsuch argued. Roberts’ dissenting opinion accused the court of acting irrationally and disregarding the public health expertise of the state. “It is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” he wrote.

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A for vs against discussion. Here’s the against part.

Should COVID19 Vaccines Be Mandatory? (Conv.)

Mandatory vaccination does not automatically increase vaccine uptake. An EU-funded project on epidemics and pandemics, which took place several years before COVID-19, found no evidence to support this notion. Looking at Baltic and Scandinavian countries, the project’s report noted that countries “where a vaccination is mandatory do not usually reach better coverage than neighbour or similar countries where there is no legal obligation”. According to the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, mandatory vaccination may be justified for highly contagious and serious diseases. But although contagious, Public Health England does not classify COVID-19 as a high-consequence infectious disease due to its relatively low case fatality rate.

COVID-19 severity is strongly linked with age, dividing individual perceptions of vulnerability within populations. The death rate is estimated at 7.8% in people aged over 80, but at just 0.0016% in children aged nine and under. In a liberal democracy, forcing the vaccination of millions of young and healthy citizens who perceive themselves to be at an acceptably low risk from COVID-19 will be ethically disputed and is politically risky. Public apprehensions for a novel vaccine produced at breakneck speed are wholly legitimate. A UK survey of 70,000 people found 49% were “very likely” to get a COVID-19 vaccine once available. US surveys are similar. This is not because the majority are anti-vaxxers.

Despite promising headlines, the trials and pharmaceutical processes surrounding them have not yet been scrutinised. With the first trials only beginning in April, there is limited data on long-term safety and efficacy. We don’t know how long immunity lasts for. None of the trials were designed to tell us if the vaccine prevents serious disease or virus transmission. To disregard these ubiquitous concerns would be counterproductive. As a tool for combating anti-vaxxers – estimated at around 58 million globally and making up a small minority of those not getting vaccinated – mandatory vaccines are also problematic. The forces driving scientific and political populism are the same. Anti-vaxxers do not trust experts, industry and especially not the government. A government mandate will not just be met with unshakeable defiance, but will also be weaponised to recruit others to the anti-vaxxer cause.

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“Cuban immunization developments are being seriously hamstrung by the actions of the U.S. government, primarily due to the decades-long blockade on the island..”

Cuba Could be on the Brink of a Revolutionary COVID Vaccine (MPN)

Cuba has announced positive and promising results for a number of separate COVID-19 vaccines it is currently developing, but U.S. sanctions against the small island nation are hampering the development and rollout of the potentially life-saving treatments. Two candidates, named Sovereign 1 and Sovereign 2, have generated antibodies blocking infection in animals and are showing similarly encouraging signs on tests on human subjects. Meanwhile, a separate vaccine, based on a protein from the hepatitis B virus, is unique in that it is delivered through the nasal tract and does not require a needle to administer.

Should any of these efforts ultimately succeed, the Caribbean nation — already a medical powerhouse that has developed a lung cancer vaccine and methods to stop mother-to-baby HIV and syphilis transmission— will likely become an important supplier to other Latin American and developing countries who have been effectively shut out from purchasing COVID vaccines from Western companies, as rich nations have already begun hoarding coronavirus medicines. Dr. Helen Yaffe of Glasgow University, author of “We Are Cuba!: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World,” was impressed and heartened by the news, telling MintPress:

“Cuba now has four COVID-specific vaccine candidates under clinical trial. The fact that a small Caribbean island can achieve such a remarkable feat is testimony to its state-owned biotech sector, which is directed towards public health demands and integrated into its healthcare and education systems. After years of being told that only the market can lead to efficiency and innovation, Cuba’s socialist planned economy demonstrates what is possible when there is political will, good coordination, organization and the priority of social welfare.”

However, Cuban immunization developments are being seriously hamstrung by the actions of the U.S. government, primarily due to the decades-long blockade on the island, something which the Cuban government estimates has cost it over 750 billion U.S. dollars. As Reuters reported, cash-strapped Cuba cannot afford to buy the raw materials necessary to upscale its vaccine development to help other countries. Hospitals face huge obstacles importing lifesaving equipment from abroad due to the blockade, while the sanctions force the country, which imports the large majority of its staples, to spend far more on food than other nations. As a result, almost one third of young children suffer from anemia due to the monotonous and sub-par nutrition available, according to the World Food Program.

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The WHO continues to play a debatable role.

WHO Names Line-up For International Team Looking Into Coronavirus Origins (SCMP)

The World Health Organization has named the scientists on an international team tracing the origins of the new coronavirus, as their mission gathers steam some 11 months after the virus was identified. The 10-person team includes public health experts, animal health specialists and virus hunters from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States. They will work alongside Chinese scientists on a set of investigations into how the virus that causes Covid-19 emerged and spilled over into humans, triggering a pandemic that has now claimed over 1.4 million lives.

The WHO on Monday said the names of the international team members had been shared with member states and released online, despite concerns about harassment given that the virus origins have become a highly contentious subject. “There has been a level of attack and abuse to people involved in international science. It is not an easy space to be in right now and let me be plain about that,” said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. He pointed to hate mail and threats within a climate of “anti-science movements” and “ideologic politics”. “We would like to thank them for their openness and transparency and for allowing us to release their names. That’s not an easy choice,” he said at a news briefing.

[..] One hanging question is when the international team will join field studies on the ground in China, considered a critical part of the mission, which was called for by over 130 nations at a May meeting of the WHO’s governing body.
Ryan on Monday said they “fully expect” the international team will be on the ground for this work, and they would like the scientists to be “deployed as soon as possible”. “We have reassurances from our Chinese government colleagues that … a field part of the mission will be facilitated as soon as possible, in order that the international community can be reassured of the quality of the science,” he said.

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Cowards.

EU Parliament Votes Against Referring to Julian Assange in Rights Report (Sp.)

Any mention of the prosecution of Julian Assange has been removed from the EU’s latest report on fundamental rights, despite the best efforts of MEPs such as Ireland’s Clare Daly. The European Parliament passed the final version of the fundamental rights report for 2018 – 2019 on 25 November, excluding any mention of imprisoned publisher and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. An amendment to include reference to Mr Assange lost with 408 votes against its inclusion, 191 votes in favour and 93 abstentions. Chris Williamson, a former Labour MP and long-time supporter of Mr Assange, lamented the final vote, saying:

“This is a sad day for European democracy, freedom of speech and human rights. The European Parliament has failed to live up to its rhetoric about standing for fundamental rights. It has shown itself to be nothing more than a paper tiger that is content with being the US administration’s poodle”. The original draft of the fundamental rights report contained a passage saying that “the detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists as affirmed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe” But, according to Irish MEP Clare Daly, a committee of European parliamentarians made up of the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the Renew Europe party voted to remove the passage from the report, on 23 November.

The Left group of MEPs (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) and Ms Daly, who was actually in charge of preparing the original draft report, lobbied heavily for the passage to be returned into the final draft. In a video published on 23 November, Ms Daly called upon EU citizens to contact their MEPs and push them to reinsert the paragraph mentioning Mr Assange, via Amendment 44, in their final vote. “I believe that no report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union could possibly be taken seriously if it fails to mention the Trump administration’s radical and dangerous prosecution of a journalist for important journalism that was carried out in the European Union”, Ms Daley said in her message.

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Jul 262020
 


Elaine de Kooning Fairfield Porter #1 1954

 

 

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the first half of 2020 has brought, among many other things, renewed calls for the demise of the US dollar. It’s been pretty much a non-stop call for over a decade now, and longer. But this time, like all previous ones, I’m thinking: I don’t see it. I guess my first question is always: please explain why the dollar would collapse before the euro does.

For one thing, the dollar would have to collapse/default against one or more “entities”. The dollar is not like one of those highrises that collapse upon themselves. It will have to default or collapse against something(s) else. Since it is the world reserve currency, that means there would have to be a replacement reserve currency. Yes, that could also be for example gold or SDR’s, or even a basket of currencies, and something like that may happen eventually, but it doesn’t appear in the cards in the short run.

There are really only two candidates for the role, and neither looks at all fit to play it. The euro may have some ambitions in that direction, but it has far too many problems still. The yuan/renminbi certainly has such ambitions, but the Communist party refuses to let it get on stage to show what it’s got. As I recently wrote:

 

The main sticking point for Beijing is a conundrum it cannot solve. The CCP wants to have BOTH a global currency AND total control over that currency. It will have to choose between the two, and cannot make up its mind. So it pretends it doesn’t have to choose. Sure, there has been some advancement for the yuan, but I bet most of that is on the back of the Belt and Road (BRI), and that will turn out to be one of the main victims of the coronavirus. The BRI is China’s very clever way of exporting its overproduction, but potential buyers have other things on their mind today.


Meanwhile, even with that, the yuan is used in only 1.8% of cross-currency payments. [..] The sudden, and rushed, take-over of Hong Kong with the new security law will not help China’s plans to be accepted internationally. [..] The world’s large investors will not put their money into something that Xi Jinping can declare devalued by 50% on a rainy morning when he sees fit. He will have to cede that kind of control.

The euro has made some gains vs the USD recently, going from 1.07 to 1.16 or so, but that means very little once you look at the broader picture. Moreover, the reason the financial press provides for -much of- those gains, which is that the EU supposedly showed “unity” in its recent Recovery Fund talks, is bollocks.

If it showed one thing, it was a lack of unity. That’s why these were the longest talks they ever had. And if this had not been Angela Merkel’s last hurrah, they might not have agreed at all. They paid off the Frugal Four to the tune of hundreds of millions, and that’s how they got a deal. Horse traders.

A simple screenshot from Bloomberg of the USD vs EUR over the last five years makes clear why the recent changes are no big deal. (All BBG screenshots are from July 24 just before 10 AM EDT and all cover a 5 year period.)

 

 

A reserve currency has two roles: being the currency that most international trade is conducted in, and -closely related- being the currency that countries hold most as foreign exchange (FX) reserves. After WWII, the US dollar became the most important currency for trade more or less by default, a position that it greatly strengthened with the petrodollar.

A 2015 SWIFT paper provides details about the US dollar’s share of international trade:

The US dollar prevails as the dominant international trade currency, with a 51.9% share of the value of international currency usage in 2014. The euro is second, with a 30.5% share of the total value. The British pound is third, with a 5.4% share of the total value, followed by Asian currencies such as the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan.

That’s from five years ago, but things won’t have changed much. The system is complex and inert, it has a very strong resistance against large and sudden changes. (Do note that the euro’s share of international trade is substantially skewed because it includes payments between countries that use the euro as their currency, plus those EU countries that don’t -yet-). Single market, international trade.

And then there’s the dollar’s FX role.

In September 2019, Eswar Prasad at Brookings reported that the dollar’s share of global FX reserves remains around 65%.

The drop from 66 percent in 2015 to 62 percent in 2018, is probably a statistical artifact related to changes in the reporting of reserves. Compared with 2007, however, the dollar’s share of global FX reserves has declined by 2 percentage points while the euro’s share is down 6 percentage points. Over this period, the Japanese yen’s share has risen by 2 percentage points, while other less prominent reserve currencies have increased their total share by 4 percentage points. The renminbi, which was not an official reserve currency in 2007, now accounts for 2 percent of global FX reserves. [..] .. the euro has stumbled, the renminbi has stalled, and dollar supremacy remains unchallenged.

[..] In July 2019, China’s total official reserve assets amounted to just over $3.2 trillion, of which $3.1 trillion (97 percent of the total) was held in the form of FX reserves. Gold holdings amounted to about $89 billion [..] Coming amid rising trade tensions with the U.S., the 5 percent increase in China’s gold stock and the 24 percent increase in the value of its official gold holdings during 2019 have been interpreted as a sign of China’s attempting to diversify its reserve holdings away from U.S. dollars.

If this interpretation was indeed correct, China has a long way to go. Gold now accounts for 3 percent of China’s gross international reserves. From a global financial market perspective, and especially relative to its overall international reserves, the $18 billion increase in the value of China’s gold reserves during 2019 is trivial; it barely registers as a shift in the composition of China’s overall reserves.

Assuming that China still holds 58 percent of its FX reserves in dollar-denominated assets, the value of those assets in July 2019 was $1.8 trillion. So, the value of its gold reserves, $94 billion, is a mere one twentieth of that of China’s dollar-denominated reserves.

With the euro and yuan out of the way as potential reserve currency candidates, we can take a look at gold. Senior commenter Dr.D at the Automatic Earth recently wrote: “As advertised, the US$ is defaulting. What? Where? US$ has been cut in half compared to Silver in 3 months. US$ has been cut in half compared to BTC in 3 months. US$ has been cut in half compared to Gold in 4 years.

Like many people talking about a USD demise, perhaps that’s too much of a dollar-centric view and conclusion. Surely gold and silver can rise vs the USD without announcing an imminent collapse of the latter. And since precious metals tend to go up in times of uncertainty, and COVID has brought shovels full of just that, you would expect them to rise.

Therefore you would have to also look at how they do vs for example the euro, before concluding anything. Note: I didn’t include Bitcoin because it’s too new and volatile. Makes me think of the Lindy Effect, often cited by Nassim Taleb, the idea that the older something is, the longer it’s likely to be around in the future.

Here are a few more Bloomberg screenshots. And yes, gold has done well vs the USD in, say, the past two years, no doubt.

 

 

But gold has pretty much followed the exact same pattern vs the euro:

 

 

Silver has done even better, more recently, vs the USD, though compared to where it was in 2016 it’s not that big a step (barely more than 10%):

 

 

And the pattern of silver vs the euro is so similar it’s almost eery.

 

 

I don’t see anything there that would make me think the dollar is collapsing, no more than the euro is. What I see is gold and silver rising. People move into precious metals, perceived as safe havens; they always do when the world is in turmoil. And don’t forget there are trillions in additional recent central bank money sloshing around that have to move somewhere.

As for the changes of the USD vs the euro: we’ve already seen that they are not exceptional. Losing a few percent vs the euro will not collapse the dollar.

Also, there’s something missing in the discussion as far as I’ve seen: the option that it’s the US itself that wants a lower dollar at this point in time, and actively works to get it lower. A strong dollar works for a strong economy, but not for one weakened by a pandemic and an acrimonious political climate.

But the US has borrowed so much money!, you say. Yes, but so have Europe, and Japan, and China, everyone has who could.

 

A little more about gold, since some are clamoring for a return to the gold standard. Which is not likely, because too many parties would resist, either for ideological or practical reasons. But say you would consider it, then you would as one of the first things you do, look at gold reserves. Here are the top ten gold holding countries per March 2020, as assembled by TradingEconomics.com:

 

 

Note: Britain is not there, because “Between 1999 and 2002 the Treasury sold 401 tonnes of gold – out of its 715-tonne holding – at an average price of $275 an ounce, generating about $3.5bn during the period.” (BBC). Gold is at $1,900 today. Nuff said.

The US gold reserves are so large it would appear to give them an unfair advantage if a gold standard were considered. Same as they have in the current set-up. Then again, if you insert population numbers into the equation, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, even the Netherlands, have more in relative terms. Question is: where does that leave all the others?

Long story short: I don’t see a US dollar default or collapse in the near future. But by all means enlighten me.

 

 

 

 

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