William-Adolphe Bouguereau Whisperings of Love 1889
Health expert, 67, vs Science denier, 69
— Patrick Henningsen (@21WIRE) June 24, 2023
Scott Ritter says that Wagner's Prigozhin is compromised and is now working for foreign intelligence.
That's quite possible but it also likely means that there are other traitors within the Kremlin and the Russian oligarchs — the latter would like to get back their yachts and… pic.twitter.com/VeqoV1VqsC
— S.L. Kanthan (@Kanthan2030) June 24, 2023
Too many questions. We will find out some things, but much more we never will.
A coup? Is that what this was? Apparently, while Wagner consists of 25,000-50,000 men, only 5,000 joined the march from Rostov to Moscow, a city of 12.5 million which is very well defended these days. How does that become a coup? Sure, Prigozhin may have counted on parts of the “regular army” to join in, but still.
Also, the Americans knew, but Russia did not? Really? I like this take:
“Plot twist: Prigozhin was approached by the US to do a coup in Russia for billions of dollars. He tells Putin about it, Putin agrees. They keep the money.”
US intelligence agencies strongly suspected that Evgeny Prigozhin was planning a major move against the Russian government, days before the Wagner chief ordered his troops to march on Moscow, The New York Times reported on Saturday, citing sources. According to unnamed US officials interviewed by the paper, the administration of US President Joe Biden and military commanders were briefed on the Wagner preparations as early as Wednesday. As additional details came in, another briefing attended by a narrow group of congressional leaders was reportedly held on Thursday. The situation escalated only on Friday night, when Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry of launching a deadly missile strike on a Wagner camp, and vowed retaliation. The ministry denied the allegation, accusing him of an “informational provocation.”
In the following hours, Wagner troops captured military facilities in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, while Prigozhin announced that his forces were beginning a “march for justice” with a plan to reach Moscow. On Saturday, the Wagner boss agreed to halt his advance and withdraw his forces in exchange for “security guarantees,” as part of a deal brokered by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. According to NYT sources, prior to the uprising, Washington officials were in no hurry to alert Russian President Vladimir Putin of an impending threat, as they feared that Moscow could accuse them of orchestrating a coup. Moreover, the US “had little interest” in helping Putin amid the Ukraine conflict and Russia’s stand-off with the West, the article says. Still, US officials were reportedly alarmed by a possible conflict between Prigozhin and Moscow, as they worried that Russia’s descent into chaos could create considerable nuclear risks.
The NYT report was echoed by CNN, which claimed on Saturday that US officials had believed Prigozhin was planning to challenge the Russian military “for quite some time,” but did not know what his ultimate goal was. According to CNN sources, Western officials had prior knowledge of Prigozhin’s preparations, including his efforts to accumulate weapons and ammunition. However, the outlet’s source noted that “it all happened very quickly,” and it was difficult to say whether the Wagner chief was serious about delivering on his threats to the Russian military. On Saturday, when the Wagner insurrection was still in full swing, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned the West that any its attempts to use the unrest “to achieve their Russophobic goals” would be futile. Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev noted that a coup in a major nuclear power could result in catastrophic consequences, and Moscow would never allow this to happen.
“..Wagner’s fighters will not be persecuted, taking into account their efforts on the frontlines of the Ukraine conflict. Peskov explained that President Vladimir Putin’s team “have always respected their exploits.”
This entirely bizarre slightly less than 24-hour short-lived coup attempt has just gotten even stranger, given the terms of the truce which evidently caused Evgeny Prigozhin to announce his Wagner fighter columns would turn around and go back to their bases.= The Wall Street Journal has confirmed based on Kremlin statements that “As part of the agreement, Prigozhin will leave Russia for Belarus, and criminal charges against him will be dropped, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. His fighters will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian military.” And Russia’s RT provides some further details as follows based on Peskov’s statement: “He added that Wagner’s fighters will not be persecuted, taking into account their efforts on the frontlines of the Ukraine conflict. Peskov explained that President Vladimir Putin’s team “have always respected their exploits.”
Those PMC contractors, who refused to take part in the mutiny – and whole units did not – will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Peskov stated. Can this even be called “exile”?… given that Kremlin statements at this point aren’t even so much as using the word which has a clear punitive implication. The irony remains that one can get a much harsher punishment for mere Cannabis vape pens in the country. In summary: • charges dropped against Prigozhin, who will leave Russia for Belarus • Wagner fighters who didn’t take part in the uprising will sign contracts with the MOD • Wagner fighters who did take part not charged • No word on potential MOD leadership changes What’s clear is that it does indeed look to be over, with no further immediate danger of civil conflict. Sputnik is further confirming Wagner has handed HQ/bases in Rostov-on-Don back to the regular military.
Despite the slap on the wrist (if even), the Kremlin is still talking “tough”: “The plotters’ adventurist aspirations are essentially aimed at destabilizing the situation in Russia, destroying our unity and undermining Russia’s efforts to reliably ensure international security,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The mutiny plays into the hands of Russia’s external enemies.” “The attempted armed mutiny in our country has aroused strong disapproval in Russian society, which firmly supports President Vladimir Putin,” the Foreign Ministry said. Regardless the speculation has begun, and is likely to continue for the coming days and weeks, over what precisely the world just witnessed here…
This is not a coup by Prigozhin. This is an inner war between the St Petersburg gang of Putin and the Moscow gang of Gerasimov and Shoigu. This is the beginning of Putin‘s election campaign to become reelected on March 17, 2024. His lapdog Prigozhin is masquerading a coup to put…
— Velina Tchakarova (@vtchakarova) June 24, 2023
It’s the end of Wagner.
A part of the Wagner private military company’s troops, who decided against participating in an armed mutiny, will be able to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “An agreement was reached that PMC Wagner troops would return to their camps and places of deployment. Some of them, if they wish to do so, can later ink contracts with the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said. “It also applies to fighters, who decided against taking part in this ‘armed mutiny.’” The spokesman also said “there were some fighters in the military formations [of Wagner PMC], who changed their minds at the very beginning [of the armed mutiny] and returned immediately.” “They have even requested the assistance of the traffic police as well as other help to return to their permanent places of deployment,” Peskov added.
On the evening of June 23, the Telegram channel of Wagner private military company founder Yevgeny Prigozhin posted several audio records with his statements, in which he claimed that strikes had allegedly been delivered against his formations and accused the country’s military leadership of that. In the wake of this, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia has opened a criminal case into a call for an armed mutiny. The FSB urged Wagner fighters not to obey Prigozhin’s orders and take measures for his detention. Russia’s Defense Ministry dismissed as untrue the reports that Russian forces had allegedly delivered a strike against “the rear camps of the Wagner private military company.” In his televised address to citizens on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the actions by the Wagner private military company an armed mutiny and betrayal and assured that harsh measures would be taken against the insurgents.
“..the Belarusian leader has personally known Prigozhin for around 20 years..”
Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin ordered a halt to Wagner troops’ drive on Moscow and opted for de-escalation on Saturday, accepting a proposal mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “Under no circumstances,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists when asked whether the events with the Wagner PMC would have an impact on the operation in Ukraine. “The special military operation in Ukraine continues, our soldiers at the frontline are demonstrating heroism, they are quite effectively and successfully countering the counteroffensive of Ukraine’s armed forces. And the operation will continue.” He stressed that Wagner troops engaged in the tensions won’t be prosecuted, adding that those wishing to sign a contract with the Russian defense ministry in the future would be able to do so.
Regarding Prigozhin’s status, the spokesman noted that the businessman would be allowed to leave the country. “A criminal case [against Prigozhin] will be terminated and he will leave for Belarus. If you ask, what is the guarantee that Prigozhin could leave for Belarus, it is the word of the Russian president,” Peskov told reporters. Peskov thanked Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for his mediation in talks with Prigozhin, which were aimed at reaching the “highest goal” of avoiding the conflict. “There was the highest goal of avoiding bloodshed, internal confrontation and clashes with unpredictable results. It is for these goals that Lukashenko’s mediation efforts were made, and President Putin made a relevant decision on that,” Peskov told journalists, adding that the phone call between the two presidents was sincere and “very constructive.”
The presidents agreed on Lukashenko’s brokering efforts since the Belarusian leader has personally known Prigozhin for around 20 years, the official stated, also noting that Lukashenko himself had proposed his talks with the Wagner head. Peskov stated that thanks to the agreement the situation had been resolved without further losses, with members of the Wagner PMC able to return back to their field camps.
Well, no more.
US officials believe that the Wagner PMC’s insurrection in Russia will play into Ukraine’s hands, allowing Kiev to revitalize its much-hyped counteroffensive which Moscow says has thus far failed to gain any ground, Politico reported on Saturday. Shortly before the private military company’s leader Evgeny Prigozhin agreed to halt his advance on Moscow and withdraw his troops as part of the deal brokered by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, US officials held several meetings to assess the potential impact of the mutiny, the report says. In the end, they reportedly arrived at the conclusion that the insurrection would keep the Kremlin busy, providing Ukraine’s stalled counteroffensive with a window of opportunity.
“I don’t see how it could hurt them,” one senior official told Politico. Others opined that the development would likely help Kiev, pointing out that Prigozhin had taken control of the HQ of Russia’s Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don. However, Wagner members have left the city on Saturday evening, according to local officials. With Wagner drama unfolding in Russia, a US official told Politico that policymakers in Washington called their European counterparts, seeking to “reassure them” and tell them to “message neutrality.” “No one should be spiking the football,” he added. According to Politico, the general consensus between Western officials was that Kiev now had “an unprecedented opportunity to advance.”
Some US lawmakers supported this point of view, with Democrat Congressman Jason Crow tweeting that the Wagner insurrection “will almost certainly benefit the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the near term and [Kiev] should move fast to capitalize.” In the early hours of Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian troops were attempting to take advantage of Wagner insurrection by reading two brigades for an offensive thrust near the Donbass town of Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine). Later, however, it said that while Ukrainian forces tried to mount attacks along several sections of the front, all their attempts to breach Russian lines failed. Ukraine’s offensive, which had been talked up for months, finally kicked off in the early days of June but has so far failed to gain any ground, with Kiev’s troops suffering heavy losses, according to Moscow. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has also admitted that Kiev’s troops had been advancing “slower than desired” in the face of “tough resistance.”
“This is China’s heretofore unthinkable opportunity – much bigger than Taiwan, which to President Xi can wait.”
Former US president Donald Trump has splashed cold water on Western hopes that this week’s conflict between military contractor Wagner Group and Russia’s top generals could lead to the toppling of Moscow’s government, warning that ousting President Vladimir Putin could have unintended consequences. “A big mess in Russia, but be careful what you wish for,” the former president said on Saturday in a Truth Social post. “Next in may be far worse!” Trump reacted to the unrest in Russia just before news broke that Wagner founder Evgeny Prigozhin had agreed to end his rebellion and halt his group’s advance on Moscow. Under an agreement with the Kremlin, the former Putin ally will leave Russia and be spared prosecution.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky cheered the short-lived Wagner uprising, but his Western backers refrained from openly rooting for an overthrow of Putin’s government. US President Joe Biden, who has previously called for regime change in Russia, was reported to be “consulting with allies and partners” on the situation in Moscow. Western media outlets were less restrained in touting the Wagner revolt as an existential crisis for the Russian government. Kurt Volker, former US ambassador to NATO, told CNN that the unrest marked “the end for Putin” and “the beginning of the end of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
Trump took a shot at his successor, saying Biden would “do about Russia whatever President Xi [Jinping] of China wants him to do.” Alluding to allegations that the Biden family received bribes from business contacts with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, he suggested that the US president was beholden to Xi. “China and Russia, until Biden came along, have always been natural enemies, with China wanting large portions of largely unpopulated Russian land to have for their much larger population,” Trump said. “This is China’s heretofore unthinkable opportunity – much bigger than Taiwan, which to President Xi can wait.”
This too got old fast. But would Wagner really want to fight the Chechens?
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has slammed the armed mutiny of the PMC Wagner as betrayal and said that Chechen commandos are on the way to the areas of tensions. “What is happening is not an ultimatum to the Ministry of Defense,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “It is a challenge to the state. To counter this challenge, it is necessary for the military, security forces, governors and the civilian population to rally all around the national leader. Soldiers of the Ministry of Defense and Chechnya’s units of the National Guard (Rosgvardiya) have already left for the areas of tensions. We will do everything to preserve the unity of Russia and to protect its statehood!” Kadyrov wrote. He is certain Russian President Vladimir Putin takes decisions “in a balanced and scrupulous manner.” “Each of us sees only one part of the map, but he sees it all!
The president noted quite correctly in his address to the nation – this is a military mutiny! There is no excuse for such actions! I fully support Putin’s every word,” Kadyrov said. He urged the servicemen of the North Caucasus Military District not to yield to provocations. “Whatever aims some may declare and whatever promises some may give – at a time like this the security of the state and unity of Russian society is above all! Look at how our enemies in the West are taking advantage of this situation. How many insinuations, how many lies, how many false appeals that frighten our citizens and create the danger of a destabilizing situation are being used. These are the expected consequences of Prigozhin’s treacherous march,” Kadyrov wrote. He reiterated that the current events were a challenge to the state. “It is necessary for the military, security forces, governors and the civilian population to rally around the national leader,” he stressed.
“..six nations in the Global South – namely, India, Brazil, Turkiye, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa – are set to decide the future of geopolitics..”
Despite having the largest military budget in the world and being the largest operator of military bases abroad, the US is far from being a global hegemon, argues a DC-based think tank Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Over the past decades Washington has demonstrated a capacity for mass destruction – in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere – but “it has won no more than Pyrrhic victories” which led to the erosion of trust in Pax Americana both at home and abroad, according to Responsible Statecraft scholars. The US military spending reached $876.9 billion in 2022, while the nation also operates a whopping 750 foreign military bases. Still, Washington is incapable of persuading the Global South to join anti-Russia sanctions over the latter’s special military operation in Ukraine, the think tank remarks.
“If hegemony means the capacity to get other countries to comply with one’s demands, the United States is far from being a global hegemon,” the report notes. Judging from the so-called Pentagon leak, even some US allies and partners demonstrated hesitance and unwillingness to provide the Kiev regime with shells, jets and armored vehicles. Meanwhile, most nations of the Global South shrugged off the US calls for slapping sanctions on Moscow as contradicting their national interests. US political observers emphasize that six nations in the Global South – namely, India, Brazil, Turkiye, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa – are set to decide the future of geopolitics and insist that the Biden administration needs to win their hearts and minds. At the same time, European commentators argue that developing nations have the right to remain neutral and non-aligned.
[..] Per DC scholars, the emerging trend was articulated by Brookings Institution fellow Fiona Hill, former Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States, in May 2023: “The war in Ukraine is perhaps the event that makes the passing of Pax Americana apparent to everyone. … [Other countries] want to decide, not be told what’s in their interest. In short, in 2023, we hear a resounding no to US domination and see a marked appetite for a world without a hegemon,” she said at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia. According to Hill, the Global South’s resistance to the US and the EU’s demands to slap sanctions on Moscow is nothing short of “an open rebellion.” She noted that “this is a mutiny against what they see as the collective West dominating the international discourse and foisting its problems on everyone else, while brushing aside their priorities on climate change compensation, economic development, and debt relief.”
Western observers also acknowledge that the world’s center of gravity is steadily shifting east, adding that the Biden administration has so far sought to avert this trend by trying to establish “a lasting technological lead over China” and beefing up the US military in Western Pacific. However, “most developing countries, including emerging powers in the Global South, are no longer willing to make zero-sum choices” between Washington and its geopolitical rivals, DC scholars underscore, urging American policymakers to accept the reality that the US is no longer “the indispensable nation.”
Long waits for heart care, COVID, anything but vaccines.
More than 500 additional deaths a week involving heart diseases have been recorded in England since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said. Based on data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the BHF revealed in a report (pdf) that, since February 2020, there has been a total of 96,540 excess deaths involving cardiovascular conditions—an umbrella term for a range of heart and blood vessel conditions, including heart attacks and strokes. “It is deeply troubling that so many more people with cardiovascular disease have lost their lives over the past three years,” BHF Chief Executive Dr. Charmaine Griffiths said. In the first year of the pandemic, COVID-19 infection drove high numbers of excess deaths involving cardiovascular disease.
While deaths from COVID-19 have since fallen year-on-year, the number of deaths involving cardiovascular disease have remained high above expected levels, the BHF analysis stated. Dr. Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the BHF and consultant cardiologist, said, “COVID-19 no longer fully explains the significant numbers of excess deaths involving cardiovascular disease.” She said there may have been other contributing factors, including the disruptions to the NHS over the past few years. The charity said a major contributing factor has been the “severe, ongoing disruption” to heart care in the NHS. The number of people waiting for time-sensitive cardiac care was at a record high of nearly 390,000 at the end of April in England, according to NHS England.
Average ambulance response times for heart attacks and strokes have consistently been more than 30 minutes since the beginning of 2022. There has also been significant disruption to the detection and management of high blood pressure and other conditions that put people at much greater risk of a heart attack or stroke, the charity said. Babu-Narayan said: “Long waits for heart care are dangerous—they put someone at increased risk of avoidable hospital admission, disability due to heart failure, and premature death. Yet people are struggling to get potentially life-saving heart treatment when they need it due to a lack of NHS staff and space, despite cardiovascular disease affecting record numbers of people.”
Address at Free Speech Event in London, with Russell Brand and Michael Shellenberger.
[..] Isn’t that a beautiful phrase, a “redress of grievances”? Great, memorable language. Like a lot of Americans, I know the First Amendment by heart. I’ve recited it to myself enough to know it doesn’t say the government gives me the right to speech, assembly, a free press. It says I have those things, already. As a person, as a citizen. This is a very American thing, the idea that rights aren’t conferred, but a part of us, like our livers, and you can’t take them away without destroying who we are. That’s why in other contexts you’ll hear some of us say things like, “I’ll give you this gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands!” Some people roll their eyes and think that sounds crazy, but we know that guy actually means it, and to a lot of us it makes sense. We’re touchy about rights, especially about the first ones: speech, assembly, religion, the free press.
But we’re not here tonight to debate the virtues of American speech law versus the European tradition. Instead, Michael and I are here to tell a horror story that concerns people from all countries. Last year, he and I were offered a unique opportunity to look at the internal documentation of Twitter. I entered that story lugging old-fashioned, legalistic, American views about rights, hoping to answer maybe one or two questions. Had the FBI, for instance, ever told the company what to do in a key speech episode? If so, that would be a First Amendment violation. Big stuff! But after looking at thousands of emails and Slack chats, I first started to get a headache, then became confused. I realized the old-school Enlightenment-era protections I grew up revering were designed to counter authoritarianism as people understood the concept hundreds of years ago, back in the days of tri-cornered hats and streets lined with horse manure.
What Michael and I were looking at was something new, an Internet-age approach to political control that uses brute digital force to alter reality itself. We certainly saw plenty of examples of censorship and de-platforming and government collaboration in those efforts. However, it’s clear that the idea behind the sweeping system of digital surveillance combined with thousands or even millions of subtle rewards and punishments built into the online experience, is to condition people to censor themselves. In fact, after enough time online, users will lose both the knowledge and the vocabulary they would need to even have politically dangerous thoughts. What Michael calls the Censorship-Industrial Complex is really just the institutionalization of orthodoxy, a vast, organized effort to narrow our intellectual horizons.
“..the average variable-rate home loan in the UK has more than doubled from around 3% to 6.19% as of Thursday morning. This has affected around 4 million UK households..”
British homeowners may have to pay 50% more on their mortgages by the end of the year as a result of the Bank of England’s (BoE) interest rate hikes, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) warned in a new report published on Thursday. According to the findings, higher mortgage repayments could wipe out the savings of some 1.2 million British families, bringing the total number of insolvent households to 7.8 million, or 28% of the total in the country. The analysts also calculated that the rising repayments in aggregate will erase 0.3% of the UK’s GDP and cost households with home loans a total of £12 billion ($15.2 billion) per year.
The warning from NIESR follows the BoE’s decision on Thursday to raise its base interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 5% as the regulator tries to tame the persistently high inflation in the country. While annual consumer price inflation remained unchanged at 8.7% in May, core inflation, which excludes volatile energy, food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, surged to 7.1%, its highest level since 1992. “The rise in interest rates to 5% will push millions of households with mortgages towards the brink of insolvency,” Max Mosley from NIESR stated. He explained that many families who took out mortgages with interest rates of 1-2% may be in for a rate surge of 4 percentage points.
“No lender would expect a household to withstand a shock of this magnitude, so the Government shouldn’t either. Some investment should be done in forbearance agreements, giving households and lenders the ability to create payment plans that work for each other,” he said. Since last year, the average variable-rate home loan in the UK has more than doubled from around 3% to 6.19% as of Thursday morning. This has affected around 4 million UK households that either have variable-rate mortgages or are facing the need to remortgage due to their fixed-rate deals ending. For a household borrowing £300,000 ($381,000) on a 25-year mortgage, monthly repayments have already been pushed up from £1,400 ($1,780) to £2,000 ($2,540), a nearly 50% increase, NIESR calculated, warning that with more interest rate hikes expected, these bills will only grow further.
“Europe will gradually turn into a region with an average standard of living. This is a tragedy, but I do not see the ability of the authorities to allow pain,..
Many countries around the world, including Western ones, are in a critical condition due to their high levels of public debt, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Director for Russia Aleksei Mozhin told Sputnik. “After COVID, there was a big recession in the economy; budget deficits increased and had to be financed by increasing public debt. Many countries found themselves in a critical situation in terms of public debt, including Western countries,” Mozhin said. Years of irresponsible budgetary and monetary policy, including pumping money into the economy to revive it, lie at the heart of the current debt crisis, he said. Mohzin pointed out that the example of Japan shows it is possible to kick the can down the road to avoid default for a long time, but at the cost of the Japanese economy not growing for 30 years.
This is the case with other economies as well, the Italian economy has not grown for 20 years, he said. “All these are consequences, first of all, of the skyrocketing level of public debt,” Mozhin said.Almost all European countries are now facing significant levels of debt, including Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, not to mention Greece and Italy, Mozhin noted, characterizing the situation as “simply awful.”At the same time, Mozhin said sick economies must experience pain to get better as there are no other ways to treat them. They must raise interest rates to reduce inflation but that kills economic growth and increases the cost of borrowing.”If there is a huge public debt, it means that ‘budget consolidation,’ achieving budget surplus, is required. This requires either an increase in taxes in order to increase budget revenues or a reduction in budget expenditures. Both kill economic growth,” Mozhin said.
The countries of the collective West cannot cope with these challenges because of the ruling populism there, he said.”The very political system of these countries leads to the fact that they have a complete fixation on short-term indicators,” Mozhin said. “Good growth and low unemployment must be achieved today at all costs, otherwise you may lose the upcoming elections. And elections are held there almost every year.”Mozhin noted that states that find themselves in a critical situation because of high debt are able to avoid defaulting by issuing new government bonds and forcing their own banks to accept the government debt. “Europe will gradually turn into a region with an average standard of living. This is a tragedy, but I do not see the ability of the authorities to allow pain,” Mozhin said.
” If Congress does not stop deficit spending then the outcome is certain with the only remaining question being time.”
Inflation will not return to the Fed’s Target, which itself is illegal under the Fed’s mandate for STABLE prices, until and unless Deficit Spending ends. The current price level for many essential goods and services — including housing, food, medical care, insurance of various sorts that are not optional (e.g. vehicle insurance in order to be able to legally drive or homeowners in order to have a mortgage) are impossible to afford across the general public at the present time; they were generated by artificial and impossible to maintain federal government subsidies such as paying people $600/wk to stay at home and get drunk or not having to pay back student loans.
Therefore even a complete halt to inflation is insufficient; the price level must drop to approximately, in income-adjusted terms, including for those on fixed incomes, to pre-pandemic levels and in fact likely to pre-2006 levels, because the gross subsidies via credit emission at the federal level has been going on and embedded itself into the American psyche for that long or even longer. Congress has been imbued with the idea that the Federal Government can spend more than it takes in plus the increase in productivity. Of course when productivity is negative this means the delta in spending must also be negative to retain balance, but Congress never does that, do they? The most-gross abuses are in CMS but hardly the only ones.
Markets appear to believe that there is no limit to this insanity either. You can somewhat explain that given the last 20 years or so of history but that externalizing your costs (e.g. by offshoring labor and production, thereby “hiding” the inflation by using an externality) appears to “work” but since this planet is finite in size, mass and resource there’s a limit to how long you can hide all that before it either stops working or worse, comes back at you.We’re seeing this now. This issue does not belong to The Fed; the Federal Reserve’s is only charged with, and in fact only can, respond to what Congress does. They do not have the power to alter what Congress does; that is neither in their remit or within their capacity. If Congress does not stop deficit spending then the outcome is certain with the only remaining question being time.
As I pointed out this issue is resolvable but doing it requires kneecapping the medical monopolists. No new laws are required to do that; only an Executive that will enforce existing laws. However, since Congress controls in every instance the purse that responsibility is in fact on Congress as well since they can demand that said laws be enforced or they will zero the budgets of any agency that refuses.We as Americans may not like these options but whether we like them or not isn’t part of the disucssion. This is about mathematics and whether or not we wish to have a peaceable nation or whether we will continue to play this game until civil society breaks down in catastrophic and possibly-unrecoverable ways. The choice is ours — not theirs.
”There is nothing unusual about the incumbent not participating in primary debates: in fact, no sitting president has taken part in the event since at least 1948..”
Democratic strategists believe there is no need for President Joe Biden to participate in primary debates, but the US public thinks otherwise. Top Democrats have made it clear that Joe Biden won’t cross swords with his Democratic opponents, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, let alone third-party candidate Cornel West. There is nothing unusual about the incumbent not participating in primary debates: in fact, no sitting president has taken part in the event since at least 1948. Neither Donald Trump, nor Barack Obama held primary debates when they sought re-election.In addition, Democratic operatives claim that Kennedy and Williamson are “gadflies” who don’t deserve to debate a sitting president.
According to them, Biden’s “marginal” opponents could score political points by sharing a stage with the incumbent, while the latter is unlikely to gain anything. They also cite Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s controversial vaccine remarks and an unorthodox position on the conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile, a number of surveys indicate that the American people want to see a series of Democratic debates during the 2024 campaign. Per the Suffolk University poll, eight in 10 Democratic primary voters share this stance. A Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey shows that 68% of eligible voters believe that the Dems should hold primary debates. The figure is even higher among those who voted for Joe in 2020: 79% of them have agreed that there must be a televised event.
During the 2020 election cycle Joe Biden did not hold large rallies, but took part in Democratic National Committee debates where his soon-to-be veep, Kamala Harris, pressed him on race issues. He also attended all debates with his rival in the general election, then-sitting President Trump. While it’s unlikely that Democrat top brass and Biden change their mind, some US media suggests that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not as “fringe” candidate as one might imagine. In early June it turned out that Silicon Valley moguls decided to throw weight behind RFK Jr., insisting that he could outperform both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Furthermore, RFK Jr. commands a 15-20% support among Democratic voters and has a “media-ready image” being an heir to the famous political dynasty. As per Axios, Kennedy’s growing popularity may increase the pressure on Joe Biden to participate in a debate with the representative of the famous political clan. “Of course, there should be debates in a democratic system as a way to help voters choose the candidate that best represents their views,” a campaign spokesperson for Kennedy told the US media. “Debates can also help voters evaluate a candidate’s character.”
The more we learn about the 2020 election, the more undeniable it becomes that Biden owes his “victory” to blatant political corruption. To wit:
1) An IRS probe into the Bidens money laundering payments from hostile nations — the normal outcome of which would have ended his candidacy — was instead given a stand-down order
2) The FBI & IRS wanted to search Biden’s house in September 2020 but were given a stand down order.
3) The FBI authenticated Hunter’s laptop a year before the NYPost first reported on its contents
4) Rather than use the laptop’s voluminous documentation of myriad felonies to initiate criminal investigations, the FBI hatched a plot to warn social media companies of an imminent “hack & leak” operation of what they heavily suggested was Russian disinformation
5) The FBI used its 2016 Russia collusion probe — which the Durham probe has since proven was essentially an extension of the Clinton campaign — to rationalize its meddling in the 2020 election.
6) The FBI also conducted an influence operation with various reporters at major newspapers to convince them that forthcoming damaging reporting about Biden that they knew was true was in fact not
7) The FBI was spying on Giuliani when he shared the laptop’s contents with the NYPost
8) When the FBI told Twitter & Facebook a Russian disinformation campaign was coming, they had already concluded Russia wasn’t trying to game the election
9) In their attempt to corroborate their own rumor of Russian electoral influence, the FBI became aggressive with its demands for user data from Twitter, eventually getting shutdown for seeking users’ private info without a warrant
10) Nonetheless, in the preceding years, the FBI established a beachhead inside Twitter, with an operations center of former agents who communicated via their own dedicated slack channel. These ex-agents included Jim Baker, the FBI’s former top counsel who played a central role in the FBI’s Trump/Russia scam, as well as Comey’s former chief of staff, Dawn Burton, who started the FBI’s Russia collusion probe.
11) The CIA, in collusion with the Biden campaign, seeded disinformation claiming the laptop was itself Russian disinformation. The major media used this as a pretext to avoid reporting on its contents and instead attack those who were.
12) The FBI also arranged a meeting with Sens. Grassley & Johnson about supposed Russian disinformation & Hunter Biden.
13) The FBI then used this briefing with the senators to justify quashing their own agents’ probe into the Bidens’ corruption.
14) When the story broke mere weeks before the election — one that polling later indicated would have altered enough Democrat votes to send Trump to a second term — Twitter & Facebook orchestrated an unprecedented & anti-democratic mass censorship campaign.
15) When Twitter initially resisted censoring the story, it was Jim Baker who convinced them to do so (despite the FBI having known for a year the informartion was true).
16) In December 2020, after the operation’s success and Biden’s “victory,” the FBI agents working at & with Twitter celebrated the outcome.
17) The FBI subsequently paid Twitter $3.5 million for the staff hours expended on their influence operations.
18) At the time Trump was being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Biden’s alleged corruption in Ukraine, the FBI & IRS already knew the Bidens had indeed laundered more than $10 million from Burisma, via fake companies and dozens of bank accounts, while at the same time VP Biden had used U.S. aid as leverage in getting the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma fired.
P.S. And that’s to say nothing of Democrats orchestrating a state-by-state campaign to change voting rules to enable the widespread adoption of voting boxes … Left-wing activist groups, funded in part by Facebook, facilitated the exploitation of these drop-off boxes on behalf of the Democratic Party. That part may not have been illegal since they simply changed the rules, but it’s especially shady since it was done alongside federal health agencies then-knowingly overstating the threat of Covid, which was used as the rationale for the change of rules in the first place.
P.P.S. And this is just what we know despite the feds’ best efforts. Imagine how much we don’t.
You Should Be Concerned About QR Codes — Here’s Why
QR codes help “build the fences” that lock us in to a digital prison, attests finance expert Catherine Austin Fitts.
In combination with CBDC and vaccine passports, Catherine warns, humanity is on the verge of a dystopian… pic.twitter.com/vomI5qi5OS
— Children’s Health Defense (@ChildrensHD) June 24, 2023
Image created by a Japanese neurologist. It stays still when you are calm. It begins to move when you experience a slight amount of pressure. It moves like a carousel when under a great deal of stress.
How are you doing?
This video by Matt Poole shows his conservation work helping to get baby burrowing owls into “housing”
They nest underground but in cases where environmental factors prevent this, artificial burrows can help
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 24, 2023
Amazing octopus stretching its tentacles to form a huge balloon filmed by EVNautilus at a depth of around 1,600 meters (5,250 feet). pic.twitter.com/tdiMmU3Cwr
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) June 24, 2023
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