Pablo Picasso Guernica 1937
And it will export that crisis.
• Germany Is Facing The Biggest Crisis The Country Has Ever Had (Cody)
Germany is facing an unprecedented crisis due to a potential Russian gas cut that will erase the prosperity Germans have grown accustomed to, warned Rainer Dulger, head of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations. “We are facing the biggest crisis the country has ever had. We have to be honest and say: First of all, we will lose the prosperity that we have had for years,” Dulger told the Süddeutsche Zeitung regarding the consequences of a gas shortage to everyone. While many are urging more government intervention to help prop up the German economy, Dulger argues that in general, the fewer the interventions, the better. He says that when it comes to the economy, private businesses always do better than the government.
However, he does believe certain measures need to be implemented to provide support for people in increasingly stressed economic situations. “More net earnings from the gross amount must now arrive into every citizen’s account,” he claimed, emphasizing the importance of not reducing the net income of the citizens and ensuring the fair redistribution of profits generated during the crisis. Dulger is not the only one warning of a crisis in Germany. Economy Minister Robert Habeck warns of a “catastrophic winter” ahead over Russian gas cut fears. According to him, Germany will face a “crucial test that we haven’t faced for a long time.” Other experts are predicting mass bankruptcies, inflation, and energy rationing that will send “shockwaves” through the German economy.
The Bavarian Business Association (VBW) warned that as many as 5.6 million jobs across Germany could be lost in the case of a gas supply stoppage from Russia. According to the association’s calculations, a German boycott of Russian gas could also reduce the country’s economic output by 12.7 percent, with immediate abandonment of the raw material hitting the glass, iron, and steel industries particularly hard; losses in these sectors would be almost 50 percent. Dulger sees the significant cause of the current situation as the lack of ability to be self-sufficient. For too long, Germany had disregarded something that former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt warned about in the 1970s. When deliveries of gas to Russia began at the time, Schmidt said: “We can do it, but we must not depend on Russian gas for more than 30 percent.”
Post-WWII took a lot of diplomacy. That is now gone.
• Berlin’s Quit Decades Of Courting Both Moscow And Washington (Davydov)
Germany’s new leadership has gone “all in” on its alliance with the US, overturning a strategy that had underpinned its success What was known as the “memory culture” was an essential element of the foreign policy strategy of post-war Germany. Wise leaders were able to gradually restore the importance of the country on the international stage and achieve strategic goals. A prime example was Chancellor Willy Brandt’s ‘Ostpolitik,’ based on ideas of repentance and overcoming post-war enmity. The historical reconciliation between Bonn and the USSR became the basis for the future unification of Germany – solving the main task of the country’s political elites after the end of World War II.
However, less gifted politicians find historical memory a handicap and a hardship. For neighbours, the ambitions of German leadership in Europe bring back painful memories. Indeed, historical documents such as the Treaty of German Unification, limit the military capabilities of the state – which is a direct obstacle to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s dream for the creation of “the strongest army in Europe.” Today, the image of a peace-loving nation that has re-educated itself after the tragedy of two world wars does not fit well with active arms deliveries to Ukraine. “This war must end,” Scholz recently warned, while in Kiev. Meanwhile, his government’s website is regularly updated with information on weapons already delivered and planned to be delivered to the Ukrainians. This is what you might call a paradox.
Let’s look at some of the rhetoric coming out of Berlin. On June 21, on the eve of Russia’s Day of Remembrance and Sorrow, Economy Minister Robert Habeck called the reduction of Russian gas supplies “an attack on Germany.”Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has claimed that “Russia deliberately uses hunger as a weapon.” By the way, behind the unfounded lies are real historical data – more than four million Soviet citizens were starved to death during the Nazi occupation. At the G7 summit last month, Scholz called on participants to prepare a new “Marshall Plan”for Ukraine, twisting the meaning of the programme that helped Western Europe recover from the horrors of fascism. It feels like a policy of remembrance is being replaced by a policy of deliberate amnesia.
[..] Scholz’s approach is the opposite of what Willy Brandt and his followers worked on. Berlin has finally narrowed the once dynamic and multifaceted eastern policy solely in support of Kiev. In international relations, however, simplification rarely reduces contradictions. This sort of primitivization does not add credibility to the German leadership, but it does raise doubts about its competence. The granting of EU candidate status to Ukraine, actively supported by Berlin, could also turn out to be an embarrassment. And it is not just about the five other official members of the waiting list and several potential contenders, who have been waiting or are still waiting years for this decision, all the while trying to fulfil the EU’s strict requirements. In Germany’s foreign policy approach, showmanship and symbolism are gradually replacing order and consistency.
“..all five Caspian Sea littoral states agreed that no NATO warships or bases will be allowed on site…”
• The War Of Economic Corridors Is In Full Swing (Escobar)
The War of Economic Corridors is now proceeding full speed ahead, with the game-changing first cargo flow of goods from Russia to India via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) already in effect. Very few, both in the east and west, are aware of how this actually has long been in the making: the Russia-Iran-India agreement for implementing a shorter and cheaper Eurasian trade route via the Caspian Sea (compared to the Suez Canal), was first signed in 2000, in the pre-9/11 era. The INSTC in full operational mode signals a powerful hallmark of Eurasian integration – alongside the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and last but not least, what I described as “Pipelineistan” two decades ago.
Let’s have a first look on how these vectors are interacting. The genesis of the current acceleration lies in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, for the 6th Caspian Summit. This event not only brought the evolving Russia-Iran strategic partnership to a deeper level, but crucially, all five Caspian Sea littoral states agreed that no NATO warships or bases will be allowed on site. That essentially configures the Caspian as a virtual Russian lake, and in a minor sense, Iranian – without compromising the interests of the three “stans,” Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. For all practical purposes, Moscow has tightened its grip on Central Asia a notch.
As the Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea by canals off the Volga built by the former USSR, Moscow can always count on a reserve navy of small vessels – invariably equipped with powerful missiles – that may be transferred to the Black Sea in no time if necessary. Stronger trade and financial links with Iran now proceed in tandem with binding the three “stans” to the Russian matrix. Gas-rich republic Turkmenistan for its part has been historically idiosyncratic – apart from committing most of its exports to China. Under an arguably more pragmatic young new leader, President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Ashgabat may eventually opt to become a member of the SCO and/or the EAEU. Caspian littoral state Azerbaijan on the other hand presents a complex case: an oil and gas producer eyed by the European Union (EU) to become an alternative energy supplier to Russia – although this is not happening anytime soon.
Iran’s foreign policy under President Ebrahim Raisi is clearly on a Eurasian and Global South trajectory. Tehran will be formally incorporated into the SCO as a full member in the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September, while its formal application to join the BRICS has been filed. Purnima Anand, head of the BRICS International Forum, has stated that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also very much keen on joining BRICS. Should that happen, by 2024 we could be on our way to a powerful West Asia, North Africa hub firmly installed inside one of the key institutions of the multipolar world. As Putin heads to Tehran next week for trilateral Russia, Iran, Turkey talks, ostensibly about Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bound to bring up the subject of BRICS.
Ukraine corruption is on the list of things we can’t talk about.
• Republicans Wince As Their Ukrainian-born Colleague Thrashes Zelensky (Pol.)
House Republicans gave Ukraine-born Rep. Victoria Spartz a coveted platform to speak out against Russia’s war. They’re coming to regret that. Spartz (R-Ind.), who has traveled to Ukraine a half-dozen times since the war began and spoken passionately about the conflict, shocked lawmakers in both parties recently with her intense criticisms of the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his confidants. She drew a rare rebuke last weekend from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which accused her of “trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation.” Inside the House GOP Conference, there’s a widespread fear that her posture is damaging U.S.-Ukraine relations at the worst possible time — and that she’s being played by forces that aim to weaken the Western alliance.
GOP national-security hawks also worry that the MAGA wing of their party, where there’s already resistance to supporting Ukraine, will point to Spartz’s comments as justification.They’re concerned that Spartz’s public break from Zelenskyy — and her corruption accusations about his closest aides — could portend future cracks in U.S. support for Ukraine, especially as the midterm elections approach. “Her naiveness is hurting our own people,” said a GOP lawmaker who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, granted anonymity to speak candidly about a colleague. “It is not helpful to what we’re trying to do and I’m not sure her facts are accurate … We have vetted these guys.” The Republican warned that Spartz’s comments could “hurt” the war effort.
Asked for comment on Spartz’s remarks, one senior House Republican who was granted anonymity for the same reason offered a blunt reply: “What the fuck.” A third House Republican granted anonymity to speak candidly about Spartz said she has a reputation for elbowing her way into briefings and meetings for committees she doesn’t belong to, like the Foreign Affairs panel, where multiple members have tried to address her comments behind closed doors. The Biden administration is even getting involved — another sign of growing worries that Spartz’s comments may damage cohesion among the Western coalition in defense of Kyiv. A Foreign Affairs Committee aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. intelligence community is planning to brief Spartz about her claims in a classified setting Friday morning.
“It’s the wrong game for a great nation. And the players we’ve got are losers.”
• In Search of Enemies (Femi Akomolafe)
We are in July and while the Russians are not letting up on the grinding of the Ukrainian forces, the West has already lost interest in its latest misadventure. Many Western countries have already announced that they have no more weapons to spare, and the EU’s powerhouse, Germany, has been reduced to dusting off ancient mothballed tanks to send off to battle against an already defeated Russians! That’s when German officials are not too busy trying to placate an irascible and ungrateful Ukrainian officials with an obscene and gratuitous sense of entitlement. Or maybe the Ukrainians should feel perfectly entitled since they were foolish enough to sell off their country for whatever pieces of silver they got!
The question here is: Why are Westerners so dumb that they cannot ask where their leaders who can’t find the money to repair their shattered economies, suddenly find the money to provide weapons to Nazis in Ukraine? Another question: After the war is settled – in Russia’s favor (my bet), do Westerners expect the Russians to forgive them for providing support to Nazis 2.0? For a people without enough resources to cater for themselves, and one that proclaims its rationality all the time, it is beyond belief that Westerners keep on searching for enemies! Besotted with their self-generated image of superiority, Westerners appear to live in a bubble, unaware of what goes on outside their self-created cocoon.
The Russians made it plain what they felt about the West’s insane push to their borders. From President V Putin to FM Lavrov to the inimitable Spokeswoman for the Russian FM, Maria Zakharova, the Russians told whoever would listen that there were bound to be severe repercussions if their core security concerns were ignored. Ignored them, the West did. Last year, the Russians emphasized the urgency of their concerns by dispatching drafts of Treaties to both Washington and Brussels. The West rather haughtily brushed them aside. The Russians openly warned about taking “technical and military” means if the West persists in its folly. The West arrogantly ignored the warnings.
Arming Ukraine is not biggest problem here: “If the government falls on Wednesday, we won’t have the power to sign any new energy contracts and this is serious because we are headed into winter..”
• Italy May Soon Be Unable To Arm Ukraine – Foreign Minister (RT)
Political turmoil in Italy could soon see Rome unable to continue supporting Ukraine with weapons deliveries, the country’s foreign minister has warned. According to Luigi Di Maio, this would be the case should the incumbent government not survive a no-confidence vote next week. In a phone interview with US media outlet Politico on Friday, Di Maio said that those in Italy who want the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government are playing into the hands of the Kremlin. “The Russians are right now celebrating having made another Western government fall,” the minister argued. Di Maio went on to express doubt as to whether Italy will be able to keep supplying arms to Ukraine under these circumstances, adding that “it is one of the many serious problems.”
The official explained that, should the government collapse, it would still remain in power for some time in a caretaker capacity. However, in this case, its powers would be reduced, meaning, among other things, that the government wouldn’t be able to continue weapons deliveries to Ukraine. “If the government falls on Wednesday, we won’t have the power to sign any new energy contracts and this is serious because we are headed into winter,” the minister added. According to Di Maio, Italy could also end up without a 2023 budget as the document is normally passed by parliament between July and December. Should there be elections in September or October, however, it could take months before a new coalition government is formed, meaning that the budget would be postponed, the minister explained.
He added that it took 100 days to form a government the last time. On Thursday, the Five Star Movement, which is part of Prime Minister Draghi’s coalition government, boycotted a no-confidence vote, with the premier offering to resign in response. However, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella refused to accept his resignation, with Draghi’s government facing another no-confidence vote on Wednesday. Di Maio, who had been one of the Five Star Movement’s leaders but left the party last month over a row concerning arms deliveries to Ukraine, laid into his former allies, accusing them of “helping Putin’s propaganda and autocracy over democracy.”
“..the world that started on 12 October 1492 died on 24 February 2022..”
• To Hell or Not to Hell? (Batiushka)
In recent months, here and there in various Western European countries, I have seen two or three flags being flown together, the EU One Ring ‘to rule them all’, sometimes the local national flag, and beneath it the Ukrainian one. This represents Western supremacism, the Nazi ideology which proclaims the long-desired Westernisation of the Ukraine. It says that any who do not accept ‘Western values’ are to be destroyed or, as they say now, ’cancelled’ – with Western fake news, Western arms and Western death. Who are today’s aristocratic warlords, today’s Franks, Lombards, Goths, Vandals and Vikings? They are Stoltenberg, Biden, Johnson, von der Leyen, Blinken, Nuland, Kagan, Scholz, Macron and all the other knowing and unknowing neocons who fly these flags together.
The barbarians were there sacking civilisation in August 476 and in August 1914, they were there sacking civilisation in late 1492 and in early 2022. However, the world that started on 12 October 1492 died on 24 February 2022 and a new era has begun. On 14 July 2022 the Serbian President Vucic said: ‘Now the whole Western world is at war with Russia through Ukrainian intermediaries and today’s armed conflict can almost be called a world war’. ‘I know what awaits us. As soon as Vladimir Putin has finished his work in Seversk, Bakhmut and Soledar and then reaches the second line in Slaviansk-Kramatorsk-Avdeevka, he will make an offer. And if they (the West) don’t accept – and they don’t intend to – we shall take the road to hell’.
So what happens if the Western world chooses not to go to hell? What happens after the barbarians, after the final demise of the myths of ‘The West and the Rest’ and ‘The West is Best’? At the moment, the alternative is an alphabet soup of BRI, BRICS, EAEU, SCO etc. BRICS itself is becoming old-fashioned, as it may well soon be joined by Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and maybe Argentina and then, who knows? Does that make BRICSITESAA? An alternative name like ‘The Anti-West’ is purely reactive, negative and refers to the 530 years before 24 February 2022. It is especially inappropriate since the EU is clearly collapsing and it is obvious that, at the very least, countries like Serbia, Hungary (whom the EU elite wishes to expel from the EU) and Germany, if it is to survive, will be joining the to-be-renamed BRICS.
“..there are a lot of solutions and technologies on the horizon that could make this all go away relatively quickly… just as soon as they get out of the way.”
• ‘Experts’ Broke The World. But They’re Rapidly Losing Power… (Black)
It’s rare to find someone, anyone, who has yet to witness, hear about, or directly experience the devastating consequences of the supposed leadership that ‘experts’ have unleashed on us over the past few years. They have engineered and mishandled crisis after crisis after crisis… The world over, from California to Sri Lanka, people everywhere are suffering from their incompetence. Western Europe is on the verge of a major energy crisis; the 4th-largest economy in the world (Germany) is dimming its street lights lights and thinking about firing up its coal power plants (previously considered UNTHINKABLE!) because they’re running out of energy. Even in Texas, which could be considered the world’s 10th-largest economy by GDP, the independent energy grid is so fragile that power companies are remotely turning down people’s home thermostats to save on energy supply.
We have also just seen a leaked hour+ video showing the ‘authorities’ in Uvalde, Texas– fully armed law enforcement professionals– ignoring the literal screams of dying children only a few dozen feet away. Instead they texted on their phones and sanitized their hands. You know, because of Covid. I guess that was the priority. All of this is an utter indictment of how pitifully our experts and authorities have betrayed us. In short, the people in charge broke the world. But the good news is that their reign of ineptitude is rapidly coming to an end.. That much is obvious. And even better, there are a lot of solutions and technologies on the horizon that could make this all go away relatively quickly… just as soon as they get out of the way.
It’s still not moving.
• Gazprom Requests Documents On Nord Stream Turbine Return (RT)
Russian state energy major Gazprom has officially asked German industrial giant Siemens to provide documents allowing the return of a crucial gas turbine, which had been stuck at the firm’s Canada factory due to sanctions. “On July 15, Gazprom officially requested Siemens to provide documents that, in spite of the current sanctions regimes of Canada and the European Union, would allow the export of a gas turbine engine for the Portovaya compressor station, a critically important facility for the [Nord Stream] gas pipeline, to Russia, and the fulfillment by the Siemens group of companies of its obligations regarding the repair and maintenance of gas turbine engines,” the statement by Gazprom read, as cited by Interfax news agency.
Gazprom warned that failure to return the turbine would jeopardise the functioning of the Nord Stream pipeline, linking Russia to Germany, and the supply of natural gas to European consumers. The Nord Stream pipeline, one of the main routes for Russian gas exports to Europe, is currently out of action due to a scheduled 10-day maintenance period. However, prior to the shutdown it had been operating at just 40% of capacity for several weeks, due to a turbine from the pipeline’s Portovaya compressor station being stuck at the Siemens facility in Montreal, where it had undergone repairs.
Canada initially refused to return the device, due to sanctions arising from the Ukraine conflict. However, after negotiations with Berlin, Ottawa earlier this week decided to allow the turbine to be shipped back. It will first travel to Germany, and from there to Russia, allowing Canada to avoid violating its own sanctions by using an indirect delivery route. The documents requested by Gazprom are necessary to facilitate the final trip of the turbine from Germany to Russia.
• Saudi Arabia Outlines What It Will Do For Oil Output (RT)
Saudi Arabia is ready to increase oil production to its maximum of 13 million barrels per day but does not have the capacity to pump out more, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during his address at the US-Arab summit in Jeddah on Saturday. “The kingdom has announced an increase in its production capacity level to 13 million barrels per day, after which the kingdom will not have any additional capacity to increase production,” he was quoted as saying by UAE’s newspaper The National. The crown prince also said that the global community should join forces to support the global economy, but noted that unrealistic policies regarding energy sources would only worsen the situation.
“Adopting unrealistic policies to reduce emissions by excluding main sources of energy will lead in coming years to unprecedented inflation and an increase in energy prices and rising unemployment, and a worsening of serious social and security problems,” he stated. Mohammed bin Salman’s words come a day after his talks with Joe Biden, who was in Saudi Arabia on his first visit as US president, and urged the kingdom to increase oil production in order to reduce global reliance on supplies from Russia. Commenting on his trip to the kingdom, Biden said Saudi Arabia’s “energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
Saudi Arabia, one of the globe’s largest oil exporters and the leading producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), currently pumps out more than 12 million barrels of oil per day. The kingdom previously said it plans to reach production capacity of 13 million barrels per day by 2027. The Crown Prince did not reveal whether the timeframe for the boost in capacity has changed
That very reaction of Biden‘s team when MBS says he will not increase oil production.pic.twitter.com/5tiNvb1los
— Russian Market (@russian_market) July 17, 2022
“Is it any surprise that Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador want’s nothing to do with the other two knuckleheaded leaders of North America..?”
• Biden Visits Saudi Arabia, Returns with an Empty Tin Cup (CTH)
Joe Biden is heading back from an embarrassing trip to Saudi Arabia and the middle east. Putting aside the fact that physically and mentally Biden looked weak, foolish, and generally incoherent, in an odd way he was appropriately representative of the current of U.S. influence on the global stage. Before getting to detail, first it is important to emphasize a point that doesn’t get attention domestically. Democrats are exceptionally weak on all aspects of foreign policy, specifically because their modern ideology is based on hypocrisy of a stunning magnitude. Domestically, the U.S. media protect democrats by spinning everything into the best light possible. However, on the world stage the non-western leaders like Putin, Xi and MbS use that hypocrisy like geopolitical ammunition.
Examples… Domestically the U.S. media do not bring up the Joe Biden Afghanistan mess, the rise -and current legitimacy- of the terrorist Taliban; or the brutal mess Barack and Hillary created in Libya; or the unauthorized intervention into Syria that created ISIS; or the complete fubar that was an illegitimate invasion of Iraq; or Hillary’s insufferable “reset” in Russia; or their inability to deal with China’s proxy province of North Korea, because they pretend it’s not; or the current circus célebrè in Ukraine. Each region, and there are many more, a typical example of how modern democrats are fundamentally weak on foreign policy. It is not just Joe Biden either; just about every leftist head of state within the alliance of “western democracies” are also pathetically impotent when it comes to influence on a global stage.
The U.K’s Boris Johnson, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and France’s Emmanuel Macron are collectively as pathetic as Biden when it comes to leadership and influence. Once they step out of their ‘liberal democracy‘ bubble, and head into a nation that doesn’t have state run media like CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, Politico and/or The New York Times, those leaders look like the pathetic fools they are. Biden and the rest of the leftist heads of state decry “autocracy,” and wax philosophically about “western democratic values”, while standing atop two years of their authoritarian pandemic rules, regulations, mandates and unilateral fiats. Consider their chase for their beloved climate change energy policy and contrast it against their political pearl-clutching over the energy inflation they created.
Is it any surprise that Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador want’s nothing to do with the other two knuckleheaded leaders of North America who are selling windmills while regulating traditional oil, coal and natural gas out of existence? At a certain point, a good neighbor has to look at the duct-taped landscaping and say this is ridiculous. I digress.
“..a 45% drop from China’s shipments of 5.5 million tonnes in the same period a year ago.”
• China Issues Phosphate Quotas To Rein In Fertiliser Exports (R.)
China is rolling out a quota system to limit exports of phosphates, a key fertiliser ingredient, in the second half of this year, analysts said, citing information from the country’s major phosphate producers. The quotas, set well below year-ago export levels, would expand China’s intervention in the market to keep a lid on domestic prices and protect food security while global fertiliser prices are hovering near record highs. Last October, China also moved to curb exports by introducing a new requirement for inspection certificates to ship fertiliser and related materials, contributing to tight global supply. Fertiliser prices have been buoyed by sanctions on major producers Belarus and Russia, while surging grain prices are boosting demand for phosphate and other crop nutrients from farmers around the world.
China is the world’s biggest phosphates exporter, shipping 10 million tonnes last year, or about 30% of total world trade. Its top buyers were India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to Chinese customs data. China appears to have issued export quotas for just over 3 million tonnes of phosphates to producers for the second half of this year, said Gavin Ju, China fertiliser analyst at CRU Group, citing information from about a dozen producers who have been informed by local governments since late June. That would mark a 45% drop from China’s shipments of 5.5 million tonnes in the same period a year ago. [..] Other major producers of phosphates, such as widely used diammonium phosphate (DAP), include Morocco, the United States, Russia and Saudia Arabia. The surge in prices over the last year has raised concerns for Beijing, which needs to guarantee food security for its 1.4 billion people even as all farm input costs surge.
” So it was all a sleight-of-hand: she was staying home; it’s just that she has several homes! This is how the power elite comply, one supposes..”
• Dr. Birx Praises Herself While Revealing Ignorance, Treachery, and Deceit (BI)
The December 2020 resignation of Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under Trump, revealed predictable hypocrisy. Like so many other government officials around the world, she was caught violating her own stay-at-home order. Therefore she finally left her post following nine months of causing unfathomable amounts of damage to life, liberty, property, and the very idea of hope for the future. Even if Anthony Fauci had been the front man for the media, it was Birx who was the main influence in the White House behind the nationwide lockdowns that did not stop or control the pathogen but have caused immense suffering and continue to roil and wreck the world. So it was significant that she would not and could not comply with her own dictates, even as her fellow citizens were being hunted down for the same infractions against “public health.”
In the days before Thanksgiving 2020, she had warned Americans to “assume you’re infected” and to restrict gatherings to “your immediate household.” Then she packed her bags and headed to Fenwick Island in Delaware where she met with four generations for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, as if she were free to make normal choices and live a normal life while everyone else had to shelter in place. The Associated Press was first out with the report on December 20, 2020. “Birx acknowledged in a statement that she went to her Delaware property. She declined to be interviewed. She insisted the purpose of the roughly 50-hour visit was to deal with the winterization of the property before a potential sale — something she says she previously hadn’t had time to do because of her busy schedule.
“I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving,” Birx said in her statement, adding that her family shared a meal together while in Delaware. Birx said that everyone on her Delaware trip belongs to her “immediate household,” even as she acknowledged they live in two different homes. She initially called the Potomac home a “3 generation household (formerly 4 generations).” White House officials later said it continues to be a four-generation household, a distinction that would include Birx as part of the home.” So it was all a sleight-of-hand: she was staying home; it’s just that she has several homes! This is how the power elite comply, one supposes. The BBC then quoted her defense, which echo the pain experienced by hundreds of millions:
“My daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months. They’ve become deeply depressed as I’m sure many elderly have as they’ve not been able to see their sons, their granddaughters. My parents have not been able to see their surviving son for over a year. These are all very difficult things.” Indeed. However, she was the major voice for the better part of 2020 for requiring exactly that. No one should blame her for wanting to get together with family; that she worked so hard for so long to prevent others from doing so is what is at issue.
“..Navarro rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors in the case, proposing to drop one of the two charges and not seek more than the minimum 30-day jail time.”
• Judge Questions FBI’s Aggressive Arrest Of Peter Navarro (ZH)
A federal judge has questioned why the FBI made a public spectacle out of arresting former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro at Reagan National Airport last month, rather than simply summoning him for a court appearance. Navarro was handcuffed, denied food and water, and denied a request to phone his lawyer, as he was on his way to a speaking engagement in Nashville, Tennessee. He faces two misdemeanor contempt of Congress charges for doing exactly what Obama AG Eric Holder did (with zero consequences) – ignore a Congressional subpoena, according to Politico. Of course, Holder was held in contempt for concealing documents related to the “fast & furious” scandal, which was tied to the death of an estimated 150 Mexican civilians – while Navarro is refusing to answer House Democrats’ questions surrounding the 2020 election and the January 6th riot.
“It is curious…at a minimum why the government treated Mr. Navarro’s arrest in the way it did,” US District Court Judge Amit Mehta said during a Friday hearing on Navarro’s case. “It is a federal crime, but it is not a violent crime.” Mehta, a former federal defender, said it was puzzling that prosecutors didn’t just tell Navarro he was going to be charged and allow him to walk into an FBI office, as some white-collar defendants are permitted to do. “It is a surprise to me that self-surrender was not offered,” the judge said. However, he proposed no particular response and did not demand any explanation from prosecutors”. -Politico. The FBI has accused Navarro of making “numerous false statements” about his arrest, and said that his first request to use the phone that day was for a lawyer – rather, a TV producer about a scheduled interview.
One of his lawyers, John Rowley, suggested that the FBI’s treatment suggested “animus” toward Navarro, considering that two other Trump White House aides who similarly ignored subpoenas – Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino – were not charged (much less arrested at an airport). “Rowley also suggested Navarro had been placed in leg irons by the FBI when he was arrested, but his client clarified after the hearing that the shackles were used by deputy U.S. Marshals when he arrived at the courthouse for his initial appearance last month. The FBI agents “are responsible for those leg irons,” Navarro told reporters. It also emerged at the hearing Friday that Navarro rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors in the case, proposing to drop one of the two charges and not seek more than the minimum 30-day jail time.” -Politico
“This is the first time in our nation’s 250-year history that a senior adviser to a president has been criminally charged for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena,” said Rowley. “The Justice Department…has longstanding policies about not prosecuting someone criminally for this kind of situation, so I wonder, what changed?….and we intend to find out,” said defense attorney John Irving.
“..the discussion has even opened up about a possible expulsion of Turkey from the Alliance.”
• Ankara Not Likely To Accept F-16 Strings (K.)
The approval this week of a relevant amendment by the US Congress which is seen as a first step to stop the sale of new F-16 aircraft to Turkey and the upgrading of its existing ones has caused optimism in Greece that its positions are being heeded. But there are also several opposing forces at play, which are making the situation complicated. According to Dr Triantafyllos Karatrantos, an analyst at the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) think tank, a clearly positive development would be that any agreement to sell or upgrade aircraft to Turkey is accompanied by a strict framework stipulating good neighborly relations and avoiding provocations, disputes or engagement with third countries.
However, he expressed reservations as to whether Ankara would agree to such a restrictive framework at the current juncture. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said, is in pre-election mode and with the issue of nationalism high on the agenda would not accept such an agreement. He added that it is no coincidence that Ankara, in an attempt to exert pressure on the US administration, is signaling that, just as it did not hesitate to go ahead with the Russian S-400 deal, it will not hesitate to seek another solution for the purchase of fighter jets if the prospect of buying the F-16s does not come to fruition. Meanwhile, in light of Turkey’s stance on Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession process, the discussion has even opened up about a possible expulsion of Turkey from the Alliance.
This position was put forward in a letter to the Financial Times by Mark Wallace, former US ambassador to the United Nations, and Madeleine Joelson, executive director of the NGO Turkish Democracy Project. Karatrantos points out that there is practically no mechanism for expelling a member from NATO, only a voluntary withdrawal procedure.
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