May 212022
 
 May 21, 2022  Posted by at 8:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The deposition 1632-33

 

Biden’s America Rots from the Head Down (J.B. Shurk)
The Swamp Must Be Drained (Conrad Black)
Elon Musk: There Will Be Blood (CTH)
Robby Mook Testifies Hillary Directed Campaign to Push Russiagate (CTH)
Theories Exist to Be Proven (Jim Kunstler)
Monkeypox Was a Table-Top Simulation Only Last Year (Senger)
Monkeypox Fears May Rescue Endangered Corporations (Whitney Webb)
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, May 18, 2022 (Saker)
So How Serious Is Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Romance? (Chung)
Yes, The Ukraine War Could Have Been Prevented (Maple)
Russia Will Shut Off Gas To Finland From Saturday (CNBC)
Ruble Hits 7-Year High As Gas Buyers Bow To Putin’s Payment Mandate (ZH)

 

 

 

 

I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
– Oscar Wilde

 

 

 

 

Vaccine injured

 

 

“..a mottled, tattered soul that would turn the stomachs of the devil’s most sulfurous henchmen..”

Biden’s America Rots from the Head Down (J.B. Shurk)

Perhaps no head of state before Joe Biden has so completely personified the maritime proverb that the fish rots from the head down. In both deed and physical decay, he is that putrefying rancidness wafting from where offal is tossed near the dock whose ability to trigger the gag reflexes of unsuspecting travelers seems the perfect metaphor for this nauseating moment in American history. Not only is Joe’s walking corpse a fitting symbol for a country that has never looked more debilitated, but the reality (ignored by the State’s slavishly devoted press corps) that his cognitive acuity is plummeting so fast that terminal velocity was reached long ago drives the point home that the head of our head of state is rotting, too.

When Biden’s handlers sent him to Buffalo, New York, to exploit a mass murder by blaming conservatives, liberty-lovers, Trump Republicans, Fox News, and just about anybody to the right of Karl Marx for a crime whose perpetrator didn’t even merit the faux-president’s direct condemnation, angry, spiteful Joe Biden showed just what a miserable, acidic, revolting excuse for a human being he’s always been. A real president would have mourned the dead, comforted the survivors, consoled the grieving, and united Americans through the common bonds of their humanity. But Joe Biden is no real president, so he both dishonored the solemnity of the occasion and betrayed his sacred duty to elevate the nation’s welfare over the interests of his party’s political power. With an outstretched, bony finger good for nothing now but casting blame, he tarnished the tragedy with petty partisanship, rebuffed the nation’s need for grace, befouled what should have been dignified, and withered further the civic sinews barely binding Americans together as one nation. Biden’s moment in Buffalo was disgraceful.


I know Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham love to tell stories about how charming and friendly the Great Mental Void from Delaware has always been, but you can’t spew such filthy, spiteful rhetoric as Biden did in Buffalo without having a dark and rotten soul. This is who Joe Biden has been all his wretched life. When he wasn’t stealing other people’s words for his own use or orchestrating Justice Thomas’s “high-tech lynching,” he was running around the country telling black Americans that Republicans wanted to “put y’all back in chains,” scaring elderly Americans that Obamacare opponents wanted to destroy their Medicare, or straight-up lying about the authenticity of his son’s “laptop from hell.” You don’t have to watch that old lecherous canker fondle children or impose on women’s personal space to know that Joe Biden has a mottled, tattered soul that would turn the stomachs of the devil’s most sulfurous henchmen.

Eagle is wandering

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Elon.

The Swamp Must Be Drained (Conrad Black)

The Democrats are increasingly desperate as the return of Donald Trump becomes more likely each week. They are muddling the sequence of events that got us to the present impasse: Trump ran against the corrupt back-scratching, log-rolling society of the OBushintons—the Clinton pay-to-play schemes, the Biden sales of influence and access, the semi-disguised socialist racism elitism of the Obamas, and the flabby sameness and ineffectuality of the Bush–McCain–Romney–McConnell–Ryan Republicans. Trump sensed the people were dissatisfied with the bipartisan Swamp, and he ran as strenuously against the Bushes and McCain and Romney in 2016 as he did against the Clintons and Obamas.

The anti-Trumpers of both parties, in the most legally questionable presidential election in U.S. history, eased Trump out in 2020 with the aid of 4.8 million harvested ballots, 95 percent of the national political media, and 70 percent of the campaign money, to bring in (unintentionally, one assumes, although there was plenty of warning) the most incompetent regime in the country’s history. In 2020, the Washington establishment demonstrated the accuracy of Trump’s claims of how corrupt and unscrupulous it was, and Biden has demonstrated that it’s even more incompetent at government than Trump alleged. The Swamp must be drained, and distasteful though he might be in some ways, probably no one less formidable in his egocentricity and demagogic talents than Trump could drain the Swamp.

The Republicans between Reagan and Trump were all inducted into it themselves, and the Republican “Never-Trumpers” are as fierce in their animosity toward the former president as toward the Democrats, and as the Democrats are toward Trump. Only Trump can finish the job. This is why the latest anti-Trump wheeze is to send Biden and Trump out to pasture together, as if it were an even trade: The Democrats get rid of their two biggest problems, and the Republicans return to being doormats, awarded the White House and the speaker’s chair at times as long as they don’t interrupt the majestic slide into the Democratic socialist paradise (with a permanent free tax-lunch for their rich friends in Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood). Biden is irrelevant and Trump has the stamina of a 40-year-old; the call for joint retirement is bunk on all counts.

[..] The Democrats hid their innocuous candidate in 2020 in his basement on grounds of COVID-19, while using the same justification for drastic changes in key states of voting and vote-counting rules, changes that were often effected illegally, and the judiciary abdicated and refused to judge any of the serious complaints on their merits. It was the most dangerously illegal assault on the integrity of the election process and on the constitutional balance of powers in the country’s history. The problem is not that both 2020 candidates are now too elderly. The problem is that 2020 and the run-up to it demonstrated that the Swamp is as venal and self-interested and corrupt as Trump said in 2016, and they are back.

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“..swinging the social control pendulum away from the government..”

Elon Musk: There Will Be Blood (CTH)

In a series of tweets today, Elon Musk, the Tesla/SpaceX CEO, world’s richest man and tech billionaire who recently announced he is voting republican, announced his intent to set up what he calls a “hardcore litigation department” filled with “hardcore streetfighters” because “there will be blood”:

This announcement is bookended by Elon Musk’s deal to purchase the Twitter social media platform, a resistant internal company ideological adversary, and a warning from the political left with Business Insider publishing an alleged sexual misconduct story. Indeed, it does appear that Elon Musk is preparing for a war that will likely include the Fourth Branch of Government as an adversary. Additionally, Elon Musk is drawing attention to the corruption in the 2016 election by spotlighting the trial of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann. Mr. Musk notes in his remarks that discovering the Trump-Russia collusion story was a hoax put together by the Clinton campaign, media and allies in government, “makes you wonder what else is fake.”

For CTH readers, and those who followed the series of events since 2016, the trial of Sussmann is not revealing anything we didn’t already know. However, for people who did not follow the deeply corrupt construct, the Sussmann trial is creating a new awakening. Musk notes he found out about it a month ago “and was blown away”. We must remember the vast majority of people in the U.S. have no idea the scale of corruption that took place within the Trump-Russia and Spygate operations. This trial is becoming a vending machine for red pill distribution. Also, perhaps keep in mind where you were a few years ago. Imagine, as an example, all of these newly awakened people finally discovering and accepting the FBI are the bad guys.


It likely took many CTH readers multiple years and dozens of examples before that acceptance was grounded. These are bitter pill acceptances, that eventually do lead to major changes in the social fabric and cohesion of a nation; but it’s a painful journey. Final thoughts… Do not dismiss the importance of what Elon Musk is doing. In addition to introducing millions of Americans to something they are newly experiencing, this shift in cultural opinion is akin to Musk playing the role of John Galt and swinging the social control pendulum away from the government.

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He sold her out. She will have to be questioned, under oath.

Wonder what he’s so afraid of.

Robby Mook Testifies Hillary Directed Campaign to Push Russiagate (CTH)

Former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was called as a prosecution witness in the trial against Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann today. During his appearance Mook was questioned about the fraudulent Alfa-Bank story that lies at the center of the prosecution against Sussmann. Robby Mook testified he had no idea who Sussmann was or what he was doing. However, Mook also stated he learned of the Alfa-Bank research during a meeting in 2016 and took it to Hillary Clinton, who then told him to share it with media.

MSM – “Hillary Clinton personally approved leaking to the media information alleging a connection between Donald Trump and a Russian bank in 2016, which the campaign itself had not fully confirmed, according to testimony Friday by Clinton’s campaign manager. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign chief, said in federal court that as the campaign against Trump heated up in the late summer and early fall of 2016, Marc Elias, who was then a lawyer with the Perkins Coie law firm and served as the campaign’s top legal adviser, told Mook that “people with expertise” in cyber activity had briefed the campaign on data alleging links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution with ties to the Kremlin.

Mook’s testimony for the first time puts Clinton in the middle of a leak to the news media that ultimately blew up in the campaign’s face. The FBI quickly determined that the purported connection between the Russian bank and the Trump Organization was implausible and Michael Sussmann, Elias’s then law partner who brought the claims to the FBI, has since been indicted by Justice Department special counsel John Durham on charges he lied to the bureau’s general counsel to hide his connection to the Clinton campaign.”

Aside from the fact this revelation might be the biggest duh in modern political history, if my memory is correct Donald Trump has an outstanding lawsuit against Clinton and the campaign. This testimony could be useful.

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“..schlubby lawyer..”

Theories Exist to Be Proven (Jim Kunstler)

Time, they say, is nature’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. Then why does everything seem to be happening at once? These must be unnaturally strange times. Here comes Ukraine… there goes Ukraine… our money is worthless… no water for Las Vegas… buh-bye Roe v Wade…financial markets wobbling… vaccine injuries everywhere… diesel prices killing truckers… food shortages… UFOs… World War Three… white supremacists… no baby formula… whoa… duck-and-cover, here comes monkeypox! So it goes with criticality in hyper-complex systems, the passing of thresholds into breakdown, all at the same time, failures mutually ramifying other failures seemingly unconnected, and weird things popping up in the dust and rubble like monsters in a bad dream.

I know it’s disconcerting to see the world fly apart. Forgive me then, while you fret about the future of your loved ones and your retirement account, if I focus in on just one thing for the moment: the doings of federal attorney John Durham, the special counsel looking into matters pertaining to RussiaGate, the first step in America’s attempted suicide. Mr. Durham is currently prosecuting a small fish, a sardine among the Lawfare sharks and killer whales of K Street, Michael Sussmann, for telling one measly lie to the FBI. Mr. Durham has been at this task for two years plus. That’s a long time to spend on a simple crime based on a few easy-to-get bits of evidence: a cell phone text, some emails, the testimony of one principal witness — and a pretext that no one ever took seriously in the first place: the punk-ass Alfa Bank conduit-to-Russia story.

So, in 2016, schlubby lawyer Michael Sussmann from Perkins Coie, the DC law firm representing the Hillary Clinton Campaign, asks for a meeting with his old DOJ colleague, Jim Baker, now General Counsel (top lawyer) for the FBI. He has some sensitive information that the Bureau might find interesting. He says he does not represent any particular client in the matter, he’s just stepping forward as a patriotic citizen. He emphasizes this point more than once, including a text, recorded in the digital cloud (uh-oh), the night before the meeting. He comes in out of the swampy Potomac heat to Mr. Baker’s air-conditioned lair at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue and spins a tale about a Russian-owned outfit called Alfa-Bank with computer servers located in the vicinity of Trump Tower in New York City, which, he alleges, are being used by candidate Donald Trump to communicate with bad guys in Russia.

The story goes nowhere fast. The FBI discounts it. Turns out that Mr. Sussmann billed the hours spent on this folderol to Hillary for America, which, prima facie, indicates he was working for her campaign at the time. Six years later, he’s indicted. Anyway, perhaps unbeknownst to Mr. Sussman, the FBI, in July 2016, had already ramped up an investigation into the Trump campaign with the sexy name “Crossfire Hurricane” — a lyric bit from the ancient Rolling Stones’ hit “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” — so anointed by FBI sexy super-agent Peter Strozk, who was at the time jumpin’ in-and-out of bed with colleague Lisa Page, legal counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

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“Take these guys to Vegas!”

Monkeypox Was a Table-Top Simulation Only Last Year (Senger)

Elite media outlets around the world are on red alert over the world’s first-ever global outbreak of Monkeypox in mid-May 2022—just one year after an international biosecurity conference in Munich held a simulation of a “global pandemic involving an unusual strain of Monkeypox” beginning in mid-May 2022. Monkeypox was first identified in 1958, but there’s never been a global Monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa until now—in the exact week of the exact month predicted by the biosecurity folks in their pandemic simulation. Take these guys to Vegas! Ed Yong, who’s penned dozens of hysterical articles on Covid for The Atlantic including such gems as COVID-19 Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future, Even Health-Care Workers With Long COVID Are Being Dismissed, How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal? and The Final Pandemic Betrayal, is hot on the scene of the new Monkeypox outbreak.

Eric Feigl-Ding is also all over this. Epidemiologists Jennifer Nuzzo and Bill Hanage are on the scene—but still no word from them as to whether they see anything strange about the first-ever global Monkeypox outbreak occurring in mid-May 2022, a year after they acted as advisers on an international biosecurity simulation of a global Monkeypox outbreak occurring in mid-May 2022. The US Government is hot on the scene with an order of 13 million Monkeypox vaccine doses from Bavarian Nordic. The WHO is on the scene. The global Monkeypox outbreak—occurring on the exact timeline predicted by a biosecurity simulation of a global Monkeypox outbreak a year prior—bears a striking resemblance to the outbreak of COVID-19 just months after Event 201, a simulation of a coronavirus pandemic almost exactly like COVID-19.

Event 201 was hosted in October 2019—just two months before the coronavirus was first revealed in Wuhan—by the Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, Bloomberg, and Johns Hopkins. As with the Event 201, the participants at the Monkeypox simulation have thus far been stone silent as to their having participated in a pandemic simulation the facts of which happened to come true in real life just months later. One person who was present at both Event 201 and the Monkeypox simulation is George Fu Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control. At event 201, Gao specifically raised the point of countering “misinformation” during a “hypothetical” coronavirus pandemic.

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“That billionaire, “corporate raider” Ron Perelman, has deep and controversial ties to the Clinton family and the Democratic party as well as troubling ties to Jeffery Epstein.”

Monkeypox Fears May Rescue Endangered Corporations (Whitney Webb)

In recent days, concern over a global outbreak of monkeypox, a mild disease related to smallpox and chickenpox, has been hyped in the media and health ministries around the world, even prompting an emergency meeting at the World Health Organization (WHO). For some, fears have centered around monkeypox being the potential “next pandemic” after Covid-19. For others, the fear is that monkeypox will be used as the latest excuse to further advance draconian biosecurity policies and global power grabs. Regardless of how the monkeypox situation plays out, two companies are already cashing in. As concern over monkeypox has risen, so too have the shares of Emergent Biosolutions and SIGA Technologies.

Both companies essentially have monopolies in the US market, and other markets as well, on smallpox vaccines and treatments. Their main smallpox-focused products are, conveniently, also used to protect against or treat monkeypox as well. As a result, the shares of Emergent Biosolutions climbed 12% on Thursday, while those of SIGA soared 17.1%. For these companies, the monkeypox fears are a godsend, specifically for SIGA, which produces a smallpox treatment, known by its brand name TPOXX. It is SIGA’s only product. While some outlets have noted that the rise in the valuation of SIGA Technologies has coincided with recent concerns about monkeypox, essentially no attention has been given to the fact that the company is apparently the only piece of a powerful billionaire’s empire that isn’t currently crumbling.

That billionaire, “corporate raider” Ron Perelman, has deep and controversial ties to the Clinton family and the Democratic party as well as troubling ties to Jeffery Epstein. Aside from his controlling stake in SIGA, Perelman has recently made headlines for rapidly liquidating many of his assets in a desperate bid for cash. Similarly, Emergent Biosolutions has also been in hot water. The company, which has troubling ties to the 2001 Anthrax attacks, came under fire just under two weeks ago for engaging in a “cover up” over quality control issues relating to their production of Covid-19 vaccines. A Congressional investigation found that quality control concerns at an Emergent-run facility led to more than 400 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines being discarded. The Emergent factory in question had been shut down by the FDA in April 2021. They were allowed to reopen last August before the government terminated the contract.

Maajid

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“It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out.”

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, May 18, 2022 (Saker)

The special military operation continues in Ukraine. As Russian leaders have said more than once, it is going according to plan, and new territories are being freed from the Nazis every day. The Ukrainian military personnel and militants in Azov nationalist units that entrenched themselves in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal Plant, began to surrender in Mariupol this week. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 959 Ukrainian nationalists, including 51 with severe wounds, have laid down their arms over two days. They receive medical aid at the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR, and the rest were sent to a pretrial detention centre in Yelenovka in the suburbs of Donetsk. Indicatively, on May 17, this centre was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs).

The Kiev regime has always treated its citizens like this, and this case was no exception. Russian leaders had repeatedly stated that resistance was senseless and announced the opening of humanitarian corridors for militants and Ukrainian military personnel to leave the Azovstal Plant after laying down their arms. They were urged to stop the hostilities. In the meantime, the Kiev regime was doing all it could to prevent civilians, military personnel and militants from leaving the plant. Why? They were brainwashing the public. It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out. Later, Russia organised humanitarian corridors in cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I would like to emphasise that the initiative on announcing and opening these corridors was ours.

The wounded troops are provided with professional medical help. This fact is being turned upside down and misrepresented in the Ukrainian and international media. Remember the footage showing how the militants and the Armed Forces of Ukraine treat POWs in Ukraine? Everyone saw it. It horrified many, others pretended not to have seen it. Russian POWs were shot to death by militants from the nationalist units that became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Russia has adopted a different approach. You see footage showing professional help being provided to the wounded [Ukrainian troops]. It is not being provided “for show.” It is provided to real individuals regardless of their background. Humanitarian law is not just something we abide by; it is of fundamental importance for us. No one should have any doubt about this.

According to Ukrainian POWs, the military leadership of Ukraine forbids the troops to retreat or surrender. Their key goal is to destroy as much civilian infrastructure as possible in order to leave behind uninhabitable ruins and make it hard to restore peaceful life. This is not our messaging, but the testimony received from the Ukrainian side over the past weeks.

There Is No “Open Corridor” Through West and Central Ukraine

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“Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic.”

So How Serious Is Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Romance? (Chung)

I suggest we do a little exercise together. Let us dare to discern the “facts” for ourselves. Only then, will we cease being mere cheerleaders for a team; only then, can we qualify ourselves to ask in all honest sincerity, “whose side are we truly on?” Are Nazis Now the New “Good Guys”? There is a bit of mixed messaging that has been going on, especially in the last few weeks. Are there significant numbers of Nazis in Ukraine and are these “bad” or “good” Nazis in the context that they are fighting the Russian “invaders”? In one breath we hear the counter, how can there be Nazis in Ukraine when there is a Jewish President calling the shots? In another breath we hear Facebook is now allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion while they are fighting Russians.

In yet another breath we hear, well its complicated, Ukrainian Nationalism should be considered at the forefront of any debate, even if it overlaps with Nazi ideology. On Feb. 27, 2022, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held a scarf bearing the slogan “Slava Ukraini,” meaning “Glory to Ukraine,” with the “Blood and Soil” colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles). She then proceeded to post this picture onto her Twitter account (replacing it hours later with a picture of her without the “Blood and Soil” scarf) and accused her detractors of “reeking of Russian disinformation”. This controversial picture of Freeland was reported by Canada’s National Post.

According to Freeland’s press secretary, this was just another case of a “classic KGB disinformation smear… accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis,” which is a confusing statement on multiple levels. It is not clear how this is a case of “Russian disinformation,” since the picture is indeed authentic, Freeland does not deny this. And she is indeed holding a “Blood and Soil” emblem, which originated with the Nazis, clear for everyone to see. Lastly, it is confusing as to why the Canadian government seems to be unaware that the KGB no longer exists. Are they also under the impression that the Soviet Union still exists? Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic.

Whenever she is questioned about this, she does not deny anything, but simply blames such a focus of inquiry on Russian disinformation with the intent to “destabilize Western democracies.” That is, it is not a question of what is one’s historical or ideological background, but a question of “whose side are you on?” Interestingly, it was the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” who reported this story, titled “Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper,” thus, not a Russian publication last time I checked. And upon whom did they base such information? None other than Freeland’s own uncle, John-Paul Himka, who is now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

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More from Canada.

Yes, The Ukraine War Could Have Been Prevented (Maple)

Foreign policy experts are pushing back against the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine’s recent claim that nothing could have prevented Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. In an interview with CBC News’ Rosemary Barton last Sunday, Larisa Galadza, who returned to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv this month after the Canadian embassy was evacuated ahead of the invasion in February, said: “I don’t think there was anyone who could stop Putin doing what Putin did, given the frame of mind that we all expect him to be in. He wasn’t believing history. He wasn’t logical. He wasn’t rational. He isn’t rational, so I don’t know how one prevents that.” Barton did not press Galadza on those claims, and instead asked about how the ambassador felt when the Canadian flag was raised again over the embassy in Kyiv last week.

Ivan Katchanovski, a political science professor with expertise on Ukraine and Russia at the University of Ottawa, told The Maple that Galadza’s claims are not supported by evidence or scholarship. “[The war] could have been avoided and prevented,” Katchanovski explained. Specifically, an agreement in which Ukraine promised to remain a neutral country and the fulfilment of the Minsk accords could have stopped Putin’s invasion, he said. The Minsk accords were two agreements, the first signed in 2014 and the second in 2015, that were established in an effort to end fighting in the Donbas region between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists. The agreements granted self-governing rights to areas of the Donbas region that were held by the separatists, among other pledges.

The 2014 agreement broke down and failed to stop the fighting. The updated agreement in 2015 was never properly implemented, and ceasefire violations from both sides continued. According to data from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors the conflict, there were more than 93,000 ceasefire violations on both sides and 16 civilian deaths caused by the fighting in the Donbas region in 2021. Heavy concentrations of explosions caused by shells fired by multi-launch rocket systems, artillery, mortars and tanks landed in areas held by separatists, where ethnic Russians constitute the largest minority group. According to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, 81 per cent of the 381 civilian casualties caused by the fighting from 2018 to 2021 were in separatist-held areas.

Western countries have been criticized for not pressuring Ukraine to uphold its side of the Minsk agreement. Katchanovski suggested that before Putin’s invasion, a successful peace agreement could have allowed for Ukraine to eventually join the European Union (EU) in exchange for neutrality. EU integration was a key demand of the Western-backed 2014 uprising that overthrew Kyiv’s pro-Russia government. The violent uprising and its fallout prompted Russia’s annexation of Crimea the same year. However, seeking a peace deal with Russia, “was not a policy of the United States, which has a very strong influence on Ukrainian politics and on [Ukrainian President Volodymr] Zelenskyy in particular,” Katchanovski explained. He said Ukraine is a “U.S. client state.”

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Rubles.

Russia Will Shut Off Gas To Finland From Saturday (CNBC)

Russia may have just made its first retaliatory move against Finland after lawmakers in Helsinki officially applied to join the NATO military alliance. Gasum, Finland’s state-owned gas wholesaler, said in a statement Friday morning that imports from Russia will be halted on Saturday. “On the afternoon of Friday May 20, Gazprom Export informed Gasum that natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract will be cut on Saturday May 21, 2022 at 07.00,” it said in a statement. Gasum’s CEO, Mika Wiljanen, added that the company had been preparing for such a situation “and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months.”


“Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline. Gasum’s gas filling stations in the gas network area will continue in normal operation,” he said. It comes after Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom in April told Poland and Bulgaria that it would halt flows after both countries refused Moscow’s demand to pay for gas supplies in rubles. Gasum gave no reason for the move, but Finland has also reportedly refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles. It also comes just two days after Finland formally applied to join NATO. Russia had warned of retaliation if the traditionally neutral nation became a member of the Western military alliance. After Finland’s application, alongside fellow Nordic nation Sweden, Moscow wasted no time in making its feelings known, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Monday that the expansion of NATO “is a problem.”

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More rubles.

Ruble Hits 7-Year High As Gas Buyers Bow To Putin’s Payment Mandate (ZH)

On Friday the ruble surged to the highest level in seven years against the euro, thanks in large part to the Putin-ordered mandatory conversion of foreign currency by export-focused companies, also as China and India (and much of Europe) are still buying Russia’s energy and agricultural products… despite the loud the threats coming from Washington, which have lately included a potential move to block Russian sovereign debt payments. At this point the Russian currency is about 20% stronger than pre-invasion, as the war grinds on into its fourth month. Jumping as much as 9% against the Euro, the ruble last hit this level in June 2015… Aiding the surge, there’s further been weak demand for dollars and euros given restrictions on cross-border transactions, and as an increasingly isolated Russia sees slowed imports.


While it’s unclear which companies or countries are consenting to the Putin-ordered ruble payment mechanism, it’s clear the Russian leader’s gambit is working, as Bloomberg reviews: Under the new mechanism, importers of Russian pipeline gas must open two accounts at Gazprombank to handle payments for the fuel. Around half of Gazprom’s more than 50 foreign clients have already opened such accounts, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week. Finland has become the latest alongside Poland and Bulgaria last month being cut off from Russian gas supplies (Finland confirmed its taps will be cut Saturday, though much less reliant on gas among its diverse resources). Novak further confirmed that a number of “major clients” have either already paid using the mechanism are are willing to pay on time to avoid cutoff.

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Kolakusic

 

 

 

 

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May 162022
 


Pablo Picasso Maison 1931

 

Sweden Joins Finland In NATO bid, Ending 200 Years Of Non-Alignment (Week)
Why Russia’s Oil Ban Is Impossible (Vilches)
European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm” (ZH)
McConnell Urges Biden To Name Russia A State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Hill)
Russian Lawmaker Says Poland Next In Line for ‘De-Nazification’ (ET)
Is Diplomacy Between Russia and the West Still Possible? (Haass)
Unmasking – Part 1 (Jotwani)
Can We Find Our Way Back to Freedom? (Ruechel)
Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)
Elon Musk: The Next Joe Rogan (Hill)
Elon Musk Issues Warning on Twitter Algorithm (ET)
Leaked Emails Expose Secret Intelligence Coup To Install Boris Johnson (GZ)

 

 

 

 

THE PLAN

 

 

 

 

Fauci trying to get Trump re-elected

 

 

WHO total control

 

 

200 years, 2 world wars, always neutral. Makes me wonder: Is Switzerland next?

Sweden Joins Finland In NATO bid, Ending 200 Years Of Non-Alignment (Week)

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats on Sunday said they now support joining NATO, hours after Finland’s leaders affirmed their intention to get parliamentary approval for membership as early as Monday. “For us Social Democrats, it is clear that the military non-alignment has served Sweden well, but our conclusion is that it won’t serve us as well in the future,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said. “We’re now facing a fundamentally changed security environment in Europe.” Public opinion in Sweden and Finland swung sharply toward NATO membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Andersson said Sweden would be left in a “vulnerable position” if it were the only country in the Baltic region that was not part of the military alliance. She also said the Social Democrats oppose Sweden hosting NATO bases or nuclear weapons.

Sweden has steered clear of military alliances for 200 years, since the Napoleonic Wars, and Finland has remained neutral since battling Soviet Russia — and losing 10 percent of its territory — in World War II. “This is a historic day,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Sunday. “A new era begins.” NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Berlin, reiterated that both Nordic countries would be welcomed if they apply and suggested security guarantees could be provided for the period between application and accession. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sweden and Finland’s applications would be fast-tracked, but it could still take up to a year.

Every NATO member state would have to ratify the memberships, and only Turkey so far has voiced reservations. But in Berlin, the Turkish Foreign Minister said the issue is not NATO expansion but rather what he called Sweden and Finland’s support for Kurdish rebels in the PKK, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, and also “unacceptable” restrictions both countries have placed on weapons sales to Ankara. Turkey is not issuing any threats or seeking leverage, he added. “Turkey has made it clear that their intention is not to block membership,” Stoltenberg said.

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Quantity AND Quality.

Why Russia’s Oil Ban Is Impossible (Vilches)

Beware: the reliable provision of Russian oil to the EU is essential because of its quality, quantities, price, service and delivery enlargement that Europe needs to constantly grow. Banning Russian oil means finding many different oils – from many new unproven vendors – that would have to render the same homogenized profile of delivery, quality, quantity, price, service and enlargeability that Russia reliably provides today. Nothing less, of course. Think about it. Otherwise we cannot have the Europe we now know and the future Europe we need. All 6 factors are required. Not enough quantity adequately delivered means degraded European lives and failing economy, with shut down plants and refineries affecting transportation, heating, hospitals & schools, highly limited military, unemployment, etc., etc.

A different or lower oil quality means poor performance and operational risks with serious breakdown troubles and injuries plus down-time probably beyond repair. Not low enough price — Russian fuels are good & cheap — means disrupting the EU and the world with inflation beyond imagination. And as Procurement Depts. know well, an utmost reliable vendor service is paramount also to allow for mutual growth. Russia is a vetted, close-by, one-stop, well “oiled” 6-criteria compliant vendor. Instead, the EU´s losing proposition is a far away beach-front bazaar with seaborne delivery only, shipped by a fleet too small for purpose. A single non-compliant vendor is simply unacceptable, period. Furthermore, Russia´s oil sales to Europe provide a stabilizing critical mass to compensate for world market variations

The huge problem is that there are 3 and only 3 ways out of this terribly EU mis-managed fuel sourcing hellish-crazy messy mess. For all 3 options in order to comply with the 6 oil criteria briefly explained before (more on that later) the EU would be required to import variable quantities from several different yet unknown vendors having (1) fully compliant export-ready oil grades to be produced beyond and incremental to current production and/or… (2) fully compliant oil grades found deep underground somewhere yet unknown per definition 0% available today (3) modify every single piece of machinery in the EU to fuel them with different non-compliant non-Russian oils… and with no possible “toggle switch” to convert from one type of oil to another… We’d have a forcefull life-long linkage between one vendor and his supposedly constant oil deliveries, which would be different from other vendors and their supposedly constant deliveries made to other EU consumers. NO interchangeability here.

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Your leaders are conspiring to make you have nothing and be happy.

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm” (ZH)

A top commodity research firm in Norway warns a “perfect storm” is brewing as European energy security worsens following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could result in the tripling of natural gas prices. “There simply is not enough LNG around to meet demand. In the short term, this will make for a hard winter in Europe. “For producers, it suggests the next LNG boom is here, but it will arrive too late to meet the sharp spike in demand. The stage is set for a sustained supply deficit, high prices, extreme volatility, bullish markets, and heightened LNG geopolitics,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst for Gas and LNG at Rystad Energy, wrote.

Rystad Energy said the EU has an “ambitious target to reduce dependence on Russian gas by 66% within this year – an aim that will clash with the EU’s goal of replenishing gas storage to 80% of capacity by 1 November.” The firm said shunning Russian natgas from the continent destabilizes the entire global natgas market, which had a turbulent 2021 year-end with prices skyrocketing across Europe because of the lack of supplies. EU is currently reducing reliance on Russian natgas and has unveiled the possibility of banning Russian fossil fuels. This will only lead to more trouble for the EU, where prices could rise even higher. According to the report, 155 billion cubic meters of Russian natgas flowed into Europe in 2021, representing about 31% of the continent’s natgas supply.

“Replacing a significant portion of this will be exceedingly difficult, with far-reaching consequences for Europe’s population, economy, and for the role of gas in the region’s energy transition,” Rystad Energy noted. In one apocalyptic scenario, the energy firm cautioned about the severe economic implications if Russian natgas flows were immediately halted. They said it would come at a time when natgas stocks (only 35% full) would be depleted by the end of the year, resulting in a tripling of natgas prices from current levels to $100 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Such a dramatic price move in natgas would have tremendous implications on the economy, such as “industrial curtailments,” Rystad Energy said, adding, “in an extreme scenario of a severely cold winter, not even the residential sector would be safe.”

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“My definition of victory is whatever Zelensky and the Ukrainians conclude is a satisfactory end..”

McConnell Urges Biden To Name Russia A State Sponsor Of Terrorism (Hill)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday urged President Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, which would lift sovereign immunity protections shielding the country from being sued for civil damages. “I think it’s a good idea, and I would support that,” he told reporters during a press call from Stockholm. “The president could do it on his own, and I would urge him to do it.” McConnell made his recommendation to designate Russia a sponsor of terrorism after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday. Three other Republican senators, Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Susan Collins (Maine), also attended the meeting.

McConnell said he assured Zelensky that “support for Ukraine in this war against the Russians is bipartisan” and that the “overwhelming majority” of national security-minded Republicans support the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, despite recent criticism of a $40 billion Ukrainian aid package by prominent Republicans such as former President Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.). “This naked aggression must not stand,” McConnell said. “I wanted to assure them that within the Congress there was very, very broad support for continuing the fight.” The GOP leader made his comments after Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a resolution last week calling for the designation of the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The bipartisan measure would call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to put Russia on the list, where it would join Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria. Recently departed White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the U.S. had already imposed crippling “economic sanctions” and “sanctions on individuals,” rendering Russia “a global pariah” but added that “we’ll see what happens in Congress.” [..] McConnell on Sunday reiterated his view that U.S. military assistance of Ukraine should continue for as long as Ukrainians want to fight off the Russian invasion. “The question always is, how does it end? And my view remains that that’s a decision for the Ukrainians to make. My definition of victory is whatever Zelensky and the Ukrainians conclude is a satisfactory end,” he said.

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Sounds bad, but only until you read what those Polish dudes have said… Yikes.

Russian Lawmaker Says Poland Next In Line for ‘De-Nazification’ (ET)

A Russian lawmaker has issued a fiery warning that Warsaw is next in line for “de-nazification” after Poland’s Prime Minister penned an op-ed calling Russia’s imperialist “Russkiy Mir” ideology a “cancer” consuming Russian society and a “deadly threat” to other countries. Oleg Morozov, chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Control, wrote in a message on Telegram on Friday that the Polish leader’s comments have essentially made Poland a target. In his remarks, Morozov resorted to the Kremlin’s rhetoric in its military operation in Ukraine of so-called “de-Nazification,” a label Moscow has used to vilify its geopolitical adversaries and justify the war.

“With its statements about Russia as a ‘cancer’ and about the ‘indemnity’ that we must pay to Ukraine, Poland encourages us to put it in first place in the queue for de-Nazification after Ukraine,” Morozov wrote, according to a translation of his statement. Morozov’s remarks were prompted by statements made by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Polish President Andrzej Duda, who have both been highly critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Duda has said Russia should be forced to pay compensation to Ukraine for war damages while Morawiecki said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “more dangerous” than both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin because he has nuclear weapons and a massive propaganda machine at his disposal.

Morawiecki wrote in a column in the British newspaper The Telegraph that “the cursed phantoms of the 20th century have risen again over Ukraine,” alleging that Russia’s invasion of its neighbor bears the hallmarks of fascism, “has already opened the gates to genocide,” and is driven by a “monstrous new ideology” that he called “Russkiy Mir.” Morawiecki alleged that in the name of this ideology, Putin and his military entourage have ordered Russian forces into war, “convinced them of their superiority, and encouraged them to commit inhuman war crimes—the murder, rape, and torture of innocent civilians.”

“Putin’s ‘Russkiy Mir’ ideology is the equivalent of 20th-century communism and Nazism,” Morawiecki wrote, calling it a “cancer which is consuming not only the majority of Russian society, but also poses a deadly threat to the whole of Europe.” It’s not enough to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s attack, Morawiecki argued, “we must root out this monstrous new ideology entirely.”

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Yes, where are the peace talks?

Is Diplomacy Between Russia and the West Still Possible? (Haass)

Amid more than two months of intense media focus on the war in Ukraine, one story was largely overlooked. In late April, the United States and Russia carried out an exchange of prisoners. Russia released an American (a former marine) whom it detained some three years ago, while the US released a Russian pilot imprisoned over a decade ago on drug smuggling charges. What makes the exchange noteworthy is that it took place at a time when Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has brought relations with the US to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The US has opted to avoid direct military involvement in the war, but it is doing a great deal to affect its trajectory, including providing Ukraine with large quantities of increasingly advanced arms, intelligence, and training so that it can successfully resist and potentially defeat the Russian forces. The US has also taken steps to strengthen NATO and impose severe economic sanctions on Russia.


The war is likely to stretch on for some time. Although Ukraine’s fundamental interest is to end the war and prevent more death and destruction, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desire for peace is conditional. He seeks to regain territory that Russia occupies and ensure the country’s sovereignty is respected so that, among other things, Ukraine can join the European Union. He also wants those responsible for war crimes to be held accountable. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, needs to achieve an outcome that justifies his costly invasion lest he appear weak and be challenged at home. There is little chance that a peace could be negotiated that would bridge the gap between these two seemingly irreconcilable positions. It is far more likely that the conflict will continue not just for months, but for years to come. This will be the backdrop for US and Western relations with Russia.

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“If Russia and China had played along with these well-established globalized “liberal” frameworks of looting, they would not be seen as adversaries.”

Unmasking – Part 1 (Jotwani)

A thinking person must be on guard against any false doctrines, including of course those of “liberals”. Why? Because we all must cherish and conserve the much good there is in life; it would be foolish not to do so. Succumbing to false doctrines is a sure way to lose all the good that one has in one’s life. Many false doctrines arise from obsessive/compulsive quantification. Modern scholars in the “liberal” mould have invented the dangerously tragi-comic game of quantifying all that is deemed by them to be “good”. But true goodness is known only deep in the heart. How can one quantify what is felt deep in the heart? How can one quantify the immeasurable goodness in life which comes in the form of love, empathy, care?

A quantifying economist, for example, would reckon that a greedy doctor who charges a thousand dollars for treatment adds more to GDP than a kind doctor who charges a hundred dollars for it. The former’s treatment is deemed to be ten times better – and thus overcharging becomes an economic virtue! Inevitably, such views of life are blind to love, empathy, care. Absent these life-giving virtues, a “liberal” is liberal only with what belongs to others. But, in true Jekyll-Hyde mode, the “liberal” remains jealously and fiercely protective of what been salted away by him or her under the cover of darkness.

As we will see in the sequel, “liberal” causes need a copious supply of other people’s money. Therefore greedy, cunning, heartless money-monsters are needed to support such “liberal” causes – towards selfish ends of their own, needless to say. In an earlier era, these money-monsters raked in copious amounts of colonial loot from the world over. Today financial and corporate loot is replacing colonial loot, but the dirty game is still on. If Russia and China had played along with these well-established globalized “liberal” frameworks of looting, they would not be seen as adversaries. But they are not playing along. They have their own vision, and therefore they will be painted by “liberal democracies” as the most “illiberal” of societies!

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Fourth turning.

Can We Find Our Way Back to Freedom? (Ruechel)

We were already a society experiencing an identity crisis, casting about for meaning, searching for a sense of belonging, and desperate for a new unifying “grand narrative” to bind us together. The “emergency” created by Covid and the public demand for “safety at any cost” provided institutions with an excuse to abandon their constitutional restraints, giving the people inside these institutions free rein to act out the philosophical impulses that have been growing throughout society for a long time. Covid was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. It opened the door to a new “fourth turning”. The system is now in flux. In retrospect, it is easy to recognize society’s growing loss of confidence in classical liberal principles like individual liberty, bodily autonomy, personal responsibility, freedom of speech, tolerance, meritocracy, private property, sound money, inalienable rights, and so on.

The postmodernists (neoliberals) have been busily eroding the philosophical foundations of classical liberalism for a long time, robbing society of the words, ideas, and historical awareness with which to defend ourselves against illiberal postmodernist beliefs. And we have been complacent. We surrendered the landscape of the imagination to the deconstructionists, the activists, and the cynics. How can a constitution provide a philosophical anchor for a society in which nothing is sacred? What we are witnessing now is the attempted institutionalization of society’s embrace of learned helplessness, safety culture, cancel culture, redistribution, and all the other “gems” of postmodern philosophy. Our uprooted institutions are trying to “re-invent” themselves by attempting to put down fresh roots around postmodern neoliberal philosophy.

The institutionalized forms of these destructive cultural trends are unlikely to turn out anything like society’s utopian postmodern fantasies, but at least we know the shape of the mirage they are chasing. Society wanted an all-powerful feelgood shepherd, and there are plenty of grifters willing to cater to that illusion. But we’re still early in the chaotic transition period. What is being institutionalized now isn’t necessarily going to stick, especially as the yoke of dictatorial government begins to chafe. Brace for the unexpected as other competing visions of the future emerge and are drawn into a zero-sum struggle for dominance. The battle of the grand narratives has begun.

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“..the most brazenly fraudulent conduct of any trial I have studied..”

Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By World’s Top Medical Journal (Kory)

In part I of my post on the TOGETHER trial of ivermectin, I presented the context of this trial within Big Pharma’s decades-long Disinformation campaign against “science inconvenient to their interests.” I argued that no science has ever been a greater threat to Pharma than the massive efficacy data of the generic drug ivermectin in COVID-19. I detailed how they have long deployed “studies designed or conducted to fail” and/or “studies manipulated to show positive results.” They do both. Repeatedly. They then publish these studies in a small number of captured high-impact scientific journals which influence the captured media and then are recommended for or against by captured health agencies.

Note that the importance of the wording of the conclusion in a trial’s abstract, published in high-impact journal, cannot be overstated. Only a small minority of physicians read and think critically about the full study manuscript. Even less read the full study abstract. Sadly, the overwhelming majority simply read the abstract’s conclusion. In this manner, and particularly in the case of the TOGETHER trial, they can baselessly and erroneously convince the vast majority of doctors and citizens that ivermectin is ineffective. In the case of ivermectin, they did this via less than a handful of severely flawed “Big RCT’s” despite the overwhelming mountain of valid OCT’s and RCT’s and health ministry program successes in COVID. The TOGETHER trial on ivermectin was never going to be a positive trial. Ever. That was a foregone conclusion.

So what I want to do here is break down exactly how they accomplished this feat, using the most brazenly fraudulent conduct of any trial I have studied. This is NOT to say that I have never witnessed fraudulent studies, but this trial displays an unprecedented amount of targeted tactics designed to deny, suppress, and distort the evidence of efficacy.

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“Elon Musk, who has taken the baton from Rogan on the whole this-powerful-person-needs-to-be-stopped-because-he’s-a-real-threat-to-democracy front..”

Elon Musk: The Next Joe Rogan (Hill)

After two-thirds of cable news ran endless segments explaining what a threat Rogan is to America, the news cycle moved on. And when the dust cleared, Rogan wasn’t just left standing but, thanks to all the ridiculous media coverage, he was propelled into a different stratosphere of popularity, adding 2 million subscribers to the 10 million he already had. “The problem that I have with misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” Rogan explained at the time. “Like, for instance, eight months ago if you said, ‘If you get vaccinated, you could still catch Covid, and you could still spread Covid.’ You would be removed from social media.”

He was correct — and those removals were largely happening on Twitter, which soon may be owned by billionaire Elon Musk, who has taken the baton from Rogan on the whole this-powerful-person-needs-to-be-stopped-because-he’s-a-real-threat-to-democracyfront. Musk, a self-described free-speech absolutist, has offered to buy the social media giant. This greatly upset many on the left since Twitter has conducted itself in such an exemplary fashion in recent years. (Yes, that’s more sarcasm.) This is a company whose former CEO, Jack Dorsey, admits it wrongly censored accounts and suppressed information it deemed as misinformation. Conservative accounts were locked simply for sharing the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, or for questioning whether COVID-19 may have come from a lab in Wuhan, China, that studies coronaviruses.

[..] Over on cable news, as it dealt with the Musk deal, the hyperbole was so crazy it became the best unintentional comedy to be found. “When a petulant and not so bright billionaire casually bought one of the world’s most influential messaging machines and just handed it to the far-right,” one MSNBC host declared last month. Yep. The world’s richest man – the CEO of Tesla, and the guy who made available his Space-X’s Starlink satellite system to provide a besieged Ukraine with internet access amid Russia’s invasion of that country – is “not so bright” and a pawn of “the far-right.” “I think we can look to the western countries in Europe for how they are trying to limit it but you need — you need controls on this. You need regulation,” CNN contributor David Zurawik told “Reliable Sources.”“You cannot let these guys control discourse in this country or we are headed to hell. We are there. Trump opened the gates of hell and now they’re chasing us down,” he added.

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“..there is some chance it might be over 90 percent of daily active users…”

Elon Musk Issues Warning on Twitter Algorithm (ET)

Elon Musk warned Twitter users that they are “being manipulated” and told them to turn off the platform’s algorithmic newsfeed, coming as the firm’s legal department apparently said he committed a violation of a non-disclosure agreement. “You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you do not realize … Easy to switch back and forth to see the difference,” Musk wrote on Twitter. The Tesla CEO advised other users to switch to seeing the latest Twitter posts immediately by tapping the Twitter home button, tapping the stars button on the upper right of the screen, and selecting “latest tweets.” “I am not suggesting malice in the algorithm, but rather that it is trying to guess what you might want to read and, in doing so, inadvertently manipulate/ amplify your viewpoints without you realizing this is happening,” Musk continued in another post.

Musk announced his intentions to purchase Twitter on April 25 as he criticized the firm’s content moderation policies. Both he and Twitter said that Musk would attempt to purchase the firm for $44 billion, allowing him to take the platform private after the purchase. But on May 13, the deal appeared to be on thin ice after Musk posted that the agreement was “on hold” after reports said that bots and automated accounts make up fewer than 5 percent of the overall users. Hours later, Musk confirmed that he is still committed to the purchase. “Twitter (TWTR) legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the billionaire wrote on Saturday, referring to a study on bots.

Musk posted early Sunday that he’s not seen any analysis that suggests that bots comprise fewer than 5 percent of Twitter accounts. He later said that “there is some chance it might be over 90 percent of daily active users.”

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MI6 and Brexit.

Leaked Emails Expose Secret Intelligence Coup To Install Boris Johnson (GZ)

Leaked emails and documents reviewed by The Grayzone have exposed the dimensions of a wide-ranging conspiracy managed by a shadowy cabal of hardcore Leavers to sabotage former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, remove her from office, replace her with Boris Johnson, and secure a ‘hard’ withdrawal from the EU. The emails demonstrate that a group of operatives linked to the intelligence services and wealthy, reclusive pro-Brexit financiers spied on campaign groups, infiltrated the civil service, and targeted high-profile Remainers with reputational destruction. While the majority of British voters elected to assert their independence from the EU, this clique of mostly unknown influence agents sought to subvert the process and manage it according to their own elite interests.

Among their key objectives was to strengthen the security relationship between London and Washington, thus supplanting EU authority with more substantial US oversight. The cabal, which continues to exert insidious, undue influence on British politics, politicians and policy to this day, is composed of wealthy financiers, representatives of the military and defense establishment, and intelligence officials. The origin of the tranche of emails, which were shared with The Grayzone anonymously, is unknown. However, this reporter has verified the authenticity of the emails and documents contained therein through their metadata, among with other evidentiary sources. Much of the content would be impossible to counterfeit or doctor. The public interest in these private communications is abundantly clear, as the actions exposed in the tranche are so flagrantly anti-democratic they could lead to criminal investigations of at least some of the actors involved.

The cabal appears to be led by Gwythian Prins, a member of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategy Advisory Panel, former NATO and Ministry of Defence advisor, and board member of pro-Brexit group Veterans for Britain. Prins’ bio on his speakers’ bureau advertises him as a “leading thinker on strategy” who has “worked with leading decision makers around the globe from business leaders all the way up to heads of state, helping them to improve their decision making by educating them on the complex psychological processes underpinning theses[sic] decisions.” He is joined by former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove, who is frequently dubbed “C” in the leaked emails, a reference to the operational initial granted to all heads of Britain’s foreign intelligence service. At one point, Dearlove and Prins sought to recruit their apparent friend, Henry Kissinger, and his consulting firm as trans-Atlantic lobbyists for their version of Brexit.

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WHO Neil Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 142022
 


Charles Negre ‘The Vampire’, Henri Le Secq stands next to Stryge grotesque, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris 1853

 

That Sinking Feeling (Kunstler)
Empire of Bioweapon Lies (Escobar)
Finland, Sweden Close to Joining NATO, Russia Responds (Celente)
The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support for the $40b War Package (Greenwald)
EU To Increase Military Support Funding For Ukraine To €2 Billion (Pol.eu)
Pfizer Booster Protection Against Omicron Wanes in Just Weeks (CHD)
Massive Stock Market Leverage Unwinds amid Brutal Bloodletting (WS)
Food Riots Begin: Mass Arrests in Iran, Deaths in Sri Lanka (ZH)
Fusion GPS Loses Its Fight Over “Privileged” Documents (Techno Fog)
Judge Orders Fusion GPS To Turn Over 22 Emails To John Durham (NYP)
Subpoenas Of Trump Allies By January 6 Panel Set Up High-stakes Showdown (G.)
A Major Global Collapse Is Coming (Kim Dotcom)

 

 

Man – a creature made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.
– Mark Twain

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo Kagan

 

 


Eisenhower’s 1953 Cross of Iron speech

 

 

I speak to the world and tell it
About a house whose lantern they broke
About an axe that killed a lily
And a fire which destroyed the world,
I speak about a goat not milked…
A mud roof that flowered.
I speak to the world and I tell it.


Samih al-Qasim #Palestine

 

 

“Not a good day for NATO & their proxies:
– EU ban on Russian oil blocked by Hungary
– NATO expansion to Finland/Sweden blocked by Turkey
– US arms shipments to Ukraine could end May 19
– Russian encirclement in northern Donbas begins
– US gasoline prices reach all time high”

That Sinking Feeling (Kunstler)

You might ask yourself: Why is it “important” that we spend thirty, forty, fifty billion dollars pounding sand down the rat hole that is post-Maidan Ukraine, grift central for the sketchy nexus of US politicians and their sponsors in the warcraft industry? Answer: Aside from one final magnificent payday, they are producing a grand opera of distraction to direct the American public’s attention from the sinking of our own ship-of-state in the waters of Babylon. That giant wad of money, you understand, goes mainly to the likes of Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Textron, Boeing, et cetera, and a substantial portion re-circulates through the K-Street laundromat into the congressional campaign finance wishing well, while billions more get creamed off by Mr. Zelenskyy & Co. — providing self-reinforcing incentives to, how shall we say, blow more shit up on the global landscape.

It does not escape the attention, however, of some people on deck that the US ship is riding lower in the water each day, and listing at a distressing angle. Many other passengers have retreated to their staterooms, sick from the “vaccines” they were required to take to stay on-board for the voyage. Meanwhile water is streaming in below-decks, down in the stinking bilges, from many cracks in the hull. Nobody seems to know what to do, least of all the ship’s captain, who won’t come out of his quarters. (It’s whispered that he’s gone mad.) Is it time to lower the lifeboats. In the hazy realm that is reality these days, those metaphorical cracks in our ship’s hull represent grave acts of negligence and even treasonous sabotage.

Chatter over the Internet says our country, and other countries, are fixing to surrender their national sovereignty — that is, their ability to decide things for themselves — to the World Health Organization in anticipation of some as-yet-unnamed global emergency. Surrender, you say? By means of what? A vote in UN? A memo from the White House signed by the howling ghost known as “Joe Biden”? Surely not some procedure in Congresses and parliaments that would call for debate. There is further suggestion that all this mischief is at the behest of larval would-be World Fuhrer Klaus Schwab. A more preposterous idea I have not heard in all my born days. And yet what else accounts in country after country for the bizarre super-coordination of insults to the world population such as mass lockdowns and mandated vaccination with genetic cocktails which, let’s face it, don’t look so goshdarn salubrious anymore.

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Ukraine population as a testing ground.

Empire of Bioweapon Lies (Escobar)

This glimpse of “fear in a handful of dust” already ranks as one the prime breakthroughs of the young 21st century, presented this week by Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force Igor Kirillov. The provisional results of evidence being collected about the work of U.S. bioweapons in Ukraine are simply astonishing. These are the main takeaways.

• U.S. bioweapon ideologues comprise the leadership of the Democratic Party. By linking with non-governmental biotechnology organizations, using the investment funds of the Clintons, Rockefellers, Soros and Biden, they profited from additional campaign financing – all duly concealed. In parallel, they assembled the legislative basis for financing the bioweapons program directly from the federal budget.

• COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Merck and Gilead – of Donald “known unknowns” fame, and affiliated with the Pentagon – were directly involved.

• U.S. specialists tested new drugs in the Ukraine biolabs in circumvention of international safety standards. According to Kirillov, acting this way “Western companies seriously reduce the costs of research programs and gain significant competitive advantages.”

• According to Kirillov, “along with U.S. pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian government agencies are involved in military biotechnology activities, whose main tasks are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials and provide the necessary biomaterial.”

• The Pentagon, Kirillov pointed out, expanded its research potential not only in terms of producing biological weapons, but also gathering information on antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to certain diseases among the population in specific regions. The testing ground in Ukraine was practically outside the control of the so-called “international community”.

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“..a population of 5.5 million. The country has about the same number of reservists as Germany that has a population of 83 million..”

Finland, Sweden Close to Joining NATO, Russia Responds (Celente)

Top officials from Helsinki issued a joint statement on Thursday that Finland will move to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting Moscow to warn that it will be forced to take retaliatory steps. President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said they believe NATO is the best option for Finland and that membership would “strengthen” its security. They said they hope Finland joins NATO “without delay” and believe the alliance would also benefit from its membership. (A parliamentary debate in Helsinki and vote were expected on Monday.) Finland has a formidable military in its own right despite a population of 5.5 million. The country has about the same number of reservists as Germany that has a population of 83 million. Finland shares an expansive, 830-mile border with Russia and was invaded by its neighbor during WWII, which resulted in a brutal confrontation that ultimately resulted in Helsinki and Moscow signing a peace treaty in 1948. The treaty included Finland’s assurances that it will not join NATO.


[..] Last month, Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and chairman of Russia’s Security Council, warned Finland and Sweden against joining NATO and said Moscow would have to beef up its military presence in the region if they joined the alliance. “In this case, it will no longer be possible to talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic—the balance must be restored. Until now, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to take them,” Medvedev said. Stockholm has been more reluctant to join NATO, the Financial Times reported. The paper said Sweden only started to take NATO membership seriously after “Finland indicated it was likely to join regardless of what Sweden did, robbing Stockholm of its sole credible alternative: a defense alliance with Helsinki.” The New York Times reported that Helsinki’s move could force Stockholm’s hand. The Finns co-ordinate their defense policies closely with Sweden, The Economist reported. Both are formally neutral.

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A lot of 180º turns.

The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support for the $40b War Package (Greenwald)

After Joe Biden announced his extraordinary request for $33 billion more for the war in Ukraine — on top of the $14 billion the U.S. has already spent just ten weeks into this war — congressional leaders of both parties immediately decided the amount was insufficient. They arbitrarily increased the amount by $7 billion to a total of $40 billion, then fast-tracked the bill for immediate approval. As we reported on Tuesday night, the House overwhelmingly voted to approve the bill by a vote of 388-57. All fifty-seven NO votes came from Republican House members. Except for two missing members, all House Democrats — every last one, including all six members of the revolutionary, subversive Squad — voted for this gigantic war package, one of the largest the U.S. has spent at once in decades.

While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects. Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons. The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world. To put this $54 billion amount in perspective, it is (a) larger than the average annual amount that the U.S. spent on its own war in Afghanistan ($46 billion), (b) close to the overall amount Russia spends on its entire military for the year ($69 billion), (c) close to 7% of the overall U.S. military budget, by far the largest in the world ($778 billion), and (d) certain to be far, far higher — easily into the hundreds of billions of dollars and likely the trillion dollar level — given that U.S. officials insist that this war will last not months but years, and that it will stand with Ukraine until the bitter end.

What made this Democratic Party unanimity so bizarre, even surreal, is that many of these House Democrats who voted YES have spent years vehemently denouncing exactly these types of war expenditures. Some of them — very recently — even expressed specific opposition to pouring large amounts of U.S. money and weaponry into Ukraine on the grounds that doing so would be unprecedentedly dangerous, and that Americans are suffering far too severely at home to justify such massive amounts to weapons manufacturers and intelligence agencies.

Massie

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“..provided via an EU fund for military assistance, called the European Peace Facility (EPF)..”

EU To Increase Military Support Funding For Ukraine To €2 Billion (Pol.eu)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Friday that the EU will provide another €500 million in financial support to Ukraine’s military, bringing the total value of the bloc’s overall military fund for the country to €2 billion. “I will announce that we as the European Union will provide a new tranche of €500 million to support Ukraine militarily,” Borrell told reporters at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) in Gut Weissenhaus, a luxurious seaside resort in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Borrell added that this would give “a new impetus for military support” for Ukraine.


The money is being provided via an EU fund for military assistance, called the European Peace Facility (EPF), and allows Ukraine to procure weapons and equipment for its fight against Russia’s invasion. A first package of €500 million was approved in late February and then topped up with two more packages worth the same amount. This fourth tranche of money brings the total support to €2 billion. The new payment still needs to be approved by EU countries. In a tweet, European Council President Charles Michel expressed his “full support” for Borrell’s announcement. When asked about plans to hit Russia with an oil embargo as part of a sixth EU sanctions package — which have run into difficulty due to resistance from Hungary — Borrell said he was optimistic that a deal could be reached next week.

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“..the effectiveness against cases of BNT162b2 declined rapidly for children, particularly those 5-11 years. However, vaccination of children 5-11 years was protective against severe disease and is recommended.”

Pfizer Booster Protection Against Omicron Wanes in Just Weeks (CHD)

Second and third doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine provide protection against the Omicron variant for only a few weeks, according to peer-reviewed research published today in JAMA Network Open. “Our study found a rapid decline in Omicron-specific serum neutralizing antibody titers only a few weeks after the second and third doses of [the Pfizer-BioNTech] BNT162b2,” the authors of the research letter wrote. The authors said their findings “could support rolling out additional booster shots to vulnerable people as the variant drives an uptick in new cases across the country,” Forbes reported. Danish researchers studied adults who received two or three doses of BNT162b2 between January 2021 and October 2021, or were previously infected prior to February 2021 and then vaccinated.

They found that after an initial increase in Omicron-specific antibodies after the second Pfizer shot, levels dropped rapidly, from 76.2% at week 4, to 53.3% at weeks 8 to 10, and 18.9% at weeks 12 to 14. After the third shot, neutralizing antibodies against Omicron fell 5.4-fold between week 3 and week 8. A preprint study released in February showed Pfizer’s two-dose regimen of its COVID-19 vaccine for children was only 12% effective against Omicron in children ages 9 to 11, and the effectiveness of the vaccine “declined rapidly” for children 5-11. Researchers at the New York State Department of Health and the University at Albany School of Public Health examined the effectiveness of the vaccine in children 5 to 11 and adolescents 12 to 17 from Dec. 13, 2021 to Jan. 30, 2022.

The authors of the New York study wrote: “In the Omicron era, the effectiveness against cases of BNT162b2 declined rapidly for children, particularly those 5-11 years. However, vaccination of children 5-11 years was protective against severe disease and is recommended.”

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Imagine stocks doing what crypto did the past few days.

Massive Stock Market Leverage Unwinds amid Brutal Bloodletting (WS)

The total amount of leverage in the stock market is unknown and takes many forms. The only form that is tracked and reported on a monthly basis is margin debt. The other forms, such as Securities Based Lending (SBL) and hedge funds leveraged at the institutional level are not tracked. Not even banks and brokers that fund this leverage know how much total leverage their client has from all brokers combined, which became clear when the family office Archegos imploded in March 2021 and wiped out billions of dollars in capital at the prime brokers that had provided the leverage. But margin debt – the tip of the iceberg and indicator of the direction of the overall stock market leverage – dropped by $27 billion in April from March, to $773 billion, according to Finra, which gets this data from its member brokers.


Margin debt peaked in October last year at $936 billion and started falling in November. Over those six months, it has dropped by $163 billion, or by 17%. But leverage is still massive, and the unwind has a long way to go. Not included in the margin debt data today is May. So far in May, the S&P 500, despite today’s rally, has dropped 6.2%, and the Nasdaq 8.3%, and many of the imploded stocks have gotten brutally crushed over those two weeks, including Coinbase, whose huge gigantic rally since Thursday morning didn’t amount to flyspeck compared to the devastating plunge in the prior two weeks and since its IPO and is barely visible on the stairway to heck since the IPO.

[..] When lots of investors take on leverage to buy stocks, and leverage rises, it creates buying pressure with borrowed money, fueling heat in the market. But when investors come under pressure because of their leverage and vanishing collateral values, they sell stocks, and it creates selling pressure. This is how stock prices and margin balances are linked. High leverage in the stock market is a precondition for a spike in stock prices and a precondition for a massive sell-off, which then unwinds that leverage. It takes leverage to go to these kinds of extremes.


The trick is to not get sidetracked by the absolute dollar amounts over the decades. They don’t really matter. What matters are the steep increases in margin debt before the selloffs, and the steep declines during the sell-offs. The chart shows the relationship between margin debt and “events” in the S&P 500 index. But nothing compares, neither in dollars nor in percentages nor in sheer beauty, to the near-vertical spike in margin debt from March 2020 through October 2021, during the Fed’s $4.7 trillion money-printing binge and interest rate repression mania, and all of it is now unwinding:

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Scratching the surface…

Food Riots Begin: Mass Arrests in Iran, Deaths in Sri Lanka (ZH)

[..] as food prices keep rising, the protests across poor nations keep escalating, and on Thursday protests broke out in Iran leading to at least 22 arrests, after the government cut subsidies for food, sending prices through the roof as authorities braced for more unrest in the following weeks, Fox News reports. In videos shared on social media, protesters can be seen marching through Dezful and Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khezestan, chanting “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to create jobs, lift sanctions, and rescue the economy. Iranian state media has not publicly addressed the protests, but they have been covered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group.

Footage shared by the NCRI shows protesters setting fire to a Basij military base in Jooneghan, a city in the Central District of Jooneghan county. “Every so often we see these types of protests in Iran. Each time it is under a different premise – the price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of bread, but the underlining message which is supported by the slogans heard throughout the demonstrations is the same; they are protesting the entirety of a brutal regime,” Lisa Daftari, Iran expert and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk, said in a statement. “It is also evident in the fact that these protests are no longer just contained to Tehran, the capital city, and other urban areas. We are seeing protests throughout the country in urban and rural areas and throughout the very vast and diverse Iranian population.”

Daftari is right, and not just about Iran (and Iraq), but also Sri Lanka, where protesters angry at the soaring prices of everyday commodities including food, have burned down homes belonging to 38 politicians as the crisis-hit country plunged further into chaos, with the government ordering troops to “shoot on sight.” Police in the island nation said Tuesday that in addition to the destroyed homes, 75 others have been damaged as angry Sri Lankans continue to defy a nationwide curfew to protest against what they say is the government’s mishandling of the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948.

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“This doesn’t mean that Durham can’t overcome this hurdle – just that it hasn’t been overcome yet.”

Fusion GPS Loses Its Fight Over “Privileged” Documents (Techno Fog)

We’ve documented the ongoing battle to obtain Fusion GPS e-mails and documents in the Michael Sussmann case. At issue in the Sussmann case are 38 e-mails and attachments between and among Fusion GPS, Rodney Joffe, and Perkins Coie. These 38 e-mails and attachments are among approximately 1,500 documents that Fusion GPS withheld from production to the grand jury based on “privilege.” Today, the court in the Sussmann case made an important ruling and rejected, in large measure, Fusion’s assertion of attorney-client or work-product privilege. Fusion GPS will have to produce these documents to Special Counsel Durham by May 16, 2022. What do these e-mails and documents contain? The court’s order provides guidance, stating they relate to: “Internal Fusion GPS e-mails discussing the Alfa Bank data and e-mails circulating draft versions of the Alfa Bank white papers that were “ultimately provided to the press and the FBI.”

This leaves 16 e-mails and documents remaining. For now, Durham will not get them. These are divided into two categories: Eight of the e-mails involve internal communications among Fusion GPS employees. The court was “unable to tell from the emails or the surrounding circumstances whether they were prepared for a purpose other than assisting Perkins Coie in providing legal advice to the Clinton Campaign in anticipation of litigaiton.” Coming from the court, that’s a long way of saying that the sworn declarations of Fusion/Clinton lawyers (Levy and Elias) were sufficient to meet the “privilege” burden. This doesn’t mean that Durham can’t overcome this hurdle – just that it hasn’t been overcome yet.

The other eight e-mails and attachments include those among Fusion GPS’s Laura Seago, Sussmann, and Rodney Joffe. The court observed that the e-mails are consistent with Joffe’s assertion of privilege. With respect to the Joffe e-mails, we note that he is still a subject – perhaps a target – of the Special Counsel’s investigation. [..] Because the investigation into Joffe is ongoing, it makes sense that the Special Counsel is hesitant to disclose to the court information that could overcome this purported “privilege.” Keep in mind the crime-fraud exception, where communications are not considered privileged where they “are made in furtherance of a crime, fraud, or other misconduct” (citation omitted). In other words, the Special Counsel may still be able to get Joffe’s e-mails – assuming Joffe is charged under 18 USC 1031. He can also get them through the grand jury process, as we saw with Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort.

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“..1,500 emails that Fusion GPS withheld after being slapped with a subpoena by Durham.”

Judge Orders Fusion GPS To Turn Over 22 Emails To John Durham (NYP)

Special counsel John Durham scored a victory Thursday when a federal judge ordered the research firm behind the infamous “Steele dossier” to turn over nearly two dozen emails tied to its work with Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. Fusion GPS improperly withheld the 22 emails from Durham by claiming they were protected by attorney-client privilege and “work-product” privilege, Washington, DC, federal Judge Christopher Cooper ruled. The move came at the request of Clinton’s 2016 campaign, according to the 11-page decision. But the emails, which largely consist of internal communications between Fusion employees, aren’t protected from disclosure because they “appear not to have been written in anticipation of litigation but rather as part of ordinary media-relations work,” Cooper said.

“It is clear that Fusion employees also interacted with the press as part of an affirmative media relations effort by the Clinton Campaign,” he wrote. Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the emails must be turned over to Special counsel John Durham because they are not “entitled to attorney work-product protection.” “That effort included pitching certain stories, providing information on background, and answering reporters’ questions.” Cooper ordered Fusion GPS — which hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile reports that purportedly tied Trump to Russia, most of which have been discredited — to turn over the emails to Durham’s team on Monday, when jury selection for Sussmann’s trial is set to start.

Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016, when he claimed to not be “acting on behalf of any client” while turning over reports and data he said showed a secret back channel between a Trump Organization server and Russia’s Alfa Bank. The information was later debunked by the FBI, which found “that the email server at issue…had been administered by a mass marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” according to Sussmann’s indictment. The emails that Fusion GPS has to turn over for possible use against Sussmann are among 38 that Cooper reviewed at Durham’s request, despite the objections of the company, Clinton’s campaign and tech executive Rodney Joffe, who gave Sussmann the Alfa Bank data. They’re also among around 1,500 emails that Fusion GPS withheld after being slapped with a subpoena by Durham.

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Jan 6 from the MSM.

Subpoenas Of Trump Allies By January 6 Panel Set Up High-stakes Showdown (G.)

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack made a political and legal gambit when it issued unprecedented subpoenas that compelled five Republican members of Congress to reveal inside information about Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. The move sets into motion an extraordinary high-stakes showdown of response and counter-response for both the subpoenaed House Republicans – the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks – and the panel itself. Congressman Bennie Thompson, the Democrat chair of the select committee, authorized the subpoenas on Wednesday after the panel convened for final talks about whether to proceed with subpoenas, with House investigators needing to wrap up work before June public hearings.

“We inquired to most of them via letter to come forward, and when they told us they would not come, we issued the subpoena,” Thompson said of McCarthy and his colleagues. “It’s a process. And the process was clearly one that required debate and discussion.” The decision came after a recognition that their investigation into January 6 would not have been complete if they did not at least attempt to force the cooperation of some of the House Republicans most deeply involved in Trump’s unlawful schemes to return himself to office. But the subpoenas are about deploying a political and legal power play in the crucial final moments of the investigation as much as they are about an effort to gain new information for the inquiry into efforts to stop Joe Biden’s certification in time for public hearings.

That is evident in the conundrum faced by the subpoenaed House Republicans – with the knowledge that how they respond to the orders seeking testimony about their contacts with Trump will determine the future of the investigation and of congressional subpoena power. In the days before the select committee assented to Thompson signing off on the subpoenas, the members on the panel gamed out the scenarios and reached the conclusion that subpoenas were actually a win-win situation, according to sources familiar with the discussions. If the subpoenaed House Republicans decided to comply and provide cooperation to the select committee as the subpoenas are designed to do, then the panel would obviously benefit from their testimony, the sources recounted of the panel’s discussion.

If the subpoenaed House Republicans promised retaliatory subpoenas against Democrats should they take the House majority next year then they were going to do that anyway, the select committee reasoned, and they should issue the subpoenas. If the subpoenaed House Republicans simply ignored the orders, then they would only be undercutting their ability to subpoena Democrats in partisan investigations should the GOP take the House majority next year, since they would have set a precedent for non-compliance.

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Not an economist, obviously, but not bad.

A Major Global Collapse Is Coming (Kim Dotcom)

A major global collapse is coming. It may be worse than we can imagine. Our leaders know. But what are they planning? The United States did not have a surplus or a balanced budget since 2001 and in the last 50 years it only had 4 years of profit. In fact all profit the US had in the last 50 years wouldn’t be enough to pay for 6 months of the current yearly deficit. So what do they do?

US spending and debt have spiraled out of control and the Govt can only raise the money it needs by printing it. That causes inflation. It’s like taxing you extra because you pay more for the things you need and all your assets decline in value. See the money printing frenzy:

The problem is that this has been going on for so long there’s now no way to fix it. The reality is that the US has been bankrupt for some time and what’s coming is a nightmare: Mass poverty and a new system of control. Let me explain why this isn’t just doom and gloom talk. Total US debt is at $90 trillion. US unfunded liabilities are at $169 trillion. Combined that’s $778,000 per US citizen or $2,067,000 per US tax payer. Remember, the only way the Government can operate now is by printing more money. Which means hyperinflation is inevitable. The total value of ALL companies listed on the US stock market is $53 trillion. The real value is much lower because the US has been printing trillions to provide interest free loans to investment banks to pump up the stock market. It’s a scam.

Most of the $53 trillion is air. The value of all US assets combined, every piece of land, real estate, all savings, all companies, everything that all citizens, businesses, entities and the state own is worth $193 trillion. That number is also full of air just like the US stock market. Let’s do the math: US total debt $90 trillion. US unfunded liabilities $169 trillion. Total $259 trillion. Minus all US assets $193 trillion. Balance – $66 trillion . That’s $66 trillion of debt and liabilities after every asset in the US has been sold off. Do you understand? So even if the US could sell all its assets at the current value, which is impossible, it would still be broke. The US is beyond bankrupt. This patient is already dead. This patient is now a zombie.

You probably wonder why are things still going? Why didn’t it all collapse yet. It’s all perception and denial. The perception is that the US has the largest economy and the strongest military in the world. But in reality the US is broke and can’t afford its army. The denial is that all nations depend on a strong US or else the global markets will crash. The only reason why the US zombie keeps going is because the end of the US is the end of western prosperity and an admission that capitalism failed as a model for the world. But it doesn’t change the reality. The collapse is inevitable and coming.

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TIME Asia Dec 2005

 

 

Tucker NYT

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

May 132022
 


Margaret Gillies Charles Dickens 1844

 

Rand Paul Blocks Fast-Track Senate Vote for $40 Billion Ukraine Funding (CTH)
Finlandization of Ukraine, Ukraine-ization of Finland (Nuna Costa)
The Guardian View On Expanding Nato: Putin Has Only Himself To Blame (G.)
‘Finland Will Be A NATO Backwater’ (ZH)
Two Months of Operation Z (Malenica)
‘Russia Started the War’ and Other Fallacies (Whitney)
The Destiny of Civilization – Michael Hudson (Norton)
Diesel Fuel Shortage Sets Stage for Next Biden Created Crisis (CTH)
Meet the Head of Biden’s New “Disinformation Governing Board” (Golinkin)
Beijing Residents Swamp Supermarkets After Lockdown Rumours (CNA)
“Genetically Edited” Food – The Next Stage of the Great Reset? (OffG)

 

 

I kid you not: People today blame NATO’s expansion on Putin.

 

 

Immune system shutdown
https://twitter.com/i/status/1524509732878548992

 

 

Russia has named 12 EU countries involved.

 

 

COVID vaccines have “rigorous standards that are much higher” than any in U.S. history

 

 

 

 

Glenn Beck Ecohealth

 

 

“Printing $40 billion to send to a deeply corrupt nation in Eastern Europe”. Rand Paul wants oversight of how the money will be spent. He can’t have it. None of the people who voted in favor have actually read the bill. There was no time. This will go into next week, giving them that time. How many do you think will read it?

Rand Paul Blocks Fast-Track Senate Vote for $40 Billion Ukraine Funding (CTH)

Senator Rand Paul has blocked a fast-track senate vote on the additional $40 billion funding package created by Joe Biden and House Democrats. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell approved a fast-track vote; however, senator Rand Paul (KY) stood defiant against their effort. Despite the high-profile pressure from the two Senate leaders, Rand Paul refused to move and that means the Senate will have to take procedural steps to overcome his objection, which could take several days. “My oath of office is the US constitution not to any foreign nation and no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said in his remarks before objecting to moving to swift passage of the bill. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”


The $40 billion supplemental spending bill for Ukraine is more than the total military budget of Russia. The combined Ukraine aid packages now exceed $60 billion, more than the entire budget for the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security including border protection. Rand Paul is on the right side of history with his position, and the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with him. However, the opinion of the people is irrelevant to the Senate. Even democrat Senator Chuck Schumer seemed to admit this point when he said Rand Paul’s position “was not the opinion of the overwhelming majority here,” meaning in the senate. Schumer would have used other terms if he thought the American people agreed with him. They don’t, and he knows it.

Rand Paul

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“..if this “express” entry of the Nordic country into the Alliance goes ahead, it will suppose an increment of more than double the length of the current border between NATO and Russia.”

Finlandization of Ukraine, Ukraine-ization of Finland (Nuna Costa)

The Finnish President and Prime Minister today announced their support for the country’s membership of NATO at the forthcoming summit in Madrid on 29-30 June. I have no illusions, this is bound to happen without the will of the Finns for which a popular referendum had been promised on the matter, or that it will even be submitted to Parliament, where it would be approved anyway. The main internal requirement for the admission of new countries is that they “add security” to the bloc. Since when does this move make Europe safer? But there are more conditions and clauses of the international legal framework that are being purposefully violated, and shameless disregard for signed agreements.

Let us not even mention the still pending demands that the Kremlin notified in writing to NATO in December, which NATO chose not even to respond to, and which obviously clash with the current situation. Russia had already made it known that the entry of Sweden and especially Finland into NATO is perceived as a threat. Perhaps it was reasonable to understand the Russian point of view. The President of Croatia has recently made it known that he will veto the planned extension as it is “a very dangerous adventure”, in the words of his MFA. Any country can and should oppose this clear provocation, but we know that if this happens, those who are interested in the militarisation of Europe will spin the issue one way or another, as there have never been legal or procedural limits of any kind to this complex.

So, if this “express” entry of the Nordic country into the Alliance goes ahead, it will suppose an increment of more than double the length of the current border between NATO and Russia. This should be viewed with great caution, since all members will be affected by whatever may happen from there. This has been said here before, but today the irresponsibility becomes clearer and the concomitant danger more imminent. After long years of discussion about the so-called possible and reasonable Finlandisation of Ukraine’ as a militarily neutral zone between Europe and the nuclear superpower Russia, we are now much closer to the Ukraine-ization of Finland. Do you know what that means?

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Willfully blind.

The Guardian View On Expanding Nato: Putin Has Only Himself To Blame (G.)

Nato expansion has doubtless contributed to Mr Putin’s paranoid mindset. He sees the organisation as little more than an expression of US power. But it is primarily Russian aggression that has driven expansion, not vice versa. The fear of provoking Moscow tied the hands of its neighbour Finland, and Sweden, for years. Now the all-out assault on Ukraine has led many to conclude that there is nothing to lose – while Russia’s failures there have suggested that it may be less fearsome than they thought. Sweden and Finland joining Nato would leave Kaliningrad, home of Moscow’s Baltic Sea fleet, encircled. Predictably, Russia has vowed retaliation for the Finnish announcement. It had already said it would deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic, though the real threat is more likely to come in the form of disinformation, cyber-attacks, and other provocations.


Yet Moscow should not be the alliance’s only concern. It must also look closer to home. In the US, 57 Republicans voted against the $40bn aid package for Ukraine in the House of Representatives and it faces Republican objections in the Senate. As the Democrats flounder, the spectre of Donald Trump – or someone like him – as the 47th president looms larger. And despite the defeat of Marine Le Pen in last month’s French presidential election, ambivalence or antagonism towards Nato has not vanished from Europe. In Italy, where a general election is due next year, most voters oppose the government’s decisions to increase defence spending and send arms to Ukraine. The alliance exists to counter the threat on its eastern borders. It can only do so by remaining vigilant to internal vulnerabilities.

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Will Russia cut off oil and gas to Finland? It gets 100% of both that way.

‘Finland Will Be A NATO Backwater’ (ZH)

A Kremlin spokesman earlier in the day warned that Finland joining NATO would “definitely” be a threat that would trigger “retaliatory steps” – but stopped short of identifying specific possible courses of action. “NATO is moving toward us. That’s of course why all of this will warrant a special analysis and the development of necessary measures needed to balance the situation and guarantee our security,” the initial Kremlin response stated. Later in the day Thursday – a number of hours after Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced the country will apply for NATO membership “without delay” – Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov elaborated on Moscow’s likely response in an interview with Sky News.

“Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of military and other nature, in order to curtail the threats that arise to its national security in this regard,” Chizhov stressed in the interview when asked about its neighbor Finland as well as Sweden applying to NATO. The two countries first sent strong signals regarding this complete U-turn in historic policy last month in response to Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine. The Russian ambassador said further in the UK television interview that he’s “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the development, while saying in a somewhat condescending tone that Finland has been “pushing above its weight, having become in the last few decades a major power in promoting European security architecture.”

Further he said the Scandinavian neighbor which shares an 810-mile border with Russia would inevitably become a “NATO backwater” if it does move forward in entering the military alliance. Sky News also quoted Chizov as explaining the following possible change in defense posture: The ambassador said such a move would “certainly necessitate rethinking of Russian defence posture” but wouldn’t “necessarily [involve] troops and tanks, but certain preparations definitely… like radars, perhaps”.

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A long detailed overview.

Two Months of Operation Z (Malenica)

From the author’s perspective, what is currently happening in Ukraine is a conflict between the Russian and Western concepts of war, that is, the concept of war as conceived by NATO. Among other things, this conflict is also a question of the prestige for the West, which has so far seen itself as the most militarily capable bloc on the planet. Having trained Ukrainian ground army[50] to NATO standards and equipped it with anti-tank and anti-aircraft portable systems, the West is now observing performance of these forces against Russian troops. This is, as well, one of reasons for the omnipresent Western propaganda campaign. Moreover, within this conflict, it is necessary to view Ukrainian media and propaganda sources as organic offshoots of Western intelligence agencies and public relations firms, of which at least 150 have participated in creating and spreading propaganda for Kiev since the beginning of hostilities.

Likewise, make no mistake, majority if not all intelligence at disposal of Kiev is of NATO origin. In an event that Ukrainian troops are defeated by Russian units, it will be clear that equipping and training army in accordance with NATO standards does not guarantee the highest level of combat capability. At the same time, the possible defeat of Ukraine will shake the reputation of NATO itself, especially the United States, whose last year’s debacle in Afghanistan is still fresh in memory. Russia’s eventual victory would be the second major case in modern times where forces equipped and trained by the West have been defeated by non-Western armies.

In this context, one should also observe the huge military aid that has been pouring into Kiev for two months now by countries of the West and European Union. As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently pointed out, the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”[53] This only confirms what many analysts have already pointed out, that Kiev and Moscow are not at war in Ukraine, but Russia against the collective West led by Washington. The United States needs, both for domestic and foreign policy, Russian defeat in Ukraine.

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“..the indivisibility of security..”

“..signatories to these treaties are not free to develop their own military capability to the point where it poses a danger to their neighbors..”

‘Russia Started the War’ and Other Fallacies (Whitney)

On Monday, Putin delivered the annual “Victory Day” speech celebrating Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. The Russian president made none of the hyperbolic pronouncements the media had predicted but, instead, gave a brief recap of the events leading up to the war in Ukraine. There was none of the bravado you’d expect from a leader trying to gin up support for the ongoing war. Putin simply reminded the crowd that he had done everything he could to avoid the bloody conflict in which Russia is currently embroiled. Here’s part of what he said: “Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.”

This is an accurate account of what took place in the months preceding the war. Putin tried to avoid a confrontation by repeatedly asking the US to address Russia’s reasonable security concerns. Unfortunately, the Biden administration brushed off Putin’s demands without even providing a response. The US and NATO insist that Ukraine has every right to choose whatever security arrangement it wants. But that’s clearly not the case. The United States and every nation in NATO have signed treaties (Istanbul in 1999, and Astana in 2010) that stipulate they cannot improve their own security at the expense of others. The principle underlying these agreements is called “the indivisibility of security”, which means that the security of one state can’t be separated from the security of the others.

In practical terms, that means that signatories to these treaties are not free to develop their own military capability to the point where it poses a danger to their neighbors. These terms are especially applicable to Ukraine which is seeking membership in a military alliance that is openly hostile to Russia. NATO membership has always been a “red line” for Putin who has stated repeatedly that he will not allow NATO bases, combat troops and missile sites to be located on Ukrainian soil where they’d be just a stone’s throw from Moscow. As one critic from Texas put it, “You wouldn’t let a rattlesnake make its home on your front porch, would you?” No, you wouldn’t, and neither would Putin.

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“..financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.”

The Destiny of Civilization – Michael Hudson (Norton)

[..] finance capitalism is what has essentially de-industrialized the United States and turned the Midwest into a Rust Belt. Well, the alternative, obviously, are the societies that have not followed this neoliberal finance capitalist plan. And the most successful economy, obviously, has been China, which is why it has been spending so much time there. And China has done exactly what 19th-century United States, Germany, England, and France did. It has kept basic utilities, basic needs, housing, and above all, finance and banking, in the public domain, as public utilities. Instead of having an independent financial sector operating on its own self-interest, the Bank of China creates the money.

And the Bank of China lends money by deciding, where do we need to have investment in real estate to provide housing for the population at as low a price as we can make it? How do we build up the industry? How do we provide an educational system with training? How do we provide health? And the fact is that the central planning in an efficient socialist style, not the Stalinist planning that everybody refers to of Russia, but a mixed economy as you have in China, which is truly a mixed economy, with guidance, like the French planification. Well, that is obviously the way in which you survive and you avoid the kind of overloading the economy with debt service, with high rents, with high payments to the health-care monopoly in the United States, by avoiding all of this payment to a rentier class that has what the classical economists call unearned income, predatory income.

And instead of unseating them, we’ve put them in charge, and made the banks and Wall Street, and the city of London, and the Paris Bourse, the central planners. So we do have central planning much more centralized than anything that was dreamed by the socialists. But the planning, the centralized planning is done by the financial sector. And financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.

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“..shortages of diesel fuel on the East Coast may happen in the coming week at some stores..”

Diesel Fuel Shortage Sets Stage for Next Biden Created Crisis (CTH)

It has often been said that if you chase the global climate change ideology to its natural conclusion, we end up in communal groups sitting around a tepid campfire eating some form of sustainable algae cakes and picking parasites off each other… Prior to Joe Biden that prediction might have seemed like hyperbole. Now, not so much. Indeed, the Green New Deal energy policy of Joe Biden creates massive downstream consequences. Unfortunately, the White House doesn’t seem to care. The high prices and scarcity of critical goods are a feature, not a flaw, as they chase their climate friendly Build Back Better agenda. Following the continuum of intended consequence, now we have diesel fuel shortages beginning to hit the U.S. economy; and with scarcity comes higher prices of an almost astronomical scale.

“The national average price of diesel is now $5.54 per gallon, which is an increase of 22 cents from last week, which was when the most recent record was set. Data shows there’s no state that’s currently seeing diesel prices below $5.12 per gallon.” Making matters even worse is a drop in available inventory of diesel fuel which is about to become a crisis for the east coast of the U.S. Some Truck Stop operators like Love’s and Pilot are already warning their big rig customers they may not have fuel for truckers. […] “Love’s is monitoring the fluid situation on the East Coast, we have experienced minimal outages during low traffic hours,” Oklahoma-based Love’s Travel Stops said in an emailed statement. “The company has no plans to restrict purchases of diesel.”

[…] Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration said total inventories of distillates, which is mainly diesel fuel but also heating oil, fell last week to a 17-year low of 104 million barrels, which is 23% below normal. On the East Coast, the situation is even worse. The EIA said distillate fuel oil inventories in the so-called PADD 1 district that covers the Northeastern states fell by 1.1 million barrels last week to just 21 million barrels, the lowest ever recorded in data going back to 1990. Love’s truck stops, with some 550 locations across 41 states, also seemed to confirm reports on social media Wednesday that said Love’s and other truck stops such as Pilot were informing their fleet operators that shortages of diesel fuel on the East Coast may happen in the coming week at some stores.

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Azov whitewasher.

Meet the Head of Biden’s New “Disinformation Governing Board” (Golinkin)

Late last month, the Joe Biden administration publicly confirmed that a “Disinformation Governing Board” working group had been created within the Department of Homeland Security. The news prompted a flood of concern about the impact of such an Orwellian organ on America. But there’s no need to engage in hypotheticals to understand the dangers. One has to only consider the past of Nina Jankowicz, the head of the new disinformation board. Jankowicz’s experience as a disinformation warrior includes her work with StopFake, a US government-funded “anti-disinformation” organization founded in March 2014 and lauded as a model of how to combat Kremlin lies. Four years later, StopFake began aggressively whitewashing two Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups with a long track record of violence, including war crimes.

Today, StopFake is an official Facebook fact-checking partner, which gives it the power to censor news, while Jankowicz is America’s disinformation czar. If the Biden administration is serious about combating threats such as white supremacy, perhaps it should first reflect on the old Roman question: Who will guard the guardians? StopFake was founded right after Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan uprising ousted the country’s president and swept a new, US-backed government into power. Formed by professors and students from the Kyiv Mohyla Journalism School, StopFake presented itself as a plucky, grassroots group wielding hard facts and semi-permanent smirks as it shredded Russian propaganda. It gained notoriety by producing slick videos hosted by dynamic disinformation warriors debunking the Moscow lies of the day.

Western reporters—and checkbooks—were paying attention. Shortly after its creation, StopFake began receiving funding from Western governments, including the National Endowment for Democracy—an organization mainly funded by the US Congress—and the British embassy in Ukraine. It was also supported by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. (StopFake has run numerous episodes that cover Soros but fail to disclose this potential conflict of interest—a violation of basic tenets of journalism.) Among StopFake’s hosts was Jankowicz, a graduate of Bryn Mawr and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service who was already part of the burgeoning disinformation warrior industry while in Ukraine as a Fulbright Clinton Public Policy Fellow. On January 29, 2017, she hosted StopFake Episode 117, whose lead story dealt with a perennial obsession of Russian propaganda: Ukraine’s volunteer battalions.

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“I’ll be fine whether I’m required to stay home for three days or seven.”

Beijing Residents Swamp Supermarkets After Lockdown Rumours (CNA)

Beijing residents rushed to supermarkets on Thursday (May 12) as Chinese officials tried to curb mounting panic over a rumour the capital would be placed under stay-at-home orders. The city has been trying to stamp out a wave of cases in recent weeks, closing subway stations and telling many residents to work from home, with hundreds of communities sealed off to contain cases. On Thursday there were rumours online that authorities were about to impose a strict lockdown, prompting many to rush to food stores and stock up. Beijing residents fear they may face draconian measures similar to those that have trapped most of Shanghai’s 25 million people at home for weeks – after what was initially described as a days-long shutdown.


No lockdown was announced Thursday, but officials confirmed they will start three more rounds of mass testing for residents in 12 of the city’s main districts and “recommended” that people stay home and “reduce movement” during that time. AFP saw staff at one local supermarket in central Beijing rushing to restock as shelves of vegetables were emptied out. Sui Xin, 41, told AFP that he had gone to the store after he read on social media that the capital’s officials might keep residents at home. “Everyone is stocking up,” he said, buying eggs and instant noodles. “I’ll be fine whether I’m required to stay home for three days or seven.” “I’m just buying some chicken wings and instant noodles, there’s nothing left,” a shopper surnamed Huang said, queueing at another packed supermarket.

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From “genetically modified” to “genetically edited”..

First you make them hungry, then you push their “new food” on them.

“Genetically Edited” Food – The Next Stage of the Great Reset? (OffG)

But the part I found most interesting is the stated plan to “encourage agricultural and scientific innovation at home” via the proposed Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill. The proposed bill (which, for some reason is not available through the parliament website) follows on from DEFRA’s announced “loosened regulation” of genetic research back in January. To quote the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), the legislation would “take certain precision breeding techniques out of the scope of restrictive GMO rules”. Essentially, this would see new “gene-edited” foods as distinct from old-fashioned “genetically modified” foods, and therefore not subject to the same rules and oversight.

The claimed distinction is that gene editing, as opposed to genetic modification, doesn’t introduce DNA from other species. Therefore, in effect, is merely speeding up what could potentially naturally happen over time. Now, you might think this is just semantics, and that such a law will just provide a loophole for ALL “genetically modified” foods to simply rebrand themselves as “genetically edited” foods, and thereby avoid regulation. But that is disgustingly cynical and shame on you for even thinking it. All in all, this is pretty on-message stuff, and not especially surprising. What’s noteworthy is – by pure happenstance, I’m sure – it appears to coincide with a renewed push on the GM food front in other countries all over the world.

In December 2021, Switzerland added an amendment to its moratorium on GMO crops, permitting the use of certain “gene editing” techniques. Last month, Egypt announced their new strain of GM wheat. Just two days ago, Ethiopia’s National Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center announced they had researched, and the country will now be growing, genetically modified cotton and maize. Despite Russia’s sweeping ban on the cultivation and/or importing of genetically modified crops, they have nonetheless created a 111 billion Ruble project to create up to 30 varieties of genetically edited plants and farm animals. Britain’s deregulation of GM food is always described as a “post-Brexit” move – with the EU chided around the world for its “precautionary principle” on GM crops – and yet as long ago as last April, the EU was calling for a “rethink” on GM crops.

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Madonna

 

 

 

 

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May 122022
 


Banksy Monkey Parliament 2009

 

Finland Announces Plans To Join NATO In Historic Move (CNBC)
Nothing to Celebrate? (Tweedie)
We Will Win (Batiushka)
Russian-Captured Ukrainian Territories Will Soon Ask To ‘Join Russia’ (ZH)
Blinken, Austin Past Ties to Investment Firms Forgotten by Media (Celente)
Garland Allowing ‘Mob Rule’ In US – GOP (Fox)
Efforts To Codify Roe vs Wade Fail In The Senate (ET)
FDA Refuses To Reopen Biggest Baby Formula Plant in US (DM)
Acting NIH Director Admits Appearance of Conflict of Interest in Payments (ET)
Top US Scientist Warned Chinese Of US Investigations Into Wuhan Lab (DC)
Trudeau Government Gave $3 Million To WEF And $1.6 Billion To UN In 2021 (TNC)
Prepare For More Chinese Capital Controls As Exodus Worsens (BBG)
Oath Keepers Rescued 16 Police Officers On Jan 6 (ET)
Feds Open Investigation Into Elon Musk (DW)
Al Jazeera Accuses Israel of Killing -American- Journalist (CD)

 

 

Finland wants to join NATO.

Russia says NATO missiles in Ukraine would be too close to Moscow. Check the distance from the Ukraine border to Moscow. Then from the Finland border to St. Petersburg.

 

 

Tulsi armageddon

 

 

 

 

Zero covid

 

 

“Finland shares a 830-mile border with Russia..”

When NATO was founded, they did’t even dare.

Finland Announces Plans To Join NATO In Historic Move (CNBC)

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Thursday that the country should apply to join NATO “without delay.” Finland has had a decades-long policy of military neutrality that would come to an end if it becomes a full member of the military alliance. Thursday’s announcement is the strongest sign yet that Finland will make a formal application to join NATO. The government will debate the issue over the weekend and the Finnish parliament is expected to give its final approval to the application as early as Monday. At the same time, there is a risk the move from Helsinki could spark aggression from Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has expressed his opposition against NATO’s enlargement.


Finland shares a 830-mile border with Russia; if it joins the military alliance, the land border that Russia shares with NATO territories would roughly double (Russia has land borders with 14 countries and five of them are NATO members: Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Norway). Finland has been reviewing its security policy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which showed the Kremlin is willing attack a neighboring nation. Finland has been invaded in the past — in 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland in what became known as the Winter War.

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Ukraine will become a landlocked “country”.

Nothing to Celebrate? (Tweedie)

On May 8, when Victory in Europe (VE) Day is celebrated in the West, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that Russia had “nothing to celebrate” on its own Victory Day on May 9. Her reasoning, faithfully transcribed on the US mission’s website, was that “They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians.” Given that Victory Day and VE Day both specifically commemorate the allied defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Thomas-Greenfield’s comments were like saying the US, Britain and France had nothing to celebrate this year because they got chased out of Afghanistan by the Taliban last August. The ambassador is either an apologist for Nazism or merely too ignorant to do her job. She should at least read some objective reports about the conflict in the Ukraine.

In fact Russians had two immediate military victories to celebrate that Monday. Russian and Lugansk People’s Republic troops captured the town of Popasna, a lynchpin in the Ukrainian army’s defensive line that it had held for eight years. Meanwhile Kiev, apparently desperate for a victory of its own to rain on the parade through Moscow’s Red Square, launched an airborne and marine assault on the now-famous Zmeinyy (Snake) Island off the coast of Odessa oblast. Some sources say the Russians withdrew their small force holding the island as bait for a trap, but either way it went horribly wrong for the Ukrainians. They lost four jet fighters and strike aircraft, up to 10 helicopters, a corvette and three infantry landing craft. More than 60 of their personnel were killed, of which 27 were abandoned on the island.

The Ukraine is like a bull elephant that has been shot right in the heart in mid-charge. The beast keeps on bellowing and rampaging around, not yet realising that it’s already dead. It becomes clearer by the day that the Ukrainian army attempting to occupy the remains of the Donbass republics, newly recognised by Russia just as the West ‘recognised’ its creations of Kosovo and South Sudan, is dead on its feet. Its navy, air force, artillery, tanks and transportation are almost destroyed. Its casualties are replaced with boys and old men press-ganged off the streets of Kiev and Lvov, some without proper boots. Its senior officers are fled or dead.

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“..the Russian Federation is a very unequal and corrupt society because of these oligarchs, who simply repeat the Western oligarch model..”

We Will Win (Batiushka)

Russia before 1917 was rotten from the inside, a house of cards. The whole ‘Revolution’ was a story of the treachery of the elite, the aristocrats, including many Romanovs, the politicians, the generals and the new bourgeoisie. Having lost their faith, they replaced all loyalty to the Faith, the Tsar and Home with pure greed. The same thing happened with the USSR. A generation after the people’s war won by those trained in the Tsar’s Army, the Soviet Union turned into a State in whose official Communist ideology nobody believed any more. The elite had lost faith in it and so the USSR also fell. After 1991 the Russian Federation was handed over to the future oligarchs, the new aristocrats, just as before the Revolution the Russian Empire had been far too much in the hands of the past oligarchs, the old aristocrats.


Whoever says oligarchs automatically says corruption. And when the rich have enough riches, they next want power and betray to get it. Like the rest of the world, the Russian Federation is a very unequal and corrupt society because of these oligarchs, who simply repeat the Western oligarch model. Have no illusions: Oligarchs rule the Western world. It is illusory to think otherwise. In France Pompidou was and Macron is a Rothschild banker (the ones who own The Economist and much of the rest of the media). French conglomerates stand beside them. In Germany banks and huge automobile and chemical industries put up their political candidates. In the UK all candidates are vetted by the financial sharks of the City. As for the USA, think of Trump or Hoover, and all is clear. Follow the money.

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“He stressed it would be “up to local residents” and that the process would be “absolutely clear and legitimate”

Russian-Captured Ukrainian Territories Will Soon Ask To ‘Join Russia’ (ZH)

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency is reporting for the first time Wednesday that the Russian military occupied southern Ukrainian city of Kherson will soon petition the Kremlin to become part of the Russian Federation. It was in late April that a pro-Moscow “military-civilian administration” was installed after Kherson fell to the invading forces, complete with a local transition to the Russian ruble. While the news hasn’t been officially confirmed by the Kremlin, it’s significant that the report surfaced through RIA and not Ukrainian or opposition sources, suggesting such referendums or even simple declared annexations in captured regions could be imminent.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has in his latest statements invoked Crimea – which came under Russian control due to a Kremlin-backed ‘popular referendum’ in 2014 – as a model for what could happen regarding Kherson’s political future. He stressed it would be “up to local residents” and that the process would be “absolutely clear and legitimate”. Additionally, according to The Moscow Times, “Occupied Kherson, as well as the Pryazovske region on the Sea of Azov, reportedly began trading with Crimea shortly after Russian forces installed pro-Moscow administrations in the area.”

And Reuters writes of more signs of annexation of the city coming soon as follows: “TASS cited the Russian-controlled administration as saying that pension bodies and a banking system would be created from scratch for the region, and that branches of a Russian bank could be open there before the end of May,” according to its report. However, some correspondents are saying there won’t be a referendum, or possibly just the appearance of one as a pretext…

Lavrov

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It’s not even a revolving door anymore.

Blinken, Austin Past Ties to Investment Firms Forgotten by Media (Celente)

Top officials in the Biden administration who have been the most vocal backers of providing Ukraine with more arms than Kyiv knows what to do with have deep ties to consulting and investment firms that has raised concerns in the past about the government’s revolving door with the defense industry. The Presstitutes no longer discuss these ties because they are on the same team as the government when it comes to Ukraine. More weapons, more weapons, more weapons. Two of the biggest names in the Biden administration with these past ties are Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They have been some of the top proponents of donating weapons to Ukrainians.

BLINKEN: “Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought, as its principal aim, to totally subjugate Ukraine, to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed.” AUSTIN: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. It had already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly, and we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.”

One of the names that kept popping up about a year or so ago was Blinken and Austin’s ties to a little-known investment firm called Pine Island Capital Partner. In December 2020, Pine Island Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company that claimed to have “unusual access to information” said in its SEC filings that it was “well-suited to take advantage of the current and future opportunities present in the aerospace, defense and government service industries.” (Austin also sat on the board of Raytheon Technologies in 2020, according to OpenSecrets.org. Forbes estimated that Austin’s net worth is about $7 million after serving on boards in retirement.)

From CNBC in December 2020: Pine Island’s team includes Tony Blinken, Biden’s choice to be secretary of State, and Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin, his nominee for Defense secretary. Austin was listed on the original SPAC proposal, while Blinken was left off as he took a leave of absence from the firm when he joined the Biden campaign. Axios reported a month earlier that Pine Island was formed in 2018 by John Thain, the CEO who reportedly got his office renovated for $1 million while his Bank of America Merrill Lynch took a major loss in 2009; Phil Cooper, the former Goldman Sachs buyout big, and Clyde Tuggle, ex-Coca-Cola executive.

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“So, I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges homes..”

Garland Allowing ‘Mob Rule’ In US – GOP (Fox)

Nearly 50 House Republicans pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland Wednesday to prosecute those protesting outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over an anticipated ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Led by Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., the members of Congress cite a federal law that makes it illegal to “picket or parade” outside a courthouse or a judge’s home “with the intent of influencing … the discharge of his duty.” “We therefore ask a simple question: as Supreme Court Justices are being illegally targeted at their homes, do you intend to enforce the law?” the Republicans wrote. “Your failure to act is a shameless and implicit endorsement of mob rule in America.”

Forty-seven House Republicans signed the letter, including House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.; GOP Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson; and R-La., Byron Donalds, R-Fla. They join a chorus of voices, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who are condemning the protests at the justices’ homes. Over the weekend, protesters picketed outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. People protested outside of Justice Samuel Alito’s home Monday.

“The right to peaceful assembly is among the most sacred rights we hold as Americans,” the GOP members wrote. “Yet our sacred right to peacefully assemble has never permitted Americans to intimidate judges, jurors or officers of the court. “We urge you to enforce the laws of the United States and stop the mob,” they added. “You should send the clear and unmistakable message to all Americans — regardless of party or political affiliation — that the intimidation of justices and the judicial process will not stand.”

The White House isn’t explicitly condemning protests outside the justices’ homes. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday intimidation is not acceptable. “@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism,” Psaki tweeted. “Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.” “So, I know that there’s an outrage right now, I guess, about protests that have been peaceful to date, and we certainly continue to encourage that outside of judges homes,” Psaki elaborated Tuesday. “And that’s the president’s position.”

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Filibuster had nothing to do with it.

Efforts To Codify Roe vs Wade Fail In The Senate (ET)

The Senate voted on May 11 to filibuster the Democratic-sponsored Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would have codified the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling into federal law as the Supreme Court appears intent on striking down the precedent. The 51–49 procedural cloture motion vote was mostly party-line, with all Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voting against the measure. The measure failed as expected because Democrats didn’t meet the 60-vote filibuster threshold needed to advance the legislation in the upper chamber. According to a draft opinion leaked to Politico and published on May 2—written by Justice Samuel Alito and confirmed as genuine by the court—a majority of the justices have agreed preliminarily to overturn Roe v. Wade.


The court hasn’t yet issued a final opinion. Under the 1973 standard, states are prohibited from imposing restrictions on abortion in the first trimester, during which SCOTUS ruled that the mother’s right to privacy outweighed state interest in protecting life. The move effectively overturned existing abortion laws in more than two dozen states, and since then, pro-life advocates have fought to return the power to regulate abortion to the states. Democrats decided immediately after the draft was leaked to try again on the WHPA, which the Senate failed to advance in February. A different version of the legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in September 2021 in a party-line vote, with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a pro-life Catholic, being the only Democrat to oppose it.

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“..there was not an outbreak caused by products from the facility..”

FDA Refuses To Reopen Biggest Baby Formula Plant in US (DM)

The biggest baby formula supplier in the U.S. has denied its Michigan plant is responsible for the deaths of two children despite the FDA closing it down. The plant was shutdown nearly three months ago after a bacterial infection caused the deaths and other serious illnesses. In mid-February Abbott Laboratories issued a nationwide baby formula recall and ceased operations at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan amid reports of babies contracting bacterial infections from its products. An Abbott spokesperson told DailyMail.com Tuesday that ‘thorough investigation’ by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Abbott revealed ‘infant formula produced at our Sturgis facility is not the likely source of infection in the reported cases and that there was not an outbreak caused by products from the facility’.


However, despite the findings of the investigation, the plant remains shuttered nearly three months later, fueling the nationwide baby formula shortage. The FDA – which said it found food safety violations at the plant, as well as five strains of Cronobacter, a bacteria that can cause blood infections and meningitis – has refused to say when the plant can resume operations. Abbott claims they are ‘working closely with the FDA to restart operations’ at the plant, with the spokesperson noting: ‘We continue to make progress on corrective actions and will be implementing additional actions as we work toward addressing items related to the recent recall’. The FDA told DailyMail.com it was holding discussions with ‘Abbott and other manufacturers to increase production of different specialty and metabolic products’ but refused to say when the Sturgis plant could reopen.

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“..he conceded that they don’t look ethical..”

Well, no. 1, they were secret. Isn’t that enough?

Acting NIH Director Admits Appearance of Conflict of Interest in Payments (ET)

Undisclosed royalty payments estimated at $350 million from pharmaceutical and other firms to Dr. Anthony Fauci and hundreds of National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists do present “an appearance of a conflict of interest,” according to the agency’s acting director. Dr. Lawrence Tabak, who took over as NIH director following the December 2021 resignation of the agency’s long-time leader, Dr. Francis Collins, told a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee that federal law allows the royalty payments, but he conceded that they don’t look ethical. “Right now, I think the NIH has a credibility problem and this only feeds into this, and I’m only just learning about this,” Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) told Tabak.

“People in my district say, ‘Well, so-and-so has a financial interest,’ or they don’t like ivermectin because they aren’t benefitting from that royalty. “You may have very sound scientific reasons for recommending a medicine or not, but the idea that people get a financial benefit from certain research that’s been done and grants that were awarded, that is, to me, the height of the appearance of a conflict of interest.” In response, Tabak said NIH doesn’t endorse particular medicines. “We support the science that validates whether an invention is or is not efficacious, we don’t say this is good or this is bad. … I certainly can understand that it might seem as a conflict of interest,” he said. Moolenaar seemed taken aback by Tabak’s response and, while pointing to Fauci, who was also testifying, said that “truthfully, I would say you’ve had leaders of NIH saying certain medicines are not good.”

Tabak said such statements by NIH are based on clinical trials that are supported by the agency. Moolenaar then asked Tabak, “But if the agency is awarding who is the beneficiary of the grant, who is doing the trial, and there is somehow finances involved, that there is a financial benefit that could be accrued if someone’s patent or invention is considered validated, do you not see that as a conflict or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest?” After conceding that there’s an appearance of a conflict of interest, Tabak suggested to Moolenaar that “maybe this is the sort of thing that we can work together on so that we can explain to you the firewalls that we do have because they are substantial and significant.”

[..] The $350 million in royalty payments were made between 2010 and 2020, according to Open the Books, the nonprofit that took the NIH to court when it refused to acknowledge the group’s FOIA request for documents. Collins received 14 payments, Fauci received 23 payments, and his deputy, Clifford Lane, received eight payments, according to Open the Books. Adam Andrzejewski, founder and president of Open the Books, told The Epoch Times on May 11 that NIH continues to withhold important information about the royalty payments, including the names of particular payers and the specific amounts paid to individuals at NIH.

Glenn Beck

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And got a fine reward.

Top US Scientist Warned Chinese Of US Investigations Into Wuhan Lab (DC)

The head of a U.S. national laboratory in Texas accepted a position at a Chinese university roughly one year after warning Chinese scientists about potential congressional investigations into COVID-19’s origins, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch. In an April 2020 email chain, Dr. James W. Le Duc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), warned top science officials in China, including a director at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), about Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s interest in investigating the pandemic’s origins. In April 2021, emails show Le Duc accepted a position on the “Biosafety Advisory Committee” at China’s Westlake University, a private research university with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“These startling documents show that China had partners here in the United States willing to go to bat for them on the Wuhan lab controversy,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement. Judicial Watch obtained Le Duc’s emails through a public records request to the University of Texas Medical Branch. Judicial Watch’s investigation follows years of mystery surrounding COVID-19’s origins. Early on, the theory that COVID leaked from the WIV was roundly dismissed by government officials and prominent scientists; at one point a New York Times reporter even claimed the Wuhan-origin theory had “racist roots.” However, scientists and experts increasingly consider it the “most likely” origin for the virus, and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has even accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and other top U.S. scientists of covering-up their own culpability in a possible Wuhan lab leak.

Le Duc first sent his warning to Shi, whose controversial research is at the center of the COVID origins debate, and other Chinese scientists in a series of emails beginning in April 2020. “I wonder if you would have time for a phone call sometime soon… The email below is relevant,” Le Duc wrote to Shi on April 16, 2020. Le Duc’s email linked to a Forbes report on Sen. Rubio’s interest in investigating COVID’s origins. Le Duc’s email also included a message he’d received from a former commander at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, warning that Rubio was pushing for a Wuhan lab investigation.

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“The controversial WEF has received renewed attention in the Conservative leadership race after candidate and MP Pierre Poilievre committed to boycotting the organization.”

Trudeau Government Gave $3 Million To WEF And $1.6 Billion To UN In 2021 (TNC)

The Liberal government funnelled more than a billion-and-a-half taxpayer dollars into various United Nations bodies, and millions into the World Economic Forum (WEF) last year, public accounts data shows. According to the transfer payments section of the 2020-2021 Public Accounts of Canada, the WEF received $2,915,095 from Canadian taxpayers in the form of grants and contributions. Funding was provided by two departments – the Department of Environment and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The largest of the transfer payments to WEF was a $1,141,851 contribution from the International Development Assistance for Multilateral Programming. WEF also received another $1 million grant under the same program. Other payments were cited as “contributions in support of conserving nature” and for the “establishment and management of conservation measures.”

The Trudeau government also generously funded the UN to the tune of $1.576 billion in the form of financial support, contributions and grants. Funding came primarily from Global Affairs, although other departments including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship also gave the UN money. Six UN-affiliated organizations received transfer payments worth more than $100 million each. The largest payment was given to the United Nations Children’s Fund, totalling $543 million. Meanwhile UN peacekeeping operations saw contributions worth $235 million, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees received $139 million. Other large recipients include the UN Population Fund and the United Nations Organizations.

[..] According to Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Franco Terrazzano, the Trudeau government needs to do a better job accounting for its funding of international organizations like the WEF, while Canada deals with a debt of over $1 trillion. “That’s a lot of money, and we can’t just keep sending a ton of tax dollars to international organizations because we’ve been doing it for years,” Terrazzano told True North. “The feds are more than $1 trillion in debt, so it’s on the government to make a clear case for every cent it sends to international organizations, and if it can’t make the case then we need to see reductions.” The controversial WEF has received renewed attention in the Conservative leadership race after candidate and MP Pierre Poilievre committed to boycotting the organization.

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Money flees..

Prepare For More Chinese Capital Controls As Exodus Worsens (BBG)

Strict capital controls made it impossible for several European companies to send dividends abroad and a Japanese beverage maker could not get paid due to “tougher restrictions on cross-border wire transactions.” This is not Russia in 2022, but China in late 2016 and early 2017, when the yuan plunged toward 7 per dollar. Those types of curbs could soon be brought back as part of Beijing’s arsenal to manage currency depreciation, especially in a context similar to 2016-17: Once again, the Fed hikes and capital flees. Besides the headline exchange rate, how much and how quickly money can leave China will become equally, if not more, important. Global portfolio managers, foreign businesses and the local rich are either leaving China or bringing much less capital onshore.


The nation suffered an unprecedented outflow from bond and stock investors in March and net selling continued into April, according to estimates from the International Institute of Finance. Total capital outflows, including errors and omissions, may surge to about $300b this year from $129b in 2021, IIF said in a report last week. While that figure is well below $725b, IIF’s estimate for 2016, Beijing’s options for combating it are much narrower this time around. Trade wars, Covid and supply-chain disruptions were not on the minds of foreign executives back then. In 2022, however, 52% of 121 companies polled by the American Chamber of Commerce in China have either cut or delayed investments. With only 1% planning to increase local investment, authorities have a daunting task to boost foreign direct investment as long as China sticks to its Covid Zero strategy.

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What a stupid story this has become.

Oath Keepers Rescued 16 Police Officers On Jan 6 (ET)

Video footage widely circulated in 2021 that shows a Capitol Police lieutenant asking members of the Oath Keepers for rescue help at the U.S. Capitol blows a hole in the seditious conspiracy charges brought against the group by federal prosecutors, two defense attorneys say. In the footage, Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson asks a group of men to help him get more than a dozen trapped Capitol Police officers out of the Capitol and through a tightly packed crowd of protesters on the building’s east steps. It was widely reported in January 2021 that Johnson wore a red Make America Great Again cap on Jan. 6 as a ruse to “trick” supporters of President Donald Trump into helping him rescue fellow officers from the Capitol.

He was later suspended for wearing the MAGA cap. Johnson is a registered Democrat, according to online records. The men who answered the call to help were members of the Oath Keepers, a nationwide group of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders who have been targeted by federal prosecutors for allegedly conspiring to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The video is at least the second example showing the Oath Keepers coming to the aid of Capitol Police inside the building that day. Would a group of men seditiously plotting an attack on the Capitol, allegedly to prevent certification of Electoral College votes, rush into the building to extract police trapped inside—all while being followed by a filmmaker?

“The prosecutors’ narrative has more holes than Swiss cheese, but it [the video footage] does directly refute their claim,” said Jonathon Moseley, who previously represented Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs. Prosecutors “just keep ignoring the self-contradictions in their stories.” The video footage was shot by part-time filmmaker Rico La Starza. One of several versions of the video footage posted online includes an introduction by La Starza. He said the video shows “me helping a group of Oath Keepers help Capitol Police get out. They looked scared and tired.”

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Just trying to scare him.

Feds Open Investigation Into Elon Musk (DW)

The U.S. government has reportedly opened an investigation into Elon Musk’s business dealings surrounding his recent $44 billion purchase of Twitter. “The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing Mr. Musk’s tardy submission of a public form that investors must file when they buy more than 5% of a company’s shares,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The disclosure functions as an early sign to shareholders and companies that a significant investor could seek to control or influence a company.” The report said that Musk’s April 4 disclosure filing was at least 10 days late, a move that is believed to have saved him more than $140 million because share prices could have been higher if the public knew about his ownership of 5% of the company.

“The case is easy. It’s straightforward,” Daniel Taylor, a University of Pennsylvania accounting professor, said. “But whether they’re going to pick that battle with Elon is another question.” The report noted that a lawsuit against Musk from the SEC would likely not stop him from taking over Twitter since the company’s board of director’s unanimously approved to be acquired by Musk and the SEC may lack the power to do so. Musk’s purchase of Twitter is also reportedly being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Musk said this week that he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump if and when the sale is finalized.

“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” Musk said, adding that the decision was “morally bad.” “That doesn’t mean that someone gets to say whatever they want to say,” Musk said. “If they say something that is illegal or destructive to the world, then there should be perhaps a timeout, temporary suspension or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very little traction.” “I would reverse the permanent ban,” Musk added.

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Murdering American citizens in broad daylight. Try that in Kiev.

Al Jazeera Accuses Israel of Killing -American- Journalist (CD)

The media outlet Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of “deliberately targeting and killing our colleague” on Wednesday after journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the face while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. In a statement, the Al Jazeera Media Network said that Abu Akleh — who worked as the publication’s Palestine correspondent — was wearing a press jacket that clearly identified her as a journalist when Israeli forces shot her “with live fire.” Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, called the attack “a blatant murder,” saying Abu Akleh, 51, was “assassinated in cold blood.” The statement continued:

“Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen. The Israeli authorities are also responsible for the targeting of Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samudi, who was also shot in the back while covering the same event, and he is currently undergoing treatment. Al Jazeera extends its sincere condolences to the family of Shireen in Palestine, and to her extended family around the world, and we pledge to prosecute the perpetrators legally, no matter how hard they try to cover up their crime, and bring them to justice.”

The Israeli government initially denied responsibility for killing Abu Akleh and wounding al-Samudi, claiming that they may have been shot by “Palestinian gunmen.” “There is a considerable chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, were the ones who brought about the journalist’s unfortunate death,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. But al-Samudi, speaking to the Associated Press following the incident, dismissed the Israeli government’s narrative as a “complete lie.” “He said they were all wearing protective gear that clearly marked them as reporters, and they passed by Israeli troops so the soldiers would know that they were there,” AP reported. “He said a first shot missed them, then a second struck him, and a third killed Abu Akleh. He said there were no militants or other civilians in the area — only the reporters and the army.”

Shireen Abu Akleh

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Fazer

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 152022
 
 April 15, 2022  Posted by at 8:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Bibémus quarry 1898-1900

 

Elon Musk Is No Longer Twitter’s Largest Shareholder (WSJ)
What is ‘The Russian World’? (Batiushka)
Here Comes China: The World Rotated One More Time (Amarynth)
The West Needs WWIII – Martin Armstrong (USAW)
Russia Warns of Nuclear Deployments If Finland, Sweden Join NATO (Antiwar)
The UK is Trying to Drag the US into World War III (Tracey)
From Mosul to Raqqa to Mariupol, Killing Civilians is a Crime (CP)
Russia’s Richest Oligarch Bails Out Société Générale In “Fantastic Deal” (F.)
Masks Fail Their Latest Test (Kirsch)
Fauci on Shanghai: “Use Lockdowns to Get People Vaccinated” (TNA)
6 Double Standards Public Health Officials Used to Justify COVID Vaccines (CHD)
Former Monsanto CEO Files Protective Order to Avoid Testifying (CHD)
FBI Documents Expose Bureau‘s Big Jan. 6 ‘Lie‘ (RS)

 

 

A lot of Elon Musk today, for obvious reasons. From his full TED interview to bits of that, as well as other tidbits.

 

 

 

 

Elon TED “My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted & broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.”
“I don’t care about the economics at all.”

 

 

Plan B

Tucker Elon

Tucker Charles Payne

 

 

 

 

The empire strikes back. Twitter is a major mind control tool. Can’t let that go.

Elon Musk Is No Longer Twitter’s Largest Shareholder (WSJ)

While Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter Inc., he’s no longer the company’s largest shareholder. Funds held by Vanguard Group recently upped their stake in the social-media platform, making the asset manager Twitter’s largest shareholder and bumping Mr. Musk out of the top spot. Vanguard disclosed on April 8 that it now owns 82.4 million shares of Twitter, or 10.3% of the company, according to the most recent publicly available filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The asset-manager increased its stake in the company at some point during the first quarter, according to the filings. Vanguard’s holdings are now worth $3.78 billion, based on Twitter stock’s closing price on Wednesday. That’s enough to knock Mr. Must off the perch as Twitter’s largest shareholder, according to FactSet.


Vanguard isn’t making a directional bet on Twitter. Instead, the majority of its assets are in index and other so-called passive funds. The firm often sides with management on voting issues and doesn’t advocate for changes like a hedge fund or activist investor might. Mr. Musk initially disclosed a stake in Twitter earlier this month of almost 73.5 million shares, but a day later his disclosed stake dropped to 73.1 million shares, or 9.1% of the company. The position momentarily made him the largest shareholder in the company. Vanguard previously reported owning 67.2 million shares of Twitter or about 8.4% of the company as of the end of December, according to FactSet. Mr. Musk along with former Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who is number seven on the list, are the only individuals among the top 10 shareholders in the company. The rest of the spots are occupied by financial institutions.

Steve Forbes

Elon Tweets

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“For us, ‘The Russian World’ means something else, far broader. It means wherever live those who are opposed to the exploitative and manipulative Western/Anglo-Zionist/Nazi/NATO/Globalist/Capitalist ideology and project.”

What is ‘The Russian World’? (Batiushka)

In 1991, the Soviet Empire crashed, leaving chaos in Eurasia, which the Western-inspired sticking plaster of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) did nothing to remedy. Unlike Western European colonial empires, the vacuum left by the USSR covered one contiguous landmass. Moreover, the space vacated had history, going back hundreds of years to the Russian Empire, fallen in the British-organised palace coup of 1917. As nature abhors a vacuum, it was clear that such a vacuum and its chaos could not prevail for long. After the alcohol-hazed and gangster-crazed years of the Harvard-puppeteered Yeltsin and the ensuing genocide and suicide of millions in the old Soviet Union, in the 2000s, sense, order and hope slowly began to re-emerge.

It arrived in the quite ancient concept of ‘The Russian World’ (‘Russky Mir’), which was first officially used in its modern sense in 2007, when President Putin decreed the establishment of the government-sponsored ‘Russky Mir Foundation’. From here on, this term became more and more common and is notably widely used by the multinational Russian Orthodox Church. However, what does this term actually mean? For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means wherever Russians live. If it means only that, then this is a purely nationalistic project. It would mean that the remaining elitist oligarchs inside Russia, the Euro-Atlanticists, who as fifth columnists co-operate with CIA agents inside and outside Russia, belong to ‘The Russian World’. It would mean that the corrupt and treacherous aristocrats/oligarchs who after 1917 moved mainly to Paris and since 1991 have moved mainly to London, Tel Aviv and New York, also belong to ‘The Russian World’. Do they?

For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means the Russian-speaking world. If it means only that, then this is a purely linguistic project. And yet there are many all over the world, from China to Venezuela, from New Zealand to Scotland, who strongly identify with Russia and her aims, but who do not speak any Russian. Are they then excluded? For some, the term ‘The Russian World’ means wherever Orthodox Christians live. If it means only that, then this is a purely denominational project. Given some 500 fringe intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals, who formally belong to the Orthodox Church and who compiled a Declaration on the ‘Russian World’ Teaching on 13 March 2022, calling it an “ideology”, “a heresy” and “a form of religious fundamentalism” that is “totalitarian in character.” So do they belong to ‘The Russian World’?

For us, ‘The Russian World’ means something else, far broader. It means wherever live those who are opposed to the exploitative and manipulative Western/Anglo-Zionist/Nazi/NATO/Globalist/Capitalist ideology and project. Although we mainly live in Russia, China, India, Africa, Latin America, the Muslim World, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, we exist all over the world, even within the conquered heartlands of the Evil Empire, in the USA, Canada, the UK, Israel, the EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. We are those who resist the carefully-orchestrated campaign of slander of the elite, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’. For those who live in the virtual world and who fly the made-up Lower Austrian flag of the made-up Ukraine, of whose history and geography they know nothing, the lies of that elite seem real. For us who live in the real world, the Russian world, they are both absurd and evil.

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“China’s top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd. is preparing to exit its operations in Britain, Canada, and the United States, because of concerns in Beijing that assets could become subject to Western sanctions.”

Here Comes China: The World Rotated One More Time (Amarynth)

The world rotated one more time since the last report on China. So, what do we know? China is rock-solid behind Russia in all of Russia’s objectives, and in some instances, up ahead. It almost seems as if an agreement was, if not stated, then understood. Russia will do the shootin’ for now, and China will keep the economic boat afloat. We see consistent commenting such as China is a consistent stabilizing force in a changing world Overall NATO is feeling the pressure and ‘resetting’ and trying to clone itself as Aukus in the east while trying to strengthen itself in the west. We have Stoltenberg announcing: “What we see now is a new reality, a new normal for European security. Therefore, we have now asked our military commanders to provide options for what we call a reset, a more longer-term adaptation of NATO.”.

In this speech, he announced that plans are being worked up to transform NATO into a major force capable of taking on an invading army and states that NATO deepens partnerships in Asia in response to a rising “security challenge” from China. Yet, in the east, the Quad is one less, given India’s refusal to follow the U.S. regarding Russia. Japan has been asked to join Aukus as a Japan, US, Australia, UK alliance intending to project a strong regional balance of power against China, Russia (and maybe India then?) in Asia. This Aukus will then have synergy,, they say, with Japanese technologies in areas such as hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare. Somehow I don’t see Japan as a suitable switch out for India, but then again, we’re dealing with desperate last gyrations of a world hegemon here, trying to project that it still has many friends.

A quick look at India. These days, if you see a country being threatened, you know already that they have started decoupling from so-called western democracy and Blinken has just threatened India yet again. He says the US is “monitoring rise in rights abuses in India” So, suddenly the US cares about human rights abuses in India. This bellicose rhetoric is not effective and way beyond its sell-by date. It is clear that Russia is decoupling from Europe, and this started before sanctions. But did you know that China is decoupling from Britain, Canada, and the US? This is a brand-new trend. China’s top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd. is preparing to exit its operations in Britain, Canada, and the United States, because of concerns in Beijing that assets could become subject to Western sanctions. As it seeks to leave the West, CNOOC is looking to acquire new assets in Latin America and Africa, and also wants to prioritize the development of large, new prospects in Brazil, Guyana, and Uganda.

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“There is not a pension fund in Europe that is solvent at this stage of the game. . . . The European government is collapsing. If they end up defaulting, you are going to have millions of people down there with pitch forks storming the parliament. So, to avoid that, they need war. . ”

The West Needs WWIII – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong thinks the New World Order’s so-called “Great Reset” plan for humanity now needs war to try and make it work. It could happen in the next few weeks. Armstrong explains, “What they are trying to do is deliberately poke the bear. . . . They are increasing the pressure on just about everything under the sun. The West needs World War III. They just need it. The real problem here is they went to negative interest rates in 2014 in Europe. They have been unable to stimulate the economy, and Keynesian economics have completely failed. . . . I would say this is mismanagement of government on a global scale. The problem is that central banks have no control over the economy. Add to this, this type of inflation is substantially different than a speculative boom.

This inflation is based upon shortages. These morons with covid . . . with lockdowns, ended up destroying the supply chains. . . . Things that are there, I buy extra of because next time it might be gone. So, everybody is increasing their hoarding. . . . So, what we have with Europe, with its negative interest rates, they have wiped out all the pension funds. They need 8% to break even, not negative rates. There is not a pension fund in Europe that is solvent at this stage of the game. . . . The European government is collapsing. If they end up defaulting, you are going to have millions of people down there with pitch forks storming the parliament. So, to avoid that, they need war. . . . The Biden Administration has deliberately destroyed the world economy.”

If there is war in Europe, the “U.S. dollar will get stronger initially and not weaker” according to Armstrong. Armstrong also says, “This is all deliberate. There is no return to normal here. Unfortunately, this is where we are headed.” Armstrong contends, war in Europe could break out in a couple of weeks, and the EU and NATO are pushing this. Armstrong says, “They want Russia to do something. . . . This thing with Russia is the same thing all over again. Unfortunately, we are headed for war.”

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US/NATO comes ever closer to Russia, and with more weapons. While claiming to want peace.

Russia Warns of Nuclear Deployments If Finland, Sweden Join NATO (Antiwar)

A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday that if Finland and Sweden join NATO, Russia would have to bolster its forces on its western border and said a “nuclear-free” Baltic region would no longer be possible. “If Sweden and Finland join NATO, the length of the alliance’s land borders with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened,” said Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, who served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012. Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia, and if it is admitted to NATO, Medvedev said Moscow would significantly bolster its forces in the Gulf of Finland, the easternmost part of the Baltic Sea.

He said Russia will “seriously strengthen the grouping of land forces and air defense, deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. In this case, it will no longer be possible to talk about any nuclear-free status of the Baltic – the balance must be restored.” The Russian enclave of Kaliningrad is on the Baltic Sea, wedged between NATO members Poland and Lithuania. In 2018, Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, but it’s not clear if they are tipped with nuclear warheads. Medvedev also suggested hypersonic missiles could be deployed. “No sane person wants higher prices and higher taxes, increased tensions along borders, Iskanders, hypersonics, and ships with nuclear weapons literally at arm’s length from their own home,” he said. “Let’s hope that the common sense of our northern neighbors will win.”

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden are moving closer to joining NATO. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Wednesday that the decision could be made “within weeks.” While Russia is against NATO absorbing the two Nordic countries, Medvedev said Moscow views the situation differently than Ukraine’s aspirations to join the military alliance. “We don’t have territorial disputes with those countries like we do with Ukraine,” he said. “For that reason, the price of their membership for us is different.”

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“I underline how critical it is: if Odesa falls, then I’m afraid it’s going to be very, very difficult for us to turn this around.”

The UK is Trying to Drag the US into World War III (Tracey)

There’s a chap called Tobias Ellwood who’s spent the past week doggedly promoting his latest idea to save Western civilization. “From a military perspective,” Ellwood explained during a recent speaking engagement, it’s never been more urgent to impose a “humanitarian sea corridor” off the coast of Ukraine. This would involve an outright naval intervention by NATO in the Black Sea — with the objective being to prevent Russia from seizing control of the strategically important city of Odesa. Perhaps upon commencement of this mission, Ellwood suggested, listless denizens of “The West” will finally come to appreciate the existential stakes of the conflict now before us, and “accept that we are actually in a 1938 period, but actually worse.” The double “actually” was presumably included for maximum emphasis.

Notably, Ellwood is not some random crank. He is “actually” a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, and the chairman of the impressively-titled Defence Select Committee. In that latter capacity, he seeks to exert influence over the Defence policy of Her Majesty’s Government, which is currently led by his Conservative Party colleague Boris Johnson. During the private event, hosted by a Think Tank which unilaterally and hilariously decreed his comments “off the record,” Ellwood described the plan he envisaged for how this new phase of military intervention in Ukraine would unfold. It should be up to the UK to “create a coalition of the willing,” he declared — borrowing the terminology once used for countries that participated in the US invasion of Iraq, which memorably included the UK. Ellwood evidently detected no ignominy at all in this historical association.

On the subject of Ukraine, Ellwood’s view is that the UK and Europe must stop waiting around for the US to get its act together, and instead proactively initiate the kind of muscular, unapologetic military action that is currently needed against Russia. The lesson of last year’s Afghanistan withdrawal, Ellwood charged — as well as Joe Biden’s purported Ukraine-related dithering — has been to “expose America to be very, very hesitant indeed.” He explained: “I see the United States almost catching up with where, from a military perspective, a vanguard may actually go.” Note that Ellwood’s plan certainly does not assume that the US would somehow just sit out whatever forthcoming war the UK may instigate. With the US as the real firepower behind NATO, that’s obviously not feasible.

Instead, his idea would simply be for the UK to place itself at the “vanguard” of precipitating the new military action, after which the US would inevitably be engulfed as well. Time is of the essence, Ellwood contends, because China has ominously joined with Russia to set about “dismantling the liberal world order” — a development Ellwood believes will elevate the conflict to a magnitude on par with the Peloponnesian War of Greek antiquity. “China will exploit the war in Ukraine to hasten America’s inevitable decline,” he warned. Out of these ashes, at least according to Ellwood’s apparent calculus, will rise the UK: “If we want Putin to fail,” Ellwood declared, “then we need to conclude this in months. We need to vow to press forward.” He added, “I underline how critical it is: if Odesa falls, then I’m afraid it’s going to be very, very difficult for us to turn this around.” (Note his use of the pronoun “us,” as though it should be understood that the UK is already an official combatant.)

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We know.

From Mosul to Raqqa to Mariupol, Killing Civilians is a Crime (CP)

Americans have been shocked by the death and destruction of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, filling our screens with bombed buildings and dead bodies lying in the street. But the United States and its allies have waged war in country after country for decades, carving swathes of destruction through cities, towns and villages on a far greater scale than has so far disfigured Ukraine. As we recently reported, the U.S. and its allies have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles, or 46 per day, on nine countries since 2001 alone. Senior U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officers told Newsweek that the first 24 days of Russia’s bombing of Ukraine was less destructive than the first day of U.S. bombing in Iraq in 2003. The U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria bombarded those countries with over 120,000 bombs and missiles, the heaviest bombing anywhere in decades.

U.S. military officers told Amnesty International that the U.S. assault on Raqqa in Syria was also the heaviest artillery bombardment since the Vietnam War. Mosul in Iraq was the largest city that the United States and its allies reduced to rubble in that campaign, with a pre-assault population of 1.5 million. About 138,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by bombing and artillery, and an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence report counted at least 40,000 civilians killed. Raqqa, which had a population of 300,000, was gutted even more. A UN assessment mission reported that 70-80% of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Syrian and Kurdish forces in Raqqa reported counting 4,118 civilian bodies. Many more deaths remain uncounted in the rubble of Mosul and Raqqa. Without comprehensive mortality surveys, we may never know what fraction of the actual death toll these numbers represent.

The Pentagon promised to review its policies on civilian casualties in the wake of these massacres, and commissioned the Rand Corporation to conduct a study titled, “Understanding Civilian Harm in Raqqa and Its Implications For Future Conflicts,” which has now been made public. Even as the world recoils from the shocking violence in Ukraine, the premise of the Rand Corp study is that U.S. forces will continue to wage wars that involve devastating bombardments of cities and populated areas, and that they must therefore try to understand how they can do so without killing quite so many civilians. The study runs over 100 pages, but it never comes to grips with the central problem, which is the inevitably devastating and deadly impacts of firing explosive weapons into inhabited urban areas like Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa in Syria, Mariupol in Ukraine, Sanaa in Yemen or Gaza in Palestine.

Tedros

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Do the French -again- bail out Société Générale?

Russia’s Richest Oligarch Bails Out Société Générale In “Fantastic Deal” (F.)

Personal sanctions have hit the pocketbooks and portfolios of many Russian oligarchs, as the U.S., the EU and the U.K. go after their palatial homes, private jets and audacious yachts. One person who has not yet been sanctioned by those powers (but was sanctioned by Canada last week) is Vladimir Potanin, a metals tycoon and one of Russia’s original oligarchs. His company, MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC (also known as “Nornickel”), the world’s biggest producer of refined nickel and palladium, is benefitting from soaring commodities prices amid the wartime supply crunch. Now, amid the upheaval of war, Potanin is moving to expand his business empire. The French bank Société Générale announced yesterday it was selling Rosbank, a Russia-based banking group, back to Interros, Potanin’s investment conglomerate.

Société Générale paid an estimated $4.3 billion to Interros between 2006 and 2014 to amass a near 100% stake in the Russian bank and its subsidiaries. Transaction terms were not disclosed, but Société Générale said that Interros would pay off the Russian unit’s outstanding loans and that the French bank would write off $3.3 billion. A spokesperson for Société Générale told Forbes over email: “With this agreement, concluded after several weeks of intensive work, the Group would exit in an effective and orderly manner from Russia, taking into account its employees and clients. Interros Capital is one of the largest private investment companies in Russia and is familiar with the bank, which would facilitate business continuity.”

Based on the available information so far, the deal was a “fantastic” one for Potanin, says Jerome Legras, head of research at Paris-based investment firm Axiom Alternative Investments, and former deputy head of structure capital finance at Société Générale. “The business is going to be disrupted of course because of the economy crashing and everything, but he’s getting a bank for close to zero, so of course it’s a good deal for him,” says Legras. “From the amount of the writedown they [Société Générale] say they took, and from the amount of capital in the company and what was said about the subordinated debt, it’s pretty clear this was a nominal price.” “In terms of pure equity, I think the price was pretty much zero,” adds Legras.

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Pretty weak graph, and a far too long article.

Masks Fail Their Latest Test (Kirsch)

The CDC just decided to continue the transportation mask mandate for another two weeks. Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, concurs with the CDC decision. Both are unable to differentiate real science from a sloppy study. There have been only two randomized trials to test whether public policy using masks to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 can reduce the spread. The first one, in Denmark, showed that masks don’t work. But the second one, in Bangladesh, claimed that they did. Nature called it a “rigorous study” and Stanford and Yale promoted it as definitive in a press release. But was it really? We challenged Yale Professor Jason Abaluck, the first author of that study, to defend their study.


To his credit (and our utter amazement), he agreed but with one condition: we were only allowed one person to challenge him (because that’s how science works of course). We instantly agreed. The discussion happened on April 3, 2022. The result: Abaluck failed. Badly. Very badly. One of our experts who viewed the interview said that it was worse than just sloppy work. He wrote, “This is bordering on fraud.” In short, the study actually failed to prove that masks work at all. For example, here’s the graph for purple cloth masks. If masks worked, it would be highly unlikely for these curves to be on top of each other. For some strange reason, graphs such as these were omitted from the paper. Can you guess why??? Yes, it’s because the study was designed to fit the narrative. Data that goes against the narrative is not highlighted.

You can see the entire 2-hour discussion yourself and make your own judgment. In this article, we include an analysis by one of our statisticians who viewed the video. We also include a link to an interview with statistician Mike Deskevich on his interpretation of the discussion. Initially, Professor Abaluck was so self-confident he thought he could run circles around us. He was wrong. The truth won. So now Abaluck has changed his tune. He now says he won’t talk to us anymore or answer any more questions. The bottom line is this: there is no rock on Earth that is large enough for the authors of that study to hide under. The use of masks to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has been debunked.

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“As Anthony Fauci is now branded as “false information” by Facebook, in relation to clip that has resurfaced from the past in which he discusses the flu vaccine, we ask, is this really about protecting the world from disinformation?”

Fauci on Shanghai: “Use Lockdowns to Get People Vaccinated” (TNA)

As tens of millions of Shanghai residents are being put into the most ferocious lockdown to date, being locked in their apartments and reportedly starving, America’s Covid Czar Dr. Anthony Fauci signaled that such policies might be quite effective in curbing the spread of Covid if the government gets detained people vaccinated. During an MSNBC “Reports” interview on Wednesday, the host, Andrea Mitchell, asked Fauci whether the government was concerned about the Covid outbreak in China. For some reason, Mitchell seemed uninterested in the fact that 24.89 million people in China’s most populous urban area — the most populous city proper in the world — are being detained against their will. Fauci replied that by imposing strict lockdowns early in the pandemic, China was “doing better than anyone else” in terms of containing the virus. He said,

“China has a number of problems, two of which are that their complete lockdown, which was their approach, the strictest lockdown that you’d never be able to implement in the United States. Although that prevents the spread of infection, I remember early on they were saying, and I think accurately, they were doing better than almost anybody else.” Fauci continued by saying that while imposing the lockdown, the authorities must act to “get people vaccinated”: “But lockdown has its consequences. You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated so that when you open up, you won’t have a surge of infections.” Fauci did not specify how he saw a concrete way of getting people injected with the vaccine while they were not allowed to leave their homes. Presumably, the government could send medical personnel to each and every unvaccinated person.

Disregarding the concept of natural immunity, Fauci went on to explain that vaccination would be needed “Because you’re dealing with an immunologically naive population to the virus because they’ve not really been exposed because of the lockdown.” That claim goes against his own admission in 2004 that the “best vaccine is to get infected yourself.” Back then, Fauci said that if a person contracted the flu, she “definitely” did not need to get vaccinated because she was “as protected as anybody else.” Fauci continued by bashing Chinese vaccines for not being effective enough: “The problem is, that the vaccines that they’ve been using are not nearly as effective as the vaccines that are used in the United States, the UK, [the] EU, and other places. So, they don’t have the degree of protection that’s optimal.”

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“Why does the CDC trust the peri/myocarditis data in VAERS but not the data on deaths?”

6 Double Standards Public Health Officials Used to Justify COVID Vaccines (CHD)

1. COVID deaths are ‘presumed,’ but vaccine deaths must be ‘proven’ As of April 8, VAERS included 26,699 reports of deaths following COVID vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially acknowledges only nine of these. In order to establish causality, the CDC requires autopsies to rule out any possible etiology of death before the agency will place culpability on the vaccine. But the CDC uses a very different standard when it comes to identifying people who died from COVID. The 986,000 COVID deaths reported by the CDC here are, as footnote [1] indicates, “Deaths with confirmed or presumed [emphasis added] COVID-19.”

If a person dies with a positive PCR test or is presumed to have COVID, the CDC will count that as COVID-19 death. Note that in the CDC’s definition, a COVID fatality does not mean the person died from the disease, only with the disease. Why is an autopsy required to establish a COVID vaccine death but not to establish a COVID death? Conversely, why is recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 prior to a death sufficient to establish causality — but recent exposure to a vaccine considered coincidental?

2. CDC uses VAERS data to investigate myocarditis yet claims VAERS data on vaccine deaths is unreliable On June 23, 2021, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met to assess the risk of peri/myocarditis following COVID vaccination, especially in young males. This was the key slide in this presentation:

The observed risk of myocarditis is 219 in about 4.3 million second doses of COVID vaccine in males 18 to 24 years old. The CDC is fine with using VAERS data to assess risk of myocarditis following vaccination — yet the agency rejects all but nine of the 26,699 reports of deaths following the vaccines. Why does the CDC trust the peri/myocarditis data in VAERS but not the data on deaths? One reason may be because the onset of myocarditis symptoms is closely tied to the time of vaccination. In other words, because this condition closely follows inoculation the two events are highly correlated and suggestive of causation. For example, here is another slide from the same presentation:

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I had no idea what my company was doing!

Former Monsanto CEO Files Protective Order to Avoid Testifying (CHD)

Former Monsanto Co. Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant is appealing a judge’s order that would allow lawyers for a cancer patient to question him on the stand in a trial scheduled to start next month in Kansas City. Lawyers for the former Monsanto executive filed a flurry of documents with the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District last week seeking to quash a subpoena compelling Grant to testify in person in the case of Allan Shelton v Monsanto. The trial of the civil suit is set to begin May 2 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shelton suffers from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is one of more than 100,000 people around the United States who have alleged in lawsuits that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, and other company herbicide brands made with a chemical called glyphosate, caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Shelton’s lawyers have argued that Grant was an active participant and decision-maker in the company’s Roundup business and should be made to testify at the trial, but Grant’s lawyers argue that Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Charles McKenzie’s approval of a subpoena for Grant to testify at trial was “in excess” of the judge’s authority and “an abuse of discretion.” Grant’s lawyers want the appeals court to issue a “writ of prohibition” and order the judge to take no further action other than to grant a protective order for Grant in the case.Grant claims in the filings that the effort to put him on the stand in front of a jury is “wholly unnecessary and serves only to harass and burden” him.

He notes in the filings that he left Monsanto in 2018 (when the company was sold to the German company Bayer AG), and that he already has given a “comprehensive videotaped deposition” in the nationwide Roundup litigation that can be presented at this trial. Grant’s testimony “would be of little value” because he is not a toxicologist, an epidemiologist, or a regulatory expert and “did not work in the areas of toxicology or epidemiology while employed by Monsanto,” the court filings state. Grant does not have “any expertise in the studies and tests that have been done related to Roundup generally, including those related to Roundup safety,” his lawyers argue.

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Rolling Stone turns on Jan 6 Committee?

FBI Documents Expose Bureau‘s Big Jan. 6 ‘Lie‘ (RS)

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, the FBI told Congress and the American people that the agency had failed to prevent or fully prepare for the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years in part because it lacked the authority and capabilities to more aggressively monitor social media, where much of the planning for the insurrection took place. As FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last summer, the FBI had circulated intelligence materials and other resources before Jan. 6, but the agency had limits in what it could and couldn’t gather from social media. “When we have an authorized purpose and proper predication, there are a lot of things that we do at social media and we do do,” Wray said, “but [what] we cannot do on social media is, without proper predication and authorized purpose, just monitor just in case on social media.”

Wray added, “Now, if the policies should be changed to reflect that, that might be one of the important lessons learned coming out of this whole experience. But that’s not something that currently the FBI has either the authority or certainly the resources, frankly, to do.” Since Wray’s testimony, the bureau has sought to ramp up its online surveillance capabilities, including by entering into one of the largest social-media monitoring contracts of any federal agency. Yet internal FBI records obtained by Rolling Stone show that, well before Jan. 6, the bureau already engaged in ongoing and widespread tracking of Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, and other social-media platforms. The new documents suggest the agency has all the authority it needs to monitor the social-media platforms in the name of public safety — and, in fact, the bureau had done just that during the nationwide wave of racial justice protests in 2020.

Critics of the FBI say that the bureau’s desire for more authority and surveillance tools is part of a decades-long expansion of the vast security apparatus inside the federal government. The documents refer to teams of employees engaged in what law-enforcement agencies call “social-media exploitation,” or SOMEX. According to the documents, SOMEX teams gather reams of data from social media and distribute that information to special agents and other law-enforcement representatives. The documents show SOMEX data included in situation reports, or “sitreps,” distributed within the bureau.

The documents were first obtained by Property of the People, a government-transparency nonprofit group. “The documents bring into relief three consistent truths about the FBI,” says Ryan Shapiro, executive director of Property of the People. “One: At its core, the FBI is a political police force that primarily targets the left while ignoring or outright enabling the far-right. Two: FBI spokespersons lie like they breathe. Three: The Bureau shamelessly exploits national crises to expand the already dystopian reach of its surveillance.”

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Spying on Veritas

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 112022
 


Edward Hopper Le Bistro or The Wine Shop 1909

 

Austrian Chancellor To Meet Putin In Russia (G.)
Russia Threatens Legal Action If Forced Into Sovereign Debt Default (R.)
Finland Poised To Request NATO Membership As Early As May (Fox)
NATO to Engage in Asia-Pacific to Counter China (ET)
Biden Schedules Meeting With India Prime Minister (CTH)
Bioweapons Expert Speaks Out About US Biolabs in Ukraine (BIN)
Ukraine’s Crop Harvest Could Be Halved (ZH)
Rising Food Costs Push Arab World’s Vulnerable to Breaking Point (BBG)
Dems Ignore Food Crisis, Fixate On ‘Tesla Charging Stations’ – Cammack (JTN)
The Spike Protein Pathogenic Algorithm (Chesnut)
Fauci Admits Covid Won’t Be Eliminated, Advises People To Calculate Risk (JTN)
China Brutalizes Citizens In Quest To Achieve ‘Covid Zero’ (Mosher)
Macron To Face Off Against Marine Le Pen Again (JTN)

 

 

 

 

Dore Maté Zelensky NATO
https://twitter.com/i/status/1513210890908225541

 

 


..about 40% of Ukraine’s armed forces – 102,000 fighters – were Paramilitary, aka the far-right, Nazis, and foreign mercenaries..

 

 

 

 

Time for the Guardian’s main propagandist on everything from Assange to Putin. Here’s Luke Harding.

Austrian Chancellor To Meet Putin In Russia (G.)

Austria’s chancellor is set to meet Vladimir Putin on Monday, the Russian president’s first face-to-face meeting with an EU leader since ordering the invasion of Ukraine, amid warnings of a fresh offensive and shelling in the east. Karl Nehammer said the meeting would take place in Moscow and that Austria had a “clear position on the Russian war of aggression”, calling for humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire and full investigation of war crimes. On the ground, Russian forces pounded targets in eastern Ukraine with missiles and artillery on Sunday, and Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful head of Russia’s republic of Chechnya, said there would be an offensive not only on the besieged southern port of Mariupol but also on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

“Luhansk and Donetsk – we will fully liberate in the first place … and then take Kyiv and all other cities,” Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel. The US has warned that the appointment of a new general in command of Russia’s military campaign is likely to usher in a fresh round of “crimes and brutality” against civilians. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, came to prominence at the head of Russian troops in Syria in 2015-16, when there was particularly brutal bombardment of rebel-held areas, including civilian populations, in Aleppo. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser in Washington, said: “This particular general has a résumé that includes brutality against civilians in other theatres – in Syria – and we can expect more of the same” in Ukraine.

Nehammer met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Saturday – the same day as the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who promised to give Ukraine 120 armoured vehicles and anti-ship missile systems. Washington has also pledged to give Ukraine “the weapons it needs” to defend itself against a new Russian offensive. Russia has failed to take any major cities, but Ukraine says it has been gathering its forces in the east for a major assault and has urged people to flee. Russian forces fired rockets into Ukraine’s Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions on Sunday, officials said. Missiles completely destroyed the airport in the city of Dnipro, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the central Dnipropetrovsk region. Russia’s defence ministry said high-precision missiles had destroyed the headquarters of Ukraine’s Dnipro battalion in the town of Zvonetsky.

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The one country that has very little foreign debt: “Russia faces its first sovereign external default in more than a century..”

Russia Threatens Legal Action If Forced Into Sovereign Debt Default (R.)

Russia will take legal action if the West tries to force it to default on its sovereign debt, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper on Monday, sharpening Moscow’s tone in its financial wrestle with the West. “Of course we will sue, because we have taken all the necessary steps to ensure that investors receive their payments,” Siluanov told the newspaper in an interview. “We will present in court our bills confirming our efforts to pay both in foreign currency and in roubles. It will not be an easy process. We will have to very actively prove our case, despite all the difficulties.” Siluanov did not elaborate on Russia’s legal options.

Russia faces its first sovereign external default in more than a century after it made arrangements to make an international bond repayment in roubles earlier this week, even though the payment was due in U.S. dollars. Last week, Siluanov said Russia will do everything possible to make sure its creditors are paid. “Russia tried in good faith to pay off external creditors,” Siluanov said on Monday. “Nevertheless, the deliberate policy of Western countries is to artificially create a man-made default by all means.” Siluanov said Russia’s external liabilities amount to about 20% of the total public debt, which stood at about 21 trillion roubles ($261.7 billion). Of that, about 4.5-4.7 trillion roubles were external liabilities.

Russia has not defaulted on its external debt since the aftermath of its 1917 revolution, but its bonds have now emerged as a flashpoint in its economic tussle with Western countries. A default was unimaginable until recently, with Russia rated as investment grade in the run up to its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation” and which on Sunday intensified in eastern Ukraine. “If an economic and financial war is waged against our country, we are forced to react, while still fulfilling all our obligations,” Siluanov said. “If we are not allowed to do it in foreign currency, we do it in roubles.”

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Finland, Sweden, Austria?!

Finland Poised To Request NATO Membership As Early As May (Fox)

The Finnish government is poised to formally apply for NATO membership “before midsummer” and potentially as early as May. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin stated Friday that the country would vote “before midsummer” on sending an application to join NATO. Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb says the vote will likely happen as early as May, according to Agence France-Presse. “We will have very careful discussions but not taking any more time than we have to,” Marin said during a press conference. “I think we will end the discussion before midsummer.” Stubb, however, was more specific in his prediction, telling the AFP on Saturday the government would likely vote on the issue before the end of May, just in time for NATO’s June summit in Madrid.

“The Finns think that if Putin can slaughter his sisters, brothers and cousins in Ukraine, as he is doing now, then there is nothing stopping him from doing it in Finland. We simply don’t want to be left alone again,” Stubb told AFP. While the Finnish public has traditionally been opposed to joining NATO, polls showed a seismic shift on the issue following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and support for joining NATO jumped from 26% to 60% following the invasion. Finland has remained wary of its eastern neighbor since the Winter War of 1939, when Soviet forces attempted to invade at the start of World War II. Finish forces famously delivered a resounding defeat to the Soviets. Finland lost 26,000 soldiers compared at least 126,000 dead or missing for the USSR. NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has stated that Finland would certainly be approved should it apply to join the alliance.

Some Russian lawmakers are already offering hostile language regarding a potential NATO-allied Finland. Russian lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov stated that joining the alliance would be a “strategic mistake” for Finland, adding that the country would “become a target.” “I think it [would be] a terrible tragedy for the entire Finnish people,” Dzhabarov said, adding that with such an action, “the Finns themselves will sign a card for the destruction of their country.”

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“North Asia-Pacific Treaty Organisation”?

NATO to Engage in Asia-Pacific to Counter China (ET)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has announced that it will begin engaging in the Asia-Pacific region both practically and politically in light of Beijing’s growing influence and coercion and its unwillingness to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Speaking following the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on April 7, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the global implications of the Ukrainian conflict had propelled the organisation to step up its engagement with Asia-Pacific partners for the first time. “We have seen that China is unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression. And Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path,” Stoltenberg said. “This is a serious challenge to us all. And it makes it even more important that we stand together to protect our values.”


NATO and its Asia-Pacific partners—Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea—met in Brussels to discuss international support for Ukraine. Stoltenberg said the gathered foreign ministers agreed that NATO’s next Strategic Concept briefing, expected to be finalised for the Madrid Summit in June, must deliver a response on how they relate to Russia in the future and how, for the first time, they take into account that their security is affected by China’s growing influence and coercive policies. “NATO and our Asia-Pacific partners have now agreed to step up our practical and political cooperation in several areas, including cyber, new technology, and countering disinformation,” he said. “We will also work more closely together in other areas such as maritime security, climate change, and resilience. Because global challenges demand global solutions.”

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‘Nice country of 1.5 billion hungry people you got there Modi. With all this talk of global famine going around, it’d be a shame if you couldn’t feed them.’

Biden Schedules Meeting With India Prime Minister (CTH)

Against the backdrop of increased Russia-India trade {link}, and the BRICS discussions about new trade payment mechanisms to avoid being shackled to the dollar {link}, it would appear the people behind the White House operation to create/maintain conflict with Russia are scheduling a stern conversation with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. WHITE HOUSE – ” President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will meet virtually with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India on Monday, April 11 to further deepen ties between our governments, economies, and our people. President Biden and Prime Minister Modi will discuss cooperation on a range of issues.” … “President Biden will continue our close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilizing impact on global food supply and commodity markets.”

The message from the White House will likely be akin to: ‘Nice country of 1.5 billion hungry people you got there Modi. With all this talk of global famine going around, it’d be a shame if you couldn’t feed them.’ Oh, and by the way, did you happen to catch what just rolled out in Pakistan? Imagine that – what with common borders and such… For those unfamiliar, it appears the DoS/CIA were up to their old tricks again, because Pakistan was favorable to the position of China and Russia in the Ukraine conflict and would not take sides with NATO and western allied leaders. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted through a majority parliamentary no-confidence vote early Sunday, that smells identical to the way Obama/Biden DoS/CIA ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

(VOA) – […] Khan is the first prime minister to be ousted by a no-confidence vote in Pakistan, but no democratically elected prime minister has served a full five-year term since the founding of the country in 1947. The repeatedly delayed no-confidence vote against Khan was held after the country’s Supreme Court ruled last week he had acted unconstitutionally when he previously blocked the no-confidence vote, and subsequently dissolved parliament. The embattled Pakistani leader had defended his blocking of the vote, alleging that the no-confidence motion was the result of the United States meddling in his country’s politics. Washington rejected the charges, saying there was “no truth” to them.

[..] (VIA ABC) – […] Khan has claimed the U.S. worked behind the scenes to bring him down, purportedly because of Washington’s displeasure over his independent foreign policy choices, which often favor China and Russia. He has occasionally defied America and stridently criticized America’s post 9/11 war on terror. Khan said America was deeply disturbed by his visit to Russia and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, the start of the devastating war in Ukraine. The U.S. State Department has denied his allegations.

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“The Pentagon does not do missionary work,” he says. “They kill people, and that’s why they are there.”

Bioweapons Expert Speaks Out About US Biolabs in Ukraine (BIN)

According to bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, Russia’s accusation that Ukraine is conducting U.S.-funded bioweapons research appears to be accurate If true, everyone involved is subject to life in prison under the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. According to Boyle, the U.S. government and Pentagon have had a “comprehensive policy” to “surround Russia with biological warfare laboratories” and “preposition biological weapons” there for use against them The problem with trying to make a distinction between “biodefense” and “biowarfare” is that, basically, there is none. No biodefense research is purely defensive, because to do biodefense work, you’re automatically engaged in the creation of biological weapons, and all dual use research can be used for military purposes. SARS-CoV-2 may be the result of such dual use research

Boyle believes we can hold the culprits behind the SARS-CoV-2 bioweapon accountable by asking local prosecutors to convene a grand jury to seek the indictment of those responsible for the pandemic for murder and conspiracy to commit murder In the video above, “InfoWars” host Owen Shroyer interviews Francis Boyle, Ph.D., a Harvard educated lawyer and bioweapons expert with a Ph.D. in political science, about the biolabs in Ukraine, which Russia claims are engaged in U.S.-funded bioweapons research. For decades, Boyle has advocated against the development and use of bioweapons. In fact, he was the one who called for biowarfare legislation at the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972. He then went on to draft the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act, which was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by then-president George Bush Sr. in May 1989.

While the U.S. has vehemently denied Russia’s accusations, Boyle says that based on what he’s discovered so far, the labs in Ukraine are all conducting biological warfare research — including ethnic-specific biological weapons — at the behest of the U.S. Pentagon, just as Russian authorities are claiming. “The Pentagon does not do missionary work,” he says. “They kill people, and that’s why they are there.” He also points out that everyone involved is subject to life in prison under the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which explains the mad scramble to project these labs as something other than what they are.

DR FRANCIS BOYLE start at 5 min.

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2023 will be worse.

Ukraine’s Crop Harvest Could Be Halved (ZH)

Ukraine is one of the world’s top exporters of corn, sunflower oil, and wheat. Disruptions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have stoked fears the war-torn country could experience a 50% decline in crop output this year, according to Bloomberg. Forecast data from ag expert UkrAgroConsult show Ukraine’s corn output could be as low as 19 million tons, about half of last year’s 41 million tons. UkrAgroConsult’s pessimistic outlook follows huge production uncertainties as farmers experience shortages of diesel and fertilizer and bombed-out infrastructure.

The outlooks of two other ag firms aren’t as gloomy. Black Sea research firm SovEcon expects Ukraine’s 2022 corn harvest to be 27.7 million tons, and Barva Invest’s outlook is 29.5 million tons. Both a far below 2021 totals. Maxigrain analyst Elena Neroba warned if farmers don’t have diesel, they “can’t plant huge hectares.” “Some farmers still don’t have access to seeds and fertilizers. Even if they already paid for them, the delivery supply chain doesn’t work as well as it should,” Neroba said. Regardless of how much the conflict impacts output, global food prices have never risen so fast and have never been so high in anticipation of food shortages worldwide. In March, global food prices jumped a stunning 12.64% MoM – almost double the previous record monthly surge…

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The CIA won’t mind another Arab Spring at all.

Rising Food Costs Push Arab World’s Vulnerable to Breaking Point (BBG)

Seated around the dining table, the family of four stares blankly at pictures of food sketched on the tablecloth. “Tonight,” the father says, “we’re coloring for dinner.” The scene in a cartoon in a Moroccan newspaper speaks to the predicament facing the kingdom’s 37 million people and their peers across North Africa as the Muslim world marks Ramadan. Normally characterized by abstention broken by plentiful sunset feasts, the holy month for many this year is a confrontation with painful economic reality. Global foods costs are up more than 50% from mid 2020 to a record and households worldwide are trying to cope with the strains on their budgets. In North Africa, the challenge is more acute because of a legacy of economic mismanagement, drought and social unrest that’s forcing governments to walk a political tightrope at a precarious time.

The Middle East and North Africa region’s net food and energy importers are especially vulnerable to shocks to commodity markets and supply chains resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to the International Monetary Fund. That’s in countries where the rising cost of living helped trigger the Arab Spring uprisings a little over a decade ago. “Just how much more do we have to take?” asked Ahmed Moustafa, a 35-year-old driver and father of three in Cairo. He already had to sell some appliances to keep food on the table and cover other expenses, he said. “We keep being asked to cut and cut and cut, but there’s not much left to cut from.”

Home to large, mainly urban populations and lacking oil wealth, governments in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are struggling to maintain subsidies for food and fuel that have helped keep a lid on discontent. The World Food Programme has warned that people’s resilience is at “breaking point,” while the United Arab Emirates moved to help ally Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, to shore up its food security and ward off potential instability. Egypt is also seeking IMF help.

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“.. they will have missed an entire season. There will be no harvest next year.”

Dems Ignore Food Crisis, Fixate On ‘Tesla Charging Stations’ – Cammack (JTN)

Amid warnings of an upcoming food crisis, Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee are prioritizing the installation of “Tesla charging stations” in rural America, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) lamented this week. The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) released a report Monday titled “Unprecedented Needs Threaten a Hunger Catastrophe.” “The world cannot afford another conflict as is happening today in Ukraine,” the report warned. “The war is a catastrophe, compounding what is already a year of destructive hunger.” “Ukraine and Russia account for a third of the global wheat supply, and over half of WFP’s supply of the grain,” the report explains. “The crisis in the breadbasket of Europe is driving up the price of wheat as well as maize, sunflower oil and crude oil — with dramatic fallouts for food security worldwide.”

If the Russian invasion continues beyond April, “an additional 47 million people” will experience acute hunger, up “from a prewar baseline of 276 million people,” WFP noted in another report, released on Wednesday. “Altogether, this means that up to 323 million people could become acutely food insecure in 2022,” the report added. On Friday, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the invasion of Ukraine is causing a 17.1% increase in prices for grain, which includes wheat, oats, barley and corn. On the John Solomon Reports podcast on Wednesday, Cammack warned of the approaching food crisis as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, preventing the latter country from planting crops.

“Ukraine should be planting right now,” she said. “They are not planting. So while this would be a typical growing season and a planting season, tractors are being used for the war effort, fuel is being used for the war effort — that is going to be a major, major issue as we move into the fall and the winter, because they will have missed an entire season. There will be no harvest next year.” There will be a “700% increase in fertilizer costs,” Cammack predicted. “And when you compound that with fuel prices — it was $5.19 a gallon for diesel in my district just this past weekend. You factor in the regulatory environment that is squeezing our producers to death. This administration has thrown more red tape on them and the threat of new taxes and regulations on producers, and then you basically put a bow on it with a pretty scarce labor market, it’s looking pretty grim.”

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“..spike protein inhibits DNA damage repair by hindering DNA repair protein recruitment..”

The Spike Protein Pathogenic Algorithm (Chesnut)

THE SPIKE PROTEIN PATHOGENIC ALGORITHM – DUAL PATHS TO TERMINAL SYSTEMIC FIBROSIS: IMMEDIATE FOR THOSE WITH SIGNIFICANT COMORBIDITIES, INDUCED FOR THOSE WITHOUT. The Spike Protein is inducing terminal systemic fibrosis of all organs, including the blood, via two principal mechanisms. The first is a direct, immediate path via binding to RGD-binding integrins, which includes several TGF-β-activating integrins. This activates Myofibroblasts which induces Fibrosis. Indeed, in autopsies of COVID-19 patients with advanced disease, 38% collagen deposition was found in their lungs. This is a rapid and certainly fatal circumstance. But, this is not limited to the lungs. In a series of cardiac autopsies conducted in Washington state, the most common changes observed were fibrosis in 14 (100%) patients and myocyte hypertrophy in 13 (93%) patients.

Let that sink in. In 100%. In EVERY SINGLE CARDIAC AUTOPSY, FIBROSIS WAS OBSERVED. The other mechanism is via DNA Double Strand Breaks and Impaired DNA Repair Mechanisms. This induces fatal systemic fibrosis in those who do not succumb to the initial assault. In mice that have their DNA Repair Mechanisms genetically deleted (this kind of mouse was developed to study Alzheimer’s) they experience The same level of DNA Damage as normal type mice. However, they accumlate DNA lesions faster due to their impaired DNA repair response. What is the effect of this? THEIR AGING IS ACCELERATED 6-FOLD OVER NORMAL TYPE MICE. What happens to these mice? They develop conditions common in elderly humans such as osteoporosis, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, muscle wasting, peripheral neuropathy, hepatic fibrosis, urinary incontinence, intervertebral disc degeneration, cognitive decline, and loss of hearing and vision.

Sounds like Long COVID, doesn’t it? How does this happen? SARS–CoV–2 full–length spike protein inhibits DNA damage repair by hindering DNA repair protein recruitment. Why should this happen in some faster than others? Let us look at Diabetics. Diabetes-induced, persistent DNA damage is associated with organ fibrosis. Non-diabetics are accumulating DNA damage lesions, which will result in terminal fibrosis, but Diabetics are accumulating them FASTER as they already experience HIGHER LEVELS OF DNA DAMAGE, WHICH IS ALSO NOT. BEING. REPAIRED.


Let us look at Obesity. Altered DNA repair; an early pathogenic pathway in Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. In an inverted mechanism to Diabetes, the Obese already have an impaired DNA Repair Response, so, their DNA Repair Response becomes DYSREGULATED INCREASINGLY FASTER than those without this common comorbidity. What is the ultimate point of the Spike Protein’s inhibition of DNA repair Loss of the DNA repair potential results in persistent DNA damage signaling, senescence, SASP, fibrosis, and organ failure.

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You’re on your own. But not really.

Fauci Admits Covid Won’t Be Eliminated, Advises People To Calculate Risk (JTN)

White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted on Sunday that COVID-19 will not be eliminated and that people will have to calculate their own level of risk that they are willing to take with the virus. “This is not going to be eradicated and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci told Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week.” “What’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions, even within the realm of a green zone map of the country where you see everything looks green but it’s starting to tick up,” he said.


As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed most of the United States at green, or at a “low” level of community transmission, and the 7-day moving average for cases sits at less than 27,000. “We’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” Fauci said, adding, “The best way to mitigate that, Jon, is to get vaccinated.” Fauci urged Americans ages 50 and older as well as immunocompromised people to get the fourth COVID-19 vaccine. He also warned that Americans could be required to mask-up again if cases rise. “We may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors. But right now we’re watching it very, very carefully. And there is concern that it’s going up,” he said. “But hopefully we’re not going to see increased severity.”

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“Yet the homebound are the lucky ones.”

China Brutalizes Citizens In Quest To Achieve ‘Covid Zero’ (Mosher)

For over two weeks the financial capital of China, Shanghai, has been locked down tight. Some 26 million people languish in their apartments, staring at their now-empty refrigerators, unable to set foot outside to forage for food for fear of arrest and incarceration. Foreigners are in the same predicament, as one complained on Twitter: “Day 16 of our COVID lockdown in Shanghai today and food is the key thing on people’s minds. We aren’t allowed to leave home so delivery is the only way I was up at 6 am yesterday trying to get any kind of delivery but nothing was available all day. So far, same results today..” Yet the homebound are the lucky ones.

The unlucky ones are those who test positive for COVID each day, like the 17,077 Shanghainese who did on Wednesday. Symptomatic or not — and nine out of 10 show no signs of illness — they are hauled off to hastily erected quarantine camps. The Shanghai lockdown, the largest since the first Wuhan lockdown two years ago, is China’s latest attempt to achieve COVID Zero. An army of health care workers, some 38,000 in all, have been sent to Shanghai, with instructions to completely stamp out the coronavirus within the city. They are frantically testing and retesting everyone. Unable to protest their lock-up any other way, people have taken to venting their anger by yelling out of their apartment windows. Most of their complaints have to do with food. “We have no food to eat,” they scream. “We haven’t eaten in a very long time. We are starving to death.”

One starving lockdowner found a quieter way to protest his growling stomach. He rolled his refrigerator onto his balcony and opened its doors. The inside is completely empty. Other protests have taken more tragic forms. As they did in Wuhan two years ago, people are once again jumping off the balconies of high-rise apartment buildings. One video circulating in China shows a couple falling to their deaths. The husband was said to be distraught because the lockdown had cost him his business. Those desperate enough to venture outside in their search for food are hunted down by “Big Whites” — members of the security forces who owe their nickname to the white hazmat suits they wear. Patrolling the streets day and night, the “Big Whites” arrest and jail anyone caught breaking quarantine, who often get beaten in the process.

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He won’t lose.

Macron To Face Off Against Marine Le Pen Again (JTN)

French President Emmanuel Macron will face off against hard-right leader Marine Le Pen later this month in a runoff election. With 97% of the votes in, the incumbent Macron won 27.35% of the vote while Le Pen came in second at 23.97%, according to the French Interior Ministry. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate, received less than 2% of the vote. Macron, of The Republic On the Move Party, has served as president since 2017. “Make no mistake, nothing is decided,” he told supporters on Sunday evening, according to the BBC. Le Pen celebrated Sunday’s results on Twitter. “I call on all French people, of all sensitivities, to join this great national and popular gathering that I am carrying!” she wrote.


Le Pen has surged in popularity following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the cost of living increased, the Financial Times reported. She has been accused of being far-right for her anti-Islam views. Le Pen has said that she would limit immigration and forbid the Muslim veil in public. “That’s not us,” Macron said. “Make no mistake. This contest is not finished, and the debate we’ll have in the next two weeks will be decisive for our country and for Europe … I want a France rooted in a strong Europe.” Le Pen has also been skeptical of the European Union and NATO. If she wins, the founder of the National Rally Party promised to restore France’s “prosperity and grandeur.” Left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in third at less than 22%, urged his followers Sunday evening, “You must not give a single vote to Marine Le Pen,” according to the BBC. He did not, however, endorse the current president.

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George Webb Azov-Metabiota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oct 282017
 
 October 28, 2017  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Stonehenge 1897

 

Spanish PM Dissolves Catalan Parliament And Calls Fresh Elections (G.)
Finland Prepares Parliamentary Vote To Recognize Catalonia (Exp.)
Catalonia Looks To Estonia’s E-Residency, Considers Cryptocurrency (IBT)
EU Economic Failures Are To Blame For Catalonia Mess – Steve Keen (Sp.)
Robert Mueller’s First Charges (Atlantic)
Large U.S. Cities Struggle With High Fixed Costs (BBG)
What You See Is Not What You Get in GDP (WS)
IRS Apologizes For Aggressive Scrutiny Of Conservative Groups (NPR)
J is for Junk Economics – Michael Hudson (Ren.)
New Zealand May Tighten Law That Allows Mega Wealthy To Buy Citizenship (G.)
Hopes Dashed For Giant New Antarctic Marine Sanctuary (AFP)

 

 

Vote for independence, get the opposite. A feature not a flaw in the EU.

Spanish PM Dissolves Catalan Parliament And Calls Fresh Elections (G.)

The Spanish government has taken control of Catalonia, dissolved its parliament and announced new elections after secessionist Catalan MPs voted to establish an independent republic, pushing the country’s worst political crisis in 40 years to new and dangerous heights. Speaking on Friday evening, the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said his cabinet had fired the regional president, Carles Puigdemont, and ordered regional elections to be held on 21 December. Rajoy said the Catalan government had been removed along with the head of the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra. The Catalan government’s international “embassies” are also to be shut down. “I have decided to call free, clean and legal elections as soon as possible to restore democracy,” he told a press conference, adding that the aim of the measures was to “restore the self-government that has been eliminated by the decisions of the Catalan government.

“We never, ever wanted to get to this situation. Nor do we think that it would be good to prolong this exceptional [state of affairs]. But as we have always said, this is not about suspending autonomy but about restoring it.” The actions came hours after Spain’s national unity suffered a decisive blow when Catalan MPs in the 135-seat regional parliament voted for independence by a margin of 70 votes to 10. Dozens of opposition MPs boycotted the secret ballot, marching out of the chamber in Barcelona before it took place and leaving Spanish and Catalan flags on their empty seats in protest. Minutes later in Madrid, the Spanish senate granted Rajoy unprecedented powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia under article 155 of the constitution. The article, which has never been used, allows Rajoy to sack Puigdemont and assume control of Catalonia’s civil service, police, finances and public media.

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Finland, Argentina, perhaps Scotland, who’s next?

Finland Prepares Parliamentary Vote To Recognize Catalonia (Exp.)

Finland could be the first country to officially recognise Catalonia as a republic state, in a move that would put the Scandinavian country in direct opposition to the EU. The country’s MP for Lapland Mikko Karna has said that he intends to submit a motion to the Finnish parliament recognising the new fledgling country. Mr Karna, who is part of the ruling Centre Party, led by Prime Minister Juha Sipila, also sent his congratulations to Catalonia after the regional parliament voted earlier today on breaking away from the rest of Spain. Should Finland officially recognise the new state of Catalonia this will be yet another body blow to the the EU which has firmly backed the continuation of a unified Spain under the control of Madrid. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned today that “cracks” were appearing in the bloc due to the seismic events in Catalonia that were causing ruptures through the bloc.

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, said earlier today that for the EU nothing changes despite the Catalan parliament voting to breakaway from Spain. He said that the EU would continue to only speak with Spain. If Finland recognised Catalonia then this would make a mockery of the EU’s refusal to acknowledge the region’s new status. A statement from the European Union on October 2 read: “Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal. [..] Argentina could also formally recognise the Republic of Catalonia and reject the intervention of the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who has moved to implement Article 155 which will permit Madrid to take over control of the semi-autonomous region. Socialist Left Argentine MP Juan Carlos Giordano, who represents Buenos Aires Province said that he would present a bill in parliament for the South American country to recognise Catalonia.

The Scottish Government has also sent a message of support, saying that Catalonia “must have” the ability to determine their own future. [..] “The European Union has a political and moral responsibility to support dialogue to identify how the situation can be resolved peacefully and democratically.”

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“Eva Kaili MEP, an advocate of fintech innovation who was a politician in Greece at the time of the crisis, recounts that the plan was taken seriously. “We talked about leaving the eurozone, finding another currency,” said Kaili. “There was even a ‘Plan B’, which involved essentially hacking into everyone’s accounts and replacing all their money with Bitcoin.”

Catalonia Looks To Estonia’s E-Residency, Considers Cryptocurrency (IBT)

As Spain is poised to seize control of the Catalan government and stop the region’s bid for independence, an initiative is underway to emulate Estonia’s innovative e-residency programme. Technology advocates in Catalonia, which is reputed to be ahead of the rest of Spain in areas like fintech, are also reportedly touting the possibility of a national cryptocurrency or digital token, something Estonia has also been considering. An article in Spain’s main daily newspaper El Pais reports that digital transformation experts working for the Government of Catalonia, the Generalitat de Catalunya, have visited Estonia several times to gather tips on how to implement an e-residency programme. Dani Marco, director of SmartCatalonia, who appears to be heading up the initiative, pointed out that the Estonians “started from scratch, with all the possibilities they were offered to build a model of economic development.”

The article goes on to namecheck Vitalik Buterin, inventor of the next generation public blockchain Ethereum, who was attending a technology conference in Barcelona. The takeaway was that Catalonia could follow Estonia’s proposal to issue some flavour of national blockchain tokens – a decentralised store of value in other words. Most of the time you hear about banks stating that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are only good for criminals, or that they are too slow, or volatile to be of any real use. However, issuing digital currency without the need for a central bank is undoubtedly a bona fide use case. Moreover, the mere mention of Estonia in this context is somewhat incendiary: the digitally advanced Baltic nation recently proposed issuing a national cryptocurrency – the so-called “Estcoin”.

This would make it the first nation to carry out an initial coin offering (ICO), a new way of funding technology projects by issuing tokens on a blockchain. A blogpost on the subject garnered so much interest and media attention that in the end ECB chief Mario Draghi publicly slapped down the proposal. “No member state can introduce its own currency; the currency of the eurozone is the euro,” he said. The other thing that Estonia has perfected across its 1.3 million e-residents is a secure and tamper-resistant e-voting system. [..] It was not widely reported, but during the years of punishing austerity that followed the banking bailouts, Greece considered a desperate measure called “Plan B”, which essentially involved switching from the euro to Bitcoin.

Eva Kaili MEP, an advocate of fintech innovation who was a politician in Greece at the time of the crisis, recounts that the plan was taken seriously. “We talked about leaving the eurozone, finding another currency,” said Kaili. “There was even a ‘Plan B’, which involved essentially hacking into everyone’s accounts and replacing all their money with Bitcoin. “Plan B was quite well drafted. Move all accounts into to Bitcoin, establish Bitcoin ATMs – it’s scary, and of course it goes against the ethos of Bitcoin and being in control of your own assets. But look what happened in Cyprus; sometimes you are not safe from your own government.”

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“..the European Union is about unifying Europe — this is a great example of it actually causing Europe to fragment.”

EU Economic Failures Are To Blame For Catalonia Mess – Steve Keen (Sp.)

Sputnik: Quite extraordinary scenes this afternoon in Catalonia. Are you surprised it’s come to this? Steve Keen: No, I am not. One thing that we tend to forget is that the last fascist dictator to die in his sleep was the last fascist ruler of Spain. So there’s a deep tendency for authoritarian reactions in that country. But in the meantime, the real story I think is the impact of the euro causing effectively depressions through southern Europe. And areas that were rich before the euro came are the ones that are leading revolts against it right now. Catalonia, of course, is the prime example!

Sputnik: People see this as a problem for Spain, but isn’t it a bit of a problem for the EU too? Steve Keen: Absolutely! The EU has completely sided with Spain, the only thing it did was acknowledge that the actual referendum was illegal. It didn’t make any mention of the heavy-handed treatment by the Spanish police and of the enforcing of that judgment. They should have been far more sensible simply ignoring it. The EU has aligned itself here with basically suppressing democratic tendencies inside its own member countries. Sputnik: Do you think that’s actually recognized by the European public? Or has it gone unnoticed?

Steve Keen: I think it’s gone unnoticed because the real reason to form the European Union was to bring about European unity. And that was, of course, a noble aim after the Second World War. But the mistake was the economic system into which it was imposed. And if you’re trying to bring about economic democracy of a continental level, when you don’t have a treasury at the same time and you don’t have a way of equalising the impact of trade imbalances, which is what removing the flexible exchange rates prior to the euro ended up causing, then you have a system which will end up causing crisis after crisis. Which is, of course, what happened with the global financial crisis leading to great-depression-levels of unemployment in Spain. And they’re still at 17% of the population. For everyone who thinks that the European Union is about unifying Europe — this is a great example of it actually causing Europe to fragment.

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It’s getting ugly. And murky.

Robert Mueller’s First Charges (Atlantic)

The special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation reportedly obtained a sealed indictment on Friday. It’s the end of the beginning for the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has reportedly filed the first criminal charges as part of the sprawling inquiry into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, CNN reported Friday night. Citing “sources briefed on the matter,” the network said a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., approved the charges, which have been sealed by a federal judge. CNN did not indicate who had been charged, how many people had been charged, or what charges had been filed by Mueller’s team. An arrest could come by Monday. Reuters subsequently confirmed CNN’s reporting.

John Q. Barrett, a St. John’s University law professor and former associate special counsel in the Iran-Contra affair, said that a sealed indictment itself is rare, as is its disclosure to the press. “It’s possible that this could come from sources in the Department of Justice or defense counsel, each of which would have been likely to know that charges were going to be sought and that a sealing order was going to be sought,” he explained. “It’s unusual and would be a serious violation,” Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman under the Obama administration, said Friday night. “No one outside of the Justice Department or the court—including grand jurors, court reporters and such—should know, with the possible exception of the defendant’s attorney, who might have been briefed to arrange surrender.”

No matter who is indicted, the move will send shockwaves throughout the Trump administration and the nation’s capital. Until now, the Russia investigation has followed President Trump’s first year in office like a shadow, darkening his political fortunes without substantially altering them. A federal indictment of anyone connected to the Trump campaign or the White House would turn that theoretical danger into hard reality.

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The problems that crawl up on you in the dark of night.

Large U.S. Cities Struggle With High Fixed Costs (BBG)

Cities across the U.S. often feel the same pinch—trying to manage the typical costs of running a city, such as picking up trash and filling potholes, on top of ballooning retirement obligations and outstanding debts. Several major cities are struggling to keep up. The culprit: As employees age and retire, cities are on the hook for funding more pensions and health-care benefits. In 2016, local governments faced a pension investment gap of $3.7 trillion, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Their predicament only worsens when cities fall behind in making those payments or their investments lag. When you measure those fixed costs against a city’s operating budget, no major city is as embattled as Jacksonville, Florida. In the city of 881,000 people, fixed costs are 31.4 percent of expenses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That’s driven by pensions, which made up almost 18 percent of expenses in fiscal 2016. Twenty-six other U.S. cities with populations of more than 250,000 have fixed cost ratios above 23 percent. They include Los Angeles and Houston, which could also be on the hook to pay Hurricane Harvey recovery costs that federal funds don’t cover. Smaller cities aren’t necessarily immune. City leaders in Hartford, Connecticut, where fixed costs are 27 percent of expenses, warned last month that the city wouldn’t be able to meet its financial obligations without additional help from the state. State lawmakers passed a budget with additional aid to the capital city on Thursday. Relief may not be around the corner for other areas. City revenues are expected to stagnate in 2017, on average, while expenditures are forecast to rise 2.1 percent, according to a Sept. 12 survey of 261 U.S. city finance officers by the National League of Cities.

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Awaiting revisions.

What You See Is Not What You Get in GDP (WS)

The US economy, as measured by “real” GDP (adjusted for a version of inflation) grew 0.74% in the third quarter, compared to the prior quarter. That was a tad slower than the 0.76% growth in Q2, but up from the 0.31% growth in Q1. GDP was up 2.3% from a year ago. To confuse things further, in the US, we cling to the somewhat perplexing habit of expressing GDP as an “annualized” rate, which takes the quarterly growth rate (0.74%) and projects it over four quarters. This produced the annualized rate of 2.99%, or as we read this morning all over the media, “3.0%.” This was the “advance estimate” by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The BEA emphasizes that the advance estimate is based on source data that are “incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency.”

These revisions can be big, up or down, as we’ll see in a moment. The BEA will release the “second estimate” for Q3 on November 28 and the “third estimate” on December 21. More revisions are scheduled over the next few years. So 2.99% GDP growth annualized, or 0.74% GDP growth not annualized, or 2.3% growth from a year ago… is pretty good for our slow-growth, post-Financial-Crisis, experimental-monetary-policy era, but well within the range of that era, that goes from 5.2% annualized growth in Q3 2014 to a decline of 1.5% in Q1 2011. So nothing special here:

[..] In other words, we won’t really know how the economy did in the last quarter until we have a lot more hindsight. Point one: It’s devilishly hard to estimate what’s going on in the vast and complex US economy. The BEA comes up with an “advance estimate” to give economy watchers a feel, but it concedes that there will be many and substantial revisions as more data become available, and that initial “feel” may be wrong. Point two: Equally complex economies, such as China’s, are equally hard to estimate. Yet China’s National Bureau of Statistics comes up with one big-fat figure that is always very near the number the central government had mandated earlier. It publishes its GDP number less than three weeks after the end of the quarter, and a week or more before the BEA’s advance estimate.

For example, on October 18, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that GDP in Q3 grew 6.8% year-over-year. And this figure – however hastily concocted, inflated, or just plain fabricated – becomes etched in stone. No one believes it. At least in the US, after many revisions and years down the road, GDP becomes a credible number. In China, you’ll never get there. And point three: GDP is a terrible measure of the economy. It measures what money gets spent on and invested in. It’s a measurement of flow. Among other shortcomings, it doesn’t include the source of money – whether it’s earned money or borrowed money. This leads to the distortion that piling on debt is somehow good for the economy, when in reality it’s only good for GDP but will act as a drag on the economy down the road.

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WTF?

IRS Apologizes For Aggressive Scrutiny Of Conservative Groups (NPR)

In a legal settlement that still awaits a federal judge’s approval, the IRS “expresses its sincere apology” for mistreating a conservative organization called Linchpins of Liberty — along with 40 other conservative groups — in their applications for tax-exempt status. And in a second case, NorCal Tea Party Patriots and 427 other groups suing the IRS also reached a “substantial financial settlement” with the government. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the two settlements Thursday. The Justice Department quoted him as saying of the IRS activity: “There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS. We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated.”

It’s “a historic victory,” said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative nonprofit legal group representing the Linchpins plaintiffs. Sekulow, who is also on President Trump’s personal legal-defense team, said the IRS agreed to stop “the abhorrent practices utilized against our clients.” The Linchpins case, in federal circuit court in Washington, D.C., has no monetary settlement. The two sides agreed to bear their own legal fees. The consent order says the IRS admits it wrongly used “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays” and demanded unnecessary information as it reviewed applications for tax-exempt status. The order says, “For such treatment, the IRS expresses its sincere apology.” [..] The controversy began in 2013 when an IRS official admitted the agency had been aggressively scrutinizing groups with names such as “Tea Party” and “Patriots.”

It later emerged that liberal groups had been targeted, too, although in smaller numbers. The IRS stepped up its scrutiny around 2010, as applications for tax-exempt status surged. Tea Party groups were organizing, and court decisions had eased the rules for tax-exempt groups to participate in politics. Groups sought tax-exempt status as 501(c)(3) charities, where the organization and its donors get tax write-offs, and 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations, where donors’ contributions are not tax deductible. After the IRS confession in 2013, its top echelons were quickly cleaned out. Conservative groups sued. Congressional Republicans launched what became years of hearings, amid allegations the Obama White House had ordered the targeting.

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Economics is designed to distort our view of the economy.

J is for Junk Economics – Michael Hudson (Ren.)

The main goal of neoliberalism is to create an economic model for a parallel universe that seems plausible, says economist, Michael Hudson, Professor of economics at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a researcher at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. “It seems that it would work very nicely, if the world where that day,” he tells host and co-founder, Ross Ashcroft. “But economics does not have a relationship to the real world. “The function of neoliberal economics is to distract attention away from how the economy really works: Why it’s polarising, why people are having to work harder despite the fact that productivity is increasing, and why the economy is polarising between the 1% and the rest of the economy.” It’s classic cognitive dissonance.

And though there have been many economists who have accurately explained the world, the economist says very little empirical research has been factored into classical economic modelling. “Everyone from Adam Smith, through even Malthus and Ricardo – had the basic concepts of value and price theory correct, for instance” said Professor Hudson. “John Stuart Mill gets even better marks, though he was a little optimistic about where capitalism was going. Then Thorstein Veblen caps-it-off. These are people Americans haven’t heard very much of: The institutionalist, Simon Patton for instance, was the first Professor of Economics at America’s first business school – the Wharton School – who became the intellectual mentor of economics turning into sociology early in the 20th century.

“There is an enormous amount of analysis, all of it based on history, on empirical analysis, on statistical analysis – and all of that is excluded from the curriculum – so there’s no way to fit economic reality into the academic curriculum of neoclassical economics.” [..] “What happens is that people who criticise financialisation – for instance, modern monetary theorists – find that they can’t get published in the major refereed journals. And without that, they can’t get promoted within academia. Universities are systematically detouring students away from economic reality.” [..] When Professor Hudson was teaching at the New School 50 years ago, he said his graduate students were dropping out of economics because they couldn’t fit reality into the curriculum.

The economist, famed for sacking Alan Greenspan back before the days he was appointed to the Chair of the US Federal Reserve, criticised him for claiming he was “shocked” by the self-interest lending of institutions to protect shareholders equity. “He knew who paid him,” said Hudson. “When I was on Wall Street in the 1960s, banks were afraid to hire him because he was known for saying whatever the client wanted to be said. He’s a public relations person. “The fact is universities are teaching the economics of public relations for the corporate sector. That’s why, underlying this theory, is a theory of how an economy would work without government, or any governmental regulation, where taxation is seen as a burden.”

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It’ll be hard to keep the rich away.

New Zealand May Tighten Law That Allows Mega Wealthy To Buy Citizenship (G.)

New Zealand’s new Labour government will reconsider legislation that allows wealthy foreigners to effectively buy citizenship, the housing minister has said. In an interview with the Guardian about the housing shortage in New Zealand, Phil Twyford said the law that allowed Trump donor and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel to become a citizen and buy a bolt hole in the South Island would come under scrutiny. Since coming into power last week, Labour has said it will ban foreigners from buying existing homes, along with a slew of policies aimed at addressing the housing crisis, which has seen homelessness grow to more than 40,000 people. However, the ban will not apply to foreigners who gain citizenship in New Zealand – a loophole that billionaire Thiel used, after spending a total of 12 days in the country.

Thiel’s fast-tracked citizenship allowed him to buy multiple properties in New Zealand, even though he told the government he had no intention of living in the country, but would be an “ambassador” for New Zealand overseas instead, and provide contacts for New Zealand entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley. “That was a discretionary decision that was made at the time [Thiel’s citizenship], and we were very critical. Our policy, banning people would apply to everybody, regardless of how much money they have or what country they come from,” Twyford said. “We haven’t announced policy on that [tightening the investment immigration criteria] but I think it is probably something that we are likely to look at.” Twyford said New Zealand’s ban on foreign buyers was modelled on similar legislation in Australia, and was designed to ensure New Zealanders can once again achieve the Kiwi dream of owning their own home.

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We are the tragedy.

Hopes Dashed For Giant New Antarctic Marine Sanctuary (AFP)

Hopes for a vast new marine sanctuary in pristine East Antarctica were dashed Saturday after a key conservation summit failed to reach agreement, with advocates urging “greater vision and ambition”. Expectations were high ahead of the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – a treaty tasked with overseeing protection and sustainable exploitation of the Southern Ocean. Last year’s summit in Hobart saw the establishment of a massive US and New Zealand-backed marine protected area (MPA) around the Ross Sea covering an area roughly the size of Britain, Germany and France combined. But an Australia and France-led push this year to create a second protected area in East Antarctica spanning another one million square kilometre zone failed.

Officials told AFP that Russia and China were key stumbling blocks, worried about compliance issues and fishing rights. Consensus is needed from all 24 CCAMLR member countries and the European Union. Greenpeace called for “greater vision and ambition” in the coming year while WWF’s Antarctic program chief Chris Johnson said it was another missed opportunity. “We let differences get in the way of responding to the needs of fragile wildlife,” he said. Australia’s chief delegate Gillian Slocum described the failure as “sad”. She also bemoaned little progress on addressing the impacts of climate change which was having a “tangible effect” on the frozen continent. “While CCAMLR was not able to adopt a Climate Change Response Work Program this year, members will continue to work together ahead of the next meeting to better incorporate climate change impacts into the commission’s decision-making process,” she said.

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 December 23, 2015  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Debt Rattle December 23 2015


DPC Unloading bananas, New Orleans 1903

Macquarie Forecasts 13% Fall In Chinese Steel Export Prices (BBG)
U.S. Calls for 256% Tariff on Imports of Steel From China (BBG)
US Existing Home Sales Down 10.5% In November (Reuters)
Man Who Called China’s Boom and Bust Now Warns of Crisis Risks (BBG)
Canadian Oil Industry To Lose 100,000 Jobs By The End Of 2015 (FP)
Finland Should Never Have Joined Euro, Foreign Minister Says (BBG)
Finns’ Support For Euro Falls Ahead Of Referendum Debate (Reuters)
Singapore Stock Losses Set to Rival Greece in 2015 (BBG)
Hope And Fear In The Endless Greek Crisis (FT)
The Decline Of Europe Is A Global Concern (FT)
Mr. Schäuble’s Ultimate Weapon: Restructuring European Public Debts (Bastasin)
Greece Recalls Its Ambassador In Prague After Czech Grexit Comments (Kath.)
Christmas 2015: Will Syria & Iraq Become Washington’s Stalingrad? (Holland)
Military to Military (Seymour Hersh)
UN Blames Saudi-Led Coalition For Attacks On Yemeni Civilians (Reuters)
ExxonMobil and Sierra Club Agreed on Climate Policy – and Kept It Secret (BBG)
Britain Can No Longer Sit Out Refugee Crisis As EU Prepares For More (Guardian)
Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door (NY Times)
Some Catholics Heed Pope’s Call To Succor Refugees, Others Look Away (Reuters)
13 Refugees, 7 Children, Die as Boat Sinks Off Greek Island (Kath.)

“..the industry was built for demand growth that hasn’t come through..”

Macquarie Forecasts 13% Fall In Chinese Steel Export Prices (BBG)

The world needs to get used to cheap Chinese steel, with export prices poised to fall again next year as the world’s biggest producer adjusts to demand that’s dropping for the first time in a generation. The price of hot-rolled coil, used in everything from fridges to freight containers, may decline about 13% next year, Colin Hamilton, Macquarie’s head of commodities research, said. The nation’s steel exports, which have ballooned to more than 100 million metric tons this year, may stay at those levels for the rest of the decade as infrastructure and construction demand continues to falter. While falling steel prices are partly driven by the collapse in raw materials and lower output costs, “it’s just more to do with the fact the industry was built for demand growth that hasn’t come through,” Hamilton said last week.

“We’re past peak steel demand. I think provided there is overcapacity in the Chinese system and given where demand is, it’s going to be like this for some time.” The flood of Chinese supplies has roiled manufacturers around the world, triggering trade restrictions from India to Europe to the U.S. Continued low prices will pressure steel-making profits worldwide, and may trigger further measures against Chinese exports, according to Anjani Agrawal at Ernst & Young in Mumbai. China’s hot-rolled coil is a key reference price for the global steel market. The country is the biggest and one of the lowest-cost makers of a product used by manufacturers across the world. Macquarie is forecasting an average price next year of $267.50 a ton, down from $309 a ton in 2015.

Other banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., have said China’s outbound shipments will peak this year as low prices and trade tensions force Chinese producers to start paring output. China’s crude steel production shrank 2.2% to 738.38 million tons in the first 11 months of 2015. “What may slow down the exports is anti-dumping and protectionist measures that several countries have taken against cheap imports,” said Ernst & Young’s Agrawal. “We’re going to see an impact. More and more countries are raising their objections.” India plans to step up its protection for debt-laden domestic steelmakers by imposing a minimum price on steel imports among other measures, Steel Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said this week. The import curbs are necessary to ensure a “level-playing field” for Indian companies after restrictions imposed in September failed to stop a decline in prices, she said.

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We only like free trade when we profit from it.

U.S. Calls for 256% Tariff on Imports of Steel From China (BBG)

Corrosion-resistant steel imports from China were sold at unfairly low prices and will be taxed at 256%, according to a preliminary finding of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Imports from India, South Korea and Italy will be taxed at lower rates, the agency said Tuesday in a statement. Imports from Taiwan and Italy’s Marcegaglia will not face anti-dumping tariffs. The government found dumping margins of 3.25% for most South Korean steel imports, with Hyundai Steel’s shipments subject to duties of 3.5%. Imports from Italian companies excluding Marcegaglia will be taxed at 3.1%. Indian imports are subject to duties from 6.6% to 6.9%.

“We’re concerned that the dumping that’s occurring is at higher levels than these determinations reflect,” Tim Brightbill, a partner at Wiley Rein, a law firm representing U.S. steelmaker Nucor, said Tuesday in an interview. “We have serious concerns that these preliminary duties are not enough at a time when unfairly priced imports continue to surge into the U.S. market at unprecedented rates.” U.S. producers including Nucor, U.S. Steel and Steel Dynamics filed cases in June alleging that some products from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan had been dumped in the U.S., harming domestic companies. In November, the government found that all those countries, except Taiwan, subsidized their domestic production by as much as 236% of its price.

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Blamed on ‘paperwork’.

US Existing Home Sales Down 10.5% In November (Reuters)

U.S. home resales posted their sharpest drop in five years in November, a potential warning sign for the health of the U.S. economy although new regulations on paperwork for home purchases may have driven the decline. The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales plunged 10.5% to an annual rate of 4.76 million units. That was the sharpest decline since July 2010. October’s sales pace was revised slightly lower to 5.32 million units. Housing has been providing a sizable boost to U.S. economic growth this year as a strengthening labor market and low interest rates have helped young adults to leave their parents’ homes. Economists had forecast sales rising to a rate of 5.35 million units last month.

NAR economist Lawrence Yun said most of November’s decline was likely due to regulations that came into effect in October aimed at simplifying paperwork for home purchasing. Yun said it appeared lenders and closing companies were being cautious about using the new mandated paperwork. Also potentially weighing on home sales, the median price for a U.S. existing home rose to $220,300 in November, up 6.3% from the same month in 2014. Yun said the steep rise in prices and shrinking inventories could also be constraining home purchases. Sales dropped across the country, down 13.9% in the West, 6.2% in the South, 15.4% in the Midwest and 9.2% in the Northeast.

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“Historically, every time the U.S. current account improved, concurrent with dollar strength, some country somewhere in the world plunged into some sort of crisis..”

Man Who Called China’s Boom and Bust Now Warns of Crisis Risks (BBG)

One of the few forecasters to predict both the start and peak of China’s equity boom, is now warning the nation will be buffeted by the same forces that caused financial crises around the world over the past four decades. Hao Hong, chief China strategist at Bocom International, says a shortage of dollars was the common feature in the oil rout in the 1970s, Latin American debt turmoil in the 1980s, the Asian currencies collapse in 1997 and the global crisis in 2008. Next year will see Federal Reserve interest-rate increases, an improving U.S. current-account balance and a stronger greenback, putting strains on the most-leveraged parts of the world’s second-largest economy, he says. “Historically, every time the U.S. current account improved, concurrent with dollar strength, some country somewhere in the world plunged into some sort of crisis,” Hong said.

“The pressure from a Fed tightening and thus a dollar liquidity shortage scenario will more likely show up” in Hong Kong property as well as China’s online lending and high-yield corporate bonds, he said in an interview. The yuan, for many years Asia’s most-profitable carry trade when adjusted for volatility, has weakened 4.2% against the dollar in 2015 as the yield advantage of China’s sovereign debt over U.S. Treasuries fell to the narrowest in five years. Chinese companies that borrowed in foreign currency at a record pace in the past three years are now buying dollars to protect against losses. Hot money that entered China with fake export invoicing, metals purchases and disguised foreign investment is now heading for the exit. “All roads to hell are paved with positive carry,” said Hong.

“Over the past few years, one of the biggest carry trades was to borrow dollar debt unhedged given the one-way expectation for yuan appreciation. We are seeing companies paying down dollar-denominated debt fast, and thus alleviating some of the risks, but not all.” The yuan strengthened 13% against the dollar in the four years through 2013, before retreating 2.4% in 2014. This year’s loss is set to be the biggest in more than two decades. The currency’s Sharpe ratio, a gauge of rewards that factors in the risks investors take, is the highest among 22 emerging markets for the period since 2010, reflecting its appeal to investors who buy higher-yielding currencies with funds borrowed in countries that have lower interest rates.

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Loonie at $1.40. That hurts.

Canadian Oil Industry To Lose 100,000 Jobs By The End Of 2015 (FP)

The oil and gas sector will see 100,000 job losses by the end of this year, including 40,000 direct jobs, as a combination of policy uncertainties and low crude oil prices decimates the sector, the head of the country’s oil and gas industry group says. “Canadians should be concerned in times like these,” Tim McMillan, president and chief executive of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said in an interview. “We have a lot of big policy pieces moving around. We need … to ensure we can compete in a slower price environment and if prices do bounce back , that we are the preferred investment jurisdiction and that we are picking up more than our fair share.”

Crude oil prices have halved in the space of a year to around US$35 per barrel and could slip further to the high US$20s as major producers continue to flood the market with record output, Citigroup estimates. Alberta alone has seen job losses of 63,500 jobs in the first eight months of the year, mostly related to the oil sector, according to Statistics Canada. Apart from the protracted price declines, Alberta’s oil and gas sector has also had to contend with a 20% hike in corporate taxes, a carbon tax and new regulatory policies to limit rein in carbon emissions. Meanwhile, a new provincial royalty regime is to be announced in January, leaving Alberta oil and gas producers under a cloud of uncertainty.

The new federal government also plans to unveil new policies, including a review of the regulatory process, which the sector sees as more burden in an already difficult environment for the industry. McMillan said those burdens are chipping away at Alberta’s competitiveness as an energy jurisdiction. In the 1990s, Canada attracted 37% of all oil and gas investments in North America, a figure that now stands at 17%, he said.

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Finland’s economy is tanking.

Finland Should Never Have Joined Euro, Foreign Minister Says (BBG)

Finland should never have signed up to the single currency union, according to its foreign minister. With the northernmost euro member now set to become the bloc’s weakest economy, the question of currency regime continues to resurface as Finland looks for explanations for its lost competitiveness. Timo Soini, who is also the leader of one of three members of the ruling coalition, the anti-immigration The Finns party, says the country could have resorted to devaluations had it not been for its euro membership. The comments come as a former foreign minister gathers signatures in an effort to force the government to hold a referendum on euro membership. While polls still show most Finns don’t want to go through the process of exiting the currency bloc, there are signs that a plurality of voters think they would be better off outside the euro.

Debate on the subject “will gather steam,” Soini, who rose to power on a platform of euro-skepticism, said in Helsinki on Tuesday. But he also warned that a referendum “wouldn’t provide solutions,” here and now, to Finland’s economic woes. “The fact is that Finland is a member of the euro area.” The country has seen its economy sink following the decline of a consumer electronics business once led by Nokia Oyj and a faltering paper industry, with political efforts to create new growth motors so far failing. Without the option of currency devaluation, the government has calculated that Finland needs to lower its labor costs as much as 15% to catch up with its main trade partners, Sweden and Germany. Finland’s economy has shrunk for the past three years and Nordea, the biggest Nordic bank, predicts further contraction in 2015. Finland will be the weakest EU economy by 2017, when it will grow at less than half the pace of Greece, according to the European Commission.

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Please, Finns, blow up the union! If you don’t do it, someone else will, anyway.

Finns’ Support For Euro Falls Ahead Of Referendum Debate (Reuters)

Support in Finland for keeping the euro currency has fallen to 54% amid persistent economic problems, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday, as parliament prepares for a debate next year on whether to hold referendum on euro membership. Despite recovery elsewhere in the euro zone, Finland has suffered three years of economic contraction and some Finns say its prospects would improve if it returned to the markka currency. Parliament had to agree to a debate on a possible referendum after a petition raised the necessary 50,000 signatures. The debate will probably be held in the first half of 2016. The move is unlikely to end membership, analysts say. The poll by public broadcaster YLE published on Tuesday showed that 54% of Finns supported remaining in the euro zone, while 31% wanted to leave. Asked whether Finland would do better outside the euro zone, 44% answered yes.

Last month, a Eurobarometer poll showed 64% of Finns backed the euro currency, down from 69% a year earlier. Finland’s foreign minister and the leader of eurosceptic The Finns party Timo Soini told reporters that even if many believed the euro was harmful for the country there was not enough political will to leave the currency bloc. “I think Finland should not have joined the euro. But how to dismantle that decision, that is a very complicated question.” He noted that Finland adopted the euro in 1998 without a referendum, while neighbors Sweden and Denmark voted down the idea of adopting the euro a few years later. Finland was once known for its prudent fiscal policy, but after the global financial crisis its recovery has been hit by a string of problems, including high labor costs and recession in neighboring Russia.

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Singapore gets hurt by China.

Singapore Stock Losses Set to Rival Greece in 2015 (BBG)

Singapore’s stocks are set for a 15% tumble this year, putting them in the same league as Greece. Baring Asset Management and UBS say shares need to get even cheaper before they’re prepared to buy. Commodity trader Noble and oil-rig builder Sembcorp fell at least 46% in 2015 through Monday amid a raw-materials price rout, while DBS Group has been the biggest drag on the Straits Times Index as property prices decline and bad debts increase. Among developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, the only benchmark measure that has fared worse is the ASE Index in Athens, which is poised for a 24% plunge. “While some value could emerge if Singapore drops another 10%, there’s not a lot of things to be wildly excited about Singapore at the moment,” said Soo Hai Lim, a Hong Kong-based money manager at Baring.

“Cheap valuations aren’t a good enough reason why these stocks would deliver the kind of performance we’re looking for. The growth outlook is still quite soft for 2016.” Following this year’s slump, shares on the MSCI Singapore Index trade at 1.1 times the value of its companies’ net assets, compared with a multiple of 2 on a measure of global equities. The gap between the two widened this month to the most since May 2003. The MSCI All-Country World Index is heading for a 5.5% retreat in 2015. While attractive valuations may spur a rebound in the early part of next year, the outlook for the whole year still looks pessimistic, according to Mixo Das at Nomura. “Growth overall is slowing, particularly in China, and that raises the risk for the earnings of banks and commodity companies,” Das said. “That’s going to drag on Singapore valuations.”

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The EU took any hope of a Greek recovery away. Martin Wolf should know that.

Hope And Fear In The Endless Greek Crisis (FT)

The Greek economic crisis has blighted the country and the eurozone for six years. The election last January, which brought Alexis Tsipras and his leftwing Syriza party to power, added further friction between Greece and the rest of the eurozone. Mr Tsipras vowed to undo austerity — a promise he could not deliver on his own. In the event, after winning a referendum in June against the terms offered by the eurozone, he agreed in July to a new €86bn three-year eurozone programme on terms not so different from those he had persuaded the Greek people to reject. After a split in his party, Mr Tsipras then won another election in September. Yet the capital controls imposed in June remain in force and the economy has fallen back into recession.

Is there a good chance that economic recovery will take hold in 2016? This was in my mind as I visited Athens last week. My conclusion was that a chance does exist. But it is not, alas, that good. The starting point has to be with the differences of view among the main players: the Greek government and wider political community; the IMF; and eurozone creditors, particularly Germany. As Mr Tsipras made clear last week, one of his aims is to avoid another programme with the IMF. He finds its demands hard to bear. More broadly, he thinks that “the sooner we get away from the [bailout] programme the better for our country”. He notes: “If Greece completes the first [progress] review in January, we’ll be covering more than 70% of fiscal and financial measures in the agreement.”

He hopes Greece will soon regain its sovereignty or, with the IMF out of the picture, at least will only have other Europeans to deal with. The Athens government is also optimistic about the economic future. Mr Tsipras expects remaining capital controls to be lifted by March 2016 and for Greece to regain access to international capital markets by the end of the year. Banks have been recapitalised more cheaply than feared and confidence in the banking sector is returning. The government also hopes economic growth will soon resume. Nevertheless, the government is hoping for further debt relief. The IMF agrees with it. This is also plausible. Interest due on public debt is forecast by the Bank of Greece to jump from 2% of gross domestic product up to 2021 to over 8% in 2022 and then stay over 4% until the 2040s.

Sustainability largely depends on the terms of the new debt. If the eurozone made it possible for Greece to borrow on triple-A terms forever, the debt would be sustainable. Otherwise, it probably would not be. The IMF argues that Greek debt has become unsustainable only because the government failed to meet its commitments. That is doubtful. The ability of Greece to deliver was never credible. Moreover, while the IMF does support Greece on debt relief, it is very sceptical of its ability to deliver structural reforms in the absence of a political consensus that the reforms are desirable. It insists, against the government, that the country is well behind where it was a year ago on reforms. It has backtracked in important areas.

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“..the EU is doomed always to be less than the sum of its parts”… “Europe’s leaders have a tried and tested method for coping with urgent problems. They find solutions that are temporary, barely satisfactory and designed chiefly to serve the purpose of somehow keeping the EU show on the road.”

The Decline Of Europe Is A Global Concern (FT)

In his 1898 poem “Waiting for the Barbarians”, the Greek poet CP Cavafy describes a polity that invents or exaggerates mysterious foreign threats to prop up its decaying power structures. The listless ruling elites, hollow public ceremonies and pervasive forebodings of doom depicted in Cavafy’s masterwork should serve in 2016 as a wake-up call for Europe. Whether it concerns terrorism, immigration, homegrown political extremism, the eurozone’s unity, unemployment, lacklustre economic growth or even Europe’s military defences, national governments and the EU apparatus in Brussels look increasingly as if they are not up to the numerous challenges bearing down simultaneously from every direction. This should worry not just Europeans but their friends and partners in the Americas and Asia.

The malaise goes much wider and deeper than the EU, which is not to blame for everything that happens or does not happen in Europe. It is partly a matter of Europe’s relative global decline, which makes it difficult to manage events even in its own neighbourhood. It is partly a matter of cultural, economic, political and technological change in western societies as a whole. This disrupts familiar patterns of life, undermines the trust of citizens in their rulers and weakens the ability of governments to act decisively. Nonetheless, the EU is the focus of concern. Its inadequate responses to one crisis after another create the unfortunate impression that, despite being a club of affluent democracies, with 28 member states and more than 500m inhabitants, the EU is doomed always to be less than the sum of its parts.

Rousing appeals from political leaders for a more efficient and closely integrated EU — and there have been lots of them in 2015 — turn out too often to be mere lip service to an ideal. The EU’s pitiful efforts at defence collaboration illustrate the problem. It was none other than Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, who said in October: “If I look at the common European defence policy, a bunch of chickens would be a more unified combat unit in contrast.” This is not to say that the EU is on the brink of falling apart. As they demonstrated during the eurozone crisis, and as they are demonstrating again in the refugee and migrant emergency, Europe’s leaders have a tried and tested method for coping with urgent problems.

They find solutions that are temporary, barely satisfactory and designed chiefly to serve the purpose of somehow keeping the EU show on the road. In this spirit they have arranged three hugely expensive financial rescues of Greece, but they have refused to grasp the nettle of a comprehensive write-off of Greek debt. They have created a semi-banking union which has common supervision and a common mechanism for winding up failed banks, but which lacks common deposit insurance. In both cases it is national political pressures, primarily in Germany, that are the obstacle. Just as the eurozone crisis split the currency union between northern and southern Europeans, so the refugee emergency is dividing the EU between its older western European member states and its newer central and eastern ones. The Schengen system of border-free travel, a cornerstone of EU integration, is already fragmenting along west-east lines.

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Germany never understood the meaning of ‘union’.

Mr. Schäuble’s Ultimate Weapon: Restructuring European Public Debts (Bastasin)

A German plan for revamping the euro-area proposes an automatic mechanism for sovereign debt-restructuring. This mechanism, designed by Berlin’s Ministry of Finance, is designed to prevent any form of risk-sharing between euro-area countries and to confine the costs of fiscal and financial instability primarily within the more fragile countries. From the perspective of debt defaults, the plan could enforce more discipline, but it also risks dramatizing any future episode of financial instability. The 18 countries sharing the euro are still struggling to recover from seven years of financial troubles that have jeopardized the very survival of the common currency. Since 2010, a slew of different proposals have been put forward for improving either the centralization of the area’s economic governance or, alternatively, for decentralizing the risks and limiting the amount of risk-sharing.

The German government seems to have lost faith in any form of centralized governance, and it would rather try to shield German taxpayers from sharing the potential costs of a sovereign debt crisis in other countries. The plan is described in a letter sent at the end of November by the Ministry of Finance to the heads of the Finance and Budget Committee of the German Parliament. The unpublished missive prescribes an automatic mechanism for restructuring the public debt of any country requesting financial assistance. Once a country asks for help through the European Stability Mechanism (the ad hoc fund established in 2012), for whichever reason, sovereign bond maturities will automatically be lengthened, reducing the market value of those bonds and causing severe losses for all bondholders.

The mechanism would turn euro-area sovereign bonds into riskier assets—the goal of another proposal by the German government, which scraps the regulatory exception for sovereign bonds that allows banks to hold them without hoarding capital reserves to cover eventual losses. According to a rather abstract interpretation of how European economies work, making sovereign bonds explicitly riskier encourages banks and households to refrain from underwriting them too lightly. Governments will have fewer incentives to pile up debt. Banks will also turn away from investing in government bonds and perhaps engage more intensely with the real economy. Economic efficiency across the euro area should increase.

Unfortunately, establishing an automatic mechanism for sanctioning undesirable financial predicaments could also make them more likely to happen. Sovereign bonds have a unique and pivotal role for the financial systems of the euro-area. So, once sovereign bonds in some euro-area countries become more risky, the whole financial system might turn frail, affecting growth and economic stability. Ultimately, rather than exerting sound discipline on some member states, the new regime could widen bond rate differentials and make debt convergence simply unattainable, increasing the probability of a euro-area break-up.

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The EU is tearing Europe apart.

Greece Recalls Its Ambassador In Prague After Czech Grexit Comments (Kath.)

In an unprecedented setback to diplomatic relations between the two EU members, Greece on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to the Czech Republic, Panayiotis Sarris, for consultations. The decision by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias came in response to comments by Czech President Milos Zeman to Slovak news agency TASR last week that his country would only join the eurozone after Greece had left the common currency area. “I was very disappointed from the result of the negotiations which almost led to the so-called Grexit, but eventually ended up with Greece staying in the eurozone,” said Zeman, adding that he would not like to see Greek debts being shouldered by Czech taxpayers.

Athens lodged a formal complaint with the Czech ambassador in Greece last week while Foreign Ministry spokesman Constantinos Koutras issued a laconic statement saying that “the Czech Republic is a member-state of the European Union thanks to Greece.” However, Athens made no further response to Zeman’s remarks in anticipation of a retraction from Prague. On Tuesday, Kotzias eventually decided to recall Sarris. Sources told Kathimerini that the move does not amount to a suspension of diplomatic ties between the two states, but it does mark a downgrade of relations between two EU partners. According to the same people, the diplomatic reaction is also aimed at conveying a signal to governments in Slovakia and Hungary, which appear to have been maintaining a skeptical stance toward Athens since the outset of the debt crisis in 2010 – a stance that has deteriorated since the summer due to the refugee crisis.

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The petrodollar.

Christmas 2015: Will Syria & Iraq Become Washington’s Stalingrad? (Holland)

[..] there are some scary parallels between the Nazi Empire of the 1940’s and the Washington Empire and conquests today that revolve around the Petrodollar system that has maintained the dollar reserve currency status since the end of World War Two. This dollar world reserve currency model required that oil was only priced and sold in dollars forced all foreign nations buying and importing oil to keep major dollar reserves to pay for their oil imports guaranteed a permanent and expanding demand for dollars around the world. Three Middle East countries first broke the oil/dollar requirement and threatened the petrodollar system including Iraq, Libya and Iran hence the US military attempts to violently overthrow these governments to maintain Washington hegemony and the dollar.

America has plenty of population to increase military forces unlike Germany in 1942 but we are reaching the limit to voluntary military enlistments in a time of permanent war and repeated overseas assignments. Also the continuous terror threats since 9/11 as well as real and orchestrated plots are being questioned by a growing number of alternative Internet media sites and polls show Americans no longer trust Congress or the media establishment. I fear the political leadership has determined a real war of limited scope and duration may be the best way to regain control of the situation and inspire the American people to sacrifice and support their political leadership.

Also a war scenario will allow Washington, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve to transfer the blame for the looming death of the Petrodollar to foreign adversaries like Russia, China and Iran. This will provide political cover to a decade long recession and dramatically reduced economic growth and prosperity as the death of the petrodollar works its way through the US economy over the next few years.

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US military shared info with Assad behind Washington’s back.

Military to Military (Seymour Hersh)

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.

The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria.

The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

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But they’re our friends…

UN Blames Saudi-Led Coalition For Attacks On Yemeni Civilians (Reuters)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that a Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign in Yemen appeared to be responsible for a “disproportionate amount” of attacks on civilian areas. Speaking at the council’s first public meeting on Yemen since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began nine months ago, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said he had “observed with extreme concern” heavy shelling from the ground and air in civilian areas of Yemen including the destruction of hospitals and schools. He said all parties to the conflict were responsible, “although a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of air strikes carried out by coalition forces.”

A Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March to try to restore the government after it was toppled by Iran-allied Houthi forces, but a mounting civilian death toll and dire humanitarian situation has alarmed human rights groups. Western nations have been quietly increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to seek a political deal to end the conflict, U.N. diplomats have said. Diplomats said Tuesday’s session was convened to shine a spotlight on the conflict and pressure all sides to seek a negotiated end to the bloodshed. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, president of the council for December, said all parties must abide by humanitarian law. She said the Houthis must stop indiscriminate shelling of civilians and cross-border attacks.

“We will also continue to urge the Saudi-led coalition to ensure lawful and discriminate targeting and to thoroughly investigate all credible allegations of civilian casualties and make adjustments as needed to avoid such incidents,” Power said. Warring parties in Yemen agreed to a renewable seven-day ceasefire under U.N. auspices that started Dec. 15, but it has been repeatedly violated. “I further call on the council to do everything within its power to help restrain the use of force by all parties and to urge all sides to abide by the basic principles of international humanitarian law,” Zeid said.

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What climate groups do with your donations.

ExxonMobil and Sierra Club Agreed on Climate Policy – and Kept It Secret (BBG)

ExxonMobil and Sierra Club may be thought of as natural enemies, particularly when it comes to a question so tricky as how to address climate change. That’s what two men named David thought, too, when they first met in 2008 to talk about a climate policy with very little support: a national tax on industrial carbon dioxide emissions. Secretly, however, they found that a common problem—the threat of unwieldy legislation—can for a time scramble the very idea of friends and enemies. “Demonizing people is not a good idea,” said David Bailey, who at the time managed climate policy for ExxonMobil in Washington. “I realized that people at the Sierra Club don’t all have horns and a tail, and—I think—likewise.” His negotiating partner at the time, David Bookbinder, was the chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club.

The two wonks, working for organizations that are typically locked in opposition, recognized a shared interest in finding an alternative direction for U.S. climate policy. It took nearly a year and more than a dozen meetings to come up with a short document that bridged a huge chasm. It turns out that America’s biggest oil company and one of its most iconic environmental groups could collaborate. What they came up with has gone unacknowledged until now—and it could provide a path past an intractable impasse on climate policy.
Congress’s first attempts to address climate change relied on the idea that markets and private enterprise can ratchet down greenhouse gas pollution faster, more efficiently, and more inexpensively than regulation. The first serious legislation, introduced in 2003 by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and then-Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), would have set a national limit on emissions that tightened them over time.

It also would have allowed heavy emitters to sell their pollution permits if they didn’t need them, or buy more permits from other companies if they exceeded their emissions quota. You might remember this proposal by its nickname: cap and trade. Despite the aura of inevitability around it in 2008, there were plenty of legitimate reasons not to like the cap-and-trade regime. Some businesses thought it overly complex, backed by a market-driven price for CO2 pollution permits that would prove too variable for careful planning. The complexity also scared off some environmentalists, particularly with the world undergoing a Wall Street-inflicted financial meltdown that began in the third quarter of 2008. Bailey and Bookbinder, the oilman and the environmentalist, independently started casting about for unlikely allies for an alternative to the cap-and-trade juggernaut.

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“The PM has firmly argued that it is better to keep the 4 million Syrian refugees “in-region”.. F**king stop bombing their homes then, you twit.

Britain Can No Longer Sit Out Refugee Crisis As EU Prepares For More (Guardian)

The difference in the response from the German chancellor and the British prime minister to the biggest refugee crisis Europe has faced since the second world war could not be more stark. Angela Merkel’s Germany has taken in more than 1 million asylum seekers this year. Her electrifying welcome announcement in August transformed the chancellor’s cautious reputation for leading from behind, to one of a moral pioneer. It is true that her open door response has provoked a backlash, particularly in Bavaria, through which most refugees and asylum seekers have entered Germany. But the backlash, while real enough in her own CDU party, appears to have been confined to a minority of the wider public.

A French-based IFOP poll of seven countries showed support for the principle of sheltering refugees from war and persecution has dropped in Germany from 79% in September to 75% in October. Fewer than half of Britons, French or Dutch say they feel the same way. While the demand for an upper limit on the number of refugees in Germany has damaged Merkel, it seems far from sweeping her from office. David Cameron and his home secretary, Theresa May, on the other hand, have not only kept the door firmly shut but have made a virtue of it. While Germany accepted 108,000 asylum seekers between September and November, Cameron was boasting last week of resettling just 1,000 Syrian refugees over a longer period.

The PM has firmly argued that it is better to keep the 4 million Syrian refugees “in-region”, underpinned by a generous cumulative £1bn aid programme and to end the incentive for those making the journey by “breaking the link between getting on a boat in the Mediterranean and getting the right to settle in Europe”.

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Yeah, so much better now: “Turkey at last seems to be getting serious about shoring them up.” “Whoever approaches the border is shot…” Whatever happened to humanity?

Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door (NY Times)

The Turkish Coast Guard has stepped up nighttime patrols on the choppy, wintry waters of the Aegean Sea, seizing rafts full of refugees fleeing war for Europe and sending them back to Turkey. Down south, at the border with Syria, Turkey is building a concrete wall, digging trenches, laying razor wire and at night illuminating vast stretches of land in an effort to cut off the flow of supplies and foreign fighters to the Islamic State. On land and at sea, Turkey’s borders, long a revolving door of refugees, foreign fighters and the smugglers who enable them, are at the center of two separate yet interlinked global crises: the migrant tide convulsing Europe and the Syrian civil war that propels it. Accused by Western leaders of turning a blind eye to these critical borders, Turkey at last seems to be getting serious about shoring them up.

Under growing pressure from Europe and the United States, Turkey has in recent weeks taken steps to cut off the flows of refugees and of foreign fighters who have helped destabilize a vast portion of the globe, from the Middle East to Europe. Smugglers who used to make a living helping the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, bring foreign fighters into Syria say that it is increasingly difficult — though still not impossible — to do so now. Border guards who once fired warning shots, they say, now shoot to kill. “Whoever approaches the border is shot,” said Omar, a smuggler interviewed in the border town of Kilis who insisted on being identified by only his first name because of the illegal nature of his work. “And many have been killed.” Another smuggler, Mustafa, who also agreed to speak if only his first name was used, said, “Two months ago, you could get in whatever you liked.”

He said he used to bring in explosives and foreign fighters for the Islamic State, which allowed him to continue his regular business of smuggling food and other items, like cigarettes, into Syria. Now, he said, “the Turkish snipers shoot any moving object.” At the coast, Turkey’s efforts to interdict more boats full of migrants came after the European Union agreed to pay Ankara more than $3 billion to help with education and health care for the refugees in the country. Some rights groups have cried foul. Amnesty International recently accused Turkey of illegally detaining migrants and, in some cases, of sending them back to war zones. Turkish officials have said they detain relatively few migrants, and only ones they say have links to smuggling rings.

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Same reaction as Europe.

Some Catholics Heed Pope’s Call To Succor Refugees, Others Look Away (Reuters)

One Catholic parish in Germany tore out its pews to make space for refugees. Franciscan monks near Rome took a family into their hilltop convent. But in northern Italy, a rural priest faced hostility when he asked his flock to shelter Muslims. Four months after Pope Francis appealed to the parishes and religious communities of Europe to each take in one family of refugees, the response is decidedly mixed. Arms have opened wide in some places but indifference, bureaucracy, fear, and xenophobia have reared their heads elsewhere, particularly after the attack by Islamist militants who killed 130 people in Paris last month. Around a million migrants arrived by sea in Europe in 2015, with some 3,700 dying, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Some of them, if Francis is heeded, should be heading to safety among the roughly 120,000 Catholic parishes in Europe But in Italy – which with more than 25,000 has the largest number of parishes – only about 1,000 have responded, according to Father Giancarlo Perego, head of the Church-affiliated Migrantes Foundation. Another 1,500 families had offered to host refugees. Perego and other Church officials pointed out, however, that many Catholic parishes were already supporting refugee services well before the pope’s appeal. Italian bishops have published a “How To” booklet for parishes, dealing with everything from how to prepare parishioners for the arrival of refugees, legal issues, and a glossary explaining terms such as asylum and repatriation.

When Francis announced the initiative on Sept. 6, he set the example by welcoming two families into the Vatican’s own two parishes. Many of the migrants entering Europe have headed to Germany, where the Catholic Church is one of the richest in Europe, partly because of a Church tax on members, and which has an institutional tradition of helping refugees. More than 3,000 staff members work full time to help refugees and are backed up by about 100,000 volunteers, according to a spokesperson. St. Benedikt’s parish in the northern port city of Bremen removed pews and confessionals and converted the church into a temporary refugee shelter. “This is our duty. We can’t sing Christmas carols about opening doors to those in need and at the same time refuse to let anyone enter,” said one of its priests, Father Johannes Sczyrba.

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Brussels should be taken to The Hague.

13 Refugees, 7 Children, Die as Boat Sinks Off Greek Island (Kath.)

Seven children, two women and four men drowned when their boat sank off the small Aegean island of Farmakonisi, Greek coastguard officials said early Wednesday. Another 15 people were rescued and one was still missing according to witnesses, the officials said adding that a Super Puma helicopter, a patrol boat and private vessels assisted the search-and-rescue operation. “The vessel, a 6-metre (20-foot) speed boat, sank under unknown circumstances,” one of the officials told Reuters. “They were in the water when they were spotted by a rescue boat.”

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Nov 172015
 
 November 17, 2015  Posted by at 10:26 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


DPC “Grant’s Tomb. Rubber-neck auto on Riverside Drive, New York” 1911

Steel Is the Poster Child For Oversupplied Commodity Markets (Bloomberg)
Oil Approaching $40 Deepens Investor Pessimism on Recovery (Bloomberg)
The Saudis Are Stumbling – And May Take The Middle-East Down With Them (Hallina)
US Approves Sale Of Smart Bombs To Saudi Arabia (Reuters)
Yuan’s Offshore Discount Widens as IMF Nod May Curb Intervention (Bloomberg)
India Exports Fall 17.5%, Imports Down 21.2% (LiveMint)
France Swats Aside EU Budget Rules In Rearmament Blitz (AEP)
Finnish Parliament Will Debate Next Year Leaving Euro Zone (Reuters)
An Entirely Rigged Political-Financial System (Nomi Prins)
Greece Reaches Deal With Lenders Unlocking Stalled Aid (Reuters)
UK Inflation Stays Below Zero as Price Weakness Persists (Bloomberg)
There Are No Safe Spaces (Jim Kunstler)
A Most Convenient Massacre (Dmitry Orlov)
ISIS Financed by 40 Countries, Including G20 Member States – Putin (Sputnik)
Putin Confirms Egypt Plane Crash Due To Bomb, Offers $50 Million Reward (ZH)
More Than Half of US State Governors Say Syrian Refugees Not Welcome (CNN)
Paris Attacks Fuel Calls For Canada To Delay Taking In 25,000 Syrians (AFP)
El Niño: Food Shortages, Floods, Disease And Droughts (Guardian)
Greek Coast Guard Rescues 1,244 Refugees In Three Days (AP)
Refugee Boat Overturns Near Greek Island, At Least Eight Dead (AP)

I’d say steel AND oil. And copper.

Steel Is the Poster Child For Oversupplied Commodity Markets (Bloomberg)

The collapse in oil prices following the shale revolution has stolen the limelight for investors mulling the end of the commodities supercycle. But the real “poster child for problems in commodities markets is perhaps the global steel industry,” according to Macquarie analysts led by Colin Hamilton, the firm’s global head of commodities research. The front-month contract for U.S. hot-rolled coil steel futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange is down nearly 40% year-over-year/ Forecasts for a boom in Chinese consumption helped spur a rise in production that left the segment with a massive glut. The successful realization of economic rebalancing in China, meanwhile, necessarily entails a material slowdown in that nation’s demand for steel. Macquarie observes that global steel consumption has contracted on an annual basis throughout 2015.

“With 1.6 billion tonnes of consumption globally, steel remains the lynchpin of industrial growth,” wrote Hamilton. “However, the growth part of this equation is an increasing problem, and not only in China.” India, which has the potential to buoy demand for steel, is also contributing significantly to supply growth. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Yi Zhu notes that 37 million metric tons of production capacity in India are currently under construction or in planning to be added. “The only people who still seem to think there is significant upside in global steel consumption akin to the past decade are the major iron ore producers—for example BHP’s belief global steel consumption will hit 2.5 billion tonnes by 2030—just a further 50% upside required there!” Hamilton wrote in a separate note.

Arguably, overcapacity across the commodity complex is a perverse side effect of years of near-zero interest rates and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve. Lower input prices, however, can have a silver lining. For example, the collapse in oil prices, in simple terms, represents a transfer of wealth from major oil conglomerates to consumers. The largest positive effects accrue to lower-income households that spend a heftier portion of take-home pay on energy costs. “A world of cheap money not only sees new capacity built, it also means existing capacity doesn’t disappear,” explains Hamilton. “While most regions are well off their peak production levels over the last decade, permanent capacity closures have been few and far between.”

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Speculator pessimism.

Oil Approaching $40 Deepens Investor Pessimism on Recovery (Bloomberg)

Hedge funds have turned more pessimistic on oil as prices flirted with $40 a barrel for the first time since August. “The speculators keep trying to pick the bottom and keep getting burned,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research said. Money managers’ short bets in West Texas Intermediate crude surged 21% in the week ended Nov. 10, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The net-long position dropped 16%. The release of the figures was delayed because of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Oil inventories in developed countries have expanded to a record of almost 3 billion barrels because of massive supplies from both OPEC and non-OPEC producers, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Nov. 13.

WTI slipped to the lowest level since August before the CFTC release Monday. Thirty-nine oil tankers are waiting near Galveston, Texas, up from 30 in May, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. “There’s been concern about excess supply in the market for a while now and that’s been strengthened by the IEA report,” Lynch said. [..] Oil inventories surged because of increased global production, OPEC said on Nov. 12. U.S. crude supplies rose to 487 million barrels as of Nov. 6, the highest for this time of year since 1930, the Energy Information Administration reported on Nov. 12. “We think the next few months will be very weak,” Sarah Emerson, managing director of ESAI Energy said by phone. “The market is focused on inventories. Prices shouldn’t rally in the coming year unless we have a disruption.”

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The regime puts itself in grave danger. This could blow up much faster than presumed.

The Saudis Are Stumbling – And May Take The Middle-East Down With Them (Hallina)

When the Arab Spring broke out in 2011, Saudi Arabia headed it off by pumping $130 billion into the economy, raising wages, improving services, and providing jobs for its growing population. Saudi Arabia has one of the youngest populations in the Middle East, many of whom are unemployed and poorly educated. Some 25% of the population lives in poverty. Money keeps the lid on, but – even with the heavy-handed repression that characterizes Saudi political life – for how long? Meanwhile they’re racking up bills with ill-advised foreign interventions. In March, the kingdom intervened in Yemen’s civil conflict, launching an air war, a naval blockade, and partial ground campaign on the pretense that Iran was behind one of the war’s factions – a conclusion not even the Americans agree with.

Again, the Saudis miscalculated, even though one of their major allies, Pakistan, warned them they were headed for trouble. In part, the kingdom’s hubris was fed by the illusion that US support would make it a short war. The Americans are arming the Saudis, supplying them with bombing targets, backing up the naval blockade, and refueling their warplanes in midair. But six months down the line the conflict has turned into a stalemate. The war has killed 5,000 people (including over 500 children), flattened cities, and alienated much of the local population. It’s also generated a horrendous food and medical crisis and created opportunities for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to seize territory in southern Yemen. Efforts by the UN to investigate the possibility of war crimes were blocked by Saudi Arabia and the US.

As the Saudis are finding out, war is a very expensive business – a burden they could meet under normal circumstances, but not when the price of the kingdom’s only commodity, oil, is plummeting. Nor is Yemen the only war that the Saudis are involved in. Riyadh, along with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are underwriting many of the groups trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. When antigovernment demonstrations broke out there in 2011, the Saudis – along with the Americans and the Turks – calculated that Assad could be toppled in a few months. But that was magical thinking. As bad as Assad is, a lot of Syrians – particularly minorities like Shiites, Christians, and Druze – were far more afraid of the Islamists from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State than they were of their own government.

So the war has dragged on for four years and has now killed close to 250,000 people. Once again, the Saudis miscalculated, though in this case they were hardly alone. The Syrian government turned out to be more resilient than it appeared. And Riyadh’s bottom line that Assad had to go just ended up bringing Iran and Russia into the picture, checkmating any direct intervention by the anti-Assad coalition. Any attempt to establish a no-fly zone against Assad will now have to confront the Russian air force – not something that anyone other than certain US presidential aspirants are eager to do.

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Smart move. There is more sympathy for ISIS in Saudi Arabia than in any other country. And a lot of -private- Saudi capital goes towards funding it. And we sell them smart bombs.

US Approves Sale Of Smart Bombs To Saudi Arabia (Reuters)

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of thousands of smart bombs worth a total of $1.29 billion to Saudi Arabia to help replenish supplies used in its battle against insurgents in Yemen and air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, U.S. officials familiar with the deal said on Monday. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which facilitates foreign arms sales, notified lawmakers on Friday that the sales had been approved, the sources said. The lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted before any formal notification.

The proposed sale includes thousands of Paveway II, BLU-117 and other smart bombs, as well as thousands of Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to turn older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals. The sales reflect President Barack Obama’s pledge to bolster U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council after his administration brokered a nuclear deal with their Shiite rival Iran. The weapons are made by Boeing and Raytheon, but the DSCA told lawmakers the prime contractors would be determined by a competition.

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I brought this up the other day: how much control over the yuan does Beijing give up with its desired inclusion in the ‘SDR basket’? And how does that play out when things go downhill for China?

Yuan’s Offshore Discount Widens as IMF Nod May Curb Intervention (Bloomberg)

The offshore yuan’s discount to the onshore spot rate widened to the most this month amid speculation the People’s Bank of China will rein in intervention now that the currency is on the cusp of winning reserve status. The difference between the yuan’s exchange rates in Hong Kong and Shanghai rose to as much as 417 pips on Monday, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It last exceeded 400 pips on Oct. 28, prompting suspected intervention by the PBOC the following day. [..] IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said late Friday that her staff have recommended the yuan be included in its Special Drawing Rights basked, as all operational issues including a sufficient gap between the onshore and offshore rates had been solved.

The Washington-based lender’s board will vote to approve inclusion on Nov. 30. “As the yuan’s inclusion is largely a done deal, we expect the PBOC to reduce foreign-exchange intervention and allow a wider spread between the onshore and offshore yuan,” said Ken Cheung, a Hong Kong-based currency strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. The central bank’s tolerance level may have widened to 500 pips from 400 pips before the IMF announcement and it will probably allow more depreciation via weaker fixings, he said.

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Wasn’t India supposed to pick up global growth where China left off?

India Exports Fall 17.5%, Imports Down 21.2% (LiveMint)

India’s merchandise exports contracted for the eleventh consecutive month in October, as shipments of petroleum products continued to decline on lower crude oil prices, and external demand remained weak amid tepid global economic recovery. Exports contracted 17.5% from a year ago to $21.3 billion while imports shrank 21.2% to $31.1 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $9.8 billion, data released by the commerce ministry showed on Monday. In comparison, China’s October exports fell 6.9% from a year ago, down for a fourth month, while imports slipped 18.8%, leaving the country with a record high trade surplus of $61.64 billion. India’s dip in exports was driven mainly by a 57.1% drop in shipments of petroleum products to $2.5 billion.

The ministry has sent a cabinet note on the long-pending interest subsidy scheme for providing rupee credit to exporters at a subsidized interest rate. However, the cabinet is yet to take a view on it. India aims to take exports of goods and services to $900 billion by 2020 and raise the country’s share in world exports to 3.5% from 2% now. Exports in the past four fiscal years have been hovering at around $300 billion. India’s current account deficit (CAD) further contracted in the first quarter of 2015-16, as lower global crude oil prices helped rein in India’s import bill.

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Big deal: if budget rules are no longer applicable to France, they are to nobody. Schengen is gone, budget restrictions are gone; why still have an EU?

France Swats Aside EU Budget Rules In Rearmament Blitz (AEP)

France has invoked emergency powers to sweep aside EU deficit rules and retake control over its economy after the terrorist atrocities in Paris, pledging a massive in increase and security and defence spending whatever the cost. President Francois Hollande said vital interests of the French nation are at stake and there can be no further justification for narrowly-legalistic deficit rules imposed by Brussels. “The security pact takes precedence over the stability pact. France is at war,” he told the French parliament. Defence cuts have been cancelled as far out as 2019 as the country prepares to step up its campaign to “eradicate” ISIS, from the Sahel in West Africa, across the Maghreb, to Syria and Iraq. At least 17,000 people will be recruited to beef up the security apparatus and the interior ministry, fast becoming the nerve centre of the country’s all-encompassing war against the ISIS network.

The new forces include 5,000 new police and gendarmes, 1,000 customs officials, and 2,500 prison guards. “I assume it will lead to an increase in expenses,” he said. The combined effect amounts to a fiscal stimulus and may ultimately cushion the economic damage of terrorist attacks for the tourist industry, but the “rearmament” drive spells the end of any attempt to meet deficit limit of 3pc of GDP enshrined in the Stability and Growth Pact. With France in open defiance, the reconstituted pact is now effectively dead. The European Commission expects the French deficit to be 3.4pc of GDP next year and 3.3pc in 2017, but the real figure is likely to be much higher and will last through to the end of the decade. The concern is that this could push the country’s debt yet higher from 96.5pc of GDP to nearer 100pc, made worse by the effects of deflation on debt dynamics.

Mr Hollande said France will invoke article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty, the solidarity clause obliging other member states to come to his country’s help by “all means in their power”. It would be beyond parody for Brussels to continue insisting on budget rules in such a political context. The French economy is slowly recovering as the triple effects of a weak euro, cheap oil, and quantitative easing by the ECB combine to create a short-term blast of stimulus, but it still remains remarkably depressed a full six years into the post-Lehman cycle of global expansion. Growth crept up to 0.3pc in the third quarter after stalling earlier in the year. Unemployment is still stuck at 10.7pc and has actually risen over recent months. “Momentum may fade in 2017 as tailwinds peter out,” said the Commission.

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France’s move opens whole new avenues for Finland, too, to finance debts.

Finnish Parliament Will Debate Next Year Leaving Euro Zone (Reuters)

Finland’s parliament will debate next year whether to quit the euro, a senior parliamentary official said on Monday, in a move unlikely to end membership of the single currency but which highlights Finns’ dissatisfaction with their country’s economic performance. The decision follows a citizens’ petition which has raised the necessary 50,000 signatures under Finnish rules to force such a debate, probably the first such initiative in any country of the 19-member euro zone. “There will be signature checks early next year and a parliamentary debate will be held in the following months,” said Maija-Leena Paavola, who helps guide legislation through parliament. The petition – which will continue to gather signatures until mid-January – demands a referendum on euro membership, but this would only go ahead if parliament backed the idea.

Despite the initiative, a Eurobarometer poll this month showed 64% of Finns backed the common currency, though that is down from 69% a year ago. But the Nordic country has suffered three years of economic contraction and is currently performing worse than any other country in the euro zone. Some Finns say the country’s prospects would improve if it returned to the markka currency and regained the ability to set its own interest rates, pointing to the example of neighboring Sweden, which is outside the euro. The markka could then devalue against the euro, making Finnish exports less expensive. “Since 2008 the Swedish economy has grown by 8%, while ours has shrunk by 6%,” said Paavo Vayrynen, a Finnish member of the European Parliament who launched the initiative.

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Nomi is a fan of the Automatic Earth and our Debt Rattles, which she calls: “the most comprehensive daily rundown of main stream and alternative press articles out there!” Makes her an even smarter cookie.

An Entirely Rigged Political-Financial System (Nomi Prins)

Too big to fail is a seven-year phenomenon created by the most powerful central banks to bolster the largest, most politically connected US and European banks. More than that, it’s a global concern predicated on that handful of private banks controlling too much market share and elite central banks infusing them with boatloads of cheap capital and other aid. Synthetic bank and market subsidization disguised as ‘monetary policy’ has spawned artificial asset and debt bubbles – everywhere. The most rapacious speculative capital and associated risk flows from these power-players to the least protected, or least regulated, locales. There is no such thing as isolated ‘Big Bank’ problems. Rather, complex products, risky practices, leverage and co-dependent transactions have contagion ramifications, particularly in emerging markets whose histories are already lined with disproportionate shares of debt, interest rate and currency related travails.

The notion of free markets, mechanisms where buyers and sellers can meet to exchange securities or various kinds of goods, in which each participant has access to the same information, is a fallacy. Transparency in trading across global financial markets is a fallacy. Not only are markets rigged by, and for, the biggest players, so is the entire political-financial system. The connection between democracy and free markets is interesting though. Democracy is predicated on the idea that every vote counts equally, and in the utopian perspective, the government adopts policies that benefit or adhere to the majority of those votes. In fact, it’s the minority of elite families and private individuals that exercise the most control over America’s policies and actions.

The myth of a free market is that every trader or participant is equal, when in fact the biggest players with access to the most information and technology are the ones that have a disproportionate advantage over the smaller players. What we have is a plutocracy of government and markets. The privileged few don’t care, or need to care, about democracy any more than they would ever want to have truly “free” markets, though what they do want are markets liberated from as many regulations as possible. In practice, that leads to huge inherent risk. Michael Lewis’ latest book on high frequency trading seems to have struck some sort of a national chord. Yet what he writes about is the mere tip of the iceberg covered in my book. He’s talking about rigged markets – which have been a problem since small investors began investing with the big boys, believing they had an equal shot. I’m talking about an entirely rigged political-financial system.

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Have they given in on foreclosures? Will tens of thousands more Greeks be thrown into the streets?

Greece Reaches Deal With Lenders Unlocking Stalled Aid (Reuters)

Greece reached an agreement with its lenders on financial reforms early on Tuesday, its finance minister said, removing a major obstacle holding up fresh bailout loans for the cash-starved country. Athens signed up to a new aid program worth up to €86 billion earlier this year, but payment of part of an initial tranche had been held up over disagreement on regulations on home foreclosures and handling tax arrears to the state. “There was an agreement on all the milestones … whatever was required,” Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters after meeting representatives of European institutions and the IMF on aid disbursement.

Tsakalotos said the deal meant Parliament could now ratify the set of reforms to law, and that deputy eurozone finance ministers, known as the Euro Working Group, would on Friday endorse the deal. That would allow a €2 billion aid disbursement and about €10 billion in recapitalization aid to the country’s four main banks, he said. Greece has been keen to complete its first assessment under the new bailout package, its third since 2010, so it can start talks with lenders on debt relief.

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The levels of nonsense in the expert comments is priceless. Would that have a negative effect on prices too?

UK Inflation Stays Below Zero as Price Weakness Persists (Bloomberg)

U.K. consumer prices fell for a second month in October, extending the weakest bout of inflation in more than half a century. The Office for National Statistics said prices declined 0.1% from a year earlier, matching the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. That’s the third negative reading this year and largely reflects weaker global commodity costs. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, accelerated to 1.1% from 1%. The Bank of England expects inflation to remain low into 2016 before picking up toward its 2% target. BOE Governor Mark Carney has highlighted core inflation as an important measure for policy makers as they weigh when to begin interest rate increases after keeping them at a record low for more than six years.

Consumer-price inflation has been below 1% all this year and less than 2% since the end of 2013. Britain last saw a sustained period of price declines in 1960, according to a historic series constructed by the statistics office. In forecasts published this month, the BOE said inflation is likely to reach its goal in late 2017 and accelerate to 2.2% a year later. Services inflation, a proxy for domestic price growth, was at 2.2% in October. “In the absence of sharp movements in global commodity prices, inflation is likely to accelerate quickly beyond October as the direct impact of past falls in oil drops out,” said Dan Hanson, an economist at Bloomberg Intelligence in London. “Evidence that this is happening is likely to be enough for the BOE to begin monetary tightening in May.”

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“The long emergency is showing signs of morphing into something like civil war.”

There Are No Safe Spaces (Jim Kunstler)

One thing seems assured: hard-line governments are coming soon. Politically, the West had boundary problems that go way beyond the question of national borders to the core psychology of modern liberalism. When is enough of anything enough? And then, what are you really willing to do about it? The answer lately among the Western societies is to do little and do it slowly. The behavior of college administrators and faculties in the USA these days is emblematic of this cowardly dithering. Intellectual despotism reigns on campus and the university presidents roll over like possums. They don’t have the moral strength to defend free speech as the campus witch-hunts ramp up.

The result will be first the intellectual death of their institutions (brain death), and then the actual death of college per se as a plausible route to personal socioeconomic development. The financial racketeering that has infected higher education — the engineering of the gargantuan college loan scam in tandem with the multiplication of “diversity” deanships and tuition inflation — pretty much guarantees an implosion of that system. The cowardice in the college executive suites is mirrored in our national politics, where no persons of real standing will dare step forward to oppose the juggernaut of Hillary-the-Grifter, or take on the clowning Donald Trump on the grounds of his sheer mental unfittedness to lead a government. In case you haven’t noticed, the center not only isn’t holding, it gave way some time ago.

The long emergency is showing signs of morphing into something like civil war. The Maoists on campus apparently want to turn it into race war, too. So many forces are in motion now and they are all tending toward criticality. The European Union may not survive the reestablishment of boundaries, since it was largely based on the elimination of them. Spain and Portugal are back to breaking down politically again. The Paris bloodbath has discredited Angela Merkel’s plea for “tolerance” — of what is proving to be an intolerable alien invasion. The only political figure on the scene who doesn’t appear to be talking out of his ass is Vlad Putin, who correctly stated at the UN that undermining basic institutions around the world was not a good idea.

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“In order to qualify as a victim of a tragedy, you have to be each of these three things: 1. a US-puppet, 2. rich and 3. dead.”

A Most Convenient Massacre (Dmitry Orlov)

What a difference a single massacre can make! • Just a week ago the EU couldn’t possibly figure out anything to do to stop the influx of “refugees” from all those countries the US and NATO had bombed into oblivion. But now, because “Paris changed everything,” EU’s borders are being locked down and refugees are being turned back. • Just a week ago it seemed that the EU was going to be swamped by resurgent nationalism, with incumbent political parties poised to get voted out of power. But now, thanks to the Paris massacre, they have obtained a new lease on life, because they can now safely embrace the same policies that a week ago they branded as “fascist.”

• Just a week ago the EU and the US couldn’t possibly bring themselves admit that they are utterly incompetent when it comes to combating their own creation—ISIS, that is—and need Russian help. But now, at the après-Paris G-20 summit, everybody is ready to line up and let Putin take charge of the war against terrorism. Look—the Americans finally found those convoys of tanker trucks stretching beyond the horizon that ISIS has been using to smuggle out stolen Syrian crude oil—after Putin showed them the satellite photos! Am I being crass and insensitive? Not at all—I deplore all the deaths from terrorist attacks in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in all the other countries whose populations did absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment. I only feel half as bad about the French, who stood by quietly as their military helped destroy Libya (which did nothing to deserve it).

Note that after the Russian jet crashed in the Sinai there weren’t all that many Facebook avatars with the Russian flag pasted over them, and hardly any candlelight vigils or piles of wreaths and flowers in various Western capitals. I even detected a whiff of smug satisfaction that the Russians got their comeuppance for stepping out of line in Syria. Why the difference in reaction? Simple: you were told to grieve for the French, so you did. You were not told to grieve for the Russians, and so you didn’t. Don’t feel bad; you are just following orders.

The reasoning behind these orders is transparent: the French, along with the rest of the EU, are Washington’s willing puppets; therefore, they are innocent, and when they get killed, it’s a tragedy. But the Russians are not Washington’s willing puppet, and are not innocent, and so when they get killed by terrorists, it’s punishment. And when Iraqis, or Syrians, or Nigerians get killed by terrorists, that’s not a tragedy either, for a different reason: they are too poor to matter. In order to qualify as a victim of a tragedy, you have to be each of these three things: 1. a US-puppet, 2. rich and 3. dead.

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Can’t wait for Russia to publish the details.

ISIS Financed by 40 Countries, Including G20 Member States – Putin (Sputnik)

Putin said at the G20 summit that Russia has presented examples of terrorism financing by individual businessmen from 40 countries, including from member states of the G20. “I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members,” Putin told reporters following the summit. The fight against terrorism was a key topic at the summit, according to the Russian leader. “This topic (the war on the terror) was crucial. Especially after the Paris tragedy, we all understand that the means of financing terrorism should be severed,” the Russian president said. Russia has also presented satellite images and aerial photos showing the true scale of the Islamic State oil trade.

“I’ve demonstrated the pictures from space to our colleagues, which clearly show the true size of the illegal trade of oil and petroleum products market. Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters,” Putin told reporters after the G20 summit. The Russian president also said that Syrian opposition is ready to launch an anti-ISIL operation if Russia provides air support. “A part of the Syrian opposition considers it possible to begin military actions against ISIL with the assistance of the Russian air forces, and we are ready to provide that assistance,” the Russian president said. If this happens, the army of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on the one hand, and the opposition, on the other hand, will fight a common enemy, he outlined.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the United States has shown a certain willingness to resume cooperation with Russia in several areas. “It seemed to me that, at least at an expert level, at the level of discussing problems, there was, indeed, a clear interest in resuming work in many areas, including the economy, politics, and the security sphere,” Putin told reporters. Vladimir Putin said that Russia needs support from the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran in the fight against terrorism. “It’s not the time to debate who is more effective in the fight against ISIL, what we need to do is consolidate our efforts,” president Putin added.

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“Assuming there were higher powers behind the Russian plane bombing than just a bunch of cave-dwelling a la carte terrorists, those arrested may just be tempted enough by the $50 million award to reveal who the mastermind behind this particular terrorist attack was.”

Putin Confirms Egypt Plane Crash Due To Bomb, Offers $50 Million Reward (ZH)

The world may have moved on from the tragic terrorist attack that took place just three weeks ago above Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, which killed all 224, but for some inexplicable reason Russia refused to admit what was obvious to most from the first minutes since ISIS released a video clip of the midair explosion: that the crash was the result of a bomb set to go off shortly after take off. But no longer. Moments ago the Kremlin confirmed for the first time on Tuesday that a bomb did bring down a Russian passenger plane that crashed over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. “One can unequivocally say that it was a terrorist act,” Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s FSB security service, told a meeting chaired by President Vladimir Putin.

Bortnikov added that during the flight, a homemade device with the power of 1.5 kilograms of TNT was detonated. “As a result, the plane fell apart in the air, which can be explained by the huge scattering of the fuselage parts of the plane.” This not the first time that Russia has faced “barbarous terrorist crimes, more often without apparent causes, outside or domestic, as it was with the explosion at the railway station in Volgograd at the end of 2013.” Bortnikov added: “We haven’t forgotten anything or anyone. The murder of our nationals in Sinai is among the bloodiest crimes in [terms of] the number of casualties.” Putin also spoke, vowing to find and punish the culprits behind the Sinai plane attack. “Our military work in Syria must not only continue. It must be strengthened in such a way so that the terrorists will understand that retribution is inevitable.”

“The murder of our people in Sinai is among the bloodiest crimes in terms of the number of victims. We won’t wipe the tears out of our souls and hearts. This will remain with us forever. But it won’t stop us from finding and punishing the perpetrators.” According to RT, Russia will act in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which provides for countries’ right to self-defense, Putin said. “Those who attempt to assist criminals should be aware that the consequences of such attempts will be entirely their responsibility,” he added. Finally, just to make sure Russia gets its blood debt repaid, The Russian Federal Security Service director also announced a reward of $50 million for information on those behind the terror attack on the A321.

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Obama can push this through, but would that be wise?

More Than Half of US State Governors Say Syrian Refugees Not Welcome (CNN)

More than half the nation’s governors – 27 states – say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government. States protesting the admission of refugees range from Alabama and Georgia, to Texas and Arizona, to Michigan and Illinois, to Maine and New Hampshire. Among these 27 states, all but one have Republican governors. The announcements came after authorities revealed that at least one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris terrorist attacks entered Europe among the current wave of Syrian refugees. He had falsely identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad and was allowed to enter Greece in early October.

Some leaders say they either oppose taking in any Syrian refugees being relocated as part of a national program or asked that they be particularly scrutinized as potential security threats. Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday, “Defeating ISIS involves projecting American ideals to the world. Governors who reject those fleeing war and persecution abandon our ideals and instead project our fears to the world.”

Authority over admitting refugees to the country, though, rests with the federal government – not with the states – though individual states can make the acceptance process much more difficult, experts said. American University law professor Stephen I. Vladeck put it this way: “Legally, states have no authority to do anything because the question of who should be allowed in this country is one that the Constitution commits to the federal government.” But Vladeck noted that without the state’s participation, the federal government would have a much more arduous task. “So a state can’t say it is legally objecting, but it can refuse to cooperate, which makes thing much more difficult.”

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Right wing Canada sees an opportunity, too, for political gain over the backs of people fleeing the very terror they’re now supposedly suspected of.

Paris Attacks Fuel Calls For Canada To Delay Taking In 25,000 Syrians (AFP)

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has faced calls to delay bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year due to security concerns prompted by the Paris terror attacks. While an online petition against fast-tracking Syrian asylum seekers’ bids to relocate to Canada gained steam, the premier of Saskatchewan province, Brad Wall, urged the prime minister to “suspend” the move. “I understand that the overwhelming majority of refugees are fleeing violence and bloodshed and pose no threat to anyone,” Wall wrote in an open letter. “However, if even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating,” he added.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the bomb and gun attacks that killed at least 129 people in Paris on Friday. In another part of Canada, Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said it was still ramping up to welcome the refugees, adding she is confident security will not be compromised. “I did get assurances from [Immigration Minister John] McCallum and [Public Safety Minister] Ralph Goodale that all the measures are being taken to ensure that the newcomers have been properly vetted.” Dueling online petitions for and against a delay, meanwhile, had amassed more than 55,000 and 25,000 signatures, respectively by midday Monday. One cited “national security” concerns in asking for a postponement, while the other blasted the first for stoking “despicable and inhumane xenophobic” attitudes.

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This won’t become a big story until and unless it hits a rich part of the world.

El Niño: Food Shortages, Floods, Disease And Droughts (Guardian)

The UN has warned of months of extreme weather in many of the world’s most vulnerable countries with intense storms, droughts and floods triggered by one of the strongest El Niño weather events recorded in 50 years, which is expected to continue until spring 2016. El Niño is a natural climatic phenomenon that sees equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific ocean warm every few years. This disrupts regular weather patterns such as monsoons and trade winds, and increases the risk of food shortages, floods, disease and forest fires. This year, a strong El Niño has been building since March and its effects are already being seen in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, Indonesia and across Central America, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The phenomenon is also being held responsible for uncontrolled fires in forests in Indonesia and in the Amazon rainforest.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization warned in a report on Monday that the current strong El Niño is expected to strengthen further and peak around the end of the 2015. “Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones bear the hallmarks of this El Niño, which is the strongest in more than 15 years,” said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud. Jarraud said the impact of the naturally occurring El Niño event was being exacerbated by global warming, which had already led to record temperatures this year. “This event is playing out in uncharted territory. Our planet has altered dramatically because of climate change,” he said. “So this El Niño event and human-induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced. El Niño is turning up the heat even further.”

In 1997, the phenomenon led to severe droughts in the Sahel and the Indian subcontinent, followed by devastating floods and storms, which killed thousands of people and caused billions of dollars of damage across Asia, Latin America and and Africa. The WMO said countries are expected to be much better prepared for a strong El Niño now than they were in 1997, but governments and charities are warning of serious food shortages and floods. “While difficult to predict, the El Niño this year looks set to be the strongest on record. This is a real threat to people’s lives, health and livelihoods across the world, which will see increased calls for humanitarian assistance as people struggle to grow crops, face water shortages and disease,” said a spokeswoman at Britain’s Department for International Development.

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And the beat goes on.

Greek Coast Guard Rescues 1,244 Refugees In Three Days (AP)

Greek authorities say 1,244 refugees and economic migrants have been rescued from frail craft in danger over the past three days in the Aegean Sea, as thousands continue to arrive on the Greek islands. A coast guard statement Monday said rescuers responded to a total 34 incidents since Friday morning, near the islands of Lesbos — where most migrants head — Chios, Samos, Kos, Kalolimnos and Megisti. The count does not include thousands more people who safely made the short but often deadly crossing from nearby Turkey’s western coast.

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Four children, four women and one man. Can we mourn them the way we mourn the Paris victims?

Refugee Boat Overturns Near Greek Island, At Least Eight Dead (AP)

Greece’s coast guard says a plastic boat carrying refugees or migrants has overturned near the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Kos, killing at least eight people. The coast guard said Tuesday it had rescued seven people and had located eight bodies, two of which were still trapped inside the overturned vessel. Crews were searching for between three and five more people listed as missing. It was not immediately clear how the boat overturned, or what the passengers’ nationality was.

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