Nov 192022
 


Rembrandt van Rijn The resurrection of Christ 1639

 

Towards the Real New World Order (Batiushka)
US Lectures Allies Over Poland Missile Incident – Politico (RT)
‘The US Won’t Sacrifice Chicago For Warsaw’ (Misnik)
A Smoldering Fuse (Jim Kunstler)
‘Aid To Ukraine,’ the US Democratic Party And The Collapse Of FTX (Livshitz)
FTX Boss Accused Of Using Offshore Funds After Bankruptcy (RT)
Ukraine – Switching The Lights Off (MoA)
Ukraine Has Lost 40% Of Energy System As Kyiv Sees First Snow (ZH)
Ukraine Is ‘War Between West And Russia’ – Turkish Official (RT)
Former Trump Advisor: Biden Admin Has No End Goal For Ukraine War (JTN)
Russian Oil Price Cap Idea ‘Ridiculous’ – Former US Treasury Secretary (RT)
DOJ Appoints Special Counsel For Trump Probes, But What About Hunter? (JTN)
MTG Says Kevin McCarthy, House GOP Will Defund Trump Special Counsel (JTN)
G20 Pushes Vaccine Passports For All Future International Travel (ZH)
Colin Campbell: A Tribute To The Father Of The Concept Of “Peak Oil” (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Jones

 

 

 

 

Meloni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all.”

Towards the Real New World Order (Batiushka)

Now we are talking about a real ‘New World Order’. This is being fought for in the Ukraine and in world political and economic fora at this very moment. And its ideological and military leader is the Russian Federation, the only country with the guts to lead the real New World Order. This will be to its credit for as long as the world lasts. In this context the Saker has written an excellent article, titled with the following hypothetical question: “What would a Russian Defeat Mean for the People of the West?” Although the Saker has given an excellent answer, I would give my own, which is a summary of his. This is: A Russian defeat at the hands of the ‘Combined West’ would mean the end of the world and therefore no New World Order.

Fear not, since Russia is not about to be defeated, the world is not going to end just yet and there is going to be, and there already is, a New World Order. Let us be frank, the Combined West has attacked Russia again and again in history. Many do not know that the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century were international, pan-Western. The Napoleonic Invasion of 1812 was carried out by twelve Western nationalities. The Crimean War, i. e., the 1854 Invasion of Russia, was carried out by the French, the British, the Ottomans and the Sardinians. As for the Austro-Hungarian Army and the Kaiser’s Army in 1914, that too was an effort of the Combined West, and if it had not been for the Revolution, Russia would have taken Vienna and Berlin later in 1917. And Hitler’s invasion 27 years later was equally multinational.

And such is the case today, with the Kiev regime’s mercenary army, armed by multinational NATO. Today the US mentors of the Kiev regime are desperate for peace talks to begin. Peace could have been had at any time between February 2014 and April 2022. The US did not want it then and did not allow it then, so now they will have to pay the price. The US elite knows that they are about to lose big time. This is their last chance and the last chance for the former Ukraine – for that is what we are talking about now. Like so many, these Americans have big mouths, but when it comes to it, it is all just hot air. And although Russia is talking at the US request in order to keep channels open, it is ignoring ridiculous American demands.

Today Russia has no reason to talk. It is successfully fighting against and so demilitarising NATO in the Ukraine. Everybody knows it. However, we are also at a dangerous moment because the US is losing control of its puppets. Just as it promoted Hussein in Iraq or Bin Laden in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and any number of Latin American gangster-puppets and then lost control of them because they refused to behave as puppets, so they risk losing control now. The lickspittle Kiev regime and its allies in Poland, the Baltics and even in the UK (there they have been singing even pop songs with an American accent for over sixty years) are being more American than the Americans. The pupil is worse than the teacher.

The recent provocation of a Ukrainian missile landing in Poland and the Poles and Latvians claiming it was Russian is an example, The Americans refused to fall for it. Before that the threat of a dirty bomb being prepared by the Kiev regime was another example. Alarmed, the Americans stopped that nonsense. The UK’s anti-German destruction of the Nordstream pipeline was yet another example. The culprit was covered up, just as the Americans covered up the culprits of MH-17. In Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all.

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Warsaw and Kiev try to drag the US directly into war, but the US refuses.

US Lectures Allies Over Poland Missile Incident – Politico (RT)

US officials have called on their European and Ukrainian counterparts to tread lightly when commenting on a deadly missile blast in Poland, Politico reported on Thursday. According to three Western officials interviewed by the outlet, over the last couple of days US officials have asked their European colleagues and the office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to be careful when speaking about what caused the blast. They also reportedly made a series of urgent phone calls in which they requested that their NATO allies not make any definitive statements until an investigation is carried out. The outreach efforts come as Western and Ukrainian officials have been at loggerheads about who was responsible for the explosion in the Polish village of Przewodow close to the Ukrainian border that killed two people.

While Western officials have said that the blast was probably caused by a Ukrainian missile, Kiev insists that it was Russian in origin. According to Politico, these statements “illustrate one of the first major divergences in opinion between Washington and Kiev” since the start of Russia’s military campaign in the neighboring state in late February. US officials are trying to downplay this rift, but new fissures between Washington and Kiev may emerge as the conflict drags on, the report says. According to Heather Conley, a former State Department official, the “confusion” surrounding the Poland missile incident was a “really important test run” for the US, NATO, and Ukraine. “I think we all learned a pretty valuable lesson in [that] you cannot say something right off the bat until you understand what it is … because the stakes are so high right now,” she told Politico.

Following the Tuesday blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and describing it as an attack on NATO and demanding a response. Later, however, he toned down his claims, admitting that “we do not know 100%” what caused the blast. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine.

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And here’s why the US refuses.

By Lidia Misnik, a Moscow-based reporter focused on the political process, sociology and international relations.

‘The US Won’t Sacrifice Chicago For Warsaw’ (Misnik)

“We approached the moment of truth in the confrontation between the collective West and Russia. When it happened, it became clear that an attack by Russia could be claimed. This situation tested the effectiveness of NATO’s strategy for ensuring the security of the collective West,” Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for US and Canadian Studies Vladimir Vasiliev told RT. He noted that the incident itself featured an element of happenstance, but that it helped shed light on a long-standing question: To what extent is the West prepared to invoke Article Five to defend NATO members? As Vasiliev noted, in this situation, the West “put the brakes on everything,” and the US quickly took cover behind the version that it was a Ukrainian rocket.

“There was always a question about the extent to which the US would be prepared to intervene on behalf of Riga, Vilnius, or Warsaw, and in doing so sacrifice Boston, Chicago, or California. And now it becomes clear that there is a problem and that the US is not willing to sacrifice its own security, its own territories,” Vasiliev said. In his words, this episode is extremely important for Russia, because it shows that the US is not prepared to invoke Article Five until there is a danger to the country itself or at least to some of the most important member states of the bloc, primarily Western Europe. “There is a certain understanding that conflicts such as this one should be resolved by others. The US will gladly put Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria, and Romania in the line of fire while itself staying out of the war zone.

That’s where the entire NATO architecture begins to crumble. Domestic politics will always take precedence,” Vasiliev added. From this situation, he believes, a far-reaching conclusion can be drawn: Ukraine in any shape or form is not wanted by NATO. Vasiliev says it is clear that the US is playing a geopolitical game against Russia by using Ukraine, which is expendable. This allows the vital interests of Washington to remain untouched. According to him, the countries of Eastern Europe are equally considered not to be vital interests, as are Finland and Sweden, and likely Türkiye.

The calm before the storm in Ukraine – MacGregor

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“This complex fraud will smolder for a few weeks before it explodes into an extinction-grade event for the Democratic Party..”

A Smoldering Fuse (Jim Kunstler)

Thirty-seven billion more dollars for Ukraine? (That’s thirty-seven thousand millions of dollars, by the way.) Bringing the total this year to a click-or-two over ninety billion (ninety-thousand millions), on top of whatever Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX company funneled through that sad-sack international money laundromat — soon to be the darkest backwater of a European failed state since Field Marshal Melchior von Hatzfeldt of Westphalia left Bohemia a corpse-strewn wasteland after the Battle of Jankau (1645). It really doesn’t matter how much more money we pound down that rat-hole, you understand, because by the time various parties — the weapons-makers, Volodymyr Zelensky, sundry members of the US House of Representatives, the Biden family, the World Economic Forum — are finished creaming off their fair shares, poor Ukraine won’t have enough cash-on-hand to replace six fuse-boxes in Zaporizhzhia.

Against this backdrop, the USA enters a holiday season near-death spiral as unspooling scandals battle a collapsing economy for supremacy of the alt news sites. Case-in-point: the aforementioned FTX monkey business, a metastasizing tumor of the body politic. This complex fraud will smolder for a few weeks before it explodes into an extinction-grade event for the Democratic Party. The usual suspects among the mainstream media are trying strenuously to ignore it, but the shreds of this exploding money-borg are already sticking to guilty parties far and wide across the political landscape like so much rotting flesh.

FTX commander-in-chief Sam Bankman-Fried remains at large after steering the crypto-currency trading platform into a bankruptcy so hideously tangled that the assigned liquidator in court proceedings, one John Ray III, who oversaw the Enron aftermath years ago, was boggled by what he’s found so far (and it’s early in the game): Namely, a company run by a handful of twenty-something drug freaks with no idea what they were doing, no record-keeping, and a slime trail of misappropriated investors’ funds leading to Kiev and Geneva through various crooked American political action committees, and the halls of Congress — with echos in ballot harvesting shenanigans which shaped the outcome of this month’s US elections.

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“Bankman-Fried has boasted of meeting policymakers in Washington “every two or three weeks for the last year.”

‘Aid To Ukraine,’ the US Democratic Party And The Collapse Of FTX (Livshitz)

Bankman-Fried is a very well-connected figure indeed in US politics. Over the course of the 2020 presidential election cycle, he contributed $5.2 million to two super PACs supporting Joe Biden’s campaign, and was the overall second-largest individual donor to Biden that year. Such extravagant spending appears trivial today. In 2021/22, he provided tens of millions to Democratic causes and candidates, becoming the party’s second-largest donor, behind only “spyless coup” specialist George Soros. Bankman-Fried has boasted of meeting policymakers in Washington “every two or three weeks for the last year.” Over 2022, this has included multiple audiences with senior government officials and top Biden advisers at the White House. These meetings escalated in volume around the time that the Ukraine conflict began.

On March 7, exactly one week before Aid for Ukraine was launched, his brother Gabe Bankman-Fried – who directs his political operations – visited the White House along with Jenna Narayanan, a Democratic strategist who once worked for the Democracy Alliance, which has been called the “most powerful liberal donor club” in the US. Bankman-Fried himself then visited the White House on numerous occasions in April and May, concurrent with him donating $865,000 to the Democratic National Committee. In early June, mere days after his last recorded White House meet-and-greet, Bankman-Fried announced he would invest up to $1 billion in further funds between then and 2024 to guarantee Biden – or whoever might take his place – won the next presidential election. These activities have been interpreted by many as an attempt by Bankman-Fried to ingratiate himself with politicians to further his commercial interests.

It is certainly true that, at the same time, he and FTX high-rankers were attempting to influence US lawmakers on crypto regulation, to make the market more favorable for his company. In this context, the promised $1 billion appears to be a dangled carrot, an implied promise of future financing if Bankman-Fried got his way. Accompanying him on some of these visits was Mark Wetjen, FTX head of policy and regulatory strategy, who previously served as commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Barack Obama – but only some. Were the other meetings related to Ukraine? If so, the $1 billion pledge may have reflected what Bankman-Fried thought could be secretly skimmed from Aid for Ukraine for Democratic Party purposes. It’s conspicuous that in mid-October, he completely disowned that enormous commitment, saying, “That was a dumb quote. I think my messaging was sloppy and inconsistent in some cases.”

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“BAHAMAS GOVT ORDERED BANKMAN-FRIED TO HACK FTX SYSTEM AND TRANSFER ASSETS TO THE BAHAMAS GOVT ACCOUNT: COURT FILING”

BAHAMAS SECURITIES REGULATOR SAYS IT ORDERED FTX CRYPTO WALLETS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO GOVERNMENT WALLETS

SAM BANKMAN STOLE $300 MILLION OF THE $420 MILLION FTX RAISED FROM INVESTORS LAST YEAR IN OCTOBER. (WSJ)

SBF’s lawyers at Paul Weiss have dropped him as a client: “We informed Mr. Bankman-Fried several days ago, after the filing of the FTX bankruptcy, that conflicts have arisen that precluded us from representing him”

FTX Boss Accused Of Using Offshore Funds After Bankruptcy (RT)

The collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX has provided court evidence suggesting that its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, had transferred digital assets belonging to the company to regulators in the Bahamas just after filing for bankruptcy. In a bombshell emergency court filing on Thursday, FTX claimed that the government of the Bahamas directed Bankman-Fried to gain “unauthorized access” while in custody. While thousands of clients have been denied access to their funds, millions of dollars in crypto reportedly continued to be drained from FTX wallets over the weekend through a back door in the Bahamas. The filing cited an interview published by Vox on Wednesday, in which Bankman-Fried expressed disdain for regulators. “F**k regulators,” he said in the interview, adding: “They make everything worse. They don’t protect customers at all.” “You know what was maybe my biggest single f**k up?” he asked. “Chapter 11.”


The motion lodged by FTX in the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware says the alleged conduct puts “in serious question” a request by regulators in the Bahamas for recognition as liquidators in the bankruptcy. “[I]n connection with investigating a hack on Sunday, November 13, Mr. Bankman-Fried and [FTX co-founder Gary] Wang, stated in recorded and verified texts that ‘Bahamas regulators’ instructed that certain post-petition transfers of Debtor assets be made by Mr. Wang and Mr. Bankman-Fried (who the Debtors understand were both effectively in the custody of Bahamas authorities) and that such assets were ‘custodied on FireBlocks under control of Bahamian gov’t,’” the filing said. FTX, which is based in the Bahamas due to the relaxed tax laws, collapsed on November 11 in a scandal that has cost investors more than $11 billion. The debacle followed reports of mishandled customer funds and abandoned acquisition plans by rival exchange Binance. The scandal has triggered a crisis of confidence in the cryptocurrency market and caused the value of assets including Bitcoin to sink.

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“The clobber list also includes this curious item: “The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.”

Ukraine – Switching The Lights Off (MoA)

The careful destruction of energy systems in Ukraine continues. From today’s clobber list as provided by the Defense Ministry of Russia: ” On 17 November, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a concentrated strike, using high-precision long-range air-, sea- and ground-based weapons, at the facilities of military control, defence industry, as well as related fuel and energy infrastructure of Ukraine. The goals of the strike have been reached. All the missiles have accurately stricken the assigned facilities.” I have no idea if the last line is true but it does not matter much. The targeting of 330 kilovolt transformers in various switching stations has cut some 50% of the distribution capability of Ukraine’s electricity network. These transformers weigh up to 200 tons.

There are no replacements. You do not buy them at the next corner but will have order them with years of lead time. As far as I can tell Russia is currently Russia the only producer of transformers of that type. Isn’t it a war crime to destroy the infrastructure that supplies civilians? It depends. If the infrastructure is used exclusively for civilian purpose the destruction is illegal. But the electricity and transport infrastructure in Ukraine is used for civilian AND military purposes. In a recent Politico piece Ukrainian officials are even confirming that: Ukraine tells allies it may not be able to recover from more Russian attacks on energy systems: ” An unreliable energy sector could have deadly consequences, Ukrainian officials say. In recent conversations, they’ve added that it could halt food production and transport operations — critical services needed to support military operations.”

The clobber list also includes this curious item: “The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.” I wonder where and what that has been: “One depot of artillery armament, delivered by western countries and prepared for being sent to troops, has been destroyed. The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated.” The last sentence describes the real purpose of the attacks on the energy systems.

The lack of energy is degrading the railway network that brings weapons from the west to the eastern front. It makes redeployment of units from one front section to another very difficult and time consuming. It will give the Russian forces the advantage when they change the Schwerpunkt of their attacks from one corner of the frontline to another. Another effect of the strikes on the electricity systems and the blackouts in the big cities that follow them is a renewed stream of refugees that will want reach western Europe. It will over time change the public opinion and the political priorities of those countries. If they fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.

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“The New York Times notes the continued emergency that the country’s vital nuclear power plants are facing, given they themselves must rely on the national grid for aspects of their normal operations.”

Ukraine Has Lost 40% Of Energy System As Kyiv Sees First Snow (ZH)

Ukraine’s largest city and capital of Kyiv, with about 3 million residents, saw half its home and businesses plunged into darkness following Tuesday’s largescale Russian airstrikes which once again targeted energy infrastructure nationwide. Much of the electricity was restored in the capital city Wednesday, while much of it remained off in many other parts of the country. In a rare occurrence, most of the western city of Lviv had also been plunged into darkness this week, after what authorities called the biggest wave of Russian strikes on power facilities since the invasion began. “Photos of Kyiv draped in darkness have become a shareable illustration of winter in Ukraine this year: dark, cold, dangerous,” observed The Hill.

“Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is under attack from Russia, which has failed to defeat Ukrainian forces on the battlefield and is now once again targeting civilians.” An estimated 100 missiles had rained down on Ukrainian cities over the span of just a couple hours on Tuesday, chiefly targeting the energy grid. President Zelensky had already earlier in November warned that 40% of the country’s energy system has been destroyed. One Kyiv resident, Vladimir Yanachuk, was cited in NPR as saying, “We are not afraid about this. Ukrainians are not afraid about this,” while acknowledging: “Winter will be hard. But this winter will be hard not only for Ukrainians, but for Russian soldiers too.”

Temperatures in the capital and other parts of Ukraine have dipped below freezing this week, with the first snow fall of the season dusting Kyiv. The AFP reports, “The first snow of the winter falls on Maidan Square in Kyiv, blanketing its statues and anti-tank obstacles as the Ukrainian capital faces blackouts and power outages from a fresh series of Russian strikes targeting the country’s energy infrastructure.” Meanwhile The New York Times notes the continued emergency that the country’s vital nuclear power plants are facing, given they themselves must rely on the national grid for aspects of their normal operations.

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“What we want is an end to this war. Someone is trying not to end the war. The US sees the prolongation of the war as its interest.”

Ukraine Is ‘War Between West And Russia’ – Turkish Official (RT)

The West is using Ukraine to wage a war against Russia and has gone so far as to sabotage Turkish diplomacy that sought to negotiate an end to it, the deputy leader of Türkiye’s ruling AKP party, Numan Kurtulmus, told CNN Turk on Friday. “This war is not between Russia and Ukraine, it is a war between Russia and the West,” Kurtulmus told the outlet, adding that “the US and some countries in Europe” are prolonging the conflict by supporting Ukraine. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is talking to both Moscow and Kiev, said Kurtulmus, and in March managed to organize negotiations in Istanbul that looked promising. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, “were going to sign” a deal, but “someone didn’t want” that to happen.

According to Ukrainian media, Kiev received a message in April that the West was not interested in peace with Russia, which encouraged Zelensky to break off the talks. The messenger was reportedly none other than the UK prime minister at the time, Boris Johnson. “There was progress on certain issues, and we were reaching the final point, and then suddenly we saw that the war accelerated,” Kurtulmus told CNN Turk on Friday. “What we want is an end to this war. Someone is trying not to end the war. The US sees the prolongation of the war as its interest.” In his opinion, the conflict has made much of Europe clamor for NATO to become more active against the perceived threat from Russia, which benefits Washington.

According to Kurtulmus, the “balance of the world system disappeared” with the demise of the Soviet Union, and a “fierce power struggle” is currently taking place. “It is essential to establish a global political system. It is necessary to establish new institutions that will ensure world peace,” he said. Kurtulmus is a former Turkish deputy prime minister, who has been Erdogan’s deputy at the head of AKP since 2018. His comments came as Russia agreed to extend the Turkish-negotiated deal for exporting grain through the Black Sea by 120 days, on the condition Kiev doesn’t use the sea corridor to carry out more attacks.

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No coincidence. If you don’t want an end, you’re not going to define an end goal.

Former Trump Advisor: Biden Admin Has No End Goal For Ukraine War (JTN)

Former Donald Trump advisor Victoria Coates said the Biden administration doesn’t have an end goal for its involvement in the war in Ukraine. “I think it’s a lot of confusion within the administration,” Victoria Coates said on Friday’s edition of the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show. “You’ll hear the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Milley saying he wants to negotiate. Then we hear from the National Security Council that we don’t want to negotiate. So there’s friction within the administration. Unfortunately, I think that means we don’t have strong direction from the top.” Coates speculated that conflicting agendas within the administration were undermining Washington’s response to the conflict. “They’re all arguing about what kind of weapon weapon systems they may or may not give the Ukrainians,” Coates said. “They’re arguing about whether or not they should negotiate. It’s very confusing.”


Coates said that this inevitably will lead to scrutiny from the next Congress. “This is why you have a lot of concern out of the new Congress for these huge supplemental requests that are coming in,” Coates explained. “What’s the purpose here? Because if we have a strategy to win, and I think the Ukrainians have shown the will to win, how do we get them across that finish line sooner rather than later so the American people aren’t still feeling the pain of this conflict?” “We’re up against $100 billion of support to Ukraine over the course of the last 10 months,” Coates said. “Now, maybe I would spend more money if it means we’re going to defeat Putin, but I don’t hear that from the President. So I’m wondering why, in these difficult times, we’re spending all this taxpayer money.”

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“..the market is going to set the price. So if you put sanctions on at higher prices, in a way you’re just making the situation worse.”

Russian Oil Price Cap Idea ‘Ridiculous’ – Former US Treasury Secretary (RT)

Former US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has criticized the Group of Seven (G7) plan of capping the price of Russian oil in an interview to CNBC. The measure, which is due to be implemented early next month, is “not only not feasible, I think it’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard,” Mnuchin said. The former official said that “the market is going to set the price. So if you put sanctions on at higher prices, in a way you’re just making the situation worse.” The G7 countries, comprising the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan, earlier agreed to set a fixed price limit on Russian oil. The measure takes effect on December 5.

While the price level is not yet known, reports indicate it will be set at around $60 per barrel. The current market price on Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, is around $86 per barrel. Under the plan, Western companies will be banned from providing certain services for shipments of Russian oil that is purchased at a price above the cap. The list of services includes insurance and facilitating payments. The mechanism, which had been pitched by Washington, is intended to limit Russia’s revenues from energy exports, which, the West claims Moscow uses to fund its military operation in Ukraine.

Moscow, meanwhile, has increased oil exports in recent months to countries outside of the West, particularly China and India, by offering discounts to secure buyers. Analysts say that in order for the price cap to have the desired effect, the G7 would have to make sure these countries join the scheme. However, Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the country will not sell oil to buyers that agree to the price cap, which may make many reluctant to participate in the mechanism. India, for instance, recently said it sees no “moral conflict” in importing Russian oil and will buy it “from wherever” to ensure the country’s energy stability.

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This puzzles me: Garland said:“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.”

See? They’re both candidates, but only one gets a special counsel. Where in his words is the logic? It’s not as if there is no reason to probe Hunter. And FTX should be probed too, but yes, that too is linked to Biden.

DOJ Appoints Special Counsel For Trump Probes, But What About Hunter? (JTN)

Powell’s words follow Garland’s appointment of Jack Smith, a former career Justice Department prosecutor and former chief prosecutor at The Hague, to serve as special counsel to oversee two ongoing criminal investigations. The first is the investigation into whether any individual, Trump included, attempted to interfere unlawfully in the transfer of presidential power or the electoral certification process in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The second is the investigation into the documents the FBI seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August and any obstruction of justice charges that could stem from it. Garland’s announcement came three days after Trump launched his 2024 presidential campaign.

“The Department of Justice has long recognized that in certain extraordinary cases it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution,” said Garland. “Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.” Trump blasted the appointment as the “politicization of justice” and said he “won’t partake in it” in comments to Fox News Digital. Observers were quick to similarly criticize Garland’s decision, noting a potential double standard as the Justice Department hasn’t named a special counsel to oversee its ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden.

“By appointing a special counsel to investigate his boss’s political enemy, Attorney General Merrick Garland continues to politicize and weaponize the Biden Justice Department — all while Garland ignores smoking-gun evidence of Biden’s foreign corruption,” tweeted Mike Davis, former chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Other legal experts thought Garland’s appointment itself was fine but took issue with not doing the same for Biden. s”Appointment of a special counsel is a significant step, but Garland is well within his rights to do so,” said Geoff Shepard, a lawyer and author who served in the Nixon administration. “The disturbing thing is that he has not already done so with regard to the Hunter Biden investigation. It reeks of a double standard and gives critics plenty of reason to object.”

“The more he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted the spoons…”

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@JulieZebrak: “Fun fact: Jack Smith and Jim Trusty both worked in the Criminal Division when I was there. Jack was the head of Public Integrity Section aka PIN. Jim was the head of the Organized Crime and Gang Section. Jim now represents Trump.”

MTG Says Kevin McCarthy, House GOP Will Defund Trump Special Counsel (JTN)

Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green on Friday said that current House Minority Leader and likely next House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would deny funding to the Department of Justice special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump. In a Tweet detailing the plan, Greene insisted McCarthy would invoke the Holman rule, a procedural measure by which the House may adjust appropriations legislation to reduce the salary of or fire specific government employees. They may also use it to cut specific programs. “Holman Rule. Look it up! [McCarthy] is going to put it in place,” Greene wrote. “That means no money for Garland’s politically weaponized Special Counsel. Don’t promise too many jobs! Whoops defunded.”

It was not immediately clear whether Greene was predicting such action or announcing that McCarthy had made the decision. Just the News has sought comment from Greene’s office. McCarthy’s office could not immediately be reached. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that he was appointing Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the DOJ investigations relating the former president. “The Department of Justice has long recognized that in certain extraordinary cases it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution,” Garland said.

“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.” McCarthy has thus far not announced any plans akin to what Greene has indicated. The California Republican this week won his party’s nomination for speaker while the party. Republicans won control of the House during the 2022 midterm elections, meaning McCarthy will likely be the one driving the lower chamber’s operations in the next congressional session.

Trump

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Game over, guys, don’t even try.

G20 Pushes Vaccine Passports For All Future International Travel (ZH)

The G20 has issued a formal decree promoting vaccine passports as preparation for any future pandemic response in its final communique. Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, speaking on the matter on behalf of the G20 host country, had earlier in the summit called for a “digital health certificate” using WHO standards. Sadikin advocated for that he dubbed a “digital health certificate” which shows whether a person has been “vaccinated or tested properly” so that only then “you can move around”. Watch his comments during a G20 Bali panel discussion earlier in the week… A somewhat more vaguely-worded version of these recommendations was included in the official G20 leaders’ declaration, which calls for digital COVID-19 certificates, or often simply called vaccine passports.

The section of the final communique, which is republished and available on the White House website, which deals with vaccines and the Covid-19 pandemic begins, “We recognize that the extensive COVID-19 immunization is a global public good and we will advance our effort to ensure timely, equitable and universal access to safe, affordable, quality and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTDs).” While describing the need for greater collaboration among nations during any future pandemic response, it continues in this section, “We remain committed to embedding a multisectoral One Health approach and enhancing global surveillance, including genomic surveillance, in order to detect pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that may threaten human health.”

[..] Article 24 of the final G20 declaration begins, “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation of the digital ecosystem and digital economy.” And then leads into to the following statement later in the section: “We acknowledge the importance to counter disinformation campaigns, cyber threats, online abuse, and ensuring security in connectivity infrastructure.” So as predicted by many early on in the pandemic (who were all dismissed and condemned as “conspiracy theorists”), a future proposed standardized vaccine passport will be accompanied by efforts for greater standardization and policing against ‘disinformation’ – likely to include any speech critical of the type of regimen that G20 leaders wish to enact.

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“..many people misunderstood the meaning of “peak oil” and saw it as equivalent to “running out” of oil…”

Colin Campbell: A Tribute To The Father Of The Concept Of “Peak Oil” (Ugo Bardi)

Rethinking today about Colin’s legacy, we can see that he was not always right in his assessments. One of the limits of his approach was that it was focused only on oil and gas. His models were sometimes oversimplified, and, at times, he would be too quick in disparaging new technologies that could change the picture. Perhaps his main limit was to have overemphasized the importance of the peak date as a turning point for humankind and to have believed that it could be determined by models. I know that he understood that the peak was just one point in a smooth curve, and he said that several times in public statements. But many people misunderstood the meaning of “peak oil” and saw it as equivalent to “running out” of oil. For some, it was the equivalent of the religious concept of apocalypse, and that led to accusations against ASPO of being a millenarian cult of some kind.

It should go without saying that Colin’s ideas were as far from millenarism as they could possibly have been. His approach was good, data-based science, and he was fond of quoting Keynes saying, “when I have new data, I change my mind, what do you do, sir?” (actually, Samuelson said that). Colin’s capability of dispassionately analyzing data led him to avoid the mistakes that other members of ASPO made, such as putting all their hopes on nuclear energy or refusing to accept climate science as a valid scientific field. So, even though right now the concept of “peak oil” seems to be out of fashion, good ideas are like souls. They move from one generation to another, being reborn as new incarnations if they are good.

Campbell’s ideas have that power, right now they are nearly forgotten, but waiting to reappear in a suitable body, like the spirit of the Dalai Lama. We, humans, forget things so easily, especially important things. But one day we’ll understand Campbell’s main message that what we get from the Earth may seem to be free, but it must be repaid, sooner or later. And the debt recovery agency employed by Gaia is ruthless and cannot be bribed using money.

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Cooling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby chimp

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 172022
 
 November 17, 2022  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  71 Responses »


Cimabue Christ mocked c1280 (Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters)

 

Ukraine Admits Firing Missile Near Poland Blast Site – CNN (RT)
Zelensky Doubles Down On Poland Missile (RT)
Gen. Milley Claims He Couldn’t Reach Moscow After Poland Missile Incident (RT)
Poland Should Guard Part Of Ukrainian Airspace – General (RT)
Missile Incident Was Ukrainian ‘Provocation’ – Polish Politician (RT)
Poland Wants Russian Oil Despite EU Embargo – Kommersant (RT)
Drone Strikes Deep In Russian Territory – Governor (RT)
The G20’s Balinese Geopolitical Dance (Escobar)
Eurozone Facing Deep Recession – Economists (RT)
Xi Roasts Justin Trudeau At G20 (RT)
Did SBF Buy Puff-Piece Propaganda? (ZH)
American Attempts To Preserve Hegemony Vs The New World Order (Kortunov)
US Congress Will Continue To Oppose Jet Sale To Turkey – Rep. Malliotakis (K.)
Sperm Counts Plummeting Dramatically – Faster Than Previously Thought (EHN)
Fauci’s Pandemic Leadership Needs to Be Investigated – Dr. Scott Atlas (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuleba before denials

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of RT today. Seems to be the only place for relevant information on Zelensky’s -and Poland’s- attempts to start WWIII.

“It doesn’t matter to Germany whose rocket fell in Poland, in any case, Russia is to blame, because it attacked Ukraine” – Olaf Scholz

Ukraine Admits Firing Missile Near Poland Blast Site – CNN (RT)

Ukrainian military officials told their American and other Western counterparts that they attempted to intercept a Russian missile near the site of a fatal blast in Poland on Tuesday, CNN reported. While Kiev initially blamed the explosion on Russia, Western leaders have since stated that it was likely caused by an errant Ukrainian air defense projectile. Citing a US official, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military has informed its Western backers that it “attempted to intercept a Russian missile in the same timeframe and near [the] location” of a “missile strike” at the Polish village of Przewowdow a day earlier. “It’s not clear this is [the] same missile that struck Poland, but this has informed ongoing US assessment,” Sciutto added.

The apparent admission by Ukraine’s military marks a dramatic climbdown by Kiev since Tuesday, when Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called the incident a “Russian attack on the collective security” of NATO. In a video statement, Zelensky urged the West to put Russia “in its place” in response. However, in the time since the blast, Ukraine’s Western backers have all but confirmed that the missile was fired from Ukraine. US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda have all stated that the blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, with Duda opting not to call for urgent consultations under Article 4 of the NATO Treaty.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that analysis of debris at the site of the explosion showed that it was caused by a missile from the S-300 air defense system, a Soviet-era system fielded by Ukraine. Poland is currently leading an investigation into the explosion, which killed two people. The blast occurred during an intense Russian bombardment of Ukrainian command centers and energy infrastructure. Russia has pummeled Ukraine with near-daily missile and drone strikes since October, following what Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian “terrorist attacks” on Russian territory. Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushenko called Tuesday’s barrage the “most massive shelling of [Ukraine’s] energy system” since the beginning of the conflict in February.

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“Ukraine’s president Zelensky is pushing back against Western suggestions, including those of the US and Nato, that a stray Ukrainian missile was responsible for the deadly blast in Poland. ‘I have no doubt that it was not our rocket,’ he told reporters.”

Zelensky Doubles Down On Poland Missile (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky continued to insist his military did not fire the missile that killed two civilians in the Polish village of Przewodow. Ukraine wanted to be included in any investigation of the incident, he told reporters in Kiev on Wednesday. “I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike,” Zelensky said, according to Ukrainian media. Noting that this is what the Ukrainian air force commander told him on Tuesday evening, he added, “It makes no sense for me not to trust them.” The Ukrainian president also said the Przewodow incident was yet another argument for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, something he has been asking for since February.

Zelensky was quick to blame “terrorist” Russia for what he described as an attack on NATO and the concept of collective security itself. His foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba did likewise. Neither have retracted their claims, even after Poland announced the missile that struck Przewodow was from a S-300 air defense system. “There is a high probability that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, CNN quoted unnamed Ukrainian military officials as saying the missile was indeed theirs. Zelensky, however, told reporters he disagreed with phrases like “high probability” and that Ukraine “has the right” to see the evidence and data from partner countries. So far, he said, Kiev has received nothing.

“We must participate in the investigation,” Zelensky said, according to the UNIAN news agency. “I want it to be fair and if it was the use of our air defense, then I want this evidence.” While the incident in Przewodow happened amid a Russian cruise missile attack on key energy and military infrastructure targets in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry swiftly noted that the debris filmed in Poland had nothing to do with any Russian weapon. Nor had anything nearby been targeted by the Russian military, Moscow added. Even the US government acknowledged the projectile that hit the Polish village was not Russian. On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the missile had been Ukrainian and there were no indications of a Russian attack. He argued that the ultimate responsibility for the incident still lay with Moscow, however.

Candace

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Bad if he’s lying, bad if he’s not.

Gen. Milley Claims He Couldn’t Reach Moscow After Poland Missile Incident (RT)

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley tried and failed to reach his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, in the wake of a deadly missile incident in Poland, he revealed to journalists. “My staff was unsuccessful in getting me linked up with General Gerasimov,” he said during a joint press conference with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday. The failed contact happened after a missile hit a Polish village on the border with Ukraine and killed two locals on Tuesday. It came amid a Russian barrage targeting Ukrainian military and energy infrastructure. President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that the weapon was Russian and urged NATO to invoke its collective defense provisions in response. Western nations have since assessed that the projectile was most likely a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that went astray. But the Ukrainian leader doubled down on his claim that it was not fired by Kiev’s forces.


During the media briefing, both US defense officials declined to comment on the difference of opinion. “We have full confidence in Poland’s ability to conduct this investigation in the proper way, and until that’s complete, again, I think it’s – it’d be premature for anybody to jump to conclusions,” Austin said. Zelensky named Ukraine’s chief of defense, General Valery Zaluzhny, as the source of his information about the projectile’s origin. Milley said he also talked to the general, but declined to say what he was told about the incident. The Russian military has denied responsibility and said images of the missile debris clearly identified it as Ukrainian. The Foreign Ministry accused Kiev of trying to gain more Western support under a false pretext and said that an impartial investigation would expose the Ukrainian “provocation”.

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In the middle of it all, Ukraine adds another call for a no fly zone. As if we forgot what that means. Trying to get NATO openly into the war.

Poland Should Guard Part Of Ukrainian Airspace – General (RT)

Polish General Roman Polko said that the country’s air defenses should assume responsibility for part of Ukraine’s territory, in the wake of a deadly missile strike on a village near the Ukraine border. Speaking to Radio ZET on Wednesday, Polko, who used to serve as the Deputy Chief of the Polish National Security Bureau, suggested that Poland should protect a “strip of airspace extending into Ukrainian territory and build air defense systems.” “We cannot allow Polish citizens to die,” he stressed, expressing hope that the incident would accelerate deliveries of defense weapons. The general went on to say that Polish authorities should ramp up defense capabilities as well as increase airspace monitoring.

“We should inform Russia that Ukraine and… the border belt will be constantly monitored by the NATO alliance and Russian combat assets will be shot down,” Polko added. He also noted that the “unprecedented attack” should prompt NATO to “finally lift restrictions” and give Ukraine long-range weapons. According to media reports, the US, Kiev’s most prominent backer, has been reluctant to send these types of arms to Ukraine, fearing it would escalate the conflict. While Germany said that, along with its NATO partners, Berlin has no plans to try and close off Ukrainian airspace, noting that such a move could trigger a direct clash between Russia and NATO forces. “Together with all our allies we agreed that we want to avoid a further escalation of this war in Ukraine,” a government spokesperson explained.

Berlin had proposed to help Poland patrol its airspace, according to Germany’s defense ministry spokesman. It comes in the aftermath of a missile strike on the village of Przewodow, close to the Ukrainian border, which killed two civilians. While Poland initially claimed that the projectile was “manufactured in Russia,” later, President Andrzej Duda noted that it was probably launched by Ukrainian air defenses. The Russian Defense Ministry denied involvement, stating that its experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified parts of the projectile “as elements of a missile from the S-300 air defense system used by the Air Force of Ukraine.”

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“Instead of telling “fairy tales” about the missile, the Polish president should tell Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that Warsaw “will no longer put up with this behavior” by Kiev.”

Missile Incident Was Ukrainian ‘Provocation’ – Polish Politician (RT)

Poland should rethink its position towards the conflict in Ukraine after a “provocation” on the part of Kiev that cost two villagers their lives, a former city councilman in Lublin said on Wednesday. Jaroslaw Pakula, whose term ended four days before the incident, said the missile that struck Przewodow was obviously Ukrainian and that the government in Warsaw needed to send a message to Kiev instead of telling “fairy tales” to its citizens. “Of course, this is a Ukrainian rocket. Of course, this is a provocation on the part of the Ukrainian authorities,” Pakula posted on his Facebook page. “The rocket could not be fired 100km in the opposite direction by mistake.” The purpose of the provocation was to scare the EU and get civil society support for sending even more weapons to Ukraine, Pakula added.

Instead of telling “fairy tales” about the missile, the Polish president should tell Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that Warsaw “will no longer put up with this behavior” by Kiev. “I urge you to rethink Poland’s position [regarding] this war in the event that the red line is crossed again!” Pakula concluded. Pakula’s Facebook page still has a Ukrainian flag over his portrait photo, and lists him as chairman of the city council of Lublin, the seat of the region where Przewodow is located. The official city website, however, notes that he was no longer in office as of November 11. Zelensky was quick to accuse Russia of attacking Poland and the entire NATO after a missile exploded in Przewodow on Tuesday afternoon, killing two people.

The government in Kiev said the incident showed the need for NATO to “close the sky” over Ukraine, as they have demanded since February. While Zelensky continues to insist the missile was Russian, Warsaw and Moscow have both identified it as a S-300 air defense missile, with Poland calling it “Russian-made” and Russia pointing out it was in Ukrainian service. The US and NATO have also described the missile as an air defense rocket that strayed, seeking to minimize the incident while also arguing that Russia was the ultimate culprit for bombing Ukraine in the first place. The Russian military has pointed out that Tuesday’s missile strikes on Ukrainian military and energy infrastructure targets came nowhere close to the Polish border.

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And despite accusing Russia of attacking it.

Poland Wants Russian Oil Despite EU Embargo – Kommersant (RT)

Poland plans to continue buying Russian oil in 2023 via the “Druzhba” (Friendship) pipeline, despite vows from the country’s authorities to abandon imports from the sanctioned country, the daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday. Poland’s major oil refiner and retailer Orlen has sent a bid to Russia’s oil and gas transporting company Transneft to receive three million tons of oil through the Druzhba pipeline in 2023, the outlet reported, citing a source in the Polish oil industry. Transneft has confirmed the order without specifying which companies it came from and the requested volumes. On December 5, an EU embargo on Russian crude oil and petroleum products comes into force.

And even though it will not be applied to deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline, Germany and Poland, which receive oil through the northern branch of the pipeline, have officially announced that they will voluntarily give up Russian oil from the beginning of 2023. Kommersant has pointed out that the Polish oil company has active long-term contracts with Transneft and reminded readers that the country’s foreign minister Zbigniew Rau had said on November 14 that Orlen risks paying a penalty in case of a unilateral withdrawal from the agreement. At the moment, Orlen has stopped buying Russian oil on the spot market but continues to receive it under long-term contracts with Tatneft (2.4 million tons per year until 2024) and Rosneft (3.6 million tons per year), the outlet reports.

The contract with Rosneft was renewed for two years in March 2021 and, apparently, will still be valid in January and February 2023. Commenting on the issue, Transneft vice-president Sergey Andronov said that on top of the bids from the company’s clients, which use the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline, there are “bids from Polish consumers for deliveries through Belarus in 2023.” Andronov added that he hoped that German buyers of Russian crude would be “equally reasonable about securing stable oil supplies” from Russia. Druzhba is one of the longest pipeline networks in the world and carries crude some 4,000 kilometers from the eastern part of European Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

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Reeks a bit of Nordstream.

Drone Strikes Deep In Russian Territory – Governor (RT)

A drone has struck an oil terminal in Russia’s Oryol Region, some 200km (124 miles) from the Ukrainian border, Governor Andrey Klychkov said. “Around 4am today, an apparent drone struck an oil terminal in the village of Stalnoy Kon,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. “Nobody was hurt. Emergency services are working on site,” Klychkov added. Although the region does not share a border with Ukraine, it borders the Russian regions of Kursk and Bryansk where officials reported multiple Ukrainian attacks after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state on February 24.


News outlet Baza reported that the drone hit an upper section of a cylindrical steel tank, “a quarter” of which was filled with oil. The outlet added that there were no leaks or fires. According to news outlet Mash, the terminal is part of the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline network, which delivers Russian oil to Europe. Oryol Region, together with several neighboring regions, was placed on a state of heightened alert last month.

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“The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: the EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom.”

The G20’s Balinese Geopolitical Dance (Escobar)

The fog thickened because on the backdrop of the G20, the US and Russia were talking in Ankara, represented by CIA director William Burns and SVR (Foreign Intel) director Sergei Naryshkin. No one knows what exactly was being negotiated. A ceasefire is only one among possible scenarios. And yet heated rhetoric from NATO in Brussels to Kiev suggests escalation prevailing over some sort of reconciliation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was adamant; de facto and de jure, Ukraine can’t and does not want to negotiate. So the Special Military Operation (SMO) will continue. NATO is training fresh units. Next possible targets are the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the left bank of the Dnieper – or even more pressure in the north of Lugansk.

For their part, Russian military channels advance the possibility of a winter offensive on Nikolaev: only 30 km away from Russian positions. Serious Russian military analysts know what serious Pentagon analysts must also know: Russia used at best only 10% of its military potential so far. No regular forces; most of them are DPR and LPR militias, Wagner commandos, Kadyrov’s Chechens and volunteers. The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: the EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom. The IEA has calculated that the overall deficit by then will approach 30 billion cubic meters. And that presupposes “ideal” circumstances this coming winter: mostly warm; China still under lockdowns; much lower gas consumption in Europe; even increased production (from Norway?)

The IEA‘s models are working with two or three waves of price increases in the next 12 months. EU budgets are already on red alert – compensating the losses caused by the current energy suicide. By the end of 2023, that may reach 1 trillion euros. Any additional, unpredictable costs throughout 2023 mean that the EU economy will completely collapse: industry shutdown across the spectrum, euro in free fall, rise of inflation, debt corroding every latitude from the Club Med nations to France and Germany. Dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission (EC), of course should be discussing all that – in the interests of EU nations – with global players in Bali. Instead her only agenda, once again, was demonization of Russia. No niskala here; just tawdry cognitive dissonance.

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2023-24.

Eurozone Facing Deep Recession – Economists (RT)

The 19 countries that use the euro are expected to plunge into a much deeper recession in the coming months than earlier predicted, CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing economists. According to the report, the euro area has been under “significant pressure” due to a combination of sanctions against Russia, an abrupt end to Russian gas imports, and the need to provide financial support to households and firms struggling with the energy crisis. CNBC cited data from the European Commission showing that consumer confidence across the Eurozone plunged to a record low in September. It has improved slightly since then, but households still fear for the future and their financial positions, the report says.

“Consumer confidence has plunged so badly that the recession will likely not be shallow,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, told the news network. Preliminary growth estimates for the region suggest a slowdown in the third quarter from the previous three-month period – from 0.8% growth to 0.2%. According to Spyros Andreopoulos, a senior European economist at BNP Paribas, “It will be deeper than certainly what the ECB [European Central Bank] council expects.” Earlier this month, ECB President Christine Lagarde indicated that “the risk of recession has increased.” Andreopoulos told CNBC that he sees a risk the recession might drag into the second quarter of 2023.

Economists agree that even if the Eurozone emerges from a recession in the first quarter of next year, the subsequent months will still be challenging. s“I expect the recovery to be slow,” chief European economist at UniCredit, Marco Valli, told the network, citing higher interest rates as one of the main factors preventing a faster recovery. When asked if it was going to be an easy year for the euro area, Valli said: “No, absolutely not.”

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sundance: “If you have not watched this video, you really should. Justin from Canada leaked the content of a private bilateral conversation with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping to the media. Chairman Xi was not happy with the breach of diplomatic protocol. What makes this video remarkable is the purposeful decision by Chairman Xi to confront Justin from Canada in front of a western audience. Xi never speaks directly in public and is always aware of cameras. The Chinese Chairman almost always goes through spokespeople to relay his public communication, reserving his voice for controlled and disciplined conversation with national leaders. However, not this time. Chairman Xi dresses down Justin from Canada publicly, in view of cameras and microphones. Watch, and stay with it to the end when Justin from Canada awkwardly looks for somewhere to hide. It’s quite funny.”

Xi Roasts Justin Trudeau At G20 (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has publicly dressed down Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for leaking the content of their meeting to the media. Canadian reporters captured the exchange on video during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday. Barely a minute long, the exchange opens with Xi, speaking through a translator, telling Trudeau that “everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers.” “That is not appropriate. And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted,” Xi added. “If there was sincerity on your part…” “In Canada we believe in free and open and frank dialogue, and that is what we’ll continue to have,” Trudeau replied, speaking over the translator still trying to finish relaying Xi’s words. “We’ll continue to look to work constructively together but there will be things we will disagree on,” the Canadian leader added.


“Let’s create the conditions [for that] first,” replied Xi, offering Trudeau a handshake. While the Chinese leader smiled and moved on, the Canadian PM walked away from the camera, by himself. What Reuters described as “a rare display of public annoyance” by Xi follows media reports about the contents of his meeting with Trudeau on Tuesday. In the course of the ten-minute meeting, Trudeau raised “serious concerns” about China’s “interference activities” in Canada, ranging from industrial espionage to meddling in the 2019 federal election, a “government source” told AFP. According to the same source, they also discussed the situation in Ukraine, North Korea, and the upcoming biodiversity conference in December, which Beijing and Ottawa are co-hosting.

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How can you write about him without mentioning the Ukraine-FTX-Democrats connection?

Did SBF Buy Puff-Piece Propaganda? (ZH)

As FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces extradition to the USA following his fund’s commingled asset implosion, one might be a bit confused about the gravity of the situation given recent press coverage. For example, the NY Times on Monday published a cowering puff-piece which mentioned exactly none of the major accusations against the well-connected Democrat mega-donor. Months before his firm imploded, Vox penned a slobbering review of SBF’s “Effective Altruism” program, painting him as a benevolent crime-fighter in his efforts to help ensure Joe Biden won the 2020 US election. But his motivations aren’t those of an ordinary Democratic donor — Bankman-Fried told Goldstein that fighting Trump was less about promoting Democrats than ensuring “sane governance” in the US, which could have “massive, massive, ripple effects on what the future looks like.” -Vox

Fast forward to Tuesday, when Vox proclaimed that SBF’s support of Democratic candidates to the tune of $40 million, second only to George Soros, is “massively overstated” and essentially no big deal. And what do we have here? SBF gave millions to corporate media outlets according to Tablet, and noted by @balajis, who suggests that it may have been done with “stolen customer funds.” Over the past two years, Bankman-Fried cultivated the media lavishly, if not carefully. Drawing on what then seemed like an unlimited pool of cash, SBF (as we’ll call the mythologized version of the real person) dispersed investments, advertising dollars, sponsorships, and donations to key news outlets—including ProPublica, Vox, Semafor, and The Intercept—with extraordinary effectiveness. -Tablet

And while some of said outlets (Semafor, and The Intercept for example) covered FTX without obvious bias, recent pieces from Vox suggest the investment has paid off in spades. On Wednesday, Vox must have realized how dumb they looked – leading to Vox’s Dylan Matthews (who oddly took the “Vox” reference out of his Twitter bio earlier today) dumping what appears to be incriminating texts with another Vox journo. And while the NY Times wasn’t on the list of outlets that received money, perhaps SBF’s deep-rooted establishment connections have something to do with it.

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“While US officials use the “politically correct” rhetoric of multipolarity and multilateralism, the Biden administration is determined to restore a unipolar world..”

American Attempts To Preserve Hegemony Vs The New World Order (Kortunov)

NATO was unexpectedly enriched by two promising members, and the American military-industrial complex entered very attractive new markets not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world. Unprecedented export opportunities have also opened up for US energy companies, which are increasing the supply of their expensive liquefied natural gas to Europe as an alternative to the cheap Russian pipeline variety. Among other things, the current crisis has shown that the intellectual and psychological inertia of the old unipolar world is far from being overcome and continues to actively influence the world’s politics and economics. The surprising unanimity shown by the countries of the European Union in their willingness to reject any form of “strategic autonomy” from the US makes one wonder how serious the desire for this very autonomy was in the first place.

But the recurrence of systemic unipolarity is not unique to the West. For example, the threat of secondary sanctions by the US has in many cases proved to be a decisive factor in determining the opportunities and constraints for non-Western countries to develop economic and other cooperation with Moscow. Under US pressure, Turkey decided to refuse to service Russian Mir payment cards, and China’s Huawei was forced to begin winding down its activities in Russia. The new US National Security Strategy recently signed by Biden is steeped in outright restorationist pathos. The document speaks of the indispensability of American leadership, the unchanging task of “containing” China and Russia, the promotion of liberal values around the world, etc.

While US officials use the “politically correct” rhetoric of multipolarity and multilateralism, the Biden administration is determined to restore a unipolar world, exactly as it existed in the 1990s. To quote a well-known aphorism from the days of the Bourbon restoration to the French throne after the Napoleonic wars, one can state that Washington strategists “have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” Which is not surprising when you consider what age group Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump belong to.

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“We are always concerned when we really don’t know what Erdogan may say or do…”

US Congress Will Continue To Oppose Jet Sale To Turkey – Rep. Malliotakis (K.)

US representative Nicole Malliotakis appeared confident on Wednesday that both the Senate and Congress will ultimately uphold a provision banning the sale of F-16s to Turkey without a firm commitment that the fighter jets will not be used against America’s allies. “We feel that we are in a good place and we are going to continue to advocate for the protection of our allies,” Malliotakis told state broadcaster ERT in Washington, after signing a letter along with another 21 representatives urging US lawmakers to uphold the provision. Despite the fact that the provision was dropped by the Senate in its version of the defense spending bill last month, getting the amendment passed in the first place “played a very strong role and also sent a very strong message to the Administration that there is bipartisan opposition in both the House and the Senate,” Malliotakis, a Republican, said.

“We’re working with Senator Menendez as the chair of foreign affairs and I’ve been working with [Michael] McCaul, who I think might be the next chair of foreign affairs in the House, to ensure that there is a not a sign-off on such as sale,” she added, referring to Senator Bob Menendez, one of the original authors of the amendment. Asked whether support for the provision would continue should the Republican party gain control of the House, Malliotakis said that “a majority of the members of the House still oppose [the sale].” “When we had that amendment come to the floor, we were able to get the Republican votes, and they were the ones that actually passed the bill,” she said.

“We are always concerned when we really don’t know what Erdogan may say or do. He has been acting aggressively and his rhetoric has been disturbing, but that’s why we need members of Congress, we need the Administration to reaffirm its support for our allies in the region,” Malliotakis told ERT.

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“..a decline in sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia of 28.5% between 1973 and 2011..”

“..average global sperm count in 2018 was 49 million per milliliter of semen. When a man’s sperm count drops below about 45 million per milliliter, his ability to cause a pregnancy starts dropping dramatically..”

Sperm Counts Plummeting Dramatically – Faster Than Previously Thought (EHN)

For years, scientists across the world have gathered evidence showing declines in sperm quality. Now, new research compiling the results of those studies has found that sperm count has dropped dramatically around the world, and the rate of decline is accelerating.

In a new analysis, researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the University of Copenhagen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among others, found that sperm count globally dropped by more than half between 1973 and 2018, and that the decline is accelerating: Since 1972, sperm count has dropped by about 1% each year. Since 2000, the annual decrease has been, on average, more than 2.6%. The findings raise concerns that an increasing number of people will need assistance to reproduce, as well as concerns about the overall health of human society, since low sperm count is linked to higher rates of some diseases. And while scientists are still trying to tease out the reasons for the drop, chemical exposures, especially to pesticides, are a likely factor — and climate change may even play a role. Researchers are calling for urgent action to bolster more research into sperm count, determine the causes of the decline, and prevent further deterioration of male reproductive health. “We have clear evidence that there is a crisis in male reproduction,” Hagai Levine, lead author on the study and an epidemiologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told EHN.

The study builds on the team’s previous research, which showed a decline in sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia of 28.5% between 1973 and 2011. Adding data from 38 studies to the new analysis has made the case for sperm decline stronger, Shanna Swan, an author on the paper and a leading reproductive epidemiologist at Mount Sinai, told EHN. “It’s really alarming,” said Swan, who is also an adjunct scientist with Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes EHN.org. Swan authored the book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race. The research found that the average global sperm count in 2018 was 49 million per milliliter of semen. When a man’s sperm count drops below about 45 million per milliliter, his ability to cause a pregnancy starts dropping dramatically, said Swan.

She said the results could mean that in the coming decades, large swaths of the global population of men could be subfertile or infertile, or could require assisted reproduction techniques, like in vitro fertilization, or IVF, hormone treatment, or a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which sperm are directly injected into an egg. In addition to the drop in average sperm count, Levine said it was surprising that the rate of decline was accelerating, rather than slowing down. “Is there a tipping point, that once you cross, you get an even worse situation?” he said. “That’s something to really pay attention to.”

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Well, they got the House now… Let’s go!

Fauci’s Pandemic Leadership Needs to Be Investigated – Dr. Scott Atlas (ET)

Former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas sees multiple reasons for an investigation into Dr. Anthony Fauci, the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Such a probe has been discussed as Republicans inch closer to a House majority that would grant them subpoena powers. Some Republican lawmakers have accused Fauci of playing a role in misleading the public about the origins of COVID-19 and supporting pandemic mandates they describe as draconian. While Atlas, a vocal critic of the NIAID head, is “very skeptical” that an investigation like this could get away from politics or the perception of it being political, he thinks it’s warranted. Fauci’s changing stance on certain COVID-19 policies needs to be put under the spotlight, Atlas recently said on EpochTV’s “Newsmakers.”

“The real, clear public airing of exactly what happened needs to be done,” said Atlas, a senior fellow in health care policy at the Hoover Institution and contributor to The Epoch Times. “I personally am very skeptical that a political investigation, no matter who does it, is going to be done without politics, or if it’s going to be perceived as nonpolitical. I don’t trust people in government at all. They don’t deserve to be trusted, to be objective. “What was the motivation to flip flop multiple times with policy?” His question was referring to Fauci’s changing stance on pandemic school closures that drew criticism in late 2020.

He further questioned if there had been any “cover-up” of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fauci’s division, citing the awards to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through the New York nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance as an example. EcoHealth Alliance, which continues to receive millions of dollars in grants from the NIH, was subjected to scrutiny by multiple federal agencies over its partnership with the Wuhan lab. The Office of Investigations of the Department of Health and Human Services in late 2020 briefly opened a probe over alleged “major fraud against the United States.” The probe was closed in January 2021, according to internal documents, which had the reasons for the closure redacted. The allegation states that “the COVID-19 virus was generated in … China with the assistance of an NIH Grant.”

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Schwab Bali

 

 

 

 

Wray

 

 

 

 

Good morning bear

 

 

Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 152022
 
 November 15, 2022  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  62 Responses »


Salvador Dali Sick Boy (Self-portrait in Cadaqués) 1923

 

US Scrambles To Reassure Ukraine After Milley Comments On Negotiations (Pol.)
Zelenksy At G20 Summit: This is The Moment To End The War (Tel.)
UN Calls On Russia To Pay Ukraine Reparations (RT)
The Kherson Question (Nora Hoppe)
‘The Last Battle for the World’ (Batiushka)
Poland To Seize Gazprom Assets (RT)
G20: What Does It Mean For Putin And The Event Itself? (Maxim Hvatkov)
GOP Nears House Majority With Two Race Calls In Arizona (JTN)
Midterm Success Brings US Democrats To A Historic Dilemma (Desai)
The Triumph of The Centre (Soldo)
FTX Implosion Takes Its First Crypto Victim (RT)
What the Collapse of FTX Means (Burja)
Corporate Layoffs Are A Warning Sign Of Coming ‘Economic Crash Landing’ (JTN)
World Population Expected To Hit 8 Billion On Nov. 15 (JTN)
A Father Fights for His Son & What’s Left of Democracy (Lauria)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker

 

 

 

 

Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”
~ Khalil Gibran

 

 

 

 

“The four-star general said during an appearance at the Economic Club of New York that a victory by Ukraine may not be achieved militarily..”

US Scrambles To Reassure Ukraine After Milley Comments On Negotiations (Pol.)

The Biden administration is in damage control mode after a top U.S. general said a window for peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow could open this winter, with senior officials scrambling to assure Ukraine it wasn’t undercutting its goal of expelling the Russians. Specifically, senior U.S. officials are telling their counterparts in Ukraine that the expected winter fighting pause doesn’t mean talks should happen imminently. Instead, they’re relaying that Washington will continue to support Kyiv’s militarily as it launches the next phase of advances on the battlefield, according to Ukrainian and U.S. officials familiar with the outreach.

The scramble follows comments last week by Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chair. The four-star general said during an appearance at the Economic Club of New York that a victory by Ukraine may not be achieved militarily, and that winter may provide an opportunity to begin negotiations with Russia. The general has spoken regularly with his Ukrainian counterpart, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, including on Monday, according to a U.S. official. During the discussion, Zaluzhnyy did not express any concern or mention Milley’s comments even once, the person said. The person, along with others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations.

Still, the flurry of calls and meetings with Ukrainians underscores the degree to which the administration is concerned about presenting a unified front on Ukraine and potential peace talks. Any prolonged public split among top U.S. officials could threaten the already delicate relationship between Washington and Kyiv at a key moment in the war. The Biden administration needs to ease those tensions as it balances its support for Ukraine with concerns that Western stockpiles of military equipment are running low, and the possibility of a Republican-controlled House next year that will slash aid for Kyiv. European leaders are growing anxious about the region’s energy crisis, with some raising questions with American counterparts in recent days about the extent to which talks could ease fears about rising costs.

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Google translation.

Using the optics of Kherson for a narrative that is utterly unrealistic. That’s how you prolong a war, not end it.

Zelenksy At G20 Summit: This is The Moment To End The War (Tel.)

Now is the time to end Russia’s “devastating” war and “save thousands of lives,” Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said in a video address on Tuesday at the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. He presented a plan based on the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. “I am convinced that now is the time when the devastating Russian war must and can be stopped,” Zelensky said, addressing the leaders present, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden. “It will save thousands of lives.” Russian leader Vladimir Putin is not present, he is replaced by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.


The Ukrainian head of state stressed that the war must be ended “justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law” and called for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners. “Please choose your path to leadership and together we will surely implement the peace formula.” Zelensky wants “effective security guarantees” and insists on an international meeting where the agreements are laid down in a peace treaty. “There are and cannot be any excuses for nuclear blackmail,” he added, emphatically thanking the “G19” – excluding Russia – for “making this clear.” He also called for expansion and extension of the grain deal that expires on November 19. According to the UN, 10 million tons of Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs have been exported through the Black Sea since the deal was struck in July. That helped prevent a global food crisis.

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The UN should never choose sides in a conflict. That makes it obsolete.

UN Calls On Russia To Pay Ukraine Reparations (RT)

By a majority of votes, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution that would oblige Russia to compensate losses inflicted on Ukraine during the conflict and has recognized the need to create a special “international mechanism” that would allow it to do so. The resolution was supported by 94 countries in the 193-member world body vote on Monday. Some 73 more states abstained, while 14 countries voted against. Among others, those voting against the resolution included Russia itself, as well as China, Iran, and Syria. “An international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss, or injury”arising from Russia’s “wrongful acts” in Ukraine needs to be established, the resolution says.


The assembly’s members should create “an international register” that would include claims or data regarding damages, losses and injuries to Ukraine caused by Russia, the UN decided. While the UNGA resolutions are not legally binding, they do carry political weight. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, speaking on the topic of the resolution, called it a legally insignificant document. “At the same time, the co-authors cannot help but realize that the adoption of such a resolution will entail consequences that can boomerang back to them,” Nebenzia said. He added that the resolution intended to legalize the seizure of Russian assets previously frozen by Western countries.

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“The sacredness of Life is gone. We have become spectators… and our world has become a spectacle.”

The Kherson Question (Nora Hoppe)

I follow the news regularly on Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine. And I have recently read and heard many varying and divisionary views on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, a city that is now lawfully part of Russia. Dispensing with the views of the pro-NATO side, which are of no interest, I am observing the division of thought amongst analysts, journalists and commenters in forums siding with the Russians: There are those who are outraged and see the withdrawal from Kherson as “a disgrace”, “a sign of weakness”, “an embarrassment”, “a poor strategy”, “unattractive optics”, etc. Others see it as the outcome of a difficult but wise decision – that was primarily made to save the lives of Russian soldiers, who would have been cut off by a massive flood if NATO were to blow up the Kakhovka Dam. (There may well be additional tactical reasons for the withdrawal, but they are not (yet) known to the public.)

When people speak of the “optics not looking good“… a film set immediately comes to my mind (I have worked in the film world for many years). And that immediately tells me how some people view this operation – as spectators: it has to have a good catchy script, suspense, uninterrupted action and – heaven forbid – no lulls! It has to ultimately supply a dopamine release. It has to have a “Dirty Harry Catharsis”. This reminds me of similar reactions to the prisoner exchange in mid-September, where some saw it as a sign of weakness to even think of releasing Azov prisoners… or when the Chinese government did not deliver a dramatic retort when Pelosi went to do her skit in Taiwan. What is at the base of these kinds of reactions? Why such impatience? Why such concern with “appearances”? Why such a need to satiate one’s own personal sense of justice and retribution?

Does it have something to do with consuming? Especially in the western world one has become an addicted consumer of not only things but “experiences” that can be lived indirectly. Today we witness events of other peoples’ wars and battles on computer screens from the comfort of our homes or on our tiny phones from chic cafés… these events can accessed at any moment – just press a key… and they appear – like a scene in a film, a game, a contest, a sports match. Even the dead bodies that lie mangled, bloodied or in gory stumps strewn over the mud become the pieces of a broken puppets on a stage. “Hell, one gets used to it…” The sacredness of Life is gone. We have become spectators… and our world has become a spectacle.

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“..a war of liberation against the Combined West..”

‘The Last Battle for the World’ (Batiushka)

When last week Allied troops quit the right (= western, or in this case northern (1)) bank of the Dnieper and so the regional city of Kherson (original population 283,000), confusion reigned among those with a short-term view of this conflict. Probably they had been listening to Western propaganda for too long. Probably they had forgotten that if Russia had difficulties holding right-bank Kherson, then the Ukraine would certainly have even more difficulties. Let us return to some basic facts in order to clear up some of the confusion The government of the Russian Federation was reluctant to intervene in the post-regime change Ukraine of 2014. It always hoped that negotiations and diplomacy would overcome Western aggressiveness and stupidity.

The government of the Russian Federation knew that the USA through its NATO vassals was pumping the Ukraine full of arms and training its troops for the eight years between 2014 and 2022. Therefore the government of the Russian Federation had eight years in which to plan for this conflict, planning different scenarios and also preparing probing and distracting movements, like that towards Kiev last March. One scenario was that the US would continue to intervene on the side of its Kiev puppet and arm it to the teeth, also using NATO countries, officers and huge numbers of mercenaries to prolong the conflict, so that it would develop into a US war against Russia. That is exactly what has happened.

Russia defeated the Ukraine in March, but since then it has had to defeat the USA and its NATO allies, demilitarising them just as it demilitarised the Ukraine in the first month of the conflict. This is why there will be no quick end to what the conflict has become – a war of liberation against the Combined West. A NATO Ukraine with Cargill-Monsanto-Blackstone-Black Rock-owned land, anti-Slav biolabs, potential nuclear arms, US missiles on the border with the Federation, genocide in the Russian East and South, Western globalism and its escaped covid experiment with bioweapons helping it to destroy Russia and so set up its World Dictatorship, became more and more abhorrent. All this made Russian liberation more and more probable. But liberation only of the willing. And who was willing?

The government of the Russian Federation always knew that in the far west of the Ukraine, formerly Poland, there was hatred for Russia and therefore it had no interest in taking that. The government of the Russian Federation and its Allies first had to free its allies in the Donbass and then demilitarise and denazify the rest of the ‘Anti-Russia’ Ukraine, which was threatening its survival. Today Ukraine is running a budget deficit of up to $5 billion per month, with the country’s military spending increasing fivefold to $17 billion for the first seven months of 2022.

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Why do they want a pipeline that has no gas flowing through it?

Poland To Seize Gazprom Assets (RT)

Warsaw is set to confiscate the assets of Russian energy major Gazprom, the country’s media reported on Monday. The move will target the company’s 48% stake in EuroPolGaz, which owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline that used to carry Russian gas to the EU. The decision to seize Gazprom’s shares was reportedly made by Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda at the request of Poland’s Internal Security Agency. It is intended to “ensure the security of [Poland’s] critical infrastructure,” the ministry said. According to the media, Polish authorities said the order should be implemented immediately and established a mandatory administration in respect of the Russian entity to ensure the continued functionality of EuroPolGaz, a joint venture between the Russian gas major and Poland’s PGNiG.


The Polish energy major also owns a 48% stake in EuroPolGaz, and Gas-Trading SA the remaining 4%. The Yamal-Europe gas pipeline passes through Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, and it used to carry nearly half of Gazprom’s westbound gas deliveries. Poland’s sanctions against the Russian gas producer have deprived the company of its shareholder status in EuroPolGaz since April, blocking its voting rights and the ability to repatriate dividends. In May, the Polish government terminated a Russian natural gas contract without waiting for its expiry at the end of 2022, saying the country’s section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline could be used for supplies from Germany.

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G20 – G7 = BRICS. Not exactly, but close.

G20: What Does It Mean For Putin And The Event Itself? (Maxim Hvatkov)

Participants of the G20 summit have already arrived in Bali, and it seems that some wish Putin was there. French President Emmanuel Macron has stated the need to continue dialogue with Russian President, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted that “it would be good if Putin went,” and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that the participation of his Russian counterpart would be appropriate. All this is against the backdrop of China’s support. The Washington Post has written that Western countries are alarmed by the partnership between Putin and Xi. The newspaper’s sources do not think that Beijing will refuse to support Russia at the summit even after the meeting between Biden and and the Chinese head-of-state.

Although several days have passed since Sergey Lavrov’s trip was announced, it is still unknown whether any bilateral meetings are planned for the Russian minister. In particular, Moscow has yet to mention a possible encounter with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The main news about Lavrov in Bali, so far, was pushed by AP and some other Western outlets, on Monday, reporting that he had been taken to hospital with heart problems shortly after arriving. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said these reports are “top-level fake news”. The diplomat, who is also in Bali, said that she was reading the news with the foreign minister and they both “just couldn’t believe our eyes.” Earlier she announced that Lavrov plans to speak at the summit about Russia’s initiatives to provide food and energy to foreign markets. In addition, Moscow’s agenda includes presenting its plan to enhance gas cooperation with Turkey.

[..] However, it is not known whether the 2022 Bali summit will be useful in helping the world take a step forward in overcoming the Ukrainian crisis, as some expect. So far, all the statements of Western leaders have indicated the opposite. Western countries have been putting pressure on the summit’s host to exclude the Russian Federation from the event since Vladimir Putin announced the military operation in Ukraine last February. For example, the US president’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that Russia can no longer take part in the international community’s business “as usual,” while Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau even suggested that his country should take Moscow’s place in the G20 club. Nevertheless, Indonesia sent an invitation to President Putin, despite the pressure.

[..] The G20 format was born in the late 1990s after the Asian financial crisis, when the mainly Western countries in the ‘Big Seven’ – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada – realized that a number of large economies were not participating in discussions on global issues. The newcomers invited to the table include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union. However, the format did not reach its current status until the next global financial crisis, in 2008-2009. Prior to that, the meetings had only included finance ministers and the heads of central banks. However, subsequently world leaders themselves met at the summits annually to consult, first and foremost, on financial and economic issues. In 2013, the G20 was held in St. Petersburg. [..] The G20 countries are home to two-thirds of the world’s population. They also account for 85% of world GDP and about 75% of world trade.

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Ballots, not votes.

GOP Nears House Majority With Two Race Calls In Arizona (JTN)

A Monday night vote dump from Arizona prompted the Associated Press to call two more congressional races in favor of Republican candidates, nearly one week after the Nov. 8 midterm elections. The AP called the contest in Arizona’s 1st District for the GOP’s David Schweikert and the 6th District race for Republican Juan Ciscomani. The outlet has projected Republicans to win 214 seats thus far, meaning they need just four more to claim the speaker’s gavel from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans currently lead in seven of the 16 remaining uncalled races. Of those, one is New York’s 22nd District in which Republican Brandon Williams maintains a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat Francis Conole.


In Colorado, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert is hanging on to a slightly more than 1,000-vote lead. All remaining races currently favoring Republicans are in California. Should Williams and Boebert triumph, the GOP would need to win just two of the five California races in which they currently enjoy leads to take the House, barring any unexpected leader flips in the nine uncalled contests currently favoring Democrats. The final result, regardless of which party wins the House, is likely to be one of the narrowest margins of control in the history of the lower chamber.

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Dr. Radhika Desai, a professor at the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada and director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group. She also writes on current affairs for Valdai Club, CGTN, Counterpunch and other outlets and is the author of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire and Capitalism, Coronavirus and War: A Geopolitical Economy

Midterm Success Brings US Democrats To A Historic Dilemma (Desai)

Pictures of a smirking President Biden graced the front pages of newspapers in the days following the midterm elections. The worst fears of the Democrats – that they would lose both houses of Congress to the Republicans in an electoral debacle that would pave the way to a MAGA Trump presidency in 2024 – remained unrealized. The feared ‘red wave’ had turned into a ‘red ripple’, and President Biden was already talking of running again in 2024, when he will be 82. How sound is this assessment? While the results are yet to be finalized, we know that the Democrats will likely continue narrowly controlling the Senate thanks to the casting vote of the vice president, and that the Republicans will gain a small majority in the House. All the praise for Biden for not losing more comes from comparisons with past midterm losses for incumbent presidents.

However, this fails to take account of critical recent changes which, if factored in, indicate not so much a secure electoral future for the Democrats but the possibility that the Democrats may have jumped from the proverbial frying pan of the increasingly complex structure of US politics, into the fire. Politics scholar William Galston has noticed the change. Speaking of US presidential elections, he observed that ‘between 1920 and 1984… the contest between the two parties resembles World War Two, with a high level of mobility and rapid gains and losses of large swaths of territory. By contrast, the contemporary era resembles World War One, with a single, mostly immobile line of battle and endless trench warfare.’ Given how few seats changed hands, it appears that this logic also applies to congressional elections, and despite recent demographic changes – college education, urbanization etc. – somewhere between 40 and 45% of the US electorate remains solidly Republican.

Moreover, Biden and his Democrats appear to have lost an unpopularity contest, rather than won a popularity contest. As President Biden’s approval rating plumbed new depths, many Democratic candidates shunned him in their campaigns. President Trump, for his part, didn’t do much better. Though most of the candidates he endorsed won, none of those he endorsed for highly contested races did. Many commentators blamed this on his emphasis on candidates who agreed with his false narrative of the ‘stolen’ 2020 presidential election. It led him to scrape the barrel of candidates, and to choose some pretty unattractive specimens. With Ron DeSantis pulling off a spectacular victory in Florida, the possibility that he will replace Trump as the Republican nominee for president is being canvassed. Even if that happens, Trumpist politics are going nowhere anytime soon.

This is clear from many aspects of the voting pattern. The small gains the Democrats made came very substantially from women and young people, generally turning out in large numbers and voting Democrat because they felt strongly about abortion rights. However, this factor may lose its utility for the Democrats if, as seems increasingly the case, the Republicans also soften their stance on abortion. For the rest, the gains came from the usual source, money. Not only was this the most expensive midterm ever, experts suggest that the Democrats outspent the Republicans very considerably. This has returned US elections to the pattern where elections are essentially bought by the highest spending party, a pattern that the election of President Donald Trump very briefly reversed.

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“..Trump would have to commandeer a vehicle in order to enact his agenda. The only possible vehicle that could assist him was the GOP. This party’s leadership had no desire to enact Trump’s populist revolution..”

The Triumph of The Centre (Soldo)

Film and television have trained our brains to expect narrative arcs in everything we experience, from rising action, through to a climax, and ending in a denouement. Real life is not like this at all, but many of us cannot help but to interpret at least some of our own lives in this fashion. We apply this trajectory to our high school lives, our first romantic relationships, even our careers. Thinking that we are at the centre of a story helps give our lives meaning, and we are all guilty of it from time to time. The rise of political theatre is also hostage to this frame of reference. We are wont to perceive political developments progressing along a neat and tidy storyline, with all the ups, downs, shocks, disappointments, and celebrations that are built into traditional storytelling. At the end, our political option is the winner, and they all went home happily ever after.

2016 USA is a classic case of this: two simultaneous challenges to the status quo came out of nowhere to threaten the ruling elites. From the left, the ‘BernieBros’ promised Americans a fairer deal that included goodies like universal healthcare. From the right, #MAGA tapped into the powerful energy of the GOP base and its rejection of mass migration, de-industrialization, and open hostility to ordinary, everyday Americans emanating from the coastal elites. For #MAGA, 2016 was indeed a fairy tale; an example of ‘people power’ where the people steamrolled first their own party’s elites, and then those of the opposing party as well. This massive surprise went to people’s heads (and to be fair, rightly so). The feeling was that the system could be reformed, the ship steered back ‘on course’, and that America genuinely could be made ‘great again’.

The problem was that it was one thing to win an election, but it was a totally different thing to actually govern and lead a revolution. And let’s be honest: a revolution is what the overwhelming majority of Trump voters in 2016 wanted. They saw a system that not only did not work for them, but was actively working against them. Trump tapped into this populist sentiment when no one else did, and rode it to the White House. Unfortunately for his supporters, Trump was no revolutionary and his presidency was a disaster thanks in part to the ruling elites subverting it, in part due to his own incapability, and also due to an Act of God. You wanted a revolutionary, instead you got a reality TV show host who was excellent on the campaign trail, but utterly out of his depth in the Oval Office.

He wasn’t the first to be ill-suited for the White House, but he was the first in a long, long time that [was] not fit and not installed by the elites. One man cannot do it all alone. The US system is a set of checks and balances to ensure that precisely this cannot happen. That means that Trump would have to commandeer a vehicle in order to enact his agenda. The only possible vehicle that could assist him was the GOP. This party’s leadership had no desire to enact Trump’s populist revolution and immediately got to work to strangle his agenda, while using him to implement their own (e.g. Paul Ryan’s tax cut bill in 2017 or SCOTUS appointments).

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There are 19,000 “coins”?!

FTX Implosion Takes Its First Crypto Victim (RT)

The cryptocurrency Solana, associated with the bankrupt FTX exchange, continued its three-day retreat on Monday to trade at around $14 a token. The price is now down 95% from its all-time high of $259.96 last November. The token has lost 61.6% of its value in the last seven days, according to data firm CoinGecko. The drop is a result of the November 8 collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday. Since then, the price of Solana has declined by 51.5%, which translates into a $5.5 billion loss in market value. The launch of bankruptcy proceedings by FTX came days after larger rival Binance abandoned plans to acquire the company and left it with the task of raising roughly $9 billion from investors and rivals to stay afloat. Binance backed out of the deal after a due diligence examination and recent reports of mishandled customer funds, as well as alleged investigations by the US authorities into the company.


Meanwhile, blockchain research firm Nansen revealed over the weekend that $662 million flowed out of FTX’s US and international exchanges. The firm’s main wallet, which was used to process withdrawals, was drained of its entire balance of 45.8 million FTT tokens, worth an estimated $97.2 million, Nansen said. On Monday, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced plans to set up an industry recovery fund in an effort to “reduce further cascading negative effects” of the FTX bankruptcy. Zhao added the fund will assist otherwise strong projects that are facing a liquidity squeeze. The crypto market has lost 17.6%, or $188.4 billion, since November 7, with major crypto Bitcoin sliding down 22.4% in one week. Ether, the second cryptocurrency by market value, has fallen 24.4% over the past seven days.

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“Daily volume hit a high of around $11 billion in mid-2021, at a time of soaring cryptocurrency prices and high market volatility—ideal conditions for both a hedge fund and an exchange.”

What the Collapse of FTX Means (Burja)

After beginning his career in traditional finance at leading quantitative trading firm Jane Street Capital, Bankman-Fried’s initial forays into cryptocurrency began in October 2017 with the founding of the cryptocurrency hedge fund Alameda Research. According to Bankman-Fried, it was founded initially to take advantage of a persistent but hard-to-exploit 20% disparity between the Bitcoin price denominated in Japanese yen and the same price denominated in U.S. dollars, one that lasted until January 2018. From there the firm expanded to quantitative trading more broadly across the entire cryptocurrency domain, moving its headquarters from California to Hong Kong, and later to the Bahamas, due to the difficulty of establishing and maintaining relationships with banks in the U.S. as a cryptocurrency trading firm.

It remains unclear why exactly Bankman-Fried and Alameda decided to start their own exchange. There are two sources of natural fit between an exchange and a quantitative trading firm: one legal, the other less so. The trading firm, acting as market maker, can supply the liquidity the new exchange needs to attract and retain new users. Alameda’s constant presence trading on FTX, initially providing almost 50% of liquidity, was almost certainly largely responsible for the site’s massive growth, as it grew trading volume from $50 million a day to $300 million a day in just four weeks between June and July 2019.16 The nascent exchange also benefited from a timely outflow of customers from the cryptocurrency exchange BitMex, at the time under investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) for illegally providing services to U.S. residents.

Alternatively, however, the exchange’s customer funds can also be used as capital for the trading firm to use on its own account—an illicit practice, as unlike banks, an exchange ostensibly keeps all customer deposits available for redemption and rather makes its money from transaction fees. That FTX’s spreads were notoriously tight, even in its early days, might suggest that Alameda was making money in a different way to the typical methods of market makers.17 FTX soared in popularity thanks to the high leverage it offered,18 provision of cross-margining,19 attractive user interface, and high-quality liquidity and risk engines. Daily active users grew from two thousand in 2019 to almost 15,000 in 2020 to over 60,000 in 2021. Daily volume hit a high of around $11 billion in mid-2021, at a time of soaring cryptocurrency prices and high market volatility—ideal conditions for both a hedge fund and an exchange.

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It’s beginning… “We now have $1 trillion in consumer debt on top of $4.1 trillion of Biden debt.”

Corporate Layoffs Are A Warning Sign Of Coming ‘Economic Crash Landing’ (JTN)

Three days after President Biden said the country’s “not anywhere near a recession right now,” Amazon founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos warned a sharp economic downturn is looming. “The economy does not look great right now,” Bezos told CNN on Saturday. “Things are slowing down. You’re seeing layoffs in many, many sectors of the economy. The probabilities say if we’re not in a recession right now, we’re likely to be in one very soon.” The billionaire entrepreneur declined to estimate how long he thinks the recession would last but cautioned people to prepare for a time of economic struggle. “Take as much risk off the table as you can,” he said. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”


Two days after the interview, several media outlets reported that Amazon plans to lay off about 10,000 employees in corporate and technology roles beginning this week, the largest job cuts in the company’s history. Amazon’s decision was the latest in a string of recent corporate layoffs amid fears of a coming recession next year. Last week, for example, Facebook parent Meta announced the company is laying off 13% of its staff. Meanwhile, Disney is planning a hiring freeze and some job cuts, according to an internal company memo obtained by CNBC. [..] economic experts have been warning a recession is looming. “I think we are on the verge of a debt-driven economic crash landing,” economist Stephen Moore told Just the News. “These layoff announcements are the canary in the coal mine. We now have $1 trillion in consumer debt on top of $4.1 trillion of Biden debt.”

Americans could hold nearly $1 trillion in collective credit card debt before the end of the year due to historically high inflation, which has caused everyday costs such as food to skyrocket. According to experts who previously spoke to Just the News, soaring inflation was caused by Biden’s economic policies — namely too much spending — combined with the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near zero while continuing to print money. Now the Federal Reserve is raising rates to slow down the economy in order to combat inflation. Doing so, however, may push the economy into a downturn, even a recession, next year. Still, the Biden administration and some economists remain optimistic that the economy can avoid such a fate with a so-called soft landing. Many projections, however, see the situation differently.


There’s a 65% chance of a recession within the next 12-18 months, according to a survey of economists conducted by Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, for its Third-Quarter Economic Indicator. That estimate is up from 52% in its second quarter survey and about one-third in its first quarter survey. Meanwhile, Bloomberg economists’ projection models from last month show a 100% chance of an economic downturn by October 2023, up from a 65% probability for the comparable period in the model’s previous update. The CEOs of both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, the U.S. and European economic teams for Barclays bank, and former Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren are among those who also forecast a recession next year.

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Symbolic numbers.

World Population Expected To Hit 8 Billion On Nov. 15 (JTN)

The world’s human population is expected to reach 8 billion on Tuesday, according to a United Nations report released earlier this year. The United Nations will host events on Tuesday to mark “milestone in human development” that is the “Day of Eight Billion,” according to NEXSTAR. The population cleared 7 billion just 12 years ago and is expected to reach 9 billion in another 15 years. “This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in July, per the outlet. “At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another.”


The milestone will come as international representatives meet for the COP27 climate summit and float a draft agreement to establish an international climate damage fund that would compensate poorer countries, often some of the most densely populated, for climate-related damages. Many details, including funding sources and damage amounts, remain undetermined and the plan is likely to stall in the international community, barring extensive revisions. Approximately 70% of births occur in low-income and lower-middle-income nations, NEXSTAR observed. Those countries will account for 90% of global population growth in the 15-year period leading up to the projected 9 billion figure. Many such countries would be beneficiaries under the draft U.N. plan.

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Ithaka.

A Father Fights for His Son & What’s Left of Democracy (Lauria)

These personal attacks were planned as far back as March 8, 2008 when a secret, 32-page document from the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessment branch of the Pentagon described in detail the importance of destroying the “feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks’ center of gravity.” The leaked document, which was published by WikiLeaks itself, said: “This would be achieved with threats of exposure and criminal prosecution and an unrelenting assault on reputation.” An answer to these slurs and the missing focus on Assange as a man is Ithaka. The film, which made its U.S. premiere Sunday night in New York, focuses on the struggle of Assange’s father, John Shipton, and his wife, Stella Assange, to free him.

If you are looking for a film more fully explaining the legal and political complexities of the case and its background, this is not the movie to see. The Spanish film, Hacking Justice, will give you that, as well as the more concise exposition in the brilliant documentary, The War on Journalism, by Juan Passarelli. Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence and produced by Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, humanizes Assange and reveals the impact his ordeal has had on the people closest to him. The title comes from the poem of that name by C.P. Cavafy (read here by Sean Connery) about the pathos of an uncertain journey. It reflects Shipton’s travels throughout Europe and the U.S. in defense of his son, arguably the most consequential journalist of his generation.

The story begins with Shipton arriving in London to see his son for the first time behind bars after the publisher’s rights of asylum were lifted by a new Ecuadoran government leading to him being carried out of the embassy by London police in April 2019. “The story is that I am attempting in my own … modest way to get Julian out of the shit,” Shipton says. “What does it involve? Traipsing around Europe, building up coalitions of friendship.” He meets with parliamentarians, the media and supporters across the continent. Shipton describes the journey as the “difficulty of destiny over the ease of narrative.”He speaks to the European Parliament in Strasbourg and the German Bundestag in Berlin. In Paris, Shipton admits to supporters that “he’s not okay, but I say he’s okay not to worry people.”

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Attack!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 142022
 
 November 14, 2022  Posted by at 9:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn Let the little children come to me 1627-28

 

The Role Of “Useful Idiots” In Modern PSYOPS (Saker)
G20 Host Urges West To Soften Anti-Russia Rhetoric – Politico (RT)
SBF’s Disgrace Awkward For Gary Gensler And The Democrats (Fortune)
Ukraine Invested In Top Dem Donor’s Crypto Company FTX (PM)
America’s Neo-Nazi Bedfellows In Ukraine Latest In a Long Line (Tony Cox)
The Road to Totalitarianism -Revisited- (CJ Hopkins)
White House Launches ‘Climate Gender Equity Fund’ (RT)
The ‘Garden Vs Jungle’ Worldview Is Not Only Racist, It’s Delusional (Hryce)
Washington Attempts to Bully India into Cutting Ties with Russia (NC)
IMF Says Global Economic Outlook Getting ‘Gloomier’ (Az.)
German Retailers Face Nightmare Before Christmas (RT)
Twitter Starts Massive Reductions In Contractors (RT)
US Senator Threatens Elon Musk (RT)
COVID-19 Mortality in England ‘Extremely Rare’ Among Under-20s (ET)

 

 

 

 

A Freeze in the Conflict?

 

 

 

 

Chappelle

 

 

Footprint

 

 

 

 

“doubleplusgoodshiteaters”

The Role Of “Useful Idiots” In Modern PSYOPS (Saker)

The second thing I need to address is what I believe is an analytical mistake by Bernhard on Moon of Alabama. He wrote that “This move is operationally sound” and yet he added “Strategically the move is bad“. We could wonder how a move could be operationally sound but strategically bad, but let’s not even go there. Bernhard’s argument is that “It closes for now the possibility of moving into Nikolaev (Mykolaiv) and further towards Odessa“. The problem here is that when we look at a map of the region we realize something very important: there are plenty of streams and rivers which flow north to south and which flow into the Black Sea. So any move along the coastline would imply having to get across quite a few river. Is this possible? Yes, absolutely.

But is that the best option? I am not so sure at all. I will simply say that this is the option the Ukronazis and NATO have been preparing for. Another option might be to move not West but North and then turn West to basically take all the NATO defenses around the Black Sea coastline from behind. Did I mention that there is now a joint Russian-Belarussian force deployed in Belarus which seems to worry NATO a lot and which could be used to pin down NATO forces near and north of Kiev. Is that what the Russians are planning? I don’t know. All I know is that it is wrong to assume that the only way to get to Odessa is by fighting along the coastline. Last, but not least, there is the (inevitable) rumor of a deal having been made between Putin and… … huh… well… somebody in the West (who? Brandon? Sunak? Macron?).


Now that is pure, unadulterated bullshit which only true doubleplusgoodshiteaters could swallow (though clickbaiters will use it to get their clicks and visibility!). Russia and the West have been locked into an existential war for survival since AT LEAST 2013 and we are very close to a possible nuclear war, but some folks still think that Putin works for the US, the WEF, Klaus Schwab, Bibi Netanuyahu. etc. etc. etc. My position on that is simple: anybody seriously believing this crap is not worth talking to, you would have better success arguing with a door nob. I sure won’t bother with them. I would also note that IF a real behind-the-scenes deal was made, the chances of Putin finalizing that deal with Western leaders at the G20 would be a perfect opportunity to finalize a deal. Yet, in reality, Putin is not even going to attend. Reach your own conclusions.

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German PM Scholz says he wishes Putin were in Bali, so the west can tell him what they think of him.

Scholz is fully blind to the fact that the west is a minority.

G20 Host Urges West To Soften Anti-Russia Rhetoric – Politico (RT)

G20 Summit host Indonesia is reportedly seeking to prevent the gathering of world leaders from becoming a Russia-bashing fest, urging Western politicians to temper their criticism of Moscow so all members can be brought on board with a communique at the end of the event. Indonesian President Joko Widodo and other officials in his government have asked Western leaders to make concessions on the extent of their anti-Russia rhetoric over the Ukraine crisis, Politico reported on Sunday, citing three unidentified diplomats with knowledge of the talks. The two-day summit will begin on Tuesday in Bali, and Widodo hopes to find enough common ground that all G20 members, including Russia and China, can agree to a group declaration.

Widodo also aims to prevent the group from following in the footsteps of the G8, which kicked out Moscow and became the G7 after Crimea voted to become part of Russia in 2014. A G7 statement earlier this month condemned Russia for its “war of aggression” against Ukraine and called for all Russian forces to be withdrawn from the former Soviet republic. The group also accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine and blasted the Kremlin for “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric.” Such a statement wouldn’t likely find consensus in Bali, where Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Several other G20 members, including China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, would be reluctant, at the least, to sign on to a communique rebuking Russia. Politico said one possibility would be to issue a more general joint statement calling for “upholding international law.”


“Obviously we can’t be as tough as we do it in G7 when you need the Russians, Chinese and Saudis to agree,” a Western diplomat told the media outlet. “The question is how much we need to delete.” The US, Canada, Japan, Australia and major European countries are among the G20 members that Indonesian officials are targeting with their pleas for softer rhetoric. Widodo also hopes to avoid controversy over a group photo, like those typically taken at G20 meetings to show solidarity, given that some members might be reticent to line up in the same image with Lavrov. Last month, before Moscow announced that President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t attend the summit, Politico reported that White House officials were taking steps to ensure that Biden wouldn’t cross paths with the Russian leader.

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“@GaryGensler runs to the media while reports to my office allege he was helping SBF and FTX work on legal loopholes to obtain a regulatory monopoly.”

SBF’s Disgrace Awkward For Gary Gensler And The Democrats (Fortune)

Gary Gensler blew it again. After his agency failed to warn investors about Terra and Celsius—whose collapses this spring sparked a trillion-dollar investor wipeout—the Securities and Exchange Commission chair allowed an even bigger debacle to unfold right under his nose. I’m talking, of course, about the revelation this week that the $30 billion FTX empire was a house of cards and that its golden boy founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is the crypto equivalent of Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes. To be fair, Gensler was not the only one suckered by SBF. Nearly everyone else—myself included—fell for the narrative that SBF, with his cute afro and aw-shucks demeanor, was exactly the savior crypto needed to shake off its dodgy reputation and emerge as part of the mainstream financial system.

The problem is that cop-on-the-beat Gensler not only failed to spot the crime—he appeared set to go along with a legislative strategy that would have given SBF a regulatory moat and made him king of the U.S. crypto market. According to Washington insiders I spoke with, the reason behind SBF’s decision this summer to obtain control over BlockFi was to benefit from the troubled crypto lender’s recent settlement with the SEC—basically extending the amnesty BlockFi had received to FTX. Meanwhile, FTX’s recent tie-up with securities exchange IEX (of Flash Boys fame) would also help SBF’s empire come under the U.S. regulatory umbrella. All of this would clear FTX to have the U.S. market to itself as the company lobbied for legislation that could have torpedoed competitors like Binance as well as the emerging DeFi sector.


This appears to be what prominent House member Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) was referring to when he tweeted on Thursday that “@GaryGensler runs to the media while reports to my office allege he was helping SBF and FTX work on legal loopholes to obtain a regulatory monopoly.” Gensler, a former campaign finance chair for Hillary Clinton, is of course not the only prominent Democrat who may have been willing to flex his influence on behalf of FTX. SBF, you may recall, was one of the biggest donors to President Joe Biden, while his parents—both Stanford law professors—have ties to the party. His mother, Barbara Fried, leads a group called Mind the Gap that helps raise Silicon Valley cash for Democrats, while his father, Joseph Bankman, drafted tax legislation for the powerful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). It’s not a stretch to imagine SBF sought to exploit these political ties to his benefit.

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“It’s fascinating to see that the majority of the net equity in the Alameda business is actually FTX’s own centrally controlled and printed-out-of-thin-air token..”

Ukraine Invested In Top Dem Donor’s Crypto Company FTX (PM)

Roughly $5 billion was withdrawn from FTX on Sunday. The trouble began for FTX last week when rival crypto company Binance said they were selling off their holdings of FTT, which is the proprietary coin of FTX. After Binance said that, FTX was in financial trouble, and essentially sought a bailout from other firms, Binance among them. The New York Post reports that FTX’s implosion followed revelations “that co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried had been funneling money to a sister trading company run by his girlfriend.” That company, Alameda Research, is run by Bankman-Fried’s girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, and is also based in the Bahamas. Binance announced that they would buy the company, then pulled out of the deal, saying that after some due diligence, they decided it would not be a good investment.

“As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of http://FTX.com,” Binance said on Twitter. “In the beginning, our hope was to be able to support FTX’s customers to provide liquidity, but the issues are beyond our control or ability to help. Every time a major player in an industry fails, retail consumers will suffer. We have seen over the last several years that the crypto ecosystem is becoming more resilient and we believe in time that outliers that misuse user funds will be weeded out by the free market. As regulatory frameworks are developed and as the industry continues to evolve toward greater decentralization, the ecosystem will grow stronger,” Binance said.


Part of the issue for Binance is that Alameda Research, helmed by Bankman-Fried’s girlfriend, holds a great deal of their assets in FTT, and FTX had invested their customers’ funds into Alameda through a “back door,” without oversight. “Late on Friday evening, it has since been confirmed that a total of around $10 billion was moved from FTX to Alameda Research by FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF),” Cryptoslate reported. Bitcoin Archive tweeted this out, which Cryptoslate noted was “used to move assets in the billions of dollars without triggering alerts to staff and external auditors.” “It’s fascinating to see that the majority of the net equity in the Alameda business is actually FTX’s own centrally controlled and printed-out-of-thin-air token,” said Cory Klippsten, CEO of investment platform Swan Bitcoin.

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Must Read?! “Dulles went so far as to send a rescue team to save Wolff when the general’s villa was surrounded by Italian partisans.”

America’s Neo-Nazi Bedfellows In Ukraine Latest In a Long Line (Tony Cox)

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was furious when he found out in March 1945 that his supposed World War II ally, Washington, was negotiating with the German Nazis behind his back. In fact, by the accounts of some historians, American spy and future CIA director Allen Dulles essentially kicked off the Cold War when he held secret talks with Waffen SS General Karl Wolff as Hitler’s regime was nearing its collapse. Stalin, US President Franklin Roosevelt, and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill had agreed that they would accept only unconditional surrender from the Nazis because of the Hitler regime’s monstrous crimes. When the Dulles-Wolff talks came to light, FDR repeatedly and falsely told Stalin that no one was negotiating with the Germans. The Georgian generalissimo was unconvinced and suspected that his Western allies were maneuvering to contain the USSR and occupy territory that might otherwise fall to the Red Army.

The Soviets had reason to be suspicious. Some in Washington, including Dulles, viewed the USSR as America’s biggest long-term threat even as the countries worked together to defeat Germany. As confirmed by documents that were finally declassified more than half a century later, US intelligence agencies were soon to hire upward of 1,000 Nazis as Cold War spies. By then, America already had a history of finding common cause against Moscow with unseemly allies. As the Soviets remembered well, the US had invaded Russia in 1918 in a failed effort to help overthrow the Bolshevik government. At the time, Washington was allied with White Army counter-revolutionaries, some of whom had a nasty taste for pogroms and other murderous atrocities.

Even as then-President Woodrow Wilson moralized to world leaders about self-determination and opposing external aggression – principles that would be applied only according to US self-interest in the generations ahead – he sent American forces to intervene in the Russian Civil War. He was to set a precedent that has continued to play out to this day, from Germany to Central Asia to the current Ukraine crisis. The pattern was clear: Portray America as the virtuous champion of freedom while working with anyone — however abhorrent their deeds and views might be — as long as they share Washington’s burning desire to hurt Russia.

In 1945, Dulles got his way with Wolff, formerly Heinrich Himmler’s right-hand man. The general and his group of SS officers, which was called the Black Order, agreed to surrender northern Italy to Allied forces. The deal didn’t avail much for the US, coming just six days before the full German surrender, and it sowed seeds of distrust with the Soviets and other allies. For his part, Wolff was spared the gallows, as the Nuremberg prosecutors mysteriously took him off their list of major war criminals and treated him as a “witness” to Nazi atrocities, rather than a perpetrator, according to historians. Dulles went so far as to send a rescue team to save Wolff when the general’s villa was surrounded by Italian partisans.

[..] Obama’s administration offered no condemnation when at least 48 people were killed and hundreds injured in an attack on anti-Euromaidan protestors in Odessa. Most of the victims were burned to death by a far-right mob when they tried to take shelter in the city’s union hall. Others were shot or beaten when they tried to escape the burning building. Ukraine’s fascist Right Sector group reacted by celebrating the massacre as “yet another bright page in our fatherland’s history.” Ukrainian MP Lesya Orobets, who had been praised by US media outlet Daily Beast as a “rising star” of the anti-Yanukovych opposition, also celebrated the killings, reportedly calling the Odessa incident a “liquidation” of pro-Russia enemies.

To this day, the perpetrators of the massacre haven’t been held accountable. The Council of Europe concluded in November 2020 that the Kiev government had failed to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killings. Ukraine has continued to embrace its World War II Nazi collaborators, including Stepan Bandera, who is venerated in public marches. Two years after the coup, one of the main avenues in Kiev was renamed Stepan Bandera Street. Lviv also boasts a Stepan Bandera Street. In the eyes of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis, one of Yanukovich’s sins was his decision to revoke an earlier government declaration honoring Bandera as an official “Hero of Ukraine.”

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“Everything is back to normal, right? Wrong. Everything is not back to normal. Everything is absolutely New Normal.”

The Road to Totalitarianism -Revisited- (CJ Hopkins)

It feels like it’s finally over, doesn’t it, the whole “apocalyptic pandemic” thing? I mean, really, really over this time. Not like all those other times when you thought it was over, but it wasn’t over, and was like the end of those Alien movies, where it seems like Ridley has finally escaped, but the alien is hiding out in the shuttle, or the escape pod, or Ridley’s intestinal tract. But this time doesn’t feel like that. This time it feels like it’s really, really over. Go out and take a look around. Hardly anyone is wearing masks anymore (except where masks are mandatory) or being coerced into submitting to “vaccinations” (except where “vaccination” is mandatory), and the hordes of hate-drunk New Normal fanatics who demanded that “the Unvaccinated” be segregated, censored, fired from their jobs, and otherwise demonized and persecuted, have all fallen silent (except for those who haven’t).


Everything is back to normal, right? Wrong. Everything is not back to normal. Everything is absolutely New Normal. What is over is the “shock-and-awe” phase, which was never meant to go on forever. It was always only meant to get us here. Where, you’re probably asking, is “here”? “Here” is a place where the new official ideology has been firmly established as our new “reality,” woven into the fabric of normal everyday life. No, not everywhere, just everywhere that matters. (Do you really think the global-capitalist ruling classes care what people in Lakeland, Florida, Elk River, Idaho, or some village in Sicily believe about “reality”?) Yes, most government restrictions have been lifted, mainly because they are no longer necessary, but in centers of power throughout the West, in political, corporate, and cultural spheres, in academia, the mainstream media, and so on, the New Normal has become “reality,” or, in other words, “just the way it is,” which is the ultimate goal of every ideology.

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Sometimes I don’t recognize the world I live in.

WTF is “gender-responsive climate action?”

White House Launches ‘Climate Gender Equity Fund’ (RT)

US President Joe Biden has announced the launch of a Climate Gender Equity Fund to promote female “climate leaders.” He unveiled the new initiative at the United Nations COP 27 conference on Friday. A partnership between online retail company Amazon and government agency USAID, the fund will “leverage private sector contributions to provide women climate leaders with technical skills, networks and capital to develop and scale climate solutions,” the White House noted in a statement. To help solve climate change, according to Amazon worldwide sustainability vice president Kara Hurst, “we must address the gender inequalities that persist in climate finance, and ensure female entrepreneurs have an equal seat at the table and access to the funding, networks and technical support they need to scale climate solutions.”

Outlining the gravity of gender inequity in the climate space, Amazon revealed that “female-founded companies typically receive a fraction of total venture capital, and that percentage fell during the pandemic.” The online shopping giant, which saw its profits skyrocket during the pandemic, promised to supply an additional $50 million from its Climate Pledge Fund for investments in women-founded and -led climate technology firms. Apart from that, it is contributing $3 million toward the Climate Gender Equity Fund’s initial seed funding. The fund launches with $6 million in total, with USAID matching Amazon’s $3 million contribution.


The White House announcement states that the fund was also “enabled” by a $21 million appropriation by USAID from the Biden administration’s Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund with the aim of underscoring its “commitment to gender-responsive climate action.” The latter program, established last year with $100 million in taxpayer funds, an amount set to double for this year, is supposed to “advance economic security for women and girls globally.” A $430 billion spending package Biden signed in August included $386 billion in green energy subsidies and tax credits. The president’s speech at COP27 committed to several more ambitious green initiatives, including “establishing an international Climate Hub for climate-smart agriculture,” tightening emissions standards on the oil and natural gas industry, and using Ukraine as a showcase for small modular reactor (SMR) “advanced nuclear” technology.

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“..Borrell’s extraordinary Pollyanna-like assertion that in Europe and the West “everything works” and that the “garden” nations are havens of political, economic, and social stability.”

The ‘Garden Vs Jungle’ Worldview Is Not Only Racist, It’s Delusional (Hryce)

[..] let us start with Borrell’s extraordinary Pollyanna-like assertion that in Europe and the West “everything works” and that the “garden” nations are havens of political, economic, and social stability. This pronouncement will no doubt have come as a surprise to many citizens in Europe and the West. Has Borrell not noticed the recent rise of powerful right-wing political movements in a number of European countries? Is he not aware of the recent election results in Italy and Sweden? Have Borrell’s advisors not informed him of the political instability that has engulfed the United Kingdom in recent months, let alone the crisis in democracy that has crippled the United States for the past two years?

Has Borrell not noticed the dramatic recent rise in energy prices; rising inflation; rising interest rates; long-term wage stagnation; and the looming economic recession that is predicted to engulf many Western nations in the near future? Has Borrell not seen the tens of thousands of demonstrators marching in European capital cities in recent months? Is he unaware of the effects that EU austerity programs have had in many of the bloc’s member nations in recent years? Does Borrell really believe that the “garden” nations will sail through the upcoming European winter unscathed?


Has Borrell never heard of the so-called ‘culture wars’? Has he not noticed the collapse of liberal institutions and values throughout the West in recent decades? Has the immigration crisis that has bedevilled Europe in recent years, and has recently engulfed the United Kingdom, not yet been brought to his attention? Borrell, of course, pointedly fails to mention that all of the problems listed above have been severely exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In fact, Borrell does not seem to appreciate that the increasing political and economic instability within the “garden” nations makes it increasingly difficult – if not impossible – for them to pursue his misguided foreign policy agenda.

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“From Dec. 5, tankers and shipping insurance linked to EU and G7 countries — which dominate oil shipping globally — will be barred from trading Russian crude unless those volumes are sold under the price cap, as yet undetermined.”

Washington Attempts to Bully India into Cutting Ties with Russia (NC)

For months the US has repeatedly tried to coerce India into cutting ties with Russia, thereby abandoning its national interests. New Delhi, however, continues to spurn American attempts to subject its economy to Washington’s dictates. The latest fuss concerns the G7 price cap on Russian oil and EU and UK bans on shipping and related services for Russian crude. India continues to have no interest in joining the US-led initiative as it gets a steep discount on oil from Russia and wants to maintain the relationship with a long-time strategic partner. Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was just in Moscow on Nov. 8 to discuss continued sales of oil. From the South China Morning Post:

“India’s foreign minister hailed New Delhi’s “strong and steady” relationship with Moscow on Tuesday, during his first visit there since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also declared India’s intention to continue to buy Russian oil, again disregarding the US appeal to allies and partners to isolate Russia from the global markets.” The G-7 plans are likely to send oil prices higher (despite US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claiming the opposite) and reduce tanker availability, both of which will threaten India’s energy security and hurt its economy as India is the third-largest consumer and importer of oil worldwide. Russia has said it will not sell to any countries that participate in the price cap scheme, and Jaishankar has repeatedly stated that India cannot afford to buy oil at high prices – at least not without undermining its economic growth, which is forecast to be 6.1 percent in 2023, the fastest-growing major economy in the world.

According to Energy Intelligence: “Russia emerged as India’s top crude supplier in October, shipping over 900,000 barrels per day or roughly a fifth of India’s demand. The two countries’ biggest concern is ensuring that Russian oil continues to flow after the Dec. 5 EU and UK bans and related G7 price cap. But despite Jaishankar’s bullish stance in Moscow, India’s state refiners have not placed orders for crude lifting beyond Dec. 5 due to uncertainties about whether shipping and insurance will be available, Energy Intelligence understands. And a recent attempt by an Indian buyer to use the price cap in negotiations with a Russian seller prompted the latter to abandon the deal, market sources said.”


The ongoing lack of clarity on the G-7 could be by design. Russian oil exports have already begun to dip, and Bruce Paulsen, a sanctions expert and partner at law firm Seward & Kissel, told American Shipper, “ If guidance on [price cap] compliance doesn’t come soon, some industry players may sit on the sidelines until they can determine that shipments under the price cap are safe.” The US, in a neat sleight of hand, quit pressuring India to adhere to the price cap, and Yellen now says Washington is “happy” for New Delhi to continue buying as much Russian oil as it wants, including at prices above a G7-imposed price cap. But there are just a few caveats: India wouldn’t be able to use western insurance, finance, or maritime services to transport the oil. “Russia is going to find it very difficult to continue shipping as much oil as they have done when the EU stops buying Russian oil,” Yellen told Reuters on Friday. “They’re going to be heavily in search of buyers, and many buyers are reliant on Western services.”

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You don’t say.

IMF Says Global Economic Outlook Getting ‘Gloomier’ (Az.)

The global economic outlook is even gloomier than projected last month, the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday, citing a steady worsening in purchasing manager surveys in recent months, Reuters reported. It blamed the darker outlook on tightening monetary policy triggered by persistently high and broad-based inflation, weak growth momentum in China, and ongoing supply disruptions and food insecurity caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a blog prepared for a summit of G20 leaders in Indonesia, the IMF said recent high-frequency indicators “confirm that the outlook is gloomier,” particularly in Europe. It said recent purchasing manager indices that gauge manufacturing and services activity signaled weakness in most Group of 20 major economies, with economic activity set to contract while inflation remained stubbornly high.

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They will simply nominate Putin for the Grinch. Everything that goes wrong with the western world is now exclusively his fault. And they can all hide their failures behind him.

German Retailers Face Nightmare Before Christmas (RT)

Shop owners in Germany are worried about the upcoming Christmas season, expecting a slump in sales in price-adjusted terms, as double-digit inflation driven by energy prices forced people to shop less in the third quarter, the German Retail Association (HDE) says. According to the latest report, sales will face a 4% drop in price-adjusted terms, despite an expected increase by 5.4% year-on-year in nominal terms projected for the last two months of 2022. The association surveyed 500 companies, and 70% of the respondents said they expect worse business conditions in the upcoming Christmas season than last year.


“There is a great deal of uncertainty among both companies and customers in view of the difficult situation with enormous energy price increases. High inflation and poor consumer sentiment do not really bode well for the Christmas season,” HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth said. In October, the German Federal Statistical Office reported that the harmonized inflation rate in Europe’s largest economy climbed to 11.6%, raising fears that the country will slide into a recession this winter.

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To repeat @JordanSchachtel:”Elon is blowing things up at Twitter because it is necessary to save the company. The old Twitter was a state-sponsored propaganda operation. Twitter as a private company will not have the privilege of unlimited resources.”

That is what Musk is up against. And of course the press.

Twitter Starts Massive Reductions In Contractors (RT)

After laying off half its staff earlier this month, Twitter has started culling its vast ranks of contract staff, sources confirmed to Axios, Report informs.Many contractors’ status has been in limbo since Twitter cut half its staff earlier this month, with some not knowing whom to even report to, since their counterparts inside the company have been laid off. Now some worry about their final paychecks since their teams no longer have any full-time Twitter employees to sign off on their time cards, sources tell Axios. The contractor cuts were noted earlier by Platformer’s Casey Newton. In at least some cases, if not all, workers did not get any direct communication from Twitter saying that their work had ended.


They instead found out by seeing their access to Twitter computer systems had been shut off. This parallels the scene when full-time employees found out they had lost their job, not from a promised e-mail on Friday, but overnight on Thursday as they lost access to e-mail and other corporate computing systems. Twitter has since reached out to re-hire some full-time employees after realizing their skills were critical to existing projects, including new features that were a priority to the company.

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“Are you suggesting the senator will abuse his political power to attack me?”

US Senator Threatens Elon Musk (RT)

US Senator Edward Markey has responded to a snarky tweet by Twitter owner Elon Musk by threatening congressional intervention if the billionaire doesn’t “fix” his companies to the lawmaker’s satisfaction. The row began on Friday, when Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, demanded answers from Musk as to how a Washington Post reporter was able to create a verified account on the platform impersonating the senator. “I’m asking for answers from Elon Musk, who is putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation. Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.” Musk, who acquired Twitter in a $44 billion takeover that was completed late last month, replied to Markey on Sunday, saying, “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody.” He posted another tweet asking why Markey’s profile picture shows him wearing a mask.

The Tesla CEO’s flippant response clearly didn’t sit well with the career politician, who warned, “One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies, or Congress will.” Markey’s threat came amid leftist allegations that Musk’s takeover would make Twitter a “direct threat to public safety” by allowing “harmful” content. President Joe Biden, also a Democrat, suggested last week that his administration may need to investigate whether Musk’s cooperation with foreign countries created a “national security threat.”


Reacting to Musk’s spat with Markey, a Democrat activist group called People for Bernie said it was a bad idea for the billionaire to “troll a high-ranking senator with a history of taking down rich people.” Musk replied, “Are you suggesting the senator will abuse his political power to attack me?” Journalist Glenn Greenwald reacted by posting a 2020 clip of Markey calling for increased social media censorship. “Here’s Senator Markey demanding tech companies censor in accordance with his political views, all in the context of his party threatening social media companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they fail to obey their censorship orders.”

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Just stop the nonsense. We’re tired of it.

COVID-19 Mortality in England ‘Extremely Rare’ Among Under-20s (ET)

Deaths from COVID-19 remain “extremely rare” in people under the age of 20, according to a study of follow-up data in the UK. Between March 2020 and December 2021, while there were 185 deaths in England among children and young people (CYP) within 100 days of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection, fewer than half died directly because of the virus, the study found. The peer-reviewed study, published on Nov. 8 on the PLOS Medicine Journal website, was conducted by researchers from the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Studying the 22-month follow-up data on all 6,790 under-20s deaths, the team corroborated findings from a number of previous analyses that looked at data from a shorter period of time.

Excluding two stillbirth/intrauterine deaths, 81 (43 percent) deaths were attributed to COVID-19. It accounts for 1.2 percent of all-cause CYP deaths, with a COVID-19 infection fatality rate of 7 per million (using estimated infections number) and an overall mortality rate of 6 per million (estimated CYP population). Of the 81 deaths from COVID-19, one in four (20) were otherwise healthy, while 61 had “significant underlying health conditions,” including neuro-disability, immunocompromising conditions, Down syndrome, Edward syndrome, chronic heart disease, and four premature birth, meaning the COVID-19 mortality rate for otherwise healthy CYP was 1.5 per million. COVID-19 deaths were also clustered among older teens and infants, with more than half (47) occurring among those aged between 16 and 19, and 22 under a year old.


Eight children from the 1- to 4-year-old group died from COVID-19, along with 12 children aged between 5 and 11, and 15 children aged between 12 and 15. More than half (45) of the COVID-19 deaths occurred when the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus was dominant, while 21 died during the wild-type-dominant period, and 15 died during the Alpha wave. But the Delta variant was the least deadly in terms of infection mortality rate (6 per million) compared to Alpha (8 per million), and the wild-type (10 per million) as it was more infectious than the previous variants. The Omicron variant, which became dominant this year, wasn’t included in the study. Dr. Shamez Ladhani, pediatric infectious disease consultant at St. George’s Hospital London and consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA who co-authored the study, told The Telegraph that “emerging data suggest that the Omicron variant is even less fatal in children compared to previous variants.”

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Fitts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burzinsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 132022
 
 November 13, 2022  Posted by at 9:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Salvador Dali The three pines 1919

 

UK and EU To Try To Isolate Russia At G20 Summit (RT)
The New Candidate Countries For BRICS Expansion (SRB)
Surovikin’s Difficult Choice (Big Serge)
Tens of Billions Transferred to Ukraine and Laundered Through FTX (GP)
The FTX-Alameda Nexus (Coppola)
Up To $2 Billion In Client Money Missing In Crypto Giant FTX Collapse (NYP)
First Batch Of Blocked Russian Fertilizers Allowed To Leave EU Port (RT)
Showdown Slow Down (Jim Kunstler)
Crrraaaazy Wally -Street, That Is- (Denninger)
Ports Clogged With Containers As World Trade Stumbles (ZH)
Developing Nations Demand Rich Countries Pay For Climate Change (RT)
US Intel Report Vilifies Key Ally UAE – WaPo (RT)
La Scala Replies To Call To ‘Cancel’ Russian Composers (RT)
Elon Musk In Court Over $56 Billion Tesla Bonus (Telegraaf)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will be isolated? The collective west.

UK and EU To Try To Isolate Russia At G20 Summit (RT)

The UK and the EU intend to coordinate their efforts and do “everything possible” to make the Russian delegation feel unwelcome at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia’s Bali, a British media outlet has claimed. The Telegraph pointed out, however, that China, and possibly several other key players, is highly unlikely to follow suit. “We try to work with partners in order to show very, very, very firmly what the international community thinks about all these crimes, atrocities, and illegal actions by Russia,” a spokesperson for the EU’s foreign affairs service told the paper. The spokesperson explained that the bloc, together with the UK, will not only shun Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and stage walkouts during addresses by Moscow’s delegation, but also try to convince other nations to do the same.

According to the anonymous official, while the “UK is not keen on coordinating with the EU on foreign policy in general,” the concerted efforts to isolate Russia have proven to be an exception, as London and Brussels “have the same objective.” The report also quoted a French government source as saying that the meeting in Bali will not be “business as usual” and will center on the Ukraine conflict. “There will be a coalition and Russia is isolated,” the official concluded. The article noted, however, that the total isolation of Russia at the event is unlikely, as the country enjoys close relations with China. One unnamed EU official told the paper that Moscow and Beijing are expected to water down any joint statement calling for de-escalation in Ukraine.

The report also suggested that the likes of India, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, which have not joined Western sanctions against Moscow, could break ranks with the EU and UK this time as well. Relations between Moscow and the West have hit an all-time low in the wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. However, Moscow has insisted that any attempts to isolate the country will fail. The key organizations that Russia is part of, such as BRICS, are also expanding. In fact, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed following a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month that Riyadh would like to join BRICS, which currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. On top of that, media reports claimed back in July that Türkiye and Egypt might also be interested. Since the start of the year three countries – Iran, Argentina, and Algeria – have officially applied to join BRICS.

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I’d say the list is pretty much endless. Once you have South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Senegal, all African countries will want to join. Same in South America, Asia.

The New Candidate Countries For BRICS Expansion (SRB)

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov has stated that ‘over a dozen’ countries have formally applied to join the BRICS grouping following the groups decision to allow new members earlier this year. The BRICS currently includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It is not a free trade bloc, but members do coordinate on trade matters and have established a policy bank, the New Development Bank, (NDB) to coordinate infrastructure loans. That was set up in 2014 in order to provide alternative loan mechanisms from the IMF and World Bank structures, which the members had felt had become too US-centric.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was set up by China at about the same time for largely the same reasons and to offer alternative financing than that provided by the IMF and World Banks, which were felt to impose political reform policies designed to assist the United States in return for providing loans. Both the NDB and AIIB banks are Triple A rated and capitalised at US$100 billion. The NDB bank shares are held equally by each of the five members. In total, the BRICS grouping as it currently stands accounts for over 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP. The GDP figure is expected to double to 50% of global GDP by 2030. Expanding BRICS will immediately accelerate that process.

Concerning a BRICS expansion, Lavrov stated that Algeria, Argentina, and Iran had all applied, while it is already known that Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt and Afghanistan are interested, along with Indonesia, which is expected to make a formal application to join at the upcoming G20 summit in Bali. Other likely contenders for membership include Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Senegal, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. All had their Finance Ministers present at the BRICS Expansion dialogue meeting held in May. We can examine the basic economic data of the proposed new BRICS members as follows. GDP figures given are nominal, 2022 growth rates are based on the first 9 months of the year from data issued by the respective Central Banks.

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Not fully convinced.

Surovikin’s Difficult Choice (Big Serge)

Here is what I think Surovikin decided about Kherson. Kherson was becoming an inefficient front for Russia because of the logistical strain of supplying forces across the river with limited bridge and road capacity. Russia demonstrated that it was capable of shouldering this sustainment burden (keeping troops supplied all through Ukraine’s summer offensives), but the question becomes 1) to what purpose, and 2) for how long. Ideally, the bridgehead becomes the launching point for offensive action against Nikolayev, but launching an offensive would require strengthening the force grouping in Kherson, which correspondingly raises the logistical burden of projecting force across the river. With a very long front to play with, Kherson is clearly one of the most logistically intensive axes.

My guess is that Surovikin took charge and almost immediately decided he did not want to increase the sustainment burden by trying to push on Nikolayev. Therefore, if an offensive is not going to be launched from the Kherson position, the question becomes – why hold the position at all? Politically, it is important to defend a regional capital, but militarily the position becomes meaningless if one is not going to go on the offensive in the south. Let’s be even more explicit: unless an offensive towards Nikolayev is planned, the Kherson bridgehead is militarily counterproductive. While holding the bridgehead in Kherson, the Dnieper River becomes a negative force multiplier – increasing the sustainment and logistics burden and ever threatening to leave forces cut off if Ukraine succeeds in destroying the bridges or bursting the dam.

Projecting force across the river becomes a heavy burden with no obvious benefit. But by withdrawing to the east bank, the river becomes a positive force multiplier by serving as a defensive barrier. In the broader operational sense, Surovikin seems to be declining battle in the south while preparing in the north and in the Donbas. It is clear that he made this decision shortly after taking command of the operation – he has been hinting at it for weeks, and the speed and cleanliness of the withdrawal suggests that it was well planned , long in advance. Withdrawing across the river increases the combat effectiveness of the army significantly and decreases the logistical burden, freeing resources for other sectors. This fits the overall Russian pattern of making harsh choices about resource allocation, fighting this war under the simple framework of optimizing the loss ratios and building the perfect meatgrinder.

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Money Laundering 101.
1. Foreign aid goes to Ukraine.
2. Ukraine invests in $FTX
3. $FTX donates back to the Democratic Party.

Tens of Billions Transferred to Ukraine and Laundered Through FTX (GP)

We have information that the tens of billions of dollars going to Ukraine were actually laundered back to the US to corrupt Democrats and elites using FTX cryptocurrency. Now the money is gone and FTX is bankrupt. Earlier today we reported that the FTX cryptocurrency appeared to be used in a ponzi scheme involving the Democrats and Ukraine. As reported earlier, the FTX crypto company gave at least $40 million to Democrat candidates and causes in the midterms. Sam Bankman-Fried is Biden’s second biggest donor. In addition to this, Daily Caller lists many of the lawmakers who Sam Bankman Fried was bankrolling who oversaw the institution that was supposed to keep on eye on companies like FTX:

“Sam Bankman-Fried, prolific Democratic donor and ex-CEO of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, funded the campaigns of members of Congress overseeing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), one of the key bodies tasked with regulating the crypto industry and the subject of Bankman-Fried’s aggressive lobbying. Bankman-Fried’s FTX is currently under investigation by the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after Bankman-Fried allegedly moved $10 billion in client assets from his crypto exchange to his trading firm Alameda Research, and a liquidity crisis at his exchange which prompted the company to file for bankruptcy. However, prior to the agency’s probe, Bankman-Fried aggressively courted the CFTC – and funded several key lawmakers charged with overseeing the agency, pouring cash into their campaign coffers.”

FTX also happens to be related to Ukraine. The far-left Washington Post reported on March 3 that Ukraine was dealing in crypto. “The Ukrainian government has gathered more than $42 million in cryptocurrency donations since Saturday, plus digital artwork including a limited edition worth roughly $200,000, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The challenge is how the country cashes in on these assets to fund its war needs.” Then less than a week later FTX made the news for involving itself in Ukraine: “Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman Fried has come forward to help a crypto donation project. He humbly announced that FTX will be supporting the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and other communities in collecting crypto donations for the country. The Ukrainian government has received over $60 million in crypto donations from all over the world.”

“FTX’s CEO, Sam Bankman Fried highlighted that the war in Ukraine has been dragging on. The country is in full need of humanitarian help and access to global financial infrastructure. He also called attention to sanctions and crypto during this kind of situation. He indicated that crypto exchanges should enforce sanctions announced by the government seriously. FTX has stressed across all of its regulatory and policy efforts, active coordination and communication with regulators and policymakers is crucial to ensuring that laws and rules achieve their intended outcome, reads a letter by FTXPointing out the urgency to help the nation Sam Bankman announced that the FTX team is honored to support the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance in simplifying the donation process.”

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Create you own token… “Customer assets deposited on the exchange are routinely lent to the hedge fund against collateral consisting of the exchange’s tokens.”

The FTX-Alameda Nexus (Coppola)

The young, dynamic, ambitious owner of a crypto hedge fund – let’s call him “Joe” – sets up a crypto exchange. To start with, this just enables his hedge fund can trade without having to pay margin or exchange fees. But Joe has larger ambitions. He wants to run the biggest and best exchange in the world. And he wants to make money from it. Lots and lots of money. Trillions of dollars, in fact. Now, his hedge fund can make money by taking risky leveraged positions, but it has to raise funds, and that’s not cheap. And his exchange can make money by charging fees on transactions, but although that can be a nice slow steady income, it’s not going to make him the trillions of dollars he wants.

But Joe’s spotted an opportunity. The exchange has lots of customer assets that aren’t earning anything. If he puts those customer assets to work, he can earn far more from his exchange customers. And he’s got an obvious vehicle through which to put them to work. The hedge fund. If he transfers customer assets on the exchange to the hedge fund, it can lend or pledge them at risk to earn megabucks. Of course, there’s a risk that the hedge fund could lose some or all of the customers’ funds. And the exchange promises that customers can have their assets back on demand, which could be a trifle problematic if they are locked up in leveraged positions held by the hedge fund. But this is crypto. There’s an easy solution. The exchange can issue its own token to replace the customer assets transferred to the hedge fund.

The exchange will report customer balances in terms of the assets they have deposited, but what it will actually hold will be its own token. If customers request to withdraw their balances, the exchange will sell its own tokens to obtain the necessary assets – after all, crypto assets, like dollars, are fungible. For this to work, however, the token must reliably hold its value. So the exchange creates more of the tokens than are needed to replace customer balances, and the hedge fund actively buys and sells them on the exchange, thus creating a market in the things and pumping the price. The price rockets, inflating the balance sheets of both the hedge fund and the exchange, and making $billions in unrealised profits for Joe and his investors – of whom there are suddenly a whole lot more, including some exceedingly respectable institutional investors.

It works brilliantly. So, this becomes Joe’s business model. Customer assets deposited on the exchange are routinely lent to the hedge fund against collateral consisting of the exchange’s tokens. There’s a massive and growing mismatch between the asset balances reported to customers on the exchange and the assets the exchange actually holds. But it doesn’t matter, because the token is highly liquid and the value of the tokens pledged as collateral comfortably exceeds the value of the missing customer assets. And the exchange can easily honour all withdrawal requests by trading out its own tokens. Indeed, the tokens are doing so well that even when the hedge fund suffers serious losses in a crypto crash, the exchange is able to bail it out. It’s completely self-sustaining. That is, until the token’s value crashes.

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“SBF and two FTX associates are currently being detained by authorities in the Bahamas, a source tells Cointelegraph..”

Up To $2 Billion In Client Money Missing In Crypto Giant FTX Collapse (NYP)

At least $1 billion of customer funds — and possibly as much as $2 billion — have gone missing in the implosion of the crypto currency exchange FTX, according to reports. FTX’s flamboyant founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, known in the industry as “SBF,” secretly funneled $10 billion of customer funds into his trading company, Alameda Research, sources told two media outlets. Alameda Research is run by Bankman-Fried’s girlfriend, Caroline Ellison. Two senior FTX officials claimed they saw the evidence that the money was missing in copies of financial records Bankman-Fried shared with company executives last week, according to Reuters.


On Friday, Bankman-Fried stepped down from his CEO position as the Bahamas-based FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after scrambling to shore up an $8 billion liquidity crisis that has left investors unable to claim their funds. A bid to save FTX via a rescue deal with rival exchange Binance didn’t work out, leading to crypto’s highest-profile collapse in recent years. In text messages to Reuters, Bankman-Fried, one of the largest donors to the Democratic Party, said he “disagreed with the characterization” of the $10 billion transfer. “We didn’t secretly transfer,” he said. “We had confusing internal labeling and misread it,” he added, without elaborating. “???” was Bankman-Fried’s response, when asked about the missing cash.

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“In September, he said that Russia was prepared to give these fertilizers to developing nations free of charge.”

So yeah, let’s block it for months…

First Batch Of Blocked Russian Fertilizers Allowed To Leave EU Port (RT)

The first batch of Russian fertilizers, which have been blocked at EU ports amid Ukraine-related sanctions, has been given permission to leave next week, the UN announced on Friday. The cargo amounts to 20,000 tons and is currently stationed in the Dutch port of Rotterdam. It is destined for the African nation of Malawi under the UN World Food Program. “The UN also briefed on recently issued General Licenses and shipments of fertilizer to developing countries’ destinations and its ongoing engagement with private sector and member states. It is anticipated that the first shipment of donated fertilizers will depart for Malawi in the coming week,” the UN said in a statement released after a meeting between senior UN officials and a Russian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin on Friday.

The meeting centered on Russia’s continued dissatisfaction with UN efforts to lift Western sanctions that pose problems for Russia’s agricultural exports. The organization pledged to assist Russia in the matter back in July as part of a UN-brokered Ukrainian grain deal, which unblocked the export of food and fertilizers from several Black Sea ports. Russia said it may choose not to extend its participation in the deal, which is set to expire on November 19, if the UN does not follow through on its promises regarding Russian exports. On Friday, the Dutch government confirmed that the Russian fertilizer cargo has been given permission to leave the port on the UN’s request. “The decision to release the fertilizer was made on the understanding that the UN would ensure that it is delivered to the agreed location, Malawi, and that the Russian company and sanctioned individual will earn nothing from the transaction,” the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

It did not disclose the name of the Russian company that owns the shipment. Earlier this month, however, TASS news agency reported that Russian fertilizer producer Uralchem-Uralkali was ready to donate 240,000 tons of its fertilizers stuck in EU warehouses for humanitarian purposes, with the first shipment destined for Malawi. Prior to this, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that a total of 300,000 tons of Russian fertilizers were stuck at EU ports due to Western sanctions. In September, he said that Russia was prepared to give these fertilizers to developing nations free of charge.

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“The opponents of Progressive-Woke-Jacobinism don’t need a circus ringmaster. They need a credible leader, especially one that can manage his or her emotions at least as well as Vladimir Putin does.”

Showdown Slow Down (Jim Kunstler)

The basic Democratic Party election strategy in recent decades has been to turn the voting public into so many millions of proverbial froggies in the pot of water set to slowly rise to boiling so that the froggies don’t notice they’re getting cooked until it’s too late to jump out of the pot. The Democrat’s Lawfare soldiers have slowly and systematically changed the methods of voting and counting the votes, especially to eliminate accountability for the massive scams and screw-ups that have occurred recently. The changes have been accepted as normal. One insidious change was shutting down the small local precinct polling places in churches and schools, where it was easy to get in, get your signature checked, and vote on-site, and where the precinct captains and workers were known and accountable to voters in the neighborhood.

Instead, Lawfare got states to consolidate all the action in huge impersonal voting centers — often sports arenas — where hundreds of election workers churned, and all sorts of frauds went unnoticed in the enormous shuffle of activity. It was also harder to get in and vote at such a giant venue on game day when thousands showed up and long lines formed — which made it easier for interested parties to justify the expansion of mail-in balloting. It’s just possible that Covid-19 was introduced in 2020 to make sure that Election Day in-person voting would look hazardous, with mail-ins becoming the dominant method. It sure helped get rid of Donald Trump.Among the conclusions of the 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by (Democratic) former president Carter and (Republican) former Secretary of State James Baker, was that mail-in voting is the easiest way to invite cheating and fraud.

Apparently, no one listened except Lawfare’s Marc Elias, who saw that as a good thing. What we got starting in 2020 and continuing today are the creative refinements of that, as fraudsters apply their zillions of dollars to new ways of stealing elections — as Mark Zuckerberg did in Wisconsin, literally switching out local election officials with Democratic Party activists. Then there are the as-yet-unresolved issues with the Dominion voting machines and their software. Are the machines enabled to hook into the internet? It seems to me that this has been proven. Why is it so hard to admit that these machines are janky and unnecessary? A thousand voices have pointed out that many other nations, France, for instance, use only paper ballots and manage to report the election results the night of.

Arizona is a whole helluva lot smaller than France, and even Florida, which thoroughly reformed its election laws under Governor DeSantis and published the midterm results the same night. Speaking of Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Trump, the ex-President has been verbally laying into the Florida governor so viciously lately that he might have made a fatal error in his quest for electoral redemption. The opponents of Progressive-Woke-Jacobinism don’t need a circus ringmaster. They need a credible leader, especially one that can manage his or her emotions at least as well as Vladimir Putin does.

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“Anyone who thinks The Fed can ignore 32.6% of spending in the economy has rocks in their head..”

Crrraaaazy Wally -Street, That Is- (Denninger)

We call it…. “crazy Ivan” – Hunt for Red October. Except this is November, and the crazy came out of the CPI report. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.7 percent before seasonal adjustment. The index for shelter contributed over half of the monthly all items increase, with the indexes for gasoline and food also increasing. If you were short into this there was no getting away from what went up your backside; a literal 100 handles went into the Spoos within seconds and I’m quite sure if you’d been short you would have been gapped over, so a stop would have gotten you exactly no protection.

The problem in the “better than expected” report is in that bolded line and in fact that’s a high going back all the way through April on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Food away from home also was up at the seasonally-adjusted high, where it has been for the last three months sequentially, so there’s no love there either. Note that the latter is often subject to fairly long supply lines and contracts which delay the impact of movement both ways, and thus that it is lagging is no big shock. Food at bars and restaurants has been up less than food at home over the last 12 months and thus you can expect it to continue hitting the index for quite some time yet. The 900lb Gorilla in the room this month is fuel oil, which is, as many people do not know, #2 diesel.

It was up a stunning 19.8% on the month and stands at 68.5% up from last year this time. Anyone expecting the consumer experience to improve with that record has rocks in their head, never mind those who use it for heating that are about to get a visit from the proctologist this winter. Incidentally if you are one of them and your supplier is screwing you on price go to a truck stop (or any rural fuel place that sells to farmers for off-road use) and bring jerry cans. They sell dyed fuel for use in the refer units. Its the same thing and if its cheaper to buy it there than pay whatever the guy with the truck wants to bring it to the house your decision should be obvious. Piped gas relaxed some, which is good news if you use it, but its still up 20% on the year.

A huge percentage of people use that for heat, so there you go. Oh, and guess what is used to generate electrical power? Uh huh, which is why electricity is up 14.1% on the year. If you remember me talking about “Owner’s Equivalent Rent” and how it falsely stated that there was no inflation while home prices shot the moon you can see the inverse of that right now in the OER number which is up 6.9% on the year. That which held down inflation figures for years is now going to prop them up for years, like it or not. There is no evidence that rents, on the other hand, is relaxing at all. Anyone who thinks The Fed can ignore 32.6% of spending in the economy has rocks in their head; they most-certainly will not, and that’s what shelter comprises. Annualized its up 6.9% so no, we’re not “winning” on inflation.

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“Global trade is moving backwards this year..”

Ports Clogged With Containers As World Trade Stumbles (ZH)

The latest Bloomberg Trade Tracker reveals an ominous outlook for world trade due to soaring interest rates, the war in Ukraine, a slowdown in the US economy, and zero Covid in China. A shortage of containers has entirely reversed into a glut as crashing shipping rates and canceled sails gain momentum during what is supposed to be the busiest shipping period of the year. “The world’s two biggest economies are feeling glum about the export outlook, with both the US and China gauges in contraction in October and the American one in “below-normal” range on the Tracker,” according to Bloomberg. Earlier this week, we explained that economic storm clouds are gathering worldwide as some of the largest shipping companies warn about decelerating global trade.


US shipper FedEx and Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S have been vocal about emerging signs of a global slowdown. “Global trade is moving backwards this year,” Maersk’s chief executive officer Soren Skou told Bloomberg Television at the start of November. FedEx CFO Michael Lenz told an audience Tuesday at the Robert W Baird Global Industrial Conference earlier this week that his company parked planes cut costs in response to weak demand for package delivery. The Covid boom for goods has evaporated. Consumers have switched from buying computers and television to spending whatever money they have left on experiences. We predict in May that an inventory glut, i.e., the reverse bullwhip effect, would cool the booming freight market. It’s now peak shipping season — retailers have already canceled overseas orders as freight companies reduce shipping capacity ahead of Black Friday and Christmas.

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Yeah, but we’re broke…

Developing Nations Demand Rich Countries Pay For Climate Change (RT)

Leaders from developing countries have accused wealthy nations and the energy industry of triggering climate change and demanded compensation for the damage it has inflicted on their economies. While oil and gas companies are reaping the benefits, small island states are being devastated by ocean storms caused by rising sea levels, they say. Speaking at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Tuesday, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne noted that “oil and gas industry continues to earn almost $3 billion daily in profits,” while “the planet is burning.” “It is about time that these companies are made to pay a global carbon tax on their profits as a source of funding for loss and damage,” Browne added.

Poor nations point at the hypocrisy of their wealthier counterparts, which are the most vocal advocates of slashing emissions while themselves being the biggest polluters following a century of fossil fuel-driven industrialization. Developing countries are now asking how they will be compensated for the floods and droughts attributed to climate change. “I’m not here to ask any of you to love the people of my country with the same passion as I do,” said the prime minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis. “I’m asking what is it worth to you to have millions of climate refugees to turn into tens of millions, putting pressure on political and economic systems around the world.”

Meanwhile, Senegalese President Macky Sall admitted that his country’s economy is unable to shift away from fossil fuels immediately but said that poorer developing countries in Africa needed increased funding from wealthy nations in order to adapt to the worsening climate. “Let’s be clear, we are in favor of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. But we Africans cannot accept that our vital interests be ignored,” he said.

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Saudi, Iran, now UAE. No many US friends left.

US Intel Report Vilifies Key Ally UAE – WaPo (RT)

The United Arab Emirates, arguably one of Washington’s most trusted Arab allies, has gamed US foreign policy by meddling in the American political system using both legal and illegal tactics, intelligence officials have reportedly claimed in a classified report. The activities in question spanned multiple US administrations and exploited “vulnerabilities” in the American system, including reliance on political contributions and lax enforcement of laws designed to protect against foreign interference, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Some of the tactics “resemble espionage,” the newspaper added, citing three unidentified sources who have seen the classified report.

The report illustrates how the US political system is being distorted by foreign money, one Washington lawmaker told the Post, arguing that a “very clear red line needs to be established against the UAE playing in American politics. I’m not convinced we’ve ever raised this with the Emiratis at a high level.” Top US policymakers allegedly received briefings on the classified intelligence report in recent weeks. It’s an unusual advisory for US intelligence agencies to issue because it pertains to a close ally – rather than an adversary, such as Russia, China or Iran – and could be interpreted as delving into domestic politics, said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, defended the oil-rich nation’s outsized influence in the US. “It has been hard-earned and well-deserved,” he told the Post.

“It is the product of decades of close UAE-US cooperation and effective diplomacy. It reflects common interests and shared values.” The UAE has spent more than $154 million on lobbyists since 2016, according to US government records, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars that were donated to American colleges and think tanks. Many of those institutions have produced policy papers with recommendations that are favorable to UAE interests. Those investments have apparently been fruitful, as Washington has approved sales of some of the most advanced US-made weaponry, including MQ-9 Predator drones and F-35 fighter jets, to the UAE. No other Arab nation has been afforded such privileges because US leaders have sought to avoid “diminishing Israel’s qualitative military edge” in the Middle East, the Post said.

Bordering Saudi Arabia to the southwest and Oman to the east, oil-rich UAE is a member of OPEC. Around 2,000 US soldiers and airmen are stationed at Abu Dhabi’s al-Dhafra airbase, and both countries supported Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, though the Pentagon ceased supporting “offensive” operations there in 2021, and the UAE withdrew its ground troops in early 2020. In early August, Washington authorized a $2.2 billion sale of 96 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system missiles, to help Abu Dhabi repel possible ballistic missile threats in the region. However, after OPEC+ members announced their decision to cut oil production last month, multiple US lawmakers accused Washington’s allies of “siding with Russia” and proposed withdrawing troops and missile defense systems from both UAE and Saudi Arabia as a punishment.

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“..discarding the works of Mussorgsky or poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin would be like discarding the works of Shakespeare or Dante..”

La Scala Replies To Call To ‘Cancel’ Russian Composers (RT)

Italy’s famed La Scala theater in Milan has insisted that Russian culture should not be “penalized” because of the military operation against Kiev. It defended its decision to include the works of Russian composers in its newest program after a Ukrainian consul called them instruments of Moscow’s propaganda campaign. According to Italian news agency ANSA, Andrey Kartysh, Ukraine’s consul general in Milan, sent a letter to La Scala CEO Dominique Meyer, as well as Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and the head of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, asking to “review” its program for the 2022-2023 season in order to avoid “potential elements of propaganda.” The diplomat cited the “great disappointment and regret” of the Ukrainian community in Italy.

“Culture is being used by the Russian Federation to lend weight to its assertions of greatness and power,” he wrote, arguing that “the pandering to its propaganda can only fuel the image of the regime [in Moscow] and, by extension, its evil ambitions and countless crimes.” La Scala plans to kick off its newest season on December 7 with the opera ‘Boris Godunov’ by 19th-century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. The opera is about a Russian tsar who ruled during the Time of Trouble, a period of political upheaval and turbulence in early 17th century Russia. The program also includes ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet, whose score was written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and a recital by Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. La Scala Music Director Riccardo Chailly defended the decision to show ‘Boris Godunov’ on stage.

“To remove a masterpiece… is to penalize the culture,” he argued, as quoted by the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday. “Art should not pay for the havoc of what has been happening after February 24,” Chailly said, referring to the date that Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state. He added that discarding the works of Mussorgsky or poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin would be like discarding the works of Shakespeare or Dante. Chailly noted that the opera house expressed support for Ukraine early on in the conflict and raised €380,000 for Ukrainian refugees in April. Stage director Francesco Micheli, who sits on La Scala’s governing board, called the Ukrainian consul general’s request “reckless,” saying that he “ignores that the opera has no connection with the situation” in his home country. “I think La Scala sees the program as a way to show the unifying value of culture. That is why La Scala should be praised,” Italian Under Secretary of State for Culture Vittorio Sgarbi said.

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Google translation.

Looks like the “thrash metal drummer” is being used by much bigger parties. But Musk made a lot of people a lot of money, and “the proposal has been passed by a large majority by Tesla shareholders.”

Still, lawyers are looking at large fees, so they continue.

@JordanSchachtel:”Elon is blowing things up at Twitter because it is necessary to save the company. The old Twitter was a state-sponsored propaganda operation. Twitter as a private company will not have the privilege of unlimited resources.”

Elon Musk In Court Over $56 Billion Tesla Bonus (Telegraaf)

Elon Musk has to defend a billion-dollar bonus in a US court on Monday that was promised to him a few years ago at Tesla. That bonus could be so high that the Tesla CEO could recoup the entire $44 billion he recently invested in the Twitter acquisition. Musk was promised a package of stock options in 2018 if he could achieve certain goals with Tesla. Since then, Tesla’s stock price has increased more than tenfold and the company was briefly worth more than 1000 billion dollars. According to calculations, Musk could make up to $56 billion. The controversial package allows him to buy 1 percent of Tesla’s shares at a big discount every time certain targets are reached. Richard Tornetta, a small Tesla investor, thought the bonus was excessive and filed a lawsuit as early as 2018. At the time, there was immediately a lot of speculation that the Tesla stock price could rise to great heights.


Tornetta, who is also a thrash metal drummer and runs an audio equipment company, also finds it unfair that Musk was awarded the remuneration of a board that would actually be completely under his control. One of the directors involved was Kimbal Musk, the brother of the richest man in the world. Yet the matter is not so simple. Musk’s lawyers have pointed out that the proposal has been passed by a large majority by Tesla shareholders. Because of the bonus, Musk would have been focused on making Tesla better. And this is said to be the reason why the share price has soared, which is in the interest of all shareholders. The case is being heard in the state of Delaware by the same judge who recently dealt with the case between Twitter and Musk to force the latter to go through with its takeover plan.

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Cobalt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 162022
 
 October 16, 2022  Posted by at 8:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn Self-portrait 1629

 

Germany’s Failing ‘Stored’ Nat-gas & LNG Experiment (Vilches)
Nord Stream Saboteurs Plunged EU Into ‘Energy Poverty’ – Moscow (RT)
White House Comments On Paying For Starlink Service For Ukraine (RT)
Musk Makes U-turn On Starlink Service For Ukraine (RT)
Elon Musk Discovers Ukrainian ‘Kill List’ (RT)
The Ideological Tyranny of Liberal Interventionism (Ghorayeb)
European Auto Industry In Trouble – S&P (RT)
How 4,000 People From Groningen Managed To Turn Off The Gas Tap (NOS)
Strong US Dollar Is A Headache – IMF (RT)
Central Bank of G20 Host Indonesia Rails Against US Dollar (RT)
Will Beijing Join With Russia vs The West Or Keep Its Powder Dry? (Hvatkov)
Orban Warns Of ‘Protracted War’ (RT)
Hiding Hunter’s Laptop (Hanson)
Yes, They Claimed The Vaccines Would Prevent Transmission (Chung)
Twitter is a Weapon, not a Business (Robert Malone)

 

 

What an odd list.

 

 

John Maersheimer 2014

 

 

Walker

 

 

“Leave the climate activists glued to the wall. Make it an interactive exhibit by allowing patrons to throw tomato sauce at them and donate the proceeds to planting trees.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jinglemerkel Santakaputt.

“.. at the very best only 25% to 30% of the “supposed” 90% reserves could possibly ever be timely recovered and only very slowly through a period of time stretched out in months. ”

Germany’s Failing ‘Stored’ Nat-gas & LNG Experiment (Vilches)

Be that as it may, and as per the US State Dept. the NS1 and NS2 pipeline sabotage would supposedly have “no impact on European energy resilience”… then we should guess that Germans should just enjoy their Oktoberfest and — why not ? — also prepare to celebrate Christmas 2022 as if nothing negative had happened. On the contrary, if technical brain-power (currently AWOL) prevailed, then career strategists both sides of the Atlantic would now be spending all day and night trying to brush up hard on nat-gas management 101, better yet with a touch of sophomoric physics if all possible. And thus no-nonsense contingency plans would already be prepared and under deployment.

The reason is, as explained below, by EU and German design and commitment this is a failing EXPERIMENT. The planned ´stored´ nat-gas & LNG supply strategies have never ever been applied in equivalent circumstances with this strange methodology and humongous scale. Thusly, the 2022 German Oktoberfest will probably turn into a very acid sauerkraut with solid-beer icicles bizarrely hanging from the spouts. The Main Event would still be the December 2022 ´Jinglemerkel Santakaputt´ with nowhere to hide as all of Europe would be undergoing a thorough DE-industrialization process with sharp lowering of standards of living, and in many areas most probably with food issues, darkness & cold, deep frustration and un-heard-of unemployment with massive migrants wishing they had stayed back home (yes).

Be it from Qatar, Norway, or the US… or Russia…Liquefied Natural Gas cannot and will not save the day for Europe. First of all, LNG is and will be for a huge long time to come very scarce worldwide. Furthermore, there are very few loading and unloading terminals available at either end. For example, Germany has 0 (zero) LNG terminals. None. And even some loading terminals at source docks that are already built have serious operational problems or simply do not meet EU standards. Besides, there are not anywhere near enough LNG tankers available and very few are under construction. Who needed ugly dirty fracked LNG only 6 months ago ? And these infrastructure beasts take very long time to be conceived, approved, designed, funded, built, commissioned, certified, and offered to the market.

But it gets worse because many wrongly imagine that fracked sea-borne Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is a substitute of nat-gas (not). First, it´s terribly more expensive, most explosive & dangerous to handle, and definetly way too scarce to meet European needs. Environmentally, LNG is “fracking” dirty and very cumbersome to liquefy, load and re-gassify with yet non-existant infrastructure at both ends… and is far more difficult to store and many times more costly to freight (Suez could be a limitation) from ackward overseas sources yet unknown (in tankers that do not yet exist) and only in risky seaborne batches onto many dozens of delivery terminals not yet built nor adequately planned for…

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“Stockholm has rejected a plan to set up an official joint investigation team together with Germany and Denmark to look into the explosions [..] All three nations also refused to grant Russia access to the probe. ”

Nord Stream Saboteurs Plunged EU Into ‘Energy Poverty’ – Moscow (RT)

The perpetrators behind the attacks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines have destroyed the European Union’s hope of secure and sustainable energy supply, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksander Novak has said on the sidelines of the Russian Energy Week forum. “Those who had plotted and perpetrated this terrorist act have basically plunged Europe into an energy poverty, so to speak,” Novak said on Friday, adding that the sabotage of the pipelines has all but “nullified the energy security” the EU has long sought to achieve. The former energy minister previously said that Russia is still able to supply natural gas to the European Union through a string of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that remains intact. According to President Vladimir Putin the ball was now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted this to happen.

Putin also suggested establishing a new “gas hub” in Türkiye to move the transit volumes to the Black Sea region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the idea during the leaders’ meeting earlier this week. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, designed to carry Russian natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing transit states, including Ukraine and Poland, abruptly lost pressure last month, following a series of powerful underwater explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm. Moscow has called the incident a terrorist attack and said the US, a long-time critic of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy, stood to benefit most from the disabling of the routes, both politically and economically. Washington has denied any involvement. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”

In the meantime, Stockholm has rejected a plan to set up an official joint investigation team together with Germany and Denmark to look into the explosions, Reuters reported, citing a Swedish investigator. Sweden allegedly argued that its own findings are too sensitive to share even with other EU nations. All three nations also refused to grant Russia access to the probe. Russia used to cover over 40% of the EU’s gas needs prior to the start of the military operation in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions. Supplies dropped dramatically this year, exacerbating the energy crisis, as the bloc is seeking to cut itself off from Russian energy to reduce its dependence and punish Moscow. The US, meanwhile, ramped up its supply of LNG to Europe over the past months, up to a point where it now accounts for nearly half of the bloc’s LNG imports, nearly twice the share recorded in 2021.

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..“burning” around $20 million per month on safeguarding the services from cyberattacks and jamming..”

White House Comments On Paying For Starlink Service For Ukraine (RT)

The Pentagon and US allies are exploring all options to maintain Starlink satellite services for Ukraine after tycoon Elon Musk said he’s no longer willing to provide the communications for free, the White House press secretary has said. During a briefing on Friday, Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if the Biden administration had considered Musk’s request for the Pentagon to foot the bill for satellite internet communications in Ukraine. “Look, we understand the importance of these capabilities to ensure stable communications for Ukraine’s forces in particular,” Jean-Pierre responded. Starlink, operated by Musk’s SpaceX company, has become the main communication tool for Ukraine’s forces since the start of the conflict with Russia.

According to the spokeswoman, the Pentagon is “working with allies and partners to look at all options on how best to support those needs identified by Ukraine specifically.” Further questions on the matter should be referred to the Department of Defense, she added. Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh confirmed on Friday that “the department has been in communication with SpaceX regarding Starlink,” but declined to expand on the nature of those contacts. The DoD understands the “fragility” of satellite communications and their importance for Ukraine “not just on the battlefield, but within the country itself,” Singh said. On Thursday CNN published a letter, which it said SpaceX had sent to the Pentagon in September, demanding that it cover the cost of operating the system in Ukraine. The company is no longer “in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” the document read.

Musk reacted to the report by pointing out that his “competitors in space launch and communications,” Lockheed Martin and Boeing, had jointly received over $60 billion in defense contracts in 2021 alone. The entrepreneur explained in a series of tweets how keeping up “warfront” communications was much more difficult and expensive. He said his aerospace company was allegedly forced to divert “massive resources” and was “burning” around $20 million per month on safeguarding the services from cyberattacks and jamming. “Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink,” Musk claimed, warning that it could well succeed in its efforts. “Starlink is the primary communications system of the Ukrainian army on the war front. If anyone else wants this job, please be my guest,” he wrote.

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“..the cost of the internet service in Ukraine, which could amount up to $ 400 million over the next year..”

Musk Makes U-turn On Starlink Service For Ukraine (RT)

The SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made an abrupt U-turn on his decision to stop funding the operation of the Starlink satellite communication service in Ukraine, where it has been actively used by the Ukrainian troops. Earlier, SpaceX reportedly asked the Pentagon to cover the cost of the internet service in Ukraine, which could amount up to $ 400 million over the next year. “We’ll just keep funding Ukraine government for free,” Musk wrote in a tweet on Saturday, adding that SpaceX would do it “even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars.” Earlier, the SpaceX CEO pointed to the fact that his “competitors in space launch and communications,” Lockheed Martin and Boeing, had jointly received over $60 billion in defense contracts in 2021 alone.

The entrepreneur also complained in a series of tweets that keeping up “warfront” communications was difficult and expensive. He also stated that Russia was “actively trying to kill Starlink,” forcing the US company to spend some $20 million per month on safeguarding the services from cyberattacks and jamming. On Thursday, CNN obtained a letter, where Musk supposedly informed the Pentagon his company was “not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time.” SpaceX has donated around 20,000 Starlink satellite units to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in late February, providing internet connection and military coordination in chaotic battlegrounds that would otherwise be cut off from the web.

Kiev then praised the terminals as an “essential part of critical infrastructure” but continued to urge SpaceX to send thousands of additional terminals. Musk previously stated that SpaceX would have spent more than $100 million providing Starlink services to Ukraine by the end of the year. At the same time, the company reportedly admitted that most units it had sent to Ukraine were partially or fully funded by the American, British and Polish governments. SpaceX also recently came under fire over alleged Starlink outages across some regions of Ukraine, which some Ukrainian soldiers described as “catastrophic” loss of communications, according to Financial Times.

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“The website has published personal details – names, addresses, photos, social media pages – of children, the youngest of whom is not even 10 years old..”

Elon Musk Discovers Ukrainian ‘Kill List’ (RT)

Elon Musk has expressed concerns over a controversial website that lists supposed enemies of Kiev, amid claims that his own name briefly appeared on Mirotvorets following his threats to cut funding for Starlink satellite internet services actively used by the Ukrainian troops. “Is this list real? What’s the URL?” the SpaceX CEO tweeted in response to independent journalist Eva Karene Bartlett, who on Friday shared a viral screenshot that claims to show his persona added to the notorious database. “I’ve been speaking and writing about this list for years, after being placed on it in 2019, but now that Musk is on it, after Roger Waters and others, perhaps the ‘peacemaker’ list might itself be killed…,” Bartlett wrote.

Elon Musk’s name was not on the list as of Saturday, and it remains unclear whether it indeed briefly appeared on Mirotvorets. Some reports alleged his profile was swiftly scrubbed from the database, while Ukrainian activists claimed the picture was fake and called it a Russian provocation. Many of Musk’s followers were surprised to find out that he’d never heard of Mirotvorets before, and bombarded him with examples of prominent public figures on the database, some already marked “liquidated.” Musk admitted it was “concerning,” after checking with Wikipedia that such a list does indeed exist, and was allowed to stay online since 2014. Mirotvorets, or “Peacemaker,” is a supposedly independent database of individuals whom anonymous moderators consider to be threats to Ukrainian national security.

The site denies being a kill list; rather, it claims to be a source of information for law-enforcement agencies and “special services” about pro-Russian terrorists, separatists and war criminals, among others. It allegedly has links to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. The Mirotvorets project gained some notoriety in 2015, when writer and historian Oles Buzina and politician Oleg Kalashnikov were assassinated in Ukraine after their profiles appeared on the website. In 2016, EU officials and journalist groups condemned Mirotvorets for leaking data on more than 4,000 members of the media. Human rights activists have discovered that the website features the personal details of 327 children, prompting the Russian authorities to share their concerns over this “huge injustice” with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The website has published personal details – names, addresses, photos, social media pages – of children, the youngest of whom is not even 10 years old yet, according to the head of the Foundation for the Fight against Repressions.

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“..American and Ukrainian politicians—along with their loyal supporters—are not actually interested in real support for the Ukrainian people. What they want is compliance and consensus for their foreign policy endeavors.”

The Ideological Tyranny of Liberal Interventionism (Ghorayeb)

Since the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian War this year, celebrities and public figures have been unanimous in their moral support for Ukraine. Some, like Telsa CEO Elon Musk, have gone further than words, lending significant material support to the cause. His spacecraft company, SpaceX, paid $80 million to provide Ukraine with the services of Starlink, which, among other things, enables Ukrainian troops to operate drones and communicate with each other. Musk has explicitly declared himself “pro-Ukraine.” A normal person would therefore view Musk, a self-professed centrist, as supporting an ally of the American government against the ravages of war.

However, Musk’s material and moral contributions mattered little when he proposed a peace plan outside the bounds of the liberal internationalist consensus. Russia, Musk tweeted, should be allowed to keep Crimea, and Ukraine should end its bit to join NATO and adopt a neutral status. Musk’s diplomatic musings swiftly drew the ire of the Ukrainian government and its supporters. It also attracted resentful remarks from his own government. Senator Lindsey Graham went on an angry rant against Musk that culminated in a call to cut electric vehicle tax credits, which he mistakenly thought benefitted Tesla. Elon’s car buyers haven’t qualified for a tax credit since 2018.

One may wonder why there is such intense outrage against Musk or why expressing an anti-war opinion is akin to providing support for Putin. Why is it that one tweet with a peace proposal has become a more powerful expression of Musk’s position than $80 million worth of material aid to Ukraine and numerous declarations of support? The reason is that American and Ukrainian politicians—along with their loyal supporters—are not actually interested in real support for the Ukrainian people. What they want is compliance and consensus for their foreign policy endeavors. Media outlets have noticeably censored and attempted to silence opinions that deviate from a consensus that stops short of extravagant government spending on weapons for Ukraine and unwavering admiration for Zelensky.

[..] Ideally, there would be a moral consensus against killing innocent people with room for civil political debate about the root causes of these wars, how we can de-escalate or end ongoing violence, and how to prevent them in the future. One could have contested Musk’s proposal with a counterargument about whether it is the optimal way of reaching what most people agree is wrong: killing innocent people. But this would only be possible if everyone involved in the discourse was concerned with achieving the end of the war and pursuing truth. However, the U.S. foreign policy elite—who have nakedly pursued their interests through intervention in the region before—and Ukraine’s corrupt president do not show an interest in either.

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No, electric cars won’t solve the problem..

European Auto Industry In Trouble – S&P (RT)

With energy prices in EU skyrocketing, a harsh winter could shut down production in parts of the automotive sector, S&P Global Mobility reported this week. According to a report titled “Winter is Coming,” the “combined black swan events” of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have stretched automotive supply lines, especially with regard to semiconductors. As a result, the industry “may face extensive pressure” from energy costs in the coming months. Starting in the fourth quarter of 2022 through 2023, quarterly production from Europe-based auto manufacturing plants is forecast to be between 4 and 4.5-million-units. However, “with potential utility restrictions,” that output could fall to as low as 2.75 million units per quarter, the report says.

The researcher projected significant supply chain disruptions from November through spring, citing mandatory energy rationing for the region’s auto producers and suppliers. “For an industry already struggling with low inventories of vehicles in dealer showrooms, an additional crisis could be incapacitating on a global scale,” it said. Edwin Pope, S&P Global Mobility principal analyst for materials and lightweighting, pointed out that “If you look through the supply chain – particularly where there’s any metallic structure forming through pressing, welding or extrusion – there’s a tremendous amount of energy involved.

“Total energy usage in these companies could be up to one-and-a-half times what we’re seeing in vehicle assembly today. Anecdotally, we’re hearing that some of this manufacturing capacity is becoming so uneconomic that companies are simply shutting up shop.” He also told Reuters that S&P Global Mobility’s analysis was conducted before the sabotage on the Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines late last month. “Events like that will inevitably shift the scales towards the lower end of what we have predicted, especially in terms of how long it takes to repair things of this nature,” Pope warned.

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Google translate.

“They only wanted to continue if the State imposed a production obligation on them, took over the liability and thus also the risk of prosecution.”

How 4,000 People From Groningen Managed To Turn Off The Gas Tap (NOS)

Only the threat of a criminal case would force oil companies Shell and Exxon to extract less gas in Groningen after the severe earthquake in 2012. A retired criminal court advised action group Groninger Soil Movement (GBB) to use heavy artillery. Public hearings by the Groningen parliamentary committee of inquiry for natural gas extraction have shown in recent weeks how great the impact of that advice has been. The committee closed those hearings yesterday. The GBB first filed a report on behalf of 4000 members in vain: the Public Prosecution Service saw no reason to prosecute NAM. The people of Groningen then asked the court in Arnhem to force the Public Prosecution Service to conduct such a criminal investigation.

In April 2017, the court ruled in their favor. The Public Prosecution Service should investigate whether gas extraction company NAM, a subsidiary of Shell and Exxon, has endangered Groningers. The case is still pending and has cost the GBB two tons in lawyers’ fees, but the effect was maximum. Ben van Beurden, the CEO of Shell, calls that criminal case a “game changer”. His company was suddenly accused of endangering people’s lives by extracting gas. His employees could be personally prosecuted for this. Shell and Exxon informed the Ministry of Economic Affairs that they wanted to stop gas production in Groningen. They only wanted to continue if the State imposed a production obligation on them, took over the liability and thus also the risk of prosecution.

Every other gas field in the world would be closed if it turns out that winning is not safe, both Rolf de Jong of Exxon and Van Beurden of Shell said. But they also realized that it was impossible to stop because Dutch households, hospitals and much industry depend on Groningen gas. It was one of the most startling issues to surface in the public hearings. Until then, the image was that former Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs had single-handedly decided in 2018 to end gas extraction in Groningen in 2030. That was inescapable, he said, because the State Supervision of Mines then found that gas extraction might have to stop altogether to limit the risk of even more earthquakes. Moreover, the reinforcement operation, the reinforcement of unsafe houses, was completely out of control.

Many more houses had to be reinforced than the ministry wanted and, according to gas extraction company NAM, was necessary. Furthermore, it appeared from the interrogations that the cabinet was not in a hurry with the request of the oil companies. They feared that Shell and Exxon wanted to take the opportunity to also change the historic agreements on profit sharing. The two multinationals and the State divide the gas revenues, with the largest part of the profit (90 percent) going to the State. These are agreements that were made when gas extraction started in the early 1960s.

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“..appreciated 22% against the Japanese yen, 13% against the euro and 6% against emerging market currencies since the start of this year..”

Strong US Dollar Is A Headache – IMF (RT)

As countries around the world struggle to bring down soaring inflation, the weakening of their currencies relative to the US dollar has made that fight even harder, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. In a report published on Friday, the IMF elaborated how countries should respond to a strong dollar. It highlighted that the greenback is at its highest level since 2000, having appreciated 22% against the Japanese yen, 13% against the euro and 6% against emerging market currencies since the start of this year. “Such a sharp strengthening of the dollar in a matter of months has sizable macroeconomic implications for almost all countries, given the dominance of the dollar in international trade and finance,” the lender wrote.

It further indicated that while the US share in world merchandise exports has declined from 12% to 8% since 2000, the dollar’s share in world exports has held at around 40%. “On average, the estimated pass-through of a 10 percent dollar appreciation into inflation is 1 percent. Such pressures are especially acute in emerging markets, reflecting their higher import dependency and greater share of dollar-invoiced imports compared with advanced economies.” According to the report, approximately half of all cross-border loans and international debt securities are denominated in US dollars. While emerging market governments have made progress in issuing debt in their own currency, their private corporate sectors have high levels of dollar-denominated debt.

“As world interest rates rise, financial conditions have tightened considerably for many countries. A stronger dollar only compounds these pressures, especially for some emerging market and many low-income countries that are already at a high risk of debt distress,” the IMF said. The report suggested that the appropriate policy response is to allow the exchange rate to adjust, while using monetary policy to keep inflation close to its target. “The higher price of imported goods will help bring about the necessary adjustment to the fundamental shocks as it reduces imports, which in turn helps with reducing the buildup of external debt. Fiscal policy should be used to support the most vulnerable without jeopardizing inflation goals,” it said.

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“.. transactions in foreign currencies incur conversion costs, and when they are in US dollars, “the conversion fee is doubled..”

Central Bank of G20 Host Indonesia Rails Against US Dollar (RT)

Indonesia’s central bank has spoken out against the use of the US dollar in export-import transactions, and called for a switch to local currencies in international payments to reduce dependence on the greenback, news portal Tempo.co reported on Friday. Most of Indonesia’s international trade transactions are conducted in foreign currencies, predominantly the dollar, according to Nugroho Joko Prastowo, head of Bank Indonesia’s Solo Representative Office, as cited by local media. “90% of export-import settlements are in US dollars, when in fact the value of Indonesia’s direct exports to the US is only 10%, and the value of US imports is only 5%,” the official told journalists after opening a session on ‘Utilizing Local Currency Settlement (LCS) to Increase Export-Import Efficiency of the Greater Solo Region’.


He said transactions in foreign currencies incur conversion costs, and when they are in US dollars, “the conversion fee is doubled,” suggesting that a system of bilateral payments in local currency could solve the problem. The official said four countries have agreed to utilize LCS with Indonesia so far, namely China, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. “Singapore has been plotted, although it has not been fully implemented, and soon the Philippines. Currently, the implementation of LCS with Saudi Arabia is also being explored,” he said. Indonesia will be hosting the G20 international forum, bringing together 19 countries and the European Union, on November 15-16 on the island of Bali. Indonesia currently holds the presidency of the group of leading economies.

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‘small fortresses with high walls’

Will Beijing Join With Russia vs The West Or Keep Its Powder Dry? (Hvatkov)

The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the pinnacle event in the country’s political life and held only every five years, kicks off in Beijing on October 16. Experts will be tuning in to pick up any signals related not only to the political standing and prospects of China’s leader Xi Jinping, who is likely to run for a third term, but also to the way the country is planning to build its relations with the US and Russia in the future. A new Mao – a new revolution? Western speculation believes that the event could signify a triumph for Xi as he will most likely remain at the helm of the party for a third term. Should that happen, it would go against the tradition which has formed in Chinese politics over the last 30 years. Up to now, the reins of power in the country were handed over to a new generation of leaders at the end of the second term. Thus, such a move would herald a new era in the history of modern China. Starting from 2018, it has become increasingly clear that Xi is going to defy this tradition. That year, amendments were made to the Chinese Constitution lifting the two-term limit on the presidency.

[..] Experts doubt that Beijing will abandon its policy of prudence and caution, and there are a number of reasons for that. “Much of what Vladimir Putin said in his speech at the accession ceremony is in line with China’s own attitudes. But when China talks about similar matters, the wording is often much broader and generally ambiguous. Naturally, Beijing is aware that its confrontation with the West is getting more intense. However, at the level of rhetoric, China tries to avoid being as explicit when expressing its position. Moscow and Beijing have similar viewpoints in that both believe the policies of the West are flawed, as they create artificial barriers to global trade, financial and economic ties and investment opportunities,” Lomanov said.

“China also criticizes the West for building ‘small fortresses with high walls’, referring to blocs like NATO and AUKUS, exclusive alliances designed to unite Western countries and those loyal to them, effectively cutting off everyone else. “China has always stressed the need to reform the existing system of global governance, as it is deeply unfair to developing countries. Despite all its leaps in economic development, China considers itself both a socialist country and the world’s leading developing nation. Therefore, at a practical level, the positions of Russia and China are indeed very close,” the expert from IMEMO RAS believes.

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“anyone who thinks NATO will protect us is wrong.”

Orban Warns Of ‘Protracted War’ (RT)

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that Hungary needs an army “capable of striking and ensuring peace” in case the continent plunges into chaos over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the European Union’s failed policies towards Russia.“We cannot, like ostriches, bury our heads in the sand. We must accept the reality: if this continues, the economy of the continent will collapse, people will be in danger, and it seems that we must prepare for a protracted war,” Orban said on Saturday in Budapest, at a swearing-in ceremony of military volunteers. The Hungarian leader noted that “there are nations that have already begun making preparations and we can’t fall behind in this either,” as cited by the Budapest Times. “In times of war, we need an army capable of striking and capable of ensuring peace!” he told a group of some 250 young recruits, praising them as the “excellence of our nation.”


He added that Hungary needs “a few more” such battalions and announced new recruitment campaigns to be launched from December. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, has maintained a relatively neutral stance during the conflict in Ukraine, condemning the use of force by Moscow, but refusing to supply weapons to Kiev. Orban has frequently criticized the EU’s sanctions on Russia, calling them counterproductive. Over the past months, he has repeatedly called for “the failed policy of Brussels” to be changed, noting that the sanctions “didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them,” while Europe is “slowly bleeding.” Back in March, Orban said that he felt he couldn’t count on the US-led military bloc when it comes to real action concerning the country’s security, saying “anyone who thinks NATO will protect us is wrong.”

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Long overview.

Hiding Hunter’s Laptop (Hanson)

The definitive book on Cold War era information warfare from our Communist foes is Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy. In that book, disinformation is defined as “false, incomplete, or misleading information that is passed, fed, or confirmed to a targeted individual, group, or country.” The American public was subjected to a campaign right out of the Soviet playbook designed to obfuscate the Biden family corruption. It was concocted and deployed by a loosely connected conspiracy of the media, current and former government officials, the Biden campaign, and the social media tech companies. As soon as the story broke October 19, 2020 virtually every major and subsidiary media outlet reported on it with negative sentiment using one of two major themes:

First they argued that it was stolen. The immediate response was to deny the provenance of the laptop which was that Hunter Biden had abandoned it at a repair shop. They began questioning that story and throwing out the completely unfounded speculation that it may be stolen. This smear hit directly at John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the repair shop. He provided the contents of the laptop first to law enforcement and when they took no action, to Rudy Giuliani who eventually gave it to the New York Post. The bulk of the media accounts discussing the story in the next 24 hours included a reference to the “stolen” theme.

The second argument offered was that the laptop was not verified. This was the most defensible part of the smoke screen. Most of the media outlets did not have the hard drive so they could say they had not verified it themselves. However, the New York Post showed numerous items in their reporting that would lead any reasonable person to understand the laptop most likely belonged to Hunter Biden. During the taping of an interview with President Trump soon after the story broke, Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” ran with this narrative. Stahl denied that the Delaware computer suspected of belonging to Hunter Biden’s was even a story at all after claiming it has been “investigated and discredited.”

“It can’t be verified,” Stahl said of the laptop. “It can’t be verified.” “What can’t be verified?” Trump said. “The laptop!” It had been investigated, but unlike Stahl’s false claim to the contrary the laptop was not discredited. All of the investigations and verification measures showed the same thing: This was Hunter’s laptop, the information was his and it was devastating. One of the truly amazing things is the longevity of the media’s willingness to continue to ignore and suppress this story. It was not until March of 2022 that the New York Times and Washington Post both admitted the long-known fact that Hunter’s laptop was Hunter’s laptop.

Their admissions were not because of some ethical epiphany. They were merely part of a new aspect of the disinformation campaign about the likely charges coming from the ongoing investigation into Biden family corruption. They are based on the disinformation tactic popularized by John Ehrlichman, an aide to President Richard Nixon during Watergate. It’s called the modified limited hangout. In other words, mixing partial admissions with additional misinformation in order to confuse people.

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1000 times. The fact checks look like pretzels.

Yes, They Claimed The Vaccines Would Prevent Transmission (Chung)

No, you’re not crazy. Yes, they claimed the vaccines would prevent transmission. One of the most bizarre lies being told this week in response to Pfizer executive Janine Small’s testimony to EU Parliament is that, actually, the Covid vaccines were never supposed to stop the spread of the virus. Asked by Dutch MEP Rob Roos whether the company had tested its vaccine on “stopping the transmission of the virus” before it rolled out globally, Ms Small said “no” because “we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market”. “And from that point of view we had to do everything at risk,” she said. In a viral Twitter video which has now been viewed more than 12 million times, Mr Roos described the response as “scandalous”, arguing “millions of people worldwide felt compelled to get vaccinated because of the myth that ‘you do it for others’”.

Mr Roos said the admission removed the entire basis for vaccine mandates and passports which “led to massive institutional discrimination as people lost access to essential parts of society”. “I find this to be shocking, even criminal,” he said. Of course, fact checkers were not happy. This is not the bombshell it is being presented as, they argue, because it was public knowledge that the primary outcome measured in Pfizer’s clinical trials was reducing risk of disease, but not transmission. Moreover, as the Therapeutic Goods Administration stressed, “transmission effects” are “not an approved indication of any Covid-19 vaccine” currently available in Australia. In Australia, politicians and health officials held millions of people hostage for months, lecturing and threatening them to get vaccinated to regain their “freedoms”.


The vaccines were the “way out” of the pandemic, they were not to just to protect ourselves but to “protect others”, they would “stop the spread”, and not getting vaccinated was “selfish”. Vaccine passports, the “vaccinated economy”, were necessary so people who “did the right thing” would feel “safe” knowing they weren’t “mixing” with the unvaccinated, who were a “risk to the community”. By late 2021 and early 2022, as Omicron became dominant and it was clear vaccinated people were still catching and spreading the virus, the messaging changed. “Stopping the spread? What are you talking about? It’s about reducing hospitalisation and death. We have always been at war with hospitalisation and death.”

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Malone takes a turn away from vaccines.

Twitter is a Weapon, not a Business (Robert Malone)

The research and consulting firm “Edify” has recently disclosed results from a client-driven research project designed to analyze the relationships between the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR), Twitter, Biden White House, Obama White House, James Baker, Alexander Macgillivray, Vijaya Gadde, and Anthony Fauci’s daughter, Alison Fauci, who is an engineer at Twitter. The first two of these analyses have been published here and here, and at least one more is anticipated in the near future. The findings clearly document the deep web of relationships tying together WSGR, Twitter, the censorship of President Trump, President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Google. All of these run through Alexander Macgillivray. Macgillivray currently serves the Biden White House OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) as the Principal Deputy U.S. CTO (Chief Technology Officer).

What Edify documents is the web of relationships which have guided the censorship practices of the US Government-Technology/Social media alliance. As I read through the first of the two analyses, titled “EDIFY: CRITICAL NEXUS: TWITTER, WSGR, MACGILLIVRAY & WHITE HOUSE” (September 15, 2022), my interest was piqued by the documentation of the deep connections between Twitter, Biden, Obama, and the central role of Twitter as a tool for information and psychological warfare. Precisely the hot button issue that I discussed on the Joe Rogan Experience when I used those three words “Mass Formation Psychosis,” which triggered such a visceral reaction from the Silicon Valley technology giants, the Trusted News Initiative, and Peter Breggin.

Based on relationship mapping, Edify draws the following conclusions: “Twitter is the central node and the keystone to understanding. Twitter’s inherent value to the elites, political class and federal apparatus writ large is found in its ability to engage in perception management, which is a technical term more commonly referred to as “psyops” or “psychological warfare”. Twitter engages in perception management in its capacity to establish and manipulate reality by means of actively determining and shaping the content on its platform. Twitter consumers can receive filtered content or are prevented from receiving, seeing or having the ability to publish content altogether.

The de facto censorship occurs primarily along the lines of determining and enforcing community standards, guidelines and rules for user engagement. The evidence is clear that the decisions here appear to fall along clearly identifiable political lines resembling two-tier justice. Content determination, algorithmic manipulation and politically motivated censorship of off-reservation messaging and political opposition are all evidenced examples of how Twitter engages in perception management or appears to do so. Two evidenced domains of Twitter’s engagement in perception management include censoring content relative to COVID-19 and the Hunter Biden Laptop story.” [..] The quote above is just the beginning of the analytical conclusions, which include this gem:

“Alison Fauci is a Twitter software engineer who by title, would possess the technical capabilities and access to function as outlined in the testimony. Beyond Alison Fauci’s functionality as a conduit or intermediary for Dr. Anthony Fauci and his principals at the NIH/NIAID and up, Alison Fauci is by title technically positioned to potentially extract private Twitter user data on designated people including political opposition. Any such extracted data could be fed back upstream to the Obama, Biden cartel et al. It’s also further evidence of a distinct pattern of nepotism threading through all of these matters where spouses and children play critical roles determined by their placement into the broader construct. Alison Fauci was positioned to be a possible conduit of information in an intermediary fashion relative to the Anthony Fauci cohort and its preferences for Twitter’s censorship policies for reliable COVID content damaging to the COVID construct of enterprise fraud and that official narrative.”

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HEART

 

 

Cater snake

 

 


The Alpine Ibex’s preferred habitat is the rocky region along the snow line above alpine forests, where it occupies steep, rough terrain at elevations of 1,800 to 3,300 metres

 

 

Magician

 

 


A tiger’s tongue is so coarse, it can lick flesh to the bone. Photo: Tony Zerna

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 082022
 
 October 8, 2022  Posted by at 8:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  67 Responses »


Marc Chagall The watering trough 1925

 

Putin and Zelensky To Attend G20 – Indonesia (RT)
Merkel: Lasting Peace In Europe Only Possible With Russia’s Input (RT)
Russia Abandons The Dream Of A Greater Europe (RT)
US Media’s Intellectual No-Fly-Zone on Nord Stream (FAIR)
Lavrov Explains Why Russia Sees Ukraine As A Threat (RT)
EU Again Urged To Open Wallet For Kiev (RT)
Belgium Fails To Support New Round Of Sanctions Against Russia (RT)
Orban Urges Changes To EU Sanctions Policy (RT)
Joe Biden Is Not A Real President (Scarry)
OPEC Humiliates President Biden On A Global Stage (QTR)
Luxembourg Raises Red Flag Over Energy Price Caps (RT)
Citi: Financial Crisis May Surprise EU (RT)
November Surprise? (Jim Kunstler)
Washington Post Lying About Kremlin ‘Turmoil’ – Moscow (RT)
When Anti-Government Speech Becomes Sedition (Whitehead)
CDC: Record Number Of Children Hospitalized With Weakened Immune Systems (ZH)

 

 

This morning: Explosions on the Kerch bridge (Crimean bridge), which connects Crimea with Russia.

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Ed Dowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are deciding which hotels to put them up in – one for Mr. Putin and one for Mr. Zelensky..”

“..his press secretary, Sergey Nikiforov, in a comment to Ukrainian media, denied the information that Zelensky had decided to visit the G20 summit..”

Putin and Zelensky To Attend G20 – Indonesia (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, will both travel to Bali in November for the G20 summit, an Indonesian diplomat has told UAE’s The National newspaper. If true, the summit will be the first event attended by both leaders since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began. “Both have agreed [to attend],”Indonesia’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Husain Bagis, told The National on Friday. He conceded that “the situation isn’t easy because of the Ukraine-Russia war,” and said that his government is already planning how to manage the arrival of the two leaders. “We are deciding which hotels to put them up in – one for Mr. Putin and one for Mr. Zelensky,” he said.

The Kremlin confirmed in June that Putin would attend the summit, although spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the format of Putin’s participation “is still not defined.” Kiev stated in August that Zelensky “believes that he should be on the territory of Ukraine,” but would “think about”making the trip if Putin were to attend in person. Today his press secretary, Sergey Nikiforov, in a comment to Ukrainian media, denied the information that Zelensky had decided to visit the G20 summit. US President Joe Biden and a number of other Western leaders urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo not to invite Putin to the summit in Bali.

However, Widodo resisted the pressure campaign and invited the Russian leader as planned. With Widodo having met both Zelensky and Putin earlier this summer in a bid to “invite the two leaders to open dialogue and stop the war,” Bagis told The National that Indonesia aims “to make the G20 a platform for peace, not conflict.” Biden also appears to have softened his exclusionary stance toward Putin, telling reporters on Thursday that it “remains to be seen” whether he would meet the Russian president on the sidelines of the summit. The State Department quickly stepped in to say that in the view of the entire government, “it cannot be business as usual when it comes to Russia.” Although Ukraine is not one of the world’s 20 largest economies, Zelensky was invited to Bali as a guest.

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Sustainable peace = Green peace?!

Wonder if Merkel is involved in secret talks with Russia.

Merkel: Lasting Peace In Europe Only Possible With Russia’s Input (RT)

Sustainable peace in Europe may only be achieved if Russia is part of it, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. Speaking during the 77th anniversary of the German newspaper ‘Suddeutsche Zeitung,’ Merkel explained that while the West has been adamant in its support for Ukraine as the nation remains locked in conflict with Russia, it should also keep its mind open about what might seem as “unthinkable” now – Moscow’s future role in Europe’s affairs. She stressed that “a future European security architecture within international law will meet the requirements” only if it involves Russia. “As long as we haven’t achieved that, the Cold War is not really over either,” she added.

Merkel described February 24 – the day Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine – as a “turning point,” adding that statements made by various parties to the conflict should be taken “seriously and not to be classified as a bluff from the start.” She was apparently referring to recent comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who signaled that Moscow would use “all means to defend Russia and our people” if its territorial integrity was threatened. He also warned the West that those who use nuclear blackmail against Russia “should know that the wind rose can turn around.”

Merkel earlier urged the Western world to take Putin and his words seriously, arguing that such an approach is “by no means a sign of weakness,” but rather “a sign of political wisdom.” She also noted that former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who before his death, was widely regarded as her political mentor, would have kept an open mind about “how relations to and with Russia could one day be redeveloped” after hostilities in Ukraine end. Such a stance, however, did not sit well with Ukrainian officials. Last week, Andrey Melnik, Kiev’s outgoing ambassador to Berlin, called Merkel’s attitude towards Russia and its role in European security “almost perverse.”

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“A Greater Europe didn’t happen; a Greater Asia that includes Russia is de facto emerging.”

Russia Abandons The Dream Of A Greater Europe (RT)

Re-uniting the divided people of Russia and gathering the lands where they live is essentially the core element of the new Russian idea that Putin is offering to his compatriots. The immediate task of course is to integrate the new territories that have just joined Russia following the referendums. This requires a major effort in many areas and at various levels. It is anything but easy. Russian forces, which for months have been advancing on Ukrainian territory, suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have to abandon some areas which are now legally Russian land, populated by Russian citizens who just voted in the referendums and now face severe reprisals at the hands of the counter-attacking Ukrainians.

Next comes the need to rebuild the cities and villages ravaged in the war, repair damaged infrastructure, restart the economy, provide communal services, and re-organize public administration, health services, and education. Of paramount importance is socializing the millions of residents of the four regions who were automatically granted Russian citizenship, in the Russian national environment. Moscow has some experience of that from 2014 when Crimea and Sevastopol joined Russia, but doing this in a wartime situation is more challenging. A lot will depend, of course, on how the Russian forces cope on the frontline that passes very close to Donetsk and Kherson, and which still leaves the city of Zaporozhiye in Ukraine’s rear.

Even if the Ukrainian counter-offensive runs out of steam and the Russians resume their advance, none of these tasks can be accomplished quickly. This part of the new Russian national idea will keep the nation busy for a long time. Putin’s concept, however, doesn’t stop there. It is not so much about restoring the Soviet Union: in Putin’s words, such a restoration is not Moscow’s objective. The Baltics, the South Caucasus and Central Asia are probably not envisaged as part of the new construct. However, as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted on the State Duma floor, in future other Ukrainian regions might be given the chance to follow Kherson and Zaporozhiye. To Putin, Greater Russia is a distinct civilization which opposes not only America’s hegemonic policies, but also the West’s projection of its values as universal.

This is an about-face not only from Gorbachev’s musings about a common European home, but also from Putin’s own travails in trying to forge a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and his efforts to find a way for Russia to join NATO. A Greater Europe didn’t happen; a Greater Asia that includes Russia is de facto emerging. As to a Greater Russia, this requires more than a leader’s imagination. The Soviet Union, as the living generations remember it, was very much the product of the Great Patriotic War. The hybrid war with the West, of which Ukraine is only a small part, will doubtless reshape Russia. The question is, will it also transform it to fit the vision of a powerful economy and a vibrant society, faithful to its declared values – the substance, rather than the form of a Greater Russia.

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“A 2019 Pentagon-funded study from the RAND Corporation on how best to exploit “Russia’s economic, political and military vulnerabilities and anxieties” included a recommendation to “Reduce [Russian] Natural Gas Exports and Hinder Pipeline Expansions.”

US Media’s Intellectual No-Fly-Zone on Nord Stream (FAIR)

Any serious coverage of the Nord Stream attack should acknowledge that opposition to the pipeline has been a centerpiece of the US grand strategy in Europe. The long-term goal has been to keep Russia isolated and disjointed from Europe, and to keep the countries of Europe tied to US markets. Ever since German and Russian energy companies signed a deal to begin development on Nord Stream 2, the entire machinery of Washington has been working overtime to scuttle it. A 2019 Pentagon-funded study from the RAND Corporation on how best to exploit “Russia’s economic, political and military vulnerabilities and anxieties” included a recommendation to “Reduce [Russian] Natural Gas Exports and Hinder Pipeline Expansions.”

The study noted that a “first step would involve stopping Nord Stream 2,” and that natural gas “from the United States and Australia could provide a substitute.” This RAND study also prophetically recommended “providing more US military equipment and advice” to Ukraine in order to “lead Russia to increase its direct involvement in the conflict and the price it pays for it,” even though it acknowledged that “Russia might respond by mounting a new offensive and seizing more Ukrainian territory.” The Obama administration opposed the pipeline. As part of the major sanctions package against Russia in 2017, the Trump administration began sanctioning any company doing work on the pipeline. The move generated outrage in Germany, where many saw it as an attempt to meddle with European markets. In 2019, the US implemented more sanctions on the project.

Upon coming into office, President Joe Biden made opposition to the pipeline one of his administration’s top priorities. During his confirmation hearings in 2021, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Congress he was “determined to do whatever I can to prevent” Nord Stream 2 from being completed. Months later, the State Department reiterated that “any entity involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline risks US sanctions and should immediately abandon work on the pipeline.” In July 2021, the sanctions were relaxed only after contentious negotiations with the German government. The New York Times (7/21/21) reported that the administration and Germany still had “profound disagreements” about the project.

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“We all remember how [Zelensky] declared in January Ukraine’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons. Apparently, this idea has long been stuck in his mind..”

Lavrov Explains Why Russia Sees Ukraine As A Threat (RT)

A call by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for NATO members to deploy nuclear weapons against Russia is a reminder of why Moscow launched military action against his country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “Yesterday, Zelensky called on his Western masters to deliver a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia,” Moscow’s top diplomat stated during a media conference on Wednesday. In doing so, the Ukrainian leader “showed to the entire world the latest proof of the threats that come from the Kiev regime.” Lavrov said Russia’s special military operation had been launched to neutralize those threats. He dismissed as “laughable” an attempt to downplay Zelensky’s words made by his press secretary, Sergey Nikoforov. “We all remember how [Zelensky] declared in January Ukraine’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons. Apparently, this idea has long been stuck in his mind,” the Russian minister said.


On Thursday, Zelensky told the Australian Lowy Institute that NATO must carry out preemptive strikes against Russia so that it “knows what to expect” if it uses its nuclear arsenal. He claimed that such action would “eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons,” before recalling how he urged other nations to preemptively punish Russia before it launched its military action against his country. “I once again appeal to the international community, as it was before February 24: Preemptive strikes so that [the Russians] know what will happen to them if they use it, and not the other way around,” he said. His spokesman then claimed that people interpreting Zelensky’s words as a call for a preemptive nuclear strike were wrong, and that Ukraine would never use such rhetoric.

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Cold and hunger and billions for Azov. A winning model.

EU Again Urged To Open Wallet For Kiev (RT)

Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, will urge member states to set aside more funds to cover enhanced military assistance for Ukraine. The top diplomat shared his plan with reporters at an informal EU summit in Prague on Friday. “I will ask the leaders to support the proposal for a new tranche for European Peace Facility to continue providing military support to Ukraine, also to the training mission,” Borrell said, as quoted by Reuters. Earlier this week Borrell expressed hope that at the next Foreign Affairs Council gathering on October 17, the EU will be able to “formally launch” its training mission for Ukrainian armed forces. Writing in his blog, the diplomat also claimed that the EU would “reinforce” its strategy of supporting Ukraine – “militarily, financially and politically.”

The European Peace Facility (EPF) that Borell referred to, is a mechanism created last year to enhance the EU’s ability to act as a global security provider. The EPF reimburses governments for military equipment supplied to Kiev, “including items designed to deliver lethal force for defensive purposes.” The latest round of funding for Ukraine under the EPF, worth €500 million, was agreed by the European Council in July. With this package, the total EU contribution for the country within this framework amounts to €2.5 billion. The EPF has a ceiling of about €6 billion and is supposed to support not only Ukraine but also other countries. As EU nations face an energy and cost-of-living crisis, exacerbated by anti-Russia sanctions and a reduction in Russian energy supplies, Borrell earlier urged people in the bloc to combat “the temptation to abandon Ukraine.”

Responding earlier this week to the EU’s plan of creating a training mission for Kiev’s armed forces, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that such a move would only “fix the EU in the status of a participant in the conflict.” In April, she accused the bloc of turning into “NATO’s economic relations department.” This followed Borrell’s tweet that “This war (in Ukraine) must be won on the battlefield.” Moscow has consistently warned Western countries against providing military support to Kiev. It argues that such assistance would only prolong the conflict and will lead to unnecessary casualties. Ukraine, in turn, has repeatedly claimed that the EU is too slow in its weapons supplies and that it doesn’t always provide what Kiev had requested.

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I found this strange. Macron wanted a new club, the European Political Community (EPC), which is EU plus some others?! Why? Betcha it’s so Ukraine can be part of some club too.

Belgium Fails To Support New Round Of Sanctions Against Russia (RT)

The Belgian government decided against endorsing a new round of EU anti-Russia trade restrictions, the local press reported on Thursday, citing remarks made by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Speaking on the sidelines of the European Political Community (EPC) summit in Prague, Czech Republic, the head of the Belgian government explained that “as the economic cost of sanctions becomes higher, it becomes difficult to show solidarity” with Ukraine. “The sanctions have worked very well so far,” the prime minister said, “but the further we go, the more we talk about sanctions that hurt our own economy more than Russia’s.” His country therefore declined to support the eighth package of sanctions when EU member states voted on it this week.

Belgium didn’t vote against it either, because “we do not want to break European solidarity,” De Croo was quoted as saying. A vote against the proposal any EU member state would have blocked the package from being approved. Belgium was reportedly the only nation to abstain. Earlier this week, Belgian MP Andre Flahaut, who represents the province of Walloon Brabant, expressed concerns about the impact of the upcoming sanctions on his constituents. Two factories owned by the Russian metals giant NLMK, which are located in the Belgian province, may have to shut down, the lawmaker warned. The EU ultimately allowed a transition period of two years to switch from semi-finished steel products originating in Russia to alternative supplies.

There were also concerns in Belgium that the EU would try to restrict trade in Russian diamonds, potentially impacting the jewelry businesses of Antwerp. Some news outlets reported that the country blocked the proposed inclusion of such sanctions in the package. When asked about Russian gemstones, Prime Minister De Croo said his government would not have opposed a ban, if it were necessary, but the European Commission decided against it because imports from Russia had fallen significantly without any formal restrictions. The EPC is a new political club proposed earlier this year by French President Emmanuel Macron. The forum is supposed to bring together EU member states and nations that aspire to become part of the economic bloc, plus its traditional allies like the UK and Norway. The meeting of EPC leaders in Prague is the first of its kind.

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Orban could soon walk out. They refuse to give him his money anyway. Why stay?

Orban Urges Changes To EU Sanctions Policy (RT)

Sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine have failed, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday, urging Brussels to change its policy. “The sanctions didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them, the war hasn’t ended,” Orban wrote on Facebook. “Europe is slowly bleeding and Russia is making money in the meantime,” he pointed out. The Hungarian leader said that it was obvious to him that “the failed policy of Brussels must be changed.” The statement was made on the same day that the EU announced an eighth round of sanctions on Russia. The new curbs include an oil price cap, trade restrictions amounting to 7 billion euros and individual sanctions against 30 people and seven entities. The move comes after the official inclusion of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions into Russia [..]


Orban has frequently criticized the EU’s sanctions on Russia, calling them counterproductive. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, has maintained a relatively neutral stance during the conflict in Ukraine, condemning the use of force by Moscow, but refusing to supply weapons to Kiev. Brussels expected that the unprecedented restrictions would cripple Russia’s economy and prevent it from funding its military operation. But Moscow was able to redirect its oil and gas to Asian markets, while also profiting from growing energy prices. The policy has also largely backfired for the EU, causing a spike in inflation, and putting Europe into an energy crisis. The situation deteriorated even further in late September when the Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged.

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“Biden Threatening Nuclear Armageddon After Six Years of Media Freakout Over Trump Tweets”

Joe Biden Is Not A Real President (Scarry)

Did anyone else burst into a bout of uncontrollable, psychotic laughter upon reading the report that President Biden just told a room full of Democrat donors that the risk of nuclear “armageddon” has arrived? I can’t be the only one. Here are some headlines from the not-too-distant past that immediately came to mind: • We must Trump-proof the nuclear codes before 20243 NBC News, March 12, 2022 • Gen. Milley feared Trump might launch nuclear attack, made secret calls to China, new book says USA Today, Sept. 14, 2021 • Trump is leading us into nuclear war, says Daniel Ellsberg (and he should know, he used to plan them) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Feb. 1, 2018 • Donald Trump s Nuclear-War Threat The New Yorker, Aug. 9, 2017 • Clinton Says Trump Could Lead US Into Nuclear War Roll Call, June 2, 2016.

So, wait a second. You mean we just spent the last six years with all of Washington and the national media swearing to voters that Trump had us on the brink of nuclear annihilation, only for it to be Biden, their choice for president, to get us right up on the cliff’s edge? If that doesn’t have you pulling tufts of hair out of your scalp until it bleeds, check your pulse. This can’t be real. Biden has to be fake. This must be a computer simulation. For four years under Trump, gas was cheap, the stock market was booming, and a trip to the grocery store didn’t require customers to take out a second mortgage.

Now under Biden, OPEC is gratuitously choking the energy supply, basic necessities are scarce, and a major war has American taxpayers spending more than $67 billion (and counting) to a country that’s 5,000 miles away. Oh, and now we have to worry about a nuclear confrontation with a global superpower! sIf it were a movie script, not a single producer would find it believable. The writer would never work again. But this is real? We elected a president, in earnest, who is this incompetent and terrible? It’s nuclear war he’s warning of! This is the absolute worst-case scenario. The severity can’t be overstated. There aren’t enough mean Trump tweets in the world to excuse the state of things under this “president.” I refuse to believe it. Biden isn’t a real president.

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“..they 1) are not our friends, 2) do not care what we want, 3) do not take us seriously and 4) are not here to help us and/or Biden get re-elected by lowering prices..”

OPEC Humiliates President Biden On A Global Stage (QTR)

[..] yesterday OPEC humiliated President Biden on a global stage by cutting oil production after he specifically lobbied them not to. There’s no “nice” way of putting it – they straight-up snubbed the U.S. and have now, in my opinion, made it officially clear that they 1) are not our friends, 2) do not care what we want, 3) do not take us seriously and 4) are not here to help us and/or Biden get re-elected by lowering prices. To use Biden’s parlance, “Let me tell you something, Jack – we’re not in bed with the Saudis anymore. They are more allied with China and Russia than they have ever been, at arguably the most crucial moment in recent history for our global economy.”

As I pointed out last night on my podcast, there was nothing quite like the “fist bump heard round the world” a couple months ago when President Biden – who spends his time here domestically fighting for “equality” and human rights – decided to embrace the Saudis, and their track record of disapproving of gay rights, murdering journalists and multiple other human rights violations – instead of simply ramping up domestic oil production here in the U.S. Biden probably went into the meeting he had with MBS months ago thinking we had some type of leverage, like we have had decades ago. The sad reality is that we simply don’t anymore: the Saudis have the oil, they have gold, and now they have allies just as big and powerful as the U.S. when combined. And those allies provide financial and military support at a crucial juncture for geopolitics.

Meanwhile, our President remains tone deaf and while his supporters remain immune to what can only be described as blatantly obvious double standards. With the left hand, Biden was vilifying Exxon and Chevron here in the U.S., basically encouraging them to not bring more supply online, whilst blaming “gas station owners” and other people who don’t set the price of refined fuels. With the right hand, he was fist bumping a man who publicly disapproves of gay rights and ordered the murder of a critical journalist, in order to try and get him to unleash more oil on the global stage. And instead of him taking us seriously, he did the exact opposite of what Biden wanted yesterday – cut oil production, raising prices – and humiliated Biden on the global stage.

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“Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin has described the eighth package of anti-Russia penalties as the “first EU sanctions package” against Serbia.”

Luxembourg Raises Red Flag Over Energy Price Caps (RT)

The European Union may be left with no energy supplies after introducing gas price caps, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said as he arrived at the bloc’s summit in Prague on Friday. “Implementing a price cap is not the only thing,” Bettel said. “Because, after, maybe we can’t get energy. So then, maybe we have a price cap but no energy.” EU leaders are expected to discuss how to deal with gas prices to curb soaring energy bills during their informal summit in the Czech capital. The talks will include a proposal on a gas price cap. “We have to know we’re not the only customers in the world,” he added. “So, we have to be very careful about decisions that we take that sound good on paper but where consequences can be problematic.”


The issue has been hotly contested for weeks, with Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands in opposition to any form of cap due to concerns regarding security of supply. On Thursday, Brussels announced the eighth package of restrictions on Russia, which includes a price cap and “further restrictions” on the maritime transportation of Russian crude oil and petroleum products to third countries. The latest batch of penalties has been blasted by several EU nations, including Hungary and Serbia. Earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that anti-Russia sanctions had failed, adding that the bloc was “slowly bleeding” due to the drastic steps. Meanwhile, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin has described the eighth package of anti-Russia penalties as the “first EU sanctions package” against Serbia.

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“The euro area is at risk of a financial meltdown on the same scale as the crisis it suffered a decade ago..”

They should be so lucky.

Citi: Financial Crisis May Surprise EU (RT)

The euro area is at risk of a financial meltdown on the same scale as the crisis it suffered a decade ago, Citi analysts have told CNBC. They cited Germany’s massive energy relief plan as the major threat to the bloc’s stability, the media outlet reports on Friday. According to the report, Wall Street bank analysts have raised concerns about the violent bond market moves and the European governments’ plans to borrow vast sums of money. They said that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s relief package, worth €200 billion ($195 billion) and aimed at tackling soaring energy prices, “may soften the coming recession but also poses risks.” Those risks relate to the question of how the package will be financed and what that could do to inflation, to Germany’s sovereign bond yields, to the ECB’s benchmark rate, and to the borrowing plans of other euro nations that may do the same.

“The risk is that others may follow that example,” Christian Schulz, deputy chief European economist at Citi, told CNBC, citing the UK’s recent bond market meltdown after unfunded tax cuts by the government. Schulz explained that Germany could “afford” any debt financing thanks to its low debt-to-GDP ratio and lower external funding needs, but the package could open the door for less fiscally prudent countries to want to borrow large amounts and issue new debt. That could potentially lead to trouble like that seen in Britain.

Citi analysts forecast that German debt financing could force tighter ECB policy, which could then also send yields surging in the euro area. “The risk is that this same dynamic [as seen in Britain] evolves on the continent as well now,”Schulz warned. Meanwhile, data by Saxo Bank show that an ECB stress indicator for the Eurozone’s financial system – which looks at tensions in bond, equity and money markets – has risen from below 0.1 at the start of the year to almost 0.5 so far. During the Eurozone debt crisis in 2009-2010, the index exceeded 0.6.


German producer prices. Past 2 years: up 60%. Past 40 years before that: up 60%.

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“His staff must be marinated in evidence of the RussiaGate misdeeds — reams of which have been independently documented in the public record..”

November Surprise? (Jim Kunstler)

Adults understand that politics is a crooked business, but through the whole of US history until now filters existed in the public arena that allowed for enough sorting out of truth from untruth to enable the formation of a reality-based consensus — which, in turn, allowed daily life to operate coherently. The Party of Chaos has thrown the kill-switch on that crucial function by corrupting the news business and subverting the new social media. The result is a public culture of pervasive and immersive lying, and a stupendous institutional failure of the courts to correct any of that behavior. Case-in-point: the John Durham Special Counsel Investigation on the origin of the RussiaGate fraud. It now apparently terminates in the prosecution of the tiniest minnow (Igor Danchenko) in that vast inland sea of corruption.

Some of the figures who carried out the perfidious seditions of RussiaGate are still employed in the Department of Justice and the FBI, and to this day are active in the continued cover-up of the crimes committed to overthrow President Trump, notably: Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and others. Mr. Durham is supposedly among the highest officers of the federal courts charged with enforcing a very particular region of criminality.

His staff must be marinated in evidence of the RussiaGate misdeeds — reams of which have been independently documented in the public record, ranging from (just for example) the nefarious activities of figures like Nellie Ohr, wife of DOJ higher-up Bruce Ohr, working as go-between with Christopher Steele and the FBI, to the spectacular failures of Judge James Boasberg and his FISA court, not to mention the well-known machinations of Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Dana Boente, James Baker, Andrew Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee, Aaron Zebley, Brandon Van Grack, Robert Mueller, and other top officials who worked sedulously against the public interest. All these remain apparently off-the-hook for their sketchy activities.

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“Peskov told the Post that disagreement between Putin and his aides is “part of the usual working process.”

Washington Post Lying About Kremlin ‘Turmoil’ – Moscow (RT)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that a Washington Post report alleging “turmoil” and confrontation in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is “absolutely not true.” The report in question was attributed to anonymous US spies. “A member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle has voiced disagreement directly to the Russian president” over the conflict in Ukraine, the report stated, alleging that “the criticism marks the clearest indication yet of turmoil within Russia’s leadership.” No source was given for this report, which was attributed to “information obtained by US intelligence.” Peskov told the Post that disagreement between Putin and his aides is “part of the usual working process.”

“There are working arguments: about the economy, about the conduct of the military operation. There are arguments about the education system. This is part of the normal working process, and it is not a sign of any split,” he said, adding that the information supposedly obtained by American intelligence is “absolutely not true.” American officials have previously boasted about waging an “info war”against Russia by leaking false intelligence reports to the media, NBC News reported in April. Intelligence officials, for example, admitted to fabricating a warning that Russia was preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine in March, leaking the story to the Washington Post despite it being based on “low confidence” intelligence.

A report claiming that Putin was “being misled by his own advisers” was also reportedly made up or exaggerated by US spies. “There’s no way you can prove or disprove that stuff,” a retired intelligence operative told NBC. The Post’s latest report was also received with doubt by the US’ European allies. According to the newspaper, “senior security officials in Europe said they were not aware that anyone had dared to challenge Putin directly over the course of events in Ukraine,” and said that they hadn’t seen the supposed US intelligence report that the article was based on.

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Terrorists.

When Anti-Government Speech Becomes Sedition (Whitehead)

Anti-government speech has become a four-letter word. In more and more cases, the government is declaring war on what should be protected political speech whenever it challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices. Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, extremist speech, etc.

Things are about to get even dicier for those who believe in fully exercising their right to political expression. Indeed, the government’s seditious conspiracy charges against Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, and several of his associates for their alleged involvement in the January 6 Capitol riots puts the entire concept of anti-government political expression on trial. [..] In recent years, the government has used the phrase “domestic terrorist” interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous.” The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American with an opinion about the government or who knows someone with an opinion about the government an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association.

You see, the government doesn’t care if you or someone you know has a legitimate grievance. It doesn’t care if your criticisms are well-founded. And it certainly doesn’t care if you have a First Amendment right to speak truth to power. What the government cares about is whether what you’re thinking or speaking or sharing or consuming as information has the potential to challenge its stranglehold on power. Why else would the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies be investing in corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Why else would the Biden Administration be likening those who share “false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information” to terrorists?

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3 weeks after the New England Journal of medicine said the vaccines destroy your immune system, the stupid circus just goes on.

CDC: Record Number Of Children Hospitalized With Weakened Immune Systems (ZH)

Official data suggests that more children and young adults than ever have been hospitalized with colds and respiratory issues, according to the Daily Mail, which notes that “experts have repeatedly warned lockdowns and measures used to contain Covid like face masks also suppressed the spread of germs which are crucial for building a strong immune system in children.” According to a retrospective report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), levels of common cold viruses hit their highest level among non-adults in August 2021 – when levels had been much lower in previous years during the same month. According to the data which sampled nearly 700 children, nearly 55% tested positive for RSV in August 2021. Of that, 450 were moved to emergency departments where nearly 35% had RSV – which is comparable to the winter months when over 30% of patients regularly have the virus, according to the report.


“The CDC samples random pediatric hospitals across the US and makes national estimates to gauge how prevalent viruses are. There were nearly 700 children in hospital sick with a respiratory virus across the seven wards studied in August last year, of which just over half had tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – which is normally benign. This was the highest levels ever recorded in summer, and came off the back of a year and a half of brutal pandemic restrictions forcing many to stay indoors. The record all-time high is in December, when 60 per cent of children on wards with respiratory illnesses were infected with RSV.” -Daily Mail

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Dance

 

 

 

 

Watters

 

 

Anthony Bourdain RIP

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 212022
 
 August 21, 2022  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  58 Responses »


Giambologna Colossus of the Apennines 1579-80 (35ft tall)

 

Car Blast Kills Daughter Of Russian Philosopher Dugin (RT)
Modern Empires Keep Taking What They Want From ‘Lesser’ Powers (Kovalik)
Russian Soldiers In Ukraine Hospitalized With Severe Chemical Poisoning (RT)
Two Lives: Victoria and Victorine (Batiushka)
Russia Continues To Stockpile Forex Reserves (RT)
UN Recruited Over 100,000 Digital First Responders to Push COVID Narrative (SN)
Houston, We Have a Problem – Part 1 of 3 (Ethical Skeptic)
Insufficient Vitamin D Linked To Fourfold Increase In Covid-19 Mortality (IT)
China Backs African Union Bid To Join The Group of 20 (SCMP)
Chinese Ambassador Outlines BRICS Vision (RT)
Millions Could Be Left Without Heat And Food In Winter, London Mayor Warns (RT)
Just How Bad Could Things Get This Winter? (RT)
Swiss Revolt Warning Issued (RT)
Amish Farmer Fighting US Government For Right To Sell His All-natural Food (RN)
Dutch Farmers Confront Billionaire ‘Green’ Elite’s Food System Reset Plan (GZ)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biden’s bribe tapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too early to say if the father was the intended target. But Putin can’t let cars be blown up near Moscow. He has to act.

Car Blast Kills Daughter Of Russian Philosopher Dugin (RT)

A powerful explosion ripped apart an SUV near Moscow on Saturday night, instantly killing its driver. According to preliminary reports, the victim was identified as Darya Dugina, the daughter of a veteran Russian political commentator Alexander Dugin, who is often painted in the West as one of the Kremlin’s “ideological masterminds.” The incident took place on a highway some 20 kilometers west of Moscow around 21:35 local time, with witnesses saying that the blast rocked the vehicle right in the middle of the road, scattering debris all around. The crippled car, fully engulfed in flames, then crashed into a fence, according to photos and videos from the scene. Emergency services said one person was inside the car and was instantly killed by the blast and crash – a female whose body was reportedly recovered burned beyond recognition.

Authorities have yet to officially confirm the identity of the victim, but multiple Russian Telegram channels and media sources reported that the victim was 30-year-old Darya Dugina (Platonova). Her father, Alexander Dugin, was spotted at the scene soon after the incident, visibly shocked, according to several videos circulating on social media. Preliminary reports suggested that a home-made explosive device might have been involved, but investigators have yet to confirm the cause of the blast, or any possible motive in case of a foul play. Earlier on Saturday evening, Aleksandr Dugin was giving a lecture on “Tradition and History”at a traditional family festival in the Moscow region, while his daughter attended the event as a guest. Some unconfirmed reports suggested that Dugin initially planned to leave the festival alongside his daughter, but later decided to take a separate car, while Darya took his Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

Darya Dugina was a political commentator and daughter of Professor Aleksandr Dugin – a veteran Russian philosopher known for his staunch anti-Western and “neo-Eurasian” views. Western media repeatedly painted Dugin as one of the driving forces behind President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy over the past decade. Just in recent months, CBS dubbed him “the far-right theorist behind Putin’s plan,” while the Washington Post called him a “far-right mystical writer who helped shape Putin’s view of Russia.” n Russia, however, the supposed shadowy puppet master is largely considered to be a relatively marginal figure with some of his views deemed controversial even in nationalist circles. While he has served as an adviser to several politicians, Dugin never enjoyed official endorsement from the Kremlin.

Dugina

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“A child asks his parent, “Why are there pyramids in Egypt?” The parent answers, “Because they were too big to take to Britain.“

Modern Empires Keep Taking What They Want From ‘Lesser’ Powers (Kovalik)

There is an old joke which still has resonance. A child asks his parent, “Why are there pyramids in Egypt?” The parent answers, “Because they were too big to take to Britain.” Of course, many a true word is spoken in jest. Indeed, there is an apocryphal story that back in the day when Vladimir Lenin was in exile in London, he would enjoy taking friends to the British Museum and explaining to them how and from what far-flung lands all the antiquities there were stolen. One might have thought that these days of colonial plunder had ended, but one would be very wrong. Current examples abound. A notable one is, of course, the freezing by the US of $7 billion from the Afghanistan treasury – monies the US continues to hold even as it watches Afghans begin to die from starvation.

Apparently, the US believes that, after laying waste to Afghanistan through 20 years of war and, even before that by supporting the mujahideen terrorists, it is entitled to some compensation. This upside-down type of reasoning abounds in the minds of those in the West who simply believe they can take whatever they wish. Similarly, the US is now plundering Syria – another country utterly devastated in no small part by Washington-backed militants in a campaign to overthrow the elected president – of most of its oil, even as Syria suffers from severe energy blackouts. Thus, according to the Syrian Oil Ministry, “US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.

According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses of “about $105 billion since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign. Additionally, the statement added that alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.” One of the biggest heists the US has carried out is against Russia. After the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the US seized an incredible $300 billion of Russian treasury funds which were deposited abroad. This was done, of course, without any due process, and to the great detriment of the Russian people – and with barely a critical word from Western pundits.

The US treatment of Venezuela abounds with other examples. As I write these words, the US is maneuvering to seize a commercial 747 airliner from Venezuela on the grounds that it once belonged to an Iranian airline which had some connection to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (which Washington has designated as terrorists) – which might sound like a tenuous justification, but the US really needs no reason. And this is simply the tip of the iceberg. The US has already seized Venezuela’s biggest single source of revenue – its US-based oil company CITGO – and is now in the process of selling off this company in pieces, even as Washington lifts restrictions on Venezuelan oil to shore up its own economy. The UK, meanwhile, has decided to keep over $1 billion in gold which Venezuela naively deposited in the Bank of England for safe-keeping. To add insult to injury, the US continues to criticize Venezuela for the hardships its people endure as a direct consequence of this plunder.

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Botulinum toxin.

Russian Soldiers In Ukraine Hospitalized With Severe Chemical Poisoning (RT)

Several Russian soldiers involved in the military operation in Ukraine have been hospitalized with severe chemical poisoning, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday. Traces of Botulinum toxin Type B, which is an “organic poison of artificial origin,” have been discovered in samples taken from the servicemen, the ministry said, accusing Kiev of “chemical terrorism.” The Russian troops were “hospitalized with signs of severe poisoning” after being stationed near the village of Vasilyevka in Zaporozhye Region on July 31, the statement said. “The Zelensky regime has authorized terrorist attacks with the use of toxic substances against Russian personnel and civilians” following a string of military defeats in Donbass and other areas, the ministry insisted.


Moscow plans to send laboratory tests from the soldiers to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Botulinum toxin, often called the “miracle poison,” is one of the most toxic biological substances known to science. Produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, it blocks the release of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter, causing muscle paralysis. Botulinum toxin Type A has been used in medicine in small doses in recent decades, especially to treat disorders characterized by overactive muscle movement. It’s also well known in cosmetology under its shortened name, Botox. However, Botulinum toxin poses a major threat as a bioweapon due its ease of production and distribution, and the high fatality rate resulting from poisoning. Recovery is only possible after a lengthy period of intensive care.

Donbass residents

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“How does she sleep at night?”

Two Lives: Victoria and Victorine (Batiushka)

Victoria Jane Nuland was born in 1961 to Sherwin Nudelman, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, and a British-born mother, Rhona Goulston. Already in his teens Nudelman had changed his name to Nuland in order to carve out a career. With the British-named Victoria, an Anglo-Zionist was clearly in the making. Indeed, she duly studied at an elite private boarding school in Connecticut, whose alumni include many US politicians. Then she went to Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science and history. She married Robert Kagan, the future leading Jewish neocon. Her worldview relects exactly the folly of the US since 1990 under the influence of the neo-imperialist neocons and Blairite-Clintonian ‘liberal interventionists’.

This has resulted in mass poverty in the USA, as well as 9/11, and millions of deaths in wars and tensions outside the US with the Islamic world, Iran, Russia, China and anyone else that resists US imperialism. From 2003 to 2005, during the US rape of defenceless Iraq and the theft of its oil and gas, Mrs Kagan was a foreign policy advisor to the notorious Cheney. She must have many deaths on her conscience from that particular mess. The Iraq catastrophe led to terrorism and counterterrorism and disastrous new wars in Libya and Syria. Meanwhile, her husband was demanding an ever more warlike foreign policy against the background of US fears of the coming multipolar world, a world which it would no longer be able to dominate.

So Mrs Kagan, who yearned for permanent NATO expansion and the encirclement of Russia, was deeply involved in the US ‘regime-change’, that is, the plot to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically-elected government by violence in 2014. This led to America’s responsibility for the ensuing civil war that had killed at least 14,000 people, women and children among them, even before 24 February 2022 and had left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe. Her $5 billion coup in 2014 in the wretched Ukraine, a strategic candidate for NATO on Russia’s border, was implemented through Oleh Tyahnybok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and the new Right Sector militia. We do not forget that it was Tyanhnybok who had delivered a speech praising Ukrainians for fighting Jews and ‘other scum’ during World War II.

In February 2014 their protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square turned into running battles led by neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing forces that the US had financed and orchestrated. A mob led by the Right Sector militia marched on Parliament and the President and others fled for their lives. Facing the possible loss of its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea, Russia accepted the overwhelming result (a 97% majority) of an internationally-observed referendum in which Crimea voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, of which it had been a part from 1783 to 1954. The Russian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, part of Russia until the terrorist Communists had given them away to the Ukraine in 1922, similarly declared independence from Neo-Nazi Kiev. This starting a bloody war between US-backed separatists in Kiev and the local Eastern Ukrainian people.

Mrs Kagan wants an ever-more dangerous War with Russia and China to justify her militarist foreign policy and Pentagon budgets. She relies on her mythical version of Russian aggression and US ‘democratic’ intentions. She claims that Russia’s military budget, one-tenth of that of the US, is proof of ‘Russian confrontation and militarisation’. She wants ‘permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border’ and sees Russia’s desire to defend itself after so many successive (and failed) Western invasions as an obstacle to NATO’s expansionism. In short, the deluded Mrs Kagan has with others unleashed intractable violence, chaos and the risk of nuclear war. How does she sleep at night?

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Feb 2022: $643.2 billion. Half of that was frozen. Now it’s back up to $580.6 billion. In assets that can’t be frozen.

Russia Continues To Stockpile Forex Reserves (RT)

Russia’s international holdings have reached $580.6 billion as of August 12, according to data published by the country’s central bank on Thursday. Moscow has been boosting its reserves as a shield against sanctions. The central bank regularly publishes updates on its reserves with a one-week lag. International reserves consist of foreign-currency funds, special drawing rights with the IMF and monetary gold. Total reserves surged by $5.8 billion from the previous week, the regulator said, noting that the 1% rise was due to a positive market revaluation.


The historical maximum of $643.2 billion was recorded in February 2022. Russia lost access to roughly half of its foreign reserves in early March after they were frozen by Western central banks as part of sanctions introduced by the US and its allies in response to the conflict in Ukraine. Despite this, the Russian Finance Ministry said the country would be able to cope with sanctions thanks to its abundant reserves.

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“..we’ve recruited 110,000 information volunteers..”

UN Recruited Over 100,000 Digital First Responders to Push COVID Narrative (SN)

At the height of the pandemic, the United Nations recruited over 100,000 “digital first responders’ to push the establishment narrative on COVID via social media. The revelation actually slipped out in October 2020 during a World Economic Forum podcast called ‘Seeking a cure for the infodemic’, although it is only going viral on Twitter today. In the podcast, Melissa Fleming, head of global communications for the United Nations, explains how the COVID pandemic and lockdowns created a “communications crisis” in addition to a public health emergency. Fleming acknowledged that in order to fight so-called “misinformation” about the pandemic, the UN tapped up 110,000 people to amplify their messaging across social media.

“So far, we’ve recruited 110,000 information volunteers, and we equip these information volunteers with the kind of knowledge about how misinformation spreads and ask them to serve as kind of ‘digital first-responders’ in those spaces where misinformation travels,” Fleming stated. That was nearly 2 years ago. It is not known how many ‘digital first responders’ have been recruited up to this point. Similar efforts to create astroturf campaigns to push a specific message are nothing new, but when entities such as oil companies engage in it, they are lambasted for rigging the discussion. However, when globalist technocrats at the UN or the WEF do it, apparently it’s fine.

Last year, it was revealed that the British government used “propagandistic” fear tactics to scare the public into mass compliance during the first COVID lockdown, according to a behavioral scientist who worked inside Downing Street. Scientists in the UK working as advisors for the government admitted using what they later conceded to be “unethical” and “totalitarian” methods of instilling fear in the population in order to control behavior during the pandemic.

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Epic from The Ethical Skeptic. “The following work is the result of thousands of hours of dynamic data tracking and research..”

Houston, We Have a Problem – Part 1 of 3 (Ethical Skeptic)

Seven of the major eleven International Classification of Diseases codes tracked by the US National Center for Health Statistics exhibit stark increase trends beginning in the first week of April 2021 – featuring exceptional growth more robust than during even the Covid-19 pandemic time frame. This date of inception is no coincidence, in that it also happens to coincide with a key inflection point regarding a specific body-system intervention in most of the US population. These seven pronounced increases in mortality alarmingly persist even now.

The following work is the result of thousands of hours of dynamic data tracking and research on the part of its author. The reader should anticipate herein, a journey which will take them through the methods and metrics which serve to identify this problem, along with a deductive assessment of the candidate causal mechanisms behind it. Alternatives as to cause which include one mechanism in particular, that is embargoed from being allowed as an explanation, nor even mere mention in some forums. At the end of this process, we will be left with one inescapable conclusion. One which threatens the very fabric and future of health policy in the US for decades to come.

On March 21st 2021, a longtime mentor, friend, and business partner of mine, an otherwise healthy 68 year old male, unexpectedly suffered an autoimmune cascade which ended up shutting down his pancreas, liver, kidneys, and finally heart. He had just received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on that Thursday prior. Carl quickly descended into a coma, and then died on March 26th.1

On May 29th 2021, a rather odd signal began to develop in my regular Covid-19 tracking models. The change which alerted me resided inside the magnitude of the ‘Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99)’ ICD death code group. About this time and as a result of this observation, I began to track R00-R99 deaths, along with eleven other ICD-10 death codes, non-natural cause deaths (suicide, overdose, assault, etc.), and finally a statistic called ‘Excess Non-Covid Natural Cause Deaths’. As the reader reviews the calculated trends featured inside each of these death categorizations, they should note that this was indeed both a prescient and sound decision.

On December 1st of 2021, attending a business meeting at client’s medical complex, passing through the facility I took notice that their large oncology department waiting room was slammed full with patients. This queue of persons awaiting their oncology appointments spilled out into the hallway and finally on into the building atrium.2 While tempted at first blush to pass this off as a result of patients and their physicians ‘catching up on deferred screenings’ and/or ‘Covid-limited office days/hours effect’, my prior observational lessons suggested that I hold-off on such a knee-jerk inference, at least until the CDC – National Center for Health Statistics data (three bullet point sources below) proved out over the coming months. This as well, proved to be a wise decision.

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Is there even one country today with a Vit. D program? This article, too, does not define a satisfactory level. Why is it so hard?

Insufficient Vitamin D Linked To Fourfold Increase In Covid-19 Mortality (IT)

Covid-19 patients with low vitamin D levels are more likely to suffer severe disease and death, according to a study by Irish scientists. Unvaccinated Caucasian adults with low vitamin D have higher mortality due to Sars CoV-2 pneumonia, according to the small-scale study by researchers at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown and Technological University Dublin. This is not explained by confounders such as age or obesity and is not closely linked to inflammation, they say. Having an insufficient level of vitamin D was associated with a greater than fourfold increased mortality risk, according to the study, published in the journal Nutrients.

The study looked at the outcomes of 232 unvaccinated patients at Connolly hospital, all of whom had Covid-19 and required supplemental oxygen. Patients on steroid treatment were not recruited for the study in order, the authors say, to eliminate the effect their use might have on measures of both vitamin D and inflammation. The mortality rate among patients aged under 70 and who had “insufficient” vitamin D levels (less than 30 nanomoles per litre) was 11.8 per cent, compared to 2.2 per cent who had higher vitamin levels (greater than 30 nanomoles per litre). Among over-70s, the mortality rate for those with insufficient vitamin D levels was 55 per cent, compared to 25 per cent for those with high vitamin D levels.

“Unvaccinated Caucasian adults with a low vitamin D state have higher mortality due to Sars CoV-2 pneumonia, which is not explained by confounders and is not closely linked with elevated serum CRP (C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation),” the authors state. The authors say their data adds to a growing body of literature that appears to support a causal link between low vitamin D status and Covid-19 disease severity and death. Although the research was conducted only on unvaccinated patients, they say vitamin D supplementation may play a vital role in protecting both unvaccinated patients and patients in whom the effect of vaccination wanes. Vitamin D is available from sunlight and in foods such as fish, eggs and fortified cereals. About half the Irish population is deficient in the vitamin.

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As NATO tries to get Zelensky in.

China Backs African Union Bid To Join The Group of 20 (SCMP)

Beijing will support the African Union in its decades-long quest to join the G20, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday, as China vies with other powers for influence on the continent. South Africa is the only representative of the continent in the Group of 20 despite the African Union pushing for inclusion since its creation in 1999. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said last month he would invite the African bloc, representing 55 countries and 1.4 billion people, to the G20 summit in Bali in November to help the continent’s bid. The G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union. European Council president Charles Michel also voiced his support last month for the AU’s bid for the G20.

Wang’s pledge also came as Widodo told Bloomberg on Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping planned to attend the Bali summit in person, along with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Xi could meet US President Joe Biden, who is also expected to attend the gathering. If so, it would be the first in-person meeting for the two leaders since Biden took office last year. Beijing and Washington are at odds on everything from Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the Biden administration has moved to expand its global alliances to counter China’s rise, Beijing has responded by focusing on shoring up ties with developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. A seat for the African Union at G20 is believed to be in Beijing’s interests in rallying support to counterbalance the US-led West.

Speaking at a virtual meeting with his African counterparts, Wang hailed African support for Beijing’s “one-China principle” and described their ties as “a pillar force” in defending the rights and interests of developing countries. “In the face of the various forms of hegemonic and bullying practices, China and Africa have stood with each other shoulder to shoulder,” he said. In a veiled swipe at US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Africa early this month, he also tried to present Beijing as an alternative to Washington and defend his country’s expanding presence there. “What Africa wishes for is a favourable and amicable cooperation environment, not the zero-sum cold war mentality. What Africa would welcome is mutually beneficial cooperation for the greater well-being of the people, not major-country rivalry for geopolitical gains,” he said.

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As the west disintegrates, east and south unite.

Chinese Ambassador Outlines BRICS Vision (RT)

Russia and China remain key pillars of BRICS, an international alliance also comprising India, Brazil and South Africa, the Chinese ambassador to Moscow wrote in a guest opinion piece for Russia’s TASS news agency, published on Saturday. The two nations are the major “drivers” behind the development of the group, which is gradually becoming a leading force in the international arena, Zhang Hanhui, added. The BRICS countries account for 42% of the world’s population and 25% of the global economy, Zhang said, adding that they account for roughly half of global economic growth, meaning that “the value of cooperation within BRICS is constantly rising.”

The group of emerging economies is increasingly attracting the attention of other nations, the envoy said, noting that representatives of 50 countries took part in various BRICS+ events in the first half of this year alone. He also welcomed the development of the BRICS+ format, which allows other countries to join the group’s permanent members in certain discussions. Three such events this year were attended by the leaders of 13 non-BRICS states, Zhang said. International challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict and rising tensions between major world powers, demand that Moscow and Beijing “strengthen their strategic cooperation,” the ambassador said, adding that BRICS should also “support efforts opposing hegemony and contribute to the establishment of real multilateralism” in international relations.

The ambassador pointed out that since the start of 2022, the BRICS nations have agreed on several initiatives in the field of economic digitalization and technology sharing. Beijing, which heads the group this year, has put forward a number of initiatives that would further enhance cooperation between members in the fields of innovation, he added. The Covid-19 pandemic also demonstrated the need for closer cooperation in medical research, the ambassador said, pointing to the need for sharing healthcare products with developing nations to help them overcome the pandemic. Zhang noted that in March, the BRICS countries launched a joint vaccine development center, offering joint research and development platforms to developing nations.

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Hey, Khan! Talk to Putin!

Millions Could Be Left Without Heat And Food In Winter, London Mayor Warns (RT)

Millions of people in the UK could find themselves unable to put food on the table and heat their homes this coming winter if the government doesn’t intervene, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Saturday. “We’ve seen nothing like this before,” Khan wrote on Twitter, referring to soaring energy prices and record inflation of more than 10%. “We’re facing a winter where for millions it won’t be about choosing between heating or eating but tragically being able to afford neither,” he warned. “This can’t happen,” the mayor insisted, adding that the British government “needs to step in so that people can meet their basic needs.”

He accompanied the post with a data from the Auxilione energy consultancy, predicting that energy bills in the UK could increase by 80% in October, exceeding £3,600 ($4,292) per year on average. For comparison, the cap set by energy industry regulator, Ofgem, in October 2021 stood at £1,400 per year. Khan also spoke on the same issue on Friday while visiting a warehouse that distributes supplies to food banks in one of London’s boroughs. He gave assurances that his administration is“committed” to providing support for struggling Londoners, but called on the government to work harder, as there is “no sign of this rise in costs slowing down”.

“Ministers must act now to help prevent this cost of living crisis becoming a national disaster,” the mayor said. Economic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe have been further exacerbated by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent decrease in Russian natural gas supplies to the EU.

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“Europe really needs to act as a negotiator between NATO, Russia and Ukraine, and include China in the discussions..”

Just How Bad Could Things Get This Winter? (RT)

Natural gas prices across Europe have quadrupled this year. Looking ahead to winter and imagining the new heights energy values may hit, consumers are starting to opt for an alternative (old) form of heating – wood. Huge demand for combustibles, as well as for wood stoves, has been detected in several Western states. In Germany, where almost a half of homes are heated with gas, people are turning to a more guaranteed energy source. Firewood sellers tell local media that they are barely coping with the demand. The country is also witnessing a rise in cases of wood theft. Next door, in the Netherlands, business owners note that their clients are buying wood earlier than ever. In Belgium, wood producers are struggling with demand, while prices are going up – as they are across the region.

In Denmark, one local stove manufacturer told the media that, while demand for his product was on the rise since the start of the Covid pandemic, this year’s profit is forecast to reach over 16 million kroner (€2 million), compared with 2.4 million in 2019. A huge increase. Even Hungary, a country that didn’t support the EU’s decision to phase out Russian fossil fuels and agreed a new gas purchase with Moscow this summer, is making preparations for a tough winter. The country has announced a ban on the export of firewood and relaxed some restrictions on logging. The World Wildlife Fund Hungary has expressed its concern on the matter, declaring: “There has been no precedent for such a decision in our country for decades.” In fact, the conflict in Ukraine is not the only reason for the energy crisis. The increase in prices had already been observed in 2021.

“It was the effect of supply chain interruptions due to COVID, a very cold winter, very hot summer and China’s energy crisis, that led to [the] buying [of] huge amounts of LNG around the world,” says Professor Phoebe Koundouri, Director of the Research laboratory on Socio-Economic and Environmental Sustainability at Athens University of Economics and Business, and President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. When the conflict in Ukraine came about, the sanctions against Russia – followed by Moscow’s response to the restrictions – sent prices through roof. “Europe really needs to act as a negotiator between NATO, Russia and Ukraine, and include China in the discussions, in order to find a solution that is meaningful for the millions of people that are being affected by this geopolitical crisis,” Prof. Koundourisays.

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“It is conceivable that the population would rebel or that there would be looting..”

Swiss Revolt Warning Issued (RT)

Swiss people may revolt and resort to looting if the Alpine nation is hit by a severe energy crunch this winter, the police chief of one of its cantons told local media on Saturday. Fredy Fassler, the head of the Security and Justice Department in the canton of St. Gallen, told German-language daily Blick that a blackout would have “far-reaching consequences.” “Imagine, you can no longer withdraw money at the ATM, you can no longer pay with the card in the store or refuel your tank at the gas station. Heating stops working. It’s cold. Streets go dark. It is conceivable that the population would rebel or that there would be looting,” he said, adding that the country’s authorities should take measures to prepare for such extreme scenarios. According to Fassler, while he does not think such a disaster is likely, police have prepared for such an eventuality.


Exercises that were conducted in 2014 to prepare for a blackout scenario revealed major shortcomings, including lack of emergency generators for police, hospitals and other critical infrastructure and services, he said. “These shortcomings have been addressed in recent years, so the security forces are ready,” the police chief added, noting that his agency is even prepared to provide the Swiss with cash if they are unable to use cards in stores, given that relevant agreements with banks have been signed. Fassler’s comments come after Swiss authorities said last week that they may place restrictions on energy consumption this coming winter, signaling that “power shortages [are] among the most serious risks” for the landlocked country. Earlier, Werner Luginbuhl, the head of Switzerland’s electricity regulator ElCom, complained that electricity was being used “completely thoughtlessly,” and urged citizens to stock up on candles and firewood due to possible power outages in the country this winter.

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“..I think going through your regulatory process will actually hurt the quality of my food and that’s what I’m being paid top dollar for, it is this high quality food.”

Amish Farmer Fighting US Government For Right To Sell His All-natural Food (RN)

Miller’s Organic Farm is located in the remote Amish village of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. The farm supplies everything from grass-fed beef and cheese, to raw milk and organic eggs, to dairy from grass-fed water buffalo and all types of produce, all to roughly 4,000 private food club members who pay top dollar for high quality whole food. The private food club members appreciate their freedom to get food from an independent farmer that isn’t processing his meat and dairy at U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities, which mandates that food be prepared in ways that Miller’s Organic Farm believe make it less nutritious. Amos Miller, the farm’s owner, contends that he’s preparing food the way God intended — but the U.S. government doesn’t see things that way. They recently sent armed federal agents to the farm and demanded he cease operations. The government is also looking to issue more than $300,000 in fines — a request so steep, it would put the farm out of business.

“There’s this farmer named Amos Miller and he’s been farming for 25 years. No electricity, no fertilizer, no gasoline. He has really, really impressive crop yields using only the only the oldest of methods, totally organic. He has milk, he has beef, he has different types of sheep. He has chicken, all types of vegetables. And he has a private buyers club of about 4,000 people all across the country that pay him top dollar for his food. And the government doesn’t like this idea of a private buyers club. They have raided his farm with armed federal agents and they have said he needs to stop selling his meat until he gets regulated by the federal agencies whose job it is to, you know, regulate food.

And he says, “you know, the way you guys regulate it, it kind of hurts the nutrition of the food — you know, you wash it in these things, you’ve given these vaccines and the cows get all types of medicine, I don’t do any of that. So I think going through your regulatory process will actually hurt the quality of my food and that’s what I’m being paid top dollar for, it is this high quality food.” So they are fining him hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they’ve actually sent armed federal agents there to take inventory of his meat, of his dairy, and they visit him to make sure that he’s not selling anything and that he’s not ramping up his production in any way. So that’s where he is now. He’s figuring out how to fight the federal government, what he’s going to do. And you know, he’s been put in this really tight spot along with the people who, you know, look to him for this food. They’re not getting their meat and dairy right now because of the government.

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“No farms, no food.”

Dutch Farmers Confront Billionaire ‘Green’ Elite’s Food System Reset Plan (GZ)

Dutch farmers’ protests offer a preview of the resistance to come as transnational “green” billionaires advance a “reset” of the global food system. The elite agenda threatens to deepen an international cost of living crisis and spark unrest well beyond The Netherlands. Ingrid de Sain is a Dutch farmer who lives in the Northern Holland town of Schellinkhout, where she and her family tend to a 62 acre farm with about 100 dairy cows. Like thousands of fellow citizens in her industry, she now finds herself locked in an existential conflict with her government. “Farming is in your heart,” de Sain told The Grayzone. “And you don’t want to do something else. You’re a farmer or you’re not.” She says she will oppose any efforts requiring her to give up a farm that guarantees prosperity for future generations of her family.

The Dutch government announced plans to slash nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions in June 2022, enforcing an ambitious agenda in the name of protecting the climate. The imposed reductions could spell devastating consequences for the country’s farming industry and add enormous stress to already chaotic global food supply chains. Today, the Netherlands is Europe’s top exporter of meat and the second largest agricultural exporter overall in the world, right behind the US. The tiny nation’s agricultural success is the product of its traditional dependence on generously sized farms that use nitrogen-rich fertilizer to produce heavy yields. Such methods were encouraged by Brussels through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which prioritized the growth of cattle lots, incentivized the use of chemical fertilizers, and pushed many smaller family farmers out of operation.

In 2019, a Dutch court order declared in 2019 that nitrogen-compound fertilizer was a top threat to the climate and biodiversity, and mandated a 70-80% decrease in its use. If implemented in the country, the proposed reductions could destroy a full third of its farming output and eliminate somewhere between 30 and 50% of Dutch livestock. The stage was set for open conflict. Once the pro-EU coalition government of Dutch PM Mark Rutte took steps to implement the restrictions in June 2022, local farmers responded immediately with ferocious mass protests that have blocked roads, airports, and grocery distribution centers. Since the outbreak of demonstrations, supermarkets shelves have gone empty as the farmers’ cry of “No farms, no food” reverberates nationwide.

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Same bike, same couple – 1955 and 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 192022
 


Edward Hopper Seven A.M. 1948

 

Ukraine Planning Nuclear Provocation On Friday – Moscow (RT)
Russia Warns Of Another Chernobyl Over Ukraine’s Attacks (RT)
Playing With Fire in Ukraine (Mearsheimer)
Ukraine Conflict Could End Western Hegemony – Hungary (RT)
Xi and Putin Confirmed For November’s G20 Summit In Bali (AlJ)
Russia Deploys MiG Jets Armed With Hypersonic Missiles To Kaliningrad (ZH)
US Must Arm Ukraine Now, Before It’s Too Late (Hill)
Dozens Of Foreign Fighters Eliminated In Strike On Ukrainian Base – Russia (RT)
Russia Explains Terms For Nuclear Arms Use (RT)
Sabotage, Terroristm, Diversionary Attacks Are A Real Risk For Russia (Saker)
Sleepy Greek Port Becomes US Arms Hub (NYT)
Winter Is Coming For Europe (Bill Blain)
EU Gas Prices Seven Times Higher Than In US – CNN
FBI Unit Leading Mar-a-Lago Probe Earlier Ran Russiagate Hoax (Sperry)
Big Pharma Spent $205 Million In 2 Years Lobbying vs Lower Drug Prices (CHD)
1,200 Scientists and Professionals Say “There is No Climate Emergency” (DS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stelter Biden
https://twitter.com/i/status/1560354199954653185

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malhotra

 

 

 

 

Not just Moscow.

Ukraine Planning Nuclear Provocation On Friday – Moscow (RT)

Ukraine plans to carry out artillery strikes on the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Friday, and then accuse Russia of causing a disaster at the site, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. The predicted attack will be timed to coincide with the ongoing visit to Ukraine by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the ministry claimed. The Russian ministry said it has detected movements of Ukrainian troops, indicating a looming “provocation.” Kiev has deployed units trained in responding to the use of weapons of mass destruction, pre-positioning them to report a radiation leak and demonstrate a purported action to mitigate it, Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

The ministry said it expects a Ukrainian artillery unit to attack the plant on Friday from the city of Nikopol. “The blame for the consequences [of the strike] will be attributed to the Russian armed forces,” the statement said. In a separate statement on Thursday, Igor Kirillov, who heads Russia’s Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense Troops, said his directorate has modeled possible scenarios for a disaster at the Zaporozhye plant. A plume of radioactive materials from the site may reach Poland, Slovakia and Germany, he warned. Russia has accused Ukraine of conducting frequent drone and artillery strikes against the nuclear power plant in the city of Energodar over the past few weeks.

Kiev has denied responsibility and said Russian forces were attacking the plant to discredit Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have also claimed that Russia is using the Zaporozhye facility as a military base. During the briefing, Konashenkov denied Ukrainian claims that Russia has deployed heavy weapons at the Zaporozhye plant and is attacking Ukrainian troops from the site. The only Russian troops at the facility are lightly armed guards providing physical security, the official said. The ministry pledged to do its best to prevent damage to the nuclear facility.

Gonzalo

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So does Erdogan.

Russia Warns Of Another Chernobyl Over Ukraine’s Attacks (RT)

Ukraine’s ongoing attacks on the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant may cause a far worse disaster for Europe than the current energy crisis, a Russian Defense Ministry official has warned. Igor Kirillov, who heads Russia’s Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense Troops, illustrated the likely worst-case scenario of a direct hit on Europe’s largest nuclear plant, during a briefing on Thursday. He showed journalists a map, with plumes of radioactive material from the site reaching Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Belarus and even Germany. He blamed Ukraine’s Western backers for trying to downplay the danger of targeting the atomic plant, and forgetting the lessons of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident.

According to Kirillov, both disasters involved “the failure of support systems, the disruption of power supply and partial and complete shutdown of the cooling systems, which led to overheating of nuclear fuel and the destruction of the reactor”. The fallout of the Chernobyl disaster affected some 20 countries, while causing 4,000 deaths, a major spike in cancer cases, and the permanent relocation of around 100,000 people. The effects of the Fukushima nuclear incident might seem “insignificant” at first glance, but up to 500,000 people have abandoned their homes because of it, he noted. “Our experts believe that the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces may cause a similar situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant,” Kirillov said.

Strikes by the Kiev forces could render the plant’s cooling systems and other support infrastructure inoperable, which would lead “to overheating of the core and, as a result, the destruction of reactor units at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, with the release of radioactive substances into the atmosphere and their spreading for hundreds of kilometers,” he warned. “Such an emergency will cause mass migration of the population and will have more catastrophic consequences than the looming energy crisis in Europe,” the military official added. Moscow has accused Kiev of carrying out 12 attacks on the nuclear facilitity, which provides energy to both Russian- and Ukrainian-controlled areas, since mid-July.

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“..given that the consequences of escalation could include a major war in Europe and possibly even nuclear annihilation, there is good reason for extra concern..”

Playing With Fire in Ukraine (Mearsheimer)

Western policymakers appear to have reached a consensus about the war in Ukraine: the conflict will settle into a prolonged stalemate, and eventually a weakened Russia will accept a peace agreement that favors the United States and its NATO allies, as well as Ukraine. Although officials recognize that both Washington and Moscow may escalate to gain an advantage or to prevent defeat, they assume that catastrophic escalation can be avoided. Few imagine that U.S. forces will become directly involved in the fighting or that Russia will dare use nuclear weapons. Washington and its allies are being much too cavalier. Although disastrous escalation may be avoided, the warring parties’ ability to manage that danger is far from certain.

The risk of it is substantially greater than the conventional wisdom holds. And given that the consequences of escalation could include a major war in Europe and possibly even nuclear annihilation, there is good reason for extra concern. To understand the dynamics of escalation in Ukraine, start with each side’s goals. Since the war began, both Moscow and Washington have raised their ambitions significantly, and both are now deeply committed to winning the war and achieving formidable political aims. As a result, each side has powerful incentives to find ways to prevail and, more important, to avoid losing. In practice, this means that the United States might join the fighting either if it is desperate to win or to prevent Ukraine from losing, while Russia might use nuclear weapons if it is desperate to win or faces imminent defeat, which would be likely if U.S. forces were drawn into the fighting.

Furthermore, given each side’s determination to achieve its goals, there is little chance of a meaningful compromise. The maximalist thinking that now prevails in both Washington and Moscow gives each side even more reason to win on the battlefield so that it can dictate the terms of the eventual peace. In effect, the absence of a possible diplomatic solution provides an added incentive for both sides to climb up the escalation ladder. What lies further up the rungs could be something truly catastrophic: a level of death and destruction exceeding that of World War II.

Putin premeditated

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“He pointed to “the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, South Africa, the Arab world, Africa” as regions not supporting the Western line on the conflict.”

Ukraine Conflict Could End Western Hegemony – Hungary (RT)

The deadly conflict in Ukraine has the potential to “demonstratively” put an end to Western hegemony globally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has claimed. In an interview with German online magazine Tichys Einblick, published on Thursday, Orban said he expects the European Union to emerge weaker in the global arena once the fighting in Ukraine is over. The Hungarian leader argued that the West is incapable of winning the conflict militarily, and that the sanctions it has imposed on Moscow have failed to destabilize Russia. To make matters worse, the punitive measures have spectacularly backfired on Europe, he said. Orban also noted that a “large part of the world” is clearly not getting behind the US when it comes to Ukraine.

He pointed to “the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, South Africa, the Arab world, Africa” as regions not supporting the Western line on the conflict. “It is quite possible that it will be this war that will demonstratively put an end to Western supremacy,” Orban said. On the other hand, non-EU powers are already benefiting from the situation, he said, pointing toward Russia, which “has its own energy sources.” The premier noted that while EU energy imports from Russia have plummeted, Russia’s majority state-owned gas giant Gazprom has seen its revenues skyrocket.

Beijing, too, is now better off than before the start of the conflict, Orban claimed. He explained that China had previously been “at the mercy of the Arabs,” but is not anymore, apparently referring to the oil market. The other beneficiaries, in the Hungarian prime minister’s view, are “big American corporations.” To prove his point, Orban pointed to profits doubling for Exxon, quadrupling for Chevron and increasing six-fold for ConocoPhillips. While going along with EU sanctions against Russia, Hungary has maintained a neutral stance since the outbreak of the conflict, by not providing either side with weapons or making any harsh statements against Moscow or Kiev. Budapest has insisted that it cannot not risk the security of Hungarians, and will not be dragged into the conflict.

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Last chance for the west to talk peace and prevent their ecoomies from freezing.

Xi and Putin Confirmed For November’s G20 Summit In Bali (AlJ)

Chinese and Russian presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have both confirmed they will attend the G20 summit on the resort island of Bali this November, according to President Joko Widodo. “Xi Jinping will come. President Putin has also told me he will come,” Widodo told Bloomberg News in an interview, confirming their attendance for the first time. The November summit will mark the first time that Putin, Xi and United States President Joe Biden will have met in person since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, triggering sanctions from Western countries as well as G20 members Japan and South Korea. China has avoided condemning the attack or joining the sanctions, which took place days after Beijing and Moscow announced a “no limits” partnership. A longtime adviser to the Indonesian president also confirmed Putin and Xi would attend the summit.

“Jokowi told me that Xi and Putin are both planning to attend in Bali,” Andi Widjajanto, who heads the National Resilience Institute, told the Reuters news agency. The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin and Widodo had discussed preparations for the G20 summit in a phone call on Thursday without confirming that the Russian leader would attend. Another official familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that Putin plans to attend the meeting in person. A trip to Bali would be significant given it would be Xi’s first time outside China since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. China has maintained a strict zero-COVID policy that has all but sealed its borders, and Xi is preparing to secure an unprecedented third term as president during the congress of the ruling Communist Party, which is expected to take place in late October or early November.

Chinese officials are also thought to be making plans for a meeting in Southeast Asia between Xi and US President Joe Biden, who will also be in Bali, according to the Wall Street Journal, amid rising tension between the two countries. As head of the G20 this year, Indonesia has faced pressure from Western countries to withdraw its invitation to Putin because of the invasion of Ukraine, which he has called a “special military operation”. Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Bali summit. Widodo has sought to position himself as a mediator, and at the end of June travelled first to Moscow and then to Kyiv to meet both presidents and urge an end to the war. This week, he said both countries have accepted Indonesia as a “bridge of peace”.

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Supersonic jets with hypersonic missiles.

Russia Deploys MiG Jets Armed With Hypersonic Missiles To Kaliningrad (ZH)

Russia’s defense ministry announced Thursday that it has deployed fighter planes equipped with cutting edge hypersonic missiles to its Baltic region exclave of Kaliningrad, which a statement said will provide “additional measures of strategic deterrence.” The statement detailed that three MiG-31 fighters armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles have landed at the Chkalovsk air base in Kaliningrad Oblast. The defense ministry emphasized that the warplanes will be put on “round-the-clock alert” – at a moment tensions with Ukraine’s powerful Western backers like the United States continue to soar. On a few alleged occasions over the last six months of war in Ukraine, Russia has been accused of launching hypersonic missiles on Ukrainian targets; however, the Pentagon has downplayed that it’s not a gamechanger.

But such an intentionally publicized move as placing hypersonic missile armed MiG fighters on “alert” at Russia’s Baltic outpost is an escalatory move aimed at NATO and Ukraine’s Western backers which have been ramping up longer-range missile and weapons shipments to Kiev. Kaliningrad borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, both of which will see this move as a severe threat to their national security. The Associated Press is reporting that Finland is alarmed its airspace may have been violated by the MiGs as they were en route to the Kaliningrad base: A video released by the Defense Ministry showed the fighters arriving at the base but not carrying the missiles, which were apparently delivered separately.

Finland’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that two Russian MIG-31 fighter jets were suspected of having violating Finnish airspace in the Gulf of Finland off the southern town of Porvoo, west of Helsinki. The Nordic country’s Border Guard started a preliminary investigation into the incident. sThe Russian MoD and state media released video of the MiG fighters arriving in Kaliningrad. Ukraine government-linked officials have also highlighted the transfer with alarm…

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View from the dark ages:

“..a campaign of genocide aimed at erasing the Ukrainian nation from the map..”

US Must Arm Ukraine Now, Before It’s Too Late (Hill)

Nearly 20 of our fellow experts and national security professionals — whose digital signatures appear at the end of this op-ed — agree: The war in Ukraine has reached a decisive moment and that vital U.S. interests are at stake. Long before the Kremlin first invaded Ukraine in 2014, we have — from senior positions in the U.S. government and military — followed Moscow’s foreign policy and the grave dangers it presents to the United States and our allies. We have carefully watched Moscow’s major offensive since February and the response of the Biden administration and its allies and partners. We have maintained close touch with Ukrainian, U.S. and European officials. Two of us just returned from meetings with Ukraine’s defense and military leaders.

Although the Biden administration has successfully rallied U.S. allies and provided substantial military assistance, including this month, to Ukraine’s valiant armed forces, it has failed to produce a satisfactory strategic narrative which enables governments to maintain public support for the NATO engagement over the long term. By providing aid sufficient to produce a stalemate, but not enough to roll back Russian territorial gains, the Biden administration may be unintentionally seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Out of an over-abundance of caution about provoking Russian escalation (conventional as well as nuclear), we are in effect ceding the initiative to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reducing the pressure on Moscow to halt its aggression and get serious about negotiations.

Moscow’s imperialist war against the people of Ukraine is not just a moral outrage — a campaign of genocide aimed at erasing the Ukrainian nation from the map — but a clear danger to U.S. security and prosperity. American principles and interests demand the strongest possible response, one sufficient to force the Russians as much as possible back to pre-February lines and to impose costs heavy enough to deter Russia from invading a third time. With Russian forces struggling to regroup in the east and stave off Ukrainian efforts to retake Kherson in the south, now is the time for Ukraine’s allies to pull out all the stops by providing Ukraine the means it needs to prevail. Dragging out the conflict through so-called strategic pauses will do nothing but allow Putin to regroup, recover and inflict more damage in Ukraine and beyond.

But so far, neither the administration nor European allies have succeeded in making clear why this is important to the United States and the West. It is important because Putin is pursuing a revisionist foreign policy designed to upend the rules-based security system that has ensured American and global stability and enabled prosperity since the end of World War II. Putin’s aggressive designs do not end in Ukraine. As Russian officials have repeatedly made clear, if Russia wins in Ukraine, our Baltic NATO allies are at risk, as are other allies residing in the neighborhood. Prudent policy today identifies tomorrow’s risk and seeks the right place and time to deal with that risk. For the U.S. and NATO, that time is now — and the place is Ukraine, a large country whose population understands that its choice is either defeating Putin or losing their independence and even their existence as a distinct, Western-oriented nation. With the necessary weapons and economic aid, Ukraine can defeat Russia.

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“Thousands of fighters from Poland, Canada, the US, the UK and other countries..”

Dozens Of Foreign Fighters Eliminated In Strike On Ukrainian Base – Russia (RT)

Dozens of foreign mercenaries, fighting for Kiev against Moscow, have been killed in an attack on a compound in the city of Kharkov in northeastern Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday. “A temporary base of foreign mercenaries in the city of Kharkov was hit with a ground-based high-precision weapon. More than 90 militants were killed,” ministry’s spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov announced during his daily briefing. The Russian Air Force also struck Ukrainian manpower and military hardware in Kherson and Nikolaev Regions, eliminating 80 combatants and injuring 50 others, he added. Compounds, hosting foreign mercenaries in Ukraine, have already been targeted by Russia several times this month, leading to multiple casualties.


Thousands of fighters from Poland, Canada, the US, the UK and other countries responded to a call by President Vladimir Zelensky and flocked to Ukraine. In April, the Russian military estimated their numbers at nearly 7,000. However, last month it said that only 2,741 foreign fighters remained in Ukraine. Many of them were killed, while others fled to their home countries and later complained about chaos in the ranks of the Kiev forces, and a lack of arms and other equipment. Konashenkov had earlier warned that mercenaries aren’t viewed as combatants under international law and “the best thing that awaits them if they are captured alive is a trial and maximum prison terms.”

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“the use of the nuclear arsenal is possible only in response to an attack as a self-defense measure and in extreme circumstances..”

Russia Explains Terms For Nuclear Arms Use (RT)

Russia is a responsible nuclear power and will only use its nuclear arms if attacked with weapons of mass destruction or if its existence is under threat, a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry has said. Meanwhile, some Western officials argue that nukes can play a role on the battlefield, Ivan Nechaev added. According to Russia’s official nuclear posture,“the use of the nuclear arsenal is possible only in response to an attack as a self-defense measure and in extreme circumstances,” the deputy press secretary of the ministry said during a daily briefing on Thursday. The diplomat was responding to a question about the risk of nuclear escalation in the conflict with Ukraine. Russia is not in the habit of “saber-rattling, especially with nuclear weapons,” he said.


Moscow is determined to keep the situation in Ukraine conventional and has no need to use a nuclear option in Ukraine, Nechaev asserted. He lamented that the leaders of Western powers have become far less responsible than their Cold War-era predecessors when it comes to deterrence issues. “The liberal-globalist circles think it possible to discuss lowering the benchmark for the use of nuclear weapons,” he said, citing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as one example. The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly reassured that its goals in Ukraine can be achieved without the use of nuclear arms. Deploying them would not make any military sense, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said this week.

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” The entire Russian military is trained, and well trained, to operate in a hostile nuclear, chemical or bacteriological environment.”

Sabotage, Terroristm, Diversionary Attacks Are A Real Risk For Russia (Saker)

The only thing Russians can do is to 1) prepare for a very long counter-intelligence and counter-diversionary operations lasting many years and 2) accept the reality of war for what it is and not freak out the next time the Ukronazis blow up something, be it a ship, a train, an aircraft, a bridge or any other target in the LDNR or Russia. The one good news the Russians also need to keep in mind is that most of such diversionary/terrorist attacks are still fundamentally part of PSYOPs and are mostly designed for PR effect. In terms of their actual impact on Russian military capabilities, it is close to zero, just like the Israeli strikes in Syria have made exactly *zero* difference on the ground in Syria.

To really affect military operations you need to have a large, viable and sophisticated partisan/”stay behind” force, which the Ukrainians do not have, not by a long margin. Also, to really affect military operations, such diversionary tactics need to be carefully coordinated with “regular” friendly military forces (like the Soviet partisans during WWII who closely worked with the Soviet armed forces). So yes, this is a problem, a very unpleasant one, one which will be hard to deal with, but not one which will affect Russian military operations. Even if the Ukronazis blow up both the Chernobyl AND Zaporozhiie NPs, this will not significantly affect the SMO or even the war between Russia and the united West. The entire Russian military is trained, and well trained, to operate in a hostile nuclear, chemical or bacteriological environment.

As for Russian logistics, they are extremely sophisticated and highly redundant, so even if the Ukronazis blow up one node of the resupply network, it will be quickly fixed and/or easily replaced or bypassed. That being said, I would personally recommend that we all mentally prepare for what is almost certainly about to happen in the not too distant future. If we understand what such operation can and cannot achieve we will see them in a sober, pragmatic way, and not cave in to the hysterics (by many sides, including the Russian 6th column) which will inevitable follow any such attack.

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“..Erdogan – always willing to chart a different course – has positioned Turkey as a mediator…”

Sleepy Greek Port Becomes US Arms Hub (NYT)

It is an unlikely geopolitical flashpoint: a concrete pier in a little coastal city, barely used a few years ago and still occupied only by sea gulls most of the time. But the sleepy port of Alexandroupoli in northeastern Greece has taken on a central role in increasing the US military presence in Eastern Europe, with the Pentagon transporting enormous arsenals through here in what it describes as the effort to contain Russian aggression. That flow has angered not only Russia but also neighboring Turkey, underlining how war in Ukraine is reshaping Europe’s economic and diplomatic relationships. Turkey and Greece are both NATO members, but there is long-standing animosity between them, including conflict over Cyprus and territorial disputes in the Mediterranean, and Turkey sees a deeper relationship between Greece and Washington as a potential threat.

The spike in military activity has been welcomed by the government of Greece, most of its Balkan neighbors and local residents, who hope that Americans will stimulate the regional economy and provide security amid rising regional tensions. “We’re a small country,” said Yiannis Kapelas, 53, an Alexandroupoli cafe owner. “It’s a good thing to have a big country to protect us.” Raising the strategic stakes is the impending sale of the Alexandroupoli port. Four groups of companies are competing to buy a controlling stake – two include American firms, backed by Washington, and two have ties to Russia. US military operations in Greece have expanded greatly since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and top officials from Russia and Turkey have called that a national security threat.

“Against whom were they established?” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said in June, referring to the US military outposts in Greece. “The answer they give is ‘against Russia.’ We don’t buy it.” While most of NATO has sided emphatically with Ukraine, Erdogan – always willing to chart a different course – has positioned Turkey as a mediator. In May, the Greek Foreign Ministry said Turkish fighter jets violated the country’s air space over Alexandroupoli, 11 miles from the Turkish border. The incident unnerved local residents concerned with Turkey’s claims to parts of Greece. The complex interplay of interests at Alexandroupoli highlights how the war is shifting the strategic focus of Europe to the Black Sea region.

“The Black Sea is back on the global agenda in an unprecedented way,” said Ilian Vassilev, a former Bulgarian ambassador to Moscow who now works as a strategic consultant. “Security in the Black Sea is central to the issue of how you contain and deal with Russia.” Greece and Russia share deep historical, economic and cultural ties centered on the common Orthodox Christian religion. Greeks are among the few Europeans who largely want to maintain economic ties to Russia, polls show. But the war in Ukraine has badly strained those bonds.

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‘For’, not ‘In’.

Winter Is Coming For Europe (Bill Blain)

Vladimir Putin could not have planned or executed his crippling energy strike on Europe better. While we promise ourselves Western Sanctions must be impacting Russia, the reality is Europe’s problems are about to get much, much worse through the run up to Winter. What possible incentives does Russia have to increase Nord Stream 1 supplies from their current 20% of capacity? They can feed Europe 1/6 of the Energy they delivered in January this year, and still make as much – selling the rest to the very many nations that have failed to condemn to assault on Ukraine. They may decide to cut supplies completely even as planned maintenance in Norway’s gas infrastructure cuts supplies. A dismal European winter is coming, and European politicians will do anything to avert it.

That will include appeasement – putting pressure on Ukraine to come to a deal with Russia that allows Putin to end the war looking like he achieved something. It would be a major long-term blow to Europe – knowing we’d had to cut a deal with the Devil, and would not immediately solve the West’s reliance on Russian power. (It could take 3 years before Europe can eliminate its reliance of Russian gas with new gas distribution infrastructure – but it can be done!) Power cuts, factory closures, business crisis already appear nailed on. It’s difficult to contemplate German workers welcoming job losses and stagflation, plus the expectation they pay the costs of Southern Europe to cope with the Energy war – but that’s effectively the ECB strategy: to balance European debt market credibility with German money to support Italy’s debt weakness.

While there may be many good reasons and indications to accept the US economy has already passed the nadir of economic woe for this year, the instability engendered by rising European energy prices, the threat of autumnal and winter power outages, combined with rising industrial strife across Europe as inflation and power trigger rising wage demands… means the whole Western Economy is going to struggle. It’s difficult to envisage the US market thriving when Europe is suffering a potentially crippling winter of stagflation and economic strife.

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“Every spare molecule we can find, we are shipping to the Eurozone..”

EU Gas Prices Seven Times Higher Than In US – CNN

European natural gas prices are trading at levels equivalent to about $70 per million British Thermal Unit (BTUs), which is roughly seven times higher than prices in the United States, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing Lipow Oil Associates. Analysts told the outlet that Europe’s natural gas crisis is contributing to higher prices in America, noting however that it’s not the main driver. US natural gas prices have surged to levels unseen since 2008, closing at $9.33 per million BTU on Tuesday. “Higher global prices are trickling down to the US. Natural gas has become a global commodity with the emergence of LNG,” said Rob Thummel, senior portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors.


The United States has stepped up its exports of LNG to Europe in an effort to mitigate the impact of declining flows from the continent’s major natural gas supplier, Russia. “Every spare molecule we can find, we are shipping to the Eurozone,” Robert Yawger, vice president of energy futures at Mizuho Securities, said. European gas prices have quadrupled since the start of the year on thinning Russian flows. This week, the cost of gas futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands exceeded $2,600 per thousand cubic meters for the first time since March. Prices are forecast to spike 60% this winter, exceeding $4,000 per thousand cubic meters.

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Same people. It’s a big club, and Trump’s not in it.

FBI Unit Leading Mar-a-Lago Probe Earlier Ran Russiagate Hoax (Sperry)

The FBI division overseeing the investigation of former President Trump’s handling of classified material at his Mar-a-Lago residence is also a focus of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the bureau’s alleged abuses of power and political bias during its years-long Russiagate probe of Trump. The FBI’s nine-hour, 30-agent raid of the former president’s Florida estate is part of a counterintelligence case run out of Washington – not Miami, as has been widely reported – according to FBI case documents and sources with knowledge of the matter. The bureau’s counterintelligence division led the 2016-2017 Russia “collusion” investigation of Trump, codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Although the former head of Crossfire Hurricane, Peter Strzok, was fired after the disclosure of his vitriolic anti-Trump tweets, several members of his team remain working in the counterintelligence unit, the sources say, even though they are under active investigation by both Durham and the bureau’s disciplinary arm, the Office of Professional Responsibility. The FBI declined to respond to questions about any role they may be taking in the Mar-a-Lago case. In addition, a key member of the Crossfire team – Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten – has continued to be involved in politically sensitive investigations, including the ongoing federal probe of potentially incriminating content found on the abandoned laptop of President Biden’s son Hunter Biden, according to recent correspondence between the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

FBI whistleblowers have alleged that Auten tried to falsely discredit derogatory evidence against Hunter Biden during the 2020 campaign by labeling it Russian “disinformation,” an assessment that caused investigative activity to cease. Auten has been allowed to work on sensitive cases even though he has been under internal investigation since 2019, when Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred him for disciplinary review for his role in vetting a Hillary Clinton campaign-funded dossier used by the FBI to obtain a series of wiretap warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz singled out Auten for cutting a number of corners in the verification process and even allowing information he knew to be incorrect slip into warrant affidavits and mislead the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

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In praise of the Inflation Reduction Act?!

Big Pharma Spent $205 Million In 2 Years Lobbying vs Lower Drug Prices (CHD)

As the Inflation Reduction Act heads to President Biden’s desk that includes long overdue authority for Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices with big drug companies, an analysis from Accountable.US found the pharmaceutical industry has spent at least $205 million in recent years lobbying and resisting lower drug prices for seniors and families. This includes over $57 million in paid ads PhRMA (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a lobbying group) and its allies ran against Medicare drug negotiations over the last year. According to Liz Zelnick, Accountable.US Spokesperson:

“Big Pharma spent massive sums to maintain the broken status quo where drug companies could charge whatever they please while millions of seniors are left to choose between food and medicine. Medicare finally being allowed to harness its bulk purchasing power will save lives. “The same big drug companies that claim they can’t afford to offer fairer prices have continued to break profit records and enrich a small group of wealthy investors on the backs of patients in need for years — all while paying virtually nothing in taxes. Industry opposition to lower drug prices has always been about squeezing maximum profits out of vulnerable consumers. Luckily their efforts failed, and the American people won. “The Inflation Reduction Act is a case study in how change demanded by Americans for years didn’t come easily in the face of powerful and greedy special interests with plenty of lawmakers in their pockets — but it’s possible.”


The analysis follows Accountable.US’ recent findings that major drug company CEOs have raked in over $292.6 million in compensation while their companies saw skyrocketing profits — at a time Americans spend an average of $1,200 per person on prescription drugs and as many as 18 million Americans simply cannot afford their prescribed medications. The government watchdog also previously found Republican lawmakers on the House Energy & Commerce Committee who voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with drug companies (H.R. 3) have taken nearly $1.7 million in career contributions from industry groups and the five largest pharmaceutical companies opposed to Medicare drug negotiations.

Aus vaccines

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Discuss!!

1,200 Scientists and Professionals Say “There is No Climate Emergency” (DS)

The political fiction that humans cause most or all climate change and the claim that the science behind this notion is ‘settled’, has been dealt a savage blow by the publication of a ‘World Climate Declaration (WCD)’ signed by over 1,100 scientists and professionals. There is no climate emergency, say the authors, who are drawn from across the world and led by the Norwegian physics Nobel Prize laureate Professor Ivar Giaever. Climate science is said to have degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. The scale of the opposition to modern day ‘settled’ climate science is remarkable, given how difficult it is in academia to raise grants for any climate research that departs from the political orthodoxy.

Another lead author of the declaration, Professor Richard Lindzen, has called the current climate narrative “absurd”, but acknowledged that trillions of dollars and the relentless propaganda from grant-dependent academics and agenda-driven journalists currently says it is not absurd. Particular ire in the WCD is reserved for climate models. To believe in the outcome of a climate model is to believe what the model makers have put in. Climate models are now central to today’s climate discussion and the scientists see this as a problem. “We should free ourselves from the naïve belief in immature climate models,” says the WCD. “In future, climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science.” Since emerging from the ‘Little Ice Age’ in around 1850, the world has warmed significantly less than predicted by the IPCC on the basis of modelled human influences.

“The gap between the real world and the modelled world tells us that we are far from understanding climate change,” the WCD notes. The Declaration is an event of enormous important, although it will be ignored by the mainstream media. But it is not the first time distinguished scientists have petitioned for more realism in climate science. In Italy, the discoverer of nuclear anti-matter Emeritus Professor Antonino Zichichi recently led 48 local science professors in stating that human responsibility for climate change is “unjustifiably exaggerated and catastrophic predictions are not realistic”. In their scientific view, “natural variation explains a substantial part of global warming observed since 1850”. Professor Zichichi has signed the WCD.

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B,S&T

 

 

 

 

 

Recursion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 152022
 
 July 15, 2022  Posted by at 6:21 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Edward Hopper Chair Car 1965

 

 

The situation in Ukraine is terribly, painfully simple. Russia has been winning since February 24, and Ukraine has zero chance of turning the odds around. But Zelensky is willing to sacrifice the lives of ever more of his citizens -this now includes people up to 60 years old, and women (men can’t even leave their cities)-. Zelensky’s western backers, meanwhile, keep on promising to send him lethal weapons (remember their words 5 months ago?) and talk about defeating Putin. Zero chance. But a high chance of meatballs.

The only way out of this kerfuffle is the negotiating table. But Zelensky doesn’t like his present position on that table, and NATO doesn’t either. Z wants more BIG guns, to “improve” that position. Zero chance. But a high chance of meatballs. Meanwhile, who’s going to rebuild the country when all the promising young people are gone?

As kind of an aside, I am very much in favor of more women in politics. Less testosterone can’t hurt, one would think. But all the girls we see on the international stage act like they have more testosterone than their male counterparts. I don’t know where they found EU head Ursula von der Leyen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in some secret experimental Fauci-sponsored multinational chain that the Wuhan lab is also part of.

And then there’s this specimen: “German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on July 14 that lifting sanctions will not guarantee the gas supply from Russia but will make Germany even more vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.” The lab leak theory is all mine in this case. And how about Justin Blackface’s right hand?

 

G20: Canada Claims Russian Delegation Are Personally Responsible For ‘War Crimes’ In Ukraine

Canada’s finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, has told Russian officials at a meeting of G20 finance ministers that she held them personally responsible for “war crimes” committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, a western official said. Freeland directly addressed the Russian delegation taking part in the meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, telling them on Friday: “It is not only generals who commit war crimes, it is the economic technocrats who allow the war to happen and to continue,” the official said.


Freeland, whose maternal grandparents were born in Ukraine, told the opening G20 session that the war was the “single biggest threat to the global economy right now”, the official said. A day before the meeting, the US Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, set the tone, calling Russia’s war in Ukraine the “greatest challenge” to the global economy and saying members of Putin’s government “have no place” at the talks.

That’s a finance forum! Not some negotiating table! And if it’s “technocrats who allow the war to happen and to continue”, I could swear she means herself. What do you call a woman with a testosterone imbalance? Britain is having a very exciting (NOT!) competition for the next Tory PM, all of the candidates are running jokes, and one of the frontrunners is Liz Truss, who a few months ago was dismissed by Russian PM Lavrov in no uncertain terms.

Guess she didn’t like that. Then again, maybe all that testosterone spewing out her ears made her miss his comments entirely. Anyway, she’s back for the occasion. Jesus H. C., Lavrov’s spokeswoman is 10x as competent as Truss.

 

Moscow Responds To London’s Threats

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has blasted “Russophobic” remarks by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who promised to “continue to lead the free world” against Moscow and ensure Ukraine’s victory. Truss made the remarks during a campaign event for Tory leadership on Thursday. The aspiring PM candidate, who scored third in Thursday’s ballot, bragged about her ability to “deliver” and make “tough” decisions, listing her staunch support for Kiev as an example of her decision-making abilities.

I stood up to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin by targeting Russia with the toughest sanctions his regime has ever seen. And I would continue to lead the free world in opposing Putin and making sure that Ukraine prevails,” Truss stated. The remark was not taken lightly in Moscow, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasting her words as “Russophobic”and “invariably steeped in painful aggression and nationalism.”

Amid the ongoing Tory leadership campaign, Truss “has begun spewing threats towards our country and its leadership and wants to achieve a ‘Ukrainian victory’ over Russia,” in an effort to “fulfill her compulsive ambitions,” according to Zakharova.

“[Truss’] ambition alone to ‘lead the free world’, in an effort to resist Russia, speaks volumes. She looks like a second-rate politician afflicted by megalomania. And she is doing all of this instead of addressing the issues at home, which are plenty,” she said in a statement. The proclaimed efforts to somehow “defeat” Russia are likely an attempt to “distract voters”from the real problems the UK has been experiencing, Zakharova said.

“Our response to belligerent outbursts by the British Foreign Secretary, who prefers riding tanks over engaging in serious diplomacy, and her determination to ‘defeat’ Russia, is straightforward – go ahead and try. Many have tried in the centuries-old history of our country. As everyone knows, intelligent people learn from other people’s mistakes. Liz Truss could learn from her own mistakes,” Zakharova concluded.

Yeah, “the toughest sanctions his regime has ever seen”… And that’s why Russia is getting richer faster than ever.

 

 

Mikhail Khodarenok provides an overview of what all that western military help would entail. When reading through it, there’s only one possible thought. Yeah, a high chance of meatballs, you’re right.

“Mikhail Khodarenok is a military commentator for RT.com. He is a retired colonel. He served as an officer at the main operational directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.”

But he’s wrong. There is no amount of help that could achieve a Ukraine victory. Only death would win. Once again: for Russia this is an existential issue. For US/NATO, it’s a chance to sell more meatballs weapons. And try to wear down Russia. But you don’t back down from an existential issue just because you’re tired.

Russia could have decided the issue within days, max a few weeks, if they thought like NATO. Thing is, Russia likes Ukraine; but not its politics and nazis and the flirt with NATO. But keep on pumping those weapons into the country and Russia will obliterate them with potentially ever stronger attacks.

 

Only With Massive Additional Military Help Will Kiev Be Able To Advance

In order to gain air supremacy, or at least fight on equal footing with the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Ukrainian Air Force would require at least 124 multifunctional fighters (i.e. three fighter regiments of 42 aircraft each), 36 combat planes (three squadrons of 12 aircraft) and six training fighters (dual control aircraft). It is quite possible that these units will be organized like those of the United States and other NATO countries – squadrons of 24 fighters, with three squadrons combined into a wing.

Among the possible contenders to become Ukraine’s main combat aircraft, the most likely candidate is America’s F-16C /D, which is currently being withdrawn from service in the US Air Force and replaced by the F-35. However, it is not that a concrete decision has yet to be made on this issue – these problems have not even been discussed.

[..] The American F-16s are not integrated in the automated command and control systems of Ukraine’s current fighter aircraft in any way, shape, or form. And, in order to solve this problem, the United States might well have to supply the Ukrainian Air Force with planes like the Hawkeye E-2C/D – a tactical early warning aircraft equipped with long-range radar.

Without such means, it will be simply impossible to effectively control planes during air battles and strikes against ground targets. Now what remains is to calculate when these three fighter aviation regiments will reach ‘initial operational readiness’, as they say in the US. According to the most optimistic forecasts, this won’t happen before the winter.

[..] We see approximately the same picture (but certainly less complicated) with the formation of armored divisions. To give the AFU offensive potential, they will need at least four to five tank brigades (each numbering 120-140 main battle tanks) equipped with M1 Abrams (in this case, there are possible options – the Leopard-2 or Leclerc). Again, Ukrainian tank crews will have to go through all the necessary stages in this case – retraining, obtaining new weapons and equipment, and live-fire exercises. So, it will not be possible to resolve these issues very quickly.

[..] With ground artillery and multiple rocket launchers, things will be easier. The AFU will be able to master them quickly enough. But even here, the processes of obtaining and mastering this hardware will not be simultaneous in any way. It will take many months to form 7-8 artillery brigades with 72 guns each (the APU requires no less) and bring them to the level of combat readiness. But, during this time, the political environment and strategic situation on the front may change significantly, and there is no reason at all to assume that this will be in Ukraine’s favor.

And then when everything fails, you get the predicted role of Hungary and Poland in the conflict. Who want to protect their respective populations inside Ukraine. Southwest: Hungary, northwest: Poland. Yeah, and southeast: Russia. But Hungary and Poland now want to do this under the NATO/US/EU umbrella?! Good luck with that.

 

Hungary Has ‘Military Plans’ For Ukraine – Minister

Budapest needs to protect ethnic Hungarians living in the western part of the bordering country, FM Peter Szijjarto has said Hungary has military plans on how to protect ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has revealed. Budapest is ready to act in defense of 150,000 people it considers its own, he revealed in an interview on Friday.

“Our country has prepared emergency war scenarios,” the minister told Index news website. He said the Hungarian government wanted to avoid using them, which is why it sought a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, rejected the idea of offering concessions to Russia to secure a ceasefire, and claims his country can defeat Russia with the help of Western backers.


The Hungarian foreign minister commented on the two countries’ objectives, saying his country has different interests than Ukraine. “And what is the Ukrainian interest? To involve as many countries as possible in this conflict, at least through arms shipments. Our interest on the other hand is to stay out of this conflict and minimize the risk of getting dragged into a war,”Szijjarto said.

Look, listen, hear. 5 European governments have fallen so far- if you include Micron having his balls cut off. And there will be many more. Sri Lanka, eat your heart out! Europe will have the Dutch farmers time 100 once people can’t afford to pay their bills anymore, and figure out it’s just because their “leaders” decided not to talk to Russia. Don’t underestimate that.

Solution? Negotiating table. Zelensky and NATO will come in with “everything back to pre-Feb 24”, but that ship sailed on exactly that date. The Donbass is Russian now, whether as official part of the country or independent territory. Zelensky and NATO must negotiate for peace. They have lost. Russia has not, and it won’t in the near future.

Neocons and Kiev can go for “wear Russia down”, but the only thing they can achieve is mayhem in Europe, economic, food, energy, fertilizer, cold, hunger etc. They’re well on their way. Chuckmate, as Elon Musk would phrase it. Russia will be fine. They saw this coming way before US/NATO/EU.

“We” lost. And you will lose your plush goverment seats if you take this into winter. Why not try another lockdown or vaccine mandate? You, know, so people are properly vaxxed when they peruse the empty shelves and can’t feed -or warm- their kids? Sounds like a winner!

 

 

Note: I never saw the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, just thought it was a “funny” concept with regards to this conflict.

 

 

 

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