May 142024
 May 14, 2024  Posted by at 9:18 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  48 Responses »

Vittorio Matteo Corcos Sogni 1896


Scott Ritter: The Russians Advance and Ukrainians Can’t Stop Them (Sp.)
One of Russia’s Top Economists is Being Appointed as Minister of Defense (Sp.)
Belousov May Create Problems for Russia’s Adversaries as Defense Minister (Sp.)
Biden Is ‘Surrounded By Fascists’ In Oval Office – Trump (RT)
Biden ‘Doing It All Wrong’ – Ex-Clinton Adviser (RT)
‘Unusually Aggressive’ Anti-Trump Grand Jury Went Rogue With Indictments (ZH)
“I See Dead People”: Bragg’s Case Against Trump Goes Paranormal (Turley)
A Massive Transformation Is Taking Place In Russia (Trenin)
Elon Musk Wins Court Battle Against Australia (RT)
The Coming of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem (Pepe Escobar)
Putin to Visit China at Invitation of Xi Jinping on May 16-17 – Kremlin (Sp.)
Latest Polls Show Biden Will Need Twice As Many Fake Ballots This Year (BBee)



“In a society of spectacle, of propaganda and of the totalitarian nature of Western systems, doubt is a fundamental stepping-stone to get out of the cave.”

Daria Dugina



Watters Cohen



Turley Trump






Ed Dowd: “The Only Way Biden Wins Is If They CHEAT”

“We’ve never seen approval numbers like this. So if he wins, if he’s still actually alive, it’ll be theft.” Official reports suggest that Biden’s approval ratings are hovering around 36%. But Biden’s real approval rating is only about 8%, according to economic forecaster Martin Armstrong and an anonymous Big Tech source. Ed Dowd revealed that he has “seen numbers” to suggest that 30% of black men and 15% of black women will vote for Trump in 2024.

“That’s way above the numbers that Trump was getting in 2016 … These numbers just immediately turf the chances of Biden. Just those numbers alone.” When it comes to increasing Biden’s chances, Dowd says, “[War] is the only way to improve his approval rating.”









Scott Ritter: The Russians Advance and Ukrainians Can’t Stop Them (Sp.)

Russian forces have launched a large-scale offensive towards Kharkov, revealing apparent gaps in Ukraine’s previously proclaimed fortified defenses along the northern border. According to military analyst Scott Ritter, the Ukrainian military, expecting robust defenses including anti-tank obstacles and minefields, was significantly outmaneuvered. As Russian troops continue to push south from the Belgorod area, Ritter notes that the situation exposes a broader vulnerability within the Ukrainian defense strategy. “The Ukrainians are now in a panic, pulling forces from critical fronts elsewhere,” Ritter explained. This reallocation of troops to the north leaves other strategic areas, such as Kherson and Odessa, potentially exposed to new Russian attacks.

Simultaneously, Russia’s military seems to be capitalizing on a lack of Ukrainian reserves, with simultaneous pressures in the Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions contributing to what Ritter describes as “the collapse of Ukraine as a cohesive combat force.” In the midst of these battlefield developments, Russia has appointed a new Minister of Defense, Andrei Belousov, a move that has sparked discussions and speculation both within Russia and internationally. Belousov, an economist with extensive governmental experience but no military background, steps into a role that seems more focused on managing the defense industry’s growth and sustainability amid the conflict.

Some question the timing and suitability of appointing an economist as defense minister during wartime. However, supporters argue that his economic acumen is crucial for maintaining the efficiency and integrity of the defense sector’s expansion. “This is exactly the kind of person Russia needs,” Ritter states, asserting that the strategic appointment aims to strengthen Russia’s military capabilities indirectly through economic stability and reduced corruption. Meanwhile, General Gennady Gerasimov will continue to oversee the military operations, ensuring continuity in leadership. According to Ritter, this combination of economic and military leadership is far from a sign of Russian weakness. “By bringing in Andrei Belousov, we’re talking about Putin creating tempered steel,” he remarked, suggesting that the West may underestimate Russia’s strategic positioning.

Read more …

“..the new minister’s duties might involve issues related to weapon procurement and defense contracts..”

One of Russia’s Top Economists is Being Appointed as Minister of Defense (Sp.)

If economist Andrei Belousov does get appointed as Russia’s newest minister of defense, it would not be the first time a civilian got put into that office, retired Russian naval officer (Captain 1st Rank) and military analyst Vasily Dandykin told Sputnik. “I believe that, first and foremost, he’s a man from the president’s team,” Dandykin commented on Belousov’s candidacy. “He was the first deputy prime minister and he actually knows very well the problems that [Russian] military-industrial complex faces. As always, our supreme commander-in-chief, the President of Russia, supervises all decisions.” Russian military expert and military intelligence veteran Ret. Col. Rustem Klupov pointed out that Belousov is an accomplished economist of a very high caliber who advised prominent Russian statesmen “If he is being appointed as the defense minister, it means that there will be goals of economic nature to complete,” Klupov suggested.

According to him, the new minister’s duties might involve issues related to weapon procurement and defense contracts. “Gerasimov (Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russian Armed Forces’ Chief of General Staff) will conduct military operations and the defense minister will handle his own matters,” Klupov added. Soviet and Russian Army veteran and military journalist Viktor Litovkin also highlighted Belousov’s impressive reputation as a scholar and an economist, noting that the latter also paid considerable attention to the military-industrial sphere and military matters during his career as a government official. “So far, there is no reason to question his expertise. He’s a distinguished man who paid a lot of attention while working in the government to the military-industrial complex and to the connection between the military and the industry.”

Read more …

War economy.

Belousov May Create Problems for Russia’s Adversaries as Defense Minister (Sp.)

While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to replace Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu with veteran economist Andrei Belousov may come as a surprise to some, there seems to be a good motive behind his move. Andrei Belousov’s appointment as Russia’s newest minister of defense may help take Russia’s military-industrial complex and the entire weapon procurement system to a whole new level, argues Russian political analyst Sergei Poletaev. According to him, a de facto grassroots “technological revolution” has happened in Russia over the past two years when groups of enthusiasts supplied the armed forces with repurposed civilian drones worth no more than $300 apiece that could be used to take out enemy military hardware worth millions of dollars. Being a talented economist, Belousov can combine the pros of the two approaches in weapon procurement – the “planned, government” method and the “spontaneous grassroots” method – and weed out their cons, Poletayev suggests.

Many Russian soldiers in the field come up with technological and tactical solutions that could become a boon for the Russian Armed Forces, but there is no streamlined way for them to share their ideas with the higher-ups, he notes. “If Belousov can create a system, a platform to convert this experience into orders that could then be sent to weapon manufacturers who would thus be allowed to better understand what is required and to better react to this input, and then to mass produce the most successful solutions – that would generate a tremendous impulse,” Poletaev muses. He also points out that Russia’s military spending has been steadily growing in recent months, and while the situation is far from critical, it would be prudent for Moscow to ensure that this money does not go to waste. Last weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the candidacy of Andrei Belousov for the position of Russia’s defense minister.

Belousov is a veteran Russian economist who started off as a researcher at the Soviet Academy of Sciences’ Central Economic Mathematical Institute and later with the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences. After being appointed deputy minister of economic development and trade in 2006, Belousov served in several prominent positions in the Russian government before becoming first deputy prime minister in 2020 – an office he held until now.

Read more …

”Russia and China we can handle, but these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country and probably want to..”

Biden Is ‘Surrounded By Fascists’ In Oval Office – Trump (RT)

The White House has been infiltrated by “enemies from within,” former US President Donald Trump has claimed in a campaign speech, while lashing out at “crooked” Joe Biden. “Joe is weak. He’s only good at cheating on elections – but it’s not him, he’s surrounded by fascists around the Oval Office,” Trump told a crowd of supporters in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday. ”The Democrat Party is becoming radicalized. It’s becoming radical left and they’re going to lose our country,” he predicted. Without naming names, Trump said administration’s “enemies from within” are more dangerous for America than foreign adversaries. ”Russia and China we can handle, but these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country and probably want to,” he claimed.

The “fascist” label has also been used by high-profile Biden supporters against Trump, with some Democrats suggesting that if he returns to the White House he could push the country toward dictatorship. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, claimed on The View program last year that her former rival was showing “dictatorial” tendencies, remarking that Adolf Hitler “was duly elected” before transforming Germany. “Trump is telling us what he intends to do. Take him at his word. The man means to throw people in jail who disagree with him, shut down legitimate press outlets, do what he can to literally undermine the rule of law and our country’s values,” she said.

Trump’s New Jersey rally served as a change of scenery for Trump, who has been spending much of his time attending court hearings in New York, on charges of using campaign funds to pay hush money to former porn actress Stormy Daniels. The Republican is facing dozens of charges in four separate criminal cases against him. He told supporters that “radical left Democrats, Marxists Communists and fascists” were behind the indictments, calling his New York hush money case “a Biden show trial.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 election was “stolen.” One of the cases against him relates to his alleged attempt to subvert the election. Hearings are currently on hold pending a Supreme Court decision on whether the former president should be immune to prosecution.

Read more …

|”..his campaign is too focused on courting his left-leaning base, while neglecting swing voters..”

Biden ‘Doing It All Wrong’ – Ex-Clinton Adviser (RT)

US President Joe Biden risks losing a potential election rematch with Donald Trump because his campaign is too focused on courting his left-leaning base, while neglecting swing voters whose support could prove decisive, a former adviser to Bill Clinton has warned. In an opinion piece for the New York Times published on Sunday, Mark Penn, who advised the former US leader and his wife, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from 1995 to 2008, suggested that “Biden is doing it all wrong” when it comes to his reelection campaign. According to Penn, many believe that a high turnout should be a priority for any candidate, because swing voters are fewer in number. In the current US political landscape, Biden and Republican frontrunner Trump each enjoy solid support from about 40% of the nation’s population, with only 20% on the fence, the adviser noted.

However, in a highly polarized political environment, those 20% “have disproportionate power because of their potential to switch,” Penn believes. Despite this, candidates are often convinced that they must feed their bases with “what they want to hear” to get them to the polling stations, the article said. While this may be true in some cases, the Democratic base is highly unlikely to sit idly by at the thought of a Trump victory in November, Penn wrote. At the same time, swing voters in battleground states who are concerned about immigration, inflation, and other major issues “are likely to put Mr. Trump back in office if they are not blunted,” according to the former adviser. “If Mr. Biden wants to serve another four years, he has to stop being dragged to the left and chart a different course closer to the center that appeals to those voters who favor bipartisan compromises to our core issues, fiscal discipline and a strong America,” he added.

Penn believes that most of the 101,000 “uncommitted” voters who refused to back Biden over his policy on the Israel-Hamas war would eventually return to the fold because they have nowhere else to go. At the same time, Biden could potentially seek the support of hundreds of thousands of moderate Republicans who chose to vote for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley over Trump in the GOP primary. According to a Wall Street Journal poll last month, Trump retains a lead over Biden in six of seven battleground states. Meanwhile, a recent poll by the Financial Times found that Biden’s reelection prospects are being threatened by inflation concerns, with 58% of respondents disapproving of his handling of the economy.

Read more …

Does not smell squeaky clean.

‘Unusually Aggressive’ Anti-Trump Grand Jury Went Rogue With Indictments (ZH)

The Arizona grand jury that recently indicted 18 people for allegedly trying to help former President Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election with so-called ‘fake electors’ went completely rogue and took ‘aggressive steps to haul in witnesses,’ to the point where they ‘even brought charges against some’ who were told by prosecutors that they weren’t under investigation, Politico reports. Their efforts ultimately resulted in a 58-page indictment which has ensnared various national and state Republicans – including one of Trump’s current top advisers, and several individuals who were previously in his orbit – with felony charges. Trump himself was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.

“Documents reviewed by POLITICO reveal that at least two of the 18 people charged — former Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb — were assured by prosecutors that they were not targets of the probe, only to learn that the grand jury indicted them anyway. In fact, a letter that a prosecutor sent to Ellis just days before the indictment appeared to significantly understate her legal jeopardy. One witness who testified before the grand jury said a faction of the panel drove intense questioning that exceeded the limited scope that prosecutors had publicly acknowledged. The probe was led by the office of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes.” -Politico.

Mayes, a Democrat who replaced a Republican in January 2023, has been accused of politically motivated lawfare – however Politico’s sources say that the grand jury was ‘surprisingly independent’ of her prosecutors – and ‘sometimes even hard for them to predict.’ “The State Grand Jury was given leeway to conduct an independent investigation, as it is entitled to do by law,” said Mayes’ spox, Richie Taylor. “I cannot confirm or deny the specifics of grand jury proceedings, and I will note that the investigation remains open and ongoing. I will have to decline to comment further.” Grand juries are empowered to conduct their own lines of questioning in order to reach conclusions which may not necessarily align with the wishes of prosecutors – though they typically defer.

That said, in high-profile cases, they’ve been known to take on more independence. “Every high-profile case that I’ve ever had, which is cases that have necessarily attendant publicity, or a public corruption case, or anything else, grand jurors become interested,” according to former Arizona prosecutor, Paul Charlton. “Ultimately, the Arizona grand jury investigating the 2020 election indicted former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, and close Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn. It also indicted the 11 Arizona Republicans who falsely claimed to be the state’s rightful presidential electors. Arizona is the fourth state — after Georgia, Michigan and Nevada — to bring criminal charges stemming from the efforts of Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 results in states that Biden won. At the federal level, special counsel Jack Smith has also charged Trump himself for the scheme.” -Politico.

“Not a target” (just kidding!)

Read more …

“Trump will be allowed to testify. He would be insane to do so..”

“I See Dead People”: Bragg’s Case Against Trump Goes Paranormal (Turley)

“I see dead people.” Before this week, that claim was most associated with the nine-year-old character Cole Sear from the 1999 film “The Sixth Sense.” But now it is one of the talents claimed by former adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her bizarre testimony in Manhattan during former President Donald Trump’s trial. It turns out that speaking to the dead was one of the few relevant things Daniels had to offer in the case, which is now on a collision course with a motion for acquittal before the case even goes to the jury. The Daniels testimony will live in infamy in the annals of criminal justice. For two days, she offered lurid and completely irrelevant details whose only possible purpose was to humiliate Trump. Admitting that she was coached by the prosecution in her testimony, it was clear that she was there not to win a case but to win an election.

Judge Juan Merchan allowed this legal burlesque to unfold in his courtroom, later blaming defense counsel who had vociferously objected to her appearance and the scope of the examination. The cross examination was devastating. It shattered her laughable claim that she had not really been seeking money in shaking Trump down for a non-disclosure agreement, a claim contradicted by her own former lawyer. Daniels also revealed that she had spoken with the dead, and that a ghost had once held her boyfriend under water in a bathtub. She also said that she lived in a haunted house, only to discover later that the spirit haunting it was actually a large possum. In a case based on a dead misdemeanor and a rapidly falling heart rate on the manufactured felony, one can understand the appeal of witnesses who can speak for the dead. Indeed, Daniels’s graphic testimony may prove the moral high point of this trial, since serial perjurer and disbarred attorney Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify Monday.

Cohen recently broke his pledge, midway through the trial, to stop attacking and taunting Trump. Cohen has insisted that he deserves the protection of the gag order by Judge Merchan as a witness, despite serious constitutional concerns. Merchan continues to threaten Trump with jail if he responds to Cohen’s unrelenting attacks. Merchan waited for the weekend before his testimony to suggest that the prosecutors tell Cohen to stop the public antics. But it remains unclear what the order is protecting Cohen from. Not only is he trolling for money on social media with reference to the trial, but he is also widely being attacked by others. It is only Trump who cannot address his attacks, including political opposition to his campaign.

Cohen’s testimony will be the culmination of this travesty of a trial. But Bragg already jumped the shark with Daniels. After three weeks, legal experts are still debating what the crime was that Trump was seeking to conceal by recording payments for a standard non-disclosure agreement as a legal expense. (That is the same characterization used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign for its funding for the infamous Steele dossier.) It is still unclear that Trump even knew how the payments were characterized, and the alleged false record was not even created until after the election was over. Yet he stands accused of using the “false business records” to somehow steal or rig an election that was already over.

After this circus with Cohen is complete, Trump will be allowed to testify. He would be insane to do so. Merchan has already said that he will allow a broad scope to cross-examination, making any appearance unlikely. That is when Merchan will face a key test of judicial ethics. He has failed to protect the rights of the defendant from a baseless, politically motivated prosecution. He could insist that he simply felt Bragg had a right to present his case. He will soon be done and, as expected, it is entirely based on Cohen, a disbarred perjurer who will ask for his former client to be sent to prison for following his own legal advice. After Bragg closes the prosecution’s case, the defense will make a standard motion for dismissal. Merchan should grant that motion.

Read more …

“Russian political culture is returning to its fundamentals. Unlike that of the West, but somewhat similar to the East – it is based on the model of a family..”

A Massive Transformation Is Taking Place In Russia (Trenin)

Two and a half years into its war against the West in Ukraine, Russia certainly finds itself on a course toward a new sense of itself. This trend actually predated the military operation but has been powerfully intensified as a result. Since February 2022, Russians have lived in a wholly new reality. For the first time since 1945, the country is really at war, with bitter fighting ongoing along a 2,000-kilometer front line, and not too far from Moscow. Belgorod, a provincial center near the Ukrainian border, is continuously subjected to deadly missile and drone attacks from Kiev’s forces. Occasionally, Ukrainian drones reach far deeper inland. Yet, Moscow and other big cities continue as if there were no war, and (almost) no Western sanctions either. Streets are full of people and shopping malls and supermarkets offer the usual abundance of goods and food items. One could conclude that Moscow and Belgorod are a tale of two countries, that Russians have managed to live simultaneously both in wartime and peacetime.

This would be a wrong conclusion. Even the part of the country that ostensibly lives ‘in peace’ is markedly different from what it was before the Ukraine conflict began. The central focus of post-Soviet Russia – money – has not been eliminated, of course, but has certainly lost its unquestionable dominance. When many people – not only soldiers but civilians, too – are getting killed, other, non-material values are coming back. Patriotism, reviled and derided in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, is re-emerging in force. In the absence of fresh mobilization, hundreds of thousands of those who sign contracts with the military are motivated by a desire to help the country. Not just by what they can get from it. Russian popular culture is shedding – slowly, perhaps, but steadily – the habit of imitating what’s hot in the West. Instead, the traditions of Russian literature, including poetry, film, music are being revived and developed.

A spike in domestic tourism has opened to ordinary Russians the treasures of their own country – until recently neglected, as a thirst for travel abroad was quenched. (Foreign travel is still available, but difficult logistics make reaching other parts of Europe far less easy than before).Politically, there is no opposition to speak of against the current system. Almost all of its former figureheads are abroad, and Alexey Navalny has died in prison. A lot of former cultural icons who, after February 2022, decided to emigrate to Israel, Western Europe, or elsewhere, are fast becoming yesterday’s celebrities, as the country moves on. Those Russian journalists and activists who criticize Russia from afar are increasingly losing touch with their previous audiences, and are saddled with accusations of serving the interests of countries fighting Russia in the proxy war in Ukraine.

By contrast, nearly two-thirds of young men who left Russia in 2022 for fear of being mobilized have returned, some of them quite embittered by their experience abroad. Putin’s statement about the need for a new national elite, and his promotion of war veterans as the core of that elite, is more of an intention than a real plan at this stage, but the Russian elite is definitely going through a massive turnover. Many liberal tycoons essentially no longer belong to Russia; their desire to keep their assets in the West has ended up separating them from their native country. Those who stayed in Russia know that yachts in the Med, villas on the Cote d’Azur, and mansions in London are no longer available to them, or at least no longer safe to keep. Within Russia, a new model of a mid-level businessperson is emerging: one who combines money with social engagement (not the ESG model), and who builds his/her future inside the country.

Russian political culture is returning to its fundamentals. Unlike that of the West, but somewhat similar to the East – it is based on the model of a family. There is order, and there is a hierarchy; rights are balanced by responsibilities; the state is not a necessary evil but the principal public good and the top societal value. Politics, in the Western sense of a constant, often no-holds-barred competition, is viewed as self-serving and destructive; instead, those who are entrusted with being at the helm of the state are expected to arbitrate, to ensure harmony of various interests, etc. Of course, this is an ideal rather than reality. In reality things are more complex and complicated, but the traditional political culture, at its core, is alive and well, and the last 30 to 40 years, while hugely instructive and impactful, have not overturned it.

Russian attitudes to the West are also complex. There is appreciation of Western classical and modern (but not so much post-modern) culture, the arts and technology, and of living standards to an extent. Recently, the previously unadulterated positive image of the West as a society has been spoiled by the aggressive promotion of LGBTQ values, of cancel culture, and the like. What has also changed is the view of Western policies, politics and especially politicians, which have lost the respect most Russians once had for them. The view of the West as Russia’s hereditary adversary has again gained prominence – not primarily because of Kremlin propaganda, but as a function of the West’s own policies, from providing Ukraine with weapons that kill Russian soldiers and civilians, to sanctions which in many ways are indiscriminate, to attempts to cancel Russian culture or to bar Russians from world sports. This hasn’t resulted in Russians viewing individual Westerners as enemies, but the political/media West is widely seen here as a house of adversaries.

There is a clear need for a set of guiding ideas about “who we are,” “where we are in this world” and “where we are going.” However, the word ‘ideology’ is too closely linked in many people’s mind with the rigidity of Soviet Marxism-Leninism. Whatever finally emerges will probably be built on the values-led foundation of traditional religions, starting with Russian Orthodoxy, and will include elements from our past, including the pre-Petrine, imperial, and Soviet periods. The current confrontation with the West makes it imperative that some kind of a new ideological concept finally emerges, in which sovereignty and patriotism, law and justice take a central role. Western propaganda pejoratively refers to it as “Putinism” but, for most Russians, it may be simply described as “Russia’s way.”

Read more …

Civil servants blinded by power. Ugly.

Elon Musk Wins Court Battle Against Australia (RT)

Australian Federal Court judge has decided not to extend an order banning Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) platform from displaying a video of a stabbing attack in a church in Sydney. On Monday, Justice Geoffrey Kennett denied an application by the country’s eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, to extend restrictions on the clip, which she had deemed to be “class 1” material relating to high-impact violence. The judge hasn’t yet provided explanations for his ruling. The initial ban on the video, which was imposed by the Federal Court in Melbourne on April 22, expired on Monday. X had refused to comply with the order, which would have made the clip inaccessible to users worldwide. The platform only agreed to block the content in Australia. Musk insisted back then that one country should not have the power to censor the whole internet. The eSafety commissioner argued that a blanket ban was needed as Australians could still access the video through a VPN.

The clip in question showed a stabbing that took place during a live-streamed sermon at an Assyrian Christian church in the suburbs of Sydney on April 15. Four people, including Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, were injured in what the Australian authorities described as a “terrorist incident.” The footage of the attack was widely shared online and allegedly prompted heated protests near the crime scene. During the hearing on Friday, lawyer for the eSafety Commissioner, Tim Begbie, argued that the refusal to comply with the order by X amounted to mockery of the Federal Court. “What that says about the authority of the court is pretty striking,” he said.

X’s lawyer Bret Walker argued that the platform did not implement the ban on the stabbing video because the commissioner’s initial take-down notice was invalid and “manifestly inadequate” due to the absence of a detailed description of the reasons for the ban. The social media company believes that “global removal is reasonable when X does it because X wants to do it, but it becomes unreasonable when it is told to do it by the laws of Australia,” Walker told the judge. In late April, Bishop Emmanuel supported Musk during a sermon, saying that he wanted the video of the attack against him to remain online because it is “our God-given right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

Read more …

Sounds too much like a promo.

The Coming of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem (Pepe Escobar)

Get ready for what may well be the geoeconomic bombshell of 2024: the coming of a decentralized monetary ecosystem. Welcome to The Unit – a concept that has already been discussed by the financial services and investments working group set up by the BRICS+ Business Council and has a serious shot at becoming official BRICS+ policy as early as in 2025. According to Alexey Subbotin, founder of Arkhangelsk Capital Management and one of the Unit’s conceptualizers, this is a new problem-solving system that addresses the key geoeconomic issue of these troubled times: a global crisis of trust. He knows all about it first-hand: a seasoned financial professional with experience in investment banking, asset management and corporate matters, Subbotin leads the Unit project under the auspices of IRIAS, an international intergovernmental organization set up in 1976 in accordance with the UN statute.

The Global Majority has had enough of the centrally controlled monetary framework put in place 80 years ago in Bretton Woods and its endemic flaws: chronic deficits fueling irresponsible military spending; speculative bubbles; politically motivated sanctions and secondary sanctions; abuse of settlement and payment infrastructure; protectionism; and the lack of fair arbitration. In contrast, the Unit proposes a reliable, quick and economically efficient solution for cross-border payments. The – transactional – Unit is a game-changer as a new form of international currency that can be issued in a de-centralized way, and then recognized and regulated at national level.The Unit offers a unique solution for bottlenecks in global financial infrastructure: it is eligible for traditional banking operations as well as for the newest forms of digital banking.

The Unit can also help to upend unfair pricing in commodity trading, by means of setting up a new – fair and efficient – Eurasian Mercantile Exchange where trading and settlement can be done in a new currency bridging trade flows and capital, thus paving the way to the development of new financial products for foreign direct investment (FDI). The strength of the Unit, conceptually, is to remove direct dependency on the currency of other nations, and to offer especially to the Global Majority a new form of apolitical money – with huge potential for anchoring fair trade and investments. It is indeed a new concept in terms of an international currency – anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%). [..] The Global Majority will instantly grasp the primary purpose of the Unit: to harmonize trade and financial flows by keeping them outside of political pressure or “rules” that can be twisted at will. The inevitable consequence translates as financial sovereignty. What matters in the whole process are independent monetary policies focused on economic growth.

That’s the key appeal for the Global Majority: a full ecosystem offering independent, complementary monetary infrastructure. And that surely can be extended to willing Unit partners in the collective West.

Read more …


Putin to Visit China at Invitation of Xi Jinping on May 16-17 – Kremlin (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the Kremlin press service said. “At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to the People’s Republic of China on May 16-17 as his first foreign trip after taking office,” the statement said. Following the talks, it is planned to sign a joint statement by the heads of state and a number of bilateral documents, the statement read, adding that the leaders will determine the directions for further development of cooperation and discuss most pressing issues. “The program of the visit of the Russian president provides for his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, during which it is expected to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation in the trade, economic and humanitarian spheres,” the Kremlin said.

Additionally, Putin will visit Harbin, where he will take part in the opening ceremony of the eighth Russian-Chinese EXPO, meet with students and teachers of Harbin Institute of Technology. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will attend a gala evening to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the Russian-Chinese Years of Culture. “During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will exchange views on bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, as well as on international and regional issues of common interest, in the context of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Read more …

“..this year, we’ve got to increase our production of hijinx and substantially raise the output of malarky.”

Latest Polls Show Biden Will Need Twice As Many Fake Ballots This Year (BBee)

As former President Donald Trump continued to build a sizeable lead in a majority of swing states, the latest polls suggest President Joe Biden would need twice as many fake ballots to win the election this year. The startling poll results presented the Biden campaign with a sobering reminder that the standard number of fake ballots used in previous election years needed to be increased significantly for him to win again in November. “We’ve got to double our target number of fake votes this year,” said a Biden campaign insider under the condition of anonymity. “In previous years, we could just coast by with the standard quota of shenanigans, but this year, we’ve got to increase our production of hijinx and substantially raise the output of malarky.”

The polls also led White House insiders to express concern that there may not even be enough dead people casting votes to overcome the deficit. “We need more dead voters,” another insider said. “We’ve always done a good job of turning out the dead vote, but this year it will be even more crucial to get as many deceased people to the polls as possible.” Democrat ballot production centers across the country have reportedly already been notified to ramp up production to have any chance of meeting the demand in November. At publishing time, the Biden campaign was rumored to be in negotiations with foreign countries for permission to use large quantities of the dead voters they use to rig their elections.

Read more …





CO2 history



Stairway to Heaven






Ashley Biden






Labrador vs. Border Collie





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






Nov 142019
 November 14, 2019  Posted by at 1:30 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »

Rembrandt van Rijn Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem 1630


Watching Day 1 yesterday of the impeachment inquiry that isn’t one, I was thinking about an old children’s game, which is just as useful for adults, in which, in a wide circle of persons, no. 1 tells no. 2 a story, no. 2 tells no. 3, and so forth. If the total numbers of persons in the circle is large enough, it’s certain that the story, if it has enough details, will have changed unrecognizably by, say, no. 20.

That little game is a nice illustration of why you’ve all heard the words “Hearsay, Your Honor” spoken by some lawyer or another in 1000+ movies and TV series. And hearsay was all there was yesterday from “witnesses” Bill Taylor and George Kent. They are both “witnesses” who didn’t witness anything related to the hearing in course and neither ever met or spoke to President Trump, but both claim to know exactly what he was thinking, why he did what he did, and said what he said, based on things they heard from third parties, quite a few of whom remain anonymous.

Little of what they said would therefore be ruled admissible in a court of law. But the House inquiry is not a court of law. It can probably best be compared to a grand jury, a very one-sided format designed to let a prosecutor find and present enough evidence to let a case go to court. If Taylor and Kent had been in a court room, you would have heard “Hearsay, Your Honor” about once in every ten seconds. That gets old fast.

So why do we have this circus going on when it is obvious that round 2 (or 3, if you think the basement hearings were round 1), the Senate trial which must follow if the Dems decide to impeach Trump, has to acquit him because the House based its entire case on hearsay? I don’t know, but perhaps we see some of it in Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley (IL)’s statement: “Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct … and it’s certainly valid in this instance”

Note that Quigley in that little video got shut down very rapidly in his enthusiasm for using hearsay by someone (I can’t see who) saying none of the exceptions he seemed to refer to applied to “this testimony”. And that’s the crux here: courts may have in the past, after much deliberation, allowed hearsay in specific cases, but Quigley tries to make it look as if that is now some general rule, and that is certainly not true.

Before I forget, something that struck me at the start yesterday was how both Adam Schiff and Bill Taylor in their openings emphasized their focus on Russia, while this case is not about that, but about Ukraine. And Russia Russia Russia has been shot down along with Robert Muller in his memorably awful “defense” of his failed report a few months ago.

Schiff’s opening words:

In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire. In the following years, thirteen thousand Ukrainians died as they battled superior Russian forces.

There is so much wrong and debatable and leading and what not in just those few words, I don’t even know where to start. I guess perhaps I should be shouting out “Hearsay, Your Honor” at the top of my lungs. Then there’s Taylor:

After his opening statement, Taylor answers questions. He tells committee members: “If we withdraw or suspend or threaten to withdraw our security assistance” to Ukraine, it sends a “message to Ukrainians, but its just as important to the Russians who are looking for any sign of weakness”. “That affects us” he adds. It affects the world that we live in; that our children and grandchildren will grow up in,” he adds, appearing to become emotional. “Ukraine is on the front line of that conflict,” he concludes.

These statements are important because they tell us that Schiff and Taylor both see the world through the same glasses. The Russians are looking for signs of US weakness that they can use to advance their grand plan to (re) build a grand empire. That comes with the idea that the US didn’t cause the mayhem in Ukraine in 2014 with their coup, no, it was Russia which reacted so it wouldn’t lose its only warm water port.


Back to the hearing. Taylor said it was his “clear understanding” that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until the Bidens and other matters were investigated. At the very least there is no proof of that. It’s much more likely from what we know today that Ukraine didn’t know Trump withheld the aid until after the July 25 phone call this whole thing rests on. It was suggested yesterday that they didn’t know until the end of August, but I’ve seen people claim that they knew a few weeks earlier. But Zelensky didn’t know on July 25, that we can agree on.

And anyway, this is merely Taylor’s opinion. Based on hearsay. Based on what some guy told him some other guy told him etc etc. And though Taylor never met Trump, the very idea of withholding aid to one of the most corrupt nations on the planet scares the heebees out of him because Russia Russia Russia.

Taylor is a career diplomat who has bought hook line and sinker into established US policy in the region, and who will defend it until his dying breath. And if that means going against the president of the country he allegedly serves, who has every right to rebalance that policy, Taylor will do it. That is what he was saying.

Taylor came close to matching Mueller’s uber-bumbling performance the other day, though he didn’t quite get there. Kent was not quite that bad, but he’s in the same camp, the same career field, and the same deep state, FBI-CIA controlled policy-making no matter who gets elected president. And looking at Bill Taylor, how can one not question the wisdom of people like him making decisions on matters such as that?

Republican counsel Steve Castor started off strong, at least from what I saw, but seemed to fizzle out a little because he became lost in his own one question every five seconds model. Perhaps it was the format, maximum time limits etc., which you don’t have in a courtroom. Jim Jordan did well, he just got named to the committee, but he could have been more effective as well. Still, this part was strong:

You didn’t listen in on President Trump & Zelensky’s call?

Taylor: I did not.

Jordan: You’ve never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

Taylor: I never did.

Jordan: You’ve never met the President?

Taylor: That’s correct.

Jordan: And you’re their star witness.

All in all, if you thought yesterday was a good day for the Democrats, for the inquiry, or for Adam Schiff, you really need to check a few fundamental issues. All Schiff managed to bring to the table was hearsay. And it’s only because of the grand jury-like format that he even gets to start day 2. No judge would have let him. But there is no judge, and there is no jury. There’s only an executioner.

PS I found this thing from the BBC intriguing and illustrative:

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, said a member of his staff was told Mr Trump was preoccupied with pushing for a probe into Mr Biden. He was speaking at the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.

[..] During a detailed opening statement, Mr Taylor said a member of his staff had overheard a telephone call in which the president inquired about “the investigations” into Mr Biden. The call was with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, who reportedly told the president over the phone from a restaurant in Kyiv that “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward”. After the call, the staff member “asked ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine”, Mr Taylor said. Mr Taylor said: “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.”

First, it argues that a member of Taylor’s staff was told something by a third party, but later it changes to him/her hearing the president “live”. Albeit through an allegedly private phone call in which Trump may have sounded a bit loud. You want to impeach your president on the basis of a maybe overheard phone call that someone told you someone told someone else about?

By the way, that phone call allegedly was between Trump and Gordon Sondland, hotelier cum US ambassador to the EU, the same person who testified in the famous Schiff basement and whose laywer at some point contested Taylor’s statements about what Sondland told him, after which the latter went back to the basement to change his testimony. He said she said but then he said and then she said and so on.

What’s on the schedule for the circus today, is it the clowns or the elephants? I may take a day off. We have weeks more of this. And already I have no idea left of who told whom what.


Please support the Automatic Earth on Paypal and Patreon so we can continue to publish.

Top of the page, left and right sidebars. Thank you.