Oct 182023
 October 18, 2023  Posted by at 8:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »

Henri Matisse Nu Blue IV 1952


Hospital Bombing A ‘Massacre’ And ‘Genocide’ – Palestinians (RT)
Arab Leaders Refuse To Meet Biden As Protests Rage Around The World (ZH)
Jordan FM Says Summit With Biden’s Participation Cancelled (TASS)
Failure of Biden’s Israel Trip Would be ‘Curse’ on 2024 Election Campaign (Sp.)
US Opposes Peace as Israel Ethnically Cleanses Palestinians (Norton)
Israeli Ground Operation In Gaza An ‘Ugly Blot On Humanity’ – Türkiye (TASS)
How Media Outlets Work With Israel To Control Gaza Narrative (Adley)
Putin Responds To Biden ‘Put Down’ Comments (RT)
Why Vladimir Putin’s Visit To Beijing This Week Is So Important (Babaev)
Trend Toward Mutually Beneficial Cooperation Unstoppable – Xi Jinping (TASS)
US Must Learn to Respect Other States, Find Compromises – Putin (Sp.)
Majority Of Americans Believe Both Biden And Trump Committed Crimes (Turley)
Pfizer May Go Bankrupt, Financial Markets Realize (Chudov)



Iran FM



Gaza hospital



NYC last night





Mr. Fish: The Obscenity













Twitter files








“People left their homes thinking they were more dangerous and they moved to our schools and hospitals to be safe. And in one minute, all of them have been killed at a hospital.”

Hospital Bombing A ‘Massacre’ And ‘Genocide’ – Palestinians (RT)

A Palestinian Red Crescent representative on Tuesday described the destruction of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza City as a war crime and genocide, while a local doctor called it a massacre. Over 600 people have been reported dead, but it is feared the final death toll may exceed a thousand. “This is genocide. This is a war crime,” Nebal Farsakh of the Red Crescent told Al Jazeera. She explained that in addition to the patients inside, many Palestinian civilians had sought shelter in the hospital compound, after Israel ordered everyone in the north of Gaza to leave. “Those who were in front of the hospital were forced to leave their homes under the evacuation order. They can’t even afford to evacuate to the south. There’s complete destruction of the infrastructure and transportation,” she said, speaking from Ramallah in the West Bank.

“What’s happened is terrible because those people, all of them, are civilians. They fled their homes and reached a place that they believed was safe – a hospital, which according to international law, is a safe place,” Ziad Shehadah, a doctor in Gaza, told AJ. “People left their homes thinking they were more dangerous and they moved to our schools and hospitals to be safe. And in one minute, all of them have been killed at a hospital.” According to Shehadah, the final death toll could easily reach more than 1,000. “It is a massacre,” he added. Al-Ahli hospital is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, an Anglican Christian denomination. Its destruction was denounced by the World Health Organization, Egypt, Qatar and Türkiye, among others.

Israel has denied striking the hospital, however. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said that “an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit.” “According to intelligence information, from several sources we have, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital,” Hagari added. The same claim was echoed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly afterwards. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh insisted that such “brutality” by Israel confirmed its “defeat” on October 7, and said the US was ultimately to blame. “The US holds the responsibility of the hospital attack because of the cover it gives to the Israeli aggression,” Haniyeh said. He also called for Palestinians in the West Bank to rise up against Israel.

Within minutes of Haniyeh’s statement, a riot broke out in Ramallah, as hundreds of Palestinians protested against President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to meet with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Abbas has reportedly canceled those plans since, citing the hospital attack. In nearby Jordan, dozens of protesters attempted to break into the Israeli embassy in Amman, but were dispersed by police. Russia and the United Arab Emirates have called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, to discuss the Gaza hospital attack.


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Street protests literally everywhere in the world.

“There is no point in doing anything at this time other than stopping this war..” “There is no benefit to anyone in holding a summit at this time.”

Arab Leaders Refuse To Meet Biden As Protests Rage Around The World (ZH)

Update(1820ET): As expected, the fallout from the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital bombing has been swift, with a domino effect of negative consequences both for diplomacy and on the ‘Arab street’. The situation outside the US Embassy in Beirut is deteriorating tonight, with reports of riot police and tear gas being deployed against large crowds waving Hezbollah flags. But more importantly, and just as Air Force One is departing Washington for Israel, the White House has canceled the entire leg of Biden’s trip to Jordan. The confirmation was issued within the same hour that Arab leaders announced they were unwilling to meet with Biden, given the US is Israel’s biggest funder and supporter.

Biden issued a statement “deepest condolences” to victims of Gaza “hospital explosion,” according to the White House official statement: “After consulting with Jordan King Abdullah II & in light of the days of mourning announced by Palestinian Authority President Abbas, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and Egypt President Sisi. The President sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

So even before arriving in Israel, the Tuesday massacre – which Israel is actually blaming on Palestinian militants (specifically PIJ) – has effectively served to box-in Biden. France’s Macron has just issued a condemnation to boot, saying “nothing can justify targeting civilians” in a statement which appears to place blame squarely on the Israelis. Biden will now also face the pressure to join the chorus of international condemnation. “International humanitarian law is binding on all and must enable the protection of civilian populations. Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened up without delay,” the French foreign ministry said in the statement. Here’s what Jordan had to say: “There is no point in doing anything at this time other than stopping this war,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Al Jazeera Arabic early Wednesday morning. “There is no benefit to anyone in holding a summit at this time.”

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No longer feasible. Those days went by rapidly.

Jordan FM Says Summit With Biden’s Participation Cancelled (TASS)

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the October 18 summit in Amman, expected to be attended by US President Joe Biden, has been cancelled. “We made the decision not to hold the four-party summit in Amman,” the minister said in a comment to Al Jazeera. He said the top-level meeting was cancelled after consultations with other partners – Egypt, the United States and Palestine. “Our decision not to hold the four-party summit was made after consultations with the Palestinian authorities, Cairo and Washington,” Safadi said. Meanwhile, the White House said early on Wednesday that Biden had cancelled his visit to Jordan. “After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President Sisi of Egypt,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement.

According to the release, the US president “looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days.” Biden also conveyed his condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza. The summit was scheduled to take place on October 18, in the Jordanian capital of Amman. It was expected to bring together US President Joe Biden, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A spokesperson for the Fatah movement, led by Abbas, said late on Tuesday that the Palestinian president refused to participate in the talks.

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Failure guaranteed even before his plane touches down.

“Palestine belongs to the great three religions and this is only going to put the Jewish state at stake, at risk, if these kinds of things are going to be done wrongly.”

Failure of Biden’s Israel Trip Would be ‘Curse’ on 2024 Election Campaign (Sp.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday that US President Joe Biden would visit Israel in the coming days as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prepare to launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Speaking in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, Blinken said Biden would “reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security,” and would “receive a comprehensive brief on Israel’s war aims and strategy” as it amasses 350,000 troops to invade Gaza. Having traveled to Israel a day prior, Blinken has pressured the Israeli government to allow humanitarian corridors to open into Gaza, which has been under “complete siege” for more than a week.

The IDF bombing campaign has killed more than 2,800 in Gaza since October 7, when Hamas launched an unprecedented raid into Israeli territory that killed more than 1,300 Israelis in several border settlements near Gaza. Blinken said Biden would oversee implementation of “a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza” without “benefiting” Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. Riyadh-based political analyst Dr. Ahmed al-Ibrahim told Sputnik on Tuesday that regional trust had waned in Washington’s ability or willingness to mediate the 75-year-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but noted that the conflict would continue until both sides are willing to make hard choices to satisfy the others’ concerns.

“Traditionally, the United States is the custodian of Israel and they have unlimited support for Israel. Biden wants to show that to the world – that the United States is standing behind Israel at anything that Israel needs and has unconditional support for the Israelis. Of course, let’s not forget that he’s taking this opportunity to position himself [in] the presidential election that’s coming up, so he can get the Jewish votes inside the United States and show that he can turn things in the Middle East and use it in the favor of Israel.” “Definitely, this is going to be held as a kind of campaign for Biden, that he can still solve issues in the Middle East, and he’s going to use it for his campaign,” Dr. Al-Ibrahim said, noting that ”it is very sensitive. It is not uncomplicated, because if he does not do it right, this thing is going to accelerate so much that it will be beyond control. So if Biden doesn’t come with the right formula in order to solve it, it could be a curse on his election in 2024.”

Dr. Al-Ibrahim said that after arriving in Israel, Biden would most likely not attempt to position himself as a mediator in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, but to support Israel as it prepares for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which the commentator said would be “a big mistake.” “It’s only going to fuel [strife in] the whole Middle East and it’s going to fuel probably 2 billion Muslims and 2.5 billion Christians. Palestine belongs to the great three religions and this is only going to put the Jewish state at stake, at risk, if these kinds of things are going to be done wrongly.”

“We know that Gaza is the most geographically dense location in the world. However, we all agree, Saudi Arabia agreed from before, that Hamas is not the government that should control Gaza. It should be another government, not radical, like Hamas. And this issue needs to be put on the table. If Biden doesn’t balance the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, this can be expanded geographically. And it’s a very sensitive issue for the Israelis right now and for the Palestinians to really have a permanent solution and to go back to the two-state solution. This is what basically [Saudi] Prince Mohammed bin Salman has conveyed very strongly to Secretary Blinken,” Dr. Al-Ibrahim said. However, Dr. Al-Ibrahim said that people in the Middle East have “given up” on US policy in the region and “lost trust” that any American politician is actually interested in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Is it incompetency? Is it the strategy? Nobody knows. The Middle East region lives off of conspiracies, these conspiracies are an issue with them. The Palestinian file is very close and dear to the Middle Eastern people and they are looking at the Palestinians and they see that their rights have been taken, and the Israelis are only gaining more land and not giving anything to the Palestinians – no dignities, no land, nothing.” “Everybody blames America in this region for what’s happening, everybody. It’s not necessarily that they have an evil strategy in order to execute things,” he explained. “It’s maybe incompetence. They are looking at the matters in their own country and not getting them right. Look at Iraq, look at Afghanistan, look at Ukraine – look at all these countries. The war starts, and there is no right execution, chaos and hell starts happening in the region.

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“We may be about to see massive ethnic cleansing” – a clear indication that Western capitals know exactly what Israel is doing.”

US Opposes Peace as Israel Ethnically Cleanses Palestinians (Norton)

The Israeli government is in the process of ethnically cleansing more than 1 million Palestinians, pushing them out of their homes in Gaza. According to senior Israeli officials, the plan of the far-right Benjamin Netanyahu government is to force Palestinians into the desert of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where they will live in so-called “tent cities”. At the same time, Israel is brutally bombing the besieged Gaza strip – one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. There are even reports that Israel has attacked convoys of Palestinian civilians who were abiding by its evacuation order and fleeing from the north to the south of the 40-kilometer strip. Meanwhile, the United States has adamantly refused to support calls for peace. Instead, the State Department told US diplomats not to mention the phrases “de-escalation/ceasefire”, “end to violence/bloodshed”, and “restoring calm” when discussing Gaza, according to a memo obtained by HuffPost.

[..] According to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, Israel’s plan is to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and force them into Egypt. Citing an anonymous high level source, Hersh wrote, “I have been told by an Israeli insider that Israel has been trying to convince Qatar, which at the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a long-time financial supporter of Hamas, to join with Egypt in funding a tent city for the million or more refugees awaiting across the border”. This plan was in fact confirmed by Israel’s former deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, who previously served as the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a foreign policy adviser for far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In an interview with Al Jazeera reporter Marc Lamont Hill on 12 October, Ayalon stated:

DANNY AYALON: “This was, this is thought out. It’s not something that we tell them, go to the beaches, go drown yourselves, God forbid, not at all. There is a huge expense, almost endless space in the Sinai desert, just on the other side of Gaza. The idea is – and this is not the first time it will be done – the idea is for them to leave over to the open areas where we and the international community will prepare the infrastructure, you know, tent cities, with food and with water – you know, just like for the refugees of Syria that fled the butchering of Assad a few years ago to Turkey; Turkey received 2 million of them. This is the idea. Now Egypt will have to play ball here, because once the the population is out of sight, then we can go… I’ll tell you in a practical manner what we should do, and what we can do: create, like in the past, in history, a humanitarian corridor. When there is a humanitarian corridor – and we have been discussing this with the United States – then we can guarantee in this corridor that nobody will get hurt. Now, again, I say, there is a way to receive them all on the other side for temporary time, on the Sinai, because what did Hamas turn –

MARC LAMONT HILL: On the other side? Are we talking about Rafah? Are you saying the other side, they go to Egypt? DANNY AYALON: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. And Egypt will have to play ball. While Israel is ethnically cleansing Palestinians and killing large numbers of civilians, Western governments have showed unflinching support. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen both traveled to Tel Aviv to symbolically back the far-right Netanyahu government. The Financial Times reported that some EU officials are concerned “that the European Commission president could look as if she is endorsing military actions that will cause mass civilian casualties — and that will swiftly be labelled as war crimes”.

An unnamed EU diplomat told the Times, “We may be about to see massive ethnic cleansing” – a clear indication that Western capitals know exactly what Israel is doing. “Our fear is that we’ll pay a heavy price in the global south because of this conflict”, an anonymous EU official confessed to the newspaper. The vast majority of countries in the Global South support the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israeli colonialism. A rare exception is the far-right government in India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents a vehemently anti-Muslim Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP, which sees Israel’s religious ethnostate as an inspiration and potential model for its own plans for a so-called “Hindu rashtra”.

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The operation looks less likely by the minute. First it was on, then postponed due to bad weather (which was fine), and now the IDF says it’s “still undecided about whether to launch a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip..”

Israeli Ground Operation In Gaza An ‘Ugly Blot On Humanity’ – Türkiye (TASS)

Israel’s potential launch of a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip would result in the deaths of thousands of innocent people and represent an “ugly blot on humanity,” Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said on Tuesday. “A potential ground military operation by Israel in the Gaza Strip would lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including women and children,” Turkish television news channel TRT Haber quoted Celik as saying. “It would be a catastrophe and an ugly blot on humanity.” According to the spokesman of the AKP, which is led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be settled through peaceful methods only. “First of all, the anti-humane bombardments of the Gaza Strip must be stopped and the blockade must be lifted and only then should the parties sit down at the negotiating table to reach a lasting and stable peace,” Celik added.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht announced earlier in the day that Israel was still undecided about whether to launch a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 when militants from the radical Palestinian movement Hamas staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. Hamas described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Israel has announced a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and has been delivering rocket attacks on Gaza as well as some districts in Lebanon and Syria. According to the latest official data, more than 2,800 Palestinians have been killed since the renewed outbreak of violence, while over 11,200 others have sustained wounds. In Israel, over 1,500 people have lost their lives and over 4,200 have been wounded in clashes, including on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

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And the Guardian fired a cartoonist after 40 years of service.

How Media Outlets Work With Israel To Control Gaza Narrative (Adley)

This week’s coverage by Western corporate media underlined its inability to hold the world’s 4th largest military to account for war crimes and instead give airtime to Israeli military officials to incite genocide against Palestinians, who are caged like animals in the world’s largest concentration camp. Western corporate journalists cannot report neutrally on Israel/Palestine. And here’s just a few examples as to why: Let’s take The New York Times, for example. Not only has the newspaper constantly supported Israel’s expansionist policies, but it has also directly participated in the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes. The New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau is built on a Palestinian house that belongs to a noted Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi, a survivor of the Nakba.

The Times also often cooperates with Israeli officials. In 2014, for example, it received and obeyed an Israeli gag order to suppress the news that Israel had arrested a Palestinian journalist. From 2008 – 2012, The New York Times Israel bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, was exposed to having his 20-year-old son enlist in the Israeli army while he was actively covering the region for the newspaper. The so-called paper of record never made this public to its readers, raising serious questions of bias and a conflict of interest. The New York Times also fired Gaza photographer Hosam Salem following an intervention from Israel lobby group Honest Reporting. However, the paper had no problem employing Ethan Bronner and others like Isabel Kershner and David Brooks to write about Palestine while all three had offspring fighting in the Israeli military.

In general, the consolidation of corporate media since the 1980s has led to ownership by billionaire oligarchs or gigantic multinational corporations that have a strong stake in preserving the status quo of ensuring forever wars continue, and neither of whom want to see nationalist liberation struggles succeed. The orders come down from up high that news organizations have to support Israel. Axel Springer – a giant German broadcaster that owns Politico – has explicitly told its staff that it is their duty to support Israel and those that don’t should leave. A wave of firings of Arab journalists across Germany underlined this message. The BBC, meanwhile, is the state broadcaster for the United Kingdom, a nation that helped create the state of Israel in 1948. Many of its top foreign affairs journalists go on to work for NATO or big think tanks funded by weapons manufacturers who directly profit from war.

The BBC has been continuously criticized for not providing historical context to the crisis in Gaza and linking it to its own British colonial history of helping create the state of Israel through the Balfour Declaration and providing it with weapons to occupy Palestinian land ever since. American journalists who don’t toe the line on Israel/Palestine are frequently made examples of. CNN fired anchor Marc Lamont Hill for calling for a free Palestine. Katie Halper was fired from The Hill for (accurately) calling Israel an Apartheid state. And The Guardian sacked Nathan J. Robinson after he made a joke mocking US military aid to Israel.

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“.. none of this is going to happen,” because Biden has “already forgotten what he said.” “Dementia is a useful thing,” Medvedev added.

Putin Responds To Biden ‘Put Down’ Comments (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday addressed the comments made by US President Joe Biden about “putting down” Moscow, suggesting that the octogenarian American politician still has a lot to learn. “You live, you learn. One must learn, and then there won’t be a desire to ‘put down’ anyone, since that leads to problems. One needs to learn to respect others and seek compromise,” Putin said in Beijing, where he is attending the international Belt and Road Forum. The Russian leader was responding to a reporter who had asked for a comment on Biden’s statements, voiced in a ‘60 Minutes’ interview broadcast on Sunday by the US network CBS.

“Imagine what happens if we, in fact, unite all of Europe and Putin is finally put down where he cannot cause the kind of trouble he’s been causing,” Biden told interviewer Scott Pelley at one point, arguing that the US has “enormous opportunities to make it a better world.” Putin’s response was more diplomatic than the reaction of his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev, who currently chairs the Russian security council. Commenting on Biden’s words on Monday, Medvedev thanked the US president for clarifying his mission, but noted that “none of this is going to happen,” because Biden has “already forgotten what he said.” “Dementia is a useful thing,” Medvedev added.

Biden, 81, is the oldest US president to be sworn in. He has been dogged by persistent rumors about his deteriorating physical and mental health, driven by a history of mis-speaking in public. In a CBS poll last month, only 26% of respondents said he was physically and cognitively fit for the job, and only 34% believed he would make it to the end of his second term, if re-elected in 2024. At a campaign event in Pennsylvania in early September, Biden argued that his advanced years were actually an asset, because “the only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom.”

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As the US is setting one part of the world on fire, Xi and Putin build a new world elsewhere.

Why Vladimir Putin’s Visit To Beijing This Week Is So Important (Babaev)

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing this week marks the second Russia-China summit this year. This time, the president is paying a visit to his friend and strategic partner, following agreements reached during Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow in March. At that time, the Chinese leader invited Putin to attend the third forum of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which marks its tenth anniversary. The presence of the Russian leader at the event is especially notable given the occasional view (mostly from the West) that the project has reached a dead end. The scheme, launched by Xi in 2013 to link Chinese goods to European markets via trans-Eurasian land and northern sea routes, is indeed facing a dilemma. By erecting a new “iron curtain” on the borders of Russia and Belarus, Western Europe has fallen into its own trap, depriving itself of low-cost energy sources – the main driver of its economy since the 1970s.

At the same time, Western European countries are also closing off the possibility of importing cheap Chinese goods by land since Russia was the critical link in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ project. Meanwhile, sanctions on the supply of high-tech products to China and the refusal to allow Chinese investment in their markets are also jeopardizing Sino-European trade along the Northern Sea Route. Under these conditions, the BRI is looking for new points of growth, one of which could be fast-growing Russian-Chinese trade and the coupling of the initiative with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The EAEU and the Belt and Road pairing would be important for Russia in the context of its ‘pivot to the East,’ which is largely complete in exports and imports. China understands that trade with the EAEU is much more reliable than interaction with Western countries, albeit in smaller volumes.

After reaching almost $200 billion last year, trade between the two countries could exceed $300-350 billion in the medium term. The current transport infrastructure is struggling to cope with the growing flow of goods, and new solutions are needed. The leaders of Russia and China will discuss this at the Beijing summit. This could include new railway lines across their common border and through Central Asian countries, as well as pipelines. Given the full capacity of Power of Siberia, many expect Putin’s visit to finalize agreements on the construction of Power of Siberia-2, which will benefit both Russia, which is turning its gas flows eastwards, and China, which is looking for a cheap replacement for dirty coal. Likely, the conversation will also focus on building financial infrastructure.

Both countries are actively developing national digital currencies that could replace modern fiat currencies for settlements within two to three years. This will eliminate sanctions risks in this regard by removing the need for correspondent settlements while significantly automating cross-border payments. At the same time, it is crucial to convince Beijing of the need to allow large Russian banks to enter the Chinese financial system: Sberbank, Alfa Bank, and Gazprombank have already announced their intention to open branches, and the approval of the regulator will help to balance cooperation between the two countries, as Chinese banks have long and fruitfully worked in Russia. Of course, it is also essential for the leaders of Russia and China to discuss political issues, both within the framework of bilateral coordination and in the context of the activities of international organizations.

The expansion of BRICS presents both new opportunities and challenges. The activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization require long overdue improvements and a transition to a new level of interaction. Putin and Xi may also discuss the implications of the recent summit between China and the Central Asian states, as Beijing’s intention to turn it into a permanent institutional format is unlikely to please Moscow. In any case, it is time for the partners to synchronize their policies and outline new prospects for cooperation. Every meeting between Putin and Xi gives an impetus to the development of economic, scientific, technological, and humanitarian ties. Given that 2024 will be the year of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries, this should be particularly strong.

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“People’s striving for a better life and the aspiration of all countries for common development and prosperity are irresistible..”

Trend Toward Mutually Beneficial Cooperation Unstoppable – Xi Jinping (TASS)

The historical trend toward peace and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries cannot be stopped, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a reception for the heads of delegations participating in the Belt and Road forum at the Great Hall of the People. “The historical trend toward peace, development and mutually beneficial cooperation cannot be stopped. People’s striving for a better life and the aspiration of all countries for common development and prosperity are irresistible,” the Xinhua news agency quotes him as saying. As he addressed the participants, Xi said that cooperation in the Belt and Road project pursued development goals, was aimed at yielding mutual benefits and carried “a message of hope.”

He also said that all the successes achieved in implementing this initiative were a collective merit of the governments, businesses and peoples of the participating countries. “In the past 10 years since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and its partners have worked together to uphold the spirit of the Silk Road, contribute to global connectivity, to build platforms for international economic cooperation and to give an impetus to global economic growth,” Xi stated, adding that the initiative would create a brighter future for the whole of humanity.

A photo session preceded the meeting. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a place on the right hand-side of the summit’s host Xi Jinping. Before that, immediately upon arrival, the Russian president and the Chinese leader shook hands and exchanged a few remarks. The third Belt and Road forum is taking place in Beijing on October 17 and 18, with over 4,000 participants from more than 140 countries in attendance. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived as the chief guest of the event. The Belt and Road initiative is a concept Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed in 2013 with the aim to intensify multilateral trade and investment projects with the participation of countries concerned and Chinese and foreign capital. More than 150 states and more than 30 international organizations have already joined it.

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“If they [US] have no other tasks but to build relations with Russia, then in a sense this is not bad..”

US Must Learn to Respect Other States, Find Compromises – Putin (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, commenting on a recent remark of US President Joe Biden about the need to “put down” the Russian leader that the United States need to learn to respect others and be able to find compromises, then no one will need to be suppressed. In a recent interview with an American broadcaster, Biden stated that he is sure about running for the second presidential term. “All of Europe and Putin is finally put down where he cannot cause the kind of trouble he’s been causing,” the president claimed when asked to imagine what would happen if the US unites. “They need to learn to respect others and then no one will have to be suppressed. But the desire to suppress someone all the time for some reason or for no reason at all leads to problems. They [US representatives], of course, with their usual brilliance, love and do it well – they smile during protocol events, pat everyone on the shoulder.

But respect for other people, for other countries, for other peoples lies elsewhere, lies in taking into account their interests,” Putin told Pavel Zarubin, a Russian news agency reporter. If the United States has no other tasks than building relations with Russia then it is not bad, Putin said.”I believe that Biden is certainly one of the most experienced politicians in the world as a whole – in terms of time spent in the so-called upper echelons of power. He has been in politics for a long time. Of course, a person is experienced and knows what tasks to set for himself, how to achieve them. If they [US] have no other tasks but to build relations with Russia, then in a sense this is not bad,” Putin said, emphasizeng that Russia’s interests cannot be suppressed, but will have to be respected.

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Views are shifting despite the media.

Majority Of Americans Believe Both Biden And Trump Committed Crimes (Turley)

We recently discussed a poll showing that 68% of voters believe that President Joe Biden acted either criminally or unethically in connection to the foreign dealings of his son, Hunter Biden. Now a Fox poll has found largely that same response — a majority believes that both Biden and former president Donald Trump have committed criminal acts. It is an extraordinary political and legal moment where the two frontrunners for the presidency are believed to be criminal actors by many voters. The Fox polls shows that 52% of voters believes Trump did something illegal in connection to efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents. Only 23% believe that Trump did not commit criminal acts.

Obviously, the results are driven by the overwhelming view of Democrats (86%) but independents (53%) also think Trump did something illegal. On the Bidens, 52% think Hunter Biden did something illegal in relation to his business dealings in Ukraine and China. That worsening situation is again driven on one side with Republicans. However, there was an 18% shift in independents that should worry the President. Some 40 percent believe that Joe Biden committed crimes. That is close to the 36 percent who shared that view in the earlier poll. What is particularly notable is that 69 percent now believe that Joe Biden acted with criminally or unethically — virtually identical to the other poll.

As I wrote earlier, the most striking aspect of these polls is the disconnect with the mainstream media. Despite overwhelmingly protective coverage for the Bidens, the public is simply not buying it. While both the Democrats and the media have been unrelenting in opposing investigations into the Bidens, the public has long supported such efforts. These consistent polls show that the public is tuning out the media spin on the corruption scandal involving the Bidens. It also shows (with both Trump and Biden) that the same roughly 25% remain constant for both candidates. NB: The headline and two lines were changed to reflect that the view of Joe Biden as a criminal actor has increased but remains under 50 percent. However, 69% now view the President as acting either criminally or unethically.

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“..legal protection granted to Pfizer by the PREP act will cease to protect it if significant fraud on the part of Pfizer is discovered.”

Pfizer May Go Bankrupt, Financial Markets Realize (Chudov)

The stock market may be waking up to the possibility that Pfizer may go bankrupt due to the upcoming Covid vaccine claims. Many parallels can be drawn between the corporate behaviors of Pfizer and Purdue Pharma, another pharmaceutical concern that dishonestly and aggressively marketed harmful products. Purdue Pharma went bankrupt due to the greed and depravity of its leaders, as their “legal protections” evaporated. The same may happen to Pfizer. Old, experienced vaccine companies like GSK refused to participate in “Covid vaccines” – and we now see why they made the right choice. Take a look at this chart: Pfizer’s stock (PFE) is valued at 25% less than it was five years ago, despite the billions of dollars it received from the sales of COVID vaccines, and the stock market and the pharmaceuticals index having gone up:

At first sight, Pfizer, a worldwide pharmaceutical juggernaut, should not be worth less than before the pandemic. Pfizer’s COVID vaccine made it billions and should have added value to the company, even if future sales of COVID-19-specific products cannot be assured. And yet, PFE has inexorably fallen since last November and is worth 25% less than five years ago, defying the general upside tendencies seen for other pharmaceuticals and the stock market. Since November of 2022, Pfizer has deviated from the trend of the pharmaceuticals index, underperforming by 35%. This can only be explained by the capital markets seeing something uniquely troublesome for Pfizer. This post will explore what it may be.

I am far from the first person suggesting that Pfizer, which aggressively marketed its COVID vaccines and underwrote a worldwide influence operation to mandate its product, may face ruinous liabilities. Ed Dowd, a former asset manager, was one of the first people to realize that. He explained that legal protection granted to Pfizer by the PREP act will cease to protect it if significant fraud on the part of Pfizer is discovered.

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Elephant Seal









Best friends





Yellow lane








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Mar 112022

Pablo Picasso Three women at the edge of the beach 1924


The Sanction Backlash Will Push The ‘West’ To Accept Russia’s Demands (MoA)
Who Will Denazify The Ukraine? (Dmitry Orlov)
The Opinion Of A Professional About The Special Operation In Ukraine (Dubrovsky)
Ukraine Biolab Watchtower (Malone)
WHO Told Ukraine To Destroy ‘High-Threat Pathogens’ In Labs (ZH)
Moscow Retaliates Against Western Sanctions With Export Bans (R.)
Russia To Ban Fertilizer Exports To ‘Not Friendly’ Countries (ZH)
Russia Denies Bombing Maternity Hospital in Mariupol: ‘Fake News’ (ET)
Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump in 2016 to Stop Putin (Sperry)
How Poland Avoided Hot Potato Of Being Dragged By US Into War With Russia (PM)
Germany Reactivates Coal Power Plants Amid Russian Gas Supply Threats (EuA)
Congress Inserts over 4,000 Pork Earmarks in Spending Bill (Turley)
Who Changed the Conclusions of a Paper that Could Have Saved Millions? (FLCCC)
US Dollar Being Used as “Instrument of War,” It’s the Endgame – Jim Rogers (SR)








Tulsi on Nuland








The Sanction Backlash Will Push The ‘West’ To Accept Russia’s Demands (MoA)

President Biden has blamed Russia for the price increase that will inevitably follow. I don’t believe that mid-term voters will accept that reasoning. European countries can not follow that step as their economies depend of imports of oil and gas from Russia and will continue to do so for years to come. In a move that must have been quite humiliating for the White House the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE declined to take calls from the U.S. president. They want the U.S. to designate the Houthi movement in Yemen, which they have been unsuccessful to suppress, a terrorist group: One hopes that the Biden administration does not fall for these disgusting bribery schemes but he has backed himself into a corner, cutting off Russian oil to punish Putin for a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, with no alternative but to horsetrade with autocrats over the fate of Yemenis a half a world away.

If this is geopolitics, heaven forgive us. I don’t think that the above is the only request the Saudis and UAE leaders will have. They are now in a situation in which they can demand ever more. Likewise humiliating is the administration’s opening of talks with Venezuela which it had sanctioned all around in its attempt to regime change the country. Caracas has released two U.S. nationals from prison. It is willing to talk. But before providing oil to the U.S. market it will demand the lifting of all sanctions and the return of all its assets the U.S. and UK have confiscated. Biden will have difficulties to find a Congress majority in support of such steps. The return of the nuclear deal with Iran, which would enable more oil output, hangs in balance as Russia demands sanction exemptions for its trade with Iran.

The U.S. had attempted to press Poland to deliver its old Mig-29 fighter jets to the Ukraine. In Russia’s eyes that would have been a direct Polish aggression against it. Warsaw found a smart way to avoid that. It offered to deliver the jets to a U.S. airbase in Germany. The tar baby would thereby stick to the U.S. itself. The Pentagon declined to accept that. The jet transfer is now most likely dead. The U.S. and Europe are only starting to feel the secondary consequences of the all out economic war they hastily initiated against Russia. The war will cause recessions not only in Russia but also all over the ‘west’. This while Russia has yet to announce its counter sanctions. There are many steps Russia could take to hurt the ‘west’ by withholding this or that resource. It is likely to start slowly to then increase the pressure step by step.

Cable from 2008 written by #CIA director William J. Burns, then US ambassador to Moscow

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“..the Ukrainian regime blithely trod across a very well established Russian red line that was guaranteed to trigger a military response.”

Who Will Denazify The Ukraine? (Dmitry Orlov)

Short answer: the Ukrainians will. Long answer: let me walk you down a very short memory lane, merely 16 days long, starting from February 22, 2022. On that day, the majority of Ukrainian forces were massed deep inside the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics—the two statelets populated by Russians, many of them Russian passport-holders. The Ukrainian forces were within striking range of their capital cities and (as recently obtained official documents prove) were planning an all-out attack on them. That would have been an act of genocide which Russia would have had no choice but to try to stop.

Since the Ukrainian regime does not dare to do anything major without first receiving an “all clear” signal from Washington, this attack would have been on strategy with Washington’s goals, which, perfectly clearly, were to mire Russia in a Ukrainian civil war. This war would in turn provide the rationale for international isolation which would crush Russia’s economy and force it to once again provide its natural resources to the West for almost nothing. Were this plan to fail, the West would collapse. The way it looks now, this plan is failing. I will return to this subject in a little while; by then the situation will have become clearer to a few more people. As people go through the inevitable denial-anger-bargaining sequence, it is best to hang back until the bargaining part is reached; only then does reasoned discussion become possible.

While the Ukrainian regime was frustrated in its efforts to join NATO by the fact that it does not control its own territory, it in fact surrendered the Ukraine to NATO forces, allowing NATO to order its military around and turning itself over to NATO’s use, thus bringing NATO within striking range of Moscow and driving NATO’s expansion east along the same route used by previous Western invaders—Napoleon and Hitler. Thus, the Ukrainian regime blithely trod across a very well established Russian red line that was guaranteed to trigger a military response. Given the vast disproportion in military strength, this was a delusional, suicidal move. To top all of this off, at the Munich security conference held this February the (former?) Ukrainian president Zelensky professed his desire to develop nuclear weapons with which to attack Russia.

Note that the Ukraine had sufficient nuclear materials, technologies and knowhow, inherited from the USSR, to rush through such a development program, especially if with US help. Although this would directly violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (“non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons”), he did not get any pushback from the assorted Western luminaries assembled there. Thus the Ukrainian regime thus did everything necessary to fashion itself into an immediate existential threat to Russia, sealing its fate.

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Via the Saker.

.. the honorable duty to drown Donbass in blood at the beginning of March. We beat them to it by a week or two

The Opinion Of A Professional About The Special Operation In Ukraine (Dubrovsky)

This is a war unfamiliar to us veterans. Especially when the sky is under your full control, airfields are packed with attack aircraft and bombers, operational and tactical missile systems are in service, there is a lot of heavy artillery. Now it has become clear even to civilians: the correct name for what is happening truly is “a special military operation for denazification.” And the demilitarization of Nezalezhnaya was completed by the end of the third day. The APU, as a single, manageable and effective structure, has ceased to exist. Today, there are dozens of groups of different numbers isolated from each other, hiding in cities and towns. No centralized supply, no air support, no approach of reinforcements. They are not able to act within the framework of any plans of the Ukrainian General Staff. Just crowds of armed men with orders to stand to the death.

The main groups “North” and “East” were beheaded and deprived of command — these are 22 brigades, which had been entrusted with the honorable duty to drown Donbass in blood at the beginning of March. We beat them to it by a week or two, starting our own special operation. Now 150 thousand people (together with national soldiers) are marinated in “cauldrons”, cut off from each other. For a second — this was done by smaller Russian forces… and in five days. There is no organized resistance in other operational areas. Separate parts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), national battalions, sabotage groups. Everyone acts at their discretion, with varying degrees of activity. There is no way to move in columns, regroup, replenish ammunition, fuel, equipment even in local warehouses, everything is systematically destroyed by high-precision weapons and aircraft.

In a week or two, 80% of the AFU will turn into detachments completely devoid of ammunition, fuel, medicines, and food. Mentally and physically exhausted, without a unified command, goals and objectives. For the army, this is a terrible thing – despondency and decay. Especially for the Ukrainian, which is held by fear, propped up by Bandera detachments. Servicemen fear for the fate of their families in the rear.

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“I believe that there is a significant risk that the Russian government has obtained documents or other evidence that (at a minimum) one or more of these laboratories have had biological materials the existence of which is likely to prove embarrassing to the United States. ”

Ukraine Biolab Watchtower (Malone)

Here’s my “assuming best intention” current “working hypothesis”: USA DoD/DTRA partnered with the government of Ukraine to (at a minimum) support collection, storage and monitoring of infectious biological agents and toxins by researchers in Ukraine, and there seems to have been some component of personnel training and facilities engineering involved with this. US State Department via the Embassy in Ukraine announced this DoD/DTRA effort in a transparent manner via a readily available web page. If I were working as an analyst for the Russian government, paid to perform and enable risk assessment, I would be skeptical that the US DoD/DTRA effort was limited to just collecting and archiving biological samples, and I would have to conclude that there is significant risk that these facilities were involved in (at a minimum) “dual purpose” research.

“Dual purpose” is a euphemism for “could be used to develop defensive capabilities or could be used to develop offensive capabilities”. Clearly, whether in sincerity or for propaganda purposes (time will tell if they provide the documentation and receipts), the Russian government is stating that the activities of these laboratories included bioweapon research which was coordinated with US DoD/DTRA. Prior to invasion of Ukraine, the government of Russia signaled that the presence of these DTRA-sponsored “biolabs” in this region was perceived as a threat to Russian national security and biosecurity. Again, if I were a Russian analyst, I would likely conclude that these laboratories represent a threat to national security. Based on information available to me, the US Government does not seem to have made any attempt to assure the government of Russia that these laboratories were performing benign activities.

One action which might have mitigated Russian concerns would have been to allow unannounced inspections, much as US and NATO have insisted on in the case of foreign nuclear enrichment or reactor programs. In my professional opinion, based on the language employed by Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, I believe that there is a significant risk that the Russian government has obtained documents or other evidence that (at a minimum) one or more of these laboratories have had biological materials the existence of which is likely to prove embarrassing to the United States. The language used appears to my ear to imply that there are biological materials the existence of which could damage US strategic and tactical geopolitical interests.

It is likely that the “chain of custody” or veracity of any evidence which the Russian government may present to support their case will not be clean, and that there will be a strong effort by western media and information sources (social media, tech) to delegitimize any communication by Russia (as a government) and by any persons (Russian or otherwise) who present or attempt to discuss such communication. Including myself. It is highly likely that management of any information concerning this topic is already being globally handled by the Trusted News Initiative organization, and that obtaining or discussing unfiltered and unprocessed “raw” information will soon not be possible. In other words, in my opinion, this is another topic that we will never be able to get to the bottom of, and we will never be able to discern something akin to objective “truth”. Best we can hope for is some sort of approximation of truth that is sort of like a kalidescope image viewed in a hall of mirrors.

Soviet bioweapons

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Why are there ‘High-Threat Pathogens’ inn one of the world’s most corrupt and instable nations, and how did they get them?

WHO Told Ukraine To Destroy ‘High-Threat Pathogens’ In Labs (ZH)

The World Health Organization advised Ukraine to destroy ‘high-threat pathogens’ in the country’s public health laboratories in order to prevent “any potential spills” that might infect the population during the Russian invasion, Reuters reports. “As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills,” said the UN agency. The report comes after a tense back-and-forth between US and Russian officials over “dangerous” biolabs in the country – with Russia, and then China, accusing the US military of involvement in Ukraine’s biolabs.

On Wednesday, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova repeated a longstanding claim that the United States operates a biowarfare lab in Ukraine, an accusation that has been repeatedly denied by Washington and Kyiv. Zakharova said that documents unearthed by Russian forces in Ukraine showed “an emergency attempt to erase evidence of military biological programmes” by destroying lab samples. -Reuters The US has denied the allegations – issuing (among other things) a Thursday statement that “The United States does not have chemical or biological weapons labs in Ukraine,” adding that America “does not develop or possess chemical and biological weapons anywhere.”

On Tuesday, US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland acknowledged that Ukraine “has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of. So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.” Nuland’s answer made clear that whatever is inside Ukraine’s biolabs is a serious concern, however it should be noted that there’s no public evidence of bioweapons, nor did the WHO statement make reference to biowarfare – which is a separate issue from whether the laboratories contained, or contain, dangerous pathogens which could be used in a bioweapon.


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“..telecom, medical, auto, agricultural, electrical and tech equipment, as well as some forestry products..”

Moscow Retaliates Against Western Sanctions With Export Bans (R.)

Russia sought on Thursday to retaliate against Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine by banning exports of certain goods and agricultural commodities. Exporting telecom, medical, auto, agricultural, electrical and tech equipment, as well as some forestry products, will be banned until the end of 2022. “These measures are a logical response to those imposed against Russia and are aimed at ensuring uninterrupted functioning of key sectors of the economy,” the economy ministry said. Further measures could include restricting foreign ships from entering Russian ports and allowing Russian airlines to register jets leased from Western firms as their own property, the government said.

Interfax news agency cited a source familiar with legislation being prepared as saying Russia may temporarily ban grain exports to a group of ex-Soviet countries forming part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) from March 15 to August 31, as well as sugar exports outside the EEU area. The measures come after Western sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that threaten to cripple Russia’s energy-dependent economy. Western companies have pulled out of Russia en masse as the United States, European Union and Britain imposed sanctions aimed at curbing Moscow’s access to funding. In response, a government commission on Wednesday approved the first step towards nationalising assets of foreign firms that leave the country.

The proposal to restrict foreign ships’ entry into Russian ports comes after Britain last week banned from its ports all Russian-operated ships. The European Union has yet to provide clarity on the prospect of a similar ban by the bloc.

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There are no replacements. Not for the combined wheat exports of Russia and Ukraine, and not for fertilizer.

Russia To Ban Fertilizer Exports To ‘Not Friendly’ Countries (ZH)

Russia’s war on Ukraine is continuing to boost food prices. While the US and European countries are engaged in economic warfare against Moscow, it appears Russia’s turn to strike back has emerged. On Thursday, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said Russia decided to suspend fertilizer exports. This comes when global food prices are at record highs, and European fertilizer makers are struggling to produce nutrients ahead of the spring growing season, increasing global food inflation risks. President Vladimir Putin said the fertilizer export ban was a move to ensure stable domestic food prices. This is another sign of growing protectionism worldwide as countries grapple with soaring food prices. Putin said fertilizer markets are deteriorating, making food a lot more expensive.

Making matters worse, Interfax, an independent Russian news agency, reported earlier that Moscow is considering retaliatory economic measures to ban exports of certain agricultural products to countries outside the Eurasian Economic Union. Interfax said Moscow could temporarily ban grain exports to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and ban sugar exports beyond the EEU. This may result in declining food supplies for those countries and soaring food costs. Add this to the fertilizer ban and Europe and maybe the West is headed for a major food crisis. Possible Russian retaliatory measures follow a series of Western sanctions on Russia, which have collapsed the ruble, locked the central bank out of a large chunk of its foreign-currency savings, and crushed its ability to trade with the outside world by removing certain Russian banks from SWIFT.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been quoted well before the invasion of Ukraine of the need to strengthen an emerging multipolar world order. “It is important to maintain and boost mutually respectful, constructive and effective cooperation globally, as well as to strengthen the emerging multipolar world order that consists of independent centers of economic growth and political influence, which certainly includes BRICS,” Putin emphasized.

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The combo of “War” and “children” (let alone babies) is only fake news 99.9% of the time.

Russia Denies Bombing Maternity Hospital in Mariupol: ‘Fake News’ (ET)

Russia asserted Thursday that the claim from Ukraine that Moscow forces were responsible for the bombing of a maternity hospital in the port city of Mariupol was “fake news.” “That’s how fake news is born,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Twitter. He said that Russia had said in a statement on March 7 that the hospital in Mariupol “has been turned into a military object” from which Ukrainian radicals were firing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia shared Polyanskiy’s statement on its Twitter page. The March 7 statement was delivered by Russian Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the U.N. Security Council.

“Ukrainian radicals show their true face more distinctly by the day,” Nebenzia said. “Locals reports [sic] that Ukraine’s Armed Forces kicked out personnel of natal hospital #1 of the city of Mariupol and set up a firing site within the facility.” Russia has also previously denied targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure as part of its campaign in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian aircraft bombed the children’s hospital on Wednesday, after which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of carrying out genocide. “Mariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?”

After the strike, the Mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, called for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine. “Today I am asking the global community for help. Close the sky over Ukraine. Our will has not been broken, we will fight to the end,” Boichenko said in a video message posted to Telegram. “We have motivated soldiers and officers who defend our homeland. But today we need support.”

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Good deep digging.

Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump in 2016 to Stop Putin (Sperry)

Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue. Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that’s been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign.

The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate — their political rival. Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election. As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine’s ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media.

At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump’s watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama’s former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine’s membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn’t happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures.

The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond. Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he’s learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away.

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Well played Poland. Now Kamala’s there. WIll they change their stance?

How Poland Avoided Hot Potato Of Being Dragged By US Into War With Russia (PM)

The US’ attempt to get Poland to enter into war against Russia on their behalf has stalled, as Poland played, and won, a game of hot potato with Russian MiG fighter planes. On Human Events Daily, Jack Posobiec discussed how Poland managed to avoid being used as a pawn of war between the US and Russia. “We talk about the NATO hot potato when it comes to the Russian MiG, the Russian made MiGs from Poland. Poland said oh, we’re going to give them to the US,” Posobiec said. The US asked Poland to send fighter jets to Ukraine per Ukraine’s request for MiG fighters, which their pilots are trained to use. Poland said they would turn over the jets to the US at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, the US could do whatever they want with them. The US then would have to take those jets from Ramstein to Germany, piloted by US military personnel.

“The US said ‘no, no, no. Just give them to Ukraine.’ And [Poland] said ‘no we’ll give them to you, you can paint the US flag on them.’ And [the US] said ‘no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s too risky. We can’t do that.’ “And Poland said, ‘Well, if you can’t do that, if it’s too risky for you. Why isn’t it too risky for us to do it?'” This would have been a distinct escalation to the war in Ukraine, as it would mean that the US was flying fighter jets into Ukraine. The US wanted Poland to bear that burden of escalation. The US rejected the offer of the planes, though on Sunday Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had said that yes, the planes transfer from Poland to Ukraine was given the “green light” by the US. But Blinken would not “green light” those same planes being given by the US to Ukraine. [..] “The United States government is trying to frame Poland for starting World War Three and we cannot overlook this,” Posobiec said.

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Cui bono?

Germany Reactivates Coal Power Plants Amid Russian Gas Supply Threats (EuA)

As Germany closes its last nuclear reactors, it is also reactivating old coal power plants to ensure electricity supply security amid Russian threats to turn off the gas tap. Germany’s attempt to simultaneously phase out nuclear and coal power just got significantly more complicated. Once envisaged as a transition fuel on the way to renewables, fossil gas is being reconsidered in Germany after Russia invaded Ukraine. “Coal will play a crucial role,” said Olaf Lies, the energy minister of Lower Saxony. “That we choose this phrase once again is certainly not entirely self-evident given the country’s plan to phase out coal by 2030,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday (8 March).

As Russia wages war in Ukraine and threatens to stop pumping gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany is experiencing a rude awakening. “We know, and we have to admit it, that in the last 20 years, we have manoeuvred ourselves into ever greater dependence on fossil energy imports from Russia,” said Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, who was speaking alongside Lies. “This is not a good state of affairs. All the efforts of the federal government, indeed of the country, are aimed at reducing this dependency as quickly as possible,” he added. In effect, that will imply firing Germany’s coal power plants back up. “If we want to be more independent, we will have to operate with coal,” Lies said, putting in clear terms what Habeck was reluctant to say outright.

Lies was speaking at a conference bringing together the energy ministers of Germany’s 17 states, who were meeting with federal minister Robert Habeck during an extraordinary consultation session. Germany currently has around 45 GW of coal power capacity in place. While some has been turned off, part of it is being held in reserve to ensure the country’s security of supply.

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“It is a familiar tactic on pork spending. You can hide an entire drove of pigs behind a single redeeming budget item.”

Congress Inserts over 4,000 Pork Earmarks in Spending Bill (Turley)

For years, Congress has dispensed with the pretense of informed legislative process when it comes to major bills and appropriations. The new $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill, however, took the notion of blind legislating to a disgraceful degree. Democratic leadership dumped the almost 3,000 page bill on the members (and the public) on Wednesday with only a couple days to review the massive spending. That includes over 4,000 pork projects in earmarks. According to the Hill, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) alone has a long list of earmarks for his state ahead of his reelection bid. That includes 59 earmarks totaling nearly $80 million in the transportation and housing and urban development (HUD) section alone.

While Congress disavowed earmarks, the pork-ridden bill shows that both parties have abandoned the pledge. Spending trillions in the last couple years appears to have removed any sense of fiscal responsibility or accountability. We are now over $30 trillion in debt so what are a few pork items — or in Schumer’s case 142 such items. (Some argue that debt is really only $22 trillion and that debt does not matter). It was a clever move at a perfect time. With Ukraine raging and people traumatized over the war, leadership like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) kept bringing questions back to $14 billion in aid for Ukraine. Members stressed that there was no time to waste — or in this case to read — before voting. It is a familiar tactic on pork spending. You can hide an entire drove of pigs behind a single redeeming budget item.

What is most alarming is the level of duplicity. The bill was withheld by leadership to guarantee little time for the members, let alone the public, from seriously considering the specific expenditures. It shows utter contempt for the concept of public deliberation and debate in the legislation. One must accept the word of the leadership and vote in the blind. In the meantime, even before this package, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget predicted that the debt-to-GDP ratio is at 101% and the total federal debt, including intragovernmental debt, may exceed 120%. Even if debt does not matter (as some have claimed) most citizens oppose pork barrel spending.

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Now we know who.

Who Changed the Conclusions of a Paper that Could Have Saved Millions? (FLCCC)

First, let’s set the stage: — Over one year ago, there were ample peer-reviewed, randomized controlled trials that provided strong evidence on ivermectin’s efficacy as a treatment for COVID in every disease phase. — A paper considering these many studies was written by lead author Dr. Andrew Hill at the University of Liverpool for the World Health Organization’s COVID Guideline Development Group. Hill was an early and vigorous proponent for ivermectin. His paper showed that ivermectin could reduce deaths by 75% if used throughout the world. — Inexplicably, just days before its publication, the paper appeared on a pre-print server, with its conclusions changed. Instead of concluding that ivermectin—one of the world’s safest and most inexpensive drugs— should be rolled out globally, it now concluded that more studies on ivermectin were needed before it could be recommended worldwide.

Given the totality of scientific evidence for ivermectin, it was a stunning—actually shocking—reversal by Dr. Hill. —In an urgent Zoom call to Dr. Hill initiated by Dr. Tess Lawrie, Director of the Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy, Dr. Hill admitted to her that one of his study’s sponsors, Unitaid, had a say in the conclusions of his paper. But he would not divulge the name(s) of those who altered the paper’s conclusions. But now, “The Digger” on Substack (aka producer/director Phil Harper) has revealed the name of the person who could have edited the paper’s conclusions—which led to the WHO’s non-recommendation of the use of ivermectin. That decision could have led to the unnecessary deaths of millions across the world.

Mr. Harper studied the PDF of the paper, wanting to learn the identity of its “ghost” author. “The hope was that some artifact on the PDF would reveal something, maybe a font was different, maybe there was a hidden comment, maybe some tracked changes had been saved to the document,” said Harper. “None of those lines of inquiry came to anything.” Then it came to him. Was it in the PDF’s metadata? “Sometimes it’s the most obvious of things,” Harper writes. “The ‘v1_stamped’ version of the paper did indeed have metadata. It even had author information inside the metadata. Expecting to see Andrew Hill listed as the author, instead, I saw a name I recognized. Andrew Owen. “Unless someone used his computer, Andrew Owen has his digital fingerprint on the Andrew Hill paper.”

As it turns out, Andrew Owen is a Professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and co-Director of the Centre of Excellence in Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT) at the University of Liverpool. He is also scientific advisor to the WHO’s COVID-19 Guideline Development Group. Just days before Dr. Hill’s paper was to be published, a $40M grant from Unitaid, the paper’s sponsor, was given to CELT —of which Owen is the project lead. “The $40 million contract was actually a commercial agreement between Unitaid, the University of Liverpool and Tandem Nano Ltd (a start-up company that commercializes ‘Solid Lipid Nanoparticle’ delivery mechanisms)— for which Andrew Owen is a top shareholder,” says Harper.

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He blames it all on Victoria Nuland.

US Dollar Being Used as “Instrument of War,” It’s the Endgame – Jim Rogers (SR)

“The U.S. dollar will die,” and it will fall from its position as the world’s reserve currency sooner than expected, says Jim Rogers, best-selling author of “Hot Commodities.” In his first video appearance since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rogers tells our Daniela Cambone that Ukraine being inducted into NATO is the underlying cause of Russia’s actions. “Now we’re paying a gigantic price,” for the actions taken by U.S. elected officials, he says, and when the war is over, Russian stocks will be an undervalued opportunity. Other sovereign nations are frantically “coming up with something to compete with the U.S. dollar” due to economic sanctions being ramped up in recent years, Rogers asserts. “I cannot see the world having 100% computer money,” he concludes, saying governments will use it to control the masses.

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Psaki oil














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Oct 202021
 October 20, 2021  Posted by at 12:19 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »

George Bellows The Lone Tenement 1909



Our resident physician John Day in Texas comes with an update on his situation. It seems his clinic no longer seeks to fire him for refusing to be vaccinated, they now claim it’s for cause (it’s not). A doctor who has been free to decide medical treatments for and with his patients for many years, all of a sudden cannot decide that for his own body.

And of course it’s not just America, and it’s not just doctors, it’s also pilots and nurses and soldiers and police men and women, and vaccine mandates are being introduced in many countries. That will deprive many fields in our societies of their leaders, and leave them occupied by followers only.

People who think for themselves, and wish to decide for themselves (as is their right), are being put out by the curb, and by the thousands. The resulting changes in society will be devastating. Losing all those years of experience and wisdom and kindness and intelligence will make us all a lot poorer. And why? It’s obviously not about logic, and it’s not about health. John:



John Day MD: Precariously Supported,

  Yesterday was an odd day in several aspects. I had worked a long Friday at the clinic again, which did not go badly. I left nothing unfinished. We drove to the Yoakum homestead Friday night and got a good night of sleep.

  Somehow, I felt very heavy and slow on Saturday and Sunday, so I trudged through three to four hours of pushing the little Honda mower, and did work in the garden, but ploddingly. I planted garlic for the winter/spring season, and tended the garden.

  I continued to feel a weight of unease, and as we started the drive back to Austin, Sunday afternoon, I had a sense that I should really buy winter veggies to put in at the clinic garden, which I started in 2016, and tend for my coworkers. Putting things off until the end of the month, in my last two weeks of work there, seemed awkward.

  We picked up a lot of winter greens and salad starts in little pots on our way into Austin, some for our Austin kitchen garden, but most for the clinic garden. I did a last harvest of the blackeyed pea row, then cut down the vines, and took them to some chickens that a friend of Jenny’s raises.

  Yesterday (Monday) morning I worked in our kitchen garden again, preparing the beds for fall and winter, cleaning up the summer debris, and also planting an orange seedling in the bed in front of the house, where the February freeze had killed the one fruitful tree. 

  After eating, I went over to the clinic with an orange seedling, to replace the two that the February freeze had killed, and all of the winter salad and cooking-green seedlings to fill a couple of rows. I went through the entrance, put on a mask, and went through to the garden in the break area, with shovels and clippers, saying “hi” to a few people and smiling with my eyes. I went out through the garden gate, and brought in the orange tree, then the veggie starts.

  The orange tree needed to go in the large bed, which has a Mexican avocado seedling tree, and a banana plant that actually survived February. Mainly it has a lot of sweet potatoes. It’s a fairly large bed, and this has been a very good year for sweet potatoes. I filled the three gallon bucket that the tree was in with sweet potatoes, from just a few square feet that I cleared and dug up, before planting it, maybe one percent of that bed.

  While I was digging up the sweet potatoes and digging the hole to put the orange tree in, my flip phone rang. I figured it was Jenny. I brushed some of the dirt off my hands and answered it. It was the nice and very well-mannered youngish man, who is currently Director of Human Resources, telling me that my last day of work had been changed from the last Friday of October to the Friday just passed, which was different from what I had been told last week, when the reason for my firing was changed from vaccine-mandate non-compliance, to all of the wrongs I have committed in the period of time since that mandate was announced.

   It was a lousy spot for him to be put in, and he seemed uncomfortable having to put it into polite words. He had been trying to call me while I was working on our home garden, but I had not been carrying the phone. I told him that I was at the clinic garden, putting in some things for winter, and that he could talk to me in person. My presence in the garden was unanticipated, though I have worked on my day off frequently in the past couple of months. 

  We talked as I planted the orange tree and put the big sweet potatoes in the pot, handing it over to a couple of nurses taking their lunch. They had helped dig sweet potatoes last year, and I knew they wanted some. He politely explained that I was not to re-enter the building, and that my desk would be cleared out and boxed for me. The explanation was so polite that I sought clarification. I did negotiate that I could pick up a few notes at my desk with his presence and supervision, which we then did. My badge didn’t let me in this time. He had to use his. As we walked through the clinic to my desk, most people had their eyes down. A few coworkers looked me in the eyes, and I smiled with my eyes. I was comfortable in myself, and emanated that (I think). 

  We grabbed a few boxes and made short work of the packing-up. I got everything, and we carried the three boxes to my little twenty four year old Ford Ranger pickup truck together. We went back to the garden and break-area through the gate, He thought it best that I just leave without planting the vegetables, but I prevailed upon him to keep his agreement to let me clean out the rows and do the planting.

   He actually had a fair number of gardening questions, which I answered as I cleared the rows and planted for winter.  I worked expeditiously, taking about twenty to thirty minutes, as I explained the quality of the soil, and how building soil is one of the main objectives in successful gardening. If you don’t have enough garden to out produce what the squirrels, birds and other critters can eat, they will eat it all.  You need a big enough garden patch.

  We walked back to the truck with shovels and clippers, talking about what’s next. The clinic will still pay me for these last two weeks of October, but my patients who are scheduled will not get to see me for a last visit. I have been doing everything possible to avoid leaving loose ends, and to write thorough chart notes, so it will be easy for the next doctor. I have tried to make suggestions for which doctor or practitioner might best match the needs and personality of each patient. I passed my list to give to the Director of Adult Medicine, who has been working hard and well on this transition. It’s not a complete list…

  I am left to wonder why the clinic took surprise action to remove me from patient-care, while still paying my salary for two weeks. I suspect there was free-floating anxiety about what I might say or do. I had been informing people of the actual circumstances of my leaving, being fired for non-compliance with mandatory vaccination. The management has been consulting with attorneys the whole time, and somebody else is contesting her firing for non-compliance with that mandate, I am told. Governor Abbott did say that vaccine mandates are not tolerable in Texas, Monday of last week. I suspect that my being fired-for-cause, other than non-compliance with COVID vaccination might be more plausible when the date of my firing is moved forward from the prior date of my termination for non-compliance

  I do not intend to contest my firing through recourse to the law. The only law I am really, currently concerned with is the Law of Karma, and I am very concerned with that law. I am constantly aware of the implications of Karma as we wade further into this rip-tide of history.

Human Horticulturist




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Oct 052020

Leonardo da Vinci A Copse of Trees 1508


President Trump Could Be Discharged From Walter Reed On Monday (JTN)
Largest COVID19 Contact Tracing Study: Children Key To Spread (Princeton)
Why Are Dems Praying for Speedy Recovery of a “Fascist Dictator”? (Greenwald)
Supreme Court To Commence New Term On Monday (JTN)
Amazon Reveals Over 20,000 Employees Likely Contracted COVID (MPN)
The DNC Hired CrowdStrike To Frame Russia For The Hack (Farnan)
Joe Biden Defense Of His Son’s Business Deals Conflicts With Evidence (JTN)
Pompeo’s Visit To Greece, Cyprus Prompted By Turkey’s S-400s (K.)
GOP Reps Join Tulsi Gabbard In Push To Drop US Assange, Snowden Charges (WT)



I see thirty days of more hysterical clickbaiting in your future. Trump’s trip outside Walter Reed may not have been risk-free, but you need to steamroller over his entire medical team at the hospital, and claim they are irresponsible frauds or something like that, to turn it into the murderous rampage that the MSM make it.

Here’s a bit of humor about it from Twitter. Please lighten up a little.






US national security



Seek Help





Oh, no, much too early! Those doctors are crazy!

President Trump Could Be Discharged From Walter Reed On Monday (JTN)

President Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center to finish his COVID-19 treatment from the White House, a doctor announced during a press conference on Sunday. “In response to transient low oxygen levels as Dr. Conley has discussed, we did initiate dexamethasone therapy and he received his first dose of that yesterday. And our plan is to continue that for the time being,” that doctor said. President Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley expressed that he wished to “reiterate how pleased we all are with the president’s recovery.” Conley explained that on Friday morning when the president’s “oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94 percent,” he suggested that the president take oxygen.

“He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, and that was about it,” Conley explained, noting that following approximately a minute of oxygen the president’s levels had risen and that the president remained on the oxygen for around one hour. Conley also said that the president’s oxygen level on Saturday dipped but eventually rose. He noted that the president is not experiencing shortness of breath.

Read more …

Again, a new viewpoint.

Largest COVID19 Contact Tracing Study: Children Key To Spread (Princeton)

A study of more than a half-million people in India who were exposed to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 suggests that the virus’ continued spread is driven by only a small percentage of those who become infected. Furthermore, children and young adults were found to be potentially much more important to transmitting the virus — especially within households — than previous studies have identified, according to a paper by researchers from the United States and India published Sept. 30 in the journal Science.

Researchers from the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley, worked with public health officials in the southeast Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to track the infection pathways and mortality rate of 575,071 individuals who were exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is the largest contact tracing study — which is the process of identifying people who came into contact with an infected person — conducted in the world for any disease.

Lead researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, a senior research scholar in PEI, said that the paper is the first large study to capture the extraordinary extent to which SARS-CoV-2 hinges on “superspreading,” in which a small percentage of the infected population passes the virus on to more people. The researchers found that 71% of infected individuals did not infect any of their contacts, while a mere 8% of infected individuals accounted for 60% of new infections. “Our study presents the largest empirical demonstration of superspreading that we are aware of in any infectious disease,” Laxminarayan said. “Superspreading events are the rule rather than the exception when one is looking at the spread of COVID-19, both in India and likely in all affected places.”

The findings provide extensive insight into the spread and deadliness of COVID-19 in countries such as India — which has experienced more than 96,000 deaths from the disease — that have a high incidence of resource-limited populations, the researchers reported. They found that coronavirus-related deaths in India occurred, on average, six days after hospitalization compared to an average of 13 days in the United States. Also, deaths from coronavirus in India have been concentrated among people aged 50-64, which is slightly younger than the 60-plus at-risk population in the United States.

Read more …

“..their behavior upon hearing that someone they claim to regard as a genocidal racist fascist tyrant has contracted a fatal virus is extremely unusual..”

Why Are Dems Praying for Speedy Recovery of a “Fascist Dictator”? (Greenwald)

The typical reaction to the death of a tyrant — whether by revolutionary violence or natural causes — is not one of grief and sadness but joyous celebration. It is not hard to understand why: when a nation and its oppressed citizenry are finally liberated from the suffocating, savage grip of fascist dictatorship, they feel joy for themselves, their families and the future of their nation. Yet in the U.S., a radically different dynamic is playing out. Over the past several years, but particularly in the months heading into the 2020 election, it has become extremely common for prominent Democrats and their media allies to refer to President Trump as a dictator, a fascist, a tyrant hellbent on destroying U.S. democracy, a genocidal racist, and even a Nazi.

And yet, the overwhelming reaction in those mainstream precincts to the news that the fascist dictator has contracted a potentially lethal virus is to hope and pray that he makes a speedy recovery whereby he can resume his democracy-destroying, genocidal, tyrannical, fascist rule. In March of last year, as CNN put it, “two powerful House Democrats invoked Adolf Hitler’s actions in Germany and the treatment of Jews during World War I and in the 1920s to warn against the direction the US is moving in, with both saying Donald Trump’s presidency presents an unprecedented threat to democracy.” One of the Democratic lawmakers who explicitly invoked Nazism and Hitler as the proper prism to understand Trump’s rule was House Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Just two months ago, Clyburn went back on CNN and warned that Trump was preparing to hold despotic power even if he loses, pronouncing: “I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini, Putin is Hitler.” Yet when Clyburn learned this week that our modern-day Hitler who is on the precipice of ending democracy had contracted a fatal virus, he did not celebrate but instead, for some reason, lamented the news, wishing “the First Family a speedy and complete recovery.” Why would you possibly wish a speedy recovery — rather than a quick demise — to someone you believe is a Hitler-like perpetrator of genocide whose recovery would enable fascism to continue? That seems counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow [..] has notoriously spent the last four years manically obsessed with the claim that Trump has such a corrupt relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is the Kremlin, thanks to Trump, which secretly runs the U.S. and is using that power to plot harm to large numbers of Americans by, for instance, seizing the power to cut off their heat in the dead of winter. Maddow was explicitly linking Trump to classic fascism as early as 2015. Yet upon learning that the fascist, Kremlin-controlled, Nazi-like dictator had become ill, Maddow launched a one-woman crusade demanding that her fellow liberals pray earnestly for his recovery. She first posted an extremely effusive tweet: “God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery…”

[..] Whatever else is true, their behavior upon hearing that someone they claim to regard as a genocidal racist fascist tyrant has contracted a fatal virus is extremely unusual when compared to how people throughout history react when learning of similar news. It is worth interrogating what accounts for such a baffling dynamic.

Read more …


Supreme Court To Commence New Term On Monday (JTN)

The Supreme Court on Monday will commence a new term with just eight justices following September death of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though the void could soon be filled if Senate Republicans confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. Barrett’s confirmation would mark the third Trump appointee to the nine-member court during the president’s less than four years occupying the Oval Office. The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 . Though the first vacancy arose during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Senate Republicans declined to consider the Democratic president’s nominee Merrick Garland. Then-candidate Trump made the presidential power to appoint Supreme Court nominees a central argument to voters during the 2016 election.

Barrett’s addition to the court would likely provide a significant conservative advantage, allowing the conservative justices to decide cases 5-4 even if the George W. Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts were to side with the court’s three liberal justices. The new term will get underway remotely as the court continues to conduct business via phone amid the coronavirus pandemic, as it began doing at the conclusion of the last term, according to the Associated Press. The public will be able to to hear arguments live. The wire service reported that the cases during the coming two weeks were slated for last spring but were delayed due to the high court shutting down for a period because of the coronavirus. [..] The Supreme Court could play a key role after the Nov. 3 general election if it decides to hear voting-related cases. A dramatic expansion on short notice of mail-in balloting in this cycle is expected to precipitate a flood of election litigation.

Read more …

“Bezos has seen his net wealth grow by over $73 billion since lockdown began on March 18..”

Amazon Reveals Over 20,000 Employees Likely Contracted COVID (MPN)

It announced the figure in the middle of a public relations statement detailing the measures it was taking to try to keep its employees safe from the virus. The company presented itself as a proactive and responsible business. “As part of this commitment, we’ve decided to publicly share the COVID-19 infection rates among Amazon front-line employees—something few if any companies and no other major retailers have done,” noted its blog post. It also claimed to be carrying out thousands of tests a day on its staff and noted that, despite the large figure of 19,816 cases, that represented a smaller percentage of positive tests than the general population.

However, Amazon did not include any of its third-party delivery contractors in the figures, who number in the many tens of thousands, at least. Nor was there any confirmation on the number of deaths. Amazon also called on other big companies to do as it had done. “We hope sharing this data and our learnings will encourage others to follow, and will prove useful as states make decisions about reopening public facilities and employers consider whether and how to bring people back to work,” they said. “Wide availability of data would allow us to benchmark our progress and share best practices across businesses and industries.”

Yet Amazon’s move may not be as bold and forward-thinking as it might first appear. The company had been widely condemned for its secrecy and refusal to release figures. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that half a million of its employees had begun to crowdsource that same information in order to build up a database to keep themselves safer. Employees also condemned the company for keeping them in the dark about co-worker infections and their lack of response to the pandemic, which included crowding hundreds of people into recreation rooms, thereby exposing them to increased risk.

[..] A lack of funds is certainly not an excuse for the online retail giant, whose business has expanded into supermarkets, cloud computing, and streaming services. The company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, became the world’s richest individual late last year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Bezos has seen his net wealth grow by over $73 billion since lockdown began on March 18 and now stands at over $186 billion. That means that, on average, he has added $370 million to his wealth every day of the pandemic.

Read more …

“The following is an exclusive excerpt from The Russia Lie that tells the amazing story in detail..”

The DNC Hired CrowdStrike To Frame Russia For The Hack (Farnan)

U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe recently declassified information indicating the CIA obtained intelligence in 2016 that the Russians believed the Clinton campaign was trying to falsely associate Russia with the so-called hack of DNC computers. CIA Director John Brennan shared the intelligence with President Obama. They knew, in other words, that the DNC was conducting false Russian flag operation against the Trump campaign. The following is an exclusive excerpt from The Russia Lie that tells the amazing story in detail:

On March 19, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, surrendered his emails to an unknown entity in a “spear phishing” scam. This has been called a “hack,” but it was not. Instead, it was the sort of flim-flam hustle that happens to gullible dupes on the internet. The content of the emails was beyond embarrassing. They showed election fraud and coordination with the media against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. The DNC and the Clinton campaign needed a cover story. Blaming Russia would be a handy way to deal with the Podesta emails. There was already an existing Russia operation that could easily be retrofitted to this purpose. The problem was that it was nearly impossible to identify the perpetrator in a phishing scheme using computer forensic tools. The only way to associate Putin with the emails was circumstantially.

The DNC retained a company that called itself “CrowdStrike” to provide assistance. CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is an anti-Putin, Russian expat and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. With the Atlantic Council in 2016, all roads led to Ukraine. The Atlantic Council’s list of significant contributors includes Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. The Ukrainian energy company that was paying millions to an entity that was funneling large amounts to Hunter Biden months after he was discharged from the US Navy for drug use, Burisma, also appears prominently on the Atlantic Council’s donor list. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Western puppet installed in Ukraine, visited the Atlantic Council’s Washington offices to make a speech weeks after the coup.

Pinchuk was also a big donor (between $10 million and $20 million) to the Clinton Foundation. Back in ’15, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative piece, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends.” The piece was about how Ukraine was attempting to influence Clinton by making huge donations through Pinchuk. Foreign interference, anyone? On June 12, 2016, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton . . . We have emails pending publication.” Two days later, CrowdStrike fed the Washington Post a story, headlined, “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.” The improbable tale was that the Russians had hacked the DNC computer servers and got away with some opposition research on Trump. The article quoted Alperovitch of CrowdStrike and the Atlantic Council.

Read more …

Like late night comedy refusing the accept the gift the Biden is to their work, the press leave him alone too. It’s the same thing. Journalism it is not.

Joe Biden Defense Of His Son’s Business Deals Conflicts With Evidence (JTN)

During one of the many sharp exchanges at last week’s presidential debate, Joe Biden flat out denied his son Hunter had any business relationship with the Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, the billionaire wife of the late Moscow mayor. “Why is it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son three and a half million dollars?” President Trump asked during one flash point. “That is not true,” Biden answered. “Oh really, he didn’t get three and a half million?” Trump persisted a few second later. “It’s totally discredited,” the former vice president snapped back. “Totally discredited.” In fact, Biden’s answer directly conflicts with evidence that the U.S. Senate, the FBI and the U.S. Treasury Department have all gathered.

In their most recent investigative report on Ukraine corruption, the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees disclosed that Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) that the Treasury Department turned over to Senate investigators show a direct link between Hunter Biden and Baturina. “Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow,” the Senate report declared, identifying a firm that the younger Biden and his business partner Devon Archer had created in 2013 as the recipient of the 2014 payment. “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.'” the Senate report said. “Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.

According to The Financial Times, Rosemont Seneca Thornton is a consortium that consists of Rosemont Seneca Partners and the Thornton Group, a Massachusetts-based firm.” The consulting payment was not only flagged because of its source. Its timing was also suspicious for its proximity to unfolding events in Eastern Europe. The payment was made four days before the Maidan revolution successfully ousted Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s Russian-friendly president, and less than two weeks before Vladimir Putin sent Russian forces to invade Ukraine’s Crimea region and annex it. The Treasury reports showed 11 more transactions flowing from Baturina to entities tied to Hunter Biden in 2015.

“Between May 6, 2015 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina sent 11 wires in the amount of $391,968.21 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA LLC. Nine of the 11 transactions, totaling $241,797.14 were sent from Baturina’s accounts to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton bank account, which then transferred the money to BAK USA,” the Senate report noted.

Read more …

Turkey’s main threat today may well be in Nagorno-Karabach.

Pompeo’s Visit To Greece, Cyprus Prompted By Turkey’s S-400s (K.)

The indications that Turkey activated the radars of its Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft systems in order to detect US-made Greek F-16 fighter jets on their return from the Eunomia exercise on August 27 off Cyprus apparently sounded the alarm in Washington about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and reportedly prompted the visits by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Cyprus on September 12 and Greece on September 27-29. The visits highlight how Ankara’s procurement of the S-400s is irking Washington, which has threatened to impose sanctions if the Russian system is activated. According to reports from a section of the Turkish opposition media, a general test of the S-400 systems is planned by Ankara near Sinop on the Black Sea.

Regardless of the decisions that Ankara will take regarding its air defense, last week’s three-day visit by Pompeo, which took him to Thessaloniki and the Souda base on Crete, was seen as very significant. The permanent mooring of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams at the Souda facility is a strong indication of the US intent to substantially strengthen its presence on the island. The support of a 106,000-ton displacement ship capable of carrying helicopters, UAVs and other systems requires significant changes to the base. The US has been supporting Greece in an ongoing effort since 2016 to further bolster the capabilities of the navy base on Souda.

Read more …

Tulsi has balls.

GOP Reps Join Tulsi Gabbard In Push To Drop US Assange, Snowden Charges (WT)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, has gained support from Republican colleagues in calling for the U.S. government to abandon its criminal cases against Julian Assange and Edward J. Snowden. Along with Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, she introduced a resolution Friday urging the U.S. to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, joined the Democrat days earlier by co-sponsoring a similar resolution asking the U.S. to drop its case against Mr. Snowden, who is also wanted for leaking. Mr. Assange, who launched the WikiLeaks website in 2006, and Mr. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, each face criminal charges in separate cases related to leaking classified information.

Both men have been charged in federal court in Alexandria, Va., with violating the U.S. Espionage Act, and they face the possibility of hefty prison sentences if put on trial and convicted. Ms. Gabbard, who unsuccessfully sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, argued that Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden each played a part in exposing government wrongdoing and should be spared. WikiLeaks “published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels,” said Ms. Gabbard; Mr. Snowden “bravely expos[ed] massive illegal government surveillance,” she said.

Read more …



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Failure-proof is achievable; failure-free is not.
– Nassim Taleb



Assange superpower



Carl Sagan Are you a socialist?





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Oct 032020

René Magritte Le Cri du Coeur 1960


Trump Checks Into Walter Reed Medical Center As Precaution For COVID19 (JTN)
From Gloating To Tears (LA Times)
CNN Thrills With Airing Of Secret Taping of First Lady (Turley)
Just Before Obama Left Office, US Officials Feared Burisma Paid 2nd Bribe (JTN)
Media Willfully Ignore Hunter Biden Scandal (Hemingway)
Michigan Supreme Court Rules Governor Exceeded Her Lockdown Powers (CT)
40% of Seoul Residents Have Mental Health Issues Due To COVID19 (KT)
Why Is The Assange Case Unloved By The Media? (Crikey)
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Massie Call For Charges Against Assange To Be Dropped



Europe is getting out of control.



This made me laugh so hard. The Trump campaign should turn it into a TV ad and play it 100 times a day.



Seems a bit more than just precaution.

Trump is taking Regeneron’s experimental polyclonan antibody cocktail, zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, a daily aspirin, and Remdesivir. But no HCQ.

Trump Checks Into Walter Reed Medical Center As Precaution For COVID19 (JTN)

President Trump is being transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center roughly eighteen hours after he announced that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19, the White House said in a statement. The president was seen departing the White House late Friday afternoon, wearing a suit and a face covering while walking to an awaiting helicopter on the South Lawn. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

The president “remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” she added. The president received an experimental antibiotic “cocktail” after his diagnosis with COVID-19, White House physician Sean Conley said earlier in the day. In a memorandum released on Friday afternoon, Conley said Trump had received “a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonan antibody cocktail.” He is also taking “zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin,” Conley added. “As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits,” Conley continued, stating that the president is “being evaluated by a team of experts.”

Read more …

So many people on Twitter wished for Trump to die that the company issued a statement saying such Tweets will be removed. In other words, as someone also tweeted, Twitter will have a busy weekend.

From Gloating To Tears (LA Times)

In Atlanta, property appraiser Leslie Sublett cried as she discussed his diagnosis with co-workers, suspicious that it was a lie to minimize the pandemic and to manipulate the battle around the election and the U.S. Supreme Court. Sublett, a 50-year-old Democrat, could not shake the feeling that the United States was collapsing. “I’ve had it up to here,” she said, raising her hand above her head. “If we can’t depend on the basic tenets of our democracy, we’re Rome in the end stages. We will cease to be. Gosh, it sounds so dark and terrible, but that’s what I’m crying over.” In Lake Charles, La., Republican Kevin Lavergne was anxious too — not about the pandemic, which he still believes is exaggerated, but about election security, the U.S. Postal Service and the economy, especially since Hurricane Laura devastated his town in August.

“People are losing their lives, committing suicide because of the stress,” said Lavergne, 48, a construction worker who’s been unemployed since the pandemic effectively shut down the local economy. “If we don’t have it up and running and people making money, how are we going to survive?” The president’s diagnosis came as the coronavirus continued its relentless spread, as did protests over police brutality and complaints of voter suppression and election fraud. Americans across the political spectrum were unnerved and grappling with more upheavals than they have since marches over civil rights and the Vietnam War decades ago.

“We used to call the 1960s tumultuous. The ’20s are looking to be a nation unspooling. We’re losing the threads of our democracy, busting apart,” said professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “It’s been probably the hardest American year since 1968. It’s been one day of bad news after another.” Concern about whether free and fair elections are possible is particularly acute, he said, especially after the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden this week devolved into “a grotesque carnival.” “As a country, we’ve had hard times before,” Brinkley said, but now America feels divided along party lines as they wage a “neo-civil war.” “Everybody is spinning and there’s a kind of depression and our traditional optimism is gone,” he said.

Read more …

How this can be turned into another scandal is beyond me. Melania “bashed” Christmas Decorations! Details at 8! She tried to help the children, but was told she couldn’t. She gets upset that the press question her but not the Obama’s. That’s was she’s addressing when she says “Give me a f****** break.” That Obama separated children too. But by cutting it off there, they can make it look like she doesn’t care about the children.

“OK, and then I do it and I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children that they were separated?’ Give me a f****** break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — needs to go through the process and through the law.””

CNN Thrills With Airing Of Secret Taping of First Lady (Turley)

Years ago, American politics left all notion of decency behind in our age of rage. That was evident when the media and liberals celebrated the disgraceful conduct of Maryanne Trump betraying her aunt’s confidence in secretly recording her talking about her brother. The same people reveled in the unethical conduct of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen who not only secretly recorded his client, President Donald Trump, but has been violating any notion of confidentiality in pushing his own tell all book. Now, CNN’s Anderson Cooper has been reduced to shilling for Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the former assistant and friend of Melania Trump who secretly recorded their confidential chats and is now selling a book by playing embarrassing snip bits.

What is incredible about these people is that, while currying favors as false friends or counsels, they were actively taping people who trusted them in case they wanted to later cash in on their access. In the latest example, CNN ran an entirely valueless significant in primetime to simply show the First Lady swearing and complaining about Christmas obligations. Melania “bashed” Christmas Decorations! Details at 8! This used to be the network of figures like Bernard Shaw. As Melania Trump unburdened herself to her friend, Wolkoff kept recording and hoping for something juicy. What she got was this line “I’m working… my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?”

That thrilled Anderson Cooper, who once would have become physically ill at the notion of running such ill-gotten tripe. Instead, he exclaims “Talk about a war on Christmas! It’s funny that she would be leading that.” Talk about a war on journalism! CNN is now trafficking in material that would make the National Inquirer blush. By the way . . . funny? Is that the most descriptive term for this story. What about pursuing the utter betrayal and dishonesty shown by Wolkoff in setting up a friend and boss? There is nothing “funny” about CNN leading with this type of matter, of course. The most newsworthy aspect of this story was the one largely untouched: the despicable level of dishonesty that motivates this type of banking of secret recordings by people like Wolkoff.

It is the very reason that viewers are abandoning the network and media has plummeted in polling in terms of perceived accuracy and honesty. I still view Cooper as an insightful and intelligent journalist but this is an example of how corrupting the current environment has become for many. There is a new sense of an absolute license to engage in any attack or distort any fact for the greater good. Indeed, we now have leading journalism professors denouncing the very concept of objectivity in journalism.

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The usual suspects: Yovanovich, Victoria Nuland. And both Bidens. Note how the mood and message changed the moment Obama left.

Just Before Obama Left Office, US Officials Feared Burisma Paid 2nd Bribe (JTN)

Twenty-two days before President Obama left office, the U.S. ambassador to Kiev wrote top officials in Washington that she feared Burisma Holdings had made a second bribe to Ukrainian officials — shortly before a corruption probe against Hunter Biden’s natural gas employer was abruptly closed before Donald Trump took office. The concerns are detailed in new memos belatedly released to Just the News under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department. The suit was brought on behalf of the news organization by the public interest law firm the Southeastern Legal Foundation.

Then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s concerns were first raised in a Ukrainian news story about a Russian-backed fugitive lawmaker in Ukraine, who alleged Burisma had dumped low-priced natural gas into the market for officials near Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to buy low and sell high, making a bribe disguised as a profit. The scheme was confirmed by U.S. officials before Yovanovitch alerted the top State official for Ukraine and Russia policy in Washington at the time, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the memos show. “There are accusations that Burisma allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas as a way to pay bribes,” Yovanovitch wrote Nuland on Dec. 29, 2016, noting the story “mentions that Hunter Biden and former Polish President Kwasniewski are on the Burisma Board.”

The alert was the second in two years in which the embassy alleged Burisma had paid a bribe while Vice President Joe Biden’s son served on its board. Back in February 2015, then-embassy official George Kent reported to the U.S. Justice Department evidence that Burisma had made a $7 million cash bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors before those prosecutors killed a separate corruption probe in the United Kingdom by failing to produce required evidence. The second alleged bribe in December 2016 was brought to the attention of Yovanovitch and Kent, then a top aide to the ambassador, shortly after the Christmas holiday when a story appeared in the Ukrainian press. “Lots of accusations/innuendo,” Yovanovitch was told in an email. “Mentions Biden’s son and Kwasniewski are on board of Burisma, which allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas recently as a way to pay bribes to P2 inner circle.”

P2 was the shorthand State officials in the U.S. embassy in Kiev used to refer to Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, who was close to Vice President Biden. Because the allegations were first raised by Oleksander Onyschenko, a fugitive in Ukraine who was tied to Russian sources, as well as Radical Party Leader Oleg Lyashko, embassy officials checked them out and confirmed them before telling Nuland. “The dumping part is true,” the embassy’s deputy economic counselor wrote Yovanovitch a few hours after the story surfaced and before Nuland was alerted. The official told the ambassador a major Ukrainian figure close to Poroshenko was “photographed meeting with [Burisma founder Mykola] Zlochevsky in a Vienna restaurant over the weekend, and Zlochevsky may have handed over a suitcase. You can’t make this up.”

Read more …

He shall not be named has also not been seen in ages.

Media Willfully Ignore Hunter Biden Scandal (Hemingway)

Last week, a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed how the son of a major presidential candidate, who has an extensive history of shady foreign business dealings, received a $3.5-million wire transfer from the wife of a Russian politician. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and most major media outlets didn’t cover the story at all. Four years ago, not reporting such a story was a possibility too absurd to even contemplate – but then again, no one would have predicted the candidate with the shady Russia ties is not Donald Trump, but Joe Biden. People often talk about how Trump is responsible for destroying political norms, and that’s a valid concern.

However, one of the truly frightening things about the Trump era is how institutions have exploited a perceived crisis in truth-telling to justify abandoning their own standards by blaming it on Trump. Increasingly, we see major stories break where the media establishment decides on a collective omertà because the story undermines its own credibility or might sway voters in directions it doesn’t approve of. When that happens, no news is good news. The problem with hiding the truth is that you can’t suppress it forever, let alone a week, in this news environment. After the initial blackout, we are finally starting to see some coverage of Hunter Biden’s suspect wire transfer – but only after Trump himself raised the issue in the recent presidential debate and forced the media’s hand. The little coverage the issue has received is instructive, and not in a good way.

When Trump raised the issue at the debate, Joe Biden responded by saying the claim was “Totally discredited. Totally discredited.” Given that it’s a direct allegation in a government document and Biden is flatly denying it, you’d think this would be a perfect opportunity for the media to dig in and sort out the truth of the claim. Instead, they have essentially punted on the issue. According to PolitiFact, which refused to rate the claim either true or false, the facts are in dispute because “Biden’s lawyer says he did not co-found the partnership [that received the money] and had no stake in it,” and “Democrats say they reviewed the Republicans’ documentation but did not find a specific link to Hunter Biden.”

[..] So why does the Senate intel committee report that Biden was a “co-founder” of the firm in question? Well, one clue might be that committee members read it in the media. A lengthy New Yorker profile of Hunter Biden from last year, which clearly had extensive cooperation from the Biden team, reported the following: “In June, 2009, five months after Joe Biden became Vice-President, Hunter co-founded a second company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, Senator John Kerry’s stepson.” That was 15 months ago. For the Biden camp to be disputing this key fact now seems awfully convenient. Further, in that same magazine article, Hunter Biden admits to taking an $80,000 bribe from a Communist Chinese Party-connected tycoon, in the form of a 2.8-carat diamond delivered to his hotel room.

[..] For Joe Biden to tell the American people this accusation is “totally discredited,” when the media hadn’t even touched the story, well, honest fact-checkers would tell it like it is: Joe Biden stood up in front of tens of millions of Americans on Tuesday night and told a self-serving lie – a lie that would have been called a four-alarm trouser conflagration if Trump had said it.

Devin Nunes

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“..the governor is obligated to terminate the state of emergency or state of disaster after 28 days..”

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Governor Exceeded Her Lockdown Powers (CT)

The supreme court in Michigan has ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer exceeded her constitutional authority under state law in the arbitrary enforcement of her unilateral decrees to mitigate the COVID-19 virus. [pdf here] As the court wrote in the opinion rebuking the governor: “The people of this state have been denied a voice and a seat at the table in decisions that have impacted every facet of their lives and their futures over the past eight months. They deserve to have their representatives bring their voice and their concerns into this decision-making process.”

At the heart of the governor’s legal argument was a 1945 law allowing the governor to declare a state of disaster or emergency if she finds one to exist and it remains in place for 28 days, unless the Legislature extends it. The legislature did not extend the declaration, yet the governor continued to restrict the citizens without any representative voice. “MICHIGAN – […] In the 4-3 ruling, the court determined the governor did not have the authority under state law to issue any additional emergency declarations pertaining to the pandemic after April 30. That was the last date when the legislature allowed the governor to declare an emergency. “The governor’s declaration of a state of emergency or state of disaster may only endure for 28 days absent legislative approval of an extension. So, if the Legislature does nothing, as it did here, the governor is obligated to terminate the state of emergency or state of disaster after 28 days,” said the majority opinion, written by Judge Stephen Markman.

[…] “Put simply, and our criticism is not of the Governor in this regard but of the statute in dispute — almost certainly, no individual in the history of this state has ever been vested with as much concentrated and standardless power to regulate the lives of our people, free of the inconvenience of having to act in accord with other accountable branches of government and free of any need to subject her decisions to the ordinary interplay of our system of separated powers and checks and balances, with even the ending date of this exercise of power reposing exclusively in her own judgment and discretion,” the majority wrote.

Read more …

People need people. Quelle surprise.

40% of Seoul Residents Have Mental Health Issues Due To COVID19 (KT)

The prolonged coronavirus pandemic has seen the mental health of Seoul citizens deteriorate more than their physical health, according to a recent survey by Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG). According to the survey results released on Monday, 1,489 of 3,983 respondents -almost 40%- said their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic, whereas 22 percent felt it has worsened their physical health. A total of 3,983 Seoul residents aged between 10 and 90 took part in the survey. The poll, organized in cooperation with IBM, was conducted via chatbots.

The main reasons offered for declining mental health were refraining from outdoor activities under social distancing measures, economic hardship, discomfort from wearing face masks, overall lethargy in daily routine, and the absence of human interaction. The survey also revealed that people feel more stressed about isolation than unemployment or decreased income. One third of the respondents stated that restricted leisure activities including travel bans were the main reason for mental stress. It was followed by lack of social interaction, chosen by 26 percent, followed by job loss or pay cuts, which was selected by 24 percent of respondents. “It is normal for people to easily become depressed when they lack physical activity, as physical and mental health are deeply connected.

Engaging in indoor activities such as home workouts or yoga will help,” said Lee Dong-gui, a professor of psychology at Yonsei University. “As COVID-19 has become a part of our daily lives, it may be better for our brains to view the pandemic as a marathon and prepare for it, rather than hoping it will soon come to an end,” advised Lee. Regarding the government’s social distancing measures, a vast majority -92%- consider the measures necessary and effective in containing the spread of the virus..

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View from his homeland.

Why Is The Assange Case Unloved By The Media? (Crikey)

A former employee of a Spanish security firm has told Julian Assange’s extradition hearing of a plan to abduct and even poison the Australian as part of a widespread surveillance operation said to have been ordered by an associate of US President Donald Trump. This revelation, concerning an Australian citizen who is facing 175 years in jail on espionage charges, made it to page 23 of The Sydney Morning Herald. In The Australian, it was given a small corner on page nine in the world news section, beneath a page of analysis on the first presidential debate. Yet the story would appear to have everything. Witnesses fearful for their lives alleging a conspiracy, tangentially involving the US president, to poison or kidnap a significant Australian figure.

Reports on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexander Navalny, allegedly by the Russian government, got higher billing than Assange in the SMH (on top of an opinion piece declaring Navalny a hero). This is typical of the coverage of the Assange case. You can’t accuse the mainstream media of exactly ignoring the case, but it generally comes “mid-paper” (in print and online). It’s just another thing that’s happening in the world. But isn’t the trial of a Walkley award winner a case about press freedom? Compare this to the blanket front page coverage that followed the Right to Know campaign, where mainstream media outlets talked about the impediments they themselves regularly encounter on account of national security laws they otherwise cheer on.

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Go Tulsi!

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Massie Call For Charges Against Assange To Be Dropped

Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Thomas Massie (KY-04) introduced H.Res.1175, a resolution that defends the freedom of the press, noting that newsgathering activities and news organizations ability to acquire and publish information are protected under the First Amendment. The resolution calls for the United States to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Julian Assange.

“Freedom of the press is a vital function of a free democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. Julian Assange published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government. His indictment under the Espionage Act sends a chilling message to every member of the media and all Americans,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “U.S. government prosecutors now claim that any journalist or news organization that publishes classified material is liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act — which would have led to the indictment of the Washington Post for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The Federal government’s prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent. All extradition efforts and charges under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange must be dropped now.”

“At a time when government officials claim the right to perform warrantless surveillance upon all American citizens, there is an urgent need to zealously guard freedom of the press and to demand government transparency and accountability. The ongoing attempts to prosecute Julian Assange threaten our First Amendment rights, and should be opposed by all who wish to safeguard our constitutional rights now and in the years to come. I join my colleague, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, in calling for an immediate end to all charges against Mr. Assange,” said Rep. Thomas Massie.

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Feb 092020

Dorothea Lange Play street for children. Sixth Street and Avenue C, NYC June 1936


Authorities Order Foxconn To Keep Chinese Facilities Closed (AI)
China To Stagger Back To Work As Coronavirus Deaths Surpass SARS (R.)
In-Hospital Infection Blamed In Wuhan Hospital (NHK)
Coronavirus Outbreak Has Affected 4 Different Cruise Ships (H.)
Still No Port For Cruise Ship Westerdam (NHK)
Five Britons Contract Coronavirus In French Ski Resort (R.)
Coronavirus Brings China’s Surveillance State Out Of The Shadows (R.)
Coronavirus Threatens The Chinese Communist Party’s Grip On Power (SCMP)
Yesterday’s Gone: Iowa Was Waterloo for Democrats (Taibbi)
The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (Atl.)
A Stock Market Boom Is Not The Basis Of Shared Prosperity (Palley)
Argentina Won’t Repay IMF Debt Till Recession Over – VP Kirchner (R.)



Late last night in my present timezone, CET, initial new coronavirus numbers came out and everyone said they meant the virus has now killed more people (805-806) than SARS. Everyone except for SCMP which cited a WHO number of 813 SARS deaths (they still haven’t figured that out after 17 years). And then, wouldn’t you know, when I got up in the morning, SCMP had revised their new deaths number to … exactly 813. If I weren’t born so wonderfully gullible I would ask myself something.

Global death toll for new coronavirus hits 805, exceeding that of SARS

The global death toll from the new coronavirus is now at 805, higher than that of SARS. Hubei province reported Sunday morning that there were 81 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in the mainland to 803 so far. The global death toll for the new coronavirus currently stands at 805, including one death in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong. That compares to the SARS outbreak which killed at least 774 people and infected 8,096 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003, according to data from the World Health Organization.

NOTE: SARS deaths took 9 months. This epidemic is just 1-2 months old.

China’s Hubei reports 81 deaths, global total just short of WHO’s SARS figure

China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus epidemic, reported 81 new deaths from the disease on Saturday, bringing the province’s total fatalities from the outbreak to 780. Total deaths globally stood at 805, just short of the 813 total fatalities attributed to the deadly Sars epidemic of 2002-2003 by the World Health Organisation. The provincial health authorities also reported 2,147 newly confirmed cases of the disease in the past 24 hours. This brings the total cases in Hubei to 27,100. These figures compared to the reported deaths and newly confirmed cases of 81 and 2,841, respectively, on Friday.



• 813 deaths, up from 724 yesterday. 89 new deaths is a new record again.

• Confirmed new cases rose to 37,198, an increase of 2,652 overnight

• 3,916 suspected new cases, bringing the total to 28,942 suspected cases.


And this little map looks promising, but I do have questions about it:



Questions like: what are the effects of the ever wider and ever more stringent lockdowns on this? Do fewer people get infected if they’re all locked up in their homes? Or are infected people also harder to find when they’re behind closed doors? Would families volunteer to deliver potentially infected family members to authorities, or would they wait until they’re as good as dead?

I found this interesting as well: “Wuhan has 49 crematoriums, which can each burn 5 bodies every two hours. They’ve been working 24 hours a day for 17 days now. 49 x 17 x 24 x 5/2 = 49,980 bodies.”


Still, as I said yesterday, it’s really all about Monday morning, when the economy is supposed to start “working” again. On Friday, Tesla said its Shanghai plant would re-open tomorrow morning. But then today, the government ordered Foxconn’s Shenzhen factories to remain closed. Will Tesla really open?

As I also said somewhere yesterday, “restarting” the economy where 100s of millions are under some form of lockdown now, means shoving all those millions into planes, trains and subways to bring them to plants where they spend 8-10-12 hours in close proximity to potential virus carriers. Thousands more petri dishes.

I’ll believe it when I see it.



Well, that’s my question: “No-one wants to bear the responsibility for restarting work at this critical moment.”

Authorities Order Foxconn To Keep Chinese Facilities Closed (AI)

As authorities attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus in China, Foxconn did its part to help on Friday by telling staff not to return to work on February 10, following the Lunar New Year. Rather than resuming operations on the originally anticipated return date, the assembly partner told its tens of thousands of employees to stay away from the Shenzhen plant. A report by Nikkei claims the calling off of production has been further halted by the Chinese authorities, who have told Foxconn not to reopen. People familiar with the matter advised the factory was subject to on-site inspections by public health officials, which found there were “high risks of coronavirus infection” if it did reopen.

One internal memo about the inspection and government-ordered closure mentioned “Violation of epidemic prevention and control could potentially face the death penalty.” Part of the problem is the production facilities use central air condition and have a high density of workers, conditions ripe for viral transference. “The local governments do not want to risk the potential virus spreading in such a labor-intensive working environment,” a source told the report. “No-one wants to bear the responsibility for restarting work at this critical moment.” On Friday, Foxconn took the extra step of canceling flight bookings for employees from Taiwan returning from their home country to China between February 7 and February 14.

The measure was allegedly announced by Chairman Young Liu in a video conference that morning, who also confirmed the company’s Zhengzhou complex would need to be evaluated by the local government before it could be reopened. Foxconn has previously confirmed the coronavirus will affect production, and it is allegedly affecting Apple’s AirPods along with other products it makes, such as iPhones.

Read more …

What will stocks do?

China To Stagger Back To Work As Coronavirus Deaths Surpass SARS (R.)

China raised the death toll from the coronavirus epidemic to 811 on Sunday, passing the number killed globally by the SARS epidemic in 2002/2003 and raising anxiety among people preparing to return to work after an extended Lunar New Year break. Struggling to contain the spread of the disease, authorities had told businesses to tack up to 10 extra days onto holidays that had been due to finish at the end of January as the rising numbers of dead and infected cast a pall over the country. Many of China’s usually teeming cities have almost become ghost towns during the past two weeks, as the Communist Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, cancelled flights, closed factories and kept schools shut.

The sight of an economy regarded as a workshop to the world laid so low has also taken a toll on international financial markets, as shares slumped and investors switched into safe-havens like gold, bonds and the Japanese yen. Even on Monday, a large number of workplaces will remain closed and many white-collar workers will continue to work from home. The new deaths on Saturday reached another daily record at 89, data from the National Health Commission showed, pushing the total well over the 774 who died from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

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“..around 40 percent of the patients with the new coronavirus they have treated may have contracted the illness at their hospital.”

In-Hospital Infection Blamed In Wuhan Hospital (NHK)

A team of medical professionals at a hospital in Wuhan says that around 40 percent of the patients with the new coronavirus they have treated may have contracted the illness at their hospital. The team works at a Wuhan University hospital in the Chinese city at the heart of the outbreak. They published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Friday. The study says 138 cases were confirmed at the hospital between January 1 and 28. Of those, 41 percent, or 57 people, were medical staff or patients who were initially hospitalized for other reasons.

The study found that one patient in the surgical department may have infected more than 10 members of hospital staff. It says that while patients had symptoms such as high fever and sense of fatigue, researchers revealed that 10 percent either had atypical symptoms such as diarrhea, or complained of nausea. It concludes that it was difficult to screen patients with symptoms not previously associated with the virus. The team says that an important feature of the new coronavirus is the rapid human-to-human transmission among people in close contact.

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I think the ship off Hong Kong was freed today. The Yokohama one with 61 infected won’t be so lucky.

Coronavirus Outbreak Has Affected 4 Different Cruise Ships (H.)

Cruises are, for the most part, meant to elicit feelings of relaxation—literally floating away from your landlocked responsibilities for a few days. But, for thousands of passengers aboard at least four different cruise ships, their vacations quickly turned into nightmare scenarios. As of Friday, four major vessels—the Diamond Princess, Westerdam, World Dream, and Royal Caribbean’s The Anthem of the Seas cruise ships—have been impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), aka the Wuhan coronavirus. Most affected by the outbreak is the Diamond Princess cruise ship, currently quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, near Tokyo.

The ship was docked Tuesday after a former passenger tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then, 61 passengers of the 3,700 people on board have tested positive for the virus, reports CNN. The ship’s quarantine is expected to last until at least February 19. The two other ships—the Westerdam, currently in search of a port in the East China Sea; and the World Dream, docked in Hong Kong—have also come to a halt due to fears of coronavirus, per CNN. No current or former passengers on the Westerdam have been reported as having the coronavirus, nor have any current passengers on the World Dream, though eight former passengers of the cruise ship have been confirmed as having the illness.

And most recently, on Friday, the Royal Caribbean’s The Anthem of the Seas was docked near New York City, at a port in Bayonne, New Jersey, where 27 passengers were screened for the coronavirus, according to CNN. Four of those passengers were sent to the hospital for further investigation, while the other 23 were cleared. In a statement, per CNN, Royal Caribbean confirmed that, like airlines, they too are working to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. “We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.”

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Sailed on Feb 1. Now it’s like the original Flying Dutchman ship.

Still No Port For Cruise Ship Westerdam (NHK)

The operator of the cruise ship Westerdam is searching for a port to call at after being rejected by destinations including Japan amid fears of the spreading coronavirus. The US-based Holland America Line said in a statement on Friday that the ship is “currently sailing on a southwesterly course off the coast of Taiwan.” The firm says it is positioning the ship “for access to potential port locations.” The Westerdam departed Hong Kong on February 1 with more than 2,200 passengers and crew onboard. Taiwan denied it permission to call, citing a suspicion of coronavirus infection among the passengers. Japanese authorities followed suit, preventing it from entering a port in the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa. Holland America Line said in the statement that “The ship is not in quarantine” and there is “no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board.” It added the ship has sufficient fuel and food, and passengers are provided with free internet and phone access.

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Is this the first cluster than doesn’t involve Chinese people? Note that the original infection came from Singapore, not China.

Five Britons Contract Coronavirus In French Ski Resort (R.)

Five British nationals including a child have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus at a French mountain village, and health officials said they were checking who else might have been exposed, including at local schools. In total, 11 people, including the five who tested positive, have been hospitalized in southeastern France and were being examined, the French health ministry said on Saturday, adding that none were in serious condition. The group of Britons included holidaymakers and a family currently residing in the Alpine village and ski resort, Les Contamines-Montjoie. They shared neighboring apartments in a chalet and temporarily hosted a British man believed to have contracted the virus at a business congress in Singapore before his short visit to France in late January, the ministry added.

Two schools would be shut next week for checks, regional health official Jean-Yves Grall said, after it emerged that the nine-year-old who tested positive had attended lessons and French classes in different establishments. Two other children were also part of the group of 11 now in hospital in the cities of Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble, and they had been schooled in the area too, according to Etienne Jacquet, mayor of Les Contamines-Montjoie. Some parents in the village, nestled in the mountains close to the Mont Blanc peak and the Swiss city of Geneva, said on Saturday they had received little information so far and were being cautious.

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Thermal cameras, cameras that see through face-masks, a good crisis to step up state control.

Coronavirus Brings China’s Surveillance State Out Of The Shadows (R.)

When the man from Hangzhou returned home from a business trip, the local police got in touch. They had tracked his car by his license plate in nearby Wenzhou, which has had a spate of coronavirus cases despite being far from the epicenter of the outbreak. Stay indoors for two weeks, they requested. After around 12 days, he was bored and went out early. This time, not only did the police contact him, so did his boss. He had been spotted near Hangzhou’s West Lake by a camera with facial recognition technology, and the authorities had alerted his company as a warning.

“I was a bit shocked by the ability and efficiency of the mass surveillance network. They can basically trace our movements with the AI technology and big data at any time and any place,” said the man, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions. Chinese have long been aware that they are tracked by the world’s most sophisticated system of electronic surveillance. The coronavirus emergency has brought some of that technology out of the shadows, providing the authorities with a justification for sweeping methods of high tech social control. Artificial intelligence and security camera companies boast that their systems can scan the streets for people with even low-grade fevers, recognize their faces even if they are wearing masks and report them to the authorities.

If a coronavirus patient boards a train, the railway’s “real name” system can provide a list of people sitting nearby. Mobile phone apps can tell users if they have been on a flight or a train with a known coronavirus carrier, and maps can show them locations of buildings where infected patients live. Although there has been some anonymous grumbling on social media, for now Chinese citizens seem to be accepting the extra intrusion, or even embracing it, as a means to combat the health emergency. “In the circumstances, individuals are likely to consider this to be reasonable even if they are not specifically informed about it,” said Carolyn Bigg, partner at law firm DLA Piper in Hong Kong.

[..] Facial recognition firm Megvii said on Tuesday it had developed a new way to spot and identify people with fevers, with support from the industry and science ministries. Its new “AI temperature measurement system”, which detects temperature with thermal cameras and uses body and facial data to identify individuals, is already being tested in a Beijing district. SenseTime, another leading AI firm, said it has built a similar system to be used at building entrances, which can identify people wearing masks, overcoming a weakness of earlier technology. Surveillance camera firm Zhejiang Dahua says it can detect fevers with infrared cameras to an accuracy within 0.3ºC.

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Wishful thinking?

Coronavirus Threatens The Chinese Communist Party’s Grip On Power (SCMP)

China missed the best opportunity to contain the spread of the virus because officials at first delayed – or possibly covered up – the release of information and were slow in taking precautionary actions. The first patient who experienced symptoms was found on December 1, 2019, suggesting the origin of the disease was even earlier. And there has been some evidence of human-to-human transmissions since late December, with more emerging in early January when several medical workers were infected. These vital bits of information were not released to the public in time. Nor was any decisive action taken between early December and January 23, the day Beijing told the world about the severity of the epidemic and declared war on it just two days before the Lunar New Year on January 25.

Lives continued as normal in Wuhan in the week before then. On January 18, the Wuhan government hosted a banquet attended by more than 40,000 families in a bid to set a Guinness world record. On January 20, the municipal government said it was distributing 200,000 free tickets to residents for festive new year activities. Videos show few people wearing face masks in Wuhan before mid-January. Compare that to Hong Kong, where since early January the government has been updating people on the situation daily and holding frequent news briefings.

In terms of human-to-human transmissions, the alarm wasn’t raised until the prominent epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan spoke out on January 20 – nearly 50 days after the first patient was found and three weeks after it was established that human-to-human infections were taking place. Instead of acting against the virus, the government focused on controlling the information. In an effort to underscore the CCP’s determination to crack down on unsanctioned information, the broadcaster CCTV reported on January 2 that Wuhan police had interrogated and warned eight whistle-blowers, frontline doctors, for “rumourmongering” about the epidemic. It seemed all too familiar to 2003, when military doctor Jiang Yanyong defied government rules and risked his own life to break the news about the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) to the international media.

Read more …

“Perhaps all the Democrats need to win the presidency is a Rust Belt millennial who’s gay and speaks Norwegian.”

Yesterday’s Gone: Iowa Was Waterloo for Democrats (Taibbi)

Democratic campaign events have long been more pep rally than discussion, more about the terribleness of Republicans than substance. “They’re so used to events where everyone is rooting for them,” says Redd. “It’s like, ‘No, we’re actually here to challenge you on issues that matter.’” Biden performed surprisingly well all year in polls, but he headed into Iowa like a passenger jet trying to land with one burning engine, hitting trees, cows, cars, sides of mountains, everything. The poking incidents were bad, but then one of his chief surrogates, John Kerry, was overheard by NBC talking about the possibility of jumping in to keep Bernie from “taking down” the party.

“Maybe I’m fucking deluding myself here,” Kerry reportedly said — mainstream Democrats may not have changed their policies or strategies much since Trump, but they sure are swearing more — then noted he would have to raise a “couple of million” from people like venture capitalist Doug Hickey. Kerry later said he was enumerating the reasons he wouldn’t run, though those notably did not include humility about his own reputation as a comical national electoral failure, or because there’s already a candidate in the race (Biden) he’d been crisscrossing Iowa urging people to vote for, but instead because he’d have to step down from the board of Bank of America and give up paid speeches. French aristocrats who shouted “Vive le Roi!” on the way to the razor did a better job advertising themselves.

With days, hours left before the caucuses, there were signs everywhere that the party establishment was scrambling to find someone among the remaining cast members to stop what Kerry called the “reality of Bernie.” But who? Yang said smart things about inequality, so he was out. Tulsi Gabbard was Russian Bernie spawn. Tom Steyer was Dennis Kucinich with money. Voters had already rejected potential Trump WWE opponents like the “progressive prosecutor” (Kamala Harris), the “pragmatic progressive” (John Delaney), “the next Bobby Kennedy” (Beto O’Rourke), “Courageous Empathy” (Cory Booker), Medicare for All can bite me (John Hickenlooper), and over a dozen others.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg seemed perfect, a man who defended the principle of wine-based fundraisers with military effrontery. New York magazine made his case in a cover story the magazine’s Twitter account summarized as: “Perhaps all the Democrats need to win the presidency is a Rust Belt millennial who’s gay and speaks Norwegian.”

Read more …

The Trump people meddle in conspiracy theories. The “others” don’t. This is how and why you will lose the election.

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (Atl.)

One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied. I also gave my cellphone number to the Trump campaign, and joined a handful of private Facebook groups for MAGA diehards, one of which required an application that seemed designed to screen out interlopers. The president’s reelection campaign was then in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at shaping Americans’ understanding of the recently launched impeachment proceedings.

Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup. That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country, and I wanted to see it from the inside. The story that unfurled in my Facebook feed over the next several weeks was, at times, disorienting. There were days when I would watch, live on TV, an impeachment hearing filled with damning testimony about the president’s conduct, only to look at my phone later and find a slickly edited video—served up by the Trump campaign—that used out-of-context clips to recast the same testimony as an exoneration. Wait, I caught myself wondering more than once, is that what happened today?

[..] Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.

The Trump campaign is planning to spend more than $1 billion, and it will be aided by a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups, and enterprising freelance operatives. These pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.

Read more …

How you tie your impression of Trump as a con-man in with the topic is unclear. Today’s bubbles started with Greenspan and Bill Clinton, not Trump.

A Stock Market Boom Is Not The Basis Of Shared Prosperity (Palley)

The United States is currently enjoying another stock market boom. If history is any guide, it may well end in a bust. In the meantime, the boom is having a politically toxic effect. Donald Trump uses it to make the case for his reelection in the fall. But his argument, at a minimum, requires a big leap of faith. Trump’s assertion — that a stock market boom is the basis for shared prosperity — is just that, an assertion. It certainly hasn’t led to any broad-based prosperity. The beneficiaries are the happy few at the top of the U.S. economic pyramid. Anyone who ever read John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929, his 1954 classic, has run across Galbraith’s idea of the “bezzle.” In addition to Ponzi schemes, Galbraith’s bezzle also captures the dynamic of speculative bubbles.

Those bubbles are a form of fraud we collectively inflict on ourselves. Investors buy in believing they will be able to sell at a higher price, and their purchases drive up prices and attract new investors who hope to jump on the price appreciation band wagon. The bubble continues until belief in ever higher prices is punctured, whereupon buyers evaporate and the bubble implodes. Once again, all feel richer along the way. Today’s stock market increasingly has the smell and feel of another bezzle. That smell is metaphorically rather perfectly reflected in President Trump who has all the integrity of a con man. Better yet, Trump’s business history, in addition to reliance on funding from suspect sources, is marked by serial bankruptcies.

Trump has also managed to use the presidential bully pulpit to cajole the U.S. Federal Reserve into further inflating asset prices by enjoining it to lower interest rates. In addition to directly impacting asset pricing, the Federal Reserve has given a green flag for speculative buying. In that process, it has strengthened beliefs that it stands ready to guarantee stock prices, via the so-called “Powell put.” That put is an amplification of the prior “Bernanke put,” which was in turn an amplification of the “Greenspan put” which launched the Federal Reserve’s commitment to stock prices. To be honest, it did not take much cajoling from Trump as the Federal Reserve has evidently learned little from the past 35 years of serial asset price bubbles.

Read more …

A lesson for Greece.

Argentina Won’t Repay IMF Debt Till Recession Over – VP Kirchner (R.)

Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on Saturday that the government will not pay “even half a cent” of its debt back to the International Monetary Fund before the country has exited recession. “The first thing we have to do in order to be able to pay is to exit the recession,” Fernandez de Kirchner said at a presentation of her book “Sinceramente” (Sincerely) at Havana’s international book fair. “If there is a recession no-one will pay even half a cent and the way you exit recession is through a lot of state investment.” Argentina needs to restructure $100 billion in sovereign debt with creditors, including part of a $57 billion credit facility that the IMF extended the country in 2018.

Dealings with the IMF are key as Argentina hopes to avoid a default amid a currency crash, steep inflation and a contracting economy. An IMF technical mission is expected in Buenos Aires next week to discuss obligations owed to the fund. Fernandez de Kirchner said Argentina should get a “substantial haircut” on its IMF debt. A leftist and militant Peronist, she has traveled frequently to Communist-run Cuba over the past year to visit her daughter Florencia Kirchner who is undergoing medical treatment there.

Read more …


Just one of those timelines where Dean Koontz wrote a book about a Chinese super virus called Wuhan that escaped a secret lab.




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Jun 162015
 June 16, 2015  Posted by at 8:14 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »

Dmitri Kessel Protest against Britain’s murders of partisans, Athens 1944

Next week, on June 25, I will come to Athens (I wish Nicole could join me, but she moved to New Zealand and will be there for now). There is no large fixed agenda set, but through contacts with readers of the Automatic Earth -they’re absolutely everywhere- it’s already clear that there will be a lot to do. Obviously, I will continue to publish everyday on the Automatic Earth site as well, so we may be in for some busy days. Nothing new there.

Still need to secure a place to stay, but I’m sure something will come up. And there are of course never enough readers and friends to get in touch with, so please drop a line at “contact •at• theautomaticearth •dot• com”. I would love to meet as many of you as possible, get you in touch with each other, practice our ouzo toast, dance a zirtaki and have a ball.

Where I’m coming from is talking with people on the street is something that interests me far more than talking to politicians, though I’ll be certain to drop Varoufakis a line, and less visible members of Syriza would undoubtedly make for good conversations as well. What I want to find out, and write about, is how people have experienced the past five years, how they see the next five, and how they hold together.

That last bit is especially poignant since the structure of Greek society is very different from that of America or western Europe. In a good way, if you ask me. Not only is the economy much more ‘self-contained’ -for lack of a better word-, which by the way would make a switch to an -domestic- alternate currency much less painful then it would be in richer, export-dependent nations, but Greek families stick together way more than those elsewhere too.

Ironically, that’s why they can at times -try to- make do with a single pension to feed an entire family, something that would be unthinkable in Holland, Germany, Canada, US. And it’s those very pensions that the troika insists must be further reduced than the 40%+ they’ve already been cut. What goes for families stretches beyond them to a larger circle of friends too.

Meanwhile, my planning could be either way off or right on the nose, depending on one’s view. I see talk of a Lehman moment as early as this weekend, but it looks more likely the whole thing will go down to the wire, which is June 30.

No matter what comes down, I very much think Athens is the place to be as per next week. As you probably know, I have great sympathy and admiration for what Syriza, especially Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis, are trying to achieve, as well as for their intelligence and even more, what they stand for.

Now, I don’t think I can go to Athens and not try to see if there’s something I can do to alleviate some of the misery in my own small way. But since that way would be extremely small given where the Automatic Earth’s financial situation and funding stand at the moment, I thought of something.

I’m hereby setting up an “Automatic Earth for Athens” fund (big word), and I’m asking you, our readership, to donate to that fund. I will make sure the revenues will go to clinics and food banks, to the worthiest causes I can find. To not mix up donations for Athens with those for the Automatic Earth, which are also badly needed, I suggest I take any donation that ends with 99 cents, as in $25.99, and single those out for Greece. Does that sound reasonable? Let me know if it doesn’t, please.

I’m not expecting a flood of cash, but I hope that you, like me, think that in a civilized country people shouldn’t have to bring their own bedsheets to a hospital, or that these hospitals should be forced to work their doctors into burnouts, or simply lack basic treatments, medicines, etc.

Or for that matter that children should go hungry.

If Brussels and Washington refuse to solve these simple problems, or even attempt to make them worse, in my view Syriza is right to stand up to them, and we, us, the Automatic Earth, have an obligation to do what we can.

But that’s just me.

Feb 282015

Fenno Jacobs Schoolchildren staging a patriotic demonstration, Southington, CT 1942

In an article about NATO exercises in Estonia, just 300 yards from the Russian border, Daniel McAdams at the Ron Paul Institute makes a point that I want to use to make a much broader point. Not the provide answers, though, just to provide questions. McAdams quotes the Guardian review of a book by George Sakwa:

NATO’s Russia Border Games

Russian military plane over international waters 25 miles from the UK coast is “real and present danger” to NATO. Yet… Yet yesterday US combat vehicles conducted a military parade and show of military force in Estonia just 300 yards – yards! – from the Russian border. That is just over 60 miles from downtown St. Petersburg. This is not a provocation, we are to believe. This is not a “real and present danger” to Russia. NATO is exempt from the rules it imposes on its enemies. In the Guardian’s review of a new book by Politics professor George Sakwa, the current fallout from a near quarter century of post-Cold War NATO policies is perfectly captured:

The hawks in the Clinton administration ignored all this, Bush abandoned the anti-ballistic missile treaty and put rockets close to Russia’s borders, and now a decade later, after Russia’s angry reaction to provocations in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine today, we have what Sakwa rightly calls a “fateful geographical paradox: that NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence”.

That line bears repeating: “NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.”

Yes, that line bears repeating, but it bears much more than that: the line doesn’t go nearly far enough. Because NATO doesn’t only exist, it develops and changes. In fact, to justify its prolonged existence, NATO has turned from a force for peace into a warmonger. That way, the organization argues, consciously or not, it provides itself with a reason to exist. It now doesn’t just exist to manage the risks, it exists to create them. In doing so, NATO itself has become the biggest risk.

Regular readers will be well aware that I, like Ron Paul, have said many times that NATO should be dismantled (and not just NATO). Not only because it’s long outlived its original purpose, based in the Cold War, but because it increasingly attracts as leaders people who use ever more aggressive language for ever more elusive reasons. The latest in the series are new General Secretary Stoltenberg and General ‘Warhead’ Breedlove, both of whom seem hell bent on outdoing even Ukraine’s leadership pair of Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk when it comes to making unsubstantiated claims about Russia, and about the situation in Ukraine – and Eastern Europe – in a broader sense.

My thesis is that all supranational organizations will eventually attract a certain kind of people as their leaders, and that these are inevitably the last kind of people we should want in these positions. But in the absence of effective democratic oversight, they end up there anyway. Therefore, the only way to counter this mechanism is to dismantle and abandon the organizations, while we still can. Which is not a given, since they function like power pyramids, in which ever more active power flows to an ever smaller top, until they become ‘untouchable’ by the nations that founded them in the first place.

These organizations don’t just fail to meet their originally stated purpose, they become entities dangerous to those they were meant to serve. That’s true for NATO, for the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU. They all end up serving only their most powerful members, at the cost of the smaller and less powerful. Since there is no mechanism to prevent this from happening while they exist, we must dismantle them.

There’s a strong correlation with an example from the economic world, in which corporations were originally incorporated for a specific project (e.g. building a bridge), a specific budget and a specific duration. And look at corporations now: there is no time limit to their existence, they are free to buy political control over our societies across generations, and they have even been granted person’s rights, though persons die and corporations no longer do.

What is true for corporations is just as true for supranational organizations: it’s all about scale. They are all – well, mostly – founded by well-meaning people, but these people ignore – willingly or not – to set time, financial and legal limits to them. And that’s a surefire recipe for disaster. The IMF upon its inception had lofty ideals behind it. But look at the damage it’s done across the globe. The World Bank was intended to help fight poverty in poor nations, but, like the IMF, has become an instrument for the rich to control these nations and prey on them.

And NATO has been busy ever since the Berlin wall came down, to resurrect the Cold War, without which it knows it must fear for its continued existence. It’s a twin sister of the American military complex, which creates threats out of nowhere and fights wars that all end in disaster, creating chaos along the way that forms the reason, and the cradle, for the next theater of war.

I’ve said before that I’m somewhat hesitant to include the US in the list of supranational organizations that should be dismantled, but if the country, the union, can’t find a way to reform and refind itself, I don’t see much reason for it to live on. The concentrated power bastion in Washington simply does too much harm to too many people, both at home and abroad. Nobody should have that sort of power.

If you have an entity that comprises 300 million people, it’s inevitable that ‘rulers’ over that entity need to be curtailed and limited in their powers from the get-go, or things will go awfully wrong. In the US, arguably, that has long since started to happen. The solution – in theory – is real simple: decentralize power. The solution in practice is much less obvious, since the people in power won’t volunteer to give up what they’ve got. A critical mass has been reached from which it will be very hard to retreat.

‘Once it reaches a certain threshold, the process of institutionalization becomes counterproductive’

Those are the words from a man I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, when pondering these issues, 20th century philosopher/priest Ivan Illich, whose criticism of ‘institutionalization’, mostly published in the 1970’s from Latin America, was largely inspired by, and directed at, the Catholic Church, not coincidentally the world’s – by far – earliest truly multinational corporation. Illich basically asserted that institutions tend to monopolize parts of societies that they should leave alone, because they belong to the people, and are essential to their well-being. From Wikipedia’s entry on Illich:

[e]lite professional groups . . . have come to exert a ‘radical monopoly’ on such basic human activities as health, agriculture, home-building, and learning, leading to a ‘war on subsistence’ that robs peasant societies of their vital skills and know-how. The result of much economic development is very often not human flourishing but ‘modernized poverty,’ dependency, and an out-of-control system in which the humans become worn-down mechanical parts.”

[2] Illich proposed that we should “invert the present deep structure of tools” in order to “give people tools that guarantee their right to work with independent efficiency.”[14]

Schools should not be able to declare themselves the only valuable source of education, nor hospitals that of health care. To Illich, the fact that he did see them do this anyway, meant people were being robbed of their freedom to learn, and to heal. In the same vein, NATO should not have a monopoly on defending us from ‘evil’ enemies, because it will create that evil just to justify its own apparatus, in the process robbing people of the ability to judge what is evil and what is not.

‘[I]nstitutions create the needs and control their satisfaction, and, by so doing, turn the human being and her or his creativity into objects’

And that of course moves us real close to what I said about supranational organizations and multinationals, and to what Sakwa said: “NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.”. It shirks close to the Completion Backward Principle, in which first a need and a market is created and only then the product that fills that need.

My perhaps favorite Illich quote, which with a little imagination is one on one applicable to the entire institutionalization issue, is this:

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value.

Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.

I never liked the education system I grew up in, any more than I like supranational institutions (it just took me a while to figure out the connection). High school was fine, because it was a breeze. But university was like running into a wall, multiple times. I just never had the idea that these people had anything I wanted. Just perhaps a degree that would have given me a ‘better’ job. But to go through 4-5-6 years of something I absolutely didn’t want, or saw the use of, seemed to be far too high a price to pay. This was way after Illich wrote what he did, though I didn’t read it until even much later again, but when I did, I still had a feeling of redemption, of: I’m not the only one who saw what I did.

And of course people will say that I’m an idiot to throw away a university degree when so many others would kill to have one. That all, however, proves Illich’s point, and it leads back to the same issue: universities have a monopoly on learning, which means people learn less and less, they only ‘learn’ to be cogs in a machine. And if you don’t get the degree, than no well-paying job for you. And that’s exactly what Illich says. It makes for societies of unhappy people, who can’t even provide for themselves, as all their ancestors could, because all they’ve learned is to be that cog.

I wanted to bring Ivan Illich into the discussion about NATO we’ve been having for a long time, with Ron Paul and myself saying it should be banned and its pieces ritually incinerated, because Illich makes the idea far more accessible that this is all part of a much larger pattern. That is to say, we tend towards centralization at all levels, mostly at first – seemingly – innocently, but soon with control moving beyond our perception.

Who controls NATO, or the IMF? I’m sure you understand it’s not you. Still, when an organization exhibits aggressive behavior in your name, or lends out your money in your name, you should at all times feel that you are in control, through those you elect to represent you. Well, do you? Or are you merely thinking: that’s too far away from me?

Organizations, like so many things in life, don’t scale up well, if at all. Beyond a certain critical mass, they become counterproductive, as Illich states. They become predators on their own creators. That goes as much for NATO, IMF and EU as it does for schools and hospitals.

Modern societies appear to create more and more institutions – and great swathes of the way we live our lives become institutionalized. ‘This process undermines people – it diminishes their confidence in themselves, and in their capacity to solve problems… It kills convivial relationships. Finally it colonizes life like a parasite or a cancer that kills creativity’ (Finger and Asún 2001: 10).

Experts and an expert culture always call for more experts. Experts also have a tendency to cartelize themselves by creating ‘institutional barricades’ – for example proclaiming themselves gatekeepers, as well as self-selecting themselves. Finally, experts control knowledge production, as they decide what valid and legitimate knowledge is, and how its acquisition is sanctioned.

Schooling – the production of knowledge, the marketing of knowledge, which is what the school amounts to, draws society into the trap of thinking that knowledge is hygienic, pure, respectable, deodorized, produced by human heads and amassed in stock…..

[B]y making school compulsory, [people] are schooled to believe that the self-taught individual is to be discriminated against; that learning and the growth of cognitive capacity, require a process of consumption of services presented in an industrial, a planned, a professional form;… that learning is a thing rather than an activity. A thing that can be amassed and measured, the possession of which is a measure of the productivity of the individual within the society. That is, of his social value.

It’s a trap we’ve set for ourselves, and over which we’ve now long lost control. Technology seems to make the world ‘smaller’, and to increase our control, but in effect it ends up doing the opposite. It makes us dumber, since we are now only cogs in a machine that others control, and over which we have no oversight. If the machine gets orders to go to war, the cogs will have to obey. That’s our world today, and that’s what the NATO issue teaches us. NATO is our Frankenstein. And if we don’t stop it now, it will end up coming after us.

Feb 052015
 February 5, 2015  Posted by at 6:39 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  1 Response »

NPC Auto wreck, Washington, DC April 1917

This is a post by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism (see original here), who shares my worries (and quotes me) – as well as Syriza’s, of course – about what’s happening in Greece. She’s dead on in making the connection between #BlackLivesMatter and #GreekLivesMatter. What’s being done to Greece in this Chicago School style experiment is reprehensible and immoral. Europe is busy creating its own generation of gutter dwellers, first in Greece, and its own Untermenschen, yet again, just 70 years after WWII ended. Shame on them, and shame on you for letting it happen. Don’t!

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem an accomplice.

The Troika’s willingness to turn Greece into a failed state first, as a side effect of its “rescue the French and German banks” operation, and now, as part of its German hegemony protection racket, is killing people and in the longer term will only accelerate the rise of extreme right wing elements in the Eurozone. As Ilargi wrote last week:

In what universe is it a good thing to have over half of the young people in entire countries without work, without prospects, without a future? And then when they stand up and complain, threaten them with worse? How can that possibly be the best we can do? And how much worse would you like to make it? If a flood of suicides and miscarriages, plummeting birth rates and doctors turning tricks is not bad enough yet, what would be?

If you live in Germany or Finland, and it were indeed true that maintaining your present lifestyle depends on squeezing the population of Greece into utter misery, what would your response be? F##k ‘em? You know what, even if that were so, your nations have entered into a union with Greece (and Spain, and Portugal et al), and that means you can’t only reap the riches on your side and leave them with the bitter fruit. That would make that union pointless, even toxic. You understand that, right?

Greece is still an utterly corrupt country. Brussels knows this, but it has kept supporting a government that supports the corrupt elite, tried to steer the Greeks away from voting SYRIZA. Why? How much does Brussels like corrupt elites, exactly? The EU, and its richer member nations, want Greece to cut even more, given the suicides, miscarriages, plummeting birth rates and doctors turning tricks. How blind is that? Again, how much worse does it have to get?

Does the EU have any moral values at all? And if not, why are you, if you live in the EU, part of it? Because you don’t have any, either? And if you do, where’s your voice? There are people suffering and dying who are part of a union that you are part of. That makes you an accomplice. You can’t hide from that just because your media choose to hide your reality from you.

It is time to take action, both here and in Europe. I hope you’ll send this post, and our related posts on the the ECB and Greece (see here for the overview and here on why the Fed is complicit) to people who would be sympathetic to the plight of Greeks, as well as to members of the Greek community themselves. Even if our suggestion is not a fit, it will hopefully spur them to come up with social media and public events to raise the visibility of the damage being done to Greece and other periphery countries in the name of misguided, destructive austerity policies.

Readers in the US know that the #BlackLivesMatter campaign has succeeded in bringing people of all races together to protest police brutality against African Americans. The protest shown below was held at the American Embassy in London.

UK - Candle Light Vigil for Michael Brown at US Embassy in London

This effort has sufficiently rattled the New York Police Department, one of the targeted abusers, to start targeting peaceful protestors with an “anti terrorist” unit, leading public interest groups to lodge yet more objections.

One of its most successful means of raising public awareness has been to stage “die ins”:


Grand Central has been the site of many #BlackLivesMatter protests.

The idea would be to bring the protests to central banks themselves, to the ECB in Frankfurt, to the Eurozone central banks, and to the Board of Governors and the New York Fed. Central bankers have managed to hide from public scrutiny and accountability. It is time to put them on notice that the public realizes that their bank-supporting policies are not just destroying economies and futures of young people, but causing deaths. The British Medical Journal attributed a 35% rise in the level of suicides in Greece to austerity. And that’s before you get to the harder-to-calculate impact of the damage austerity has done to the medical system, with many prescription medications beyond the budgets of hospitals. Extracts from a report at OpenDemocracy:

I joined healthcare workers and the Greece Solidarity Campaign to visit hospitals, clinics and food markets. I spoke to healthcare staff, volunteers, politicians and local government officials.

What I witnessed appalled me – and brought tears to my eyes.

In Greece’s biggest hospital, the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, conditions were worse than those I have seen in developing countries.

The moment the hospital doors open on ‘emergency’ days, people flood in. The collapse in official primary and community health care services means everyone who needs healthcare comes to A+E – whether for a major accident, medication for a long term condition or to get their child immunized. Staff told me that serious trauma cases often have to wait hours for X-rays and treatment due to understaffing and that, if too many cases come in at the same time, people die before they can be treated…

Social solidarity health clinics have been set up all around Greece staffed by volunteers who try to provide basic care for those with no access to healthcare. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists volunteer in these clinics, but not nearly enough to meet the needs.

I visited the Social Solidarity Clinic in Peristeri, a district of Athens with a population of about 400,000 people. The volunteer staff, doctors and nurses who worked there told me that most local state run health clinics had been shut. The government had closed all the polyclinics then reopened some recently but with only 30% of the doctors that they need. Whereas previously there had been 150 doctors providing services to the district, there were now only 50. A polyclinic for a population of 400,000 people had no gynaecologists, no dermatologists, and only two cardiologists.

“We want our doctors back” – said one of the volunteers I spoke to. Thousands of doctors have left the country. Those that remain – including senior hospital doctors – earn about €12,000 a year….

Clinic volunteers said that people with long term conditions like diabetes or with cancer had particular problems getting the treatment they needed. Uninsured cancer patients can’t afford chemotherapy. The solidarity organisations appeal to people on chemotherapy to donate one day’s worth of medication for patients who can’t afford to the drugs themselves.

The Greek government passed a law in January allowing so that if people get into debt their property can be confiscated. Some people decline further treatment rather than accrue debt from healthcare costs that might lead to their family losing their home.

Greek mothers are now charged €600 to have a baby and €1200 for a Caesarian or complications. It’s twice that for foreign nationals living in Greece. The mother has to pay the fee on leaving the hospital. When the charges were first introduced, if the mother couldn’t pay, the hospital kept the baby until the payment was made. International condemnation led to that practice being discontinued and now the money is reclaimed through extra tax – but if the family can’t afford that then their home or property can be confiscated. And if she still can’t pay she can be imprisoned. An increasing number of newborn babies are abandoned in the hospital. One obstetrician I spoke to called it the “criminalization of childbirth.”

Contraception is unaffordable for many – health insurance does not even cover it. There are many more abortions – 300,000 a year –and for the first time the death rate in Greece is outstripping the birth rate. People can’t afford to have babies. It’s hard enough to feed and care for existing children.

Please circulate this post widely and tweet it, using #GreekLivesMatter. If you live in a city where a central bank is located, get this idea in front of organizers. They can no doubt adapt and improve upon it. And above all, send it to all the Greeks you know, even those in Greece who might send it on to friends and family in the diaspora.

If you are in the US, please contact your Congressman and express your dismay that the Fed is tacitly supporting the ECB in its reckless and destructive Eurozone policies and has the stature and the leverage to weigh in. Remember, many Republicans are as unhappy with the lack of transparency and undue concentration of power at the Fed. Even a small step supporting this effort is a step in the right direction.