Sep 152022
 
 September 15, 2022  Posted by at 8:49 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Salvador Dali Neo-Cubist Academy (Composition with Three Figures) 1926

 

Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)
“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)
US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)
The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)
Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)
Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)
EU May Punish Hungary (RT)
Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)
Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)
End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)
Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)
Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)
Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)
UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)

 

 

Art Berman @aeberman12
The real energy transition is a reduction in energy use. This will never happen VOLUNTARILY. Another slide from my talk last night at Houston Geological Society.

 

 

 

 

Twitter whistleblower

 

 

 

 

The Fibonacci week. How long do the days feel?

 

 

 

 

“..the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.”

Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)

Ukraine’s newly published proposal for Western security guarantees is an invitation for the economic self-immolation of the EU, according to Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian diplomat believes that the proposed international agreement which Kiev released on Tuesday is an economic trap for EU nations set by the US with Ukraine’s assistance. Most of the measures included in the document “are already being implemented” by Kiev’s backers, but Washington’s EU allies are expected to pledge to keep the Ukraine aid money flowing for the foreseeable future, Zakharova said in an interview on Wednesday. If signed, the ‘Kiev Security Compact’ would mean “harsh slavery” for the bloc which it would not recover from anytime soon, she claimed.

“A total commitment to supporting the Kiev regime would simply mean immolation [for the EU]. And this proposal is addressed to nations that are debating how they can live through the winter,” Zakharova said, in reference to the energy shortages that EU member states are struggling to confront. Developed EU nations face an economic and humanitarian disaster after taking directions from the US on how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, according to the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. The situation is ironic, she believes, as the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.

This is Washington’s diabolical plan to destroy what was previously called the common European space. The Ukrainian security proposal was prepared by a group co-chaired by Andrey Yermak, the chief of staff of President Vladimir Zelensky, and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The 10-page document outlines NATO-like security guarantees for Ukraine by the US and its allies that would benefit Kiev until it formally joins the Washington-led military bloc. It also calls for continued military and financial aid for Ukraine by the guarantors.

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“..a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)

Ukraine wants a ‘NATO-esque’ bloc which can be called upon to immediately defend borders with Russia, which was proposed by a working group established by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Crucially it would include the United States and other NATO allies providing Ukraine with “security guarantees”. Kiev officials stressed in unveiling the plan Tuesday that it’s not meant as a replacement for NATO, but as a legally binding alliance to be in place while Ukraine eventually pursues full NATO membership, as Newsweek describes of the proposal: “The Kyiv Security Compact (KSC)—proposed by Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen—would also establish a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

The Kremlin’s reaction has been swift and fierce, with Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warning that it is “really a prologue to the Third World War” if it gets enacted. He described that nuclear holocaust would be the end result. According to a translation of Medvedev’s reaction in state media, which had been posted in a statement to Telegram, he blamed “dull idiots” from “stupid think tanks” for concocting such a “hysterical appeal”. Medvedev wrote: “And then the Western nations will not be able to sit in their clean homes, laughing at how they carefully weaken Russia by proxy. Everything will be on fire around them. Their people will harvest their grief in full. The land will be on fire and the concrete will melt.”

“Yet still the narrow-minded politicians and their stupid think tanks, thoughtfully twirling a glass of wine in their hands, talk about how they can deal with us without entering into a direct war. Dull idiots with a classical education.” He said that already the conflict in Ukraine is sliding into unknown, unpredictable territory of escalation due to the West’s “unrestrained pumping of the Kiev regime with the most dangerous types of weapons.” He added to the statements as follows according to a translation: “The Kyiv camarilla gave birth to a project of “security guarantees”, which are a prologue to the third world war. Of course, no one will give any “guarantees” to the Ukrainian Nazis. After all, this is almost the same as applying Article 5 of the North Atlantic Pact (Washington Treaty) to Ukraine. For NATO – the same shit, only a side view. Therefore, it’s scary.”

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Insanity squared.

US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)

The US and its allies are in talks over whether to send Ukraine more advanced weapons in the future, including fighter jets, US defense sources have said, according to the Financial Times. The Kharkiv counteroffensive has apparently emboldened Ukrainian officials to press Washington harder for more advanced and longer-range weapons, now that some degree of success in rolling back Russian forces can be demonstrated. The idea is that if Ukraine’s forces can prove they’ve taken back significant territory with what defense systems the US has provided so far, they can ultimately make the case that the whole of the east and south is within their reach – and even the potential to liberate Crimea while they’re at it – if longer range and more advanced arms are made available.

The Financial Times reports this week that active discussions between the US and Ukraine are underway concerning Kiev’s weapons wish list: “A senior US defense official said Washington and its allies were discussing Ukraine’s longer term needs, such as air defenses, and whether it might be appropriate to give Kyiv fighter aircraft in the “medium to longer term”. To date, the US and its allies have declined to do so. But interestingly and quite tellingly, the report immediately follows with the acknowledgement that Ukrainian leaders are perhaps naturally incentivize to exaggerate battlefield gains at this moment. Here’s more from the FT as the Pentagon offers a “cautiously optimistic” assessment of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensives in the east and south:

“Ukrainian military officials have said in recent days they have taken more than 3,000 sq km of terrain in what has become Moscow’s biggest military setback since it was forced to scrap plans to conquer Kyiv. But late on Monday night President Volodymyr Zelenskyy practically doubled those claims as Ukraine’s forces continued to advance.” Something Ukraine has additionally long been asking for is longer-range missile systems. A Monday Wall Street Journal report detailed that Kiev is now requesting from the Pentagon the Army’s Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile system with the capability of reaching about 190 miles. This would be far and beyond the range of missiles transferred to Ukraine thus far in the conflict.

The Biden administration in the early months resisted sending longer range missiles, admitting its fears that doing so could draw the US and Russia into direct conflict – given longer range munitions means Ukrainian forces would have the capability of hitting inside Russian territory. This has already happened with Crimea, and even recently with bases inside Russia proper near the border. But now US defense officials are looking over a new strategy proposal and weapons request submitted by Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s force. WSJ details of the document: They argued that Russia has long-range cruise missiles that greatly outdistance the systems in the Ukrainian inventory. A turning point could come if the Ukrainians also had longer-range systems, they argued, specifically mentioning the ATACMS. “The only way to radically change the strategic situation is, without a doubt, for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to launch several consecutive, and ideally, simultaneous counterattacks during the 2023 campaign,” they wrote.

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“Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.”

The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)

Wars are not won by psyops. Ask Nazi Germany. Still, it’s been a howler to watch NATOstan media on Kharkov, gloating in unison about “the hammer blow that knocks out Putin”, “the Russians are in trouble”, and assorted inanities. Facts: Russian forces withdrew from the territory of Kharkov to the left bank of the Oskol river, where they are now entrenched. A Kharkov-Donetsk-Luhansk line seems to be stable. Krasny Liman is threatened, besieged by superior Ukrainian forces, but not lethally. No one – not even Maria Zakharova, the contemporary female equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods – knows what the Russian General Staff (RGS) plans, in this case and all others. If they say they do, they are lying.

As it stands, what may be inferred with a reasonable degree of certainty is that a line – Svyatogorsk-Krasny Liman-Yampol-Belogorovka – can hold out long enough with their current garrisons until fresh Russian forces are able to swoop in and force the Ukrainians back beyond the Seversky Donets line. All hell broke loose – virtually – on why Kharkov happened. The people’s republics and Russia never had enough men to defend a 1,000 km-long frontline. NATO’s entire intel capabilities noticed – and profited from it. There were no Russian Armed Forces in those settlements: only Rosgvardia, and these are not trained to fight military forces. Kiev attacked with an advantage of around 5 to 1. The allied forces retreated to avoid encirclement. There are no Russian troop losses because there were no Russian troops in the region.

Arguably this may have been a one-off. The NATO-run Kiev forces simply can’t do a replay anywhere in Donbass, or in Kherson, or in Mariupol. These are all protected by strong, regular Russian Army units. It’s practically a given that if the Ukrainians remain around Kharkov and Izyum they will be pulverized by massive Russian artillery. Military analyst Konstantin Sivkov maintains that, “most combat-ready formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now being grounded (…) we managed to lure them into the open and are now systematically destroying them.” The NATO-run Ukrainian forces, crammed with NATO mercenaries, had spent 6 months hoarding equipment and reserving trained assets exactly for this Kharkov moment – while dispatching disposables into a massive meat grinder.

It will be very hard to sustain an assembly line of substantial prime assets to pull off something similar again. The next days will show whether Kharkov and Izyum are connected to a much larger NATO push. The mood in NATO-controlled EU is approaching Desperation Row. There’s a strong possibility this counter-offensive signifies NATO entering the war for good, while displaying quite tenuous plausible deniability: their veil of – fake – secrecy cannot disguise the presence of “advisers” and mercenaries all across the spectrum.[..] This is an existential war. A do or die affair. The American geopolitical /geoeconomic goal, to put it bluntly, is to destroy Russian unity, impose regime change and plunder all those immense natural resources. Ukrainians are nothing but cannon fodder: in a sort of twisted History remake, the modern equivalents of the pyramid of skulls Timur cemented into 120 towers when he razed Baghdad in 1401.sIf may take a “hammer blow” for the RSG to wake up. Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.

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“Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another.”

Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)

The Ukrainian battle plan has “Made in Brussels” stamped all over it. The force composition was determined by NATO, as was the timing of the attacks and the direction of the attacks. NATO intelligence carefully located seams in the Russian defenses and identified critical command and control, logistics, and reserve concentration nodes that were targeted by Ukrainian artillery, which operates on a fire control plan created by NATO. In short, the Ukrainian army that Russia faced in Kherson and around Kharkov was unlike any Ukrainian opponent it had previously faced. Russia was no longer fighting a Ukrainian army equipped by NATO, but rather a NATO army manned by Ukrainians.

Ukraine continues to receive billions of dollars of military assistance, and currently has tens of thousands of troops undergoing extensive training in NATO nations. There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase … as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military, or Russia exhausts its willingness to fight an inconclusive conflict in Ukraine.

[..] In the end, I still believe the end game remains the same — Russia will win. But the cost for extending this war has become much higher for all parties involved. The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive needs to be put into a proper perspective. The casualties Ukraine suffered, and is still suffering, to achieve this victory are unsustainable. Ukraine has exhausted its strategic reserves, and they will have to be reconstituted if Ukraine were to have any aspirations of continuing an advance along these lines. This will take months. Russia, meanwhile, has lost nothing more than some indefensible space. Russian casualties were minimal, and equipment losses readily replaced.

Russia has actually strengthened its military posture by creating strong defensive lines in the north capable of withstanding any Ukrainian attack, while increasing combat power available to complete the task of liberating the remainder of the Donetsk People’s Republic under Ukrainian control. Russia has far more strategic depth than Ukraine. Russia is beginning to strike critical infrastructure targets, such as power stations, that will not only cripple the Ukrainian economy, but also their ability to move large amounts of troops rapidly via train. Russia will learn from the lessons the Kharkov defeat taught them and continue its stated mission objectives.

The bottom line – the Kharkov offensive was as good as it will get for Ukraine, while Russia hasn’t come close to hitting rock bottom. Changes need to be made by Russia to fix the problems identified through the Kharkov defeat. Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another. For Ukraine, the huge losses suffered by their own forces, combined with the limited damage inflicted on Russia means the Kharkov offensive is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory, one that does not change the fundamental reality that Russia is winning, and will win, the conflict in Ukraine.

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The IAEA can’t speak. Ukraine=NATO.

Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)

Ukraine’s attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant are creating an unacceptable risk, the chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on Tuesday. Moscow will act to prevent a disaster from happening, while the US does not seem to care about the potential damage to Ukraine and its European NATO allies, the speaker of the Russian parliament has said. “Kiev’s terrorist actions are putting the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. We cannot allow this to happen,” Volodin said, opening the legislature’s autumn session. While the US may be far away from the plant, “their NATO allies in Europe stand to suffer” in case of a radioactive release, Volodin noted, adding that the US government and EU parliaments are silent about the threat, but many other states around the world share Russia’s concern about the situation.

Russia has controlled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March. Attacks on the facility started in July, with the Russian Defense Ministry documenting more than 30 artillery and drone strikes, as well as two attempts by Ukrainian commandos to storm the plant, one during the visit of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission earlier this month. Kiev has accused Moscow of staging the shelling to make Ukraine look bad, even though its military eventually admitted to targeting the area.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who personally led the mission to inspect the plant, said on Monday that both Russia and Ukraine are “interested” in a proposal for a local ceasefire and a security zone around the ZNPP. All of its six reactors are currently offline, due to the ongoing artillery threat. Moscow has rejected any notion of withdrawing its troops from the area, however, with the Kremlin saying that the only discussion at this time is “about forcing the Ukrainian side to stop the barbaric shelling” of the premises. In his remarks on Tuesday, Volodin said, “time has once again shown the correctness of the decision” by President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine in February.

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“The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies.”

Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)

The EU will review the sanctions on Russia and could lift some of them as soon as this autumn, Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Tamas Menczer predicts. The restrictions imposed on Russian trade to punish it for attacking Ukraine have failed to change Moscow’s behavior and actually rewarded it with increased revenues, after they triggered a spike in energy prices, the MP said during an appearance on M1 TV on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the European countries that imposed the sanctions are facing energy shortages. “Reality knocks on the door of every country,”Menczer said, explaining why he believes the sanctions will be lifted sooner rather than later. Member states are set to review their sanctions policies later in the autumn.


The Hungarian MP confirmed that his country, which criticized the EU’s drive to decouple the economy of the bloc from Russian energy, opposed the idea of introducing a price cap on gas bought from foreign nations. He called the proposal absurd and impractical, citing Moscow’s promises to cut supplies to customers that try to dictate the price. The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies. Brussels is also urging EU nations to impose various energy-saving measures to better prepare for peak consumption during the winter. Last week, Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kover claimed that the EU is the “loser” in the Ukraine conflict due to the economic damage caused by the sanctions.

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“..as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance..”

EU May Punish Hungary (RT)

The European Commission will recommend withholding funds from the Hungarian government over allegations of corruption in the country, Bloomberg claimed on Wednesday, confirming earlier reports in the Hungarian press. The assessment is expected to be unveiled as soon as Sunday. The EU launched a probe against Hungary shortly after its prime minister, Viktor Orban, shored up his domestic position by winning the April general election in a landslide. The investigation was triggered under a recently adopted EU law that links payments of subsidies to member states to their compliance with the bloc’s rule-of-law norms.According to Bloomberg’s sources, the European Commission is almost ready to release its conclusions. The executive body is to recommend slashing the funding pending improvement in adherence to the norms, senior EU officials told the agency.

The final decision will be made within three months after the report is released, with a qualified majority of votes by the bloc’s members required to adopt it. Brussels may give Budapest a grace period of up to three months to follow its recommendations and to implement a number of measures that the Hungarian government promised to enact to alleviate the EU’s concerns, according to Bloomberg. According to EUobserver, a publication specializing in covering EU policies, as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance. The total sum would amount to over €40 billion, according to the Bloomberg report. The Orban government was blocked from accessing the EU money during the probe.

The anti-corruption measures that Budapest proposed in late August include creating a new authority to oversee the spending of EU funds and amending Hungarian laws on public procurements. The country’s justice minister, Judit Varga, met EU officials last week to discuss the package. The timeline for the release of the graft report was first revealed by the Hungarian newspaper Nepszava on Tuesday evening. Its sources said that 20% of EU subsidies were at risk of being suspended unless Budapest meets Brussels’ demands. The punishment, if implemented, would be the first case of its kind. The EU leadership has voiced concerns about the rule of law in several Eastern European countries, most notably Hungary and Poland.

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Half the world population.

Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)

A regional summit this week where Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet China’s Xi Jinping and other Asian leaders will showcase an “alternative” to the Western world, the Kremlin said Tuesday. Putin and Xi will be joined by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on Thursday and Friday. The SCO — made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries — was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions. The meeting will be part of Xi’s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and comes with relations between Russia and the West shattered by the conflict in Ukraine. “The SCO offers a real alternative to Western-centric organisations,” Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.


“All members of the SCO stand for a just world order,” he said, describing the summit as taking place “against the background of large-scale geopolitical changes”. The SCO, he said, “is the largest organisation in the world, it includes half the population of our planet”. Putin will hold talks with Xi, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday, Ushakov said, before attending the main session of the summit on Friday. On Friday he will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev. “The meeting with Xi is of particular importance, major international and regional topics will be discussed,” including the conflict in Ukraine and growing Russia-China economic ties, Ushakov said.

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History lesson.

Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)

Even now, many pages in the history of the Soviet Union remain a mystery. One of these concerns the ethnic composition of the country’s leadership. Such information was not published by the Party’s Central Committee until 1989, and biographies of members of the governing bodies during the entire Soviet period were not released until 1990, just before the dissolution of the USSR. All of these documents confirmed that many of its statesmen, politicians, diplomats, as well as military and intelligence officers, had been born in Ukraine. However, information about their ethnic origin was often omitted. Also, many of those who originated from Ukraine were registered as ‘Russian’ or simply as ‘Soviet’. This is why it is so difficult to assess the full scope of political influence Ukrainians had on the decision-making process in the Soviet Union.

It is true that Ukrainians contributed a great deal to building socialism. If we round them all up, we see that there had always been very large numbers of people from Ukraine in the top tiers of power. Two of them, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, ruled the country as general secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. The country’s final ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, was the descendant of Ukrainian peasants who had moved to Stavropol. [..] The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was managed by local elites, which is completely at odds with the modern myth of Ukraine having been an ‘oppressed nation’ in the Soviet Union. Moreover, so many Ukrainians held key positions in the Soviet government that any allegations made by the present-day Ukrainian authorities about the Ukrainian SSR struggling under the yoke of the Russian SFSR and being de facto Soviet Russia’s colony simply don’t have a leg to stand on.

On the contrary, by the 1950s, the Ukrainian SSR had become a full-fledged statelet that had its own constitution and flag and even parliament. In fact, its structure mirrored that of the government of the Soviet Union itself. Ukraine’s policy was determined by the Communist Party of Ukraine with the Politburo being its highest body of power; its legislative branch was represented by the Supreme Council (this later became the Verkhovna Rada); and executive power was wielded by the Council of Ministers.

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But vaccinate!

End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared on Wednesday that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is close at hand. While the virus is still spreading at the same level as last year, despite mass vaccination, deaths have fallen significantly. “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,”Tedros said at a press briefing. Claiming that vaccination and other public health measures have reduced the threat posed by the virus, the WHO chief called on governments to push for 100% vaccination of vulnerable people and healthcare workers, and 70% vaccination of the general public.

“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view, she runs harder with all the energy that she has left,” he said. “Now is the worst time to stop running.” The impact of vaccines, masks, lockdowns, and other public health measures on the virus’ spread has been a controversial issue, with near-totally vaccinated countries like Singapore still experiencing waves of infection this summer that dwarfed similar spikes in 2021 and 2020. Some 3.1 million cases of Covid-19 were confirmed globally in the week ending September 5, compared to 3.9 million in the same week in 2021, and 1.9 million in the same week in 2020.

Deaths have fallen, however, with 11,000 linked to the virus in the week ending September 5, the lowest weekly total since March 16, 2020. Tedros announced that the WHO would release six policy briefs for governments later on Wednesday, outlining the steps the organization thinks are necessary to avoid “more variants, more deaths, more destruction and more uncertainty.” Among these steps are the aforementioned vaccination push, the maintenance of infection control measures in hospitals, increased testing and sequencing, and the administration of appropriate treatment to patients.

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“However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)

A 14-minute video (below) that has been overlooked for nearly two years has now resurfaced, exposing stunning information about the COVID-19 jabs and why health officials don’t want individual vaccine vials examined by independent scientists. The reason, it turns out, is because the vials are all different — and the mRNA in the shots “is not intact.” Both of these pose potentially serious problems. In an Aug. 31 Substack article, Steve Kirsch explains: “Even if you are getting 100% intact mRNA which would be really rare, you’re still not getting anything that resembles the virus. So the efficacy as far as PROTECTING you will be next to nothing. “However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

The video notes that members of the European Parliament were only allowed to read the contracts with the drug makers after they’d been heavily redacted. Why the heavy-handed secrecy, even toward legislators? The finding that the mRNA in the shots was of questionable quality was revealed in a British Medical Journal feature investigation article published in March 2021. As explained by the author, journalist Serena Tinari, cyber attackers retrieved more than 40 megabytes of Pfizer COVID-19 jab data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in December 2020. The hacked data was subsequently sent to journalists and academics worldwide. It was also published on the dark web. Some of the documents show European regulators had significant concerns over the lack of intact mRNA in the commercial batches sampled.

Compared to the clinical batches, i.e., the shots used in the clinical trial, 55% to 78% of the commercial shots had “a significant difference in % RNA integrity/truncated species.” In one email, dated Nov. 23, 2020, a high-ranking EMA official noted that the commercial batches failed to meet expected specifications, and that the implications of this RNA integrity loss were unclear. In response to the findings, the EMA sent a list of questions and concerns to Pfizer. While we do not know if and how the EMA’s concerns were actually addressed and corrected, the EMA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 jab Dec. 21, 2020.

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Next please.

Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)

Denmark will bar almost everyone under 50 from receiving more mRNA Covid jabs, the Danish Health Authority said yesterday. Denmark had already ended Covid shots for nearly everyone under 18. The new rules go much further. Danes under 50 will only be allowed to receive the shots if they are “higher risk of becoming severely [emphasis added] from Covid-19.” The Danish Health Authority has not yet defined those groups, but they will likely include only a handful of people, such as those receiving cancer treatments that suppress their immune systems. Pregnant women are unlikely to be included.

Denmark did not explicitly say the risks of mRNA jabs now outweigh their benefits for healthy people under 50. But that view is implicit in the announcement, which does not merely discourage but actually bans shots for those people, even though Denmark expects “a large wave of [Covid] infection” in the next few months. In other words, the health authority is not stopping shots because Covid has ended. It now believes most people are better off getting the coronavirus than taking more mRNA. The Danish move is particularly significant because Denmark has an excellent national health care system and has aggressively collected data on Covid and vaccines.

Denmark was among the first countries to stop giving Covid shots to healthy children and teenagers. Now other European countries are beginning to follow, with Britain ending mRNA shots for almost all children 10 and under. In yesterday’s announcement of the new policies, Denmark explicitly dropped any effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and said that it will focus only on protecting people at very high risk: “We expect that a large part of the population will become infected with covid-19 during the autumn, and we therefore want to vaccinate those having the highest risk so that they are protected from severe illness.”

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It’s time for science. Before the climate lockdowns come.

Suppose the climate alarms follow the same pattern the Covid ones do. Take it from there.

Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)

Four leading Italian scientists have undertaken a major review of historical climate trends and concluded that declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is not supported by the data. Reviewing data from a wide range of weather phenomena, they say a ‘climate crisis’ of the kind people are becoming alarmed about “is not evident yet”. The scientists suggest that rather than burdening our children with anxiety about climate change, we should encourage them to think about issues like energy, food and health, and the challenges in each area, with a more “objective and constructive spirit” and not waste limited resources on “costly and ineffective solutions”.

During the course of their work, the scientists found that rainfall intensity and frequency is stationary in many parts of the world. Tropical hurricanes and cyclones show little change over the long term, and the same is true of U.S. tornadoes. Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity show no “clear positive trend of extreme events”. Regarding ecosystems, the scientists note a considerable “greening” of global plant biomass in recent decades caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Satellite data show “greening” trends over most of the planet, increasing food yields and pushing back deserts.

The four scientists are all highly qualified and include physics adjunct professor Gianluca Alimonti, agrometeorologist Luigi Mariani and physics professors Franco Prodi and Renato Angelo Ricci. The last two are signatories to the rapidly growing ‘World Climate Declaration’. This petition states that there is no climate emergency and calls for climate science to be more scientific. It also calls for liberation from the “naïve belief in immature climate models”. In future, it says, “climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science”.

‘Extreme’ weather events attributed by climate models – somehow – to anthropogenic global warming are now the main staple of the climate alarmist industry. As the Daily Sceptic reported on Monday, Sir David Attenborough used a U.K. Met Office model forecast in the first episode of Frozen Planet II to claim that summer Arctic sea ice could be gone within 12 years. But the likelihood of hardy swimming galas over the North Pole by 2035 seems somewhat remote, not least because Arctic sea ice has been growing in many summers since 2012. According to a recent report from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, at the end of August “sea ice extent is likely to remain higher than in recent years”.

EV-No

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The list of absurdities gets longer.

• 100 staff at Charles III residence sacked
• £200 million tax avoided by Charles on his inheritance
• 1,000 Cancer treatments cancelled for Monday
• Arrests for disapproving of unelected head of state
• Food banks closed on Monday

UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)

British Cycling has U-turned on its previous “strong recommendation” that people should refrain from using their bicycles during the Queen’s funeral next week. Though the UK government had stressed there was no obligation to cancel or postpone any events during a period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday, some sports such as football have widely postponed matches as a mark of respect to the monarch. Adopting a similar stance, British Cycling released guidance that said it “strongly recommends that anybody out riding their bike on the day of the state funeral does so outside of the timings of the funeral service and associated processions, which will be confirmed later this week.”

This caused consternation among cyclists, with one noting that the funeral on Monday, September 19, clashes with their work hours. “Is it OK with you if I don’t follow your absolutely ridiculous advice and bike to work? Or would you rather I, as a mark of respect, pollute the air with my car? Maybe I can honk the national anthem on my horn?” they asked.British Cycling has since deleted the section of its guidance that says people shouldn’t cycle at all during the funeral for the 96-year-old Queen, but fresh recommendations have insisted that amateur cyclists should not go on rides with their clubs on Monday. “As a mark of respect to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, British Cycling’s guidance is that no formal domestic activities should take place on the day of the State Funeral, Monday 19 September,” it stated.

“This includes cycle sport events, club rides, coaching sessions and community programs (such as Breeze rides).”With good weather expected which often prompts long rides with clubs, this has also drawn criticism and has seen the organization dubbed a “joke” with conduct “worthy of the Stasi,” in reference to the former German state security service in operation from 1950 to 1990. Some cyclists have threatened to cancel their membership, with one balking that British Cycling is “an embarrassment at a time when hatred towards cycling feels at an all-time high.”

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Paul&Fauci

 

 

 

 

Wesley Clark

 

 


Bridge of Hands, Vietnam

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 032022
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Belshazzar’s feast 1635-38

 

Unicorns Are Real (Batiushka)
Soul Man (Jim Kunstler)
Physical Integrity Of Nuclear Plant ‘Violated Several Times’ – IAEA Chief (RT)
IAEA Nuclear Watchdog Should Be Mistrusted ‘By Default’ – Zelensky Aide (RT)
The Moment of Greatest Danger (Schryver)
Russia To Halt All Oil Exports To Countries That Impose “Absurd” Price Cap (ZH)
Gazprom “Completely Halts” Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak (ZH)
EU Country Bulgaria Wants To Negotiate Gas With Russians Again (NOS)
Hungary Reveals What Weakened EU (RT)
Biden’s Hateful Rhetoric Presents The GOP With A Sterling Opportunity (AT)
US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS (PG)
College-Loan Forgiveness Plan Reveals Biden’s Constitutional Cynicism (Turley)
The Pandemic Did This? New York Times Fails Fact Check (Lerman)
Only Nine Percent of Law Professors Identify as Conservatives (Turley)
Biden-Big Tech Collusion Suit Reveals ‘Massive, Sprawling’ Censorship (JTN)
Hunter’s Techies Funded China Bat Virus Researcher (McCormick)

 

 

 

 

I thought he was in jail.

 

 

UDUMBASS

 

 

The NIH sneaked back in ivermectin.

 

 

DeSantis War Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die.”

Unicorns Are Real (Batiushka)

An autumn chill is descending on every European country, though in each country in different ways. Gas-dependent Germany and Italy are desperate for Russian gas. It is not just homes, but whole factories which face imminent closure in energy-intensive industries. The result of that will be mass unemployment. By ‘mass’, I mean 20% and more. In France there is popular rejection of President Macron who has told his people that they (i.e. not him) must suffer so that the Ukraine can ‘win’. September is the first month of the annual strike-season in France. French people do not like being cold. Expect some headlines. In Latvia the Russian minority are fearful for their future, but so is everyone else. Heating will not be an option this winter. With a pension of just over 100 euros a month, many pensioners are simply going to die of the cold.

From Slovakia we have received the following: ‘Thanks for your email. Just to give you some idea of the current manufacturing costs here in Slovakia and to be brutally honest throughout the upside down world, We paid last year 85,000 euros for electricity, this year it’s going to be around 500,000 euros. As of 1 Jan 2023 it’s going to be 1.2 million euros at best. So that’s just the electricity, never mind the gas, the increase in raw materials, salaries and all other manufacturing costs, This is a hard way of saying it’s impossible to reduce and every customer of ours has to accept it or not. Surprisingly we have never ever been as busy! You cutting margins down low is of course difficult, but at least you have margins. We simply do not have anything to reduce’.

In Moldova the crisis is profound. As in Latvia and Lithuania up to half the population have fled their countries after they were pillaged by the EU (even though officially Moldova does not even belong to the EU!). Previously medicine came from the Ukraine. Now that is unobtainable, they have to use medicine from Germany. Only that costs ten times more. Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die. In Romania, which has lost a quarter of its population to emigration after the great EU pillage, and where a salary of 600 euros per month is considered very good, food prices are the same as in Western Europe, where average salaries are four to five times more, and diesel costs even more than elsewhere. In Ireland restaurants are closing because they cannot afford their energy bills, which have increased by 1,000% (yes, one thousand per cent).

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“The country is verging on an economic catastrophe more consequential than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the harbinger of it, a financial market crash, is sure to occur before November 8th.”

Soul Man (Jim Kunstler)

“Joe Biden’s” guardian of the rule of law, the DOJ under Merrick Garland, is on a rampage, not just seeking long prison sentences on J-6 misdemeanor defendants, but now going after their very attorneys, officers of the court, for daring to represent them. There is the recent Mar-a-Lago caper, of course, in which the FBI snatched a bale of documentary evidence Donald Trump had collected detailing these agencies’ four-year campaign to overthrow him. And, having gotten their mitts on it, the AG declared all the material part of a bogus “ongoing investigation” in order to prevent the docs being introduced in Mr. Trump’s just-opened defamation and racketeering lawsuit against HRC, her posse of Lawfare ninjas, and most of the people who worked in leadership of the FBI and DOJ circa 2016-2021.

In short, the FBI stole evidence of their own prior crimes to evade prosecution. Something tells me that’s not going to work out so well for AG Mr. Garland and Chris Wray of the FBI. You realize, don’t you, that all of “Joe Biden’s” scripted maundering about “democracy” and “justice” and “the rule of law” is a smokescreen sent up to hide the many crimes committed by his shadowy managers just now breaking into disclosure, and they are running out of dodges and distractions to divert the pliable center of the voting public from seeing it all.

Following Mark Zuckerberg’s epic mistake telling Joe Rogan that the government used his company, Facebook, and Jack Dorsey’s Twitter, to squash the first amendment, the wheels came off any pretense that this was not direct interference in the 2020 election by activists in government. For a whole year, the FBI sat on evidence that candidate “Joe Biden’s” family was running an international grifting operation fronted by his son Hunter, and when news reports about the notorious laptop began to leak out, the agency used its considerable powers of intimidation to make the news disappear.

[..] Thursday night, “Joe Biden” heralded a US economy firing on a gazillion cylinders. “American manufacturing has come alive across the heartland, and the future will be made in America, no matter what the white supremacists and the extremists say,” he declared. Is that so? Of course not. The country is verging on an economic catastrophe more consequential than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the harbinger of it, a financial market crash, is sure to occur before November 8th. Everybody and his uncle on Wall Street knows that. The shadow regime behind “JB” knows that. He didn’t dare mention the word inflation, as if no one has noticed it. (Anyway, white supremacists did that.)

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“We are glad that the Russian Federation did what it did to keep our inspectors safe”

Physical Integrity Of Nuclear Plant ‘Violated Several Times’ – IAEA Chief (RT)

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi has confirmed that damage had been done to the Russian-held Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine, but refrained from naming the guilty party. “It’s obvious that… the physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times. By chance or by deliberation, we don’t have the elements to assess that, but this is the reality that we have to recognize,” Grossi told reporters after returning to Ukrainian-controlled territory on Friday. “I worried, I worry and I will continue to worry about the plant until we have a situation that’s more stable, that’s more predictable,” he added.

Grossi, who headed the team of IAEA experts that arrived at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Thursday, said that he “saw a lot”during the visit, personally inspecting some of the “key areas” at the facility, including emergency systems, diesel generators and control rooms. The atomic agency was “not going anywhere”from the plant now, he assured reporters, reiterating that the UN nuclear watchdog plans to establish a permanent presence at the facility. The official also said that some experts from his team will remain at the station until Sunday or Monday to “dig deeper” and collect more data for the report.

Russia said that Ukraine has shelled the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and sent commandos to storm it on Thursday in a failed attempt to use the UN inspectors as “human shields.” Grossi acknowledged that the security situation at the plant was “difficult” during his visit.“There were moments where fire was obvious – heavy machine gun, artillery, mortars,” he said, adding that on two or three occasions things got “very concerning” for the UN team. Zaporozhye nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since March, but has continued to be operated by the Ukrainian staff. The IAEA chief has praised the “incredible degree of professionalism” of those employees, saying that he saw them “calm and moving.”

Ukrainian attempt to hold IAEA team hostage

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Translate: If they say anything not positive about Ukraine, remember: they cannot be trusted. And translate that in turn: Ukraine is worried about what IAEA will find.

IAEA Nuclear Watchdog Should Be Mistrusted ‘By Default’ – Zelensky Aide (RT)

International organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are “cowardly” and cannot be trusted, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said. “I don’t like international institutions and mediation missions in general. They look extremely ineffective, extremely cowardly and extremely unprofessional,” Mikhail Podolyak said in an interview on Thursday evening. This applies “not only to the IAEA”, but also to the UN, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ukrainian official claimed, adding: “By default, you should not trust them.” Podolyak’s remarks came as he criticized the IAEA mission to the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which arrived earlier in the day.

He expressed his low expectations from the mission, based on the positive remarks that Director General Rafael Grossi made after touring the facility in Ukraine. The Ukrainian official said he was willing to give the IAEA inspectors the benefit of the doubt and wait for them make an official report that would “show the depth of their inner destruction”. He explained his concerns, citing several aspects of Grossi’s visit. They include its relatively short duration, which Podolyak assessed was too short for a proper fact-finding mission. He also criticized the willingness of the IAEA chief to talk to a representative of the Russian atomic energy body Rosatom, who, Podolyak said, “delivered a strange long speech” to the UN official.

The IAEA experts arrived at the station from Kiev despite continued military action in its vicinity. Kiev and Moscow have accused each other of being behind the shelling and of trying to derail the inspection. Some members of the mission stayed behind to monitor the situation, while Grossi and others left. Podolyak said the IAEA should blame Russia for attacks on the plant, and if their report fails to do so, only stating that inspectors witnessed evidence of strikes, his opinion about the organization will be vindicated.

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“..in 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin delivered a landmark speech wherein he put the Empire on notice that Russia was drawing a line in the sand beyond which it would not permit further NATO expansion.”

The Moment of Greatest Danger (Schryver)

[..] this war has reached the stage equivalent to Nazi Germany in mid-January 1945: the war is lost; everyone knows it is lost, and all that remains is the positioning in advance of the inevitable surrender, the unrestrained looting, and the occasional harassment of the never-say-die snipers who will fight to their last round of ammo and last drop of blood. In other words, we’ve finally arrived at the most dangerous juncture of this conflict. You see, as I have frequently observed, this war, at its deepest root, has always been an existential struggle between Russia and the rapidly declining fortunes and dominion of the long-since irredeemably corrupted American Empire. Beginning with the fall of the Soviet Union, and continuing throughout the 1990s, the western vulture capitalists raced to divide, conquer, and despoil the unfathomable natural resource wealth of the former USSR.

And indeed, in ten short years, they managed to extract a massive pile of treasure at Russia’s expense, only to be prematurely thwarted by the unforeseen rise of the previously obscure Vladimir Putin. At first, the finely accoutered locusts believed they could manipulate Putin as easily as they had his immediate predecessors. But they were soon disabused of that fallacy. So then they began to pressure Putin and Russia by methodically assimilating into their “defensive alliance” all the previously unaligned nations that stood between NATO’s 1997 borders and the Russian frontier. This, of course, awakened in Russia a sober sense of their increasingly precarious position, and in 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin delivered a landmark speech wherein he put the Empire on notice that Russia was drawing a line in the sand beyond which it would not permit further NATO expansion.

That line extended from eastern Poland to northern Armenia. Predictably, Putin’s declarations were first mocked and then summarily dismissed. I suspect this was the point at which Russia came to see that war was very likely inevitable in order to retain its sovereignty and security. Nevertheless, Putin exhibited extraordinary patience. While initiating an aggressive military upgrade and expansion program, he bided his time for the next several years. But with the threat to Russia’s strategic naval base in Syria and the US-orchestrated coup d’etat in Ukraine, he was compelled to act, albeit with considerable restraint, to alter the trajectory of events. He dispatched an expeditionary force to Syria to prevent the fall of the Assad regime at the hands of US-supported “moderate rebels”; he moved to reclaim historically Russian Crimea, and to much more aggressively support the ethnic Russian separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine who were waging a tenuously balanced civil war against the US-installed regime in Kiev.

American designs in Syria were foiled. But the ongoing de facto NATO assimilation of Ukraine continued, as the US and its NATO allies set out to methodically construct what would eventually become the most formidable proxy army in history, with ambitions to lure Putin into a Slavic civil war that would sap Russian strength, mortally wound its still-fragile economy, and induce social unrest within Russia and discontent among its various loci of domestic power, and ultimately effect “regime change” in the Kremlin. But, at every juncture, Putin out-maneuvered them.

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“..companies that impose a price cap will not be among the recipients of Russian oil.”

Janet Yellen sounds especially thick.

Russia To Halt All Oil Exports To Countries That Impose “Absurd” Price-Cap (ZH)

It did not take long for the Kremlin to respond to the G-7 plan to impose price-caps on Russian oil, with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warning that Moscow will ban exports of oil and other petroleum products to countries that impose a cap on the price of Russian crude. Novak made the remarks to reporters in Moscow on Sept. 1, according to Russian state media Tass, which came as Western powers were preparing to meet on Sept. 2 to agree on a Russian oil price cap. “We will simply not supply oil and petroleum products to such companies or states that impose restrictions, as we will not work non-competitively,” Novak said, while denouncing the price cap as “completely absurd.”

“It will completely destroy the market,” Novak continued, arguing that interference in market mechanisms in a key commodity like oil would have a destabilizing impact on energy security in countries across the world. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took the opportunity of G-7 agreement to a nothingburger plan to take a victory lap: “The price cap will advance our two key objectives; The first, of course, is reducing revenues that Putin needs to continue waging his war of aggression. And the second is maintaining a reliable supply of oil to the global market and putting downward pressure on the price of energy for people in the U.S., in the UK, and around the world.”

But, echoing Novak’s remarks about a Russian oil export ban targeting countries that sign onto the cap, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call on Sept. 2 that “companies that impose a price cap will not be among the recipients of Russian oil.”

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This will continue as long as the sanctions do. Remember, only one of six turbines were/are working.

Gazprom Completely Halts Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak (ZH)

After a 3-day halt, Russian energy giant Gazprom was expected to resume critical supplies of nat gas to Europe via Nord Stream 1 tomorrow, but it appears that Putin is enjoying the game of cat and mouse a little too much, and gas flows won’t be getting restored any time soon, because moments ago Gazprom announced that it had “completely halted” transport of gas to Nord Stream until a previously undetected oil leakage is rectified. That could take hours, days… or months.
• GAZPROM ISSUES STATEMENT ON NORD STREAM 1 MAINTENANCE
• GAZPROM: TRANSPORT OF GAS TO THE NORD STREAM PIPELINE HAS BEEN COMPLETELY HALTED UNTIL FAULTS ARE RECTIFIED
• GAZPROM: DURING ROUTINE MAINTENANCE WORKS OIL LEAKAGE WAS DETECTED GAS SUPPLIES TO NORD STREAM FULLY STOPPED


That means that Europe will now be forced to rely even more on… well… Russian gas, in the form of much more expensive LNG resold by China. And after tumbling by more than 50% in the past few days, we fully expect European gas prices are about to go super parabolic and take out all time highs as soon as trading returns on Monday.

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Google translate from Dutch.

That makes Hungary, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and some in Austria think of joining.

EU Country Bulgaria Wants To Negotiate Gas With Russians Again (NOS)

Balkan country Bulgaria has made a 180-degree turn towards Russia. The government supported Ukraine and subsequent European sanctions and was subsequently cut off from Russian gas. Meanwhile, there is an interim government in power that cares little about European solidarity. The government is even reaching out to the Russians again, it was announced in a television interview this week: “Talks are being held at the highest level,” Prime Minister Galab Donev said. That announcement – that negotiations are underway with Russia – is causing great concern in the capital Sofia. Hundreds of protesters blocked the main entrance to the government building in recent days. They demand the resignation of the interim government, which has been in power for less than a month.

[..] In the capital Sofia, gas is used for communal district heating. The winters are quite cold and residents in the working-class neighborhoods already have high bills. At the district heating office, Bulgarians walk in and out worrying about their payment. They have no problem with their country renegotiating with Gazprom. Pro-European Prime Minister Kiril Petkov came to power in December. He promised to end corruption and wanted independence from Russia. His government condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and supported European sanctions. At the end of April, Gazprom turned the tap off for Bulgaria and Poland because of the refusal to pay in rubles. The two countries were thus the first European member states to be cut off from Russian gas. A difficult situation for Bulgaria, the country was 90 percent dependent on gas from Russia.

Prime Minister Petkov then signed an agreement with the United States to supply seven liquefied gas (LNG) tankers to “improve Bulgaria’s energy security”. An agreement mediated by the European Commission. But the Petkov government was overthrown after a vote of no confidence. President Radev appointed an interim government with an energy minister who was quick to announce that “it is practically inevitable that Bulgaria will enter into negotiations with Gazprom Export on the recovery of gas resources under the current contract”.

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“..EU leaders’ failure to “protect people in Europe” has resulted in citizens paying the price for a “war they are not even responsible for.”

Hungary Reveals What Weakened EU (RT)

The armed conflict in Ukraine has “catastrophically” weakened the European Union, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has claimed. Speaking at the ‘Open Balkan’ summit in Belgrade on Friday, Szijjarto argued that the Ukraine conflict along with its “economic influence and a ruinous energy crisis… has led to a catastrophic weakening of Europe and the EU.” The diplomat went on to claim that EU leaders’ failure to “protect people in Europe” has resulted in citizens paying the price for a “war they are not even responsible for.” The Hungarian minister stressed that talks are needed within the bloc to ensure that the consequences of the conflict are not “fatal to the continent.” Szijjarto added that food shortages in developing countries caused by the fighting in Ukraine have left “hundreds of thousands of people under the threat of famine,” leading to a “new level of migrants’ aggression” at Hungary’s borders.


The official also stressed the importance of the EU’s expansion in the Western Balkans. Unlike most other EU member states, Hungary has remained relatively neutral since the start of the conflict in February, refusing to provide weapons to either Ukraine or Russia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has argued that such shipments could see Hungary getting dragged into direct military confrontation – which is not in the country’s interest. Moreover, officials in Budapest have repeatedly criticized EU sanctions against Moscow, insisting that the punitive measures hurt the bloc itself more than they do Russia. Hungary has also called for dialogue with Russia to put an end to the Ukraine conflict.

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But this writer fails to use that opportunity.

Biden’s Hateful Rhetoric Presents The GOP With A Sterling Opportunity (AT)

Never before have government institutions been hijacked and misused to target political opponents. Never before has a virus been misused to impose lockdowns that infringe on the right to freedom of movement and the right to earn a living. Never before have vaccines been mandated causing people to be fired from their jobs or suffer from health issues. Never before has the U.S. government demonized its own citizens, calling them domestic terrorists. Never before has the U.S. government set up a ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ that sits in judgment of the utterances of citizens. Never before has the U.S. been subjected to prolonged disinformation campaigns, the Russian collusion hoax, the Ukraine call hoax, and now the insurrection hoax.

Never before has the U.S. had a president whose cognitive abilities are so impaired that he struggles to read off a teleprompter and causes citizens to wonder who is in charge. Biden continues by claiming that the Republican party is “dominated, driven, intimidated by Donald Trump” and his supporters, calling it “a threat to this country” because “they refuse to accept the results of a free election.” Perhaps Biden forgot the Russian collusion hoax concocted by the Democrats that baselessly attempted to delegitimize the results of the 2016 presidential election. It was the Democrats who refused to accept the results of a free election. Perhaps Biden forgot that big media and big tech suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal prior to the 2020 elections.

A recent poll shows that nearly four of five Americans believe that “truthful” coverage would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Perhaps Biden forgot about Mark Zuckerberg spending $419 million to infiltrate sacrosanct electoral infrastructure of the 2020 elections and push for mail-in voting. Perhaps Biden forgot that 69% of voters nationwide cast their ballot nontraditionally i.e., by mail and/or before Election Day for the 2020 elections. Mail votes are highly vulnerable to fraud. Biden also alleged that the “MAGA forces” are aligned with white supremacists, violent extremists, and other undesirables. Perhaps Biden forgot violent Democrat extremists threatening Supreme Court Justices, vandalizing Catholic churches, pregnancy centers, and the offices of pro-life groups.

McCabe

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“..Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush”.

US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS (PG)

First Amendment of the US constitution- ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ It is commonly stated that the press (aka the proverbial ‘4th estate’) in the US is ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and ‘essential for the functioning of a free society’, serving as a ‘watchdog’ on government actions and policies and vital to protect the ‘liberty’ of American citizens. As is often the case, things are not always as they seem. In a recent interview with Brian Berletic, Mark Sleboda commented that “Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush”.

While there is no doubt that Western (read corporate) media is indeed promoting US foreign policy, it is not the US government that formulates these polices, rather they are formulated and developed by the ruling elite, using corporate-funded foundations and ‘think tanks’, academic institutions and prominent politicians. These include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rand Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, American Heritage Foundation, Atlantic Council, Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Academic institutions such as The Kennedy School (Harvard), Hoover Institution (Stanford), Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown) and School of Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins) not only provide ‘experts’ and government officials, such as Wendy Sherman (Kennedy School) current US Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden Administration, they serve as training grounds for government officials and corporate management, some of whom are employed by above listed universities and foundations.

Once formulated, these policies are ‘sold’ to the American public by a compliant and well-disciplined media. Approximately 90% of US media is controlled by six large corporations- Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, Paramount Global, Sony, and Fox, with a combined market cap of circa $500 billions. Like other large corporations, media conglomerates have the same class interests as the financial elite, i.e., promoting policies which increase corporate power and profits and maintain US global hegemony. So called ‘public’ media, such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the BBC, in the UK, function in a similar manner. Corporate media is closely integrated with large financial interests and serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pentagon and US foreign policy.

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“The idea of a president giving away such a fortune with the stroke of a pen should alarm every American.”

College-Loan Forgiveness Plan Reveals Biden’s Constitutional Cynicism (Turley)

In 1987, President Reagan reached a milestone in sending to Congress the first trillion-dollar budget. The size of it caused intense debate in Congress over the debt load, but an eventual “consensus” budget was reached. What is shocking today is not simply the size of the more than $4 trillion federal budget but that President Biden just wiped out what is estimated to be $1 trillion owed to the country — the size of the Reagan budget — without a single vote, let alone approval, by Congress. The idea of a president giving away such a fortune with the stroke of a pen should alarm every American. Not only will the massive payout likely fuel inflation but critics have objected to having working-class people subsidize the debts of college-educated citizens.

Others object that it is unfair to those who sacrificed to pay off their loans or those of their children. When one such father asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) whether he would get a refund after struggling to pay off his daughter’s college education, Warren dismissed him with an “of course not.“ Some Democrats in Congress have joined Republicans in condemning the plan. Biden knew he could never get Congress to agree to such a massive write-off, so he did not try. Instead, he acted unilaterally, and Democrats like Warren expressed euphoria, although Warren wanted five times more debt forgiveness. The former law professor saw little problem with a president giving away hundreds of billions of dollars.

As was the case under President Obama when he circumvented Congress, Warren and others are celebrating their own constitutional obsolescence. This is not supposed to happen in a constitutional system based on shared, limited powers: The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, but Biden just gave away the store. James Madison described the essence of our system of separation of powers in Federalist 51 as premised on the belief that “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” No branch is supposed to have enough power to govern alone. Biden just did, however.

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“What can a pandemic NOT do?”

The Pandemic Did This? New York Times Fails Fact Check (Lerman)

Yesterday, September 1, 2022, The New York Times had a front page story entitled: “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading.”The first paragraph states that “National test results released on Thursday showed in stark terms the pandemic’s devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with the performance of 9-year-olds in math and reading dropping to the levels from two decades ago.” Further down, the article says: “Then came the pandemic, which shuttered schools across the country almost overnight” and “experts say it will take more than the typical school day to make up gaps created by the pandemic.”

The definition of a pandemic, according to the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (ref: Last JM, editor. A dictionary of epidemiology, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001) is “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.” According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, “an epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people.” Thus, a pandemic is a disease that spreads rapidly to many people all over the world. Based on this pretty much universally accepted definition, a pandemic can do exactly one thing: it can spread disease to many people around the world.

What can a pandemic NOT do? A pandemic cannot impose mandates or lockdowns. A pandemic cannot block borders or force people to stop traveling. A pandemic cannot shutter schools – overnight or otherwise. A pandemic cannot impact math and reading. A pandemic cannot cause learning gaps. What can our response to a pandemic do? If we decide to shut down schools for months and years on end in response to a pandemic, then it is our response that has caused whatever educational deficits and devastation to children ensue. It is not the pandemic. In case there’s any doubt that the effects of a pandemic are separate and distinct from society’s response to the pandemic, we can take a look at Sweden, where schools were never shut down, and where there was no learning loss and much less devastation to schoolchildren than in countries that closed schools during the Covid pandemic.

Blaming the pandemic for anything other than disease and/or death is misinformation. The New York Times headline and article contain clear and uncontestable instances of misinformation. Here is the information from the article, stated in a factually correct way: US public health leaders and politicians mandated prolonged school shutdowns in response to the Covid pandemic, and these school shutdowns had devastating effects on schoolchildren, creating learning gaps and erasing decades of progress in math and reading.

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Disaster around the corner.

Only Nine Percent of Law Professors Identify as Conservatives (Turley)

A new study offers further evidence of the alarming decline of ideological diversity on our law faculties. A study by Georgetown University’s Kevin Tobia and MIT’s Eric Martinez was featured on College Fix that finds that only nine percent of law school professors identify as conservative at the top 50 law schools. Notably, a 2017 study found 15 percent of faculties were conservative. This is the result of years of faculty replicating their own ideological preferences and eradicating the diversity that once existed on faculties. When I began teaching in the 1980s, faculties were undeniably liberal but contained a significant number of conservative and libertarian professors. It made for a healthy and balanced intellectual environment. Today such voices are relatively rare and faculties have become political echo chambers, leaving conservatives and Republican students increasingly afraid to speak openly in class.

The trend is the result of hiring systems where conservative or libertarian scholars are often rejected as simply “insufficiently intellectually rigorous” or “not interesting” in their scholarship. This can clearly be true with individual candidates but the wholesale reduction of such scholars shows a more systemic problem. Faculty insist that there is no bias against conservatives, but the obviously falling number of conservative faculty speaks for itself. In racial and gender discrimination cases, this type of pattern of de facto hiring preferences is routinely the basis for lawsuits. Obviously, intellectual diversity is different from racial discrimination. This is no protected class and there is no statutory mandate to support challenges. Faculties know that it is near impossible to challenge their hiring decisions. However, the de facto result of years of biased hiring practices is reflected in the low number of conservative faculty at these schools.

When confronted, faculty will often shrug and say that they are open to promising conservative faculty but they simply have not found any. They will also question what is a conservative or a liberal — even though professors seem to have little problem in answering such polls with those terms. There is little sympathy for conservative and libertarian students who have few faculty offering opposing views — or liberal students who would like exposure to the full array of legal thought and interpretations. Having taught for over three decades, I have never seen a more intolerant and orthodox environment. Schools have reached an ideological critical mass where faculties are replicating their own preferences. The overwhelming composition of faculties then serves to replicate and promote the views of liberal faculty on journals and in conferences.

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“..a 711-page “joint statement on discovery disputes.”

Biden-Big Tech Collusion Suit Reveals ‘Massive, Sprawling’ Censorship (JTN)

Even as President Biden warns the nation of the “extremist threat to our democracy” from Republicans in this fall’s elections, new evidence suggests a much wider campaign by his administration to sic Big Tech on critics than previously thought, going so far as removing a parody of Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci. The First Amendment lawsuit by Republican attorneys general and a civil liberties group against Biden, Fauci and several other high-level officials has revealed a “massive, sprawling federal ‘Censorship Enterprise'” related to COVID-19 and elections, the plaintiffs said in a 711-page “joint statement on discovery disputes.”

“If there was ever any doubt the federal government was behind censorship of Americans who dared to dissent from official Covid messaging, that doubt has been erased” by what the defendants have already turned over, New Civil Liberties Alliance lawyer Jenin Younes said. The Justice Department cited its 15,000-page document production to oppose the “anything but reasonably tailored” discovery requests by Missouri’s Eric Schmitt, Louisiana’s Jeff Landry and NCLA, which DOJ called “grossly disproportionate” to this stage of litigation. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram parent Meta, Google’s YouTube and LinkedIn provided information separately.

The “defendants’ position” left out the elephant in the room: the likelihood of even greater harm to Democratic prospects if sensitive communications including Fauci and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre are required to be divulged before the midterms. Schmitt is the GOP nominee for retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat. The plaintiffs are keen to compel Fauci to discuss the “nature and content” of his oral conversations with Zuckerberg, who gave the long-serving public health bureaucrat his personal cell phone number in March 2020. They also want all Fauci communication with social media platforms related to the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration and its authors, who are represented by NCLA, as well as Trump coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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“Mike McCormick was Joe Biden’s stenographer and witnessed Biden in action around the world. In a recent blog post he claims there’s much more to Hunter Biden’s involvement in the Wuhan lab and Biden’s meetings with President Xi in China.”

Hunter’s Techies Funded China Bat Virus Researcher (McCormick)

Mere days after he returned from his infamous Air Force Two trip to China with his dad in December 2013, Hunter Biden, along with his Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners pals, began a long, intimate, and lucrative business relationship with biowarfare contractor Metabiota — at the very same time its scientists were collaborating on research with virologists associated with Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance. [..] Also as an eyewitness to Joe’s dealings — I traveled with him to Ukraine and China — I will present further evidence that he and his staffers directed even more USAID and Department of Defense (DOD) funding towards his and Hunter’s investment in Metabiota for its activities in Ukraine and China. Joe Biden enriching himself and his family by lining up government funding Metabiota is malfeasance, an impeachable offense.

But in my opinion, impeachment hardly answers for his criminal affiliation with this pandemic “predictor.” But the question that must be asked, and it’s only me asking: Who had the idea for Hunter and RSTP to back Metabiota — Joe or Xi? And understand, the only people that can answer that question are Joe and Xi. Because given that prominent CCP virologist Shi Zhengli was leading the Chinese side of this research collaboration, it is entirely reasonable that Xi Jinping would have known about her project. It’s also reasonable that he knew a lot about her research partners, meaning it’s quite likely he knew Metabiota and its founder, Wolfe, were tied to the DOD and highly regarded by the WEF. Whether Metabiota was a biowarfare contractor or a biotech software company, there is no doubt the CCP was keeping close tabs on it, and thus so was Xi.

So now what to make of Joe Biden and his four-and-a-half-hour meeting with Xi Jinping as crude, cruel, and callous Hunter waited in the wings. [..] At this point in time, Xi, the deadly serious president of China, the world’s most “ascendant” nation, thinks he is scheduled to talk to Joe Biden, the often ridiculous vice president of the United States, for only about an hour. Boy, was he wrong. So what changed? What was Joe up to? And why did Xi tolerate it? The meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People, adjacent to Tiananmen Square. It was supposed to adhere to the traditional world leader bilateral formula of a one-hour meeting with advisors present, followed by brief innocuous remarks to the press. But that’s not how it went. I know because I was there … sort of.

Chinese security denied me entry to the building. No reason given. So I retreated to a van in the motorcade and waited and waited and waited. So no, I was not in the meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. But then, no one was. No senior staffers. Not a one. From either side. And based on reports from White House staffers who did get in the building, they spent four hours sitting on the hard floor of an empty hallway and were as put out as the Chinese by what transpired.Joe had all the advisors leave — Chinese and American. Not Xi, Joe. It was just him and Xi and interpreters — off script, off schedule, off plan. Most unusual. And Joe knew it. His remarks after the meeting began with an apology to Xi’s advisors for not only kicking them out of the room, but then monopolizing Xi’s time.

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Posobiec Dutch farmers

 

 


You don’t have to put on the red light.

 

 


Kingfisher in action. Photo Jaap La Brijn

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 012022
 
 September 1, 2022  Posted by at 7:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  100 Responses »


Frank Walton Crows on a beach 1884

 

Era of Fake Money is Gone – Egon von Greyerz (USAW)
Europeans Face Mass Poverty – Expert (RT)
European Gas Prices Surge As Russia Reduces Supplies (RT)
Russia Has Enough Gas For At Least 100 Years – Gazprom (RT)
Hungary Signs Deal With Gazprom For Extra 5.8bn Cubic Metres Natural Gas (EN)
German Companies Shutting Down In Response To Record Energy Prices (ZH)
Most Germans Want Talks With Russia – Poll (RT)
Northern EU Sees The Light (K.)
Ukraine: Somewhere between Afghanization and Syrianization (Escobar)
Western Propaganda and its Aftermath (AT)
Ukrainian Officials Accused Of Stealing Trainloads Of Aid (RT)
Russian Foreign Ministry Explains Who Is Dividing The West (RT)
US Life Expectancy Plummeting (RT)
Western Allies Sabotaged Tentative Ukraine-Russia Peace Deal… In April (ZH)
DOJ Alleges That “Obstructive Conduct Occurred” at Mar-a-Lago (Turley)

 

 

The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again. And we will never be tormented by the boredom of eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half the country.
Karine Jean-Pierre says that people who voted for Donald Trump are “a threat to our democracy, to our freedom, to our rights.”

 

 

 

 

Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You have to remember when the debt collapses, all the assets that were supported by this debt will collapse. You will have an implosion of values, I expect 90% plus.”

Era of Fake Money is Gone – Egon von Greyerz (USAW)

“I did forecast that . . . the stock market is going to fall at this particular point. The 1,000-point drop on the DOW last Friday came right on cue. Fundamentally, the markets should have crashed a long time ago. . . . It appears clear to me we are going to see a 30% or so fall in the markets in the next one to two months. That’s the first fall, but that’s just the beginning. . . . Markets will fall, in real terms, by 90% to 95% in the coming years. That’s not going to happen overnight, but if it does happen overnight, then all bets are off and there will be a total disaster. The world is going to shut down. . . . Then there will be some extra money printing and people will be optimistic for a while. There is no money anymore because the money that is printed will make zero difference.

There will be nothing that will drive the world forward. All the decisions on top of the with energy, climate change, sanctions, etcetera, will mean it all will crash a lot faster. . . . The world is going to see a collapse that it has never seen before in history, and there is absolutely no remedy for that. They are not going to be able to do anything. Everybody who is not in power is going to promise something that they can’t deliver. When they get into power, they will be thrown out because they couldn’t deliver. So, the era of Shangri-la and money printing and saving the world by fake money—that era is totally gone.”

EvG goes on to say, “I am not a prophet of doom and gloom, but it may sound like it. I am just someone who just looks at risk. This is why I got into gold 20 years ago. Gold was the best solution to a risk situation in the financial world. . . . We almost had a collapse in 2008, and it was patched up temporarily. This time they won’t succeed . . . . We have a situation nobody can solve. . . . Initially, there will be money printing, but adding new debt to pay old debt is not a great solution to the problem. I don’t think there will be any orderly reset at all . . . . At some point, there will be an implosion of the system. There has to be. . . . You have to remember when the debt collapses, all the assets that were supported by this debt will collapse. You will have an implosion of values, I expect 90% plus. Stocks crashed in 1929 to 1932 by 90%. The risk back then and the magnitude of the problems then were nothing compared to what we have today. Remember, today it’s global, and it’s every single country in the world. . . . It’s everywhere, and no one can escape what’s coming.”

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“..in Belgium, households on average will be paying $10,000 a year for power and heating.”

Europeans Face Mass Poverty – Expert (RT)

Rising energy prices could lead to mass impoverishment in the EU, Professor at the University of Liege in Belgium Damien Ernst told French news site Atlantico on Monday. He warned there is no indication that the situation will improve after this winter. According to him, “the perfect storm” that has formed in energy markets is expected to have a major economic impact on households and businesses. Ernst suggested that in Belgium, households on average will be paying €10,000 ($10,000) a year for power and heating. The energy crisis will be far worse than the 2008 financial crisis and the oil shocks of the 1970s, he said, adding: “This will have economic consequences, especially for purchasing power, and lead to financial constraints.” With such a jump in energy prices, “it will be impossible to control inflation,” Ernst warned. Power prices in Europe have continued to reach record highs, intensifying the region’s energy crisis and stoking fears about access to electricity and heating as the weather begins to cool.

Kyle Bass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1564962742259400705

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I think prices have come down a bit. Not that it matters much anymore.

European Gas Prices Surge As Russia Reduces Supplies (RT)

European spot prices for natural gas rose in early trading on Wednesday after Russian energy major Gazprom shut down supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. According to the Intercontinental Exchange data, the price of October gas futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands rose 5.5% to €280 ($280) per megawatt-hour, or $2,906 per thousand cubic meters, at around 07:00 GMT, after falling below $2,600 the day before.= Earlier on Wednesday, Gazprom confirmed the temporary halt of natural gas deliveries to Europe via Nord Stream 1 due to scheduled maintenance.


Unless there are technical setbacks, the gas flow will be resumed on September 3, with supply volumes restored to 33 million cubic meters per day, or roughly 20% of the pipeline’s full capacity. Following Gazprom’s announcement on August 19 regarding the temporary suspension, gas prices reacted sharply. Last week, the price of September futures exceeded $3,500 per thousand cubic meters. However, after German Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced that the country’s underground gas storages were 85% filled ahead of schedule, the gas price rally somewhat subsided.

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And the west wants it.

Russia Has Enough Gas For At Least 100 Years – Gazprom (RT)

Russia has huge natural gas reserves that could last for more than a century, the head of state-owned Gazprom, Alexey Miller, said on Wednesday at the International Business Congress. “Our consumers, Russian citizens, will have access to [this] cheap, reliable energy resource. It is especially important to note that they could be optimistic about the country’s gas future. Why? Because we are provided with reserves for 100 years ahead,” Miller said, noting that some of Gazprom’s fields will still be providing gas even in 2120. The energy giant’s chief executive attributed such an optimistic forecast to the development of the vast resources in Russia’s northern Yamal Peninsula, adding that Gazprom is currently preparing to launch the Kharasavey gas field and has also started developing the deep deposits of the Bovanenkovo field. Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, estimated at 48 trillion cubic meters, or roughly a quarter of the global total.

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Move to Budapest while you can. It’s a pretty city.

Hungary Signs Deal With Gazprom For Extra 5.8bn Cubic Metres Natural Gas (EN)

Hungary says it has signed a deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom for 5.8 billion cubic metres of extra natural gas. Zoltan Kovacs, international spokesman for Hungary’s government, said it would be on top of the country’s current supplies. “Hungary’s energy supply is safe,” he added. Hungary’s foreign affairs minister also announced the deal with Gazprom on Facebook during a break from his meeting with other EU ministers. Péter Szijjártó specified that in September and October, Gazprom will deliver a maximum of 5.8 million cubic meters more natural gas per day to Hungary via Serbia than what was specified in its long-term contract. EU foreign affairs ministers were meeting to debate a possible visa ban on Russian tourists in response to the war in Ukraine.


Szijjártó added that during the foreign affairs meeting, he spoke out against a possible visa ban on Russians. The announcement comes as Europe scrambles to cut energy consumption and cope with a reduction in supply of Russian gas. The Russian state-owned energy company had increased supplies to Hungary earlier this month even as it stopped flows to other European countries. Gazprom stopped gas supplies to Europe’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline earlier on Wednesday for maintenance. The company also said it had suspended gas flows to French gas company Engie “due to failure to pay for July supplies in full.”

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“..the entire German economy is about to get its plug pulled..”

German Companies Shutting Down In Response To Record Energy Prices (ZH)

It’s not just European smelters shutting down due to soaring energy prices: the entire German economy is about to get its plug pulled. While a handful of macro tourists rejoice that record European year-ahead electricity prices plunged by 50% to levels not seen since… last week… Europe is facing economic devastation and depression at a scale that will make 2008 seems like a walk in the park. As the FT reports, German manufacturers are halting production in response to the surge in energy prices, a trend the government has described as “alarming”. German economy minister Robert Habeck said industry had worked hard to reduce its gas consumption in recent months, partly by switching to alternative fuels like oil, making its processes more efficient and reducing output.

But he amusingly clarified, some companies had also “stopped production altogether” — a development he said was “alarming”. “It’s not good news,” he said, “because it can mean that the industries in question aren’t just being restructured but are experiencing a rupture — a structural rupture, one that is happening under enormous pressure.” Habeck said rising gas prices were affecting everyone from big industrial companies to small trading firms and the medium-sized enterprises that make up the “Mittelstand”. “Wherever energy is an important part of the business model, companies are experiencing sheer angst,” he said. And since energy is a crucial part of every business model, one can only imagine the chaos, fear and loathing hammering the largest European economy right now.

Confirming that Trump was right all along, the German minister said the business model of large parts of German manufacturing was based on the abundance of gas from Russia that was cheaper than gas from other regions. That competitive advantage “won’t come back any time soon, if it ever comes back at all”, Habeck said. Whether he was aware of it or not, Habeck effectively echoed what Zoltan Pozsar said over the weekend, that Europe is facing a Minsky moment triggered by excessive financial leverage “and in the context of supply chains, leverage means excessive operating leverage: in Germany, $2 trillion of value added depends on $20 billion of gas from Russia… …that’s 100-times leverage – much more than Lehman’s.”

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Their gov’t has explicitly said they don’t care what the voters want.

Most Germans Want Talks With Russia – Poll (RT)

The majority of Germans want the West to take concrete steps to initiate talks with Russia to end the Ukraine conflict, a recent survey has indicated. Published on Wednesday, the poll commissioned by Germany’s RTL/ntv-Trendbarometer was conducted from August 26 through August 29, with 1,011 people taking part. According to the survey, some 77% of Germans believe that the West should make concrete efforts to try to launch negotiations with Russia, which could help bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine. Only 17% would oppose such talks. When asked whether it is the right thing for Western leaders to keep phoning Russian President Vladimir Putin, 87% of the respondents replied in the affirmative, with 11% against.


Regarding the extent of German aid to Ukraine, 43% said they are content with the current state of assistance, while 26% want Berlin to do more and a quarter believe the country is already doing too much in this respect. The latter sentiment is particularly prevalent in eastern Germany and among supporters of the Alternative for Germany party, the researchers noted. Although some politicians from the ruling ‘traffic-light’ coalition are calling for continued deliveries of heavy weaponry to Ukraine, even at the expense of Germany’s own military, 62% of the respondents expressed skepticism about whether this would be a prudent move, while only 32% would welcome such deliveries.

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The way the EU’s been going, they can only make it worse.

Northern EU Sees The Light (K.)

The EU is rushing to intervene in the electricity and energy markets to prevent a further price escalation, now that the crisis is threatening to destabilize the biggest European economies, especially the highly dependent on Russian gas Germany. Those who loudly and with more than a hint of contempt pushed back on proposals by Greece and other southern European countries for a price ceiling on natural gas and the decoupling of gas prices from electricity rates, are now at the forefront of efforts for immediate intervention on exactly these issues, seven months late. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made public Monday the EU’s intent for an “emergency intervention and a restructuring of the electricity market” and, on Tuesday, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner sent a message to his EU colleagues that Berlin was open to considering a price ceiling on natural gas in the emergency meeting of EU Energy Ministers on September 9.


Across Europe and at EU headquarters, in Brussels, officials are weighing the pros and cons of the price ceiling and the decoupling, proposals that Greece had first made, through Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in October 2021. The task is to find the most effective mix of policies that will restore a certain equilibrium in the natural gas market and will lead to a price de-escalation. Moreover, these measures must be agreed upon by all 27 EU members. In this complicated effort, Europe is certain that, whatever decision it takes, it will lead to a Russian reaction. Also, and independently of what it decides about natural gas, Russia will keep reducing flow, under a variety of pretexts, continuing a policy that begun with demands that it be paid in rubles and whose latest manifestation was Tuesday’s reducing of supply to France’s Engie.

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“..Monsanto, Cargill and Dupont have already bagged 17 million hectares of prime, fertile arable land – over half of what Ukraine still possesses..”

Ukraine: Somewhere between Afghanization and Syrianization (Escobar)

The Russian military never made a conscious decision to interrupt the multi-channel flow of western weapons to Kiev. Methodically destroying those weapons once they’re in Ukrainian territory – with plenty of success – is another matter. The same applies to smashing mercenary networks. Moscow is well aware that any negotiation with those pulling the strings in Washington – and dictating all terms to puppets in Brussels and Kiev – is futile. The fight in Donbass and beyond is a do or die affair. So the battle will go on, destroying what’s left of Ukraine, just as it destroyed much of Syria. The difference is that economically, much more than in Syria, what’s left of Ukraine will plunge into a black void. Only territory under Russian control will be rebuilt, and that includes, significantly, the bulk of Ukraine’s industrial infrastructure.


What’s left – rump Ukraine – has already been plundered anyway, as Monsanto, Cargill and Dupont have already bagged 17 million hectares of prime, fertile arable land – over half of what Ukraine still possesses. That translates de facto as BlackRock, Blackstone and Vanguard, top agro-business shareholders, owning whatever lands that really matter in non-sovereign Ukraine. Going forward, by next year the Russians will be applying themselves to cutting off Kiev from NATO weapons supplies. As that unfolds, the Anglo-Americans will eventually move whatever puppet regime remains to Lviv. And Kiev terrorism – conducted by Bandera worshippers – will continue to be the new normal in the capital.

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“Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team”

Western Propaganda and its Aftermath (AT)

The western propaganda we’re currently experiencing is nothing new. Today’s President Putin joins yesterday’s Middle East “monsters” as current Ukrainian Nazi militias become “freedom fighters” and the Russians become “Nazis.” Likewise, the previous Middle Eastern terrorist groups became “moderate Islamist’s” but only if they were fighting for a US led NATO in Iraq and Syria. Yet such is the power of belief on an already stupefied majority western population that it’s become factual. In our upside down world, reality has long vanished to 15% of our western leaders who regard themselves as the “international community.” On August 24th, only 54 countries out of 193 supported a UN resolution which condemned Russia for not stopping its intervention in the Ukraine, which begs the question of why, if the majority population loathe today’s western politicians, do they passionately and often even fanatically believe their every word?

Supplying weapons and financial aid to the Ukraine which enables Russia to get bogged down in an endless war with mounting casualties, coupled with sanctions to bring down Russian middle-class living standards is just another attempt at regime change. Moreover, having failed to control the Middle East oil producers, it has not gone unnoticed that Russia is itself a major gas and oil producer. Bathsheba Crocker, US Ambassador to the UN warned in the New York Times on February 21st before the incursion occurred that Russia had a ‘hit list’ of people destined for arrest, detention and torture including “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons.” How she knew that is not explained, but the inclusion of homosexuals as a vulnerable group now appears mandatory in any media story.

From allegations presented as facts by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova and picked up by The British Daily Mail and the US New York Times in May, of multiple repeated child rapes and murders near Kiev. Meanwhile, Newsweek also in May ran the headline “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team”; what kind of sick minds dream this up?! Although written in a news format, both headlines carried disclaimers that the content remained unverified. In which case, why report it as news? One assumes that in time these stories will join Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the Ghost of Kyiv hoaxes.

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Fraud. The only infrastructure still in place in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Officials Accused Of Stealing Trainloads Of Aid (RT)

Ukrainian officials in the eastern Zaporozhye Region are being investigated for allegedly stealing massive amounts of humanitarian aid sent to them. They are accused of looting hundreds of freight cars’ worth of goods. Raids at offices and addresses associated with the suspected embezzlers were reported on Tuesday. Agents of the SBU, Ukraine’s successor to the KGB, and the anti-corruption agency NABU conducted the operations, according to a statement by the agencies. The region is mostly controlled by Russian forces, but its capital Zaporozhye and some of the surrounding areas are under Kiev’s control. The raids targeted the Kiev-appointed administration and members of the city council, according to the SBU and NABU. The agencies also reported confiscating what they believe to be narcotics and illegal firearms while searching the premises.

While the official statement offered few details, a more comprehensive account of the ongoing probe came from Ukrainian public figure Evgeny Shevchenko, who is widely described by the local media as an unpaid agent for the NABU. The agency had previously confirmed working with him. According to his post on Facebook, the suspected grifters made off with “almost all humanitarian aid” sent to the region, selling the goods through local retail chains. The total volume of what was stolen amounts to 22 sea transport containers, 389 freight train cars and 220 trucks, Shevchenko claimed. The activist named several senior officials in Zaporozhye Region as suspects and shamed them for posing as Ukrainian patriots while profiting at the expense of the country.

Shevchenko is a controversial figure in Ukraine. He emerged from the radical wing of the so-called Maidan protests of 2013-2014 and made a name for himself as an associate of militia commander and former MP Konstantin Grishin, who prefers to be called by his nom de guerre Semyon Semenchenko. Last year, Shevchenko and Semenchenko were arrested on allegations of involvement with an illegal militia. The arrests came after Shevchenko had accused the office of President Vladimir Zelensky of derailing an intelligence operation aimed at luring a group of Russian security contractors to Ukraine and detaining them. Shevchenko believes that his arrest and that of Semenchenko were an act of revenge by Zelensky’s chief-of-staff, Andrey Ermak. In his post about the raids in Zaporozhye Region, he linked the suspects with the president and the head of his office, pointing out that the officials targeted had been appointed by Kiev.

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“Zakharova compared the EU to the group of blind men in the painting ‘The Blind Leading the Blind’ by Dutch Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder.”

“..“strange suicidal initiatives that are attributed to the EU, but are actually imposed or planted” by an outside force..”

Russian Foreign Ministry Explains Who Is Dividing The West (RT)

Russia does not pursue a foreign policy aimed at dividing the West, or the EU in particular, despite claims to the contrary, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said. However, the bloc could benefit from being more tolerant of dissenting voices, considering how much it has hurt itself with its ‘united’ approach to Russia, she said in a radio interview on Wednesday. Zakharova compared the EU to the group of blind men in the painting ‘The Blind Leading the Blind’ by Dutch Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. “They are united. No one in this group, who are being led towards a ditch, voices any doubt, objects, asks questions or protests,” she said.

Brussels’ approach towards Russia is similar, the spokeswoman suggested, noting the “strange suicidal initiatives that are attributed to the EU, but are actually imposed or planted” by an outside force. She added that when it comes to Russia, the bloc does not tolerate dissenting voices – which is surprising, given that the EU claims to cherish democracy, a system in which opinions that differ from the dominant line of thinking are supposed to be appreciated. While many Western politicians claim that Russia wants to divide the bloc with its policies, this is not the case, Zakharova said. “If anything, our goal is to return common sense into international relations.”

Her remarks came during a discussion in the radio interview on the EU’s proposed ban on visas for Russians. The plan is promoted by Ukraine and some Eastern European member states, but Western European nations such as Germany and France believe less radical restrictions should be adopted. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested this week that an implosion within the EU could occur unless all member states follow the hardline Russia policy that Warsaw has adopted.

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Yeah, yeah, Covid…

US Life Expectancy Plummeting (RT)

The average American’s life expectancy notably dropped between 2019 and 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in a report published on Wednesday. It is the first two-year drop recorded since 1961-1963. Over the last two years, the US life expectancy decreased by 2.7 years, leaving the average lifespan at 76.1 years – the same as it was in 1996. According to the CDC, the primary factor in driving down life expectancy was the Covid-19 pandemic, which has contributed to the deaths of over one million Americans. “Unintentional injuries” – a category that includes overdoses and other drug-related misadventures – as well as heart disease were also major factors contributing to the decline.

Before the pandemic, heart disease had long been the top-recorded cause of death in the US, while the opioid epidemic has led to record numbers of overdoses for several years running. Breaking the CDC’s numbers down by race yields even more alarming trends. Native Americans suffered a 6.6 year drop in life expectancy between 2019 and 2021, compared to about four years for black and Hispanic people and 2.4 years for white people. The statistical burden disproportionately fell on males, whose life expectancy has declined to just 73.2 years, while females can still expect to live a comparatively long 79.1 years.

The report found most of the decline in life expectancy took place during the first year of the pandemic for nonwhite populations, while white Americans suffered the worst losses during the second year. Similar studies have found that Covid-19 worsened an already-yawning gap between the US, which has the most expensive healthcare in the world, and other developed nations in terms of life expectancy. Americans can now expect to live five fewer years than their European counterparts. Researchers studying the decline in life expectancy have blamed high rates of preexisting conditions like obesity and heart disease for the US’ outsized losses during the pandemic compared to 19 of its economic peers.

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“..the collective West, which back in February had suggested Zelenskyy should surrender and flee..”

Western Allies Sabotaged Tentative Ukraine-Russia Peace Deal… In April (ZH)

There’s mounting evidence that the war in Ukraine could have been over by this point, but key Western backers of Kiev sought to sabotage the potential for peaceful settlement through negotiations. That’s precisely what regional Ukrainian media reports concluded as early as May, soon after the UK’s Boris Johnson showed up in the capital on a “surprise” visit to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time the month prior This is what a bombshell story in Ukrainska Pravda said at the time, but which was almost completely ignored in Western mainstream media: According Ukrainska Pravda sources close to Zelenskyy, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, who appeared in the capital almost without warning, brought two simple messages. The first is that Putin is a war criminal, he should be pressured, not negotiated with.

And the second is that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they [the UK and US] are not. Johnson’s position was that the collective West, which back in February had suggested Zelenskyy should surrender and flee, now felt that Putin was not really as powerful as they had previously imagined, and that here was a chance to “press him.” The Ukrainian media English-language report went on to emphasize that Three days after Johnson left for Britain, Putin went public and said talks with Ukraine “had turned into a dead end”. At the time the Istanbul peace talks, which saw top officials from each warring side gather in the Turkish capital, was hailed in some corners as “the quickest way to end the war in Ukraine” – according to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words, who was seeking to mediate between Moscow and Kiev.

But as the invasion ordered by Putin pressed on, Britain especially was the earliest out front in making large weapons and munitions deliveries to Ukraine via military transport planes a high priority. UK press reports also took note of the ‘convenient’ timing of London going all-in hawkish on Ukraine given Prime Minister Johnson’s enduring ‘Partygate Scandal’ at home. Again, recall the tone of Ukrainian media following the arrival of the British prime minister in Kiev (and it should be noted Johnson was the first leader of a G7 country to visit, coming two weeks after Russian forces withdrew from suburbs around Kiev) on April 9: “Following the arrival of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Kyiv, a possible meeting between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin has become less likely.”s

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A President’s impunity is almost limitless.

DOJ Alleges That “Obstructive Conduct Occurred” at Mar-a-Lago (Turley)

Last night, Department of Justice Tuesday filed in opposition to the appointment of a Special Master in Florida. It used the filing to add new facts and allegations to the public record, including the statement that “obstructive conduct occurred” at Mar-a-Lago by concealing or moving documents. The Department makes many of the same claims that it used to opposed the release of a redacted affidavit, claims shown to have been misleading and exaggerated after the magistrate ordered the release. Notably, this filing contained details that were likely redacted in the affidavit but just released on the public record. In the most direct challenge to the former President’s public claims, the Justice Department claimed that he and his staff had failed to turn over classified material and that the Department had no choice but to search areas outside of the storage room. Indeed, it says that it found three classified documents in Trump’s desk without indicating the level of classification or subject matter.

It also said that the Trump staff barred the FBI from looking at documents in the storage room after turning over classified information to them. “As the former President’s filing indicates, the FBI agents and DOJ attorney were permitted to visit the storage room. See D.E. 1 at 5-6. Critically, however, the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained.” The filing also adds new disclosures on past claims of declassification by Trump. It states that “[w]hen producing the Fifteen Boxes, the former President never asserted executive privilege over any of the documents nor claimed that any of the documents in the boxes containing classification markings had been declassified.”


That was in January 2022. It then alleges that, in the June 3, 2022 meeting, “neither counsel nor the custodian asserted that the former President had declassified the documents or asserted any claim of executive privilege.” It is not clear if or when the Trump team made the declassification claim. The filing also includes this notable allegation: “The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” The Justice Department told the court that it was vindicated in its suspicions and that “the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.”

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Not a fan of the man, but he’s right here.

David Icke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undefeated
https://twitter.com/i/status/1565077573863985159

 

 


The long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is found throughout Europe and the Palearctic. Photo Hajime Nakatsuka

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 152022
 
 August 15, 2022  Posted by at 8:39 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  48 Responses »


Odilon Redon Street in Samois 1888

 

The Second Coming of the Heartland (Escobar)
Ukraine To Target Russian Soldiers At Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (G.)
EU Ramps Up Exports To Russia (RT)
Sanctions Are ‘Wrong To The Core’ – Hungarian Parliament Leader (RT)
Gazprom Has Increased Gas Supply To Hungary (G.)
Ukraine To Legalize Guns Soon – Minister (RT)
US Fumes Over India’s Role In Transporting Banned Russian Oil – Reuters (RT)
A Deeper Dive Into the CDC Reversal (Tucker)
Trump And His Family Watched FBI Raid on CCTV (CB)
FBI Took Documents Protected By Attorney-Client Privilege From Mar-a-Lago (CB)
Rand Paul Calls To Repeal Espionage Act Following Mar-a-Lago Raid (JTN)
House GOP To Issue Scathing Report About Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal (CNN)
Atlantic Op-ed Claims Catholic Rosary Has Become ‘An Extremist Symbol’ (Fox)
South America’s ‘Lithium Fields’ And The Dark Side Of Our Electric Future (EN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoax

 

 

Schiff

 

 

 

 

Irish farmer

 

 

 

 

“This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities – from von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg..”

The Second Coming of the Heartland (Escobar)

[..] the inestimable Alastair Crooke has illustrated the death of Eurocentrism alluding to Lewis Carroll and Yeats: only through the looking glass we can see the full contours of the tawdry spectacle of narcissistic self-obsession and self-justification offered by “the worst”, still so “full of passionate intensity”, as depicted by Yeats. And yet, unlike Yeats, the best now do not “lack all conviction”. They may be few, ostracized by cancel culture, but they do see the “rough beast, its hour come out at last, slouching towards…” Brussels (not Jerusalem) “to be born”. This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities – from von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg – may dream they live in the pre-1914 era, when Europe was at the political center.

Yet now not only “the center cannot hold” (Yeats) but Eurocrat-infested Europe has been definitely engulfed by the maelstrom, an irrelevant political backwater seriously flirting with reversion to 12th century status. The physical aspects of the Fall – austerity, inflation, no hot showers, freezing to death to support neo-Nazis in Kiev – has been preceded, and no Christianized imagery need apply, by the fires of sulphur and brimstone of a Spiritual Fall. The transatlantic masters of those parrots posing as “elites” could never come up with any idea to sell to the Global South centered on harmony and much less “community”. What they sell, via their Unanimous Narrative, actually their take on “We Are the World”, is variations of “you will own nothing and be happy”. Worse: you will have to pay for it – dearly.

And you have no right to dream of any transcendence – irrespective if you’re a follower of Rumi, the Tao, shamanism or Prophet Muhammad. The most visible shock troops of this reductionist Western neo-nihilism – obscured by the fog of “equality”, “human rights” and “democracy” – are the thugs being swiftly denazified in Ukraine, sporting their tattoos and pentagrams. The Collective West Self-Justification Show staged to obliterate its ritualized suicide offers no hint of transcending sacrifice implied in a ceremonial seppuku. All they do is to wallow in the adamant refusal to admit they could be seriously mistaken. How would anyone dare to deride the set of “values” derived from the Enlightenment? If you don’t prostrate yourself in front of this glittering cultural altar, you’re just a barbarian set to be slandered, law-fared, canceled, persecuted, sanctioned and – HIMARS to the rescue – bombed.

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Nothing new.

Ukraine To Target Russian Soldiers At Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (G.)

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said his forces will target Russian soldiers who shoot at or from Europe’s largest nuclear power station, amid warnings that the Kremlin may falsely claim Kyiv has directly struck the critical site. Zelenskiy said anyone giving orders for attacks on the site or nearby towns and cities should face trial by an international court, as concern about the safety of the nuclear site remained high. “Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” Zelenskiy said in a video address on Saturday night.


He called for new sanctions against Russia that would “necessarily block the Russian nuclear industry”, and he argued that “absolutely all officials of the terrorist state, as well as those who help them in this blackmail operation with the nuclear power plant, must be tried by an international court.” Russian troops captured the station – the biggest nuclear plant in Europe, responsible for up to 20% of Ukraine’s energy needs – early in the war. Two of its six reactors are currently operating and Ukraine has said Russia is trying to reconnect the power plant to occupied Crimea and shut off electricity supply to towns held by Kyiv.

German reporter

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But but sanctions?!

EU Ramps Up Exports To Russia (RT)

EU exports to Russia surged by 18% in June from the previous month, reaching €4.45 billion ($4.57 billion), foreign trade data from the statistics agency Eurostat shows. This was the second consecutive month that exports to Russia rose, following the April low of just €2.78 billion. However, the value of goods shipped to Russia remains well below the June 2021 figure of €7.21 billion, as some 28% of EU exports to Russia remain under Ukraine-related sanctions. In response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Brussels banned the export to Russia from the EU of airplanes, bearings, dual-use technology, luxury goods, and other products. These restrictions delivered an instant blow to the bloc’s exports to Russia, one of its largest trading partners in previous years.

Nevertheless, industrial equipment retained its position as the largest EU export to Russia, with June having seen shipments worth €1.12 billion, up 21% from May. The supply of medicines also increased, growing by 6% to €791 million over the previous month and surpassing last year’s figures by 31.5%. Medicine is now the second-largest EU export to Russia. The bloc’s exports of perfumes and cosmetics, excluding luxury goods that exceed €300 per single item, rose in June by 38% to €108 million. Shipments of plastics and plastic products grew by 16% to €234 million, while deliveries of optical, measuring, control, medical devices and instruments and electrical equipment and components also jumped. However, exports in all of these categories remain well below last year’s levels.

Germany remains the largest EU exporter to Russia, with €1.16 billion worth of goods shipped in June, a 5.4% increase against May. Poland nearly doubled its shipments to Russia against April-May to €395 million, while exports from the Baltic states increased by 34% month-on-month, to €481 million. Due to sanctions, the export of aircraft and aircraft components from Europe to Russia, which approached €3 billion in 2021, has dropped to zero since April 2022. Deliveries of cars and auto parts fell by more than ten times in annual terms and amounted to only €62 million in June.

Russia stopped publishing trade statistics shortly after the operation in Ukraine began. However, according to a report from the Bank of Russia in late July, citing data from Russia’s trading partners, the country’s overall imports of goods and services fell 22% in the second quarter of the year from the same time in 2021. Moscow repeatedly said that it will be able to overcome the impact of sanctions on imports, and that measures will be taken to substitute any missing goods with ones produced at home or obtained from other sources, such as China, Turkey and India. In a draft of the directive on monetary policy published earlier this week, Russia’s central bank predicted that despite the political pressure, imports would gradually recover.

“The pace of this recovery will be determined by the emergence of new financing and insurance mechanisms, the construction of new logistics routes and the formation of new trade relations. The mechanism of parallel imports, launched at the end of March, will also contribute to the growth of imports,” the regulator stated, as cited by the news agency RBC.

Read more …

Hungary says it; the rest do it secretly.

Sanctions Are ‘Wrong To The Core’ – Hungarian Parliament Leader (RT)

Hungarian National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Kover has condemned the EU’s economic sanctions on Russia as “wrong to the core,”predicting economic devastation as a result. Kover, a long-time critic of the EU, added that Hungary’s success depends on cooperation with both East and West. Speaking in the Hungarian town of Bugac on Saturday, Kover used a Hungarian proverb to describe the EU’s decision to impose massive economic sanctions on Russia while still relying on its energy exports. “Brussels politicians swung their legs without a horse under them,” he told attendees of the Kurultaj festival, an annual event celebrating Eurasian and Turkic steppe-nomadic horse culture. Kover added that the sanctions – imposed in seven successive rounds since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February – are “wrong to the core,” and will result in economic ruin for Europe.

Kover is a member of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, and Orban himself has expressed a similar view on Brussels’ sanctions policy. In a speech last month, Orban bluntly assessed that “the sanctions are not destabilizing Moscow” as intended. Instead, he remarked, “Europe is in trouble.” The EU, which depends on Russia for around 40% of its gas and a third of its oil, is facing soaring energy costs and record inflation, having imposed a partial ban on Russian oil and announced a phased reduction of Russian gas imports. With multiple EU states imposing power rationing and the situation expected to worsen as winter sets in, Hungary has managed to carve out an exemption from the oil embargo, and has been in talks with Moscow to increase its gas purchases from Russia.

This stance has made Hungary an outlier in the EU, as has Orban’s insistence that NATO’s policy of arming Ukraine against Russia is a lost cause. The Hungarian premier responded to critics earlier this month by stating that “Brussels is not our boss,” and that the “independent, sovereign Hungarian nation”would work to “prevent” EU policies that aren’t in its national interest. As an EU member, Hungary is nevertheless party to most of Brussels’ sanctions on Russia. Likewise as a NATO country, Hungary would be bound to side with the US-led alliance if it became involved in open war with Russia. In his speech on Saturday, Kover described Hungary’s history and geography as making the country a “bridge” between East and West. “When the East and the West confronted each other, it only brought decline,” he said. “But if they cooperated, it brought Hungary a chance to rise.”

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“It is the only EU member state to have categorically ruled out acting on a plan to cut gas consumption by 15%..”

Gazprom Has Increased Gas Supply To Hungary (G.)

Gazprom has ramped up flows to Hungary through the TurkStream pipeline that transports gas via Bulgaria and Serbia, a Hungarian foreign ministry official has said. The Russian state-owned company started delivering more gas than it was contractually obliged to on Friday, Menczer Tamás, an official in Hungary’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade, wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. By the end of August, Gazprom would supply Hungary with an addition 2.6m cubic metres a day, said Menczer, a member of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. TurkStream, which runs through the Black Sea, is called Balkan Stream in Bulgaria, where the pipeline enters EU territory. While Russia has stopped gas deliveries to Bulgaria, an EU member, Sofia continues to transit Russian gas to Serbia and Hungary.

Three weeks ago Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, travelled to Moscow to discuss buying an additional 700m cubic metres of gas, becoming the only top official from an EU member state to visit Russia since late February, bar the Austrian chancellor, Karl Nehammer, who made a trip in April. Hungary, which is about 85% dependent on Russian gas, has consistently opposed the idea of any EU sanctions on Russian gas imports, and Orbán, the prime minister, has also lobbied hard to secure an exemption from EU sanctions on Russian crude oil imports. It is the only EU member state to have categorically ruled out acting on a plan to cut gas consumption by 15% from August this year until March 2023.

In Germany, which is also reliant on Russian gas imports, the economic ministry announced on Saturday night that the country needed to reduce its gas consumption by 20% to help the EU meet its 15% reduction target. As a first step, the government moved to lower the mandatory minimum temperature in offices in the private and public sector by one degree to 19C. The heating of private swimming pools, as well as lighting up buildings or monuments “for purely aesthetic purposes”, will be banned. Outdoor advertising signs are to be switched off from 10pm until 6am.

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They’re going to shoot each other.

Ukraine To Legalize Guns Soon – Minister (RT)

Ukraine will adopt a law legalizing firearms in the near future, amid the nation’s ongoing armed conflict with Russia, Internal Affairs Minister Denis Monastirsky told local media on Saturday. According to Monastirsky, the Ukrainian parliament may allow citizens to buy handguns and other weapons to protect their homes. While stating that he believes people should be able to do so, he said the Internal Affairs Ministry is against granting people the right to carry guns in public. “We are opposed to carrying weapons freely in public places, because we believe that the risks to public safety outweigh the benefits,” he stated, adding that the ministry has been working with Ukrainian MPs on the issue, and that a law could be adopted soon.

“[It] has been approved in the first reading and is now being prepared for the second one. I think that it would be submitted to the Parliament for consideration in the near future.” A bill on gun control that was approved by the Ukrainian parliament in late February, shortly before Moscow launched its military operation, allows citizens to buy and store at home short-barreled firearms, as well as using them at shooting ranges. In March, Monastirsky revealed that the Ukrainian authorities had distributed “tens of thousands” of assault rifles, usually reserved for the trained personnel, among civilians, in a move to turn the public into a resistance force against Russian troops.

At the time, Kiev also announced it would set free combat-experienced felons who agree to take up arms and fight against the Russian Army. According to media reports, on February 24 alone – the day Russia began the attack – the Kiev authorities handed out at least 10,000 automatic rifles among residents. In July, Viktor Andrusov, a former adviser to Monastirsky, announced that Ukrainians could gain the right to carry pistols for self-defense as early as next year. He also claimed, citing an unspecified poll, that 70% of Ukrainians support the move. Even before full-scale hostilities between Russia and Ukraine broke out, the number of unregistered firearms in Ukraine was estimated at between 3 and 5 million.

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“..that’s the way war works, it works in strange ways..”

US Fumes Over India’s Role In Transporting Banned Russian Oil – Reuters (RT)

Washington has approached New Delhi with queries about Russian oil products that were allegedly shipped to the US from India, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Michael Patra. According to Patra, the US Treasury informed the country’s authorities that an Indian vessel allegedly picked up oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas and delivered it to a port in the state of Gujarat on the country’s west coast, where the oil was processed and then shipped to New York. “You know that there are sanctions against people who are buying Russian oil, and this was reported to us by the US Treasury… It turns out, an Indian ship met a Russian tanker in mid-seas, picked up oil in the mid-seas, came to a port in Gujarat, it was processed in that port and converted into a distillate which actually goes into making single-use plastic.


“The refined output was put back on that ship and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it reached its course, went to New York,” Patra said at an event in Odisha celebrating 75 years of Indian independence. The official did not reveal the name of the ship in question, nor provide any other details on the matter, but said “that’s the way war works, it works in strange ways.” The US banned Russian oil and oil products from entering the country earlier this year, as part of sanctions aimed at Russia in connection with the situation in Ukraine. India has abstained from sanctioning Moscow and, while prior to this year it rarely bought Russian oil, has stepped up purchases tenfold since March, taking advantage of the discount Moscow has offered. According to Bloomberg, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the South Asian nation’s second-biggest supplier in June, second only to Iraq.

https://www.rt.com/business/560800-india-us-russian-oil-products/ Read more …

“Meanwhile, as of this writing, the blasted US government still will not allow unvaccinated travelers across its borders!”

They’ll keep that up till after the US Open, just to spite Djokovic.

A Deeper Dive Into the CDC Reversal (Tucker)

It would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall in the brainstorming sessions that led to this little treatise. The wording was chosen very carefully, not to say anything false outright, much less admit any errors of the past, but to imply that it was only possible to say these things now. “As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to circulate globally, high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools have substantially reduced the risk for medically significant COVID-19 illness (severe acute illness and post–COVID-19 conditions) and associated hospitalization and death. These circumstances now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.“

In English: everyone can pretty much go back to normal. Focus on illness that is medically significant. Stop worrying about positive cases because nothing is going to stop them. Think about the bigger picture of overall social health. End the compulsion. Thank you. It’s only two and a half years late. What about mass testing? Forget it: “All persons should seek testing for active infection when they are symptomatic or if they have a known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19.” Oh. What about the magic of track and trace? “CDC now recommends case investigation and contact tracing only in health care settings and certain high-risk congregate settings.” Oh. What about the unvaccinated who were so demonized throughout the last year?

“CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur, though they are generally mild, and persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.” Remember when 40% of the members of the black community in New York City who refused the jab were not allowed into restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, or theaters? Now, no one wants to talk about that. Also, universities, colleges, the military, and so on – which still have mandates in place – do you hear this? Everything you have done to hate on people, dehumanize people, segregate people, humiliate others as unclean, fire people and destroy lives, now stands in disrepute.

Meanwhile, as of this writing, the blasted US government still will not allow unvaccinated travelers across its borders! Not one word of the CDC’s turgid treatise was untrue back in the Spring of 2020. There was always “infection-induced immunity,” though Fauci and Co. constantly pretended otherwise. It was always a terrible idea to introduce “barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.” The vaccines never promised in their authorization to stop infection and spread, even though all official statements of the CDC claimed otherwise, repeatedly and often. You might also wonder how the great reversal treats masking. On this subject, there is no backing off. After all, the Biden administration still has an appeal in process to reverse the court decision that the mask mandate was illegal all along. “At the high COVID-19 Community Level,” the CDC adds, “additional recommendations focus on all persons wearing masks indoors in public and further increasing protection to populations at high risk.”

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“Neither he nor any of his family have publicly said they were able to watch the raid as it unfolded.”

Trump And His Family Watched FBI Raid on CCTV (CB)

One of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys has revealed new details regarding the raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., early last week. Lawyer Christina Bobb said that the former president and many family members watched the FBI during “the whole” raid, meaning that they likely would have been able to see if agents planted any evidence, as Trump suggested last week. “It’s kind of funny. I think the folks in New York, President Trump and his family, probably had a better view than I did because they had the CCTV, they were able to watch,” Bobb told the streaming network Real America’s Voice, according to the New York Post. “I was, you know, I was stuck in the parking lot there to you know, collect paper and answer questions,” she added.

“But they were actually able to see the whole thing. So they actually have a better idea of what took place inside.” Bobb said that the FBI had initially instructed Trump’s staff and his attorneys to shut off the closed circuit TV security system, but they refused to do so and allowed it to remain in operation the entire raid. Since last Monday’s raid, Trump has repeatedly said that it is possible that the FBI could have planted evidence in order to give Joe Biden’s Justice Department something to charge him with since, as others have speculated, the partisan Jan. 6 Committee hearings have yet to produce anything significant.

“The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on Truth Social last week, The Post noted. “Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’ Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!” he added. Trump was physically in New York City when the raid took place. Neither he nor any of his family have publicly said they were able to watch the raid as it unfolded.

DeSantis

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“I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you! ”

FBI Took Documents Protected By Attorney-Client Privilege From Mar-a-Lago (CB)

The FBI grabbed documents that were protected by attorney-client privilege, and possibly executive privilege, during its raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The Department of Justice opposed the request of the former president’s attorneys to appoint a special master to review the records, a source said to Fox News exclusively. Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Saturday that the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.

The FBI seized classified records from Trump’s Palm Beach home during its unprecedented Monday morning raid, including some marked as top secret. But the former president is disputing the classification, saying the records have been declassified. “Sources told Fox News that some records could be covered by executive privilege, which gives the president of the United States and other officials within the executive branch the authority to withhold certain sensitive forms of advice and consultation between the president and senior advisors,” Fox News said. The former president responded to the news on his truth Social account on Sunday, saying “Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged “attorney-client” material, and also “executive” privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken. By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed the warrant on Friday after a request from both the Department of Justice and the former president. The warrant said that the search be done “on or before August 19, 2022,” and “in the daytime 6:00 am. to 10:00 p.m.” “The locations to be searched include the ‘45 Office,’ all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate,” it said. The warrant gave the FBI the authority to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” in violation of U.S. Code.

[..] Trump noted on his Truth Social platform on Friday that he, as president, had already declassified the documents that were confiscated by agents. “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to “seize” anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request,” the former president posted. “They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.” he continued.

Read more …

He doesn’t defend Trump, he attacks that stupid Act. But all of DC thinks: it might come in handy some time.

Rand Paul Calls To Repeal Espionage Act Following Mar-a-Lago Raid (JTN)

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul called for the Espionage Act to be repealed as the Department of Justice is investigating whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified materials under the 1917 law. “The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment,” Paul tweeted on Saturday, including a link to a 2019 article titled, “Repeal the Espionage Act” by Jacob G. Hornberger at the Future of Freedom Foundation. The article described the Espionage Act as a “tyrannical law” that was enacted during World War I “not to punish people for spying but rather for criticizing the draft and the war.”


Hornberger specifically defended WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, who is facing prosecution under the Espionage Act for releasing what Hornberger describes as “a mountain of evidence disclosing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment.” Paul’s defense of the former president comes despite a tense relationship at times between the two. The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week to try and find “physical documents with classification markings,” information about national defense, and “any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021,” according to a warrant from the agency.

Read more …

“The committee requested transcribed interviews with more than 30 administration officials, but the Biden administration refused to take part.”

House GOP To Issue Scathing Report About Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal (CNN)

At the height of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan there were only 36 State Department officials on the ground at the Kabul airport to process Afghans who were trying to evacuate, according to a soon-to-be released report from House Republicans, despite the department’s claims that they had surged resources to handle the crowds desperately trying to flee. This figure — which meant there was “roughly one consular officer for every 3,444 evacuees” — is one of several previously undisclosed details outlined in the highly critical report examining the chaotic US withdrawal last August.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans’ report, which is being published around one year after the country’s capital fell to the Taliban, reveals additional new details about the Biden administration’s failure to adequately plan for and execute the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The report, a final draft of which was obtained by CNN, also says the administration did not accurately portray the nature of the events on the ground and failed to put a plan in place to prevent American-trained Afghan commandos from being recruited by America’s adversaries.

“A lot of the Biden administration’s evacuation plans were done in the spring 2021 — some even before the president announced the withdrawal. And they were never updated despite the Taliban battlefield gains, despite the deteriorating security situation, and despite the revised intelligence assessments,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. President Joe Biden announced in mid-April 2021 that the US would withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of that year — the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that launched America’s war there. While Biden long wanted to end US involvement in the Afghanistan war, he attributed the decision, in part, to the deal brokered with the Taliban by the Trump administration, which had a commitment to withdraw by May 1, 2021.

The House report found that it was not until mid-June 2021 that the US Embassy in Kabul held an Operational Planning Team (OPT) meeting with members of the US military and US diplomats focused on pre-planning for non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO). The meeting was described by one US military officer involved as “the first time” that the embassy began “looking at the possibility of NEO.” Because of the “complete lack of proper planning by the Biden administration” there were consequences: evacuation flights “were taking off at only about 50% of their capacity” five days into the NEO, the report says. The report references slow processing at the gates and mayhem outside the gates — a government evacuation process so chaotic and disorderly that even staffers for Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden were contacting outside groups to try to get people out, representatives for the groups told the committee.

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Is there a more peaceful symbol than a rosary?

Atlantic Op-ed Claims Catholic Rosary Has Become ‘An Extremist Symbol’ (Fox)

Atlantic contributor Daniel Panneton declared that the Catholic rosary has become a “symbol” of religious radicalism. The rosary is a string of beads or knots used by Catholics as they pray a sequence of prayers, but one writer warned they have taken on a far darker meaning in modern times. “Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” Panneton claimed in the Sunday piece titled, “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol.” He added, “On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”

Panneton slammed an entire online ecosystem for disseminating imagery featuring Christian warriors both historical and modern, suggesting that “social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (‘God wills it’) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants.” He observed that rosary beads “provide an aide-mémoire for a sequence of devotional prayers, are a widely recognized symbol of Catholicism and a source of strength. And many take genuine sustenance from Catholic theology’s concept of the Church Militant and the tradition of regarding the rosary as a weapon against Satan.”

The Atlantic contributor gave a wide variety of examples of how the modern association between rosaries and fighting men has become marketable to a niche audience, noting that “radical-traditional Catholics sustain their own cottage industry of goods and services,” such as one store that “sells replicas of the rosaries issued to American soldiers during the First World War as ‘combat rosaries.'” The Swiss Guard, who have been protecting the Vatican in their iconic 16th-century armor and uniforms for centuries, were also addressed, as Panneton recounted: “In 2016, the pontifical Swiss Guard accepted a donation of combat rosaries; during a ceremony at the Vatican, their commander described the gift as ‘the most powerful weapon that exists on the market.'”

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This is from Feb 2022, but I include it anyway, to show that the industry relies on not-yet existing tech to keep going. That’s always a very bad sign.

South America’s ‘Lithium Fields’ And The Dark Side Of Our Electric Future (EN)

Lithium extraction fields in South America have been captured by an aerial photographer in stunning high definition. But while the images may be breathtaking to look at, they represent the dark side of our swiftly electrifying world. Lithium represents a route out of our reliance on fossil fuel production. As the lightest known metal on the planet, it is now widely used in electric devices from mobile phones and laptops, to cars and aircraft. Lithium-ion batteries are most famous for powering electric vehicles, which are set to account for up to 60 per cent of new car sales by 2030. The battery of a Tesla Model S, for example, uses around 12 kg of lithium. These batteries are the key to lightweight, rechargeable power. As it stands, demand for lithium is unprecedented and many say it is crucial in order to transition to renewables. However, this doesn’t come without a cost – mining the chemical element can be harmful to the environment.

[..] Gleb Yushin, a professor at the School of Materials and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, US, argues that new battery technology needs to be developed using more common, environmentally-friendly materials. His paper is published in the journal Nature, alongside co-authors including Kostiantyn Turcheniuk. As reserves of lithium and cobalt will not meet future demand, suggested elements to focus on instead are iron and silicon. Researchers like Yushin are working on new battery alternatives that would replace lithium and cobalt (another harmful metal) with less toxic and more easily accessible materials.

As reserves of lithium and cobalt will not meet future demand, suggested elements to focus on instead are iron and silicon. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, iron flow batteries are also cheaper to manufacture, renewable energy veteran Rich Hossfeld told Bloomberg recently, in an article entitled ‘Iron battery breakthrough could eat lithium’s lunch’. “We call on materials scientists, engineers and funding agencies to prioritise the research and development of electrodes based on abundant elements,” maintains Yushin.“Otherwise, the roll-out of electric cars will stall within a decade.”

Lithium Fields’ in the Salar de Atacama salt flats in northern Chile. Tom Hegen

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Totally normal

 

 

Lucky chops

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 102022
 
 August 10, 2022  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Gustav Klimt Field of poppies 1907

 

Is The US Preparing To Throw Zelensky Under The Bus? (Diesen)
Zelensky Aide: Counterattack Claims Part Of Kiev’s ‘Information Warfare’ (RT)
Welcome To The Third World (Matt Taibbi)
FBI Even Searched Melania’s Wardrobe Inn Trump Raid (Devine)
Judge Who OK’d Mar-a-Lago Raid Once Obama Donor, Jeffrey Epstein Lawyer (NYP)
Trump Ally Rep. Scott Perry Says The FBIs Seized His Cellphone (Fox)
EU Break-up Now Inevitable (Saxty)
Z for Zorro (Batiushka)
Hungary Offers Solution To Resume Russian Oil Supply (RT)
Lies, Damned Lies, and the Jan. 6 Committee (Sperry)
The Global Debt Scam – Day of Reckoning? (Salamah)
How Greece Became Europe’s Worst Place For Press Freedom (Pol.eu)
US Occupation Loots Most Of Syria’s Oil: Ministry (AlMa)
Lockdowns Increases Obesity, And Obesity Increases Covid Risk (DM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia bombshell

 

 

Taiwan

 

 


EU imports of Russian Energy

1. Oil:
Jan – May 21: €25 bn
Jan – May 22: €43 bn
=> +71%

2. Gas:
Jan – May 21: €6 bn
Jan – May 22: €21 bn
=> +260%

3. Coal:
Jan – May 21: €1.5 bn
Jan – May 22: €4.0 bn
=> +170%

 


German front yr power futures have reached 411 €/MWh today.
Germany consumes about 500 TWh electricity annually. So at current prices the economy’s power bill stands at €205bn.
The 2010s average was €20bn.
The German electricity bill went up by €195bn. That’s 5% of GDP.

 

Myocarditis

 

 

 

 

“..there needs to be a fall guy to take the blame for the pending disaster..”

Is The US Preparing To Throw Zelensky Under The Bus? (Diesen)

Until very recently, the US successfully upheld the international image of Zelensky as some sort of reincarnation of Winston Churchill. Washington dominated the information war in which the complexity of the proxy fight was simplified with dichotomous imagery of the two leaders. Zelensky and Putin were successfully portrayed as a virtuous democrat versus a vicious dictator, a victorious David versus a failing Goliath. Presenting conflicts as a struggle between good and evil is an ideal strategy to mobilize public support and to depict the lack of compromise as a moral position. However, when a war is lost and compromise is necessary, the narrative must be changed. President Joe Biden must defend his weak political position at home and allies must be reassured about American resolve, thus there needs to be a fall guy to take the blame for the pending disaster.

While Washington will continue to send more weapons to bleed Russia, it appears to be simultaneously preparing for defeat by no longer shielding Zelensky from criticism. sIt has been a remarkably difficult month, so far, for Zelensky in the Western media, which had previously withheld all criticism. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, closely linked to the White House, reported that “there is deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine – considerably more than has been reported.” Friedman also detailed Washington’s growing concerns about Ukrainian corruption and mismanagement, a topic that has been denounced as Russian propaganda since February. This is the same media that until recently repeated every line from Zelensky, including labeling the mass surrender in Mariupol as an “evacuation.” No more.

It is seemingly also no longer taboo to report on the internal divisions in Ukraine as a source of failure. The New York Times reports on Zelensky’s reckless purge of the military and security services, while the Washington Post accuses Zelensky of sidelining mayors and centralizing control over all recovery aid “to weaken any future political rivals.” Sky News, a very anti-Russian news agency, also aired a segment with the title “Zelensky ‘not all he’s portrayed as’ by Western media.”An anchor accused Zelensky of dismantling Ukrainian democracy by seizing control of the national media, banning political opposition parties, and arresting the opposition leader. All true, but previously taboo..

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“All public remarks by Ukrainian officials are part of information warfare against Russia..”

“He ruled out Kiev’s military defeat as a possible scenario, predicting that Western nations will funnel weapons to Ukraine regardless of the cost..”

Zelensky Aide: Counterattack Claims Part Of Kiev’s ‘Information Warfare’ (RT)

All public remarks by Ukrainian officials are part of information warfare against Russia, Mikhail Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenksy, claimed in an interview on Tuesday. The comment came as Podolyak was discussing Kiev’s plans to take back the city of Kherson from Russia with the BBC. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly claimed that a major counterattack was looming and that Russia was concentrating its forces in return, suggesting that a major battle in southern Ukraine was about to break out. Speaking to the British broadcaster, Podolyak said that “war is a dynamic process” that entails “a constant correction of tactical goals” and that he preferred to discuss “the possibility of lifting the blockade in broad terms” rather than particular maneuvers.

When pressured on the promises of a counteroffensive, he conceded that they could have been meant to deceive Russia. “Certainly, all public comments are part of information warfare. We need to demoralize the Russian army,” he said. The official erroneously called Kherson the largest city captured by Russia since attacking Ukraine in February, explaining its symbolic importance for Kiev. The port of Mariupol is bigger, the BBC noted in an editorial remark. Zelensky’s adviser claimed that Ukrainian forces were waging a “creative war,” as opposed to Russia, which he believes has little regard for its own casualties. “Russia hates us so much that it is ready to lose 100,000 of its people just to prove that it has the right to kill,” he declared.

Podolyak said that Zelensky will remain in power in Ukraine for as long as the armed conflict continues, dismissing the idea that the country could hold a presidential election before the hostilities end. Responding to the widely-used assertion that the government would fight “to the last Ukrainian,” he said the fight would be “to the last Russian citizen in Ukrainian territory.” He ruled out Kiev’s military defeat as a possible scenario, predicting that Western nations will funnel weapons to Ukraine regardless of the cost. Western nations won’t negotiate a truce with Russia at the expense of Ukraine “because the reputation of President Zelensky is such that no such talks can be held behind his back,”Podolyak said.

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“..you’ll quickly lose track if you try to count the named and unnamed intel spooks appearing in coverage today..”

Welcome To The Third World (Matt Taibbi)

Headline from Politics Insider this morning: “Feds likely obtained ‘pulverizing’ amount of evidence ahead of searching Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, legal experts say.” Pulverizing! Hold that thought. We’ve reached the stage of American history where everything we see on the news must first be understood as political theater. In other words, the messaging layer of news now almost always dominates the factual narrative, with the latter often reported so unreliably as to be meaningless anyway. Yesterday’s sensational tale of the FBI raiding the Mar-a-Lago home of former president Donald Trump is no different. As of now, it’s impossible to say if Trump’s alleged offense was great, small, or in between. But this for sure is a huge story, and its hugeness extends in multiple directions, including the extraordinary political risk inherent in the decision to execute the raid.

If it backfires, if underlying this action there isn’t a very substantial there there, the Biden administration just took the world’s most reputable police force and turned it into the American version of the Tonton Macoute on national television. We may be looking at simultaneously the dumbest and most inadvertently destructive political gambit in the recent history of this country. The top story today in the New York Times, bylined by its top White House reporter, speculates this is about “delayed returning” of “15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives.” If that’s true, and it’s not tied to January 6th or some other far more serious offense, then the Justice Department just committed institutional suicide and moved the country many steps closer to once far-out eventualities like national revolt or martial law.

This is true no matter what you think of Trump. Despite the early reports of “cheers” in the West Wing, the mood in center-left media has already drifted markedly from the overnight celebration. The Times story today added a line missing from most early reports: “The search, however, does not mean prosecutors have determined that Mr. Trump committed a crime.” There are whispers throughout the business that editors are striking down certain jubilant language, and we can even see this playing out on cable, where the most craven of the networks’ on-air ex-spooks are crab-crawling backward from last night’s buzz-words: The hugeness of the story has become part of its explanation. An action so extreme, we’re told by expert after expert, could only be based upon “pulverizing” evidence.

Throughout the Trump years we’ve seen a numbing pattern of rhetorical slippage in coverage of investigations. The aforementioned Politics Insider story is no different. “Likely” evidence in the headline becomes more profound in the text. An amazing five bylined writers explain: Regardless of the raid’s focus legal experts quickly reached a consensus about it: A pile of evidence must have backed up the warrant authorizing the search. They then quoted a “former top official in the Justice Department’s National Security Division” — you’ll quickly lose track if you try to count the named and unnamed intel spooks appearing in coverage today — who said, “There’s every reason to think that there’s a plus factor in the quantum and quantity of evidence that the government already had to support probable cause in this case.”

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Theater. Bad theater, but still..

FBI Even Searched Melania’s Wardrobe In Trump Raid (Devine)

FBI agents scoured Melania Trump’s wardrobe and spent several hours combing through Donald Trump’s private office, breaking open his safe and rifling through drawers when they raided the former First Family’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida Monday morning. The Post has learned that the search warrant used by the FBI to enter the palatial Palm Beach property focused solely on presidential records and evidence of classified information being stored there. A source close to the former president expressed concern that FBI agents or DOJ lawyers conducting the search could have “planted stuff” because they would not allow Trump’s attorneys inside the 128-room building to observe the operation, which lasted more than nine hours.


The raid by over 30 plain clothes agents from the Southern District of Florida and the FBI’s Washington Field Office extended through the Trump family’s entire 3,000-square-foot private quarters, as well as to a separate office and safe, and a locked basement storage room in which 15 cardboard boxes of material from the White House were stored. Feds arrived at 9 a.m. and didn’t leave until 6:30 p.m. An eyewitness to the raid said all of the boxes were confiscated by federal agents Monday, but it is unknown if anything else was taken as no itemized list of items was provided by the FBI.

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Nothing the FBI does can be clean.

Judge Who OK’d Mar-a-Lago Raid Once Obama Donor, Jeffrey Epstein Lawyer (NYP)

The Florida federal magistrate judge who signed off on a search warrant authorizing the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort donated to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — months after he left the local US Attorney’s office to rep employees of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had received immunity in the long-running sex-trafficking investigation of the financier. Sources tell The Post that Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the warrant that enabled federal agents to converge on the palatial South Florida estate on Monday in what Trump called an “unannounced raid on my home.”

Reinhart was elevated to magistrate judge in March 2018 after 10 years in private practice. That November, the Miami Herald reported that he had represented several of Epstein’s employees — including, by Reinhart’s own admission to the outlet, Epstein’s pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen; and Nadia Marcinkova, who Epstein once reportedly described as his “Yugoslavian sex slave.” Kellen and Marcinkova were among Epstein’s lieutenants who were granted immunity as part of a controversial 2007 deal with federal prosecutors that allowed the pervert to plead guilty to state charges rather than federal crimes. Epstein wound up serving just 13 months in county jail and was granted work release. According to the Herald, which cited court documents, Reinhart resigned from the South Florida US Attorney’s Office effective on New Year’s Day 2008 and went to work for Epstein’s cohorts the following day.

Epstein, who was found dead in August 2019 of an apparent suicide in the Manhattan Correctional Center while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, had hired a stable of high-powered lawyers for his defense in the late 2000s, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Ten months after starting work for Epstein’s co-conspirators, according to Federal Election Commission records, Reinhart gave $1,000 directly to the Obama campaign and another $1,000 to its fundraising arm, the Obama Victory Fund. Though the records show the judge made mostly small-dollar donations to his law firm’s political action committee in subsequent years, Reinhart also donated $500 to Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign in November 2015.

Reinhart was later named in a civil lawsuit by two of Epstein’s victims that accused him of violating Justice Department policies by switching sides in the middle of the Epstein investigation, suggesting he had spilled inside information about the probe to build favor with the notorious defendant, the Herald reported in 2018. In a 2011 affidavit, Reinhart denied he had done anything improper and insisted that since he was not involved in the federal investigation of Epstein, he was not privy to inside information about the case. However, in a 2013 court filing, Reinhart’s former colleagues contradicted him, saying that he had “learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter” while employed by the US Attorney’s Office.

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“My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends. None of this is the government’s business.”

Trump Ally Rep. Scott Perry Says The FBI Seized His Cellphone (Fox)

Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania says that the FBI has confiscated his cellphone. Perry, in an exclusive statement, told Fox News on Tuesday that while traveling with his family earlier in the day, he was approached by three FBI agents who handed him a warrant and requested that he turn over his cellphone. The confiscation of the congressman’s personal phone comes one day after FBI agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. “This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone. They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish.

“I’m outraged — though not surprised — that the FBI under the direction of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting Member of Congress,” Perry said in his statement. “My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends. None of this is the government’s business.” Perry asserted in his statement that “as with President Trump last night, DOJ chose this unnecessary and aggressive action instead of simply contacting my attorneys. These kinds of banana republic tactics should concern every Citizen — especially considering the decision before Congress this week to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to further persecute law-abiding Citizens.”

Perry, a five-term congressman and loyal Trump ally, is an original member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and took over as the group’s leader at the beginning of the year. Perry was also a strong supporter of Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to now-President Biden was due to massive voter fraud. Perry has been a target of interest of the Democratic dominated January 6 House select committee that is investigating the deadly 2021 attack on the Capitol by right wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt the congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. Perry was in communication numerous times with the Trump White House in the days and weeks ahead of the storming of the Capitol.

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“Since Orbán returned to power in 2010 marriages in Hungary have doubled, abortions have halved, divorces have hit record lows, and the birth rate has risen by a quarter.”

EU Break-up Now Inevitable (Saxty)

Back in 2020, Dutch Prime Minister – Mark Rutte – asked (perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek as to whether they might have an EU without that troublesome duo of Hungary and Poland? It was a telling moment, hinting at frustration in western Europe with what many there see as recalcitrant ex-communist states. Then in 2021, Rutte said Hungary had no business being in the European Union anymore owing to the banning of LGBT issues to under-18s. While Rutte said he could not push Hungary out of the EU by himself he somewhat candidly added: “The long-term aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this issue”. Now bad blood is brewing between progressive Brussels and conservative-nationalist central and eastern Europe over the tying of EU cash to rule of law issues, something Hungary and Poland see as a thinly-veiled attempt to impose liberal values upon them.

To some extent, central and eastern Europe got a bait and switch with the EU, believing they were joining an enhanced free trade bloc, they ended up joining a political union with a strong progressive ideology. That said, Hungary and Poland have been in the club long enough by now to know the rules. Budapest and Warsaw must, by now, be aware the EU is not going to change to suit them. Officially, majorities in most central and eastern EU states support EU membership. In reality, however, most back being part of a beefed-up trade alliance, not an ideologically-fixed political union. Plus, the EU cannot chuck the two out. As Brexiteers know, the only way out is Article 50 and it must be triggered by the country in question. Article 7 can impose sanctions, including losing the right to vote in the European Council.

However, this requires unanimity, and Hungary and Poland – not to mention other central and eastern European states – generally have one another’s backs. How much longer then can Hungary and Poland keep doing this dance, and how much longer can both sides of the EU divide ignore the cultural Iron Curtain which has caused a schism on the Continent? Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is not just an irritant to Brussels, he sees the world from an entirely different perspective. Since Orbán returned to power in 2010 marriages in Hungary have doubled, abortions have halved, divorces have hit record lows, and the birth rate has risen by a quarter.

Orbán has also overseen a constitution with references to God and Christianity; funded Christian schools, and banned content deemed to promote LGBT issues to minors. None of this has endeared him to Brussels but has proved extremely popular in central and eastern Europe. But it is almost certainly the case that what Brussels sees as Hungary’s and Poland’s draconian policies is a direct reaction to what Budapest and Warsaw feel is coming their way from Brussels.

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“Today the question is, after the UK, who next? A popular choice is Hungary. But who knows? Apart from the imbecile-afflicted UK, there is already political turbulence in three EU countries, Bulgaria, Estonia and Italy.”

Z for Zorro (Batiushka)

The collapse of the EU has never been a question of ‘if’, only of ‘when’. The decomposition of the Brussels Yoke of unelected bureaucrats has already long been visible and its collapse foretold years ago. First there was Grexit (which was averted at the last moment at huge cost), then Brexit, which actually happened, and then was an alphabet jungle of Frexit, Italexit, Nexit, Dexit, Polexit etc. Today the question is, after the UK, who next? A popular choice is Hungary. But who knows? Apart from the imbecile-afflicted UK, there is already political turbulence in three EU countries, Bulgaria, Estonia and Italy.

It all sounds as if these are only ‘the beginning of troubles’. Winter is coming to Europe on 1 December with probable food riots, looting and mass civil disobedience, caused by the refusal and inability to pay soaring energy bills because of the EU millionaire elite’s refusal to buy Russian gas. The only way out is if European countries free themselves from the shackles of the USA in order to find their natural places as part of the Eurasian, or rather, Afro-Eurasian, world. This liberation deserves a sign. We can think of no sign more topical – or more native to the Western world – than the sign ‘Z’. Let me explain. Z was the sign of a fictional Spanish-Mexican character, El Zorro, created by an American author in 1919. Zorro is portrayed as a masked, nineteenth-century avenger who defends the common people and native peoples of Spanish-run California against an oppressive imperialist dictator in Madrid, his corrupt and tyrannical local servants and other evildoers.

His name Zorro, (in Spanish, ‘The Fox’), comes from his foxlike cunning. Using the tip of his rapier, he leaves his mark, the initial ‘Z’, on his defeated enemies and on objects in order to sign his presence. However, this purely fictional Zorro goes back to several real figures, notably to three main characters, real ones, indeed so real that they have become myths in European history. These are: Eadric was one of many Englishmen, well-known in their day, who lived in the wilder parts of England after 1066 in order to fight back against the barbaric Norman occupiers. Called ‘the Wild’ or ‘the Woodsman’, Eadric was a nobleman (‘Cild’ in Old English) and landowner in the hills of the west of England. (Remarkably, Eadric’s descendants inherited his lands in a place called Acton Scott in the west of England and these lands still belong to his descendants, the Actons, after a thousand years). Here Eadric led the English Resistance to the Norman occupation and was active in 1068–70.

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“Transneft, announced on Monday that attempts to pay Ukraine for transit have been blocked due to EU sanctions.”

Hungary Offers Solution To Resume Russian Oil Supply (RT)

The Hungarian oil and gas company MOL confirmed on Tuesday that Russian crude supplies via the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline stopped a few days ago, and said it had initiated negotiations to assume obligations to pay for transit. The company responsible for Russian oil supplies to the EU, Transneft, announced on Monday that attempts to pay Ukraine for transit have been blocked due to EU sanctions. According to news outlet Origo, MOL has offered to pay transit fees on behalf of Transneft, but has not received a reply from Ukraine. “Although MOL has enough reserves for several weeks, it is working on a solution and has also initiated negotiations on the assumption of the fee obligation,” the energy company said in a statement.


On Monday, Transneft announced that Ukraine had suspended Russian oil flows to parts of central Europe since August 4 because Western sanctions prevented Moscow from making payments for transit. According to the Russian company, the suspension of pipeline flows has affected Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Transneft said it was working on alternative options for the transfer of funds. Druzhba, which is one of the longest pipeline networks in the world, carries crude some 4,000km from the eastern part of European Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Russia normally supplies about 250,000 barrels of oil per day via the southern leg of the route. The northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline running through Belarus to Poland and Germany continues to operate as normal, according to Transneft.

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“While in some cases, it lied by omission, in others, it lied outright.”

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Jan. 6 Committee (Sperry)

The Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 has adjourned for a well-deserved summer break. Misleading the public is exhausting work. A careful review of the official transcripts of its eight long hearings shows the committee repeatedly made connections that weren’t there, took events and quotes out of context, exaggerated the violence of the Capitol rioters, and omitted key exculpatory evidence otherwise absolving former President Donald Trump of guilt. While in some cases, it lied by omission, in others, it lied outright. It also made a number of unsubstantiated charges based on the secondhand accounts—hearsay testimony—of a young witness with serious credibility problems.

These weren’t off-the-cuff remarks. Panelists didn’t misspeak. Their statements were tightly scripted and loaded into teleprompters, which they read verbatim. In other words, the committee deliberately chummed out disinformation to millions of viewers of not just cable TV, but also the Big Three TV networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—which agreed to preempt regular daytime and even primetime programming to air the Democratic-run hearings. And because Democrats refused to allow dissenting voices on the panel or any cross-examination of witnesses, viewers had no reference points to understand how they, along with the two Trump-hating Republicans they allowed on the committee, shaded the truth.

This charade of an honest investigation appears to have had the desired effect. Polls show the Jan. 6 hearings hurt Trump, who plans to run again, with independents. Unaffiliated voters have grown more likely to blame Trump for the Capitol riot and to show support for Democrats in the midterms, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey.

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“..a mere 0.88% (US$ 866 Bill) is owed by Africa comprising 54 countries. And even then, more than half of the African debt is owed by just three countries…”

The Global Debt Scam – Day of Reckoning? (Salamah)

Global debt is now claimed to exceed $300 Trillion, while the poor countries’ debt continues to rise in percentage terms – The Poor are always the culprits. It is all a matter of definition, you set it according to your understanding, objectives, or motives. We can make it a lot more alarming by theoretically adding the liabilities of the derivatives and futures markets which could be considered hypothetical debts should they be allowed to become due; then, global debts would be in the Zillions. Economists just love creating definitions, no matter how practical or impractical they are, or how narrow and rigid they become, and end up wagging the dog! On a closer look, however, it transpires that the US$ 300 Trillion global debt includes the internal and external debts of all countries.


In other words, it probably includes Aunt Jemima’s debt to her local grocer. While this is important and helps understand how deep the world has fallen into the hole it has dug, it is probably of higher priority to address the External Debt of countries; debt owed to parties outside their borders. These are the debts that will immediately impact countries’ currency exchange rates, ability to import especially food and energy, and fund development. They are quicker to trigger inflation and disrupt economies and societies. Accordingly, when we look at the Global External Debts, we are taken aback by their distribution. (Bear in mind that the actual numbers are approximations as they cover different years as well as slightly differ from one compiler to another, however they all point in the same direction):

What is striking here is that approx. 80% of global external debt is owed by the advanced countries (the US, its close Allies, and Europe), while a mere 0.88% (US$ 866 Bill) is owed by Africa comprising 54 countries. And even then, more than half of the African debt is owed by just three countries. As for Asia, it owes 3.62% (US$ 3.5 Trill) distributed among 42 countries with the top 4 countries owing half of it. Similarly, 29 Latin American countries owe just 2.25% (US$ 2.2 Trill) with the top three responsible for more than half. Most financial data, including the World Bank and IMF, kick off with a display of debt as a percentage of GDP (a ratio) and relegate the actual nominal debt figures to links that are harder to find or access. This approach may be useful to assess the size and seriousness of the debt problem in an individual economy, but it is not the only tool.


A country’s ability to pay its debts over a period of time can also be affected by inflation, which could falsely paint a rosy shrinking debt-to-GDP picture and vice versa, at least in the short term. Also, a sudden contraction or bounce up of GDP could occur as a result of multiple causes such as wars, market collapses or spikes, and rebounds in economies after sharp falls such as the ‘post covid’ temporary activity. Hence, the actual debt numbers add an important aspect to any analysis. Not surprisingly, the global Debt-to-GDP percentages/ratios tend to tally with the conclusions of the above table of actual numbers. The ratios of advanced nations and Europe are way, way higher than those of the poorer countries. In fact, quite a few of their ratios make Japan, with its famously excessive ratio, appear to be thrifty.

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I’m not sure this is helpful. The trend is everywhere. The farmers in Holland get very little coverage. But now Rutte can say: Look at Greece, it’s much worse…

How Greece Became Europe’s Worst Place For Press Freedom (Pol.eu)

Reporters across Europe raced to follow up on the piece, which provided evidence of possible criminal behavior. Interview requests poured into Germany’s Der Spiegel, one of the outlets behind the story. One country, however, was noticeably quiet on the matter: Greece. “You’d be hard pressed to find any reference to it in the pro-government press, which dominates, especially the airwaves,” said Giorgos Christides, a reporter at Der Spiegel. “In Greece, there’s two parallel media universes.” The moment illustrated what journalists, media analysts, civil rights groups and EU investigators have been warning about for years. Greece, they say, is now seeing the troubling, violent and oppressive results of a years-long erosion of press freedom in the country.

It’s a problem, they say, born during the Greek financial crisis, which destabilized the country, polarized its politics and sapped media outlets of the profits that helped them stay independent. News organizations became increasingly partisan. Threats, attacks and surveillance targeting journalists rose. The pandemic only made things worse. Press conferences were halted and essentially never came back. Questions arose over whether the government was favoring friendly outlets with taxpayer funds. A new law claimed to curb misinformation but is fueling concerns that journalists could be tossed in jail for critical reporting. And just last week, the spying web that had ensnared journalists blossomed into a full-blown scandal that forced two top officials to resign. “Due to the financial situation, media owners have handed over the keys of their businesses to the government,” said Tasos Telloglou, an investigative reporter in Greece.

“This, combined with a government that believes that it does nothing wrong, is an explosive combination.” The situation reflects a broader trend across Europe. Demonstrators going after reporters. Demonization from officials. Public funds withheld. Countries from Germany to Luxembourg to Slovenia, Poland and Hungary have all slipped in annual press freedom rankings. But Greece fell to the bottom of all European countries on the latest list. The Greek government insists the fears are vastly overblown. Press freedom is enshrined in the country’s constitution and there is no press censorship, officials note, correctly. “Greece is a country where everyone can write and publish whatever they want about anyone, without any censorship and no government control,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the European Parliament in a recent debate, holding up two newspaper front pages featuring negative articles about the government.

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Shameless. The Russians should kick them out.

US Occupation Loots Most Of Syria’s Oil: Ministry (AlMa)

The Syrian Oil Ministry revealed that the US occupation loots the majority of Syria’s oil, knowing that the daily production of the eastern oil fields is 80.3 thousand barrels.” During a meeting held to discuss its work plans and the work of its subsidiaries during the first half of this year, the Syrian Ministry of Oil stated that “the amount of oil production during the first half of this year amounted to about 14.5 million barrels, with an average daily production of 80.3 thousand barrels.” The Ministry added that the barrels are delivered to refineries at a rate of 14.2 thousand barrels per day, stressing that the US occupation forces and their mercenaries steal up to 66,000 barrels per day from fields in areas in the eastern region that they occupy.


“Around 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas were produced, with a daily production rate of 11.3 million cubic meters, of which 11.1 million cubic meters is renewable natural gas,” it stated. The Ministry detailed that “82% of the gas produced is delivered to the Ministry of Electricity, 3% to the Ministry of Industry, and 15% to the Ministry of Oil.” It is worth noting that the daily average quantity delivered to the Ministry of Electricity is 8.6 million cubic meters, as per the Ministry. [..] Besides being an occupation force that backs armed groups for its own operations and agenda in the region, the US occupation forces continue to steal Syrian oil by smuggling it from their bases in Syria to their bases in Iraq. Convoys of tens of vehicles, including tankers loaded with stolen oil from oil fields occupied by US forces in Syria, are frequently seen crossing toward northern Iraq, in addition to trucks loaded with military equipment.

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“.. the most important independent risk factor for the development of severe infections in youths..”

Lockdowns Increases Obesity, And Obesity Increases Covid Risk (DM)

One of Australia’s top Covid-19 experts says lockdowns have drastically affected the health of children as a study shows two years of coronavirus restrictions have made people fatter and unhealthier. Professor Peter Collignon, an influential infectious diseases physician with the Australian National University, shared a medical study on his Twitter in which American experts researched the link between the pandemic response and obesity in children and adolescents. ‘Lockdown measures affected healthy lifestyle behaviors through modification of dietary habits, reduction of physical activity and alteration of sleep patterns, and also increased the levels of stress and anxiety, overall promoting weight gain and obesity,’ Prof Collignon wrote on Twitter.

‘Paediatric overweight/obesity—an alarming epidemic of increasing proportions, before Covid-19, has been demonstrated to be the most important independent risk factor for the development of severe infections in youths, requiring admission to hospital/ICUs,’ Prof Collignon said. The paper published by the National Library of Medicine concluded, ‘the dramatic lifestyle changes forced by Covid-19-related lockdown promoted weight gain, with a stronger impact on obese subjects, at higher risk of severe infection.’ The study looked at both the risk factors of lockdown-induced weight increase and the impact of obesity on the risk of hospital admission in children and adolescents. The study also concluded those who were classified as obese had a higher probability of being hospitalised compared to the normal weight population and Covid-19 and obesity represent ‘epidemic conditions with detrimental impact’.

Epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett says the full effect of Covid restrictions have had on the obesity epidemic are not yet fully grasped ‘It is one of those things we have been concerned about yet with obesity the challenge is those rates have been rising anyway, so the question is how much can be attributed to the increase from restrictions from Covid?’ Prof Bennett said. ‘Constraints on individual liberties, exercise, organised sport disruption in and outside of schools would all contribute to the nature of the problem. ‘It is really important that we invest in actively understanding the impacts of Covid restrictions. It is crucial so we can put in place things that might help minimise the long term impacts and address the impacts in terms of obesity and chronic illness.’

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Man

 

 

“Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloud seeding


 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 032022
 


Odilon Redon The winged man (The fallen angel) 1880

 

US Directly Involved In Ukraine Conflict – Moscow (RT)
West Advises Ukraine On Strikes With Supplied Weapons – Top Intel Official (RT)
Russia Strikes Foreign Fighters’ Base In Ukraine (RT)
African Nations To Make Case For Big Rise In Fossil Fuel Output (G.)
EU Facing Winter Energy Crisis – Borrell (RT)
Netherlands Faces Winter Of Smog – Media (RT)
EU Is Not Our Boss – Hungary (RT)
Canada’s Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis (CS)
Are Lockdowns Effective in Managing Pandemics? (MDPI)
New Zealand Plans To Tax Farmers For Livestock Burps (TCS)
When The Just Go to Prison (Chris Hedges)
Top Epidemiologist Predicts Insurers Will Go After Covid Vax Makers (JTN)
An Honest Money Would Stop Inflation by Don Werkheiser (Greco)

 

 

 

 

Tedros
https://twitter.com/i/status/1553858888260325377

 

 

Biden ice cream
https://twitter.com/i/status/1554282827046440960

 

 

 

 

Kamala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1554216124845379588

 

 

 

 

“No other confirmation of the direct involvement of the United States in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine is required..”

The US made itself a target. And all NATO countries too.

US Directly Involved In Ukraine Conflict – Moscow (RT)

Statements made by Vadim Skibitsky, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, confirm that the United States is directly involved in the ongoing conflict there, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. In an interview with the Telegraph published on Monday, Skibitsky refused to answer questions about whose satellites are used for strikes when talking about American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. He did acknowledge, however, that they consult with Washington before launching strikes and that Washington has veto power over decision-making.

“No other confirmation of the direct involvement of the United States in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine is required,” Zakharova said on Tuesday, because the US doesn’t just arm and train Ukrainian forces but essentially shoots the weapons themselves. Zakharova stressed that the US is directly involved and that its distance from the situation is irrelevant. “They are fully involved. Now Kiev representatives are talking about their military involvement not only through the supply of weapons, but through personnel management in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, direct instructions and the choice of targets,”Zakharova added.

Speculation has been ongoing about Washington’s involvement in the conflict. For example, in April French journalist Georges Malbrunot went viral on social media after claiming to have seen first-hand that Americans are “in charge” of the Ukrainian war effort on the ground.However, he stressed that this was not an official involvement as it was American mercenaries that he met in Ukraine. Nevertheless, skeptics have questioned the veracity of promises by US officials to avoid direct involvement or so-called “boots on the ground.”

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“Advises”? They supply the weapons, the intelligence, and have a veto on “decision-making”. They might as well pull the trigger too. And for all we know they do.

West Advises Ukraine On Strikes With Supplied Weapons – Top Intel Official (RT)

A senior Ukrainian military intelligence official has claimed his agency was getting advice from British and American counterparts on which targets to attack with Western-supplied weapons, like the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems. The Americans can ban any strike they don’t like, the general reportedly said. The revelation came on Monday in an interviewthat Major General Vadim Skibitsky gave to The Telegraph newspaper. When discussing Ukraine’s reported successes in destroying Russian military targets with weapons provided by the West, he claimed Ukrainian forces were using “real-time information” to direct fire. “I can’t tell you whether [we are directly tasking] British and American satellites, but we have very good satellite imagery,” the British newspaper cited him as saying.

The general did not claim that US officials were feeding targeting information directly to Ukraine, but said troops were getting feedback from Washington and London before launching rockets. This allows “Washington to stop any potential attacks if they were unhappy with the intended target,” The Telegraph said. US officials have frequently claimed that America does not have direct involvement in Russia’s hostilities with Ukraine, since it would put it at risk of escalating the conflict. Russia and its allies in Donetsk and Lugansk accused Ukraine of using the US-made launchers to strike non-military targets. In a recent incident a rocket attack hit a detention facility, where dozens of Ukrainian POWs were kept. Officials from the Donetsk People’s Republic showed images of what they described as fragments of HIMARS rockets used in the strike.

Over 50 of the prisoners were reported killed in what Russia alleged to be an assassination of potential witnesses and perpetrators of war crimes committed by the Ukrainian side. Kiev denied responsibility for the incident and accused Russia of hitting the prison camp in Elenovka. Ukrainian officials claimed the attack was meant to cover up either abuse of the POWs or the embezzlement of money.

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“..the best thing that awaits them if they are captured alive is a trial and maximum prison terms.”

Russia Strikes Foreign Fighters’ Base In Ukraine (RT)

Over 200 foreign mercenaries have reportedly been killed in a missile strike in southern Ukraine, Russia’s Ministry of Defense reported on Tuesday. The statement also added that over 20 units of military equipment were also destroyed during the attack. In its daily briefing on Telegram, the ministry reported that Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a blow to a temporary deployment point of the Ukrainian ‘foreign legion’ near the city of Nikolaev, using high-precision weapons. As a result, up to 250 foreign mercenaries were eliminated, according to the report. Russia also claims to have neutralized up to 500 nationalist fighters in the Kharkov region via high-precision strikes, as well as “a significant amount” of military equipment.

Last week, Russia also claimed to have killed over 40 foreign mercenaries, most of whom were Polish citizens, after a missile strike on a temporary deployment point near Konstantinovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The week before that, the Russian military claimed it had killed up to 250 such soldiers in the same settlement. Kiev’s international military unit was created in late February at the request of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, and is officially known as the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine. In April, the Russian military estimated their numbers at almost 7,000.

However, an updated estimate provided by the Russian defense ministry earlier this month suggests that only about 2,700 of these soldiers remain in Ukraine. Many of them were eliminated while others fled abroad, some complaining about disorder in the ranks of the Ukrainian forces and about poor equipment. Moscow has repeatedly warned that it will not view foreign mercenaries in Ukraine as combatants as defined by the Geneva Convention and that “the best thing that awaits them if they are captured alive is a trial and maximum prison terms.”

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“..developed countries by contrast must take the lead on sharp cuts to their emission..”

African Nations To Make Case For Big Rise In Fossil Fuel Output (G.)

Leaders of African countries are likely to use the next UN climate summit in November to push for massive new investment in fossil fuels in Africa, according to documents seen by the Guardian. New exploration for gas, and the exploitation of Africa’s vast reserves of oil, would make it close to impossible for the world to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. However, soaring gas prices have made the prospect of African supplies even more attractive, and developed countries, including EU members, have indicated they would support such developments in the current gas shortage.

The Guardian has seen a technical document prepared by the African Union, comprising most of Africa’s states, for the “second extraordinary session of the specialised technical committee on transport, transcontinental and interregional infrastructure and energy committee”, a meeting of energy ministers that took place by video conference from 14 to 16 June. The five-page document, and accompanying 25-page explanation, indicates that many African countries favour a common position that would inform their negotiating stance at the Cop27 UN climate summit, scheduled for this November in Egypt, which would entail pushing for an expansion of fossil fuel production across the continent.

The document states: “In the short to medium term, fossil fuels, especially natural gas will have to play a crucial role in expanding modern energy access in addition to accelerating the uptake of renewables.”Member states of the African Union will meet again, in Addis Ababa, this week to confirm the stance to be taken. They are expected to argue that Africa must be allowed to benefit from its fossil fuel reserves, as rich countries already have done, and that developed countries by contrast must take the lead on sharp cuts to their emissions.

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Of its own choosing.

EU Facing Winter Energy Crisis – Borrell (RT)

The EU may run out of gas during the upcoming winter season amid supply shortages, the bloc’s senior diplomat Josep Borrell has warned. “Europe is facing a perfect storm: energy prices are up, economic growth is down and winter is coming,” the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy wrote, in a blog published Monday on the website of the Diplomatic Service of the EU. There is “real uncertainty” over whether the EU will have enough gas and whether it will be able to afford it, Borrell said in the piece, titled “Europe’s energy balancing act,” describing the upcoming winter as “exceptional.” His comments come amid a reduced flow of natural gas from Russia, a major supplier to the bloc. Borrell warned that countries of the continent must prepare for a possible total cut-off by Moscow, and suggested that Europe has struggled to replace Russian supplies.


“The hard truth is that for this winter, we are approaching the limits of what extra gas we can buy from non-Russian sources. So, the bulk will have to come from energy savings, i.e. demand reduction.” he wrote. Last month the EU approved a plan that would see member states voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15%, to enable the bloc to accumulate the fuel ahead of winter. In case of an emergency, the voluntary reduction may become mandatory. According to Borrell, the bloc has managed to reduce the share of Russian gas in its imports from 40% at the beginning of the year to around 20% today, by buying more LNG and receiving gas via pipelines from Norway, Algeria and Azerbaijan. Russia has repeatedly said it remains a reliable supplier and honors its contractual obligations, but that international sanctions are preventing pipeline operator Gazprom from delivering gas to the EU at full capacity.

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Wood and brown coal. Take that, Putin!

Netherlands Faces Winter Of Smog – Media (RT)

Smog and particulate pollution will rise in the Netherlands this winter, public health authorities have warned. The rise is linked to more households choosing to burn firewood as gas prices skyrocket. Sales of wood and pellet stoves have increased by 30% since last summer, De Volkskrantreported on Sunday. Demand is now so high, the newspaper reported, that manufacturers are struggling to deliver enough of these stoves. Firewood suppliers, meanwhile, are already running out of stock, and sourcing more logs is a difficult proposition, as the Dutch forestry agency refuses to supply trees to the firewood industry. With gas and electricity bills at record highs, the shift among some consumers to wood burning will have environmental consequences, the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) warned.

“The sale of wood is linked to consumption and it is indeed expected that this will not have a positive impact on air pollution,” a spokesperson told De Volkskrant. While the institute is investigating what measures can be taken to reduce this pollution risk, its powers are limited at present. It can warn households against lighting fires on days when the smog risk is high, but cannot enforce a ban. Health experts called for a ban last month, telling parliament that such a measure would be necessary in winter when more fires would increase the chance of smog. However, there is currently no other viable heat source to replace either gas or solid fuel, although the RIVM is investigating heat pump technology, according to the newspaper.

The Netherlands is not the only European country where wood fires are making a comeback. Poland gave its citizens permission to hoard timber for burning last month, while Latvians have rushed for firewood collection permits and Hungary has ordered a halt to firewood exports. In the UK, the London Fire Brigade said in May that its officers had responded to 100 house fires in the preceding months, started by people burning wood in open fires to stay warm. While gas prices throughout Europe were steadily rising since the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the increase accelerated sharply since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February. The EU has begun phasing out Russian fuel imports in response, while Russian gas giant Gazprom has said that sanctions are impeding its ability to deliver gas to the region.

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The sole voice of reason in the EU. Something has to give.

EU Is Not Our Boss – Hungary (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban lashed out at the European Union on Monday evening in a Facebook post, reminding his followers that Brussels doesn’t dictate European affairs. “The European Union is not in Brussels. The European Union is in Vienna, Budapest and Warsaw, Berlin and Madrid,” the prime minister said. “Brussels is not our boss We are an independent, sovereign Hungarian nation. We make decisions together. If they’re not good for us, we’ll tell them. If they are not good and we can prevent them, the common decision will not be made.” Orban has made international headlines in recent weeks for his blunt statements criticizing the West’s policies. On July 28, the premier blasted NATO’s support for Kiev during a meeting in Vienna with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.


“The Hungarian assessment is that the concept of NATO supporting Ukraine with weapons and training officers, and the Ukrainians fighting against the Russians, is a construct that has now been shown not to result in a Ukrainian victory,” Orban said at a press conference. The prime minister has been a holdout amongst European leaders in jumping on board Brussels’ harsh sanctions campaign against Russia, particularly a total embargo of Russian natural gas. In his remarks criticizing NATO, Orban also made reference to the fact that sanctions on Moscow are causing serious economic hardship in the bloc. He said that a peaceful settlement needs to be reached in Ukraine because its absence it will spur economic recession in the EU that will be accompanied by political instabiliy.

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Or others would do the same.

Canada’s Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis (CS)

On August 13, 2021, the Canadian government announced that anyone who hadn’t been vaccinated against Covid would soon be barred from planes and trains. In many cases, The Backward could no longer travel between provinces or leave the country. If you lived in Winnipeg and wanted to visit your mother on her deathbed in London or Hong Kong or, perhaps, Quebec City, you’d better get jabbed—or resign yourself to never seeing your mother again. Jennifer Little, the director-general of COVID Recovery, the secretive government panel that crafted the mandate, called it “one of the strongest vaccination mandates for travelers in the world.” It was draconian and sweeping, and it fit neatly with the public persona that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had cultivated—that of the sleek, progressive, forward-looking technocrat guided by fact and reason.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal, in a June 2022 article, observed that “Canada had among the most sustained stringent policies regarding restrictions on internal movement.” But recently released court documents—which capture the decision-making behind the travel mandate—indicate that, far from following the science, the prime minister and his Cabinet were focused on politics. (Canadians are hardly alone. As Common Sense recently reported, American public-health agencies have also been politicized.) Two days after announcing the mandate, Trudeau called a snap election—presumably expecting that his Liberal Party, which was in the minority in the House of Commons, would benefit from the announcement and be catapulted into the majority. As it turned out, the Liberals failed to win a majority in the September 2021 election.

In the meantime, roughly five million unvaccinated Canadians were barred from visiting loved ones, working or otherwise traveling. (Trudeau, for his part, stayed in power. Even though the Conservatives have won the popular vote in the past two elections, because of Canada’s parliamentary system, they have been denied the top job.) The court documents are part of a lawsuit filed by two Canadian residents against the government. Until last month, they were under seal. Both plaintiffs are business owners. Both have family in Britain. Both have refused the vaccine on the grounds of bodily autonomy. Both were reluctant to identify their businesses out of fear of losing customers

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“..we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save..”

Are Lockdowns Effective in Managing Pandemics? (MDPI)

The present coronavirus crisis caused a major worldwide disruption which has not been experienced for decades. The lockdown-based crisis management was implemented by nearly all the countries, and studies confirming lockdown effectiveness can be found alongside the studies questioning it. In this work, we performed a narrative review of the works studying the above effectiveness, as well as the historic experience of previous pandemics and risk-benefit analysis based on the connection of health and wealth. Our aim was to learn lessons and analyze ways to improve the management of similar events in the future.


The comparative analysis of different countries showed that the assumption of lockdowns’ effectiveness cannot be supported by evidence—neither regarding the present COVID-19 pandemic, nor regarding the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu and other less-severe pandemics in the past. The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: by using the known connection between health and wealth, we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save. It is suggested therefore that a thorough cost-benefit analysis should be performed before imposing any lockdown for either COVID-19 or any future pandemic.

WHO Treaty Christine Anderson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1554364529236234240

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“Face masks. Yes, face masks for cows.”

New Zealand Plans To Tax Farmers For Livestock Burps (TCS)

It seems like governments across the Western world are hellbent on destroying the lives of their farmers, and New Zealand is no different, with the government bringing in a “burp tax” for livestock. It’s become almost a meme to talk about the government taxing you for breathing in oxygen in the age of climate insanity and carbon taxes, but New Zealand is by far the closest to doing so. According to climate radicals in the country, cow and sheep burps are just too harmful to the environment due to the methane released, and they need to be reduced, and farmers need to be taxed into submission. “There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,” New Zealand Climate Change Minister James Shaw told BBC News.


Under the proposed legislation, the government would begin taxing livestock farmers for their gas emissions starting in 2025, with incentives and lower tax rates being offered to farmers that feed their livestock special anti-burp diets and plant more trees to offset their supposed emissions. According to WebMD, other strategies the government is recommending include “face masks for cows that trap and turn methane into water and carbon dioxide, a method that reduces emissions by more than 50% according to Zelp, the company that invented the contraption. Some farmers are already experimenting with feed made from seaweed. And scientists are tinkering with cow genetics to increase their digestive efficiency.” Face masks. Yes, face masks for cows.

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Daniel Hale.

When The Just Go to Prison (Chris Hedges)

Hale, a 34-year-old former Air Force signals intelligence analyst, is serving a 45 month prison sentence, following his conviction under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified documents about the U.S. military’s drone assassination program and its high civilian death toll. The documents are believed to be the source material for “The Drone Papers” published by The Intercept, on October 15, 2015. These documents revealed that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations drone airstrikes killed more than 200 people — of which only 35 were the intended targets. According to the documents, over one five-month period of the operation, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The civilian dead, usually innocent bystanders, were routinely classified as “enemies killed in action.”

The terrorizing and widespread killing of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of civilians was a potent recruiting tool for the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents. The aerial attacks created far more hostile fighters than they eliminated and enraged many in the Muslim world. Hale is composed, articulate and physically fit from his self-imposed regime of daily exercise. We discuss books he has recently read, including John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden and Nicholson Baker’s Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act, which explores whether the U.S. used biological weapons on China and Korea during World War II and the Korean War. Hale is currently housed in the Communications Management Unit (CMU), a special unit that severely restricts and heavily monitors communications, including our conversation, and visitations.

The decision by The Bureau of Prisons to lock Hale up in the most restrictive wing of a supermax prison ignores the recommendation of the sentencing Judge Liam O’Grady, who suggested that he be placed in a low-security prison hospital facility in Butner, North Carolina, where he could get treatment for his PTSD. Hale is one of a few dozen people of conscience who have sacrificed their careers and their freedom to inform the public about government crimes, fraud and lies. Rather than investigate the crimes that are exposed and hold those who carried them out to account, the two ruling parties wage war on all who speak out. These men and women of conscience are the lifeblood of journalism. Reporters cannot document abuses of power without them.

The silence on the part of the press over Hale’s imprisonment, as well as the persecution and imprisonment of other champions of an open society, such as Julian Assange, is stunningly shortsighted. If our most important public servants, those with the courage to inform the public, continue to be criminalized at this rate, we will cement in place total censorship, resulting in a world where the abuses and crimes of the powerful are shrouded in darkness. Barack Obama weaponized the Espionage Act to prosecute those who provided classified information to the press. The Obama White House, whose assault on civil liberties was worse than those of the Bush administration, used the 1917 Act, designed to prosecute spies, against eight people who leaked information to the media including Assange — although he is not a U.S. citizen, and WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based publication — along with Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison for exposing the routine torture of suspects held in black sites.

Also under The Espionage Act, Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer, was convicted on July 13, 2022 of the so-called Vault 7 leak, published by WikiLeaks in 2017, which revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones and turned internet-connected televisions into listening devices. He faces up to 80 years in prison.

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I’d like to see that.

Top Epidemiologist Predicts Insurers Will Go After Covid Vax Makers (JTN)

Yale University epidemiologist Harvey Risch is expecting insurers to seek financial compensation from COVID-19 vaccine makers to cover “early unexpected mortality claims,” as they “they have a major financial risk that they have to figure out how to manage.” Insurers’ actuaries estimated COVID vaccinees would “live longer than they have” based on misrepresentations about “all-cause mortality … from the original [clinical] trials,” Risch told the “Just the News, Not Noise” TV program. In a followup interview he pointed to statements by insurers that offer group life insurance. OneAmerica CEO Scott Davison told a healthcare conference in December that death rates had risen an “unheard of” 40% in the working-age people it insures compared to pre-pandemic rates, when a “one-in-200-year catastrophe” would only bring a 10% increase.


Most claims aren’t filed as COVID-related deaths, he said. Public records show that Lincoln National, a much larger insurer, reported a 163% increase in death benefits paid out in 2021, the first year of the COVID vaccines: $1.4 billion, compared to $500 million in pre-pandemic 2019 and $548 million in 2020. It largely blamed a $41 million operations loss in the first quarter of 2022 on “non-pandemic-related morbidity, including unusual claims adjustments, and less favorable returns within the company’s alternative investment portfolio.” Lincoln Financial Group Vice President of Corporate Communications Kelly DeAngelis told Just the News the 2020 statutory filings didn’t include Lincoln Life Assurance Company of Boston. The 2021 supplement includes results from both companies, which merged that year.

Pfizer attacks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1554122422537916416

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1982.

An Honest Money Would Stop Inflation by Don Werkheiser (Greco)

This little vignette written by Don Werkheiser remains one of the best concise explanations of inflation I’ve ever seen. It was published in the spring 1982 edition of Green Revolution, the journal of the School of Living a non-profit organization with which I was associated throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s.

A rural village has no money. All trade is by barter. A farmer comes to town and deposits 10 bushels of corn with a man who has a store room. This operator gives the farmer 10 receipts, each redeemable in a bushel of corn. But the farmer asks for receipts in smaller denominations. The storekeeper gives him 40 receipts for 40 pecks. The farmer trades ten of these corn-receipts for other products; they are each accepted at the value of a peck of corn. That acceptance constitutes the issue of corn notes as money. Such receipts are generalized credit instruments. They refer to stored corn, but not to any specific peck of corn. When the seller wants a peck of corn the receipt is redeemed. Otherwise it is spent again, and ownership of a peck of corn is conveyed to the next seller.

The next day the farmer returns to town and spends 10 corn notes (each of one peck of corn in value) for his wife’s birthday present. Now the farmer has doubled the money supply in circulation, but there is no inflation; there are redeemable goods back of them. What then is inflation? We must understand “money” and the storekeeper’s actions. The store room owner noticed that the corn notes were accepted in trade. So he made 40 more “peck-receipts” looking just like corn-receipts and then he spent them into circulation. That is inflation–counterfeit receipts passed as valid receipts. Assume that the counterfeit receipts were accepted at face value. In that case, the counterfeiter effected a robbery of commodities equal in value to 40 packs of corn, while those who accepted them received receipts which measured the extent to which they had been robbed.

So long as confidence lasts, the game would continue and receipts could be spent. New sellers would be holding empty receipts. The game would collapse when all the corn in the warehouse was redeemed, and holders of the 40 counterfeit receipts found no one who would take them in trade. Worse could happen if the counterfeiter had the skills of a politician. If, when confronted by angry holders of his counterfeit receipts he declared himself a benefactor of the community–and showed that the original issue by the farmer was too limited, and that his own issues stimulated industry and trade (he would not mention that the farmers issue was redeemable while his own was not). He noted that most people did not want corn; they wanted a medium of trade that they could use to speed up trade.

They were told: “If the game stopped then, the holders would be losers, but if they continued, they could all buy what they wanted. In fact if they elected him Mayor he would declare pseudo-corn-notes to be legal tender, and he’d also begin a program of public works. Soon everyone would be rich.” An ignorant public agreed. Elected Mayor, the counterfeiter issue another stock of corn-notes called “pecks” and declared them to be worth a peck of corn in the market (but not anywhere redeemable). On each note was a picture of a peck-basket, but what it contained was not specified. Just a peck of value.

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I am the change

 

 

 

 

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Jul 252022
 
 July 25, 2022  Posted by at 9:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  58 Responses »


Mathew Brady Abe Lincoln 1864

 

Five Months Into The Special Military Operation (Saker)
Moscow Reveals Target Of Strike On Odessa Port (RT)
Russia Not Asking For Sanctions Removal – Lavrov (RT)
On the Future of Europe: A Proposition from 1 January 2023 (Batiushka)
Hungary Warns Of Shift In World Order (RT)
Hungary Spreading ‘Russian Propaganda’ – Ukraine (RT)
Logistical Nightmares For The Ukrainian Army (Milacic)
Media Miss Major Moves on Russia-Ukraine (Ray McGovern)
Jan. 6 Committee Still Probing Links Between Trump And Extremist Groups (CBS)
How Mario Draghi Broke Italy (Fazi)

 

 

 

 

Tulsi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1551154675394744320

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Sagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The truth is that by the laws of warfare the Ukraine lost the war in less than a week.”

Five Months Into The Special Military Operation (Saker)

[..] if you look at the size of the Russian force which took the Antonov airport near Kiev (one airborne regiment) and the size of the force which moved by land towards that airport, you can easily convince yourself that this force was not intended to attack or invade Kiev. This force did exactly what it was intended to do, it forces the Ukronazis to move forces to protect Kiev and, thereby, it pinned them down just long enough to establish air superiority, attack and cut off the forces near and in the Donbass, destroy the Ukrainian C4I and almost the entire Ukrainian air force. This took just a few days and once that mission was completed, these forces withdrew as they had literally nothing to gain by staying in place. If anything it is the Ukrainian side which is running out of weapons, supplies and soldiers (more about that later). The Russians have all the firepower they need for many years ahead.

“Russia had to change her plans and tactics because of the heavy losses suffered by the Russian military early in the operation” Actually, there is a grain of truth here, but not the correct explanation. As I have mentioned several times, the special military operation is “special” because it is an operation which is not a regular combined arms operation. The Russians began the SMO with fewer soldiers than the opposing side, and they privileged maneuver and long range strikes over the taking and holding of towns and cities. Most crucially, the Russians very deliberately tried all they could to minimize Ukrainian casualties and to preserve the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure (unlike the “democratic” countries out there who first destroy power plants, bridges, water stations, etc. to inflict the maximum of “shock and awe” on the civilian population!). The Russians could have easily turned, say, Kiev into Baghdad or Belgrade under US/NATO bombs, but they deliberately chose to save as many lives and civilian infrastructure as possible, even at the cost of lives of Russian soldiers).

What apparently did take the Russians by surprise is the willingness of the Ukrainian forces in some towns to attack the Russian columns even though the local authorities seemed to have indicated to the Russians that, like in, say, Kherson, their city would not resist. Simply put, they chose the Mariupol model rather than the Kherson model. This choice was mainly dictated by the very powerful Nazi death squads who would at best arrest anybody negotiating with Russia and, at worst, simply shoot them on the spot. The Russians found plenty of bodies of executed Ukrainian soldiers. But this does not tell the full story either. The truth is that by the laws of warfare the Ukraine lost the war in less than a week.

What is my evidence for such an apparently outlandish and over-the-top statement? Simple: since the beginning of the SMO, the Ukrainians failed to execute a single operational level attack or counter-attack. At most they were able to execute small, tactical level attacks, the vast majority of which almost instantly failed, a few were defeated in a few days, and, crucially, not a single one gave the Ukrainian side the operational initiative. Not once.

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Are these sanctions gone or not?

“Russia and the United Nations signed a memorandum providing for the UN’s involvement in lifting international sanctions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers..”

Moscow Reveals Target Of Strike On Odessa Port (RT)

The Russian Ministry of Defense has confirmed striking targets in the major Ukrainian port of Odessa on Saturday, revealing that its missiles hit military infrastructure and arms stockpiles. “In the seaport of Odessa, on the territory of a shipyard, a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, supplied by the US to the Kiev regime, have been destroyed by sea-based high-precision long-range missiles,” the ministry said on Sunday. The attack also crippled a repair facility where vessels of the Ukrainian navy have been fixed, it added. The strike on the target in Odessa, which is a major trade hub in the southwest of Ukraine, came a day after the signing of a UN-brokered deal to unblock grain exports from Ukrainian ports.

During the conflict that has been underway since February 24, Moscow has insisted that its troops only fire at Ukrainian forces and military infrastructure, not civilian facilities. According to Kiev officials, four cruise missiles were used in the attack on the port of Odessa, allegedly targeting grain silos located there. Two of the missiles were intercepted and two made it through, but failed to inflict significant damage, they said. Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky described the strike as “barbarism” and insisted “Russian Kalibr missiles destroyed the very possibility of statements” on the need for dialogue and any agreements with Moscow. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “unequivocally condemns” the attack on the port of Odessa, his spokesman said.

According to Guterres, “the full implementation [of the deal] by Russia, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative” because the products that are covered by it are “desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe,” he added. The Russia-Ukraine agreement, which had been agreed on Friday with the mediation of Turkey and the UN, sets out a framework for resuming Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea ports, which had been disrupted by the fighting. In addition, Russia and the United Nations signed a memorandum providing for the UN’s involvement in lifting international sanctions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets.

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“As far as food is concerned, our Western colleagues… should remove the obstacles they themselves have created..”

Russia Not Asking For Sanctions Removal – Lavrov (RT)

Moscow is not asking for the lifting of sanctions, but urges Western states to fix the problems they have created on the global food market, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday. “We are not asking for the removal of sanctions – those are problems that deserve to be dealt with separately. We will simply develop our economy now by counting on reliable partners and not on those who have once again proved their total incapacity… As far as food is concerned, our Western colleagues… should remove the obstacles they themselves have created,” the diplomat said after talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, in Egypt.

He noted that Moscow would not have agreed to Friday’s deal unblocking Ukraine’s grain exports if the issue of freeing up Russian exports had not been resolved. Moscow is now counting on the UN to stick to its promise and assist in removing restrictions holding back Russian grain shipments. “Those illegitimate restrictions that were imposed… prevented operations with Russian grain, including insurance, including the admission of our ships to foreign ports and foreign ships’ entry into Russian ports,” Sergey Lavrov said. “After the signing of agreements in Istanbul at the initiative of the UN Secretary General, he volunteered to seek the removal of these illegitimate restrictions. Let’s count on him to succeed,” the foreign minister added. Lavrov recently accused the West of intentionally “keeping silent” about the impact of Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia’s exports.

At a news conference last month, he said: “There is a problem with the export of Russian grain. Although the West loudly reminds everyone that grain is not subject to sanctions, for some reason they are bashfully silent about the fact that ships carrying Russian grain are subject to sanctions. They are not accepted in European ports, they are not insured, and, overall, all logistics and financial matters, which are associated with the supply of grain to the world markets, are under sanctions of our Western colleagues.” Representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the UN and Turkey signed a deal to unblock exports of grain, food, and fertilizers from Ukrainian ports on Friday. In addition to the agreement, Russia and the UN signed a memorandum implying UN involvement in lifting restrictions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets.

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“..where does the US/NATO defeat in the Ukraine leave the European peninsula?..”

On the Future of Europe: A Proposition from 1 January 2023 (Batiushka)

As schoolchildren will tell you, the names of the continents begin and end with the same letter, A: Asia, Africa, America, Australia, Antarctica. There is one exception: Europe, which though still beginning and ending with the same letter, the letter is not A, but E. Why the difference? Is it perhaps because Europe is not really a Continent? After all, it is not a vast landmass surrounded by an ocean (if it were a small one, it would be called an island). Its borders are arbitrary, having frequently changed, were only relatively recently pushed to the Urals, and are still much disputed. In reality, surely Europe is the artificially isolated north-western peninsula of Asia? It is not a geographical Continent at all, it is an ideological construct. That is why the slogan of so many EU-fanatics, like the former French President Chirac, was: ‘Faisons l’Europe’ – ‘Let’s Create Europe’.

We ask the above question because in this winter of 2022-2023 the old EU and Non-EU Europe has had to face a new reality following the war that the US/NATO lost in the ‘Ukraine’, as it used to be called. Europe-wide, indeed worldwide, food riots with looting of supermarkets and ‘bill boycotts’ (the wave of civil disobedience with the refusal/inability to pay soaring fuel bills) made this clear. Obviously, a worldwide reconfiguration is coming. Already the new world is becoming multipolar, with several main centres within the old BRICS, Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and now more to come, perhaps Iran, Türkiye, Argentina, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Lebanon and Indonesia. In general, all Asia, Africa and Latin America now at last have their own future.

Not only are the old, thoroughly corrupted international organisations like the UN, WTO, WEF or IMF rightly disappearing into the sewers of history along with their discredited puppet-master, the US elite, but so too are pro-US regional groupings, like its European political and economic arm the EU and its European military arm, NATO. And here precisely, we ask where does the US/NATO defeat in the Ukraine leave the European peninsula, both the EU part of it and the rest of it, outside the EU? After World War I Europe had to be reconfigured, and again after World War II. Now, after whatever you call the 2022 Western rout in the Ukraine (World War III, or World War I, Part III), what is its destiny?

Surely the greatest revelation of the US proxy war in the Ukraine is Europe’s dependence on Russia. Without Russia, it simply cannot survive – though Russia can survive without it. The fact is that for the last few centuries, the largest European country has been Russia for surface area and, over the last century and a half, for population. The most common European language in Europe is Russian, the second German, the third French, the fourth English, the fifth Italian. As regards natural resources, whether agricultural or mineral, and as regards military power, the most important country, once again, is Russia.

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The topic is so taboo that only the black sheep can mention it.

Hungary Warns Of Shift In World Order (RT)

The Russia-Ukraine conflict could end the West’s dominance and shift the balance of power in the world, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. Russia launched a military campaign against the neighboring country in late February. Orban argued that the decision to impose sanctions on Moscow and supply Kiev with heavy weapons de facto turned the EU and NATO member states into participants in the conflict, but ultimately yielded no results. “Instead, today we are sitting inside a car with flat tires on all four wheels,” Orban said in a speech in the Romanian city of Baile Tusnad on Saturday. “The world is not only not with us, but it is demonstratively not with us,” the PM added, arguing that, instead of thinking about gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in Ukraine, the West should now focus on achieving peace through negotiations.


Orban also warned that the conflict could easily put an end to Western supremacy and “create a multipolar world order.” “We must try to persuade the West to develop a new strategy,” the PM said. He later added that the conflict “will end when the Americans and the Russians come to an agreement.” Hungary has refused to send weapons to Ukraine, while Orban said this month that the EU “shot itself in the lungs” with its ill-considered sanctions. Hungarian officials also criticized the proposal by Brussels to ration gas in an attempt to phase out deliveries from Moscow. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto traveled to Moscow on Thursday to negotiate the purchase of additional gas volumes in order to ensure that the country has enough reserves for the winter. “It is currently simply impossible to buy this much extra natural gas in Europe without Russian sources,” Szijjarto told reporters.

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Huh? “..Orban’s remarks about the ineffectiveness of anti-Russia sanctions are “a classic example of Russian propaganda..”

Hungary Spreading ‘Russian Propaganda’ – Ukraine (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s remarks about the ineffectiveness of anti-Russia sanctions are “a classic example of Russian propaganda,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko claimed on Sunday. Orban said on Saturday that the decision to impose sanctions on Moscow and supply Kiev with heavy weapons had turned the EU and NATO member states into de facto participants in the conflict, while failing to deliver results. Responding in a Facebook post, Nikolenko said the idea that “sanctions did not shake Russia” represent “a classic example of Russian propaganda.” The Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that sanctions are effective, as they have “significantly reduced” the capabilities of the Russian military, while Western arms supplies have helped to save the lives of Ukrainians.

He claimed that if sanctions and weapons were ineffective, the Kremlin would not have used “crazy resources” to stop them. Moscow has been warning the West against supplying Kiev with weapons, saying it will not prevent Russia from achieving its military goals, but will lead to extra casualties. Russian officials have also pointed to the boomerang effect of Western sanctions. In a speech in the Romanian city of Baile Tusnad on Saturday, Orban said the conflict could put an end to Western supremacy and “create a multipolar world order.” The Hungarian leader argued that the West needs to develop “a new strategy.” Nikolenko countered that “Europe is in an economic crisis not because of sanctions, but because of Russia’s hybrid war.” Moscow, meanwhile, categorically denies accusations of using energy supplies as a political weapon.

The Ukrainian official said Russian President Vladimir Putin “will not stop until he destroys the European order based on democratic values,” meaning that “joint decisive action” is needed. “Together, we will surely defeat Russia, even despite the head of the Hungarian government’ fears that the Russian army has an ‘asymmetrical advantage,’” Nikolenko said, referring to Orban’s claim that Ukraine cannot win the war due to the disparity of forces. Nikolenko has lambasted Western politicians in the past. Earlier this month, Nikolenko accusedUS Congresswoman Victoria Spartz of attempting to bring “Russian propaganda” into American politics. Spartz called for a mechanism to track military aid provided to Kiev, and expressed doubts over the reliability of President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff. Nikolenko advised Spartz “to stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation around the topic of war” and “stop undermining the existing mechanisms of providing US military assistance to Ukraine.”

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Nothing fits anymore.

Logistical Nightmares For The Ukrainian Army (Milacic)

In early July, right after Lisichansk was won by the Russian forces, the Russian military and its allies from DNR and LNR, put on display there a large number of captured Ukrainian military equipment. Rows of tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles stretched for hundreds of meters. All this was seized by the Russians in just one sector of the front alone. Let’s be honest, most of the Western military assistance to Ukraine is quickly destroyed or falls into the hands of the Russian military, without having any significant impact on the course of the war, and successful exceptions like the US-supplied M142 HIMARS only confirm the rule. Why is this happening?

The whole thing might be pretty simple: while receiving Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, Javelin anti-tank systems and French Ceasar self-propelled guns, the Ukrainian army must quickly switch to a single NATO standard, strengthen its combat capability in the wish to stop Russian army. On closer examination, however, it turns out that everything is way more complicated. The unified NATO standard is mainly associated with the calibers of ammunition, and not with the unification of equipment. It is impossible to switch from the German “Leopard” to the French “Leclerc” without a long and serious preparation. A good MRLS operator, used to the Soviet-designed Grad, will not be able to handle America’s famous HIMARS. Each weapon system handed over to Kyiv also requires special retraining of Ukrainian military specialists. And this is just the tip of the iceberg though.

The delivery of one or two self-propelled guns with perfectly trained crews may look good in propaganda videos, but it turns into a logistical nightmare for the Ukrainian military suppliers. Full-fledged confrontation with the enemy requires units trained and equipped with unified weapons, not a battery recruited from different European and Soviet models using five different types of shells. All of them need different parts and accessories. Moreover, gun and tank crews will most likely be unable to replace each other. They are trained to fight with different models of high-tech weapons systems.

This is actually why the Eastern European countries are delivering to Ukraine what is left of their old Warsaw Pact-era stockpiles, not the latest European models. After all, mass-scale training of specialists takes months and calls for multiple instructors. The Kyiv authorities are having problems even with specialists trained in the use of Soviet-era technology. For example, on July 20, numerous telegram channels posted a video with an elderly Ukrainian tank captain, a reservist, who, after being taken prisoner by the Russians, said that all the junior officers of his brigade were over 45 years old, most of whom had received military training in Soviet universities (in the USSR, reserve officers were trained in civilian universities).

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The US midterms are the main consideration.

Media Miss Major Moves on Russia-Ukraine (Ray McGovern)

Corporate media are ignoring the stark implications of Russia’s stated intention to take control of more Ukrainian territory than just Donetsk and Luhansk. I discussed this on The Critical Hour yesterday and supplement those thoughts in the paragraphs below. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Moscow’s broadened aims, explaining, “Now the geography is different. It’s far from being only the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, it’s also Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts and a number of other territories.” (I had just written on this.) In his interview, Lavrov pointed specifically to HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, made by Lockheed-Martin) as the kind of “weapon that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territories of those republics who have declared their independence (Donetsk and Luhansk).”

The HIMARS being provided to Ukraine have a range of 50 miles, putting them also at easy reach of Crimea – which Kyiv (and the U.S.) insist is legally still part of Ukraine. It all depends on “geography. Just a few hours after the Lavrov interview was reported came the announcement by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that the US will give Ukraine four more HIMARS, bringing the total to 16. Austin bragged that HIMARS have already “made a difference on the battlefield.” But which battlefield? Lavrov and Russian President Putin can have no illusions that the wider, strategic “battlefield” includes Russia. Indeed, this is the same benighted Lloyd Austin who let that cat out of the bag three months ago: “One of the US’s goals in Ukraine is to see a weakened Russia. … The US is ready to move heaven and earth to help Ukraine win the war against Russia.”

It seems a sure thing that Biden’s advisers anticipate being engaged in a proxy war in Ukraine at least until this November when the US mid-term elections take place. Until then the Democrats surely will not want to appear to be slackers in confronting Russia on this critical issue (which, truth be told, they themselves did so much to create). The reality, of course, is that US policy makers go blithely along, enriching the MICIMATT (and enhancing campaign coffers) by giving advanced weaponry to Ukraine – and replacing them as needed. It’s very good for the multifaceted profiteering business. What is really troublesome is that there appears to be little understanding of the high stakes involved; little appreciation of what it means that Russia considers US/NATO behavior in Ukraine an existential threat – one that Russia is determined to remove, and can.

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@ScottAdamsSays: We’re all the way down to “He probably knows someone bad.”

This is going down like everything Schiff is involved in. “We have evidence that…”

Jan. 6 Committee Still Probing Links Between Trump And Extremist Groups (CBS)

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, said Sunday the panel is still examining possible links between former President Donald Trump and far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, members of which have been charged for their roles in the attack. “That remains an ongoing part of our investigation,” Schiff said in an interview on “Face the Nation.” “We have certainly shown some links between the president, the key advisors like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn, and elements of these white nationalist groups, but that component of our investigation continues.” More than a dozen members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, including their respective leaders Stewart Rhodes and Enrique Tarrio, have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 assault.

Federal prosecutors claim the members conspired to storm the Capitol to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by delaying by force the required tallying of state electoral votes. The select committee has examined the role of far-right extremist groups on Jan. 6 and last Thursday held its eighth public hearing mapping out what investigators described as a multi-pronged campaign from Trump to thwart the transfer of presidential power. The hearing focused on the 187-minute span on Jan. 6 from when the former president ended his speech at a rally on the Ellipse to when he issued a tweet telling the mob of his supporters to leave the Capitol, during which committee members said Trump did nothing to quell the violence that unfolded.

“I think we really need to think about what we’ve demonstrated already, about the president’s knowledge that the election wasn’t stolen, and his response and his intent, and to me that is most graphically demonstrated, when he told top Justice Department officials basically to just say the election was stolen or just say it was corrupt and that he would take care of the rest,” he said. “Those kind of pieces of testimony, they’re directly on the president’s knowledge and intent.” The California Democrat said he believes Trump engaged in the “most supreme dereliction of duty ever” with his inaction to stop the violence at the Capitol, and the former president’s multiple attempts to reverse the outcome of the election “invoke various criminal laws, and his conduct ought to be the subject of investigation.”

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One man wrecking crew.

How Mario Draghi Broke Italy (Fazi)

Mario Draghi’s defenestration has left the Italian — and indeed international — establishment reeling in horror. This is not surprising. When he was nominated as Italy’s prime minister at the beginning of last year, Europe’s political and economic elites welcomed his arrival as a miracle. Virtually every party in the Italian parliament — including the two formerly “populist” parties that won the elections in 2018, the Five Star Movement and the League — offered their support. The tone of the discussion was captured well by the powerful governor of the Campania region, Vincenzo De Luca (PD), who compared Draghi to “Christ” himself. Everyone agreed: a Draghi government would be a blessing, a final opportunity to redeem its sins and “make Italy great again”. Draghi, they said, simply by virtue of his “charisma”, “competence”, “intelligence” and “international clout”, would keep bond markets at bay, enact much-needed reforms, and relaunch Italy’s stagnant economy.

Alas, reality hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations: Draghi leaves behind a country in tatters. The latest European Commission macroeconomic forecast predicted that Italy will experience the slowest economic growth in the bloc next year, at just 0.9%, owing to a decline in consumer spending due to rising prices and lower business investment — a result of rising borrowing and energy costs, as well as disruptions in the supply of Russian gas. Italy is also experiencing one of the fastest-growing inflation rates in Europe — which is currently at 8.6%, the highest level in more than three decades. Interest rates on Italian government bonds have also been steadily climbing ever since Draghi came to power, rising four-fold under his watch; today they stand at the highest level in almost a decade.

And this “polycrisis” has taken its toll on Italian society: 5.6 million Italians — almost 10% of the population, including 1.4 million minors — currently live in absolute poverty, the highest level on record. Many of these are in work, and that number is bound to increase as real wages in Italy continue to fall at the highest pace in the bloc. Meanwhile, almost 100,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at risk of insolvency — a 2% increase compared to last year. So much for “Super Mario”, then. Of course, one could argue that other countries are experiencing similar problems, but it would be a mistake to let Draghi off the hook. He has been one of the staunchest supporters of the measures that led to this situation, having been a driving force in pushing for tough EU sanctions against Moscow — sanctions that are crippling Europe’s economies, while leaving Russia largely unscathed.

Draghi even boasted about the bold measures adopted by Italy to wean the country off Russian gas — the result being that Italy is now the country that pays the highest wholesale electricity prices in the entire EU. The absurdity of these policies becomes apparent when we consider his attempt to reduce Italy’s dependence on Russian gas by reviving several coal-fired power plants — coal that Italy largely imports from Russia.

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Princess and Emmanuel

 

 

 

 

Surf dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1550852001763717121

 

 

 

 

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


Edward Hopper Chair Car 1965

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

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

 

Moscow Responds To London’s Threats

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hungary Has ‘Military Plans’ For Ukraine – Minister

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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Dec 062020
 
 December 6, 2020  Posted by at 10:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Absinthe Drinker 1901

 

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)
The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)
US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)
Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)
COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)
Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)
The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)
Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)
Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)
UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

 

 

Vaccines and autoimmune

 

 

 

 

 

 

First (though admittedly, China is a mystery).

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)

A wide-ranging anti-coronavirus vaccination campaign began in Moscow on Saturday, with thousands signing up for shots online, in the Russian capital. Frontline workers were given first priority, as previous indicated. Those wishing to participate have to sign up online before receiving their initial dose of Sputnik V at one of the city’s 70 specialist clinics. The vaccine consists of two separate injections, the second jab must be administered 21 days after the first one. The whole procedure, which includes the time needed to cool down the formula after it’s removed from the freezer, takes less than an hour, officials said. Injections are administered to people aged between 18 and 60 that present no chronic health conditions. Those who have had respiratory infections, like flu or common cold, less than two weeks ago, are not eligible. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are also barred, for now.


On Friday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on his blog that 5,000 people had signed up for the vaccine in five hours after online registration was launched. He said they were doctors, care workers, and teachers, who were “risking their health and lives the most.” Vaccination is free for Russian citizens. Senior health official Alexey Kuznetsov announced that Sputnik V’s maximum commercial price will be 1,942 rubles ($26) for both injections. President Vladimir Putin authorized the start of a large-scale vaccination campaign on Wednesday. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said all of Russia’s regions would roll out their campaigns next week. Meanwhile, select groups of doctors and nurses had already been getting the vaccine, with the priority given to those on the frontline against Covid-19. The vaccination began in some army units as well.

Read more …

Expect horror stories about Russian vaccines.

The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)

The ruble rose sharply versus the dollar this week, collapsing below the critical 76 level to close this week below 74. More evidence that with Putin’s announcement of Sputnik V vaccine distribution starting Russia the markets are looking for a home where capital can have a prayer in hell of being treated well. Because that will most certainly not be the case in Europe. The only reasons the euro is rising in on political instability in the U.S. and the lack of forward budget thanks to the veto by Hungary and Poland. Because while the euro may be breaking out versus the dollar the bellwether bond markets in Europe, namely German bunds, are rising in yield.

While this isn’t a bear market in any sense since the selling hasn’t overwhelmed ECB buying, it’s also hard to determine if that would ever happen given just how much of the European sovereign debt market the ECB actually owns now. Investors in the West are trying to beat the COVID-19 narrative, pinning their hope of economic recovery on the vaccine restoring normality. But if there is one thing I’ve noted over and over again over the past ten months, it is that the goal posts for normality keep getting moved. Remember 15 days to flatten the curve? Now it’s a 100-day mask mandates with state-by-state full lockdowns. Anyone thinking that we’ll ever return to anything resembling the old world is terminally naïve.

The race for global capital begins now with Russia’s roll out of Sputnik V by the millions of doses. It doesn’t matter if the vaccine works or it doesn’t. Pfizer’s doesn’t. What matters is what excuses politicians can make to fit their agenda. Putin wants to make Russia a destination for global capital, keeping Russia open for business. Russia pushing Sputnik V out the door this quickly is forcing the West’s hand. They wanted bigger lockdowns for longer. Asia will stay open while the West plays games resetting its system. They are really angry at the Russians for being good at math and science.

That is why the race for the vaccine is actually the race for global capital in the end. Because the rollout of the vaccine asymmetrically around the world will be followed by where watching where the capital will flow to. Russia will be one of those places along with everyone they sell it to and everyone they do business with. COVID-19 is a litmus test of governments. Investors are looking around now looking for where the political risk really lies over the next decade. Sanctions, threats and capital controls can only slow the outflow but it can’t stop it.

Read more …

Winter is a bigger factor than most acknowledged.

US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.

“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021. The United States, which has the world’s third largest population, leads the planet with more than 186,000 COVID-19 deaths and 6.1 million coronavirus infections.

[..] The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues forecasts only four weeks in advance, and its latest estimate is for 200,000 to 211,000 dead by Sept. 26. But the institute said with so many Americans still refusing to wear masks, there remains “an extraordinary opportunity” to save lives. “Increasing mask use to the levels seen in Singapore would decrease the cumulative death toll to 288,000, or 122,000 lives saved compared to the reference scenario,” it said. “Mask use continues to decline from a peak in early August. Declines are notable throughout the Midwest, including in some states such as Illinois and Iowa with increasing case numbers,” the report said.

Although U.S. infections have declined to around 45,000 per day from a peak of around 70,000 per day in July, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death, the institute said. That would place it behind only heart disease, having surpassed cancer as a cause of death in the United States.

Read more …

How much sense can you make?

Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)

The Florida Department of Health is requiring that all labs in the state report the critical “cycle threshold” level of every COVID-19 test they perform. In a press release this week, the department said that, regarding COVID-19 tests, “cycle threshold (CT) values and their reference ranges, as applicable, must be reported by laboratories to FDOH via electronic laboratory reporting or by fax immediately.” “Cycle thresholds” are the level at which widely used polymerase chain reaction test can detect a sample of the COVID-19 virus.


The higher the number of cycles, the lower the amount of viral load in the sample; the lower the cycles, the more prevalent the virus was in the original sample. Numerous epidemiological experts have argued that cycle thresholds are an important metric by which patients and the public can make an informed decision about how infectious and/or sick an individual with a positive COVID-19 test might be. However, health departments across the country are failing to collect that data.

Read more …

Keep rates low or else!

COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)

The world’s appetite for borrowing is growing with global debt expected to reach the next milestone of $200 trillion as early as this year, according to ratings agency S&P Global. That will reportedly account for 265 percent of the world’s annual economic output, amounting to a 14-point rise as a percentage of world GDP. The dramatic surge was triggered by both the economic plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the extra borrowing that governments, firms and households have had to fall back upon, the New York-based agency said. “Global debt-to-GDP has been trending up for many years; the pandemic simply exacerbated the rise,” the report reads.


Despite mounting debt and a series of defaults over the coming year, the S&P doesn’t expect a major crisis any time soon. “The projected 14-percent surge in global debt-to-GDP in 2020 is unlikely to cause a near-term debt crisis, provided economies recover, vaccines are widely distributed, interest rates remain very low, and borrowing behavior moderates,” the agency said. The global debt-to-GDP ratio will reportedly ease back to 256 percent within two years, as soon as the world economy gets back on its feet after the pandemic. “We expect the debt growth of corporates, governments, and household to ease as they tend to after recessions,” the report reads.

Read more …

Bernie never recovered from the smears.

Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)

That Putin wanted Tump to win was one of the leading themes used by Democratic-Party-allied media outlets to attack Trump, rendering it crippling for Sanders to be similarly tied to Moscow, particularly given the perception that Putin would help Sanders because the Kremlin judged him to be the weakest candidate against the GOP president. Indeed, The Post article explicitly drew the Sanders/Trump comparison (emphasis added): The disclosure of Russian assistance to Sanders follows a briefing to lawmakers last week in which a senior intelligence official said that Russia wants to see Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments. . . .

The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia’s broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. Reflecting his 2020 strategy of trying to appease the Democratic establishment in lieu of his more successful 2016 strategy of proudly positioning himself as its adversary, Sanders by this point had repeatedly echoed the maximalist conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia, leaving him with little room to maneuver once this Cold War tactic was predictably deployed against him. After suggesting the leak to The Post was intended to harm his campaign, he had no other options beyond sputtering with faux-toughness about how he would show Putin who was boss.

In other words — both prior to the leak and after — Sanders repeatedly validated rather than scorned the CIA’s Russia narrative (just as he did with the equally cynical Bernie Bro attacks). So it put him in a defensive crouch for the rest of the campaign, unable to explain why Putin — Public Enemy Number One among the Democratic Party base — was trying to help him win.

Read more …

“..it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.”

The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)

It seems the subject of Donald Trump, like necessity, is the mother of invention, at least when it comes to legal analysis. From bribery statutes to constitutional provisions, legal experts routinely and unfailingly conclude that Trump or his family can be prosecuted or impeached for an endless array of misdeeds. Even theories denied by the Supreme Court are seen as valid when used against Trump. Now the same certainty has been declared on whether Trump can grant himself a pardon. One of the longest standing debates in constitutional law is dismissed as ill-informed by some of the same experts. His role as a catalyst for clarity was apparent in an interview by Harvard professor Laurence Tribe.

After host Lawrence O’Donnell said he believed a president could give himself a pardon, Tribe proclaimed such a view is “incoherent and incompatible” as a constitutional matter. The declaration likely surprised few on MSNBC. Tribe has been an outspoken critic of Trump, whom he has denounced as a “terrorist,” and he has supported a wide array of criminal and constitutional claims against him. These views are popular as are Tribe’s increasingly personal diatribes, including vulgar attacks on Republican leaders and even a false attack on Attorney William Barr for his Catholic faith. For the record, I have maintained that a president can grant himself a pardon. I held that position before Trump took office. I also believe a president can be indicted in office.

The reason is the same: The Constitution prohibits neither a self-pardon nor a presidential indictment. This is not the first time that Tribe and I have disagreed. Two decades ago, we testified together at the impeachment hearing of President Clinton. At that time, Tribe was far more restrictive in his legal and constitutional interpretations, declaring that lying under oath in the Clinton case would not be an impeachable offense. While a federal court and Democrats agreed that Clinton knowingly committed perjury, Tribe insisted that a president could commit perjury in certain circumstances and not be impeached. Thus, a president can commit a felony for which thousands have been incarcerated, including those prosecuted by his own administration, but he should not be removed from office for the same act.

[..] The stronger argument against a presidential self-pardon is not the textual one raised by Tribe but, simply, that the Constitution should be read to include a principle against self-dealing. Yet presidents regularly engage in all forms of self-dealing, from nepotism to favoritism to cronyism, without a hint of constitutional difficulty. Bill Clinton not only appointed his wife to head a major federal commission on health care but pardoned his own half-brother. The Framers did not bar such forms of self-dealing any more than they barred self-pardons. This is why Trump can pardon himself, and why he should not do so. Just as I denounced Clinton for abusing the pardon powers, I believe such a step by Trump would be an even greater abuse. In other words, it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.

Read more …

Dec 8 and Dec14 are arbitrary dates. Only Jan 20 is cast in stone.

Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) faces an uphill battle if he challenges the Electoral College and backs President Trump on Jan. 6, when Congress is scheduled to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Brooks said this week he has been sharing his plan with fellow House members in hopes of invoking the 12th Amendment and helping Trump win. At least one senator must partner with Brooks to trigger a vote on an electoral challenge, and Brooks told Fox News Radio on Thursday, “We have some leads for United States Senators who may do it.” Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, in a contingent election no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, and the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives.

There, each state’s delegation has one vote, and a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of state delegations to win. Because of the calendar, the new Congress is the one that decides, not the outgoing one. In the new Congress, there are more states with Republican delegations than Democratic ones, so in that scenario, Trump would win. “Thank you to Representative Mo Brooks,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning after news of Brooks’ intention broke. “Ask your senators and congressman if they will object to any Electoral College certification of Joe Biden on January 6,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch tweeted Nov. 23. It’s unlikely, however, that Brooks would be able to successfully invoke the 12th Amendment if he can’t get a majority of both the House and the Senate to support his efforts.

Brooks said he doesn’t think he needs a majority. Legal experts disagree, arguing that while a single member of the House and Senate can raise an objection, majorities in both the House and the Senate would have to approve it for any electoral votes to be tossed out. This would not happen under a Democratic-controlled House. “They are misunderstanding the law,” says election law expert Hans von Spakovsky. The procedures for the counting of Electoral College votes in Congress are set forth in 3 U.S.C. 15, according to von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission and manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative.

“What it says is that an objection can be filed to the certification of votes from the states when they are being counted in the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, if it is signed by one member of the House and one member of the Senate,” he told Just the News. “However, the Senate and the House then each have to stage a vote on the objection, which obviously will not go forward unless a majority of senators and a majority of representatives approve of the objection.”

Read more …

Poland and Hungary are becoming a very big problem for Europe.

Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)

It’s all happening at once for the EU. Fundamental problems and disputes, long fudged, postponed or ignored, are simultaneously coming to a head. Is this a union of shared values or of economic interests? Who pays the bills? How is Europe best defended when the US cannot be trusted? What about Turkey? And then there’s “bloody Brexit”. Little wonder some are predicting a nervous collapse. These fraught issues and more will converge at this week’s “doomsday” EU summit, presaging greater-than-usual fractiousness. But if it is as inconclusive as many previous gatherings, the European project faces serious trouble. Implementation of the €1.1tn, seven-year EU budget and €750bn Covid recovery fund cannot sensibly be delayed much longer. Yet two states – Poland and Hungary – are blocking the way.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s rightwing populist leader, and Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, jointly declared last week they would veto the budget if it retained “rule of law” criteria requiring adherence to EU-defined standards of judicial independence. Both governments are in long-running disputes over what Brussels views as their illiberal, “un-European” policies on judges, media freedom and women’s and gender rights. They reject what they call “politically motivated” meddling. The fact that the row is blocking timely pandemic relief shames the EU. If it cannot unite to fight this unprecedented human emergency, voters will ask, then what can it do? Even the experienced German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who holds the EU presidency, is flailing as the French and others insist they will not bow to authoritarian diktats.

This dispute, plus ongoing tensions over the cost of an expanded budget now UK contributions are ending, prompted an intriguing intervention last week from António Costa, the Portuguese prime minister. Portugal assumes the EU presidency next month, and is staring aghast at the can of worms it’s inheriting. Costa’s proposal was suitably radical: effectively split the EU in two, and thus save it, by recognising irreconcilable internal differences. This variation on the old idea of a two-speed or two-tier Europe would be based not on geography but on values, Costa suggested. It would separate the so-called “frugal” states – the Netherlands, Austria and Nordic countries concerned about high spending and fiscal transfers – plus east European states opposed to rule of law mechanisms and migrant quotas – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – from the remainder.

“Basically, it is whether the EU is a union of values or whether, on the contrary, it is primarily an economic instrument,” Costa argued. Countries opposing further integration would benefit from “variable geometries” while others like France, and southern states such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, could pursue their version of ever closer union. It’s a brave idea that Costa, reportedly with French backing, will pursue at a special spring summit in Lisbon. Yet it has a major flaw. Germany, the EU’s chief paymaster with a current net budget contribution of €12.8bn, gives lip service to EU integration and solidarity. But it has a deeply ingrained horror of underwriting the profligacy and pipe-dreams of indebted fellow eurozone members.

This same German reluctance hinders Emmanuel Macron’s ambitions for a unified “global Europe” to match the US and China: Berlin fears it will end up footing the bill, financially and politically. When France’s president called again last month for a sovereign European defence strategy, Germany’s defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, slapped him down. “The idea of strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it nurtures the illusion that we could ensure Europe’s security, stability and prosperity without Nato and the US … Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves without America’s nuclear and conventional power. This is simply a fact,” she said. Macron was furious.

Read more …

Not going to happen.

UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

Britain must end all oil and gas extraction in the North Sea as a matter of urgency if it is to maintain its position as a credible climate champion. That was the stark warning issued by green campaigners yesterday in the wake of last week’s decision by Denmark to halt its exploration for new North Sea reserves as part of its commitment to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The Danish decision is an embarrassment for Boris Johnson who announced last week that Britain would take a lead in the battle against global heating by cutting national carbon emissions by 68% by 2030, a rate faster than any other major economy. However, the UK has not announced plans to end exploration in the North Sea for new gas and oil fields or to halt extraction there – despite the established link between global warming and fossil fuel extraction and burning.

By announcing its North Sea ban last week, say campaigners, Denmark has undermined Johnson’s attempt to portray himself as a world climate leader next Saturday when he is scheduled to co-host a virtual Climate Ambition summit of world leaders. “If the UK is to be a real global climate leader, it must follow Denmark’s lead by stopping issuing new oil and gas exploration licences and delivering a managed phase-out of oil and gas extraction,” said Ken Penton, UK climate campaigner for the international NGO, Global Witness. “This must include funding a just transition for oil and gas workers and their communities to ensure they can benefit from the new green economy and do not suffer the fate of UK coal miners and their communities.”

The Danish government voted on Thursday to cancel the country’s next North Sea oil and gas licensing round, 80 years after it first began exploiting its hydrocarbon reserves. Denmark’s 55 existing platforms, spread across 20 oil and gas fields, will be allowed to continue extracting fossil fuels but the decision to end the hunt for new reserves will guarantee an end to Denmark’s fossil fuel production.

Read more …

 

 

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Stephanie Kelton Deficits

 

 

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Feb 222019
 


Salvador Dali The ghost of Vermeer of Delft which can be used as a table 1934

 

US Housing Market In Freefall As New Buyers Can’t Afford A Home (ZH)
Canadians Continue To Plunder Equity From Their Homes (ZH)
Bursting Of Australia’s Housing Bubble Could Topple The Government (ZH)
EU Expects May to Request Three-Month Delay to Brexit (BBG)
Theresa May Warned Dozens Of Tories Could Rebel Over No-Deal Brexit (BBC)
Record Surplus Gives UK Pre-Brexit Boost (G.)
Anti-Semitism Is Cover For A Much Deeper Divide In UK Labour Party (Cook)
Macron Calls Anti-Zionism A Form Of Antisemitism (Ind.)
Philadelphia Sues Seven Big Banks For Bond Collusion (RT)
FBI Lawyer Reveals Infiltration In Trump Campaign (ET)
Judge Imposes Sweeping Gag Order On Roger Stone (MW)
Hungary Takes ‘Hundreds Of Venezuelan Refugees With Hungarian Ancestry’ (Ind.)
Julian Assange Gets A New Australian Passport (SMH)
US Cities Burn Recyclables After China Bans Imports (G.)
World Food Supply Under ‘Severe Threat’ From Loss Of Biodiversity (G.)

 

 

Meanwhile in the real world that central bankers don’t want you to see:

US Housing Market In Freefall As New Buyers Can’t Afford A Home (ZH)

[..] with consensus expecting a tiny rebounding in January following December’s sharp drop, the deterioration in the US home market continued, and January existing home unexpectedly dropped 1.2% (exp. +0.2%), to 4.94 million, missing expectations of a rebound to 5.00 million. After December’s revision higher to 5.00 million, the January SAAR of 4.94 million was the first sub-5MM print since 2015, while the parallel pending home sales series confirms even more weakness is in store. Needless to say, it is very troubling that Americans are unable to afford home purchases with the 30% mortgage at just 4.5%, and suggests that even if inflation picks up, the Fed may have no choice but to keep rates flat to avoid a housing market crash.

As usual, NAR chief economist Larry Yun was optimistic, saying that he does not expect the numbers to decline further going forward. “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.” One wonders what “gains in household income” he is talking about. Meanwhile, properties are failing to sell as the slowdown spreads: Properties remained on the market for an average of 49 days in January, up from 46 days in December and 42 days a year ago. Thirty-eight percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

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“Vancouver [..] saw home sales fall about 40% in January from the same month a year earlier.”

Canadians Continue To Plunder Equity From Their Homes (ZH)

Canadians are accelerating the rate at which they borrow cash against their homes, despite the fact that the real estate market is slumping in the country. This exposes the country’s financial system to obvious vulnerabilities, according to rating company DBRS and Bloomberg. Home equity lines of credit in Canada reached a record $184.5 billion (USD) as of October 31, which equates to 11.3% of total household credit. This is the highest share since mid 2015, according to a report released last Thursday. Canadians are drawing on their home’s equity to fund everything from home renovations to car purchases. And they’re doing it so quickly that borrowing has grown faster than mortgages since 2017.

Analyst Robert Colangelo, who published the report on Thursday, commented: “The flexibility of Helocs could increase financial system vulnerabilities. In the event of a correction, borrowers could find themselves with a debt load that exceeds the value of their home, which is often referred to as negative equity.” Obviously, home equity lines of credit can decrease visibility for lenders to identify credit problems as consumers use the equity in their homes to consolidate high interest loans and unsecured debt into one lump sum at a lower rate. Out of all of the Canadian banks, Toronto Dominion bank has the largest exposure to Helocs at about 39%, followed by Royal Bank of Canada which has 18% exposure. Other large banks are averaging 11% exposure, according to the report.

And the timing for Helocs to grow couldn’t be worse. Toronto’s real estate market continues to feel pain. Sales of new homes in the city fell to the lowest in almost 2 decades in 2018 and a glut of unsold condominiums continue to pile up, according to a Building Industry and Land Development Association report released February 1. Vancouver, still feeling the deflationary effects of a foreign real estate bubble popping, saw home sales fall about 40% in January from the same month a year earlier.

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People aged 65-74: A$566,000 wealthier in 2015-16 than the same age group was 12 years earlier. People aged 25-34: A$38,000.

That could topple a lot more than only a government.

Bursting Of Australia’s Housing Bubble Could Topple The Government (ZH)

In one of the world’s most developed economies, soaring costs for housing and education are rapidly widening the wealth-distribution gap between the younger and older generations amid the backdrop of one of the longest economic expansions in the country’s history. As younger workers grapple with the notion that they may never be able to afford a home, a backlash is stirring in the political arena, as younger voters embrace progressive (some would say “socialist”) politicians. No, we’re not talking about the US. We’re talking about Australia. After six years of tumultuous Liberal rule, the Labour Party is hoping to wrest back control of the government during elections later this year.

And it sees tackling this intergenerational divide as the best way to do it. And combating the country’s increasingly unaffordable housing bubble is a key plank of its proposals. The party has pledged to curb tax breaks for property investors that helped drive up home prices (alongside an influx of foreign capital). Labor leader Bill Shorten has promised to scrap tax refunds worth A$5 billion ($3.6 billion) a year for share investors. The benefits are already being seen in the polls, where Labour is seeing a slight advantage. After 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, Australians are struggling with the fact that the wealthy have enjoyed the bulk of the economic benefits.

While Australia has avoided recession for 27 years, the spoils have not been shared evenly as older people capture a greater share of the nation’s wealth. According to the Grattan Institute, households headed by people aged 65-74 were on average A$566,000 wealthier in 2015-16 than the same age group was 12 years earlier. That far outstrips growth in other bands and compares with just A$38,000 for the 25-34 age group. [..] While Sydney’s median house price is still more than A$900,000 [..] prices have already fallen 12% since their mid-2017 peak.

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Doesn’t she want to run down the clock?

EU Expects May to Request Three-Month Delay to Brexit (BBG)

The European Union expects U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to be forced to request a three-month delay to Brexit, two EU officials said. Discussions between the two sides suggest May will ask for an extension to the two-year negotiating period if the British Parliament backs the Brexit deal but it isn’t signed off until an EU summit on March 21-22. That is emerging as the EU’s current plan. The EU sees this as a “technical extension” to give British Parliament time to pass necessary legislation related to its departure from the bloc. Anything longer than three months would put the U.K. under pressure to take part in European elections on May 23-26, something that both sides are keen to avoid.

May is racing against the clock to change a controversial part of her deal, known as the “backstop,” in a way that would be acceptable to both the U.K. Parliament and the EU. However, with just five weeks to go until the U.K.’s scheduled departure from the EU and talks at an impasse, ministers and lawmakers in her own party are threatening to vote against her next week to give Parliament control of the process. The prime minister has repeatedly spoken out against a delay, saying she wants to take the U.K. out of the EU as scheduled at the end of March. She’s never completely ruled it out, however. Any postponement would have to be requested by the U.K. and accepted by all the remaining 27 EU governments.

EU officials say the three-month extension would happen under their most optimistic scenario. The risk remains that the U.K. could leave the bloc March 29 without a deal. Alternatively, May could be forced to contemplate a longer delay if she can’t get backing for the agreement, according to one official.

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Chances that Parliament will vote her deal through are slim.

Theresa May Warned Dozens Of Tories Could Rebel Over No-Deal Brexit (BBC)

Dozens of normally loyal Conservative MPs could rebel against the government in a bid to prevent a “no-deal” Brexit, Downing Street has been warned. Leaders of the Brexit Delivery Group of both Leavers and Remainers say MPs may back alternatives if Mrs May’s reworked deal cannot command a Commons majority. Co-chairman Andrew Percy told the BBC more than 30 may try to block no deal. The government says “productive” talks in Brussels aimed at addressing MPs’ concerns continue “urgently”. The UK remains on course to leave the European Union on 29 March. But the government has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of the UK leaving without a formal deal, in the event that Mrs May cannot get MPs to approve the deal she negotiated with Brussels in time.

Many MPs fear that scenario would be damaging to business and cause chaos at ports. However, Brexiteers in the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs insist the “no-deal” option must be preserved as negotiating leverage in Brussels. Mr Percy told the BBC members of his group were becoming “tired” of the ERG’s refusal to back the prime minister. In a letter to government whips, he and co-chairman Simon Hart write: “Not only does this risk damaging the national interest, but also… we are putting in jeopardy the very thing many colleagues have spent decades campaigning for; our exit from the European Union.”

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The wonders of strip-mining social programs.

Record Surplus Gives UK Pre-Brexit Boost (G.)

Britain has recorded the biggest-ever monthly surplus in public finances since the early 1990s, putting the government on a strong footing in the run-up to Brexit, now less than 40 days away. In a rare piece of positive economic news for Philip Hammond as he prepares for his spring statement next month, income from taxes outstripped public spending by £14.9bn, the biggest January surplus since records began in 1993. Although January is typically a surplus month for the exchequer because of seasonal trends in the payment of taxes, the Office for National Statistics said last month’s surplus was £5.5bn larger than a year ago. Income and capital gains tax receipts increased by 14%, twice the average growth rate earlier in the year.

Combined, the income from self-assessed income taxes and capital gains tax receipts was £21.4bn, the highest in January since comparable records began in 2000. The data comes after several disappointing months for the chancellor, as borrowing came in worse than forecast. Government borrowing for the first 10 months of the financial year has, however, fallen almost by half, as tax receipts have been much stronger than expected. The exchequer has borrowed about £21.2bn this year so far, £18.5bn lower than at the same point a year ago, and the lowest since the 10 months to January 2001. The latest update means the government could be on track to reduce the deficit – the gap between spending and tax income – close to its target of £25.5bn set by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which is 39% less than in 2017-18.

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Who in the party will defend Corbyn?

Anti-Semitism Is Cover For A Much Deeper Divide In UK Labour Party (Cook)

The announcement by seven MPs from the UK Labour Party on Monday that they were breaking away and creating a new parliamentary faction marked the biggest internal upheaval in a British political party in nearly 40 years, when the SDP split from Labour. On Wednesday, they were joined by an eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan, and three Conservative MPs. There are predictions more will follow. With the UK teetering on the brink of crashing out of the European Union with no deal on Brexit, the founders of the so-called Independent Group made reference to their opposition to Brexit. The chief concern cited for the split by the eight Labour MPs, though, was a supposed “anti-semitism crisis” in the party.

The breakaway faction seemingly agrees that anti-semitism has become so endemic in the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader more than three years ago that they were left with no choice but to quit. Corbyn, it should be noted, is the first leader of a major British party to explicitly prioritise the rights of Palestinians over Israel’s continuing belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territories. Luciana Berger, a Jewish MP who has highlighted what she sees as an anti-semitism problem under Corbyn, led the charge, stating at the Independent Group’s launch that she had reached “the sickening conclusion” that Labour was “institutionally racist”. She and her allies claim she has been hounded out of the party by “anti-semitic bullying”.

[..] The timing of the defections was strange, occurring shortly after the Labour leadership revealed the findings of an investigation into complaints of anti-semitism in the party. These were the very complaints that MPs such as Berger have been citing as proof of the party’s “institutional racism”. And yet, the report decisively undercut their claims – not only of endemic anti-semitism in Labour, but of any significant problem at all. That echoed an earlier report by the Commons home affairs committee, which found there was “no reliable, empirical evidence” that Labour had more of an anti-semitism problem than any other British political party. Nonetheless, the facts seem to be playing little or no part in influencing the anti-semitism narrative. This latest report was thus almost entirely ignored by Corbyn’s opponents and by the mainstream media.

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Macron gambles that he can silence the Yellow Vests with antisemitism smear.

Macron Calls Anti-Zionism A Form Of Antisemitism (Ind.)

Emmanuel Macron has declared anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism as he ramps up France’s crackdown on racism against Jewish people. Speaking at the 34th annual dinner of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, Mr Macron said a surge in antisemitic attacks in his country had not been seen since World War Two. He promised a new law to tackle hate speech on the internet and said France would adopt the definition of antisemitism set by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The IHRA definition does not use the phrase “anti-Zionism” but does say denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination “e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour,” is antisemitic.

Some critics of Israel, its occupation of territory internationally recognised as Palestinian, and its isolation of the Gaza Strip, say they risk being unfairly branded antisemitic, although the IHRA definition says: “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country” is not. Mr Macron’s words were well received from the World Jewish Congress which said: “This is just the beginning of a long road ahead. Adopting this definition of anti-Semitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that this is enforced.”

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Stop suing the banks. Sue their execs instead.

Philadelphia Sues Seven Big Banks For Bond Collusion (RT)

The city of Philadelphia is suing Bank of America and six other major banks for conspiring to manipulate the rates of municipal bonds, illegally making millions of dollars while depriving the city of funds for public services. Pennsylvania’s largest city, with over 1.5 million residents, filed the complaint late on Wednesday in the federal court in Manhattan. The city accuses Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Canada and Wells Fargo of colluding to manipulate rates of variable-rate demand obligations (VRDO), of which Philadelphia has issued over $1.6 billion-worth. The fees the banks collected, in violation of federal antitrust laws, have deprived Philadelphia and other jurisdictions of critical funding for public services, the lawsuit claims.

According to the court documents, the banks are already being criminally investigated by the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, while the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has contacted four of the defendants with questions about their conduct. The lawsuit claims that phone and email records will show that the banks agreed not to compete with each other for VRDO remarketing services between February 2008 and June 2016, resulting in artificially high rates and banks collecting fees “for doing, essentially, nothing.”

Similar lawsuits are already being litigated in Massachusetts, California, Illinois and New York, accusing major banks of conspiring to “robo-reset” the rates of state VRDOs without any considerations for the local markets or investor demand, violating the requirement to market and price the bonds at the lowest possible interest rates. Plaintiffs in those four lawsuits are seeking to recover over $1 billion in fees, ranging from $100 million in Massachusetts and $349 million in Illinois to $719 million in California, while the New York numbers have not been made available yet.

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Some things are impossible to properly summarize in a few lines. Read the whole thing at Epoch Times.

And again: the US needs a Special Counsel for this. The FBI cannot be a state within the state.

FBI Lawyer Reveals Infiltration In Trump Campaign (ET)

A key player in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign was Trisha Anderson, who, at the time, was the No. 2 lawyer at the agency’s Office of General Counsel. Despite having no specific experience in counterintelligence before coming to the FBI, Anderson was, in some manner, involved in virtually all of the significant events of the investigation. Anderson told members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in August last year during closed-door testimony that she was one of only about 10 people who had known about the Trump–Russia investigation prior to its official opening.

A transcript of Anderson’s testimony, which was reviewed for this article, reveals that she had read all of the FBI’s FD302 forms detailing information that the author of the Steele dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, had provided to high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr. Anderson also told lawmakers that she personally signed off on the original application for a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page without having read it. The FBI relied heavily on the unverified information in the Steele dossier—which was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—to obtain the FISA warrant.

Anderson also was part of a small group of FBI personnel who got to read then-FBI Director James Comey’s memos about conversations he had with President Donald Trump. Besides the investigation into Trump, Anderson also was involved in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton for sending classified information using a private server. Anderson’s testimony reveals that she received the original referral from the inspectors general for both the State Department and Intelligence Community on Clinton after hundreds of classified emails had been found on her server. Her testimony also raises questions as to whether then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest.

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Get the impressions Stone’s getting bored sitting at home.

Judge Imposes Sweeping Gag Order On Roger Stone (MW)

A judge imposed a sweeping gag order on Roger Stone, the former political adviser to President Donald Trump, after he created an Instagram post of the judge presiding over his criminal case next to an image that appeared to show the crosshairs of a gun. Stone told the judge at a hearing Thursday he made an “egregious error.” The new gag order prevents Stone from making any public comments on the case or investigation other than to solicit funds for his legal defense. If Stone violates the new gag order, his bond will be revoked and he’ll be detained. “There will not be a third chance,” District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said.

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I had no idea.

Hungary Takes ‘Hundreds Of Venezuelan Refugees With Hungarian Ancestry’ (Ind.)

Hungary has accepted around 300 refugees from crisis-hit Venezuela, according to media reports from the country – surprising observers of its usually anti-immigration government. The refugees, who are thought to have Hungarian ancestry, are understood to have been welcomed into the country with the tacit support of the Orban administration and the help of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta. The news has come as a surprise in the conservative central European state, given the anti-immigration stances and refugee crackdowns of premier Viktor Orban.

“We are speaking about Hungarians and we do not consider Hungarians migrants,” Mr Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a press conference in response to the report. Confirming that the programme began in April 2018, he added: “They, like any other Hungarian, have a right to return home.” A controversial law passed by the Orban government last year restricted the activities of NGOs and charities that provide assistance to migrants. The law was de facto targeted at those groups helping people arriving by land from the Middle East and Africa. The Hungarian opposition seized on the latest developments, claiming the government was acting hypocritically.

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He got it back in October apparently, so no big immediate change.

And Center Alliance Senator Patrick having asked for the passport only so Julian can give himself up to the UK police doesn’t help either.

Julian Assange Gets A New Australian Passport (SMH)

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that Mr Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. Consular and Crisis Management Division first assistant secretary Andrew Todd said, “Mr Assange does have an Australian passport”. [..] The department is understood to have issued Mr Assange with his new passport in October. A DFAT official at an estimate’s hearing in October said Mr Assange’s passport application had “not been rejected”. But absolute confirmation that he has actually received a new passport did not come until Thursday’s heading. DFAT officials told the estimates hearing they had no knowledge of legal proceedings against Mr Assange in the United States.

Documents show Mr Assange’s UK-based lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, applied for a new passport on his behalf in mid-2018. DFAT replied that it was of the belief that Mr Assange’s entitlement to a passport may be affected by ongoing legal proceedings in the United Kingdom. “Specifically, we understand you may be the subject of an arrest warrant in connection with a ‘serious foreign offence’ within the meaning of section 13 of the Australian Passports Act 2005,” DFAT replied. “In order to progress your application, we require confirmation that section 13 is not enlivened by your circumstances. To this end, we ask that you provide us with confirmation that section 13 no longer applies to you. Until this time, your passport application will remain on hold.”

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, who has pursued Mr Assange’s right to a passport in recent estimates hearings, said that, given Mr Assange’s failing health, the best thing would be for him to leave the Ecuador embassy and face the British justice system over breaching his bail conditions. After that, he should return to Australia, Senator Patrick said.

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“Nearly four in 10 children in the city have asthma, while the rate of ovarian cancer is 64% higher than the rest of Pennsylvania and lung cancer rates are 24% higher..”

US Cities Burn Recyclables After China Bans Imports (G.)

The conscientious citizens of Philadelphia continue to put their pizza boxes, plastic bottles, yoghurt containers and other items into recycling bins. But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government. It’s a situation being replicated across the US as cities struggle to adapt to a recent ban by China on the import of items intended for reuse. The loss of this overseas dumping ground means that plastics, paper and glass set aside for recycling by Americans is being stuffed into domestic landfills or is simply burned in vast volumes. This new reality risks an increase of plumes of toxic pollution that threaten the largely black and Latino communities who live near heavy industry and dumping sites in the US.

About 200 tons of recycling material is sent to the huge Covanta incinerator in Chester City, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, every day since China’s import ban came into practice last year, the company says. [..] Some experts worry that burning plastic recycling will create a new fog of dioxins that will worsen an already alarming health situation in Chester. Nearly four in 10 children in the city have asthma, while the rate of ovarian cancer is 64% higher than the rest of Pennsylvania and lung cancer rates are 24% higher, according to state health statistics. The dilemma with what to do with items earmarked for recycling is playing out across the US. The country generates more than 250m tons of waste a year, according to the EPA, with about a third of this recycled and composted.

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Monoculture ‘R’ Us. You add it all up, the soil is poisoned, the food is poisoned, vertebrates are disappearing, insects are going gone, and how much longer for the human species?

World Food Supply Under ‘Severe Threat’ From Loss Of Biodiversity (G.)

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates. The stark warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world as farms, cities and factories gobble up land and pump out chemicals. Over the last two decades, approximately 20% of the earth’s vegetated surface has become less productive, said the report, launched on Friday. It noted a “debilitating” loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species. In the oceans, a third of fishing areas are being overharvested.

Many species that are indirectly involved in food production, such as birds that eat crop pests and mangrove trees that help to purify water, are less abundant than in the past, noted the study, which collated global data, academic papers and reports by the governments of 91 countries. It found 63% of plants, 11% of birds, and 5% of fish and fungi were in decline. Pollinators, which provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops, are under threat. As well as the well-documented decline of bees and other insects, the report noted that 17% of vertebrate pollinators, such as bats and birds, were threatened with extinction. Once lost, the species that are critical to our food systems cannot be recovered, it said. “This places the future of our food and the environment under severe threat.”

“The foundations of our food systems are being undermined,” wrote Graziano da Silva, the director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, in an introduction to the study. “Parts of the global report make sombre reading. It is deeply concerning that in so many production systems in so many countries, biodiversity for food and agriculture and the ecosystem services it provides are reported to be in decline.” Agriculture was often to blame, he said, due to land-use changes and unsustainable management practices, such as over-exploitation of the soil and a reliance on pesticides, herbicides and other agro-chemicals. Most countries said the main driver for biodiversity loss was land conversion, as forests were cut down for farm fields, and meadows covered in concrete for cities, factories and roads. Other causes include overexploitation of water supplies, pollution, over-harvesting, the spread of invasive species and climate change.

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