Sep 252022
 
 September 25, 2022  Posted by at 8:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Night fishing at Antibes 1939

 

Ukraine, EU’s Dictatorship And Change Of Global Order – Lavrov (RT)
Russia Calls Out Western Elites At UN (RT)
Hungarian FM Warns Of Apocalyptic Conflict (RT)
As Democracy Dies in the EU, Von der Leyen Reveals its Sins (Luongo)
Azov Delegation Visits the US (MR)
Strike Kills Hundreds Of Foreign Fighters In Ukraine – Russia (RT)
Germany Needs Russian Gas – Saxony PM Kretschmer (RT)
Truss’s Extreme Right-Wing Putsch (Pettifor)
The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire (Doug Casey)
Ukraine: The CIA’s 75-year-old Proxy (Sussman)
Ford Forced To Park Thousands Of Unfinished Vehicles (RT)
Republicans Push For Special Counsel In Hunter Biden Probe (CB)
WaPo Columnist Calls for the End of Impartiality and Balance (Turley)
Covid Update: What Is The Truth? (NIH)

 

 

 

 

Ritter

 

 

 

 

Amish warp speed

 

 

 

 

 

 

“[Zelensky] advised everyone who feels Russian to ‘go to Russia’ for the benefit of their children and grandchildren. That’s what the residents of said regions are doing now, taking their lands, on which their ancestors lived for centuries, with them”.

Ukraine, EU’s Dictatorship And Change Of Global Order – Lavrov (RT)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke at the 77th UN General Assembly on Saturday, explaining Russian stance on the key international issues, relationship with the collective West and the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. After delivering his speech at the UNGA, Lavrov gave a big press conference on the sidelines of the event. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is largely a result of the inability of the collective West to negotiate with Russia and address its security concerns, Lavrov told the UNGA. All the repeated attempts to establish the rules of co-existence made by Moscow have been ignored, he said. “We have repeatedly proposed over the years to agree on the rules for coexistence in Europe based on the principle of equal and indivisible security, approved at the highest level of OSCE documents. We made our last proposal to make this principle legally binding in December 2021, to which we received an arrogant refusal,” Lavrov stated.

Ukraine has become a mere tool for Washington to maintain its global dominance and target Russia, the top diplomat believes. “It is evident to any unbiased observer: for the Anglo-Saxons, who have completely subjugated Europe, Ukraine is simply expendable material in the fight against Russia. NATO declared our country a direct threat on the path to total US dominance, and named China as a long-term strategic challenge,” Lavrov told the UNGA. The minister further elaborated on the matter at the press conference after his speech, stating that Moscow already views the US and its NATO bloc as parties of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Recently, Ukrainian military has admitted that the Pentagon chooses targets for them, he explained. “What is this if not a direct participation in aiming of deadly weapons and participation in the war?” Lavrov said.

Russia’s top diplomat also touched upon the ongoing referendums in the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics, as well as in the Russian-controlled parts of Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. While the vote has already triggered a “tantrum” in Ukraine and in the West, with the G7 vowing even more anti-Russian sanctions, the referendums are actually fully in line with Kiev’s wishes, Lavrov suggested. “The people living there are essentially only reacting to what President Zelensky recommended for them to do in one of his interviews in August 2021. Back then, he advised everyone who feels Russian to ‘go to Russia’ for the benefit of their children and grandchildren. That’s what the residents of said regions are doing now, taking their lands, on which their ancestors lived for centuries, with them”.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington’s strive for global domination and exceptionalism has reached an unprecedented height, resulting in multiple aggressive wars and claiming lives of “many hundreds of thousands” of people worldwide, Lavrov stated. “Having proclaimed victory in the Cold War, Washington elevated itself almost to the rank of the messenger of God on earth, with no obligations, but only “sacred” rights to act with impunity, as it pleases and anywhere,” Lavrov said. Any nation can fall victim to Washington’s ambitions should it somehow anger the “self-styled masters of the world,” Lavrov warned. That fate has befallen people of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and other countries, he added.

The EU, while being “subjugated” by the US, is showing same symptoms of exceptionalism and arrogance, Lavrov believes. The minister recalled fresh remarks by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who threatened Italy with consequences should the upcoming polls actually show the projected right-wing tilt. “This is arrogance, sense of impunity, exceptionalism. Only they have the right to make judgments. What Mrs. von der Leyen said about the Italian elections was astounding,” Lavrov told the press conference, adding that he did not recall such threats made by an EU leader before. “The European Union, in principle, is becoming an authoritarian, rigid, dictatorial entity,” the top diplomat said.

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A bit more Lavrov.

Russia Calls Out Western Elites At UN (RT)

Years of NATO encroachment on Russia and the West’s refusal to negotiate over Ukraine left Russia “no choice” but to launch its special military operation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the UN on Saturday. However, Lavrov added that Russia is now shaping “the future of the world order.” “The US and its allies want to stop the march of history,” Lavrov declared from the podium in New York, describing how in the aftermath of the Cold War, Washington appointed itself “almost an envoy of God on earth,” launching foreign conflicts at will and expanding the NATO alliance deeper into Eastern Europe. The shifting of NATO’s borders to the east and its official declaration of interest in the Indo-Pacific region mean that the US-led bloc “now has the goal of subjugating the Asian area,” Lavrov stated.

However, it was the West’s refusal to negotiate over Ukraine that led Russia to fight back, he continued. “The West watched in silence as the coup plotters started bombing the east of Ukraine,” he said, referring to Kiev’s attacks on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics even after the Minsk agreements had been signed in 2014 and 2015. “Were we supposed to put up with Kiev’s attempt to ban the Russian language, education, Russian media and culture? The demands of chasing Russians out of Crimea? The declaration of war against the Donbass, the population of which was declared not human beings, but ‘creatures’ by both the former and the current Kiev’s authorities?”

Once the US and NATO rejected a Russian-proposed security deal for Ukraine, Moscow had “no choice but to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and start a special military operation,” Lavrov said, adding that “any sovereign self-respecting state would do the same, a state that understands its responsibility to its own people.” Seven months into that operation, and with Russia recently announcing the mobilization of some 300,000 additional troops, Lavrov told the assembly that “the future of the world order is being decided,” with the US-led “unipolar” model “receding into the past.”

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“It’s a definite red line for us. We don’t want to force the Hungarian people, who are in no way responsible for the war, to pay for it..”

Hungarian FM Warns Of Apocalyptic Conflict (RT)

The international community should now focus on ensuring that the current escalation between Moscow and NATO does not spiral into a direct military conflict, the Hungarian foreign minister has said. Speaking to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti while in New York for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, Peter Szijjarto said: “If you ask me, the most important task now is to prevent tensions in relations between Russia and NATO from growing into an open military confrontation.” The diplomat warned that the consequences would be catastrophic. Szijjarto went on to say that, like others from his generation, he had always hoped that he would never experience a war as devastating as WWII.


“We don’t want to put the existence of the planet on the line, because a direct conflict between NATO and Russia has no end, and everyone knows what it means,” he warned. According to Szijjarto, Hungary, which is a member of the military alliance itself, is doing its best to prevent this doomsday scenario. On Friday, he indicated that Budapest will not rush to impose new sanctions on Moscow, especially those affecting energy supplies. “It’s a definite red line for us. We don’t want to force the Hungarian people, who are in no way responsible for the war, to pay for it,” Szijjarto said. He also warned that the European economy is sliding into recession due to the punitive measures against Russia already in place.

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“..Von der Leyen and her merry tribe of vandals in Brussels cast themselves as the protectors of the sacred right of a ‘democracy’ they deny to anyone who disagrees with her.”

As Democracy Dies in the EU, Von der Leyen Reveals its Sins (Luongo)

It’s no secret at this point that the EU is an anti-democratic organization. The leadership isn’t elected, but selected from a pre-determined pool of candidates from within the Party structure. Everyone with the power to make a decision was placed there not by popular vote but by backroom collusion. As we approach this weekend’s Italian elections there is real despair in the air that there is any light out of this dark time. That no matter what decisions we try to make, they are only in service of those that seek total dominion. And yet all you hear from these Eurocrats is that we are in a “war of Democracy versus Autocracy,” as EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen put it in her hellish EU state of the union address to the European Parliament recently.

Cloaking herself in the inverse of the EU flag’s colors to show solidarity with another anti-democratic regime, Ukraine, Von der Leyen and her merry tribe of vandals in Brussels cast themselves as the protectors of the sacred right of a ‘democracy’ they deny to anyone who disagrees with her. The same can be said for nearly every major government in Europe. Every time an ‘election’ rolls around the local system is gamed to ensure a particular outcome. The political establishment always coalesces around maintaining the status quo, freezing out any possibility of an ‘unworkable’ or ‘representative’ coalition. Any outcome they can’t overcome that lies outside the scope of the EU’s values is either laden with poison pills, immediately put under pressure by the EU’s Byzantine rules, and eventually forced out of office.


There is no better example of this anti-democratic structure made flesh than Italy. For more than a decade Italians have been saddled with mostly-unelected technocratic governments who, at best, stymie any populist/sovereigntist impulses within Italy’s electorate or, at worst, advance the EU’s centralization agenda under the false rubrics of Climate Change and “European Values.” European Values is a phrase that is synonymous with the phrase “rules-based order.” We make the rules, they say, and you abide by them. We’re allowed to break those rules because 1) we can and 2) we are the goodies. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that as the Italians go to the polls this weekend with the center-right coalition led by the Brothers of Italy (FdI) likely to win a major, uncontestable victory, the unelected, openly totalitarian President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, openly threaten Italians to ‘vote right’ or face her wrath.

Meloni

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Italy bad, Azov good.

Azov Delegation Visits the US (MR)

Half a dozen representatives of the neo-Nazi-led Azov movement in Ukraine are currently visiting the United States, taking meetings in Washington and reaching out to Ukrainian Americans. Three are veterans of the far-right Azov Regiment who held out for numerous weeks in the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Among them is Giorgi Kuparashvili, a co-founder of the Azov Regiment and a leader of its Yevhen Konovalets Military School, named for the founder of the fascistic Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. According to journalist Leonid Ragozin, “The school functioned outside Ukraine’s system of military education — one of many reasons to suspect that Azov was highly autonomous and never truly integrated in [the] armed forces.”

The Azov veterans were accompanied by two wives and a mother of POWs from Azovstal, including Kateryna Prokopenko, who is married to the just-freed, far-right Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko. (According to the US-funded Radio Svoboda, the Georgian-born Kuparashvili mentored Prokopenko.) The three women represented the Azovstal Defenders’ Family Association, led by Kateryna Prokopenko. The group first made an impromptu appearance at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey (UACCNJ) in Whippany on Saturday, September 17. The last minute event, thrown together the day before, promised to “dispel the Russian agitprop that the Azov regiment is nazi.” The UACCNJ warned Facebook followers, “WE ARE NOT RECOMMENDING THAT YOU BRING YOUNG CHILDREN,” but the audience appears to have mostly consisted of children from its Saturday school.

According to Michael Hrycak, the New Jersey Department Commander of the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV), his organization invited Azov “to visit the United States to spread their story about holding out in Mariupol.” He claimed the delegation would be giving testimony to Congress and the United Nations. The Defense Ministry of Ukraine tweeted that they should. Walter Kovbasniuk, the past commander of UAV Post 17 in Passaic, New Jersey, exchanged “Azov’s signature salute” with a former POW, “their fists held tight across their chests.” Leonid Ragozin has described this “making ‘from heart to the sun’ gesture” as “a crypto-fascist substitute for Sieg Heil.” In Washington DC, the Azov delegation met with a North American leader of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and at least a few members of Congress: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

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“Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu revealed that Russian forces and the militias of the Donbass republics had eliminated more than 2,000 foreign mercenaries.”

Strike Kills Hundreds Of Foreign Fighters In Ukraine – Russia (RT)

Up to 300 foreigners fighting for Kiev against Moscow have been killed in Nikolayev Region in southern Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday. “Up to 300 militants were eliminated by a missile attack on the point of temporary deployment of foreign mercenaries in the area of the village of Kalinovka, Nikolayev Region,” the ministry’s spokesman, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, announced during his daily briefing. This adds to a growing list of foreign combatants who have lost their lives fighting for Ukraine. Earlier this week, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu revealed that Russian forces and the militias of the Donbass republics had eliminated more than 2,000 foreign mercenaries.

As of September 21, 1,000 foreigners remained in the ranks of the Ukrainian military, according to the minister, whereas in April the number was estimated at 3,000. Russian forces also eliminated more than 200 Ukrainian troops in Nikolayev Region, and almost as many more in Kharkov Region and in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Konashenkov said. The military spokesman also revealed during the briefing that in the vicinity of the village of Sergeyevka, in southeastern Dnepropetrovsk Region, a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 that had been “converted to use American HARM anti-radar missiles.” Since the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February, Moscow has been warning Western countries to stop“pumping up” Ukraine with weapons, arguing that it would only prolong the conflict.

However, in the wake of Russia’s recent announcement of a partial mobilization of reservists, Kiev’s supporters, including the US and UK, have pledged to sustain or increase their military assistance to Ukraine. On Friday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted that his country’s forces have been suffering at least 50 casualties a day. He claimed, however, that the Russian side was losing several times more. Zelensky’s comments came soon after Shoigu’s announcement that Russia’s forces have lost 5,937 troops since the beginning of the military offensive. According to the minister, the losses on the Ukrainian side were ten times higher, at an estimated 61,000 soldiers dead.

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Kretschmer keeps calling for détente.

Germany Needs Russian Gas – Saxony PM Kretschmer (RT)

Russian gas supplies are critical for Germany, and will remain so in the foreseeable future despite Berlin’s attempts to diversify its energy sources, Saxony’s minister-president Michael Kretschmer warned. In an interview with the newspapers belonging to Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe on Saturday, Kretschmer said: “We are already witnessing that we can’t do without Russian gas.” The official added that the sanctions imposed by Berlin over Russia’s offensive against Ukraine have “contributed to this shortage situation.” According to Kretschmer, Berlin should try to make sure that it keeps receiving Russian gas after the armed conflict in Ukraine is over. He added that the current exorbitant prices for the fuel are ruining Germany’s industry.


As a stopgap measure to alleviate the situation Saxony’s governor suggested prolonging the operational lives of Germany’s three nuclear power plants, as well as reactivating some of the existing facilities that had previously been shut down. According to the German government’s current plans, two of the three remaining nuclear power plants should be kept on stand-by until mid-April 2023. However, barring any changes, all nuclear facilities will be disconnected from the German grid by the end of this year. Saxony’s minister-president went on to say that Germany should not give up its ambitious plans to become climate neutral, but noted that a “new path” is needed. The governor explained that previous plans to use “gas as a bridge technology” are apparently not going to materialize. Apart from prolonging the use of nuclear power plants, Kretschmer also suggested turning more to Qatar as a gas supplier and also tapping domestic gas supplies.

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“An unelected government that has chosen this moment to use the power of the state to capture public wealth and divert it to the top ranks of the private sector..”

Markets don’t like this at all. Sterling and gilts are off a cliff.

Truss’s Extreme Right-Wing Putsch (Pettifor)

Budgets often reflect nothing more than the dreams and aspirations of a finance minister. Today Britain’s finance minister presented a budget which revealed something more sinister. The overthrow of the Johnson government was indeed a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to dislodge the electoral mandate (for “levelling up”) of a government and replace it with an undemocratic mandate to serve the interests of the very rich, while bearing (or “levelling”) down on the poor. This IS the right wing Revolt of the Rich. Johnson’s elected government’s 2019 manifesto promised: “Millions more invested every week in science, schools, apprenticeships and infrastructure while controlling debt.”


UK 10 Year Bond Chart

Today, the Debt Management Office reported effectively that debt was no longer being controlled – but would expand by £72 billion by the end of this year -£45bn of which is attributed to the debt-financed tax-cutting package “that sparked a historic increase in borrowing costs.” Britain now has an extreme right-wing government with no electoral mandate, and one supported by a minority of Tory MPs in a deeply divided governing party. An unelected government that has chosen this moment to use the power of the state to capture public wealth and divert it to the top ranks of the private sector – bankers, investors, developers and speculators. At the same time the poor are threatened with the loss of livelihoods if they do not single-handedly increase their own meagre earnings.


They are expected to do this as the economy is deliberately plunged into recession by a combination of inflationary rises in globalised energy and food prices; by a corresponding fall in real (inflation-adjusted) wages; and by the ratcheting up of interest rates by the Bank of England. Speaking of the Bank of England: that institution is now engaged in open conflict with the Liz Truss regime and Kwasi Kwarteng, the new finance minister – a conflict that can only end in economic upheaval. Yesterday the Bank published a statement on the decision of the members of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise the Bank rate of interest to 2.25% and admitted that consumer price inflation is not worsening, but is already falling – “from 10.1% in July to 9.9% in August. It also asserted dishonestly that “nominal wages have continued to rise.” Nominal wages are not real wages and economists at the Bank of England know that. Real Wages are falling. Bank of England economists know that too.

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“U.S. founders modeled the country on Rome, all the way down to the architecture of government buildings, the use of the eagle as the national bird, the use of Latin mottos, and the unfortunate use of the fasces—the axe surrounded by rods—as a symbol of state power.”

The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire (Doug Casey)

Rome reached its peak of military power around the year 107, when Trajan completed the conquest of Dacia (the territory of modern Romania). With Dacia, the empire peaked in size, but I’d argue it was already past its peak by almost every other measure. The U.S. reached its peak relative to the world, and in some ways its absolute peak, as early as the 1950s. In 1950 this country produced 50% of the world’s GNP and 80% of its vehicles. Now it’s about 21% of world GNP and 5% of its vehicles. It owned two-thirds of the world’s gold reserves; now it holds one-fourth. It was, by a huge margin, the world’s biggest creditor, whereas now it’s the biggest debtor by a huge margin. The income of the average American was by far the highest in the world; today it ranks about eighth, and it’s slipping.

But it’s not just the U.S.—it’s Western civilization that’s in decline. In 1910 Europe controlled almost the whole world—politically, financially, and militarily. Now it’s becoming a Disneyland with real buildings and a petting zoo for the Chinese. It’s even further down the slippery slope than the U.S. Like America, Rome was founded by refugees—from Troy, at least in myth. Like America, it was ruled by kings in its early history. Later, Romans became self-governing, with several Assemblies and a Senate. Later still, power devolved to the executive, which was likely not an accident. U.S. founders modeled the country on Rome, all the way down to the architecture of government buildings, the use of the eagle as the national bird, the use of Latin mottos, and the unfortunate use of the fasces—the axe surrounded by rods—as a symbol of state power.

Publius, the pseudonymous author of The Federalist Papers, took his name from one of Rome’s first consuls. As it was in Rome, military prowess is at the center of the national identity of the U.S. When you adopt a model in earnest, you grow to resemble it. A considerable cottage industry has developed comparing ancient and modern times since Edward Gibbon published The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776—the same year as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the U.S. Declaration of Independence were written. I’m a big fan of all three, but D&F is not only a great history, it’s very elegant and readable literature. And it’s actually a laugh riot; Gibbon had a subtle wit.

There have been huge advances in our understanding of Rome since Gibbon’s time, driven by archeological discoveries. There were many things he just didn’t know, because he was as much a philologist as an historian, and he based his writing on what the ancients said about themselves. There was no real science of archeology when Gibbon wrote; little had been done even to correlate the surviving ancient texts with what was on the surviving monuments—even the well-known monuments—and on the coins. Not to mention scientists digging around in the provinces for what was left of Roman villas, battle sites, and that sort of thing. So Gibbon, like most historians, was to a degree a collector of hearsay.

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“Do not throw away your weapons now. Take them in your hands. Destroy the enemy.…People! Know! Moscow, Poland, the Hungarians, the Jews are your enemies. Destroy them!”

Ukraine: The CIA’s 75-year-old Proxy (Sussman)

The MSM have constructed an undiluted narrative about “Putin’s War” that disguises America’s imperialist expansion into eastern Europe. It is utterly Orwellian in its effort to project onto Russia what the U.S. and its main imperial ally, the UK (which a British journalist deemed “America’s tugboat”), have been doing non-stop since 1945—and indeed for centuries. Looking back, the U.S. under Truman began the policy of turning enemies (Germany, Japan) into friends and friends (the important war-time alliance with the USSR) into enemies. The CIA, established in 1947, was the main clandestine instrument of this policy, working closely with the neo-Nazi Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) to carry out acts to sabotage, divide and destabilize the Soviet state.

The OUN, in particular the faction led by the German ally Stepan Bandera and his second in command, Yaroslav Stetsko, OUN-B, was a violently anti-semitic, anti-communist, and anti-Russian organization, which collaborated with the Nazi occupation and actively participated in the slaughter of millions of Poles, Ukrainian Jews, and ethnically Russian and Ukrainian communists in the region. Nonetheless, The Washington Post treated Stetsko as a national hero, a “lonely patriot.” The OUN-German alliance in 1941 was backed by the leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches. The latter’s archbishop, Andrey Sheptytsky, penned a pastoral letter that declared: “We greet the victorious German Army as deliverer from the enemy. We render our obedient homage to the government which has been erected. We recognize Mr. Yaroslav Stetsko as Head of State … of the Ukraine.”

On the occasion of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the OUN put up posters in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov that read: “Do not throw away your weapons now. Take them in your hands. Destroy the enemy.…People! Know! Moscow, Poland, the Hungarians, the Jews are your enemies. Destroy them!…Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to the Leader! [Bandera]” Notably, this call for ethnic cleansing does not cite the Germans then occupying Ukraine, yet the fascist and neo-Nazi propagandists who are waging a war in the Donbas region today portray their forebearers as heroes for having defended Ukrainian nationalism from the Soviets and Germany. The Pentagon successfully pressed Congress to lift restrictions on training and providing military assistance to groups, such as the Azov Battalion, that are based on fascist or neo-Nazi ideology.

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What is to come. Sign of the times.

Ford Forced To Park Thousands Of Unfinished Vehicles (RT)

Ford Motor Co. continues to be plagued by parts shortages, so much so that America’s largest automaker has reportedly resorted to parking thousands of unfinished pickups at an idle former NASCAR track in Kentucky. Footage posted online purports to show massive parking lots at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, jammed with row after row of new Ford trucks. Automotive media outlets, such as The Drive, reported this week that the stashed vehicles are partially finished trucks that can’t be completed or shipped to customers because certain parts aren’t available. Ford apparently began hauling trucks to the speedway in late August. The Drive posted satellite photos of the facility from August 24 and September 19, showing formerly empty parking lots filled with vehicles.


Major automakers have struggled since last year with protracted shortages of computer chips. Ford’s parts shortfalls are widespread, ranging from windshield wiper motors to infotainment systems. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the company even has shortages of its iconic “blue oval” badges and the nameplates that identify vehicle models. Ford announced earlier this week that it had as many as 45,000 unfinished vehicles in inventory that wouldn’t be completed by the end of September because of parts shortages. The company added that its third-quarter costs would be about $1 billion higher than planned because of rampant inflation. [..] Customers have had to bide their time on long waiting lists for some Ford models, such as the F-150 Lightning electric pickup. Last month, Ford announced price increases of as much as $8,500 for the Lightning.

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There’s been a probe since Obama. Crickets.

Republicans Push For Special Counsel In Hunter Biden Probe (CB)

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and 32 other Senate Republicans are demanding special counsel powers for the prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden. The lawmakers say they fear Attorney General Merrick Garland or others at the Justice Department may attempt to meddle in the probe to protect President Joe Biden and his son. “It is clear that Hunter Biden thrived off of a ‘pay to play’ culture of access to his father, then Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for financial compensation,” Cornyn and his colleagues wrote in the letter. “Given that the investigation involves the President’s son,” the letter from Cornyn says, “we believe it is important to provide U.S. Attorney Weiss with special counsel authorities and protections to allow him to investigate an appropriate scope of potentially criminal conduct, avoid the appearance of impropriety, and provide additional assurances to the American people that the Hunter Biden investigation is free from political influence.”

“There is no way of knowing the entire scope of the investigation, but evidence seems to be mounting that Hunter Biden committed numerous federal crimes, including, but not limited to, tax fraud, money laundering, and foreign-lobbying violations,” the senators wrote in a letter. “Given the politicization of the DOJ under your watch and the importance of avoiding any appearance of impropriety, the undersigned request that you provide U.S. Attorney Weiss the full protections and authorities of a special counsel,” the letter said. “This is one important action that you can take that will go a long way to restoring faith in our governmental institutions.”

[..] In the letter, the Republicans said that Hunter must be investigated amid concerns that “he is continuing to profit off” his father’s name. “Hunter Biden’s connections throughout the Russian sphere of influence have now become especially relevant in the fast-moving and developing Russian war in Ukraine,” the Republicans on the House Oversight Committee said. “Hunter Biden’s dealings have not gone unnoticed, and a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe begun under the Obama Administration has expanded to include a wide variety of potential violations and crimes.

“According to the New York Times, Hunter Biden is currently under investigation by the DOJ for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and possible criminal tax evasion and money laundering,” it continued. “Given Hunter Biden’s foreign business relationships in Ukraine and Russia and the current international landscape, we are concerned about whether Hunter Biden continues to profit off his status as President Biden’s son as well as whether foreign adversaries may be attempting to exploit questionable business dealings. NARA may possess documents relevant to this investigation from then-Vice President Biden’s tenure,” they said.

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“Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

WaPo Columnist Calls for the End of Impartiality and Balance (Turley)

In an age of rage, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin has long been a standout in her attacks on Republicans and conservatives: “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.” However, her recent column shows that she has made a clean break not only from Republicans but from reason. The writer (long cited by the Post as their “Republican columnist” for balance) has called for the media to abandon balance and impartiality. Rubin is demanding that the media just become overt advocates in refusing to report both sides in the myriad of political issues in this election.

In her column, Rubin rejects the “need for false balance” because the coverage can suggest that Republicans are “rational.” “The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.” That balance was once called “journalism” but Rubin now calls it facilitating “disinformation.” Balanced reporting is now dangerous and makes the media “a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.” Rubin’s attack on disinformation is ironic given her own past controversies in misrepresenting news, cases, and events.

For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony and later column misrepresenting the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected by the Washington Post. It appears that misrepresenting the holding of a major case is not being a “a megaphone for disinformation.” Rubin, however, is not alone in this call to abandon the foundational principle of impartiality in journalism. We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. Writers, editors, commentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers.

This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll decried how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.” Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

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April 2022.

Covid Update: What Is The Truth? (NIH)

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most manipulated infectious disease events in history, characterized by official lies in an unending stream lead by government bureaucracies, medical associations, medical boards, the media, and international agencies. We have witnessed a long list of unprecedented intrusions into medical practice, including attacks on medical experts, destruction of medical careers among doctors refusing to participate in killing their patients and a massive regimentation of health care, led by non-qualified individuals with enormous wealth, power and influence.

For the first time in American history a president, governors, mayors, hospital administrators and federal bureaucrats are determining medical treatments based not on accurate scientifically based or even experience based information, but rather to force the acceptance of special forms of care and “prevention”—including remdesivir, use of respirators and ultimately a series of essentially untested messenger RNA vaccines. For the first time in history medical treatment, protocols are not being formulated based on the experience of the physicians treating the largest number of patients successfully, but rather individuals and bureaucracies that have never treated a single patient—including Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, EcoHealth Alliance, the CDC, WHO, state public health officers and hospital administrators.

The media (TV, newspapers, magazines, etc), medical societies, state medical boards and the owners of social media have appointed themselves to be the sole source of information concerning this so-called “pandemic”. Websites have been removed, highly credentialed and experienced clinical doctors and scientific experts in the field of infectious diseases have been demonized, careers have been destroyed and all dissenting information has been labeled “misinformation” and “dangerous lies”, even when sourced from top experts in the fields of virology, infectious diseases, pulmonary critical care, and epidemiology. These blackouts of truth occur even when this information is backed by extensive scientific citations from some of the most qualified medical specialists in the world. Incredibly, even individuals, such as Dr. Michael Yeadon, a retired ex-Chief Scientist, and vice-president for the science division of Pfizer Pharmaceutical company in the UK, who charged the company with making an extremely dangerous vaccine, is ignored and demonized. Further, he, along with other highly qualified scientists have stated that no one should take this vaccine.

Dr. Peter McCullough, one of the most cited experts in his field, who has successfully treated over 2000 COVID patients by using a protocol of early treatment (which the so-called experts completely ignored), has been the victim of a particularly vicious assault by those benefiting financially from the vaccines. He has published his results in peer reviewed journals, reporting an 80% reduction in hospitalizations and a 75% reduction in deaths by using early treatment. Despite this, he is under an unrelenting series of attacks by the information controllers, none of which have treated a single patient.

Neither Anthony Fauci, the CDC, WHO nor any medical governmental establishment has ever offered any early treatment other than Tylenol, hydration and call an ambulance once you have difficulty breathing. This is unprecedented in the entire history of medical care as early treatment of infections is critical to saving lives and preventing severe complications. Not only have these medical organizations and federal lapdogs not even suggested early treatment, they attacked anyone who attempted to initiate such treatment with all the weapons at their disposal—loss of license, removal of hospital privileges, shaming, destruction of reputations and even arrest.

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Jan 262021
 


James McNeill Whistler Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville 1865

 

EU Threatens To Block Covid Vaccine Exports Amid AstraZeneca Shortfall (G.)
COVID19 Has Cost Global Workers $3.7 Trillion In Lost Earnings – ILO (G.)
House Delivers Impeachment Article To Senate (ZH)
Joe Biden On Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial: ‘It Has To Happen’ (G.)
Sen. Leahy To Preside Over Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial (JTN)
Democrats Have Released A Roadmap To One-Party Rule (RCP)
Poll: Trump ‘Patriot Party’ Would Win 23% Of Voters, Drop GOP To Third (JTN)
Democrat Sens. Manchin, Sinema Won’t Back Elimination Of The Filibuster (JTN)
Janet Yellen Confirmed As Treasury Secretary (Axios)
Twitter Launches Birdwatch, A Wikipedia-Style Approach To Fight Misinformation (F.)
Ex-CIA Engineer Tells Judge He’s Incarcerated Like An Animal (Ind.)
Leon Black To Step Down From Apollo Global After Epstein Investigation (F.)
Flying Blind (Jim Kunstler)
Let Nuke Plants Run for 100 Years? (CP)

 

 

We passed 100 million cases overnight.

 

 

And off to the bullfight we go. Still not a word on HCQ, ivermectin or even vitamin D. Is it really just incompetence?

EU Threatens To Block Covid Vaccine Exports Amid Astrazeneca Shortfall (G.)

The EU has threatened to block exports of coronavirus vaccines to countries outside the bloc such as Britain, after AstraZeneca was accused of failing to give a satisfactory explanation for a huge shortfall of promised doses to member states. The pharmaceutical company’s new distribution plans were said to be “unacceptable” after it “surprisingly” informed the European commission on Friday that there would be significant shortfalls on the original schedule. The EU has been due to receive 100m doses in the first quarter of this year. But it is feared that the bloc will only receive half of that despite making large advance purchases ahead of authorisation of the vaccine by the European medicines agency.

In a heated call with AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, on Monday, the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said the company must live up to its contractual obligations. The EMA is expected to authorise the vaccine by the end of this week. Von der Leyen’s spokesperson said: “She made it clear that she expects AstraZeneca to deliver on the contractual arrangements foreseen in the advance purchasing agreement. “She reminded Mr Soriot that the EU has invested significant amounts in the company up front precisely to ensure that production is ramped up even before the conditional market authorisation is delivered by the European Medicines Agency. “Of course, production issues can appear with the complex vaccine, but we expect the company to find solutions and to exploit all possible flexibilities to deliver swiftly.”

The EU’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, made a televised statement to express her frustration at the company’s behaviour, warning that the answers so far provided had not been satisfactory. Late on Monday evening following discussions with executives representing the pharmaceutical company, Kyriakides tweeted: “Discussions with AstraZeneca today resulted in dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and insufficient explanations. “EU member states are united: vaccine developers have societal and contractual responsibilities they need to uphold. “With our member states, we have requested from [Astrazeneca] a detailed planning of vaccine deliveries and when distribution will take place to member states. Another meeting will be convened on Wednesday to discuss the matter further.”

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On the bright side, at least we know where those trillions are. Safely in the hands of Bezos, Musk et al.

COVID19 Has Cost Global Workers $3.7 Trillion In Lost Earnings – ILO (G.)

The economic blow from Covid-19 has cost workers around the world $3.7tn (£2.7tn) in lost earnings, after the pandemic wiped out four times the number of working hours lost in the 2008 financial crisis, according to the UN’s labour body. The International Labour Organization (ILO) said women and younger workers had borne the brunt of job losses and reductions in hours, and warned that people in sectors hardest-hit by the crisis – such as hospitality and retail – risked being left behind when the economy recovers. Sounding the alarm that entrenched levels of inequality risked becoming a defining feature of the economic rebound from Covid-19, the Geneva-based agency said that governments around the world needed to take urgent action to support those at the heart of the storm.

In its annual analysis of the global jobs market, it said 8.8% of working hours were lost in 2020 relative to the end of 2019, equivalent to 255m full-time jobs. This is approximately four times bigger than the damage suffered by workers as a consequence of the 2008-9 financial crisis. These “massive losses” resulted in an 8.3% decline in global labour income, before government support measures are included, according to the ILO, equivalent to $3.7tn in earnings – about 4.4% of global GDP. Women have been more affected than men by the disruption to the jobs market, with female workers more likely to drop out of work altogether and stop looking for a new job. Younger workers have also been particularly hard hit, either losing jobs, dropping out of the labour force or delaying the search for a first job.

The ILO said there were some encouraging signs of recovery at the start of 2021 as the Covid-19 vaccine is gradually deployed around the world. However, it still estimated the continuing economic fallout would lead to a 3% loss of working hours globally in 2021 compared with the end of 2019, equivalent to 90m full-time jobs. In a pessimistic scenario, which assumes slow progress on vaccination, working hours would fall by 4.6% this year, while on an optimistic path the world economy would still lose 1.3% of working hours.

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They’re so hungry for blood they can’t see how ridiculous they look.

House Delivers Impeachment Article To Senate (ZH)

The House delivered its single impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, setting the stage for a February 8 trial. Just three Senate Republicans were present during the formal delivery of the article; Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Roger Marshall. Senators will get sworn in as jurors on Tuesday, according to a previous statement by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), while both the impeachment managers who will argue the House Democrats’ case, and Trump’s defense team, will have time to draft and file legal briefs, according to CNBC. “The managers, headed by lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., carried the article across the Capitol to the Senate on Monday in masked pairs as part of a formal procession. As Raskin read the charge against Trump, a smattering of senators wearing face coverings looked on from within the chamber.” -CNBC

Ironically, Trump – the only president to be impeached twice by the House – is unlikely to be convicted according to none other than President Biden, who told CNN he believed the outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in office – but that he doubts the required 17 GOP senators will vote to convict. Which begs the question if the entire exercise is moot, then why do it as it will only further polarize the already deeply divided US society and certainly not help the “unity” that Biden is allegedly striving to achieve. Trump was charged by the House with incitement of insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 by, as House Democrats claim, ‘falsely claiming that widespread election fraud cost him the 2020 election,’ and then encouraging his supporters to show up and challenge the electoral college count.

According to the article, Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” and “thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

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Twitter comment:

“DC will stay under military occupation while the opposition leader is put on trial..”

Joe Biden On Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial: ‘It Has To Happen’ (G.)

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump “has to happen”, Joe Biden told CNN on Monday. While acknowledging the effect it could have on his agenda, the president said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen”. Biden said he didn’t think enough Republican senators would vote for impeachment to convict, though he also said the outcome might well have been different if Trump had had six months left in his term. “The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Biden said. The US House on Monday delivered its article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, setting the stage for Trump’s second impeachment trial and the first ever Senate trial of a former US president.


Trump has been charged with inciting the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, when an assault by a violent pro-Trump mob lead to the deaths of five people. Monday’s delivery and formal reading of the charge marks the opening of the trial, although arguments are set to start the week of 8 February. Republicans and Democrats last week agreed to a two-week delay to the start of the proceedings to allow both sides to prepare arguments and give senators a fortnight to negotiate vital legislation to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and consider Biden’s cabinet appointments. Following Trump’s impeachment in the House on 13 January, Biden had said he hoped senators would “deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation”.

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Judge, jury and henchman. Where’s the impartiality? Isn’t that required in a trial?

Sen. Leahy To Preside Over Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial (JTN)

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is presiding over the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Trump in the Democratic-led Senate, the lawmakers announced in a statement on Monday. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the first impeachment trial against Trump, which centered on his phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in which he brought up Hunter Biden’s work with a Ukrainian gas company while his father, Joe Biden, was U.S. vice president. Leahy, the new Senate president pro tempore, voted in favor of convicting Trump on both articles of impeachment during the first trial against Trump in February 2020. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.


“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents. When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” Leahy said in a statement on Monday. “It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.” Leahy also said he considers holding the president pro tempore position “one of the highest honors and most serious responsibilities” of his political career. “When I preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, I will not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws,” he said.

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“Mark Zuckerberg alone poured $419 million into this scheme.”

Democrats Have Released A Roadmap To One-Party Rule (RCP)

The Democrats appear intent on instituting one-party rule in the United States. They’re trying to use the U.S. Capitol riots as an excuse to criminalize dissent and banish conservative voices from the public sphere, and at the same time they’re hoping to use their temporary, razor-thin majority in Congress to rewrite the rules governing our elections in a way designed to keep the Democratic Party entrenched in power for decades to come. In the House, Democrats have revived sweeping election reform legislation that died in the Senate during the previous session, perhaps hoping they can browbeat enough Republicans into going along with them. If that happens, the “Grand Old Party” of Abraham Lincoln might as well disband, because Republicans would never have any hope of regaining a congressional majority or controlling the White House under the rules that HR 1 would put in place.

Although the Constitution explicitly places state legislatures in charge of managing federal elections, HR 1 seeks to use the power of the purse to bludgeon the states into conforming to a centralized system pioneered in California and other deep-blue states. Congress can’t technically compel the states to change their voting laws, but seasoned politicians know that the states have become dependent on federal money to run their elections, and can’t afford to pick up the tab themselves. To make matters worse, HR 1 declares that Congress possesses “ultimate supervisory power over Federal elections” — an extraordinary usurpation of governmental authority that the Founders specifically assigned to the states. The 2020 election witnessed private interests dictating the manner in which the election was conducted in the nation’s urban cores.

Mark Zuckerberg alone poured $419 million into this scheme. The goal of centralizing power in the hands of the federal government has long been at the heart of liberal politics, and this legislation demonstrates why. HR 1 would codify the very practices — many of them currently illegal in most states — that created widespread irregularities in the 2020 elections and contributed greatly to public mistrust of the electoral process. In 2020, state and local officials used the COVID-19 pandemic as justification to ignore or deliberately violate state election laws. If HR 1 is enacted, they won’t need any such excuse in 2022 because the states will have no choice but to implement policies such as legalized ballot harvesting, early voting, and universal mail-in voting, as well as repeal of voter ID laws, signature-matching laws, and other ballot security measures.

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Democrats’ wet dream.

Poll: Trump ‘Patriot Party’ Would Win 23% Of Voters, Drop GOP To Third (JTN)

A hypothetical “Patriot Party” led by former President Donald Trump would win the support of almost a quarter — 23% — of the electorate, bumping the GOP down to third place with just 17%, according to a new Just the News poll with Scott Rasmussen. The startling survey result comes amid reports that Senate Republican support for convicting Trump in an impeachment trial is fast eroding. A Trump third party could provoke a pivotal realignment in American politics. With the support of 46% of registered voters in the new poll, Democrats would reap the benefits of a fractured opposition and entrench themselves as the nation’s dominant party — even without majority support.

Among “very conservative” voters — who make up a disproportionately large bloc within the Republican primary electorate — a Trump Patriot Party crushes the GOP 55%-24%. Should Trump remain in the GOP, his wide lead among these highly motivated voters affords him great leverage to influence the direction of the party by wielding the threat of conservative primary challenges against establishment Republicans ill at ease with the former president’s combative brew of conservatism infused with populism and nationalism. Despite Trump’s outperformance in 2020 of recent GOP presidential candidates among minorities, African-American and Hispanic voters effectively split evenly between the GOP and a Patriot Party in the the new poll.

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Move the goalposts.

Democrat Sens. Manchin, Sinema Won’t Back Elimination Of The Filibuster (JTN)

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will not back the elimination of the filibuster. “I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It’s not who I am,” West Virginia’s Manchin said on Monday, according to The Hill. “If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Sen. McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you. That I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right? I will not vote” to alter the filibuster, the senator said in an interview on Monday, according to Politico. Sinema of Arizona is also unwilling to support nixing the filibuster. According to the Washington Post, a Sinema spokesperson said that the lawmaker is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.” “The Senate filibuster has evolved over the course of its history into a de facto supermajority requirement, necessitating 60 votes to end debate and advance legislation,” according to the Post.

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Vicious circles: as Fed president, she lowered interest rates, which as Treasury Secretary she can now use to excuse “acting big”.

Janet Yellen Confirmed As Treasury Secretary (Axios)

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday. Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Yellen previously served as the first female chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton and the first female chair of the Federal Reserve under President Obama. Her confirmation as Treasury secretary makes her the first person to have held all three economic power positions in the federal government. Yellen told senators during her confirmation hearings that her immediate focus would be pandemic relief. With her confirmation, she can immediately start negotiating and working with Congress to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.


“The damage has been sweeping, and as the President-elect said last Thursday, our response must be, too,” Yellen said last week. Yellen also endorsed Biden’s tax reform plan in her testimony, but she said the administration’s top legislative priority would be economic stimulus, with infrastructure not too far behind. “The focus right now is on providing relief and on helping families keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and not on raising taxes.” “Neither the president-elect nor I propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big.”

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Big Bird is watching you.

Twitter Launches Birdwatch, A Wikipedia-Style Approach To Fight Misinformation (F.)

In a significant attempt to overhaul how it moderates content, Twitter on Monday unveiled Birdwatch, a pilot program to crowdsource fact-checks to combat misinformation. Birdwatch will allow regular users, called “Birdwatchers,” to identify tweets they think have misinformation and write notes with more information and context, which is similar to Wikipedia, where registered volunteers write, update and edit articles for accuracy. Anyone can apply to be a Birdwatcher, and the only requirements are a valid phone number, email and no recent violations of Twitter’s rules. Birdwatch notes will appear beneath a tweet, and in an effort to prevent people from gaming the system, Birdwatchers will be able to rate the effectiveness of each note, impacting the note’s ranking.

The program is currently a pilot, and is only available via a separate website, but eventually the company wants to expand Birdwatch to the rest of Twitter. During the pilot, Twitter said it wants to focus on making Birdwatch “resistant to manipulation attempts and ensure “it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors.” “We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors,” Twitter Vice President Keith Coleman said in a blog post.

Twitter has long been under pressure to prevent misinformation from spreading on its platform. But it wasn’t until this year that the company took more aggressive action. Twitter fact-checked tweets from former president Donald Trump and other politicians about Covid-19, mail-in voting and the election results. Those labels linked to news organizations or other institutions offering credible information. The social network eventually banned Trump entirely, citing tweets that could incite more violence following the Capitol riot. The intention of Birdwatch, though, is to expand those efforts beyond “circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention,” Coleman said.

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Gitmo in Manhattan.

“Schulte has been in solitary confinement and not been outdoors in over two years..”

“Schulte’s filthy cell, the size of a parking space, is infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches and mold and there is no heating, air conditioning or functioning plumbing..”

Ex-CIA Engineer Tells Judge He’s Incarcerated Like An Animal (Ind.)

A former CIA software engineer charged with leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks says it’s cruel and unusual punishment that he’s awaiting trial in solitary confinement, housed in a vermin-infested cell of a jail unit where inmates are treated like “caged animals ” Joshua Schulte, 32, has asked a Manhattan federal judge to force the federal Bureau of Prisons to improve conditions at the Metropolitan Correction Center, where he has been held for over two years under highly restrictive conditions usually reserved for terrorism defendants. In court papers Tuesday, Schulte maintained he is held in conditions “below that of impoverished persons living in third world countries.” “It is barbaric and inhumane to lock human beings into boxes for years and years — it is a punishment worse than death,” the court filing said.

Last year, a jury deadlocked on espionage charges alleging that Schulte stole a massive trove of the agency’s hacking tools and gave it to the organization that publishes news leaks. He was convicted of lesser charges of contempt of court and making false statements. He is scheduled for another trial on espionage charges in June in what was said to be the largest leak in CIA history involving classified information. Afterward, he faces a separate trial on child pornography charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. In his 20s, Schulte, originally from Lubbock, Texas, worked as a coder at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where digital sleuths design computer code to spy on foreign adversaries.

The so-called Vault 7 leak published in March 2017 by WikiLeaks revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations and efforts to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices. After a yearlong probe, investigators blamed Schulte, who had already left the agency after falling out with colleagues and supervisors and moved to New York City to work at a news agency. At trial, a prosecutor called the leaks “devastating to national security.” A defense lawyer said the materials could have been accessed and stolen by hundreds of people. Juror Alexis Anthony said she never thought the evidence was strong enough to convict Schulte of espionage-related charges.

According to the court papers, Schulte has been in solitary confinement and not been outdoors in over two years under special administrative measures designed to severely restrict an inmate’s communications and interactions with others. Prosecutors say the measures are necessary after Schulte tried to leak even more classified information using a contraband cellphone that had been smuggled into the jail. They said he declared an “information war” and was “prepared to burn down the United States government.” Schulte’s filthy cell, the size of a parking space, is infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches and mold and there is no heating, air conditioning or functioning plumbing, the court papers said, while sunlight is blocked by a blacked out window. Television access is permitted for one hour per week.

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“Black paid Epstein a stunning $158 million in fees for services..”

Leon Black To Step Down From Apollo Global After Epstein Investigation (F.)

Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of private equity giant Apollo Global Management, will be stepping down from his role as CEO of the $433 billion in assets firm. Black, who will remain as chairman, will be replaced by co-founder Marc Rowan by mid-year. The announcement of changed leadership came on Monday evening as Apollo released findings of an investigation directed by its board of directors into Black’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier who was criminally charged with human trafficking in 2019. Apollo said its investigation, conducted by law firm Dechert, found “no evidence that Mr. Black was involved in any way with Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities at any time.”

However, the report did show that Black paid Epstein a stunning $158 million in fees for services, loaned him over $30 million in loans and made a $10 million donation to Epstein’s charity, all figures that are multiples of what was previously reported. While the changing of guard atop one of the world’s largest private equity firms was characterized as part of its succession planning—Black is turning 70 this year and has been one of Wall Street’s most feared dealmakers for decades—it is also a maneuver by Apollo to move past well over a year of Epstein-related questions, which have slowed the firm’s growth, sunk its stock at times, and been a troubling mystery for its investors.

Black is the most prominent Wall Street A-lister connected to Epstein, a disgraced financier who was convicted and jailed for sex trafficking charges in 2008. After a Miami Herald investigation into Epstein in 2018, it was revealed that his trafficking operation was far greater than the public had known due to a sweetheart deal he cut with Florida prosecutors. The Herald found Epstein’s alleged trafficking was international and included numerous victims who came forward with allegations. The investigation, which won reporter Julia K. Brown a Pulitzer prize, caused prosecutors to reopen their investigations of Epstein, and exposed deep ties between Epstein, Wall Street power players like Black and well connected politicians and heads of state.

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“There will be plenty of work for former professors of Intersectionality in the sorghum fields.”

Flying Blind (Jim Kunstler)

Growing food and getting it to markets is the most critical activity. Poor Bill Gates, addled by his fortune, has bought up something like a quarter-million acres of farmland. His grandiosity prompts him to believe he can organize farming on the super-giant scale — Walmart for corn and turnips. Nothing could be further from the real coming trend: a reduction of scale and scope of farming and of the distribution supply lines that serve it. Poor Bill doesn’t seem to realize that the oil-and-gas-based “inputs” (fertilizers, pesticides) won’t be there for him, nor will the million-dollar diesel-powered combines. Nor the trucking industry. He could do more good for mankind getting into the mule business. (He won’t. Lacks razzle-dazzle.)

The transition between the old giant agri-biz model of farming and the emergent system of small-scaled farms based on human and animal labor will be arduous and disorderly in the early going. A lot of people will miss a lot of meals, and you know what that means. Working on a farm will be one way to make sure you get enough to eat. But also consider all the businesses that have to be created from scratch on the local level to serve the logistics of farming. You are already seeing many food products unavailable in the supermarkets. That will become more distressingly obvious in the disorders of 2021. When food deliveries to the supermarkets get really spotty, the farmers’ markets will not just be for schmoozing over lattes and almond croissants.

For those perhaps not paying attention, Covid-19 has destroyed what remains of education, especially the public school system. It was already moribund, waiting to crash, reduced to a pension racket for teachers. Going forward, the money won’t be there to operate these giant centralized schools and their yellow buses (while paying out pensions). The virus has kick-started exactly the kind of home-schooling pod system (several families combining) that can be reorganized into small-scale schooling for people who want it. People who don’t want it can move into their future without knowing how to read or do arithmetic. We’ll finally get a good test of the noble savage hypothesis. As for the colleges and universities, their business models are toast. They’ll be downscaling and shuttering as far ahead as the eye can see. Whatever remains will be more like finishing schools for neo-medieval ladies and gentlemen — and, by the way, the distinction between men and women will be reestablished. Why? Because reality insists on it. There will be plenty of work for former professors of Intersectionality in the sorghum fields.

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“..when they began being built were not seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems..”

Let Nuke Plants Run for 100 Years? (CP)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a “public meeting” last week on what it titled “Development of Guidance Documents To Support License Renewal For 100 Years Of Plant Operation.” Comments from the “public” were strongly opposed to the NRC’s desire for it to let nuclear power plants run for a century. “I request you pause and consider before you go ahead on this reckless path,” testified Michel Lee, chairman of the New York-based Council on Energy & Conservation Policy. “Our position and that of our constituents is a resounding no,” declared Paul Gunter, director of the Reactor Oversight Project at the national organization Beyond Nuclear.

“It’s time to stop this whole nuke con job,” said Erica Grey, nuclear issues chair of the Virginia Sierra Club. There is “no solution” to dealing with nuclear waste, she said. It is “unethical to continue to make the most toxic waste known to mankind.” And, “renewable energy” with solar and wind “can power the world.” Jan Boudart, a board member of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, spoke, too, of the lack of consideration of nuclear waste. Cited was the higher likelihood of accidents with plants permitted to run for 100 years. Whether the NRC—often called the Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission—listens is highly unlikely considering its record of rubberstamping whatever has been sought by other nuclear promoters in government and the nuclear industry.

Nuclear power plants when they began being built were not seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. So operating licenses were limited to 40 years. But with the major decline of nuclear power—the U.S. is down to 94 plants from a high of 129 and only two are now under construction—the nuclear promoters in the U.S. government and nuclear industry are pushing to let nuclear power plants run for 100 years to somehow keep nuclear power going.

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