May 062024
 


Pablo Picasso La lecture 1932

 

Americans See Civil War Within 5 Years, Upcoming Election as Flashpoint (Sp.)
Ukrainians are God’s Chosen People – Zelensky (RT)
Zelensky Can’t ‘Mobilize God’ – Russian Church (RT)
Moscow Ridicules Zelensky’s Claim About God and Ukraine (RT)
Trump Develops ‘Detailed’ Plan On Achieving Ukraine Peace: Telegraph (ZH)
Corruption Sped Up Ukraine’s Retreat More Than Weapons Shortage
New US Antisemitism Law Turns Israeli Genocide Critics Into Criminals (GR)
French Foreign Legion Dispatched to Ukraine, Ex-DoD Official (Sp.)
Ukraine Could Request Western Military Intervention – MP (RT)
Israel’s Not So Little War Against Russia (Helmer)
Xi jinping to Visit Three Key Countries During Trip to Europe (Sp.)
You Need 2 Years of Food – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

 

 

 

 

May 5

 

 

Falcon heavy

 

 

Optimus


https://twitter.com/i/status/1787082089315139886

 

 

Poso
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787151253509706036

 

 

Putin Steele

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m not stupid. If you don’t vote for Trump, this great big empire is gonna crumble.”

Americans See Civil War Within 5 Years, Upcoming Election as Flashpoint (Sp.)

Surveys show many believe Americans will take up arms against each other in the coming years as political polarization in the country remains at an all-time high. A new poll reveals a startlingly large percentage of Americans anticipate a second civil war within the next few years, with many citing this year’s presidential election as a potential flashpoint for a conflict. The survey by US pollster Rasmussen Reports found that 41% of likely voters think the country is likely to see a civil war by 2029, including 16% who think a civil war in that timeframe is “very likely.” Researchers discovered a significant partisan component to the issue, with 37% of respondents saying civil war is more likely if current US President Joe Biden is reelected in November. Some 25% said the outcome would be more likely under a second Donald Trump presidency, while 30% said the outcome of this fall’s election would make little difference.

Surprisingly, more than half of Republican voters anticipate a civil war within the next five years, with 54% of them saying the outcome is likely. Women, young adults, and non-white voters were found to be most likely to predict an imminent conflagration in the survey of 1,105 US voters. “The possibility that America could face another civil war soon is not too far-fetched for a lot of voters,” said the polling firm. “Such discussions got a boost after the new movie ‘Civil War’ made its debut as number one at the box office last month.” The Alex Garland film is not the only recent Western movie or television show predicting a dystopian near-future. British director Adam Curtis’ film HyperNormalization recognized the trend nearly a decade ago.

“Halfway through Adam Curtis’s mind-blowing documentary on the current socio-political turmoil in the world… there is a montage from Hollywood apocalypse movies,” noted critic J.J. McDermott. “The montage segues from one dramatic scene to another with prolonged gasping effect… the White House is destroyed in Independence Day, a giant dino-creature chucks cars about the streets of New York in Godzilla and a giant comet looms over North America in Deep Impact.” “The fascination with 9/11 as a witnessed spectacle has persisted in movie studios and in the minds of their ‘disaster’ directors ever since and the summer blockbuster season is never without at least one example every year now.” Curtis’s provocative film posits that society has increasingly retreated inward in recent years, with the rise of the Internet serving as a substitute for an increasingly unpredictable and chaotic Western world. Brexit and the election of Trump are offered as two key events signifying a descent into political turmoil.

But the existential angst has apparently found its way online as well, with entire Internet communities dedicated to discussing the likelihood of imminent war or apocalypse. The r/Collapse forum on the website Reddit devotes itself to “discussion regarding the potential collapse of global civilization, defined as a significant decrease in human population and/or political/economic/social complexity.” Other surveys in recent years have revealed similar results, with one by YouGov in 2022 finding 43% of Americans think a civil war is likely in the next decade and another poll conducted that year finding 50.1% think it is a possibility.“No matter what happens here – the verdict – Trump’s gonna win or there will be a civil war,” said one supporter of the former president protesting outside his current trial in New York City. “I’m not stupid. If you don’t vote for Trump, this great big empire is gonna crumble.”

Read more …

Orthodox Easter is a big one.

Ukrainians are God’s Chosen People – Zelensky (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has proclaimed that God is an “ally” of Ukraine in the conflict with Russia. Despite his invoking of the Almighty, Zelensky has led a crackdown on the Orthodox Church for the last two years. As Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter on Sunday, Zelensky released a video address from Kiev’s Saint Sophia Cathedral, in which he accused Russia of “breaking all the commandments.” “The world sees it, God knows it,” he said. “And we believe God has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder. So, with such an ally, life will definitely win over death.” Zelensky’s appeal to Christians came as Ukraine’s parliament examines legislation that would close down the country’s largest Christian church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). While the law has sat in parliament for months, Zelensky’s government has moved to restrict the Church’s activity since the conflict began in 2022.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has opened dozens of criminal cases against UOC priests, has sanctioned clerics, and stripped at least 19 bishops of their Ukrainian citizenship, according to TASS news agency. Church property has been seized, and monks evicted from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, an ancient monastery and the most prominent Orthodox site in Ukraine. The UOC has deep historical ties with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which it renounced after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. Despite declaring autonomy from the ROC, Zelensky has accused the UOC of functioning as an “agent of Moscow,” and promoted the government-created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as its replacement.

A non-canonical organization, the OCU was established by the government of President Pyotr Poroshenko after the US-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014. Earlier this year, a group of lawyers wrote to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, warning him that banning the UOC could cause “serious harm to Orthodox Ukrainians” and have “dire ramifications for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and its place in the Western world.”

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“The Lord is not a resident of the Kiev region for Zelensky to mobilize him and put him in the Ukrainian army..”

Zelensky Can’t ‘Mobilize God’ – Russian Church (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has no way to enlist God in his fight against Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church has said, rebuking a statement Zelensky made during his Easter Sunday speech. In a video address, Zelensky described God as “an ally” of Ukraine who “has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder.” “The Lord is not a resident of the Kiev region for Zelensky to mobilize him and put him in the Ukrainian army. His statements don’t merit any attention,” Vakhtang Kipshidze, the head of the Russian church’s public relations department, told news outlet news.ru. Kipshidze further blasted the Ukrainian leader as “a non-believer” who “claims that he can decide for God whose ally he is.”

Kiev has stepped up the crackdown on its largest Christian church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), accusing its clergy of being “agents of Moscow.” The UOC renounced its historical ties with Moscow after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities have since launched criminal cases against more than 60 priests and seized a number of monasteries and other assets in favor of the state-backed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). Last year, the Ukrainian government introduced a bill that would pave a way for an eventual ban of the UOC. The legislation, however, has since been stalled. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has repeatedly condemned the campaign against the UOC, denouncing it as a violation of religious rights.

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“..Zakharova ridiculed the statement, suggesting it was the result of a “drug overdose.”

Moscow Ridicules Zelensky’s Claim About God and Ukraine (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has apparently lost touch with reality, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested after the Ukrainian President described God as Kiev’s “ally” in the conflict with Moscow. On Sunday, as Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter, Zelensky issued a video address in which he accused Moscow of “violating all the commandments,” claiming that “God knows it.” “We believe [that] God … wears a chevron with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulder,” the president stated, referring to the higher power as Kiev’s “ally,” who would guarantee Ukraine victory in the ongoing standoff. Zakharova ridiculed the statement, suggesting it was the result of a “drug overdose.” “A chevron on God’s [sleeve] is the same story as the rituals of ancient Ukrainians [performed] by them somewhere in Mesopotamia at a time when they discovered America,” the spokeswoman said, apparently referring to some internet memes mocking Kiev’s narratives about the nation’s origins.

Zelensky’s statements came amid the continued retreat of the Ukrainian military in Donbass, amid an ongoing Russian offensive. Earlier on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Moscow’s forces had taken control over the village of Ocheretino in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic – a major logistics hub for Kiev’s troops. In February, Moscow’s forces liberated the strategic Donbass town of Avdeevka and have been steadily pushing westward ever since, taking control of several smaller settlements in the area. In April, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Moscow’s troops were firmly in control of the initiative in the conflict, and steadily pushing Kiev’s forces back. Earlier this week, he estimated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had lost 111,000 this year alone. Ukraine’s top military commander, General Aleksandr Syrsky, told Kiev’s backers the same month that his nation’s armed forces face a “difficult operational and strategic situation, which has a tendency to get worse.”

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“..Mr Trump will style himself as the only candidate who can end the war, with a simple “bumper-sticker” slogan..”

Trump Develops ‘Detailed’ Plan On Achieving Ukraine Peace: Telegraph (ZH)

Trump has long touted on the campaign trail that he can stop the Ukraine war in 24 hours while taking shots a Biden’s inability to oversee a negotiation that would ultimately end the war. The Daily Telegraph is now reporting, citing an unnamed source who is said to be close to the former president and current GOP frontrunner going into the November election, that Trump has developed a detailed plan for achieving Ukraine peace. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said. Below is the section of the Friday Telegraph report which previews the plan: A source close to the Trump campaign has told The Telegraph that a detailed Ukraine-Russia peace plan has been drawn up but will not yet be disclosed in any detail before his in an effort to maintain leverage. Mr Trump will style himself as the only candidate who can end the war, with a simple “bumper-sticker” slogan, they said.

“He wants to stop the killing,” said the source. “That’s the bumper sticker: Trump will stop the killing.” Last month a Washington Post report claimed that key to Trump’s plan would be pressuring Kiev to permanently give up Crimea and part of the Donbas to the Russians. The Post had cited aides who said the plan is to push for “Ukraine to cede Crimea and Donbas border region to Russia” in return for an end the Russian occupation and invasion. But the truth is that at the very least Kiev would have to forever relinquish claims of sovereignty over Crimea. Moscow is also never going to let go to the four annexed territories in the east. But Trump had slammed the apparently premature report as “fake news”. At the time a statement from the Trump campaign said “The whole thing is fake news from the Washington Post. They’re just making it up.” Spokesman Jason Miller did emphasize, however, that “President Trump is the only one talking about stopping the killing. Joe Biden is talking about more killing.”

Meanwhile, things on the battlefield are making it increasingly clear that Ukraine may soon have no other option. The country’s military and intelligence leadership also appears to be coming around to the hard reality that it will have to surrender territory, or else continue suffering massive losses and ceded ground. The Telegraph writes in its fresh report: Ukraine is preparing for peace talks with Russia as there is “no way to win on the battlefield alone”, Kyiv’s deputy spy chief has said. Maj Gen Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s HUR military intelligence agency, said both sides were currently vying for “the most favorable position” ahead of possible negotiations in 2025. As with virtually all wars, negotiations will likely be the final stage of the conflict, he told the Economist. Yet President Zelensky himself has yet to echo this perspective.

Instead he’s currently urging the West for more and more advanced weapons, and talking about “ten year defense” plans ensured by the US and Kiev’s backers. He has further recently said that if Ukraine ever hopes to formally join NATO, it must ‘win’ against Russia – which at this point seems in the realm of fantasy. The White House has so far done nothing to dispel this fantasy, but has instead encouraged it. Russian state media had captured and translated key lines of Zelensky’s address. “I believe that we will be in NATO only if we win. I don’t think that we will be admitted […] during the war,” Zelensky had said during a meeting with officers. Ukrainian sources also confirmed the remarks.

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“..they are laying the groundwork for departure. While preparing to escape Ukraine, they create some kind of financial safety net for themselves..”

Corruption Sped Up Ukraine’s Retreat More Than Weapons Shortage

The rapid crumbling of Ukrainian defenses, leading to military retreat, prompts questions about the Kiev regime’s failure to maintain the front line. Russian troops continue to advance along the entire 1000-kilometer-long front line and squeeze the Ukrainian military from the Donetsk People’s Republic after the liberation of Avdeyevka. After taking control of Chasov Yar and Ocheretino, the Russian Armed Forces will get access to the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration and destroy the Kiev regime’s defense line west of Avdeyevka. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has consistently criticized the West for hesitating to provide air defense systems, weapons, and ammunition, citing it as the primary reason for his military’s failures. However, it has been revealed that the shortage of ammunition has not been the Ukrainian Army’s main issue Kiev previously allocated almost 38 billion hryvnia ($960 million) to build a multi-layered network of fortifications; however, Ukrainian troops testify that the lines of defense barely exist, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The Ukrainian military contends that these works should have been completed last year during a temporary operational pause, rather than amid a retreat. “One can assume that a year ago, when the budget was planned, Ukrainians didn’t believe that the counteroffensive would fail. In general, the strategy was to attack and establish defensive positions on newly acquired territories. That is, fortifications were meant for offense, not defense,” Vadim Kozyulin, head of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies Under Diplomatic Academy of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Sputnik. “But the situation has changed. Moreover, we see that this happened rapidly, and, most likely, unexpectedly. The Ukrainians probably saw what it was leading to, but they could not openly admit it, because they feared it could impact financing. They had to maintain some kind of optimism among Western partners. This let them down, catching them off guard,” he explained. “The second issue is corruption. It’s an old Ukrainian problem and we don’t know its extent, given that everything is classified amid the hostilities,” the expert continued.

Where is the Money? Funds allocated to strengthen Ukrainian defenses were stolen with the tacit approval of the nation’s government officials, presumed Vadim Mingalev, a military expert and political analyst. He likewise drew attention to the fact that Andriy Yermak, a Ukrainian film producer who was appointed by Zelensky as the head of his office, supervised the project. The Ukrainian president also played a role in this farce by visiting the sites that were nothing short of Potemkin villages, i.e. an impressive facade designed to hide an inconvenient truth, the expert noted. According to Mingalev, the fuss surrounding the US $61 billion tranche arose from the Kiev regime’s desire to allocate a portion of these funds towards its delayed fortification construction projects. “As in any construction business, a certain estimate is first prepared,” the military expert said, explaining how the money might have vanished. “The estimate is then increased by one and a half or two times. Then, as construction progresses, it can go up three times, and so on.

Accordingly, a certain amount of concrete, cement, and other building materials are not supplied for creating the defensive lines. What’s on paper often differs significantly from what is actually delivered. There is a rather sophisticated scheme [to steal funds].” Military purchases and tenders are currently classified and do not go through Ukraine’s public procurement platform ProZorro, allowing corrupt politicians and their business partners to steal quietly, according to Kozyulin. Moreover, he added, the same individuals who seize these funds are responsible for overseeing their expenditure. One might ask why Ukrainian authorities and business sectors are shooting themselves in the foot by undermining the country’s defensive capabilities. “Ukrainian oligarchs who support Zelensky and work with him understand perfectly well that their fate is sealed, and they are laying the groundwork for departure. While preparing to escape Ukraine, they create some kind of financial safety net for themselves,” Mingalev explained.

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“..Policing speech, religion, and assembly is not the role of the federal government. In fact, it’s expressly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution…”

New US Antisemitism Law Turns Israeli Genocide Critics Into Criminals (GR)

On Wednesday May 1st, the House overwhelmingly passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act by a 320-91 vote, with only 21 Republicans joined by 70 Democrats against it. Expanding the scope of what is legally considered antisemitism, this is another bipartisan uniparty trap to ensnare the thousands of protesters exercising their free speech against the apartheid Israel’s extermination of Palestinians, in effect criminalizing those that are critical of the genocide. This is piece of legislation is a betrayal of our First Amendment rights and a betrayal of the American people, and a testimonial how AIPAC Israel through bribery and blackmail have turned our constitutional republic into a totalitarian technocratic police state. Foreign national influence is outlawed in the United States except with one exception, the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) that allows Zionist Israel money and bribery control to essentially own the treasonous US Congress.

Through intelligence agencies Mossad, CIA and MI6 in addition to AIPAC, US politicians are systemically coerced, bribed and blackmailed into unconditional support for Israel. As Tucker Carlson admitted recently to Joe Rogan, politicians are afraid to not vote in line with these intimidation tactics imposed by foreign agent operatives, that threaten kiddie porn on their computers or truth exposing pedo-blackmail activity, to ensure that Zionist Israel always gets what it wants with total impunity. With this kind of captured control over politicians, and now with this latest antisemitism law, dare criticize Israel or Zionism or Jewish power, it can now get us locked up under antisemitic hate speech. Zionist bloodline moneychangers like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers would not want it any other way.

A Thursday May 2nd Truthout article states: House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve legislation directing the U.S. Department of Education to consider a dubious definition of antisemitism, despite warnings from Jewish-led groups that the measure speciously conflates legitimate criticism of the Israeli government with bigotry against Jewish people. Uniparty Republicans and Democrats passing this new antisemitism bill destroying US Constitution’s First Amendment that guarantees our citizens’ free speech rights, confirms that US Congress panders and grovels in submission to their master Zionist Jewish State and its bloodline master founding owner, the Rothschild banking cartel. America’s uniparty is owned and operated by foreign agent AIPAC Israel.

Again, look at what inexhaustible lengths our Congress goes to, to protect the rights, security and safety of Jews, while Palestinian Arabs are brutally massacred daily and American citizens’ disappearing constitutional rights, our safety and national security are blatantly trampled upon. Only the apparent “chosen ones” receive preferential legal protection under bipartisan US law, while all the rest of us members of the human race, to Israel and US Congress, are all Palestinians in the genocidal crosshairs of our common Zionist Darkside enemy.

My article on Global Research last week is titled “In Defense of Genocide and War on ‘Antisemitism’, There Go Our Constitutional Liberties.” I cite the increasing number anti-hate speech laws grossly conflating criticism of Israeli genocide with antisemitism conveniently misused to falsely justify criminalizing and silencing our fundamental First Amendment rights of free speech, including the right to assemble for peaceful protest. On Saturday April 27th, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) called out his colleagues over this very same issue: Some of my colleagues are introducing legislation to create federally sanctioned ‘antisemitism monitors’ at colleges. I’ll vote No. Policing speech, religion, and assembly is not the role of the federal government. In fact, it’s expressly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

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To do what?

French Foreign Legion Dispatched to Ukraine, Ex-DoD Official (Sp.)

Media reports earlier stated that NATO currently does not have any operational plans for sending a military contingent to Ukraine even though the alliance has allegedly established “the two red lines” for its direct intervention in the conflict. “France has sent its first troops officially to Ukraine,” former US deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, Stephen Bryen, has claimed in an article published by the Asia Times. Bryen went on to write that the forces have been deployed “in support of the Ukrainian 54th Independent Mechanized Brigade in the city of Slavyansk.” The French soldiers have reportedly been drawn from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, one of the main components of France’s Foreign Legion. French authorities have not commented on the matter yet. “These troops are being posted directly in a hot combat area and are intended to help the Ukrainians resist Russian advances in Donbass. The first 100 are artillery and surveillance specialists,” Bryen argued.

According to him, about 1,500 French Foreign Legion soldiers are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine in the foreseeable future. The ex-US deputy undersecretary of defense wondered in this regard “whether this crosses the Russian red line on NATO involvement in Ukraine” and if “the Russians will see this as initiating a wider war beyond Ukraine’s borders?” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported earlier on Sunday that NATO – “in a very confidential manner and without official communique – has established at least two red lines, beyond which there could be the alliance’s direct intervention in the conflict in Ukraine.” At the same time, NATO does not plan to immediately send its military contingent to Ukraine, according to the newspaper. Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron once again did not rule out the possibility of NATO sending troops from Europe to Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced Macron’s statement as “very dangerous”, with the statement also slammed by groups in Britain, France, Hungary, Italy, and Slovakia.

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“..NATO has no justification to send troops to Ukraine, because Kiev is not a member of the bloc..”

Ukraine Could Request Western Military Intervention – MP (RT)

Kiev could request that Western troops be deployed on its soil if it deems the situation on the battlefield to have become bad enough, a senior Ukrainian lawmaker has said. In an interview with French broadcaster LCI on Saturday, Aleksey Goncharenko, who represents Odessa in the Ukrainian parliament, thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for not ruling out sending Western military to his country. The French leader earlier suggested that this issue could be put up for consideration on two conditions, first, “if the Russians were to break through the front lines [and, second,] if there were a Ukrainian request.” Describing Macron’s remarks as a “very good signal” to Russia, Goncharenko noted that foreign troops in Ukraine could be tasked with training Kiev’s military and performing other missions without engaging Moscow’s forces head-on.

When asked whether Ukraine would ask the West for direct assistance if Russian troops were to approach Kharkov or Kiev, the MP said he did not rule out any scenarios. “Yes, I think it is possible… If the frontline situation shows us that Ukraine cannot stop [Russian President Vladimir] Putin alone without European military support and troops, this is absolutely possible,” he said, voicing the hope that such a drastic measure wouldn’t be necessary. He also stressed that it would be in the EU’s interest to heed the appeal for assistance that he described, as it would be easier to stop Moscow with Ukraine than without it. On Saturday, Emmanuel Macron said that he supported “strategic ambiguity” towards Russia, which, he said, is aimed at deterring Moscow. According to the French president, his stance on potential Western military action in Ukraine was in line with this approach.

However, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has voiced skepticism about the idea, warning that NATO troops in Ukraine “could be a dangerous escalation.” This sentiment was echoed by Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto and by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, while Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico recalled that NATO has no justification to send troops to Ukraine, because Kiev is not a member of the bloc. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Macron’s statement “very important and very dangerous,” describing it as further testament to Paris’ direct involvement in the conflict. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also warned that “nothing will remain” of NATO forces if they are deployed in Ukraine. In recent weeks, the Russian military has reported a steady advance, capturing numerous settlements in Donbass, with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu recently declaring that Moscow is in full control of the situation on the battlefield.

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Jamming.

Israel’s Not So Little War Against Russia (Helmer)

Since last November the regime of Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev has been advertising the products of a company called Piranha-Tech for newly developed electronic warfare (EW) technologies which the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu (right) is now supplying the Ukraine for operations against Russia. According to a Russian military blogger report published on May 4, Israeli companies specializing in electronic jamming and drone technologies are behind a Ukrainian government, US, and UK-funded drone production line and deployment of the weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield. Piranha-Tech, according to this source, is 49% owned by Israeli shareholders, who developed the technology, and 51% owned by Ukrainians who are managing the battlefield supplies. Piranha-Tech anti-drone guns and jammers are based on Israeli military technologies, the report claims.

The first official disclosure came from Kiev on November 2, 2023. According to a tweet published by Mikhail Fedorov, a cyber technology specialist with government rank in Kiev, “efficient protection from Russian UAVs for armored vehicles & personnel. Quite unique electronic warfare system — Piranha AVD 360. It creates protective dome up to 600 meters around & jams satellite navigation systems, such as RuGLONASS. New tech supported by @BRAVE1ua”. BRAVE1 stands for “Ukrainian Defense Innovations”, a Ukrainian government coordinating agency for “stakeholders of the defense tech industry by providing them with organizational, informational, and financial support for defense tech projects.” Source: https://twitter.com/fedorovmykhailo?lang=en

A US and Ukraine-based defence technology blog picked up the story immediately. The report called the Piranha-Tech system “a cutting-edge electronic warfare system designed to safeguard armored vehicles from Russian drones, has successfully completed field trials and is now poised for mass production.” It added: “the Piranha system disrupts satellite navigation systems, including Russia’s GLONASS.” According to the American outlet, Piranha Tech was an “achievement in Ukrainian defense technology.” There was no mention of the Israeli military base for the Ukrainian operation. The Israeli links behind Piranha Tech were first published in Paris on May 3, 2024.

The Paris-based website called Intelligence Online reported that the Ukrainian Piranha-Tech technology is in fact Israeli. “Behind the Ukrainian company supplying anti-drone equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces and the government of Myanmar is a network of Israeli electronic warfare companies.” Intelligence Online is a product of Indigo, a media group owned by Maurice Botbol, who is of Moroccan Jewish extraction. In the competitive London corporate investigations market, Botbol’s Intelligence Online has a controversial reputation. In the past, it was favourable to the press operations of a Russian metals oligarch now under US sanctions.

In Moscow, The Militarist, a widely read military news and analysis blog, followed with an extensive report of the Israeli operation of Piranha-Tech on May 4. The Russian report says: “While Ukraine continues to develop its EW [electronic warfare] technologies as much as possible, incubators working in this field, such as Brave1 attract foreign specialists. Brave1 provides substantial support and subsidies to Piranha Tech, in particular, for its UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] Piranha AVD 360 anti-UAV system, which is used by the APU [Armed Forces of Ukraine]. The Ukrainian company, whose Ukrainian anti-UAV systems are praised on social media by the talkative Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mikhail Fedorov, seems to have close ties with Israel.”

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“..Xi’s diplomatic visit to Europe – his first in five years..”

Xi jinping to Visit Three Key Countries During Trip to Europe (Sp.)

An article in The New York Times suggests China shares skepticism towards US hegemony with some European countries, but the Asian power maintains positive cultural, economic, and historical ties as well. “Xi Visits Europe, Seeking Strategic Opportunity,” declared the headline of a New York Times piece Sunday on the Chinese leader’s trip to the continent. “The Chinese president… appears intent on seizing opportunities to loosen the continent’s bonds with the United States and forge a world freed of American dominance,” its authors continued, following in the controversial newspaper’s tradition of staunch advocacy for US hegemony. Xi’s diplomatic visit to Europe – his first in five years – certainly comes during a period when the United States’ global leadership is in doubt.

The US’ leveraging of coercive unilateral economic sanctions against nearly one-third of the world’s population has endangered the dollar’s position as the de facto global reserve currency, leading various world powers to seek alternatives. Countries throughout the Global South have chafed under the United States’ insistence they must follow its lead in isolating Russia after the launching of its special military operation in the Donbass. This phenomenon is observed vividly in North Africa, with a slew of nations ending military cooperation with the US and ejecting American troops. Even within Western Europe the United States’ image has taken a beating. NATO officials are scrambling to prepare for a possible future without the guiding role of Washington, fearing a second Donald Trump presidency could see the US cut funding or even pull out of the military alliance.

Historical allies’ perception of the country seems permanently altered after the controversial real estate magnate’s chaotic time at the helm; one-third of Europeans now say the United States cannot be trusted while more than two-thirds say it is not a model democracy. The New York Times documents various reasons for shared skepticism towards the United States among China and the three countries Xi plans to visit during his trip. France has long sought to resist US influence over its affairs, with revered statesman Charles de Gaulle famously refusing to place French troops under NATO command. Current President Emmanuel Macron has advocated for “strategic autonomy” in European affairs, positioning the EU as a third major power independent of China and America. Hungary, too, has challenged US influence over its internal affairs, rejecting criticism of its self-declared “illiberal Christian democratic” Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Opposition towards the United States is perhaps strongest in Serbia, where the lasting impact of NATO’s 1999 bombing of Belgrade is still felt. Increased rates of cancer and birth defects persist decades after the alliance’s use of depleted uranium in its assault on the capital city. The US’ bombing of Beijing’s embassy in Belgrade during the attack is still commemorated regularly by both China and Serbia. But beyond these countries’ shared objection to US dominance, there are also strong cultural, economic and historical links. Beijing’s relations with Serbia extend back to the days of the former Yugoslavia, when both countries shared an egalitarian socialist vision. Hungary became the largest recipient of Chinese direct investment in 2015, with Orban enthusiastically participating in Belt and Road infrastructure projects. French-Sino relations, meanwhile, go back to the Middle Ages; the Chinese monk Rabban Bar Sauma was hosted by France’s King Philip IV during a diplomatic trip by the Uyghur emissary throughout Europe. Today, both countries are joined together by their shared status as G20 economies, members of the UN Security Council, and major regional powers.

“Looking to the future, peace and development remain the trend of history and the aspiration of the people,” proclaimed Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in 2023. “China’s experience shows that the path of peaceful development has worked and worked well. There is no reason for us to discontinue but every reason to stay the course, and come together with more countries in the pursuit of peaceful development.” “When all countries pursue peaceful development, the future of humanity will be full of promise,” he concluded. As China continues to grow in economic power and influence the country insists it is committed to peaceful development and concern for humanity’s common advancement. Xi’s visit to Europe suggests the country is willing to search for allies in its cause wherever they may be found, even as broader trends threaten to drive world powers apart.

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“..a big turn on or about May 7th of next week. Armstrong predicts a recession will start then and go on until 2028..”

You Need 2 Years of Food – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong has new data on how well the Biden economy is doing. Spoiler alert: It’s not doing well, and the financial system is about to tank. I asked Armstrong if the US government could default on its debt if countries around the world continue to stop buying it? Armstrong explained, “I think the US could default on its debt as early as 2025, but probably in 2027. We have kicked the can down the road as far as we can go. It’s not just in the United States. Europe is in the same boat. So is Japan. This is why they need war. They think by going into war, that’s the excuse to default on the debt. They simply will not pay China. If they try to sell their debt–good luck. We are not redeeming it. The same thing is happening in Europe. So, once that happens, you go into war, and that is their excuse on this whole debt thing to collapse, which wipes out pensions etc. Then they can blame Putin. This is the same thing Biden was doing before saying this was Putin’s inflation. Then, with the whole CBDC thing (central bank digital currency) . . . . the IMF has already completed its digital coin, and they want that to replace the dollar as the reserve currency for the world. . . . These people are desperately just trying to hang on to power. Nobody wants to give it up, and nobody wants to reform.”

I asked Armstrong what should the common person be doing now? Armstrong surprisingly said, “I think you need, safely, two years’ worth of food supply. . . .This is what I have. It’s not just prices will go up, but mainly because there will be shortages. Then, you do not know what they are going to do with the currency. . . . They will do whatever they have to do to survive. That’s what governments always do.”

Armstrong says his most recent data suggests that government approval ratings in the USA are worse that Biden’s 8% approval rating. Congress, according to Armstrong, is dragging the bottom with a 7% approval rating. Armstrong has long said that people will buy gold and silver when faith in government crashes. That is exactly what Armstrong is seeing around the world today. Gold is bouncing around the $2,300 level, and Armstrong sees “a new gold and silver rally coming soon.” War is also coming sooner than later with the announcement that Ukraine will be joining NATO as early as July. When the next war starts, Armstrong warns, “You are going to have to watch the bank because long term interest rates are going to go up. Nobody wants to buy government debt, and you are going to have to hunker down at that stage in the game.”

Armstrong is also predicting a big turn on or about May 7th of next week. Armstrong predicts a recession will start then and go on until 2028. GDP will continue to fall, and inflation will continue to rise. Armstrong says it is the perfect storm for a dreaded “stagflation economy.”

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Buster hat

 

 

Tubs

 

 

Fren

 

 

Smile
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787111053538820414

 

 

Be kind to dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787123323748704526

 

 

 

 

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Apr 112018
 


Jan van Eyck The Last Judgement (detail) 1430

 

Hussman’s Script For A 60% Tumble In The Stock Market (MW)
World Trade System In Danger Of Being Torn Apart – Lagarde (G.)
Eurocontrol Warns Airlines Of Possible Missile Strikes Into Syria (R.)
Russian Envoy: Any US Missiles Fired At Syria Will Be Shot Down (R.)
We All Need To Unite Against War In Syria (CJ)
Zuckerberg Deflects Senators’ Questions, Gets $3 Billion For The Effort (MW)
Ban Targeted Advertising (Dayen)
EU Top Court Backs France Ban Of Uber (AFP)
Barclays Says Bitcoin Behaves Like An Infectious Disease (BBG)
The Failures of Anti-Trumpism (NYT)
Save the Children Faces Formal Investigation Over Staff Misconduct (G.)
Greece at Bottom of Eurozone Growth Rate (GR)
More Than Half Your Body Is Not Human (BBC)

 

 

“Investment is about valuation. Speculation is about psychology,” Hussman said. “Both factors are unfavorable here.”

Hussman’s Script For A 60% Tumble In The Stock Market (MW)

Enjoy days like this while they last, warns longtime bear John Hussman, because the volatility we’re seeing on the Dow and the S&P 500 only serves to reinforce his pessimistic view that the stock market is careening toward a painful drop of at least 60% and a decade or more of zero to negative returns. “We’re observing the very early effects of risk-aversion in a hypervalued market,” the Hussman Trust president wrote in his latest missive. “To some extent, the actual news events are irrelevant. I certainly wouldn’t gauge market risk by monitoring the day-to-day news on potential tariffs or even prospects for rate changes by the Fed.”

For those of you feeling a bit queasy because of what Hussman describes as the “rather minimal level of volatility” we’ve seen lately, it’s time to make some changes and rebalance your portfolio with some hedges, or at least lighten up by adding cash. “But do so knowing one thing in advance: you will experience regret,” he says. “If the market advances after you rebalance, you’ll regret having sold anything. If the market declines after you rebalance, you’ll regret not having sold more.”

The driving factor he frequently cites for the top-heavy market is that the Fed’s quantitative easing has inflated valuations to unsustainable levels, and as the free money goes away, the bottom will fall out, leaving a trail of blown-up investors in its wake. “Investment is about valuation. Speculation is about psychology,” Hussman said. “Both factors are unfavorable here.” He used this chart or the median price/revenue ratio of S&P components to show just how overvalued stocks are at this point, even after the recent tumble:

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Because the trade system benefits everyone, right?

World Trade System In Danger Of Being Torn Apart – Lagarde (G.)

The head of the IMF has warned of “darker clouds looming” for the global economy amid simmering trade tensions between the US and China, urging governments around the world to steer clear of protectionism or face negative consequences. Christine Lagarde said the current system for world trade was “in danger of being torn apart”, with the potential to upset the present global economic upswing and make consumers poorer. Speaking in Hong Kong amid signs the standoff could be abating, Lagarde said it would be an “inexcusable, collective policy failure” for world trade to break down with nations erecting punitive tariff systems against their rivals. “Let us redouble our efforts to reduce trade barriers and resolve disagreements without using exceptional measures,” she said.

[..] Using language that could be interpreted as a veiled attack on Trump in the speech ahead of the meeting, Lagarde said nations could make domestic policy changes to address trade imbalances and use international forums to settle disputes. “We can all do more – but we cannot do it alone,” she said. “Unfair trade practices have little impact on a country’s overall trade deficit with the rest of the world. That imbalance is driven by the fact that a country spends above its income.” Identifying the US as an example of a nation that could benefit from reforms, she said Washington could help tackle its trade imbalances by gradually curbing public spending and by increasing revenue, which she said would help reduce future fiscal deficits.

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Jamming.

Eurocontrol Warns Airlines Of Possible Missile Strikes Into Syria (R.)

Pan-European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol on Tuesday warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria in next 72 hours. Eurocontrol said that air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles could be used within that period and there was a possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment. U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action to punish Syria’s President Bashar Assad for a suspected poison gas attack on Saturday on a rebel-held town that long had held out against government forces.

Trump on Tuesday canceled a planned trip to Latin America later this week to focus instead on responding to the Syria incident, the White House said. Trump had on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the Syria attack was established. The Eurocontrol warning on its website did not specify the origin of any potential missile threat. “Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” it said, referring to the designated airspace.

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Clear as that.

Russian Envoy: Any US Missiles Fired At Syria Will Be Shot Down (R.)

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon said any U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted, a step that could trigger a major escalation in the Syrian war. Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin, in comments broadcast on Tuesday evening, said he was referring to a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces chief of staff. The Russian military said on March 13 that it would respond to any U.S. strike on Syria, targeting any missiles and launchers involved in such an attack. Russia is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally.

The United States and its allies are considering whether to hit Syria over a suspected poison gas attack that medical relief organizations say killed dozens of people in the rebel-held town of Douma near Damascus on Saturday. “If there is a strike by the Americans, then…the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” Zasypkin told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV, speaking in Arabic. He also said a clash “should be ruled out and therefore we are ready to hold negotiations”.

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Yes, we do. But it’s very late in the game.

We All Need To Unite Against War In Syria (CJ)

Last night Fox’s Tucker Carlson did what may have been the most amazing thing that has ever happened on American television. As the drums of war beat louder than they have in years, Carlson stared right into the camera and did the exact opposite of what every mainstream US pundit is doing right now: he told the truth. He told the truth about Syria. He told the truth about Yemen. He told the truth about the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. He told the truth about the bipartisan war machine which drops all pretense of opposition the instant it’s time for bloodshed. He told the truth about what war is, what it costs, and what it does to our world.

He stood in stark, unequivocal opposition to the trajectory the Trump administration appears to be moving along. And he did it on Fox News. I have a deep and abiding hatred in my heart for Fox News and all things Murdoch. I will never forget nor forgive the key role the Murdoch press played in deceiving our world into the unimaginable evil that was the Iraq invasion. But if I’d held a reflexive rejection of anything with the Fox News logo in the corner, I never would have seen Carlson’s epic monologue, never would have shared it with my social media following, never would have embedded it in this article, and this bright flash of truth would have been diminished by that much in the impact it was able to have on public consciousness.

And I know that there are many leftists who declined to help spread awareness of that Carlson monologue based solely on the fact that he’s a conservative pundit on a conservative network who has said things they disagree with in the past. This is stupid. We should be able to throw any weapon at all at the war machine, not fight with one hand tied behind our backs just because we don’t like conservatives.

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It was even worse than imagined.

Zuckerberg Deflects Senators’ Questions, Gets $3 Billion For The Effort (MW)

Mark Zuckerberg has come far since the early days of Facebook, and that growth was extremely apparent in how deftly the chief executive dealt with several hours of inscrutable questioning by U.S. senators Tuesday over the social network’s role in presidential election-meddling and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Wearing a conservative suit and light blue tie, an outfit he would rarely wear in Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg sat ramrod straight in his witness chair for most of the many hours of questions. He responded to each questioner by first addressing them as senator or chair. He looked earnest and serious for almost every question, even during some of the laughable questions from some of the less tech-savvy members of the Senate, such as the one by Sen. Orrin Hatch, who asked how Facebook makes money if it doesn’t charge users anything.

“Senator, we run ads,” Zuckerberg said with a smile. That calm response was in marked contrast to when Zuckerberg faced another type of grilling, at the All Things D conference in 2010, when he gave vague and rambling answers about Facebook’s changes to its privacy controls at the time, and had to take off his famous hoodie while wiping sweat from his face under the lights on stage. Part of his preparedness for the Senate hearing, where he managed to repeat several core phrases that the company has been perpetuating in the media, came as a result of Facebook’s information bombardment over the past month.

Some of the company’s obvious talking points have been repeated throughout the past weeks, such as how sorry Zuckerberg is, how much control Facebook users actually do have over their own data, how Facebook is trying to build a positive community and constant reminders of how the company started in a Harvard University dorm when he was 19. According to the New York Times, Facebook hired a team of experts to give Zuckerberg — who can be combative and defensive — a crash course in humility and charm ahead of the hearing in sessions that included mock hearings with its communications team and outside advisers. That preparation paid off: After the first two hours of questions were nearing an end and there was a call for a potential break, Zuckerberg took a sip of water and said he could keep going for a bit longer.

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Exactly. Stop that and all the Facebok nonsense stops. But those in power don’t want it to stop.

Ban Targeted Advertising (Dayen)

For the first 35 years of my life, like most Americans, I was exposed to lots of advertising. I absorbed billboards and print ads and direct mailers and television commercials and radio jingles. I learned about available products and services, and chose which ones I wanted. Some businesses I patronized survived and others didn’t. The economy mostly proceeded apace. Then, over the last decade, this form of marketing became seen as insufficient—or rather, the rise of digital media made a more invasive form of marketing too irresistible. Instead of having to cast a wide net in searching for potential customers, advertisers now could know every intimate detail about those customers beforehand.

They began targeting people geographically and behaviorally, based on common interests or things they liked in social media or what they wrote in emails to friends. The surveillance economy was born. The surveillance economy should die. This manner of advertising doesn’t serve the public and it’s not even clear it serves advertisers. It facilitates monopoly, as those with the biggest data troves receive all the ad dollars. That centralizes the potential for and magnitude of abuse, with Big Data used to discriminate against groups, steer vulnerable people to financial scams, and meddle in U.S. elections.

Cambridge Analytica’s scraping of 87 million user profiles through a simple personality quiz, and then weaponizing that information on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, revealed how information on social media is inherently insecure. Now Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing before Congress on Tuesday to explain how this won’t happen again. But instead of leaving regulation to Facebook, or devising one Rube Goldberg scenario after another to try to protect consumer data, the U.S. can take one simple, legal step to roll back this dystopian nightmare: ban targeted advertising.

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App or transport?

EU Top Court Backs France Ban Of Uber (AFP)

The EU’s top court on Tuesday backed the right of member states like France to ban a service by ridesharing firm Uber without notifying Brussels, in a fresh setback to the US giant. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of France’s ban of the UberPop service, which links amateur drivers with customers, comparing it to a December decision backing traditional taxi firms in the Spanish city of Barcelona. “Member States may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPop service, without notifying the Commission in advance,” the European Court of Justice ruled. [..]

Uber France is facing criminal proceedings in a court in the northern French city of Lille for its UberPop service. It argues that member states like France were required to notify the European Commission about the criminal legislation under which the case was brought because it concerned a technical regulation of an information society service. But the court of justice said the French case resembled one it ruled on in December when it classified Uber as an ordinary transportation company instead of an app and should be regulated as such. “In the Court’s view, the UberPop service offered in France is essentially identical to the service provided in Spain,” the court of justice statement said.

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True or not, a nice angle.

Barclays Says Bitcoin Behaves Like An Infectious Disease (BBG)

Is the rise of Bitcoin analogous to the spread of an infectious disease? Analysts at Barclays saw enough similarities to develop a pricing model for the cryptocurrency that takes its cues from the world of epidemiology. Their diagnosis: Bitcoin has probably peaked. The Barclays model divides the pool of potential Bitcoin investors into three groups: susceptible, infected and immune. It assumes that as prices rise, “infections” spread by word-of-mouth (nobody likes missing out when their friends and colleagues are getting rich). Barclays analysts led by Joseph Abate in New York explained the rest in a note to clients on Tuesday:

“As more of the population become asset holders, the share of the population available to become new buyers – the potential ‘host’ population – falls, while the share of the population that are potential sellers (‘recoveries’) increases. Eventually, this leads to a plateauing of prices, and progressively, as random shocks to the larger supply population push up the ratio of sellers to buyers, prices begin to fall. That induces speculative selling pressure as price declines are projected forward exponentially.” A similar dynamic plays out with infectious diseases when the so-called immunity threshold is reached, “the point at which a sufficient portion of the population becomes immune such that there are no more secondary infections,” the analysts wrote.

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Does David Brooks realize that anti-Trumpism, of which he’s a proud supporter, is what won Da Doland da election?

The Failures of Anti-Trumpism (NYT)

Over the past year, those of us in the anti-Trump camp have churned out billions of words critiquing the president. The point of this work is to expose the harm President Trump is doing, weaken his support and prevent him from doing worse. And by that standard, the anti-Trump movement is a failure. We have persuaded no one. Trump’s approval rating is around 40%, which is basically unchanged from where it’s been all along. We have not hindered him. Trump has more power than he did a year ago, not less. With more mainstream figures like H. R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn gone, the administration is growing more nationalist, not less. We have not dislodged him.

For all the hype, the Mueller investigation looks less and less likely to fundamentally alter the course of the administration. We have not contained him. Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party is complete. 89% of Republicans now have a positive impression of the man. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 59% of Republicans consider themselves more a supporter of Trump than of the Republican Party. On trade, immigration, entitlement reform, spending, foreign policy, race relations and personal morality, this is Trump’s party, not Reagan’s or anyone else’s. A lot of us never-Trumpers assumed momentum would be on our side as his scandals and incompetences mounted. It hasn’t turned out that way.

I almost never meet a Trump supporter who has become disillusioned. I often meet Republicans who were once ambivalent but who have now joined the Trump train. National Review was once staunchly anti-Trump, and many of its writers remain so, but, tellingly, N.R. editor Rich Lowry just had a column in Politico called “The Never Trump Delusion” arguing that Trump is not that big a departure from the Republican mainstream. The surest evidence of Trump’s dominance is on the campaign trail. As The Times’s Jonathan Martin reported, many Republicans, including Ted Cruz, are making the argument that if Democrats take over Congress, they will impeach the president. In other words, far from ignoring Trump, these Republicans are making defending him the center of their campaigns.

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Et tu, Brute?

Save the Children Faces Formal Investigation Over Staff Misconduct (G.)

Save the Children, the global charity mired in allegations that it failed to investigate sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour by staff, is to be formally investigated by the Charity Commission. In a statement announcing a statutory inquiry, the commission said it had been prompted by “concerns about the charity’s handling, reporting and response to serious allegations of misconduct and harassment against senior staff members in 2012 and 2015”. The commission describes a statutory inquiry as its “most serious form of engagement” with a charity.

The news, announced on Tuesday night, will be another blow for the charity two months after it emerged that both Justin Forsyth, its former chief executive, and Brendan Cox, the former policy director and widower of the MP Jo Cox, left the charity in 2015 following allegations of misconduct. The two men knew each other from their years working for Gordon Brown and the Labour party. After he left Save the Children, Forsyth went on to a senior role at Unicef. He resigned in February after the reports of inappropriate behaviour emerged. Cox also resigned from the charities More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in the aftermath of his wife’s murder.

The commission, which itself has been criticised for failing to follow up allegations involving the charities it polices, has been working with Save the Children since the facts about Forsyth and Cox emerged in the wake of the scandal involving Oxfam workers in Haiti. Save the Children is already reviewing its workplace culture and the implementation of recommendations made by a previous review. But the Charity Commission said its recent work with it, and new information from other sources that has recently come into the regulator’s possession, meant that the commission wanted to make further inquiries.

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It’s crazy to think the Greek economy is growing.

Greece at Bottom of Eurozone Growth Rate (GR)

Greece’s growth was the lowest among eurozone countries for 2017, with a GDP rise of just 1.4% while the eurozone average was 2.3%, according to European Central Bank figures. The ECB annual report released on Monday showed Ireland at the top of the growth chart among eurozone member states with a 5% GDP increase. Overall, 2017 was a year of growth for the whole of the single-currency bloc. According to the report, the main reason Greece fared so low in 2017 was that it showed only 0.1% growth in private consumption, compared to an average 1.6% increase in the rest of eurozone states.

At the same time, Greece showed a 1.1% decline in government spending, while the average in the euro area was a 1.2% increase. In terms of per capita GDP at current prices and adjusted for the cost of living, Greeks have an average annual income of €19,900 ($24,527) compared to €54,600 for each Irish citizen. In Portugal, average income amounted to €23,100, compared to €18,100 before the economic crisis. In Cyprus, the average income was €24,600 compared to €29,900 before the crisis. The “before the economic crisis” figures refer to the 1999-2008 period. On average in the euro area, per capita GDP stood at €31,700 according to the latest figures (2016), compared to €24,400 before the crisis.

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Bugs as drugs. “Originally it was thought our cells were outnumbered 10 to one.”

Well, our genes are outnumbered 1000 to 1.

More Than Half Your Body Is Not Human (BBC)

More than half of your body is not human, say scientists. Human cells make up only 43% of the body’s total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists. Understanding this hidden half of ourselves – our microbiome – is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson’s. The field is even asking questions of what it means to be “human” and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result. “They are essential to your health,” says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, “your body isn’t just you”. No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures.

This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The greatest concentration of this microscopic life is in the dark murky depths of our oxygen-deprived bowels. Prof Rob Knight, from University of California San Diego, told the BBC: “You’re more microbe than you are human.” Originally it was thought our cells were outnumbered 10 to one. “That’s been refined much closer to one-to-one, so the current estimate is you’re about 43% human if you’re counting up all the cells,” he says. But genetically we’re even more outgunned. The human genome – the full set of genetic instructions for a human being – is made up of 20,000 instructions called genes. But add all the genes in our microbiome together and the figure comes out between two and 20 million microbial genes.

[..] Antibiotics and vaccines have been the weapons unleashed against the likes of smallpox, Mycobacterium tuberculosis or MRSA. That’s been a good thing and has saved large numbers of lives. But some researchers are concerned that our assault on the bad guys has done untold damage to our “good bacteria”. Prof Ley told me: “We have over the past 50 years done a terrific job of eliminating infectious disease. “But we have seen an enormous and terrifying increase in autoimmune disease and in allergy. “Where work on the microbiome comes in is seeing how changes in the microbiome, that happened as a result of the success we’ve had fighting pathogens, have now contributed to a whole new set of diseases that we have to deal with.”

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