Dec 232022
 December 23, 2022  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »

Saul Leiter Man with flowers, NY 1950s


Washington Is Prolonging Ukraine’s Suffering (Macgregor)
German Press Is Pushing For Confrontation With Moscow (Livschitz)
Hungary Wants European Parliament Dissolved (Az.)
EU Leaders Dread a Ukraine Peace Process (Varoufakis)
US Admits Afghan Pullout Helped Arm Ukraine (RT)
US Space Force Practices For War In Europe (RT)
The Mushroom Principle (Blair)
A Well-Deserved Prize! (Dionisio)
US Life Expectancy Fell Again In 2021 – Covid And Drug Overdoses (Hill)
Winter Storm: Energy Demand To Stress Electrical, Natural Gas Systems (Fox)
Maricopa County Elections Director Confirms ‘Bombshell’ Error (BN)
Who Will Pay Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 Million Bond? (Decrypt)
Rand Paul Exposes Corruption Behind $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill (BR)
DeSantis’ Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate mRNA Vaccine Manufacturers (FlV)
2022 Year in Review: All Roads Lead to Ukraine (Collum)
2022 The Year in Review: The War in Ukraine (Collum)








DARPA. Read the first paragraph.





Marangoli flow







“Like South Vietnam in the 1960s, Ukraine is losing its war with Russia. Ukraine’s hospitals and morgues are filled to capacity with wounded and dying Ukrainian soldiers.”

Washington Is Prolonging Ukraine’s Suffering (Macgregor)

During a speech given on November 29, Polish Vice-Minister of National Defense (MON) Marcin Ociepa said: “The probability of a war in which we will be involved is very high. Too high for us to treat this scenario only hypothetically.” The Polish MON is allegedly planning to call up 200,000 reservists in 2023 for a few weeks’ training, but observers in Warsaw suspect this action could easily lead to a national mobilization.Meanwhile, inside the Biden administration, there is growing concern that the Ukrainian war effort will collapse under the weight of a Russian offensive. And as the ground in Southern Ukraine finally freezes, the administration’s fears are justified. In an interview published in the Economist, head of Ukraine’s armed forces General Valery Zaluzhny admitted that Russian mobilization and tactics are working. He even hinted that Ukrainian forces might be unable to withstand the coming Russian onslaught.

Yet, Zaluzhny rejected any notion of a negotiated settlement and instead pleaded for more equipment and support. He went on to insist that with 300 new tanks, 600 to 700 new infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 new Howitzers, he could still win the war with Russia. Truthfully, General Zaluzhny is not asking for assistance, he’s asking for a new army. Therein lies the greatest danger for Washington and its NATO allies. When things go badly for Washington’s foreign policy, the true believers in the great cause always draw deeply from the well of ideological self-delusion to steel themselves for the final battle. Blinken, Klain, Austin, and the rest of the war party continue to pledge eternal support for Kiev regardless of the cost. Like the “best and the brightest” of the 1960s they are eager to sacrifice realism to wishful thinking, to wallow in the splash of publicity and self-promotion in one public visit to Ukraine after another.

[..] The Biden administration’s unconditional support for the Zelensky regime in Kiev is reaching a strategic inflection point not unlike the one LBJ reached in 1965. Just as LBJ suddenly determined in 1964 that peace and security in Southeast Asia was a vital U.S. strategic interest, the Biden administration is making a similar argument now for Ukraine. Like South Vietnam in the 1960s, Ukraine is losing its war with Russia. Ukraine’s hospitals and morgues are filled to capacity with wounded and dying Ukrainian soldiers. Washington’s proxy in Kiev has squandered its human capital and considerable Western aid in a series of self-defeating counter-offensives. Ukrainian soldiers manning the defensive lines facing Russian soldiers in Southern Ukraine are brave men, but they are not fools. The Spartans at Thermopylae were brave, and they still died.

Maajid Zel

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“Less than half – 43% – gave the impression that diplomatic negotiations would be useful, and this was largely due to Der Spiegel’s reporting..”

German Press Is Pushing For Confrontation With Moscow (Livschitz)

Last week, the University of Mainz published a study of German news coverage of events in Ukraine, and Berlin’s official response to the crisis. The conclusions confirm that since February 24, the media has played a major role in keeping the conflict going, and making a negotiated settlement less likely, due to almost universally biased, pro-war, anti-Russia content being published at all stages. Researchers at the university analyzed German-language reporting on the Ukraine conflict between February 24 and May 31, assessing the content of around 4,300 separate articles published by the country’s eight leading newspapers and TV stations: FAZ, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Bild, Spiegel, Zeit, ARD Tagesschau, ZDF Today, and RTL Aktuell.

During this time, Ukraine was portrayed positively in 64% of all coverage, and President Vladimir Zelensky in 67%. By contrast, Russia was portrayed “almost exclusively negatively” 88% of the time, and President Vladimir Putin in 96% of cases. Almost all reports – 93% in total – attributed sole blame for the war to Putin and/or Russia. The West was named as “jointly responsible” in only 4% of instances, Ukraine even less so at 2%. The perspectives of Russia on the conflict were only considered or mentioned in 10% of news reports, less than the viewpoint of any other country, including Moscow’s neighbors. Alternative for Germany and the Left Party, which both oppose arming Ukraine and prolonging the fighting, “had practically no media presence in reporting on the war.”

Government messaging and statements from ministers were completely dominant, being the focus in 80% of news coverage, more than four times above the figure for opposition parties. In media discussions of “measures most likely to end the war,” economic sanctions against Russia were “by far the most frequently reported,” and approved of in 66% of cases. Diplomatic measures were mentioned “much less frequently,” while “humanitarian measures” were even less regularly featured. In all, 74% of the reports surveyed portrayed military support to Ukraine “extremely positively.” Delivery of heavy weapons was endorsed “a little less clearly, but still considered to be largely sensible,” with 66% “overwhelmingly in favor.”

Less than half – 43% – gave the impression that diplomatic negotiations would be useful, and this was largely due to Der Spiegel’s reporting that clearly marked diplomacy as the most sensible option for Berlin “by far.” “Der Spiegel was the only media examined to rate diplomatic negotiations more positively than the delivery of heavy weapons,” the academics conclude. The report did identify one area where media coverage was “certainly not pro-government.” On certain rare occasions, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his coalition were strongly criticized “for hesitating to flood Ukraine with heavy weapons” by all outlets apart from Der Spiegel.

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“..legislators from the parliaments of member states should be delegated to the European Parliament..”

Hungary Wants European Parliament Dissolved (Az.)

The recent corruption scandal in the European Parliament (EP) is a sign that the EU institution should be abolished in its current form, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday. He added that the EP already had an abysmal reputation. Orban’s remarks came after Eva Kaili, a Greek politician who served as one of the European Parliament’s vice presidents, was arrested and charged this month with corruption for receiving bribes from Qatar. “The Hungarians would like for the European Parliament to be dissolved in its current form,” he said at a press conference in Budapest. Orban argued that the scandal “draws attention to the fact that national parliaments have a stronger control system in place,” adding that legislators from the parliaments of member states should be delegated to the European Parliament, as opposed to being elected separately.

“And they obviously know our political position: the swamp must be drained,” the prime minister said. Budapest has repeatedly clashed with the European Parliament and other EU institutions over a number of issues, including migration and LGBTQ rights. Brussels, in turn, accused Orban’s conservative government of eroding the rule of law at home. Hungary, whose economy heavily depends on Russian energy imports, has also criticized the EU sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to the military operation in Ukraine, which was launched in late February. Unlike many of the bloc’s member states, Orban has refused to send weapons to Kiev. “If it were up to us, there would not be a sanctions policy,” Orban said on Wednesday. “It is not in our interest to permanently divide the European and Russian economies into two, so we are trying to save what can be saved from our economic cooperation with the Russians.”

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Too much division in Europe. “Who will represent the EU in any future peace process?”

EU Leaders Dread a Ukraine Peace Process (Varoufakis)

While peace in Ukraine would help stem Europe’s economic hemorrhaging, the moment any peace process begins, the European Union will be divided by an internal East-West fault line, which is bound to reawaken the EU’s earlier North-South conflict. A credible peace process will require difficult negotiations involving the world’s great powers. Who will represent Europe at that high table? It is hard to imagine Polish, Scandinavian, and Baltic leaders ceding that role to their French or German counterparts. In the EU’s eastern and northeastern flanks, French President Emmanuel Macron is considered a Putin appeaser ready to impose on Ukrainians a reprehensible (to them) land-for-peace agenda.

Likewise, setting aside Germany’s long-term reliance on Russian energy, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s standing as a torchbearer of Europe’s collective interest has been damaged further by his €200 billion ($212 billion) fiscal defense of German industry – the type of tax-funded protective shield which Germany vetoed at the EU level. Meanwhile, French and German elites pour scorn on the idea that the EU might be represented in any peace process by the likes of Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s Prime Minister, or Sanna Marin, her Finnish counterpart. “The moral crusades of the Ukraine war maximalists are fashionable now but they will hinder, not help, any peace process,” was how a German official put it to me.So, the question remains: Who will represent the EU in any future peace process?

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“Zelensky also addressed a special joint session of Congress, with a plea to approve another $45 billion in aid for 2023. The Senate did so the following day.”

US Admits Afghan Pullout Helped Arm Ukraine (RT)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted on Thursday that the much-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he called “America’s longest war,” helped Washington redirect resources to Ukraine just months later Appearing at the State Department for a year-end press conference, Blinken painted a rosy picture of Washington’s diplomatic accomplishments. The exit from Afghanistan, which happened in August 2021, came up because one reporter took issue with Blinken’s claim of strong relationships with US “allies and partners,” some of whom she said were critical of how that US handled that operation. Consultations were “sustained, they were intense, and we strongly took note of everything that we heard from allies and partners in advance of the decisions that President [Joe] Biden made and that we made,” Bliken insisted, arguing that claims otherwise are “not born out by the facts.”

Though the reporter had asked about lessons of that withdrawal in “dealing with Russia and China,” Blinken proceeded to argue that “if we were still in Afghanistan, it would have, I think, made much more complicated the support that we’ve been able to give and that others have been able to give Ukraine” against Russia. The last US soldier departed from the Kabul airport on August 31, 2021. The US-backed Afghan government had collapsed without much of a fight two weeks earlier, leaving the Taliban in control of the country – as they had been in 2001. While the cost of the 20-year conflict has been estimated at over $2 trillion, the US spent almost $73 billion in 2021 dollars on training, equipping, maintaining and supplying the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), most of it from the Pentagon budget. The bulk of ANDSF weaponry and equipment ended up in Taliban hands.

By comparison, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated earlier this week that total Western aid to Ukraine this year amounted to over $97 billion. The Pentagon alone has spent at least $20 billion in direct “security assistance” to Ukraine since February 2022, by its own admission. Other US government departments, NATO and EU members accounted for the rest. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky visited Washington in person on Wednesday, receiving a pledge from Biden to fund Kiev for “as long as it takes” and a $1.85 billion packet of weapons and ammunition, including a battery of Patriot air defense missiles. Zelensky also addressed a special joint session of Congress, with a plea to approve another $45 billion in aid for 2023. The Senate did so the following day.

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“We will fight in space as a coalition, and these opportunities are invaluable to building the team that will fight together should the need arise.”

US Space Force Practices For War In Europe (RT)

The US Space Force has conducted joint drills with UK, Canada and Australia – the largest such exercises in its history – to hone its readiness for a hypothetical war in Europe, according to a statement by the Space Training and Readiness Command (STAR). Three so-called Space Flag 23-1 drills, each lasting two days, were conducted earlier this month at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado. The exercises enabled participants to practice “orbital warfare techniques, our electronic warfare techniques, our space-domain-awareness techniques and intelligence command,” Space Force Lieutenant Colonel Albert Harris said.“This Space Flag focused on a US European Command scenario, so we wanted to present the problem in that theater and exercise our ability to win it based off of various problems that we presented to the team,” Harris added.

Troops were given Europe-specific problems to solve during mission planning and practiced procedures to increase their readiness to win a conflict on the continent, but the exact scenarios remain a mystery. The event marked the first Space Force drills that practiced for European war and just happened to come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Harris said planning for the exercises began in February, the same month in which Russia began its military operation in Ukraine. Colonel Jason Schramm said the drills enabled US forces and coalition partners to practice their space combat tactics. “Winning in space underpins coalition lethality in other warfighting domains,” he said. “We will fight in space as a coalition, and these opportunities are invaluable to building the team that will fight together should the need arise.”

The US has been supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia with weapons, supplies and other forms of military aid, such as intelligence, while claiming not to be directly involved in the conflict. General John Raymond, the head of US space operations, said in July that “commercial space has been very important in providing capabilities that have been helpful to Ukraine.” One well-known case is the supply of Starlink ground equipment to Ukraine. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has provided access to satellite broadband internet service to Kiev’s troops. Speaking at a space event at the UN in October, Russian representative Konstantin Vorontsov expressed concern over the US and its allies using “elements of the civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, for military purposes,” and warned that “quasi-civilian infrastructure may be considered a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike.”

The US launched its Space Force as a separate military branch in 2019, more than 50 years after joining with the Soviet Union and the UK in signing a treaty that pledged to set aside space for “peaceful purposes.” The Pentagon has claimed that it must treat space as a “war-fighting domain” because of alleged threats from Russia and China.

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“The mechanisms of “narrative control” have been tightened exponentially.“

The Mushroom Principle (Blair)

The mechanisms of “narrative control” have been tightened exponentially. Back in 2003 it was still possible to read occasional pieces in the “respectable” press such as the BBC, NY Times, Washington Post or The Guardian that questioned the official narrative, particularly the fabricated justifications put forward by the Deep State for their invasion of Iraq. Ever since then, there has been a systematic purge of any and all honest investigative journalists who dare to challenge the Deep State narrative. Most notable was Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize winning head of the Middle East Bureau of the NY Times, who was forced out of his job for his righteous opposition to the US invasion of Iraq. Another luminary, summarily removed from The Guardian (despite contributing to their Pulitzer Prize win in 2014), was Glenn Greenwald.

Voices of reason such as that of Noam Chomsky have long been sidelined and shunned. The legendary John Pilger, former icon of Fleet Street, has been denied any mainstream platform that could earn him a living wage. There are many others too numerous to mention. Now the Deep State is slowly murdering the greatest journalist of our modern times, Julian Assange, using bogus charges that were trumped-up by the Trump regime. Assange’s greatest crime? Exposing the war crimes of the USA. The US Establishment can now effectively block or stifle any public dissent opposing their War Agenda, while simultaneously instructing the stupid sheeple who they must direct their daily two minutes of hatred against. The Western media have truly turned Orwellian.

They have learned how to do this step-by-step over the years since the Vietnam and Afghan and Iraq debacles, now achieving total control over the mainstream media. Hence when Russia was provoked by the USA into invading Ukraine in February this year, it was falsely and repeatedly and uniformly described as an “unprovoked invasion” by those MSM sewer outlets, completely ignoring the genocide the Ukronazi proxies of the US had been committing against Russophone civilians in Donbass over the previous 8 years. The war criminal Condoleezza Rice condemned Russia for their “criminal invasion” without the slightest hint of irony, while the stenographers “reporting” her words failed to point out the bleeding obvious.

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“It’s not even worth to throw any argument, because classification in these terms is mainly aimed at not discussing anything.”

A Well-Deserved Prize! (Dionisio)

A feeling of complete justice is what I felt when I attended the presentation of the Sakharov prize to comedian Zelinsky. Rarely does an award embody, so substantially, the deep connection between the institution that promotes it, the great European political families that approved it, and the recipient himself. I give a standing ovation! Yes, sir! I fully approve! The bank account that inexplicably appeared in Switzerland, disclosed through the Pandora papers, stuffed with almost a billion Euros, in the name of the prize winner, explains more than one can imagine. It explains everything! Take Eva Kaili, for example. A rising star in international politics, transformed into a runway that shows, on the outside, what she is not on the inside.

To assume that Eva and her cronies are an exception, who, for the money, fame, and glamour it provides, have agreed to publicly defend what they previously claimed to despise…. It is not paying attention to 21st century European politics. In the 21st century, being of the centrist political parties (mainly the social democrats and popular, liberal and moderate conservatives) means a lot…it means everything! It means not being an “extremist”, of course, “left-wing” or “right-wing”, reducing the whole spectrum to two camps – the acceptable, the “mainstream”, the “balanced”; and, the “unacceptable”, the “radical” and “sectarian”; belonging to an “extreme” is the same, whatever side you are on. Being in the middle, that’s all, and that’s not up for discussion anymore. It’s not even worth to throw any argument, because classification in these terms is mainly aimed at not discussing anything.

Not that one can generalize and run everything by the same measure; that is neither serious nor even advisable, and it is precisely what wants the ones that determines that any analysis should be done in the terms I have mentioned. But this is, above all, the story of the political mainstream. Saying one thing… and doing the other. Take the sakharov prize itself: awarding this prize to a guy whose government has outlawed more than a dozen political parties, confiscating their property; to the leader of a government that confiscates property of the Orthodox Church and persecutes its clerics for defending the “Holy Russ” composed of the three sister countries of the Slavic East, of which Kiev is the mother city; who has banned the use of the native language of nearly half of the country’s population, burning books, destroying statues and films depicting the culture in that language; persecutes journalists for reporting what he does not intend; detains political activists who oppose him, and lied in the elections he won, promising what he did not intend to do…

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“Every age group in the nation— from 1 year olds to people age 85 and older— saw a decrease in life expectancy.”

Hmmm. 1 year olds don’t die from Covid or fentanyl. So what is going on there?

US Life Expectancy Fell Again In 2021 – Covid And Drug Overdoses (Hill)

The average U.S. life expectancy shortened by seven months in 2021, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), driven mainly by COVID-19 and drug overdoses from synthetic opioids. According to a pair of CDC reports, life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year, from 77 years to 76.4 years. This follows a major drop of 1.8 years in 2020, putting life expectancy from birth at about the same level it was in 1996. Every age group in the nation— from 1 year olds to people age 85 and older— saw a decrease in life expectancy. Life expectancy for women is 79.9 years, about six years longer than men, but they both experienced the same decline.

Almost all racial groups also saw an increase in death rates, except for non-Hispanic Asian males and non-Hispanic Black males, which saw a slight decrease, Nine of the 10 leading causes of death in 2020 were the same in 2021. Heart disease was the main cause of death, followed by cancer and COVID-19, which took nearly 417,000 lives last year, an increase of 18.8 percent from 2020, despite the release of new vaccines. About 3.46 million people died in the U.S. last year, according to CDC, an increase of 80,502 more deaths than in 2020. Deaths by suicide and from liver disease caused by alcohol also increased, contributing to the shorter American lifespan.

Flu and pneumonia rates decreased, as parts of the U.S. population took precautions against the coronavirus and wore masks. Drug overdose deaths have been rising over the past two decades in the United States, CDC said. In 2021, overdoses were responsible for 106,699 deaths. Drug overdose death rates increased for each race and Hispanic-origin group except non-Hispanic Asian people between 2020 and 2021. They rose by 14 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, driven mainly by the illegal synthetic opioid fentanyl. According to the report, there was a 22 percent increase in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids in 2021.

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Keep warm guys.

Winter Storm: Energy Demand To Stress Electrical, Natural Gas Systems (Fox)

America’s natural gas and electrical system will be put to the test in the next few days as a winter storm that’s expected to cascade across the country brings heavy snowfall, ice, flooding and powerful winds. The National Weather Service says a tremendously impactful winter storm will continue to affect large portions of the nation late this week and going into the holiday weekend. Winter weather hazards will stretch from border to border across the central and eastern U.S. and from coast to coast from the east coast to the Pacific Northwest. “I think you’re going to see the demand for energy in the next couple of days be the highest it’s ever been in our country’s history,” American Gas Association CEO Karen Harbert told FOX Business. “This is a storm of consequence, and it’s not isolated. If you look at the storm … it’s going to affect almost the entire lower 48.”

Temperatures in parts of the country have already plummeted Thursday and millions of people are already under some typ of winter weather advisory. “As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 280 million people in the U.S. are under some form of winter weather warning or advisory,” the NWS said. The total includes nearly 150 million for wind chill warnings or advisories, 114 million for blizzard warning, 56 million for winter storm warnings and 500 thousand for ice storm warnings. Although the system is going to be stressed like never before, Harbert said utility companies have been preparing all year for this. “Demand is going to be unprecedented. And they’re going to try and manage that load demand very carefully,” she added.

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Not an error, but a trick. Just use the wrong size of paper and you guarantee tons of ballots are rejected.

Maricopa County Elections Director Confirms ‘Bombshell’ Error (BN)

There was a ‘bombshell’ revelation divulged in court on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake against Secretary of State and Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs. It leads to the inescapable conclusion that fraud was committed in the Arizona election. Maricopa County Elections Director Scott Jarrett confirmed in court that the ballot printer and tabulation errors that sowed widespread chaos in the Arizona election was caused on Election Day. “Is it your testimony that the printer set changes that led to the so-called ‘shrink to fit’ issue was that done on Election Day?” Kari Lake’s attorney Kurt Olson asked. “That’s correct,” Scott Jarrett replied. “Elections director Scott Jarrett confirms that the printer setting change that led to the mass disenfranchisement of Arizona voters DID occur the morning of election day,” the Kari Lake War Room reported.

Also in Thursday testimony, election modeling expert Richard Baris said that his projections showed as many as 40,000 voters were disenfranchised over Election Day chaos in Arizona’s Maricopa County. Baris said he would “have no doubt” that she would’ve won the election had there been no issues at polling centers. Baris testified that 25,000 to 40,000 voters were disenfranchised in the county due to his estimation that roughly one in five vote centers had problems ballot tabulator machines in the first hours of Election Day. “We’ve got about 20% of the locations out there where there’s an issue with the tabulator,” Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said on election night. Election officials, however, told voters their ballots would still be counted as a result of redundancy protocols. The vote margin between Lake and Hobbs is 17,117 votes. Baris is the last witness that Lake is calling in the scheduled two-day trial for her election lawsuit.

[..] Kari Lake’s legal team attained a legal victory by given authority to randomly inspect ballots from Maricopa County’s election as part of her 70-page lawsuit that Lake filed against top state election officials. The ruling authorized Lake‘s team’s to inspect 50 random ballots cast on Election Day from six polling stations in Maricopa County. During ballot inspection, it was revealed that 48 of 113 ballots reviewed were 19-inch ballots produced on 20-inch paper. This one-inch discrepancy caused ballot tabulators to reject thousands of votes and sowed chaos on Election Day in Maricopa County. An expert witness testified there are only two ways for the 19-inch image to have been projected onto the 20 in ballot, which would cause tabulator errors. The witness verified that both methods required an administrator to change and it could not have happened by chance or error. Thus, it is a form of fraud.

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The appearance bond..

Who Will Pay Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 Million Bond? (Decrypt)

Disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried today was released from custody by a New York judge under a $250 million bond agreement. That led to one big question across Crypto Twitter: Where did the money come from? Didn’t SBF lose billions of dollars? Is he tapping into FTX funds to pay his own bail? The short answer is this: no one had to pay anything for his release, nor is any cash owed—not yet, anyway. Bankman-Fried’s release agreement is an “appearance bond,” a promise to comply with specific restrictions while awaiting trial, and to show up when the time comes. He had to put up 10% of the bail amount as collateral for the bond, but no actual payment was required.

The appearance bond, as filed with the court, establishes a $250,000,000 “personal recognizance bond” guaranteed by four people, at least one of them not a member of Bankman-Fried’s family. For now, though, the only two signatures are those of Allan Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, SBF’s father and mother. At Thursday’s hearing in New York, federal prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried’s bond was “the highest ever pre-trial bond.” Under U.S. law, “recognizance” means a release in which no upfront payment nor bail bond arrangement is required, and that is based solely on a written promise by the defendant to appear in court when required to do so.

“When a loved one or family member co-signs a recognizance bond, the offender’s failure to appear in court impacts additional people—namely the co-signers who are also on the bond,” explained Miriam Baer, vice dean and centennial professor of law at Brooklyn Law School. A court could also require an up front security payment,” Baer adds. “But in some ways requiring family members to co-sign the recognizance bond—especially one with a very high dollar number—is a more powerful way to ensure a wealthy person’s return to court.”

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“It’s a no-good rotten way to run your government,,”

Rand Paul Exposes Corruption Behind $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill (BR)

Republican Senator Rand Paul dropped the hammer on Democrats in Congress for corruption hidden inside their $1.7 trillion spending bill. The 4,000 page bill was produced in the middle of the night and released at 1:30 in the morning. Despite having 10 months to work on it, Congress released it at the 11th hour, right before Christmas. This strategy attempts to pressure lawmakers into making an impulsive decision in order to get home for Christmas break. Senator Paul said, “Whose job is it to produce this? The people in charge of spending.” He continued, “When did they know this would be necessary? Well, it’s in the law, September 30th. You got nine months, almost ten months to produce a plan.”

“They weren’t ready on September 30th so they voted themselves 90 more days. They weren’t ready last week either, so they voted themselves another week.” “So now we have it at 1:30 this morning,” Senator Paul said. “I think the greatest risk to our national security is our debt. The process stinks. It’s an abomination.” “It’s a no-good rotten way to run your government. Six trillion dollar entity and they want 24 hours to process this, and then they want to go forward.” Many lawmakers won’t be able to read and process the impact of the 4,000 page spending bill within 24 hours.

Trump omnibus

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Let’s hope he dares take it far and deep enough.

DeSantis’ Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate mRNA Vaccine Manufacturers (FlV)

The Florida Supreme Court granted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate mRNA vaccine manufacturers. DeSantis announced earlier in December his petition for a statewide grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” in Florida with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers. “It is against the law to mislead and to misrepresent, particularly when you’re talking about the efficacy of a drug,” DeSantis said.The statewide grand jury will be allowed to investigate groups involved in the design, development, clinical testing, marketing, and distribution of vaccines said to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission. It will be impaneled for one year.

DeSantis’ petition argued that there was widespread belief that the COVID-19 vaccine prevented the disease from spreading, which led to vaccine mandates on citizens, health care workers, and military members. “It is impossible to imagine that so many influential individuals came to this view on their own. Rather, it is likely that individuals and companies with an incentive to do so created these perceptions for financial gain,” the petition said. The petition specifically points out Moderna and Pfizer’s claims about preventing the COVID-19 disease with “94.1% efficacy” and “91.3% vaccine efficacy.” Earlier in December, DeSantis also announced that a public health integrity committee will be established. The board will advise the public and provide oversight moving forward of the public health establishment.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has previously spoken out against the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, saying they are “far less safe” than other vaccines based on an autopsy-based clinical research in a cardiology study. In October, Lapado announced new mRNA COVID-19 vaccine guidance, advising against males aged 18-39 years old from taking those vaccines due to a reported 84% increase in the relative incidence of heart-related deaths.

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Dave Collum’s review is out again. Actually, ARE out again. It will take you all of 2023 to read 2022. Dave sent me a message saying:

“Passing along my annual tome. I cannot fathom how you put out the content that you put out. It takes the hide off me. (The Ukraine section is the core and the source of pain and suffering by the woke.)”

2022 Year in Review: All Roads Lead to Ukraine (Collum)

A Year in Transition. This was my runner up for the title. Aren’t we always stuck on the “Mobius Strip from Hell” that never ends? Francis Fukuyama and Tom Friedman were wrong: history did not end, and the world is going spherical again rather quickly. Of course, we never know the future, but each year seems to have themes that play out with a quantized feel to it. By contrast, 2022 has left world economies heading south but with no bottom in sight. Neither the Fed nor the markets are done inflicting pain. The risk of global famine is real but with inestimable consequences. The futures of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies hang in the balance with more than just price corrections now in play.

The war in Ukraine could end with a whimper (but only if Russia wins) or with a thermonuclear conflagration (nobody wins). Europeans are pondering the relative merits of freezing to death owing to lack of energy or starving to death owing to lack of food, but maybe those potentially biblical events are just clickbait. The WEF has reared its ugly head—the WEF’s Great Reset is not just a theory—yet we still haven’t a clue what those diabolical authoritarian meat puppets are up to. Why do we have to start eating bugs and forfeiting all earthly belongings and to whom. It is hard to see how we smoothly get to 2023 from 2022.

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“If you think Putin is, by definition, wrong because he attacked first, you have neither read much nor thought very deeply about the Ukraine conflict or the origins of wars.”

2022 The Year in Review: The War in Ukraine (Collum)

We are on the cusp of WWIII, what could become the most inclusive war in history, with world leaders who seem incapable of orchestrating a decisive paintball attack. Like so many, I rely on geopolitical events to learn about politics and geography. Task #1: figure out where Ukraine is located on a map. I stumbled upon this top-secret Pentagon strategy map:

Oh my God. They have already removed Russia! Task #2: resolve spelling and grammar issues. Is it Ukraine or The Ukraine; Odesa or Odessa; Kiev or Kyiv; Zelensky, Zelenskiy, or Zelenskyy; Donbas or Donbass; and Dumbass or Biden? First disclaimer: there is no chance that I can understand a border war in or near the Baltics. I take solace in that y’all are in the same boat. I am grand theorizing—creating big narratives for a hopelessly complex topic—describing the World According to Dave. I am layers into the onion but doubtlessly layers away from truths because I am fishing shit off the internet about a war said by the legendary journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Oliver Stone to be the most propaganda-slathered war in their lifetimes. My immutable rule of thumb: if their lips are moving they are lying.

We can all agree that the list of victims in this war is non-statistically populated by Ukrainians. They are dying, and their world is being upended. If, however, you think that this is a simple story about good versus evil, you need a CT scan. I am especially talking to the devout members of the Sanctimony-Industrial Complex—Eric Hoffer’s fanatical True Believers—who will take any opportunity to be part of a grand movement to elevate their lives by signaling their virtue. I was on a Zoom call with a member of the clergy in which he stated that “it is Putin’s fault because Putin attacked.” I curtly told that punk-ass zealot—quite an impressive one actually— “If I have some guy in my face, and it is clear that this is not going to resolve well, my immediate goal becomes finding a way to land the first punch to ensure there is no second punch.” (I did say that.) Months later I discovered that I had inadvertently paraphrased Putin. If you think Putin is, by definition, wrong because he attacked first, you have neither read much nor thought very deeply about the Ukraine conflict or the origins of wars.

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Shoebill stork



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The Etruscan shrew. Smallest mammal in the world by weight at 1.8grams on average. For perspective a paper clip is 1 gram











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Jun 192015
 June 19, 2015  Posted by at 8:07 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »

Marion Post Wolcott Main Street. Sheridan, Wyoming 1941

Just about exactly three days ago, I wrote an article telling you that I will be going to Athens next week: The Automatic Earth Moves To Athens. I also announced in that article that I was setting up an Automatic Earth fund, the proceeds of which I will donate to needy Greek foodbanks and clinics. The reactions to that fund drive have been amazing in more ways than one. But first, here’s some of what what I wrote June 16:

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

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

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

Or for that matter that children should go hungry.

As I said, the reactions were amazing in more ways than one. Here’s the rundown: within 24 hours of posting the article, the count was already at close to $2000. I kid you not. Thing is, after that not much else has come in. We’re now, some 48 hours later, at $2217.49.

And that just don’t seem right. I think we should be able to do much better than that. If only because when I saw that initial run of donations, I realized we could do some real good. I had expected a few hundred bucks, but nothing like that. So that leads the mind to exploring more options, to thinking bigger.

Two things. Number one is that of those $2000, half came from just 1 individual in Colorado. Who in correspondence after told me how much he was touched by what I said, and how much he felt obliged to do what he could. He blew me away regardless.

Number two is that another sponsor of the “AE for Athens” fund, from California, who donated $200, suggested today that he would try and engage people and groups around him, community groups, to join in and collect donations, which we can then direct towards the people in Athens and the rest of Greece who need it most.

Please, if you at all can, follow that example, make it a group thing. I swear on all my ancestors’ graves that I will do all I can to make sure the money goes where it is most needed. EVen if at times I get the impression that this would mean just about every single street corner in ‘Athina’.

If you think it’s not all that bad, please read the Daily Mail article I will post at the bottom of this mercifully short post, an article, by the way, sent to me by a certain Nicole Foss ;-). That should tell you all you need to, and perhaps didn’t yet, know. It’s bad. Europe has created the third world inside its own borders. Me, personally, I find that inexcusable.

It makes me wonder how would Germany react in such a situation, or Holland, Britain? Where their life expectancy plummets, where babies are held ‘hostage’ in a hospital until the bill is paid up? They can’t even imagine this, while it’s happening right on their very doorstep.

But this post is not about politics, and some Americans may even say it happens stateside too. Which makes it sort of ironic that Americans are the most generous. So far. But maybe I can still turn that around. Maybe I can yet wake up the Europeans.

It’s their governments that made it happen, after all, though Washington is by no means an innocent bystander. The entire thing consists of dirty and ugly power politics executed in YOUR name, and that’s as true for Americans as it is for Europeans. And you have the opportunity to soothe some of the pain, even if it’s just a tiny bit.

So please, join the amazingly generous people who have donated so far, and show them they’re not alone in their generosity.

The amount donated so far is $2217.49. Isn’t that just amazing? We were close to $2000 in 24 hours!

And I have counted only the donations that end in $.99, for reasons I explained earlier. But I will donate as much as TAE can afford anyway, along with whatever comes into the fund.

So please, let your heart speak, and help me help. As I said, if the reason why is still not clear, here’s Ian Birrell for the Daily Mail. That should do it.

Thank you in advance, on behalf of those whose lives we can, together, make a little more bearable. It’s the least we can do. But, again, that’s just me.

You can donate through our Paypal widget at the top of the left sidebar. Make sure if you want to donate to Greece to end the amount with $.99.

You can also donate bitcoin at this address: 1HYLLUR2JFs24X1zTS4XbNJidGo2XNHiTT.

Thank you so much.

Greece Is Literally Dying To Leave The Euro

How does a nation die? This week, in the beleaguered hospitals of Athens, I saw a glimpse of the shocking answer. It is when its own people die in their thousands simply because the state cannot afford to heal them. [..]

There is no greater metaphor for a country’s health than its own healthcare system. And it is only when you see for yourself the horrors convulsing Greece’s NHS that you realise just how insane it is for this once-proud nation to continue as it is. If it was your country, it would make you weep with pain and shame. In its overloaded hospital wards, I either saw or heard first-hand accounts of babies held hostage for payments and dying patients left unattended; of porters sent out as paramedics, patients told to bring their own sheets, brakes failing on ancient ambulances travelling at high speed and hospitals running out of drugs and dressings.

Five years ago, Greece spent £13 billion on the health of its 11 million population – above the European average. It is now spending about half this. Worse still, in the first four months of this year the 140 state hospitals received just £31 million, a 94% fall on the previous year. And to make matters even blacker, any reserves have just been taken back by the government in its desperate scramble for cash to pay public servants and international debts.

There are claims of an astonishing three-year fall in a Greek person’s life expectancy in just five years since the country’s economy crashed. If confirmed, this would be without precedent in modern Europe. And the individual human stories are pitiful, verging on the macabre.

‘The situation is like a war zone without the bullets,’ said one source at the charity. ‘If things keep going the way they are, we could see a totally collapsing health system.’

The tragic consequences could be seen visiting Nikaia hospital in the port of Piraeus, as a handful of night-time staff struggled to cope with patients pouring in for emergency care. One old lady with a deathly countenance lay immobile on a trolley in a corridor, abandoned for the four hours I was there since she appeared to have no family to fight her corner.

Five more elderly people lay on trolleys, two clearly in pain and one in a neck brace, amid a scrum of patients with smashed faces, scraped bodies and fractured limbs being aided by relatives. Police officers escorted a blood-covered prisoner in chains. The daughter of an 84-year-old woman curled up in agony under a coat told me they had been there for four hours, staff shortages forcing her to wheel her mother to the X-ray unit and for blood tests. ‘Greek hospitals are like hell,’ she told me.

‘The decision to stop all hirings of medical staff was a criminal action in my view,’ said [neurosurgeon] Papanikolaou. ‘Intensive care doctors estimate we lose 2,000 people a year that should not be dying.’

Nurses told me there were no sheets so patients had to bring their own; at night, they placed nappies and light mattresses on top if patients bled or wet the bed since there were no replacements. In one ward, they clubbed together to buy a blood pressure monitor and thermometers due to equipment shortages. Since pay has been cut by one third as pressures surge, such actions highlight the heroism of some medical staff struggling to keep the system afloat.

[..] as another nurse put it: ‘If two people are dying, only one can get help – it is that bad.’ Later, I talked to an ambulance driver who told me of a recent incident in which the brakes on his 11-year-old vehicle had failed as he rushed a car crash victim to the hospital.

‘If you have a six-month wait to start radiotherapy there’s no point coming – either you die or the cancer is so advanced it is pointless,’ [..] cardiologist George Vichas set up a free community clinic staffed by volunteers, with 39 similar set-ups across the country.

The consultant said they had even come across five cases at a maternity hospital where new-born babies were held hostage until their parents paid for their treatment. ‘We have seen an absolute collapse of the state health system,’ he said.

How did it ever come to this? And what does it meas for the nation’s future in the eurozone – and the eurozone as a whole? Before the crash, Greece’s health service was inefficient, badly managed and corrupt like the rest of the public sector – yet it provided well-trained staff and one of the world’s most comprehensive healthcare systems. But after the crisis struck and the country was ordered by international lenders to cut costs, new benefit rules and rising unemployment saw the number of Greeks without health cover soar from 500,000 to 2.5 million people.[..]

The EU and the eurozone were projects designed to bring countries closer together. Instead, they have sparked poverty, decay and division. Yet still the euro-zealots demand further austerity, while the latest set of Greek politicians seem as incapable of resolving the crisis as their hapless predecessors. The country and its blighted people are trapped between many more years of this slow stagnation or the sharp pain of euro exit. No wonder the latter increasingly seems a better bet.

[..]it could do the one thing that is the modern definition of a nation: it could begin to cure its own people of their ills. Ultimately, what could be the rebirth of Greece may be the death of the original European dream.

Let’s leave the political ramifications alone for the moment, I deal with that on an almost daily basis here at the Automatic Earth already. Let’s for a moment focus on the more immediate. Let’s see what we can do here and now.

Please support the AE for Athens fund. You can donate through our Paypal widget at the top of the left sidebar, Make sure if you want to donate to Greece to end the amount with $.99.

You can also donate bitcoin at this address: 1HYLLUR2JFs24X1zTS4XbNJidGo2XNHiTT.

Thank you ever so much.