Dec 132022
 
 December 13, 2022  Posted by at 9:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  73 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Female bust 1943

 

The Alarm Bells Go Off (Kunstler)
Sam Bankman-Fried Arrested In Bahamas After US Files Criminal Charges (CNBC)
SEC Chair Gensler Scrubbed Evidence Of Clinton, Soros And Pelosi Meetings (ZH)
Twitter Trust And Safety Team Found Trump Tweets Did Not Violate Policy (ZH)
The Banning of President Trump by Bari Weiss: Just a Few Rogue Actors (CTH)
Germany Should Do Business With Russia Again – Scholz (RT)
50% Of Ukraine’s Energy Facilities Destroyed – Zelensky (Az.)
Russia Has No Right To Security Guarantees – Poland (RT)
Increased Heart Failure Deaths Linked To Extreme Hot And Cold (CTV)
European Parliament Lawmaker Denies Taking Bribes From Qatar (R.)
Assets of Greek MEP Accused Of Graft Frozen (K.)
Von der Leyen Ducks Questions On Qatar Corruption Scandal (Pol.eu)
Wars – How They Start and End? (Salamah)
The End of Europe: The Sad Conclusion of a Long Historical Cycle (Ugo Bardi)
Biden Faces Growing Pressure To Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (G.)

 

 

 

 

Unicef

 

 

And then you get the coldest night of the year…

 

 

First ever recorded snowball fight (1897)

 

 

 

 

“Everything appears to be veering out-of-control, including thought itself.”

The Alarm Bells Go Off (Kunstler)

Here’s another awful reality (better fasten your seatbelts): What also emerged in the tweet record of Yoel Roth, the company’s chief censor (former “Head of Trust and Safety”), begins to look like a gay mafia assault on the collective American psyche. Having gained official federal government sanction and protection, a statistically tiny homosexual demographic left in charge of the country’s main public forum has been out for revenge against their perceived enemy, political conservatives — Americans disinclined to join the cheerleading for drag queen story hours, “minor-attracted persons,” transsexuals in the military, and other LBGTQ cultural pranks. In the process, that gay mafia running the public dialogue supported every lie that the government, its protector, put out, to keep the Deep State happy and well-fed. Shocking, I’m sure… but there it is.

That means the gay mafia also helped promote the most-deadly psy-op in world history: the Covid-19 scare and the mass “vaccination” crusade that will end up killing many millions world-wide, after destroying the economies of the Western Civ nations. The whole package looks like an attempt to turn the world upside down and inside out. Is it any wonder that so many feel the USA has gone crazy? Of course, these revelations aroused the widespread suspicion that these now-exposed nefarious operators in social media were merely tools for some murky plutocrat elite led by the likes of the WEF, Bill Gates, and George Soros. Could that be the greatest “conspiracy theory” of all? More likely, I hesitate to suggest, all these characters in one way or another are merely tools of history itself, as the world enters the darkest days of a Fourth Turning secular winter.

As T.S. Eliot observed: “Humankind cannot bear too much reality.” Thus, so many sense we live in dangerous times. Everything appears to be veering out-of-control, including thought itself. Disorder incites more disorder. While all this madness is going on in-country, the US government, led by the phantom president “Joe Biden,” continues to prosecute its insane proxy war in Ukraine in order to antagonize Russia. Lately the US has sent drones hundreds of miles inside Russia to blow up military airfields. How is that not an escalation of hostilities, and exactly how far do the American people want their government to take this crazy project?

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SBF could have been arrested, and charges filed, anytime over the past, what has it been, 6 weeks?! But they pick the day before his virtual hearing in Congress. Which now won’t happen.

Sam Bankman-Fried Arrested In Bahamas After US Files Criminal Charges (CNBC)

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamian authorities Monday evening after the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York shared a sealed indictment with the Bahamian government, setting the stage for extradition and U.S. trial for the onetime crypto billionaire at the heart of the crypto exchange’s collapse. His arrest is the first concrete move by regulators to hold individuals accountable for the multibillion-dollar implosion of FTX last month. Before his arrest was announced, Bankman-Fried had been expected to testify virtually before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, but his attorneys told CNBC that he will not appear.


Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who oversees that committee, said that she was “surprised” at his arrest, and disappointed that Congress would not be able to hear from him on Tuesday. Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on Twitter that the federal government anticipated moving to “unseal the indictment in the morning.” The charges include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering, according to the New York Times, citing a person familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a separate set of charges against Bankman-Fried, relating to “violations of our securities laws, which will be filed publicly tomorrow in the Southern District of New York,” enforcement director Gurbir Grewal said in a statement.

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What was SBF going to talk about? His links to Gensler, Ukraine, Democrats?

“The charges include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering – NYT”

Securities fraud. Wait, that’s Gensler…

SEC Chair Gensler Scrubbed Evidence Of Clinton, Soros And Pelosi Meetings (ZH)

Sunlight is the best disinfectant – unless you’re Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler – who scrubbed evidence of a meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from his calendar, along with key details of a meeting with Billionaire leftist-operative George Soros. He also concealed September 21 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Bill Clinton White House official-turned-DC consultant, Minyon Moore. Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive, Obama administration official, Clinton’s 2016 campaign CFO, and FTX associate, essentially had two calendars. His public calendar showed that on Aug. 7, 2021, he only had a staff meeting, while his private calendar lists a meeting with Hillary Clinton, Fox News reports.

Thirteen days later on Aug. 20, 2021, Gensler’s public calendar does list a meeting with Soros, but the agenda was hidden. His private calendar reveals that the meeting was held to discuss an upcoming WSJ op-ed Soros was planning to write in which he slammed BlackRock for launching investment products for Chinese customers, while also applauding the company’s ESG policies. “Gensler’s private calendar revealing the discrepancies was obtained by the watchdog group Energy Policy Advocates and shared with Fox News Digital. The group was only able to obtain the internal records after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the SEC. In recent days, around the time Fox News Digital contacted the SEC, the agency updated Gensler’s public calendar to include his meeting with Clinton in August 2021. As recently as Wednesday the public calendar didn’t include the meeting, and archived copies of the webpage from April also list just a meeting with staff. -Fox News ”

When contacted for comment, the SEC initially lied – saying that the Clinton meeting was visible on Gensler’s public calendar. When confronted with screenshots to the contrary, the spokesperson said that the agency updates calendars “from time to time” when inaccuracies are discovered (by watchdog groups?). Gensler also concealed several September 2021 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Minyon Moore – both of which have been now updated on Gensler’s public calendar. “That even George Soros is calling out progressive darling BlackRock for craven blundering is striking — even if it did carry the requisite, tribal praise for BlackRock’s truly damaging ‘ESG’ (environmental, social and governance) campaigning to impose their shared ‘climate’ agenda on the U.S., an agenda also much to China’s delight,” said Chris Horner, a lawyer representing Energy Policy Advocates. “That it appears Soros received counsel from Gary Gensler on the mega-donor’s call for more SEC powers as a result is truly astonishing.”

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“We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection.”

Twitter Trust And Safety Team Found Trump Tweets Did Not Violate Policy (ZH)

The new drop reveals that Twitter employees did not believe former President Trump had violated Twitter’s policies. “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer in an internal message, adding: “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?)…” Another staffer agreed, writing: “Don’t see the incitement angle here.” “I also am not seeing clear or coded incitement in the DJT tweet,” wrote Anika Navaroli, a Twitter policy official. “I’ll respond in the elections channel and say that our team has assessed and found no vios”—or violations—“for the DJT one.”

4. For years, Twitter had resisted calls both internal and external to ban Trump on the grounds that blocking a world leader from the platform or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information that people should be able to see and debate. 5. “Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly,” the company wrote in 2019. Twitter’s aim was to “protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.” 6. But after January 6, as @mtaibbi and @shellenbergermd have documented, pressure grew, both inside and outside of Twitter, to ban Trump.

7. There were dissenters inside Twitter. “Maybe because I am from China,” said one employee on January 7, “I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation.” 8. But voices like that one appear to have been a distinct minority within the company. Across Slack channels, many Twitter employees were upset that Trump hadn’t been banned earlier. 9. After January 6, Twitter employees organized to demand their employer ban Trump. “There is a lot of employee advocacy happening,” said one Twitter employee. 10. “We have to do the right thing and ban this account,” said one staffer. It’s “pretty obvious he’s going to try to thread the needle of incitement without violating the rules,” said another.

11. In the early afternoon of January 8, The Washington Post published an open letter signed by over 300 Twitter employees to CEO Jack Dorsey demanding Trump’s ban. “We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection.” 12. But the Twitter staff assigned to evaluate tweets quickly concluded that Trump had *not* violated Twitter’s policies.“I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer. 13. “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?) from Wednesday.” 14. Another staffer agreed: “Don’t see the incitement angle here.”

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sundance still doesn’t buy it. He wants to see what government officials are involved, not just the Twitter employees..

The Banning of President Trump by Bari Weiss: Just a Few Rogue Actors (CTH)

The fifth installment of the Twitter Files release drops today courtesy of Ms. Bari Weiss. The focus of Ms Weiss was on the decision to ban President Donald Trump from the platform, and her outline walks through the events leading up to the decision to remove him. After a review of internal discussions, slacks and conversations within the social media platform, ultimately the officers within the company decided to protect their view of democracy by removing their biggest ideological opponent. The Twitter executives justified their actions by echo-chambering a belief that President Trump was tweeting “coded messages,” the secret transmission of thoughts that can only be received by those wearing red hats, tuned to a specific psychological frequency.

As Weiss notes: “Less than 90 minutes after Twitter employees had determined that Trump’s tweets were not in violation of Twitter policy, Vijaya Gadde—Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust—asked whether it could, in fact, be “coded incitement to further violence.” President Trump tweeted the term “American Patriots,” which would be viewed by the Twitter ideologues as something akin to “the leader of a terrorist group responsible for violence/deaths comparable to Christchurch shooter or Hitler and on that basis and on the totality of his Tweets, he should be de-platformed.” It did not take long for the narrative to embed as the most senior Twitter regulatory officers assembled. “One hour later, Twitter announces Trump’s permanent suspension “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

The entirety of Twitter File #5 release surrounds this internal Twitter dynamic, carefully avoiding any discussion or sunlight from outside government actors who may have been in direct contact with the senior Twitter team. Indeed, the documents chosen to provide evidence of the debate and decision to remove President Trump are transparently devoid of any inbound government contact to the Twitter organization. Thus, at the end of Ms. Weiss carefully written expose’, she concludes with this:

See, it’s only “a handful of people at a private company“…. Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along. Apparently, DHS, FBI and CISA officials were involved in direct contact with Twitter through their DHS “trusted partnership” portal to get rid of innocuous rebel voices and influence agents like Dan Bongino, Q conspiracy theorists, and various COVID doctors who were providing information against the interests of the government. However, when it came to removing the most powerful voice of President Donald John Trump, there was nothing but static radio silence from the government side of the DHS portal. You getting this? Do you see how this is presented? “A handful of people at a private company,” that’s the story and they are sticking to it. Swear.

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Presumably only after NATO has defeated them.

Germany Should Do Business With Russia Again – Scholz (RT)

Once Russia ends the conflict in Ukraine, it should be given a chance to do business with Germany again, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday. He repeated that Moscow must and will not win, however. A Russian government that ends the hostilities “needs a chance to restart economic cooperation, in another time when this is possible,” Scholz said in Berlin, at the meeting of the Eastern Committee for German Business (OA), a trade association focused on relations with eastern Europe. “Now is not that time.” “At the moment, the relationships we have are being scaled back,” Scholz said, according to the weekly Zeit. The EU is “tightening the sanctions” now, but Russia will remain the largest country on the European continent after the conflict is resolved. “It is therefore very important that we make preparations for this time.”

Scholz described the current conflict as an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to re-create a Russian Empire that is destroying the country’s future instead, and accused Moscow of atrocities against the Ukrainian civilians. Russia must not win “and Russian will not win, either,” he told the business group. Berlin’s determination to ditch Russian energy imports – pushed mainly by Scholz’s Green coalition partners – created troubles for Germany even before the gas deliveries were disrupted by the sabotage on Nord Stream pipelines in September. Germans are now trying to make up the shortages from elsewhere, though unsuccessfully. Earlier this month, Germany’s ambassador in Washington admitted to the economic troubles, but said this was a small price to pay for a “profound transformation” of her country into a remilitarized continental power, more hostile to Russia and closer to the US.

For all of Scholz’s promises to help Ukraine, Kiev has continued to browbeat Berlin about deliveries of tanks and even more artillery. Last week, the chancellor’s predecessor Angela Merkel admitted that the 2014 Minsk agreement was not aimed at resolving the conflict in Donbass, but to “give Ukraine time” to arm against Russia. Putin said he was disappointed by Merkel’s admission and that the trust between Moscow and Berlin was now “almost at zero.”

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Trying to escalate.

50% Of Ukraine’s Energy Facilities Destroyed – Zelensky (Az.)

Missile strikes have destroyed 50% of Ukraine’s energy facilities, the country’s President Vladimir Zelensky said in a call with US President Joe Biden, according to a statement published on the Ukrainian leader’s website on Monday. The Ukrainian leader also highlighted US assistance in restoring Ukraine’s energy grid and hoped that the parties would deepen cooperation on this track. In addition, Zelensky urged Biden to help Kiev establish air defenses.

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Poland wants its part of Ukraine.

Russia Has No Right To Security Guarantees – Poland (RT)

Russia cannot expect security guarantees from other nations, a senior Polish diplomat has said. Calls to address Moscow’s concerns about NATO expansion in Europe have come from former and serving leaders of EU nations, including ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. People should not “let themselves be persuaded … that Russia has the right to expect security guarantees from anyone,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told journalists ahead of a meeting of top diplomats of EU member states, which kicked off in Brussels on Monday. “It’s just a strategic mistake – that kind of consideration. It is not Russia that needs security guarantees today, but Europe needs security guarantees from Russia,” he said, adding that the Polish delegation will call for the harshest sanctions possible on Russia during the ministerial meeting.

Moscow has for years told the US and its allies that the expansion of NATO poses a threat to Russian national security, and warned that by ignoring its objections on issues such as Ukraine’s potential membership in the US-led bloc, Western nations were crossing a red line. A last-ditch attempt to defuse tensions came last year, when Moscow offered an agreement which it said would address this concern. The proposal was rejected, with Western leaders doubling down on NATO’s open-door policy. Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February, citing, among other reasons, the bloc’s creeping expansion to the east. While EU nations condemned the move as an act of supposedly unprovoked aggression, some politicians acknowledged that the lack of a European security architecture that would alleviate Russia’s concerns was a major destabilizing factor.

In her first interview after stepping down as chancellor, Merkel said that the failure to build such an arrangement was something “we should think about” when discussing Ukraine. Her successor, Olaf Scholz, said that “we have to go back to the agreements which we had in the past decades and which were the basis for peace and security order in Europe.” He also claimed that Russia broke these arrangements and that there was “no aggression coming from NATO.” Macron argued this month that the US-led bloc needs to prepare an offer of security guarantees for Moscow to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. He said the concerns that “NATO will deploy weapons that will threaten Russia” were understandable.

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Ha! It’s not the vaccines, it’s climate change.

Increased Heart Failure Deaths Linked To Extreme Hot And Cold (CTV)

New research has found extremely hot and cold temperatures increase the risk of death among people with cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart failure. An international study, published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, looked at more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths over four decades from more than two dozen countries. It found people with heart failure experienced the most additional deaths from extreme temperatures compared to those with other heart conditions. “The decline in cardiovascular death rates since the 1960s is a huge public health success story as cardiologists identified and addressed individual risk factors such as tobacco, physical inactivity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and others,” Dr. Barrak Alahmad, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a faculty member at the College of Public Health at Kuwait University, said in a news release.


“The current challenge now is the environment and what climate change might hold for us.” The study used health data, pulled from 567 cities in 27 countries across five continents between 1979 and 2019, through the Multi-Country Multi-City Collaborative Research Network. Researchers compared cardiovascular deaths on the hottest and coldest 2.5 per cent of days for each city with cardiovascular deaths in those same cities on days that had optimal temperatures or when death rates were lowest. The study found that for every 1,000 cardiovascular deaths, extreme hot days accounted for 2.2 additional deaths, while extreme cold days accounted for 9.1 additional deaths.

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Europe has a nice scandal. Allegedly, €600,000 was found in this woman’s father’s home. Cash, in bags.

European Parliament Lawmaker Denies Taking Bribes From Qatar (R.)

European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili, a suspect in an investigation into money laundering and corruption at the parliament, has denied receiving money from Qatar, one of her lawyers said in Greece on Tuesday. Kaili, one of 14 vice presidents of the parliament, was among four people arrested and charged in Belgium at the weekend over allegations that Qatar lavished them with cash and gifts to influence decision-making. “Her position is that she is innocent, I can tell you that,” Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, a lawyer representing Kaili in Greece, told Open TV. “She has nothing to do with financing from Qatar, nothing – explicitly and unequivocally. That is her position,” Dimitrakopoulos said. He added that Kaili had “undertaken no commercial activity in her life.” Greece on Monday froze Kaili’s assets in the country. The European Parliament has suspended her from her duties.

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Yes, “one of 14 vice presidents of the parliament..” Wonder what they all get paid.

Assets of Greek MEP Accused Of Graft Frozen (K.)

Greece’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority has issued a general order to freeze, until further notice, all assets that MEP Eva Kaili, 44, and her husband or her immediate family members (parents, siblings) may have in Greece. Kaili, a vice president of the European Parliament, and her husband were among four people arrested on Sunday on charges of corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization. Police carried out raids at 16 houses in and around Brussels and seized €600,000 on Friday as a part of the investigation into a corruption scandal involving Qatar and prominent European politicians, dubbed Qatargate.

The order by the head of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, former Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis, has already been forwarded to all Greek credit institutions to identify accounts, control movements, existence of safe deposit boxes, possession of other financial products, while at the same time an order was given to all land registry offices to freeze all real estate of the above persons. The move of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, in addition to the broader control, which will be carried out anyway, aims, as sources told Kathimerini, to identify any cash that may be in the possession of the persons under investigation, and to ascertain whether they are products of legitimate origin or bribes.

As this investigation began on Monday morning, a real estate company set up about a month ago by the MEP and her husband in Kolonaki was identified and audited, and its entire activity has been frozen. The authority has also ordered and conducted a check on the assets of Kaili’s father. In the event that incriminating evidence is also found in Greece, Kaili could, in theory at least, request to be tried in Greece, but sources said this is unlikely. Under Belgian law, the charges against the MEP and her husband are punishable by three to five years in prison, while under Greek law the sentences range from15 years and can exceed 20 years, even reaching life sentences in very exceptional cases. However, legal sources have stressed that it is still too early to make assessment as the investigations are still in full swing and no one can predict what will emerge and what will be revealed.

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More Greeks connected to Qatar.

Von der Leyen Ducks Questions On Qatar Corruption Scandal (Pol.eu)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declined to answer questions about her Vice President Margaritis Schinas’ relations with Qatar at a press briefing Monday, triggering fury from the Brussels press corps seeking answers on the biggest corruption scandal to hit the EU in years. The Greek commissioner represented the EU at the opening ceremony of the World Cup last month, and has been criticized by MEPs over his tweets in recent months, lavishing praise on Qatar’s labor reforms. Asked about the Commission’s response to the Qatar corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament, and in particular the stance of Schinas, von der Leyen was silent on the Greek commissioner.

The decision by deputy European Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant to shut down questions from journalists, sparked a furious reaction from reporters in the room, who called for more answers. “You didn’t answer a single one of the questions,” one reporter shouted as Spinant tried to close a session with reporters. “This is not the way to organize a press conference here,” Spinant responded through a chorus of protest. While von der Leyen did respond to further questions on the scandal, she did not address reporters’ questions about the circumstances surrounding Schinas’ visit to Qatar. Instead, she pointed to a proposal for a new ethics body to police all EU institutions — something she committed to more than three years ago, but which has gained little traction within any of the main institutions.

Referring to the European Commission’s transparency register, a database which lists representatives who carry out activities to influence EU policy and decision-making, she said: “We have one with very clear rules internally in the European Commission. There I think it is time to discuss whether we could not establish this over all for all EU institutions.”

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Borders change all the time.

Wars – How They Start and End? (Salamah)

Most countries have different religions, cultures, customs, values, local laws, practices, and political systems. Not only does changing other countries’ cultures not qualify as fair and just national interests, but also borders on the ridiculous when some countries unilaterally appoint themselves as heaven’s guardian on earth and incorporate such metaphysical concepts into their national interests. Does changing other people into one’s image make them more humane or Godlier? Or does it make them more pliable for exploitation? History confirms that such attempts have never been successful in perpetuating themselves, as evidenced by Alexander’s Hellenistic empire, Great Rome, Genghis Khan, the Golden Horde, the Crusades, the Islamic conquests, etc. – they were all eventually expunged or melded into the cultures that they tried to change, at a huge human and physical cost.

Undoubtedly, an exploiter’s rewards can be attractive in the short term, subject that the infringement or exploitation being successful. But in the longer term, pressure will continue to be exerted to return to the original status, or a semblance of it, and again, at a huge human and physical cost. Defending a country’s national territory is considered a paramount national interest (is also a security objective). Consequently, territorial or border disputes are the most popular reasons for starting wars, especially for smaller nations. But if we dig only skin-deep into the history, we will quickly find that almost no country has, throughout the ages, maintained its theoretical or historical borders – it has always been a continuous ebb and flow of territory usurped or lost, more so in Europe and the ex-colonialized world.

Nevertheless, many falsely justify this as a casus belli, or a rallying call, to regain what they regard as usurped national land. They do this with total disregard to the views and wishes of the current inhabitants of the territories in dispute, thus lending credence to the likelihood that it, in reality, is a camouflage to exploit another nation’s land. The sad part is that these wars regularly flare up despite the presence of the UN and the International Court, which were created, among other things, to adjudicate the validity of such territorial disputes and, unless a gross miscarriage of justice occurs, all grounds for territorial wars are unjustified.

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I know Ugo is Italian. But ignoring the entire Greek civilization is a step too far.

“..On the Southern coast of Europe, a lively network of commercial exchanges emerged, made possible by transportation over the Mediterranean Sea. Out of this network, the Roman Empire was born..”

The End of Europe: The Sad Conclusion of a Long Historical Cycle (Ugo Bardi)

The latest (and perhaps the last) attempt to unify Europe was the European Union. The creators of the Union understood that it was impossible to unify Europe by military means, so they tried to do it in the form of an economic free zone and an elected parliament. It was a bold attempt, but it didn’t work. It could not have worked. The Union faced enormous hostile forces, both internal and external. Britain and France were supposed to be balancing the German power, but when Britain left, in 2020, the Union suffered an economic defeat equivalent to the military one suffered by Germany in the Battle of Britain, in 1940. In both cases, they had tried to absorb Britain into continental Europe, and they had failed.

The defection of Britain left the European Union with Germany dominating it. Just like during WW2, the German government never understood that throwing its weight around was not the way to endear itself with the neighboring states. The result was the growth of anti-European forces all over the continent — the movement called “sovereignty” that aimed to restore the power of nation-states and get rid of the EU bureaucrats. So far, this movement has played only a marginal role in politics, but it has succeeded in making the EU deeply hated by everyone who is not getting their salaries from Brussels. Just as it had happened in 1941, Europe is now engaged in a desperate battle on two different fronts, but the struggle is now mainly economic and cultural, not military: it is a “full spectrum dominance” war.

The struggle is still ongoing, but it seems already clear that Europe is being defeated. Just like Germany had destroyed itself with a military attack on Russia in 1941, the European Union is destroying itself with its economic sanctions against Russia. Effectively, Europe is committing a slow and painful suicide. But that’s how full spectrum dominance works: it destroys enemies from the inside. And now? It was unavoidable that Europe would cease to be an Empire. The human and material resources that had made European dominance possible are not there any longer. But it was not unavoidable that Europe would destroy itself. Europe could have survived and maintained its independence by remaining on good terms with the other Eurasiatic powers, China, Russia, and India,

But, choosing to break the commercial, cultural, and human relations with the rest of Eurasia was not just an economic suicide. It was a cultural and moral suicide. So, what’s going to happen to poor Europe? History, as usual, rhymes: do not forget that in 1945 the official US plan was to destroy the German economy and exterminate most of the German population. Fortunately, the plan was shelved, but could that idea become fashionable again? We cannot exclude this possibility. In any case, an impoverished Europe could go back to something not unlike what it was during the early Middle Ages: depopulated, poor, primitive, a mere appendage of the great Eurasian Continent. And, yet, Europe has rebounded more than once from terrible disasters. It may happen again. Not soon, though.

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The Guardian on Assange again. Feels uncomfortable. Their smear pieces are still up.

Biden Faces Growing Pressure To Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (G.)

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump. The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”. But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press. Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution. Five major media organizations that relied on his trove of government secrets, including the Guardian and the New York Times, put out an open letter earlier this month saying that his indictment “sets a dangerous precedent” and threatens to undermine the first amendment.

At the same time, officials in Australia, where Assange was born and remains a citizen, met with American counterparts to appeal for his release. “My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration: that it is time that this matter be brought to a close,” Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told the Australian parliament late last month. In Brazil, meanwhile, President-elect Luis Inácio Lula da Silva demanded an end to what he called the “unjust imprisonment” of Assange after a meeting with WikiLeaks editors lobbying for his freedom. Some of Assange’s defenders, who have attacked his prosecution as a trampling of the first amendment, say they are optimistic that the case may have reached a turning point that could ultimately lead to his freedom.

“This case is hugely significant,” the Columbia University law professor Jameel Jaffer, who runs the Knight First Amendment Institute at the university, said in an interview. “At the end of the day, I find it hard to believe that the Biden administration wants this case to be its press freedom legacy, and it will be its legacy if they continue to pursue it. That will overshadow everything else when it comes to press freedom.” Justice department officials aren’t tipping their hand about where Assange’s prosecution might eventually lead, as he continues to challenge his extradition to the US before a British appeals court. The justice department declined to comment on all the outside calls to drop the case, but one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Garland “has made clear that he will follow the law wherever it leads”, as he has in other politically charged cases.

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Hot water

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 122022
 
 November 12, 2022  Posted by at 9:03 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The three trees 1643

 

US Worried About EU Commitment To Punishing Russia (RT)
How Europe Is Destroying Its Own ‘Garden’ (MPN)
White House Divided On Pushing For Peace In Ukraine – NYT (RT)
Kiev Introduces New Restrictions On Speaking Russian (RT)
Sun Tzu Walks Into a Kherson Bar… (Escobar)
Russian Defense Ministry Gives Update On Kherson Withdrawal (RT)
Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev Goes To Tehran (Escobar)
Kremlin Reacts To US Economic Pressure (RT)
Disruptions To Oil Supplies Possible Due To Upcoming EU Restrictions (Az.)
Greece Threatens To Block EU Gas Price Correction Mechanism (K.)
Bamboo Diplomacy: The China-SE Asia Romance (Escobar)
The Winners and Losers in a Shift in Control of Congress (Turley)
Federal Judge Declares Biden Loan Forgiveness Unconstitutional (Turley)
Flemish Government Preparing To Cancel WEF Membership (NNP)
A Committee Of Inquiry Into Bourla And von der Leyen (Anderson)

 

 

 

 

Elon has work to do…

 

 

Welfare queen

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
~Paulo Coelho

 

 

 

 

“People in Europe are “growing angry over sanctions and blame the US for rising costs,” putting their government under pressure to withdraw their support..”

US Worried About EU Commitment To Punishing Russia (RT)

EU nations are at risk of deviating from the US-led economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its military campaign in Ukraine, US officials told the media. People in Europe are “growing angry over sanctions and blame the US for rising costs,” putting their government under pressure to withdraw their support, Politico reported on Thursday, citing an internal US report. The document led to a “flurry of calls” among officials in Washington concerned about keeping European leaders on board with the strategy, sources in the US government told the outlet, adding that “things are holding steady for now, but it is a shaky situation.”

Countries in the EU have been struggling with surging inflation, driven to a large degree by rising energy prices. The bloc chose to stop trading with Russia, which used to be its biggest energy supplier, as part of the sanctions drive but is struggling to find a long-term replacement.The crunch has been aggravated by the interruption of gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany and exacerbated further by the bombing of the undersea route in late September. Both Nord Stream 1 and 2, the later was never operational due to Ukraine tensions, were damaged and now require major repairs.

Protests against the rising cost of living have gripped European nations, with mass demonstrations taking place in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Germany, to name a few. Rallies in Prague two weeks ago and in Rome last week specifically called to end military aid to Ukraine and open dialogue with Russia. French President Emmanuel Macron last month accused Washington of applying “double standards” in its energy policy. The US is propping up its own economy with subsidies and disregards the effect it has on prices across the Atlantic, he noted. American liquified natural gas has taken a large share of the European market since the Ukraine crisis broke out.

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“The impact of this crisis on every aspect of European life cannot be overstated.”

How Europe Is Destroying Its Own ‘Garden’ (MPN)

The European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell is not particularly perceived by the EU’s political elite or mainstream media as a rightwing ideologue or warmonger. But seen through a different, non-western prism, it is hard not to mistake him for one. Borrell’s recent comments that “Europe is a garden” and that “the rest of the world is a jungle” were duly condemned as ‘racist’ by many politicians around the world, but mostly in the Global South. Borrell’s remarks, however, must also be viewed as an expression of superiority, not only of Borell personally, but of Europe’s ruling classes as a whole. Particularly interesting about the EU top diplomat’s words are these inaccurate depictions of Europe and its relationship with the rest of the world: “We have built a garden”, “everything works” and “the jungle could invade the garden”.

Without delving too deep into what is obviously an entrenched superiority complex, Borrell speaks as if an advocate of the so-called ‘Replacement Theory’, a racist notion advocated by the West’s – Europe especially – rightwing intellectuals, which sees refugees, migrants and non-Europeans as parasites aiming to destroy the continent’s supposedly perfect demographic, religious and social harmony. If stretched further into a historical dimension, one also feels compelled to remind the EU leadership of the central role that European colonialism, economical exploitation, political meddling and outright military intervention have played in turning much of the world into a supposed ‘jungle’. Would Libya, for example, have been reduced to the status of a failed state if the West did not wage a major war starting in March 2011?

The imagined ‘jungle’ aside, Europe’s past and present reality strongly negates Borell’s ethnocentric view. Sadly, Europe is the birthplace of the most horrible pages of history, from colonialism and slavery to the nationalistic, fascist and nihilistic movements that defined most of the last three centuries. Despite the desperate attempt to rewrite or ignore history in favor of a more amiable narrative focused on great splendors, technological advancement and civilizational triumph, Europe’s true nature continues to smolder underneath the ashes, ready to resurface whenever the geopolitical and socioeconomic factors take a wrong turn. The Syrian and Libyan refugee crisis, the Covid pandemic and, more recently, the Russia-Ukraine war are all examples of the proverbial wrong turn. In fact, Borrell’s words, aimed to reassure Europe of its moral superiority are but a foolhardy effort meant to conceal one of the most dramatic crises that Europe has experienced in nearly a century. The impact of this crisis on every aspect of European life cannot be overstated.

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“..Jake Sullivan maintained that Washington “is not pressuring Ukraine” into any talks with Russia, insisting that it is “consulting” Kiev as a partner and providing it with various forms of support..”

White House Divided On Pushing For Peace In Ukraine – NYT (RT)

The US government is divided on whether to pressure Ukraine into initiating peace talks with Russia, with some officials arguing that it won’t get better terms in the future, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing sources. According to White House officials interviewed by the outlet, Gen. Mark Milley, who heads the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated during internal meetings that Kiev’s forces had achieved all that they may reasonably expect before winter sets in and “should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table” with Russia. Milley was apparently referring to Moscow’s recent decision to withdraw its troops from the right bank of the Dnieper River, including the city of Kherson, a move made to preserve the lives of Russian soldiers.

However, other senior officials are said to oppose Milley’s line of thinking, arguing that neither Moscow nor Kiev is ready for talks now, while any lull in the fighting would allow Russia to regroup. Although they believe that the conflict will eventually be settled via diplomacy, the consensus is that the moment for talks “is not ripe,” and the US shouldn’t be seen as trying to hold Kiev back while it “has momentum.” The report comes as US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he does not “think that the conflict will be resolved until [Russian President Vladimir] Putin gets out of Ukraine.”

The same day, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan maintained that Washington “is not pressuring Ukraine” into any talks with Russia, insisting that it is “consulting” Kiev as a partner and providing it with various forms of support. Moscow has repeatedly stated that while it is not holding any talks with the US over Ukraine, it remains open to a diplomatic engagement with Kiev. However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has set out conditions for any diplomatic engagement, which include the “restoration of [Ukraine’s] territorial integrity,” “compensation for all war damage” and “punishment of every war criminal.” Zelensky earlier signed a decree prohibiting any negotiations with Putin, suggesting that Kiev would only talk to Russia when it has a different president.

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2014 redux.

Kiev Introduces New Restrictions On Speaking Russian (RT)

The Kiev City Council voted to remove the Russian language from the Ukrainian capital’s public school curriculum on Thursday, citing national security concerns. According to the statement on the council’s website, the ban also covers nursery schools. Vadim Vasilchuk, the chair of the council’s commission on education, said the measure “will prevent an escalation of tensions in society and strengthen the protection of the education space in Kiev from the hybrid activities of the enemy state.” “Language matters, and, in a time of war, it is an issue of national security,” Vasilchuk added. The legislator said all classes would be taught in Ukrainian, the country’s sole state language.

The move came after Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, described the Russian language last month as “an element of enemy propaganda” that “must completely disappear from Ukrainian territory.” In August, Ukraine’s Education Ministry said that nearly all works of Russian and Belarusian authors would be removed from literature classes. Ukrainian activists and officials have also been tearing down monuments to Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s national poet and novelist, who lived in the 19th century. A bronze Pushkin bust was removed from its pedestal in the northern city of Zhitomir on Friday, while a monument in Kiev was taken down last month. The rights of the sizable Russian-speaking minority have been a highly contentious issue ever since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Donetsk and Lugansk regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014, following the coup in Kiev and in the wake of attempts by Ukrainian officials to restrict the use of Russian in public life. They formed the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR). Ukraine eventually adopted a set of laws that severely limit the use of Russian in public services, media, and education. Moscow repeatedly accused Ukraine of discriminating against Russian speakers. In the days leading up to the Russian military operation in Ukraine that was launched in February, President Vladimir Putin said that the Ukrainian authorities were conducting policies of “derussification and forced assimilation.” The DPR and LPR, together with two other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after holding referendums in late September.

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“Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.”

Sun Tzu Walks Into a Kherson Bar… (Escobar) ft: 20px;”>

Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table. The announcement of the Kherson Retreat may have signaled one of the gloomiest days of the Russian Federation since 1991. Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defense line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable. As it stands in the chessboard, Kherson is in the “wrong” side of the Dnieper. All residents of Kherson Oblast – 115,000 people in total – who wanted to be relocated to safer latitudes have been evacuated from the right bank. General Armageddon knew that was inevitable for several reasons:

no mobilization after the initial SMO plans hit the dust; destruction of strategic bridges across the Dnieper – complete with a three-month methodical Ukrainian pounding of bridges, ferries, pontoons and piers; no second bridgehead to the north of Kherson or to the west (towards Odessa or Nikolaev) to conduct an offensive. And then, the most important reason: massive weaponization coupled with NATO de facto running the war translated into enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control. In the end, the Kherson Retreat may be a relatively minor tactical loss. Yet politically, it’s an unmitigated disaster, a devastating embarrassment. Kherson is a Russian city. Russians have lost – even if temporarily – the capital of a brand new territory attached to the Federation. Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.

The list of negatives is considerable. Kiev forces secure their flank and may free up forces to go against Donbass. Weaponizing by the collective West gets a major boost. HIMARS can now potentially strike targets in Crimea. The optics are horrendous. Russia’s image across the Global South is severely tarnished; after all, this move amounts to abandoning Russian territory – while serial Ukrainian war crimes instantly disappear from the major “narrative”. At a minimum, the Russians a long time ago should have reinforced their major strategic advantage bridgehead on the west side of the Dnieper so that it could hold – short of a widely forecasted Kakhovka Dam flood. And yet the Russians also ignored the dam bombing threat for months. That spells out terrible planning.

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“All civilians who wished to leave the right bank of Kherson Region were provided with assistance.”

Russian Defense Ministry Gives Update On Kherson Withdrawal (RT)

Russian forces have completed the redeployment to the left bank of the River Dnieper in Kherson Region, the Defense Ministry has said. The maneuver was completed early Friday morning, according to the statement. The ministry denied reports that military hardware was abandoned on the other bank, or that Russian troops suffered casualties during the withdrawal. “Russian units have taken the prepared defensive lines and positions,” the ministry said. “No loss of personnel, weapons, vehicles, or materiel of the Russian forces was allowed. All civilians who wished to leave the right bank of Kherson Region were provided with assistance.” The statement claimed that Ukrainian troops tried to disrupt the movement of civilians across the river with artillery fire, but failed to do so. Russia intercepted 28 rockets fired by HIMARS launchers and diverted five others through electronic countermeasures, it said.


Russian artillery and aircraft deterred Ukrainian units from closing the gap with the river, the military added. They were stopped at least 30km from the river crossings, according to the statement. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered the troops to move across the river on Wednesday morning. He said the step was taken to avoid unnecessary deaths of the soldiers and to take up a stronger defensive position. The decision, which was described as “difficult” by military officials, left the provincial capital, Kherson, exposed to capture by Kiev’s forces. The regional authorities have urged residents of the city for weeks to leave and go to safe places to the east. Russia incorporated Kherson Region last month, after the people voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. Kiev called the vote a “sham” and pledged to keep fighting until all land that it considers to be rightfully Ukrainian is taken.

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The west divides, south and east connect.

“..for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.”

Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev Goes To Tehran (Escobar)

Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background. Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting. This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.

Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson. Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between. Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.

Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign. Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.” Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.

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“Washington’s declaration that Russia no longer qualifies as a market economy..”

Kremlin Reacts To US Economic Pressure (RT)

Washington’s declaration that Russia no longer qualifies as a market economy not only puts pressure on Moscow but will have repercussions globally, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday. This latest step “to continue this really destructive line, in no way contributes to the stabilization in global markets,” he emphasized. Peskov was reacting to the US Department of Commerce’s announcement earlier on Friday that the US would no longer treat Russia as a market economy. The department claimed that American industries and manufacturers are struggling to compete with Russian companies in both domestic and global markets.


“This can only be viewed in one way, as it seems to me, it’s the continuation of actions to put pressure on the Russian Federation in all possible directions. We’ve seen pressure on the economy, numerous sanctions and so on,” Peskov said. He added that the Kremlin has been realizing that the Western sanctions have failed to destabilize the Russian economy. Instead, they “cause a fair amount of turbulence,” primarily for the European economy, because the US is more “resilient” in this regard. “Although the Americans also suffer from inflation and the chaos in the energy market,” Peskov added.

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“..If insurance was withdrawn mid-voyage, buyers and traders would have to figure out what to do with a stranded cargo potentially exposed to sanctions..”

Disruptions To Oil Supplies Possible Due To Upcoming EU Restrictions (Az.)

Oil-laden tankers risk being left languishing at sea if insurers do not urgently get clarity on an unfinished G7 and European Union plan to cap the price of Russian crude, two senior industry executives told Reuters, Report informs. The Group of Seven (G7), which includes the United States, Britain, Germany and France, agreed in September to enforce a low price on sales of Russian oil. US officials said the move, which is due to start on December 5, was aimed at allowing it to continue to flow, heading off a potential price shock after total EU bans were ratified in June. And with just three weeks to go, time is running out to fully convince the shipping services industry it will work. Concerns are centered around a scenario in which insurers discover that oil in transit at sea, which was believed to have been sold below the price cap, was in fact sold above it.

This would trigger the withdrawal of insurance cover as well as a refusal by buyers to accept delivery, leading to financial and logistical headaches and risking environmental dangers. “If the time is too short, I think everyone will have a Plan B to de-risk, terminate, stay away, not maybe conclude any new contracts until there is some clarity,” said George Voloshin, Global Anti-Financial Crime Expert at ACAMS, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists which consults with oil industry bankers, traders and insurers. If insurance was withdrawn mid-voyage, buyers and traders would have to figure out what to do with a stranded cargo potentially exposed to sanctions, complicating a strategy to deprive Russia of funds over its invasion of Ukraine. “It will probably be quite messy,” Voloshin said.

A European Commission official said the EU is aware that much more additional detail will be needed as time runs short for businesses to learn about their obligations, but that the issue must be dealt with at the G7 level. The official spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the matter. “In that situation, the vessel will go off risk and financial and technical services will be withdrawn and no one is going to take delivery of the cargo,” Mike Salthouse, head of claims at British-based global ship insurer North, told Reuters. “This would be a bad development as no one will want uninsured ships sitting off coasts,” he added. Salthouse said an owner of a ship which was potentially not earning anything for many months “will price that into any decision they make about carrying cargo in the future”, adding that this was likely to act as a disincentive.

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“..it was not possible to impose a gas price cap that would not impact on long-term contracts or supply security..”

Greece Threatens To Block EU Gas Price Correction Mechanism (K.)

Greece is prepared to block a European Commission proposal for a gas price “correction mechanism,” set to be presented to the 27 EU states Friday, instead insisting on a firm cap to rein in an unprecedented energy crisis, Kathimerini has learned. The EU’s executive told its 27 member countries at a seminar Monday that it was not possible to impose a gas price cap that would not impact on long-term contracts or supply security. Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, and the Netherlands also oppose the idea. Reacting to Monday’s development, European Council President Charles Michel reportedly sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asking her to put legislation on the table for an EU price cap on natural gas “as soon as possible.”


According to diplomatic sources, the 15 member countries calling for various versions of a price cap will ask the Commission to present a legal proposal during the Friday meeting of the 27 national ambassadors to the EU in Brussels. They say that the Commission has already put together a draft document but is not willing to take formal action. Failure to move in the direction of a price cap will prompt Greece – and other states – to block plans for a gas price “correction mechanism,” the sources said.

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An endless list of all links being forged in “the south”. Do read.

Bamboo Diplomacy: The China-SE Asia Romance (Escobar)

Beijing’s ties with countries now in ASEAN tend to bend the bamboo way: soft, clever, persistent and enduring. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is monopolizing the Asian and Global South spotlight for no fewer than 10 days, this week and the next, across a flurry of regional and international summits. First stop is Phnom Penh for the 25th China-ASEAN summit, the 25th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit, and the 17th East Asia Summit, all the way to Sunday. Next week will be Bali for the Group of Twenty, followed by Bangkok for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit. No wonder the diplomatic spin across Southeast Asia is all about global governance entering the “Asia moment” – as coined by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It’s a moment that may be set to last a century – and beyond.

In parallel, Chinese diplomacy is also predictably on a roll. Premier Li Keqiang – who will step down next March, after two terms in office – heads Beijing’s delegation in Cambodia after two key Southeast Asian interactions: the visit by Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong to China and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng’s visit to Singapore. All that fits the pattern of increasing China-Southeast Asia integration. Since 2020, ASEAN has been China’s largest trading partner. China has been ASEAN’s top trading partner since 2009. Total China-ASEAN trade reached $878 billion in 2021, up from $686 billion in 2020. It had been $9 billion in 1991. China-ASEAN investment was more than US$340 billion by last July, according to the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

Interests particularly converge on deepening RCEP – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest trade deal on the planet. That translates in practice as closer integration of supply chains, infrastructure connectivity and the building of a new international land-sea trade corridor. So it’s no wonder all the slogans for these 10 days of summits reflect closer integration. The ASEAN 2022 theme is “ASEAN A C T: Addressing Challenges Together.” The Indonesians defined the G20 as “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.” And the Thais defined APEC as “Open. Connect. Balance.”

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We’re still counting. Incredible. In more ways than one.

The Winners and Losers in a Shift in Control of Congress (Turley)

WINNERS – Constitutionalism: The last two years have seen frontal assaults on constitutional values ranging from separation of powers to free speech. Democrats applauded, for example, as President Joe Biden unilaterally waived roughly $500 billion in loans owed to the American people. While courts repeatedly found Biden to have violated the Constitution, Congress remained conspicuously silent even as it joined the president in declaring Republicans threats to the Constitution. In an August New York Times column, “The Constitution Is Broken and Should Not Be Reclaimed,” law professors Ryan D. Doerfler of Harvard and Samuel Moyn of Yale called for our founding charter to be “radically altered” to “reclaim America from constitutionalism.”

It’s safe to say voters effectively reclaimed constitutionalism from such extremist voices. Once again, voters preferred divided government with a Congress willing and able to challenge a president rather than remain a pure pedestrian in the exercise of governance. There’s now a moving part in Congress that’s been dormant for two years. As those institutional gears engage, checks and balances will again force greater accountability and exposure in the constitutional system.

The Supreme Court: For two years, the left has targeted the nation’s highest court with calls for packing it. Polls have long showed this movement was contained almost entirely within the far left. Yet attacking the court and its justices was an article of faith for many Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who called for raw court packing. While the attacks are likely to continue, the shift in Congress will put an end to such radical proposals.

LOSERS- The media: Outlets, in framing the election, consistently echoed Democrats’ narratives — yet failed to deliver them victory. The media now face the prospect of inquiries that could further erode voter trust. Congressional investigations will likely drill down on the Hunter Biden influence-peddling scandal. The media played an active role in burying that scandal and will face questions of how they could turn a blind eye to globe-spanning corruption that involved millions of dollars from foreign political and intelligence figures. They may also see an investigation into backchannels political and government officials used to enlist surrogates in the media and social media for censorship.

The Bidens: The election’s biggest loser could be the Biden family. After successfully avoiding any media or congressional scrutiny of their alleged influence peddling, time is up for the Bidens. Despite Attorney General Merrick Garland’s refusal to appoint a special counsel, they will face investigations launched with the full authority of the Oversight Committee. Garland will also confront demands to show the same aggressive prosecution of contempt of Congress when Biden associates are the subject of such referrals. All this will add to whatever emerges from Delaware in the long-standing investigation of tax and other allegations against Hunter Biden. With the midterms over, the Justice Department will no longer be bound to avoid filings that might influence the election. Hunter could easily find himself under indictment as Congress ramps up a broad investigation into his foreign dealings.

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“Biden knew he couldn’t “forgive”your student loan debt…..

He lied for votes knowing it would get thrown out in court!”

Federal Judge Declares Biden Loan Forgiveness Unconstitutional (Turley)

We have previously discussed how the Administration stretched the 2003 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) to the breaking point as the basis for waiving roughly half a trillion dollars in debt owed to the public in college loans. Now, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas has issued an opinion declaring that President Joe Biden violated the Constitution in unilaterally forgiving the debt before the midterm election. Judge Pittman wrote “[i]n this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone.” It was former President Barack Obama who defied Congress with unilateral actions and declared that he would go it alone if needed because “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”

President Biden took the same course when it was clear that the loan forgiveness program would not pass Congress. Biden simply announced that he would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 annually; those who received Pell grants could receive up to $20,000 in relief; couples can qualify despite a joint annual income of $250,000. No vote of Congress — just hundreds of billions of dollars written off by Biden, as if he is an American tsar. Judge Pittman held that “it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved.”

I previously criticized the legal basis for the loan forgiveness program. The Biden Administration has largely counted on blocking anyone from getting to the merits by challenging the standing of anyone to sue over the giveaway. On the merits, the Biden Administration’s position is transparently opportunistic in my view. As the acronym indicates, this short bill was designed for military personnel who often found themselves in arrears while serving abroad. It allows the Education Secretary to grant student loan relief during a war, military operation or national emergency. But nothing in the barely five-page act supports a sweeping and unprecedented waiver of billions of dollars in loans owed to the government.

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“..the Flemish government will pay a whopping EUR 200,000 in membership fees to the WEF and approximately EUR 27,000 as a participation fee in their annual meeting in Davos..”

And Flanders isn’t even a country…

Flemish Government Preparing To Cancel WEF Membership (NNP)

The Flemish conservative party, Vlaams Belang, is pressuring the government to cancel its World Economic Forum (WEF) membership. This year, the Flemish government will pay a whopping EUR 200,000 in membership fees to the WEF and approximately EUR 27,000 as a participation fee in their annual meeting in Davos. Rairfoundation.com reports: In a press release by Vlaams Belang, Flemish Member of Parliament Sam van Rooy stated that the Flemish government is legitimizing and subsidizing a worldwide lobby organization that is openly pursuing a well-defined ideological agenda, namely that of globalism.” This agenda seems to have recently crystallized into the so-called “Great Reset,” which aims to create “a safer, more equal and more stable world” by “acting collectively and swiftly to renew all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.”

They are striving for a world government based on climate hysteria and social control. Because citizens in a democratic constitutional state are entitled to transparency regarding the policies pursued, MEP van Rooy asked Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon questions about the Flemish government’s ties and cooperation with the WEF. In his reply, Jambon stated that the Flemish government “has no structural contacts with the WEF outside of its participation in the WEF meeting in Davos” but that there are “more regular contacts at the level of the Flemish government.” According to the prime minister, those contacts also aim to follow up on the various activities and projects that take place annually, including outside the Davos meeting.

Until 2020, the Flemish government paid an annual membership fee of 55,000 euros to the WEF. Since 2022, however, Flanders has been “promoted” to “associate partner” of the WEF, which requires a membership fee of no less than 175,763.87 euros per year. This contribution has already been paid for 2022; the same bill is expected for 2023. About that “associate partnership,” Jambon states the following: “The associate partnership offers the advantage that Flanders can participate in more activities throughout the year and, in addition, projects are being worked on within a thematic platform, ‘Shaping the Future of Trade and Investment.’ Those activities and projects provide additional visibility and the opportunity to learn and contribute policy-wise.” So the entanglement between the Flemish government and the WEF is therefore increasing, says Van Rooy.

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German European Parlimentarian Christine Anderson posted this on Telegram.

A Committee Of Inquiry Into Bourla And von der Leyen (Anderson)

Christine Anderson (AfD): YouTube didn’t want you to know what we uncovered in the EU special committee on the Corona pandemic YouTube has deleted several videos with speeches by Christine Anderson (AfD), who is a member of the EU special committee on the Corona pandemic for the ID group. In some cases, even videos with questions that the MEP had asked in the committee were sanctioned. Following legal intervention, YouTube caved in and put videos that had already been censored back online. Anderson is now calling on YouTube to hand over the “medical misinformation guidelines” on which the platform operator bases its sanctions. “The impression here is that information that doesn’t fit the desired narrative should be suppressed. I won’t stand for that. If YouTube lets my deadline pass unused, I will file a lawsuit in court,” Anderson said.

Anderson regularly publicizes how high-ranking representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, such as the vice president of AstraZeneca, increasingly come under pressure during hearings and criticized Pfizer CEO Alfred Bourla for canceling his participation in one such meeting at short notice. “I call for a committee of inquiry to take a closer look at the relationship between the Pfizer CEO and EU-Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.” Anderson and her Dutch colleague Rob Ross also uncovered a scandal: “Bourla’s representative on the committee, Janine Smalls, had to admit to Ross in a questioning that the pharmaceutical giant had no knowledge before the market launch of the Pfizer/BionTech drug whether it could be used to prevent the infection as well as the transmission of Covid-19 at all.


“Statements like – “If you vaccinate, you protect yourself and others!” – in the context of the Covid vaccination campaign were simply lies!” In a written question, Anderson is now asking the EU Commission where statements in support of the vaccination campaign originated, such as those still being used by the German government, and whether sanctions can be expected for such “fake news” within the framework of the EU action plan against disinformation. More background information and video links as well as contact possibilities for press representatives on Christine Anderson’s homepage (currently only available in German): www.christineanderson.eu/links/bab-11-2022

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Termites and ants

 

 

 

 

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