Vincent van Gogh The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884
???? “To be published June 6 2023”.
Zelensky Addressing a Chambers of Commerce meeting in Boca Raton
Addressing a Chambers of Commerce meeting in Boca Raton today, Zelensky thanks BlackRock, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and others for their support of Ukraine. Adds that sending Ukraine heavier weapons, like Abrams tanks, represents a "big business" opportunity for US corporations pic.twitter.com/N1h8OVECLt
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 24, 2023
The World Economic Forum is a ‘creepy event’: Michael Shellenberger
Source: Fox News (Youtube) pic.twitter.com/NyKLhiRETI
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) January 23, 2023
EU Foreign Ministers will discuss the allocation of a new tranche of military aid to Ukraine from the “European Peace Fund” – Josep Borrell
Stating the obvious.
• Russia and West On Verge Of ‘Real War’ – Lavrov (RT)
The current situation in Ukraine shows that the conflict between Russia and the West can no longer be defined as a “hybrid war” but is instead approaching being a real one, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. Speaking at a press conference following a meeting with his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, Lavrov also noted that this “almost real” war was something that the West “has been preparing for a long time against Russia.” The minister claimed that Western powers are seeking to destroy everything Russian, from the language to the culture that had existed in Ukraine for centuries, and even forbid people from speaking their native language.
Lavrov went on to point out that such practices have become commonplace throughout Ukraine and that the country’s last two presidents, Pyotr Poroshenko and current leader Vladimir Zelensky, have both turned into “presidents of war” and “Russophobic leaders” after gaining power, despite running their presidential campaigns under the promise of establishing peace. The minister also recalled that Ukraine has adopted laws that prohibit using the Russian language in education, media, and even in everyday life. “And this is all supported by the West,” Lavrov said, adding that this support extends to neo-Nazi marches with swastikas and symbols of banned Nazi divisions being held across the country. He also accused the West of turning a blind eye to the fact that Kiev’s forces continue to deliberately choose targets and carry out attacks in such a way as to terrorize the civilian population.
“The West knows perfectly well that the Ukrainian regime deliberately bombs cities and towns using Western-supplied weapons,” the minister said. Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s position that it has not carried out attacks in Ukraine against civilian infrastructure, and that the damage to it is attributable to Kiev’s regular practice of deploying heavy weapons and air defense systems in residential areas. Despite the spiraling tensions, Lavrov noted that Moscow remains open to negotiations with Kiev, and warned that those who refuse talks should understand that the longer they are delayed, the harder it will be to find a solution. The minister also asked the Ukrainian government to explain, perhaps through a third party, how it sees the situation in the country playing out and the possibility of negotiations with Russia.
Same issue, but different words.
• War Between West, Russia No Longer Hybrid, But Real, Says Lavrov (TASS)
What is going on in Ukraine is no longer a hybrid war, but a real war between the West and Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. “When we talk about what is going on in Ukraine, we are talking about the fact that this is no longer a hybrid war, but a real one, the West has been preparing for a long time against Russia, trying to destroy everything Russian: from language to culture, which has been in Ukraine for centuries, and forbidding people to speak their native language,” he said at a press conference following talks with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
“In Ukraine, this is all common practice. Both the former president [of Ukraine, Pyotr] Poroshenko and the current one [Vladimir] Zelensky, who were elected under the slogan of establishing peace, immediately after being elected turned into war presidents, Russophobe presidents,” Lavrov said. The Russian top diplomat recalled that Ukraine has adopted laws that prohibit education in Russian, media in Russian, including such media in Ukraine, laws that even, in fact, prohibit the use of the Russian language in everyday life. “Any cultural contacts related to the Russian language are prohibited. And this is all supported by the West. Just like the West supports the regular marches of neo-Nazis with swastikas, with symbols of division which were banned by the Nuremberg Tribunal, recognized as criminal. The West supports all this,” Lavrov said.
“..it never really grasped how completely underhand and perfidious the West is..”
• Why the End of the American Empire Was Delayed (Batiushka)
Why did President Putin and the Russian Federation as a whole allow the White House to take over Kiev and then most of the Donbass in 2014-2015? As a result, Russian forces have been faced since 2022 with the far worse task of liberating, demilitarising and denazifying the Ukraine. Worse still, because Washington has forced Kiev to reject any peace negotiations with Moscow and is sending the Ukraine much of what it has through its NATO proxies, Russian forces are faced with the even worse task of liberating, demilitarising and denazifying the whole of the US-run NATO. President Putin has himself admitted that he made a mistake in not acting in 2015. So why this delay in resistance and bringing about the collapse of the American Reich? There are three clear reasons:
1. In 2014-15 the Russian Federation was far too weak militarily, economically and politically to stand up to the bully of the Western world. A war of liberation initiated then could have ended up very badly for Russia, which had suffered greatly from Western ‘sanctions’ just for its liberation of the Crimea.
2. The Russian Federation government had too little support inside its Westernised self to resist. CIA assets, including treacherous followers of the Vlasovtsy (5), had infiltrated all its institutions, including even the Russian Orthodox Church. This was already clear in 1993 during the October Coup, Black October, in which probably thousands of Russian patriots were massacred by the pro-Western Yeltsin regime. Five years ago, I met a former US marine, who had been sent in 1993 to a base outside Moscow, together with 4,000 other marines, who had been instructed that they might be needed to put down an anti-American revolt in Moscow. (In the end, they were not). 4,000 US troops around Moscow in 1993 at the invitation of its drunken ruler? Yes. A fifth column of Russian Westernisers, pussy rioters, liberals, journalists, actors, musicians, oligarchs, politicians, educationalists? Yes. All Russian institutions infiltrated by traitors? Yes. Only in 2022 was the Russian Federation ready to resist the American bully. It had taken it until 2022 to get ready, and even then the traitors were there in abundance, though soon running away to Israel, Finland, Georgia and elsewhere (6).
3. Western readers should not underestimate the incredible naivety of Russians towards the West. The Russians did not think that the West would forbid Kiev to reject a peace agreement in March/April 2022, thus forcing Kiev and Western economies to commit suicide, like a spoilt child who hurts himself just in order to spite his parents. As a result the limited operation to free the Donbass had to be entirely rethought. Again, President Putin was quite recently shocked to learn that he had been lied to by the German Merkel and the French Hollande. He had been tricked into believing that the West was sincere and that it was actually going to implement the Minsk Accords to protect the Donbass. As those two Western leaders recently admitted, the Minsk accords had only been playing for time to allow the Kiev Army to prepare, dig in, arm, train and then invade. Western leaders are liars. Fact. The origin of this extraordinary Russian naivety seems to be because between 1917 and 1991 Russia was cut off from the West, it lived in a bubble, so that it never really grasped how completely underhand and perfidious the West is. I have been living in Western Europe for too long not to know it. Ten years ago a Muscovite put it to me very well: ‘We knew that the Communists were lieing to us about Communism. What we didn’t know is that they were telling us the truth about Capitalism’.
..“serious crisis” at the UN and other international institutions, which were created to resolve international disputes but have been turned into a battlefield by the West instead.”
• US Plans Threatened WWIII And Forced Moscow’s Hand – Medvedev (RT)
The US and its allies almost ignited a third world war by preparing to attack Russia, which had no choice but to do something about it, former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday, addressing the leadership of the ruling United Russia party in Moscow. “Our party should help the people around the world understand that the ongoing special operation was a forced and last-resort response to preparations for aggression by the US and its satellites,” Medvedev said. “It is obvious that the world came close to the threat of WWIII because of what was happening,” he added. Medvedev also described a “serious crisis” at the UN and other international institutions, which were created to resolve international disputes but have been turned into a battlefield by the West instead.
“Our opponents are trying to enlist as many votes as possible in support of their anti-Russian initiatives, using underhanded means such as economic pressure, extortion and political bribery,” Medvedev said, adding that the main mission of Russian diplomacy remained countering this “cynical line” by the West. Medvedev was president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, when he became the chairman of the ruling party and prime minister. He stepped down as PM in 2020 to run the national security council. Though the West considered him a “liberal” during his presidency, Medvedev has been blunt and outspoken about the special military operation in Ukraine since it was launched in February 2022. Just last week, he ridiculed the World Economic Forum in Davos and warned the West that the current conflict is existential in nature for Russia, which should be kept in mind when it comes to nuclear weapons and their possible use.
The Greens play a curious role in Germany. They have a lot of power.
• Germany Rewrites History To Blame Russia For Its Own Bad Decisions (Marsden)
The German town of Brunsbuttel, near Hamburg, received a new floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Friday, another step in the country’s search to replace the gas supplies it now can’t get from Russia. Small protests in the vicinity of the port held by locals unhappy with the new facility belied the official fanfare. Meanwhile, wider criticism has been levelled against Berlin’s efforts to boost gas imports by both land and sea, which climate activists believe to be very environmentally unfriendly. German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck, of the Green Party, said the new terminal was necessary because “half of the gas supply to Germany stopped, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has cut it off. Now the supply has been stopped completely and it will not come back to us.”
Except that’s not how it all went down. Nearly a year ago, just before the Ukraine conflict turned hot and as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stopped the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany and into Europe, Habeck was already keen to give Russian gas the boot. He told public radio that the country could go without it. The comment promptly raised eyebrows in the Western press, with Bloomberg, for example, calling the proposition “tricky.” Habeck’s Greens, and the German government more generally, have long been obsessed with renewables. The Ukraine conflict was merely an excuse to double down. Even the International Energy Agency took note of this back in March 2022. “Progress towards net zero ambitions in Europe will bring down gas use and imports over time,” according to an IEA report.
In April, Habeck said, “We are working actively to become independent on fossil fuels from Russia,” and cited “great progress.” Not once, but twice, Habeck publicly declared that he had reduced his shower time, in hat had become both a means of saving energy and also of sticking it to Putin, a gesture reminiscent of the folks who pull on escalator handrails thinking that they’re helping move all the people to the top. Habeck said that such measures would “annoy Putin.” Actually, it mostly just annoyed Germans and Europeans. Habeck appeared alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a meeting of bloc representatives in Versailles on March 8, when she said, “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas.” Habeck echoed the sentiment: “All the German government’s, the country’s, efforts are going toward reducing this dependency as quickly as possible and then using the energy policy room for maneuver we have gained, including in security policy terms.”
“Hungary will not support any EU sanctions that would potentially limit cooperation with Russia in the nuclear field..”
• Hungary To Oppose EU’s Anti-Russian Nuclear Sanctions – Foreign Minister (TASS)
Hungary will not support any EU sanctions that would potentially limit cooperation with Russia in the nuclear field, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told reporters during a break at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels Monday. “Hungary will not support any sanctions that in any way limit nuclear cooperation with Russia,” Szijjarto said. The Minister noted that “the European Commission has, obviously, commenced the development of the 10th sanctions package.” However, Hungary warned that it will not support any proposals “if they include restrictions on cooperation with Russia in the nuclear area,” Szijjarto said.
“This would cause enormous damage to our country and violate its energy security,” he underscored. “I made it clear that nuclear energy is crucial for Hungary’s power supply,” the Foreign Minister said, noting that the Paks Nuclear Power plant, which uses Russian nuclear fuel, provides half of the country’s energy supply. “Without the Paks NPP, the current power supply in Hungary would be impossible. Just as it would be impossible to ensure Hungary’s power security in the upcoming decades without construction of new reactor units at the Paks NPP,” Szijjarto said.
‘Italy’s posture must return to the defence of its national interests … It doesn’t mean having a negative stance toward others, it means having a positive one for ourselves … because everyone else is doing it’
• Italy’s New Foreign Policy And A Multipolar World Order (Papalia)
In recent developments Meloni’s foreign policy has been pointing away from the EU and NATO. She and her political allies have publicly supported Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbàn, who has attacked the sanctions against Russia, following the EU’s condemnation of his authoritarian policies; Hungary is a NATO member but has signed a separate deal with Gazprom to secure supplies of Russian gas. Meloni’s party is also allied to the governing nationalist Right in Poland, the Czech Republic’s governing Civic Democratic Party, and the far right Sweden Democrats Party that triumphed in elections in September 2022. The German far right Alternative für Deutschland Party was ‘jubilant’ over Meloni’s success; it too has opposed sanctions against Russia and its vote is also on the rise.
As in the 1930s, one should not discount ideological and political affinities across national borders, particularly when national interests also align. As Bhadrakumar warns: ‘Do not underestimate the “Meloni effect”. The heart of the matter is that far-right forces invariably have more to offer to the electorate in times of insecurity and economic hardship.’ In the current era, these affinities can be gathered under the broad ideological umbrella of ‘sovereigntism’, putting EU unity at risk. Should Italy distance itself from NATO or leave it altogether, particularly in the light of Turkey’s ambivalent stance and the possibility of a Russian victory in Ukraine, it is doubtful that the alliance would be able to survive. This is not as far-fetched a thought as it might seem.
According to retired Italian General Fabio Mini, former commander of the NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo (2002–03), NATO’s expansion to Eastern Europe over recent decades, promoted by the United States, has further undermined the alliance’s cohesion and unity of purpose. The Ukraine–Russia crisis, as pointed out by Thomas Hughes, a scholar of international and defence policy, ‘marks an existential crisis for NATO’. Under these circumstances the United States would find it increasingly difficult to maintain a military presence in Italy. On 1 October 2022, following news that Germany’s Social Democrat-led government had rejected Italy’s proposed Europe-wide price cap on gas and that Italy would no longer receive gas from Russia through Austria, Meloni addressed a crowd of angry farmers in Milan: ‘Italy’s posture must return to the defence of its national interests … It doesn’t mean having a negative stance toward others, it means having a positive one for ourselves … because everyone else is doing it’.
Poles falling over each other to be the most belligerent.
• Poland Considered Partitioning Ukraine – Former FM (RT)
Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has suggested that the government in Warsaw considered partitioning Ukraine in the first weeks of the military conflict between Kiev and Moscow. His comments came in an interview with Radio ZET on Monday, prompting a strong retort from the country’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. Sikorski was asked if the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government had ever entertained the idea of dividing up Ukraine. He replied by stating that there was “a moment of hesitation in the first 10 days of the war, when we all didn’t know how it would go, that maybe Ukraine would fall.” “Had it not been for the heroism of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and the help of the West, things could have been different,” Sikorski said.
His remarks soon drew a reaction from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who accused Sikorski of behaving “like a Russian propagandist.” “The former foreign minister must weigh his words. I expect these disgraceful statements to be withdrawn. I call on the opposition to dissociate themselves from Radoslaw Sikorski’s declaration,” Morawiecki tweeted. It is not the first time Sikorski has been at odds with the government in Warsaw. In September, the ex-minister tweeted “Thank you, USA” alongside a photo of a massive gas leak caused by the sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
Sikorski further congratulated those responsible for the act, saying the severe damage caused to the natural gas pipelines would force Russia to talk to Poland and Ukraine if it wanted to continue delivering gas to Europe. “Good work,” he concluded in a second tweet. He later deleted both tweets. Russia responded to the former FM’s post by calling it an “official statement” confirming the Nord Stream incident was a “terrorist attack.” It still remains unclear who exactly was behind the sabotage as both Ukraine and Washington and its allies have denied responsibility.
“..Of course, if you’re doing a reversal of concepts, you can make anyone look bad.”
• Wagner Founder Gives Explanation For US Hostility (RT)
The Wagner Group scares the US because it is willing to oppose American atrocities around the world, the private military company’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on Monday, answering a question from RT. Washington said last week that it would designate the Russian PMC as an international criminal organization, accusing it of “widespread atrocities and human rights abuses.” “Unlike American paramilitary structures,” Prigozhin said in a written response to RT, “Wagner PMC only goes after the enemies of peace, and does not commit crimes. Of course, if you’re doing a reversal of concepts, you can make anyone look bad.”
The US is the only country to use nuclear weapons in history, and “organized wars and revolutions” in “Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Mozambique, Central Africa and so on,” Prigozhin noted, adding that in some of those countries Wagner came in and “stopped the wars with an iron fist.” Calling the US “a powerful criminal syndicate subsisting on the money of the entire world,” Prigozhin said Wagner was “more like the vice police” in relation. Washington “trained bandits and terrorists all over the world so that there would be unrest everywhere,” while the “fantasy island called the USA” lives in peace, he added. Used to people not fighting back or getting intimidated by name-calling, the Americans don’t know what to do with Wagner, who “looks into the eyes of the personification of world evil without fear.”
Prigozhin said the US objective is to break up Russia just as it did to the USSR, then take on China, in order to maintain its global hegemony. The Wagner Group was originally established in 2014. Over the past year, its fighters have taken part in battles against the Ukrainian military in the Donbass. Earlier this month, the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged Wagner’s role in capturing the key town of Soledar. US authorities have accused the PMC of unspecified “human rights violations” in Syria and the Central African Republic, where Wagner helped the government against jihadist insurgents. Last month, the State Department declared Wagner an “entity of particular concern” for religious freedom in Africa, in the same category as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
• Meta/Facebook Takes Azov Regiment Off Its Dangerous Organizations List (EG)
Facebook parent company Meta has removed the Azov Regiment, a controversial unit within the Ukrainian National Guard with alleged far-right political leanings, from its list of dangerous individuals and organizations. The move, first reported by The Kyiv Independent, means members of the unit can now create Facebook and Instagram accounts and post without Meta automatically flagging and removing their content. Additionally, unaffiliated users can praise the Azov Regiment, provided they abide by the company’s Community Standards. “The war in Ukraine has meant changing circumstances in many areas and it has become clear that the Azov Regiment does not meet our strict criteria for designation as a dangerous organization,” a company spokesperson told The Kyiv Independent.
Sharing more information on the policy change, Meta told The Washington Post it recently began to view the Azov Regiment as a separate entity from other groups associated with the far-right nationalist Azov Movement. Specifically, the company pointed to Ukraine’s National Corp political party and founder Andriy Biletsky, noting they’re still on its list of dangerous individuals and organizations. “Hate speech, hate symbols, calls for violence and any other content which violates our Community Standards are still banned, and we will remove this content if we find it,” Meta said. The Azov Regiment was founded in 2014 by Biletsky following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the start of the Donbas War that same year. Before the unit was integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard in November 2014, it was controversial for its adherence to neo-Nazi ideology.
In 2015, a spokesperson for the Azov Regiment said 10 to 20 percent of the unit’s recruits were self-professed Nazis. At the start of the 2022 conflict, Ukrainian officials said the Azov Regiment still had some extremists among its ranks but claimed the unit had largely become depoliticized. During the months-long siege of Mariupol, the Azov Regiment played a prominent role in the city’s defense. Russia captured many of the battalion’s fighters at the end of the battle. The change underscores just how much Meta’s content moderation policies have changed since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Partway through last year, the company began temporarily allowing people in Ukraine and a handful of other countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers. After the decision created controversy, Meta said it would turn to the Oversight Board for policy guidance, a request the company later withdrew, citing “ongoing safety and security concerns” related to the war.
“..Both of these investigations could easily take a year or more.”
• The 2024 Election and the “Get Out of Jail Free” Vote (Turley)
President Biden has declared that the criminal investigation into his possession of classified material ultimately will fizzle out because “there is no ‘there’ there.” To the contrary, there obviously is a great deal “there,” enough that a special counsel was appointed to investigate a classified documents trail from a D.C. office closet to Biden’s Delaware garage. Although the president wants Americans to look down the road past images of classified documents next to his vintage Corvette, we may be heading into one of the most bizarre, unsettling moments in our constitutional history. There is now a distinct possibility we will have not just two leading candidates campaigning for the presidency with their own respective special counsels in tow, but two candidates who could be indicted or close to indictment at the time of the election. That would present some novel political and constitutional questions.
A great deal already has been written about comparisons of the two cases and the obvious differences. The Justice Department’s Trump investigation includes not only accusations of mishandling classified material but also of false statements and obstruction; far more documents are involved, too. Yet enough similarities exist that Justice could weigh charges in both cases, even if only misdemeanors. Moreover, the Biden allegations are serious in their own way. The documents in Donald Trump’s possession at Mar-a-Lago were largely housed in a locked storage room with security added at the FBI’s request; there was ’round-the-clock Secret Service protection and camera surveillance. That is not ideal — but it is better than a dozen documents scattered around a closet, garage and library in different states.
There is no question of gross mishandling in Biden’s case. There is only the question of who was responsible. If the evidence shows that Joe Biden used any of these clearly marked documents to write his book or other projects, his insistence on “inadvertent” possession will take on a more sinister meaning as an effort to deceive the public and the FBI. Both of these investigations could easily take a year or more. The average time of a special counsel investigation of a president is over 900 days. These two investigations should take less than the average — but they are starting in 2023, with a presidential election in 2024. Trump has already announced, and Biden is expected to do so soon.
• Mar-A-Lago Raid Was Just Another Russia-Collusion Hoax (Fed.)
The search of Biden’s home followed the discovery in November 2022 of at least 10 classified documents, including ones reportedly marked “top secret.” Those documents also dated back to his days as vice president under Barack Obama and were stored in a closet at a private office building in D.C. But the so-called “think tank” where they were stored, the Penn Biden Center, did not open until February 2018, meaning Biden had kept the classified documents found there at another location for the year following his time as vice president. That the classified documents Biden removed from the White House and earlier the Senate were not missed at the time and are only now being discovered — at least a decade later for some — and then only after multiple searches of different locations, contrasts sharply with what happened following Trump’s time in office.
According to then-archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, he watched “the Trumps leave the White House and getting off in the helicopter” at the end of Trump’s term. Ferriero recalled someone was “carrying a white banker box,” prompting Ferriero to ask himself, “What the hell’s in that box?” Ferriero claimed, “[T]hat began a whole process of trying to determine whether any records had not been turned over to the Archives,” with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) “going through materials transferred from the White House in the chaotic final days of Trump’s presidency.” According to The Washington Post, “officials had noticed that certain high-profile documents were missing,” such as “Trump’s correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he had termed ‘love letters.’”
The NARA also could not locate the “National Weather Service map of Hurricane Dorian, which Trump had famously marked up with a black Sharpie pen to extend to Alabama,” or the letter Obama had left for Trump upon the change in administrations. NARA sought the return of these documents, and in January 2022, Trump representatives worked with NARA employees to arrange for 15 boxes of presidential papers to be returned to the archive. Within those boxes were some documents marked “classified,” which led NARA to refer the matter to the Department of Justice. The DOJ then launched an investigation into Trump, even though when alerted to Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified documents, NARA made no such referral.
A grand jury later issued a subpoena for any presidential documents, and following a search of Mar-a-Lago by Trump’s representatives, those documents were turned over. However, after a source told the DOJ that some documents remained at Mar-a-Lago, the FBI obtained a search warrant and executed a surprise raid on the former president’s home. This entire sequence began because NARA went looking for missing documents and then, rather than work with Trump to establish his presidential library and to arrange for the documents to be stored under the auspices of NARA’s custody at a mutually agreeable location — something NARA had done for Obama — NARA created a federal criminal case out of the matter.
Maybe 1% will take them.
• FDA Panel To Consider Annual Covid-19 Vaccine Shots (Hill)
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel on vaccines is set to consider an annual schedule for the coronavirus vaccine, akin to how flu vaccines are administered, when it meets this week. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet Thursday to discuss how to simplify and streamline the COVID-19 vaccination process, including the composition of coronavirus vaccines and the recommended scheduling for these shots. The rapid evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, resulting in variants with an improved ability to escape immune protection, means that “periodically updating the composition of COVID-19 vaccines as needed,” as was done with the updated bivalent booster, requires consideration, according to panel documents posted Monday.
The panel said it anticipates evaluating the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine annually in June and making a recommendation for the following year — though it acknowledged the difficulties of mounting a globally coordinated vaccine recommendation. “FDA anticipates conducting an assessment of SARS-CoV-2 strains at least annually and to engage VRBPAC in about early June of each year regarding strain selection for the fall season,” the VRBPAC documents said. While acknowledging that COVID-19 and the flu are not identical, VRBPAC said the deployment of the bivalent COVID-19 boosters, created to target both the ancestral strain of the virus as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, was “analogous” to annual flu vaccinations.
“There is nothing definitive in the universe, and collapses exist because the old must leave space for the new. ”
• Collapse Is Not An Event, But A Process (Ugo Bardi)
About ten years ago, my friend and colleague Massimo Nicolazzi wrote that the inversion of the declining trend of oil production in the US could not be neglected any longer. I commented by saying that it was a short-lived flare that couldn’t last for long. It turned out that Nicolazzi was right and I was wrong. By now, the growth of the US oil production curve has been lasting for more than ten years and is still ongoing — it was not just a short-lived flare. Of course, it cannot last forever but, for the time being, it changed everything. Among others, it propeled the American Empire back to the path of world domination that the Neocons theorized in the 1990s.
Does that mean that Hubbert’s “peak oil” theory is wrong and must be discarded? Of course not. It only means reinforcing some of the basic rules of complex systems. For instance, the one that goes “complex systems always surprise you,” and also, “never take an example as a rule.” So, when dealing with collapse (that I call the “Seneca Cliff) we should always remember that collapse is not an event, it is a process. Collapses have a history, they are the result of the interaction of several factors, and the same processes that generate collapse can also generate its opposite, which I tend to call the “Seneca Rebound.” It is normal. There is nothing definitive in the universe, and collapses exist because the old must leave space for the new.
Recently, for another unexpected change, I identified a new trend: the rapid growth of renewable energy production worldwide. A trend that can be well described by some recent studies in terms of the EROI (energy returned for energy invested) of renewables having become several times larger than that of fossil fuels. No wonder we are seeing — or we’ll soon see — a revolving door effect in energy production. Fossils are out, renewables are in. History rhymes, as it usually does! Then, just like Nicolazzi’s statement about tight oil was not believed by peak-oil hardliners (including me), my statements on renewables were understood as a mortal offense by catastrophistic hardliners. You can’t believe how nasty their comments have been: apart from branding me an incompetent, an idiot, and ignorant of the basic laws of physics, catastrophism seems to be strictly linked to conspirationism, so people have been writing that I cannot tell the truth because I am blackmailed by the powers that be (no, really, someone wrote exactly that!).
The problem is the science of complex systems is never black or white. It doesn’t allow for absolute truths, nor it is sympathetic to people choosing between complacency and panic (the two functioning modes of human beings according to James Schlesinger). The science of complex systems is, well, a little complex and it needs a little mental flexibility to be understood. Not that it takes superhuman mental capabilities, not at all. It is just that you need to free yourself from the schematic way of reasoning that’s normally imposed on all of us by the media.
“..the North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, an important sea current that has been pumping warmer water into the Arctic, is weakening and that’s leading to a cooler North Atlantic area and lower temperatures, as was observed in the period 1950-1970.”
• Temperatures in Northern Hemisphere Due to Fall Over Next 25 Years (DS)
Whisper it quietly – and don’t tell Al ‘Boiling Oceans’ Gore – but the Northern hemisphere may be entering a temperature cooling phase until the 2050s with a decline up to 0.3°C. By extension, the rest of the globe will also be cooled. These sensational findings, ignored by the mainstream media, were released last year and are the work of six top international scientists led by Nour-Eddine Omrani of the Norwegian Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. Published in the Nature journal Climate and Atmospheric Science, the scientists say that the North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, an important sea current that has been pumping warmer water into the Arctic, is weakening and that’s leading to a cooler North Atlantic area and lower temperatures, as was observed in the period 1950-1970.
Certainly, current observations back up these suggestions. As we reported recently, Arctic summer sea ice stopped declining about a decade ago and has shown recent growth. The Greenland surface ice sheet grew by almost 500 billion tonnes in the year to August 2022, and this was nearly equivalent to its estimated annual loss. Of course, climate alarmists have not quite caught up with these recent trends, with Sir David Attenborough telling his BBC Frozen Planet II audience that the summer sea ice could all be gone within 12 years.
Interestingly, the six scientists, whose work has helped debunk the ‘settled’ science myth, still attribute some global warming to human causes. The Northern hemisphere is characterised by “several multidecadal climate trends that have been attributed to anthropogenic climate change”. But producing work that predicts 30 years of global cooling puts them outside the ‘settled’ narrative that claims human-produced carbon dioxide is the main – possibly the only – determinant of global and local temperatures. At the very least, it dials down the hysteria pushing for almost immediate punitive net-Zero measures. Lead author Omrani is reported to have said that the expected warming pause “gives us time to work out technical, political and economic solutions before the next warming phase, which will take over again from 2050”.
“..there’s a growing push to implement the carbon credit scam worldwide. And that’s not a coincidence.”
• Carbon Credits Are the Biggest Scam Since Indulgences (IM)
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church convinced the commoners to buy indulgences to alleviate their sins. And they made a fortune in the process. Similarly, today, our overlords—the mainstream media, central bankers, and their political allies—are working overtime to convince the commoners to pay for their alleged climate sins. Enter carbon credits, government-issued permits that grant you the privilege to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. Although advocates promote them as a way to “save the environment,” in reality, carbon credits are nothing more than a devious mechanism to tax, regulate, and control you. It’s not a coincidence that the most philosophically and ethically bent people are promoting them.
For example, at a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, participants revealed and touted an “individual carbon footprint tracker.” It will track where people travel, how they travel, what they eat, and what they consume. Carbon accounting is already creeping into many places, like Google Flights. A federal carbon tax is already a reality in Trudeau’s Canada, and it’s causing the price of food and other goods and services to soar. But Canadians haven’t seen anything yet—the federal carbon tax will triple by 2030. In short, there’s a growing push to implement the carbon credit scam worldwide. And that’s not a coincidence. Remember, central banks only exist to harvest wealth from the populace through inflation and redirect it to the politically connected, an insidious practice known as seigniorage.
‘Girls in the Windows’ – New York (1960) – Ormond Gigli
The building was knocked down the next day
kinetic sculpture of writer Franz Kafka,
by artist David Černý, layers of steel with a weight of 45 tons
Ever turning to capture the writers unrelenting self doubt and anguish, this sculpture makes physical the writhing torment of the writers mind. pic.twitter.com/b5t9mWOBHU
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) January 23, 2023
This iconic picture by Masa Ushioda is now famous as the ‘whale’s high five’ and was taken off the coast of Hona, Hawaii in 2018
Do not limit your imagination to the possible. pic.twitter.com/yjfn2AjoZW
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) January 23, 2023
Lifeguards working in Croatia.
Alligator lurking in the duckweed. Photo: Cole Frechou
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