Nov 092022
 
 November 9, 2022  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  86 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn Portrait of Rembrandt with gorget 1629

 

Super-States in Core Eurasian Geopolitics (Straight-Bat)
Moscow Suggests How Many Countries Want To Join BRICS (RT)
US and Russia To Hold Nuclear Talks (RT)
Why Does The Western Narrative Sound So Stupid And Unrealistic? (Romatzki)
American Pundits Have Got It Backwards About China (Blankenship)
American Voters Don’t Need Russian Trolls To Tell Them How Bad Things Are (RB)
Russian Oil Exports Surging (RT)
Poland Draws A Line In The Sand With The EU (Remix)
EU ‘Sucking Gas Away’ From Poorer Countries (RT)
What Do You Run On….. (Denninger)
Germany Faces Sharp Drop In Real Income (RT)
Polish Ex-PM Links Low Birth Rates To Women Drinking (RT)
Will You Survive The ‘Tripledemic’? (Mercola)
COVID-19 Conspiracies Are a Gateway to Other Conspiracy Theories (SAlert)

 

 

It didn’t seem useful to address the midterms here and now, given the time it will take to count the votes. But at the same time, the voting sucks almost all of the air out of the media. A strange feeling. Nobody talks about Ukraine today.

What I did gather so far is that there was no Red Wave, and Trump endorsements did poorly. While Ron DeSantis won bigly. Which will lead to some head scratching. But overall, prepare for a lot of speculation and likely court cases. The country is divided like never before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Von Der Leyen is under investigation

 

 

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
~ Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

“..rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral..”

Super-States in Core Eurasian Geopolitics (Straight-Bat)

I have been deliberating on the question whether core Eurasia could really be treated as the ‘heartland’, control of which is a prerequisite to exercise total control over the world? Before one could sincerely take up the issue for a discussion, he/she must be able to grasp the definition of ‘core Eurasia’. Geologically, ‘Eurasia’ is a tectonic plate that lies under much of Europe and Asia. However, there is no well-defined geographic boundary of ‘core Eurasia’ in international politics. The European (geopolitical) strategists and Asian intellectuals converge on this subject remarkably well — the landmass that lies between Pacific Ocean in the east and river Vistula plus Carpathian mountain range in the west, and between Arctic Ocean in the north to the line joining Arabian Sea coast-Himalayan mountain range-South China Sea coast in the south can be termed as ‘core Eurasia’.

This particular question has a definite answer – ‘core Eurasia’ indeed can be assumed as heartland because of two reasons. Firstly, the countries that dot the entire landscape of core Eurasia are not only home to 25% of the global population currently but has enough arable land, water, and forest resources for a healthy and continuous population growth. Secondly, the entire landmass of core Eurasia hold deposits of minerals, fossil fuels, rare earth, and gems in disproportionately high quantities compared to its share of total surface area of earth. Hence, the human civilization can grow, sustain, and flourish as a stand-alone phenomenon in core Eurasia even if civilizations in other regions of the world fail to sustain – this, in my opinion, is the single most important characteristic of core Eurasia why it may be considered as the ‘heartland’.

Readers who are conversant with the works of geopolitics pundits like Brzezinski will easily conclude that I don’t subscribe to Brzezinski’s thought on this issue which was centred around ‘exercising power to control the world’ as he noted, “The control over Eurasia would almost automatically entails Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.”

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More than a dozen. Among them: Algeria, Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt, Afghanistan.

Moscow Suggests How Many Countries Want To Join BRICS (RT)

More than a dozen countries have expressed an interest in joining the BRICS group, which incorporates some of the world’s major emerging economies, as the bloc gains more global standing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. Speaking at a meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Lavrov indicated that membership of the BRICS bloc is in high demand. “The interest in this global association is very, very high and continues to grow,”he said. He confirmed that “more than a dozen” countries are eager to join, including Algeria, Argentina, and Iran. However, Lavrov continued, before accepting any new members, BRICS intends to reach an agreement on criteria and principles for further potential expansion.


“Given that applications are already being submitted officially, we, of course, expect that harmonization of the criteria and principles for the expansion of BRICS won’t take too long,” he said. BRICS is an international socio-economic and political forum, which incorporates Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It accounts for over 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP. The Russian Foreign Minister’s comments come after Algeria applied to become a member of the group, following applications by Iran and Argentina. Algeria’s bid came after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for stronger ties with Middle Eastern and North African countries, arguing that they are playing an “increasingly significant role” in the formation of the “multipolar system of international relations.” The bloc is also expected to consider adding Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt and Afghanistan.

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New START.

US and Russia To Hold Nuclear Talks (RT)

American and Russian diplomats will meet to discuss the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty “in the near future,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday. Earlier, Bloomberg and Kommersant cited sources to report that a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) may soon be held in Egypt. “We have agreed that the BCC will meet in the near future. Under the terms of the New START treaty, the work of the BCC is confidential, but we do hope for a constructive session,” Price said at a press briefing. The US believes in the “transformative power of diplomacy and dialogue” but is “clear-eyed and realistic” about what it can accomplish when it comes to Russia, Price added.

The conversations are “focused on risk-reduction” but Washington wants to ensure that the ability to pass messages back and forth with Moscow “does not atrophy.” “If there is, and it sounds like there will be, a meeting of the BCC, that is a good thing,” Price added, before correcting himself to say that the meeting will definitely happen. While Price would not name the venue for the meeting, Bloomberg mentioned Cairo as the neutral location more acceptable to Russia than Geneva, since Switzerland has joined the US and EU sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. The New START is the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement between the US and Russia, set to expire in 2026 unless renewed. The BCC last met in October 2021.

Moscow suspended the inspection regime under the treaty in August, citing Western sanctions that have prevented Russian inspectors from doing their work in the US, thus putting Washington at an unfair advantage. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the inspections would continue once the principle of parity and equality is restored. Inspections had previously been disrupted by lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“They are just towing the line, even selling their souls and reputations just to prevent their cancellation.”

Why Does The Western Narrative Sound So Stupid And Unrealistic? (Romatzki)

Reference is constantly made to WW2 , the Cuban Missile Crises, etc. However that was a different world and era where people and leaders still had Values, Religions was strong, Families were strong, where Integrity, Honour, Patriotism, etc. … had meaning ….. a proper culture. This has all been destroyed. By whom? That is a debatable point, but it did happen. Society has been transformed and the Western Culture has been destroyed. There is now very little left of the original culture of the 1950/1960/1970/1980 and before. The family concept is being destroyed. Fewer Children are born, people marry less, Feminism is pushed, Affirmative actions is pushed, Homosexuality is rampant and encouraged, Gender identity is driven to the absurd.,

Science is destroyed by money, etc. Religion has been destroyed by the introduction of other cultures and religions into society. Inter-race marriages have been promoted and encouraged. And then … Wokeness and Cancel Culture has become dominant. With the loss in a stable anchor, derived from one’s family and culture, who can resist these dominant forces? People have become isolated and vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Integrity is thrown out of the window and now everybody is for himself. Gone are the days were one would stand up for his values and deny a job, money or position. All of it has now become monetised and self preservation is the order of the day. Money has played the corruptible factor.

Money and wokeness has become the driving forces of the population. Cancel Culture and Social media have become the tools. Given the facts above, who can then NOT understand why the Western Commentators spew the fake news and ridiculous narratives? In my assessment I believe it is Selfish Interests, Lack of strong Values, Money, Fear of being Cancelled and a lack of proper Information derived from reality, that drives the Western commentators to create such “devoid of reality” narratives. They are just towing the line, even selling their souls and reputations just to prevent their cancellation.

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“The US is the most cartoonishly nationalistic country in the history of our species..”

American Pundits Have Got It Backwards About China (Blankenship)

In recent years, but notably in the wake of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 20th National Congress that just concluded at the end of October, Western writers have rushed to accuse Beijing of becoming anti-Western. This is seen in several examples by Western writers, such as the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos or a quintessential China-blaming piece recently published by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. In his article, titled “How China Lost America,” Friedman says that there are four trends in China that have soured the US-China relationship: market manipulation, hyper-nationalism, aggressive foreign policy and Beijing’s “zero-Covid” policy. But he does not elaborate these points to any convincible degree and fails to acknowledge the extent to which Washington’s own policies are to blame for China’s perceived turn from the West.

First of all, a lot of what is called intellectual property theft (which Friedman mentions in his piece) is just ordinary intellectual diffusion. The FBI started an entire ‘China Initiative’ to investigate such instances in top US universities and companies – and it came up almost completely empty-handed to the point that it had to be shut down for devolving into a vehicle for anti-Asian racism. This also doesn’t even acknowledge the extent of the US’ own market manipulation, namely through the sheer influence that its multinationals have in creating trade and economic policy, or its promiscuous use of unilateral sanctions. The US also routinely violates its World Trade Organization (WTO) duties in its trade war against Beijing. The organization even allowedChina to impose duties on $645 million worth of imports over US trade malpractice in January.

For an American to call China hyper-nationalist is laughable. The US is the most cartoonishly nationalistic country in the history of our species: children in most public schools are required to swear a ‘pledge of allegiance’ to the flag every morning, Americans only know one language on average and the American flag is draped everywhere in the country. Chinese people are, on balance, much less chauvinistic and more open-minded. Likewise, it’s hard to take insinuations of Beijing’s supposed “aggressive” foreign policy seriously either. The People’s Republic of China has never started a war since its inception and has not been involved in a proxy war in decades. Compare that to the fact that the US has been at war for nearly every single year of its existence since 1776. It is actually America’s aggressive foreign policy that is prompting resistance from Beijing.

Finally, on the zero-Covid point, this is just sensible policy. Virtually every country in the world has caved into public pressure to relax Covid-related restrictions. That’s fairly understandable because of how ineffective they were in most countries. But that doesn’t change the fact that Covid-19 is an extremely deadly and debilitating disease that is continuing to kill many people and leave many more disabled. If one could choose to eliminate Covid-19 from society, then why wouldn’t they? Thankfully, China has effectively used its technology to do just this – and it works. A January report by Citigroup, based on three surveys conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce China, the EU Chamber of Commerce China and the Japan External Trade Organization, found that China is their favorite investment destination. Among the top reasons listed was the country’s supply-chain resilience and the effectiveness of its Covid-19 controls.

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Robert Bridge, published on RT and only RT. So for those who can’t access RT, the whole article.

American Voters Don’t Need Russian Trolls To Tell Them How Bad Things Are (RB)

As US voters head to the polls for the much-anticipated Midterms, talk of Russian trolls monkeying with US democracy is back in the news. But does the country really need Russia’s help in “stoking anger” among the electorate? If the hyper-liberal New York Times can be taken at face value just two days before an epic election, Russia’s underground army of trolls is, once again, attempting to seed the minds of malleable US voters to the Kremlin’s advantage. If those charges sounded outlandish in 2016, when the Democrats accused Russian ‘influencers’ of denying Hillary Clinton the presidency, they seem doubly so today. The Times reported that the goal of the reactivated Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg is to “stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system.

”Judging by the looks of things, the Russians are a bit late to the party. It would be hard to name another period in US politics when the level of anger and distrust has been so extreme, and that is something the Russian trolls, despite their supposed superhuman abilities, can’t take credit for. Take inflation, for example, the single most pressing issue among US voters. It doesn’t require any sort of Russian mind-bending operation to inform Americans that the economic situation is deteriorating before their eyes, and has been ever since Biden entered office. They only need to look at their food and utility bills each month, and the price at the gas pump, to feel fury for what the Biden administration has done to the economy in a shockingly short period of time. Any effort to blame these negative sentiments on “the Russians” is just another way of the Democrats saying that soaring prices is “disinformation”and unworthy of your attention.

The Times mentions another point of contention among US voters, particularly the Republicans, and that is the blank-check powers that have been awarded to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Citing the work of “cybersecurity researchers,” the article alleges that the Russian influence campaign “appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.”Again, here is an issue that has already been undermined by the Republicans ever since the Democrats commenced with their proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, a massively hazardous venture where no expense is considered too great. On this point, the Democrats are able to claim, much like in 2016, that the Russians and the Republicans are working in collusion, this time against Kiev. The Russians are anxious to see US military spending on Ukraine come to an end as all of those sophisticated weapons are only prolonging the conflict.

Meanwhile, some of the Republicans campaigned on promises to terminate funding to the Zelensky regime and divert those billions of dollars to national security projects, like fortifying their own border and fighting crime. It would be a mistake to think that Americans are not acutely aware of the issues now dividing the country. Every day, social media users can see for themselves everything they need to know about crime, inflation, transgender issues, and the border, to name just a few of the hot-button issues dividing the country. To suggest that Russian trolls are required to “stoke conservative anger” is to grossly underestimate the political intelligence of the average US voter, who appears better informed than ever before. The fact is, the Democrats are afraid of being wiped out in a landslide come Tuesday. Conjuring up the ghost of Russia interference at the 11th hour reveals their insecurity and will provide them some partial excuse in the event of a blowout.

With regards to these latest accusations of election interference, Moscow is understandably losing its patience. It requires either a certain lack of self-awareness, or an astonishing excess of arrogance, for the United States to lecture any country on the question of meddling. After all, in the case of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, we’re talking about a mere $150,000 spent on several thousand Facebook ads, many of which had no political message whatsoever. When it is considered that US presidential elections have turned into multi-billion-dollar pageants, with no expense spared on campaign attack ads, it is hard to imagine that Russia’s severely limited campaign had any effect whatsoever (it needs emphasis that not even Facebook is entirely sure where the posts originated from. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, would only say they “likely operated out of Russia”).

Now compare that to the way the United States “meddles” in the affairs of foreign countries, like Ukraine. In November 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovich opted in favor of closer ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union instead of the EU, protests broke out in the country. How did the United States respond? Not with internet trolls, that’s for sure. It dispatched high-ranking US officials to Kiev, like Senator John McCain and Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, where they agitated the masses against the democratically elected government. On the question of who would ultimately govern the splintered country, Nuland was overheard in a phone call with the US ambassador to Ukraine handpicking the eligible candidates.

Once again, the United States proved that there are rules for itself and rules for the rest of the world, and increasingly it is the American people who must pay the price for that supreme arrogance.

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Seaborne, that is.

Russian Oil Exports Surging (RT)

Shipments of Russian seaborne crude surged to 3.6 million barrels per day last week, reaching the highest since early June, while the less volatile four-week average is the highest since August, Bloomberg reported on Monday. A total of 34 tankers were loaded with some 25.2 million barrels of Russian crude oil in the week to November 4, according to vessel-tracking data and port agent reports, as quoted by the media. That’s up by 3.2 million barrels. The exports were ramped up more than a month before the EU sanctions, supported by the G7 nations and Australia, kick in on December 5. The penalties will see Western companies banned from providing insurance and other services to vessels loaded with Russian crude, unless the cargo is purchased below a yet-to-be-agreed price cap.


The biggest increase, in both volume and percentage terms, was reportedly recorded in shipments from the Arctic terminal of Murmansk. Cargoes carrying Russian oil are becoming more cagey about their destinations, according to Bloomberg. The agency noted a big jump in vessels showing their next destination as Port Said or the Suez Canal, and a drop in the volume on tankers indicating that they’re headed to India. The media highlighted that many more ships carrying crude are leaving Russian ports without signaling a final port of discharge. Russia’s revenues from crude-export duty reportedly rose by $16 million to $149 million in the seven days to November 4, with the four-week average income also increasing, gaining $6 million to $134 million.

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“The National Recovery Fund for Poland involves €24 billion in grants and €11.5 billion in loans, but it is just one type of fund that Poland has yet to receive from Brussels.”

Poland Draws A Line In The Sand With The EU (Remix)

The Polish government says it will make no further concessions to the European Union in order to unlock tens of billions in EU funding, arguing that Poland has fulfilled all its obligations and Brussels owes them the money. “Poland fulfilled all conditions set by the European Commission regarding the payment of the Recovery Funds it is due,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said. He added that “he does not intend to answer any comments from Brussels on the matter.” Brussels, for its part, has threatened Poland with catastrophic funding cuts totaling up to €110 billion; this would hobble the Polish economy, which has suffered due to the global economic downturn, inflation, and the refugee crisis from Ukraine.

In an interview for the conservative Sieci, Duda admitted that he does not believe that trying to fulfill the expectations of “the other side” could bring any results. “I believe that a lot of good will was showcased from the Polish side,” he stated. “And we know very well that there is a group from Poland there that has a policy of contradicting the basic interests of the Polish state and is content when Poland is being harmed by Brussels,” said Poland’s president. He also mentioned the liberal-left representatives who “have seats in the European Commission and want to change the ruling party in Poland at all costs.” According to the latest statements of the Polish authorities, Poland has still not sent a request for a payment of the Recovery Funds to Brussels.

Meanwhile, information has appeared in the public space that the Commission confirmed that Warsaw has fulfilled 15 out of 20 milestones necessary for the payments of the first tranche of funds. The National Recovery Fund for Poland involves €24 billion in grants and €11.5 billion in loans, but it is just one type of fund that Poland has yet to receive from Brussels. In June, the European Commission finally accepted the Polish plan, however, it made the payment of the funds dependent on the fulfillment of the so-called milestones. In the case of Poland, those milestones concern mostly the judicial system. Brussels does not recognize that Poland fulfilled its obligations, so the payment of the National Recovery Fund remains frozen.

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“We are borrowing other people’s energy supplies,” Vitol Group Chief Executive Officer Russell Hardy told the media. “It’s not a great thing.”

EU ‘Sucking Gas Away’ From Poorer Countries (RT)

The EU energy crisis is inevitably leading to energy poverty in developing countries, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday citing an energy analyst at Credit Suisse. “Europe is sucking gas away from other countries whatever the cost,” Saul Kavonic told the media. Despite soaring energy bills, the EU is expected to survive the upcoming heating season, as the bloc members have purchased enough oil and natural gas. However, this comes with a high price tag for the world’s poorest nations that have been cut off from the gas market due to Europe’s ravenous demand. Emerging market countries are reportedly at serious risk of being unable to meet their energy needs. Factory shutdowns, more frequent and longer-lasting power shortages, as well as social unrests are the most likely consequences due to the energy security challenges.

Exporters across Qatar and the US are accepting bids from European buyers seeking to purchase as much fuel as possible to fill their storages. That leaves developing countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Thailand unable to compete on price with Germany and other bigger economies. “We are borrowing other people’s energy supplies,” Vitol Group Chief Executive Officer Russell Hardy told the media. “It’s not a great thing.” According to traders cited by Bloomberg, soaring prices prompted some suppliers to South Asia to simply cancel long-scheduled deliveries in favor of better yields elsewhere. “Suppliers don’t need to focus on securing their LNG to low affordability markets,” Raghav Mathur, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie said, adding that the higher prices they can get on the spot market more than make up for whatever penalties they might pay for shirking planned shipments.

“LNG will belong first to the ‘developed,’ with the leftovers for the ‘developing.’”the expert said, adding that this dynamic is likely to hold for years. The European Union is struggling with an energy crisis as a result of the reduction of imports from Russia. Earlier, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that it took the bloc eight months to replace two-thirds of Russian gas supplies. She added that the EU had significantly diversified the range of foreign suppliers, but that had “been costly.”

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“Biden claims inflation is not his fault and he’s bringing it down by spending more deficit money. This is mathematically impossible, incidentally.”

What Do You Run On….. (Denninger)

…. when you have nothing to run on? Let’s just be straight here, ok — neither party, when you get down to it, has anything to run on. But: When you’re in the left seat, and the plane crashes, its your fault. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Just as an example the “authorities” won’t release the surveillance or body camera tapes from the Paul Pelosi assault. Why not? The only reason not to is that what’s there renders irrevocably false the story told thus far. In what way? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. If the footage documents the affidavit “as told” then there’s no reason not to release it as it will cement the case not only in court but in public opinion as well. Therefore it clearly doesn’t. Biden claims inflation is not his fault and he’s bringing it down by spending more deficit money. This is mathematically impossible, incidentally.

He either doesn’t know this or he’s lying. It matters not which it is; he ran on and promoted blowing more money around so he has no place to hide. Biden told us all that if you took the Covid shots you would not get covid. He said that conclusively. He lied; his top advisor, Birx, has stated in public she knew this was not true before he took office. Therefore either he hired her and is responsible or she told him and he deliberately lied. Either way: He’s in the left seat, he had opportunity to not lie, thus he owns it. On Biden’s watch Ukraine and Russia went to war. Biden has poured tens of billions of dollars and weapons not only in munitions into Ukraine he’s paying the salaries of their people with our money. The total at this point is well over $100 billion, which is a quite-material part of the fiscal deficit.

By what authority? Well, Congress appears to be ok with it, aren’t they? Indeed. Who controls Congress? Uh huh. Oh, spending more money than you take in causes inflation? Well, prosecuting this war over there is part of it then, on purpose. Again, sit in the left seat, you’re responsible when there’s a smoking hole in the ground and nothing larger than a quarter can be identified. There have been a couple of million people streaming into our nation illegally over the last two years. Inflationary? You bet. What’s worse? The guy who is accused of attacking Pelosi is here illegally and has been for years. How many others have been victimized by criminals who were here illegally? Remember “A Girl in Iowa” anyone? Sit in the left seat, it’s your problem, especially when you sue, as Biden has done, to block Arizona and others from sealing said border.

Biden has declared war on carbon-based fuels. Refiners are closing and have on his watch and will not restart because he has made clear that any investment in them is a zero. It is his expressed intent to destroy said investment so nobody will make it. Do you light $100 bills on fire for fun? Neither does anyone else, so if you think gas or diesel prices are coming down on a durable basis exactly how when there is no increase in refining capacity coming online to meet demand? You can’t build an electric car without carbon-based fuels and in fact to build and operate one requires more carbon-based fuel than just refining and burning the gasoline. This is fact and yet Biden does not care if you get screwed.

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Germany faces many problems. A drop in income is not the worst.

Germany Faces Sharp Drop In Real Income (RT)

The German economy is expected to lose billions of euros by the end of 2023 due to skyrocketing energy prices, the Ifo Center for Macroeconomics said in a report published on Tuesday. According to the forecast, real income loss will reach €110 billion ($110 billion) during the 2021-2023 period, which equals 3% of Germany’s annual economic output. “The only time this figure was higher was during the second oil crisis of 1979-81, when the loss in economic output was 4%,” said Timo Wollmershaeuser, senior economist at Ifo. The surge in energy prices is expected to take a heavy toll on the German economy this year, with an anticipated €64 billion loss, or 1.8% of the country’s output.


The estimated loss for 2021 exceeded €35 billion, and a €9 billion drop is expected for 2023, according to Ifo. German citizens will continue to feel the impact of the energy crisis over the next few years with a drop in real incomes, Wollmershaeuser warned, adding that losing Russia as the main energy supplier will result in long-term high oil and gas prices. He also predicted that Germany will not wean itself off energy imports “overnight” as the country has long been dependent on external supplies. In late October, Ifo predicted that the German economy would contract by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. According to an Economy Ministry forecast, Germany will see growth of 1.4% this year and a 0.4% slump next year.

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Stunning.

Polish Ex-PM Links Low Birth Rates To Women Drinking (RT)

The leader of Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has claimed that women are choosing not to have children because they drink too much. The former prime minister made the remarks on Saturday during a trip to Elk, a city in northeastern Poland. Reflecting on the country’s low birth rate, Kaczynski said “cultural factors”contribute to a woman’s decisions on childbearing, and “it is sometimes necessary to say bitter things openly.” “If, for example, it is maintained that, until the age of 25, young women drink as much as men of their age, there will be no children,” Kaczynski said. “Remember that a man, in order to become an alcoholic, has to drink excessively for 20 years on average… while a woman has to do it for only two years.” “I say this seriously,” the conservative politician stated, adding that he knew a doctor who “managed to cure a third of his male alcoholic patients, but no women.”


“I really am a sincere supporter of women’s equality, but I’m not in favor of women pretending to be men and men pretending to be women because it is something completely different,”Kaczynski said. “This is a typical statement from a patriarchal grandpa during a traditional Polish wedding,” said Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a legislator from the New Left party, dismissing Kaczynski’s words as “foolish.” Her fellow MP Urszula Paslawska said she does not know “whether to laugh or to cry.” Another New Left lawmaker, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bak, argued that alcohol affects the fertility of both men and women. “In order to have children, other issues need to be solved, and Kaczynski is silent on them,” she said. “There is a shortage of two million housing units in Poland, so young people have to live with their parents.” She added that women, including mothers, need better protection in their jobs and in the labor market.

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RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] is the flavor of the day for Big Pharma.

Will You Survive The ‘Tripledemic’? (Mercola)

As predicted, “health experts” are starting to call for voluntary indoor masking again,(11) even though all the evidence garnered over the past three years confirms what we already knew in 2020, which is that face masks do nothing to stop viral infections. And, as before, in the absence of actual scientific evidence the narrative focuses instead on virtue. Masking up is said to be a way to protect everyone,(12) so just “do your part” and wear it, even though, in reality, it protects no one. The same goes for vaccination. Both the flu vaccine and the COVID shots are proven ineffective, yet the recommendation(13) to get them continues. And this season, you’re expected to get both! The fact that RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] is now being highlighted as a severe risk is understandable in light of the fact that the first-ever RSV vaccines are now in the pipeline.

According to CNN,(14) four different RSV shots are “nearing review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration” and more than a dozen others are in trials. This includes a “long-acting injection” specifically for babies, to be given “right after birth” to protect them from RSV “for as long as six months.” If that’s not a perfect example of how the media tries to change the perception of the basic meaning of a term, I don’t know what is. Six months is hardly long-acting! Historically, most vaccines have at least offered antibody-only “protection” for years, not months. Please recognize all vaccines fail to use cellular immunity to protect you, which is far more important than humoral antibody protection. This extremely short duration of antibody-only protection appears to be a hallmark of mRNA technology however, and indeed, at least some of these new RSV shots are mRNA based.

Moderna has announced it is working on an mRNA jab for RSV, which is scheduled for release in 2023.(15) They’re also working on a combination mRNA jab for COVID, RSV and the flu. (Ultimately, Moderna wants to create an annual mRNA shot that covers all of the top 10 viruses that result in hospitalizations each year.[16]) Janssen is also working on an RSV shot using an adenovirus vector, the same technology used in its COVID shot, while Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are testing “protein subunit” RSV vaccines for pregnant women and seniors.(17) According to Forbes,(18) Pfizer announced November 1, 2022, that it is ready to seek FDA authorization for its RSV vaccine. In clinical trials this shot was given to pregnant mothers and the efficacy was measured not by whether it prevented RSV, but by severity of the infection in hospitalized babies during their first months of life.(19)

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Pretend science. What insane nonsense.

COVID-19 Conspiracies Are a Gateway to Other Conspiracy Theories (SAlert)

Thinking that the COVID-19 pandemic is in some way a hoax could serve as a ‘gateway’ for individuals to engage with more complex conspiracy theories, claim a team of researchers from Ohio State University in the US. According to a recent analysis of two longitudinal studies that tracked participant beliefs in various theories, mistrust in expertise over real-world events can quickly bloom into a general acceptance of conspiracy theories that aren’t supported by robust evidence. The technical term here is conspiracist ideation, which measures someone’s confidence in explanations of events that rely on the power of groups to manipulate outcomes to an unlikely, if not near impossible degree.

For the study’s purpose, the researchers considered conspiracy theories to be beliefs that aren’t supported by any evidence – and which are actually contradicted by the evidence that does exist. These can be anything from believing the Moon landing was staged to thinking that legitimate elections are rigged. In the case of COVID-19, conspiracy theories include the idea that the pandemic was largely exaggerated by the government or the media, and the belief that the virus was released on purpose by a particular agency for sinister means. “It’s speculative, but it appears that once people adopt one conspiracy belief, it promotes distrust in institutions more generally – it could be government, science, the media, whatever,” says psychologist Russell Fazio, from The Ohio State University.

“Once you start viewing events through that distrustful lens, it’s very easy to adopt additional conspiracy theories.” Two different studies were the focus of the analysis. The first queried 107 participants about their beliefs in June 2020. In December of that year, a second study looked at how individuals who considered COVID-19 to be a hoax progressed in their conspiracist ideation. Statistical analysis showed that those who believed the SARS-CoV-2 virus was deliberately released or that the severity of the COVID-19 outbreaks was exaggerated were also more likely to distrust the official results of the 2020 US election. What’s more, members of the ‘conspiracy minded’ group also tended to show an increase in conspiratorial thinking between June and December.

The second study used publicly available data from 1,037 participants, surveyed between March 2020 and December 2020. Again, belief that the pandemic was a hoax predicted a rise in conspiracist ideation over the course of the year. “If you read interviews or forums frequented by conspiracy theorists, you see a phenomenon where people tend to go down the rabbit hole after something happens in their life that triggers general interest in conspiracy theories,” says psychologist Javier Granados Samayoa, from The Ohio State University. “With COVID-19, there was this large event that people could not control, so how could they make sense of it? One way is by adhering to conspiracy theories.”

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Chaplin

 

 

“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”
~ Khalil Gibran

 

 

Marvin Gaye

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 082022
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Self portrait with tousled hair 1629

 

WaPo Awards Biden a “Bottomless Pinocchio” (Turley)
The Pathetic Democratic Pantheon (Victor Davis Hanson)
Biden Administration Privately Asks US Banks To Keep Working With Russia (RT)
US Nuclear Forces Chief Says ‘the Big One Is Coming (Antiwar)
EU Official Reveals How Far Ukraine Is From Membership (RT)
World Is On ‘Highway To Hell’ – UN Chief (RT)
The World Is Racing To Break China’s Rare Earth Dominance (AGMM)
EU and UK Energy Bills Smash Record High (RT)
Medvedev Names Key Reason For Ukraine Conflict (RT)
Are You Ready for the Coming U.S. Government Default? (EP)
How to Beat Propaganda: the Grokking Strategy (Ugo Bardi)
Low Down on the Showdown (Kunstler)
House Republicans Allege ‘Weaponization’ of FBI, DOJ (ET)
Meta Prepares For Large-scale Layoffs (JTN)
The Unforgivable Request for Shamnesty (Buckley)
United Airlines Eliminating Seats As Americans Get Fatter (NYP)

 

 


Siegfried Sassoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Biden

 

 

 

 

I quit Twitter

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

“..despite his history as a serial spreader of disinformation, I would still oppose any effort to ban him from social media or even remove his comments…”

WaPo Awards Biden a “Bottomless Pinocchio” (Turley)

We have been discussing a series of false statements made by President Biden about election law, border agents, Second Amendment, gun capacity, and a variety of personal facts. Now, the Washington Post has awarded President Biden a “bottomless Pinocchio” for his repeating of clearly false facts. For those in the free speech community, it is a highly ironic moment given the President’s recent defense of censorship because citizens need “editors” to tell them what is real and what is not. Indeed, he asked, if we did not censor social media, “how will people know the truth?” President Biden is arguably the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. The President often sounds like the Censor-in-Chief, including claiming that social media companies are “killing people” by not engaging in more robust censorship.

Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler listed various examples of Biden spreading false claims that have been repeatedly and publicly debunked. You draw this rare rebuke if you repeat false statements more than 20 times. That includes his claim on meeting with the Chinese leader: “Folks, I spent a lot of time — more time with Xi Jinping than any other head of state. … I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him.” The Post also noted how the president claimed that he is responsible for seniors getting an increase in their Social Security checks for the first time in 10 years: “On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they’ve gotten.” The Post noted “the reason Social Security payments are going up is because Social Security benefits, under a law passed in 1972, are adjusted every year to keep pace with inflation.”

The President has also continued to claim that the Republicans want to end social security, which the Post has previously declared to be false. Despite his own pattern of false statements (some might call it “disinformation”), the President seems most alarmed that the a single social media platform is moving to restore free speech protections. For years, Twitter has joined companies like Facebook in barring or removing dissenting views in some of these same areas like election reforms. Biden warns that the pubic will simply not know what is true without such editing of the material that they are allowed to read. The President could cite his own history of false statements are an example for his call for greater censorship to protect voters. Yet, despite his history as a serial spreader of disinformation, I would still oppose any effort to ban him from social media or even remove his comments. It is false that Republicans want to end social security but others can counter such bad speech with good speech. Readers can discern what is true and false from their sources and their support. As shown by the President himself, the governing principle remains “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware.

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“The Left got their Biden. And yes, he turned over the reins of government to them. And yes, they got their neo-socialism for two years. And yes, they are destroying America as we knew it.”

The Pathetic Democratic Pantheon (Victor Davis Hanson)

What will Biden not lie about? The death of his son, the circumstances in which his first wife died in a car wreck, the fantasy congressional vote on his student-loan forgiveness scheme? The number of states (Joe says, 54, Obama used to swear there are 57)? The very century we are now in? Where he went to college? Joe, our own Walter Mitty, has variously been a semi-truck driver, an arrested South-African street protestor against apartheid, a surrogate Puerto-Rican child, a black college enrollee, a Ciceronian populist orator, a coal miner’s scion, an honors student, a blue-chip collegiate athlete, a defender against inner-city Corn Poppers, and absolutely ignorant about the Biden family syndicate.

Recall that a non compos mentis Biden was nominated solely as the thin veneer to a hard Left agenda whose avatars were unelectable. Biden was to feign being the colorless, stand-in “moderate” who would “unify” the fractured country, tone down the Trump rhetoric, and let the Trump record sort of proceed on autopilot. Then when he played out that part and won, the leftist minders in this Faustian bargain took over to push through, on a one-vote senatorial margin, the most radical left-wing agenda in U.S. history. Biden, however, took his role too seriously. He reverted to the mean-spirited, pre-senile blowhard Joe—the obnoxious messenger thus now making the noxious message even more toxic. A retiring, silenced, good old Joe from Scranton was the script, not a doddering, incoherent, ”get off my lawn” old man shouting for the need of socialist policies that were the exact opposite of his previously supposed convictions.

The Left got their Biden. And yes, he turned over the reins of government to them. And yes, they got their neo-socialism for two years. And yes, they are destroying America as we knew it. But in doing this, the people had the rare occasion to see fully and experience the nihilist Left. And they are now about to express their loathing for what the Left has wrought. The problem with the ossified Democratic Pantheon is that they are of no use to the Left in the midterms because it is their own radical ideology over the past two years that was finally enacted and wrecked the country. And all the shrieks about abortion, semi-fascists, and democracy dying cannot put back together what they shattered.

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Double tongue much?!

Biden Administration Privately Asks US Banks To Keep Working With Russia (RT)

The Biden administration is privately urging leading US banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to continue doing business with strategic Russian firms despite sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, people familiar with the issue told Bloomberg. Such requests have been made by the Treasury and State Departments as the US government is trying to keep pressure on Russia, but at the same time avoid “a global economic catastrophe,” the news agency reported on Monday. Washington has been asking for services such as US dollar settlements, payment transfers, and trade finance for Russian firms exempt from some aspects of the sanctions, including gas giant Gazprom and fertilizer producers Uralkali and PhosAgro, the sources said.

As a result, the largest American banks are currently being “caught in the push-pull” between the Biden administration and Congress, which insists on harsher measures against Moscow. The sanctions prevent US banks from providing services to blacklisted entities and people, with violations punishable with multibillion-dollar fines. Jamie Dimon the CEO of investment bank JPMorgan Chase was reportedly grilled at a congressional hearing in September over his company allegedly using loopholes in the sanctions regime to keep working with Russia. The banker responded by saying that “we are following the instructions of the American government as they asked us to do it.”

When addressed on the matter by Bloomberg, a Treasury spokesman said that it had issued guidance to banks, clarifying that activities in humanitarian aid, energy, and agriculture are authorized. JPMorgan and Citigroup have declined to comment. “Congress needs to understand this – the US government has not imposed a comprehensive embargo with Russia, there’s still pockets of business that are allowed,” Nnedinma Ifudu Nweke, an attorney specializing in US economic sanctions at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, pointed out. The Treasury “will continue to have meetings to educate banks on those pockets of allowable transactions, especially in the humanitarian space,” Nweke added.

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“..Richard had previously warned that the risk of nuclear war with Russia and China is a “real possibility.”

US Nuclear Forces Chief Says ‘the Big One Is Coming (Antiwar)

The commander that oversees US nuclear forces delivered an ominous warning at a naval conference last week by calling the war in Ukraine a “warmup” for the “big one” that is to come. “This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.” Richard’s warning came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms that the US doctrine allows for the first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.”

The NPR says the US “would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its Allies or partners.” The NPR was released with the 2022 National Defense Strategy that names China as the “most comprehensive and serious challenge” to the US and describes Russia as an “acute threat.” The document, as with the previous 2018 National Defense Strategy, makes clear that the US military is preparing for future conflicts with both China and Russia. As the head of STRATCOM, Richard had previously warned that the risk of nuclear war with Russia and China is a “real possibility.” He said last year that the US military must “shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”

The Nuclear Posture Review calls for the modernization of the nuclear triad, which could cost up to $1.5 trillion, and keeping tensions high with Russia and China helps justify the massive price tag. Richard said last week that the US needs to put more resources into competing with China’s military. Congress is looking to spend big on arming Taiwan, with a plan to give the island $10 billion in military aid included in the Senate’s version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. While done in the name of deterrence, China’s actions and rhetoric make it clear that more US support for Taiwan will make war in the region more likely.

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Ukrainian membership is EU suicide. The only sensible voice here:

“Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova [..] wrote on Telegram that Ukraine’s accession will take “as long as the collapse of the EU.”

EU Official Reveals How Far Ukraine Is From Membership (RT)

Ukraine’s accession to the European Union will take several years, the European commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy said on Sunday. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Oliver Varhelyi said Kiev needs to do “extensive work” to prepare for “participation in the EU internal market and in many other important policy areas.” The commissioner predicted that “the entire preparations for accession will most likely take longer than a year or two.” Varhelyi also stressed that the accession criteria for Ukraine are the same as for any other candidate country. However, Olga Stefanishina, Ukraine’s European Integration Minister, told Welt: “Ukraine is not an ordinary candidate for accession.”

Stefanishina noted that Ukraine started integration reforms under EU supervision before it was granted accession status, and argued that the country can “proceed faster” in its membership bid, especially considering that some of its neighbors and the Baltic countries “have already signaled that quick accession is possible.” On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in response to Varhelyi’s remarks, wrote on Telegram that Ukraine’s accession will take “as long as the collapse of the EU.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier described the EU’s decision to provide Ukraine with candidate status “a part of the geopolitical gambit against Russia.”

Ukraine applied to join the 27-nation bloc shortly after Moscow launched its military offensive in late February. In June, Brussels granted Kiev EU candidate status, the first step in the accession process, and stressed that the country must continue structural reforms, fight corruption and reduce “the persistent influence of oligarchs.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo made it clear at the time that granting Ukraine EU candidate status was an important “symbolic message” in support of Kiev amid its conflict with Russia. Actual EU membership, however, is still “many years” away, and the country must first meet European standards, he said.

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Climate change AC/DC style. Time to kick the UN out of the discussion. What they propose will simply kill off societies and economies.

World Is On ‘Highway To Hell’ – UN Chief (RT)

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told delegates gathered to discuss how to combat change amid an ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine and rising global inflation and energy shortages. Guterres insisted that the world’s richest and poorest counties must form a pact to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels, singling out China and the United States as two countries that have a “particular responsibility to join efforts to make this pact a reality.” “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” Guterres said, proclaiming that “we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”


The UN chief’s warnings were seconded by former US vice president Al Gore, who also emphasized the need to end the reliance on fossil fuels. “We must see the so-called ‘dash for gas’ for what it really is: A dash down a bridge to nowhere, leaving the countries of the world facing climate chaos and billions in stranded assets, especially here in Africa,” he said. Guterres also pointed out that the world must achieve net zero emissions by 2050 if the signatories of the 2015 Paris Climate agreement wish to achieve their long-term goal of keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Last week, notorious teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg suggested battling climate change by eliminating capitalism, which she said was defined by “colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North.”

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Too late. Even if it were doable.

The World Is Racing To Break China’s Rare Earth Dominance (AGMM)

For the past couple of months, MetalMiner frequently posted about the world’s dependence on China for raw materials used to make rare earth magnets. Aside from the US, countries like Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the Netherlands heavily rely on Chinese rare earth imports. It’s clear why. China boasts extensive rare earth reserves. As the world increases its demand for such products, China managed to develope a powerful monopoly on the global market. So, to prevent China from wielding too much geopolitical power in rare earth trading, it’s becoming crucial to find alternative sources. It’s true that most of the world’s rare earth processing takes place in China. However, many raw rare earth materials are actually extracted from other parts of the globe.

Common sources include Myanmar (Burma), the US, Canada, and Australia. And with demand for rare earth magnets expected to double by 2030, tapping into these supplies has become more important than ever. Fortunately, many nations continue to ramp up their own rare earth production. In Japan, miners have gone to impressive lengths to compete against China in the global rare earth magnet marketplace. In fact, researchers recently explored beneath the Pacific Ocean (right outside of the Ogasawara islands) at a depth of 6,000 meters to excavate materials for rare earth magnets. The Japanese government plans to start excavating these raw rare earth materials as early as April of 2023.

Japan isn’t alone. Australia, another nation abundant in raw materials for rare earth magnets, continues to step up its rare earth mining game. Arafura, a mining project located in Central Australia, recently announced plans to increase investments in its mining endeavors. Many of these take place in the hottest, most sun-parched areas of the nation. But according to Arafura it’s worth it. Apparently, the company sees a huge opportunity due to the large amounts of neodymium and praseodymium located in the region. These elements are frequently used in producing rare earth magnets. Currently, the company claims their mines could satisfy up to 5% of the world’s demand.

Whitney Webb

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Peace talks can prevent this.

EU and UK Energy Bills Smash Record High (RT)

The average retail gas price across the EU and the UK doubled in October compared to the previous month, when it amounted to €0.18 per kilowatt-hour, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing data from energy consultancy VaasaETT. Electricity costs for consumers have reportedly soared 67% to €0.36 per kilowatt-hour. The surge occurred despite EU governments’ latest attempts to protect households against spiraling energy prices by providing billions in subsidies. EU leaders have pledged more than €550 billion over the past year to help businesses and households tackle the energy crisis. According to Philip Lewis, chief executive officer at VaasaETT, it’s likely household bills would have been even higher if it were not for the financial aid.


On a monthly basis, the average unit rate for electricity reportedly increased 3.4% in October, while that for gas grew by 2.5%. The biggest monthly gains were recorded in Dublin, Ireland, where power rates climbed 44%, while the average gas price in Rome surged 97%. “If we were essentially to have the crisis more or less lasting for another whole year, or more than a year, that cost, of those measures for these governments, is going to be enormous,” Lewis said, as quoted by media. “Eventually customers will forget that those prices are not real prices – they will take them as the norm and then it becomes essentially impossible to remove them,” he added. The EU and Britain are facing a sharp rise in energy prices and record inflation amid anti-Russia sanctions and a policy of abandoning Russian fuel. The situation is expected to lead to energy rationing and shortages across Western Europe.

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Nukes. “Ukraine’s threat to resume its nuclear program..”

Medvedev Names Key Reason For Ukraine Conflict (RT)

Ukraine’s threat to resume its nuclear program was one of the key reasons that forced Russia to launch its military operation in late February, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday. Writing on the Russian social media network Vkontakte, he argued that the Ukrainian authorities are now “crying bitterly” over their decision to relinquish the nuclear arsenal they inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kiev made this decision after caving in to “harsh pressure of their current masters in Washington,” Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, stated. He added that all Ukrainian presidents – from the late Leonid Kravchuk to the incumbent Vladimir Zelensky – described the step as a forced one.

However, according to the official, Kiev has made clear that it “would be diabolically happy” to use nukes against Russia and “their own citizens”. “They have been dropping explicit hints about this, threatening to resume the nuclear program. And that was one of the reasons for conducting the special military operation,” he insisted. Medvedev also drew a sharp contract between Ukraine and South Africa, the first country with a nuclear arsenal to voluntarily give it up. He noted that after the collapse of the apartheid regime, the nation’s new democratic authorities “took a responsible and sovereign stance towards their people, neighboring countries and the entire world community”. “And today they do not regret the choice made 30 years ago, they are proud of it and show the way for others by their example,” he added.

Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine surrendered its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal in exchange for promises from the US, Britain and Russia that they would “provide assistance” to the country in case of aggression. The three states also vowed not to attack Ukraine themselves. However, Russian officials have repeatedly stated that this document was undermined by NATO’s eastward expansion, which threatened Moscow’s vital security interests. Moreover, prior to the start of the Ukraine conflict in late February, Zelenksy signaled that Kiev could give up its decades-old pledge to be a non-nuclear nation and reverse the decision it took to give up its atomic weapons.

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“Income taxes, budget deficits, the national debt. These are all real things the average person of moderate means and mental capacity can grasp a hold of, should they care to.”

Are You Ready for the Coming U.S. Government Default? (EP)

Will there be a pivot, pause, or no pivot? This is the wrong question to be asking. The reality is the major stock market indexes have much farther to fall before the bear market is over, regardless of if the Fed pivots anytime soon. If you recall, the Fed began cutting interest rates in September of 2007. Yet the stock market didn’t bottom out until March of 2009. Similarly, the Fed began cutting interest rates in January of 2001. Still, the stock market didn’t bottom out until October of 2002. Thus, using these two most recent bear markets as a guide, once the Fed finally begins cutting interest rates, which would come after inflation has begun to abate and a period of interest rate pause, the stock market will continue to fall for another 18 to 22 months.

In other words, this bear market may not bottom out until well into 2025. What’s more, the entire dollar based financial system will likely blow up sometime beforehand. How’s that for a grim outlook? Investors, as you can see, are incredibly twisted up by the Fed’s money games, and how they’ve enhanced the peaks and valleys of the stock market. As for workers and voters, many don’t have a clue as to the ramifications for the real, Main Street economy. Here’s why… Fiscal policy, as opposed to monetary policy, is more readily understood by workers and voters. Income taxes, budget deficits, the national debt. These are all real things the average person of moderate means and mental capacity can grasp a hold of, should they care to.

The effects of zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) or quantitative easing (QE), however, are less apparent to the casual observer. Politicians may make superficial remarks about consumer price inflation if they think it will score points with voters. But actual currency debasement policies are rarely mentioned.

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Ugo sent a mail: “Mentioning your blog in this post!”

“The Greeks killed Socrates because he was “corrupting the youth” by teaching them to think for themselves.”

And yes, that is what I try to do. Only, I don’t corrupt only the youth. I think bigger.

How to Beat Propaganda: the Grokking Strategy (Ugo Bardi)

Things change completely when you become a professional. At that stage, you must learn to consult many sources and sift good information from the bad. As a good professional, you listen to everybody and trust nobody. We can describe this attitude by the term “grokking,” invented by sci-fi author Robert Anson Heinlein to indicate the kind of in-depth understanding that professionals have of their field. In Heinlein’s fictional Mars, “to grok” also means “to drink.” You assimilate knowledge just like you assimilate the water you drink. [..] Universities don’t teach you how to grok. Probably, it is because the old saying is true: nothing worth learning can be taught. At least, not in the traditional way. Even good professionals often are completely naive when they leave their specialized field and are exposed to propaganda. Yet, it is not impossible to learn how to grok. It is a recursive affair: you must grok how to grok!

Nowadays, with a tsunami of propaganda submerging all of us, I am discovering that many people I know use the same grokking strategy. Typically, we avoid TV and mainstream media, and we use aggregators, feed readers, and similar ways to access multiple sources. Many people seem to have developed this learning strategy by themselves. Not long ago, my good friend Anastassia showed me how she does it: she has hundreds of telegram channels she follows. She clicks on the titles of posts that seem interesting to her, reading them if they turn out to be really interesting. She doesn’t trust any of them, but she listens to all of them. I have a feeling that there is some correlation between this style of learning and the fact that she is among the brightest persons I know.

Personally, I tend to use feed readers rather than Telegram (I described the method in a previous post), but it is the same idea. In addition, some blogs and sites are structured as aggregators and they will do a good job for you by linking to other sites and sources (a good one that I follow is Raul Ilargi’s “Automatic Earth.”). In any case, you want to be in control of what you receive: so, no Facebook, no Twitter, nothing like that, even search engines are biased. You don’t want others to decide what you see. You listen to everyone, and you trust no one. You want to be in control of the information you receive.

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“..damning information about FBI crimes continues to leak out of the woodwork via whistleblowers, while the agency behaves more and more like an American Gestapo.”

Low Down on the Showdown (Kunstler)

One obvious agent is George Soros, whose many NGOs operate at the fine-grained local level to elect district attorneys who won’t enforce the criminal statutes and state secretaries of state who won’t enforce election laws. Mr. Soros is also deeply implicated, through his Atlantic Council org, in the years-long program to destabilize Ukraine and light the fire for a completely avoidable world war. At least part of the time, George Soros lives in the US. Why his activities are not under investigation by the US Department of Justice probably answers your questions about his hidden influence at the higher levels of government. Bill Gates, the Microsoft tycoon, circulates at the center of the evil nexus where US public health shakes hands with the drug companies.

His money appears to be entangled in the biolab projects around the world engaged in weaponizing disease and then profiting from alleged “vaccines” to defeat it. The Covid-19 project went badly awry, especially the “vaccine” part. He’s been vocal about reducing the world’s population and now appears to have succeeded in helping to prompt a weird medical genocide. Other supporting outside players range from the barely plausible Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum, which has implanted leaders and managers all over Western Civ inculcated in his Great Reset effort to wreck what’s left of industrial society and its cultural armature; to shadowy figures in European banking chattered about but never identified; to the CCP, which has gotten huge benefits from its relatively penny-ante investments in the Biden Family.

On the domestic scene, where covering-up skeins of manifold crimes sets the political tone, Christopher Wray of the FBI must lead the pack of paper-hangers. Under his leadership, beginning in 2017, the agency carried out most of its RussiaGate crimes against a sitting president and did absolutely nothing to investigate the blatant ballot fraud of 2020 that sealed the deal. Even under the shelter of “Joe Biden,” who Mr. Wray helped elect, and the stooge AG, Merrick Garland, damning information about FBI crimes continues to leak out of the woodwork via whistleblowers, while the agency behaves more and more like an American Gestapo.

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“..FBI leadership is pressuring line agents to reclassify cases as domestic violent extremism even if the matter does not meet the criteria. ”That’s no mistake, Republicans assert..”

House Republicans Allege ‘Weaponization’ of FBI, DOJ (ET)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 4 released a more than 1,000-page report that details whistleblower disclosures about the alleged politicization of federal law enforcement. Specifically, the report focuses on the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Attorney General Merrick Garland and the FBI under Director Christopher Wray. Garland, Republicans said, has been “a willing participant of the Biden Administration’s weaponization of law enforcement.” The FBI too, Republicans assert, “has abused its law-enforcement authorities for apparently political purposes.”Republicans proceeded to cite a list of incidents and whistleblower reports showing how deeply rooted they say the politicization of federal law enforcement has become.

One of the most significant findings of the report showed that the FBI has been encouraging its agents to artificially inflate the number of domestic violent extremism (DVE) incidents. For years, Democrats—including President Joe Biden—have claimed that DVE is one of the greatest threats to U.S. national security. Specifically, Democrats have blamed conservatives and “white supremacists” for most such incidents. During the 116th Congress, Democrats even went so far as to propose legislation that would substantially bolster DOJ resources to combat DVE. “White supremacists and other far-right-wing extremists are the most significant domestic terrorism threat facing the United States,” the bill states.According to official FBI numbers, this could very well be taken to be the case. However, the Republicans’ report indicates that Americans may have some reason to pause before accepting the FBI’s numbers on DVE events.

Whistleblowers, Republicans say, “have described how FBI leadership is pressuring line agents to reclassify cases as domestic violent extremism even if the matter does not meet the criteria. ”That’s no mistake, Republicans assert, but instead a targeted effort by federal law enforcement to bolster Democrats’ claims about the threat posed by DVE. “At a time when the Biden Administration maintains that DVE is the ‘greatest threat’ facing the United States, the FBI appears to be complicit in artificially creating the Administration’s political narrative,” the lawmakers wrote.Whistleblowers have reported an environment that pressures agents to rack up DVE case counts. “One whistleblower explained that because agents are not finding enough DVE cases, they are encouraged and incentivized to reclassify matters as DVE cases even though there is minimal, circumstantial evidence to support the reclassification,” the report says.

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“Meta had added more than 27,000 employees in 2020 and 2021 and added over 15,000 more during the first nine months of this year..”

Meta Prepares For Large-scale Layoffs (JTN)

Facebook parent company Meta is reportedly planning to lay off thousands of employees as soon as Wednesday after experiencing rapid growth during the pandemic. Meta, which had more than 87,000 employees in September, has already told workers to cancel nonessential travel starting this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The workforce reduction would be the first large layoffs in the company’s history. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment, but pointed to CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s statement that the company would “focus our investments on a small number of high priority growth areas.”


He said during an earnings call late last month that “we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.” Meta was already planning to cut expenses by at least 10% over the next several months, the Journal reported in September. Meta had added more than 27,000 employees in 2020 and 2021 and added over 15,000 more during the first nine months of this year. Since the beginning of 2022, however, Meta’s stock has fallen more than 70%.

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“It was good for woke adults who want to remain children, it was good for the national security-industrial complex, it was good for hiding behind, it was good for expanding societal power. It was not good for people.”

The Unforgivable Request for Shamnesty (Buckley)

The actions taken by Dr. Emily Oster – who had the astonishing temerity to write the “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty” piece – and her many many over-credentialed, under-educated power mad brethren over the past 30 months cannot be given a pass. What happened during the pandemic was obviously more than a one-off drunken party moment. Having tee many martoonis does not compare to the whirlwind of destruction the COVID reaction caused. Massive educational degradation. Economic devastation, by both the lockdowns and now the continuing fiscal nightmare plaguing the nation caused by continuing federal over-reaction. The critical damage to the development of children’s social skills through hyper-masking and fear-mongering.

The obliteration of the public’s trust in institutions due to their incompetence and deceitfulness during the pandemic. The massive erosion of civil liberties. The direct hardships caused by vaccination mandates, etc. under the false claim of helping one’s neighbor. The explosion of the growth of Wall Street built on the destruction of Main Street. The clear separation of society into two camps – those who could easily prosper during the pandemic and those whose lives were completely upended. The demonization of anyone daring to ask even basic questions about the efficacy of the response, be it the vaccines themselves, the closure of public schools, the origin of the virus, or the absurdity of the useless public theater that made up much of the program. The fissures created throughout society and the harm caused by guillotined relationships amongst family and friends.

The slanders and career chaos endured by prominent actual experts (see the Great Barrington Declaration) and just plain reasonable people like Jennifer Sey for daring to offer different approaches, approaches – such as focusing on the most vulnerable – that had been tested and succeeded before. And still a million people died. And now Oster asks if everyone would just please move on and forget about it? Oster kept her job. Oster got famous. The pandemic was good for Oster. The pandemic was also good for bureaucrats, multi-nationals, putative experts, the mindless media, and internet scolds. It was good for woke adults who want to remain children, it was good for the national security-industrial complex, it was good for hiding behind, it was good for expanding societal power. It was not good for people.

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They don’t take these decisions lightly.

United Airlines Eliminating Seats As Americans Get Fatter (NYP)

United Airlines’ flights are shaping up to most comfortable coach seating in awhile.Between this month and April 30 of next year, the airline will block off up to six seats on its fleet of Boeing 757s, a company spokesperson told the “Live and Let’s Fly” blog.The decision was based on numbers gathered from the Federal Aviation Administration that indicated the average winter weight of female passengers — including their carry-on items — increased from 150 pounds in 2019 to 184 pounds in 2022. Meanwhile, the average male passenger’s winter weight went up, from 190 pounds to 205 pounds, over the same time frame.“The temporary change is a result of the increased average customer winter weights as prescribed by the FAA,” a United spokesperson said of the temporary change.


“To be compliant with the current B757 weight and balance requirements, United will block specific seats between November 1 and April, 30 2023,” it ended. Blocked-off spots will always be middle seats in rows 16 to 40 to equally distribute passengers’ weight on every flight, an official told the blog. A laminated sign will be placed on each seat that is off-limits. Passengers’ physical bodies aren’t the only contributing factor to the uptick in weight. The FAA calculated that people are stuffing more in their carry-on bags — which are not weighed in the United States — thus increasing the overall heft of the cargo. Seasonal items, such as winter coats, are also considered during the colder months. “Live and Let’s Fly” also noted that this policy was in effect last winter and was lifted by spring.

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Snowden – former CIA analyst Frank Snepp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 062022
 
 November 6, 2022  Posted by at 8:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Ivan Shishkin The wilds 1881

 

Berlin – Moscow – Beijing (Escobar)
The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End (Batiushka)
Global Bankers ‘Very Pro-China’ – UBS (RT)
Russia Seeks Sanctions Waiver To Facilitate Grain Exports (RT)
The Oil Nationalization Two-Step (Luongo)
Media Identifies Major Beneficiary Of Ukraine Crisis (RT)
US Wants Official Of Ukrainian Descent To Run NATO (RT)
Over 50 Countries Vote Against Anti-Nazism UN Measure (RT)
The Great Unwind II (Alasdair Macleod)
Lockdown Lefties Struggle In Governor’s Races, Reopen Righties Win (JTN)
If Republicans Win On Tuesday, Thank The Election Integrity Movement (Fed.)
Biden’s Midterms Message Includes False And Misleading Claims (CNN)
NY Times Report That Biden Exaggerates His Economic Wins Stuns Twitter (Fox)
Biden Unleashes Tirade Over Musk Restoring Free Speech on Twitter (Turley)
The Twitter Massacre (MoA)
Understanding the Reveal Stage of the Pandemic Play – Are We Winning? (LDS)

 

 

 

 

The Oil Price Cap Idiocy

 

 

 

 

Tucker Pelosi

 

 

Until proven otherwise

 

 

 

 

Pepe sees some optimism. It goes through China.

“..the Scholz caravan went to Beijing to essentially lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger..”

Berlin – Moscow – Beijing (Escobar)

Solid German business sources completely contradict the “message” delivered by the German Council on Foreign Relations on the trip to China. According to these sources, the Scholz caravan went to Beijing to essentially lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger. This is – literally – as explosive, geopolitically and geoeconomically, as it gets. As I pointed out in one of my previous columns, Berlin and Moscow were keeping a secret communication back channel – via business interlocutors – right to the minute the usual suspects, in desperation, decided to blow up the Nord Streams. Cue to the now notorious SMS from Liz Truss’s iPhone to Little Tony Blinken, one minute after the explosions: “It’s done.”

There’s more: the Scholz caravan may be trying to start a long and convoluted process of eventually replacing the US with China as a key ally. One should never forget that the top BRI trade/connectivity terminal in the EU is Germany (the Ruhr valley). According to one of the sources, “if this effort is successful, then Germany, China and Russia can ally themselves together and drive the US out of Europe.” Another source provided the cherry on the cake: “Olaf Scholz is being accompanied on this trip by German industrialists who actually control Germany and are not going to sit back watching themselves being destroyed.” Moscow knows very well what the imperial aim is when it comes to the EU reduced to the role of totally dominated – and deindustrialized – vassal, exercising zero sovereignty.

The back channels after all are not lying in tatters on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Additionally, China has not provided any hint that its massive trade with Germany and the EU is about to vanish. Scholz himself, one day before his caravan hit Beijing, stressed to Chinese media that Germany has no intention of decoupling from China, and there’s nothing to justify “the calls by some to isolate China.” In parallel, Xi Jinping and the new Politburo are very much aware of the Kremlin position, reiterated again and again: we always remain open for negotiations, as long as Washington finally decides to talk about the end of unlimited NATO expansion drenched in Russophobia. So to negotiate means the Empire signing on the dotted line of the document it has received from Moscow on December 1st, 2021, focused on “indivisibility of security”. Otherwise there’s nothing to negotiate.

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5 May 2024.

The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End (Batiushka)

Many ask how much longer will the US war against Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine last? Some say only another two or three months, others much longer, even five years and more. For my own reasons I say another eighteen months, until 5 May 2024. Whatever you think, it all depends on how much the American neocon/neoliberal elite via their NATO allies, especially the UK, the Zelensky sect and their hired killers (so-called mercenaries – for few Kiev nationalists are now left to fight) want to escalate their war. And they do, which is why it did not all end last March when it could have ended. In other words, how much does the American elite want their subject-peoples, in Northern America, Western Europe and the Ukraine, to suffer?


It appears that the US elite wants them to suffer until they are all dead. But that will not happen, for the worm will turn, long, long before that. Indeed, in today’s energy and water-restricted Ukraine, some worms are already turning. And even some cold and hungry people in Western Europe and Northern America are turning too. What the elite wants, and what the people, especially in the Ukraine, will put up with, are two different things. It could all be ended tomorrow, if the elite wanted. Much more likely, this is going to take quite some time, for the war is not between the Ukraine and Russia, but between the USA and Russia. The Ukraine is merely the battlefield. No, I repeat, wait patiently until May 2024.

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“Don’t bet against China and Hong Kong..”

Global Bankers ‘Very Pro-China’ – UBS (RT)

International investment bankers are bullish about the Chinese economy despite worrying reports by the Western media, the chairman of UBS Bank, Colm Kelleher, said on Wednesday. Kelleher was speaking at the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit in Hong Kong, which brought together more than 200 bankers and investors from 20 countries, after more than two and a half years of Covid restrictions there. Hong Kong is now reportedly seeking to boost its status as an international financial hub. “We’re not reading the American press, we actually buy the [China] story,” he said, as quoted by the Financial Times. “But it is a bit of waiting for zero-Covid to open up in China to see what will happen.

According to the FT, Kelleher’s reference to the media was “an apparent joke and a nod” to earlier remarks made by Fang Xinghai, the vice chair of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Fang, along with other Chinese officials, used pre-recorded video interviews to reassure international investors of the country’s economic strength. He told attendees: “I would advise international investors to find out what’s really going on in China and what’s the real intention of our government by themselves. Don’t read too much of the international media.” Fang’s comments, which came after a record sell-off of Chinese equities last week in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, prompted laughs and applause from the audience. “Don’t bet against China and Hong Kong,” he added.

Last week, the Chinese stock market had its worst day since the 2008 global financial crisis, with the yuan hitting a new 14-year low against the US dollar, as Xi secured his third term and undertook a major leadership reshuffle. The sharp selloff was triggered by concerns that a number of senior officials who have backed market reforms and opening up the economy were missing from the new top team. This sparked investor concerns about the future direction of the country and its relations with the US.

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The west doesn’t care about feeding the poor.

Russia Seeks Sanctions Waiver To Facilitate Grain Exports (RT)

Russia has asked the EU and other Western nations to lift sanctions on state lender Rosselkhozbank, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing sources. According to the news agency, such a move would allow the bank to restore relations with its correspondent banks abroad and process payments for Russian grain and fertilizer exports. Prior to the introduction of anti-Russia sanctions, such payments were serviced by international banks and subsidiaries of Russian banks in Switzerland, the report says. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Rosselkhozbank is currently “servicing the lion’s share” of Russia’s fertilizer and food related transactions. The report did not mention whether Russia has received a response to its appeal. According to Reuters, the request was made during talks on the fate of the Ukrainian grain deal, which expires later this month.


As part of the agreement, reached in July, Western countries were supposed to ease restrictions on Russian agricultural exports. While the sanctions do not directly target these exports, certain curbs on payment processing, shipping and insurance have created obstacles for Russian exporters. Washington has taken steps to convince businesses that there are no sanctions on Russian food exports, a senior State Department official told the news outlet. The department reportedly sent out letters of reassurance to companies seeking proof that their deals with Russia would not violate restrictive measures. Nevertheless, Moscow has repeatedly said that sanctions make agricultural exports next to impossible and has demanded their cancellation. Rosselkhozbank fell under Western sanctions along with Russia’s other largest banks earlier this year, and its assets and correspondent accounts in US dollars and euros were frozen.

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Narrative.

The Oil Nationalization Two-Step (Luongo)

[..] say your goal is to legitimize the state takeover, or advance another step forward the state takeover, of an industry. Let’s use oil and gas for today’s lesson. The first thing you do is manufacture a crisis that will disrupt the supply of the product you want to takeover. In this case, it started with COVID-19, which disrupted far more than just the energy sector. More than 2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was lost world wide thanks to COVID-19. Given the current hostility to new refineres (more on this later), those barrels are not coming back. Don’t forget, that for a “Straussian Two-Step” this big you will have to brainwash and/or gaslight two entire generations into hating themselves for being rich, wasteful, spoiled, alive or worse, just plain white.

So, they are already primed to hate all the things at play here — capitalism, Big Oil, Banks, Old White Guys (rich or poor) — and enrage your useful idiots by pushing their already tenuous hold on reality to the literal breaking point. “I can’t even….” isn’t the most common phrase uttered on Tik-Tok for nothing. That’s the Thesis part. So, when the crisis hits thanks to natural gas disruption you forbid buying of from a particular country… — Hello, Vlad? We’re in a helluva pickle, would you mind invading Ukraine…? Nyet…? Well, we’ll see about that…. — MISSING PAGES FROM THE RETURN OF DR. STRANGELOVE WORKING SCRIPT. … you demonize not only Vlad but the industry itself for price gouging and preying on the widdle guy during a war. There’s a word for this… chutzpah.

Predictably, you then allow your fake political opponents … [enter Cocaine Mitch from Stage Right] … to produce the opposite argument. In this case, the counter is obviously we need free markets to produce oil and gas. The refiners are just responding to the market. That fake opposition, of course, also blames Vlad for this crisis to ensure the market’s champion looks not only patriotic but also suitably bought and paid for by Big Oil, Old White Guys, etc.

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“..EU nations have committed to about $230 billion in new weapons purchases since the Russian military offensive against Kiev started..”

Media Identifies Major Beneficiary Of Ukraine Crisis (RT)

Yahoo News has identified a major beneficiary of the Russia-Ukraine slugfest: the US military industrial complex, which is reaping a windfall even as the bloody conflict causes economic havoc, energy shortages and a looming food crisis around the world. As the media outlet reported on Saturday, EU nations have committed to about $230 billion in new weapons purchases since the Russian military offensive against Kiev started in February. US defense contractors are poised to land the lion’s share of those orders, given their dominance as suppliers to European militaries, Yahoo added. Many European nations turn to US arms makers for more than half of all their weapons purchases. Yahoo cited data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to show examples of US dominance in European arsenals.

For instance, US-made arms accounted for 95% of the weapons purchases by the Netherlands from 2017 to 2021. The ratios were 83% US weaponry for Norway, 77% for the UK, and 72% for Italy. European weapons imports jumped 19% during the five-year period as then-President Donald Trump prodded his NATO allies to meet their obligations for defense spending. The Ukraine crisis is set to create an even bigger windfall, as President Joe Biden leads an international campaign to flood Ukraine with weapons and the conflict triggers accelerated steps by European nations to bolster their own defenses. “This is certainly the biggest increase in defense spending in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Center for European Reform, told Yahoo. The crisis in Eastern Europe dispelled the notion that war on the continent is no longer possible, he added.

“They’re waking up to the fact that not only is it very possible, but it is happening, and it’s happening not that many miles away from them.” Since Biden took office in January 2021, European countries entered at least the initial stage of negotiations for $33 billion in arms purchases, including $21 billion since February, Yahoo said, citing figures from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. US defense contractors will also benefit from Washington’s massive military aid to Kiev, as the Pentagon races to replenish stocks of artillery pieces, rocket launchers and other weapons. Biden has set aside more than $65 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine since the conflict began. Russia has warned that the influx of Western weapons will prolong the crisis while making the US and other NATO members de facto participants.

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This comes far too close to putting Bandera in charge.

US Wants Official Of Ukrainian Descent To Run NATO (RT)

The “prime candidate” favored by Washington to replace outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is Chrystia Freeland, currently Canada’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the New York Times reportedon Friday. The bloc reportedly aims to install a woman at its helm for the first time, with other likely contenders being Estonian premier Kaja Kallas, Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, former president of Croatia, who was also Zagreb’s ambassador to Washington. The “strong contenders”list provided by the NYT corresponds with earlier media reports this year. The selection of a new NATO Secretary General, however, is still months away and “the names that surface first” may not survive the bargaining among the bloc’s members, unnamed NATO officials told the NYT.

Incumbent head of the bloc Stoltenberg was set to leave his post on September 30, but his term was prolonged to late 2023 amid the conflict in Ukraine. The NATO boss might ultimately end up having his tenure extended for another year, one of the officials reportedly suggested. Still, Freeland is believed to be the “prime candidate” for the post of NATO chief, favored by the US itself. “Where any of the candidates come down on support for Ukraine in the war against Russia will be a critical factor,” the paper writes. Freeland, whose mother was Ukrainian, is known to have a strong pro-Ukrainian stance. She is the granddaughter of Michael Chomiak, described by the NYT as a “grateful immigrant to Canada” who was during World War Two a “younger man involved with a Ukrainian nationalist movement that saw the Nazis as useful foils to counter the Soviets.”

The paper didn’t mention, however, that Chomiak was a prominent Ukrainian Nazi collaborator and the editor-in-chief of a Ukrainian-language propaganda daily Krakivs’ki Visti. The outlet, published between 1940 and 1945, was funded directly by Nazi Germany and described by Canadian historian – and Chomiak’s son-in-law – John-Paul Himka as a “vehemently anti-Semitic”publication. Freeland has been extremely ambiguous on her ancestry, not only refusing to condemn her maternal grandparents but somewhat endorsing them instead. In 2015 she wrote an essay called “My Ukraine,” stating that her Nazi collaborator grandparents “saw themselves as political exiles with a responsibility to keep alive the idea of an independent Ukraine.” “That dream persisted into the next generation, and in some cases the generation after that,” Freeland wrote in the essay.

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Pretzel: You can’t condemn nazism without also condemning Russia, which fights nazism.

Over 50 Countries Vote Against Anti-Nazism UN Measure (RT)

A UN resolution opposing the celebration of Nazism and related ideologies has met with significant resistance from the US and other western democracies, with 52 countries voting against it on Friday. The draft resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” introduced by Russia’s representative to the UN, was adopted with 105 votes in support. In addition to the 52 votes against it, 15 countries abstained from choosing sides.

The resolution expresses profound concern about glorifying Nazism, neo-Nazism and former Waffen SS members, condemning the construction of monuments and the holding of public ceremonies honoring the Third Reich. Introducing the resolution, the Russian delegate referenced an increase in xenophobia, anti-migrant sentiment, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, among other forms of discrimination, as necessitating it. The US and several of its allies attempted to explain their vote against the measure by claiming Russia was exploiting Nazi atrocities to justify its military operation in Ukraine, insisting that to join them in condemning the lionization of Nazis would be letting them get away with weaponizing the Holocaust to serve their nefarious ends.

The UK accused Moscow of “furthering lies and distorting history,” even while acknowledging it was using “legitimate human rights concerns raised by neo-Nazism mobilization” to justify its activities in Ukraine. The US went further, arguing that Russia’s “pretextual use of fighting neo-Nazism undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism.” And Ukraine claimed Moscow’s anti-Nazism message had “nothing in common with the genuine fight against Nazism and neo-Nazism,” which Kiev stressed it condemned in all forms. Australia, Japan, Liberia and North Macedonia proposed an amendment to clarify that while they were very much anti-Nazi, they were also profoundly anti-Russian.

Their addition “notes with alarm that the Russian Federation has sought to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine on the purported basis of eliminating neo-Nazism,” reminding everyone that the “pretextual use of neo-Nazism to justify territorial aggression seriously undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism.” Russia opposed the amendment, accusing the writers of “trying to drive a wedge between states” by dropping it on the committee at the last minute. It was adopted with 63 votes approving, 23 against, and 65 abstaining. Moscow introduced a similar resolution last year, before the military operation in Ukraine had begun but after the US-backed coup had installed a government that allowed neo-Nazi groups like the Azov Battalion and lionized Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator whose Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II. The 2021 resolution was opposed by just two states: the US and Ukraine.

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Banks have been encouraged to increase risk and leverage. Now that bites.

The Great Unwind II (Alasdair Macleod)

Imagine, for a moment, that you are the CEO of a commercial bank involved in lending to businesses and with profit centres acting in a range of financial activities. As CEO, you are answerable to the board of directors for the bank’s performance, and ultimately the bank’s shareholders for maintaining and advancing the value of their shares. Furthermore, let us set this imaginary exercise in the present. These are the issues that should keep you awake at night: In common with your competitors, the ratio of your balance sheet assets to total equity is almost the highest in the history of the bank, in many cases for other banks over twenty times leaveraged. Official inflation, measured by the CPI is about ten per cent, and producer prices are rising somewhat faster.

Your central bank expects a return to the 2% target in two- or three-years’ time. But your contacts at the central bank have privately admitted to you that they cannot imagine the circumstances where this would be true without a deep recession. Bond yields are rising, and losses are beginning to impact on the bank’s investments. The bank has relatively little direct exposure to corporate bonds and equities, but they are commonly held as collateral against customer loans. How are higher interest rates impacting the quality of the bank’s loan book? The bank supported its business customers through the covid pandemic, which increased the indebtedness of them all. This exposes the bank to excessive default risk if rates rise further.

The mortgage loan book has been a profitable business for decades. But the bank is beginning to see a material rise in delinquencies. If loan guarantees are not forthcoming from government agencies, the bank may have to shut this activity down. What impact will higher interest rates have on the bank’s derivative exposure? What are the counterparty risks in derivative chains? Derivatives that involve inadequately capitalised counterparties should perhaps be sold on, or where the bank has the option to do so, closed down. The underlying problem is that the conditions that led to the bank becoming increasingly involved in diversified activities, such as investment banking, trading, and investment management have now changed.

Since financial deregulation in the 1980s, the bank has expanded into these profitable areas. The whole industry moved from dealing in credit into generating fee income. The growth in fee income can be directly related to the long-term trend of falling interest rates, which apart from interruptions such as the dot-com excesses and the Lehman crisis, stimulated growth in corporate finance, underwriting, investment management, and trading in financial securities. The expansion of these activities in turn led to a massive expansion of derivative markets, with new instruments being devised, such as credit default and interest rate swaps.

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“Don’t mess w people’s kids. It lands differently — and they will hold a grudge.”

Lockdown Lefties Struggle In Governor’s Races, Reopen Righties Win (JTN)

Some of the Democratic governors most associated with harsh and prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns are facing stiff electoral headwinds in the midterms, while Republicans who endured national scorn by quickly reopening their states are cruising toward reelection. Republicans were already in an advantageous position with voters on crime and the economy, particularly inflation, the top two issues in polling this fall. Education issues, which propelled Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) to victory a year ago, are a leading concern in some races. And while elections tend to focus more on the future than the past, the starkly contrasting performances of lockdown lefties and reopen righties suggests that a reckoning on pandemic policies may be a stealth issue in major governor’s races.


The repercussions of lockdown policies are also felt indirectly in the top issues for voters, from supply-chain problems and inflation driven by COVID relief spending to plummeting test scores and parental outrage over school curricula resulting from remote learning. “Red wave is coming Tuesday,” freespoken sports show host Colin Cowherd tweeted Thursday. “Don’t mess w people’s kids. It lands differently — and they will hold a grudge.” “I lean mostly left, but data clearly proved kids 18 and under were safe,” and yet many were kept out of school, resulting in plunging test scores, rising suicides and “[c]haos for parents,” he continued. “A price will be paid and hopefully a lesson learned.” “Her Excellency the Queen of Michigan,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), “made it illegal … to visit friends, sell paint, mow grass, and golf” while flouting her own unilateral orders, The Spectator wrote in a recent list of “Eight Democrats we all hope lose this November.”

Maher

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No chance it will go smooth.

If Republicans Win On Tuesday, Thank The Election Integrity Movement (Fed.)

If Republican candidates do as well as expected on Tuesday, they can credit the new, widespread, and coordinated effort to begin securing U.S. elections, helping give candidates the best opportunity possible to win a fair fight in the new voting environment of mail-in balloting. The Republican National Committee, other party entities, and dozens of public interest election nonprofit groups built over the last two years a multimillion-dollar election integrity infrastructure that passed laws improving voter ID and other election security measures, defended those laws from legal attacks by Democrats, and sued states and localities that failed to follow the law. They also recruited, educated, trained, and placed tens of thousands of new election observers and other workers throughout the long midterm voting season.

And they did it all in one of the most hostile propaganda environments on record. The 2020 election was a massive wake-up call for many Americans on the right. In the months leading up to it, Democrats forced through changes to hundreds of laws and processes governing how elections are conducted. The rule-change scheme was run by Marc Elias, a Democrat election attorney who also ran his party’s Russia collusion hoax, which falsely claimed Donald Trump stole the 2016 election by colluding with Russia. Sometimes Democrats’ 2020 changes were instituted legally. Frequently, though, they were effected by other means, such as getting a friendly state or local official to change the rules unilaterally.

The 2020 election plan, some of which was admitted to in a flattering Time magazine story, sought to flood the zone with tens of millions of unsupervised mail-in ballots, historically understood to be riper for fraud and other election irregularities than supervised, in-person voting. The plan also involved the private takeover of government election offices to run Democrat-focused get-out-the-vote operations. Mark Zuckerberg, one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men, financed the project, doling out $419 million to two left-wing groups that focused grants and assistance to government offices in the Democrat areas of swing states.

This radical change — “practically a revolution in how people vote,” as Time put it — included the widespread practice of placing ballot drop boxes predominantly in Democrat areas of the country, mailing out unsolicited mail-in ballots or applications for mail-in ballots, using well-funded teams of ballot harvesters both inside and outside of government, lowering and changing the standards for mail-in ballot acceptance, and fixing or “curing” ballots that were improperly filled out. Corporate media and other Democrats claimed the election was the best-run in history. In reality, it was a mess. Big Tech and the media ran coordinated disinformation campaigns to benefit Democrats by suppressing news that hurt the party. Big Tech also deplatformed effective conservative voices and media outlets, suppressed fundraising emails from Republicans, and elevated certain information to help Democrats.

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Biden loses both CNN and NYT mere days before the midterms.

Biden’s Midterms Message Includes False And Misleading Claims (CNN)

Social Security, part 1 Biden said at a Democratic fundraiser in Pennsylvania last week: “On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they’ve gotten.” He has also touted the 2023 increase in Social Security payments at other recent events. But Biden’s boasts leave out such critical context that they are highly misleading. He hasn’t explained that the increase in Social Security payments for 2023, 8.7%, is unusually big simply because the inflation rate has been unusually big. A law passed in the 1970s says that Social Security payments must be increased by the same percentage that a certain measure of inflation has increased. It’s called a cost-of-living adjustment.

Social Security, part 2 Biden said at a Democratic rally in Florida on Tuesday: “And on my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks.” The claim that the 2023 increase to Social Security payments is the first in 10 years is false. In reality, there has been a cost-of-living increase every year from 2017 onward. There was also an increase every year from 2012 through 2015 before the payment level was kept flat in 2016 because of a lack of inflation. The context around this Biden remark in Florida suggests he might have botched his repeat campaign line about Social Security payments increasing at the same time as Medicare premiums are declining. Regardless of his intentions, though, he was wrong.

A new corporate tax Biden repeatedly suggested in speeches in October and early November that a new law he signed in August, the Inflation Reduction Act, will stop the practice of successful corporations paying no federal corporate income tax. Biden made the claim explicitly in a tweet last week: “Let me give you the facts. In 2020, 55 corporations made $40 billion. And they paid zero in federal taxes. My Inflation Reduction Act puts an end to this.” But “puts an end to this” is an exaggeration. The Inflation Reduction Act will reduce the number of companies on the list of non-payers, but the law will not eliminate the list entirely. That’s because the law’s new 15% alternative corporate minimum tax, on the “book income” companies report to investors, only applies to companies with at least $1 billion in average annual income.

The debt and the deficit Biden said at the Tuesday rally in Florida: “Look, you know, you can hear it from Republicans, ‘My God, that big-spending Democrat Biden. Man, he’s taken us in debt.’ Well, guess what? I reduced the federal deficit this year by $1 trillion $400 billion. One trillion 400 billion dollars. The most in all American history. No one has ever reduced the debt that much. We cut the federal debt in half.” Biden offered a similar narrative at a Thursday rally in New Mexico, this time saying, “We cut the federal debt in half. A fact.” There are two significant problems here. First: Biden conflated the debt and the deficit, which are two different things. It’s not true that Biden has “cut the federal debt in half”; the federal debt (total borrowing plus interest owed) has continued to rise under Biden, exceeding $31 trillion for the first time this October. Rather, it’s the federal deficit – the annual difference between spending and revenue – that was cut in half between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022. Second, it’s highly questionable how much credit Biden deserves for even the reduction in the deficit. Biden doesn’t mention that the primary reason the deficit plummeted in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 was that it had skyrocketed to a record high in 2020 because of emergency pandemic relief spending. It then fell as expected as the spending expired as planned.

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“..don’t blame this poor old man it’s not his fault.”

NY Times Report That Biden Exaggerates His Economic Wins Stuns Twitter (Fox)

Critics of President Biden got a surprise on Friday, as the New York Times published a report grilling the 46th president for making exaggerations about his successes on the economy. Times reporters Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley published a piece on Friday titled, “As Elections Approach, Biden Spins His Economic Record,” which claimed that the president’s boasts about his economic achievements were not true. The report began by summing up the White House economic spin, “As President Biden and his administration have told it in recent months, America has the fastest-growing economy in the world, his student debt forgiveness program passed Congress by a vote or two, and Social Security benefits became more generous thanks to his leadership.” The piece declared, “None of that was accurate.”

The report also claimed, “The president, who has long been seen as embellishing the truth, has recently overstated his influence on the economy, or omitted key facts.” It then mentioned an erroneous claim recently made by the White House on Social Security. Quoting Biden and then correcting him, the Times said, “’On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks,’ he declared. The problem: That increase was the result of an automatic cost-of-living increase prompted by the most rapid inflation in 40 years.” The piece added, “Mr. Biden had not done anything to make retirees’ checks bigger — it was just a byproduct of the soaring inflation that the president has vowed to combat.”

The official White House Twitter account made that same claim about Social Security this week, receiving a swift, community-based fact check from Twitter. The White House then took the tweet down. Further skewering Biden, the Times stated, “It is common for presidents to spin economic numbers to improve their pitch to voters,” yet “the president’s cheerleading has increasingly grown to include exaggerations or misstatements about the economy and his policy record.” The piece did insist that Biden’s “economic exaggerations generally pale in comparison to the tales spun by his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump,” though the very fact that a major liberal media outlet would go after Biden on falsehoods, turned heads on social media.

Conservative journalist Michael Caputo encouraged the paper to go further: “Go ahead say it, NYTimes, do it. You can say it: Biden is a liar.” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted, “I’m suspicious of NYT’s motivation for printing the truth about Biden. It’s out of character for them. Perhaps blaming him and his gaffs for the midterm results is the beginning of the left’s effort to replace him with a different nominee in 2024.” [..] National Review’s Jeff Blehar commented, “don’t blame this poor old man it’s not his fault.”

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One week after Musk took over, and 4 days before the midterms, Biden accused Twitter of “spewing lies all across the world”. I don’t recall Biden having said this before, but he must have, right?! Because content moderation hasn’t changed at all yet, as per Musk. Oh, and 60 orgs call on advertizers to withdraw their money. But what exactly made Twitter toxic? Just that Musk mentioned free speech?

There is no way this is not coordinated.

Biden Unleashes Tirade Over Musk Restoring Free Speech on Twitter (Turley)

Elon Musk has not actually changed the “content moderation” policies at Twitter yet, but President Joe Biden went on a virtual rave on Friday over the prospect of free speech breaking out on a single social media site. As a type of censor-in-chief, Biden has led calls for censorship on social media, which have been largely heeded by companies like Facebook and Twitter. Now Biden is accusing Twitter of “spewing lies all across the world” by seeking to reduce one of the largest censorship systems in history. The President lamented that the influence of the media will be “de minimus.” He is a bit late on that front. President Biden has previously accused social media companies of “killing people” by refusing to impose robust censorship over a wide range of subjects.

Many of those banned or censored were doctors with opposing views on the data and the science related to the pandemic. Some of those doctors were the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which advocated for a more focused Covid response that targeted the most vulnerable population rather than widespread lockdowns and mandates. Many are now questioning the efficacy and cost of the massive lockdown as well as the real value of masks or the rejection of natural immunities as an alternative to vaccination. Yet, these experts and others were attacked for such views just a year ago. Some found themselves censored on social media for challenging claims of Dr. Fauci and others. The Great Barrington Declaration was not the only viewpoint deemed dangerous.

Those who alleged that the virus may have begun in a lab in China were widely denounced and the views barred from being uttered on social media platforms. It was later learned that a number of leading experts raised this theory with Fauci and others early in the pandemic. We are now seeing increasing evidence of back channels used by government and political figures to maintain a censorship system by surrogate in the social media companies and foreign allies. The President, however, was in full censor-in-chief mode this week, referring to censors as “editors.” He denounced Musk who “goes out and buys an outfit that spews lies all across the world.” He then claimed “There are no editors anymore. There are no editors anymore.” The President added “the ability of newspapers to have much impact is de minimis.”

That last statement seemed to lament the loss of a close and active ally for the Democrats. Neutrality is anathema if you have largely been able to control political and social exchanges on social media. What the President said next. however, was particularly telling and chilling: “How do people know the truth? What do they — how do they make — make a distinction between fact and fiction? There’s so much — so much going on. And we’re in the middle of this.” Indeed, perish the thought that citizens might be left to pursue the truth on their own without the government or surrogates in the media framing it for them. How could we possibly “know the truth” without our social media overlords?

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“If one trains the system with badly categorized data it will be badly categorize data. It does not need an extra team to learn that.”

The Twitter Massacre (MoA)

I am amusing myself with watching the panic some people express over Elon Musk’s cleanup of Twitter. Yesterday 3,700 of its 7,500 workers were fired. That is not good, but the company was losing money and making money is at the core of the capitalist game. Of interest is what functions were eliminated. The Guardian provides this list: From news reports and terminated employees’ announcements, here’s what we know so far about the teams that have been hit by the layoffs of thousands of Twitter employees: • The human rights team has been laid off, according to a now former employee, Shannon Raj Singh, who said the team worked to protect those at risk in global conflicts, including in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. • The ML (machine learning) Ethics, Transparency and Accountability team is gone, according to a tweet of a laid-off manager. • The “internet technology team”, which helps keep the site running, has been cut to “a skeleton crew”, two sources told the Times. • An accessibly experience engineering team has been cut, according to a laid-off engineering manager. • The curation team, responsible for the Moments feature on Twitter, has also been cut, former employees reported.

Twitter’s communications department is almost entirely gone, according to the Verge. Other areas that have been heavily impacted, the Verge reported, include product trust and safety, policy, research and social good. What were these teams actually doing? The human rights team leader gave some hints: Shannon Raj Singh @ShannonRSingh – 17:58 UTC · Nov 4, 2022. “Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company. sI am enormously proud of the work we did to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and to defend the needs of those particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders.”

The human rights team was the ‘regime change’ force on Twitter. It intervened in conflicts where the U.S. preferred a certain side. Shannon Raj Singh had previously meddled in Afghan and other countries’ cultures: “Shannon Raj Singh is a Legal Counsel for SAHR, advising a Kabul-based team on sexual violence litigation in Afghanistan, which aims to end the invasive and discriminatory practice of female virginity testing. She is an international criminal law attorney focused on victim-centered responses to mass atrocities. Currently based in The Hague, she has experience working with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and a number of human rights NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. She has also practiced as a litigator in the United States, appearing in both state and federal courts and assisting with overseas corruption investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The machine learning ethics, transparency and accountability team was also fired. Machine learning, also glorified as ‘artificial intelligence’, is essentially an (often lousy) pattern recognition system. It can be trained with categorized data and, after that, can categorized other data it gets presented. All one needs to know about its ethics, transparency and accountability is the old IT wisdom ‘garbage in garbage out’. If one trains the system with badly categorized data it will be badly categorize data. It does not need an extra team to learn that. I do not know what the ‘Internet technology team’ was doing but the function obviously still exists. It was merely downsized.

NBC Twitter

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“The SPARS PANDEMIC 2025-2028, published by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security in October 2017..”

“You are the long-term data. You may die in the process but that’s science in the 21st century!”

Understanding the Reveal Stage of the Pandemic Play – Are We Winning? (LDS)

The SPARS PANDEMIC 2025-2028, published by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security in October 2017, is another of those amazingly prescient, yet “entirely fictional” scenario plans that ended up looking like the blueprint for the actual covid pseudo pandemici. It is in fact the prequel to that other freakishly coincidental pandemic wargame, Event 201, hosted in October 2019 (a few weeks before SARS-COV-2 hit the headlines) by the same institution along with the CIA and the World Economic Forum (WEF). What business does the CIA and its brainchild, the WEF, have going anywhere near public health strategy planning? Absolutely none, unless of course public health strategy is to be used as a nefarious special purpose vehicle for intelligence services and the global corporate oligarchy.

[..] It is a masterclass in absurdity which has its roots in the inherent contradiction in drafting a plan that purports to deal with the inevitable fallout of a manufactured crisis while pretending that the crisis is not manufactured. Its aim is to present failure scenarios to public health spin doctors, referred to as “public health risk communicators”, and invite them to “mentally rehearse responses” to these failures. But, in providing pitiful explanations for all the failure scenarios, it effectively exposes the Medical Counter Measures (MCMs) of a corrupt pseudo pandemic for the sham that they are. Instead of mitigating the consequences of a real pandemic, the MCMs are the very things that perversely create the necessity for narrative spin and psyops.

[..] It is undoubtedly sinister because of its prediction of all the ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes’ that were made in the manufactured covid ‘pandemic’. In the latter sections of the document – the Reveal stage – the planners anticipate fallout from being unable to keep a lid on vaccine injury. Nevertheless, a somewhat happy ending for the pandemic planners is fashioned in their Pandemic Play. So, will they succeed in constructing the reality they desire? In the 2017 playbook, as “claims of adverse side effects beg[i]n to emerge”, the pandemic planners coyly suggest that the demands for the “removal of the liability shield protecting the pharmaceutical companies” will be deflected by the “emergency appropriation of [taxpayer] funds”. Because God forbid that Big Pharma, having siphoned off billions from the taxpayers’ purse for efficiently distributing poison, might then be subjected to the humiliation of footing the bill for the injuries caused by it.

The pandemic planners were also prepared for the ethical quandary of hastily mass injecting an experimental preparation with no long-term safety data. The ‘rare’ side effect rebuttal is alluded to by reference to “relatively few reports of neurological symptoms” while the problem is framed as an overblown social media response. Ultimately the blame is placed squarely at the feet of an ignorant public – those “demand[ing] proof that the vaccines [do] not cause long-term effects” are “displaying a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific research”! You just don’t get it, so let me spell it out to you on behalf of the pandemic planners. You, the entire public, the 5.3 billion people injected so far – you are the subjects of the experiment, and the experiment isn’t over until the CDC, FDA, MHRA et al say it is. You are the long-term data. You may die in the process but that’s science in the 21st century!

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Turkey map 2050

 

 

 

 

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Oct 212022
 
 October 21, 2022  Posted by at 8:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  80 Responses »


Salvador Dali Llane Beach, Cadaques 1919

 

US May End Aid To Ukraine After Midterms – Axios (RT)
Berlusconi Trashes NATO Narrative On Ukraine (RT)
Putin’s Gift To Berlusconi May Have Breached EU Sanctions (RT)
Power Costs In Italy Going Through The Roof (RT)
Zelensky Denies Kiev’s Role In Crimean Bridge Blast (RT)
Britain’s Stark Choice Ahead – Transformation or Collapse (Nafeez Ahmed)
US Slams Turkey-Russia Deal to Form a Natural Gas Hub (GR)
Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown (Escobar)
‘Peaceful Modernization’: China’s Offering To The Global South (Escobar)
Saudi Arabia Is Interested In Joining The BRICS (Telesur)
Biden Admin Weighs Blocking Twitter Deal On “National Security” Grounds (ZH)
PayPal Faces House Inquiry On $2,500 ‘Misinformation’ Fine Controversy (JTN)
How An Illiquid Dollar Ruins The World (Piepenburg)
It’s Been 2 Years Since 51 Intel Agents Interfered With An Election (Devine)
One in Every 500 Small Children Who Get Pfizer Vaccine are Hospitalised (DS)

 

 

Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.
– G.K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

Terhes

 

 

 

 

Gaddafi

 

 

 

 

Zakharova

 

 

 

 

Amazon books Tucker

 

 

 

 

Will the GOP turn its back on Raytheon? Maybe they reckon this cannot be taken any further, that too many impoverished Americans will turn their backs on them. November 8.

US May End Aid To Ukraine After Midterms – Axios (RT)

The extensive assistance provided by Washington to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia may be cut if the Republican Party takes control of Congress in the midterm elections on November 8, Axios has reported. Even the harshest critics of Vladimir Putin among the Republicans now acknowledge that there’s been a “noticeable shift away from what was once a broad bipartisan consensus” on providing aid to Kiev, the outlet reported on Wednesday. It cited House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Punchbowl News earlier this week: “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it. ”Ukraine might be important, but it can’t be the only thing on the agenda of the US administration, he insisted.

Republican Congressman Don Bacon also said he’d “noticed” a decline in support for Ukraine. “You see it a little bit on social media, you see it with some of our members,” he said. Bacon’s colleague Kelly Armstrong told Axios that the mood swing was likely a result of the feedback that the lawmakers had been getting from their constituents. “When people are seeing a 13% increase in grocery prices; energy, utility bills doubling… if you’re a border community and you’re being overrun by migrants and fentanyl, Ukraine is the furthest thing from your mind,” he pointed out. The website also cited a senior House Republican, who claimed that “after the $40 billion [in aid package in May], there were a lot of Republicans saying: ‘This is the last time I’m going to support Ukraine funding.’”

In a comment to Axios, Congressman Jim Banks, who chairs the Republican Study Committee (RSC), pointed out that his party is going to focus on domestic issues after the midterms. “RSC believes you can’t lead abroad when you’re so weak at home. Our GOP agenda in the new majority needs to secure our own border and get America back on our feet by addressing energy cost and inflation,” he explained. Asked to comment on McCarthy’s remarks, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that the Biden administration would “continue to work with Congress, as we have these past several months, on these efforts and support Ukraine as long as it takes.”Jean-Pierre reminded that this was a“commitment” that Joe Biden made to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

White House aides told Politico on Wednesday that the Biden administration hadn’t warned Kiev about the possibility of US aid coming to an end in the event that Republicans take control of at least one chamber of Congress after the election. However, officials in Kiev are aware that this may happen, they said. The US has been Kiev’s biggest backer since the outbreak of its conflict with Russia in late February, providing Kiev with more than $16.8 billion in military aid, including sophisticated hardware such as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, and combat drones. Moscow has been decrying those weapons deliveries, saying they only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

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Major threat to Meloni’s new coalition. Just because he’s right.

“Giorgia Meloni, who has been tasked with forming a new Italian government, stated that people who do not share a pro-NATO stance would have no place in her coalition.”

Berlusconi Trashes NATO Narrative On Ukraine (RT)

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly claimed that Kiev triggered a conflict with Russia by reneging on a peace plan for eastern Ukraine, a tape provided to the media suggests. In an apparent response to the leak, Giorgia Meloni, who has been tasked with forming a new Italian government, stated that people who do not share a pro-NATO stance would have no place in her coalition. Speaking to members of his Forza Italia party on Tuesday, Berlusconi reportedly offered a viewpoint about the origin of the Ukraine crisis that clashed with the NATO-favored narrative of unprovoked Russian aggression against its neighbor.

Italy is an important member of the US-led alliance and anyone who disagrees with this position will be excluded from government, Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, pledged on Wednesday evening, as quoted by the newspaper La Repubblica. In the audio clip, Berlusconi can be heard accusing Kiev of failing for years to uphold a peace deal with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. When Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky came to power in 2019, he “tripled down” on attacking the regions, the politician stated. Donetsk and Lugansk asked for Moscow’s protection, he continued. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in the hope that Zelensky would be overthrown and replaced with “good people of common sense” within a couple of weeks, Berlusconi claimed. The wording resembles what he told the Italian public broadcaster RAI after the September election. During this week’s meeting, Berlusconi allegedly suggested that the conflict in Ukraine could last for over “200 years,”after the country unexpectedly resisted Russia and received money and arms from Western nations to continue the fighting.

In another part of the recording, which was published by the LaPresse news agency, Berlusconi claimed to have received a crate of vodka and a “nice letter” from Putin for his birthday. He added that he responded by sending Lambrusco wine to the Russian leader. After the clip was released, the former prime minister’s party claimed he had been referring to historical contacts with Putin and not recent events. Berlusconi has a long record of friendly relations with Putin, which stretched beyond his tenure as prime minister. The three-time former leader of the Italian government’s participation in the right-wing coalition has resulted in claims that the country could make a foreign policy U-turn and oppose the US-led anti-Russian campaign under Meloni. She repeatedly pledged her support for the EU and NATO after winning the election.

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“I responded with 20 bottles of Lambrusco and a similarly sweet letter..”

Putin’s Gift To Berlusconi May Have Breached EU Sanctions (RT)

A case containing 20 bottles of vodka that Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly sent to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as a birthday gift may have violated EU sanctions, Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, citing an official comment from the European Commission to the DPA news agency. According to the statement, a spokeswoman for the Commission told the news agency that the April 2022 ban on goods imports from Russia to the EU includes spirits, namely vodka, and does not provide an exemption for gifts. The spokeswoman went on to explain that breaches of the sanctions can be reported to the competent national authorities of member states, or directly to Brussels. The news that Putin had sent the gift to Berlusconi was reported by Italy’s LaPresse news agency earlier this week.

The outlet released an audio recording of the former prime minister’s discussion with members of his party, Forza Italia, at a closed meeting. “I have reconnected with President Putin… He sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a really sweet letter for my birthday. I responded with 20 bottles of Lambrusco and a similarly sweet letter,” Berlusconi was heard saying in the recording. However, Forza Italia representatives later said that the former PM was not referring to his most recent birthday on September 29, 2022, but instead was telling “an old story to lawmakers about an episode that occurred years ago,” which means that EU sanctions may not apply at all. The party representatives added that “Berlusconi denies the news of alleged renewed relations with Vladimir Putin.”

However, later reports emerged, suggesting that the remarks were indeed made this year. The potential scandal comes just weeks after the 86-year-old politician returned to the Italian parliament, nine years after being forced out for alleged tax fraud. Previously, Putin and Berlusconi enjoyed a friendly relationship and often complimented one another. However, Berlusconi has lately been critical of Putin over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, saying he was disappointed with the Russian leader, who he always considered “a man of democracy and peace.”

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How much longer will Italy support NATO and its Ukraine attack?

Power Costs In Italy Going Through The Roof (RT)

Electricity tariffs in Italy saw record growth last month, exceeding 136% on an annual basis, according to a National Union of Consumers report on Tuesday. The report said that in September, electricity prices came out on top in the ranking of the most expensive goods and services, which the union regularly compiles based on data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). In the category of non-food products, electricity prices were followed by costs for air travel across Europe, which have risen 128% over the past year. Then came intercontinental flights, for which the prices almost doubled (97.4%). Gas tariffs increased by just under 64% in September.As for food products, the ranking was led by vegetable oils (with the exception of olive oil), up by almost 60%.

The prices of butter and rice rose 38% and 26.7% respectively. Other foodstuffs that saw price increases of more than 20% include pasta, canned milk, flour, and basic vegetables. “Only for food and drink, every single Italian family will pay an average of €660 more per year,” the consumer union’s president, Massimiliano Dona, said. He added that families with two children will have to pay €900 ($885) more, and those with three children, €1,075 ($1,057) more.Inflation in Italy climbed to 8.9% in September on an annualized basis, ISTAT data shows. Meanwhile, the ‘consumer basket’ saw a rise of 10.9% over the year. Such a high increase in the price of basic foodstuffs and personal goods has not been recorded in Italy since 1983.

The head of Italian energy think tank Nomisma Energia said this week that Italy, along with the rest of Europe, is experiencing an energy shock of unprecedented magnitude, as electricity prices have almost doubled. According to him, Italians should be ready for rationing during the coldest winter months. He also urged households to make use of alternative methods of heating, such as burning firewood and pellets, though he added that prices for these are also up.

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Russia knows who did it.

Zelensky Denies Kiev’s Role In Crimean Bridge Blast (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has denied “ordering” the bombing of the Crimean Bridge linking the peninsula to mainland Russia. The president made the remarks during an interview with the Canadian broadcaster CTV, aired on Wednesday. Asked to comment on the “spectacular attack” on the bridge, as the broadcaster put it, Zelensky said Kiev was not involved. “We definitely did not order that, as far as I know,” he told the reporters. The bridge was hit by a massive explosion on October 8, which severely damaged its road traffic section and killed three civilians, as well as setting a passing freight train on fire. Several top Ukrainian officials openly celebrated the attack, while the country’s postal service issued a stamp commemorating the blast, just hours after it happened.


Moscow has directly blamed Kiev for the incident, branding the explosion a “terrorist attack.” Russian law enforcement claims to have established how the bomb, which was disguised as construction materials, made it to the bridge from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, via multiple transit countries. Russian investigators believe the plot was hatched by Ukrainian military intelligence. Moscow has identified 12 individuals as suspected accomplices in the plot and has arrested eight of them, the FSB said. The list of people in custody includes five Russians and three foreign nationals, who hold passports of Ukraine and Armenia. A spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence told the media that the FSB was a “fake structure,” and that the report was unworthy of comment.

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“..states begin to fail within 15 years of losing their main sources of energy and economic revenue..”

Britain’s Stark Choice Ahead – Transformation or Collapse (Nafeez Ahmed)

Five years ago, I warned in a study that Europe faces an increasing risk of state failure due to the escalation of interlinked environmental, energy and economic crises – and I found an intriguing pattern: states begin to fail within 15 years of losing their main sources of energy and economic revenue. Escalating crisis drives social polarisation, undermining national cohesion and resulting in outbreaks of civil unrest. Without a change of course, these outbreaks coalesce to undermine the functioning of key state institutions. At worst, they can lead to total government collapse and a state of permanent warfare. Gripped by multiple crises, Britain now appears to be following a familiar pattern of environmental, energy and economic-driven state failure.

Since the 1970s, the world has experienced a rising trend of civil unrest and societal breakdown – in correlation with three realities: rising inequality associated with the neoliberal age of globalisation; escalating economic overshoot of the Earth’s ecological systems; and intensifying decline in the quality of fossil fuel energy resources. Britain’s North Sea Oil production peaked in 1999. Fifteen years later, as its domestic oil production haemorrhaged, fringe right-wing nationalist forces had moved increasingly into the mainstream. They blamed Europe, immigrants, asylum seekers, Muslims and ethnic minorities for Britain’s intractable social and economic crises. Their success was arguably reflected in the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. During that period, the quality of the UK’s energy dropped by a third, if not more.

In 2000, a year after the UK’s North Sea Oil production peaked, Britain’s ‘energy return on investment’ (EROI) – a ratio capturing the amount of energy used to extract a single unit of energy – was around 9.6. By 2012, this had plummeted to 6.2. This is well below the minimum EROI benchmark of 11 considered necessary to sustain continued economic growth. As a study by the University of Leeds’ Sustainability Research Institute concluded, this means that “more and more energy is having to be used in the extraction of energy itself rather than by the UK’s economy or society”. What is happening to Britain now is symptomatic of a wider global phenomenon. Its dependence on oil, gas and coal is self-cannibalising. The scientific consensus shows that it is driving us towards climate catastrophe and, at worst, civilisational collapse.

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Only US LNG allowed.

US Slams Turkey-Russia Deal to Form a Natural Gas Hub (GR)

The U.S. expressed on Wednesday its opposition to the agreement announced by Turkey for the creation of a natural gas hub in cooperation with Russia. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he had agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to form a natural gas hub in Turkey. Speaking to members of his AK Party in parliament, Erdogan said Putin had said Europe can obtain its gas supply from the hub in Turkey. “Türkiye will be a hub for natural gas as well. In our last meeting, we agreed with Putin on this issue. We will create a hub here with Turkish gas coming from Russia,” Erdogan said. The U.S. State Department fired back.

“We have worked closely with our allies and partners to impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia, including through sanctions, export controls, visa restrictions. We have urged Turkey and all of our allies and partners that no one should have become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions, and we will continue to make that case,” Vedant Patel, State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson said. “And as it relates to the energy conversation, we have continued to urge our allies to take steps to diversify their energy sources, to reduce energy reliance on Russia. And in the case of Turkey, we are working with them closely to assist in their own efforts to enhance energy security in the long term,” he added.

Last month, on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in the Kazakh capital Astana, Erdogan held a closed-door meeting with Putin, who had proposed building a natural gas hub in Turkey. Putin has floated the idea of exporting more gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline running beneath the Black Sea to Turkey, touting the country as the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the European Union after the Nord Stream pipeline leaks. Erdogan previously said Russian and Turkish energy authorities would work together to designate the best location for the potential gas distribution center, adding that Turkey’s Thrace region, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, appeared to be the best spot.

Carrying natural gas from Russia to Turkey and further into Europe, the TurkStream was formally launched in January 2020. The pipeline, which allows Moscow to bypass Ukraine as a transit route to Europe, carries Russian gas to Southern Europe through the Black Sea and Turkey.

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About Xi’s speech this week.

Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown (Escobar)

Xi also did not mention the US by name. Everyone in the leadership – especially the new Politburo – is aware of how Washington wants to “decouple” from China in every possible way and will continue to provocatively deploy every possible strand of hybrid war. Xi did not enter into details during his speech, but it’s clear the driving force going forward will be technological innovation linked to a global vision. That’s where BRI comes in, again – as the privileged field of application for these tech breakthroughs. Only this way we can understand how Zhu Guangyao, a former vice minister of finance, may be sure that per capita GDP in China in 2035 would at least double the numbers in 2019 and reach $20,000.

The challenge for Xi and the new Politburo right away is to fix China’s structural economic imbalance. And pumping up debt-financed “investment” all over again won’t work. So bets can be made that Xi’s third term – to be confirmed later this week – will have to concentrate on rigorous planning and monitoring of implementation, much more than during his previous bold, ambitious, abrasive but sometimes disconnected years. The Politburo will have to pay way more attention to technical considerations. Xi will have to delegate more serious policymaking autonomy to a bunch of competent technocrats. Otherwise, we will be back to that startling observation by then Premier Wen Jiabao in 2007: China’s economy is “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable”. That’s exactly where the Hegemon wants it to be.

As it stands, things are far from gloomy. The National Development and Reform Commission states that compared to the rest of the world, China’s consumer inflation is only “marginal”; the job market is steady; and international payments are stable. Xi’s work report and pledges may also be seen as turning the usual Anglo-American geopolitical suspects – Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman, Brzezinski – upside down. The China-Russia strategic partnership has no time to lose with global hegemonic games; what drives them is that sooner rather than later they will be ruling the Heartland – the world island – and beyond, with allies from the Rimland, and from Africa to Latin America, all participating in a new form of globalization. Certainly with Chinese characteristics; but most of all, pan-Eurasian characteristics. The final countdown is already on.

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The Ukraine conflict hinders China’s BRI. They want it to flow into Europe unimpeded.

‘Peaceful Modernization’: China’s Offering To The Global South (Escobar)

All over the extremely incandescent global chessboard, international relations are being completely reframed. China – and key Eurasian players at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS+, and Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – are all proposing peaceful development. In contrast, the Hegemon imposes an avalanche of sanctions – not by accident the top three recipients are Eurasian powers Russia, Iran and China; lethal proxy wars (Ukraine); and every possible strand of hybrid war to prevent the end of its supremacy, which lasted barely seven and a half decades, a blip in historical terms.

The current dysfunction – physical, political, financial, cognitive – is reaching a climax. As Europe plunges into the abyss of largely self-inflicted devastation and darkness – a neo-medievalism in woke register – an internally ravaged Empire resorts to plundering even its wealthy “allies”. It’s as if we are all witnessing a Mackinder-on-crack scenario. Halford Mackinder, of course, was the British geographer who developed the ‘Heartland Theory’ of geopolitics, heavily influencing US foreign policy during the Cold War: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

Russia spans 11 time zones and sits atop as much as one third of the world’s natural resources. A natural symbiosis between Europe and Russia is like a fact of life. But the EU oligarchy blew it. It’s no wonder the Chinese leadership views the process with horror, because one of BRI’s essential planks is to facilitate seamless trade between China and Europe. As Russia’s connectivity corridor has been blocked by sanctions, China will be privileging corridors via West Asia. Meanwhile, Russia is completing its pivot to the east. Russia’s enormous resources, combined with the manufacturing capability of China and East Asia as a whole, project a trade/connectivity sphere that goes even beyond BRI. That’s at the heart of the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership.

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Critical mass.

Saudi Arabia Is Interested In Joining The BRICS (Telesur)

At an interview on the South African Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramposa announced that Saudi Arabia is interested in joining BRICS, an economic cooperation organization made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed the kingdom’s desire to join the BRICS,” the South African president said, adding that other countries are also interested in joining this organization. “In 2023, the BRICS summit will be held under the South African presidency and this request will be studied. Several countries are in contact with the BRICS and we have assured them that the accession issue will be discussed and a decision will be made,” Ramposa explained.

Among the nations that have already applied to join this international forum is Argentina, whose President Alberto Fernandez asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to join the BRICS. Sabino Vaca, Argentina’s ambassador to China, stated that the BRICS constitute an excellent cooperation alternative for developing countries given that the current world order has shown that it only works for the benefit of a few nations. At their 14th summit in July, the BRICS countries discussed economic cooperation options related to the creation of a new development bank, the formation of a contingent reserve arrangement, an intercountry payment system, and a BRICS basket reserve currency. Seen from the perspective of the global financial system, the consequence of those actions would be the gradual weakening of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency.

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ZeroHedge: “Just as Musk wanted”, “And the thing is Musk will still end up owning it… just 80% cheaper under the next admin.”

Biden Admin Weighs Blocking Twitter Deal On “National Security” Grounds (ZH)

One month ago we joked that should the Delaware judge force Musk to buy Twitter, then none other than the US government would step in and prevent the South African from gaining control over the blue-checkmark echo chamber of record, the one social media network which congressional testimony after congressional testimony has argued it can manipulate the outcome of elections. Well, that prediction is about to come true, because according to Bloomberg, the Biden administration is discussing whether the US should subject some of Elon Musk’s ventures to national security reviews, including the deal for Twitter and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network, citing people familiar with the matter.

In short, not only is the deep state government preparing to block Musk’s acquisition of TWTR on national security grounds (unlcear what that would achieve as the stock would crater to single digits, especially after today’s SNAP earnings, and so many of its employees have already quit), but it may “expropriate” Musk’s satellite pet project too, all for daring to ask a question about the US involvement in Ukraine, and what exactly the endgame there is. As Bloomberg adds, “US officials have grown uncomfortable over Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine — he said it had cost him $80 million so far — and what they see as his increasingly Russia-friendly stance following a series of tweets that outlined peace proposals favorable to President Vladimir Putin. They are also concerned by his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.”

The discussions are still at an early stage, the people familiar said on condition of anonymity. Officials in the US government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures. One possible legal pathway is through the law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review Musk’s deals and operations for national security risks. The CFIUS was used extensively in the Trump admin to block and undo numerous Chinese deals, arguing they could pose a national threat to the US. Now, it’s none other than Musk who has emerged as the deep state’s biggest nemesis.

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“..the company still maintains a $2,500 “liquidation” policy against accounts accused of “discrimination” and “hatred” as well as “intolerance”..”

PayPal Faces House Inquiry On $2,500 ‘Misinformation’ Fine Controversy (JTN)

House Republicans are launching an inquiry into PayPal after the payment processing company sparked major controversy for a policy that would fine customers for “misinformation.” The controversy began when news broke earlier this month that PayPal would fine customers $2,500 for spreading misinformation. PayPal quickly retracted the policy, saying it was a mistake that “went out in error” but not before “cancelPayPal” was trending and Twitter users boasted of deleting their accounts. The company’s stocks tumbled as the news unfolded. Now, House Republicans want answers. They sent a letter to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman asking how the policy originated, who approved it, whether the Biden administration was involved, and more.

“As a leading financial technology company, it is concerning that a user agreement that contemplates the restriction of free speech was uploaded and disseminated to PayPal users – even if in error,” the letter said. “We understand your company is currently investigating this matter. Upon the conclusion of your investigation, we request that you provide a briefing for the Committees as soon as practicable.” [..] The letter requests answers by the end of the month to a range of questions, including whether any entities were affected by the policy change, when the internal investigation will be over, and who was responsible for the policy in question.

Critics also point out that while PayPal rescinded its misinformation policy, the company still maintains a $2,500 “liquidation” policy against accounts accused of “discrimination” and “hatred” as well as “intolerance” as the company chooses to define it. “The ability to transact without fear of retribution and political censorship is the foundation on which a free economy is built,” Emmer said. “We cannot afford to sacrifice these freedoms, and we must keep a close eye on any actions that erode them. The now-rescinded penalties outlined in PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy were deeply concerning, and the American people deserve answers about how these decisions are made and whether their speech will be protected on this kind of platform.”

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Dumping Treasuries.

How An Illiquid Dollar Ruins The World (Piepenburg)

All of this scheming, leverage and swapping boils down to not enough available (i.e., liquid) USDs in a global financial system in which nearly everything—from debt, to oil to derivatives—still has to be paid in increasingly scarce and hence increasingly expensive Dollars. In addition to this twisted, illiquid and over-levered swamp, the USD rises even higher on Powell rate hikes, all of which combine to force the world’s other currencies to fall. Why? Because other countries and central banks have no choice but to swallow/import USD inflation, monetary policy and American political self-interest. Indeed, with financial allies like the U.S., who needs enemies?

Whenever the Fed, for example, prints more of the world reserve currency or raises its interest rate, the rest of the world, which is tied to that currency, is forced to react—i.e., debase, hike and suffer. We remind that nearly $14T in USD-denominated debt is owed by both emerging market and developed market economies. As the USD rises in strength on the back of Powell’s impossible Volcker-revival and tangled derivatives, other Dollar-desperate nations from Argentina to Japan find themselves with not enough Greenbacks to pay their debts or settle trades, wires and oil purchases, which thus forces them to print (i.e., debase) more of their local currencies to make USD-denominated payments.

But Japan takes the cake for debasing its own currency all on its own, as no nation has ever loved a money printer and currency-debaser more. This might explain why Japan is leading the charge in dumping its USTs into the FOREX markets, which only adds more pressure to rising yields and hence rising rates. Thanks Kuroda—just one more central banker with a mouse-clicker gone mad… Perhaps he’ll be next in line for a Nobel Prize? But Japan is not alone, as other nations dump the once sacred UST just to keep their currencies afloat…In short: The strong USD is crippling the word, and that world, as we’ve written numerous times, will be de-dollarizing at a steady and irreversible pace.No shocker there. At some point, Dollar-indebted nations crack and this twisted global game ends in a credit crisis for the history books.

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“..they still won’t apologize..”

It’s Been 2 Years Since 51 Intel Agents Interfered With An Election (Devine)

Exactly two years ago, on October 19, 2020, one of the dirtiest tricks in electoral history was played on the American people by 51 former intelligence officials, who used the false alarm of “Russian interference” to stop Donald Trump winning a second term as president. Using the institutional weight of their former esteemed roles, they signed a dishonest letter to mislead voters 15 days before the election, claiming that material from Hunter Biden’s laptop published by the New York Post “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” In their expert opinion, “the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.” Russia was “trying to influence how Americans vote in this election … Moscow [will] pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win.

“A ‘laptop op’ fits the bill, as the publication of the emails are [sic] clearly designed to discredit Biden … It is high time that Russia stops interfering in our democracy.” It was all a lie. Their letter was the culprit “interfering with democracy” in broad daylight. Not one of the 51 had seen any material from the laptop or bothered asking for it, but their letter, instigated by, signed and delivered to Politico by Democratic operative and former John Brennan aide Nick Shapiro, killed the story stone dead. It got candidate Joe Biden off the hook for the corrupt influence-peddling scheme his family had been running through the eight years of his vice presidency. The shameful letter was used by Joe Biden three days later, on October 22, to deflect Trump’s attack in their last debate.

“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan … Four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage … You know his character. You know my character. You know my reputation is for honor and telling the truth … The character of the country is on the ballot.” Biden dismissed as a Kremlin smear all the evidence that was on his son’s laptop of dirty money from China and Russia, of all his meetings with Hunter’s overseas business partners, and all the lies he had told about his involvement in Hunter’s business deals The letter, like the Steele dossier and Russia collusion hoax peddled by many of the signatories, has helped fuel a moral panic about Russia in recent years that now has heightened the risk of nuclear war.

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A three month study will not reveal the real damage done. That takes years. But already 1 in 500 is insanely high. And still the CDC is pushing it.

One in Every 500 Small Children Who Get Pfizer Vaccine are Hospitalised (DS)

One in every 500 children under five years who received the Pfizer mRNA Covid vaccine were hospitalised with a vaccine injury, and one in 200 had symptoms ongoing for weeks or months afterwards, a study has found. The study published in JAMA included 7,806 children aged five or younger who were followed up of for an average of 91.4 days following their first Pfizer vaccination. It was a retrospective cohort study done as an authenticated online survey (response rate 41.1%) in spring 2022 which included parents or caregivers who registered children for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in outpatient care facilities in Germany. It compared the adverse events to those of the same children with other vaccinations in order to control for over-reporting.

7 year old boy

It concluded that the symptoms reported after Pfizer vaccination were “comparable overall” to those for other vaccines. Let’s see. • Any symptoms: 62% higher • Musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) symptoms: 155% higher • Dermatologic (skin) symptoms: 118% higher • Otolaryngologic (ears, nose and throat) symptoms: 537% higher • Cardiovascular (heart etc.): 36% higher • Gastrointestinal (stomach etc.): 54% higher. It calls these “modestly elevated”. In 0.5% of the children (40 of 7,806) symptoms were “currently ongoing and thus of unknown significance”. This is in a study with a 2-4 month follow-up period. That means 0.5% of children had an adverse effect that lasted for weeks or months. In two cases (0.03%), symptoms were confirmed to have lasted longer than 90 days.


Ten children were hospitalised with reported serious adverse events (SAEs), compared to zero with the other vaccines. This reported as 0.1%, as it is out of 7,806. However, the study also states that no hospitalisations were reported for children administered the low dosage of 3 μg. Since it also tells us that 6,033 children received at least one dose of over 3 μg. (or unknown dosage), the rate in the relevant cohort is closer to 0.2%, or around one in 500. Four of the hospitalisations were for cardiovascular injury; one child was hospitalised after both doses for this reason. Four were pulmonary (lung) related. Symptoms of the hospitalised children lasted an average of 12.2 days and a maximum of 60 days. None reported a myocarditis diagnosis. Mercifully, no deaths were reported in this relatively small sample.

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Knots

 

 

 

 

Denzel

 

 

 

 

Blue wave+

 

 

City over the river

 

 

Pillars of Creation, known from Hubble, now captured by Webb telescope. Each pillar is about 3 light-years (over 27 trillion km) in width.

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 152022
 


Claude Monet Meules 1890

 

Pope Francis: Russian War In Ukraine Was ‘Perhaps Provoked’ (Pol.eu)
Russia Tells Sievierodonetsk Defenders To Surrender (G.)
Economic Security is National Security (CTH)
Economic Security is National Security – The case for Trump (CTH)
Will Democratic Senators Endorse Biden In 2024? (DC)
Usual Midterm Indicators Very Unfavorable for Democrats (Gallup)
Biden’s Summit of No-Shows (Lawrence)
Children Are Being Infected With Up To Three Viruses At A Time (DM)
The Stock Market At The End Of The World (EdZ)
“Real Estate Tech” in Existential Crisis (WS)
Elon Musk Comes To Defense Of ‘Libs of TikTok’ Over Twitter Death Threats (NYP)
Twitter Responds To Death Threats Against ‘Libs of TikTok’ (JTN)
UK Asylum Flight To Rwanda Cancelled After 11th-hour ECHR Intervention (G.)
US And Partners Enter Pact To Secure Critical Minerals Like Lithium (R.)

 

 

“We didn’t do a good enough job explaining why my policies that caused the border crisis are Putin’s fault” ~ Biden

 

 

Tucker Kamala

 

 

“Joe Biden says he can’t remember a time when the American economy was stronger than it is today and I, for one, completely believe him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s official: the pope is a heretic. What media does he read and watch? We said 1000 times that it was unprovoked. But no…

Pope Francis: Russian War In Ukraine Was ‘Perhaps Provoked’ (Pol.eu)

In an interview published Tuesday, Pope Francis said Russia’s war in Ukraine was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented” — controversial remarks that will raise eyebrows internationally. He made the remarks during an interview with Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica conducted in mid-May but published Tuesday. “Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not,” Francis said. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.” The pope also recalled a conversation he had before the war with an unnamed head of state — a “wise man” — who told Francis he was concerned about NATO and Russia.


“He said, ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. The situation could lead to war,’” the pope said. “That head of state was able to read the signs of what was happening.” The remarks will likely spark criticism as they echo Russia’s narrative that NATO expansion into former Soviet Union territory forced Moscow to invade Ukraine. Russia’s all-out assault, which began in late February, was launched unilaterally, leaving thousands dead. In the interview, the pontiff did criticize Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, pointing to the “brutality and ferocity” of the Russian troops, and emphasizing “the heroism of the Ukrainian people.” The pope’s new comments come a month after he said himself in an interview that NATO may have “perhaps facilitated” the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine by “barking” at Russia’s door.

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“stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms”

Russia Tells Sievierodonetsk Defenders To Surrender (G.)

Russia has told Ukrainian forces holed up in a chemical plant in the embattled eastern city of Sievierodonetsk to lay down their arms by early Wednesday. Ukraine says more than 500 civilians are trapped alongside soldiers inside Azot, a chemical factory where its forces have resisted weeks of Russian bombardment and assaults that have reduced much of Sievierodonetsk to ruins. Col Gen Mikhail Mizintsev, the officer who was in charge of the devastating siege of Mariupol, said fighters should “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms” from 8am Moscow time (5am GMT).


The Russian army has shifted the bulk of its military efforts to capturing Sievierodonetsk in its attempt to take full control of Luhansk and Donetsk, collectively known as Donbas. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk, told Ukrainian television on Tuesday that two more Russian battalion tactical groups had been moved into the area. The fight for Sievierodonetsk is turning into one of the war’s bloodiest battles and is seen as a potential turning point in Russia’s advances in Donbas.

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Two segments of the same -long- article by “sundance”.

Economic Security is National Security (CTH)

Donald Trump moved to face the challenge of China. A major shift in U.S. policy that is likely considered the biggest geopolitical shift in the last 75 years. Trump strategically began with Trade Authority 302 national security Steel and Aluminum tariffs at 25% and 10% not only toward China but targeted globally. The entire multinational system was stunned at the bold step with tariffs. But remember, before Trump went to Saudi Arabia, he held a meeting with Chairman Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago. The global trade world was shocked by the tariff announcement, but I’ll bet you a doughnut Chairman Xi was not. That February 2017 meeting, only one month after his inauguration, was President Trump graciously informing Chairman Xi, in the polite manner that respectful business people do, that a new era in the U.S-China relationship was about to begin.

New trade agreements, new terms and conditions were to be expected in the future. The tariff announcement hit Wall Street hard, but not Beijing – who knew it was likely. U.S. financial pundits proclaimed the sky was surely falling. These tariffs would cause prices to skyrocket, the global order of all things around trade was under attack by Trump. They waxed and shouted about supply chains being complicated and intertwined amid the modern manufacturing era that was too complex for President Trump to understand with such a heavy handed tariff hammer. Remember all of that? Remember how cars were going to cost thousands more, and beer kegs would forever be lost because the orange man had just triggered steel and aluminum tariffs?

Did any of that happen? No. Of course it didn’t. Actually, the opposite was true and no one could even fathom it. Communist China first responded by subsidizing all of their industries targeted by the tariffs with free energy and raw materials, etc. China triggered an immediate reaction to lower their own prices to offset tariffs. Beijing did not want the heavy industries and factories to start back up again in the U.S, so they reacted with measures to negate the tariff impact. China’s economy started to feel the pressure and panda was not happy. Eventually, as the tariffs expanded beyond Steel and Aluminum to other specific segments and categories, China devalued their currency to lower costs even further for U.S. importers. The net result was something no one could have imagined. With lower prices, and increased dollar strength, we began importing all Chinese products at cheaper rates than before the tariffs were triggered. Yes, we began importing deflation. No one saw that coming…. but Trump did.

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Segment 2.

Economic Security is National Security – The case for Trump (CTH)

We don’t have to guess at whether Donald Trump can put together a program to ensure Economic Security is National Security. We don’t have to guess at whether Donald Trump can deliver on economic policy. We don’t have guess if Trump’s policy platform, proposals and initiatives would be successful. We have the experience of it. We have the results of it. We have felt the success of it. We also don’t need to guess at who is the best candidate to lead Making America Great Again, we already know who that is. There is no other 2024 Presidential Candidate, who I am aware of, who could possibly achieve what Donald John Trump has achieved, or who could even fathom contemplating how to achieve a quarter of what President Trump achieved.

Governor Ron DeSantis has a lot of really good skills and policies on the domestic front unique to his position in Florida; however, it is not a slight toward him to point out he has never expressed any larger economic proposal that would give any confidence in a national economic policy. Look at the sum total of it, and there’s so much more that could be outlined to what Donald Trump achieved and could yet still achieve, it’s not even a close question. And that my friends is exactly why Donald Trump is under relentless attack from both wings of the UniParty in DC. Additionally, it is clear the Wall Street Republicans are trying to position Ron DeSantis as an alternative to another Trump term.

Look carefully at the current advocates for DeSantis, Nikki Haley and/or Kristi Noem, and you will note every one of those early voices are attached to favorable Wall Street politics and multinational corporate advocacy. Look at what Donald J. Trump was able to achieve while he was under constant political attack. Just imagine what Trump 2.0 would deliver. They, the leftist Democrats and Wall Street Republicans, are yet again absolutely petrified of that.

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“..Biden’s “leadership on the world stage has been impressive.”

We Asked All 50 Democratic Senators If They Would Endorse Biden In 2024. Only 5 Said ‘Yes’

Will Democratic Senators Endorse Biden In 2024? (DC)

The Daily Caller contacted all 50 Senate Democrats repeatedly and asked if they would support President Joe Biden in his 2024 presidential bid. Five Senators said “Yes.” A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader and Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer responded to the Daily Caller with a one-word answer: “Yes.” Spokespeople for Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Jack Reed of Rhode Island responded in the same way: “Yes.” Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s spokesperson also said the senator would endorse Biden, noting, “Yes, Senator Booker supports President Biden for re-election should he run again in 2024.” Several members of the Democratic Party have recently cast doubt on Biden’s support for his presidential run in 2024 amid his desperate polling numbers.

This week, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to answer if she will endorse Biden, saying “we’ll take a look at it” when the time comes. Democratic officials and voters also cited the poor state of the country and Biden’s age as reasons they are hesitant to be fully behind Biden now in an article from The New York Times. (RELATED: A Slew Of Democrats Are Quietly Hoping Biden Won’t Run In 2024) Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coon’s spokesperson answered the Daily Caller’s inquiry with a reference to the senator’s recent comments about Biden’s 2024 run. “It’s my understanding that the president intends to seek a second term, and I understand why,” Coons said in a Monday interview, adding that Biden’s “leadership on the world stage has been impressive.”

Coons cited Biden’s performance in foreign policy, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, Biden’s vow to tackle health care costs and his “clear plans” on how to handle inflation as reasons for why Biden deserves support. “I can understand why he might think running for reelection is a good idea,” Coons concluded in the interview. Coons’ spokesperson then confirmed to the Daily Caller that the senator would endorse Biden in 2024. “Yes, If President Biden runs, he’ll support him,” he said. The 45 other Democratic Senators did not respond to several inquiries form the Daily Caller if they would endorse Biden in 2024.

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Historic defeat? Or will mail-in ballots come to the rescue?

Usual Midterm Indicators Very Unfavorable for Democrats (Gallup)

With less than five months to go before voters elect all members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, the current Democratic congressional majority is facing an extremely unfavorable election environment. The party of the president typically loses U.S. House seats in midterm elections — an average of 23 since 1974. However, 2022 is not shaping up to be an average year. Rather, as of May, Gallup finds presidential job approval and three other key national mood indicators well below the historical averages measured in past midterm election years. On their own, those numbers would all predict a greater-than-average loss of seats for the Democratic Party this fall.

Gallup’s latest data, from a May 2-22 survey, finds 41% of Americans approving of the job President Joe Biden is doing, 18% approving of the job Congress is doing, 16% satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., and a 32-percentage-point deficit in positive (14%) versus negative (46%) ratings of current economic conditions. Each of those metrics is at least 10 points lower than the historical average at the time of past midterm elections, and most are on pace to be the worst of such readings. Midterm elections are widely seen as a referendum on the incumbent president, and this is justified by the high correspondence between overall job approval and seat loss for the president’s party. Given this, congressional seat losses for unpopular presidents’ parties have been above average historically, averaging 37 since 1946.

Biden’s current 41% approval rating puts him in the lower tier of all prior presidents’ job approval ratings taken just before past midterm elections. Biden currently has the same approval rating that Donald Trump did at the time of the 2018 elections, when the GOP lost 40 House seats, and similar to Ronald Reagan’s 42% in October 1982, before the Republicans lost 26 seats. Only one president, George W. Bush, had a lower rating than Biden does today, and his 38% rating in November 2006 was associated with a 30-seat loss.

Biden’s fellow Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost an even larger number of House seats in 1994 and 2010, respectively, with slightly higher approval ratings than Biden has now. Those steeper losses reflect the relatively large number of House seats held by Democrats going into those elections in addition to the president’s unpopularity. The Democratic Party lost fewer seats in Obama’s second midterm in 2014 when Obama was no more popular than in his first midterm four years earlier, but Democrats were defending fewer seats.

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Historic shift.

Biden’s Summit of No-Shows (Lawrence)

I tip my cap, as we all should, to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. And to Presidents Luis Arce of Bolivia, Xiaomara Castro of Honduras, Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala and Nayib Bukele of El Savador. They all pointedly declined to join President Joe Biden at his Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last week, joining to protest Biden’s refusal to invite Miguel Díaz–Canel, Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega, the presidents of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua respectively. Add it up. Eight of the region’s 33 nations were absent when Biden convened the summit “to demonstrate the resurgence of U.S. leadership in the region,” as the government-supervised New York Times forlornly put it. Don’t they ever get tired of these long-exhausted phrases over on Eighth Avenue?

“There can be no Americas summit if all the countries of the American continent do not participate,” López Obrador explained at a press conference announcing his decision. “Or there can be, but we believe that means continuing with the politics of old, of interventionism, of a lack of respect for the nations and their people.” Well said, Señor Presidente. Speaking more bluntly, Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president until the U.S. cultivated a coup that forced him into exile three years ago, called the summit “stillborn.” There is nothing like clear, plain language to get a clear, plain point across. This, the ninth such summit since Bill Clinton convened the first in Miami in 1994, was far more than Biden’s latest flop on the public relations side. In my read it is another sign among many that Washington is losing its hold over its southern neighbors.

This could prove an historic shift, reversing more than a century of usually coercive influence. Dollying out still further, the administration’s failure in Los Angeles last week signals a startlingly swift decline in American power everywhere other than Western Europe and among longtime allies such as Japan and South Korea. Biden drastically misread his moment with his “America is back” bit as he took office 18 months ago. Having overplayed his hand, he is now destined to preside over a significant inflection point in the late-phase imperium’s crumbling hegemony. It is exactly what Joe “Not on my watch” Biden wanted most to avoid.

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Immune systems need training.

Children Are Being Infected With Up To Three Viruses At A Time (DM)

Children are turning up in doctors’ clinics infected with as many as three different types of viruses, in what experts believe is the result of their immune systems being weakened from two years of COVID lockdowns and mask-wearing. Medical staff have come to expect a surge in cases of flu and severe colds during the winter. But they are reporting that there is not the usual downturn as summer approaches – and they suspect it could be due to the strict pandemic practices. Furthermore, some of common strains of the flu appear to have disappeared, flummoxing scientists. Thomas Murray, an infection-control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale, told The Washington Post on Monday that his team was seeing children with combinations of seven common viruses – adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza and parainfluenza, as well as the coronavirus.

Some children were admitted with two viruses and a few with three, he said. ‘That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June,’ he said. CDC data obtained by DailyMail.com showed lower overall levels of influenza infections among young children – but an abnormal surge starting several weeks ago during the beginning of the summer months, normally a dead period for respiratory infections. Other strange patterns have emerged. The rhinovirus, known as the common cold, is normally not severe enough to send people to hospital – but now it is. RSV normally tapers off in the warmer weather, as does the influenza, but they have not.

And the Yamagata strain of flu has not been seen since early 2020 – which researchers say could because it is extinct, or perhaps just dormant and waiting for the right moment to return. ‘It’s a massive natural experiment,’ said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and chief science officer at the digital health platform eMed, told the Post.

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“they can legally just steal all our money?” and “Fuckfuckfuck” and “Bruh I was gonna exit today too RIP.”

The Stock Market At The End Of The World (EdZ)

Yesterday, as cryptocurrency prices crashed and many lost their shirts and asses due to overleveraging, Celsius Network, a loan platform for cryptocurrency, chose to pause all withdrawals, swaps, or transfers between accounts, citing “extreme market conditions.” To be clear, this means that billions of dollars of funds are being held hostage on a non-specific timeline by a company that several people have suggested may not have the liquidity to handle a full withdrawal of funds. It’s a bit like if you went to a bank and put money in there, but there was a rough day on the stock market, so now your debit card doesn’t work, and you can’t transfer money to anyone.

Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, also paused withdrawals of Bitcoin, citing a “stuck transaction,” a hold that lasted for three hours. In the last 48 hours, I’ve watched Bitcoin crumble from just under $25,000 on Monday to just over $21,000 as I write this – a number I’ll likely update multiple times before I finish writing this – and people are despairing. The Celsius Network subreddit includes some of the more depressing posts I’ve ever read, with users saying stuff like “they can legally just steal all our money?” and “Fuckfuckfuck” and “Bruh I was gonna exit today too RIP.” Crypto.com and BlockFi have both announced layoffs, and Coinbase retracted hundreds of job offers from people who had agreed to them, including at least one person who needed it for a visa.

What we are seeing is a connection between actions, consequences, ignorance and hubris. This crash – to whatever extent it continues – may end up damaging many millions more lives than the ones in 2017/2018 simply because more people have been exposed to crypto through hucksters and celebrities telling them this was the future. And just like the rest of the startup world, the crypto industry massively overhired to deal with the rush of new money and excitement in the industry, with clearly no strategy to prepare for the thing that crypto is best known for – crashing.

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Housing itself will follow, and mortgages.

“Real Estate Tech” in Existential Crisis (WS)

Here’s the problem with companies whose hype-and hoopla stocks have collapsed by 80% or 90%: They’re facing an existential crisis. They cannot raise more money. But their operations were never designed to make money in the first place. Their business model relied on burning cash, and the whole thing was designed from get-go to use home-made growth metrics to bamboozle investors into buying the stock and pump up the shares. Then the companies, based on their high share price, could issue more shares and raise more money, and feed their cash-burn machine. The plan was to fake it until they could make it.

But with their shares down 80% or 90%, they cannot fake it any longer, and they cannot sell more shares because no one wants them, and they’re going to run out of cash and won’t be able to cover their expenses, and then they cease to exist, and their shares will go to zero, unless they can get the cash-outflows under control, which means cost-cutting. And the fastest and most significant places to cut cost is staff and advertising. If they cannot cut their costs enough, and cannot get their expenses to be less than their revenues, they’ll eventually run out of money. And then that’s it. But if they can cut costs enough, and cut their staff and advertising and other things enough, so that costs come in line, their revenues may sag, or sag even more, and then they may be reporting declining revenues, or more rapidly declining revenues, and continued losses because revenues are now declining faster than expenses, and the whole thing turns into a classic mess.

There are hundreds of companies in this position that went public during the hype-and-hoopla era of money printing and interest rate repression, and they’re all fundamentally facing the same existential crisis, though each company has unique challenges, and in addition, all have to face their industry challenges.

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“A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country.”

Elon Musk Comes To Defense Of ‘Libs of TikTok’ Over Twitter Death Threats (NYP)

Elon Musk has come to the defense of the woman behind the controversial Twitter account “Libs of TikTok” after she tweeted that she was receiving death threats. Musk, the Tesla CEO who has committed to acquiring the social media site for $44 billion, tweeted: “Why?” after the “Libs of TikTok” creator — who was identified by The Washington Post as Chaya Raichik of Brooklyn, New York — tweeted on Monday she had “now received about a dozen death threats after radical leftists accused me of being a domestic terrorist extremist.” “Twitter has not removed any of the accounts of those who sent the threats,” she added. Musk then commented: “A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country.” The tech mogul has vowed to change Twitter’s content moderation policies once he takes the company private once the acquisition is complete.

Musk has said he intends to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was shut down after the events at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Raichik also tweeted that she was forced to relocate due to continuing death threats from other social media users. “Update: After the events of the past 2 days I’ve decided to move to a safer location until things calm down,” read a post from “Libs of TikTok” that was tweeted on Tuesday. “Thank you all for your kind words and support.” Raichik on Monday posted a screenshot of a message she received from another social media user who claimed to have sent her a pipe bomb “for literally supporting nazi bigots.” “Hi @FBI, I’m being threatened with a pipe bomb. Can you please look into this?” she tweeted in response.

Raichik tweeted that she received at least a dozen death threats from other social media users. Last week, Raichik was prevented from posting on her Twitter account after users protested a tweet thread about drag shows to which young children were invited. “Libs of TikTok” posts TikTok videos from liberals who often speak about gender identity and other hot-button issues that have become a staple of political and cultural debates. The account has amassed more than 1.2 million followers.

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But only after Musk commented.

Twitter Responds To Death Threats Against ‘Libs of TikTok’ (JTN)

Twitter suspended the accounts of users who sent death threats targeting the owner of the Libs of TikTok Twitter handle after Elon Musk criticized the company. Musk, who has been in discussions to buy Twitter, asked the company why it has not responded to the threats targeting Libs of TikTok, which reposts videos made by leftists. The Libs of TikTok account claimed on Monday to have “received about a dozen death threats after radical leftists accused me of being a domestic terrorist extremist.” The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz revealed in April that Chaya Raichik was behind the account, and Raichik told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson she was forced into hiding after Lorenz’s article.

Commentator Ian Miles Cheong responded to Musk questioning Twitter by criticizing the platform’s apparent bias against conservatives. “On a just platform, everyone would be treated equally. As it is, you can be banned for merely criticizing (not even threatening) woke progressives, but they can send conservatives death threats without any repercussions,” he wrote. “A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country,” Musk responded to Cheong. On Tuesday, Raichik thanked Musk and posted pictures captioned “How it started” with Musk’s comments and “How it’s going” with emails from Twitter notifying her about the threatening accounts being suspended.

Raichik seemingly had a sense of humor about the situation. Commenting on a tweet from the Daily Wire about Musk’s response to the threats, she said: “It could’ve been worse… I could have been misgendered.”

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The UK is immoral and amoral.

UK Asylum Flight To Rwanda Cancelled After 11th-hour ECHR Intervention (G.)

Boris Johnson’s plan to send an inaugural flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda has been abandoned after a dramatic 11th-hour ruling by the European court of human rights. Up to seven people who had come to the UK seeking refuge had been expected to be removed to the east African country an hour and a half before the flight was due to take off. But a ruling by the ECHR on one of the seven cases allowed lawyers for the other six to make successful last-minute applications. The decision is a significant and embarrassing blow for Boris Johnson and his home secretary, Priti Patel, who had promised to start sending thousands of asylum seekers 4,000 miles to the east African country in May.

It comes hours after the prime minister threatened to take the UK out of the ECHR and accused lawyers of aiding criminals exploiting refugees in the Channel. The legality of the Rwanda policy will be tested in a full court hearing next month. Responding to the decision, Patel said she was “disappointed” by the legal challenge, made pointed criticisms of the ECHR ruling and said that the policy will continue. “We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders,” she said. “Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.” Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said that the government must take responsibility for the failed flight, and indicated that the government does not mind clashing with lawyers and the European courts.

“Ministers are pursuing a policy they know isn’t workable and that won’t tackle criminal gangs,” she wrote on Twitter last night. “But they still paid Rwanda £120m and hired a jet that hasn’t taken off because they just want a row and someone else to blame.” [..] The ECHR examined the case of a 54-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker who crossed the Channel in a boat. He claimed asylum in the UK last month citing danger to his life in Iraq. Five days later, he was served with a notice of intent indicating that the Home Office was considering deeming his asylum claim inadmissible and relocating him to Rwanda. A doctor at the detention centre issued a report saying that he may have been a victim of torture, it is understood.

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“You will need six times more lithium by 2050..”

aka the death of “Green”.

US And Partners Enter Pact To Secure Critical Minerals Like Lithium (R.)

The United States, Canada and other countries have established a new partnership aimed at securing the supply of critical minerals, which are essential for clean energy and other technologies,as global demand for them rises, the State Department said on Tuesday. Demand for the minerals, such as nickel, lithium and cobalt, is projected to expand significantly in the coming decades. Massive amounts of these minerals will be needed to meet the United States’ emissions reduction goals, Jose Fernandez, under secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment at the State Department, said in a telephone interview. “You will need six times more lithium by 2050 than you use today in order to meet the clean energy goals,” Fernandez said, speaking from Toronto.


Canada “is an important supplier of critical minerals,” he added. The minerals are key inputs in batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and are also used in products ranging from computers to household appliances. The Minerals Security Partnership will aim to help “catalyze investment from governments and the private sector for strategic opportunities … that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards,” the State Department said in a statement. The U.S. government has been working with Canada to boost regional supply chains to counter China’s dominance in the sector. Critical minerals are “a generational economic opportunity for Canada if we get it right,” Canada’s natural resources minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, said in a phone interview.

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Nov 072018
 


M. C. Escher Drawing hands1948

 

The Investigations Trump Will Face Now That Democrats Control the House (NY)
Paul Ryan On Midterms: ‘Tonight History Has Repeated Itself’ (Hill)
Ex-JP Morgan Trader Pleads Guilty To Manipulating US Metals Markets (CNBC)
Italy’s Battle With Brussels Is About More Than Money (Molinari)
EU Austerity Bias Is To Blame For Budget Standoff With Italy (Ind.)
Wanted: Radical Economist To Boost UK Economy (G.)
EU Stumbles In Plan To Levy 3% Digital Tax On Big Tech Firms (G.)
France Demands New Digital Tax On Tech Giants Should Come This Year (CNBC)
UK Accuses EU Of Brexit Bias As It Refuses To Endorse Aid Spending (G.)
Facial Image Matching System Risks ‘Chilling Effect’ On Freedoms (G.)
The West is Failing Julian Assange (Maurizi)
Recovery Of Endangered Whales Hampered By Humans Long After Hunting (AFP)
Children Urged To Play Outdoors To Cut Risk Of Shortsightedness (G.)

 

 

Yes, they dream of impeachment. Dozens of options. As per this New Yorker piece, even 2 years of Mueller isn’t enough, he must be replaced by a committee.

Likely to happen soon: Sessions, Mueller, maybe Rosenstein to be fired by Trump. And DNC/FBI operatives and activities investigated.

Be careful what you wish for.

The Investigations Trump Will Face Now That Democrats Control the House (NY)


CNN projection at about 3 am EST

There are a half dozen House committees that have the power to investigate Trump—Intelligence, Oversight, Ways and Means, and Judiciary, among others. The chair of any committee—always a member of the majority party—has wide latitude to pursue investigations, issue subpoenas, and compel testimony. The news for the next year or longer seems likely to be dominated by a steady stream of coverage of the people closest to Trump as they testify before Congress under duress, or under a grant of immunity, or coverage of their refusal to speak at all for fear of incriminating themselves. At the same time, there could be regular reports about what the committee staff has found in subpoenaed records—perhaps Trump’s tax returns, his company’s internal financial documents, the records of his various oligarch partners in the former Soviet Union, and e-mails and other digital messages between Trump’s team and people in Russia.

For many Democrats—and quite a few independents and even a few Republicans—this is a gleeful prospect. After two years of feeling powerless, they will see, for the first time, a sustained, powerful check on Trump’s power and a public investigation with teeth and tools. It is hard to imagine that a serious investigation into Trump’s businesses, campaign, and Administration won’t uncover a lot of damaging information. There is, however, something of a split among Democratic Party operatives. I spoke with many of them—most wouldn’t speak on the record about an intraparty battle—and learned that there are two (or maybe three) distinct and contradictory views among influential Democrats.

Many are anxious to get going on these investigations as soon as possible. There is still a real possibility that the President colluded with the Russian government to sway an American election. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that his business and personal conduct has been so questionable that he could be compromised by multiple foreign governments. This is as serious a question as Congress could face, and needs to be investigated. Perhaps Robert Mueller will reveal all the information anyone could want, but maybe he won’t, and Congress cannot leave the investigation of the Administration to a special counsel who is, for all his hard-won independence, still a member of the administrative branch of government.

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Same old same old. It’s about mitigating losses. Obama lost much more. Anywhere from 50-100 GOP Congressmen retired. That’s a huge loss. But they’re mostly moderates, and the new candidates are not.

Paul Ryan On Midterms: ‘Tonight History Has Repeated Itself’ (Hill)

Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) in his final statement as Speaker of the House said “history has repeated itself” this midterm election cycle, adding that “a party in power always faces tough odds in its first midterm election.” The Democrats took back the House on Tuesday night, flipping more than the 23 seats needed to take back control after eight years of a Republican majority. “It is always hard to see friends and good colleagues work so hard and fall short,” Ryan said in the statement. “Yet I’m proud of the campaign that our members and candidates ran in a challenging political environment.” Ryan’s statement noted that the president’s party since 1862 has lost an average of 32 House seats during the midterm elections.

The retiring Wisconsin Republican congratulated Democrats for winning the majority and the Senate Republicans for maintaining theirs. “We don’t need an election to know that we are a divided nation, and now we have a divided Washington,” Ryan added. “As a country and a government, we must find a way to come together to find common ground and build on the successes of this Congress.” Ryan announced earlier this year that he would be retiring in November. The GOP held Ryan’s vacated seat in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, as Republican Brian Steil won a closely watched-race against Democrat Randy Bryce.

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“..he learned this practice from more senior traders and that his supervisors at the firm knew of his actions.”

Ex-JP Morgan Trader Pleads Guilty To Manipulating US Metals Markets (CNBC)

An ex-J.P. Morgan Chase trader has admitted to manipulating the U.S. markets of an array of precious metals for about seven years — and he has implicated his supervisors at the bank. John Edmonds, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, price manipulation and spoofing, according to a Tuesday release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Edmonds spent 13 years at New York-based J.P. Morgan until leaving last year, according to his LinkedIn account. As part of his plea, Edmonds said that from 2009 through 2015 he conspired with other J.P. Morgan traders to manipulate the prices of gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures contracts on exchanges run by the CME Group.

He and others routinely placed orders that were quickly cancelled before the trades were executed, a price-distorting practice known as spoofing. “For years, John Edmonds engaged in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts for his own gain by placing orders that were never intended to be executed,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in the release. Of note for J.P. Morgan, the world’s biggest investment bank by revenue: Edmonds, a relatively junior employee with the title of vice president, said that he learned this practice from more senior traders and that his supervisors at the firm knew of his actions.

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It’s about overeignty.

Italy’s Battle With Brussels Is About More Than Money (Molinari)

The traditional parties – beginning with the biggest ones, the Democratic party and Forza Italia – failed to grasp the magnitude of the discontent, so the political prize went to those politicians who could. In the south it was Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement that prevailed – thanks to its “citizenship income” proposal – a benefit of €780 (£680) a month for the unemployed. In the north it was Matteo Salvini’s League, which backed two horses at the same time: the so-called “flat tax” to help out businesses in difficulty; and a tough approach to migrants. Five Star and the League have clear dividing lines – their geographic base, their economic ideas and their social makeup. But they have one thing in common: hostility to the European Union.

Five Star accuses the EU of being the root cause of Italy’s economic woes, and the League blames it for having abandoned Italy to the migrant crisis. Which explains why, for Di Maio’s supporters as much as for Salvini’s, the current battle with the European commission over the government’s proposed budget, judged by Brussels to violate agreed eurozone spending restraint, is essentially about identity. The standoff is not just about the deficit, the outlook for growth, the failure to bring down Italy’s debt and the absence of reform: its root cause is the coalition’s belief that by revolutionising its relationship with the EU, Italy will be able to win back trust, optimism and a better future.

Hence the current short-circuit between Rome and Brussels. While the commission is trying to negotiate with Giovanni Tria, the minister for the economy, to modify the Italian budget, Salvini’s and Di Maio’s interests lie in a full-frontal confrontation with Europe.

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But it’s still about money…

EU Austerity Bias Is To Blame For Budget Standoff With Italy (Ind.)

[..] How is it that a far-right politician like Salvini, himself no enemy of big finance, can claim that he speaks for those opposing austerity, corporations and inequality? In short, because Europe’s traditional left has failed to do so. Salvini’s primary concern, of course, is not the majority of Italy’s poor. The claim that this is a budget to “abolish poverty” is pure hyperbole. In fact, the disputed budget is a mish-mash of policies aimed at pleasing both parts of the Italian coalition’s social base. For the League, this mean tax cuts on small businesses and the middle class and protection of better-off pensioners. Five Star meanwhile, the gradual introduction of universal basic income is an important, and progressive, element. There’s also some investment – though not enough.

Why does the EU care? The crux of the problem is that Italy wants to spend more than Eurozone rules allow. It’s planning to run a budget deficit equal to 2.4 per cent of GDP, too high, say EU rules, for a government with a debt as big as Italy’s (currently over 131 per cent of GDP). These are the rules of the Eurozone laid down in treaties (but always open to interpretation when it’s convenient). Any monetary union requires rules. On entering such a union, governments accept that they are giving something up – monetary policy – but gaining something else – in this case monetary stability, low interest rates, less exposure to the law of the markets. The problem in the EU is that the rules don’t work for the majority of European citizens, and they are particularly punishing to weaker economies.

After five years of 10 per cent unemployment and low or negative growth, Italy’s government says you have to spend and invest to repair a damaged economy. They compare their programme to that of the New Deal measures of President Roosevelt. This shouldn’t be controversial. But the Eurozone’s rules go in precisely the opposite direction – forcing austerity on stagnant and depressed countries in exactly the way the International Monetary Fund pushed austerity of dozens of developing countries in the 1980s and 90s. This result has been catastrophic in terms of human welfare.

Greece experienced the worst effects. It has experienced an economic collapse longer-lasting than the US’s Great Depression in the 1930s. GDP is still lower than it was in 2007. While unemployment has fallen from 30 per cent, it’s still at nearly 20 per cent, far higher in terms of young people. Wages and pensions have been slashed. Vast swathes of the economy have been sold (to the very financial sector which created the global financial crash), and debt is higher than ever, at 180 per cent of GDP, with payments due for decades into the future.

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A radical who fits the existing mold. Oxymoronic.

Wanted: Radical Economist To Boost UK Economy (G.)

One of the biggest cash prizes in world economics has been launched to find “radical ideas” to reinvigorate the British economy. Launched against a backdrop of deep public distrust in politicians to revitalise the UK economy, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank has lined up an £150,000 prize fund to uncover fresh ideas. It comes after growth figures revealed at the budget show economic growth in Britain has dropped to among the lowest levels in the G7, while inequality has risen and there are growing pressures on the environment. Believed to be the third-biggest prize in international economics, the new IPPR prize will reward policy solutions to tackle these problems, while forcing a “step change in the quality and quantity of the UK’s economic growth.”

It will include a single main prize of £100,000, placing it among the most lucrative prizes in the economics profession after the 9m Swedish krona (£760,455) Nobel award from the Swedish central bank and the £250,000 Wolfson prize, which was launched in 2011 by the Tory peer and Next chief executive Simon Wolfson. The IPPR economics prize – supported by the prominent Labour donor and Brexit campaigner John Mills – will also have a dedicated under-25s prize worth £25,000, and a runners-up prize pot of £25,000. Mills, who is the founder of the JML electronics company, said that Britain faced a “toxic cocktail of issues that need fresh solutions,” adding that growth has recently been 60% lower than the G20 average. “We are falling further behind every year. Our productivity is poor, levels of investment are meagre, and we cannot pay our way in the world,” he added.

[..] With a deadline of 6 January 2019, entrants for the economics prize will be asked to answer the question: “What would be your radical plan to force a step change in the quality and quantity of the UK’s economic growth?”

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Taxes should not be a priority. Legal issues should be. Monopolies.

EU Stumbles In Plan To Levy 3% Digital Tax On Big Tech Firms (G.)

A European Union plan to tax Google, Facebook and other internet firms risks failure after a handful of member states announced their opposition. EU countries are studying proposals to levy a 3% tax on big internet companies that make money from user data or digital advertising, in a bid to level the playing field with bricks-and-mortar companies that pay more tax. But the idea, which must be agreed unanimously by all 28 member states, is running into serious opposition, as Ireland, Sweden and Denmark made their criticism public on Tuesday.

Germany had initially supported the idea in a joint agreement with France, but is now seeking to water down and delay the proposals, moves that are causing deep frustration in Paris. A dozen countries are moving ahead with their own national digital taxes, with Spain and the UK among the recent converts. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced last week that the UK was prepared to go it alone, with a “narrowly-targeted” digital services tax that is expected to come into force in April 2020 and raise £400m for the exchequer. Opponents to the digital tax fear the wrath of Donald Trump’s White House, which regards the EU’s efforts to ensure “fair taxation” of internet giants as an attack on American companies, a charge the EU rejects.

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This year has less than two months left.

France Demands New Digital Tax On Tech Giants Should Come This Year (CNBC)

The French government has pushed for a new levy on internet giants, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, in order to make these firms pay what they see as a fairer tax rate in the region. This measure is likely to get some sympathy among voters ahead of next spring’s European elections. However, some technical differences among European countries have not allowed substantial progress on this front. Critics of the new tax also say that it could stifle innovation. “We want the adoption of the directive on digital taxation by the end of this year. This is a clear red line for the French government,” Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister told reporters in Brussels as he prepared to discuss the issue with his European counterparts.

“We are aware there are some technical issues and technical concerns, but these are technical concerns not political problems, so we still have three or four weeks before the next Ecofin (a regular meeting between EU finance ministers) to fix those technical issues,” Le Maire said. “And I will spend day and night with my German friends to find a compromise and to find a solution on those technical issues. But nobody could take advantage of those technical difficulties to avoid its political responsibility,” the French lawmaker added. There are different concerns across Europe regarding a new tax on the digital giants. Some member states believe that such a tax would be harmful for smaller countries, or potentially hurt some traditional industries. Both Ireland and the Netherlands believe the EU should wait for an international approach to avoid looking “anti-business.”

According to data from the European Commission, digital companies pay on average an effective tax rate of 9.5 percent — compared to 23.2 percent for traditional businesses. The EU proposals include a “common EU solution” which would allow member states to tax profits that are generated in their territory, even if these companies do not have a physical presence there.

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Yeah, NGOs are a big priority for May.

UK Accuses EU Of Brexit Bias As It Refuses To Endorse Aid Spending (G.)

The British government has taken the unprecedented step of refusing to endorse billions of pounds of EU spending on aid projects, as it accused the European commission of discriminating against UK-based organisations over Brexit. In a vote among the 28 member states on the latest allocation of the bloc’s £26.5bn development budget, the UK government declined to give its support for aid spending for the first time. It instead issued a statement accusing the commission of failing to offer the best value for money for European taxpayers by discriminating against British-based organisations that were seeking funding. The criticism was made in response to a commission decision to include clauses in its contracts with aid providers stating all funding will be terminated should there be a no-deal Brexit.

British NGOs have been further warned that unless they can commit to making good the loss of funding should the UK crash out of the EU, they should not compete for funds. A UK government statement explaining its abstention on plans for the European development fund (EDF) expressed particular frustration over the failure of the commission to respond to a letter of complaint from the international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt. The statement, obtained by the Guardian, said the UK was “still waiting for a response to the concerns raised at a political level in August, including via secretary of state for international development’s letter to the commission of 23 August 2018, on the treatment of UK entities in the tendering process of EU programmes”.

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From Australia. These things can no longer be stopped. But yes, privacy is gone.

Facial Image Matching System Risks ‘Chilling Effect’ On Freedoms (G.)

Civil rights groups have warned a vast, powerful system allowing the near real-time matching of citizens’ facial images risks a “profound chilling effect” on protest and dissent. The technology – known in shorthand as “the capability” – collects and pools facial imagery from various state and federal government sources, including driver’s licences, passports and visas. The biometric information can then rapidly – almost in real time – be compared with other sources, such as CCTV footage, to match identities. The system, chiefly controlled by the federal Department of Home Affairs, is designed to give intelligence and security agencies a powerful tool to deter identity crime, and quickly identify terror and crime suspects.

But it has prompted serious concern among academics, human rights groups and privacy experts. The system sweeps up and processes citizens’ sensitive biometric information regardless of whether they have committed or are suspected of an offence. Critics have warned of a “very substantial erosion of privacy”, function creep and the system’s potential use for mass general surveillance. There are also fears about the level of access given to private corporations and the legislation’s loose wording, which could allow it to be used for purposes other than related to terrorism or serious crime. States agreed to the concept at a Council of Australian Governments meeting last year, though it is yet to be legislated by federal parliament.

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Stefania Maurizi is an Italian journalist. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents, and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden files about Italy.

The West is Failing Julian Assange (Maurizi)

Documents reveal that the UK authorities referred to the Assange case as not an ordinary one from the very beginning. “Please do not think that the case is being dealt with as just another extradition request,” they wrote on January 13, 2011 to the Swedish prosecutors. A few months later, a UK official added: “I do not believe anything like this has ever happened, either in terms of speed or in the informal nature of the procedures. I suppose this case never ceases to amaze.” What is special about this case? And why did the UK authorities keep insisting on extradition at all costs?

At some point even the Swedish prosecutors seemed to express doubts about the legal strategy advocated by their UK counterpart. Emails between UK and Swedish authorities I have obtained under FOIA show that in 2013 Sweden was ready to withdraw the European Arrest Warrant in light of the judicial and diplomatic paralysis the request for extradition had created. But the UK did not agree with lifting the arrest warrant: the legal case dragged on for another four years, when finally on the May 19, 2017, Sweden dropped its investigation after Swedish prosecutors had questioned Assange in London, as he had always asked.

Although the Swedish probe was ultimately terminated, Assange remains confined. No matter that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention established that the WikiLeaks founder has been arbitrarily detained since 2010, and that he should be freed and compensated. The UK, which encourages other states to respect international law, doesn’t care about the decision by this UN body whose opinions are respected by the European Court of Human Rights. After trying to appeal the UN decision and losing the appeal, Britain is simply ignoring it. There is no end in sight to Assange’s arbitrary detention.

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We’ll kill ’em off yet.

Recovery Of Endangered Whales Hampered By Humans Long After Hunting (AFP)

When an endangered female North Atlantic right whale spends months, even years, disentangling itself from cast-off fishing nets, there’s not much energy left over for mating and nursing calves. Coping with such debris, along with ship collisions and other forms of human encroachment, have severely stymied recovery of the majestic sea mammals long after explosive harpoons and factory ships nearly wiped them out, according to a study published Wednesday. Once numbering in the tens of thousands, the northern whale’s population — hovering around 450 today — climbed slowly from 1990, but began to drop again around 2010.

Had the Canadian and US waters they plied during that quarter of a century been pristine and uncluttered by human traffic, “the species’ numbers would be almost double what they are now, and their current emergency wouldn’t be so dire,” scientists led by Peter Corkeron of the NOAA Northeastern Fisheries Science Center in Massachusetts reported. More to the point, there would be twice as many female whales: “The general slope of the recovery trajectory is driven by female mortality,” they added. From 1970 to 2009, 80 percent of 122 known North Atlantic right whale deaths were caused by human objects or activity. The species has not been hunted for more than half a century.

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Modern man is fat, depressed and blind.

Children Urged To Play Outdoors To Cut Risk Of Shortsightedness (G.)

Children should be encouraged to spend time outdoors to reduce their risk of becoming shortsighted, experts have said. Shortsightedness is rising around the world, with the condition said to have reached epidemic proportions in east Asia: estimates suggest about 90% of teenagers and young adults in China have the condition. While genetics are thought to play a large role in who ends up shortsighted – a condition that is down to having an overly long eyeball – research also suggests environmental factors are important. Several studies have found children who spend more time outdoors have a lower risk of myopia.

While some report that looking into the distance could be important, others say exposure to outdoor light is key. Experts say they have found new factors, and confirmed others, which could affect a child’s risk of becoming shortsighted. These include playing computer games, being born in the summer and having a more highly educated mother. “There is not much you can do about when your child is born … but periods indoors doing indoor activities does increase your risk of myopia,” said Katie Williams, an author of the study by King’s College London. “A healthy balance of time outdoors and a balance during early education is important.”

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Nov 062018
 


Elio Ciol Via Portica, Assisi 1958

 

Pollsters were so wrong in 2016 you’d think they would have changed jobs by now. Yeah, sure. We remember the 97% prediction for a Hillary win, right? And the 92% from the New York Times? Happy days. Now we have the same suspects plying their usual trade again. As if nothing has changed. And that’s a bit of an issue. It would be beneficial if pollsters asked themselves why they got 2016 so wrong, but since there’s been little to no consequence for their livelihoods, they haven’t.

Because of the frenzy whipped out over today’s midterms, with almost everyone declaring this the most important midterms, if not elections, of their lifetimes, more people have participated in early voting, and far more than usual have expressed their intention to go vote.

And so the pollsters look at that and apply their age-old models to it. More people voting is good for the Democrats, as is more early voting, according to them, and so is more young people voting. Ditto for black people, Hispanics. Because that’s how it’s always been. And it’s easier that way than to actually go talk to people about their votes, and the reasons behind these votes.

But it’s as if Trump never happened in 2016, when his performance made that entire polling industry look like useless fools. How about if Trump’s rallies and tweets are a major reason why more Americans, and more young Americans, will go and vote? Certainly doesn’t sound crazy.

Update: after I wrote the above last night, first thing in the morning came this graph from NBC. I feel at least partly vindicated.

 

 

The Democrats and their media allies have a bit of a Catch-22 going on. They want to sound enthusiastic and confident about the midterms, but not so much that it will make potential voters stay away. It doesn’t seem to work: they again sound like they got it in the bag.

Moreover, their entire schtick is based on one thing only: Trump. Not being Trump is supposed to be their ticket to ride. They don’t actually have programs or policies, at least not on a national level. They’re simply betting on being able to whip up enough hatred of the Donald.

In a nation as polarized as America is these days, that is both extremely easy and extremely hard. Easy, because the one half of Americans who already despise the man read and see that part of the media that cultivates that hatred from dusk till dawn every single day.

Hard, because there are very few people left who are either on the fence or don’t hate the man, whose opinions could be changed by more of the same kind of ‘reporting’. The chips are down, the lines have been drawn.

If only the MSM could report on terrible economic numbers on top of labeling Trump a racist, misogynist, aniti-Semite, fascist. But the economy -on the surface- is doing fine, and it’s that, stupid. For many Americans, including fence-sitters, that’s what it’s all about.

One of the first things I read yesterday was a headline that said Hillary is still the Democrats’ best bet for 2020. I’m going to have to doubt that there’s a better illustration of what’s ailing the Democrats.

Even as there’s the issue of Schumer, Pelosi, Feinstein, Wasserman-Schultz and Waters still leading that party, while their only challengers insist on calling themselves ‘socialists’, which is to one’s election chances in America what a wooden stake is to a vampire’s odds of survival.

 

And they would still win by a wide margin if not for Trump. Because the Republicans have the exact same issues. They too are ruled by a bunch of sociopath pensioners who can’t and won’t let go of the thrill of power and the millions slipped to them under the table by banks and insurers and gunmakers.

There’s only one way for the nation to prevent being run by the cast of Cocoon, and that is Trump, and he’s 72 himself. A president has two terms, even if he’s under 50 years old, but Senators can stay forever even if they live to be 100. And changes to that are subject to decisions by that very same crew. It’s a bankrupt system in which voters can and do go bankrupt and politicians are all millionaires.

And yet the systems rolls out all it’s got to protect itself. But it’s gone overboard with that. There has been so much in the way of smear and allegations against Trump that turned out not be based on anything, that the MSM has muzzled itself, prevented itself from reaching anyone other than those who are already in their camp.

That’s what you get for confusing news and opinion. Of course it’s tempting, because it attracted so many viewers and readers, and so much money, but in the end, the WaPo, NYT and CNN have voluntarily given up access to half of America, and with them the Democrats have too. Down the line, that will prove to be a very costly ‘business model’.

 

In 2015 I predicted Trump would win the presidential elections. not based on his qualities so much, but the lack of qualities on Hillary’s side. This time I don’t want to predict the outcome of the midterms, but I just can’t see the Democrats win, let alone bigly, because they have nothing to offer other than not being the man responsible for more jobs and -so far- slightly, slowly higher wages.

If the Democrats do take the House, they can be expected to go after Trump and his administration, with more investigations in the vein of the Mueller one, endlessly protracted innuendo that doesn’t go anywhere. The polarization might well make America a de facto ungovernable country. If they take the Senate as well, Trump may be a lame duck, and impeachment talk will rear its ugly head again.

If the Republicans maintain control of both House and Senate, they will demand thorough investigations of the Mueller files and much more, like the Kavanaugh accusations. Not a highly desirable thing either, because it will lead to even more polarization. But how much deeper can they dig themselves into their trenches?

Both the Democrats and the MSM have painted themselves into a tight corner. They should engage in a dialogue with Trump, but how do you do that after publicly bashing someone 24/7 for 2 years and change?

That all said, it’s obvious that it truly will be an important day today. The only good outcome, regardless of the vote, would be for everyone to sit down and talk to each other. But what are the odds of that?

 

 

Nov 062018
 


Pablo Picasso Group of dancers. Olga Kokhlova is lying in the foreground 1919

 

What Happened To Stocks After Every Midterm Election Since World War II (MW)
Stocks Surge After Latest Rasmussen Poll Shows GOP Retaining The House (ZH)
US Intelligence: No Evidence Of Any Attempts To Tamper With Midterms (NBC)
US and China To Hold A Top-Level Security Dialogue On Friday (R.)
Exposing China’s Overseas Lending (Reinhart)
EU Lost Over €100 BIllion Due To Its Own Anti-Russia Sanctions – Lavrov (RT)
Eurozone Ministers Line Up Behind EU In Italy Budget Dispute (G.)
The Italian People Must Understand That Their Country Is At War (Gefira)
Australia’s Housing Downturn Could Spark Interest Rate Cut (ABC.au)
UN Investigates Extreme Poverty In UK (CNN)
American Bread & Circus (Mike Maloney)
Large Hydropower Dams ‘Not Sustainable’ (BBC)
US Supreme Court Allows Historic Kids’ Climate Lawsuit To Go Forward (Nature)

 

 

2019 as a great year for stocks as the Fed hikes rates? Hmmm..

What Happened To Stocks After Every Midterm Election Since World War II (MW)

[..] let’s steer clear of opinion and emotion. Instead, I want to focus solely on the facts that are relevant to you as an investor. As you’ll see, you don’t need to waste even one second worrying about which party will win on Tuesday. I was surprised by what we found. Since 1946, there have been 18 midterm elections. Stocks were higher 12 months after every single one. Every single one. That’s 18 for 18. Even though we’ve had every possible political combination in the past 72 years. Republican president with Democratic Congress. Democratic president with Republican Congress. Republican president and Congress. Democratic president and Congress.

Since 1946, stocks have risen an average of 17% in the year after a midterm. And if you measure from the yearly midterm lows, the results are even better. From their lows, stocks jumped an average of 32% over the next 12 months. For perspective, that’s more than double the average performance for stocks in all years. We’re also entering the third year of a presidential term, which is historically the strongest year for stocks. Take a look at this chart. You can see that the performance of stocks in the third year of a presidential term beats all other years by a long shot:

Read more …

“Rasmussen was the only major pollster in 2016 to predict a Trump victory..”

Stocks Surge After Latest Rasmussen Poll Shows GOP Retaining The House (ZH)

US equity markets ramped into the green as the final Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot before Election Day shows Republicans edging ahead by one point… The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that 46% would choose the Republican candidate if the elections for Congress were held today. 45% would vote for the Democrat. 3% prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) remain undecided. A week ago, Democrats held a 47% to 44% lead. This is the first poll showing a GOP lead, and it may matter: while often accused of bias, Rasmussen was the only major pollster in 2016 to predict a Trump victory; Rasmussen was also the only major pollster whose prediction was proven correct.

Read more …

So no stories afterward?!

US Intelligence: No Evidence Of Any Attempts To Tamper With Midterms (NBC)

U.S. intelligence officials have seen no evidence that any nation state is attempting to tamper with voting systems or election infrastructure ahead of tomorrow’s midterm election, intelligence officials told NBC News Tuesday. “There’s a lot of noise—we see the typical scanning and probing—but we can’t attribute it to any bad actors,” said one official briefed on the intelligence. U.S. officials also told NBC News that last week the White House was sent a top secret assessment of election security produced by a newly created interagency task force.

The assessment, created by NSA and U.S. Cyber Command specialists, also found no evidence that any foreign actors were working to infiltrate election infrastructure in the run up to Tuesday’s midterms, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the assessment. [..] In addition to reviewing possible threats, the task force members are taking an offensive posture, secretly communicating to known operatives in Russia and elsewhere that they are aware of their activities, sources said. A senior U.S. official described the communications with the suspected hackers as, “We know that you’re going to do this. Don’t do it!”

The task force, which was created in May, has built a database of hackers and trolls, as well as Russian government institutions and private entities that have been involved in the U.S., a senior intelligence official said. The assessment on potential election system tampering is consistent with what American officials have been saying publicly all year. They have sounded the alarm about foreign influence campaigns on social media––led by Russia, China and Iran––but they have seen no evidence that any foreign actor was gearing up to hack the vote.

Read more …

Mostly about trade? Or is it Iran?

US and China To Hold A Top-Level Security Dialogue On Friday (R.)

The United States and China will hold a delayed top-level security dialogue on Friday, the latest sign of a thaw in relations, as China’s vice president said Beijing was willing to talk with Washington to resolve their bitter trade dispute. The resumption of high-level dialogue, marked by a phone call last week between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, comes ahead of an expected meeting between the two at the G20 summit in Argentina starting in late November. It follows months of recriminations spanning trade, U.S. accusations of Chinese political interference, the disputed South China Sea and self-ruled Taiwan.

China and the United States have both described last week’s telephone call between Xi and Trump as positive. Trump predicted he’d be able to make a deal with China on trade. In a concrete sign of the unfreezing, the U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will take part in diplomatic and security talks later this week in Washington. China said last month the two sides had initially agreed “in principle” to hold the second round of diplomatic security talks in October but they were postponed at Washington’s request amid rising tensions over trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Read more …

Over 100 countries borrowed from China. Mostly in USD.

Exposing China’s Overseas Lending (Reinhart)

Over the past 15 years, China has fueled one of the most dramatic and geographically far-reaching surges in official peacetime lending in history. More than one hundred predominantly low-income countries have taken out Chinese loans to finance infrastructure projects, expand their productive capacity in mining or other primary commodities, or support government spending in general. But the size of this lending wave is not its most distinctive feature. What is truly remarkable is how little anyone other than the immediate players – the Chinese government and development agencies that do the lending and the governments and state-owned enterprises that do the borrowing – knows about it.

There is some information about the size and timing of Chinese loans from the financial press and a variety of private and academic sources; but information about loans’ terms and conditions is scarce to nonexistent. Three years ago, writing about “hidden debts” to China and focusing on the largest borrowers in Latin America (Venezuela and Ecuador), I noted with concern that standard data sources do not capture the marked expansion of China’s financial transactions with the remainder of the developing world. Not much has changed since then.

While China in 2016 joined the ranks of countries reporting to the Bank for International Settlements, the lending from development banks in China is not broken down by counterparty in the BIS data. Emerging-market borrowing from China is seldom in the form of securities issued in international capital markets, so it also does not appear in databases at the World Bank and elsewhere. These accounting deficiencies mean that many developing and emerging-market countries’ external debts are currently underestimated in varying degrees. Moreover, because these are mostly dollar debts, missing the China connection leads to underestimating balance sheets’ vulnerability to currency risk.

Read more …

But … the Russians!

EU Lost Over €100 BIllion Due To Its Own Anti-Russia Sanctions – Lavrov (RT)

The EU is punishing itself for doing Washington’s bidding and sanctioning Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. However, while the restrictions policy does not harm the US, the EU suffers billions in losses. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Lavrov lamented the dismal state of EU-Russia relations, describing them as far from normal. The divisions are being fueled from across the pond, he said. “The mythical ‘Russian threat’ is forced upon the Europeans, primarily, from the outside,” Lavrov said. The main bone of contention between the EU and Russia –sanctions– were imposed by the European nations “on direct orders” from Washington.

With that said, the US has hardly felt any adverse effect from the policy it championed, unlike the EU. “Estimates of losses incurred by the EU states from the sanctions vary. According to some estimates, they might amount to over €100 billion. It’s important that European politicians understand this,” the minister said. Russia, which had to retaliate with tit-for-tat measures, is ready to lift the restrictions it imposed on European goods back in 2014. “We have spoken repeatedly about our readiness to abolish countermeasures,” Lavrov said. However, the EU must make the first step. “We hope that common sense will eventually prevail since, objectively speaking, the sanctions neither benefit Russia nor the EU,” the diplomat added.

Read more …

Get in line or else. That’s Brussels for you.

Eurozone Ministers Line Up Behind EU In Italy Budget Dispute (G.)

Several eurozone finance ministers have come out to back Brussels in a row with Italy’s populist government over a budget that has been deemed to break the rules of the common currency bloc.France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, warned that the future of the euro was at stake as he urged the Italian government to reach an agreement with the European commission. “The wise path is the path of dialogue, exchange of views, to find the best solution for the eurozone as a whole, for the Italian government and for our common currency,” he said on Monday as he arrived at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers. “For what is at stake now is our common currency.” Italy doubled down on its refusal to change the budget, a week before a deadline to submit new plans to the European commission.

“No little letter will make us back down. Italy will never kneel again,” Italy’s powerful interior minister Matteo Salvini has said. Italian deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio told the Financial Times the rest of Europe should copy Italy’s expansionary public spending plans. “If the recipe works here, it will be said at a European level, we should apply the recipe of Italy to all other countries.” The commission rejected Italy’s draft 2019 budget last month – although other member states, including France and Germany, have broken the rules in the past without sanction. Italy must submit a new plan by 13 November and will hear Brussels’ verdict on 21 November, when the commission delivers an assessment on the budgets of all eurozone members.

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Not yet, I’d say.

The Italian People Must Understand That Their Country Is At War (Gefira)

To make the euro sustainable, the European financial elites want the Italians to reduce their spending and turn a budget deficit into a budget surplus. However, due to the country’s shrinking population the Italian budget deficit — as we have argued many times – can only increase. The European commission rejects the Italian budget because Rome wants to increase its debt far beyond the limit allowed by the ECB. “This is the first Italian budget that the EU doesn’t like,” wrote Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Facebook. “No surprise: This is the first Italian budget written in Rome and not in Brussels!” Matteo Salvini added: “This (the rejection of the Italian budget plan by the EU) doesn’t change anything.”. “They’re not attacking a government but a people. These are things that will anger Italians even more,” he said.

The country has entered a demographic winter and sustainable economic growth is simply impossible, at least for the foreseeable future. As is the case with the whole of Europe, the continent needs a plan to support an ageing and declining population. As if not aware of it, the Brussels-Frankfurt establishment only wants Italy to stick to their austerity program, i.e. decrease public spending and do away with the current Italian administration, which refuses to comply. To force Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini out of office, the European Union will go to any lengths to destroy the Italian banking sector the way they did it in Greece and Cyprus. In 2015 Greece shut down its banks, ordering them to stay closed for six days, and its central bank imposed restrictions to prevent money from fleeing out of the country.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, former head of the euro group, suggests that the financial markets should try to lower the value of the Italian bonds. A lower bond value will erode the capital of the Italian banks and make them insolvent. Mario Draghi, head of the ECB, warned last week that a recent sell-off of Italian government bonds was set to dent the capital of Italy’s banks which own about €375 billion worth of that paper. The remarks of the ECB’s chairman were carefully prepared as another deliberate attack on the Italian financial system. It is highly unusual for central bankers to warn the bank under their supervision against insolvency, at the same time trying to provoke a preemptive bank run.

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RBA has a third mandate: ensuring Australia’s economic prosperity and financial stability..

Australia’s Housing Downturn Could Spark Interest Rate Cut (ABC.au)

Our politicians now have what they have so publicly yearned for; more affordable housing. Real estate prices nationally are down 4.6 per cent year-on-year. The declines, however, are more pronounced in the two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. And the slump is beginning to spread. According to real estate price monitoring firm CoreLogic, Sydney real estate has fallen 7.4 per cent during the past year — the biggest annual decline since 1990, when the economy was sliding into recession. Melbourne has dropped 4.7 per cent during the same period but the pace is accelerating and, just like Sydney, has begun to spread from high-end property into the suburbs with lower-priced housing also turning negative.

Perth, which took a hit as the mining boom unwound, is also back in decline, down a further 3.3 per cent in the past year. Hobart is the only state capital still experiencing boom times, with a 9.7 per cent lift. So far, and much to everyone’s relief, the price declines have been orderly. But after a year of consistent monthly falls in Sydney, the number of people — particularly first-home buyers — now facing significant capital losses are mounting. The main cause for the contraction on the demand side is that it now is much more difficult to raise finance. Banks simply refuse to lend the kind of money previously being thrown at housing.

[..] Unlike most central banks, our Reserve Bank has three mandates, or briefs, that it must maintain. The first is to ensure inflation remains steady and manageable. That’s pretty much the standard brief for every central bank. But the RBA also has to aim for full employment. Plus, it’s tasked with ensuring Australia’s economic prosperity and financial stability. Some would argue that’s an almost impossible mission. And it partly explains why it deliberately fired up the east coast housing boom — to absorb workers being laid off as the mining boom came to an end, even if it merely delayed the inevitable.

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The shame runs deep. Third world.

UN Investigates Extreme Poverty In UK (CNN)

The United Nations has launched an investigation into extreme levels of poverty in one of the richest countries in the world: the United Kingdom. Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, starts a two-week fact-finding mission Monday, visiting some of the country’s poorest towns and cities to examine the effects of austerity measures on rising levels of hardship. Alston, known for his no-holds-barred critiques, will gather evidence on the impact that changes to welfare benefits and local government funding as well as the rising costs of living have had on British families.

“The Government has made significant changes to social protection in the past decade, and I will be looking closely at the impact that has had on people living in poverty and their realization of basic rights,” Alston said in a statement. “I have received hundreds of submissions that make clear many people are really struggling to make ends meet. [..] CNN reported in September that nearly 4 million children in the UK were living in households that struggle to afford fruit, vegetables and other foods conducive to healthy living, according to a report by the Food Foundation. The long-term policy of austerity in the UK has also had a disproportionate impact on women, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

It has been nearly a decade since then-Prime Minister David Cameron committed to cut excessive government spending, declaring in 2009 that “the age of irresponsibility” was “giving way to the age of austerity.”

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Extremely well done.

American Bread & Circus (Mike Maloney)

Long-time Automatic Earth friend Mike Maloney is doing a long series called The Hidden Secrets of Money. This is episode 10 already, the Fall of Rome and the Fall of America. We have some catching up to do.

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Energy use produces waste. It can take many forms.

Large Hydropower Dams ‘Not Sustainable’ (BBC)

A new study says that many large-scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment. Dozens of these dams are being removed every year, with many considered dangerous and uneconomic. But the authors fear that the unsustainable nature of these projects has not been recognised in the developing world. Thousands of new dams are now being planned for rivers in Africa and Asia. Hydropower is the source of 71% of renewable energy throughout the world and has played a major role in the development of many countries.

But researchers say the building of dams in Europe and the US reached a peak in the 1960s and has been in decline since then, with more now being dismantled than installed. Hydropower only supplies approximately 6% of US electricity. Dams are now being removed at a rate of more than one a week on both sides of the Atlantic. The problem, say the authors of this new paper, is that governments were blindsided by the prospect of cheap electricity without taking into account the full environmental and social costs of these installations. More than 90% of dams built since the 1930s were more expensive than anticipated. They have damaged river ecology, displaced millions of people and have contributed to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases from the decomposition of flooded lands and forests.

[..] In the developing world, an estimated 3,700 dams, large and small, are now in various stages of development. The authors say their big worry is that many of the bigger projects will do irreparable damage to the major rivers on which they are likely to be built. On the Congo river, the Grand Inga project is expected to produce more than a third of the total electricity currently being generated in Africa. However, the new study points out that the main goal for the $80bn installation will be to provide electricity to industry. “Over 90% of the energy from this project is going to go to South Africa for mining and the people in the Congo will not get that power,” said Prof Moran.

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The threats are too new to be part of any constitution, so it becomes a matter of interpretation. That can work both ways.

US Supreme Court Allows Historic Kids’ Climate Lawsuit To Go Forward (Nature)

A landmark climate-change lawsuit brought by young people against the US government can proceed, the Supreme Court said on 2 November. The case, Juliana v. United States, had been scheduled to begin trial on 29 October in Eugene, Oregon, in a federal district court. But those plans were scrapped last month after President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene and dismiss the case. The plaintiffs, who include 21 people ranging in age from 11 to 22, allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by failing to prevent dangerous climate change.

They are asking the district court to order the federal government to prepare a plan that will ensure the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere falls below 350 parts per million by 2100, down from an average of 405 parts per million in 2017. By contrast, the US Department of Justice argues that “there is no right to ‘a climate system capable of sustaining human life’” — as the Juliana plaintiffs assert. Although the Supreme Court has now denied the Trump administration’s request to the dismiss the case, the path ahead is unclear. In its 2 November order, the Supreme Court suggested that a federal appeals court should consider the administration’s arguments before any trial starts in the Oregon district court.

[..] Although climate change is a global problem, lawyers around the world have brought climate-change-related lawsuits against local and national governments and corporations since the late 1980s. These suits have generally sought to force the sort of aggressive action against climate change that has been tough to achieve through political means. Many of the cases have failed, but in 2015, a citizen’s group called the Urgenda Foundation won a historic victory against the Dutch government. The judge in that case ordered the Netherlands to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions to at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, citing the possibility of climate-related damages to “current and future generations of Dutch nationals” and the government’s “duty of care … to prevent hazardous climate change”. A Dutch appeals court upheld the verdict last month.

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Nov 012018
 
 November 1, 2018  Posted by at 8:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Francisco Goya Witches’ Sabbath 1797-98

 

US Wages And Salaries Jump By 3.1%, Highest Level In A Decade (CNBC)
Chinese Yuan Tumbles To New Cycle Low Amid Signs Of Capital Outflows (ZH)
Southern California Suffers Its Worst Housing Slump In Over A Decade (CNBC)
Rise In ‘Zombie Firms’ Is Fueling Fears For The Global Labor Market (CNBC)
UK, EU Agree Tentative Brexit Deal On Financial Services (R.)
GOP Senators Want Trump To Halt Nuclear Technology Talks With Saudis (CNBC)
New Zealand Is Best Place To Do Business – World Bank (G.)
Europe Torn Over Islamic State Children In Syria (R.)
Tim Berners-Lee Says Tech Giants May Have To Be Split Up (R.)
Oceans ‘Soaking Up 60% More Heat Than Estimated’ (BBC)
70% Of World’s Last Remaining Wilderness In Just Five Countries (Ind.)

 

 

This means two things: 1) more fed rate hikes, and 2) ever slimmer chance of a blue wave in the midterms.

US Wages And Salaries Jump By 3.1%, Highest Level In A Decade (CNBC)

Employment costs rose more than expected in the third quarter in a sign that more inflation could be brewing in the U.S. economy. The Labor Department’s employment cost index rose 0.8 percent for the period, ahead of the estimate of 0.7 percent from economists surveyed by Refinitiv. Wages and salaries rose 0.9 percent, well ahead of expectations for 0.5 percent. Benefit costs were up 0.4 percent. On a yearly basis, wages and salaries jumped 3.1 percent, the biggest increase in 10 years. Wage increases have been the missing link in the economy since the recovery began in mid-2008. Average hourly earnings have been rising steadily but have stayed below the 3 percent level as slack has remained in the labor market.

However the unemployment rate is now at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969, and wage pressures have begun to build. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in an effort to stave off future inflationary pressures, though the central bank’s preferred gauge of inflation rose just 2.5 percent in the third quarter, including a 1.9 percent increase for health benefits. “The employment cost index data adds to the broader evidence that wage growth has continued to trend gradually higher over recent quarters,” Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. “And with labor market conditions still tightening, we expect wage growth will accelerate further from here.”

Read more …

“2019 big year for China. centenary of founding of CCP [..] Being seen to succumb to Trump’s WH is just not on. Expect both sides to dig in further..”

Chinese Yuan Tumbles To New Cycle Low Amid Signs Of Capital Outflows (ZH)

As Chinese markets began to wake, yuan just broke below 6.98/USD for the first time in this downswing, despite PBOC liquidity withdrawals sending money market rates spiking (to squeeze yuan shorts). [..] if former UBS Chief Economist George Magnus is right, any hopes for the G20 meeting between Trump and Xi should be extinguished. In a series of tweets, Magnus warned… “Trump and Xi are supposed to meet at the G20 in Buenos Aires at end month. Will they talk trade? They need to cos Trump has already threatened to subject the other of 50% of imports from China to punitive tariffs. This is how he prepares the ground, telling Fox News: “I think that we will make a great deal with China and it has to be great, because they’ve drained our country,”.

Designed to turn XJP frostier, be even less inclined to bring something to the table, and more anxious not to be seen to be succumbing to foreign pressure. So I think, barring something going on in the background, these talks are set up to fail, assuming they happen. The 10% tariff rate is due to go to 25% on 200bn $ of goods on 1 Jan anyway, and we shd probably expect WHY to go for the remaining 250bn $ of imports in new year… 2019 big year for China. centenary of founding of CCP. and rivals Soviet CP’s 72 years in power. Xi’s Chinese Dream of Rejuvenation of Chinese Ppl isn’t just a slogan. Being seen to succumb to Trump’s WH is just not on. Expect both sides to dig in further

Begs question as what China will do next. Xant tit for tat any more, as they have run out of room. @davidjlynch in @washingtonpost reminds us that tourism cd be a target. Targeting US firms also could be cranked up. Yuan depreciation also poss tho v risky at home too … Much longer discussion and background written up in Red Flags, just out in the US this month….the details change with the news and announcements, but the substance is sadly all too clear.

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Should we pity the fools who bought the overpriced crap? The entire westernworld is filled with people who grossly overpaid on the back of ultra-low rates. They’re all going to claim they’re victims, and there’s so many of them they may actually be bailed out, at the cost of those who haven’t been so stupid.

Southern California Suffers Its Worst Housing Slump In Over A Decade (CNBC)

Higher mortgage rates and overheated home prices hit Southern California home sales hard in September. The number of new and existing houses and condominiums sold during the month plummeted nearly 18 percent compared with September 2017, according to CoreLogic. That was the slowest September pace since 2007, when the national housing and mortgage crisis was hitting. Sales have been falling on an annual basis for much of this year, but this was the biggest annual drop for any month in almost eight years. It was also more than twice the annual drop seen in August. “The double whammy of higher prices and rising mortgage rates has priced out some would-be buyers and prompted others to take a wait-and-see stance,” said Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst, in the release.

“There was one caveat to last month’s sharp annual sales decline — this September had one less business day for recording transactions. Adjusting for that, the year-over-year decline would be about 13 percent, still the largest in four years.” On a monthly basis, sales fell 22 percent in September compared with August. Sales usually fall about 10 percent from August to September. Sales of newly built homes are suffering more than sales of existing homes, likely because fewer are being built compared with historical production levels. Newly built homes also come at a price premium. Sales of newly built homes were 47 percent below the September average dating back to 1988, while sales of existing homes were 22 percent below their long-term average.

The median price of Southern California homes sold in September, $505,000, was still 3.6 percent higher than it was a year ago. That was the lowest annual gain for any month in more than three years. “Price growth is moderating amid slower sales and more listings in many markets,” LePage said. “This is welcome news for potential homebuyers, but many still face a daunting hurdle – the monthly mortgage payment, which has been pushed up sharply by rising mortgage rates.”

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They’re everywhere that debt is cheap.

Rise In ‘Zombie Firms’ Is Fueling Fears For The Global Labor Market (CNBC)

A rise in so-called “zombie firms,” alongside higher interest rates, has led several experts to warn of the impact it could have on employment in developed nations. Zombie firms, as they are often called, are companies that would have defaulted in a normal economic cycle but continue to function due to an ultra-low interest rate environment. “Like the characters after which they are named, zombie firms are creatures that really should have shuffled off to the next realm some time ago. Instead of embracing death, they soldier on, usually wreaking havoc on the rest of society,” Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management, said in a research note Wednesday.

Economists define a zombie firm as one which is at least 10 years old but is unable to cover its costs with its profits. Murray described collapsed facilities management and construction services company Carillion as one. Ever since the financial crisis, these firms have taken on huge pile of debts as borrowing became so cheap on the back of low interest rates. The numbers of such firms are currently on the rise, according to a report from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) released last month. Decades of falling interest rates have led to a sharp increase in the number of zombie firms that are potentially threatening economic growth and preventing interest rates from rising, the report stated.

“Our analysis suggests that this increase is linked to reduced financial pressure, which in turn seems to reflect in part the effects of lower interest rates,” the research said, adding that these “zombies” weigh on economic performance because they are “less productive and because their presence lowers investment in and employment at more productive firms.”

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What’s the use without an Irish border deal?

UK, EU Agree Tentative Brexit Deal On Financial Services (R.)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has struck a tentative deal with the European Union that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit, the Times reported on Thursday. British and European negotiators have reached tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, the British newspaper reported, citing government sources. The services deal would give UK companies access to European markets as long as British financial regulation remained broadly aligned with the EU’s, the Times reported. The British pound jumped as much as 0.5 percent against the dollar following the report.

Global banks operating in the UK have had to reorganize their operations around Britain’s departure from the European Union, due to take place in March next year. Many have set up new European hubs and begun to move operations, senior executives and staff to ensure they can continue to serve their continental clients if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal. According to the Times’ report, EU will accept that the UK has “equivalent” regulations to Brussels, and UK financial services companies will be allowed to operate as they now do in Europe. EU officials have said that the EU’s financial market access system, known as “equivalence,” under which Brussels grants access to foreign banks and insurers if their home rules converge with the bloc’s, is probably Britain’s best bet.

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Yeah, let’s hand MbS some nukes.

GOP Senators Want Trump To Halt Nuclear Technology Talks With Saudis (CNBC)

Five Republican senators have asked the Trump administration to suspend talks to transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey. The lawmakers, led by Senator Marco Rubio, threatened to block any agreement to export civilian nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, potentially setting up a showdown with the White House. The Trump administration has courted the Saudis as they seek to build 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 25 years, an endeavor that would generate tens of billions of dollars in economic activity.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, the senators say the slaying of Khashoggi, as well as other foreign policy issues, raise questions about whether the Saudi leadership should be entrusted with U.S. nuclear technology and know-how. “The ongoing revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon, have raised further serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and judgment of current decisionmakers in Saudi Arabia,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump. “We therefore request that you suspend any related negotiations for a U.S.-Saudi civil nuclear agreement for the foreseeable future.”

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Number 1 in a list that includes UAE and Georgia. Nobody should want that. Nice going, Jacinda.

New Zealand Is Best Place To Do Business – World Bank (G.)

New Zealand has topped the World Bank’s ranking of the best countries to start and run a business in 2018, ahead of Singapore, Denmark and Hong Kong. The World Bank said New Zealand had retained its position in its Doing Business report ahead of 190 other countries, despite not implementing any reforms in the last year. The UK slipped to ninth place while Norway climbed to seventh in a year when the World Bank said governments pressed ahead with a record number of reforms to business regulations and tax rules to support private businesses. Georgia, the former Soviet satellite state, retained its position at number six in the rankings, despite persistent criticism from aid agencies that the World Bank was rewarding a country with high levels of inequality, showing that a business-friendly environment is not in and of itself a means of alleviating poverty.

Macedonia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Mauritius are also among the business-friendly countries in the World Bank’s top 20 that rank among the highest in Oxfam’s list of unequal nations. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development criticised Mauritius last year for acting as a tax haven and leaching tax revenues from mainland African nations. Singapore, often held up as a model for post-Brexit Britain, recently topped Oxfam’s list of unequal nations. The World Bank Group’s president, Jim Yong Kim, said the private sector played an important role in “creating sustainable economic growth and ending poverty around the world”.

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Even the US is ahead of Europe on this.

Europe Torn Over Islamic State Children In Syria (R.)

For years, they heard little from daughters who went to join Islamic State. Now dozens of families across Europe have received messages from those same women, desperate to return home from detention in Syria. They are among 650 Europeans, many of them infants, held by U.S.-backed Kurdish militias in three camps since IS was routed last year, according to Kurdish sources. Unwanted by their Kurdish guards, they are also a headache for officials in Europe. In letters sent via the Red Cross and in phone messages, the women plead for their children to be allowed home to be raised in the countries they left behind. In one message played by a woman at a cafe in Antwerp, the chatter of her young grandchildren underscores their mother’s pleas.

Another woman in Paris wants to care for three grandchildren she has never met, born after her daughter left for Syria in 2014, at the age 18. “They are innocent,” she said. “They had no part in any of this.” Like other relatives of those held in Syria, the two mothers asked to remain anonymous – afraid of being linked to IS and worried their daughters may face reprisals. The United States has taken custody of some citizens, as have Russia and Indonesia, and wants Europe to do the same – fearing the camps may breed a new generation of militants. “We are telling European governments: ‘Take your people back, prosecute them. … They are more of a threat to you here than back home,’” a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said.

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“If you put a drop of love into Twitter it seems to decay but if you put in a drop of hatred you feel it actually propagates much more strongly.”

Tim Berners-Lee Says Tech Giants May Have To Be Split Up (R.)

Silicon Valley technology giants such as Facebook and Google have grown so dominant they may need to be broken up, unless challengers or changes in taste reduce their clout, the inventor of the World Wide Web told Reuters. The digital revolution has spawned a handful of U.S.-based technology companies since the 1990s that now have a combined financial and cultural power greater than most sovereign states. Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, said he was disappointed with the current state of the internet, following scandals over the abuse of personal data and the use of social media to spread hate.

“What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up,” Berners-Lee, 63, said in an interview. “There is a danger of concentration.” But he urged caution too, saying the speed of innovation in both technology and tastes could ultimately cut some of the biggest technology companies down to size. “Before breaking them up, we should see whether they are not just disrupted by a small player beating them out of the market, but by the market shifting, by the interest going somewhere else,” Berners-Lee said.

“I am disappointed with the current state of the Web,” he said. “We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment and to a certain extent also I think the optimism has cracked.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and pledged to do more to protect users’ data. But social media, Berners-Lee said, was still being used to propagate hate. “If you put a drop of love into Twitter it seems to decay but if you put in a drop of hatred you feel it actually propagates much more strongly. And you wonder: ‘Well is that because of the way that Twitter as a medium has been built?’”

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Not at all surprised, but I have some trouble with this sentence: “..we have put about 150 times the amount of energy used to generate electricity globally into the seas..”

Oceans ‘Soaking Up 60% More Heat Than Estimated’ (BBC)

The world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years, researchers say. Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought. They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated. This could make it much more difficult to to keep global warming within safe levels this century. According to the last major assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s oceans have taken up over 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases.

But this new study says that every year, for the past 25 years, we have put about 150 times the amount of energy used to generate electricity globally into the seas – 60% more than previous estimates. That’s a big problem. Scientists base their predictions about how much the Earth is warming by adding up all the excess heat that is produced by the known amount of greenhouse gases that have been emitted by human activities. This new calculation shows that far more heat than we thought has been going into oceans. But it also means that far more heat than we thought has been generated by the warming gases we have emitted. Therefore more heat from the same amount of gas means the Earth is more sensitive to CO2.


More heat means less oxygen in the water which could have implications for many species. Photo Victor Huang

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Well, and seas. “..more than 77 per cent of land – excluding Antarctica – and 87 per cent of the ocean has been modified by the direct effects of human activities..”

70% Of World’s Last Remaining Wilderness In Just Five Countries (Ind.)

More than 70 per cent of our planet’s remaining areas of wilderness are contained in just five countries and are at the mercy of political decisions regarding their future, new research has warned. Urgent international action is required to ensure the preservation of these last pockets of intact ecosystems, the study says, which calls for mandated conservation targets. The places where the greatest remaining tracts of wilderness containing mixes of species at near-natural levels of abundance were identified as being in Russia, Canada, Australia, the US and Brazil.

Produced by the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the study published in the journal Nature, says these areas are “increasingly important buffers against changing conditions… Yet they aren’t an explicit target in international policy frameworks.” The study also examines the huge future value these areas are likely to have for our planet. “They are also the only areas supporting the ecological processes that sustain biodiversity over evolutionary timescales,” it says. “As such, they are important reservoirs of genetic information, and act as reference areas for efforts to re-wild degraded land and seascapes.”

Professor James Watson, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the work provides the first full global picture of how little wilderness remains, and he was alarmed at the results. “A century ago, only 15 per cent of the Earth’s surface was used by humans to grow crops and raise livestock,” he said. “Today, more than 77 per cent of land – excluding Antarctica – and 87 per cent of the ocean has been modified by the direct effects of human activities. It might be hard to believe, but between 1993 and 2009, an area of terrestrial wilderness larger than India – a staggering 3.3 million square kilometres – was lost to human settlement, farming, mining and other pressures.”

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Oct 302018
 


Pablo Picasso Sleeping peasants 1919

 

Global Wildlife Populations Have Fallen By 60% Since 1970 (R.)
Alarm As China Eases 25-Year Ban On Rhino And Tiger Parts (BBC)
Climate Change Is ‘Escalator To Extinction’ For Mountain Birds (BBC)
Massive Canadian Glaciers Shrinking Rapidly (G.)
Fed May Have To Adjust The Way It’s Raising Rates (CNBC)
Amazon Shares Are Cratering – Down 6% Monday, 23% In The Past Month (CNBC)
China’s Economic Slump Accelerated In October (ZH)
5 More Years Of Austerity In Event Of No-Deal Brexit – Chancellor (Ind.)
With Just Days to the Midterms, Russiagate Is MIA (Maté)
Khashoggi Murder Tape Will Never Be Made Public: Turkish Source (MEE)
Britain ‘Knew Of Khashoggi Plot And Begged Saudi Arabia To Abort Plans’ (Exp.)
Seeking A Bargain, And Taste Of The Good Life, Chinese Buy Greek Homes (R.)
Assange’s Lawsuit Over Asylum Conditions Denied By Ecuador Judge (RT)
Decline Of Greyhound Service Mirrors Rural Canada’s Plight (G.)

 

 

“We are the first generation to know we are destroying the planet and the last to be able to do anything about it”

Global Wildlife Populations Have Fallen By 60% Since 1970 (R.)

Global wildlife populations have fallen by 60% since 1970 as humans overuse natural resources, drive climate change and pollute the planet, a report warns. WWF has called for an ambitious “global deal” for nature and people, similar to the international Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, as the conservation charity’s new report spelled out the damage being done to the natural world. Only a quarter of the world’s land area is free from the impacts of human activity and by 2050 that will have fallen to just a tenth, the Living Planet Report 2018 says. The percentage of the world’s seabirds with plastic in their stomach is estimated to have increased from 5% in 1960 to 90% today, and the world has already lost around half its shallow water corals in just 30 years.

Overall, populations of more than 4,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have declined by an average of 60% between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. Tropical areas have seen the worst declines, with an 89% fall in populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970. Species which live in fresh water habitats, such as frogs and river fish, have seen global population falls of 83%, according to the living planet index by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) which tracks the abundance of wildlife. From hedgehogs and puffins to elephants, rhinos and polar bears, wildlife is in decline, due to the loss of habitats, poaching, pollution of land and seas and rising global temperatures, the Living Planet report warns.

Current action to protect nature is failing because it is not enough to match the scale of the threat facing the planet, the conservationists claim. “Exploding” levels of human consumption are driving the impacts on nature, with over-exploitation of natural resources such as over-fishing, cutting down forests to grow crops such as soy and palm oil and the use of pesticides in agriculture. Climate change and plastic pollution are also significant and growing threats.

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We’re going to have to boycott trade with China because of this.

Alarm As China Eases 25-Year Ban On Rhino And Tiger Parts (BBC)

Animal conservationists are alarmed over China’s decision to partially reverse a ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horn. Rhinos and tigers are both endangered in the wild and China prohibited their trade in 1993. But on Monday it said parts from captive animals would be authorised for scientific, medical and cultural use. Experts worry this will increase demand for the animals and jeopardise efforts to protect them. Rhino and tiger parts are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. They are prescribed to treat a large variety of ailments including fever, gout, insomnia and meningitis, thought any benefits have not been proven.

In a statement announcing the replacement of the 25-year old ban, the State Council said powdered forms of rhino horn and bones from dead tigers could be used in “qualified hospitals by qualified doctors”. The animal products can only be obtained from farms, it said. Parts from those animals classified as “antiques” could be used in cultural exchanges if approved by the cultural authorities, the statement adds. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement that the move would have “devastating consequences” and be an “enormous setback” to efforts to protect the animals in the wild.

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Species already living in the earth’s ‘extremes’ have nowhere to go.

Climate Change Is ‘Escalator To Extinction’ For Mountain Birds (BBC)

Scientists have produced new evidence that climate change is driving tropical bird species who live near a mountain top to extinction. Researchers have long predicted many creatures will seek to escape a warmer world by moving towards higher ground. However, those living at the highest levels cannot go any higher, and have been forecast to decline. This study found that eight bird species that once lived near a Peruvian mountain peak have now disappeared. Researchers are particularly concerned about tropical mountain ranges and the impacts of climate change. “The tropical mountain areas are the hottest of biodiversity hotspots; they harbour more species than any other place on Earth,” lead author Dr Benjamin Freeman from the University of British Columbia told BBC News.

“It’s only got a little bit warmer in the tropics and tropical plants and animals seem to be living quite a bit higher now than they used to.” The species that live in these regions are also hugely vulnerable because the difference in temperatures between lower and higher elevations in tropical regions is not as great as it is in other parts of the world. This means that moving up the slopes may not be as much of a solution for species in the tropics as it is elsewhere. [..] scientists carried out a survey in 2017 of bird species that lived on a remote Peruvian mountain peak. The team covered the same ground, at the same time of year, and used the the same methods as a previous survey, carried out in 1985.

They found that on average, species’ ranges had shifted up the slope between the two surveys. Most of the species that had been found at the highest elevations declined significantly in both range and abundance. The researchers say that recent warming constitutes an “escalator to extinction” for some of these species with temperatures in the area increasing by almost half a degree Celsius between the two surveys. Of 16 species that were restricted to the very top of the ridge, eight had disappeared completely in the most recent survey.


A scarlet-breasted fruiteater which inhabits high elevations on the Cerro de Pantiacolla in Peru Photo: Graham Montgomery

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“We’re slated to lose 80% of the ice cover in the Rocky Mountains over the next 50 years.”

Massive Canadian Glaciers Shrinking Rapidly (G.)

Scientists in Canada have warned that massive glaciers in the Yukon territory are shrinking even faster than would be expected from a warming climate – and bringing dramatic changes to the region. After a string of recent reports chronicling the demise of the ice fields, researchers hope that greater awareness will help the public better understand the rapid pace of climate change. The rate of warming in the north is double that of the average global temperature increase, concluded the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its annual Arctic Report Card, which called the warming “unprecedented”. “The region is one of the hotspots for warming, which is something we’ve come to realize over the last 15 years,” said David Hik of Simon Fraser University. “The magnitude of the changes is dramatic.”

In their recent State of the Mountains report published earlier in the summer, the Canadian Alpine Club found that the Saint Elias mountains – which span British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska – are losing ice faster than the rest of the country. Previous research found that between 1957 and 2007, the range lost 22% of its ice cover, enough to raise global seal levels by 1.1 millimetres. “When I first went to the St Elias range, it felt like time travel – into the past,” said Hik, who co-edited the report. “What we’re seeing now feels like time travel into the future. Because as the massive glaciers are retreating, they’re causing a complete reorganization of the environment.”

“We’re seeing a 20% difference in area coverage of the glaciers in Kluane national park and reserve and the rest of the Unesco world heritage site [over a 60-year period],” Diane Wilson, a field unit superintendent at Parks Canada, told the CBC. “We’ve never seen that. It’s outside the scope of normal.” In the St Elias range, researchers have found warming intensifies at higher altitudes – a phenomenon they are not quite able to explain. “These types of events aren’t isolated to glacial events in the St Elias,” said Zac Robinson, the report’s co-author and professor at the University of Alberta. “We’re slated to lose 80% of the ice cover in the Rocky Mountains over the next 50 years.”

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Take away their power.

Fed May Have To Adjust The Way It’s Raising Rates (CNBC)

Along with an expected rate hike in December, some central bank watchers expect the Federal Reserve to approve another tweak to ensure that its current policy path, which has come under increasing pressure lately, proceeds smoothly. If the Fed is unable to manage the range where it keeps its benchmark interest rate, that could lead it to halt the unwinding of its balance sheet comprised of bonds it purchased to lower mortgage rates and stimulate the economy. The economic and market ramifications could be substantial, though there’s no indication now that the Fed is considering halting the balance sheet reduction.

The market has long been expecting the Fed to go through with a 25 basis point (0.25 percentage point) increase in its benchmark funds rate at the year’s final Federal Open Market Committee Meeting. Under normal circumstances, such a move would be accompanied by a commensurate quarter-point hike in the interest the Fed pays on excess reserves from banks, or the IOER. The current level is 2.2%, compared to the 2% to 2.25% range for the funds rate. However, the funds rate has risen near the top boundary of its range, to 2.2% to equal the IOER, and that presents a problem. The Fed uses the IOER to guide the funds rate, generally as a floor for where the funds rate should be.

The central bank manages its funds rate through the interest rate on reserves and its overnight repo facility, which also helps the Fed to set a floor on rates. This year, as government debt issuance has surged and rates have increased on the repo purchases in which the Fed has purchased, the funds rate has drifted to the upper end of its target range. Back in June, the Fed addressed the issue by raising the IOER just 20 basis points to try to push the funds rate more toward the center of the range. That worked for a few months, but the two rates have drifted closer together and on Oct. 23 met at 2.2%. The Fed has “lost control over rates” at the upper bounds of its target range, said Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

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Bezos lost 23% of his fortune in a month. That’s tens of billions.

Amazon Shares Are Cratering – Down 6% Monday, 23% In The Past Month (CNBC)

Amazon shares closed down 6.3% on Monday suffered their steepest two-day tumble in more than four years, as investors continued to flee the stock following Thursday’s disappointing earnings report. The stock dropped $103.93 to $1,538.88 at the close, after losing $139.36, or 7.8%, on Friday, and is trading at its lowest price since April, down 23% over the past month. The 13.7-percent drop over two days is the biggest decline since February 2014, when the shares plummeted 14.1%. Amazon reported third-quarter revenue last week that trailed analysts’ estimates and also provided a fourth-quarter outlook that was below expectations.

The stock dragged down the Nasdaq, which closed down 1.6% on Monday. Netflix, which like Amazon has been a favored stock for tech investors in recent years, is in the midst of a hefty two-day drop, down 9%. Monday was a tumultuous day for tech stocks broadly as markets opened to the news that IBM agreed to buy cloud software distributorRed Hat for $34 billion, a 63% premium. Red Hat surged on the news, while IBM was down 4.1%.

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Nothing stabilizes.

China’s Economic Slump Accelerated In October (ZH)

As corporate defaults surge, forcing a desperate PBOC to reverse its deleveraging efforts and threaten more interventions to stave off a more serious retrenchment in growth in the world’s second largest economy, it seems like not a day goes by without another warning sign that China’s economic precarious situation is even worse than we thought. The impact this has had on the mainland investors’ psyche has been obvious to all. Repeated interventions by China’s ‘National Team’ have done little to arrest the inexorable decline in mainland stocks in October, leaving the Shanghai Composite, the country’s main benchmark index, on track for one of its worst months since the financial crisis, and its worst year since 2011.

Meanwhile, a flood of FX outflows has pushed the Chinese yuan dangerously close to the 7 yuan-to-the dollar threshold which, if breached, could unleash another wave of chaos across global markets. And as Chinese policy makers are probably already scrambling to pad the official stats, Bloomberg has released its own proprietary preliminary gauge of Chinese GDP in October which showed that the slowdown unleashed by the US-China trade war worsened in October. The Bloomberg Economics gauge aggregates the earliest-available indicators on business conditions and market sentiment, and unequivocally affirmed that the Communist Party’s efforts to stabilize the country’s economy and markets – the party this month introduced a raft of measures to stabilize sentiment, including steps to boost liquidity in the financial system, new tax deductions for households and targeted measures aimed at helping exporters – haven’t been successful – at least not yet.

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Okay, well, get a deal then.

5 More Years Of Austerity In Event Of No-Deal Brexit – Chancellor (Ind.)

Austerity will continue for five more years if Britain crashes out of the EU with no deal, Philip Hammond signalled, in a Budget warning to MPs threatening to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit plans. The chancellor unveiled a Budget giveaway that cut income tax, announced a tax on the tech giants and conceded to pressure to help the victims of the bungled universal credit shake-up. But, most significantly, Mr Hammond made clear the prime minister’s promise that “austerity will be over” would only be met in full if Britain sidesteps economic damage from Brexit and the growing risk of leaving the EU with no agreement next March. pending would rise by 1.2% per year from next year, he announced – but immediately acknowledged the £20bn for the NHS would gobble up all the extra cash.

All other departments would only “keep pace with inflation”, a Treasury source said, before adding, tantalisingly: “If there’s a good deal, there’s an increase”. It appeared to be a clear warning to MPs that plunging Britain into the chaos and damage of a no-deal Brexit would prolong the pain of austerity for years to come. Some key departments – covering spending on the police, the courts and benefits – are still heading for cuts in day-to-day spending until 2022, the Budget book showed.

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Ain’t that curious?

With Just Days to the Midterms, Russiagate Is MIA (Maté)

The upcoming midterms are widely seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency, but its defining issue to date is notably MIA. “Campaign ads and debates are mostly avoiding the Russia investigation,” Politico reports, “in favor of other issues important to voters…like the economy, health care and taxes.” One study of political ads over a four-week period through mid-October found that 0.1% of ads aired in congressional races mentioned Russia; there were zero mentions of Russia in ads for Senate races.

On one level, it is unsurprising that the election has been focused on issues that impact voters’ lives, rather than the byzantine bureaucratic drama that has consumed Washington and elite media since Trump’s election. But after months of fearmongering about a sweeping Russian interference effort and a compromised, complicit president, perhaps we are also seeing the penny start to drop: Russiagate, for all its hype, has not gone as advertised.

Take the supposed Russian threat to the midterms. For months, intelligence officials and prominent media outlets have bombarded us with warnings about “a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States” (Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats), a threat so dire that we might as well dub the vote the “The Moscow Midterms” (FiveThirtyEight) and acknowledge that “we’re defenseless against Russian sabotage in the midterm elections,” (Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin). The New York Times informed readers in July that Coats had likened “the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today…to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” “The warning lights are blinking red again,” he said.

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Pompeo didn’t want to listen b/c he didn’t want to make a statement on it: Fox

Saudi Prosecutor demanded but couldn’t get the tape: AJ

Khashoggi Murder Tape Will Never Be Made Public: Turkish Source (MEE)

Turkey will never make its recordings of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder public, a government source told Middle East Eye, because they were made secretly and in contravention of international law. Instead, Turkey is placing the onus of officially revealing the details of the journalist’s assassination on Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on Riyadh. On Monday, as the Saudi prosecutor met with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Riyadh to release the “whole truth” behind Khashoggi’s killing. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and critic of the kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was murdered on 2 October by a hit squad of 15 Saudis sent to kill him.

Turkish sources who have listened to the audio recording of Khashoggi’s death have told MEE that the Washington Post columnist was tortured, murdered and dismembered after entering the consulate to obtain divorce papers The existence of the audio recording of Khashoggi’s murder has long been touted as a crucial piece of evidence held by the Turkish government. However, a government source told MEE on Monday that the tape would never officially be made public because the recording was obtained through “intelligence work” and could therefore not be used as legal evidence. Diplomatic missions such as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are protected under the Vienna Convention, meaning Turkish spying on the building would be unlawful.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the United Nations’ human rights chief have both said the extreme circumstances of the Khashoggi murder should be grounds enough to strip the consulate and its workers of diplomatic immunity, in order to facilitate the best possible investigation.

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They knew and didn’t tell anyone, not even the US.

Britain ‘Knew Of Khashoggi Plot And Begged Saudi Arabia To Abort Plans’ (Exp.)

Murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen, sources close to him said last night. The revelations come as separate intelligence sources disclosed that Britain had first been made aware of a plot a full three weeks before he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Intercepts by GCHQ of internal communications by the kingdom’s General Intelligence Directorate revealed orders by a “member of the royal circle” to abduct the troublesome journalist and take him back to Saudi Arabia.

[..] Speaking last night the intelligence source told the Sunday Express: “We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2, though it took more time for other details to emerge. “These details included primary orders to capture Mr Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem. “We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. “Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”

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The entire country’s for sale. Athens will all be on Airbnb, and there’ll be no place left for Greeks.

Seeking A Bargain, And Taste Of The Good Life, Chinese Buy Greek Homes (R.)

Three times a week, hundreds of Chinese investors arrive at Athens airport to be greeted by Greek real estate agents who drive them straight into the city to view apartments for sale. The visitors are drawn to Greece by rock-bottom property prices and one of Europe’s most generous “golden visa” schemes, offering a renewable five-year resident’s permit in return for a 250,000 euro ($285,000)investment in real estate. That’s enough to buy a three-bedroom apartment in the capital with a view to the Acropolis hill. It is also enough to bring the first glimmers of recovery to the market since the Greek economy started to collapse after the debt crisis in 2009, although prices are still down by about 40% from their peak.

One Athens resident, who gave his name only as Vassilis, had almost given up finding a buyer for his home last year when a minivan pulled up outside his maisonette and a Chinese family of four got out. A day later, he got an offer. “They didn’t see the house again. We went and got a down-payment, and everything was set in motion,” he said. Vassilis had bought the home in the up-and-coming suburb of Gerakas for 320,000 euros ($367,000) in 2007 and decided to sell in order to buy his two adult children their own apartments. He sold it to the Chinese family for 220,000 euros. Real estate prices rose 0.8% in the second quarter year-on-year after a 0.1% rise in the first – the first pick-up since 2008, according to Bank of Greece data.

Foreign direct investment in property jumped 91% to 287 million euros last year from 2016, the bank’s data showed. Meanwhile, taxes from property sales rose by an annual 41% in the seven months to July to 204.7 million euros, according to data from state revenue authority AADE. “We are getting much more phone calls,” said Lefteris Potamianos, head of the Real Estate Association of Athens, which represents about 3,000 brokers. “The overwhelming majority is foreigners and there are yet some Greeks. Certainly, Chinese are by far ahead of the game.”

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He’ll appeal.

Assange’s Lawsuit Over Asylum Conditions Denied By Ecuador Judge (RT)

An Ecuadorian judge has thrown out the lawsuit by Julian Assange, who objected to the harshly revised terms of his asylum. The WikiLeaks co-founder has been trapped at the Embassy of Ecuador in London since 2012.
The judge made the decision following a lengthy hearing held by teleconference. Ecuador will maintain Assange’s asylum as long as he wants to keep it, but he must follow the rules laid out for him by the government, an unnamed government official told Reuters on Monday. The new rules, which were leaked earlier this month by an opposition politician, involve a list of restrictions Assange has argued violate his “fundamental rights and freedoms” as well as Ecuadorian and international law.

Among them are restrictions on discussing politics and receiving visitors, and demands of Assange to pay for his own food, medical care, laundry and related expenses of living at the embassy starting December 1. Ecuador has also threatened to seize Assange’s pet cat if he did not care for it properly, according to the leaked regulations. In the teleconference Monday, Assange accused Ecuador of using him as a “bargaining chip” in talks with the US and UK governments, and submitting to pressure from Washington and London. Ecuadorian Attorney General Inigo Salvador Crespo responded by calling those statements “malicious and perverse,” according to the newspaper El Comercio.

The new regulations and special protocols governing Assange’s visitations were put together for the purpose of making Assange’s continued stay at the embassy “harmonious,” Crespo argued. “It is a public building that was not intended for housing, so there must be regulation,” he told the judge.

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Canada is huge. We’re talking 10 hour bus trips. There’s nothing to replace them.

Decline Of Greyhound Service Mirrors Rural Canada’s Plight (G.)

It’s 10 to midnight when the Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus swings off of the empty highway and into a dirt lot illuminated by a single street lamp. Its headlights sweep across the only passenger waiting in this remote lumber town: Mary Reimer, 80, is bundled in a purple parka against the cold. “Since my husband passed away four years ago, this is how I get to my sister,” she says, before climbing aboard. It’s the last time she’ll make the journey this way. Amid cratering passenger figures, Greyhound will discontinue all service in Canada’s western provinces on 31 October. The cuts will eliminate routes that have existed for nearly a century and sever the only transit link for dozens of towns where the British-owned company has endured even as other businesses have trickled away.

Some analysts see it as yet another indicator that rural Canada is not only struggling, but slowly decoupling from the country’s thriving urban cores. Don Warkentin has witnessed these changes. After 34 years driving Greyhound buses between Winnipeg and the mining city of Flin Flon eleven hours north, he’ll retire next week along with his route. One of 415 employees phased out by the cuts, he remembers when Greyhound made three runs a day on this stretch, with 24-hour depots at each stop. Now there’s one bus nightly, and most stops are bare-bones roadside pull-offs like this one. “Not as many people are riding these days,” he says, pushing Reimer’s luggage into the undercarriage. “It’s an Uber culture now.”

For those that can’t afford an Uber or the high cost of gas, Greyhound’s decision to write off much of the Canadian frontier is more than an inconvenience. “Greyhound is a private company, but they were almost public transportation in terms of the service they provided,” says Cathy Sproule, a member of the New Democratic party congress in Saskatchewan. But Greyhound hasn’t turned a profit on some of those routes in over a decade. Since 2010, ridership has tumbled by 41%, hollowed out by urban migration, discount airlines and rising car ownership. After this month, its buses will no longer travel to points west of Sudbury, Ontario. [..] “We see a confluence of events happening,” says Laura Neidhart, spokesperson for the advocacy group Canada Without Poverty. “More and more people are leaving rural Canada, and the people who remain are often the ones who are unable to leave.”

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