Jun 082022
 


Pablo Picasso Napping 1932

 

The Very Special Operation (Batiushka)
Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War (Craig Murray)
The West and the Rest (Münchau)
‘I Don’t Blame Myself’: Merkel Defends Legacy On Russia And Ukraine (Pol.eu)
Studies Show Link Between Prion Brain Disease and Covid-19 Vaccine (GP)
This Is Why It Doesn’t Work (Denninger)
FBI Seizes Retired General’s Data Related To Qatar Lobbying (AP)
White House Refuses To Comment On Hunter Biden Pictures (Radar)
Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Bought $2.1M Worth Of Apple, Microsoft Shares (NYP)
Civil Liberties Are Being Trampled by Congress’s 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)
Peter Navarro: Jan. 6 Panel’s Tactics Designed to Stop Trump Before 2024 (NM)
Trafigura Warns Oil Prices Could Reach ‘Parabolic State’ In Threat To Economy (FT)
Is Our Time Together Running Out? (Stella Moris)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump

 

 

“When evil comes disguised as progress, celebrated in ignorance as righteous, when truth triggers vitriol & disgust, as the good are slandered & silenced, and when the sick are hailed as heroes, while the natural state of things is ridiculed, then truly we are in dangerous times”

 

 

“Either Russia is victorious in this Very Special Operation or else we shall enter a Dark Age..”

The Very Special Operation (Batiushka)

A Russian Orthodox priest and cultural historian, who has lived in several Western and Eastern European countries, including Russia and the Ukraine, I cannot fail to feel great sorrow at the events unfolding today. But I also feel great hope. The process of barbarous injustice that began in 1914 and ended the Old Europe and has been through all manner of fateful dates, 1917, 1929, 1939, 1945, 1968, 1989, 1991, 2014, to name but a few, is now further unfurling and reaching a global crescendo. As Nikolai Patrushev has stated, the Special Operation is not just a military event, it is far, far more profound than that, this is military, political, economic and cultural. This is why it took so long, eight years, to carry out the necessary painstaking preparations for the Operation, in view of the high probability that the West would refuse to get off its high horse of hubris and negotiate like reasonable people do.

Since the West did refuse to negotiate, the battleground is for now the ultra-militarised Eastern Ukraine. However, the War is not between brother Ukrainians and brother Russians, but between Washington with its NATO/EU vassals and Moscow with its Donbass Allies. There is no doubt that Russia will win in the Ukraine, as it has complete air and naval superiority. The Russian-speaking East and South of the Ukraine, Novorossija, part of Russia until 1922, is being liberated by a smallish expeditionary force of the Russian Army together with local troops. However, the Operation was never planned to be a short one, most knew that it would take months and perhaps, on account of possible NATO meddling, a year or more.

The War is longer because the Kiev Army has been preparing for it for eight long years. It has been building trenches and fortifications, arming itself with a huge amount of NATO training and weaponry, which the Russian Armed Forces are being forced to destroy, together with Ukrainian Nazis, Western mercenaries and NATO instructors. From this conflict a new Ukraine will be born. Perhaps it will once more be called Malorossija or perhaps it will keep its ‘Borderlands’ name. In any case it will be a smallish country, with a population of perhaps some 15 million, centred on Kiev. Whatever its name, it will effectively be the Kievan Protectorate, part of the Union State with the Russian Federation, Belarus and probably others.

[..] Let us be honest. Either Russia is victorious in this Very Special Operation or else we shall enter a Dark Age, from which there will be no end because it will be an Orwellian One World Government. Such One World Dictatorship will brook no opposition, all who challenge it will be repressed. This is our last chance to resist and strike back against the aggression that began in 1914, aggression that was military, political, economic and cultural, a totalitarian aggression that leads to total death, the death of body and soul. But according to all the military reports, let alone the prophecies, Russia will be victorious.

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“..it is actually blocked in by Ukraine’s own mines, which they currently refuse to allow Turkey to remove.”

Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War (Craig Murray)

I was in Turkey to try to further peace talks, as an experienced diplomat with good contacts there, and as a peace activist. I was not there as a journalist and much of what I discussed was with the understanding of confidence. It will be probably be some years before I judge it reasonable and fair to reveal all that I know. But I can give some outline. Turkey continues to be the centre of diplomatic activity on resolving the Ukraine war. It is therefore particularly revealing, and a sign of Western priorities, that I did not come across a single western journalist there trying to follow and cover the diplomatic process. There are hundreds of Western journalists in Ukraine, effectively embedded with the Ukrainian authorities, producing war porn. There appear to be none seriously covering attempts to make peace.

There was a sea change two weeks ago when Ukraine shifted to a public stance that it would cede no territory at all in a peace deal. On 21 May, Zelensky’s office stated that “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” Previously while they had been emphatic that no territory in “the East” would be ceded, there had been studied ambiguity about whether that referred to Donbass alone or also the Crimea. The new Ukrainian stance, that there will be no peace deal without recovering the Crimea, has ended for now any hopes of an early ceasefire. It appears to be a militarily unachievable objective – I cannot think of any scenario in which Russia de facto loses Crimea, without the serious possibility of worldwide nuclear war.

This blow to the peace process was a setback in Ankara, and I should say that every source I spoke with believed the Ukrainians were acting on instructions conveyed from Washington to Zelensky by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who openly stated he wanted the war to wear down Russian defence capabilities. A long war in Ukraine is of course massively in the interest of the US military industrial complex, whose dripping roasts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have gone rather off the heat. It also forwards the strategic objective of severely damaging the Russian economy, although much of that damage is mutual. Why we live in a world where the goal of nations is to damage the lives of inhabitants of other nations is a question which continues to puzzle me.

Turkey has for now turned towards the more limited goal of ensuring that grain supplies can be shipped out from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. This is essential for developing nations and essential for world food supplies, which were already under pressure before this war began. Turkey is offering to clear sea lanes of mines and to police the ships carrying grain from the port of Odessa, which is still under Ukrainian control. Russia has agreed to the deal. Ukraine is objecting to this plan to export its own wheat, because it objects to the removal of the mines, which I should be clear were put down in the sea lanes by Ukraine to prevent amphibious attack on Odessa. There is monumental hypocrisy by the West on this, blaming Russia for preventing the export of the grain while it is actually blocked in by Ukraine’s own mines, which they currently refuse to allow Turkey to remove.

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“..did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin?”

The West and the Rest (Münchau)

The pandemic and the war taught me something I sort of knew, but not really. It is a one thing to say that the world is interconnected, as a cliché. It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when those connections get torn apart. The western sanctions were based on a formally correct but misleading premise, one that I believed myself at least up to a point: That Russia is more dependent on us than we are on Russia. Russia has more wheat than it can eat, and more oil than it can burn. Russia is a provider of primary and secondary commodities, on which the world has become dependent. Oil and gas are the biggest sources of Russian export revenues. But our dependency is most acute in other areas: food and also rare metals and rare earths.

Russia is not a monopolist in any of the categories. But when the largest exporters of those commodities disappears, the rest of the world experiences physical shortages and rising prices. Russia is the world largest exporter of gas, accounting for just under 20% of global exports. Russia is the largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia, and accounts for 11% of world exports. It the largest exporter of fertilisers, and of wheat. Russia and Ukraine together account for almost a third of global wheat exports. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of palladium, a metal that is critical in the production of catalytic converters and fuel cells. Russia is also the largest world exporter of nickel, which is used in batteries, and in the production for hybrid cars. German industry is warning that it is reliant not only on Russian gas, but on other critical supplies from Russia.

Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the sanctions discuss at any point what we would do if Russia were to blockade the Black Sea and not allow Ukrainian wheat to leave the ports? Did we develop an agreed-upon response to Russian food blackmail? Or did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin? The lockdown taught us a lot about our vulnerability to supply chain shocks. It has reminded Europeans that there have only two routes to ship goods en masse to Asia and back: either by container, or by rail through Russia. We had no plan for a pandemic, no plan for a war, and no plan for when both are happening at the same time. The containers are stuck in Shanghai. The railways closed because of the war.

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“..she said Ukraine “was not a democratically consolidated country” then, still strongly influenced by oligarchs and plagued by corruption..”

“Then”? But not now? What changed?

‘I Don’t Blame Myself’: Merkel Defends Legacy On Russia And Ukraine (Pol.eu)

Angela Merkel defended her diplomatic legacy as German chancellor Tuesday, rejecting accusations that her policies while leading Europe’s largest economy for 16 years were indirectly to blame for Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine. In her first public interview since leaving office in December, Merkel argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have fully invaded his neighboring country much earlier if she and other allies had not taken controversial decisions such as blocking Ukraine’s membership bid for the NATO military alliance in 2008, or negotiating the Minsk peace accords in 2014 and 2015, which Ukraine viewed as disadvantageous for its own security. “I don’t blame myself,” Merkel told an audience at the fully sold-out Berliner Ensemble theater in the German capital.

“I have tried to work in the direction of preventing mischief. And if diplomacy doesn’t succeed, this doesn’t mean that it was therefore wrong. Thus I don’t see why I should say: ‘That was wrong.’ And therefore I won’t apologize.” However, Merkel — who condemned Putin’s invasion as “a brutal assault in defiance of international law for which there is no excuse whatsoever” — also showed some cautious self-criticism: She said she had failed during her tenure “to create a security architecture that could have prevented this [war] from happening.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in April called out Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, arguing their longstanding policy of “concessions to Russia” and opposition to putting Ukraine and Georgia on a path toward NATO membership had encouraged Moscow to think “they are allowed to do anything they want” with Ukraine and commit “even the most horrific war crimes” such as in Bucha.

Yet Merkel on Tuesday defended her decision not to grant Ukraine the so-called NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the alliance’s Bucharest summit in 2008, citing two reasons: First, she said Ukraine “was not a democratically consolidated country” then, still strongly influenced by oligarchs and plagued by corruption. Second, Merkel said she was convinced taking such a step would have certainly led to war. “I was very sure that Putin would not just let [Ukraine’s NATO membership] happen. That would have been … a declaration of war for him,” she said, arguing that the Russian leader would have used the NATO accession process, during which Ukraine probably would not have yet benefitted from the alliance’s mutual security guarantees, to “do something.”

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It’s getting very scary.

Studies Show Link Between Prion Brain Disease and Covid-19 Vaccine (GP)

Two new clinical studies – one peer-reviewed by researchers in Turkey, and one pre-print by researchers in France – have begun to establish an alarming link between an incurable, degenerative brain disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and the experimental Covid-19 vaccine. CJD is a “rare” disease that is caused by abnormal infectious proteins in the brain called “prions,” according to NHS. Although the presence of prions is not necessarily dangerous or deadly, the proteins will cause degenerative brain damage if they become diseased or misfolded. Once this process begins, the malfunctioning prions will continue to corrupt other cells, leading to a prognosis that is always fatal.

As of right now, CJD is uncurable. There are zero treatment options available. The diagnosis is essentially a death sentence, but symptoms are traditionally dormant for several years before manifesting into a deadly complication. Unfortunately, with the new cases of CJD that have been linked to the vaccine, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The disease is progressing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. So much so that the team of French researchers highlighted their concerns of the experimental mRNA vaccines contributing directly to creating a new, more aggressive type of CJD. According to the French study, a total of 26 cases of vaccine-linked CJD were included in the research.

At the time of the study’s publication, a whopping 20 out of the 26 CJD patients had already passed away from the disease. Additionally, researchers found that there were “more than 50 cases” of the fatal disease that appeared after taking the experimental vaccines. Despite traditionally taking as much as a decade to manifest with symptoms, the study found symptoms in these new cases began appearing just 11.38 days post-vaccination. In these cases, the disease is killing the affected individuals in under 5 months’ time (4.76 months).

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Everything “green” is falling apart.

This Is Why It Doesn’t Work (Denninger)

Folks, right here: “To meet the nation’s clean energy goals, the US must develop a robust manufacturing capability to produce solar energy panels and components. It can do that by providing financial incentives to US manufacturers to help offset higher domestic production costs, which have been estimated to be 30% to 40% more than imports.” That is the problem. Congress handing out money will not solve it; forcing Americans to pay that 30-40% more simply bankrupts Americans but through a different way. There are many things we can do but they don’t make any sense to do. The only reason someone does it is that there’s a boot on someone’s neck (they’re a slave), the environment is destroyed without care (remediation costs money) and similar.


That’s the beginning and end of it, when you get down to facts. This is not just limited to solar panels. Its also true for EVs; you have to dig half a million pounds of earth up to make just one battery, and there is no economically viable means of recycling them either. Yes, technically they can be recycled, but then you get to pay even more. If the industry will collapse if the 30-40% has to be paid by the end consumer of the product then whatever you’re proposing does not work. Why would you pay 30 cents/kwh for power you can have for 10? Do you understand that this is exactly what we’re talking about here? At 30-40% more the panels are non-economic to put in and use; they’re simply not competitive. At 300% more than what you pay now for electric power you can’t heat or cool your house and eat at the same time.

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Craziest story of the day?! The head of the Brookings Institution.

FBI Seizes Retired General’s Data Related To Qatar Lobbying (AP)

The FBI has seized the electronic data of a retired four-star general who authorities say made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents about his role in an illegal foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the wealthy Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. New federal court filings obtained Tuesday outlined a potential criminal case against former Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan before being tapped in 2017 to lead the influential Brookings Institution think tank. It’s part of an expanding investigation that has ensnared Richard G. Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who pleaded guilty to federal charges last week, and Imaad Zuberi, a prolific political donor now serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption charges.


Several members of Congress have been interviewed as part of the investigation. The court filings detail Allen’s behind-the scenes efforts to help Qatar influence U.S. policy in 2017 when a diplomatic crisis erupted between the gas-rich Persian Gulf monarchy and its neighbors. “There is substantial evidence that these FARA violations were willful,” FBI agent Babak Adib wrote in a search warrant application, referring to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Allen also misrepresented his role in the lobbying campaign to U.S. officials, Adib wrote, and failed to disclose “that he was simultaneously pursuing multimillion-dollar business deals with the government of Qatar.” The FBI says Allen gave a “false version of events” about his work for Qatar during a 2020 interview with law enforcement officials and failed to produce relevant email messages in response to an earlier grand jury subpoena.

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Just keep publishing them. Hunter will have to resurface at some point.

White House Refuses To Comment On Hunter Biden Pictures (Radar)

White House officials and representatives of Hunter Biden remained mum in the wake of Radar Online reports showing President Joe Biden’s son naked with an illegally obtained gun. Officials from the White House, Hunter’s criminal attorney Christopher Clark and Hunter’s lover, Hallie Biden, all ignored requests to comment after the Radar report. Hours after being asked, all three had yet to respond about the pictures or possible legal charges in the case. A White House press office representative told Radar to email its request for comment, but that email has gone unanswered. On Monday, Radar published a series of stories about new photos. The images showed a naked Hunter Biden in October 2018. They also showed him holding a gun, including his finger on the trigger.

The gun was illegally obtained as Hunter lied on an application about his past drug use. His substance abuse addiction has long been documented and he has spoken about it, but he put “no” on a form when asked if he had an issue. The photos also showed apparent drug use and a prostitute as Hunter Biden engages in sex games. Making a false statement on a federal criminal background check, known as ATF Form 4473, is a violation of federal law under Section 922(a)(6) of the U.S. criminal code. It also could violate Section 922(g)(3), which prohibits a drug user from possessing a firearm with ammunition. Hunter was discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2014 after he tested positive for cocaine.

Eleven days after Hunter illegally purchased the weapon, his lover Hallie, the widow of his late brother Beau Biden, threw the gun into a supermarket garbage can, triggering a Secret Service, FBI, and Delaware State Police investigation. The photos are the latest in a string of wild behavior for the President’s son, including questions on his business dealings. His current partner, Hallie, is the widow of Hunter’s brother Beau, who died years ago. The newest gun pictures also come at a time when the White House is calling for new gun control measures after a series of mass shootings across the country.

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Infallible stock tip. Your chance to do some insider trading.

Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Bought $2.1M Worth Of Apple, Microsoft Shares (NYP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband bought up to $1.5 million worth of Apple stock as well as up to $600,000 in Microsoft shares, according to recent financial disclosures submitted by the powerful Democratic lawmaker. The periodic transaction report, which was posted on the House of Representatives’ website, indicates that Paul Pelosi bought Apple call options between $500,001 and $1 million on May 13. Eleven days later, the venture capitalist bought additional Apple call options worth an amount between $250,001 and $500,000, according to the disclosure forms. That same day, Paul Pelosi also purchased Microsoft call options worth as much as $600,000.


A call option, or “call,” is a financial contract that gives the option buyer the right to purchase the stock at a certain price. In December, Nancy Pelosi, 82, revealed in filings that she and her husband made as much as $30 million in stock trades involving Big Tech firms. The financial windfall spurred lawmakers from both parties to push forward legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading in stocks. The latest disclosures come just days after it was learned that Paul Pelosi, 82, crashed a new Porsche just five miles from their multimillion-dollar Napa home and vineyard while allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, has been accused of profiting off companies which she is responsible for regulating.

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The circus starts tomorrow.

Civil Liberties Are Being Trampled by Congress’s 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)

[..] ever since the pro-Trump crowd was dispersed at the Capitol after a few hours of protests and riots, the same repressive climate that arose after 9/11 has prevailed. Mainstream political and media sectors instantly consecrated the narrative, fully endorsed by the U.S. security state, that the United States was attacked on 1/6 by domestic terrorists bent on insurrection and a coup. They also claimed in unison that the ideology driving those right-wing domestic terrorists now poses the single most dangerous threat to the American homeland, a claim which the intelligence community was making even before 1/6 to argue for a new War on Terror (just as neocons wanted to invade and engineer regime change in Iraq prior to 9/11 and then exploited 9/11 to achieve that long-held goal).

With those extremist and alarming premises fully implanted, there has been little tolerance for questions about whether proposed responses for dealing with the 1/6 “domestic terrorists” and their incomparably dangerous ideology are excessive, illegal, unethical, or unconstitutional. Even before Joe Biden was inaugurated, his senior advisers made clear that one of their top priorities was to enact a bill from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — now a member of the Select Committee on 1/6 — to import the first War on Terror onto domestic soil. Even without enactment of a new law, there is no doubt that a second War on Terror, this one domestic, has begun and is growing, all in the name of the 1/6 “Insurrection” and with little dissent or even public debate.

Following the post-9/11 script, anyone voicing such concerns about responses to 1/6 is reflexively accused of minimizing the gravity of the Capitol riot and, worse, of harboring sympathy for the plotters and their insurrectionary cause. Questions or doubts about the proportionality or legality of government actions in the name of 1/6 are depicted as insincere, proof that those voicing such doubts are acting not in defense of constitutional or legal principles but out of clandestine camaraderie with the right-wing domestic terrorists and their evil cause.

When it comes to 1/6 and those who were at the Capitol, there is no middle ground. That playbook is not new. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” was the rigidly binary choice which President George W. Bush presented to Americans and the world when addressing Congress shortly after the 9/11 attack. With that framework in place, anything short of unquestioning support for the Bush/Cheney administration and all of its policies was, by definition, tantamount to providing aid and comfort to the terrorists and their allies. There was no middle ground, no third option, no such thing as ambivalence or reluctance: all of that uncertainty or doubt, insisted the new war president, was to be understood as standing with the terrorists.

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“..no senior White House official has ever been put in leg irons for a contempt-of-Congress charge.”

Peter Navarro: Jan. 6 Panel’s Tactics Designed to Stop Trump Before 2024 (NM)

Peter Navarro, former trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, had some choice words for the federal government Tuesday on Newsmax in terms of its conduct with his arrest from last week and subsequent indictment on contempt-of-Congress charges, after defying a subpoena from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. On “Eric Bolling The Balance,” Navarro characterized last week’s arrest and indictment experience as “beyond appalling,” before sharing a daily timeline of pre-arrest events with host Eric Bolling: On Tuesday of last week, Navarro said, he filed a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 House panel, which he called a “kangaroo committee.”

The rationale for the lawsuit: Navarro says the committee’s “illegal and unenforceable subpoenas” should never carry more weight than a senior White House official’s right of executive privilege. Also, Navarro bluntly says the Jan. 6 committee’s primary purpose isn’t to investigate the events leading up to the Capitol attack. Instead, their “No. 1 job is to stop Trump from running” for president in 2024. On Wednesday, Navarro says he penned a letter to the Jan. 6 panel’s deputy attorney, explaining that his executive-privilege rights would preclude him from speaking formally to the “witch hunt” committee. Later in the day, Navarro called the same FBI agent who visited his home the previous week, and said he’d be willing to surrender under “peaceful” circumstances.

Fast-forward to Friday morning: The feds apparently allowed Navarro to eat breakfast and pack for a quick domestic plane trip before making a “showy” arrest at the airport — with five FBI officials apparently taking Navarro down in public. After the arrest, Navarro said, federal officials didn’t let him make a phone call. Law enforcement officials also put Navarro in leg irons, strip-searched him, and provided no food or water, he said. Navarro’s perspective: This was akin to being in “solitary confinement.” In American history, Navarro said, “no senior White House official has ever been put in leg irons for a contempt-of-Congress charge.” He then added: “I remember thinking, while being held up in the cell, ‘This feels like Stalin’s Russia.'”

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We’re not done.

Trafigura Warns Oil Prices Could Reach ‘Parabolic State’ In Threat To Economy (FT)

The head of Trafigura has warned that the oil market could reach a “parabolic state” this year with prices surging to record highs and triggering a slowdown in economic growth. Jeremy Weir, chief executive of the commodity trader, said that energy markets were in a “critical” state as sanctions on Russia’s oil exports following its invasion of Ukraine had exacerbated already tight supplies created by years of under-investment. “We have got a critical situation,” Weir told the FT Global Boardroom conference on Tuesday. “I really think we have a problem for the next six months…once it gets to these parabolic states, markets can move and they can spike quite a lot.” A parabolic move in markets is generally defined as when a price that has been rising suddenly surges to hitherto unseen levels, mimicking the right side of a parabolic curve.

Weir added it was highly probable that oil prices could rise to $150 a barrel or higher in the coming months, with supply chains strained as Russia tries to redirect its oil exports away from Europe. Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, which is trading near $120 a barrel, hit an all-time peak of $147 on the eve of the financial crisis in 2008. The Trafigura executive was the latest to warn that the economy has not yet seen the worst of the energy crisis, with little way of lowering prices as already-squeezed global supplies are likely to get scarcer if Russian production falls further. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, warned last week that prices could reach $150 or $175 a barrel this year. Analysts at Goldman Sachs are forecasting oil could average more than $140 a barrel in the third quarter, when the US summer driving season is at its peak.

Weir said the rising price of other commodities, including metals such as copper and lithium, was also likely to weigh on global economic growth and could ultimately trigger a slowdown to curb demand. “If we see very high energy prices for a period of time we will eventually see demand destruction,” he said. “It will be problematic to sustain these levels and continue global growth.” Russian oil production had already declined by as much as 1.3mn barrels a day — or more than 1 per cent of global demand — with the country’s output of refined products of diesel and gasoline also falling by a similar amount, Weir said.

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Moving. I don’t think we can afford to lose Julian Assange. Because we will lose ourselves.

Is Our Time Together Running Out? (Stella Moris)

When Julian is taken from his cell to the prison yard he tilts his head up so his eyes can focus on the distance. If he narrows his eyes, the double razor wire above becomes a blur. Beyond is the open sky. Julian recently discovered a family of nesting magpies. He spotted their home subversively nestled between the razor wire. I think our family is like those magpies. When we are together, we are always a few metres from their nest. Our children — Gabriel, who is five, and Max, three — only have memories of their father within the brutal surroundings of Belmarsh prison. We don’t know how long our children have left with their father. We don’t know if we can visit him or even talk to him on the phone. If the extradition goes ahead, US authorities retain the right to put Julian in conditions so cruel that no one in his position is likely to survive.

It is impossible for Julian and me to escape a feeling that he is on death row. Our weekly visits may be the only time we have left together. But for how much longer? A few months more, a few weeks, a few days and then only a few hours? I fear in the end we will count the minutes and the seconds. Were it not for our children, this approaching catastrophe would be all-consuming. But Julian and I know these may be the only memories that our children will have of their father. We make our visits as joyous as possible. I don’t need to explain to Gabriel and Max the reality of this place where we go to visit their father. They live it. The children walk under razor wire and past layers and layers of security to reach their daddy.

Guards search inside their mouths, behind their ears and under their feet. The prison dogs sniff them head to toe, front and back. Last week, Gabriel slipped some daisies he had picked by the prison walls into his pocket to give to his father. After he passed through the metal detector his daisies were confiscated during the pat-down search by one of the guards, albeit reluctantly. During visits, our family is allowed to embrace at the beginning and end. We can hold each others’ hands across the table. Julian and I are not allowed to kiss. But Julian would rather kiss his wife and be penalised than have that taken away from him too. So, we kiss.

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George Webb

 

 

 

 

Norm McDonald

 

 


Secretary bird

 

 

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Jun 042022
 


Andy Warhol Queen Elizabeth, Reigning Queens Series 1985

 

Putin Says US Decision To Print Money Is Behind Soaring Food Prices (ZH)
Biden: Ukraine Might Have To Give Russia Land In ‘Negotiated Settlement’ (NYP)
The Inexorable Path To War (ITT)
Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation (Patrushev)
The Ukraine War: a Colloquy (CP)
$9.8 Million Given Last Year by Fauci Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment (CHD)
US COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under 5 May Start by June 21 (ET)
Campaign Launched To Stop Musk Buying Twitter (AFP)
Elon Musk To Slash Tesla Jobs, Has “Super Bad Feeling” About Economy (ZH)
DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former Trump Chief Of Staff And Deputy (NBC)
The FBI Tried To Ambush My Source. Now I’m Telling The Whole Story (Risen)
The Complexity Trap (CoS)

 

 

 

 

Schizer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1479069654450593793

 

 

 

 

Not just the US.

Putin Says US Decision To Print Money Is Behind Soaring Food Prices (ZH)

Earlier, we reported on the deranged, confused, false ramblings of a senile old man who is so out of his depth in running the world’s biggest economy, the catastrophic results will soon be obvious to even his most die-hard fans. Now, it’s time for his nemesis on the world scene, Russia’s Vladimir Putin to respond. Speaking in a TV interview on Friday evening, following a meeting with African leaders in Sochi, Putin accused Western leaders of trying “to shift the responsibility for what is happening in the world food market” and said that “restrictions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia and Belarus will only exacerbate the looming global food crisis by affecting fertilizer trade and sending the food prices further up.”

Instead of looking toward Russian, Putin said that the root causes of the crisis lie with the US decision to print record amounts of money which led to an increase in global food prices, as well as Europe’s over-reliance on renewables and short-term gas contracts, which have led to price hikes and rising inflation. High gas prices, the direct result of Europe’s catastrophic green/ESG policies which as we warned one year ago would spawn energy hyperinflation, resulting in under-investment in the traditional energy sector, have forced many fertilizer producers to shut down their businesses because of unprofitability; such developments have shrunk the fertilizer supply, which, in turn, has sent the food prices up, he added. This is another topic we have discussed extensively in the past (see our Oct 2021 article “Fertilizer Prices Hit Record Highs, May Pressure Food Inflation Even Higher”), and yes, Putin is correct again.

Yet, instead of making some real steps to remedy the situation, the western nations just pin the blame on Moscow, the Russian president remarked. The Russian president has dismissed all claims that Moscow is preventing the Ukrainian grain from being exported to other nations as a “bluff.” He has also said that Russia is ready to increase its own grain export up to 50 million tons. Putin has pointed to the fact that there are several ways to safely transport the grain from the Ukrainian territory, including through Poland and Hungary. He has also said that the Russian forces are about to finish demining the areas of the Black Sea it controls to facilitate safe transfer of goods through the Azov and Black Seas.

The Russian leader has also called the Belarus transport route “the cheapest way” of making the Ukrainian grain reach the customers around the world. Yet, using it would require western nations to lift sanctions they imposed against Minsk, he has added.


ECB Balance Sheet

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Zelensky’s best friend.

Biden: Ukraine Might Have To Give Russia Land In ‘Negotiated Settlement’ (NYP)

President Biden on Friday declined to rule out Ukraine having to cede part of its territory to Russia in order to end Moscow’s more than three-month-old invasion. “Does Ukraine have to cede territory to achieve peace?” a reporter asked Biden after his remarks on the May jobs report. “From the beginning, I’ve said and I’ve been — not everyone’s agreed with me — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Biden began his answer. “It’s their territory. I’m not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. “But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” the president added. “And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time. But in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can defend themselves.”


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russian forces currently occupy roughly one-fifth of his country. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war objectives remain murky, but Biden claimed in February that Putin was attempting “re-establish the former Soviet Union” by seizing territory that Moscow once ruled. Biden’s subordinates previously expressed an openness to Ukraine giving up land to placate Putin. For example, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said in March that she would not “pre-judge” the matter. But it’s unclear if Ukraine would actually agree to be carved up.

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Part 6 of a series.

The Inexorable Path To War (ITT)

Russia can cite military considerations in the face of a national security crisis as justification for its actions. However, it seems that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine may have been motivated by more than just a response to a national security threat. In March 2021, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine approved Defense Council Decree no. 117/2021, which declared the Ukrainian government’s “Strategy for De-occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.” The Ukrainian state information news agency—Ukrinform—stated that the strategy focused upon: “[D]iplomatic, military, economic, informational, humanitarian and other measures aimed at restoring the territorial integrity, state sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders through the de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea.”

In the months that followed, Ukrainian forces steadily increased their presence in the Donbas and Southern oblasts. The Ukrainian Defence minister insisted that this reinforcement was purely defensive. Ukraine’s stated intention to use all possible means to regain Crimea and to defeat the DPR & LPR, combined with its build-up of forces, created a reasonable cause for concern on the part of the Russian government. For example, Russia’s access to the vital strategic port of Sevastopol appeared to be under imminent threat. Ukraine’s efforts to regain its claimed territory were financed by the IMF, World Bank, EU member states, the UK and the US. IMF loans of $700 million were part of a $5 billion total package. Money and Ukraine’s resultant national debt appeared to be no object to this funding cartel.

NATO simultaneously undertook a series of provocative exercises. DEFENDER-Europe 21, Locked Shields 21 (cyber), CAPABLE DEPLOYER 2021, Ramstein Ambition 21 (electronic warfare), Spring Storm, Breeze 21, Iron Wolf II 21 and Atlantic Resolve 21 all took place in the spring and summer of 2021. Every one of these exercises focused on defending Eastern Europe as NATO markedly increased its surveillance over Ukraine and the Black Sea. Among the most provocative, from a Russian perspective, was Exercise Cossack Mace which ran throughout May and June 2021. NATO and Ukrainian forces war-gamed an attack from a “fictitious” Eastern adversary. Another one, Exercise Sea Breeze, saw the US and Ukrainian navies cooperate.

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Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev.

Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation (Patrushev)

The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of states. Covering their actions with words about the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, they are actually implementing the doctrine of the “golden billion”, which suggests that a limited number of people can flourish in this world. The destiny of the rest, as they believe, is to bend their backs in the name of their goal.

In order to increase the welfare of a handful of magnates in the City of London and Wall Street, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, controlled by big capital, are creating an economic crisis in the world, dooming millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation, limiting their access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources. By their actions they are provoking unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they are doing everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control over this region, the Europeans were put on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, disdainfully watching how they balance.

[..] Some experts express an opinion about the man-made coronavirus infection, believing that it could have been created in the Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. Clinton, Rockefeller, Soros and Biden funds were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of caring for the health of mankind, Washington spends billions on the study of new pathogens. In addition, Western medicine is increasingly practicing genetic engineering, synthetic biology methods, thereby blurring the line between artificial and natural.

[..] As they say, a thief’s hat is on fire. Today it is easier to say which of the largest international terrorist organizations did not arise with American assistance. The United States widely uses them as an instrument of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, under the control of American intelligence services, Al-Qaeda was created on Afghan soil to counter the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban movement to influence Afghanistan and Central Asia. Guided by their supposedly “national interests”, the United States overthrew objectionable regimes in Libya, Iraq by force of arms, and tried to do it in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases is radical groups, the further unification of which led to the creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State, following Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which got out of control of the Americans.

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“..oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement..”

The Ukraine War: a Colloquy (CP)

Russia’s invasion (illegal) of Ukraine has generated debate regarding how to end the war. It comes as no surprise that arguably the United States’ leading ant-war activist, Professor Noam Chomsky, has given extensive comment on this conflict. Committed already as a boy to opposing state aggression, now at age 93, Noam Chomsky likely is the world’s oldest living person active in anti-war struggles who is on record in print (school newspaper) at the time in opposing the 1938 Munich Agreement, which has become synonymous with appeasement of states engaging in military adventures.

In May of this year, four economists from Ukraine (Bohdan Kukharskyy, Anastassia Fedyk, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, and Ilona Sologoub) working in the United States took umbrage with Chomsky’s comments on the war, or at least what they assumed were the ideas (and “patterns”) he expressed. They held some of his statements to be either inaccurate, or even when true, irrelevant to the conflict and/or giving succor to Russia’s war effort. The Ukrainian economists invited Dr. Chomsky to respond. What follows at bottom are Noam’s responses to their assertions, their rejoinders to his answers, and his following comments.

In the ensuing exchange Professor Chomsky demonstrates several of the positions he was purported to hold by the economists, simply were never articulated by him. Provided with two chances to substantiate remarks attributed to Chomsky, the four economists often could not. Moreover, some points which the four economists asserted were either false or contested, Dr. Chomsky demonstrated were true, with any “contestation” of them chiefly evasions of inconvenient facts. Parts of their debate comes down to points of language and meaning, which the four economists at one point concede that Dr. Chomsky is more precise in his use of.

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To test it you must first have monkeypox?!

$9.8 Million Given Last Year by Fauci Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment (CHD)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, last year paid $9.8 million to government researchers to test a monkeypox treatment, the National Pulse reported. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), which oversees the NIAID, the research began Sept. 28, 2020 and will conclude Sept. 27, 2025. Its goal is to carry out a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of tecovirimat for the treatment of patients with monkeypox virus disease.” It is unclear if the grant provided for any payments in 2020. The NIAID awarded the grant to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, a federally funded research and development center in Frederick, Maryland, supported by the National Cancer Institute.

According to the grant abstract: “The similarity between monkeypox and the variola [smallpox] virus, coupled with concerns about the potential of the variola virus as a potential bioterrorism agent, have placed monkeypox treatments at the forefront of public health and scientific research agendas in many countries.” On May 25, SIGA Technologies Inc. announced that it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an intravenous formulation of the antiviral tecovirimat (called TPOXX) for the treatment of smallpox. Although smallpox was eradicated in 1980, the treatment was developed in the event smallpox were to be used as a bioweapon.

The U.S., Canada and Europe have approved an oral formulation of TPOXX for treating smallpox, and Europe also approved it for treating monkeypox and cowpox. As of May 30, the NIH project had not generated any publicly available studies, papers or patents, according to The National Pulse. The National Pulse called the timing of the grant “curious,” as it comes while pharmaceutical giants including Pfizer and Johson & Johnson are making record-level profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Lori Dodd, a mathematical statistician in the biostatistics research branch of NIAID, is the project’s principal investigator. On a recent segment of The Hill’s “Rising,” co-hosts Briahna Joy Gray and Kim Iversen reminded viewers that Dodd was “exposed for her involvement in the agency’s reported data altering of remdesivir trials to make [remdesivir] seem more effective against COVID.”

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More madness.

US COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Under 5 May Start by June 21 (ET)

The White House said it expects its COVID-19 vaccination rollout for children under 5 years of age to start on June 21, in the event of a swift approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, on Thursday walked reporters through a hypothetical timeline of how things may play out within the next month regarding the vaccines for the young cohort, but pointed out he is not there to “pre-judge” the outcome of the vaccine vetting process. “I’m not here to pre-judge the outcome of the process, but the administration is hard at work planning all sorts of scenarios based on whatever the outcome is from the process that’s playing out,” Jha said.

“We’ve been working very closely with states, local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, other health care providers, and pharmacies to get ready.” He said that “if and when” the FDA authorizes the vaccine, the administration will “move from planning to execution.” “FDA authorization will allow us to start shipping doses. These doses are specifically formulated for these young kids. These doses will be shipped to thousands of sites across the country,” he said. He said that the FDA’s independent advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), is set to meet June 14–15 to discuss requests for emergency use authorizations from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for their COVID-19 vaccines for children.

“We expect FDA to make its decision soon thereafter. Once FDA authorized—if they have authorized vaccines, we can begin shipping,” Jha continued. “We expect some of the shipments to start arriving to in their destinations over that long weekend. Remember Monday is an important federal holiday and many doctors’ offices may be closed. And we can’t ship vaccines until FDA has authorized these vaccines. And vaccination can’t start until CDC has issued its recommendations. “So we expect that vaccination will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout that week. It will take some time to ramp up the program and for vaccines to be more widely available.”

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Free speech is a threat.

Campaign Launched To Stop Musk Buying Twitter (AFP)

Advocacy groups on Friday launched a campaign to stop Elon Musk from buying Twitter as the proposed purchase cleared review by US antitrust authorities. Twitter said that the deal for Musk to acquire the company was a step closer to being sealed with the passing of a deadline for it to be challenged under a US antitrust law. The Tesla chief’s $44 billion deal to take the one-to-many messaging platform private still faces review by other regulators and must be approved by shareholders. A “Stop The Deal” campaign launched by a coalition of nonprofit groups aims to stop the takeover. “Elon Musk is a wolf in expensive sheep’s clothing whose Twitter takeover is motivated by ego and grievance,” Accountable Tech executive director Nicole Gill said in a release.


“If we don’t stop this deal, he’ll hand a megaphone to demagogues and extremists, who will cheer him as they incite more hate, harm, and harassment.” The campaign will involve pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies to closely scrutinize everything about the takeover deal. The coalition will also work to convince Twitter shareholders and advertisers to oppose Musk buying the San Francisco-based tech firm. The list of more than a dozen organizations involved in the campaign includes MoveOn, SumOfUs, Media Matters for America, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

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“pause all hiring worldwide..”,

Elon Musk To Slash Tesla Jobs, Has “Super Bad Feeling” About Economy (ZH)

Since mid-May, real-time indicators warned the labor market had hit a brick wall. Piper Sandler predicted last week that up to a million layoffs or more were ahead as the US economy is on the verge of recession. The latest sign of an impending job market shock is an email seen by Reuters from the world’s richest man, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who told executives the electric carmaker needs to cut staff by 10% because he has a “super bad feeling” about where the economy was headed. The email, titled “pause all hiring worldwide,” was sent to executives on Thursday and is the latest sign of mounting macroeconomic headwinds as lower-than-expected US new car sales in May could be a harbinger of a recession.


In an another email Tuesday, Musk told employees: “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week … If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” On Wednesday, Musk tweeted: “Recessions serve a vital economic cleansing function.” Tesla, which has EV factories worldwide, including ones in the US, Berlin, and China, employs about 100k staff, so reducing 10% of jobs could equate to 10k people. Musk’s stark warning of impending economic doom and the need for job cuts sent Tesla shares down nearly 4% in premarket, dragging down Nasdaq 100 futures about half a percentage point and other electric carmakers.

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But Peter Navarro, same situation?!, was dragged off a plane, and put in handcuffs and leg irons.

DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former Trump Chief Of Staff And Deputy (NBC)

Justice Department officials said Friday that prosecutors would not file criminal contempt of Congress charges against Mark Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff during former President Donald Trump’s last 10 months in office. The department also declined to prosecute Dan Scavino, who was deputy chief of staff, the DOJ officials said. The decisions were a defeat for the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. After both Trump officials refused to honor the panel’s subpoenas, the committee found them in contempt of Congress and referred the cases to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., for prosecution. But even if prosecutors had charged them and obtained convictions, it would not have required them to cooperate with the committee.

It would simply have punished them for their refusal. A senior Justice Department official said the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, notified the committee of its conclusions. The decisions were based “on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt,” according to the official. Meadows was “uniquely situated to provide critical information about the events of January 6,” the committee said in seeking his cooperation, as well as efforts taken by public officials and private individuals to spread the false message of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. He was “with or in the vicinity of” Trump when word of the riot at the Capitol reached the White House, it said.

[..] Earlier Friday, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was arrested at an airport on contempt of Congress charges — allegations he vowed to fight. Navarro, 72, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday after snubbing a subpoena from the House committee investigating Jan. 6 seeking testimony and documents.

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James Risen.

The FBI Tried To Ambush My Source. Now I’m Telling The Whole Story (Risen)

FBI agent Grayden Ridd had a confidential message for his informant. An FBI team had been given the green light by the Justice Department to ambush and derail a planned meeting between a reporter and a source, and the informant’s job was to let the FBI know when and where the meeting would take place. The reporter whose meeting they planned to target was me. It was January 2014, and I was an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times focusing on national security. The FBI wanted to stop me from obtaining documents that I’d been told would reveal the details of massive spying operations by the National Security Agency. The FBI was convinced that I was in contact with someone they had secretly nicknamed the “second Snowden,” who was about to give me an archive that they feared could go far beyond what former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had leaked about the agency’s spying operations the year before.

The FBI’s plan to grab my source at our scheduled meeting was approved by top officials at the FBI and the Justice Department during the Obama administration, according to audio recordings I obtained of several phone conversations between Ridd and his informant. At the time, Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general and James Comey was FBI director. “Right now, they are on board,” Ridd said in one phone conversation to plan the ambush operation, referring to top Justice Department and FBI officials. “I have to periodically go up to the throne room and recommit them. … We actually have a lot of buy-in and a lot of support, but I do need to feed the beast.” The FBI’s attempt to identify and catch my source came as the Justice Department was waging a seven-year legal campaign against me in connection with a separate leak investigation.

The Obama Justice Department had subpoenaed me and was demanding that I testify in court and reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I included the story in my book after the Times killed an article on the same topic under pressure from the White House and the CIA. The attempt to derail my reporting on the purported NSA leaks came during a critical period in my legal battle with the Justice Department. In January 2014 — just as the FBI was planning its ambush operation — the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to hear arguments over my subpoena in the leak case involving the mismanaged CIA program. At the time, I was facing the possibility of going to prison for refusing to reveal my sources if the Supreme Court did not rule in my favor. But the Justice Department did not disclose to the Supreme Court that the FBI was simultaneously targeting my reporting on a completely separate story.

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“..the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life..”

The Complexity Trap (CoS)

Although we like to pretend that the technology which surrounds us is novel and world-changing, as physicist Tom Murphy has shown, much of it would be recognisable to someone in the USA of the 1950s: “Look around your environment and imagine your life as seen through the eyes of a mid-century dweller. What’s new? Most things our eyes land on will be pretty well understood. The big differences are cell phones (which they will understand to be a sort of telephone, albeit with no cord and capable of sending telegram-like communications, but still figuring that it works via radio waves rather than magic), computers (which they will see as interactive televisions), and GPS navigation (okay: that one’s thought to be magic even by today’s folk). They will no doubt be impressed with miniaturization as an evolutionary spectacle, but will tend to have a context for the functional capabilities of our gizmos.

“Telling ourselves that the pace of technological transformation is ever-increasing is just a fun story we like to believe is true. For many of us, I suspect, our whole world order is built on this premise.” The point is that most of these technologies have already reaped the cheap and easy, and, indeed, almost all of the hard and expensive improvements that are ever going to be made. In this respect, we are entering a period similar to the early twentieth century when we hit the limits to coal-powered technologies. The big difference today being that there is no even more energy-dense and easily available new energy source available to us to usher in a new suite of technologies in the way that oil-based technologies rapidly replaced coal in the years after World War Two.

From this viewpoint, the smart thing to do today would be to simplify our way of life – and write-off a large part of the monetary claims on future exergy growth which will not be arriving – in order to bring our economies into line with the declining surplus energy available to us. The paradox though, is that – even at today’s higher prices – energy does not appear to be the biggest problem before us. For all of the complaints about the rapid and steep rise in fuel and electricity prices, they remain low in comparison to the benefits that we derive from them.

[..] Several decades ago, sociologist Joseph Tainter observed that collapsing civilisations have a habit of unconsciously entering into complexity traps, adding energy-intensive complexity in a desperate attempt to sustain themselves. Our turn to energy-intensive automation in an attempt to overcome our growing woes and to maintain economic growth is likely repeating the same folly. The difference – at least for those who see the economy as primarily an energy rather than a monetary system – is that we have the necessary knowledge to avoid our complexity trap if only we are prepared to actively simplify away from an economy based on mass consumption in favour of one based around material simplicity… I’m not holding my breath though.

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Elements

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 022021
 
 November 2, 2021  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  61 Responses »


Georgia O’Keeffe Autumn leaves, Lake George 1924

 

Lancet Study Finds COVID Shots Do Not Prevent Transmission (LC)
Number Needed To Vaccinate To Prevent 1 Covid Fatality In Kids 5 To 11 (Rogers)
TN Legislature Bans Vaccine Passports, Protects Doctors Who Speak Out (Blaze)
Identification of Coronavirus Isolated from a Patient in Korea with COVID-19 (NIH)
Peter Navarro Exposes The Dangerous Dr. Fauci (Devine)
Supply Chain Constrictor – On Your Nuts (Denninger)
Dr. Martin Kulldorff Joins Brownstone Institute as Senior Scientific Director (BI)
One Brave ICU Physician Reporting Vaccine Injuries Leads to a Dozen More (SIri)
Brits Who Post “False Info” About Vaccines Could be Jailed For 2 Years (SN)
Madonna: “No One’s Allowed To Speak Their Mind Right Now” (NME)
Chilling Bigly (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

“There is no such thing as freedom of choice unless there is freedom to refuse.”
– David Hume

 

 

The press asking questions disrupts the press conference.

 

 

Pfizer AE

 

 

The end of the vaccine passport. In a world ruled by logic, and science.

Lancet Study Finds COVID Shots Do Not Prevent Transmission (LC)

A recently released yearlong study by the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal comparing the efficacy of COVID injections has shown that people who have received the COVID shots can be equally as infectious and are just as likely to spread the Delta variant of the virus to contacts in their household as those who have not received the shots. In the study of 621 people in the U.K. with mild COVID-19 between Sept 13, 2020, and Sept 15, 2021, scientists found that their peak viral load was similar regardless of vaccination status. The analysis also found that 25 percent of vaccinated household contacts still contracted the virus, while 38 percent of those who had not taken the shots became infected.


In fact, the researchers noted, “Fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts.” The researchers performed PCR tests on swab samples provided daily by each participant for 14-20 days. Changes over time in viral load — the amount of virus in a person’s nose and throat — were estimated by modeling PCR data. The study found that the viral load declined more rapidly among vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant compared with unvaccinated people with Delta, Alpha, or pre-Alpha. However, the authors note that vaccinated people did not record a lower peak viral load than unvaccinated people, which may explain why the Delta variant can still spread despite vaccination as people are most infectious during the peak viral load phase. In addition, the statistics regarding the harm from these injections is staggering. The VAERS data shows 837,593 reported adverse events, including 17,619 deaths as of October 22, 2021.

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Steve Kirsch: “Toby Rogers spends his entire life doing risk-benefit analyses.

We will kill over 100 kids for every kid we save from COVID.”

Number Needed To Vaccinate To Prevent 1 Covid Fatality In Kids 5 To 11 (Rogers)

In Pfizer’s 6 month clinical trial in adults — there was 1 covid death our of 22,000 in the vaccine (“treatment”) group and 2 Covid deaths out of 22,000 in the placebo group (see Table s4). So NNTV = 22,000. The catch is there were 5 heart attack deaths in the vaccine group and only 1 in placebo group. So for every 1 life saved from Covid, the Pfizer vaccine kills 4 from heart attacks. All cause mortality in the 6 month study was 20 in vaccine group and 14 in placebo group. So a 42% all cause mortality increase among the vaccinated. The vaccine loses practically all efficacy after 6 months so they had to curtail the study. They unblinded and offered the vaccine to the placebo group. At that point the rising harm line had long ago intersected the sinking efficacy line.

Former NY Times investigative reporter Alex Berenson also wrote about the bad outcomes for the vaccinated in the Pfizer clinical trial in adults (here). Berenson received a lifetime ban from Twitter for posting Pfizer’s own clinical trial data. Pfizer learned their lesson with the adult trial and so when they conducted a trial of their mRNA vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 they intentionally made it too small (only 2,300 participants) and too short (only followed up for 2 months) in order to hide harms. All of the NNTV estimates above are based on data from adults. In kids the NNTV will be even higher (the lower the risk, the higher the NNTV to prevent a single bad outcome). Children ages 5 to 11 are at extremely low risk of death from coronavirus.

In a meta-analysis combining data from 5 studies, Stanford researchers Cathrine Axfors and John Ioannidis found a median infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.0027% in children ages 0-19. In children ages 5 to 11 the IFR is even lower. Depending on the study one looks at, COVID-19 is slightly less dangerous or roughly equivalent to the flu in children. So how many children would need to be injected with Pharma’s mRNA shot in order to prevent a single hospitalization, ICU admission, or death? Let’s examine Pfizer’s EUA application and the FDA’s risk-benefit analysis. By Pfizer’s own admission, there were zero hospitalization, ICU admissions, or deaths, in the treatment or control group in their study of 2,300 children ages 5 to 11.

So the Number Needed to Vaccinate in order to prevent a single hospitalization, ICU admission, or death, according to Pfizer’s own data, is infinity. ∞. Not the good kind of infinity as in God or love or time or the universe. This is the bad kind of infinity as in you could vaccinate every child age 5 to 11 in the U.S. and not prevent a single hospitalization, ICU admission, or death from coronavirus according to Pfizer’s own clinical trial data as submitted to the FDA. Of course Pfizer likes this kind of infinity because it means infinite profits. [Technically speaking the result is “undefined” because mathematically one cannot divide by zero, but you get my point.]

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Good on them.

TN Legislature Bans Vaccine Passports, Protects Doctors Who Speak Out (Blaze)

Well, it took 19 months, and it’s only one state so far, but we finally have a red state that is living up to its reputation. Over the weekend, the Tennessee legislature passed an omnibus COVID freedom bill that places the state on a completely different path to dealing with this virus from the rest of the country – one rooted in science, compassion, liberty, and health care freedom. The more the vaccines fail and other treatments rise, the more our federal government and most states continue to mandate the shots and clamp down on safe alternative treatments. The Tennessee legislature has passed a catch-all bill that will do just the opposite. While no bill is perfect, HB 9077/SB9014 will include many of the provisions we need to right the ship on COVID, and certainly much more than any other state has done so far. It is the first state to pass these provisions through a legislative body. The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Bill Lee.

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There are often questions about the virus ever having been isolated. This from Feb 2020 appears to have done that. Detailed.

Identification of Coronavirus Isolated from a Patient in Korea with COVID-19 (NIH)

Objectives Following reports of patients with unexplained pneumonia at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the causative agent was identified as coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and the 2019 novel coronavirus disease was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Putative patients with COVID-19 have been identified in South Korea, and attempts have been made to isolate the pathogen from these patients.

Methods Upper and lower respiratory tract secretion samples from putative patients with COVID-19 were inoculated onto cells to isolate the virus. Full genome sequencing and electron microscopy were used to identify the virus.

Results The virus replicated in Vero cells and cytopathic effects were observed. Full genome sequencing showed that the virus genome exhibited sequence homology of more than 99.9% with SARS-CoV-2 which was isolated from patients from other countries, for instance China. Sequence homology of SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV was 77.5% and 50%, respectively. Coronavirus-specific morphology was observed by electron microscopy in virus-infected Vero cells.

Conclusion SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from putative patients with unexplained pneumonia and intermittent coughing and fever. The isolated virus was named BetaCoV/Korea/KCDC03/2020.

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I smell a movie.

Peter Navarro Exposes The Dangerous Dr. Fauci (Devine)

Dr. Anthony Fauci is in for a shellacking Tuesday when a bombshell new book by former Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro lands. “In Trump Time, A Journal of America’s Plague Year” is a rollicking personal diary studded with insider confidences, and it sets its sights squarely on the chief medical adviser to the president. Navarro writes that Fauci did “more damage to this nation, President Trump and the world than anyone else this side of the Bat Lady of Wuhan.” He holds Fauci accountable for “everything from the Wuhan lab gain-of-function catastrophe and suppression of low-cost therapeutics such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to the political, partisan and deadly delay in delivering the Trump vaccines to the American people.”

Fauci’s sins included not telling President Donald Trump or the coronavirus task force that he knew the Wuhan lab was conducting risky gain-of- function research on bat coronaviruses, or that he had helped fund it. It was Fauci who “went behind the back of the Trump White House in 2017 to lift the ban on dangerous ‘gain-of-function’ experiments. It was Fauci’s agency … that helped fund and orchestrate such … experiments at a bioweapons lab in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic almost certainly originated. And it was Fauci who, as we now know from a trove of [his] emails, was being told as early as January 31, 2020, that the virus was likely engineered.” Navarro recounts the day Trump assigned him a task “he believed was essential to saving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of American lives.”

Trump told him, “I’m taking down all flights coming into the US from China. It’ll rattle the markets, and Biden and the left will hit me hard. But the virus looks like it might be bad, and we need to do it. So, get that task force behind me.” Navarro first saw Fauci in the Situation Room on Jan. 27, 2020: “When I looked into his eyes, he promptly averted [his] gaze.” Soon, they were in a heated argument over whether to ban travel to China. Days earlier, Fauci had told WABC radio’s John Catsimatidis that the Wuhan virus was “a very, very low risk.” In the Situation Room, he “echoed that sentiment.” “I’ve studied travel restrictions many, many times and [they] don’t work,” said Fauci.

Navarro: “You mean to tell me if China is sending us over 20,000 passengers a day … some of whom may have escaped from the Ground Zero of Wuhan, that there is no risk that some of these passengers will seed and spread the virus?” Fauci: “In my experience, travel restrictions don’t work.” And on they went. In the end, Navarro prevailed. Trump imposed the travel ban on Jan. 31, and Australia and New Zealand followed suit. Lives were doubtless saved by that action.

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“In the civilian world of ordinary employees we called millions of people “essential” and exploited them for a year.”

Supply Chain Constrictor – On Your Nuts (Denninger)

=As the USSR discovered (along with plenty before them) you can’t make someone work to their full potential. It’s not possible. Threats don’t obtain 100% performance; if they are legitimate threats that the person you aim them at truly fears then you get minimum performance to avoid the threatened action at best. If they’re not taken to be threats at all they’re ignored or challenged and you either buckle under or fire the person in question and now you get zero performance.

What’s worse is that by issuing the threat you permanently destroy employee morale and productivity. If the employee sticks up the finger and you don’t fire them you just permanently destroyed any hint of loyalty they may have had. The US Government may not care but they damn well should considering some percentage of those who they threatened have security clearances and, it is presumed, knowledge of serious risk to the United States should they decide to abuse it. Yes, the threat of prosecution is always there but remember that someone who truly has something of use can, if they get out of the US with it, request political asylum and will usually get it, exactly as we routinely do for those who commit a similar act against some other nation. Never mind that merely quitting, if the employee holds a clearance, screws the contractor and the government since they can’t be replaced for a year or more assuming you can find another person with their particular skillset who can pass the clearance process at all.

In the civilian world of ordinary employees we called millions of people “essential” and exploited them for a year. They had to get up at 0400 and go to work to stock grocery shelves, drive trucks, be nurses, patrol the streets, put out fires and carted your choking fat ass to the hospital when you got Covid and called 911 while you were coughing all over them. They ran the water, sewer and power plants so your lights were on, your toilet flushed and your heat worked while their neighbor was still smoking bong hits and drinking beer from last night’s orgy-fest paid for with their $600/wk “fun-employment” because they were not deemed “essential.”

Most if not all of these deemed-essential people worked for over a year under these conditions; it was demanded they take the risk of severe disease or even death or lose their job and since that’s a firing for cause, no $600/wk. Equally-insulting to those “essential workers” were those who were told for decades they had to make a commute into work and put up with all the bull**** and cost that entails, paid out of their own pocket, suddenly could sit at home in the PJs behind a computer in the living room and incur neither the hassle or expense — but still got a full wage while taking none of the “essential person’s” risk.

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Get press coverage.

Dr. Martin Kulldorff Joins Brownstone Institute as Senior Scientific Director (BI)

The Brownstone Institute is pleased to announce that Dr. Martin Kulldorff is joining our institute as Senior Scientific Director. Having served as a professor at Harvard Medical School for the past ten years, he will guide the scientific activities of the Institute, particularly as it relates to the pandemic and the needed public health recovery and reform so that no country will repeat the terrible errors of 2020-21. Professor Kulldorff’s position at Brownstone begins on November 1, 2021. “We cannot overstate the excitement we feel about Kulldorff’s deep involvement with our work,” says Brownstone Institute founder and president Jeffrey Tucker. “He brings rigor, focus, and true brilliance, and his position portends great things for us as an institution.”

The Brownstone Institute was founded in 2021 to respond to this crisis with research, publishing, education, and other programs intended as a guiding light out of the crisis. “Brownstone is being called to serve as a safe haven for genuine science, humane principles, and intellectual integrity during particularly brutal times,” Tucker says. “The hiring of such a great scholar is but one example of the work we will continue to do. His guidance will make an invaluable contribution to the restoration of public health and our ability to recover from the damage caused by Covid restrictions and mandates.” About his new role, Kulldorff says that “governments, universities and scientific leaders have failed us during this pandemic, resulting in the biggest public health fiasco in history.

The questioning of natural immunity after Covid infection is just one example among many. With the censoring of long-established public health principles, we need new organizations to safeguard public health for the future. As part of Brownstone, I am excited to work with other scientists and the public to foster open, rigorous, and intellectual scientific debate. We cannot allow 400 years of enlightenment to end.” Kulldorff is an internationally well-known biostatistician and epidemiologist. During his career, he has developed new statistical and epidemiological methods for disease surveillance, including the early detection and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and the post-market drug and vaccine safety monitoring. His methods are widely used by public health agencies around the world, as are his free disease surveillance software: SaTScan, TreeScan and RSequential. He has served on scientific advisory committees to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.

Kulldorff came to public attention in 2020 for his role in authoring the Great Barrington Declaration, alongside Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University. Based on basic principles of public health, the Declaration argues for better focused protection of older high-risk people while letting low-risk children and young adults live near normal lives to minimize the collateral public health damage on education, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, physical fitness and mental health, just to name a few. The Declaration quickly gained over 800,000 signatures including over 10,000 scientists and 40,000 medical practitioners. It also stirred controversy by proponents of the general lockdowns that we now know did not protect the vulnerable.

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Now get snowballing.

One Brave ICU Physician Reporting Vaccine Injuries Leads to a Dozen More (SIri)

One act of bravery begins to snowball. Dr. Patricia Lee “risked it all” to step forward, after being ignored by public health officials, to reveal the serious series of harms she witnessed from Covid-19 vaccines in her intensive care unit. With that one act, my firm has now been contacted by more than a dozen other physicians. Attached are 11 declarations from physicians across the country attesting to serious harms from Covid-19 vaccines. These physicians, like Dr. Lee, reached out to public health authorities at the CDC, FDA, and NIH for over ten months only to have their concerns dismissed or ignored. These agencies typically respond by saying that VAERS is not showing a safety signal so there is nothing to worry about.

If you don’t already know, VAERS is the system that the CDC and FDA say cannot show that a vaccine causes an injury, but yet can show a vaccine is safe. Meaning, heads they win, tails you lose. Worse, many of these physicians were injured by a Covid-19 vaccine themselves and despite being physicians, the physicians from whom these injured physicians sought treatment also typically dismissed their injuries. And they are physicians seeking help from fellow physicians! The story most of these physicians tell is like that of Maddie de Garay who, despite being in a wheelchair and needing a feeding tube through her nose, was told it was psychological. These physicians were, incredibly, almost all initially told the same. Only after seeking treatment from physicians that they knew from work or medical school, were many of them believed.

If physicians are dismissed as “making it up,” imagine what the average individual without medical knowledge and access must deal with after a Covid-19 vaccine injury. Public health authorities tell us to trust doctors. If individuals have concerns about the vaccine, they say: “speak with your doctor.” These very doctors are now telling health authorities there is a serious problem. They have been telling these health authorities for months in myriad correspondences. And the 11 declarations attached are likely a small sampling – after all, Dr. Patricia Lee’s letter was only released on this Substack when only had a few hundred subscribers. It nonetheless started a snowball of physicians reaching out with similar stories which is growing by the day.

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That includes most of the media.

Brits Who Post “False Info” About Vaccines Could be Jailed For 2 Years (SN)

People in the UK who post “false information” about vaccines online could face two years in prison under a new law. Yes, really. The Online Safety Bill, described as “the flagship legislation to combat abuse and hatred on the internet” has faced fierce criticism from civil liberties groups for its broad overreach. The law would create a “knowingly false communication” offence which, according to the Times, “will criminalise those who send or post a message they know to be false with the intention to cause “emotional, psychological, or physical harm to the likely audience”. Government sources gave the example of antivaxers spreading false information that they know to be untrue.”

Given that authorities have deemed all kinds of information about the pandemic and vaccines “false” that later turned out to be true, this is a chilling prospect. For example, claims that vaccines are not fully effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 would have once been deemed “false,” but that position is now a proven fact. The bill would also change the current stricter standard of “indecent” or “grossly offensive” content to the much broader definition of “harmful effect” when deciding if a post or a message is criminal. This is more in line with UK hate speech laws that determine whether an act of hate speech or a “hate incident” has been committed not on the basis of whether or not it actually happened, but on the basis of the supposed victim feeling like they’ve been targeted.

“The new offences will include sol-called “pile-ons” where a number of individuals join others in sending harassing messages to a victim on social media,” reports the Times. And if you think that will stop left-wing mobs who routinely form “pile-ons” against conservatives for expressing dissenting opinions, think again. It will be selectively enforced against people who criticize or make fun of those deemed “oppressed minorities,” despite such groups having the full backing of the state and every cultural institution (the alphabet people). The Online Harms Bill is being amplified with the help of relentless propaganda about black football players being abused online, despite the fact that most of the abuse originates abroad, mainly from Middle Eastern countries.

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Always was a good observer.

“Madonna has said that there’s “no debate or discussion” over vaccines thanks to the fear permeated by “cancel culture”.”

Madonna: “No One’s Allowed To Speak Their Mind Right Now” (NME)

Madonna has said that there’s “no debate or discussion” over vaccines thanks to the fear permeated by “cancel culture”. The singer said in a new interview that the vaccines debate, which includes jabs for COVID, is stilted due to what she believes is fear for being reprimanded by having certain opinions. Asked by playwright Jeremy O Harris for V Magazine where peace exists in a world affected by a pandemic, Madonna replied: “It’s interesting because peace is subjective. The way people think about the pandemic, for instance, that the vaccination is the only answer or the polarisation of thinking you’re either on this side or the other. There’s no debate, there’s no discussion.”

She continued: “No one’s allowed to speak their mind right now. No one’s allowed to say what they really think about things for fear of being cancelled, cancel culture. In cancel culture, disturbing the peace is probably an act of treason.” Harris then said that he believes that cancel culture isn’t as frightening as “some people feel it is”, to which Madonna replied: “The thing is, the quieter you get, the more fearful you get, the more dangerous anything is. We’re giving it power by shutting the fuck up completely.” Madonna added that she is “frightened” by censorship.

[..] Elsewhere, last year Madonna’s Instagram account was flagged for posting a coronavirus vaccine conspiracy. According to the BBC, the ‘Madame X’ pop star claimed in a video upload that a COVID vaccine had already been discovered but was being kept under wraps in order to “let the rich get richer”. The post was subsequently labelled by Instagram for containing “false information” and was deleted from Madonna’s profile, which is followed by over 15 million users.

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“..be helpful, be honest, be brave, and be kind to each other. We’ll get through it.”

Chilling Bigly (Kunstler)

If the legislation doesn’t get passed, the USA will perhaps skip the hyperinflationary intermezzo and move straight into a deflationary depression, which is what you get when nobody has any money. When that happens, especially in a system with money actually based on debt-creation, debts do not get paid (mortgages, car payments, credit cards, perhaps even coupons on US Treasury bonds), and when debts are not paid, money disappears. Poof! No money! It’s a vicious cycle. The more money disappears the more money keeps disappearing. None of this bodes well for the winter ahead. Add to that the growing breakdown in global trade operations.

Even many of those goods produced in other lands aren’t making it to the docks, and the reduced flow of goods that happened to already land on the docks can’t get unloaded and delivered to its various destinations because of disruptions in the US trucking sector. To some degree, those disruptions are caused by bonehead government regulations, especially in California, where most of the stuff from Asia lands. The bonehead regulations (like, outlawing trucks more than three years old) can be thought of as typical government “dis-services.” Now add to that the rising cost of oil, natural gas, and coal — the global economy’s primary resources — and disruptions in the industries that produce these vital resources and you’ve got another layer of disorder being introduced into the system (entropy again).

For the moment, government propaganda tries to divert your attention to a possible shortage of Christmas presents as the nation’s main concern. Don’t be fooled. It’s more about total systemic economic breakdown, as in US citizens having no heat and no food. Also, no gasoline and no parts for fixing broken cars (and trucks). Do you suppose the capital markets will keep rising as all this spins out? I would suppose that the capital markets will lose 80 to 90 percent of their value when all is said and done. The fabled “One Percent” will finally feel the pain that was previously distributed among the rest of us. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the One Percent can control the situation. They are mere Wizards of Oz, barfing into their laptops. If working-from-home wasn’t a thing, they’d be jumping out of windows on Wall Street.

It’s a grim outlook, I admit, but you could see it coming over the horizon from a thousand miles away. Where I differ from other observers is that I doubt that any sort of extreme government surveillance state can be imposed on the public under these conditions. The people will be too pissed-off and, anyway, the current regime will be broke and out of mojo — possibly to the degree that it has to be shoved aside. “Let’s Go Brandon” is serious business. It’s the end of something. In the background lurks this virus thing, and the insane vaccination program it prompted. We know that people have been harmed by the vaccinations, but not how many people altogether will be affected moving forward. The possibility, though, is for a nation both broke and sick struggling to get through a dark passage of history. Stay nimble, stay local, stay reality-based, be helpful, be honest, be brave, and be kind to each other. We’ll get through it.

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Covid Costume

 

 

Wanted to embed this as a tweet, but was told I couldn’t.

@pfizer Asked The @FDATo Change Their “Approved” #COVID19 Shot For Children Age 5-11 Years Old!
Pfizer Wants To Replace Phosphate-Buffered Saline With #Tromethamine. Tromethamine Is A Blood Acid Reducer Used To Stabilize People Who’ve Had Heart Attacks!
Why?

 

 

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Mar 072018
 
 March 7, 2018  Posted by at 10:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


Lewis Wickes Hine Italian family in the baggage room, Ellis Island, New York 1905

 

Currency Investors Are Bracing for a Full-Blown Trade War (BBG)
Trump Sticks With Tariff Plan, Warns EU On Trade (R.)
Europe Renews Tariffs On Chinese Steel Pipes As High As 72% (ZH)
US Considers Broad Curbs on Chinese Imports, Takeovers (BBG)
With Cohn Gone, Peter Navarro Is Unleashed At White House (CNBC)
It’s Not Bad Trade Deals, It’s Bad Money – Part 2 (Stockman)
China Dramatically Boosts Spending On Internal Security (WSJ)
Greater Toronto Home Sales Down 35% From February 2017 (CBC)
Italy’s Populists Split The Country in Half (BBG)
In The Alps, Traffickers Prey On Migrants And Rescuers Alike (AFP)
Europe’s Recurring Financial Crisis Has Not, Repeat, Not Ended (F.)
New Eurogroup Chief Warns Of Greek Vulnerability (K.)
Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands (Bulut)
Arctic Has Warmest Winter On Record (AP)

 

 

For now, I doubt it.

Currency Investors Are Bracing for a Full-Blown Trade War (BBG)

In foreign-exchange markets, investors aren’t waiting to find out if all the tariff threats being thrown around lead to a full-blown trade war. Some money managers have begun piling into traditional havens like the yen; others are trimming currency exposure altogether; and even those who’re betting not much will come from the row are hedging just in case. The concern is that Trump’s plan to impose steel and aluminum tariffs will trigger a wave of retaliatory levies that derail the worldwide economic expansion. The EU has already responded, preparing punitive steps on iconic U.S. goods should Trump go through with his threats.

Gary Cohn’s resignation Tuesday drove home investors’ skittishness: the yen surged, while the peso and Canadian dollar sank. “Currencies can be very small but sharp objects, where a little exposure can have a large impact,” said Gene Tannuzzo, a portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. “So you could see more and more managers just not really stick their neck out as it relates to FX exposure.”

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There will have to be negotiations.

Trump Sticks With Tariff Plan, Warns EU On Trade (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated on Tuesday his plan to slap big tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, warning the EU it would get hit with a “big tax” for not treating the United States well when it comes to trade. “They make it almost impossible for us to do business with them and yet they send their cars and everything else back into the United States,” Trump said of the EU at a news conference with Swedish PM Stefan Lofven, whose country is an EU member. Trump said the EU was taking advantage of the United States on trade, adding: “They can do whatever they’d like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25% on their cars – and believe me they won’t be doing it very long.”

Trump said on Friday he would impose a duty of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum, a plan that sparked cries of foul from U.S. trading partners and warnings from U.S. lawmakers and businesses of the potential for a tit-for-tat trade war that could hurt the U.S. economy. Trump repeated his belief that the United States could win such a war, since it was running such a large trade deficit. “When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad,” he told reporters at the White House. Lofven offered a warning of sorts to the U.S. president, saying: “I am convinced that increased tariffs hurt us all in the long run.”

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What’s the phrase? Do as they do, not as they say?

Europe Renews Tariffs On Chinese Steel Pipes As High As 72% (ZH)

As the world watches breathlessly if Trump will follow through with his threat to slap steel and aluminum import tariffs, Europe continues to quietly ratchet up its own trade war with China and nobody seems to mind. On Tuesday, as China was trying to define its future trade relations with the US, it was delivered a broadside from the European Commission after Brussels announced it had renewed tariffs on Chinese steel imports, some as high as 71.9%, saying producers in France, Spain and Sweden face a continued risk of imports from China at unfairly low prices. Ironically, that’s the same thing that Trump is saying. The original measures, imposed last April, saw Europe setting anti-dumping duties on imports of hot-rolled flat steel products from China at a higher rate than the preliminary tariffs already in place.

The European Commission explained it had set final duties of between 18.1% and 35.9% for five years for producers including Bengang Steel Plates, Handan Iron & Steel and Hesteel. This compared with lower provisional rates in place of 13.2 to 22.6%, following a complaint by EU producers ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp. Fast forward to today when Bloomberg reported that the European Commission reimposed for another five years the duties, which punish Chinese exporters including Huadi Steel for allegedly dumping pipes and tubes in Europe; the levies range from 48.3% to 71.9%, depending on the Chinese exporter.

“The repeal of the measures would in all likelihood result in a significant increase of Chinese dumped imports at prices undercutting the union industry prices,” the commission – the 28-nation EU’s executive arm in Brussels – said in the Official Journal; the five-year renewal will take effect on Wednesday. And even though China’s share of the EU market for stainless steel seamless pipes and tubes has been negligible, and hovering at around 2% since 2013, Brussels had no problem with pursuing what it thought was fair remedies, oblivious of the blowback. And now we turn our attention back to Washington, and whether Trump will do the same.

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Perhaps most interesting: Cohn’s resignation weakens Wall Street’s voice.

US Considers Broad Curbs on Chinese Imports, Takeovers (BBG)

The Trump administration is considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the U.S. and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property, according to people familiar with the matter. An announcement following an investigation by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office into China’s IP practices is expected in the coming weeks, potentially handing President Donald Trump further cause to impose trade restrictions. His announcement last week of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has already ratcheted up global trade tensions – and led to the resignation Tuesday of his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who opposes such measures. Trump tweeted he’ll be making a decision on a replacement soon and that there are “many people wanting the job.”

The dollar fell and the yen – often a haven in turmoil – jumped as much as 0.6% to 105.46 per dollar, approaching a 16-month high set last week. Asian equities declined. The president is now fighting trade offensives on multiple fronts, from targeting strategic rival China to angering allies like Canada and the EU with threats to erect fresh barriers. While his counterparts have threatened retaliation, concrete action that would herald the start of an all-out trade war has yet to come. Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser who met with Cohn in Washington last week, told delegates at the National People’s Congress in Beijing that both sides had expressed a desire to avoid a trade war. Chinese officials – who have been studying curbs on U.S. products such as soybeans according to past reports – were otherwise largely quiet on the tariff question Wednesday.

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Depends on who succeeds Cohn.

With Cohn Gone, Peter Navarro Is Unleashed At White House (CNBC)

Peter Navarro suffered any number of humiliations in his first year in the White House, where the trade advisor was out of favor with President Donald Trump and his superiors for months. But nothing was more degrading than an order handed down by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: Navarro had to copy his boss, Gary Cohn, on every single email he sent at the White House. “The chief wanted him under control,” a senior administration official told CNBC on Tuesday, referring to Kelly. But now the free-trading Cohn is stepping down as National Economic Council director, and Navarro’s brand of protectionist nationalism is in the ascendency. Presumably, there will be no one else at the White House looking over Navarro’s email now.

“Peter was quietly effective for nine months,” said an administration official. “He helped his reputation by keeping a low profile and being a model prisoner during his period of captivity. And when his opportunity came, he took it and he won.” Another administration official told CNBC that Cohn’s resignation is “a huge victory for the nationalists.” “Peter Navarro won the trade battle and now Gary’s given up,” that administration official said. “It literally reestablishes the intellectual framework and the personnel who were originally envisioned after Trump won the election. We can let Trump be Trump.” Navarro and Larry Kudlow, a prominent conservative and CNBC contributor, will likely be candidates for Cohn’s job. The second administration official played down the likelihood of Kudlow assuming the economic advisor role, however. Kudlow has been vocal in his opposition to the president’s planned tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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Add China’s Monopoly money to that mix.

It’s Not Bad Trade Deals, It’s Bad Money – Part 2 (Stockman)

In Part 1 we made it clear that the Donald is right about the horrific results of US trade since the 1970s, and that the Keynesian “free traders” of both the saltwater (Harvard) and freshwater (Chicago) schools of monetary central planning have their heads buried far deeper in the sand than does even the orange comb-over with his bombastic affection for 17th century mercantilism. The fact is, you do not get an $810 billion trade deficit and a 66% ratio of exports ($1.55 trillion) to imports ($2.36 trillion), as the US did in 2017, on a level playing field. And most especially, an honest free market would never generate an unbroken and deepening string of trade deficits over the last 43 years running, which cumulate to the staggering sum of $15 trillion.

Better than anything else, those baleful trade numbers explain why industrial America has been hollowed-out and off-shored, and why vast stretches of Flyover America have been left to flounder in economic malaise and decline. But two things are absolutely clear about the “why” of this $15 trillion calamity. To wit, it was not caused by some mysterious loss of capitalist enterprise and energy on America’s main street economy since 1975. Nor was it caused – contrary to the Donald’s simple-minded blather – by bad trade deals and stupid people at the USTR and Commerce Department. After all, American capitalism produced modest trade surpluses every year between 1895 and 1975. Yet it has not lost its mojo during the 43 years of massive trade deficits since then. In fact, the explosion of technological advance in Silicon Valley and on-line business enterprise from coast-to-coast suggests more nearly the opposite.

[..] What changed dramatically after 1975, however, is the monetary regime, and with it the regulator of both central bank policy and the resulting expansion rate of global credit. In a word, Tricky Dick’s ash-canning of the Bretton Woods gold exchange standard removed the essential flywheel that kept global trade balanced and sustainable. Thus, without a disciplinary mechanism independent of and external to the central banks, trade and current account imbalances among countries never needed to be “settled” via gains and losses in the reserve asset (gold or gold-linked dollars).

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China’s behind a few decades, just in time for 1984.

China Dramatically Boosts Spending On Internal Security (WSJ)

China has substantially increased spending on domestic security, official figures show, reflecting mounting concern about threats inside its borders as President Xi Jinping moves to acquire more power and reassert the authority of the Communist Party. Beijing’s budgets for internal and external security have grown faster than the economy as a whole for several years, but domestic security spending has grown far faster — to where it exceeds the national defense budget by roughly 20%. Across China, domestic security accounted for 6.1% of government spending in 2017, the Ministry of Finance said. That translates into 1.24 trillion yuan ($196 billion) and compares with 1.02 trillion yuan in central-government funding for the military.

The numbers, revealed in an annual budget report released this week, help illustrate the scale of a recent intensification of security and surveillance across China, particularly in Xinjiang and Tibet, minority-heavy areas on the country’s periphery. In Xinjiang the government has woven a web of surveillance, with checkpoints, high-definition cameras, facial scanners and street patrols; the region spent $9.1 billion on domestic security in 2017, a 92% increase from 2016, according to local government budget data.

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Any questions?

Greater Toronto Home Sales Down 35% From February 2017 (CBC)

The number of Toronto-area homes sold last month fell nearly 35% and the average selling price dropped more than 12% from historically high levels set last year, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported Tuesday. There was a total of 5,175 residential transactions through the board’s MLS system last month, down 34.9% compared to the 7,955 sales in February 2017. The region’s average selling price, covering all types of residential resales, was down 12.4% to $767,818 — still one of the most expensive in Canada. Detached houses — the most expensive of the major categories tracked by TREB — showed the biggest declines in both the number sold and sales price compared with last year.

The detached category had also been the driving force behind a spike in prices in the early months of 2017 that prompted the Liberal provincial government to introduce a package of measures last April to cool the market. That was followed by a financial stress test for buyers, which officially came into effect on Jan. 1 for federally regulated lenders, following an October announcement by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. “When TREB released its outlook for 2018, the forecast anticipated a slow start to the year compared to the historically high sales count reported in the winter and early spring of 2017,” TREB president Tim Syrianos said Tuesday. “Prospective home buyers are still coming to terms with the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, and some have also had to re-evaluate their plans due to the new OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test guidelines and generally higher borrowing costs.”

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It really is north and south now, Italy’s age-old dividing line between rich and poor.

Italy’s Populists Split The Country in Half (BBG)

Italy’s political map is a lot less colorful than it used to be. Whereas in previous elections the main parties had pockets of support across the peninsula, the March 4 vote resulted in a wave of anti-establishment Five Star yellow south of Rome and in the islands, and a sea of blue for the center-right coalition in the north, led by a strong showing on the part of the anti-immigrant League. “The South voted for the Five Star Movement and the North voted for the Lega, but both sides of the country expressed a vote of protest,” Luigi Zingales, professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School, told Bloomberg TV.

The center-left, which used to dominate the central part of the country, was reduced to a few pockets in its former strongholds and to a handful of prosperous districts in the north. Big cities like Rome and Milan were small red dots isolated from the rest of their regions. The 2013 vote wasn’t so clear cut. It was Five Star’s first ever national election and it did well in Sicily and parts of the center and south, but the traditional parties still held on to some of their fiefdoms. Things went differently this time around. Five Star won every district in Sicily, Sardinia, Puglia, and Molise, and all but one in Campania. Large swathes of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna and all of Umbria, which had voted left for generations, were won by the center-right.

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What a sad world we live in. Or rather, what sad completely different worlds. Universes even.

In The Alps, Traffickers Prey On Migrants And Rescuers Alike (AFP)

Five African migrants stumble through the snow, exhausted and numb, abandoned hours earlier by a smuggler who left them to make their own way down the mountain from Italy into France. They are among dozens who have been tricked in recent weeks into paying hundreds of euros to people traffickers who promised them a comfortable car ride across the border. The Montgenevre Pass isn’t steep, but the snow is deep, and the young men’s trainers and jeans do nothing to protect them against the biting minus 10ºC (14ºF) chill. If they get lost, it might take hours to cross – long enough to freeze to death. By the time members of the French volunteer group Tous Migrants (We Are All Migrants) come to their rescue in the black of night, the youths are broken.

[..] Thousands of young men from francophone west Africa have trudged across these mountains over the past two years, dreaming of jobs in France. In recent months, as news about the route filters back to Africa, the arrivals have gained pace. Since July, nearly 3,000 have passed through a modest shelter run by Tous Migrants [..] The smugglers, who are also French-speaking west Africans, charge up to €350 euros ($430) to sneak people into France. But once the group reaches the Italian border village of Claviere by train and bus, the car that is supposed to carry them on the last leg of their journey to Paris never materialises. The smugglers instead call the French volunteers to notify them that a group of Africans is heading their way – and then turn on their heels.

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One more piece arguing Greece needs to ‘reform’ to recover. BS.

Europe’s Recurring Financial Crisis Has Not, Repeat, Not Ended (F.)

It will happen again. Europe will go through another financial crisis, probably centered in Greece but not necessarily. It has had several already, because from the start few of the troubled countries have made the fundamental reforms needed to meet their obligations. Instead, the richer parts of the currency union, Germany in particular, have advanced funds on conditions of austerity that not only ignore the fundamentals but are otherwise counterproductive. The recipients pretend that they will abide by German conditions, and Berlin, to duck the disruption of a prolonged financial crisis, pretends to believe them. Rescue loans flow, and then, when another failure looms, the show repeats according to the same script. It will happen again.

The most resent run of this show was performed in spring of 2015. Greece, which had starred in the original pilot back in 2010, could not meet the payments due on its debt. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble first lectured Greece on its spendthrift ways and then, according to script, said that Berlin would block any aid until Athens increases taxes and cuts spending sufficiently for its budget to run what is called a “primary surplus” (revenues less costs excluding the expense of debt service) equal to 3.5% of GDP. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, also according to script, refused, pointing out, correctly too, that past such efforts have imposed unsupportable hardships on the Greek people. At the last moment, again according to script, he caved into Schaeuble’s demands. Berlin allowed Europe to extend the loan, and the crisis quieted as past crises have at this point of the show.

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New lapdog.

New Eurogroup Chief Warns Of Greek Vulnerability (K.)

Greece remains vulnerable to domestic and external shocks, the head of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, warned on Tuesday. The Portuguese finance minister also told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that restoring its credibility in the credit market will be a gradual and not automatic process for this country. Centeno called on Athens to continue implementing the reforms of the bailout program even after its completion, adding that the eurozone will examine its strategy regarding the post-program framework later, along with the easing of Greece’s debt. The Portuguese official stopped short of making any pledges about the debt lightening, sticking to the letter of the Eurogroup decision.

Referring to the country’s access to the markets, Centeno stated that “if the conditions are fulfilled for the further easing of the debt at the end of the program, the Eurogroup – as has unequivocally been agreed – is ready to assist in this process.” He added that “all additional measures on the debt will have to be analyzed at a technical level. They will only be adopted if the two conditions are fulfilled: The program has to be completed successfully and the debt easing will have to be necessary for the Greek debt to be considered sustainable. This is why we need an integrated analysis by the institutional bodies; at the moment that has not come.”

Centeno said Greece is a “unique case in the eurozone,” implying that it is in this context that its exit from the bailout program will be examined. He added that “the end of the program will constitute a new political reality for Greece. Whatever the framework of monitoring agreed, Greece will regain control of its policies. Yet just as with every other European [Union] country, such policies will have to be compatible with the European framework.” He said he is not interested in Greek election results, but revealed that the EU is concerned about the political agenda in Greece: “I would just recommend to Greece to continue on its own reform agenda,” Centeno stated.

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Erdogan plays to cheap nationalist sentiments. Which can be fired up much higher by shooting at something. Where’s NATO, US, Germany?

Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands (Bulut)

There is one issue on which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean. The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more powerful and patriotic, and which possesses the courage to carry out the threat against Greece. While the CHP is accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party of enabling Greece to occupy Turkish lands, the AKP is attacking the CHP, Turkey’s founding party, for allowing Greece to take the islands through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, the 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements, and the 1947 Paris Treaty, which recognized the islands of the Aegean as Greek territory.

In 2016, Erdogan said that Turkey “gave away” the islands that “used to be ours” and are “within shouting distance.” “There are still our mosques, our shrines there,” he said, referring to the Ottoman occupation of the islands. Two months earlier, at the “Conference on Turkey’s New Security Concept,” Erdogan declared: “Lausanne… has never been a sacred text. Of course, we will discuss it and struggle to have a better one.” Subsequently, pro-government media outlets published maps and photos of the islands in the Aegean, calling them the territory that “Erdogan says we gave away at Lausanne.”


Borders between Greece and Turkey after 1923 Lausanne Treaty

Ilargi: This may seem extreme, but original plans proposed by the -rejected- 1920 Sèvres Treaty went even further, giving Greece large parts of mainland Turkey as well. This was negotiated after the Ottoman empire lost WWI. The discussions also included claims to the likes of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Both treaties were negotiated -and signed- by the Ottoman Empire and the Allied French Republic, British Empire, Kingdom of Italy, Empire of Japan and the Kingdom of Romania. Somewhat ironially, the Kingdom of Greece was the only party not to sign Sèvres. Which was also heavily contested by Kemal Atatürk in Turkey. Wiki: ‘Atatürk led Turkish nationalists to defeat the combined armies of the signatories of the Treaty’ in the Turkish Independence War (1919-1923)


Borders between Greece and Turkey proposed by -rejected- 1920 Sèvres Treaty

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We read this. And then we all get in our cars.

Arctic Has Warmest Winter On Record (AP)

The Arctic [..] experienced its warmest winter on record. Sea ice hit record lows for the time of year, new US weather data revealed on Tuesday. “It’s just crazy, crazy stuff,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, who has been studying the Arctic since 1982. “These heat waves – I’ve never seen anything like this.” Experts say what’s happening is unprecedented, part of a global warming-driven cycle that probably played a role in the recent strong, icy storms in Europe and the north-eastern US. The land weather station closest to the North Pole, at the tip of Greenland, spent more than 60 hours above freezing in February.

Before this year, scientists had seen the temperature there rise above freezing in February only twice before, and then extremely briefly. Last month’s record-high temperatures have been more like those typical of May, said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute. Of nearly three dozen different Arctic weather stations, 15 of them were at least 10F (5.6C) above normal for the winter. “The extended warmth really has staggered all of us,” Mottram said. In February, Arctic sea ice covered 5.4m square miles, about 62,000 square miles smaller than last year’s record low, the ice data center reported, and it was 521,000 square miles below the 30-year normal.

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