Feb 172023
 February 17, 2023  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »

Tomb of the diver, Paestum c480 BCE


Seymour Hersh Calls Pipeline Sabotage ‘Dumbest’ US Act In Years (RT)
The US Destroyed the Nord Stream Pipeline. Interview with Seymour Hersh (GR)
US Presidents Renege on Agreements with Russia (Parsons)
Ukraine Conflict Will Likely Have No Military Winner – Milley (RT)
Russia Has Lost ‘Strategically, Operationally And Tactically’ – Milley (G.)
The Horrifying Endgame in Ukraine (Rickards)
Nuland Outlines US Goals In Ukraine (RT)
Beijing Challenges Western Press On Nord Stream Blasts (RT)
The West Has Long Planned A Proxy War With Russia In Ukraine (Sukharevskaya)
Russia Acted Out Of Necessity To Implement Minsk Accords – Kremlin (TASS)
Implications of US Destruction of Nordstream 2 Pipeline (Fuller)
Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings that War with US Is Close (LI)
Bombshell New Emails Unsealed Between Epstein and JP Morgan Executive (TP)
NFL Players Association Urged to Screen for Vaccine Side Effects (ET)





Ukraine’s new troops





Douglas Macgregor – The Russian Onslaught





East Palestine water













2019 Zel





“What [Biden] did is he said, ‘I’m in a big war with Ukraine. It’s not looking good. I want to be sure I get German and West European support,’”

Seymour Hersh Calls Pipeline Sabotage ‘Dumbest’ US Act In Years (RT)

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has slammed Washington’s alleged involvement in bombing the Nord Stream gas lines as one of the “dumbest” decisions taken in years, warning that the move will have “horrific” consequences for Europeans and further undercut the already “supremely useless” NATO alliance. Speaking to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman for an interview on Wednesday, Hersh outlined his recent report on the destruction of the pipelines last year, which found that the US played a key role in planting and detonating explosives on sections of the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea. “I think the consequences politically for us are enormous,” he said, adding that the long-term effects for Europe would be “horrific” and “cut into the notion that they can depend totally on America, even in a crisis.”

“I think that this has probably been, in the view of some of the people who did it, one of the dumbest things the American government has done in years – and we’ve had four years of Trump.” Hersh argued that US officials have long seen cheap energy alternatives for Europe as a “threat,” noting that Washington has “always wanted to isolate Russia” to prevent oil and gas sales to the EU. He said the Joe Biden administration feared Europe would “walk away” from the conflict in Ukraine and felt the need to pressure allies to stay the course. “What [Biden] did is he said, ‘I’m in a big war with Ukraine. It’s not looking good. I want to be sure I get German and West European support,’” Hersh continued. He added that the president did not want Berlin to reverse course and reopen the Nord Stream lines, which had been under sanctions, “so he took away that option,” effectively telling his European partners “You’re second rate.”

“I know people that are paying five times as much now for electricity. People are paying three or four times more for gas. There’s not enough of it. It’s very expensive,” he said, arguing that Europe is now forced to obtain energy from other sources than Russia, including the United States itself. “And I think it’s going to undercut NATO, which I always found to be supremely useless,” he added. While the Biden administration has vocally denied Hersh’s report, with State Department spokesperson Ned Price calling it “utter and complete nonsense,” the journalist has stuck by his unnamed source, insisting the information relayed to him was accurate. He told Democracy Now! that he would continue to report on the issue in the future, saying there are “still things I need to write about.”

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“I can tell you that the people involved in the operation saw the president as choosing to keep Germany cold for his short-range political goals, and that horrified them.”

The US Destroyed the Nord Stream Pipeline. Interview with Seymour Hersh (GR)

Joe Biden decided not to blow them up. It was in early June, five months into the war, but then, in September, he decided to do it. I’ll tell you something. The operational people, the people who do kinetic things for the United States, they do what the president says, and they initially thought this was a useful weapon that he could use in negotiations. But at some point, once the Russians went in, and then when the operation was done, this became increasingly odious to the people who did it. These are well-trained people; they are in the highest level of secret intelligence agencies. They turned on the project. They thought this was an insane thing to do. And within a week, or three or four days after the bombing, after they did what they were ordered to, there was a lot of anger and hostility. This is obviously reflected in the fact that I’m learning so much about it.And I’ll tell you something else. The people in America and Europe who build pipelines know what happened. I’m telling you something important. The people who own companies that build pipelines know the story. I didn’t get the story from them but I learned quickly they know.
[..] The secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, said a few days after the pipeline was blown up, at a news conference, that a major economic and almost military force was taken away from Vladimir Putin. He said this was a tremendous opportunity, as Russia could no longer weaponize the pipelines — meaning that it was not able to force Western Europe not to support the United States in the war. The fear was that Western Europe would not go along any longer in the war. I think that the reason they decided to do it then was that the war wasn’t going well for the West, and they were afraid with winter coming. The Nord Stream 2 has been sanctioned by Germany, and the United States was afraid that Germany would lift the sanctions because of a bad winter.
FABIAN SCHEIDLER: According to you, what were the motives when you look behind the scenes? The US government was opposed to the pipeline for many reasons. Some say they were opposed to it because they wanted to weaken Russia, to weaken the ties between Russia and Western Europe, Germany especially. But maybe also to weaken the German economy, which, after all, is a competitor to the US economy. With the high gas prices, enterprises have started to move to the United States. So what’s your sense of the motives of the US government, if they blew up the pipeline?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I don’t think they thought it through. I know this sounds strange. I don’t think that Blinken and some others in the administration are deep thinkers. There certainly are people in the American economy who like the idea of us being more competitive. We’re selling LNG, liquefied gas, at extremely big profits; we’re making a lot of money on it. I’m sure there were some people thinking, boy, this is going to be a long-time boost for the American economy. But in that White House, I think the obsession was always reelection, and they wanted to win the war, they wanted to get a victory, they want Ukraine to somehow magically win. There could be some people who think maybe it’ll be better for our economy if the German economy is weak, but that’s crazy thinking. I think, basically, that we’ve bitten deep into something that’s not going to work. The war is not going to turn out well for this government.

[..] What I know is there’s no way this war is going to turn out the way we want, and I don’t know what we’re going to do as we go further down the line. It scares me if the president was willing to do this.And the people who did this mission believed that the president did realize what he was doing to the people of Germany, that he was punishing them for a war that wasn’t going well. And in the long run, this is going to be very detrimental not only to his reputation as the president but politically too. It’s going to be a stigma for America.So what you have is a White House that thought it may have a losing card: Germany and Western Europe may stop giving the arms we want and the German chancellor could turn the pipeline on — that was always a fear. I would be asking a lot of questions to Chancellor Scholz. I would ask him what he learned in February when he was with the president. The operation was a big secret, and the president wasn’t supposed to tell anybody about this capability. But he does talk. He says things that he doesn’t want to.

[..] The point is that Biden chose to keep Germany cold this winter. The president of the United States would rather see Germany cold [because of energy shortages] than Germany possibly not supportive in the Ukraine war, and that, to me, is going to be a devastating thing for this White House. For me, and I think also for the people on the mission, it was appalling. [..] I can tell you that the people involved in the operation saw the president as choosing to keep Germany cold for his short-range political goals, and that horrified them. I’m talking about American people that are intensely loyal to the United States. In the CIA, it’s understood that, as I put it in my article, they work for the Crown, they don’t work for the Constitution.

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“..what possible explanation could be offered when the Biden co-conspirators, millions of Americans and Putin’s Security Council all know the truth..”

US Presidents Renege on Agreements with Russia (Parsons)

A week after Sy Hersh’s expose on the Nord Stream pipeline explosions, there is still no word that pretend President Biden who denies any knowledge or involvement in causing an Act of War in the Baltic Sea has yet to offer an explanation to the American public or reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin – but what possible explanation could be offered when the Biden co-conspirators, millions of Americans and Putin’s Security Council all know the truth. Even though the balloon distraction consumes the American mainstream media with the anonymous buoyant inflatable nonsense of a psyop as if to avoid the inescapable moment of truth – which will come inevitably. In any case, a good guess is that the Russians are not amused by whatever game the Biden Administration has conjured up to deflect attention from the reality of a world level Act of War crisis.

While the media remains aflutter with the guessing-game possibilities, TPTB appear confident that because Russia has been restrained and prudent in its reactions during its special military operation; including the unrelenting NATO lies but especially to the inhumanity of the Ukraine Nazi’s. There is a general refusal on the part of the Americans to believe that The Bear would ever retaliate, that they could never be pushed so far until there was nowhere else to go. Perhaps as the European mainland flounders in an energy and economic crisis of its own making, they are experiencing a resurgence of lost sovereignty and awareness of their loss of independence at the hands of the US. As the US and rest of the world await Russia’s response to the Biden Administration’s denial, legendary professor, historian, philosopher and political analyst emeritus Noam Chomsky has reminded us of the reckless and provocative impact of the US withdrawal of arms control agreements on Russia’s well-defined borders and legitimate security interests.

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Translation: we are losing.

Ukraine Conflict Will Likely Have No Military Winner – Milley (RT)

The Ukraine conflict can only end through a negotiated peace deal because neither side is likely to achieve its goals on the battlefield, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Thursday. “It will be almost impossible for the Russians to achieve their political objectives by military means,” Milley claimed without providing specific reasons for his stance. “It is unlikely that Russia is going to overrun Ukraine. It’s just not going to happen.” He added that it also would be “very, very difficult for Ukraine this year to kick the Russians out of every inch” of the territory that Moscow’s forces have already captured.

America’s top-ranking military officer made his comments after traveling to Brussels earlier this week to coordinate efforts with NATO allies on shoring up Ukraine’s firepower for a planned spring counter-offensive. Kiev is burning through weaponry at a rate “many times higher” than its Western allies can produce it, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday. Milley said the ammunition strain has forced the Pentagon to review its weapons inventories and contemplate increases in spending. US officials are re-examining their assumptions about supply needs after decades of focusing on counterterrorism missions and unconventional warfare.

“One of the lessons of this war is the very high consumption rates of conventional munitions, and we are re-examining our own stockages and our own plans to make sure that we got it right,” Milley told FT. “We’re trying to do the analysis so that we can then estimate what we think the true requirement would be, and then we have to put that in the budget. Ammunition is very expensive.” The Pentagon’s current annual budget stands at $817 billion, exceeding the combined total for the rest of the world’s ten largest military spenders combined. Washington has already allocated more than $110 billion in aid for Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last February.

Republican lawmakers, such as Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona, have criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for severely depleting US weapons stockpiles to arm Ukraine. Earlier this week, Milley told reporters in Brussels that Russia has already lost. “They’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically, and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.” Retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor, a former Pentagon adviser, said such claims have eroded the Biden administration’s credibility. “General Milley has made it very clear that he’s aligned with the left, he is part of this administration, he’s going to say whatever they want him to say.”

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Translation: there will be no winner, but Russia lost.

Russia Has Lost ‘Strategically, Operationally And Tactically’ – Milley (G.)

General Mark Milley, chairman of America’s joint chiefs of staff, has said Russia has lost “strategically, operationally and tactically” and that they are “paying an enormous price on the battlefield” in Ukraine. Milley, speaking at a joint news conference with US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, said President Vladimir Putin believed he could defeat Ukraine quickly when he ordered his troops to invade almost a year ago. [Putin] was wrong. Ukraine remains free. They remain independent. Nato and its coalition has never been stronger. Now, Russia is a global pariah and the world remains inspired by Ukrainian bravery and resilience. In short, Russia has lost – they’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.

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“It doesn’t really make sense to send tanks to Ukraine unless you send combat aircraft to give them cover.”

The Horrifying Endgame in Ukraine (Rickards)

I’ve written extensively about two facets of the war in Ukraine that you don’t hear from legacy media in the United States or U.K. The first is that Russia is actually winning the war. U.S. outlets such as The New York Times (a channel for the State Department) and The Washington Post (a channel for the CIA) report endlessly about how Russian plans have failed, about how incompetent they are about how the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have pushed back Russians in the Donbass, and how NATO weapons such as U.S. Abrams tanks, U.K. Challenger tanks and German Leopard tanks will turn the tide against Russia soon. This is all nonsense. None of it is true.

First off, the Ukrainian advances that took place in late summer were against lightly defended positions that the Russians quickly conceded to conserve forces. The Russians were willing to give up the land so that they wouldn’t lose valuable men and materiel. The Russians withdrew to more defensible positions and have been badly mauling Ukrainian attacking forces ever since. Ukraine has wasted incredibly large amounts of men and equipment in these futile and ill-advised attacks. In all, credible reports indicate that AFU casualties are nearing 500,000 and are increasing at an unsustainable rate. On the other hand, reports of 100,000 Russian dead are almost certainly wild exaggerations put out by Ukraine. The BBC attempted to verify these numbers and could only find about 20,000 confirmed Russian dead based on extensive searches on funeral notices, public records, etc.

What about the tanks NATO is supposedly sending? Well, the tanks have not been delivered yet and most won’t be for months or longer. Our own M1 Abrams tanks might not even arrive for a year or more. We actually have to custom build these tanks so that they don’t have the special armor and other advanced systems that our own M1s have. The Pentagon doesn’t want them falling into Russian hands if they’re destroyed or captured. Besides, we’re only sending 31 tanks anyway. When the NATO tanks do arrive, they’ll likely quickly be destroyed by Russian artillery, anti-tank weapons and precision missiles. They’re good tanks, but far from invincible. For decades, the Russians have been developing powerful weapons specifically designed to destroy these NATO tank models. The Russians aren’t particularly worried about them.

Aside from that, tanks rely on effective air cover for protection, which Ukraine lacks. They’ll be sitting ducks on the battlefield. It doesn’t really make sense to send tanks to Ukraine unless you send combat aircraft to give them cover. Meanwhile, Russian forces have nearly encircled the city of Bakhmut, which is a major transportation and logistics hub, with several key roads and rail lines passing through it. It’ll probably fall to the Russians within weeks. Losing Bakhmut will be a major blow to Ukraine, despite claims in the western media that it really isn’t very important. Ukraine’s entire 800-mile defensive line would probably begin to crumble, and they don’t have heavily fortified positions to fall back on. Ukrainian troops, while brave and competent soldiers, are exhausted and running out of supplies as it is.

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“..She also expressed a preference for Russians overthrowing their government for a “better future” offered by the West..”

Nuland Outlines US Goals In Ukraine (RT)

Unless the Crimean peninsula is at the very least “demilitarized” Ukraine won’t feel safe, while the ideal end to the current conflict is with a revolution in Moscow, the US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Thursday. Ukrainians “have to get to a map that is more sustainable for them,” Nuland said in a video interview with the Washington think tank Carnegie Endowment. They have “significant chunks of territory they need to be a viable state, before you even get to the question of Crimea, and that’s what they’re focused on now.” The US position is that Ukraine is “owed and due all of their territory within their international borders,” which means Crimea as well, Nuland added.

Assigned to Ukraine by the Soviet Union in 1954, Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in March 2014, after the violent coup in Kiev that Nuland helped “midwife,” according to the infamous phone call intercept. “Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is – at a minimum, at a minimum – demilitarized,” Nuland insisted on Thursday, claiming that Moscow had turned the peninsula into a military base, with command posts, logistics depots and airfields for “Iranian drones.” “Those are legitimate targets, Ukraine is hitting them, and we are supporting that,” she said. Earlier this week, Politico quoted two anonymous officials to imply that Nuland’s boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had admitted the US was not “actively encouraging” Ukraine to seize Crimea and that any moves on the peninsula would be “Kiev’s decision alone.”

Nuland, however, told Carnegie that the battlefield objectives of Washington and Kiev overlap “in terms of what the Ukrainians want to do on the battlefield, and what we’re enabling them to plan to do.” Asked how she saw the conflict ending, Nuland said the West “must never trust, as long as Vladimir Putin is in power, or somebody like him, that this is truly over.” Even if the fighting ends on Ukraine’s terms, there “has to be a long-term plan” to build up Ukraine’s military as a deterrent. She also expressed a preference for Russians overthrowing their government for a “better future” offered by the West.

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“What exactly do they know? Is there anything they are trying to hide? I suppose any truly objective, impartial and professional media will want to seek out the truth..”

Beijing Challenges Western Press On Nord Stream Blasts (RT)

Beijing has mocked mainstream Western media for its apparent reluctance to look into recent allegations by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, that the US was responsible for blowing up the Nord Stream undersea pipelines last year. The sabotage of the natural gas routes last September had a major economic and environmental impact and caused global concern over the safety of cross-border infrastructure, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Thursday. “Immediately after the explosions, we saw extensive coverage in US and other Western media with one-sided speculations on who was ‘responsible’ for the sabotage,” he said. “What we see now, however, is that these media, hailed as free, professional and impartial, have fallen silent over Seymour Hersh’s detailed report.”

The veteran investigative journalist reported last week that US President Joe Biden had ordered a secret operation to sabotage the crucial energy link. According to his source, which Hersh did not reveal, the US colluded with Norway to plant explosives under the guise of a NATO naval exercise and detonate it remotely months later. Both nations have denied the allegations. Wang wondered if Western outlets really wanted to know the truth about what happened, suggesting that some may be covering up for the Biden administration. “What exactly do they know? Is there anything they are trying to hide? I suppose any truly objective, impartial and professional media will want to seek out the truth,” the Chinese diplomat said.

Russia, which argued from the outset that the US had most to gain from knocking out the Nord Stream pipelines, expressed similar sentiments. “We consider this incident an act of international terrorism that warrants a comprehensive and independent investigation,” Igor Girenko, the spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington said. He urged Washington to “at least try to prove that they were not involved in the destruction of the gas pipelines.”

Clare Daly

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Olga Sukharevskaya is a former Ukrainian diplomat.

The West Has Long Planned A Proxy War With Russia In Ukraine (Sukharevskaya)

Western ‘aid’ is killing Ukrainians by the thousands. In November 2022, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, estimated that Kiev had lost at least 100,000 servicemen, before deleting her comments after uproar from supporters of Ukraine. Three more months have passed since then. Big expansions to cemeteries have sprouted up all over Ukraine. Trying to make up for losses, the authorities have ordered more mobilization. This process has turned into a hunt, with men being dragged to war by force, as dozens of videos freely available online show. Given equipment losses, it’s likely that attacks on the civilian population of Donbass, Zaporozhye, and Kherson, as well as Russia’s border regions, are carried out almost exclusively using Western weapons.

Evidence of this is seen from video footage of destroyed civilian infrastructure in Donbass. American “gifts” in the form of HIMARS strike residential areas in Donetsk and in the deep rear of the Lugansk city of Schastye. The Kalinin hospital in Donetsk and a hospital in Novoaidar, Lugansk, were both destroyed by NATO weapons. And this is only a small portion of the slaughter being committed by Kiev, using Western supplies. According to UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, at least 7,100 civilians have been killed in the course of combat operations since February 2022. “The real numbers are probably much bigger,” Nakamitsu said. Norwegian Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen estimates civilian casualties at 30,000 people.

There is also evidence that some long-range missiles currently publicly only under discussion have already been provided to Kiev. The head of the administration of the Russian part of Zaporozhye Region, Vladimir Rogov, has reported that Ukrainian missiles hit the hotel complex ‘Hunter’s Camp’ in Melitopol, resulting in civilian deaths. However, the city is located more than 100 km from the frontline. The lives of the Ukrainian people have been sacrificed in the interests of a geopolitical confrontation planned by the West. At a meeting of the Council of Europe on January 24, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, “We (the EU) are waging a war against Russia, not against each other.” She was subsequently forced to take her words back, but other Western officials have said the same thing, even if in less straightforward ways.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed, “If Putin prevails, it will mean a defeat not only for Ukraine but for all of us.” As for Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, he went so far as to call the defeat of Russia “the Polish and European meaning of life.” Politicians generally tell the truth only after resigning. Statements from former German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Francois Hollande have revealed that the 2014 and 2015 Minsk (peace) Agreements were signed only in order to arm Ukraine and buy it time before a full on military confrontation with Russia. In other words, waging war with Russia by proxy through Ukraine has been a meticulously planned strategy, long in the making.

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“The deal outlined moves to declare a ceasefire, withdraw weapons, declare amnesty, restore economic ties and conduct constitutional reform in Ukraine..”

Russia Acted Out Of Necessity To Implement Minsk Accords – Kremlin (TASS)

Russia took into account the need to implement the Minsk Accords and exerted numerous efforts to make sure that the commitments under the deal were implemented by Ukraine, France, and Germany, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. The Russian presidential spokesman responded with a negative reply to a question as to whether Moscow assumed that the deal would not be carried out once the accords were signed. “You know how much effort the Russian side invested into the negotiating track in order to force both the Ukrainian side and Berlin and Paris to go down the path of fulfilling the commitments that the parties had undertaken under the Minsk agreements,” he continued.

According to Peskov, Moscow “exerted a great deal of effort” into the Minsk Accords. He recalled that the talks on the issue involved the personal participation of President Vladimir Putin, ex-Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak. “Undoubtedly, the main objective was to force Kiev to fulfill its obligations,” Peskov told the news briefing. The Minsk Accords were the cornerstone of the Donbass peace process. The deal outlined moves to declare a ceasefire, withdraw weapons, declare amnesty, restore economic ties and conduct constitutional reform in Ukraine through dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR), aimed at decentralizing power and providing a special status to certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, the negotiation process had actually stalled because of Kiev’s refusal to fulfill the political provisions of the Minsk accords. In particular, Kiev rejected holding any direct dialogue with the DPR and the LPR, opposed the consolidation of the regions’ special status in the constitution, and also demanded that a section of the border with Russia in Donbass be placed under Ukrainian control until the political part of the deal was implemented.

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“These states of the Global South are also developing plans for new international reserve currency designed to undercut the ability of Washington to dictate international policy..”

Implications of US Destruction of Nordstream 2 Pipeline (Fuller)

The stunning recent and detailed reportage of direct American sabotage of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline represents a major geostrategic watershed in two senses: First, the implications of Washington’s act of war with disastrous economic impact upon Europe will not subside easily. But more importantly this event has demonstrated America’s successful cowing of any public commentary on the event — across U.S. media but more so across all European media itself, including in the most economically victimized state —Germany. We observe stunning, nearly inexplicable silence over this major international event. And Russia has gotten the message — American policies and statements have deeply reinforced Russia’s long-standing belief that the West is implacably hostile to any Russian role in the West — going back to the bitter and irrevocable split of Christendom between Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054. That was later followed up by two devastating European invasions of Russia (Napoleon and Hitler).

Growing European trade ties — especially Germany — with Russia since the end of the Cold War have been thrown on the trash heap by NATO expansion east. The hostility of East-West relations has been reinforced and deepened. Washington has no desire to work out a new common-European security policy that includes Russian interests as well. And these U.S. policies have helped ensure that Russia’s future now firmly lies in the East–Vladivostok and with China in a shared rejection of U.S. global hegemony. The rise of a new Great Wall that blocks off Russia from Western Europe is one of the most striking outcomes of this war: European officialdom seems to have cast in its lot, perhaps reluctantly but irrevocably, with the American strategic goals in the world.

Those goals now even speak of creating a new “NATO Pacific” designed to challenge Chinese power economically and strategically in China’s own backyard — at great potential economic cost to Europe. But for all this demonstration of Washington’s hold over Europe, it is also striking to note how the great majority of the world has indeed not gone along with U.S. strategic ambitions to weaken and humble Russia or to impose Washington’s own geopolitical architecture on most of the rest of the world. Broadly speaking Latin America, the Middle East and Africa do not perceive their strategic interests as aligning with Washington’s. Apart from some lip service criticism of Russia, few states including large segments of Asia and India itself have imposed any meaningful sanctions against Russia.

More vividly, we see the emergence of new non-Western alliances such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) with many other major states lining up to include Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. These states of the Global South are also developing plans for new international reserve currency designed to undercut the ability of Washington to dictate international policy through U.S. dollar-based sanctions.

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“If you are dealing with a nuclear power and if you are citing the goal of inflicting defeat to this nuclear power, you should have all the options in mind of our possible response.”

Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings that War with US Is Close (LI)

Starting in 2008, NATO has repeatedly declared its intention to someday allow Ukraine to become a member, again reiterating that pledge at a recent alliance summit. The move would cross the “brightest of all red lines” for Moscow, as was previously noted by then-State Department official and current CIA Director William Burns, who penned a 2008 memo warning of the geopolitical perils of extending membership to Kiev. Still, President Joe Biden has refused to change course, insisting it is up to Ukraine whether it would like to join the US-led military bloc while effectively making Kiev a de facto member in the meantime. In an interview with Newsweek on Tuesday, Russia’s UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy argued that the West has not respected Moscow’s core security concerns, and has become directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

“All the red lines have already been crossed by Western countries. There is already semi-direct involvement of NATO in the conflict because it’s not only weaponry but it’s intelligence,” he said. “It’s the situation when the targets of certain artillery systems, in particular HIMARS, these targets can be hit only with the coordination with Washington.” Last week, the Washington Post reported that Ukraine relies on American intelligence for selecting targets. Since the start of the year, the White House has authorized the shipment of main battle tanks and long-range rockets to Kiev. Additionally, NATO appears to be preparing to send Western-made warplanes to Ukraine. ”It means that NATO is not only providing weapons but also are choosing the targets for Ukrainian strikes,” Polyanskiy continued.

He went on to allege that citizens from NATO countries are already fighting – as well as getting captured and killed – in Ukraine. ”We know this from the people that we capture and from the bodies that we see on the battlefield.” The ambassador said Western weapons would only escalate the conflict, even warning that foreign intervention could eventually trigger a nuclear war. “It’s absolutely clear that any deliveries of weapons to the zone of conflict, of course, is like pouring oil into the fire,” he said, adding “If you are dealing with a nuclear power and if you are citing the goal of inflicting defeat to this nuclear power, you should have all the options in mind of our possible response.”

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Staley’s done. Now for the rest.

Bombshell New Emails Unsealed Between Epstein and JP Morgan Executive (TP)

Newly unsealed documents relating to the ongoing Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit against JPMorgan begin to paint a larger picture of how the Epstein sex trafficking operation was conducted. Newly unsealed passages of a federal lawsuit have revealed that as far back as 2006, former top executives at JPMorgan privately discussed abuse allegations surrounding the late predator Jeffrey Epstein, and more than 20 of his sex trafficking victims were paid through accounts at the mega bank. “These women were trafficked and abused during different intervals between at least 2003 and July 2019, when Epstein was arrested and jailed, and these women received payments, typically multiple payments, between 2003 and 2013 in excess of $1 million collectively,” a passage states.

“Epstein also withdrew more than $775,000 in cash over that time frame from JP Morgan accounts, especially significant as Epstein was known to pay for “massages,” or sexual encounters, in cash.” Earlier, the allegations, along with some others, were concealed with redactions by the government of the Virgin Islands while submitting its legal action against JP Morgan Chase, citing its involvement in Epstein’s offenses. Late Wednesday, the Virgin Islands unsealed more documents relating to their investigation. The bombshell documents reveal just how involved JP Morgan was with Epstein. Not only did they know what Epstein was up to, but they were complicit. JPMorgan’s then-senior executive Jes Staley had a very close relationship with Epstein, sending him 1,200 emails that suggest he was involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.

“Between 2008 and 2012, Staley exchanged approximately 1,200 emails with Epstein from his JP Morgan email account,” the lawsuit says. “These communications show a close personal relationship and ‘profound’ friendship between the two men and even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.” One Staley email was even sent from Epstein’s Little St. James in 2009 when Epstein was in jail in Florida. “So when all hell breaks lo[o]se, and the world is crumbling, I will come here, and be at peace,” the email read. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine. This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”

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“..a testing and screening program to determine whether players have been adversely affected by the injections and to develop a set of functional medical protocols and treatments in order to address and heal any deleterious effects of the vaccines..”

The players don’t want to be tested, afraid they can’t play.

NFL Players Association Urged to Screen for Vaccine Side Effects (ET)

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is being urged to offer players cardiac screening in light of the growing concern over COVID-19 vaccines causing heart inflammation. The Health Freedom Defense Fund urged the association in a recent letter to implement screening because the vaccines can cause myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation. Young males are the most at risk. Most NFL players received a COVID-19 vaccine under pressure from teams and the league. “Safety signals illustrate that the near and long-term health outcomes of the COVID-19 vaccines remain uncertain,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the fund, told DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the players association, in the letter.

RFK jr

“A multitude of adverse reactions to these injections, including myocarditis, are wide-ranging and confirmed, and as such, prudence dictates that the NFLPA investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 shots may have resulted in injury, compromised health or death of players,” Manookian said. She pointed out that Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game in January. The reason for the incident remains unknown; Hamlin declined to convey during a recent televised interview what his doctors told him about the incident. Former NFL players also have suffered heart attacks and strokes following vaccination. The NFLPA should introduce “a testing and screening program to determine whether players have been adversely affected by the injections and to develop a set of functional medical protocols and treatments in order to address and heal any deleterious effects of the vaccines,” Manookian said.

[..] Manookian informed the NFLPA that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a warning regarding myocarditis and a related condition, pericarditis, on the labels for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. She also pointed to research papers on post-vaccination myocarditis. Among them were a study by Florida authorities that found a jump in cardiac-related deaths among the vaccinated; a study that found an increased risk of myocarditis and myopericarditis after a second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine and the first and second doses of Moderna’s vaccine, with the highest risk in young males; a reanalysis of the original clinical trials that found a higher number of serious adverse events of special interest among the vaccinated; and experts in Germany reporting, after analyzing autopsies, that some of the deceased likely died from vaccine-induced myocarditis.

“We have a growing body of scientific evidence showing that there is a risk to young males in particular, and many of them have some critical cardiac problems,” Manookian said. The NFLPA did the right thing when it comes to concussions, supporting stronger protections for players, she said. “I think that we should be doing the same thing with respect to these COVID injections and the potential for subclinical cardiac issues,” Manookian said.

Read more …





Biden walk






In 1970, students in a fifth-grade class at Hawthorne School in Beverly Hills were assigned to write a letter to someone they admired, asking them “What makes a good citizen?”10yr old Joel Lipton wrote to Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz. Joel got a reply…



Abandoned ant hill








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Nov 062021
 November 6, 2021  Posted by at 9:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »

Pablo Picasso Baigneuses 1918


Drastic Drop In Covid Vaccine Effectiveness (RT)
Dramatic Decline In Effectiveness Of All Three Covid-19 Vaccines Over Time (LAT)
Pfizer Shares Surge After Release Of ‘Miracle’ COVID Pill (ZH)
Woke Gets Whacked — But Hold the Victory Lap (Kunstler)
No, It’s Not Legal (Denninger)
Unvaccinated Troops Now Threatened With Losing All Their Veterans Benefits (ZH)
UKHSA Efficacy Stats Death Watch: Week 44 (eugyppius)
De Blasio To Pay Kids $100 To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine (Fox)
Florida Court Reinstates Governor’s Ban on Masking in Schools (ET)
A Review and Autopsy of Two COVID Immunity Studies (Kulldorff)
NFL Star Aaron Rodgers Responds To ‘Fake’ Vaccine Controversy (RT)
The Man Who Called Bullshit on Uber (MJ)
“The Fed Is Our Master And ‘We The People’, Its Puppet” – G. Edward Griffin (ZH)






Door-to-Door vaxxinations in QLD!





In a normal world, this would be the nail in the coffin. This is not a normal world.

Drastic Drop In Covid Vaccine Effectiveness (RT)

Three different coronavirus shots – those mainly available in the US and Europe – have shown a dramatic decline in efficacy over time, a study of nearly 800,000 Americans reveals. Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness against both infection and death was studied in three US approved jabs – the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA shots, and the Janssen viral vector vaccine. Having analyzed data from 780,225 US veterans of different ages and sexes between February and October, researchers came to a disturbing conclusion. Vaccine protection against Covid-19 infection dropped from 89.2% at its highest to a low of 13.1%, according to a joint study by the Public Health Institute, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the University of Texas Health Science Center, published in the Science journal on Thursday.

While effectiveness against infection in March was 89.2% for Moderna, 86.9% for Pfizer, and 86.4% for Janssen, by September there were massive declines to 58%, 43%, and 13% respectively. The emergence and dominance of the Delta strain of the virus during the time of the study may have played a role, researchers said, adding that vaccine protection waned across all studied age groups. More than 26,000 positive PCR tests occurred in some 498,000 fully vaccinated veterans. The authors said the pattern of breakthrough infections shows a “worrisome temporal trend.” While the analysis covers 2.7 percent of the US population, other domestic and international studies have shown significantly waning efficacy.

On a brighter note, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and death remained high. As breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to emerge in fully vaccinated people, there is “an urgent need to reinstate multiple layers of protection, such as masking and physical distancing – even among vaccinated persons,” the scientists warn.

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About the same report, with added benefits: 1/ LA Times manages to turn the utter failure of the vaccines into a promo for the same vaccines and 2/ a booster after 28 days. Soon coming to your town.

Dramatic Decline In Effectiveness Of All Three Covid-19 Vaccines Over Time (LAT)

As the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the coronavirus across the United States, all three COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans lost some of their protective power, with vaccine efficacy among a large group of veterans dropping between 35% and 85%, according to a new study. Researchers who scoured the records of nearly 800,000 U.S. veterans found that in early March, just as the Delta variant was gaining a toehold across American communities, the three vaccines were roughly equal in their ability to prevent infections. But over the next six months, that changed dramatically. By the end of September, Moderna’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, measured as 89% effective in March, was only 58% effective. The effectiveness of shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech, which also employed two doses, fell from 87% to 45% in the same period.

And most strikingly, the protective power of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine plunged from 86% to just 13% over those six months. The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science. The three vaccines held up better in their ability to prevent COVID-19 deaths, but by July — as the Delta variant began to drive a three-month surge of infections and deaths — the shots’ effectiveness on that score also revealed wide gaps. Among veterans 65 and older who were inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, those who developed a so-called breakthrough infection were 76% less likely to die of COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated veterans of the same age. Older veterans who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and subsequently experienced a breakthrough infection were 70% less likely to die than were their unvaccinated peers.

And when older vets who got a single jab of the J&J vaccine suffered a breakthrough infection, they were 52% less likely to die than their peers who didn’t get any shots. For veterans younger than 65, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provided the best protection against a fatal case of COVID-19, at 84% and 82%, respectively. When younger veterans inoculated with the J&J vaccine suffered a breakthrough infection, they were 73% less likely to die of COVID-19 than were their unvaccinated peers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended booster shots for everyone who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months earlier.

Boosters are also recommended six months after a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines for everyone 65 and older; those with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to a serious case of COVID-19; those who live in nursing homes or other group settings; and those who live or work in high-risk settings such as hospitals or prisons. In addition, all people with compromised immune systems are advised to get a booster shot if it’s been at least 28 days since their vaccine took full effect.

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Not long ago, Pfizer “falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported..” Now that’s a come back.

Pfizer Shares Surge After Release Of ‘Miracle’ COVID Pill (ZH)

Thursday was a rough day for Moderna shares after the company released revenue figures and FY guidance that deeply disappointed Wall Street expectations (potentially destroying the reputation of financier Steve Weiss, arguably Moderna’s biggest promoter on Wall Street, in the process). But on Friday, Pfizer – Moderna’s biggest rival – rubbed Moderna’s nose in it by announcing a revolutionary new oral COVID antiviral similar to the Merck ‘miracle pill’ that won approval from UK regulators yesterday. The news sent Pfizer’s stock surging, while Moderna and Merck shares tumbled, during premarket trade. Pfizer shares were trading up 11%+:

The key takeaway from the Pfizer announcement is this: Pfizer said studies showed its COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients by 89%. That’s even higher than the 50% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths shown by the Merck pill. Again, like Merck, Pfizer said that it was no longer taking new patients in a clinical trial of the treatment “due to the overwhelming efficacy” of the drug, which it now plans to submit its findings to the FDA for emergency authorization (just like Merck is doing). Yesterday, Merck won approval for its new COVID antiviral, molnupiravir, from regulators in the UK, and it’s pushing to wrack up as many EUAs as possible from regulators from all over.

Pfizer is already planning to seek approval emergency approval from the US government because, according to the numbers, its drug is even more effective than molnuiravir. According to the headline numbers, Pfizer’s new antiviral is even more effective than the rival pill from Merck. Pfizer’s pill, which will be sold under the brand name Paxlovid, cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% when taken within three days after symptoms emerge (the number for Merck’s drug was it needed to be taken within 5 days of infection). “The results are really beyond our wildest dreams,” said Annaliesa Anderson, a Pfizer executive who led the drug’s development. She expressed hope that Paxlovid “can have a big impact on helping all our lives go back to normal again and seeing the end of the pandemic.”

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“Citizens have a right to object to this, and to the illegal vaccine “mandate” invoked by the pugnaciously stupid “Joe Biden” regime..”

Woke Gets Whacked — But Hold the Victory Lap (Kunstler)

The CDC and the FDA have unleashed a set of untested vaccines on the public that have been shown to produce alarmingly high rates of adverse reactions, both disabling and leading to death. The CDC’s VAERS system for reporting all that is so janky that doctors can barely use it and the CDC refuses to fix it; meanwhile doctors are being punished for even attempting to report adverse reactions. The whole of medical officialdom has militated aggressively against early treatments of Covid-19 with cheap and easily available drugs, even firing doctors who attempt to use the protocols.

The entire approval process of the various vaccines has been rife with fraud, gamed statistics, sabotaged trials, bait-and-switch scams, and unaccountable manufacturing screw-ups — all immersed in a stench of moneygrubbing. The drug companies have refused to fully reveal the contents of the vaccines. Now they are ramping up an urgent campaign to vaccinate children following rushed and falsified clinical trials, with the statistical certainty that many more kids will be injured or will die from the vax than they would from Covid-19 itself.

Citizens have a right to object to this, and to the illegal vaccine “mandate” invoked by the pugnaciously stupid “Joe Biden” regime. There is an awful creeping suspicion in the USA and in other countries that people who have received vaccinations are beginning to present fatal cardiovascular and neurological illness in large numbers, and that an attempt is underway to cover all this up. There is likewise a growing body of evidence that the vaccines and “boosters” incrementally disable the human immune system so that later in the winter of 2021-2022 millions of people will be at risk of dying from Covid variants and virtually any other disease that comes along, including cancers. How many of us are prepared for that?

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In Greece yesterday, the police were using water cannon against protesting firemen.

No, It’s Not Legal (Denninger)

OSHA claims this is an “Emergency” and requires immediate action. However, it wasn’t an emergency 11 months ago. Nor was it one in September, when there were many, many more cases and deaths than there are today. It also isn’t one now until January 2nd, directly after a number of industry groups complained about the impact of it on the holidays. Note that the alleged “authority” that OSHA has to deal with workplace insults and risks when it comes to an ETS depends on it being an actual emergency. OSHA cannot deliberately decide to sacrifice employees “up to a specific date because its inconvenient for their employers.” Indeed that act alone invalidates the ETS as it makes clear there is no emergency at all and the claim of one is a pretext.

OSHA’s regulatory authority is limited to workplaces. A risk that is diffuse and beyond the workplace in at least equal quality and severity is beyond their mandate. A respiratory virus is in that category. Can OSHA mandate asbestos regulations or concentrations of chemicals in the factory or other working environment? Sure. Can they mandate that which is in the outside air in the ordinary environment at the same level of risk? No. There is no specific and articulable risk within general employment that is not present everywhere else in ordinary life.

OSHA is required to back up their findings and claims with actual science. They can’t. Specifically there is no evidence that being jabbed is superior to being infected — in fact, its the other way around. Even if it is superior at some point in time the alleged “rule” does not differentiate and, in the instant case, the evidence is that those who were jabbed in January of last year either lost all protection or actually have negative protection .vs. someone who was never vaccinated at all. This, incidentally, makes their entire argument pretextual (and which the administration has admitted.)

OSHA is required to use the least-invasive means to address whatever it claims needs addressing. Demanding an invasive and permanent medical procedure is not the least-invasive means. For example they might be able to get away with a mask rule provided those medically-contraindicated are exempted or moved to other jobs and provided the employer pays for the masks; there are protocols for safe use of same which are in fact required in other industries and certain atmospheres. That’s reasonable and carries no negative risk of temporary, permanent or catastrophic harm.

OSHA has admitted that a less-invasive means exists through their “mask and test” option and thus is required to issue that, if they issue anything. The Civil Rights Act does not give you the right to put murder others. As such OSHA cannot mandate a jab if an alternative that is less-intrusive, which they admit to, is deemed acceptable. They deemed it reasonable, acceptable and effective. Their mandate thus falls by their own hand.

OSHA further cannot mandate you play Russian Roulette in order to keep a job nor can they mandate your employer force you to playing Russian Roulette, even if they assert there is some other risk they’re mitigating by doing so. They can put in place a standard that carries no identifiable risk, and do — for example there is no identifiable risk to mandating guards on a punch press, hard hats on a construction site, air circulation standards in a factory where potential dust or other contamination is present, and similar. This mandate is for an invasive medical procedure that carries risk and it does not matter how small the risk is. OSHA simply has no authority to issue a rule that your employer must demand you risk grievous injury or death under penalty of fining them if you refuse.

In short OSHA must demonstrate that (1) the risk is unique to or concentrated in the workplace, (2) the requirement for an ETS is emergent and exigent, not one of convenience or pretextual, (3) the risk mitigated is of great bodily harm or death and (4) it is the least-invasive means of doing so. OSHA has repeatedly had their ETS issued standards thrown out because one or more of those requirements is not met. They rarely use this mechanism for this reason — and their record of success on challenge is poor.

This will go up in smoke folks — it’s just another threat by Biden and his pals, this time aimed at employers with the threat of huge fines if they push back. But you, as an employee, have all the power. No hospital runs without nurses. Garbage is not picked up without garbagemen and women. Fires are not put out without firefighters, nor are traffic accidents attended to and the “Jaws of Life” don’t operate themselves. Water and sewer systems don’t run themselves either.

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The end of morals.

Unvaccinated Troops Now Threatened With Losing All Their Veterans Benefits (ZH)

We detailed Thursday that many thousands of active duty Air Force personnel have still remained unvaccinated even after the Tuesday deadline has come and gone for the Air Force’s mandate to receive both Covid jabs, which was the earliest set deadline among US military branches. Already some branches like the Navy and Marines have clarified that members who refuse the mandate will be relieved of duty and separated from the service. After Tuesday’s deadline at least 8,500 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force are in non-compliance and now risk being kicked out. However, there’s no indication as of yet that commanders have booted anyone at this early point.

But now the Department of Defense (DoD) taking its threat of punitive action a big step further, saying unvaccinated service members could see their veterans’ benefits taken away. This would be based on personnel receiving other-than-honorable discharge, which will reportedly be determined by a base’s local command. The Pentagon is saying such a drastic penalty, which would result in individual veterans potentially losing everything from education benefits such as the GI Bill, to eligibility for a veterans home lone, is necessary as lack of vaccination impacts “readiness”. A new report in the Military Times quotes Gil Cisneros, Department of Defense (DoD) undersecretary for personnel, who told Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “We see the vaccines as a readiness issue. Any discharge decision is up to the individual service as to how they proceed with that.”

The report describes that “Individuals with honorable discharges will be eligible for things like GI Bill benefits, VA home loans and transition assistance programs. Individuals with other-than-honorable discharges are still guaranteed mental health care services through VA, but may be blocked from most other benefits.” An honorable discharge would guarantee all of these benefits, while anything less throws them into doubt in terms of eligibility. Other branches have their deadlines for all personnel to get vaccinated coming in the next weeks. As for the Air Force, what might happen next is a mass expulsion of non-vaxxed service members. There was no word on what career fields the un-vaxxed were in. If some are pilots, especially ones operating stealth jets and bombers, the overreaching vaxx mandate could much more directly jeopardize America’s readiness for war.

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Managing expectations.

UKHSA Efficacy Stats Death Watch: Week 44 (eugyppius)

Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated case rates in the United Kingdom, from the latest UK Health Security Agency vaccine surveillance report

Yet again I had to draw this graph myself, and yet again, the UK Health Security Agency wants you to know that these rates are extremely, totally, absolutely unadjusted. They just don’t know precisely why or how. As I noted on Twitter, it’s emerged that UKHSA inserted all of their ill-advised disclaimers after coming under fire from the Office of Statistics Regulation, a regulatory body which periodically complains about statistics published by the British government. OSR director Ed Humpherson met with UKHSA hours before they published their Week 43 report, demanding they do something about these awkward graphs. They responded by ditching the graphs altogether and calling every last number unadjusted. This failed to satisfy him, so in the days afterwards he issued this unbelievable open letter.

“Dear Jenny, COVID-19 vaccine surveillance statistics
Thank you for the constructive meeting on Thursday 28 October to discuss the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) COVID-19 vaccine surveillance statistics. We focused on the risk that the data presented on rates of positive cases for those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated have the potential to mislead – and indeed we noted that these data have been used to argue that vaccines are ineffective. We welcome the changes you have made to the Week 43 surveillance report, published on 28 October. It is also very good that you are working closely with my team and with the relevant teams in the Office for National Statistics (ONS).”

The UK has backed itself into publishing some less-than-useful numbers. Now the office responsible for this publishing will have to work closely with a gaggle of political commissars, responsible for cleansing official discourse of anything that might be “used to argue that vaccines are ineffective.” Because he appears to be a genuinely stupid man, Humpherson spells this point out explicitly: “It remains the case that the surveillance report includes rates per 100,000 which can be used to argue that vaccines are not effective. I know that this is not the intention of the surveillance report, but the potential for misuse remains. In publishing these data, you need to address more comprehensively the risk that it misleads people into thinking that it says something about vaccine effectiveness.”

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The end of morals.

De Blasio To Pay Kids $100 To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine (Fox)

New York City will begin offering $100 to incentivize COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5-11. “Everyone can use a little more money around the holidays but most importantly we want our kids and our families to be safe,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. The new policy will apply to New York City-run vaccine sites and comes two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5-11-years-old. The mayor said that getting the vaccine now will allow children to be fully vaccinated before Christmas, hoping that the $100 incentive will drive people to show up and get extra money for holidays.

The city is hoping to speed its effort to get kids vaccinated before they travel for the holidays, noting that the updated CDC guidance says that children have to wait three weeks between Pfizer doses, even though the dosage is smaller than the adult dose. The mayor also said that every public school in the city that serves children in the targeted age range will hold a dedicated vaccination day for those students beginning next week, which will cover about 1,070 sites over the course of the week by hitting roughly 200 schools per day. The city stressed that parents should be present to give verbal consent, whether at a school site or a city-run site, for their children to receive the shot, though de Blasio noted that parents and guardians can also give verbal consent over the phone.

“All choices are good choices, but we want to make it available and easy for parents who prefer just to go to their local school building,” de Blasio said. While millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been shipped around the country in advance of the guidance, pediatricians in the city say they have not been overwhelmed by calls for appointments for kids to get the shot. “We do NOT yet have the vaccine in our office. We placed an order last week and are awaiting confirmation about when the vaccine will be delivered. We will NOT schedule appointments until we have it,” a letter from Uptown Pediatrics in Manhattan sent to families Wednesday said. But city Health Commissioner David Chokshi stressed that parents can choose from multiple sites to get their children vaccinated. “There’s no wrong door here. We just wanna get as many kids vaccinated as quickly as we can,” Chokshi said.

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“Florida now has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the entire country..”

Florida Court Reinstates Governor’s Ban on Masking in Schools (ET)

In Florida’s ongoing battle over masking mandates in schools, the First District Court of Appeal (DCA) overruled the decision of a Leon County circuit court judge on Wednesday, reinstating the governor’s ban on forced masking in schools. Some Leon County parents are cheering the ruling as a big win for parents’ rights and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In August, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that DeSantis exceeded his authority in banning forced masking in public schools. In September, the First DCA overruled Cooper. But the following week, Cooper ruled that his order to prevent the state from enforcing school mask mandates should take immediate effect. On Oct. 27, the First DCA again overruled Cooper and emphasized three reasons why his ruling was wrong.

To begin, the First DCA ruled that the case never should have gone to trial because the plaintiffs did not have standing. The plaintiffs, a group of parents and students, could not sue to protect the institutional authority of local school districts and the Florida Department of Health. “Those entities alone must advance their own institutional rights,” the First DCA wrote. Second, the plaintiffs were not harmed by DeSantis’ order because the order took no action against them. In fact, all the governor did was direct other state agencies to protect parental rights. Third, the plaintiffs’ claim of receiving injury because they were exposed to COVID-19 by unmasked students was not “concrete” or “palpable” enough to warrant judicial intervention in public health policy.

Most notable was how the First DCA admonished Cooper for inventing his own legal theory to ultimately rule against the governor’s school mask policy by saying DeSantis somehow violated the Parents’ Bill of Rights by giving parents more rights. “While the Parents’ Bill of Rights undoubtedly played a role in the governor’s issuance of the executive order—and was even pleaded as an affirmative defense—the [Plaintiffs] never sought relief in their complaint based on an alleged violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights,” the First DCA wrote. “They certainly never requested an injunction against a state administrative actor proceeding in some way in contravention of the Parents’ Bill of Rights.”

Similar court battles are playing out in other Florida counties. While the full appeal in the Leon County case is still pending, Christina Pushaw, executive press secretary for DeSantis said “the preliminary ruling shows that the Plaintiffs have little chance of saving the trial court’s ruling, so this is a win for Governor DeSantis and parents’ rights in Florida!” “Florida now has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the entire country,” Pushaw told The Epoch Times. “Infections statewide have declined more than 90 percent since schools in Florida opened. The rate of decline was the same for districts that had mask mandates and districts that followed state law by allowing parents to choose whether their kids wore masks or not.”

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“..the vaccinated were 191/8=23 times more likely to have subsequent symptomatic disease than the Covid recovered.”

A Review and Autopsy of Two COVID Immunity Studies (Kulldorff)

In the Israeli study, the researchers tracked 673,676 vaccinated people who they knew not to have had Covid and 62,833 unvaccinated Covid-recovered individuals. A simple comparison of the rates of subsequent Covid in these two groups would be misleading. The vaccinated are likely older and, hence, more prone to have symptomatic disease, giving the Covid recovered group an unfair advantage. At the same time, the typical vaccinated patient received the vaccine long after the typical Covid-recovered patient got sick. Most Covid recovered patients got the infection before the vaccine was even available. Because immunity wanes over time, this fact would give an unfair advantage to the vaccinated group. To make a fair and unbiased comparison, researchers must match patients from the two groups on age and time since vaccination/disease.

That is precisely what the study authors did, matching also on gender and geographical location. For the primary analysis, the study authors identified a cohort with 16,215 individuals who had recovered from Covid and 16,215 matched individuals who were vaccinated. The authors followed these cohorts over time to determine how many had a subsequent symptomatic Covid disease diagnosis. Ultimately, 191 patients in the vaccinated group and 8 in the Covid recovered group got symptomatic Covid disease. These numbers mean that the vaccinated were 191/8=23 times more likely to have subsequent symptomatic disease than the Covid recovered. After adjusting the statistical analysis for comorbidities in a logistic regression analysis, the authors measured a relative risk of 27 with a 95% confidence interval between 13 and 57 times more likely for the vaccinated.

The study also looked at Covid hospitalizations; eight were in the vaccinated group, and one among the Covid recovered. These numbers imply a relative risk of 8 (95% CI: 1-65). There were no deaths in either group, showing that both the vaccine and natural immunity provide excellent protection against mortality. This is a straightforward and well-conducted epidemiological cohort study that is easy to understand and interpret. The authors addressed the major source of bias through matching. One potential bias they did not address (as it is challenging to do) is that those with prior Covid may have been more likely to be exposed in the past through work or other activities. Since they were more likely to be exposed in the past, they may also have been more likely exposed during the follow-up period. That would lead to an underestimate of the relative risks in favor of vaccination. There may also be misclassification if some of the vaccinated unknowingly had Covid. That would also lead to an underestimate.

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Reigning NFL MVP, treated like a five year old.

NFL Star Aaron Rodgers Responds To ‘Fake’ Vaccine Controversy (RT)

NFL star Aaron Rodgers has hit out at reports that he ‘lied’ about his vaccination status as he reveals that he has been taking advice on alternative Covid therapies from podcast host Joe Rogan, including the use of Ivermectin. Reigning NFL MVP Rodgers, 37, was the source of a media frenzy this week when he was accused of lying about his vaccination status against Covid-19 after telling the media in August that he had been “immunized” against the virus. That was despite it emerging this week that he was unvaccinated after contracting the illness, forcing him out of the Green Bay Packers’ crunch showdown with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.

Rodgers’ vaccination status comes amid strict rules within the NFL designed to compel players to receive one of the various vaccines, with harsh financial penalties imposed on players who fall foul of the league’s vaccine protocols. It emerged that, despite Rodgers not having received a vaccine, he appeared without a face-mask at various press events – a situation strictly disallowed for unvaccinated players. By contrast, the Packers had made a host of their unvaccinated players available to the media only by teleconference. Addressing the firestorm for the first time on former NFL player Pat McAfee’s radio show, Rodgers said that he was aware that he had enflamed tensions with the ‘woke’ mob and that he had become the darling ‘cancel culture’ brigade.

He outlined that he had sought alternative methods to protect himself from the potentially fatal virus – including following podcast host and UFC presenter Joe Rogan’s alternative theories by taking the controversial Ivermectin medication. “I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now, so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket I think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now,” said Rodgers. “I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. During that time there was a very… a ‘witch hunt’ that was going on across the league where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t, and what that meant and who was being selfish and who would talk about it.

“[It was about] what they meant when they said it was a ‘personal decision’, [and that] they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information… “And at the time, my plan was to say that I had been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie, it was the truth. “Had there been a follow-up to my statement that I’d been immunized, I would have responded with this: look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax flat-earther. I am somebody who is a critical thinker. You guys know me, I march to the beat of my own drum. “I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some sort of ‘woke’ culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something.”

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Profitable destruction.

The Man Who Called Bullshit on Uber (MJ)

In December 2016, Forbes put Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick on its cover. “Super Uber,” a headline declared. “The most valuable startup ever isn’t content to be the Uber of Uber. How the $68 billion juggernaut is about to change the way everything moves.” bThe story opened with Kalanick pacing about a conference room. He was not just some “bro” or “douche.” As “jam sessions” like this one revealed, he had a “special sauce.” This was Uber’s actual genius: A PR machine that could transform six men listening to a boss in gray chinos into something almost mystical.bTwo weeks before, Hubert Horan, a little-known expert on the airline industry, wrote a blog post for an equally little-known website, called Naked Capitalism, that went in a different direction.

Horan’s thesis was that Uber was a tremendously unprofitable, inefficient, and not particularly innovative company that would make money only if it bought its way to an unregulated monopoly. Compared to the Forbes piece and many others like it, Horan’s article was a fiduciary root canal. (“There is no simple relationship between EBITAR contribution and GAAP profitability,” reads part of one sentence.) The goal was to show that Uber was hugely unprofitable and how, in the event that it did succeed, profit would come from hurting consumers and overall economic welfare by cornering the taxi market. Horan, who started consulting in the airline industry after getting his MBA at Yale in 1980, has now written 26 more installments of his Uber series. When combined as PDFs, the posts run 193 pages.

They reveal him to be much more a Cassandra than a crank. Uber has lost in the neighborhood of $28 billion since it launched in 2009. Its rides now cost far more than cabs in many major cities, its workers are as exploited as ever, and taxi drivers face massive debts, partly as a result of its business practices. Consumers, meanwhile, are shocked to learn what the rides investors have been subsidizing actually cost. =bIn Uber’s telling, the dynamic is about to change. In a late September SEC filing, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company was reaching an “important milestone” after running “more profitably than ever before” in the third quarter of 2021, which ended in September. As the beginning of another Forbes headline put it: “Uber Poised To Turn A Quarterly Profit.” It will likely officially announce this newfound profitability during its quarterly earnings call on Thursday.

But Uber has not actually become profitable. Instead, as the company stated in its September SEC filing, it believes it will be profitable based on its own “adjusted” formula, which excludes 13 categories the company does not like to count, such as stock-based compensation and the money it’s spending to respond to the pandemic.

Read more …

“The government doesn’t control the banks; the banks control the government..”

“The Fed Is Our Master And ‘We The People’, Its Puppet” – G. Edward Griffin (ZH)

The Federal Reserve has become so powerful over the years that its intended roles have entirely reversed and gone haywire, according to G. Edward Griffin, author of the book, many claim a financial bible – The Creature from Jekyll Island. In a rare and exclusive interview, Griffin joined anchor Daniela Cambone on Stansberry Research to discuss the true nature of the Federal Reserve and its place in American society, foreshadowing a world without the institution as we know it. As Cambone points out, the controversial yet influential voice Griffin promulgates would be argued as necessary, among former Congressman Ron Paul and Robert Kiyosaki. Griffin presents a stark reality that dives into the Fed’s foundational structure and how its practices are that of a “banking cartel.” On the surface, one might find it extreme to say that a private institution working in cohesion with the government is playing the role of “masters” to citizens.

Griffin presents his argument accurately by pointing out how Chairman Powell and the Federal Reserve swiftly implemented economic policies contributing to the greatest wealth transfer in human history. “The government doesn’t control the banks; the banks control the government,” he says to round out this servant-master metaphor. In a world where central bank digital currencies will inevitably be the new form of money, Griffin warns, people could lose control of their money because the banks could “just throw a switch and shut you out of your account if they don’t like you.” He then says it’s crucial to hold “marketable assets” outside of what the banking cartel cannot control, such as valuable physical objects – to the likes of precious metals, noting that gold is only one of the few safe places to hide.

Read more …












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Sep 242017
 September 24, 2017  Posted by at 6:41 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  2 Responses »

Robert Frank London 1952-53


‘Tis the jolly time of elections, referendums, flags and other democracy-related issues. They are all linked in some way or another, even if that’s not always obvious. Elections, in New Zealand and Germany this weekend, referendums in Catalonia and Kurdistan the coming week, a looming Party Congress in China, quarrels about a flag in the US and then there’s always Brexit.

About China: the Congress is only in October, Xi Jinping looks sure to broaden his powers even more, and it ain’t all that democratic, but we should still follow it, if only because party officials will be either demoted or promoted, and some of them govern more people than most kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but in China everything really is. Including debt.

New Zealand: the election very early this morning didn’t bring a much hoped for win for Labour, or any clear winner at all, so don’t expect any grand changes in policy. New Zealand won’t wake up till its economy dives and the housing bubble pops.

Germany: Angela Merkel has set up today’s election so that she has no competition. Though she will see the ultra-right AfD enter parliament. Still, her main ‘rival’, alleged left wing Martin Schulz, is a carbon copy of Merkel when it comes to the main issues, i.e. immigration and the EU. An election that is as dull as Angela herself, even though she’ll lose 10% or so. The next one won’t be, guaranteed.

As for the US, no elections there, but another round of big words about nationalism, patriotism and the flag. Donald Trump is well aware that 75% or so of Americans say the flag must be respected, so criticizing people for kneeling instead of standing when the anthem gets played is an easy win for him. No amount of famous athletes is going to change that.

It all doesn’t seem very smart or sophisticated. But then, the US is the only western country I know of that plays the anthem at domestic sports games and has children vow a Pledge of Allegiance to it every single day. Other countries can’t even imagine doing that. They keep their anthems for special occasions. And even then only a few people stand up when it’s played. For most, it’s much ado about nothing but a strip of cotton.

What is perhaps interesting is that a whole list of NFL team owners donated a million dollars to Trump, and now speak out against him and ‘side with their players’, even though not one of them has offered Colin Kaepernick a job since he got fired for going down on one knee. Should I add ‘allegedly’? The only right way to handle the issue would seem to be to talk about why Kaepernick and others do what they do, not that they do it. There’s more than enough division in the country to warrant such talks.

Let Trump invite Kaepernick and Stephen Curry, maybe even Lebron and Stevie Wonder, to the White House with the very intention to talk about that. In the current hostile climate that is not going to happen though, even if Da Donald might want to. There’s a group of people who after 30 years of a deteriorating economy said ‘this is not my country anymore’, and voted for the only -apparent- alternative available, Trump, and another group who then said ‘this is not my president’.

And never the twain shall have a conversation. Somebody better find a way to get them to talk about it, or worse is to come. Far too many Americans identify themselves solely as not being someone else. Yeah, Trump too, but he’s been under constant siege from all sides, and of course he’ll fight back. No, that does not make me a Trump cheerleader, as some have suggested, but what’s happening today threatens to blow up the entire nation, after first having eroded the whole political system. This is a serious risk.

Now spymaster James Clapper is saying again that the whole Russia thing, for which there still is zero proof, could make the election invalid. Well, not without proof, Jimbo. And until you do have that proof, shut up, it’s poisonous (he knows). Instead, go help the 3.5 million literally powerless Americans in Puerto Rico. There are plenty issues to deal with that don’t involve bashing your president. Keep that for later.


(Proposed) referendums (referenda?) in Catalunya and ‘Kurdistan’ raise interesting questions about sovereignty and self determination. We’ll see a lot more of that going forward. I’ve repeatedly mentioned the issue of sovereignty when it comes to Greece, which cannot really be called sovereign anymore because others, foreigners, make all main decisions about its economy.

There may be plenty different definitions of sovereignty, but there can be no doubt it means that a domestic authority has control over a country. That also means that possible changes to that authority can only be made domestically. To come back to Greece briefly, I’m surprised that no constitutional lawyers or scholars have questioned respective governments handing de facto control to ‘outsiders’.

But that can be both deepened and broadened to the decision to join both first the EU, and later the euro. Have all 27 EU countries run these decisions by their constitutional lawyers and highest courts? I’ve never seen an opinion like that from any country. Does a country’s ruling authority have the power to sign away its sovereignty? I would bet in most cases it does not, or the constitution involved was/is either shoddily written or not worth much to begin with.

That any elected US president -or Congress, Senate- would have the power to sell the country to the highest bidder -or any part of it- sounds preposterous, even if I’m no constitutional lawyer or scholar. What countries CAN do, of course, is sign treaties and other agreements concerning defence or trade, among others. But any possible sovereignty violations would always need to be scrutinized at the highest domestically available level of judicial power.

Moreover, I would argue that sovereignty is not something that can be divided, split up or broken into separate parts. You’re either sovereign or you’re not. One country, indivisible, as the US Pledge of Allegiance states (but that doesn’t mean a group of people inside a country can’t seek its own sovereignty).


The ‘composition’ of the EU raises a lot of questions. Many countries have given up their rights to control over their currencies, and therefore their entire economic policies, and though the euro is undoubtedly beneficial in some areas, it has turned out to be a straight-jacket in others, when less sunny economic times arrived.

So what happens if those less sunny times are here to stay? Will countries like Greece continue to bend over for Germany, and for the ECB it controls, or will some of these countries (re-)examine their rights to sovereignty? How is this defined in the EU charter anyway? It has to be there, or many constitutions were violated to begin with when countries signed up. Sovereignty that is not properly defined is meaningless.

Another, non-economic, example concerns the Visegrad countries, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It’s wonderfully ironic that Wikipedia says the Visegrad alliance (est. in 1991) was formed “for the purposes of furthering their European integration”, ironic because one might be tempted to think it does the opposite. The Visegrad countries refuse to be part of the EU’s scheme to resettle refugees.

And Brussels tries to force them to comply with that scheme, with threat after threat. But that too, no matter how one views the issue or where one’s sympathies lie, is in the end a sovereignty issue. And what use is it to force refugees upon a country that doesn’t want them? The bigger question is of course: why were they ever invited into the EU when they think that way, and that way is fundamentally different from that prevalent in Brussels and other member countries?

Or perhaps the even bigger question should be: how do you combine a country’s sovereignty with a political and economic union of nations that must sign away parts of their sovereignty -and therefore all of it, as argued before-. If you ask me, it’s not nearly as easy -let alone legal- as they try to make it look.


Catalunya and ‘Kurdistan’ are good examples – albeit from a different angle- of that same conundrum. A topic closely linked to sovereignty is self-determination. Wikipedia:

The right of people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law (commonly regarded as a jus cogens rule), binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the {UN] Charter’s norms. It states that a people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.

[..] on 11 February 1918 US President Woodrow Wilson stated: “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.

‘Self determination’ is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action.

The Kurds have been denied that right for a very long time. For reasons related to divide and rule policies in a whole slew of different global powers both in the region and outside of it, and reasons related to oil. After being a major force in the fight against ISIS, and after seeing Turkey get ever more agressive against them -again-, the Kurds have -not for the first time- planned a referendum for a sovereign state. As the UN charter unequivocally says is their right.

The problem is, they want to establish their state on land that other countries claim is theirs. Even if the Kurds have lived there for a long time. And that’s a common theme in most of these ‘events’. Catalunya, Palestina, ‘Kurdistan’, they’re told they can perhaps have independence and sovereignty, but not on land where their people have lived for 1000s of years, because that land ‘belongs to us’.

And holding a referendum is therefore unconstitutional, says Spain, or whatever legal term is thrown out. But if the UN charter makes the international community’s position as clear as it does, how can it contradict a member nation’s constitution? Was that member not paying attention when it signed up to the Charter, or did the UN itself let that one slip?



Catalunya (Catalonia) is the northeast tip of Spain. Its people have long wanted independence and never gotten it. When present day Spain was formed, it was made part of Spain. And now the people want their own nation. It is not hard. But then again it is. We are now one week before October 1, the date the referendum was planned, and the Spanish government has done everything it could and then some to frustrate the referendum, and therefore the will of the people of Catalunya.

As the politicians who inhabit the EU and UN sit by idly, scared silly of burning their fingers. After arresting Catalan politicians and confiscating anything that could be used to hold the referendum, Spain has sent cruise ships full of police to Catalan harbors, and tried to take over control of the Catalan police force. But Catalan politicians and harbor crew have refused to let the ships dock, and Catalan police won’t obey Spanish orders.

It’s starting to look like Spain PM Rajoy wants to provoke a violent Catalan reaction, so he can send in his army and blame Barcelona and environs. What he doesn’t want to understand is that this will be the end of his government, his career, and of any chance Catalunya will remain part of Spain other than in the short term. It feels like Franco’s military, who, don’t forget, only relinquished control some 40 years ago, are still there in spirit if not physically.

For everybody’s sake, we can only hope someone does something to stop Rajoy and whoever’s behind his decisions, because if anyone ever wondered why the Catalans wanted to be independent, after those decisions there can be no question anymore. If he sends in the army, Spain as a whole will be something of the past. But first the referendum result, which was very doubtful all along, has now been settled: nearly all Catalans stand united against Rajoy today.

And Catalans are a mixed people. Many do not have their roots there, or even speak the language. But they will not turn on their friends and neighbors.


Kurdistan’s situation is even a lot more convoluted than Catalunya’s. Borders in the Middle East were drawn more or less at random by the French and British after the fall of the Ottoman Empire nearly 100 years ago. And the Kurds never got their independence, or their country. But now they want it. However, they live spread over 4 different countries, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. And some of the land they live on has oil. Lots of it. And the cradle of civilization, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.



Just about everyone, including the US, all countries in the region, and the old colonial powers, have declared their resistance to the Kurdish referendum. Getting back to the UN charter et al, isn’t that a curious position? Politicians sign lofty declarations, but when their successors are called upon to uphold them, nobody’s home. And it’s not as if self-determination is such a difficult topic to understand.

The referendum will be held on September 25 in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, so not in other Kurdish regions. Therefore only 900,000 people, out of some 35 million Kurds, get to vote. But the question on the ballot will be:

“Do you want the Kurdistan region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration to become an independent state?”

And that of course means something much more, and much bigger. There’s a ‘Kurdistan’ in Iran, Syria and Turkey as well. Kurds there don’t get to vote, though.

Quoting Bloomberg: “The vote will be held in the three governorates officially ruled by the KRG, as well as in disputed areas currently controlled by Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga. The Kurds expanded their domain in 2014 when, faced with Islamic State attacks, the Iraqi army deserted the oil-rich city Kirkuk.”

Here’s where the Kurds were living according to the 2014 CIA World Factbook:



As is the case in Catalunya, Iraq’s parliament and top court have declared the vote unconstitutional. That again raises the question: how can a vote violate a country’s constitution if and when that country has signed the UN charter which explicitly defines every people’s right to self-determination? Who’s been asleep when both documents were signed?

How could the UN let countries sign its charter whose constitutions violated that same charter? Have we all just been playing fast and loose all along? Or, more interestingly, what are we all going to do now that we know about this? Are we going to take self-determination away from people, and sign that into a whole new UN charter? Or are we going to make sure the charter is upheld and make countries change their constitutions to comply with it?


There is a third option (very much in favor): to not do anything. But that gets more dangerous all the time. The days that people could just be ignored are gone. Social media have probably played a large role in that. And so have changing power relationships.

The EU is blowing itself up through increasing calls for more Europe just as people want less. I’ve said it often before: centralization stops when and where economic growth does. And despite all the creative accounting we see, economic growth is definitely gone in Europe. Just ask Greece, Spain. Ask the people, not the politicians. People will only accept their decisions being made by far away ‘leaders’ if they perceive them as beneficial to their lives, the lives of their children.

Those days are gone, no matter the propaganda. That’s true all over Europe, and it’s true all across the US. The refusal by incumbent powers to recognize this, admit to it, is what gives us the likes of Trump and Brexit and countless other challengers. That Marine Le Pen and others have failed to date doesn’t mean the status quo wins; others will follow. In that vein I was surprised to see Yanis Varoufakis, whom I hold in very great esteem, declare in name of his DiEM 25 movement that:

“I am not taking sides on whether Catalonia should be independent or not” and “What we’re promoting in DiEM25 would solve the problem. We want a real European Union that becomes a single jurisdiction, a country if you want to call it that. In that scenario, it doesn’t matter if Catalonia is part of Spain!”

Europe will not be one country. Nor should it want to be. Europe has 1000 different ways to work together, and the EU has been an utter failure at that. While it has done a ton of good, it is being -predictably- destroyed by the power politics at its top levels. Nobody ever told Europeans that they would wind up living as German provinces. But that is what they are.

As Varoufakis himself makes abundantly clear is his book Adults in the Room. That’s why Germans have no real choice in today’s election: they have such utter control of the EU they would be crazy to vote against it. But at the same time, the rest of the ‘Union’ would be crazy to let them hold that power.

And I know that DiEM25 wants to change and reform the EU, but how will they do that knowing they need Germany, more than all other countries, to accomplish it, as Germany is sitting so pretty? Calls for a one-country Europe seem at the very least irresponsibly premature. That’s very far from reality. First things first. No cheating. You can’t say it doesn’t matter what happen to the Catalans today because ‘we’ have bigger plans for tomorrow. That means abandoning them. That’s not a new Europe: that’s what they already have today.


As for ‘Kurdistan’, what can we do but hope and pray? Hope that the old European colonial powers, as well as Turkey, Iraq and Iran, plus Russia and China, live up to the UN Charter they signed, and let the Kurds show they can be a force for peace in the region, which needs one so badly?! They have shown in no uncertain terms they can defend themselves, and their land, against anyone who threatens them. The Kurdish women army, YPJ, is all you need to know when it comes to that. They are the bravest amongst us.

If they had their own country, they would continue to do just that, and better. Which just goes to show that nationalism and patriotism are not of necessity negative emotions. It gives people an identity. Which is exactly why brighter heads than the present ones put the right to self-determination in the UN Charter, at a time, 1945, when the world had seen indescribable destruction.

There’s a lesson there. That we seem to have forgotten already. And now have to learn all over again. Through Colin Kaepernick, through the unbelievable Kurdish women’s YPG army, though the streets of Barcelona. Our world is screwed up, and we need to unscrew it.