Sep 222022
 


Pablo Picasso Head of a woman 1939

 

Russia Will Mobilize About 1.2% Of Her Mobilizational Potential (Saker)
Russia To Begin Partial Mobilization – Putin (RT)
Russia Announces Partial Mobilization (MoA)
Squelching the Noise about the Ukraine (9Bill)
Defensive West Smears Samarkand Summit (Lauria)
The Plot to Seize Russia & Make It a NATO Vassal – Martin Armstrong (G&E)
The Real US Agenda In Africa Is Hegemony (Escobar)
NATO’s “Green” Masochistic EUthanasia (Vilches)
10,000 anti-Russia Sanctions (Vilches)
Europe Implodes (Vilches)
Federal Reserve Chair Announces Another 75 Point Rate Hike (CTH)
The European Central Bank’s Zimbabwean Model (Hayes)
How the West Poisoned Its Money (Varoufakis)
Beyond the Peak (Greer)
House Democrats Take Ownership of Hunter (Turley)
EU Health Regulator Says Covid Pandemic Not Over (R.)

 

 

 

 

Miller

 

 

 

 

Detroit cringe (I can’t even listen to the end)

 

 

 

 

Biden. Trump.

 

 

 

 

“We are talking only about those soldiers who have an official status of “reserves” and all of them will have to undergo a special training before being sent to the Ukraine.”

Russia Will Mobilize About 1.2% Of Her Mobilizational Potential (Saker)

So, after lots of speculation, we now know that the Kremlin has decided to mobilize about 300’000 soldiers from a total mobilizational potential of 25’000’000 soldiers. That’s just a little over 1% of Russia’s mobilizational potential. We are talking only about those soldiers who have an official status of “reserves” and all of them will have to undergo a special training before being sent to the Ukraine. A few comments about this decision: It will take Russia a few months to gather and retrain (refresher courses) these forces and they will not be immediately available to protect the Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhie and Kherson regions during the upcoming referendum on to whether to join Russia or not. The 3rd volunteer army corps is already deployed in the south and could greatly assist in this.

Putin and Shoigu gave several reasons for this decision, including the very long line of contact, the direct involvement of NATO personnel who are now running the Ukronazi regime in Kiev and the threats by the West to dismantle Russia. Shoigu indicated that the UAF lost about 50% of its personnel (over 100’000 soldiers out of a total potential of about 200’000). He also added that most of the Ukrainian weapons systems, which were of Soviet origin, was mostly destroyed. Russian KIAs are just under 6000 soldiers. Shoigu also clearly spelled out that “we are not so much fighting against the Ukraine but against NATO plus the united (collective) West“. Shoigu also mentioned that all of the NATO satellite capabilities (70 military and 200+ civilian satellites) are used against Russia right now.

Finally, Shoigu added that NATO high precision weapons are deliberately used by NATO commanders to terrorize civilians. In other words, Russia is preparing for an escalation of this war in the coming months. She is basically augmenting her forces to a level which could deal with a major NATO escalation in the Ukraine (and elsewhere as not all mobilized forces would have to be combat units; deploying more C4ISR capabilities, logistics/supply forces or civil affairs and counter-terrorism units would also make sense). The other big news of the day is, of course, that Russia will back and accept the outcome of the referendums in the four regions mentioned above.

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“The Russian leader pledged to support the plebiscites in terms of security and said his government would respect whatever outcomes they produce..”

Russia To Begin Partial Mobilization – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization during an address to the nation on Wednesday morning. He said the Defense Ministry had recommended drawing military reservists into active service as the country faces a protracted conflict in Ukraine and Donbass. The measure is sensible and necessary under the circumstances, Putin said, considering that Russia is fighting “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. He has already signed an order for the call-up to start immediately. The move will see the armed forces draw on military reservists only, and those who have completed national service, the president added. He promised that they would be provided with additional training, along with all the benefits due to people involved in active duty.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu revealed some details about the mobilization in a separate statement on Wednesday. He said the ministry wanted to call to arms some 300,000 reservists, or just over 1% of Russia’s full mobilization potential. Putin has accused Kiev of backing away from peace talks with Moscow, which he said it had done on the instructions of its Western backers. Instead, the Ukrainian government has doubled down on military action, he said. “After certain compromises [with Moscow] were reached, Kiev received a de facto direct order to derail all agreements. More weapons were pumped into Ukraine. The Kiev regime deployed more gangs of international mercenaries and nationalists, military units trained to NATO standards and under de facto command of Western advisers,” Putin said.

Russian forces sent to Ukraine in February have secured a large portion of territory claimed by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as parts of Ukraine, he said. The resulting front line stretches over 1,000km, the president pointed out. He warned the US and its allies against ramping up pressure on Moscow. Western nations are openly pursuing a military defeat of Russia, seeking to push the country into insignificance and to loot its natural wealth, he stated. “Parts of Western elites use every effort to preserve their dominance. That is why they try to block and suppress any sovereign centers of development, so that they can continue to brutally force their will on other nations and peoples, to impose their pseudo-values,” he explained. “Their goal is to weaken, disunite and ultimately destroy our nation.”

Some senior officials in NATO states have even suggested that using tactical nuclear weapons against Russian troops would be justified, according to Putin. The president stressed that Moscow would not hesitate to retaliate to such an attack with its own nuclear weapons. If the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will certainly use all the means that we have to defend Russia and our people. Putin also commented on the upcoming referendums in the two Donbass republics and two regions of Ukraine currently controlled to a large extent by Russian troops. The four entities are putting to a general vote a proposal to ask Moscow to accept them as new parts of the Russian Federation, with polling scheduled to start on Friday.

The Russian leader pledged to support the plebiscites in terms of security and said his government would respect whatever outcomes they produce. Russia’s goal is to protect civilians from the Ukrainian government, which had escalated the persecution of its opponents at home and had been using terrorist tactics against people living in Russia-controlled lands, Putin said.

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“..we can expect that the Russian forces will start to degrade Ukrainian infrastructure on a large scale.”

Russia Announces Partial Mobilization (MoA)

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said (video, Sputnik report) that 300,000 reservist will be mobilized. Conscripts and people currently studying will not be send to Ukraine. He also said that, so far, 5,937 Russian soldiers have died during the war in Ukraine. (This number does not include the militia of the DPR and LPR, or the Wagner group, who have done most of the frontline work and thus have had higher losses.) Shoigu puts Ukrainian losses at some 62,000 killed and some 50,000 wounded. (I regard this as a low estimate.) Russia’s total military reserve, people who have previously gone through military training, is 25 million. It also has the equipment to arm those forces.

There are rumors that the Ukraine is preparing for an all out offensive, mobilizing and preparing new units from Kiev and further west for one big push against the Russian and allied forces. It will take a few months to prepare for this. The Ukraine will need much more equipment and ammunition from the ‘west’, including ‘western’ tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and has yet to train troops to be able to use it. It is likely intending to start the offensive only in spring. The call up Russia announced now may have the intent to draw Kiev into a premature launch of its general offensive. The mobilized Russian troops will take about three months to be ready for war. Russia could thus launch its own offensive during the winter season. In the meantime constant defensive work will continue to severely degrade the Ukrainian units which are currently on or near the frontlines.

With a force of an additional 300,000 troops, far beyond the 100,000 to 150,000 engaged now in the war, the Russia forces could change their tactics from the slow grind that is happening now into a larger scale maneuver war with heavy strikes into the operational depth of the Ukrainian army. Belarus, allied with the Russian Federation, is also in the process of getting ready for war. It could, as it had threatened before, cut of the supply lines from the ‘west’ into the Ukraine in the western part of that country. Should current Ukrainian attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Russia and the Donbas regions continue, we can expect that the Russian forces will start to degrade Ukrainian infrastructure on a large scale. The electricity and railway networks would be the primary targets. s

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“The celebrations that will follow these regions joining Russia are likely to be massive: Crimea 2014 times ten.”

Squelching the Noise about the Ukraine (9Bill)

Earlier this morning, Vladimir Putin gave the order to call up army reservists. According to him, the nature and the goals of the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine remain the same. The reservists will be given contracts (they will in essence become salaried employees). Only those with relevant military experience and training will be called up. Shoigu went into further specifics: just 300.000 reservists will be called up in the first phase (roughly 1% of Russia’s total reservists), which will coincide with the normal, regularly scheduled annual training of reserves. They will be equipped, trained and sent in with the task of shoring up and straightening up the battle front. To be sure, they will also be called upon to provide security and to suppress enemy activity on both sides of the border.

Given the current configuration of the battle front, which includes a toehold on the Kharkov region, all of Lugansk, most of Donetsk, most of Zaporozhye and most of Kherson, their mission could conceivably come to include driving the Ukrainian forces out of the remainder of Donetsk and Kherson regions and perhaps setting up and maintaining a buffer zone to make it impossible for Ukrainian artillery to reach within what will soon become territory of the Russian Federation.
To this end, referenda will be held starting this Friday in all of the above formerly Ukrainian regions except for Kharkov, which is excluded. According to most recent opinion polling, the idea of joining the Russian Federation is very popular in all of the above: 94% in favor in Donetsk, 93% in Lugansk, 87% in Zaporozhye and 80% in Kherson.

And why wouldn’t these people want to be part of a peaceful, stable and prosperous state where their native language is the official language rather than stay within a failed state that has been fighting a civil war against them going on nine years? The celebrations that will follow these regions joining Russia are likely to be massive: Crimea 2014 times ten. Finally, I’d like to add a note on the Russian withdrawal from most of the Kharkov region. The region itself is of no consequence to Russia while the city of Kharkov, with its remaining population of around two million and with Ukrainian heavy armor and artillery hiding among high-rise buildings and using civilians as human shields, would be either a hard target, a humanitarian disaster, or both, were the Russians to try to conquer it. Also, although Kharkov is overwhelmingly Russian-speaking, these are some of the most heavily brainwashed, Westernized, Nazified Russian-speakers on the face of the planet and, from a Russian perspective, just not worth the bother.

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Good to see people other than Pepe Escobar cover this angle, too.

Defensive West Smears Samarkand Summit (Lauria)

The Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO)’s summit in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand last Thursday and Friday was a world historical event for the forces creating this separate world representing the majority of humanity. Major economic deals were concluded and Beijing and Moscow further strengthened their budding alliance. In what should be a worrying sign for Washington, many of its Middle East allies, which have also rejected U.S. pressure to sanction Russia, have applied to join the SCO. For years the West rejected overtures from Russia and China to collaborate in a multipolar world. But that would mean giving up its dominant position, maintained from overtly colonial days. Instead the U.S.-led West pushes for total domination. So rather than acknowledge that its attempt to destroy Russia’s economy and bring down its government has instead led to economic chaos in the West and a threat to its global position, Western leaders are doubling down.

By sanctioning Russian energy and other vital exports, and by shutting out its financial system, the West thought Russia would collapse. Instead Moscow has found markets in the world’s most populous nations so that its currency, its industry and its banking system have survived. The Western response to this growing challenge to its hegemony was reflected in the way Western media covered the Samarkand summit. On top of the dismissive tone of its reporting came distortion of facts that misled its Western audiences to the significance of what Samarkand means to the future. The Daily Telegraph began its report, headlined, “Isolated Putin left at Beijing’s mercy as his disastrous war backfires,” with an account about how Putin was humiliated because he was left waiting for the president of Kyrgyzstan. With the headline, “Putin and Xi plot a new world order to challenge America’s might,”

The Times of London took the same line, writing of “Russia’s dependence on China since its disastrous war in Ukraine.” CNN’s report sowed seeds of doubt about the SCO’s unity, writing about the summit from Hong Kong that the “Ukraine war risks exposing regional divisions.” The New York Times report filed from Washington and Beijing, sought to portray the “limits” of “cooperation” between Russia and China. None of these reports focused on an emerging world order that is leaving the U.S. on the outside looking in. Western media instead seized on a few words uttered to try to frame India and China as criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine. They completely took out of context Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that “today’s era is not of war.” CNN reported:

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have directly rebuffed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war. In what was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Russian leader, Modi told him of the need to ‘move onto a path of peace’ and reminded him of the importance of ‘democracy, diplomacy and dialogue.’” After Putin told Modi during their public comments that Ukraine refuses to negotiate, Modi said, according to the English translation on India’s Foreign Ministry website, “I know that today’s era is not of war and we have spoken to you many times on the phone that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are such things that touch the world. Today we will get a chance to discuss how we can move forward on the path of peace in the coming days.” It is clear that Modi was criticizing Ukraine for not negotiating, rather than criticizing Russia for the war.

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“The Great Reset is basically a debt default and the EU is a disaster that will fall apart.”

The Plot to Seize Russia & Make It a NATO Vassal – Martin Armstrong (G&E)

Martin Armstrong discusses his new book based on declassified documents where in the 1990s the West, NATO, and Russian oligarchy plotted to seize Moscow, loot Russia, and takeover its natural resources. Yeltsin turned to Putin who was not a communist and is not an oligarch. The Moscow apartment bombings or propaganda surrounding them being a false flag would likely have come from Boris Berezovsky. The Great Reset is basically a debt default and the EU is a disaster that will fall apart. At this point most of the attack on Russia is related to “climate change” and to shut down fossil fuels.

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I’m not as negative as Pepe about Guterres. Whatever his faults, I think he’s honestly trying to get the fertilizer to Africa.

The Real US Agenda In Africa Is Hegemony (Escobar)

In a rational environment, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) would discuss alleviating the trials and tribulations of the Global South, especially Africa. That won’t be the case. Like a deer caught in the geopolitical headlights, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued platitudes about a gloomy “winter of global discontent,” even as the proverbial imperial doomsayers criticized the UN’s “crisis of faith” and blasted the “unprovoked war” started by Russia. Of course the slow-motion genocide of Donbass russophone residents for eight years would never be recognized as a provocation. Guterres spoke of Afghanistan, “where the economy is in ruins and human rights are being trampled” – but he did not dare to offer context.

In Libya, “divisions continue to jeopardize the country” – once again, no context. Not to mention Iraq, where “ongoing tensions threaten ongoing stability.” Africa has 54 nations as UN members. Any truly representative UNGA meeting should place Africa’s problems at the forefront. Once again, that’s not the case. So it is left to African leaders to offer that much-needed context outside of the UN building in New York. As the only African member of the G20, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently urged the US not to “punish” the whole continent by forcing nations to demonize or sanction Russia. Washington’s introduction of legislation dubbed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, he says, “will harm Africa and marginalize the continent.”

South Africa is a BRICS member – a concept that is anathema in the Beltway – and embraces a policy of non-alignment among world powers. An emerging 21st century version of the 1960s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is strengthening across the Global South – and especially Africa – much to the revulsion of the US and its minions. Back at the UNGA, Guterres invoked the global fertilizer crisis – again, with no context. Russian diplomacy has repeatedly stressed that Moscow is ready to export 30 million tons of grain and over 20 million tons of fertilizer by the end of 2022. What is left unsaid in the west, is that only the importation of fertilizers to the EU is “allowed,” while transit to Africa is not.

Guterres said he was trying to persuade EU leaders to lift sanctions on Russian fertilizer exports, which directly affect cargo payments and shipping insurance. Russia’s Uralchem, for instance, even offered to supply fertilizers to Africa for free. Yet from the point of view of the US and its EU vassals, the only thing that matters is to counter Russia and China in Africa. Senegal’s President Macky Sall has remarked how this policy is leaving “a bitter taste.”

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I took three separate parts of Jorge Vilshes’ latest. Which is very long, I could have picked more pieces. Of course he helps himself by referencing one of my articles. 😉

NATO’s “Green” Masochistic EUthanasia (Vilches)

The German political class has torn up the social contract agreed with its constituents by swiftly ignoring the historical and most successful existential partnership established with Russia since decades ago. In parallel, Anglo-inspired unelected EU bureaucrats take turns to blindly attack Russia with suicidal Wagnerian style based on hollow virtue-signalling nonsense. Now, the German Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck (a former mediocre poetry translator…) finally and “bitterly” has admitted that Germany — and thus all of Europe — relies on ´cheap energy from Russia´ or else it´d trigger ”the collapse of energy providers” with a dire ´Lehman moment´.

This would crash the German and European economies with widespread bankruptcies unleashed by margin calls as later explained. Thus the “green” solution now found for this Made-In-Europe mess is a deeper and longer proxy Ukraine war, über-high price inflation, $ 500 billion in subsidies for starters with more coming, new ad hoc high taxes and un-applicable price caps in a supply-driven market … with scarcity all around and “no matter what voters may think or how hard their life may get” (sic). So, European businesses will fail per the terrible damage induced all along upstream supply lines including food and fuels. As brilliantly worded by Rachel Mardsen…“The West cut itself off from its sourcing in order to play geopolitics”… and then blame Russia and supposed “extremist enemies of the state”.

So, if recent declarations from German Foreign Minister Annalena (“Kobold”) Baerbock are of any guide, we shall soon witness street crowds blossoming in Europe. With circumvolutionary style, the EU Commission is now also trying to convince everyone that Europe will become “greener” in a hurry. Actually, with its lignite-fired re-commissioned power stations – the largest ever single source of pollution – Europe will turn “browner” fast, not “greener” thus setting the worst possible example to the rest of the world.It also contradicts its supposed ´moral high ground´ Green Plan. Still, EC spokesman Eric Mamer proudly stated that “The Ukraine invasion will help us speed up our move away from fossil fuels”.

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“And just like small children do, EU leaders still won´t admit it´s bed-time.”

10,000 anti-Russia Sanctions (Vilches)

The EU and the US imposed crippling sanctions on Russia which now finds it impossible – for instance – to comply with energy delivery to Europe. This in turn affects the European entire industry & trade including medicines, fuels, food, heating and everything in between. So the EU complains that Russia is using this energy non-delivery ´excuse´ as a weapon. Actually, sanctions restrict or prohibit trade of anything and everything with Russia from chips to flowers, and also disconnect Russian banks from SWIFT plus block money transfers, penalize all Russian cargo insurance, prohibit Western vessels at Russian ports and access of Russian ships to Europe. So a case in point for nat-gas non-delivery is the NS1 turbines mandatory maintenance/repairs. Contractually, Siemens is the only party allowed to touch them but sanctions do not allow their access per “Contract Violations”.

Europe keeps playing Russian roulette with itself insisting on the game plan of (1) provoking and supporting armed conflict with Russia (2) confiscating Russian assets (2) applying crippling sanctions on everything ´Russian´ (3) betting the farm on militarily winning the Ukraine war — how ??? (4) attempting a regime change in Russia (5) benefit from the spoils (6) simultaneously require Russians to provide whatever the EU may need, or else…??? (7) improvise highly dangerous experiments with well-proven European business models and European livelihoods at stake.

And just like small children do, EU leaders still won´t admit it´s bed-time. So now all that´s left for Main Street Europe is not winning anything other than freezing temperatures, far less food and fuels, ultra high price inflation of anything and everything, and plenty of hardship and discontent. But them all just keep re-arranging the chairs on the deck of an EU sinking Titanic while the orchestra enthusiastically keeps on playing one Strauss vals after another. True enough, Europe is trying its best to unnecessarily divorce Russia. But per Bloomberg – not exactly a pro-Russian mouthpiece — the EU sanctions and new taxes badly hurt Europe while Russia keeps ever improving its geopolitics and finances.

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“..as per the German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck´s own words, “just expect the worst“. Meaning areas with no energy, no fuels, no power at any price, period. Or as plain Germans would have it, just expect “kaputt”.

Europe Implodes (Vilches)

Very soon EU sanctions on Russia will start consuming the Europe we know with an ever more self-sufficient and growing Russia just watching the unfortunate scene. For instance, German SMB “Mittelstand” (99% of German GDP) will bankrupt or strain badly. The fact remains that no one has explained exactly what is to be finally gained with the EUthanizing sanctions and new taxes which are not really hurting Russia but are very seriously hurting Europeans and — indirectly — the rest of the world. “Russia rakes in more oil revenue than ever” says the Wall Street Journal by exporting almost as much crude as it did before the conflict in Ukraine… but at much higher prices.

“Now Russia has new buyers, new means of payment, new traders and new ways of financing exports”. By the way, current electricity prices in Germany are already almost ten times higher than a year ago — and keep rising – while the EU’s energy market is rattled by fears over whether highly unstable power plants will be able to provide enough electricity this winter. So it´s not just a matter of even higher prices as grid “wherewithal” is at stake with simply not enough energy available. Unmanageable price inflation is thus unstoppable. From fertilizer to aluminum production and every single commodity in between are all being seriously hindered by current ( self-inflicted ) truly soaring European energy costs.

It´s simple, and as per the German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck´s own words, “just expect the worst“. Meaning areas with no energy, no fuels, no power at any price, period. Or as plain Germans would have it, just expect “kaputt”. So this “new” German and European business model does not impress or fly well. And even on the basis of self-righteous exceptionalistic ideologies and newly-found virtuous ´moral´ arguments, current immolation of defenseless Europeans is a nonsensical price to be payed with this freezing green checkmate. Because there are no quick, ready-made, valid replacements of many / most Russian produce Europe depends upon, there is no real grass-roots political support either, and politicians cannot expect people to go along under the extreme hardship conditions soon to come.

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The central banks are not in control.

Federal Reserve Chair Announces Another 75 Point Rate Hike (CTH)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced another 75-point increase in federal interest rates today. This is the third consecutive 0.75 percentage point increase. Additionally, Fed policymakers have pledged to continue raising rates as high as 4.6% in 2023. While Powell walked through his reasoning to continue targeting inflation by lowering consumer demand, not once in any of his remarks did he mention energy policy driving up the cost of materials and goods. The Great Pretending continues.:

The Fed chair is trying to manage the economic policy transition by reducing economic activity to match intentionally diminished energy supplies. Lowering economic activity drops demand for energy. Unfortunately, as admitted by Powell on August 26, 2022, in Jackson Hole, this means a period of “some pain” for Americans as the central banks join together in an effort to lower consumption. What does “some pain” mean? It means lower incomes, higher prices, lowered standards of living and more scarce resources. During this transition to owning nothing and being happy about it, the pain is your wealth being stripped as the economy is intentionally diminished.


We will not be able to afford much; we won’t be able to afford the foods we want; we will not be able to purchase anything except the essentials, and those essentials will cost much more; we won’t be able to vacation, travel, or enjoy recreational activities; we won’t be able to afford any indulgences; but at the end of the process, we will learn to live more meager existences based on lowered expectations needed for sustaining the planet. Pay no attention to the elites who don’t have those concerns, comrade.

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“..Albion is really in squeaky bum time…”

The European Central Bank’s Zimbabwean Model (Hayes)

Though the function of European, German, Japanese and Zimbabwean central banks is to enable the credibility and efficiency of the financial side of their respective economies so that the real side of their economies may achieve the nation’s broader macro economic goals, NATO’s central banks have obviously and disastrously abandoned those tasks for reasons this article makes apparent. Because Zimbabwe, like Germany’s Weimar Republic before it, has reached annual inflation rates of 90 sextillion per cent a year, Europe should not be emulating the financial and economic basket case of Harare. Whatever about Zimbabwe, Germany has been famously down this road before and, in a total reversal of earlier post-war policies, seems determined to traverse it again. The European Central Bank, based in Frankfurt, is printing euros as quickly as their colleagues in Zimbabwe are printing Zimbabwean dollars, as the Confederates printed their Greybacks and as Weimar printed their famously worthless marks.

Although Weimar’s woes were many, two of the most pertinent were that the Kaiser borrowed immensely to fund his armies, whose victories were supposed to enable him to repay his nation’s debts, and that the Western allies bled defeated Germany’s resources dry, thus opening the way for Herr Hitler once Weimar fell. Europe’s central banks are following this very policy today. They are doling out billions to ease energy bills, to bribe farmers and, most notoriously, to feed the money laundering Ponzi scheme that is Zelensky’s Kiev junta. The money supply, at more than 15 trillion euros, is at record levels and real interest rates are in negative terrain, pauperizing pensioners but failing to kick start their fuel starved economies. Inflation,.Germany’s bane, is again on the march as too far much money is in search of far too few bags of fire wood; and English toilet paper has increased in price by 50% in the last few months, Albion is really in squeaky bum time.

As the European Central Bank’s leaders presently have no other card to play, they must think their printing presses are enough to prevail in Ukraine and to allow Europeans to both eat and heat themselves this winter. Not only is that wishful thinking on the part of ECB President Christine Lagarde, the ‘multi cultural’ Parisian, who previously fronted the IMF and who held senior Ministerial positions in the French government but it betrays her fundamental ignorance about monetary policy. The main aim of the euro was to have the stability of the German mark and the Dutch guilder and not to be as volatile as Lagarde’s French franc, which was devalued four times since 1945. Unlike Lagarde, the Central Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, along with that of Japan, seemed to have understood monetary policy, which is best seen as being like the throttle of a motorbike which must, when necessary, allow more fuel to enter the economic engine but which also must not flood it by drowning it in Zimbabwean dollars, French francs, Confederate Greybacks or Lagardean euros.

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“Today, there is no optimal interest rate that will restore the balance between money demand and money supply ..”

How the West Poisoned Its Money (Varoufakis)

Negative prices make sense for bads, not goods. When a factory wants to remove toxic waste, it charges a negative price for it: its managers pay someone to get rid of it. But when central banks begin to treat money like car manufacturers treat spent sulfuric acid, or nuclear power stations their radioactive wastewater, one knows that something is rotten in the kingdom of financialized capitalism. Some commentators now hope that Western money is being purified in the flames of inflation and interest-rate hikes. But inflation is not driving the poison out of the West’s money system. After more than a decade of addiction to poisoned money, no obvious detoxification method presents itself. Inflation today is not the same beast the West faced in the 1970s and early 1980s.

This time around, it threatens labor, capital, and governments in ways that it could not 50 years ago. Back then, labor was organized enough to demand wage increases that averted a cost-of-living crisis, and neither states nor private corporations relied on free money to keep going. Today, there is no optimal interest rate that will restore the balance between money demand and money supply that does not trigger a massive wave of private and public bankruptcy. That is the long-term price of poisoned money. The US government faces the impossible dilemma of curbing domestic inflation and forcing Corporate America and many friendly governments into a solvency crisis that will threaten America’s own stability.

Things are far worse in the eurozone, where policymakers refused to do the obvious once Europe’s banks had failed after 2008: establish a proper federation’s foundation – a fiscal union. Instead, they let the European Central Bank do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Only by poisoning its own money could the ECB keep the euro show on the road. Today, the ECB owns huge quantities of Italian, Spanish, French, even Greek debt that it can no longer justify holding as a means of achieving its inflation target, but which it cannot renounce without calling the euro’s existence into question.

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The archdruid finishes off nuclear power.

Beyond the Peak (Greer)

Coal had two world-changing effects. The first, the one everyone thinks of, is that it could be used to power steam engines, replacing wind, water, and muscle power first in dozens, then in hundreds, and finally in thousands of uses. The second, less widely known but just as dramatic, is that it could be used via the Bessemer process to produce steel in previously unimaginable amounts. Steel plus steam power drove the industrial revolution, sent railroads scything across continents and steamships driving through oceans, and transformed human life in a galaxy of ways.

Then, about the time coal reserves started to run short, petroleum (and its gaseous form, natural gas) came into general use. More chemically complex than coal, petroleum had even more net energy, and shifted the industrial revolution into overdrive. Airplanes, automobiles, plastics, industrial lubricants, the entire modern chemical industry—the list just keeps on going. Lewis Mumford, one of the twentieth century’s most insightful students of energy and civilization, argued that the distinction between coal-fired technologies and petroleum-fueled technologies was significant enough to define a change of eras: he called the coal period the Paleotechnic Era, and the petroleum period the Neotechnic Era.

The assumption all along was that petroleum would eventually run short and have to be replaced by something else, leading to a third technic era. By 1950 nearly everyone assumed that what would replace it was nuclear power. You have to read books from that time to get a sense of just how inevitable the coming nuclear era was thought to be. Even avant-garde ecological thinkers treated nuclear power as the next inevitable thing. Pick up any of the works of Paolo Soleri, Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative student, who imagined humanity settling in gigantic city-sized buildings called arcologies so that the natural world could be allowed to thrive elsewhere. Each of his arcologies was supposed to be powered by its own nuclear power plant.

That, in turn, was where the dream ran off the rails, because it turned out that nuclear power doesn’t pay for itself. It’s not economically viable, because its net energy is so low. Thus it wasn’t Chernobyl or Fukushima Daiichi that brought the nuclear dream to a grinding halt, it was a long series of financial disasters suffered by utilities that got suckered into the nuclear hoopla, above all the bankruptcy of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS, unfondly remembered as “Whoops!” by the many thousands who lost money on it).

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“If Republicans take the House as expected in the midterms, the Democrats now effectively took ownership of Hunter — a political proprietary claim that few would relish.”

House Democrats Take Ownership of Hunter (Turley)

House Democrats on the Oversight Committee took a vote on Tuesday that could come back to haunt them. All of the 23 Democrats voted not to inquire into the influence peddling scheme of Hunter Biden and the Biden family. Rep. James Comer (R-KY) proposed a “resolution of inquiry” in light of growing evidence of not just a possible multimillion dollar influence peddling operation by Hunter and his uncle, but the knowledge of his father, President Joe Biden. At a minimum, it appears that President Biden’s repeated public denials of any knowledge of these dealings is false. Yet, the Democrats blocked any inquiry into the corruption. If Republicans take the House as expected in the midterms, the Democrats now effectively took ownership of Hunter — a political proprietary claim that few would relish.

The vote comes after 33 senators asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel in the matter, a call that I have repeatedly made in prior columns for over two years. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, called the resolution a “nakedly partisan effort” and accused Republicans of being “obsessed” with Hunter Biden. The vote, however, reveals a blind avoidance by Democrats of a corrupt scheme that brought in millions for the Biden family and may have benefitted the President himself. Even if no criminal acts are charged, the foreign dealings of Hunter and his uncle were clearly corrupt and leveraged access to Joe Biden to acquire windfall payments from governments and their surrogates. There is no good faith basis to refuse to investigate such a scheme designed to influence U.S. policy and policymakers.

Why wouldn’t the Congress want to know if there was a multimillion dollar influence peddling scheme reaching the very top of our government, including allegations of the involvement of foreign intelligence figures? The vote, however, does bring a modicum of clarity at long last. The House Democrats are now on record as actively blocking efforts to investigate this massive influence peddling scheme. The implications of that vote will likely become more clear if the House switches hands after the midterm elections. The Democratic members are not alone in such a reckoning. The mainstream media has been clearly moving to re-position itself in anticipation of possible criminal charges after years of blocking or downplaying the story.

Read more …

I honestly don’t understand how anyone can promote more vaccines after the New England Journal of Medicine reported Covid Vaccine Destroys Natural Immunity just last week.

EU Health Regulator Says Covid Pandemic Not Over (R.)

An official at the European Union’s drugs regulator said on Tuesday the Covid-19 pandemic was not over, contradicting US President Joe Biden, and that a planned vaccination campaign in the region during the cold season was key to fighting it. “We in Europe still consider the pandemic as ongoing and it’s important that member states prepare for rollout of the vaccines and especially the adaptive vaccines to prevent further spread of this disease in Europe,” the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Chief Medical Officer Steffen Thirstrup told a media briefing, referring to vaccines targeting specific strains of the virus. He was asked to comment on Biden’s remark in an interview broadcast on Sunday that “the pandemic is over”. “I cannot obviously answer why President Biden came to that conclusion,” Thirstrup said.


The World Health Organization has said the pandemic remains a global emergency but the end could be in sight if countries use the tools at their disposal. During the media briefing, EMA officials reaffirmed a call by the agency’s Executive Director Emer Cooke made last week in a Reuters Next Newsmaker interview that people in Europe should take whatever Covid-19 booster is available and recommended to them in the coming months. Apart from the original Covid vaccines, the EMA has in recent weeks endorsed a number of vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant of the virus for use as booster shots to ease the burden from a feared surge in infections during autumn and winter in Europe. The EMA’s head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said the agency was also looking into the use of the adapted shots as a primary course of vaccination and that there were discussions on the types of data that could support such an approval.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Fox MV

 

 

Sociopath

 

 

 

 

Hasty

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 072022
 
 August 7, 2022  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Edward Hopper Ground swell 1939

 

Vaccine Deaths Outnumber Covid Deaths in US Households (DS)
Russian MIL Declares Ukraine Origin of C19 (Clandestine)
US Prepares New Weapons Package For Ukraine (RT)
Pentagon Chiefs’ Calls To China Go Unanswered Amid Taiwan Crisis (Pol.)
Erdogan’s Diplomacy With Russia Alarms West – FT (RT)
Putin Says EU Should Thank Turkey (RT)
100s Of New Mines Required To Meet 2030 Battery Metals Demand — IEA (Mining)
Sanctions On Russia ‘Irresponsible’, Adviser To Brazil’s Lula Says (RT)
Elon Musk Accuses Twitter of Fraud: Countersuit (ET)
Elon Musk Says He Will Buy Twitter On One Condition (RT)
VP Joe Biden Met With Two Chinese Energy Execs In The West Wing (DM)
EDF Cuts Output At Nuclear Power Plants As French Rivers Get Too Warm (G.)
China’s July Coal Imports Surge 24% To Meet Peak Power Load (R.)

 

 

 

 

Roger Waters
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555989512353890304

 

 

 

 

MacGregor China
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555974674357440512

 

 

 

 

Haditsch

 

 

BREAKING: Alex Jones has been ordered to pay an extra $45 million in punitive damages by a Texas Jury.


Robert Barnes @barnes_law: By law in Texas, this is reduced to $750K per plaintiff, so it’s actually $1.5M not $45M. Also, like everything else in the trial, a product of a court that denied Jones any evidence on his side or any witnesses at this stage, and should be set aside by Texas Supremes.

 

 

 

 

Based on Steve Kirsch studies/polls. How can you justify a mandate is the vaccines kill more people than the disease they “protect” from?

Vaccine Deaths Outnumber Covid Deaths in US Households (DS)

Polls of the U.S. public continue to show that up to twice as many Americans have lost a household member to a Covid vaccine injury as have lost one to Covid. The pooled results of five surveys of the American public, now totalling over 2,500 people, show that while 4.4% of respondents reported that someone in their household had died from COVID-19, 8.9% said someone had died as a result of Covid vaccination. The results also showed that 8.6% said they had been injured by their vaccination, 4.9% that they had sought medical help and 3.2% that they had been hospitalised, while 3.6% said that as a result of vaccination they were no longer able to work a full day or at all.

These are percentages of all respondents. If we look only at the 74.0% vaccinated with at least one dose then the figures, as a proportion of vaccinated persons, are 11.7% injured, 6.7% needing medical help, 4.4% hospitalised and 4.8% unable to work. While these figures are self-reported and there is no control group, since the unvaccinated were not asked about adverse events, they are still alarmingly high. The results also showed that, among those who reported a Covid death in their household, more than twice as many reported that it occurred after the person was vaccinated than before (2.8% vs 1.2%). The proportion who said they had contracted Covid before their vaccination (13.1%) was very similar to the proportion who said they contracted it afterwards (11.7%). These figures are not indicative of a highly effective vaccine against either infection or death.

The people polled were randomly selected, representative samples of the U.S. public, of whom 74.0% were vaccinated, so the samples were not inherently biased towards or against the reporting of vaccine problems, though as in all opinion polls (especially online ones) there may be an issue of self-selection bias.

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FYI

Russian MIL Declares Ukraine Origin of C19 (Clandestine)

New briefing from Chief of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces, General Igor Kirillov, on military biological activities of the United States in the territory of Ukraine. The Russian MIL have been studying biological samples from surrendered Ukrainian soldiers, and what they have been finding is beyond disturbing. Approximately 20% of them carrying West Nile pathogens, which were being studied “by the Pentagon as part of the Ukrainian UP-4 and UP-8 projects”. Suggesting that Ukrainian soldiers are being subject to involuntary biological experimentation and exposure to biological weapons (think Nuremberg). In addition to carrying pathogens, nearly all of the surrendered Ukrainian soldiers carried traces of a wide variety of narcotics and opioids, including Meth and Codeine.

Russia were sure to remind us of the Nazi’s usage of methamphetamines in WW2. I covered this 2 weeks ago, when the left-wing media tried to spin this reality as some sort of X-men mutant conspiracy theory. No, they are just Nazis, and historically, Nazis use drugs. Particularly as an advantage in war. Russia goes on to cite that this methamphetamine Ukraine are using, Pervitin, was also used by US soldiers during Vietnam and Korea. It’s designed to reduce the psycho-emotional burdens of war. However, an intended side effect is excessive aggression, which Russia alleges is one of the main factors for the Nationalist Ukrainian forces displaying “extreme cruelty” to civilians and the shelling of their own people in Donbas. Ukraine are using mind-numbing agents on their forces to make them more susceptible to carrying out heinous acts.

Next, we find perhaps the most explosive slide to date, in which Russia FINALLY comes out and DIRECTLY accuses the US of being responsible for the creation and release of Covid-19. What I have been saying from the beginning, is that this all leads to C-19, which will be the nail in the coffin and the red-pill that wakes up the world. The backlash the US are facing from Russia and the rest of Eastern world, is directly because the world found out THE UNITED STATES CREATED COVID. Specifically the “DNC/Liberal Globalists”, as the Russians allege. Not Trump. Russia clarifies they have record of over 16,000 biological samples, including blood and serum samples, transported from Ukraine to the US, Georgia, European countries.

[..] In conclusion, Russia have now DIRECTLY accused the DNC Globalists of: -creating and releasing new variants of Coronaviruses, and now Monkeypox, intentionally, for the purposes of political control and world domination. -using non-consensual experimentation on citizens of the world to create genome specific biological weapons for ethnic cleansing. -creation and usage of narcotics, such as methamphetamines, on Ukrainian forces to dehumanize them in order to carry out heinous crimes against humanity on civilians in Ukraine. Russia just confirmed my overall narrative; that the war in Ukraine is backlash for the Deep State’s creation and usage of C19. We are already in WW3 and C19 was the first weapon fired. The fact that Russia have now come out and openly called this spade a spade… suggests we are approaching the finish line. Russia claims final dossier will be complete in “Autumn”.

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Another $700 million straight down the drain.

US Prepares New Weapons Package For Ukraine (RT)

The US government is reportedly preparing its largest weapons transfer to Ukraine to date, with officials ready to authorize another $1 billion in military aid, including advanced rocket and missile platforms and additional ammunition. The new aid package could be announced as soon as next week, Reuters reported on Friday, citing three unnamed officials. It would bring the total US security assistance to Kiev to nearly $10 billion since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. While the officials said President Joe Biden has yet to formally sign off on the transfer, the current proposal would see $1 billion in arms shipped to Kiev, including additional munitions for the HIMARS rocket system, NASAMS surface-to-air missiles, and up to 50 M113 armored personnel carriers, allegedly the ‘medical’ variant.


A separate military aid package to Ukraine was announced on Monday, worth around $550 million, and also featured HIMARS rockets. Washington has so far sent a total of 16 HIMARS systems to Ukraine, longer-range platforms capable of striking targets inside Russian territory. Though Moscow has claimed to have eliminated some of the weapons from the battlefield, US military officials have disputed the Russian account, insisting Kiev’s HIMARS remain intact. The new massive arms transfer also comes after a Pentagon decision to allow US military personnel to treat wounded Ukrainian troops at a large US-run hospital in western Germany, though the logistics for that arrangement remain unclear, as the facility is more than 1,000 miles away from Ukraine’s capital and even further from active battle zones in the Donbass region.

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Thanks Nancy.

Pentagon Chiefs’ Calls To China Go Unanswered Amid Taiwan Crisis (Pol.)

Top Chinese military officials have not returned multiple calls from their American counterparts this week as a crisis erupted in the Pacific over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, according to three people with knowledge of the attempts. Beijing’s ghosting of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley comes as China continues launching missiles and positioning warships and aircraft in unprecedented military drills around Taiwan. Officials and experts say China’s silence is a shortsighted and reckless move that increases the risk of escalation in an already tense situation.

“If the [Chinese military] is operating more aggressively, and in closer proximity to U.S. forces with greater frequency, we’d need these mechanisms even more to promote a safe operating environment,” said Randy Schriver, who served as the top Pentagon official for Asia policy in the Trump administration. U.S. military leaders strive to maintain open lines of communication even with potential adversaries such as China to prevent accidents and other miscalculations that could turn into a full-blown conflict. But the last call Milley had with his Chinese counterpart, Chief of the Joint Staff Gen. Li Zuocheng, was on July 7, the Pentagon said. The two spoke by secure video teleconference about the need to maintain open lines of communication, as well as reducing risk, according to a readout from Milley’s office.

Austin, meanwhile, met in person with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe in June on the sideline of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. “The secretary has repeatedly emphasized the importance of fully open lines of communication with China’s defense leaders to ensure that we can avoid any miscalculations, and that remains true,” Todd Breasseale, the Pentagon’s acting press secretary, told POLITICO in an email. China on Friday announced that it was halting certain official dialogues between senior-level U.S. military commanders, including the regional commanders, as well as talks on maritime safety. The announcement does not specifically apply to Austin and Milley’s counterparts, and officials said they are still open to communication between those leaders.

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“..a NATO member since 1952 and an EU applicant since 1987..”

Erdogan’s Diplomacy With Russia Alarms West – FT (RT)

Western officials are “increasingly alarmed” that Turkey, a NATO ally and prospective EU member, is deepening its cooperation with Russia, the Financial Times has reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from Sochi vowing to boost trade after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Six unnamed Western officials told the newspaper that they were “concerned”about the plans of Russia and Turkey to cooperate on trade and energy. One EU official said that Brussels was monitoring relations between Ankara and Moscow “more and more closely,” given how Turkey seems to be “increasingly” becoming a platform for trade with Russia. Following a four-hour meeting with Putin on Friday, Erdogan welcomed Russia’s role in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

The two nations aim for bilateral trade turnover of $100 billion, and are cooperating against terrorism and toward peace in Libya and Syria. Putin pledged that Russia would supply Turkey with oil, gas and coal “without any interruptions,” after the two leaders agreed that Ankara would pay for some of this gas in rubles. Another official told the newspaper that Erdogan’s behavior is “very opportunistic,”adding that “we are trying to make the Turks pay attention to our concerns.” Although a NATO member since 1952 and an EU applicant since 1987, Turkey has broken with both blocs on several occasions, most recently over the conflict in Ukraine.

Erdogan has described his diplomacy with Kiev and Moscow as “balanced,” and has refused to sanction Russia over its military operation. Turkey is the only NATO country not to impose such penalties. Erdogan also took the opportunity to host peace talks between the countries in March, which ultimately bore no fruit. Since then, however, he has won acclaim for overseeing talks that led to the resumption of grain shipments across the Black Sea from Ukrainian ports. As the Financial Times’ article went online on Saturday, the first ship carrying Ukrainian corn arrived in Istanbul for inspection by Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian and UN officials.

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“The Turkish Stream, unlike all other routes of our hydrocarbon supplies, works properly, works smoothly, without any failures.”

Putin Says EU Should Thank Turkey (RT)

Turkey has ensured a reliable supply of Russian natural gas to Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, adding that European nations should be grateful to Ankara for that. During a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Putin named the TurkStream pipeline as one of the most important arteries for delivering Russian gas to Europe. The Russian president praised the reliability of the pipeline, for which the Europeans should be grateful. “The Turkish Stream, unlike all other routes of our hydrocarbon supplies, works properly, works smoothly, without any failures. […] I think our European partners should be grateful to Turkey for ensuring uninterrupted transit of our gas to the European market,” Putin said.


TurkStream consists of two parallel lines running under the Black Sea from Russia and joins Turkey’s gas transportation network and sends Russian gas onward to Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. The route has been unaffected by the developments around Ukraine and the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU but rejected by Turkey. The main pipeline between Russia and the EU – Nord Stream 1, which carries gas to Germany – has been operating at 20% capacity recently due to equipment issues caused by sanctions. Meanwhile, additional routes via Ukraine’s gas transportation network have been restricted by Kiev. Deliveries via the Yamal-Europe pipeline continue, although Gazprom stopped using the Polish leg of the pipeline in May due to sanctions.

Read more …

Included the Charles Vance video again. It’s good.

100s Of New Mines Required To Meet 2030 Battery Metals Demand — IEA (Mining)

Global battery and minerals supply chains need to expand ten-fold to meet projected critical minerals needs by 2030, a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found. The report concludes the industry needs to build 50 more lithium mines, 60 more nickel mines and 17 more cobalt mines by 2030 to meet global net carbon emissions goals. Pressure on the supply of critical materials will continue to mount as road transport electrification expands to meet net-zero ambitions. According to the IEA, demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries will increase from around 340 GWh today to over 3500 GWh by 2030.

“Additional investments are needed in the short-term, particularly in mining, where lead times are much longer than for other parts of the supply chain. In some cases requiring more than a decade from initial feasibility studies to production, and then several more years to reach nominal production capacity,” the report reads. The projected mineral supply until the end of the 2020s is in line with the demand for EV batteries in the ‘stated policies scenario’ of the IEA’s world energy model. But the supply of some minerals, such as lithium, would need to rise by up to one-third by 2030 to satisfy the pledges and announcements for EV batteries in the ‘announced pledges scenario (APS) of the same energy model.


“For example, demand for lithium – the commodity with the largest projected demand-supply gap – is projected to increase sixfold to 500 kilotonnes by 2030 in the APS, requiring the equivalent of 50 new average-sized mines,” according to the report. By 2030, nickel is facing the largest absolute demand increase as high-nickel chemistries are the current dominant cathode for EVs and are expected to remain so. For cobalt, the opposite is true as battery makers continue to thrift to lower cobalt content chemistries (and even potentially cobalt-free chemistries by 2030) to reduce costs and due to environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. [..] “For the Announced Pledges Scenario, 60 nickel and 17 cobalt new mines are required in 2030, (assuming average annual mine production capacity of 38,000 tonnes for nickel and 7,000 tonnes for cobalt).”

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“..if he is elected, “Brazil will again become a protagonist on the international stage and we will prove that it’s possible to have a better world.”

Sanctions On Russia ‘Irresponsible’, Adviser To Brazil’s Lula Says (RT)

Celso Amorim, Brazil’s former foreign minister and current foreign policy adviser to presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has condemned the West’s sanctions on Russia and said that should Lula take office, Brazil would chart a different course. In an interview with Bloomberg published on Friday, Amorim claimed that the West’s response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine – sanctions on Russia and billions of dollars worth of weapons for Ukraine – have made nuclear war a real possibility. “For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis we see articles about the risk of nuclear weapons published on a weekly basis,” he said, arguing that “it’s irresponsible not to seek peace.”

Amorim’s argument mirrors that of Lula himself. Back in May the former Brazilian leader toldTime magazine that he sees Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as equally responsible for the conflict in Ukraine, and condemned Washington for encouraging him to oppose Russia. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided [the conflict], not incited it,” Lula argued at the time. From the perspective of the US, Amorim questioned the logic of driving Russia into a deeper partnership with China, another economic and military rival of America. “I have nothing against China,” he stated, adding that both are part of the BRICS group, but said that he “can’t understand the interest of the US in strengthening the China-Russia relationship.”

This relationship aside, Amorim told Bloomberg that an economy as large as Russia’s is “too big and strategic” to isolate, and that Lula’s administration would not pursue such policies if the two-term leftist president is elected in October. Speaking to Time in May, Lula said that “many different countries” are having to “foot the bill” for Washington’s hardline anti-Russia policies, and that if he is elected, “Brazil will again become a protagonist on the international stage and we will prove that it’s possible to have a better world.” Lula is currently polling 11 points ahead of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, according to an aggregate compiled by the US-based Americas Society.

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Hard to read how the judge will see this.

Elon Musk Accuses Twitter of Fraud: Countersuit (ET)

Elon Musk in a countersuit has accused Twitter executives of fraudulently presenting an undercount of fake users, known as bots. Twitter in July sued Musk for withdrawing from a $44 billion acquisition agreement, alleging he breached the agreement. In the counter-filing, entered under seal last month and obtained by The Epoch Times on Aug. 5, Musk says he relied on statements from Twitter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about key components of the company, such as the percentage of fake and spam accounts and moderation practices. But once Musk entered the agreement, he found that the technology company refused to provide access to the company’s books and records to verify the information. “The more Twitter evaded even simple inquiries, the more the Musk Parties grew to suspect that Twitter had misled them,” the countersuit says.


One key statistic: 238 million monetizable daily active users (users who actually see ads on the platform and thus would be considered monetizable). But that number is an overcount because there are more false and spam accounts on the platform than Twitter says, according to the filing. There are just 173 million monetizable users and most ads are shown to less than 16 million, it says. Twitter has said under 5 percent of its users are bots. Musk, in a meeting in May, attempted to understand how Twitter reached that percentage. He “was astonished to learn just how meager Twitter’s processes were,” the countersuit says. Musk learned that human reviewers look at a sample of just 100 accounts, and that Twitter executives weren’t able to say how the accounts in the sample were selected.

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Clear that Twitter hasn’t been forthcoming with files. Less clear is if they had to.

Elon Musk Says He Will Buy Twitter On One Condition (RT)

Billionaire Elon Musk would go through with the deal to buy Twitter if the social media platform demonstrates how it checks the authenticity of user accounts, Musk wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Responding to a comment by another user, Musk said the deal to buy Twitter “should proceed on original terms” if the platform shares with him their method for sampling accounts to determine they are genuine. “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then [the deal] should not [proceed],” he continued, referring to the regulatory documents that companies must submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the sake of transparency and to provide information on operations.


Musk previously warned he would personally authenticate 100 randomly selected accounts on the platform. In April, the entrepreneur announced his intention to purchase the social media platform, of which he is an avid supporter and frequent user, for $44 billion. Then in May, Musk said he was trying to obtain information that would confirm that fake accounts and those used to send mass advertising messages on the platform comprise less than 5% of the total number of Twitter users. In early July, Musk’s lawyers notified Twitter that he no longer wished to go through with the deal because the company had failed to provide him with this information. Twitter, although initially reluctant to agree to Musk’s acquisition plans, filed a lawsuit against him on July 12 in an attempt to compel him to complete the purchase. On July 29, Musk filed a counterclaim against the company

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A new scandal every day.

VP Joe Biden Met With Two Chinese Energy Execs In The West Wing (DM)

Two Chinese businessmen with ties to Hunter Biden’s company met with Joe Biden at the White House and followed up with the VP’s son days later with a fawning email and invitation, records reveal. The meeting is the fifteenth to be uncovered between Joe and businessmen linked to Hunter. Executives for Chinese energy company Wanxiang secured a meeting with the vice president in the West Wing in July 2014 with just one day’s notice, according to White House visitor logs. A client of Hunter’s company Seneca Global Advisors partnered with Wanxiang in 2012 on a $1.25billion natural gas plant in China. The ceremony for the signing of the deal between Hunter’s client GreatPoint Energy and Wanxiang was attended by then Chinese vice president Xi Jinping.

Wanxiang is a major Chinese company, and also partnered with the North Korean state for a giant copper mine. Through his firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, Hunter also invested in a car company, Fisker, that was later bought by Wanxiang. After the company went bankrupt in 2013, Hunter was listed as a creditor on its filings. He bought one of its electric sports cars for $142,300. According to the White House visitor logs, Wanxiang America president Pin Ni met with Joe on July 25, 2014. Four days later, Ni emailed Hunter offering help servicing his Fisker sports car. ‘Last Friday when we visited DC, I heard that your Fisker is out of order and could not get serviced. Sorry,’ Ni wrote. ‘It would be our honor to get your Fisker fixed… I would like to give you a call to see what we could do as next step. ‘It would be our great honor to welcome you to visit Fisker or Wanxiang at any time.’

Joining Ni for the White House visit was Wanxiang Resources Co. president Youhong Han. Records show his meeting was at 11am and he left at 12.15pm, after scheduling the meeting with VP just the previous day. Han, 57, appears in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ offshore leaks database, with a British Virgin Islands company called Elegant Sky Investments Limited that has a registered address in Shanghai. Emails between Hunter and his business partners show them monitoring reporting around the $1.25billion Wanxiang-GreatPoint deal. Wanxiang bought Fisker in February 2014. The luxury hybrid cars it makes were bought by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.

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When it rains it pours.

EDF Cuts Output At Nuclear Power Plants As French Rivers Get Too Warm (G.)

The French energy supplier EDF is temporarily reducing output at its nuclear power stations on the Rhône and Garonne rivers as heatwaves push up river temperatures, restricting its ability to use river water to cool the plants. The majority-state-owned company, Europe’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, said it would extend output cuts at several power stations on the two rivers as the hot spell continues – but that a minimum level of output would be maintained to keep the grid steady. EDF warned of potential output cuts at its nuclear power plants Tricastin, St Alban and Golfech in coming days due to high temperatures in the Rhône and Garonne rivers. It started imposing production restrictions in mid-July at Tricastin, St Alban and Bugey on the Rhône and Blayais at the mouth of the Garonne amid sweltering temperatures.

A spokesperson told the Guardian that the company was lowering production “for a few hours” where possible but not shutting the reactors completely. After the 2003 heatwave, France’s nuclear safety authority (ASN) set temperature and river flow limits beyond which power stations must reduce their production, to ensure the water used to cool the plants will not harm wildlife when it is released back into the rivers. Temperatures in southern France are expected to reach 40C over the next two days, according to the forecaster Météo-France. Since 2000, production losses due to high river temperatures and low river flows have represented an average of 0.3% of annual production.

However, half of EDF’s 56 nuclear reactors are offline due to planned maintenance and work to repair corrosion which was delayed by the pandemic, just as Europe faces an energy crunch following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result of the maintenance work, EDF estimates its power output this year will be the lowest in more than three decades. The company issued its fourth profit warning of the year last Thursday when it reported a first-half loss of €5.3bn. The French government, which owns 84% of EDF, is in the process of buying out minority shareholders to take full control of the business.

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Maybe this happens every year?

China’s July Coal Imports Surge 24% To Meet Peak Power Load (R.)

China’s coal imports in July rose by nearly a quarter from June to near the highest levels so far this year as power generators increased purchases to provide for peak summer electricity demand. Arrivals of the fuel totaled 23.52 million tonnes last month, up sharply from 18.98 million tonnes in June but 22% lower than a year earlier, data issued by the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday. Over the first seven months of the year, China imported 138.52 million tonnes of coal, down 18% on the same period of 2021. Daily coal consumption in major coastal regions hovered around 2.2 million tonnes in late July, a similar level to last year, according to Shanghai Shipping Exchange.


A temperature spike across the country drove up the use of air conditioning. The government has vowed to avoid power rationing this year and has urged coal-burning power generators, which supply about 60% of the country’s electricity, to enlarge coal stocks. Data tracked by Refinitiv showed China’s seaborne coal imports from Russia would hit a record high of 7.38 million tonnes in July. However, analysts have expected coal demand will soon begin to ease as temperatures moderate, while industrial activity remains sluggish amid Covid-19 restrictions.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Maher: Fat celebrattion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coke Machine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555919490017288195

 

 

 

 

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Apr 202022
 
 April 20, 2022  Posted by at 8:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »


Andy Warhol Grace Kelly 1984

 

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)
Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)
Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)
Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)
Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)
Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)
Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)
Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)
New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)
DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)
CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)
Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)
Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (TechnoFog)
Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

 

 

Number of days Julian Assange has been in Belmarsh prison, never charged with anything.

Today, another decision is due in his extradition case.

 

 

 

 

Zelensky’s statements influenced by what he drinks or smokes – Lavrov

 

 

 

 

Musk

 

 

The only thing you need to know, really.

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Western sanctions that were intended to punish Moscow into submission and end its war with Ukraine have failed and, instead, hurt the very countries who imposed them. Putin used a televised address to tell Russians the sanctions were “expected to quickly upset the financial-economic situation, provoke panic in the markets, the collapse of the banking system and shortages in stores.” But said the West’s “economic blitz” failed and backfired. He said they instead led to a “deterioration of the economy in the West.” Last month, President Joe Biden told reporters that the sanctions imposed on Russia were not intended to prevent the 24 February invasion, but were intended instead to unite Europe and show its resolve.

“That’s the important thing. If you’re Putin and you think that Europe is going to crack in a month or six weeks or two months, [that] they can take anything for another month…We have to stay fully, totally, thoroughly united,” he said. When the White House announced a ban on Russian oil imports, oil prices in the U.S. hit their highest levels since 2008. The Russian central bank on Monday announced that consumer prices were about 16.7 percent higher than the same time period last year. The New York Times, citing international financial organizations, reported that economists believe that the Russian economy will contract up to 15 percent.

Biden, who has called Putin a war criminal, killer, and a brute, has discussed additional sanctions against Russia with European allies on Tuesday, Reuters reported. They also discusses arming Ukrainians with even more weapons. Canada announced Tuesday a new round of sanctions against Russians, including Putin’s two adult daughters, the report said. The repot said: “Among those on the call were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the leaders of Poland, Japan and Italy.” There has been no talk of peace, only war.

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The narrative needs a new chapter every day, lest people start questioning yesterday’s tale.

Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)

Democrats have invented their own WMD story to support regime change, as the head of the CIA warned about taking Russia’s nuclear capability too “lightly.” Speaking at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, CIA Director William Burns has said that in desperation Russian President Vladimir Putin could use a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine in order to try to reverse his battlefield mistakes. “Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” said Burns, according to Voice of America. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also warned about potential Putin use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.


Nina Khrushcheva, the great granddaughter to former Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev, echoed the comments but said it wasn’t a prediction of the use of nukes, but was just noting the potential is there for Putin to use nuclear weapons, said Newsweek. “Since there are questions about how far Russia can go to create victory, and nuclear weapons have been part of the conversation on both sides, Russian and the West, the tactical atomic option is potentially imaginable,” said Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York City, a progressive hotbed.

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Let’s make it an even $30 billion. $3 billion is hardly enough to pay the bonuses at Raytheon this Christmas

Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)

Coming off last week’s approved gargantuan $800 million military package for Ukraine, which the broader public and media seemed to not even bat an eye about (but quite the opposite: positively cheering it), what more is there for Biden to do except sign off on another massive weapons package for Kiev… “The Biden administration is preparing to announce another substantial military aid package for Ukraine this week,” NBC News cited five US officials to report Tuesday evening. “Three officials said the package is expected to be similar in size to the $800 million one the administration announced last week.” Biden previewed the new aid package by answering a simple “yes” when asked by a reporter whether Washington will send more artillery to Ukraine.

The new transfers are expected to include “tens of thousands more artillery rounds” – notes Bloomberg, and likely along with more anti-tank missiles, as has been consistently shipped stretching back even before Russia’s late February invasion kicked off. It appears to be the administration’s response to Moscow launching a ‘new phase’ in the war: a major force buildup and push to take the Donbas region from Ukraine, which the Kremlin reportedly wants to see fully accomplished by May 9, Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. Without doubt these continual major weapons packages pledged to Ukraine will only push Russia and NATO into increasingly direct confrontation, given the Kremlin’s standing warning that it will target any inbound Western arms transfers.

Meanwhile, on Monday a senior Pentagon official told Reuters of plans to begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use American-supplied howitzers. It was described, however, that the training would occur outside Ukraine, likely in a neighboring friendly country like Poland. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed this week that so far the United States has successfully delivered new weapons to the Ukrainians on four flights – this as overall US aid pledged to Ukraine since Feb.24 has totaled about $2.6 billion and counting.

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“..the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend..”

Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)

“You heard it here first”? Within less than 48 hours of publishing my previous article — aptly titled “The UK is Trying to Drag the US into World War III” — the most decisive evidence yet for the thesis conveniently emerged. This was thanks to The Times newspaper, which reported that British “boots on the ground” have been deployed to Ukraine. It’s the first time that the armed forces of any NATO member state were confirmed to be physically present inside Ukraine since the war started on February 24. If the UK Government really does aim to position itself at the “vanguard” of an escalating military intervention, in hopes that it can cajole the US into hotter and hotter warfare — as I reported in the previous article — then this seems like a pretty plausible way of going about it.


Is the US content to just sit around and let itself be one-upped by the British, who have now demonstrated their willingness to boldly send “boots on the ground” in defense of freedom and democracy? While the mighty US dithers impotently on the sidelines? Oddly, the response to the Times revelation has been conspicuously muted. At least from my vantage point here in London. And maybe that’s by design: the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend, and as I recently discovered, Easter weekend in England a big four-day Bank Holiday bash. So maybe the article was intentionally “buried” to dampen its effect — or maybe the timing was just an innocent coincidence. Either way, there’s been a curious lack of followup or even significant discussion in the days since the news broke. Maybe some inscrutable code of omertà reigns within the UK press corps? For all the problems with US media, it’s not quite as weirdly incestuous and insular as media in the UK.

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“We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.”

Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)

Following earlier this month both Finland and Sweden signaling their intent to join NATO, close Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, has warned that the Western military alliance is engaged in a military buildup along Russia’s borders. “A senior Russian official said on Tuesday that NATO’s reinforcement of its borders with Russia was no longer a figure of speech and Moscow should be prepared for possible aggressive action, Russia’s TASS news agency reported,” according to Reuters. “NATO’s expansion near Russia’s borders is no longer a figure of speech or a set of threats, we must be prepared for aggressive action,” he said according to a translation. The fresh words follow Medvedev’s prior threats to position nuclear and hypersonic missiles along Russian’s western border in the scenario that Finland and Sweden join NATO.

The prospect of Finland, which is said to be studying the issue, joining the alliance is especially alarming for the Kremlin, given Russian and its Scandinavian neighbor share a 810-mile border. Sweden, though a little less important geographically, has already announced its intent to join the alliance. “There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Medvedev said previously. But now on Tuesday, he’s heightened the rhetoric further by saying, “We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.” Medvedev stated further according to state-run TASS, based on a rush translation: “And this is no longer a figure of speech today, this is not a set of standard threats. We must be prepared for those aggressive actions that may happen.”

The thrust of his words were toward encouraging the rapid technological advance of the country’s defense capabilities amid the new ‘NATO threat’ – given the remarks were delivered before a national conference on science and education. He stressed that “it is important to build up, among other things, a system that allows you to provide the country with the most modern weapons.” “And this requires reliable, high-tech, powerful equipment – both military and dual-use,” the deputy head of the Security Council added, explaining that the situation did “not arise by itself, especially in those conditions when sanctions have been imposed on the country.”

Cement

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Westphalian Treaty, 1648.

“Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.”

Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)

As the US and its vassals therefore prepare for war, its populations must be conditioned to believe and accept such an inevitable outcome. The propaganda machine has been stepped up to unprecedented levels. The message is simple. Our side = good, Their side = bad. Our side does good things, their side does bad things. Thus, the media – now an asset of the deep state – plays an essential role of propagating this political construction among the populations of the Anglo-Zionist heartlands. All of which is very reminiscent of Orwell’s short novel Animal Farm. After the Animal Revolution and the eviction of Jones the Farmer, the sheep were instructed by the ruling group – the pigs – into reciting the goodness of the animals and the badness of humans. The short and endless bleat of the sheep went as follows: ‘’Four legs good, two legs bad,’’ repeated endlessly.

That is about the level of western foreign policy. Good guys, bad guys, white hats, black hats, no compromise, no surrender. Result war. The question we must now ask is has this menacing process gone too far to go into reverse? This of course remains an open question. But the thrust of neo-conservative foreign policy would suggest this war would be a logical outcome. Either that or the whole thing is a bluff. Up to this point the US performance in attacking recalcitrant weak states has not been a roaring success. The same goes for Israel. Bombing countries with no air defence or shooting Palestinian kids with sniper rifles is easy-peasy. Taking on Iran is a different matter entirely. The irresistible force seems to be meeting its immovable object.

From a realist as opposed to a neo-conservative foreign policy the idea of an American world empire is frankly deranged. Pursuit of this pipedream can only result in mutually assured destruction; yes, M.A.D. still applies. The United States and its minions might not like it, but it will have to learn to live with other great powers. Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.

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“These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame. ”

Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)

Most recently, Elon Musk has stepped forward, offering to purchase Twitter and remove the censorship from the platform. This move would turn the tables on the Great Reset and restore the voice of the American public. Some are conflicted and see Musk as a potential bad guy due to his billionaire status and work developing technologies that could be used against the populace. However, upon closer inspection, one notices that Musk has been consistent in his views over the last two years. Musk was among the first to tweet about the potential benefits of using HCQ in early 2020. Musk’s position has not changed, while the opposition lies, waffles, and double talks.

In his first interview with Joe Rogan in May of 2020, Musk questioned the lockdowns’ wisdom and insisted that our freedoms should come first. He noted that our liberty and democracy had come at significant cost, and we should not allow them to be eroded so easily. Looking deeper at Musk, one realizes he is not a sociopath like so many other billionaires. Sixteen factors help identify a sociopath – according to the Cleckley Profile as set forth by Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley, the expert considered to be the Father of Psychopathy. He discussed these in his treatise, The Mask of Sanity. These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame.

In short, they have cold, reptilian personalities and no conscience. Sociopaths have no anxiety and can often beat lie detector tests because their heart rates and blood pressure can remain stable under questioning that would phase most of us. While our leading health authorities and top vaccine billionaires easily qualify as sociopaths, Musk’s personality does not fit. He tears up at interviews to the extent the cameraman must stop filming; he exhibits great emotion when speaking about his childhood or challenges with his businesses.

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There goes the CDC.

Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)

As Pfizer try to ‘pump their stock’ Hedge Fund guru Dowd, takes us inside what he calls the third great fraud in his lifetime, in this new bombshell interview with Dr Naomi Wolf.

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Except, they’re giving the CDC more powers, no matter how badly it failed.

New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced the launch of the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Analysis (CFA) to predict future pandemics and guide the government’s efforts to address such anticipated infectious disease threats. A center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CFA will use “infectious disease modeling and analytics and to provide support to leaders at the federal, state, and local levels,” the CDC explains in its announcement. As “the equivalent of the National Weather Service for infectious diseases,” the CFA will “predict trends and guide decision-making,” the CDC says:

“CFA’s work will be focused into three main pillars: to predict, inform, and innovate. CFA has begun to build a world-class outbreak analytics team with experts across several disciplines to develop faster, richer evidence to predict trends and guide decision-making during emergencies.” According to the CFA website, the new center will also predict the future course of ongoing pandemics, in order to help public health officials to take preemptive measures: “The goal of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) is to enable timely, effective decision-making to improve outbreak response using data, modeling, and analytics.

“To do so, CFA will produce models and forecasts to characterize the state of an outbreak and its course, inform public health decision makers on potential consequences of deploying control measures, and support innovation to continuously improve the science of outbreak analytics and modeling.” CFA Science Director Marc Lipsitch, hopes to employ regular population sampling, by means like blood draws and swab tests, in order to collect data, the AP reports: “[T]he United Kingdom uses regular population sampling with swab tests and blood draws to get a clearer picture of who’s been infected, said Marc Lipsitch, the new center’s science director. He said similar sampling should be considered in the U.S.”

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“..a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence..”

DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)

On one hand, Joe Biden needs to appease the base of his Covidians who identify themselves through the prism of COVID. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Americans are done with the COVID fear mongering. What to do, what to do? Trying to split the baby, Biden’s DOJ announces it will appeal the federal court ruling that overturned the federal Transporation covid mask mandate, but only if the CDC tells them to. “DOJ PRESS RELEASE – […] “The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.” “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”


Keep in mind, the federal court ruling specifically centered around the arbitrary nature of the original mandate, which exceeded the scope of CDC legal authority, compounded by the CDC breaking its own rules for public feedback in the implementation.The mandate created by Joe Biden did not have legal structure. It was a dictatorial fiat that exceeded the capacity of the executive branch to create. Congress could easily write a law authorizing mechanisms for the CDC and TSA to use in enforcement of a federal Transportation mask mandate; but they won’t – because the public would never support it. So now, a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence amid the politics of COVID.

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Just demolish it.

CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its international travel recommendations on Monday, relaxing previous COVID-19 risk assessments.Previously, the CDC’s “Level 4” risk designation applied to destinations with “very high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. On Sunday, 89 countries and territories were listed in this category, with the CDC advising, “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” The agency has since named its highest risk category “Level 4: Special Circumstances/Do Not Travel” and removed all countries from it. In a statement last week, the CDC indicated it would reserve this designation for “special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.”

The CDC’s next highest designation, “Level 3: COVID-19 High,” now includes 122 destinations and advises that travelers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, but does not advise the fully vaccinated to avoid travel wholesale. Given that there are few places in the world where COVID-19 has not spread widely, it is becoming necessary for the individual traveler to determine his own risk tolerance. Safety does not simply depend on picking the country with no active COVID-19 cases, but rather on taking stock of your vaccination status, your preexisting conditions, and the medical infrastructure at your destination.

The CDC’s new advisory structure makes the point that not all areas with high COVID-19 transmission are irreconcilably dangerous to visit. As recently as Sunday, the CDC advised travelers to exercise the same level of COVID-related caution when visiting Norway and the Central African Republic; South Korea and Papua New Guinea; and Australia and Vietnam. It makes little sense to advise the same level of extreme medical caution across each of these nations, considering how vastly each country’s health capacities may differ. Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden are said to have some of the best health care in the world, but in terms of COVID contagion, the CDC considered them as risky to visit as Somalia, a country with only one surgeon for every 1 million people and a full COVID vaccination rate of just 8.5 percent.

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You will own nothing and you will be happy.

Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)

The interesting thing is that no one at the Fed is trying to talk down those spikes in Treasury yields and mortgage rates. It shows that those yields are going where the Fed wants them to go, and that the Treasury market is coming around to the Fed’s rate-hike plan, and that those yields have a long ways to go, given that CPI inflation is 8.5%, a gigantic mess that has unfolded over the past 15 months, finally, after 12 years of money-printing. The two-year Treasury yield spiked by 15 basis points today to 2.61%, the highest since January 2019. This has been a huge move in just seven months. When the two-year yield goes over 2.83%, it will be in territory not seen since 2007, as the Treasury market begins to price in the Fed’s coming policy action to crack down on inflation:

Even the biggest doves at the Fed are now fully on board the rate-hike train, and it’s only a question of how fast and how long. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the biggest doves, is “comfortable” with 25-basis-point hikes at every meeting this year (there are seven more), and even he is “open” to 50-basis-point hikes: “we want to be humble and nimble, and get to neutral before too long – maybe 50 helps, I’m open to that,” he said. The 10-year Treasury yield rose by 8 basis points to 2.93% at the close today, the highest since December 2018. The magic number there is 3.24%, beyond which yields are back in 2011 territory:

When yields rise, it means prices of those bonds fall, and prices fall the hardest of bonds with the longest remaining maturities. And it’s a massacre for people who invested in what they thought was a very conservative and prudent instrument, namely a bond fund tracking long-term Treasury securities, when in fact it turned out to be a highly risky wager on long-term Treasury yields always going lower forevermore. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT], which tracks an index of Treasury securities with at least 20 years of remaining maturities, dropped another 0.75% today, is down 19.5% year-to-date, and has plunged by 30.6% from the peak in August 2020, which was when long-term Treasury yields had hit historic lows, and which was – with hindsight – the moment the greatest bond-market bubble in US history began to implode:

Holy moly Mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate spiked to 5.35% today, the highest since 2009! This daily measure of mortgage rates by Mortgage News Daily had briefly hit 5.05% in November 2018, with inflation at or below the Fed’s target, and with markets tanking left and right, before the Fed made its infamous U-Turn, and mortgage rates dove. Now the Fed is just getting started, with inflation at 8.5%. There is no one that can persuade me that this jump in mortgage rates isn’t going to have a serious impact on the housing market. It’s the Fed’s way of getting the housing bubble under control before it tears up the financial system again:

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They’re getting lost in their own narratives.

Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (Techno Fog)

The battle over documents and e-mails in the Michael Sussmann case just got hotter. Back in August 2017, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining how his firm was retained to gather “lots of facts about Donald Trump.” He admitted that Fusion GPS met with reporters leading up to the 2016 election to spread opposition research against then-candidate Trump. The context of Perkins Coie’s retention of Fusion GPS was further explained in a book co-authored by Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch. They documented an April 20, 2016 meeting with Mark Elias (Perkins Coie partner and counsel for the DNC/Clinton Campaign), where Elias requested their services for opposition research.

Now the stories have changed. Fusion GPS is no longer an opposition research firm, and they weren’t hired to dig-up dirt against Trump. Instead, they would have you believe, after the phony dossier and the Alfa Bank hoax, that Fusion GPS was retained to provide legal advice to the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Remarkable. On April 6, Durham filed [a] motion to compel in the Michael Sussmann case, requesting the court require the production of “emails and attachments between and among” Perkins Coie, Rodney Joffe, and Fusion GPS. These emails and documents, according to Durham, “appear or involve or relate to” Fusion GPS’s provision of research and media services to Hillary for America, the DNC, and Perkins Coie. (Some documents had been produced pursuant to grand jury subpoenas dating back to the 2021.)

Faced with this pressure, today there was a flurry of filings from interested entities in the Sussmann case, seeking to intervene to petition the court to keep these emails and documents secret. The DNC, Rodney Joffe, Perkins Coie, and Hillary for America all filed motions to intervene and memorandums in opposition to Durham’s motion to compel. Notably, we saw arguments to the court that Fusion GPS wasn’t retained for opposition research. Hillary for America, for example, asserted “attorney-client privilege and work product protection over communications and work product of its attorneys (at Perkins Coie) and their consultant (Fusion GPS).” In support of that motion, Hillary for America included declarations from John Podesta, Robby Mook, and their attorney, Marc Elias. Declarations which contradict the public record.

To prove my point, John Podesta declared that to his knowledge, Perkins Coie has “consistently maintained” confidentiality, despite the fact that Perkins Coie (Sussmann in particular) assisted in distributing to the press the materials and allegations prepared by Fusion GPS and other researchers. Not to be outdone, Robby Mook (Hillary’s campaign manager) told the court that he believed that contractors for Perkins Coie – which would include Fusion GPS – were providing “legal services and legal advice” to the Clinton campaign. Unfortunately for Hillary for America, Mook’s belief is insufficient for the purposes of privilege. Clinton lawyer Mark Elias also submitted a declaration, stating the role of Fusion GPS was to “provide consulting services in support of the legal advice” Perkins Coie and Elias were providing their clients. This contradicts the Elias’s own statements cited above.

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“Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. ”

Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

Much has been said about Taylor Lorenz, the 30-something-year-old journalist for the Washington Post and former New York Times Slack channel gossipmonger. Still, her lack of media ethics is now unambiguous. On Tuesday, we learned about Lorenz’s doxxing of those behind a viral social media account she personally dislikes. Lorenz published a story on the popular “LibsofTikTok” Twitter account. This account curates and highlights content from the extreme fringes of the cultural and political Left on TikTok and other platforms. The account isn’t much different from the “Right Wing Watch” account on Twitter, which does mostly the same thing from a politically left perspective. The difference is simply who is protected by most of the media and who isn’t. That’s what much of the discourse around the public revealing of the person behind the LibsofTikTok account is missing.

Taylor Lorenz is what the media are now. In 2017, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski tracked down an anonymous Reddit user who had created a gif of President Donald Trump clotheslining a wrestler at a WWE event, with the CNN logo replacing the opposing wrestler’s head. CNN found this to be doxx-worthy simply because it was retweeted by Trump. In 2019, when a joke video of a “drunk” Nancy Pelosi (the creator simply reduced the speed of the video) spread around, Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast tracked down and doxxed the person who did it, revealing he is an ex-con living in the Bronx who was working as a forklift operator. These details were not newsworthy. The video itself was not newsworthy. But the Daily Beast published his name and employment anyway.

In 2018, HuffPost writer Luke O’Brien doxxed and revealed the identity of a pro-Trump Twitter user, including information regarding a popular Brooklyn deli that her siblings owned and was not related to her social media posts. The deli was soon threatened with boycotts and negative Yelp reviews. These are just three examples of what has become an industry standard. It’s a standard that now has some reporters comparing LibsofTikTok to Harvey Weinstein and the Watergate scandal. However, in singling out Taylor Lorenz, what the political Right doesn’t understand is this is about politics and shutting down opposing speech. That is to say, speech that Lorenz or Kaczynski or the Daily Beast are ideologically opposed to. Of course, this is also about media power.

CNN is a multibillion-dollar media conglomerate that used the full weight of its corporate power to threaten a private individual with a Reddit account. In a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos, Lorenz publishes a story with an individual’s name, professional license, and address information. It’s a struggle between one of the richest, most powerful men on the Earth and someone behind a Twitter account with less than a million followers (although that follower count is almost certainly about to increase). Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. It’s a new journalistic model for an industry that sees its grip loosening on what news it can control and create (see the media freak-out over Elon Musk buying their favorite toy). Taylor Lorenz, for all her theatrics, is simply leading the charge.

Tucker Libs of TikTok

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Gates Nov 2019
https://twitter.com/CovidMemo/status/1516444224622927882

 

 

 

 

Ships waiting to dock in Shanghai.

 

 

NATO ad

 

 

 

 

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Apr 212021
 


Mark Chagall I and the village 1911

 

 

Joe Biden declares a “national emergency”, calls Putin a killer, slaps more sanctions on Russia, for which he has his Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken declare that “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” … and then “invites” Putin for a summit.

For the SolarWinds “intrusion”, the US has never provided any evidence at all, the Russian bounties story was -finally- fully debunked well before Blinken made his statement -which makes him look very incompetent-, and the election interference narrative is by now just too dumb to even get into. No evidence for it whatsoever after 2 years of the Mueller investigation, but now Putin’s at it again? Who did he want to win, then? Trump again, after apparently not even trying in 2016?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that his country should urgently be made a full member of both NATO and the EU, and has his own proxy, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, solemnly claim that not just “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member”, but also that “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again”.… And then Zelensky invites Putin for a summit. In the Donbass, no less.

These people are all as insincere as they possibly could be, but they trust that this doesn’t matter anymore. The western media have been planting the “Putin is a monster” seeds in their readers and viewers for many years now, and critical thought has long since left the building. Yes, that is the ultimate effect of what’s called propaganda, and as long as the sheeple “victims” don’t recognize it as such, it works like a charm.

 

I’ve been wondering for a long time why Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as his successor in 1999, and I can’t find much information on it. Yeltsin was a US asset, and sold out his country to the CIA and a bunch of CIA-asset homegrown oligarchs. I’ve always suspected that when Yeltsin left, he felt a lot of regret for what he had done to Russia, and that maybe appointing Putin was his way to try and make up for that. I see people saying that Yeltsin thought Putin was pliable, but I think perhaps he knew exactly how Putin thought.

A “detail”: remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, male life expectancy for a period of time feel from a very steep cliff. And nothing Yeltsin did provided a solution to that crisis. Then, in August 1999, he appointed Putin as his prime minister, and didn’t leave a year later as planned, but 4 months later, in December. His chief of staff, Valentin Yumashev , who had hired Putin as his deputy in 1997, wrote his resignation speech:

Mr Yumashev was entrusted with writing Yeltsin’s resignation speech. “It was a hard speech to write. It was clear the text would go down in history. The message was important. That’s why I wrote the famous line ‘Forgive me’. “Russians had suffered such shock and stress during the 1990s. Yeltsin had to speak about this.”

Back to today. All economic -and other- sanctions against Russia since Putin first became president have led to one thing only: the country has dramatically increased its self-sufficiency. And in the process has upgraded its weapons arsenal to a level that no western country even comes close to, including the US, for maybe 10% of what the same US has spent on its own arsenal.

Russia’s latest generation of hypersonic missiles, against which no country has any defense, are far superior to what anybody else possesses. When they said recently they could take out a specific building in Kyiv if they wanted, they were not exaggerating. So yeah, look for Biden and Blinken and NATO et al to soon start using that superiority as a reason to incite more war vs Moscow.

A war they could never win, but that’s not the point any longer. One might argue of course that it never was after the advent of nuclear weapons. The whole point of NATO today, its raison d’être, is that it can create chaos wherever it goes and looks. It’s no longer capable of defending anyone from the Russian threat, but then that threat hasn’t been there for many years.

 

And NATO wants to continue existing, as does the Pentagon, and Boeing and Raytheon, it’s all about money, so they have to make up a threat, aided by their media brethren. That‘s why you see, from time to time, reports about Putin having yet another person “poisoned”, why governments in countries like the UK and Germany go along with the narrative, and why media in all other vassal states parrot these stories.

In that vein, the story this week out of Czechia, which expelled 18 Russian diplomats, kind of sets a new standard in absolute nonsense.

The Czech organised crime squad (NCOZ) said it was looking for two men using Russian passports in relation to the explosions. The passports bear the names of Alexander Petrov, born in 1979, and Ruslan Boshirov, born in 1978, and their holders are also wanted in Britain in connection with Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury.

Mark Ames’ reaction to this on Twitter is so good, I’m not going to try to beat him to it: : “If I understand this right, apparently GRU thought it’d be smart to use the same 2 spies to carry out 2 separate deadly operations in NATOland – 2014 bombing in Czech Rep, 2018 Skripal poisoning – using exact same aliases & fake passports in both operations.”

Now that the west has lost its military superiority, all that’s left for it to claim is some sort of “intelligence superiority”, so it portrays Russians as really dumb people. Putin tries to poison one person after another, invariably people who are no threat to him at all, with the deadliest poisons on the planet, and fails time and again. Navalny is a US asset who gets 2% max of votes in a poll, Skripal is a former military intel officer who was allowed to go to the UK after being exposed as a double-agent (!), but they fit the 20+ year old narrative of Putin as Pol Pot. Stories. They are all that counts. Reality, not so much. Bernays and Goebbels are having a ton of fun in their own private hells.

So how will the Ukraine episode be resolved? Not easy. Making the world’s 2nd-most corrupt country a full member of NATO is out of the question, Russia will never accept that. Which is why the west is pushing it. Ukraine with nukes is even more preposterous, if that is possible (hard call). Dmitry Orlov suggested a “solution” the other day about which I have major question marks, but he’s Russian and I’m not, so take a look:

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem.

Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome. Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees.

The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home.

While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds. The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether.

[..] The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

Dmitry suggests 4.6 million people leave the Donbass so peace may be restored. But most of those people grew up there, and so did their families. And largely peacefully so, until the US and NATO, John McCain and Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, tried to take over Ukraine. Why should Russia, instead of protecting these people where they live, migrate them and protect them in Russia? Anyone ask for their own opinion?

There would be a giant empty piece of land where they once lived, in a kind of demilitarized zone? And what then? Nobody in Ukraine would come up with the idea to move into the empty land? And if they did, Russia would have to shoot them from Russian territory? I sort of see the reasoning of course, but not all of it. It only seems to work if you see Russia, and the Russians in the Donbass, as the aggressors.

Were they? Are they? Russia only sprung into action when the west tried to take away their sole warm water port, Sevastopol in Crimea. An election was held, and 97% of mostly Russians voted to be part of Russia. Yeah, that upset NATO and the other usual suspects, but that doesn’t make Russia an aggressor.

Russia has no reason to “invade” Ukraine. They don’t need even more territory, they’re already by far the largest nation on earth. Moreover, they don’t have the military to occupy large swaths of land. They only have the capacity to protect their own.

Thing is, they really got that down. So the only thing NATO can do, in its quest to prove it has reason to exist, is to create chaos, as I said before. But there is a problem with consciously creating chaos between nuclear powers, instead of maintaining communication channels, as the US and USSR always did during the Cold War. Do we all understand this means we are in a worse situation today than back then? That all those expulsions of diplomats only make the situation worse?

And that some fool could actually fire a nuclear missile because of that? Me, I’m not so sure anymore. Between the Covid virus and the US cancel culture, there are not that many western people paying attention to warmongers and NATO aka warheads. Not a good idea.

 

 

 

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Nov 072019
 


Ivan Shishkin Midday. Near Moscow 1869

 

 

“In theory they were sound on Expectation
Had there been situations to be in;
Unluckily they were their situation”
– W.H. Auden

 

 

And drawn back again into energy… I did a little interview on the topic this week, and that was a little too little. Can’t cover it all in 5 or 10 minutes, even though that is mostly because people understand so precious little. We fool ourselves non-stop 24/7 on the topic, just the way industry and politics like it.

A wee step back: “The only clean energy is the one that isn’t used.” I’ve seen that attributed to Nicole, and that’s fine. But at the same time, I see terms like “clean energy”, “zero-emissions” and “zero-carbon” fly by all the time, used to depict things that are not clean at all. Perhaps less polluting, but that’s only perhaps; we’re experts at discounting externalities.

Still, we do still realize that without oil and gas there would be no wind turbines and solar panels, don’t we? How much carbon waste is generated in the production process of the two may be up for grabs, if only because that’s nobody’s favorite topic, but it’s a whole lot more than zero. More for solar, I would guess, because mining of rare earth metals is a pretty dirty process.

 

But in the end, the only aspect that I find really interesting, and that everybody appears to ignore, is why we produce so much waste. If you were hell-bent on designing a contraption aimed at wasting as much energy, and generating as much waste, as possible, you would have a hard time competing with the automobile.

Your run of the mill internal combustion engine uses maybe 10% of the energy you put in at the gas station, and you use it to transport yourself in a contraption that is 20x heavier than you are. That leaves you with just 0.5% of the energy embedded in the gasoline that is effectively used.

And that’s not all: before the gas reached the station, there was an entire process of extraction, refining, multiple transport steps. And before the car reached the store, it had already generated over a third of all the waste it will in its ‘lifetime’. If ever you need a way to demonstrate that people are not very smart, look no further.

Angela Merkel this week said she wants 1 million car charging points in Germany by 2030 (the country is way behind). And she may mean well, but for a physicist it’s still disappointing. If anyone could understand that replacing petrol powered cars with electric ones is a very poor deal, it should be her.

 

But sure, Germany has some very large carmakers, and she needs to appease them. Cars run the economy, after all. Or, rather, that’s not quite right, it’s in fact generating waste that runs the economy. Which is the only sensible conclusion we can draw after seeing that way less than 0.5% of energy is efficiently used in and by a car.

And for people like Merkel, practical politicians with ties to industry, that means you have to keep them running. And help the media and industry in convincing people that electric cars, produced by BMW, Merc and VW, is a great way to save the planet. Still, making those things requires enormous amounts of oil and gas.

If a car that runs on an internal combustion engine generates a third of the waste produced in its ‘lifetime’ before it hits the store, I bet you the ratio is worse for electric cars, because again of mining of rare earth metals and other components. And then they run on electricity generated by coal or gas or oil plants, or wind that we saw is not clean, or even nuclear, which produces the ultimate lethal form of waste, which we can still not safely store.

 

We need an entirely different approach, and I find it both very hard to understand and very disappointing that I don’t see this reflected as their no. 1 item by the climate rebellion and the various Green New Deals. That is, we must reduce our consumption of all forms of energy, not just oil and gas, and we must do it in a drastic fashion.

Luckily, we can start with the automobile, that contraption [seemingly] aimed at consuming as much energy, and generating as much waste, as possible. But even if we would achieve a 50% increase in efficiency there, we would still hover around that same 0.5%. Still crazy after all these years.

That won’t work. But there are other options. We presently live in cities and towns that are designed exclusively around those cars with their abysmal efficiency rates. In many if not most places, over half of what once was, and could be again, public space, has been turned into car space. There are no kids playing in the streets anywhere anymore.

If you talk about waste or pollution, that too could be labeled as such. In only 100 years, or even just 50, not only have most city populations exploded, both through birth rates and migration, all those extra people and the ‘original’ population now demand space for their vehicles that are 20x their weight and size.

And the car makers keep on advertizing ‘lifestyle’ ads with wide open roads and smily happy people. If I can repeat myself “If ever you need a way to demonstrate that people are not very smart, look no further.”

 

Now, mind you, if and when I say something that sounds like: we can do this, I am a lot more skeptical than most of you. This is because as I wrote three weeks ago in Energy vs DNA, we are driven by nature, by our DNA, it doesn’t matter how you define it, to maximize our energy consumption. Not on an individual level, but on a group level.

There’s still the trifle little matter of how all systems, all organisms, deal with energy (sources). Now, according to Alfred J. Lotka and Howard T. Odum, in what they and others have labeled the 4th law of Thermodynamics, all systems and organisms of necessity (DNA/RNA driven) seek to maximize their use of energy, for pure survival reasons: the one that’s most efficient in its ability to exploit and utilize -external- energy sources will survive. (another word for this is: Life)

In that article I also quoted Jay Hanson:

Why can’t we save ourselves? To answer that question we only need to integrate three of the key influences on our behavior: 1) biological evolution, 2) overshoot, and 3) a proposed fourth law of thermodynamics called the “Maximum Power Principle” (MPP). The MPP states that biological systems will organize to increase power generation, by degrading more energy, whenever systemic constraints allow it.

But then that takes me right to a quote I’ve used a few times before, from Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend:

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment—that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”

 

Note that the Maximum Power Principle is quite mute on efficiency. It talks about being efficient in grabbing the resource, not in using it. That only matters if you MUST be efficient. The oil extravaganza we discovered in Pennsylvania and Baku in the 1850s has left us without any reason to be efficient. And there is precious little reason to believe we will suddenly change that behavior BEFORE we hit a wall (or, rather, THE wall).

And also note that Daly and Townsend talk about waste in general, waste as in what is left over once we have “consumed energy”, when we have used a low entropy “source” and turned it into a high entropy one, i.e. one that is useless to us (though trees live off of CO2, we have no use for it). In that regard, replacing one form of energy with another, as electric cars seek to do, is a very dubious undertaking.

The only approach that makes any sense, is to use and consume vastly less ‘energy’. From a rational point of view, that would seem an easy thing to do: it should be possible to transport yourself at a higher efficiency rate than 0.5%. But at the same time, that’s not at all what we are doing.

We, like all organisms, are obeying the Maximum Power Principle: we grab all the energy we can, and we use it in whatever way we can. Got to be a bit careful with the term “we” perhaps, if only because if by some miracle we might drastically reduce our energy consumption, which physics says should be no problem -though biology might disagree-, we would leave a lot of oil, or other energy forms, available to for instance the Chinese, who could use it against us.

Very much a part of the Maximum Power Principle: competition between species leads to maximum ‘power grabs’ (for survival), but also competition within species (same reason). What you have in your possession, they do not.

 

I very much welcome any and all thoughts and contributions and disagreements on this topic. But do note I’ve been on it for many years.

 

 

I will return to Jerusalem, my holy city, and live there. It will be known as the faithful city… Once again old men and women, so old that they use a stick when they walk, will be sitting in the city squares. And the streets will again be full of boys and girls playing.
– Zechariah 8:3-5

 

 

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Jul 292019
 


Pablo Picasso Massacre in Korea 1951

 

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything at all about nuclear energy. And even then I thought the whole discussion had been wrapped up and thrown away. But I guess it’s inevitable that as the climate change debate develops, there’d be parties seeking to revive the nukes ‘discussion’, because there’s so much potential profit in there. And then today I came upon this report, and a few interpretations of it, that set me off again, and brought back the whole Yucca Mountain issue to mind.

Please note that in all that follows, there is ONE very obvious notion to keep in mind: nuclear energy is a huge economic loss-maker, no matter how and where you look.

And that makes nukes, right from the get-go, completely unfit to replace anything fossil-fuel based, because coal and oil and gas are sources that do the opposite: they generate huge profits while nukes generate huge losses, i.e.: you can’t run your economy on nuclear. You can not run an economy on any energy source that generates economic losses. It does NOT get simpler than that. It’s the economics of energy, and for once economics are right (though not economists, name me one who understands this. Hi, Steve!).

Mind you, you can’t run our present complex economies and societies on renewables either, no more than you can run them on nuclear. Much simpler economies, sure, but then you will have to figure out how you’re going to pay for that. It’s hard to comprehend to which extent fossil fuels have shaped our world, but we have no choice but to try, because this is one thing you don’t want to get wrong.

The report comes from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), which studied 674 nuclear power plants built since 1951. Their own abstract says the following:

 

Nuclear Power Is Not an Option for the Climate-Friendly Energy Mix

The debate on effective climate protection is heating up in Germany and the rest of the world. Nuclear energy is being touted as “clean” energy. Given the circumstances, the present study analyzed the historical, current, and future costs and risks of nuclear energy. The findings show that nuclear energy can by no means be called “clean” due to radioactive emissions, which will endanger humans and the natural environment for over one million years. And it harbors the high risk of proliferation. An empirical survey of the 674 nuclear power plants that have ever been built showed that private economic motives never played a role.


Instead military interests have always been the driving force behind their construction. Even ignoring the expense of dismantling nuclear power plants and the long-term storage of nuclear waste, private economy-only investment in nuclear power plant would result in high losses— an average of five billion euros per nuclear power plant, as one financial simulation revealed. In countries such as China and Russia, where nuclear power plants are still being built, private investment does not play a role either. Nuclear power is too expensive and dangerous; therefore it should not be part of the climate-friendly energy mix of the future.

In other words, nuclear energy is already a huge economic loser even before decommissioning and waste storage are taken into consideration, and those last two costs are by far the largest. So much so that it even makes precious little sense to calculate nuke costs without including decommissioning and waste storage costs. But people do it, and they get paid for that….

A site called Renew Economy, which appears to be Australian, has this comment on the DIW report (they’re one of the few I found that had any comment at all):

 

Nuclear Energy Is Never Profitable

A new study of the economics of nuclear power has found that nuclear power has never been financially viable, finding that most plants have been built while heavily subsidised by governments, and often motivated by military purposes, and is not a good approach to tackling climate change. The study has come from DIW Berlin, a leading German economic think-tank, and found that the average 1,000MW nuclear power plant built since 1951 resulted in an average economic loss of 4.8 billion euros ($7.7 billion AUD). The report comes amid a hot debate over the future of nuclear power in both Germany and Australia.


The report published by the German Institute for Economic Research (known as DIW Berlin) reviewed the development of 674 nuclear power plants built since 1951, finding that none of the plants was built using ‘private capital under competitive conditions’. “The results showed that in all cases, an investment would generate significant financial losses. The (weighted) average net present value was around minus 4.8 billion euros,” the study says. “Even in the best case, the net present value was approximately minus 1.5 billion euros. The authors included conservative assumptions with high electricity prices, low capital costs, and specific investment. Considering all assumptions regarding the uncertain parameters, nuclear energy is never profitable.”

 


click to enlarge in new tab

 

The report authors are also pessimistic about the future of nuclear power, concluding that nuclear power will remain unprofitable into the foreseeable future. Unlike Australia, Germany has a history of nuclear power use, which as recently as 2010, supplied around a quarter of Germany’s electricity. The government led by Angela Merkel has committed to the complete phase-out of nuclear power by 2022. The report found that when nuclear power plants were built using private investment, that “large state subsidies” were used to make the projects viable, and that in most cases, nuclear power stations were built at a loss.


DIW Berlin calculated that for every 1,000 Megawatts of nuclear power capacity that has been built since 1951, there were average economic losses of between 1.5 to 8.9 billion Euros. “Nuclear power was never designed for commercial electricity generation; it was aimed at nuclear weapons. That is why nuclear electricity has been and will continue to be uneconomical. Further, nuclear energy is by no means ‘clean.’ Its radioactivity will endanger humans and the natural world for over one million years,” Christian von Hirschhausen, co-author of the study said.

 

 

The DIW Berlin report stressed that governments should not be seduced by claims that nuclear power was a solution to the climate crisis. “Nuclear energy for climate protection” is an old narrative that is as inaccurate today as it was in the 1970s. Describing nuclear energy as “clean” ignores the significant environmental risks and radioactive emissions it engenders along the process chain and beyond,” the report concluded.

Another site called Recharge Transition finds basically the same:

 

Nuclear Has Never Been Economic And Is Dangerous

Nuclear power is economically unviable, dangerous and should not be labelled as a clean form of energy, the renowned German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) said, pointing to research it has carried out on the profitability of investments in nuclear power plants. DIW Berlin is one of the leading economic think tanks in Germany. According to “numerous scientific studies,” none of the world’s more than 600 nuclear power stations have ever been economically viable, and the plants could only be operated for years due to government subsidies, the institute claims.


“That nuclear energy has never been economically competitive comes as no surprise as electricity production has always only be a by-product. Military and geo-strategical interests have always come first and this energy source has been massively subsidised,” the study’s author Christian von Hirschhausen said. “Now it is also certain that it won’t be profitable in the future either to invest in atomic energy – neither in new nuclear power plants, nor in the extension of existing ones. “If in addition you consider that nuclear power absolutely isn’t safe, the fairy tale of a climate friendly alternative to fossil energy sources completely collapses.”

And you know what’s “funny” is that as mentioned before, the report never even talks about decommissioning and storage. For me, this was a closed topic, got it, move on. But I looked it up anyway. I couldn’t remember the dates the judge had set. I knew he had thrown out the EPA’s 10,000 years for guaranteed storage safety.

10,000 years is already way beyond man’s powers to guarantee anything at all, it’s pure hubris. According to YuccaMountain.org, the latest a judge mentioned is at least 300,000 years. You know, half-life and all that. I didn’t remember if it was 100,000 or 1 million, and it makes no difference at all, man can make no claim of being capable of doing either, or even 10,000.

The Court’s Ruling

On July 9, 2004, the Court of Appeals ruled on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain Lawsuits. The judges dismissed almost all of the State’s claims except a key challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Court ruled that the EPA’s 10,000-year safety standard on radiation containment at the site was arbitrary and inconsistent with the congressionally-mandated recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences. The Court also struck down the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing standards insofar as they include a 10,000 year compliance limit.

The National Academy of Sciences said the radiation safety standard should be set at a higher limit, when the waste would be at its peak radiation levels – at least 300,000 years from the time the waste is sent to Yucca. The EPA was required by law to base its rule on NAS’ recommendation, but chose to set the standard at 10,000 years instead.

[..] State officials believe the ruling will significantly delay or even scrap the project. State Attorney General Brian Sandoval claimed a sound victory for Nevada, saying that the EPA would have to form a new rule with a tougher standard – a standard the Energy Department would not be able to meet due to Yucca Mountain’s inferior geology. This “is a fatal blow to the repository ,” Sandoval said. DOE itself has expressed doubts in the past about being able to meet a longer time limit. As quoted by the Court, former project director Lake Barrett wrote in 1999 that a safety standard significantly longer than 10,000 years would be “unworkable and probably unimplementable.”

Yeah, there are dozens of nuclear plants either under construction or in planning phases as we speak. We are told to see Chernobyl and Fukushima as unfortunate accidents, and there are plenty nuclear plants that never have accidents like those, but even then they are all of them gigantic economic loss-makers, and that’s before decommissioning and waste storage, which generate additional behemoth financial losses, and in the end are incapable of solving the problems they themselves generate. It’s all exclusively about profit, damn humans or other lifeforms, and damn the torpedoes.

And the little green Martians out there in space somewhere are watching us saying ”A potentially smart species. Too bad they’re doomed by their own ultimate hubris. But why would they volunteer to nuke their offspring?”

One more time: you can not run an economy on an energy source that generates economic losses. It is NOT an option. Our present economies have been made possible by fossil energy sources that gave us 10-100 times more energy than we put in to extract them. Those days are over. Please adjust your lifestyles accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Jul 232019
 


Odilon Redon Sunset n.d.

 

US Justice Department Tells Mueller To Limit Congressional Testimony (R.)
What Goes Around (Kunstler)
A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles (Ray McGovern)/span>
Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism (Deaton)
Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? (NYMag)
Chelsea Clinton Denies Ties To Jeffrey Epstein’s Alleged ‘Madam’ (MN)
UK’s May Takes Parting Shot at Putin in Desperate Diversion From Failure (SCF)
Iran Warns West Against Starting Conflict (R.)
France To Shut Down Nuclear Plants Due To Heatwave (Montel)
Huge Swathes Of The Arctic On Fire, Satellite Images Show (Ind.)

 

 

He might as well stay home. Can’t talk about Concord, can’t talk about anything not in the report.

US Justice Department Tells Mueller To Limit Congressional Testimony (R.)

The U.S. Justice Department told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Monday he should limit his testimony before Congress this week to discussing his public report on the Russia probe. In a letter to Mueller, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer said his testimony set for Wednesday “must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.” The letter said “these privileges would include discussion about investigative steps or decisions made during your investigation not otherwise described in the public version of your report.”

Mueller completed in March his nearly two-year-long probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. The Justice Department released a redacted copy of his 448-page report in April. A spokesman for Mueller, Jim Popkin, said no one at the Justice Department, Congress or the White House would review Mueller’s statement before he delivers it on Wednesday. In back-to-back hearings before the House of Representatives Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Democrats are expected to try to get Mueller to focus his testimony on specific examples of Trump’s misconduct.

[..] Mueller has been using offices at his former law firm WilmerHale and working with a small team from the special counsel’s office to prepare for Wednesday’s hearings, Popkin said. “He will come well prepared,” Popkin said. “His team has been working on this for a while and they will be ready for whatever comes their way.”

Read more …

“is it possible that he’s just not very bright?”

What Goes Around (Kunstler)

The entrapment operation that was the Special Counsel’s covert mission has turned out to be Mr. Mueller own personal booby-trap, prompting the question: is it possible that he’s just not very bright? Though Mr. Mueller’s final report asserted that the Russian government interfered in “a sweeping and systemic fashion” to influence the 2016 election, the 450-page great tome contains zero evidence to support that claim, and the discrepancy was actually noticed by federal judge Dabney Friedrich who is presiding over the case against the alleged Russian Facebook trolls that was one of the two tent-poles in the RussiaGate fantasy. The case is now blowing up in Robert Mueller’s face.

In early 2018, Mr. Mueller sold a DC grand jury on producing indictments against a Russian outfit called the Internet Research Agency and its parent company Concord Management, owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin for the so-called election meddling. The indictment was celebrated as a huge coup at the time by the likes of CNN and The New York Times, styled as a silver bullet in the heart of the Trump presidency. But the indicted parties were all in Russia, and could not be extradited, and there was zero expectation that any actual trial would ever take place — leaving Mueller & Co. off-the-hook for proving their allegations.

To the great surprise of Mr. Mueller and his “team,” Mr. Prigozhin hired some American lawyers to defend his company in court. Smooth move. It automatically triggered the discovery process, by which the accused is entitled to see the evidence that prosecutors hold. It turned out that Mr. Mueller’s team had no evidence that the Russian government was involved with the Facebook pranks. This annoyed Judge Friedrich, who ordered Mr. Mueller and his lawyers to desist making public statements about Concord and IRA’s alleged “sweeping and systemic” collusion with Russia, and threatened legal sanctions if they did.

Read more …

Three years ago. That went by fast.

A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles (Ray McGovern)/span>

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials. The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. [..] A mere four days after the WikiLeaks release, a well orchestrated Democratic Convention nominated Clinton, while many Sanders supporters loudly objected.

Thus, she began her campaign under a cloud, and as more and more Americans learned of the fraud that oozed through the DNC email correspondence — including the rigging of the Democratic primaries — the cloud grew larger and darker. On June 12, 2016, six weeks before the convention, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had announced in an interview on British TV, “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication.” Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016.

No one knew how soon WikiLeaks would publish the emails, but the DNC offense/defense would surely have to be put in place before the convention scheduled to begin on July 25. That meant there were, at most, six weeks to react. But it only took two days. As early as July 24, about 48 hours after the leaks were published, and a day before the convention, the DNC first blamed Russia for hacking their emails and giving them to WikiLeaks to sabotage Clinton. Granted, it was a stretch — and the DNC would have to hire a pliable cybersecurity firm to back up their claim. But they had good reason to believe that CrowdStrike would perform that service. It was the best Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and associates could apparently come up with.

If they hurried, there would be just enough time to prepare a PR campaign before the convention and, best of all, there was little doubt that the media could be counted on to support the effort full bore. [..] It pretty much worked like a charm. The late Senator John McCain and others were quick to call the Russian “hack” an “an act of war.” Evidence? None. For icing on the cake, then-FBI Director James Comey decided not to seize and inspect the DNC computers. Nor, as we now know, did Comey even require a final report from CrowdStrike.

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Not sure having it discussed by well-paid economists is all that useful.

Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism (Deaton)

At the risk of grandiosity, I think that today’s inequalities are signs that democratic capitalism is under threat, not only in the US, where the storm clouds are darkest, but in much of the rich world, where one or more of politics, economics, and health are changing in worrisome ways. I do not believe that democratic capitalism is beyond repair nor that it should be replaced; I am a great believer in what capitalism has done, not only to the oft-cited billions who have been pulled out of poverty in the last half-century, but to all the rest of us who have also escaped poverty and deprivation over the last two and a half centuries. It also provides our jobs and the cornucopia of goods and services that we take for granted.

And Milton Friedman, whose starry-eyed view of capitalism has much to answer for, was not entirely wrong when he extolled the freedom that free markets can bring. Though history has not been kind to his view that equality would be guaranteed by using markets to pursue freedom. But we need to think about repairs for democratic capitalism, either by fixing what is broken, or by making changes to head off the threats; indeed, I believe that those of us who believe in social democratic capitalism should be leading the charge to make repairs.

As it is, capitalism is not delivering to large fractions of the population; in the US, where the inequalities are clearest, real wages for men without a four-year college degree have fallen for half a century, even at a time when per capita GDP has robustly risen. Mortality rates are rising for the less-educated group at ages 25 through 64, and by enough that life expectancy for the entire population has fallen for three years in a row, the first time such a reversal has happened since the end of the first world war and the great influenza epidemic. Less educated Americans are dying by their own hands, from suicide, from alcoholic liver disease, and from overdoses of drugs. Morbidity is rising too, and they are also suffering from an epidemic of chronic pain that, for many, makes a misery of daily life.

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“If you watch Fox News, you will believe Bill Clinton was Epstein’s No. 1 pal and enabler. If you watch MSNBC, this scandal is usually all about Donald Trump. ”

Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? (NYMag)

Perhaps, at long last, a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won’t change is this: the cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to flourish with impunity. For decades, important, influential, “serious” people attended Epstein’s dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire. How do we explain why they looked the other way, or flattered Epstein, even as they must have noticed he was often in the company of a young harem?

Easy: They got something in exchange from him, whether it was a free ride on that airborne “Lolita Express,” some other form of monetary largesse, entrée into the extravagant celebrity soirées he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh. If you watch Fox News, you will believe Bill Clinton was Epstein’s No. 1 pal and enabler. If you watch MSNBC, this scandal is usually all about Donald Trump. In fact, both presidents are guilty (at the very least) of giving Epstein cover and credibility.

There are so many unanswered questions about Epstein, but one that looms over all of them is whether the bipartisan crowd who cleared a path for him will cover its tracks before we can get answers — not just Clinton and Trump and all those who drank at Epstein’s trough but also (among others) institutions like Harvard, Dalton, and the Council on Foreign Relations, or lawyers like the New York prosecutor Cy Vance Jr., whose office tried to downgrade Epstein’s sex-offender status; Kenneth Starr, who tried to pressure Republican Justice Department officials to keep the Epstein case from ever being prosecuted; and Alan Dershowitz, who tried to pressure the Pulitzer Prizes to shut out the Miami Herald for its epic investigative reporting that cracked open the case anew.

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People are going to start talking soon, if only to protect themselves. But why hasn’t Maxwell been arrested yet?

Chelsea Clinton Denies Ties To Jeffrey Epstein’s Alleged ‘Madam’ (MN)

Since Jeffrey Epstein’s latest arrest on sex trafficking charges, a who’s who of the rich and powerful — notably Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton — have rushed to downplay their associations with the financier who is accused of abusing underaged girls. Now Chelsea Clinton has joined her ex-president father on this who’s who list. Her representative issued a statement to Politico over the weekend denying reports that the former First Daughter was close friends with Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and the alleged “madam” who has been accused of helping him procure underaged girls for sex.

Politico’s report on Maxwell, 57, focuses on how the daughter of the late British publishing mogul Robert Maxwell helped Epstein, the Brooklyn-born son of a New York City parks groundskeeper, gain access to social circles that allowed him to become friendly with two U.S. presidents, billionaire business moguls, America’s media elite and at least one member of the British royal family. Maxwell has not been criminally charged, but has settled two lawsuits filed by women who say she participated in Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking, the New York Times reported last week. She has denied any wrongdoing. Politico said Maxwell first grew close to the Clinton family after former president Bill Clinton left office, and eventually became friends with Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation.

According to the news outlet, the two women vacationed together on a yacht in 2009, and Maxwell attended Chelsea’s wedding to Marc Mezvinsky in 2010, Politico reported. A photo of Maxwell at the wedding has circulated online. Maxwell also participated in the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative as recently as 2013, through The TerraMar Project, an oceanic non-profit she founded, according to the Initiative’s website. The contacts between Chelsea Clinton and Maxwell appear to have occurred after Maxwell’s name first emerged in accounts of Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse. “Ghislaine was the contact between Epstein and Clinton,” a person familiar with the relationship told Politico. “She ended up being close to the family because she and Chelsea ended up becoming close.”

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May goes away in July. Bye.

UK’s May Takes Parting Shot at Putin in Desperate Diversion From Failure (SCF)

In what was billed as her last major speech before quitting Downing Street, Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May focused her concerns on Russian President Vladimir Putin, lashing out at his “cynical falsehoods” and admonishing her successor “to stand up to” the Russian leader. Given her ignominious failure as premier over the Brexit fiasco, it seemed a strange choice of topic as she addressed the Chatham House think tank in London this past week. Her speech dealt with the wider theme of rising “populist politics” in the US and Europe. And she sought to portray Putin as an archetypal sinister figure fomenting populist threat to the “liberal” democratic order.

At one point, May claimed: “No one comparing the quality of life or economic success of liberal democracies like the UK, France and Germany to the Russian Federation would conclude that our system is obsolete.” This was supposed to be a riposte to an interview given by Putin to the Financial Times last month ahead of the G20 summit in Japan. During a lengthy interview on a wide range of issues, the Russian president was quoted as saying: “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”

Putin was apparently explaining a fairly straightforward and, to many observers, valid assessment of international politics. Namely, that Western establishments and institutions, including the mainstream media, are experiencing a crisis in authority. That crisis has arisen over several years due to popular perception that the governance of the political class is not delivering on democratic demands of accountability and economic progress. That in turn has led people to seek alternatives from the established parties, a movement in the US and Europe which is denigrated by the establishment as “populist” or rabble rousing.

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Boris is capable of doing very stupid things.

Iran Warns West Against Starting Conflict (R.)

Iran’s foreign minister warned the West on Monday against “starting a conflict,” saying it was not seeking confrontation after its military seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz last week. London described the seizure of the Stena Impero as “state piracy” and on Monday called for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. Speaking in Nicaragua, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said Iran had taken measures against the ship to implement international law, not in retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier in Gibraltar.


“Starting a conflict is easy, ending it would be impossible,” Zarif told reporters after meeting his Nicaraguan counterpart. “It’s important for everybody to realize, it’s important for Boris Johnson to understand, that Iran does not seek confrontation,” he said, referring to the front-runner to become Britain’s new prime minister. “Iran wants to have normal relations based on mutual respect,” he added. Zarif said Iran acted when it observed that the UK ship did not follow regulations. “The UK ship had turned down its signal for more time than it was allowed to (and) was passing through the wrong channel, endangering the safety and security of shipping and navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, for which we are responsible,” Zarif said.

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France imports UK wind energy.

France To Shut Down Nuclear Plants Due To Heatwave (Montel)

French weather service Meteo France issued a 40C heatwave warning on Monday for 21 regions across France, while utility EDF will shut down nearly 3 GW of nuclear capacity this week amid cooling water issues. Golfech 2 (1.3 GW) on the Garonne river would be stopped from Tuesday at 23:00 until 29 July at 23:59, while Golfech 1 (1.3 GW) would be halted from Wednesday at 02:00 until 29 July at 23:59. Low river flows and high water temperatures can force operators to cut output if it breaches environmental limits. Flows on key French rivers had “significantly” weakened over the last two weeks amid persistent hot and dry weather, the ministry of energy told Montel recently.


The St Alban 1 and 2 (2.6 GW) reactors, meanwhile, saw their output cut over the weekend, and though both reactors are now back online, EDF warned last week it could curb output at its nuclear plants located along the river Rhone – which also included Bugey (3.7 GW) – due to declining flows amid the hot weather. The temperature of the Rhone around St Alban and Tricast in was currently 26C, while it was 23.4C at Bugey, estimates from Montel’s Energy Quantified showed, with 28C deemed unsafe. French TSO RTE expected power demand to peak at 59.4 GW on Thursday and 58.6 GW on Friday, with a surge expected due to an increase in need for cooling.

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Ugly. Peat fires are impossible to control.

Huge Swathes Of The Arctic On Fire, Satellite Images Show (Ind.)

Vast swathes of the Arctic are suffering from “unprecedented” wildfires, new satellite images have revealed. North of the Arctic circle, the high temperatures are facilitating enormous wildfires which are wreaking ecological destruction on a colossal scale. It comes after the world’s hottest June on record which has been followed by a devastating heatwave in the US, with Europe forecast for the same treatment later this week. Satellite images reveal fires across Greenland, Siberia and Alaska, with warm dry conditions following ice melt on the enormous Greenland icesheet commencing a month earlier than average.

Pierre Markuse, a satellite photography expert, posted images showing smoke billowing across massive areas of uninhabited and wild land. The pictures show forest fires and burning peat. They also reveal the extent of the damage the fires leave behind. In Alaska wildfires have already burned more than 1.6 million acres of land. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast, said the amount of CO2 emitted by Arctic wildfires between 1 June and 21 July 2019 is around 100 megatonnes and is approaching the entire 2017 fossil fuel CO2 emissions of Belgium.


Satellite image processed by Pierre Markuse showing numerous wildfires burning in Russia just south of the Arctic Circle (Pierre Markuse/Creative Commons)

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Nov 092018
 


Paul Henry Altan Lough, Donegal 1933-34

 

Larry King: CNN Stopped Doing News A Long Time Ago. They Do Trump (ZH)
Democrats Want Healthcare Protected – And Trump Impeached (R.)
The Fed Stands Pat on Thursday, What’s Next? (Street)
US Sues UBS, Alleges Crisis-Era Mortgage Securities Fraud (R.)
Frail Mikhail Gorbachev Warns Against Return To The Cold War (R.)
Corbyn Advisor Economist Mariana Mazzucato Has UK Residency Bid Rejected (G.)
As Renewables Drive Up Energy Prices US, Asia & Europe Opt For Nuclear (F.)
US Court Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline (AFP) <
World’s First AI News Anchor Unveiled In China (G.)
UN Envoy Meets UK Food Bank Users (G.)
‘Remarkable’ Decline In Global Fertility Rates (BBC)
Stopping Antimicrobial Resistance Would Cost Just $2 Per Person A Year (OECD)

 

 

Not that I need vindication, but it’s good to see that Larry King says the same I’ve been saying: CNN – like NYT, Wapo etc.- is in it for the money only, not for the news. Think of that as the recount stories start spreading.

Larry King: CNN Stopped Doing News A Long Time Ago. They Do Trump (ZH)

HOST RICK SANCHEZ: You know it’s interesting. As I listen to you I’m thinking that both you and I are old enough to remember that there was a lot of antagonism during the 1960s. There was a lot of antagonism during Watergate. There was certainly antagonism during the Clinton years. But there is something, maybe it’s an undercurrent, that is different now. Can you put your finger on it? What is it?

KING: Two things, Rick — the internet and cable news. Could you imagine cable news in Watergate? And they don’t do news anymore. In fact, RT is one of the few channels doing news. RT does news. CNN stopped doing news a long time ago. They do Trump. Fox is Trump TV and MSNBC is anti-Trump all the time. You don’t see a story — there was vicious winds and storms in the Northeast the other day – not covered on any of the three cable networks, not covered. Not covered! So when CNN started covering Trump — they were the first — they covered every speech he made and then they made Trump the story.

So, Trump is the story in America. I would bet that ninety-eight percent of all Americans mention his name at least once a day. And when it’s come to that, when you focus on one man, I know Donald 40 years — I know the good side of Donald and I know the bad side of Donald — I think he would like to be a dictator. I think he would love to be able to just run things. So, he causes a lot of this. Then his fight with the media and fake news. I’ve been in the media a long time, like you — longer than you, Rick. And at all my years at CNN, in my years at Mutual Radio, I have never seen a conversation where a producer said to a host “pitch the story this way. Angle it that way. Don’t tell the truth.” Never saw it. Never saw it.

SANCHEZ: You know it’s funny, just quick because you know these producers are telling me you guys have to start wrapping this up … you said something interesting about how CNN played along with Trump. I think they only played along or at least gave him that much airtime in many ways because they didn’t think he was going to win, correct?

KING: I guess it’s to their regret. But, they covered him as a character. They carried every speech he made. They carried him more than Fox News, at the beginning. And so they built the whole thing up and the Republicans had a lot of candidates and they all had weaknesses. When I saw Senator Cruz hug Donald Trump the other day I said, “this is what America has become.” He said that Cruz’s father helped kill Kennedy!

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Healthcare good. Impeachment painfully dumb. These people should go looking for trustworthy news stories, not blindly parrot MSM.

Democrats Want Healthcare Protected – And Trump Impeached (R.)

Democrats have a clear message for party leaders who will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll: Protect their healthcare and impeach President Donald Trump. The poll released on Thursday found that 43 percent of people who identified as Democrats want impeachment to be a top priority for Congress. That goal was second in priority only to healthcare, which played a major role in Democratic campaigns’ closing arguments before Tuesday’s elections.

They may be disappointed: Party leaders on Wednesday vowed to use their newly won majority to impose a new level of scrutiny on the Trump White House, but said impeachment would require evidence of action to subvert the Constitution that was so overwhelming that it would trouble even Trump’s supporters. Democratic Party leaders had practical reasons for caution. While they were poised to gain at least 30 House seats, more than the 23 they needed for a majority, Republicans strengthened their control of the U.S. Senate, which has the power to determine guilt or innocence in an impeachment proceeding. [..] The American public at large was far less supportive of impeachment proceedings, with just 24 percent of overall respondents listing it among their top three goals for the new Congress.

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A raise next month is what’s next.

The Fed Stands Pat on Thursday, What’s Next? (Street)

In an unsurprising move, Fed chair Jerome Powell kept rates flat on Thursday. “The committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term,” the Fed said following its regularly scheduled two-day meeting to discuss interest rates. “Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.” TheStreet Founder and Action Alerts portfolio manager Jim has been adamant that the pause was necessary given a “collapse in oil” and a “collapse in housing.” He noted that Powell’s pause, and potentially an extended pause, could change that.

[..] Powell has paused, but the market seems to be slow off the starting line so far as major indices finished Thursday down slightly. So what’s next? “People have to remember that this November meeting is the last lame duck meeting,” Quill Intelligence CEO and former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas advisor Danielle DiMartino Booth told TheStreet. “imagine all of the drama with Trump castigating Powell.” She added that a raise is very likely in December and speculated that rates could possibly be raised again in January, which would surprise the markets. “I don’t think he has any qualms about having the market make monetary policy for him,” Dimartino Booth said. “He’s not afraid of the stock market.”

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Why did that take 10 years? And what are the odds an actual person will be held accountable?

US Sues UBS, Alleges Crisis-Era Mortgage Securities Fraud (R.)

The U.S. government on Thursday filed a civil fraud lawsuit accusing UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, of defrauding investors in its sale of residential mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008-09 global financial crisis. UBS was accused of misleading investors about the quality of more than $41 billion of subprime and other risky mortgage loans backing 40 securities offerings in 2006 and 2007, the Department of Justice said in a complaint filed with the federal court in Brooklyn. The lawsuit came after UBS rejected a government proposal that it pay nearly $2 billion to settle, according to a person familiar with the talks who was not authorized to speak publicly about them.

While UBS was not a big originator of U.S. residential home loans, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn said investors suffered “catastrophic losses” from the bank’s failure to fully disclose the risks of mortgage securities it helped sell. [..] U.S. officials faulted UBS for having a business culture that placed a higher priority on profits than full disclosure to investors, who were deprived of crucial information about the quality of the loans underlying the securities they bought. Thursday’s lawsuit quoted a UBS trader who in a 2006 instant message said “our crack due diligence effort is a joke,” and a UBS mortgage employee who the same year complained to his bosses about the bank’s ethics, including that “Lying is ok.”

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His last warning?

Frail Mikhail Gorbachev Warns Against Return To The Cold War (R.)

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, warned on Thursday against rising tensions between Russia and the United States and said there should be no return to the Cold War. The frail 87-year-old was physically helped by aides to a cinema hall to watch the premiere in Russia of a new documentary about his life, his Soviet reforms in the 1980s and his arms control drive that helped end the Cold War. His legacy has come under a pall as ties between Moscow and Washington have fallen to post-Cold War lows, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and rows over sanctions, election meddling and the poisoning of a spy in England.

He spoke briefly to a cinema hall in Moscow after “Meeting Gorbachev”, a new documentary directed by filmmakers Werner Herzog and Andre Singer, and was asked if the world would hold back from a new Cold War. “We must hold back,” he said. “And not just from the Cold War. We have to continue the course we mapped. We have to ban war once and for all. Most important is to get rid of nuclear weapons.” Reviled by many Russians as the man whose reforms ultimately led to the Soviet breakup, Gorbachev is lauded in the West as the man who helped end the Cold War. Gorbachev, whose visibly ailing health was in stark contrast to the vigorous reformist figure he cut in the 1980s, said the world was moving dangerously closer to a new arms race.

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This happened last year. Even university professors with 4 British kids are not safe.

Corbyn Advisor Economist Mariana Mazzucato Has UK Residency Bid Rejected (G.)

The London-based international economist Mariana Mazzucato has said her application for permanent residency in the UK was turned down, prompting renewed anger about the government’s immigration policy. Mazzucato, the founding director of University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and the author of several influential books on the economy, was born in Italy but has lived in the UK for 20 years. She applied for permanent residency in 2017, a few months after the UK voted to leave the EU. On Thursday she tweeted that her application had been refused and her Italian passport kept by the Home Office for six months. Immigration officials blamed a credit card problem with her application fee, she said, adding that there was no problem with her card.

A spokesman for University College London said Prof Mazzucato did not want to elaborate on her Twitter update. Later, after her tweet prompted widespread outrage, it clarified that she was referring to an incident in 2017. Mazzucato joined Jeremy Corbyn’s Economic Advisory Committee in 2015 and 2016 alongside other big name economists, including Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty. She is a member of the Scottish government’s Council of Economic Advisers. Her attempt to secure permanent residency ran into problems over a mixup about single digit on her 85-page application. “My ‘big’ error was making 4 look like 9 in my credit card number,” she tweeted in May 2017. At the time she said her application had to be resubmitted.

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No, we are not a smart species.

As Renewables Drive Up Energy Prices US, Asia & Europe Opt For Nuclear (F.)

Voters in the U.S., Asia, and Europe are increasingly opting for nuclear power in response to rising electricity prices from the deployment of renewables like solar panels and wind turbines. By a more than two-to-one margin (70% to 30%), voters in Arizona on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative (proposition 127) that would have resulted in the closure of that state’s nuclear power plant and in the massive deployment of solar and wind. In Taiwan, momentum is building for a repeal of that nation’s nuclear energy phase-out. Grassroots pro-nuclear advocacy inspired a former president to help activists gather over 300,000 signatures so voters could vote directly on the issue on November 24.

And after a coalition of grassroots groups rallied in Munich, Germany last month to protest the closure of nuclear plants, a wave of mostly positive media coverage spread across Europe, inspiring a majority of Netherlands voters, and the nation’s ruling political party, to declare support for building new nuclear reactors. Now, in the wake of rising public support for nuclear energy, a longstanding foe of nuclear power, the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, has reversed its blanket opposition to the technology and declared that existing U.S. nuclear plants must stay open to protect the climate.

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The never ending battle continues. Just let interest rates bankrupt shale, and we’re good.

US Court Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline (AFP)

A federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project. The ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups. Trump granted a permit for the $8 billion conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office last year. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure. In doing so the administration overturned a ruling by then president Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds, in particular the US contribution to climate change.

The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the State Department. The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around last year and approved it, the judge argued. “An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate,” Morris wrote. He added: “The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.” The judge also argued that the State Department failed to properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil spills.

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Who’ll know the difference?

World’s First AI News Anchor Unveiled In China (G.)

China’s state news agency Xinhua this week introduced the newest members of its newsroom: AI anchors who will report “tirelessly” all day every day, from anywhere in the country. Chinese viewers were greeted with a digital version of a regular Xinhua news anchor named Qiu Hao. The anchor, wearing a red tie and pin-striped suit, nods his head in emphasis, blinking and raising his eyebrows slightly. “Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news,” he says.

Xinhua also presented an English-speaking AI, based on another presenter, who adds: “The development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies … I look forward to bringing you brand new news experiences.” Developed by Xinhua and the Chinese search engine, Sogou, the anchors were developed through machine learning to simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real-life broadcasters, to present a “a lifelike image instead of a cold robot,” according to Xinhua.

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Britian’s reality.

UN Envoy Meets UK Food Bank Users (G.)

At Britain’s busiest food bank in Newcastle’s west end people loaded carrier bags with desperately needed groceries as unemployed Michael Hunter, 20, took his chance to spell out to one of the world’s leading experts in extreme poverty and human rights just how tight money can get in the UK today. Previous destinations for Philip Alston, the United Nations rapporteur on the issue, have included Ghana, Saudi Arabia, China and Mauritania. But now his lens is trained on Britain, the fifth richest country in the world, and he listened as Hunter explained an absurdity of the government’s much-criticised universal credit welfare programme.

Users have to go online to keep their financial lifeline open, but computers need electricity – and with universal credit leaving a £465 monthly budget to stretch across the three people in Michael’s family (about £5 each a day), they can barely afford it with the meter ticking. “I have to be quick doing my universal credit because I am that scared of losing the electric,” he said. Alston mentally logged the situation, ahead of a report ruling on whether Britain is meeting its international obligations not to increase inequality. But it was not just the computer that was too expensive to power. “I am hungry sometimes,” Michael said. “I’m scared to eat sometimes in case we run out of food.”

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Maybe mankind CAN solve some of its problems?!

‘Remarkable’ Decline In Global Fertility Rates (BBC)

There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, say researchers. Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size. The researchers said the findings were a “huge surprise”. And there would be profound consequences for societies with “more grandparents than grandchildren”. The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year. But that masks huge variation between nations. The fertility rate in Niger, west Africa, is 7.1, but in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus women are having one child, on average.

Whenever a country’s average fertility rate drops below approximately 2.1 then populations will eventually start to shrink (this “baby bust” figure is significantly higher in countries which have high rate of deaths in childhood). At the start of the study, in 1950, there were zero nations in this position. Prof Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told the BBC: “We’ve reached this watershed where half of countries have fertility rates below the replacement level, so if nothing happens the populations will decline in those countries. “It’s a remarkable transition. “It’s a surprise even to people like myself, the idea that it’s half the countries in the world will be a huge surprise to people.”

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Apparently for the OECD, these are equal issues: ..handwashing and more prudent prescription of antibiotics. Though they know full well that simply putting a ban on antibiotics in agriculture would solve the issue in no time.

Stopping Antimicrobial Resistance Would Cost Just $2 Per Person A Year (OECD)

Superbug infections could cost the lives of around 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia over the next 30 years unless more is done to stem antibiotic resistance. Yet, three out of four deaths could be averted by spending just USD 2 per person a year on measures as simple as handwashing and more prudent prescription of antibiotics, according to a new OECD report. Stemming the Superbug Tide: Just A Few Dollars More says that dealing with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) complications could cost up to USD 3.5 billion a year on average across the 33 countries included in the analysis, unless countries step up their fight against superbugs.

Southern Europe risks being particularly affected. Italy, Greece and Portugal are forecast to top the list of OECD countries with the highest mortality rates from AMR while the United States, Italy and France would have the highest absolute death rates, with almost 30,000 AMR deaths a year forecast in the US alone by 2050. A short-term investment to stem the superbug tide would save lives and money in the long run, says the OECD. A five-pronged assault on antimicrobial resistance — by promoting better hygiene, ending the over-prescription of antibiotics, rapid testing for patients to determine whether they have viral or bacterial infections, delays in prescribing antibiotics and mass media campaigns — could counter one of the biggest threats to modern medicine.

Investment in a comprehensive public health package encompassing some of these measures in OECD countries could pay for themselves within just one year and end up by saving USD 4.8 billion per year, says the OECD. While resistance proportions for eight high-priority antibiotic-bacterium combinations increased from 14% in 2005 to 17% in 2015 across OECD countries, there were pronounced differences between countries. The average resistance proportions in Turkey, Korea and Greece (about 35%) were seven times higher than in Iceland, Netherlands and Norway, the countries with the lowest proportions (about 5%).

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


Francisco Goya Witches’ Sabbath 1797-98

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They’re everywhere that debt is cheap.

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

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

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

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

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What’s the use without an Irish border deal?

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

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

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

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Yeah, let’s hand MbS some nukes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Even the US is ahead of Europe on this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 102018
 
 May 10, 2018  Posted by at 6:38 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


James McNeill Whistler Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket 1875

 

 

Dr. D again. And wait, that deal was never even -legally- signed?

 

 

Dr. D: I know the U.S. hasn’t followed the law in 100 years, but let’s review the Iran Deal. A “Deal” with a foreign nation is supposed to be, for 200 years has been, and legally must be, a “Treaty”. Treaties under U.S. law are unique, as they are NOT to be brokered by the Congress and are a point of contention if Congressmen get involved, as you can imagine special deals and/or information leaks could damage the negotiating position.

This is one of the few things Congress doesn’t do. However, the deal, brokered by the President, is presented to the Senate and only the Senate, which is supposed to be the older, more stable house, and once upon a time when Americans were adults and the Senate was chosen by the State governments, this was true. Even with a Democratic election of Senators representing the people and not the States, (which is what the House is supposed to be) it’s the best we have.

So when Obama arranged the Iran “Deal”, he knew and did so against 220 years of history exclusively BECAUSE he knew the Senate would never approve an honest-to-God, legal “Treaty.” Worse, it was part of the reason the “Deal” was effectively secret, not overseen by anyone, and even John Kerry when asked what was in it said, “I don’t know.” You don’t know??? You’re the Secretary of State presumably brokering the deal. Who’s above you in the food chain that you’re not allowed to know? That was an interesting disclosure that the media – of course – never followed up on.

He also said, as the deal was never signed, it was “not legally binding.” Okay, yes, if the Senate does not approve it, making it therefore a “Treaty”, then it’s just a gentleman’s handshake verbal agreement and not binding. So…Iran therefore did NOT agree to stop weapons development, and certainly as proven did not agree to continue to use the U.S. petrodollar.

On the other hand, Obama DID send pallets of cash on 3 jumbo jets, and the U.S. prisoners were not released until those planes touched down. So Iran can legally reverse their weapons development, while you’re not going to get that cash back. That sounds like a terrible, terrible deal, a no-deal deal no one read and no one signed. And they’re upset this is cancelled? Why? What’s in it? Can we finally know now? Nope.

My personal theory is that since General Wesley Clark’s reveal that they planned 7 MENA wars, and named them in order back in 2001 and were to culminate in attacking Iran by 2013, they were years behind schedule on this world-domination murder-death play. In order to keep Iran in a holding pattern, still lacking viable nuclear weapons, they had to pay them billions and billions. Iran for their part knew they would win Syria anyway, so they were happy to play along and get a few billion dollars. And a lot of those billions Obama “gave” to Iran were Iran’s money anyway.

What? Yes, the U.S. confiscated and “froze” (actually stole and used) Iran’s western assets in 1979, and by law Iran was almost certainly owed this money plus interest. Then if I’m any judge of world politics, the negotiating parties — U.S., France, Germany, Iran, took these pallets of unmarked bills and used them for slush fund payouts among the various power factions, and about $50 ended up with the people.

This proved to be true, as Iran immediately ignored the U.S., moved into Syria, dumped the dollar, traded in Euros, and arguably continued weapons (missile) development. …But like I said, the important part got through: free cash payoffs, untraceable, back to the “right” people: the “Deep States” of the U.S., Iran, France, etc. You can see this in Macron and Merkel’s top priority and panic to force this deal to continue. And why? Isn’t that money gone? A one-time thing? Hmmm.

Back to the present, the nation is all agog about “ending” the Iran deal. You mean the deal we didn’t have? The one that was neither signed nor (generally) followed? How can Trump end it? He can end it because it was never a deal, it was a side-agreement by a specific President, THAT’S WHY WE HAVE TREATIES. So that they are in law, hard to negate, and much more stable. In fact, the Senate told Iran this outright: “if you sign this, you know that as soon as Obama is out of office, we’ll just reverse it.”

That wasn’t exactly a threat, it was simply a fact. If you don’t enlist the Senate and 220 year-old legal processes, you effectively have nothing but a wink and a smile. Then, yes, it is easy to undo as the wind blows. Now why the Senate and Congress didn’t stop this wink, withhold funds, or impeach the President for subverting law and Congressional authority is another matter: the only thing here is that there was no legal agreement, widely reported by all parties in the public media, so what is Trump really cancelling? Something that never existed except in the news?

We have law for a reason and this is what happens when you don’t follow it, but after not following it for 100 or more years, everyone forgets. This ain’t rocket science, folks. You want an Iran deal? Pass one.