Dec 272022
 


L.S. Lowry The mill, Pendlebury 1943

 

The Twitter Files: How Twitter Rigged The Covid Debate (Zweig)
How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate (ZH)
You Need to Start Paying Attention to the ‘Twitter Files’ (PJM)
It’s Time to Reform the Bureau (Turley)
What Will the FBI *Not* Do? (Hanson)
Pandemic Response Gets A Permanent New Home At The White House (STAT)
Ukraine Calls For UN-Brokered ‘Peace Summit’ In February (RT)
Report: The CIA Is Directing Sabotage Attacks Inside Russia (Antiwar)
Medvedev Gives Timeline For Reconciliation With The West (RT)
What Can Happen In 2023 (Dmitry Medvedev)
ECB Governing Council Says Growth Of Key Rate In 2023 Possible (Az.)
Russia Ready To Resume Gas Supplies To EU – Official (RT)
Germany Becoming ‘Dysfunctional’ State – MP (RT)
Return Europe To A Union Of Homelands (RMX)
Republican Senators Turn On Leader Mitch McConnell Over $1.7t Omnibus (DM)
What It’s Really About (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Blood-brain barrier

 

 

 

 

Tom Renz

 

 

 

 

Mozart

 

 

 

 

More Twitter files, this time on Covid response.

Elon Musk @elonmusk: “Much more to The Twitter Files: Covid Editon than this introductory thread. Follow-up piece to come next week, featuring leading doctors & researchers from Harvard, Stanford & other institutions. (Many of whom were, of course, actively suppressed on Twitter).”

Author David Zweig also has a longer article here . I’ll start off with his Twitter thread.

The Twitter Files: How Twitter Rigged The Covid Debate (Zweig)

– By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy
– By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed
– By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s *own data*
2. So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires.
3. What we have yet to cover is Covid. This reporting, for The Free Press, @thefp, is one piece of that important story.
4. The United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19.
5. Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @thefp showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.
6. At the onset of the pandemic, according to meeting notes, the Trump admin was especially concerned about panic buying. They came looking for “help from the tech companies to combat misinformation” about “runs on grocery stores.” But . . . there were runs on grocery stores.
7. It wasn’t just Twitter. The meetings with the Trump White House were also attended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.
8. When the Biden admin took over, one of their first meeting requests with Twitter executives was on Covid. The focus was on “anti-vaxxer accounts.” Especially Alex Berenson.
9. In the summer of 2021, president Biden said social media companies were “killing people” for allowing vaccine misinformation. Berenson was suspended hours after Biden’s comments, and kicked off the platform the following month.
10. Berenson sued (and then settled with) Twitter. In the legal process Twitter was compelled to release certain internal communications, which showed direct White House pressure on the company to take action on Berenson.

Read more …

“We are asking them to step up,” Murthy said. “We can’t wait longer for them to take aggressive action.”

How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate (ZH)

Today’s edition, dropped by journalist David Zweig, focuses on ‘how Twitter rigged the Covid debate’ by taking direction from both the Trump and Biden administrations (while at the same time trying to censor the former president). What’s somewhat notable is how aggressive government (and ex-government) officials were in trying to stifle free speech, while Twitter’s non-government-linked employees would often push back (and then totally fold) – a theme we’ve observed in previous drops. In one such instance, former head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety team Yoel Roth tells former FBI lawyer and then-Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker to calm his tits over a Trump tweet. Of course, in the end the government typically got its way, as you will read below.

Zweig, who was granted access to internal files while on assignment for The Free Press, notes that “both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.” What’s more, the censorship effort extended to Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. In July 2021, then-U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a 22-page advisory concerning what the World Health Organization referred to as an “infodemic,” and called on social media platforms to do more to shut down “misformation.” “We are asking them to step up,” Murthy said. “We can’t wait longer for them to take aggressive action.”

That’s the message the White House had already taken directly to Twitter executives in private channels. One of the Biden administration’s first meeting requests was about Covid, with a focus on “anti-vaxxer accounts,” according to a meeting summary by Lauren Culbertson, Twitter’s Head of U.S. Public Policy. They were especially concerned about Alex Berenson, a journalist skeptical of lockdowns and mRNA vaccines, who had hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform: By the summer of 2021, the day after Murthy’s memo, Biden announced publicly that social media companies were “killing people” by allowing misinformation about vaccines. Just hours later, Twitter locked Berenson out of his account, and then permanently suspended him the next month.

Berenson sued Twitter. He ultimately settled with the company, and is now back on the platform. As part of the lawsuit, Twitter was compelled to provide certain internal communications. They revealed that the White House had directly met with Twitter employees and pressured them to take action on Berenson. The summary of meetings by Culbertson, emailed to colleagues in December 2022, adds new evidence of the White House’s pressure campaign, and illustrates how it tried to directly influence what content was allowed on Twitter. Culbertson wrote that the Biden team was “very angry” that Twitter had not been more aggressive in deplatforming multiple accounts. They wanted Twitter to do more.

Read more …

Yeah, we could use some summaries. Authors so far: Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Michael Shellenberger, Lee Fang, David Zweig, Leighton Woodhouse, Abigail Shrier. And perhaps others?! I hadn’t even noticed the last two.

You Need to Start Paying Attention to the ‘Twitter Files’ (PJM)

The “Twitter Files” have now officially had more sequels than Planet of the Apes and can be difficult to absorb. Thus, I don’t think they’re getting the attention they deserve. For those of you not following the “Twitter Files” drops, let me catch you up on what I believe are some of the most important parts:
• The FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million to censor conservatives.
• The FBI pressured Twitter to give them information that would legally require warrants, though they did not have warrants.
• Leading up to the 2020 election, the FBI would eventually hold weekly meetings with Twitter and tell them whose tweets to squelch and which accounts they wanted to be suspended. Almost all were those of conservatives.
• The FBI knew the Hunter Biden laptop story was real, they knew it was coming out — weeks before the 2020 election — and they told Big Tech to expect a “Russian disinformation” drop and squelch the story. That means the FBI corrupted the election to help Joe “totally showered with his daughter, Ashley” Biden.
• There are so many former FBI employees at Twitter that they have their own Slack channel.


In response to the “Twitter Files” detailing how the FBI-Twitter circle jerk was real, the bureau called the allegations “conspiracy theories” but never actually denied its relationship with Twitter. Elon Musk provided the world with an early Christmas present on Saturday with Twitter Files Pt. IX. I’ll sum it up so you can avoid the Twitter mess and get to the relevant facts:
• The FBI was a portal, specifically the San Francisco office, for other government agencies to get to Twitter to surveil and censor Americans.
• Hiding under the title of Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), actors from local police departments to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the CIA were watching and censoring Americans — not foreigners.
• Twitter wasn’t the only Big Tech firm hip-deep in spooks. The feds had their fingers in Verizon, Reddit, Facebook, Microsoft, and, for some reason, Pinterest.
• As the 2020 election neared, the FBI-FITF assailed Twitter with hundreds of requests to censor Twitter accounts and tweets. There were so many requests that Twitter execs had to come up with a system to prioritize them.
• FBI employees were tasked with doing word searches on Twitter, looking for violations of Twitter policies — instead of chasing actual criminals.
• The FBI had roughly 80 agents working with Big Tech companies. It is unclear how many members of the DOD, CIA, etc. were involved

Read more …

“Criticizing the FBI is now ‘disinformation’”

It’s Time to Reform the Bureau (Turley)

The “Twitter Files” released by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, show as many as 80 agents targeting social-media posters for censorship on the site. This included alleged briefings that Twitter officials said was the reason they spiked the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election. The FBI sent 150 messages on back channels to just one Twitter official to flag accounts. One Twitter executive expressed unease over the FBI’s pressure, declaring: “They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff).” We also have learned that Twitter hired a number of retired FBI agents, including former FBI general counsel James Baker, who was a critical and controversial figure in past bureau scandals over political bias.

It is not clear what is more chilling — the menacing role played by the FBI in Twitter’s censorship program, or its mendacious response to the disclosure of that role. The FBI has issued a series of “nothing-to-see-here” statements regarding the Twitter Files. In its latest statement, the FBI insists it did not command Twitter to take any specific action when flagging accounts to be censored. Of course, it didn’t have to threaten the company — because we now have an effective state media by consent rather than coercion. Moreover, an FBI warning tends to concentrate the minds of most people without the need for a specific threat. Finally, the files show that the FBI paid Twitter millions as part of this censorship system — a windfall favorably reported to Baker before he was fired from Twitter by Musk.

Criticizing the FBI is now ‘disinformation’. Responding to the disclosures and criticism, an FBI spokesperson declared: “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” Arguably, “working every day to protect the American public” need not include censoring the public to protect it from errant or misleading ideas. However, it is the attack on its critics that is most striking. While the FBI denounced critics of an earlier era as communists and “fellow travelers,” it now uses the same attack narrative to label its critics as “conspiracy theorists.”

After Watergate, there was bipartisan support for reforming the FBI and intelligence agencies. Today, that cacophony of voices has been replaced by crickets, as much of the media imposes another effective blackout on coverage of the Twitter Files. This media silence suggests that the FBI found the “sweet spot” on censorship, supporting the views of the political and media establishment. As for the rest of us, the FBI now declares us to be part of a disinformation danger which it is committed to stamping out — “conspiracy theorists” misleading the public simply by criticizing the bureau. Clearly, this is the time for a new Church Committee — and time to reform the FBI.

Read more …

“Consider the last four directors, the public faces of the FBI for the last 22 years.”

What Will the FBI *Not* Do? (Hanson)

The FBI is now, tragically, in freefall. The public is at the point, first, of asking what improper or illegal behavior will the bureau not pursue, and what, if anything, must be done to reform or save a once great but now discredited agency. Consider the last four directors, the public faces of the FBI for the last 22 years. Ex-director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that he simply would not or could not talk about the fraudulent Steele dossier. He claimed that it was not the catalyst for his special counsel investigation of Donald Trump’s alleged ties with the Russians when, of course, it was. Mueller also testified that he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, although Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm subsidized the dossier through various cutouts that led back to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. And the skullduggery in the FBI-subsidized dossier helped force the appointment of Mueller himself.

While under congressional oath, Mueller’s successor James Comey on some 245 occasions claimed that he “could not remember,” “could not recall,” or “did not know” when asked simple questions fundamental to his own involvement with the Russian collusion hoax. Comey, remember, memorialized a confidential conversation with President Trump on an FBI device and then used a third party to leak it to the New York Times. In his own words, the purpose was to force a special counsel appointment. The gambit worked, and his friend and predecessor Robert Mueller got the job. Twenty months and $40 million later, Mueller’s investigation tore the country apart but could find no evidence that Trump, as Steele alleged, colluded with the Russians to throw the 2016 election.

Comey also seems to have reassured the president that he was not the target of an ongoing FBI investigation, when in fact, Trump was. Comey was never indicted for either misleading or lying to a congressional committee or leaking a document variously considered either confidential or classified. While under oath, his interim successor, Andrew McCabe, on a number of occasions flat-out lied to federal investigators. Or as the office of the inspector general put it: “As detailed in this report, the OIG found that then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure to the WSJ, and that this conduct violated FBI Offense Codes 2.5 and 2.6. The OIG also concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.”

McCabe purportedly believed Trump was working with the Russians as a veritable spy—a false accusation based entirely on the FBI’s paid, incoherent prevaricator Christopher Steele. And so, McCabe discussed with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein methods to have the president’s conversations wiretapped via a Rosenstein-worn stealthy recording device, presumably without a warrant. Note the FBI ruined the lives of General Michael Flynn and Carter Page with false allegations of criminal conduct or untruthful testimonies. Under current director Christopher Wray, the FBI has surveilled parents at school boards meetings—on the prompt of the National School Boards Association, whose president wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland alleging that bothersome parents upset over critical race indoctrination groups were supposedly violence-prone and veritable terrorists. Under Wray, the FBI staged the psychodramatic Mar-a-Lago raid on an ex-president’s home. The FBI likely leaked the post facto myths that the seized documents contained “nuclear codes” or “nuclear secrets.”

Read more …

What could go wrong?

Pandemic Response Gets A Permanent New Home At The White House (STAT)

The era of the rotating cast of public health czars at the White House may finally be over. Presidents for decades have brought fresh faces to the White House to coordinate federal responses to threats such as Covid-19, mpox, Ebola, AIDS, and the bird flu. Now, Congress aims to give pandemic response a permanent home at the White House.Next year’s government funding package includes a brand-new White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy that would have a director appointed by the president and up to 25 staff members. “They’re not simply going to retire the role that [White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha] plays when the emergency declaration ends,” said J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the director of its Global Health Policy Center.


“You can’t just keep piling on coordinators, disease by disease.” The new director’s main responsibilities would be to advise the president on preparing for pandemics and other biological threats, to coordinate response activities across the federal government — including research into new countermeasures and distribution of medical supplies — and to evaluate the government’s readiness. The director would also be a member of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council. “The functions outlined are exactly what is needed at the White House, and what I’ve been calling for for years, to avoid having any single agency take the lead on something that overlaps most departments in the U.S. government,” said Ken Bernard, who worked in biodefense policy in both the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses.

Read more …

Start off with impossible conditions. And then say: hey, we tried!

Ukraine Calls For UN-Brokered ‘Peace Summit’ In February (RT)

Kiev has proposed holding a so-called “peace summit” by the end of February to mark the one-year anniversary since Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine. The initiative was announced by that country’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who also set out conditions for inviting Moscow to the event. In an interview with AP published on Monday, Kuleba stated that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win its ongoing military conflict with Russia in 2023, but admitted that diplomacy always plays an important role. “Every war ends in a diplomatic way,” Kuleba said, adding that “every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”

The minister noted that the UN was “the best venue for holding this summit, because it is not about making a favor to a certain country” and suggested that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres could act as mediator for the event. “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation,” Kuleba said about Guterres. Asked about the matter of inviting Russia to this “peace summit,” Kuleba insisted Moscow must first face an “international court” and be prosecuted for supposed war crimes. He also dismissed Putin’s recent calls for negotiations, stating that everything Russia does on the battlefield “proves” that Moscow does not want to talk.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s addressed G20 leaders in Indonesia and laid out a ten-point “peace formula,” which includes the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, an “all for all” prisoner swap, and a tribunal for those Kiev accuses of aggression. Russia, meanwhile, has insisted that Kiev must “recognize the reality on the ground” as a prerequisite for any peace negotiations, including the new status of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia.

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Sleeper cells.

Report: The CIA Is Directing Sabotage Attacks Inside Russia (Antiwar)

The CIA has been using a European NATO country’s intelligence services to conduct sabotage attacks inside Russia since the February invasion of Ukraine, investigative journalist Jack Murphy reported on Saturday, citing unnamed former US intelligence and military officials. The report said that no US personnel are on the ground in Russia but that the operations are being directed by the CIA. The US is using an ally’s intelligence services to add an extra layer of plausible deniability, and a former US special operations official told Murphy that layer was a major factor in President Biden signing off on the attacks. Murphy said he didn’t name the NATO country whose intelligence services were being used in the report because “doing so might endanger the operational security of cells that are still operational inside of Russia.”

The report appeared on Murphy’s personal website, and in a note at the end of the piece, he explained why it wasn’t published by a media outlet. “While working with editors at mainstream publications I was asked to do things that were illegal and unethical in one instance, and in another instance I felt that a senior CIA official was able to edit my article by making off the record statements, before he leaked a story to The New York Times to undermine this piece,” he wrote. According to the report, the covert campaign inside Russia has been years in the making. Two former military officials said that the NATO country’s spy services had hidden a cache of explosives and equipment in Russia more than a decade ago, and some of the gear has been used recently.

A former US special operations official and US person briefed on the campaign said that the CIA didn’t get involved with the NATO country’s operations inside Russia until 2014. The first time sleeper cells entered Russia that were directed by both the CIA and the NATO ally’s spy service was in 2016, and more entered the country in the following years. The NATO ally provided the undercover operatives with stories to explain their presence in Russia and documents to back them up. The report said that around the time Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the NATO ally’s spy service activated its sleeper cells inside Russia using covert communication, and they were ready for orders on what targets to strike.

Read more …

Medvedev becomes more visible. He’s still close to Putin, or so it seems. If anything happens to Putin, he appears to be the go-to guy.

Medvedev Gives Timeline For Reconciliation With The West (RT)

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has accused Western powers of lying, causing a rift that will remain for decades to come, and convincing Moscow that there is no sense in trying to reach an agreement with them. Medevedev, who serves as deputy chair of the national Security Council, wrote in a keynote article on Sunday that the year 2022 has shattered illusions about the West, proving that its promises and principles cannot taken at face value. “Alas, there is nobody in the West we could deal with about anything for any reason,” he wrote. Medvedev went on to say that nations that claim global leadership deceived Russia when they claimed NATO expansion in Europe posed no threat to it.

They again lied when they backed a peace roadmap for Ukraine, which in reality was meant to give Kiev time to prepare for an eventual armed conflict with Russia, he added. The conflict in Ukraine is a war against Russia by a proxy, which was long in the making, Medvedev claimed. The behavior of Washington and others this year “is the last warning to all nations: there can be no business with the Anglo-Saxon world [because] it is a thief, a swindler, a card-sharp that could do anything.” For Russia, there will be no restoration of normal relations with the West for years or even decades to come, Medvedev predicted. “From now on we will do without them until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power there. We will be careful and alert. We will develop relations with the rest of the world,” he wrote.

However, Medvedev argued that the loss of Western leadership could be a net positive, considering what he called the moral bankruptcy of the US-led neo-colonial order. Elites that caused the financial meltdown of 2008 and the ongoing global crisis are unable to claim global leadership, he wrote. “The West is incapable of offering to the world any new ideas, which would take humanity forward, solve global problems, or provide collective security,” the former president insisted. Medvedev expects that several regional blocs will emerge in the near future, each with its own values and rules, and that Russia will have its place in the new order.

Read more …

A very strange Twitter thread from Medvedev. Elon Musk reacted: “Those are definitely the most absurd predictions I’ve ever heard, while also showing astonishing lack of awareness of the progress of artificial intelligence and sustainable energy..”

What Can Happen In 2023 (Dmitry Medvedev)

On the New Year’s Eve, everybody’s into making predictions Many come up with futuristic hypotheses, as if competing to single out the wildest, and even the most absurd ones. Here’s our humble contribution.


1. Oil price will rise to $150 a barrel, and gas price will top $5.000 per 1.000 cubic meters
2. The UK will rejoin the EU
3. The EU will collapse after the UK’s return; Euro will drop out of use as the former EU currency
4. Poland and Hungary will occupy western regions of the formerly existing Ukraine
5. The Fourth Reich will be created, encompassing the territory of Germany and its satellites, i.e., Poland, the Baltic states, Czechia, Slovakia, the Kiev Republic, and other outcasts
6. War will break out between France and the Fourth Reich. Europe will be divided, Poland repartitioned in the process
7. Northern Ireland will separate from the UK and join the Republic of Ireland
8. Civil war will break out in the US, California. and Texas becoming independent states as a result. Texas and Mexico will form an allied state. Elon Musk’ll win the presidential election in a number of states which, after the new Civil War’s end, will have been given to the GOP
9. All the largest stock markets and financial activity will leave the US and Europe and move to Asia
10. The Bretton Woods system of monetary management will collapse, leading to the IMF and World Bank crash. Euro and Dollar will stop circulating as the global reserve currencies. Digital fiat currencies will be actively used instead
Season greetings to you all, Anglo-Saxon friends, and their happily oinking piglets!

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“..a delicate balancing act between fighting inflation and exacerbating the slowdown..”

ECB Governing Council Says Growth Of Key Rate In 2023 Possible (Az.)

A veteran member of the European Central Bank’s rate-setting council believes it has only just passed the halfway point of its tightening cycle and needs to be “in there for the long game” to tame high inflation, Report informs referring to Financial Times. After more than a decade of aggressive easing, 2022 was the year when many leading central banks began to raise rates in response to soaring prices. The ECB increased borrowing costs by 2.5 percentage points, capping the year with its fourth rise in a row to leave its benchmark deposit rate at 2 percent.


Klaas Knot, head of the Dutch central bank and one of the governing council’s more hawkish rate-setters, told the Financial Times that, with five policy meetings between now and July 2023, the ECB would achieve “quite a decent pace of tightening” through half percentage point rises in the months ahead before borrowing costs eventually peaked by the summer. In the eurozone, consumer price inflation hit a record high of 10.6 percent in the year to October – more than five times the ECB’s 2 percent target. In the Netherlands, inflation has been higher still, peaking at 17.1 percent in September. However, growth in the bloc is grinding to a halt, leaving central bankers facing a delicate balancing act between fighting inflation and exacerbating the slowdown.

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“The Polish leg of the route is currently being used to pump stored gas from Germany.”

Russia Ready To Resume Gas Supplies To EU – Official (RT)

Moscow is ready to restart supplies of natural gas to the EU via the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Monday. He noted that shipments through the route were halted for political reasons. According to the official, the EU remains a relevant market for Russia, which is able to resume supplies to a region suffering from a gas shortage. “For example, the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, which was shut down for political reasons, remains unused,” Novak said. Gas supplies via the pipeline, which usually flow westward, have been mostly reversed since Poland terminated a supply contract with Russia ahead of its end-2022 expiry date, after rejecting Moscow’s demand for ruble payments. The Polish leg of the route is currently being used to pump stored gas from Germany.


In response to Warsaw’s move, Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom cut off supplies, saying it could no longer send gas via Poland, while Moscow imposed sanctions against the firm that owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline. Although Russian gas deliveries to the EU via the Nord Stream and Yamal-Europe pipelines have been halted, Russian gas is still being supplied to certain European buyers via a transit line through Ukraine and the TurkStream pipeline through Türkiye. Despite the persisting problems, Novak says he still sees the EU as a viable market for Russia. “Today we can confidently say that there is a stable demand for our gas. Therefore, we continue to consider Europe as a potential market for our products. It is clear that a large-scale campaign was launched against us, which ended with acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines,” he said. The market for LNG also remains open, according to Novak, who noted that Russian LNG supplies to the EU are expected to grow to 21 billion cubic meters by the end of the year.

Read more …

“We don’t want gas and oil supplies from Russia any more, at the same time our ‘green’ friends are restarting coal-fired power plants..”

Germany Becoming ‘Dysfunctional’ State – MP (RT)

Germany faces a serious risk of going bankrupt due to the government’s inability to find a viable solution to the current energy crisis, the Vice President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Kubicki, said in an interview published in the national Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag. According to the official, Germans now have the impression that their country is on the way to becoming a “dysfunctional state.” “Infrastructure, energy prices and the inability of the Bundeswehr [the country’s armed forces] to protect us are challenges that require immediate action from the German authorities, otherwise things will go wrong,” he said.

Kubicki blasted Economy Minister Robert Habeck over purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the US for “a lot of money” while at the same time refusing to mine cheaper shale gas in Germany “for purely ideological reasons.” He added that the German authorities should revise their approach to nuclear power plants, which should continue operating while the country is facing an energy crisis. “We don’t want gas and oil supplies from Russia any more, at the same time our ‘green’ friends are restarting coal-fired power plants, while preventing a reasonable extension of the life of nuclear power plants,” Kubicki said, commenting on Habeck’s latest decisions.

The MP called for a change in the government’s strategy and the rejection of excessive financial assistance in the face of the energy crisis. “If we continue to pursue the policies of paying out money for years as part of the fight against the energy crisis, then we are at risk of national bankruptcy if not state socialism,” Kubicki warned. According to the Vice Speaker, the funds that Berlin is planning to spend on additional purchases of energy resources amid the crunch were originally destined for investments in other areas. “This money cannot be printed or covered by taxpayers. We cannot exist in a state of financial crisis for a long time due to the risk of shortage of funds to support other areas,” he said.

Read more …

Poland seeks more power.

Return Europe To A Union Of Homelands (RMX)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that “he and Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will change Europe.” In an interview for the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Morawiecki explained that Europe and power should return to stronger nation states. “We do not believe in a superstate of 27 EU member states. We want a return of a union of homelands,” underlined the Polish prime minister. Morawiecki pointed out that Europe has to choose between an authentic solidarity of equal states, or a model of a single superstate in which “decisions will be made in a couple of the largest capitals, disregarding other countries.” Referring to Russian aggression in Ukraine, Morawiecki pointed out that the Ukraine war will end only with the defeat of Vladimir Putin.


“We have warned that Russia’s colonial ambitions are a threat to eastern European countries and the entire EU,” said Morawiecki, adding that Europe must do everything to aid Ukraine, as the fall of Kyiv would open the way for Russia to conquer Europe. “Together with [Italian] Prime Minister Meloni, we stand to defend Ukraine. We realistically assess the threat posed by the Russian Federation,” the Polish leader added. According to Morawiecki, some European nations are more acutely aware of the Russian threat due to their past experiences. “That is why we all think about armaments and protecting against the threat from the East,” he explained Meloni often refers to policies pursued by Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government, using them as a model and an example. She often mentions that European conservative parties need to cooperate, previously saying: “We will transform ideas into a government policy, just as our friends from the Czech and Polish republics have done.”

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It’s one big party.

Republican Senators Turn On Leader Mitch McConnell Over $1.7t Omnibus (DM)

Donald Trump tore into his Republican rival, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, on Monday over his role in helping pass a bipartisan $1.7 trillion ‘omnibus’ spending bill to keep federal government agencies and the military funded through September 2023. The former president dusted off an old favorite monicker of his for McConnell, calling him an ‘Old Crow,’ while also claiming that Democrats ‘must have something’ on the Kentucky legislator after he was one of 18 Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. He had stopped using the nickname for a time after McConnell said ‘Old Crow’ was his favorite brand of Kentucky bourbon, and even once gifted bottles in a veiled dismissal of Trump’s taunts. Trump made his thoughts on the spending bill clear, deriding it as ‘ominous’ and claiming it would not have been passed under his administration.

He also hurled a racist insult he previously lodged at McConnell’s wife, his own former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. ‘The Marxist Democrats must have something really big on Mitch McConnell in order to get him and some of his friendly “Republican” Senators to pass the horrendous “All Democrat, All the Way” OMINOUS Bill,’ Trump wrote on his Truth Social app. ‘It gives Border Security to other countries, but ZERO $’s to the U.S., it fully funds the corrupt “Justice” Department, FBI (which RIGGED the Presidential Election!), and even the Trump Hating Special “Prosecutor.” It is also a massive giveaway & capitulation to CHINA, making COCO CHOW so happy!’ He wrote in a follow-up post, ‘If the Old Crow waited just 10 days, the Republican Majority in the House could have made the “Ominous” Bill MUCH, MUCH, MUCH BETTER.’

‘Just another win for the Democrats, Mitch, that wouldn’t have happened if “Trump” were President!’ Trump concluded. A pair of Republican senators loudly denounced McConnell on Sunday over his shepherding through the $1.7 trillion bill. The funding package includes fiscal victories for both parties. Many on the right who voted for it made clear that it was not the fiscal agenda they preferred but believed it was necessary to keep the military and other critical aspects of the government running smoothly. But federal spending priority talks have divided the GOP. Many on the right having opposed working with Democrats on where the government spends dollars next year.

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“..it still doesn’t explain how these outfits became the enemies of truth itself, and by extension, enemies of reality.”

What It’s Really About (Kunstler)

Not so many years ago, the force counter-balancing criminal misconduct in the government was the news media, even if the reporters and editors claimed to be on the political Left. Or, shall we say, especially if they were on the Left, because the Left in those days fervently championed free speech. Reporters of that long-ago day (Seymour Hersh, John Sack, and Michael Herr) would be out digging up the true facts of a big event — say, the US Military’s deadly blunders and scams in Vietnam — and editors would plaster screaming headlines about it on the front page: GENERAL SAYS “WE HAD TO DESTROY THE VILLAGE TO SAVE IT!” When the venerable news-spieler Walter Cronkite of CBS began to hint that the war was a fiasco, public opinion across the country shifted decisively against it.

Of course, those crimes and sins were committed against people in distant lands. Now, the administrative weight of the US is rolling over its own citizens, and over the Constitution — and the news media is uniformly and enthusiastically in favor of suppressing the news about it. How that happened is one of several cosmic mysteries of our time, along with who exactly runs “Joe Biden,” and how did the many nations of Western Civ adopt in lock-step Covid-19 policies aimed at harming their own people? No reporter even of the alt.news division even tried to get inside the head of New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet during the years of RussiaGate. Did he believe all that crap his paper was putting out? Now, you realize, it’s established fact (in the federal court record) that the Steele Dossier and everything spun off of it was a flim-flam confected by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

But even at the time, say 2017 to 2019, independent journalists were reporting the truth about it — for example, the FBI’s long-running fraud in the FISA Court — while The New York Times ardently inveighed against any emerging fact-pattern that broke through its wall of propaganda. The Times was showered with awards for that, including the Pulitzer Prize for its completely fallacious RussiaGate coverage. One easy answer is that The Times and many of its “legacy” cohorts — The WashPo, CBS, NBC, and ABC — have volunteered to be the public relations office of the Democratic Party, covering-up anything and everything the Party does against the public interest. And while that appears to be the case, it still doesn’t explain how these outfits became the enemies of truth itself, and by extension, enemies of reality.

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Julian Claus

 

 

 

 

Montreal 2010

 

 

 

 

Cobalt

 

 

Piano stairs

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 232022
 
 December 23, 2022  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Saul Leiter Man with flowers, NY 1950s

 

Washington Is Prolonging Ukraine’s Suffering (Macgregor)
German Press Is Pushing For Confrontation With Moscow (Livschitz)
Hungary Wants European Parliament Dissolved (Az.)
EU Leaders Dread a Ukraine Peace Process (Varoufakis)
US Admits Afghan Pullout Helped Arm Ukraine (RT)
US Space Force Practices For War In Europe (RT)
The Mushroom Principle (Blair)
A Well-Deserved Prize! (Dionisio)
US Life Expectancy Fell Again In 2021 – Covid And Drug Overdoses (Hill)
Winter Storm: Energy Demand To Stress Electrical, Natural Gas Systems (Fox)
Maricopa County Elections Director Confirms ‘Bombshell’ Error (BN)
Who Will Pay Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 Million Bond? (Decrypt)
Rand Paul Exposes Corruption Behind $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill (BR)
DeSantis’ Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate mRNA Vaccine Manufacturers (FlV)
2022 Year in Review: All Roads Lead to Ukraine (Collum)
2022 The Year in Review: The War in Ukraine (Collum)

 

 

 

 

McCullough

 

 

DARPA. Read the first paragraph.

 

 

 

 

Marangoli flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Like South Vietnam in the 1960s, Ukraine is losing its war with Russia. Ukraine’s hospitals and morgues are filled to capacity with wounded and dying Ukrainian soldiers.”

Washington Is Prolonging Ukraine’s Suffering (Macgregor)

During a speech given on November 29, Polish Vice-Minister of National Defense (MON) Marcin Ociepa said: “The probability of a war in which we will be involved is very high. Too high for us to treat this scenario only hypothetically.” The Polish MON is allegedly planning to call up 200,000 reservists in 2023 for a few weeks’ training, but observers in Warsaw suspect this action could easily lead to a national mobilization.Meanwhile, inside the Biden administration, there is growing concern that the Ukrainian war effort will collapse under the weight of a Russian offensive. And as the ground in Southern Ukraine finally freezes, the administration’s fears are justified. In an interview published in the Economist, head of Ukraine’s armed forces General Valery Zaluzhny admitted that Russian mobilization and tactics are working. He even hinted that Ukrainian forces might be unable to withstand the coming Russian onslaught.

Yet, Zaluzhny rejected any notion of a negotiated settlement and instead pleaded for more equipment and support. He went on to insist that with 300 new tanks, 600 to 700 new infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 new Howitzers, he could still win the war with Russia. Truthfully, General Zaluzhny is not asking for assistance, he’s asking for a new army. Therein lies the greatest danger for Washington and its NATO allies. When things go badly for Washington’s foreign policy, the true believers in the great cause always draw deeply from the well of ideological self-delusion to steel themselves for the final battle. Blinken, Klain, Austin, and the rest of the war party continue to pledge eternal support for Kiev regardless of the cost. Like the “best and the brightest” of the 1960s they are eager to sacrifice realism to wishful thinking, to wallow in the splash of publicity and self-promotion in one public visit to Ukraine after another.

[..] The Biden administration’s unconditional support for the Zelensky regime in Kiev is reaching a strategic inflection point not unlike the one LBJ reached in 1965. Just as LBJ suddenly determined in 1964 that peace and security in Southeast Asia was a vital U.S. strategic interest, the Biden administration is making a similar argument now for Ukraine. Like South Vietnam in the 1960s, Ukraine is losing its war with Russia. Ukraine’s hospitals and morgues are filled to capacity with wounded and dying Ukrainian soldiers. Washington’s proxy in Kiev has squandered its human capital and considerable Western aid in a series of self-defeating counter-offensives. Ukrainian soldiers manning the defensive lines facing Russian soldiers in Southern Ukraine are brave men, but they are not fools. The Spartans at Thermopylae were brave, and they still died.

Maajid Zel

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“Less than half – 43% – gave the impression that diplomatic negotiations would be useful, and this was largely due to Der Spiegel’s reporting..”

German Press Is Pushing For Confrontation With Moscow (Livschitz)

Last week, the University of Mainz published a study of German news coverage of events in Ukraine, and Berlin’s official response to the crisis. The conclusions confirm that since February 24, the media has played a major role in keeping the conflict going, and making a negotiated settlement less likely, due to almost universally biased, pro-war, anti-Russia content being published at all stages. Researchers at the university analyzed German-language reporting on the Ukraine conflict between February 24 and May 31, assessing the content of around 4,300 separate articles published by the country’s eight leading newspapers and TV stations: FAZ, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Bild, Spiegel, Zeit, ARD Tagesschau, ZDF Today, and RTL Aktuell.

During this time, Ukraine was portrayed positively in 64% of all coverage, and President Vladimir Zelensky in 67%. By contrast, Russia was portrayed “almost exclusively negatively” 88% of the time, and President Vladimir Putin in 96% of cases. Almost all reports – 93% in total – attributed sole blame for the war to Putin and/or Russia. The West was named as “jointly responsible” in only 4% of instances, Ukraine even less so at 2%. The perspectives of Russia on the conflict were only considered or mentioned in 10% of news reports, less than the viewpoint of any other country, including Moscow’s neighbors. Alternative for Germany and the Left Party, which both oppose arming Ukraine and prolonging the fighting, “had practically no media presence in reporting on the war.”

Government messaging and statements from ministers were completely dominant, being the focus in 80% of news coverage, more than four times above the figure for opposition parties. In media discussions of “measures most likely to end the war,” economic sanctions against Russia were “by far the most frequently reported,” and approved of in 66% of cases. Diplomatic measures were mentioned “much less frequently,” while “humanitarian measures” were even less regularly featured. In all, 74% of the reports surveyed portrayed military support to Ukraine “extremely positively.” Delivery of heavy weapons was endorsed “a little less clearly, but still considered to be largely sensible,” with 66% “overwhelmingly in favor.”

Less than half – 43% – gave the impression that diplomatic negotiations would be useful, and this was largely due to Der Spiegel’s reporting that clearly marked diplomacy as the most sensible option for Berlin “by far.” “Der Spiegel was the only media examined to rate diplomatic negotiations more positively than the delivery of heavy weapons,” the academics conclude. The report did identify one area where media coverage was “certainly not pro-government.” On certain rare occasions, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his coalition were strongly criticized “for hesitating to flood Ukraine with heavy weapons” by all outlets apart from Der Spiegel.

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“..legislators from the parliaments of member states should be delegated to the European Parliament..”

Hungary Wants European Parliament Dissolved (Az.)

The recent corruption scandal in the European Parliament (EP) is a sign that the EU institution should be abolished in its current form, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday. He added that the EP already had an abysmal reputation. Orban’s remarks came after Eva Kaili, a Greek politician who served as one of the European Parliament’s vice presidents, was arrested and charged this month with corruption for receiving bribes from Qatar. “The Hungarians would like for the European Parliament to be dissolved in its current form,” he said at a press conference in Budapest. Orban argued that the scandal “draws attention to the fact that national parliaments have a stronger control system in place,” adding that legislators from the parliaments of member states should be delegated to the European Parliament, as opposed to being elected separately.


“And they obviously know our political position: the swamp must be drained,” the prime minister said. Budapest has repeatedly clashed with the European Parliament and other EU institutions over a number of issues, including migration and LGBTQ rights. Brussels, in turn, accused Orban’s conservative government of eroding the rule of law at home. Hungary, whose economy heavily depends on Russian energy imports, has also criticized the EU sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to the military operation in Ukraine, which was launched in late February. Unlike many of the bloc’s member states, Orban has refused to send weapons to Kiev. “If it were up to us, there would not be a sanctions policy,” Orban said on Wednesday. “It is not in our interest to permanently divide the European and Russian economies into two, so we are trying to save what can be saved from our economic cooperation with the Russians.”

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Too much division in Europe. “Who will represent the EU in any future peace process?”

EU Leaders Dread a Ukraine Peace Process (Varoufakis)

While peace in Ukraine would help stem Europe’s economic hemorrhaging, the moment any peace process begins, the European Union will be divided by an internal East-West fault line, which is bound to reawaken the EU’s earlier North-South conflict. A credible peace process will require difficult negotiations involving the world’s great powers. Who will represent Europe at that high table? It is hard to imagine Polish, Scandinavian, and Baltic leaders ceding that role to their French or German counterparts. In the EU’s eastern and northeastern flanks, French President Emmanuel Macron is considered a Putin appeaser ready to impose on Ukrainians a reprehensible (to them) land-for-peace agenda.


Likewise, setting aside Germany’s long-term reliance on Russian energy, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s standing as a torchbearer of Europe’s collective interest has been damaged further by his €200 billion ($212 billion) fiscal defense of German industry – the type of tax-funded protective shield which Germany vetoed at the EU level. Meanwhile, French and German elites pour scorn on the idea that the EU might be represented in any peace process by the likes of Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s Prime Minister, or Sanna Marin, her Finnish counterpart. “The moral crusades of the Ukraine war maximalists are fashionable now but they will hinder, not help, any peace process,” was how a German official put it to me.So, the question remains: Who will represent the EU in any future peace process?

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“Zelensky also addressed a special joint session of Congress, with a plea to approve another $45 billion in aid for 2023. The Senate did so the following day.”

US Admits Afghan Pullout Helped Arm Ukraine (RT)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted on Thursday that the much-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he called “America’s longest war,” helped Washington redirect resources to Ukraine just months later Appearing at the State Department for a year-end press conference, Blinken painted a rosy picture of Washington’s diplomatic accomplishments. The exit from Afghanistan, which happened in August 2021, came up because one reporter took issue with Blinken’s claim of strong relationships with US “allies and partners,” some of whom she said were critical of how that US handled that operation. Consultations were “sustained, they were intense, and we strongly took note of everything that we heard from allies and partners in advance of the decisions that President [Joe] Biden made and that we made,” Bliken insisted, arguing that claims otherwise are “not born out by the facts.”

Though the reporter had asked about lessons of that withdrawal in “dealing with Russia and China,” Blinken proceeded to argue that “if we were still in Afghanistan, it would have, I think, made much more complicated the support that we’ve been able to give and that others have been able to give Ukraine” against Russia. The last US soldier departed from the Kabul airport on August 31, 2021. The US-backed Afghan government had collapsed without much of a fight two weeks earlier, leaving the Taliban in control of the country – as they had been in 2001. While the cost of the 20-year conflict has been estimated at over $2 trillion, the US spent almost $73 billion in 2021 dollars on training, equipping, maintaining and supplying the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), most of it from the Pentagon budget. The bulk of ANDSF weaponry and equipment ended up in Taliban hands.

By comparison, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated earlier this week that total Western aid to Ukraine this year amounted to over $97 billion. The Pentagon alone has spent at least $20 billion in direct “security assistance” to Ukraine since February 2022, by its own admission. Other US government departments, NATO and EU members accounted for the rest. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky visited Washington in person on Wednesday, receiving a pledge from Biden to fund Kiev for “as long as it takes” and a $1.85 billion packet of weapons and ammunition, including a battery of Patriot air defense missiles. Zelensky also addressed a special joint session of Congress, with a plea to approve another $45 billion in aid for 2023. The Senate did so the following day.

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“We will fight in space as a coalition, and these opportunities are invaluable to building the team that will fight together should the need arise.”

US Space Force Practices For War In Europe (RT)

The US Space Force has conducted joint drills with UK, Canada and Australia – the largest such exercises in its history – to hone its readiness for a hypothetical war in Europe, according to a statement by the Space Training and Readiness Command (STAR). Three so-called Space Flag 23-1 drills, each lasting two days, were conducted earlier this month at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado. The exercises enabled participants to practice “orbital warfare techniques, our electronic warfare techniques, our space-domain-awareness techniques and intelligence command,” Space Force Lieutenant Colonel Albert Harris said.“This Space Flag focused on a US European Command scenario, so we wanted to present the problem in that theater and exercise our ability to win it based off of various problems that we presented to the team,” Harris added.

Troops were given Europe-specific problems to solve during mission planning and practiced procedures to increase their readiness to win a conflict on the continent, but the exact scenarios remain a mystery. The event marked the first Space Force drills that practiced for European war and just happened to come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Harris said planning for the exercises began in February, the same month in which Russia began its military operation in Ukraine. Colonel Jason Schramm said the drills enabled US forces and coalition partners to practice their space combat tactics. “Winning in space underpins coalition lethality in other warfighting domains,” he said. “We will fight in space as a coalition, and these opportunities are invaluable to building the team that will fight together should the need arise.”

The US has been supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia with weapons, supplies and other forms of military aid, such as intelligence, while claiming not to be directly involved in the conflict. General John Raymond, the head of US space operations, said in July that “commercial space has been very important in providing capabilities that have been helpful to Ukraine.” One well-known case is the supply of Starlink ground equipment to Ukraine. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has provided access to satellite broadband internet service to Kiev’s troops. Speaking at a space event at the UN in October, Russian representative Konstantin Vorontsov expressed concern over the US and its allies using “elements of the civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, for military purposes,” and warned that “quasi-civilian infrastructure may be considered a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike.”

The US launched its Space Force as a separate military branch in 2019, more than 50 years after joining with the Soviet Union and the UK in signing a treaty that pledged to set aside space for “peaceful purposes.” The Pentagon has claimed that it must treat space as a “war-fighting domain” because of alleged threats from Russia and China.

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“The mechanisms of “narrative control” have been tightened exponentially.“

The Mushroom Principle (Blair)

The mechanisms of “narrative control” have been tightened exponentially. Back in 2003 it was still possible to read occasional pieces in the “respectable” press such as the BBC, NY Times, Washington Post or The Guardian that questioned the official narrative, particularly the fabricated justifications put forward by the Deep State for their invasion of Iraq. Ever since then, there has been a systematic purge of any and all honest investigative journalists who dare to challenge the Deep State narrative. Most notable was Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize winning head of the Middle East Bureau of the NY Times, who was forced out of his job for his righteous opposition to the US invasion of Iraq. Another luminary, summarily removed from The Guardian (despite contributing to their Pulitzer Prize win in 2014), was Glenn Greenwald.

Voices of reason such as that of Noam Chomsky have long been sidelined and shunned. The legendary John Pilger, former icon of Fleet Street, has been denied any mainstream platform that could earn him a living wage. There are many others too numerous to mention. Now the Deep State is slowly murdering the greatest journalist of our modern times, Julian Assange, using bogus charges that were trumped-up by the Trump regime. Assange’s greatest crime? Exposing the war crimes of the USA. The US Establishment can now effectively block or stifle any public dissent opposing their War Agenda, while simultaneously instructing the stupid sheeple who they must direct their daily two minutes of hatred against. The Western media have truly turned Orwellian.

They have learned how to do this step-by-step over the years since the Vietnam and Afghan and Iraq debacles, now achieving total control over the mainstream media. Hence when Russia was provoked by the USA into invading Ukraine in February this year, it was falsely and repeatedly and uniformly described as an “unprovoked invasion” by those MSM sewer outlets, completely ignoring the genocide the Ukronazi proxies of the US had been committing against Russophone civilians in Donbass over the previous 8 years. The war criminal Condoleezza Rice condemned Russia for their “criminal invasion” without the slightest hint of irony, while the stenographers “reporting” her words failed to point out the bleeding obvious.

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“It’s not even worth to throw any argument, because classification in these terms is mainly aimed at not discussing anything.”

A Well-Deserved Prize! (Dionisio)

A feeling of complete justice is what I felt when I attended the presentation of the Sakharov prize to comedian Zelinsky. Rarely does an award embody, so substantially, the deep connection between the institution that promotes it, the great European political families that approved it, and the recipient himself. I give a standing ovation! Yes, sir! I fully approve! The bank account that inexplicably appeared in Switzerland, disclosed through the Pandora papers, stuffed with almost a billion Euros, in the name of the prize winner, explains more than one can imagine. It explains everything! Take Eva Kaili, for example. A rising star in international politics, transformed into a runway that shows, on the outside, what she is not on the inside.

To assume that Eva and her cronies are an exception, who, for the money, fame, and glamour it provides, have agreed to publicly defend what they previously claimed to despise…. It is not paying attention to 21st century European politics. In the 21st century, being of the centrist political parties (mainly the social democrats and popular, liberal and moderate conservatives) means a lot…it means everything! It means not being an “extremist”, of course, “left-wing” or “right-wing”, reducing the whole spectrum to two camps – the acceptable, the “mainstream”, the “balanced”; and, the “unacceptable”, the “radical” and “sectarian”; belonging to an “extreme” is the same, whatever side you are on. Being in the middle, that’s all, and that’s not up for discussion anymore. It’s not even worth to throw any argument, because classification in these terms is mainly aimed at not discussing anything.

Not that one can generalize and run everything by the same measure; that is neither serious nor even advisable, and it is precisely what wants the ones that determines that any analysis should be done in the terms I have mentioned. But this is, above all, the story of the political mainstream. Saying one thing… and doing the other. Take the sakharov prize itself: awarding this prize to a guy whose government has outlawed more than a dozen political parties, confiscating their property; to the leader of a government that confiscates property of the Orthodox Church and persecutes its clerics for defending the “Holy Russ” composed of the three sister countries of the Slavic East, of which Kiev is the mother city; who has banned the use of the native language of nearly half of the country’s population, burning books, destroying statues and films depicting the culture in that language; persecutes journalists for reporting what he does not intend; detains political activists who oppose him, and lied in the elections he won, promising what he did not intend to do…

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“Every age group in the nation— from 1 year olds to people age 85 and older— saw a decrease in life expectancy.”

Hmmm. 1 year olds don’t die from Covid or fentanyl. So what is going on there?

US Life Expectancy Fell Again In 2021 – Covid And Drug Overdoses (Hill)

The average U.S. life expectancy shortened by seven months in 2021, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), driven mainly by COVID-19 and drug overdoses from synthetic opioids. According to a pair of CDC reports, life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year, from 77 years to 76.4 years. This follows a major drop of 1.8 years in 2020, putting life expectancy from birth at about the same level it was in 1996. Every age group in the nation— from 1 year olds to people age 85 and older— saw a decrease in life expectancy. Life expectancy for women is 79.9 years, about six years longer than men, but they both experienced the same decline.

Almost all racial groups also saw an increase in death rates, except for non-Hispanic Asian males and non-Hispanic Black males, which saw a slight decrease, Nine of the 10 leading causes of death in 2020 were the same in 2021. Heart disease was the main cause of death, followed by cancer and COVID-19, which took nearly 417,000 lives last year, an increase of 18.8 percent from 2020, despite the release of new vaccines. About 3.46 million people died in the U.S. last year, according to CDC, an increase of 80,502 more deaths than in 2020. Deaths by suicide and from liver disease caused by alcohol also increased, contributing to the shorter American lifespan.

Flu and pneumonia rates decreased, as parts of the U.S. population took precautions against the coronavirus and wore masks. Drug overdose deaths have been rising over the past two decades in the United States, CDC said. In 2021, overdoses were responsible for 106,699 deaths. Drug overdose death rates increased for each race and Hispanic-origin group except non-Hispanic Asian people between 2020 and 2021. They rose by 14 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, driven mainly by the illegal synthetic opioid fentanyl. According to the report, there was a 22 percent increase in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids in 2021.

Read more …

Keep warm guys.

Winter Storm: Energy Demand To Stress Electrical, Natural Gas Systems (Fox)

America’s natural gas and electrical system will be put to the test in the next few days as a winter storm that’s expected to cascade across the country brings heavy snowfall, ice, flooding and powerful winds. The National Weather Service says a tremendously impactful winter storm will continue to affect large portions of the nation late this week and going into the holiday weekend. Winter weather hazards will stretch from border to border across the central and eastern U.S. and from coast to coast from the east coast to the Pacific Northwest. “I think you’re going to see the demand for energy in the next couple of days be the highest it’s ever been in our country’s history,” American Gas Association CEO Karen Harbert told FOX Business. “This is a storm of consequence, and it’s not isolated. If you look at the storm … it’s going to affect almost the entire lower 48.”


Temperatures in parts of the country have already plummeted Thursday and millions of people are already under some typ of winter weather advisory. “As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 280 million people in the U.S. are under some form of winter weather warning or advisory,” the NWS said. The total includes nearly 150 million for wind chill warnings or advisories, 114 million for blizzard warning, 56 million for winter storm warnings and 500 thousand for ice storm warnings. Although the system is going to be stressed like never before, Harbert said utility companies have been preparing all year for this. “Demand is going to be unprecedented. And they’re going to try and manage that load demand very carefully,” she added.

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Not an error, but a trick. Just use the wrong size of paper and you guarantee tons of ballots are rejected.

Maricopa County Elections Director Confirms ‘Bombshell’ Error (BN)

There was a ‘bombshell’ revelation divulged in court on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake against Secretary of State and Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs. It leads to the inescapable conclusion that fraud was committed in the Arizona election. Maricopa County Elections Director Scott Jarrett confirmed in court that the ballot printer and tabulation errors that sowed widespread chaos in the Arizona election was caused on Election Day. “Is it your testimony that the printer set changes that led to the so-called ‘shrink to fit’ issue was that done on Election Day?” Kari Lake’s attorney Kurt Olson asked. “That’s correct,” Scott Jarrett replied. “Elections director Scott Jarrett confirms that the printer setting change that led to the mass disenfranchisement of Arizona voters DID occur the morning of election day,” the Kari Lake War Room reported.


Also in Thursday testimony, election modeling expert Richard Baris said that his projections showed as many as 40,000 voters were disenfranchised over Election Day chaos in Arizona’s Maricopa County. Baris said he would “have no doubt” that she would’ve won the election had there been no issues at polling centers. Baris testified that 25,000 to 40,000 voters were disenfranchised in the county due to his estimation that roughly one in five vote centers had problems ballot tabulator machines in the first hours of Election Day. “We’ve got about 20% of the locations out there where there’s an issue with the tabulator,” Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said on election night. Election officials, however, told voters their ballots would still be counted as a result of redundancy protocols. The vote margin between Lake and Hobbs is 17,117 votes. Baris is the last witness that Lake is calling in the scheduled two-day trial for her election lawsuit.

[..] Kari Lake’s legal team attained a legal victory by given authority to randomly inspect ballots from Maricopa County’s election as part of her 70-page lawsuit that Lake filed against top state election officials. The ruling authorized Lake‘s team’s to inspect 50 random ballots cast on Election Day from six polling stations in Maricopa County. During ballot inspection, it was revealed that 48 of 113 ballots reviewed were 19-inch ballots produced on 20-inch paper. This one-inch discrepancy caused ballot tabulators to reject thousands of votes and sowed chaos on Election Day in Maricopa County. An expert witness testified there are only two ways for the 19-inch image to have been projected onto the 20 in ballot, which would cause tabulator errors. The witness verified that both methods required an administrator to change and it could not have happened by chance or error. Thus, it is a form of fraud.

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The appearance bond..

Who Will Pay Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 Million Bond? (Decrypt)

Disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried today was released from custody by a New York judge under a $250 million bond agreement. That led to one big question across Crypto Twitter: Where did the money come from? Didn’t SBF lose billions of dollars? Is he tapping into FTX funds to pay his own bail? The short answer is this: no one had to pay anything for his release, nor is any cash owed—not yet, anyway. Bankman-Fried’s release agreement is an “appearance bond,” a promise to comply with specific restrictions while awaiting trial, and to show up when the time comes. He had to put up 10% of the bail amount as collateral for the bond, but no actual payment was required.

The appearance bond, as filed with the court, establishes a $250,000,000 “personal recognizance bond” guaranteed by four people, at least one of them not a member of Bankman-Fried’s family. For now, though, the only two signatures are those of Allan Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, SBF’s father and mother. At Thursday’s hearing in New York, federal prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried’s bond was “the highest ever pre-trial bond.” Under U.S. law, “recognizance” means a release in which no upfront payment nor bail bond arrangement is required, and that is based solely on a written promise by the defendant to appear in court when required to do so.

“When a loved one or family member co-signs a recognizance bond, the offender’s failure to appear in court impacts additional people—namely the co-signers who are also on the bond,” explained Miriam Baer, vice dean and centennial professor of law at Brooklyn Law School. A court could also require an up front security payment,” Baer adds. “But in some ways requiring family members to co-sign the recognizance bond—especially one with a very high dollar number—is a more powerful way to ensure a wealthy person’s return to court.”

Read more …

“It’s a no-good rotten way to run your government,,”

Rand Paul Exposes Corruption Behind $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill (BR)

Republican Senator Rand Paul dropped the hammer on Democrats in Congress for corruption hidden inside their $1.7 trillion spending bill. The 4,000 page bill was produced in the middle of the night and released at 1:30 in the morning. Despite having 10 months to work on it, Congress released it at the 11th hour, right before Christmas. This strategy attempts to pressure lawmakers into making an impulsive decision in order to get home for Christmas break. Senator Paul said, “Whose job is it to produce this? The people in charge of spending.” He continued, “When did they know this would be necessary? Well, it’s in the law, September 30th. You got nine months, almost ten months to produce a plan.”


“They weren’t ready on September 30th so they voted themselves 90 more days. They weren’t ready last week either, so they voted themselves another week.” “So now we have it at 1:30 this morning,” Senator Paul said. “I think the greatest risk to our national security is our debt. The process stinks. It’s an abomination.” “It’s a no-good rotten way to run your government. Six trillion dollar entity and they want 24 hours to process this, and then they want to go forward.” Many lawmakers won’t be able to read and process the impact of the 4,000 page spending bill within 24 hours.

Trump omnibus

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Let’s hope he dares take it far and deep enough.

DeSantis’ Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate mRNA Vaccine Manufacturers (FlV)

The Florida Supreme Court granted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate mRNA vaccine manufacturers. DeSantis announced earlier in December his petition for a statewide grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” in Florida with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers. “It is against the law to mislead and to misrepresent, particularly when you’re talking about the efficacy of a drug,” DeSantis said.The statewide grand jury will be allowed to investigate groups involved in the design, development, clinical testing, marketing, and distribution of vaccines said to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission. It will be impaneled for one year.

DeSantis’ petition argued that there was widespread belief that the COVID-19 vaccine prevented the disease from spreading, which led to vaccine mandates on citizens, health care workers, and military members. “It is impossible to imagine that so many influential individuals came to this view on their own. Rather, it is likely that individuals and companies with an incentive to do so created these perceptions for financial gain,” the petition said. The petition specifically points out Moderna and Pfizer’s claims about preventing the COVID-19 disease with “94.1% efficacy” and “91.3% vaccine efficacy.” Earlier in December, DeSantis also announced that a public health integrity committee will be established. The board will advise the public and provide oversight moving forward of the public health establishment.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has previously spoken out against the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, saying they are “far less safe” than other vaccines based on an autopsy-based clinical research in a cardiology study. In October, Lapado announced new mRNA COVID-19 vaccine guidance, advising against males aged 18-39 years old from taking those vaccines due to a reported 84% increase in the relative incidence of heart-related deaths.

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Dave Collum’s review is out again. Actually, ARE out again. It will take you all of 2023 to read 2022. Dave sent me a message saying:

“Passing along my annual tome. I cannot fathom how you put out the content that you put out. It takes the hide off me. (The Ukraine section is the core and the source of pain and suffering by the woke.)”

2022 Year in Review: All Roads Lead to Ukraine (Collum)

A Year in Transition. This was my runner up for the title. Aren’t we always stuck on the “Mobius Strip from Hell” that never ends? Francis Fukuyama and Tom Friedman were wrong: history did not end, and the world is going spherical again rather quickly. Of course, we never know the future, but each year seems to have themes that play out with a quantized feel to it. By contrast, 2022 has left world economies heading south but with no bottom in sight. Neither the Fed nor the markets are done inflicting pain. The risk of global famine is real but with inestimable consequences. The futures of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies hang in the balance with more than just price corrections now in play.


The war in Ukraine could end with a whimper (but only if Russia wins) or with a thermonuclear conflagration (nobody wins). Europeans are pondering the relative merits of freezing to death owing to lack of energy or starving to death owing to lack of food, but maybe those potentially biblical events are just clickbait. The WEF has reared its ugly head—the WEF’s Great Reset is not just a theory—yet we still haven’t a clue what those diabolical authoritarian meat puppets are up to. Why do we have to start eating bugs and forfeiting all earthly belongings and to whom. It is hard to see how we smoothly get to 2023 from 2022.

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“If you think Putin is, by definition, wrong because he attacked first, you have neither read much nor thought very deeply about the Ukraine conflict or the origins of wars.”

2022 The Year in Review: The War in Ukraine (Collum)

We are on the cusp of WWIII, what could become the most inclusive war in history, with world leaders who seem incapable of orchestrating a decisive paintball attack. Like so many, I rely on geopolitical events to learn about politics and geography. Task #1: figure out where Ukraine is located on a map. I stumbled upon this top-secret Pentagon strategy map:

Oh my God. They have already removed Russia! Task #2: resolve spelling and grammar issues. Is it Ukraine or The Ukraine; Odesa or Odessa; Kiev or Kyiv; Zelensky, Zelenskiy, or Zelenskyy; Donbas or Donbass; and Dumbass or Biden? First disclaimer: there is no chance that I can understand a border war in or near the Baltics. I take solace in that y’all are in the same boat. I am grand theorizing—creating big narratives for a hopelessly complex topic—describing the World According to Dave. I am layers into the onion but doubtlessly layers away from truths because I am fishing shit off the internet about a war said by the legendary journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Oliver Stone to be the most propaganda-slathered war in their lifetimes. My immutable rule of thumb: if their lips are moving they are lying.


We can all agree that the list of victims in this war is non-statistically populated by Ukrainians. They are dying, and their world is being upended. If, however, you think that this is a simple story about good versus evil, you need a CT scan. I am especially talking to the devout members of the Sanctimony-Industrial Complex—Eric Hoffer’s fanatical True Believers—who will take any opportunity to be part of a grand movement to elevate their lives by signaling their virtue. I was on a Zoom call with a member of the clergy in which he stated that “it is Putin’s fault because Putin attacked.” I curtly told that punk-ass zealot—quite an impressive one actually— “If I have some guy in my face, and it is clear that this is not going to resolve well, my immediate goal becomes finding a way to land the first punch to ensure there is no second punch.” (I did say that.) Months later I discovered that I had inadvertently paraphrased Putin. If you think Putin is, by definition, wrong because he attacked first, you have neither read much nor thought very deeply about the Ukraine conflict or the origins of wars.

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Shoebill stork

 

 

How to enjoy a shower

 

 


The Etruscan shrew. Smallest mammal in the world by weight at 1.8grams on average. For perspective a paper clip is 1 gram

 

 

Cocker

 

 

Prince

 

 

 

 

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