Oct 062022
 


Paul Gauguin The Seine in Paris 1875

 

Politics By Other Means (Big Serge)
Putin Signs Unification Treaties For New Regions (RT)
Russia Sets Out How It Will Financially Support New Regions (RT)
Putin Transfers Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant Under Russian Control (RT)
Pipeline Terror is the 9/11 of the Raging Twenties (Escobar)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Over Its Ukraine Op (RT)
EU Agrees To Impose Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)
European Gas Demand Set For Record-Breaking Decline In 2022 (OP)
EU Public Support For Ukraine Drops – Poll (RT)
US Declares War On Russia, Germany, Netherlands And France (Meyssan)
Kharkov and Mobilization (Jacques Baud)
Putin Must Go: Now Is The Time For Regime Change In Russia (John Bolton)
After Russia, Now Turkey Questions Europe’s Territory (Euractiv)
Biden Blasts “Short-Sighted” OPEC+ Cut (ZH)
Media Lying About Climate And Hurricanes (Shellenberger)

 

 

 

 

Saudi Reuters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clausewitz.

Politics By Other Means (Big Serge)

It is often the case that the most consequential men in the world are poorly understood in their time – power enshrouds and distorts the great man. This was certainly the case of Stalin and Mao, and it is equally true of both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Putin in particular is viewed in the west as a Hitlerian demagogue who rules with extrajudicial terror and militarism. This could hardly be farther from the truth. Almost every aspect of the western caricature of Putin is deeply misguided [..] . To begin with, Putin is not a demagogue – he is not a naturally charismatic man, and though he has over time greatly improved his skills as a retail politician, and he is capable of giving impactful speeches when needed, he is not someone who relishes the podium.

Unlike Donald Trump, Barack Obama, or even – God forbid – Adolf Hitler, Putin is simply not a natural crowd pleaser. In Russia itself, his imagine is that of a fairly boring but level headed career political servant, rather than a charismatic populist. His enduring popularity in Russia is far more linked to his stabilization of the Russian economy and pension system than it is to pictures of him riding a horse shirtless. Furthermore, Putin – contrary to the view that he wields unlimited extralegal authority – is rather a stickler for proceduralism. Russia’s government structure expressly empowers a very strong presidency (this was an absolute necessity in the wake of total state collapse in the early 1990’s), but within these parameters Putin is not viewed as a particularly exciting personality prone to radical or explosive decision making.

Western critics may claim that there is no rule of law in Russia, but at the very least, Putin governs by law, with bureaucratic mechanisms and procedures forming the superstructure within which he acts. This was made vividly apparent in recent days. With Ukraine advancing on multiple fronts, a fresh cycle of doom and triumph was set in motion: pro-Ukrainian figures exult in the apparent collapse of the Russian army, while many in the Russian camp bemoan leadership which they conclude must be criminally incompetent. With all of this underway on the military side, Putin has calmly ushered the annexation process through its legal mechanisms – first holding referendums, then signing treaties on entry in the Russian Federation with the four former Ukrainian oblasts, which were then sent to the State Duma for ratification, followed by the Federation Council, followed again by signature and verification by Putin.

As Ukraine throws its summer accumulations into the fight, Putin appears to be mired in paperwork and procedure. The treaties were even reviewed by the Russian constitutional court, and deadlines were set to end the Ukrainian hryvnia as legal tender and replace it with the ruble. This is a strange spectacle. Putin is plodding his way through the boring legalities of annexation, seemingly deaf to the chorus which is shouting at him that his war is on the verge of total failure. The implacable calm radiating – at least publicly – from the Kremlin seems at odds with events at the front. So, what really is going on here? Is Putin truly so detached from events on the ground that he is unaware that his army is being defeated? Is he planning to use nuclear weapons in a fit of rage? Or could this be, as Clausewitz says, the mere continuation of politics by other means?

Read more …

Think that’s the final administrative step?!

Putin Signs Unification Treaties For New Regions (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law four unification treaties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, on Wednesday morning. Earlier the documents unanimously endorsed by the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. The agreements were ratified on Monday by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, after they were certified as lawful by the country’s Constitutional Court over the weekend. The agreements were signed by Putin and the heads of the four former Ukrainian regions on Friday, after the residents of the territories overwhelmingly backed the idea of joining Russia during referendums held between September 23 and 27. The votes have been firmly rejected by Kiev and its Western backers, who have vowed to never accept their results nor recognize the four regions’ accession. The DPR and LPR split from Ukraine in 2014 in the aftermath of the Maidan coup and the civil conflict in the country’s east that followed. Shortly after launching a military operation in February this year, Russia seized Kherson Region and a larger part of Zaporozhye Region.

Read more …

“..an exemption from federal income tax for 10 years and the payment of no more than 13.5% to the regional budget..”

Russia Sets Out How It Will Financially Support New Regions (RT)

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development announced on Wednesday that it will launch a state financing program to support the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. According to the ministry’s statement, the territory has “huge economic and industrial potential.” The statement highlighted plans to pass a federal law on the creation of a common free economic zone for the new regions with preferential treatment for investors, with tax and non-tax incentives guaranteed within its framework. These will be similar to the incentives provided in the free economic zone of Crimea and Sevastopol.


“The accession of new territories in the Russian Federation will ensure an increase in nationwide indicators on such main sectors as the metals industry (by 20%), coal sector (by 6%), grain production (by more than 10%), sunflowers (over 20%),” Deputy Minister Sergey Nazarov said. He pointed out that the “gross regional product of new regions will amount to three trillion rubles ($50 billion) within five years.” According to him, the special provisions could see an exemption from federal income tax for 10 years and the payment of no more than 13.5% to the regional budget. On Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law four unification treaties with the new regions, which overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in referendums in September.

Read more …

Logic.

Putin Transfers Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant Under Russian Control (RT)

President Vladimir Putin has issued an order placing the formerly Ukrainian Zaporozhye power plant under Russian management. A presidential decree on the fate of Europe’s largest nuclear facility was published on Wednesday. The facility will be operated by a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned nuclear power giant Rosatom. For now, the facility will continue to function under Ukrainian-issued licenses until it obtains Russian-issued equivalents, according to the decree. The move comes as Moscow finalizes the accession of four formerly Ukrainian regions – Zaporozhye, Kherson, as well as Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – to Russia.


The territories overwhelmingly backed a proposal to join Russia in referendums last month. The votes were firmly rejected by Kiev and its Western backers, who denounced them as “sham” votes. In recent weeks, Zaporozhye nuclear power plant has been subjected to repeated missile, artillery and drone attacks, attributed by the Russian military to Ukrainian forces, as well as targeted by saboteurs in apparent attempts to seize the facility from Russian forces. Kiev, along with multiple Western officials, however, has been blaming Moscow for shelling the nuclear facility it controls. The Zaporozhye plant was seized by the Russian military early in the ongoing conflict. Until now, however, it has remained under Ukrainian management.

Read more …

“..Russia is getting ready for an all-out collision with the Empire of Lies. Alongside top Eurasian powers China and Iran.”

Pipeline Terror is the 9/11 of the Raging Twenties (Escobar)

There’s no question that future unbiased historians will rank Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address on the Return of the Baby Bears – Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia – on September 30 as a landmark inflection point of the Raging Twenties. The underlying honesty and clarity mirror his speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, but this time largely transcending the trappings of the geopolitical New Great Game. This was an address to the collective Global South. In a key passage, Putin remarked how “the world has entered a period of revolutionary transformations, which are fundamental in nature. New development centers are being formed, they represent the majority.”

As he made the direct connection between multipolarity and strengthening of sovereignty, he took it all the way to the emergence of a new anti-colonial movement, a turbocharged version of the Non-Aligned Movement of the 1960s: “We have many like-minded people all over the world, including in Europe and the United States, and we feel and see their support. A liberating, anti-colonial movement against unipolar hegemony is already developing in various countries and societies. Its subjectivity will only grow. It is this force that will determine the future geopolitical reality.” Yet the speech’s closure was all about transcendence – in a spiritual tone. The last full paragraph starts with “Behind these words stands a glorious spiritual choice”.

Post-post-modernism starts with this speech. It must be read with utmost care so its myriad implications may be grasped. And that’s exactly what tawdry Western spin and a basket of demeaning adjectives will never allow. The speech is a concise road map to how we got to this incandescent historical crossroads – where, to venture beyond Gramsci, the old order refuses to acknowledge its death while the new one is inexorably being born. There’s no turning back. The key consequence of a largely documented fact – “a hybrid war is being waged against Russia because it stands in the way of the neocolonial world order” – is that Russia is getting ready for an all-out collision with the Empire of Lies. Alongside top Eurasian powers China and Iran. Imperial vassals in this case are at best collateral damage.

Moreover, it’s quite telling that Putin’s speech followed India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, stressing the “pillaging of India by the colonial power” at the UN General Assembly. Putin’s speech and Russia’s resolve to fight the – hybrid and otherwise – war against the collective West set up the Macro Picture. The Micro Picture regards the see-saw in the battlefields in Ukraine, and even the blow-up of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines: a desperate gambit, a few days before the result of the referendums and their official recognition on September 30.

Dick Black

Read more …

“Certain territories will be returned, and we will continue consulting with the people, who would wish to live with Russia..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Over Its Ukraine Op (RT)

Moscow has not rebranded its military campaign in Ukraine as a “counter-terrorist operation” after taking four former Ukrainian regions under its sovereignty, contrary to some expectations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. “This is solely the prerogative of the commander-in-chief, the country’s president,” he told journalists on Wednesday when asked about a possible change of format. “As of this moment, no such decision has been taken. We are talking about the special military operation, which continues,” he added. Some political observers predicted that the Russian government would reclassify the hostilities with Ukraine after incorporating a number of former Ukrainian regions, where much of the fighting against Kiev’s troops is taking place.

Officials in Moscow accused Kiev on multiple occasions of using “terrorist tactics” against people in frontline regions. There was some expectation that Russia would designate the operation against Ukraine accordingly. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Tuesday four acts, which designate the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions as new subjects of the Russian Federation. Ukrainian troops are in control of parts of those territories and have recently retaken a number of settlements, which were previously held by Russian forces. Peskov reacted to Kiev’s advances, stating that the new lands “are with Russia forever [and] will be returned.”

The official also commented on the standing issue of the borders of Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. Peskov described the two new parts of Russia as lands “where the military-civilian administration was in power at the moment of accession.” “Certain territories will be returned, and we will continue consulting with the people, who would wish to live with Russia,” the spokesman said. Kiev declared Russia’s move to accept new territories as legally void and based on “sham” referendums that changed nothing for Ukraine. The Ukrainian government declared that it will oust Russian troops from all lands it considers to be under its sovereignty with the help of the US and its allies.

Read more …

What a waste of time.

“The price cap is part of an eighth round of anti-Russia sanctions..”

EU Agrees To Impose Price Cap On Russian Oil (RT)

The EU has reached a tentative deal to impose a price cap on the sale of Russian oil to third countries, Politico Europe reported on Tuesday citing diplomatic sources. Cyprus, Greece and Malta had concerns about the potential impact on their shipping industries, but were reportedly promised concessions. The price cap is part of an eighth round of anti-Russia sanctions, which Brussels is expected to roll out this week, citing the conflict in Ukraine. EU ambassadors reached an agreement on Tuesday and expect to approve the final text on Wednesday, Politico reported citing seven diplomats – all of whom wished to remain anonymous. Details of the sanctions still need to be confirmed in writing, and there was a “limited” chance the deal could still unravel, one source reportedly said.

The three Mediterranean members were reportedly concerned about the impact of the restrictions on their commercial shipping, but Brussels offered “concessions” in the form of a “monitoring system” that would propose measures to mitigate the impact of the embargo, in case of “significant loss of business” due to practices such as reflagging of commercial vessels. The EU has already banned the import of coal from Russia, with an oil embargo scheduled to go into effect in December. The price cap seeks to block Moscow’s petroleum exports to third countries using EU-registered vessels, as the bloc has already sanctioned all Russian shipping. Meanwhile, Hungary said it had secured assurances the price cap won’t apply to oil delivered through pipelines.

Anti-Russia measures adopted by the US and its allies have led to a spike in oil prices, leaving Russia with more revenue from exports than before the embargo. The price cap proposed by the G7 seeks to neutralize this. According to the proposal, EU vessels will refuse to carry Russian oil if it is priced above the cap, the value of which has yet to be determined. The sanctions have also resulted in the EU facing severe energy shortages. However, the bloc’s leaders have vowed to support Ukraine indefinitely, no matter what. Moscow has made it clear it will not comply with the price cap scheme, with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warning that Russia will simply refuse to sell fuel to countries that seek to enforce or abide by it.

Read more …

Industry.

European Gas Demand Set For Record-Breaking Decline In 2022 (OP)

Soaring natural gas prices, demand destruction in the industrial sector, and energy-saving measures are set to reduce gas consumption in Europe’s developed economies by 10% this year, the biggest drop in European demand in history, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its quarterly Gas Market Report on Monday.The forecast of a 10% decline in natural gas demand in OECD Europe reflects the expectation of higher gas prices and the EU’s ambition to reduce gas consumption by 15% between August 2022 and March 2023 compared to its five-year average. “Assuming average weather conditions, gas demand in the residential and commercial sectors is expected to remain below 2021 levels,” the IEA said in its report.

Due to sky-high high prices and a very tight gas market, natural gas usage in the power generating sector in Europe is forecast to drop by nearly 3% this year. Industrial gas demand is expected to plunge by as much as 20%, the IEA said. Energy-intensive industries in Europe, including aluminum, copper, and zinc smelters and steel makers, have already warned EU officials that they face an existential threat from surging power and gas prices. After a record slump in gas demand this year, Europe faces another year of gas consumption contraction in 2023, when OECD Europe’s demand is forecast to decline by 4% amid high prices, according to estimates from the IEA.The agency also noted that “Further potential disruption to the supply of Russian gas provides additional downside risk to this outlook.”

Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s Director of Energy Markets and Security, commented on the report: “The outlook for gas markets remains clouded, not least because of Russia’s reckless and unpredictable conduct, which has shattered its reputation as a reliable supplier. But all the signs point to markets remaining very tight well into 2023.” The IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week that the gas market could be even tighter next year compared to already tight LNG markets in 2022.

Read more …

The headline says support dropped. Then you learn that the poll is from June, 3 months into the SMO. It is October now. And the authors still say that “measures to support Ukraine in its defense against the war waged by Russia remain popular”.

EU Public Support For Ukraine Drops – Poll (RT)

A EU-wide survey by the pollster Eupinions has suggested a drop in support for sending weapons to Ukraine and accepting refugees from the country among the EU public. However, measures to aid Kiev in its conflict with Moscow are still supported by the majority of respondents, the study shows. The results of the poll, which was conducted throughout June in 27 member states, were released on Wednesday. They showed that 60% of the EU’s population were on board with sending weapons to Kiev. The backing for lethal aid was the highest in Poland, where 84% spoke in favor of it; and the lowest in Italy, where it was supported by just 42%.“In fact, Italy is the only member state where a majority of citizens oppose the delivery of weapons,” the study pointed out.

Meanwhile, 60% of those surveyed believed that the shipments of arms to Kiev should be organized through EU mechanisms, while 54% preferred them to be carried out by their home countries. A similar poll conducted in March showed that 64% in the bloc were in favor of arms deliveries. Moscow has consistently criticized the US, EU and other countries over their shipments of weapons to Kiev, arguing that they only prolonged the fighting and increased the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. Support for welcoming Ukrainian refugees has declined by 5% in the EU since March and stood at 81%, according to the survey. It was the highest in Germany, Italy and Spain (83%, 84% and 90%, respectively), and the lowest in Poland (77%) and France (76%).

Ukraine was granted EU candidate status shortly after the outbreak of the conflict, with 66% of the population in member states now saying they would like to see Kiev joining the union. The respondents were also asked to name the country they thought was the EU’s most trustworthy ally, with 77% saying that it was the US. As for the economic fallout of the sanctions imposed on Moscow by Brussels, Eupinions pointed out that 46% of EU citizens said their personal outlook on the future was negative, compared to 37% at the same period last year. Overall, the authors of the study came to the conclusion that “measures to support Ukraine in its defense against the war waged by Russia remain popular” in the EU.

Read more …

“He did not realize that he was violating the Straussian doctrine by imagining that he was escaping from the US military protectorate.[..] Six days later, Navy Seals blew up the two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, setting Germany back eleven years.”

US Declares War On Russia, Germany, Netherlands And France (Meyssan)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was elected in December 2021, has made two serious mistakes in a few months. On December 7, he went to the White House where he tried to resist the United States’ demand that he stop accepting Russian gas. Back home, he chose to maintain Nord Stream and block Nord Stream 2, while seeking renewable sources. He thought, wrongly, that he was balancing the warmongering of US strategic thinking, the needs of his industry and the doctrine of the Greens, members of his government coalition. The Chancellor had had a close call: during his press conference with the US President, Joe Biden said that his country could destroy Nord Stream 2 and that if Russia invaded the Ukraine, he would do so.

It was absolutely frightening for Scholz to hear his overlord spit in his face that he could destroy a tens of billions of dollars investment if a third party acted without regard to his dictates. We do not know whether President Biden also mentioned the destruction of Nord Stream 1 during the closed-door talks, but it is not impossible. In any case, according to the German journalists who followed him, the chancellor returned to Germany pale. His second mistake was made on September 16, 2022. His country wanted to get out from under the Anglo-Saxon umbrella and ensure its own security as well as that of the entire European Union. « As the most populous nation, with the greatest economic power and located at the center of the continent, our army must become the pillar of conventional defence in Europe, » the chancellor said.

By specifying that he was only talking about “conventional defence”, he intended to spare the susceptibility of his French neighbor, the only nuclear power in the Union. He did not realize that he was violating the Straussian doctrine by imagining that he was escaping from the US military protectorate. In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz signed the Defense Policy Guidance, excerpts of which were published in the New York Times. He indicated that the United States would consider any desire for European emancipation as a cassus belli. Six days later, Navy Seals blew up the two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, setting Germany back eleven years.

At the same time, the Baltic Pipe pipeline was inaugurated with great fanfare, a few hours after the sabotage, by the Polish president, the Danish prime minister and the Norwegian energy minister. It does not have at all the same capacities as Nord Stream, but it will be enough to change the times. Once the European Union was dominated by German industry using Russian gas, now it will be dominated by Poland using Norwegian gas. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki triumphantly declared at the inauguration ceremony: “The era of Russian gas domination is coming to an end; an era that was marked by blackmail, threats and extortion.

Read more …

“..the energy to defend this territory was greater than its strategic importance.”

Kharkov and Mobilization (Jacques Baud)

The recapture of the Kharkov region at the beginning of September appears to be a success for Ukrainian forces. Our media exulted and relayed Ukrainian propaganda to give us a picture that is not entirely accurate. A closer look at the operations might have prompted Ukraine to be more cautious. From a military point of view, this operation is a tactical victory for the Ukrainians and an operational/strategic victory for the Russian coalition. On the Ukrainian side, Kiev was under pressure to achieve some success on the battlefield. Volodymyr Zelensky was afraid of a fatigue from the West and that its support would stop. This is why the Americans and the British pressed him to carry out offensives in the Kherson sector. These offensives, undertaken in a disorganised manner, with disproportionate casualties and without success, created tensions between Zelensky and his military staff.

For several weeks now, Western experts have been questioning the presence of the Russians in the Kharkov area, as they clearly had no intention to fight in the city. In reality, their presence in this area was only aimed at affixing the Ukrainian troops so that they would not go to the Donbass, which is the real operational objective of the Russians. In August, indications suggested that the Russians had planned to leave the area well before the start of the Ukrainian offensive. They therefore withdrew in good order, together with some civilians who could have been the subject of retaliation. As evidence of this, the huge ammunition depot at Balaklaya was empty when the Ukrainians found it, demonstrating that the Russians had evacuated all sensitive personnel and equipment in good order several days earlier. The Russians had even left areas that Ukraine had not attacked. Only a few Russian National Guard and Donbass militia troops remained as the Ukrainians entered the area.

At this point, the Ukrainians were busy launching multiple attacks in the Kherson region, which had resulted in repeated setbacks and huge losses for their army since August. When US intelligence detected the Russians’ departure from the Kharkov region, they saw an opportunity for the Ukrainians to achieve an operational success and passed on the information. Ukraine thus abruptly decided to attack the Kharkov area that was already virtually empty of Russian troops. Apparently, the Russians anticipated the organisation of referenda in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe and Kherson oblasts. They realised that the territory of Kharkov was not directly relevant to their objectives, and that they were in the same situation as with Snake Island in June: the energy to defend this territory was greater than its strategic importance.

Read more …

There’s only one John Bolton. Problem is, there’s 1000s of wannabees.

Putin Must Go: Now Is The Time For Regime Change In Russia (John Bolton)

There is no long-term prospect for peace and security in Europe without regime change in Russia. Russians are already discussing it, quietly, for obvious reasons. For the United States and others pretending that the issue is not before will do far more harm than good. Notwithstanding recent Kyiv’s military advances, the West still lacks a shared definition of “victory” in Ukraine. Last week, Putin “annexed” four Ukrainian oblasts, joining Crimea, “annexed” in 2014. The war grinds on, producing high Russian casualties and economic pain. Opposition to Putin is rising, and young men are fleeing the country. Of course, Kyiv’s civilian and military casualties are also high, and its physical destruction is enormous.

Hoping to intimidate NATO, Moscow is again rhetorically brandishing nuclear weapons, and has sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines. Europe worries about the coming winter, and everyone worries about the durability of Europe’s resolve. No one predicts a near-term cease-fire or substantive war-ending negotiations, or how to conduct “normal” relations with Putin’s regime thereafter. To avoid the war simply grinding along indefinitely, we must alter today’s calculus. Carefully assisting Russian dissidents to pursue regime change might just be the answer. Russia is, obviously, a nuclear power, but that is no more an argument against seeking regime change than against assisting Ukrainian self-defense.

White House virtue signaling already empowers the Kremlin, accusing us of “satanism,” to claim America is trying to overthrow Russia’s government even though Biden is doing no such thing. Just to remind, the Kremlin has been doing this to us for many decades. Since we are already accused of subverting the Kremlin, why not return the favor? Obstacles and uncertainties blocking Russian regime change are substantial, but not insuperable. Defining the “change” is critical, because it must involve far more than simply replacing Putin. Among his inner circle, several potential successors would be worse. The problem is not one man, but the collective leadership constructed over the last two decades. No civilian governmental structure exists to effect change, not even a Politburo like the one that retired Nikita Khrushchev after the Cuban missile crisis. The whole regime must go.

Read more …

EU is not the same thing as Europe.

After Russia, Now Turkey Questions Europe’s Territory (Euractiv)

A memorandum of understanding for exploring hydrocarbons at sea signed between the government of Tripoli and Turkey openly questions EU territory causing more headaches in Brussels amid an ongoing war in Ukraine. “Ankara’s latest agreement shows that Turkey follows a pattern”, an EU source told EURACTIV ahead of an EU summit this week which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to attend. The preliminary deal on energy exploration was signed between the Libyan Government of National Unity and Turkey and is considered a follow-up of a wider memorandum of understanding between the two countries in 2019. The deal questions Greece’s territorial waters south of the island of Crete and has triggered strong reactions.

The EU, Washington and Athens have all condemned the deal, saying it destabilises the region, infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states. Since the Arab Spring, Libya has been facing a fragile political landscape considering that there are two rival governments: the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity which signed the deal with Ankara and the Sirte-based Government of National Stability. The latter also slammed the agreement, saying any deal made by an outgoing government is not binding for the Libyan state. Moreover, Ankara is increasingly escalating its rhetoric daily, openly questioning the sovereignty of the Greek islands.

Particularly, the far-right government partner of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Devlet Bahçeli, recently said the sovereignty of the Dodecanese and North Aegean islands are Turkish and not Greek. “We will pull out the eyes of anyone who tries to cover our rights and justice,” Bahçeli said. An EU source told EURACTIV that Brussels is closely following the escalation in the Mediterranean and in no way wants to face another front of instability after Russia’s invasion in Europe’s east. “All Turkey’s moves, both in rhetoric and in practice, show that Erdogan is following a pattern through the repetition of certain moves”, the EU source said. The source emphasised that in 2019 the Turks signed the Turkish-Libyan memorandum with something in mind because they are coming in 2022 to strengthen it in the same sense. “The objective is to question the current status quo”, the source added.

Read more …

White House: “It’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement.”

Biden Blasts “Short-Sighted” OPEC+ Cut (ZH)

OPEC+ could be on the verge of one of the largest production cuts in two years, a move White House officials would undoubtedly have a ‘panic attack’ as they attempt to dissuade the 23 crude-producing countries and its allies, such as Russia, from making the cuts. OPEC+ is considering cutting 2 million barrels a day, and on the smaller side, a reduction of 1-1.5 million barrels a day, delegates said. Such a move would be a blow to Washington as the Biden administration has scrambled to unleash record amounts of crude from the strategic petroleum reserve to tame soaring crude prices this summer. “Higher oil prices, if driven by sizeable production cuts, would likely irritate the Biden administration ahead of US midterm elections,” Citi strategists wrote in a note.

Citi strategists appear correct: CNN obtained some of the draft talking points circulated by the White House to the Treasury Department this week and called the prospect of a production cut a “total disaster” and “hostile act.” “There could be further political reactions from the US, including additional releases of strategic stocks,” the strategists added. They said the Biden administration could also push forward with an anti-trust bill targeting OPEC. But that’s not all. According to Bloomberg, White House officials are discussing possible export bans on gasoline, diesel, and other refined petroleum with the Energy Department. People familiar with discussions said administration officials are discussing export bans of refined products with top oil industry leaders as the risk of an OPEC+ reduction could catapult fuel pump prices higher ahead of the midterm elections in November.

[..]Despite Biden’s SPR drain, hitting levels not seen since 1984, the export ban could be the most controversial move yet by the desperate administration to tame pump prices ahead of the midterm elections next month. Biden’s political emptying of the SPR has left it with a record low of just 22 days of supply… Top oil execs and industry experts have blasted the proposed export ban, saying it could backfire and result in even higher gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel prices, while throwing energy markets into turmoil in Europe ahead of winter. In a letter to the Energy Department, Exxon’s CEO Darren Woods wrote last week that “continuing current Gulf Coast exports is essential to efficiently rebalance markets—particularly with diverted Russian supplies.” “Reducing global supply by limiting US exports to build region-specific inventory will only aggravate the global supply shortfall,” Woods said.

Read more …

“The increasing cost of hurricane damage can be explained entirely by more people and more property in harm’s way.”

Media Lying About Climate And Hurricanes (Shellenberger)

Over the last several weeks, many mainstream news media outlets have claimed that hurricanes are becoming more expensive, more frequent, and more intense because of climate change. The Financial Times reported that “hurricane frequency is on the rise.” The New York Times claimed, “strong storms are becoming more common in the Atlantic Ocean.” The Washington Post said, “climate change is rapidly fueling super hurricanes.” ABC News declared, “Here’s how climate change intensifies hurricanes.” Both the FT and N.Y. Times showed graphs purporting to show rising hurricane frequency using data from the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All of those claims are false.

The increasing cost of hurricane damage can be explained entirely by more people and more property in harm’s way. Consider how much more developed Miami Beach is today compared to a century ago. Once you adjust for rising wealth, there is no trend of increasing damage. Claims that hurricanes are becoming more frequent are similarly wrong. “After adjusting for a likely under-count of hurricanes in the pre-satellite era,” writes NOAA, “there is essentially no long-term trend in hurricane counts. The evidence for an upward trend is even weaker if we look at U.S. landfalling hurricanes, which even show a slight negative trend beginning from 1900 or from the late 1800s.” What’s more, NOAA expects a 25% decline in hurricane frequency in the future.

What about intensity? Same story. Explains NOAA, “after adjusting for changes in observing capabilities (limited ship observations) in the pre-satellite era, there is no significant long-term trend (since the 1880s) in the proportion of hurricanes that become major hurricanes.“ Bottom line? “We conclude that the historical Atlantic hurricane data at this stage do not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced century-scale increase in: frequency of tropical storms, hurricanes, or major hurricanes, or in the proportion of hurricanes that become major.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Ingraham chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 062022
 


Salvador Dali Paranoiac Woman-Horse (Invisible Sleeping Woman, Lion, Horse) 1930

 

The New Worldview Of Russia’s Elite (ZBB)
Saudis Unwilling To Upset Putin As Biden Begs For More Crude (OP)
Putin Says “No Problem” If Finland, Sweden Join NATO (ZH)
Black Sea Grain Deal Is Close, Says Erdogan (Pol.eu)
Rethinking the Global Order (Turki Bin Faisal Al-saud)
The Unravelling of the UK and the Western World (Batiushka)
The Dutch Farmers’ Protest and the War on Food (OffG)
The Woke Inquisitors Have Come for the Freethinking Heretics (Shurk)
100 Sikh Security Guards Fired For Not Adhering To Toronto’s Mask Mandate (TNC)
The Media Used Russiagate Conspiracy Theories to Create a News Cartel (GI)
If Central Banks Do Not Tackle Inflation, Crisis Will Bring Deflation (Lacalle)
Mexico President To Raise Assange Case In July Meeting With Biden (Dissenter)

 

 

 

 

ABC

 

 

From Elon Musk

 

 

 

 

“..capitulating to the West is no option for Russia, at this point. Things have gone too far.”

The New Worldview Of Russia’s Elite (ZBB)

Dmitry Trenin is one of Russia’s key policy influencers as proven by his position on the prestigious Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, which contributes to formulating his country’s approach towards those two interconnected issues. Despite being considered a Western-friendly liberal for most of his career, this member of the elite decisively shifted his worldview in response to Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine that was commenced in order to defend the integrity of its national security red lines from US-led NATO’s latent threats. His transformation from a foreign policy liberal to a conservative isn’t an outlier but increasingly representative of the rest of his country’s elite as well. He shared some crucial insight into his country’s grand strategy in May in remarks during his Council’s 30th Assembly that were republished by RT at the time…

Russia’s flagship international media outlet once again published his latest thoughts last weekend in a piece titled “Dmitri Trenin: Russia has made a decisive break with the West and is ready to help shape a new world order”. Just like his prior one for that platform, this one also deserves to be analyzed in detail since it confirms the new worldview of the Russian elite that’s responsible for formulating its foreign and defense policies just like he partially is. According to Trenin, this decisive break with the West is both necessary and difficult for three reasons. First, past inertia serves as a major obstacle, though the current conditions of the Collective West united against Russia make this a necessity. Second, Russia’s economic relations have historically been tied with those same Western countries that are now united against it despite having previously fed this Great Power’s growth over the past three decades, which is all the more reason to urgently pioneer viable replacements as soon as possible.

And lastly, the Russian elite culturally regard themselves as part of Western Civilization, yet the latter’s latest “woke” trend is contrary to traditional Russian culture. The respected Russian expert then shared some frank commentary on the matter. In his words, “With the West shunning Russia, trying to isolate and sometimes ‘cancel’ it, Moscow has no choice but to kick its old habits and reach out to the wider world beyond Western Europe and North America. In fact, this is something that successive Russian leaders vowed to do repeatedly, even when relations with the West were much less adversarial, but the Europe-oriented mindset, the apparent ease of trading resources for Western goods and technologies, and the ambition to be accepted into Western elite circles prevented that intention from turning into reality.”

Trenin added, however, “that people start doing the right thing only when there are no other options. And certainly, capitulating to the West is no option for Russia, at this point. Things have gone too far.” From there, he shared some facts that imbue the reader with a sense of cautious optimism that not only will things change for the better, but that they’re already well on their way there. The Global South has “risen spectacularly” since the end of the Old Cold War, with China conducting more trade with Russia than Germany did even prior to the US-led West’s sanctions against it and countries like India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkiye, and Iran emerging as independently minded close partners too.

Read more …

OPEC+ is stronger than OPEC.

Saudis Unwilling To Upset Putin As Biden Begs For More Crude (OP)

The world’s largest crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, continues to keep close ties with Russia while the top oil consumer, the United States, pleads with major producers—including the Kingdom—to boost supply to the market and help ease consumers’ pain at the pump. While the U.S. and its Western allies are sanctioning Moscow and banning oil imports from Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden is also turning to Saudi Arabia to ask it to pump more oil as Americans pay on average $5 a gallon for gasoline. The Saudis prefer to keep close ties with Russia in oil policy as the OPEC+ pact and the control over a large portion of global oil supply has benefited both OPEC+ leaders—the Kingdom and Russia—over the past half a decade.

Saudi Arabia, however, could use a little thaw in Saudi-U.S. relations under President Biden, who is no longer talking about the world’s top crude exporter as a “pariah” state. The Saudis are carefully maneuvering to keep Russia as an ally in the OPEC+ group and possibly improve relations with the United States. President Biden—desperate to see relief for American drivers ahead of the midterm elections—has made a U-turn on Saudi Arabia and is expected this month to visit the Kingdom, which he said on the campaign trail would be treated as a “pariah” state during his presidency. But U.S. gasoline prices at $5 a gallon and the loss of part of the Russian supply have made President Biden reconsider and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia has publicly reiterated its “warm” ties with Russia on several occasions since Putin invaded Ukraine, and considers keeping Russia in the OPEC+ alliance an important part of its oil policy. With Russia leading a dozen non-OPEC producers in the pact, Saudi Arabia has more sway over global oil markets with the larger OPEC+ group than with OPEC alone.

Read more …

But the length of the NATO-Russia border has doubled.

Putin Says “No Problem” If Finland, Sweden Join NATO (ZH)

Now with the 30 member nations having signed the NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, which brings them a huge step closer to entering the alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted by downplaying it: “Russia has “no problem” if Finland and Sweden join NATO, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. “We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine,” Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat. Finland and Sweden will be formally invited to join the alliance after Turkey dropped its opposition on Tuesday.”

However, he was also quoted as saying he couldn’t rule out that new tensions would emerge in Russian relations with Helsinki and Stockholm now that they’ve abandoned their historic neutrality regarding the Western military alliance. Additionally he suggested a further militarization along the 830-mile Russian-Finnish border, in line with prior comments from top Kremlin officials: “President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would respond in kind if NATO set up infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they join the US-led military alliance,” according to AFP, though without explaining further. The thrust of his comments appeared to focus on the question of Ukraine joining and Sweden-Finland being “two different things”.

Putin explained in the televised remarks, “They began turning Ukraine into an anti-Russia bridgehead for trying to destabilize Russia itself. They began fighting Russian culture and language. They began to persecute individuals who regarded themselves as part of the Russian world,” in reference to the Ukrainian government post-2014, following the forced ouster of Russian-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych. Two months ago as it emerged that Finland would seriously pursue joining NATO, there were fears this could spark a Russia-NATO war, but now these and other comments of Putin on the question strongly suggest Moscow is willing to de-escalate on the question.

Read more …

“..the plan was “very encouraging” as it did not require demining of the ports, potential routes had already been identified..”

Black Sea Grain Deal Is Close, Says Erdogan (Pol.eu)

Moscow and Kyiv may be just days from finalizing an agreement to allow millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to pass through the Black Sea, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In peacetime, Ukraine was a vast contributor to global food supplies, but a blockade of its Black Sea ports since the invasion by Russia has prevented the shipping of crops leaving for Egypt, Yemen and other countries in desperate need. Russia has also attacked Ukrainian grain silos and is alleged to have seized stocks. Turkey is attempting to broker a deal between Russia and Ukraine. The government in Kyiv wants Turkey to provide security guarantees to ships carrying the grain through the Black Sea.

“Negotiations are going ahead so that this grain, and sunflower oil, everything can reach the world,” Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara. “In a week or 10 days we will intensify the talks and try to arrive at a result.” The Turkish leader said safe passage for commercial shipping was very important because, while his own country was not yet suffering grain shortages, Africa was already facing “a huge problem.” He was speaking at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, after talks between the two governments. Draghi said that Turkey had “a central role” in the plan, which he said had been outlined at the G7 meeting of leading economies by U.N. Secretary General António Guterres. “That role is to guarantee the security of ships, and ensure that the ships don’t carry arms” Draghi said.

Draghi said the plan was “very encouraging” as it did not require demining of the ports, potential routes had already been identified, and the working group had been established. The missing element was “the final agreement of the Kremlin,” he said. The deal also has “a very high strategic value” as it could pave the way for a negotiated peace, Draghi added. “In the context of efforts to reach peace, this is a first step to agreement, for an objective that must involve of all of us because it affects the lives of millions of people in the poorest countries,” he said.

Read more …

His Royal Highness Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, was the Director General of Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency from 1977 to 2001, and has served as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom and the United States.

Rethinking the Global Order (Turki Bin Faisal Al-saud)

The Ukraine crisis itself is a symptom of deeper structural problems in the international order. That order, led by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), has failed to live up to the principles of good governance enshrined in the UN Charter. New global orders tend to emerge from major wars. In the case of WWII, the victors created structures designed to preserve international peace and security. But while our increasingly integrated world has changed dramatically since the UN’s founding, our organizing principles still reflect the mentality of the post-war and Cold War era. Within the current framework, a failure to respond to global challenges is a failure of the entire international community.

Can the system be reformed? Calls since the early 1990s to restructure the UN system – the avatar for the broader international order – have consistently fallen on deaf ears. Worse, Russia and China are now using their seats at the helm of the international order to push for a more multipolar system. Rather than working to reform the current framework, they are challenging its validity. Humanity’s collective achievements over the past seven decades are a testament to why we must work together to make the UN system more fair, inclusive, and attentive to people’s needs and aspirations. Indeed, that was the mission of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change in 2003.

Consisting of 16 eminent figures from different parts of the world, and chaired by former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, the panel analyzed contemporary threats to international peace and security; evaluated how well existing policies and institutions had done in addressing those threats; and offered recommendations aimed at strengthening the UN and enabling it to provide collective security for the twenty-first century. The panel’s final report made clear that all of the UN’s principal organs needed reform, including the Security Council, which the panel argued should be expanded. Unfortunately, the Security Council’s veto-wielding permanent members simply ignored the panel’s recommendations, setting the stage for today’s paralysis and dysfunction.

Read more …

All of the west is under -its own- threat.

The Unravelling of the UK and the Western World (Batiushka)

Ever since the collapse of the overseas British Empire, which included most of overseas Ireland, the unity of the UK has been under threat. This is because UK unity was the first step towards the construction of the British Empire, just as the construction of the American Empire began with its internal territorial conquests in North America, from the Native Americans, France, Spain/Mexico and of course from the Civil War. Only then did it look to imperial conquests overseas. Thus the loss of the overseas empire is inevitably leading to the end of the empire in the Isles. What was constructed in the past is now being deconstructed, in reverse order. Ireland (1801) has gone first and will be followed by Scotland (1707) and then Wales (1283) and in turn England (1066) will be regionalised.

As regards this deconstruction, the partial Irish independence of a century ago will undoubtedly turn into full independence and a united Ireland. Then will come the internal disintegration of the island of Great Britain itself. Each of the three countries and races on the island of Great Britain has its own identity. Scotland will not remain in the artificial Union of three centuries ago, though its separation could take several more years yet. The disintegration of the Union between Wales and England will probably take longer and be dependent on international pressures.

International pressures, such as those incurred by the present disastrously backfiring anti-Russian Western sanctions, could precisely be the ones that will lead to the internal collapse of the English/Welsh Union and then to the regionalisation of England. Here we are talking about the unwinding of the millennial Norman history of the island of Britain and a return to national roots, in other words, a radical return, for all. The collapse of the political parties in England and Wales (they have already collapsed in Scotland and they never existed in Ireland) will accompany this collapse.

Read more …

The gov’t finds the farmers are way too popular. So now they create “shooting incidents”.

Aviation produces a lot of nitrogen too. Holland foud a neat trick: only count the nitrogen produced at ground level, take-off and landing. Voila: 70% of nitrogen gone!

The Dutch Farmers’ Protest and the War on Food (OffG)

This week, tens of thousands of farmers have gathered from all across the Netherlands to protest government policies which will reduce the number of livestock in the country by up to a third. In a typical example of media weasel-wording, the press reports on this all headline something like “Dutch farmers protest emissions targets”, but this is a massive lie by omission. The government policy being protested is a 25 BILLION Euro investment in “reducing levels of nitrogen pollution” true, but it plans to achieve this by (among other things) “paying some Dutch livestock farmers to relocate or exit the industry”. In real terms, this ultimately means reducing the number of pigs, chickens and cows by about thirty per cent.

That’s what is being protested here – a deliberately shrinking of the farming sector, impacting the livelihood of thousands of farmers, and the food supply of literally hundreds of millions of people. While the scheme is allegedly about limiting nitrogen and ammonia emissions from urine and manure it’s hard not to see this in the broader context of the ongoing created food crisis. The Netherlands produces a massive food surplus and is one of the largest exporters of meat in the world and THE largest in Europe. Reducing its output by a third could have huge implications for the global food supply, especially in Western Europe. Perhaps more troubling is how this could act as a precedent. This isn’t the first “pay farmers not to farm” scheme launched in the last year – both the UK and US have put such schemes in place – but a government paying to reduce it’s own meat production? That is a first.

That it is (allegedly) being done to “protect the environment” makes it a big warning sign for the future. Denmark, Belgium and Germany are already considering similar policies. The Western world seems to be enthusiastically embracing quasi-suicidal policies. I mean, paying farmers to reduce the amount of food they produce…while (notionally) threatened with war…in the midst of a recession…facing record inflation as the cost of living spirals. Does that really make any sense? That’s almost as crazy as refusing new oil and gas leases while the cost of petrol is going up. Indeed, in a world beset by a shortage of fertiliser due to sanctions against Russia and Belarus, it would seem almost mad to complain about a manure surplus, let alone try to reduce it. We’re well past the point where any of this could be considered accidental, aren’t we?

Dutch supermarkets

Read more …

“..the steady encroachment on free speech has been sold as a “virtue” that all good people should applaud..”

The Woke Inquisitors Have Come for the Freethinking Heretics (Shurk)

Whenever censorship slithers back into polite society, it is always draped in the mantle of “good intentions.” Fifteenth-century Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola’s “bonfire of the vanities” destroyed anything that could be seen to invite or reflect sin. The notorious 1933 Nazi book burning at the Bebelplatz in Berlin torched some 20,000 books deemed subversive or “un-German”. During Communist China’s decade-long Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and ’70s, the vast majority of China’s traditional scrolls, literature and religious antiquities went up in smoke.

All three atrocities were celebrated as achievements for the “greater good” of society, and people inebriated with “good intentions” set their cultural achievements aflame with fervor and triumph. Much like today’s new censors who claim to “fight hate” because “that’s not who we are,” the arsonists of the past saw themselves as moral paragons, too. They purged anything “obscene” or “traditional” or “old,” so that theocracy, Nazism, or communism could take root and grow. And if Western institutions today are purging ideas once again, then it is past time for people to start asking just what those institutions plan to harvest next. We in the West are running — not walking — toward another “bonfire of the vanities” in which normal people, egged on by their leaders, will eagerly destroy their own culture while claiming to save it.

This time around the “vanities” will be condemned for their racist, sexist, transphobic, anti-science or climate-denying ways, but when they are thrown into the fire, it is dissent and free expression that will burn. There will one day be much disagreement as to how the same Western Civilization that produced the Enlightenment and its hallowed regard for free expression could once again surrender itself to the petty tyranny of censorship. Many will wonder how the West’s much-vaunted “liberal” traditions could meekly fold to the specter of state-controlled speech. The answer is that the West has fallen into the same trap that always catches unsuspecting citizens by surprise: the steady encroachment on free speech has been sold as a “virtue” that all good people should applaud.

Read more …

Sicks don’t shave. And there are many in Canada. Never had problems. Blackface Trudy does shave.

100 Sikh Security Guards Fired For Not Adhering To Toronto’s Mask Mandate (TNC)

Roughly 100 Sikh security guards were let go due to the City of Toronto’s mask mandate, which requires them to be clean-shaven. The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is now demanding the city change what it calls a “discriminatory” rule. According to CBC News, the city has been mandating that security guards wear N95 masks while on the job at settings such as homeless shelters since January. The city confirmed that employees working within the Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration (SSHA) department must wear N95 masks at all times and be clean-shaven so that the masks provide effective protection against Covid-19. For devout Sikhs, leaving their hair uncut is an important part of their faith. In a practice called Kesh, Sikhs allow one’s hair to grow out naturally out of respect for the perfection of God’s creation.

The WSO wants to see the city compensate and rehire the Sikh guards. “I feel very humiliated,” said Birkawal Singh Anand, who works for ASP Security. “If you ask me to clean shave my beard, it’s like peeling off my skin.” When notified of the requirement last month, Anand said that he applied for a religious exemption but was told that would mean he would be demoted to a lower position with lower pay. Many of the guards, who are working towards permanent residency, have had to choose between new jobs that didn’t offer permanent residency, finding a different job, getting laid off or shaving their beards. When CBC News reached out for comment from GardaWorld, a security contractor, they said all employees who are unable to meet the health and safety requirement set out by the city were offered “other and equivalent opportunities within the organization” until the restriction is lifted.

Balpreet Singh, a lawyer with the WSO, said Toronto’s rule feels particularly discriminatory because the policy has remained while nearly all other pandemic restrictions in Ontario have dropped. “These security guards served at the height of the pandemic without these rules, when things were at their worst,” Singh said. “But now when, you know, vaccines are very common and things are opening up, they’re being told: ‘No, you can’t serve here because you’ve got a beard.’”

Read more …

“The two interlocking cartels, Big Tech and the media, became politically and then economically interdependent in a way that was both illegal and deeply dangerous to a free society.”

The Media Used Russiagate Conspiracy Theories to Create a News Cartel (GI)

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook paid over $20 million to the New York Times and $15 million to the Washington Post in annual fees. Even more valuable than the big checks was Facebook’s ability to push media content to its users. Last year, sources at several publishers were crediting Facebook News with massive traffic surges, but not everyone was equal. “Many other U.S. news publishers are getting payments from Facebook to have their content featured in its news tab, but they only get a fraction of the sums paid to the Washington Post, the New York Times,” the Wall Street Journal noted. Facebook and the media had created a cartel in which media sites created paywalls to raise the value of their content and gain better deals with the social media monopoly.

Zuckerberg’s company offered its biggest media critics big checks in exchange for exclusive deals. Both sides claimed that they were “fighting misinformation” with what was really a shakedown and a cartel. When the media accused Facebook of spreading conservative misinformation, the only defense was providing special privileges for the media. Despite the fundamental illegality of such cartels, Democrat politicians and the media openly pressured Facebook to promote “responsible” journalism, by which they meant their own political content, at the expense of “misinformation”. By then the entire debate about misinformation had boiled down to creating a two-tiered content system across Big Tech that would fund and push media content while suppressing rival material.

This urgent need for a news cartel was described as the best way to meet the “threat to democracy” posed by the “wild west” of the internet. This cynical rhetoric carefully avoided any discussion about the benefits that would flow to the media from this arrangement. Recent entries from the Washington Post, which was being paid $15 million, include, “Facebook Gives Gun Sellers 10 Strikes Before Ban” and “Facebook Fails Again to Detect Hate Speech in Ads”: both of which went viral. The former taps into the new mania over gun control to manufacture yet another crisis involving Facebook. And crises reward the media cartel. The two interlocking cartels, Big Tech and the media, became politically and then economically interdependent in a way that was both illegal and deeply dangerous to a free society.

Read more …

“Central banks have gone from “whatever it takes” to “no matter what”..

If Central Banks Do Not Tackle Inflation, Crisis Will Bring Deflation (Lacalle)

Most market participants have been surprised by the last six months. The total return of the US Treasury Index was the worst since 1788 according to Deutsche Bank. Stocks closed June with one of the largest corrections since 2008. Bonds and equities are falling in unison, driven by rate hikes and normalization of monetary policy. However, there is no such real normalization. The balance sheet of the main central banks has barely moved and remains at all-time highs according to Bloomberg. The ECB continues to ignore the highest inflation rate in the eurozone since the early 90s by keeping negative rates. The Federal Reserve rate hikes have been more aggressive, but it is still injecting billions of dollars in the reverse repo market and monetary aggregates remain excessive.


In the United States, money supply growth (M2) is still much higher than in the quantitative easing years. M2 money supply has risen to 21.8 trillion dollars and yearly change shows a rise of 1.3 trillion dollars, which is more than double the annual figure of the expansion phase of 2008-2011. Money supply (M2) annual growth in the United States was 6.5% in May, 6.6% in the eurozone. Global monetary growth in May was 9.9%, all figures according to Yardeni Research. In the eurozone money supply growth is higher than in the middle of the so-called “Draghi bazooka”, the famous “whatever it takes”. Central banks have gone from “whatever it takes” to “no matter what”. We already explained in a previous article that commodities do not cause inflation, money printing does, and the monetary aspect of inflation is not being addressed properly.

Read more …

“If they take him to the United States and he is sentenced to the maximum penalty and to die in prison, we must start a campaign to tear down the Statue of Liberty..”

Mexico President To Raise Assange Case In July Meeting With Biden (Dissenter)

When Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador meets with United States President Joe Biden on July 12, he plans to once again urge the US government to drop the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Obrador is one of the few presidents in the world, who has expressed genuine support for Assange and even offered to engage in talks about asylum in Mexico. “If they take him to the United States and he is sentenced to the maximum penalty and to die in prison, we must start a campaign to tear down the Statue of Liberty,” Obrador said, as he referred to Assange during a press conference on July 4. According to El País, Obrador insisted that the Statue of Liberty would “no longer be a symbol of freedom” if Assange was extradited. He maintained there could be “no silence” on the matter.

The UK government authorized Assange’s extradition on June 17. Assange’s legal team appealed the decision. While it is a welcome development that an ally and neighboring country is challenging the US to uphold press freedom, the remarks from Obrador apparently came while deflecting criticism of Mexico from Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Mexico is one of the more dangerous countries in Latin America for journalists. RSF, which also supports Assange, condemned Mexico after “Yesenia Mollinedo, the founder and editor of the Facebook news outlet El Veraz, and Sheila Johana García, a video reporter for El Veraz,” were “gunned down in broad daylight in Cosoleacaque, in the eastern state of Veracruz.”

“[RSF] is appalled by the murders of three more reporters in less than a week in Mexico, which—subject to confirmation by RSF’s investigations—will bring the total number of Mexican journalists killed in connection with their work since the start of the year to 11,” the press freedom organization declared. With no evidence, Obrador suggested RSF’s statement was part of a “smear campaign against the government of Mexico.” But Obrador is not alone when it comes to invoking the Assange case to deflect responsibility. Several leaders throughout the world, including in China, Russia, and Azerbaijan, have responded to Western criticism of how their governments treat journalists by asking how the US and United Kingdom can claim to support press freedom when Assange is in jail.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

George Webb – Klaus Schwab