Sep 272022
 


Marcel Duchamp About young sister 1911

 

This Is the Way the World Ends (Jim Kunstler)
Ukrainian Territories To Be Absorbed Into Russia By Week’s End: Lawmaker (ZH)
All the Young Dudes, Carry the -Russian- News (Escobar)
Zelensky Reveals US Pays Ukraine $1.5 Billion Per Month (RT)
Putin Considering Talks With Kiev On New Conditions – Turkish FM (RT)
German Energy Apocalypse Update V (Eugyp)
Germany Suspects ‘Targeted Attack’ On Russian Gas Pipelines (RT)
The US Is Winning Its War On Europe’s Industries And People (MoA)
West Should Treat Us With Respect – Putin (RT)
Poland Slams ‘Scandalous’ Von der Leyen Warning (RT)
Russia And The US Still Have Time To Prevent A Nuclear War (Trenin)
Orban Says EU Sanctions on Russia Have ‘Backfired’ (R.)
Moscow Tells US To ‘Back Off’ With ‘Aggressive’ Course (RT)
Moscow Grants Russian Citizenship To Edward Snowden (AP)
Roger Waters Pens Open Letter To Putin (RT)
Trouble About The Corona Vaccine Deal: Why Is Von Der Leyen Stonewalling? (MP)
Just 1.5% Of Eligible Americans Have Gotten Updated COVID Booster (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Meloni identity

 

 

 

 

Net Zero

 

 

This one is a bit older.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Madame von der Leyen’s fellow Germans have already been sent to their room without so much as a kartoffelklop, plus no heat or hot showers for you, Hansel and Gretel.”

This Is the Way the World Ends (Jim Kunstler)

The bond market has gone south, and that spells The End for the great game of financialization. The bond market is Moby Dick compared to the little blowfish that is the stock market. The global money system is based on bonds, which are… what? That’s right: loans… promises to pay you X at some future moment. So, what happens when a daisy-chain of promises-to-pay gets broken? Or, perhaps more precisely, when all those promises lose their last shred of plausible reality? Why, the money that these broken promises are denominated in loses its essential cred. Trick question: how much is worthless money worth? (Answer: not enough to pay for a can of Schrödinger’s cat food.) Which is where all this folderol leaves a lot of ordinary people all over Western Civ (and beyond!) trying to scratch up enough increasingly worthless money to feed the family and pay the landlord. Many will never understand what happened. But they will not be any less pissed off at the result.

This is the way the world ends for the hapless phantom known as “Joe Biden” the child-sniffing ectoplasm that haunts the White House these days of late empire. Somehow, the bamboozled nation has so far passively accepted the pranks and punishments laid on them by the backstage managers behind the Figment-in-Chief. Eight-plus percent inflation? No problemo, right? Eighty-five thousand new IRS agents on-board to drive you batshit while destroying your household and your posterity (ha!)? Half the population of South America flooding across the border? (The vibrancy! You no like?) A hundred dollar fill-up at the gas pump, and no heat for you this winter? (But… Netflix!) Drag queens to amuse and edify your children about the delirious realm of sexual pathology. All that…and how about a Russian hypersonic nuclear missile up your ass if the preceding somehow failed to move you? (Because: Russia, Russia, Russia…!)


Meanwhile, a trend is manifesting in other lands. The people of, first, Sweden and now Italy are voting in “right wing” nationalist governments — the horror — sending their equivalent of our Party of Chaos to the showers. This has irked the President of the European Union, one Ursula von der Leyen, no end. She has threatened to send Italy to its room without supper for the effrontry. Of course, Madame von der Leyen’s fellow Germans have already been sent to their room without so much as a kartoffelklop, plus no heat or hot showers for you, Hansel and Gretel. Embrace the suck.

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No way back.

Ukrainian Territories To Be Absorbed Into Russia By Week’s End: Lawmaker (ZH)

With four occupied regions of Ukraine currently in the midst of a five-day referendum on whether to join the Russian federation, a Kremlin lawmaker told state media over the weekend that the territories are likely to be absorbed by Russia on September 30. “Taking into account the preliminary results of the referendums and Russia’s readiness to acknowledge them, the accession of the territories is likely to take place as early as on September 30,” the unnamed member of Russia’s State Duma said to TASS. Voting is set to conclude Tuesday in Donestk, Luhansk and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, meaning as early as Wednesday or even Thursday announcements of results are likely to trickle out, paving the way for a potential Friday official declaration.


While Russian forces do not yet control the entirety of each of these territories, their annexation would constitute Ukraine losing almost 20% of its geographic territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin might himself make the proclamation following the referendums, which Ukrainian leaders along with Washington have dismissed as a “sham” – saying they won’t be recognized. Russian media reports indicate: The lawmaker said Russian President Vladimir Putin could take part in the procedure on September 30. “I don’t know if he will [participate], but he is likely to do so,” the MP said. Given that on Saturday Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov vowed new territories would be under Russia’s “full protection” – there is more than likely to be a major uptick in the intensity of fighting to follow the referenda results announcement in eastern Ukraine.

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“..after so many years, Moscow is finally fully committed to supporting Donbass all the way to the baby bears coming to Mama for good.”

All the Young Dudes, Carry the -Russian- News (Escobar)

Moscow’s rerouted strategy takes maskirovka – mask, feint, fool the enemy – to another level, actually dropping the mask, plus the velvet gloves. Now it’s all very clear: this is turbo-charged Sun Tzu (“May your plans be dark and impenetrable like the night, and when you move, strike like lightning.”) There will be plenty of strikes like lightning ahead in the Ukrainian battlefield. This is the culmination of a process that started in Samarkand, during the SCO summit last week. According to diplomatic sources, Putin and Xi Jinping had a very serious conversation. Xi asked tough questions – as in you must finish this off – and Putin arguably explained how things would reach the next level.

Yoda Patrushev was on the road to China immediately afterwards – meeting with his Yoda counterpart Yang Jiechi, head of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and the secretary of the Central Political and Legal Committee, Guo Shengkun. Following-up on Samarkand, Patrushev outlined how Moscow will help Beijing militarily when the Empire tries anything funny in the next battlefield: Asia-Pacific. That should happen under the framework of the SCO. Crucially, the Patrushev meetings were requested by the Chinese. So the Russia-China strategic partnership is about to achieve full-fledged cooperation before the going gets tough in the South China Sea. It’s as if Russia-China were on the brink of creating their own CSTO.

And that is happening even as the Chinese leadership continues to express – mostly in private – that war in Russia’s western borderlands is very bad for business (BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+, all of them) and should be wrapped up a.s.a.p. The problem is a swift wrap-up is off the cards. Foreign Minister Lavrov, in New York for the UN General Assembly, has stressed how. “Ukraine has eventually become a totalitarian Nazi sort of state” – unconditionally supported by the collective West. NATOstan has predictably doubled down on its tactics since the non-response response to Russia’s demand for a serious discussion on indivisibility of security, in late 2021: it’s always about shelling Donbass. This could not possibly be tolerated anymore by the Kremlin and Russian public opinion.

Thus the partial mobilization – forcefully proposed by the siloviki and the Security Council for quite a while now, with Kostyukov at GRU, Naryshkin at SVR and Bortnikov at FSB on the forefront. The symbolism is powerful: after so many years, Moscow is finally fully committed to supporting Donbass all the way to the baby bears coming to Mama for good. There are – unconfirmed – rumors in Moscow that the decision was accelerated because GRU has intel on the Americans soon transferring long-range missiles to Kiev capable of striking Russian cities. That’s beyond a red line for the Kremlin – hence Putin’s express mention that every weapon available in Russia’s mighty arsenal will be used to protect the Motherland.

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Lowballing.

Zelensky Reveals US Pays Ukraine $1.5 Billion Per Month (RT)

The Ukrainian government is being heavily supported with American money, with Washington contributing $1.5 billion per month to the budget, Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky has revealed. The sum was mentioned by the Ukrainian leader during an interview with CBS host Margaret Brennan for the ‘Face the Nation’ program, which was aired on Sunday. Currently Kiev runs “a deficit of $5 billion in our budget,” Zelenksy said, adding that “the United States gives us $1.5 billion every month to support our budget to fight” against Russia. Zelensky argued that arming and otherwise helping Ukraine militarily is a “win-win” for the US. He pledged that once Russia is defeated, the Ukrainian people will return to their home country and start paying taxes there, relieving the burden on American taxpayers.

“For the United States, it will be significant savings, but for us, it will be an opportunity to secure our territory and make it safe for our population,” he stated. US President Joe Biden has pledged to help Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to secure a strategic defeat of Russia, which he declared Washington’s ultimate goal in the conflict. Many Americans do not share the president’s view that the situation in Ukraine is crucial. According to the conservative election pollster Rasmussen Reports, it failed to make the top-ten list of issues of concern for likely voters. Earlier this month, the Biden administration asked Congress to authorize some $12 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, including $4.5 billion to support the Kiev government financially beyond September. It asked for $2 billion on top of that, to help Ukraine offset rising energy prices.


The package is expected to be approved on Friday, but some political analysts question whether the cash flows to Ukraine can be sustained after the midterm elections in November. “America can’t afford to provide a blank checkbook to Ukraine when we have inflation, gas prices, a supply chain crisis, all of the above, going on at home,” a GOP lawmaker told Politico, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “That’s what I’m hearing from my voters.” The outlet predicted that if the Republican Party wins the House, Biden will face more resistance to his requests for emergency aid to Ukraine.

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“In the course of negotiations with our president, Putin announced the possibility of returning to negotiations with Kiev, but on new conditions that have appeared,”

Putin Considering Talks With Kiev On New Conditions – Turkish FM (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering resuming talks with Ukraine, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. The top diplomat made the remarks during a press conference in Tokyo where he’s attending the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July. According to Cavusoglu, Putin floated the idea during a conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. “In the course of negotiations with our president, Putin announced the possibility of returning to negotiations with Kiev, but on new conditions that have appeared,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying, He didn’t elaborate on the “conditions” specified.

The minister also reiterated Ankara’s desire to stage direct talks between Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “Our president will continue his contacts with Putin and Zelensky. Our aim is to bring the two leaders together to ensure that decisions are made at the level of the leaders,” Cavusoglu said. Top Russian officials have repeatedly said Moscow has been ready to talk with Kiev, pinning the blame for the stalled negotiations on the Ukrainian side. Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said dialogue is “of course needed,” adding that Putin had already explained that “Ukraine left the negotiations several months ago.”


Apart from declaring the goal of defeating Moscow on the battlefield, Ukrainian officials have also reacted angrily to the referendums on joining Russia, currently ongoing in the Donbass republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions in southern Ukraine. On Sunday, Zelensky warned that should Russia complete the vote, it would “make it impossible, in any case, to continue any diplomatic negotiations” with Moscow.

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“Normally” Eugyppius writes on Covid. But he’s in Germany…

German Energy Apocalypse Update V (Eugyp)

Germany has nationalised the gas importer Uniper, to save it from insolvency in the face of the Gazprom gas stoppage. Robert Habeck’s earlier scheme to save Uniper and other importers involved the imposition of a gas surcharge of 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour on all consumers, but the government appears ready to scrap this plan just days before it was set to go into effect. Instead, some politicians are now talking of capping gas prices, though as far as I can tell, nobody has any idea how. As the pressure builds and the first closures begin, Germany is entering an economic recession, and there are everyday renewed cracks in the political edifice.

Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer (CDU) – no fringe political figure – recently remarked that Germany “cannot do without Russian gas” and acknowledged that EU sanctions are to blame for the shortage, but he stopped short of demanding that Nord Stream 2 be opened; instead, he hopes for a return to Russian gas after the Ukraine war has ended. The Greens in government remain committed to taking Germany’s last nuclear power plants offline by the end of the year, hoping that enough French nuclear plants will return to service over the winter to cover any resulting shortages. It is hard to imagine a more farcical approach to nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, the head mayor of Berlin has suggested that two- or three-hour periods of load-shedding may be necessary to keep the electrical grid functional over the winter. Other experts, while downplaying the risk of uncontrolled outages, have raised the possibility load-shedding as well, confirming that these are very real contingency plans and that we’re being prepared for them. The stated concern is invariably that local or regional gas shortages will cause the widespread activation of electrical heaters and overwhelm the grid, though how exactly this could be anticipated far enough in advanced for scheduled outages is unclear to me. Prices have increased vastly across the economy, and estimates are that up to 60 percent of German households are now committing their entire monthly income to cover the rising cost of living.

The depth of the crisis isn’t fully known, as loan defaults and similar economic signals won’t begin in earnest until 2023. And that’s it. There are no plans from the government, beyond doubtful price-tinkering, regulatory schemes and targeted financial assistance. If you look at those news outlets most guilty of Corona hysteria, like the state-funded Tagesschau or the Süddeutsche Zeitung, you find extremely muted reporting on the crisis. Instead, hyperventilation about Ukraine continues to dominate headlines; pieces on the energy apocalypse are either misleading items like this one, hailing a dip in gas prices, or trivial write-ups about whether cities should cancel their Christmas lighting this year.

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Well, the Russians don’t blow up their own pipelines…

Germany Suspects ‘Targeted Attack’ On Russian Gas Pipelines (RT)

While the loss of pressure in three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany is still officially being investigated, Berlin is reportedly no longer convinced it was a coincidence, and suspects a “targeted attack” on behalf of either Ukraine or Russia, the newspaper Tagesspiegel reported on Monday evening. Pressure in one of the Nord Stream 2 lines dropped sharply overnight, followed by the same happening to both Nord Stream 1 pipes on Monday afternoon. Denmark announced that a gas leak was spotted off the coast of Bornholm island in the Baltic Sea and closed the area for maritime traffic, but could not confirm if this was what caused the pressure loss.

According to Tagesspiegel, the German government and agencies investigating the incident “can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack,” according to an anonymous source familiar with their assessments. “Everything speaks against a coincidence.” The outlet explained that a deliberate attack on the bottom of the sea has to involve special forces, navy divers or a submarine. Berlin is reportedly examining two possible scenarios. In the first, Ukraine or “Ukraine-affiliated forces”could be behind the attack. The second option is that Russia did it as a “false flag,” to make Ukraine look bad and drive the EU energy prices even higher.


With Nord Stream offline since late August, Russian gas can only be delivered to Germany and central Europe via the older pipelines going through Poland and Ukraine, Tagesspiegel noted. “We are in the process of clarifying the situation here,” a spokeswoman for the federal ministry of economics told the outlet. “We don’t currently know what caused the pressure drop.” Nord Stream 1 was built in 2011. Construction on Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, and took much longer due to political pressure and economic sanctions from the US. NS2 was finished and pressurized by September 2021. However, two days prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the German government put its certification on indefinite hold, and has categorically refused any suggestion from Moscow – or its own people – to unblock the pipeline.

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“Instead of a real military threat from Russia and China, the problem for American strategists is the absence of such a threat.”

The US Is Winning Its War On Europe’s Industries And People (MoA)

On February 7 Professor of Economics Michael Hudson explained why America’s Real Adversaries Are Its European and Other Allies: “What worries American diplomats is that Germany, other NATO nations and countries along the Belt and Road route understand the gains that can be made by opening up peaceful trade and investment. If there is no Russian or Chinese plan to invade or bomb them, what is the need for NATO? And if there is no inherently adversarial relationship, why do foreign countries need to sacrifice their own trade and financial interests by relying exclusively on U.S. exporters and investors?

These are the concerns that have prompted French President Macron to call forth the ghost of Charles de Gaulle and urge Europe to turn away from what he calls NATO’s “brain-dead” Cold War and break with the pro-U.S. trade arrangements that are imposing rising costs on Europe while denying it potential gains from trade with Eurasia. Even Germany is balking at demands that it freeze by this coming March by going without Russian gas. Instead of a real military threat from Russia and China, the problem for American strategists is the absence of such a threat.” What the U.S. needed was to provoke Russia, and later China, into reacting to U.S. arranged threats in a way that would oblige its ‘allies’ to follow its sanction policies. The rather dimwitted European leadership fell for the trick.


The U.S. arranged for a Ukrainian attack on the rebel held Donbas region. This started on February 17 with intense artillery preparations against Donbas positions as recorded by the OSCE observers at that border. Russia had to react or see the ethnic Russians in those areas getting maimed and killed by Nazi devoting Ukrainians. There was no way to prevent that but by other than military means. On February 22 Russia recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and signed defense agreements with them. The same day the German chancellor Olaf Scholz canceled the launch of the undersea Nord Stream II pipeline which was to transport Russian gas to Germany’s industries and consumers. The Europeans launched a sequence of extremely harsh economic sanctions against Russia which, prodded by the U.S., had been prepared months in advance. Russia’s Special Military Operation, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, commenced on February 24.

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“Without that we won’t even talk to them. Nobody is going to tolerate humiliation..”

West Should Treat Us With Respect – Putin (RT)

Russia and Belarus are countries that are prepared to work with the West but only if there is mutual respect, presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko agreed during a face-to-face meeting in Sochi on Monday. Speaking on tv channel Rossiya 24, Lukashenko said he believes the West’s future lies with Russia, which has “everything they need.” On the other hand, he added, the West has things Russia and Belarus need and are willing to buy, including certain technologies. “What else do they want? They just need to make responsible decisions,” he said said. Putin agreed with the Belarusian leader, insisting the West must “treat us with respect.”

“Without that we won’t even talk to them. Nobody is going to tolerate humiliation,”Lukashenko continued, noting that both Moscow and Minsk were open to working with those who want to live side by side, building relations based on mutual respect. The Russian leader has previously suggested that the West was essentially waging a hybrid war against Moscow and was looking to “weaken, disunite and ultimately destroy”Russia. In a televised address last week, Putin claimed that Western countries openly admit that they “managed to break up the Soviet Union in 1991”and were now aiming to “split Russia into many regions that would be at each other’s throats.”


As a means to that end, Putin claims the West has been intentionally fostering Russophobic sentiments in countries like Ukraine, where he accuses the US and its allies of installing a hostile government and of turning the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder by pushing them into war with Russia. Putin has also warned Western leaders who openly call for a military defeat of Russia that Moscow is prepared to use any means at its disposal to defend itself and to ensure its territorial integrity. US President Joe Biden has hit back at Putin, accusing him of “making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.”

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“..the president’s remarks were not an attempt to interfere with Italian domestic politics but rather meant to underline the body’s role “as guardian of the [European] treaties with regard to the rule of law.”

Poland Slams ‘Scandalous’ Von der Leyen Warning (RT)

A warning by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that Brussels has tools to discipline Italy if its prospective center-right government fails to cooperate with the EU was “scandalous,” according to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The remark was a wake-up call for member states, the head of the Polish government said on Sunday, as quoted by state news agency PAP. “Is this the kind of Europe we want? Is this democracy and rule of law? That Eurocrats in Brussels decide what a government should be?”Morawiecki asked. He was responding to von der Leyen’s suggestion that, should the new Italian government fail to meet the EU’s policy expectations, the country could be disciplined.

The top official said “whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we’re working together,” adding that “if things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools.” Von der Leyen spoke about Italy on Thursday at Princeton University, after it was suggested that people friendly to Russia could come to power in Rome after the election on Sunday. She was asked what the EU leadership plans to do about it. Morawiecki interpreted the remark as a promise to punish Italy, unless its new government is “in favor of Brussels.” European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said that the president’s remarks were not an attempt to interfere with Italian domestic politics but rather meant to underline the body’s role “as guardian of the [European] treaties with regard to the rule of law.”


A center-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FI) party looks set to form a new cabinet following a snap election in the country. The outcome was consistent with opinion polls ahead of the ballot. In mid-September, the European Commission recommended suspending some €7.5 billion of emergency funding to Hungary over alleged erosion of the rule of law in the country. A similar punishment was imposed on Poland last year over controversial judicial reforms adopted by its conservative government.

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“..if – God forbid! – the Kremlin will face what the Russian military doctrine calls “a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” its nuclear weapons will not point to some location on the European continent, but more likely across the Atlantic.”

Russia And The US Still Have Time To Prevent A Nuclear War (Trenin)

This October marks the 60th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, which drew Moscow and Washington into a nuclear showdown that threatened the immediate annihilation of the world. Luckily, the leaders of the time – Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy – had the wisdom to step back from the brink, and then engage with each other on first steps toward jointly managing adversity in the nuclear era. Given the current conflict in Ukraine, which is steadily escalating toward a direct military collision between Russia and the United States, there is a hope that the lessons of the past can also help to end the present confrontation on a peaceful note. However, we should also be mindful of the major differences between the two crises.

On the surface the root cause of both confrontations has been acute feelings of insecurity created by the expansion of the rival power’s political influence and military presence right to the doorstep of one’s own country: Cuba then, Ukraine now. This similarity, however, is almost as far as it goes. The salient feature of the Ukraine crisis is the vast asymmetry not only between the relevant capabilities of Russia and the United States, but even more importantly between the stakes involved. To the Kremlin, the issue is literally existential. Essentially, it is not only the future of Ukraine, but that of Russia itself that is on the table. To the White House, the issue is definitely important, but far less critical. What is in question is clearly US global leadership (which will not collapse within the Western world, whatever happens in Ukraine), its credibility (which can be dented but hardly destroyed), and the administration’s standing with the American people (for whom Ukraine is hardly a top concern).

[..] The problem is that its highly pro-active policy on Ukraine is based on a flawed premise that Russia can indeed accept being ‘strategically defeated’ and, should nuclear weapons be used, their use would be limited to Ukraine or, at worst, to Europe. Americans have a long tradition of ascribing their own strategic logic to their Russian opponents, but this can be fatally misleading. Ukraine, parts of Russia and Europe being hit by nuclear strikes – while the US emerges from the conflict unscathed – might be considered a tolerable outcome in Washington, but hardly in Moscow. [..] So many of Russia’s so-called red lines being breached without consequence from the start of the Ukraine war have created an impression that Moscow is bluffing, so that when President Vladimir Putin recently issued another warning to Washington, saying that “it is not a bluff,” some people concluded that it was precisely that.

Yet, as recent experience demonstrates, Putin’s words deserve to be taken more seriously. In a 2018 interview he said, “Why do we need a world in which there is no Russia?” The problem is that Moscow’s strategic defeat, which the US is aiming for in Ukraine, would probably ultimately result in “a world without Russia.” This probably suggests that if – God forbid! – the Kremlin will face what the Russian military doctrine calls “a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” its nuclear weapons will not point to some location on the European continent, but more likely across the Atlantic.

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“Hungary to hold a referendum on the EU’s sanctions imposed on Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announces.

“The sanctions were not decided democratically, but were decided by Brussels bureaucrats and European elites,” he said on Monday.”

Orban Says EU Sanctions on Russia Have ‘Backfired’ (R.)

Hungary should prepare for a prolonged war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday, sharply criticising European Union sanctions imposed on Russia which he said have “backfired”, driving up energy prices. Orban, long at odds with the EU over some of his policies seen in Brussels as anti-democratic, urged a ceasefire to end the war and said the sanctions against Russia were dealing a blow to Europe’s economy. Orban, who was reelected for a fourth consecutive term in April, now faces surging inflation, plunging consumer confidence and the prospect of a recession next year.

He told parliament it was no surprise that governments were falling in Europe, referring to the Italian election on Sunday following which Giorgia Meloni looks set to lead Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two. “We can safely say that as a result of the sanctions, European people have become poorer, while Russia has not fallen to its knees,” Orban said. “This weapon has backfired, with the sanctions Europe has shot itself in the foot.” “We are waiting for an answer, the entire Europe is waiting for an answer from Brussels on how long we will keep doing this,” he said, adding it was also time to discuss the sanctions with the United States. Orban, whose government is in talks with the European Commission to secure billions of euros in EU funds blocked over rule-of-law concerns, said his government would launch a “national consultation” asking Hungarians about sanctions.


Orban has previously used this campaign tool to shore up domestic support for his Fidesz party on policies such as gay rights or migration. Orban said his government had revised its long-term energy strategy and aims to overhaul the power system and extend the lifespan of the Paks nuclear power plant, with a total of 32 big investments planned to be financed using EU funding. “If the Brussels bureaucrats do not give us this money, which Hungary is eligible for, then we will get the necessary funds from other financial sources,” Orban said, adding Hungary had started talks with the EU and “other international partners”. He did not elaborate.

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“Dozens of nations representing half of humanity either backed Russia’s position on Ukraine or at least acknowledged the merits of Russia’s reasoning..”

Moscow Tells US To ‘Back Off’ With ‘Aggressive’ Course (RT)

The US is taking an increasingly aggressive stance towards Moscow, but no amount of economic sanctions and political pressure can sway it from defending its national interests, a top Russian diplomat said. Moscow’s diplomacy regarding the US is an exercise in “crisis management”, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview on Russian television on Monday. He described US behavior as being “increasingly confrontational and worrisome.” “We can see how [the Americans] are trying to mobilize their satellites, their vassals to confront Russia in a more aggressive and hardline manner,” the diplomat said. “Washington’s irresponsible, extremely aggressive, extremely assertive course is bringing us all to the dangerous line. We are warning against maintaining this course.”

The brinkmanship has been evident not only when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine, but also in the all-important issue of nuclear non-proliferation and reduction, Ryabkov said. Washington has pretty much dismantled the entire architecture of strategic arms control and is threatening the last remaining bilateral treaty of that kind with Russia, the New START, he pointed out. The core of the problem, the diplomat said, is that the US “does not need agreements, which had been signed on the basis of parity, served not only the security interest of the group [of nations] led by the US, but strengthened the security of entire regions and the world in general. They are not in line with the hegemonic course that the US pursues in the international arena.”

The deputy minister said he didn’t expect US policy towards Russia to change anytime soon, because “there is an anti-Russian consensus of the elites” in the US. But the only viable solution is for Washington to recognize that Russia will not be bullied and act accordingly, Ryabkov added. “Time and time again we’ve told our American interlocutors, to use the most neutral term, that they have to back off and stop escalating the situation,” he said.

European nations, which sided with Washington’s anti-Russian drive, are suffering because of it, the Russian diplomat pointed out. In fact, their subservience to Washington makes them vulnerable to American exploitation, Ryabkov said. “[The Americans] are undermining Europe’s competitiveness, pumping their products into European markets, be they military equipment or hydrocarbons, which the Europeans would rather get from alternative sources under different circumstances,” he said. But Washington lacks global support, regardless of what American officials claim Ryabkov said. Dozens of nations representing half of humanity either backed Russia’s position on Ukraine or at least acknowledged the merits of Russia’s reasoning about it, he explained.

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One of 75, but the only one who gets attention.

Moscow Grants Russian Citizenship To Edward Snowden (AP)

President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader on Monday. Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree as being granted Russian citizenship. The decree was published on an official government website. Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs. He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.


Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that the former contractor’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport. The couple had a child in December 2020. Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he’s guaranteed a fair trial. He hasn’t commented on being granted Russian citizenship.

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“Just because NATO and the US get to “invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil,” doesn’t mean Russia shouldn’t hold itself to a higher standard..”

Roger Waters Pens Open Letter To Putin (RT)

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has penned a blunt open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking guarantees that Russia will not expand beyond the Donbass and Crimea and will never “invade anyone ever again.” Posted to Facebook on Monday, the missive follows similarly frank open letters to Ukrainian First Lady Elena Zelenskaya. In the letter, Waters asks Putin to affirm he wants an end to the war – something the Russian president has already said on other occasions. He also demands a guarantee that Russia’s “territorial interest” stops at the “security of the Russian speaking populations”of Crimea and the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, citing the need to reassure “some people who think you want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states.”

If Russia does have territorial ambitions beyond eastern Ukraine, Waters writes, “f*** you, and we might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic feel so comfortable with, and have at it.” It wasn’t immediately clear if the referendums in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on joining Russia qualified for this response. Moscow would also have to promise “not to invade anyone ever again,” Waters told Putin, complaining the launch of Russia’s special military operation in February was not just a “heinous war of aggression,” but an unexpected one to boot. Just because NATO and the US get to “invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil,” doesn’t mean Russia shouldn’t hold itself to a higher standard, he explained.

“If you were to reply to me,” Waters wrote to Putin, “I would mightily respect you for it, and take it as an honorable move in the right direction towards a sustainable peace.” The progressive rock guitarist’s appeal to Putin followed his previous open letters to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s wife Elena, in which he urged the Ukrainian First Lady to “demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war,” a reference to Zelensky’s campaign pledge to “end the civil war” in Donbass. He told Zelenskaya she was “tragically mistaken” in her belief that western “support for Ukraine” – namely the continued supply of weapons – would shorten the conflict.

Zelenskaya responded to the musician earlier this month on Twitter, blaming Russia for “invading” Ukraine, “destroy[ing] cities and kill[ing] civilians.” She insisted that if Ukraine stops fighting it will mean the end of its existence, and urged Waters to address his peace appeals to the Russian president instead.

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Google translation from German outlet Morgenpost.

The “talks” between Ursula and Bourla were in WhatsApp (or a similar app), and she gave herself permission to delete all of it. Dead end.

Trouble About The Corona Vaccine Deal: Why Is Von Der Leyen Stonewalling? (MP)

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is under pressure because of a multi-billion dollar mega contract for the delivery of Biontech-Pfizer’s corona vaccine. According to information from our editorial team, the budget controllers of the EU Parliament are preparing a formal reprimand, the displeasure in Parliament is great, the first MPs call for the public prosecutor. It is by far the largest contract in the European Union for the procurement of corona vaccines: In May 2021, i.e. five months after the start of the vaccination campaign, the Commission agreed on the delivery of up to 1.8 billion doses of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine ( 900 million as an option) for the years 2022 and 2023. According to insider information, the purchase price is a gigantic 35 billion euros.

Not only the volume is spectacular. It is also unusual that von der Leyen apparently personally arranged the contract in talks with Pfizer boss Albert Bourla – the European Court of Auditors speaks of “preliminary negotiations”. Nevertheless, the President of the Commission adamantly refuses to provide any information about her exchange with the Pfizer boss. Now von der Leyen even rebuffed the Court of Auditors – and may have overdone it. The auditors took an interest in the deal as part of a special report on European vaccine procurement. According to her account, von der Leyen conducted the preliminary negotiations with the Pfizer boss in March 2021 without involving the joint negotiating team, as would have corresponded to a Commission decision on the procedure.

The auditors asked the Commission for information about the preliminary negotiations, such as experts involved, timetable, records, details of the agreed terms. After all, this contract will “shape the EU’s vaccine portfolio until the end of 2023”. But the examiners received a rejection: “No information was transmitted,” they write. Internally, the inspectors are stunned: “This behavior is extremely unusual, something like this has never happened before,” says the authority. However, the Court of Auditors cannot enforce anything in this case. The EU Parliament has the lever in its hand. There threatens from the Leyen Trouble. The chair of the Budget Control Committee, Monika Hohlmeier (CSU), calls it “very worrying” that the Commission is refusing to give the Court of Auditors central information for evaluating the preliminary negotiations, especially because of their influence on the proper award procedure.

According to the Court of Auditors, the tender only contained what had previously been informally agreed, Hohlmeier told our editorial team: “The Committee on Budgetary Control will reprimand the Commission here and insist that information relevant to the audit must always be shared with the Court of Auditors without restrictions.” The lack of transparency in the multi-billion dollar contracts has long been an issue in the EU Parliament, also because it plays into the hands of anti-vaccination campaigns. Von der Leyen’s blockade is fueling all sorts of speculation among critics, such as an alleged preference for the US company Pfizer. The Washington-based consumer organization SumOfUs accuses von der Leyen of agreeing to a hefty price increase in her talks with Bourla, even though a discount would have been obvious given the enormous quantity. In fact, with the deal, the price per Biontech vaccine dose rose from EUR 15.50 to EUR 19.50 – the then Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borrisov revealed this out of annoyance at the high costs.

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It’s over.

Just 1.5% Of Eligible Americans Have Gotten Updated COVID Booster (ZH)

Only 1.5% of those eligible to receive the new Covid booster jab – which was tested on just 8 mice, not humans, before the FDA approved it – have taken the updated shot, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 4.4 million people have taken the tweaked booster shot from Pfizer and Moderna after they were rolled out three weeks ago around Labor Day weekend. The bivalent shots were designed to target both the original Covid-19 strain, and the currently circulating Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, NBC News reports. “I would expect a much higher proportion of Americans to have gotten the booster by this point,” said Yale Medicine infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Scott Robers, who said the relatively low uptake was “demoralizing.”

“The fact that this booster came out days before Biden said the pandemic is over is a huge mixed message,” said Roberts, who added that a lack of public awareness surrounding the shots – or the ‘prevailing narrative that the pandemic is ending’ might have hindered the rollout. “Now it’s going to be that much harder to convince those at risk who are on the fence to get a booster.” As of Tuesday, the US had shipped over 25 million boosters to tens of thousands of sites. Approximately 80% of the US population has received at least one shot of the primary Covid vaccine, and almost 68% are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ by the CDC – meaning they’ve received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s offering, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.


“[..] experts are still gathering real-world data, since the shots were distributed without results from human trials. Laboratory studies found that the boosters generated strong antibody responses against BA.4 and BA.5, and human trial data showed that a similar vaccine yielded a strong antibody response against the initial omicron strain, BA.1. Authorization of the bivalent boosters for children ages 5 to 11 may be just weeks away, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at an event this week with the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.” -NBC News Word of the slow uptake comes after Denmark recommended that only those over the age of 50, or who are at risk of developing severe Covid-19, receive the vaccine.

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Trailer

Malhotra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Einstein

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 192022
 


Pablo Picasso Horses and person 1939

 

Germans Could Be ‘Left Without A Country’ Soon – Trump (RT)
Sympathy For Germany (Varoufakis)
Rand Corp. “Executive Summary: Weakening Germany, Strengthening the U.S.” (RP)
Hungary PM Orban Warns Ukraine Could Lose Up To Half Of Its Territory (RT)
Hungary Can No Longer Be Considered A Full Democracy – EU Lawmakers (RMX)
EU To Deprive Hungary Of Billions In Funds (RT)
EU Launch Propaganda Board Game About Commission Tsar Ursula von der Leyen (BB)
EU Ports Signal Readiness To Let Russian Fertilizers Through – UN (RT)
Updated List of US-Based Food Manufacturing Plants Destroyed Under Biden (GP)
Covid Injections Are Dangerous, What You Can Do If You’ve Had One or Two (TE)
The Power Of Collective Grief, From the Queen to George Floyd to Covid (G.)
Biden: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’ (CNN)
850 More Unvaxxed NYC Teachers, Aides Fired Over Mandate (NYP)
US Marine Corps Quietly Changes COVID-19 Vaccine Policy (ET)
Study Takes Wrecking Ball to Myths About Apocalyptic ‘Climate Change’ (BN)
Secret Documents Have Exposed the CIA’s Julian Assange Obsession (Jacobin)

 

 

 

 

Biden Taiwan

 

 

 

 

Biden inflation

 

 

 

 

Biden pandemic is over

 

 

McCullough

 

 

 

 

“If you are getting 72% of your energy from Russia, here’s the white flag, because you will be surrendering very quickly..”

Germans Could Be ‘Left Without A Country’ Soon – Trump (RT)

Germany could soon cease to exist as a country amid the escalating energy crisis, former US president Donald Trump has suggested. During a rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday, Trump tore into his successor in the White House, taking aim at Biden’s energy policy and the so-called Green New Deal in particular. The Republican firebrand claimed that, although under his rule the US had become independent in terms of energy and on track to become “totally dominant in energy, bigger than Saudi Arabia and Russia combined,” Joe Biden has since reduced the US to “begging for energy.” Trump then went on to cite Germany’s sorry state of affairs in this area.

According to the ex-president, he warned then-Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was supposed to pump Russian gas to Germany, would make Berlin even more dependent on Russian energy exports. Trump said he had sent the “white flag of surrender” to Angela Merkel when she refused to ditch the project. “If you are getting 72% of your energy from Russia, here’s the white flag, because you will be surrendering very quickly,” the former US head of state recounted his own warning to Merkel. He proceeded to cite the “bad things” which have happened between Berlin and Moscow in the past as proof that Germany should not have relied so heavily on Russia. The former US president concluded by saying that “Germany now is going back to the old-fashioned stuff, including coal,” despite its previous pledges to go green.

“But they have no choice, they won’t have a country, they won’t have a country left,” Trump warned cryptically, before returning to the topic of domestic politics again. Gas prices in Europe soared dramatically soon after Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine in late February, and have remained consistently higher than last year’s ever since. With both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines now inoperative, either due to Berlin’s own or to Moscow’s decision, the German government has put in place emergency measures to stock up on gas. Multiple senior officials in Germany have warned that the coming winter is likely to be tough.

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Yanis claims that Germany should have invested more in “clean energy”. First, there’s no such thing. And second, Germany invested more in what that is supposed to be than anyone else. And look where it is today.

Sympathy For Germany (Varoufakis)

Today, it is the Germans who are facing a wall of condescension, antipathy, and even mockery. Ironic as it may seem, no Europeans are better placed than the Greeks to understand that the Germans deserve better; that their current predicament is the result of our collective, European failure; and that no one – least of all the long-suffering Greeks, southern Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese (the PIGS as we were once called) – benefits from schadenfreude. The tables have been turned on Germany because its economic model relied on repressed wages, cheap Russian gas, and excellence in mid-tech mechanical engineering – particularly manufacturing cars with internal combustion engines.

This resulted in massive trade surpluses during four distinct post-World War II phases: under the US-led Bretton Woods system, which provided fixed exchange rates and market access to Europe, Asia, and the Americas; then, after the collapse of Bretton Woods, when the single European market proved highly lucrative for German exports; again following the introduction of the euro, when vendor financing opened the floodgates for both goods and capital flowing from Germany to Europe’s periphery; and, finally, when China’s hunger for intermediate and final manufacturing products took up the slack after the euro crisis dampened demand for German goods in southern Europe.

Germans are now slowly coming to terms with the demise of their economic model and are beginning to see through the multifaceted Big Lie their elites were repeating for three decades: Fiscal surpluses were not prudence in action, but rather a monumental failure, during the long years of ultra-low interest rates, to invest in clean energy, critical infrastructure, and the two crucial technologies of the future: batteries and artificial intelligence. Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Chinese demand was never sustainable in the long term; and they are not mere bugs that can be ironed out. The claim that the German model was compatible with Europe’s monetary union is also being exposed as false. Lacking a fiscal and a political union, the EU was always going to saddle Club Med governments, banks, and corporations with unpayable debts, which eventually would force the European Central Bank to choose between letting the euro die and embarking upon a permanent bankruptcy-concealment project.

The myth of “green growth”

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“The impeachment of the President cannot be ruled out under these circumstances, which must be avoided at all costs.”

Rand Corp. “Executive Summary: Weakening Germany, Strengthening the U.S.” (RP)

In a recently revealed research report written by RAND, dated Jan. 25, 2022 and labeled CONFIDENTIAL, John Mark Dougan has released what may be one of most important motivations the United States may have in encouraging the conflict in Ukraine: maintaining power. The 6 page report published prior to any conflict beginning, but after the State Department’s ominous warning of “Russian sponsored false flag attacks”, appears to be a photocopy of an official RAND research product, meant for the White House and National Security community here in America. The distribution channels listed on the cover page include: WHCS, ANSA, Dept. of State, CIA, NSA & DNC.

That’s right, the Democratic National Committee is copied on a research report that’s been directed at the national security community and perhaps members of the Biden White House. WHCS and ANSA are mysteries to me, but I thought perhaps they led to the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know in the comments. The second page includes the standard copyright attributions and language about the mission of Rand. On the third page is where we get to the good stuff! It’s unknown if the report extends beyond the 4 pages included in the Executive Summary, but the headings and text included in those 4 pages are damning. It appears that RAND has predicted that the United States economy is on the brink of collapse.

Rising debt and uncontrolled printing of cash as a result of the economic downturn brought on by the plandemic, has brought the United States to a precarious position. They predict the continued deterioration of the economy will likely lead to the defeat of the Democrat party in both Congress and the Senate, opening the door to an impeachment of Joe Biden in the next session of Congress. “The impeachment of the President cannot be ruled out under these circumstances, which must be avoided at all costs.” This passage alone demonstrates the partisan work being done by RAND and the coordinated tactics in use between the Democrat party and the National Security State, THE DEEP STATE. But what’s most shocking is the lengths they suggest going to in order to maintain control of the nation by both groups in order to protect Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings from behind the scenes.

The Executive Summary begins with the title: “Weakening Germany, strengthening the US”, with the ultimate goal being the infusion of cash into the banking system by European and NATO aligned nations. Hopefully being able to avoid significant military and political cost in the process. As RAND sees it, the greatest obstacle to achieving this goal is the ever growing independence of Germany. That problem seems to have been addressed with the war in Ukraine and the sanction on Russia, resulting in the killing of the Nordstream pipeline and the cutoff of natural gas from Russia into Germany. That alone will undoubtedly lead to Germany requiring assistance from other European nations if they hope to save their citizens when the heat turns off. Control of Germany and their governmental decision making process seems to be of chief concern to RAND, which predicts that the destabilization of the US would lead to a quickening of the independence of Germany and the inevitable end of US influence. Once that happens, RAND believes that France and Germany will align, along with other old European nations, creating an economic and political competitor to the United States. As long as these things can be staved off, the global dominance of America can be assured.

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Germany no country, Ukraine half a country. Good times for mapmakers ahead.

Hungary PM Orban Warns Ukraine Could Lose Up To Half Of Its Territory (RT)

The Ukraine conflict could last until 2030 and the West is to blame for making it global rather than local in nature, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said, according to Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL). Orban was reportedly speaking at a closed-door event involving his ruling Fidesz party a week ago, with the details of his speech now being leaked to the media. The Hungarian leader allegedly told his supporters in the village of Kotcse on September 10 that he believed Ukraine may end up losing between one third and one half of its territory due to the conflict with Russia, RFE/RL reported on Friday, citing participants of the meeting. The fighting between Moscow and Kiev – which is being helped by the US, EU and some other countries – could continue all the way until 2030, Orban reportedly warned.

The crisis in Ukraine started as a local conflict but the involvement of the West has turned it into a global affair, the prime minister said. According to the report, Orban again lashed out at EU sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, saying the bloc had shot itself in the foot with those curbs. The energy crisis, which occurred as a result of those restrictions, could force 40% of European industry to shut down this winter, he reportedly added. In his speech, the Hungarian leader also allegedly revealed that European leaders are expected to decide on prolonging the sanctions for another six months later in autumn, insisting that an attempt should be made to prevent that extension.

The way things are going now, the eurozone and the EU itself could cease to exist by 2030, Orban was quoted as saying. Hungary has remained relatively neutral since the outbreak of fighting in Ukraine in late February. It has refused to send arms to Kiev and consistently criticized EU sanctions on Moscow. Budapest, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, was also able to negotiate an exemption for itself from the bloc-wide ban on Russian oil. Earlier this month, Mikulas Bek, the European affairs minister of the Czech Republic, which now presides over the EU Council, warned that Hungary’s stance on Russia could theoretically end up with it exiting the bloc.

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Orban got elected with “a landslide election victory with a two-thirds majority in April of this year”. That is far more than all the people who say it’s not a democracy.

Hungary Can No Longer Be Considered A Full Democracy – EU Lawmakers (RMX)

Hungary can no longer be considered a fully-functioning democracy and should be regarded as a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy,” a report adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday stated. European lawmakers adopted a non-binding but significant resolution on Thursday by 433 votes to 123, which criticized democratic principles in Hungary. This resolution comes despite Hungary’s government securing a landslide election victory with a two-thirds majority in April of this year, representing one of the strongest democratic mandates in all of Europe. The election was also certified as free and fair by a range of independent election observers.

Nevertheless, in a press release following the vote, the European Parliament condemned the “deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government” to undermine European values and demands. Furthermore, it claimed the situation in Hungary has deteriorated to such an extent that it can only now be considered an “electoral autocracy.” It blames what it regards as a democratic “backslide” on both Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz administration, and the European Commission which it claims has exacerbated the situation through its omission to intervene. MEPs further called for EU recovery funds to continue being withheld from the Hungarian treasury “until the country complies with EU recommendations and court rulings.”

The continuous criticism of Hungary has been ongoing since 2018 when MEPs first triggered the Article 7 procedure, what some consider to be a nuclear option which can ultimately deprive a member state of its voting rights. The only other country to be subject to the Article 7 procedure is Poland, which also conveniently continues to elect a conservative national government, much to the dismay of federalist, pro-globalism officials in Brussels, many who occupy their positions with no democratic mandate.

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Because Orban is right-wing, and independent, and won’t join the anti-Russia craze.

EU To Deprive Hungary Of Billions In Funds (RT)

The European Commission on Sunday proposed withholding $7.5 billion of funds allocated to Hungary, due to corruption concerns. The suspension is aimed at protecting the bloc’s budget, according to Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn. “Today’s decision is a clear demonstration of the Commission’s resolve to protect the EU budget, and use all tools at our disposal to ensure this important objective,” the commissioner told reporters. The money would come from thee “cohesion funds” granted to Hungary, which are intended to help EU countries bring their economies up to the bloc’s standards. If approved, the funding cut will be the first punitive measure of its kind under the EU’s rule of law mechanism, which gives Brussels the right to impose financial penalties on member states if their actions are seen as violating EU values.

Brussels triggered the unprecedented procedure against Hungary in April this year. According to Hahn, Budapest has since then announced a number of measures aimed at fixing the issues. For instance, the Hungarian government recently said it plans to create an anti-corruption authority to oversee the spending of EU funds by the end of September. However, Hahn said the timeline for Hungary to “accordingly” implement the necessary measures is “very tight.” “A risk for the budget at this stage remains, therefore we cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected,” he stated.

The EU Council now has one month to decide whether to adopt the Commission’s proposal. Hungary will then be given one month to reply or request an extension, meaning the Commission could freeze the funds on November 19 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Hungary has said it will be ready to roll out most of its “remedial” measures by that deadline, with the government expected to propose a package of anti-corruption laws next week. Earlier this week, in a symbolic vote against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, members of the European Parliament said the country can no longer be considered a democracy, calling it instead a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” due to the alleged failure to uphold fundamental rights and the rule of law in the country.

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“..the EU has opted to instead release a physical board game rather than a digital app or web game which, while antiquated, will at least ensure EU citizens are able to play the Commission’s latest release during a winter set to be plagued by rolling blackouts.”

EU Launch Propaganda Board Game About Commission Tsar Ursula von der Leyen (BB)

Organised fun has once again come to the European Union, with the transnational bloc releasing a new propaganda board game centring around the rule of its Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. The game — which was released ahead of von der Leyen’s state of the union address this week — is perhaps the latest of a long line of propaganda games released the world over, with North Korea and Communist China in particular being known for wacky authoritarian apps and video games pushing state ideals and ideology. However, unlike its propaganda publishing counterparts in East Asia, the EU has opted to instead release a physical board game rather than a digital app or web game which, while antiquated, will at least ensure EU citizens are able to play the Commission’s latest release during a winter set to be plagued by rolling blackouts.

Imaginatively titled “Von der Leyen Commission 101: Test your knowledge” the game centres around answering questions to do with Ursula von der Leyen’s over three years in office, the aim of the game is to answer as many questions correctly as possible to reach the finish line. A simple core concept, the game features rolling dice, using so-called “jolly” counters, as well as monitoring how many questions each individual player has gotten correct in a row. Despite that simplicity — and perhaps in a classic reflection of how the European Commission works — with padding, the rulebook for this basic game runs to over 100 pages in its English edition.


Although needlessly convoluted, the board game’s constant reference to EU achievements and talking points put it squarely in the realm of propaganda, the likes of which are well known in more authoritarian regimes throughout the world. The specific focus on von der Leyen recalls games published in China built around the cult of personality of Xi Jinping. One of these apps even involves the player trying to applaud the socialist leader as much as possible within 14 seconds, with users encouraged to rapidly tap their phone screens in praise of the head of state.

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Because this can no longer be blamed on Putin.

EU Ports Signal Readiness To Let Russian Fertilizers Through – UN (RT)

Major European ports have signaled their readiness to facilitate the export of Russian fertilizers, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with RIA Novosti, published on Saturday. “We are… in contact with the ports. We have received positive signals from Rotterdam, from the Finnish port of Kotka. We are also in discussions with Antwerp and Hamburg. So we are very attentive to this problem and very committed to solving it,” the official said in response to a question on the export of Russian fertilizers. In July, a multilateral agreement was signed in Istanbul freeing up Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea and lifting restrictions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports.


While Western sanctions do not technically restrict the sale of Russian agricultural produce, the measures still affect shipping, posing problems to payments and insurance of Russian cargo, among other things. According to Russia, however, the promised lifting of restrictions on Russian exports has not come about yet, with tons of fertilizers currently amassed at EU ports. Guterres said he spoke with EU leaders this week and is certain that the situation will improve soon. “First of all, we are engaged in trying to convince those who put certain obstacles to remove them. This week I had an intensive series of contacts with the leaders of the EU. And I hope there will be a positive change with regard to the possibility of distributing Russian grain and fertilizers without obstacles through Europe to other markets,” Guterres stated.

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Go to GP for the interactive map.

Updated List of US-Based Food Manufacturing Plants Destroyed Under Biden (GP)

Another reader of Gateway Pundit who wanted to stay anonymous has been doing extensive research regarding what is going on with the food supply. “I have created an interactive map that will let you click on (or hover over) an icon and it will provide all of the details of what happened at that location, including a link to the article,” she said. Below is the excerpt of the email she sent to Gateway Pundit: “If I had any doubts about this being on purpose, that is completely gone at this point. It’s almost terrifying seeing what is going on and the majority of people have no idea. Every day something else happens to add to this list. Things are happening so quickly now, that it is mind boggling. Big Tech is covering most of these up or burying them so far down the feed that most people never see them. I have investigative skills that I have used my entire career so I know how to get around all of that or I would never have found what I have.”

I had not heard of anyone looking up actual grocery store fires so that is what started me down this path. Once I saw how bad it was and the patterns that are happening it was clear what they are doing, and I am now convinced they are getting people to help with this just like they did with the election. I realize that not all of these are on purpose but once you see how big this is, it cannot be denied that something evil is going on and we are about to have our legs kicked out from under us…

I wanted to see if you could send out an update for the map? When you first posted my map, there were so many people going to it that they told me it was going to cost several thousand dollars for a certain amount of views. I told them I didn’t have money like that so I would make it private for myself only or try to find another company. Apparently word got around so fast from your article that people bombarded the map company and wanted it back up. They contacted me and told me they decided to leave it up so they could get some good publicity because at that point I think it had almost 200,000 (from people around the world!) views within a week or two.

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Now we’re talking.

Covid Injections Are Dangerous, What You Can Do If You’ve Had One or Two (TE)

Dr. Shoemaker: [Ivermectin is] the only medicine that helps you fight if you’ve got a vaccine injury. It’s the key to a vaccine injury protocol. It’s time. It’s time. This is over because the science is strong. The science is huge, that ivermectin is the thing that should always be available. But now that we’ve created this crisis, we need it even more. We need it even more in Canada, in everywhere. Dr. Shoemaker: I want ivermectin available for everybody. I don’t want you to have to go to the veterinary clinic or the veterinary store to get some of this medicine. It has to be made perfectly and ethically legal in all of your pharmacies.


Dr. Trozzi: For the treatment protocols, if like [Dr. Shoemaker], if you’ve had a couple of those injections or one of those injections and you got these spike proteins being produced by yourselves, go to the World Council for Health, go to the Spike Protein Detox Guide. Dr. Shoemaker is aware of that. The FLCCC do a great job [and] Canada Covid Care Alliance. These are very similar protocols. There’s a variety of things you can do, both natural and medicinal, including one of the safest, most effective medications in the history of mankind – ivermectin.

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On the day of her funeral, the Guardian puts her on par with a violent junkie.

The Power Of Collective Grief, From the Queen to George Floyd to Covid (G.)

As many have noted, this period of national mourning has a peculiarly British tinge, with the rain, the queueing, the marmalade sandwiches. People stood through the night, in a miles-long line that ran through central London, to pay their last respects to the Queen, lying in state. The TV coverage was almost soothing in its bland repetition, and its sombre reverence unavoidable.

For those of us of a republican leaning, the whole thing can feel bizarre and alienating, but for many others, the depth of their feeling may have caught them by surprise. “We have a relationship with these public figures,” says Julia Samuel, a psychotherapist who specialises in bereavement. The Queen, in particular, has “been the backdrop of our lives and this connecting thread. She’s the symbol of the mother of the nation and symbol of this idea of predictability, in such a changing, turbulent world. So we have a feeling of loss.” Precisely because of the Queen’s unknowability, we project our emotions on to her. “There’s a feeling of security in having a relationship with someone, particularly if you don’t actually know them, because you can put on to them what you need,” says Samuel.

We have come to know this outpouring of public emotion as collective grief. “The thing about collective grief is that it can put you in touch with your own losses,” says Samuel. “It can be loss of a parent and it reminds you of your mum or dad dying, or it puts you in touch with your mortality. If you have unresolved losses, it can bring lots of other feelings that aren’t necessarily to do with the Queen, that can feel quite overwhelming because it goes to the same place.”

Grief can be comforting, she says, when we are “feeling it at the same time. People feel bonded and have this sense of social safety, and of it reinforcing social ties. I think that’s why in queueing for the vigil or going to the different palaces, people find that calming. What research shows is that having great experiences of loss, you do worse alone than when you have the love and connection to others.” In a close bereavement, you would want this to be with friends and family, says Samuel. “But I also think there is something about strangers feeling like they know each other when they’re coming to put flowers at Buckingham Palace.”

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That must mean all mandates are also over.

Biden: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’ (CNN)

President Joe Biden said he believes the Covid-19 pandemic is “over” in an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” but acknowledged the US still has a “problem” with the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over,” Biden said. The US government still designates Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency and the World Health Organization says it remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. But the President’s comments follow other hopeful comments from global health leaders.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a news briefing last week that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was “in sight,” and that the world has never been in a better position to end the Covid-19 pandemic. “Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight.” Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adjusted its Covid-19 guidance to urge the nation away from measures such as quarantines and social distancing and instead focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19. But the agency says some people, including those who are older, immunocompromised, have certain disabilities or underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for serious illness, and may need to take more precautions.

There were about 65,000 new Covid-19 cases reported each day over the past two weeks, data from Johns Hopkins University shows, and reported cases are dropping in almost every state. Across the United States, about 400 people are dying every day from Covid-19. Although official case counts are far from representative of true levels of transmission, forecasts published by the CDC say that new hospitalizations and deaths will hold steady for the next month. For people hospitalized for Covid-19, the risk of dying fell to the lowest it’s ever been during the Omicron wave, according to a study published last week by the CDC.

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Oh wait…

850 More Unvaxxed NYC Teachers, Aides Fired Over Mandate (NYP)

The city Department of Education has axed another 850 teachers and classroom aides — bringing the total to nearly 2,000 school employees fired for failure to comply with a vaccine mandate increasingly struck down in court. About 1,300 DOE employees who took a year’s unpaid leave — with benefits — agreed to show proof of COVID vaccination by Sept. 5 or be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned.” Of those staffers, 450 got a shot by the deadline and “are returning to their prior schools or work locations,” DOE officials told The Post. They include some 225 teachers and 135 paraprofessionals. The 850 let go makes roughly 1,950 DOE staffers terminated since the vaccine mandate took effect on Oct. 29, 2021.

Rachelle Garcia, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn for 15 years and mother of two, worked fully in person during the pandemic and never got sick, she said. But she refused to get vaccinated, finally taking leave after the DOE denied her requests for a religious exemption. “I really put my eggs in one basket, hoping and praying that at the last minute our mayor would turn everything around in time for me to go back to work,” she said. Mayor Adams never lifted the vaccine mandate, while other cities and states are dropping such requirements due to relaxed CDC guidelines. “I’m angry, I’m hurt, to be cast aside like I was nothing. Because I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to my students, other teachers told me they kept asking, ‘When is Ms. Garcia coming back?’ That made me cry so much.”

She is now applying for jobs on Long Island. In all, NYC has fired more than 2,600 municipal workers not fully vaccinated, according to City Hall tallies. But last week, a Manhattan judge ruled that an unvaccinated NYPD officer, one of the dozens terminated, can’t be fired because the city gave no explanation of why it rejected his religious exemption request.

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They can’t any recruits.

US Marine Corps Quietly Changes COVID-19 Vaccine Policy (ET)

The U.S. Marine Corps issued guidance to roll back its strict punishments for service members who are seeking COVID-19 vaccine exemptions. In guidance posted online on Sept. 14, the “Marine Corps will not enforce any order to accept COVID-19 vaccination, administratively separate, or retaliate against Marines in the class for asserting statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” That guidance was changed following a recent Florida federal court order that temporarily blocked the Marines from taking action against individuals who seek a religious exemption. The latest guidance posted by the Marines made reference to that order, which was handed down in August.

“Involuntary administrative separation processing of class members for refusing COVID-19 vaccination is suspended,” the memo also said, while it directs commanders to “pause all administrative actions related to the involuntary separation of a class member, regardless of the current status of the separation process.” Listing several examples, the Marine guidance added that “no orders will be given to receive the vaccine, no counselings will be issued for refusing the vaccine, no administrative separation boards will be conducted,” and no discharges will be issued. If the Florida judge’s order is vacated or expires, the Marines may still enforce punishment against those who don’t meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, a spokesperson told Fox News.

Last year, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin issued an order that mandated vaccinations for all members of the armed service. “The Marine Corps is aware of the class-wide preliminary injunction issued by a District Court judge for the Middle District of Florida preventing the Marine Corps from enforcing any order to accept the COVID-19 vaccine or administratively separating Marines who refused to receive the COVID vaccine after their religious accommodation appeal was denied,” Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. Jay Hernandez told the outlet. In recent months, reports have indicated that every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits, triggering warnings from some members of Congress.

Some have flagged the Pentagon’s strict vaccine requirement while others have said it is because of the slow creep of “woke” diversity trainings and mandates into the military. And others say that high U.S. obesity rates may be a contributing factor, and others note that the pay is not adequate. “We are on the cusp of a military recruiting crisis,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) told Politico in July. “When Republicans take control of Congress in a few months,” he added, “averting the recruiting crisis will be a top priority of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.”

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This discussion has become far too one-sided.

Study Takes Wrecking Ball to Myths About Apocalyptic ‘Climate Change’ (BN)

Climate experts have published peer-reviewed research in the journal European Physical Journal Plus that takes a wrecking ball to numerous unsubstantiated claims about ‘apocalyptic’ climate change that have flourished in the mainstream press. One such article comes from the New York Times in March 2022, which claimed that: “Scientists have been able to draw links between a warming planet and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts, but the same can’t be said for tornadoes yet.” But such presumptions are utterly demolished with data and fact-based analysis in the 2022 study, “A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming.” It disabuses readers of the fallacious argument that climate change poses an existential threat to human life and to the planet.

The first point of contention that the researchers analyze is whether the marginal increase in global temperatures has been accompanied by an increase in major hurricanes. “Historically, around 60% of all economic damages caused by disasters worldwide is the consequence of hurricanes in the USA, and more than 80% of this damage comes from major hurricanes,” the authors state. “It is therefore not surprising that hurricanes grab interest and attention. Due to their frightening destructive potential, it is also not surprising that hurricanes are a central element in the debate on climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.” “To date, global observations do not show any significant trends in both the number and the energy accumulated by hurricanes, as shown in Fig. 1 and as claimed in several specific papers for the USA, which report the trend dating back to over 160 years ago, or for other regions of the globe,” the authors note.

“Therefore, after adjusting the time series to take into account the smaller observational capacities of the past, there remains only a small nominally positive upward trend of the tropical storms from 1878 to 2006,” the authors observe. “Statistical tests indicate that this trend is not significantly distinguishable from zero.”

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“a major breach of international law” that constituted “a violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty, of the human rights of dozens of individuals, including the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, and of all the rules regarding the sanctity and inviolability of diplomatic missions.”

Secret Documents Have Exposed the CIA’s Julian Assange Obsession (Jacobin)

In 2021, over a year and half after the UC Global employees shared their experiences, Yahoo! News released a bombshell story based on former US government sources about the CIA’s “secret war plans against WikiLeaks.” The CIA received direct footage from within the embassy, plotted to kidnap Assange, and toyed with the idea of assassinating him. That US government sources have detailed CIA plots that mirror those of the UC Global witnesses presents fairly powerful corroboration of the most serious allegations. Yahoo’s investigation also stated the CIA covert operations escalated dramatically as Trump’s CIA chief, Pompeo, was incensed by the so-called Vault 7 disclosures, detailing highly classified CIA spying techniques.

This also lines up with the testimony of the UC Global employees who say the company’s actions ramped up considerably after Trump’s election. The pivotal moment, per Yahoo, in the CIA’s decision to consider kidnapping Assange came after they caught wind that Ecuador might make Assange a diplomat to another country. Assange’s legal team was willing to consider countries that struck a defiant posture against the United States, including Venezuela, Bolivia, or Cuba. The Ecuadorian government instead suggested Russia, which had granted Edward Snowden asylum. Assange rejected the idea, fearing it would fuel further conspiracy theories. UC Global captured footage and audio of the meeting where this was discussed, meaning it likely played a pivotal role in the CIA escalation of its covert campaign against Assange.

Faced with the claims of his former employees, UC Global owner Morales has denied working for US intelligence. Initially, he denied any surveillance took place at all. After that position became impossible to maintain, Morales switched his story, claiming it was authorized by Ecuador’s then ambassador to the UK, Carlos Abad. Abad passed away in November 2019, but Jacobin spoke to former Ecuadorian foreign minister Guillaume Long. Long has also testified before the Spanish criminal probe into Morales. Long explained how documents from Morales purporting to show Ecuador authorized the surveillance are forgeries, and crude ones at that. For example, they used the wrong email endings for Ecuadorian diplomatic officials. In addition to fake email addresses, the documents themselves also bore fake serial numbers.

“They [UC Global] were clearly intercepted by the CIA to spy on all of us, especially Assange,” Long told Jacobin. Long called the US-directed surveillance “a major breach of international law” that constituted “a violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty, of the human rights of dozens of individuals, including the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, and of all the rules regarding the sanctity and inviolability of diplomatic missions.”

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Putin full press conference at SCO

 

 

 

 

Unexpected

 

 

 

Fish fingers

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 112022
 


Edouard Vuillard The two sisters 1899

 

Zelensky To Headline US Defense Industry Conference (Hill)
US Military Aid To Ukraine Grows To Historic Proportions (IC)
The Izium Withdrawal – A Catalyst For ‘Starting In Earnest’ (MoA)
Russian Military Explains Partial Withdrawal (RT)
Are We Indeed Headed Into WWIII And What Can Save Us? (Doctorow)
EU Has Run Out Of Energy – Orban (RT)
Greek Citizens Saving On Food To Pay For Energy (RT)
German Recession ‘Inevitable’ – Deutsche Bank
Hungary On ‘Edge Of Abyss’ In EU – Czech Minister (RT)
Trump Team And DOJ Suggest Rival ‘Special Master’ Candidates (G.)
Declassify the Documents From Trump’s Basement (Leonard Goodman)
US Household Net Worth Drops $6.1 Trillion in Q2 (CTH)
Declaration Of International Medical Crisis Over ‘Covid-19 Vaccines’ (DS)

 

 

It’s not very clear what is happening with the Ukraine ‘counterattack’. It’s taken Russia by surprise, for sure, but there appears to have been hardly any fighting. The Russians simply withdrew, with very few casualties or wounded. And this map of the “salient” doesn’t look all that good for Ukraine. Fish in a barrel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad start, Chuckie! That looks awful. In the internet age, people get to see these things.

 

 

Bannon

 

 

 

 

Invest!

Zelensky To Headline US Defense Industry Conference (Hill)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address U.S. defense contractors later this month when he headlines the annual Future Force Capabilities Conference and Exhibition hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). Zelensky is scheduled to speak at the event Sept. 21, according to the program for the event available on the NDIA’s website. Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of defense, is also scheduled to speak that day. News of the appearances was first reported by Reuters, which noted that the officials will speak via video link. Zelensky is expected to appeal for more weapons for his country during his speech, the outlet added.


News of the Ukrainian president’s speech to the NDIA — whose membership includes defense industry giants like Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics — comes as Kyiv looks to fend off Russia’s invasion as it drags through its sixth month. Eight defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed and General Dynamics — attended a meeting at the Pentagon in April to discuss how the U.S. could speed up production to help Ukraine fend off Moscow’s war. The U.S. has committed $15.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including $14.5 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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“The U.S. is really preparing for a long war. … It’s actually preparing for endless war in Ukraine..”

US Military Aid To Ukraine Grows To Historic Proportions (IC)

SINCE RUSSIA’S UNPROVOKED invasion of Ukraine in February, the U.S. government has pumped more money and weapons into supporting the Ukrainian military than it sent in 2020 to Afghanistan, Israel, and Egypt combined — surpassing in a matter of months three of the largest recipients of U.S. military aid in history. Keeping track of the numbers is challenging. Since the war started, U.S. officials have announced a flurry of initiatives aimed at supporting Ukrainian defense efforts while keeping short of a more direct involvement in the conflict. On Thursday, on a surprise visit to Kyiv, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new $675 million package of U.S. military equipment as well as a $2.2 billion “long-term” investment to bolster the security of Ukraine and 17 of its neighbor countries.

Weeks earlier, President Joe Biden unveiled a $3 billion aid package, the largest yet, symbolically choosing Ukraine’s Independence Day for the announcement. The administration noted on that occasion that the total military assistance committed to Ukraine this year had reached $12.9 billion, more than $15.5 billion since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. And this month, Biden also asked Congress to authorize an additional $13.7 billion for Ukraine, including money for equipment and intelligence.

Because the assistance is drawn from a variety of sources — and because it’s not always easy to distinguish between aid that’s been authorized, pledged, or delivered — some analysts estimate the true figure of the U.S. commitment to Ukraine is much higher: up to $40 billion in security assistance, or $110 million a day over the last year. This assistance is believed to be playing an important role in the advances Ukraine is making in an ongoing offensive to retake territory seized by Russia earlier this year; the cities of Kupiansk and Izium are reported to have just been liberated. What is clear is that the volume and speed of the assistance headed to Ukraine is unprecedented, and that legislators and observers are struggling to keep up.

[..] “The U.S. is really preparing for a long war. … It’s actually preparing for endless war in Ukraine,” said Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, a grassroots-funded U.S. foreign policy think tank that has been tracking the assistance. “They’re saying, ‘We’re only doing this long-term approach because Putin is the one insisting on doing so.’ And that could be right — but at the same time, it’s not like the U.S. is expressing much confidence in its diplomatic skills to end the conflict, rather than just trying to outlast Putin.”

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A lot of pressure on Putin to go big.

The Izium Withdrawal – A Catalyst For ‘Starting In Earnest’ (MoA)

Russia pulled back from Kiev and started phase two of the war. Since then the Luhansk oblast and the land corridor to Crimea, especially Mariupol, have been won. The liberation of the Donetsk Republic has stalled. The number of Russian and allied forces fighting the war was kept steady or even decreased over time. Meanwhile the Ukrainian forces have grown manifold. They are getting a very significant amount of arms from ‘western’ sources and new promises to keep those supplies coming. Even when they are armed to a lesser degree, higher numbers of men do matter over time. This made potentially costly defeats, like recently at the Izium front, possible. The Russian military has readjusted to this threat by decreasing the held territory and by concentrating on the original aims of the war.

The Russian public, which at first did not fully understand why the war was necessary, has since grown in its awareness. It now understands the big game that is played against its country. It demands to adjust the level of resources put into the war to the one needed for a decisive victory. That is why Dima concludes that: “We can say that today was the best ever [..] day for the Russians in the territory of Ukraine.” It is now likely assured that they will be liberated. One way or another. I also believe that the withdrawal from the Izium region, which left behind a significant number of pro-Russian civilians under deadly threats from fascist ‘filtration’ groups, will be the catalyst for a significant escalation on the Russian side. I may, like so often, be wrong. There is still an intermediate play to come.

The 3rd Russian Corps, formed from well paid reservists, armed with new weapons and now reportedly deployed south of the Donbas region, might be a game changer. If it moves north, and manages to role up the Ukrainian fortifications at the Donetsk line from behind, it may become the decisive force. But the establishment of the mobile Ukrainian forces that in recent days moved, largely unopposed, towards the Oskol river, is a new card which the Ukrainians can play again against any weak spot in the Russian lines. The Russian public, softly led by the Kremlin through Russian media, is now likely to demand more. That must not mean the total mobilization of the Russian military. ‘Western’ claims that Russia is isolated are wrong. It has many friends it can call upon to contribute to its efforts. Diversion moves against the U.S. military in many regions of the world are just one of several possibilities.

Time is always the third force on the battlefield. Both opponents have to play against it. Europe is currently starving itself by boycotting Russian energy resources. That is unsustainable and it will, over time, have to stop following its current U.S. directed policies. Economically the Ukraine is broke and it can not, despite foreign subsidies, sustain a long war. There are also potential political changes within the U.S. that will play a role. Still, the game must be won on Ukrainian grounds. Russia must up its game. On July 7, in a session with Duma leaders and party factions heads, Putin said: “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try. We have already heard a lot about the West wanting to fight us ”to the last Ukrainian.“ This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but that seems to be where it is going. But everyone should know that, by and large, we have not started anything in earnest yet.” Well, now may be the time to do so.

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There appear to be a lot of foreign fighters involved.

Russian Military Explains Partial Withdrawal (RT)

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed withdrawal of troops from multiple locations across Ukraine’s Kherson region. The development comes amid a Ukrainian offensive in the area. “In order to achieve the goals of the special military operation, a decision was made to regroup troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum in order to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction,” the Russian military said in a statement on Saturday. The troops stationed in the area have been “re-deployed” over the past three days into territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the ministry claimed. During the operation, the military has performed a “number of distracting and demonstration activities imitating the real action of troops,” it added, without providing any further detail on said maneuvers.


In order to prevent “damage to Russian troops,”the military has been subjecting Ukrainian units in the area to “powerful” artillery, missile and aircraft attacks, the ministry said, claiming destruction of over 100 armor pieces and artillery, as well as elimination of “more than 2,000 Ukrainian and foreign fighters” in the past three days. The withdrawal comes amid a massive Ukrainian offensive that was launched in Kharkov Region on Thursday. The assault was preceded by attempts to advance in other areas, namely near the Russia-controlled southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

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Ramstein.

Are We Indeed Headed Into WWIII And What Can Save Us? (Doctorow)

Izyum is close to the Russian-Ukrainian border southeast of Kharkov and is a major logistical base for munitions and weaponry that are sent onward to support the Donbas operation. The latest information on the Russian side appears to be that the Russians have now dispatched large numbers of reservists to this area to hold their positions. They also speak of intense artillery duels. We may well assume that both sides have experienced heavy loss of life. As yet, the outcome is unforeseeable. Meanwhile, Russian war correspondents on the ground in Donetsk insist that the Russian advance towards Slavyansk, in the center of the former Donetsk oblast, is continuing without pause, which suggests that the strikes on their munitions stores claimed by the Ukrainians have not been totally effective. If Slavyansk is taken in the coming few weeks, then Russia will quickly assume control of the entire territory of the Donbas.

In last night’s talk show program, host Vladimir Solovyov said that this latest push in the Ukrainian counter-offensive was timed to coincide with the gathering at the Ramstein air base, Germany of top officials from NATO and other allies under the direction of the visiting U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. If the Ukrainian efforts were failing in the field, then the cry would go up: we must provide them with more weapons and training. And if the Ukrainian efforts in the counter-offensive were succeeding, those in attendance at Ramstein would hear exactly the same appeal to aid Kiev.

Though Evening with Solovyov, on air from about 23.00 Moscow time, offered viewers some few minutes of video recordings from the opening of the Ramstein gathering, far more complete coverage was provided to Russian audiences a few hours earlier by the afternoon news show Sixty Minutes. Here, nearly half an hour on air was given over to lengthy excerpts from CNN and other U.S. and European mainstream television reporting about Ramstein. Host Yevgeni Popov read the Russian translation of the various Western news bulletins. His presentation clearly sought to dramatize the threat and to set off alarm bells.

For his part, Vladimir Solovyov went beyond presentation of the threat posed by the United States and its allies to analysis of Russia’s possible response. He spoke at length, and we may assume that what he was saying had the direct approval of the Kremlin, because his guests, who are further removed from Power than he is, were, for the most part, allowed only to talk blather, such as the critique by one panelist of a recent pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia article in The New York Review of Books by Yale professor Timothy Snyder, who counts for nothing in the big strategic issues Russia faces today.

So, what did Solovyov have to say? First, that Ramstein marked a new stage in the war, because of the more threatening nature of the weapons systems announced for delivery, such as missiles with accuracy of 1 to 2 meters when fired from distances of 20 or 30 kilometers thanks to their GPS-guided flight, in contrast to the laser-guided missiles delivered to Ukraine up till now. In the same category, there are weapons designed to destroy the Russians’ radar systems used for directing artillery fire. Second, that Ramstein marked the further expansion of the coalition or holy crusade waging war on Russia. Third, that in effect this is no longer a proxy war but a real direct war with NATO and should be prosecuted with appropriate mustering of all resources at home and abroad.

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“There are few continents in such a difficult situation as ours, but only our continent is making its own life so much harder..”

EU Has Run Out Of Energy – Orban (RT)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has blamed the European Union’s energy shortfall on bureaucrats and environmentalists, saying his own country is protected from the crisis. “If we want to dig to the bottom of the problems, we always end up in the same place: the issue of energy. And the situation is that Europe has run out of energy,” Orban wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. The premier blamed the situation on“fundamentalist greens and the bureaucrats”playing “geopolitical games,” arguing that the bloc is refusing to use “different energy sources” for “political reasons,” driving up the cost of living and damaging its industries.

“There are few continents in such a difficult situation as ours, but only our continent is making its own life so much harder,” Orban said, pledging to do everything “needed by the homeland.” We will not have any shortage of energy. This is not a prediction, this is a statement of fact. There will be gas in Hungary and enough electricity. In late August Hungary secured a deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom for additional natural gas supplies, pumped via Serbia. Hungary is one of the few EU member states to comply with the Moscow’s ruble payment requirement for gas deliveries.

However, Budapest is also moving to cut energy consumption. Earlier this week, the government introduced an 18-degree Celsius temperature cap in all public institutions across the country. The authorities have also instituted a mandatory slashing of gas consumption for state institutions, except hospitals and social housing facilities. Hungary has repeatedly criticized EU sanctions against Russia introduced over the conflict in Ukraine. Budapest argues that the restrictions have failed to produce the intended result, while disrupting the supply of natural gas to the bloc and sending energy prices to unprecedented highs.

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“..natural gas prices soared 261.3% year-on-year and electricity costs were up 38.5%..”

Greek Citizens Saving On Food To Pay For Energy (RT)

A growing number of Greeks are cutting back on food to pay their taxes and energy bills, a survey by the General Confederation of Greek Workers and the Labor Institute has shown. When asked if rising prices had forced them to spend less on basic food items, 20% of respondents answered “much less” and 51% answered “less,” while a quarter reported “little” change in their spending habits and only 4% said the situation had not changed for them at all. A majority noted that the change in their spending habits had come from the necessity to pay more for energy. Nearly half of respondents (47%) said they expected a “difficult winter” as energy prices continue to rise, while one in five said they may not be able to pay for energy bills in the coming months “at all.”

“The Greek economy and society, after years of austerity, are facing a new wave of price increases and revaluation of basic goods, and stagnant incomes threaten the purchasing power of many households and social groups,” the authors of the survey conclude. They suggest that the cost of living crisis in the country could be solved only through government intervention, for instance, by hiking the minimum wage, reducing excise taxes on energy and food, and imposing a tax on energy companies’ excess profits.

The Greek government is already subsidizing energy bills for its residents, having started the practice last year. Last month, it vowed to spend almost €2 billion ($1.98 billion) subsidizing growing power bills in September, covering up to 100% of the increase for the poorest households. However, analysts say subsidies may not be enough, with inflation remaining close to its highest level in nearly three decades – 11.4% – as of last month, while natural gas prices soared 261.3% year-on-year and electricity costs were up 38.5%, according to data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

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Inevitable all over Europe. Who will sink into a depression?

German Recession ‘Inevitable’ – Deutsche Bank

The engine of European economic development, Germany, is set for a contraction, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing warned this week, as cited by CNBC. According to the media outlet, Sewing said in a speech at the Handelsblatt Banking Summit in Frankfurt that the war in Ukraine “destroyed a number of certainties” on which the global economic system had been predicated over the past few decades. He reportedly cited disrupted global value and supply chains, along with a bottleneck in the labor market and a shortage of gas and electricity leading to soaring costs, as key reasons why the Eurozone inflation is at record highs. “As a result, we will no longer be able to avert a recession in Germany. Yet we believe that our economy is resilient enough to cope well with this recession — provided the central banks act quickly and decisively now,” Sewing reportedly stated.


The Deutsche chief pointed out that, for now, many in Germany still have pandemic savings to fall back on in order to meet skyrocketing energy costs, while most companies remain “sufficiently financed.” “But the longer inflation remains high, the greater the strain and the higher the potential for social conflict,” he warned. Sewing also urged the German leaders to accelerate the nation’s decoupling from China. He indicated that China accounts for around 8% of German exports and 12% of imports, while more than one-tenth of the sales of companies listed on the German DAX stock index go to China. “Reducing this dependency will require a change no less fundamental than decoupling from Russian energy,” the chief executive said.

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Threatening your fellow members. Nice.

Hungary On ‘Edge Of Abyss’ In EU – Czech Minister (RT)

Hungary’ stance on Russia and the conflict in Ukraine could potentially see it exiting the EU, the Czech European affairs minister has warned. The EU is “a unity of many voices” that always finds common ground despite any disputes, Mikulas Bek told Cesky Rozhlas Plus radio on Thursday. “Negotiations are often tough in the EU, and many countries could engage in them. But Hungary, in my opinion, has come a long way, reaching the edge an abyss, and now it has to decide whether to go back from that edge or risk a jump, the consequences of which I don’t even want to speculate on,” the minister said. On the prospects of Budapest leaving the EU altogether, Bek said it’s theoretically possible.


Budapest has remained relatively neutral since the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, and refused to send weapons to Kiev unlike many of its neighbors. It has been critical of the EU sanctions against Russia, calling them ill-conceived and self-defeating. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, is exempt from the bloc-wide ban on Russian oil. The Czech European affairs minister, whose country currently presides over the EU Council, pledged to work hard in the coming months to make sure Hungary stays in line with European policies. “A small positive sign” was that Budapest backed down on its demand to remove three prominent Russia businessmen – Alisher Usmanov, Pyotr Aven and Viktor Rashnikov – from EU sanctions earlier this week, Mikulas Bek added.

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Listening to George Webb in the video below, something tells me Paul Huck won’t be the Special Master. Which is a shame. But then again, shame is all the US has left by now.

Trump Team And DOJ Suggest Rival ‘Special Master’ Candidates (G.)

The US justice department and lawyers for Donald Trump were unable to agree Friday night on who to have as the so-called special master to review for potential privilege protections the materials that the FBI seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month. The justice department and Trump met a deadline to submit a joint filing but failed to reach consensus on most of the key issues at stake: not only the identity of the special master but also the scope of the work, and who should pay for the added expense. With both sides unable to agree on who should serve as the special master, the justice department and Trump’s lawyers each proposed two candidates, saying they would inform the judge overseeing the case, Aileen Cannon, on their positions after the weekend.

The justice department proposed two retired federal judges: former US district court judge Barbara Jones, who has previously served as a special master, and Thomas Griffith, a former US appeals court judge for the DC Circuit and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. Trump’s lawyers proposed a federal judge and an attorney in Florida: former US district court chief judge Raymond Dearie, one of four judges who authorized a wiretap on former Trump 2016 campaign aide Carter Page, and former Florida deputy attorney general Paul Huck. The disagreements between the two parties on the already contentious special master issue – the government earlier filed a notice of appeal against the order appointing the arbiter – were more numerous than the areas of consensus.

On what materials should be examined, the justice department said the special master should not review documents with classified markings or potentially subject to executive privilege, while Trump’s team said all documents should be reviewed. “The special master should not review documents with classification markings; should not adjudicate claims of executive privilege (but should submit to [the National Archives] any documents over which such claims are made),” the justice department said. On what access each side should get to the documents, the justice department said it wanted to review proposed protection designations before they went to the special master, while Trump said they should remain protected to protect the process.

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“Initially we were told that Trump possessed “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” that he might sell to a foreign government like Saudi Arabia. This shocking accusation has been quietly dropped.”

Declassify the Documents From Trump’s Basement (Leonard Goodman)

Whatever your feelings about former President Trump, there are reasons to be skeptical when government officials say it was necessary to raid his Florida home to recover classified documents that threatened national security. Like the former president, I was once accused by the government of mishandling classified information connected to my representation of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. There was nothing in my client’s file that posed any danger to national security. My client was an innocent shopkeeper who was sold to the Americans back in 2003 when the U.S. was paying bounties to corrupt Afghan warlords to turn in Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters, and then shipping those men 8,000 miles to our newly built prison camp in Cuba. The government decided to classify every document in the detainee files as “secret,” not to protect national security, but so it could lie with impunity and tell the American people that the prisoners at Gitmo were the “worst of the worst,” and “terrorists” captured on the battlefield.

I never revealed any classified information. I got into trouble after writing an article criticizing the government’s practice of classifying certain evidence above the security clearance level of the detainee’s lawyer, making it impossible to challenge. Following a hearing at the Department of Justice, I was allowed to keep my security clearance long enough to see my client released back to his home and his family after 12 years of unjust imprisonment. I was never in serious legal jeopardy. But the experience opened my eyes to the ways that our government abuses its power to classify information as “secret” to protect its own officials from embarrassment or criminal exposure. Since 9/11, the people most aggressively pursued for mishandling classified materials are whistleblowers, not traitors.

Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange revealed official crimes such as the murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians and journalists. Daniel Hale revealed that our drone assassination program regularly slaughters innocent civilians, contrary to public statements about surgical strikes. John Kiriakou revealed inconvenient facts about our torture program. Edward Snowden revealed an illegal mass surveillance program. All these truth-tellers were aggressively pursued under the Espionage Act. Assange may die in prison for telling the truth about the crimes of our leaders.

While Trump may not fit the mold of a selfless whistleblower, there is still cause for concern. First, the official justifications for the raid on Mar-a-Lago are highly suspect. Initially we were told that Trump possessed “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” that he might sell to a foreign government like Saudi Arabia. This shocking accusation has been quietly dropped. Now we are told that the government has “grave concern” that Trump might blow the cover on “clandestine human sources” described in the mainstream media as the “lifeblood” of our intelligence community. “Disclosure could jeopardize the life of the human source,” a former legal adviser to the National Security Council told the New York Times.

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“..despite a calculated increase in home value of $1.5 trillion..”

“Consider this the cost of going green.”

US Household Net Worth Drops $6.1 Trillion in Q2 (CTH)

In the second quarter (April, May, June) 2022, the total U.S. household wealth dropped $6.1 trillion, despite a calculated increase in home value of $1.5 trillion. The majority of the loss is connected to a drop in Corporate Equity (stock market) and household investment in the stock market. FED “The net worth of households and nonprofit organizations declined $6.1 trillion to $143.8 trillion in the second quarter. The value of stocks on the household balance sheet declined by $7.7 trillion, while the value of real estate increased by $1.5 trillion.” Keep in mind this is backward looking data, and after a period of decelerating rates of growth, the overall real estate market is now in a period of decline as calculated for the most recent month of July [DATA].


The equity position of homeowners is now considerably less than the equity position when the feds calculated the second quarter household wealth (two months ago). Part of the issue goes back to what we have been discussing with inflation and specifically energy driven increases in fuel and electricity. Inflation sucks money out of the economy, making people less wealthy. Energy inflation sucks money exponentially faster out of each household, potentially making the already working-class poor, much poorer. The higher prices paid for housing, food, fuel and energy do not contribute to anything, the increased costs are just sucked out of the consumers’ pockets without generating any additional value. It just costs more to live, and that reduces wealth. Consider this the cost of going green.

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“..more than 11 million reports of adverse effects..” “We know that these numbers just about represent between 1% and 10% of all real events.”

Declaration Of International Medical Crisis Over ‘Covid-19 Vaccines’ (DS)

We, the medical doctors and scientists from all over the world, declare that there is an international medical crisis due to the diseases and deaths co-related to the administration of products known as ‘COVID-19 vaccines’. We are currently witnessing an excess in mortality in those countries where the majority of the population has received the so-called ‘COVID-19 vaccines’. To date, this excess mortality has neither been sufficiently investigated nor studied by national and international health institutions. The large number of sudden deaths in previously healthy young people who were inoculated with these ‘vaccines’, is particularly worrying, as is the high incidence of miscarriages and perinatal deaths which have not been investigated.


A large number of adverse side effects, including hospitalisations, permanent disabilities and deaths related to the so-called ‘COVID-19 vaccines’, have been reported officially. The registered number has no precedent in world vaccination history. Examining the reports on CDC’s VAERS, the U.K.’s Yellow Card System, the Australian Adverse Event Monitoring System, Europe’s EudraVigilance System and the WHO’s VigiAccess Database, to date there have been more than 11 million reports of adverse effects and more than 70,000 deaths co-related to the inoculation of the products known as ‘Covid vaccines’. We know that these numbers just about represent between 1% and 10% of all real events.

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Mike Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 012022
 
 August 1, 2022  Posted by at 8:26 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Massacre in Korea 1951

 

World Re-entering The Coal Age – IEA (RT)
NATO Force On Alert Amid Kosovo Tensions (RT)
Russia Warns Kosovo Against Conflict (RT)
Hungary’s Orban Expects Gas Deal With Russia This Summer (R.)
JPMorgan Says Russia Has Had Little Problem Rerouting Its Oil Exports (BI)
The New Economic World Map (Salamah)
A Community of Common Destiny? (Voiret)
Going to Samarkand (Escobar)
The Myth of the HIMARS ‘Game Changer’ (Scott Ritter)
Severing Ties With Russia Is ‘Absurd And Dangerous’ – German Official (RT)
Ottawa’s Fertilizer Reduction Target Is ‘Pulled Out Of The Air’ (TNC)
Pfizer Posts Record Profits On Taxpayer-funded, Liability-free Products (Sch.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A stable future
https://twitter.com/i/status/1544708488613531649

 

 

 

 

Trump vs Great Reset

 

 

 

 

You’d almost think the whole Russia conflict was set up by the nuclear lobby.

World Re-entering The Coal Age – IEA (RT)

Global coal demand could reach 8 billion tons in 2022, matching a historic high set in 2013, and further growing in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a coal market update report published on Thursday. “Based on current economic and market trends, global coal consumption is forecast to rise by 0.7% in 2022 to 8 billion tons, assuming the Chinese economy recovers as expected in the second half of the year… This global total would match the annual record set in 2013, and coal demand is likely to increase further next year to a new all-time high,” the report states. According to the agency, demand is being driven up by rising natural gas prices, forcing many countries to increasingly switch from gas to coal and reopen previously closed coal-fired power plants.

The report states that China, which is “responsible for more than half of global coal consumption,” will be the main driver for the growth in demand in the second half of 2022, despite seeing demand drop by 3% in the first half of the year. Demand for coal in India is also expected to rise due to the country’s economic growth and more widespread use of electricity. The EU is also forecast to contribute to demand, as it is increasingly turning to coal in electricity production to replace gas or save it for the winter due to the decline in Russian gas imports. The IEA adds that the coal markets will remain volatile in 2023, especially after the EU coal embargo comes into effect, and prices may continue to grow well into next year.

“As soaring natural gas prices have made coal more competitive in many markets, international coal prices have risen in turn, hitting three all-time peaks between October 2021 and May 2022. Sanctions and bans on Russian coal have disrupted markets, and issues in other major exporters have contributed to supply shortages. With other coal producers facing constraints in replacing Russian output, prices on coal futures markets indicate that tight market conditions are expected to continue well into next year and beyond,” the IEA states.

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NATO appears to be looking for a new theater to fight Russia in. Back to the Balkans, they haven’t done enough damage there. Look who was in Kosovo a few days ago. Coincidence not.

NATO Force On Alert Amid Kosovo Tensions (RT)

The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeepers were spotted late on Saturday in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica, located in the north of Serbia’s breakaway region of Kosovo. The force, apparently Italian carabinieri units, were spotted guarding a bridge across the Ibar river, footage from the scene circulated by local media shows. The bridge splits the city into the northern Serb-populated part, and the southern one, inhabited predominantly by ethnic Albanians.KFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping mission, said in a statement on Sunday evening that it was “prepared to intervene if stability is jeopardized.” The KFOR has been reportedly placed on high alert, with a large military convoy of some 30-40 vehicles spotted heading towards the frontier between the breakaway region and the rest of Serbia. Kosovo special police has been spotted actively moving its equipment and personnel as well.

KFOR said it would “take whatever measures are necessary to keep a safe and secure environment in Kosovo at all times, in line with its UN mandate.” Ethnic Serbs have reportedly set up barricades on several roads in Kosovska Mitrovica and its vicinity. At least one Serb has been reportedly beaten up by Kosovo police units as he tried to get through the barricades. The injured man reportedly ended up hospitalized. The tensions come as the ethnic Albanian government of the breakaway region moved forward with its controversial plan to ban Serb license plates and identification documents. Kosovo prime minister Albin Kurti claimed the move was about equal justice and law in all the territories his government claims.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused Kosovo authorities of seeking to “impose on the people in northern Kosovo-Metohija things they have no right to impose,” warning that Belgrade will not stand by idly. “The atmosphere has been heated up, and the Serbs will not suffer any more atrocities,” Vucic said. Earlier, Serbian president alleged the controversial registration plan was a part of an effort to force the remaining ethnic Serbs out of Kosovo. Caroline Ziadeh, head of the UN mission in the province UNMIK, urged both sides “to address issues in good faith through the EU-facilitated dialogue, to strengthen stability and security for all.”

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Kosovo’s plans appear to have been put on hold for now.

Russia Warns Kosovo Against Conflict (RT)

The government in Pristina and its backers in Brussels and Washington should stop their provocations and respect the rights of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday. Serbian troops were put on high alert and local residents in the north of the breakaway province erected barricades, as ethnic Albanian police prepared for a crackdown. Air raid sirens and church bells went off across northern Kosovo on Sunday, after prime minister Albin Kurti announced a police operation to ban Serb license plates and identification documents. Kurti claimed this was about equal justice and law in all the territories his government claims.

Pristina’s decision is unreasonable and discriminatory, and their forced replacement of personal documents is “another step towards the expulsion of the Serb population from Kosovo, as well as the Kosovo Serb institutions that ensure the protection of the rights of Serbian residents from the arbitrary whims of radicals in Pristina,” Zakharova said. Kurti is “deliberately escalating” in order to launch an armed crackdown, not just against the Serbs in Kosovo but against Belgrade, which the West wants to “neutralize” using the ethnic Albanians as proxies, added Zakharova. Russia calls on “Pristina and the US and EU behind it to stop provocations and respect the rights of Serbs in Kosovo,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Earlier in the day, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said his country had “never been in a more complex and difficult situation” and that the Pristina authorities are trying to exploit the current situation in the world to initiate a conflict while painting itself as a victim. No Serbian troops have crossed the administrative line into Kosovo yet, the Defense Ministry in Belgrade said, describing such rumors circulating on social media as “disinformation” on behalf of Pristina. Local Serb residents erected barricades at three checkpoints along the administrative line, where police answering to Kurti were deployed to stop all vehicles with Serbian plates or documents. There were unconfirmed reports of gunfire and injuries among the civilians.

Kosovo was occupied by NATO in 1999, after a 78-day air war against Yugoslavia. The ethnic Albanian government in Pristina declared independence in 2008, with US backing, but has not been recognized by Serbia, Russia, China or the UN.

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Can Brussels “allow” this?

Hungary’s Orban Expects Gas Deal With Russia This Summer (R.)

Hungary expects to sign a deal with Russia on additional gas shipments of 700 million cubic metres by the end of summer, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday. The two countries have been in talks for further supplies on top of an existing long-term supply pact. read more “Hungary will have enough gas,” Orban said. “We are negotiating with the Russians to buy an additional 700 million cubic metres of gas, this deal can be signed during the summer, and then we will be safe,” he added. According to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, Hungary’s gas storages are about 50% full now, covering 29% of its annual consumption.


European Union member Hungary has maintained what it calls pragmatic relations with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, creating tensions with some EU allies keen to take a tougher line. Hungary, which is about 85% dependent on Russian gas, firmly opposes the idea of EU sanctions on Russian gas imports. Under a 15-year deal with Russia’s Gazprom signed last year, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year via Bulgaria and Serbia, and a further 1 bcm via a pipeline from Austria.

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“Russia’s exports adjusted towards other buyers without a serious disruption to its production.”

JPMorgan Says Russia Has Had Little Problem Rerouting Its Oil Exports (BI)

Russia has been able to reroute its oil exports away from Europe without serious disruptions, JPMorgan has said, adding that the expected drop in output “never happened.” Better-than-expected Russian production, along with the release of oil from global strategic reserves, helps explain the recent drop in crude prices, the bank’s head of commodities research Natasha Kaneva said in a note to clients. Russia’s oil exports to Europe — its biggest market — have fallen relatively sharply in 2022, as companies have “self-sanctioned” in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. However, Russia has been able to shift its exports towards Asia, with India and China in particular stepping up their purchases.

More recently, a jump in domestic demand has caused Russian oil production to rise back to prewar levels. “The market consensus was too pessimistic about Russia’s capability to re-route volumes to other buyers,” Kaneva and her colleagues said in the note Wednesday. “Russia’s exports adjusted towards other buyers without a serious disruption to its production.” “At its peak, the oil market was pricing in the worst-case scenario — a 3 million barrel a day loss of Russian production combined with record-high summer demand — while, in reality, it never happened.” JPMorgan expects Russia production to produce 9.95 million barrels a day of oil in the third quarter, above the 9.76 million barrels a day produced in the same quarter a year earlier.

It thinks production will slip to 9.5 million barrels a day in 2023, staying relatively strong despite the European Union’s ban on most oil imports from the country. Oil prices have fallen in recent weeks, with global supply stronger than expected and demand likely to weaken in the coming months as the world economy slows. WTI crude, the US benchmark price, was down around 10% over the last month to trade at $98 a barrel Friday.

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“…most of the ‘exploitable’ world has been dominated and what remains is Russia and China, plus a few stubborn or poor nations here and there.”

The New Economic World Map (Salamah)

Throughout history, all empires and belligerent nations expanded for economic gain. More land to farm and exploit, wealth and resources to loot, and more people to subjugate and tax or enslave. This goes back to ancient Mesopotamia, passing through the Persian, Greek, Roman empires, and all the way to European colonialism in the past 500 years. Today, it remains the same although it has been disguised to appear docile and friendly, but, make no mistake, it is colonialism – economic neo-colonialism! The shills, however, will present it as development aid, economic assistance, modernization, democracy, human rights, modern values, and may even, masquerade it as improving the ‘Happiness Index’ of the colonized nations.

As such, most of the ‘exploitable’ world has been dominated and what remains is Russia and China, plus a few stubborn or poor nations here and there. Russia is simply too vast and rich not to be lustily desired and has been a target for centuries via direct belligerence or, more softly, via geopolitical ploys. To publicly temper this lust, pseudo-intellectual doctrines have been utilized to justify it; among which is the century-old Mackinder Theory of the ‘Heartland of the World’, which states that whoever controls Russia and its environs, controls the world. As for China, its unexpected spectacular rapid growth to the pinnacle of economic success now necessitates clipping its wings to bring it back into the obedient fold. None of the dominated nations were, or are, happy with their predicaments. Despite that, they are unable to shake off the yoke of neo-colonialism.

They are too weak, deep in unpayable sovereign and non-sovereign debt, threatened by sanctions that cut off their livelihood, and if all fails, there are the heavy-handed tools of regime change with their accompanying bloody civil wars and/or direct invasion and bombardment by their masters. During the previous cold war, when there were only two superpowers, proverbially at each other’s throats, most of the smaller and weaker countries tried to walk a very dangerous tightrope. They tried to maintain semi-neutrality and keep an equal distance from both superpowers. But that was extremely difficult, the hegemons’ carrot and stick’ tactics were too hard to resist when dangled, or very painful when the whip was unleashed. Instead, some discovered that they could join forces, not to fight their oppressors, but just to resist being pulled into their eddies.

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“The only solution to solve these problems and solve the dryness nuisance of the Mediterranean Basin would be the re-greening of the Sahara desert.”

A Community of Common Destiny? (Voiret)

In the Summer months, the north-east trade wind is getting weaker in the Atlantic Ocean, and humid air volumes are brought over the Sahel zone towards North from the West African monsoon zone. This takes place in July and early August, when around 100 to 200 mm precipitations makes savanna grass grow in the Sahel. In our days, however, it seems that going further north, these huge volumes of humid air rise higher than before in the atmosphere of the desert. In this way, the rain-containing air masses reach altitudes like thirty thousand feet above sea level – higher than in earlier years, because the heat emitted by the Sahara seems to be growing: As the humid air masses reach the first sand dunes of the desert, the huge heat reflection by the dunes send them higher and higher.

Every pilot flying north from Bamako or Niamey can confirm that: as soon as he reaches the desert, his plane is lifted higher by the air masses even if he, the pilot, does’nt pull his controls! After the humid clouds rise so high in the air over the desert, it is obvious that no rain comes downs on North Africa and on the Mediterranean basin in the summer months – hence the dryness and the forest fires. The rain comes down when the clouds get cooler after reaching more northern latitudes, after having passed the Alpes. Thus for example the “tropical” rain that came down on the Ahr-valley in Germany in the summer 2021. The only solution to solve these problems and solve the dryness nuisance of the Mediterranean Basin would be the re-greening of the Sahara desert.

Now, around 5000 years ago, the Sahara desert was indeed green! The scientific study of the Sahara desert has shown that this part of the world has been alternatively infertile, or green with vegetation: in the course of Earth history, the Sahara desert has seen 230 periods of vegetation growth alternating with dry climate phases! In the middle of the Holocene climate phase, around 6000 years ago, the Sahara actually had cattle breeding and cultivation. Rock engravings existing in the Hoggar and the Tibesti regions of the Sahara show that. These pictures also show gazelle herds and vegetation. The current dry climate phase began 3500 to 4000 years before Christ. But from those times, huge water reserves still exist underground, the so called “aquifers”. Some aquifers are salty, but most of them are sweet water.

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“UN Secretary General A. Guterres has committed to removing these barriers to addressing the global food crisis. Let’s see.”

Going to Samarkand (Escobar)

The meeting of the SCO Ministerial Council in Tashkent this past Friday involved some very serious business. That was the key preparatory reunion previous to the SCO summit in mid-September in fabled Samarkand, where the SCO will release a much-awaited “Declaration of Samarkand”. [..] it was in the Q@A session that Lavrov for all practical purposes detailed all the major trends in the current, incandescent state of international relations. These are the key takeaways.

How comfortable are you with the US dollar?

Africa: “We agreed that we will submit to the leaders for consideration proposals on specific actions to switch to settlements in national currencies. I think that everyone will now think about it. Africa already has a similar experience: common currencies in some sub-regional structures, which, nevertheless, by and large, are pegged to Western ones. From 2023, a continental free trade zone will start functioning on the African continent. A logical step would be to reinforce it with currency agreements.”

Belarus – and many others – eager to join the SCO: “There is a broad consensus on the Belarusian candidacy (…) I felt it today. There are a number of contenders for the status of observer, dialogue partner. Some Arab countries show such interest, as do Armenia, Azerbaijan and a number of Asian states.”

Grain diplomacy: “In regard to the issue of Russian grain, it was the American sanctions that did not allow the full implementation of the signed contracts due to the restrictions imposed: Russian ships are prohibited from entering a number of ports, there is a ban on foreign ships entering Russian ports to pick up export cargo, and insurance rates have gone up (…) Financial chains are also interrupted by illegitimate US and EU sanctions. In particular, Rosselkhozbank, through which all the main settlements for food exports pass, was one of the first to be included in the sanctions list. UN Secretary General A. Guterres has committed to removing these barriers to addressing the global food crisis. Let’s see.”

Taiwan: “We do not discuss this with our Chinese colleague. Russia’s position on having only one China remains unchanged. The United States periodically confirms the same line in words, but in practice their ‘deeds’ do not always coincide with words. We have no problem upholding the principle of Chinese sovereignty.”

Should the SCO abandon the US dollar? “Each SCO country must decide for itself how comfortable it feels to rely on the dollar, taking into account the absolute unreliability of this currency for possible abuses. The Americans have used this more than once in relation to a number of states.”

Why the SCO matters: “There are no leaders and followers in the SCO. There are no situations in the organization like in NATO, when the US and its closest allies impose one line or another on all other members of the alliance. In the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the situation that we are currently seeing in the EU does not arise: sovereign countries are literally being ‘knocked out’, demanding that they either stop buying gas or reduce its consumption in violation of national plans and interests.”

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“At the end of the day, HIMARS – and other so-called “advanced Western weapons” – is but a tool wielded by the same actor who has been systematically defeated by the Russian military.”

The Myth of the HIMARS ‘Game Changer’ (Scott Ritter)

According to the Institute of War, a US-based think tank, “Ukrainian forces are increasingly targeting Russian military infrastructure with indirect fire and US-provided HIMARS systems deep in occupied territory.” It concludes that “the increased ability of Ukrainian forces to target critical Russian military facilities with Western-provided HIMARS demonstrates how Western military aid provides Ukraine with new and necessary military capabilities.” The Kyiv Independent, a Western state-funded propaganda outlet, reported that “by July 7, Russia had lost most of its key ammunition depots, and many of its smaller depots in occupied Donbas. Notably, many key targets as much as 50-80 kilometers into Russian-controlled territory have been successfully destroyed.”

Max Boot, a Moscow-born military analyst who writes for the Washington Post, was so impressed with the performance of HIMARS that he wrote an op-ed in which he confidently announced “To shorten the War, send 60 HIMARS to Ukraine.” I mean, if eight HIMARS have brought the vaunted Russan war machine to its knees, imagine what could happen if Ukraine had 60? Wait, there is an answer to that question. In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Reznikov revealed that Zelensky “had ordered Ukraine’s military to retake occupied coastal areas which are vital to the country’s economy.” Ukraine, it seems, is winning the war against Russia. Except, of course, it is not. Not even close. The notion that the HIMARS is a “super weapon” capable of turning the battlefield narrative in eastern Ukraine on its head is, simply put, pure nonsense.

Russia has, over the course of the past three months, perfected the art of war when it comes to defeating the Ukrainian military. John Boyd, the famous American fighter-pilot-turned-military theorist, coined a concept, known as the “OODA-Loop” (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) which represented the phases involved in military operations. The side that could master the OODA-Loop more efficiently than its opponent would “get inside their decision-making cycle,” forcing the enemy to operate in a purely reactive mode, enabling the superior party to achieve victory. Russia has got “inside the decision-making cycle” of every one of itsopponents during the military operation in Ukraine, dominating the conflict economically, politically, and militarily. HIMARS does not change this reality.

The Russian military, like any successful military organization, is highly adaptive – it must be, to survive on the modern battlefield. The conflict in Ukraine is unlike any experienced in modern times, requiring Russian military leaders to adapt operational theory as defined by doctrine to the demanding realities of the eastern Ukrainian front. The fact that approximately 200,000 Russian forces can impose their will on over 700,000 Ukrainian defenders while achieving casualty ratios that are decisively in their favor speaks to the reality of their OODA-Loop dominance. At the end of the day, HIMARS – and other so-called “advanced Western weapons” – is but a tool wielded by the same actor who has been systematically defeated by the Russian military. This will not change, whether Ukraine employs four, eight, 12… or even 60 HIMARS systems.

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“If we realize that we cannot for now give up on Russian gas, then it is bitter but it is the reality, and we must act accordingly..”

Forced cold showers for everyone will not be accepted.

Severing Ties With Russia Is ‘Absurd And Dangerous’ – German Official (RT)

Isolating Russia and ending economic cooperation with Moscow is dangerous for Germany, Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer told Die Zeit newspaper this week, reiterating his call for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine.“I think the idea of isolating Russia permanently or never again cooperating economically is absurd and dangerous… A Russia that is oriented towards China and has no ties to Europe is much more dangerous for us,” Kretschmer told the news outlet. The official said he was concerned with the impact of the sanctions on Russia on the German economy and energy security. He called for “pragmatism” in relations with Moscow and for the EU to facilitate peace talks and a “freeze” of the conflict in Ukraine, adding that a ceasefire would not only end the deaths, but “create an opportunity for the supply of raw materials,” most notably fossil fuels and grains.

Roughly half of German households rely on gas for electricity and heating, and around a third of the energy for German industry comes from gas. Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, up to one half of that gas was supplied by Russia. However, deliveries have dropped in recent weeks due to either technical or political reasons. According to Kretschmer, despite ambitious energy transition plans and political agendas, Germany will need gas supplies from Russia for the next five years at least. “If we realize that we cannot for now give up on Russian gas, then it is bitter but it is the reality, and we must act accordingly,” Kretschmer said, adding that apart from ordinary residents who will not be able to heat their homes in the winter, German industry is at risk if Russian gas supplies are lost.

“Our entire economic system is in danger of collapsing. If we are not careful, Germany could become de-industrialised,” he stated. Last month, Kretschmer said that Germany needs to ensure reliable fuel supplies before slapping Russia with sanctions.

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I’d call it goal-seeked instead.

Ottawa’s Fertilizer Reduction Target Is ‘Pulled Out Of The Air’ (TNC)

Alberta Agriculture Minister Nate Horner says Ottawa’s edict to reduce fertilizer use by 30% seems like a target “pulled out of the air.” The Trudeau government is looking to impose a requirement to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizers by 30% as part of its overall effort to reduce emissions by 40 to 45% by 2030. The mandate will result in less food production at a time when the world needs increased capacity that Canada could supply, or higher production costs which will ultimately be passed to the consumer, Horner said. “It’s just another issue where we feel that the feds either don’t understand or they don’t completely care about the consequences,” he told True North.

As Ottawa undergoes consultation about its target, Horner said provincial agriculture ministers hoped the reduction was up for discussion. But, he said he was disappointed to learn from his federal counterpart Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau that the 30% target would not be reconsidered. The consultation process will only consider how Ottawa can achieve its objectives, Horner said. “They’re going to consult on the process, but they weren’t going to change their goal.” He said Ottawa doesn’t have a good “baseline” understanding of the work already being done to reduce emissions in the prairies. And “unless you’re going to look at emissions per unit of production, (Ottawa) is not being really upfront about the two different challenges that we face,” he said.

The first challenge is the demand to increase production “in a big way,” and the second is that farming is becoming less financially viable, especially with the ever-increasing carbon tax. All seven United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership candidates have also opposed the edict and promised to fight back, should they be elected Premier in October. In the Netherlands, farmers have been in the streets for weeks protesting strict emission targets. [..] Now, the head of one of Canada’s premier agricultural groups is warning that strict domestic emissions targets could spur a similar reaction from the industry. “But, you know, all I can say is, if you push farmers back right up against the wall where their livelihood is at stake and it’s a direct result of government overreach and non science based policies, then, who knows what could happen?”

Dutch farmer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1553539740271464449

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“Notably, none of Pfizer’s profits come from free market activity.”

Pfizer Posts Record Profits On Taxpayer-funded, Liability-free Products (Sch.)

It’s the most expensive “free” shot of all time. Pfizer’s Q2 earnings numbers parallel that of a top 5 global energy company. Of course, the slight difference here is that energy companies actually provide essential services for human flourishing, while Pfizer provides, well, government-backed snake oil. This quarter, the drug company posted a total revenue of $27.7 billion, up 46.5% from $18.9 billion the same period of last year. Net income is up 78% to $9.9 billion this quarter, from $5.5 billion in Q2 of 2021. While many Americans are struggling to put food on the table, Pfizer’s taxpayer-supplied profits almost doubled year over year. Notably, none of Pfizer’s profits come from free market activity.


More than half of all Pfizer sales, and all of its profits, come from its expired mRNA gene therapy injections and Paxlovid. The outfit has fully transformed into a COVID-19 company. Without COVID Mania, the rest of Pfizer’s product line would see the pharma giant without any income this year. Business is booming for the taxpayer-funded, liability-free drug company. Just last month, the Biden Administration signed a deal with Pfizer that hiked the price of more than 50% extra per dose for Pfizer’s next batch of mRNA shots. It’s a truly stunning outcome for a company that once claimed to have produced the cure for the coronavirus, but has in reality supplied an ineffective gene therapy with a massive side effect profile.

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Thinking about this. What about anteaters etc.? Many reptiles eat insects, and they’re not birds.

 

 

 

 


Huxley in the 1930s

 

 

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Jun 212022
 


Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

 

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)
‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)
The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)
Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)
Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)
A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)
Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)
Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)
Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)
The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)
Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)
Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)
Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)
Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)
Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

 

 

 

 

Tucker going green

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua..”

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)

For three decades, since the old Soviet Union ended in a whimper, reincarnated Russia asked “the West” for very little, almost nothing, really, certainly not the kind of “aid” that the USA used like a fungo-bat to beat lesser states around the world into hegemonic submission. All Russia asked, after seventy-five years of mass formation communist insanity, was to be treated once again like a normal European nation. Early on, Russia even floated a possible application to NATO, which NATO laughed off — among many other insults to follow. But slowly after 1991, and then all at once, Europe and the USA fell under their own mass formation spell, apparently at the instigation of a certain Schwabenklaus and his WEF factotums implanted throughout Western Civ, like poison raisins in a fruitcake, rendering the EU members and the USA insane, which is to say no longer normal nations able to entertain normal relations with others.

And so, by February of 2022, you get this coalition of lunatic countries — preoccupied at home with the rankest political degeneracy disguised as virtue — provoking a proxy war in Ukraine with the aim of impoverishing, humiliating, and weakening Russia. And despite the massive funding and training of a 200,000-man Ukrainian military poised against the Donbas, the whole thing collapsed in misadventure as a strategic Russian meat-grinder chews through the West’s proxy army like so much lunchmeat… bringing us up-to-date. As the psychologist Mattias Desmet points out in his just-published book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, the people tragically locked into a mass formation develop, among many other delusions and psychopathologies, the grandiose idea that they have an ethical duty to destroy other nations.

Hence, perhaps, you can see how the dangerous mischief of RussiaGate, Hillary Clinton’s spoofish punkery that Russia “interfered” in the 2016 election, mutated into an American foreign policy psychosis. By “Hillary Clinton” you must understand I refer not just to the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua herself, but the Party of Chaos she helped create out of the diverse-and-inclusive body parts stitched together from the graveyard of Leftist politics — socialists, communists, feminists, anarchists, Maoists, and Gawd-knows whatever other diverse ists this increasingly crazed coalition of Jacobin maniacs could enlist for beating a path straight into World War Three.

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“And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange..”

‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)

Western arms, usually third-rate from stocks anyway, are making hardly any difference in the Ukraine. Most, together with munitions, get destroyed before they can be used. Much that has been promised cannot be used because it will take months to instruct Ukrainians on how to use them. The rate of attrition of the Kiev Army, up to 1,000 a day according to Kuleba, the Kiev Interior Minister, is simply unsustainable. Once the fortifications in the Donbass, built by Kiev and NATO over the last eight years, have been overwhelmed, there will be a clear run to Odessa, Transdnestria, Kharkov and Kiev or indeed anywhere that Russia wants. This could happen soon. Yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defence released figures on mercenaries. = The picture is dismal for the Ukraine.

Of some 6,000 mercenaries in the Ukraine from 64 different countries, some 2,000 have been killed and some 2,000 have fled. Perhaps they thought that they were going to fight in a Third World country, where the enemy just had Kalashnikovs and not world-beating hypersonic missiles? How long the remaining 2,000 or so will remain alive remains to be seen. Poland supplied the greatest number of mercenaries, with 1,831. Presumably as with other countries like Canada (601 mercenaries), USA (530), Romania (504), Germany and France, the majority of these were actually Ukrainians who have lived outside the Ukraine for some years, rather than native people. In third place for mercenaries from Europe comes the UK with 422, of whom 102 have been killed and 98 have fled.

According to General Konashenkov who released the figures, the number of mercenaries coming has stopped and indeed been reversed. It is too dangerous to stay and get killed in the Ukraine. This leaves the two foolish British mercenaries, not killed in action with the 102 others, but taken prisoner. And also it leaves two captured US mercenaries. There is speculation that the British might plea for their release in exchange for Julian Assange. That would upset the Americans. On the other hand, the British mercenaries, Eslin and Pinner, have already been sentenced to death. If that sentenced is carried out, it is going to make Johnson even more unpopular than he already is. Perhaps that is why Johnson went to Kiev to plead.

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“Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse.”

The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)

The Biden administration is defined by failed expectations, from its stymied Build Back Better Plan to its refusal to raise the minimum wage. It is running on fumes, using gimmicks, empty rhetoric, spectacle and fear to intimidate the electorate. The descent is pathetic to watch, reminiscent of the moment Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu tried desperately to placate an unruly crowd from the balcony of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania building by offering to raise pension and family allowance by $2 a month. He and his wife were executed four days later. The discredited East German Communist Party, which like the Romanian revolution I also covered as a reporter, made similar empty gestures, promising to open its closed party headquarters to the public long after anyone cared.

The billionaire class, or at least many of them, would prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to an emasculated democracy. It gives them the veneer of respectability. But this is not to be. The rage of the betrayed is articulated by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Corporations and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under a cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic and environmental breakdown will accelerate.

Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse. It will be replaced by Millenarian cults, such as the Christian fascists, and bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and groups that must be eradicated. Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.

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And we pay for this?!

Zelenskyy Officially Bans Ukraine’s Largest Opposition Political Party (CTH)

The definition of the modern “western democracy” in Ukraine is increasingly showcased as the goal for modern totalitarian government. The inflection point away from representative democracy was first evident in the way COVID-19 was leveraged by “western” governments in the U.S, Canada, Australia and the European Union. Totalitarian minded leaders within those democracies, including governors in the United States, began operating without any elected representative feedback. Everything shifted from legislative representation to a system of dictatorial fiats with no opposition allowed in the arbitrary rules and regulations. From forced lockdowns and arbitrary determinations of “essential workers,” various western government leaders were drunk on their new power.

Those who were already predisposed to the benefits of communism (aka Justin Trudeau) and various shades therein, dropped all pretense of believing there were limits to their power and began dispatching opposition views. It did not take long before we saw things escalate into lockdowns, travel bans, forced business closures, quarantine camps and ultimately forced vaccinations and checkpoints for transit. Collectively, none of these efforts ever went before a representative body for debate and consent; they were done through brute force and power of a top-down centralized authoritarian government. It did not seem as if most people realized how ‘western democracy’ changed overnight through the use of the pandemic.

What we see taking place in Ukraine is an outcropping of this newly defined ‘western democracy.’ Using a declaration of emergency power, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now banned all opposition voices, taken control of broadcast media and now today banned the second largest political party in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Opposition Platform For Life (OPPL) was the second largest political force in the Ukraine Parliament. As of today, the party is officially banned by a Ukrainian court at the request of the Zelenskyy Ministry of Justice. All assets, funds and property belonging to OPPL have been seized and transferred to the state.

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“He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

Russia Demands Lithuania Lift “Openly Hostile” Blockade (ZH)

Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian oblast which has a total population of some one million people (with Kaliningrad city including almost 450,000 – and 800,000 total if outlying suburbs are counted) is urging calm: Urging citizens not to resort to panic buying, Alikhanov said two vessels were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be in service by the end of the year. “Our ferries will handle all the cargo”, he said on Saturday. Russian officials and media have long warned against what they dubbed Western aims to “blockade” Kaliningrad. Crucially, the EU enforcement measure being implemented from Vilnius marks a complete break in a three decade long treaty that’s been in effect…

Ahead of the new Lithuanian transit ban taking effect, the state railways service was reportedly awaiting final word from the European Commission on enforcing it: The cargo unit of Lithuania’s state railways service set out details of the ban in a letter to clients following “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying the sanctions. Previously, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas said the ministry was waiting for “clarification from the European Commission on applying European sanctions to Kaliningrad cargo transit.” Brussels then ruled that “sanctioned goods and cargo should still be prohibited even if they travel from one part of Russia to another but through EU territory,” according to Rueters/Rferl.

In Moscow’s eyes, this is tantamount to laying economic siege to part of Russia’s sovereign territory and one million of its citizens. When the EU first proposed the blockage of goods as part of the last major sanctions package in early April, Kremlin officials warned of war given Moscow would have to “break the blockade” for the sake if its citizens. According to an April 6th statement in Russia’s TASS by a state Duma official: Statements from the West about a possible blockade of Kaliningrad is testing the waters, but Russia can ‘break the blockade’ in case these threats become a reality, it has an experience, Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the Federation Council upper house’s Committee for International affairs, said on Wednesday.

“I think that for now, this is a game, testing the waters <…>. In case of a blockade, as they are saying, the Soviet Union knows how to break the blockades, we (Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union – TASS) have vast experience,” the senator said. “If they want to go to the length of making us break this blockade to save the lives of our people, who live there, we can do this,” Dzhabarov said in a video interview at the press center of Parlamentskaya Gazeta (Parliamentary Newspaper). He expressed hope, however, that the West “will have enough brains to opt against this”.

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“..a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control..”

A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)

The world isn’t flat, it’s all too round…. That’s why Islam is once again at war with Europe, Russia is invading Ukraine, China is relaunching its empire, and the ‘flatland’ is experiencing a dimensional shift. Globalization advocates had just recreated Marxist central planning with a somewhat more flexible global model in which massive corporations bridged global barriers to create the most efficient possible means of moving goods and services around the planet. Borders would come down and cultural exchanges would make us all one ushering in the great union of humanity. Market consolidation due to government regulations has left a handful of companies sitting atop the market. When one of them, like Abbott for baby formula, has a hiccup, the results are catastrophic

[..] others like Procter & Gamble, which controls about half the menstrual products market, don’t have to worry about losing market share to competition. Similar consolidation in food, paper products and supermarkets have replaced a dynamic economy with cartels. Behind all the brands on the product shelves is a creaky Soviet system in which a handful of massive enterprises interconnected with the state lazily crank out low-quality products from vast supply chains that they no longer control and feel little competitive pressure to perform better. The only thing that is still American about the supermarket experience is the advertising. Interdependence hasn’t even led to the world government that globalists wanted, but global chaos in which impotent western powers try to talk the rest of the world out of fighting to avoid being swamped by refugees, high energy bills and empty shelves in supermarkets.

After selling off American economic sovereignty, globalists proved unable to maintain global stability. Lacking the will to actually stand up to China, Iran or Russia, all they can do is hold more international conferences and build up a useless multinational bureaucracy. Say what you will about the League of Nations, but it only had 700 employees in Geneva. The UN’s 44,000 employees are just the tip of the iceberg in the huge ranks of multinational organizations who all claim to be upholding the international order while running up the tab.

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“Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

“..the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.”

Orbán Vows To Dismiss Policies That Threaten To Impoverish Hungarians (RMX)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has hit back at a letter addressed to him by 44 MEPs, which directly accused his government of backing Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In the letter, dated June 14, MEPs expressed their dismay at the Hungarian government for securing an exemption on the latest energy sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, claiming that “the exemption for Russian oil pipelines will continue to finance Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine.” The European lawmakers further lament what they describe to be “the unfortunate prioritization of national economic gain and personal political interests to the detriment of the lives of the Ukrainian people.” The MEPs included members of the Renew Europe, EPP and S&D groups in the European Parliament.

Orbán responded in a letter on Thursday, dismissing the notion that his government is supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and vowing to continue rejecting proposals that “run counter to common sense and threaten to impoverish Hungarian and European families.” “We condemn the Russian attack on the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine and the violation of the Budapest Convention. We want peace. The armed conflict must end, and the disputes must be settled through negotiation. We also need to help Ukraine and take care of the refugees. So far, almost 800,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary from Ukraine, who have been provided with food, accommodation, and medicine. We are providing education for children and work for adults. Tens of thousands of Hungarians have received refugees into their homes, collected donations, and volunteered. In the meantime, we have sent and continue to send humanitarian aid, donations, food, fuel, and medicine to Ukraine.”

The Hungarian prime minister insisted his government had acted consistently with the “consensual principle that the sanctions imposed should not do us more harm than Russia.” Orbán vowed to continue to speak with “sincere words and calm arguments” against proposals that would disproportionately affect the Hungarian economy and its people. “I am sure that I will find more and more partners among you in this endeavor,” Orbán predicted as the war continues, arguing that ensuring the sustainability of his country’s economy “is not only in the interest of Hungary, but also all of Europe.”

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“..immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals..”

Adverse Effects Of Covid Vaccines & Measures To Prevent Them (Virology Journal)

Recently, The Lancet published a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the waning of immunity with time. The study showed that immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals. According to European Medicines Agency recommendations, frequent COVID-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible. The decrease in immunity can be caused by several factors such as N1-methylpseudouridine, the spike protein, lipid nanoparticles, antibody-dependent enhancement, and the original antigenic stimulus.


These clinical alterations may explain the association reported between COVID-19 vaccination and shingles. As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued. In addition, the date of vaccination should be recorded in the medical record of patients. Several practical measures to prevent a decrease in immunity have been reported. These include limiting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen to maintain deep body temperature, appropriate use of antibiotics, smoking cessation, stress control, and limiting the use of lipid emulsions, including propofol, which may cause perioperative immunosuppression. In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients.

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You can never get to zero.

Children Are Really, Really Unlikely To Die From Covid-19 (Munro)

Thanks to the nationalised provision of healthcare in the UK, the author group from the UK Health Security Agency were able to link up data from children with a positive Covid-19 test between March 2020 and December 2021 with healthcare data from the NHS. They looked for anyone aged <20 years who died within 100 days of a positive test for Covid-19. The family doctors of the patients were surveyed for clinical details, and hospital discharge paperwork, death certificates and post-mortem reports reviewed. The medical teams who cared directly for the children were contacted where more information was needed. Decisions on whether Covid-19 contributed to the death was made by 2 independent study team members and conflicts were resolved by author group discussion. Where it was unclear, Covid-19 was assumed to have contributed.

The headline result was that during this period there were 185 deaths within 100 days of a positive Covid-19 test, of which 81 were due to Covid-19. Using estimated Covid-19 infections in each age group during this time period, the highest infection fatality rate (IFR) was in children <1 year (1.7 deaths per 100,000 infections), followed by 16 – 19 years (1.5/100,000), then 12 – 15 years (0.9/100,000) and lowest in 1 – 11 years (0.3/100,000). Every death of a child is tragic, but these numbers are reassuringly small. Looking at each variant, the risk of death declined quite significantly for each subsequent wave. The IFR for the original virus was 1/100,000, for Alpha was 0.8/100,000 and for Delta was 0.6/100,000 (no data yet for Omicron, but given we know it is significantly less virulent than Delta we can expect this to fall further still).

The overall risk of death for people aged <20 years from Covid-19 during this time period was 0.7 deaths per 100,000 infections (7 per million, or 0.0007%). This is the same as the average risk of death to someone runnjng a marathon, going skiing for 10 days, or going on a return flight from London to New York City. More than half of all deaths due to Covid-19 occurred within a week of the positive test, and >90% within 30 days. Covid-19 was responsible for 1.2% of all deaths in children during this time period. One of the most important part of the analysis is regarding the comorbidity status of the children who sadly passed away due to Covid-19. Of the 81 deaths, 61 (75%) occurred in children with significant comorbidities, including severe neuro-disability, immunocompromise, congenital syndromes or chronic heart disease.

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“The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)

So, the government of New Normal Germany is contemplating forcing everyone to wear medical-looking masks in public from October to Easter on a permanent basis. Seriously, the fanatical New Normal fascists currently in charge of Germany’s government — mostly the SPD and the Greens — are discussing revising the “Infection Protection Act” in order to grant themselves the authority to continue to rule the country by decree, as they have been doing since the Autumn of 2020, thus instituting a “permanent state of emergency” that overrides the German constitution, indefinitely.

Go ahead, read that paragraph again. Take a break from the carnage in non-Nazi Ukraine, the show trials in the US congress, monkeypoxmania, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, Sudden Bovine Death Syndrome, family-oriented drag queens, non-“vaccine”-related facial paralysis, and Biden falling off his bike, and reflect on what this possibly portends, the dominant country of the European Union dispensing with any semblance of democracy and transforming into a fascist biosecurity police state.

OK, let me try to be more precise, as I don’t want to be arrested for “spreading disinformation” or “delegitimizing the state.” Germany is not dispensing with the semblance of democracy. No, the German constitution will remain in effect. It’s just that the revised Infection Protection Act — like the “Enabling Act of 1933,” which granted the Nazi government the authority to issue any edicts it wanted under the guise of “remedying the distress of the people” — will grant the New Normal German government the authority to continue to supersede the constitution and issue whatever edicts it wants under the guise of “protecting the public health” … for example, forcing the German masses to display their conformity to the new official ideology by wearing medical-looking masks on their faces for six or seven months of every year.

In addition to a ritualized mass-demonstration of mindlessly fascist ideological conformity (a standard feature of all totalitarian systems), this annual October-to-Easter mask-mandate, by simulating the new paranoid “reality” in which humanity is under constant attack by deadly viruses and other “public health threats,” will cement the New Normal ideology into place. If not opposed and stopped here in Germany, it will spread to other European countries, and to Canada, and Australia, and the New Normal US states. If you think what happens in Germany doesn’t matter because you live in Florida, or in Sweden, or the UK, you haven’t been paying attention recently. The roll-out of the New Normal is a global project … a multi-phase, multi-faceted project. Germany is just the current “tip of the spear.”

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Yellen does not understand energy, and should be silent about it.

Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)

I’m getting tired of political feelz being paraded around as alleged “facts”. “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the Biden administration’s policies are not responsible for record-high gas prices, and the only way to fix the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to move towards “renewables to address climate change.”… “Actually, consumption of gas and fuels are currently at lower levels than pre-pandemic, and what’s happened is the production has gone down. Refinery capacity is declined in the United States and oil production has declined. ….” Refinery capacity and production declined because Biden said he would ban both and, within days of being inaugurated, took concrete steps to do both.

Refineries and pipelines have a 30, 40, 50 or more year service life. Nobody in their right mind is going to put forward capital investment with a 30 year payback when you’re told that investment will be destroyed and that threat is credible because the people making it then act in accordance with same, thus confirming that its not mere election-year rhetoric (which we all know happens and usually means nothing.) “Yellen argued that the best way to address the energy crisis in the “medium-term” is to transition the country off of fossil fuels.” That’s a thermodynamic impossibility within the current realm of knowledge. In short: You can’t. To make an EV battery you must dig up 500,000 lbs. of earth. For one battery. Which has a service life, after which it must be replaced.

Which has no current means of economically recycling the components either, so unless you’d like the price of the pack to wildly exceed the crazy levels it is at now you will throw the old away and buy another one with another half-million pounds of earth dug up. All of which are dug up, transported and processed using fossil fuels because there is no other rational way to do so. Renewables in the form of wind and solar require these fossil fuel inputs, as do storage batteries. Because the energy they produce is uncertain, that is the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, you can never guarantee how much output you will have from them even if you could somehow resolve the fossil fuel requirement for creating the panels, concrete and blades for the windmills, and rare earth materials you must dig out of the ground and refine to make them. For this reason the energy they produce will always fluctuate wildly in price simply due to fluctuations in supply.

If you build “enough” that you’re comfortable you will not be short there will be times there is so much supply the price is zero and the economic incentive to build them will likewise be zero. At any build-out less than this there will be times when you demand it but can’t have it. Of course the time when you demand it and can’t have it will be at the most inconvenient time of all, typically when its freezing-butt cold or broiling hot. Look at the price of these things and the fossil alternatives over long periods of time. Natural gas has seen wild spikes in both directions in price. So has wind power, solar and similar. There are only two that do not over our history of use: Coal and fission-based nuclear.

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“We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Odds of US Economy Going Into Recession Next Year Jumps To 40% (NYP)

Wall Street bets are growing that the U.S. economy tumbles into a recession next year as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at the fastest pace in two decades in order to cool scorching-hot inflation. Bank of America Global Research strategists have ratcheted up the odds of an economic downturn to 40% in 2023, with gross domestic product – the broadest measure of goods and services produced in a nation – slowing to almost zero by the second half of next year. “Our worst fears around the Fed have been confirmed: They fell way behind the curve and are now playing a dangerous game of catch up,” analysts led by Ethan Harris wrote. “We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.”

Fed policymakers last week approved a 75-basis point interest rate hike – the first since 1994 – as they race to catch up with runaway inflation, pushing the federal funds target range to 1.5% to 1.75%. Another hike of that magnitude could be on the table in July amid signs of stubbornly high inflation, Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters after the meeting, prompting investors to reassess the economic outlook. Officials also laid out an aggressive path of rate increases for the remainder of the year. New economic projections released after the two-day meeting showed policymakers expect interest rates to hit 3.4% by the end of 2022, which would be the highest level since 2008.

Hiking interest rates tends to create higher rates on consumer and business loans, which slows the economy by forcing employers to cut back on spending. Mortgage rates are already approaching 6%, the highest since 2008, while some credit card issuers have ratcheted up their rates to 20%. Harris slammed the Fed for waiting too long to begin tightening monetary policy and said the delay has raised the chances of a so-called “boom-bust” scenario.

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Another made up story.

Biden Administration About to Render a Verdict on the Border Agents (Turley)

At the height of the Stalinist purges, Soviet internal affairs minister Lavrentiy Beria famously boasted: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” U.S. Border Patrol agents may be wondering if the Beria standard is back in vogue with the Biden administration. The reason: Fox News has reported that the Department of Homeland Security is moving to charge several agents with administrative violations after they were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants last September in Texas. The agents likely felt their fates were sealed the minute that President Biden promised to punish them, before an official investigation had even started. Either the president was wrong, or the agents must be guilty … of something. The controversy began when the Border Patrol responded to a large influx of undocumented migrants in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19.

Officials ordered a mounted unit to an under-defended part of the border. Mounted units are commonly used by federal, state and local police agencies for crowd control. The agents found themselves facing a large group of Haitian migrants crossing the border, and they positioned themselves on the river’s edge to block entry. A photographer captured the scene, which included agents using bridle reins to guide their skittish horses. While the entire videotape clearly shows the agents using the reins on their mounts, not on the migrants, some clearly misleading still shots appeared to make it look like the opposite was happening. Condemnations immediately erupted from politicians and pundits; some media reports presented the abuse allegations as fact — as the “whipping (of) Haitian asylum seekers.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) declared that the alleged whipping was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery” and condemned “the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol — including the use of whips,” and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) described the incident as “white supremacist behavior.” For his part, President Biden rode the wave of media outrage, declaring: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.” Of course, the Soviet Union’s Beria was a model of efficiency compared to Biden’s Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, who promised last September that the investigation would be “completed in a matter of days, not weeks.” Then months dragged on, and Mayorkas and his department went into virtual radio-silence.

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“The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all..”

Famous last words.

Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal (F24)

The Dutch joined Germany and Austria in reverting to coal power on Monday following an energy crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Netherlands said it would lift all restrictions on power stations fired by the fossil fuel, which were previously limited to just over a third of output. Berlin and Vienna made similar announcements on Sunday as Moscow, facing biting sanctions over Ukraine, cuts gas supplies to energy-starved Europe. “The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024,” Dutch climate and energy minister Rob Jetten told journalists in The Hague.


The Dutch minister said his country had “prepared this decision with our European colleagues over the past few days”. Germany however said it still aimed to close its coal power plants by 2030, in light of the greater emissions of climate-changing CO2 from the fossil fuel. “The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all,” economy ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said at a regular news conference. The target was “more important than ever”, he added.

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Petros G. Molyviatis, a retired career diplomat, was, successively, diplomatic adviser and director of the cabinet of Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis (1974-80), Secretary-General of the Greek Presidency (1980-85 and 1990-95), Member of Parliament (1996-2004) and Foreign Minister from 2004-6 and in two caretaker governments in 2012 and 2015.

Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

Honorable Secretary General of NATO,

Recently, you have been making statements about the crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. These statements appear to keep an equal distance between the two countries. In reality, however, they are formally unacceptable, essentially favoring the aggressor to the detriment of the victim, and are ultimately detrimental to the Alliance. The NATO Secretary-General is an employee of the governments that appoint him and pay his salary from the money of their taxpayers. He does not formulate policy – this is the work of the member governments – and does not express positions without their approval. And obviously the Greek government has not approved these statements. The obvious reason for the existence of any alliance is solidarity among its members. But here we have a NATO member, Turkey:

• Formally and publicly claiming territories of another member, Greece. Namely, 152 islands, islets and rock outcroppings in the Eastern Aegean sea. • Performing daily overflights of warplanes over these territories. • Having deployed against these islands the largest amphibious fleet in the Mediterranean and at the same time demanding their disarmament. When you, Mr. Secretary-General, call on Greece to engage in dialogue with Turkey to resolve their differences, you are essentially asking Greece to make its territorial integrity the subject of negotiations with Turkey. And you ask this while representing an Alliance that was set up and still exists for this very reason, namely the protection of the territorial integrity of its members.

This is not equidistancing. This is encouraging the aggressor against the victim. And this, in the end, does not lead to the strengthening of the Alliance’s cohesion but, rather, to its dissolution. If, Mr. Secretary-General, you do not possess the authority to intervene to remedy this unprecedented and unacceptable situation within the Alliance, I think the best thing to do is to remain silent until your term ends.

Sincerely,

Petros G. Molyviatis

Greek citizen

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Apr 042022
 


Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian man c1510 (see comments at link)

 

Bucha (Klarenberg)
New Witness Testimony About Mariupol Maternity Hospital ‘Airstrike’ (GZ)
German Retailers To Increase Food Prices By 20-50% On Monday (ZH)
‘Rublegas:’ The World’s New Resource-based Reserve Currency (Escobar)
Russian Ruble Relaunched, Linked To Gold & Commodities (Manly)
2 Pro-Putin Parties Win Avalanche Victories In European Elections (ZH)
Russia And Serbia Are Projected To Become The Empire’s White Colonies (Antonic)
Fauci’s United Front Is Collapsing (Tucker)
NIH Admits it ‘Suppressed’ Wuhan Lab Data, Disputes ‘Deleted’ Label (ET)
Joe Biden Should Be Removed Before Putin, US Poll Says (Exp.)
Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense Of Hunter (Turley)
Biden Wants Attorney General Garland to Prosecute Trump (Turley)
From Maria’s Office … the Fashion Nazi (Zakharova)

 

 

 

 

Zelensky Grammys
https://twitter.com/i/status/1510799460372262917

 

 

 

 

This is an excerpt from the article right below, by Kit Klarenberg (MUST READ). I picked this part because the story of 100s of bodies on the streets of Bucha is everywhere today. Only, the photos used are straight from the Ukraine goverment, and nobody fact checked them. What we do know is that the day before, the bodies were nowhere to be seen.

The role of the “embedded” Associated Press is also interesting.

Bucha (Klarenberg)

Hours before the publication of this article, on April 2nd, claims of Russia’s most hideous alleged war crime to date erupted across social media. Footage and photos of scores of dead bodies – some with their hands tied – littering the streets of Bucha, a small city near Kiev, testified to an apparent massacre of military-aged men by Russian troops, as they retreated from the battered city two days earlier. The gruesome visuals have triggered intensified calls for direct Western military confrontation with Russia. But as with the incident at the maternity ward in Mariupol and numerous other high profile events initially portrayed by Ukrainian authorities as Russian massacres, a series of details cast doubt on the official story out of Bucha.

Within hours of Russia’s withdrawal from the Bucha on March 31st, its mayor announced that his city had been liberated from “Russian orcs,” employing a dehumanizing term widely used by Azov Battalion. An accompanying article noted the Russians had “mined civilian buildings and infrastructure,” but no mention was made of any mass killing of local citizens, let alone scores of corpses left in the street, which one might reasonably expect would be top of any news outlet’s agenda when reporting on the event. On April 2, within hours of the publication of photos and videos purporting to show victims of an alleged Russian massacre, Ukrainian media reported that specialist units had begun “clearing the area of saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops.” Nothing was said about dead bodies in the streets.

The National Police of Ukraine announced that day that they were “cleaning the territory…from the assistants of Russian troops,” publishing video that showed no corpses in the streets of Bucha and Ukrainian forces in full control of the city.

Brennan

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Staged. An attempt to start WWII. Bucha is the next stage in that attempt. False flags everywhere.

New Witness Testimony About Mariupol Maternity Hospital ‘Airstrike’ (GZ)

A key witness to the widely publicized incident at the Mariupol maternity hospital has punctured the official narrative of a Russian airstrike on the facility, and raised serious questions about Western media ethics. Meanwhile, news of a massacre in the city of Bucha contains suspicious elements. On March 9th, shocking news of a deliberate Russian airstrike on a maternity hospital in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, began spreading widely via social media and news outlets. Fiery condemnation from Western officials, pundits, and journalists was immediate. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, claimed the act was proof of the “genocide” Russia was perpetrating against the civilian population, and urged European leaders to condemn the “war crime” and “strengthen sanctions” to stop the Kremlin’s “evil” deeds in the country.

NPR suggested the attack was part of Russia’s “terrible wartime tradition” of purposefully targeting health facilities and medics during conflicts, dating back to Chechnya. But newly released testimony from one of the incident’s main witnesses punctures the official narrative about a targeted Russian airstrike on the hospital. The witness account indicates the hospital had been turned into a base of operations by Ukrainian military forces and was not targeted in an airstrike, as Western media claimed. Her testimony also raised serious questions about whether at least some elements of the event were staged for propaganda purposes – and with the cooperation of the Associated Press.

The new testimony (watch below) comes on the heels of evidence strongly suggesting that the destruction of a dramatic theater in Mariupol on March 16 was staged by the Azov Battalion, and that nearly all civilians had evacuated a day before. And as we will see below, new reports of a Russian massacre of scores of civilians in the town of Bucha also contain suspicious details suggesting a pattern of information manipulation aimed at triggering Western military intervention. Mariana Vishegirskaya, a pregnant resident of Donetsk who was present at the maternity hospital during the widely reported incident, has evacuated from Mariupol and is now speaking out. Photos showing a bloodied Vishnevskaya fleeing the building with her personal belongings became a centerpiece of coverage of the attack, along with a photo of another woman being carried away pale and unconscious on a stretcher.

In the wake of the incident, Russian officials falsely claimed the pair were the same person, citing Vishegirskaya’s background as a blogger and Instagram personality as evidence she was a crisis actor and the incident a false flag. Though that assertion was not true, as we shall see, the hospital had been almost completely taken over by the Ukrainian military.

Zelensky Azov
https://twitter.com/i/status/1510573197804158980

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Only part of this is due to Ukraine.

German Retailers To Increase Food Prices By 20-50% On Monday (ZH)

Just days after Germany reported the highest inflation in generation (with February headline CPI soaring at a 7.6% annual pace and blowing away all expectations), giving locals a distinctly unpleasant deja vu feeling even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine broke what few supply chains remained and sent prices even higher into the stratosphere… … on Monday, Germany will take one step toward a return of the dreaded Weimar hyperinflation, when according to the German Retail Association (HDE), consumers should prepare for another wave of price hikes for everyday goods and groceries with Reuters reporting that prices at German retail chains will explode between 20 and 50%:

Even before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, prices had risen by about five per cent “across the product range” as a result of increased energy prices, HDE President Josef Sanktjohanser told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Friday. With Russia’s invasion hitting economies and the supply chain harder, yet another series of price increases is on the horizon. “The second wave of price increases is coming, and it will certainly be in double figures,” Sanktjohanser warned, cited by The Local. According to the president of the trade association, the first retail chains have already started to raise their prices in Germany – and the rest are likely to follow. “We will soon be able to see the impact of the war reflected in price labels across all the supermarkets,” said Sanktjohanser.

Recently, popular retail chains such as Aldi, Edeka and Globus announced that they would be forced to raise their prices. At Aldi, meat and butter will be “significantly more expensive” from Monday due to price hikes from its suppliers. “Since the start of the Ukraine war, there have been jumps in purchase prices that we have not experienced before,” a spokesperson for Aldi Nord announced on Friday. A fortnight ago, Aldi raised the prices of about 160 items, and a week later 20 more items became more expensive. Other supermarket brands quickly followed suit. In February, Germany’s cost of living rose at the highest level since reunification, with everyday goods increasing by an average of 7.3%. The federal statistics agency Destatis said the jump from January’s figure of 5.1 percent to February’s 7.3 percent reflected the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent the price of oil and gas soaring.

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“..the Americans want the war to go on indefinitely, to “bog down” Moscow as if this was Afghanistan in the 1980s, and have strictly forbidden the Ukrainian Comedian in front of a green screen somewhere – certainly not Kiev – to accept any ceasefire or peace deal.”

‘Rublegas:’ The World’s New Resource-based Reserve Currency (Escobar)

Saddam, Gaddafi, Iran, Venezuela – they all tried but couldn’t do it. But Russia is on a different level altogether. The beauty of the game-changing, gas-for-rubles, geoeconomic jujitsu applied by Moscow is its stark simplicity. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presidential decree on new payment terms for energy products, predictably, was misunderstood by the collective west. The Russian government is not exactly demanding straightforward payment for gas in rubles. What Moscow wants is to be paid at Gazprombank in Russia, in its currency of choice, and not at a Gazprom account in any banking institution in western capitals. That’s the essence of less-is-more sophistication. Gazprombank will sell the foreign currency – dollars or euros – deposited by their customers on the Moscow Stock Exchange and credit it to different accounts in rubles within Gazprombank.

What this means in practice is that foreign currency should be sent directly to Russia, and not accumulated in a foreign bank – where it can easily be held hostage, or frozen, for that matter. All these transactions from now on should be transferred to a Russian jurisdiction – thus eliminating the risk of payments being interrupted or outright blocked. It’s no wonder the subservient European Union (EU) apparatus – actively engaged in destroying their own national economies on behalf of Washington’s interests – is intellectually unequipped to understand the complex matter of exchanging euros into rubles. Gazprom made things easier this Friday, sending official notifications to its counterparts in the west and Japan. Putin himself was forced to explain in writing to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz how it all works.

Once again, very simple: Customers open an account with Gazprombank in Russia. Payments are made in foreign currency – dollars or euros – converted into rubles according to the current exchange rate, and transferred to different Gazprom accounts. Thus it is 100 percent guaranteed that Gazprom will be paid. That’s in stark contrast to what the United States was forcing the Europeans to do: pay for Russian gas in Gazprom accounts in Europe, which would then be instantly frozen. These accounts would only be unblocked with the end of Operation Z, Russia’s military ops in Ukraine. Yet the Americans want the war to go on indefinitely, to “bog down” Moscow as if this was Afghanistan in the 1980s, and have strictly forbidden the Ukrainian Comedian in front of a green screen somewhere – certainly not Kiev – to accept any ceasefire or peace deal.

So Gazprom accounts in Europe would continue to be frozen. As Scholz was still trying to understand the obvious, his economic minions went berserk, floating the idea of nationalizing Gazprom’s subsidiaries – Gazprom Germania and Wingas – in case Russia decides to halt the gas flow. This is ridiculous. It’s as if Berlin functionaries believe that Gazprom subsidiaries produce natural gas in centrally heated offices across Germany. The new rubles-for-gas mechanism does not in any way violate existing contracts. Yet, as Putin warned, existing contracts may indeed be stopped: “If such [ruble] payments are not made, we will consider this to be the buyers’ failure to perform commitments with all ensuing implications.”

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Energy-ruble-gold.

“..if Russia begins to accept gold directly as a payment for oil, then this would be a new paradigm shift for the gold price as it would link the oil price directly to the gold price.”

Russian Ruble Relaunched, Linked To Gold & Commodities (Manly)

By offering to buy gold from Russian banks at a fixed price of 5000 rubles per gram, the Bank of Russia has both linked the ruble to gold and, since gold trades in US dollars, set a floor price for the ruble in terms of the US dollar. We can see this linkage in action since Friday 25 March when the Bank of Russia made the fixed price announcement. The ruble was trading at around 100 to the US dollar at that time, but has since strengthened and is nearing 80 to the US dollar. Why? Because gold has been trading on international markets at about US$ 62 per gram which is equivalent to (5000 / 62) = about 80.5, and markets and arbitrage traders have now taken note, driving the RUB / USD exchange rate higher.

So the ruble now has a floor to the US dollars, in terms of gold. But gold also has a floor, so to speak, because 5000 rubles per gram is 155,500 rubles per troy ounce of gold, and with a RUB / USD floor of about 80, that’s a gold price of around $1940. And if the Western paper gold markets of LBMA / COMEX try to drive the US dollar gold price lower, they will have to try to weaken the ruble as well or else the paper manipulations will be out in the open. Additionally, with the new gold to ruble linkage, if the ruble continues to strengthen (for example due to demand created by obligatory energy payments in rubles), this will also be reflected in a stronger gold price.

What does this mean for Oil? Russia is the world’s largest natural gas exporter and the world’s third largest oil exporter. We are seeing right now that Putin is demanding that foreign buyers (importers of Russian gas) must pay for this natural gas using rubles. This immediately links the price of natural gas to rubles and (because of the fixed link to gold) to the gold price. So Russian natural gas is now linked via the ruble to gold. The same can now be done with Russian oil. If Russia begins to demand payment for oil exports with rubles, there will be an immediate indirect peg to gold (via the fixed price ruble – gold connection). Then Russia could begin accepting gold directly in payment for its oil exports. In fact, this can be applied to any commodities, not just oil and natural gas.

What does this mean for the Price of Gold? By playing both sides of the equation, i.e. linking the ruble to gold and then linking energy payments to the ruble, the Bank of Russia and the Kremlin are fundamentally altering the entire working assumptions of the global trade system while accelerating change in the global monetary system. This wall of buyers in search of physical gold to pay for real commodities could certainly torpedo and blow up the paper gold markets of the LBMA and COMEX. The fixed peg between the ruble and gold puts a floor on the RUB / USD rate but also a quasi-floor on the US dollar gold price. But beyond this, the linking of gold to energy payments is the main event. While increased demand for rubles should continue to strengthen the RUB / USD rate and show up as a higher gold price, due to the fixed ruble – gold linkage, if Russia begins to accept gold directly as a payment for oil, then this would be a new paradigm shift for the gold price as it would link the oil price directly to the gold price.

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“We have such a victory it can be seen from the moon, but it’s sure that it can be seen from Brussels..”

I’d be careful about labeling them Pro-Putin. They’re just not pro-Brussels.

2 Pro-Putin Parties Win Avalanche Victories In European Elections (ZH)

In a one-two knockout punch for pro-Russia governments in Europe, on Sunday the government of Serbia’s pro-Russia president Aleksandar Vucic was headed for an avalanche victory in the country’s presidential election with nearly 60% of the vote, a big improvement to this 2017 election result… while Hungary’s Pro-Russia prime minister, Viktor Orban, was on track to clinch a fourth consecutive term, leveraging a message against being dragged into the war in neighboring Ukraine, to reassert himself as the European Union’s longest-serving premier. With roughly half of the vote counted, Orban’s Fidesz party led United for Hungary, a six-member opposition alliance, 57% to 32% in the party list contest, according to the National Election Office, with 63% of the votes counted. That would be sufficient for Fidesz to keep its two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Despite opinion polls forecasting a tighter race, Orban’s Fidesz party won comfortably across much of the country. Opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay even failed to win in his own district, where he had served as mayor. The far-right extremist Mi Hazank party won 6.3%, and was set to enter parliament, further diluting the power of the anti-Orban alliance. “We have such a victory it can be seen from the moon, but it’s sure that it can be seen from Brussels,” Orban said in his speech on Sunday night, making light of his government’s long-running tensions with EU leaders. “We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents,” Orban said, citing a number of his political enemies including the Hungarian left, “bureaucrats” in Brussels, the international media, “and the Ukrainian president too — we never had so many opponents at the same time.”

The election campaign was dominated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which put Orban’s lengthy association with Russian President Vladimir Putin under scrutiny. In his victory speech, Orban called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky one of the “opponents” he had to overcome during the campaign. Orban’s unexpectedly strong victory defied polls ahead of the vote that had predicted Orban would face the toughest challenge to re-election in his 12 years in power, according to a report from the anti-Orban Bloomberg News. It almost makes one wonder why anyone – besides liberals of course – still uses polling, which obviously can’t forecast the future and also fails at mere propaganda and influencing election turnouts.

Orban

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History lesson: “..he would frequently refer to the Russians as redskins..”

Russia And Serbia Are Projected To Become The Empire’s White Colonies (Antonic)

In this article I will present the various plans that Germany had with the Serbs and Russians after the expected victory in World War II. Why do I fall back to history? We frequently perceive Hitler and Nazism as an aberration in Western history. But Hitler was, in fact, just openly announcing that in Europe he will do what the West has already done elsewhere. As we’ll see, Hitler took the extermination of the Native Americans as a model for the colonization of Slavic lands, Russia in particular. “It would be best if Serbia just disappeared from the map” —as attested by Hermann Neubacher, that opinion was prevalent within the German leadership in 1941 (see here, p. 89). But we find the same opinion in The Manchester Guardian (as The Guardian was formerly called), in August 1914: “If it were physically possible for Servia to be towed out to sea and sunk there, the air of Europe would at once seem cleaner” (here; here, p. 53).

Actually, the only difference between Hitler and the English was Hitler’s brutally proclaiming to do—and he had done as much as he could—what others in the West were doing slower and more subtly, the things they didn’t yet dare to undertake or weren’t able to accomplish. Unlike the Kaiser, who wanted territorial expansion towards the Middle East and a redistribution of African and Asian colonies, Hitler’s primary goal was to colonize Slavic lands, from the Baltic to the Black Sea for starters and then onward to the Urals. In Mein Kampf he writes that the Kaiser was mistaken in pushing Germany southwards. “When in today’s Europe we speak of new soil and land”, he wrote, “we primarily mean only Russia and the peripheral countries subservient to her. It appears that destiny itself wants to show us the way. […]

The giant Empire in the East is ripe for its downfall.” (here; 44th unabridged German edition, p. 742-3; compare here, p. 118) By the way, Hitler had adopted many concepts from the West. As J. Q. Whitman revealed in Hitlerºs American Model (2017), race laws in the United States were the legal inspiration for the race laws in the Third Reich. In his book Hitler: The Definitive Biography (2014), John Toland showed how impressed Hitler had been with the system of Indian Reservations, the extermination of the indigenous peoples, the epidemics and starvation policies. According to Toland, when speaking to the German leaders, the Fuhrer frequently “extolled the efficacy of the American extermination of the ‘red savages’ by starvation and in unequal combat” (here, p. 802).

“As a passionate reader of Karl May’s novels”, writes John Pool in his book Hitler and His Secret Partners (1997), “he would frequently refer to the Russians as redskins. He saw a parallel between his own efforts to occupy and colonize Russia and the conquest of the American West” (p. 272). He used to say that in the European East the Germans “had one single purpose: Germanization by peopling with Germans and treating the locals as redskins”. He even encouraged military officers to read Karl May and learn about all kinds of combat with the natives.

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“Within days, everything changed.”

Fauci’s United Front Is Collapsing (Tucker)

Last week, medical journalist Katherine Eban posted at Vanity Fair the results of a long and detailed investigation into the lab-leak theory of the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The subject is moving ever more to the front-and-center of efforts to find out exactly what was going on at the highest levels in early 2020 that resulted in the greatest societal, political, and economic upheaval of our lives. How precisely did we move so quickly from the “germ games” of October 2019 – when the virus was already circulating in the US – to full-scale global lockdown by March? Why did Anthony Fauci, who in early February was downplaying the seriousness of the virus, flip to the other side (which we know from emails)?

It was Fauci, according to many reporters, who tapped Deborah Birx to huddle with Trump and convince him that the only way to battle the virus was to “shut down” the economy – as if anything like that was possible much less effective for controlling a respiratory virus. For two years now, and despite endless writing and reflection, this change from the top has puzzled me. Lockdowns contradicted not only a century of public-health practice but even WHO guidelines. Even on March 2, 2020, 850 scientists signed a letter to the White House warning against lockdowns, closures, and travel restrictions. Within days, everything changed. There were hints of extreme measures in the CDC pandemic planning manuals since 2006 but the idea was hardly orthodoxy in the profession.

It’s also true that there were elite scientists who longed for the chance to try out the new theory of virus suppression. But how did Fauci and Birx, to say nothing of Jared Kushner, become converts of the idea to the point that they were able to convince Trump to betray everything he believed in? This is quite probably where the lab-leak theory comes in. It’s not so much about whether the virus was an accidental or even deliberate leak that matters so much as whether Fauci, Francis Collins, and Jeremy Farrrar of the UK’s Wellcome Trust believed it was possible or even likely. In that case, we have our motive. Did they deploy the chaos of lockdowns as a genuine if wildly misguided attempt to suppress the virus as a way of avoiding culpability?

Or perhaps it was deployed as a kind of smokescreen to distract from a closer examination of the Wuhan’s lab’s funding sources? Or possibly there is a third reason. We have a very long way to go before the full truth is out. But Eban’s article adds tremendous detail about the great lengths to which our Fauci-led cabal of officials worked hard to suppress dissent on the question of lab-vs-natural origin. They kept papers from being posted on preprint servers, held Zoom sessions with authors in an attempt to intimidate them, and spent tremendous energy making it clear that there would be a no-leak “united front” no matter what.

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We hide it, but don’t delete.

NIH Admits it ‘Suppressed’ Wuhan Lab Data, Disputes ‘Deleted’ Label (ET)

A National Institutes for Health (NIH) spokesperson is disputing a nonprofit watchdog group’s claim that the agency “deleted” genetic sequencing data on the CCP virus from a Chinese lab, but the same official acknowledged the data was “suppressed.” “The headline says the sequences were deleted which is inaccurate. They were not deleted. This is a really important point, and I’ve highlighted what did happen from what we provided to you earlier this week,” NIH Media Branch Chief Amanda Fine told The Epoch Times in a March 31 email. Fine was referring to a March 29 Epoch Times story headlined “NIH Deleted Info Received From Wuhan Lab on CCP Virus Genetic Sequencing, Watchdog’s FOIA Finds.” The information Fine referenced as having been provided to The Epoch Times by NIH earlier in the week was included in the published story:

“’In June 2020, in response to a request by the same [Wuhan] researcher, National Center for Biotechnology [NCBI] gave the sequence data the status of “withdrawn,” which removes sequencing data from all public means of access but does not delete them. “‘NCBI subsequently reassigned the status of the sequence data to “suppressed,” which means that sequence data are removed from the search process but can be directly found by accession number. This action to reassign the data was identified as part of NLM’s ongoing review into the matter. We are working to make more information available,’ the spokesperson said.” The biotechnology center, which is part of the institute’s National Library of Medicine (NLM), is the U.S. component of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration.

The Epoch Times story was prompted by a report published on March 29 by Empower Oversight Whistleblowers and Research (EO) that was based on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) responses the group received from the institute. “On June 5, 2020, a Wuhan University researcher requested that NIH retract the researcher’s submission of BioProject ID PRJNA637497 because of error. The Wuhan researcher explained ‘I’m sorry for my wrong submitting,’” Empower Oversight said in a statement (pdf) on March 29. “BioProject ID PRJNA637497 is also referred to as Submission-ID SUB7554642. Three days later, on June 8th, the NIH declined the researcher’s request, advising that it prefers to edit or replace, as opposed to delete, sequences submitted to the SRA,” EO reported. SRA refers to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) data resource made available by NCBI, and it “stores raw sequencing data.”

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“His counsellors view the Ukraine crisis as a blunt instrument that nonetheless may help the president to dig himself out of his electoral hole.”

Joe Biden Should Be Removed Before Putin, US Poll Says (Exp.)

Just a week after the US president was accused of making a gaffe calling for regime change in Russia, an exclusive poll for the Sunday Express has revealed Americans would rather see his presidency end. Asked which would be better for America, 52 per cent chose “Biden loses power in the US” over 43 per cent for “Putin loses power in Russia”. The findings, in the poll by the Washington-based Democracy Institute, show almost two-thirds of Americans (62 per cent) believe Mr Biden will not be re-elected in 2024. They also appear to confirm an expected bid by Donald Trump in 2024 will see him sweep back to power. While Boris Johnson has seen a rise in public support for his handling of the Ukraine crisis, the error prone US president has not enjoyed a similar bounce.

Of 1,500 polled, who all identify as “likely voters”, 57 per cent disapprove of his presidency, the same as a month ago, while just 39 per cent approve of it. And 70 per cent believe the US is “heading in the wrong direction”. His handling of the war is only approved by 40 per cent while 52 per cent disapprove, and his overall foreign policy has a 55 per cent disapproval rating compared to 42 per cent approval. While a Techne poll for the Sunday Express showed almost a third of UK voters had Ukraine as their top concern, in the US just eight per cent saw it as their main issue, with the key worry being inflation. If Mr Trump does run in 2024, according to the US poll results he would beat Mr Biden by 48 per cent to 43 per cent.

Patrick Basham, Director of the Democracy Institute, said: “Biden’s foreign policy debacles, highlighted by America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, have turned off voters, who mostly disapprove of his handling of America’s global role. “Biden’s political team knows economic pain will continue to weigh down the president’s ratings. So, it puts great stock in Biden’s handling of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “His counsellors view the Ukraine crisis as a blunt instrument that nonetheless may help the president to dig himself out of his electoral hole. “Should the Ukraine crisis end on terms perceived to be favourable to the Ukrainians, and should Vladimir Putin’s Russia be put back in her box, it’s possible that Biden will receive considerable credit and his ratings will improve. If that happens, his party’s candidates may also improve their positions vis-à-vis their Republican opponents.

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“While many media figures now willingly admit the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned-laptop story, they are avoiding what the emails found on that laptop actually contain.”

Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense Of Hunter (Turley)

“We absolutely stand by the president’s comment.” With those words, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield reaffirmed that President Biden maintains his son Hunter Biden did “nothing [that] was unethical” and never “made money” in China. Those claims appear demonstrably false — and they make the positions of both the media and Attorney General Merrick Garland absolutely untenable. For the media, the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware has presented a growing danger of self-indictment over its prior coverage (or noncoverage). Weiss has called a long line of witnesses before a grand jury, and there is growing expectation of criminal charges against Hunter Biden. Nothing concentrates the mind as much as a looming indictment.

Thus, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media faced the embarrassing prospect of an indictment based on a story they previously suggested was either a nonstory or Russian disinformation. Suddenly, in recent days, they all rushed to declare the story legitimate, 18 months after the New York Post reported it in October 2020. What quickly emerged, though, was a new narrative: None of this implicates President Biden. On CNN, White House correspondent John Harwood declared, “There is zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done.” Anchor Brianna Keilar then added for emphasis that Harwood was making “an important distinction.”

It was important, but not because it was true. While many media figures now willingly admit the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned-laptop story, they are avoiding what the emails found on that laptop actually contain. Hundreds of emails appear to detail a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling enterprise by the Biden family, including Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden. Influence peddling has long been the way Washington’s elite enriches itself. This common source of political corruption involves the relatives of powerful government figures who shake down corporations or countries for access and influence. The Bidens would seem to be standouts in this common practice, engaging in a virtual family business. James Biden has been accused of marketing his connection to his brother.

And in the emails discovered on his abandoned laptop, Hunter Biden practically sold timeshares of his father by dangling meetings and dinners for investors. The key in any influence peddling scheme is to protect the principal. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.” Instead, the emails apparently refer to President Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes.

Bobulinski

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But doesn’t know what for yet.

Biden Wants Attorney General Garland to Prosecute Trump (Turley)

President Joe Biden has declared the guilt of individuals or promised punishment before even the commencement of investigations. The latest such example is the leaking of Biden’s desire to have Attorney General Merrick Garland prosecute Trump. [..] Biden is now being widely reported as wanting Garland to prosecute Trump. His close associates made sure that the media reported that the President wants “Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6.” This leak was made after a district court judge declared that Trump likely committed a crime, an opinion that I recently criticized over its sweeping language and spotty analysis. Various Democrats are demanding that Garland prosecute Trump, telling Garland to “step up or step out.”

Two years ago, the media heralded the statements of D.C. Attorney General Racine that he was pursuing possible charges. Yet, neither Racine nor the Biden Administration have charged Trump. Why? The reason is that there is not clear evidence of a crime. The leaking of the President’s demand puts Garland in an even more difficult position. The clear intent of the leak is to let Garland know what the President expects from him. Yet, Garland has already been criticized by some of us for refusing to appoint a special counsel in the Hunter Biden scandal. What is most striking, however, is the absence of any concern from the same legal experts who denounced such statements from Trump. These are statements made to aides that were then leaked to the media to get to Garland.

That allows the media to say that Biden never said it directly to Garland, but the message was delivered by the media. For Garland to yield to such pressure would constitute a troubling departure from his predecessor, Bill Barr, who refused to do so on investigations ranging from the Mueller investigation to the election investigation to the Hunter Biden investigation. Absent new evidence of direct culpability, such a prosecution would likely result in either acquittal or an appellate reversal. That would raise concerns over the Justice Department pursuing a political rather than a legal agenda — the very danger that Garland pledged to avoid when he stressed “I am not the president’s lawyer. I am the United States’ lawyer.”

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Coco Chanel. Another history lesson.

From Maria’s Office … the Fashion Nazi (Zakharova)

A few bloggers have reported today that official Chanel brand stores abroad are refusing to sell their products to Russian nationals. Allegedly, Chanel customers must sign a form saying that they will not take the items sold by the brand to the Russian Federation, as per some internal document of the boutique chain. We are a very patient and forgiving country. We have forgiven everyone for everything, turned the page and cleared the way for the future. But if the way turns out to be a ring road, we will break the vicious circle. Seems like those running the legacy of the “great Coco” have found a way to join the Russophobic “cancel Russia” campaign. Weird, right? What’s the link between Russia’s anti-Nazi operation and the French fashion house? But the link is there. We just opened a closet to find some well-preserved 80-year-old skeletons.

During World War II, Coco Chanel herself was a collaborator and a Third Reich agent. She is widely known to have had connections to the occupation authorities in France. Baron Hans Guenther Freiherr von Dincklage, an attaché of the German government in charge of the Nazi propaganda in Paris, was among her dearest friends. Coco Chanel, also known as informer F-7124 as per Abwehr records, supported the German masters of Paris so much that she took part in the attempts to organise secret negotiations between the Reich and the United Kingdom. One should say that the Germans valued Coco and had her live in a luxurious apartment at the Ritz hotel, while ordinary Parisians struggled to make ends meet under the German occupation, while the country’s economy was under enormous strain.

Moreover, the fashion designer accepted the help of the Nazis to reach her business goals. Before the war, she sold her Chanel No. 5 production facility to Jewish manufacturers. Then, she engaged the Germans to try and reclaim the rights to the perfume sale profits. After France was liberated, she was called to answer for all of that. The fashion house does not advertise it but Coco was arrested at the end of the war. She was later released as a favour to Churchill (and here is London again) and was banned from France after the occupation was over, for years, residing in the “neutral” Switzerland. The brand’s management has always emphasised that the Chanel house traditions are as strong as ever. Well, no doubt about that now. Investigative reporter Hal Vaughan wrote about the founder of the fashion house: “The Nazis were in power, and Chanel gravitated to power.”

The brand was never bothered by such things as concentration camps, mass killings and war crimes perpetrated by the SS and Gestapo divisions. We are a very patient and forgiving country. We have forgiven everyone for everything, turned the page and cleared the way for the future. But if the way turns out to be a ring road, we will break the vicious circle. And the Chanel house can get back to square one and support Nazism, just like its founder did. But now everyone will know.

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Buddy Carter

 

 

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Nov 222021
 
 November 22, 2021  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Marcel Duchamp Nude descending a staircase 1912

 

UK Data Shows The Vaccines Are Not Saving Any Lives At All. Zero. (Kirsch)
Now Germany Is Set Make Covid Vaccinations Compulsory (DM)
Dutch Deaths More Than 20% Higher Than Previous Years’ Average (FWM)
Scientists Mystified, Wary, As Africa Avoids Covid Disaster (AP)
Pfizer Co-developer Says Covid Vaccination Will Be Annual (RT)
Fauci Gives A ‘Perfectly Honest’ Response To Booster Question (RT)
Fauci Comes Up With New ‘Rule’ To Wear Masks (RT)
It’ll Be ‘Jab Or Death’ For Anti-vaxxers, Orban Predicts (RT)
Fighting For Our Lives: Humanity’s Weapons Against Covid-19 (RT)
Fresh Protests, Violence Against Covid Restrictions (RFI)
Like Covid-19, Digital Passports Could Be With Us Forever (Ford)
Russia Set To Launch Winter Invasion Of Ukraine: US Media (RT)

 

 

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“We are mandating a vaccine which basically kills ~ 800 people per M fully vaccinated..”

UK Data Shows The Vaccines Are Not Saving Any Lives At All. Zero. (Kirsch)

My good friend Mathew Crawford is an amazing statistician. He’s one of the smartest people I know. He just published a new analysis on his substack showing that the UK data show that the COVID vaccines aren’t saving any lives at all. It’s all statistical noise as shown in the graph below from his article. Please check it out and if you like his work, please honor him by subscribing to his substack. Mathew’s work really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to me. Norman Fenton pointed out two months ago that the UK data shows that vaccinated people are dying at a greater rate than the unvaccinated (even after adjusting for age).

More recently, Fenton showed that with a simple time skew of deaths, we can make the vaccines look extremely effective even if they do absolutely nothing (paper and video). Fenton’s conclusion: we currently have no real evidence that the vaccines work. So now we have two statisticians that I have very high respect for claiming the vaccines are, at best, not saving any lives. And for some odd reason, nobody wants to challenge them in a live video debate. I can’t figure that one out.


We are mandating a vaccine which basically kills ~ 800 people per M fully vaccinated. When you couple that with my 8 ways of estimating the number of deaths from the COVID vaccines in America gives a minimum of 150,000 deaths, our government is basically trying to mandate a vaccine that is a killing machine. Nobody wants to debate this with us. I recently offered $1M for any of the members of the CDC or FDA outside committee members to debate us. Apparently, their time is worth more than a million dollars an hour because none of them accepted my more than generous offer. Is there anyone in a decision making capacity on the vaccines/mandates who wants to talk about the science and the statistics? Or are they all chicken?

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Don’t do it. You will not be able to contain the mayhem.

Respect your ancestors. These things were not born in a vacuum:
1) Nuremberg Code
2) UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (art.6).
3) UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 7).
4) UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 3).

Now Germany Is Set Make Covid Vaccinations Compulsory (DM)

The protest came just hours after it emerged Germany is set to follow Austria’s example in making vaccinations compulsory with ministers admitting that the move is ‘unavoidable’ amid a fourth wave of the pandemic which is crippling the country’s hospitals. Last night also saw similar demonstrations against virus restrictions take place in Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Italy, Northern Ireland, Austria and North Macedonia on Saturday, a day after Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam. Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic once again, with the World Health Organisation warning that the Continent was the only region in the world where deaths had increased as Covid-related fatalities spiked by five per cent just this week.


In France, the government has warned that the fifth wave of coronavirus are rising at ‘lightning speed’, with new daily Covid cases close to doubling over the past week. In Belgium, cases have been surging, with infections reaching 13,836 on Sunday. In response, the government has introduced restrictions including a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars, and an order to work from home at least four days a week. Police said 35,000 protesters marched from the North Station in Brussels on Sunday afternoon against a fresh round of Covid measures announced by the government on Wednesday.

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A world filled with mysteries.

“Other “experts” sadly had no explanation for vaccine failure either.”

Dutch Deaths More Than 20% Higher Than Previous Years’ Average (FWM)

According to the statistical office, the higher mortality can be seen in all age groups. Statistics Netherlands does not yet have an explanation for the higher mortality. More deaths of Corona patients were registered at RIVM last week. According to the CBS, the excess mortality has clearly increased in recent weeks. But since the beginning of August, the mortality has already been above the usual numbers during this period. It is estimated that 2 100 people aged 80 and older died last week. That is almost 500 more than expected. Mortality in this age group has been remarkably high for four weeks. This also applies to people aged 65 to 80. In this age group, 1 200 people died last week, nearly 300 more than expected. Among people under the age of 65, the death rate last week was an estimated 450, more than 50 more than expected.

In the Netherlands, 85 percent of people over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, and many had their jabs only recently. Vaccine salespeople maintain that the shots offer protection in the first few months before the “protection” starts to wane. They blame the unvaccinated for the rise in deaths. This is obviously false. The number of people getting infected has never been worse, despite the high vaccination rate. The jabs are evidently not doing what had been promised. In total, 23 680 cases were reported on Thursday, the fourth day in a row of record-setting case numbers following a week that broke the record for the highest number of new infections (110 000) since the pandemic began – a 44 percent rise over the week before, and this week’s figures have not yet been added.

Dutch officials have started injecting those 80 with boosters on Thursday, weeks earlier than planned. Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology at the University of Groningen, said the intramuscular jabs do not offer protection in the upper respiratory tract, where the virus enters our bodies. With only some 15 percent of the adult population unvaccinated, the Dutch have a higher vaccine uptake than the majority of the world. But Bas van den Putte, professor of health communication at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the scientific advisory board of the RIVM’s Corona Behavioural Unit admitted that he could not explain the dramatic rise in deaths.

Other “experts” sadly had no explanation for vaccine failure either. Frits Rosendaal, professor of clinical epidemiology at the Leiden University Medical Center, blamed geography and population density while Huckriede said she had no idea why this was happening. “We just don’t know.” Based on weekly data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, vaccinated people under 60 are twice as likely to die as unvaccinated people. And overall deaths in Britain are far above normal. As in Germany, Swedes also appear to die at rates 20 percent or more above normal for weeks after receiving their second Covid jab, according to data from a Swedish study.

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Not one word on IVM. Use is widespread. Mystery sounds better?!

Scientists Mystified, Wary, As Africa Avoids Covid Disaster (AP)

“COVID-19 is gone, when did you last hear of anyone who has died of COVID-19?” Ndou said. “The mask is to protect my pocket,” he said. “The police demand bribes so I lose money if I don’t move around with a mask.” Earlier this week, Zimbabwe recorded just 33 new COVID-19 cases and zero deaths, in line with a recent fall in the disease across the continent, where World Health Organization data show that infections have been dropping since July. When the coronavirus first emerged last year, health officials feared the pandemic would sweep across Africa, killing millions. Although it’s still unclear what COVID-19’s ultimate toll will be, that catastrophic scenario has yet to materialize in Zimbabwe or much of the continent.

Scientists emphasize that obtaining accurate COVID-19 data, particularly in African countries with patchy surveillance, is extremely difficult, and warn that declining coronavirus trends could easily be reversed. But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

Some researchers say the continent’s younger population — the average age is 20 versus about 43 in Western Europe — in addition to their lower rates of urbanization and tendency to spend time outdoors, may have spared it the more lethal effects of the virus so far. Several studies are probing whether there might be other explanations, including genetic reasons or exposure to other diseases. Christian Happi, director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria, said authorities are used to curbing outbreaks even without vaccines and credited the extensive networks of community health workers. “It’s not always about how much money you have or how sophisticated your hospitals are,” he said.

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Jeffrey A Tucker @jeffreyatucker:
“They changed the definition of case. They changed the definition of infection. They changed the definition of herd immunity. They changed the definition of vaccine. And they wonder why so many people are suspicious that something odd is going on..”

A subtle shift towards normalization here: “Subsequent … vaccinations may only be needed every year – just like [with] influenza,” he said.

Pfizer Co-developer Says Covid Vaccination Will Be Annual (RT)

People around the world will need to get a jab against Covid-19 once a year, at least when it comes to the Pfizer vaccine, BioNTech’s CEO Ugur Sahin said in an interview on Sunday, as he praised the quality of its booster shot In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper on Sunday, Sahin said he considers the vaccine, co-developed by his company, to be “very effective.” When asked whether people should be worried about the “breakthrough infections” – in which those vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine still developed Covid-19 symptoms – he dismissed such concerns, saying that the jab offers a “90 percent protection” against cases that require intensive care in those aged over 60.

A “very high” level of protection against severe illness lasts for up to nine months, the BioNTech CEO maintained. He said this level starts decreasing “from the fourth month,” however. To maintain the protection, Sahin strongly pushed for booster shots, arguing that they would not just restore levels of antibodies but would potentially help “to break … chains of infection.” He also encouraged doctors to be “as pragmatic as possible” when it comes to greenlighting vaccination and “not to send people home unvaccinated even though they could be vaccinated without any problems.” In the future, people might need to get booster shots once a year, the BioNTech CEO believes. He said that he expects protection from a booster shot to “last longer” than the initial immunity one acquires after getting two doses of the vaccine.

“Subsequent … vaccinations may only be needed every year – just like [with] influenza,” he said. Currently, the German Federal Center for Health Education – an agency subordinated to the Health Ministry – recommends a booster shot six months after one gets the second dose of a vaccine. It also says that “booster vaccination makes sense after a minimum interval of about four months.” Sahin’s interview comes days after it was revealed that Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are making a combined profit of $65,000 every minute – all thanks to their Covid-19 jabs. That is according to estimates made by the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) – a coalition demanding wider access to vaccines. The PVA estimated that the three companies are to earn a total of $34 billion in combined pre-tax profits this year alone, which roughly translates into more than $1,000 a second and $93.5 million a day.

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“We don’t know right now, we have to be perfectly transparent and honest.”

Fauci Gives A ‘Perfectly Honest’ Response To Booster Question (RT)

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the “guidelines” for what makes someone ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid-19 could soon be changing, depending on the “science.” Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Fauci was asked if booster shots would soon be required for someone to be considered fully inoculated, something required for many to work and enter certain businesses. While not giving a direct yes or no answer, the infectious disease expert said the current administration is open to it. “We’re going to be following that very carefully,” Fauci said, adding that the Joe Biden administration “might modify the guidelines” for what constitutes being fully vaccinated, based on the lasting effects of boosters. We don’t know right now, we have to be perfectly transparent and honest.”

Americans “should not be put off by the fact that as time goes by and we learn more and more about the protection,” the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ might change, Fauci stressed. Those given two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson are currently considered fully vaccinated, but according to Fauci, Pfizer and Moderna recipients should already be getting boosters after six months and Johnson & Johnson recipients after two months. In a separate interview with ABC, Fauci said if boosters need to provide “durability,” or more boosters will be required in the future.

“We’ll continue to follow the data because right now when we’re boosting people, what we’re doing is following them,” he said. “We’re going to see what the durability of that protection is.” If the durability is not up to par, Fauci explained, people could need to get shots every six months to a year. “We would hope, and this is something that we’re looking at very carefully, that that third shot with the mRNA not only boosts you way up, but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year,” he said.

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‘I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,..”

“Sally Quinn, an author who used Fauci as the inspiration for a character in an erotic work of fiction ..”

Fauci Comes Up With New ‘Rule’ To Wear Masks (RT)

White House health adviser Anthony Fauci was seen at an elite book party regularly taking his mask on and off, confusing many attendees. An author says Fauci explained to her why he chose to wear it around some and not others. Appearing at a book launch party for journalist Jonathan Karl this week at Cafe Milano in Washington DC, Fauci gained the attention of onlookers, according to Politico, by repeatedly putting on and taking off his mask as he talked to numerous people. This also happened as “gawkers” attempted to get a picture of the unmasked infectious disease expert. Sally Quinn, an author who used Fauci as the inspiration for a character in an erotic work of fiction, eventually approached the doctor and asked about his “ambivalence” towards mask-wearing at the event.


“He said, ‘I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,” the author recalled from her conversation with Fauci. The head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases was apparently on his own with his mask-wearing tactics, as Quinn reported all others at the event were not masked. Quinn described the “paparazzi” as trying to catch Fauci in a “gotcha” moment, but also suggested that the doctor “was being safe.” All those who attended the party had to show proof of vaccinations beforehand. Washington, DC recently dropped its strict mask mandate, though this does not go into effect until Monday, November 22. Masks will no longer be required in numerous indoor spaces, though they are still required in schools, libraries, public transportation, etc. Private businesses have the option to require or not require masks, under the new guidance.

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Firmly in the Fauci camp. Good luck with that.

It’ll Be ‘Jab Or Death’ For Anti-vaxxers, Orban Predicts (RT)

Vaccination of all Hungarian citizens against Covid-19 is inevitable, PM Viktor Orban has said, stating that even the most hardline anti-vaxxers will ultimately face a choice between dying with the virus and getting a jab. Speaking to Kossuth radio on Friday, the Hungarian leader lashed out at those reluctant to get vaccinated against coronavirus, branding them a threat “not only to themselves but to all others.” In the end, everyone will have to be vaccinated; even the anti-vaxxers will realize that they will either get vaccinated or die. So, I urge everyone to take this opportunity. The EU member state is currently experiencing its fourth wave of coronavirus, Orban stated, blaming the situation on those who had not got vaccinated. “If everybody were inoculated, there would be no fourth wave or it would be just a small one,” the PM claimed.


Apart from urging the unvaccinated to go and finally get their jabs, Orban also promoted booster shots, revealing that he had already taken three doses of a coronavirus vaccine. “The only thing that protects us from the virus is vaccination. And we are now also seeing, at least the experts are unanimous in saying, that four to six months after the second vaccination, the protective power of the vaccine weakens. Therefore, a third vaccination is justified,” he said. Hungary has already announced new anti-Covid measures, though somewhat short of the strict measures proposed by the nation’s Medical Chamber on Wednesday. The medical body called for a blanket ban on mass events, and suggested making entry to restaurants, theaters and other indoor venues conditional on bearing a Covid-19 inoculation certificate. Instead, Budapest rolled out compulsory mask wearing for most indoor environments, as well as making booster shots mandatory for all medical workers, starting from Saturday.

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Even RT only talks about new, and yet-to-be invented, drugs. But that’s not what will solve this.

Fighting For Our Lives: Humanity’s Weapons Against Covid-19 (RT)

Vaccines are not a silver bullet, unfortunately, given the not-so-high level of global immunization and the constantly emerging new strains of the virus. “People might get infected despite having had a vaccine, but I still think the vaccine strategy is going to be central to how we manage this kind of virus going forward,” Prof. Dockrell says. “But we will have other strategies that will be very important. We will have other elements. When we put them all together, it gives us the best opportunity that people can live with coronaviruses, and hopefully, the mortality can be limited to much lower extense than what we’ve sadly seen in the last eighteen months.” Monoclonal antibodies will be central to the ongoing vaccine strategy, Prof. Dockrell explains. These are the antibodies similar to those the body uses to fight the virus.

They are produced in labs and given via infusion or injection to boost the patient’s response against certain diseases. Monoclonal antibody treatment is used for people under a high risk of developing severe infection (including older patients 65+ years old or those with chronic medical conditions). It’s already being used in the US, following last year’s FDA approval. Earlier in November, the European Medicines agency recommended authorizing two monoclonal antibody medicines. In October, UK’s AstraZeneca reported positive results of a Phase 3 study of its antibody combination, which, according to developers, is highly effective in both prevention and treatment of coronavirus. Researchers are also working on a possibility to save Covid-infected patients from the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ – a situation when the immune system reacts so intensely that kills not only the virus, but the whole organism itself. A drug to ‘calm the storm’ was registered in Russia this year, and it’s already being used on patients.

Another way to fight Covid-19 is to use antiviral drugs. When the pandemic started, medics had to use something already existing (like anti-influenza Favipiravir) or something being authorized for emergency use (like remdesivir). Now, more than a year on, the work to create a special drug to specifically cure Covid-19 is giving its results. This month, Russia registered its first injectable anti-Covid medicine. A bit earlier, the UK became the first country to approve an antiviral pill produced by the US-based companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Another American firm, Pfizer, got positive results from trials of its drug of the same kind. Both firms hope that with a drug in the form of a pill it would be easier to treat people at home. Appreciating all the efforts on the field of developing anti-Covid treatment, Prof. de Noli points out that still, the key issue now is to reduce the spreading of the virus. “The new medicines are developed for people who already got the disease,” he says.

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This will not go away.

Fresh Protests, Violence Against Covid Restrictions (RFI)

A fresh wave of protests broke out in several European cities and in some French overseas territories Sunday, as protesters reacted, sometimes violently, to moves to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions. Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, in several Dutch cities and overnight into early Sunday in the French Caribbean territory Guadaloupe. There were fresh demonstrations in Austria, where the government is imposing a new lockdown and Covid-19 vaccine mandate. In Brussels, violence broke out at a protest against anti-Covid measures which police said was attended by 35,000 people. The march, in the city’s European Union and government district, largely focused on a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars.

It began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to protesters throwing projectiles, an AFP photographer witnessed. Police told Belga news agency that three officers were injured. Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags, while others wore Nazi-era yellow stars. Protesters set fire to wood pallets, and social media images showed them attacking police vans with street signs. Protests also erupted in several Dutch cities Sunday, the third night of unrest over the government’s coronavirus restrictions. Demonstrators set off fireworks and vandalised property in the northern cities of Groningen and Leeuwarden, as well as in Enschede to the east and Tilburg to the south, said police. “Riot police are present in the centre to restore order,” a Groningen police spokeswoman told AFP.

Authorities issued an emergency order in Enschede, near the German border, ordering people to stay off the streets, police said on Twitter. A football match in the nearby city of Leeuwarden was briefly disrupted after supporters, who are barred from games because of the Covid restrictions, threw fireworks into the ground, Dutch media reported. On Friday night, there was unrest in Rotterdam and last night in The Hague. So far, more than 100 people have been arrested around the country and at least 12 people have been injured during the demonstrations. From Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work, shop for essentials and exercise. And vaccination against Covid-19 in the Alpine nation will be mandatory from February 1 next year.

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“There is no “finishing the fight” against an endemic virus.”

Like Covid-19, Digital Passports Could Be With Us Forever (Ford)

When a government radically alters the way we live and relate to one another, it should be able to explain, at a minimum, why it is doing so. And when their plans involve extraordinary new powers to surveil, coerce, and control the population, we might also hope for an account of how and when those powers will be rescinded, and what limiting principle will constrain their use. Proponents of digital health passports have failed to clear even the most basic of these hurdles. Instead, they have offered conflicting, unrealistic, and sometimes incoherent explanations of what the new digital passport regime is meant to achieve. Are vaccine passports supposed to let us “finish the fight” against SARS-CoV-2, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised? Of course not. There is no “finishing the fight” against an endemic virus.

Will the passports end transmission of the disease? No. The vaccines are not designed to stop transmission, and the virus can be spread by vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. Is the point to ensure that hospitals and ICUs are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients? That is a legitimate goal, but it’s undermined when vaccine mandates result in the firing or suspensions of thousands of front-line healthcare workers, many of whom already have natural immunity. Maybe the passports are just a psychosomatic measure, meant to help vaccinated people feel safer and less anxious as they go about their lives. Or are they a blunt instrument to drive up vaccination rates in hopes of achieving herd immunity? If so, how high does the rate need to be? 80 percent? 90 percent? 100 percent?

What will we do when the vaccine’s efficacy fades, or if new variants emerge with mutated spike proteins that escape vaccine-induced immunity? No one seems to know. Lacking clear or realistic objectives, there is no way to evaluate the success of these new public health measures. And if success or failure cannot be measured, neither can they be declared. This should worry us, because the elected leaders currently enacting vaccine passports have not committed to any limits—either practical or temporal—on these new powers. We should not be overturning our most taken-for-granted social norms without first considering the risks and probable long-term consequences. Because once we go down this road, we may ruefully discover that there is no off-ramp.

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Why does Russia even react to this stuff anymore?

Russia Set To Launch Winter Invasion Of Ukraine: US Media (RT)

Russia is growing more inclined to invade Ukraine now that colder days are approaching, a weekend American media report has claimed. Western officials have accused Russia of staging a military buildup along Kiev’s eastern borders. The likelihood of a potential Russian assault on Ukraine is “increasing as the weather gets colder,” CBS News reported on Saturday, citing the customary unnamed US intelligence “sources.” Quite why Moscow would choose the coldest months of the year, with the shortest days, is left unclear. “An incursion is weather-dependent, but could happen in a matter of weeks, barring intervention from the West,” it continued.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday urged Moscow to “be more transparent on the buildup of the forces around on the border of Ukraine.” Austin added that he was “not sure exactly” about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan of action. Ukraine initially refused to back the reports in US media about the buildup of Russian troops, but later changed its tune. Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s chief military intelligence officer, told the Military Times on Sunday that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine by the end of January or the beginning of February. The Ukrainian military produced a map showing how Russia in a “short-term perspective” could invade Ukraine from all directions, including an incursion from the territory of Belarus.

Russia has denied amassing troops along the Ukrainian border. When reports of possible preparation for an invasion began appearing in US media this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed them as “fake” news that she said was part of a larger disinformation campaign waged against Russia. In an interview broadcast on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sunday, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, said the West was “artificially stoking hysteria.”

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Mar 312020
 


Vincent van Gogh The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884 (stolen yesterday)

 

Fauci Offers More Conservative Death Rate In Academic Article Than In Public Briefings (JTN)
Hospital Equipment Shortages Renew Spotlight On Supply Chain Middlemen (JTN)
US COVID19 Job Losses Could Be 47 Million, Unemployment May Hit 32% (CNBC)
Trump Rips Pelosi For Criticizing His Handling Of Coronavirus Pandemic (NYP)
Pelosi Aims To Move Fast On Next Rescue Package (Pol.)
Rachel Maddow’s Recent Predictions Get Roasted (JTN)
Political Distancing (Turley)
Many Brick & Mortar Stores Will Not Reopen, CMBS will Default (WS)
How Will COVID-19 Impact US Manufacturing? First Indications Are Ugly (WS)
“We Are Temporarily A Company With No Product And No Revenue” (WS)
Airbnb To Pay Out $250 Million To Hosts To Help Ease Cancellation Pain (R.)
China Says Manufacturing Activity Expanded In March (CNBC)
Hungary’s Viktor Orbán Wins Vote To Rule By Decree Indefinitely (Pol.)
Portugal Gives Migrants, Asylum-Seekers Full Citizenship Rights (CNN)
Five Days Of Worship That Set A Virus Time Bomb In France (R.)
People Get Ready! (Kunstler)
Italian Politicians Criticize Netherlands Over Lack Of Solidarity (NLT)

 

 

More countries are demanding people wear face masks, even the CDC in the US talks about making it obligatory, but masks are no more available in many places than tests are. We’re three months into this thing -though I know for most people it’s been just 2 weeks-, and we’re still debating this.

In the US, half the people have it easy, they can just blame everything on Trump, it’s a entire industry, even though his approval numbers rise at the same time. But in all those other countries, who do you blame when you have face the coordinated efforts to praise your government of the day? Life isn’t easy. Maybe you can blame Trump too.

Meanwhile, we’re sadly waiting for US cases and death numbers to explode. 15,000 new cases and close to 1,000 new deaths is devastating, but nowhere near what we expect the trend to become.

 

 

Cases 799,723 (+ 64,792 from yesterday’s 734,931)

Deaths 38,720 (+ 3,940 from yesterday’s 34,780)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-. Note: Turkey’s in the ascendancy (though not in the zodiac)

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 19% –

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info:

 

 

 

 

Sharyl Attkisson noticed something too. Fauci must be more careful.

Fauci Offers More Conservative Death Rate In Academic Article Than In Public Briefings (JTN)

You’ve probably heard that COVID-19 is far deadlier than the flu. But it could turn out to be more akin to a severe flu season. Surprisingly, both of those assessments come from the same authority at the same time: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s chief infectious disease specialist. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly cited more jarring figures in public. For instance, Fauci declared in March 11 congressional testimony that the current coronavirus “is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” which would be about 1 percent. His testimony generated news headlines that blared across the internet and television news, and it remains frequently cited today. But among his learned colleagues in academia, he has provided the more conservative analysis.


“[T]he case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%,” Fauci wrote in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 26. “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.” A day after the NEJM article was published, Fauci was back to repeating the higher fatality number in public rather than “considerably less than 1%.” “The mortality of [COVID-19] is about 10 times [flu],” Fauci told Comedy Central host Trevor Noah on March 27.

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A lot of things won’t happen without kickbacks. The system is one sick puppy.. and no reform in sight, since both parties are beholden to the industry as a whole.

Hospital Equipment Shortages Renew Spotlight On Supply Chain Middlemen (JTN)

Healthcare providers facing medical equipment shortages and exorbitantly high drug prices during the coronavirus outbreak are captive to kickback-receiving “middlemen” who lock up hospitals in exclusive contracts that enable price gouging and supply bottlenecks, according to a network of physician advocacy groups representing 3,000 physicians. Nearly 90% of U.S. mayors who responded to a national survey released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors said they lack enough protective equipment for their coronavirus medical workers, and 85% said they do not have enough ventilators for their hospitals.


Dr. Marion Mass, a Duke-educated physician who founded Practicing Physicians of America (PPA), told Just the News that so-called “safe harbor” (legal protection) provisions allowing for payments from medical equipment and drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and group purchasing organizations (GPO) — what Dr. Mass calls the “middlemen” between providers and manufacturers — amount to “kickbacks.” The “safe harbor” payments are overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), monitored by the HHS Inspector General (IG), and are currently protected by law, but Dr. Mass and her physician network argue they should be repealed.

“After significant consolidation, four behemoth GPOs now control 90% of the entire chain of hospital and nursing home supplies, and we are in the grip of an unspeakably corrupt, pay-to-play system of financial kickbacks,” Mass wrote in a white paper co-authored by the Physicians for Reform and Texas Public Policy Foundation. “If the law that established the ‘safe harbor’ for kickbacks to the GPOs (and extended to PBMs in 2003) was repealed, the cost for medical supplies and medications would fall by an estimated 25% to 30%. The cost of prescription medications would fall by 35% to 43%. Additional declines in prices are projected as true competition replaces a rigged marketplace. We estimate this reform would save Medicare and Medicaid an estimated $75 billion each year.”

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DiMartino Booth tweet: “(Bloomberg) 3 days after President Trump signed $2T stimulus, Kohl’s, Macy’s & Gap joined growing number of retailers to halt pay for much of their workforce while preserving some benefits. With these furloughs, total number of employees out a paycheck at major US chains >500,000”

US COVID19 Job Losses Could Be 47 Million, Unemployment May Hit 32% (CNBC)

Millions of Americans already have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and the worst of the damage is yet to come, according to a Federal Reserve estimate. Economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district project total employment reductions of 47 million, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, according to a recent analysis of how bad things could get. The projections are even worse than St. Louis Fed President James Bullard’s much-publicized estimate of 30%. They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost to a government-induced economic freeze aimed at halting the coronavirus spread. “These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years,” St. Louis Fed economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro wrote in a research paper posted last week.


There are a couple of important caveats to what Faria-e-Castro calls “back-of-the-envelope” calculations: They don’t account for workers who may drop out of the labor force, thus bringing down the headline unemployment rate, and they do not estimate the impact of recently passed government stimulus, which will extend unemployment benefits and subsidize companies for not cutting staff. However, the jobless picture already looks bleak. A record 3.3 million Americans filed initial jobless claims for the week ended March 21. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect another 2.65 million to join them this week. Friday’s nonfarm payrolls count for March is expected to show a decline of just 56,000, but that’s largely due to a statistical distortion [..]

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Pelosi falls innto the Chuck Todd “blood on his hands” trap. It’s a cheap political game that should not now be played. Sure, Trump was way off. But so were his advisers (Fauci), all other western and other leaders, and Pelosi herself, who was busy fiddling with impeachment when she could have been focusing on what she now says Trump should have been doing.

Trump Rips Pelosi For Criticizing His Handling Of Coronavirus Pandemic (NYP)

President Trump unleashed on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an early morning phone interview on “Fox & Friends,” slamming her comments about his “deadly” handling of coronavirus. Speaking to the Fox News hosts Monday morning, the commander-in-chief described the California Democrat as “a sick puppy,” who has “a lot of problems,” when asked about Pelosi’s criticism of his response to the virus. Trump added that her remarks were “a horrible thing to say.” “When I stopped some very, very infected, very, very sick people — thousands coming in from China — earlier than anyone thought [was necessary], including the experts.

Nobody thought we should do it, except me,” Trump said, adding that he was praised by government infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci for his decision to close the borders. “If I didn’t do that, you would’ve had deaths like you have never seen before,” he continued before knocking Pelosi for not crediting him for the move. Trump went on to call San Francisco, a city that is part of Pelosi’s district, a “slum,” adding that the federal government may need to address the city’s problems. Speaking about Pelosi’s impeachment crusade against the president — which passed the House but failed in the Senate — Trump said, “Don’t forget, she was playing the impeachment game where she ended up looking like a fool.”

On Sunday, Pelosi slammed Trump’s response to the pandemic, telling CNN, “We should be taking every precaution. What the president, his denial at the beginning was deadly.” “As the president fiddles, people are dying. And we just have to take every precaution,” she continued. CNN host Jake Tapper pressed the speaker on whether she believed Trump’s downplaying of the crisis had cost American lives, to which Pelosi responded, “Yes, I am. I’m saying that.”

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More games. Scheduled to take at least another month. Posing and posturing.

Pelosi Aims To Move Fast On Next Rescue Package (Pol.)

House Democrats are moving rapidly on ambitious plans for a fourth coronavirus relief package, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi eager to put her imprint on legislation that she says could be ready for a vote in the coming weeks. Pelosi told reporters Monday that Democrats are in the early stages of drafting another major bill that will not only shore up health systems and protect frontline health care workers but could include substantial investments in infrastructure. “Our first bills were about addressing the emergency. The third bill was about mitigation. The fourth bill would be about recovery. Emergency, mitigation, recovery,” Pelosi said on a conference call. “I think our country is united in not only wanting to address our immediate needs — emergency, mitigation, and the assault on our lives and livelihoods — but also, how we recover in a very positive way.”


But Democrats’ approach could put them on a collision course with senior Republicans, who say they are very much in wait-and-see mode when it comes to another potential multi-trillion-dollar bill and are warning Pelosi not to try to jam the Senate with a progressive plan. “They’re approaching it — it seems like — as an opportunity to pass their political and ideological agenda. We’re approaching it as, ‘How do we protect the public health and our economy?’ And those are pretty divergent goals,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) [..]

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RussiaRussiaRussia is speeding up those hospital boats just to make here look bad. Actually, I don’t want to talk about Maddow.

Rachel Maddow’s Recent Predictions Get Roasted (JTN)

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on March 20 cast doubt on the notion that two Navy hospital ships would soon reach ports on the East and West coasts to relieve hospitals combatting the coronavirus pandemic as President Trump had promised. The ships have since arrived at their respective destination ports in California and New York where they will serve non-COVID-19 patients in an effort to decrease pressure on the hospitals ashore. “In terms of the happy talk we’ve had on this front from the federal government, there is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the president made such a big deal of, the Comfort and the Mercy, there’s no sign that they’ll be anywhere on site helping out anywhere in the country for weeks yet,” Maddow said on her television show.


“The president said when he announced that those ships would be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic, he said one of those ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That’s nonsense, it will not be there next week,” Maddow asserted. The USNS Comfort arrived in New York harbor on Monday March 30, while the USNS Mercy arrived in the Port of Los Angeles on Friday March 27 and began accepting patients on Sunday March 29. Republicans on Monday highlighted the Maddow clip.

It isn’t the first time the popular liberal host has faced criticism — both on the left and the right — for her prognostication or promotion. Maddow was criticized in March 2017 when she over-hyped a story about Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns, underwhelming many viewers once she finally divulged the information she had been teasing. “In positioning it as a grand revelation, a vital step in comprehending Trump’s corruption, MSNBC created an exceedingly cynical spectacle,” Willa Paskin wrote on Slate.com.

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Lesson in federalism. There are lots of things the federal government can’t do that are normal in other countries.

Political Distancing (Turley)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to take control of the medical supply market. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker demanded that President Trump take charge and said “precious months” were wasted waiting for federal action. Some critics are even more direct in demanding a federal takeover, including a national quarantine. It is the legal version of panic shopping. Many seem to long for federal takeovers, if not martial law. Yet like all panic shopping, they are buying into far more than they need while not doing as much as they could with what they have. For decades, governors tried to retain principal authority over public emergencies, but they did very little with those powers.

While many are doing impressive work now, some governors seem as eager to contain the blame as the coronavirus. Call it political distancing. Even if Trump nationalized the crisis by deploying troops, imposing price controls, and forcing production of ventilators, the Constitution has left most police authority and public health safety to the states in our system of federalism. The Framers believed liberties and powers were safest when held closest to citizens in local and state governments. Elected officials at the local and state levels are more readily held accountable than unknown Washington bureaucrats. Of course, with authority comes responsibility, and the latter notion is not always as welcomed as the former.

Despite all the hyperbole of the last few days, the federal authority of the president to act is much more limited than many appear to believe. Trump cannot, and should not, simply take over the crisis. While he may want to “open for business” by Easter, he has no clear authority to lift state orders for citizens to stay at home. His greatest authority is supplying assistance in the production and delivery of necessary resources such as ventilators. While he can put conditions on some assistance, he cannot commandeer the authority of governors in their responses to the pandemic.

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The virus will change the entire country. But people find it hard to comprehend. Wolf Richter doing well. “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line”

Many Brick & Mortar Stores Will Not Reopen, CMBS will Default (WS)

Macy’s announced today that it would lay off “the majority” of its 123,000 employees after it had closed all its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores on March 18. Even before the lockdowns, its headcount was already down 17% from four years ago, in line with the decline of its brick-and-mortar operations. It said these stores would “remain closed until we have clear line of sight on when it is safe to reopen.” Whenever that may be. But “at least through May,” the furloughed employees who were already enrolled in its health benefits program “will continue to receive coverage with the company covering 100% of the premium.” And it said, “We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered basis as business resumes.” That is, if business at these brick-and-mortar stores resumes.

Department stores have been on a 20-year downward spiral that has ended for many of them in bankruptcy court where they got dismembered and sold off in pieces. The survivors, which have been shuttering their brick-and-mortar stores for years, are now getting hit by the lockdowns. The chart depicts the brick-and-mortar business that Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, Sears, Bon-Ton Stores, Barney’s and others are in – or were in. Over the past 20 years, department store revenues declined by 43%. And now they’re getting whacked for good by the lockdowns. That declining line of revenues is going to make a 90-degree downward kink in Q1, Q2 and Q3, to violate the WOLF STREET beer-bug dictum that “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line”:

As many brick-and-mortar stores have shut down, and as people are fearful about going to those stores that are still open (such as grocery stores), ecommerce sales have exploded. Americans have long been reluctant to buy groceries online. But that has changed overnight. Amazon, Walmart and other online retailers have gone on a hiring binge to deal with the onslaught of online buying, including the stuff people normally bought in grocery stores. Online retail is the huge winner of COVID-19. When the Q1 and Q2 ecommerce revenues emerge, we will see a historic spike in online sales even as brick-and-mortar sales went straight to heck.

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More from Wolf. Depression.

How Will COVID-19 Impact US Manufacturing? First Indications Are Ugly (WS)

Most of the economic data is released weeks and months after the fact. But surveys of manufacturing and service companies foreshadow what will happen with the official data when it finally appears. The Texas manufacturing production index, for which data was collected between March 17 to 25 from 110 Texas-based unnamed manufacturers, plunged from +16.4 in February to -35.3 in March, the largest month-to-month drop in the history of the index going back to 2004, the Dallas Fed reported this morning:

Many manufactures in Texas supply the oil and gas industry, where mayhem had broken out long before the coronavirus lockdowns started impacting the economy. Manufacturer’s perceptions of broader business conditions collapsed from an already low 1.2 reading in February to -70.0, the lowest in survey history. The report observed laconically: “Perceptions of broader business conditions turned quite pessimistic in March”:

The price of crude-oil grade West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has now plunged into the range of $20 per barrel, which is catastrophic for the entire oil and gas sector. This is down from a range of $80 to $110 per barrel from 2010 through mid-2014. In an effort to stay alive a little longer, exploration-and-production companies and oil-field services companies are cutting operations, and as they’re running out of funds, they are slashing orders for equipment and supplies. And this ripples through the Texas economy. The comments made by the executives in the survey ranged from: “We are mostly just concerned.” …to something more apocalyptic: “If we see this downward trend continue, we will run out of cash within four months. New orders and inquiries have stopped instantly. Our work in-house will be finished mid to end of April, with no new orders coming in, all due to this real or imagined shutdown. I believe the country will be in a depression by the fall unless the work environment changes dramatically.”

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Cruise companies lining up for bailouts. Support people instead. The companies go, but the people will remain.

“We Are Temporarily A Company With No Product And No Revenue” (WS)

TUI, the global travel and vacation giant that owns six European airlines, 1,600 travel agencies, over 300 hotels and 14 cruise ships, desperately needs help. And it appears to have got it. On Friday, the company announced that the German government had approved a €1.8 billion loan to help keep the group afloat as COVID-19 brings the global travel sector to a literal standstill. The bridge loan, which still needs to be approved by TUI’s creditors, would be one of the biggest ever issued through German state-owned lender KfW. “We are currently facing unprecedented international travel restrictions. As a result, we are temporarily a company with no product and no revenue. This situation must be bridged,” TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said in a statement. The same could be said for millions of companies around the world. But unlike TUI, many of them don’t have the ear of their national government.


Even as giant travel companies like TUI line up with airlines and cruise owners for multi-billion dollar bailouts, huge question marks loom over the global travel industry’s future. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in its updated assessment of the potential impact of COVID-19 — based on the optimistic assumption that the tourism industry will experience a swift recovery over the next 3-4 months — projects that for the whole year 2020, tourist arrivals will have fallen 20-30% from 2019, and international tourism revenues will have plunged by $300 billion to 450 billion, almost one third of the $1.5 trillion generated in 2019. Taking into account past market trends, this would mean that between five and seven years’ worth of accumulated industry growth will have been wiped out in one fell swoop.

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Why on earth does Airbnb need a $250 million war chest?

Airbnb To Pay Out $250 Million To Hosts To Help Ease Cancellation Pain (R.)

U.S. home rental firm Airbnb said on Monday it was allocating $250 million to help offset losses by hosts around the world whose guests have canceled bookings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The aid, which will pay hosts 25% of their normal cancellation fees, is being offered globally except for China, the company said in a letter sent to hosts by Chief Executive Brian Chesky. The payments apply to the cancellation of reservations with check-in dates between March 14 and May 31. Because hosts can choose different cancellation policies – some requiring a penalty payment, with others allowing free cancellation up to a certain date before check-in – not all canceled reservations will qualify.


Airbnb had earlier announced that guests would receive a full refund for the cancellation of reservations made on or before March 14 for check-in between March 14 and April 14, which angered many hosts. Airbnb also said that hosts could cancel reservations without a charge. Airbnb said it is funding the program for hosts itself and will begin to issue the payments in April. Airbnb’s revenue in 2019 exceeded $4.8 billion, up 35% on the year, and it has $3 billion in cash, a source told Reuters last week. [..] Airbnb also said it is creating a $10 million relief fund for its Superhosts – so-named for meeting certain requirements including good ratings – who rent out their own home and need help paying their rent or mortgage, and some Experience hosts who charge for sharing an experience like food tours.

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Not much has changed. China still cares little about credibility.

China Says Manufacturing Activity Expanded In March (CNBC)

China on Tuesday said the official Purchasing Manager’s Index for March was 52.0, beating expectations for an economy hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the official PMI to come in at 45 for the month of March. In February, the official PMI hit a record low of 35.7. PMI readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below that level signal contraction. China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in its announcement of the PMI reading that there was continued improvement in the prevention and control of the outbreak in March, with a significant acceleration in the resumption of production. Sub-indices for production, new orders and employment expanded, the bureau said.


The bureau attributed the expansionary PMI reading to the low base in February, but cautioned that it does not mean that the country’s economic activities have returned to normal levels. Earlier this year, manufacturing activity slowed dramatically in China as the government instituted large-scale lockdowns and quarantines to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, formally known as COVID-19. Qian Wang, Asia Pacific chief economist at Vanguard Investment Strategy, said March’s manufacturing PMI reading was “totally expected” as activity improved during the month. “In February, the Chinese economy was at a full stop. It doesn’t take much to rise from such a low base,” she told CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

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The EU will have to throw out Hungary.

– State of emergency w/o time limit
– Rule by decree
– Parliament suspended
– No elections
– Spreading fake news + rumors: up to 5 yrs in prison
– Leaving quarantine: up to 8 yrs in prison

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán Wins Vote To Rule By Decree Indefinitely (Pol.)

The Hungarian parliament on Monday voted by a two-thirds majority to allow the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree without a set time limit. While the new legislation remains in place, no elections can be held and Orbán’s government will be able to suspend the enforcement of certain laws. Plus, individuals who publicize what are viewed as untrue or distorted facts — and which could interfere with the protection of the public, or could alarm or agitate a large number of people — now face several years in jail. In the vote, 137 members of parliament were in favor, 53 against and 9 did not cast a ballot. The new rules can only be lifted with another two-thirds vote of the parliament and a presidential signature.

The legislation has elicited deep concern both among civil rights groups in Hungary and international institutions, with officials from the Council of Europe, United Nations and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe publicly expressing fears about the bill. The legislation also drew criticism from members of the European Parliament. Critics say that emergency measures to address the coronavirus crisis should be temporary and time-limited to allow for checks and balances. Hungary is currently facing Article 7 proceedings under the EU Treaty, used when a country is considered at risk of breaching the bloc’s core values.

“Civil society, journalists and international and European organizations will have to step up their efforts even more in this new situation to ensure that the potential for grave abuses by government overreach are monitored, documented and responded to,” Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights NGO, said following the passage of the bill. “It’s now essential that the idea that executive power cannot be unlimited is reinforced by action,” she said. “The health crisis cannot be allowed to turn into a constitutional crisis.”

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To make sure they have access to health care.

The opposite of Orban.

Portugal Gives Migrants, Asylum-Seekers Full Citizenship Rights (CNN)

Portugal has temporarily given all migrants and asylum seekers full citizenship rights, granting them full access to the country’s healthcare as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus escalates in the country. The move will “unequivocally guarantee the rights of all the foreign citizens” with applications pending with Portuguese immigration, meaning they are “in a situation of regular permanence in National Territory,” until June 30, the Portuguese Council of Ministers said on Friday. The Portuguese Council of Ministers explained that the decision was taken to “reduce the risks for public health” of maintaining the current scheduling of appointments at the immigration office, for both the border agents and the migrants and asylum seekers.


Portugal declared a State of Emergency on March 18 that came into effect at midnight that day and was due to last for 15 days. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said during a news conference that “democracy won’t be suspended.” The country was a dictatorship for decades, with democracy being restored in 1974. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called the Covid-19 pandemic “a true war,” which would bring true challenges to the country’s “way of life and economy.” Rebelo de Sousa also praised the behavior of Portuguese citizens, “who have been exemplary in imposing a self-quarantine,” reflecting “a country that has lived through everything.”

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Mass gatherings. Religious, soccer, carnival. That’s where most infections originate in Europe.

Five Days Of Worship That Set A Virus Time Bomb In France (R.)

From the stage of an evangelical superchurch, the leader of the gospel choir kicked off an evening of prayer and preaching: “We’re going to celebrate the Lord! Are you feeling the joy tonight?” “Yes!” shouted the hundreds gathered at the Christian Open Door church on Feb. 18. Some of them had travelled thousands of miles to take part in the week-long gathering in Mulhouse, a city of 100,000 on France’s borders with Germany and Switzerland. For many members of this globe-spanning flock, the annual celebration is the highpoint of the church calendar. This time, someone in the congregation was carrying the coronavirus. The prayer meeting kicked off the biggest cluster of COVID-19 in France – one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries – to date, local government said.

Around 2,500 confirmed cases have been linked to it. Worshippers at the church have unwittingly taken the disease caused by the virus home to the West African state of Burkina Faso, to the Mediterranean island of Corsica, to Guyana in Latin America, to Switzerland, to a French nuclear power plant, and into the workshops of one of Europe’s biggest automakers. Weeks later, Germany partially closed its border with France, suspending a free-movement pact that has been in place for the past 25 years. The church cluster was a key factor, two people familiar with the German decision told Reuters. Church officials told Reuters that 17 members of the congregation have since died of complications linked to the disease.

[..] As the faithful gathered on a clear Tuesday evening in the church, an old shopping centre converted into a 2,500 seat auditorium, the disease seemed remote. France had 12 confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. There were none in the Mulhouse area. France, like other governments in northern Europe, had imposed no restrictions on big meetings. There was no alcohol gel for the congregations to clean their hands, no elbow bumps instead of handshakes. “At the time, we viewed COVID as something that was far off,” said Jonathan Peterschmitt, son of the lead pastor and grandson of the church’s founder. His father, Samuel, was unavailable for an interview because he had been sickened by the virus, his son and a church spokeswoman said.

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“The world is still here. We’re just going to have to learn to live in it differently.”

People Get Ready! (Kunstler)

The cable news announced the other day that Covid-19 patients placed in critical care may have to be on ventilators for 21 days. Only a few years ago, I went in for an ordinary hip replacement. A month or so later, I got the hospital billing statement. One of the line-items went like this: Room and board: 36 hours…$23,482.79. I am not jiving you. That was just for the hospital bed and maybe four lousy hospital meals, not the surgery or the meds or anything else. All that was billed extra. Say, what…? Now imagine you have the stupendous good fortune to survive a Covid-19 infection after 21 days on a ventilator and go home. What is that billing statement going to look like? Will the survivors wish they’d never made out of the hospital alive?

Right now, we’re in the heroic phase of the battle against a modern age plague. The doctors, nurses, and their helpers are like the trembling soldiers in an amphibious landing craft churning toward the Normandy beach where the enemy is dug in and waiting for them, with sweaty fingers on their machine guns and a stink in the pillbox. Some of the doctors and nurses will go down in the battle. The fabled fog-of-war will conceal what is happening to the health care system itself, while the battle rages. After that, what? One thing will be pretty clear: That the folks in charge of things gave trillions of dollars to Wall Street while tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 survivors got wiped out financially with gargantuan medical bills.

Do you think the Chargemaster part of the hospital routine will just stop doing its thing during this emergency? The billings will continue – just as the proverbial beatings will continue until morale improves! In the aftermath, I can’t even imagine the ‘splainin’ that will entail. The rage may be too intense to even get to that. For some, it may be time to lubricate the guillotines? Meantime, of course, the global economy has shut down which suggests to me, anyway, that any prior frame of reference you may have had about money and business and social normality goes out the window. The world is still here. We’re just going to have to learn to live in it differently.

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“..the Netherlands will “no longer be a rich country in the North if the South falls.”

Italian Politicians Criticize Netherlands Over Lack Of Solidarity (NLT)

A group of 12 Italian politicians lambasted the Netherlands on Tuesday, angered by Dutch reticence to support European financial assistance to countries most affected by coronavirus. The Netherlands blocked emergency aid to EU member states, despite “using its tax system to withdraw tax revenue from major European countries for years,” they wrote in an open letter published in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. At issue are “coronabonds”, where the funds raised from selling such bond instruments would be used to help all member states overcome economic hurdles during the ongoing health crisis. The money could then be invested in supporting any EU member state, while repayment obligations would be the responsibility of the entire EU.

Nine nations supported the plan. “However, the Netherlands are currently leading a group of countries that oppose this strategy, and Germany also seems to want to follow this group,” the politicians said, accusing the Dutch tax regime of siphoning money away from other member states which would otherwise have allowed them to assist “the socially week… who are most affected by the crisis today.” The politicians, led by Member of Europea Parliament Carlo Calenda, called for the German public to recall the unified support it had to rebuild after World War II, up through the country’s reunification. “The Dutch attitude is an example of a lack of ethics and solidarity in every respect.”

That sentiment was echoed by the leader of Dutch political party ChristenUnie, one of the parties in the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “[Italy] is in ruins. The first message, in my opinion, would be: we are going to help you,” said Gert-Jan Segers. He also called for an approach like the U.S. Marshall Plan which promoted the reconstruction of European nations after the War. The large European rescue fund could be structured similarly to the billions of deutschmarks Germany needed even though it “could never have repaid the accumulated debts,” the Italians stated. Former Dutch Central Bank leader Nout Wellink was also critical of the Dutch approach, saying that the crisis and the debt needed to get past it is “a shared responsibility.” He said, “the Netherlands will “no longer be a rich country in the North if the South falls.”

Read more …

 

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Jennifer Baer

 

 

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 February 11, 2019  Posted by at 10:04 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Glass, bread and cheesee 1923

 

Plummeting Insect Numbers ‘Threaten Collapse Of Nature’ (G.)
IMF Cuts 2019 Global Growth Forecasts Again: “We Have No Idea” (Mish)
UK Public Services Face Post-Brexit Squeeze (R.)
Theresa May Rejects Corbyn’s Ideas For A Compromise Brexit Plan (G.)
May Rejects Corbyn’s Customs Union Offer, What’s Next? (Mish)
All The Ways Gen X Is Financially Wrecked (MW)
Warren: Trump Might Not Be President Or ‘Even A Free Person’ In 2020 (MW)
Viktor Orbán: No Income Tax For Hungarian Women With Four Or More Children (G.)
Pompeo Trip Marks US Re-Engagement With Long-Overlooked Central Europe (R.)
China Retail Earnings Up 8.5% During New Year Holiday (R.)
Oil Prices Fall On Rising US Rig Count, Pressure On OPEC+ Supply Cuts (R.)
Spain’s Right Wing In Mass Protests Against PM’s Catalan Policy (Pol.eu)
Imitating Escher Is Not Easy (G.)

 

 

This should be the only topic left on all media and political agendas. Instead, everyone’s talking about music awards. Mankind had its promises, but they came with fatal flaws. The ability to lie to ourselves and others -including about the relative importance of various events- is doing us in.

We do have the brain structure to foresee future dangers, but also to discard them. We can see ourselves do things we know are devastatingly stupid, but we cannot stop ourselves from doing them. In the end, no matter how smart we think we are, only stupidity is left.

Even here, when people talk about the collapse of nature, the media present it as something separate from us. While we’re right in the middle of it, and we know it only too well.

Plummeting Insect Numbers ‘Threaten Collapse Of Nature’ (G.)

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century. The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet. “Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.” The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors.

“If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.” One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.

[..] “The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades. He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.

The world must change the way it produces food, Sánchez-Bayo said, noting that organic farms had more insects and that occasional pesticide use in the past did not cause the level of decline seen in recent decades. “Industrial-scale, intensive agriculture is the one that is killing the ecosystems,” he said. [..] “When you consider 80% of biomass of insects has disappeared in 25-30 years, it is a big concern.”

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“It’s refreshing to hear Lagarde say “we have no idea”. The IMF should say that every month.”

IMF Cuts 2019 Global Growth Forecasts Again: “We Have No Idea” (Mish)

For the fourth time since October, the IMF revised its global growth forecast lower. The Wall Street Journal reports IMF Lowers 2019 Global Growth Forecast. “The global economy is starting the year on weaker footing, according to new quarterly forecasts from the International Monetary Fund.” That report was on January 21. For details, see the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Update, January 2019.

“Last month, the IMF lowered its global economic growth forecast for this year from 3.7% to 3.5%. Lagarde cited what she called “four clouds” as the main factors undermining the global economy and warned that a “storm” might strike. The risks include “trade tensions and tariff escalations, financial tightening, uncertainty related to (the) Brexit outcome and spillover impact and an accelerated slowdown of the Chinese economy”, she said. Lagarde said trade tensions — mainly in the shape of a tariff spat between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies – are already having a global impact. “We have no idea how it is going to pan out and what we know is that it is already beginning to have an effect on trade, on confidence and on markets,” she said, warning governments to avoid protectionism.”

“Lagarde also pointed to the risks posed by rising borrowing costs within a context of “heavy debt” racked up by governments, firms and households. “When there are too many clouds, it takes one lightning (bolt) to start the storm,” she said.” The IMF is perpetually far behind the curve. It never sees the clouds or the lightening bolts in real time. It’s refreshing to hear Lagarde say “we have no idea”. The IMF should say that every month.

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As if things are not bad enough. Get out while you can.

UK Public Services Face Post-Brexit Squeeze (R.)

Many British public services risk ongoing real-terms cuts for years to come, despite a softer fiscal stance from Chancellor Philip Hammond, a major think tank predicted ahead of a half-yearly budget update next month. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) expects Hammond to give more details of the money available for a multi-year review of public spending when he updates budget plans on March 13, just two weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union. In his annual budget in November, Hammond loosened the government’s purse-strings, giving support to the economy as it slowed ahead of Brexit. However, rising healthcare spending leaves little spare for other public services, the IFS said.

“This suggests yet more years of austerity for many public services — albeit at a much slower pace than the last nine years,” IFS research economist Ben Zaranko said. Public services outside of health, defence and overseas aid saw budgets fall by an average of 3 percent a year in real terms after 2010, and now look set for declines of 0.4 percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms going forward, the IFS predicts. [..] “In the short run … government might well raise spending to support the economy, mitigate the impacts for the worst-hit sectors or areas and provide funding to departments now required to perform additional functions, notably at the border,” the IFS said. In the long run, higher taxes or further spending cuts would be required to pay for this spending, as well as to compensate for weaker growth caused by trade restrictions, the IFS added.

[..] Brexit uncertainty has damaged the economy already and will slow growth further over the long term, even with a deal. Last week the Bank of England estimated the costs to date at 1.5 percent of GDP — more than the forecast budget deficit for 2018/19. During 2016’s referendum campaign, Brexit supporters including former foreign minister Boris Johnson said leaving the EU would free as much as 350 million pounds a week to spend on public services such as healthcare.

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OK, where are the street fighting men?

Theresa May Rejects Corbyn’s Ideas For A Compromise Brexit Plan (G.)

Theresa May has effectively ruled out Labour’s ideas for a compromise Brexit plan, shutting off another potential route to a deal as business groups warned that with less than 50 days to go the departure process was entering the “emergency zone”. The prime minister’s formal response to Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal, in a letter to the Labour leader, stressed her objections to keeping the UK in some form of customs union, saying this would prevent the UK making its own trade deals. But in an apparent renewed bid to win over wavering Labour MPs, May made a concession on environmental and workers’ rights, discounting Corbyn’s idea of automatic alignment with EU standards but suggesting instead a Commons vote every time these change.

The letter comes amid a growing presumption that while May remains officially committed to putting a revised Brexit plan to MPs as soon as possible, in practice this is unlikely to happen before the end of February, if not later. The communities secretary, James Brokenshire, said on Sunday that if no finalised deal were put to the Commons by 27 February, MPs would again be given an amendable motion to consider, allowing them to block a no-deal departure or make other interventions. “If the meaningful vote has not happened, so in other words things have not concluded, then parliament would have that further opportunity by no later than 27 February,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

May remains officially committed to getting the EU to agree to significant changes to the Irish border backstop as a way of winning over the DUP and agitated Tory backbenchers who helped bring about the heavy defeat of her plan. But with the PM’s meetings in Brussels last week yielding no real hope of this, there had been speculation she might embrace suggestions from Corbyn, who last week outlined five commitments Labour needed for it to back a deal, including joining a customs union. In her letter May argued that her own Brexit plan “explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union” in terms of avoiding tariffs, while allowing “development of the UK’s independent trade policy beyond our economic partnership with the EU”. She wrote: “I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future EU trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?”

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“..she successfully took another four days off the clock.”

May Rejects Corbyn’s Customs Union Offer, What’s Next? (Mish)

On February 6, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn offered UK Prime Minister Theresa May a Customs Union Deal in which the Labour party would back a deal with May. She could have easily rejected Corbyn’s offer on the spot. Instead, she successfully took another four days off the clock. Today we see, May Rejects Corbyn’s Offer as Businesses Warn of Brexit Cliff Edge. She wrote: “I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future EU trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?” Great Question! Actually, the question itself is not great. May could have just as easily asked anything else. Thus, the question was irrelevant.

The importance is Corbyn now has to respond. How long will that take? Even if it’s a single day, that another day off the March 29 Brexit clock. Theresa May has effectively splintered the Labour party. Some want a new referendum, some want Brexit, and some want a custom’s union. Corbyn is now a clear loser in May’s tactics. The other side of May’s gambit is the Tories are now united. They still do not want her deal. [..] The biggest fear for the Tories was a new election. May’s gambit remains what it has always been, to play on the fears of both sides such that they would support her silly deal. While May succeeded on one front, she categorically failed on another. She now needs to win over DUP and splinter the Tories. If she can do that, then she wins. Meanwhile, the clock is running down.

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There are many more ways than these.

All The Ways Gen X Is Financially Wrecked (MW)

Reality bites. While millennials garner much of the negative press around financial issues — they live with their parents because they can’t get jobs! They spend all their money on avocado toast! — Gen Xers may be the ones who are really in trouble. Just 16% of Gen Xers say that they included financial planning in their 2019 goals, according to a recent survey from Allianz Life. That’s compared with 27% of millennials. And when asked what 2019 resolution they were most likely to make, and to keep, just 38% mentioned managing money better and saving more; meanwhile 50% of millennials said that. That lack of planning and goal-keeping could make a bad situation worse — as Gen X may already be financially worse off than other generations in a number of ways.

They’ve got the most credit card debt of anyone — yet still spend more than anyone on non-essentials. Members of Gen X have higher levels of credit card debt — which tends to carry a higher interest rate than most other debt — than other generations. Indeed, credit card debt levels peak between the ages of 45-54 at $9,096, with the second highest levels of debt being or those who are 35-44 at $8,235. Meanwhile, the under 35 set has just $5,808. “Millennials and individuals over 74 years old held the least credit card debt. These two groups are also among the least likely to have a credit card, which can serve as a potential explanation behind the trend we are seeing here,” ValuePenguin explains of their data.

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Don’t do it, Elizabeth. Dumb move.

Warren: Trump Might Not Be President Or ‘Even A Free Person’ In 2020 (MW)

Back in Iowa as a full-fledged presidential candidate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren took aim at President Donald Trump on Sunday, saying he “may not even be a free person” by next year’s election. The Massachusetts senator’s comments came a day after Trump renewed his criticism of her past claims of Native American heritage. In a tweet, Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” and said he would see her “on the campaign TRAIL.” The White House didn’t explain what the president was referring to in his tweet, though some Democrats accused him of making light of the Trail of Tears — the forced removal of Cherokee and several other Native American tribes from their lands in the 1830s. Warren’s campaign wouldn’t say what the senator believes Trump was referencing.

Warren has largely avoided talking about Trump since she began testing the waters for a campaign more than a month ago. During her first of three events Sunday in eastern Iowa, Warren said the president shouldn’t be allowed to dictate the direction of the campaign with divisive attacks. “Every day there is a racist tweet, a hateful tweet — something really dark and ugly,” she said. “What are we as candidates, as activists, as the press, going to do about it? We’re going to chase after those every day?” She continued: “Here’s what bothers me. By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person.”

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Orban’s success: “..a labour shortage means jobs cannot be filled.”

Viktor Orbán: No Income Tax For Hungarian Women With Four Or More Children (G.)

Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has promised that women who have four or more children will never pay income tax again, in a move aimed at boosting the country’s population. Orbán, who has emerged as Europe’s loudest rightwing, anti-immigration voice in recent years, said getting Hungarian families to have more children was preferable to allowing immigrants from Muslim countries to enter. “In all of Europe there are fewer and fewer children, and the answer of the west to this is migration,” said Orbán in his annual state of the nation address on Sunday. “They want as many migrants to enter as there are missing kids, so that the numbers will add up. We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.”

Orbán’s Fidesz party won a third consecutive electoral victory last year on an anti-migration platform, and the Hungarian prime minister rarely gives a speech without presenting the upcoming years as a do-or-die battle for the future of Europe. He has voiced a hope that after elections in May, all European institutions will be controlled by “anti-migration forces”. He has repeatedly claimed that the Hungarian-born American financier and philanthropist George Soros, a favoured target of the far right across the globe, is masterminding a conspiracy to destroy Europe by promoting mass migration. “The people of Europe have come to a historic crossroads,” Orbán said on Sunday, criticising the “mixed population countries” that result from allowing migration.

The process was moving so quickly, he said, that the transformation of previously Christian countries into those where Christians were a minority would happen in his lifetime. “There is no return ticket,” he said. [..] As the prime minister spoke, anti-Orbán protesters gathered in Budapest for the latest in a series of rallies against the government which began in December after parliament passed a “slave law” allowing employers to demand more overtime from workers. The law is seen as another result of the demographic problems in the country, as a labour shortage means jobs cannot be filled.

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And who does Pompeo visit first? Orban of course. Operating in the EU’s own back yard.

Pompeo Trip Marks US Re-Engagement With Long-Overlooked Central Europe (R.)

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Hungary, Slovakia and Poland this week he wants to make up for a lack of U.S. engagement that opened the door to more Chinese and Russian influence in central Europe, administration officials say. On a tour that includes a conference on the Middle East where Washington hopes to build a coalition against Iran, Pompeo begins on Monday in Budapest, the Hungarian capital that last saw a secretary of state in 2011 when Hillary Clinton visited. On Tuesday he will be in Bratislava, Slovakia, for the first such high-level visit in 20 years. “This is overdue and needed,” a senior U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Our message is we have to show up or expect to lose.

“Our efforts at diplomatic engagement are aimed at competing for positive influence and giving allies in the region an indication of U.S. support and interest in order to have alternatives to China and Russia.” Washington is concerned about China’s growing presence, in particular the expansion of Huawei, the world’s biggest telecom gear maker, in Hungary and Poland. [..] Pompeo will also voice concerns about energy ties with Moscow, and urge Hungary to not support the TurkStream pipeline, part of the Kremlin’s plans to bypass Ukraine, the main transit route for Russian gas to Europe. Hungary gets most of its gas from Russia and its main domestic source of electricity is the Paks nuclear power plant where Russia’s Rosatom is involved in a 12.5 billion-euro ($14 billion) expansion. It is also one of the EU states that benefit most from Chinese investment.

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Xi’s conundrum: does he play up how great this is, how it makes his economy look great, or does he try and cut down on borrowing even more, scared that Chinese are borrowing far too much?

China Retail Earnings Up 8.5% During New Year Holiday (R.)

China’s retailer and catering enterprises earned over 1 trillion yuan ($148.3 billion) during the Lunar New Year holiday, defying an economic slump to rise 8.5 percent from last year, the country’s commerce ministry said late on Sunday. The increase was down to the rapid growth in sales of new-year gifts, traditional foods, electronic products and local speciality products over a six-day holiday period ending on Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce said in a notice on its website. Domestic tourism during the new year break generated total revenues of 513.9 billion yuan, up 8.2 percent on the year, with the number of trips rising 7.6 percent to 415 million, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing official data.

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The US is pricing itself out of the market: OPEC+ output cuts are meant to support prices, not to allow the US to fill in the gaps.

Oil Prices Fall On Rising US Rig Count, Pressure On OPEC+ Supply Cuts (R.)

Crude prices fell by around 1 percent on Monday as U.S. drilling activity picked up and as Russia’s biggest oil producer pressured President Vladimir Putin to end the supply cut deal with Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC. [..] In the United States, energy firms last week increased the number of oil rigs operating for the second time in three weeks, a weekly report by Baker Hughes said on Friday. Companies added 7 oil rigs in the week to Feb. 8, bringing the total count to 854, pointing to a further rise in U.S. crude production, which already stands at a record 11.9 million bpd. Elsewhere, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, has written to the Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Moscow’s deal with the OPEC to withhold output is a strategic threat and plays into the hands of the United States.

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Mea culpa. On the news yesterday that the Catalan court cases begin this week, I said nothing appeared to have changed from Rajoy’s days. Not true.

Spain’s Right Wing In Mass Protests Against PM’s Catalan Policy (Pol.eu)

Tens of thousands gathered in Madrid on Sunday to protest Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s plan to ease tensions with Catalan separatists, in a demonstration uniting the leaders of conservative and far-right parties. The protest of an estimated 45,000 people marked the first time that the leaders of the conservative Popular Party (PP), centrist Ciudadanos and far-right Vox were photographed together, El País reported. Protesters accused Sánchez of “stabbing [Spain] in the back” and called for a snap election because of his government’s decision to accept a long-held demand of Catalan secessionists to appoint a facilitator in talks between pro-independence and pro-unity political parties.

The ruling regional pro-independence parties in Barcelona have rejected the Socialists’ proposed framework for talks and are calling for a new independence vote, which the government opposes. “The time of Pedro Sánchez has ended,” said PP leader Pablo Casado. “There is no more room for surrendering by the Socialists, or further extortion from the separatists. Today, the reconquest begins.” Sánchez said at a separate rally on Sunday that “the government is working for the unity of Spain, and this means uniting Spaniards and not pitting people against one another like the right is doing.” He added: “Democracy is not heads or tails, there are many alternatives. Ours is coexistence, law and dialogue in Catalonia.”

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Off topic. What these works show, after you’ve watched them for 2 seconds, is how good Escher was, and others are not. The first one, cats and dogs, depends on cartoon animals. Escher used only real animals. The second comes closest to Escher’s work, but that makes it a bland imitation. The third is straight-up cartoon, not at all something Escher would have done.

Imitating Escher Is Not Easy (G.)

Alain Nicolas, aged 73, was inspired to create his own tessellations on seeing the work of Escher four decades ago. Escher’s tessellations of interlocking birds, fish and lizards are some of the most recognisable mathematical art of the twentieth century; striking and playful as well as breathtakingly ingenious. Nicolas’ work is also stunning and witty.

Now retired, he spends half his free time designing tessellations and recently finished his 400th. You can see many of them on his extensive website (but don’t peek until you have solved the puzzles!). Drawing tessellations is not easy. It takes a lot of geometrical acuity to make shapes that fit together and are convincing representations.

David Bailey, a British tessellation artist, believes that Nicolas is the best tessellation artist in the world. “His work has everything, recognisable silhouettes, quality, variety, number, level of innovation, next to no padding, and all rendered to a most pleasing standard of finish. Bravo, Alain!” Nicolas has – like Escher – no background in maths, but says all that is required is a sense of wonder and a desire to always do better. Here is a self portrait, sitting in a bar, reading his own book, and calling the waiter with his finger.

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Sep 052015
 
 September 5, 2015  Posted by at 8:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Marion Post Wolcott Works Progress Administration worker’s children, South Charleston, WV 1938

In the end, what should have been avoided all along, was. The refugees who were treated like subhumans for days in Hungary, and who in the end refused to be subjected to that treatment any longer and started walking to the Austrian border, are being taken as we speak to that border, on buses provided by the government in Budapest.

Meanwhile, we have all been subjected to the words and ideas of Victor Orban, the loose cannon who rules Hungary. The media largely portray the sudden change from refugees stuck on trains in Budapest train station and locations just outside of the city, to the buses that will take them to Austria and presumably Germany, as something that sprouted from Orban’s brain.

But that is not true. One can call Orban on his crazy notions, but not on decisions about the movements of the refugees. Both the decision to in effect ‘detain’ the thousands of refugees inside Hungary for days, and the decision late last night to let them leave, came from one person only: Angela Merkel. She’s the only one with sufficient power to make such things happen.

She told Orban earlier this week to stop the trains from coming west. And she told him later all refugees would have to be registered. In fact, that was a EU wide order, which is why the Czechs started putting numbers on refugees’ arms. Another image Merkel couldn’t possibly tolerate, even if she initially managed to deflect the blame for that too.

Once again, Merkel diddled till she couldn’t diddle any longer. The one and only reason why she decided to change course was the damage to her stature as a leader and politician. The images of little Aylan Kurdi dead on a beach, and the images of thousands of refugees walking to the Austrian border, had simply become too damaging to Merkel’s reputation.

So she took the opportunistic and at least somewhat cynical decision to tell Orban he could set them free.

The Syrian refugees have taken to calling her Mama Merkel. They don’t know who she is, or what role she plays.

The situation would have gotten out of hand somewhere, either in Budapest or along the highway to the border. People would have died, and cameras would have recorded the deaths.

Merkel might have had a second Aylan on her hands, and at some point even the thickest among reporters would have made the connection to her, the only voice with decision power in that part of the world. She knew her Teflon coat would at some point wear off.

To a large extent, Merkel’s headaches have only started. She can’t let the Budapest train station scenes, or the miles long stream of walking destitute, or the image of drowned children, repeat. If she had come to her senses earlier, much of the misery would have been avoided. And she knows it. She knew the risk of more and worse tragedy was getting too big. And it still is, this is far from over.

But there’s another side to the story as well. That of private European citizens. And not the goons attacking refugees on Kos and in Hungary. We’ve seen the tireless long-term Greek private efforts to feed and shelter refugees on the islands and the cities, Hungarians handing out hundreds of bottles of water, 2200 Austrians last night volunteering to drive across the Hungarian border to pick up the refugees marching along the highway at night (which was a major factor in the decision to send buses).

There are many examples of European citizens showing what decent behavior actually is. And it comes naturally to them.

There is a huge gap between these Europeans and the people who are supposed to be their leaders. And that gap cannot be bridged, and will not be, just because Angela Merkel acknowledges that she’s been being defeated by numbers and images, everytime she is.

Merkel has shown us once again this week that humanity is an orphan in European decision making. Neither Angela or any other of the leaders, be it in national capitals or in Brussels, put humane treatment of refugees first. They are cool and calculated first.

Their attitude towards Syrian refugees is the same as that towards the poor in Greece. They are more than ready to accept that there will be human casualties because of whatever it is they decide. They want the power but not the responsibility.

The EU meeting on the refugee topic, which you can bet they will label ‘migrant’, is still over a week away, on September 14. And it will be about numbers, not about people.

German financial support on the issue is planned to be more than 3 weeks away. During that time, the horror is sure to repeat somewhere along the line that runs from Syria to Berlin. Yes, it starts in Syria.

Therefore, Europeans -and the international media- need to keep the pressure on Merkel now. And on Hollande and Cameron and Juncker, and all of their minions. But first of all on Merkel. She’s key.