Salvador Dali Portrait of Gala with Two Lamb Chops Balanced on Her Shoulder 1933
Australia true Covid stats
— English (@English__007) February 21, 2022
Rogan Maajid Nawaz decentralization
— Maajid أبو عمّار (@MaajidNawaz) February 22, 2022
“His Democratic Party is looking everyday more and more like some hell-borne spawn of Satan bent on wrecking what’s left of the old USA.”
• “Joe Biden” Wins World War Three (Kunstler)
Enter Monsieur Macron of France. After two years of antagonizing his countrymen with lockdowns and put-downs, he needs a boost for the national election forthcoming in April. So, he has heroically sued Mr. Putin of Russia for a Ukraine “ceasefire.” Note: the Russians haven’t fired. Anyway, that opened the way for a proposed “summit” meeting between “Joe Biden” and Mr. Putin — when the Russians feel like it. They’re playing it a little coy for the moment, letting the West twist slowly, slowly in the wind. If a summit does happen, what will the two summiteers talk about? Mr. Putin will reiterate that the US and NATO made a solemn promise (in writing) to not expand NATO along Russia’s borderland in 1990 when the Soviet Union fell apart, and y’all reneged on that… and now it stops with Ukraine… really… got it?
“Joe Biden” will not have a coherent response. Maybe he’ll want to talk ice cream flavors or dogs. He is, as the Russians say, not negotiation-worthy, though he can be trotted out for photo ops. But “Joe Biden” needs a big win so he can brag on something in his State of the Union address. His Democratic Party is looking everyday more and more like some hell-borne spawn of Satan bent on wrecking what’s left of the old USA. Everything they’ve done since 2016 has degraded the life of the nation — weaponizing the “Intel Community,” queering a national election, besetting the people with race-and-gender mindfuckery, and inflicting the deadly “vaccines” on the population to “fix” the Fauci-created Covid-19 crisis. Never has the country seen a president so obviously incompetent and unpopular. The people backstage running him like an animatronic automaton are in a panic.
By default, then, the summit meeting will be game-set-and-match, Mr. Putin, only both parties will pretend that it’s some kind of moral victory for “JB,” while Russia gets exactly the terms it seeks: Nord Stream-2 will be completed and Germany will get natgas; there will be no additional stupid sanctions and get rid of the old ones; and the US will close up its CIA shop in Kiev and quit all the pointless antagonism. There will be peace in that corner of the world. And then, on cue, the West’s financial system will implode.
Yes, that’s what is actually going on in the background. That roar you hear is bad credit whooshing out of the banks. It looks like we’re going to get both a ripping inflation and a collapse of equities and assets all at once — with a side-dish of disappearing livelihoods, vaporizing pensions, and sinking standards-of-living. One surmises that all the meshugas over Ukraine was designed as a distraction from the financial disorders now at hand. The news media has faithfully played the Ukraine story to the max while ignoring the growing disarray in North America.
The Toronto Star barely even reported today on the weekend dispersion of truckers in Ottawa — like it never happened… a kind of national hallucination. The big rigs are gone from the streets around Parliament Hill, but one suspects the action isn’t over. Mr. Trudeau’s stupid vaxx mandates are still in place and every passing day more is known about their inefficacy and ghastly after-effects. Nor has the national legislature of Canada voted, as required, in support of the Emergencies Act — meaning that the financial punishments inflicted on the truckers and their supporters was arguably illegal.
“..a conflict, into which the US and NATO can pour support and implement various measures, economic and financial and, eventually, military against Russia, while blaming the Kremlin for starting it.”
• How the United States Has Provoked the Ukraine Crisis (Cathey)
The very simple conclusion that may be drawn from what is occurring is this: our foreign policy elites–Neoconservatives and their zealous followers in both the GOP and the Democratic Party–see Russia as a major obstacle in the continuing process of imposing economic and political control over countries which have heretofore not acceded to their hegemony (i.e., Russia and Hungary). Using NATO as a strategic shell and Ukraine as its frontline player, the Neocon/globalist combine seeks to:
(1) prevent an economic disaster for the US of a functioning Nord Stream II pipeline, which would give Germany and potentially other European countries, a climb off ramp from economic domination by the US (journalist Mike Whitney has written conclusively on this topic in the Eurasia Review); and (2) eventually impose politically a pliant government in Moscow, which has become the chief stumbling block in preventing Neocon globalist hegemony and the realization of “the Great Reset.” Russia, like Hungary, has expelled CIA-infested and Soros-sponsored NGOs which in many locations around the world have incited “color revolutions” to install favorable client governments.
More concretely, the Biden administration and US foreign policy establishment (with congressional Republicans in tow) are accusing Russia of “false flag” operations, or more specifically, accusing the pro-Russian secessionists in Lugansk and Donetsk republics of violent attacks against Ukraine (on civilians, schools, all the usual claimed targets), while in fact it is elements of the Ukrainian military, with American encouragement and technical “advisors” embedded, who are responsible for the shelling and the attacks across the cease-fire line. This is one more example of disinformation strategy, projecting onto the Russians what we are actually guilty of.
Just listen to the braindead Biden essentially mouthing this propaganda line. If warfare breaks out it will be because the US State Department and our agents have impelled the Ukrainians to launch such “false flag” actions, literally forcing the Russians to react and thus producing a conflict, into which the US and NATO can pour support and implement various measures, economic and financial and, eventually, military against Russia, while blaming the Kremlin for starting it.
“The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts.”
• Putin Recognizes Donbass Independence as Violence Soars (Lauria)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the independence from Ukraine of two breakaway provinces in Donbass as violence in the region continues to escalate. In Monday evening televised remarks after signing decrees recognizing the independence of Lugansk and Donetsk, Putin denounced the government of Ukraine as “puppets” of the United States. He said: “As for those who captured and are holding on to power in Kiev, we demand that they immediately cease military action. If not, the complete responsibility for the possibility of a continuation of bloodshed will be fully and wholly on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.” After Putin had spoken by phone earlier on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday, the Kremlin issued this statement:
“The president of Russia said that he intended to sign the relevant decree in the near future. The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts.” The Duma last week passed a resolution recommending that Putin recognize the provinces’ independence from Ukraine. Putin had resisted for eight years recognizing the independence of the self-declared republics of Lugansk and Donetsk in the Donbass, insisting instead that Kiev implement the 2014-15 Minsk agreements that would have given autonomy to the provinces, while they remained within Ukrainian territory. The decision by Putin effectively declares that the Minsk process is over.
It does not mean at this point, however, that the people of Lugansk and Donetsk are ready to hold a referendum to join Russia or that Moscow is interested in making them part of Russia, as happened in Crimea in 2014. The two provinces declared independence after the 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Kiev that overthrew democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the violent capital to the Donbass, his base of support, exactly eight years ago today, on Feb. 21, 2014. On the next day Parliament, with only opposition leaders present, impeached him. After anti-Russian language laws were passed by the coup government, hand-picked before the coup by the United States, and after neo-Nazis burned dozens of people alive in a building in Odessa on May 3, 2014, both Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence nine days later on May 12.
The coup government launched a civil war against the separatists, whom they called “terrorists.” In essence the Donbass was defending their democratic rights to vote, as a majority of the region voted for Yanukovych, in an election certified by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In the eight years since, as many as 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting. The violence from that continuing conflict has soared since Thursday with thousands of ceasefire violations and explosions in and around Lugansk and Donetsk reported by OSCE monitors on the ground.
Putin speech Feb 21
• What Accounts for Putin’s Assertiveness on Ukraine? (Ray McGovern)
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s well choreographed decision yesterday to recognize the independence of the pro-Russian Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk points to two key realities: (1) Putin despairs of persuading U.S. allies, Germany and France, to press Ukraine to honor its commitments under the Minsk accords that provide for regional autonomy as well as a ceasefire; and (2) Putin feels assured of very strong backing from China (as long as he is not stupid enough to invade Ukraine). What about this China factor? Why do Western pundits/savants pay so little heed to this game-changer? It should not require my half-century of studying/reporting on Russia-China relations to notice that China and Russia have never been so strategically close as now. Putin and Xi have done their part to demonstrate that. Why cannot most Western pundits and savants see it and recognize the implications?
There are, happily, notable exceptions – for example, Edward Wong’s Bond Between China and Russia Alarms US and Europe Amid Ukraine Crisis. Wong writes of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s speech on Feb. 21 in Munich: “It was the latest instance of what Western officials say is China taking a bold new swing at the United States and its allies by wading into European security issues to explicitly back Russia.” Wong includes quotes from a PR person, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, and a true expert on China, former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd. Kirby: “China’s support for Russia is deeply alarming, and, frankly, even more destabilizing to the security situation in Europe.” Rudd: “China’s explicitly pro-Russian position on European security is new and significant and quite a radical departure from the past.”
Kevin Rudd is right, of course; and it’s nice to know that the Pentagon, too, is aware. Crazed as the generals and admirals have long shown themselves to be, it is questionable whether even they would want to risk war on two fronts with major adversaries – for another star on their shoulder. I recall Amb. Chas Freeman telling me last December, “It is clear that the Sino-Russian entente is expanding under the pressure of US threats to both. Nothing will happen on either Taiwan or Ukraine without coordination between Beijing and Moscow.
That nothing will happen on either Ukraine or Taiwan without coordination between Beijing and Moscow seems to be key to understanding why Putin is feeling his oats. Yesterday, Chas further reminded me that “China agrees with Russia that the US global sphere of influence needs rollback. It does not agree that Ukraine should be invaded, occupied, or annexed. Ironically, China is this century’s citadel of Westphalianism.
“..after more than a year of protracted negotiations, Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement in November 2013, which set off a chain of events that eventually led to his downfall.”
• How Much The EU Has Destabilised Ukraine (Nuttall)
Eight years ago, a democratically elected president was removed from office by protesters waving European Union flags. Viktor Yanukovych had been elected as president of Ukraine in 2010 to serve a five-year term. His time in office was, however, brought to an abrupt end when he was removed for his refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU. The first decade of the 20th century was a golden period for the EU. The euro currency had been launched, the bloc was expanding, and Eurosceptic movements in its existing member states had barely got off the ground. The federalist ideologues in Brussels confidently believed that this was to be the EU’s century, and nothing could prevent it from accruing more powers and expanding further eastwards.
After the accession of central European countries and the Baltic states, Ukraine was the next logical step –highlighted by a vote in the European Parliament in 2005, which floated the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the bloc. As a consequence, EU cash was poured into Ukraine as a precursor to eventual accession. The first step towards this eventuality was a deepening of economic ties, and to this end an association agreement was initiated in 2012. However, after more than a year of protracted negotiations, Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement in November 2013, which set off a chain of events that eventually led to his downfall.
[..] Now Yanukovych may have been a bad president, but that is not really the point. He was elected to serve a five-year term, and if the electors wanted rid of him, and it seems a sizeable number did, then they could have waited another year and voted him out of office. That is, after all, how democracy works. Nevertheless, with Yanukovych out of the way, the Ukrainian government signed the association agreement with the EU in March 2014. The EU proudly holds itself up as a defender of democracy – although anyone who understands how it really works knows what a contradiction this is – so you would assume that Brussels would have roundly denounced these ugly scenes in Kiev. But no, EU chiefs instead acted as enthusiastic cheerleaders.
“Even insane San Francisco is in the process of eliminating its mandates, yet somehow Justin Trudeau’s Canada is willing to literally go to war with its own people..”
• Donbas or Ottawa? The Dizzying Spiral of Government Violence! (Daniel McAdams)
Will the Russians attack? Well, they’ve been clear for years: a Kiev attack on three-quarters of a million Russian citizens in eastern Ukraine – who because of a Washington coup found themselves ruled by a government that came to power illegitimately – will be met with a Russian military response. In the breathless world of the braindead media hacks, the world began yesterday. But actually we are seeing a situation similar to 2008 in South Ossetia, where Russian passport holders (and Russian OSCE monitors) found themselves under attack by Georgia. The result was lightening fast, effective, and limited. Russia could have held and “regime-changed” Tbilisi. They did not. They made their point and left.
Even the US government-funded RFE had to admit that yes, in fact, it was Georgia that started the hostilities…and Russia that ended them. Will Russia come to the aid of Donbas? Yes. They are not trying to hide it. They’ve been saying it for years . The renowned historian and international relations theoretician Edward Luttwak – never accused of being a political partisan – put it best on Twitter: “The latest IC forecast: war is imminent and Russian forces will rely on exceptionally intense artillery bombardments, of Kiev too. That implies a reckless-gambler Putin, willing to make Ukrainians hate Russia & Russians forever. Neither is congruent with Putin’s record so far.”
This is the difference between astute analysts and the cardboard cut-outs who populate the media. People of intellectual substance like Luttwak are not in the business to grind an axe. They analyze past behavior and seek the truth. Sadly these days we are stuck with the former, with the latter being rarities. Meanwhile in Canada, a liberal Western democracy has declared war – literally – on its own peaceful citizens who have gathered to oppose the absurd continuation of Covid-related mandates. Even insane San Francisco is in the process of eliminating its mandates, yet somehow Justin Trudeau’s Canada is willing to literally go to war with its own people to keep them in place.
What is funny about Canada (and this is also true of the US and many “Western” liberal democracies), is that they are very happy to preach to the rest of the world that peaceful protests must be allowed while literally at the same time brutally cracking down on same protests in their own countries. As in the late Soviet era, the hypocrisy is impossible to ignore. The regime disintegrates under the weight of its own contradictions.
“The term “dissent,” in Western democracies, connotes legitimacy, so that label must be denied them.”
• The Neoliberal War On Dissent In The West (Greenwald)
This last decade of history is crucial to understand the dissent-eliminating framework that has been constructed and implemented in the West. This framework has culminated, thus far, with the stunning multi-pronged attacks on Canadian truckers by the Trudeau government. But it has been a long time in the making, and it is inevitable that it will find still-more extreme expressions. It is, after all, based in the central recognition that there is mass, widespread anger and even hatred toward the neoliberal ruling class throughout the West. Trump, Brexit and the rise of far-right parties in places where their empowerment was previously unthinkable — including Germany and France — is unmistakable proof of that. Rather than sacrifice some of the benefits of inequality that have generated much of that rage or placate or appease it with symbolic concessions, Western neoliberal elites have instead opted for force, a system that crushes all forms of dissent as soon as they emerge in anything resembling an effective, meaningful or potent form.
So many of the controversies over the last decade, often analyzed in isolation, have been devoted to this goal. The pervasive surveillance systems constructed by the West — revealed during the Snowden reporting but only partially reined in at best since then — are crucial tools, as surveillance powers always are, for monitoring and thus stifling dissent. We have now arrived at the point where the U.S. Government and its security state is officially and explicitly clear that it regards the greatest national security threat not as a foreign power such as China or Russia, and not as non-state actors such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, but rather “domestic extremists.” For years, this has been the unyielding message of the DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA and DOJ: our primary enemies are not foreign but are our fellow citizens who have embraced ideologies we regard as extremist.
This new escalation of repression depends upon a narrative framework. Those who harbor dissenting ideologies — and particularly those who do not embrace that dissent passively but instead take action to advocate, promote and spread it — are not merely dissenters. The term “dissent,” in Western democracies, connotes legitimacy, so that label must be denied them. They are instead domestic extremists, domestic terrorists, seditionists, traitors, insurrections. Applying terms of criminality renders justifiable any subsequent acts of repression: we are trained to accept that core liberties are forfeited upon the commission of crimes.
“..when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue.”
• In The Age Of COVID, We’re Reminded An Unjust Law Is No Law At All (McMaken)
We could contrast the rhetoric surrounding the trucker protest with that of the Black Lives Matter protests. In the case of the BLM protests, illegal acts were downplayed and ignored, with one obvious riot labeled a “mostly peaceful” protest. when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue. The regimes of the world, of course, like to use legality as a standard for judging human behavior because the regimes make the laws. Whether or not the laws actually have anything to do with human rights, private property, or just basic common sense is another matter entirely. Thus history is replete with pointless, immoral, and destructive laws. Slavery has been lawful throughout much of human history. Temporary slavery—known as military conscription—is still employed by many regimes.
In the US, the imprisonment of peaceful American citizens of Japanese descent was perfectly lawful under the US regime during World War II. Today, employers can face ruinous sanctions for hiring a worker who lacks the proper immigration paperwork. Worldwide, people can be jailed in many jurisdictions for years for the “crime” of possessing an illegal plant. During covid, the reality of arbitrary law came very much to the fore when unelected health bureaucrats and lone elected executives began ruling by decree. They closed businesses, shut people up in their homes, and imposed vaccine and mask mandates. Those who refuse to comply—and businesses who refuse to enforce these edicts—are condemned as lawbreakers and subject to punishment.
All of these legal provisions, acts, and sanctions represent mockeries of basic natural rights rather than protections of them. The notion that laws can be perversions of true justice has long been obvious to many. In fact, the disconnect between morality and legality is a fundamental aspect of Western civilization. The basic notion is very old, but the idea’s endurance in the West was reinforced by the fact that Christianity began as an illegal religion and early Christians were often considered to be criminals deserving of the death penalty. It should be no surprise, then, that Saint Augustine declared an unjust law to be no law at all and compared kings to pirates: the decrees of pirates, of course, are not worthy of obedience or reverence. And if kings are like pirates, kingly decrees are of equal respectability. This same tradition fueled Saint Thomas Aquinas’s support for regicide (in certain cases). Needless to say, regicide has been always and everywhere declared illegal by the would-be targets.
Yet, unfortunately, declaring something to be “illegal” remains an effective slur. There is no shortage of people who proudly consider themselves to be blind supporters of “law and order” and who insist “lawbreakers” are axiomatically in the wrong. Their simple-minded refrain is “if you don’t like the law, change it” and many of these people naïvely believe that acts of legislators and regulators somehow reflect “the will of the people” or some sort of moral law. The opposite is often the reality. We could contrast the rhetoric surrounding the trucker protest with that of the Black Lives Matter protests. In the case of the BLM protests, illegal acts were downplayed and ignored, with one obvious riot labeled a “mostly peaceful” protest. when it comes to protests and other acts of which the regime approves, legality is never an issue.
“..paxlovid and molnupiravir.” Count your blessings.
• Future UK Covid Waves Will Be Treated With Drugs Not Restrictions (Peston)
The core of the strategy to deal with another frightening Covid-19 wave will be pharmaceutical and medical interventions rather than lockdowns and restrictions on our lives, the PM will announce this afternoon. But this means laying in stocks of antivirals like paxlovid and molnupiravir, to protect the vulnerable, and that will cost money. And a second source of cost is a testing and surveillance system to catch a new wave early enough to distribute the antivirals. Which is also far from cheap. Hence the dispute this morning between the Treasury and the Deptartment of Health and Social Care. The Treasury seems to have won and Sajid Javid will “reprioritise” from within his existing budget.
A government source confirmed: “A minimum level of response needs to be maintained so that we have the ability to rapidly scale up and deal with future waves through pharmaceutical interventions rather than restrictions – as we did with Omicron.” UPDATE: To keep us safe, and to keep the economy open, there has to be fairly extensive Covid testing, surveillance and genome sequencing regime. Without it, we wouldn’t know if a new and dangerous strain were here, till too late to contain it with antivirals and booster vaccines As I said earlier, this monitoring regime – plus the perceived imperative of maintaining adequate stocks of antivirals – is pricey.
Over the weekend the row between the Department of Health and the Treasury has not been about new money to pay for it, though it was before, but has been a dispute about whether this Covid insurance policy was necessary at all. The Health Secretary Sajid Javid wanted it. Sunak was sceptical. In the end, Javid won this argument and will pay for it by cutting other programmes.
“the twin impact of depletion and pollution is pushing the Western economy back to what it was a couple of hundred years ago.”
• The Demise of Restaurants (Ugo Bardi)
As I said, restaurants have always been a typical middle-class thing. They appeared together with the European middle class, and they are following its destiny. During the past few decades, the middle class has been gradually pushed back into the fold of the lower class. The restaurant business could not avoid being affected by the trend. The tradition of eating out is still alive in the West, but the resources for doing that are not there anymore for a middle class that’s struggling to survive, and failing at that. On their side, the rich don’t eat at restaurants, at least not at the same kind of restaurants that the deplorables can afford. For the very rich and politically exposed persons (PEPs), appearing at a restaurant without an armed escort would be dangerous (*). They have their private cooks and exclusive places. And they socialize with each other throwing expensive parties at their homes. A habit that we find in ancient history, even in Roman times and earlier.
You may have seen the picture of Bill Gates supposedly standing in line waiting for his turn for a burger. It is surprising that many Westerners seem to believe in this kind of cheap PR stunts. In the old Soviet Union, if Leonid Brezhnev had diffused a picture of himself standing in line to buy shoes, people would have laughed themselves to death. But it is known that Westerners are sensitive to propaganda. In any case, the current Western elites are acting just like the Soviet elites of old. They don’t care about what the commoners eat, although they are worried that starving them may lead them to revolt. So, they tend to allow a basic supply of food, but they consider restaurants (and the associated tourism) as a waste of resources. They much prefer to funnel the surplus produced by the economy into their own pockets rather than having it dissipated by the commoners.
They can use several methods to obtain this result: lockdown worked nicely, but could not be imposed forever. Other methods were later used to make the restaurant experience unpleasant for the customers. Different factors reinforced each other. One result of the financial strain is that the quality of the food and of the service is going down (I can testify that myself). Finally, the QR code is the perfect method to keep the deplorables out. It is a more sophisticated and tuneable tool than the old written menu. So, Western restaurants are in the crosshair and it is unlikely that they will survive, at least in the form we are used to seeing them. It is not so much because the PTB are evil — they are no more evil than most categories. It is mostly because the economic contraction coming from the twin impact of depletion and pollution is pushing the Western economy back to what it was a couple of hundred years ago.
a Sumerian QR code to assign rations of beer. Some things never change, some things always return.
So, you think you are a good reporter? Top this dude! pic.twitter.com/t01HKKGFdU
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) February 22, 2022
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