Nov 172022
 
 November 17, 2022  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  71 Responses »


Cimabue Christ mocked c1280 (Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters)

 

Ukraine Admits Firing Missile Near Poland Blast Site – CNN (RT)
Zelensky Doubles Down On Poland Missile (RT)
Gen. Milley Claims He Couldn’t Reach Moscow After Poland Missile Incident (RT)
Poland Should Guard Part Of Ukrainian Airspace – General (RT)
Missile Incident Was Ukrainian ‘Provocation’ – Polish Politician (RT)
Poland Wants Russian Oil Despite EU Embargo – Kommersant (RT)
Drone Strikes Deep In Russian Territory – Governor (RT)
The G20’s Balinese Geopolitical Dance (Escobar)
Eurozone Facing Deep Recession – Economists (RT)
Xi Roasts Justin Trudeau At G20 (RT)
Did SBF Buy Puff-Piece Propaganda? (ZH)
American Attempts To Preserve Hegemony Vs The New World Order (Kortunov)
US Congress Will Continue To Oppose Jet Sale To Turkey – Rep. Malliotakis (K.)
Sperm Counts Plummeting Dramatically – Faster Than Previously Thought (EHN)
Fauci’s Pandemic Leadership Needs to Be Investigated – Dr. Scott Atlas (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuleba before denials

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of RT today. Seems to be the only place for relevant information on Zelensky’s -and Poland’s- attempts to start WWIII.

“It doesn’t matter to Germany whose rocket fell in Poland, in any case, Russia is to blame, because it attacked Ukraine” – Olaf Scholz

Ukraine Admits Firing Missile Near Poland Blast Site – CNN (RT)

Ukrainian military officials told their American and other Western counterparts that they attempted to intercept a Russian missile near the site of a fatal blast in Poland on Tuesday, CNN reported. While Kiev initially blamed the explosion on Russia, Western leaders have since stated that it was likely caused by an errant Ukrainian air defense projectile. Citing a US official, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military has informed its Western backers that it “attempted to intercept a Russian missile in the same timeframe and near [the] location” of a “missile strike” at the Polish village of Przewowdow a day earlier. “It’s not clear this is [the] same missile that struck Poland, but this has informed ongoing US assessment,” Sciutto added.

The apparent admission by Ukraine’s military marks a dramatic climbdown by Kiev since Tuesday, when Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called the incident a “Russian attack on the collective security” of NATO. In a video statement, Zelensky urged the West to put Russia “in its place” in response. However, in the time since the blast, Ukraine’s Western backers have all but confirmed that the missile was fired from Ukraine. US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda have all stated that the blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, with Duda opting not to call for urgent consultations under Article 4 of the NATO Treaty.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that analysis of debris at the site of the explosion showed that it was caused by a missile from the S-300 air defense system, a Soviet-era system fielded by Ukraine. Poland is currently leading an investigation into the explosion, which killed two people. The blast occurred during an intense Russian bombardment of Ukrainian command centers and energy infrastructure. Russia has pummeled Ukraine with near-daily missile and drone strikes since October, following what Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian “terrorist attacks” on Russian territory. Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushenko called Tuesday’s barrage the “most massive shelling of [Ukraine’s] energy system” since the beginning of the conflict in February.

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“Ukraine’s president Zelensky is pushing back against Western suggestions, including those of the US and Nato, that a stray Ukrainian missile was responsible for the deadly blast in Poland. ‘I have no doubt that it was not our rocket,’ he told reporters.”

Zelensky Doubles Down On Poland Missile (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky continued to insist his military did not fire the missile that killed two civilians in the Polish village of Przewodow. Ukraine wanted to be included in any investigation of the incident, he told reporters in Kiev on Wednesday. “I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike,” Zelensky said, according to Ukrainian media. Noting that this is what the Ukrainian air force commander told him on Tuesday evening, he added, “It makes no sense for me not to trust them.” The Ukrainian president also said the Przewodow incident was yet another argument for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, something he has been asking for since February.

Zelensky was quick to blame “terrorist” Russia for what he described as an attack on NATO and the concept of collective security itself. His foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba did likewise. Neither have retracted their claims, even after Poland announced the missile that struck Przewodow was from a S-300 air defense system. “There is a high probability that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, CNN quoted unnamed Ukrainian military officials as saying the missile was indeed theirs. Zelensky, however, told reporters he disagreed with phrases like “high probability” and that Ukraine “has the right” to see the evidence and data from partner countries. So far, he said, Kiev has received nothing.

“We must participate in the investigation,” Zelensky said, according to the UNIAN news agency. “I want it to be fair and if it was the use of our air defense, then I want this evidence.” While the incident in Przewodow happened amid a Russian cruise missile attack on key energy and military infrastructure targets in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry swiftly noted that the debris filmed in Poland had nothing to do with any Russian weapon. Nor had anything nearby been targeted by the Russian military, Moscow added. Even the US government acknowledged the projectile that hit the Polish village was not Russian. On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the missile had been Ukrainian and there were no indications of a Russian attack. He argued that the ultimate responsibility for the incident still lay with Moscow, however.

Candace

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Bad if he’s lying, bad if he’s not.

Gen. Milley Claims He Couldn’t Reach Moscow After Poland Missile Incident (RT)

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley tried and failed to reach his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, in the wake of a deadly missile incident in Poland, he revealed to journalists. “My staff was unsuccessful in getting me linked up with General Gerasimov,” he said during a joint press conference with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday. The failed contact happened after a missile hit a Polish village on the border with Ukraine and killed two locals on Tuesday. It came amid a Russian barrage targeting Ukrainian military and energy infrastructure. President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that the weapon was Russian and urged NATO to invoke its collective defense provisions in response. Western nations have since assessed that the projectile was most likely a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that went astray. But the Ukrainian leader doubled down on his claim that it was not fired by Kiev’s forces.


During the media briefing, both US defense officials declined to comment on the difference of opinion. “We have full confidence in Poland’s ability to conduct this investigation in the proper way, and until that’s complete, again, I think it’s – it’d be premature for anybody to jump to conclusions,” Austin said. Zelensky named Ukraine’s chief of defense, General Valery Zaluzhny, as the source of his information about the projectile’s origin. Milley said he also talked to the general, but declined to say what he was told about the incident. The Russian military has denied responsibility and said images of the missile debris clearly identified it as Ukrainian. The Foreign Ministry accused Kiev of trying to gain more Western support under a false pretext and said that an impartial investigation would expose the Ukrainian “provocation”.

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In the middle of it all, Ukraine adds another call for a no fly zone. As if we forgot what that means. Trying to get NATO openly into the war.

Poland Should Guard Part Of Ukrainian Airspace – General (RT)

Polish General Roman Polko said that the country’s air defenses should assume responsibility for part of Ukraine’s territory, in the wake of a deadly missile strike on a village near the Ukraine border. Speaking to Radio ZET on Wednesday, Polko, who used to serve as the Deputy Chief of the Polish National Security Bureau, suggested that Poland should protect a “strip of airspace extending into Ukrainian territory and build air defense systems.” “We cannot allow Polish citizens to die,” he stressed, expressing hope that the incident would accelerate deliveries of defense weapons. The general went on to say that Polish authorities should ramp up defense capabilities as well as increase airspace monitoring.

“We should inform Russia that Ukraine and… the border belt will be constantly monitored by the NATO alliance and Russian combat assets will be shot down,” Polko added. He also noted that the “unprecedented attack” should prompt NATO to “finally lift restrictions” and give Ukraine long-range weapons. According to media reports, the US, Kiev’s most prominent backer, has been reluctant to send these types of arms to Ukraine, fearing it would escalate the conflict. While Germany said that, along with its NATO partners, Berlin has no plans to try and close off Ukrainian airspace, noting that such a move could trigger a direct clash between Russia and NATO forces. “Together with all our allies we agreed that we want to avoid a further escalation of this war in Ukraine,” a government spokesperson explained.

Berlin had proposed to help Poland patrol its airspace, according to Germany’s defense ministry spokesman. It comes in the aftermath of a missile strike on the village of Przewodow, close to the Ukrainian border, which killed two civilians. While Poland initially claimed that the projectile was “manufactured in Russia,” later, President Andrzej Duda noted that it was probably launched by Ukrainian air defenses. The Russian Defense Ministry denied involvement, stating that its experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified parts of the projectile “as elements of a missile from the S-300 air defense system used by the Air Force of Ukraine.”

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“Instead of telling “fairy tales” about the missile, the Polish president should tell Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that Warsaw “will no longer put up with this behavior” by Kiev.”

Missile Incident Was Ukrainian ‘Provocation’ – Polish Politician (RT)

Poland should rethink its position towards the conflict in Ukraine after a “provocation” on the part of Kiev that cost two villagers their lives, a former city councilman in Lublin said on Wednesday. Jaroslaw Pakula, whose term ended four days before the incident, said the missile that struck Przewodow was obviously Ukrainian and that the government in Warsaw needed to send a message to Kiev instead of telling “fairy tales” to its citizens. “Of course, this is a Ukrainian rocket. Of course, this is a provocation on the part of the Ukrainian authorities,” Pakula posted on his Facebook page. “The rocket could not be fired 100km in the opposite direction by mistake.” The purpose of the provocation was to scare the EU and get civil society support for sending even more weapons to Ukraine, Pakula added.

Instead of telling “fairy tales” about the missile, the Polish president should tell Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that Warsaw “will no longer put up with this behavior” by Kiev. “I urge you to rethink Poland’s position [regarding] this war in the event that the red line is crossed again!” Pakula concluded. Pakula’s Facebook page still has a Ukrainian flag over his portrait photo, and lists him as chairman of the city council of Lublin, the seat of the region where Przewodow is located. The official city website, however, notes that he was no longer in office as of November 11. Zelensky was quick to accuse Russia of attacking Poland and the entire NATO after a missile exploded in Przewodow on Tuesday afternoon, killing two people.

The government in Kiev said the incident showed the need for NATO to “close the sky” over Ukraine, as they have demanded since February. While Zelensky continues to insist the missile was Russian, Warsaw and Moscow have both identified it as a S-300 air defense missile, with Poland calling it “Russian-made” and Russia pointing out it was in Ukrainian service. The US and NATO have also described the missile as an air defense rocket that strayed, seeking to minimize the incident while also arguing that Russia was the ultimate culprit for bombing Ukraine in the first place. The Russian military has pointed out that Tuesday’s missile strikes on Ukrainian military and energy infrastructure targets came nowhere close to the Polish border.

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And despite accusing Russia of attacking it.

Poland Wants Russian Oil Despite EU Embargo – Kommersant (RT)

Poland plans to continue buying Russian oil in 2023 via the “Druzhba” (Friendship) pipeline, despite vows from the country’s authorities to abandon imports from the sanctioned country, the daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday. Poland’s major oil refiner and retailer Orlen has sent a bid to Russia’s oil and gas transporting company Transneft to receive three million tons of oil through the Druzhba pipeline in 2023, the outlet reported, citing a source in the Polish oil industry. Transneft has confirmed the order without specifying which companies it came from and the requested volumes. On December 5, an EU embargo on Russian crude oil and petroleum products comes into force.

And even though it will not be applied to deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline, Germany and Poland, which receive oil through the northern branch of the pipeline, have officially announced that they will voluntarily give up Russian oil from the beginning of 2023. Kommersant has pointed out that the Polish oil company has active long-term contracts with Transneft and reminded readers that the country’s foreign minister Zbigniew Rau had said on November 14 that Orlen risks paying a penalty in case of a unilateral withdrawal from the agreement. At the moment, Orlen has stopped buying Russian oil on the spot market but continues to receive it under long-term contracts with Tatneft (2.4 million tons per year until 2024) and Rosneft (3.6 million tons per year), the outlet reports.

The contract with Rosneft was renewed for two years in March 2021 and, apparently, will still be valid in January and February 2023. Commenting on the issue, Transneft vice-president Sergey Andronov said that on top of the bids from the company’s clients, which use the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline, there are “bids from Polish consumers for deliveries through Belarus in 2023.” Andronov added that he hoped that German buyers of Russian crude would be “equally reasonable about securing stable oil supplies” from Russia. Druzhba is one of the longest pipeline networks in the world and carries crude some 4,000 kilometers from the eastern part of European Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

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Reeks a bit of Nordstream.

Drone Strikes Deep In Russian Territory – Governor (RT)

A drone has struck an oil terminal in Russia’s Oryol Region, some 200km (124 miles) from the Ukrainian border, Governor Andrey Klychkov said. “Around 4am today, an apparent drone struck an oil terminal in the village of Stalnoy Kon,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. “Nobody was hurt. Emergency services are working on site,” Klychkov added. Although the region does not share a border with Ukraine, it borders the Russian regions of Kursk and Bryansk where officials reported multiple Ukrainian attacks after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state on February 24.


News outlet Baza reported that the drone hit an upper section of a cylindrical steel tank, “a quarter” of which was filled with oil. The outlet added that there were no leaks or fires. According to news outlet Mash, the terminal is part of the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline network, which delivers Russian oil to Europe. Oryol Region, together with several neighboring regions, was placed on a state of heightened alert last month.

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“The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: the EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom.”

The G20’s Balinese Geopolitical Dance (Escobar)

The fog thickened because on the backdrop of the G20, the US and Russia were talking in Ankara, represented by CIA director William Burns and SVR (Foreign Intel) director Sergei Naryshkin. No one knows what exactly was being negotiated. A ceasefire is only one among possible scenarios. And yet heated rhetoric from NATO in Brussels to Kiev suggests escalation prevailing over some sort of reconciliation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was adamant; de facto and de jure, Ukraine can’t and does not want to negotiate. So the Special Military Operation (SMO) will continue. NATO is training fresh units. Next possible targets are the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the left bank of the Dnieper – or even more pressure in the north of Lugansk.

For their part, Russian military channels advance the possibility of a winter offensive on Nikolaev: only 30 km away from Russian positions. Serious Russian military analysts know what serious Pentagon analysts must also know: Russia used at best only 10% of its military potential so far. No regular forces; most of them are DPR and LPR militias, Wagner commandos, Kadyrov’s Chechens and volunteers. The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: the EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom. The IEA has calculated that the overall deficit by then will approach 30 billion cubic meters. And that presupposes “ideal” circumstances this coming winter: mostly warm; China still under lockdowns; much lower gas consumption in Europe; even increased production (from Norway?)

The IEA‘s models are working with two or three waves of price increases in the next 12 months. EU budgets are already on red alert – compensating the losses caused by the current energy suicide. By the end of 2023, that may reach 1 trillion euros. Any additional, unpredictable costs throughout 2023 mean that the EU economy will completely collapse: industry shutdown across the spectrum, euro in free fall, rise of inflation, debt corroding every latitude from the Club Med nations to France and Germany. Dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission (EC), of course should be discussing all that – in the interests of EU nations – with global players in Bali. Instead her only agenda, once again, was demonization of Russia. No niskala here; just tawdry cognitive dissonance.

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2023-24.

Eurozone Facing Deep Recession – Economists (RT)

The 19 countries that use the euro are expected to plunge into a much deeper recession in the coming months than earlier predicted, CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing economists. According to the report, the euro area has been under “significant pressure” due to a combination of sanctions against Russia, an abrupt end to Russian gas imports, and the need to provide financial support to households and firms struggling with the energy crisis. CNBC cited data from the European Commission showing that consumer confidence across the Eurozone plunged to a record low in September. It has improved slightly since then, but households still fear for the future and their financial positions, the report says.

“Consumer confidence has plunged so badly that the recession will likely not be shallow,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, told the news network. Preliminary growth estimates for the region suggest a slowdown in the third quarter from the previous three-month period – from 0.8% growth to 0.2%. According to Spyros Andreopoulos, a senior European economist at BNP Paribas, “It will be deeper than certainly what the ECB [European Central Bank] council expects.” Earlier this month, ECB President Christine Lagarde indicated that “the risk of recession has increased.” Andreopoulos told CNBC that he sees a risk the recession might drag into the second quarter of 2023.

Economists agree that even if the Eurozone emerges from a recession in the first quarter of next year, the subsequent months will still be challenging. s“I expect the recovery to be slow,” chief European economist at UniCredit, Marco Valli, told the network, citing higher interest rates as one of the main factors preventing a faster recovery. When asked if it was going to be an easy year for the euro area, Valli said: “No, absolutely not.”

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sundance: “If you have not watched this video, you really should. Justin from Canada leaked the content of a private bilateral conversation with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping to the media. Chairman Xi was not happy with the breach of diplomatic protocol. What makes this video remarkable is the purposeful decision by Chairman Xi to confront Justin from Canada in front of a western audience. Xi never speaks directly in public and is always aware of cameras. The Chinese Chairman almost always goes through spokespeople to relay his public communication, reserving his voice for controlled and disciplined conversation with national leaders. However, not this time. Chairman Xi dresses down Justin from Canada publicly, in view of cameras and microphones. Watch, and stay with it to the end when Justin from Canada awkwardly looks for somewhere to hide. It’s quite funny.”

Xi Roasts Justin Trudeau At G20 (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has publicly dressed down Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for leaking the content of their meeting to the media. Canadian reporters captured the exchange on video during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday. Barely a minute long, the exchange opens with Xi, speaking through a translator, telling Trudeau that “everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers.” “That is not appropriate. And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted,” Xi added. “If there was sincerity on your part…” “In Canada we believe in free and open and frank dialogue, and that is what we’ll continue to have,” Trudeau replied, speaking over the translator still trying to finish relaying Xi’s words. “We’ll continue to look to work constructively together but there will be things we will disagree on,” the Canadian leader added.


“Let’s create the conditions [for that] first,” replied Xi, offering Trudeau a handshake. While the Chinese leader smiled and moved on, the Canadian PM walked away from the camera, by himself. What Reuters described as “a rare display of public annoyance” by Xi follows media reports about the contents of his meeting with Trudeau on Tuesday. In the course of the ten-minute meeting, Trudeau raised “serious concerns” about China’s “interference activities” in Canada, ranging from industrial espionage to meddling in the 2019 federal election, a “government source” told AFP. According to the same source, they also discussed the situation in Ukraine, North Korea, and the upcoming biodiversity conference in December, which Beijing and Ottawa are co-hosting.

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How can you write about him without mentioning the Ukraine-FTX-Democrats connection?

Did SBF Buy Puff-Piece Propaganda? (ZH)

As FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces extradition to the USA following his fund’s commingled asset implosion, one might be a bit confused about the gravity of the situation given recent press coverage. For example, the NY Times on Monday published a cowering puff-piece which mentioned exactly none of the major accusations against the well-connected Democrat mega-donor. Months before his firm imploded, Vox penned a slobbering review of SBF’s “Effective Altruism” program, painting him as a benevolent crime-fighter in his efforts to help ensure Joe Biden won the 2020 US election. But his motivations aren’t those of an ordinary Democratic donor — Bankman-Fried told Goldstein that fighting Trump was less about promoting Democrats than ensuring “sane governance” in the US, which could have “massive, massive, ripple effects on what the future looks like.” -Vox

Fast forward to Tuesday, when Vox proclaimed that SBF’s support of Democratic candidates to the tune of $40 million, second only to George Soros, is “massively overstated” and essentially no big deal. And what do we have here? SBF gave millions to corporate media outlets according to Tablet, and noted by @balajis, who suggests that it may have been done with “stolen customer funds.” Over the past two years, Bankman-Fried cultivated the media lavishly, if not carefully. Drawing on what then seemed like an unlimited pool of cash, SBF (as we’ll call the mythologized version of the real person) dispersed investments, advertising dollars, sponsorships, and donations to key news outlets—including ProPublica, Vox, Semafor, and The Intercept—with extraordinary effectiveness. -Tablet

And while some of said outlets (Semafor, and The Intercept for example) covered FTX without obvious bias, recent pieces from Vox suggest the investment has paid off in spades. On Wednesday, Vox must have realized how dumb they looked – leading to Vox’s Dylan Matthews (who oddly took the “Vox” reference out of his Twitter bio earlier today) dumping what appears to be incriminating texts with another Vox journo. And while the NY Times wasn’t on the list of outlets that received money, perhaps SBF’s deep-rooted establishment connections have something to do with it.

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“While US officials use the “politically correct” rhetoric of multipolarity and multilateralism, the Biden administration is determined to restore a unipolar world..”

American Attempts To Preserve Hegemony Vs The New World Order (Kortunov)

NATO was unexpectedly enriched by two promising members, and the American military-industrial complex entered very attractive new markets not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world. Unprecedented export opportunities have also opened up for US energy companies, which are increasing the supply of their expensive liquefied natural gas to Europe as an alternative to the cheap Russian pipeline variety. Among other things, the current crisis has shown that the intellectual and psychological inertia of the old unipolar world is far from being overcome and continues to actively influence the world’s politics and economics. The surprising unanimity shown by the countries of the European Union in their willingness to reject any form of “strategic autonomy” from the US makes one wonder how serious the desire for this very autonomy was in the first place.

But the recurrence of systemic unipolarity is not unique to the West. For example, the threat of secondary sanctions by the US has in many cases proved to be a decisive factor in determining the opportunities and constraints for non-Western countries to develop economic and other cooperation with Moscow. Under US pressure, Turkey decided to refuse to service Russian Mir payment cards, and China’s Huawei was forced to begin winding down its activities in Russia. The new US National Security Strategy recently signed by Biden is steeped in outright restorationist pathos. The document speaks of the indispensability of American leadership, the unchanging task of “containing” China and Russia, the promotion of liberal values around the world, etc.

While US officials use the “politically correct” rhetoric of multipolarity and multilateralism, the Biden administration is determined to restore a unipolar world, exactly as it existed in the 1990s. To quote a well-known aphorism from the days of the Bourbon restoration to the French throne after the Napoleonic wars, one can state that Washington strategists “have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” Which is not surprising when you consider what age group Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump belong to.

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“We are always concerned when we really don’t know what Erdogan may say or do…”

US Congress Will Continue To Oppose Jet Sale To Turkey – Rep. Malliotakis (K.)

US representative Nicole Malliotakis appeared confident on Wednesday that both the Senate and Congress will ultimately uphold a provision banning the sale of F-16s to Turkey without a firm commitment that the fighter jets will not be used against America’s allies. “We feel that we are in a good place and we are going to continue to advocate for the protection of our allies,” Malliotakis told state broadcaster ERT in Washington, after signing a letter along with another 21 representatives urging US lawmakers to uphold the provision. Despite the fact that the provision was dropped by the Senate in its version of the defense spending bill last month, getting the amendment passed in the first place “played a very strong role and also sent a very strong message to the Administration that there is bipartisan opposition in both the House and the Senate,” Malliotakis, a Republican, said.

“We’re working with Senator Menendez as the chair of foreign affairs and I’ve been working with [Michael] McCaul, who I think might be the next chair of foreign affairs in the House, to ensure that there is a not a sign-off on such as sale,” she added, referring to Senator Bob Menendez, one of the original authors of the amendment. Asked whether support for the provision would continue should the Republican party gain control of the House, Malliotakis said that “a majority of the members of the House still oppose [the sale].” “When we had that amendment come to the floor, we were able to get the Republican votes, and they were the ones that actually passed the bill,” she said.

“We are always concerned when we really don’t know what Erdogan may say or do. He has been acting aggressively and his rhetoric has been disturbing, but that’s why we need members of Congress, we need the Administration to reaffirm its support for our allies in the region,” Malliotakis told ERT.

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“..a decline in sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia of 28.5% between 1973 and 2011..”

“..average global sperm count in 2018 was 49 million per milliliter of semen. When a man’s sperm count drops below about 45 million per milliliter, his ability to cause a pregnancy starts dropping dramatically..”

Sperm Counts Plummeting Dramatically – Faster Than Previously Thought (EHN)

For years, scientists across the world have gathered evidence showing declines in sperm quality. Now, new research compiling the results of those studies has found that sperm count has dropped dramatically around the world, and the rate of decline is accelerating.

In a new analysis, researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the University of Copenhagen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among others, found that sperm count globally dropped by more than half between 1973 and 2018, and that the decline is accelerating: Since 1972, sperm count has dropped by about 1% each year. Since 2000, the annual decrease has been, on average, more than 2.6%. The findings raise concerns that an increasing number of people will need assistance to reproduce, as well as concerns about the overall health of human society, since low sperm count is linked to higher rates of some diseases. And while scientists are still trying to tease out the reasons for the drop, chemical exposures, especially to pesticides, are a likely factor — and climate change may even play a role. Researchers are calling for urgent action to bolster more research into sperm count, determine the causes of the decline, and prevent further deterioration of male reproductive health. “We have clear evidence that there is a crisis in male reproduction,” Hagai Levine, lead author on the study and an epidemiologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told EHN.

The study builds on the team’s previous research, which showed a decline in sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia of 28.5% between 1973 and 2011. Adding data from 38 studies to the new analysis has made the case for sperm decline stronger, Shanna Swan, an author on the paper and a leading reproductive epidemiologist at Mount Sinai, told EHN. “It’s really alarming,” said Swan, who is also an adjunct scientist with Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes EHN.org. Swan authored the book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race. The research found that the average global sperm count in 2018 was 49 million per milliliter of semen. When a man’s sperm count drops below about 45 million per milliliter, his ability to cause a pregnancy starts dropping dramatically, said Swan.

She said the results could mean that in the coming decades, large swaths of the global population of men could be subfertile or infertile, or could require assisted reproduction techniques, like in vitro fertilization, or IVF, hormone treatment, or a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which sperm are directly injected into an egg. In addition to the drop in average sperm count, Levine said it was surprising that the rate of decline was accelerating, rather than slowing down. “Is there a tipping point, that once you cross, you get an even worse situation?” he said. “That’s something to really pay attention to.”

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Well, they got the House now… Let’s go!

Fauci’s Pandemic Leadership Needs to Be Investigated – Dr. Scott Atlas (ET)

Former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas sees multiple reasons for an investigation into Dr. Anthony Fauci, the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Such a probe has been discussed as Republicans inch closer to a House majority that would grant them subpoena powers. Some Republican lawmakers have accused Fauci of playing a role in misleading the public about the origins of COVID-19 and supporting pandemic mandates they describe as draconian. While Atlas, a vocal critic of the NIAID head, is “very skeptical” that an investigation like this could get away from politics or the perception of it being political, he thinks it’s warranted. Fauci’s changing stance on certain COVID-19 policies needs to be put under the spotlight, Atlas recently said on EpochTV’s “Newsmakers.”

“The real, clear public airing of exactly what happened needs to be done,” said Atlas, a senior fellow in health care policy at the Hoover Institution and contributor to The Epoch Times. “I personally am very skeptical that a political investigation, no matter who does it, is going to be done without politics, or if it’s going to be perceived as nonpolitical. I don’t trust people in government at all. They don’t deserve to be trusted, to be objective. “What was the motivation to flip flop multiple times with policy?” His question was referring to Fauci’s changing stance on pandemic school closures that drew criticism in late 2020.

He further questioned if there had been any “cover-up” of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fauci’s division, citing the awards to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through the New York nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance as an example. EcoHealth Alliance, which continues to receive millions of dollars in grants from the NIH, was subjected to scrutiny by multiple federal agencies over its partnership with the Wuhan lab. The Office of Investigations of the Department of Health and Human Services in late 2020 briefly opened a probe over alleged “major fraud against the United States.” The probe was closed in January 2021, according to internal documents, which had the reasons for the closure redacted. The allegation states that “the COVID-19 virus was generated in … China with the assistance of an NIH Grant.”

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Schwab Bali

 

 

 

 

Wray

 

 

 

 

Good morning bear

 

 

Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe

 

 

 

 

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Jul 062017
 
 July 6, 2017  Posted by at 9:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  3 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Woman With Flowered Hat 1963

 

The Fed Grows Worried Its Loose Policy Threatens US Financial Stability (CNBC)
Fed Eyes September Announcement on Balance-Sheet Reduction (WSJ)
China’s Debt Binge Threatens Australia (CB)
Australian Housing ‘Bubble’ Fears Overblown, HSBC Economist Says (BBG)
Europe’s Quietly Growing Poor Population Is Getting Louder (Occupy)
German Banks Pose A Threat That Politicians Want To Hide (CNBC)
Saudi Arabia Chief Foreign Promoter Of Islamist Extremism In UK – Report (Ind.)
Theresa May: Austerity Prevents UK From Turning Into Greece (G.)
China’s Electric Cars Are Actually Pretty Dirty (BBG)
After Failure To Prove Trump-Russia Collusion, There’s Pro-Trump Websites (ZH)
Terrorists in Syria to Stage Provocations to Justify US Strikes – Moscow (Sp.)
Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of The Pentagon, CIA and NSA (M.)
Report In Sweden Claims Erdogan Orchestrated July 15 Coup In Turkey (SCF)
Three In Four Recent Greek Graduates Work For Less Than €800 A Month (K.)
EU Calls On Members To Aid Migrants Amid Rising Mediterranean Death Toll (G.)
EU Blamed For ‘Soaring’ Migrant, Refugee Death Toll (BBC)

 

 

I think the Fed has known this for a long time.

The Fed Grows Worried Its Loose Policy Threatens US Financial Stability (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve’s most recent interest rate hike came amid worries that keeping policy loose was posing increasing risks to financial stability and the economy. Fed officials indicated a determination to continue raising rates even with muted inflation levels, which they considered to be temporary and likely to rise over the long run to a targeted level of 2%, according to a summary from the June meeting of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee. The Fed raised its benchmark rate target a quarter point at the meeting and outlined a plan to reduce its $4.5 trillion balance sheet of bond holdings it accrued while trying to stimulate the economy during and after the financial crisis. Meeting minutes released Wednesday indicated that Fed officials believe the balance sheet can be reduced with “limited” disruption to financial markets.

Officials also expressed little concern that low inflation would persist. However, Fed officials were divided on when the balance sheet runoff should begin, and did not release a timetable on when it would happen. Recent readings below the Fed’s 2% goal were attributed to “idiosyncratic factors, including sharp declines in prices of wireless telephone services and prescription drugs, and expected these developments to have little bearing on inflation over the medium run.” The rate hike came as several officials voiced concern over the effect, or lack thereof, that their recent measures were having on financial markets. Rather than causing conditions to tighten, they actually have grown looser since the central bank embarked on a series of hikes.

While the Fed has increased its benchmark rate target four times since December 2015, government bond yields have declined in recent months. Stocks have continued to gain in the second-longest bull market ever recorded, and multiple other measures of financial conditions remain loose. The meeting minutes reflected considerable discussion over why that was happening. Low bond yields, they reasoned, could be the product of “sluggish longer-term economic growth” as well as the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet of bond holdings.

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It’s time to say goodbye to the Fed and other central banks. They’re too destructive.

Fed Eyes September Announcement on Balance-Sheet Reduction (WSJ)

Federal Reserve officials have indicated there is a strong chance they will announce in September a decision to start shrinking the central bank’s portfolio of bonds and other assets, while putting off until December any further interest-rate increase. The moves would give officials time to assess how markets react to the balance-sheet reductions and to confirm their view that a recent slowdown in inflation will fade. Launching the balance-sheet plan in September also would afford Chairwoman Janet Yellen an opportunity to initiate it well ahead of any potential leadership transition. Her term as chair expires in February, and President Trump hasn’t indicated whether he would nominate her to a second term or replace her. While a final decision on the next Fed moves hasn’t been made, officials will have several opportunities in coming weeks to clarify their thinking.

The central bank releases minutes of the June meeting on Wednesday, and Ms. Yellen testifies before Congress next week. Officials will also gather in Jackson Hole at the end of August for an annual monetary-policy conference that will provide ample opportunities for them to offer further guidance. Earlier this year, some officials indicated they were considering raising interest rates in March, June and September and then starting the portfolio reduction plan in December. They did raise rates in March and June, but are considering the new strategy for several reasons. First, they agreed at their June policy meeting on how they would reduce the $4.5 trillion portfolio, and made that plan public. Some officials now think they might as well get started soon, given the U.S. economic expansion appears steady and global growth is improving.

Second, if Ms. Yellen isn’t nominated to a second term as chair, they would prefer not to wait until December and launch the plan shortly before her successor takes charge. Third, inflation remains a puzzle for the Fed. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in May, a 16-year low, yet price pressures have diminished in recent months, moving year-over-year inflation gauges further below the central bank’s 2% target. Some Fed officials in recent weeks have said they want to see more proof that such price softness is transitory before resuming rate increases, but haven’t signaled similar qualms about initiating the balance-sheet runoff. “Take the balance sheet, get that started, and position ourselves for a December rate increase,” said Chicago Fed President Charles Evans in an interview last month.

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But.. wasn’t it supposed to make Australia rich?

China’s Debt Binge Threatens Australia (CB)

No country can be indifferent to China’s economy, especially not Australia. We’re more exposed to what goes on in it than just about any other nation. China has long been the biggest market for our commodities, such as iron ore, coal and wool. And now it is the largest foreign buyer of our services, especially education and tourism. The upshot? Many thousands of Australian jobs depend on the health of the Chinese economy. Big Asian economies in our region – China, India and Indonesia – are bound to become even more important to us during this, the Asian Century. Our politicians like to dwell on the opportunities presented by the historic economic transformation to our north. But we’ll also need to be prepared for some nasty bumps along the way. The aftermath of China’s enormous corporate debt bubble could well be one of them.

For some years now China’s economic growth has been underpinned by an explosion in corporate lending. China has accounted for half – yes half – of all new credit created globally since 2005 according to the New York Federal Reserve. That’s a huge share for an economy that now only accounts for about 15% of the global economy. Alarm bells rang last August when the IMF pointed out the trajectory of credit growth in China was eerily similar to countries that experienced painful post-debt boom adjustments in the recent past. This includes Japan in the 1980s, Thailand prior to Asian Financial Crisis and Spain prior to the European debt crisis. The sheer pace of lending growth makes it likely many loans are going to marginal borrowers or unviable projects.

A recent Oxford University study that evaluated 65 major road and rail projects in China concluded just 28% could be considered “genuinely economically productive”. The rapid expansion of China’s less regulated “shadow banking” sector adds to the complexity. The Reserve Bank has described China’s financial system as “increasingly large, leveraged, interconnected, and opaque”. Authorities have recently taken steps to reduce credit growth in China but it continues to expand at a rapid pace. The Reserve’s latest review of financial stability published in April, said the risks continue to build. “The level of debt in China has risen significantly over the past decade to reach very high levels, with particularly strong growth in lending from the less regulated and more opaque parts of China’s financial system,” it said.

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Fire the guy, and all others like him.

Australian Housing ‘Bubble’ Fears Overblown, HSBC Economist Says (BBG)

Soaring home prices in Australia’s biggest cities are driven by strong demand and a lack of supply, rather than indicating a “bubble,” according to HSBC’s local Chief Economist Paul Bloxham. “At a national level, a key reason for rising housing prices has been housing under-supply,” Bloxham wrote in a research note on Thursday. “This also suggests that a significant fall in Australian housing prices, as occurred in the U.S. and Spain during the global financial crisis, is unlikely.” Five years of red-hot growth have left prices in Sydney and Melbourne up 80% and 60% since mid-2012, fueling bubble concerns. In June, Moody’s Investors Service cut the long-term credit ratings of Australia’s four biggest banks, saying surging home prices, rising household debt and sluggish wage growth pose a threat to the lenders.

Bloxham, a former staffer at the Reserve Bank of Australia, said that “fundamental factors” largely explain the price boom and, “as a result, we do not judge it to be a bubble.” Demand for housing in Melbourne and Sydney has been supported by domestic and international migration, foreign investment and a lack of new supply, he said. Price increases have been much smaller in places such as Perth, where demand has been weaker amid the waning of a mining boom. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has gradually been ratcheting up restrictions on riskier loans and in recent months the big lenders have all raised interest rates charged on interest-only loans. Bloxham said he believes these regulatory measures will help cool the market, along with lower demand from overseas and increased supply.

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“..more than 240 million people now live on the poverty line..”

Europe’s Quietly Growing Poor Population Is Getting Louder (Occupy)

[..] early last month, financial analysts lauded the explosive growth of the Eurozone, claiming that it had outdone the U.S. The ECB predicted that countries like Germany and France would be able to issue bonds worth over 600 billion euros by the end of the year. By all accounts it would seem that the storm has passed. The E.U. suffered long and hard, endured the departure of one of its most economically sound member-states, and has apparently managed to come out on top, even amid one of the most dire humanitarian crises in recent memory. However, a brief look at some the official reports published by E.U. economists paints a wholly different, less rosy picture. In March 2010, the European Commission published a detailed economic strategy that was intended to rescue the then 80 million citizens of the Eurozone from falling below the poverty line.

In a manner reminiscent of the Soviet Union, the Commission extensively defined “poverty” in as loose a terminology as possible, hoping to reduce the number of that population. It also measured income inequality using the wildly fluctuating per-capita incomes of each member-state. One of the more prevailing definitions used by the European Commission at the time was relative poverty: “People are said to be living in poverty if their income and resources are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living considered acceptable in the society in which they live. Because of their poverty they may experience multiple disadvantage through unemployment, low income, poor housing, inadequate health care and barriers to lifelong learning, culture, sport and recreation. They are often excluded and marginalized from participating in activities (economic, social and cultural) that are the norm for other people and their access to fundamental rights may be restricted.”

The purpose of the strategy was to implement, for lack of a better term, a “glorious 10-year plan” that would lift up the failing economies of the less developed or ailing member-states, encourage mobility within the Union and enable those 80 million citizens to be lifted above the poverty line. In 2017, the strategy was given a new, thorough assessment by Bruegel, a Brussels-based economic think-tank, which revealed that it not only failed to achieve its goal (an understandable outcome under the circumstances) but also increased the number of E.U. citizens risking poverty almost threefold. As of June, the European Commission website stated that more than 240 million people now live on the poverty line (around one-third of the E.U. population), with a full 9% of citizens suffering from deprivation.

That doesn’t factor in the considerable population of refugees and other marginalized communities such as the Roma, or the desperate populations of underdeveloped areas in countries like Romania. So where does all this leave the E.U.’s poor? According to predictions, financial troubles will escalate the already growing trend of social exclusion affecting women, single parents, immigrants and others in the E.U. for years to come. Already, E.U. citizens are choosing to abandon higher education in favor of steady employment. In countries like Greece, Macedonia and other member-states with expansive rural areas, the exodus of able-bodied young people combined with an aging population will lead to a long-term economic drain from which they may never recover.

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Too many banks? Or too much debt?

German Banks Pose A Threat That Politicians Want To Hide (CNBC)

With the Italian banking system in the spotlight, analysts have highlighted that Germany’s lenders are still not out of the woods, saying shipping loans and too many bank branches are some of the very real problems they are currently facing. German officials repeatedly tell EU members from the south of Europe to restructure their banking systems but industry experts believe they have a problem of their own as federal elections approach. “Germany is overbanked, too many banks, very little consolidation has taken place,” Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, told CNBC via email on Wednesday. There are approximately 2,400 separate banks with more than 45,000 branches throughout the country and over 700,000 employees, according to Commercial Banks Guide, an industry website.

This increases the cost income ratio for banks, Brzeski explained. Meanwhile, the IMF warned last May that cost-to-income and leverage remain high in Germany. “Low profitability reflects structural inefficiencies, persistent crisis legacy issues, provisions for compliance violations, and the need to adjust to the new regulatory environment,” the IMF said in the report last May. Another problem seems to be the reliance on the shipping industry for many banks. “I would point towards some specific issues with asset quality: Shipping is one of the priorities of the single supervisor, the ECB, for next year,” Gildas Surry, senior analyst at Axiom Alternative Investments, told CNBC on Wednesday when citing the biggest problem for the German banking sector.

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As May refuses to make public a government report. Dead end.

Saudi Arabia Chief Foreign Promoter Of Islamist Extremism In UK – Report (Ind.)

Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, a report has warned. The conservative Henry Jackson Society said there was a “clear and growing link” between Islamist organisations preaching violence and foreign state funding. In a new report entitled “Foreign Funded Islamist Extremism in the UK”, the thinktank calls for a public inquiry into extremism bankrolled by other countries. It suggests several Gulf states and Iran are responsible for much of the foreign funding of extremism in the UK, but that Saudi Arabia in particular had spent millions on exporting its conservative branch of Wahhabi Islam to Muslim communities in the West since the 1960s.

The thinktank, run by controversial journalist and political commentator Douglas Murray, said this typically took the form of endowments to mosques and Islamic educational institutions which host radical preachers and distribute extremist literature. The report calls for a public inquiry in Saudi Arabia’s connections with UK based extremism. The UK’s Saudi Arabian embassy told the BBC the allegations were “categorically false”. But it comes as the Government is facing mounting pressure to release its own report into Saudi funding of extremism. Responding to a parliamentary question on Tuesday, Theresa May said ministers were “considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to Parliament with an update in due course”.

The report, which has been in Ms May’s personal possession for six months, was first commissioned by David Cameron in 2015 following an agreement with the Liberal Democrats to get their support for Syrian air strikes. But last month a spokesman for the Home Office admitted to the Guardian that the report may not be published because its contents were “very sensitive”. Since coming to power in July last year, Ms May has courted the conservative kingdom, which is one of the main buyers of UK-made arms. Earlier this year, the Government approved £3.5bn-worth of arms exports licences to the Gulf state.

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This is getting too absurd. She’s claiming austerity can rescue a nation, but look at Greece. Someone like Steve Keen should set May straight once and for all. Corbyn doesn’t sound terribly clear either.

Theresa May: Austerity Prevents UK From Turning Into Greece (G.)

Theresa May raised the spectre of a Greek-style economic collapse if Britain fails to press ahead with tackling the deficit on Wednesday, as she was challenged repeatedly by Jeremy Corbyn over the public sector pay cap. With intense political pressure on the prime minister – including from her own cabinet colleagues – to ease the strain for cash-strapped public servants, including nurses and teachers, she warned MPs about the risks of loosening the purse strings. “This is not a theoretical issue. Let us look at those countries that failed to deal with it. In Greece, where they have not dealt with the deficit … What did we see with that failure to deal with the deficit? Spending on the health service cut by 36%. That does not help nurses or patients,” she said.

Comparisons with Greece were repeatedly used by George Osborne in 2010 to justify public spending cuts, as riots erupted on the streets of Athens over the stringent bailout conditions imposed by the IMF and the eurozone. But the analogy represented a significant ratcheting up of the pro-austerity argument from May. A Conservative spokesman emphasised remarks afterwards, saying: “There are siren calls from Labour to abandon any kind of fiscal restraint whatsoever. What happens, we’ve seen as a case study, is what happened in Greece.” He added: “I think she was suggesting if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party got the chance to impose its fiscal policies on the United Kingdom that is a very real threat.”

A spokesman for Corbyn described the claims as “preposterous”. “The situation in Greece is tied up with the eurozone and the management of the eurozone banks – we’re not remotely in that situation. Our manifesto and our pledges were costed, unlike the government’s,” he said.

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Prediction: the Green crowd is not going to listen.

China’s Electric Cars Are Actually Pretty Dirty (BBG)

China has been making great strides toward electrification. Electric vehicle sales are booming: Consumers bought more than 300,000 last year, and more than 5 million are expected to be on the road by 2020. The government just announced bold plans for a wave of big new battery factories. Encouraging as that may be, though, the move away from conventional cars and trucks won’t immediately reduce the country’s carbon emissions. On the contrary, the production and exploitation of electric vehicles in China actually produces more greenhouse gases and consumes more overall energy. In the short run, China’s moves could make greenhouse emissions go up, not down. Electric vehicles seem environmentally benign. They’re lightweight, energy-efficient, and potentially greener than their conventional counterparts.

But the reality is more complex. Their manufacture entails energy-intensive mining of rare elements, such as the lithium required for their batteries. Their fuel efficiency can make up for that in the course of use, but only if the electricity is produced in a relatively clean way. Developed nations get the best results, because they tend to generate electricity using cleaner sources. By one estimate, the average electric car in the U.S. has just half the greenhouse gas impact of a conventional car over its life cycle. It’s even less in the western, southern and northeastern parts of the country, where power plants draw more renewable power. A comprehensive energy model being developed by Argonne National Laboratory produces a similar estimate.

Europe does well, too. Looking at all the processes involved in the manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal of a range of both electrical and conventional vehicles, Norwegian researchers found that electric vehicles offer at least a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (assuming they were driven about 150,000 kilometers). To be sure, electric-vehicle batteries impose a host of other environmental costs linked to the mining of rare metals. But on carbon emissions, electric vehicles win out. The real challenge to reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be in developing nations – especially China, which is likely to dominate the global auto market for decades to come. Unfortunately, the structure of China’s industrial economy will make it difficult. One recent study by Chinese engineers estimated that electric vehicles generate about a 50% increase in both greenhouse gas emissions and total energy consumption over their life cycle. The manufacture of the lithium-ion battery alone accounts for 13% of the energy consumption and 20% of the emissions.

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It’s high time for a reset. The narrative is dead.

After Failure To Prove Trump-Russia Collusion, There’s Pro-Trump Websites (ZH)

Having failed miserably to produce even one single shred of tangible evidence that Trump colluded with Russia to stage a coup in 2016’s presidential election, Democrats, rather than simply admit that their entire crusade to prove a false narrative was nothing more than a charade designed to cover up their embarrassing defeat, have decided to shift the narrative to target “pro-Trump websites.” You know, because a couple of websites sharing stories over Facebook clearly overshadowed the 24/7 Hillary Clinton cheerleading sessions on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times… Per The Guardian, this convenient shift in the ‘Russian hacking’ narrative comes just as Trump’s former head of digital media has been summoned to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer for his alleged ‘sins:”

“The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or pedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook.The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.”

Ironically, the same investigators digging into the “Trump collusion” narrative admit that similar media campaigns were used during the Democratic primaries in favor of Bernie Sanders. Oddly, however, there has been no organized effort to figure out whether or not Bernie conspired with Putin to destroy Clinton’s chances at the White House. A huge wave of fake news stories originating from eastern Europe began washing over the presidential election months earlier, at the height of the primary campaign. John Mattes, who was helping run the outline campaign for the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders from San Diego, said it really took off in March 2016. “In a 30-day period, dozens of full-blown sites appeared overnight, running full level productions posts. It screamed out to me that something strange was going on,” Mattes said. Much of the material was untraceable, but he tracked 40% of the new postings back to eastern Europe.

Four of the Facebook members posting virulent and false stories about Clinton (suggesting, for example, that she had profited personally by arming Islamic State extremists) had the same name, Oliver Mitov. They all had a very small number of Facebook friends, including one which all four had in common. When Mattes tried to friend them and contact them there was no reply.

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Does anyone still notice the lack of evidence?

Terrorists in Syria to Stage Provocations to Justify US Strikes – Moscow (Sp.)

According to information in the possession of Russian Foreign Ministry, terrorists in Syria are planning to stage chemical provocations in order to justify US strikes on government forces, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during her weekly presser on Thursday. Russia believes terrorists in Syria plan to stage chemical attacks in order to justify US airstrikes against the Syrian military, Zakharova said. “According to information available [to us], Syrian terrorist groups plan staged provocative actions with the use of chemical poison gases to justify US strikes against the positions of the Syrian government forces,” Zakharova told a weekly briefing.

Daesh has deployed chemical laboratories and special equipment for creating chemical bombs to Deir ez-Zor from Raqqa in Syria, Zakharova revealed. The relocation of the laboratories from Raqqa speaks to the US-led coalition’s “selective reluctance to see facts” and “aiding insurgents,” according to Zakharova. The spokeswoman reiterated that Russia will seek thorough probe of the April 4 incident in Khan Sheikhoun in addition to other ‘chemical’ provocations against the Syrian authorities. “We will continue to consistently seek the most professionally rigorous and politically impartial investigation into the investigation of both the Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident and other persistent chemical provocations against the legitimate Syrian government,” Zakharova said.

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Setting the social mood. Robert Prechter can tell you a lot about that. But he sees it as a phenomenon that moves itself.

Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of The Pentagon, CIA and NSA (M.)

When we first looked at the relationship between politics, film and television at the turn of the 21st century, we accepted the consensus opinion that a small office at the Pentagon had, on request, assisted the production of around 200 movies throughout the history of modern media, with minimal input on the scripts. How ignorant we were. More appropriately, how misled we had been. We have recently acquired 4,000 new pages of documents from the Pentagon and CIA through the Freedom of Information Act. For us, these documents were the final nail in the coffin. These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.

The previous best estimate, in a dry academic book way back in 2005, was that the Pentagon had worked on less than 600 films and an unspecified handful of television shows. The CIA’s role was assumed to be just a dozen or so productions, until very good books by Tricia Jenkins and Simon Willmetts were published in 2016. But even then, they missed or underplayed important cases, including Charlie Wilson’s War and Meet the Parents. Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new book National Security Cinema details how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, the Transformers franchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.

A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America’s Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC. National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventure Thunderball, the Tom Clancy thriller Patriot Games and more recent films, including Meet the Parents and Salt. The CIA even helped to make an episode of Top Chef that was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras?

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Expect Erdogan to be loud and poresent this weekend around the G20.

Report In Sweden Claims Erdogan Orchestrated July 15 Coup In Turkey (SCF)

Last year’s failed coup attempt in Turkey is nothing but a false flag orchestrated by Turkey s autocratic President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his henchmen to create a pretext for a mass persecution of critics and opponents in a state of perpetual emergency, a new detailed study titled ‘July 15: Erdogan’s Coup’ by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) concluded. Based on publicly available data, the coup indictments, testimonials in court trials, private interviews, reviews of military expert opinions and other evidence collected by researchers, SCF is fairly confident that this attempt did not even qualify a coup bid in any sense of military mobilization which was unusually limited in numbers, confined in few cities, poorly managed, defied the established practices, tradition, rules of engagement and standard operating procedures in Turkish military.

This was a continuation of a series of false flags that were uncovered in the last couple of years under the authoritarian rule of Erdoan regime and it was certainly the bloodiest one, said Abdullah Bozkurt, the President of SCF. Erdogan appears to have tapped on widely circulated coup rumors in Turkish capital and staged own show to steal wind and set up his opposition for a persecution, he added. Judging from the results of the coup bid, Erdogan won big time by securing imperial presidency, consolidating his gains, stifle the opposition and even launching cross border military incursion into Syria for which he had been itching for too long. No wonder why he immediately called the attempt ‘a gift from God’. The report was originally published in Turkish. SCF plans to release an English edition soon with new changes and updated data.

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Shock doctrine. What can they do but leave?

Three In Four Recent Greek Graduates Work For Less Than €800 A Month (K.)

Almost three in every four (73%) people who graduated after 2011 in Greece collect no more than 800 euros per month, while one in six gets less than 400 euros per month, if they have a job, according to the findings of a survey the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) presented on Wednesday. That compares with just 24% of pre-2011 graduates who get less than 800 euros per month. In the years of the financial crisis graduates have found it much more difficult to find work, as the unemployment rate among degree-holders soared from 7% in 2009 to 18% in 2016.

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Report after report circles around money. Not people.

EU Calls On Members To Aid Migrants Amid Rising Mediterranean Death Toll (G.)

Brussels will urge European countries to give shelter to more refugees from Africa to ease the pressure on Italy, as record numbers of people attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. The European Union executive wants all member states – including the UK – to contribute to resettling a total of 37,000 vulnerable people from five north African countries by the end of 2018. Interior ministers meeting in Tallinn on Thursday will be called on by Dmitris Avramopoulos, the EU home affairs commissioner, to make voluntary pledges by the middle of September. The appeal came as Amnesty International released a damning 31-page reportlinking “failing EU policies” to the the rising death toll in the Mediterranean, and shocking abuses faced by refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres.

The EU resettlement plan is focused on children, as well as victims of people smugglers and torture, from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia. Most people making the perilous sea crossing from north Africa are deemed to be economic migrants not eligible for international protection. But the EU announced a relocation plan for vulnerable people as part of a package of emergency measures to help ease pressure on Italy. “It can be an important safety valve for people with vulnerabilities,” said an EU source. Frans Timmermans, European commission vice president, has made clear Brexit does not exclude the UK from the 2017-2018 programme, although pledges are voluntary. The plan, which has a strong emphasis on returning unwanted migrants, emerged as it was revealed that EU countries have paid in less than half of the funds promised to help African governments manage migration.

The Africa “trust fund” was announced with fanfare in 2015 to win African support for the deportation of unwanted migrants in Europe. Brussels has contributed €2.6bn (£2.3bn) from the EU budget, but officials are frustrated that national capitals are not digging deeper into their state coffers. Only €90bn of a promised €202bn has so far materialised. The UK has paid in €0.6bn of its promised €3bn, far less than Italy, which has paid €32bn. France, Germany and Spain have put in €3bn each, according to the latest data from the European commission.

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The EU will say: but look at all the money we gave! And then blames member states.

EU Blamed For ‘Soaring’ Migrant, Refugee Death Toll (BBC)

Amnesty International has blamed “failing EU policies” for the soaring death toll among refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean. In a report, it said “cynical deals” with Libya consigned thousands to the risk of drowning, rape and torture. It said the EU was turning a blind eye to abuses in Libyan detention centres, and was mostly leaving it up to sea rescue charities to save migrants. More than 2,000 people have died in 2017 trying to get to Europe, it said. The EU has so far made no public comments on Amnesty’s report. It comes as interior ministers from the 28-member bloc are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss the migrant crisis. They will review a $92m (£71m) action plan unveiled by the European Commission to deal with the issue.

The commission proposes to use more than 50% of the funds to boost the Libyan coastguard’s capacity to stop traffickers launching boatloads of migrants out to sea to be rescued. The rest is to help Italy feed, house and process the migrants who get there. “Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European ministers… are shamelessly prioritising reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Europe director. “European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses,” he said.

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