Sep 192022
 


Pablo Picasso Horses and person 1939

 

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

 

 

 

 

Biden Taiwan

 

 

 

 

Biden inflation

 

 

 

 

Biden pandemic is over

 

 

McCullough

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sympathy For Germany (Varoufakis)

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

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

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

The myth of “green growth”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU To Deprive Hungary Of Billions In Funds (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Because this can no longer be blamed on Putin.

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

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


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

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Go to GP for the interactive map.

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

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

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

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

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Now we’re talking.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That must mean all mandates are also over.

Biden: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’ (CNN)

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

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

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

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Oh wait…

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

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

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

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

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They can’t any recruits.

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

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

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

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

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

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This discussion has become far too one-sided.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Putin full press conference at SCO

 

 

 

 

Unexpected

 

 

 

Fish fingers

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 152022
 
 September 15, 2022  Posted by at 8:49 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Salvador Dali Neo-Cubist Academy (Composition with Three Figures) 1926

 

Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)
“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)
US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)
The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)
Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)
Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)
EU May Punish Hungary (RT)
Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)
Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)
End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)
Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)
Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)
Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)
UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)

 

 

Art Berman @aeberman12
The real energy transition is a reduction in energy use. This will never happen VOLUNTARILY. Another slide from my talk last night at Houston Geological Society.

 

 

 

 

Twitter whistleblower

 

 

 

 

The Fibonacci week. How long do the days feel?

 

 

 

 

“..the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.”

Moscow Outlines ‘Diabolical’ Plan By Washington (RT)

Ukraine’s newly published proposal for Western security guarantees is an invitation for the economic self-immolation of the EU, according to Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian diplomat believes that the proposed international agreement which Kiev released on Tuesday is an economic trap for EU nations set by the US with Ukraine’s assistance. Most of the measures included in the document “are already being implemented” by Kiev’s backers, but Washington’s EU allies are expected to pledge to keep the Ukraine aid money flowing for the foreseeable future, Zakharova said in an interview on Wednesday. If signed, the ‘Kiev Security Compact’ would mean “harsh slavery” for the bloc which it would not recover from anytime soon, she claimed.

“A total commitment to supporting the Kiev regime would simply mean immolation [for the EU]. And this proposal is addressed to nations that are debating how they can live through the winter,” Zakharova said, in reference to the energy shortages that EU member states are struggling to confront. Developed EU nations face an economic and humanitarian disaster after taking directions from the US on how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, according to the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. The situation is ironic, she believes, as the EU began as a group of nations that banded together for mutual economic benefit through the deregulation of trade. Now “they are being corralled together” so their lives will become “colder, poorer, and harder,” she said.

This is Washington’s diabolical plan to destroy what was previously called the common European space. The Ukrainian security proposal was prepared by a group co-chaired by Andrey Yermak, the chief of staff of President Vladimir Zelensky, and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The 10-page document outlines NATO-like security guarantees for Ukraine by the US and its allies that would benefit Kiev until it formally joins the Washington-led military bloc. It also calls for continued military and financial aid for Ukraine by the guarantors.

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“..a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

“Prologue To Third World War”: Kremlin Reacts To Security Guarantees For Ukraine (ZH)

Ukraine wants a ‘NATO-esque’ bloc which can be called upon to immediately defend borders with Russia, which was proposed by a working group established by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Crucially it would include the United States and other NATO allies providing Ukraine with “security guarantees”. Kiev officials stressed in unveiling the plan Tuesday that it’s not meant as a replacement for NATO, but as a legally binding alliance to be in place while Ukraine eventually pursues full NATO membership, as Newsweek describes of the proposal: “The Kyiv Security Compact (KSC)—proposed by Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen—would also establish a “multi-decade” plan of investment, military training, and intelligence sharing to bolster Ukraine’s defensive capabilities as the country pursues full NATO membership.”

The Kremlin’s reaction has been swift and fierce, with Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warning that it is “really a prologue to the Third World War” if it gets enacted. He described that nuclear holocaust would be the end result. According to a translation of Medvedev’s reaction in state media, which had been posted in a statement to Telegram, he blamed “dull idiots” from “stupid think tanks” for concocting such a “hysterical appeal”. Medvedev wrote: “And then the Western nations will not be able to sit in their clean homes, laughing at how they carefully weaken Russia by proxy. Everything will be on fire around them. Their people will harvest their grief in full. The land will be on fire and the concrete will melt.”

“Yet still the narrow-minded politicians and their stupid think tanks, thoughtfully twirling a glass of wine in their hands, talk about how they can deal with us without entering into a direct war. Dull idiots with a classical education.” He said that already the conflict in Ukraine is sliding into unknown, unpredictable territory of escalation due to the West’s “unrestrained pumping of the Kiev regime with the most dangerous types of weapons.” He added to the statements as follows according to a translation: “The Kyiv camarilla gave birth to a project of “security guarantees”, which are a prologue to the third world war. Of course, no one will give any “guarantees” to the Ukrainian Nazis. After all, this is almost the same as applying Article 5 of the North Atlantic Pact (Washington Treaty) to Ukraine. For NATO – the same shit, only a side view. Therefore, it’s scary.”

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Insanity squared.

US, Ukraine Are In Talks To Transfer Fighter Jets & Longer-Range Missiles (ZH)

The US and its allies are in talks over whether to send Ukraine more advanced weapons in the future, including fighter jets, US defense sources have said, according to the Financial Times. The Kharkiv counteroffensive has apparently emboldened Ukrainian officials to press Washington harder for more advanced and longer-range weapons, now that some degree of success in rolling back Russian forces can be demonstrated. The idea is that if Ukraine’s forces can prove they’ve taken back significant territory with what defense systems the US has provided so far, they can ultimately make the case that the whole of the east and south is within their reach – and even the potential to liberate Crimea while they’re at it – if longer range and more advanced arms are made available.

The Financial Times reports this week that active discussions between the US and Ukraine are underway concerning Kiev’s weapons wish list: “A senior US defense official said Washington and its allies were discussing Ukraine’s longer term needs, such as air defenses, and whether it might be appropriate to give Kyiv fighter aircraft in the “medium to longer term”. To date, the US and its allies have declined to do so. But interestingly and quite tellingly, the report immediately follows with the acknowledgement that Ukrainian leaders are perhaps naturally incentivize to exaggerate battlefield gains at this moment. Here’s more from the FT as the Pentagon offers a “cautiously optimistic” assessment of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensives in the east and south:

“Ukrainian military officials have said in recent days they have taken more than 3,000 sq km of terrain in what has become Moscow’s biggest military setback since it was forced to scrap plans to conquer Kyiv. But late on Monday night President Volodymyr Zelenskyy practically doubled those claims as Ukraine’s forces continued to advance.” Something Ukraine has additionally long been asking for is longer-range missile systems. A Monday Wall Street Journal report detailed that Kiev is now requesting from the Pentagon the Army’s Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile system with the capability of reaching about 190 miles. This would be far and beyond the range of missiles transferred to Ukraine thus far in the conflict.

The Biden administration in the early months resisted sending longer range missiles, admitting its fears that doing so could draw the US and Russia into direct conflict – given longer range munitions means Ukrainian forces would have the capability of hitting inside Russian territory. This has already happened with Crimea, and even recently with bases inside Russia proper near the border. But now US defense officials are looking over a new strategy proposal and weapons request submitted by Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s force. WSJ details of the document: They argued that Russia has long-range cruise missiles that greatly outdistance the systems in the Ukrainian inventory. A turning point could come if the Ukrainians also had longer-range systems, they argued, specifically mentioning the ATACMS. “The only way to radically change the strategic situation is, without a doubt, for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to launch several consecutive, and ideally, simultaneous counterattacks during the 2023 campaign,” they wrote.

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“Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.”

The Kharkov Game-Changer (Escobar)

Wars are not won by psyops. Ask Nazi Germany. Still, it’s been a howler to watch NATOstan media on Kharkov, gloating in unison about “the hammer blow that knocks out Putin”, “the Russians are in trouble”, and assorted inanities. Facts: Russian forces withdrew from the territory of Kharkov to the left bank of the Oskol river, where they are now entrenched. A Kharkov-Donetsk-Luhansk line seems to be stable. Krasny Liman is threatened, besieged by superior Ukrainian forces, but not lethally. No one – not even Maria Zakharova, the contemporary female equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods – knows what the Russian General Staff (RGS) plans, in this case and all others. If they say they do, they are lying.

As it stands, what may be inferred with a reasonable degree of certainty is that a line – Svyatogorsk-Krasny Liman-Yampol-Belogorovka – can hold out long enough with their current garrisons until fresh Russian forces are able to swoop in and force the Ukrainians back beyond the Seversky Donets line. All hell broke loose – virtually – on why Kharkov happened. The people’s republics and Russia never had enough men to defend a 1,000 km-long frontline. NATO’s entire intel capabilities noticed – and profited from it. There were no Russian Armed Forces in those settlements: only Rosgvardia, and these are not trained to fight military forces. Kiev attacked with an advantage of around 5 to 1. The allied forces retreated to avoid encirclement. There are no Russian troop losses because there were no Russian troops in the region.

Arguably this may have been a one-off. The NATO-run Kiev forces simply can’t do a replay anywhere in Donbass, or in Kherson, or in Mariupol. These are all protected by strong, regular Russian Army units. It’s practically a given that if the Ukrainians remain around Kharkov and Izyum they will be pulverized by massive Russian artillery. Military analyst Konstantin Sivkov maintains that, “most combat-ready formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now being grounded (…) we managed to lure them into the open and are now systematically destroying them.” The NATO-run Ukrainian forces, crammed with NATO mercenaries, had spent 6 months hoarding equipment and reserving trained assets exactly for this Kharkov moment – while dispatching disposables into a massive meat grinder.

It will be very hard to sustain an assembly line of substantial prime assets to pull off something similar again. The next days will show whether Kharkov and Izyum are connected to a much larger NATO push. The mood in NATO-controlled EU is approaching Desperation Row. There’s a strong possibility this counter-offensive signifies NATO entering the war for good, while displaying quite tenuous plausible deniability: their veil of – fake – secrecy cannot disguise the presence of “advisers” and mercenaries all across the spectrum.[..] This is an existential war. A do or die affair. The American geopolitical /geoeconomic goal, to put it bluntly, is to destroy Russian unity, impose regime change and plunder all those immense natural resources. Ukrainians are nothing but cannon fodder: in a sort of twisted History remake, the modern equivalents of the pyramid of skulls Timur cemented into 120 towers when he razed Baghdad in 1401.sIf may take a “hammer blow” for the RSG to wake up. Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.

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“Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another.”

Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains (Scott Ritter)

The Ukrainian battle plan has “Made in Brussels” stamped all over it. The force composition was determined by NATO, as was the timing of the attacks and the direction of the attacks. NATO intelligence carefully located seams in the Russian defenses and identified critical command and control, logistics, and reserve concentration nodes that were targeted by Ukrainian artillery, which operates on a fire control plan created by NATO. In short, the Ukrainian army that Russia faced in Kherson and around Kharkov was unlike any Ukrainian opponent it had previously faced. Russia was no longer fighting a Ukrainian army equipped by NATO, but rather a NATO army manned by Ukrainians.

Ukraine continues to receive billions of dollars of military assistance, and currently has tens of thousands of troops undergoing extensive training in NATO nations. There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase … as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military, or Russia exhausts its willingness to fight an inconclusive conflict in Ukraine.

[..] In the end, I still believe the end game remains the same — Russia will win. But the cost for extending this war has become much higher for all parties involved. The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive needs to be put into a proper perspective. The casualties Ukraine suffered, and is still suffering, to achieve this victory are unsustainable. Ukraine has exhausted its strategic reserves, and they will have to be reconstituted if Ukraine were to have any aspirations of continuing an advance along these lines. This will take months. Russia, meanwhile, has lost nothing more than some indefensible space. Russian casualties were minimal, and equipment losses readily replaced.

Russia has actually strengthened its military posture by creating strong defensive lines in the north capable of withstanding any Ukrainian attack, while increasing combat power available to complete the task of liberating the remainder of the Donetsk People’s Republic under Ukrainian control. Russia has far more strategic depth than Ukraine. Russia is beginning to strike critical infrastructure targets, such as power stations, that will not only cripple the Ukrainian economy, but also their ability to move large amounts of troops rapidly via train. Russia will learn from the lessons the Kharkov defeat taught them and continue its stated mission objectives.

The bottom line – the Kharkov offensive was as good as it will get for Ukraine, while Russia hasn’t come close to hitting rock bottom. Changes need to be made by Russia to fix the problems identified through the Kharkov defeat. Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another. For Ukraine, the huge losses suffered by their own forces, combined with the limited damage inflicted on Russia means the Kharkov offensive is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory, one that does not change the fundamental reality that Russia is winning, and will win, the conflict in Ukraine.

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The IAEA can’t speak. Ukraine=NATO.

Ukraine Has Put World On Brink Of ‘Nuclear Catastrophe’ – Moscow (RT)

Ukraine’s attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant are creating an unacceptable risk, the chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on Tuesday. Moscow will act to prevent a disaster from happening, while the US does not seem to care about the potential damage to Ukraine and its European NATO allies, the speaker of the Russian parliament has said. “Kiev’s terrorist actions are putting the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. We cannot allow this to happen,” Volodin said, opening the legislature’s autumn session. While the US may be far away from the plant, “their NATO allies in Europe stand to suffer” in case of a radioactive release, Volodin noted, adding that the US government and EU parliaments are silent about the threat, but many other states around the world share Russia’s concern about the situation.

Russia has controlled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March. Attacks on the facility started in July, with the Russian Defense Ministry documenting more than 30 artillery and drone strikes, as well as two attempts by Ukrainian commandos to storm the plant, one during the visit of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission earlier this month. Kiev has accused Moscow of staging the shelling to make Ukraine look bad, even though its military eventually admitted to targeting the area.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who personally led the mission to inspect the plant, said on Monday that both Russia and Ukraine are “interested” in a proposal for a local ceasefire and a security zone around the ZNPP. All of its six reactors are currently offline, due to the ongoing artillery threat. Moscow has rejected any notion of withdrawing its troops from the area, however, with the Kremlin saying that the only discussion at this time is “about forcing the Ukrainian side to stop the barbaric shelling” of the premises. In his remarks on Tuesday, Volodin said, “time has once again shown the correctness of the decision” by President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine in February.

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“The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies.”

Top Hungarian Official Predicts Easing Of Sanctions (RT)

The EU will review the sanctions on Russia and could lift some of them as soon as this autumn, Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Tamas Menczer predicts. The restrictions imposed on Russian trade to punish it for attacking Ukraine have failed to change Moscow’s behavior and actually rewarded it with increased revenues, after they triggered a spike in energy prices, the MP said during an appearance on M1 TV on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the European countries that imposed the sanctions are facing energy shortages. “Reality knocks on the door of every country,”Menczer said, explaining why he believes the sanctions will be lifted sooner rather than later. Member states are set to review their sanctions policies later in the autumn.


The Hungarian MP confirmed that his country, which criticized the EU’s drive to decouple the economy of the bloc from Russian energy, opposed the idea of introducing a price cap on gas bought from foreign nations. He called the proposal absurd and impractical, citing Moscow’s promises to cut supplies to customers that try to dictate the price. The European Commission has reportedly backpedaled on the gas price cap and is currently working on a mechanism to tax the windfall profits of energy companies. Brussels is also urging EU nations to impose various energy-saving measures to better prepare for peak consumption during the winter. Last week, Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kover claimed that the EU is the “loser” in the Ukraine conflict due to the economic damage caused by the sanctions.

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“..as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance..”

EU May Punish Hungary (RT)

The European Commission will recommend withholding funds from the Hungarian government over allegations of corruption in the country, Bloomberg claimed on Wednesday, confirming earlier reports in the Hungarian press. The assessment is expected to be unveiled as soon as Sunday. The EU launched a probe against Hungary shortly after its prime minister, Viktor Orban, shored up his domestic position by winning the April general election in a landslide. The investigation was triggered under a recently adopted EU law that links payments of subsidies to member states to their compliance with the bloc’s rule-of-law norms.According to Bloomberg’s sources, the European Commission is almost ready to release its conclusions. The executive body is to recommend slashing the funding pending improvement in adherence to the norms, senior EU officials told the agency.

The final decision will be made within three months after the report is released, with a qualified majority of votes by the bloc’s members required to adopt it. Brussels may give Budapest a grace period of up to three months to follow its recommendations and to implement a number of measures that the Hungarian government promised to enact to alleviate the EU’s concerns, according to Bloomberg. According to EUobserver, a publication specializing in covering EU policies, as much as 70% of the funding due between 2021 and 2027 may be withheld from Hungary owing to non-compliance. The total sum would amount to over €40 billion, according to the Bloomberg report. The Orban government was blocked from accessing the EU money during the probe.

The anti-corruption measures that Budapest proposed in late August include creating a new authority to oversee the spending of EU funds and amending Hungarian laws on public procurements. The country’s justice minister, Judit Varga, met EU officials last week to discuss the package. The timeline for the release of the graft report was first revealed by the Hungarian newspaper Nepszava on Tuesday evening. Its sources said that 20% of EU subsidies were at risk of being suspended unless Budapest meets Brussels’ demands. The punishment, if implemented, would be the first case of its kind. The EU leadership has voiced concerns about the rule of law in several Eastern European countries, most notably Hungary and Poland.

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Half the world population.

Summit With Putin, Xi Will Showcase Alternative To Western World: Kremlin (AFP)

A regional summit this week where Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet China’s Xi Jinping and other Asian leaders will showcase an “alternative” to the Western world, the Kremlin said Tuesday. Putin and Xi will be joined by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on Thursday and Friday. The SCO — made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries — was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions. The meeting will be part of Xi’s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and comes with relations between Russia and the West shattered by the conflict in Ukraine. “The SCO offers a real alternative to Western-centric organisations,” Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.


“All members of the SCO stand for a just world order,” he said, describing the summit as taking place “against the background of large-scale geopolitical changes”. The SCO, he said, “is the largest organisation in the world, it includes half the population of our planet”. Putin will hold talks with Xi, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday, Ushakov said, before attending the main session of the summit on Friday. On Friday he will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev. “The meeting with Xi is of particular importance, major international and regional topics will be discussed,” including the conflict in Ukraine and growing Russia-China economic ties, Ushakov said.

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History lesson.

Ukraine Had A Huge Influence On The Soviet Union (Negopodin)

Even now, many pages in the history of the Soviet Union remain a mystery. One of these concerns the ethnic composition of the country’s leadership. Such information was not published by the Party’s Central Committee until 1989, and biographies of members of the governing bodies during the entire Soviet period were not released until 1990, just before the dissolution of the USSR. All of these documents confirmed that many of its statesmen, politicians, diplomats, as well as military and intelligence officers, had been born in Ukraine. However, information about their ethnic origin was often omitted. Also, many of those who originated from Ukraine were registered as ‘Russian’ or simply as ‘Soviet’. This is why it is so difficult to assess the full scope of political influence Ukrainians had on the decision-making process in the Soviet Union.

It is true that Ukrainians contributed a great deal to building socialism. If we round them all up, we see that there had always been very large numbers of people from Ukraine in the top tiers of power. Two of them, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, ruled the country as general secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. The country’s final ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, was the descendant of Ukrainian peasants who had moved to Stavropol. [..] The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was managed by local elites, which is completely at odds with the modern myth of Ukraine having been an ‘oppressed nation’ in the Soviet Union. Moreover, so many Ukrainians held key positions in the Soviet government that any allegations made by the present-day Ukrainian authorities about the Ukrainian SSR struggling under the yoke of the Russian SFSR and being de facto Soviet Russia’s colony simply don’t have a leg to stand on.

On the contrary, by the 1950s, the Ukrainian SSR had become a full-fledged statelet that had its own constitution and flag and even parliament. In fact, its structure mirrored that of the government of the Soviet Union itself. Ukraine’s policy was determined by the Communist Party of Ukraine with the Politburo being its highest body of power; its legislative branch was represented by the Supreme Council (this later became the Verkhovna Rada); and executive power was wielded by the Council of Ministers.

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But vaccinate!

End of Covid in Sight – WHO (RT)

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared on Wednesday that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is close at hand. While the virus is still spreading at the same level as last year, despite mass vaccination, deaths have fallen significantly. “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,”Tedros said at a press briefing. Claiming that vaccination and other public health measures have reduced the threat posed by the virus, the WHO chief called on governments to push for 100% vaccination of vulnerable people and healthcare workers, and 70% vaccination of the general public.

“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view, she runs harder with all the energy that she has left,” he said. “Now is the worst time to stop running.” The impact of vaccines, masks, lockdowns, and other public health measures on the virus’ spread has been a controversial issue, with near-totally vaccinated countries like Singapore still experiencing waves of infection this summer that dwarfed similar spikes in 2021 and 2020. Some 3.1 million cases of Covid-19 were confirmed globally in the week ending September 5, compared to 3.9 million in the same week in 2021, and 1.9 million in the same week in 2020.

Deaths have fallen, however, with 11,000 linked to the virus in the week ending September 5, the lowest weekly total since March 16, 2020. Tedros announced that the WHO would release six policy briefs for governments later on Wednesday, outlining the steps the organization thinks are necessary to avoid “more variants, more deaths, more destruction and more uncertainty.” Among these steps are the aforementioned vaccination push, the maintenance of infection control measures in hospitals, increased testing and sequencing, and the administration of appropriate treatment to patients.

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“However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

Why Health Officials Won’t Let Scientists Examine mRNA Vaccine Vials (Mercola)

A 14-minute video (below) that has been overlooked for nearly two years has now resurfaced, exposing stunning information about the COVID-19 jabs and why health officials don’t want individual vaccine vials examined by independent scientists. The reason, it turns out, is because the vials are all different — and the mRNA in the shots “is not intact.” Both of these pose potentially serious problems. In an Aug. 31 Substack article, Steve Kirsch explains: “Even if you are getting 100% intact mRNA which would be really rare, you’re still not getting anything that resembles the virus. So the efficacy as far as PROTECTING you will be next to nothing. “However, what it will do very effectively, if you got reasonably intact mRNA, is to cause you significant harm. You are playing a game of chance with your immune system and what is in the bottle.”

The video notes that members of the European Parliament were only allowed to read the contracts with the drug makers after they’d been heavily redacted. Why the heavy-handed secrecy, even toward legislators? The finding that the mRNA in the shots was of questionable quality was revealed in a British Medical Journal feature investigation article published in March 2021. As explained by the author, journalist Serena Tinari, cyber attackers retrieved more than 40 megabytes of Pfizer COVID-19 jab data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in December 2020. The hacked data was subsequently sent to journalists and academics worldwide. It was also published on the dark web. Some of the documents show European regulators had significant concerns over the lack of intact mRNA in the commercial batches sampled.

Compared to the clinical batches, i.e., the shots used in the clinical trial, 55% to 78% of the commercial shots had “a significant difference in % RNA integrity/truncated species.” In one email, dated Nov. 23, 2020, a high-ranking EMA official noted that the commercial batches failed to meet expected specifications, and that the implications of this RNA integrity loss were unclear. In response to the findings, the EMA sent a list of questions and concerns to Pfizer. While we do not know if and how the EMA’s concerns were actually addressed and corrected, the EMA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 jab Dec. 21, 2020.

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Next please.

Denmark ENDS Covid Vaccinations For Almost Everyone Under 50 (Berenson)

Denmark will bar almost everyone under 50 from receiving more mRNA Covid jabs, the Danish Health Authority said yesterday. Denmark had already ended Covid shots for nearly everyone under 18. The new rules go much further. Danes under 50 will only be allowed to receive the shots if they are “higher risk of becoming severely [emphasis added] from Covid-19.” The Danish Health Authority has not yet defined those groups, but they will likely include only a handful of people, such as those receiving cancer treatments that suppress their immune systems. Pregnant women are unlikely to be included.

Denmark did not explicitly say the risks of mRNA jabs now outweigh their benefits for healthy people under 50. But that view is implicit in the announcement, which does not merely discourage but actually bans shots for those people, even though Denmark expects “a large wave of [Covid] infection” in the next few months. In other words, the health authority is not stopping shots because Covid has ended. It now believes most people are better off getting the coronavirus than taking more mRNA. The Danish move is particularly significant because Denmark has an excellent national health care system and has aggressively collected data on Covid and vaccines.

Denmark was among the first countries to stop giving Covid shots to healthy children and teenagers. Now other European countries are beginning to follow, with Britain ending mRNA shots for almost all children 10 and under. In yesterday’s announcement of the new policies, Denmark explicitly dropped any effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and said that it will focus only on protecting people at very high risk: “We expect that a large part of the population will become infected with covid-19 during the autumn, and we therefore want to vaccinate those having the highest risk so that they are protected from severe illness.”

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It’s time for science. Before the climate lockdowns come.

Suppose the climate alarms follow the same pattern the Covid ones do. Take it from there.

Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data: 4 Leading Italian Scientists (DS)

Four leading Italian scientists have undertaken a major review of historical climate trends and concluded that declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is not supported by the data. Reviewing data from a wide range of weather phenomena, they say a ‘climate crisis’ of the kind people are becoming alarmed about “is not evident yet”. The scientists suggest that rather than burdening our children with anxiety about climate change, we should encourage them to think about issues like energy, food and health, and the challenges in each area, with a more “objective and constructive spirit” and not waste limited resources on “costly and ineffective solutions”.

During the course of their work, the scientists found that rainfall intensity and frequency is stationary in many parts of the world. Tropical hurricanes and cyclones show little change over the long term, and the same is true of U.S. tornadoes. Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity show no “clear positive trend of extreme events”. Regarding ecosystems, the scientists note a considerable “greening” of global plant biomass in recent decades caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Satellite data show “greening” trends over most of the planet, increasing food yields and pushing back deserts.

The four scientists are all highly qualified and include physics adjunct professor Gianluca Alimonti, agrometeorologist Luigi Mariani and physics professors Franco Prodi and Renato Angelo Ricci. The last two are signatories to the rapidly growing ‘World Climate Declaration’. This petition states that there is no climate emergency and calls for climate science to be more scientific. It also calls for liberation from the “naïve belief in immature climate models”. In future, it says, “climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science”.

‘Extreme’ weather events attributed by climate models – somehow – to anthropogenic global warming are now the main staple of the climate alarmist industry. As the Daily Sceptic reported on Monday, Sir David Attenborough used a U.K. Met Office model forecast in the first episode of Frozen Planet II to claim that summer Arctic sea ice could be gone within 12 years. But the likelihood of hardy swimming galas over the North Pole by 2035 seems somewhat remote, not least because Arctic sea ice has been growing in many summers since 2012. According to a recent report from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, at the end of August “sea ice extent is likely to remain higher than in recent years”.

EV-No

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The list of absurdities gets longer.

• 100 staff at Charles III residence sacked
• £200 million tax avoided by Charles on his inheritance
• 1,000 Cancer treatments cancelled for Monday
• Arrests for disapproving of unelected head of state
• Food banks closed on Monday

UK Sports Body Tells People Not To Ride Bikes During Queen Funeral (RT)

British Cycling has U-turned on its previous “strong recommendation” that people should refrain from using their bicycles during the Queen’s funeral next week. Though the UK government had stressed there was no obligation to cancel or postpone any events during a period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday, some sports such as football have widely postponed matches as a mark of respect to the monarch. Adopting a similar stance, British Cycling released guidance that said it “strongly recommends that anybody out riding their bike on the day of the state funeral does so outside of the timings of the funeral service and associated processions, which will be confirmed later this week.”

This caused consternation among cyclists, with one noting that the funeral on Monday, September 19, clashes with their work hours. “Is it OK with you if I don’t follow your absolutely ridiculous advice and bike to work? Or would you rather I, as a mark of respect, pollute the air with my car? Maybe I can honk the national anthem on my horn?” they asked.British Cycling has since deleted the section of its guidance that says people shouldn’t cycle at all during the funeral for the 96-year-old Queen, but fresh recommendations have insisted that amateur cyclists should not go on rides with their clubs on Monday. “As a mark of respect to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, British Cycling’s guidance is that no formal domestic activities should take place on the day of the State Funeral, Monday 19 September,” it stated.

“This includes cycle sport events, club rides, coaching sessions and community programs (such as Breeze rides).”With good weather expected which often prompts long rides with clubs, this has also drawn criticism and has seen the organization dubbed a “joke” with conduct “worthy of the Stasi,” in reference to the former German state security service in operation from 1950 to 1990. Some cyclists have threatened to cancel their membership, with one balking that British Cycling is “an embarrassment at a time when hatred towards cycling feels at an all-time high.”

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Paul&Fauci

 

 

 

 

Wesley Clark

 

 


Bridge of Hands, Vietnam

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 092022
 
 September 9, 2022  Posted by at 8:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  63 Responses »


Andy Warhol Queen Elizabeth, Reigning Queens Series 1985

 

The Price Of Poker (Denninger)
Putin: The West is Failing, the Future is Asia (Celente)
Asia’s Future Takes Shape In Vladivostok, The Russian Pacific (Escobar)
Putin’s 12,000 Ton Gold Hoard Sets The Stage For Asian Bretton Woods (Macleod)
Six Months In, What Exactly Does Russia Hope To Achieve In Ukraine? (Trenin)
The Coming Victory of Native Europeans in the UK and the EU (Batiushka)
A Dirty Joke: Ukraine’s Hero Comedian President Zelensky (Celente)
Ukraine Planned To Use IAEA Experts As A Tool For Blackmail (Ritter)
Pentagon Sent GPS-Guided Rounds To Ukraine (RT)
Italy’s Berlusconi Believes He Can Help Resolve Ukraine Crisis (RT)
Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy (Escobar)
We the Silent Majority (AT)
Fell Asleep A Princess, Awoke A Queen (CD)
Hillary Plays The Victim Despite History Of Avoiding Criminal Charges (Turley)
Greece Warns Of Ukraine-style War With Turkey In East Mediterranean (MEE)

 

 

London Bridge is down.

 

 


“Can’t believe they are going to make a MAN queen. This woke nonsense has gone too far.”

 

 

Ghana TV
https://twitter.com/i/status/1567873066260172800

 

 

 

 

Draghi

 

 

 

 

 

 

“For those who claim Russia is waging an “energy war” well, perhaps they are, but let’s not forget the west is attempting to wage an economic one! ”

The Price Of Poker (Denninger)

It appears that Putin’s government has announced that Nordstream I will not be restarted until western sanctions are lifted. “Russian natural gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany will remain shut until the Western sanctions that impede gas turbine repairs are lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. The gas crisis in Europe took a turn for the worse at the end of last week, when Russian gas giant Gazprom said after three-day maintenance ended on Friday that Nord Stream would remain shut until “operational defects in the equipment are eliminated,” upping the ante in its gas war against Europe.” As a reminder the pipeline had only one operational gas-turbine driven pump which, according to Gazprom, requires maintenance.

There are usually five of them available for service with a sixth held in reserve as a spare at that specific station through which the gas flows. As things stand now there are no spares and one sort-of-operating one that was shut down as a result of a fault discovered during an inspection. There are people saying that Russia could operate the one with the leak anyway but why does anyone believe there is any sort of duty to do so and shave the margins of safety? There clearly is no such duty and, further, the gas is Russia’s so if you think you have the right to sanction a nation and then demand they trade with you its rather obvious to me that your IQ is smaller than your shoe size. For those who claim Russia is waging an “energy war” well, perhaps they are, but let’s not forget the west is attempting to wage an economic one!


I’ve never in my life seen a “war” in which the people backing one side of it demand that the party on the other side continue to trade with them and not only that, but then attempt to put in price controls such that they demand not only the product but also what they pay for it. Putin obviously thinks that’s crazy. Now the West and Europe in particular get to choose: Either drop the sanctions or you get no gas. I fail to understand how this cannot be viewed as an entirely-reasonable position unless your view is that Russia has no right of national sovereignty at all, including the natural resources that lay within her border and those that transit same. If that’s your position — that the West has the right to impose a political and economic structure on a sovereign government then just come out and say it.

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“Beijing has been clear that it believes the world arrived at this point due to Washington’s interference in Kyiv.”

Putin: The West is Failing, the Future is Asia (Celente)

Russian President Vladimir Putin took an unveiled swipe at the U.S. Wednesday and said “Western nations” are hurting everyone — including their own people in their effort to maintain global order. “The West is failing,” Putin said. “The future is Asia.” Putin will meet with his Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan next week, according to Russian media. Russia sees China as an economic lifeline. China is Russia’s top trade partner with total trade last year jumping 35.9 percent to a record $146.9 billion. Reuters said trade between the two countries jumped 50 percent after the 2014 annexation of Crimea. That trend has continued. During the first five months of the year, trade between the countries hit $65.81 billion, up 28.9 percent from 2021.

Despite attempts from the Biden administration, China has refused to speak out against the Russian invasion. There’s a theory that when Putin met with Xi at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, he got the Chinese leader’s blessing before the conflict. Russia would be sunk without China’s support. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, has mentioned a new “world order.” “We, together with you [China], and with our sympathizers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order,” Lavrov said in a video statement in April. President Joe Biden mentioned an emerging ‘new world order’ earlier that month and said it must be led by the U.S. Beijing has been clear that it believes the world arrived at this point due to Washington’s interference in Kyiv.


Shortly after the conflict started, Hua Chunying, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the invasion of Ukraine could have been avoided. “China has taken a responsible attitude and persuaded all parties not to escalate tensions or incite war,” she said. “Those who follow the U.S.’s lead in fanning up flame and then shifting the blame onto others are truly irresponsible.” The Russian president said the ongoing economic global crisis was triggered by elites in the West “who would not, or even cannot, acknowledge objective facts” about changes in the world. He said they only see a “world order that benefits only them, forcing everyone to live under the rules, which they invented and which they regularly break and constantly change depending on the situation,” The Global Times reported.

Putin Western elites

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“Russia is ready for winter. There will be warmth and light everywhere.”

Asia’s Future Takes Shape In Vladivostok, The Russian Pacific (Escobar)

Pavel Sorokin, Russian First Deputy Minister of Energy, dismissed the notion of a storm or typhoon in the energy markets: “It’s a far cry from a natural process. It’s a man-made situation.” The Russian economy, in contrast, is seen by most analysts as slowly but surely designing its Arctic/Asian cooperation future – including, for instance, the creation of a sophisticated trans-shipment infrastructure for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov made sure that Russia will actually increase its gas production, considering the rise of LNG deliveries and the construction of Power of Siberia-2 to China: “We will not merely scale up the pipeline capacity but we will also expand LNG production: it has mobility and excellent purchases on the global market.”

On the Northern Sea Route, the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern icebreaker fleet – including nuclear. Gadzhimagomed Guseynov, First Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, is adamant: “What Russia has to do is to make the Northern Sea Route a sustainable and important transit route.” There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation, following an ‘Arctic best practices’ of learning step by step. NOVATEK, according to its deputy chairman Evgeniy Ambrosov, has been conducting no less than a revolution in terms of Arctic navigation and shipbuilding in the last few years.


Kniessel, the former Austrian minister, recalled that she always missed the larger geopolitical picture in her discussions when she was active in European politics (she now lives in Lebanon): “I wrote about the passing of the torch from Atlanticism to the Pacific. Airlines, pipelines and waterways are moving East. The Far East is actually Pacific Russia.” Whatever Atlanticists may think of it, the last word for the moment might belong to Vitaly Markelov, from the board of directors of Gazprom: Russia is ready for winter. There will be warmth and light everywhere.”

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“There is the Chinese one kilo bar four-nines standard, which is widely owned, has already been adopted throughout Asia, and is traded even on Comex.”

Putin’s 12,000 Ton Gold Hoard Sets The Stage For Asian Bretton Woods (Macleod)

Unreported by western media, there are some interesting developments taking place in Asia over the future of currencies. Earlier this summer, it emerged that Sergei Glazyev, a senior Russian economist and Minister in charge of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EAEU), was leading a committee planning a new trade currency for the Eurasian Economic Union. [..] Logic suggests that a gold-backed currency will be the outcome of Glazyev’s EAEU committee’s trade currency deliberations after all, because of a subsequent announcement from Moscow concerning a new Russian bullion market.

In accordance with western sanctions, the London Bullion Market refused to accept Russian mined and processed gold. It was then natural for Russia to propose a new gold market based in Moscow with its own standards. It is equally sensible for Moscow to set up a price fixing committee, replicating that of the LBMA. But instead of it being the basis for a far larger unallocated gold deposit account offering by Russian and other banks, it will be a predominantly physical market. Based in Moscow, with a new market called the Moscow International Precious Metals Exchange, the Moscow Gold Standard will incorporate some of the LBMA’s features, such as good delivery lists with daily, or twice daily fixings. The new exchange is therefore being promoted as a logical replacement for the LBMA.


But could that be a cover, with the real objective being to provide a gold link to the new trade currency planned by Glazyev’s EAEU committee? Timing suggests that this may indeed be the case, but we will only know for sure as events unfold. If it is to be backed by gold, the considerations behind setting up a new trade currency are fairly straightforward. There is the Chinese one kilo bar four-nines standard, which is widely owned, has already been adopted throughout Asia, and is traded even on Comex. Given that China is Russia’s long-term partner, that is likely to be the standard unit. The adoption of the Chinese standard in the new Moscow exchange is logical, simplifying the relationship with the Shanghai Gold Exchange, and streamlining fungibility between contracts, arbitrage, and delivery.

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The focus is gradually shifting.

Six Months In, What Exactly Does Russia Hope To Achieve In Ukraine? (Trenin)

Putin’s latest comments reveal that Moscow’s thinking has shifted and compromise is no longer on the agenda Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to Ukraine as an “anti-Russian enclave” which has to be removed. He also said that the Russian soldiers taking part in the military operation there were fighting for their “own country.” These statements carry important implications. Over the last six-plus months, the mantra of the Russian officialdom has been that all aims of the offensive will be reached. On purpose, however, the specific objectives, such as how far Moscow’s forces plan move into Ukraine, have never been spelled out. This cannot but raise speculation about what the Kremlin is actually hoping to achieve. The only person who can authoritatively answer that question, however, is the president, and second-guessing him makes no sense.

Yet, two things cannot escape close attention. One is the radicalization of Moscow’s position on Ukraine as a result of both Western policies and Kiev’s actions; two is the widening gap between the minimum result of the military campaign that Russia can be satisfied with, and the maximum amount of what the US and its allies can accept. [..] Shortly after the start of hostilities Russia and Ukraine began peace talks. In late March 2022 at a meeting in Istanbul, Moscow demanded that Zelensky’s government recognize the sovereignty of the two Donbass republics within their constitutional borders, as well as Russia’s own sovereignty over Crimea, which was formally incorporated into the Russian Federation in 2014, plus accept a neutral and demilitarized status for territory controlled by Kiev.

At that point, Moscow still recognized the current Ukrainian authorities and was prepared to deal with them directly. For its part, Kiev initially appeared ready to accept Moscow’s demands (which were criticized by many within Russia as overly concessionary to Ukraine), but then quickly reverted to a hardline stance. Moscow has always suspected that this U-turn, as on previous occasions, was the result of US behind-the-scenes influence, often aided by the British and other allies. [..] As the fighting in Ukraine quickly became a proxy war between Russia and the US-led West, Russia’s views on Ukraine’s future radicalized further. While a quick cessation of hostilities and a peace settlement on Russian terms in the spring would have left Ukraine, minus Donbass, demilitarized and outside NATO, but otherwise under the present leadership with its virulently anti-Russian ideology and reliance on the West, the new thinking, as Putin’s remarks in Kaliningrad suggest, tends to regard any Ukrainian state that is not fully and securely cleansed of ultranationalist ideology and its agents as a clear and present danger; in fact, a ticking bomb right on Russia’s borders not far from its capital.

Dmitry Trenin is a Research Professor at the Higher School of Economics and a Lead Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. He is also a member of the Russian International Affairs Council

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“Johnson’s unelected replacement, MissTrust..”

The Coming Victory of Native Europeans in the UK and the EU (Batiushka)

A spectre is haunting Europe – it is the spectre of poverty. The bets are now on as to which European country will collapse first. Among the front runners you will find Portugal, Latvia, Ireland, Romania, Italy, Moldova, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Bulgaria, France and Slovakia. But perhaps none of them is more likely to fall first than the UK. For it has a new Prime Minister, who, unthinkably, is an even greater clown than the last one and even threatens to press the nuclear button. Let me digress for a moment with a visit to the islands off the coast of North-Western Europe.

My visit to the UK, after Wiesbaden in Germany, came at a time when the English peasants were revolting, but the governing elite did not yet know it. In one last Marie-Antoinette farewell moment the unlate, unlamented Mr Johnson advised the revolting peasants of the UK to spend £20 buying a new and more economic kettle, so that after two years (if the Chinese-made kettle lasted that long) they could save £10 a year on their £2,500 + annual energy bills. ‘Let them eat cake’, he may as well have shouted to the breadless masses. The effete and wealthy Tory Party never understood the people. Johnson’s unelected replacement, MissTrust, for whom we should beg the CIA (which has long funded Nobel Prizes) to fund a Nobel Prize for Geography (after all Mr Obama won a Nobel Prize for Peace), faces many challenges:

Firstly, there is the self-inflicted mess Mr Johnson made of Brexit, notably by separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain as regards imports and exports and failing to impose any laws for necessary immigration and against unnecessary immigration. It was the Tory Party that imposed on the British people the then Common Market (later becoming the EU) in 1973. The people never asked to join – they were never consulted. Secondly, there is the self-inflicted covid chaos. Tory-imposed lockdowns bankrupted many and were hated by even more. The much-vaunted vaccines turned out to be useless after three months, and even extremely harmful to some. Today a million vaccinated Britons have covid week in, week out. The people never asked for lockdowns and false vaccines – they were never consulted.

Thirdly, there is the self-inflicted energy crisis and the spiralling energy and food prices, caused by illegal Tory government sanctions against the Russian decision to rescue Russians from Kiev’s genocide and persecution. The people never asked to be cold and hungry – they were never consulted. Fourthly, there are the self-inflicted dramatic problems of always underfunded national infrastructure, whether that of the Health Service (people dying in their homes and in ambulances because the hospitals are so full that they have to wait for many, many hours before they can be admitted), the ‘privatised’ electricity, gas, water and telecom companies, airports and railways, which are all breaking down. The people never asked for public services which are appalling because they are private – they were never consulted.

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“Zelensky ignored four draft notices on 15 April 2015, 23 June 2014, 15 August 2014, and 10 October 2015…”

A Dirty Joke: Ukraine’s Hero Comedian President Zelensky (Celente)

During the 2019 campaign, Zelensky’s history of draft-dodging became a focal point that former President Petro Poroshenko tried to scrutinize. On April 13, 2019, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry took to Facebook to confirm that Zelensky ignored four draft notices on 15 April 2015, 23 June 2014, 15 August 2014, and 10 October 2015. “Citizen Zelensky V.O. did not arrive at the military commissariat at his call,” the post read. [..] Zelensky has been criticized since the start of the invasion for not allowing fighting-aged men to leave the country and using the strategy of issuing military summonses at gas stations and other public areas. The New York Times reported that young men in Ukraine are required to do military service “unless they fall into an exempt category, like being enrolled in a university, having a disability or having at least three children.”

The European Court of Auditors released a special report in September that found “grand corruption and state capture” were still widespread in the country despite 20 years of European Union efforts to intervene and help in its reform agenda. “The EU has long been aware of the connections between oligarchs, high-level officials, politicians, the judiciary and state-owned enterprises. However, it has not developed a real strategy for targeting grand corruption,” the auditors said in a statement. Up until the Russian invasion, the EU has been the largest donor to Ukraine. The European Commission has committed around €5.6 billion to macro-financial assistance programs and €2.2 billion to assistance programs since 2014, the statement said. The Commission also guarantees European Investment Bank loans of €4.4 billion.


Juhan Parts, the member of the European Courts of Auditors responsible for the report “despite varied support the EU has offered to Ukraine, oligarchs and vested interests continue to undermine the rule of law in Ukraine and to threaten the country’s development.” Freedom House’s 2022 report lists Ukraine as “partly free,” with a score of 61 out of a possible 100.

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No, Russia will not leave.

Ukraine Planned To Use IAEA Experts As A Tool For Blackmail (Ritter)

On August 29, Grossi’s team travelled to Kiev, where the next day they met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Zelensky told Grossi that Ukraine believed it was critical for the IAEA to press home its demands for a demilitarized zone, which would enable Ukraine to take control of the plant. On September 1, Grossi and his team set off for the Zaporozhye facility. Prior to their arrival, they were stopped by Ukrainian officials, who warned Grossi that military activity in and around the facility had picked up that morning. According to Russian military sources, the Ukrainian army had attempted to seize the power plant in a commando raid that was thwarted by Russian forces.

As Grossi’s 14-man team arrived at the power plant, the sound of nearby combat could be readily heard. The deteriorating security situation at the facility prompted Grossi to withdraw the bulk of his team later that day. A six-person sub-team was tasked with remaining on-site for a few days longer, after which four inspectors would depart, leaving behind a two-person element, who would provide a permanent presence, on a rotational basis, at the facility. Afterwards, Grossi stated that the mission had been valuable. “We knew a lot before too, but of course it is being inspected now. We are trying to do a thorough assessment of the current situation.”


As to the security of the plant, Grossi noted that “[t]he physical integrity of the facility has been violated not once, but multiple times. This is by no means acceptable.” In addition to their personal observations, the team was presented with a petition signed by 20,000 residents from Russia-controlled parts of the Zaporozhye region demanding that the IAEA condemn the attacks on the nuclear power plant, which the signatories said were conducted solely by the Ukrainian forces. This was not the result either the Ukrainian government or its Western backers could have envisioned when they were pushing for the mission’s dispatch in mid- to late-August.

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Dangerous.

Pentagon Sent GPS-Guided Rounds To Ukraine (RT)

The Pentagon is spending over $90 million to acquire new M982 Excalibur munitions, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The department is replacing a stockpile previously sent to Ukraine, according to budget documents cited in the article. The 155mm shells, each of which costs tens of thousands of dollars and may go well over $100,000, depending on the variant and year they were manufactured, are designed to strike within two meters of the GPS coordinates of a target. The munitions were developed by Raytheon and BAE and are certified to be used with a number of NATO artillery pieces, including American M777 howitzers and German PzH2000 howitzers, which Ukraine possesses.

A document issued last month says that the Pentagon will spend $92 million to purchase “replacement M982 Excalibur munitions transferred to Ukraine in support of the international effort” to undermine Russia’s military operation, as quoted by Bloomberg. The money buys roughly 900 projectiles, a military analyst estimated for the news agency. The funds come from more than $40 billion in emergency spending authorized by the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Act, which US President Joe Biden signed into law in May. The Pentagon was allocated at least half of the sum, including $9 billion to replenish US military stocks.


The US did not officially announce the delivery of Excalibur munitions to Kiev. But Ukrainian troops have shared videos on social media in which they apparently fired the shells on the battlefield. In one video, reposted by a Russian war correspondent as proof that the precision rounds were being used by the Ukrainian side, a Ukrainian soldier jokingly remarked that his unit will “throw to the wind a heap of money” before loading the munition into a gun and firing it. Canadian media reported in April that their country was quietly shipping Excalibur shells to Ukraine to complement the declared deliveries of the US-made M777 howitzers.

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“..his dream is to one day see Russia become a member of the EU..”

Italy’s Berlusconi Believes He Can Help Resolve Ukraine Crisis (RT)

Western attempts to force Russia to change course regarding Ukraine with economic sanctions are backfiring, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said. The conflict must be resolved through diplomacy, he added, offering himself and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel as potential mediators. Berlusconi, who is currently running for a seat in the Italian Senate, offered his diplomatic services on Wednesday night on the TV program Porta a Porta. Discussing the situation in Ukraine, he argued that Russia will not be swayed by sanctions from the US and its allies. The recent G7 initiative to enforce a price cap on Russian oil will also fail, since there will be high demand for Russian crude in countries like China and India, he added.


Berlusconi lamented the fact that Russia is being pushed into allying itself with China, while his dream is to one day see Russia become a member of the EU. Host Bruno Vespa asked if Berlusconi could leverage his personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The politician said the hostilities in Ukraine have to end with diplomacy, so someone will eventually need to be the mediator between Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “There is a person who could do that instead of me or together with me. It’s former German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” he said. “With Merkel, I feel I could try to mediate and put an end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.”

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“It was Berlin and Brussels – mere messengers of Big Finance – which weaponized the supply of European energy on behalf of a financial racket, and against the interests of European industry and consumers.”

Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy (Escobar)

On the interminable soap opera involving the Nord Stream 1 turbine, the crucial fact is that Canada deliberately refused to deliver the repaired turbine to Gazprom – its owner – but instead sent it to Siemens Germany, where it is now. Siemens Germany is essentially under American control. Both the German and Canadian governments refuse to grant a legally binding sanction exemption for the transfer to Russia. That was the straw that broke the (Gazprom) camel’s back. Gazprom and the Kremlin concluded that if sabotage was the name of the game, they couldn’t care less whether Germany received zero gas via Nord Stream 1 (with brand new Nord Stream 2, ready to go, blocked by strictly political reasons).

Kremlin spokesman Dmity Peskov took pains to stress “problems in [gas] deliveries arose due to sanctions that have been imposed on our country and a number of companies by Western countries (…) There are no other reasons behind supply issues.” Peskov had to remind anyone with a brain that it’s not Gazprom’s fault if “the Europeans (…) make a decision to refuse to service their equipment” which they are contractually obligated to do. The fact is the whole Nord Stream 1 operation hinges on “one piece of equipment that needs serious maintenance.” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who knows one or two things about the energy business, cleared up the technicalities:


“The entire problem lies precisely on [the EU’s] side, because all the conditions of the repair contract have been completely violated, along with the terms of shipping of the equipment.” All that is inscribed into what Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov describes as “a total war declared against us”, which is “being waged in hybrid forms, in all areas”, with “the degree of animosity of our opponents – of our enemies” being “enormous, extraordinary.” So none of this has anything to do with “Putin weaponizing energy”. It was Berlin and Brussels – mere messengers of Big Finance – which weaponized the supply of European energy on behalf of a financial racket, and against the interests of European industry and consumers.

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“Our political system is broken, our multicultural societies are in chaos, inflation is soaring, we’re bankrupt and awaiting possible mass civil protests in the near future..”

We the Silent Majority (AT)

We the silent majority were laughing at the ‘Woke’ Cultural Revolution and diversity obedience training years before it became fashionable. It was already obvious what would happen way back in 1993, coincidently, shortly after the collapse of the USSR when the European Union emerged offering the gullible an unhealthy dose of Gramscian Cultural Marxism disguised as freedom. As the vocal minority now scratch their collective heads at the mess they’ve created, we’re the silent majority occasionally heard muttering “I told you so.” Likewise, we are not responsible for the current political, economic and moral decline around you. We did not support corporate fascism in minimum wage gig-economies, lock downs, non-existent alternative energy sources, or an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality believing it had anything to do with freedom and democracy.

As attention spans wane due to a lack of sensationalism and the Ukraine becomes just another ongoing news item, the next self-inflicted crisis is an energy one. We silent majority raise an eyebrow as we’re told that Russia is an unreliable energy supplier sanctioned from supplying the oil needed and the reason behind rising food prices is the fault of a European drought as we had two weeks of hot sun in the summer. In our brave new world, everyone’s smiling but no one’s happy. Moreover, when we glance around us we all know something is wrong. The only difference between us is who we point our fingers at. Currently, it’s all Biden’s fault but yesterday Trump was to blame. Today it’s Russia, tomorrow it will be China (again). Russian and Chinese societies aren’t collapsing, ours are and we’ve got nowhere to flee as the stupid lash out in all directions to prolong the agony of indoctrinated beliefs they’re hiding behind.


Our political system is broken, our multicultural societies are in chaos, inflation is soaring, we’re bankrupt and awaiting possible mass civil protests in the near future; that’s if the fools in charge don’t lead us into a nuclear conflict first. Yet whilst muttering “here we go again”, nevertheless we the silent majority are prepared to join the coming mass civil disobedience protests as the minority complain about the agents of social programming they not so long ago cheered for and are too stupid to realize they’re the cause of, but think more of it is the solution.

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“Rhinos all night”

Fell Asleep A Princess, Awoke A Queen (CD)

Princess Elizabeth was deep in the Kenyan forest on the adventure of a lifetime, spotting wildlife from high up in the treetops, when her father died and she became queen. The world awoke on February 6, 1952, to the death of King George VI, who had succumbed during the night to lung cancer at the royal Sandringham residence in Norfolk. His 25-year-old daughter and heir to the throne only heard the news later the same day, when word reached Elizabeth thousands of miles from home in the wilderness of the Aberdare Range. Kenya, then a British colony, was the first stop on Elizabeth’s tour of the Commonwealth she had embarked upon with her husband, Prince Philip, in place of her ill father.

The royal couple had taken a night out of their official engagements to stay at a one-of-a-kind game-watching lodge perched in a tree in the Aberdares. It was during their night at the Treetops hotel that the king would die, and Elizabeth would become queen. Jim Corbett, the naturalist and hunter who accompanied the royal couple to Treetops, is credited with writing in the visitor book: “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and, after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree next day a queen.” In fact, the Duke of Edinburgh broke the news to Elizabeth after they had left Treetops but the story stuck and the hotel became the fabled locale where a princess became a queen.


First opened in 1932 as an overnight stay for wealthy and intrepid visitors, Treetops overlooked a watering hole from its position in a giant fig tree. In its day, there wasn’t really anything like it. A private setting among branches, remote in the African bush, Treetops offered the privileged elite a chance to encounter wildlife up close, and in safety, as they grazed below. Elizabeth and Philip kept a handwritten tally of what they saw, recorded on a sheet of paper framed at Treetops. Large herds of elephant — “about 40” in one sighting — were spotted at the watering hole, along with baboons and waterbuck. “Rhinos all night”, read the list dated February 5/6, 1952, and signed by the Princess and Prince, and “in the morning, two bulls fighting”..

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“Virtually everything about that claim is breathtakingly untrue..”

Hillary Plays The Victim Despite History Of Avoiding Criminal Charges (Turley)

“I can’t believe we’re still talking about this, but my emails. . .”: Hillary Clinton’s disbelief this week was shared by many critics left dumbfounded by her claim her private server contained “zero” classified documents. The expression of utter incredulity was classic Clinton — she’s selling hats reading “But her emails” for $30 a pop. But Hillary’s denial of what was found on her server exposes something far more serious than signature hypocrisy. It reflects establishment figures’ sense of license that they can literally rewrite history with little fear of contradiction by the media. While calling for limits on free speech over “disinformation,” Hillary has no qualms about falsely denying what published government reports detail.

“As Trump’s problems continue to mount, the right is trying to make this about me again. There’s even a ‘Clinton Standard.’ The fact is that I had zero emails that were classified,” her but-my-emails tweet continued. “Comey admitted he was wrong after he claimed I had classified emails. Trump’s own State Department, under two different Secretaries, found I had no classified emails.” Virtually everything about that claim is breathtakingly untrue. Let’s quickly deal with the light lifting before getting back to the “Clinton Standard.” A 2018 Department of Justice inspector general report revealed “81 email chains containing approximately 193 individual emails” were “classified from the CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET levels at the time.” Clinton is echoing her allies’ recent spin that there were only three documents with classification markings among 33,000 emails. It is utter nonsense.

The Clinton email scandal is a scandal because these were emails. There is no classification automatically stamped on text being typed out and sent within minutes. While attachments can have classification markings, the whole point of using secure servers is that emails are created in the moment with inevitable slips in referencing classified material. Nevertheless, the emails had classified information, including top-secret information tied to “Special Access Programs.” Yet some allies emphasize the inspector general also noted that in some cases there was “conscious effort to avoid sending classified information, by writing around the most sensitive material.” It failed. The emails still contained classified information.

That’s why she was reckless to use her own server: Such mistakes on private servers are more vulnerable to capture by foreign intelligence services. Indeed, according to the FBI, “hostile actors gained access” to some of the information through the emails of Clinton’s associates and aides. “Comey admitted he was wrong. It’s not clear what Hillary is referencing here. But Comey never said there was no classified information in her emails — he said the opposite. He condemned her handling of the classified material while saying it didn’t warrant prosecution. Comey did backtrack later, but not on this point. He said his “mistake” was in how he described her conduct: “I should’ve worked harder to find a way to convey that it’s more than just the ordinary mistake, but it’s not criminal behavior, and find different words to describe that.”

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For now it’s just words.

Greece Warns Of Ukraine-style War With Turkey In East Mediterranean (MEE)

Tensions are boiling in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Greece saying the region risks falling into a war similar to that seen in Ukraine after Turkey raised the spectre of military action against its neighbour. Turkey and Greece have long been enmeshed in a series of disputes, including over maritime rights, the sovereignty of Aegean islands, natural gas and airspace boundaries. The Nato allies had a brief rapprochement after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis making a rare visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. Relations have, however, since plummeted. On Tuesday, Erdogan reiterated a veiled threat, stating Turkey could “come all of a sudden one night,” in response to what he claimed were hostilities emanating from Greece.

“What I’m talking about is not a dream,” he said at a press conference in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. “If what I said was that we could come one night all of a sudden [it means] that, when the time comes, we can come suddenly one night.” The comments sparked an outcry in Greece, a country of 10 million people which fought a brutal war of independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Many parts of Greece remained under Ottoman control before the empire’s collapse after the First World War. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922 and, on 30 August, Turkey celebrated Victory Day, when it drove Greek forces from Anatolia.


The war culminated in the population exchanges between the two countries known in Greece as the Catastrophe, and the battle over Greek-majority cities along the Anatolian coast, such as Smyrna, which is today the city of Izmir. On Saturday, Erdogan made a pointed reference to the city, stating “Greece, look at history, go back in time; if you go too far, the price will be heavy. We have one thing to say to Greece: Remember Izmir.” In response, Athens sent letters to Nato, the European Union and the United Nations slamming what it called Erdogan’s “openly threatening” and “inflammatory” statements. The letters called for the organisations to condemn Erdogan’s statements, which they said “imbue the Turkish people with hatred, enmity and contempt towards their Greek neighbors”.

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Tucker Glenn Beck

 

 

 

 

Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1567582404193173505

 

 


Green bee eater

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 052020
 


Pietro Lorenzetti Jesus enters Jerusalem 1320 (Basilica of St Francis of Assisi)
“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” – Matthew 21:10-11 #PalmSunday

 

Getting Your Head Around Exponential Growth (Steve Keen)
Reporting Estimated Rather Than Confirmed Infections Might Save Lives (M.)
Japan To Boost Avigan Drug Stockpile As Part Of Coronavirus Stimulus (R.)
Mainland China Sees Rise In New Coronavirus Cases (R.)
Researchers May Have Found Coronavirus’ Achilles’ Heel (NYP)
Landlords Cancel Rent for Tenants So They Can Buy Food, Pay Employees (AN)
Tucson Hospital On The Brink Of Closure Because Of COVID19 Costs (AZC)
I Found The Source (ZH)
China Floods Europe With Defective Medical Equipment (Kern)
Turkey Seizes Hundreds Of Ventilators Paid For By Spain (Ind.)
US Blockade Prevents Medical Supplies From Reaching Cuba (TeleSur)
Prosecutors Want Delay In Michael Flynn Case, Defense Seeks Dismissal (SAC)
Show Typical British Resolve, Queen To Tell Nation (R.)
Prince Andrew Will Reportedly Not Be Interviewed In Epstein Documentary (G.)
Julian Assange “Not Eligible” For Early COVID19 Release – UK (CN)
Boomer Elegy (Kunstler)

 

 

Coronavirus update, New York City:

– 4,561 new cases in last 24 hours
– 124,652 tests performed
– 60,850 tested positive
– 25,029 under age 45
– 2,254 deaths
– 12,716 hospitalized

Countries to keep an eye on: France, UK!, Turkey, Belgium,. Portugal, Brazil, Romania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Mexico.

 

 

Cases 1214487 (+ 83,912 from yesterday’s 1,130,575)

Deaths 65605 (+ 5,477 from yesterday’s 60,128)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 21% !

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Info.live:

 

 

 

 

I suspect the lack of understanding of the exponential function may lead to many people saying more people die of normal flu.

Getting Your Head Around Exponential Growth (Steve Keen)

A lot of people still don’t seem to get the concept of exponential growth, even though we’ve had over two months of watching an exponential process unfold with the Coronavirus. I hope some simple illustrations using current data might help. John Hopkins University is doing an excellent job of collating the cumulative number of cases reported around the world with its GIS database Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). They’ve made the raw time series data available too. Aggregated to the world level, this is what cumulative COVID-19 cases looked like as of late on April 4th:

This is simply the total number of recorded cases, which includes tested cases where the carrier has only mild symptoms, people who got the disease way back when it began and have since recovered, those who have died, those who are still in intensive care, etc. The global total was just over 1.2 million on April 4th. A simple regression of this data onto an exponential function yields the prediction that, if the rate of transmission and the rate of doubling of the disease reflects what has happened to date from January 21st, when the JHU time series begins, in a week’s time there will be twice as many cases: 2.5 million compared to today’s 1.2 million.

That’s a lot of cases, but it’s still way short of the total world population of about 7.5 billion. It took about ten weeks to go from 555 cases (the number recorded on January 21st at the start of this data series) to over 1 million. How long will it take to get to a significant number compared to the planet’s population—say, half a billion cases? It will take about another 8 weeks.

The red line in each of these graphs is the same red line. Now only a fraction of those infected are going to be current cases—basically, those who were identified in the preceding 2-4 weeks—and only a fraction of those—perhaps about 20%–are going to require hospitalization. But that’s still a huge number of people, far more than can be handled in the world’s emergency medical facilities. This is why this disease is not “just another flu”. It is far more contagious (and we also don’t have any innate resistance to it). We have to “Flatten the curve”, we can’t cope with the number of cases doubling every week, as is the case now.

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True at heart, but he does not explain how.

Reporting Estimated Rather Than Confirmed Infections Might Save Lives (M.)

Day after day we see startling and quickly rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infections. They’re scary. But the true scope of the pandemic is almost certainly scarier. Confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the real spread. In most communities, only the sickest patients are being tested so most people with mild symptoms and those that are asymptomatic go untested and unreported. The real number of people who have been infected by the virus almost certainly dwarfs the cases we know about. And the public winds up with a distorted picture of how prevalent the virus is, often tragically. When there is exponential growth, every unreported case matters even more, as a handful cases can quickly grow to thousands within a few weeks.

And it’s doubtful that most people recognize how seriously confirmed cases underreport the real situation. Knowing that there are ten confirmed cases in your neighborhood now doesn’t mean there are only ten cases that you can come in contact with. The reality could well be that there are actually a hundred cases, ten that were tested and confirmed, fifty that have not yet shown symptoms and not yet been tested, another forty that have been tested and still are waiting on their results. In just a few days, that total could as much as double, depending on the county you live in, because of the speed at which the disease tends to spread. (Right now, the number of confirmed cases in New York city is doubling every two and a half days).

Armed with estimates of the actual scope of the problem from expert epidemiologists, far fewer people would engage in unsafe behavior. If this more useful information were being reported, the beaches during spring break might have been emptier. We can’t get past this until we have had stringent lockdowns for long enough for our healthcare workers to catch up. And we can’t expect citizens to respect stringent lockdown orders unless they have clear and accurate information, not just the data that are most conveniently available. That means getting accurate estimates out is critical. We urge governments and epidemiologists to start publishing estimates of current cases, which would include both confirmed and not yet discovered infections, and we urge the media to start asking for them–and reporting them, daily.

Some of the groundwork is already in place in models that project deaths based on factors such as population density, current testing capacities and methodologies, false negative rates, death rates (and criteria for reporting them), and mitigation strategies. By deriving estimates of currentcases from these models and making those estimates more explicit, and widely available, we can help people and governments make better decisions. No one single estimate will be perfect, but without any readily available sources, we are running almost entirely blind.

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Japan will rebuild its own medicine industry to move away from China. So will many other countries.

Japan To Boost Avigan Drug Stockpile As Part Of Coronavirus Stimulus (R.)

Japan is considering increasing the stockpile of Fujifilm Holding Corp’s Avigan anti-flu drug during this fiscal year so it can be used to treat 2 million people, according to a planning document seen by Reuters. Local media reported on Sunday that Japan was hoping to triple the production of the drug from current levels, which is enough to treat 700,000 people if used by coronavirus patients. Avigan, also known as Favipiravir, is manufactured by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, which has a healthcare arm although it is better known for its cameras. The drug was approved for use in Japan in 2014. Avigan is being tested in China as a treatment for COVID-19.


In the emergency stimulus package expected to be rolled out on Tuesday, the government also planned to prioritise the clinical trial process of the drug so it can be formally approved to be used in treating coronavirus patients. According to the document, Japan also plans to boost subsidies to domestic companies that supply masks and disinfectants and will secure enough capacity to supply 700 million masks a month. The Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday that in efforts to reduce its dependence on China as its manufacturing hub, it will subsidise companies that will move some of their production facilities back to Japan.

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They’ll find way to hide them again.

Mainland China Sees Rise In New Coronavirus Cases (R.)

Mainland China reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travellers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the outbreak. The National Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday that 25 of the latest cases involved people who had entered from abroad, compared with 18 such cases a day earlier. Five new locally transmitted infections were also reported on Saturday, all in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, up from a day earlier. The mainland has now reported a total of 81,669 cases, while the death toll has risen by three to 3,329.


Though daily infections have fallen dramatically from the height of the epidemic in February, when hundreds of new cases were reported daily, Beijing remains unable to completely halt new infections despite imposing some of the most drastic measures to curb the virus’ spread. The so-called imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who have the virus and can give it to others but show no symptoms, have become among China’s chief concerns in recent weeks. The country has closed off its borders to almost all foreigners as the virus spread globally, though most of the imported cases involve Chinese nationals returning from overseas.

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Or they may not. No lack of aspiration.

Researchers May Have Found Coronavirus’ Achilles’ Heel (NYP)

There may be some good news on the coronavirus horizon, as Scripps Research reported it may have found COVID-19’s Achilles heel. The research shows a specific area of the virus could be “targeted with drugs and other therapies, a finding that also could help with the development of a vaccine,” according to the San Diego Tribune. The targeted area, according to biologist Ian Wilson, who led the scientific team, “is crucial to spreading the highly contagious virus, and … its composition suggests that it would be vulnerable to drugs.” The discovery was published Friday in the journal Science and comes as scientists globally are working feverishly to find a vaccine or cure for the pandemic that has devastated global markets and caused more than 63,000 deaths worldwide.


An antibody taken from a SARS patient years earlier was used in the discovery, as researchers realized it had attached itself to a specific part of the virus, and were able to repeat the phenomenon with COVID-19, helping to identify a coronavirus weakness, according to the report. “That high degree of similarity implies that the site has an important function that would be lost if it mutated significantly,” Scripps Research said in a statement Friday. Sadly, the weak spot isn’t easy to find. “We found that this (spot) is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection,” Wilson’s colleague, Meng Yuan, said in a statement.

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Saw this yesterday but it was in the New York Times, and we don’t cover that rag around here. But good on the landlords, and may many more be inspired.

Landlords Cancel Rent for Tenants So They Can Buy Food, Pay Employees (AN)

In the United States, many people who live paycheck to paycheck are worried that they won’t be able to afford housing or basic necessities during the shutdown. There has been a freeze on mortgages in most places, but these conditions overlook renters, who are often-times the most vulnerable. Many renters and activists across the country have called for a rent strike for the month of April, but some landlords have taken it upon themselves to help out their tenants. Mario Salerno, of Brooklyn, New York, owns 18 apartment buildings, and has told his renters to not worry about paying rent during the shutdown, but to instead make sure that all of their other needs are covered. Salerno told the New York Times that his main concern is the health of his tenants.


He said he had about 200 to 300 tenants in total, and estimates that he will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in income during the month of April. Salerno isn’t the only one, this type of rent forgiveness is happening across the country. A landlord in Jonesboro, Arkansas, made a post on social media last month saying that his company would not expect its restaurants to pay rent during the shutdown, and suggested that they continue to pay their employees instead. Young Investment Company owns properties that are home to some of the area’s most popular restaurants, including Eleanor’s Pizzeria, Roots, Main Street Coffee, The Parsonage, and City Wok. Property owner Clay Young said that all small businesses are suffering right now and he did not want to put more pressure on them during this difficult time.

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If this doesn’t signal the end of the health care for profit model, nothing will.

“All hospitals are going to need some economic relief very, very soon.”

Tucson Hospital On The Brink Of Closure Because Of COVID19 Costs (AZC)

Leaders of a small, regional hospital south of Tucson say they are on the brink of closing because of costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need economic relief to keep functioning,” Kelly Adams, CEO of the 49-bed Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital, told The Arizona Republic. “There’s a revenue problem. … All hospitals are going to need some economic relief very, very soon.” One of the problems, Adams explained, is that elective surgeries have been canceled as a result of an executive order by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in anticipation of a surge of patients ill with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The cancellation of surgeries means less revenue coming in from patients at a time when the hospital is trying to comply with another executive order from Ducey — that all Arizona hospitals by April 24 increase their number of patient beds by 50 percent. Increasing bed capacity is adding additional expenses at a time when the hospital has very little revenue, Adams explained. Overall hospital volume is down by about 40% not only because of halting surgeries, leaders say, but also because members of the community fear visiting a hospital where they could potentially be in proximity to COVID-19.

Leaders say the hospital is pursuing various funding sources to get relief. But the need is urgent, said Patrick Feeney, a managing director with California-based Lateral Investment Management, which owns the hospital. “This isn’t just about our hospital. Hospitals cannot function profitably in this environment, which is why we’re all awaiting money from the government,” he said. “If you want me to increase our bed capacity by 50%, how am I going to do that? It’s going to cause me to shut our doors.”

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On February 2, over two months ago, which is an eternity especially in virustime, I described all this in The Party and the Virus.

But holding the CCP accountable? With 100,000s of lives and $10 trillion in damages? Don’t think so. Whether it was intentional or not.

I Found The Source (ZH)

“After living and working in China for over 10 years and speaking fluent Chinese, you get to know a society pretty well… and let me tell you this – if you’re applauding or admiring the political leadership of China, you’re all deluded beyond belief.” That is how “laowhy86” begins this succinct video exploring the ‘facts’ – not conspiracies – behind the source of the coronavirus that is ravaging the earth. “China doesn’t operate like ‘your’ country,” he warns, “the Chinese government is a face- and greed-driven government that relies on lies and bullying to maintain leadership.” [..] laowhy86 notes that another job opening appeared on December 24th (remember this is before any news broke of the virus publicly), which basically says ‘we’ve discovered a new and terrible virus and would like to recruit people to come deal with it’…[..]

So, he decided to dig a little bit more into the staff… and that’s where it gets interesting… as he discovers silenced scientists, disappeared doctors, and constant propaganda… “…it’s quite clear that the Chinese government needs to close its mouth and acknowledge that this virus did in fact come from Wuhan, Hubei, China.” [..] this is all public information on the Chinese internet published by researchers, scientists, and doctors.” [..] “Despite the CCP’s all-powerful ability to hide everything it can, the truth usually finds its way out – the Chinese government should cover their tracks better next time if they’re going to blame this on Italy or the US or whatever is convenient to your narrative.”

“…the CCP’s incompetence and its understanding of the danger of the virus on a pure scientific level – and then going on to silence those who wanted to warn the public… and letting the virus spread for months… is the reason the Chinese government must be held accountable!”

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Oh well, as I said yesterday: dependence on China is no longer acceptable.

China Floods Europe With Defective Medical Equipment (Kern)

[..] In Spain, the Ministry of Health revealed that 640,000 coronavirus tests that it had purchased from a Chinese supplier were defective. In addition, a further million coronavirus tests delivered to Spain on March 30 by another Chinese manufacturer were also defective. The Czech news site iRozhlas reported that 300,000 coronavirus test kits delivered by China had an error rate of 80%. The Czech Ministry of Interior had paid $2.1 million for the kits. A spokesperson for a hospital in Dutch city of Eindhoven said that Chinese suppliers were selling “a lot of junk… at high prices.” “No. 10 [the residence of the British prime minister] believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with ‘predatory offers of help’ to countries around the world.” — The Daily Mail, March 28, 2020.

“The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behavior in every area of life — from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression. For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis.” — Former UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

[..] On March 28, the Netherlands was forced to recall 1.3 million face masks produced in China because they did not meet the minimum safety standards for medical personnel. The so-called KN95 masks are a less expensive Chinese alternative to the American-standard N95 mask, which currently is in short supply around the world. The KN95 does not fit on the face as tightly as the N95, thus potentially exposing medical personnel to the coronavirus. More than 500,000 of the KN95 masks had already been distributed to Dutch hospitals before the recall was enacted. “When the masks were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected them,” a hospital worker told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS. “If those masks do not seal properly, the virus particles can simply pass through. We cannot use them. They are unsafe for our people.”

In a written statement, the Dutch Ministry of Health explained: “A first shipment from a Chinese manufacturer was partly delivered last Saturday. These are masks with a KN95 quality certificate. During an inspection this shipment was found not to meet our quality standard. Part of this shipment had already been delivered to healthcare providers; the rest of the cargo was immediately withheld and not further distributed. “A second test also showed that the masks did not meet our quality standard. It has now been decided that this entire shipment will not be used. New shipments will undergo additional tests.”

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Everybody’s anxious to make friends.

Turkey Seizes Hundreds Of Ventilators Paid For By Spain (Ind.)

Turkey was accused of seizing hundreds of ventilators and sanitary equipment destined for Spain amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Spanish officials said Ankara was holding the ventilators for “the treatment of their own patients”, despite local governments in Spain having already paid millions for them. In a press conference on Friday, Spain’s foreign affairs minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, appeared to admit defeat in her attempts to convince her Turkish counterpart to release the ventilators in the coming days. “Turkey has imposed restrictions on the export of medical devices, motivated by the need for medical supplies,” she said, according to Spanish national media. Late on Saturday, however, Ms Laya announced Turkey would allow the shipment to make its way to Spain.


Thanking Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Ms Laya tweeted: “We appreciate the gesture of a friendly and allied country.” Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Friday reported the ventilators were manufactured in Turkey on behalf of a Spanish firm that bought the components from China. Three Spanish regions, Castilla-La Mancha, Navarre and Catalonia, had bought the ventilators, the newspaper reported, while the shipment also featured sanitary materials paid for by the country’s health ministry. But before the equipment could be flown out, Turkish customs intervened. Emiliano Garcia-Page, Castilla-La Mancha’s president, said Turkey has “unilaterally decided to requisition” 150 ventilators it had already paid €3m for. He added he expected the national government to issue a diplomatic complaint about the issue, which he said was “bordering on criminality”.

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Cuba has sent doctors to 14 different countries in the corona fight. The problem with the blockades and sanctions at this point, whether it’s Iran, Venezuela or Cuba, is that people won’t forget.

US Blockade Prevents Medical Supplies From Reaching Cuba (TeleSur)

Cuba was unable to receive a plane with medical supplies and aid from China on March 31 because of the U.S. blockade. The resources were sent by the Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist Jack Ma. According to the official Twitter profile of the Cuban President, Cuba announced that the donation of medical supplies from the Alibaba Foundation to the Island-Nation to combat the COVID19 has not been able to arrive due to the regulations of the criminal blockade of the United States government against our people. The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, also said this fact is an aggression against the human rights of the Cuban people. Jack Ma, a Chinese entrepreneur and founder of Alibaba, allocated a donation of masks, rapid diagnostic kits, and ventilators.

This aid was intended for the patients affected by COVID-19 and the medical staff on the island. On March 22, the businessman announced this shipment, which was to arrive at its destination on the 30th. “One world, one fight! We will donate emergency supplies – 2 million masks, 400K test kits, 104 ventilators – to 24 Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Peru. We will ship long-distance, and we will hurry! WE ARE ONE!” Ma also announced extra supplies in the donative, like ventilators, disposable gloves, and medical gowns. However, due to Helms-Burton Law, the airship with the donatives was unable to arrive in Cuba under the argument that “the regulations of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against the country of destination.

[..] Cuba is facing the COVID-19 threat on its territory, with 186 confirmed positive cases and 2,837 suspected patients. Besides, the Caribbean island provides medical assistance to more than 14 countries.

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“The FBI and DOJ made up this ‘case,’ threatened to indict his son the next day if he did not plead guilty, hid–and are still hiding–the evidence that shows he is innocent, and they knew that all along..”

Prosecutors Want Delay In Michael Flynn Case, Defense Seeks Dismissal (SAC)

Justice Department prosecutors in the case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn are asking the court for an additional three weeks continuance on the case, citing the review of “voluminous” documents submitted by Flynn’s former legal team that represented him for a span [of]30 months. The status report was filed by prosecutors Friday in anticipation of a scheduled hearing on April 3. Justice Department prosecutors stated in the status report that the documents provided by Flynn’s former legal counsel with Covington and Burling “are voluminous, span numerous topics that arose during Covington’s 30-month representation of Mr. Flynn, and include many pages of sometimes difficult-to-decipher handwritten notes.”

[..] In February, Attorney General William Barr ordered a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including Flynns. The re-examination of Flynn’s case will be headed by U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen of St. Louis. According to sources familiar with the matter, Jensen will be working with Brandon Van Grack, who is the former prosecutor that pursued the case against Flynn during Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation. In March, President Donald Trump tweeted he was ‘strongly considering’ a pardon Flynn. He said “after destroying his life & that of his wonderful family (and many others also) the FBI, working in conjunction with the Department of Justice has lost” his records.

Flynn’s defense attorney Sidney Powell told this reporter that Flynn “would wear a pardon like a badge of honor.” She cautioned, however, that the DOJ should intervene before a pardon is even necessary. Powell filed a supplemental motion to withdraw his guilty plea in January. In it, she cited the failure of his previous counsel, Covington and Burling, to timely, fully and correctly advise him of the firm’s ‘conflict of interest in his case’ regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act form it filed on his behalf. Moreover, she argues that the conflict was so severe the firm was required to withdraw from the matter. He could not consent.

In fact, in Powell’s supplemental motion filed in January, she argued that Flynn’s former counsel “betrayed” him. Powell filed the motion to withdraw his plea just days after Flynn’s prosecutors made a major reversal asking the court to put Flynn in jail for up to six months. Shortly after, prosecutors reversed the jail time recommendation. [..] Powell told SaraACarter.com Friday that “as the government seeks an additional three weeks to work with Covington and Burling LLP against General Flynn, we are reminded again of this egregious injustice against an American hero.”

“The FBI and DOJ made up this ‘case,’ threatened to indict his son the next day if he did not plead guilty, hid–and are still hiding–the evidence that shows he is innocent, and they knew that all along,” she added. “Clapper and Brennan and others knew that Flynn intended to audit and clean out the corrupt intelligence agencies. They and the FBI targeted him to destroy with this false prosecution. Every day the government delays in dismissing this persecution is a disgrace for anything called “Justice” and an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars.”

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She means the resolve to keep both Prince Andrew and Julian Assange from facing justice. From a symbol to a useless old woman. Who’s doing terribly damage to her entire family in the process. You can no longer take yourself serious AND support these inbreeds anymore. She’s a accomplice to her son’s crimes; she’s denying his victims even just their day in court.

Show Typical British Resolve, Queen To Tell Nation (R.)

Queen Elizabeth will call on Britons to show the same resolve as their forebears and take on the challenge and disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak with good-humoured resolve when she makes an extremely rare address to rally the nation on Sunday. In what will only be her fifth special televised message to the country during her 68 years on the throne, the queen will also thank healthcare workers on the front line and recognise the pain already suffered by some families. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” the 93-year-old monarch will say, according to extracts released by Buckingham Palace.


“That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country.” On Saturday, the government said the death toll of those who had tested positive for the virus rose by 708 in 24 hours to 4,313, with a 5-year-old among the dead, along with at least 40 who had no known previous health conditions. Health officials have cautioned that high fatalities were expected for at least another week or two even if people complied with strict isolation measures.

Read more …

It’s not about the documentary, it’s about the Law. In the days of #MeToo, the Queen of England decides to hide a sexual predator in her home. Signaling that the law does not apply to her family.

Prince Andrew Will Reportedly Not Be Interviewed In Epstein Documentary (G.)

Prince Andrew will reportedly not agree to be interviewed for a forthcoming documentary about the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York has been repeatedly criticized for associating with Epstein, who died in custody in New York following his July 2019 arrest on sex trafficking charges. According to the Daily Mirror, Andrew was “formally asked” to appear in Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, a four-hour Lifetime production slated for release this summer to follow the channel’s similarly titled films about the singer R Kelly. The British paper quoted an unidentified Los Angeles-based source as saying: “Andrew has been asked to appear to discuss his friendship, but there has been no formal response.”

The reports come some four months after Andrew’s own disastrous BBC Newsnight interview, which was followed by his withdrawal from public duties and patronages. An Epstein accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, alleges that Epstein directed her to have sex with Andrew when she was 17. Andrew has categorically denied all claims of wrongdoing and maintains that he has “no recollection” of meeting Roberts Giuffre, although he was photographed with his arm around her. [..] The Mirror quoted its source as saying Andrew’s “legal team have told him to conduct no more interviews after he spoke to the BBC”. “There is a concern anything he says on tape or camera becomes potential legal material for the many civil cases facing Epstein, and FBI questions regarding Andrew. Essentially all allegations that mention Andrew within the context of Epstein will be dealt with by his lawyers.”

[..] In November, Andrew said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required”. But he has been accused of refusing to cooperate with US authorities investigating Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution. “Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options,” Manhattan US attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters in March, revisiting a claim made in January. Buckingham Palace said then it would not comment and said “the issue is being dealt with by the Duke of York’s legal team”.

Read more …

The land of utter stinking weasels has found another loophole: “Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release because he is not serving a criminal sentence.”

Julian Assange “Not Eligible” For Early COVID19 Release – UK (CN)

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release from prison with other inmates because he is not serving a criminal sentence, the Australian Associated Press has reported. British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Saturday that some low-risk inmates, weeks from release, will be let go with monitoring devices to help avoid a further outbreak of Covid-19 in the nations’ prisons. So far 88 prisoners and 15 staff have tested positive for the virus in British prisons. More than 25 percent of the nations’ prison staff are quarantining themselves. “This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law,” Buckland said in a statement.


“But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.” The Ministry of Justice told the AAP that Assange won’t be among those released because he isn’t serving a custodial sentence. In other words, because he has not been convicted of a crime, and is instead only being held on remand pending the outcome of the U.S. extradition request, he must remain in Belmarsh prison with high-risk inmates–the most serious and hardened criminals. The Daily Maverick reported this week that there is one other prisoner on remand in Belmarsh, who would presumably also be left to rot in the jail as the virus spreads throughout the British prison system.

Read more …

The days that are over.

Boomer Elegy (Kunstler)

My stepfather, the man who raised me, was an interesting specimen of that gen. Fresh out of college in Boston, he joined the army, became a lieutenant, and by-and-by found himself trapped in the German offensive through the Ardennes Forest, known as the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike some WW2 vets, he was willing to talk about his experiences. His most vivid memory was the difference between the sound of American and German machine guns. Ours went rat-a-tat-tat, theirs went zzzzzzzap, he said, like you couldn’t even detect the interval between the bullets coming at you. It scared the piss out of his men, not a few of whom were cut to pieces. My stepfather merely caught several chunks of shrapnel in his arm and thigh, and was still on the scene when Germany finally surrendered in May, 1945.

He was awarded a silver star for valor, but never bragged on it. (My mother barely participated in my upbringing, but that’s another story.) He went straight to New York City when it was over. His gen’s victory dance was to get straight to work in the economic bonanza just revving up — because the war had happened elsewhere and all our stuff was intact, ready to re-start, to make and sell anything under the sun to the shattered rest-of-the-world, and lend them money to buy it — quite an opportunity for young men highly disciplined and regimented from their recent travails of war.

My stepfather became a classic Mad Man, as in the TV series, working in media, publishing, and PR, a hard-drinking cohort of mostly military vets who would knock down three martinis over lunch with clients (a nearly inconceivable feat, actually, when you think about it), but that showed what the war had done to the soldiers who survived. He died from it at barely sixty, and from smoking two packs of Camel straights a day, another habit of battle. We Boomer boys had his war as movies and comic books: Sergeant Rock and John Wayne on the beach at Iwo! We had all the fruits of that postwar bonanza. We had Disneyland, the 1964 World’s Fair, the Carousel-of-Progress, and Rock Around the Clock. We eventually had a war of our own, Vietnam, but it was optional for college kids. I declined to go get my ass shot off, of course.

Read more …

 

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26% of the population of Milwaukee is black:

 

 

 

 

 

The EU and its hardest stricken member countries:

 

 

 

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Oct 022019
 


Salvador Dali Bather 1924

 

The US and UK are both at risk of severe legal challenges and hence “barrelling down towards great troubles” as I wrote yesterday in Twisted Pair 1 – US. The reasons are not exactly the same in both cases, but they’re close. It’s about who holds the ultimate power.

Before moving on to the UK’s specific issues, I want to share this from the BBC, one of many pieces yesterday that discuss President Trump talking to foreign leaders, and that all accuse him in one way or another of wanting to ‘dig up dirt’ about Joe Biden (something that could just as well be defined as trying to find out how Russiagate started).

This one is about Trump asking Australia for help because obviously there’s a strong connection to the country in the person of former Australia High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer, who claims Trump ‘aid’ George Papadopoulos told him in May 2016 that Moscow had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos has always denied saying it.

But it appears the world media have made it their task to vilify Trump’s efforts to investigate Russiagate, so expect much more of it. The article for instance also mentions Bill Barr talking to Italian and British intelligence. Yeah, they’re serious about wanting to find out what happened. I’d suggest you get used to that. But here’s what I want to share:

[..] while the Ukraine call is linked to the serious issue of potential influencing of an upcoming US election, the Australian one refers to events around a past election. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley suggested this was uncontroversial. “I’m old enough to remember when Democrats actually wanted to find out what happened in the 2016 election,” he said.

I thought that was pretty good. But on to Albion, where the legal mess is likely much bigger than in the States, because its laws are so opaque. Sure, NOW people are clamoring for a written constitution, but NOW is a tad late. I read the other day in a Dutch paper that Queen Elizabeth had asked her advisors if she could sack Boris Johnson, and couldn’t find coverage of it in any UK paper. Still can’t. Isn’t that curious? We’ll have to do with yesterday’s New York Post: “It was the first time in her 67-year reign that the Queen asked for clarification on how to dismiss a British prime minister, the report claimed.”

The Queen didn’t actually look to fire Johnson, she simply didn’t know the laws surrounding the topic, she wanted to know what her legal position is. And that seems to typify the entire situation unfolding in the country. Nobody has any idea who has the -ultimate- power to execute any far-reaching policies and decisions. That would appear to be a very dangerous conundrum, because it may allow the loudest, -physically- strongest and perhaps even most deceitful to prevail.

There was someone in a recent Automatic Earth comments section who listed all 11 UK Supreme Court judges and concluded they were all “Remainers”. That is a slippery slope too many. Because if you intend to disqualify the highest court in a country, you invite in anarchy. Now, you may favor “Leave”, but that kind of thing will surely come back to bite you in the face.

Besides, the Supreme Court decision to declare Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament unlawful was the only one a highest court could possibly have made. Because Britain, like so many other western nations, is a parliamentary democracy. The only thing I’ve seen that looks like a constitution there says in eight words that parliament is senior to the monarch. That means it is senior to the executive branch as well. It has to.

 

Whereas a Scottish court ruled a few weeks ago that the prorogation decision was justiciable, and declared it unlawful, a lower UK court said it was non-justiciable, that is was up to Parliament, and that Parliament could “sit” whenever it wanted. But Parliament hasd just been prorogued, and therefore could NOT sit whenever it wanted. That lower court even contradicted itself: “Parliament is the master of its own proceedings. It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation..”

So they have to make up their minds. It would be demonstrably silly if the Queen could fire the Prime Minister. It would be much less silly if Parliament could do it, though. Which would also be less silly than the Prime Minister being allowed to shut down Parliament with impunity in a parliamentary democracy. You have to look at the legal implications.

Now, the world is increasingly divvied up in antagonistic (i.e. twisted) pairs. In the US, if you don’t hammer Trump ten times a day and twice on Sundays, you get accused of effectively supporting him. In the UK, if you question Boris Johnson’s quest towards Halloween Brexit, you’re against ‘the people’, and their will. And that’s why we have laws. It’s just that British laws are terribly vague, and that’s why the courts became involved (as I predicted they would for a long time).

Today, Boris Johnson is sending a ‘plan’ to Europe that he has labeled ‘take it or leave it’. Which leads many to question his desire to reach a deal at all. More importantly, the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019, aka the Benn Act, was passed by parliament last month and requires the government to ask for an extension until 31 January 2020 if no deal is agreed.

Boris has suggested he will ignore it. But that would mean the executive branch is effectively senior to the legislative branch. It would also mean the end of the parliamentary democracy that Britain has been for what is it, 400 years?! I have no horse in this fight or dog in this race, but that to me looks extremely dangerous. Be careful what you wish for.

 

The UK Supreme Court is in for the by far busiest time of its existence. And by the way, you can criticize the court, but only really by criticizing the way the judges on it are appointed, and then take action to change that way. If you try to question its credibility, however, you destroy the credibility of the entire judicial system, all of it.

Again, be careful what you wish for. It’s not hard to understand why and how people point to the 2016 Brexit referendum to justify a Brexit strategy, but they too will still have to follow the rules and laws, or they will create mayhem. That goes for both sides, of course, but for Boris Johnson to try and take the UK out of the EU in violation of the Benn Act would unleash a lot of disorder that he and his people may not fully comprehend yet

And there’s something else going on in the UK that I wrote about recently in “The Will of the People”, but which still doesn’t generate much interest. That is, this whole issue is no longer about Leave vs Remain, there is a third group, Leave But With A Deal. Ironically, the Leave side seeks to group these people in with the Remainers, which is both not honest and may not serve their own interests.

That is because Leave But With A Deal may well be the largest group out there. There are Tories and Labour supporters in it, plus independents and some LibDems, and they’re there for the taking for Boris. Only, they insist on a deal with the EU being in place. If there’s no such deal on October 19, they automatically become Boris’s opponents. But why would he let them? Why not get a serious deal on the table?

Johnson will attempt to blame the failure of his latest proposal, plus all previous ones, on the EU. But has Brussels been all that unreasonable in the negotiations? I’m no EU fan, but it’s an honest question. They have one large issue: Ireland. The Good Friday agreement is sacred for them, because it is for Ireland. And Boris today allegedly proposing some kind of border infrastructure regardless will not fly.

 

A difficult topic, for sure, but then we’re 3,5 years on from the referendum, and what has the UK done since then? London gives the impression that peace in Ireland is less important for them than it is for Brussels, and that is not wise. As former Northern Ireland negotiator Jonathan Powell said in a video I posted earlier today, what will happen is easy to predict:

Even if you just put in a camera on the border, the dissident Republicans will shoot at it. Then you put in police to protect the camera, they’ll shoot at the police. Next up is the army to protect the police, and so on and so forth. Perhaps a unified Ireland is a solution, though that will take time, but a hard Brexit certainly is not. But Boris appears to play games with this, suggesting there will have to be customs facilities some way or another: “Each of the IRA campaigns started as a border campaign”, says Powell.

Summarized, we have this third group, not Leave or Remain but Leave But With A Deal, and they are being ignored and/or labeled Remain. Whereas they could be key to Johnson and his supporters’ desire to Leave. Look, Boris has no majority in Parliament anymore, not even if the DUP he apparently sucked up to vote with him. He needs something else but is running out of time.

Then again, Boris has pledged to Leave by Halloween. Now his personal credibility is at stake, and it’s become more important than the credibility of his party, of Parliament and even of the entire court system. Next up: the Queen. Who didn’t want to sack him but was royally miffed about him advising her to prorogate which put her in a very not amused position when her own Supreme Court declared her decision unlawful.

It would appear to be in Johnson’s own interest, if he wants to carry through Brexit, for him and his team to do a lot more homework. He’s already mightily miffed the Queen, the Supreme Court has accused him of attempting to push through an unlawful act, and he’s lost his party’s majority in Parliament.

Boris’s support may seem solid in his own party conference in Manchester today, but let’s hope he doesn’t get even more blinded by that than he already is, because the consequences could well be catastrophic. And of course I see, and understand, all the people who want the result of the referendum honored, but there’s a whole new ball game underway today, and it would be foolish to ignore that.

You can still go for Brexit, but Good Friday is a giant and unnecessary leap too far to achieve it. As is trying to make the executive branch claim seniority over the legislative one, or the Supreme Court, to achieve your goal. You can wish, but beware.

 

 

 

 

Sep 132019
 
 September 13, 2019  Posted by at 9:44 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Marc Chagall The watering trough 1925

 

The Dogs in the Street Know (Craig Murray)
Speaker Bercow Warns Boris Johnson Against Disobeying Brexit Law (BBC)
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Must Face Criminal Charges (CNBC)
US House Panel Wants Boeing To Allow Employee Interviews On 737 MAX (R.)
US Pressures Israel To Drop China ‘Belt And Road’ Investments (ZH)
Huawei CEO Offers To License 5G Technology To American Companies (F.)
Mnuchin Says 100-Year Treasury Bond Possible (R.)
US Justice Department To Release Name Of Shadowy Figure In 9/11 Case (R.)
Trump’s Taliban Talks Led by Neocon Operation Cyclone Agent (MPN)
Palace Revolt at the ECB, Legitimacy of Policy out the Window (WS)
The New ECB QE Is A Mistake. Here Is What It Should Have Done (Lacalle)

 

 

A Scotsman taking down the Queen.

The Dogs in the Street Know (Craig Murray)

There are some very obvious facts in British politics which nobody seems to be saying. Joanna Cherry stated in her successful court case that “the dogs in the street know” that the real reason that Boris Johnson had prorogued parliament was to prevent parliament from having an effective say on the outcome of Brexit. The documents that the government was forced to produce to the Scottish Courts proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that was indeed Johnson’s motive. So why are we expected to believe that what you knew and I knew, what Joanna Cherry knew, what the very dogs in the street knew, was not known to the Queen?

Do we really believe that the Queen was “misled” and that she and her courtiers were the only people in the entire country who actually believed that Johnson just wanted the longest prorogation for 89 years to prepare a really good Queen’s speech? Are we really expected to believe that the Queen had not noticed that Brexit was at a crucial stage and the effect that prorogation would have on parliament’s say in the process? This is obviously complete and utter nonsense. The Queen has better sources of information than any of us and knew exactly what was happening. She was not “misled” by Boris Johnson, she was his ally in a common purpose. She absolutely understood both the context and the effect of the prorogation. All this utter nonsense about the Queen being “lied to” and “misled” is part of this strange myth of the ultimate goodness of authority which is a recurring theme in human societies.

Peasants died under the knout while building the Trans-Siberian railway thinking “if only the good Tsar knew.” The Queen is not a naive figure of Christ like innocence taken in by Boris Johnson, she is an ultra wealthy woman of very conservative views embedded in a social circle dominated by very rich and reactionary people. To repeat what I have repeatedly explained, it was unconstitutional for the Queen to appoint Boris Johnson in the first place when it was plain as a pikestaff that he could not command a parliamentary majority. That initial crime (and I use the word advisedly) was compounded by the decision to prorogue parliament to enable her no majority Prime Minister to govern. In a sane world we should be getting out the pitchforks. Instead people are tut-tutting about the poor Queen being misled.

Read more …

Prior to his election to Speaker, Bercow was a longtime member of the Conservative Party.

Speaker Bercow Warns Boris Johnson Against Disobeying Brexit Law (BBC)

John Bercow has vowed “creativity” in Parliament if Boris Johnson ignores the law designed to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Commons Speaker also said in a speech that the only possible Brexit was one backed by MPs. A new law, passed before the suspension of Parliament, forces the PM to seek a delay until 31 January 2020, unless a deal or no-deal exit is approved by MPs by 19 October. The PM has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay. Delivering a lecture in London, Mr Bercow said: “Not obeying the law must surely be a non-starter. Period.” He said it would be a “terrible example to set to the rest of society”.


“The only form of Brexit which we will have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed,” he said. “Surely, in 2019, in modern Britain, in a parliamentary democracy, we – parliamentarians, legislators – cannot in all conscience be conducting a debate as to whether adherence to the law is or isn’t required.” He called it “astonishing” that “anyone has even entertained the notion”. If the government comes close to disobeying the Act, the MP said that Parliament “would want to cut off such a possibility and do so forcefully”. “If that demands additional procedural creativity in order to come to pass, it is a racing certainty that this will happen, and that neither the limitations of the existing rule book nor the ticking of the clock will stop it doing so,” he added.

Read more …

Hmm. Should McCabe run free?

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Must Face Criminal Charges (CNBC)

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has failed in his efforts to convince the Justice Department not to file potential criminal charges against him for allegedly lying to federal agents, NBC News reported Thursday. Lawyers for McCabe, who has not been charged in the case, reportedly met last month with a top Justice official the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and in what were believed to be talks seeking to dissuade then from filing criminal charges. The Washington Post reported last week that federal prosecutors for months have been using a grand jury to investigate McCabe, a critic of President Donald Trump.

Read more …

They have to ASK?

US House Panel Wants Boeing To Allow Employee Interviews On 737 MAX (R.)

Congress on Thursday asked Boeing Co’s chief executive to make several employees available for interviews as part of a congressional probe into the design, development and certification of 737 MAX aircraft involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and Representative Rick Larsen, who chairs the aviation subcommittee, said in a statement that while Boeing has provided substantial documents and shared senior management’s perspective, “it’s important to the committee’s investigation to hear from relevant Boeing employees.”

The committee plans another Boeing hearing in the coming weeks and previously asked whistleblowers to come forward with any information about the plane’s development. Boeing has provided more than 300,000 pages of documents, a person briefed on the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Boeing said in a statement it was “deeply disappointed the committee chose to release private correspondence given our extensive cooperation to date. We will continue to be transparent and responsive to the committee.”

[..] CEO Dennis Muilenburg said at an investor conference on Wednesday that the company is still targeting “early fourth quarter for getting the airplane back up in the air” but added that “ultimately return-to-service timing will be determined by the regulator.” The FAA has repeatedly said it will not certify the plane to fly again until it is safe to do so. The European Aviation and Space Agency said on Tuesday it “intends to conduct its own test flights separate from, but in full coordination with, the FAA. The test flights are not scheduled yet, the date will depend on the development schedule of Boeing.”

Read more …

If they’re pressuring Israel, they much be pressuring others too.

US Pressures Israel To Drop China ‘Belt And Road’ Investments (ZH)

As China executes on its “Belt and Road” global trade scheme, more than 130 countries who have either committed to or expressed interest in the $600 billion initiative have been hard at work expanding their infrastructure to accommodate Beijing’s ambitious plan. And while President Trump has been pounding the table in an ongoing US-China trade war, progress made on Belt and Road threatens to reduce US leverage over Beijing – putting US allies such as Israel, which extended a 25-year offer for the operation of the Haifa terminal to state-controlled Shanghai International Port Group – in a tricky position, according to Bloomberg’s Ivan Levingston.

“With national elections approaching on Sept. 17, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can ill afford to alienate the Trump administration on its signature international issue. Trump has endeared himself to Netanyahu by transferring the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the disputed Golan Heights. Netanyahu reciprocated by naming a new Golan settlement after Trump and praising the American leader for, among other things, quitting the Iranian nuclear accord. “Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the Oval Office, but Israel has never had a better friend than you,” Netanyahu told the president during a March trip to the White House. An October Pew study found that 69% of Israelis had confidence in Trump’s performance as president, and many of Netanyahu’s campaign ads prominently feature the U.S. leader.” -Bloomberg

Of note, China is currently Israel’s second-largest trading partner with around $11.5 billion in annual transactions in 2018, according to the report. Meanwhile, the United States has pressed Israel to create a buffer with China in the interest of national security – which would look something like the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (the same one that rubber-stamped Russia’s purchase of 20% of America’s Uranium). “Israel and Israeli companies are quickly coming to the realization that it’s going to be difficult to sustain business as usual in work with China while keeping the United States as the primary partner,” said Daniel Shapiro, Barack Obama’s US ambassador to Israel.

Read more …

How is Huawei linked to Belt & Road?

Huawei CEO Offers To License 5G Technology To American Companies (F.)

Zhengfei Ren, the CEO and founder of Huawei offered an olive branch to the Trump administration: License the Chinese telecommunications giant’s 5G technology to American companies, with the caveat that the U.S. government ““the U.S. side has to accept us at some level for that to happen.” Currently, the use of Huawei equipment is banned from U.S. networks over concerns that it could be used by the Chinese government as a method to spy or disrupt telecom systems. The offer [..] would essentially allow the U.S. to finally get in the race for 5G supremacy which is now dominated by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia from Finland.


“Huawei is open to sharing our 5G technologies and techniques with U.S. companies, so that they can build up their own 5G industry. That would create a balanced situation between China, the U.S. and Europe,” told Ren to the newspaper. [..] Ren added that the U.S. companies would be allowed to modify as they see fit the software code used to run any of Huawei’s 5G equipment or even change it and use their own. [..] Ren added that the American licensees will be able to sell their 5G equipment based on Huawei’s intellectual property anywhere in the world, except in China.

Read more …

“We are going to start with 50 years, and if the answer is, 50-years is successful, we’ll consider 100-year bonds..”

Mnuchin Says 100-Year Treasury Bond Possible (R.)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said the United States will issue 50-year bonds if there is “proper demand,” a moved aimed at “derisking” the government’s $22 trillion of debt and locking in low interest rates. “We are going to start with 50 years, and if the answer is, 50-years is successful, we’ll consider 100-year bonds,” Mnuchin said in an interview with New York Times’ DealBook and streamed online live, adding that he began looking into the possibility of ultra-long U.S. bonds two years ago. The longest-dated U.S. Treasury currently is 30 years.


U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed a different fix for the rising cost of the record U.S. debt, calling on Wednesday on the “boneheads” at the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates to below zero so as to reduce interest-rate payments. The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates by a modest quarter of a percentage point next week when U.S. rate-setters meet. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other policymakers see U.S. economic conditions as still generally favorable despite a global slowdown and a still-unresolved U.S.-China trade war, and they have consistently pushed back against the notion of negative rates or of setting rates to cater to political pressure.

Read more …

Is something moving?

US Justice Department To Release Name Of Shadowy Figure In 9/11 Case (R.)

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday said it would release the name of an individual sought by people who are suing the government of Saudi Arabia for alleged involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks. U.S. prosecutors in New York said in a court filing that Attorney General William Barr had decided not to invoke state secrets and will share the person’s name with attorneys involved in the case. The decision could help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and their family members, who charge in a long-running lawsuit that the Saudi government supported the hijackers who crashed jet liners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.


The Saudi government has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks. The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. The case, filed in 2003, received a boost in 2016 when Congress passed a law making it easier to sue foreign governments for alleged involvement in terrorism. The plaintiffs have been trying to obtain redacted material from a 2012 FBI report which indicated the agency was investigating two Saudi officials, Omar al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy, and said there was evidence that a third, unnamed party had ordered them to help the hijackers. Attorneys will now get to learn the name of that person, though their identity will remain under seal.

Read more …

Scary people.

Trump’s Taliban Talks Led by Neocon Operation Cyclone Agent (MPN)

John Bolton wasn’t the only veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan now charged with resolving it. Nor was he the only PNAC veteran in the Trump administration. U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, the top American official in the negotiations, was a PNAC charter member and has been quietly overseeing the destruction of Afghanistan for most of his political career — longer than the Taliban has existed as an organization. Khalilzad worked closely with late National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who took a leading role in Operation Cyclone under President Carter. The secret CIA program pumped the Afghan Mujahideen up with cash, weapons, training, and jihadist school books.

The Brooklyn-based Al-Kifah Afghan Refugee Center — a front for Maktab al-Khidamat, an organization co-founded by Osama bin Laden — would become key to this endeavor. Brzezinski’s aim, as he stated, was to give the Soviets their own Vietnam quagmire. Back then, his message to the Mujahideen fighters that would become al-Qaeda and the Taliban was: “Your cause is right and God is on your side.” Even after the devastating attacks of September 11, Brzezinski defended the decision to support the Mujahideen in the name of defeating the Soviet Union.

The United States’ support for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and later Bosnia, was intended to bleed the Soviet Union. It is no surprise that the same leeches — the Taliban and al-Qaeda — that were trained by the United States, would turn on their masters. In the case of the Taliban, clinging on to the U.S. for nearly two decades, slowly sucking away all the while. In the case of al-Qaeda, the attacks on the World Trade Center dealt massive blows. The end-game tactics mirror the CIA’s philosophy in training the Mujahideen against the USSR. U.S officials like Khalilzad would spend decades in luxurious buildings in and around Washington while the people of Afghanistan would continue to suffer nearly another two decades of conflict because of their policies.

Read more …

Wolf Richter sees the ECB falling to bits. Wonder what Lagarde is doing these days.

Palace Revolt at the ECB, Legitimacy of Policy out the Window (WS)

ECB President Mario Draghi, who is on his way out, will, as we’re learning more and more, do anything to push his agenda and make it stick at the ECB long after he leaves, but whatever his agenda may be, it’s clearly unrelated to the European economy which has been buckling under the consequences of his agenda: the destructive weight of negative interest rates and QE. And in the process, he is destroying the legitimacy of the ECB’s policy. The latest incident was on Thursday. During the press conference following the ECB’s policy meeting, he lied to reporters, claiming that the “consensus was so broad there was no need to take a vote,” when in fact he had a revolt on his hand during the meeting by the presidents of the national central banks that represented half of the economy of the Eurozone, and by members of the Executive Board.

Among the key policy changes the ECB announced on Thursday was the restart of QE to the tune of €20 billion a month and a tiny 10-basis point cut in its deposit rate, from the old negative -0.4% to the new negative -0.5%. The announcement also included a provision to help banks – which have been getting re-crushed by these idiotic negative interest rates – to survive those negative interest rates: the ECB would exempt part of the banks’ deposits at the ECB from negative rates in a two-tier system. It was the QE portion of the decision that had triggered the unprecedented revolt during the meeting. “Officials with knowledge of the matter” told Bloomberg that during the contentious meeting, the members of the Governing Council and of the Executive Board who vigorously opposed the restart of QE included but was not limited to:

• Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank • Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France • Klaas Knot, President of the Dutch central bank • Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Austrian central bank • Ardo Hansson, Governor of the Bank of Estonia • Sabine Lautenschlaeger, Member of the Executive Board • Benoit Coeure, Member of the Executive Board. The countries of the five heads of the national central banks, from Weidmann to Hansson, account for about half of the economy of the Eurozone. They opposed the restart of QE, but there was no vote – which is common in ECB proceedings when there is a consensus. But there was no consensus. And Draghi simply imposed his agenda.

Read more …

Mistake perhaps. But hardly an honest one, if you read Wolf Richter’s piece above. The ECB IS the mistake.

The New ECB QE Is A Mistake. Here Is What It Should Have Done (Lacalle)

The ECB is creating a dangerous bubble and should not have cut rates by 10bps nor added a new purchase program of €20 billion per month. 1) Eurozone states are already financing themselves at negative rates. There is no need for lower rates and this disguises real risk. This has saved governments more than 1 trillion euro in interest expenses. 2) The ECB has not abandoned its stimulus. It repurchases all maturities, launched a liquidity injection (TLTRO) in March 2019 and balance sheet stands at almost 40% of eurozone GDP. 3) Excess liquidity is 1.7 trillion euro. More liquidity does not lead agents to spend/invest more. There is no higher solvent credit demand because monetary policy perpetuates overcapacity and zombifies the economy. Share of zombie companies has soared c30% since 2013 (BIS).

4) Interest rates are already negative. This has caused a 23 billion euro loss for banks (according to Scope Ratings) and a worrying rise in junk debt demand. 5) There is no evidence of a need for more credit growth. Rather the opposite. The ECB believes the eurozone problem is one of excess saving and lack of demand when it is of excess debt and oversupply. 6) Negative rates zombify the economy and are a massive transfer of wealth from savers and productive sectors to the indebted and inefficient. 7) The ECB already accumulates a disproportionate amount of sovereign debt as well as corporate bonds of issuers that never had a problem financing themselves at low rates. This disguises risk and creates an enormous bubble.

8) The problem of the eurozone is not one of lack of stimuli, but an excess of them. Governments burden the productive private sector with higher taxes and unnecessary regulations, so economic surprise falls despite massive stimulus. 9) When this fails or -even worse- explodes, central planners will likely blame “markets” or “lack of stimulus” to repeat. 10) Saying that negative rates are “demanded” by investors is a sad excuse. Financial repression leads economic agents to take more risk for lower yields and central banks go from lenders of last resort to enablers of financial bubbles.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 042019
 


Salvador Dali Neo-Cubist Academy (Composition with Three Figures) 1926

 

No, I’m still not taking sides in the Brexit proceedings. I have no horse in that fight. As I’ve said 1000 times, I can fully imagine that a country might want to leave the trappings of the EU. But just as often I’ve said that the way the Tories have gone about leaving appears deeply flawed. They have never seemed to take serious the amount of effort required for a smooth exit.

And after being an EU member for 40+ years, that effort could only be gigantic. But not one moment during Theresa May’s ‘reign’, let alone under Boris, have I gotten the impression that the UK is ready. They’ve spent their time fighting amongst each other about the shape and form Brexit should take, but neglected the practical implications of changing 1000s of rules and regulations and treaties and laws.

And sure, maybe a lot of work was done in secret, can’t very well do nothing at all, but none of that would matter very much; you need to show that you’re ready, not merely suggest it. And from what I can gather from the latest numbers I’ve seen, expectations are still that 50-60% of trucks (lorries) will not have the required paperwork once the UK leaves.

This may yet be brought down to 40% or even 30%, but that would still be highly disruptive. And it appears unnecessary. Three years should have been sufficient to accomplish much more and much better. Predictions of 48-hour waiting times for trucks are all over, and for an economy built on just-in-time delivery that won’t do.

But oh well, it may already be water under the bridge. Boris Johnson lost bigly yesterday in a vote over control of the Commons and chances are he’ll lose biglier in today’s vote over a no-deal Brexit bill. Unless he (or actually Dominic Cummings) plays 4-D chess and has seen it all coming from miles away.

I can see Johnson setting things up to get the election he wanted, but I have a harder time seeing why he would want Jeremy Corbyn to have the power to halt that election unless the Commons today vote down any and all odds of a no-deal. But then I’ll be the first to admit I’m not yet a grandmaster in 4-D chess.

Dominic Cummings would have to be, though, to pull this one off. Did he expect 21 Tories to side against ‘their own’ Boris? If they had voted with him, the result would have been 322-307 in favor of Boris. Did they know they wouldn’t get it? Do they know they won’t get it today either? An additional extension to January 31 2020 is also part of the whole package. Will Cummings still be around by then?

 

 

Sterling is surging as I write this, And I really must wonder why. Don’t think that’s due to my 4-D skills either. Jeremy Corbyn made it very clear last night that Labour won’t support snap elections (and without them Boris won’t have the 2/3 majority he needs) unless no-deal is off the table for real. Is the pound surging because Boris is plummeting, and Corbyn now calls the shots? Does that make sense? Man, it already hurts in 3-D…

Still, I started writing this, really, because of the title. Couldn’t let that one get away. It’s something used to describe Boris Johnson in a court case in Scotland yesterday by lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC, speaking for a group of 75 MPs and peers who brought the case (against prorogation of Parliament). Love the details here: Aidan O’Neill is a “double silk”, being Queen’s Counsel at both the Scottish and English Bars.

And love the term, obviously, especially since it’s not used in a tabloid, but in a courtroom. By a double silk, no less. In the end, it’s all about the theater. Still, what came to light was not merely a little detail.

Johnson Decided To Suspend Parliament ‘Two Weeks Before Asking Queen’

Boris Johnson had secretly decided to suspend parliament nearly two weeks before asking the Queen, according to memos from Downing Street read out in court. The court in Edinburgh heard the first memo was written by Nikki da Costa, the prime minister’s senior legal adviser, on 15 August and spelled out the plan to suspend parliament in the week beginning 9 September. Her memo was circulated to a very small circle of key figures in Downing Street, including Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, Ed Lister, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s controversial chief adviser.


In public Johnson was then refusing to confirm he planned to do so but he ticked the secret memo and said “yes”, before sending Da Costa a handwritten note the following day, where he criticised the convention where MPs return for several weeks of Commons business after the summer holidays before breaking again for conference season. He told Da Costa the “whole September session [at Westminster] is a rigmarole introduced to show the public that MPs are earning their crust. I don’t see anything especially shocking about this prorogation.”.

 

It appears very clear what was ‘shocking‘, and if it had not been shocking there would have been no reason to keep it secret. C’mon, at least try.

 

[..] The documents, revealed in heavily redacted form for the first time at 10.55pm on Monday, were sent to the legal team acting for 75 MPs and peers who are challenging prorogation in the court of session in Edinburgh. Aidan O’Neill QC, acting for the MPs and peers, said he only received an unredacted version of the documents on Tuesday morning.


He told Lord Doherty, the judge hearing the case, this proved Johnson was plotting to suspend parliament at the same time that his government’s lawyers had told the court in Edinburgh the question of prorogation was “hypothetical and academic” because no such decision had been taken. The UK government had also refused to give the court any sworn affidavits setting out why prorogation was necessary and the prime minister had ignored O’Neill’s suggestion last week that he should provide one to the court.

 

Yeah, well, that’s the ‘shocking’ thing: doing one thing in secret and saying the opposite in public.

Accusing Johnson of “incontinent mendacity, O’Neill said the prime minister had shown an unwillingness to acknowledge and speak the truth. He said: “He has chosen not to be accountable to this court and seeks not to be accountable to parliament.” David Johnston QC, acting for the UK government, apologised to the court for failing to produce the papers until the night before the hearing and admitted the government had breached the deadline for submitting them.


He said they were being produced in the spirit of transparency, to allow the court to understand the process behind the decision to seek prorogation. Reading from a brief prepared by the government, Johnston insisted the legal action was academic because MPs were still being given time to sit and vote before exit day on 31 October, and set their own agenda. “We are not dealing with an executive which is out of control,” he said.

It is very obvious what Boris et al were trying to do and they can call it the Will of the People all they want, but the Will of the People is not, and should not be, secret. Here’s a bit more of what Mr. Double Silk had to say about Boris in Edinburgh, via the Press Association:

 

Mr O’Neill described Mr Johnson as having a record that was “characterised by incontinent mendacity, an unwillingness or inability to speak the truth”. He pointed to the documents as showing the suspension of parliament policy was being considered much earlier than announced and argued the court had been misled. Mr O’Neill said: “This court was told nothing of that and was told in fact that this judicial review is academic, hypothetical and premature.


“That is not true. This court and these petitioners were being actively misled.” He argued the real reason to suspend parliament was to allow a no-deal Brexit to take place by removing proper scrutiny. Mr O’Neill also said Mr Johnson was trying to govern as an “autocracy” using “one-man rule” by these attempts. He added: “Why were these specific dates chosen? It’s because they think they’re gaming the system.”

 

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh court has rejected the case against prorogation, which was probably expected. British law, especially because the country has no constitution, is pretty opaque.

 

The court of session in Edinburgh has rejected an attempt to prevent Boris Johnson’s prorogation of the House of Commons. Lord Doherty, the judge who heard the case, said the decision could not be measured against legal standards as it was matter of high policy and political judgment, and was therefore for politicians to settle. “In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law. Parliament is the master of its own proceedings. It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation,” he said.

He told the court it was for parliament, and ultimately the electorate, to hold the government accountable for such political decisions. The case was initiated by the campaigning barrister Jolyon Maugham QC alongside a cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers, including the SNP’s Joanna Cherry. After the ruling Maugham tweeted: “The idea that if the PM suspends parliament the court can’t get involved looses some ugly demons. If he can do it for 34 days, why not 34 weeks, or 34 months? Where does this political power end?

“It’s not the law as I understand it. Yesterday’s hearing was always going to be a bit of a pre-season friendly. We’re now focused on the inner house, hopefully later this week, and then the supreme court on 17 September.”

“Parliament is the master of its own proceedings. It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation..” There appears to be a contradiction in terms here, which is exactly why the case was brought. On the one hand, the judge says Parliament decides to sit when it wants, on the other he acknowledges it can’t sit when a PM decides to pro-rogue it.

That’s the entire case right there. The PM decides when Parliament sits, not Parliament itself. It’s obvious why a judge wouldn’t want to interfere -hot potato-, just like -and because- it’s far from obvious that (s)he can. Ergo: the PM rules the UK. Not Parliament. Parliament is decoration. Amusing at times, but then decoration might as well be, since it’s the only function it has.

I’m done, One last thing. I was reading back some things from last week and happenstanced on this Boris quote: “We asked the people to vote on whether they wanted to stay in or leave the EU; they voted to leave by a big majority.”.

The vote was 51.89%. Makes you wonder how he would define a small majority. But you know, I’m good. To see Boris accused of incontinent mendacity made my day. And I don’t even have anything against him. It’s all just theater. The entire British political system is (and do throw in the Queen, as hard as you can). Just theater, that much is obvious now, if it wasn’t already.

And all these MPs are pretending they didn’t already know. Hello! You’re on the Truman Show!

 

 

 

 

Sep 022019
 


Strongest storm ever to threaten Florida east coast

 

 

‘Get Ready for Brexit’: Government Launches Information Blitz (G.)
Johnson’s Brexit Gambit Puts Queen in a Tight Spot (Spiegel)
Leaked No-Deal Report Says Lorries Could Face 48-Hour Delays At Dover (PA)
Irish Border After Brexit – All Ideas Beset By Issues Says Secret Paper (G.)
Many US Firms Already Have Ditched China, More On The Way (CNBC)
Hong Kong Students Boycott Classes As Chinese Media Warns ‘End Is Coming’ (G.)
Why Has The U.S. CEO-To-Worker Pay Ratio Increased So Much? (Colombo)
In The Era Of Neurocapitalism, Your Brain Needs New Rights (Vox)
Hollywood Reboots Russophobia For The New Cold War (Parry)
A Black Hole So Big It Shouldn’t Even Exist Is Baffling Scientists (RT)

 

 

After carefully making sure there were no needy people left in the country, and no children were going hungry, the new UK gov decided to spend £100+ million on an advertising campaign. They’re going to absolutely bombard, if not strangle, you with this stuff. You won’t be able to escape it.

‘Get Ready for Brexit’: Government Launches Information Blitz (G.)

The billboards have been unveiled, the branded mugs have been ordered and the adverts will soon start following you around the internet after the government launched what it claimed to be the largest ever public information campaign in an effort to prepare the British public for leaving the EU. The Get Ready for Brexit campaign went live on Sunday, stating that the UK would be leaving the EU on 31 October and urging the public to visit a new website to check what they needed to do to prepare for a no-deal exit. The slogan appeared for the first time on a giant advertising screen next to a John Lewis store at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, looming over visitors.

Downing Street has previously briefed that the taxpayer-funded advertising campaign will cost up to £100m, although doubts have been raised over whether the government will realistically be able to spend that much on a campaign lasting just two months. One leading advertising industry source pointed out that this figure was substantially higher than the amount spent on traditional advertising in the UK by major consumer brands such as Amazon, Tesco and Asda in the whole of 2018. This suggests that either the government is overstating the amount it intends to spend in an attempt to draw extra attention or that Downing Street really is launching an advertising campaign that will be unequalled in its ubiquity.


Michael Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal planning, said: “Ensuring an orderly Brexit is not only a matter of national importance, but a shared responsibility” as he launched the adverts by referring to government polling that showed only 50% of the population thought it was likely the UK would leave the EU on 31 October. The same research found that 42% of small- to medium-sized businesses were still unsure of how they could prepare for Brexit and just a third of the British public have looked for information on what they will need to do, suggesting large-scale ignorance of what Brexit will involve with less than two months to go until the expected departure date.=

Read more …

View from Germany: “..the last intact pillar of the United Kingdom: its queen…”

Johnson’s Brexit Gambit Puts Queen in a Tight Spot (Spiegel)

[..] the anger of the masses isn’t being directed solely at the man in Downing Street. One of the last taboos for many Brits has also been broken: blatant criticism of the queen. “The. Queen. Did. Not. Save. Us,” tweeted Labour Party politician Kate Osamor, and hinted at the abolition of the monarchy. Her party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked the queen in writing for a personal meeting to protest against Johnson’s coup. Jo Swinson, the head of the EU-friendly Liberal Democrats, also wrote to the queen asking for an “urgent meeting.” After three years of the country beating itself up in the Brexit debate, Johnson is now leading Britain into the last round of the ordeal – an unprecedented showdown between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, which, incidentally, threatens to damage the last intact pillar of the United Kingdom: its queen.


It’s impossible to predict what will ensue in the coming weeks – aside from chaos. But there is much to suggest Johnson wants precisely that, and at any cost, in order to deliver the main promise he made to become British prime minister – to lead his country out of the EU on Oct. 31, with or without an agreement. After the G-7 summit in Biarritz, Johnson may have praised the EU’s willingness to compromise, he may have put the chances of no deal at “one in a million,” and the majority of Brits and their elected representatives may be against leaving the EU without a deal, but no one in the betting crazy UK is now likely to bet on there being any agreement between London and Brussels in the end.

Read more …

Blame France.

Leaked No-Deal Report Says Lorries Could Face 48-Hour Delays At Dover (PA)

Leaked government documents which reportedly say there could be 48-hour delays at Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit have moved hauliers to warn of the “clear and present danger” to the UK supply chain. Sky News said it had seen documents which suggest vehicles could face a two-day delay at the Kent port in a no-deal scenario, and the revelation has led to industry insiders saying the government has “failed to deliver”. Rod McKenzie, the managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said it came as absolutely no surprise to him that such a document existed, adding that there was still no sign of a new customs process with just weeks left before the UK is expected to leave the EU.

He had not seen the Department for Transport documents (DfT), but said he understood they were more recent than the leaked Operation Yellowhammer files which contained predictions of a three-month “meltdown” at ports in the event of no deal. “The Road Haulage Association has been saying this for quite literally years now that if there is a no-deal Brexit, there will be very substantial queues at the border,” McKenzie said. “We have got a very, very serious problem with the UK supply chain if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October from where we are now. “This is a clear and present danger to the supply chain on which we all depend, and we are calling on the government in the clearest terms to make it clear what traders have to do to trade with the continent. This they have failed to do so far.”


Sky News said on Sunday night that analysis commissioned by the DfT suggested that on the first day of a no-deal Brexit, the worst-case scenario would be a two-day maximum delay for freight and vehicles at Dover, and an average wait of a day-and-a-half. McKenzie said any delay at the ports would cause a “very, very substantial traffic jam”, adding: “What we are saying is that we urgently need clarity from this government, having not had it from the previous government, we urgently need clarity from this government of what traders have to do to get ready for a no-deal Brexit.”

Read more …

Troubles.

Irish Border After Brexit – All Ideas Beset By Issues Says Secret Paper (G.)

All potential solutions to the post-Brexit Irish border are fraught with difficulty and would leave smaller businesses struggling to cope, experts have said, as leaked government papers outline major concerns just two months before Britain is due to leave the EU. A report summarising the findings of the government’s official “alternative arrangements” working groups concluded that there are issues with all the scenarios put forward to try to replace the backstop arrangement. There are also specific concerns over whether any technological solution could be delivered to monitor cross-border trade. Critics said the paper, seen by the Guardian, should “ring alarm bells” across government over how likely it is that alternative arrangements to the backstop will be found.

The dossier marked “official-sensitive” prepared for the EU Exit Negotiations Board is dated 28 August. It details how the findings of all advisory groups informing the government on the Northern Irish border are being kept deliberately under wraps to try to avoid hampering Britain’s intended renegotiation of the backstop agreed to by Theresa May. Alternative systems to avoid a hard Northern Irish border after Brexit have become the central tenet of Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy. He sees this as a way of unlocking a new deal with Europe and has claimed that there are “abundant solutions”.


However, the damning report shows there is no single deliverable solution at present, despite the fact Johnson is almost a third of the way through the “30 days” target that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, gave him to come up with a fresh border proposal. The report said: “It is evident that every facilitation has concerns and issues related to them. The complexity of combining them into something more systemic and as part of one package is a key missing factor at present.”

Read more …

This will take a long time.

Many US Firms Already Have Ditched China, More On The Way (CNBC)

President Trump rattled Wall Street when he demanded U.S. firms move production out of China. But many have already taken steps to do so, and, in earnings calls just over the past month, dozens of chief executives have signaled plans to further diversify their supply chains amid the intensifying trade war. On Aug. 23, Trump took to Twitter, ordering American companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China” and urging them instead to start making their products in the U.S. In doing so, he cited the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) — passed in 1977 to deal with an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.” [..]

Trump doubled down on Friday, attacking General Motors for its significant presence in China and questioning whether the automaker should move the operations to the U.S. “Sometimes you’ve got to take stern measures,” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of the G-7 meeting in France. Kudlow added that American companies should heed the president’s call to leave China. No U.S. president has invoked the law as leverage in a commercial dispute, let alone to sever commercial ties with one of its largest trading partners. Indeed, over the past century, U.S. administrations have mainly deployed the IEEPA to prosecute drug trafficking or financial terrorism through sanctions or other economic penalties.


[..] in an annual survey conducted in June by the U.S.-China Business Council, nearly 30% of the 220 respondents said they have already delayed or cancelled investments in China or the U.S. due to mounting trade uncertainty. Though just 13% said they had plans to specifically move operations out of China, that’s steadily increased from 10% in 2018 and 8% in 2017.

Read more …

Peace please.

Hong Kong Students Boycott Classes As Chinese Media Warns ‘End Is Coming’ (G.)

For the last 13 weeks, protesters have come to the streets to demand the formal withdrawal of a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China, which critics fear will be used by Beijing to target those who criticise the ruling Chinese communist party. As the protests have dragged on, they have taken on new forms and other demands including instituting democratic reforms and conducting an independent investigation into police behaviour. On Sunday, demonstrators attempted to lay siege to the airport, prompting a swift response from riot police. On Saturday, riot police stormed a metro station, attacking trapped protesters with batons. Monday’s class boycott was accompanied by a call for a general strike. It followed two days of mass protests where demonstrators paralysed links to airport, and clashed with police outside government buildings and in MTR stations.


Several editorials in Chinese state media on Monday condemned the protesters as “crazy and vicious” for bringing “catastrophe” upon the Hong Kong economy. An editorial on the website of the state-run news agency Xinhua warned “the end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong”. The shift of the protests to school campuses is comes after Chinese officials have blamed the protests on the city’s liberal education curriculum. In recent weeks, Beijing has criticised teachers and parents for not instilling patriotic values in students and called for an overhaul of Hong Kong’s education system, which includes topics like the Chinese military’s violent crack down on democracy demonstrators on 4 June, 1989.

Read more …

Is capitalism itself at fault or just the excesses it allows for?

Why Has The U.S. CEO-To-Worker Pay Ratio Increased So Much? (Colombo)

MarketWatch recently published a piece about the soaring U.S. CEO-to-worker pay ratio, which hit 278-to-1 in 2018 (up from just 58-to-1 in 1989 and 20-to-1 in 1965) –

“CEO pay has increased 1,008% between 1978 and 2018, while typical worker pay has edged up 12%. [..] In 2018, CEOs in the country’s top 350 businesses were paid $17.2 million on average. Employees working in those industries — ranging from retail to technology and manufacturing — typically earned $64,500, researchers said. Overall, there’s a 278-to-1 pay ratio between workers and CEOs. In 1989, the compensation ratio was 58-to-1 and in 1965, it was 20-to-1. Stock awards and cashed-in stock options averaged $7.5 million of CEO pay in 2017 and 2018, the study added. Incorporating stock in pay arrangements is one way to incentivize CEO, and rising salaries illustrate the market for talent in the C-suite, some observers say.”


Left-leaning economists, politicians, and other commentators frequently use the soaring CEO-to-worker pay ratio as an example of why capitalism is inherently flawed and always leads to the rich getting richer, but my research has found that it is a byproduct of central banking and fiat (i.e., “paper”) currency rather than capitalism. To make a long story short, the Federal Reserve has excessively inflated the financial markets in its attempt to create an economic recovery from the Great Recession. This excessive asset price inflation has pushed U.S. household wealth far out of line with its historic relationship to the GDP, as the chart below shows. The wealthy have been the greatest beneficiaries of this asset price inflation because they own a disproportionate share of the assets that have been inflated by the Fed, which are stocks, bonds, and high-end real estate.

The Fed’s inflation of the U.S. stock market is the primary reason why the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has increased so much. The CEOs of public corporations usually receive stock options as part of their compensation packages, which means that they can benefit greatly when their stock prices rise. As the chart below shows, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio surges during asset bubbles, but falls back down when the bubbles burst (it correlates with the chart above). The current asset bubble is no different and the excesses will be corrected in the form of a strong bear market, just like they always are.

Read more …

Elon Muck can’t even produce a decent electric car. How big a threat is he?

In The Era Of Neurocapitalism, Your Brain Needs New Rights (Vox)

“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.” That’s from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, published in 1949. The comment is meant to highlight what a repressive surveillance state the characters live in, but looked at another way, it shows how lucky they are: At least their brains are still private. Over the past few weeks, Facebook and Elon Musk’s Neuralink have announced that they’re building tech to read your mind — literally. Mark Zuckerberg’s company is funding research on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that can pick up thoughts directly from your neurons and translate them into words. The researchers say they’ve already built an algorithm that can decode words from brain activity in real time.

And Musk’s company has created flexible “threads” that can be implanted into a brain and could one day allow you to control your smartphone or computer with just your thoughts. Musk wants to start testing in humans by the end of next year. Other companies such as Kernel, Emotiv, and Neurosky are also working on brain tech. They say they’re building it for ethical purposes, like helping people with paralysis control their devices. This might sound like science fiction, but it’s already begun to change people’s lives. Over the past dozen years, a number of paralyzed patients have received brain implants that allow them to move a computer cursor or control robotic arms. Implants that can read thoughts are still years away from commercial availability, but research in the field is moving faster than most people realize.


Your brain, the final privacy frontier, may not be private much longer. Some neuroethicists argue that the potential for misuse of these technologies is so great that we need revamped human rights laws — a new “jurisprudence of the mind” — to protect us. The technologies have the potential to interfere with rights that are so basic that we may not even think of them as rights, like our ability to determine where our selves end and machines begin. Our current laws are not equipped to address this.

Read more …

Russiagate, the sequel.

Hollywood Reboots Russophobia For The New Cold War (Parry)

In the Cold War, Tinseltown played an important role in the cultural battlefield against the USSR and anti-Soviet paranoia was an ever-present theme in American cinema for decades, from the McCarthy era until the Berlin Wall fell. Contemporaneously, a revival of geopolitical tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation — which many have dubbed a second Cold War — has seen the return of such tropes on the silver screen. Most recently, it has resurfaced in popular web television shows such as the third season of Netflix’s retro science fiction/horror series Stranger Things, as well as HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl, which dramatizes the 1986 nuclear accident in Soviet Ukraine.

It was a famous cinematic work that many believe ominously foreshadowed Chernobyl in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 science fiction film, Stalker, less than a decade prior to the calamity. It is unlikely that HBO would have been as interested in green-lighting a five-part program on the disaster without the current hysteria surrounding the unproven allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and ‘collusion’ between Moscow and the Trump campaign. ‘Russiagate’ has become a national obsession and suddenly the very idea of corruption and intrigue has been made synonymous with the Kremlin. Hollywood liberal figures have been some of the hoax’s biggest proponents, including the show’s writer, Craig Mazin.


It is equally as hard to imagine Americans themselves being as captivated by a re-enactment of the nuclear accident without the current political climate of fear-mongering bombarding them every day in corporate media. From the perspective of the U.S. political establishment, what better way to deflect attention away from its own sins than onto a manufactured adversary?

Read more …

The black hole’s mass is 100 times greater than that of the sun.

M87* is an example of a black hole that is 6.5 billion times as massive as the Sun.

A Black Hole So Big It Shouldn’t Even Exist Is Baffling Scientists (RT)

Scientists may have spotted a black hole that is so enormous, it shouldn’t even exist, although they aren’t quite sure if it even does. The black hole’s mass is 100 times greater than that of the sun. The potential black hole, which is twice as large as what physicists had believed was possible, was detected by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors at the European Gravitational Observatory. A black hole is usually formed when a star collapses after it runs out of fuel, but this only happens when the star’s core is less than 50 times the mass of the Sun, Quanta Magazine explains. Stars with larger masses, between 50-130 times the mass of the Sun, either shed matter until they are small enough, or destroy themselves in a powerful explosion, meaning this new potential black hole defies what scientists understand to be possible.


Black holes that are larger than 130 solar masses can also form when their core’s collapse is too strong to stop. M87* is an example of a black hole that is 6.5 billion times as massive as the Sun. Scientists are scratching their heads trying to figure out how this newly spotted potential large black hole came into being. According to Qanta, they suspect that the black hole could be the result of smaller black holes colliding and merging into one gigantic one. They think it is possible that somewhere in a dense area of the universe, a 30 and 50 solar mass black hole could have merged and that the new black hole then combined with another one, which could explain the signals they detected.

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Jul 112019
 
 July 11, 2019  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Guernica 1937

 

Dollar Slips After Powell Bolsters Rate Cut Bets (R.)
AOC Is Making Monetary Policy Cool (and Political) Again (NYM)
Trump Tasks Aides To Find A Way To Weaken The US Dollar (CNBC)
Lock Him Up (Pinkerton)
Schumer Got Thousands In Donations From Jeffrey Epstein (NYP)
Democrat Rep. Stacey Plaskett To Donate Epstein Campaign Contributions (CNBC)
US Probing Deutsche Bank’s Dealings With Malaysia’s 1MDB (ZH)
Obama the Conservative vs Trump the Revolutionary (EH)
Former UK PM Major Vows To Block Brexit Parliament Suspension (R.)
OPCW’s New Chemical Weapons Team To Launch First Syria Investigations (R.)
UK, US Claim Iranian Boats Attempt To Seize Tanker In Strait Of Hormuz (ZH)

 

 

I’m getting so sick of this. Powelll wants to cut rates but it makes no sense if he’s to uphold Trump’s claim of a great US economy. So what does his spin team come up with? Cut rates because other countries are not doing so well. Cut the crap.

Dollar Slips After Powell Bolsters Rate Cut Bets (R.)

The dollar eased on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell set the stage for a rate cut later this month, vowing to “act as appropriate” to ensure the world’s biggest economy will be able to sustain a decade-long expansion. In testimony to Congress, Powell pointed to “broad” global weakness that was clouding the U.S. economic outlook amid uncertainty about the fallout from the Trump administration’s trade conflict with China and other nations. “Chairman Powell sounded dovish on most dimensions. This is slightly surprising given benign trade developments following last month’s G20 meeting and the recent rebound in nonfarm payrolls,” said Michael Swell, co-head of global fixed income portfolio management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.


“Overall, his comments around slowing growth against a backdrop of muted inflation and elevated uncertainties is consistent with ‘insurance rate cuts’ this year.” Adding to a generally dovish tone in his testimony, the minutes from the Fed’s previous policy meeting showed many policymakers thought more stimulus would be needed soon, reviving speculation of an aggressive rate cut.

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And AOC also wants low interest rates. Everyone wants the same thing, and nobody says: Wait a minute?!

AOC Is Making Monetary Policy Cool (and Political) Again (NYM)

Ocasio-Cortez : In early 2014, the Federal Reserve believed that the long run unemployment rate was around 5.4 percent. In early 2018, it as estimated that this was now lower, around 4.5 percent. Now, the estimate is around 4.2 percent. What is the current unemployment rate today?
Powell : 3.7 percent.

Ocasio: 3.7 percent…Unemployment has fallen about three full points since 2014 but inflation is no higher today than it was five years ago. Given these facts, do you think it’s possible that the Fed’s estimates of the lowest sustainable unemployment rate may have been too high?
Powell : Absolutely.

This exchange may sound dull and technical. But the congresswoman’s point has real human stakes. America’s central bank has a dual mandate: to promote full employment and price stability. How the Fed chooses to balance those two objectives has redistributive implications. The wealthy have far more to lose from inflation than they do from modest levels of unemployment. In fact, many business owners may actually prefer for the U.S. economy not to achieve full employment, since workers tend to be less demanding when jobs are scarce. By contrast, the most vulnerable workers in the U.S. — such as those with criminal records or little experience — will struggle to get a foothold in the labor market unless policy makers err on the side of letting unemployment fall “too low.”

And this is what AOC’s questions are implicitly about. If the Federal Reserve believes that the U.S. economy cannot sustain unemployment below 5 percent without suffering high inflation, then it will raise interest rates to cool off investment, thereby preventing too many workers from getting jobs. Ocasio-Cortez’s implication is that, by raising interest rates out of a fear of illusory inflation, the Fed may have needlessly hurt American workers. Powell’s concession on that point is significant, and suggests that the central bank will be less inclined to err on the side of hurting the vulnerable in the future.

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We’re all of us in the gutter… (but apparently there’s no-one left looking at the stars).

Trump Tasks Aides To Find A Way To Weaken The US Dollar (CNBC)

President Donald Trump has reportedly tasked aides to find a way to weaken the U.S. dollar in an effort to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The president also asked about the greenback while interviewing Federal Reserve board nominees Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. Those individuals also told Bloomberg that Trump’s chief economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin disapprove of the idea of government tampering to weaken the dollar. Traditionally, past administrations have always maintained publicly they were for a strong dollar because dollar assets like Treasurys are so widely held around the globe.


Trump has often bemoaned the relative strength of the U.S. dollar in foreign exchange markets, blaming foreign nations for devaluing their currencies and thereby inflating the American trade deficit. Last week, the president said in a tweet that the U.S. should match China and Europe’s “currency manipulation game.” “China and Europe playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete with USA,” Trump said on Twitter. “We should MATCH, or continue being the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games – as they have for many years!”

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About Epstein, but with a historical twist.

Lock Him Up (Pinkerton)

One landmark of American reform was the White-Slave Traffic Act, signed into law in 1910 (“white slavery,” we might note, is known today as “sex trafficking”). That law, aimed at preventing not only prostitution but also “debauchery,” is known as the Mann Act in honor of its principal author, Representative James R. Mann, Republican of Illinois, who served in Congress from 1897 to 1922. Mann’s career mostly coincided with the presidential tenures of two great reformers, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. And it’s hard to overstate just how central to progressive thinking was the combatting of “vice.” After all, if the goal was to create a just society, it also had to be a wholesome society; otherwise no justice could be sustainable.

Thus when Roosevelt served as police commissioner of New York City in the mid-1890s, he focused on fighting vice, rackets, and corruption. Of course, Mann, Roosevelt, and Wilson had much more on their minds than just cleaning up depravity. They saw themselves as reformers across the board; that is, they were eager to improve economic conditions as well as social ones. So it was that Mann also co-authored the Mann-Elkins Act, further regulating the railroads; he also spearheaded the Pure Food and Drug Act, creating the FDA. It’s interesting that when Mann died in 1922, The New York Times ran an entirely admiring obituary, recalling him as “a dominating figure in the House…[a] leader in dozens of parliamentary battles.” In other words, back then, the Times was fully onboard with full-spectrum cleanup, on the Right as well as the Left.

To be sure, the Mann Act hardly eradicated the problem of sex-trafficking, just as Mann’s other legislative efforts did not put an end to abuses in transportation and in foods and drugs. However, we can say that Mann made things better. Of course, the Mann Act has long been controversial. Back in 1913, the African-American boxer Jack Johnson was convicted according to its provisions. (Intriguingly, in 2018, Johnson was posthumously pardoned by President Trump.) In 1944, film legend Charlie Chaplin, too, found himself busted on a Mann Act rap. Chaplin was accused of transporting a young “actress” across state lines; he was acquitted after a sensational trial, but not before it was learned that he had financed his lover’s two abortions. Chaplin’s career in Hollywood was effectively over.

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Schumer telling others what to do, but doing dick all himself. How much did the Clinton Foundation get?

Schumer Got Thousands In Donations From Jeffrey Epstein (NYP)

Sen. Chuck Schumer — who called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign and said President Trump should “answer” for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein — accepted thousands of dollars in donations from the alleged pedophile throughout the 1990s, The Post has learned. Federal Election Commission records show that Schumer received seven $1,000 donations from Epstein between 1992 and 1997, first as a U.S. congressman from New York and then when he was vying to be the state’s senator in 1998, an election he won. Epstein — who was arrested Saturday and charged with sex trafficking and a related conspiracy count for allegedly sexually abusing a vast network of underage girls — also gave $10,000 to “Victory in New York,” a joint fundraising committee established by Schumer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Epstein gave an additional $5,000 to “Win New York,” a Schumer-associated joint committee that benefited the Liberal Party of New York State. Both of Epstein’s donations to the committees came in October 1998 — and look to have primarily benefited the DSCC and the Liberal Party of New York, as Epstein would have already met the $2,000 limit of donating individually to Schumer. At the time, donors could give $1,000 to a candidate per election — once in the primary and again in the general. That means Schumer and Schumer-linked entities received a combined $22,000.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Schumer made three Epstein-related demands. He first called on Acosta to resign. [..] “Instead of prosecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy,” Schumer said on the floor. “This is not acceptable. We cannot have, as one of the leading appointed officials in America, someone who has done this.” Schumer also asked that the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility make public its review of Acosta’s handling of the case. Finally, Schumer said that Trump should paint a fuller picture of what he meant when he called Epstein a “terrific guy” in a 2002 article for New York Magazine.

An April 2011 court filing shows that Trump eventually barred Epstein from Mar-a-Lago “because Epstein sexually assaulted a girl at the club,” the documents allege. Trump didn’t officially launch a political career until June 2015. No FEC records show that Epstein was ever a Trump donor.

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So when will Schumer follow suit? And the rest of them?

Democrat Rep. Stacey Plaskett To Donate Epstein Campaign Contributions (CNBC)

Democratic congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has decided to reverse course and will give away the contributions she has received from Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of child sex trafficking. The move comes a day after her team told CNBC that she was unlikely to return the campaign donations after Epstein’s arrest. “In light of new information and allegations that have been made against Jeffrey Epstein I have decided to make contributions to Virgin Islands organizations that work with women and children in the amount of his previous contributions,” Plaskett said in a statement Tuesday.

“My litmus test for accepting campaign contributions has been based on whether the donor’s money was made legally or by ill-gotten means and that the contributor will not ask of me or my Congressional office for any special favors. All my contributions have passed that test. In this case however, I am uncomfortable having received money from someone who has been accused of these egregious actions multiple times,” said Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in the House as a delegate. Her spokesman Mike McQueery later noted the Epstein donations will be given to The Women’s Coalition and The Family Resource Center.

Her initial announcement led to an outcry on social media, with prominent Democratic strategists such as Adam Parkhomenko calling on Plaskett to give the money over to a nonprofit organization such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Since Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday, Plaskett is the first politician to say she is giving away donations from Epstein.

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Deutsche severed ties with Epstein just months ago.

US Probing Deutsche Bank’s Dealings With Malaysia’s 1MDB (ZH)

When it rains inside the halls of Deutsche Bank, the flood is biblical. Just when it seemed that the biggest (if not for long) German bank, already reeling from the biggest mass layoffs since Lehman, couldn’t possibly bear any more bad news, along comes the US government with yet another potentially criminal investigation, this time over Deutsche Bank’s involvement with the sprawling, multibillion-dollar Malaysian development fraud scandal that toppled a prime minister, crippled Goldman Sachs stock and stretched from Hollywood to Wall Street. According to the WSJ, the DOJ is investigating whether the German bank violated foreign corruption or anti-money-laundering laws in its work for the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. fund, or 1MDB, which included helping the fund raise $1.2 billion in 2014 as concerns about the fund’s management and financials had begun to circulate.

So how did Deutsche Bank get thrown into yet another scandal? It turns out that DB was snitched out by former Goldman banker, Tim Leissner, the man who was ground zero in the original 1MDB scandal, and who ended up costing Goldman billions in dollar in market cap as its stock tumbled last year as its role in the biggest Malaysian corruption scandal got exposed, and according to some, cost Lloyd Blankfein his job. As it turns out, Leissner is now cooperating with authorities, and among his “good Samaritan” duties decided to throw the one bank that has more dirt on it than Goldman: Deutsche Bank. As we have reported extensively in the past, prosecutors have been investigating similar issues at Goldman, where Leissner, a former managing director, pleaded guilty last year and admitted to earlier helping siphon off billions of dollars from the fund.

[..] But wait, there’s more! Because roughly at the same time as DB’s potential role in the 1MDB scandal was exposed by the WSJ, both the NYT and Bloomberg reported that the German bank had extended relations with yet another, even more scandalous figure: Jeffrey Epstein. According to NYT, Epstein “appears to have been doing business and trading currencies through Deutsche Bank until just a few months ago.” But as the possibility of federal charges loomed, the bank ended its client relationship with Epstein. It is not clear what the value of those accounts were at the time they were closed. Bloomberg confirms, reporting that “Deutsche Bank severed business ties with Jeffrey Epstein earlier this year, just as federal authorities were preparing to charge the financier with operating a sex-trafficking ring of underage girls [..] “

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Nice take by Ed Harrison. I’m no big fan of these alleged sharp divisions between generations, though.

Obama the Conservative vs Trump the Revolutionary (EH)

I would argue that [Obama] ran for President in 2008 on a slogan – Change You Can Believe In – which very much fits his generation, late baby boom reaching across to the early Gen X’ers. “Change you can believe in” is a moniker designed to evoke a sense of technocratic tweaking, of taking a good system and making it more efficient and more fair for all citizens. It is not a call for revolution. What Obama was saying was essentially, “I am going to take the system we have – the best that man has created – and make it better.” He was not saying, “the system is rigged. The system is broken. And I’m going to burn it down and build up something better.”

Obama’s message was a conservative message. It was a message that was steeped in the status quo, with the change coming only at the margin. It meant continuity in policy and a bevy of tried and trusted policymakers to get us to the next destination. Even Obamacare is a tweak of the existing policy. It is not a fundamentally different healthcare system controlled by different healthcare providers. [..] Donald Trump doesn’t think that way. Norms only matter to him to the degree they move his personal agenda forward. He’s a pretty simple guy in this sense. If a policy choice or a norm helps Donald Trump, then he’s for it. If it hurts him, he’s against it. It’s as simple as that. But, that’s not conservative …at all. Trump may message “Make America Great Again”. But, his process is more about bending and breaking rules, damn the consequences.

None of this is to say that Millennials would support Trump over Obama because they want change. It’s more that Obama’s ‘change you can believe in’ approach was a very incremental, status quo-oriented conservative approach that has disappointed Millennials. They want still more change – not a bend and break the rule kind – but a fundamental systemic change. What does that mean about the next economic downturn? Personally, I think it means that — when people living in precarious at-will employment, with insufficient healthcare coverage, saddled by student debt, unable to purchase homes to build wealth feel the full bore of an economic downturn — they will be willing to burn the system down. They will have no allegiance to the status quo and will vote accordingly.

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Oh, c’mon, wouldn’t it be highly fitting if the Queen were to hammer the final nail into British democracy?

Former UK PM Major Vows To Block Brexit Parliament Suspension (R.)

Former British prime minister John Major vowed on Wednesday to go to court to block his party colleague Boris Johnson from suspending parliament and dragging the queen into a constitutional crisis to deliver a no-deal Brexit. Johnson, the favourite to win a Conservative leadership election and so become the next prime minister, has refused to rule out suspending, or proroguing, parliament to ensure Britain leaves the European Union on Oct. 31 — with or without a deal. That could provoke a constitutional crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most stable democracies because parliament is opposed to a disorderly exit, lacking a transition deal to ease the economic dislocation of leaving the bloc.

While it is essentially up to the prime minister to make the decision, Major, an opponent of Brexit who has not shied away for criticising his party on the issue, said it would require the queen’s blessing. “In order to close down parliament, the prime minister would have to go to Her Majesty the Queen and ask for her permission to prorogue,” he told BBC Radio. “If her first minister asks for that permission, it is almost inconceivable that the queen will do anything other than grant it. “She is then in the midst of a constitutional controversy that no serious politician should put the queen in the middle of. If that were to happen, there would be a queue of people who would seek judicial review. I for one would be prepared to go and seek judicial review.”

Major accused Johnson of hypocrisy for backing Brexit to secure more power for Britain’s parliament, only to propose to sideline lawmakers when it suited him. He said parliament had not been suspended since King Charles I did so during the English Civil War. Charles was eventually executed, in 1649.

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The OPCW killed its own credibility, thoroughly. Disband it.

OPCW’s New Chemical Weapons Team To Launch First Syria Investigations (R.)

A new team established by the global chemical weapons watchdog to attribute blame for the use of banned munitions in Syria will investigate nine alleged attacks during the country’s civil war, including in the town of Douma, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created in 1997 as a technical body to enforce a global non-proliferation treaty. Until now it had been authorised only to say whether chemical attacks occurred, not who perpetrated them. Last June, the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) was established by the OPCW’s member states during a special session, a move that has brought deeper political division to the U.N. -backed agency.


Now it has identified the locations of its first investigations to be conducted in the coming three years. A document circulated to OPCW member states, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said the team “has identified a non-exhaustive provisional list of incidents on which it intends to focus its investigative work” between 2014 and 2018. The British-led proposal creating the 10-member team was supported by the United States and European Union, but opposed by Russia, Iran, Syria and their allies. Syria has refused to issue visas to the team’s members or to provide it with documentation, OPCW chief Fernando Arias said in comments to member states published last month.

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Where’s the credibility in this case?

UK, US Claim Iranian Boats Attempt To Seize Tanker In Strait Of Hormuz (ZH)

With the Persian Gulf uncharacteristically quiet in recent days, without any material provocation either real or staged, late on Wednesday CNN reported that five armed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. There was no independent verification of the report, but instead it was once again sourced to those who stands to gain the most from a way with Iran, namely “two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident.” According to the report, the British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by the Iranian boats.


The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials. A US aircraft was overhead and recorded video of the incident, although so far a video has not been released. In addition to the US aircraft escort, the UK’s Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose had been escorting the tanker, and during the confrontation, it trained its deck guns on the Iranians and gave them a verbal warning to back away, which they did. Montrose is equipped on the deck with 30 mm guns specifically designed to drive off small boats. The frigate was in the region performing a “maritime security role” according to a prior notification from UK officials.

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Seen at the inane Defend Media Freedom conference in the UK.

 

 

 

‘Man goes to a psychiatrist. He says, “I keep thinking I’m a dog.” Psychiatrist says, “OK, let’s get you on the couch.” Man says, “I’m not allowed on the couch.”‘

 

 

 

 

Apr 102019
 


Marcel Duchamp The chess game 1910

 

Putin Derangement Syndrome After Mueller (SCF)
‘Mountain Brought Forth A Mouse’: Putin On Mueller Report (RT)
Same People Behind Iraq War Lies Pushed Russian Collusion (Kelly)
May’s Hopes Dashed As EU Targets Brexit Delay Of Up To A Year (G.)
UK Finance Minister Says Lawmakers Might Revoke Brexit To Prevent No Deal (R.)
Democracy Is Overrated – Let The Queen Sort Out Brexit (Jan Fleischhauer)
Brexit Explained In Two Words: Basil Fawlty (G.)
IMF Says No-Deal Brexit Risks Two-Year Recession For UK (G.)
China To Join FAA’s Review Panel On Boeing’s 737 MAX (R.)
Boeing Shareholders Sue Over 737 MAX Crashes (R.)
India’s Modi Rides Nationalist Fervor Ahead Of Election (R.)
Two-Thirds Of Glacier Ice In The Alps ‘Will Melt By 2100’ (G.)

 

 

Like this. Contains dozens of links in the original.

Putin Derangement Syndrome After Mueller (SCF)

The West – its governments and its governments’ scribes – are obsessed with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Obsessed” is probably too weak a word to describe the years of impassioned coverage, airy speculation and downright nonsense. He is the world’s leading cover boy: military hats, Lenin poses, imperial crowns, scary red eyes, strait-jackets, clown hats; anything and everything. He’s the avatar of Stalin, he’s the avatar of the Tsars, he’s the Joker, he’s Cthulhu, he’s Voldemort, he’s Satan. He’s the palimpsest for the New World Order’s nightmares. Putin is always messing with our minds. He weaponises information, misinformation and sexual assault accusations. Childrens’ cartoons, fishsticks, Pokemon and Yellow Vests, “Putin’s warships” are lurking when they aren’t stalking; “Putin’s warplanes” penetrate European airspace; “Putin’s tanks”, massing in 2016, massing in 2018, still massing. His empire of rogue states grows. All Putin, all the time.


[..] The entire ramshackle construction is collapsing: if Mueller says there was no collusion then even the last ditch believers will have to accept it: Robert Mueller Prayer Candles are out of stock, time to toss the other tchotchkes, it wasn’t a Mueller Christmas after all. Clinton’s fabrication had two parts to it: 1) Putin interfered/determined the election 2) in collusion with Trump. When the second part is blown up, so must the first be. And then what will happen to all the loyal little allies crying “ours were interfered with too”!? The two halves of the story had the same authors and the same purpose: if one dies, so must the other. Now that Trump is secured from the obstruction charges that hung there as long as Mueller was in session, he is free to declassify the background documents that will show the origin, mechanics, authors and extent of the conspiracy. And he has said he will. In the process, both halves of the story will be destroyed: they’re both lies.

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Can we get back to talking now? Don’t hold your breath.

‘Mountain Brought Forth A Mouse’: Putin On Mueller Report (RT)

The Mueller probe has caused much fuss but predictably did not find any evidence to prove Donald Trump colluded with Russia, Vladimir Putin has said, sarcastically likening it to a “mountain bringing forth a mouse.”
“We said from the very beginning that this Mueller commission will find nothing because we know it better than anyone: Russia did not meddle in any US election, there was no collusion between [US President Donald] Trump and Russia that Mr. Mueller was looking for,” Putin told the International Arctic Forum on Tuesday.


Taking a lighter tone, the president said that the outcome was predictable, likening it to “a mountain that has brought forth a mouse.” According to Putin, US President Donald Trump “knows better what witch hunts are.” This was “a dark chapter in American history,” and no one wants to see it “come back.” The long-awaited report from the Mueller probe was submitted in late March to Attorney General William Barr. The inquiry specifically targeted alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign team and Moscow. However, its key conclusions mentioned no evidence of a conspiracy.

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This is the same as me saying Trump’s enemies are the same as Assange’s enemies.

Same People Behind Iraq War Lies Pushed Russian Collusion (Kelly)

In between the two scandals was more than a decade of recriminations against once-trusted experts on the Right who led our nation into battle. The Iraq war cost the lives of more than 4,400 U.S. troops, maimed tens of thousands more and resulted in an unquantifiable amount of emotional, mental, and physical pain for untold numbers of American military families. Suicide rates for servicemen and veterans have exploded leaving thousands more dead and their families devastated. And it has cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion and counting. So, these discredited outcasts thought they found in the Trump-Russia collusion farce a way to redeem themselves in the news media and recover their lost prestige, power, and paychecks.

After all, it cannot be a mere coincidence that a group of influencers on the Right who convinced Americans 16 years ago that we must invade Iraq based on false pretenses are nearly the identical group of people who tried to convince Americans that Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to rig the 2016 election, an allegation also based on hearsay and specious evidence. It cannot be an innocent mistake. It cannot be explained away as an example of ignorance in the defense of national security or democracy or human decency. It cannot be justified as a mere miscalculation based on the “best available information at the time” nor should we buy any of the numerous excuses that they offered up to rationalize the war.

So why did they do it? Why did Kristol, McCain, Frum, Boot, et. al., dive headlong and without shame into a domestic political war with just as much thoughtless braggadocio as they brought to the disastrous Iraq war? Clearly, this war did not have the same deadly results as the war in Iraq but, nonetheless, it fueled an unprecedented degree of anger and division among our countrymen and toward our new president. It ensnared innocent people who suffered real-life consequences, their fate grotesquely cheered by these mendacious fraudsters. Why?

If you had the blood of so many young Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis on your hands because you peddled a lie, wouldn’t you be a tad more cautious before repeating that kind of mistake? If you assured Americans that the Iraq war would last just a few months, as Bill Kristol said in 2002, but instead it ended up lasting eight years, wouldn’t you be chastened about making more predictions? If your actions led directly to the election of a Democratic president who launched his winning campaign based on your egregious failures, wouldn’t you hesitate before inserting yourself in another scandal that gave fodder to your political opponents at your expense?

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The EU has zero reason to grant another short delay. Nothing has changed.

May’s Hopes Dashed As EU Targets Brexit Delay Of Up To A Year (G.)

Theresa May’s request for a short Brexit delay has been torn up, putting the EU on track to instead extend Britain’s membership until 2020.Despite the prime minister’s desperate dash to Paris and Berlin to convince leaders of her plan to break the Brexit impasse, the European council president, Donald Tusk, signalled EU politicians’ lack of faith in her cross-party talks. Against a backdrop of growing support among the EU27 for a lengthy Brexit delay, Tusk picked apart May’s appeal for a shorter delay to 30 June in a letter to the leaders inviting them to Wednesday’s summit, where they will agree the new end date.


An EU diplomat said on Tuesday, following a late-night meeting of ambassadors, that the two end dates crystallising in EU capitals were the end of December or the end of March 2020. A cabinet source voiced doubts over whether May could survive after presiding over such a long delay to Brexit, after previously having said she could not “as prime minister” accept a longer delay than 30 June. The source said some in No 10 now accept it is nearly game over and described all options as very difficult for the prime minister, raising questions about whether she can keep her warring party together much longer. May is facing a bitter backlash within her party over the likelihood of a long delay to Brexit and participation in EU elections, especially if that leads to any sort of deal with Labour involving a customs union.

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May was very careless in signing Article 50 when she did. But it made the Brexiteers happy.

UK Finance Minister Says Lawmakers Might Revoke Brexit To Prevent No Deal (R.)

British finance minister Philip Hammond raised the prospect of lawmakers revoking Article 50 this week rather than allowing Britain to leave the European Union without a deal if talks collapse, the Telegraph reported on Tuesday. Hammond warned that the value of the pound could fall significantly if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to reach agreement on a Brexit delay with Brussels, the Telegraph said. He made the comments during a meeting on Tuesday with other ministers in which various scenarios were discussed, the paper said, without citing sources. May invoked Article 50 to give notice that Britain was leaving the EU over two years ago, but the details of how, when and even if Brexit will happen are still far from clear.

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From Der Spiegel columnist.

“When she was born, the British empire stretched from Newfoundland to Papua New Guinea and covered almost a quarter of the world’s population. Today, Britain is a lovely island in the middle of the North Sea..”

Democracy Is Overrated – Let The Queen Sort Out Brexit (Jan Fleischhauer)

From Germany, it looks like the UK monarch is in the perfect position – after all, she has always responded to crises with dignity …

If there is someone who still reacts in the most difficult situations with dignity and decency, it is Queen Elizabeth II. I mean, this is the woman who survived Hitler and his V2s, the Great Smog, the “winter of discontent” and all the other trials and tribulations of her kingdom over the last nine decades. Surely, some well-placed words from her and this whole mess can be resolved. I often wonder how, sitting in Buckingham Palace, the Queen views the situation. When she was born, the British empire stretched from Newfoundland to Papua New Guinea and covered almost a quarter of the world’s population. Today, Britain is a lovely island in the middle of the North Sea that is rapidly becoming the size of Iceland in terms of political importance.

What does the Queen think of people who blithely painted a nation’s future in the rosiest colours and are now surviving from day to day? Royal courts traditionally indulged clowns who were permitted to make fools of them. But no self-respecting monarch would have come up with the idea of entrusting the fool with the fate of the country. I know there are narrow limits to the power of the Queen in a constitutional monarchy. But if you ask John Bercow to take a close look at the archives, he may find a precedent – moments when the power of government was transferred to the Queen when the country’s destiny is on the line. That’s the advantage of looking back on a few centuries of monarchist tradition: somewhere there is always a clause that legitimises you.

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“At moments, we all wish to retreat to an imaginary place: a womb with a view, if you will.”

Brexit Explained In Two Words: Basil Fawlty (G.)

In a crumbling edifice, a farce plays out. The hapless central character fawns on an aristocrat who turns out to be a conman. He then fails to disguise his unease when confronted with his European neighbours, doesn’t bother to mask a thorough contempt for the Irish, and enters a love-hate relationship with ostentatiously wealthy Americans. Meanwhile, there are questions over food safety and supply (specifically kippers, duck and veal cutlets) as workers scurry around trying to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Always disaster hovers at the edge of vision.


[..] Fawlty Towers was, above all, an ensemble piece about isolation. It was a portrait of rage and frustration, an exploration of the impotence that results when the world as we wish it to be is so agonisingly at odds with the world as it is. It was the Brexit mindset incubating in the shabby surroundings of a down-at-heel hotel that had seen far better days. [..] Fawlty Towers now appears to have something of the downright prophetic about it. But let’s try to extract a moment of hope for these bleak times. In the end, whether clonked by a moose’s head, thrashing a recalcitrant car with a branch, derailed by a drunken Greek chef or outwitted by a wily Irish builder, Basil doesn’t get his way. His peculiar aspirations are curtailed and forced to conform to the realities of a complex, nuanced world.

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2-3-5-10-25, the IMF doesn’t know more than you and I.

IMF Says No-Deal Brexit Risks Two-Year Recession For UK (G.)

Britain’s already struggling economy would be pushed into a two-year recession by a no-deal Brexit, the International Monetary Fund has warned. Ahead of Theresa May’s plea to EU leaders for a further delay to Britain’s departure, the IMF used a downbeat half-yearly assessment of the global economy to predict that the UK economy could be 3.5% smaller than expected by 2021 if trade barriers were swiftly erected. The World Economic Outlook – completed in March before the latest developments in Brexit – predicted UK growth of 1.2% in 2019 on the assumption that a Brexit deal is done.


Growth in 2020 has also been revised down – by 0.1 points to 1.4% – since the fund’s last WEO in October, but the IMF said its projections were surrounded by uncertainty. It said there were alternative no-deal scenarios in which the UK would be hit by trade barriers, customs delays, barriers to financial services firms and the loss of preferential access to non-EU countries under trade deals negotiated by Brussels. The impact of these would be enough to cause output to decline in 2019 and 2020. It stressed that “a no-deal Brexit that severely disrupts supply chains and raises trade costs could potentially have large and long-lasting negative impacts on the economies of the United Kingdom and the European Union”.

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They’ll bring their Huawei phones I’m sure.

China To Join FAA’s Review Panel On Boeing’s 737 MAX (R.)

China has decided to accept an invitation to join the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) review panel on the Boeing 737 MAX, an official at the Chinese aviation regulator said on Tuesday. The FAA said last week it was forming an international team to review the safety of the aircraft, grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes – in Indonesia in October and in Ethiopia last month – that killed nearly 350 people. China was the first to ground the newest version of Boeing’s workhorse 737 model last month following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, prompting a series of regulatory actions by other governments worldwide.


The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has decided to send experts to be part of the FAA panel, the official, in the regulator’s media relations department, told Reuters. The CAAC said last week that it has been invited to join the panel. Chinese airlines operated 97 of the 371 737 MAX jets in service before the grounding, the most of any country, according to Flightglobal data. Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore have already confirmed that they will join the panel. The European Aviation Safety Agency did not respond immediately to a request for comment on whether it would join the panel.

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Wait till the victims’ families start suing.

Boeing Shareholders Sue Over 737 MAX Crashes (R.)

Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew on Tuesday as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX. Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg and Chief Financial Officer Gregory Smith were also named as defendants.


According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes. It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety. Richard Seeks, the lead plaintiff, said Boeing’s compromises began to emerge after the Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 onboard, five months after the Lion Air crash killed 189.

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900 million voters. 4x US?! Did Modi antagonize Pakistan to boost his chances?

India’s Modi Rides Nationalist Fervor Ahead Of Election (R.)

India’s prime minister is rallying his nationalist base as the world’s biggest democracy begins a general election on Thursday, but it has become tighter than anticipated, thanks to dwindling incomes for farmers and scarce jobs. Polls predict Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) alliance will just win a parliamentary majority, a sharp drop from his commanding mandate five years ago, when he vowed to turn India into an economic and military power. But his government’s inability to create a million jobs every month, and ease farmers’ distress over low product prices, has taken the shine off what is still the world’s fastest growing major economy.

From sugar farmers in northern Uttar Pradesh going unpaid for produce, to small businesses in the south shut because they are unable to meet the requirements of a new, unifying national tax, discontent has brewed for months. “The election has become a lot closer than we think, sitting in Delhi,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author of a Modi biography and books on Hindu nationalist groups. “There is anger and disillusionment in the countryside.” In December, alarm bells rang for Modi’s Hindu nationalists after it lost three key states to the main opposition Congress and its allies, led by Rahul Gandhi. But a surge in tension with traditional foe Pakistan in February has pushed Modi ahead, as he projects himself as a defender of national security and paints his rivals as weak-kneed, sometimes even questioning their patriotism.

“People were very unhappy, angry that Modi makes tall promises and doesn’t deliver,” said Shiv Chandra Rai, an Uber driver in the commercial capital of Mumbai. “Everyone said there are no jobs, everywhere farmers are struggling. But on this issue of Pakistan we are confused now. Some people feel we have to vote for Modi on this issue, it is a national problem.” Modi ordered air strikes on a suspected camp of a militant group in Pakistan after it claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in Indian Kashmir, launching the first such raid since the neighbors’ last war in 1971. The nuclear-armed foes engaged in a dogfight after Pakistan sent warplanes into India the next day. They also threatened each other with missile strikes, before Western powers, led by the United States, pulled them back.

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So many millions of Europeans who depend on the Alps for drinking water.

Two-Thirds Of Glacier Ice In The Alps ‘Will Melt By 2100’ (G.)

Two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of the Alps is doomed to melt by the end of the century as climate change forces up temperatures, a study has found. Half of the ice in the mountain chain’s 4,000 glaciers will be gone by 2050 due to global warming already baked in by past emissions, the research shows. After that, even if carbon emissions have plummeted to zero, two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100. If emissions continue to rise at the current rate, the ice tongues will have all but disappeared from Alpine valleys by the end of the century. The researchers said the loss of the glaciers would have a big impact on water availability for farming and hydroelectricity, especially during droughts, and affect nature and tourism.


“Glaciers in the European Alps and their recent evolution are some of the clearest indicators of the ongoing changes in climate,” said Daniel Farinotti, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and one of the research team. “In the pessimistic case, the Alps will be mostly ice-free by 2100, with only isolated ice patches remaining at high elevation, representing 5% or less of the present-day ice volume,” said Matthias Huss, a senior researcher at ETH Zurich. In February, a study found that a third of the huge ice fields in Asia’s towering mountain chains were also doomed to melt because of climate change, with serious consequences for almost 2 billion people downstream. Glaciers along the Hindu Kush and Himalayan range are at higher, colder altitudes, but if global carbon emissions are not cut, two-thirds of their ice will melt by 2100.

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