Oct 262022
 


Paul Gauguin Breton woman and goose by the water 1888

 

Exposure Of Ukraine’s ‘Dirty Bomb’ Plans Caused Stir In Kiev – Russia (RT)
Russia’s ‘Dirty Bomb’ Scare (Scott Ritter)
US Doubles Down On Denial Of ‘Dirty Bomb’ Warnings (RT)
“Progressive” Democrats Formally Retract Call For Diplomacy (ZH)
Why Ukraine Is Always Winning The War (Mazaheri)
Reflections on the Coup in Ukraine – 2014-2022 (Francis Lee)
Raytheon Making A Killing On Ukraine Weapons Demand (RT)
IEA Warns Of ‘First Truly Global Energy Crisis’ (RT)
Colombian President: “The US is Ruining Economies Around the World” (NC)
Record Volumes Of Russian Energy Headed To China (RT)
Kiev Tells Ukrainian Refugees Not To Come Home Yet (RT)
MSNBC Legal Analyst Declares Trump Could Be Charged With Manslaughter (Turley)
It Is ALL, At This Point, ENERGY (Denninger)
5 Thoughts on the Global Dictatorship (Cudenec)
NY Supreme Court Reinstates All Employees Fired For Being Unvaccinated (Fox)
Inquiry Focusing Solely On Safety Of Vaccines Will Not Be Opened – UK (Sky)
Democrats: Who Did All Those Lockdowns And Vaccine Mandates? (BBee)

 

 

George Webb is at least partly right: there WAS a Berlin conference on October 25. But is it about peace? Not 100% clear. The theme was reconstruction. Which George says is a precursor to peace talks. Maybe.

When the usual suspects talk about reconstruction of Ukraine, they mean including Crimea and the “four regions”. But Russia has no plans to give any of them up. So it might as well lead to more war.

 

 

Webb


“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a joint news conference during a post-war reconstruction of Ukraine conference in Berlin, Oct. 25, 2022.”

 

Gonzalo sees it as an American plan for more war.

 

 

 

 

Biden today: The pandemic is a “global health emergency”
Biden literally last month: “The pandemic is over”

Now: get a $20 discount when you get the shot

 

 

Alberta WEF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least by now, everyone should know about the dirty bomb story. Maybe that’s the best Russia can do at the moment.

Exposure Of Ukraine’s ‘Dirty Bomb’ Plans Caused Stir In Kiev – Russia (RT)

Kiev might be shelving its alleged ‘dirty bomb’ program after Russia exposed it, Moscow’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, claimed on Tuesday. He added that Ukraine may well have time to do this before the upcoming nuclear inspection. Over the last few days, Russian officials, including Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, have been accusing Kiev of preparing a false-flag attack with the use of a ‘dirty bomb’, a device combining conventional explosives with radioactive material. Ukraine has categorically denied Moscow’s claims. At the same time, the official claimed that the danger of Kiev using a ‘dirty bomb’ remains “very high,” and that Ukraine “has the opportunity” and “has every reason to use it.”

Earlier on Tuesday, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Russian mission’s head, Vassily Nebenzia, said that Moscow would consider the use of a “dirty bomb” by Ukraine “an act of nuclear terrorism.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba earlier called the Russian allegations “as absurd as they are dangerous.” He also noted that “Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves.” On Tuesday, the minister revealed that Ukraine had invited IAEA inspectors to come and to “prove that Ukraine has neither any dirty bombs nor plans to develop them.”

“Good cooperation with IAEA and partners allows us to foil Russia’s ‘dirty bomb’ disinfo campaign,” Kuleba said. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, commenting on the matter, said that “all parties should avoid any actions that could lead to miscalculation and escalation of what’s already a devastating conflict.” Meanwhile, the Pentagon claimed that Russia’s allegations against Ukraine were “transparently false.” NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said that the allies “reject the allegation” and believe that Russia “must not use it as a pretext” for further escalation.

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“The possibility that Russia would deliberately corrupt this communication channel with disinformation is highly unlikely.”

Russia’s ‘Dirty Bomb’ Scare (Scott Ritter)

In the span of a few hours on Sunday, the senior-most Russian defense authorities — Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and General Gennady Gerasimov — called their counterparts in the U.S., U.K., France, and Turkey, with the same message — Ukraine is preparing to detonate a so-called “dirty bomb”— high explosive-wrapped radiological material, designed to contaminate large areas with deadly radioactive isotopes. Russia is not only concerned about the immediate impact of Ukraine detonating such a devise in terms of the harm that would be done to people and the environment, but also about the potential for such an event to be used by Ukraine’s western allies to directly intervene militarily in the ongoing conflict, similar to what occurred in Syria when allegations about the use of Sarin nerve agent by the Syrian government against civilians were used by the U.S., U.K., and France to justify an attack on Syrian military and infrastructure targets. [..]

The Russians are serious about the threat posed by the possibility of a Ukrainian “dirty bomb.” While the history of “dirty bombs” does not point to a threat on the scale or scope of an actual nuclear weapon, one can “worst case” a scenario which provides the potential for the significant loss of life and property from the radioactive fallout such a weapon could produce. Such an outcome would be a disaster which Russia and, presumably, the Western allies of Ukraine would like to prevent. So far, the Russian allegations appear to have fallen on deaf ears, with Ukraine dismissing the claims as absurd, and non-government affiliated western analysts flipping the script, accusing Russia of actually planning a false flag attack on Ukraine using a “dirty bomb” of its own construction.

But the reality is that Russia takes its senior military-to-military connections with its western counterparts very seriously, given the role such contacts play in the kind of deconfliction cooperation that keeps small-scale incidents from exploding into war. The possibility that Russia would deliberately corrupt this communication channel with disinformation is highly unlikely. Russia appears to be legitimately concerned about the possibility of Ukraine building and using a “dirty bomb”, so much so that it has taken the unprecedented step of reaching out to multiple senior Western defense authorities to prevent such an occurrence from happening. If, at the end of the day, the appropriate phone calls are made by the West, and Ukraine backs down, then Russia will have succeeded. And if it turns out that the Russian information is wrong, there was no harm from the effort. However, if Russia is correct, and Ukraine not only is preparing to use a “dirty bomb”, but detonates one, and the West did nothing to prevent it, then Russia is on the record for having provided the West with due warning.

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Russia used all channels.

US Doubles Down On Denial Of ‘Dirty Bomb’ Warnings (RT)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has rejected Moscow’s warnings about Kiev’s alleged plans to deploy a ‘dirty bomb’ to frame Russia. The statement came during a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart on Monday. The Pentagon chief spoke with Minister of Defense Alexey Reznikov to “reaffirm the unwavering US commitment to support Ukraine’s ability to counter Russian aggression,” according to the readout of the call. He also “strongly condemned” Russian strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and “reiterated that the United States rejects the public and false allegations by Russia about Ukraine,” describing them as “a pretext for further Russian escalation of its unlawful and unjustified war against Ukraine.”

Austin also raised the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The two officials “discussed recent diplomatic engagements with Russia”and what they called “Moscow’s false accusation that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own soil.” Stoltenberg repeated the sentiment in an interview with Politico, describing the warnings as “absurd,” saying that Kiev is “fighting so hard to liberate” its territory. On Monday, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, warned that the threat from Ukraine is evident, adding that the West’s disbelief does not mean that the threat ceases to exist. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a possible ‘dirty bomb’ attack would allow Ukraine to portray Russia as a “nuclear terrorist”, intimidate the local population and trigger a refugee exodus to the European Union.

Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging him “to do everything in his power to prevent this heinous crime.”He also stated that Russia would “regard the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime as an act of nuclear terrorism.” Russia has already warned high-ranking officials from Türkiye, the US, the UK, and France about the possibility of a nuclear incident. All of them except for Ankara refuted what they called the “blatantly false allegations,” adding that this “should not be used as a pretext for greater escalation.” Kiev has also denied Moscow’s allegations. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky noted that the only side capable of launching an attack using nukes is Russia itself.

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Yeah, blame your staff…

“Progressive” Democrats Formally Retract Call For Diplomacy (ZH)

That didn’t take long… the 30 Houses Progressive Democrats led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has early Tuesday afternoon issued a complete retraction of their letter sent to the Biden White House urging diplomacy on Ukraine, per an official statement [emphasis ours]: “The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine.” “The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting. As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this. Because of the timing, our message is being conflated by some as being equivalent to the recent statement by Republican Leader McCarthy threatening an end to aid to Ukraine if Republicans take over.


The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic, and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian forces.” What’s more is that Jayapal’s retraction – after giving the ole “blame the interns” excuse (“unfortunately was released by staff without vetting”) – actually goes so far as to suggest diplomacy won’t be possible until after Ukrainian victory. The retraction concludes: “Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory. The letter sent yesterday, although restating that basic principle, has been conflated with GOP opposition to support for the Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter.”

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Because your media says so.

Why Ukraine Is Always Winning The War (Mazaheri)

In the United States media editorial policy has not wavered on one subject this year: Ukraine is always winning the war. From the first week, when the Ukrainian air force and navy were smashed, to last week’s smashing of the electrical grid – this is what “victory” looks like in the Ukrainian language, apparently. The Russians can electorally incorporate territory after territory, but to suggest that Ukrainian victory hasn’t already arrived is verboten in American public spaces. What is the point of reading American coverage of the unrest in Ukraine when it’s so very absurd? The point is: to learn what America is thinking, of course. If it’s deluded then – like it or not – that’s the story, and the story always writes itself in honest journalism.

I was talking with a Polish cab driver whom I found extremely intelligent, and not only because he has an Iranian brother-in-law and thus knew and respected Iranian culture. This longtime immigrant cabbie was very pro-Ukraine and anti-Russian, which is his right and not unexpected, and he was a typical Pole in that he was ardently pro-American. However, he volunteered to me that he found Americans to be the most effectively propagandised people in the world – he said they, invariably, merely mouthed whatever they heard on TV news. It is one thing to dismiss the criticism of your enemies, but the criticisms of your friends merit some refection.

I have also personally found the same iron-jawed retention of dogma: Americans tell me that only in very recent weeks have they heard anyone even suggest the idea that the war isn’t going well for Ukrainians. I agree, as I have yet to hear such a remark (outside of interviews of political analysts for my work at PressTV), and I have gotten many strange stares when I brought up the idea – in my personal life – for discussion. It is happy news for Americans to talk about, after all: “Hey, did you hear? The Ukrainians are winning the war! Still!” [..] Ukraine has always been winning, is winning currently and will win in the future because the US always wins every war it embarks upon.

After all, the US was always winning the war in Afghanistan. The only internal disagreement ever allowed was regarding their total retreat in August 2020 – was it poorly planned, or not? If the former, then the total US victory was disgracefully (though merely slightly) tarnished by the total US retreat. The US was always winning the war in Iraq, as well. Shock and awe prevailed from start to finish, with the finish being a total shock at how few positives the US-led war created for either the Iraqis or the Americans. The indisputable fact of the American victory, however: totally awesome, of course.

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The whole 8-year history. Very useful.

Reflections on the Coup in Ukraine – 2014-2022 (Francis Lee)

Victor Yanukovich was elected President of the Ukraine in 2010 narrowly defeating Yulia Timoshenko with 49% of votes cast to Timoshenko’s 45%. The Ukrainian Presidential term of office lasts for five years. Yanukovich’s party, the Party of the Regions, together with its coalition partner, the Communist party of the Ukraine, also had a majority in the Ukrainian Parliament, with Mykola Azarov as Prime Minister. The membership of the European Union was one of the more salient issues during this time and was the trigger for subsequent upheavals. Negotiations for Ukraine’s initial stage of eventual membership of the EU – the Association Agreement – had been dragging on since 2011, with both Yanukovich and Azarov favorably disposed, although the communist coalition partners were not.

This did not go down at all well in Moscow and Azarov tried to assuage Russian misgivings by urging Russia “to accept the reality of Ukraine signing the EU agreement”. The commitment of Yanukovich was eventually to be tested to destruction since he was being pulled in two directions: by Russia on the one hand, and the EU on the other. For their part the Russians offered the Ukraine a $15 billion loan, a discount on gas prices, and membership of the customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. But the EU was having none of it: President of the Euro-pean Commission José Manuel Barroso stated that the EU will not tolerate “a veto of a third country” (Russia) in their negotiations on closer integration with Ukraine. Thus, Yanukovich was forced into a choice which would be certain to alienate and anger one of the powerful interested partners on his borders.

Negotiations dragged on into 2013. Yanukovich was invited to sign the Association Agreement, but there were a number of conditions. The most significant of these were those concerning an IMF loan. The conditions were very much in the tradition of IMF Structural Adjustment Programmes (the scourge of the developing world). This was enough to scupper the EU deal. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stating that ‘’the issue that blocked the signature of the EU deal were the conditions proposed by the IMF loan being negotiated at the same time as the Association Agreement, which would require large budget cuts and a 40% increase in gas bills. This, for a country already verging on bankruptcy. In store for the Ukraine was the usual neo-liberal IMF austerity package, deregulation, privatization, and liberalization. The Greek treatment. Yanukovich took the Russian offer instead.

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Killing Ukrainians for profit.

Raytheon Making A Killing On Ukraine Weapons Demand (RT)

US-based Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest aerospace and defense manufacturers in the world by revenue and market capitalization, posted a near 5% year-on-year surge in third-quarter revenue on Tuesday. Company sales grew to $16.95 billion during the period – based largely on its missile and defense contracts – thanks in part to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as rising air travel demand, which buoyed parts and services sales. The Raytheon Missile and Defense unit reported third quarter adjusted sales of $3.678 billion. They were down 6% versus the prior year due to supply chain constraints and declines on some military programs, but the decrease was partially offset by higher volume on strategic missile defense orders.

Among the most notable defense bookings during the quarter were a $1 billion contract to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) for the US Air Force and a $972 million contract for the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) for the US Air Force, the US Navy, and international customers. Raytheon also recently received a $182 million contract from the US Army for supplying its National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM) to Ukraine. It is part of the $2.98 billion in US defense aid promised to Kiev in order to stave off the advance of Russian troops. According to US defense officials, eight NASAMs have already been dispatched to Ukraine. This month, reports have emerged that Washington plans to send two more NASAMs to Kiev in the near future.

The US has also been supplying the Ukrainian army with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin-developed Javelin anti-tank missiles. Last month, the Pentagon announced a new $311 million contract for replenishing the stocks of Javelins that were reportedly depleted by deliveries to Kiev. Ukraine has been demanding more US missiles for its air defense following Russian missile attacks on several Ukrainian cities, including Kiev.


Raytheon CEO yesterday

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“..the world still needs Russian oil to flow into the market for now..”

IEA Warns Of ‘First Truly Global Energy Crisis’ (RT)

Tightening markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and curtailed supply from major oil producers have created “the first truly global energy crisis,” Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), has said. While addressing the Singapore International Energy Week on Tuesday, the IEA chief said that soaring LNG imports by Europe and a potential rebound in Chinese appetite for the fuel will tighten the market. Meanwhile, only 20 billion cubic meters of new LNG capacity will come on the market next year, according to Birol. He described the recent OPEC+ decision to cut output by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) as “risky,” noting that the IEA sees global oil demand growth of close to 2 million bpd this year.

“(It is) especially risky as several economies around the world are on the brink of a recession, if that we are talking about the global recession…I found this decision really unfortunate,” Birol said. He pointed out that skyrocketing global prices for oil, natural gas, and coal are hammering consumers, who are also dealing with spiraling costs of food and services. Europe may make it through this winter, though somewhat battered, if the weather remains mild, Birol believes. “Unless we will have an extremely cold and long winter, unless there will be any surprises in terms of what we have seen, for example Nord Stream pipeline explosion, Europe should go through this winter with some economic and social bruises,” he said.

The world will still need Russian oil to meet growing demand, he added, noting that the G7 nations’ price cap scheme still has many details that need to be ironed out and will require the cooperation of major oil-importing nations. Birol believes that “…the world still needs Russian oil to flow into the market for now. An 80%-90% is good and encouraging level in order to meet the demand.”

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“The Russians, Ukrainians and Europeans, first and foremost, have unleashed a war upon their own continent..”

Colombian President: “The US is Ruining Economies Around the World” (NC)

Just over a month ago, Colombia’s recently elected left-wing President Gustavo Petro ruffled a few feathers by lambasting the US-led war on drugs from the podium of the UN General Assembly in New York. He also condemned the NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine, which raised serious questions about Colombia’s position as NATO’s only Latin American partner. Then last week, during a visit to Urabá Antioquia, on Colombia’s northern border with Panama, he set his sights on US economic policy: “An economic crisis is undoubtedly brewing. The United States is practically ruining economies around the world. The German economy has already been destroyed by the war [in nearby Ukraine]. The Russians, Ukrainians and Europeans, first and foremost, have unleashed a war upon their own continent, which is a war for gas, for energy.

“And as a result of that war the European economy is sinking. Powerful Germany is entering recession. And who would think it? England, which one day was the world’s dominant colonial power, is mired in a deep economic crisis. In Spain, the residents of towns and cities are up in arms. The same in France. And in the United States decisions are being taken to protect the United States, sometimes without thinking about the consequences elsewhere.” Petro places much of the blame on the US Federal Reserve, whose aggressive interest rate hikes of the past seven months have propelled the dollar to its highest level since the year 2000. Raising rates draws capital toward the US economy and away from higher-risk emerging markets. [Interestingly, Petro didn’t mention how US and EU sanctions on Russia are ruining economies around the world by further rupturing global supply chains and supercharging inflation].

As the IMF noted last week, the dollar has appreciated 22% against the yen, 13% against the Euro and 6% against emerging market currencies since the start of this year. That the currencies of rich economies such as the UK and the EU have, as a whole, fallen faster against the dollar than emerging market currencies is testament to the severity of the global dollar shortage. As the Korean economist Keun Lee notes, “while US monetary policy is hardly the only factor in causing that shortage, it is undoubtedly making matters worse.” Many emerging market crises of the past were caused or exacerbated by a strengthening dollar. When the dollar strengthens sharply, emerging markets have fewer policy options to defend their currencies than rich economies.

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Including via Malaysia. Et al.

Record Volumes Of Russian Energy Headed To China (RT)

Russia exported a record amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and steelmaking coal to China in September, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday citing Chinese customs data. According to the report, Russia’s coking coal exports to its trading partner last month surged to 2.5 million tons from around 900,000 tons in September last year and 1.9 million tons in August. Overall coal imports, including thermal and coking coal, jumped 20% to nearly 7 million tons year-on-year. LNG deliveries surged by a third from a year ago to 819,000 tons. It is unclear how much Russian gas China has imported via pipelines, which is the main route for its delivery, as Beijing hasn’t reported on those flows since the start of the year.


China’s imports of Russian oil dropped to 7.5 million tons last month from 8.3 million tons in August but were still higher than last year’s 6.1 million tons. Total purchases of Russian energy, including oil products, also dropped slightly to $7.5 billion last month from $8.4 billion in August. They were still significantly higher than last year’s $4.7 billion. China’s overall purchases of energy products from Russia topped $51 billion in the seven months since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. During the same period in 2021, China’s energy purchases from Russia amounted to $30 billion. The growth represents mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, where Russia acquires a buyer for its energy products snubbed by the West, and China takes advantage of the discounts offered by Moscow.

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Make peace and send them home.

Kiev Tells Ukrainian Refugees Not To Come Home Yet (RT)

Ukrainians who have fled the country amid Russia’s military offensive should not return home before spring, Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said on Tuesday. Staying away would protect them from unnecessary risk and help the country “survive” its deepening energy crisis, she added. Speaking on national TV on Tuesday, Vereshchuk claimed Russia was losing on the battlefield and had therefore turned to “terrorizing the civilian population” by targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure. “I will ask you not to return, we need to survive the winter. Unfortunately, the power grids will not survive, you see what Russia is doing. You don’t need to do this. If you have the opportunity to stay, it’s better to spend the winter abroad,” Vereshchuk said.

She said she would like to see everyone return in the spring to rebuild Ukrainian cities and villages together. “Our children must live and study here, but for now let’s hold back, because we understand that the situation will worsen, and we have to survive the winter. We will survive the winter, and then we will think about everything else,” she added. According to a poll published by the Kiev-based Razumkov center in late August, more than 90% of Ukrainian refugees plan to return home at some point. More than 88% of those intending to return plan to live in the same region where they lived prior to the beginning of the Russian attack on February 24. Ukraine has been experiencing regular blackouts since Moscow launched massive strikes against its critical infrastructure, including power stations on October 10, accusing Kiev of terrorist attacks on Russian infrastructure.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has since asked his compatriots to ease pressure on the struggling energy system by limiting electricity use between 5pm and 11pm. On Monday, the head of the state-owned energy giant Naftogaz, Yuri Vitrenko, said that Ukraine was facing “the worst winter in history,” marked by “constant power outages.” He explained that recent Russian airstrikes have also hit oil refineries and destroyed “about 40% of the power generation plants.” On the same day, the Ukrainian online retailer Rozetka revealed that the last two weeks had seen a sharp increase in demand for “goods needed in the event of an energy crisis,” such as potbelly stoves, power banks, candles and gas burners.

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“The problem is that many officials had an affirmative duty to protect individuals on that day, including congressional leaders and officials.”

MSNBC Legal Analyst Declares Trump Could Be Charged With Manslaughter (Turley)

We previously discussed the declaration of Harvard Professor Lawrence Tribe that former president Donald Trump could be charged with the attempted murder of former Vice President Michael Pence. Now, MSNBC legal analyst and Michigan Law Professor Barbara McQuade has gone one better. She told MSNBC viewers that Trump could be charged with manslaughter for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. Just as Tribe declared his theory was “without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt,” McQuade appeared equally certain that this was a serious and possible charge. Anchor Nicolle Wallace was bouncing off comments of Rep. Liz Cheney on what the House might do to Trump when she turned to McQuade for legal analysis:

Wallace: “Let me ask you, I think what they’re saying is that even if you were that deluded, quote, ‘You may not send an armed mob to the Capitol or sit for 87 minutes and refuse to stop the attack. You may not send out a tweet that incites further violence.’ It sounds like around the violence. She’s looking at what the committee talks about as dereliction of duty. Is that a specific crime you can charge someone with, Barbara?” McQuade: “It’s not a federal offense, but there actually is an interesting legal theory here for manslaughter, which Federal law defines as a death that occurs on federal property when a person acts with a recklessness mindset or even gross negligence. And so Donald Trump, unlike most ordinary citizens, has not only a duty not to do something bad, but an affirmative duty to take action to protect people. I think you could possibly put together a theory based on the facts that Liz Cheney just described to make Donald Trump responsible for the deaths that occurred that day.”

So let’s recap. Trump could be prosecuted for manslaughter because he had an “affirmative duty to take action to protect people”? The problem is that many officials had an affirmative duty to protect individuals on that day, including congressional leaders and officials. There is no question that Trump waited too long to call back his supporters. Many of us criticized Trump for his insistence that Pence could effectively block certification of the election. I publicly condemned Trump’s speech while it was being given. However, I know of no case that would impose this affirmative duty on Trump as a criminal legal matter.= That does not change due to Trump’s speech before the riot. Indeed, such a use of the speech would contradict controlling Supreme Court precedent.

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“.. the government — and not just ours — has declared war on the very reason we have had a rational cost of living for the last one hundred years..”

It Is ALL, At This Point, ENERGY (Denninger)

It’s pretty basic, as I noted in Leverage about 10 years ago: Behind every unit of GDP is a unit of energy. Period. I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling this summer and fall, and in fact am having some fun right now, as I did last weekend. There is a constant — the spread between diesel and regular gasoline has held right around $2. I’ve never seen this before. It portends very bad things. You see, diesel isn’t just what you think of, although that’s bad enough. That is, big trucks without which you get….. nothing. Basically every item you buy from any place, anywhere, makes at least the last mile of that journey by truck. Most of it makes a very large percentage of its journey by either truck or train — both of which run primarily on diesel fuel.

That includes the gasoline you buy at the corner station. So who thinks inflation pressure is going to come down? How about the people who still use heating oil this winter? Oh, that’s diesel incidentally. Same fuel. Exactly the same fuel — just no road tax, and dyed red so if you try to cheat and put it in a truck you can be caught. “Well those fools should have converted by now!” you might say. Really? Have you looked at the price of natural gas lately? Propane? Well just burn wood! If you live where you can. And then…… wait, isn’t this about “saving the planet”? I thought wood was…… dirty?

Here’s reality, like it or not. That huge spread exists because the government — and not just ours — has declared war on the very reason we have had a rational cost of living for the last one hundred years. It has driven basically all of our advancement in that regard. It is responsible for all of the plastic things you have (look around you), all of the synthetic fibers (your couch, your bed, etc.) your shoes, your computer(s), your cellphones, the Internet and even the shingles on your house without which it rains inside as well as out.

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Excellent.

5 Thoughts on the Global Dictatorship (Cudenec)

2. A system that hates life. I am fed up with researching the ramifications and machinations of the finance-based global dictatorship, if I am completely honest. It is not a spiritually-nourishing activity; instead it sickens my soul, deeply offends my ethical aesthetics of honour, justice, truthfulness and value. Exploring and assessing the nastiness of the ruling crime gang leaves me feeling polluted and contaminated. And it keeps me trapped on the level at which they operate: I yearn to turn my back on their corrupt and shallow world and explore instead all the timeless magic of our living that so interests me.

I want to plunge into the folklore and mythology of my ancestors and yours, searching out the currents and branches and offshoots and intertwinings that have created, over many thousands of years, the richness of our common culture, paradoxically united by its infinite diversity. I want to feel and know and understand the way in which this wisdom grew slowly out of the soil and the hills and the plants and was spun and woven by our essential oneness with the natural world. I want to know what it feels like to reach, feet firmly grounded in the earth, towards the sky, the sun, the stars; informed and inspired by the wisdom of our forebears, I dream of finding the great poetry that will bring me peace in my final days.

And yet, I know full well that the time has not yet come when I can simply walk away from that other mundane work, the task of describing the detail of what has gone wrong in our contemporary society. I know full well that the system in which we are forced to live represents an existential threat to everything that inspires me. This system hates and fears the tangled roots of life, the sap of vitality and freedom that sends its green shoots soaring forth in search of authenticity and fulfilment. It hates and fears the belonging, and the knowledge of belonging, that makes us strong and proud and kind and just. It hates and fears how powerful we become when we feel the energy of the cosmos itself lighting us up from within, when our understanding and imagination pulse and glow with something which will lie forever beyond its dull comprehension. While this system still imprisons us, I will never find peace.

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“NY Supreme Court just ruled that all unvaccinated NYC employees are “reinstated to their full employment” and are “entitled to back pay in salary from the date of termination.”

NY Supreme Court Reinstates All Employees Fired For Being Unvaccinated (Fox)

The New York State Supreme Court reinstated all employees who were fired for not being vaccinated on Monday, ordering backpay and saying their rights had been violated. The court found that “being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19.” New York City Mayor Eric Adams claimed earlier this year that his administration would not rehire employees who had been fired over their vaccination status. NYC alone fired roughly 1,400 employees for being unvaccinated earlier this year after the city adopted a vaccine mandate under former Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many of those fired were police officers and firefighters. FDNY-Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Fire Officers Association President Lt. James McCarthy condemned Adams earlier this year after the mayor allowed an exception to the vaccine mandate for athletes and performers, even as firefighters were still being fired over their status. The pair called on the city to expand the exception to all New Yorkers.


“We’re here to say that we support the revocation of the vaccine mandate that the mayor announced on Thursday,” McCarthy said. “We think that it should be extended, as well. We support the revocation of the mandate for the athletes and performers that work in New York City. We think that the people that work for New York City should also have the mandate relocated for them.” “If you’re going to remove the vaccine mandate for certain people in the city, you need to remove it for everybody in the city,” Ansbro said. “If you’re gonna follow the science, science is gonna tell you there isn’t any danger right now and putting hundreds of firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers out of work is not in the best interest of the city. It’s not safe.”

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“Many people now would not touch a booster with a barge pole, and I include myself amongst those…”

Inquiry Focusing Solely On Safety Of Vaccines Will Not Be Opened – UK (Sky)

The government is not planning to open an inquiry solely into the safety of coronavirus vaccines, a health minister has said. Caroline Johnson added the vaccines will be reviewed as part of the wider UK COVID-19 inquiry. However, Dr Johnson insisted the jabs are safe and encouraged those eligible to come forward for autumn boosters. She was speaking during a Westminster Hall debate in parliament – held in response to a petition calling for a public inquiry into COVID-19 vaccine safety, which has been signed more than 107,000 times. A few MPs raised concerns during the debate about the vaccines’ possible side effects, including what some described as data showing a correlation with increased levels of cardiovascular problems.

The NHS website says “reports of serious side effects are very rare” and the “COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness”. Scottish National Party MP Steven Bonnar said the vaccine programme saved “millions of lives”, adding almost 28,000 of those were in Scotland. But he added: “Despite this, there has been a significant increase in heart attacks and other related illnesses since the COVID-19 vaccinations started to be distributed in 2021. “To determine if there is any potential connection with the COVID-19 (vaccine) rollout, I believe this government must conduct an immediate and complete scientific investigation and ensure that the prescribed medical interventions of its response to coronavirus are indeed safe.”

But Mr Bonnar also said he would take his booster when called, and said people can “safely receive” their flu and COVID jabs at the same time as part of the autumn booster plan, saying they have been shown to be effective and “acceptably safe”. Conservative former minister Sir Christopher Chope said: “I agree with the legitimate concerns of the 100,000-plus people who signed this petition and I share their belief that the recent and increasing volume of data relating to cardiovascular problems is enough of concern to warrant an inquiry into safety.” Sir Christopher chairs the COVID-19 Vaccine Damage All-Party Parliamentary Group, which has five members: four Conservative and one Labour. He acknowledged the wider COVID inquiry “is going to cover, I think, a lot of this ground”, but said: “That won’t be for many years.

“And in the meantime people are being encouraged to have more and more boosters, and they want to know, understandably, what the impact of those boosters is upon their health and what the potential risks and rewards are. “The government seems to be in denial about the risks of these vaccines,” the MP for Christchurch said, saying the booster vaccines “are not perfectly safe, and there’s a question about whether they are effective”. He warned the vaccine damage payment scheme is “not fit for purpose”, and said: “Many people now would not touch a booster with a barge pole, and I include myself amongst those. “I am not anti-vax, I had my first two vaccines, but from all that I’ve seen and know about this, I think that the increase in boosters is now, for many people, counterproductive, and for some people it’s also dangerous.”

Read more …

“Democrats Form Committee To Get To The Bottom Of Who Did All Those Lockdowns And Vaccine Mandates”

“At publishing time, the committee announced the results of their thorough investigation: It was Ron DeSantis all along.”

Democrats: Who Did All Those Lockdowns And Vaccine Mandates? (BBee)

With the 2022 midterms just around the corner, Democrat lawmakers have formed the “United States House Select Committee to Investigate Who Did All Those Lockdowns and Vaccine Mandates” in hopes of finding out just who was behind all of those school closures, mask mandates, arrests, and egregious abuses of civil rights. “Despite the scant evidence pointing to any one political party as being at fault for enforcing harmful lockdowns and mandates,” said Committee Chair Nancy Pelosi while wearing three masks and a solid gold commemorative pin celebrating her vaccine status. “This committee pledges to leave no stone unturned in its investigation.”


Pelosi added that, while much anecdotal evidence points to Republicans being the source of damaging lockdown policies, “We may, in fact, never know who is truly to blame for the untold injuries brought upon the American people.” The committee began its investigation by issuing subpoenas to Senators Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, and other lawmakers who, according to CNN and MSNBC, were pro-lockdown from the start. At publishing time, the committee announced the results of their thorough investigation: It was Ron DeSantis all along.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Elon Musk said yesterday he wants to close the Twitter deal by Friday. Employees have their demands:

And Musk has his answer ready:

 

 

Deaf man’s cat

 

 

“There’s less than a week to go before Halloween in case you haven’t cleaned your bat yet.”

 

 

Shark

 

 


Epicrates cenchria or rainbow boa

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 112022
 


Edouard Vuillard The two sisters 1899

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Bannon

 

 

 

 

Invest!

Zelensky To Headline US Defense Industry Conference (Hill)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A lot of pressure on Putin to go big.

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

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

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

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

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

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There appear to be a lot of foreign fighters involved.

Russian Military Explains Partial Withdrawal (RT)

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


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

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Ramstein.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU Has Run Out Of Energy – Orban (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

German Recession ‘Inevitable’ – Deutsche Bank

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


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

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Threatening your fellow members. Nice.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Consider this the cost of going green.”

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 282022
 


Henri Matisse The terrace, St. Tropez 1904

 

All The Way To Odessa (Escobar)
Blame West For Global Inflation — Former Czech President (RT)
China Calls On Putin To End Russian Roulette At Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant (iN)
US Comments On American Fighter Death In Ukraine (RT)
Amnesty Issues Warning About Donbass Tribunal (RT)
Sanctions War Isn’t Going As Well As Planned – The Economist (RT)
Serbia Comments On Russia Gas Supplies (RT)
Pentagon Signs Deal To Make Air Defense Systems For Ukraine (RT)
Ukraine Site Threatens 1000s, Incl. Americans, With Extrajudicial Killings (A.)
What Did Not Happen With The Release Of The Mar-a-Lago Affidavit? (Turley)
Judge Announces ‘Preliminary Intent To Appoint A Special Master’ (Fox)
Don’t Charge Trump With Espionage (John Kiriakou)
Let Djokovic Play (Vinay Prasad)
62% of Democratic Students Oppose Sharing Dorm Rooms With Republicans (Turley)
Assange Files Appeal To Stop US Extradition (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zelensky

 

 

Biden showering with his daughter is creepy as hell, but for me it’s more: what if Ivanka had written this about her dad? He would have been crucified.

 

 

Tucker Rumble

 

 

 

 

“..the NATO-Bandera alliance..”

All The Way To Odessa (Escobar)

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour. As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet. Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty. You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level. The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what? Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of US Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk. President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.” Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.” The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all, Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma. Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts. Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

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“The ‘green delirium..’”

Blame West For Global Inflation — Former Czech President (RT)

Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has rejected the notion that the Ukrainian conflict has been the sole reason for the economic problems now experienced around the globe. “The issues that led to spiking inflation and to a huge increase in energy prices that we have now originated long before February 24” when Russia sent its troops into Ukraine, Klaus told outlet Seznam Sravy on Friday. “This is self-inflicted, this is self-inflicted by the West. The Russian invasion just added to that,”he insisted. Russia is a major supplier of gas, oil and coal, but it’s “just one of the players” on the international market, the 81-year-old economist, who was the Czech Republic’s president between 2003 and 2013, pointed out.


So, the reduction of supply of Russian hydrocarbons to the EU and soaring energy prices – which came as a result of sweeping sanctions imposed on Moscow by the bloc – just can’t be the number one cause for high inflation rates and soaring energy prices, Klaus insisted. “I don’t understand why the number one cause isn’t being mentioned. The ‘green delirium,’ the supposed fight against climate change and the EU’s Green Deal – that’s the fundamental cause for the rise in prices,” he said, referring to the Western attempts in recent years to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The ex-president has urged the sides involved to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine, which has already been going on for half a year, warning that the situation will only “get worse and worse” if it’s not done soon. “It won’t be enough for the representatives of Ukraine and Russia to get together. It’s necessary for the West, especially the US, to start negotiating with Russia. Every person with at least some intelligence understands this,” he also remarked.

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How news is fabricated. Michael Day at iNews.uk comes with this headline, but nowhere in his quotes is it repeated. Instead, China simply called on both sides to be careful. And of course the article talks about Russian shelling, which we know is nonsensical. Russia’s held the plant since March, and there was never an issue until Ukraine started firing at it. But yeah “Russian Roulette” sounds cute, and so does “China Calls On Putin To End..” [it].

China Calls On Putin To End Russian Roulette At Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant (iN)

China has issued a thinly veiled attack on Russia’s brinkmanship over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, as fears of disaster escalate following a near-miss at the site. A senior Chinese official told the UN on Friday that just one incident might cause a serious nuclear accident “with irreversible consequences for the ecosystem and public health of Ukraine and its neighbouring countries”. Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative at the UN, pointedly called on all parties involved “to exercise maximum restraint strictly abide by international law and minimise the risk of accidents”, adding: ”We must not allow the tragedies of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents to be repeated.”

In addition to an international public health emergency, a serious accident and radiation release at the plant would be another blow to the world economy, already severely impoacted by Covid-19 and the energy crisis. China’s warning is signficiant as it is perhaps the only world power with real influence over the Putin regime. Beijing issued its statement just hours after an incident at Zaporizhzhia – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – when electricity was cut off for hours, according to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr Zelensky said Russian shelling on Thursday sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station, wihch disconnected the Zaporozhzhia plant from the power grid. A Russian official claimed Ukraine was to blame.

Back-up diesel generators ensured that the power supply to the plant, vital for cooling and safety systems there, continued, Mr Zelensky said. He urged international bodies to act faster to force Russian troops to vacate the site, located in the south of country. Oleh Savitskyi, an energy policy expert with the Ukrainian Climate Network who has worked in the country’s ministry of energy and environment protection, told the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists (BOAS) that relying on back-up diesel generators was not enough “Russians are using Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as their military base, they could have been stealing that diesel fuel or using it for their vehicles. Nobody knows how much fuel is available,” he said.

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Why do you have to hear this through RT, and not a US source, who should be all over it? Easy:

“..the fighter was killed not by Russian or allied forces, but by his fellow soldiers while “fleeing from the position.”

US Comments On American Fighter Death In Ukraine (RT)

Another American has died in fighting in Ukraine, the US State Department revealed on Friday, confirming previous claims made by Russian officials. “We can confirm the death of a US citizen in Ukraine,” a US State Department spokesperson told Newsweek on Friday. “Out of respect for the privacy of the family, we have no further comment at this time.” On Friday, Oleg Kozhemyako, who serves as the governor of Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Region, said that the ‘Tiger’ military unit from his area had eliminated an American while repelling an attack from a group consisting of mercenaries from several countries.

“An American mercenary was destroyed in Ukraine,” he said on his Telegram, attaching photos of both a US passport and Ukrainian military service card, apparently issued in the name of Joshua Alan Jones. The ID documents say he was born in Tennessee and joined the Ukrainian Army on July 14 with the A3449 military unit. According to Andrey Rudenko, a Russian military reporter, the fighter was killed not by Russian or allied forces, but by his fellow soldiers while “fleeing from the position.” The State Department spokesperson offered a reminder that “US citizens should not travel to Ukraine, due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials.”

“US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options,” the representative reiterated. Russia’s Ministry of Defense has repeatedly claimed it had destroyed foreign mercenaries in Ukraine, including by conducting high-precision missile strikes. Moreover, earlier this month, authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic said that three Western nationals accused of fighting as mercenaries for Ukraine could be sentenced to death while another two are facing up to eight years behind bars for the same reason. Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense warned that mercenaries aren’t viewed as combatants under international law and “the best thing that awaits them if they are captured alive is a trial and maximum prison terms.” s

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Amnesty still feels queasy. More interesting is Duma Speaker Volodin:

“He and his inner circle ordered to bomb, shoot and kill peaceful citizens: the elderly, women, children. That is why Zelensky is doing everything to prevent the tribunal.

Amnesty Issues Warning About Donbass Tribunal (RT)

Amnesty International is against putting Ukrainian POWs on trial for alleged war crimes, insisting that Russia and Donbass are in no position to do so. Describing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as “Russian-backed armed groups,”the organization called the upcoming tribunals “illegal and abusive.” The organization also blasted the decision to set up the trials in the city of Mariupol, captured by Russian and Donbass forces during the ongoing conflict, saying it was “a further act of cruelty against a city.” “Any attempts by Russian authorities to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in so-called ‘international tribunals’ set up by armed groups under Russia’s effective control in Mariupol are illegal and unacceptable,” Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers, said in a statement on Friday.

The remarks echoed those recently made by top Ukrainian officials, including Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who threatened to cut any potential negotiations with Russia should Ukrainian POWs, primarily fighters of the notorious neo-Nazi Azov regiment, be placed on a “show trial.” “If this despicable show trial takes place … This will be the line beyond which any negotiations are impossible. Russia will cut itself off from any negotiations,” Zelensky said in a video address on Monday. Zelensky’s call, however, has been promptly snubbed by top Russian and Donbass officials, with the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, stating such threats will have “no effect” on the tribunal plans.

“The data on 80 counts of crimes committed by the Azov has been collected, 23 people have been arrested and are in custody,” Pushilin stated. Russian Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin issued a darker warning in response to Zelensky’s threats, suggesting the public hearings will expose Kiev’s crimes, which is why the Ukrainian president rightfully fears them. “He and the Kiev regime have reasons to be afraid,” Volodin said. “He and his inner circle ordered to bomb, shoot and kill peaceful citizens: the elderly, women, children. That is why Zelensky is doing everything to prevent the tribunal.”

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“The biggest flaw [of sanctions] is that full or partial embargoes are not being enforced by over 100 countries with 40% of world GDP..”

Sanctions War Isn’t Going As Well As Planned – The Economist (RT)

The harsh sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the conflict in Ukraine have so far been unable to deliver the desired result, The Economist magazine has acknowledged, adding that the strategy has “flaws.” “Worryingly, so far the sanctions war is not going as well as expected,” the British publication said in its article on Thursday, insisting that the effectiveness of economic restrictions on Moscow “is key to the outcome of the Ukraine war.” “Russia’s GDP will shrink by 6% in 2022, reckons the IMF, much less than the 15% drop many expected in March… Energy sales will generate a current-account surplus of $265 billion this year, the world’s second-largest after China. After a crunch, Russia’s financial system has stabilized and the country is finding new suppliers for some imports, including China,” it pointed out.

At the same time, the energy crisis, which has been provoked by the sanctions war, “may trigger a recession” in Europe, where gas prices spiked by another 20% this week, according to the British magazine. This all means that the expected “knockout blow [from restricting Russia] has not materialized,” The Economist said. “The unipolar moment of the 1990s, when America’s supremacy was uncontested, is long gone, and the West’s appetite to use military force has waned since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” it acknowledged. Economic restrictions “seemed” to be the new tool that would allow the US, EU and its allies to project their power globally, but the conflict in Ukraine has revealed that “the sanctions weapon has flaws,” it said.

One of those flaws is “the time lag,” the magazine continued. For example, “blocking [Russia’s] access to tech the West monopolizes takes years to bite,” it added. The Economist suggested that isolation from Western markets could only “cause havoc in Russia… on a three- to five-year horizon.” “The biggest flaw [of sanctions] is that full or partial embargoes are not being enforced by over 100 countries with 40% of world GDP,” the outlet insisted. “A globalized economy is good at adapting to shocks and opportunities, particularly as most countries have no desire to enforce Western policy.” With economic curbs failing to cripple the Russian economy, one should “discard any illusions that sanctions offer the West a cheap and asymmetric way to confront China” if it decides to use force against Taiwan, The Economist warned.

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Hungary, Serbia, Turkey, who’s next?

Serbia Comments On Russia Gas Supplies (RT)

Serbs would not have to save energy and reduce their consumption this winter thanks to Belgrade’s policies and gas imports from Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic told his fellow citizens in an address on Saturday. “There are no plans for electricity restrictions next winter,” he said, adding, however, that the situation in the energy field remains “extremely difficult.” At the same time, the Serbian cabinet is expected to provide “large discounts” to those who did save electricity this year in comparison to the previous one, he said. Such measures have become possible particularly due to gas imports from Russia, the Serbian leader believes. Serbia purchases 2 million cubic meters of gas – or between 63% and 64% of all gas it needs – from Russia and its total cost amounts to €800 million ($797 million), Vucic said, calling such a price “fantastic.”


If Belgrade had to buy gas at the current European market prices, it would go bankrupt, he said, arguing that the remaining 1.2 million cubic meters of gas – or around 36% of its total consumption – would cost Serbia €4.8 billion ($4.7 billion) now. “And our entire budget is around €13 billion,” the president said. Vucic also praised a deal Belgrade struck with Budapest that would see Hungary storing between 300 and 500 cubic meters of gas purchased by Serbia in its gas storages. The Serbian president’ comments come as the European gas prices continue to soar. September futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands rose to nearly $3,500 per thousand cubic meters on Friday, according to data on the London ICE exchange.

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Raytheon pay day. But this stuff won’t be ready for another two years. They are actively trying to create a 10-year war. Why would Russia wait that long, though?

Pentagon Signs Deal To Make Air Defense Systems For Ukraine (RT)

The Pentagon has signed a $182-million deal with US arms manufacturer Raytheon to produce NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems) for the Ukrainian military. The work on short-and medium-range air defense weaponry will be conducted at Raytheon’s facilities in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, with an estimated completion date of August 23, 2024, the US Department of Defense said in a statement on Friday. Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden announced yet another military aid package for Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia. At $2.98 billion it is the largest to date, and will include six NASAMS systems.


The military assistance will be funded as part of the so-called Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), meaning the hardware will be specifically produced for Kiev, and not taken from US stocks. In an article earlier this month, Air Force Magazine described the NASAMS as a vital piece of technology that could help the Ukrainian forces to shoot down Russian cruise missiles, which have so far been hitting targets in the country “nearly unimpeded.” Moscow has long been critical of weapons supplies to Kiev by Washington and its allies, saying that they only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

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“In total, nearly 200,000 people have been declared ‘criminals’ over the five years.”

German politicians, a French actor, Victor Orban, Henry Kissinger, and of course as per last week, Roger Waters.

Ukraine Site Threatens 1000s, Incl. Americans, With Extrajudicial Killings (A.)

Mirotvorets, which compiles lists of ‘enemies of Ukraine’, has been operating with impunity for eight years. For the last eight years, a group of publicly unknown activists in Ukraine have been compiling lists of ‘enemies of the people’ with impunity. Hundreds of thousands have been declared criminals without trial. Among them are not only Russian citizens, but also Ukrainian opposition figures and bloggers, European politicians, and US citizens. At the very least, being added to this list is a stigma that makes life difficult in Ukraine, but it can also serve as justification for imprisonment or, in some cases, even being killed. This is exactly what happened last weekend to Daria Dugina, daughter of world-famous Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, who’s name also can be found on that list.

RT explains what is behind the Mirotvorets, or ‘Peacemaker’, website, whose creators seek to bring ‘peace’ to their country with the help of extrajudicial killings, and why the Ukrainian authorities have done nothing about this despite condemnation from the international community. What is Mirotvorets? The main page of the Ukrainian Mirotvorets website proclaims that the outlet represents a ‘Center for Research of Signs of Crimes against the National Security of Ukraine, Peace, Humanity, and the International Law’. It claims to have been created by a group of academics, journalists, and other specialists. However, their names are known to no one, and the outfit itself has never even been officially registered in Ukraine. Nevertheless, this organization has been in operation for nine years, since August 2014.

[..] As long as Mirotvorets was limiting itself to publishing information on Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea and Donbass, Ukrainian opposition politicians and journalists, and Russian residents and officials, the odious organization went unnoticed in the ‘civilized world’. But a scandal erupted in 2016, when Mirotvorets published information on employees of a host of media outlets, including the BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, AFP, Le Monde, the Guardian, Le Figaro, France 24, El Mundo, CBS News, CNN, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Cheska Televize, Radio France, Channel 9 Australia, the Associated Press, Japan TV, the Daily Mail, Die Welt, the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as representatives of Human Rights Watch and many other organizations, for “cooperating with a terrorist organization” (i.e., the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics).

[..] so far, calls for the closure of Mirotvorets have, in fact, been limited to a chorus of journalists, human rights defenders, and parliamentarians, who lack the power to make legally binding decisions with respect to Ukraine. This issue is not included among the list of requirements put forth by the Council of Europe or the European Commission that Kiev must fulfil in order to implement the EU Association Agreement.

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“..the largest Rorschach test in history..”

What Did Not Happen With The Release Of The Mar-a-Lago Affidavit? (Turley)

With Friday’s release of the redacted affidavit from the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, the largest Rorschach test in history seemed to play out on cable television. Instead of ink blots, pundits and politicians stared at pages of solid black lines and offered strikingly different “ah-ha” observations. For former Mueller top aide Andrew Weissmann, the affidavit meant one thing — that “the former president is going to be prosecuted.” (Of course, Weissmann once expressed certainty that Donald Trump would pardon himself by his last day in office.) There already are a plethora of news and opinion columns focusing on five things we learned from the redacted affidavit. Equally telling, I think, is what did not happen with the affidavit’s release.

[..] There is every reason to believe that what followed contained some facts that could be released on the FBI’s communications with the Trump team or the breakdown of such communications. After all, the Trump team already knows about that. Yet the government is saying that everything which occurred in that critical month cannot be disclosed in even the smallest detail. The court could have pushed for additional disclosures but chose to call it a day, based on government representations that more would cause harm. Yet this is the same department that maintained all of the pages released this week could not be released without causing harm.

There is still more that can be done by the court. One option is the special master requested, belatedly, by Trump’s team. I previously argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland should have proposed such an appointment to assure the public that this was not a pretextual search using sensitive documents as an excuse for a massive seizure. The scope of the warrant was ridiculously broad, allowing the seizure of virtually every document in the storage room and every document generated during Trump’s presidency. A special master could have sorted through this mass of material and separated privileged or immaterial documents. That would add to the legitimacy of an otherwise unlimited search.

That also did not happen. However, a special master could still serve the same interests of transparency and legitimacy. By dividing these documents into classified material, unclassified but defense-related information, and unclassified material we would have a better understanding of the scope and seriousness of any alleged crimes. That is why the most curious thing about the redacted affidavit is what did not happen. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Silver Blaze,” a police inspector asks Sherlock Holmes if anything about a crime scene bothered him. The brilliant detective responds, “To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.” When the confused inspector objects that “the dog did nothing in the night-time,” Holmes replies: “That was the curious incident.”

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“A hearing is set for Sept. 1 at 1:00 p.m.”

Judge Announces ‘Preliminary Intent To Appoint A Special Master’ (Fox)

A federal judge on Saturday announced her “preliminary intent to appoint a special master” to review records seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid of his Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month, at the request of former President Trump and his legal team, citing the “exceptional circumstances.” Trump and his legal team filed a motion Monday evening seeking an independent review of the records seized by the FBI during its raid of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, saying the decision to search his private residence just months before the 2022 midterm elections “involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican Party, President Trump.”

U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Saturday afternoon said that the decision was made upon the review of Trump’s submissions and “the exceptional circumstances presented.” “Pursuant to Rule 53(b) (1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case,” Cannon wrote in a filing Saturday. A hearing is set for Sept. 1 at 1:00 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Fla. Cannon also ordered the Justice Department to file a response by Aug. 30 and provide, “under seal,” a “more detailed Receipt for Property specifying all property seized pursuant to the search warrant executed on August 8, 2022.”

The current property receipt shows that FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the premises, including one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmented information. Records covered by that government classification level could potentially include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad. However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the United States. The property receipt also showed that FBI agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, but the document does not reveal any details about any of those records.

Maher Reiner

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Word du jour: Overreach.

Don’t Charge Trump With Espionage (John Kiriakou)

To understand the damage that this deeply flawed law has done, and will continue to do, we have to look at its origins. The Espionage Act was written in 1917, at the height of World War I. The U.S. was panicked at the thought of German spies working undercover to steal its secrets and to disrupt its ability to produce war materiel and support its allies. Congress drew up a law in which one provision, Section 794, made it a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death to provide “national defense information” to a foreign power. But another provision, Section 793, made it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison to “provide national defense information to any person not entitled to receive it.”

The problems with the law were myriad. First, nobody ever bothered to define what “national defense information” was. The law doesn’t even mention the term “classified information” because the classification system wouldn’t be invented for another 40 years. Second, there was no “affirmative defense” written into the law. A defendant was forbidden from saying in court, “Yes, I gave national defense information to a reporter because I was revealing a crime” or “I did it in the national interest.” And to make matters worse, the Sedition Act, which was passed a year later, amended the Espionage Act to criminalize many forms of speech, including “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy.”

Even a Hollywood studio was prosecuted under the Espionage Act. In United States v. Motion Picture Film, a federal court upheld the Justice Department’s seizure of the film, called Spirit of ’76, because a scene showed British soldiers being cruel to colonists. The Justice Department had argued that such a depiction, even if true, could undermine public support for the British in the world war. The film’s producer, Robert Goldstein, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $5,000. He served three years. These are only a few of the dozens of “espionage” prosecutions from the period. The law’s Section 793 was largely ignored from the mid-1920s to the early 1970s, when the Nixon administration charged Daniel Ellsberg with multiple counts of espionage for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the media. The case fell apart when Nixon ordered his “plumbers” to break into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, steal his files and send them to newspapers. Section 793 then went dormant again until Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

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It’s theater. And it’s too late.

Let Djokovic Play (Vinay Prasad)

The credibility and legitimacy of public health demands two things. The rules have to make sense; they can’t be nakedly contradictory. And the rules have to benefit people. You can’t demand jumping through hoops merely for optics. The treatment of the tennis star Novak Djokovic, who is officially blocked from competing in this year’s U.S. Open, set to begin on Monday, violates both. Keeping him from playing because he has not received a Covid-19 vaccine undermines the credibility of the White House, which set the policy, and public health more broadly. I’m saying this both as a Democrat and a doctor gravely concerned about eroded trust in our institutions.

Djokovic is one of the best tennis players of all time. He is currently vying for most majors of any champion (21 to date), competing with Rafael Nadal (22) and Roger Federer (20). But there will forever be an asterisk next to those comparisons because Djokovic is banned from entering the U.S. to compete in this year’s U.S. Open because of a byzantine rule that non-U.S. citizens cannot enter the country without proof of vaccination. This rule makes no sense from a medical or public health standpoint. Consider the facts. Djokovic is 35 years old, and he is in terrific health. He has had and recovered from Covid-19 twice. This—and the fact that current variants are less lethal than prior strains—means that Djokovic’s odds of doing well were he to get sick with Covid-19 again are remarkably good, and lower than his risk of seasonal influenza.

If Djokovic gets a vaccine at this moment it would be against the ancestral, Wuhan strain of the coronavirus and there is no good evidence this would further improve his odds. Now consider Djokovic’s risk to others. At least 140 million Americans have had and recovered from Covid-19 as of January (this number is higher today), and both vaccinated and unvaccinated can spread the disease. Data shows, when infected, that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals shed virus at similar rates and for similar durations. Forcing Djokovic to get vaccinated won’t protect others. Sars-cov-2 will circulate in the United States for a thousand years whether we let Djokovic in, or keep him out forever.

Then, there are the absurd contradictions in our current rules. Unvaccinated American citizens can move freely in and out of the country without testing. Unvaccinated people can pack the stadium to watch this year’s U.S. Open, where face masks are optional. There is no vaccine or testing requirement to attend. Worst of all, Novak Djokovic competed in last year’s U.S. Open, where he made the finals before the travel rule barring his entry was in place. Joe Biden, who made the rule that blocks Djokovic, has received four Covid-19 vaccine doses. He has had Covid-19 twice, and taken at least 2 courses of Paxlovid. His wife, first lady Jill Biden, has also had four vaccine doses, also had Covid-19 twice. Yet, for some reason, their concern is the Novak Djokovics of the world.

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“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Is there any comparable time in history?

62% of Democratic Students Oppose Sharing Dorm Rooms With Republicans (Turley)

It is a sign of our times. It used to be that the key criterion for college roommates was whether you are a “partier v. non-partier.” Now, it is just your party. A new NBC and Generation Lab study of the class of 2025 showed that roughly half of college students refuse to live with someone who voted for a member of a different political party. That percentage is notably much higher with Democrats rather than Republicans. According to the poll, 46% responded that they would “probably not” or “definitely not” be willing to share a room with someone from another political party.


Of those, 62% of young Democrats refused to share a room with a member of the Republican party while only 28% of young Republicans took that position. That attitude extended to marriage where 52% ruled out a spouse from an opposing party. So much for opposites attracting. Notably, 62% would not work for a company that does not share their political values. It seems Twitter is going to be busy this hiring season. sThe poll reflects not just our age of rage but the increasing siloed news consumption of citizens. People now largely remain in echo chambers for news from the left or the right. It appears that such self imposed isolation now extends socially and professionally for the rising generation, particularly for Democratic students.

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“Overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that the US prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse..”

Assange Files Appeal To Stop US Extradition (RT)

Julian Assange’s legal team filed an appeal on Friday to stop the WikiLeaks co-founder’s extradition to the US, where he faces espionage charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 175 years. According to WikiLeaks, Assange’s lawyers filed “perfected grounds of appeal” before the UK High Court of Justice against the US government and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who approved the extradition of the Australian-born editor in mid-June. The appeal argues that “Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions,” while the US government “misrepresented the core facts” of the case to the UK judiciary. It adds that the request to extradite the WikiLeaks co-founder violates the relevant treaty between the US and the UK, as well as international law.


The document also reportedly contains some new evidence that has been compiled since the UK court ruled on Assange’s extradition in early 2021. The editor’s wife, Stella Assange, said: “Overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that the US prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse,” adding that the high court will now decide whether her husband is given the opportunity to make his case against the US before open court at the appeal. In early June, the Wall Street Journal reported that Assange’s lawyers had filed two appeals to fight his extradition to the US, just a day before the deadline for the legal action was set to expire. The exact details of the appeal, however, were unclear.

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Quick prayer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1563382574139207682

 

 

German power baseload price

 

 

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Jun 092022
 
 June 9, 2022  Posted by at 2:00 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Pieter Brueghel the Younger Construction of the Tower of Babel 1595

 

 

It’s pretty amazing, but finally Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said something that is actually true. Not because he intended to, but hey, beggars are choosers. Zelensk(i)y(y) today compared western weapons and sanctions to Covid vaccines. A tad late, for sure, given the vaccine fatigue, but then his audience are not the smartest sheep in the herd.

But he is so right it’s impossible to let this slip. Because any additional weapons delivered to Ukraine will have the exact same effects that the Covid vaccines have had. That is, they will kill more people and end more lives, than no vaccines and no weapons could ever have done.

A unintended brilliant insight from a murderous clown. There are actually Ukraine voices claiming that with enough weapons, they could take/retake Sievierodonetsk and other places in 2-3 days. I wish I was kidding you. They want you to ignore Russia’s warning that for them this is an existential issue, and to think Putin is just a madman looking for Lebensraum.

That way Raytheon et al can keep on adding up profits, and no Americans or British or Germans will die, so it all looks good in the media.

This is the Guardian’s take:

 

Zelenskiy: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Is ‘Covid-22’ And Weapons Are Vaccine

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has compared Russia’s invasion to Covid and described weapons and sanctions as a vaccine, as Ukraine’s military position in Donbas worsens. The Ukrainian president, speaking via video link at a gala to celebrate Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year, lobbied again for more outside help because “the Ukrainian military are dying on the battlefield”. He asked rhetorically whether the US president, Joe Biden, and members of Congress were using “all the capacity of our influence and our leadership” and called on them to be “100% influential”.

“Weapons and sanctions are … a vaccine … against Covid-22 brought by Russia,” Zelenskiy said, hours after he warned that the fight for Sievierodonetsk could decide “the fate” of the entire Donbas – the name given collectively to the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in the country’s east. [..] Russia’s permanent representative to the UN told the BBC that Moscow’s forces were making steady progress in Ukraine and predicted that the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions would be captured shortly.

Vasily Nebenzya said: “It seems to me that there is progress. No one promised a result in three days or a week,” and added: “Just give it time … and you will see the Donetsk and Luhansk regions liberated. And, I hope, this will happen very soon.” Overnight Zelenskiy acknowledged that the struggle for Sievierdonetsk, which has been raging for several weeks, was “probably one of the most difficult throughout this war” and that “in many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there”.

Ukrainian insiders have previously argued the city is not particularly strategic and that their goal has been to inflict heavy casualties on the Russians but Zelenskiy’s statement suggests the city has symbolic importance, not least because it is one of the last two population centres in Luhansk province that Kyiv controls.

Western media and politicians continue to claim that Ukraine can win. They can’t unless NATO goes in full force, and even then. Besides, they won’t.

In precisely the same way that the leaky untested vaccines (plus boosters) won’t stop the pandemic. It is a perfect metaphor.

 

 

 

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Dec 092020
 


Paul Cézanne Curtains 1885

 

Many Aren’t Buying Public Officials’ ‘Stay-at-home’ Message (LAT)
Nine Out Of 10 In Poor Nations To Miss Out On Vaccines (G.)
Tenants, Landlords Face Imminent Crisis As Pandemic Lifelines Expire (ZH)
Texas Files Lawsuit To SCOTUS Challenging Election Results In 4 States (JTN)
Professor: Probability of Biden Winning ‘Less Than One In A Quadrillion’ (EW)
Swalwell Suggests Trump Is Behind Blockbuster Axios Report (Fox)
Biden Defense Secretary Nominee Under Fire For Industry Connections (IC)
Former Clinton Aide Confirms Ties to Epstein, MSM Silence Deafening (MPN)
Trump Exits Somalia (OffG)
Where’s the Hitler? (CJ Hopkins)
Melzer Calls For Immediate Release Of Assange After 10 Years Of Detention (UN)
American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress (Onion)

 

 

Passionate science: Ivermectin is the miracle drug

 

 

I see a tsunami of violent lockdown protests in our immediate future. Maybe it’ll wait till 2021, but not much longer.

“..harm reduction aims to mitigate the risks of dangerous behaviors instead of trying to get people to cease altogether..”

Many Aren’t Buying Public Officials’ ‘Stay-at-home’ Message (LAT)

With the coronavirus running rampant in Los Angeles and hospitals projected to overflow by Christmas, officials have fallen back on a familiar refrain: Stay home. “My message couldn’t be simpler: It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said last week. “If you’re able to stay home, stay home.” Some 33 million Californians are now under a new regional stay-at-home order that began Sunday night, a last-ditch effort to turn the corner on an alarming rise in coronavirus cases statewide. The blunt messaging worked to bend the curve in the spring, when fear of the novel virus and the insidious ways it might spread kept many indoors. But nine months later, the words seem to have lost their meaning.

The percentage of Angelenos staying home except for essential activities has remained unchanged since mid-June — around 55% — despite pleas from health officials in recent weeks for people to cut down on their activities, according to a survey conducted by USC. A similar story has played out nationwide, as millions of Americans zigzagged across the country to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday, flouting the advice of health officials. “It’s not because the public is irresponsible; it’s because they are losing trust in public health officials who put out arbitrary restrictions,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco. “We are failing in our public health messaging.” Health officials are up against a fatigued public, as well as a number of people who don’t believe in the danger of the virus, Gandhi said.

But she is also part of a growing number of experts who think there’s a better way to engage those who do want to take the pandemic seriously — by taking a lesson from the public health strategy known as harm reduction. Typically used to describe sex-education programs and needle exchanges for drug users, harm reduction aims to mitigate the risks of dangerous behaviors instead of trying to get people to cease altogether. When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, a harm-reduction approach would encourage masking and social distancing instead of demanding that people have no contact at all with friends or family they don’t live with. In other words, even during a pandemic, abstinence-only isn’t effective.

L.A., however, has adopted more of a “just say no” attitude. Last week the county became one of the only places in the nation to halt all outdoor gatherings among people who aren’t in the same household, prohibiting two friends from meeting up in a park or going on a hike with masks on. Gov. Gavin Newsom followed suit and included the ban in his regional stay-at-home order. California officials are desperate to reverse an unprecedented flood of new coronavirus cases up and down the state, and even their critics acknowledge the impossibility of the situation. But banning relatively safe outdoor activities risks alienating people who want to follow the rules but feel exhausted, disregarded and sometimes confused by them, Brown University health economist Emily Oster said. “Some of the things they’re telling you not to do are incredibly low-risk,” Oster said. “When you are so strict about what people can do, they stop listening.”

Read more …

Close the borders! But seriously, vaccines have become an entirely critiqueless issue. And thereby uninteresting. Once something is blown up to the status of a religion, it’s time to tune out.

Nine Out Of 10 In Poor Nations To Miss Out On Vaccines (G.)

Nine out of 10 people in 70 low-income countries are unlikely to be vaccinated against Covid-19 next year because the majority of the most promising vaccines coming on-stream have been bought up by the west, campaigners have said. As the first people get vaccinated in the UK, the People’s Vaccine Alliance is warning that the deals done by rich countries’ governments will leave the poor at the mercy of the rampaging virus. Rich countries with 14% of the world’s population have secured 53% of the most promising vaccines. Canada has bought more doses per head of population than any other – enough to vaccinate each Canadian five times, said the alliance, which includes Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now and Oxfam.

“No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket,” said Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager. “But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 for years to come.” Supplies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved in the UK last week, will almost all go to rich countries – 96% of doses have been bought by the west. The Moderna vaccine uses a similar technology, which also is claimed to have 95% efficacy, and is going exclusively to rich countries. The prices of both vaccines are high and access for low-income countries will be complicated by the ultra low temperatures at which they need to be stored.

By contrast, the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which has 70% efficacy, is stable at normal fridge temperatures and the price has been set deliberately low for global access. The manufacturers have said 64% of doses will go to people in the developing world. The campaigners applaud this commitment, but said one company alone cannot supply the whole world. At most Oxford/AstraZeneca can reach 18% of the world’s population next year. The alliance has used data from science information and analytics company Airfinity to analyse the global deals with the eight leading vaccine candidates. They found that 67 low and lower middle-income countries risk being left behind as rich countries move towards their escape route from the pandemic. Five of the 67 – Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine – have reported nearly 1.5 million cases between them.

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You can’t go out, except when you get evicted.

Tenants, Landlords Face Imminent Crisis As Pandemic Lifelines Expire (ZH)

January is going to be a mess. America’s small-time landlords, along with their tenants, are in trouble as safety nets are set to expire. Tenants haven’t paid rent in months, with a looming eviction moratorium expiring at the end of December. According to Reuters, the lack of rental income for landlords has also been troublesome, with many skipping mortgage payments, potentially resulting in a firesale of properties in the year ahead. For 12 million Americans and their families – this Christmas will be their worst – as the extended unemployment benefits that have kept many of them afloat are set to expire later this month. Then on New Year’s Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expires, which could result in a massive wave of evictions in the first half of 2021.

At the moment, $70 billion in unpaid back rent and utilities are set to come due, according to a new report via Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi. Last month, Maryland utility companies began to terminate customers with overdue bills, many of which were unable to pay because of job loss due to the coronavirus downturn. New research from the Aspen Institute warns 40 million people could be threatened with eviction over the coming months as the real economic crisis is only beginning. According to Stacey Johnson-Cosby, president of the Kansas City Regional Housing Alliance, landlords are also in deep turmoil. She said more than 40% of the landlords surveyed in her coalition said they will have to sell their units because of the lack of rental income.

“They are sheltering our citizens free of charge, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Johnson-Cosby. “This is their retirement income.” She said small landlords are frightened to speak out about non-paying tenants because social justice warriors and their “Cancel Rent” groups have attacked landlords. “What they don’t realize is that if they run us out and we fail, it will be private equity and Wall Street firms that buy up all our properties, just like they did with houses after the last foreclosure crash.”

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Louisiana followed suit.

Texas Files Lawsuit To SCOTUS Challenging Election Results In 4 States (JTN)

In a novel legal strike, the state of Texas has asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, arguing officials in those four battleground states violated the Constitution by making changes to how ballots were cast and counted without legislative approval. The lawsuit filed late Monday night by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the justices to issue a temporary restraining order preventing the states “from taking action to certify presidential electors or to have such electors take any official action including without limitation participating in the electoral college.” The suit argues that changes made by the state’s governors, secretaries of states and election supervisors were “inconsistent with relevant state laws and were made by non-legislative entities, without any consent by the state legislatures. The acts of these officials thus directly violated the Constitution.”

“I’m worried about the credibility of elections, not just right now, but I’m worried about the credibility of elections going forward,” Paxton told Just the News on Tuesday afternoon in a phone interview. “I’m not making a fraud argument, I’m making an argument based on the Constitution. And what we know happened, which was that we know state law was changed by people other than the state legislature, which is the only constitutionally authorized changes that are allowed … My argument is that the law was violated, the constitution was violated. I’m not addressing whether there was 2 million fraudulent ballots cast in Pennsylvania. I don’t know, and there’s no way to know, the way the system got set up, the way the rules got changed.”

States are allowed in certain circumstances to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, bypassing lower federal courts, in disputes involving other states. Paxton argued the state of Texas was wrongly harmed by the unconstitutional acts of the other states. “These non-legislative changes … facilitated the casting and counting of ballots in violation of state law, which, in turn, violated the Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution,” the suit stated. “By these unlawful acts, the Defendant States have not only tainted the integrity of their own citizens vote, but their actions have also debased the votes of citizens in Plaintiff State and other States that remained loyal to the Constitution.”

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Because Trump was so far ahead as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020.

Professor: Probability of Biden Winning ‘Less Than One In A Quadrillion’ (EW)

In a new lawsuit filed today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block four battleground states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, from casting “unlawful and constitutionally tainted votes” in the Electoral College. In the brief submitted to the Supreme Court, Texas includes a declaration from Pacific Economics Group member and USC economics professor, Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. Dr. Cicchetti is the former Deputy Director at the Energy and Environmental Policy Center at Harvard University’s John Kennedy School of Government and received his Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University.


According to Dr. Cicchetti, his calculations show the probability of Joe Biden winning the popular vote in the four states independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion. Dr. Cicchetti’s analysis calculates that for Joe Biden to win all four states collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (1 in 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,0004). Stop and think about that. Given President Trump’s massive early lead on election night, the odds — according to Dr. Cicchetti — that Biden came from behind and beat Trump in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are so unlikely that it’s next to impossible. Dr. Cicchett’s work raises serious suspicions. How did Biden pull off this extraordinarily improbable win?

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You mean the report was false?

“Yes, noted pro-Trump, right-wing media outlet *Axios* spent a full year investigating a Chinese spy that infiltrated California politics because of Swalwell’s criticisms of the president.”

Swalwell Suggests Trump Is Behind Blockbuster Axios Report (Fox)

Rep. Eric Swalwell suggested Tuesday that President Trump was behind Axios’ bombshell report revealing that he was one of several politicians who was entangled with someone suspected to be a Chinese spy. Axios reported on Monday that a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang targeted up-and-coming local politicians, including Swalwell, D-Calif. Fang reportedly took part in fundraising for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign although she did not make donations nor was there evidence of illegal contributions. According to Axios, investigators became so alarmed by Fang’s behavior and activities that they alerted Swalwell in 2015 to their concerns, and gave him a “defensive briefing.” Swalwell then cut off all ties with Fang and has not been accused of any wrongdoing, according to an official who spoke to the outlet.

Swalwell, who was one of the most outspoken lawmakers who pushed the Russia collusion narrative since Trump took office, is now hinting that the president was behind Axios’ explosive reporting during an interview with Politico. “I’ve been a critic of the president. I’ve spoken out against him. I was on both committees that worked to impeach him. The timing feels like that should be looked at,” Swalwell said on Tuesday. Swalwell revealed that Axios first approached him about his ties to Fang in July 2019, which was also when he ended his short-lived presidential campaign. But the Democratic lawmaker seemed to suggest that intelligence officials involved in Axios’ reporting were trying to “weaponize” his cooperation with authorities.

“What it appears though that this person — as the story reports — was unsuccessful in whatever they were trying to do. But if intelligence officials are trying to weaponize someone’s cooperation, they are essentially seeking to do what this person was not able to do, which is to try and discredit someone,” Swalwell told Politico. According to Politico, Swalwell “refused to discuss his relationship with Fang” after Axios reported that she had sexual relations with at least two other politicians. He did, however, express confidence that he will maintain his seat on the House Intelligence Commitee. “As the story referenced, this goes back to the beginning of the last decade, and it’s something that congressional leadership knew about it,” Swalwell told Politico.

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The swamp.

Biden Defense Secretary Nominee Under Fire For Industry Connections (IC)

Last month, two progressive members of Congress sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter requesting that he commit to nominating a secretary of defense with no previous ties to weapons manufacturers. The letter, from Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., and Rep. Barbara Lee D-Calif., cited President Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary Mark Esper — a former lobbyist for Raytheon, one the country’s largest defense contractors — and called on Biden to adopt a different standard and find a nominee with “no prior employment history with a defense contractor.” But on Tuesday, Biden announced that he will nominate retired four-star Gen. Lloyd Austin III, once the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, and now a member of the board of directors at Raytheon.

The company has been in the spotlight during the Trump administration in part because it supplies air-to-ground munitions for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and Austin’s role with Raytheon could be central to his confirmation fight. Austin oversaw U.S. operations in the Middle East until March of 2016, a year after the Saudi-led intervention began. He retired from the military the next month and later joined the board of United Technologies, a defense contractor that merged with Raytheon earlier this year. In 2019, Raytheon proceeded with an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which included air-to-ground munitions. After congressional Democrats blocked the sale on human rights grounds, the Trump administration helped force the sale through by declaring a state of emergency.

“Raytheon manufactures the bomb components that are used in Yemen. He bears a direct responsibility,” Phyllis Bennis, who directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, told The Intercept. “He was making money as a board member of this company that is directly responsible for the death and destruction there.” William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, told The Intercept that picking Austin was “tantamount to making the position of Secretary of Defense the Secretary of Defense Contractors.” “The potential for conflicts is huge,” Hartung said. “Raytheon is deeply involved in controversial programs from unworkable missile defense projects to nuclear weapons — the new nuclear-armed cruise missile — to precision-guided bombs that have killed untold numbers of civilians in Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen. If Gen. Austin were to recuse himself from decisions on programs and policies involving Raytheon he could not carry out large parts of his job as defense secretary.”

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Mysteriously vanishing topics. There’s a lot of them.

Former Clinton Aide Confirms Ties to Epstein, MSM Silence Deafening (MPN)

A top Clinton insider has revealed that the former president visited the Caribbean home of notorious sex predator Jeffrey Epstein. In a long interview last week with Vanity Fair, longtime aide to Bill Clinton, Doug Band, noted that, contrary to the official line, his boss did indeed spend time on Little Saint James, the private island that the billionaire pedophile used as a base to traffick and rape women and children. Neither Band nor his interviewer appeared to realize the gravity of what he was revealing, the subject being touched upon only briefly towards the end of a wide-ranging 7,000-word conversation in which he noted that in January 2003, Clinton flew on Epstein’s notorious “Lolita Express” private jet to the island.

Band appeared to bring the incident up only as a way of distancing himself from the disgraced pedophile, who died under mysterious circumstances in a Manhattan prison in July last year. Band insisted that he knew nothing of Epstein’s misdeeds, but “got enough bad vibes that he advised Clinton to end the relationship,” refusing to travel aboard Epstein’s jet with his employer. Flight logs show Clinton made around two dozen trips on the infamous airplane. Band is certainly a source in the know. For years he served as Clinton’s most trusted aide and confidant, traveling by his side and arranging his appointments for him. The former president famously did not carry even a cellphone, meaning that everyone from journalists to even Hillary and Chelsea Clinton would have had to go through Band to speak to him.

Band’s testimony adds weight to others who have already said they saw him on the island. Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre previously stated that Clinton “strolled into” Epstein’s private villa with “two lovely girls” in his arms. “There was no modesty between any of them,” she said. “I remember asking Jeffrey what’s Bill Clinton doing here,” Giuffre said in an interview earlier this year, “and he laughed it off and said ‘well he owes me a favor.’” Epstein’s former IT and maintenance contractor also said he saw the former president on the island, an assertion that Clinton has denied. The former president was also photographed receiving a massage from Epstein victim Chauntae Davies while at an airport, on route via the Lolita Express.

While the press might be forgiven for focussing more on the pandemic and the election, the virtual silence from corporate media has been deafening. The bombshell that Clinton’s closest confidant — whom friends describe as being like a “son” to him — has been totally ignored by the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, MSNBC, CBS News, and CNN, with no relevant results appearing in searches on their websites. ABC News, which for three years sat on information that could have resulted in an arrest, also did not cover the story.

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Well, he appears to be trying.

Trump Exits Somalia (OffG)

These are things that might have been done earlier. During the last, flickering days of the Trump administration, activity is being witnessed across countries which have a US troop presence. Numbers are being reduced. Security wonks are getting the jitters. Is the imperium shrinking? Will President elect Joe Biden wake up and reverse the trend? With the Beltway foreign policy Blob advising him, most likely. In November, acting defence secretary Christopher Miller announced that the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would fall from 4,500 to 2,500 and 3,500 to 2,500 respectively. Somalia has been added to the list of countries which will see US withdrawals in some number. The current troop presence stands at 700, tasked with assisting an African Union-backed peacekeeping force combat the al-Shabaab insurgency.

A good number are also there to train and support Danab, the Somali special forces with eyes on capturing and killing leaders of the insurgent movement. The ultimate objective of US Africa Command in East Africa, then, “is one in which terrorist organizations are not able to threaten the US homeland, US persons, international allies or destabilize the region.” This is a conflict that has a relentless air of eternity to it. Al-Shabaab counts itself as yet another, albeit more formidable militant group, that has thrived in Somalia’s unruly environment. Its claim to radicalised fame came with Ethiopia’s December 2006 invasion of the country. It was encouraged by the Somalian transitional government, with the intention of ousting al-Shabaab and the Islamic Courts Union from Mogadishu, captured by the fundamentalist alliance that June.

According to Robert Wise, the Ethiopian occupation transformed al-Shabaab “from a small relatively unimportant part of a more moderate Islamic movement into the most powerful and radical armed faction in the country.” Yet another salient lesson in the perils of foreign intervention. US administrations might have feared the messiness of the Somali scene. The death of 18 US soldiers in October 1993 in a failed effort to capture the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu stung. Cruise-missile humanitarians and interventionists would have to wait for the republic to find its feet again. The attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States furnished the moment, incarnating the global terrorist phenomenon and the pretext for an international deployment of US forces, officially and covertly. On March 19, 2003, the capture and interrogation of Suleiman Abdallah heralded the return of US troops to Somalia.

Read more …

Good question. But good luck trying to find people who’ve read all this stuff for four years and now acknowledge they’ve been had 100%.

Where’s the Hitler? (CJ Hopkins)

All right, that’s it. I’ve run out of patience. No more excuses. Where’s the Hitler? Yes, you heard me. I’m talking to you. You respectable journalists and political pundits. You Intelligence officials and politicians. You fanatical liberals. You pseudo anti-fascists. All you members of the GloboCap “Resistance” who have been hysterically shrieking that “Trump is Hitler!” since he won the nomination back in 2016. Well, OK, it’s November 2020. The show is almost over. When do we get Hitler No, do not tell me “any day now.” You’ve been telling us that for four straight years. Do we look like a bunch of gullible idiots that you can whip up into a four-year frenzy of mindless hatred and paranoia by screaming “Hitler!” over and over, and then not produce an actual Hitler?

Well, we’re not. We remember what you said. You promised us Hitler, and we want Hitler, or at least a decent facsimile of Hitler. And don’t even think of trying to pretend that you didn’t actually promise us Hitler. You did. You want me to prove it? OK. Remember back in 2016, when The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, The Inquirer, and other such “leading respectable broadsheets,” and online magazines like Mother Jones, Forward, Slate, Salon, Vox, Alternet, and countless others, warned that Trump was sending secret anti-Semitic “dog whistle” signals to his underground army of Nazi terrorists by talking about “international banks,” “global elites,” the “political establishment,” and even “corporations” and “lobbyists” … all of which was supposedly code for “the Jews,” who he was going to exterminate if won the election?

I do. I remember that, distinctly. How about after he won the election, when The Guardian reported that “white supremacy ha[d] triumphed!,” and The New York Times, NPR, Keith Olberman, and other verified news sources warned that America had descended into “racial Orwellianism,” or Zionist Anti-Semitism, or the “bottomless pit of fascism,” or whatever? Or when Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post confirmed that “Donald Trump is actually a fascist”? Do you remember all that? Because I certainly do. Remember Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughter warning her that millions of “Muslim-Americans, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans [were] shaking in their shoes” as they waited for Trump to round them all up and send them to the camps, along with the “Jewish Coastal Elites”?

Read more …

He’s done this 1000 times.

Melzer Calls For Urgent Release Of Assange After 10 Years Of Detention (UN)

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, today appealed to British authorities to immediately release Julian Assange from prison or to place him under guarded house arrest during US extradition proceedings. He made the urgent call 10 years after Mr. Assange’s first arrest on 7 December 2010, amid an outbreak of COVID-19 at Belmarsh prison. Reports say 65 of approximately 160 inmates, including a number in the wing where Mr. Assange is being held, have tested positive. In an opinion rendered in December 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that since his arrest on 7 December 2010, Mr. Assange had been subjected to various forms of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, including 10 days of detention in London’s Wandsworth prison; 550 days of house arrest, and the continuation of the deprivation of liberty in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London which lasted almost seven years.

Since 11 April 2019, Mr. Assange has been held in near total isolation at Belmarsh. “The British authorities initially detained Mr. Assange on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Sweden in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct that have since been formally dropped due to lack of evidence. Today, he is detained for exclusively preventative purposes, to ensure his presence during the ongoing US extradition trial, a proceeding which may well last several years,” said Melzer. “Mr. Assange is not a criminal convict and poses no threat to anyone, so his prolonged solitary confinement in a high security prison is neither necessary nor proportionate and clearly lacks any legal basis.”

The progressively severe suffering inflicted on Mr. Assange, as a result of his prolonged solitary confinement, amounts not only to arbitrary detention, but also to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Melzer said. He expressed particular concern about Mr. Assange’s exposure to COVID-19 given his pre-existing medical condition. “Prison decongestion measures seen around the world in response to COVID-19 should be extended to all inmates whose imprisonment is not absolutely necessary,” the expert said. “First and foremost, alternative non-custodial measures should be extended to those with specific vulnerabilities such as Mr. Assange who suffers from a pre-existing respiratory health condition.”

Read more …

“Jack Weldon gives us that access.”

American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress (Onion)

Citing a desire to gain influence in Washington, the American people confirmed Friday that they have hired high-powered D.C. lobbyist Jack Weldon of the firm Patton Boggs to help advance their agenda in Congress. Known among Beltway insiders for his ability to sway public policy on behalf of massive corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, and AT&T, Weldon, 53, is expected to use his vast network of political connections to give his new client a voice in the legislative process. Weldon is reportedly charging the American people $795 an hour. “Unlike R.J. Reynolds, Pfizer, or Bank of America, the U.S. populace lacks the access to public officials required to further its legislative goals,” a statement from the nation read in part. “Jack Weldon gives us that access.”


“His daily presence in the Capitol will ensure the American people finally get a seat at the table,” the statement continued. “And it will allow him to advance our message that everyone, including Americans, deserves to be represented in Washington.” The 310-million-member group said it will rely on Weldon’s considerable clout to ensure its concerns are taken into account when Congress addresses issues such as education, immigration, national security, health care, transportation, the economy, affordable college tuition, infrastructure, jobs, equal rights, taxes, Social Security, the environment, housing, the national debt, agriculture, energy, alternative energy, nutrition, imports, exports, foreign relations, the arts, and crime.

Read more …

 

 

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In two weeks time, days will start getting longer again in the northern hemisphere.

 

 

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Dec 082020
 
 December 8, 2020  Posted by at 10:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Salvador Dali The Sick Child. Self-Portrait in Cadaqués 1921

 

China’s Sinovac To Double COVID19 Vaccine Output (F.)
We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time (NYMag)
Vilsack Emerges As Biden’s Top Choice For USDA (Pol.)
Biden Picks Retired General Lloyd Austin To Run Pentagon (Pol.)
Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism (Bovard)
A Resolving Picture (Kunstler)
What’s Ahead for New York? Maybe a Budget ‘Nightmare Scenario’ (NYMag)
Swedish Central Bank Governor Slams Expansion Of QE (ZH)
Japan Unveils $708 Billion In Fresh Stimulus With Eye On Post-COVID Growth (R.)
US Credit Card Balances in Steepest Drop Ever (WS)
Tucker Carlson: Our Elites’ Collusion With China Is Real And Widespread (Fox)
Suspected Chinese Spy Targeted California Politicians (Axios)
AOC Called For Boycott, Sales Jumped, Goya Named Her Employee Of The Month (DW)

 

 

Strawberry Fields Forever – John Lennon (Vocals Only)

 

 

Are we going to give these vaccines an honest look?

China’s Sinovac To Double COVID19 Vaccine Output (F.)

Anticipating regulatory approval off the back of ongoing clinical trials, China’s Sinovac Biotech said it has received more than $500 million from investors to help it ramp up production and distribution capacities for its leading Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac. Sino Biopharmaceutical, which is listed in Hong Kong, invested $515 million in Sinovac in exchange for a roughly 15% stake in the part of the company responsible for CoronaVac manufacture. The investment will help the company boost vaccine production, which it hopes will double to 600 million doses annually — roughly enough for 300 million people — upon the completion of a second production facility in late 2020.

In addition to funding CoronaVac, CEO Weidong Yin says the partnership will enable Sinovac to “improve our vaccine sales capabilities, expand in Asia markets, develop and access new technologies, and most importantly, accelerate our efforts to help combat the global pandemic.” CoronaVac is one of China’s leading hopes for a safe and effective domestic vaccine. Its development is under a great deal of pressure — as a matter of national pride, as a means of safeguarding Chinese citizens from Covid-19 and because Beijing has promised a great deal of it to less-affluent countries — something the recent successes of not one but three western vaccines will intensify. Its success will mean a lot globally, as it does not require the onerous ultra-cold storage requirements that Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines do, making it much more accessible in poorer regions.

Early trial data is promising, though larger Phase 3 clinical trials have yet to be conducted, with approval already either granted or close to being granted in Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Chile. “We have made significant progress in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate CoronaVac, which has reached critical milestones in clinical trials in Asia and Latin America,” said Weidong Yin. 600 million. That’s how many doses of CoronaVac Sinovac hopes to produce a year once its new production facility is up and running. Blaming supply chain issues, Pfizer and BioNTech halved their estimated vaccine output for 2020, saying they will now only deliver 50 million of a promised 100 million doses.

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“That a vaccine was available for the entire brutal duration may be, to future generations trying to draw lessons from our death and suffering, the most tragic, and ironic, feature of this plague.”

We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time (NYMag)

You may be surprised to learn that of the trio of long-awaited coronavirus vaccines, the most promising, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which reported a 94.5 percent efficacy rate on November 16, had been designed by January 13. This was just two days after the genetic sequence had been made public in an act of scientific and humanitarian generosity that resulted in China’s Yong-Zhen Zhang’s being temporarily forced out of his lab. In Massachusetts, the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. It was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human, more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States. By the time the first American death was announced a month later, the vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial.

This is — as the country and the world are rightly celebrating — the fastest timeline of development in the history of vaccines. It also means that for the entire span of the pandemic in this country, which has already killed more than 250,000 Americans, we had the tools we needed to prevent it . To be clear, I don’t want to suggest that Moderna should have been allowed to roll out its vaccine in February or even in May, when interim results from its Phase I trial demonstrated its basic safety. “That would be like saying we put a man on the moon and then asking the very same day, ‘What about going to Mars?'” says Nicholas Christakis, who directs Yale’s Human Nature Lab and whose new book, Apollo’s Arrow, sketches the way COVID-19 may shape our near-term future. Moderna’s speed was “astonishing,” Christakis says, though the design of other vaccines was nearly as fast: BioNTech with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca. 

Could things have moved faster from design to deployment? Given the grim prospects for winter, it is tempting to wonder. Perhaps, in the future, we will. But given existing vaccine infrastructure, probably not. Already, as Baylor’s Peter Hotez pointed out to me, “Operation Warp Speed” meant running clinical trials simultaneously rather than sequentially, manufacturing the vaccine at the same time, and authorizing the vaccine under “emergency use” in December based only on preliminary data that doesn’t track the long-term durability of protection or even measure the vaccine’s effect on transmission (only how much it protects against disease). And as Georgetown virologist Angela Rasmussen told me, the name itself may have needlessly risked the trust of Americans already concerned about the safety of this, or any, vaccine.

Indeed, it would have been difficult in May to find a single credentialed epidemiologist, vaccine researcher, or public-health official recommending a rapid vaccine rollout — though, it’s worth noting, as early as July the MIT Technology Review reported that a group of 70 scientists in the orbit of Harvard and MIT, including “celebrity geneticist” George Church, were taking a totally DIY nasal-spray vaccine, never even intended to be tested, and developed by a personal genomics entrepreneur named Preston Estep (also the author of a self-help-slash-life-extension book called The Mindspan Diet). China began administering a vaccine to its military in June. Russia approved its version in August.

And while most American scientists worried about the speed of those rollouts, and the risks they implied, our approach to the pandemic here raises questions, too, about the strange, complicated, often contradictory ways we approach matters of risk and uncertainty during a pandemic — and how, perhaps, we might think about doing things differently next time. That a vaccine was available for the entire brutal duration may be, to future generations trying to draw lessons from our death and suffering, the most tragic, and ironic, feature of this plague.

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Vilsack’s nickname is “Mr. Monsanto”.

Vilsack Emerges As Biden’s Top Choice For USDA (Pol.)

President-elect Joe Biden is leaning toward picking former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to return as head of the USDA, according to four people familiar with the discussions, turning to a longtime ally over several other more diverse candidates who have been jockeying for the role. Though the decision is not final and the dynamics are still in flux, Vilsack’s emergence as the strong favorite for the job indicates the transition is looking for a USDA leader with deep management and policy experience who is close with the Biden-world. The former Iowa governor, who served as Agriculture secretary for eight years under the Obama administration, was a top rural and agriculture policy adviser to the Biden campaign. “He is the preferred choice of Biden’s inner circle,” one of the people said, but added, “that could change.”


The new frontrunner status for Vilsack comes after weeks in which the public discussion largely centered on former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, who has a vocal set of allies lobbying for her to get the position. Biden was on the verge of tapping Heitkamp for the role as recently as two weeks ago, POLITICO reported last week. But those plans were scrambled after House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn publicly criticized the transition team for a lack of diversity among its Cabinet picks to date. Clyburn has been encouraging Biden to select Fudge for Agriculture secretary. While Vilsack leads the short list, new potential names for the role continue to pop up, like former Michigan attorney general and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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And this guys sits on the board of top arms producer Raytheon. How crazy are we going to make this?

Biden Picks Retired General Lloyd Austin To Run Pentagon (Pol.)

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense, according to three people with knowledge of the decision. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black person to lead the Pentagon. In picking Austin, Biden has chosen a barrier-breaking former four-star officer who was the first Black general to command an Army division in combat and the first to oversee an entire theater of operations. Austin’s announcement could come as soon as Tuesday morning, people familiar with the plans said Monday. Austin, who also ran U.S. Central Command before retiring in 2016, emerged as a top-tier candidate in recent days after initially being viewed as a longshot for the job.


Michèle Flournoy, Obama’s former Pentagon policy chief, was initially viewed as the frontrunner, but her name was notably absent from Biden’s rollout of key members of his national security team two weeks ago. Biden had been under growing pressure to nominate a Black person to be his defense secretary in recent weeks. He chose Austin after also considering former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for the job, several people familiar with the discussions said. Lingering concerns about Johnson’s tenure in the Obama administration improved Austin’s standing among Congressional Black Caucus members in recent days, according to two people, including a House Democratic aide. Johnson has been criticized for his record on expanding family detention and accelerating deportations, as well as approving hundreds of drone strikes against suspected terrorists that killed civilians.

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“When their corpses arrived back in the U.S., Obama hailed the victims for embodying “the courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”

Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism (Bovard)

Shortly before his first inauguration, Obama announced, “What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed.” After Obama’s inaugural address, the media rejoiced as if a new age of political idealism had arrived. Practically the entire world joined the race to canonize the new president. Less than 12 days after he took office, Obama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — which he received later that year. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared at a White House state dinner, “We warmly applaud the recognition by the Nobel Committee of the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision.” Shortly after receiving the Peace Prize, Obama announced he would triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Peace Prize helped insulate him from criticism as he proceeded to bomb seven nations during his presidency.

Obama-style idealism quickly became a shroud for federal atrocities. On Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 23, 2009, Obama called for “fighting the silence that is evil’s greatest co-conspirator.” Ironically, on the same day, Obama decided to oppose creation of a truth commission to vigorously investigate and expose Bush administration crimes. After Obama visited CIA headquarters and praised his audience for helping to “to uphold our values and ideals,” Obama chose not to prosecute any CIA officials who created a secret worldwide torture regime because “it’s important to look forward and not backwards.” Over the next five years, Obama administration officials vigorously fought a Senate investigation into Bush torture abuses, and Obama personally defended the CIA after it was caught illegally spying on the Senate to thwart the inquiry.

The Obama administration also torpedoed every lawsuit by a torture victim in U.S. court. In 2011, Obama draped his decision to bomb Libya by invoking “democratic values” and the “ideals” which he asserted were “the true measure of American leadership.” But terrorist groups fighting dictator Muammar Qaddafi were already slaughtering civilians. Obama was so convinced of the righteousness of targeting Qadaffi that his appointees signaled that federal law (such as the War Powers Act) could not constrain his salvation mission. In the chaos that subsequently engulfed Libya, ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. When their corpses arrived back in the U.S., Obama hailed the victims for embodying “the courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”

Obama’s soothing rhetoric failed to deter the proliferation of slave markets where black migrants were openly sold in Libya. Obama declared that America’s “ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake” in his first inaugural address. But one of Obama’s most shocking legacies was his claim of a prerogative to kill U.S. citizens labeled as terrorist suspects without trial, without notice, and without any chance for the marked individuals to legally object. Obama’s lawyers even refused to disclose the standards used for designating Americans for death. Drone strikes increased tenfold under Obama, and he personally chose who would be killed at weekly “Terror Tuesday” White House meetings which featured PowerPoint parades of potential targets.

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EO 13848 : A Trump Trojan Horse?

A Resolving Picture (Kunstler)

An awful lot has been churning in the deep background for months before the election. Mr. Trump was onto the mass write-in vote scam enabled by the media-assisted hysteria over Covid-19. The wheels of genuine US intel against national security threats still turned in spite of whatever Deep State perfidy had been aimed at Mr. Trump himself from Day One in office, and the president made use of his own private counter-intel hackers to suss out the game — which was finally to overthrow him by ballot fraud. The result was Executive Order 13848 issued in September 2020, which specified foreign interference in elections as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” and laid out some pretty stringent remedies.

The main one was a requirement for the top executive agencies — DOJ, DOD, Homeland Security, Treasury plus the Director of National Intelligence (Mr. Ratcliffe) — to deliver an assessment within 45 days of the election. We’re now in the sweet-spot of that 45-day delivery period when something has to pop. Looks a little like the AG, Mr. Barr, has been dithering and wriggling painfully over this, and even making noises about resigning. But he may have already surrendered his credibility, with the foot-dragging of the FBI under Christopher Wray and the agency’s apparent lack of interest in election fraud. The consequences of EO 13848 will roll out with him or without him.

The real action was over at the Department of Defense, where the President hastily cleaned house this fall and installed the trustworthy Christopher Miller as SecDef, along with top aide Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick as Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. Mr. Cohen-Watnick had been an assistant to General Michael Flynn, former Director of Defense Intelligence, in his brief tenure as National Security Advisor before getting sandbagged by Barack Obama and James Comey. Both Mr. Cohen-Watnick and General Flynn are intimately familiar with the apparatus of Defense Intelligence, of course, and have been actively using it to identify DNC and Joe Biden activists who played a role in election irregularities as well as foreign actors.

This wasn’t any RussiaGate type bullshit; it was the real deal. EO 13848 includes this provision: “The report shall identify any material issues of fact with respect to these matters that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security are unable to evaluate or reach agreement on at the time the report is submitted. The report shall also include updates and recommendations, when appropriate, regarding remedial actions to be taken by the United States Government, other than the sanctions described in sections 2 and 3 of this order.”

The “remedial actions” are interesting. They include pretty severe sanctions against any “persons” (entity or company) involved in or enabling foreign interference in elections: attaching property in the US, blocking trade, and an array of financial restrictions and penalties. The EO does not spell out criminal penalties that might fall under the sedition and treason statutes, but expect these to be activated as the law provides. Quite a few political celebrities and figures in the news and social media may have exposed themselves to liability in this. If it doesn’t mean the end of Facebook or Twitter, it may spell the end of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey running them. Also include the less-well-known execs at The WashPo, The New York Times, and several cable news networks.

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Who’s going to fund the lower levels of government?

What’s Ahead for New York? Maybe a Budget ‘Nightmare Scenario’ (NYMag)

Over the summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a virtual pilgrimage to testify before an antique government body , the New York State Financial Control Board. Created decades ago, in the depths of the 1970s fiscal crisis, the control board once dominated the city’s government with a tight fist. Today, to the extent it is remembered at all, it is widely presumed to be defunct. But the entity still exists in a dormant state, like Godzilla sleeping at the bottom of the ocean. The control board now typically convenes just once a year, for a simple review of the city’s finances. It is usually a perfunctory ritual, but this August’s meeting was different. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a move that caused a ripple of municipal intrigue, had just appointed three new members to the board, including a trusted former top aide, and there were rumblings that the monster was stirring.

Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, opened the Zoom with dire deficit projections. “Today, as a result of the global pandemic, the city’s financial position and the city itself faces perhaps its most severe crisis since 1975,” he said. “And it may actually be worse than that.” De Blasio spoke next, departing from his prepared remarks to offer a rebuttal. “The study of history teaches you what is the same and what is different,” the mayor said. “I think it would just be a mistake to think this is anything like the New York City of the ’60s or ’70s, or even ’80s … even though we’ve been obviously deeply thrown for a loop.” What the two men were arguing about, besides the usual city-versus-state power struggle, was a question that will continue to hang over the city for months — maybe years — to come: How bad is the damage?

Viewed from the mayor’s perspective, the pandemic, as terrible as it has been, is a temporary disaster that should begin to resolve itself with the imminent approval of a vaccine, allowing New York’s economy to return to its previous healthy state. (The city government ran a $4.2 billion surplus as recently as last year.) But to fiscal pessimists, the glass is not just half-empty — it’s shattered. The city is now projected to face a $13.2 billion budget gap over the next four years. And so far, its government has made little tangible effort to address the shortfall. “What we’ve learned,” Andrew Rein, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission, said after the city released revised revenue and spending estimates last week, “is that we’re actually still doing nothing about a fiscal crisis.”

For the moment, discussions of what budgetary pain may come after the pandemic have been muted, overwhelmed by a cascade of more immediate developments, including the election, the transition to the Biden administration, a new wave of COVID cases, and the heartening prospect of mass vaccination. This week, there has been a flurry of activity in Washington, with a potential breakthrough in negotiations over a proposed $900 billion stimulus package. But even if it comes, it would be a stopgap. Eventually, a reckoning will have to come.

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Shouldn’t there be more questions about QE? Right now, there are hardly any left at all.

Swedish Central Bank Governor Slams Expansion Of QE (ZH)

Two weeks ago, the oldest central bank in the world, Sweden’s Riksbank stunned the world when it unveiled 40% more QE than consensus had been expecting. Specifically, the Riksbank announced that it was expanding its quantitative easing program to 700 billion kronor ($82 billion), which was 200 billion kronor more than its earlier target. To be sure, with the Riksbank having locked itself in after Governor Stefan Ingves said just a few years prior that its “experiment” with negative rates was officially over, expanding QE was the only available option unless the central bank was willing to gamble with its credibility (and until there is a far greater crisis when negative rates will be unavoidable, damn the soaring house prices).

And while most Swedish central bankers were on board with the decision, there was at least one who hopefully sees the writing on the wall: that central banks will be able to superglue the falling house of cards for only a few more years (effectively echoing the BIS’ latest warning). In a jarring break with the central bank consensus, Riksbank Deputy Governor Martin Floden presented a “long list of objections to the proposed decision” to expand QE through to the end of 2021, he said in minutes from the Nov 25 policy discussion, and noting that “it is the list as a whole that leads me to enter a reservation.” Below we summarize his six objections:

• First, it’s unlikely that further purchases will be able to push down already low bond yields to noticeably lower levels, and that ” a promise today for larger asset purchases will not make monetary policy more expansionary in the near term.”

• Second, it’s “uncertain whether asset purchases in the autumn of 2021 will make monetary policy more expansionary then.”

• Third, “communication concerning a comprehensive purchasing program until the end of 2021 may generate more uncertainty than clarity”

• Fourth, “the actors and markets” that the Riksbank can directly affect are still not in such an acute crisis situation as they were in the spring

• Fifth, “the most important mechanism is that central banks, via asset purchases, are able to remove risk from the markets.” And since this mechanism hardly works if the Riksbank purchases government securities with short maturities, Floden doesn’t consider purchases of treasury bills to be an effective measure

• Sixth, uncertainty over developments in the near term is high, bank needs “to take a new monetary policy decision to purchase more in the near term”

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Dress it in green, you get away with anything.

Japan Unveils $708 Billion In Fresh Stimulus With Eye On Post-COVID Growth (R.)

Japan announced a fresh $708 billion economic stimulus package on Tuesday to speed up the recovery from the country’s deep coronavirus-driven slump, while targeting investment in new growth areas such as green and digital innovation. The new package will include about 40 trillion yen ($384.54 billion) in direct fiscal spending and initiatives targeted at reducing carbon emissions and boosting adoption of digital technology, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a meeting with ruling party executives. Policymakers globally have unleashed a wall of monetary and fiscal stimulus to prevent a deep and prolonged recession as the coronavirus closed international borders and sent millions out of work.


In the United States, a $908 billion coronavirus aid plan is currently under debate in Congress. In Japan, the pandemic has forced the government to put its fiscal reform agenda on the backburner, despite holding the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden, which is twice the size of its gross domestic product. “We have compiled the new measures to maintain employment, sustain business and restore the economy and open a way to achieve new growth in green and digital areas, so as to protect people’s lives and livelihoods,” Suga said at the meeting. Suga’s cabinet is set to endorse the stimulus package later on Tuesday, which would bring the combined value of coronavirus-related stimulus to about $3 trillion.

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70% of US GDP is consumers.

US Credit Card Balances in Steepest Drop Ever (WS)

American consumers – let’s face it, consuming is the number one top job during these trying times – have paid down their credit cards again. In October, credit card balances and other revolving credit ticked down again from the prior month, and plunged by 10.3% from October last year, the steepest year-over-year drop ever, eking past the peak year-over-year drop during the Financial Crisis (-9.9% in January and February 2010):

On a seasonally adjusted basis, credit card balances and other revolving credit declined to $980 billion (green line in the chart below), according to Federal Reserve data this afternoon – a balance first seen in October 2007, despite 13 years of inflation and population growth. Not-seasonally adjusted, credit card balances and other revolving credit ticked down to $943 billion (red line), a balance first seen in August 2007. Since the peak in December last year, balances have plunged by $151 billion. And this is something we have seen in other data: The seasonal adjustments can no longer adequately grapple with the new borrowing patterns that defy seasonality. The classic seasonality in consumer borrowing, established over many decades and utterly predictable, has been obviated by events:

The mega-plunge in credit card balances in April was a result of the dual impact of stimulus payments that were applied to credit card balances and the lack of spending opportunities when big parts of the economy, where consumers normally use their credit cards to spend money, shut down, such as malls, restaurants, cruises, plane travels, and hotels. Before the Financial Crisis, there had never been a year-over-year decline in revolving credit. For decades, Americans had been in the mode of piling on credit card debt with astounding passion and double-digit year-over-year surges in the early years, which allowed them to buy things and do things that they couldn’t otherwise afford, and it cranked up the US economy. The scheme lasted until the blowup during the Financial Crisis that caused the first-ever year-over-year decline. Now there’s the second year-over-year decline, and the steepest ever:

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Not quite sure where this came from.

Tucker Carlson: Our Elites’ Collusion With China Is Real And Widespread (Fox)

On Nov. 28, Di Dongsheng, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, appeared on a Chinese television show about Wall Street and international trade. Like so many in academia in China, Di is a servant of his country’s government. This video was deleted from Chinese social media soon after being uploaded, and here’s why: DI DONSHENG (translation): The Trump administration is in a trade war with us, so why can’t we fix the Trump administration? Why, between 1992 and 2016, did China and the U.S., use to be able to settle all kinds of issues? No mater what kind of crises we encountered … things were solved in no time … We fixed everything in two months. What is the reason? I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here. It’s just because we have people at the top. At the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence, we have our old friends.

[..] “We have people at the top. At the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.” According to Di Dongsheng, that has been true for decades. So who are these people and how many of them work in our media and in our government? Well, Di didn’t say precisely. At another point in the program, he described a Chinese agent working as a vice president at, “a top Wall Street financial institution.” Di explained that he couldn’t say more without making political trouble. Di did tell his audience that one agent in particular was especially useful, and he goes on at some length about her. He describes her as an American who’s lived abroad for many years and is now a Chinese citizen, and this seems to baffle him a little bit. The Chinese government doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Why would they? Why would anyone?

Di seems pleased that the U.S. government is foolish enough to allow it. He explains that this American agent, who lives at least part of the year in Beijing, helped the Chinese government with a propaganda operation in Washington in 2015, and he goes on to describe that in some detail. The Obama administration was easy to manipulate, Di suggests. The Chinese had many friends among the Obama people. The problem came when Donald Trump was elected. After that, he says, everything changed.

DI DONGSHENG (translation): For the past 30 years, 40 years, we have been utilizing the core power of the United States … Since the 1970s, Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States, so we had a channel to rely on. But the problem is that after 2008, the status of Wall Street has declined, and more importantly, after 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. Why? It’s very awkward. Trump had a previous soft default issue with Wall Street, so there was a conflict between them. But I won’t go into details, I may not have enough time. So during the U.S.-China trade war they [Wall Street] tried to help. And I know that, my friends on the U.S. side told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t do much.

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And then Axios joins Fox?

Suspected Chinese Spy Targeted California Politicians (Axios)

A suspected Chinese intelligence operative developed extensive ties with local and national politicians, including a U.S. congressman, in what U.S. officials believe was a political intelligence operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency between 2011 and 2015, Axios found in a yearlong investigation. The alleged operation offers a rare window into how Beijing has tried to gain access to and influence U.S. political circles. While this suspected operative’s activities appear to have ended during the Obama administration, concerns about Beijing’s influence operations have spanned President Trump’s time in office and will continue to be a core focus for U.S. counterintelligence during the Biden administration.

The woman at the center of the operation, a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang, targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage. Through campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, Fang was able to gain proximity to political power, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials and one former elected official. Even though U.S. officials do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information, the case “was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up” in the intelligence network, a current senior U.S. intelligence official said.

Private but unclassified information about government officials — such as their habits, preferences, schedules, social networks, and even rumors about them — is a form of political intelligence. Collecting such information is a key part of what foreign intelligence agencies do Among the most significant targets of Fang’s efforts was Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official. Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf, the political operative said. That same political operative, who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell’s behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.

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“She’s our hero. She helped boost sales tremendously.”

AOC Called For Boycott, Sales Jumped, Goya Named Her Employee Of The Month (DW)

Goya Foods and president CEO Bob Unanue revealed that after Rep. Alexandria Cortez (D-NY) echoed a call for a boycott of Goya products back in July because Unanue supported President Trump, his company named her “Employee of the Month” because sales rose so dramatically. Unanue had visited the White House, where he stated, “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.” That prompted Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration, to tweet that Goya Foods “has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations. Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain. Americans should think twice before buying their products.”

Unanue was interviewed on The Michael Berry Show, where Berry commented: “When you see the radical plans like the Green New Deal, when you hear politicians like AOC spouting these things off, agriculture is a major employer in this country but it’s also a major consumer of energy, as you noted earlier. It’s an intensive process for labor and energy. And they are talking about things that would drive the cost of energy through the roof in some cases making it prohibitive for marginal players. How much does that concern you and how much do you feel the need to step up and say, “Hey, guys, you want me to lay off these thousands of employees because that’s what would have to happen?”

Unanue replied: “You know, communism works until you run out of other people’s money to spend. We’re not going to be able to do that. It’s interesting that AOC was one of the first people to step in line to boycott Goya; go against her own people, as supposedly a Puerto Rican woman, to go against people of her own Latin culture. She’s naïve. To some extent I can understand AOC; she’s young; she’s naïve; she doesn’t get it. But you’ve got someone like (Bernie) Sanders, who’s older than us, older than me, and he still doesn’t get it.” “We still have to chat with AOC; I love her,” Unanue continued.

“She was actually our Employee of the Month; I don’t know if you know about this, but when she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000%. So we gave her an honorary — we never were able to hand it to her but she got Employee of the Month for bringing attention to GOYA and our adobo. Actually our sales of adobo did very well after she said ‘Make your own Adobo.’” Berry wondered, “Was it P.T. Barnum who said, ‘Say what you want just spell my name right. All publicity is good publicity.” Unanue replied, “She’s our hero. She helped boost sales tremendously.”

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