Jul 292022
 


Odilon Redon Sunset n.d.

 

Ukraine Shells Prison Holding POWs – Donbass Official (RT)
US Should Not Fund Ukrainian ‘Blacklist’ (Scott Ritter)
Provoking Beijing (MoA)
UK Official Says Nuclear War Threat Higher Than During the Cold War (Antiwar)
US GDP Drops 0.9 Percent In Second Quarter (PM)
‘Horror Chart’ Suggests Germany On Brink Of Huge Energy Crisis (RT)
Hanover Becomes First German City To Ban Hot Water In Public Buildings (DM)
EU Ban On Russian Gas ‘Impossible’ – Austria (RT)
EU Gas Solidarity Complicated By Lack Of Fuel Sharing Deals (R.)
Worst Is Yet To Come From Trudeau Liberals (Jordan Peterson)
Bill Barr To Merrick Garland: Appoint A Special Counsel Already (Fed.)
Joe Biden Met With 14 Of His Son’s Business Associates (RT)
They Can’t Let Him Back In (Michael Anton)

 

 

 

 

Never forget

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss O’Looney


https://twitter.com/i/status/1552438998009790465

 

 

Hesitancy

 

 

 

 

Breaking, not confirmed.

Ukraine Shells Prison Holding POWs – Donbass Official (RT)

Dozens were killed after Ukrainian forces struck a jail with POWs in Donbass, local official says Ukrainian troops shelled a prison housing POWs in Yelenovka early Friday morning, Donetsk People’s Republic Deputy Information Minister Daniil Bezsonov wrote on his Telegram channel. “There was a direct hit at a building with prisoners,” Bezsonov wrote. “The results as of now: 40 killed, 130 wounded.” The minister added that he believes Kiev used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers for the attack. The facility reportedly housed Ukrainian fighters captured by Russian and allied forces during the siege of the Azovstal steel mill in the city of Mariupol.

Read more …

“Many on this list are citizens of the United States, some of whom, like me, have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

US Should Not Fund Ukrainian ‘Blacklist’ (Scott Ritter)

Dear Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressman Tonko, My name is Scott Ritter. I am a New York State resident, currently residing in the Town of Bethlehem, in Albany County. My family and I have lived at our current address since July 2000. I am writing to you in your collective role as my elected representatives in the United States Congress, specifically regarding H.R. 7691, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, which became Public Law 117-128 on May 21, 2022, which each of you voted in favor of. I draw your attention to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, specifically the following language: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

By enacting Public Law 117-128, you appear to have abrogated your Constitutional responsibilities in so far as you may have, in fact, made a law which both abridges the freedom of speech and a free press by enabling the Government of Ukraine, through the use of US taxpayer dollars appropriated under Public Law 117-128, to publish a “blacklist” singling out US citizens as “Russian propagandists” for exercising their Constitutional rights pertaining to free speech and a free press. The “blacklist” in question was published on July 14, 2022, by the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation, and consists of a list of politicians, academics, and activists who the Center claims promote “Russian propaganda.” Many on this list are citizens of the United States, some of whom, like me, have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

While the specific criterion used by the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation for selecting persons for inclusion on this “blacklist” is not known, in my case the Ukrainian government appears to have taken umbrage against my articulation of Ukraine as a NATO base of operations, my analysis of the Bucha Massacre in early March which assigns responsibility to Ukrainian security services, and my description of the current Ukraine-Russian conflict as a “proxy conflict” being waged on behalf of the United States. Whether one agrees with my positions on these and other matters pertaining to Ukraine is not the point; by articulating my views, I am exercising my rights under the Constitution of the United States. While the Government of Ukraine is free to express its opinions regarding my viewpoints as it sees fit, the Government of the United States, by using funds appropriated by the United States Congress, should not facilitate the actions of the Government of Ukraine in this regard.

[..] As a constituent whose name has appeared on a so-called “blacklist” published by the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation, my personal and professional life has been, and continues to be, detrimentally impacted by the chilling effect of being labeled a “Russian propagandist” for simply exercising the right to free speech guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Moreover, Ukraine has a history of converting “blacklists” of this nature into “kill lists”, where those who speak out against the policies of the Ukrainian government are being murdered or threatened with violence.

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Nancy missed the past 30 years.

Provoking Beijing (MoA)

Yves Smith is aghast about the U.S. eyepoking of China: “The neocons above all seem unable to process that the days of US hegemony are over. It boggles the mind that they are not just eyepoking but escalating greatly with China via the still-planned Pelosi visit to Taiwan in August. As we’ll explain, China is fully cognizant of the fact that Pelosi is number two in line after Harris should something happen to the increasingly addle-brained Biden. And they don’t buy for a second that Pelosi is operating without the explicit approval of the Administration. Note that it’s entirely possible that Pelosi revived her Taiwan trip plan (recall she put it off after coming down with Covid) all on her own. The Pentagon gave her a face-saving out by saying they didn’t recommend it. China, which is routinely screechy when it is upset about what it perceives to be foreign transgressions, has managed to find new registers in its objections the proposed Pelosi visit.”

Pelosi is not only number two in line but has been hostile to the Chinese government for more than 30 years. In 1991 she and two other members of Congress made a stunt on the Tiananmen square where two years before protests had taken place. The multiday protest in the square had ended peacefully. But outside of the square bloody riots took place over several days and nights during which hundreds of soldiers and rioters got killed. The protest and riots had been a U.S. instigated color revolution attempt with the father of the color revolution concept, Gene Sharp, being personally in the Beijing and consulting the protest leaders. After the attempt had failed the CIA organized the exit of hundreds of protest leaders and agents to Hong Kong where they formed the base for the 2020 color revolution attempt there. Lots of those ‘activists’ have now moved to Taiwan.

In 1991 Pelosi and two congressmen unfolded a banner on Tianamen in front of the international media that said: “To those who died for democracy in China.” Police immediately intervened and ended the stunt. The stunt had a positive echo in U.S. media (Note: The video title says it is 1989 but the announcer says it is two years later). Pelosi may think she can recreate another positive media echo by traveling to Taiwan. But the China of 2022 is no longer the China of 1991. It is now the world’s biggest economy and its military force rivals the one the U.S. has. It no longer condones eyepoking and ‘human rights’ stunts. It knows a U.S. provocation when it sees one. In the 1950s and 60s the U.S. financed terrorism in Tibet. In 1989 it coached and financed a bloody color revolution attempt in Beijing. In the 1990s it brought Islamist terrorism to Xinjiang. In this century the U.S. instigated several periods of riots in Hong Kong.

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“..during the Cold War, there was an “understanding of the Soviet doctrine and capabilities — and vice versa” because they kept more negotiation channels open.”

UK Official Says Nuclear War Threat Higher Than During the Cold War (Antiwar)

British National Security Advisor Stephen Lovegrove warned on Thursday that there is a greater risk of nuclear war today than there was during the Cold War due to a lack of communication channels. “The Cold War’s two monolithic blocks of the USSR (Soviet Union) and NATO — though not without alarming bumps — were able to reach a shared understanding of doctrine that is today absent,” Lovegrove said. He said during the Cold War, there was an “understanding of the Soviet doctrine and capabilities — and vice versa” because they kept more negotiation channels open. “This gave us both a higher level of confidence that we would not miscalculate our way into nuclear war,” Lovegrove said.

“Today we do not have the same foundations with others who may threaten us in future — particularly with China,” he said. Today, there is only one remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia, the New START, which limits the deployment of nuclear warheads, bombers, submarines, and missiles. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the US has abandoned diplomacy with Moscow, and US officials have said they can’t imagine negotiating a replacement of New START before it expires in 2026. The US has no nuclear arms control treaties with China, which has a vastly smaller arsenal than the US or Russia. Current estimates put Beijing’s arsenal at around 350 warheads, while the US has 5,550 and Russia has about 6,200.

During the Trump administration, the US tried to get Beijing to take part in trilateral arms control talks with Moscow and Washington. But China has little interest in such talks while its arsenal is so much smaller. If the US were serious about getting China involved, it would need to work with Russia to significantly reduce its stockpiles. Besides the lack of communication, the risk of nuclear war is significantly higher today because the US is funding a war on Russia’s border and helping Ukraine with intelligence to carry out attacks on Russian forces. The US is also stoking tensions with China by deploying more military forces in the South China Sea and increasing support for Taiwan.

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What Is A Woman? – Part 2

US GDP Drops 0.9 Percent In Second Quarter (PM)

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released their report on the second quarter GDP. “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022, according to the ‘advance’ estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 1.6 percent.” By standard definitions, two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth indicates that a nation is in an economic recession. President Joe Biden said on Monday that the US is not facing a recession. “We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view,” Biden said. “The unemployment rate is still one of the lowest we’ve had in history. It’s in the 3.6 percent area. We still find ourselves with people investing.”

“The decrease in real GDP reflected decreases in private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, federal government spending, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by increases in exports and personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased,” the BEA reports. The White House last week adjusted the definition of recession to distinctly not mean that two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth is a recession. “While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” the White House wrote.


“Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists’ assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data—including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes. Based on these data, it is unlikely that the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year—even if followed by another GDP decline in the second quarter—indicates a recession,” the White House said.

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Zschaepitz : “This horror chart suggests that #Germany is heading for a huge energy crisis. Not only are gas prices near record highs, but electricity prices in particular are signaling stress.”

‘Horror Chart’ Suggests Germany On Brink Of Huge Energy Crisis (RT)

Germany is heading for a “huge energy crisis,” a senior editor at one of the country’s most influential newspapers, Die Welt, warned on Wednesday. “Not only [are] gas prices near record highs, but electricity prices in particular are signaling stress,” Holger Zschaepitz, a senior editor on the daily’s economic and financial desk, wrote on Twitter. In what he called a “horror chart” that he posted with his tweet, Zschaepitz showed that the price of electricity had reached almost €400 per megawatt hour on the energy exchange, or €0.40 per kilowatt-hour. If consumer prices reflected such market rates, Germans would be paying around €0.80 per kilowatt-hour rather than the current €0.30, including taxes and fees. However, such a sharp increase would be socially explosive, Zschaepitz suggests.

Meanwhile, in such a case energy companies would no longer be able to produce competitively, he adds. Electricity prices in Germany are influenced by the price of natural gas, which is the source of 15% of the country’s electricity, according to official statistics. Gas prices have nearly quadrupled this year, primarily due to shrinking flow from Russia, the continent’s major supplier. The price crunch has already led to a partial nationalization of one of Germany’s largest energy supply companies. The German government announced last week it would acquire a 30% stake in Uniper after the company asked for a bailout, citing “extreme financial pressure” caused by the reduced Russian natural gas deliveries.

The curtailment of gas flows meant that rather than being able to fully rely on its long-term contracts at a fixed price, Uniper has recently been forced to buy gas on the spot market at a much higher price to make up for shortages. According to a recent report by Bloomberg, European energy firms are racking up debt to cover the soaring costs, with their liabilities having reportedly reached over $1.7 trillion.

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Shoot. Foot.

Hanover Becomes First German City To Ban Hot Water In Public Buildings (DM)

The Germany city of Hanover has become the first big city in Europe to ban hot water and central heating in public buildings in response to Vladimir Putin’s weaponizing of gas supplies. The drastic step comes as Germans have been told to expect sky high electricity bills and sweeping gas rationing measures that will affect their day-to-day lives. In a sign of things to come, Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony in the north west of the country, will cut off the hot water in public buildings, swimming pools, sports halls and gyms. Other desperate gas-saving measures include switching off public fountains and blacking out night-time lights on major buildings such as the town hall and museums. The city’s mayor, Belit Onay, spoke of an ‘imminent gas shortage’ that meant they had to reduce the city’s energy consumption by 15 per cent.


The plans call for shutting off heating within public buildings between April and September each year, and thermostats set at just 20C (68F) for the rest of the year, although there will be some exemptions. There will also be a ban on portable air conditioners, heaters and radiators among the general populace as the average German begins to pay a price for standing up to the Russian dictator. The panic among European states – especially Germany – will likely come as music to Putin’s ears, as he is seen to be cutting energy supplies in retaliation for countries that have supported Ukraine after he invaded the country. Germany, like most of Europe, has been enjoying a hot summer which should soften the blow of the cold showers, but public officials are introducing the measures now in fear of what awaits them when the season turns.

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“..the German industry also depends on it, and if it collapses, the Austrian industry will also collapse, and we will face mass unemployment..”

EU Ban On Russian Gas ‘Impossible’ – Austria (RT)

The European Union cannot ban Russian natural gas, as the step would harm EU members more than Russia, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer warned on Thursday, as cited by Austrian media outlets. Chancellor Nehammer made the comments during a visit to Vienna by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “Sanctions must hit those against whom they are directed more, but not harm those who decide them,” Nehammer told the Austria Press Agency. A ban on gas supplies from Russia – an idea that has been circulating within the EU since Moscow started its military operation in Ukraine – would lead to a domino effect in Europe, the Austrian chancellor suggested.

“Austria’s position is that an embargo on gas is impossible. Not only because Austria depends on Russian gas, the German industry also depends on it, and if it collapses, the Austrian industry will also collapse, and we will face mass unemployment,” Nehammer said, as cited by Lenta.ru. Viktor Orban criticized the gas rationing plan approved by the EU – which aims to reduce gas consumption within the bloc by 15% from August to March next year – earlier this week. According to the Hungarian PM, the mandatory rationing of natural gas is “the first sign of a war economy,” and warned of a possible recession and unemployment in Europe.

Europe has seen reduced gas flow from Russia – a major supplier – due to technical issues at a major pipeline. Nord Stream 1 is currently operating at 20% capacity. The reduction comes as the continent is trying to top up its gas reserves ahead of the heating season. The EU pledged earlier this year to end the bloc’s reliance on Russian energy. A partial embargo on oil was agreed upon, but several rounds of sanctions have not included similar restrictions on Russian natural gas.

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The EU is made up of bureaucrats, so of course pratical things do not get done.

EU Gas Solidarity Complicated By Lack Of Fuel Sharing Deals (R.)

The European Union clinched a deal this week to cope with a gas supply crisis, but to make it work member states need to establish bilateral pacts to share gas and, right now, most have no such agreement in place. Only six such deals have been secured, leaving most of the EU’s 27 countries without firm terms on how and when they would share gas in a supply crunch, or the financial compensation they would give or get for doing so. “[Bilateral deals] are really … the only thing that will hold at the end of the day if there is a real supply crisis,” Christian Egenhofer, associate senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies, said. “They organise the legal stuff, the compensation, the financial but also the infrastructure constraints,” he said.

Fearing Russia may completely halt gas flows, EU countries agreed on Tuesday to curb their gas use by 15% over winter, to fill storage and free up fuel to share around in a supply crisis. But it is up to individual countries to sort out how that sharing of fuel will happen in practice. EU laws oblige member states to send gas to a neighboring state whose households or essential services like hospitals face a severe shortage. To make that happen, governments arrange bilateral deals. However, just eight countries are covered by the six agreements so far – including between Germany and Austria, Estonia and Latvia, and Italy and Slovenia. “This is not sufficient,” EU energy policy chief Kadri Simson said last month, urging countries to arrange more.

A handful of countries are negotiating new two-way agreements, government officials said. A German-Czech deal is due to be signed by winter, and Germany is working on further agreements with Poland and Italy, its economy ministry said. But some countries heavily reliant on Russian gas – such as landlocked Hungary, which opposed this week’s deal – have none. Italy and France are the EU’s biggest gas users after economic powerhouse Germany. Italy has just one bilateral deal on emergency gas sharing and France has none. A senior Italian official said the country was negotiating a deal with Greece on gas storage.

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“I simply cannot believe that this absolute failure of economic policy is now being trumpeted as a positive accomplishment.

Worst Is Yet To Come From Trudeau Liberals (Jordan Peterson)

I have had the great privilege of travelling to 40 American cities in just about as many states and to 15 European countries in the last four months, in the waning days of the great COVID panic, and I have learned many things about our great and self-conscious nation. First: I have not travelled anywhere else where the citizens and the government are more neurotically “concerned” about the pandemic. It may have escaped Canadians’ notice, but virtually nowhere else in the developed world is it now required to wear a mask, as is still mandatory in many of Canada’s airports and on flights out of our benighted country. There is absolutely no excuse for this, except the punitive self-righteousness of the Trudeau Liberals.

What else might you expect, however, from a government that also includes Chrystia Freeland, a deputy prime minister who has bragged about her colleagues’ appalling economic performance, claiming that it is actually good for Canadians to empty their wallets at the gas pumps, because of its implications in fighting the “climate emergency.” I simply cannot believe that this absolute failure of economic policy is now being trumpeted as a positive accomplishment. Here’s a hint for you saintly progressives: if you cared about the poor (the real poor, not the hypothetical poor you are hypothetically saving in the future), you would seek to drive down the cost of energy — energy that is precisely equivalent to work and, therefore, to the wealth that ameliorates poverty.

Second: it is almost impossible to overstate the degree to which Canada’s international reputation has been damaged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Americans I have talked to (including people very well-placed politically on the Democratic and Republican fronts alike) listen in disbelief when I recount the claim brought forth by the Trudeau Liberals: that the trucker Freedom Convoy was financed by Americans hell-bent on bringing about a Jan. 6-style insurrection in Ottawa. Who would benefit from that, even in principle? Even if the Americans (Republican MAGA-types, say) cared about us — which they don’t — why in the world would they want to destabilize Canadian democracy? What’s the motive, to justify the crime? There is none. Even the American Democrats think that idea is insane.

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Barr 180º.

Bill Barr To Merrick Garland: Appoint A Special Counsel Already (Fed.)

Recent developments warrant the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, former Attorney General William Barr says. “[I]ntervening events, especially recent reports about FBI whistleblowers and the possible reach of the investigation, warrant adding the protections of special counsel status to assure that key decisions are made independently without political ‘favor,’” Barr told The Federalist. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been under federal investigation since 2018 for issues related to his foreign business practices, including obtaining investments and board positions from politically compromised figures in communist China and other trouble spots. Multiple U.S. attorney’s offices were tasked with components of the investigation, with the Delaware office being the lead.

Hunter Biden’s problems became much more public with the news that he had left a laptop full of incriminating information at a computer repair store in Delaware. That news was then suppressed by Democrat-allied intelligence officials falsely claiming it was Russian disinformation. This week, multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions, accused FBI headquarters of “improperly discredit[ing] and falsely claim[ing] that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down,” according to a Monday letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. That fact, as well as concern over the investigation’s complexity and scope, convinced the former attorney general of the need for a special counsel.

By highlighting the apparent breadth of the still-pending investigation into Hunter Biden’s affairs, Barr’s comments confirm concerns of three insiders, reported by The Federalist on Wednesday, that “the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office investigating Hunter Biden lacks the wherewithal and resources to adequately probe the dubious financial dealings of the Biden family and their business partners.” Barr’s view that a special counsel is now warranted to continue the investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings represents a change from the position he took in December 2020.

During a December 21, 2020 press conference, when asked whether he agreed with Republicans that a special counsel was needed to handle the Biden investigation, Barr negated the idea. “I think it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and to this point I have seen no reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” the outgoing attorney general told reporters.

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Get that counsel.

Joe Biden Met With 14 Of His Son’s Business Associates (RT)

Despite repeated denials that he ever spoke to his son Hunter about the latter’s overseas business dealings, Fox News reported on Thursday that President Joe Biden met with at least 14 of Hunter’s business associates from the US, Mexico, Ukraine, China and Kazakhstan. Abandoned in a Delaware computer repair shop some time before the 2020 election and unearthed by the New York Post, Hunter’s laptop contained presumed evidence of numerous foreign deals in which businessmen offered tens of millions of dollars for introductions to Joe Biden, as well as graphic proof of Hunter’s drug use and dalliances with prostitutes.

“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden insisted in 2019. When last month Britain’s Daily Mail published a 2018 voicemail featuring Biden speaking to Hunter about a deal with Chinese oil firm CEFC, the official line remained the same, with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying that “what the president said still stands.” Fox News’ latest report casts serious doubt on Biden’s denial. According to the news site, Joe Biden met with Mexican businessmen Miguel Aleman Velasco and Miguel Aleman Magnani in 2014, giving the pair a tour of the White House. A year later, Biden reportedly spoke by video with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and all three Mexicans – whom Hunter was doing business with or in negotiations with at the time – visited them at the vice presidential residence in Washington DC.

In a text message found on the laptop, Hunter told his business partner, Jeff Cooper, that he had spoken to his father about the deal involving Slim. Joe Biden also reportedly met with former Colombian President Andres Pastrana Arango and Eric Schwerin, another of Hunter’s business partners, in 2012, before dining with Arango and Juan Esteban Orduz, a Colombian businessman, later that same day. Files from the laptop show that during a single dinner in 2015, Joe Biden met with Hunter’s business associates from Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia, including an executive from Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter a reported $50,000 per month from 2014 to 2018 to sit on its board. The following day, the Burisma executive emailed Hunter, thanking him for “giving an opportunity to meet your father.”

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Anton is a former Trump WH adviser.

They Can’t Let Him Back In (Michael Anton)

Why? They say Jan. 6. But their determination began much earlier. And just what is so terrible about Trump anyway? I get many of his critics’ points, I really do. I hear them all the time from my mother. But even if we were to stipulate them all, do Trump’s faults really warrant tearing the country apart by shutting out half of it from the political process? Love him or hate him, during Trump’s presidency, the economy was strong, markets were up, inflation was under control, gas prices were low, illegal border crossings were down, crime was lower, trade deals were renegotiated, ISIS was defeated, NATO allies were stepping up, and China was stepping back (a little). Deny all that if you want to. The point here is that something like 100 million Americans believe it, strongly, and are bewildered and angered by elite hatred for the man they think delivered it.

Nor was Trump’s record all that radical—much less so than that of Joe Biden, who is using school-lunch funding to push gender ideology on poor kids, to cite but one example. Trump’s core agenda—border protection, trade balance, foreign restraint—was quite moderate, both intrinsically and in comparison to past Republican and Democratic precedent. And that’s before we even get to the fact that Trump neglected much of his own agenda in favor of the old Chamber of Commerce, fusionist, Reaganite, Conservatism, Inc., agenda. Corporate tax cuts, deregulation, and bombing Syria: These are all things Trump’s base doesn’t want, but the oligarchs desperately do, which Trump gave them. And still they try to destroy him.

Again, why? I think it’s because, while Trump’s core MAGA agenda is decidedly not outside the historic bipartisan mainstream, it is well outside the present regime’s core interests. Our rulers’ wealth and power rise with open borders, trade giveaways, and endless war. Trump, at least in principle, and often in practice, threatens all three. The old America—the one in which Republicans cared about the heartland and weren’t solely valets to corporate power, Democrats were pro-worker and anti-war, and Bill Clinton and The New York Times could advocate border security—is in the process of being replaced, if it hasn’t already been, by one in which there is only one acceptable opinion on not just these, but all other issues.

Anti-Trump hysteria is in the final analysis not about Trump. The regime can’t allow Trump to be president not because of who he is (although that grates), but because of who his followers are. That class—Angelo Codevilla’s “country class”—must not be allowed representation by candidates who might implement their preferences, which also, and above all, must not be allowed. The rubes have no legitimate standing to affect the outcome of any political process, because of who they are, but mostly because of what they want. Complaints about the nature of Trump are just proxies for objections to the nature of his base. It doesn’t help stabilize our already twitchy situation that those who bleat the loudest about democracy are also audibly and visibly determined to deny a real choice to half the country. “No matter how you vote, you will not get X”—whether X is a candidate or a policy—is guaranteed to increase discontent with the present regime.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Bear

 

 

 

 

Gerry Ritz

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 282022
 


Pablo Picasso Houses 1937

 

Kiev Threatens To Attack Russian Territory (RT)
Former Russian President Presents Future Map Of Ukraine (RT)
Flaws in EU Gas Rationing Plan Revealed (RT)
German Mayors Want Nord Stream 2 Opened (RT)
The National Tragedy of Hunter Biden’s Laptop (Lee Smith)
New Dutch Minister No Longer Rules Out Compulsory Buy-out Of Farmers (AD)
A Recession by Any Other Name (Magness)
No, The Economy Will NOT Be OK (Denninger)
The Small Print That Destroyed America (Tucker)
Inventing Diagnoses to Cover Up Vaccine Injury (CHD)
How the CDC Coordinated With Big Tech To Censor Americans (WFB)

 

 

 

 

Stephen F. Cohen and John Mearsheimer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552256839043219459

 

 

 

 

Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

 

“..Moscow might respond with a “massive strike” targeting the Ukrainian leadership if that happened..”

Kiev Threatens To Attack Russian Territory (RT)

Kiev will not hesitate to strike Russian territories if it deems it necessary, Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said during a live broadcast on Wednesday. The security council closely follows all the missile and air strikes Russia launches against Ukraine, Danilov said, adding that Ukrainian authorities are well aware of all the locations in Russia from which the attacks have been carried out. Kiev possesses “enough political will” to order a strike against these targets if such a need arises, he added. “If needed … anyone [in the government] will act without hesitation and sign anything that needs to be signed to destroy these objects,”Danilov said.

The security council head also stated that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s words about Ukraine retaliating against the locations from which the strikes are launched serves as “proof” of Kiev’s determination. Earlier, some Ukrainian officials said that Kiev forces may hit targets on the Crimean Peninsula or the Crimean Bridge, which they consider to be a key supply route for Russian forces. Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesman, Vadim Skibitskiy, claimed that Crimea could be targeted by US-supplied M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS multiple launch rocket systems. Moscow responded by saying that Ukraine would pay a heavy price if it decided to strike Crimea. Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, said in mid-July that Moscow might respond with a “massive strike” targeting the Ukrainian leadership if that happened.

The US and its allies previously appeared to be reluctant to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons capable of striking targets deep inside Russia as they were concerned about a potential escalation of the conflict. Washington has not yet agreed to send tactical ballistic missiles with a distance of up to 300 kilometers to Ukraine. Such missiles can be used by the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launchers the US handed over to Kiev. However, according to the spokesman for the army of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Eduard Basurin, Ukrainian forces may have already received 300km-range HIMARS missiles. DPR troops have found pieces of munitions with a range of 110 kilometers to 120 kilometers, which meant that Kiev could have the 300km-missiles as well, Basurin told the Russian media last week.

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“Seven regions in the West have been annexed by Poland, and three in the southwest by Hungary and Romania, respectively. Everything else is marked “Russia.”

Former Russian President Presents Future Map Of Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine is more likely to be reduced to Kiev and its surroundings than to ever encompass Crimea and the Donbass republics, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday on his Telegram channel. The one-time president and long-time prime minister who now heads the national security council also posted two maps helpfully illustrating his argument. The first map showed Ukraine in borders prior to the US-backed coup in 2014, including Crimea and the two eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. A month after the militants backed by Washington seized power in Kiev, Crimea voted to rejoin Russia, while the two Donbass regions declared independence. “In the mind of the president of Ukraine, damaged by psychotropic substances, this is what the map of his country’s bright future will look like,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.

“Western analysts believe it will look like this, actually,” he said, posting a second map. On it, “Ukraine” is reduced to Kiev and its surroundings. Seven regions in the West have been annexed by Poland, and three in the southwest by Hungary and Romania, respectively. Everything else is marked “Russia.” He did not specify which Western experts may have envisioned such a partition.

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly rejected any possibility of territorial concessions, insisting that Kiev’s objectives were a “capitulation” of Russia and “reintegration” of Donbass and Crimea. Medvedev served as president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then as prime minister until 2020, when he was put in charge of the national security council. Over the course of the conflict in Ukraine, he has made a name for himself with colorful Telegram posts. Just this month, he warned Kiev of “Judgment Day”if they attacked Crimea and offered a list of “Russian sins,” followed up by those of the West.

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Lip service solidarity.

Flaws in EU Gas Rationing Plan Revealed (RT)

The EU’s gas rationing plan approved on Tuesday may not stand the test of a cold winter, The Economist wrote on Wednesday. A “meagre” cut to gas consumption will not solve the continent’s problems, the publication wrote, referring to the plan that will see most EU nations voluntarily reduce their use of natural gas by 15% between August 1 and March 31 next year. The deal was struck as fears grow over a possible halt of Russian gas supplies. At the moment the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a key artery that carries natural gas from Russia to Germany, is operating at 20% capacity. Russian energy giant Gazprom cites technical issues with turbines as the reason for the reduced flow. However, the EU believes that Moscow is using gas to exert political pressure on the bloc. An alternative route via Ukraine has been restricted by Kiev.

The main reason for the rationing is to “ensure that a shortfall of Russian gas does not leave homes unheated or factories shuttered”, The Economist writes, but according to the publication, its success largely depends on the weather. “If the coming winter is mild, the EU may scrape by. But if it is cold the bloc will have to prove that it can hold together when times are hard. Germany in particular will need to show solidarity with other member countries. It sits at the center of Europe’s network of gas pipelines. Will it, for instance, allow gas to flow to the Czech Republic to keep people from freezing there if that means its factories have to go on furlough?” the publication writes, adding that at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 some European countries, including Germany, imposed bans on exports of protective gear to avoid shortages at home.

The plan has several other weaknesses, The Economist notes, such as different levels of exposure to Russian gas among the nations. Before its approval, a number of countries including Italy, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Spain voiced their concerns, saying that they had already cut consumption, citing a lack of connection to Europe’s gas pipeline network and the fact that decisions on energy are usually a national issue, Bloomberg wrote earlier. The approved plan came with some exemptions, with Spain and Portugal reportedly allowed to use just 7% less gas. Other concessions were made too but proved not enough to get the plan unanimous approval, with Hungary voting against it.

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“NS2 does not use Siemens turbines, and can be maintained regardless of the sanctions.”

German Mayors Want Nord Stream 2 Opened (RT)

Berlin’s policy of trying to give up imports of Russian natural gas is likely to create hardship and spark unrest, seven mayors from the German island of Ruegen wrote in a letter sent to the regional and federal governments on Wednesday. They also urged the federal government to allow gas imports via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, given the current technical difficulties with Nord Stream 1 – something Berlin has steadfastly rejected. In the letter addressed to federal economy minister Robert Habeck and Manuela Schwesig, prime minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the mayors “strongly condemn” the current conflict in Ukraine but urge the government to consider the damage its policy could do to the German population and the economy, according to the news agency DPA.

“We are of the opinion that the path taken by the federal government to disconnect from Russian energy sources is not the right one,” the seven mayors wrote. Initially drafted by the leaders of Bergen, Binz and Sassnitz, the letter was later signed by four more jurisdictions on Ruegen, Germany’s largest island and a popular tourist destination. Giving up gas imports from Russia would mean an explosion in the cost of living, which would lead to social instability and unrest that could get out of control, the mayors wrote, according to German media. Calls from the federal government to save energy – such as showering less and foregoing hot water – “defy understanding,” they added.

“As the mayors of this island, we don’t want to have to accept any further restrictions,” Sassnitz city manager Frank Kracht told the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern affiliate of the TV station NDR. Rejecting the proposals to expand the number of wind turbines near residential areas, calling them a health hazard, the mayors advocated “a general rethinking of the solution to the current problems in relations with Russia.” Among their suggestions was to get additional natural gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Finished in late 2021, the pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea was just waiting for the operating permit from Berlin – which was suspended indefinitely on February 22, two days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

NS2 was supposed to double the volume of Russian gas exports, but was delayed by US sanctions seeking to protect Ukraine’s gas transit earnings. Nord Stream 1, which continues to supply Germany with gas, is currently operating at only 20% capacity, due to maintenance requirements. Its operator, Gazprom, says several turbines at the Portovaya compressor station need servicing to maintain certification. The first one was held up by Canada, citing anti-Russian sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, until Berlin intervened seeking an exemption. NS2 does not use Siemens turbines, and can be maintained regardless of the sanctions.

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Deep dive.

The National Tragedy of Hunter Biden’s Laptop (Lee Smith)

In September 2020, the repairman gave a copy of the hard drive to Rudolph Giuliani’s lawyer. The former New York City mayor had been investigating the Bidens’ work in Ukraine for nearly two years at that point after receiving a tip from a former federal prosecutor. Giuliani helped disseminate copies of the hard drive, one of which Maxey took to The Washington Post. Nine months after Maxey sat with Post reporters to explain the contents of the hard drive, the paper reported its own independent authentication of 22,000 emails in March of 2022. These included communications regarding a deal with a Chinese energy company that earned Hunter $5 million, and his work with Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid him $83,333 per month to sit on its board.

His father later boasted in public that he’d threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine unless the central government in Kyiv fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma. At roughly the same time The Washington Post authenticated these emails, The New York Times also verified communications found on Hunter Biden’s computer. So, have America’s two most prestigious newsprint organizations at last acknowledged that they were wrong to believe former intelligence officials who claimed the New York Post’s October 2020 reporting on the Biden laptop was Russian disinformation? Of course not. They were and remain proud of their role in helping push Trump out of Washington. According to one survey, one out of six Biden voters said that had they known about Hunter’s laptop in time, they wouldn’t have voted for his father.

What concerned the prestige press wasn’t that they’d missed a big story—or that they’d participated in a campaign run by U.S. intelligence services to prevent American voters from learning about the extent of the Bidens’ political and moral corruption. Rather, they were worried that an even bigger story about the Bidens might be coming down the road. Maxey says he called the Post in March to say he was taking the hard drive to Switzerland to meet with a cyber expert named Vincent Kaufmann who told him he thought he could retrieve material deleted from the laptop. The Times published its story two days after Maxey landed in Zurich, and the Post published its own “investigation” two weeks later, pronouncing some of the emails genuine while claiming it was hard to tell with others. As a longtime platform for U.S. intelligence operations—and owned by the same man, Jeff Bezos, who owns the cloud computing technology that Amazon Web Services uses to store the CIA’s information—the Post wanted to help the White House get ahead of potential problems.

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Google translate. Rutte is blowing up his own country.

New Dutch Minister No Longer Rules Out Compulsory Buy-out Of Farmers (AD)

Where the cabinet previously spoke of ‘starting a conversation on the farm about new possibilities’, there is now a completely different tone. The new minister Christianne van der Wal no longer excludes compulsory buy-out of farmers. It still sounded friendly in the coalition agreement. “We will start a conversation on the farm to look for the possibilities together,” the cabinet said in a sweet note in mid-December. When Van der Wal is asked in a debate with the House of Representatives on Thursday what she actually means by that sentence, she says that it will certainly be difficult for farmers who run a business from generation to generation, who just want to continue with their business. . But she also emphasizes: ,,I want to tell the honest story. And that is that this is not feasible in every area.”

The government wants to encourage as many farmers as possible to participate voluntarily in reducing nitrogen emissions. But meanwhile, heavier terms are also sounding, such as ‘expropriation’ and ‘not escaping’ from forced sale. The new VVD minister takes a harder tone. The Minister for Nature and Nitrogen expects that compulsory buy-out of farmers cannot be avoided in several cases. “It’s a last resort, but at the same time it’s a realism that we can’t always avoid it. I really can’t rule it out,” she admits. The liberal politician wants to work with a reward system in 2022 and 2023. The sooner you decide to stop, the higher the compensation. After that period it becomes less friendly. “The honest story is that you cannot escape expropriation, if the voluntariness is not there.”

Within a few weeks she will send a plan to the House, stating how she wants to tackle the nitrogen problem. Maybe she will peek at the neighbors for that. Two weeks ago, the Flemish government declared that the most polluting livestock farms must close by 2025. That is about sixty companies. More than a hundred other livestock farms have to significantly reduce their nitrogen emissions. Nitrogen is a major problem in both the Netherlands and Flanders, following a court ruling. Only in the Netherlands this is a multiple of the number of farmers in Flanders.

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All they have is wordgames. AKA You’re on your own.

A Recession by Any Other Name (Magness)

The Biden administration appears to be preparing for a recession—or rather, for news of one. Rather than tackling the underlying economic problems, the White House is playing word games. Economists have long defined a recession as “a period in which real GDP declines for at least two consecutive quarters,” to quote the popular economics textbook by Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus. This definition isn’t perfect, but it describes almost every downturn since World War II. With expectations of low or even negative growth for the first two quarters of 2022, President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers has been trying to blunt the news by disavowing this textbook definition. It is “neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” reads a post on the White House website.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen endorsed the claim on NBC over the weekend. In place of the standard economic definition of a recession, administration officials point to the business-cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research as the “official recession scorekeeper.” It’s a highly convenient move for them. While the nonpartisan NBER employs a robust set of indicators to pinpoint recessions, it does so retrospectively. The great recession of 2007-09, for example, had already been under way for a year before the NBER released its determination. Sometimes recessions end by the time NBER classifies them, and this built-in delay limits the utility of NBER scorekeeping for real-time policy decisions.

The White House’s attempt to wordsmith its way around a recession shows the dangers of politicizing economic terms. Mr. Biden’s economic advisers are trying to buy time by exploiting NBER’s otherwise defensible methodology. They hope doing so will insulate the administration from the electoral backlash in the event of a downturn. There is no federal statute that appoints the NBER as the official arbiter of recessions. Quite the contrary, the federal government has historically followed the conventional textbook definition. The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985, which attempted to rein in the deficit by triggering mandatory sequestrations in federal agencies, introduced a recessionary escape clause for tough economic times. If the Congressional Budget Office projected a recession, Congress could fast-track a vote to suspend the sequestrations. The law defined a recession as a period when “real economic growth is projected or estimated to be less than zero with respect to each of any two consecutive quarters.”

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“Since nobody can ever consume more than 100% of anything this means that all such attempts, unless abandoned and reversed lead to economic disaster.”

No, The Economy Will NOT Be OK (Denninger)

No, this is not transitory. And since we’re headed for political season let me remind you of the sordid tale that led us here. We elected Donald Trump as President. Donald Trump deliberately, from his first day, pushed “easy money” policies that were in fact how he levered his real estate empire to “success.” Easy money policies are a scam, but a very easy to run scam that appears to be “great” for a while. The reason is simple. Take a “model economy” with, for example, GDP of $100,000. Presume 10% of the GDP is out in debt ($10,000) and further presume that the rate of interest, on average, is 2%. At the same time presume the nominal (that is, “in dollars”) growth rate of GDP is 3%. This looks “safe”, right? Well, it is if the amount of debt remains the same.

But it won’t because the rate of interest is less than the growth rate, that is, you’re paying people to borrow into existence credit that has nothing behind it “on the come” that the economy will expand, and they will do exactly that. sIf the amount of debt expands at 4% while the economy expands at 3% no matter the rate of interest above zero interest expense will eventually consume all economic output. Since nobody can ever consume more than 100% of anything this means that all such attempts, unless abandoned and reversed lead to economic disaster. This is not a matter of policy or debate it is mathematical fact and cannot be changed any more than 2 + 2 can made equal to anything other than 4. Now there is an argument for this sort of policy during recessions; in fact this was Keynes’ argument for attempting to level economic conditions: You spend in excess (that is, in deficit) during recessions, and you tax in excess during good times. This retards the economy during good times and boosts it during bad.

The problem: During good times nobody will do the necessary thing to balance the system; Keynes was a fool in that he believed in that which was impossible, which is to expect politicians to voluntarily screw themselves out of a job. Trump knew all of this and that borrowing at below the rate of economic expansion, whatever it is, screws someone. He knew it because he nearly blew his nascent empire up early in his career getting levered up into the maw of a recession, which came within an inch of destroying him economically. He was bailed out, which informed his future actions decades later when he had the power to bail himself and his political friends out as President. It is a fact that Trump ran record deficits during an economic expansion and he did it on purpose with the full consent and in fact authorship of Congress. That’s because under our Constitution Congress must do that in that all spending bills must originate in the US House.

That is, it’s not Bidenflation to start — it was Trumpflation. Biden and the Democrats, emboldened with what Trump got away with and the public clamor for more, piled it on even deeper once he got into office. But this time, as with all other times, it takes time for that to filter through to prices. Nixon created the conditions under which Ford and then Carter (and all of us) suffered; it was Nixon’s wage and price controls, along with his (according to historians) literal assault on Burns, the chair of The Fed at the time, that led to ruinous stagflation under Ford and Carter’s Presidency.

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” It’s not entirely clear, to me in any case, that Trump knew what was happening even then. He had a sense that he was doing something to stop the spread but he didn’t know entirely what.”

The Small Print That Destroyed America (Tucker)

In a maddening interview yesterday, Anthony Fauci performed his usual song and dance when faced with even the most mild questioning. He stonewalled in his trademarked way. He spoke in long, drawn-out sentences, emphasizing the word consonants, punctuated by pauses and silences that convey the sense of precision without the reality. He strung together terms that seem vaguely scientific which intimidated his interviewers into an overly cautious pose. “Oh wow, I’m interviewing a very powerful person,” the interviewer thinks, “so I had better not say anything wrong!” He’s been pulling this trick for 40 years. He is very good at it.

In this interview, several messages stands out: 1) in retrospect, we should have locked down even more, 2) he never pushed lockdowns; he was only passing on CDC guidance, and 3) he is utterly and completely blameless for all things, particularly in funding gain-of-function research which, in any case, is not responsible for the creation of the virus in Wuhan. The first part is startling because many of us have had the sense that lockdowns are in disrepute. Far from it: Fauci’s message is that next time, the lockdowns will be harder and longer. And there certainly will be more. The third part I feel sure will be revealed in time. The fear that the virus escaped from the lab is likely what drove the lockdowns agenda. What intrigues me the most is the second part, the claim that he never ordered lockdowns. This was the CDC and he only served as messenger. Everyone else is to blame for anything that went wrong.

In a second interview the same day, Fauci says this explicitly: “All I have ever done, if you go back and look at everything I’ve ever done, was to recommend common-sense, good CDC-recommended public health policies that have saved millions of lives. If you want to investigate me for that, go ahead.” I’m going back to the March 16, 2020, press conference at which Fauci, Deborah Birx, and Donald Trump are announcing a fundamental change of life in the United States, one that would disregard all normal rights and liberties. It’s not entirely clear, to me in any case, that Trump knew what was happening even then. He had a sense that he was doing something to stop the spread but he didn’t know entirely what.

This has always puzzled me. It’s one thing for him to be hornswoggled into greenlighting the destruction of the economy that was booming and roaring under his administration. That’s bad enough. But to be confused even about the details of what he was ordering that day is next-level stuff. The following exchange occurred that day. Trump is asked whether restaurants and other venues should close. Trump responds: “Right now we don’t have an order one way or the other. We don’t have an order, but I think it’s probably better that you don’t [go to restaurants].” From that, I gather that Trump believed that he was not forcing anything on anyone. A reporter asks for a clarification: “Telling people to avoid restaurants and bars is a different thing than saying that bars and restaurants should shut down over the next 15 days.

So why was it seen as being imprudent or not necessarily to take that additional step offered at additional guidance?” At this point, Trump demurs and turns over the microphone to Deborah Birx, who must not have been paying attention and says something vague about the virus living on hard surfaces. At this point, Fauci interrupts and says: “I just want, there’s an answer to this.” Fauci says the following: “The small print here. It’s really small print. ‘In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.’”

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1899-2022.

Inventing Diagnoses to Cover Up Vaccine Injury (CHD)

So-called “fact-checkers” are having to work double-time to come up with ways to deny the undeniable fact that COVID-19 vaccines are causing injuries and deaths on a massive scale. The shot pushers and their media enablers have taken cover-up tactics to absurd new heights by, for example, chalking up the rash of fatal heart attacks and overnight deaths in athletes and young adults to a fluky condition referred to variously as “sudden adult death syndrome” or “sudden arrhythmic death syndrome” (SADS). What the COVID-19 vaccine-injured do not necessarily recognize, however, is the pretense that post-vaccination injuries and deaths are just “sad coincidences” — far from being unique to the pandemic jabs — is a trick as old as vaccination itself.

Facilitated by well-honed semantic and statistical flimflam, public health officials’ core strategy for perpetuating their fiction is to profess innocence — making unabashedly unsubstantiated pronouncements about vaccine safety, on the one hand, while on the other hand, declaring themselves “baffled” by ailments that emerge in the aftermath of a given vaccine’s rollout. In an astonishingly frank and prescient book, “The Fallacy of Vaccination,” published in 1899, Dr. Alexander Wilder called attention to the “growing conviction” among “profounder thinkers and observers” that vaccination was not only “utterly useless as a preventive” but “actually the means of disseminating disease afresh where it is performed.” Wilder noted, “whenever a vaccinator or corps of vaccinators set out upon a vaccinating crusade, there follows very generally a number of deaths from … maladies which have been induced by the operation. …”

Wilder also blew the whistle on the suppression and concealment of vaccine adverse events and deaths, describing a fellow physician’s urging of his “professional brethren to be slow to publish fatal cases of smallpox after vaccination” and outlining other shenanigans that sound all too familiar today: “Occasionally … a death by vaccination is published, and immediately the effort is put forth assiduously to make it to be believed that it was from some other cause. The statistics of smallpox, purporting to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, are too often not quite trustworthy. Many persons who have been vaccinated are falsely reported as unvaccinated. “Even when death occurs as the result of vaccination, the truth is concealed and the case represented as scarlet fever, measles, erysipelas [bacterial skin infection], or some ‘masked’ disease, in order to prevent too close questioning.”

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It’s all for your own good.

How the CDC Coordinated With Big Tech To Censor Americans (WFB)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coordinated with social media companies and Google to censor users who expressed skepticism or criticism of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a trove of internal communications obtained by America First Legal and shared exclusively with the Washington Free Beacon. Over the course of at least six months, starting in December 2020, CDC officials regularly communicated with personnel at Twitter, Facebook, and Google over “vaccine misinformation.” At various times, CDC officials would flag specific posts by users on social media platforms such as Twitter as “example posts.” In one email to a CDC staffer, a Twitter employee said he is “looking forward to setting up regular chats” with the agency.

Other emails show the scheduling of meetings with the CDC over how to best police alleged misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Although many of the posts flagged by the CDC contained false information about the COVID-19 vaccines, the efforts to police misinformation also resulted in mistaken acts of censorship. An April 2021 email from a CDC staffer to Facebook states that the “algorithms that Facebook and other social media networks are apparently using to screen out posting by sources of vaccine misinformation are also apparently screening out valid public health messaging, including [Wyoming] Health communications.” The communications reveal a high level of coordination between the government and tech industry during the pandemic and raise questions about the extent to which other private companies are working with the federal government to censor the public.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for engaging in what some have called “Orwellian” practices, such as the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security Disinformation Governance Board. The Free Beacon reported that the now-shuttered disinformation board arranged a meeting with a Twitter executive who blocked users from sharing stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop. The CDC’s effort to police alleged disinformation expanded to other federal agencies as well. An internal March 2021 email from a senior CDC staffer states “we are working on [sic] project with Census to leverage their infrastructure to identify and monitor social media for vaccine misinformation.”

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Gonzalo : The Persecution of Alina Lipp and Graham Phillips

 

 

 

 

Wonderful dog life
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552051138530349062

 

 

Old dogs

 

 

Sculpt
https://twitter.com/i/status/1552260484681928704

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jul 192022
 
 July 19, 2022  Posted by at 7:36 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Piet Mondriaan Trafalgar Square 1939-43

 

Operation Z – Don’t Interrupt (Larry Johnson)
Gazprom Declares Force Majeure, To Halt Gas Flows To Germany Indefinitely (ZH)
Russian Economy Expected To Thrive By Year’s End (RT)
Germany’s Energy Crisis About To Get Worse As Rhine Water Levels Plummet (ZH)
Staged Incidents As The Western Approach To Doing Politics (Lavrov)
Germany and France ‘Killed’ Minsk Agreements – Lavrov (RT)
Ukraine Treated Donbass People As Sub-humans, Making Peace Impossible (Ugolny)
Canadian Energy Firm Declares Force Majeure On Keystone Pipeline (ZH)
The Recession May Already Be Here (Lacalle)
House Democrats Push Bill To Add Four Seats To Supreme Court (JTN)
Novak Djokovic US Open Row Escalates (Exp.)
The Last Days of “Joe Biden” (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Makary

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..you should never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake..”

Operation Z – Don’t Interrupt (Larry Johnson)

One of Napoleon’s observations is that you should never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake. Russians know this, not least because they were careful not to interrupt Napoleon himself in 1812. Putin and his team have had plenty of opportunities to meet NATO’s leaders, observe them, negotiate with them and assess them. It’s unlikely they’re very impressed. But when they started their “special military operation” in Ukraine they could never have dreamed how self-destructive NATO would be. What mistakes? First, the West has not shot itself in the foot with its economic sanctions – Hungary’s Viktor Orban is right when he observes that it has put a slug into its lungs.

One can still limp along with a broken foot, but a shot to the lungs is pretty serious. Second, who in Moscow could have imagined that NATO would shovel its ammunition and weapons stockpiles into the Ukrainian black hole in the expectation that if they can get the latest wonderwaffe to General Steiner they’ll be in Moscow by Christmas. A good reason for Moscow to take it slowly – let the mistakes develop, compound and metastasize. It’s happening by itself. Naturally, inevitably, logically. No outside effort required. An unexpected bonus. Don’t interrupt.

Consider Germany, “the engine of Europe“. It stands on one thing – the reputation of German engineering and quality – Mercedes/Miele/Bosch, they may cost more but they’re cheaper in the long run because they’re so well made. No Western country manufactures much these days but Germany still does. In fact, only South Korea and China have a bigger share of their economies in manufacturing. (America, the colossus of former times, is half Germany!) But manufacturing needs energy. German energy comes from Russia – not all of it – about 20%. But coal is 40% and nuclear 10% and they have to reduce these because Greta wants them to which means they need more gas which is cheaper and “cleaner” and which mostly comes from Russia which requires another pipeline to be built. But then they decide that Ukraine is The Big Moral Issue and close the pipeline and step up coal which they’re going to get rid of altogether in 2030 thanks to more wind energy.

And what about the nukes? Unicorn wings flapping. Hard to be green and hate Russia too. And let’s ban potash from Russia and Belarus. That’s about a third of world production. Ban Russian wheat (it is the number 1 exporter) and oil (it is the number 2 exporter). Oh, and by confiscating Russian assets they’ve shown the whole world that only an idiot would keep his wealth in NATO currency in a NATO bank. And all this for a country they lied to about NATO membership. Don’t interrupt.

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The turbine is on its way.

Gazprom Declares Force Majeure, To Halt Gas Flows To Germany Indefinitely (ZH)

Already days before the July 22 European “Doomsday” when the scheduled Russian 10-day maintenance of the crucial Nord Stream pipeline to Germany is slated to end – but which was thrown into deep doubt given Gazprom recently said it can no longer guarantee its “good functioning” due to crucial turbines being previously held up in Canada related to sanctions – the Russian energy giant has declared Force Majeure to one major European customer. Simply put, Gazprom declared extraordinary and extreme circumstances to void itself from all contractual obligations to this customer, thus the gas will stop flowing indefinitely, as Reuters reports in a breaking development Monday, “Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom has declared force majeure on gas supplies to Europe to at least one major customer starting June 14, according to the letter seen by Reuters.”

The letter is dated July 14. “It said the force majeure measure, a clause invoked when a business is hit by something beyond its control, was effective from deliveries starting from June 14,” writes Reuters. As we’ve been detailing, German authorities have of late taken unprecedented steps in anticipation of an enduring Russian gas halt, essentially dimming the lights across the country – which has included everything from limiting hot water, to shutting down swimming pools, to quite literally dimming city street lights as it entered “alarm” stage over dwindling supply.

And as demonstrated in the Monday morning oil price spike, the bid for oil will remain strong the longer the force majeure holds, given utility companies and the manufacturing sector are likely to seek transition to oil from gas… It seems this letter declaring its legal release from supply obligations going back to June 14 is in preparation for definitive action on July 22, namely that the pipeline’s operations are likely to remain suspended past the scheduled reboot/supply back online designated date. In an analysis from earlier this month (available to pro subscribers), UBS economists laid out a detailed vision of what they see happening if Russia halts gas deliveries to Europe: It would reduce corporate earnings by more than 15%.

The market selloff would exceed 20% in the Stoxx 600 and the euro would drop to 90 cents. The rush for safe assets would drive benchmark German bund yields to 0%, they wrote. “We stress that these projections should be seen as rough approximations and by no means as a worse-case scenario,” wrote Arend Kapteyn, chief economist at UBS. “We could easily conceive economic disruptions that lead to more negative growth outcomes.” To be sure, markets are already pricing in some of the damage beginning with the euro which starting this month traded at a fresh two-decade low and touched parity with the dollar, something it hasn’t done since 2002.

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The only one.

Russian Economy Expected To Thrive By Year’s End (RT)

The Russian economy is expected to show positive developments by the end of the year, Maksim Oreshkin, economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said during a speech at a youth forum on Saturday. “The wheels of our economy are building momentum step by step, lending volumes are increasing, and interest rates are falling. We see that the loan portfolios of banks are already growing, while during the most difficult periods in April-May, they were declining. All this indicates that the wheels of the economy have started to work. And by the end of the year, we should see positive developments,” Oreshkin said. The presidential aide noted that the situation is improving in retail sales, which are showing growth compared to last year, boosting business revenue.

Oreshkin also said Russia’s key task is to build a “sovereign economy” which would be “confident in its abilities, working with any partners, but at the same time does not depend on them and is invulnerable.” His remarks echo the view of the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, who said earlier this week that Russia should strive to reach “technological sovereignty” and focus the economy on prioritizing domestic needs, while continuing to increase export potential. In early June, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would not close off its economy, despite Ukraine-related Western sanctions. Speaking at the SPIEF forum, the president called openness one of the key principles of Russia’s new economic policy, and said the country has no wish to retreat behind an iron curtain comparable to the Soviet era.

The Russian economy has been put under intense pressure by Western sanctions, introduced in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Moscow has been prevented from conducting many international transactions, with businesses and individuals sanctioned, while half of Russia’s foreign currency reserves have been frozen abroad, and many international companies have quit the Russian market. Nevertheless, Moscow says Western policies have failed to destabilize the country’s economy.

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When it rains…

Germany’s Energy Crisis About To Get Worse As Rhine Water Levels Plummet (ZH)

What has already been a year from hell for Germany, which is suffering energy hyperinflation as a result of Europe’s sanctions on Russia, and which is “facing the biggest crisis the country has every had” according to the president of the German employers association, is about to get even worse as the declining water level of the Rhine river, which has historically been a key infrastructure transit artery across Germany, continues to fall and as it does, the flow of commodities to inland Europe is starting to buckle threatening to make an already historic crisis even worse. The alarming lack of water is contributing to oil product supply problems in Switzerland and preventing at least two power plants in Germany from getting all the coal they need, and what’s more, the continent’s sizzling summer temperatures are forecast to climb even higher in the coming week, leading to even lower water levels.

The 800-mile (1,288-kilometer) Rhine river runs from Switzerland all the way to the North Sea and is used to transport tens of millions of tons of commodities through inland Europe. But with water levels at their lowest for the time of year in 15 years, there is a limit how much fuel, coal and other vital cargo that barges can carry up and down the river. Low water levels on the Rhine River mean that barges hauling middle distillate-type oil products – typically gasoil/diesel – past Kaub in Germany, are limited to loading about 30% of capacity, according to maritime brokerage services firm Riverlake.

A barge loading in the energy hub of Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (or ARA), which can haul 2.5k tons when fully laden, is restricted to taking on about 800 tons if sailing to destinations beyond Kaub. As shown below, the water level at Kaub has fallen in recent days and is at its lowest on a seasonal basis since at least 2007. According to Riverlake, further decreases in loading volumes for barges hauling middle distillates from ARA to inland destinations beyond Kaub are expected in coming days.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s op-ed in Izvestia.

Staged Incidents As The Western Approach To Doing Politics (Lavrov)

February 2014, Ukraine – the West, represented by the German, French, and Polish foreign ministers, de facto forced President Viktor Yanukovich into signing an agreement with the opposition to end the confrontation and promote a peaceful resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis by establishing a transitional national unity government and calling a snap election, to be held within a few months. This too turned out to be a fraud: the next morning, the opposition staged a coup guided as it was by anti-Russia, racist slogans. However, the Western guarantors did not even try to bring the opposition back to its senses. Furthermore, they switched immediately to encouraging the coup perpetrators in their policies against Russia and everything Russian, unleashing the war against their own people and bombing entire cities in the Donbass region just because people there refused to recognise the unconstitutional coup. For that, they labelled the people in Donbass terrorists, and once again the West was there to encourage them.

At this point, it is worth noting that, as it was soon revealed, the killing of protestors on the Maidan was also a staged incident, which the West blamed either on the Ukrainian security forces loyal to Viktor Yanukovich, or on the Russian special services. However, the radical members of the opposition were the ones who were behind this provocation, while working closely with the Western intelligence services. Once again, exposing these facts did not take long, but by that time they already did their job. Efforts by Russia, Germany, and France paved the way to stopping the war between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk in February 2015 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements. Berlin and Paris played a proactive role here as well, proudly calling themselves as the guarantor countries.

However, during the seven long years that followed, they did absolutely nothing to force Kiev to launch a direct dialogue with Donbass representatives for agreeing on matters including the special status, amnesty, restoring economic ties, and holding elections, as required by the Minsk Agreements which were approved unanimously by the UN Security Council. The Western leaders remained silent when Kiev took steps which directly violated the Minsk Agreements under both Petr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. Moreover, the German and the French leaders kept saying that Kiev cannot enter direct dialogue with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and blamed everything on Russia, although Russia is not mentioned in the Minsk agreements even once, while remaining basically the only country that kept pushing for the agreements to be implemented.

If anyone doubted that the Minsk Package was anything but yet another fake, Petr Poroshenko dispelled this myth by saying on June 17, 2022: “The Minsk Agreements did not mean anything to us, and we had no intention to carry them out… our goal was to remove the threat we faced… and win time in order to restore economic growth and rebuild the armed forces. We achieved this goal. Mission accomplished for the Minsk Agreements.”

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“Zelensky’s presidency gave an initial boost to the peace process, but stalled after a series of protests by right-wing radicals..”

Germany and France ‘Killed’ Minsk Agreements – Lavrov (RT)

Germany is demanding that Russia guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but such a deal was previously signed, only to be “killed” by Berlin and Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. “When [German Chancellor] Olaf Scholz demands that Russia should be compelled to sign an agreement granting Ukraine guarantees of territorial integrity and sovereignty, all his attempts are in vain. There was already such a deal – the Minsk agreements – which was killed by Berlin and Paris. They were shielding Kiev, which openly refused to comply,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Russian newspaper Izvestia. Russia, Germany and France brokered the 2015 Minsk agreements between Ukraine and Donbass, which were designed to put an end to hostilities. But according to Lavrov, Berlin and Paris failed to ensure Kiev’s compliance.

[..] The Minsk agreements included a series of measures designed to rein in hostilities in Donbass and reconcile the warring parties. The first steps were a ceasefire and an OSCE-monitored pullout of heavy weapons from the frontline, which were fulfilled to some degree. Kiev was then supposed to grant a general amnesty to the rebels and extensive autonomy for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Ukrainian troops were supposed to take control of the rebel-held areas after Kiev granted them representation, and otherwise reintegrate them as part of Ukraine. Poroshenko’s government refused to implement these portions of the deal, claiming it could not proceed unless it fully secured the border between the breakaway republics and Russia.

He instead endorsed an economic blockade of the rebel regions, initiated by Ukrainian nationalist forces. Zelensky’s presidency gave an initial boost to the peace process, but stalled after a series of protests by right-wing radicals, who threatened to depose the new Ukrainian president if he tried to deliver on his campaign promises. Kiev’s failure to implement the roadmap, and the continued hostilities with rebels, were among the primary reasons cited by Russia when it attacked Ukraine in late February. Days before launching the offensive, Moscow recognized the breakaway Ukrainian republics as sovereign states, offering them security guarantees and demanding that Kiev pull back its troops. Zelensky refused to comply.

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Vladislav Ugolny is a Russian journalist based in Donetsk

Ukraine Treated Donbass People As Sub-humans, Making Peace Impossible (Ugolny)

No Ukrainian politicians were saints, and neither were the people of Donbass – not that anyone had asked them to be, though. The fact of the matter is that every escalation of violence was aimed at them. It was the Ukrainians who kept upping the ante, and nobody cared. The miners have always died, you know. Why should anyone feel sorry for them? They’re ‘dumb slaves’, they wear no balaclavas. Back then, in 2014, balaclavas were seen as a symbol of superior people, while the ‘stupid miners’ from Donbass (led by Valery Bolotov) and their volunteer supporters from Russia (led by Igor Strelkov) deliberately spurned them. The lives of the residents of impoverished mining towns cost less than the lives of those living in prosperous towns near the Carpathian Mountains. The air in Donbass stinks of soot and is full of coal dust and industrial emissions, so people die of cancer there, whereas the mountain air in Galicia is fresh and fragrant, and the wind of freedom blows in from Poland.

Children were killed in Donbass. Nobody gave a damn, except Russia and the repressed Russians in the rest of Ukraine. It was rather amusing for the other side – people scraping their dead children off the asphalt and saying: ‘We’re being bombed, we’re scared, our children are dying!’ Ukrainians thought it was funny, a just punishment for those dehumanized earth-diggers. They called their children ‘Colorado beetle larvae’, because the stripes of the Colorado potato beetle resemble the St. George’s ribbon, which became the symbol of the uprising in Novorossiya.

All of this convinced Donbass it had the moral high ground, which allowed it to stand tall and weather eight years of incredible hardship. The Ukrainians were granted the chance to reach a political settlement with the Minsk agreements, if they agreed to treat Donbass as a sovereign region within Ukraine. Had they done this, Donbass would have lost interest in politics, returned to its industrial roots, and left policymaking in the hands of western Ukraine again in a few years’ time. But they wouldn’t do this, even for the sake of stopping the war. Recognizing the sovereignty of Donbass was a red line for Ukraine, and so was dialogue with Donbass.

The Ukrainian leadership stuck to those red lines even after Russia said it was going to put an end to the ongoing slaughter at its doorstep. So, what we now have is a new season of war, which has been going on for Donbass since 2014. The two people’s republics’ armies are storming Ukrainian fortifications as the Ukrainian military continues to bomb residential areas in Donetsk. People in Donbass stopped wondering “what they are capable of.” Now they know that the Ukrainian army and government are capable of anything – bombing cities, torturing people, and trying to pass off Donetsk people that they killed for Kiev residents, supposedly killed by Russian missile strikes. The only thing they can’t do is admit that the citizens of Donbass are people just like them, people who have their own interests and are prepared to fight for them until they win or die in battle.

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Force majeure is popular…

Canadian Energy Firm Declares Force Majeure On Keystone Pipeline (ZH)

Just hours after Gazprom declared force majuere with a number of its European clients – implicitly cutting off NatGas supply to the continent; Canadian energy firm TC Energy has declared force majeure on some crude shipments on the Keystone pipeline after a power failure at a pump station in South Dakota. The power failure was reportedly driven by the extreme temperatures spreading across the US (it was reportedly around 20 degrees above normal at around 100 degrees). The pipeline “is operating at a reduced rate due to damage to the third-party power utility,” according to a statement by the company. Notably this is affecting shipments from Canada to the United States, according to the company.

As a reminder, the pipeline runs from Hardisty, Alberta into North Dakota, through South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, where it splits – one arm running east through Missouri for deliveries into Wood River and Patoka, Illinois and the other running south through Oklahoma to Cushing and onward to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas Bloomberg reports that the discount at which Cold Lake crude for August delivery trades to benchmark futures along the Gulf Coast narrowed by more than 8% to $8 a barrel, according to Link Data Services. Perhaps most notably, Cold Lake crude is a type of heavy oil mined from the oil-sands region of northern Alberta and favored by some Texas and Louisiana refiners equipped to turn it into gasoline, diesel and other products. For now there is no reaction in RBOB prices.

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“Negative real wage growth, weakening consumption, decade-low consumer confidence and collapsing investment..”

The Recession May Already Be Here (Lacalle)

The debate about recession risk is pointless. We are already in a recession. Real GDP in the United States declined at an annual rate of 1.6% in the first quarter. The Atlanta Fed Nowcast shows a 1.5% contraction in the second quarter. But the underlying figures are scarier. According to the Atlanta Fed, “the GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2022 is -1.5% on July 15, down from -1.2% on July 8”. That is an enormous negative change, -0.3% of GDP, in one week. They go on to say that “the nowcast of second quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and real gross private domestic investment growth decreased from 1.9% and -13.7%, respectively, to 1.5% and -13.8%, respectively”.

Investment is collapsing, consumption is barely kept alive and if we look at other components, imports are soaring while exports rise less than expected. This is the backlash of massive stimulus packages. An artificial boost to GDP in one year from two trillion US dollars of excessive spending generated a non-structural rise in GDP that immediately leads to a contraction. However, the debt increase remains, and the structural problems are evident. The labor market is only strong in headlines. In June, the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.3 million. This is 215,000 higher than in February 2020. Labor force participation rate was 62.2%, employment-population ratio 59.9%. Both remain below February 2020 levels (63.4% and 61.2%) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Meanwhile, inflation eats any wage rise and real median wage increase is negative in 2022. Real average hourly earnings decreased 3.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, from June 2021 to June 2022, the BLS reports. Negative real wage growth, weakening consumption, decade-low consumer confidence and collapsing investment means we are already in recession and the massive stimulus plans have created nothing but debt.


s
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Won’t fly.

House Democrats Push Bill To Add Four Seats To Supreme Court (JTN)

House Democrats on Monday demanded legislation to add four seats to the Supreme Court in hopes of moving the judicial body away from its current conservative slant. The lawmakers made their push at a press conference hosted by the Take Back the Court Action Fund on Monday. Their demands follow rulings from the high court handing conservatives major wins on both abortion and gun rights. The court in late June overturned the landmark abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade, returning the right to regulate the procedure to the states. One day prior, it struck down a New York law restricting the issuance of concealed carry permits
The Supreme Court is “making decisions that usurp the power of the legislative and executive branches,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., according to The Hill.


Some preemptively addressed detractors who would call the effort “court-packing” saying the Republicans did so first. “The nightmare scenario of GOP court-packing is already upon us,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.). “That’s how they got this far-right 6-3 majority in the first place.” The Court’s 6-3 conservative slant is in part due to President Donald Trump’s appointment of three associate justices to the bench. Neil Gorsuch replaced Antonin Scalia, while Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy, and Amy Coney Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Congress has previously changed the number of justices on the court seven times, The Hill noted. The measure is unlikely to become law as Democrats will likely be unable to clear the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold in the Senate in the face of stiff Republican opposition.

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“How many jabs did Fauci get? Banning Djokovic would be equally stupid.”

Novak Djokovic US Open Row Escalates (Exp.)

Two more political figures have thrown support behind Novak Djokovic as he remains unable to play the US Open as an unvaccinated traveller. The United States currently bans any unvaccinated foreign nationals from entering the country but one of Donald Trump’s former aides has become the latest to criticise the rules and put pressure on Joe Biden, with a Senator echoing his calls. Djokovic is still in doubt to play the final Grand Slam tournament of the year with unvaccinated travellers unable to enter the United States. The world No 7 has already confirmed he does not intend to get vaccinated just to compete and will find himself banned from the country unless the rules change.

Several American politicians have condemned the ban already and called for the Serb to be allowed into the country to compete, and now two more have ridiculed the policy of stopping unjabbed visitors from entering the United States. “Let @DjokerNole play in the @usopen! The U.S. Open cheapens itself when it bans one of the best players in the world,” Richard Grenell tweeted. The former politician was picked by Donald Trump to be the U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 2017 and the U.S. Acting Director of National Intelligence in 2020. He was also the Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations for 15 months from October 2019, linking him to the Serb’s home country. And current Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has now echoed Grenell’s words, slamming the idea of keeping Djokovic out of the country as “stupid”.

He tweeted: “RichardGrenelli is 100% correct on this. “Has anyone noticed the vaccines are NOT preventing infection and transmission? The mandates are idiotic, pointless and destructive. How many jabs did Fauci get? Banning Djokovic would be equally stupid.” Johnson and Grenell’s tweets come after two other US politicians criticised the ban on Djokovic and other unvaccinated travellers. Texas State Senator Drew Springer and Senator for Kentucky, Rand Paul pressured Biden over the issue last week. “Biden is banning Novak Djokovic from coming to USA to play the US Open but allows millions of unvaccinated illegals to flood across the border. Hey Joe, what’s one more unvaxed person?!?! Springer tweeted last Sunday, before Paul said: “Hooray for heroic stances for medical freedom by Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic. Boo for unscientific policy of banning visitors to US that already have natural immunity.”

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“The Russians end up with control of the Black Sea and probably the Ukraine bread-basket as well. So, now, Europe will starve and freeze.”

The Last Days of “Joe Biden” (Kunstler)

It’s like our country is trapped on one of those swirling carnival rides beloved of the county fairs… only, the felonious mutt who runs the ride has nodded off in a fentanyl delirium with the motor running at maximum speed… and the children-of-all-ages locked in the pods of this infernal machine shriek and vomit with each sickening rotation… as the half-century-old swing arms groan and wobble from metal fatigue on their squealing pivots… and suddenly comes a deafening crunch of gnashed gears, the smell of burning oil, and the pathetic whimpering of the nearly dead. That’s us. Some terrible midsummer accident-of-state has befallen the USA Carnival, and most are too dazed to know it. Whose idea was it to send the wind-up doll president called “Joe Biden” to Saudi Arabia?

I can just imagine what went on in the chamber in private with “JB” and MBS (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), virtual autocrat of the oil-soaked desert land. The American visitor muttered something about wanting an ice-cream cone before dropping into a catatonic thousand-yard stare. “How does this thing work?” MBS asks his chief vizier, the foreign minister (in Arabic, of course), gesticulating disdainfully at the ghostly figure sunk in the plush camel-hair armchair yards away. “Joe Biden” sits motionless. Someone has forgotten to rewind him, some “aide” who carries the president’s Adderall. Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud tells the boss, “We’ll make up some camel-dung for release to CNN and friends. They’ll fall for anything.” It’s like a crime scene where the forensic experts have entered. The Saudi leader and his entourage only hang around the room for three minutes until the US State Department shoots enough photos to prove that “JB” was there and not stuffed in the basement of his Delaware beach house for the weekend, as usual.

The American news media gets briefed: Saudi Arabia graciously agrees to bump up its oil production somewhere in the 2025-2027 time-frame — a triumph for US diplomacy, the networks are informed. Air Force One wings home through clouds of despair. The White House team members spend the flight updating their resumés. I think we have witnessed “Joe Biden’s” final appearance at any world-stage event. He can do no more for the Party of Chaos. It has done what it can to wreck the joint with him as the pretend head-of-state. The Ukraine gambit is a bust, a foolish miscalculation that was obvious from the start. All it accomplished was to reveal the pitiful dependence of our European allies on Russian oil and gas, leaving their economies good and truly scuppered without it. The Russians end up with control of the Black Sea and probably the Ukraine bread-basket as well. So, now, Europe will starve and freeze.

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Emmanuel Todd Lopez

 

 

 

 

Kung fu

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 252022
 


Arnold Böcklin Mermaids at play 1886

 

Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (ZH)
What Progressives Get Wrong About Overturning Roe (Turley)
Biden Claims Abortion Ruling Makes US ‘Outlier Among Developed Nations’ (Fox)
Putin Suggests Way Out Of Global Economic Crisis (RT)
China Promotes ‘Non-Western Multilateralism’ at BRICS Summit (NI)
US Gov’t Body Plots To Break Up Russia In Name Of ‘Decolonization’ (MP)
Why The West Risks Condemning Ukraine To Slow Strangulation (G.)
Concurrent And Hyperinflation Will Ravage The World (von Greyerz)
Don’t Fear The Recession (Denninger)
A Lemming Leading The Lemmings: The Terminal Collapse Of The Anti-war Left (Cook)
Prepare For A Tidal Wave Of Evictions (ZH)
When the Wicked Try to Flee (Kunstler)
Austria Set to Retire Vaccine Mandate by End of August (Eugyp)

 

 

 

 

Trump 2016 Roe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First thing we need to do is to stop making this a black and white issue. There are many shades here. Many will claim that I have no right to speak, because I am a man. But you can’t just silence half the population on crucial questions. We are not done talking.

Biden: The Supreme Court ‘took away a constitutional right’. No, that never existed.

In Europe, abortion is much more regulated than in the US under Roe v Wade. The Mississippi law that the Supreme Court upheld today bans abortion after 15 weeks. France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany ban abortion after 12 weeks. Italy 13 weeks. France, Austria, Spain after 14 weeks. UK 24 weeks. In the US, I see many voices claim abortion up to 8-9 months should be legal. That makes me very uncomfortable.

Another point: the Dems could have codified Roe v Wade into law under Clinton, Obama, even Biden. They did not. Some suggest this is because they want to be able to keep bringing it up time and again because it is an issue that is guaranteed to get them votes. Codify it, and those votes are gone.

Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (ZH)

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade, returning the decision on whether or not abortion is legal to individual states. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the Friday decision – the May 2 leak of which led to widespread protests and an attempted murder against Justice Brett Kavanaugh – the court overturned the 1973 case which guaranteed access to abortion nationwide. The case at issue – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenged a Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks. Lower courts, citing a previous ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey preventing states from banning abortion within the first 24 weeks of gestation, had prevented Dobbs from being enacted – which the Supreme Court just reversed.

In response to the ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Congressional Democrats would work to “enshrine Roe v. Wade into law” – while former President Obama said the ruling attacks ‘essential freedoms.’ Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted that “American women are having their rights taken by 5 unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the ruling is “courageous and correct.” Within an hour of the USSC Roe decision, Missouri ended abortion in the state. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden said that there would be a “mini revolution” in November’s midterm elections if the landmark decision was overturned – insisting that overturning the law would be “ridiculous” and would drive Democrat turnout in November’s midterm elections.

“I don’t think the country will stand for it,” he said, adding “If in fact the decision comes down the way it does, and these states impose the limitations they’re talking about, it’s going to cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote these folks out of office.” Earlier this year, Congressional Democrats tried and failed to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. Meanwhile, Biden said he was exploring the use of executive orders depending on the final Supreme Court decision. Biden also pushed voters to come out during midterms so that Congressional dems would have enough of a majority to codify abortion rights into law. “You gotta vote to let people know exactly what the devil you think,” he told Kimmel.

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“Now, it’s citizens who will decide.”

What Progressives Get Wrong About Overturning Roe (Turley)

With the release of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, politicians and pundits went public with a parade of horribles – from the criminalization of contraceptives to the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education. In reality, the post-Roe world will look much like the Roe world for most citizens. While this is a momentous decision, it is important to note what it does and does not do. The decision itself was already largely known. It did not dramatically change since the leak of an earlier draft. The conservative majority held firm in declaring that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided: “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

In the end, Chief Justice John Roberts cut a bit of a lonely figure in the mix of the court on the issue. His concurrence did not seriously question the majority view that Roe was not based on a good law. However, he would have stopped short of overturning the decision outright. It is the ultimate call of an incrementalist detached from the underlying constitutional interpretation. The court now has a solid majority of justices who are more motivated by what they view as “first principles” than pragmatic concerns. From a court that has long used nuanced (and maddeningly vague) opinions to avoid major changes in constitutional doctrine, we now have clarity on this issue. It will return to the citizens of each state to decide. The court anticipated the response to the opinion by those who “stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil … other rights.”

The opinion expressly does not address contraception, same-sex marriage or other rights. That claim has always been absurd but has become a talking point on the left. After the leak of the draft opinion, the New York Times opinion editors warned that some states likely would outlaw interracial marriage if Roe v. Wade is overturned: “Imagine that every state were free to choose whether to allow Black people and white people to marry. Some states would permit such marriages; others probably wouldn’t.” It takes considerable imagination because it is utter nonsense, though it must come as something of a surprise to Justice Clarence Thomas, given his interracial marriage, or to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, given her own interracial family.

Nevertheless, politicians lined up to lead the parade of predicting horrible consequences. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that “with Roe and their attempt to destroy it, radical Republicans are charging ahead with their crusade to criminalize health freedom.” [..] The court held that “it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Much of course has changed since 1973 when Roe was handed down. At that time, most states restricted legal abortions. Now, the overwhelming majority of Americans have supported Roe v. Wade and 16 states have guaranteed abortion, including states such as California, Illinois and New York that hold a significant percentage of the population. States like Colorado protect the right of a woman to make this decision without limitations on the stage of a pregnancy.

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It’s not.

Biden Claims Abortion Ruling Makes US ‘Outlier Among Developed Nations’ (Fox)

President Biden remarked Friday that the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade made the U.S. an “outlier” in the West. “With this decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court shows how extreme it is, how far removed they are from the majority of this country,” Biden said during a speech at the White House. “They have made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world. But this decision must not be the final word.” However, European nations largely have abortion laws that resemble regulations supported by many Republican-led state governments. The Supreme Court issued its decision Friday as part of a case regarding a Mississippi state law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Even states that ban abortion can’t make it illegal to travel to another state to abort a pregnancy, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurrence Friday. By comparison, abortion is only permitted in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger in Poland. In Ireland and Germany, abortion procedures are banned in the majority of cases after 12 weeks. Italy doesn’t allow abortions after 90 days, or just under 13 weeks. France, Austria and Spain have banned the procedure after 14 weeks. “Upholding laws restricting abortion on demand after 20 weeks would situate the United States closer to the international mainstream, instead of leaving it as an outlying country with ultra-permissive abortion policies,” the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life group, stated in 2014.

The report noted that the list of nations where abortion is legal past 20 weeks included North Korea, China and Vietnam. The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that 12 countries now allow abortion up to 20 weeks, a legal adviser for the group told Politifact last month. The U.K. allows abortions up to 24 weeks, according to the nation’s National Health Service. In addition, there are more than 20 countries that have “flexible” laws that permit abortion procedures at 20 weeks or later under certain circumstances, according to Politifact. For example, the Czech Republic allows abortions after 20 weeks for mental health reasons and Japan permits abortions after 22 weeks for socioeconomic reasons.

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BRICS. I stopped quoting RT when it was banned all over, I want people to be able to click links and read the original articles. 1 exception here, also because this is the entire article.

Putin Suggests Way Out Of Global Economic Crisis (RT)

The West’s selfish attempts to blame the entire world for its own mistakes have led to the global economic crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday, appearing via video link at the 14th BRICS Summit. “Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation is it possible to find a way out of this crisis situation that has gripped the global economy due to the thoughtless and selfish actions of certain states,” Putin explained.


The Russian leader stressed that today, as never before, the leadership of the BRICS countries is needed in order to develop a unifying policy for the shaping of a truly multipolar system of intergovernmental relations, and that it ought to be based on the universally recognized norms of international law and the key principles of the UN Charter. According to Putin, the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have a truly enormous political, economic, scientific, technological and human potential. Their influence on the global arena is increasing with every year, he pointed out. “Russia is ready to continue developing close multifaceted interaction with all the [BRICS] partners and contribute to the enhancement of its role in international affairs,” Putin promised.

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The west is not the future. That time is behind us. And many countries recognize this.

China Promotes ‘Non-Western Multilateralism’ at BRICS Summit (NI)

China hosted the first day of the fourteenth annual BRICS Summit—a series of meetings involving the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—on Wednesday, amid a series of major shifts in the global world order and rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Chinese president Xi Jinping opened the summit on Wednesday, emphasizing the five nations’ “shared desire to meet challenges together through cooperation,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. The Chinese leader also urged the countries in attendance to “embrace solidarity and coordination and jointly maintain world peace and stability.”

The BRICS group comprises the five largest developing economies; together, its members constitute forty percent of the world’s population and one-fourth of global gross domestic product. The group includes the two most populous nations in the world, China and India, as well as Russia, the largest in terms of land. Chinese state media has praised the role of the five-nation grouping, claiming that ties between the BRICS countries had increased “multilateral cooperation with non-Western styles, forms, and principles [of government”—marking a positive contrast to the actions of the United States, which it accused of “pulling its Western allies to ‘rebel’ against globalization.”

Despite considerable internal differences within the bloc, including a decades-old rivalry between China and India, all of the BRICS countries have resisted full political alignment with the West. Of the five BRICS nations, only one, Brazil, voted in the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine in February; Russia voted against the measure, while the other three countries abstained. Even Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro refused to personally condemn Putin, whom the West has widely framed as the driving force behind the Russian invasion. In his remarks on Wednesday, Xi appeared to criticize the United States and NATO, describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “wake-up call for all in the world.”

“Blind faith in the so-called ‘position of strength’ and attempts to expand military alliances and seek one’s own security at the expense of others will only land oneself in a security dilemma,” Xi said, repeating the controversial argument that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was mainly prompted by legitimate security fears rather than Putin’s personal ideology. A virtual meeting between Xi and his counterparts Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, and Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to take place on Thursday morning, followed by further meetings between high-level officials from the five countries. Analysts have predicted that Xi will defend China’s governance record and highlight the country’s successful development to the other attendees amid the lifting of strict Covid-19 lockdown measures in Shanghai and Beijing.

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War games.

US Gov’t Body Plots To Break Up Russia In Name Of ‘Decolonization’ (MP)

A US government body held a Congressional briefing plotting ways to break up Russia as a country, in the name of supposed “decolonization.” The participants urged the United States to give more support to separatist movements inside Russia and in the diaspora. They proposed the independence of numerous republics in the Russian Federation, including Chechnya, Tatarstan, and Dagestan, as well as historic areas that existed centuries ago such as Circassia. This is far from the first time that hawks in Washington have fantasized about carving up foreign countries. During the first cold war, the US sponsored secessionist groups inside the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the US-led NATO military cartel successfully dismantled Yugoslavia. And Washington has long backed separatists in the Chinese regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

After the overthrow of the USSR, neoconservative operative and future Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to slice up Russia into several smaller countries. Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski even published an article in elite Foreign Affairs magazine in 1997 proposing to create a “loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic.” Yet this Congressional hearing was one of the most high-profile and provocative calls for balkanization yet, held in broad daylight. Titled “Decolonizing Russia: A Moral and Strategic Imperative,” the June 23 briefing was organized by the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), known more commonly as the Helsinki Commission.

This commission claims to be “independent,” but it is a US government agency created and overseen by Congress. The event was introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee who co-chairs the commission. Representative Cohen claimed Russians “have in essence colonized their own country,” and argued that Russia is “not a strict nation, in the sense that we’ve known in the past.” At the virtual hearing, which was livestreamed on YouTube, the congressman was joined by veteran regime-change activists who have worked for an array of US government agencies. The event was moderated by Bakhti Nishanov, a senior policy advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

He excitedly noted, “We have many, many participants. I think this is pretty much a record for a House commission briefing.” Nishanov argued that Western condemnation of Moscow’s war in Ukraine should expand to opposition to “Russia’s interior empire.” He added that the panelists hoped to “come up with ideas that will actually contain Russia.”

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“..although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere..”

Why The West Risks Condemning Ukraine To Slow Strangulation (G.)

But it is the third theatre of war – the influence war – where the west is faring unexpectedly poorly. There is a growing awareness that the west’s narrative that Putin is fighting a colonial war and is responsible for its ripple effects is meeting indifference and even resistance in the global south. With more than 40% of wheat consumed in Africa usually coming from Russia and Ukraine, one of the key organisers of the G7 summit in Germany, Wolfgang Schmidt, said it was vital to prevent Moscow and Beijing dividing off the G7 from the so-called Brics countries by blaming western sanctions for the shortages. Germany had invited leaders from Indonesia, India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal in part to prevent Russia and China succeeding in their goal.

Schmidt said: “When you talk to leaders outside Europe and the alliance at the moment then you will realise their perception of the [ Ukraine] war is completely different from ours. They might say: ‘Yes, we are not OK with a country invading another.’ But and then comes the big but: ‘It is your sanctions that drive up food prices, energy prices and have a devastating effect on our population.’” Ann Linde, the Swedish foreign minister, said that during her meetings with Asian and African ministers she also came across a narrative that the west was more engaged in Ukraine, than it has been in wars in the south. Her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, said in his recent travels in India and the Middle East he discovered that although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere.

Outside Europe “we are the culprits. We are the reason for oil, seeds, grain and energy not being on the market or overpriced,” he said. “This is a war in Europe. But there’s another European war, because the shockwaves can be felt everywhere. It’s the first war since the second world war where you can feel the effects globally.” A massive battle is now under way to accuse Russia of using hunger as a weapon of war. The blame game could not have higher stakes. Largely due to drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, 16.7 million people in east Africa are already dependent on food assistance. That number is likely to increase by 20 million by September alone. The World Food Programme claimed the Ukraine ripple effect will mean a further 44 million people worldwide would be classified as “food insecure or at high risk”.

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FLATION. “Political turmoil and anarchy will be the rule rather than the exception as the people will blame the leaders for higher prices and taxes and deteriorating services in all areas.”

Concurrent Deflation And Hyperinflation Will Ravage The World (von Greyerz)

FLATION will be the keyword in coming years. The world will simultaneously experience inFLATION, deFLATION, stagFLATION and eventually hyperinFLATION. [..] With most asset classes falling rapidly, the world is now approaching calamities of a proportion not seen before in history. So far in 2022, we have seen an implosion of asset prices across the board of around 20%. What few investors realise is that this is the mere beginning. Before this bear market is over, the world will see 75-90% falls of stocks, bonds and other assets. Since falls of this magnitude have not been seen for more than three generations, the shockwaves will be calamitous. At the same time as bubble assets deflate, prices of goods and services have started an inflationary cycle of a magnitude that the world as whole has never experienced before.

We have seen hyperinflation in individual countries previously but never on a global scale. Currently the official inflation rate is around 8% in the US and Europe. But for the average consumer in the West, prices are rising by at least 25% on average for their everyday needs such as food and fuel. So the world is now approaching calamities on many fronts. As always in periods of crisis, everybody is looking for someone to blame. In the West most people blame Putin. Yes, Putin is the villain and it is his fault that food and energy prices are surging. Nobody bothers to analyse what or who prompted Russia to intervene, nor do politicians or main stream media understand the importance of history, which is the key to understanding current events.

In troubled times, everyone needs someone to blame. Many Americans will blame Biden who has both lost his grip on most US events as well as his balance. In the UK, the people blame Boris Johnson who has lost control of Britain since Partygate. In France the people are blaming Macron who just lost his majority in parliament, and in Germany people blame Scholz for sending money to Ukraine for weapons and money to Russia for gas. This blame game is only just beginning. Political turmoil and anarchy will be the rule rather than the exception as the people will blame the leaders for higher prices and taxes and deteriorating services in all areas. No country will be able to provide social security payments in line with galloping inflation. Same with unfunded or underfunded pensions, which will fall dramatically or even disappear totally as the underlying asset base of stocks and bonds implodes. As a consequence, many countries will be anarchic.

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Karl toots his own horn.

Don’t Fear The Recession (Denninger)

“Oh nos, there’s a recession coming!” CHEERS, say I. What, you say? You must be nuts! People lose their jobs in a recession and the economy stinks! Oh, so what’s going on right now doesn’t stink? Sky-high gas prices and a 50% inflation built into the PPI which has yet to work itself through the system — and won’t for at least another year even if all the crazy policies stopped now? Of course it does. The only reason to fear recessions and higher interest rates is if you, or your firm, is over-levered. To put not so fine a point on it you cheated to obtain what you claim as “prosperity” and now you’re staring down getting caught out while both unprepared and having done stupid things. Key to this is that you did the stupid things.


What was the smart thing to do in such a time? Live below your means and sock back capital during the good times. Why? Because then you have it, and its yours, when the bad times come — which means you get to pick on the people who did stupid things and, by doing so, get far ahead and you didn’t have to cheat in order to do so. Twice in my time running MCSNet I feasted on other people’s stupidity in regard to taking on leverage they could not service. Neither time was I personally responsible for the stupidity of said others, but both times I made out like a bandit — precisely because I had cash and, when the opportunity arose, could slap it on the table in exchange for what I wanted to grow the business at a ridiculous discount to what I would have otherwise paid.

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Noticed that.

A Lemming Leading The Lemmings: The Terminal Collapse Of The Anti-war Left (Cook)

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp? It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers). Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine. I recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia. But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason.

Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too. The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment. Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

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“..8.4 million Americans, or about 15% of all renters, who are behind on rent, are at risk of being evicted..”

Prepare For A Tidal Wave Of Evictions (ZH)

A tidal wave of evictions could be ahead. More than eight million Americans are behind on rent payments, and the CDC’s series of eviction moratoriums has long since expired. In other words, the government safety net to keep people off the streets is gone. With no federal eviction moratorium in place, 8.4 million Americans, or about 15% of all renters, who are behind on rent, are at risk of being evicted. The new figures were part of a Census Bureau survey conducted between June 1 to June 13 of households and was first reported by Bloomberg. The survey found that 3.5 million households were somewhat likely to leave their rented spaces (homes/apartments) within the next two months because of an eviction.


Most of these folks are of the working poor class and situated in large metro areas from New York to Atlanta, where the cost of living, including shelter, food, and fuel, has skyrocketed. About 6.7 million households said their rents increased, on average, $250 per month over the last year. The increase doesn’t sound like a lot but remember that many of these folks are being crushed under the weight of the highest inflation in four decades. Their credit cards are maxed out, and savings are drained as wages fail to keep up with soaring consumer prices. This shocking revelation is a reminder that today’s current economic backdrop, which some say is stagflationary, could quickly morph into recession and surging jobless. So who will the Biden administration blame for the coming tidal wave of evictions? He can’t keep blaming “Putin.”

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“The data tell us that people who got “vaccinated” and “boosted” are turning up with broken immune systems that leave them extra-specially open to repeated Covid-19 re-infection, and that each reiteration of the illness breaks down their immune systems even more..”

When the Wicked Try to Flee (Kunstler)

Dr. Anthony Fauci (White House Medical Advisor), Dr. Rochelle Walensky (CDC), and Dr. Robert M. Califf (FDA) are killing and harming Americans because… apparently, they don’t know why. As the old saw goes: they know not what they do. Or is that so? Is it even possible anymore? One must suppose it is possible if they are insane, which, you also understand, does not preclude them from being evil, too. Ms. Walensky says repeatedly that they are looking at or waiting on “the data.” No, she’s not. She’s just saying that, as if reciting a magic incantation that can deflect culpability. The data are in plain sight, not even hiding. The data are all over the world: this country, the UK, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Israel, Cuba, South Africa, Australia, name a country. The data are turning up now in respected medical journals, many news websites, substacks, and blogs, as well, even, here and there, in what we call mainstream media. A lot of the data until very recently were getting published in the agencies own collection organs, but they deliberately stopped it.

The data tell us that people who got “vaccinated” and “boosted” are turning up with broken immune systems that leave them extra-specially open to repeated Covid-19 re-infection, and that each reiteration of the illness breaks down their immune systems even more — which suggests that over time (think: the months ahead) more and more of them are going to die from all kinds of opportunistic viral and bacterial diseases, not to mention cancers, structural damage due to blood clots, heart tissue injury directly from spike proteins, and brain-and-neuro illness, ditto. Do you believe that the authorities somehow missed all this? Are they trying to pretend that they didn’t (take your pick): 1) fecklessly promote the biggest compound medical blunder in history? 2) conspire with pharma companies in a dastardly racketeering scheme? 3) carry out the orders of some shady, malevolent elite to cull the human population under a depraved, messianic, crypto-eco ideology? or 4) just…reasons….

Before too much longer they’ll have to tell us. At this point, resigning in order to just slink away from the scene of the crime is probably not possible. Francis Collins tried to step down from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) late last year, but we’ll know how to find him, and we certainly know what he did in enabling the creation of the Covid-19 pandemic and then its supposed savior “vaccines.” This is true, by the way, across the entire medical profession, including doctors, hospital directors, and, of course, the pharma executives. They’ll have to answer for why they continued vaxxing the public when caution was indicated (primum non nocere — first do no harm), and how come they stupidly and / or maliciously suppressed cheap and effective early treatment drugs.

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Austria arguably has the most damaging mandates.

Austria Set to Retire Vaccine Mandate by End of August (Eugyp)

Yesterday, Green Party health minister Johannes Rauch announced in a press conference that the Austrian vaccine mandate will be retired after 31 August. His announcement follows the decision in March to suspend the promised fines – as high as 3,600 Euros – for the unvaccinated, which were said to be “disproportionate” given the mildness of Omicron. Rauch explained: “The vaccine mandate has not increased the number of people getting vaccinated, and they have also opened up rifts in the population. I’m convinced that it won’t help us to achieve the goal of motivating as many people as possible to have a booster in autumn – rather the opposite. It’s time to close those rifts again. Abolishing the mandate is another step out of crisis mode, towards normalisation. We must learn to live with Covid-19.”

Of course Rauch also had excuses: The legislation was introduced at a totally different moment, in the midst of a Delta wave that had caused surging hospitalisations and brought intensive care units in Austria to their capacity limits. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, in a radio interview, concurred that the mandate “was not the appropriate measure to increase the vaccination rate.” It had instead caused social division, at a time when “We have to fight together against the virus and not against each other.” As recently as January, he had called the mandate “a way back to freedom” and explained that the unvaccinated would not have to pay heavy fines, as long as they showed “active remorse” and submitted to vaccination after all.

[..] I often hear that opposition to pandemic policies is hopeless and that we are condemned to accept nothing but loss after loss. That’s not true. This is a massive victory to Austrian opponents of mass vaccination, and it represents a serious defeat for the pandemicists, who can now only speak of their defunct mandate in apologetic tones and with vaguely embarrassed excuses. General vaccine mandates are dead all over Europe, and Omicron is only the indirect cause. The vaccinators were already at the limits of their strength even at the height of the Delta wave; improving disease statistics merely drained off enough of the ambient hysteria to make their battle wholly unwinnable.

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Gonzalo: Israel Provokes Russia

 

 

 

 

Birx

 

 


June 24

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 212022
 


Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

 

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

 

 

 

 

Tucker going green

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua..”

All This and World War Too (Kunstler)

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

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

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

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

‘Nothing Will Be As Before’ (Batiushka)

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

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

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

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

The Triumph of Death (Chris Hedges)

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

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

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

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And we pay for this?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Permanent Shortage of Everything (Greenfield)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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You can never get to zero.

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

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

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

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

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

The Federal Republic of New Normal Germany (CJ Hopkins)

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

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

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

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

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

Yellen Is Wrong AGAIN (Denninger)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another made up story.

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

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

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

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

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

Famous last words.

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

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


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

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

Open Letter to NATO Secretary-General (Molyviatis)

Honorable Secretary General of NATO,

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Petros G. Molyviatis

Greek citizen

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Aug 122020
 
 August 12, 2020  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Joel Meyerowitz Girl On A Scooter 1965

 

20 Countries Order One Billion Doses Of Russian COVID19 Vaccine (RT)
America’s Window Of Opportunity To Beat Back COVID19 Is Closing (STAT)
The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks (Ben Hunt)
Wall Street Executives Are Glad Joe Biden Picked Kamala Harris (CNBC)
Cuomo Is Protecting His Wall Street Donors From Democratic Tax Bills (TMI)
UK Enters Recession As GDP Plunges By Record 20.4% In Q2 (CNBC)
What If Trump Won’t Leave? (IC)
John Solomon Calls For Creation Of New White House ‘Press Pool’ (JTN)
New Memos Show Relentless Pressure By Burisma On State Dept In 2016 (JTN)
Food Bank Strains Emerge As Economy Falls Off Fiscal Cliff (ZH)

 

 

The big thing today of course is Kamala Harris as VP candidate. I must say I don’t think I get it. There are tons of people expressing support, including the entire party, but far as I can see that doesn’t matter at all. Judge for yourselves, there are a few videos below.

What does matter, I think, is that Harris left the primaries last December because nobody voted for her, or like 2% did, after a highly publicized and very well-funded campaign.. People don’t like her! Simple. And those were the people in her own party!

This is not about issues, it’s intuition. Though Tulsi’s takedown of Harris in the debates can’t have helped.

You’re not going to turn that around dramatically by expressing support. It’s the purest gauge you can get, and then you just ignore that? Really, are we sure they want to win? This graph is from November 2019, before she dropped out. Even in her own California, she barely got 5%.

 

 

 

This is just funny:

 

 

Hmmm. Both global new cases and new deaths up quite a lot.

 

 

US cases look sort of okay, but deaths have almost tripled from the day before,. most since May 27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the FT graph I post sometimes doesn’t look great either:

 

 

 

 

Tulsi Kamala

Kamala DNA tests

 

 

Lots of people say it wasn’t tested properly and cannot be trusted. And it’s fine, don’t take it, see if we care. But don’t tell me the Russians are going to kill their own people.

20 Countries Order One Billion Doses Of Russian COVID19 Vaccine (RT)

A total of 20 nations from Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia have already requested doses of Russia’s breakthrough coronavirus vaccine, which was confirmed to be registered on Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a conference dedicated to the announcement of the vaccine’s registration, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) explained that it had already received orders for a billion doses. “Together with our foreign partners, we are ready to produce more than 500 million doses of the vaccine per year,” Kirill Dmitriev explained. Everything produced in Russia will be used domestically, and doses for use in other countries will be made abroad.


According to Dmitriev, the RDIF is also working on a humanitarian aid program for developing countries, with the aim of making the Covid-19 vaccine available in states that can’t afford to make or buy their own. Explaining that vaccination is an acute problem in the world’s poorest countries, Dmitriev said that the fund believes “people around the world should have equal access to a vaccine, regardless of their financial situation.” On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine. Named “Sputnik V,” the vaccine is due to enter mass production soon, and will be available to the general public from January 2021. Despite being registered, the vaccine will still go through more clinical trials in Russia and the Middle East.

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COVID waxes poetic: “..this winter could be Dickensianly bleak..”

America’s Window Of Opportunity To Beat Back COVID19 Is Closing (STAT)

The good news: The United States has a window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 before things get much, much worse. The bad news: That window is rapidly closing. And the country seems unwilling or unable to seize the moment. Winter is coming. Winter means cold and flu season, which is all but sure to complicate the task of figuring out who is sick with Covid-19 and who is suffering from a less threatening respiratory tract infection. It also means that cherished outdoor freedoms that link us to pre-Covid life — pop-up restaurant patios, picnics in parks, trips to the beach — will soon be out of reach, at least in northern parts of the country.

Unless Americans use the dwindling weeks between now and the onset of “indoor weather” to tamp down transmission in the country, this winter could be Dickensianly bleak, public health experts warn. “I think November, December, January, February are going to be tough months in this country without a vaccine,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. It is possible, of course, that some vaccines could be approved by then, thanks to historically rapid scientific work. But there is little prospect that vast numbers of Americans will be vaccinated in time to forestall the grim winter Osterholm and others foresee.

Human coronaviruses, the distant cold-causing cousins of the virus that causes Covid-19, circulate year-round. Now is typically the low season for transmission. But in this summer of America’s failed Covid-19 response, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is widespread across the country, and pandemic-weary Americans seem more interested in resuming pre-Covid lifestyles than in suppressing the virus to the point where schools can be reopened, and stay open, and restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms can function with some restrictions.

“We should be aiming for no transmission before we open the schools and we put kids in harm’s way — kids and teachers and their caregivers. And so, if that means no gym, no movie theaters, so be it,” said Caroline Buckee, associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We seem to be choosing leisure activities now over children’s safety in a month’s time. And I cannot understand that tradeoff.”

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Ben Hunt has raised $1 million over the past half year for masks for health care workers. Because the system doesn’t function in the US after decades of neglect.

The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks (Ben Hunt)

Last week, Mike Pence shook his finger at us and said that there were no outstanding requests on federal PPE stockpiles from any governor, and thus any urgent requests for N95 masks from doctors or nurses were isolated incidents to be quickly resolved by state authorities. SMACK goes the bag of oranges. In truth, both the supply and the distribution of N95 masks in the United States remains a national disgrace, a squandered opportunity to fight Covid with something other than death cultism or lockdown defeatism. In truth, what could have been our finest hour is turning into our worst. For the past six months, a big part of my life has revolved around getting PPE directly to doctors, nurses, EMTs, first responders, social workers and other frontline heroes in this war against Covid-19.

Thanks to the amazing generosity of donors big and small, we raised close to $1 million. Thanks to the inspired work of a dozen friends-for-life-most-of-whom-I-didn’t-even-know-before-this, we first set up an “underground railroad” of N95 and high-quality KN95 masks from China, and later a steady network of PPE suppliers. Thanks to the daily, unwavering commitment of a small team (literally my wife and daughter, literally working out of our garage), we’ve been able to distribute more than 120,000 medical respirators in batches of 100-200 to more than 1,100 hospitals, clinics, police departments, fire departments, prisons and shelters across 47 states. So far. We’ll get out another 4,000+ this week. And next week. And every week until we win this war.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose. Is the overall PPE situation for healthcare workers and first responders better today than it was in April? Absolutely. In April we were sending masks to desperate ER docs and nurses at major hospitals in the biggest cities in America. Today there is neither an urgent need nor even a shortage of PPE in these big city ERs and ICUs. Why not? Because, distribution of PPE from our massive federal and state stockpiles is designed for big cities and big hospital systems. Because that’s how the American system of trickle-down everything … in this case PPE … works.

Eventually, Andrew Cuomo sucks it up and asks Mike Pence for help, and eventually Mike Pence makes a call to FEMA, and eventually all the requisition forms get filled out and signed by all the right people at the governor’s office, and eventually a truckload of 1 million N95 masks makes the trip from the FEMA warehouse to the New York-Presbyterian warehouse, and eventually a NY-P van starts shuttling a pallet of masks every week to every NY-P hospital loading bay, and eventually the boxes of N95s get allocated to the individual medical departments. Eventually.

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‘Nuff said?!

Both Wall Street execs AND Black Lives Matter are happy about the same thing? One of them might want to do some thinking. She locked up a lot of young black people in California, for one thing.

Wall Street Executives Are Glad Joe Biden Picked Kamala Harris (CNBC)

Wall Street leaders on Tuesday cheered Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential election. Finance executives, confident the ticket has what it takes to topple President Donald Trump, raved about her experience in government, as well as her fundraising prowess. “I think it’s great,” said Marc Lasry, the CEO of investment firm Avenue Capital Group. “She’s going to help Joe immensely. He picked the perfect partner.” Lasry is also a part owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Blair Effron, the co-founder of Centerview Partners, texted “GREAT CHOICE” to CNBC. Citigroup’s Ray McGuire sent a similar message.

When she ran for president last year, Harris saw contributions from executives in a wide range of industries, including film, TV, real estate and finance, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Her campaign finished raising close to $40 million. Harris, who dropped out of the race in December, opened up a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, allowing her to raise six figure checks that mainly went to the party as a whole. Harris, a former California attorney general, also overcame headwinds from a group of Biden allies who privately tried to block her from becoming the nominee for vice president.


Financial advisory firm Signum Global is already telling its clients that the choice of Harris reinforces the notion that the Democratic ticket is more moderate than progressive. Jon Henes, a partner at corporate restructuring firm Kirkland & Ellis who was Harris’ national finance chairman when she ran for president, told CNBC that the choice shows Biden’s strong judgement. He added that her supporters are ready to give Democrats the backing they need to defeat Trump. “Vice President Biden’s first decision is the perfect one and demonstrates his excellent judgement,” Henes said. “Kamala’s supporters will follow her lead and work non-stop to help Biden and Harris win this historic and critical election.”

Kamala Mnuchin

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So the party takes donations from donors that it then wants to raise new taxes on, and Cuomo fights his own party about it? A little confusing for a bear of little brain.

Cuomo Is Protecting His Wall Street Donors From Democratic Tax Bills (TMI)

In blocking his party’s push for new taxes on stock trades, capital gains and carried interest, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is protecting the financial industry that has delivered millions to his campaign and political operation, according to state records reviewed by TMI. That includes the single largest donor to the state Democratic party during Cuomo’s 2018 re-election bid, who just delivered large contributions to Cuomo as the governor has stymied the tax proposals. Last month, billionaire James Simons and his wife gave Cuomo $90,000. Simons is the founder of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which could be subject to the new levies being pushed by New York Democratic legislators. In total, Cuomo has received over $280,000 from Simons and his family.

The Cuomo-controlled New York Democratic Party has received an additional $3.4 million from Simons. Cuomo’s political machine has received big donations from other hedge fund moguls including Dan Loeb ($197,000) and Stanley Druckenmiller ($60,800), who could also be impacted by the Democratic tax initiatives aimed at the financial industry. Democratic legislators have been pushing the tax measures to raise new revenues that they say could be used to prevent budget cuts to education, health care and other state programs. Disclosure records reviewed by TMI show that the financial industry has been actively lobbying on the tax proposals in Albany — and Cuomo has parroted their opposition to higher taxes on the rich.

“I literally talk to people all day long who are in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house,” the governor said on August 3, suggesting that billionaires and multimillionaires will leave New York if higher taxes on the wealthy go through. Michael Kink, the executive director of the labor-backed Strong Economy for All Coalition in New York, told TMI that Cuomo’s work to block progressive taxation is indicative of his warped priorities overall.

“A governor that’s connected to reality would be examining every single possible way of raising revenue in the time of crisis,” Kink said. “When you’re so close to someone like James Simons, that leads to you blocking the door to some of the biggest and most important sources of revenue. There’s a door called the billionaire’s tax – $5.5 billion a year. Cuomo strolls away from that door. Then there’s the stock transfer tax door which is $13 billion a year. The vast majority of people who would pay are the speculators who are diving in and out. James Simon, Dan Loeb, a lot of Cuomo’s major donors are the ones that would pay that tax.”

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What was that quote again before? Oh yes: “..this winter could be Dickensianly bleak..”

UK Enters Recession As GDP Plunges By Record 20.4% In Q2 (CNBC)

The U.K. economy contracted by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the previous three months, as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered activity, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday. GDP expanded by 8.7% in June as government lockdown measures eased, having shown a meek 1.8% recovery in May following April’s 20.4% contraction. The second-quarter plunge is the worst on record and follows a 2.2% contraction in the first quarter. Analysts had expected a fall of 20.5%, according to a Reuters poll. Two consecutive periods of contraction mean the British economy is now in a technical recession.


Services, construction and production all saw record quarterly falls, particularly in the sectors most exposed to government restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). “The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover,” ONS Deputy National Statistical for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said. “Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.”

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Apart from RussiaRussia, the Mike Wallace interview also comes up again. Where he asks a question of Trump that he would never have (dared) ask of Obama or even George W. Why do people feel it was a proper questions to ask? I don’t feel it is. Has Trump ever before indicated he would not leave? Or is that just something people invented? Shouldn’t Wallace show respect because at least Trump showed up, something Biden still refuses to do? And if he does get Biden, will he ask that same question? Wallace has gone down in my book by a lot. Cheap clickbait stuff doesn’t become him.

WALLACE: But can you give a, can you give a direct answer you will accept the election?


TRUMP: I have to see. Look, you – I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.

What If Trump Won’t Leave? (IC)

Events in Charlottesville, Lafayette Square, and Portland have shown the country that President Donald Trump is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power, including embracing militant white supremacists and using federal troops to tear gas and arrest peaceful protesters. His noxious proposal to postpone the elections is not the real threat to democracy. He has openly declared that he may not abide by the election results in a nationally televised interview on Fox News. Trump has a lot of tools at his disposal to steal the election if he loses, many of which he’s already putting into motion. Can he be stopped? We believe that he can be, but only if most Americans are willing to put their trust in people power — rather than courts, norms, and elites — to save democracy.

The evidence of the risk we face is impossible to ignore. Trump is questioning the legitimacy of an election that will rely on mail-in ballots, even though he himself has often voted absentee. He has threatened to withhold funding from states that are trying to make it easier for people to vote, and he is undermining the U.S. Postal Service, both of which are essential, especially in a pandemic. His Republican allies around the country have been passing voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and cutting the number of polling places in urban areas, forcing people to stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote. This is a war on voters who lean Democratic, specifically Black people, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, naturalized immigrants, poor people, and young people. We’ve already seen in Georgia and Wisconsin how these tactics play out on Election Day.

Trump’s administration has downplayed foreign interference in the elections that benefit him. He has given succor to white nationalist groups, and the Republican Party has deputized 50,000 “poll watchers” to intimidate minority voters on Election Day. This will be the first election since 1980 during which the Republican National Committee will not be bound by a federal consent decree that prohibited “ballot security” efforts whose real purpose was to intimidate and disenfranchise minority voters. Let’s be clear: Trump and the Republicans are already trying to steal the election.

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Like everything MSM, it’s become all about opinion -because clickbait-, not news.

John Solomon Calls For Creation Of New White House ‘Press Pool’ (JTN)

Just the News Founder and Editor-in-Chief John Solomon is calling for the creation of a new White House press pool, one that would practice authentic journalism by asking “the people’s questions” rather than participating in what Solomon claims is an atmosphere of “political effect.” Solomon was speaking to Matt Margolis on the podcast John Solomon Reports. Margolis, a conservative columnist and author, argues in his latest book “Airborne” that the American media has “weaponized the coronavirus against Donald Trump.” Margolis during the podcast argued that journalists at the White House press conference are in general “trying to create a narrative” instead of “trying to get the information.”

Solomon, in response, stated that White House officials need to move toward creating “a second White House press pool” in order to “create competition” and promote authentic journalism at the executive branch. The White House Correspondents Association “has had a monopoly on [the White House briefing room] for so long,” Solomon said, stating that the WHCA has engaged in effective censorship by the way it conducts press briefings. “They don’t ask the people’s questions anymore,” Solomon said, arguing that journalists are more likely now to ask “grandstanding” questions that fail to elicit useful information.

[..] Solomon, the former Washington assistant bureau chief for the Associated Press, said: “I almost never expressed an opinion. But since it’s a professional opinion about the state of the news media, it is time for this White House to create a pool.” “If done right,” Solomon added, “you can bring some real news every day, get the American people what they need to know. Instead, we get a lot of late night comedy skits out of it. It’s terrible.”

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Where’s the Special Counsel for this?

New Memos Show Relentless Pressure By Burisma On State Dept In 2016 (JTN)

The Ukrainian natural gas firm that appointed Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter to a lucrative board seat relentlessly pressured the State Department throughout the 2016 election in an effort to get corruption allegations against it dropped and its badly damaged reputation rehabilitated, newly released government memos show. “They keep trying through every channel they can,” a State Department official lamented in summer 2016, describing a nonstop lobbying campaign by Burisma Holdings and its American representatives. The memos, released to Just the News under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit assisted by the Southeastern Foundation, add new significance to a long-running Senate investigation into the Bidens’ activities and perceived conflicts of interest in Ukraine.

For instance, they show far more contact between Burisma and the U.S. embassy in Kiev than was acknowledged by witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings earlier this year. One issue in that trial was the more than $3 million Hunter Biden’s firm collected from Burisma while his father supervised Ukraine policy for President Obama. The memos obtained by Just the News also were withheld from Senate investigators, who learned of their existence from the FOIA lawsuit. “We have been so frustrated in our attempt to get the documentation that we need before we can sit down and interview people, and as I understand it, the documents you just obtained in your FOIA request we haven’t received unbelievably,” Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast.

“I cannot tell you how frustrated and ticked off, I’ll use that word, ticked off about where we are here. So yeah, I subpoenaed the FBI. And, you know, expect additional subpoenas to be forthcoming,” Johnson (R-Wisc.) added. Asked whether a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might be forthcoming, Johnson answered, “Well, certainly a subpoena would bring it to his attention.” The memos show Burisma’s lobbying efforts were led by a Democratic firm called Blue Star Strategies and aided by the nonprofit Atlantic Council foreign policy think tank, stretching from the State Department’s executive suite in Washington at the start of the election to the U.S. embassy in Kiev in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Burisma representatives repeatedly pressed for meetings, at times invoking Hunter Biden’s name, starting with a Blue Star conversation with then-Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli in January 2016 before turning their attention to U.S. diplomats on the ground in Kiev, the memos show. By summer 2016 — their mission to clear Burisma’s name still incomplete — Blue Star officials pigeonholed the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her Senate confirmation hearing and then attended a private reception where she was honored, according to the memos. State officials at times chafed at the Burisma campaign, concerned Hunter Biden’s role at the gas firm was undercutting his father’s anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine, according to the memos and interviews.

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A reminder of the future. I’m discussing with the people of the kitchen here in Athens about what we can and should expect going forward. Already demand is rising, but how much more will come?

Food Bank Strains Emerge As Economy Falls Off Fiscal Cliff (ZH)

The latest economic data suggest the US recovery stalled. One look at the Citi US econ surprise index, as of this week, shows the recovery ran out of steam last month. A fiscal cliff is already underway, set to enter the second week on Friday (Aug. 14) as tens of millions of Americans are unemployed and have yet to receive their stimulus checks. The recovery, so far, is a massive economic sugar rush, entirely a function of the Trump administration on a reckless spending spree. One way the administration can artificially supercharge consumption is through issuing direct transfer payments to the working poor. The extra money has been used by households to pay down credit card bills, put food on the table, and pay housing expenses, while others used the free money to buy automobiles and FANG stocks.

[..] Massive federal spending has transformed America into a welfare state under the GOP watch. Tea Party politicians aren’t pleased with the Republican establishment’s wild spending spree. With a fiscal cliff coming up on the second week, tens of millions of folks are unable to consume because they are insolvent and jobless, and their amount of consumption is dependent on the government. We’ve noted before, a quarter of all household income is derived from the government. And with no stimulus checks in the mail, that means Americans are returning to food banks: Claudia Raymer, who manages a network of food-security groups in Ohio County, West Virginia, told Bloomberg when stimulus checks stopped arriving in late July, there was an immediate impact on households, resulting in rising food bank activity among the working poor.

The fiscal cliff will be more damaging in lower-income communities (than major metros), such as small towns in West Virginia, where folks were being paid handsomely by the federal government to sit at home. The problem is, once the payments end, consumption plunges, and the local communities return to a recessionary environment. With federal aid already running out for the stimulus program, the fiscal cliff has already been realized in West Virginia: “We’ve definitely already seen food-security needs increase, just in a week, since the extra unemployment has ended,” Raymer said.

Read more …

 

 

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Flynn closing argument Sidney Powell

 

 

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May 082020
 


NPC Shad fishing on the Potomac 1920

 

US Death Toll Would Have Been Halved Had It Acted 4 Days Sooner (SCMP)
US Doctors Want Details On Federal Distribution Of Remdesivir (R.)
China Backs WHO Investigating COVID19 Origin (SCMP)
Blood Thinners May Help Sickest COVID19 Patients Survive
COVID19 Wreaks Economic Havoc Across Europe (ZH)
Japan On Course For Deep Recession As Spending, Services Plunge (R.)
Black Britons Face ‘Twice The Risk’ Of Death – ONS (BBC)
Black African Deaths Three Times Higher Than White Britons (BBC)
Black People Four Times More Likely To Die From COVID19 – ONS (G.)
No One Can Be Evicted In New York Until August 20 (JTN)
The Great Potato Giveaway: US Farmers Hand Out Spuds To Avoid Food Waste (R.)
Seattle Permanently Closes 20 Miles Of Residential Streets To Most Traffic (ST)
This Year’s Pulitzer Prize Award Has An Anti-Russian Infowar Agenda (OffG)
Schiff Releases Transcripts Undercutting Dem Claims Of Russia Collusion (JTN)
Former FBI intel Chief Slams Comey’s Pursuit Of Flynn (JTN)

 

 

 

 

• US records 2,448 #coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 75,543, according to Johns Hopkins University.

• The US has now confirmed a total of 1,254,750 case

• Russia has 6th consecutive day of over 10,000 new cases

• Peru, India keep rising fast, Saudi Arabia is the next “crown prince”

 

 

 

Deaths are not increasing, but cases are in an upward trend. Today close to 100,000. Give it another half hour.

 

Cases 3,934,711 (+ 97,885 from yesterday’s 3,836,826)

Deaths 271,095 (+ 5,729 from yesterday’s 265,366)

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer Deaths among Closed cases is down to 17%. That still needs to come down much more.

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

True for every country, we must assume. There was a report a while ago that said China could have avoided 95% of cases had it acted earlier, I think that was a week.

US Death Toll Would Have Been Halved Had It Acted 4 Days Sooner (SCMP)

The daily death toll from Covid-19 in the United States could have been more than halved if authorities had acted more swiftly in recommending self-isolation and the wearing of face masks, according to a new study. Several US states began issuing stay-at-home orders in late March, while federal health authorities began recommending the use of face masks for all in early April. However, had such measures been implemented just four days earlier, the roughly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths currently being recorded each day would have been cut to less than 1,000, the study said. Furthermore, lifting the measures in a bid to kick-start the economy would almost instantly increase the daily death toll to more than 3,000, it said.

“These findings may inform policymaking,” said the researchers from Princeton Medical Centre and other research institutes in a yet-to-be-peer reviewed paper posted on Medrxiv.org on Wednesday. The findings echoed comments made last month by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US. “Obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different,” he said in a television interview on April 12. “But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then”. Both Fauci and other senior health officials were banned from speaking freely to the media or testifying at congressional hearings by the Trump administration, according to media reports. Swifter action “could have saved lives”, he said, without giving an exact number.

But the figures could be found in publicly available data, according to the research team led by Lanjing Zhang, director of gastrointestinal and liver pathology at Princeton Medical Centre. By tracking the changes in the numbers of infections and deaths after the implementation of the containment measures in the US, Zhang’s team was able to build a mathematical model to simulate the impact of the policies, and then used it to estimate what might have happened had they been introduced at different times. California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order to its 4 million residents on March 19, and by April 7 similar restrictions had been implemented across the country, affecting almost 90 per cent of the population.

On April 3, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention changed its long-standing policy on the wearing of face masks, and urged everyone to cover their nose and mouth when in public. The effect of the policies was almost instant, the study said. The growth rate for both infections and deaths began slowing on March 23 and by April 4 had plateaued and begun a gentle decline. But according to the model, had the same measures been introduced just four days earlier, the number of new daily infections in April would have fallen by about two-thirds to 10,000. And had the move been made a week sooner, that figure would have dropped to just 3,000, with about 300 daily deaths, it said.

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We know since last week’s report that remdesivir has no impact on cure, it only -at best- helps patients spend a few less days in hospital. So you would expect doctors to have questions about that. But no, they only worry about how fast they can get the drug. If Reuters is to be believed, that is. But why worry about a drug that has zero chance of avoiding death? Nothing better to do?

US Doctors Want Details On Federal Distribution Of Remdesivir (R.)

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) is asking for more information on the federal government’s plan for deciding how and where to supply the only drug so far shown to help patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave emergency use authorization to Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir for patients with severe COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – clearing the way for broader use in more hospitals around the United States. The federal government began distributing the drug this week.


But doctors across the country, particularly in COVID-19 hotspots like New York and Boston, became concerned after being denied their request to obtain the new therapy, IDSA president Dr. Thomas File told Reuters on Thursday. “Some are seeing other hospitals approved, but say ‘we have more cases than they do, so why were we turned down?’” he said. The IDSA on Wednesday called on the Trump Administration to explain how it will ensure equitable distribution of remdesivir to states and hospitals based on COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates. The physician group also stressed the importance of fair allocation to health facilities in communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, including African American and Hispanic populations.

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This becomes interesting only if and when a WHO team can investigate in China, not bothered by anyone.

China Backs WHO Investigating COVID19 Origin (SCMP)

China says it supports World Health Organisation efforts to investigate the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, but rejects any “presumption of guilt”, after the global body said it was talking to Beijing about sending another delegation to the country. The remarks came as Beijing is under mounting international pressure – particularly from the United States – to allow an inquiry into how the pandemic started, and if it was linked to a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the new virus strain was first reported. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist with the WHO, on Wednesday said the agency was in discussion with China about examining potential animal origins of the coronavirus.

“There is discussion with our counterparts in China for a further mission, which would be more academic in focus and really focus on looking at what happened at the beginning in terms of the exposures with different animals, so that we can look to have an approach to find the zoonotic source,” she said. “The public health importance of this is critical because without knowing where the animal origin is, it’s difficult for us to attempt to prevent this from happening again,” she added. US President Donald Trump has suggested the virus may be the result of an accident at a Chinese lab, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US had evidence of this. Trump has also been critical of the WHO, calling it “China-centric” and halting funding to the body. He described the pandemic as an “attack” worse than Pearl Harbour and September 11 that “could have been stopped in China”.

In Beijing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused the US of “untruthful and insincere remarks”, but said China would support a review of the outbreak “at an appropriate time”. “China has supported the work of the WHO for a long time, and worked with the WHO in an open, responsible and transparent manner. China agrees to make a conclusion on the origin of the virus at an appropriate time,” Hua said. “China opposes nations such as the US politicising the issue regarding the origin of the virus, and pushing for an international investigation with a presumption of guilt.”

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And they can kill them too.

Blood Thinners May Help Sickest COVID19 Patients Survive

Blood thinners could improve the survival rate among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients, according to a hospital study in New York City. The finding comes as doctors have been observing blood clot disorders among coronavirus patients that can damage vital organs. The researchers found that intubated patients treated with anticoagulants – medicines that help prevent blood clots – had a mortality rate of 29 per cent. Of those who were not treated with blood thinners, 63 per cent died. And among the ventilated patients who did not survive, those on anticoagulants died after 21 days, while those not given the medicine died after nine days, the researchers said.


“Our findings suggest that systemic anticoagulation may be associated with improved outcomes among patients hospitalised with Covid-19,” they wrote in a peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on May 6. The study analysed 786 cases where patients had been given blood thinners – about 30 per cent of all Covid-19 patients admitted to five hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City between mid-March and April. They were given the medicine orally and via injection under the skin or into a vein, the study said. The researchers also noted that “patients who received anticoagulation were more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation”.

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No. The economic system is eating itself. The virus is merely a catalyst.

COVID19 Wreaks Economic Havoc Across Europe (ZH)

The European Commission has released its Spring 2020 Economic Forecast which shows that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Europe’s economy. The collective GDP of the EU-27 was expected to grow 1.2 percent this year but it is now forecast contract 7.4 percent due to the pandemic. By contrast, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the Financial Crisis “only” led to a contraction of 4.5 percent for the EU-28 back in 2009. The current crisis has now pushed the EU into the deepest recession since its foundation with unemployment rates set to rise drastically. Last year, unemployment across the bloc was 6.7 percent and it is now forecast to grow to 9 percent this year.

The data shows that no EU member state is going to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis unscathed with countries in southern Europe set to be worst impacted. Even though Greece has made progress since the Financial Crisis and has earned plaudits for limiting the spread of the coronavirus, it is expected to suffer the worst decline in GDP our of all EU member states at 9.7 percent. Italy and Spain who have both been badly impacted by the pandemic are also expected to suffer GDP contractions greater than 9 percent this year. Even though Germany has suffered a far lower death toll than many of its neighbors and is slowly easing its lockdown, Europe’s economic powerhouse is still predicted to see its GDP shrink by 6.5 percent this year.

While the situation remains serious in some parts of Europe, particularly the UK, there is light at the end of the tunnel. After 7 weeks of strict confinement, Italians finally emerged from their homes at the start of the week while Germany’s schools and restaurants are set to open over the next couple of days. Even though the situation is improving, most EU leaders are remaining cautious due to the possibility of a second wave of infections. The European Commission has stated that fundamental uncertainty surrounds the forecast and that the danger of a deeper and more protracted recession is very real.

Read more …

The entire rich(er) world has economic systems that cannot withstand a few weeks of less activity.

Japan On Course For Deep Recession As Spending, Services Plunge (R.)

Japan’s household spending plunged in March and service-sector activity shrank at a record pace in April, reinforcing expectations that the coronavirus pandemic is tipping the world’s third-largest economy into deep recession. Overtime pay – a barometer of strength in corporate activity – also plunged at a record pace in March, data showed, a sign companies were hit by shrinking business even before the government announced a state of emergency in early April. The weak readings make it a near certainty the economy suffered a second straight quarter of contraction in January-March, the technical definition of a recession, and was on track for a deeper decline in the current quarter as the health crisis kept shoppers home and businesses closed.


“Even without the virus, Japan’s economy was very weak due to the hit from last year’s sales tax hike. The pandemic has completely destroyed any chance of a recovery,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute. “The economy may rebound somewhat in July-September but won’t return to pre-coronavirus levels for the rest of this year,” said Saito, who expects the economy to contract an annualised 30% in the current quarter. Household spending slumped 6.0% in March from a year earlier following a 0.3% fall in February, marking the biggest drop in five years, government data showed on Friday.

Read more …

I noted yesterday that in their coverage of a report, the BBC and Guardian came to very different conclusions. One said blacks in the UK were twice as likely as whites to die from COVID19, the other said it was 4 times. Then when I read the BBC piece this morning, a link had appeared to an article that claimed it was 3 times.

Black Britons Face ‘Twice The Risk’ Of Death – ONS (BBC)

Black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus as white people in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. The analysis shows the inequality persists after taking into account age, where people live and some measures of deprivation and prior health. People from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities also had a significantly higher risk of dying. The government has launched a review into the issue. The analysis by the ONS combined data on deaths involving Covid-19 with information on ethnicity from the 2011 census.


Taking into account age, location and some measures of deprivation, disadvantage and prior health, it found black people were 90% more likely to die with Covid-19 than white people. Men and women from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities had an increased risk of between 30% and 80%, the analysis found. The ONS suggested some of the risk might be caused by other social and economic factors that are not included in the data. And it said that some ethnic groups may be “over-represented in public-facing occupations” and so more at risk of being infected while at work.

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And yeah, there are a bunch of different data, age, sex etc., but it looks weird.

Black African Deaths Three Times Higher Than White Britons (BBC)

Coronavirus patients from black African backgrounds in England and Wales are dying at more than triple the rate of white Britons, a study suggests. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said a higher proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds live in areas hit harder by Covid-19. However, they tend to be younger on average, so should be less vulnerable. But the report found various black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were experiencing higher per capita deaths. And after accounting for differences in age, sex and geography, the study estimated that the death rate for people of black African heritage was 3.5 times higher than for white Britons. It added that for people of black Caribbean heritage, per capita deaths were 1.7 times higher, rising to 2.7 times higher for those with Pakistani heritage. The IFS study said given demographic and geographic profiles, most minority ethnic groups are dying in “excess” numbers in hospitals.

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In the end it’s simply a class society.

Black People Four Times More Likely To Die From COVID19 – ONS (G.)

Black people are more than four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people, according to stark official figures exposing a dramatic divergence in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales. The Office of National Statistics found that the difference in the virus’s impact was caused not only by pre-existing differences in communities’ wealth, health, education and living arrangements. It discovered that after taking into account age, measures of self-reported health and disability and other socio-demographic characteristics, black people were still almost twice as likely as white people to die a Covid-19-related death.


Bangladeshi and Pakistani males were 1.8 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white males, after other pre-existing factors had been accounted for, and females from those ethnic groups were 1.6 times more likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts. The risk of Covid-19 death for people from Chinese and mixed ethnic groups was found to be similar to that for white people. “These results show that the difference between ethnic groups in Covid-19 mortality is partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained,” the ONS said.

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And some of the things he does are actually good. Nobody screws up all the time.

No One Can Be Evicted In New York Until August 20 (JTN)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday New York renters cannot be kicked out of their homes for failing to pay rent until Aug. 20. “The No. 1 issue that people talk to me about probably is rent, and fear about being able to pay their rent, and this just takes that issue off the table until August 20,” he said at his daily coronavirus briefing. Cuomo extended for another two months his 90-day suspension of evictions in the state — issued in March and set to expire in June. Cuomo said that landlords who face utility bills and mortgages can turn to banks and federal programming for help. He also said that officials will ban any late-payment fees and allow renters to use their security deposits as payment. “Everyone is just making do, and everyone has hardships,” he said during his daily briefing Thursday. “We just want to make sure the people who are most vulnerable are protected.”

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“Everyone in Washington would have to eat about 500 pounds of potatoes from now until the 4th of July to clear out that pipeline..”

The Great Potato Giveaway: US Farmers Hand Out Spuds To Avoid Food Waste (R.)

Giving away food is just one example of how people around the world are adjusting to the strain the coronavirus pandemic has put on supply chains, as restaurants, schools and hotels close. With unemployment soaring, demand from food banks is rising fast at the same time farmers have fewer outlets to sell their crops. In Washington, the No. 2 U.S. potato growing state after Idaho, a billion pounds of russet potatoes, normally processed into french fries and hash browns, are sitting in warehouses that would typically be emptying ahead of the July harvest, the Washington State Potato Commision said. Instead, the organization is handing out the surplus for free in brown sacks, 100,000 pounds at a time.


“Everyone in Washington would have to eat about 500 pounds of potatoes from now until the 4th of July to clear out that pipeline,” said Brandy Tucker, the commission’s director of marketing. Around 90% of Washington potatoes are processed for food service, nearly half for international markets. Potato producers in Europe have also faced enormous surpluses. The commission is planning more than a dozen donation events by the end of May. But even giving away potatoes comes with the cost of washing, bagging and shipping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is attempting to chip away at the mountain of produce unable to get to consumers. This week it said it would buy an additional $470 million in food, including $50 million in potatoes to give to food banks.

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Good, give public space back to where it belongs, the public. Not cars. Like the guy’s name, Sam Zimbabwe.

Seattle Permanently Closes 20 Miles Of Residential Streets To Most Traffic (ST)

Nearly 20 miles of Seattle streets will permanently close to most vehicle traffic by the end of May, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday. The streets had been closed temporarily to through traffic to provide more space for people to walk and bike at a safe distance apart during the coronavirus pandemic. Now the closures will continue even after Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is lifted. Over the next couple of weeks, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will replace the temporary closure signs on the so-called Stay Healthy Streets with permanent markings, guiding drivers to other routes.


[..] Residents, delivery drivers, garbage and recycling workers, and emergency response vehicles can continue to use the streets, but no through traffic is allowed. “Our rapid response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 have been transformative in a number of places across the city,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said. “Some of the responses are going to be long lasting, and we need to continue to build out a transportation system that enables people of all ages and abilities to bike and walk across the city.”

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The Off-Guardian has turned too much into a 24/7 anti-lockdown channel lately, but this is good.

This Year’s Pulitzer Prize Award Has An Anti-Russian Infowar Agenda (OffG)

The Russian Embassy in the US condemned the Pulitzer Prize Board’s awarding of its eponymous prize for “International Reporting” to The New York Times “for a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime”, describing it as: “.. a wonderful collection of undiluted Russophobic fabrications, which can be studied as a guideline on creating false facts.” The six articles and two videos that were responsible for the outlet receiving that “recognition” shared the theme of military-intelligence intrigue, be it accusing the country’s GRU intelligence agency of involvement in several shadowy assassination attempts across Europe or claiming that businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin had a hidden hand in election meddling in Madagascar, for example.

Other assertions that were made by the “journalistic” pieces in question also include the Russian state’s complicity in carrying out war crimes in Syria. As has become the norm in the Western Mainstream Media’s reporting about Russia, an abundance of unnamed sources, fabricated recordings, and disreputable sources were relied upon to push fearmongering narratives about the Eurasian Great Power. The conclusions that were reached – or rather, “reverse-engineered” after first determining the meta-narrative and then subsequently fleshing it out from a variety of geopolitical angles – were predictable enough because they perfectly conformed to the “politically correct” interpretation of President Putin’s global intentions.

It’s for that reason The New York Times’ pieces were “celebrated” by the Pulitzer Prize Board with this supposedly “distinguished” award in an attempt to “legitimize” them for posterity. The Russian Embassy in the US, therefore, did the right thing by condemning this charade as Russophobic and describing The New York Times’ work as “a guideline on creating false facts.” That said, the success of the Pulitzer Prize Board’s efforts to manage global perceptions about Russia as part of the West’s ongoing Hybrid War against it is dependent on whether their targeted audience even cares about what that institution says. In theory, the Pulitzer Prize is supposed to be one of the most distinguished awards that any journalist or outlet can ever receive, but it’s actually more akin to an elite club commending its own members.

To explain, the Pulitzer Prize Board counts among its ranks representatives from The Washington Post and even The New York Times itself. It also includes other professionals as well, such as those from Bloomberg, National Public Radio, and a few folks from academia. Prior to Trump’s rise, these figures might have been almost universally respected, but the American President has since opened the eyes of a broad swath of the country and even the world more broadly to the so-called “Fourth Estate’s” insidious political agendas. Trust in traditional media is dwindling by the day, meaning that the awards ceremonies that they preside over are becoming similarly less prestigious as well.

Read more …

One can only imagine what attention this would have gotten were it not for COVID19. The MSM is still trying to defend the FBI, DNC and Obama White House, but that battle has long been lost.

And there is still this kind of thing, as if nothing had changed: “In releasing the transcripts Thursday, the current Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff claimed they provided proof of nefarious connections between Russians and Trump associates.”

It is almost hard to believe.

Schiff Releases Transcripts Undercutting Dem Claims Of Russia Collusion (JTN)

“Papadopoulos’ comment didn’t particularly indicate that he was the person that had had — that was interacting with the Russians,” McCabe answered when asked by lawmakers why a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant request in October 2016 focused only on Page and not the man the FBI originally predicated the Trump investigation upon. It was one of the few extraordinary admissions from McCabe: The FBI opened up an entire counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign on a figure agents did not believe was having contact with Moscow. The transcripts, otherwise, contain mostly old news, long since surpassed by revelations in Robert Mueller’s final report that concluded there was no collusion between any Americans and Russia to hijack the 2016 election and Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s detailed report of abuses of the FISA process by the FBI.

But perhaps the biggest piece of previously unreported news came from Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Perkins Coie law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. It was that law firm that contracted with Fusion GPS to hire Steele to develop the anti-Trump dossier that was shared with the FBI. Sussmann acknowledged under questioning by Republican staff that in February 2017 he shared dirt he had gotten on the Trump organization’s possible ties to Russia with the CIA. The agency’s name was redacted from the transcript but confirmed to Just the News by multiple U.S. officials. What was your contact [redacted] about?” a lawyer asked Sussmann.

“So the contact was about reporting to them information that was reported to me about possible contacts, covert or at least nonpublic, between Russian entities and various entities in the United States associated with the — or potentially associated with the Trump Organization,” Sussmann answered. The lawyer followed up: “And when did that contact occur, month and year?” “February 2017,” Sussmann answered. “Where did you get that information from to relay to [redacted]?” he was asked. “From a client of mine,” he answered, declining to be more specific. In releasing the transcripts Thursday, the current Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff claimed they provided proof of nefarious connections between Russians and Trump associates.

“The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election,” he alleged. In fact, witnesses were repeatedly pressed to offer specific evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Russia and could offer none, saying it was either too preliminary or they did not have any. “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers. “That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence.

Read more …

Former FBI intel Chief Slams Comey’s Pursuit Of Flynn (JTN)

The FBI’s former top intelligence official says the bureau under James Comey’s leadership did not have a legitimate reason to launch an investigation into Michael Flynn and may have engaged in an “historic misuse” of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. Retired FBI Assistant Director for Intelligence Kevin Brock told Just the News that agents had sought to close the investigation into the incoming national security advisor in January 2017 but the “Comey team” intervened via fired agent Peter Strzok to stop the closure and to pivot to an interview with Flynn. The closing memo communicated that “they had never established any reasonable suspicion that Michael Flynn was acting on behalf of a foreign country at all, ever in the beginning. In other words they had no basis to start the investigation in the first place,” Brock explained.

He described the FBI’s interview of Flynn as “some type of intimidation” and he said they did not have a legal justification to question him. “They wanted to get in front of him and see if they could elicit some type of false statement, that was their goal,” Brock told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Thursday. “They had no right to get in front of him. They had no legal basis to be in the same room with him. That’s the disgrace of all of this.” [..] Brock, the bureau’ first ever intelligence chief under former Director Robert Mueller, described the Flynn episode as very abnormal.

[..] Brock described a 302 interview report related to Flynn’s interview as the most peculiar he had ever encountered out of the thousands he has written or reviewed. He said that if it is shown that the FBI interviewed Flynn for reasons pertaining to “a policy dispute” that would represent a “historic misuse of the FBI.”

Read more …

 

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The best thing to happened to Santorini in forever. Beautiful.

 

 

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Jan 132020
 


G.G. Bain Three-ton electric sign blown into Broadway, New York. 1912

 

‘I’m Spending All My Money To Get Rid Of Trump’: Michael Bloomberg (R.)
What If @realDonaldTrump Is Brilliant? (Papachelas)
Warren, Sanders Campaigns Spar In Rare Show Of Discord (R.)
How Bad Can The Climate Crisis Get If Trump Wins Again? (G.)
Avoid UK Recession By Kickstarting Green Economy, Says Thinktank (G.)
China Is Really Worried About Unemployment, Social Unrest (CNN)
Ford’s China Vehicle Sales Drop 26% In Third Straight Year Of Decline (R.)
Downing of PS-752 Already Being Used To Smear MH-17 Skeptics (OffG)
Bolivia Exiled Ex-President Morales Calls On Radio For Armed Militias (R.)
Somebody Snuck A Potato Into CES 2020 (F.)

 

 

All of the money, none of the prospects. Will he be the first to spend a full billion? Don’t change your station.

‘I’m Spending All My Money To Get Rid Of Trump’: Michael Bloomberg (R.)

U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg told Reuters he is ready to spend much of his vast fortune to oust Republican President Donald Trump from the White House in 2020, rejecting criticism from rivals for the Democratic nomination that the billionaire is trying to buy the U.S. election. Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American, Bloomberg has flooded U.S. airwaves and social media feeds with messages that he stands the best chance to beat Trump, spending more on campaign ads since he launched his campaign in November than his main Democratic rivals have over the last year.

“Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump. I’m spending all my money to get rid of Trump,” Bloomberg told Reuters aboard his campaign bus on Saturday, during a nearly 300-mile (483-km) drive across Texas, one of the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday on March 3. “Do you want me to spend more or less? End of story.” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic presidential contenders who has vowed to get money out of politics, blasted Bloomberg when he launched his campaign with a $37-million TV advertising blitz, accusing the former New York City mayor of trying to buy American democracy. “These are just political things they say, hoping they catch on and they don’t like me doing it, because it competes with them, not because it’s bad policy,” Bloomberg said.


After entering the race late and missing the first six Democratic debates, Bloomberg generally sits fifth in national public opinion polls behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Warren and Pete Buttigieg. But not just the two liberal standard-bearers of Warren and Sanders, all of the four are too liberal to beat Trump, Bloomberg said. “One of the reasons I’m reasonably confident I could beat Trump is I would be acceptable to the moderate Republicans you have to have,” said Bloomberg, a former Republican who made his fortune selling financial information to Wall Street firms. “Whether you like it or not, you can’t win the election unless you get moderate Republicans to cross the line. The others are much too liberal for them and they would certainly vote for Donald Trump.”

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No, I don’t think Trump is brilliant, thank you. Just funny to see this coming from Greece.

What If @realDonaldTrump Is Brilliant? (Papachelas)

History is often written by those who don’t follow the rules or, rather, by those who ostentatiously throw them onto the trash heap of history. Donald Trump is one of those people, whether we like it or not. In an era where political correctness and slick public relations are the norm in politics and beyond, Trump came along with his own unique style and turned everything on its head. This started during his candidacy for president. A one-time close associate of his described how his team tried to convince him to start using prepared speeches, reading from a teleprompter. He didn’t like the idea at all but he agreed to give it a go.

When the moment came for his first public speech, he started reading from the teleprompter, darting looks to his left and right, clearly uncomfortable with the whole process. At one point, his patience at an end, he petulantly threw down the screen and blamed his awkwardness on his team, declaring that he preferred making speeches without teleprompters. His associates were aghast for a few minutes. But after seeing the rave reception of the move by Trump’s supporters, they realized that his instinct and political brilliance was probably beyond them.

He pulled it off in domestic politics; could he also do it in foreign policy? All the relevant literature, handbooks and collected wisdom of experts far and near suggest that such a feat is impossible. What is essentially a negotiating tactic from the Manhattan real estate world cannot work in the forum of international politics. The art of pushing someone to the end of their tether and then making a deal at the last minute would be rejected as unenforceable. But that’s exactly what Trump is testing now. The assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq by American forces was a very extreme act which all Trump’s predecessors had avoided, as had even successive Israeli governments. Trump did it.

And by doing so he simultaneously sent a clear message to the Middle East that the USA is no longer dependent on its oil and natural gas reserves. Iran responded in a relatively reasonable fashion. In a few weeks, it will become clear whether those who believe that Iran will hit back harder – albeit under or over the radar – are right, or whether a new balance of power will finally emerge that puts it “in its place” and possibly leads to a new deal. That’s when a lot of so-called experts will be banging their heads against the wall.

Read more …

Prepare for 11 months of this, getting uglier as we go along.

Warren, Sanders Campaigns Spar In Rare Show Of Discord (R.)

A rare sign of discord emerged on Sunday between progressive Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders over a report that Sanders’ campaign volunteers had called her a candidate of the elite in conversations with voters. “I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” Warren told reporters after a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa, which will hold the nation’s first nominating contest on Feb. 3. “I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.” Warren and Sanders, who are friends, fellow U.S. senators and their party’s progressive standard-bearers, agreed early in the nominating contest to an informal non-aggression pact and have largely avoided criticizing each other.


Politico reported late on Saturday that Sanders’ campaign had distributed talking points for volunteers on what to say to voters who are thinking of supporting his main rivals – former Vice President Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Warren. The guidance suggested that volunteers argue Warren was supported by “highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what,” rather than motivating people who do not normally vote, Politico reported. Sanders said on Sunday he did not approve the negative talking points about other candidates. “We have over 500 people on our campaign. People do certain things. I’m sure that on Elizabeth’s campaign people do certain things as well,” Sanders told reporters after a rally in Iowa.

Read more …

Blaming Trump for a process that has taken centuries to develop is as silly as it is lazy. There is no government anywhere that is willing to commit anything other than lip service to this.

How Bad Can The Climate Crisis Get If Trump Wins Again? (G.)

Climate pollution in the US is up under Donald Trump and threatens to undermine international efforts to stall the crisis, especially if he wins re-election this year and secures a second term in the White House. While US climate emissions fell 2.1% in 2019, they rose significantly in 2018, according to estimates from the economic analysis firm Rhodium Group. On net, emissions are slightly higher than in the beginning of 2017, when Trump’s administration began enacting dozens of environment rollbacks aimed at helping the oil and gas industry. Trump is still working to further weaken bedrock standards. This week he proposed to allow major projects like pipelines and highways to bypass reviews of how they will contribute to global warming.

The draft rule is unlikely to become final before the November election, but it is yet another reason industries weighing climate choices might delay significant action. “What they have done is created confusion within the business community and the environmental world as to what are going to be the standards,” said Christine Todd Whitman, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under the Republican president George W Bush. “Essentially every regulation the agency promulgates gets a lawsuit that goes with it, almost inevitably … that’s the only good thing you can say about it.” Whitman called the approach “mindless” and said “whoever is a bigger donor gets to tell them what the environmental policy should be, it seems”.

In the absence of any federal climate action, states, cities and businesses have pledged their own efforts, seeking to encourage other big emitters like China and India to continue to slow their growing climate pollution. Andrew Light, a climate negotiator for President Barack Obama’s state department, said the world is taking note of those efforts, but if Trump is re-elected “you are going to see a lot of people who are worried anew about what the US can do.” Americans choosing Trump would send the signal that they don’t care about the climate, Light said.

America’s Pledge, a project to quantify ongoing US emissions reductions, estimates that non-federal actors – like states and cities – could cut climate pollution 37% below 2005 levels by 2030. A Democrat in the White House could increase that to 49% with what Light described as modest, politically achievable policy changes. Experts are increasingly calling for the US to halve its emissions by 2030 and neutralize them by 2050.

Read more …

Next up: $50 trillion. You’re being had.

Avoid UK Recession By Kickstarting Green Economy, Says Thinktank (G.)

The government fightback against the next recession should include pumping as much as £50bn into green projects, in a move that would help reboot the economy and tackle the climate emergency, according to a left-leaning thinktank. Against a backdrop of concern among economists that Britain is ill-equipped to combat another downturn on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis, the New Economics Foundation thinktank said a green plan to beat a future slump was required. In the event of a recession, it said the government should spend at least 2% of GDP, or around £30bn, to decarbonise the economy, by investing in renewable energy projects, planting trees, transport infrastructure, electric vehicles, and retrofitting homes with new insulation.

For a larger economic shock, as much as 3% of GDP, or around £50bn, could be spent. Leading economists including former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, have called on governments around the globe to prepare for future economic shocks with readily available blueprints to raise government spending. It comes as central banks, including the Bank of England, have limited capacity to provide support because interest rates remain close to the lowest levels on record more than a decade after the financial crisis. Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, has hinted that Threadneedle Street could cut rates soon, while warning that it is running out of ways to combat recessions.


The foundation said that raising investment in green infrastructure was required regardless of whether Britain was facing a recession or not. However, it said that a plan for fighting a future downturn should have decarbonisation at its core. [..] It said that spending around £10.5bn on a mass insulation programme for homes – equivalent to only a third of the coalition government’s tax cuts between 2010 and 2013 – would have enabled residential emissions to fall by around 30% by 2018.

Read more …

Why would CNN run a piece like this, at this point in time?

China Is Really Worried About Unemployment, Social Unrest (CNN)

The Chinese government wants to do whatever it can to protect the economy in 2020. It’s got an enormous task ahead of it. Beijing has made clear that the world’s second largest economy cannot spiral into a slump and risk mass layoffs as it tangles with rising debt, cooling domestic demand and an ongoing trade war with the United States. That’s particularly important this year because it marks the conclusion of the government’s 13th Five-Year Plan, during which it promised to establish a “moderately prosperous society” and end poverty. Senior members of the Communist Party’s Politburo — the seven most powerful men in China — said last week that all efforts must be taken to achieve those goals in 2020.

In recent weeks, the government has bombarded the economy with a wave of stimulus measures, from tariff reductions that could help soothe the pain from rising prices, to rate cuts that could fuel more bank lending. Authorities are also amping up the language they’re using to describe the situation. China’s State Council last month called on local governments to “go to all lengths” to prevent massive job losses this year — what it characterized as the country’s top policy priority. The chief administrative office even warned that the country could face “massive unexpected incidents” if unemployment balloons — a euphemism in China widely understood to refer to social unrest and riots, and one that is rare in public government documents.

In recent years, the government has said it has to create 11 million new jobs annually to keep employment on track. While China’s official unemployment data has barely budged over the last several years, hovering between 4% and 5%, Beijing’s messaging suggests that it is unusually worried about the slowing economy and the challenges that the year could bring. “Beijing is much more worried about social unrest than about ballooning local debt, which at one point seemed to be a priority, ” said David Zweig, director of Transnational China Consulting Limited and a professor emeritus at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Huge protests, after all, have for months consumed Hong Kong, which local officials said last November would sink into its first annual recession in a decade.

The protests have focused on calls for greater democracy, but economic factors such as the soaring cost of housing and an increasingly competitive labor market have been fueling a growing sense of dissatisfaction, particularly among the city’s young people. Social unrest might be the “black swan” risk facing the country, Zweig added, using a phrase that Chinese President Xi Jinping himself uttered last year to describe an improbable but chaotic event. “2020 is going to be very difficult, and mass unemployment may be the most feared problem,” said Frank Ching, a China political commentator and adjunct associate professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not just an economic issue — it could develop into a political one. “

Read more …

And 15% for GM. Who’s taking over? Reuters doesn’t say.

Ford’s China Vehicle Sales Drop 26% In Third Straight Year Of Decline (R.)

Ford Motor Co’s China vehicle sales fell for a third consecutive year, by 26.1%, as it battles a prolonged overall sales decline in its second-biggest market that has hit demand for its mass-market Ford brand and sports utility vehicles. The U.S. automaker delivered 146,473 vehicles in China in the fourth quarter, down 14.7% year-on-year, Ford said in a statement. In total, it sold 567,854 vehicles over 2019. Ford has been trying to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 37% in 2018, after a 6% decline in 2017. Anning Chen, president and chief executive of Ford Greater China, said that while 2019 was a “challenging” year for the automaker, it saw its market share in the high-to-premium segment stabilize and its sales decline in the value segment start to narrow in the second-half of the year.


“The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020, and we will put more efforts into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers’ profitability.” The automaker plans to launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which over a third will be electric vehicles. It has also said it would localize management teams by hiring more Chinese staff and aimed to improve relationships with joint venture partners. [..] Its larger U.S. rival General Motors last week said its sales in China fell 15% from a year earlier to 3.09 million vehicles in 2019, its second year of decline.

Read more …

Waiting for the Belingcat “analysis”.

Downing of PS-752 Already Being Used To Smear MH-17 Skeptics (OffG)

Many have noted that Iran’s honorable decision to take responsibility for the catastrophe is in sharp contrast with Washington’s response in 1988 when the U.S. Navy shot down Iran Air Flight 655 scheduled from Tehran to Dubai over the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 occupants, after failing to cover it up. Just a month later, Vice President George H.W. Bush would notoriously state he would “never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.” Although he was not directly referring to the incident, one can only imagine what the reaction would be if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were to say the same weeks after shooting down the Ukrainian plane, let alone an American one.

Predictably, Tehran’s transparency has gone mostly unappreciated while the Trump administration is already trying to use the disaster to further demonize Iran. Oddly enough, Ukrainian International Airlines is partly owned by the infamous Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch, politician and energy tycoon Igor Kolomoisky, who was notably one of the biggest financiers of the anti-Russian, pro-EU coup d’etat which overthrew the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Kolomoisky is also a principal backer of current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose dubious phone call with Trump resulted in the 45th U.S. president’s impeachment last month.

In another astounding coincidence, Kolomoisky’s Privat Group is believed to control Burisma Holdings, the Cypress-based company whose executive board 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter was appointed to following the Maidan junta. The former Vice President admitted that he bribed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor who was looking into his son’s corruption by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. Kolomoisky, AKA “the Chameleon”, is one of the wealthiest people in the ex-Soviet country and was formerly appointed as governor of an administrative region bordering Donbass in eastern Ukraine following the 2014 putsch.

He has also funded a battalion of volunteer neo-Nazi mercenaries fighting alongside the Ukrainian army in the War in Donbass against Russian-speaking separatists which the military aid temporarily withheld by the Trump administration that was disputably contingent upon an investigation of Biden and his son goes to. In 2014, another infamous plane shootdown made international headlines when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) scheduled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Read more …

Can Evo make a come-back?

Bolivia Exiled Ex-President Morales Calls On Radio For Armed Militias (R.)

Bolivia’s exiled former president Evo Morales on Sunday defended a call he made for the formation of armed groups, a recording of which was leaked on public radio. Speaking exclusively to Reuters on Sunday night in Argentina where he is in exile, the defiant former president confirmed his was the voice in a recording played on Bolivian radio calling for creation of armed militias “as in Venezuela”. He said people have a right to defend themselves if the new government was attacking them. He said he had not meant armed with guns and was referring to citizen defense groups that had always loosely existed. “In Bolivia, if the armed forces are shooting the people, killing the people, the people have the right to organize their security,” he said in the interview with Reuters.


“We´re not talking arms, more like slingshots,” he said. “In some times (these groups) were called militias, in other times they were called union security or union police and in some places it is called communal guard. It is not new.” In the recording released by radio station Kawsachun Coca Tropico, Morales said he and his supporters had been “too trusting” ahead of last year´s presidential election, and should have had a “Plan B.” “If between now and in a little while… I were to return (to Bolivia) or someone else goes back, we must organize as in Venezuela armed militias of the people,” Morales said in the recording. “We were too trusting. The blunder: we did not have a ‘Plan B’.”

Read more …

Is all innovation positive? Given how it’s promoted, one might think so. But that’s just because of the money involved.

Somebody Snuck A Potato Into CES 2020 (F.)

I almost walked right by it. But then I realized the object the young man was holding up, apparently thrilling the small crowd gathered around his tiny CES 2020 booth, was a potato. The vegetable in question looked like an ordinary, chunky Idaho spud, although protruding out of one side was some kind of antenna, a black plastic appendage bent upward. Close to the potato’s surface, the exterior of the antenna became a thin, blade-like electrode that pierced the skin, clearly doing… something. The man was regaling the crowd with his incredible smart product, which he said was finally unlocking the awesome decision-making power of the potato. The antenna, which he called the NeuraSpud, tapped into the potato’s “artificial intelligence.”

Once you connected your smartphone over Bluetooth to the device and launched the accompanying app, you could ask the potato anything — with your voice, no less — and it would spout an answer on the screen, the digital-vegetable equivalent of a Magic Eight Ball. If the smart potato sounds like a big, stupid stunt, that’s because it is. The man behind the idea, Nicholas Baldeck from France, told me he brought his admittedly ridiculous “invention” to CES to make a point about the torrent of smart gadgets at the show, many of which don’t really solve problems at all. “This product has way more chance of success than 60% of the startups here,” Baldeck says. “I am skeptical of this idea of ‘connected everything.’


Now it looks like innovation is about putting a chip into any object. I’m not sure the word ‘smart’ makes more sense before the word toothbrush than the word potato.” Baldeck went to a lot of trouble to make his point. His booth cost $1,000, and he spent about $4,000 in travel, equipment and marketing. Plus the electrode-driven antenna he brought really works, he says — though “works” in this context is somewhat fungible, since what the electrode is “reading” from the juices inside the potato to create the answers is probably just random junk. He also had to buy a bunch of potatoes.

Read more …

 

 

 

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Jan 112020
 
 January 11, 2020  Posted by at 10:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Milton Greene “Actress Marilyn Monroe in bed” 1955

 

US Rejects Iraq Request To Discuss Troop Withdrawal (R.)
US, Iran Used An Encrypted Swiss Fax Machine To Defuse Crisis (ZH)
Iran Admits It Shot Down Ukrainian Plane (AlJ)
The Cost of Debt-Financed War (Peltier)
Trump Impeachment Charges May Go To Senate As Early As Next Week (R.)
How’s This Working Nancy? (Kunstler)
Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession (F.)
Boeing’s Ousted CEO Departs With $62 Million, Even Without Severance Pay (R.)
FAA Seeks To Fine Boeing $5.4 Million For Defective Parts On 737 MAX (R.)
Key Boeing 737 MAX Supplier Spirit Aerosystems To Cut 2,800 Jobs (CNBC)
Joe Biden Gets $Millions In TV Ads In Iowa From Undisclosed Donors (IC)

 

 

Cue mass demonstrations. Here’s where the US empire is drawing to a close. See the video for those who resist that close.

US Rejects Iraq Request To Discuss Troop Withdrawal (R.)

The United States rebuffed an Iraqi request on Friday to prepare to pull out its troops, amid heightened US-Iranian tensions following the US killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Seeking to tighten pressure on its rival, the US, meanwhile, imposed more sanctions on Iran, responding to an attack on US troops in Iraq launched by Tehran in retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani. Iraq looks set to bear the brunt of any further violence between neighbouring Iran and the US. Its leaders are caught in a bind as Washington and Tehran are also the Iraqi government’s main allies and vie for influence there.

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, made his request in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Thursday in line with a vote by Iraq’s parliament last week, his office said in a statement. Abdul Mahdi asked Pompeo to “send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the Parliament’s decision,” it said, adding without elaborating, that the forces used in the killing had entered Iraq or used its airspace without permission. However, the US State Department said any US delegation would not discuss the withdrawal of US troops as their presence in Iraq was “appropriate”. “There does, however, need to be a conversation between the US and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The latest flare-up in the long shadow-war between Iran and the US started with the killing of Soleimani in a US drone attack on January 3. Iran responded on Wednesday by firing missiles at US forces in Iraq. In the aftermath, both sides backed off from intensifying the conflict but the region remains tense, with Iranian commanders threatening more attacks. [..] Iraq’s top Shia leader on Friday condemned the US-Iranian confrontation taking place on Iraqi soil, saying it risked plunging an already war-ravaged country and the wider Middle East into deeper conflict. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said it was Iraqis who stood to suffer most from the US-Iranian conflict.

In a message delivered through a representative at Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala, al-Sistani said no foreign powers should be allowed to decide Iraq’s fate. “The latest dangerous aggressive acts, which are repeated violations of Iraqi sovereignty, are a part of the deteriorating situation” in the region, al-Sistani said. Al-Sistani, who wields huge influence over public opinion in Iraq, only weighs in on politics during times of crisis and is seen as a voice of moderation. “The people have suffered enough from wars … Iraq must govern itself and there must be no role for outsiders in its decision-making,” Sistani said.

Read more …

As Russiagate showed with great clarity, presidents must be able to talk to each other. Safety requires it.

US, Iran Used An Encrypted Swiss Fax Machine To Defuse Crisis (ZH)

Even as Trump was rage-tweeting on Jan 4, two days after the killing of Iran’s top military leader Qassem Soleimani, that he would hit 52 targets including Iranian heritage sites for potential retaliation if America suffered losses following an Iranian attack, warning that “those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD”, the US president was busy, secretly using an encrypted back-channel to bring the world back from the brink of war. As the WSJ reports, just hours after the U.S. strike which killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Trump administration sent an urgent back channel message to Tehran: “Don’t escalate.”

The encrypted fax message was sent via the Swiss Embassy in Iran, one of the few means of direct, confidential communication between the two sides, U.S. officials told the WSJ. Then, in frantic attempts to de-escalate even as top US and Iranian leaders were stirring patriotic sentiment and nationalistic fervor, the White House and Iranian leaders exchanged further messages in the days that followed, which officials in both countries described as far more measured than the fiery rhetoric traded publicly by politicians.

It worked: a week later, and after a retaliatory, if highly theatrical, Iranian missile attack on two military bases hosting American troops that purposefully inflicted no casualties, Washington and Tehran have stepped back from the brink of open hostilities (for now). “We don’t communicate with the Iranians that much, but when we do the Swiss have played a critical role to convey messages and avoid miscalculation,” a senior U.S. official said. While a spokesman at Iran’s mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the exchanges, he said “we appreciate [the Swiss] for any efforts they make to provide an efficient channel to exchange letters when and if necessary.” Another Iranian official said the back channel provided a welcome bridge, when all others had been burned: “In the desert, even a drop of water matters.”

[..] The first American fax was sent immediately after Washington confirmed the death of Soleimani, the most important figure in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. officials said. It arrived on a special encrypted fax machine in a sealed room of the Swiss mission – the most enduring, and secret, method since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – for the White House to exchange messages with Iran’s top leadership, especially when the two nations are concurrently parading in public media in their bellicose propaganda to earn political brownie points. The equipment operates on a secure Swiss government network linking its Tehran embassy to the Foreign Ministry in Bern and its embassy in Washington, say Swiss diplomats. Only the most senior officials have the key cards needed to use the equipment.

Former Swiss ambassadors say the diplomatic channel is effective because the U.S. and Iran can trust a message will remain confidential, be delivered quickly, and will reach only its intended recipients.

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Allegedly, Khameini personally intervened. There are too many voices speaking for Tehran.

Iran Admits It Shot Down Ukrainian Plane (AlJ)

Iran has announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 on board. The statement on Saturday morning blames “human error” for the incident, adding that the military mistook Flight 752 for a “hostile target”. Press TV also quoted Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces as saying that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military site”. The military said it was at its “highest level of readiness” amid the heightened tensions with the United States. “In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said. It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

In a statement posted on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said, adding that “investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake”. Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft. On Friday, Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation authority, said it was impossible due to close coordination between Iran’s air defence and the civil aviation department. “What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.

[..] Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Tehran, said questions were now being raised as to why Iranian authorities kept the country’s air space open during a military operation. “There’s a lot of explaining to do by Iranian authorities. People want to know why and how it happened.” In a social media post, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to the disaster”. “Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims and to other affected nations.”

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PDF file from Brown University. The changes in US war financing, from war bonds and direct taxation until the Korean War, to limitless borrowing – and interest payments- ever since.

The Cost of Debt-Financed War (Peltier)

Throughout the 18 years the U.S. has been engaged in the “Global War on Terror,” mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the government has financed this war by borrowing funds rather than through alternative means such as raising taxes or issuing war bonds. Thus, the costs of the post-9/11 wars include not only the expenses incurred for operations, equipment, and personnel, but also the interest costs on this debt. Since 2001 these interest payments have been growing, resulting in more and more taxpayer dollars being wasted on interest payments rather than being channeled to more productive uses. This paper calculates that the debt incurred for $2 trillion in direct war-related spending by the Department of Defense and State Department has already resulted in cumulative interest payments of $925 billion.

Even if military interventions ceased immediately, interest payments would continue to rise, and will grow further as the U.S. continues its current military operations. War is expensive — in terms of lives lost, physical damage to people and property, mental trauma to soldiers and war-zone inhabitants, and in terms of money. The expense of war is not restricted to the annual budgetary costs of the war spending itself, but also depends upon the way in which war is financed. When war is financed through debt, the costs are much greater than when it is financed through taxation or other revenues, since interest payments must be made as long as the debt is outstanding. In fact, interest payments can sometimes grow to beyond the level of the debt itself, as will likely be the case with the post-9/11 wars.

If war spending ceased immediately, interest payments on the $2 trillion of existing war debt would rise to over $2 trillion by 2030 and to $6.5 trillion by 2050. These interest payments will grow larger as the U.S. continues its post-9/11 military interventions and continues amassing debt to pay for the costs of war. This level of borrowing to pay for the post-9/11 wars has been unique. Since the country’s founding, U.S. wars have been funded at least partly through revenues raised specifically for that purpose, including war bonds and direct taxes levied for war. As noted by Boston University political scientist Rosella Cappella-Zielinski, “Taxation as a percent of war finance was significant during the World Wars, meeting 30 percent of the cost of World War I and almost 50 percent of the cost of World War II, and peaked as a method of war finance during the Korean War, which was fully financed by taxes. Starting with the Civil War and ending with the Korean War, the government made a systematic effort to pay for its wars via direct taxation

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Looks like Pelosi was losing her own people.

Trump Impeachment Charges May Go To Senate As Early As Next Week (R.)

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives will send formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate as early as next week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday, setting the stage for his long-awaited trial. Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, has been engaged in a three-week cat-and-mouse game with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the rules for Trump’s trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. Democrats have demanded it include new witness testimony and evidence about the Republican president’s pressuring of Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democrat running for the right to face Trump in the November election.


McConnell slammed the door on that idea this week, saying he had enough Republican votes to start the trial without a commitment to hear from additional witnesses, including former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Democrats are trying to convince a few moderate Republican senators to allow witnesses. One moderate, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, told reporters in her home state that she and a “fairly small group” of her fellow Republican senators are working to ensure witnesses can be called. The Senate is expected to acquit Trump before the 2020 presidential election campaign heats up, as no Republicans have voiced support for ousting him, a step that would require a two-thirds majority.

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Whose side is the Trojan horse on?

Also, if Pelosi makes Adam Schiff a “manager”, can the GOP still call him to testify?

How’s This Working Nancy? (Kunstler)

The case for House members to get access to all that backstage Mueller material could go up to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Impeachment’s second act is about to get underway whether Mrs. Pelosi likes the terms or not. It’s the Senate’s prerogative to decide. These terms appear to be exactly the same as the ones used by the Senate for Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial — which means that each side chooses a team of “managers” to present its case, and then the managers are subject to grilling by senators. The House Democrats are insisting on calling witnesses solely to maintain their court claim for testimony from the White House counsel, with which the aforesaid Mueller material is associated in the case.

If the rules eschew witnesses, that case is moot, and the Democrats lose access to a trove of political oppo research obtained for them under false pretenses by their own operatives in the Department of Justice. Secondarily, the impeachment was designed to get senators in swing states on the record voting to acquit the president in the hopes that it will somehow taint their re-election prospects and possibly flip control of the Senate to the Democrats. That outcome would above all insure that Mr. Trump could not get another Supreme Court nominee confirmed in his second term, nor continue the wholesale appointment of lesser federal district judges. Plus, of course, it would obstruct any other legislative initiative his party brought for four years.

Personally, I would miss the chance to hear from the so-called “whistleblower” who instigated the impeachment phase of the long-running coup against Mr. Trump. Contrary to the disinformation put out by The New York Times and other coup co-conspirators, the “whistleblower” enjoys no right to anonymity. It would also be satisfying to hear how his enabler, Intel Community IG Michael Atkinson, might account for the process that steered the “whistleblower” to Rep. Adam Schiff and his staff — for instance, back-dating the official documents that green-lighted the “whistleblower’s” case. Mr. Atkinson is deeply implicated himself as a player in the earlier 2017 RussiaGate FISA court mischief, since his previous job was agency counsel to DOJ National Security chief John Carlin, who signed off on fraudulent FISA warrants. Mr. Atkinson must have counseled Mr. Carlin to do that.

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Where the main economic damage continues to emanate from.

Central Bankers Are Quietly Freaking Out About How To Fight The Next Recession (F.)

The world’s top central bank officials are rightly concerned that politicians in rich economies missed one key lesson of the last recession: Interest rate cuts can help to moderate a downturn, but aggressive fiscal policy is key to a healthy recovery. It was a pro-austerity stance both in the United States, and even more saliently in the euro zone, that arguably prolonged the period of high unemployment and low wage growth that plagued most of the decade-long recovery from the 2007-2009 U.S. Great Recession. Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told the Financial Times this week that central banks are running low on fuel. “If there were to be a deeper downturn, [that requires] more stimulus than a conventional recession, then it’s not clear that monetary policy would have sufficient space,” he said.


“It’s generally true that there’s much less ammunition for all the major central banks than they previously had and I’m of the opinion that this situation will persist for some time.” That echoed the sentiment of Christine Lagarde, who recently took over the ECB. She’s telling budget-shy European politicians (especially in Germany) to get to work. Now, a new paper from Fed board economist Michael Kiley points to similar alarm among U.S. central bankers about their ability to fight future slumps. Drawing up two basic assumptions of what a downturn might look like, Kiley finds that “a recession may result in near-zero interest rates at long maturities, bringing U.S. experience closer to that seen in Europe and Japan.” This, says Kiley, “could imply limits on the ability of monetary policy to support a recovery.”

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“This is corruption, plain and simple,” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.”

No, Elizabeth, this is legal. Corruption is not. Look it up.

Boeing’s Ousted CEO Departs With $62 Million, Even Without Severance Pay (R.)

Boeing Co’s ousted chief executive officer, Dennis Muilenburg, is leaving the company with $62 million in compensation and pension benefits but will receive no severance pay in the wake of the 737 MAX crisis. Muilenburg was fired from the job in December as Boeing failed to contain the fallout from a pair of fatal crashes that halted output of the company’s bestselling 737 MAX jetliner and tarnished its reputation with airlines and regulators. The compensation figures were disclosed in a regulatory filing late on Friday during a difficult week for Boeing when it also released hundreds of internal messages — two major issues hanging over the company before new CEO David Calhoun starts on Monday.


The messages contained harshly critical comments about the development of the 737 MAX, including one that said the plane was “designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.” The 737 MAX has been grounded since March following the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people within a span of five months. “It is incredibly heart wrenching to see the man at the heart of our loss walk away with a reward,” said Zipporah Kuria, whose 55-year-old father from Kenya died in the second crash. Lawmakers also blasted Boeing. “346 people died. And yet, Dennis Muilenburg pressured regulators and put profits ahead of the safety of passengers, pilots, and flight attendants. He’ll walk away with an additional $62.2 million. This is corruption, plain and simple,” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

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As CEO, Muilenburg was responsible for the installation of defective parts on 737 MAX. His golden handshake is worth about 12 times the FAA’s fine for that. And he doesn’t even have to pay it.

FAA Seeks To Fine Boeing $5.4 Million For Defective Parts On 737 MAX (R.)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday it was seeking to fine Boeing $5.4 million, alleging it failed to prevent the installation of defective parts on 737 MAX airplanes. The FAA alleged Boeing “failed to adequately oversee its suppliers to ensure they complied with the company’s quality assurance system, … Boeing knowingly submitted aircraft for final FAA airworthiness certification after determining that the parts could not be used due to a failed strength test.” The FAA proposed a $3.9 million civil penalty against Boeing for the same issue in December involving 133 737 NG airplanes, which is the prior generation of the 737.


The 737 MAX has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. Boeing’s safety record on a number of issues have come under scrutiny from lawmakers and the FAA. The parts issue is completely unrelated to the crashes, Boeing said. The FAA disclosed in June that about 300 NG and 737 MAX airplanes could contain improperly manufactured parts and said it would require these parts to be quickly replaced. The parts at issue are tracks on the leading edge of the wings used to guide the movement of slats that provide additional lift during takeoff and landing, the FAA said. The issue could result in a slat striking an airplane, potentially resulting in injury to passengers or preventing a safe landing.

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More Muilenburg fallout.

Key Boeing 737 MAX Supplier Spirit Aerosystems To Cut 2,800 Jobs (CNBC)

A key Boeing 737 Max supplier said Friday that it is planning to cut about 2,800 jobs as the planes remain grounded far longer than expected and the financial impact ripples through the aerospace company’s supply chain. Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit Aerosystems, which produces fuselages for the beleaguered planes, said it made the decision due to uncertainty around the Max’s return to service. The company’s shares fell after its announcement, trading down 2.7%. Boeing was off nearly 1.5%. The 737 Max accounts for half of Spirit’s revenue. The planes have been grounded since mid-March [..] Regulators haven’t said when they would allow the planes to fly again.


“This is not the news I wanted to share, and I know it’s not the news you wanted to hear,” CEO Tom Gentile told employees on Friday. “But the continued grounding of the Max fleet and the suspension of production has created a challenging situation for us.” In addition to fuselages, Spirit makes thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing parts. Spirit, which issued what’s known as a WARN notice that requires companies to give employees 60 days notice of mass layoffs, said more job cuts are possible, a sign of how Boeing’s 737 Max crisis continues to hurt suppliers and the communities where they’re based. The laid-off employees, while they will have to depart in the coming weeks, will be paid for the entire 60-day notice period, Spirit said.

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Going through all the amounts spent, how can you not despair? What is fair about this sytem?

Joe Biden Gets $Millions In TV Ads In Iowa From Undisclosed Donors (IC)

Heading into the Iowa caucus, a Super PAC backing Joe Biden is spending big on TV ads in the state, giving him a boost over his fellow Democratic presidential frontrunners. Unite the Country PAC, which was launched in October by longtime advisers to the former vice president and allies of former President Barack Obama, has spent $2.3 million on TV ads in support of Biden in Iowa, according to recent disclosures. In recent years, political campaigns have devoted more of their resources to digital advertising and email distribution, but they continue to spend big on TV ads. For candidates like Biden, whose campaign had been struggling with fundraising in the fall, Super PACs can play a key role in helping reach people on the airwaves.

Biden had disavowed the support of Super PACs early in his campaign, but walked that position back just before Unite the Country launched in October. The timing of the launch comes with an additional benefit: The PAC will be able to keep its donors under wraps until just three days before the February 3 Iowa caucus. Under Federal Election Commission rules, the Super PAC’s first disclosure is due on January 31. The schedule gives Biden more of a chance to escape scrutiny of who exactly is bundling for the PAC — a list likely to include more major industry players, far and away from the working-class voters for whom Biden has cast himself as a hero. Asked about the date the group was required to file its next disclosure, a spokesperson for the PAC said it followed the FEC’s reporting schedule.

As Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign continues to flounder, his Super PAC, United We Win, has spent $250,000 on TV advertising on his behalf. Other campaigns have made massive investments in TV ads in Iowa. Both Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have spent around $3.9 million on TV ads in the state so far. Andrew Yang has spent $2.5 million, Biden has spent $1.8 million, and Elizabeth Warren has spent $1.6 million. Billionaire Tom Steyer has spent $9 million in Iowa and $116.5 million overall, and it’s paying off: According to a Fox News poll released this week, Steyer is polling ahead of Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg in South Carolina, where he’s spent $8.3 million on TV ads, and ahead of Warren in Nevada, where he’s spent $8.7 million. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, has spent $153.1 million on TV ads so far.

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This aged remarkably well.

 

 

 

Include the Automatic Earth in your 2020 charity list. Support us on Paypal and Patreon.

 

Sep 232019
 
 September 23, 2019  Posted by at 10:59 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Paul Gauguin The Seine at the Pont d’Iena 1875

 

Half of Americans Expect A Recession To Hit In The Next 12 Months (MW)
Negative Interest Rates Are The Price We Pay For De-Civilization (Deist)
British Travel Firm Thomas Cook Collapses, Stranding 600,000 Tourists (R.)
No-Deal Brexit Will Have ‘Seismic’ Impact – European Car Industry (G.)
Oil Set To Spike As Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months” (ZH)
Trump Doubles Down On Call To Investigate Biden (Hill)
Trump Hit By Election Dirt From Ukraine… Forget? (RT)
Ted Cruz Insists Iran Wants To Nuke American Cities (RT)
Facebook Declares It’s A ‘Publisher’, Walking Into Legal Trap (RT)
World at a Crossroads (Sergei Lavrov)

 

 

“..21% of Republicans said a recession will likely happen within a year, while 74% of Democrats said a recession is coming..”

Half of Americans Expect A Recession To Hit In The Next 12 Months (MW)

There are more Americans expecting an economic downturn now than there were just before the start of the Great Recession. A Gallup poll released Friday painted a gloomy picture: people are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the economy and bracing for a recession. • 49% of poll participants said a recession will likely arrive in the next 12 months. In October 2007 — two months before the Great Recession began — 40% of poll participants felt the same way. • For the third straight month, a growing share of Americans said the economy is deteriorating, going from 37% in July to 48% in September. At the same time, fewer people said it’s improving, slipping from 54% to 46%. • Republicans are rosy and Democrats are downbeat: 21% of Republicans said a recession will likely happen within a year, while 74% of Democrats said a recession is coming in that time. Independents were evenly split.


Gallup noted it conducted the poll from September 3 to 15, as the latest round of Chinese tariffs took effect, but before the latest interest rate cut. Consumer perceptions weren’t totally glum. Though 49% of people told Gallup a recession is either fairly likely or very likely, another 50% said a recession isn’t too likely, or not likely at all. After all, there’s still a record-breaking 10-year bull market and a 3.7% unemployment rate, which is around a 50-year low. Like consumers, market experts are also divided. Some brush off recession talk, but others say a downturn will happen by the end of 2020.

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“If in fact negative interest rates can occur naturally, without central bank or state interventions, then economics textbooks need to be revised on the quick.”

Negative Interest Rates Are The Price We Pay For De-Civilization (Deist)

“Calculation Error,” which Bloomberg terminals sometimes display, is an apt metaphor for the current state of central bank policy. Both Europe and Asia are now awash in $17 trillion worth of negative-yielding sovereign and corporate bonds, and Alan Greenspan suggests negative interest rates soon will arrive in the US. Despite claims by both Mr. Trump and Fed Chair Jerome Powell concerning the health of the American economy, the Fed’s Open Market Committee moved closer to negative territory today — with another quarter-point cut in the Fed Funds rate, below even a measly 2%.

Negative interest rates are just the latest front in the post-2008 era of “extraordinary” monetary policy. They represent a Hail Mary pass from central bankers to stimulate more borrowing and more debt, though there is far more global debt today than in 2007. Stimulus is the assumed goal of all economic policy, both fiscal and monetary. Demand-side stimulus is the mania bequeathed to us by Keynes, or more accurately by his followers. It is the absurd idea, that an economy prospers by consuming and borrowing instead of producing and saving. Negative interest rates turn everything we know about economics upside down.

Under what scenario would anyone lend $1,000 to receive $900 in return at some point in the future? Only when the alternative is to receive $800 back instead, due to the predicted interventions of central banks and governments. Only then would locking in a set rate of capital loss make sense. By “capital loss” I mean just that; when there is no positive interest paid, the principal itself must be consumed. There is no “market” for negative rates. The future is uncertain, and there is always counterparty risk. The borrower might abscond, or default, or declare bankruptcy. Market conditions might change during the course of the loan, driving interest rates higher to the lender’s detriment. Inflation could rise higher and faster than the agreed-upon nominal interest rate. The lender might even die prior to repayment.

Positive interest rates compensate lenders for all of this risk and uncertainty. Interest, like all economics, ultimately can be explained by human nature and human action. If in fact negative interest rates can occur naturally, without central bank or state interventions, then economics textbooks need to be revised on the quick. Every theory of interest contemplates positive interest paid on borrowed capital. Classical economists and their “Real” theory say interest represents a “return” on capital, not a penalty. Capital available for lending, like any other good, is subject to real forces of supply and demand. But nobody would “sell” their capital by giving the buyer interest payments as well, they would simply hold onto it and avoid the risk of lending.

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150,000 Brits stranded, as are 140,000 Germans. 50,000 stranded in Greece alone.

British Travel Firm Thomas Cook Collapses, Stranding 600,000 Tourists (R.)

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, collapsed on Monday, stranding hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history. Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said it was a matter of profound regret that the company had gone out of business after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Thomas Cook had now ceased trading and the regulator and government would work together to bring the more than 150,000 British customers home over the next two weeks. “I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years,” Fankhauser said in a statement released in the early hours of Monday morning.


“It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful.” The government and aviation regulator said that due to the scale of the situation some disruption was inevitable. “Thomas Cook has ceased trading so all Thomas Cook flights are now cancelled,” the CAA said. The demise of Thomas Cook marks the end of one of Britain’s oldest companies that started life in 1841 running local rail excursions before it survived two world wars to pioneer package holidays first in Europe and then further afield. The firm now runs hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year in 16 countries. It currently has 600,000 people abroad, forcing governments and insurance companies to coordinate a huge rescue operation.

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Who are UK firms/factories going to sell their cars to?

No-Deal Brexit Will Have ‘Seismic’ Impact – European Car Industry (G.)

The European car industry has warned of catastrophic effects of a no-deal Brexit, saying it would have a “seismic” impact on making cars in Europe. In a rare joint statement, chiefs from 23 automotive business associations across Europe joined forces to caution against a brutal exit from the bloc by Britain, where auto giants BMW, Peugeot PSA and Japan’s Nissan have factories. “Brexit is not just a British problem, we are all concerned in the European automotive industry, and even further,” said Christian Peugeot, head of French automotive industry association CCFA in the statement.

Reaping the benefits of the EU’s single market, carmakers have supply chains that criss-cross the English Channel and Britain is the destination of around 10% of vehicles assembled on the continent, according to industry data. British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has rattled nerves with his vow to leave the European Union on 31 October come what may – with or without a trade deal with Brussels. “The UK’s departure from the EU without a deal would trigger a seismic shift in trading conditions, with billions of euros of tariffs threatening to impact consumer choice and affordability on both sides of the Channel,” the joint statement said.

A chaotic Brexit would land a “severe” blow against the industry’s just-in-time supply chains that stretch across international borders and depend on zero administrative hassle, the associations warned. “The EU and UK automotive industries need frictionless trade and would be harmed significantly by additional duties and administrative burden on automotive parts and vehicles,” said Bernhard Mattes, the head of Germany’s auto lobby VDA.

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Catch 22: tell the world everything will be fine in no time, but without causing prices to plummet.

Oil Set To Spike As Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months” (ZH)

[..] the WSJ reported that it may take “up to eight month”, rather than 10 weeks company executives had previously promised, to fully restore operations at Aramco damaged Abqaiq facility, suggesting the crude oil shortfall will last far longer than originally expected. The official reason for the delay: the supply-chain is unable to respond to the Saudi needs. Specifically, Aramco is” in emergency talks with equipment makers and service providers, offering to pay premium rates for parts and repair work as it attempts a speedy recovery from missile attacks on its largest oil-processing facilities.” Following a devastating attack on its largest oil-processing facility more than a week ago, Aramco is asking contractors to name their price for patch-ups and restorations.

In recent days, company executives have bombarded contractors, including General Electric , with phone calls, faxes and emails seeking emergency assistance, according to Saudi officials and oil-services suppliers in the kingdom. “One Saudi official said costs could run in the hundreds of millions of dollars”, the WSJ reported. The unofficial, and more likely, version: Aramco is unhappy with how quickly oil prices dropped after the “Iranian attack”, and since its objective from the very beginning – especially with its IPO looming – was to get oil prices higher, and with its reputation to prevent “outside shocks” in tatters, it is now creating its own bottlenecks in restoring output.

Hinting at the second explanation is the fact that until now, Saudi officials and Aramco executives had been consistent in communicating statements aimed at reassuring oil markets that the state-owned company will recover quickly while continuing to supply customers as usual. Just yesterday, Aramco’s CEO Amin Nasser reiterated production would be back to its precrisis level by the end of the month. “Not a single shipment to our international customers has been missed or canceled as a result of the attacks,” he said.

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Rightly so. Same goes for Trump, of course.

Trump Doubles Down On Call To Investigate Biden (Hill)

President Trump on Sunday doubled down on his call for former Vice President Joe Biden’s dealings with Ukraine to be investigated amid reports of a whistleblower who is said to have raised concerns about the president’s interaction with a foreign leader who may have been Ukraine’s president. “Now the Fake News Media says I ‘pressured the Ukrainian President at least 8 times during my telephone call with him.’ This supposedly comes from a so-called ‘whistleblower’ who they say doesn’t even have a first hand account of what was said,” the president tweeted Sunday evening.

“Breaking News: The Ukrainian Government just said they weren’t pressured at all during the ‘nice’ call. Sleepy Joe Biden, on the other hand, forced a tough prosecutor out from investigating his son’s company by threat of not giving big dollars to Ukraine. That’s the real story!” he added. On Friday, multiple outlets reported that Trump had pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son Hunter Biden during a July call. Trump has not denied that he urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Earlier Sunday, speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump insisted there was no quid pro quo involved in the talks with the Ukrainian president, calling it a “perfect conversation.”

Instead, Trump has questioned why the media is not paying more attention to the Democratic front-runner’s actions. He also criticized the whistleblower, saying the official had caused a “false alarm.”

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No, I do remember.

Trump Hit By Election Dirt From Ukraine… Forget? (RT)

Scroll back to August 2016. The Trump versus Clinton campaigns are in full swing, polls give the Democrat a win, but the Republican is not far behind. So, a pair of Ukrainian officials – a US-linked MP and the head of a freshly created anti-corruption bureau – conspire to illegally leak to the US media material about an ongoing probe into ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and his party. At least that’s how a Ukrainian court in October 2018 described what they had done. In particular, the two leaked photos of a handwritten ledger allegedly showing cash payouts by Yanukovich’s party with the name of Paul Manafort on it.


The same Manafort who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time and was later tried and sentenced for tax evasion and bank fraud as part of the Robert Mueller investigation. There are serious questions about how reliable this leaked ledger was in the first place and how extensive the conspiracy was. The two Ukrainian officials may have acted alone, or on behalf of senior figures in their government wishing to score some points with the perceived future leader in Washington. There are claims of some coordination with people in DC, or rather, the DNC. Whichever the case, one thing is clear: what the Kiev court described was a case of foreign interference in the American election.

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Ted smokes the good stuff.

Ted Cruz Insists Iran Wants To Nuke American Cities (RT)

Ted Cruz insists Tehran’s grand dream is to nuke American cities and that Iran nuclear deal is to blame for the attack on Saudi oil facilities. The argument was mocked for making no sense, but the hawkish US senator doubles down. The Texas legislator and one of the most vocal cheerleaders of Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran went to the pages of New York Post on Friday to warn the public of an imminent danger. More international sanctions against Iran may soon be dropped under the 2015 nuclear deal, which means Tehran is drawing closer to obtaining nuclear weapons that “could incinerate American cities with a single flash of light.”


America must act now and invoke the so-called snapback mechanism outlined the nuclear deal to keep the sanctions in place and also cut Iran entirely from the global financial system, Cruz said. If you are somewhat puzzled by this line of argument, you are not alone. After all, how can Trump use the nuclear deal, from which he withdrew in the first place, to cudgel Iran more? And what Tehran may hope to win by killing millions of American civilians even if it had the capability to do it?

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Just became an interesting court case.

Facebook Declares It’s A ‘Publisher’, Walking Into Legal Trap (RT)

Facebook has invoked its free speech right as a publisher, insisting its ability to smear users as extremists is protected, but its legal immunity thus far has rested on a law which protects platforms, not publishers. Which is it? Facebook has declared it has the right, as a publisher, to exercise its own free speech and bar conservative political performance artist Laura Loomer from its platform. Even calling her a dangerous extremist is allowed under the First Amendment, because it’s merely an opinion, Facebook claims in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Loomer. But Facebook has always defined itself as a tech company providing a platform for users’ speech in the past, a definition that has come to appear increasingly ridiculous in the era of widespread politically-motivated censorship.


Now, the not-so-neutral content platform has redefined itself as a publisher equipped with a whole new set of rights, but bereft of the protections that have kept it safe from legal repercussions in the past. “Under well-established law, neither Facebook nor any other publisher can be liable for failing to publish someone else’s message,” Facebook’s motion to dismiss Loomer’s defamation suit reads, justifying its decision to ban her from the platform. It also points out that terms like “dangerous” or “promoting hate” cannot be factually verified and are thus constitutionally protected opinions for a publisher, while also claiming it never applied either term to Loomer, despite banning her from its platform under its “dangerous individuals” policy.

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Lavrov’s long speech at UN this week, via Dmitry Orlov.

“Sergei Lavrov is a world-class diplomatic heavyweight and Russia’s foreign minister. As the saying goes, if you don’t deal with Lavrov, you’ll end up dealing with Sergei Shoigu, defense minister.”

World at a Crossroads (Sergei Lavrov)

The defeat of fascism in 1945 had fundamentally affected the further course of world history and created conditions for establishing a post-war world order. The UN Charter became its bearing frame and a key source of international law to this day. The UN-centric system still preserves its sustainability and has a great degree of resilience. It actually is kind of a safety net that ensures peaceful development of mankind amid largely natural divergence of interests and rivalries among leading powers. The War-time experience of ideology-free cooperation of states with different socioeconomic and political systems is still highly relevant. It is regrettable that these obvious truths are being deliberately silenced or ignored by certain influential forces in the West.

Moreover, some have intensified attempts at privatizing the Victory, expunging from memory the Soviet Union’s role in the defeat of Nazism, condemning to oblivion the Red Army’s feat of sacrifice and liberation, forgetting the many millions of Soviet citizens who perished during the War, wiping out from history the consequences of the ruinous policy of appeasement. From this perspective, it is easy to grasp the essence of the concept of expounding the equality of the totalitarian regimes. Its purpose is not just to belittle the Soviet contribution to the Victory, but also to retrospectively strip our country of its historic role as an architect and guarantor of the post-war world order, and label it a “revisionist power” that is posing a threat to the well-being of the so-called free world.

Interpreting the past in such a manner also means that some of our partners see the establishment of a transatlantic link and the permanent implanting of the US military presence in Europe as a major achievement of the post-war system of international relations. This is definitely not the scenario the Allies had in mind while creating the United Nations.

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Bruce Springsteen turns 70 today.