Sep 272022
 


Marcel Duchamp About young sister 1911

 

This Is the Way the World Ends (Jim Kunstler)
Ukrainian Territories To Be Absorbed Into Russia By Week’s End: Lawmaker (ZH)
All the Young Dudes, Carry the -Russian- News (Escobar)
Zelensky Reveals US Pays Ukraine $1.5 Billion Per Month (RT)
Putin Considering Talks With Kiev On New Conditions – Turkish FM (RT)
German Energy Apocalypse Update V (Eugyp)
Germany Suspects ‘Targeted Attack’ On Russian Gas Pipelines (RT)
The US Is Winning Its War On Europe’s Industries And People (MoA)
West Should Treat Us With Respect – Putin (RT)
Poland Slams ‘Scandalous’ Von der Leyen Warning (RT)
Russia And The US Still Have Time To Prevent A Nuclear War (Trenin)
Orban Says EU Sanctions on Russia Have ‘Backfired’ (R.)
Moscow Tells US To ‘Back Off’ With ‘Aggressive’ Course (RT)
Moscow Grants Russian Citizenship To Edward Snowden (AP)
Roger Waters Pens Open Letter To Putin (RT)
Trouble About The Corona Vaccine Deal: Why Is Von Der Leyen Stonewalling? (MP)
Just 1.5% Of Eligible Americans Have Gotten Updated COVID Booster (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Meloni identity

 

 

 

 

Net Zero

 

 

This one is a bit older.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Madame von der Leyen’s fellow Germans have already been sent to their room without so much as a kartoffelklop, plus no heat or hot showers for you, Hansel and Gretel.”

This Is the Way the World Ends (Jim Kunstler)

The bond market has gone south, and that spells The End for the great game of financialization. The bond market is Moby Dick compared to the little blowfish that is the stock market. The global money system is based on bonds, which are… what? That’s right: loans… promises to pay you X at some future moment. So, what happens when a daisy-chain of promises-to-pay gets broken? Or, perhaps more precisely, when all those promises lose their last shred of plausible reality? Why, the money that these broken promises are denominated in loses its essential cred. Trick question: how much is worthless money worth? (Answer: not enough to pay for a can of Schrödinger’s cat food.) Which is where all this folderol leaves a lot of ordinary people all over Western Civ (and beyond!) trying to scratch up enough increasingly worthless money to feed the family and pay the landlord. Many will never understand what happened. But they will not be any less pissed off at the result.

This is the way the world ends for the hapless phantom known as “Joe Biden” the child-sniffing ectoplasm that haunts the White House these days of late empire. Somehow, the bamboozled nation has so far passively accepted the pranks and punishments laid on them by the backstage managers behind the Figment-in-Chief. Eight-plus percent inflation? No problemo, right? Eighty-five thousand new IRS agents on-board to drive you batshit while destroying your household and your posterity (ha!)? Half the population of South America flooding across the border? (The vibrancy! You no like?) A hundred dollar fill-up at the gas pump, and no heat for you this winter? (But… Netflix!) Drag queens to amuse and edify your children about the delirious realm of sexual pathology. All that…and how about a Russian hypersonic nuclear missile up your ass if the preceding somehow failed to move you? (Because: Russia, Russia, Russia…!)


Meanwhile, a trend is manifesting in other lands. The people of, first, Sweden and now Italy are voting in “right wing” nationalist governments — the horror — sending their equivalent of our Party of Chaos to the showers. This has irked the President of the European Union, one Ursula von der Leyen, no end. She has threatened to send Italy to its room without supper for the effrontry. Of course, Madame von der Leyen’s fellow Germans have already been sent to their room without so much as a kartoffelklop, plus no heat or hot showers for you, Hansel and Gretel. Embrace the suck.

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No way back.

Ukrainian Territories To Be Absorbed Into Russia By Week’s End: Lawmaker (ZH)

With four occupied regions of Ukraine currently in the midst of a five-day referendum on whether to join the Russian federation, a Kremlin lawmaker told state media over the weekend that the territories are likely to be absorbed by Russia on September 30. “Taking into account the preliminary results of the referendums and Russia’s readiness to acknowledge them, the accession of the territories is likely to take place as early as on September 30,” the unnamed member of Russia’s State Duma said to TASS. Voting is set to conclude Tuesday in Donestk, Luhansk and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, meaning as early as Wednesday or even Thursday announcements of results are likely to trickle out, paving the way for a potential Friday official declaration.


While Russian forces do not yet control the entirety of each of these territories, their annexation would constitute Ukraine losing almost 20% of its geographic territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin might himself make the proclamation following the referendums, which Ukrainian leaders along with Washington have dismissed as a “sham” – saying they won’t be recognized. Russian media reports indicate: The lawmaker said Russian President Vladimir Putin could take part in the procedure on September 30. “I don’t know if he will [participate], but he is likely to do so,” the MP said. Given that on Saturday Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov vowed new territories would be under Russia’s “full protection” – there is more than likely to be a major uptick in the intensity of fighting to follow the referenda results announcement in eastern Ukraine.

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“..after so many years, Moscow is finally fully committed to supporting Donbass all the way to the baby bears coming to Mama for good.”

All the Young Dudes, Carry the -Russian- News (Escobar)

Moscow’s rerouted strategy takes maskirovka – mask, feint, fool the enemy – to another level, actually dropping the mask, plus the velvet gloves. Now it’s all very clear: this is turbo-charged Sun Tzu (“May your plans be dark and impenetrable like the night, and when you move, strike like lightning.”) There will be plenty of strikes like lightning ahead in the Ukrainian battlefield. This is the culmination of a process that started in Samarkand, during the SCO summit last week. According to diplomatic sources, Putin and Xi Jinping had a very serious conversation. Xi asked tough questions – as in you must finish this off – and Putin arguably explained how things would reach the next level.

Yoda Patrushev was on the road to China immediately afterwards – meeting with his Yoda counterpart Yang Jiechi, head of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and the secretary of the Central Political and Legal Committee, Guo Shengkun. Following-up on Samarkand, Patrushev outlined how Moscow will help Beijing militarily when the Empire tries anything funny in the next battlefield: Asia-Pacific. That should happen under the framework of the SCO. Crucially, the Patrushev meetings were requested by the Chinese. So the Russia-China strategic partnership is about to achieve full-fledged cooperation before the going gets tough in the South China Sea. It’s as if Russia-China were on the brink of creating their own CSTO.

And that is happening even as the Chinese leadership continues to express – mostly in private – that war in Russia’s western borderlands is very bad for business (BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+, all of them) and should be wrapped up a.s.a.p. The problem is a swift wrap-up is off the cards. Foreign Minister Lavrov, in New York for the UN General Assembly, has stressed how. “Ukraine has eventually become a totalitarian Nazi sort of state” – unconditionally supported by the collective West. NATOstan has predictably doubled down on its tactics since the non-response response to Russia’s demand for a serious discussion on indivisibility of security, in late 2021: it’s always about shelling Donbass. This could not possibly be tolerated anymore by the Kremlin and Russian public opinion.

Thus the partial mobilization – forcefully proposed by the siloviki and the Security Council for quite a while now, with Kostyukov at GRU, Naryshkin at SVR and Bortnikov at FSB on the forefront. The symbolism is powerful: after so many years, Moscow is finally fully committed to supporting Donbass all the way to the baby bears coming to Mama for good. There are – unconfirmed – rumors in Moscow that the decision was accelerated because GRU has intel on the Americans soon transferring long-range missiles to Kiev capable of striking Russian cities. That’s beyond a red line for the Kremlin – hence Putin’s express mention that every weapon available in Russia’s mighty arsenal will be used to protect the Motherland.

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Lowballing.

Zelensky Reveals US Pays Ukraine $1.5 Billion Per Month (RT)

The Ukrainian government is being heavily supported with American money, with Washington contributing $1.5 billion per month to the budget, Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky has revealed. The sum was mentioned by the Ukrainian leader during an interview with CBS host Margaret Brennan for the ‘Face the Nation’ program, which was aired on Sunday. Currently Kiev runs “a deficit of $5 billion in our budget,” Zelenksy said, adding that “the United States gives us $1.5 billion every month to support our budget to fight” against Russia. Zelensky argued that arming and otherwise helping Ukraine militarily is a “win-win” for the US. He pledged that once Russia is defeated, the Ukrainian people will return to their home country and start paying taxes there, relieving the burden on American taxpayers.

“For the United States, it will be significant savings, but for us, it will be an opportunity to secure our territory and make it safe for our population,” he stated. US President Joe Biden has pledged to help Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to secure a strategic defeat of Russia, which he declared Washington’s ultimate goal in the conflict. Many Americans do not share the president’s view that the situation in Ukraine is crucial. According to the conservative election pollster Rasmussen Reports, it failed to make the top-ten list of issues of concern for likely voters. Earlier this month, the Biden administration asked Congress to authorize some $12 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, including $4.5 billion to support the Kiev government financially beyond September. It asked for $2 billion on top of that, to help Ukraine offset rising energy prices.


The package is expected to be approved on Friday, but some political analysts question whether the cash flows to Ukraine can be sustained after the midterm elections in November. “America can’t afford to provide a blank checkbook to Ukraine when we have inflation, gas prices, a supply chain crisis, all of the above, going on at home,” a GOP lawmaker told Politico, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “That’s what I’m hearing from my voters.” The outlet predicted that if the Republican Party wins the House, Biden will face more resistance to his requests for emergency aid to Ukraine.

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“In the course of negotiations with our president, Putin announced the possibility of returning to negotiations with Kiev, but on new conditions that have appeared,”

Putin Considering Talks With Kiev On New Conditions – Turkish FM (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering resuming talks with Ukraine, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. The top diplomat made the remarks during a press conference in Tokyo where he’s attending the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July. According to Cavusoglu, Putin floated the idea during a conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. “In the course of negotiations with our president, Putin announced the possibility of returning to negotiations with Kiev, but on new conditions that have appeared,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying, He didn’t elaborate on the “conditions” specified.

The minister also reiterated Ankara’s desire to stage direct talks between Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “Our president will continue his contacts with Putin and Zelensky. Our aim is to bring the two leaders together to ensure that decisions are made at the level of the leaders,” Cavusoglu said. Top Russian officials have repeatedly said Moscow has been ready to talk with Kiev, pinning the blame for the stalled negotiations on the Ukrainian side. Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said dialogue is “of course needed,” adding that Putin had already explained that “Ukraine left the negotiations several months ago.”


Apart from declaring the goal of defeating Moscow on the battlefield, Ukrainian officials have also reacted angrily to the referendums on joining Russia, currently ongoing in the Donbass republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions in southern Ukraine. On Sunday, Zelensky warned that should Russia complete the vote, it would “make it impossible, in any case, to continue any diplomatic negotiations” with Moscow.

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“Normally” Eugyppius writes on Covid. But he’s in Germany…

German Energy Apocalypse Update V (Eugyp)

Germany has nationalised the gas importer Uniper, to save it from insolvency in the face of the Gazprom gas stoppage. Robert Habeck’s earlier scheme to save Uniper and other importers involved the imposition of a gas surcharge of 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour on all consumers, but the government appears ready to scrap this plan just days before it was set to go into effect. Instead, some politicians are now talking of capping gas prices, though as far as I can tell, nobody has any idea how. As the pressure builds and the first closures begin, Germany is entering an economic recession, and there are everyday renewed cracks in the political edifice.

Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer (CDU) – no fringe political figure – recently remarked that Germany “cannot do without Russian gas” and acknowledged that EU sanctions are to blame for the shortage, but he stopped short of demanding that Nord Stream 2 be opened; instead, he hopes for a return to Russian gas after the Ukraine war has ended. The Greens in government remain committed to taking Germany’s last nuclear power plants offline by the end of the year, hoping that enough French nuclear plants will return to service over the winter to cover any resulting shortages. It is hard to imagine a more farcical approach to nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, the head mayor of Berlin has suggested that two- or three-hour periods of load-shedding may be necessary to keep the electrical grid functional over the winter. Other experts, while downplaying the risk of uncontrolled outages, have raised the possibility load-shedding as well, confirming that these are very real contingency plans and that we’re being prepared for them. The stated concern is invariably that local or regional gas shortages will cause the widespread activation of electrical heaters and overwhelm the grid, though how exactly this could be anticipated far enough in advanced for scheduled outages is unclear to me. Prices have increased vastly across the economy, and estimates are that up to 60 percent of German households are now committing their entire monthly income to cover the rising cost of living.

The depth of the crisis isn’t fully known, as loan defaults and similar economic signals won’t begin in earnest until 2023. And that’s it. There are no plans from the government, beyond doubtful price-tinkering, regulatory schemes and targeted financial assistance. If you look at those news outlets most guilty of Corona hysteria, like the state-funded Tagesschau or the Süddeutsche Zeitung, you find extremely muted reporting on the crisis. Instead, hyperventilation about Ukraine continues to dominate headlines; pieces on the energy apocalypse are either misleading items like this one, hailing a dip in gas prices, or trivial write-ups about whether cities should cancel their Christmas lighting this year.

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Well, the Russians don’t blow up their own pipelines…

Germany Suspects ‘Targeted Attack’ On Russian Gas Pipelines (RT)

While the loss of pressure in three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany is still officially being investigated, Berlin is reportedly no longer convinced it was a coincidence, and suspects a “targeted attack” on behalf of either Ukraine or Russia, the newspaper Tagesspiegel reported on Monday evening. Pressure in one of the Nord Stream 2 lines dropped sharply overnight, followed by the same happening to both Nord Stream 1 pipes on Monday afternoon. Denmark announced that a gas leak was spotted off the coast of Bornholm island in the Baltic Sea and closed the area for maritime traffic, but could not confirm if this was what caused the pressure loss.

According to Tagesspiegel, the German government and agencies investigating the incident “can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack,” according to an anonymous source familiar with their assessments. “Everything speaks against a coincidence.” The outlet explained that a deliberate attack on the bottom of the sea has to involve special forces, navy divers or a submarine. Berlin is reportedly examining two possible scenarios. In the first, Ukraine or “Ukraine-affiliated forces”could be behind the attack. The second option is that Russia did it as a “false flag,” to make Ukraine look bad and drive the EU energy prices even higher.


With Nord Stream offline since late August, Russian gas can only be delivered to Germany and central Europe via the older pipelines going through Poland and Ukraine, Tagesspiegel noted. “We are in the process of clarifying the situation here,” a spokeswoman for the federal ministry of economics told the outlet. “We don’t currently know what caused the pressure drop.” Nord Stream 1 was built in 2011. Construction on Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, and took much longer due to political pressure and economic sanctions from the US. NS2 was finished and pressurized by September 2021. However, two days prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the German government put its certification on indefinite hold, and has categorically refused any suggestion from Moscow – or its own people – to unblock the pipeline.

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“Instead of a real military threat from Russia and China, the problem for American strategists is the absence of such a threat.”

The US Is Winning Its War On Europe’s Industries And People (MoA)

On February 7 Professor of Economics Michael Hudson explained why America’s Real Adversaries Are Its European and Other Allies: “What worries American diplomats is that Germany, other NATO nations and countries along the Belt and Road route understand the gains that can be made by opening up peaceful trade and investment. If there is no Russian or Chinese plan to invade or bomb them, what is the need for NATO? And if there is no inherently adversarial relationship, why do foreign countries need to sacrifice their own trade and financial interests by relying exclusively on U.S. exporters and investors?

These are the concerns that have prompted French President Macron to call forth the ghost of Charles de Gaulle and urge Europe to turn away from what he calls NATO’s “brain-dead” Cold War and break with the pro-U.S. trade arrangements that are imposing rising costs on Europe while denying it potential gains from trade with Eurasia. Even Germany is balking at demands that it freeze by this coming March by going without Russian gas. Instead of a real military threat from Russia and China, the problem for American strategists is the absence of such a threat.” What the U.S. needed was to provoke Russia, and later China, into reacting to U.S. arranged threats in a way that would oblige its ‘allies’ to follow its sanction policies. The rather dimwitted European leadership fell for the trick.


The U.S. arranged for a Ukrainian attack on the rebel held Donbas region. This started on February 17 with intense artillery preparations against Donbas positions as recorded by the OSCE observers at that border. Russia had to react or see the ethnic Russians in those areas getting maimed and killed by Nazi devoting Ukrainians. There was no way to prevent that but by other than military means. On February 22 Russia recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and signed defense agreements with them. The same day the German chancellor Olaf Scholz canceled the launch of the undersea Nord Stream II pipeline which was to transport Russian gas to Germany’s industries and consumers. The Europeans launched a sequence of extremely harsh economic sanctions against Russia which, prodded by the U.S., had been prepared months in advance. Russia’s Special Military Operation, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, commenced on February 24.

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“Without that we won’t even talk to them. Nobody is going to tolerate humiliation..”

West Should Treat Us With Respect – Putin (RT)

Russia and Belarus are countries that are prepared to work with the West but only if there is mutual respect, presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko agreed during a face-to-face meeting in Sochi on Monday. Speaking on tv channel Rossiya 24, Lukashenko said he believes the West’s future lies with Russia, which has “everything they need.” On the other hand, he added, the West has things Russia and Belarus need and are willing to buy, including certain technologies. “What else do they want? They just need to make responsible decisions,” he said said. Putin agreed with the Belarusian leader, insisting the West must “treat us with respect.”

“Without that we won’t even talk to them. Nobody is going to tolerate humiliation,”Lukashenko continued, noting that both Moscow and Minsk were open to working with those who want to live side by side, building relations based on mutual respect. The Russian leader has previously suggested that the West was essentially waging a hybrid war against Moscow and was looking to “weaken, disunite and ultimately destroy”Russia. In a televised address last week, Putin claimed that Western countries openly admit that they “managed to break up the Soviet Union in 1991”and were now aiming to “split Russia into many regions that would be at each other’s throats.”


As a means to that end, Putin claims the West has been intentionally fostering Russophobic sentiments in countries like Ukraine, where he accuses the US and its allies of installing a hostile government and of turning the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder by pushing them into war with Russia. Putin has also warned Western leaders who openly call for a military defeat of Russia that Moscow is prepared to use any means at its disposal to defend itself and to ensure its territorial integrity. US President Joe Biden has hit back at Putin, accusing him of “making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.”

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“..the president’s remarks were not an attempt to interfere with Italian domestic politics but rather meant to underline the body’s role “as guardian of the [European] treaties with regard to the rule of law.”

Poland Slams ‘Scandalous’ Von der Leyen Warning (RT)

A warning by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that Brussels has tools to discipline Italy if its prospective center-right government fails to cooperate with the EU was “scandalous,” according to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The remark was a wake-up call for member states, the head of the Polish government said on Sunday, as quoted by state news agency PAP. “Is this the kind of Europe we want? Is this democracy and rule of law? That Eurocrats in Brussels decide what a government should be?”Morawiecki asked. He was responding to von der Leyen’s suggestion that, should the new Italian government fail to meet the EU’s policy expectations, the country could be disciplined.

The top official said “whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we’re working together,” adding that “if things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools.” Von der Leyen spoke about Italy on Thursday at Princeton University, after it was suggested that people friendly to Russia could come to power in Rome after the election on Sunday. She was asked what the EU leadership plans to do about it. Morawiecki interpreted the remark as a promise to punish Italy, unless its new government is “in favor of Brussels.” European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said that the president’s remarks were not an attempt to interfere with Italian domestic politics but rather meant to underline the body’s role “as guardian of the [European] treaties with regard to the rule of law.”


A center-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FI) party looks set to form a new cabinet following a snap election in the country. The outcome was consistent with opinion polls ahead of the ballot. In mid-September, the European Commission recommended suspending some €7.5 billion of emergency funding to Hungary over alleged erosion of the rule of law in the country. A similar punishment was imposed on Poland last year over controversial judicial reforms adopted by its conservative government.

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“..if – God forbid! – the Kremlin will face what the Russian military doctrine calls “a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” its nuclear weapons will not point to some location on the European continent, but more likely across the Atlantic.”

Russia And The US Still Have Time To Prevent A Nuclear War (Trenin)

This October marks the 60th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, which drew Moscow and Washington into a nuclear showdown that threatened the immediate annihilation of the world. Luckily, the leaders of the time – Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy – had the wisdom to step back from the brink, and then engage with each other on first steps toward jointly managing adversity in the nuclear era. Given the current conflict in Ukraine, which is steadily escalating toward a direct military collision between Russia and the United States, there is a hope that the lessons of the past can also help to end the present confrontation on a peaceful note. However, we should also be mindful of the major differences between the two crises.

On the surface the root cause of both confrontations has been acute feelings of insecurity created by the expansion of the rival power’s political influence and military presence right to the doorstep of one’s own country: Cuba then, Ukraine now. This similarity, however, is almost as far as it goes. The salient feature of the Ukraine crisis is the vast asymmetry not only between the relevant capabilities of Russia and the United States, but even more importantly between the stakes involved. To the Kremlin, the issue is literally existential. Essentially, it is not only the future of Ukraine, but that of Russia itself that is on the table. To the White House, the issue is definitely important, but far less critical. What is in question is clearly US global leadership (which will not collapse within the Western world, whatever happens in Ukraine), its credibility (which can be dented but hardly destroyed), and the administration’s standing with the American people (for whom Ukraine is hardly a top concern).

[..] The problem is that its highly pro-active policy on Ukraine is based on a flawed premise that Russia can indeed accept being ‘strategically defeated’ and, should nuclear weapons be used, their use would be limited to Ukraine or, at worst, to Europe. Americans have a long tradition of ascribing their own strategic logic to their Russian opponents, but this can be fatally misleading. Ukraine, parts of Russia and Europe being hit by nuclear strikes – while the US emerges from the conflict unscathed – might be considered a tolerable outcome in Washington, but hardly in Moscow. [..] So many of Russia’s so-called red lines being breached without consequence from the start of the Ukraine war have created an impression that Moscow is bluffing, so that when President Vladimir Putin recently issued another warning to Washington, saying that “it is not a bluff,” some people concluded that it was precisely that.

Yet, as recent experience demonstrates, Putin’s words deserve to be taken more seriously. In a 2018 interview he said, “Why do we need a world in which there is no Russia?” The problem is that Moscow’s strategic defeat, which the US is aiming for in Ukraine, would probably ultimately result in “a world without Russia.” This probably suggests that if – God forbid! – the Kremlin will face what the Russian military doctrine calls “a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” its nuclear weapons will not point to some location on the European continent, but more likely across the Atlantic.

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“Hungary to hold a referendum on the EU’s sanctions imposed on Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announces.

“The sanctions were not decided democratically, but were decided by Brussels bureaucrats and European elites,” he said on Monday.”

Orban Says EU Sanctions on Russia Have ‘Backfired’ (R.)

Hungary should prepare for a prolonged war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday, sharply criticising European Union sanctions imposed on Russia which he said have “backfired”, driving up energy prices. Orban, long at odds with the EU over some of his policies seen in Brussels as anti-democratic, urged a ceasefire to end the war and said the sanctions against Russia were dealing a blow to Europe’s economy. Orban, who was reelected for a fourth consecutive term in April, now faces surging inflation, plunging consumer confidence and the prospect of a recession next year.

He told parliament it was no surprise that governments were falling in Europe, referring to the Italian election on Sunday following which Giorgia Meloni looks set to lead Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two. “We can safely say that as a result of the sanctions, European people have become poorer, while Russia has not fallen to its knees,” Orban said. “This weapon has backfired, with the sanctions Europe has shot itself in the foot.” “We are waiting for an answer, the entire Europe is waiting for an answer from Brussels on how long we will keep doing this,” he said, adding it was also time to discuss the sanctions with the United States. Orban, whose government is in talks with the European Commission to secure billions of euros in EU funds blocked over rule-of-law concerns, said his government would launch a “national consultation” asking Hungarians about sanctions.


Orban has previously used this campaign tool to shore up domestic support for his Fidesz party on policies such as gay rights or migration. Orban said his government had revised its long-term energy strategy and aims to overhaul the power system and extend the lifespan of the Paks nuclear power plant, with a total of 32 big investments planned to be financed using EU funding. “If the Brussels bureaucrats do not give us this money, which Hungary is eligible for, then we will get the necessary funds from other financial sources,” Orban said, adding Hungary had started talks with the EU and “other international partners”. He did not elaborate.

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“Dozens of nations representing half of humanity either backed Russia’s position on Ukraine or at least acknowledged the merits of Russia’s reasoning..”

Moscow Tells US To ‘Back Off’ With ‘Aggressive’ Course (RT)

The US is taking an increasingly aggressive stance towards Moscow, but no amount of economic sanctions and political pressure can sway it from defending its national interests, a top Russian diplomat said. Moscow’s diplomacy regarding the US is an exercise in “crisis management”, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview on Russian television on Monday. He described US behavior as being “increasingly confrontational and worrisome.” “We can see how [the Americans] are trying to mobilize their satellites, their vassals to confront Russia in a more aggressive and hardline manner,” the diplomat said. “Washington’s irresponsible, extremely aggressive, extremely assertive course is bringing us all to the dangerous line. We are warning against maintaining this course.”

The brinkmanship has been evident not only when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine, but also in the all-important issue of nuclear non-proliferation and reduction, Ryabkov said. Washington has pretty much dismantled the entire architecture of strategic arms control and is threatening the last remaining bilateral treaty of that kind with Russia, the New START, he pointed out. The core of the problem, the diplomat said, is that the US “does not need agreements, which had been signed on the basis of parity, served not only the security interest of the group [of nations] led by the US, but strengthened the security of entire regions and the world in general. They are not in line with the hegemonic course that the US pursues in the international arena.”

The deputy minister said he didn’t expect US policy towards Russia to change anytime soon, because “there is an anti-Russian consensus of the elites” in the US. But the only viable solution is for Washington to recognize that Russia will not be bullied and act accordingly, Ryabkov added. “Time and time again we’ve told our American interlocutors, to use the most neutral term, that they have to back off and stop escalating the situation,” he said.

European nations, which sided with Washington’s anti-Russian drive, are suffering because of it, the Russian diplomat pointed out. In fact, their subservience to Washington makes them vulnerable to American exploitation, Ryabkov said. “[The Americans] are undermining Europe’s competitiveness, pumping their products into European markets, be they military equipment or hydrocarbons, which the Europeans would rather get from alternative sources under different circumstances,” he said. But Washington lacks global support, regardless of what American officials claim Ryabkov said. Dozens of nations representing half of humanity either backed Russia’s position on Ukraine or at least acknowledged the merits of Russia’s reasoning about it, he explained.

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One of 75, but the only one who gets attention.

Moscow Grants Russian Citizenship To Edward Snowden (AP)

President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader on Monday. Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree as being granted Russian citizenship. The decree was published on an official government website. Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs. He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.


Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that the former contractor’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport. The couple had a child in December 2020. Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he’s guaranteed a fair trial. He hasn’t commented on being granted Russian citizenship.

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“Just because NATO and the US get to “invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil,” doesn’t mean Russia shouldn’t hold itself to a higher standard..”

Roger Waters Pens Open Letter To Putin (RT)

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has penned a blunt open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking guarantees that Russia will not expand beyond the Donbass and Crimea and will never “invade anyone ever again.” Posted to Facebook on Monday, the missive follows similarly frank open letters to Ukrainian First Lady Elena Zelenskaya. In the letter, Waters asks Putin to affirm he wants an end to the war – something the Russian president has already said on other occasions. He also demands a guarantee that Russia’s “territorial interest” stops at the “security of the Russian speaking populations”of Crimea and the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, citing the need to reassure “some people who think you want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states.”

If Russia does have territorial ambitions beyond eastern Ukraine, Waters writes, “f*** you, and we might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic feel so comfortable with, and have at it.” It wasn’t immediately clear if the referendums in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on joining Russia qualified for this response. Moscow would also have to promise “not to invade anyone ever again,” Waters told Putin, complaining the launch of Russia’s special military operation in February was not just a “heinous war of aggression,” but an unexpected one to boot. Just because NATO and the US get to “invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil,” doesn’t mean Russia shouldn’t hold itself to a higher standard, he explained.

“If you were to reply to me,” Waters wrote to Putin, “I would mightily respect you for it, and take it as an honorable move in the right direction towards a sustainable peace.” The progressive rock guitarist’s appeal to Putin followed his previous open letters to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s wife Elena, in which he urged the Ukrainian First Lady to “demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war,” a reference to Zelensky’s campaign pledge to “end the civil war” in Donbass. He told Zelenskaya she was “tragically mistaken” in her belief that western “support for Ukraine” – namely the continued supply of weapons – would shorten the conflict.

Zelenskaya responded to the musician earlier this month on Twitter, blaming Russia for “invading” Ukraine, “destroy[ing] cities and kill[ing] civilians.” She insisted that if Ukraine stops fighting it will mean the end of its existence, and urged Waters to address his peace appeals to the Russian president instead.

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Google translation from German outlet Morgenpost.

The “talks” between Ursula and Bourla were in WhatsApp (or a similar app), and she gave herself permission to delete all of it. Dead end.

Trouble About The Corona Vaccine Deal: Why Is Von Der Leyen Stonewalling? (MP)

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is under pressure because of a multi-billion dollar mega contract for the delivery of Biontech-Pfizer’s corona vaccine. According to information from our editorial team, the budget controllers of the EU Parliament are preparing a formal reprimand, the displeasure in Parliament is great, the first MPs call for the public prosecutor. It is by far the largest contract in the European Union for the procurement of corona vaccines: In May 2021, i.e. five months after the start of the vaccination campaign, the Commission agreed on the delivery of up to 1.8 billion doses of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine ( 900 million as an option) for the years 2022 and 2023. According to insider information, the purchase price is a gigantic 35 billion euros.

Not only the volume is spectacular. It is also unusual that von der Leyen apparently personally arranged the contract in talks with Pfizer boss Albert Bourla – the European Court of Auditors speaks of “preliminary negotiations”. Nevertheless, the President of the Commission adamantly refuses to provide any information about her exchange with the Pfizer boss. Now von der Leyen even rebuffed the Court of Auditors – and may have overdone it. The auditors took an interest in the deal as part of a special report on European vaccine procurement. According to her account, von der Leyen conducted the preliminary negotiations with the Pfizer boss in March 2021 without involving the joint negotiating team, as would have corresponded to a Commission decision on the procedure.

The auditors asked the Commission for information about the preliminary negotiations, such as experts involved, timetable, records, details of the agreed terms. After all, this contract will “shape the EU’s vaccine portfolio until the end of 2023”. But the examiners received a rejection: “No information was transmitted,” they write. Internally, the inspectors are stunned: “This behavior is extremely unusual, something like this has never happened before,” says the authority. However, the Court of Auditors cannot enforce anything in this case. The EU Parliament has the lever in its hand. There threatens from the Leyen Trouble. The chair of the Budget Control Committee, Monika Hohlmeier (CSU), calls it “very worrying” that the Commission is refusing to give the Court of Auditors central information for evaluating the preliminary negotiations, especially because of their influence on the proper award procedure.

According to the Court of Auditors, the tender only contained what had previously been informally agreed, Hohlmeier told our editorial team: “The Committee on Budgetary Control will reprimand the Commission here and insist that information relevant to the audit must always be shared with the Court of Auditors without restrictions.” The lack of transparency in the multi-billion dollar contracts has long been an issue in the EU Parliament, also because it plays into the hands of anti-vaccination campaigns. Von der Leyen’s blockade is fueling all sorts of speculation among critics, such as an alleged preference for the US company Pfizer. The Washington-based consumer organization SumOfUs accuses von der Leyen of agreeing to a hefty price increase in her talks with Bourla, even though a discount would have been obvious given the enormous quantity. In fact, with the deal, the price per Biontech vaccine dose rose from EUR 15.50 to EUR 19.50 – the then Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borrisov revealed this out of annoyance at the high costs.

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It’s over.

Just 1.5% Of Eligible Americans Have Gotten Updated COVID Booster (ZH)

Only 1.5% of those eligible to receive the new Covid booster jab – which was tested on just 8 mice, not humans, before the FDA approved it – have taken the updated shot, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 4.4 million people have taken the tweaked booster shot from Pfizer and Moderna after they were rolled out three weeks ago around Labor Day weekend. The bivalent shots were designed to target both the original Covid-19 strain, and the currently circulating Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, NBC News reports. “I would expect a much higher proportion of Americans to have gotten the booster by this point,” said Yale Medicine infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Scott Robers, who said the relatively low uptake was “demoralizing.”

“The fact that this booster came out days before Biden said the pandemic is over is a huge mixed message,” said Roberts, who added that a lack of public awareness surrounding the shots – or the ‘prevailing narrative that the pandemic is ending’ might have hindered the rollout. “Now it’s going to be that much harder to convince those at risk who are on the fence to get a booster.” As of Tuesday, the US had shipped over 25 million boosters to tens of thousands of sites. Approximately 80% of the US population has received at least one shot of the primary Covid vaccine, and almost 68% are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ by the CDC – meaning they’ve received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s offering, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.


“[..] experts are still gathering real-world data, since the shots were distributed without results from human trials. Laboratory studies found that the boosters generated strong antibody responses against BA.4 and BA.5, and human trial data showed that a similar vaccine yielded a strong antibody response against the initial omicron strain, BA.1. Authorization of the bivalent boosters for children ages 5 to 11 may be just weeks away, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at an event this week with the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.” -NBC News Word of the slow uptake comes after Denmark recommended that only those over the age of 50, or who are at risk of developing severe Covid-19, receive the vaccine.

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Trailer

Malhotra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Einstein

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 262022
 


Henri Matisse Cap d’Antibes 1922

 

Meloni’s Right-Wing Alliance Wins Clear Majority In Italian Elections (ZH)
Thousands Of Firms In Italy On Brink Of Closure (RT)
The Return of Fascism (Chris Hedges)
Russia Says US “Wrecked” Ukraine Talks, But Peace Is Still Possible (Maté)
Early Turnout Numbers For Referendums On Joining Russia (RT)
Russia Says It’s Not Threatening Anyone With Nukes (Antiwar)
We Might Be Spared Nuclear War But Threat of Home Grown Tyranny Remains (PCR)
Pound Slumps To All-time Low Against Dollar (BBC)
UK To Double Military Spending Amid Cost-of-living Crisis (RT)
The Tories Declare Class War (Craig Murray)
US Facing Natural Gas Shortage – Reuters (RT)
New Zealand Prime Minister Calls for a Global Censorship System (Turley)
Psaki : If Midterms Are A ‘Referendum’ On Biden, Democrats Are Doomed (NYP)
Roger Waters Cancels Poland Concerts After Ukraine War Remarks (RFE)

 

 

Giorgia Meloni has won the Italian elections and is the next PM. The MSM has been loaded full of terms like Mussolini, ultra right wing and fascist. While she speaks of God, country and family. I don’t know exactly who is behind her, and I don’t need to. I have only to look at the mess Mario Draghi has made of Italy.

And more importantly, I look at the lockdowns and vaccine mandates, the unlimited support for the Ukraine nazis, and the cold and hungry winter many people in Europe, not least Italy, will face because of it.

Want to talk fascism? First learn to identify it.

 

 

 

 

Second largest food distribution centre in the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Meloni’s alliance which includes Salvini’s League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia will win around 43% of the vote..”

Meloni’s Right-Wing Alliance Wins Clear Majority In Italian Elections (ZH)

Europe’s unelected authoritarian ruler, Ursula von der Leyen, is not going to be happy: according to early exit polls out of Italy’s national election, the right-wing bloc of Giorgia Meloni – which the ultra-left wing press just can’t stop comparing to Mussolini – is set for a historic, if largely expected, victory and a clear majority (if, however, not a super-majority) which will propel Meloni to the top of the Italian government as the country’s next prime minister, ushering in a historic right-wing shift for a country that – like Sweden until two weeks ago – has traditionally been very left-wing. Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, which won just 4% of the vote during the last national election in 2018, won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary elections with around 22.5%-26.5% of the vote according to an exit poll released by Italian national broadcaster Rai.

She is now set to become prime minister but would require approval from junior partners in her coalition to assume the role. According to an exit poll from Rai, Meloni’s alliance which includes Salvini’s League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia will win around 43% of the vote. The Center-Left alliance will have just 25.5%-29.5% of the vote, while the 5 Star movement has 13.5%-17.5% of the final vote. Italy’s electoral system, which strongly favors parties that run as part of a coalition, is expected to help the right to an ample majority in both houses of Parliament: with 228 votes in the Lower House and 115 seats in the Senate (according to SkyTG24), Meloni will have a majority as just 104 votes are required. As the WSJ notes, the Italian election is “the first big test of the European Union’s political cohesion as it confronts Russia’s attempt to redraw the continent’s post-Cold War order.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s restriction of natural-gas deliveries has sparked an energy-price crunch that, combined with other inflationary pressures, is expected to push much of Europe into a recession this winter.” Meloni replaces former Goldman Sachs partner and ECB technocrat and globalist, Mario Draghi, and will be the country’s first female prime minister. The likely right-wing government will face difficult decisions over how to protect Italian households and businesses from sky-high prices for natural gas and electricity. While Italy’s parlous public finances allow limited scope for fiscal largess, if the UK is any example – and it is – Italy will engage in a similar strategy of targeted and debt-funded fiscal stimulus which will lead to a blowout in Italian debt, a further plunge in the euro and much chaos everywhere.

[..] During the election campaign, Meloni tried to reassure voters and investors that she will keep Italy’s mammoth debt under control and won’t question the country’s foreign alliances or support for Ukraine. Expect all of that to change tomorrow.

Meloni

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Where Meloni comes from.

Thousands Of Firms In Italy On Brink Of Closure (RT)

Over 100,000 businesses in Italy are in danger of closing down due to soaring energy bills, the news outlet Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday, citing Carlo Sangalli, head of the Italian business association Confcommercio. “Already today many companies are reorganizing or reducing services… Between now and the first half of 2023, at least 120,000 small businesses in the service sector are at risk… This is a cautious estimate that does not take into account the largest companies,” Sangalli told the news outlet. According to the official, the situation could lead to the loss of more than 370,000 jobs. Sangalli noted that energy prices in Italy are much higher than in other countries, which puts a strain on small and medium-sized businesses.


“In terms of energy costs, our hotels, bars, restaurants and stores will pay 40-60% more on their bills this year than in Germany, and three times that than in France,” Sangalli said. He noted that the energy crisis may deal the final blow to many businesses that have already been made vulnerable by the Covid-19 pandemic. The official said the country needed “good reforms and good investments” that will “make our country work better and in a simpler way,” and called for some of the support measures introduced during the pandemic to be reinstated. Italy, along with other EU countries, has been battling a record-high inflation. Annual inflation in the country reached 8.4% in August, driven largely by energy costs. Italy relies on imports for nearly 75% of its energy. At the start of this year, it was importing 40% of its gas from Russia, but in July its Russian purchases dropped to 25% due to sanctions.

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Chris is getting too old. He’s glued to the rear view mirror.

The Return of Fascism (Chris Hedges)

Meloni got her start in politics as a 15-year-old activist for the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement, founded after the World War II by supporters of Benito Mussolini. She calls EU bureaucrats agents of “nihilistic global elites driven by international finance.” She peddles the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that non-white immigrants are being permitted to enter Western nations as part of a plot to undermine or “replace” the political power and culture of white people. She has called on the Italian navy to turn back boats with immigrants, which the far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini did in 2018. Her Fratelli d’Italia, Brothers of Italy, party is a close ally of Hungary’s President, Viktor Orban. A European Parliament resolution recently declared that Hungary can no longer be defined as a democracy.

Meloni and Orban are not alone. Sweden Democrats, which took over 20 percent of the vote in Sweden’s general election last week to become the country’s second largest political party, was formed in 1988 from a neo-Nazi group called B.S.S., or Keep Sweden Swedish. It has deep fascist roots. Of the party’s 30 founders, 18 had Nazi affiliations, including several who served in the Waffen SS, according to Tony Gustaffson a historian and former Sweden Democrat member. France’s Marine Le Pen took over 41 percent of the vote in April against Emmanuel Macron. In Spain, the hard-right Vox party is the third largest party in Spain’s Parliament. The far-right German AfD or Alternative for Germany party took over 12 percent in federal elections in 2017, making it the third largest party, though it lost a couple percentage points in the 2021 elections. The U.S. has its own version of fascism embodied in a Republican party that coalesces in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump, embraces the magical thinking, misogyny, homophobia and white supremacy of the Christian Right and actively subverts the election process.

Economic collapse was indispensable to the Nazis’ rise to power. In the 1928 elections in Germany, the Nazi party received less than 3 percent of the vote. Then came the global financial crash of 1929. By early 1932, 40 percent of the German insured workforce, six million people, were unemployed. That same year, the Nazis became the largest political party in the German parliament. The Weimar government, tone deaf and hostage to the big industrialists, prioritized paying bank loans and austerity rather than feeding and employing a desperate population. It foolishly imposed severe restrictions on who was eligible for unemployment insurance. Millions of Germans went hungry. Desperation and rage rippled through the population. Mass rallies, led by a collection of buffoonish Nazis in brown uniforms who would have felt at home at Mar-a-Lago, denounced Jews, Communists, intellectuals, artists and the ruling class, as internal enemies. Hate was their main currency. It sold well.

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“..talks between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev in April and informed Zelensky that Putin “should be pressured, not negotiated with.”

Russia Says US “Wrecked” Ukraine Talks, But Peace Is Still Possible (Maté)

In his Sept. 21 speech announcing an escalation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused NATO states of sabotaging a peace deal that could have ended it months ago. At talks brokered by Turkey in March, Putin said, “Kiev representatives voiced quite a positive response to our proposals… But a peaceful settlement obviously did not suit the West, which is why, after certain compromises were coordinated, Kiev was actually ordered to wreck all these agreements.” Speaking at the United Nations hours later, President Joe Biden criticized the Russian leader but did not address his claim that the US thwarted negotiations. Asked about Putin’s remarks, officials from the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) and the State Department offered differing responses.

An NSC official referred me to the Ukrainian government for comment about “their peace negotiations in the spring.” But overall, the official added, “it is inaccurate that the U.S. discouraged Ukraine from seeking a peace agreement. Throughout this conflict, we have said that it is up to Ukraine to make their own sovereign decisions.” A State Department spokesperson did not address Putin’s rendering of the March-April negotiations, and instead focused on the period before the invasion. “As part of our efforts to deter President Putin from launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory on February 24, 2022, the United States consistently spoke of the two paths Russia could choose: dialogue and diplomacy, or escalation and massive consequences,” the State Department wrote. “We made genuine and sincere efforts to pursue the former, which we vastly preferred, but Putin chose war.”

Asked if it had any response to Putin’s account of the peace talks that occurred after the invasion, the State spokesperson did not respond. The Russian government has not offered any additional detail or evidence for Putin’s claim that Ukraine and Russia were close to a “settlement,” and that Kiev’s NATO backers intervened to “wreck” it. But the Kremlin is also not the first to assert it. The claim originated with sources to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who described the episode to Ukrainian media outlet Ukrayinska Pravda. According to their account, talks between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev in April and informed Zelensky that Putin “should be pressured, not negotiated with.”

Johnson also relayed that “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on [security] guarantees with Putin,” Western nations “are not.” That report was followed this month by an overlooked disclosure from former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill. Citing “multiple former senior U.S. officials,” Hill wrote that “Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement” in April. Russia would withdraw to its pre-invasion position, while Ukraine would pledge not to join NATO “and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

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I see videos of people ostensibly being forced to vote Russia. Not exactly subtle. But who needs subtlety in an echo chamber?

Early Turnout Numbers For Referendums On Joining Russia (RT)

The referendums on joining Russia are continuing in the Donbass republics and Russian-controlled regions of southern Ukraine. On Sunday, the turnout already reached the required 50% threshold in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and Zaporozhye Region, with only Kherson lagging behind. In the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), more than 76% of eligible voters have already cast their votes, according to official figures. The referendum in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is proceeding at a similar pace, with some 77% of voters having shown up at the polling stations. Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which were largely seized by Russian forces amid the ongoing conflict, have demonstrated a lower turnout.


Still, the latter region has already met the required legal threshold, with some 51.55% of registered voters already casting their ballots, according to the head of the Zaporozhye electoral committee, Galina Katyshenko. Kherson has so far demonstrated lower turnout, with nearly 49% of voters showing up for the referendum. Polls across the two regions and in the Donbass republics are set to stay open for the next two days. Ukraine and its Western backers have rejected the referendums on joining Russia as illegal and have vowed to not recognize them regardless of their outcome. Speaking to US broadcaster CBS on Sunday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky warned that should Russia complete the referendums, it would “make it impossible, in any case, to continue any diplomatic negotiations” with Moscow.

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It isn’t.

Russia Says It’s Not Threatening Anyone With Nukes (Antiwar)

On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia wasn’t threatening anyone with nuclear weapons and said Moscow doesn’t want a direct conflict with the US and NATO. “We are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons,” Ryabkov said. “The criteria for their use are outlined in Russia’s military doctrine.” Russia’s doctrine is that it could use nuclear weapons if it is facing an “existential threat,” and Russian officials have made clear throughout the current war in Ukraine that this is still the policy. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend its “territorial integrity.” While his comments were a more explicit warning, it still falls in line with the doctrine. But Russian territory is set to expand into Ukraine after referendums that are being held in the Donbas, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.


Ukraine is planning to launch more counter-offensives against these territories using weapons and intelligence provided by the US and other NATO countries. Ryabkov said that it’s not in Russia’s interest to be in a direct conflict with the US and NATO. “A face-off with the United States and NATO, which is fraught with an open armed conflict, is not in our interests,” he said. “We hope that the Biden administration understands the risks of uncontrolled escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, given the repeated statements by their officials that they don’t plan to send American servicemen to Ukraine,” Ryabkov added. President Biden has repeatedly stated that he won’t send US troops into Ukraine to fight Russia, although there is a CIA presence on the ground, according to a report from The New York Times that was published in June. The report also said special operations forces from Britain, France, Canada, and Lithuania are on the ground in Ukraine.

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“..the referendums that begin today in the liberated areas of Ukraine, which without question will succeed, promise to reduce the threat of Armageddon..”

We Might Be Spared Nuclear War But Threat of Home Grown Tyranny Remains (PCR)

As readers know, I am convinced that Putin’s toleration of insults and provocations has had the effect of encouraging more and worse provocations and not, as he intended, to downplay conflict. As you also know, I am convinced that his “limited military operation” in Donbass designed to protect the Donbass Russians, formerly a part of Russia, from horrible abuse by Ukrainian forces and the neo-Nazi militias, was a mistake. It is a mistake because the West characterized a limited operation as an “invasion of Ukraine,” and used its slow progress as evidence of Russian failure. It is a mistake because the go-slow nature of the Russian offensive in order to minimize the impact on civilian lives and infrastructure gave the West plenty of time to convince itself to get more and more involved with diplomatic support, money, armaments and ammunition, training, and now with satellite information for targeting the Russian forces.

As I see it, Putin has been behaving as British Prime Minister Chamberlain is alleged to have behaved, thus encouraging more aggressive actions. Wanting peace at all costs brings war. As it is no longer possible for the Kremlin to speak of “our Western partners” or to deny that the West is at war with Russia, the Kremlin, trying to avoid a war that it knows would be nuclear, has reached my conclusion of eight years ago that if the areas in today’s artificial borders of Ukraine that require Russian protection were reincorporated into Russia, the conflict would have to cease or become direct Western military aggression against Russia. As Biden says he has no stomach for a war with Russia and will not permit one, and as NATO is incapable of such war, the referendums that begin today in the liberated areas of Ukraine, which without question will succeed, promise to reduce the threat of Armageddon.

Although in my opinion the leadership everywhere in the Western world is Satanic and insane, I do not think the Western governing elites are ready to commit suicide by attacking Russian territory. The West can say it doesn’t recognize the rights of people to self-determination, but if Russia says it is Russian territory, it is. So that you understand, the referendums are Putin’s way of ending the conflict before it widens into nuclear war. Putin’s rescue of the world from nuclear war will not be acknowledged by the Western presstitutes, Washington’s puppet EU and UK governments, or by the puppet who serves as NATO secretary general. But what they think does not matter. Putin, belatedly, is doing his best to save us all from nuclear war. Pray that he succeeds.

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“..historic tax cuts funded by huge increases in borrowing..”

Pound Slumps To All-time Low Against Dollar (BBC)

The pound has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar since decimalisation in 1971. In early Asia trade, sterling fell by more than 4% to $1.0327 before regaining some ground to around $1.05. That came after UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled historic tax cuts funded by huge increases in borrowing. The pound has also been under pressure as the dollar has been boosted by the US central bank continuing to raise interest rates. The euro also touched a fresh 20-year-low against the dollar in morning Asia trade amid investor concerns about the risk of recession as winter approaches with no sign of an end to the energy crisis or the war in Ukraine.


Peter Escho, the co-founder of investment firm Wealthi, said: “All currencies are getting sold off against the US dollar, so there is a large element of US dollar strength. But with the pound, it has really been exacerbated by news that the new government will be cutting taxes, which is inflationary. “Add to that recent energy subsidies and news that the Bank of England might need to have an emergency rate-hike meeting, this all results in a sense of panic,” he added. Some investors think the Bank of England will be forced to take emergency action to halt the pound’s slide. “To stop the bleeding even temporarily, the BOE may well enter ‘whatever it takes’ territory to bring inflation down. An emergency meeting rate hike could happen as soon as this week to regain credibility in the market. We could even see a hike today,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management told the BBC.

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Add Chucky the Third and you have a crazy winter.

UK To Double Military Spending Amid Cost-of-living Crisis (RT)

Britain will boost its military spending considerably in the coming years, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has revealed, despite the fact the nation is facing an economic crisis stemming from Covid-19 measures and London’s sanctions on Moscow. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph published on Sunday, Wallace said the British government will shell out at least £52 billion ($56.5 billion) to shore up the military, which is “actually going to grow.” The plans are in keeping with Prime Minister Liz Truss’ campaign promise to boost defense spending. According to the official, Britain’s annual defense budget will amount to £100 billion by 2030. Wallace also took aim at former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Treasury for what he described as a “corporate raid” of the armed forces which started back in the 1990s.

He claimed that the Treasury had even tried to “stipulate the size of the Army.” “My department has been so used to 30 or 40 years of defending against cuts or reconciling cuts with modern fighting, they’re going to have to get used to a completely different culture,” the defence secretary noted. Wallace expressed confidence, however, that Sunak’s successor in the office, Kwasi Kwarteng, would show more understanding toward the military’s needs. The defence secretary, who retained his post after Liz Truss defeated Sunak in the race to become prime minister in early September, told journalists that the new leader’s willingness to spend more on the military was one of the key factors for him in deciding which candidate to back for prime minister. “The reason I supported Liz Truss was that the risks we were prepared to tolerate in the middle of the decade are not risks I want to tolerate any more in light of Russian aggression,” Wallace said.

Addressing world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York, Truss reiterated her campaign pledge to spend 3% of GDP on defense by 2030. According to Bloomberg, the new prime minister reversed former PM Boris Johnson’s plans to slash the military by 9,500 personnel. Commenting on the changes, which are expected to be unveiled by the end of 2022, Downing Street clarified that they were needed to “stand firm against coercion from authoritarian powers like Russia and China.” The decision comes despite the UK government’s interest payable on debt hitting the highest level on record, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this week. Inflation, food, and energy prices have also soared, while the British pound and consumer confidence have hit the lowest levelsin decades.

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“The idea of the cap on bankers’ bonuses was to remove the perverse incentive whereby a banker got a bonus of ten years salary by creating “assets” of bad loans..”

The Tories Declare Class War (Craig Murray)

The “cap” on bankers bonuses that the Tories have just removed had been set at double their annual salary. Yes, double ptheir annual salary. So a banker on £320,000 a year could only get an annual bonus of £640,000. That has now been lifted so they will be able to get annual bonuses of millions again. On each million of which they will also benefit from a new £55,000 tax cut. The greatest irony of this is that the first multimillion pound bankers’ bonuses will be going this Christmas to bankers who shorted the pound before Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini-budget”. The cap on bankers’ bonuses was largely a sop to the public who had bailed out the bankers with public money borrowed – with trillions in interest – from the very bankers we were bailing out.

In effect Gordon Brown created sterling and gave it free to the bankers who caused the collapse, so they could lend it to the public purse and we could pay it back over two decades of public austerity. The idea of the cap on bankers’ bonuses was to remove the perverse incentive whereby a banker got a bonus of ten years salary by creating “assets” of bad loans, with no care whether those loans collapsed or not two years later, as he already had his ten years’ bonus. The Tories have just brought back that perverse incentive. Krug all round in the City!! It’s a bonanza for lap dance club owners and cocaine dealers. It’s a disaster for us. This perverse incentive will be needed to keep any money flowing into UK mortgages.

With the Bank rate sure to exceed 5% in the next few months and inflation continuing, mortgage rates will be in double digits by this time next year, and we are only a couple of years away from mass default and repossession. The wealthy will of course be able to use some of their tax cut money to take advantage of the stamp duty cut and snap up the repossessed properties as buy to let. That is what the Tories call growing the economy. Over 50% of the money from the tax cuts will benefit the top 5% of earners. If wealth inequality were the primary driver of economic growth – and that is the basis of Kwarteng’s economic theory – then how do you explain that the UK already has the second highest wealth inequality in the G7, behind only the USA, yet the lowest economic growth?

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“.. they are up by a whopping 300% from a few years ago..”

US Facing Natural Gas Shortage – Reuters (RT)

Shale producers in the United States are struggling to meet growing domestic and international natural gas demand, according to an analysis by Reuters. The report concluded that a hotter-than-expected summer and a lack of alternative energy sources have left the nation’s inventories below the seasonal average. It added that there were no signs of improvement in the level of inventories, despite the rise in gas prices. The latest data showed that the Permian Shale Basin, which contributes some 12% of US total gas output, and the rig count in the Permian, has been down for two weeks in a row. “Less drilling means less associated gas to add to the national total,” the news outlet reported.


While American energy companies have been exporting liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe at record rates, calls have emerged lately to reduce those supplies to make sure there is enough for the US market. “With heating season around the corner in both Europe and the United States and with a lot of people in both places using gas for heating, the price outlook for gas does not look good from a consumer’s perspective,” Reuters wrote. The report noted that it is unlikely US gas prices will climb anywhere near European levels, “but they are up by a whopping 300% from a few years ago when gas was cheap because it was abundant.”

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WEF needs to go.

New Zealand Prime Minister Calls for a Global Censorship System (Turley)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the latest liberal leader to call for an international alliance to censor speech. Unsatisfied with the unprecedented corporate censorship of social media companies, leaders like Hillary Clinton have turned from private censorship to good old-fashioned state censorship. Speech regulation has become an article of faith on the left. Ardern used her speech this week to the United Nations General Assembly to call for censorship on a global scale. Ardern lashed out at “disinformation” and called for a global coalition to control speech. After nodding toward free speech, she proceeded to lay out a plan for its demise through government regulation:

But what if that lie, told repeatedly, and across many platforms, prompts, inspires, or motivates others to take up arms. To threaten the security of others. To turn a blind eye to atrocities, or worse, to become complicit in them. What then? This is no longer a hypothetical. The weapons of war have changed, they are upon us and require the same level of action and activity that we put into the weapons of old. We recognized the threats that the old weapons created. We came together as communities to minimize these threats. We created international rules, norms and expectations. We never saw that as a threat to our individual liberties – rather, it was a preservation of them. The same must apply now as we take on these new challenges.

Ardern noted how extremists use speech to spread lies without noting that non-extremists use the same free speech to counter such views. To answer her question on “how do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists” is that you convince people using the same free speech. Instead, Ardern appears to want to silence those who have doubts. While referring to a global censorship coalition as a “light-touch approach to disinformation,” Ardern revealed how sweeping such a system would likely be. She defended the need for such global censorship on having to combat those who question climate change and the need to stop “hateful and dangerous rhetoric and ideology.”

“After all, how do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble? How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists? How do you ensure the human rights of others are upheld, when they are subjected to hateful and dangerous rhetoric and ideology?” That is the same rationale used by authoritarian countries like China, Iran, and Russia to censor dissidents, minority groups, and political rivals. What is “hateful” and “dangerous” is a fluid concept that government have historically used to silence critics or dissenters. Ardern is the smiling face of the new generation of censors. At least the old generation of censors like the Iranians do not pretend to support free speech and openly admit that they are crushing dissent. The point is that we need to be equally on guard when censorship is pushed from the left with the best of motivations and the worst of means.

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Oh, right, MSNBC.

Psaki : If Midterms Are A ‘Referendum’ On Biden, Democrats Are Doomed (NYP)

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki bluntly admitted that if the November midterm elections are a “referendum” on President Biden, the Democrats will lose. Psaki, who left the White House in May to take a job at MSNBC, said if the midterms focus on the “most extreme” party, mentioning Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by name, then Democrats will be celebrating on election day. “If it is a referendum on the president, they will lose. And they know that. They also know that crime is a huge vulnerability for Democrats, I would say one of the biggest vulnerabilities,” Psaki said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”


She said she has been watching the US Senate race play out in Pennsylvania between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate, and GOP celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, and noted that Republicans are running ads painting Fetterman as soft on crime. What’s been interesting to me is it’s always you follow the money, and where are people spending money. And in Pennsylvania, the Republicans have been spending millions of dollars on the air on crime ads against Fetterman because that’s where they see his vulnerability , Biden’s one-time chief spokeswoman said. So yes, the economy is hanging over everything. But you do have to look at state-by-state factors, and crime is a huge issue in the Pennsylvania race, she said. While Biden’s approval ratings have recently climbed into the mid-40s from the dregs in recent polls, a Washington Post/ABC News survey released Sunday found it remains below that at 39%. The president’s disapproval rating is at 53%, the poll found.

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Peace is not welcome in Krakow.

Roger Waters Cancels Poland Concerts After Ukraine War Remarks (RFE)

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has canceled concerts planned in Poland amid anger over his stance on Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Polish media reported. An official with the Tauron Arena in Krakow, where Waters was scheduled to perform two concerts in April, said they would no longer take place. “Roger Waters’ manager decided to withdraw…without giving any reason,” Lukasz Pytko from Tauron Arena Krakow said on September 24 in comments carried by Polish media outlets. The website for Waters’ This Is Not a Drill concert tour did not list the Krakow concerts previously scheduled for April 21 and 22.


City councilors in Krakow were expected to vote next week on a proposal to name Waters as a persona non grata, expressing “indignation” over the musician’s stance on the war in Ukraine. Allowing “Roger Waters, an open supporter of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, to play in Krakow…would be shameful for our city,” city councilor Lukasz Wantuch said last week on social media. “Let him sing in Moscow.” Waters wrote an open letter to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska earlier this month in which he blamed “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine for having “set your country on the path to this disastrous war.” Waters has also criticized NATO, accusing it of provoking Russia.

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Malhotra

 

 


This is not stained glass. It’s a dragonfly’s wing seen up close. Dragonfly wings kill bacteria on contact by ripping apart their cell membranes with sharp nanopillars.

 

 

Bolt

 

 


Hydrosaurus, aka the Sailfin Dragon, is found in the rainforests of the Philippines

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 072022
 
 September 7, 2022  Posted by at 8:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  58 Responses »


Salvador Dali Cabaret scene 1922

 

Putin Has Pushed Europe Into Inflationary Depression, Currency Collapse (Every)
West Reluctant To Put Putin On Trial, Say Ukrainian Officials (G.)
US Shares Blame In Ruined Ties With Russia – Clinton’s Defense Secretary (RT)
Open Letter To Olena Zelenska – Stop The Slaughter (Roger Waters)
Salvini: Russia Sanctions Backfired, Citizens Are ‘On Their Knees’ (Celente)
Our Latest Interview with Jacques Baud (Postil)
Sanctioned Russian Bank Bypasses SWIFT (RT)
Gazprom Signs Gas Deal With China To Convert Payments To Ruble, Yuan (Fox)
The Case for a New American Civil War (Dmitri Orlov)
Stop Pretending US Is a Functioning Democracy (Chris Hedges)
Greece Braces For Tougher, Bolder Erdogan As Turkish Media Enters ‘War Mode’ (ZH)
Greece Tells Erdogan: “We Completely Reject Neo-Ottoman Bullies” (KTG)
Global Covid19 Vax Propaganda Means Mass Casualties – Dr. Pierre Kory (USAW)
BioNtech Sued For Vaccine Damage For 1st Time In Germany (R24)

 

 

 

 

Europe needs to find €2 trillion in energy costs. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

40% is like a war. Edward Dowd has almost entirely been banned, censored, disappeared. But not 100%.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1566995822616748032

 

 

 

 

 

 

US SPR at lowest level since 1984

 

 

Trump – A Nation in Decline

 

 

Barron Trump is reportedly considering getting into crack cocaine, Russian prostitutes, and corrupt international business dealings to get the FBI to leave him alone.

 

 

 

 

No, he has not. They did it themselves. That is elementary.

Putin Has Pushed Europe Into Inflationary Depression, Currency Collapse (Every)

As pointed out on Twitter, Russia’s move is so blatant there is no way Europe can fudge an agreement with it the way some might have over ‘technical issues’ with the pipeline. (As was Russian President Putin also approving a new foreign policy doctrine backing a “Russian world” covering all Russian speakers, including some in the EU, while building up relations with all the countries the USSR was friendly with to boot.) This is a gun to the EU’s head. So was OPEC+ agreeing on a token 100,000 barrel a day cut to production. So was Iran saying no to the nuclear deal unless the IAEA backs off from investigating the serious breaches of the last nuclear deal it didn’t stick to.

Assuming Europe cannot retreat, that means a severe recession with very high inflation, and if anything were to happen to gas flows via Ukraine, which could easily occur, Europe would need to make swinging cuts to demand in order to avoid unplanned ‘gas outs’. German Economy Minister Habeck just said: “Expect the worst.” As mentioned yesterday, existential choices now need to be made, because there may not enough energy to go round. The choices are obviously unappetising. First, Germany is to delay mothballing some nuclear reactors – so common sense at gunpoint. Yet Europe and the UK will not ration energy by price because it means the staggering bills already being seen, and then stagflation, incession, or ‘inpression’ (an inflationary depression).

They will instead subsidize businesses and households even if that means wholesale energy prices march even higher. Germany’s latest EUR65bn energy bailout will do just that; so will Sweden’s and the Netherlands’ measures, and France’s and Spain’s: and Brussels is talking about an EU-wide energy price cap. Only part of these subsidies will flow from windfall taxes (which also remove the industry capital needed to invest in new energy supply). New UK PM Truss, just selected with an underwhelming 57% mandate of a tiny Tory electorate, has also floated Covid-furlough sized spending to cap business and household energy bills; and huge tax cuts; and a 2.5% trend GDP growth rate target. Good luck with the latter.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1567315217935114241

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You would have to put Zelensky on trial, too. And a whole range of western leaders.

West Reluctant To Put Putin On Trial, Say Ukrainian Officials (G.)

Ukraine’s major western allies have yet to sign up to establish a tribunal to try Vladimir Putin and his inner circle for the crime of aggression, wanting to leave space for future relations with Russia, according to Ukraine’s top officials. “It’s big politics. On the one hand, countries publicly condemn the aggression but on the other, they are putting their foot in the closing door on relations with Russia so that it doesn’t close completely,” said Andriy Smyrnov, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, who is leading the country’s effort to establish the international tribunal. “They are attempting to keep some space for diplomatic manoeuvres,” said Smyrnov. “We know that agreements with Russia are not worth the paper they are written on.”

His claims come as the US president, Joe Biden, said on Monday that Russia should not be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, something Ukrainian officials and some US politicians had pushed for. Russia had previously said such a designation would mean Washington had crossed the point of no return. Ukrainian officials say that since April, they have been trying to convince their western allies to establish an ad hoc tribunal which would hold Russia’s senior leadership responsible for the crime of aggression for invading Ukraine. Aggression is viewed as the supreme crime under international law because without the transgression of borders during an invasion, subsequent war crimes would not have been committed.

So far only the Baltic states and Poland have pledged support for the tribunal, said Ukraine’s officials. “We are expecting broader support,” said Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin. “For us, the support of the UK and the US is very important as well as the rest of the civilised world,” said Smyrnov. The UK’s newly elected prime minister, Liz Truss, told Times Radio in May, when she was foreign secretary, that she would consider supporting the tribunal. The Council of Europe is due to discuss support for such a measure on 13 September.

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Just 30 years ago, the official attitude was much less hawkish.

US Shares Blame In Ruined Ties With Russia – Clinton’s Defense Secretary (RT)

The US antagonized Russia by ignoring its post-USSR suffering and intrinsic security interests and needs to acknowledge this before ties with Moscow can be mended, William J. Perry, who served as secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton has said. Perry, a veteran advocate for the reduction of weapons of mass destruction, called for some introspection in Washington DC in an opinion piece published on Monday by the outlet Outrider. Subsequent US administrations pursued policies that antagonized the Russian people after the collapse of the USSR, Perry argued. The US didn’t care much about the suffering that Russia’s transition to a capitalist economy brought and ignored Russian concerns about NATO’s encroachment on its borders, he said.

“The combination of the West failing to act during Russia’s financial crisis, and ignoring their strongly-held views on NATO expansion, reinforced a prevailing Russian belief that we didn’t take them seriously,” the article said. “Indeed, many in the West saw Russia only as the loser of the Cold War, not worthy of our respect.” Perry, who headed up the Pentagon between 1994 and 1997, was a strong supporter of a program called Partnership for Peace. This was a compromise that allowed Eastern European nations and Russia to train with NATO troops but, in a nod to Russian objections, didn’t bring former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO.

The Clinton administration ultimately pushed for a formal expansion of the military bloc, setting the stage for an increasingly tense relationship with Russia that culminated in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The American attitude pushed Russians towards supporting Vladimir Putin, a person he describes as “an autocratic leader who would instead demand respect and power through force.” Perry said he considers the Russian leader an enemy of the US but argued that “there is no organic reason” why Russia itself should be one. “We must work to rebuild connections with Russia, treat the Russian people with respect, and rebuild our relationships, in the hopes that we can once again return to the path of friendship,” he concluded.

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“He stood on the election platform of the following promises. • To end the civil war in the East and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk. • And to ratify and implement the rest of the body of the Minsk 2 agreements.”

Open Letter To Olena Zelenska – Stop The Slaughter (Roger Waters)

Dear Mrs Zelenska,

My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine. I’m in Kansas City, USA. Iread an article on BBC.com apparently taken from an interview you have already recorded for a program called Sunday with Laura Kuenssburg which broadcasted on the BBC on September 4th. BBC.com quotes you as saying that if support for Ukraine is strong the crisis will be shorter. Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by “support for Ukraine?” If by “support for Ukraine,” you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a firefight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now, particularly because, in this case, most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the “fuel throwers” have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible.

People like you and me actually want peace in Ukraine, don’t want the outcome to be that you have to fight to the last Ukrainian life – and possibly even, if the worst comes to the worst, to the last human life. If we, instead, wish to achieve a different outcome we may have to seek a different route and that route may lie in your husband’s previously stated good intentions. Yes, I mean the platform upon which he so laudably ran for the office of President of Ukraine, the platform upon which he won his historic landslide victory in the democratic election in 2019. He stood on the election platform of the following promises. • To end the civil war in the East and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk. • And to ratify and implement the rest of the body of the Minsk 2 agreements.

One can only assume that your husband’s electoral policies didn’t sit well with certain political factions in Kiev and that those factions persuaded your husband to diametrically change course ignoring the people’s mandate. Sadly, your old man agreed to those totalitarian, anti-democratic dismissals of the will of the Ukrainian people, and the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have, since then, ruled the Ukraine. They have, also since then, crossed any number of red lines that had been set out quite clearly over a number of years by your neighbors the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.

I won’t go on. If I’m wrong, please help me to understand how? If I’m not wrong, please help me in my honest endeavors to persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter, the slaughter which serves only the interests of the ruling classes and extreme nationalists both here in the West, and in your beautiful country, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people both here in the West, and in the Ukraine, and in fact ordinary people everywhere all over the world. Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?

Love,
Roger Waters

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Kim Dotcom: “The biggest army in the history of the world will soon achieve a decisive victory against the US proxy war in Ukraine: European protesters.”

Salvini: Russia Sanctions Backfired, Citizens Are ‘On Their Knees’ (Celente)

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far-Right League party, said Sunday that the economic sanctions that have been leveled against Russia are taking their toll on the average Italian and are leaving citizens “on their knees.” Daniele Franco, Italy’s economy minister, recently announced that the country’s net energy import costs will likely double this year and that Rome will not be able to “indefinitely to cushion the blow on the economy,” Reuters reported. “To keep offsetting, at least in part, rising energy prices through public finances is very costly and we could never do enough,” he said. “What matters is to bring the price of gas and energy back to sustainable levels.”

“Several months have passed and people are paying two, three, even four times more for their bills. And after seven months, the war continues and Russian Federation coffers are filling with money,” he told RTL radio. He tweeted earlier that “those who have been sanctioned are winners and those who put the sanctions in place are on their knees.” He called on the EU to “protect businesses and families” like it did during the COVID-19 outbreak. Russia’s Gazprom announced that it will indefinitely suspend gas flow on its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which sent the price of the benchmark Dutch TTF hub up to €281 per megawatt hour, up 31 percent. Russia blamed technical issues that cannot be resolved due to sanctions that have been imposed.

EURACTIV said it obtained a leaked paper that outlines the European Commission plan to cap wholesale gas prices that would target Russia. The process would cap the price of imported gas from Moscow and would set up pricing zones for countries that are particularly impacted by the prices. The paper admitted that the pricing zones will be more challenging to implement and “would require significant regulatory and technical complex preparations,” the report said.

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Jacques Baud is a former Swiss army colonel, now intelligence & security consultant.

“..the exclusion of disabled athletes, cats, even Russian trees from competitions, the dismissal of conductors, the de-platforming of Russian artists, such as Dostoyevsky, or even the renaming of paintings..”

Our Latest Interview with Jacques Baud (Postil)

You have just published your latest book on the war in Ukraine—Operation Z. “The aim of this book is to show how the misinformation propagated by our media has contributed to push Ukraine in the wrong direction. I wrote it under the motto “from the way we understand crises derives the way we solve them.” By hiding many aspects of this conflict, the Western media has presented us with a caricatural and artificial image of the situation, which has resulted in the polarization of minds. This has led to a widespread mindset that makes any attempt to negotiate virtually impossible. The one-sided and biased representation provided by mainstream media is not intended to help us solve the problem, but to promote hatred of Russia.

Thus, the exclusion of disabled athletes, cats, even Russian trees from competitions, the dismissal of conductors, the de-platforming of Russian artists, such as Dostoyevsky, or even the renaming of paintings aims at excluding the Russian population from society! In France, bank accounts of individuals with Russian-sounding names were even blocked. Social networks Facebook and Twitter have systematically blocked the disclosure of Ukrainian crimes under the pretext of “hate speech” but allow the call for violence against Russians. None of these actions had any effect on the conflict, except to stimulate hatred and violence against the Russians in our countries. This manipulation is so bad that we would rather see Ukrainians die than to seek a diplomatic solution.

As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham recently said, it is a matter of letting the Ukrainians fight to the last man. It is commonly assumed that journalists work according to standards of quality and ethics to inform us in the most honest way possible. These standards are set by the Munich Charter of 1971. While writing my book I found out that no French-speaking mainstream media in Europe respects this charter as far as Russia and China are concerned. In fact, they shamelessly support an immoral policy towards Ukraine, described by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, as “We provide the weapons, you provide the corpses!”

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Still relatively small amounts; $1.6 million. But that will grow.

Sanctioned Russian Bank Bypasses SWIFT (RT)

One of Russia’s top banks, VTB has become the first lender in the country to launch money transfers to China in yuan, sidestepping the global financial messaging system SWIFT. “The new reality is leading to a massive abandoning of the use of the US dollar and the euro in international payments,” VTB CEO Andrey Kostin said in a statement, highlighting the importance of creating and developing payment systems as an alternative to SWIFT. “We are the first Russian bank to install an alternative cross-border bank transfer service with China and plan to increase the volume of these transactions by five times by next year,”he added.


According to a VTB press release, the maximum amount of a single money transfer was equivalent to 20 million rubles ($325,000) with the maximum monthly limit set at 100 million rubles ($1.6 million). The bank also announced plans to begin lending in the yuan and other non-Western currencies later this year. “The launch of the yuan transfer system is expected to significantly simplify the work of Russian companies and individuals with Chinese partners, increasing the popularity of the yuan in our country,” Kostin added. Ukraine-related sanctions cut Russia’s biggest banks off from SWIFT, limiting their access to the dollar and euro markets. The drastic measures forced Moscow to develop its own financial infrastructure in cooperation with nations that haven’t imposed sanctions.

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As goes your gas, so goes your currency.

Gazprom Signs Gas Deal With China To Convert Payments To Ruble, Yuan (Fox)

Russia’s Gazprom on Tuesday said it had reached an agreement with China to start fulfilling its gas supply contracts with payments made in rubles or yuan instead of euros or dollars. The announcement on Telegram comes just six months after a 30-year deal was signed between Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation in early February, which said Russian gas supplies would be paid in euros as Russia looked to separate itself from the U.S. just weeks before it invaded Ukraine. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the payment arrangement would prove “mutually beneficial” for both state owned energy agencies as Russia and China look to bolster their economies amid flagging relations with the West.


“I believe that it will simplify the calculations, become an excellent example for other companies, and give an additional impetus to the development of our economies,” Miller said. Russian President Vladimir Putin enforced a mandate in March that required all Gazprom sales to Europe be paid in rubles after the U.S. and NATO hit Moscow with steep international sanctions immediately following its invasion in Ukraine. Moscow has since cut gas to several European nations including Germany, Denmark, Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands after they refused to abide by Putin’s mandate. Gazprom, which has repeatedly staunched its supplies to Europe over alleged “maintenance” issues, said Monday it would not resume pumping gas until Germany energy company Siemens Energy adheres to its equipment repair demands.

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“To keep the US population at bay, the oligarchy must keep it supplied with vast quantities of junk food, liquor, drugs and pornography…”

The Case for a New American Civil War (Dmitri Orlov)

Will the USA hold together through 2024? Earlier this year Covid-related complications took the life of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the bombastic perennial leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party. He was known not just for his inimitable oratory but also for the uncanny accuracy of his predictions. For example, he predicted the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine almost to the day—months before the fact and at a time when nobody else had much of a clue as to what would happen. Another prediction of his reads as follows: “There won’t be a US presidential election in 2024 because there will no longer be a United States.” Will he turn out to be prescient on this count too? Let’s watch!

Zhirinovsky is by no means alone with making such a prediction. Recent opinion polls show over 40% of Americans expressing apprehensions that a new civil war is likely to break out over the next decade or so. Perish the thought that the good people surveyed had performed an independent analysis, based on which they were able to compute the probability of a civil war! By now, the vast majority of the people in the US have been conditioned to perceive reality as a mosaic composed of short news clips, sound bites, scenes no longer than can fit between two television commercials and miniature narratives that present this or that imaginary object in a positive or a negative light. They think that a civil war is likely because that’s what they have been told through mass media or the invisibly yet relentlessly chaperoned social media.

The oligarchy, which controls all of the above, is toying with two alternative business plans. Plan A, which is more profitable and less risky, doesn’t feature a civil war while Plan B, risky though still profitable, does. In either case, the profits accrue from confiscating wealth from the population; with Plan A, less of that wealth gets blown up, hence more profit. But Plan A requires securing complete obedience and docility from an increasingly distressed and restive population. Paraphrasing Klaus Schwab, they have to put up with having nothing and pretend to be happy (as a condition for being allowed to stay indoors and fed).

To keep the US population at bay, the oligarchy must keep it supplied with vast quantities of junk food, liquor, drugs and pornography. And in spite of all the propaganda urging people to sort themselves into a rainbow of genders, most of them sterile, some women may still manage to get pregnant, refuse to have an abortion and actually give birth to children, preventing the population from shrinking as fast as the dwindling resource base. “Listen, women are getting pregnant every day in America, and this is a real issue,” quoth VP Kamala Harris. In spite of the politically incorrect term “women”—wombed men, that is—her message is crystal clear: her fellow-Americans should be spayed and neutered like the proper domestic animals she thinks they are. Your pets aren’t sterilized, don’t you now; they are transgender! Doesn’t that sound much more fashionable?

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“..the poorer and more vulnerable you are, the more you are exploited, thrust into a hellish debt peonage from which there is no escape..”

Stop Pretending US Is a Functioning Democracy (Chris Hedges)

The U.S. continues to posit itself as a champion of opportunity, freedom, human rights and civil liberties, even as half the country struggles at subsistence level, militarized police gun down and imprison the poor with impunity, and the primary business of the state is war. This collective self-delusion masks what America has become — a nation where the citizenry has been stripped of economic and political power and where the brutal militarism practiced overseas is practiced at home. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union, economics was subordinate to politics. But under inverted totalitarianism, the reverse is true. There is no attempt, unlike fascism and state socialism, to address the needs of the poor.

Rather, the poorer and more vulnerable you are, the more you are exploited, thrust into a hellish debt peonage from which there is no escape. Social services, from education to health care, are anemic, nonexistent or privatized to gouge the impoverished. Further ravaged by 8.5 percent inflation, wages have decelerated sharply since 1979. Jobs often do not offer benefits or security. In my book America: The Farewell Tour, I examined the social indicators of a nation in serious trouble. Life expectancy in the U.S. fell in 2021, for the second year in a row. There have been over 300 mass shootings this year. Close to a million people have died from drug overdoses since 1999. There are an average of 132 suicides every day. Nearly 42 percent of the country is classified as obese, with one in 11 adults considered severely obese.

These diseases of despair are rooted in the disconnect between a society’s expectations of a better future and the reality of a system that does not provide a meaningful place for its citizens. Loss of a sustainable income and social stagnation causes more than financial distress. As Émile Durkheim points out in The Division of Labor in Society, it severs the social bonds that give us meaning. A decline in status and power, an inability to advance, a lack of education and adequate health care, and a loss of hope result in crippling forms of humiliation. This humiliation fuels loneliness, frustration, anger and feelings of worthlessness.

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Erdogan has elections next year. His base is nationalists. Inflation in Turkey is 90+%. Nuff said.

Greece Braces For Tougher, Bolder Erdogan As Turkish Media Enters ‘War Mode’ (ZH)

Both Turkish and Greek media reports over the last days have been filled by heightened speculation that the two Mediterranean powers (and NATO “allies”… ironically enough) could be headed to war. This follows Saturday comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wherein he issued a thinly veiled threat of military action against Greece. Charging that Greece is “occupying” islands off Turkey’s coast and militarizing them, Erdogan said in a fiery speech aimed at Athens that “When the time comes, we’ll do what’s necessary. As we say, we may come down suddenly one night.” He added: “Look at history, if you go further, the price will be heavy.”

An English-language publication covering Greece, The National Herald, observed on Monday in follow-up to Erdogan’s threat: “Greece is bracing for what’s expected to be an emboldened Turkish President Recep Tayyip drawing lines in the sea and becoming more aggressive in asserting his claims to areas in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.” Via Anadolu Agency: In his message, Erdogan mentions Izmir, a province on Türkiye’s western Aegean Sea coast that the Turkish army liberated from Greek occupation in 1922 during its War of Independence. The publication notes that something seems different this time compared to prior threatening rhetoric coming from top Turkish officials over the past two years: Erdogan typically mouths off against Greece with fiery rhetoric that frequently is followed by him backing away from threats but he’s been upping the ante and the volume, raising tension and growing worries of a conflict.

Seeing the European Union, NATO, United Nations and United States reluctant to provoke him, the hard-line Turkish leader has demanded Greece remove troops from islands near Turkey’s coast and said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles. All of this comes also as Ankara has lodged a formal complaint with NATO headquarters, saying that Greece last month achieved radar lock on its F-16s which had been flying over the Mediterranean. Further, Turkey has charged that Greek jets have violated its airspace over 250 times in harassing maneuvers. “The ministry also informed that the Greek warplanes violated the Turkish airspace 256 times since the beginning of 2022,” Hurriyet reported. “In addition, they harassed the Turkish jets 158 times this year, the ministry said. On the sea, the Greek coastal guards violated the Turkish territorial waters 33 times, it added.”

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“We might come suddenly one night..”

Greece Tells Erdogan: “We Completely Reject Neo-Ottoman Bullies” (KTG)

“It is unacceptable for Greece to be receiving threats that reach the point of disputing Greek sovereignty from a country that is an ally within NATO, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at noon on Tuesday as Ankara has increased his escalating hostile rhetoric and threats and thus via the president himself Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Greece’s fixed position supports dialogue on the basis of international law, the international law of the sea and good-neighbor relations, the PM said during a meeting with the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova who is officially visiting Greece. “Turkey creates tension undermining security and stability in the region,” the PM underlined.

Tuesday afternoon, it was the turn of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to respond to Erdogan’s unprecedented threats “We completely reject the Neo-Ottoman bullies,” Dendias stressed during a meeting with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna. The FM said that Greece daily faces a series of threats and statements that he described as “outrageous”, pointing out to “maps that are periodically published depicting Greek islands as Turkish territory.”

Recalling Erdogan’s latest threat “We might come suddenly one night” that is a clear statement implying an invasion of Greek territory, Dendias “advised” “anyone who dreams of attacks and conquests to think 3 or 4 times, adding “we are sufficient to defend the integrity and territorial independence.” He recalled also that Turkey threatens Greece with a casus belli if Athens exercises its rights as they derive from the International Law. The Greek FM sent a clear message to Turkey saying that Greece has faced much more serious threats in its history and stressed “we completely reject the neo-Ottoman bullies.”

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“We have never had this much power and this much propaganda . . . never the same story being told to the entire globe at the same time and the same lie.”

“..It’s not going to start in America because this is the United States of Pharma.”

Global Covid19 Vax Propaganda Means Mass Casualties – Dr. Pierre Kory (USAW)

Dr. Kory is actively trying to find treatments for people harmed by the CV19 vax, but that is not the biggest problem he faces. Dr. Kory says, “People are being told things (like getting CV19 booster shots) that are putting them at grave risk. I don’t know how to combat a global technological propaganda instrument. We have never had that before. I don’t think we have ever had the same messages and the same stories being shot out 24/7. I have been saying this for a while, and the world has gone mad because of unrelenting propaganda and censorship. We have never had this much power and this much propaganda . . . never the same story being told to the entire globe at the same time and the same lie.”


Dr. Kory says, “Not only no more shots, but I would say we need a national cry to stop the vaccine campaign. . . It’s not going to start in America because this is the United States of Pharma.” This is why cheap, effective drugs such as Ivermectin are being banned here in America and around the world. Dr. Kory says, “We are at war here. You cannot have Ivermectin in the marketplace. It threatens the vaccine, Paxlovid, monoclonal-antibodies and Remdesivir. Ivermectin is a drug that is the biggest financial threat to the biggest market in pharmaceutical history.”

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Google translate.

BioNtech Sued For Vaccine Damage For 1st Time In Germany (R24)

A Dusseldorf law firm has filed six-figure lawsuits against vaccine manufacturer Biontech for damage to health caused by their vaccine. The lawyers denounce the company’s disrespectful and irresponsible treatment of people who have been vaccinated. According to media reports, the law firm Rogert and Ulbrich stated that they could not reach an out-of-court agreement with Biontech. As a result, lawsuits in the six-figure range have now been filed in several matters. The lawyers sharply criticize the behavior of the vaccine manufacturer: Instead of reacting correctly to claims for damages and information and dealing with the respective facts, they merely referred to a Pfizer form. Marco Rogert stated: “The victims feel that they are not being taken seriously.

They are not only plagued by significant, life-limiting health problems since the vaccination. Now the company responsible is arrogantly giving them the cold shoulder instead of fulfilling their responsibility.” The lawyer’s clients had usually already described their tale of woe elsewhere, for example to the EMA or the PEI. “Especially in cases involving significant damage to health, the least the victims can expect would be for the facts to be dealt with seriously.” Tobias Ulbrich sees a clear connection between Covid vaccination and various diseases: “More and more vaccine damage is coming to light worldwide and many vaccinated people are only now beginning to realize that their current diseases are related to the mRNA injection,” he stated.

In fact, Ulbrich has already commented on this topic several times before on Twitter – he tweeted on August 28 that “VAIDS” is not a disease, but a description of the condition, because the values of those affected confirmed an impairment of the immune system after the vaccination. He sees the vaccine manufacturers as having a duty to prove that there is no connection between the health problems and the vaccination – and not the vaccinees. This is regulated in the Medicines Act. The law firm Rogert and Ulbrich in Düsseldorf has specialized in the legal processing of vaccination damage and its consequences. Those affected by the facility-related vaccination requirement are also advised and represented.

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Puzzle

 

 

 

 

Prophet 2020

 

 

 

 

Peacock
https://twitter.com/i/status/1567262158295076866

 

 

Kookaburra

 

 

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Sep 032019
 
 September 3, 2019  Posted by at 8:49 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Head of a woman 1939

 

Resurrecting the American Economy With Stalinism 2.0 (Dmitry Orlov)
Use Old Chinese Debt To Default On Beijing’s $1 Trillion Treasuries (RT)
Boris Johnson Faces Showdown In Parliament (BBC)
The Realities Of A No-Deal Brexit (Ivan Rogers)
Ahead of Brexit, UK Factories Go Quiet (R.)
Hong Kong Leader Says She Would ‘Quit’ If She Could (R.)
Carrie Lam: Hong Kong Leader ‘Never Tendered Resignation To Beijing’ (BBC)
The Quickening (Kunstler)
Jeffrey Epstein’s Model-Scouting Pal Has ‘Disappeared Without A Trace’ (NYP)
New Delays Could Keep Boeing 737 MAX Grounded Into Holiday Travel Season (MW)
All Of Us Are In Danger: John Pilger Has Chilling Warning From Assange (RT)

 

 

Lovely from Dmitry. Do read the whole thing. What the US must do to save its economy is imitate China.

Resurrecting the American Economy With Stalinism 2.0 (Dmitry Orlov)

Donald Trump has recently ordered US corporations to move production out of China and into the US. Easier said than done!—or, rather, undone. Moving production to China (and, in case of IT, to India) allowed US corporations to benefit from the large wage differential and an easier regulatory environment in order to be more profitable. They spent these excess profits by buying back their own stock, paying generous dividends to their shareholders and using their artificially inflated stock prices to justify exorbitant executive salaries and bonuses.

Along the way, they impoverished American workers by depriving them of gainful deployment, eroded the skill base of the American population and, perhaps most importantly, destroyed demand for their products because more and more Americans could no longer afford them. As these trends played out, making China prosperous and the US increasingly distressed and impoverished, with close to 100 million working-age people permanently jobless, US corporations could no longer profit from their offshored production to the same extent, and so they took advantage of low interest rates to borrow huge sums of money and use it to continue buying back their own shares, paying dividends and continuing with the exorbitant executive compensation.


By now, many of the major US corporations are financial zombies, waiting for an uptick in interest rates to drive them into bankruptcy. And it is these zombies that are being tasked with bringing production back to the US. Good luck with that! Which is to say, it is highly unlikely that such an effort could possibly succeed. But even if it could succeed, would it solve the problem—which is that the US is gradually degenerating into a bankrupt third world country? Perhaps not, because, you see, the entire theory of “making America great again” is based on a fallacy—which is that China became the world’s largest economy (by purchasing power) and the world’s factory simply by virtue of the fact that American corporations offshored production to it.

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The webs we weave…

Use Old Chinese Debt To Default On Beijing’s $1 Trillion Treasuries (RT)

[..] the trade war adversaries are already considering options beyond tariffs. Beijing, which enjoys a trade surplus with the US, has hinted it could use rare earth metals as a leverage. There is also China’s “nuclear” option of dumping US Treasuries. Meanwhile, Washington has been reminded of China’s century-old bonds incurred before the nation adopted communism, which, adjusted for inflation, interest and other fees, amount to around $1 trillion, perfectly covering Beijing’s holdings of US Treasury Bills. “The US will simply default on $1 trillion of UST bonds held by China and claim, based on these old bonds, that they are justified in doing so,” Max Keiser, the host of RT’s Keiser Report, said.


While it’s really doubtful that China would ever pay out, the US’ attempt to claim the money would only trigger serious economic problems and make the already turbulent situation worse, investment guru Jim Rogers told RT. “If America gets a ruling that they [China] must pay then what America would do is freeze Chinese assets in America… take those assets or seize those assets. And then you have a very serious trade war going on,” Rogers said, adding that China would certainly retaliate to such a move. The individual holders of the antique bonds can do little to get any money from China, which has never recognized the debt. Firstly, they would have to have their claim recognized, win the case, and then find some way to force China to cash out, according to Duke University professor Mitu Gulati. However, it would be a completely different story if the Trump administration steps in.

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How does he feel about Bitcoin?

ECB Official Mersch Calls Facebook’s Libra ‘Treacherous’ (MW)

A high-ranking European Central Bank official on Monday outlined problems with the planned cryptocurrency Libra, the latest in a series of warnings from government officials. “I sincerely hope that the people of Europe will not be tempted to leave behind the safety and soundness of established payment solutions and channels in favor of the beguiling but treacherous promises of Facebook’s siren call,” said Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s executive board.

In a speech at a Frankfurt legal conference, he wryly noted that Libra was coming from “the very same people who had to explain themselves in front of legislators in the United States and the European Union on the threats to our democracies resulting from their handling of personal data on their social media platform,” a reference to Facebook. One concern Mersch raised is that the Libra coins will be issued by a cartel of players in the fields of payments, technology, e-commerce and telecommunications. Called the Libra Association, it will control the blockchain and collect the seigniorage income. Libra Association members include Mastercard, PayPal, eBay, and Uber.


“With such a setup, it is difficult to discern the foundational promises of decentralization and disintermediation normally associated with cryptocurrencies and other digital currencies. On the contrary, similarly to public money, Libra will actually be highly centralized, with Facebook and its partners acting as quasi-sovereign issuers of currency,” he said. Public money also is centralized, but unlike Libra, has a “sovereign entity and a central issuance authority.” The corporate entities, by contrast, are accountable to their shareholders and will “get privileged access to private data that they can abusively monetize.”

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More than one. Chaos galore.

Boris Johnson Faces Showdown In Parliament (BBC)

Boris Johnson faces a showdown in Parliament later after No 10 officials warned he would call for a snap general election on 14 October if MPs succeed in seizing control of Commons business. Rebel Tories and Labour MPs are planning a bill to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal. Mr Johnson said he did not want an election, but progress with the EU would be “impossible” if the MPs win. Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour Party was ready for a general election. But shadow Northern Ireland secretary Tony Lloyd later said Labour would vote against any government plans to hold a general election before the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October.


He said Labour “will not have Boris Johnson dictate the terms of an election that crashes this country out with no deal”. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Mr Johnson would require the backing of two-thirds of the UK’s 650 MPs to trigger a poll in the autumn. A number of MPs have come together across party political lines in a fresh bid to stop a no-deal Brexit, after Mr Johnson vowed to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October. When Parliament returns on Tuesday after recess, they are expected to put forward legislation under Standing Order 24 – a rule that allows urgent debates to be heard.

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Rogers was the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union from 4 November 2013 until 3 January 2017.

The Realities Of A No-Deal Brexit (Ivan Rogers)

No developed country has taken itself out of a trade bloc since the war because the costs of deliberately making trade substantially more difficult with your closest neighbours are obviously large. No trade deal has ever been struck between partners actively seeking to get further apart. Trade deals have always been between those aspiring to converge and to increase trade flows, not diverge and decrease them. No amount of repetition of ‘this will all be terribly easy’ ever makes it true. It is not unpatriotic or ‘declinist’ to point out that a process of ‘differential disentanglement’ – which is actually what Brexit is – will be hard, complex and lengthy. How, seriously, after more than three years can so much of our political elite still be in denial on this?

If you leave a club whose other members are prepared to integrate more deeply politically and juridically than you, because they see economic and political benefits from doing so, you cannot tell the public that any adverse consequences of leaving are all the club’s fault, for wilfully not carrying on giving you club benefits when you leave. Nor can you just wish away issues at borders, whether on land or cross-Channel, when the entire purpose of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union must be to run deliberately different regulatory regimes – chosen by your own Parliament – where you believe it suits you. Such choices by definition entail a hard border. Borders across the whole world demarcate different regulatory regimes.


Even the border between Sweden and Norway, one in the EU, the other out of it but wanting to remain much closer ‘in’ to EU institutional and legal frameworks (Single Market, Schengen) than our government, is a hard border. If alternative arrangements currently existed which obviated the need for any such border, they would already be operating right there. They are not.

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“Another contraction in the current quarter would officially herald a recession.”

Ahead of Brexit, UK Factories Go Quiet (R.)

British manufacturing contracted last month at the fastest rate in seven years, rocked by the deepening Brexit crisis and the global downturn, boding poorly for the chances of an economic rebound in the third quarter, a survey showed on Monday. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.4 from 48.0 in July, a full point lower than the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and well below the 50 dividing line for growth and contraction.


Only German manufacturing fared worse among the national PMIs produced for Europe by data company IHS Markit. “The big picture is that manufacturing is on track to contract for a second consecutive quarter, and a meaningful recovery is unlikely given the ongoing struggles of global manufacturing,” Andrew Wishart, UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics, said. Britain’s overall economy shrank in the second quarter too, a hangover from the stockpiling boom in advance of the original March Brexit deadline. Another contraction in the current quarter would officially herald a recession.

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What she said in private…

Hong Kong Leader Says She Would ‘Quit’ If She Could (R.)

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has caused “unforgivable havoc” by igniting the political crisis engulfing the city and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording of remarks she made last week to a group of businesspeople. At the closed-door meeting, Lam told the group that she now has “very limited” room to resolve the crisis because the unrest has become a national security and sovereignty issue for China amid rising tensions with the United States. “If I have a choice,” she said, speaking in English, “the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology.”

Lam’s dramatic and at times anguished remarks offer the clearest view yet into the thinking of the Chinese leadership as it navigates the unrest in Hong Kong, the biggest political crisis to grip the country since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Hong Kong has been convulsed by sometimes violent protests and mass demonstrations since June, in response to a proposed law by Lam’s administration that would allow people suspected of crimes on the mainland to be extradited to face trial in Chinese courts. The law has been shelved, but Lam has been unable to end the upheaval. Protesters have expanded their demands to include complete withdrawal of the proposal, a concession her administration has so far refused. Large demonstrations wracked the city again over the weekend.


Lam suggested that Beijing had not yet reached a turning point. She said Beijing had not imposed any deadline for ending the crisis ahead of National Day celebrations scheduled for October 1. And she said China had “absolutely no plan” to deploy People’s Liberation Army troops on Hong Kong streets. World leaders have been closely watching whether China will send in the military to quell the protests, as it did a generation ago in the bloody Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing. Lam noted, however, that she had few options once an issue had been elevated “to a national level,” a reference to the leadership in Beijing, “to a sort of sovereignty and security level, let alone in the midst of this sort of unprecedented tension between the two big economies in the world.”

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… and now denies in public.

Carrie Lam: Hong Kong Leader ‘Never Tendered Resignation To Beijing’ (BBC)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has denied ever offering to resign, after audio was leaked of her saying she would if she could. Yesterday a recording of a private meeting emerged where she is heard saying: “If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit.” On Tuesday she said she had “never tendered any resignation”, but did not deny the authenticity of the recording. [..] The audio, published by Reuters on Monday, was recorded at a private meeting of business leaders that Ms Lam attended last week. In it she is heard blaming herself for igniting the territory’s political crisis, saying it was unforgiveable of her to have caused such huge havoc. “If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology, is to step down,” the voice on the tape says.


[..] She also says in the recording that China does not have a deadline by which it wants to solve the crisis in Hong Kong, and that Chinese authorities would not send in troops to end the protests. At a weekly press conference, Ms Lam was asked about the leaked audio. She said it was “totally unacceptable” that her remarks made in private had been recorded and passed to the media. “I have never tendered a resignation to the Central People’s Government,” the chief executive told reporters. “I have not even contemplated to discuss a resignation with the Central People’s Government.” “The choice of not resigning is my own choice,” she said, insisting she wanted “to help Hong Kong in a very difficult situation and to serve the people of Hong Kong”.

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“..the RussiaGate ploy alerted Americans that there truly is a Deep State with its own self-winding agenda.”

The Quickening (Kunstler)

Cue the rise of the redistributionists, that is, the people who want the government to determine who gets what and where to get it. Or, shall we say, who to take it from. Elizabeth Warren is leading the pack for now — the Oklahoma once-Republican grandma turned Leon Trotsky wannabe. I’ll give her this: she’s a helluva cheerleader. And she’s energetic for an old broad, prancing around the stage in her spandex yoga pants, arms akimbo, head vibrating. I wonder, though, whether voters (those aforesaid citizens) will remember that she vowed to give free health care to border-jumpers. Or that she pretended to be a Cherokee for career advancement at snooty Harvard. A rowdy-dowdy financial smash-up will tarnish the Trump MAGA brand for sure.


But will the Golden Golem of Greatness simply stew in the oval office or try some desperate new stunts to salvage his quixotic political career? And will his shaky marriage with the Republican Party veer into divorce court, with the party turning to a steadier and more conventional figure in the coming election year? They’ll get beat anyway as economic depression mounts, but they’ll save face in defeat. That is, if Mr. Trump manages to not start World War Three in the meantime. Odious as he is to many, history will record one salutary effect of his term in office: the RussiaGate ploy alerted Americans that there truly is a Deep State with its own self-winding agenda. A few perp-walks upcoming may have a chastening effect on future Swamp critters entertaining a higher calling, as the slippery James Comey put it — meaning, using the powerful machinery of government for your own purposes.

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Can’t find any of his accomplices, can we?

Jeffrey Epstein’s Model-Scouting Pal Has ‘Disappeared Without A Trace’ (NYP)

The model agency boss accused of scouting young girls for pedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein has disappeared like a “ghost,” as investigators scour the globe searching for him, a new report said. French authorities want to quiz Jean-Luc Brunel, 72, over his ties to Epstein as part of their own probe into the late financier who had a house in Paris, according to the Daily Mirror. “He is a ghost who has disappeared without a trace,” a legal source in Paris told the paper of Brunel, who discovered some of the biggest names in modeling, including Christy Turlington and Angie Everhardt. Investigators have made inquiries throughout the US and Europe, as well as Brazil, where the Frenchman was seen looking for girls just three months before Epstein, 66, was arrested, the paper says. “There is no address for him, all his internet accounts, including social media, have been wiped out. He is uncontactable,” the source told the Mirror.

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Sounds crazy: Boeing simply doesn’t answer questions.

New Delays Could Keep Boeing 737 MAX Grounded Into Holiday Travel Season (MW)

Friction between Boeing and international air-safety authorities threatens a new delay in bringing the grounded 737 MAX fleet back into service, according to government and pilot union officials briefed on the matter. The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.


Boeing as a result now has to resubmit briefing documents describing proposed software changes, these people said. The changes then have to be vetted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration before a follow-up meeting with the same participants can be held and crucial simulator and flight tests of the final software revisions scheduled. The upshot, the people said, is likely to be several more weeks of delay that could significantly reduce the likelihood that many of the planes would be back flying passengers in North America during the Christmas holidays, as Boeing and some U.S. carriers have publicly projected. The meetings and the fallout haven’t been reported before.

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At the Roger Waters performance of Wish You Were Here last night.

All Of Us Are In Danger: John Pilger Has Chilling Warning From Assange (RT)

Journalist John Pilger has delivered a stark warning from WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who said that his persecution is intended to kill dissent. “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.” Assange is currently serving a 50 week sentence in Belmarsh Prison for skipping a bail hearing in 2012. US authorities are seeking his extradition for his role in publishing classified documents, accusing him of espionage. Speaking at a rally outside the Home Office in London on Monday, Pilger passed on a message from the WikiLeaks editor who, if extradited and convicted, could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

It’s not just me. It’s much wider. It’s all of us. It’s all journalists, and all publishers who do their job who are in danger.


“The danger Julian Assange faces can easily spread to the present and past editors of the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais in Spain, the Sydney Morning Herald, and many other newspapers and media outlets that published the WikiLeaks revelations about the lies and crimes of our governments,” Pilger continued. “By defending Julian Assange we defend our most sacred rights,” Pilger warned. “Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny.”

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In these difficult times, the UK press asks the hard-hitting questions:

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 012019
 


Edouard Vuillard The two sisters 1899

 

Hong Kong Protesters Plan To Disrupt Airport After Night Of Chaos (R.)
The Sheer Scale Of The Crisis Facing Britain’s Decrepit Constitution (O.)
How A Secret Plan To Close Parliament Sparked Uproar Across Britain (O.)
British PM Johnson Challenges Lawmakers To Deliver Brexit (R.)
EU’s Barnier Not Optimistic About Avoiding A No-Deal Brexit (R.)
Lagarde Says Negative Rates Have Helped Europe More Than They’ve Hurt (MW)
Bianco Warns “Negative Rates Are Extremely Toxic” (Gisiger)
Low Interest Rates Compound The Big Problems Facing Pension Funds (MW)
Bernie Sanders Proposes Canceling $81 Billion US Medical Debt (R.)
Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange (MPN)
Fifty Shades of Epstein (Hope Kesselring)

 

 

Get the parties involved around a table before people get killed.

Hong Kong Protesters Plan To Disrupt Airport After Night Of Chaos (R.)

Pro-democracy demonstrators planned on Sunday to choke travel routes to Hong Kong’s international airport after a chaotic night of running battles between police and masked protesters, the latest wave of unrest to hit the Chinese-ruled city. Protest organizers have urged the public to overwhelm road and rail links to the airport, one of the world’s busiest, on Sunday and Monday, potentially disrupting flights. People would begin gathering at 1 p.m. (0500 GMT), protest groups said. The airport closed one of its car parks and advised passengers to use public transport, without giving a reason.

A similar so-called “stress test” of the airport last weekend failed to gain momentum. Three weeks ago, some flights were delayed or canceled after protesters swarmed the airport. Late on Saturday and into the early hours, police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets and protesters threw petrol bombs, escalating clashes that have plunged the Asian financial center into its worst political crisis in decades. As government helicopters hovered overhead, protesters who had been banned from demonstrating set fires in the streets and threw bricks at police near government offices and Chinese military headquarters.

Officers fired two warning shots in the air to scare off a group of protesters who had them surrounded and were trying to steal their pistols, the police said, only the second time live rounds have been used in more than three months of unrest. Police sprayed demonstrators with blue-dyed water to make it easier to identify them later. Parts of the metro system ground to a halt as skirmishes spread to the subway, with television showing images of people being beaten as they cowered on the floor behind umbrellas. Police said they arrested 40 people inside Prince Edward metro station on suspicion of obstructing officers, unlawful assembly and criminal damage. Three stations stayed shut on Sunday.

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“..the eight-word British constitution established in 1689 – What The Crown Assents In Parliament Is Law – is a decaying, time-worn construct on which to protect and advance today’s democracy..”

The Sheer Scale Of The Crisis Facing Britain’s Decrepit Constitution (O.)

To prorogue parliament for no better reason than to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of a no-deal Brexit may have been an intolerable abuse of power, and an affront to democracy, but in Britain it is constitutionally possible. As a result, for all the threats of judicial review and court actions, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to challenge. For the prime minister controls everything, from the business of the House of Commons to the ability to prorogue it. He or she is lent monarchial sovereignty, the same sovereignty that Charles 1 tried to justify because the monarch was supposedly God’s representative on Earth: the divine right of kings, now transmuted into the divine right of Boris.

Part of the-then cleverness of the 17th-century deal was that it co-opted the crown into being the above-the-fray, holder-of-the-ring of proper parliamentary procedure and process. But today, that capacity has evaporated. So when Jacob Rees-Mogg travelled to Balmoral last week to ask the Queen to prorogue parliament, there was virtually no prospect of her refusing – as an elected head of state might have done. She did have the option of saying that on such a controversial use of prerogative power she wanted to go beyond the minimum quorate of three for a privy council meeting (the chief whip and leader of the House of Lords accompanied Rees-Mogg on a separate plane to Balmoral to avoid suspicion) and call for a full meeting including former ministers from other parties, purportedly the constitutional forum to advise her on use of the royal prerogative.

But that would have been seen as a political act. She folded. Exposed as a constitutional cipher, the case for an elected head of state has suddenly become unanswerable. It is but one of the many constitutional earthquakes triggered by Brexit whose aftershocks will be felt for decades. Even the character of the referendum itself is testament to our lack of a constitution. No super-majority was required for this fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with Europe, any more than it was for the Scottish referendum: amazingly, a 42-year and a 300-year union could be ripped apart by a majority of one citizen’s vote.

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It is a peculiar chain of events no matter what you think of it.

How A Secret Plan To Close Parliament Sparked Uproar Across Britain (O.)

For much of August the plan to shut down parliament for five weeks was kept a very tight secret at the heart of government. For the few Whitehall officials who were made aware of it early on, however, it was not difficult to decipher whose fingerprints were all over it. It was clear to that small group that the bombshell idea had been hatched by Boris Johnson’s closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, and No 10’s director of legislative affairs, Nikki da Costa. Cummings has long been known at Westminster for his disdain for Whitehall and the way the entire system of British government works. He doesn’t mince his words or tolerate those he regards as fools. “If he meets resistance from ministers or officials he will just tell them to fuck off, whoever they are,” said one Whitehall source, who has worked with him.

[..] Last Friday an email between a Whitehall official and No 10 was leaked to this newspaper. It made clear that Johnson had approached Cox for advice on a five-week suspension from around 9 September to 14 October. Cox’s initial view, the correspondence made clear, was that it would probably be legal, unless various court actions being planned by Remainers to block prorogation were successful. Downing Street’s official response when asked about the leak was, at first, muted. “No 10 officials ask for legal and policy advice every day,” said a government source.

But when the Observer story broke last Saturday evening, as Johnson and his team were in Biarritz for the G7 summit preparing for meetings with US president Donald Trump and EU council president Donald Tusk the next day, Downing Street changed tack and tried to dismiss the story in a way that was to backfire spectacularly. Johnson’s press team issued a statement saying that “the claim that the government is considering proroguing parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false”. It did not deny that the attorney general had been consulted about prorogation but its intent was clear: to create the impression that shutting down parliament was not going to happen.

But less than 72 hours later more leaks were to follow from people inside the government machine to media organisations saying that the prime minister was to make an announcement about prorogation on Wednesday morning. After the BBC got wind of the new leaks, some senior staff were initially dubious that they were genuine, given No 10’s previous denials. When Johnson announced the exact same plan on which his team had poured buckets of cold water four days earlier, large sections of the media, as well as MPs and much of the country, were understandably furious.

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Johnson is just a figurehead.

British PM Johnson Challenges Lawmakers To Deliver Brexit (R.)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson challenged lawmakers to deliver on the Brexit vote and not thwart his plans to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31. Johnson has pledged to deliver Brexit with or without a deal, but opposition lawmakers – and several lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservatives – want to act to rule out a no deal Brexit when parliament returns from recess on Tuesday. Previous votes have indicated a majority in parliament opposing a no-deal Brexit, but in a newspaper interview, Johnson said that backing opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn risked there being no Brexit at all.


“The fundamental choice is this: are you going to side with Jeremy Corbyn and those who want to cancel the referendum? Are you going to side with those who want to scrub the democratic verdict of the people — and plunge this country into chaos?,” Johnson told the Sunday Times. “Or are you going to side with those of us who want to get on, deliver on the mandate of the people and focus with absolute, laser-like precision on the domestic agenda? That’s the choice.”

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He’s seen enough.

EU’s Barnier Not Optimistic About Avoiding A No-Deal Brexit (R.)

The European Union’s top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was not optimistic about avoiding a no-deal scenario as the EU could not meet Britain’s demands that the backstop for the Irish border is removed from the withdrawal agreement. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Barnier said that the so-called “backstop” had to stay to protect the integrity of the EU’s single market while ensuring an open border on the island of Ireland. “I am not optimistic about avoiding a no-deal scenario, but we should all continue to work with determination,” Barnier said, according to extracts of his article on the newspaper’s front page.


“The backstop is the maximum amount of flexibility that the EU can offer to a non-member state.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31. Opposition lawmakers plan to act next week to stop no-deal in parliament. Writing in the same newspaper, Johnson’s de facto deputy Michael Gove said that to remove the option of a no-deal Brexit on Oct 31 would “diminish” the “chances of securing changes” to the Brexit deal that could get it passed through parliament.

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Translation: the new ECB head does not have confidence in free markets. She thinks central bankers can do a better job.

Lagarde Says Negative Rates Have Helped Europe More Than They’ve Hurt (MW)

The next head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, appears to be as much of a fan of negative interest rates as the current chief, Mario Draghi. In written answers provided to the European Parliament that were released on Thursday, Lagarde said negative interest rates have helped Europe. The ECB’s deposit rate is negative 0.4%. “On the one hand, banks may decide to pass the negative deposit rate on to depositors, lowering the interest rates the latter get on their savings,” she wrote. “On the other hand, the same depositors are also consumers, workers, and borrowers. As such they benefit from stronger economic momentum, lower unemployment and lower borrowing costs.


“All things considered, in the absence of the unconventional monetary policy adopted by the ECB – including the introduction of negative interest rates – euro area citizens would be, overall, worse off.” European banks have complained about the impact on profitability, but even there the current managing director of the International Monetary Fund defended the move. “With regard to the impact of negative rates on banks’ profitability, empirical analysis suggests that the negative effects on banks’ net interest income have been so far more than offset by the benefits from more bank lending and lower costs for provisions and impairments due to the better macroeconomic environment, which to a significant extent is a result of accommodative monetary policy,” she wrote.

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“..Trump is “going to eleven” on trade: He’s going to turn it up so high that there is going to have to be a deal. That’s the way he wants to do this. He will just make it intolerable so everybody has to sit down and cut a deal.”

Bianco Warns “Negative Rates Are Extremely Toxic” (Gisiger)

Jim Bianco, President of Bianco Research, cautions against evermore unconventional monetary policy interventions. He fears that the global slowdown is going to get worse and he spots opportunities in long-term bonds and gold. The global economy is on the brink: Europe is headed for recession, Japan as well and China’s growth rate is the slowest in almost thirty years. Only the economy in the United States seems to hold up. But for how long? «We live in a global world and if Japan and Europe are struggling and the world has a problem it’s going to come to the US eventually», says Jim Bianco. According to the internationally renowned macro strategist, the biggest threat to the US economy is the inverted yield curve.

«This is the market’s way of saying the Federal Funds Rate is too high and must come down», Mr. Bianco is convinced. Against this backdrop, the founder and President of Chicago based Bianco Research argues that the Federal Reserve should cut its target rate by 50 basis points at the next FOMC meeting. He also cautions against introducing negative interest rates in the United States during the next recession because in his view that would cripple the global financial system.

[..] First, the trade and currency wars where the situation reminds me somewhat of «This Is Spinal Tap». It’s a cult satire movie from the eighties about a rock band and they coined the phrase «up to eleven» because that’s how high their amplifier went. So the expression «turning it up to eleven» refers to the act of taking something to an extreme. I’m saying this because I think Trump is “going to eleven” on trade: He’s going to turn it up so high that there is going to have to be a deal. That’s the way he wants to do this. He will just make it intolerable so everybody has to sit down and cut a deal.

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Pension funds are dead.

Low Interest Rates Compound The Big Problems Facing Pension Funds (MW)

The largest public pension funds have over $1 trillion in aggregate unfunded liabilities. Low interest rates are going to make it harder for these and other pension plans to rely on investment returns alone to meet their obligations to retirees. Interest rates in the U.S. have been declining for over 20 years, and short-term rates have been hovering close to zero over the last decade. Negative interest rates in Japan and Europe and mounting expectations of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have expanded the pool of bonds with negative yields to more than $16 trillion, or around 27% of the global bond market. Initially, low interest rates are good for asset prices.

Simplistically, this is because investors seeking similar returns as before are now forced to take capital that they would have otherwise invested in safe government bonds and deploy it into riskier assets (equities, high yield bonds, etc.), thereby driving up prices of these assets. In addition to stronger economic growth coming out of the 2008 financial crisis, this is one of the factors leading to strong performance of equities over the past decade. However, going forward it is unlikely that asset returns are going to be similar to what we witnessed over the last decade. One of the reasons is that risky asset returns are generally priced as a spread over risk-free real returns (i.e. inflation-adjusted returns). This makes intuitive sense, as investors would demand additional return for taking on risk.

If the risk-free rate is low, and there is high demand for risky assets, then the total investment return (risk free rate + risk premia/spread) will likely be lower than in a scenario with higher interest rates, all else being equal. According to Voya Investment Management’s capital market assumptions, expected returns for equities over the next 10 years is likely to be around 1.50 percentage points to 3.3 percentage points lower than assumptions in 2013.

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Like with student debt, helping only some people appears counter-productive.

Bernie Sanders Proposes Canceling $81 Billion US Medical Debt (R.)

U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Saturday to cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt for Americans, but offered no details on how it would be financed. Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, said in a statement that under his plan, the government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies. The proposal, he said, would also repeal some elements of the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged. “In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick,” said Sanders.


“That is unacceptable. I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay.” According to Sanders, medical debt is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy, with more than half a million Americans filing due to medical expenses each year. He said the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill made it difficult to discharge medical debt by imposing strict means tests and eliminated fundamental consumer protections for Americans. “It also trapped families with medical debt in long-term poverty, mandated that they pay for credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy, and increased the need for expensive legal services when filing a case for medical bankruptcy,” the senator said.

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“..the strategy of the powerful appears to be to know as much as possible about the rest of us while ensuring that we know as little as possible about them and how they operate..”

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange (MPN)

The role of journalism in a democracy is publishing information that holds the powerful to account — the kind of information that empowers the public to become more engaged citizens in their communities so that we can vote in representatives that work in the interest of “we the people.” There is perhaps no better example of watchdog journalism that holds the powerful to account and exposes their corruption than that of WikiLeaks, which exposed to the world evidence of widespread war crimes the U.S. military was committing in Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists; showed that the U.S. government and large corporations were using private intelligence agencies to spy on activists and protesters; and revealed how the military hid tortured Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Red Cross inspectors.

It’s this kind of real journalism that our First Amendment was meant to protect but engaging in it has instead made WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange the target of a massive smear campaign for the last several years — including false claims that Assange is working with Vladimir Putin and the Russians and hackers, as well as open calls by corporate media pundits for him to be assassinated. The allegations that Assange conspired with Putin to undermine the 2016 election and American democracy as a whole fell completely flat earlier this month when a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed this case as “factually implausible,” with the judge noting that at no point does the prosecution’s “threadbare” argument show “any facts” at all, and concluding that the idea that Assange conspired with Russia against the Democratic Party or America is “entirely divorced from the facts.”


[..] It is important to ask ourselves what Julian Assange’s real crime is. In an era, dubbed the Information Age, where the strategy of the powerful appears to be to know as much as possible about the rest of us while ensuring that we know as little as possible about them and how they operate, Assange worked to prevent that imbalance from becoming a rout, and stuck like a bone in the throat of the mighty.

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Interesting take for sure.

Fifty Shades of Epstein (Hope Kesselring)

A few weeks ago, half the top ten Amazon best sellers in romantic erotica were based around the trope of the BDSM billionaire, with Grey by E. L. James holding firm in the top ten. In the world of erotic romance, the 50 Shades of Grey series has been a continuous presence for over seven years. Thousands of riffs on the sexy and sadistic billionaire exist: Russian billionaire, billionaire blackmailer, billionaire stepbrother. I’m not trying to kink shame, but it would take a lot of money to convince me to write detailed descriptions of torture sessions in a gilded dungeon. This is especially true in the shadow of financier Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Mental and sexual abuse by an obscenely wealthy man now just seems, well, obscene.


I should point out that James’ character, Christian Grey, strikes me as more a domestic abuser than a real BDSM enthusiast. He is a billionaire in the tech industry who fixates on Ana, a 21-year old virgin. He puts surveillance software on her phone. He harasses her to sign a submissive’s contract, and even though she never signs it, he still treats her like a sex slave. He manipulates Ana into doing sex acts for which she doesn’t give consent. Blatant consumerism sits on the page in stark contrast to real life. 50 Shades of Grey eroticizes money and abuse. The writing is universally panned and mocked by critics, yet it’s sold 125 million copies. How in the world of publishing did it even come to be? Let’s go back to 2008. That year the economy was melting down, Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to a felony sex offense, and the Twilight series of vampire romance novels for teen girls were bestsellers.

Twilight was a young adult twist on the long-popular vampire romance, which had flourished in that market since Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire appeared. Probably some of Epstein’s victims read the Twilight books. 50 Shades of Grey marks a shift in the erotic romance genre from vampires to billionaires. In 2009, E. L. James started publishing her version of Twilight on fanfiction websites, churning out a chapter every couple of days. Master of the Universe, as it was called then, was popular but criticized for being too racy, so she moved it to her own website and renamed the characters. James didn’t know it yet, but she was about to be catapulted to international fame by some upper middle class moms in the suburbs of New York City.


[..] In the autumn of 2011, news about Occupy Wall Street, a movement that began in reaction to the deeds of the predatory class, dominated headlines. Posters portrayed the 1% as greedy Monopoly men, far from sexy. Occupy protesters had the media’s attention for a short time before the idea was squashed. That November, Jeffrey Epstein registered as a sex offender in New York after completing his jail term and moving back into his Manhattan mansion, free to continue abusing girls. 2012 was E. L. James’ year. A prominent lifestyle blog (started by an NYU communications graduate married to a talent manager) promoted James’ fanfiction novel as sexually liberating to fashion-conscious moms in upscale suburban New York. James got a book deal and “mommy porn” was born. Paperbacks with necktie covers appeared on bookshelves and in beach bags everywhere.

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Aug 282018
 
 August 28, 2018  Posted by at 9:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  17 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Cypresses in starry night (reed pen) 1889

 

Meadows: FBI/DOJ Leaked To Press, Used Articles To Obtain FISA Warrants (ZH)
Lanny Davis Admits Being Source For CNN Trump Tower “Bombshell” (ZH)
Trump Announces US-Mexico Trade Deal, Setting Stage For Nafta Overhaul (G.)
Iran Says It Has Full Control Of Gulf And US Navy Does Not Belong There (R.)
Theresa May Says A No-Deal Brexit ‘Wouldn’t Be The End Of The World’ (G.)
Out In Left Field (Kunstler)
Skripals – When the BBC Hide the Truth (Craig Murray)
‘Criminal’ Roger Waters Blacklisted By Ukraine Over Russian Interviews (RT)
Greece Needs €4.7 Billion In Additional Tax Revenues To Reach Targets (K.)
Children Attempting Suicide At Greek Refugee Camp (BBC)
The Impending End Of Most Life On Earth (G.)

 

 

2nd special counsel, where are you?

Meadows: FBI/DOJ Leaked To Press, Used Articles To Obtain FISA Warrants (ZH)

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) dropped a late-night bombshell on Monday suggesting there’s evidence that the FBI and DOJ rigged their own FISA spy warrants by leaking information to the press, then using the resultant articles to obtain court authorization to surveil targets. “We’ve learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s,” tweeted Meadows. Until now, we’ve known that the creator of the so-called Steele Dossier, former UK spy Christopher Steele, leaked information directly to Yahoo! News journalist Michael Isikoff – whose article became a supporting piece of evidence in the FBI’s FISA warrant application and subsequent renewals for Trump adviser Carter Page.

So while we’ve known that Steele seeded Isikoff with information from his dubious dossier, and that the FBI then used both Steele’s dossier and Isikoff’s Steele-inspired article to game the FISA system, Rep. Mark Meadows now says that the FBI/DOJ directly leaked information to the press, which they then used for the same type of FISA scheme. Strong evidence was discovered in January suggesting that former FBI employee Lisa Page leaked privileged information to Devlin Barrett, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now with the Washington Post. Whether any of Barrett’s reporting was subsequently used to obtain a FISA warrant is unknown.

Meanwhile, Rep. Meadows’s Monday night tweet comes hours before twice-demoted DOJ employee Bruce Ohr is set to give closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee. Ohr was caught lying about his involvement with opposition research firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson – who employed Steele. Ohr’s CIA-linked wife, Nellie, was also employed by Fusion as part of the firm’s anti-Trump efforts, and had ongoing communications with the ex-UK spy, Christopher Steele as well.

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Cohen’s lawyer is the best thing that happened to Trump in ages.

Lanny Davis Admits Being Source For CNN Trump Tower “Bombshell” (ZH)

On July 26th, CNN unleashed a “bombshell” report that Michael Cohen was claiming that candidate Trump knew in advance about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Dropping this line in the middle of their story: “Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen’s attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.”Then, last week, amid the deafening euphoria of the ‘anti-Trump’-ers, Davis told Anderson Cooper: “I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story.” Davis increasingly backed away from the story in recent days, telling the Washington Post that he is not certain if the claim is accurate, and that he could not independently corroborate it. Destroying CNN’s “bombshell” story, crushing the hopes of millions of ‘not my president’-ers.

As Buzzfeed notes, after Davis publicly backtracked from the claims, the New York Post and the Washington Post outed him as their confirming source and published apologies from Davis But, of course, CNN was giving up such a great story so easily (whether it’s true or fake news), and followed up anxiously by none other than Brian Stelter who gushed over Twitter in the face of Davis’ refutation of their entire story that: ” Re: CNN’s July 27 story about Cohen claiming that Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting: “We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.”” All of which brings up to date, safe in the knowledge that despite Davis’ denial that CNN’s story ever occurred, CNN has “a source” that confirmed it and that’s good enough for them.

BUT… Now, after all that pre-amble, double-talk, and utterly bullshit fake news reporting, Lanny Davis – who we perhaps need to remind readers once again is an extremely well-paid f**king lawyer and communications expert – has told Buzzfeed that he was the anonymous source in a July CNN story. Tonight, Davis told BuzzFeed News that he regrets both his role as an anonymous source and his subsequent denial of his own involvement. Davis told BuzzFeed News that he did, in fact, speak anonymously to CNN for its story, which cited “sources with knowledge” — meaning more than one person. “I made a mistake,” Davis said. Regarding his comments about a month later to Cooper, he added, “I did not mean to be cute.”

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Canada on hold.

Trump Announces US-Mexico Trade Deal, Setting Stage For Nafta Overhaul (G.)

Donald Trump has said he will strike a new trade deal with Mexico while ripping up the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) and threatening a trade war with Canada. “I’ll be terminating the existing deal and going into this deal,” the US president told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. “We’ll be starting negotiating with Canada relatively soon. They want to negotiate very badly.” He added: “One way or the other, we have a deal with Canada. It’ll either be a tariff on cars or it will be a negotiated deal. Frankly, a tariff on cars is a much easier way to go but perhaps the other would be much better for Canada.”

Trump also said it might be possible to make a deal involving all three countries, like the 24-year-old Nafta pact, but that separate bilateral agreements are also a possibility. However, any trade deal would have to first be approved by Congress, and time is running out. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto will soon leave office and there is no guarantee his successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will agree to the same terms. Nafta reduced most trade barriers between the US, Mexico and Canada. But Trump and other critics say it encouraged US manufacturers to move south of the border to exploit low-wage Mexican labour.

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They have a point.

Iran Says It Has Full Control Of Gulf And US Navy Does Not Belong There (R.)

Iran has full control of the Gulf, and the U.S. Navy does not belong there, the head of the navy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Alireza Tangsiri, said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency. The remarks come at a time when Tehran has suggested that it could take military action in the Gulf to block oil exports of other regional countries in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its oil sales. Washington maintains a fleet in the Gulf which protects oil shipping routes. Tangsiri said Iran had full control of both the Gulf itself and the Strait of Hormuz that leads into it. Closing off the strait would be the most direct way of blocking shipping.

“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here,” he said in the quote, which appeared in English translation on Tasnim. Tension between Iran and the United States has escalated since President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May and reimposed sanctions.

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Just the end of her.

Theresa May Says A No-Deal Brexit ‘Wouldn’t Be The End Of The World’ (G.)

Theresa May claimed that a no-deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world” as she sought to downplay a controversial warning made by Philip Hammond last week that it would cost £80bn in extra borrowing and inhibit long-term economic growth. The prime minister conceded that crashing out of the European Union without a deal “wouldn’t be a walk in the park” but went on to argue that the UK could make an economic success of the unprecedented situation if it proved impossible to negotiate a satisfactory divorce. Her comments were designed to distance herself from pessimistic Treasury forecasts highlighted by the chancellor at the end of last week, predictions that incensed the Tory right and led to renewed calls from hard Brexiters for Hammond’s dismissal.

Speaking to reporters as she began a three-day trip to Africa, May cited and endorsed remarks about the Brexit situation made last week by Roberto Azevêdo, the director general of the World Trade Organisation, to justify a gentle rebuke of the chancellor. The prime minister said: “Look at what the director general of the World Trade Organisation has said. He has said about the no-deal situation that it will not be a walk in the park, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. “What the government is doing is putting in place the preparation such that if we are in that situation, we can make a success of it, just as we can make a success of a good deal.”

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Huber. Remember the name.

Out In Left Field (Kunstler)

With Russian “meddling” stalled in the dead letter office, The New York Times has apparently re-branded itself Floozie Central in its quixotic campaign to unseat the Golden Golem of Greatness by all means necessary. The Stormy Daniels affair, and its slime-trail of payoffs, is the slender thread that the Resistance hopes to hang Donald Trump on. The great legal minds of cable TV have been very busy trying to suss out which part of the $130,000 non-disclosure payoff might apply as a campaign financing violation. If Rudy Giuliani still had his wits about him, of course, he would claim that the money was just Ms. Daniel’s going rate for an overnight frolic amongst her legendary twin peaks, that is, a sex worker’s simple transaction fee.

Where does it say in the constitution that a president may not consort with tramps and hussies? It was hilarious to discover that Mr. Trump’s erstwhile personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, picked DC Swamp attorney and Clinton insider, Lanny Davis, to represent him in negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It must be like the old days in the locker room of the Burning Tree Golf Club for Lanny and Bob. They go back at least to the days when the Clintons fended off accusations of issuing pardons to special friends for a $450,000 payoff on Bubba’s last day in office, January 19, 2001. And there must have been a reunion around 2010 on the Uranium One matter, in which a tidy $145-million from Russian Oligarch Central landed in the Clinton Foundation coffers after Madam Secretary Hillary signed onto a go-ahead with the U-1 deal.

Meanwhile, way out in Left Field — Salt Lake City, actually —a forgotten lone ranger named John W. Huber is ostensibly toiling away on a roster of allegations so far ignored by the Mueller team, namely the politicization of the FBI and the Department of Justice, and the actions taken deviously by senior employees there against Mr. Trump during and after the 2016 election. Mr. Huber was tapped to carry out this assignment by Attorney General Jeff Sessions late in 2017.

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BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban met with Skripal multiple times in 2017.

Skripals – When the BBC Hide the Truth (Craig Murray)

On 8 July 2018 a lady named Kirsty Eccles asked what, in its enormous ramifications, historians may one day see as the most important Freedom of Information request ever made. The rest of this post requires extremely close and careful reading, and some thought, for you to understand that claim. “Dear British Broadcasting Corporation, 1: Why did BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban keep secret from the licence payers that he had been having meetings with Sergei Skripal only last summer. 2: When did the BBC know this? 3: Please provide me with copies of all correspondence between yourselves and Mark Urban on the subject of Sergei Skripal. Yours faithfully, Kirsty Eccles

The ramifications of this little request are enormous as they cut right to the heart of the ramping up of the new Cold War, of the BBC’s propaganda collusion with the security services to that end, and of the concoction of fraudulent evidence in the Steele “dirty dossier”. This also of course casts a strong light on more plausible motives for an attack on the Skripals. Which is why the BBC point blank refused to answer Kirsty’s request, stating that it was subject to the Freedom of Information exemption for “Journalism”.

“The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.”

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Fun.

‘Criminal’ Roger Waters Blacklisted By Ukraine Over Russian Interviews (RT)

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters has found himself blacklisted by being added to the Ukrainian database of national enemies, after statements to Russian media about Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine. Waters, 74, is wrapping up his US+Them European tour with concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow this week and spoke with several Russian outlets about both music and his political activism. The rock musician has been an outspoken champion of the Palestinian cause and a critic of Western-backed rebels in Syria. On Monday, however, his name appeared in the “purgatory” database of Mirotvorets (Peacemaker), maintained by people connected with Ukraine’s security and intelligence services and listing alleged enemies of the state.

The site says “criminal” Waters is responsible of “anti-Ukrainian propaganda, attacks on the territorial integrity of Ukraine [and] participation in attempts to legalize the Russian annexation of Crimea.” As proof, the site lists links to two interviews Waters gave to Russian media outlets RIA and Izvestiya, and quotes specifically a statement about the city of Sevastopol being Russian and important to Russians. Waters called “laughable” the idea of blaming Russia for the conflict in Ukraine and said the blame rests with Victoria Nuland, the senior State Department official for Europe and Eurasia during the Obama administration. [..] Waters also expressed concern about the US leadership, which he said does not seem to recognize any agreements and does whatever it wants. Such a policy will eventually get everyone killed, the rock star told Izvestiya, in an interview published Monday.

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Already grossly overtaxed.

Greece Needs €4.7 Billion In Additional Tax Revenues To Reach Targets (K.)

The Greek government will have to collect additional tax revenues of 4.7 billion euros in the first post-bailout period of enhanced supervision (2018-2022) by its creditors, in order to achieve the agreed primary surpluses and record surpluses. These revenues are not expected to come only from economic growth but also from the imposition of new taxes, notably the trimming of the tax reduction from a current level of 1,900 euros to 1,250 euros – a change that will affect 6 million salaried employees and pensioners.

In 2018, direct taxes are projected to generate 17.4 billion euros, slightly less than the 17.7 billion of 2017. The reduction is entirely attributable to the fact that high tax rates result in an ever-increasing reduction of declared incomes. As for indirect taxes, they are expected to drop to 35.2 billion euros this year compared with 35.4 billion in 2017, while no significant change is expected for 2019, despite the projected economic growth. For 2020, tax revenues are expected to rise further when the government is seen reducing the tax-free threshold. It is indicative that revenues from direct taxes are seen rising to 18.40 billion euros that year, versus 17.43 billion in 2019.

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“..her family spend all day queuing for food at the camp and all night ready to run..”

Children Attempting Suicide At Greek Refugee Camp (BBC)

At Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been given rare access inside. “We are always ready to escape, 24 hours a day we have our children ready,” says Sara Khan, originally from Afghanistan. “The violence means our little ones don’t get to sleep.” Sara explains that her family spend all day queuing for food at the camp and all night ready to run – in fear of the fights that break out constantly. Conditions are so appalling that charities have actually left in protest.

The place smells of raw sewage, and there are around 70 people per toilet, according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Some people live in mobile cabins, but rammed in-between them all are tents and tarpaulin sheets – homes for those who cannot obtain any official living space. The camp is also now sprawling into surrounding countryside. One tent houses 17 people – four families under one canvas. MSF says there are currently more than 8,000 people crammed into Moria camp, which was supposed to house 3,000. [..] The camp opened in 2015 and was initially designed as a transit post for people to stay for a matter of days – but some have been here for years.

It is controlled by the Greek government, and the overcrowding is because Greece is enforcing the EU’s “containment” policy, keeping people on the island rather than transferring them to the Greek mainland. It is part of the EU-Turkey deal which aims to return thousands of refugees to Turkey, and it has been in force since March 2016. From then to July 2018, according to EU figures, 71,645 new refugees arrived in Greece by sea and only 2,224 have been returned to Turkey. George Matthaiou, a Greek government press representative on Moria, concedes conditions are terrible, but blames the EU rather than Greece. “We don’t have the money. You know the situation of Greece, economically,” he says. “I want to help but I can do nothing, because the European Union closed the borders.”

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“I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said..”

The Impending End Of Most Life On Earth (G.)

We’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.” Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

From Malthus to the Millennium Bug, apocalyptic thinking has a poor track record. But when it issues from Hillman, it may be worth paying attention. Over nearly 60 years, his research has used factual data to challenge policymakers’ conventional wisdom. In 1972, he criticised out-of-town shopping centres more than 20 years before the government changed planning rules to stop their spread. In 1980, he recommended halting the closure of branch line railways – only now are some closed lines reopening. In 1984, he proposed energy ratings for houses – finally adopted as government policy in 2007. And, more than 40 years ago, he presciently challenged society’s pursuit of economic growth.

[..] In 1971, 80% of British seven- and eight-year-old children went to school on their own; today it’s virtually unthinkable that a seven-year-old would walk to school without an adult. As Hillman has pointed out, we’ve removed children from danger rather than removing danger from children – and filled roads with polluting cars on school runs. He calculated that escorting children took 900m adult hours in 1990, costing the economy £20bn each year. It will be even more expensive today.

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