Jan 272023
 
 January 27, 2023  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  145 Responses »


Edward Hopper Office in a Small City 1953

 

Blinken Concedes War Is Lost – Offers Ukrainian Demilitarization (Helmer)
Blinken Ponders The Post-Ukraine-War Order (Ignatius)
American Abrams Tanks Vulnerable Even To Soviet-era Weapons (TASS)
Nobody Told Me We’re At War – Kroatian President (RT)
Involvement Of US, Collective West In Ukraine Conflict Grows – Kremlin (TASS)
France Denies The West Is At War With Russia (RT)
West Discussing Handover Of Fighter Jets To Kiev – Politico (TASS)
Kremlin Rules Out Any Talks Between Zelensky, Putin (TASS)
The Sect (Dionísio)
What Spurred Wave Of Resignations Among Senior Ukraine Officials? (Lavrenin)
Joining Russia Sanctions Would Be ‘Inappropriate’ – Serbia (RT)
Can You Smell What the Year of the Rabbit Is Cooking? (Escobar)
Russia’s Intentions Are Clarifying (Alasdair Macleod)
Pfizer Director Physically Assaults James O’Keefe and Veritas Staff (GP)
Marco Rubio Letter To Albert Bourla (rubio.senate.gov)

 

 

 

 

Trump Russia

 

 

 

 

Tucker Barr Epstein

 

 

Hunter email

 

 

Macgregor/Judge Nap

Macgregor A Huge Offensive

 

 

 

 

A take we haven’t seen before. But it’s Helmer…

“John Helmer is an Australian-born journalist and foreign correspondent based in Moscow, Russia since 1989. He has served as an adviser to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia, and has also worked as professor of political science, sociology, and journalism.”

“US is ready to ease sanctions against Russia for the sake of “serious negotiations on Ukraine and the withdrawal of troops from there.”- Victoria Nuland

Blinken Concedes War Is Lost – Offers Ukrainian Demilitarization (Helmer)

David Ignatius has been a career-long mouthpiece for the US State Department. He has just been called in by the current Secretary of State Antony Blinken to convey an urgent new message to President Vladimir Putin, the Security Council, and the General Staff in Moscow. For the first time since the special military operation began last year, the war party in Washington is offering terms of concession to Russia’s security objectives explicitly and directly, without the Ukrainians in the way. The terms Blinken has told Ignatius to print appeared in the January 25 edition of the Washington Post. The paywall can be avoided by reading on. The territorial concessions Blinken is tabling include Crimea, the Donbass, and the Zaporozhe, Kherson “land bridge that connects Crimea and Russia”.

West of the Dnieper River, north around Kharkov, and south around Odessa and Nikolaev, Blinken has tabled for the first time US acceptance of “a demilitarized status” for the Ukraine. Also, US agreement to restrict the deployment of HIMARS, US and NATO infantry fighting vehicles, and the Abrams and Leopard tanks to a point in western Ukraine from which they can “manoeuvre…as a deterrent against future Russian attacks.” This is an offer for a tradeoff – partition through a demilitarized zone (DMZ) in the east of the Ukraine in exchange for a halt to the planned Russian offensive destroying the fortifications, rail hubs, troop cantonments, and airfields in the west, between the Polish and Romanian borders, Kiev and Lvov, and an outcome Blinken proposes for both sides to call “a just and durable peace that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity”.

Also in the proposed Blinken deal there is the offer of a direct US-Russian agreement on “an eventual postwar military balance”; “no World War III”; and no Ukrainian membership of NATO with “security guarantees similar to NATO’s Article 5.” Blinken has also told the Washington Post to announce the US will respect “Putin’s tripwire for nuclear escalation”, and accept the Russian “reserve force includ[ing] strategic bombers, certain precision-guided weapons and, of course, tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.” President Putin has offered a hint of the Russian reply he discussed with the Stavka and the Security Council last week.

Putin told a meeting with university students on Wednesday, hours after Blinken’s publication. “I think that people like you,” the president said, “most clearly and most accurately understand the need for what Russia is now doing to support our citizens in these territories, including Lugansk, Donetsk, the Donbass area as a whole, and Kherson and Zaporozhye. The goal, as I have explained many times, is primarily to protect the people and Russia from the threats that they are trying to create for us in our own historical territories that are adjacent to us. We cannot allow this. So, it is extremely important when young people like you defend the interests of their small and large Motherland with arms in their hands and do so consciously.”

Read on, very carefully, understanding that nothing a US official says, least of all through the mouths of Blinken, Ignatius, and the Washington Post is trusted by the Russians; and understanding that what Putin and the Stavka say they mean by Russia’s “adjacent historical territories” and the “small and large Motherland” has been quite clear. Follow what Blinken told Ignatius to print, before Putin issued his reply. The propaganda terms have been highlighted in bold to mean the opposite — the public positions from which Blinken is trying to retreat and keep face.

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The Ignatius article Helmer was talking about.

Blinken Ponders The Post-Ukraine-War Order (Ignatius)

The Biden administration, convinced that Vladimir Putin has failed in his attempt to erase Ukraine, has begun planning for an eventual postwar military balance that will help Kyiv deter any repetition of Russia’s brutal invasion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined his strategy for the Ukrainian endgame and postwar deterrence during an interview on Monday at the State Department. The conversation offered an unusual exploration of some of the trickiest issues surrounding resolution of a Ukraine conflict that has threatened the global order. Blinken explicitly commended Germany’s military backing for Ukraine at a time when Berlin is getting hammered by some other NATO allies for not providing Leopard tanks quickly to Kyiv.

“Nobody would have predicted the extent of Germany’s military support” when the war began, Blinken said. “This is a sea change we should recognize.” He also underlined President Biden’s determination to avoid direct military conflict with Russia, even as U.S. weapons help pulverize Putin’s invasion force. “Biden has always been emphatic that one of his requirements in Ukraine is that there be no World War III,” Blinken said. Russia’s colossal failure to achieve its military goals, Blinken believes, should now spur the United States and its allies to begin thinking about the shape of postwar Ukraine — and how to create a just and durable peace that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity and allows it to deter and, if necessary, defend against any future aggression. In other words, Russia should not be able to rest, regroup and reattack.

Blinken’s deterrence framework is somewhat different from last year’s discussions with Kyiv about security guarantees similar to NATO’s Article 5. Rather than such a formal treaty pledge, some U.S. officials increasingly believe the key is to give Ukraine the tools it needs to defend itself. Security will be ensured by potent weapons systems — especially armor and air defense — along with a strong, noncorrupt economy and membership in the European Union. The Pentagon’s current stress on providing Kyiv with weapons and training for maneuver warfare reflects this long-term goal of deterrence. “The importance of maneuver weapons isn’t just to give Ukraine strength now to regain territory but as a deterrent against future Russian attacks,” explained a State Department official familiar with Blinken’s thinking. “Maneuver is the future.”

The conversation with Blinken offered some hints about the intense discussions that have gone on for months within the administration about how the war in Ukraine can be ended and future peace maintained. The administration’s standard formula is that all decisions must ultimately be made by Ukraine, and Blinken reiterated that line. He also backs Ukraine’s desire for significant battlefield gains this year. But the State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are also thinking ahead. Crimea is a particular point of discussion. There is a widespread view in Washington and Kyiv that regaining Crimea by military force may be impossible. Any Ukrainian military advances this year in Zaporizhzhia oblast, the land bridge that connects Crimea and Russia, could threaten Russian control. But an all-out Ukrainian campaign to seize the Crimean Peninsula is unrealistic, many U.S. and Ukrainian officials believe. That’s partly because Putin has indicated that an assault on Crimea would be a tripwire for nuclear escalation.

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I know, a Russian source, but I get the feeling that the Abrams tanks are not as great as the US makes them out to be.

American Abrams Tanks Vulnerable Even To Soviet-era Weapons (TASS)

American M1 Abrams tanks that Washington has decided to hand over to Kiev as military aid have weaknesses that allowed wiping them out with Soviet weapons, including T-55 tanks, during the conflict in Iraq, armor expert, Candidate of Military Sciences, retired Colonel Sergey Suvorov told TASS on Thursday. M1 Abrams tanks can also be hardly repaired in field conditions and are weakly suited for operation on dusty terrain like in Ukraine, the expert added. US President Joe Biden announced on January 25 that Washington would hand over 31 M1 Abrams tanks to the Kiev regime. Earlier, Germany and Poland made the decisions to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. It was also reported that the United Kingdom would transfer Challenger 2 tanks to Kiev.

Abrams tanks repeatedly demonstrated their vulnerability during the hostilities in Iraq, the expert pointed out. “As the Iraq combat experience shows, they went up in flames. The tank turret was pierced by a 100mm armor-piercing blunt nose projectile fired by a T-55 tank. There were instances when Abrams vehicles were struck by automatic guns of both Bradley and our BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles,” he said. Instances are also known when the American tank was destroyed by the first Soviet modifications of T-72 tanks firing old shells “that were withdrawn from operational use even before the Abrams concept was devised,” Suvorov said. The expert also pointed to the instances when Abrams tanks were wiped out by RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers. An extra powerplant installed in the rear part of the turret to power modern electronic systems is another weak point of later American tank modifications, the expert said.

“It was covered with the armor that can withstand assault rifle bullets but is vulnerable to a 12.7 mm DShK machine gun. It was hit by a DShK and its motor was smashed, oil and fuel went ablaze and spilled down to the main engine located below. The main engine went ablaze and then the tank itself went up in flames and burnt out,” he said. The American tank almost has no chances, if it engages in a duel with Russian tanks, the expert said. “If an Abrams emerges at a long distance, a T-72 or a T-90 crew will fire an anti-tank missile and we can say that the Abrams will even have no chance to fire a shot as its range of fire won’t allow it to do that,” he explained. sHowever, the US tank’s final efficiency depends on the commander’s skills to operate it and trained crews, the expert said.

Apart from the need to fill Abrams tanks with clean jet fuel, they also have more serious operational flaws. In particular, they cannot be repaired in field conditions, the expert said. “Repairs are a major problem. If something breaks down in the powerplant, it has to be pulled out of the tank, taken to a special repair workshop with skilled personnel, disconnected from the gear box and only then repaired,” Suvorov said. The air intake system of US-made Abrams tanks is yet another vulnerability, the expert pointed out. “They feature an air filter that operates similar to the equipment installed in motor vehicles: if it becomes clogged, it has to be taken out and cleaned. Meanwhile, all of our tanks are equipped with cyclone dust collectors that are quite smart devices,” the expert said, adding that an Abrams filter sufficed for just 15 minutes of the tank’s movement along dusty terrain during the Iraq campaign.

Civilian contractors

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A smart voice.

Nobody Told Me We’re At War – Kroatian President (RT)

Commenting on the German foreign minister’s declaration that Europe was “fighting a war against Russia,” Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Thursday that this was news to him, and wished Berlin better luck than in WWII. Croatia “should in no way help” Ukraine militarily, Milanovic said while visiting the port city of Split. “Do you want us to enter the war?” Framing the Ukraine conflict as one between Washington and Moscow, he reminded reporters that he was criticized for merely echoing the words of Kiev’s defense minister, about the current conflict being a “proxy war” between NATO and Russia. “Now the German foreign minister says we must be united, because I quote, we are at war with Russia. I didn’t know that,” Milanovic said.

“Maybe Germany is at war with Russia, but then, good luck, maybe this time it turns out better than 70-odd years ago.” The Croatian president was baffled to hear such a claim from the leader of the German Greens, which he said used to be a pacifist party equally against the US and the USSR, and not from Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “If we are at war with Russia, then let’s see what we need to do. But we won’t ask Germany for its opinion,” Milanovic added. “Let them figure out who is the actual chancellor over there. I’ve been in politics for a long time, and our country has been through a lot, but I’ve never seen this kind of madness before.”

When it comes to tanks, “Russian or American, they burn just the same,” Milanovic said, noting that deliveries of armor to Ukraine – announced by the US and Germany this week – will only prolong the fighting, “Those tanks may burn, or they may reach Crimea, but Croatia will have nothing to do with it,” he insisted. The social-democrat president has frequently clashed with the nationalist parliamentary majority over Croatia’s Ukraine policy. Just last month, Milanovic opposed Zagreb’s participation in the EU program to train Ukrainian troops, saying it clashed with Croatia’s constitution. Unless the US and Russia are holding some kind of talks, the world is “slowly sliding into World War Three,” Milanovic added. “Some people think it has already begun, but I have my reservations.”

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“Moscow perceives everything that both the alliance and the capitals I mentioned have been doing as direct involvement in the conflict..”

Involvement Of US, Collective West In Ukraine Conflict Grows – Kremlin (TASS)

The Kremlin sees that the involvement of the United States and the countries of the collective West in the conflict in Ukraine has been growing, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday. “There have been repeated statements from the European capitals and from Washington that the sending of various weapons systems, including tanks, to Ukraine by no means signifies the involvement of these countries or the [North Atlantic] Alliance in the hostilities in Ukraine. We strongly disagree with this. Moscow perceives everything that both the alliance and the capitals I mentioned have been doing as direct involvement in the conflict. We see that it is growing,” Peskov said.


Earlier, US President Joe Biden claimed that Washington’s decision to supply tanks to Ukraine was not about a fight against Russia, but a fight for “freedom.” In addition, Biden alleged that the supply of tanks did not imply a threat to Russia. In response to an elaborative question whether the Kremlin believed in the sincerity of these words, Peskov replied: “Please, use what I’ve just said as a benchmark.” Earlier, it was reported that Germany and the United States decided to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 and Abrams tanks. According to various media resources, some European countries also intend to join these deliveries.

Baerbock

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This is pure semantics. Message to the home front. Don’t worry, we’re all innocent and in the clear…

France Denies The West Is At War With Russia (RT)

Just because the US, Germany and several other countries announced they would be supplying Ukraine with main battle tanks doesn’t mean NATO is at war with Moscow, the French Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The comments from Quai d’Orsay come after the controversial speech by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in the European Parliament earlier this week. “We are not at war with Russia and none of our partners are,” ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said on Thursday, according to AFP. “The delivery of military equipment… does not constitute co-belligerence.” The day before, Washington announced it would send more than 30 of its M1 Abrams tanks to Kiev, while Berlin said it would contribute over a dozen Leopard II panzers and not stand in the way of Poland and other EU and NATO members who wish to hand theirs over to Ukraine as well.

Seeking to drum up support for tank deliveries on Tuesday, Baerbock told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that the EU must move in lockstep “because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.” Asked to clarify her comments, the German Foreign Ministry said that Russia had launched a “war of aggression” against Ukraine and that international law was “clear” that Berlin’s support for Kiev’s “individual right of self-defense, guaranteed by the UN Charter, does not make Germany a party to the conflict.”

On Wednesday, French PM Elisabeth Borne told the parliament in Paris that her government was “continuing our analysis” of the proposal to send Leclerc tanks to Ukraine. France has already promised Kiev a number of AMX-10 “light tanks,” earlier this month. Meanwhile, French FM Catherine Colonna visited Ukraine on Thursday, meeting with her counterpart Dmitry Kuleba in Odessa to “show France’s long-term support” and “assess Ukraine’s urgent needs in the humanitarian and military sectors in order to provide concrete responses,” according to a press release from Quai d’Orsay.

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Impossible until recently. What this tells you is that Ukraine is losing. Bigly.

West Discussing Handover Of Fighter Jets To Kiev – Politico (TASS)

The Western countries are in internal discussions about the possibility of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine, but many fear that such a decision could lead to an escalation of the conflict. As the newspaper Politico said on Thursday, according to a number of Western diplomats and representatives of military circles, Ukraine and the Baltic countries are in favor of this idea. “The next natural step would be fighters,” a diplomat from a northern European country said. For its part Washington has told Kiev that supplying aircraft is a “no-go, for the moment,” the diplomat quoted above said, but added: “There’s a red line there – but last summer we had a red line on the HIMARS [multiple rocket launchers], and that moved. Then it was battle tanks, and that’s moving.” A second diplomatic source from a European power told Politico that “fighters are completely unconceivable today,” but there might be a discussion “in two or three weeks.”


The newspaper says the debate will likely prove even more contentious than the row over supplying tanks. At the same time, in Europe, multiple officials and diplomats said their governments no longer consider the idea a non-starter, but “fears of escalation remain high.” Some officials believe that next month’s discussion at Ramstein will be more focused on thrashing out “a contingency plan, in case jet fighters are urgently needed at some future point, rather than on striking a deal on near-term deliveries.” European diplomats agree that the West will first want to exhaust all other options for air support, including more attack drones and possibly long-range missiles, Politico says. Besides, sending aircraft would be a serious logistical undertaking for Ukraine’s allies, the newspaper notes.

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“..he never solved the Donbass problem, he reneged on the Minsk Agreements, moreover, it turned out that he never planned to implement them, as he had been preparing for war,”

Kremlin Rules Out Any Talks Between Zelensky, Putin (TASS)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stopped being a possible interlocutor for Russian President Vladimir Putin long ago, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday as he commented on a remark by the Ukrainian leader which said he was `not interested’ in meeting Putin for peace talks. “We know what promises Zelensky made during his presidential campaign, and it is not difficult to remember them or refresh the memory of those voters who elected him in Ukraine: he never solved the Donbass problem, he reneged on the Minsk Agreements, moreover, it turned out that he never planned to implement them, as he had been preparing for war,” Peskov said.


“This is why, let’s put it this way, he himself has long ceased to be a potential interlocutor for President Putin,” he added. Earlier on Thursday, Zelensky told Great Britain’s Sky News TV channel that he was “not interested” in peace talks with Putin, saying Putin became “nobody” to him after he launched the special military operation. Zelensky previously decreed to ban negotiations with Russia. Peskov said later that no talks between Moscow and Kiev were currently possible, given there are no conditions for them, whether de facto or de jure.

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To join the sect you must give up your freedom.

The Sect (Dionísio)

As in all sects, there is their own jargon and a tendency toward self-absorption, caused by the closing of the circuit in which they operate. The greater the inability to establish bridges and lines of contact with other existences, the greater the radicalism and sectarianism of their positions, which is embodied precisely in a contradiction they cannot escape: the more they want to drag others along, the more others run away from them. If the reaction of most countries to the conflict in Eastern Europe demonstrates the disconnection between the official narrative propagated in the collective West and the understanding that most nations and the world population have of it, the identification of nations like the RPC, Russian Federation or Iran as aggressor and oppressor entities is something that only fits into the most sectarian minds of the sect, or its followers.

Take, for example, the meeting promoted by the White House for Africa (US-Africa Leaders Summit). At first glance, we could see it as a success; after all, more than 40 African nations attended. There was no shortage of funds either: $55 billion were promised upfront to “help” Africa development, to fight climate change, and to counter terrorism. However, there was a catch: to receive the “investment” one has to “decouple” from the PRC and FR. The usual jargon of “democracy” and “human rights” was well identified, mainly as a way to ensure the maintenance of dollarization through membership in the institutions that impose it (IMF and World Bank). The entire white house was optimistic. However, once again, the bulk of the African envoys cannot have failed to think, “but who does, this sect of Anglo-Saxon white people, think we are? Fools?” International articles rained down saying what we knew right away: “to convince Africa, talk is not enough!”

If ideologies with a connection to reality, it is reality itself that validates the respective theoretical assumptions (easier said than done), sects tend to work the other way around, opting for a more idealistic approach, in the sense that it is reality that has to mold itself to their ideas. The US has not listened to Africa, as it has not listened to others. The US has tried to drag Africa into its presumptuous ideas. When reality – this stubborn inexorable one – insists on not validating the theoretical assumptions that justify the existence of the sect, the sect chooses to wage war against it, identifying the main agents of its transformation and electing them as its enemies. In essence, the whole strategy of “containing China” is a fight against a reality embodied in 5000 years of history. Hence, as the sect that they are, the result is also predictable: either you are with me, or you are against me! The sectarianism of the sect leaves no room for compromise, cooperation or any kind of mutual understanding.

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NABU=National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. Lots of unrest.

What Spurred Wave Of Resignations Among Senior Ukraine Officials? (Lavrenin)

Against the background of Ukraine’s high-profile political scandals, staff changes in the government are being actively discussed. Among the officials considered next in line for dismissal are Minister of Energy German Galushchenko, Minister of Youth and Sports Vadim Gutzeit (who recently headed the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine), as well as Minister of Strategic Industries Pavel Ryabikin. However, none of these officials have been involved in corruption scandals, so these resignations, should they happen, would likely be for different reasons. All of this leads some journalists to ponder possible large-scale shifts in the government. Lozinsky and Shmigal worked together in the Department of Economic Development in the Lviv Regional State Administration. After Shmigal was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in February 2020, he appointed Lozinsky as his first deputy.

The Prime Minister’s resignation, which would entail the resignation of the entire government, would indeed look like a powerful Zelensky response to corruption scandals. However, this course of events carries serious risks for the authorities, and their are enough to ruin such an intention. For one, the resignation of the government amid corruption scandals creates risks of a political split in the Verkhovna Rada. Furthermore, if the government were to resign, Western countries could set strict conditions on coordinating candidates for the new government. This happened in 2014, when US citizen Natalia Yaresko was appointed Finance Minister to Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government, and Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius was made Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

All this can shake up the system of power and lead to the President’s administration having much less influence over political processes. The current political system is clearly biased towards a single structure: the Office of the President of Ukraine. Following the early parliamentary elections in 2019 and the formation of a majority in the Verkhovna Rada, the entire vertical alignment of power was structured around Zelensky and Yermak, the influence of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine was eliminated, and the information space cleared. The combat operations in Ukraine merely accelerated these processes. In fact, only three powers can now speak out against the Zelensky-Yermak team— Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko and his cabinet, the army led by Valery Zaluzhny, and US-controlled structures such as NABU and media affiliated with them. At the same time, decisions regarding resignations are made exclusively by Zelensky and Yermak, who by all means wish to hush up the scandals.

Changes are imminent. The Ukrainian President is being pushed towards structural reform from several sides, including his own officials, the government, the power structures, and particularly, foreign benefactors. Major corruption scandals may lead to fall in the Western public’s support of Kiev. After all, Ukraine is a very expensive project, regardless of its geopolitical value. In addition to risky investments and painful costs, its financiers need clarity in terms of internal management control. The US government regularly says that it will finance Ukraine until its victory, but it also has to account for the money it’s splurging. Of course, the quality of work is evaluated by the employer, not the employee, and this case the Americans are the undoubted bosses.

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“Serbia’s position on Kosovo has received support from Russia, China and many other countries – including Ukraine..”

Joining Russia Sanctions Would Be ‘Inappropriate’ – Serbia (RT)

Serbia has not joined the US-EU sanctions against Russia for several reasons that remain valid, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Thursday, speaking in Ankara after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.The European Parliament last week demanded from Belgrade “full alignment” with the bloc’s foreign and security policy – including the embargo against Moscow. Dacic noted that his government has not joined the anti-Russian embargo out of “national and state interests, economic cooperation, as well as problems Serbia has with Kosovo,” referring to the NATO-backed breakaway province. “It would be inappropriate for Serbia to sanction Russia now, and it would be harmful to our interests,” Dacic said.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t do everything to clearly say we don’t support the infringement of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and help as much as we can.” Dacic has sought the support of Türkiye in helping Serbia deal with US and EU pressure over Kosovo. He also indirectly reminded reporters that Ankara has not joined the sanctions against Russia either. “I think Serbia and Türkiye want to be constructive factors of peace and stability,” the Serbian FM said. “Our interest is not to be on anybody’s side in some conflict, we advocate the respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of every UN member state.” While insisting that Serbia must sanction Russia because of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the EU and the US also demand Belgrade recognize Kosovo, or face economic and political “consequences.”

Belgrade insists on the principle of territorial integrity because the US and the EU have been pressuring it to recognize Kosovo as an independent state since 2008. NATO troops took control of the province in 1999, after months of bombing Serbia on behalf of ethnic Albanian insurgents. Serbia’s position on Kosovo has received support from Russia, China and many other countries – including Ukraine – on grounds of international law. This is one of the reasons Serbia officially does not recognize Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, Zaporozhye, or even Crimea, as parts of Russia.

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Cooking BRICS+.

Can You Smell What the Year of the Rabbit Is Cooking? (Escobar)

Liu He studied economics at Renmin University in China and got a Master’s from Harvard. Since 2018, he’s one of China’s Vice Premiers – along with Han Zheng, Sun Chunlan, and Hu Chunhua. He’s a Director of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission and heads the China Financial Stability and Development Committee. Anyone around the world who wants to know what will drive China’s economy in the Year of the Rabbit must pay attention to Liu He. Davos 2023 has come and gone: an extended exercise in Demented Dystopia with peaks of paroxysm. At least a measure of reality was offered by Liu He’s address. A limited but competent analysis of what he said is infinitely more useful than torrents of barely disguised Sinophobic “research” vomited by U.S. Think Tankland.

Liu He pointed to some key numbers for the Chinese economy in 2022. Overall 3% growth may not be groundbreaking; but what matters is value-added for high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing going up by 7.4% and 5.6% respectively. What this means is that Chinese industrial capacity continues to move up the value chain. Trade, predictably, reigns supreme: the total value of imports and exports reached the equivalent of $6,215 trillion in 2022; that’s an increase of 7.7% over 2021. Liu He also made it clear that improving the wealth of Chinese citizens remains a key priority, as enounced in the 2022 Party Congress: the number of middle class Chinese, by 2035, should jump from the current 400 million to an astonishing 900 million.

Liu He pointedly explained that everything about Chinese reforms revolves around the notion of establishing “a socialist market economy”. This translates as “let the market play a decisive role in resources allocation, let the government play a better role.” That has absolutely nothing to do with Beijing privileging a planned economy. As Liu He detailed, “we will deepen SOE [State-Owned Enterprises] reform, support the private sector, and promote fair competition, anti-monopoly and entrepreneurship.” China is reaching the next level, economically: that translates as building, as fast as possible, an innovation-driven commercial base. Specific targets include finance, tech, and greater productivity in industry, as in applying more robotics.

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“.. drop earlier plans to design a new commodity-linked trade currency because it has been superseded..”

Russia’s Intentions Are Clarifying (Alasdair Macleod)

We have confirmation from the highest sources that Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are considering using gold for pan-Asian trade settlements, fully replacing dollars and euros. In an article written for Vedomosti, a Moscow-based Russian newspaper published on 27 December, Sergey Glazyev, a prominent economic adviser to Vladimir Putin who is heading up the Eurasian Economic Union committee charged with devising a replacement for dollars in trade settlements sent a very clear signal to that effect. It appears he will drop earlier plans to design a new commodity-linked trade currency because it has been superseded. Furthermore, increasing numbers of nations have joined or have applied to join the SCO as dialog members, including Saudi Arabia and other important Gulf Cooperation Organisation members.


The economic benefits of discounted energy, China’s investment capital, and sound money are the ingredients for a new, Asia-wide industrial revolution, while the economies of the western alliance sink under rising prices, rising interest rates, collapsing financial markets, and collapsing currencies. While it will mark the end of the road for the western alliance and its fiat currencies, Putin must be careful not to take the blame. Now that the alliance is racking up tanks and other equipment for the Ukrainians, they are actively promoting a new battle, with NATO getting almost directly involved. It is that action which will drive up commodity prices, undermine western financial markets, undermine government finances, and ultimately collapse their currencies. Putin is likely to use NATO’s impetuous action in defence of Ukraine as cover for securing Russia’s future as an Asian superstate, which will be the west’s undoing.

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James O’Keeffe: In this video:
-I was locked in a restaurant (possible Unlawful imprisonment)
-I was Assaulted
-Had our IPad destroyed
-Pfizer director said “I’m literally a liar”
-He confirmed hes Boston Consulting and Pfizer
-He said he’s trying to “help the public”

Pfizer Director Physically Assaults James O’Keefe and Veritas Staff (GP)

Jordon Trishton Walker, Pfizer Director of Research and Development, physically assaulted James O’Keefe and Veritas staffers on Thursday. James O’Keefe confronted Walker at a restaurant and showed him the undercover recordings about Pfizer’s plans to potentially mutate the Covid virus. “You f*cked up!” Walker shouted before destroying the iPad showing the PV undercover recordings about the “mutating” Covid virus. Project Veritas on Wednesday night released explosive video of Jordon Trishton Walker, Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Strategic Operations, admitting the pharma giant is exploring ‘mutating’ Covid-19 via ‘directed evolution’ so the company can continue to profit off of vaccines.


“One of the things we’re exploring is like, why don’t we just mutate it [COVID] ourselves so we could create — preemptively develop new vaccines, right? So, we have to do that. If we’re gonna do that though, there’s a risk of like, as you could imagine — no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating f**king viruses,” Walker told the undercover Project Veritas journalist. “Don’t tell anyone. Promise you won’t tell anyone. The way it [the experiment] would work is that we put the virus in monkeys, and we successively cause them to keep infecting each other, and we collect serial samples from them,” he said in the undercover recordings. “I’m just someone who’s working in a company that’s trying to literally help the public,” Walker said during the confrontation. Walker insisted he was just ‘trying to impress his date.’ The NYPD responded to the assault.

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George Webb doesn’t buy the video’s. And he’s also still after Robert Malone…

 

 

And Marco Rubio asks questions about the video’s.

Marco Rubio Letter To Albert Bourla (rubio.senate.gov)

Dear Dr. Bourla: I write in response to troubling reports on Pfizer’s intention to mutate the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) virus through gain-of-function, or “directed evolution,” as detailed by Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Jordan Walker.i As has been proven time and time again, attempts to mutate a virus, particularly one as potent as COVID, are dangerous. If the claims detailed in the video are true, Pfizer has put its desire for profit over the concern of national and global health and must hold itself accountable. In a video released by Project Veritas on January 25, 2023, Mr. Walker laid out Pfizer’s plans to develop new vaccines for future variants of COVID by mutating the virus through directed evolution, a process that uses protein engineering to impose natural selection on a living organism or other biological materials, including viruses. Though he claimed the research is currently “exploratory,” he detailed how the research would proceed, such as how scientists would inject the mutated viruses into monkeys and collect serial samples from other monkeys who are infected.

Whether it’s gain of function research, or selected structure mutations through directed evolution, as Mr. Walker claimed would occur, any effort to make a virus more transmittable and deadlier is careless and dangerous. Further, Mr. Walker stated that Pfizer is willing to engage in this dangerous research because COVID and its variants are “a cash cow” for the company and regulators will go easy on their efforts because a significant percentage of government officials aim to work for Pfizer and other biopharmaceutical companies and do not want to compromise their future job prospects. As a company that claims to “innovate every day to make the world a healthier place,” these claims from your leadership charged with research and development are alarming. As the American people deserve to know, I request that you provide the following information:

1. What efforts is Pfizer currently, or planning to, engage in to mutate the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
2. Does Pfizer intend to continue mutating the SARS-CoV-2 virus through gain-offunction, or directed evolution research, with the purpose of creating new vaccines before the variant is present in the greater population?
3. Has Pfizer engaged with federal officials engaged regarding their plans to oversee this research? Please provide the names and agencies for these individuals.
4. What steps has Pfizer taken to ensure the mutated virus does not leak from the laboratory and infect the greater population?
5. Has Pfizer engaged with other biopharmaceutical companies to collaborate on this research effort? Please list the entities that you have been in contact with.
6. Will you commit to halting any future research that mutates the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine as substantial evidence has indicated that similar dangerous research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology very likely led to the initial emergence and global spread of the virus?

As a leader in global public health and development of the COVID vaccine, with American taxpayer dollars, it is critical that Pfizer is accountable for their actions and be transparent with the public on the substance and intent of their research. Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your prompt response.

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Chicken conspiracy

 

 

SM-102

 

 

Yeadon

 

 

 

 


The Kailasa temple in the Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India is a megalith carved out of one single rock and it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment

 

 


David Edgar took this photo of an adolescent humpback whale in the South Pacific, several miles off the coast of Tongatapu, Tonga, capturing it as a split-shot with half the dome port submerged, and the other above the surface

 

 


The golden pheasant is possibily the most impressively colored bird of the family Phasianidae

 

 

Earth family

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 182020
 


Jack Delano Myrtle Beach, S.C. Air Service Command Technical Sergeant Choken 1943

 

Ardern Becomes New Zealand’s Most Popular PM In A Century (R.)
116 Countries Back Australia’s Push For Independent Corona Inquiry (SBS.au)
Start ‘Travel Bubbles’ For Low-Risk Countries, Heathrow Urges UK Govt (R.)
Profiting from Coronavirus (Craig Murray)
US Mulls Paying Companies, Tax Breaks To Pull Supply Chains From China (R.)
Cuomo Says No One Should Be Prosecuted For Coronavirus Deaths In New York (CBS)
Pelosi Sees Negotiations On New $3 Trillion Coronavirus Legislation (R.)
Senator Rubio Calls For Fast Action To Extend US Payroll Protection Program (R.)
Los Angeles Tells Everyone To Wear Face Masks At All Times While Outdoors (JTN)
EU’s Vestager: Discrepancy In Coronavirus State Aid Distorts Single Market (R.)
Australia Bankers Hope They’ll Avoid A Bad Debt Tsunami (AFR)

 

 

• US records 857 new #coronavirus deaths in 24 hours. Yesterday: 1,277
• The latest toll, marked at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Monday), is the lowest since 776 daily deaths were recorded May 10, but the count ranged as high as 1,894 in subsequent days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cases 4,820,347 (+ 77,166 from yesterday’s 4,743,181)

Deaths 316,967 (+ 3,264 from yesterday’s 313,703)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

Say your child sees the Lord of the Rings films and wants to visit New Zealand. What do you think are the odds they’ll be allowed entry any time soon?

Ardern Becomes New Zealand’s Most Popular PM In A Century (R.)


Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand’s most popular prime minister in a century, a Newshub-Reid Research poll showed on Monday, thanks to her COVID-19 response that made the country among the most successful in curbing the spread of the disease. The first public poll since the coronavirus crisis took hold showed popularity for Ardern’s Labour jumped 14 points to 56.5% – the highest for any party ever. Conversely, the biggest party in parliament – the Nationals, slumped to 30.6%, after sliding by 12.7 points. The poll was conducted between May 8 and May 16, with half of the responses taken after the federal budget on Thursday. As preferred PM, Ardern was at 59.5%, up 20.8 points on the last poll and the highest score for any leader in the Reid Research poll’s history.


The poll took into account public sentiment in the final days of the country’s strict level three lockdown, which also got massive support with almost 92% respondents saying it was the right call. The Pacific nation was locked down for more than a month under “level 4” restrictions that were eased by a notch in late April. It has continued to enforce strict social measures on many of its citizens and businesses, helping prevent widespread community spread of the virus. Businesses in the country including malls, cinemas, cafes and gyms reopened last Thursday. (May 14) Ardern’s stratospheric rise to become the country’s youngest prime minister and third woman to hold the office resulted in New Zealanders coining the phrase “Jacinda-mania.” The rate of new cases have slowed dramatically in New Zealand in recent weeks. The virus has so far infected 1,499 people in New Zealand and killed 21.

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China says it’s premature to start now because the pandemic is not over. What?

116 Countries Back Australia’s Push For Independent Corona Inquiry (SBS.au)

110 countries have backed Australia’s push for an independent coronavirus inquiry which has caused a damaging rift with China. The African Group’s 54 member states will co-sponsor the motion, joining 62 other countries including Russia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Britain and Canada. The European Union’s 27 members are all on board, along with Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and New Zealand. Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Monday said it was encouraging to see so many countries backing the inquiry. “I think what it illustrates is a broad view that given the experience of COVID-19 – over 300,000 deaths, millions of people around the world losing their jobs, the impact on economies from one corner of the globe to the other – that there is a strong view that it is appropriate to engage in a review of what has happened.


“I don’t want to preempt speculate about the outcome, those discussions will be under way later this evening. I think it’s a win for the international community.” The draft resolution calls for impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic. It doesn’t mention China, but Australia’s push for the inquiry has angered Beijing, which has threatened a huge tariff on barley and blocked some beef imports. Health Minister Greg Hunt will represent Australia at the virtual World Health Assembly meeting on Monday night. A vote is expected in the early hours of Tuesday.

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One little problem: the UK itself is not a low risk country.

Start ‘Travel Bubbles’ For Low-Risk Countries, Heathrow Urges UK Govt (R.)

Britain should set up “travel bubbles” with low-risk countries to allow the movement of people, instead of bringing in new coronavirus quarantine rules when flights restart, according to Heathrow Airport. British government ministers have said they plan a 14-day quarantine for most people arriving in the country in the coming weeks to try to prevent a second peak of the pandemic. Airlines have warned the policy will throttle hopes for a travel recovery. Heathrow Airport, which before the novel coronavirus grounded planes was the busiest in Europe, said that it had been working with the UK government’s Department for Transport on proposals to allow some unrestricted travel.


“The proposal would create ‘travel corridors’ or ‘travel bubbles’ allowing free movement between countries or cities that are very low-risk, but potentially blocking flights from high-risk markets to safeguard public health,” the airport said in a statement. Such a set-up would be much less damaging to the economy than the quarantine policy, said Heathrow. The boss of Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline by passenger numbers, said on Monday that the 14-day policy was unimplementable and unpoliceable and would be ignored by people wanting to travel. The government is yet to provide further details of the quarantine policy. Culture minister Oliver Dowden said earlier on Monday that Britain was still in talks with France over whether to exempt travellers from across the Channel.

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You can’t go through years of Russiagate and Syria bombings and expect countries to work together. And western Pharma sees huge profits anyway; that’s society’s model after all.

Profiting from Coronavirus (Craig Murray)

On 5 May, the British security services released to their pet media the claim that Russia, China and Iran were attempting to hack into British research institutes conducting coronavirus research. The BBC reported it. Britain’s shameful copy and paste media all, without exception, just copy and pasted the government press release. The Guardian gave the quote: “Any attack against efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis is utterly reprehensible. We have seen an increased proportion of cyber-attacks related to coronavirus and our experts work around the clock to help organisations targeted”.

If Britain had one single mainstream media journalist willing to think, rather than just regurgitate government propaganda, they might have realised that there is a massive story here if you look at it the other way round. The quote from the Guardian deliberately attempted to give the impression that Russia, China and Iran were trying to disable, destroy or hamper coronavirus research: “Any attack against efforts to combat the coronavirus”. But if you read carefully through those articles, you find that the allegation is merely that they are attempting hack in to gain access to the research. Because the UK and the US are attempting to hide their vaccine and treatment research results from the rest of the world to make money out of them.

Much has been written about the possibility for a new and better kind of world to emerge after coronavirus. Yet our governments cannot conceive of any model for fighting this threat to the whole world, other than the capitalist, money-making model. The much-touted “race to develop a vaccine” is not a race to save lives. It is a race to make billions. The United States and the United Kingdom are working in all international fora to head off efforts to pool global research and to make any vaccine or medicine a good for the world. Governments can reward those working on the vaccine, and the companies for providing the facilities, using economic models other than the patent and the potential for massive profit.

It may come as a shock to you to realise that at the moment all those lovely vaccine and medicine researchers you see being interviewed on TV about their efforts to compress trials and approvals and get the product to the marketplace, are not sharing their results with fellow researchers around the world. They are rather jealously guarding them and each working in a bubble hoping to be the first in order to cash in. It is certainly true that many of the researchers themselves do not like this, but are controlled by their bosses.

For me, the failure to set up a worldwide shared scientific database on all coronavirus vaccine and medicine research, and the failure to set up a prior agreement on free manufacture worldwide of effective resulting vaccines and treatments, is the most revealing fact about the entire coronavirus episode. The fact that the British government is putting massive resources into ensuring the Chinese or Russians cannot “steal” our research – and doubtless the Chinese and Russians are doing the same, all states are hypocrites in these matters – should sicken everybody.

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More incentive for collective action on vaccines.

US Mulls Paying Companies, Tax Breaks To Pull Supply Chains From China (R.)

U.S. lawmakers and officials are crafting proposals to push American companies to move operations or key suppliers out of China that include tax breaks, new rules, and carefully structured subsidies. Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials, industry executives and members of Congress show widespread discussions underway – including the idea of a “reshoring fund” originally stocked with $25 billion – to encourage U.S. companies to drastically revamp their relationship with China. President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing back from overseas, but the recent spread of the coronavirus and related concerns about U.S. medical and food supply chains dependency on China are “turbocharging” new enthusiasm for the idea in the White House.


On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order (here) that gave a U.S. overseas investment agency new powers to help manufacturers in the United States. The goal, Trump said, is to “produce everything America needs for ourselves and then export to the world, and that includes medicines.” But the Trump administration itself remains divided over how best to proceed, and the issue is unlikely to be addressed in the next fiscal stimulus to offset the coronavirus downturn. Congress has begun work on another fiscal stimulus package but it remains unclear when it might pass. The push takes on special resonance in an election year. While anti-China, pro-American job proposals could play well with voters, giving taxpayer money or tax breaks to companies that moved supply chains to China at a time when small business is flailing may not.

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Now Cuomo starts arguing that “all those old people would have died anyway”. Afraid he’ll be blamed?

Cuomo Says No One Should Be Prosecuted For Coronavirus Deaths In New York (CBS)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday addressed the state’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak and said “nobody” should be prosecuted for the those who died, noting that “older people” were most vulnerable. The governor has been criticized for a decision in March, which has since been reversed, to send patients back to nursing homes after they tested positive for COVID-19. More than 4,800 people died from COVID-19 in nursing homes in the state between March 1 and May 1, according to a tally released by the Cuomo administration on May 1. Cuomo has called nursing homes a “feeding frenzy” for the coronavirus. “Despite whatever you do, because with all our progress as a society, we can’t keep everyone alive,” Cuomo said.

The number of deaths in New York state dropped again Saturday to 139 people. When asked about the nursing home deaths, Cuomo noted the 139 people who died on Saturday and asked who is accountable for everyone who died. “How do we get justice for those families of those 139 deaths?” Cuomo said. “Who can we prosecute for those 139 deaths? Nobody. Mother Nature, God, where did this virus come from? People are going to die by this virus, that is the truth.” When pressed further about how some people thought their loved ones would be safe because of Matilda’s Law, Cuomo continued to stress the point that older and more vulnerable people were “always going to die from this virus.”

He said when talking who is accountable for deaths, the most important thing was to make sure “you can have a situation where everyone did the right thing and everyone tried their best.” Cuomo said his top priority was making sure the medical system did not get overwhelmed, calling that a “accountable, avoidable situation.” “That’s what we protected against and we did it successfully,” Cuomo said. Cuomo pushed for all New Yorkers who have symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested. He said New York is now conducting 40,000 tests per day at 700 testing sites. “If you think you have symptoms, get a test. It’s up to you,” he said. “We just don’t have enough New Yorkers coming to be tested.”

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The GOP will negotiate to make sure its sponsors get a “fair” chunk of the loot. And that’ll be all she wrote.

Pelosi Sees Negotiations On New $3 Trillion Coronavirus Legislation (R.)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday there will be negotiations on the new $3 trillion coronavirus relief legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and that Democrats have “no red lines.” Asked if there has been a Republican response or counteroffer to begin negotiations on the bill passed late on Friday, Pelosi said, “No bill that is proffered will become law without negotiations, so, yeah.” The Democrats’ measure, passed late on Friday, was likely to trigger new talks with congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump’s administration, who have been talking about the need for new business liability protections in the age of coronavirus, or additional tax cuts.


Democrats oppose both of those ideas. Pelosi, however, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Democrats had “no red lines.” Republican leaders have dismissed the bill, which Trump said he would veto, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling it “dead on arrival.” Some Republicans have said a new relief package could wait until the effects of funding in previous bills are felt, but Pelosi urged a quick resolution to help jobless Americans. More than 36 million people – or more than one in five workers – in the United States have filed for unemployment since the crisis began. “Time is of the essence,” Pelosi said. “In the past bills, they’ve put forth their proposal and then we worked in a bipartisan way. That’s what we all anticipate.”

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Just as misguided as Pelosi.

Senator Rubio Calls For Fast Action To Extend US Payroll Protection Program (R.)

The United States needs to quickly revise its coronavirus aid program for small businesses to extend the eight-week period in which the law currently requires companies to spend the money, a key U.S. senator said on Sunday. The Paycheck Protection Program established by Congress in late March was aimed at helping businesses keep making payroll for eight weeks, despite orders to shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The eight-week period may be applied to any time frame from mid-February up to June 30. But with many businesses that received loans under the $660 billion PPP program moving toward the end of their eight-week period, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican chairman of the Senate’s small business committee, said lawmakers need to move fast to extend it.


“The legislative fix needed to #PPP is extending beyond 8 weeks the time period a #SmallBusiness has to spend the funds on payroll. We are hoping to move quickly on this before the first wave of #PPP loan recipients reach the 8 week point,” Rubio wrote on Twitter. While most states have begun to reopen their economies at least in part, some 36 million Americans — one in five in the workforce — have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. Rubio’s Republican party has the majority in the Senate. But the top Democrat on the small business committee, Senator Ben Cardin, has also expressed support for re-examining the eight-week period in the small business program. “I strongly support extending it,” another Senate Democrat, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a member of the banking committee, said in a phone interview Sunday. “There’s a real mismatch between that date and the real world situation that many small businesses are facing.

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How about only when around people?

Los Angeles Tells Everyone To Wear Face Masks At All Times While Outdoors (JTN)

Los Angeles is requiring essentially everybody in the city wear a face covering at all times whenever outdoors, a policy Mayor Eric Garcetti says will help the local economy reopen faster. Garcetti announced the order on Wednesday evening, telling city residents: “Bring your mask with you whenever you leave your home.” Children under 2, as well as a limited number of individuals with disabilities, are exempt from the order, the mayor’s office said in a press release. “Face coverings help stop the spread of the virus,” Garcetti, a Democrat, said in the release. “Wearing them whenever we’re away from home will create a meaningful layer of protection for people we might come into contact with, and that makes sense at this stage of our response to the crisis.”


The order came shortly after Garcetti said that the city will “never be completely open” until scientists discover a cure for coronavirus. The mayor at the time was partially walking back comments made earlier in the day by Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who said Tuesday that the city’s stay-at-home order would be extended “with all certainty” for the next three months.

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Complete nonsense: “Ensuring a competitive level playing field within its cherished single market of some 450 million people is a central EU tenet”..

Self-contradicting: “..concern about the “huge differences” in coronavirus state aid among member states, saying they were starting to distort the bloc’s single market.”

vs

“..Germany’s extensive bailouts of coronavirus-hit companies could have a ripple effect across the bloc and work as a locomotive for Europe..”

EU’s Vestager: Discrepancy In Coronavirus State Aid Distorts Single Market (R.)

The European Union’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has expressed concern about the “huge differences” in coronavirus state aid among member states, saying they were starting to distort the bloc’s single market. Germany accounts for more than half of the emergency coronavirus state aid approved by the EU executive, prompting concerns that countries with the deepest pockets might be getting an unfair advantage in the bloc’s single market. In an interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Vestager said there was a risk that the different levels of state aid among member states would distort competition and slow the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“And this has already happened to a certain extent”, Vestager said, according to a pre-released extract of the interview that the newspaper will publish in its Monday edition. Ensuring a competitive level playing field within its cherished single market of some 450 million people is a central EU tenet and has long been a key condition for opening up to foreign players from China to, more recently, Brexit Britain. But the executive European Commission suspended the normally-strict state aid restrictions in mid-March, allowing the 27 EU states to pump cash into their economies and companies battered by coronavirus, with more than 1.9 trillion euros worth of national schemes approved so far.

Earlier this month, Vestager said that Germany’s extensive bailouts of coronavirus-hit companies could have a ripple effect across the bloc and work as a locomotive for Europe. Asked about an EU recovery plan expected to be announced on May 27, Vestager said there were no guarantees that it would be sufficient but said officials were trying to do their best.

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It’s not the virus, it’s the housing bubble that’ll decide this.

Australia Bankers Hope They’ll Avoid A Bad Debt Tsunami (AFR)

On the face of it, the stats look abysmal. There are 7.7 million Australian workers on some form of government welfare. Repayments have been frozen on 10 per cent of mortgages and 15 per cent of SME loans. Bankers have been left with about $220 billion in loans that aren’t being serviced. Little wonder then that some analysts are querying whether the $5 billion that the big four banks have set aside to cover the losses they’ll sustain from the economic collapse triggered by the pandemic will be sufficient. Now, bankers continue to emphasise that they won’t know the extent of their problem loans for another month, when they start contacting the home owners and small business owners who opted to defer their loan repayments.


But at this stage, bankers appear quietly optimistic that the rise in their soured loans this time around are unlikely to be anywhere near as serious as the hit they took from the 1990s recession, or even the losses they sustained during the global financial crisis. There are two reasons for this confidence. In the first place, the latest downturn has been very uneven across the economy. Workers in the services sector – particularly hospitality, accommodation, food services and retail trade – have suffered far more than, say, those employed in the finance or government sectors. But because the jobs in these sectors tend to be lower paid, with a higher proportion of younger employees working casual hours, those working in these sectors tend not to meet the income requirements for a home loan borrower.

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Thank you.

 

 

Note: Navarro says in this clip that remdesivir has been saving many lives. But we know it has no such effect. It shortens hospital stays at best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Mar 122019
 


Robert Rauschenberg Buffalo II 1964

 

Theresa May Claims ‘Legally Binding’ Changes To Brexit Deal (Ind.)
Legal Uncertainty Hangs Over Brexit Vote (EUO)
May Tries To Claim Victory – But The EU Has Conceded Next To Nothing (G.)
Britain Must Leave EU By May 23 Or Hold Own EU Vote (R.)
Former Australian PM Calls Brexit Trade Plan ‘Utter Bollocks’ (G.)
Mueller Probe Already Financed Through September: Officials (R.)
Marco Rubio Accuses CNN Of ‘Russian Collusion’ (RT)
Manafort To Jail – Not About Justice; Not About Russia (Ron Paul)
News Corp’s Australian Arm Calls For Google Breakup (R.)
Facebook Removes Warren Ads Calling For Facebook Breakup (Pol.)
Facebook Bans Zero Hedge (ZH)
Biden on the Relaunch Pad: He’s Worse Than You Thought (CP)
Ides and Tides (Jim Kunstler)
Synthetic Chemicals Use Doubled In 20 Years, Will Double Again In Next 10 (G.)

 

 

Trying to patch together an idea of what was decided. It all appears vacuous. May assures Britain that the EU can’t make the backstop permanent, but 1) it can, and 2) it never wanted to, provided Ireland is taken care of properly. I can’t get rid of the notion that the UK can’t get rid of the notion that Ireland is a second-class country.

Biggest ‘gain’ for May: the UK can unilaterally declare that it believes it can unilaterally halt the backstop.

Today will be all lawyers trying to translate the hollow terms into legalese, but I haven’t found anything that could convince anyone anything has changed since two days ago. Maybe she’ll swing a handful votes, but she lost by 203 last time around.

 

WSJ: “The EU offered a new legal instrument that would allow the U.K. to seek independent arbitration if it believed the EU was not negotiating a new trade agreement in good faith. If the U.K. claim were upheld and the EU continued to drag its feet, the U.K. could be freed from the customs arrangement. The EU also offered a legally binding pledge to work quickly on a future trade agreement to ensure that the backstop is temporary. The two sides also agreed that the U.K. would set out its own interpretation of the deal, which would state that the U.K. believes it has the option to bring the customs union arrangement to an end.”

Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter: “The Prime Minister’s negotiations have failed. Last night’s agreement with the European Commission does not contain anything approaching the changes Theresa May promised Parliament, and whipped her MPs to vote for.”

Green Party’s Molly Scott Cato on Twitter: “I’ve never before seen a prime minister deliberately try to mislead her own Parliament. There have been no legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement. This is action worthy of an autocratic leader from a banana republic not the leader of a democratic country.”

Theresa May Claims ‘Legally Binding’ Changes To Brexit Deal (Ind.)

Theresa May claims to have secured significant changes to her Brexit deal in a last-minute dash to Europe just hours before she must put her plan to a critical vote in parliament. In a late night statement on Monday in Strasbourg she argued the new-look deal meant Britain could not be trapped in the “Irish backstop” so hated by Eurosceptic Tories and her DUP allies, but major doubts remain over whether it is enough to win their backing on Tuesday. The prime minister’s deputy David Lidington warned that if her deal is rejected for a second time by MPs it will “plunge the country into a political crisis”. European leaders warned there would be no “third chance”, but Conservative Brexiteers insisted there are still “very worrying features” to the agreement, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “MPs must reject this deal tomorrow”.

The announcement came after another dramatic day in Westminster on Monday, which began with talk of Ms May potentially delaying Tuesday’s vote on her deal after a seemingly fruitless weekend of talks. But speaking an hour before midnight, she said: “MPs were clear that legal changes were needed to the backstop. Today we have secured legal changes. “Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people.” The backstop is an arrangement in the existing withdrawal agreement that comes into play if the EU and UK fail to agree future trading arrangements by the end of 2020, thus keeping the Irish border open, but also locking the UK into a customs union with the EU on a potentially indefinite basis.

[..] In a commons statement Mr Lidington revealed that the UK had secured two new documents, a “joint legally binding instrument on the withdrawal agreement” and a “joint statement to supplement the political declaration” on future relations. There is also a third element – a unilateral declaration from the UK setting out what actions it would take if it felt the backstop is being abused by the EU. Mr Lidington said the new legal “instrument” confirmed that the EU could not try to trap the UK in the backstop indefinitely, because commitments they had made to not do so were now legally binding.

Read more …

It often takes going through several articles to get a rounded picture.

Legal Uncertainty Hangs Over Brexit Vote (EUO)

Uncertainty continued to hang over Tuesday night’s (12 March) big vote on Brexit in the UK parliament, as British MPs tried to make sense of last-minute tweaks to the exit deal. The opposition Labour party indicated it would vote against the accord. “This evening’s agreement with the European Commission does not contain anything approaching the changes [British prime minister] Theresa May promised parliament and whipped her MPs to vote for,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Monday. “It sounds again that nothing has changed,” his shadow Brexit minister, Keir Starmer said. Two MPs from May’s ruling Conservative party said the same. “Seems UK is still permanently locked into the EU, but can ‘argue’ it can leave. The catch? EU decides if we can leave,” Adam Afriyie said.

“We’re being played,” Sam Gyimah, a former Tory minister said. Nigel Farage, the EU-phobic British MEP for the UK Independence Party, was the most outspoken. “Nothing has changed. Reject. Reject. Reject,” he said. Meanwhile, the so-called Independent Group of ex-Labour and ex-Tory MPs said Brexit ought to be delayed in order to hold a second referendum. Dominic Grieve, Britain’s former attorney general, echoed their position. “The proper thing to do is to put it back to the public in a people’s vote, in a second referendum,” he said on Monday. Afriyie’s comment on being “locked into the EU” referred to the so-called ‘backstop’ – the previous deal that the UK would remain in the EU customs union until it found a mutually acceptable way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The backstop prompted a historic majority of 230 MPs to reject the withdrawal deal in January, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March. But EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and British prime minister Theresa May agreed three new documents at a meeting in Strasbourg, France, late on Monday designed to assuage those fears. The first one said the UK could start a dispute in an arbitration court to quit the backstop if the EU did not want to let it out. The second one said the EU and UK would try to find alternative arrangements to the backstop by the end of 2020. The third one was a unilateral British declaration in which the UK said it could quit the backstop if the talks on alternative arrangements broke down.

Both May and Juncker were emphatic in saying that the tweaks gave the UK the “legally binding” guarantees it needed to avoid being locked in to EU customs rules. “It [the backstop] would never be a trap, if either side were to act in bad faith, there is a legal way for either side to exit,” Juncker said.

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Jonathan Freedland is a bit of a douche, I avoid him mostly. But he makes some points here.

May Tries To Claim Victory – But The EU Has Conceded Next To Nothing (G.)

Think of what the ERG and the Democratic Unionists object to about the key stumbling block: the Northern Irish backstop, the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. They don’t like the fact that it has no time limit, that it could, theoretically, go on forever. And yet the best that May’s new motion laid before parliament could say is that the new legally binding joint instrument “reduces the risk that the UK could be held in the Northern Ireland backstop indefinitely”. “Reduces the risk” is not the same as “eliminates the risk” – and it’s that that many of those Brexiters wanted to hear. (Put aside the fact that it was always an unrealistic demand: you could say the same about the entire case for Brexit.)

A second demand of the Brexiters, one bizarrely endorsed in January by May herself and a majority of the Commons, was that the backstop be replaced by “alternative arrangements.” Gamely, May tried to pretend that she’d won an EU concession on that too, and that those alternative arrangements will be in place by December 2020. As indeed they will – if they exist by then. But for now, the technological wizardry so great that it would render the backstop redundant does not exist. And so this was another hollow victory.

Finally, the Brexit crowd wanted the UK to have the unilateral right to exit the backstop whenever it liked. May did indeed get something unilateral – the right to issue her own unilateral declaration, in which she could freely state that “it is the position of the United Kingdom that there would be nothing to prevent the UK instigating measures that would ultimately dis-apply the backstop.” This is rather like my son winning the right to declare that it is his position that he should get more pocket money. It doesn’t mean I’ve agreed to give him more pocket money. The clue is in the word “unilateral.” The EU is not bound by this UK declaration and has, in fact, conceded nothing.

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Anyone checked what the bookmakers say on the date? UK elections for the EU Parliament would be hilarious.

Britain Must Leave EU By May 23 Or Hold Own EU Vote (R.)

Britain must leave the European Union by the time EU voters elect a new European Parliament on May 23-26 or will have to elect its own EU lawmakers, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday. Writing to EU summit chair Donald Tusk after agreeing a deal to break Brexit deadlock with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Juncker wrote: “The United Kingdom’s withdrawal should be complete before the European elections that will take place between May 23-26 this year.” “If the United Kingdom has not left the European Union by then, it will be legally required to hold these elections.”

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Seems obvious.

Former Australian PM Calls Brexit Trade Plan ‘Utter Bollocks’ (G.)

The claims that British trade with the Commonwealth can make up for leaving the EU is “the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments” advanced by Brexit supporters and “utter bollocks”, the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has said. In a lacerating piece for the Guardian, Rudd dismissed the claims by some Brexit supporters that the UK could strike deals with his country, New Zealand, Canada and India to soften the blow and said the UK risked undermining western values by leaving the EU in a weaker position when it left.

“I’m struck, as the British parliament moves towards the endgame on Brexit, with the number of times Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India have been advanced by the Brexiteers in the public debate as magical alternatives to Britain’s current trade and investment relationship with the European Union,” he wrote. “This is the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments that have emerged from the Land of Hope and Glory set now masquerading as the authentic standard-bearers of British patriotism. It’s utter bollocks.” Of the prospect of a free trade deal with Delhi, he writes: “As for India, good luck!”

[..] he cast serious doubt on suggestions the UK could quickly come to a free trade agreement (FTA) with India, pointing out that talks he began with the nation on behalf of Australia a decade ago are still going on. “A substantive India-UK FTA is the ultimate mirage constructed by the Brexiteers. It’s as credible as the ad they plastered on the side of that big red bus about the £350m Britain was allegedly paying to Brussels each week. Not.”

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Have a nice summer.

Mueller Probe Already Financed Through September: Officials (R.)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the team he assembled to investigate U.S. President Donald Trump and his associates have been funded through the end of September 2019, three U.S. officials said on Monday, an indication that the probe has funding to keep it going for months if need be. The operations and funding of Mueller’s office were not addressed in the budget requests for the next government fiscal year issued by the White House and Justice Department on Monday because Mueller’s office is financed by the U.S. Treasury under special regulations issued by the Justice Department, the officials said. “The Special Counsel is funded by the Independent Counsel appropriation, a permanent indefinite appropriation established in the Department’s 1988 Appropriations Act,” a Justice Department spokesman said.

There has been increased speculation in recent weeks that Mueller’s team is close to winding up its work and is likely to deliver a report summarizing its findings to Attorney General William Barr any day or week now. Mueller’s office has not commented on the news reports suggesting an imminent release. Representatives of key congressional committees involved in Trump-related investigations say they have received no guidance from Mueller’s office regarding his investigation’s progress or future plans. The probe, which began in May 2017, is examining whether there were any links or coordination between the Russian government led by Vladimir Putin and the 2016 presidential campaign of Trump, according to an order signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

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Little Marco lost so bigly in 2016, why’s he still around? Court jester? Or is he going for McCain’s place as warmonger in chief?

Marco Rubio Accuses CNN Of ‘Russian Collusion’ (RT)

Senator Marco Rubio, the most outspoken cheerleader of US regime change in Venezuela, lashed out at several major outlets for not using his preferred terminology, going so far as to accuse CNN of ‘Russian collusion.’ “In order to undermine the constitutional basis for [Juan Guaido’s] interim Presidency [sic], Putin’s Russia repeatedly describes him as the ‘self-proclaimed’ president of Venezuela. And so does CNN,” Rubio (R-Florida) tweeted on Wednesday, adding, “Russian collusion?” It was the latest in a string of tweets by the senator whom President Donald Trump is, for some unknown reason, allowing to drive US foreign policy on Latin America.

On Tuesday, Rubio targeted the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal for their coverage of Guaido, this time objecting to their use of the term “opposition leader.” Rubio’s badgering of the media came shortly after State Department spokesman Robert Palladino tried to do the same thing with diplomatic correspondents in Foggy Bottom. Referring to Guaido as anything other than “interim president” was feeding “the narrative of a dictator who has usurped the position of the presidency and led Venezuela into the humanitarian, political, and economic crisis that exists today,” Palladino argued.

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CNN and Manafort, both. And neither.

Manafort To Jail – Not About Justice; Not About Russia (Ron Paul)

Former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for acting as an unregistered agent for Ukraine. But looking at the media coverage of the case one would never know that “taking down” Manafort was not all about Russia collusion. Reporting…or propaganda?

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Have they asked the CIA? Has Elizabeth Warren?

News Corp’s Australian Arm Calls For Google Breakup (R.)

The Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp called for an enforced break-up of Alphabet Inc’s Google, acknowledging the measure would involve global coordination but calling it necessary to preserve advertising and the news media. The demand, published on Tuesday as part of a government inquiry, goes beyond the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which crossed swords with Google by requesting a new regulatory body to oversee global tech operators. In an 80-page submission largely centered on Google, News Corp Australia said the U.S. company had created an “ecosystem” where it could control the results of people’s internet searches and then charge advertisers based on how many people viewed their advertisements.

Efforts to curtail Google’s market dominance around the world had failed because of the search engine operator’s record of “avoiding and undermining regulatory initiatives and ignoring private contractual arrangements”. When Google had agreed to change its methods in response to investigation or new regulations in other countries, it often soon replaced the conduct with new methods which had the same effect: directing traffic and sales to its own sites and hurting competition. Calling Google’s behavior “anti-competitive”, News Corp accused the Mountain View, California-based internet company of damaging publishers’ ability to generate revenue and ultimately the sustainability of the news industry.

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And restores them again. But what nincompoop did that? Does (s)he still have a job today?

Facebook Removes Warren Ads Calling For Facebook Breakup (Pol.)

Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants. But the social network later reversed course after POLITICO reported on the takedown, with the company saying it wanted to allow for “robust debate.” The ads, which had identical images and text, touted Warren’s recently announced plan to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram. “Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google,” read the ads, which Warren’s campaign had placed Friday. “We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”

A message on the three ads said: “This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.” A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the ads had been taken down but said the company is in the process of restoring them. “We removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo,” the spokesperson said. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.” Warren swiped at Facebook over the removal, citing it as evidence the company has grown too powerful. “Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power,” she tweeted. “Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”

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How long’s it been, 3-4 years?!, that Facebook blocked the Automatic Earth account? Still waiting for an explanation.

Facebook Bans Zero Hedge (ZH)

Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles. Subsequently it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network, with the explanation that “the link you tried to visit goes against our community standards.” We were especially surprised by this action as neither prior to this seemingly arbitrary act of censorship, nor since, were we contacted by Facebook with an explanation of what “community standard” had been violated or what particular filter or article had triggered the blanket rejection of all Zero Hedge content.

To be sure, as a for-profit enterprise with its own unique set of corporate “ethics”, Facebook has every right to impose whatever filters it desires on the media shared on its platform. It is entirely possible that one or more posts was flagged by Facebook’s “triggered” readers who merely alerted a censorship algo which blocked all content. Alternatively, it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s “many problems”, including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).

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The Democrats are killing their chances if they go with the old crowd. But then, they are controlled by that crowd.

Biden on the Relaunch Pad: He’s Worse Than You Thought (CP)

When the New York Times front-paged its latest anti-left polemic masquerading as a news article, the March 9 piece declared: “Should former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. enter the race, as his top advisers vow he soon will, he would have the best immediate shot at the moderate mantle.” On the verge of relaunching, Joe Biden is poised to come to the rescue of the corporate political establishment — at a time when, in the words of the Times, “the sharp left turn in the Democratic Party and the rise of progressive presidential candidates are unnerving moderate Democrats.” After 36 years in the Senate and eight as vice president, Biden is by far the most seasoned servant of corporate power with a prayer of becoming the next president.

When Biden read this paragraph in a recent Politico article, his ears must have been burning: “Early support from deep-pocketed financial executives could give Democrats seeking to break out of the pack an important fundraising boost. But any association with bankers also opens presidential hopefuls to sharp attacks from an ascendant left.” The direct prey of Biden’s five-decade “association with bankers” include millions of current and former college students now struggling under avalanches of debt; they can thank Biden for his prodigious services to the lending industry. Andrew Cockburn identifies an array of victims in his devastating profile of Biden in the March issue of Harper’s magazine. For instance:

• “Biden was long a willing foot soldier in the campaign to emasculate laws allowing debtors relief from loans they cannot repay. As far back as 1978, he helped negotiate a deal rolling back bankruptcy protections for graduates with federal student loans, and in 1984 worked to do the same for borrowers with loans for vocational schools.” • “Even when the ostensible objective lay elsewhere, such as drug-related crime, Biden did not forget his banker friends. Thus the 1990 Crime Control Act, with Biden as chief sponsor, further limited debtors’ ability to take advantage of bankruptcy protections.” • Biden worked diligently to strengthen the hand of credit-card firms against consumers. At the same time, “the credit card giant MBNA was Biden’s largest contributor for much of his Senate career, while also employing his son Hunter as an executive and, later, as a well-remunerated consultant.”

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“..you miserable, morbidly obese, tattooed gorks watching this out on the Midwestern buzzard flats should have thought twice before dropping out of community college to drive a forklift in the Sysco frozen food warehouse..”

Ides and Tides (Jim Kunstler)

What you really had to love was Mr. Powell’s explanation for the record number of car owners in default on their monthly payments: “…not everybody is sharing in this widespread prosperity we have.” Errrgghh Errrgghh Errrgghh. Sound of klaxon wailing. What he meant to say was, hedge-funders, private equity hustlers, and C-suite personnel are making out just fine as the asset-stripping of flyover America proceeds, and you miserable, morbidly obese, tattooed gorks watching this out on the Midwestern buzzard flats should have thought twice before dropping out of community college to drive a forklift in the Sysco frozen food warehouse (where, by the way, you are probably stealing half the oven-ready chicken nuggets in inventory).

Interlocutor Scott Pelley asked the oracle about “those half-a-million people who have given up looking for jobs.” Did he pull that number out of his shorts? The total number out of the workforce is more like 95 million, and when you subtract retirees, people still in school, and the disabled, the figure is more like 7.5 million. There was some blather over the “opioid epidemic,” the upshot of which was learn to code, young man. Personally, I was about as impressed as I was ten years ago when past oracle Ben Bernanke confidently explained to congress that the disturbances in Mortgage-land were “contained.”

David Leonhardt of The New York Times had a real howler in his Monday column on the state of the economy: “Americans are saving more and spending less partly because the rich now take home so much of the economy’s income — and the rich don’t spend as large a share of their income as the poor and middle class.” Suggestion to Mr. Leonhardt: Learn to code.

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Our chances of survival drop by the minute.

It’s Daly-Townsend’s take on the 2nd law of Thermodynamics: “No organism can survive in a medium of its own waste. “

The reason is that an organism’s waste is toxic to that organism.

If they don’t teach that in schools, why bother to attend?

Synthetic Chemicals Use Doubled In 20 Years, Will Double Again In Next 10 (G.)

Sales of synthetic chemicals will double over the next 12 years with alarming implications for health and the environment, according to a global study that highlights government failures to rein in the industry behind plastics, pesticides and cosmetics. The second Global Chemicals Outlook, which was released in Nairobi on Monday, said the world will not meet international commitments to reduce chemical hazards and halt pollution by 2020. In fact, the study by the United Nations Environment Programme found that the industry has never been more dominant nor has humanity’s dependence on chemicals ever been as great.

“When you consider existing pollution, plus the projected growth of the industry, the trends are a cause for significant concern,” said Achim Halpaap, who led the 400 scientists involved in the study. He said the fastest growth was in construction materials, electronics, textiles and lead batteries. More and more additives are also being used to make plastics smoother or more durable. Depending on the chemical and degree of exposure, the risks can include cancer, chronic kidney disease and congenital anomalies. The World Health Organization estimated that the burden of disease was 1.6 million lives in 2016. Halpaap said this was likely to be an underestimate.

In addition to the human health dangers, he said chemicals also affect pollinators and coral reefs. Global chemical production has almost doubled since 2000 and is now – if the pharmaceutical business is taken into account – the world’s second largest industry, the report noted. This is expected to continue for at least the next decade owing to massive increases in the expanding economies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. By 2030, the industry is projected to almost double again from 2017 levels to hit $6.6tn (£5tn) in sales; China is forecast to account for 49.9% of the world market.

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