May 212022
 
 May 21, 2022  Posted by at 8:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The deposition 1632-33

 

Biden’s America Rots from the Head Down (J.B. Shurk)
The Swamp Must Be Drained (Conrad Black)
Elon Musk: There Will Be Blood (CTH)
Robby Mook Testifies Hillary Directed Campaign to Push Russiagate (CTH)
Theories Exist to Be Proven (Jim Kunstler)
Monkeypox Was a Table-Top Simulation Only Last Year (Senger)
Monkeypox Fears May Rescue Endangered Corporations (Whitney Webb)
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, May 18, 2022 (Saker)
So How Serious Is Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Romance? (Chung)
Yes, The Ukraine War Could Have Been Prevented (Maple)
Russia Will Shut Off Gas To Finland From Saturday (CNBC)
Ruble Hits 7-Year High As Gas Buyers Bow To Putin’s Payment Mandate (ZH)

 

 

 

 

I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
– Oscar Wilde

 

 

 

 

Vaccine injured

 

 

“..a mottled, tattered soul that would turn the stomachs of the devil’s most sulfurous henchmen..”

Biden’s America Rots from the Head Down (J.B. Shurk)

Perhaps no head of state before Joe Biden has so completely personified the maritime proverb that the fish rots from the head down. In both deed and physical decay, he is that putrefying rancidness wafting from where offal is tossed near the dock whose ability to trigger the gag reflexes of unsuspecting travelers seems the perfect metaphor for this nauseating moment in American history. Not only is Joe’s walking corpse a fitting symbol for a country that has never looked more debilitated, but the reality (ignored by the State’s slavishly devoted press corps) that his cognitive acuity is plummeting so fast that terminal velocity was reached long ago drives the point home that the head of our head of state is rotting, too.

When Biden’s handlers sent him to Buffalo, New York, to exploit a mass murder by blaming conservatives, liberty-lovers, Trump Republicans, Fox News, and just about anybody to the right of Karl Marx for a crime whose perpetrator didn’t even merit the faux-president’s direct condemnation, angry, spiteful Joe Biden showed just what a miserable, acidic, revolting excuse for a human being he’s always been. A real president would have mourned the dead, comforted the survivors, consoled the grieving, and united Americans through the common bonds of their humanity. But Joe Biden is no real president, so he both dishonored the solemnity of the occasion and betrayed his sacred duty to elevate the nation’s welfare over the interests of his party’s political power. With an outstretched, bony finger good for nothing now but casting blame, he tarnished the tragedy with petty partisanship, rebuffed the nation’s need for grace, befouled what should have been dignified, and withered further the civic sinews barely binding Americans together as one nation. Biden’s moment in Buffalo was disgraceful.


I know Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham love to tell stories about how charming and friendly the Great Mental Void from Delaware has always been, but you can’t spew such filthy, spiteful rhetoric as Biden did in Buffalo without having a dark and rotten soul. This is who Joe Biden has been all his wretched life. When he wasn’t stealing other people’s words for his own use or orchestrating Justice Thomas’s “high-tech lynching,” he was running around the country telling black Americans that Republicans wanted to “put y’all back in chains,” scaring elderly Americans that Obamacare opponents wanted to destroy their Medicare, or straight-up lying about the authenticity of his son’s “laptop from hell.” You don’t have to watch that old lecherous canker fondle children or impose on women’s personal space to know that Joe Biden has a mottled, tattered soul that would turn the stomachs of the devil’s most sulfurous henchmen.

Eagle is wandering

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Elon.

The Swamp Must Be Drained (Conrad Black)

The Democrats are increasingly desperate as the return of Donald Trump becomes more likely each week. They are muddling the sequence of events that got us to the present impasse: Trump ran against the corrupt back-scratching, log-rolling society of the OBushintons—the Clinton pay-to-play schemes, the Biden sales of influence and access, the semi-disguised socialist racism elitism of the Obamas, and the flabby sameness and ineffectuality of the Bush–McCain–Romney–McConnell–Ryan Republicans. Trump sensed the people were dissatisfied with the bipartisan Swamp, and he ran as strenuously against the Bushes and McCain and Romney in 2016 as he did against the Clintons and Obamas.

The anti-Trumpers of both parties, in the most legally questionable presidential election in U.S. history, eased Trump out in 2020 with the aid of 4.8 million harvested ballots, 95 percent of the national political media, and 70 percent of the campaign money, to bring in (unintentionally, one assumes, although there was plenty of warning) the most incompetent regime in the country’s history. In 2020, the Washington establishment demonstrated the accuracy of Trump’s claims of how corrupt and unscrupulous it was, and Biden has demonstrated that it’s even more incompetent at government than Trump alleged. The Swamp must be drained, and distasteful though he might be in some ways, probably no one less formidable in his egocentricity and demagogic talents than Trump could drain the Swamp.

The Republicans between Reagan and Trump were all inducted into it themselves, and the Republican “Never-Trumpers” are as fierce in their animosity toward the former president as toward the Democrats, and as the Democrats are toward Trump. Only Trump can finish the job. This is why the latest anti-Trump wheeze is to send Biden and Trump out to pasture together, as if it were an even trade: The Democrats get rid of their two biggest problems, and the Republicans return to being doormats, awarded the White House and the speaker’s chair at times as long as they don’t interrupt the majestic slide into the Democratic socialist paradise (with a permanent free tax-lunch for their rich friends in Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood). Biden is irrelevant and Trump has the stamina of a 40-year-old; the call for joint retirement is bunk on all counts.

[..] The Democrats hid their innocuous candidate in 2020 in his basement on grounds of COVID-19, while using the same justification for drastic changes in key states of voting and vote-counting rules, changes that were often effected illegally, and the judiciary abdicated and refused to judge any of the serious complaints on their merits. It was the most dangerously illegal assault on the integrity of the election process and on the constitutional balance of powers in the country’s history. The problem is not that both 2020 candidates are now too elderly. The problem is that 2020 and the run-up to it demonstrated that the Swamp is as venal and self-interested and corrupt as Trump said in 2016, and they are back.

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“..swinging the social control pendulum away from the government..”

Elon Musk: There Will Be Blood (CTH)

In a series of tweets today, Elon Musk, the Tesla/SpaceX CEO, world’s richest man and tech billionaire who recently announced he is voting republican, announced his intent to set up what he calls a “hardcore litigation department” filled with “hardcore streetfighters” because “there will be blood”:

This announcement is bookended by Elon Musk’s deal to purchase the Twitter social media platform, a resistant internal company ideological adversary, and a warning from the political left with Business Insider publishing an alleged sexual misconduct story. Indeed, it does appear that Elon Musk is preparing for a war that will likely include the Fourth Branch of Government as an adversary. Additionally, Elon Musk is drawing attention to the corruption in the 2016 election by spotlighting the trial of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann. Mr. Musk notes in his remarks that discovering the Trump-Russia collusion story was a hoax put together by the Clinton campaign, media and allies in government, “makes you wonder what else is fake.”

For CTH readers, and those who followed the series of events since 2016, the trial of Sussmann is not revealing anything we didn’t already know. However, for people who did not follow the deeply corrupt construct, the Sussmann trial is creating a new awakening. Musk notes he found out about it a month ago “and was blown away”. We must remember the vast majority of people in the U.S. have no idea the scale of corruption that took place within the Trump-Russia and Spygate operations. This trial is becoming a vending machine for red pill distribution. Also, perhaps keep in mind where you were a few years ago. Imagine, as an example, all of these newly awakened people finally discovering and accepting the FBI are the bad guys.


It likely took many CTH readers multiple years and dozens of examples before that acceptance was grounded. These are bitter pill acceptances, that eventually do lead to major changes in the social fabric and cohesion of a nation; but it’s a painful journey. Final thoughts… Do not dismiss the importance of what Elon Musk is doing. In addition to introducing millions of Americans to something they are newly experiencing, this shift in cultural opinion is akin to Musk playing the role of John Galt and swinging the social control pendulum away from the government.

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He sold her out. She will have to be questioned, under oath.

Wonder what he’s so afraid of.

Robby Mook Testifies Hillary Directed Campaign to Push Russiagate (CTH)

Former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was called as a prosecution witness in the trial against Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann today. During his appearance Mook was questioned about the fraudulent Alfa-Bank story that lies at the center of the prosecution against Sussmann. Robby Mook testified he had no idea who Sussmann was or what he was doing. However, Mook also stated he learned of the Alfa-Bank research during a meeting in 2016 and took it to Hillary Clinton, who then told him to share it with media.

MSM – “Hillary Clinton personally approved leaking to the media information alleging a connection between Donald Trump and a Russian bank in 2016, which the campaign itself had not fully confirmed, according to testimony Friday by Clinton’s campaign manager. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign chief, said in federal court that as the campaign against Trump heated up in the late summer and early fall of 2016, Marc Elias, who was then a lawyer with the Perkins Coie law firm and served as the campaign’s top legal adviser, told Mook that “people with expertise” in cyber activity had briefed the campaign on data alleging links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution with ties to the Kremlin.

Mook’s testimony for the first time puts Clinton in the middle of a leak to the news media that ultimately blew up in the campaign’s face. The FBI quickly determined that the purported connection between the Russian bank and the Trump Organization was implausible and Michael Sussmann, Elias’s then law partner who brought the claims to the FBI, has since been indicted by Justice Department special counsel John Durham on charges he lied to the bureau’s general counsel to hide his connection to the Clinton campaign.”

Aside from the fact this revelation might be the biggest duh in modern political history, if my memory is correct Donald Trump has an outstanding lawsuit against Clinton and the campaign. This testimony could be useful.

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“..schlubby lawyer..”

Theories Exist to Be Proven (Jim Kunstler)

Time, they say, is nature’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. Then why does everything seem to be happening at once? These must be unnaturally strange times. Here comes Ukraine… there goes Ukraine… our money is worthless… no water for Las Vegas… buh-bye Roe v Wade…financial markets wobbling… vaccine injuries everywhere… diesel prices killing truckers… food shortages… UFOs… World War Three… white supremacists… no baby formula… whoa… duck-and-cover, here comes monkeypox! So it goes with criticality in hyper-complex systems, the passing of thresholds into breakdown, all at the same time, failures mutually ramifying other failures seemingly unconnected, and weird things popping up in the dust and rubble like monsters in a bad dream.

I know it’s disconcerting to see the world fly apart. Forgive me then, while you fret about the future of your loved ones and your retirement account, if I focus in on just one thing for the moment: the doings of federal attorney John Durham, the special counsel looking into matters pertaining to RussiaGate, the first step in America’s attempted suicide. Mr. Durham is currently prosecuting a small fish, a sardine among the Lawfare sharks and killer whales of K Street, Michael Sussmann, for telling one measly lie to the FBI. Mr. Durham has been at this task for two years plus. That’s a long time to spend on a simple crime based on a few easy-to-get bits of evidence: a cell phone text, some emails, the testimony of one principal witness — and a pretext that no one ever took seriously in the first place: the punk-ass Alfa Bank conduit-to-Russia story.

So, in 2016, schlubby lawyer Michael Sussmann from Perkins Coie, the DC law firm representing the Hillary Clinton Campaign, asks for a meeting with his old DOJ colleague, Jim Baker, now General Counsel (top lawyer) for the FBI. He has some sensitive information that the Bureau might find interesting. He says he does not represent any particular client in the matter, he’s just stepping forward as a patriotic citizen. He emphasizes this point more than once, including a text, recorded in the digital cloud (uh-oh), the night before the meeting. He comes in out of the swampy Potomac heat to Mr. Baker’s air-conditioned lair at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue and spins a tale about a Russian-owned outfit called Alfa-Bank with computer servers located in the vicinity of Trump Tower in New York City, which, he alleges, are being used by candidate Donald Trump to communicate with bad guys in Russia.

The story goes nowhere fast. The FBI discounts it. Turns out that Mr. Sussmann billed the hours spent on this folderol to Hillary for America, which, prima facie, indicates he was working for her campaign at the time. Six years later, he’s indicted. Anyway, perhaps unbeknownst to Mr. Sussman, the FBI, in July 2016, had already ramped up an investigation into the Trump campaign with the sexy name “Crossfire Hurricane” — a lyric bit from the ancient Rolling Stones’ hit “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” — so anointed by FBI sexy super-agent Peter Strozk, who was at the time jumpin’ in-and-out of bed with colleague Lisa Page, legal counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

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“Take these guys to Vegas!”

Monkeypox Was a Table-Top Simulation Only Last Year (Senger)

Elite media outlets around the world are on red alert over the world’s first-ever global outbreak of Monkeypox in mid-May 2022—just one year after an international biosecurity conference in Munich held a simulation of a “global pandemic involving an unusual strain of Monkeypox” beginning in mid-May 2022. Monkeypox was first identified in 1958, but there’s never been a global Monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa until now—in the exact week of the exact month predicted by the biosecurity folks in their pandemic simulation. Take these guys to Vegas! Ed Yong, who’s penned dozens of hysterical articles on Covid for The Atlantic including such gems as COVID-19 Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future, Even Health-Care Workers With Long COVID Are Being Dismissed, How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal? and The Final Pandemic Betrayal, is hot on the scene of the new Monkeypox outbreak.

Eric Feigl-Ding is also all over this. Epidemiologists Jennifer Nuzzo and Bill Hanage are on the scene—but still no word from them as to whether they see anything strange about the first-ever global Monkeypox outbreak occurring in mid-May 2022, a year after they acted as advisers on an international biosecurity simulation of a global Monkeypox outbreak occurring in mid-May 2022. The US Government is hot on the scene with an order of 13 million Monkeypox vaccine doses from Bavarian Nordic. The WHO is on the scene. The global Monkeypox outbreak—occurring on the exact timeline predicted by a biosecurity simulation of a global Monkeypox outbreak a year prior—bears a striking resemblance to the outbreak of COVID-19 just months after Event 201, a simulation of a coronavirus pandemic almost exactly like COVID-19.

Event 201 was hosted in October 2019—just two months before the coronavirus was first revealed in Wuhan—by the Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, Bloomberg, and Johns Hopkins. As with the Event 201, the participants at the Monkeypox simulation have thus far been stone silent as to their having participated in a pandemic simulation the facts of which happened to come true in real life just months later. One person who was present at both Event 201 and the Monkeypox simulation is George Fu Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control. At event 201, Gao specifically raised the point of countering “misinformation” during a “hypothetical” coronavirus pandemic.

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“That billionaire, “corporate raider” Ron Perelman, has deep and controversial ties to the Clinton family and the Democratic party as well as troubling ties to Jeffery Epstein.”

Monkeypox Fears May Rescue Endangered Corporations (Whitney Webb)

In recent days, concern over a global outbreak of monkeypox, a mild disease related to smallpox and chickenpox, has been hyped in the media and health ministries around the world, even prompting an emergency meeting at the World Health Organization (WHO). For some, fears have centered around monkeypox being the potential “next pandemic” after Covid-19. For others, the fear is that monkeypox will be used as the latest excuse to further advance draconian biosecurity policies and global power grabs. Regardless of how the monkeypox situation plays out, two companies are already cashing in. As concern over monkeypox has risen, so too have the shares of Emergent Biosolutions and SIGA Technologies.

Both companies essentially have monopolies in the US market, and other markets as well, on smallpox vaccines and treatments. Their main smallpox-focused products are, conveniently, also used to protect against or treat monkeypox as well. As a result, the shares of Emergent Biosolutions climbed 12% on Thursday, while those of SIGA soared 17.1%. For these companies, the monkeypox fears are a godsend, specifically for SIGA, which produces a smallpox treatment, known by its brand name TPOXX. It is SIGA’s only product. While some outlets have noted that the rise in the valuation of SIGA Technologies has coincided with recent concerns about monkeypox, essentially no attention has been given to the fact that the company is apparently the only piece of a powerful billionaire’s empire that isn’t currently crumbling.

That billionaire, “corporate raider” Ron Perelman, has deep and controversial ties to the Clinton family and the Democratic party as well as troubling ties to Jeffery Epstein. Aside from his controlling stake in SIGA, Perelman has recently made headlines for rapidly liquidating many of his assets in a desperate bid for cash. Similarly, Emergent Biosolutions has also been in hot water. The company, which has troubling ties to the 2001 Anthrax attacks, came under fire just under two weeks ago for engaging in a “cover up” over quality control issues relating to their production of Covid-19 vaccines. A Congressional investigation found that quality control concerns at an Emergent-run facility led to more than 400 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines being discarded. The Emergent factory in question had been shut down by the FDA in April 2021. They were allowed to reopen last August before the government terminated the contract.

Maajid

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“It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out.”

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, May 18, 2022 (Saker)

The special military operation continues in Ukraine. As Russian leaders have said more than once, it is going according to plan, and new territories are being freed from the Nazis every day. The Ukrainian military personnel and militants in Azov nationalist units that entrenched themselves in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal Plant, began to surrender in Mariupol this week. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 959 Ukrainian nationalists, including 51 with severe wounds, have laid down their arms over two days. They receive medical aid at the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR, and the rest were sent to a pretrial detention centre in Yelenovka in the suburbs of Donetsk. Indicatively, on May 17, this centre was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs).

The Kiev regime has always treated its citizens like this, and this case was no exception. Russian leaders had repeatedly stated that resistance was senseless and announced the opening of humanitarian corridors for militants and Ukrainian military personnel to leave the Azovstal Plant after laying down their arms. They were urged to stop the hostilities. In the meantime, the Kiev regime was doing all it could to prevent civilians, military personnel and militants from leaving the plant. Why? They were brainwashing the public. It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out. Later, Russia organised humanitarian corridors in cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I would like to emphasise that the initiative on announcing and opening these corridors was ours.

The wounded troops are provided with professional medical help. This fact is being turned upside down and misrepresented in the Ukrainian and international media. Remember the footage showing how the militants and the Armed Forces of Ukraine treat POWs in Ukraine? Everyone saw it. It horrified many, others pretended not to have seen it. Russian POWs were shot to death by militants from the nationalist units that became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Russia has adopted a different approach. You see footage showing professional help being provided to the wounded [Ukrainian troops]. It is not being provided “for show.” It is provided to real individuals regardless of their background. Humanitarian law is not just something we abide by; it is of fundamental importance for us. No one should have any doubt about this.

According to Ukrainian POWs, the military leadership of Ukraine forbids the troops to retreat or surrender. Their key goal is to destroy as much civilian infrastructure as possible in order to leave behind uninhabitable ruins and make it hard to restore peaceful life. This is not our messaging, but the testimony received from the Ukrainian side over the past weeks.

There Is No “Open Corridor” Through West and Central Ukraine

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“Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic.”

So How Serious Is Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Romance? (Chung)

I suggest we do a little exercise together. Let us dare to discern the “facts” for ourselves. Only then, will we cease being mere cheerleaders for a team; only then, can we qualify ourselves to ask in all honest sincerity, “whose side are we truly on?” Are Nazis Now the New “Good Guys”? There is a bit of mixed messaging that has been going on, especially in the last few weeks. Are there significant numbers of Nazis in Ukraine and are these “bad” or “good” Nazis in the context that they are fighting the Russian “invaders”? In one breath we hear the counter, how can there be Nazis in Ukraine when there is a Jewish President calling the shots? In another breath we hear Facebook is now allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion while they are fighting Russians.

In yet another breath we hear, well its complicated, Ukrainian Nationalism should be considered at the forefront of any debate, even if it overlaps with Nazi ideology. On Feb. 27, 2022, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held a scarf bearing the slogan “Slava Ukraini,” meaning “Glory to Ukraine,” with the “Blood and Soil” colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles). She then proceeded to post this picture onto her Twitter account (replacing it hours later with a picture of her without the “Blood and Soil” scarf) and accused her detractors of “reeking of Russian disinformation”. This controversial picture of Freeland was reported by Canada’s National Post.

According to Freeland’s press secretary, this was just another case of a “classic KGB disinformation smear… accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis,” which is a confusing statement on multiple levels. It is not clear how this is a case of “Russian disinformation,” since the picture is indeed authentic, Freeland does not deny this. And she is indeed holding a “Blood and Soil” emblem, which originated with the Nazis, clear for everyone to see. Lastly, it is confusing as to why the Canadian government seems to be unaware that the KGB no longer exists. Are they also under the impression that the Soviet Union still exists? Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic.

Whenever she is questioned about this, she does not deny anything, but simply blames such a focus of inquiry on Russian disinformation with the intent to “destabilize Western democracies.” That is, it is not a question of what is one’s historical or ideological background, but a question of “whose side are you on?” Interestingly, it was the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” who reported this story, titled “Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper,” thus, not a Russian publication last time I checked. And upon whom did they base such information? None other than Freeland’s own uncle, John-Paul Himka, who is now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

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More from Canada.

Yes, The Ukraine War Could Have Been Prevented (Maple)

Foreign policy experts are pushing back against the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine’s recent claim that nothing could have prevented Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. In an interview with CBC News’ Rosemary Barton last Sunday, Larisa Galadza, who returned to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv this month after the Canadian embassy was evacuated ahead of the invasion in February, said: “I don’t think there was anyone who could stop Putin doing what Putin did, given the frame of mind that we all expect him to be in. He wasn’t believing history. He wasn’t logical. He wasn’t rational. He isn’t rational, so I don’t know how one prevents that.” Barton did not press Galadza on those claims, and instead asked about how the ambassador felt when the Canadian flag was raised again over the embassy in Kyiv last week.

Ivan Katchanovski, a political science professor with expertise on Ukraine and Russia at the University of Ottawa, told The Maple that Galadza’s claims are not supported by evidence or scholarship. “[The war] could have been avoided and prevented,” Katchanovski explained. Specifically, an agreement in which Ukraine promised to remain a neutral country and the fulfilment of the Minsk accords could have stopped Putin’s invasion, he said. The Minsk accords were two agreements, the first signed in 2014 and the second in 2015, that were established in an effort to end fighting in the Donbas region between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists. The agreements granted self-governing rights to areas of the Donbas region that were held by the separatists, among other pledges.

The 2014 agreement broke down and failed to stop the fighting. The updated agreement in 2015 was never properly implemented, and ceasefire violations from both sides continued. According to data from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors the conflict, there were more than 93,000 ceasefire violations on both sides and 16 civilian deaths caused by the fighting in the Donbas region in 2021. Heavy concentrations of explosions caused by shells fired by multi-launch rocket systems, artillery, mortars and tanks landed in areas held by separatists, where ethnic Russians constitute the largest minority group. According to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, 81 per cent of the 381 civilian casualties caused by the fighting from 2018 to 2021 were in separatist-held areas.

Western countries have been criticized for not pressuring Ukraine to uphold its side of the Minsk agreement. Katchanovski suggested that before Putin’s invasion, a successful peace agreement could have allowed for Ukraine to eventually join the European Union (EU) in exchange for neutrality. EU integration was a key demand of the Western-backed 2014 uprising that overthrew Kyiv’s pro-Russia government. The violent uprising and its fallout prompted Russia’s annexation of Crimea the same year. However, seeking a peace deal with Russia, “was not a policy of the United States, which has a very strong influence on Ukrainian politics and on [Ukrainian President Volodymr] Zelenskyy in particular,” Katchanovski explained. He said Ukraine is a “U.S. client state.”

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Rubles.

Russia Will Shut Off Gas To Finland From Saturday (CNBC)

Russia may have just made its first retaliatory move against Finland after lawmakers in Helsinki officially applied to join the NATO military alliance. Gasum, Finland’s state-owned gas wholesaler, said in a statement Friday morning that imports from Russia will be halted on Saturday. “On the afternoon of Friday May 20, Gazprom Export informed Gasum that natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract will be cut on Saturday May 21, 2022 at 07.00,” it said in a statement. Gasum’s CEO, Mika Wiljanen, added that the company had been preparing for such a situation “and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months.”


“Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline. Gasum’s gas filling stations in the gas network area will continue in normal operation,” he said. It comes after Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom in April told Poland and Bulgaria that it would halt flows after both countries refused Moscow’s demand to pay for gas supplies in rubles. Gasum gave no reason for the move, but Finland has also reportedly refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles. It also comes just two days after Finland formally applied to join NATO. Russia had warned of retaliation if the traditionally neutral nation became a member of the Western military alliance. After Finland’s application, alongside fellow Nordic nation Sweden, Moscow wasted no time in making its feelings known, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Monday that the expansion of NATO “is a problem.”

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More rubles.

Ruble Hits 7-Year High As Gas Buyers Bow To Putin’s Payment Mandate (ZH)

On Friday the ruble surged to the highest level in seven years against the euro, thanks in large part to the Putin-ordered mandatory conversion of foreign currency by export-focused companies, also as China and India (and much of Europe) are still buying Russia’s energy and agricultural products… despite the loud the threats coming from Washington, which have lately included a potential move to block Russian sovereign debt payments. At this point the Russian currency is about 20% stronger than pre-invasion, as the war grinds on into its fourth month. Jumping as much as 9% against the Euro, the ruble last hit this level in June 2015… Aiding the surge, there’s further been weak demand for dollars and euros given restrictions on cross-border transactions, and as an increasingly isolated Russia sees slowed imports.


While it’s unclear which companies or countries are consenting to the Putin-ordered ruble payment mechanism, it’s clear the Russian leader’s gambit is working, as Bloomberg reviews: Under the new mechanism, importers of Russian pipeline gas must open two accounts at Gazprombank to handle payments for the fuel. Around half of Gazprom’s more than 50 foreign clients have already opened such accounts, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week. Finland has become the latest alongside Poland and Bulgaria last month being cut off from Russian gas supplies (Finland confirmed its taps will be cut Saturday, though much less reliant on gas among its diverse resources). Novak further confirmed that a number of “major clients” have either already paid using the mechanism are are willing to pay on time to avoid cutoff.

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Kolakusic

 

 

 

 

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May 152022
 


Jacques-Louis David Coronation of Napoleon in 1804 in Nôtre-Dame Cathedral, Paris (10 metres wide, 6 metres tall) 1805-7

 

US-led War On Russia Escalates (WSWS)
US Senate GOP Delegation Meets With Zelensky In Kiev (CNN)
Guy Mettan: Ukraine is the First Battle of the Third World War (G&E)
Ten More European Gas Buyers Open Ruble Accounts For Payments (BBG)
The Real Reason Behind the EU’s Drive to Embargo Russian Oil
NY Times Op-ed Warns Of ‘Fantasies Of Regime Change’ (Fox)
India Bans Wheat Exports, Irks G7 (AFP)
India Reverses Prior Position and Will Now Block Further Wheat Exports (CTH)
Survey Shows Over 500,000 Killed By The Covid Vaccines So Far (Kirsch)
Egypt Considers Issuing Bonds In China’s Yuan (Al-M)
Karine Jean-Pierre Has History Of Accusing Things Of Being Racist (NYP)
Biden Phrase “Ultra MAGA” Came from Six Month Study (CTH)

 

 

 

 

Why Did Lloyd Austin Call Sergei Shoigu?

 

 

 

 

Russia, China at UN on biolabs

 

 

 

 

Dr. Cole about Vanden Bossche’s theory

Urso about Vanden Bossche’s theory

Malone about Vanden Bossche’s theory

 

 

Playing war games on Russia’s border.

US-led War On Russia Escalates (WSWS)

A day after Finland pledged to join NATO “without delay,” Sweden’s ruling social democrats accepted a parliamentary report also calling to join the US-led alliance. NATO is threatening to turn Scandinavia and the entire Baltic Sea into a second front in the war on Russia it has waged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Finnish and Swedish troops are joining US and Ukrainian forces in NATO “Hedgehog” war games next week in Estonia, whose border with Russia is just 150 kilometers from Saint Petersburg. The exercise, involving 15,000 troops, will simulate war between NATO and Russia in Estonia. This underscores that Finland’s vast,1,300-km border with Russia is becoming a potential war zone.

Asked on Thursday about Finland joining NATO, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said: “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard.” Russian officials have said that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, they will try to maintain a regional balance of power by stationing nuclear missiles in Russia’s Baltic port enclave at Kaliningrad. This week, former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev admitted that Europe is rapidly moving towards all-out war. “NATO countries pumping weapons into Ukraine, training troops to use Western equipment, sending in mercenaries and the exercises of Alliance countries near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia,” he said. “Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war.”

Nonetheless, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is to schedule a debate on joining NATO tomorrow. With staggering recklessness, the Swedish social democrats are scrapping a two-century policy of non-alignment in foreign wars that Sweden has observed since the Napoleonic wars ended in 1814, as the Finns scrapped the neutrality they observed since World War II. At a press conference last night, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist admitted that Sweden’s announcement could provoke war with Russia, but dismissed the danger: “If Sweden chooses to seek NATO membership, there is a risk of a reaction from Russia. … Let me state that, in such a case, we are prepared to deal with any counter-response.”

The Swedish government’s case for joining NATO is a mixture of political lies and self-delusion. By joining NATO, Sweden is not, as Linde argues, deterring Russia from attacking it by making clear Moscow would potentially run the risk of a military clash with NATO. Rather, Sweden is signing up to a NATO war drive against Russia already being led by Washington, London and Berlin. Hultqvist’s statement that the Swedish government is prepared for “any counter-response” from Russia is astonishing. It appears Sweden’s defense minister has forgotten that Russia has over 6,000 nuclear warheads: In case of a major escalation of the NATO-Russia war, Russia’s “counter-response” could obliterate Sweden.

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So brave to travel into a war zone.

US Senate GOP Delegation Meets With Zelensky In Kiev (CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a congressional delegation led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kyiv Saturday, and called for Russia to officially be recognized as a “terrorist state,” he said Saturday in his nightly address. McConnell said in a statement Saturday evening the delegation “just left” Ukraine and called it an “honor” to meet with Zelensky and his senior advisers. McConnell was joined on the unannounced trip by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas. McConnell and the other senators became the latest US officials to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded the eastern European nation in late February.

The Kentucky Republican said in the statement the delegation “reaffirmed” to Zelensky “that the United States stands squarely behind Ukraine and will sustain our support until Ukraine wins this war. It is also essential that America not stand alone. He continued: “It is squarely in our national interest to help Ukraine achieve victory in this war and to help Ukraine and other countries deter other wars of aggression before they start.” In his nightly address Saturday, Zelensky said he discussed US support for Ukraine and tightening sanctions on Russia with the delegation. “I believe that this visit once again demonstrates the strength of bipartisan support for our state, the strength of ties between the Ukrainian and American nations,” Zelensky said.

CNN previously reported Zelensky has asked President Joe Biden to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The Ukrainian president added that he “expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program” during the GOP delegation’s visit. Biden earlier this week signed into law the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. The new law, which eases some of the requirements for the US to lend or lease military equipment to Ukraine, passed with a bipartisan majority in the US House and Senate. Its sponsors said the legislation gives Biden much broader authority to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia and addresses how the US can get weapons to Ukraine faster.

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Apologies for sound quality.

Guy Mettan: Ukraine is the First Battle of the Third World War (G&E)

Guy Mettan discusses the deep thousand year history of Russophobia which informs the current Ukraine crisis. Europe had divided in two parts along religious lines which can still be seen in Ukraine today. He traces Russophobia from medieval Germany to France to Britain and back again to Germany and today the U.S. and EU. Brzezinski outlined the importance of conquering Ukraine because it’s the pivotal power of Europe. Ukraine is the first battle of the Third World War. It won’t be a total war, it will be a global unlimited war, unlimited in space and time where everybody will be affected. He agrees that there is a neo-totalitarian trend in the West and that democracy is a false flag. He’s pessimistic regarding the future development of our world as the U.S. and EU develop into a totalitarian new empire. But he’s optimistic that the light of the truth can’t be extinguished.

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The EU finds ways to circumvent its own sanctions.

Ten More European Gas Buyers Open Ruble Accounts For Payments (BBG)

Ten more European gas buyers have opened accounts in Gazprombank JSC, doubling the total number of clients preparing to pay in rubles for Russian gas as President Vladimir Putin demanded. A total of twenty European companies have opened accounts, with another 14 clients asking for the paperwork needed to set them up, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters. He declined to identify the companies. European buyers have been struggling for weeks to figure out how they can meet Putin’s order to pay for Russian gas in rubles starting April 1 and not fall afoul of European Union sanctions imposed over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the new mechanism, clients have to open two accounts: one in foreign currency and one in rubles in Gazprombank. After Poland and Bulgaria rejected these terms, Gazprom PJSC halted gas flows to them in late April. As deadlines for payment for April supplies loom later this month for major West European buyers, Russia has moved to address EU concerns that the payment mechanism may violate sanctions. The person close to Gazprom said the current terms mean that the transaction is effectively completed once the buyer pays foreign currency to Gazprombank, since the subsequent conversion to rubles is automatic and doesn’t involve Russia’s central bank, which is subject to EU sanctions.

The bloc so far hasn’t said whether the Russian changes allay its concerns, but Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Wednesday companies will be able to pay for gas in rubles without breaching the restrictions. “Most of the gas importers have already opened their account in rubles with Gazprom,” he told a press conference. He said that Germany’s top gas importer had already paid in rubles. Like Italy, Germany is a massive consumer of Russian gas. The person close to Gazprom said the number of customers who’ve paid in rubles remains at four, the same as late last month. Payments from other buyers are due later this month, he said.

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“The war by the West against Russia has long been in the planning stages.”

The Real Reason Behind the EU’s Drive to Embargo Russian Oil

The idea that Europe fears a Russian invasion of Poland or even Germany, which necessitates NATO’s expansion to its border in the Donbas, is ludicrous. Russia’s military is not built along these lines nor is its performance in Ukraine evidence it is capable of such an operation. What is unfolding now is a script that was written a long time ago. The war by the West against Russia has long been in the planning stages. The Russians understand this better than many are willing to accept. Their leadership, Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have articulated this very clearly at every stage of the war to date. They are under no illusions about where the West and Davos are willing to take this conflict, which is why they have made serious threats about striking out at the real “decision centers” who give the Ukrainian Armed Forces their marching orders.

These are warnings not to our politicians, but to us. This is where things lead. They have asked for a parting of the ways, peaceably, between East and West, but that is not part of the agenda. Like classic narcissists with the burning need to control everything, Russia and the rest of Asia will not be allowed to walk away from Davos and their Eurocrat quislings, because they are the righteous saviors of humanity. And we are just, at best, “the help” and at worst an inconvenience. The bigger Davos plan of destroying the old global order to Build it Back Better, where they own everything and you will own nothing and like it or else, is the script.

They are now committed to this plan. It does not matter now whether it will work or not. This is what we have to realize in all of our analyses. Do the Russians and their friends in Asia and across the Global South have the means and the tools to come out on top? Possibly. But the bigger question is whether or not this conflict escalates to the point where winning is an irrelevant concept. When you see a bloc as powerful as the European Union willing to commit acts of domestic vandalism this big—and blaming the victim of their unbridled aggression—it tells you we are far past the point of rational settlement.

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“..the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict..”

NY Times Op-ed Warns Of ‘Fantasies Of Regime Change’ (Fox)

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed warning that the United States risks war with Russia if it continues to pursue an expansive strategy in Ukraine. “Nuclear weapons are discussed in easy tones, not least on Russian television. The risk of cities being reduced to corium remains low without NATO deployment in Ukraine, but accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted,” wrote Tom Stevenson. The op-ed, titled “America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t,” cautions that while America’s initial actions to provide support to Ukraine, American leaders’ willingness to speak in increasingly bold terms about regime change in Russia and “draining” the country poses a risk to American security.

“By expanding support to Ukraine across the board and shelving any diplomatic effort to stop the fighting, the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict,” Stevenson wrote. “They are taking a risk far out of step with any realistic strategic gain,” he added. “The early U.S. response to the invasion was simple: Supply the defenders and apply America’s unique financial weaponry to the Russian economy. The new strategy — call it bleed Russia — is quite different. The underlying idea is that the United States and its allies should seek to recover more from the rubble of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk than the survival of Ukraine as a polity or even a symbolic frustration of Russian aggression.” Stevenson notes that Russia discusses nuclear tensions “in easy tones” and warned that “accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted”.

“It is unclear what more there is to gain by weakening Russia, beyond fantasies of regime change,” he said. “The war was dangerous and destructive enough in its initial form. The combination of expanded strategic aims and scotched negotiations has made it more dangerous still. At present, the only message to Russia is: There is no way out.”

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Much less wheat from Ukraine, Russia and now India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer. It adds up.

India Bans Wheat Exports, Irks G7 (AFP)

India banned wheat exports without government approval Saturday after its hottest March on record hit production, in a blow to countries reeling from supply shortages and soaring prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement drew sharp criticism from the Group of Seven industrialized nations’ agriculture ministers meeting in Germany, who said that such measures “would worsen the crisis” of rising commodity prices. “If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference in Stuttgart. Global wheat prices have soared on supply fears following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12% of global exports.

The spike in prices, exacerbated by fertilizer shortages and poor harvests, has fueled inflation globally and raised fears of famine and social unrest in poorer countries. It has also led to concerns about growing protectionism following Indonesia’s halting of palm oil exports and India putting the brakes on exports of wheat. India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said that factors including lower production and sharply higher global prices meant it worried about the food security of its own 1.4 billion people. Export deals agreed to before the directive issued Friday could still be honored, but future shipments need government approval, it said. But exports could also take place if New Delhi approved requests from other governments “to meet their food security needs”.

“We don’t want wheat to go in an unregulated manner where it may either get hoarded and is not used for the purpose which we are hoping it will be used for –- which is serving the food requirements of vulnerable nations and vulnerable people,” said BVR Subrahmanyam, India’s commerce secretary. On Thursday New Delhi said it was sending delegations to Morocco, Tunisia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon “for exploring possibilities of boosting wheat exports from India”. [..] India said that it planned to increase wheat exports this financial year, starting April 1, to 10 million tons from seven million tons the year before. While this is a tiny proportion of worldwide production, the assurances provided some support to global prices and soothed fears of major shortages.

Egypt and Turkey recently approved wheat imports from India. But India endured its hottest March on record – blamed on climate change – and has been wilting in a heatwave in recent weeks, with temperatures upwards of 45 degrees Celsius. This has hit farmers hard, and this month the government said that wheat production was expected to fall at least five percent this year from 110 million tons in 2021 — the first fall in six years.

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About the India export ban. Food, energy and politics.

India Reverses Prior Position and Will Now Block Further Wheat Exports (CTH)

In April India said it was hoping to expand its wheat exports from 7 million tons to 10 million. However, as precarious winter wheat harvests reflect lower outputs, they are reversing position and will now block any wheat exports in order to ensure their own supply. INDIA – “[…] The announcement drew sharp criticism from the Group of Seven industrialized nations’ agriculture ministers meeting in Germany, who said that such measures “would worsen the crisis” of rising commodity prices. [..] India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said that factors including lower production and sharply higher global prices meant it worried about the food security of its own 1.4 billion people. Export deals agreed to before the directive issued Friday could still be honored, but future shipments need government approval, it said.”

Don’t look now, but there’s an ideological alignment in the background of these decisions. Turkey and Egypt will be receiving wheat export from India, both nations are aligned against the western position toward Russian sanctions. Turkey said a few days ago they would not approve of Finland joining NATO (the irony of Turkey in NATO not withstanding). We need to watch carefully, but there are indications in the geopolitical decision making of nationalist-minded countries, that seem to align with the previously discussed energy alliance cleaving. The food alliance per se’, is lining up in similar fashion to the energy sector oil alliance. If this geopolitical and ideological alignment of food imports/exports continues, what we will see is Europe become even more dependent on the U.S. for food exports. That type of reality has the potential to play well for Biden’s pressure and blackmail campaign forcing NATO to stay committed to the war in Ukraine.

Due to sanctions, Western European allies have already become more dependent on the U.S. for energy products including heavy oil, and liquified natural gas (LNG) which is being exported from the U.S. at the highest rate in history; unfortunately, driving up the prices we pay. Now we can overlay food exports as another angle for Biden to keep blackmailing NATO to support his proxy war in Ukraine. Americans are already paying more for energy because we are subsidizing Europe. Now Americans will pay more for food products because we are subsidizing Europe. That, my friends, is a hot mess. This sanctions map starts to take on a new dimension beyond energy. The western team in yellow trading energy and foodstuffs between themselves based on common ideology and outlook. The team in grey trading energy and foodstuff based on common ideology and outlook.

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Time to broaden the survey.

Survey Shows Over 500,000 Killed By The Covid Vaccines So Far (Kirsch)

A simple survey of my readers provided some extremely compelling evidence that 1) the US government has killed over 500,000 previously healthy Americans and 2) that the vaccine actually caused the deaths. It took me around 30 minutes to create the survey and 11 hours to wait for highly statistically significant results. I was able to accomplish something in less than 12 hours that the CDC has been unable to accomplish in 18 months: prove causality. We see both dose dependency and enormous changes in ACM deaths pre- vs. post-vaccine. We satisfy all five Bradford-Hill criteria applicable to vaccines. We used 400 independent observers. I should note that all follow my Substack so they are correlated: all have excellent judgment, high intelligence, and immunity from mass formation effects. So they have the ability to see what is truly going on.

The survey compared the all-cause mortality (ACM) death rates just PRIOR to a vaccine dose to the ACM death rates immediately AFTER the dose. I predicted they would be dramatically higher after the dose and the effect would be dose dependent. It appears I was right. In fact, the survey projects far more deaths than I thought possible. The number of deaths computed from the reports could be as high as 2M Americans, but the 500,000 number seems more credible, so I’m discounting the result by 4X to account for biases and confounders. I don’t think there is any way anyone is going to be able to “explain away” these results once we redo the survey with a better set of controls (the next step). And these results are ONLY counting the all-cause mortality increase for just the one month after each shot. We know you can die a year later from these vaccines.

We found Dose #4 caused only a 1.27X increase compared with 5.5X to 8.3X for doses 1 and 2 respectively and 2.3X for Dose #3. If this were a highly biased population, Dose 4 would have caused a larger discrepancy, but it’s approaching 1:1 as we’d expect. The decreasing ACM increase with later shots makes sense… The vaccine eliminates anyone whose immune system is susceptible to auto-immune attacks on the spike protein. If it hasn’t killed you after 3 shots, it’s less likely to kill you on shot #4. You’re immune due to both survivor bias and the fact that your immune system has recognized the vaccine as an invader and clears it from the system quicker than on shots 1 and 2. This of course says nothing about it’s impact on effectiveness against the virus which is likely pretty minimal at this point which is a story for another day.

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Question is: who will buy them? China?

Egypt Considers Issuing Bonds In China’s Yuan (Al-M)

Egypt may soon sell bonds that are priced in China’s currency the yuan. Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait made the announcement yesterday alongside the People’s Republic’s Ambassador in Cairo Liao Liqiang. The move would help diversify Egypt’s financial resources and target China’s large bond market, the state-owned Al-Ahram reported. Bonds are a type of financial security that represent the holder’s obligation to repay the buyer. Governments issue bonds to help finance their expenses. Egypt has pursued several new bond strategies recently. The country is currently preparing to sell Islamic bonds. An Islamic bond, or sukuk, complies with Islamic law’s prohibition on usury.


In February, Egypt named six banks to manage the future sukuk sale. Last year, Egypt issued bonds in Japan’s currency the yen. The move could threaten the position of the US dollar as the world’s dominant currency. Many countries around the region sell bonds in dollars or their own currency. Doing business in yuan is becoming more appealing to some countries. Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering accepting yuan as payment for oil sales to China Egypt recently secured foreign investment from its Gulf allies to mitigate the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine. The war has wreaked havoc on Egypt’s wheat supply, for example.

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Where does Biden find these women?

Karine Jean-Pierre Has History Of Accusing Things Of Being Racist (NYP)

Newly installed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has a long history of accusing policies and political enemies of “racism,” a review of her social media and TV news appearances show. The Post looked at Jean-Pierre’s tweets between 2015 and 2020 and found a staggering 57 instances where she accused people, policies, ideas, or words of being “racist.” And Jean-Pierre accused people and ideas she was opposed to as “racist” at least 43 times in TV appearances too, according to video clipping service Grabien, whose available analysis spanned just the first two years of President Trump’s term in office. Her target on both social media and TV was overwhelmingly Trump.

“If it walks like a racist, talks like a racist, acts like a racist, it is a racist and we have a racist president in the White House who really pushes his racism like a peacock,” she told a smirking panel on the MSNBC show “AM Joy” in 2018. “Donald Trump is a RACIST!” she railed in a tweet from Jan 2018, echoing what became a common refrain from her during his presidency. “Donald Trump is the most outwardly racist President that we have seen in generations and African Americans voters aren’t blind to that. He uses his megaphone to divide people, spew racism, and give cover to white supremacists,” she tweeted in 2020. Her new boss, President Biden, got in on the act in during the 2020 presidential campaign, claiming Trump was “one of the most racist presidents’ we’ve ever had.”

Trump was far not alone as an object of her derision — Jean-Pierre also ripped the former president’s staff and confidants as racists too. “Steve Bannon is a white Supremacist. Steve Bannon is a white Nationalist. Steve Bannon is a racist,” she thundered in September 2018, of the president’s former White House counselor. She levied the same accusation on Sebastian Gorka, another Trump White House advisor. Jean-Pierre also blasted former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “a bigot & a racist,” who “views brown and black people as less than, not even human,” according to a tweet from June 2018. She also called racists Texas Sen. John Cornyn in 2020, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2018, and Former Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie in 2017.

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“..a few days ago White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the terminology “ultra-MAGA” was an “organic utterance” from Joe Biden. Whoops.”

Biden Phrase “Ultra MAGA” Came from Six Month Study (CTH)

The Washington Post is reporting the shift from the White House to disparage their political opposition with the terms “MAGA”, “Ultra-MAGA” and President Trump as the “Great MAGA King,” came from a six-month poll study led by Anita Dunn, the latest senior advisor in the White House. Keep in mind, a few days ago White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the terminology “ultra-MAGA” was an “organic utterance” from Joe Biden. Whoops. WASHINGTON DC – […] Biden’s attempt to appropriate the “MAGA” brand as a political attack was hardly accidental. It arose from a six-month research project to find the best way to target Republicans, helmed by Biden adviser Anita Dunn and by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal group.

The polling and focus group research by Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group found that “MAGA” was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like “Trump Republicans.” In battleground areas, more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a “MAGA Republican” than would be more likely. The research also found that the description tapped into the broad agreement among voters that the Republican Party had become more extreme and power-hungry in recent years.” On May 5th the White House announced Anita Dunn would return to the JoeBama administration as senior advisor.

Dunn’s specific expertise is using pressure, blackmail and political leverage to control information distribution by media organizations. Apparently “ultra-MAGA” was Dunn’s first branding effort for the White House. The reappearance of Anita Dunn aligns with the expressed intent of the DHS ‘disinformation’ board. Dunn’s professional political skillset surrounds being a paid media fixer. She has done this for multiple democrat politicians including Obama. It was Anita Dunn who used her position in the Biden campaign to demand that media stop allowing Rudy Guiliani to explain the Biden family ‘pay to play’ financial system of selling influence. Anita Dunn also advised Harvey Weinstein how to remove media stories of his Hollywood rape issues. Dunn reappearing makes sense, as the U.S. government objective to control information is now in full swing.

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Tesla

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Apr 162022
 


Andy Warhol Reigning Queens 1985

 

US Sabotaged Zelensky’s Historic Mandate For Peace (Maté)
Russia Sends Formal Letter Warning US To Stop Arming Ukraine (Hill)
The West Finally Starts Rolling Out the Big Guns for Ukraine (FP)
Moscow Vows To Retaliate Against Kyiv Directly For Strikes In Russia (JTN)
Glazyev Introduces The New Global Financial System (Escobar)
Russia Claims Some Clients Have Agreed To Pay For Gas In Rubles (JTN)
Zelensky’s Miscalculation Regarding Medvedchuk (Milacic)
You’ve Been Misinformed (Kunstler)
Twitter Pushes Back On Elon Musk’s Hostile Takeover With ‘Poison Pill’ (NYP)
Elon Musk Considering Bringing In Partners On Twitter Bid (NYP)
Musk For Democracy (Auron MacIntyre)
Shanghai Cops Clash With Citizens Over Leaving Homes To Covid Patients (NYP)
Ireland Chooses WHO Over Irish Sovereignty (WA)

 

 

 

 

Think about it
https://twitter.com/i/status/1515001676389883912

 

 

CNN Poll

 

 

 

 

“Instead of supporting the Ukrainian leader’s peace mandate, Democrats in Congress were impeaching Trump for briefly impeding the flow of weapons that fueled the fight.”

US Sabotaged Zelensky’s Historic Mandate For Peace (Maté)

On a warm October day in 2019, the eminent Russia studies professor Stephen F. Cohen and I sat down in Manhattan for what would be our last in-person interview (Cohen passed away in September 2020 at the age of 81). The House was gearing up to impeach Donald Trump for freezing weapons shipments to Ukraine while pressuring its government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Beltway media was consumed with frenzy of a presidency in peril. But Professor Cohen, one of the leading Russia scholars in the United States, was concerned with what the impeachment spectacle in Washington meant for the long-running war between the US-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-backed rebels in the Donbas.

At that point, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky was just months into an upstart presidency that he had won on a pledge to end the Donbas conflict. Instead of supporting the Ukrainian leader’s peace mandate, Democrats in Congress were impeaching Trump for briefly impeding the flow of weapons that fueled the fight. As his Democratic allies now like to forget, President Obama refused to send these same weapons out of fear of prolonging the war and arming Nazis. By abandoning Obama’s policy, the Democrats, Cohen warned, threaten to sabotage peace and strengthen Ukraine’s far-right. “Zelensky ran as a peace candidate,” Cohen explained. “He won an enormous mandate to make peace. So, that means he has to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.”

But there was a major obstacle. Ukrainian fascists “have said that they will remove and kill Zelensky if he continues along this line of negotiating with Putin… His life is being threatened literally by a quasi-fascist movement in Ukraine.” Peace could only come, Cohen stressed, on one condition. “[Zelensky] can’t go forward with full peace negotiations with Russia, with Putin, unless America has his back,” he said. “Maybe that won’t be enough, but unless the White House encourages this diplomacy, Zelensky has no chance of negotiating an end to the war. So the stakes are enormously high.”

The subsequent impeachment trial, and bipartisan US policy since, has made clear that Washington has had no interest in having Zelensky’s back, and every interest in fueling the Donbas war that he had been elected to end. The overwhelming message from Congress, fervently amplified across the US media (including progressive outlets) with next to no dissent, was that when it comes to Ukraine’s civil war, the US saw Ukraine’s far-right as allies, and its civilians as cannon fodder.

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“According to the letter dated Tuesday, Russia accused NATO of impeding early peace negotiation with Ukraine “in order to continue the bloodshed.”

Russia Sends Formal Letter Warning US To Stop Arming Ukraine (Hill)

Russia has sent a formal letter to the U.S. warning that shipments of sensitive weapons from the United States and NATO were exacerbating tensions in Ukraine and could lead to “unpredictable consequences,” The Washington Post reported. The letter, which was viewed by the Post, added that the U.S. has flouted the rules governing the transfer of weapons to conflict zones. According to the letter dated Tuesday, Russia accused NATO of impeding early peace negotiation with Ukraine “in order to continue the bloodshed.” The State Department declined to confirm any private diplomatic correspondence. However, a spokesperson added that it can confirm that along with allies and partners, “we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence.”

The news of the diplomatic letter comes as President Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine this week, which for the first time included advanced munitions that the war-torn country has requested. “The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we are providing to devastating effect. As Russia prepares to intensify its attack in the Donbas region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself,” Biden said. The most recent round of U.S. security assistance includes a mixture of arms and other supplies that Washington has already provided Kyiv, as well as new capabilities that had not previously been sent over.

According to the Pentagon, the aid package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 300 Switchblade drones, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 18 howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, 10 counter-artillery radars, 500 Javelin missiles, unmanned coastal defense vessels and protective equipment in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attack.

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They keep pretending Ukraine has a functioning army. In order to sell and deliver more weapons.

The West Finally Starts Rolling Out the Big Guns for Ukraine (FP)

The United States and its NATO allies have ramped up the delivery of tanks, helicopters, and heavy weapons to Ukraine as the country’s forces prepare for large-scale battles against Russian troops in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. The new arms deliveries represent a stark shift from Western support for Ukraine in the earliest days of the war, when U.S. and European officials, unsure of how long Ukraine could hold out against a massive Russian invasion, were wary of delivering heavy weapons that could in turn fall into Russian hands. The deliveries also reflect a shift away from defensive systems like anti-tank rockets to more offensive weapons that Ukraine needs at a critical stage of the war.

The Czech Republic opened the floodgates earlier this month by shipping tanks to Ukraine, becoming the first NATO country to do so since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. The Czech Republic has also sent Ukraine infantry fighting vehicles and artillery systems. Other NATO countries have followed suit with their own shipments of high-end military hardware across NATO borders into Ukraine. Slovakia sent Ukraine an advanced S-300 air defense system, and the United States on Wednesday announced it would supply Ukraine with an additional $800 million worth of military hardware. That shipment includes 11 MI-17 helicopters, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 100 Humvees, 300 Switchblade “kamikaze” drones, heavy howitzers, thousands of shells, and other munitions.

During the first phase of the war, many Western officials believed Kyiv could quickly fall to Russian forces in a matter of days, prompting them to balk on sending heavy weapons to a government they were unsure could survive. That all changed after Russia’s massive offensive in northern Ukraine ran aground, thanks to stiff Ukrainian resistance backed by Western supplies of anti-tank weapons and other small arms, as well as clumsy tactical missteps by the poorly equipped Russian forces. The transfer of heavy weapons to Ukraine is far from simple. In addition to the heavy vehicles and weapons themselves, any such transfers to Ukraine require a potentially long logistical tail to back up, including training, spare parts, and mechanics to keep the vehicles operating in the war zone. (Russia has threatened to attack U.S. and NATO weapons deliveries headed into Ukraine.)

“The tank is not just a rental car,” said Ben Hodges, former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe. “Whenever you’re talking about transferring any sort of mechanized or armored vehicles, you have to also think about spare parts, maintenance packages, training, fuel, ammunition … to make sure they can keep things running.”

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“The scale of missile strikes by the Russian Armed Forces on objects in Kyiv will be increased in response to any attacks or sabotage on Russian territory..”

Moscow Vows To Retaliate Against Kyiv Directly For Strikes In Russia (JTN)

Russia on Friday vowed to ramp up attacks on Ukraine capital city Kyiv in response any Ukrainian military strike on targets within Russia’s borders. “The scale of missile strikes by the Russian Armed Forces on objects in Kyiv will be increased in response to any attacks or sabotage on Russian territory,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said, according to Russian state-owned outlet RIA News. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Ukrainian military has since begun launching raids on Russian soil. In early April, Ukrainian attack helicopters entered Russian airspace and struck an oil depot in Belgorod, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Sirens blared across Ukraine Thursday night as Moscow attacked targets in every oblast, even in the Ukraine’s western edges, far from the battle lines. Several explosions rocked Kyiv. Ukraine government official Lesia Vasylenko speculated the attacks were the result of Russian leader Vladimir Putin being “livid” about Ukraine earlier this week sinking the Russian warship Moskva in the Black Sea. Russia says the ship sank in a storm following the explosion of its ammunition supply.

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“The new economic system united various strata of their societies around the goal of increasing common wellbeing in a way that is substantially stronger than the Anglo-Saxon and European alternatives.”

Glazyev Introduces The New Global Financial System (Escobar)

The Cradle: You are at the forefront of a game-changing geo-economic development: the design of a new monetary/financial system via an association between the EAEU and China, bypassing the US dollar, with a draft soon to be concluded. Could you possibly advance some of the features of this system – which is certainly not a Bretton Woods III – but seems to be a clear alternative to the Washington consensus and very close to the necessities of the Global South? Glazyev: In a bout of Russophobic hysteria, the ruling elite of the United States played its last “trump ace” in the hybrid war against Russia. Having “frozen” Russian foreign exchange reserves in custody accounts of western central banks, financial regulators of the US, EU, and the UK undermined the status of the dollar, euro, and pound as global reserve currencies. This step sharply accelerated the ongoing dismantling of the dollar-based economic world order.

Over a decade ago, my colleagues at the Astana Economic Forum and I proposed to transition to a new global economic system based on a new synthetic trading currency based on an index of currencies of participating countries. Later, we proposed to expand the underlying currency basket by adding around twenty exchange-traded commodities. A monetary unit based on such an expanded basket was mathematically modeled and demonstrated a high degree of resilience and stability. At around the same time, we proposed to create a wide international coalition of resistance in the hybrid war for global dominance that the financial and power elite of the US unleashed on the countries that remained outside of its control. My book The Last World War: the USA to Move and Lose, published in 2016, scientifically explained the nature of this coming war and argued for its inevitability – a conclusion based on objective laws of long-term economic development. Based on the same objective laws, the book argued the inevitability of the defeat of the old dominant power.

Currently, the US is fighting to maintain its dominance, but just as Britain previously, which provoked two world wars but was unable to keep its empire and its central position in the world due to the obsolescence of its colonial economic system, it is destined to fail. The British colonial economic system based on slave labor was overtaken by structurally more efficient economic systems of the US and the USSR. Both the US and the USSR were more efficient at managing human capital in vertically integrated systems, which split the world into their zones of influence. A transition to a new world economic order started after the disintegration of the USSR. This transition is now reaching its conclusion with the imminent disintegration of the dollar-based global economic system, which provided the foundation of the United States global dominance.

The new convergent economic system that emerged in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and India is the next inevitable stage of development, combining the benefits of both centralized strategic planning and market economy, and of both state control of the monetary and physical infrastructure and entrepreneurship. The new economic system united various strata of their societies around the goal of increasing common wellbeing in a way that is substantially stronger than the Anglo-Saxon and European alternatives. This is the main reason why Washington will not be able to win the global hybrid war that it started. This is also the main reason why the current dollar-centric global financial system will be superseded by a new one, based on a consensus of the countries who join the new world economic order.

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Of course they have.

Russia Claims Some Clients Have Agreed To Pay For Gas In Rubles (JTN)

Russia said Friday some of its foreign energy customers have agreed to begin making payments in rubles amid ongoing sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak did not disclose which customers have made the switch but said officials “expect the decision from other importers,” according to the Epoch Times. Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded in early April that countries Moscow deems “unfriendly” pay for energy products in rubles, the news agency also reports. The value of the ruble, Russia’s base currency, plummeted on international markets after the start of the invasion and Western sanctions started impacting the country’s economy.


However, the ruble has since recovered most of its value. Putin this week touted the ruble’s recovery as an indicator of the Russian economy’s resistance to sanctions, saying: “It is also obvious that the Russian economy is working quite stably and efficiently. I won’t repeat everything. You can see it well yourself: The dollar exchange rate has returned to the parameters before the start of the operation, and so on.” On Feb. 23, 1 USD was equal to 79 rubles. On March 8, the exchange rate reached one dollar to 141 rubles. As of Friday, 80.75 rubles equaled 1 USD.

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“..having silenced a major surrender of the Ukrainian military in the Ukrainian information field, Zelensky on April 12 demonstrated to the whole world the disgraced oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk..”

Zelensky’s Miscalculation Regarding Medvedchuk (Milacic)

April 12 was a black day for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In Mariupol, more than 1,000 marines surrendered in a day – the remnants of an abandoned and defeated marine brigade. Even Zelensky’s entourage, who did not react particularly painfully to the loss of life during the special operation of the Russian troops, became well aware that the prisoners needed to be pulled out. However, the Ukrainian president has one trump card up his sleeve, but whether he will be able to play it. Recall, having silenced a major surrender of the Ukrainian military in the Ukrainian information field, Zelensky on April 12 demonstrated to the whole world the disgraced oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, captured by the SBU, who had escaped from house arrest at the beginning of the military campaign in Ukraine.

Medvedchuk, a major businessman, leader of Ukraine’s largest opposition party “For Life“, now banned by the Ukrainian authorities. Like other politicians who advocated dialogue with Moscow and opposed the war, he was charged with treason back in 2020. However, the point here is not only in the political views of a politician. Medvedchuk is considered a close friend of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, with which the Kremlin wanted to democratize Ukraine and free it from fascism. Just imagine someone arresting the leader of the second strongest party in Germany, France or some other European country? It is on this basis that we can see what kind of state Ukraine is and that Ukraine needs denazification. According to the statements of the Ukrainian security forces, Medvedchuk, captured in army-style clothes, tried to get into Russia, allegedly while trying to cross the front line.

However, Medvedchuk was probably arrested, held and tortured a long time ago, and only now has it been made public in order to divert the attention of the Ukrainian public from the defeat of the Ukrainian army in Mariupol and to show to the Ukrainian public that Ukraine has someone to exchange for Ukrainian military prisoners in Mariupol. But Vladimir Zelensky, at the wrong time, remembered his acting past and obviously played too much.

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“Anyone who suggested that lockdowns, masking, remdesivir protocols, and vaccine mandates violated common decency was tossed out of the arena, often with added punishment of losing a career, a professional license, a livelihood, and having to endure the betrayal of colleagues cowed into silence.”

You’ve Been Misinformed (Kunstler)

Medicine has succeeded completely in disgracing and destroying itself by lying about everything connected to Covid-19, from its origins, to the insanely outlawed treatments for it, to the harmful actions of the vaccines, to the hidden data that might tell us the results of all that lying. Twitter set the tone for that with its censorship policies. Anyone who suggested that lockdowns, masking, remdesivir protocols, and vaccine mandates violated common decency was tossed out of the arena, often with added punishment of losing a career, a professional license, a livelihood, and having to endure the betrayal of colleagues cowed into silence.

Twitter also enabled the suicide of higher education, which has succumbed to a plague of Jacobin craziness that would embarrass the inmates of an old-time locked ward. The failure of authority on campus is cosmic. Can you name a single college president who has raised a voice against such manifest idiocy as men competing in women’s sports, the invention of ersatz fields of study, the re-segregation of dormitories and graduation ceremonies, the shouting down of invited lecturers, the persecution of free-thinking faculty, the kangaroo courts for sex disputes, and a hundred other violations of intellect and decency? All this coerced insanity has been nurtured by social media’s sly mechanisms for bending narrative into propaganda: their beloved algorithms, all fine-tuned to destroy anything that touches on truth.

The result is a country so marinated in falsehood that it can’t construct a coherent consensus of reality, and can’t take coherent actions to avert its own collapse. Mighty forces are marshalling to prevent Elon Musk from buying up Twitter stock and taking the company private. BlackRock, Vanguard, the prince regent of Saudi Arabia are all principal stockholders in Twitter, with gazillions in capital to theoretically match and overcome Mr. Musk’s moves. Meanwhile, the Tesla boss maintains a prankish self-confidence in this exploit, offering cryptically comic gibes to a news media that is openly vested in opposing him. You have to suppose that he’s gamed out the gamble. He’s looking like someone who has dealt out a hand of cards aiming to shoot-the-moon.

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It costs shareholders billions.

Twitter Pushes Back On Elon Musk’s Hostile Takeover With ‘Poison Pill’ (NYP)

Twitter is putting up a fight against Elon Musk’s hostile takeover bid by offering its shareholders the opportunity to buy more company stock at a discounted rate — a defensive tactic known to investors as a “poison pill.” The move was done to make it more difficult for Musk, who currently owns 9.2% of Twitter, from upping his stake in the company to acquire more than 15% of shares. Musk made a $41 billion all-cash bid for Twitter, saying he wanted to own the firm and take it private in order to restore its commitment to free speech. The social media platform’s board of directors announced Friday that it has “unanimously” approved a “limited duration shareholder rights plan” that would remain in effect until a year from today.

The plan “will reduce the likelihood that any entity … gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium …,” according to the company. Details of the plan will be specified in a special filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the San Francisco-based company. It’s a move that Wedbush Securities tech watcher and Managing Director Dan Ives said is likely to be challenged in court. He called it a “defensive measure” for the board that would likely not be viewed positively by shareholders, since it could dilute their shares and would be seen as unfriendly to an acquisition move. “We believe Musk and his team expected this poker move which will be perceived as a sign of weakness not strength by the Street,” Ives told The Post.

The news also comes the day after The Post reported that private equity firm Thoma Bravo was exploring a bid to buy Twitter — setting up a potential competition with Musk. Musk suggested on Thursday that he was aware it would not be easy buying Twitter and taking it private. “I’m not actually sure I will be able to acquire” Twitter, Musk told a large audience at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that a “person familiar with the matter” said the company was planning a “poison pill” that would dissuade the Tesla boss from completing his takeover bid.

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Various parties can purchase 14.9% of shares each.

Elon Musk Considering Bringing In Partners On Twitter Bid (NYP)

Elon Musk is speaking to investors who could partner with him on a bid for Twitter, sources close to the matter told The Post. A new plan that includes partners could be announced within days, those sources said. One possibility, the sources said: teaming with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners, which was planning to co-invest with him in 2018 when he was considering taking Tesla private. Silver Lake’s Co-CEO Egon Durban is a Twitter board member and led Musk’s deal team during the 2018 failed effort to take Tesla private, sources said. Silver Lake declined to comment. Whether Musk would present Twitter with an entirely new offer — perhaps raising his current bid — or whether new partners would simply go in on a purchase with him isn’t clear.


For its part, Twitter on Friday adopted a so-called poison pill — a corporate move that prevents Musk from acquiring more than 15% of the company. But that pill may not stop other entities or people from acquiring their own shares of up to 15% of the company. Those owners could partner with Musk to force a sale, make changes in the executive ranks or push for other overhauls of the company. Twitter hasn’t yet filed its shareholder rights plan with the SEC, though it announced the poison pill in a statement. The SEC filing will give more details on whether it prevents like-minded investors from teaming to buy a greater than 15% stake. “This is not over,” a source close to the situation said. Musk has announced he presently owns 9.1% of Twitter. He offered Thursday to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. Shares last traded at $45.08 each, as there is skepticism that he will succeed with his current take-it-or-leave-it proposal.

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“The site serves as a networking tool and dopamine dispenser for the class charged with controlling what the average person sees, hears, and thinks.”

Musk For Democracy (Auron MacIntyre)

Twitter’s blue-check praetorian guard shrieked in agony at the announcement that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk had offered to purchase the company for $43 billion on Thursday morning. All the worst humans imaginable spent the day venting their rage on the platform, predicting varying levels of apocalypse at the prospect of having the site’s notoriously biased censorship rolled back. Musk had previously made it clear in an interview that his motivation for purchasing the platform was not financial, but instead centered on concerns about free speech and the limitations on discourse the influential social media platform has been placing on America and the wider world.

The tech billionaire has been outspoken in his criticism of how the site conducts itself in relation to censorship. It’s not a secret that the social media giant has a long history of locking, shadow banning, or even outright removing accounts for expressing the wrong political opinions, or banning factual information that contradicts the popular political narratives surrounding issues like Covid or the ongoing debate on transgender ideology, and Musk has seemed particularly concerned about the way in which heavy-handed censorship impacts the democratic process. A position that is entirely justified, especially after the platform infamously locked the account of one of the largest newspapers in the country when it attempted to share shocking revelations about Hunter Biden just a few weeks before the election.

That story has since been reluctantly vindicated by other mainstream outlets, but Twitter (as well as Facebook) was happy to block the news at a crucial moment in what was a clear attempt to aid the Regime and manipulate the 2020 American election. They then proceeded to ban the sitting President of the United States, for good measure. Twitter is not just another social media platform, and both Musk and his opponents are fully aware of this. The micro-blogging site may have a relatively small user base compared to its closest competitors, but what it lacks in volume it more than makes up for in influence. Twitter is the preferred platform for our elites. Journalists and media pundits, i.e. the people responsible for weaving The Narrative that every American is forced to ingest (whether they realize it or not) all operate within the bird app.

The site serves as a networking tool and dopamine dispenser for the class charged with controlling what the average person sees, hears, and thinks. But that class has become increasingly terrible at their job, and the only way that Twitter has been able to defend its status is by banning anyone who becomes too effective at challenging the narrative or exposing how embarrassing those who craft it have become. The reason Elon Musk’s offer is so dangerous to the Regime is that it promises to pry an inept and decadent class of parasites out of their carefully crafted safe spaces and force them to once again face the public they so callously manipulate on a regular basis.

Mika
https://twitter.com/i/status/1515003682051530760

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First you get arrested for leaving home, now you get arrested if you don’t leave.

Shanghai Cops Clash With Citizens Over Leaving Homes To Covid Patients (NYP)

Furious Shanghai residents clashed with hazmat-suited police Thursday after they were ordered to give up their homes so COVID-19 patients in China’s most populous city can isolate amid draconian lockdowns. Officers were filmed wrestling residents to the ground and then leading some away to a van — as others said they were fearful that making their home a quarantine center amid an influx of cases would expose them to the illness, according to Agence France-Presse and footage of the incident. “It’s not that I don’t want to cooperate with the country, but how would you feel if you live in a building where the blocks are only 10 meters (30 feet) apart, everyone has tested negative, and these people are allowed in?” a woman who filmed Thursday’s ordeal could be heard saying in the video.


Residents also accused cops in the video of “hitting people” — and a sobbing woman could be heard asking, “Why are they taking an old person away?” The rare show of dissent in the Communist country comes amid growing frustration after millions in Shanghai were plunged into a strict lockdown last month when cases started to spike in the face of China’s zero-COVID policy. In an attempt to control the virus, everyone who tests positive in China must quarantine at designated sites — and neighbors are also forced to isolate in their homes for 14 days. Shanghai has doubled down on the policy by converting schools, newly constructed apartment blocks and exhibition halls into quarantine centers. The Thursday clash between residents and cops erupted after authorities forced out 39 tenants to make room for infected patients.

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Enter the lawyers.

Ireland Chooses WHO Over Irish Sovereignty (WA)

As many people know, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1st 1939 Britain and France immediately declared war on Germany. What followed afterwards was an 8 month period often referred to by historians as the “Phony War”. A period during which very little actual fighting took place. The Phony War ended with Germany’s invasion of France and the low countries of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in May of the following year. In late January of 2022, Ireland, surprisingly dropped most of its pandemic restrictions. Well, I was most surprised at any rate. Perhaps readers were not. What has followed from this date, in the interim three months, might well best be described as a phony war of sorts too. If not a phony war then at least an uneasy truce.

In response, many protest and freedom movements simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief while suspiciously wondering what the hell was going to come next. It was scarcely believable that after six months of constant government, state and media oppression not to mention the destruction of civil liberties that they would all give up – and all at once too. Additionally, it was hard to focus as these entities all stopped informing us of their long-term intentions. It has been my suspicion since early to mid February that the government and its EU partners were moving away from a focus on rapidly diminishing vaccination returns. And moving instead to a broader, EU-wide, public entrapment. To do this involves moving some pretty hefty pieces. One of them, which I will discuss today, involves coordinating Health policies and pandemic responses. The EU and WHO as partners.

The opening move in this proposed citizen encirclement is a legally binding WHO pandemic treaty with nation states. This treaty is breath-taking in its audacity and was the prime reason that a number of us in Galway asked Lawyers for Justice to come down to give us a detailed presentation on the topic two weeks ago. So as to formulate a better understanding of the nuances of this treaty but also the language of it too. [..] Today, Minister Stephen Donnelly officially confirmed our suspicions and announced that Ireland will indeed be signing up to the WHO pandemic treaty. As mentioned above, a legally binding treaty, that will allow the WHO to officially take the reins and direct our sovereign response to a pandemic. In other words, elected Irish politicians or our Health authorities will not be formulating the response.

The World Health Organisation will be the entity charged with that function. Undoubtedly we will have some representation at this new WHO level but it will no longer be a response driven by the needs or will of Irish people. It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that official Ireland, and Minister Donnelly in particular, don’t want the responsibility and seemingly can’t wait to give away that authority quickly enough. Our authority lest we forget.

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Eggplants

 

 

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Apr 082022
 
 April 8, 2022  Posted by at 8:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  60 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Femme nue couchée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

 

Ukraine Foreign Minister Demands More “Weapons, Weapons, Weapons” From NATO (ZH)
The True Importance Of The Bucha False Flag (Saker)
Israel, Russia Clash Over Ukraine (Lauria)
Azov Fighter Video Overshadows Zelenskyy’s Address To Greek Lawmakers (R.)
Ukraine War Frenzy Proves: It’s Still John McCain’s GOP (Tracey)
US Air Force Delays Hypersonic Missile Program Over “Flight Test Anomalies” (ZH)
The Dollar Devours the Euro (Michael Hudson)
Despite Sanctions The Ruble Is Stronger Than Before The War (OffG)
Sit Back And Watch Europe Commit Suicide (Escobar)
Two-Star General Warns Hunter Biden Laptop Witness About His Safety (CTH)
BLMs LA Mansion Bought For 3.1M Sold 6 Days Later For 5.8M (DM)
Peter Thiel Blasts Buffett, Dimon, & Fink As “Finance Gerontocracy” (ZH)
The Spike Protein Is The “Amyloid” Being Deposited (Chesnut)
Nearly $300 Million To Wokify The Canadian Military (CS)
Priti Patel Part Of CIA-linked Lobby Group With Husband Of Assange Judge (DUK)

 

 

 

 

Disinformation

 

 

Wow, this sounds stupid

 

 

“The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved.”

Uh, no.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Demands More “Weapons, Weapons, Weapons” From NATO (ZH)

“Weapons, weapons, weapons” is what Ukraine’s government is still demanding of NATO countries, even after the Biden-approved $800 million package last month. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba issued the plea after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, stating on Twitter that the “three most important things” for Ukrainians are “weapons, weapons, weapons.” “Met with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO HQ in Brussels. I came here today to discuss three most important things: weapons, weapons, and weapons,” Kuleba wrote. “Ukraine’s urgent needs, the sustainability of supplies, and long-term solutions which will help Ukraine to prevail,” he added.

Already the Pentagon has agreed to send more Javelin anti-armor systems, also as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles are being supplied, which Moscow sees as a huge provocation, with the war entering its sixth week. During a press conference in Brussels, Kuleba said his agenda in meeting with NATO leaders remains “simple”… “We know how to fight. We know how to win. But without sustainable and sufficient supplies requested by Ukraine, these wins will be accompanied by enormous sacrifices,” Kuleba said. “The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved.”

Previously, CNN had documented that Kiev is increasingly pushing Washington for more advanced battlefield weapons, especially to take out Russia’s superior tanks and aircraft: The Defense Department plans to accelerate production of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles so it can refill its own depleted stocks as it continues to send the vital systems to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, according to defense officials. Ukraine wants 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles delivered from the US daily, according to a recent military assistance wish list. CNN viewed the document that details the items Ukraine believes it needs from the US.

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“Russia needs to flush the EU down her “mental toilet” and only deal with sovereign countries which have retained enough agency to defend their own interests.”

The True Importance Of The Bucha False Flag (Saker)

[..] the leaders of the Empire of Hate and Lies have fully opened the “Hate and Lies” valve and it appears that they are seriously “losing it”. Remember how in the Skripal and MH-17 cases EU countries joined in the sanctions out of “solidarity”? I personally would call that cowardice and submissiveness, but “solidarity” works too. Well, the Eurolemmings have solidarized themselves into their own grave and now there is no undoing what they did to themselves. From the Russian point of view, it is rather straightforward: Russia tried to encourage EU countries to use their own judgment and act in their own interests.

It is now quite clear that as long as they get to brown-nose Uncle Shmuel the Eurolemmings are quite content with their fate. Russia needs to flush the EU down her “mental toilet” and only deal with sovereign countries which have retained enough agency to defend their own interests. In the EU that means Hungary and, to a much lesser degree, Serbia (not the people, of course, but the government which remains subservient to the Eurolemmings). The Bucha massacre itself will go down Zone A’s collective memory hole, that’s where all the previous false flags of the Empire of Hate and Lies have gone. Once a demonization operation has served its use, it can be forgotten.

So what are the purposes of the Bucha false flag: • Change the narrative from the (non-existing) Ukronazi “victories” to “stop the Russian atrocities” • Obfuscate the DELUGE of evidence (witnesses and forensic) showing that it was the Ukronazis who engaged in mass atrocities in Mariupol. Remember – Ukrainian victims are sacred, Russian victims are simply irrelevant. In fact, a Russian CAN NOT be a victim unless he is anti-Putin, then it’s okay. • To condition (I mean that in the psychological sense) the TV watching serfs of the Empire of Lies and Hate to hate anything Russian with a searing, explosive, hated. • Declare that Putin is now the “New Hitler” (though Putin has been Hitler pretty much since 2000, it’s just that now he is even MORE Hitler than before) and Russia some kind of broken, poor, and otherwise horrible Mordor.

• Use this pretext to try to eject Russia and Russians from as many locations and organizations on the planet as possible. That means all of Zone A for sure, but also plenty of locations and organizations in Zone B where the comprador ruling set the tone and don’t give a damn about their own people and country. • Try to scare Putin with the same fate as Gaddafi, Milosevic, and Hussein who were all demonized and later murdered. • If you think about it, I think that it is fair to say that these are all clear signs that the Empire of Hate and Lies has now declared total war on Russia, just short of overtly actually attacking Russian forces or Russia, of course. In fact, Russia and the Empire of Hate and Lies have been at war since at least 2013..

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“Serious politicians, especially at such a high level as Minister Lapid, have no right to talk idly..”

Israel, Russia Clash Over Ukraine (Lauria)

From the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Israel has refused to join the West’s economic war against Moscow, maintaining a neutral stance that as positioned it as a possible broker to end the conflict. But all that appears to have changed with remarks by Israel’s foreign minister in a Twitter post on Sunday, the day the massacre at Bucha was revealed and before any investigation could be conducted. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote: “It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the horrific images from the city of Bucha near Kyiv, from after the Russian army left. Intentionally harming a civilian population is a war crime and I strongly condemn it.” Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine also implied that Russia had committed a war crime. “Deeply shocked by the photos from #Bucha. Killing of civilians is a war crime and cannot be justified,” Ambassador Michael Brodsky tweeted on Sunday.

Earlier, on March 13, during a visit to Romania, Lapid had tweeted: “… like Romania, Israel condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s without justification, and we call on Russia to stop its firing and attacks, and to resolve this conflict around the negotiating table.” The Israeli foreign ministry tried to distance itself from the ambassador’s remarks. Haaretz reported: “Asked if the Foreign Ministry’s official position was that Russia had committed war crimes in Ukraine, a spokesman replied: ‘No. It’s a tweet by the ambassador regarding the photos. He didn’t blame Russia.’” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who flew to Moscow on March 5 to meet with President Vladimir Putin (and was condemned for it), has made no comment about the Bucha incident.

Israel is trying to maintain a balancing act between Moscow and Washington, which cannot be pleased with Israel not joining the economic war. Russia and Israel have long maintained good relations, with Moscow even allowing Israel to conduct bombing raids on Syria. But years of goodwill have now been put on the line with Foreign Minister Lapid’s remarks. And now Russia has struck back. Sergey Ivanov, head of the department of diplomacy and consular service at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, wrote a scathing critique of Israel on Wednesday, posted on the ministry’s Telegram page. It holds nothing back, openly condemning Israel for a variety of sins, including its treatment of the Palestinians.

Ivanov wrote that many Western journalists and political analysts have opportunistically become overnight “Ukraine experts” just as Western politicians, such as Lapid, are making rash statements to boost their popularity. “Serious politicians, especially at such a high level as Minister Lapid, have no right to talk idly,” Ivanov warned. “They should be aware of the possible consequences of what they say, including with regard to relations with Russia.”

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Bring your nazi to work. Just how stupid are these people?

“Ukraine’s Zelensky faces criticism in Greece after bringing a Neo Nazi member of the Azov battalion alongside him during his address to the Greek Parliament.”

Azov Fighter Video Overshadows Zelenskyy’s Address To Greek Lawmakers (R.)

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s address to the Greek parliament on Thursday caused an outrage from opposition parties after a man who identified himself as an ethnic Greek member of Ukraine’s ultranationalist Azov battalion appeared on a video. Zelenskyy spoke about the destruction of the Russian-besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol – home to thousands of ethnic Greeks – and appealed to Athens for help. During his speech he showed a video with a message by a man who identified himself as a member of the Azov battalion, a far-right militia now part of Ukraine’s National Guard. “I address you, as a Greek by origin. I am Mikhail, my grandfather fought against the Nazis… I participate in the defence of Ukraine through the Azov Battalion,” he said.

Zelenskyy, who was invited to address the Greek parliament by conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, received a standing ovation from lawmakers present in the room. But the video caused a backlash on social media and an angry reaction from leftist parties. Shortly after the speech, the head of the leftist SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras said the incident was a provocation. “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a given. But the Nazis can not have a say in parliament,” he tweeted. A Greek government spokesman responded that the message of a member of the Azov Battalion was “mistaken and inappropriate.”

Western countries say Moscow’s invasion, the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two, was entirely unprovoked. Russia says it is carrying out a “special operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbors. Ukraine’s embassy in Athens said the Azov regiment, set up as a far right group in 2014, has been reformed and integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine. “For many years Russia tried to ‘plant’ into Greek minds the myth that “Azov” Regiment is a paramilitary independent unit operating in Mariupol,” it said.

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Given the average age, no wonder that things move very slowly.

Ukraine War Frenzy Proves: It’s Still John McCain’s GOP (Tracey)

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” fumed John McCain back in March 2017. His target: Rand Paul, who had committed the unforgivable offense of momentarily delaying the latest round of NATO expansion. Montenegro, a tiny country in southeastern Europe that most Americans have never heard of, was about to join the sprawling military alliance — and McCain was determined to see the final ratification ritual proceed with as little debate as possible. So he hurled the time-honored “working for Putin” accusation, and sure enough, Paul quickly withdrew his minor procedural objection. The glorious ascension of Montenegro to NATO membership status was thereby assured.

Since that episode, a lot has transpired regarding the public perception of McCain. He delighted liberals by feuding regularly with Donald Trump — even going so far as to denounce Trump for engaging in “disgraceful” and “pathetic” flattery of Putin. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” McCain raged. He undermined Congressional Republicans’ legislative agenda during the brief window in Trump’s presidency when the party had unified control of government — famously delivering a dramatic thumbs-down gesture to derail GOP hopes of repealing Obamacare, as a chagrined Mitch McConnell watched powerlessly on.

McCain had returned to his most natural state. After annoying Democrats by running against Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and being surly about his defeat for some time afterwards, he had once again resumed playing the “maverick” role he so relished — reviled by “his own side,” and loved by the “other side.” His death in 2018 brought forth the most effusive display of state-sanctioned grief that any US political figure had received since Ronald Reagan died in 2004, with all the universal media adulation that entails. Trump’s exclusion from the funeral proceedings, at McCain’s posthumous direction, was just the icing on the cake. But nowadays, if you bring up McCain in certain GOP circles, it will often be claimed that his influence has mercifully dissipated. The Republican Party experienced a bonafide ideological upheaval under Trump, they’ll say, and the McCain worldview — defined mainly by his unwavering commitment to a hyper-interventionist US foreign policy — has since fallen starkly out of favor.

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“Western countries have yet to field a hypersonic weapon while the old world order crumbles as a multipolar world emerges..”

US Air Force Delays Hypersonic Missile Program Over “Flight Test Anomalies” (ZH)

While Russia launched hypersonic air-to-ground missiles during the invasion of Ukraine and China flew a hypersonic weapon around the world late last year, the US continues to fall behind the hypersonic curve as a new round of delays were announced by the US Air Force (USAF), according to Bloomberg. The AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was expected to be declared “early operational capability” by Sept. 30. However, according to a USAF statement, those timelines have been pushed back to the next fiscal year. ARRW, expected to be the Pentagon’s first hypersonic weapon, suffered three consecutive failed tests last year. ARRW’s latest hurdle was two upcoming ground-based booster motor tests by June 30.

But, it appears “due to recent flight test anomalies,” the missile test would be shifted out to as late as December with additional tests planned next fiscal year, according to the USAF statement. “The ARRW production decision remains event-driven and will occur after operational utility is demonstrated through successful system end-to-end flight tests,” the service continued. Lockheed-Martin’s ability to manufacture and deliver the new weapon appears to be a 2023 story. Western countries have yet to field a hypersonic weapon while the old world order crumbles as a multipolar world emerges, pushing Russia and China closer together. Perhaps that’s why President Biden is set to unveil a new trilateral security hypersonic pact with the UK and Australia to advance the development of hypersonic weapons.

On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama sounded the alarm at the House Armed Services Committee hearing that China has “more troops, ships, and hypersonic missiles than the United States.” Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio said the US needs to increase its hypersonic development.

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“..why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands?”

The Dollar Devours the Euro (Michael Hudson)

European trade and investment prior to the War to Impose Sanctions had promised a rising mutual prosperity between Germany, France and other NATO countries vis-à-vis Russia and China. Russia was providing abundant energy at a competitive price, and this energy was to make a quantum leap with Nord Stream 2. Europe was to earn the foreign exchange to pay for this rising import trade by a combination of exporting more industrial manufactures to Russia and capital investment in developing the Russian economy, e.g. by German auto companies and financial investment. This bilateral trade and investment is now stopped – and will remain stopped for many, many years, given NATO’s confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves kept in euros and British sterling, and the European Russophobia being fanned by U.S. propaganda media.

In its place, NATO countries will purchase U.S. LNG – but they will need to spend billions of dollars building sufficient port capacity, which may take until perhaps 2024. (Good luck until then.) The energy shortage will sharply raise the world price of gas and oil. NATO countries also will step up their purchases of arms from the U.S. military-industrial complex. The near-panic buying will also raise the price for arms. And food prices also will rise as a result of the desperate grain shortfalls resulting from a cessation of imports from Russia and Ukraine on the one hand, and the shortage of ammonia fertilizer made from gas. All three of these trade dynamics will strengthen the dollar vis-à-vis the euro. The question is, how will Europe balance its international payments with the United States?

What does it have to export that the U.S. economy will accept as its own protectionist interests gain influence, now that global free trade is dying quickly? The answer is, not much. So what will Europe do? I could make a modest proposal. Now that Europe has pretty much ceased to be a politically independent state, it is beginning to look more like Panama and Liberia – “flag of convenience” offshore banking centers that are not real “states” because they don’t issue their own currency, but use the U.S. dollar. Since the eurozone has been created with monetary handcuffs limiting its ability to create money to spend into the economy beyond the limit of 3 percent of GDP, why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands? That would give foreign investors security against currency depreciation in their rising trade with Europe and its export financing.

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“The price of oil is going up and the ruble is worth just as much as it was before the war.”

Despite Sanctions The Ruble Is Stronger Than Before The War (OffG)

It’s official, as of right now the Russian ruble is worth more US dollars than before the invasion of Ukraine. On the 22nd of February this year, one US dollar would exchange for just over 79 rubles. As of the time of writing, it is now 78. The same is true of the British pound (around 108 rubles before, 102 now), and the Euro (88 rubles before, 84 now). Across the board, the ruble is stronger than before the war. So, how has this happened? Aren’t NATO, the EU and the rest of the “international community” meant to be crippling the Russian economy with biting sanctions? The media are claiming that the strength of the ruble “may be illusory” or that Russia has exploited a “loophole” in the sanctions and used “financial alchemy” to “rescue the ruble”.

Reminder: In 2014, when the west sanctioned Russia over the Crimean referendum, the ruble lost almost half its value. It recovered slightly in 2016, and has since stabilized, but has never come close to its pre-Crimean worth. So, presumably the earlier sanctions didn’t have a “loophole” in them, and/or the Russians either weren’t aware of this “financial alchemy” back then, or simply decided not to use it. Of course there is one key difference between 2014 and 2022 – the oil market. As we have written before, in 2014/15 the US and Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil and crashed the price. Russia (and Iran, and Venezuela) all suffered huge economic damage from this move.

But far from repeating this tactic, Saudi Arabia has increased their prices. The Western press claims that the US asked Saudi Arabia to increase oil production and they refused. They claim Saudi Arabia “sided with Russia”, and that they should be “punished”. Meanwhile, Turkey has just suspended the trial of the Saudi citizens alleged to have murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a move that should please the Saudi government no end. The West seems as bad at “punishing” their misbehaved allies as they are at tanking the value of the Russia’s currency. To sum up – The price of oil is going up and the ruble is worth just as much as it was before the war.

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“..next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen; Le Petit Roi Macron in France – maybe up to a nasty electoral surprise – announcing “food stamps like in WWII are possible”.

Sit Back And Watch Europe Commit Suicide (Escobar)

The stunning spectacle of the EU committing slow motion hara-kiri is something for the ages. Like a cheap Kurosawa remake the movie is actually about the Empire of Lies-detonated demolition of the EU, complete with subsequent rerouting of some key Russian commodities exports to the US at the expense of the Europeans. It helps to have a 5th columnist actress strategically placed, in this case astonishingly incompetent European Commission head Ursula von der Lugen, with a brand new vociferous announcement of an extra sanctions package: Russian ships banned from EU ports; road transportation companies from Russia and Belarus prohibited from entering the EU; no more coal imports (over 4.4 billion euros a year).

That translates in practice into the Empire of Lies shaking down its wealthiest – Western – clients/puppets. Russia of course is too powerful militarily. The Empire badly needs some of its key exports – especially minerals. Mission Accomplished in this case amounts to nudging the EU into imposing more and more sanctions and willfully collapsing their national economies, allowing the US to scoop everything up. Cue to the coming catastrophic economic consequences felt by Europeans in their daily life (but not by the wealthiest 5%): inflation devouring salaries and savings; next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen; Le Petit Roi Macron in France – maybe up to a nasty electoral surprise – announcing “food stamps like in WWII are possible”.

We have Germany facing the returning ghost of Weimar hyperinflation; BlackRock President Rob Kapito saying, in Texas, “for the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want”; farmers in Africa not able to afford fertilizer at all this year, reducing agricultural production by an amount capable of feeding 100 million people. Zoltan Poszar, former NY Fed and US Treasury guru, current Credit Suisse grand vizir, has been on a streak, stressing how commodity reserves – and here Russia is unrivaled – will be an essential feature of what he calls Bretton Woods III (yet, in fact, what’s being designed by Russia, China, Iran and the Eurasia Economic Union is a post-Bretton Woods). Poszar remarks that wars, historically, are won by those who have more food and energy supplies, in the past to power horses and soldiers, today to feed soldiers and fuel tanks and fighter jets. China, incidentally, has amassed large stocks of virtually everything.

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“..so that people can see the scale of depravity and Biden family corruption within the evidence..”

Two-Star General Warns Hunter Biden Laptop Witness About His Safety (CTH)

Emerald Robinson has a great interview with Jack Maxey from Switzerland. Maxey was the first person to receive a full hard drive copy of the Hunter Biden laptop from Rudy Guliani. After media, Senate and U.S. government officials refused to take action, Maxey went to Switzerland in order to complete a full forensic audit of the laptop content in a neutral jurisdiction. Previously, Maxey outlined his intent to share the full contents of the original files, and all of the retrieved deleted files, with the public so that people can see the scale of depravity and Biden family corruption within the evidence. In this interview with Emerald Robinson, Maxey states the full and searchable email archive will likely be completed early next week.


Additionally, in this interview Maxey goes into greater detail about the larger issues surrounding impediments to the release of information, including how the laptop contained access certificates to enter the Defense Department database. Maxey tried to get the DoD to address the issue without success, until he found a direct conduit to a two-star general who took the certificate codes, deactivated the access and thanked him for his diligence. Unfortunately, that same general then told Maxey he needed to focus on securing the safety of himself and his family, as the full weight of the U.S. interests, including the intelligence apparatus and defense apparatus, will likely target him. In my opinion, it is Maxey’s forensic review of the data and statements about making it all public, that triggered/pressured the collective western media to begin admitting the laptop issues were real and start covering the details.

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What an insane story.

BLMs LA Mansion Bought For 3.1M Sold 6 Days Later For 5.8M (DM)

A Los Angeles mansion frequented by Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart was bought by a real estate developer working for BLM founder Patrisse Cullors and her partner for $3.1 million, and then purchased by BLM’s foundation just six days later for $5.8 million in cash, it has emerged. The rapid price inflation ‘raises serious questions,’ ethics experts said. The purchase of the 6,500 square-foot, six-bedroom property in Studio City was first revealed on Monday by New York Magazine, amid growing questions about BLM’s finances. The organization in February 2021 said it had taken in more than $90 million in 2020 and still had $60 million on hand, but it remains unclear how that money is being managed or even where it is.

Cullors, the co-founder of the organization, resigned in May 2021 as director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), amid scrutiny of her property empire. She has written best-selling books, and has a contract with Warner Brothers to produce content. On Wednesday, Cullors, 38, angrily hit back at the questions over cash purchase of the Studio City mansion, describing the criticism as ‘racist and sexist’. She insisted that the expansive property was bought as a ‘safe space’ for black creatives, activists and thought leaders, and its purchase was never disclosed because it needed renovating. Cullors called the New York Magazine investigation ‘a despicable abuse of a platform that’s intended to provide truthful information to the public’, and said that the author had ‘a proven and very public bias against me and other Black leaders’. She did not address the discrepancy in the home’s cost.

The property was purchased on October 21, 2020 by Dyane Pascall, a real estate developer who worked for the firm run by Cullors and her partner, Janaya and Patrisse Consulting. Pascall is president of Conscious Capital Investment Enterprises, according to LinkedIn, which describes it as ‘Real Estate Investment company in South LA that provides affordable housing in low income communities in the face of rapid gentrification.’

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“today all the gold in the world is worth $12 trillion, while global equities are worth $115 trillion. In 1980, the ratio was one-to-one..”

Peter Thiel Blasts Buffett, Dimon, & Fink As “Finance Gerontocracy” (ZH)

At Bitcoin 2022, Thiel started his speech with a video from him in the past, talking about the future of digital infrastructure. His predictions regarding cell phone usage, which may have sounded odd at the time, were quite accurate. He also mentioned the dollar hegemony and even the potential for digitalization of the dollar, all of which we are seeing today. The speech that followed was, in the words of Bitcoin Mag, “quite incredible” – he started by pulling out a wad of $100 bills, and presenting them to the crowd. He said, “It’s a mysterious thing, what is money?” He followed by offering the money to a random person in the crowd, a gesture to which many people responded. “It’s kind of crazy that this still works,” Thiel said. While he is a billionaire, he had a point.

He went on about how PayPal began, bitcoin’s placement in terms of velocity and more — and then he began talking about enemies of Bitcoin. “If bitcoin is going to replace gold, the question is, why is it so undervalued?” he said. “Bitcoin is always the most honest market in the world, the most efficient market and it was the canary in the coal mine.” Thiel went on to point out that “today all the gold in the world is worth $12 trillion, while global equities are worth $115 trillion. In 1980, the ratio was one-to-one, with all the gold in the world and global equities having the same value of $2.5 trillion.” And so, while in the 1970s, equities were a bad investment, the great moderation that started in 1980 after Volcker killed galloping inflation, made equities the best investment of the past 40 years.

However, now that inflation is as high as it was in the late 1970s, equities are the enemy and bitcoin is the right investment, according to Thiel. Concluding his musing on valuation, Thiel says that the competitor for bitcoin is not ethereum which is a payment system, nor gold, but equities and asks why shouldn’t there be parity between the $115 trillion value of global equities and the ~$830BN value of bitcoin. “I am still hopeful that bitcoin goes up by a factor of 100x” he said. The Paypal founder then also makes a mockery of all those who say that bitcoin is not an inflation hedge with just one chart – the chart showing how anyone who had a sense of the inflationary tsunami that is coming, made a killing in early 2020 when the could have bought bitcoin at a far lower price.

Saying that it’s hard to know where Bitcoin goes from here, the billionaire said that Bitcoin is the most honest and most efficient market: “Bitcoin is the canary in the coalmine, it was telling us that inflation is coming; it is telling us that central banks are bankrupt; it is telling us that we are at the end of the fiat money regime.” [..] His conclusion: the Financial Gerontocracy has declared war on Bitcoin as a revolutionary youth movement for good reason. It is this time the revolutionary youth should understand their enemies and return fire.

Thiel

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It’s everywhere.

The Spike Protein Is The “Amyloid” Being Deposited (Chesnut)

The spike protein is the “amyloid” being deposited and inducing amyloidoses: a major finding missed severe covid may be due to the added deposition of complement with the spike. The paper “The histologic and molecular correlates of COVID-19 vaccine-induced changes in the skin” made a case for the immune response to the Spike Protein causing self-limited hypersensitivity reactions to the vaccine. However, if you study the paper carefully, you notice that the authors have missed a far more important finding.

The biopsy specimens of normal skin post vaccine and of skin affected by the post-vaccine eruption showed rare deep microvessels positive for spike glycoprotein with no complement deposition contrasting with greater vascular deposition of spike protein and complement in skin biopsies from patients experiencing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The histology exactly recapitulated perniosis including COVID-19–associated perniosis, which provides evidence that the Spike Protein alone induces COVID-19 pathology. More importantly, the fact that IN NORMAL SKIN, the Spike Protein was found to be deposited in DEEP VESSELS, MICROVESSELS, BLOOD VESSELS AND DEEP ENDOTHELIAL CELLS. Why would one assume that this deposition is only occurring in NORMAL SKIN TISSUE? I believe it is most certainly occurring in NORMAL TISSUE. PERIOD.

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Think they’ll give their lives for him?

Nearly $300 Million To Wokify The Canadian Military (CS)

Nestled deep within the Liberal government’s new 2022 budget is a whopping $100.5 million in taxpayer funding for “gender identity” culture change and training in the Canadian Armed Forces. The sum is part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new $58 billion spending bonanza and nested in their $8 billion defence spending boost over the next five years. “Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100.5 million over six years, starting in 2021-22, with $1.7 million in remaining amortization, and $16.8 million ongoing,” the budget report reads. These funds will be put towards “undertaking engagement and consultations on culture change” as it relates to gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination. The Liberal budget also mentions “coaching services.”


Under Trudeau’s watch, Canada’s military has been hit with sex scandals and harassment controversies. Instead of addressing the root causes of the problem and removing bad apples, the Liberals have used the issue as an opportunity to make the military more woke. Another gender-related spending in the defence budget included $144.3 million over five years and an additional $31.6 million ongoing to expand health services and physical fitness programs to “be more responsive to women and gender-diverse military personnel.” “This builds on funding from Budget 2021 of $236.2 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $33.5 million ongoing for the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to support efforts to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and support survivors,” the budget claims.

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One big vicious circle.

Priti Patel Part Of CIA-linked Lobby Group With Husband Of Assange Judge (DUK)

Priti Patel sat on the Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) advisory council from around 2013-16, although the exact dates are unclear as neither the HJS nor Patel responded to Declassified’s requests for clarification. She has also received funds from the HJS, and was paid £2,500 by the group to visit Washington in March 2013 to attend a “security” programme in the US Congress. Patel, who became an MP in 2010 and was appointed Home Secretary in 2019, also hosted an HJS event in parliament soon after she returned from Washington. After the UK Supreme Court said this month it was refusing to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision against him, the WikiLeaks founder’s fate now lies in Patel’s hands. He faces life in prison in the US.

The HJS, which was founded in 2005 and does not disclose its funders, has links to the CIA, the intelligence agency behind the prosecution of Assange and which reportedly developed plans to assassinate him. One of the HJS’s international patrons is James Woolsey, CIA director from 1993-95, who was in this role throughout the period Patel was advising the group. Woolsey’s affiliation to the HJS goes back to at least 2006, soon after it was founded. In 2014, the group hosted General David Petraeus, CIA director from 2011-12, at a UK parliament meeting from which all media were barred. Three years later, in 2017, the HJS organised another event at parliament with General Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006-9, to “discuss the current state of the American Intelligence Community and its relationships with foreign partners.”

Hayden described “the relationship within the Five Eyes community as strong as ever, despite potential concerns over recent intelligence leaks between members.” Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. During a visit to the UK in July 2020, then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a roundtable hosted by the HJS with what the Washington Post referred to as a group of “hawkish” members of the Conservative Party. As director of the CIA in 2017, Pompeo had launched a blistering attack on WikiLeaks calling the media organisation a “hostile intelligence service” that makes “common cause with dictators”. Pompeo did not provide evidence but added a threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

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Biden family

 

 

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Apr 032022
 


Pablo Picasso Bathers with ball 1 1928

 

Ukraine War Shows Emerging Post-American World (IC)
Russian Central Bank Eases Capital Controls As Ruble Erases Losses (ZH)
Pentagon: No ‘Offensive’ Bioweapons at US-Linked Ukraine Labs (Antiwar)
Booming Wheat Exports From India To Ease Global Shortage (BBG)
COVID Is Exploding, And Everything Is Fine (CS)
$1 Million Reward For A CDC or FDA Whistleblower (Kirsch)
Tennis World Shocked After Scores Of Players Drop Out Of Miami Open (FWM)
Foo Fighters Drummer Taylor Hawkins Dead At 50 (Kirsch)
Hospital CEOs Are Joining The Great Resignation (BHR)
Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Wasn’t Part Of ‘Left-wing Media’ Narrative’ – Maher (Fox)
Judge Strikes Down Corporate Board Diversity Law In California (JTN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In trying to isolate Russia, the west isolates itself.

Ukraine War Shows Emerging Post-American World (IC)

In the late 1990s, at a time when U.S. global dominance still looked invincible, Singaporean diplomat and academic Kishore Mahbubani raised questions about whether a rising Asia might thwart American hegemony in the near future. The crux of Mahbubani’s argument — laid out in his provocatively titled 1998 book, “Can Asians Think?” — was that Western elites, then flush with their victory in the Cold War, had become overly comfortable with dictating the bounds of legitimate debate and sound policy to the rest of the world. That imperious relationship, which had existed since the colonial period, was about to come to an end, said Mahbubani. Asians and other non-Westerners had their own ideas about how the world should be run and would soon have the strength to implement them.

A few decades later, the war in Ukraine is revealing how right Mahbubani was. Despite the browbeating of U.S. politicians to take a side in the conflict, a growing number of Asian, African, and Latin American countries have charted a neutral path. China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, South Africa, and even Mexico have remained aloof, resisting calls to diplomatically isolate Russia or join the campaign to sanction its economy. Asian companies have remained in Russia even as their Western counterparts have departed en masse. At the United Nations, meanwhile, a bevy of African states, largest among them South Africa, have abstained from resolutions aimed at ostracizing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion. The neutral stance of these countries has evidently come as a shock to many Western elites, long accustomed to instructing other nations on what geopolitical positions they must take.

The way the West corralled support as the only superpower during and after the Cold War, in other words, is no longer effective. India offers the best example of just how much this posture of self-interested neutrality has caught U.S. elites unawares. Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an exemplar of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, denounced India for its neutral stance. Haass, apparently unaware of his patronizing tone, said that India’s refusal to side against Russia proved that the country of 1.2 billion people “remains unprepared to step up to major power responsibilities or be a dependable partner.” President Joe Biden similarly criticized India for being “shaky” in its response to Russia, compared with European Union countries and Japan, which have rallied to the Ukrainian cause.

American leaders have long hoped that India would be willing to serve as a partner in helping the U.S. contain China and uphold the U.S.-backed liberal order. As it turns out, India has its own interests to pursue. It is a major customer of Russian arms and energy, enjoying a long relationship with Moscow going back to the Cold War. Morality aside, there are concrete, material reasons that Indians would not want to sacrifice these ties simply to win praise in Washington.

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Energy pegged to ruble pegged to gold.

Russian Central Bank Eases Capital Controls As Ruble Erases Losses (ZH)

Now that the Russian ruble has erased all of its post-incursion losses….the Russian Central Bank decided on Friday that it would loosen restrictions on the transfer of funds abroad, much to the relief of ordinary Russians (particularly the wealthy, as well as the Middle class, who have increasingly been turning to the UAE, Israel and other locales as havens for their capital and assets). CBR said it would allow Russians and non-residents from countries that don’t support sanctions to transfer up to $10,000, or its equivalent in another currency, each month. Shortly after Russia’s “special military operation” began last month, Russia’s central bank tightened restrictions on money flowing abroad, barring non-Russians from transferring more than $5,000 a month out of the country.

Transfer limits will be determined using the CBR’s official exchange rates for the ruble against other currencies, the bank said. Still, Russia will retain a tight grip on its currency market even with the easing of these capital controls. Russian brokerages still aren’t allowed to let foreign clients sell securities, one of a retinue of policies intended to support the ruble. CBR has also restricted the amount of dollars that Russians can withdraw from bank accounts denominated in foreign currencies. Russian banks have been barred from selling foreign currencies to Russians until early September as the Russian banking system continues to face the repercussions of the seizure by the West of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of foreign-currency reserves held in accounts abroad.

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Bioweapons confirmation. But what are defensive bioweapons? Isn’t that what Pater Daszak was working on?

Pentagon: No ‘Offensive’ Bioweapons at US-Linked Ukraine Labs (Antiwar)

A Pentagon official told Congress on Friday that there are no “offensive” biological weapons in any of the dozens of US-linked labs in Ukraine. “I can say to you unequivocally there are no offensive biologic weapons in the Ukraine laboratories that the United States has been involved with,” Deborah Rosenbaum, the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs, told the House Armed Services subcommittee. The Pentagon funds labs in Ukraine through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). According to a Pentagon fact sheet released last month, since 2005, the US has “invested” $200 million in “supporting 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and diagnostic sites.”

Moscow has accused Ukraine of conducting an emergency clean-up of a secret Pentagon-funded biological weapons program when Russia invaded. The World Health Organization said it advised Ukraine to destroy “high-threat pathogens” around the time of the invasion. For their part, the US maintains that the program in Ukraine and other former Soviet states is meant to reduce the threat of biological weapons left over from the Soviet Union. While downplaying the threat of the labs, Pentagon officials have also warned that they could still contain Soviet-era bioweapons.

Robert Pope, the director of the DTRA’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, told the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in February that the labs might contain Soviet bioweapons and warned that the fighting in Ukraine could lead to the release of a dangerous pathogen. The Biden administration has tried to portray any concerns about the labs as “Russian propaganda.” When the issue gained more media attention, Biden officials started accusing Moscow of plotting to use chemical or biological weapons, but the US hasn’t presented any evidence to back up its claims.

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Good for North Africa and the Middle East.

Booming Wheat Exports From India To Ease Global Shortage (BBG)

In a world where people are worrying more than ever about food shortages and rising inflation, India’s warehouses are brimming over with grain and the country’s farmers are gearing up for yet another record harvest. The country is the top global producer of wheat after China and has the potential to ship 12 million tons to the world market in the 2022-23 year, the most on record, according to the median of five estimates in a Bloomberg survey of traders, millers and analysts. That compares with shipments of 8.5 million tons in 2021-22, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Prices of farm commodities were already on a tear before the Russian invasion of Ukraine as drought shriveled global harvests and demand increased, helping send world food costs to the highest on record.

The war made matters even worse because it has choked shipments from one of the planet’s top producing regions, cutting off more than a quarter of the world’s wheat supplies. “Indian wheat exports help the market in a tight world supply situation,” said Vijay Iyengar, chair and managing director of Singapore-based Agrocorp International. “It helps to keep a lid on global prices as well. If India wasn’t exporting wheat in large quantities, prices would have probably escalated further.” Benchmark wheat prices in Chicago surged to an all-time high of $13.635 a bushel last month after the Russian invasion, compared with an average of only around $5.50 a bushel in the five years through the day preceding the attack.

Tightening supply and rising prices for grain from major exporting countries have made Indian wheat competitive for the first time in years. With ballooning inventories after five straight record crops, India has a huge exportable surplus. That will be crucial for importers in North Africa and the Middle East where soaring food prices sparked violent uprisings more than a decade ago. While India has tended to ship wheat mostly to neighboring countries such as Bangladesh and to some Middle Eastern markets, exporters are now likely to find buyers across Africa and in other areas of the Middle Eastern region.

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Mass psychosis.

COVID Is Exploding, And Everything Is Fine (CS)

New wastewater data collected by the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine shows that COVID-19 is on the rise again — but it’s not clear it’s making much of an impact. According to Cumming School of Medicine microbiologist Dr. Dan Gregson, “The wastewater testing has shown, especially in Calgary, that the number of cases is going up and the positivity rate in the people we are testing has gone up as well.” He further says that he believes hospitalization numbers could rise throughout April due to a brand new variant called the BA.2 variant — I guess they’ve dropped the Greek alphabet branding. Based on the wastewater data released on March 28, 2022, SARS CoV-2 RNA has risen to levels above the spike seen on September 19, 2021 — around the same time Premier Jason Kenney locked Alberta down, implemented a vaccine passport, and issued an apology for letting Albertans be free for the summer.


However, despite COVID being more prevalent in wastewater, hospitalizations remain significantly lower. At the time of writing, Alberta is only reporting 964 hospitalizations, with 47 currently in the ICU. However, on September 17, 2021, there were nearly 20,000 active cases, and the province needed to use surge beds as ICUs would have been at 155 per cent capacity. Regardless, Gregson says Albertans should be concerned, get more vaccines, avoid contact with others, and return to masking indoors only a month after Kenney dropped the mask mandate. “Get your vaccines up to date. If you are at risk of severe disease, try and limit your contacts, use a mask in most indoor settings and limit your contacts with people who may be infectious.” Despite this recommendation, he concedes that contracting the new variant for most who’ve had COVID or received the vaccine will be like a “mild to moderate infection similar to a bad flu.”

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Full anonymity. It’s like WikiLeaks.

$1 Million Reward For A CDC or FDA Whistleblower (Kirsch)

I wrote an article earlier on how the safety signals in VAERS were flashing red back in January 2021. Yet nobody at the CDC or FDA said anything even though they were watching VAERS like a hawk (as the FDA’s Steven A. Anderson admitted on video). It’s simply impossible not to see the safety signals if they aren’t corrupt or incompetent. Since everyone in authority says these organizations are competent, then there is only one alternative left: they are corrupt. I am willing to pay up to $1M for information that I can give to the DOJ and state attorney generals to bring criminal charges against these people. You don’t have to reveal your identity. All you need to do is supply information that we can authenticate that shows the corruption for how all the safety signals were ignored.

You can keep your job at the CDC or FDA. Nobody has to know. You can contact me at stevekirsch-request@protonmail.com and put WHISTLEBLOWER in caps in the subject line of your message and put in the body what evidence you have, why the evidence is credible, and we can go from there. Armed with this information, we’ll also see whether any members of Congress call for an investigation. This will allow us to identify corrupt members of Congress. Note to members of DHS: By seeking this information, I am not a “domestic terrorist” since my goal is to expose corruption to restore faith in government institutions. Here is a complete list of members of Congress who agree that the CDC must be either incompetent or corrupt:

< this space intentionally left blank>

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15 very fit individuals in 1 tournament.

Tennis World Shocked After Scores Of Players Drop Out Of Miami Open (FWM)

The tennis world reacted with shock after favorites Paula Badosa and Jannik Sinner had to retire during the quarterfinals of the Miami Open. Badosa, soon to be the number three in the world, became unwell during her match against Jessica Pegula and left the court in tears. Badosa, who was comforted by her American opponent, decided to stop after consultation with her physiotherapist. Pegula reached the semifinals of the Miami tennis tournament for the first time in her career after Badosa’s resignation, reported Yahoo Sports. In the men’s tournament, the Italian phenomenon Jannik Sinner was forced to withdraw.


He gave up after 22 minutes in the game against Francisco Cerundolo, the number 103 in the world ranking. “When I served at 3-1 and 30-0, I saw him bend over. It was very strange,” Cerundolo said during an interview. “I hope he’s okay, he’s a great player.” The 23-year-old Argentinian surprisingly reached the semifinals with his first participation in the master tournament in Miami. It was the second game in a row that ended prematurely for the tennis fans. Fans reacted with shock to the bizarre tennis day. “What is going on?” someone asked.”

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I stay away from celebrity stories, but what struck me earlier about this was that there was a full toxicology report, which included at least 10 substances, many of which were hard to trace and/or just old, within 24 hours. In Colombia! Ever seen such a report that fast in the US?

Foo Fighters Drummer Taylor Hawkins Dead At 50 (Kirsch)

Here is a summary of the evidence I’ve pieced together from both public and private sources (who knew him personally). You can draw your own conclusions. The evidence is consistent with the primary cause being vaccine-induced myocarditis. It fits the facts like a glove. No other hypothesis I’m aware of can explain the evidence. His drug use, which as far as I have been able to determine was limited to smoking weed, played only a minor role. [..] I find it interesting to note that the cardiologists I talked to ranged from “Normal size 350g. It’s vax myocarditis strikes again” to “it is impossible to rule out the vaccine as the proximate cause of death” [..]

He was found dead in his hotel room on March 25, 2022 after complaining about chest pains. Press reported he died of cardiac arrest. That is really important. The vaccine causes death by cardiac arrest. Marijuana and heroin and the other drugs aren’t consistent with the symptoms observed before he died. He appeared to be perfectly normal other than chest pains. Taylor Hawkins was all about the music and his fans. Those were his passions. He was not in it for the money or any other reason. He was just a great guy. [inside source] He was married for 17 years and had three kids: Shane, Annabelle, and Everleigh. He had everything to live for.

Toxicology reports from the Columbian authorities claim there were 10 substances found in his body including opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana and antidepressants but there was no mention of the amount of each substance. People have mentioned that drug reports from Columbian sources can be unreliable. An autopsy also found Hawkins’ heart weighed at least 600 grams, as reported by Colombian publication, Semana. This is about double the size of a normal heart for a man of his age. We know that the COVID vaccine can cause a heart to double in size and then kill you. This can happen in as little as 5 days after injection. One of the most public examples of this is the death of the son of Ernest Ramirez. His son died just 5 days after his first dose of Pfizer and his heart was double in size at the time of his death.

I checked with one of the world’s top cardiologists (Peter McCullough) who confirmed that yes, your heart can double in size in just 5 days. McCullough looked at the medical records for Ernest’s son and concluded his death was due to the COVID vaccine. FEMA offered Ernest Ramirez a lot of money to change his story and say that the death was caused by COVID. Ramirez refused. Hawkins had a history of drug use, and a 2001 heroin overdose left him in a coma, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, he “made clear he learned his lesson in 2001, and had lived a solid family life with perhaps occasional drug use here and there.” So it seems unlikely that he just decided on a spontaneous heroin/benzo/cocaine bender right before a show, called for help, then died of an overdose. He still smoked weed. This was well known. This probably elevated his risk, but he’d been smoking weed for decades.

[..] My best guess is: He likely got vaccinated around May 2021 with his first two doses after pressure from Grohl and the band manager. His medical exam done after his first vaccination(s) showed he had an enlarged heart for the first time. This was our first clue of vaccine injury. But clearly the doctor wasn’t that concerned since he didn’t tell Hawkins he was at any risk at all. The booster on Feb 26, 2022 took 30 days to damage his heart for the final time. As I noted early, it took only one dose and 5 days to kill Ernest Ramierez’s son who was completely normal until he died. For Hawkins, it just took longer. Unfortunately, I don’t think there will ever be an autopsy by a competent pathologist who knows how to spot vaccine injury (or embalming by a vaccine aware embalmer), so we’ll never know for sure, but all of the evidence is consistent with the vaccine hypothesis. It fits all the facts like a glove.

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CEOs are strong, independent people. But no independent thought is allowed with Covid.

Hospital CEOs Are Joining The Great Resignation (BHR)

The number of departing hospital CEOs is on the rise as C-level executives are grappling with challenges tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve hospital CEOs exited their roles in January, double the number who stepped down from their positions in the same month a year earlier, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive outplacement and coaching firm. While some hospital and health system CEOs are retiring, others are stepping down from their posts into C-level roles at other organizations. At least eight hospital and health system CEOs have stepped down from their positions since mid-February.


The increase in CEO departures isn’t unique to healthcare. More than 100 CEOs of U.S.-based companies left their posts in January, up from 89 in the same month a year earlier, according to the Challenger, Gray & Christmas report. The uptick in executive exits shouldn’t be surprising given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, experts told NBC News. CEOs and other executives aren’t immune to the pressures that are prompting people to leave their jobs. “It’s many factors — the burnout, the pandemic, the school closures, the need to take stock of life,” Julia Pollack, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told NBC News in January. “It’s a whole wide range of shocks.”

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“He got, I think $4.8, yes, million from Chinese energy companies to sit on the board and consult. Yeah, that was his passion in life..”

Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Wasn’t Part Of ‘Left-wing Media’ Narrative’ – Maher (Fox)

“Real Time” host Bill Maher blasted the “left-wing media” for failing to report on the Hunter Biden scandal during the 2020 presidential election. During his panel discussion on Friday night, Maher offered a history lesson about how in the “John Adams day” the country had “different newspapers for different parties” and what “brought it home to me” was how The Washington Post as well as The New York Times authenticated the laptop the New York Post first reported on nearly two years ago. “I remember reading about this a couple of years ago, the New York Post came across… Hunter Biden’s computer, which he apparently left at a computer repair store. I didn’t even know they existed. And if anyone should not leave his computer with other people, it would be Hunter Biden just for the personal stuff,” Maher said.

“But it also had stuff about how, you know, c’mon, he’s a ne’er-do-well. I’m sorry, Hunter Biden, but you are… You made a living being ne’er-do-well who was taking money just because you were the vice president’s son and you had influence.” “He got, I think $4.8, yes, million from Chinese energy companies to sit on the board and consult. Yeah, that was his passion in life,” Maher quipped. His exploration, hooker exploration, was his passion.” Maher continued, “So the New York Post got a hold of what was in the computer. And, you know, because the New York Post is a Republican paper, and The New York Times and The Washington Post are the Democratic paper[s]… And the Republican paper, Twitter… canceled their account! They can’t even report on this story. And now two years later, The New York Times and The Washington Post have come around and say, ‘Okay, there was something there.'”

The HBO star conceded that the laptop story should have been taken with a “giant thing of salt” since the New York Post retrieved it from Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, but “not two years.” “It looks like the left-wing media just buried the story because it wasn’t part of their narrative and that’s why people don’t trust the media,” Maher said. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang agreed, pointing to polling that showed trust in media “falls very sharply along party lines” where 69% of Democrats say they still trust the media while just 15% of Republicans and 36% of independents say the same. “This is part of the erosion of institutional trust, where one side feels like the media is on their side,” Yang said. “And it does seem like this Hunter Biden laptop story did get buried because of the timing. I mean, it was coming out during the height of the election in 2020. And they did not want that out in the mainstream.”

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Building backlash.

Judge Strikes Down Corporate Board Diversity Law In California (JTN)

A judge has ruled that California’s mandate for corporate boards to diversify with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups violates the constitution. The ruling Friday was a major win for the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, which challenge the law on the grounds that are violated the equal protection clause. “This historic California court decision declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.


“In its ruling today, the court upheld the core American value of equal protection under the law. Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients are heroes for standing up for civil rights against the Left’s pernicious efforts to undo anti-discrimination protections.” The brief ruling granted summary judgment blocking the legislation that had been signed into law last year. The Legislature had wanted to require corporate boards of publicly traded companies to have a member from an “underrepresented community,” including LGBT, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander.

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Apr 022022
 


Leonardo da Vinci First anatomical studies c1515

 

EU Warns Ukrainians Against Compromise (ZH)
Ukrainian Update #9 (Paul Craig Roberts)
Russia, Ukraine and the Law of War: War Crimes (Ritter)
Germany Says Putin Agreed To Keep Payments For Gas In Euros (DW)
The Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy (VF)
Ioannidis: ‘We Must Declare the End of the Pandemic’ (RCS)
Heart Damage Found in Teens Months After Second Pfizer Shot (CHD)
War, Disease, Surging Gas Prices Will Probably Not Deter Hospitality (Bisnow)
“Jettison the Animals!” (Kunstler)
The Cancellation of Tchaikovsky (BI)

 

 

 

 

They don’t want peace. No neutrality for Ukraine.

“France and the UK in particular, are urging the Ukrainians against compromise until Russian troops withdraw from the country.”

EU Warns Ukrainians Against Compromise (ZH)

On Friday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow is preparing a response to Ukraine’s prior proposals issued in Istanbul early this week on reaching a ceasefire, as the next round of dialogue is currently underway via remote link. His statements were generally in a positive direction, saying that in light of Ukraine of late showing “more understanding” as to the Crimea and Donbas issues, Moscow stands ready to engage on Kiev’s proposals on neutral and non-nuclear status for the country, according to Bloomberg. However, France and the UK in particular, are urging the Ukrainians against compromise until Russian troops withdraw from the country.

Following days of outside speculation in the West over just how “constructive” toward a potential breakthrough the talks in Istanbul were, France – which has been closely involved in pushing a diplomatic resolution hard, particularly through repeat Macron-Putin phone calls – has weighed in pouring cold water on any optimism. “I don’t see any signs indicating a real and long-term change in Russia’s position,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a French newspaper Thursday. “Even though its troops are moving slower than the Kremlin expected, I don’t currently see any significant retreat or a ceasefire,” Le Drian said. “The so-called regime of silence that Russia announced for a few hours in Mariupol yesterday was clearly not enough,” he added, in reference to the announced humanitarian evacuation corridor opened Friday at French and German request.

The city has been in Russian hands since early this week, but Ukrainian civilians still remain. “Around 2,000 civilians are on evacuation buses heading from the coastal city of Berdyansk to the Ukrainian government-held city of Zaporizhzhia, carrying civilians evacuating from the besieged city of Mariupol,” CNN reports. “The evacuation convoy left Berdyansk for Zaporizhzhia,” the city of Mariupol announced on Telegram via its council. “Many private vehicles have joined the 42 buses escorted by Red Cross and SES (State Emergency Service) vehicles. Today we expect the arrival of a record number of Mariupol residents.”

Le Drian also acknowledged that Kiev’s Western backers (France among them) are pushing hard for Ukraine’s negotiators to hold a tough line, even as it’s the Ukrainian people under the bombs: “We have a very clear objective, to not give up anything and to intensify our efforts until a total ceasefire across the whole of Ukraine’s territory and real negotiations,” the French top diplomat said. He further repeated by now familiar calls for Europe to boycott Russian hydrocarbons. “While we don’t all have the same dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, we will have the same interest in exiting them (in Europe),” he said.

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“Most of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is focused on clearing Ukrainian and neo-Nazi forces out of Donbass. This is the reason for Putin’s go-slow war that rules out heavy weapons use on civilian areas. The civilians are Russians, and, as Putin said, “we went in to liberate these people, not to kill them.”

Ukrainian Update #9 (Paul Craig Roberts)

Just as everything you were told about Covid by the media and health and government officials was false, so is everything you have been told by the same propagandistic liars about Ukraine. Americans have had nothing but lies since the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, of his brother, US Senator Robert Kennedy President-in-Waiting, Martin Luther King, the Vietnam war, 9/11, Saddam Hussian’s nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,” Iranian nukes, the extraordinary lies about Kaddafi, Covid pandemic, Russian invasions. The entire Western World lives in The Mattrix, a world created by propaganda. The vast majority of people in the West have no idea of the reality in which they live. This makes them impotent and completely unable to protect their freedom. They are sitting ducks for tyranny which is fast enclosing around them.

Take the Ukraine narrative, for example. The story as presented to the public by the Western media has no relationship to reality. The Ukraine narrative has collapsed as completely as the Covid narrative. There will be no going back to it. The narrative will simply be dropped as the next crisis–inflation perhaps or a newly released pathogen–takes the front page. There was never a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian military focus was on the Donbass region in east and south Ukraine. Inhabited by Russians and part of Russia herself until Soviet leaders transferred it, like Crimea, into Ukraine for their reasons. When the US overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government in 2014 and took control over Ukraine, the Crimean and Donbass Russians voted overwhelmingly to be reunited with Russia. The Kremlin accepted Crimea but not Donbass.

This was a strategic blunder demonstrating a lack of awareness on the part of the Russian government. Immediately the neo-Nazi remnants in west Ukraine, whose forebears had fought for Hitler against Russia in WW II, began abusing the Russian population in the Donbass region in the east. The American puppet government in Kiev followed up by banning the use of the Russian language. To protect themselves, the Donbass Russians declared their independence in the form of two republics, the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics. Ukrainian troops and neo-Nazi militias began attacking these “breakaway republics.” They have been shelling with artillery Donbass villages, towns, and cities for 8 years, killing thousands of civilians, and the Ukrainian forces, although twice defeated by hastily assembled forces in the Donbass, managed to gain control over large areas of the breakaway republics.

It was the deployment of a 100,000 or more Ukrainian force on the shrunken borders of Donbass for an invasion to reconquer the territory that provoked the Russian intervention. Washington’s refusal to give the Kremlin a security guarantee was a second reason for the Russian military intervention. Russia told Washington in completely clear language that Russia would not permit Ukraine to be a member of NATO. Nevertheless, Washington persisted in its provocation. Most of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is focused on clearing Ukrainian and neo-Nazi forces out of Donbass. This is the reason for Putin’s go-slow war that rules out heavy weapons use on civilian areas. The civilians are Russians, and, as Putin said, “we went in to liberate these people, not to kill them.”

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“Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.”

Russia, Ukraine and the Law of War: War Crimes (Ritter)

“Based on information currently available,” Blinken said, “the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. “Our assessment,” Blinken added, “is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources.” According to Blinken, “Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded. Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.” Blinken declared that this category “includes the Mariupol maternity hospital” as well as “a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the Russian word for ‘children’ — in huge letters visible from the sky.”

Blinken’s accusations echo those made by the Ukrainian government and organizations such as Amnesty International. Karim Khan, the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, has announced that his office will begin investigating allegations of Russian war crimes committed during its ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The narrative that paints Russia and the Russian military as perpetrators of war crimes, however, runs afoul of actual international humanitarian law and the laws of war. The issue of jus in bello (the law governing conduct during the use of force) set forth a framework of legal concepts which, when allied to specific actions, help determine whether an actual violation of the law of war has occurred.

Jus in bello is derived from treaties, agreements, and customary international law. Two sets of international agreements, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, serve as the foundation for the modern understanding of jus in bello, regulating, respectively, what is permissible in the execution of war, and the protections provided to non-combatants, including civilians and prisoners of war. “Grave breaches” of jus in bello can be prosecuted in courts of relevant jurisdiction as war crimes. Starting from the proposition that war is little more than organized murder, the issue of how to define what constitutes murder sufficient to be categorized a being of a criminal nature is far more difficult that one might think. Michael Herr gave voice to this reality in his book, Dispatches, about America’s war in Vietnam, when he observed that, “Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.”

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Their euros don’t buy oil. They buy rubles. Twist it any way you want it. Which means Russia banks stay open, and dollars and euros keep pouring in.

Germany Says Putin Agreed To Keep Payments For Gas In Euros (DW)

Germany’s government said on Wednesday it has received assurances from Russia that Europe would not have to pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles. Olaf Scholz’s office said Russian President Vladimir Putin told the German Chancellor that European companies could continue paying in euros or dollars. In a phone call with Scholz, Putin said the money would be paid into Gazprom Bank and then transferred in rubles to Russia, a German statement said. The bank is not currently subject to sanctions. “Scholz did not agree to this procedure in the conversation, but asked for written information to better understand the procedure,” the statement added.


Putin said last week that Moscow would only accept rubles as payment for gas deliveries to “unfriendly” countries, including European Union nations. According to a Kremlin statement, Putin told Scholz that “the decision taken should not lead to worsening of contractual terms for European importer companies.” He also sought to justify Russia’s demands for ruble payments, saying that “in violation of the norms of international law, the foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia were frozen by the member states of the European Union.” The Kremlin said the two leaders agreed that experts from each country would hold further discussions on the matter.

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Very good in Vanity Fair. “..genomic sequences mentioned in a published paper from China had somehow vanished without a trace”

The Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy (VF)

Bloom’s paper was the product of detective work he’d undertaken after noticing that a number of early SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences mentioned in a published paper from China had somehow vanished without a trace. The sequences, which map the nucleotides that give a virus its unique genetic identity, are key to tracking when the virus emerged and how it might have evolved. In Bloom’s view, their disappearance raised the possibility that the Chinese government might be trying to hide evidence about the pandemic’s early spread. Piecing together clues, Bloom established that the NIH itself had deleted the sequences from its own archive at the request of researchers in Wuhan. Now, he was hoping Fauci and his boss, NIH director Francis Collins, could help him identify other deleted sequences that might shed light on the mystery.

Bloom had submitted the paper to a preprint server, a public repository of scientific papers awaiting peer review, on the same day that he’d sent a copy to Fauci and Collins. It now existed in a kind of twilight zone: not published, and not yet public, but almost certain to appear online soon. Collins immediately organized a Zoom meeting for Sunday, June 20. He invited two outside scientists, evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen and virologist Robert Garry, and allowed Bloom to do the same. Bloom chose Pond and Rasmus Nielsen, a genetic biologist. That it was shaping up like an old-fashioned duel with seconds in attendance did not cross Bloom’s mind at the time. But six months after that meeting, he remained so troubled by what transpired that he wrote a detailed account, which Vanity Fair obtained.

After Bloom described his research, the Zoom meeting became “extremely contentious,” he wrote. Andersen leapt in, saying he found the preprint “deeply troubling.” If the Chinese scientists wanted to delete their sequences from the database, which NIH policy entitled them to do, it was unethical for Bloom to analyze them further, he claimed. And there was nothing unusual about the early genomic sequences in Wuhan. Instantly, Nielsen and Andersen were “yelling at each other,” Bloom wrote, with Nielsen insisting that the early Wuhan sequences were “extremely puzzling and unusual.” Andersen—who’d had some of his emails with Fauci from early in the pandemic publicly released through FOIA requests—leveled a third objection.

Andersen, Bloom wrote, “needed security outside his house, and my pre-print would fuel conspiratorial notions that China was hiding data and thereby lead to more criticism of scientists such as himself.” Fauci then weighed in, objecting to the preprint’s description of Chinese scientists “surreptitiously” deleting the sequences. The word was loaded, said Fauci, and the reason they’d asked for the deletions was unknown. That’s when Andersen made a suggestion that surprised Bloom. He said he was a screener at the preprint server, which gave him access to papers that weren’t yet public. He then offered to either entirely delete the preprint or revise it “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done.” Bloom refused, saying that he doubted either option was appropriate, “given the contentious nature of the meeting.”

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We must declare the end of Pfizer.

Ioannidis: ‘We Must Declare the End of the Pandemic’ (RCS)

Ioannidis is sure to court more controversy with a new commentary published to the European Journal of Clinicial Investigation in which he argues that it’s time to declare the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This does not mean that the problem is inappropriately minimized or forgotten, but that our communities move on with life,” he writes. “Pandemic preparedness should be carefully thought and pre-organized, but should not disrupt life.” While Ioannidis recognizes that there are no quantitative definitions for the end of a pandemic like COVID-19, he contends that the amount of immunity now present worldwide exceeds the threshold needed to declare SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, endemic – constantly present but not a public health emergency.

“By end 2021, probably 73-81% of the global population had been vaccinated, infected or both,” he says. Pockets of low immunity, such as in places that pursued zero-COVID policies and/or with limited access to effective vaccines, may persist, causing regional outbreaks, but we will likely never see COVID-19 again trigger a global emergency. Declaring the pandemic phase of COVID-19 to be concluded means understanding and accepting a new “normal”. “A decrease of COVID-19 deaths back to typical seasonal influenza levels may not necessarily happen in 2022 or even beyond,” Ioannidis cautions. “With an increasingly aging global population, “normal” may still correspond to higher death counts… This should not be mistaken as a continued pandemic phase.”

Easing out of the pandemic requires a widespread mental shift, as well. This means focusing more on indicators like hospital intensive care admissions to guide policy rather than just infections. “If perception of risk focuses on number of documented cases, the spurious perception of emergency situations may be difficult to quell,” Ioannidis writes. Exiting the pandemic also means reducing fearmongering coverage of COVID-19 in the popular media, the propagation of which undoubtedly contributed to the public’s warped perception of COVID’s risks throughout the pandemic. On average, Americans believed in early 2021 that 8% of deaths had occurred in people under the age of 24. The actual percentage as of today is 0.3%. Moreover, a third of the population has consistently believed that COVID leads to hospitalization in over half of infections. During the most recent Omicron wave, the proportion was 3% or lower.

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1 in 1,000 is not rare. That’s 200,000 US cases of myocarditis.

Heart Damage Found in Teens Months After Second Pfizer Shot (CHD)

A new peer-reviewed study shows more than two-thirds of adolescents with COVID-19 vaccine-related myopericarditis had persistent heart abnormalities months after their initial diagnosis, raising concerns for potential long-term effects. The findings, published March 25 in the Journal of Pediatrics, challenge the position of U.S. health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which claim heart inflammation associated with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines is “mild.” Researchers at Seattle Children’s Hospital reviewed cases of patients younger than 18 years old who presented to the hospital with chest pain and an elevated serum troponin level between April 1, 2021, and Jan. 7, 2022, within one week of receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine.

While 35 patients fit the criteria, 19 were excluded for various reasons. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the remaining 16 patients was performed three to eight months after they were first examined. The MRIs showed 11 had persistent late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), although levels were lower than in previous months. According to the study, “The presence of LGE is an indicator of cardiac injury and fibrosis and has been strongly associated with worse prognosis in patients with classical acute myocarditis.” In a meta-analysis of eight studies, LGE was found to be a predictor of all-cause death, cardiovascular death, cardiac transplant, rehospitalization, recurrent acute myocarditis and requirement for mechanical circulatory support.

Similarly, an 11-study meta-analysis found the “presence and extent of LGE to be a significant predictor of adverse cardiac outcomes.” Researchers said that while symptoms “were transient and most patients appeared to respond to treatment,” the analysis showed a “persistence of abnormal findings.” The results “rais[e] concerns for potential longer-term effects,” researchers wrote, adding that they plan to repeat imaging at one year after the vaccine to assess whether abnormalities have resolved. “The paper provides more evidence that myocarditis in adolescents that result from COVID-19 vaccines is very serious,” said Dr. Madhava Setty, senior science editor for The Defender.

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Tons of stories of people with $20 Berlin-Athens return tickets. Hard to deter that.

War, Disease, Surging Gas Prices Will Probably Not Deter Hospitality (Bisnow)

Already grappling with long-term pandemic-fueled troubles, the travel and hospitality industry finds itself confronting yet another adversary: surging fuel prices. The sector had managed to claw its way back to a tolerable recovery in 2021 — and 2022 was shaping to look a little more like the days before the coronavirus. Summer vacations to the beach and further afield were anticipated. Business travel was ticking back up with conferences and in-person meetings on the rise. For a while, things were looking up. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Oil prices are now spiking beyond $100 a barrel, driving sharp increases for gas at the pump and for pricy jet fuel — which, if conventional wisdom holds true, will inevitably mean higher costs for U.S. travelers this spring and summer.

So, less travel and another big knock on the hospitality industry? Maybe not. Travel and hospitality experts told Bisnow this week that they remain optimistic for 2022, citing the fact that bookings are still strong — apparently because last year didn’t satisfy Americans’ demand for travel. Travelers might adjust their plans a bit this year, but mass cancellations don’t seem to be in the cards — yet. “As concerns around omicron subside, we see very strong demand for leisure travel in the second quarter this year and beyond, and are expecting the travel market to continue to recover,” said Hayley Berg, head of price intelligence at Hopper, a booking service for airlines and hotels.

Bookings are still strong now despite gas prices that are about 70 cents higher than in mid-February, at an average of $4.26 a gallon, according to AAA, and $1.37 higher per gallon than a year ago. The price of airline tickets is up as well, with Berg expecting airfare to climb to an average of $360 per round-trip through May, a 10% increase from current prices, though rates will taper off some by the end of the summer, as they do every year. The spike in gas prices has certainly caused pain for many millions of people. That was already the case late last year when gas prices crept up slowly but steadily. Low-income Americans or those on fixed incomes, as well as small businesses that use a lot of transport, are all suffering.

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“.. the odor around Mr. Garland’s department will be so pungent that prosecutors will have to work the Hunter case wearing industrial-strength, full-face, carbon-filtered respirators.”

“Jettison the Animals!” (Kunstler)

The fabled Hard-drive-from Hell apparently contains evidence of felonious misdeeds other than tax evasion ranging from treason, bribery, and wire fraud, to child sex-trafficking and the use of Air Force Two in the commission of crimes. That leaves AG Mr. Garland on a hot spot of dreadful discomfiture. Does he call off the dogs on that vast bone-pile of perfidy and just “laser focus” on some rinky-dink tax charge — and then face the wrath in ten months of a sure-to-be Republican majority House and Senate capable not just of impeaching his ass, but making criminal referrals on it? Or is compelling evidence of high crimes going to be spewed all over the land by those aforesaid private-sector sleuths poring over Hunter’s hard-drive, in a way that the AG can only ignore at the risk of his own reputation… or maybe even a year in some federal slammer for obstruction of justice?

Kinda depends a little bit on what sort of commotion special counsel Mr. John Durham stirs up if-and-when he gets around to indicting any of the superstars of RussiaGate — many of them former and current DOJ and FBI personnel — because when that happens, the odor around Mr. Garland’s department will be so pungent that prosecutors will have to work the Hunter case wearing industrial-strength, full-face, carbon-filtered respirators.

In short, is the dear Deep State fixing to throw “Joe Biden” overboard in a play for its own legitimacy, as if it is actually looking after the nation’s interests? At some point, even ghouls and spooks have a certain survival instinct. And all that might kinda depend on whether President Vlad Putin of Russia happens to disclose what exactly his soldiers found when they captured the numerous “bio-research” labs that ringed Ukraine’s former eastern provinces near the Russian border. Hunter Biden’s companies had an ownership position in those labs, which were actually run by the US Department of Defense jointly with (who else?) the CIA. The wildest stories are circulating about the labs — like, they were developing horrific designer plagues targeted specifically at genetically Slavic people… to be spread by loosing infected migratory birds into the Eurasian skies… say, what…? When, exactly, did American foreign policy turn into something out of a Marvel Comic?

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Not the worst things that happened, but surely a symbol of the worst. Until now, only Franco and Hitler banned art.

The Cancellation of Tchaikovsky (BI)

I have an old LP on the turntable now, a 1985 Berlin Philharmonic performance of Tchaikovsky‘s 1812 Overture. Recorded almost 40 years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost 40 years after Germany‘s siege of Leningrad, the Berlin Wall still standing, no end in sight, at the height of the Cold War. Great Russian music, composed to the memory of yet another war between East and West, performed by a renowned West German orchestra; the old foes, and by then foes still, but united through art. A few weeks ago, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra canceled a Tchaikovsky concert, calling it “inappropriate at this time.” Throughout Western Europe, Russian artists have had their engagements canceled and some have even been fired from their jobs.

In a 1984 Granta article, “A Kidnapped West or Culture Bows Out,” Milan Kundera defined European culture as characterized by “the authority of the thinking, doubting individual and on an artistic creation which expressed his uniqueness.“ In contrast “nothing could be more foreign to Central Europe and its passion for variety than Russia: uniform, standardizing, centralizing, determined to transform every nation of its empire … into a single Russian people … on the Eastern border of the West – more than anywhere else – Russia is seen not just as one more European power but as a singular civilization, another civilization.“ The article sparked a debate between Kundera and Russian poet and dissident Joseph Brodsky, who vigorously opposed Kundera‘s views.

The essence of European civilization, according to Brodsky, is not modern Western individualism, a culture which to him has lost the relationship with its roots, but Christianity. The true fight is “between faith and the utilitarian approach to existence.“ We now see this controversy revived; just look at the recent debate between Bernard-Henri Lévy and Aleksandr Dugin. It is the same tension between opposite worldviews and there is little doubt it will grow stronger. For the world is now changing, as we live in interesting times once more. And surely Brodsky‘s view will gain more ground, not without reason; we have seen it too clearly during the past two years how easily the thinking doubting individual, the foundation of free Western society, is replaced by the frightened obeying mass.

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Apr 012022
 


Rembrandt van Rijn The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp 1632

 

Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East (Leckie)
The New, Resource-Based Global Reserve Currency (Escobar)
Putin Says Russia to Keep Supplying Gas Amid Shift to Rubles (BBG)
German Chemical Giant Warns Of “Total Collapse” If Russian Gas Supply Cut (ZH)
31 Years After End of Warsaw Pact, NATO Continues As Regional Disrupter (GT)
Ukraine Journalist Finds Charred Remains Where War Crime Was Filmed (IC)
Fight With Clinton Campaign And DNC Looms In Sussmann Case (Pol.)
White House Stands By Biden’s Claim That Hunter Didn’t Profit Off China (WE)
Pakistan Warns Of Foreign-backed Regime-change Attempt (M/P)
WSJ Misleads Public on Ivermectin, Ignores Revelations About ‘Hidden Author’ (CHD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really is this simple.

Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East (Leckie)

The Russian military is running an “economy of effort” operation. It has effectively fixed in place the garrisons defending Ukraine’s major cities leaving them incapable of supporting the troops in the Donbass. Meanwhile Russia is progressively destroying the military infrastructure of the Ukraine (resupply, maintenance and command and control facilities and weapon systems such as air defense, artillery and armored vehicles) through a combination of air strikes, cruise missiles, rockets and traditional artillery across the breadth and depth of Ukraine. Approximately 60,000 of Ukraine’s best trained and equipped troops are located in the Donbass.

It would appear unlikely that this force is capable of anything other than localized tactical level manoeuvre at this point due to a combination of ever dwindling supplies of ammunition, fuel and rations, Russia’s dominance in the air and ground based combat power, and the effects of combat to date. Despite the alleged incompetence of the handling of the initial stages of the war, the Pentagon assesses that the Russian forces still retain nearly 90 percent of the initial combat power assigned to the invasion. With Russian forces on the verge of completing the capture of Mariupol, it will only be a matter of time before the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass are fully encircled and subsequently destroyed or forced to surrender.

Whilst there may be many weeks, or even months of fighting ahead, the writing is on the wall that Russia, barring outside intervention (i.e. NATO — which has repeatedly ruled out direct military intervention), will achieve its military objectives. The direct Russo-Ukraine conflict is however just one level of this conflict. Ukraine is actually an unfortunate pawn in the much bigger conflict. As long time Russia analyst Gilbert Doctorow notes this is a “full-blown proxy war between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, and it is about ending or perpetuating American global hegemony.” Whilst the war in Ukraine will end sooner or later, the implications at a global scale of this proxy war will be of much greater consequence for a much greater period of time.

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“..trifecta (imminent blitzkrieg on Donbass; US bioweapon labs; Ukraine working on nuclear weapons) as the casus belli..”

The New, Resource-Based Global Reserve Currency (Escobar)

The Russian Central Bank nationalized foreign exchange earnings of all major exporters. There was no default. The ruble keeps rising – and is now back to roughly the same level before Operation Z. Russia remains self-sufficient, food-wise. American hysteria over “isolated” Russia is laughable. Every actor that matters across Eurasia – not to mention the other 4 BRICS and virtually the whole Global South – did not demonize and/or sanction Russia. As an extra bonus, arguably the last oligarch capable of influence in Moscow, Anatoly Chubais, is gone. Call it another momentous historical trickery: Western sanction hysteria de facto dismembered Russian oligarchy – Putin’s pet project since 2000. What that implies is the strengthening of the Russian state and the consolidation of Russian society.

We still don’t have all the facts, but a case can be made that after years of careful evaluation Putin opted to really go for broke and break the West’s back – using that trifecta (imminent blitzkrieg on Donbass; US bioweapon labs; Ukraine working on nuclear weapons) as the casus belli. The freezing of foreign reserves had to have been forecasted, especially because the Russian Central Bank had been increasing its reserves of US Treasuries since November last year. Then there’s the serious possibility of Moscow being able to access “secret” offshore foreign reserves – a complex matrix built with Chinese insider help.

The sudden switch from dollars/euros to rubles was hardcore, Olympic-level geoeconomic judo. Putin enticed the collective West to unleash its demented hysteria sanction attack – and turned it against the opponent with a single, swift move. And here we all are now trying to absorb so many in-synch game-changing developments following the weaponization of dollar assets: rupee-ruble with India, the Saudi petroyuan, co-badged Mir-UnionPay cards issued by Russian banks, the Russia-Iran SWIFT alternative, the EAEU-China project of an independent monetary/financial system.

Not to mention the master coup by the Russian Central Bank, pegging 1 gram of gold to 5,000 rubles – which is already around $60, and climbing. Coupled with No Rubles No Gas, what we have here is energy de facto pegged to gold. The EU Chihuahuas and the Japanese colony will need to buy a lot of rubles in gold or buy a lot of gold to have their gas. And it gets better. Russia may re-peg the ruble to gold in the near future. Could go to 2,000 rubles, 1,000 rubles, even 500 rubles for a gram of gold.

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No disruptions, but a lot of support for the ruble. Also from much higher prices. Who’s winning?

Putin Says Russia to Keep Supplying Gas Amid Shift to Rubles (BBG)

Russia aims to keep supplying gas to European customers even as it demands they shift to payment in rubles, President Vladimir Putin said, easing fears that the shift could lead to disruptions from the continent’s biggest supplier. “Russia values its business reputation, we have complied and will comply in the future with obligations under all contracts, including gas contracts,” he told officials in televised comments laying out the new mechanism for ruble payments. “We will continue to supply gas in the volumes and at prices set down in the current long-term agreements,” he added, warning that shipments would be stopped for customers who don’t accept the new terms starting Friday.

European officials said the change isn’t likely to affect supplies. “For us, with regard to Putin’s threat or announcement or plan — one doesn’t really know what to call it anymore — to get paid in rubles, the main point is that the contracts are being kept,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. When Putin first announced the ruble-payment demand last week, European officials rejected it, saying the move would violate contract terms. But the Kremlin Thursday published a presidential decree outlining the mechanism to allow foreign buyers to convert their dollars and euros into the Russian currency through a state-controlled bank. European benchmark gas jumped after the order was published but pared gains later. Fear of a possible cutoff of Russian gas — worsened by the threats on ruble payments — had driven prices higher in recent days.

An official at the French presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new mechanism doesn’t change the payments as mandated in the contracts, which will continue as before. But the official said France is preparing a contingency plan for gas, given all the uncertainties. Putin initially portrayed the move against “unfriendly countries” as retaliation for sweeping Western sanctions imposed over his invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin, seeking to use its leverage as Europe’s largest gas supplier, hinted it might cut off countries that refused. But the Group of Seven leading industrial nations flatly rejected the demand, saying it violated contractual terms. Authorities in Germany and Austria warned that the dispute could lead to an interruption in vital supplies.

Gas buyers were still seeking clarity on the change Thursday. Germany’s E.ON SE said it’s not clear which contracts are covered, while Denmark’s Orsted AS said it hasn’t been approached by Russian gas giant Gazprom and until that happens, assumes the contract conditions are unchanged. Payments for gas shipped in April are due late in the month or in May, depending on the contract, according to a person familiar with Russia’s supply deals. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who discussed the issue in a call with Putin, said Thursday, “in any case, it remains the case that companies want to, can and will continue to pay in euros.”

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I just said: NO disruptions.

German Chemical Giant Warns Of “Total Collapse” If Russian Gas Supply Cut (ZH)

CEO of Germany’s multinational BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical producer, has warned that curbing or cutting off energy imports from Russia would bring into doubt the continued existence of small and medium-sized energy companies, and further would likely spiral Germany into its most “catastrophic” economic crisis going back to the end of World War 2. Company CEO Martin Brudermuller issued the words in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper just ahead of German officials by midweek giving an “early warning” to industries and the population of possible natural gas shortages, as Russia appears ready to firmly hold to Putin’s recent declaration that “unfriendly countries” must settle energy payments in rubles, related to the Ukraine crisis and resultant Western sanctions.

According to Bloomberg he mused that while “Germany could be independent from Russia gas in four to five years” it remains that “LNG imports cannot be increased quickly enough to replace all Russian gas flows in the short term.” But in the meantime, Brudermuller described that “It’s not enough that we all turn down the heating by 2 degrees now” given that “Russia covers 55 percent of German natural gas consumption.” He emphasized that if Russian gas disappeared overnight, “many things would collapse here” – given that “we would have high levels of unemployment, and many companies would go bankrupt. This would lead to irreversible damage.” He continued:

“To put it bluntly: This could bring the German economy into its worst crisis since the end of the Second World War and destroy our prosperity. For many small and medium-sized companies in particular, it could mean the end. We can’t risk that!” The dire warning of coming disaster in the event Russian gas is shut off came in response being questioned over whether it’s at all possible to abandon Russian energy. Asserting that this issue is not “black and white” – and that the German economy stands on the brink of catastrophe, the BASF CEO said that if this standoff continues to escalate it will “open the eyes of many on both sides”…

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View from China.

31 Years After End of Warsaw Pact, NATO Continues As Regional Disrupter (GT)

It has been 31 years since the formal dissolution of the military structures of the Warsaw Pact on March 31, 1991. NATO, another product of the Cold War era, however, has not dissolved with the end of the Cold War and the disbandment of the Warsaw Pact. NATO’s activities have aroused regional and global insecurities. And the ongoing Ukraine crisis was largely triggered by the bloc’s eastward expansion. The continued existence of NATO is mainly to serve the global military hegemony system of the US. Even in the era of the Cold War, the US-led NATO was not only meant to counter the Warsaw Pact, but also served as a tool to dominate the world militarily. This was reinforced after the end of the Cold War. Through military cooperation, Washington can put a grip on many Western countries, especially those in Europe.

As a member of the military group, Europe has been heavily impacted by the US in terms of defense policy and strategic decisions. As Washington has regarded Moscow as its foe and rival, it has exploited many European countries to contain and deter it. Today, NATO has become an instrument to maintain US’ military hegemony. NATO has set a target of 2 percent of a member state’s GDP to spend on defense. But many countries have failed to meet the target in the past several years, to the annoyance of the US. As a response to the Ukraine crisis, more countries vowed to raise spending to 2 percent. Furthermore, the US took advantage of the Ukraine crisis to sell more weaponry to Europe and ramp up its military deployment against Russia. It can be said that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has intensified Washington’s control over NATO members in Europe.

After the end of the Cold War, in a bid to prove the value and legitimacy of its existence, NATO has created various imaginary enemies and provoked regional conflicts many times, including the Ukraine crisis. Some experts said that the absolute security of NATO is the absolute insecurity of the rest of the world. With NATO’s eastward expansion, the bloc has intensified conflict with Russia and greatly suppressed its strategic space. This has worsened Russia-Europe relations and threatened the peace and stability of Eastern Europe. The pursuit of absolute security has indeed led to regional and global instability. French President Emmanuel Macron said in 2019 that NATO was experiencing “brain death.” On March 17, he told a press conference that he took “full responsibility” for what he said in 2019, but added that “Russia has just provided an electroshock … the awakening” with its military operations in Ukraine.

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Even the alt media in the west feel obligated to start a report like this with: “Amid overwhelming evidence that Russian forces have committed war crimes during an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine.. “

Ukraine Journalist Finds Charred Remains Where War Crime Was Filmed (IC)

Amid overwhelming evidence that Russian forces have committed war crimes during an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials were confronted this week with video that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers shooting captive Russian soldiers in the legs. Although Ukraine’s senior military leader and its domestic intelligence agency both insisted that the video posted on social networks on Sunday was “a fake” produced by Russia, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised that the government would investigate and punish those responsible if the incident did take place. On Monday, a well-known Ukrainian journalist, Yuri Butusov, published graphic video showing the charred remains of three men he identified as Russian soldiers, as Ukrainian forces recaptured the town of Malaya Rohan, outside Kharkiv, over the weekend.

Although Butusov made no mention of the video of the alleged war crime, a visual analysis of his footage shows that it was clearly filmed in the same location as the video of the prisoners being shot, some time after that incident. Reporting by open-source investigators and BBC News had already established that the video of the alleged war crime was recorded at a dairy processing plant in Malaya Rohan, which is about 3 miles east of Kharkiv. Multiple visual clues in Butusov’s video show that he discovered the burned bodies in precisely the same part of the dairy plant’s courtyard where, in the prior video, at least eight captives were filmed bleeding on the pavement, several with their hands bound behind their backs and bags over their heads.

According to Butusov, the editor of the Ukrainian news site Censor.net, he arrived in Malaya Rohan “a few hours after the battle” there. By that time, his footage shows, several of the buildings at the dairy factory had been partially destroyed by explosions or fire. Those same structures had not yet been damaged when the video showing the prisoners being shot was recorded.

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Durham won’t let go.

Fight With Clinton Campaign And DNC Looms In Sussmann Case (Pol.)

A looming legal battle could reveal new details about the decision by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign to commission a research project that produced a controversial dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Prosecutors on special counsel John Durham’s team handling a criminal false-statement case against a top lawyer for Democratic causes, Michael Sussmann, indicated on Thursday that they planned to challenge claims of attorney-client privilege raised by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign. The issue has lingered for years, with the Democratic groups claiming that the investigative firm that produced the dossier, Fusion GPS, did so as part of attorney-requested research related to potential litigation.

However, Durham’s prosecution of Sussmann, a former Perkins Coie partner, may bring the question to a head as prosecutors seek to call witnesses from the law firm and Fusion GPS. “It’s obviously a bit of a hornet’s nest,” defense attorney Sean Berkowitz said on Thursday during a pretrial hearing for Sussmann, who’s accused of lying to the FBI by denying he was working for any client when in September 2016 he brought FBI general counsel James Baker computer data that hinted at links between Trump entities and Russia. Berkowitz said that on Wednesday night, Durham’s team indicated that it planned to contest the privilege claims in the lead-up to Sussmann’s trial, set to open May 16 in Washington. The defense attorney denounced the prosecution’s move as “wildly untimely” and “an ambush that could change the entire parameter and focus of the case.”

“We’re very concerned about it,” Berkowitz told U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper. During a House Intelligence Committee investigation in 2017, Clinton campaign general counsel Mark Elias, a Perkins Coie attorney, testified — with permission from the DNC and the campaign — that he selected Fusion GPS to do research on Trump and individuals in his orbit. He said Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook approved the work, but wasn’t involved in picking the firm. But details of who in Clinton’s orbit knew about the sensitive project, handled primarily by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, remain murky. “We have had conversations and have been unable to get comfort as to the grounding and basis of various privilege theories,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis told the judge.

“These issues are unavoidable and we’ve been working for quite some time to get to the bottom of them.” DeFlippis didn’t delve into the details of the dispute during the hearing held by videoconference on Thursday, but he gave one example: He said the Clinton campaign was asserting privilege over communications of Rodney Joffe, a tech executive who compiled the data Sussmann shared with the FBI. The campaign has asserted the privilege even over messages it was not copied on, DeFelippis said. Durham’s team is, to some extent, shooting in the dark. DeFilippis signaled on Thursday that prosecutors didn’t know the details of much of the information they might want to bring up at Sussmann’s trial because those statements are redacted in documents the prosecution team has access to. “We don’t have insight into what’s under the redactions,” DeFilippis said.

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What use is denying at this point?

White House Stands By Biden’s Claim That Hunter Didn’t Profit Off China (WE)

The White House is standing by then-candidate Joe Biden’s October 2020 assertion that his son had not made money in China despite clear evidence that his son had received millions from Chinese businessmen.
When Kristen Welker of NBC News, who moderated the presidential debate in which Biden made the claim, asked White House communications director Kate Bedingfield on Thursday whether the White House stood by Biden’s debate comments that there was nothing unethical about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and that his son had not made any money in China, Bedingfield confirmed the White House would “stand by“ the statement. “We absolutely stand by the president’s comment, and I would point you to the reporting on this, which referenced statements that we made at the time that we gave to the Washington Post who worked on this story,” Bedingfield said.

“But as you know, I don’t speak for Hunter Biden, so there’s not more I can say on that.” But executives from the Chinese Communist Party-linked CEFC energy company “paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle,” James Biden, the Washington Post confirmed earlier this week following reporting by the Washington Examiner and others. New documents, which include “a signed copy of a $1 million legal retainer, emails related to the wire transfers, and $3.8 million in consulting fees that are confirmed in new bank records and agreements signed by Hunter Biden — illustrate the ways in which his family profited from relationships built over Joe Biden’s decades in public service,” the outlet said. Bedingfield was asked whether there had been discussions inside the White House about possible pardons for James or Hunter Biden, a possibility she dismissed as a “hypothetical” she wouldn’t address from the podium.

Welker had asked Joe Biden during the 2020 debate, “There have been questions about the work your son has done in China and for a Ukrainian energy company when you were vice president. In retrospect, was anything about those relationships inappropriate or unethical?” Joe Biden would then falsely deny his son had made money from China. “Nothing was unethical,” Joe Biden replied, arguing at length he had done no wrong during his son’s lucrative time on the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma, before adding, “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about — what are you talking about — China. I have not had it. The only guy that made money from China is this guy. He’s the only one. Nobody else has made money from China.”

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A nuclear power.

Pakistan Warns Of Foreign-backed Regime-change Attempt (M/P)

While the world’s attention is understandably focused on the crisis in Ukraine, equally grave developments are taking place elsewhere. Perhaps the most consequential – and underreported – is a regime-change operation underway in Pakistan. This March, opposition lawmakers in Pakistan’s parliament launched a “no-confidence” motion aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Imran Khan. Khan, who was democratically elected in 2018, has warned that an “effort is being made to topple the government with the help of foreign funds in our country.” “Our people are being used. Mostly unknowingly, but some knowingly are using this money against us,” Khan said at a rally on March 27. He added that the government had proof of these payments. Khan argued that these external interests seek to reverse his independent foreign policy.

He recalled his predecessor Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani prime minister who was overthrown in a US-backed coup in 1977, then executed following a show trial. Bhutto was punished “when he tried to bring in a free foreign policy to the country,” Khan declared. Khan specifically singled out the United States for meddling to try to remove him from power. He said he received a letter from Washington that threatened him for refusing to allow it to establish US military bases in Pakistan. He cautioned that the opposition is collaborating with the United States and other foreign countries in its no-confidence motion against him. These warnings came just over a month after Khan publicly criticized the US government for cynically using Pakistan to advance Washington’s interests. He also simultaneously praised China for always acting as a “friend” of Islamabad.

“Whenever the US needed us, they established relations, and Pakistan became a frontline state [against the Soviet Union], and then abandoned it and slapped sanctions on us,” Khan complained. On the other hand, “China is a friend which has always stood by Pakistan,” he contrasted. The idea that a regime-change plot could even be conceived of, let alone attempted, in a nuclear-armed country of more than 220 million may seem shocking and preposterous. On the surface, it strikes as incredulous considering that Islamabad is a major world capital, arguably the most powerful within the Muslim-majority world. Nevertheless, it is precisely these characteristics that make Pakistan so geopolitically important. The following is an analysis of the principal reasons for why hostile foreign elites have decided that Prime Minister Imran Khan must go

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“..81 separate studies — involving a combined 128,000 participants — that demonstrated an average efficacy of 65% for several different outcomes..”

WSJ Misleads Public on Ivermectin, Ignores Revelations About ‘Hidden Author’ (CHD)

The Wall Street Journal on March 18 published an article with this headline: “Ivermectin Didn’t Reduce Covid-19 Hospitalizations in Largest Trial to Date.” Headline readers will easily reach the seemingly obvious conclusion: Drs. Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walensky, along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were right all along. However, for those who read beyond the headline and first few paragraphs, the story begins to morph. The headline clearly states the trial in question was the largest to date. However, this is not the case — as the article’s author, Sarah Toy, explains early in the piece:


“The latest trial, of nearly 1,400 Covid-19 patients at risk of severe disease, is the largest to show that those who received ivermectin as a treatment didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo.” This wasn’t the largest trial to date — it was only the largest trial to date among the subset of trials that have shown no benefit of ivermectin. Was this an oversight? Or was it a deliberate attempt to confuse the 42 million readers of The Wall Street Journal’s digital content? [..] Toy chose not to mention the 81 separate studies — involving a combined 128,000 participants — that demonstrated an average efficacy of 65% for several different outcomes. She also did not mention the 22 studies — involving nearly 40,000 people — around the outcome in question, hospitalization. Those studies showed an average efficacy of 39%.

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Mar 142022
 


Alfred Eisenstaedt The kiss (V-J Day in Times Square) 1945

 

US Farmers Hit Hard By Price Increases, Fertilizer Costs (JTN)
“Media Isn’t Warning You” That US Careening Towards Food Crisis (ZH)
Russian Default On Debts No Longer ‘Improbable’, Says IMF Head (G.)
India Is Mulling Rupee-Ruble Payments System for Trade with Russia (Scofield)
The US Is Still Not Trying Diplomacy With Putin Over Ukraine (Antiwar)
Russia Seeking China’s Military Help In Ukraine, US “Sources” Say (ZH)
The West’s Cancel Culture Targets All Things Russian (JTN)
Responses to the Invasion of Ukraine (Pankaj Mishra)
Deaths Represent 1.3% Of Side Effects Reported For Covid Vaccines (JTN)
How Does It Feel To Be Vindicated? (Malone)
Drs. Walensky and Offit: It’s All in Good Fun (Harrington)
Julian Assange To Marry Fiancee Stella Moris In Belmarsh Prison March 23 (DM)

 

 

 

 

Some day we’ll assess this moment with clear heads
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503265313474977793

 

 

 

 

Veritas FDA
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503264527642775553

 

 

“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas..”

“..we are not really going to see those impacts until this coming summer.”

US Farmers Hit Hard By Price Increases, Fertilizer Costs (JTN)

Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher. That impact is being felt by farmers around the country. “The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.” Ukraine is a significant supplier of both crops and fertilizer materials, adding to the concern that the invasion will likely lead to shortages and price increases.

Fertilizer prices for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, called NPK, have exploded since December 2020. “Because of the seasonal aspects of … this agriculture industry, it takes about six to nine months for the impacts felt in the impact market to really work its way through the supply chain and reach the consumer,” said Nathon Carson, head of supply chain operations for Chemical Dynamics, a multi-million dollar fertilizer supplier based in Florida servicing 12 states. “The crazy thing is, fertilizer prices for NPK, especially nitrogen, the most important nutrient, went up by about … doubled essentially in Q4 of 2021, which means we are not really going to see those impacts until this coming summer.” That fertilizer price increase is one of several factors expected to push food prices up even higher this year.

“Food prices are going to continue to go up dramatically,” Carson said. “I was expecting food prices to go up about 10% in the U.S. before midterms, so around August, another 5 or so percent to follow by the end of the year … You could see 20% food price inflation by the end of the year in the U.S. That is a possibility. You won’t see famine in the U.S. Our food system is very, very resilient, but you will see shortages. You won’t have the same product selection that you’re used to.” These food price issues have only been egged on by runaway federal spending, which has helped send inflation soaring in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the Consumer Price index, a leading marker of inflation, rose 7.9% in the past 12 months. BLS said that the food price index rose 8.6% over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month spike since April 1981.

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”Buy a 2nd freezer, and stock it. Soon.”

“Media Isn’t Warning You” That US Careening Towards Food Crisis (ZH)

Two weeks after the Russia-Ukraine crisis began, the world is quickly moving toward a food crisis that could affect millions of people. A spillover of the crisis could soon spark agricultural mayhem in the US. The curtailment of agricultural exports from Russia and Ukraine will have dramatic knock-on effects on global food supplies. Both countries are known as the ‘breadbasket of the world’ and are responsible for a quarter of the international wheat trade, about a fifth of corn, and 12% of all calories traded globally. Another major problem is access to fertilizers, as Russia has banned exports of the nutrients. It’s not whether or not there will be a food crisis. It’s how big that crisis will be.

We’ve already noted a handful of emerging market countries to monitor as the Russian invasion is choking off grain exports to them and causing prices to rise, which may result in social unrest. Even in the Western world, agricultural markets have not been immune, and higher prices have stung consumers. A tweet from Douglas Karr, the founder of the businesses blog Martech Zone, made the point the “media isn’t even warning you” a food crisis in America is emerging. Karr said he spoke with numerous folks in the food industry who said farmers in the South and Midwest are having trouble procuring fertilizer to grow crops ahead of planting season. He said farmers in the “Midwest are switching,” likely referring to crops that need fewer nutrients because they “can’t get nitrogen nor fertilizer.”

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the global food system was strained. Snarled supply chains and adverse weather conditions in top growing regions of the world resulted in low crop yields and rising prices. The supply shock of Ukraine will amplify the crisis as the UN warned global food prices could jump 8%-20% from here (prices are already at record highs). Responding to Karr’s viral tweet, some people said they were buying a freezer to panic hoard food supplies as the worst food crisis has yet to come. “Likely getting a 2nd chest freezer soon and stuffing it with meats/frozen vegetables/etc. Also, it looks like “preppers” who were dismissed or made fun of last decade are about to be set on being right,” one person said. Another person said, “Read this and then understand why in the last 6 months several publications have been grooming us to accept eating bugs. All of this was planned. Buy a 2nd freezer, and stock it. Soon.”

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“Siluanov said on Sunday that it would be “absolutely fair” for Russia to make sovereign debt payments in roubles until its foreign exchange reserves were unfrozen..”

Russian Default On Debts No Longer ‘Improbable’, Says IMF Head (G.)

A Russian default on its debts after western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine is no longer “improbable”, but would not trigger a global financial crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday. The Washington-based fund’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said the sanctions imposed by the United States and other nations were already having a “severe” impact on the Russian economy and would trigger a deep recession there this year. The war in Ukraine will also drive up food and energy prices, leading to hunger in Africa, she added. Georgieva told CBS’s Face the Nation programme: “In terms of servicing debt obligations, I can say that we no longer think of Russian default as an improbable event. Russia has the money to service its debt, but cannot access it.

“What I’m more concerned about is that there are consequences that go beyond Ukraine and Russia.” Last week, the World Bank’s chief economist, Carmen Reinhart, warned that Russia and its ally Belarus were “mightily close” to default. Asked whether a Russian default could trigger a financial crisis around the world, Georgieva said: “For now, no.” The total exposure of banks to Russia amounted to around $120bn, an amount that while not insignificant, was “not systematically relevant”, she said. Last week, she said the IMF would downgrade its previous forecast for 4.4% global economic growth in 2022 as a result of the war. Separately, Russia said on Sunday that it was counting on China to help it withstand the blow to its economy from sanctions, but the US has warned Beijing not to provide that support.

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Moscow was unable to access $300bn of its $640bn in gold and foreign exchange reserves, but still held part of its reserves in the Chinese currency, the yuan. “And we see what pressure is being exerted by western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade with China. Of course, there is pressure to limit access to those reserves,” he said. “But our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where western markets are closing.” Russia is due to make two interest payments on 16 March. However, it will have a 30-day grace period to make the coupon payments. Siluanov said on Sunday that it would be “absolutely fair” for Russia to make sovereign debt payments in roubles until its foreign exchange reserves were unfrozen, according to Interfax.

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Can’t pay in rubles, IMF? Not so fast…

India Is Mulling Rupee-Ruble Payments System for Trade with Russia (Scofield)

India is discussing how to set up a rupee-ruble payment mechanism to enable it to trade with Russia, to circumvent the U.S. sanctions regime. India abstained from voting on the March United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution demanding an end to Russian offensive in Ukraine (General Assembly resolution demands end to Russian offensive in Ukraine). Since its Independence, India has tried to steer a neutral course between the U.S. and Russia (and previously, the USSR). During the 1950s, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a prime architect behind the Non-Aligned Movement, under which developing countries tried to pursue their national interests without binding themselves to either the U.S. or Soviet bloc. India, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia were mainstays of that movement, which today includes 120 member states, 18 observer states, and 10 international organisations.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, India developed closer relations with the United States. Most recently, under prime minister Narendra Modi, India’s policy tilted even more decisively in a pro-U.S. direction. Modi and Trump shared a strong affinity, and Modi even travelled to the U.S, to host massive rallies intended to galvanize Indian Americans in support of Trump. See this BBC account for further details, What did the Trump-Modi ‘bromance’ achieve? During the last several months, several considerations have prompted the Modi government to rethink the wisdom of putting all its eggs in the U.S. basket. Instead, India is returning to a more balanced approach, assessing its national interests vis-a-vis those of other countries and acting accordingly.

Two developments this summer caused India to question the reliability and integrity of the U.S. as an ally. The first was the manner of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, which had External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar wondering about the value of U.S. security guarantees. Washington’s Ukraine policy is only increasing those misgivings. The United States was willing to push Ukraine to take actions that many – including Henry Kissinger, George Kennan, and Noam Chomsky – warned Russia couldn’t abide. But then when the shooting started, the United States wasn’t willing to get in line of fire. And in the second, in September, the U.S. stunned many when it announced a new Australia/United Kingdom/United States security grouping (AUKUS), as part of which Australia would receive American nuclear submarines.

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They must be enjoying the situation…

The US Is Still Not Trying Diplomacy With Putin Over Ukraine (Antiwar)

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, there is still no sign that the Biden administration is attempting high-level diplomacy with Moscow as a way to possibly end the fighting. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Biden administration doesn’t see the conflict ending anytime soon and that its current strategy is to impose economic pain on Russia and support Ukraine’s military “in its effort to inflict as many defeats on Russia as possible.” It’s clear at this point that the Western sanctions were factored into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine as they haven’t done anything to deter him. But US officials still say they are in no rush to engage directly with Putin.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that in the months leading up to the invasion, the US gave Putin “possible off-ramps.” But during the negotiations, the US ignored Putin’s key demands. Putin wanted a guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t ever join NATO, and even though President Biden said Kyiv wouldn’t be joining the military alliance anytime soon, the US refused to make the promise. Now, Russia has said it will stop its assault if Ukraine declares neutrality, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory, and recognizes the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics. Instead of supporting negotiations on these terms that could lead to a potential ceasefire, the US is working with its NATO allies to flood weapons into Ukraine.

Blinken said on Wednesday that the Biden administration expects “a strategic defeat” of Russia in Ukraine despite Moscow’s “short-term” gains. “We’ll accomplish this by backing Ukrainians in their fight, by remaining united in holding Russia accountable through the devastating sanctions, the diplomatic isolation and other measures,” Blinken said. While Blinken says the US expects a Russian defeat in Ukraine, Biden officials told the Post that they don’t see a “clear end to the military phase of this conflict,” meaning the US expects a long, bloody insurgency in Ukraine, and is willing to support it.

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Russia attacks Yavoriv because of weapons deliveries. There are no US miilitary left there.

Russia Seeking China’s Military Help In Ukraine, US “Sources” Say (ZH)

According to Reuters, when asked about claims that Russia is requesting military help from China, the spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington responded “I’ve never heard of that.” The spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, said China’s priority was to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control. “The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting,” he said in an emailed response to a query from Reuters, adding that “the high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control.” Earlier when commenting on what’s been reported as “significant progress” made in Russia-Ukraine talks, we noted that “It remains to be seen if this is the start of a peaceful resolution to the war or just another false dawn.”

Well, just a few hours later the false dawn has arrived via a bombshell FT report citing anonymous Biden administration officials who say that Russia has issued a formal request from China for military support in its invasion of Ukraine. This was followed minutes later with similar Washington Post and New York Times stories in what looks like a US “coordinated leak” effort to send a message and warning to China. “Russia has asked China for military equipment to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to [anonymous] US officials, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing may undermine western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country,” FT writes.

[..] The fresh attack on Yavoriv is being taken also as a clear warning to Washington, again given it was a well-known site which previously housed US military trainers engaged in short-term missions to support Ukrainian national forces prior to the invasion began. Training was going on up until earlier in February. Setting the stage for a potential major escalation with Western and NATO powers, the Kremlin warned on Saturday that the Russian military is prepared to target Western arms shipments that are continuing to pour into Ukraine. Russia’s Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov said on state TV that Washington had been informed in the last days that Moscow will see weapons supply convoys entering Ukraine as “legitimate targets”.

“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Ryabkov said in the remarks, which served as a severe warning to the West.

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“There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate.”

The West’s Cancel Culture Targets All Things Russian (JTN)

In New York City, despite many owners of Russian restaurants opposing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — or even being Ukrainian themselves — they have experienced canceled reservations, bad reviews and social media campaigns, unusually low turnout, and vandalism, The New York Times reported. Even as some restaurants have plastered signs in support of Ukraine on their doors, they are still dealing with backlash from customers. Some patrons, however, are showing support for the restaurants as they struggle to cope with the commercial fallout from the invasion, according to the Times. “We just thought Russian businesses are probably being unfairly treated, and it would be the right thing to do to have dinner here,” a customer at Russian Samovar told the Times last week. “There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate.”

[..] Daily Wire podcast host and bestselling author Matt Walsh compared the treatment of Russians to other forms of bigotry, tweeting on Monday: “There was so much concern about potential ‘Islamophobia’ after 9/11, and ‘anti-Asian’ backlash after China unleashed covid on the world, and yet it seems to be open season on Russians right now. It’s almost like bigotry is okay as long as the targets are perceived to be white.” [..] On Thursday, a Meta spokesperson confirmed that Facebook and Instagram would allow users in some countries to violate the company’s rules and call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers with regard to the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement, “we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

Author and columnist Larry Taunton retweeted an article on the Meta announcement, saying, “And people wonder how we ended up with Japanese internment camps.” [..] American grocery stores Kroger, Publix, and Food Lion have all said they removed Russian vodka from their shelves, according to Business Insider. Some bar owners are also dumping out their Russian vodka. However, “[l]ess than 1% of vodka consumed in the United States is produced in Russia,” CNN reported, noting that more than half of all vodka in the U.S. is American-made. “If you’re posting the Ukrainian flag and boycotting Russian vodka but you’re still going to vote for Democrats and you still won’t support oil production in the United States,” Walsh tweeted, “kindly shut the hell up you ridiculous virtue signaling phony.”

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From London Review of Books. Many authors, Mishra is one.

“..while an infotainment media works up citizens into a state of paranoid patriotism, a service class of intellectuals talks up the American Revolution and the international liberal order.”

Responses to the Invasion of Ukraine (Pankaj Mishra)

Foreigners have long envied the way the American system, built by and for slave-owners and programmed to boost oligarchies and dynasties, secures mass consent: while an infotainment media works up citizens into a state of paranoid patriotism, a service class of intellectuals talks up the American Revolution and the international liberal order.

Hyper-patriotic media have emerged in India, China and Russia over the last decade, together with pseudo-thinkers who have upgraded national self-images by hailing the glories of Hindu civilisation, Russian empire and Confucian harmony. As the hacks, trolls and conspiracy theorists of digital media cemented these ideological ecosystems in place, dissent was condemned to impotence. Today, the news and analysis received by the vast majority of people in India and China as well as Russia is – in the words of the head of the Levada Centre, Russia’s independent public opinion research organisation – a compendium of ‘lies and hatred on a fantastical scale’. And so Modi’s brutalising of Kashmir, Putin’s annexation of Crimea and Xi’s herding of Uighur Muslims into concentration camps faced as little domestic challenge as America’s endless wars and killings in Asia and Africa.

Humiliation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at home by Trump, demoralised the exporters of democracy and capitalism. But Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine have now given them an opportunity to make America seem great again. The Russian bear has long guaranteed, more reliably than ‘Islamofascism’ or China, income and identity to many in the military-industrial and intellectual-industrial complex. An ageing centrist establishment – battered by the far right, harangued by post-Occupy and post-BLM young leftists, frustrated by legislative stalemate in Washington – seems suddenly galvanised by the prospect of defining themselves through a new cold war.

As Russian troops attacked a nuclear reactor, George Packer wrote in the Atlantic that ‘for the first time in decades, an American president is showing that he, and only he, can lead the free world.’ The New York Times exulted over the new-found resolve of the free world: ‘Nato has been revitalised, the United States has reclaimed a mantle of leadership that some feared had vanished in Iraq and Afghanistan.’ Boris Johnson claimed that he had never seen such a stark ‘dividing line between right and wrong’. More remarkably, Hillary Clinton called on MSNBC for a rerun in Ukraine of the ‘very motivated’ and ‘armed insurgency’ that ‘basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan’.

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CDC numbers.

Deaths Represent 1.3% Of Side Effects Reported For Covid Vaccines (JTN)

Deaths following mRNA vaccination against COVID-19 represented 13 out of every 1,000 reports (1.3%) to the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), the CDC’s Atlanta-based researchers said Monday. Another 66 reports out of every 1,000 (6.6%) were categorized as “serious,” resulting in “inpatient hospitalisation, prolongation of hospitalisation, permanent disability, life-threatening illness, congenital anomaly or birth defect,” according to their study published in The Lancet, the U.K-based medical journal. VAERS is often dubbed a passive surveillance system because it accepts reports from anyone. The CDC previously told Just the News that most reports come from manufacturers or healthcare providers, who have mandatory reporting requirements.

But the researchers said they also consulted an “active” smartphone-based voluntary monitoring system, v-safe, created in 2020. The data show that “most reported adverse events were mild and short in duration,” with 18-49 year-olds representing a plurality (45%) and females a supermajority (75%). Mainstream media uncritically ran with the CDC’s framing, with USA Today touting researcher David Shay’s assurance that the death rate was expected given the elderly population studied. About a quarter of reports were from ages 65 and up. A large subset of young people was almost entirely excluded, however: minors. The study only reviewed the first six months of emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, covering 340,000 reports and 299 million doses.

That time period ends just a month after Pfizer’s vaccine was authorized for 12-15 year-olds and predates its EUA for children 5-11, while Moderna’s vaccine remains unauthorized for anyone under 18. The study’s youngest age range is 16-17, representing 2% of all reports. “Why the cut-off at six months? There are now data that extend for 14 months, and those data include children,” Robert Malone, the mRNA vaccine pioneer-turned-critic, wrote in his newsletter. Health authorities worldwide have recognized young people, particularly males, as having a higher risk for heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination, especially after the second dose. That was the FDA’s rationale to indefinitely pause consideration of Moderna’s vaccine for adolescents.

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The biomedical world that I thought I was living in has been revealed to be a sham.”

How Does It Feel To Be Vindicated? (Malone)

I have been getting the question “How does it feel to be vindicated?” Dr. Jill (Glasspool-Malone) keeps noodling me to write a piece describing my feelings on this topic. Personally, I dislike focusing on the psychology of how these last two years have impacted on me (and us). Much as I am very wary of the “cult of personality” aspect of my newfound fame. I have not spoken out because I sought attention, I have done this because it was the right thing to do, and I seemed to have a unique widow of opportunity to speak for those whose voices were so actively suppressed. But I certainly have had to take hits for it. The slander, defamation, gaslighting, and globally coordinated character assassination have been non-stop. But as time has gone by, and more and more has been revealed about the hidden hands that seek to manage what we are allowed to hear, see, and think, I have been transformed.


The biomedical world that I thought I was living in has been revealed to be a sham. The legitimacy of the industry and discipline that I have committed my entire professional life to is in shambles. I am now embarrassed to call myself a vaccines and biodefense expert, because the fundamental corruption inherent in those domains has been so clearly revealed. I cannot unsee what I have seen. I cannot recapture all of those years spent in a profoundly corrupt academic system, spent supporting a deeply compromised discipline which appears primarily driven by financial interests rather than by what I had naively believed was a commitment to saving lives. I chose to not pursue the careers of my father and father in law, which were spent building weapons of war. Only to find that I had inadvertently played a significant role in enabling one of the most tragic medical follies in the history of man.

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“And while she was exonerating herself, she made time to give the masses a little bitty sermon on the nature of science itself. Remember science?”

Drs. Walensky and Offit: It’s All in Good Fun (Harrington)

A few days back Rochelle Walensky was invited to give an interview at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. The first part of the discussion pivoted around softball questions which allowed her to pontificate on her decidedly race-infused views of public health. It was more than halfway into the interview before her interlocutor finally got around to asking her about where she and the CDC might have gone wrong in their management of the Covid epidemic. Here is what followed. First, she told of how pleased she was when she heard (from a “CNN feed” no less) about the “95% effectiveness” of the vaccines because, like all of us, she just wanted to get the pandemic behind us. And then she expresses, between chuckles, her shock upon learning that the vaccines might diminish in effectiveness over time “Nobody said waning…Nobody said what if the next variant…what if it’s not as potent against the next variant?”

You see, even though a humanities professor like me with no scientific training knew —thanks to my readings of the Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen EUAs and from reading numerous scientific papers on vaccine effectiveness and safety and listening to people like Sucharit Bkahdi, Geert Vande Bossche and Michael Yeadon— by very early 2021 that the vaccines probably would not prevent transmission and might actually promote new resistant varieties of the virus, none of this was conceivable or knowable to the Director of the CDC. Like the human hologram she apparently is, we are led to believe that she was there, but she was not really there. She was responsible, but really someone else was. “No one could have known,” she exclaims, except, of course, the hundreds of thousands of us amateurs who did, in fact, know, and were censored and called science-hating anti-vaxxers for our troubles.

And of course, holograms don’t do guilt or responsibility. Did she express any sympathy for the people that were forced out of jobs over their refusal to take what we now know, and she admits, were largely ineffective vaccines? Nope, again even though she was in the chair, it was, of course, all beyond her control. And as a powerless spectator—cue the folksy music—just like you and me, she was disappointed and surprised. Mistakes were made. She meant well. Her only real faults, as she said in the same talk, were the clearly well-intentioned ones of having “too little caution and too much optimism.” And while she was exonerating herself, she made time to give the masses a little bitty sermon on the nature of science itself. Remember science?

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How happy can we afford to be for them?

Julian Assange To Marry Fiancee Stella Moris In Belmarsh Prison March 23 (DM)

Julian Assange’s fiancée has spoken of her joy at being allowed to marry the WikiLeaks founder despite restrictions being placed on their wedding. Stella Moris, 38, will marry the 50-year-old in Belmarsh Prison, south east London on March 23, just weeks before the third anniversary of his dramatic arrest when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in the capital in April 2019. He has been held in the high-security jail ever since as he fights extradition to the United States, where he is wanted over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He has always denied wrongdoing and has won support for his case from human rights organisations and journalist groups across the world.


Ms Moris said that just four guests and two witnesses will be allowed to attend the ceremony, as well as two security guards. Dame Vivienne Westwood is designing Ms Moris’s wedding dress, and a kilt for Assange, whose parents are of Scottish extraction. The guests will have to leave immediately after the event, even though it is being held during normal visiting hours. The couple are still waiting to hear if they will be allowed a photographer. Ms Moris said: ‘Obviously we are very excited, even though the circumstances are very restrictive. ‘There continues to be unjustified interference in our plans. Having a photographer for an hour is not an unreasonable request. [..] Julian is looking forward to the wedding because it is finally happening, many months after we first made the request.’

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Guardiola is a Catalan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503007813873848333

 

 

Pelosi

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t me
https://twitter.com/i/status/1502234046809657355

 

 

22 years

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 252019
 


Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

 

Something’s been nagging me for the past few days, and I’m not sure I’ve figured out why yet. It started when Donald Trump first called off the alleged planned strikes on targets in Iran because they would have cost 150 lives, and then the next day said the US would do sanctions instead. As they did on Monday, even directly targeting Trump’s equal, the “Supreme Leader Khameini”.

When Trump announced the sanctions, I thought: wait a minute, by presenting this the way you did, you effectively turned economic sanctions into a military tool: we chose not to do bombs but sanctions. Sounds the same as not doing a naval invasion but going for air attacks instead. The kind of decisions that were made in Vietnam a thousand times.

However, Vietnam was all out war (well, invasion is a better term). Which shamed the US, killed and maimed the sweet Lord only knows how many promising young Americans as well as millions of Vietnamese, and ended in humiliating defeat. But the US is not in an all out war in Iran, at least not yet. And if they would ever try to be, the outcome would be Vietnam squared.

Still, that’s not really my point here. It’s simply about the use of having the world reserve currency as a military weapon instead of an economic one. And I think that is highly significant. As well as an enormous threat to the US. The issue at hand is overreach.

While you could still argue that economic sanctions on North Korea, Venezuela and Russia are just that, economic and/or political ones, the way Trump phrased it, comparing sanctions one on one with military strikes, no longer leaves that opening when it comes to Iran. The new Iran sanctions are a preliminary act of war. Simply because of how he presented them. He explicitly stated that he swapped one for the other.

 

There are quite a few people who have been harping on the demise of the USD as reserve currency for a long time, and I always think: look, nobody wants the yuan, let alone the ruble. There’s no trade being executed in these currencies. So taking over from the USD is a pipe dream.

But that may very well change, and perhaps very fast too, if the US uses the dollar not as an economic weapon (and there are plenty issues with that already), but as a military one. That would potentially hugely speed up any efforts to move away from the buck in international trade.

For the simple reason that it becomes unreliable. Traders hate that, they can’t have that. A reserve currency must be neutral -to a point-. The world of trade doesn’t want the yuan because Beijing controls it and can therefore change conditions and values overnight. But if and when the US uses the USD as a military tool, it essentially risks doing exactly the same: it deneutralizes the USD.

Using the USD as an economic weapon is ugly, but something global trade can deal with. A military weapon, though, is something else altogether. And I see no sign that Trump understands this. The thing is, using your currency, which also happens to be the world reserve currency, as a military tool, means you’ve become a threat to everyone, the entire globe, overnight.

And people don’t want to live that way. Not Iran, not Russia, not China, not Europe, no-one. It’s one thing to use the USD for sanctions. But it’s a real different thing to use it as just a military alternative to “bombing a country into obliteration”.

 

What Trump did comes awfully close to signing the death warrant for the USD as the global reserve currency. And it’s really only because he and his people weren’t paying attention. He could have phrased the entire thing differently, and it would have been business as usual, a business that Moscow and Beijing are actively trying to undermine, but they could have waited a bit longer reacting.

Now, however, their plans have to be sped up. They’re going to be buying a lot of gold, as they’ve already been doing, they’ll try to do their mutual business in their own currencies backed by this gold, and they’ll speed up alternatives-to-USD plans with other countries in their neighborhood. Because they have no choice anymore.

I see Tyler Durden reporting that the US threatens to throw a Chinese state-owned bank out of the SWIFT system, and I think: great idea. Why not force China to quit the reserve currency system, the petrodollar, outright?! Why not force it to hasten the Asian/Russian alternative trade model into existence? What a great and lovely idea.

The US should today make friends. It should preserve the reserve currency status of the USD for as long as it can, by convincing allies and foes alike that it will protect its neutrality in global trade. But Trump and his people are doing the exact opposite, they’re playing all-on-red.

The US no longer has the economic, political or military might to dictate to the entire world any terms it wants to. Those days are long gone. That ended in Vietnam. Trump’s living in the last century, while Bolton and Pompeo, they live in their own time and world.

 

But yeah, sure, perhaps this is what the dying days of an empire MUST look like. Maybe there’s a model to follow and there’s no escape, maybe it’s all written in the stars. Like Rome and Greece and Genghis Khan. Maybe things simply just have to play out. Still, looking at that Trump statement about the new Iran sanctions that started me off, it doesn’t feel all that smart.

 

 

 

 

Feb 082017
 
 February 8, 2017  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Dorothea Lange Rear window tenement dwelling, 133 Avenue D, NYC 1936

This Is How Out-Of-Whack US Trade Relationships Really Are (WS)
John Kelly, Homeland Security Chief, Says Travel Ban Rolled Out Too Quickly (WSJ)
Trump Travel Ban: Judges Skeptical About Arguments On Executive Order (G.)
‘Trump Makes Sense To A Grocery Store Owner’ – Taleb (Hindu)
Do Not Let Elliott Abrams Anywhere Near The State Department (Rand Paul)
EU Faces Crisis As IMF Warns Greek Debts Are On ‘Explosive’ Path (Tel.)
Greece’s Debt Costs Rise Sharply As Worries Grow Over IMF Role (G.)
Don’t Sell the Euro Short. It’s Here to Stay. (Eichengreen)
Money Is Pouring Out Of China, And The Government Can’t Stop It (R.)
China’s Reserves Approach Breaking Point As Another Devaluation Looms (BBG)
Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves (BBG)
Cracks Are Appearing In Australia’s Trillion-Dollar Property Debt Pile (BBG)
Putin Orders Russian Air Force To Prepare For ‘Time Of War’ (Ind.)
Controversial Dakota Pipeline To Go Ahead After Army Approval (R.)
Why Should A Libertarian Take Universal Basic Income Seriously? (Dolan)

 

 

“It never was a big deal because growing imports were portrayed as healthy demand in the US. The world loved it.”

This Is How Out-Of-Whack US Trade Relationships Really Are (WS)

2016 marked another banner year for US trade, a banner year largely for other countries that at the initiative of Corporate America, whose supply chains weave all over the world, managed to load the US up with their merchandise. According to the Commerce Department’s report today, the US trade deficit in goods and services rose to $502.3 billion in 2016, the highest in four years. Exports of goods and services fell $52 billion in 2016 year-over-year to $2.21 trillion, and imports fell $50 billion to $2.71 trillion. That both exports and imports fell is a sign of weakening world trade, lackluster demand globally, and lousy economic growth in the US, where GDP in 2016 inched up by a miserable 1.6%, matching the growth rate of 2011, both having been the lowest growth rates since 2009.

Exports add to the economy and to GDP; imports subtract from GDP. And it’s a big number: the trade deficit in 2016 amounted to 2.7% of GDP. In overly simplified, scribbled-on-a-napkin-after-the-third-beer math: had trade been balanced, with imports about equal to exports, GDP growth would have been 2.7 percentage points higher in 2016. So 4.3%! OK, we’re dreaming. But that’s how a massive trade deficit whacks the economy. The overall trade balance is composed of trade in goods and services. It used to be years ago when the trade deficit in goods began to balloon that it was no big deal because America was exporting innovative services, such as complex financial services, and they would make up for the deficit in old-fashioned goods.

They did lessen the pain for a little while, and then they didn’t. And soon, even the overall US trade deficit ballooned, but it was no big deal because soaring imports showed that the US economy was healthy and brimming with consumer demand. Year after year, we heard this from economists and politicians. Beyond that, apathy was palpable. No one cared. It’s just the way it is. Dreaming of balanced trade was like so 1980s or whatever. Meanwhile, Corporate America was fine-tuning its game of offshoring production and importing from cheaper countries. The entire business model of Wal-Mart depends on it. US supply chains wind all over the globe, in search of the lowest production costs, whether it’s consumer gadgets or automotive components. It never was a big deal because growing imports were portrayed as healthy demand in the US. The world loved it.

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Kelly’s a straight shooter. Wonder how long he can last.

John Kelly, Homeland Security Chief, Says Travel Ban Rolled Out Too Quickly (WSJ)

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress the Trump administration should have taken more time to inform Congress before implementing its controversial executive order temporarily blocking entry of people from seven nations. “The thinking was to get it out quick so potentially people coming here to harm us would not take advantage” of a delay, Mr. Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday. In his first congressional appearance as a cabinet member, Mr. Kelly offered a forceful defense of the order, saying it wasn’t a ban on Muslims as critics have charged, but a “temporary pause” on immigrants and visitors from countries about whose residents the U.S. can’t access solid information. He sought to take responsibility for the chaotic rollout, saying the confusion was “all on me.”

“Going forward, I would have certainly taken some time to inform the Congress and certainly that’s something I’ll do in the future,” he said. The Wall Street Journal and others have reported that Mr. Kelly had little input in the order or its rollout, which was directed by the White House. The order, issued on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 27, resulted in initial confusion and confrontation at airports around the country, as some travelers were detained for hours or sent away and protesters gathered at terminals to denounce the new rules. A federal court in Seattle temporarily put the order on hold on Friday, citing potential legal concerns. That action prompted President Donald Trump to question the judge’s credentials and say he could be to blame in the event of a terrorist attack. Mr. Kelly waded into that debate on Tuesday, likening judges to academics removed from on-the-ground realities.

“I have nothing but respect for judges, but in their world it’s a very academic, very almost in-a-vacuum discussion, and of course, in their courtrooms, they are protected by people like me, so they can have those discussions,” he said. “They live in a different world than I do. I’m paid to worst-case it, he’s paid to, in a very academic environment, make a call.” [..] Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said he backed the executive order, which a court order has put on hold. But he said it was poorly implemented. He said some U.S. permanent residents who are citizens of the targeted countries were initially not allowed to return to the country, while foreigners who aided the U.S. military and students attending American schools were “trapped overseas.”

“I applaud you for quickly correcting what I consider errors,” Mr. McCaul said. The congressman said he had suggested the approach President Donald Trump took when Mr. Trump was a candidate. His goal, Mr. McCaul said, was to help reframe the proposal from what Mr. Trump initially described as a Muslim ban, an approach he thought would have been unconstitutional.

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It’s great to have the courts discuss this. That’s where it belongs. If Trump can win, we will know just how broad US presidents’ power had become, before Trump. And we can judge whether we like things that way. He either has the authority, or he doesn’t. That should be clear from the law, not a matter of taste or preference.

Trump Travel Ban: Judges Skeptical About Arguments On Executive Order (G.)

A lawyer seeking to reinstate Donald Trump’s travel ban was grilled by a panel of three judges on Tuesday, facing questions over the president’s inflammatory campaign promise to close America’s borders to Muslims. August Flentje, of the Department of Justice, was put on the spot over why seven Muslim-majority countries had been targeted in Trump’s executive order, as well as past statements made by the president and his ally Rudy Giuliani. The hour-long hearing before the San Francisco-based ninth circuit court of appeals was the most significant legal battle yet over the ban. The judges said they would try to deliver a ruling as soon as possible but gave no indication of when. Flentje, reportedly called up for the hearing at short notice, asked the judges for a stay on the temporary restraining order placed on Trump’s travel ban by district court judge James Robart last week.

[..] During a hearing conducted by telephone between various locations, Flentje described the ban as putting a “temporary pause” on travelers from countries that “pose special risk”. He said the seven countries targeted had “significant terrorist presence” or were “safe havens for terrorism”. Trump’s actions were “plainly constitutional”, Flentje argued, as the president sought to strike a balance between welcoming visitors and securing the nation of the risk of terrorism. “The president has struck that balance,” he said. “The district court order upset that balance.” Flentje argued that the district court restraining order was too broad, giving rights to people “who have never been to the United States” and “really needs to be narrowed”. Judge Michelle Friedland asked: “Are you arguing then that the president’s decision in the regard is unreviewable?”

Flentje replied: “Yes, there are obviously constitutional limitations.” But Judge William Canby pointed out that people from the seven countries already could not come into the country without a visa and were subject to “the usual investigations”. How many of these people had committed terrorist attacks in the US, he wondered, before pointing out it was none. Flentje pointed to Congress’s determination that they were countries of concern, an argument that Judge Richard Clifton dismissed as “pretty abstract”. Trying to regain ground, the lawyer said: “Well, I was just about to at least mention a few examples. There have been a number of people from Somalia connected to al-Shabaab [an Islamist militant group] who have been convicted in the United States.” Friedland, who was appointed by Barack Obama, interjected: “Is that in the record? Can you point us to what, where in the record you are referring?” Flentje admitted: “It is not in the record.”

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“..if you went to the local souk [bazaar] in Aleppo and brought one of the retail shop owners, he would do the same thing Trump is doing. Like making a call to Boeing and asking why are we paying so much..”

‘Trump Makes Sense To A Grocery Store Owner’ – Taleb (Hindu)

In Skin in the Game, you seem to build on theories from The Black Swan that give a sense of foreboding about the world economy. Do you see another crisis coming? Oh, absolutely! The last crisis [2008] hasn’t ended yet because they just delayed it. [Barack] Obama is an actor. He looks good, he raises good children, he is respectable. But he didn’t fix the economic system, he put novocaine [local anaesthetic] in the system. He delayed the problem by working with the bankers whom he should have prosecuted. And now we have double the deficit, adjusted for GDP, to create six million jobs, with a massive debt and the system isn’t cured. We retained zero interest rates, and that hasn’t helped. Basically we shifted the problem from the private corporates to the government in the U.S. So, the system remains very fragile.

You say Obama put novocaine in the system. How will the Trump administration be able to address this? Of course. The whole mandate he got was because he understood the economic problems. People don’t realise that Obama created inequalities when he distorted the system. You can only get rich if you have assets. What Trump is doing is put some kind of business sense in the system. You don’t have to be a genius to see what’s wrong. Instead of Trump being elected, if you went to the local souk [bazaar] in Aleppo and brought one of the retail shop owners, he would do the same thing Trump is doing. Like making a call to Boeing and asking why are we paying so much.

You’re seen as something of an oracle, given that you saw the 2008 economic crash coming, you predicted the Brexit vote, the outcome of the Syrian crisis. You said the Islamic State would benefit if Bashar al-Assad was pushed out and you predicted Trump’s win. How do you explain it? Not the Islamic State, but al-Qaeda at the time, and I said the U.S. administration was helping fund them. See, you have to have courage to say things others don’t. I was lucky financially in life, that I didn’t need to work for a living and can spend all my time thinking. When Trump was running for election, I said what he says makes sense to a grocery store owner. Because the grocery guy can say Trump is wrong because he can see where he is wrong. But with Obama, he can’t understand what he’s saying, so the grocery man doesn’t know where he is wrong.

Is it a choice between dumbing down versus over-intellectualisation, then? Exactly. Trump never ran for archbishop, so you never saw anything in his behaviour that was saintly, and that was fine. Whereas Obama behaved like the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was going to do good but people didn’t feel their lives were better. As I said, if it was a shopkeeper from Aleppo, or a grocery store owner in Mumbai, people would have liked them as much as Trump. What he says makes common sense, asking why are we paying so much for this rubbish or why do we need these complex taxes, or why do we want lobbyists. You can call Trump’s plain-speaking what you like. But the way intellectuals treat people who don’t agree with them isn’t good either. I remember I had an academic friend who supported Brexit, and he said he knew what it meant to be a leper in the U.K. It was the same with supporting Trump in the U.S.

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Amen to that.

Do Not Let Elliott Abrams Anywhere Near The State Department (Rand Paul)

I hope against hope that the rumors are wrong and that President Donald Trump will not open the State Department door to the neocons. Crack the door to admit Elliott Abrams and the neocons will scurry in by the hundreds. Neoconservative interventionists have had us at perpetual war for 25 years. While President Trump has repeatedly stated his belief that the Iraq War was a mistake, the neocons (all of them Never-Trumpers) continue to maintain that the Iraq and Libyan Wars were brilliant ideas. These are the same people who think we must blow up half the Middle East, then rebuild it and police it for decades. They’re wrong and they should not be given a voice in this administration.

One of the things I like most about President Trump is his acknowledgement that nation building does not work and actually works against the nation building we need to do here at home. With a $20 trillion debt, we don’t have the money to do both. I urge him to keep that in mind this week when he meets with Elliott Abrams, the rumored pick for second in command to the Secretary of State. Abrams would be a terrible appointment for countless reasons. He doesn’t agree with the president in so many areas of foreign policy and he has said so repeatedly; he is a loud voice for nation building and when asked about the president’s opposition to nation building, Abrams said that Trump was absolutely wrong; and during the election he was unequivocal in his opposition to Donald Trump, going so far as to say, “the chair in which Washington and Lincoln sat, he is not fit to sit.”

Why then would the president trust him with the second most powerful position in the State Department? Abrams was equally dismissive throughout Trump’s entire candidacy. As a Never-Trumper, he repeatedly said he would neither vote for Clinton nor Trump. He likened the choice to the one the nation faced of McGovern vs. Nixon. I voted for Rex Tillerson for secretary of state because I believe him to have a balanced approach to foreign policy. My hope is that he will put forward a realist approach. I don’t see Abrams as part of any type of foreign policy realism. Elliott Abrams is a neoconservative too long in the tooth to change his spots, and the president should have no reason to trust that he would carry out a Trump agenda rather than a neocon agenda. But just as importantly, Congress has good reason not to trust him – he was convicted of lying to Congress in his previous job.

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It’s not only a broken record, it’s a really bad song too.

EU Faces Crisis As IMF Warns Greek Debts Are On ‘Explosive’ Path (Tel.)

The EU faces a looming crisis which could threaten the sustainability of the eurozone as the IMF has warned Greece’s debts are on an “explosive” path despite years of attempted austerity and economic reforms. Global financiers at the IMF are increasingly unwilling to fund endless bailouts for the eurozone’s most troubled country, passing more of the burden onto the EU – at a time when Germany does not want to keep sending cash to Athens. The assessment opens up a fresh split with Europe over how to handle Greece’s massive public debts, as the IMF called on Europe to provide “significant debt relief” to Greece – despite Greece’s EU creditors ruling out any further relief before the current rescue programme expires in 2018. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup President repeated that position last night, saying there would be no Greek debt forgiveness and dismissing the IMF assessment of Greece’s growth prospects as overly pessimistic.

“It’s surprising because Greece is already doing better than that report describes,” said Mr Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of eurozone finance ministers, adding that Greece was on track for a “pretty good recovery at the moment”. The renewed divisions over how to handle the Greek debt crisis has raised fresh questions over whether the IMF will be a full participant in the next phase of the Greek rescue – a key condition for backing from the German and Dutch parliaments. As Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, fights a tough reelection battle, Germany is particularly reluctant to send funds directly to Greece, with populist parties in Germany arguing that the payments amount to an unfair bailout from hard-working Germans to less deserving Greeks.

The IMF split came as Mrs May last night comfortably defeated a Brexit rebellion in the Commons as MPs rejected Labour plans to give Parliament a “meaningful” vote on the terms of a final deal. Despite suggestions that up to 30 Tory MPs could defy their party whip and back the Labour amendment just seven chose to do so. Mrs May stemmed the rebellion after the Government pledged to hold a vote in Parliament on the deal before it is sent to the European Parliament. However ministers said that MPs would have to “take or leave it”, meaning that Mrs May is prepared to walk away from Europe without a deal if Parliament rejects it. A fresh crisis over Greek debt could be triggered as soon as in July when Greece is due to repay some €7bn to its creditors – money the country cannot pay without a fresh injection of bailout cash.

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As they do the same thing again and again, things only get worse. And then they have to do it again.

Greece’s Debt Costs Rise Sharply As Worries Grow Over IMF Role (G.)

Fresh worries over Greece’s debts have pushed the country’s borrowing costs sharply higher amid renewed insistence from Athens it will not swallow further austerity demands from international lenders. The yields on two-year government bonds jumped to their highest level since last June and went above 10% to reflect growing anxiety on financial markets over Greece’s ability to keep up to date with debt repayments. Yields on 10-year government bonds were also higher at above 7.8%, the highest close since November. The renewed focus on Greece’s debts came as the International Monetary Fund revealed its board was split over how far spending cuts in the country should go, raising fresh doubts over its participation in rescue plans for the struggling Greek economy.

The fund has made repeated warnings that Greece’s debt burden of about €330bn is unsustainable despite the government pushing through spending cuts and tax increases that have badly hit popularity ratings for the government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras. The IMF declined to join other international lenders – the ECB and the EU – in funding the country’s third bailout, agreed in August 2015, and it is currently deciding whether to take part in a new chunk of rescue funds needed by mid-2018. Germany has warned the IMF’s involvement is crucial if support for Greece is to continue. News of a split on the IMF board raised new questions over whether Germany will see its wish granted for the fund joining the next rescue. In its latest annual review of the Greek economy, the IMF revealed that its board members were in disagreement over whether Athens should enforce even more austerity to satisfy its lenders.

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Barry Eichengreen basically says the euro will stay because of fear (of the consequences of leaving). That doesn’t seem a very stable foundation.

Don’t Sell the Euro Short. It’s Here to Stay. (Eichengreen)

Two forms of glue hold the euro together. First, the economic costs of break-up would be great. The minute investors heard that Greece was seriously contemplating reintroducing the drachma with the purpose of depreciating it against the euro, or against a “new Deutsche mark,” they would wire all their money to Frankfurt. Greece would experience the mother of all banking crises. The “new Deutsche mark” would then shoot through the roof, destroying Germany’s export industry. More generally, those predicting, or advocating, the euro’s demise tend to underestimate the technical difficulties of reintroducing national currencies. They suggest briefly imposing capital controls to prevent holders of euros from fleeing while the new money, electronic or other, is quickly put in place.

This ignores the complexity of actually removing controls once they are adopted. Recall the experiences of Iceland and Cyprus, which required years, not days, to completely remove their “temporary” controls. The proponents advocate quickly restructuring the debts of banks, firms and households with euro-denominated liabilities, without realizing that one person’s debt is another’s asset. Moreover, because borrowing and lending occurs across borders, agreement on debt restructuring will require lengthy negotiation between countries if the country abandoning the euro is to avoid harsh retaliatory measures. This process would make the U.K.’s Brexit negotiations look like a stroll in the park.

For southern European countries, there is an additional complication. They would have a massive bill to the ECB, and by implication to the other member states that are shareholders in the ECB, in settlement of their so-called Target2 balances, liabilities incurred as a result of cross-border payments in central bank money. ECB President Mario Draghi recently made clear that countries abandoning the euro would be presented with this bill. For Italy, to pick a case not entirely at random, those balances currently stand at €360 billion ($383 billion), or approximately €6,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s about 10 times on a per capita basis what the U.K. likely owes the EU as alimony for its divorce. And if a country like Italy chooses to default on its Target2 obligations, it will be unceremoniously kicked out of the EU.

This brings us to the second form of glue: namely that European countries, Britain aside, still attach very considerable value to EU membership. That membership matters even more now that that President Trump has cast NATO into doubt and the United States is no longer seen as a reliable ally. The example of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, reduced to cozying up to Mr. Trump and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not one that many other European politicians care to follow. In a 2007 article, I too made a bet — namely that the euro, while flawed, wasn’t going away. I argued that it is the roach motel of currencies. Like the Hotel California of the song: you can check in, but you can’t check out. For 10 years I’ve been right. To be sure, past performance is no guarantee of future returns, as any prudent investor knows. Even so, unlike ambassador-in-waiting Malloch, I continue to think that shorting the euro is bad advice.

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And this is before Trump.

Money Is Pouring Out Of China, And The Government Can’t Stop It (R.)

China’s foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below the closely watched $3 trillion level in January for the first time in nearly six years, even as authorities tried to curb outflows by tightening capital controls. Reserves fell by $12.3 billion in January to $2.998 trillion, compared with a drop of $41 billion drop in December. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast forex reserves would fall by about $10.5 billion to $3 trillion. While the $3 trillion mark is not seen as a firm “line in the sand” for Beijing, concerns are swirling in global financial markets over the speed at which the country is depleting its ammunition to defend the currency and staunch capital outflows.

Some analysts fear a heavy and sustained drain on reserves could prompt Beijing to devalue the currency. The yuan fell 6.6% against the rising dollar in 2016, its biggest annual drop since 1994. For 2016 as a whole, China burned through nearly $320 billion of reserves, on top of a record drop of $513 billion in 2015. The yuan has found some respite in recent weeks as the dollar retreated, helped also by recent steps to curb capital outflows. But analysts expect downward pressure on the yuan to resume, especially if the U.S. continues to raise interest rates, which would likely trigger fresh capital outflows from emerging economies such as China and test its enhanced capital controls.

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“What was presented as a gradual depreciation of the yuan last year was in reality a significant 6% weakening of the currency versus the dollar as China’s domestic woes mounted. A collapse of the crawling peg could lead to yuan depreciation that is three times as large.”

China’s Reserves Approach Breaking Point As Another Devaluation Looms (BBG)

In his first few weeks in office, President Donald Trump has ordered the U.S. to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and confirmed his intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The consensus is that it won’t be long before he turns his focus to China, which he calls a currency manipulator. China can weather such criticism, for now. But if Trump’s threats of trade sanctions and 45% tariffs become real, the economic impact for the world’s second-biggest economy would be meaningful and could upend financial markets, potentially leading to a global recession. With economic growth already slowing and capital fleeing the nation, China’s $11 trillion economy is operating from a position of weakness.

Here’s how it plays out: As the world’s dominant reserve currency, the dollar has no peer. IMF data show that the greenback accounts for 63.3% of global foreign-exchange reserves, with the euro next at 20.3%, followed by the British pound and Japanese yen, both at 4.5%. That means that in times of crisis, the dollar benefits from global investors seeking a haven, even if the strife and the the uncertainty emanates from the U.S. It’s possible that a trade war would drive flows into the dollar, putting upward pressure on the currency at the expense of other exchange rates. That would be on top of the natural demand for the greenback created by the anticipation of significant fiscal stimulus floated by the Trump administration and a faster pace of interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve.

In terms of China, it’s important to remember that the yuan’s external value is managed by authorities in a way that isn’t compatible with a sharp appreciation pressure of the dollar vis-à-vis all other currencies. The currency is managed to achieve a stable, effective, trade-weighted exchange rate and to foster a gently crawling peg relative to the dollar. That peg would be threatened if a trade war weakened China’s economy at a faster rate than forecast. What was presented as a gradual depreciation of the yuan last year was in reality a significant 6% weakening of the currency versus the dollar as China’s domestic woes mounted. A collapse of the crawling peg could lead to yuan depreciation that is three times as large.

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The ruble lost 50% vs the USD. A similar path for the yuan would be catastrophic.

Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves (BBG)

China has wiped out about a quarter of the world’s heftiest foreign-currency stockpile over the past 18 months in its quest to keep the yuan stable. According to Commerzbank, such intervention is futile. Data Tuesday showed China’s foreign reserves slipped below $3 trillion in January, the first time they’ve breached that psychologically potent level in almost six years. Yet the experiences of some fellow BRICs show that drawing down the stockpile will probably have little effect on the currency’s long-term fate, Hao Zhou, Commerzbank’s Singapore-based senior emerging-markets economist, wrote in a research note late Tuesday.

While efforts by Russia and Brazil in recent years might have cushioned the blow of currency declines, they couldn’t change the market’s dynamics. In Russia’s case, a collapse in oil prices and the imposition of economic sanctions over the Crimea crisis proved more powerful drivers than the sale of a third of the country’s foreign-currency hoard between April 2013 and March 2015. The ruble fell more than 50% versus the dollar in the period.

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Get out while you can.

Cracks Are Appearing In Australia’s Trillion-Dollar Property Debt Pile (BBG)

The Reserve Bank of Australia frequently seeks feedback on the health of the economy. It might want to call the debt counsellors soon. Homeowners, consumers and property investors around Australia are making more calls to financial helplines as three warning signs back up the spike in demand: mortgage arrears are creeping up, lenders’ bad debt provisions have increased and personal insolvencies are near an all-time high. “It’s steadily out of control – I don’t know of too many financial counselling services where demand doesn’t exceed supply,” said Fiona Guthrie, chief executive officer of Financial Counselling Australia, who says the biggest increase in calls is from people suffering mortgage stress. “There are more people who have got mortgages that they can’t afford to pay.”

Australia’s households are among the world’s most-indebted after bingeing on more than $1 trillion of mortgages amid a housing boom that’s fizzled out in parts of the country, but still roaring in Sydney and Melbourne. While most are capably servicing their debts, a worsening of credit metrics has seen executives and analysts take a more cautious tone. It’s also a key factor in the central bank’s rate decisions this year, as RBA governor Philip Lowe places financial stability at the forefront of monetary policy. The concerns are understandable. Australians’ private debt has soared to 187% of their income, from about 70% in the early 1990s, encouraged by low interest rates. In a November speech, Lowe said that while most households are managing these levels of debt, many feel they are closer to their borrowing capacity than they once were.

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Odd that this reaches the press.

Putin Orders Russian Air Force To Prepare For ‘Time Of War’ (Ind.)

Russia’s air force has been ordered to prepare for a “time of war”. President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “snap check” of the country’s armed forces, accoording to defense minister Sergey Shoigu. As well as checking whether agencies and troops are ready for battle, the same order will ensure that systems are ready to fight, according to state news agency TASS. Those preparations have already begun, according to Russian ministers. “In accordance with the decision by the Armed Forces Supreme Commander, a snap check of the Aerospace Forces began to evaluate readiness of the control agencies and troops to carry out combat training tasks,” he said, according to TASS.

“Special attention should be paid to combat alert, deployment of air defense systems for a time of war and air groupings’ readiness to repel the aggression,” Shoigu added. The preparations come amid increasing concern about tensions between Russia and many of the world’s largest superpowers. Donald Trump has both condemned Russia’s military campaigns and been criticised for being too close to the country’s leaders, and Russia itself is standing in an increasingly tense relationship with some Nato countries. The country has been increasing movement of its military including the launch of the biggest Arctic military push since the fall of the Soviet Union, last month. It has also revealed plans to expand its military over 2017, including a huge boost in the number of tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft controlled by the company.

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Really? Trump is willing to strongarm veterans and Native Americans? Bad PR.

Controversial Dakota Pipeline To Go Ahead After Army Approval (R.)

The U.S. Army will grant the final permit for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline after an order from President Donald Trump to expedite the project despite opposition from Native American tribes and climate activists. In a court filing on Tuesday, the Army said that it would allow the final section of the line to tunnel under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system. This could enable the $3.8 billion pipeline to begin operation as soon as June. Energy Transfer Partners is building the 1,170-mile (1,885 km) line to help move crude from the shale oilfields of North Dakota to Illinois en route to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located. Protests against the project last year drew drew thousands of people to the North Dakota plains including Native American tribes and environmental activists, and protest camps sprung up.

The movement attracted high-profile political and celebrity supporters. The permit was the last bureaucratic hurdle to the pipeline’s completion, and Tuesday’s decision drew praise from supporters of the project and outrage from activists, including promises of a legal challenge from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. “It’s great to see this new administration following through on their promises and letting projects go forward to the benefit of American consumers and workers,” said John Stoody, spokesman for the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. The Standing Rock Sioux, which contends the pipeline would desecrate sacred sites and potentially pollute its water source, vowed to shut pipeline operations down if construction is completed, without elaborating how it would do so.

The tribe called on its supporters to protest in Washington on March 10 rather than return to North Dakota. “As Native peoples, we have been knocked down again, but we will get back up,” the tribe said in the statement. “We will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact. We call on the Native Nations of the United States to stand together, unite and fight back.” Less than two weeks after Trump ordered a review of the permit request, the Army said in a filing in District Court in Washington D.C. it would cancel that study. The final permit, known as an easement, could come in as little as a day, according to the filing. There was no need for the environmental study as there was already enough information on the potential impact of the pipeline to grant the permit, Robert Speer, acting secretary of the U.S. Army, said in a statement.

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The case is not that hard to make. You just need to erase the ideological resistance.

Why Should A Libertarian Take Universal Basic Income Seriously? (Dolan)

In a recent post on EconLog, Bryan Caplan writes, “I’m baffled that anyone with libertarian sympathies takes the UBI [universal basic income] seriously.” I love a challenge. Let me try to un-baffle you, Bryan, and the many others who might be as puzzled as you are. Here are three kinds of libertarians who might take a UBI very seriously indeed. Philosophical issues aside, what galls many libertarians most about government is the failure of many policies to produce their intended results. Poverty policy is Exhibit A. By some calculations, the government already spends enough on poverty programs to raise all low-income families to the official poverty level, even though the poverty rate barely budges from year to year. Wouldn’t it be better to spend that money in a way that helps poor people more effectively?

A UBI would help by ending the way benefit reductions and “welfare cliffs” in current programs undermine work incentives. When you add together the effects of SNAP, TANF, CHIP, EITC and the rest of the alphabet soup, and account for work-related expenses like transportation and child care, a worker from a poor household can end up taking home nothing, even from a full-time job. A UBI has no benefit reductions. You get it whether you work or not, so you keep every added dollar you earn (income and payroll taxes excepted, and these are low for the poor). But, wait, you might say. Why would I work at all if you gave me a UBI? That might be a problem if you got your UBI on top of existing programs, but if it replaced those programs, work incentives would be strengthened, not weakened.

In which situation would you be more likely to take a job: one where you get $800 a month as a UBI plus a chance to earn another $800 from a job, all of which you can keep, or one where your get $800 a month in food stamps and housing vouchers, and anything extra you earn is taken away in benefit reductions? Or, you might say, a UBI might be fine for the poor, but wouldn’t it be unaffordable to give it to the middle class and the rich as well? Yes, if you added it on top of all the middle-class welfare and tax loopholes for the rich that we have now. No, if the UBI replaced existing tax preferences and other programs that we now lavish on middle- and upper-income households. Done properly, a UBI would streamline the entire system of federal taxes and transfers without any aggregate impact on the federal budget.

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