I don’t really like to do predictions, not without tea leaves and crystal balls, but I do have one. My prediction is that NATO will -try to- expand/widen/deepen the Ukraine conflict in 2023, and not just a little. They have to, because Ukraine as a theater is failing, no matter how much additional weaponry they import into it. And because Ukraine is running out of -under 65- boots on the ground.
Next step will be to actively involve the NATO members who despise Russia most. Ergo: the Baltic States. Problem with that is there’s not a lot of people there. But it’s just a hop across the border from Lithuania to Poland. And Poland is a whole different story. And, like the Baltics, but unlike Ukraine, a NATO member.
Poland has the weaponry, and the trained personnel. No threat to Russia, but you could sell is as such. Poland is just what Washington likes. And Raytheon, Northrop etc. The US cannot send US troops into the theater. And neither can Western Europe. Unpalatable. Countries like Germany, France and Holland won’t even think about sending troops. NATO depends on eastern European cannon fodder. Western Europe, like the US, will only send their second hand armoury. But not so, Poland. Here’s from Politico, November 21 2022:
Poland’s paranoia about Russia prompted it to eschew the prevailing Zeitgeist across much of Europe that conventional warfare was a thing of the past. Instead, it is building what are now on track to become the EU’s heftiest land forces. “The Polish army must be so powerful that it does not have to fight due to its strength alone,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on the eve of Poland’s independence day. It’s a shift that has resonated with Poland’s indispensable ally.
“Poland has become our most important partner in continental Europe,” a senior U.S. Army official in Europe said, citing the crucial role Poland has played in supporting Ukraine and in shoring up NATO defenses in the Baltics. While Germany, traditionally America’s key ally in the region, remains a linchpin as a logistical hub, Berlin’s endless debates over how to resurrect its military and lack of a strategic culture have hampered its effectiveness as a partner, the official said. As Germany continues to debate the details of what it calls the “Zeitenwende,” or strategic turning point triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Poland is already making substantial investments.
Warsaw has said it will raise its target defense spending from 2.4% of GDP to 5%. Meanwhile, Germany, which spent about 1.5% of GDP on defense last year, is debating whether it can maintain NATO’s 2% goal after it exhausts a €100 billion defense investment fund it approved earlier this year. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak pledged in July that his country would have “the most powerful land forces in Europe.” It’s well on its way. Poland already has more tanks and howitzers than Germany and is on course to have a much larger army, with a target of 300,000 troops by 2035, compared with Germany’s current 170,000.
Today, Poland’s military is about 150,000 strong, with 30,000 belonging to a new territorial defense force set up in 2017. These are weekend soldiers who undergo 16 days of training followed up by refresher courses. They were initially seen as a bit of a joke, but Ukraine’s success in using mobile militia equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles now makes the idea seem much more sensible. “Today, those doubts have disappeared,” Blaszczak said during a recent swearing-in ceremony for new territorial troops.
Unlike Germany, which struggles to attract new troops, Poland’s recruiting drive is gaining attention. “The Poles have a much more positive attitude towards their military than Germany because they had to fight for their freedom,” said Gustav Gressel, a former Austrian military officer and security scholar now with the European Council on Foreign Relations. “In military circles no one questions the quality of the Polish army.”
We would do well to see all this in the light of what Julian Assange said about Afghanistan in 2011. NATO wants a forever war, not a successful one.
NATO, the US and the rich part of Europe, have nothing to lose. They send plenty of mostly useless weapons into the Ukraine theater, but as long as there are no coffins arriving at their (air)ports, their people won’t complain. On the contrary, their media make sure that they keep cheering it all on. While making sure it remains murky how much it exactly costs them.
I found this very peculiar, through Andrew Korybko:
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadim Prystaiko [..] telling Newsweek: “The West now has a unique chance. There are not many nations in the world who would allow themselves to sacrifice so many lives, territories and decades of development for the purpose of defeating the archenemy…This is what I mean: All hands on deck, every single thing we can spare to help Ukraine win.”
You have a unique chance to have our people shot to bits. We will be happy to sacrifice them for your goals. Just keep giving us weapons, that’s all you have to do. Note the use of the term “archenemy”. For a country whose language and culture is still very much alive for perhaps more than half of Ukrainians. The 2014 US coup unseated a president elected by a majority of the population.
For some reason the US dragged two of their biggest old warmongers out of their respective proverbial basements: former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Who co-wrote this in the WaPo:
Under current circumstances, any negotiated cease-fire would leave Russian forces in a strong position to resume their invasion whenever they are ready. That is unacceptable. The only way to avoid such a scenario is for the United States and its allies to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability — sufficient to deter a renewed Russian offensive and to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces in the east and south.
Congress has provided enough money to pay for such reinforcement; what is needed now are decisions by the United States and its allies to provide the Ukrainians the additional military equipment they need — above all, mobile armor. The U.S. agreement Thursday to provide Bradley Fighting Vehicles is commendable, if overdue. Because there are serious logistical challenges associated with sending American Abrams heavy tanks, Germany and other allies should fill this need. NATO members also should provide the Ukrainians with longer-range missiles, advanced drones, significant ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), more reconnaissance and surveillance capability, and other equipment. These capabilities are needed in weeks, not months.
It’s starting to look like a desperate push. But it will come. Much stronger than today. Desperation has that kind of effect. The suffering will be in Ukraine and soon likely in Poland and Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia. Western Europe will pay through higher food- and energy prices. The US elites will be sitting pretty.
There is zero doubt that we will have to come back to this, a lot, in the near future. But that’s sort of what you do with predictions. They foretell actual events and conversations.
Gonzalo Lira talked about these things back in November 2022:
To be continued. As long as the people in the west remain oblivious to their own destiny, fate, reality. We are all used to having unipolar control of the world. But those times are over.
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In all probability, the message conveyed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from his American counterpart Antony Blinken via Israel’s new foreign minister Eli Cohen concerned the Ukrainian missile attack on Makeyevka (Donetsk) on New Year Day at 12.02 am killing 89 Russian conscripts. Kiev claimed that up to 400 Russian soldiers might have been killed. Russian MOD has made a rare acknowledgment of scores of deaths — latest figure is 83. Moscow rarely releases figures for casualties in the war. The Russian statements stressed that US-made Himars missiles were used in the attack. The site was a “a temporary deployment facility” (a vocational school temporarily used as barracks for scores of recently mobilised troops sent by Moscow.
The incident sparked renewed public criticism over the state of Russia’s military and the decision to use civilian infrastructure to house soldiers. The First Deputy Head of the Main Military-Political Department of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sergey Sevryukov told reporters: “It has already become obvious at present that the main cause of the occurrence was activation and large-scale use, contrary to the ban, of personal phones by personnel within the reach of enemy’s destruction means. This factor enabled the enemy to take the bearing and determine coordinates of servicemen location to deliver a missile strike. Required measures are being taken at present to exclude such tragic incidents in the future.” Apparently, blame game has begun — that the “main cause” of the tragedy was the unruly behaviour of soldiers who used mobile phones on the warfront. But there is going to be consequences.
Public pressure may increase demanding maximum use of force to end the war quickly. There is always the danger of escalation if certain unwritten, unspoken red lines in the conduct of the war are crossed. It is entirely conceivable that there could be Cold-War style “strategic deconfliction” parameters worked out between the general staff in Moscow and the Pentagon aimed at avoiding miscalculation or any set of actions (by either side) that could lead to unnecessary conflict. The US and Russian forces have been operating in Syria for years and a communications line, used daily, has helped the two sides avoid direct conflict.
Now, the New Year attack comes as the Biden administration is trying to provide billions in weaponry to Ukraine while also claiming that avoiding a direct clash with Russia has been a top US priority. At any rate, although Russian intelligence would have a fair idea of the location of NATO officers conducting the Ukrainian operations, they have not been so far targeted. That is why, the Russian MOD’s decision on Monday to highlight that US-supplied Himars missiles have killed scores of Russian soldiers on Sunday night would have caused some uneasiness in Washington. The big question is whether Moscow will also now go up the escalation ladder and directly target American military personnel deployed in Ukraine.
Of course, any killing of American military personnel in Ukraine will make very damaging headlines in the US news cycle for the Biden Administration. So far, there has not been a single instance of a body bag arriving from Ukraine. The Russian generals probably ensured that.
U.S. troops stationed in Eastern Europe are preparing for all-out war and have been performing war simulations against Russian forces, according to a new report. The U.S.’s 101st Airborne Division deployed to Romania for the first time in 80 years. The “Screaming Eagles” as a light infantry force that is trained to take to any battlefield and fight within hours. The U.S. Army said in a statement in June that the division arrived at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase to “reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises with partners across the European continent in order to reassure allies and deter further Russian aggression.” “Being here, so close to that fight (in Ukraine), is exactly where the 101st Airborne Division is destined to be,” said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, 101st commander, during the livestreamed ceremony, Stars & Stripes reported at the time.
U.S. infantry arrived at a military base in Estonia last month to train allied troops and secure Europe’s eastern flank amid the Ukraine War. The troops are stationed at the Taara base in Võru and will train alongside Estonia forces. The base is about 20 miles from the Russian border. The troops in Romania have been training Ukrainian forces on advanced weapons systems that are being shipped into Kyiv, The New York Times reported. “You get a chance to train and operate on the very ground that you might have to defend,” McGee told the paper. AntiWar.org noted: “The Times report stressed that the 101st Airborne deployment was about deterrence. If the US were preparing to enter the war directly, it would likely send significantly more troops. While in Romania, the soldiers are also participating in coastal defense drills, and Romanian troops are practicing firing HIMARS rocket launch systems into the Black Sea.”
The Pentagon has said it is sending U.S. troops into Ukraine, under the guise that they are going there not to fight, but instead just to track the billions of dollars of weapons the West sent into the country. NBC News, citing three senior U.S. officials, reported last month that there is discussion in the White House about sending additional troops into the country to help the U.S. track weapons. The report said there are already U.S. troops in the country, again, under the guise that all they are doing is monitoring weapons. The New York Times reported in June that Ukraine is filled with CIA officers and special forces from the West. The report said the CIA personnel have been working out of Kyiv. We reported in October that there are currently more U.S. special forces and CIA agents in Ukraine today than there were at the beginning of the war.
The year 2022 turned everything inside out. With the benefit of hindsight – having overcome the shock everyone experienced in February, when Russian troops entered Ukraine – it’s not that difficult to explain how it came about. And even how it could not have been otherwise. Also, after a full ten months, it is pretty clear why the campaign did not go as planned. The latter is probably even a positive thing. The façade crumbled, exposing the frame. It was not quite as imagined. Some structures thought to be load-bearing had surprisingly sagged. Others, suspected of being unreliable, stood up stronger than had been thought. There are fewer illusions, though the information machine works to maintain them. But this is basically by inertia. The need for a radical renewal of the architecture is obvious.
The Ukrainian landmine was laid when the Soviet Union collapsed. The grim realists knew from the outset that the separation of what had long been a single space – where it was almost impossible to draw a natural boundary – would not be possible. In Russia, as at the bottom of a peat bog, disagreement with the loss of territories of defining cultural and historical significance was smoldering. In Ukraine, radical nationalists lamented that independence came ‘cost-free’ and believed that nations are born in wars. The extremes have now converged. Russia took up the Ukrainian issue when it became central to the world order. Although it may have been the other way round – it became so important because Russia tried to solve it. The tipping point was probably former President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision on whether to tilt West (to the EU) or East (towards the EEU), back in 2013.
The two divergent positions are now firmly entwined. And our country faces fierce resistance, because of the desire of the neighboring state to defend its identity, and the readiness of Western grandees to sacrifice this very nation to put Moscow in its place. However, Russia voluntarily submitted itself to this stress test, and its future depends on the outcome. At this juncture, it is no longer possible to reverse course. Furthermore, the uncertainty of the objectives of the ‘special military operation’ reflects the overarching nature of the challenge. The goals won’t be fully understood until the end, because they won’t be apparent until that comes to pass. The peculiarity of the modern world is that there is no such thing as an outright victory. This is the main paradox here – war has returned as a form of state relations, but it does not involve a clear outcome in the classical sense.
This dramatically complicates the nature of competition and makes it inherently non-linear. And its result is thus ‘hybrid’, with the decisive factor the endurance and resilience of states under the volley of different blows that abound in the unpredictable international environment. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has become a clash for self-determination for Russia as much as for Ukraine. In the literal sense: as in who we are. While Ukraine’s self-determination is similar to examples from the history of nation-state building, in Russia the situation is far more complex. Many of the concepts from the past will not pass the test of this collision. Outright archaic positions are unsustainable in today’s global conditions, even if it seems that the world has turned backwards. But postmodern imitation will no longer work either. It’s too real and tragic. “No mere recital from the actor, but earnest loss he must reveal,” to quote the writer Boris Pasternak, in his poem ‘I Should Have Known that this Would Happen’.
The EU’s sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict have been a complete failure, Belgian member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt said on Monday. He added that the EU was only “rewarding” Russia by increasing imports from the country. Writing on Twitter, Verhofstadt, who served as Belgian prime minister from 1999 to 2008 and has been an MEP since 2009, claimed that the effect of the EU’s nine packages of sanctions on Moscow “is less than 0.” The former PM said that in the bloc’s attempts to punish Russia, it has achieved the opposite result. “We are rewarding Russia for its war against us!” Verhofstadt also posted a chart titled ‘Still Filling Putin’s Coffers’, showing Russia-EU trade from February to August 2022. The graphic, which cites Eurostat data, shows that most EU member states, including Germany, France, Italy, and Poland, significantly increased imports from Russia. In total, only seven EU members were buying less from the country.
Following the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the EU imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow, targeting entire sectors of the economy. In December, the bloc, along with the G7 countries and Australia, introduced a price cap on Russian seaborne oil, setting it at $60 per barrel. In response, last week, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning the supply of oil and petroleum products from Russia to countries which apply these restrictions. The sanctions on Russia have exacerbated the bloc’s energy crisis, causing fuel prices and the cost of living to soar. This has prompted protests against the sanctions policy in several EU countries. In December, a demonstration organized by the right-wing Patriots party took place in Paris against the government’s stance on Russia and France’s membership in NATO. In his New Year’s address, Putin said that the West’s “full-blown sanctions war” against Moscow has largely failed to undermine the economy.
The fact that the smaller kamikaze drones used by Russia are much cheaper than the Ukrainian air defense missiles used against them is creating problems for Kiev and its Western backers, the New York Times has acknowledged. In an article on Tuesday, the paper didn’t question Kiev’s claims that most of the UAVs launched by Russia are being shot down, but pointed out that even in this case Ukrainian air defense stocks were being exhausted. “How long can Ukraine sustain its effort when many of its defensive measures cost far more than the drones do?” the NYT wondered. In addition to trying to destroy the incoming drones with anti-aircraft guns and small-arms fire, Kiev’s forces have “also relied heavily on missiles fired from warplanes and the ground,” which are very expensive, it wrote.
The paper cited the head of the Ukrainian consultancy Molfar, Artem Starosiek, who claimed that using a missile against a UAV costs up to seven times more than the drone itself. The drones that Russia uses are priced at around $20,000 per unit, while a surface-to-air missile from Ukraine’s arsenal ranges from $140,000 for a Soviet-era S-300 to $500,000 for a US-supplied NASAM system, he said. The article claims that the drones used by Russia in Ukraine are Shahed-136s, supplied by Iran. This claim has been denied by both Moscow and Tehran on many occasions. The Russian Defense Ministry insists that its Geran-2 drones are domestically made, just like all the other hardware used in the military operation against Kiev. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has only confirmed sending a small batch of drones to Russia before the outbreak of the conflict with Ukraine, stressing that no new deliveries have been made since then.
Starosiek nevertheless defended Kiev’s strategy, arguing that it still “costs far less to shoot down a drone than to repair a damaged or destroyed power station.” However, the NYT warned that the price difference between drones and air defenses was “an imbalance that could over time favor Russia, costing Ukraine and its allies dearly, some analysts say.” According to estimations by Molfar, Russia has targeted Ukrainian military infrastructure and energy systems with some 600 UAVs since September, when they began to be used more widely. Russia drastically ramped up its strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure in early October in response to repeated Ukrainian sabotage on Russian soil, including the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, which Moscow blamed on Kiev. Although the attack was widely cheered by top Ukrainian officials, Kiev has denied any involvement.
The US is making Europeans suffer by fueling the Ukraine conflict and waging a pre-planned economic war against Russia, Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of former French President Charles de Gaulle, has said. After leading the French resistance against the Nazi occupation during World War II, Charles de Gaulle founded the modern French political system and served as president from 1959 to 1969. His grandson, a strategy and corporate finance consultant, said he believes that the Ukraine conflict was incited by the West. “I revolt and protest this intellectual dishonesty in the Ukraine crisis because the triggers of the war are the Americans and NATO,” Pierre de Gaulle told the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association last week. “The United States, unfortunately, continues the military escalation, making not only the Ukrainian population suffer, but the European population as well.”
The scale and the number of sanctions show that all of this was organized a long time in advance. It is an economic war, from which the Americans are the beneficiaries. The Americans sell their gas to Europeans for a price four to seven times higher than they do in their own country. The Western sanctions imposed on Russian fossil fuel exports have exacerbated the financial and energy crisis in Europe, making “everyone suffer in their daily lives,” de Gaulle said. He also accused former German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “knowingly contributing” to the conflict by “authorizing the Ukrainian nationalist expansion,” which came after the 2014 pro-Western coup in Kiev. The government that came to power that year sought to “annihilate Russian culture… and the ability to speak Russian” in the largely Russophone Donbass, he said.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) broke away from Ukraine following the 2014 coup. The 2014-15 Minsk accords, brokered by Germany, France, and Russia, were designed to provide a peaceful reintegration of the rebellious territories into Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the people of Donbass and Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk peace accords as reasons for launching the military operation in Ukraine in late February. The DPR and LPR, along with two other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after voting overwhelmingly in favor of the move in September. Merkel, as well as former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, stated last year that Kiev had used the accords to buy time in order to rebuild its military and economy. Ukraine has adopted several laws since 2014 that restrict the use of the Russian language in the public sphere, including education and the media.
The global energy order is being reshaped as deepening energy ties between China and the Middle East signifies the rise of the petroyuan, which could challenge the petrodollar, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar. According to Pozsar, China has been boosting purchases of crude and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and some African nations using its national currency. However, President Xi Jinping’s meeting with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in December marked “the birth of the petroyuan,” he said in a note to clients. At the summit, the Chinese leader confirmed that Beijing is ready to make energy purchases in yuan instead of the US dollar with GCC countries.
“China wants to rewrite the rules of the global energy market,” Pozsar said, adding that the move to de-dollarize the oil and gas trade is backed members of the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). According to the Credit Suisse analyst, the steps towards ditching the greenback in the energy trade have intensified in the wake of the sweeping sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia, one of the world’s major energy producers and exporters, in response to the military operation in Ukraine. Pozsar added that dollar foreign exchange reserves were militarized in the sanctions war, making the use of the currency unsafe for major exporters and importers of oil, gas, and other commodities.
Cooperation between China and the GCC may potentially involve joint exploration and production in places such as the South China Sea, as well as investment in refineries, chemicals, and plastics. Pozsar said that implementing all of these projects in the yuan would mark a massive shift in the global energy trade. He added that even if it does not replace the dollar as a reserve currency, trading in the petroyuan will nevertheless come with significant economic and financial implications for policymakers and investors.
“Twitter was flooded with demands from so many officials, departments and agencies, they were confused and overworked. If action wasn’t taken promptly, followup emails quickly appeared, asking if action had yet been taken, and if not, why..”
In a pair of blockbuster #TwitterFiles threads, this week, journalist Matt Taibbi has blown open, even wider, the media giant’s concerning collusion with the US national security state. The former Rolling Stone writer exposed how political pressure from the US Democratic Party very effectively forced the company to endorse the lie that its platform was extensively weaponized by Russia, with hugely significant consequences. The first, boldly titled ‘How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In’, documents how in August 2017, despite dubious allegations that Russian bots and trolls were responsible for the election of Donald Trump in the mainstream media reaching fever pitch, Twitter’s hierarchy knew its platform wasn’t riddled with malign Kremlin-directed actors. [..]
After years of bending over backwards to placate the Democratic establishment, Twitter attempted to push back. Over a series of internal emails, various executives spelled out deep concerns about allowing the Center any influence over the platform, and initially rejected an FBI request for the organization to be included in the moderation club’s regular ‘industry call’. It was felt the Center’s involvement would pose “major risks … especially as the election heats up.” Eventually, the FBI offered a compromise – the CIA, NSA, and Global Engagement Center would be able to simply listen to the industry calls, but wouldn’t be active participants. Twitter relented, a decision its higher-ups seem to have quickly come to regret. Before long, the social network was being bombarded with requests to censor content and ban users from every US government body under the sun.
This extended to US government officials asking for users to be banned because they didn’t personally like an individual in question. Notorious House Intelligence Committee chief Adam Schiff, a Democrat, once asked Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry, due to his critical reporting on the Committee’s work. After initially refusing, Sperry was later suspended. Almost every other request was granted immediately, even those from the Global Engagement Center. This included demands to ban independent media outlets falsely claimed to be “GRU-controlled” and linked “to the Russian government.” In one email, a former CIA staffer remarked that Twitter would soon be unable to deny a single request. “Our window on that is closing,” they said.
In the weeks before the 2020 Presidential election, Twitter was flooded with demands from so many officials, departments and agencies, they were confused and overworked. If action wasn’t taken promptly, followup emails quickly appeared, asking if action had yet been taken, and if not, why, and when it would be. In one request, an FBI official even apologized “in advance for your workload.” Once, a no doubt exhausted senior attorney at the social network complained internally, “my inbox is really f***ed up at this point.” Previous #TwitterFiles threads exposed how the FBI paid the social network $3 million to process its requests. Based on the most recent disclosures, it’s clear the company and its staff were significantly underpaid for their efforts. Future releases promise yet further bombshell revelations, but the long-hidden truths divulged so far should prompt every Twitter user to reflect how the site for many years in secret operated as an effective wing of the US intelligence – and may well still do so.
.@TuckerCarlson: "Blaming Russia turned out to be a very useful political tool…Before long, it became the default response for every perceived disaster in Washington."
House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) pressured Twitter to censor the account of Paul Sperry, an investigative journalist who first published the name of the so-called impeachment “whistleblower.” In September 2019, Schiff announced that his committee had reached an agreement with the “whistleblower,” who allegedly filed a complaint about President Donald Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to testify in his inquiry, which became the impeachment investigation. But Schiff never produced the whistleblower and later claimed, falsely, that the whistleblower had a “right” to anonymity. Schiff also lied about his contact with the “whistleblower,” first claiming that his committee had never spoken to the whistleblower, then admitting — after a New York Times report to the contrary — that they had done so.
Later, Sperry published an article at RealClearInvestigations identifying the “whistleblower” as a CIA analyst named Eric Ciaramella, who had worked at the Trump White House before returning to the CIA. Sperry also published other articles identifying links between Schiff’s committee and aides who had worked at the Trump White House and who had been “holdovers” from the Obama administration. The media and the tech industry suppressed the name of the whistleblower, and Schiff refused to allow Republicans to ask questions about the whistleblower during the impeachment investigation. Even Chief Justice John Roberts played along, censoring a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during the Senate impeachment trial about the whistleblower.
On Tuesday, in the latest installment of the “Twitter files,” investigative journalist Matt Taibbi produced email evidence showing that Schiff’s office had asked Twitter, in writing, to censor Sperry after the November 2020 election, claiming (without evidence) that Sperry had spread “QAnon conspiracies” on the platform. Sperry told the New York Post Tuesday that Schiff’s claims were false and that he had never promoted QAnon: In an email Tuesday, Sperry told The Post, “I have never promoted any ‘QAnon conspiracies.’ Ever. Not on Twitter. Not anywhere.” “Schiff was just angry I outed his impeachment whistleblower and tried to get me banned,” he said. “I challenge Schiff to produce evidence to back up his defamatory remarks to Twitter.” Sperry also said, “This is a scurrilous smear, but par for the course for the unscrupulous Chairman Schiff.”
It’s January 4th, 2023, which means Twitter Files stories have been coming out for over a month. Because these are weedsy tales, and may be hard to follow if you haven’t from the beginning, I’ve written up capsule summaries of each of the threads by all of the Twitter Files reporters, and added links to the threads and accounts of each. At the end, in response to some readers (especially foreign ones) who’ve found some of the alphabet-soup government agency names confusing, I’ve included a brief glossary of terms to help as well.
Just like smoking a single cigarette never killed anyone, wearing a face mask for a few hours or a few days does not cause irreversible damage either. But the immediate short-term physiological effects are detectable: A recent study led by Pritam Sukul, senior medical scientist at the University Medicine Rostock in Germany, found masks to cause hypercarbia (high concentration of CO2 in the blood), arterial oxygen decline, blood pressure fluctuations, and concomitant physiological and metabolic effects. On a time scale of weeks or months, these effects appear to be reversible. But how can we know what can happen to people who wear masks for several hours a day for several years? Will we have to wait for decades before concluding that masks are bad for people s health, as was the case with cigarettes?
Not necessarily, for we are able to assess face masks in terms of the air quality breathed by the wearers. One important parameter for air quality is CO2 concentration. Over the years, a lot of data has been accumulated in this field from miners, astronauts, submariners, and other people exposed to high concentrations of CO2 . Measurable negative effects on mental alertness already occur at CO2 concentrations over 600 parts per million (ppm), which is only slightly higher than the average concentration in open air (a little more than 400 ppm). Values higher than 1,000-2,000 ppm are not recommended for living spaces, especially for children and pregnant women. 5,000 ppm is the commonly accepted limit in working environments or in submarines and spaceships. Concentrations in the range of 10,000-20,000 ppm are not immediately life-threatening but can only be withstood for short periods.
Even higher concentrations may lead to loss of consciousness and death. So what kind of CO2 concentration are people exposed to when they wear a face mask? Measuring the concentration of CO2 inside the small volume of a face mask while it is being used poses practical problems, and there are no standardised methods and procedures to evaluate this. Nevertheless, during the past few years, several papers dealing with this subject were published. Some of these papers were criticised, but often baselessly. For instance, some fact checkers claimed that the same amount of CO2 could be found without face masks in exhaled breath. This is true, but trivial. The studies mentioned above measured the amount of CO2 in the inhaled air under face masks; the fact checkers measured the air exhaled. Other fact checkers provided a priori statements by experts, including a sports reporter.
An overwhelming majority of Swedes believe their country should not betray its legal principles to meet Türkiye’s conditions for ratifying Stockholm’s NATO bid, according to a new Ipsos poll commissioned by Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter and released on Monday. The survey found that 79% of respondents think their country should “stand up for Swedish laws” in the face of Türkiye’s demands. This red line, they said, should not be crossed even “if that delays joining NATO.” Only 10% said that “Sweden should try to join NATO as soon as possible,” even if it entails legal compromises, while 11% said they were not sure.
The poll shows only minor discrepancies in opinion between various social groups. Men are said to be more open to compromises with Ankara than women, although they also tend to insist on protecting the country’s legal principles. As for differences along political lines, those who vote for right-wing parties are more inclined to agree to a give-and-take approach. Despite the delays in joining NATO, the poll revealed that as many as 60% of Swedes still want to become part of the US-led military bloc, with only 19% opposing Stockholm’s membership bid. The survey, which was conducted between December 6 and 18, is based on 1,248 interviews with Swedish voters.
In June, NATO agreed to accept Sweden and Finland to the bloc, but their membership bid has yet to be ratified by all members of the alliance, with Hungary and Türkiye’s approval still pending. Ankara has been reluctant to finalize the accession process, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushing Sweden and Finland to do more to combat Kurdish “terrorism,” including extraditing people that Türkiye accuses of having terrorist links. In early December, Sweden reportedly made some progress in this regard, handing over a man to Türkiye who had been convicted in his home country of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Two weeks later, however, Sweden’s Supreme Court blocked the extradition of Bulent Kenes, a former editor-in-chief of Zaman Daily who Ankara accused of being involved in an attempt to topple Erdogan in 2016.
The United States was founded by dissenters. The Declaration of Independence is one of history’s most significant dissenting documents, inspiring people seeking freedom around the world, from the French revolutionists to Ho Chi Minh, who based Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France on the American declaration. But over the centuries a corrupt centralization of American power seeking to maintain and expand its authority has at times sought to crush the very principle of dissent which was written into the United States Constitution. Freedom to dissent was first threatened by the second president. Just eight years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, press freedom had become a threat to John Adams, whose Federalist Party pushed through Congress the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts.
They criminalized criticism of the federal government. There were 25 prosecutions and 10 convictions, under the Sedition Act. The acts expired and some repealed by 1802. The Union then shut down newspapers during the U.S. Civil War. Woodrow Wilson came within one vote in the Senate of creating official government censorship in the 1917 Espionage Act. The 1918 Alien and Sedition Act that followed jailed hundreds of people for speech until it was repealed in 1921. Since the 1950s, McCarthyism has become the byword for one of the worst periods of repression of dissent in U.S. history. The closest we’ve come to Wilson’s troubling dream is the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board under the Department of Homeland Security, which after heavy criticism was disbanded.
The roots of repression are in the earliest English settlers in North America, described in The Scarlet Letter and applied to McCarthyism in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Though its industrial and scientific achievements are most lauded, America’s tradition of dissent is probably the greatest thing in U.S. history and it is once again under threat.
Major public health authorities do not recognize post-COVID-vaccine injuries and no official definition exists. However, a temporal correlation between receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and the beginning or worsening of a patient’s clinical manifestations is sufficient to diagnose a COVID-19 vaccine-induced injury, when symptoms are otherwise unexplained by concurrent causes. Since there are no published reports detailing how to manage vaccine-injured patients, our treatment approach is based on the postulated pathogenetic mechanism, clinical observation, and patient anecdotes. Treatment must be individualized according to each patient’s presenting symptoms and disease syndromes. Chances are, not all patients will respond equally to the same intervention; a particular intervention may be life-saving for one patient and completely ineffective for another. Early treatment is essential; the response to treatment will most likely be attenuated when treatment is delayed.
When marine biologist Roger Hanlon caught this creature on camera, he said he screamed bloody murder. And no wonder. A superb visualization of how chromatophores allow an octopus to blend in with the backdrops
Francesco Queirolo Il Disinganno, Naples, Sansevero Chapel 1753-1754 (the netting is also all marble)
I was thinking all day about Kherson, and how the re-capture of the city is presented in our media. Thinking, also, about the 2,500 kilometer (1,500 miles, give or take) frontline. And of course if you focus troops and material at any single given point along a line of that size, you can make some advances. But does that mean anything, really? Other than PR? Dr. D. today adds the historic etc. perspective to this.
The adagium is: never fight a land war in Asia. Napoleon and Hitler found this out, along with many millions of their young men. But Russia IS Asia. Which means they have no choice but to fight there, and also that they have – deep-rooted – experience. Those 1,500 miles, meanwhile, are an indication of why Russia called up 300,000 reservists.
At the heart of it: you can take some land, but you can’t take our men, they have much more value: “Land is utterly worthless without the men, and Slavic men are precious and few.” Something Russia and Ukraine appear to view differently.
Dr. D.: Out on a limb for Kherson. Anyone want to take up the issue that Ukraine will blow the dam if anyone gets in there? A human rights crime? They’ve been shelling it for weeks?
Okay, Russia moves across, with a huge plain in front and a river crossing in the back. They should just lazily do this? What’s the solution? General Armageddon said “he would make uncomfortable choices”. Withdrawing would seem to fit that bill. We’ve seen him non-stop, and perhaps even ham-fistedly attempt to feint the Ukrainians – actually, why bother? – Feint the Brits and Americans into attacking at points of his choosing, aka “A Trap”.
They have not jumped at them, but Kherson is the biggest wounded bird they’ve ever flapped. How can London ignore it? They MUST have it to make a mess of Crimea, but as it’s a Steppe on a river bridge, instead or Russia, London and the Poles would be in the artillery fire and dam floodplain. And this is a Russian defeat? At the same time, Putin isn’t taking a political hit for it, despite the wounded bird routine.
Wait: unless you BELIEVED what reporters, the news media said. They said it? Russian news, which is known to be the most Western infiltrated or influenced of any body in Russia? And you took what they said seriously? How’s this: “They said it, therefore it is a lie.” That better?
Russia is fighting A Land War in Asia. I don’t know how many times I have to say this. You do not use Kentucky rules, or Melbourne rules, who basically never fought a war. Russia has a tactic, had it for 1,000 years, and it always works so why change it? You trade men for territory. Because there is so much territory, the land is worthless. However, Slavs are few, and the front line is huge.
Over time, almost a year now, Russia instantly, constantly withdraws to cede territory in exchange for men. They lost so much doing this, they now own 1/4 of the country! Oh noes! Because with “A Land War in Asia”, there’s nothing out there. Just open plains. They only thing stopping any movement is 1) the other army 2) rivers. Once the army has no men, Russia can go wherever they like.
If Russia loses no men, because they trade land to save men, they can fight this for 500 years. Ukraine is doing the opposite: trading battalions to gain cow pasture. #Winning! Am I crazy here? What is the single Russian defense measure? That they have enormous territory between them and the idiots in the West who like attacking Russia and losing. That’s why they keep Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine in front of them, and exactly why NATO wanted to encroach all these countries and remove this safety. …While, as we just admitted, change to first-strike nuclear protocol.
Surely Russia would NEVER trade territory for men, always R E T R E A T before an advancing army? That would be LOSING, wouldn’t it?
History Lesson: Russia RETREATED East of MOSCOW for Napoleon. Napoleon had the entire empty city of Moscow for his leisure. It was sacked freely, Russia gave no defense. Yay Leon! Did they lose then? How was Napoleon doing? Do they speak French in St. Petersburg now?
No. The combined Western army of Napoleon, the entire combined forces of Europe minus Britain CEASED TO EXIST. That settled anyone going to war for a while and they didn’t try anything so stupid with Moscow for 100 years after.
If you have a Land War in Asia, trade Men for Land. Land is utterly worthless without the men, and Slavic men are precious and few. Russia agrees and is behind Putin on this move. They can only DREAM that London will be so idiotic and suicidal as to move their army into Kherson, where Russia can shell them at will from far across the river. If I can shell them, but they can’t advance and stop me, is that losing? How, exactly?
What would I do, retreating, getting my hyperventilating 5th column Russian Press to lose their minds at home? Like this: Ukraine moves forward. They have success, the shelling is not so bad! Surovikin amasses forces out of range but can’t cross the river. Russia is losing! All expected. Then because of the maneuvers and feints of two big armies, Surovikin is able to ACTUALLY amass an army without Ukraine “noticing” – a thing he could not do right now. This army is amassed to the north, above the dams, perhaps by Zap, floods through, and not only can’t be stopped, it therefore cuts off the now-amassed London army from Kiev and their supplies out of Poland. Depending on the men tied up, they reach Odessa from the center of the country, not the south. Either quickly — or more likely, eventually.
…For just one scenario. But you understand they can’t amass 300,000 Russians at Kherson without 1) Proving exactly what their plan is and 2) having the army be shot up more or less constantly as they attempt to trickle across the river…WHILE Ukraine definitely drops a dam on them. Was that your war plan and idea? Of what they should do, are required to do according to Anglos sitting safely 10,000 miles away? ‘Cause it sure ain’t mine. And apparently not General Surovikin’s either.
It’s just plain stupid. Russia is 10x Ukraine’s size. Spoiler alert: Russia wins. So should they be reckless, put half an army in harm’s way just because they’re annoyed, impatient and English bloggers tell them to? No. Get them the h– out of harm’s way, and keep on reducing home casualties, every day.
If only our Anglo armies would do the same. But this is Biden’s Slavic genocide, after all. Why help London by killing your own Slavs?
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Vincent van Gogh Quay with Men Unloading Sand Barges 1888
A comment by notorious daily commenter Dr.D. on Sunday took me back a few years. He was reacting to someone who wrote this about our take on the Ukraine situation:
“I am just adding a little balance to a very one sided group who have very deep seated bias against the West and are blind to any faults on the other side.”
Absolutely brilliant. People easily forget that they are being bombarded with one-dimensional echo chamber “news” 25 hours a day, and when someone says something that differs from this, they think they must parrot the 25 hour-a-day stuff to provide “balance”. The MSM can spout one dimension as much as they wish, but if you call BS on that, you have to quote the entire echo chamber, or you are not believable. I swear people don’t see that they are doing it.
That is exactly what happened in 2015 when Trump “unexpectedly” became a threat to Hillary’s god-adorned aspirations. The entire media apparatus, with very few exceptions, started churning out a hundred Orange Man Bad pieces a day. And when I dared put out some different views, I became a blind Trump groupie. Then, just as now, I said: we ARE the balance. To be credible to these folks, I should have said bad things about Trump. But everybody was already doing that. So we wouldn’t have added anything, just confirmed bias.
In the same vein, many people became labeled dangerous anti-vaxxers for asking questions about Pfizer and Fauci and his gang. It’s such a predictable chain of events, it’s embarrassing. Well, nobody was ever investigated and persecuted to the extent that Trump was, and every last little bit of it fell flat on its face. But it still goes on. Inside the echo chamber, nobody hears the echo.
The evidence of harm done by the vaccines, lockdowns and masks is slowly creeping out into daylight despite the biggest cover-up campaign in history, but the vaccines and mandates also continue. It takes a long time to right so many wrongs. Because a lot of influential people would have to eat a lot of crow, and they lean on each other. And on Pfizers payouts.
And now we play the same fools game, because, as Dr. D. says below: “What did Russia do to us? Even after 1945? Not much really. We hated them on general principles of rival powers: ‘Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down’ – 1st NATO commander. “
To repeat, we ARE the balance, we don’t have to provide it, it’s all already there right in front of your eyes.
Here’s the Dr.:
Dr. D.: I dunno, there’s a lot of history to go around. We’re hearing a lot of anti-Russia, in general news, we here become the counterweight to that, and then you become the counter-counter weight, or…simply the party line? See why it doesn’t go off well.
Oh yeah, there’s a lot in all those parts. I don’t especially care about either of them because they’re not my countries, but the thing has been run so badly they’ve given me strong opinions I don’t want. Of our own country antagonizing them, like everyone else on earth. And Ukraine, or translation: “Borderlands” have been a Western special-op for CENTURIES. The Vatican and West were meddling there to piss off Russia in order to shove back Eastern Orthodox rivals. The Holodomor was real and I used to mention it quite often. However, that doesn’t mean that Stalin’s enemies, who would have flipped his government, weren’t actually from there, because, again, the British and other countries are always there, always doing the same thing.
“Charge of the Light Brigade.” This time Stalin got off the British/Western leash they assassinated the Tsar Nickolas for…and all his heirs of course. They were British family – as they’re all inbred with the Coburg Saxes – so it’s either more brutal, or the more’s I don’t care being an American. Let them. But I would expect they were using Ukraine as always to recapture Russia for the British/NY Bolsheviks they paid a fortune to install. …They did steal all the gold in Russia and sent it to London under Trotsky tho, so they broke even.
You have to understand, and from the “Poland Invades” article that — unlike the U.S. and Oz — there are no stable borders there. There is no “Poland”. There is no “Ukraine”. There is no “Germany”. Those ethnic peoples live all over and the borders change every 50 or 70 years in yet another war, going back to the stone age. So Russia has been “invaded”, and also “invaded” others. But most of the time, who can tell? Right now Russia has “invaded” to “make” Russians Russia. Which they already were. And already wanted. And the Ukrainians by shelling them showed they didn’t want it. Does that make any sense?
And no, it’s nowhere near just those four Oblasts, for example Yanukovych got about 50% of the vote, right down Russian/Ukraine lines, and that was pretty normal going back to Ukraine’s independence, which was a totally new event, as Ukraine wasn’t a country with these principles or borders ‘til 1990. Is that one of the youngest nations on earth? So which Ukraine are we supporting? Ivan’s? Nicholas II’s? Stalin’s? Khrushchev’s? Biden and London support Khrushchev, it seems, and no surprise. So Russia could take about half the country, which is well over 60% Russian support, and probably will. We’ve said this many times, including the people you disagree with, like Lira. They will carve off the rest in pieces as being too much trouble, and hand that trouble to Poland, but remains to be seen as you say.
Was Maidan real? Yes. All Color Revolutions are “real”. The same way the Summer of Love non-stop riots and murders by BLM and Antifa are “real”. There are ALWAYS grievances and differences, NATO and the Lettermen pay huge money, easily seen, to fund the dissent, pay the protestors (this was wide open and reported) and provide the fringe with guns and training. Poland’s no different. Sure, a lot of Poles, maybe 90% of them didn’t like the Russian control. I wouldn’t either. But that doesn’t mean MI6 didn’t send millions a month there to stir up trouble: we know they did and MI6 is very proud of it. When the USSR fell, they didn’t stop or anything, they stole Poland and then used Poland to steal Russia like all nations would. So is that “Real”? Or “Not Real”? If I pay $1M for your neighbor to hate you and give you a hard time, does he really? Or if I stopped would he stop too? The world may never know because MI6 and others will never stop.
Easy to see real conflict between Poland, Lithuania, even Finland, a little over that. What’s hard to see is the far harsher, irrational, unforgiving hatred of Russian ALLIES to hate and destroy them. Again, Britain and the U.S. were Russian – Soviet, Stalin’s – ALLIES. What did Russia do to us? Even after 1945? Not much really. We hated them on general principles of rival powers: ‘Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down’ – 1st NATO commander. That was the PURPOSE of NATO. To destroy Germany like they did last week with NordStream. What? Why? Why keep the Germans down? For that matter, why keep the Yanks in? GTFO. Said so at the time. Say so every day.
What Atonement would or should Russia make? They were destroyed and their life expectancy dropped by 10 years. They were mercilessly plundered by the West. Don’t you think they paid and WE should be the ones to atone now? Poland said Ukraine never apologized or atoned for them either, if we’re all picking sides here. So maybe we should invade Ukraine and give it to Poland? The U.S. not only hasn’t atoned, but commits a new invasion and war crime daily, and use Australian help to do it. I could care less if anyone atones compared to just stop doing it, which is about all we can ask.
Like, as you say, China, which is making daily moves to do this right now, undermining nations, making trouble, buying politicians, setting up their own police. Who atones first? Them? Or us for doing the same thing to them since 1949? They only JUST stopped a color revolution there, with the Umbrella Fiasco, and we’re trying to cripple them, their chips, Taiwan, their food, and any other murder we can think of.
And back to Ukraine: no, the war is not organic, is obviously and enormously paid for, wide open in the news. Like if I pay your neighbor $50B to kill you, that’s CLEARLY not organic. By us, the U.S. U.K. and Oz, and Ukraine, as a country that sort of doesn’t exist is split several ways but at a minimum half and half Ukr and Rus, as seen in the entire 30 year history of voting. Russia is merely taking the 90+ Russia supporter areas (so far), not even the 80% voters that run over to the Dnieper. That’s actually UN approved, as it’s bloody Chapter 1, Article 1, “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
It was re-affirmed in 14 December 1960 with the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, which supported the granting of independence to colonial countries and people by providing an inevitable legal linkage [of] self-determination”
This of course is when the wind blows from the west and the UN can tell a hawk from a handsaw. All even-numbered days they declare every existing borders worldwide is sacrosanct (except our own) and you can’t just rewrite them or secede ‘cause you feel like it. The two legal principles are in direct opposition, so they simply pick whatever London and NY prefer at the time. It’s an even-numbered day today, so London sez Crimea and Ukraine are illegal votes, but India and Serbia are legal ones. When they lost in 2013 and Ukraine democratically voted to side (trade) with Russia, they called shenanigans and ran an open, paid, illegal coup AGAINST democracy and self-determination which remains to this day.
So…what do you mean? The only power is POWER. The only purpose is POWER. Law is what you can enforce with a gun. By murdering Russians. London enforced Ukraine with a gun in Kiev from 2013 to now. Russia is merely un-enforcing a small part of it. See?
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For the past 24 hours, I’ve been reading, and jotting down quotes, like an idiot, about the Nordstream pipes’ sabotage. Just trying to figure out what the hell happened. I doubt we will ever know who “killed Kennedy”, but we can try. I find it remarkable how eager certain parties are to blame Russia for blowing up its own infrastructure, how equally eager to discard alternative options, and most of all perhaps how eager “EU functionaries” are to claim they want a full investigation. Really? Even if your own allies did it?
Thinking that Russia blew up its own pipeline, while they could just close the tap, much easier and cheaper, appears to be very far fetched. In any Whodunnit you want some logic. First, my notes, from the past day, much from Twitter, plus some other sources, more or less in random order:
• Nord Stream 2 pipeline cost over 11 billion dollars and ten years to build. It’s going to take years to fix.
Note: it will take weeks, if not months, to just get started. Because all the gas will have to flow out first. The pipes were not active, but they were full of gas, over a very long distance. They were ready to go and supply Europe. Then when Germany suddenly reneged on the deal, where were they going to put the gas?
Laying (building) undersea pipelines is never an easy job, But the Baltic Sea adds a few extra problems, as per Lookout at the Saker :
The first step to building an offshore pipeline is to conduct extensive surveys of the seabed. In the case of NS2, this involved detailed seabed survey of areas potentially harmful to the building and operation of a pipeline. This was certainly the case for NS1 and NS2, especially in areas that were used to dump explosives and chemicals.
The Baltic Sea was the scene of maritime battles, laying of mines during WW2. Additionally, areas of it were used as a dumping ground for obsolete, damaged, or expired munitions & chemicals. This was widely carried out following the end of both world wars. “It is estimated that the Baltic Sea alone has around 50,000 tonnes of chemical munitions, 500,000 tonnes of conventional weapons, and 10,000 wrecks on its seabed.”
I loved this little bit:
• German Economy Minister Habeck: “speculations about the reason for nord stream 1 leak are currently forbidden.”
That’s German politics on its last legs. Y’all, shut up!
Nordstream has never been uncontested. This is from November 2015, at pipeline-journal.net:
Ruling out sabotage, the Swedish military has successfully cleared a remote operated vehicle (drone) rigged with explosives found near Line 2 of the Nord Stream Natural Gas offshore pipeline system. The vehicle was discovered during a routine survey operation as part of the annual integrity assessment of the Nord Stream pipeline. Since it was within the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) approximately 120 km away from the island of Gotland, the Swedes called on their armed forces to remove and ultimately disarm the object. “We don’t consider it to be dangerous to merchant vessels or the pipeline at this point,” Jesper Stolpe, Swedish Armed Forces spokesman, told Radio Sweden. According to Stolpe, the cable used to control the drone and to set off the explosive was cut off, so at the moment the vehicle is relatively harmless.
And more recently, there was activity in the area as well. Guess who…
• Apparently US 6th Fleet undersea explosives specialists were “scoping out” the situation back in June.
• An expeditionary detachment of US Navy ships led by the universal amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge days ago was in the Baltic Sea. It was 30 km from the site of the alleged sabotage on the Nord Stream-1 gas pipeline and 50 km from the threads of Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline
• Tin Foil Hats: Russia and Germany were negotiating behind the scenes for gas, but a “3rd party caught on and put an end to it”.
• The Nordstream 2 pipeline allows Russia to send gas to Western Europe without paying transit fees to Ukraine and Poland. Russia just completed it in the teeth of massive opposition from Ukraine, Poland and USA. Now they are trying to convince you it was Russia who blew it up.
The mother of all coincidences:
• Baltic Pipe. This is the new Norway-Poland Baltic Pipeline that just coincidentally opened today.
• A former Polish defense minister has credited the United States with blowing up two Russian natural gas pipelines to Europe, Nord Stream 1 & 2, the day before Poland opened a major new pipeline from Norway. A new 900km pipeline “Baltic Pipe” will be opened today, a branch connecting from the Norway-Germany ‘“Europipe”. This branch bypasses Germany.
That former Polish defense minister, Radek Sikorski, [now] Chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the US, and married to WaPo’s Anne Applebaum, writes “Thank you, USA”
• [..] looks like the pipeline attack wasn’t totally successful, as it failed to breach one of the NS2 lines – taking down only three of the four pipes. it will be interesting to see if there is any attempt to finish the job.
• Javier Blas, Bloomberg: The size of the Nord Stream pipeline gas leak is huge. According to the Danish armed forces, it measures about 1 kilometer in diameter. The smaller circle in the center is approximately 200 meters wide
• Each line of the pipeline consists of about 100,000 24-tonne concrete-weight coated steel pipes laid on the seabed. The pipelines have a constant internal diameter of 1.153m, according to Nord Stream. Sections lie at a depth of around 80-110m.
• The approximate locations of the leaks are in the Bornholm Basin area (mean depth of 43m), closest to the island. The depth is shallow enough for specialised diving operations as well as the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles, (as was the case for the construction of both pipelines). The shallow area of the Bornholm Strait separating the Arkona Basin from the Bornholm Basin has a maximum depth of 45 metres.
• The steel pipe itself has a wall of 4.1 centimeters (1.6 inches), and it’s coated with another 6-11 cm of steel-reinforced concrete. Each section of the pipe weighs 11 tonnes, which goes to 24-25 tonnes after the concrete is applied.
• Assessment is that the second, bigger explosion corresponded to more than 100 kilos of dynamite.
This gives us at least some idea. That Russia would kill its own $11 billion 10-year hard-fought investment makes little sense. Not impossible, but very unlikely. The US, however…
We have Biden in February this year:
Pres. Biden: "If Russia invades…then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it."
Reporter: "But how will you do that, exactly, since…the project is in Germany's control?"
Tucker Carlson summarized it pretty well last night:
But now we still don’t know Whodunnit.
Gonzalo Lira says it’s “The Americans Declared War On Europe”:
I’m sure the Americans had a role in it. But that’s not the same as saying they were the direct perpetrators. There are still other candidates. Let’s rule out Russia, unless someone comes with a good explanation for why they would have acted against their own interest -or the semblance of it.
Germany is another party to this. But they are suffering already, and may indeed have held secret talks with Russia about gas deliveries. Now, they can forget about that for a long time to come. There are voices saying today that the pipelines are damaged beyond repair. I’m not sure that’s true, maybe they can replace one damaged pipe segment with a non-damaged one, but it would certainly take a lot of time and money.
So we strike off Russia and Germany, and keep the US in the back of our heads. That leaves two very obvious parties. First, the Ukraine, which loves not having to compete with Nordstream. But as far as we know, Kiev doesn’t have the equipment and/or capability to blow up a pipeline 100 meters under water. They could have asked the US, though, true enough.
That leaves one country that no-one is talking about, but is in the thick of it all: Poland.
The Poles stand to profit in two different ways from the explosions (and unlike Ukraine, they have the equipment to make it happen). First, there is a pipeline from Russia to Germany that runs through Poland, and for which they can now demand a user fee if any gas would flow. Second, they just opened the Norway-Poland branch of the Norway-Germany “Europipe” yesterday, which is labeled the Baltic Pipe.
Poland can make a killing off of the situation. There’s no way they could pull it off without the US knowing about it, but that can be arranged.
This all still leaves me with a few questions. As I knew it would. For the same reason I don’t know who killed Kennedy. First, why did the CIA warn of an attack on Nordstream weeks in advance?
And second, why are people like Von der Leyen, Borrell etc. clamoring so loudly for a thorough investigation when the Whodunnit logic says it may well point to one of their allies? Do they know something they’re not telling, do they think they can suppress whatever comes out? To be continued.
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.@StephenM: The Biden administration has helped relocate 300,000 unaccompanied minors into the United States. This is the largest human/child trafficking operation in human history. pic.twitter.com/rLKvBiCnz3
WH @PressSec says Biden didn't actually mean the Covid pandemic is over despite saying it: "Just to step back for a second, when he made those comments, he was walking through the Detroit car show, the halls of the Detroit car show, he was looking around." pic.twitter.com/JUMzkkA1P8
So, after lots of speculation, we now know that the Kremlin has decided to mobilize about 300’000 soldiers from a total mobilizational potential of 25’000’000 soldiers. That’s just a little over 1% of Russia’s mobilizational potential. We are talking only about those soldiers who have an official status of “reserves” and all of them will have to undergo a special training before being sent to the Ukraine. A few comments about this decision: It will take Russia a few months to gather and retrain (refresher courses) these forces and they will not be immediately available to protect the Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhie and Kherson regions during the upcoming referendum on to whether to join Russia or not. The 3rd volunteer army corps is already deployed in the south and could greatly assist in this.
Putin and Shoigu gave several reasons for this decision, including the very long line of contact, the direct involvement of NATO personnel who are now running the Ukronazi regime in Kiev and the threats by the West to dismantle Russia. Shoigu indicated that the UAF lost about 50% of its personnel (over 100’000 soldiers out of a total potential of about 200’000). He also added that most of the Ukrainian weapons systems, which were of Soviet origin, was mostly destroyed. Russian KIAs are just under 6000 soldiers. Shoigu also clearly spelled out that “we are not so much fighting against the Ukraine but against NATO plus the united (collective) West“. Shoigu also mentioned that all of the NATO satellite capabilities (70 military and 200+ civilian satellites) are used against Russia right now.
Finally, Shoigu added that NATO high precision weapons are deliberately used by NATO commanders to terrorize civilians. In other words, Russia is preparing for an escalation of this war in the coming months. She is basically augmenting her forces to a level which could deal with a major NATO escalation in the Ukraine (and elsewhere as not all mobilized forces would have to be combat units; deploying more C4ISR capabilities, logistics/supply forces or civil affairs and counter-terrorism units would also make sense). The other big news of the day is, of course, that Russia will back and accept the outcome of the referendums in the four regions mentioned above.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization during an address to the nation on Wednesday morning. He said the Defense Ministry had recommended drawing military reservists into active service as the country faces a protracted conflict in Ukraine and Donbass. The measure is sensible and necessary under the circumstances, Putin said, considering that Russia is fighting “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. He has already signed an order for the call-up to start immediately. The move will see the armed forces draw on military reservists only, and those who have completed national service, the president added. He promised that they would be provided with additional training, along with all the benefits due to people involved in active duty.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu revealed some details about the mobilization in a separate statement on Wednesday. He said the ministry wanted to call to arms some 300,000 reservists, or just over 1% of Russia’s full mobilization potential. Putin has accused Kiev of backing away from peace talks with Moscow, which he said it had done on the instructions of its Western backers. Instead, the Ukrainian government has doubled down on military action, he said. “After certain compromises [with Moscow] were reached, Kiev received a de facto direct order to derail all agreements. More weapons were pumped into Ukraine. The Kiev regime deployed more gangs of international mercenaries and nationalists, military units trained to NATO standards and under de facto command of Western advisers,” Putin said.
Russian forces sent to Ukraine in February have secured a large portion of territory claimed by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as parts of Ukraine, he said. The resulting front line stretches over 1,000km, the president pointed out. He warned the US and its allies against ramping up pressure on Moscow. Western nations are openly pursuing a military defeat of Russia, seeking to push the country into insignificance and to loot its natural wealth, he stated. “Parts of Western elites use every effort to preserve their dominance. That is why they try to block and suppress any sovereign centers of development, so that they can continue to brutally force their will on other nations and peoples, to impose their pseudo-values,” he explained. “Their goal is to weaken, disunite and ultimately destroy our nation.”
Some senior officials in NATO states have even suggested that using tactical nuclear weapons against Russian troops would be justified, according to Putin. The president stressed that Moscow would not hesitate to retaliate to such an attack with its own nuclear weapons. If the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will certainly use all the means that we have to defend Russia and our people. Putin also commented on the upcoming referendums in the two Donbass republics and two regions of Ukraine currently controlled to a large extent by Russian troops. The four entities are putting to a general vote a proposal to ask Moscow to accept them as new parts of the Russian Federation, with polling scheduled to start on Friday.
The Russian leader pledged to support the plebiscites in terms of security and said his government would respect whatever outcomes they produce. Russia’s goal is to protect civilians from the Ukrainian government, which had escalated the persecution of its opponents at home and had been using terrorist tactics against people living in Russia-controlled lands, Putin said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said (video, Sputnik report) that 300,000 reservist will be mobilized. Conscripts and people currently studying will not be send to Ukraine. He also said that, so far, 5,937 Russian soldiers have died during the war in Ukraine. (This number does not include the militia of the DPR and LPR, or the Wagner group, who have done most of the frontline work and thus have had higher losses.) Shoigu puts Ukrainian losses at some 62,000 killed and some 50,000 wounded. (I regard this as a low estimate.) Russia’s total military reserve, people who have previously gone through military training, is 25 million. It also has the equipment to arm those forces.
There are rumors that the Ukraine is preparing for an all out offensive, mobilizing and preparing new units from Kiev and further west for one big push against the Russian and allied forces. It will take a few months to prepare for this. The Ukraine will need much more equipment and ammunition from the ‘west’, including ‘western’ tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and has yet to train troops to be able to use it. It is likely intending to start the offensive only in spring. The call up Russia announced now may have the intent to draw Kiev into a premature launch of its general offensive. The mobilized Russian troops will take about three months to be ready for war. Russia could thus launch its own offensive during the winter season. In the meantime constant defensive work will continue to severely degrade the Ukrainian units which are currently on or near the frontlines.
With a force of an additional 300,000 troops, far beyond the 100,000 to 150,000 engaged now in the war, the Russia forces could change their tactics from the slow grind that is happening now into a larger scale maneuver war with heavy strikes into the operational depth of the Ukrainian army. Belarus, allied with the Russian Federation, is also in the process of getting ready for war. It could, as it had threatened before, cut of the supply lines from the ‘west’ into the Ukraine in the western part of that country. Should current Ukrainian attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Russia and the Donbas regions continue, we can expect that the Russian forces will start to degrade Ukrainian infrastructure on a large scale. The electricity and railway networks would be the primary targets. s
Earlier this morning, Vladimir Putin gave the order to call up army reservists. According to him, the nature and the goals of the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine remain the same. The reservists will be given contracts (they will in essence become salaried employees). Only those with relevant military experience and training will be called up. Shoigu went into further specifics: just 300.000 reservists will be called up in the first phase (roughly 1% of Russia’s total reservists), which will coincide with the normal, regularly scheduled annual training of reserves. They will be equipped, trained and sent in with the task of shoring up and straightening up the battle front. To be sure, they will also be called upon to provide security and to suppress enemy activity on both sides of the border.
Given the current configuration of the battle front, which includes a toehold on the Kharkov region, all of Lugansk, most of Donetsk, most of Zaporozhye and most of Kherson, their mission could conceivably come to include driving the Ukrainian forces out of the remainder of Donetsk and Kherson regions and perhaps setting up and maintaining a buffer zone to make it impossible for Ukrainian artillery to reach within what will soon become territory of the Russian Federation.
To this end, referenda will be held starting this Friday in all of the above formerly Ukrainian regions except for Kharkov, which is excluded. According to most recent opinion polling, the idea of joining the Russian Federation is very popular in all of the above: 94% in favor in Donetsk, 93% in Lugansk, 87% in Zaporozhye and 80% in Kherson.
And why wouldn’t these people want to be part of a peaceful, stable and prosperous state where their native language is the official language rather than stay within a failed state that has been fighting a civil war against them going on nine years? The celebrations that will follow these regions joining Russia are likely to be massive: Crimea 2014 times ten. Finally, I’d like to add a note on the Russian withdrawal from most of the Kharkov region. The region itself is of no consequence to Russia while the city of Kharkov, with its remaining population of around two million and with Ukrainian heavy armor and artillery hiding among high-rise buildings and using civilians as human shields, would be either a hard target, a humanitarian disaster, or both, were the Russians to try to conquer it. Also, although Kharkov is overwhelmingly Russian-speaking, these are some of the most heavily brainwashed, Westernized, Nazified Russian-speakers on the face of the planet and, from a Russian perspective, just not worth the bother.
The Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO)’s summit in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand last Thursday and Friday was a world historical event for the forces creating this separate world representing the majority of humanity. Major economic deals were concluded and Beijing and Moscow further strengthened their budding alliance. In what should be a worrying sign for Washington, many of its Middle East allies, which have also rejected U.S. pressure to sanction Russia, have applied to join the SCO. For years the West rejected overtures from Russia and China to collaborate in a multipolar world. But that would mean giving up its dominant position, maintained from overtly colonial days. Instead the U.S.-led West pushes for total domination. So rather than acknowledge that its attempt to destroy Russia’s economy and bring down its government has instead led to economic chaos in the West and a threat to its global position, Western leaders are doubling down.
By sanctioning Russian energy and other vital exports, and by shutting out its financial system, the West thought Russia would collapse. Instead Moscow has found markets in the world’s most populous nations so that its currency, its industry and its banking system have survived. The Western response to this growing challenge to its hegemony was reflected in the way Western media covered the Samarkand summit. On top of the dismissive tone of its reporting came distortion of facts that misled its Western audiences to the significance of what Samarkand means to the future. The Daily Telegraph began its report, headlined, “Isolated Putin left at Beijing’s mercy as his disastrous war backfires,” with an account about how Putin was humiliated because he was left waiting for the president of Kyrgyzstan. With the headline, “Putin and Xi plot a new world order to challenge America’s might,”
The Times of London took the same line, writing of “Russia’s dependence on China since its disastrous war in Ukraine.” CNN’s report sowed seeds of doubt about the SCO’s unity, writing about the summit from Hong Kong that the “Ukraine war risks exposing regional divisions.” The New York Times report filed from Washington and Beijing, sought to portray the “limits” of “cooperation” between Russia and China. None of these reports focused on an emerging world order that is leaving the U.S. on the outside looking in. Western media instead seized on a few words uttered to try to frame India and China as criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine. They completely took out of context Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that “today’s era is not of war.” CNN reported:
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have directly rebuffed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war. In what was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Russian leader, Modi told him of the need to ‘move onto a path of peace’ and reminded him of the importance of ‘democracy, diplomacy and dialogue.’” After Putin told Modi during their public comments that Ukraine refuses to negotiate, Modi said, according to the English translation on India’s Foreign Ministry website, “I know that today’s era is not of war and we have spoken to you many times on the phone that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are such things that touch the world. Today we will get a chance to discuss how we can move forward on the path of peace in the coming days.” It is clear that Modi was criticizing Ukraine for not negotiating, rather than criticizing Russia for the war.
Martin Armstrong discusses his new book based on declassified documents where in the 1990s the West, NATO, and Russian oligarchy plotted to seize Moscow, loot Russia, and takeover its natural resources. Yeltsin turned to Putin who was not a communist and is not an oligarch. The Moscow apartment bombings or propaganda surrounding them being a false flag would likely have come from Boris Berezovsky. The Great Reset is basically a debt default and the EU is a disaster that will fall apart. At this point most of the attack on Russia is related to “climate change” and to shut down fossil fuels.
In a rational environment, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) would discuss alleviating the trials and tribulations of the Global South, especially Africa. That won’t be the case. Like a deer caught in the geopolitical headlights, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued platitudes about a gloomy “winter of global discontent,” even as the proverbial imperial doomsayers criticized the UN’s “crisis of faith” and blasted the “unprovoked war” started by Russia. Of course the slow-motion genocide of Donbass russophone residents for eight years would never be recognized as a provocation. Guterres spoke of Afghanistan, “where the economy is in ruins and human rights are being trampled” – but he did not dare to offer context.
In Libya, “divisions continue to jeopardize the country” – once again, no context. Not to mention Iraq, where “ongoing tensions threaten ongoing stability.” Africa has 54 nations as UN members. Any truly representative UNGA meeting should place Africa’s problems at the forefront. Once again, that’s not the case. So it is left to African leaders to offer that much-needed context outside of the UN building in New York. As the only African member of the G20, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently urged the US not to “punish” the whole continent by forcing nations to demonize or sanction Russia. Washington’s introduction of legislation dubbed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, he says, “will harm Africa and marginalize the continent.”
South Africa is a BRICS member – a concept that is anathema in the Beltway – and embraces a policy of non-alignment among world powers. An emerging 21st century version of the 1960s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is strengthening across the Global South – and especially Africa – much to the revulsion of the US and its minions. Back at the UNGA, Guterres invoked the global fertilizer crisis – again, with no context. Russian diplomacy has repeatedly stressed that Moscow is ready to export 30 million tons of grain and over 20 million tons of fertilizer by the end of 2022. What is left unsaid in the west, is that only the importation of fertilizers to the EU is “allowed,” while transit to Africa is not.
Guterres said he was trying to persuade EU leaders to lift sanctions on Russian fertilizer exports, which directly affect cargo payments and shipping insurance. Russia’s Uralchem, for instance, even offered to supply fertilizers to Africa for free. Yet from the point of view of the US and its EU vassals, the only thing that matters is to counter Russia and China in Africa. Senegal’s President Macky Sall has remarked how this policy is leaving “a bitter taste.”
The German political class has torn up the social contract agreed with its constituents by swiftly ignoring the historical and most successful existential partnership established with Russia since decades ago. In parallel, Anglo-inspired unelected EU bureaucrats take turns to blindly attack Russia with suicidal Wagnerian style based on hollow virtue-signalling nonsense. Now, the German Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck (a former mediocre poetry translator…) finally and “bitterly” has admitted that Germany — and thus all of Europe — relies on ´cheap energy from Russia´ or else it´d trigger ”the collapse of energy providers” with a dire ´Lehman moment´.
This would crash the German and European economies with widespread bankruptcies unleashed by margin calls as later explained. Thus the “green” solution now found for this Made-In-Europe mess is a deeper and longer proxy Ukraine war, über-high price inflation, $ 500 billion in subsidies for starters with more coming, new ad hoc high taxes and un-applicable price caps in a supply-driven market … with scarcity all around and “no matter what voters may think or how hard their life may get” (sic). So, European businesses will fail per the terrible damage induced all along upstream supply lines including food and fuels. As brilliantly worded by Rachel Mardsen…“The West cut itself off from its sourcing in order to play geopolitics”… and then blame Russia and supposed “extremist enemies of the state”.
So, if recent declarations from German Foreign Minister Annalena (“Kobold”) Baerbock are of any guide, we shall soon witness street crowds blossoming in Europe. With circumvolutionary style, the EU Commission is now also trying to convince everyone that Europe will become “greener” in a hurry. Actually, with its lignite-fired re-commissioned power stations – the largest ever single source of pollution – Europe will turn “browner” fast, not “greener” thus setting the worst possible example to the rest of the world.It also contradicts its supposed ´moral high ground´ Green Plan. Still, EC spokesman Eric Mamer proudly stated that “The Ukraine invasion will help us speed up our move away from fossil fuels”.
The EU and the US imposed crippling sanctions on Russia which now finds it impossible – for instance – to comply with energy delivery to Europe. This in turn affects the European entire industry & trade including medicines, fuels, food, heating and everything in between. So the EU complains that Russia is using this energy non-delivery ´excuse´ as a weapon. Actually, sanctions restrict or prohibit trade of anything and everything with Russia from chips to flowers, and also disconnect Russian banks from SWIFT plus block money transfers, penalize all Russian cargo insurance, prohibit Western vessels at Russian ports and access of Russian ships to Europe. So a case in point for nat-gas non-delivery is the NS1 turbines mandatory maintenance/repairs. Contractually, Siemens is the only party allowed to touch them but sanctions do not allow their access per “Contract Violations”.
Europe keeps playing Russian roulette with itself insisting on the game plan of (1) provoking and supporting armed conflict with Russia (2) confiscating Russian assets (2) applying crippling sanctions on everything ´Russian´ (3) betting the farm on militarily winning the Ukraine war — how ??? (4) attempting a regime change in Russia (5) benefit from the spoils (6) simultaneously require Russians to provide whatever the EU may need, or else…??? (7) improvise highly dangerous experiments with well-proven European business models and European livelihoods at stake.
And just like small children do, EU leaders still won´t admit it´s bed-time. So now all that´s left for Main Street Europe is not winning anything other than freezing temperatures, far less food and fuels, ultra high price inflation of anything and everything, and plenty of hardship and discontent. But them all just keep re-arranging the chairs on the deck of an EU sinking Titanic while the orchestra enthusiastically keeps on playing one Strauss vals after another. True enough, Europe is trying its best to unnecessarily divorce Russia. But per Bloomberg – not exactly a pro-Russian mouthpiece — the EU sanctions and new taxes badly hurt Europe while Russia keeps ever improving its geopolitics and finances.
“..as per the German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck´s own words, “just expect the worst“. Meaning areas with no energy, no fuels, no power at any price, period. Or as plain Germans would have it, just expect “kaputt”.
Very soon EU sanctions on Russia will start consuming the Europe we know with an ever more self-sufficient and growing Russia just watching the unfortunate scene. For instance, German SMB “Mittelstand” (99% of German GDP) will bankrupt or strain badly. The fact remains that no one has explained exactly what is to be finally gained with the EUthanizing sanctions and new taxes which are not really hurting Russia but are very seriously hurting Europeans and — indirectly — the rest of the world. “Russia rakes in more oil revenue than ever” says the Wall Street Journal by exporting almost as much crude as it did before the conflict in Ukraine… but at much higher prices.
“Now Russia has new buyers, new means of payment, new traders and new ways of financing exports”. By the way, current electricity prices in Germany are already almost ten times higher than a year ago — and keep rising – while the EU’s energy market is rattled by fears over whether highly unstable power plants will be able to provide enough electricity this winter. So it´s not just a matter of even higher prices as grid “wherewithal” is at stake with simply not enough energy available. Unmanageable price inflation is thus unstoppable. From fertilizer to aluminum production and every single commodity in between are all being seriously hindered by current ( self-inflicted ) truly soaring European energy costs.
It´s simple, and as per the German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck´s own words, “just expect the worst“. Meaning areas with no energy, no fuels, no power at any price, period. Or as plain Germans would have it, just expect “kaputt”. So this “new” German and European business model does not impress or fly well. And even on the basis of self-righteous exceptionalistic ideologies and newly-found virtuous ´moral´ arguments, current immolation of defenseless Europeans is a nonsensical price to be payed with this freezing green checkmate. Because there are no quick, ready-made, valid replacements of many / most Russian produce Europe depends upon, there is no real grass-roots political support either, and politicians cannot expect people to go along under the extreme hardship conditions soon to come.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced another 75-point increase in federal interest rates today. This is the third consecutive 0.75 percentage point increase. Additionally, Fed policymakers have pledged to continue raising rates as high as 4.6% in 2023. While Powell walked through his reasoning to continue targeting inflation by lowering consumer demand, not once in any of his remarks did he mention energy policy driving up the cost of materials and goods. The Great Pretending continues.:
The Fed chair is trying to manage the economic policy transition by reducing economic activity to match intentionally diminished energy supplies. Lowering economic activity drops demand for energy. Unfortunately, as admitted by Powell on August 26, 2022, in Jackson Hole, this means a period of “some pain” for Americans as the central banks join together in an effort to lower consumption. What does “some pain” mean? It means lower incomes, higher prices, lowered standards of living and more scarce resources. During this transition to owning nothing and being happy about it, the pain is your wealth being stripped as the economy is intentionally diminished.
We will not be able to afford much; we won’t be able to afford the foods we want; we will not be able to purchase anything except the essentials, and those essentials will cost much more; we won’t be able to vacation, travel, or enjoy recreational activities; we won’t be able to afford any indulgences; but at the end of the process, we will learn to live more meager existences based on lowered expectations needed for sustaining the planet. Pay no attention to the elites who don’t have those concerns, comrade.
Though the function of European, German, Japanese and Zimbabwean central banks is to enable the credibility and efficiency of the financial side of their respective economies so that the real side of their economies may achieve the nation’s broader macro economic goals, NATO’s central banks have obviously and disastrously abandoned those tasks for reasons this article makes apparent. Because Zimbabwe, like Germany’s Weimar Republic before it, has reached annual inflation rates of 90 sextillion per cent a year, Europe should not be emulating the financial and economic basket case of Harare. Whatever about Zimbabwe, Germany has been famously down this road before and, in a total reversal of earlier post-war policies, seems determined to traverse it again. The European Central Bank, based in Frankfurt, is printing euros as quickly as their colleagues in Zimbabwe are printing Zimbabwean dollars, as the Confederates printed their Greybacks and as Weimar printed their famously worthless marks.
Although Weimar’s woes were many, two of the most pertinent were that the Kaiser borrowed immensely to fund his armies, whose victories were supposed to enable him to repay his nation’s debts, and that the Western allies bled defeated Germany’s resources dry, thus opening the way for Herr Hitler once Weimar fell. Europe’s central banks are following this very policy today. They are doling out billions to ease energy bills, to bribe farmers and, most notoriously, to feed the money laundering Ponzi scheme that is Zelensky’s Kiev junta. The money supply, at more than 15 trillion euros, is at record levels and real interest rates are in negative terrain, pauperizing pensioners but failing to kick start their fuel starved economies. Inflation,.Germany’s bane, is again on the march as too far much money is in search of far too few bags of fire wood; and English toilet paper has increased in price by 50% in the last few months, Albion is really in squeaky bum time.
As the European Central Bank’s leaders presently have no other card to play, they must think their printing presses are enough to prevail in Ukraine and to allow Europeans to both eat and heat themselves this winter. Not only is that wishful thinking on the part of ECB President Christine Lagarde, the ‘multi cultural’ Parisian, who previously fronted the IMF and who held senior Ministerial positions in the French government but it betrays her fundamental ignorance about monetary policy. The main aim of the euro was to have the stability of the German mark and the Dutch guilder and not to be as volatile as Lagarde’s French franc, which was devalued four times since 1945. Unlike Lagarde, the Central Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, along with that of Japan, seemed to have understood monetary policy, which is best seen as being like the throttle of a motorbike which must, when necessary, allow more fuel to enter the economic engine but which also must not flood it by drowning it in Zimbabwean dollars, French francs, Confederate Greybacks or Lagardean euros.
Negative prices make sense for bads, not goods. When a factory wants to remove toxic waste, it charges a negative price for it: its managers pay someone to get rid of it. But when central banks begin to treat money like car manufacturers treat spent sulfuric acid, or nuclear power stations their radioactive wastewater, one knows that something is rotten in the kingdom of financialized capitalism. Some commentators now hope that Western money is being purified in the flames of inflation and interest-rate hikes. But inflation is not driving the poison out of the West’s money system. After more than a decade of addiction to poisoned money, no obvious detoxification method presents itself. Inflation today is not the same beast the West faced in the 1970s and early 1980s.
This time around, it threatens labor, capital, and governments in ways that it could not 50 years ago. Back then, labor was organized enough to demand wage increases that averted a cost-of-living crisis, and neither states nor private corporations relied on free money to keep going. Today, there is no optimal interest rate that will restore the balance between money demand and money supply that does not trigger a massive wave of private and public bankruptcy. That is the long-term price of poisoned money. The US government faces the impossible dilemma of curbing domestic inflation and forcing Corporate America and many friendly governments into a solvency crisis that will threaten America’s own stability.
Things are far worse in the eurozone, where policymakers refused to do the obvious once Europe’s banks had failed after 2008: establish a proper federation’s foundation – a fiscal union. Instead, they let the European Central Bank do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Only by poisoning its own money could the ECB keep the euro show on the road. Today, the ECB owns huge quantities of Italian, Spanish, French, even Greek debt that it can no longer justify holding as a means of achieving its inflation target, but which it cannot renounce without calling the euro’s existence into question.
Coal had two world-changing effects. The first, the one everyone thinks of, is that it could be used to power steam engines, replacing wind, water, and muscle power first in dozens, then in hundreds, and finally in thousands of uses. The second, less widely known but just as dramatic, is that it could be used via the Bessemer process to produce steel in previously unimaginable amounts. Steel plus steam power drove the industrial revolution, sent railroads scything across continents and steamships driving through oceans, and transformed human life in a galaxy of ways.
Then, about the time coal reserves started to run short, petroleum (and its gaseous form, natural gas) came into general use. More chemically complex than coal, petroleum had even more net energy, and shifted the industrial revolution into overdrive. Airplanes, automobiles, plastics, industrial lubricants, the entire modern chemical industry—the list just keeps on going. Lewis Mumford, one of the twentieth century’s most insightful students of energy and civilization, argued that the distinction between coal-fired technologies and petroleum-fueled technologies was significant enough to define a change of eras: he called the coal period the Paleotechnic Era, and the petroleum period the Neotechnic Era.
The assumption all along was that petroleum would eventually run short and have to be replaced by something else, leading to a third technic era. By 1950 nearly everyone assumed that what would replace it was nuclear power. You have to read books from that time to get a sense of just how inevitable the coming nuclear era was thought to be. Even avant-garde ecological thinkers treated nuclear power as the next inevitable thing. Pick up any of the works of Paolo Soleri, Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative student, who imagined humanity settling in gigantic city-sized buildings called arcologies so that the natural world could be allowed to thrive elsewhere. Each of his arcologies was supposed to be powered by its own nuclear power plant.
That, in turn, was where the dream ran off the rails, because it turned out that nuclear power doesn’t pay for itself. It’s not economically viable, because its net energy is so low. Thus it wasn’t Chernobyl or Fukushima Daiichi that brought the nuclear dream to a grinding halt, it was a long series of financial disasters suffered by utilities that got suckered into the nuclear hoopla, above all the bankruptcy of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS, unfondly remembered as “Whoops!” by the many thousands who lost money on it).
House Democrats on the Oversight Committee took a vote on Tuesday that could come back to haunt them. All of the 23 Democrats voted not to inquire into the influence peddling scheme of Hunter Biden and the Biden family. Rep. James Comer (R-KY) proposed a “resolution of inquiry” in light of growing evidence of not just a possible multimillion dollar influence peddling operation by Hunter and his uncle, but the knowledge of his father, President Joe Biden. At a minimum, it appears that President Biden’s repeated public denials of any knowledge of these dealings is false. Yet, the Democrats blocked any inquiry into the corruption. If Republicans take the House as expected in the midterms, the Democrats now effectively took ownership of Hunter — a political proprietary claim that few would relish.
The vote comes after 33 senators asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel in the matter, a call that I have repeatedly made in prior columns for over two years. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, called the resolution a “nakedly partisan effort” and accused Republicans of being “obsessed” with Hunter Biden. The vote, however, reveals a blind avoidance by Democrats of a corrupt scheme that brought in millions for the Biden family and may have benefitted the President himself. Even if no criminal acts are charged, the foreign dealings of Hunter and his uncle were clearly corrupt and leveraged access to Joe Biden to acquire windfall payments from governments and their surrogates. There is no good faith basis to refuse to investigate such a scheme designed to influence U.S. policy and policymakers.
Why wouldn’t the Congress want to know if there was a multimillion dollar influence peddling scheme reaching the very top of our government, including allegations of the involvement of foreign intelligence figures? The vote, however, does bring a modicum of clarity at long last. The House Democrats are now on record as actively blocking efforts to investigate this massive influence peddling scheme. The implications of that vote will likely become more clear if the House switches hands after the midterm elections. The Democratic members are not alone in such a reckoning. The mainstream media has been clearly moving to re-position itself in anticipation of possible criminal charges after years of blocking or downplaying the story.
An official at the European Union’s drugs regulator said on Tuesday the Covid-19 pandemic was not over, contradicting US President Joe Biden, and that a planned vaccination campaign in the region during the cold season was key to fighting it. “We in Europe still consider the pandemic as ongoing and it’s important that member states prepare for rollout of the vaccines and especially the adaptive vaccines to prevent further spread of this disease in Europe,” the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Chief Medical Officer Steffen Thirstrup told a media briefing, referring to vaccines targeting specific strains of the virus. He was asked to comment on Biden’s remark in an interview broadcast on Sunday that “the pandemic is over”. “I cannot obviously answer why President Biden came to that conclusion,” Thirstrup said.
The World Health Organization has said the pandemic remains a global emergency but the end could be in sight if countries use the tools at their disposal. During the media briefing, EMA officials reaffirmed a call by the agency’s Executive Director Emer Cooke made last week in a Reuters Next Newsmaker interview that people in Europe should take whatever Covid-19 booster is available and recommended to them in the coming months. Apart from the original Covid vaccines, the EMA has in recent weeks endorsed a number of vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant of the virus for use as booster shots to ease the burden from a feared surge in infections during autumn and winter in Europe. The EMA’s head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said the agency was also looking into the use of the adapted shots as a primary course of vaccination and that there were discussions on the types of data that could support such an approval.
The economic war unleashed by the West against Russia has backfired and may bring the country much good, former Wall Street financier Michael Hudson has told the German news outlet Junge Welt. “The West’s sanctions are great for Russia. Any country threatened by US sanctions is forced to become self-sufficient,” Hudson said in an interview published on Saturday.He said that sanctions have effectively pushed Russia toward import-substitution, and the country is on track to becoming completely free of reliance on Western goods. “Instead of importing German cars, Russia is turning to China to develop its own automotive industry. Russia is now moving very quickly to replace its dependence on the West for manufactured goods with its own domestic production.
“The only things they can’t produce are Walt Disney movies and Italian handbags,” the economist said, adding that while Russia is unlikely to be able to mass produce some of the luxury items it used to import, its economy will become largely self-sufficient. Hudson also noted that sanctions, while aimed at reducing Russia’s profits from energy exports, instead “brought additional revenue to the Russian state budget.” “Russia is the big beneficiary of Germany’s energy embargo plans. The less gas Russia sells, the more money it makes,” he stated, referring to the skyrocketing energy prices that grow in correlation with the drop in Russia’s exports.
Sanctions targeting the Russian economy have also failed to destabilize the national currency, the ruble, and have sped up the de-dollarization process, the analyst said. “Even before the war in Ukraine there were efforts to de-dollarize [yet] no one expected the process to start so quickly… But […] Washington has frozen all accounts in dollars and euros, so Russia had to get out of the dollar system. And this is what helped the Russian ruble. The intention behind the Western sanctions was to collapse the ruble in order to make Russian imports more expensive…
Instead, the Russian government countered and decided: If we are not paid in euros and dollars for oil, gas, titanium and aluminum, the West will have to pay in rubles. And so the ruble has appreciated in value. It is fair to say that the West has shot itself in the foot.” Hudson noted, however, that “the biggest beneficiary” of Russia having been laden with sanctions is Washington. This is because Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy, is faced with simultaneous energy and food crises, thus leaving it with little ability to pay attention to other matters. “Basically, Washington doesn’t care if Russia wins the war [in Ukraine], because the US has succeeded in eliminating its competition in Europe, especially Germany.”
Dozens of foreign fighters from Ukraine’s ‘International Legion’ have been killed by an airstrike in southeastern Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday. Providing a daily update on the progress of the military operation, Konashenkov revealed that “a high-precision strike” was conducted by the Russian Air Force on a stronghold of the International Legion in the village of Vyvodovo in Dnepropetrovsk Region. As a result, “more than 80 foreign mercenaries and 11 units of special equipment were destroyed,” the military spokesman said. Kiev’s international military unit was created in late February at the request of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, and is officially known as the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
While its members consider themselves “servicemen in the Ukrainian Armed Forces,”Konashenkov earlier stated that the best thing the foreign mercenaries could expect was a “long term in prison.” He also revealed that while hundreds of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine had been killed by Russian long-range precision weapons “shortly after their arrival,”most of the foreign fighters were eliminated “due to a low level of training and a lack of real combat experience.” In April, the Russian military estimated the number of foreign fighters at around 7,000, but a recent update suggests that less than 3,000 remain in Ukraine.
Apart from the International Legion members, over the past day, Russian forces have eliminated more than 400 nationalist fighters from the 46th airmobile brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces near the village of Belogorka in Kherson Region, according to Konashenkov. Over 70 fighters have been destroyed in three other Kherson Region villages, with about 150 personnel left injured, he added. Regarding its own casualties, Moscow has not updated the numbers since March, when it reported 1,351 military personnel killed and 3,825 wounded. Zelensky has conceded that his nation’s armed forces are sustaining heavy losses. In July, he said that Kiev was losing around 30 personnel in combat per day, which was significantly less than in May and June, when the death toll was around 100-200 troops per day.
The Russian military has taken out a depot in southern Ukraine that stored NATO-supplied ammunition, the Defense Ministry claimed on Sunday. “In the Voznesensk area of the Nikolaev region an arsenal that stored 45,000 tons of ammunition recently supplied to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by NATO countries has been destroyed,” the ministry stated, adding that Russian forces eliminated five other ammo depots. Meanwhile, the Russian army conducted strikes on the deployment point of units of Ukraine’s 72nd mechanized brigade at an agricultural facility in the Donetsk People’s Republic city of Artemovsk, wiping out up to 130 soldiers and eight transport and armored vehicles, the ministry’s statement read.
Moscow’s forces, the ministry continued, also used high-precision air-based missiles to attack a howitzer battery of Ukraine’s 95th Air Assault Brigade in the village of Dzerzhinsk in the DPR. According to the statement, the strike killed up to 70 service members, destroyed three 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled guns and four vehicles. The Russian Defense Ministry noted that faced with high losses, “the regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky is taking measures to make up for the shortage of military personnel” in Donbass. Kiev, the statement said, has decided to send to the frontline mobilized Ukrainian citizens from a training center, as well as wounded service members who did not have enough time to fully recover.
On Tuesday, Zelensky said that the fighting in Donbass was “hell,” claiming that Kiev’s military remained heavily outgunned and even outnumbered by Russia. He appealed to the US and its allies for even more weapons, in particular the HIMARS rocket launchers. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Kiev, saying it only prolongs the conflict, increases the number of casualties, and will result in long-term consequences.
An estimated 30% of all Ukrainian military aid reportedly reaches its final destination, despite the fact that the United States has committed billions in aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded at the end of February. U.S. and NATO officials bring weapons and supplies to the Polish border, where Ukrainian officials take control and U.S. oversight ends. “All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination,” said Jonas Ohman, founder and CEO of the Ukraine aid organization Blue-Yellow, which is based in Lithuania. Ohman told CBS News’ “Arming Ukraine” documentary that his organization needs to work around “power lords, oligarchs, and political players” in order to deliver the equipment through unofficial channels.
The CBS report finds that the problem is exacerbated by a “combination of Ukraine’s constantly shifting front lines with its largely volunteer and paramilitary forces,” plus “concerns about weapons falling into Ukraine’s black market, which has thrived on corruption since the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Retired U.S. Marine Col. Andy Millburn criticized the U.S.’s policy with regards to Ukraine. “If you provide supplies, or a logistics pipeline, there has got to be some organization to it, right? If the ability to which you’re willing to be involved in that stops at the Ukrainian border, the surprise isn’t that, oh, all this stuff isn’t getting to where it needs to go — the surprise is that people actually expected it to,” Millburn told the outlet.
“If United States’ policy is to support Ukraine in the defense of its country against the Russian Federation, you can’t go halfway with that. You can’t create artificial lines. I understand that means that U.S. troops are not fighting Russians. I understand even U.S. troops are not crossing the border. But why not at least put people in place to supervise the country? They can be civilians to ensure that the right things are happening,” he stated. In May, Congress approved $40 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine and its allies. Ukraine has also received billions in aid from global groups such as the World Bank.
We removed a tweet promoting our recent doc, "Arming Ukraine," which quoted the founder of the nonprofit Blue-Yellow, Jonas Ohman's assessment in late April that only around 30% of aid was reaching the front lines in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/EgA96BrD9O
An economic downturn is looming over the European Union amid the Ukraine conflict, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto warned in an interview with local media released on Sunday. “Even we in Finland are used to living with the idea that everything will get better next year. But now this is suddenly no longer the case,”Finland’s leader said to the newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, adding that the trend may impact the concept of European unity. “We are moving in a direction where self-sufficiency in a very broad sense becomes central,” Niinisto reiterated. “It means self-sufficiency in terms of security, despite the fact that we have the NATO process in motion, and self-sufficiency so that there is enough food.”
He also voiced concerns over a possible escalation of the Ukraine conflict. “This risk is ever-present, and it must be taken into account,” Niinisto said, without providing any details on what such an escalation might look like. According to the Finnish president, it “is impossible to imagine” what form a possible reset in relations between the West and Russia could take after Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February. Niinisto also believes that the Ukraine conflict will have far-reaching consequences. The Finnish leader’s warning comes after inflation in the Eurozone hit its highest level on record in July, reaching 8.9%, according to the European Union Statistics Office. The soaring inflation has largely been attributed to skyrocketing energy prices.
To mitigate the energy crisis, the European Council earlier this month approved a plan that would see EU countries reduce their gas consumption by 15% in light of possible disruptions of supplies from Russia. Poland and Hungary, however, reportedly refused to back this plan due to legal concerns. Earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban commented on the initiative, saying that energy rationing suggests that Europe is moving toward a “wartime economy.” In his telling, unless peace is reached in Ukraine, “we will not be able to solve any problems, there will be no energy, and the entire European Union will be pushed into an economic situation of war.”
People in Britain are facing “a winter of dire poverty” amid skyrocketing energy costs, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Saturday, urging the government to approve an emergency budget. According to the Labour politician, the continued increase in fuel prices places “35 million people in 13m households – an unprecedented 49.6% of the population of the United Kingdom,” in risk of fuel poverty in October. Calling the situation a “financial timebomb,” he added that “there is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty.” This is why, Brown said, outgoing PM Boris Johnson, along with the Tory leadership candidates, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, “must this week agree an emergency budget.”
“If they do not, parliament should be recalled to force them to do so.” He added that if nothing is done, another fuel price rise in January will leave 54% of the population in fuel poverty. The former prime minister said the scenes he has witnessed in his home county of Fife in Scotland remind him of things he read about from the 1930s – undernourished children, “pensioners choosing whether to feed their electricity meters or themselves,” and nurses having “to queue up at their food bank.” Poverty is “hitting so hard” that charities are unable to ease the burden on people, Brown said, adding that “Britain is creating a left-out generation of young boys and girls,” whose childhoods “are starting to resemble shameful scenes from a Dickens novel.” [..] The typical annual household fuel bill is expected to rise to around £3,500 from October, three times higher than last year. The real household post-tax income “is projected to fall sharply in 2022 and 2023, while consumption growth turns negative,” the Bank of England said.
For many who watched the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, some of the most outstanding moments involved his defense counsel Yarelyn Mena. It was an extraordinary opportunity for the 29-year old graduated from CUNY (2015) and she was praised for her tough examination of Heard. It was considered the turning point of one of the most famous trials in modern history. It is something that should be a matter of great pride for the CUNY community and, not surprisingly, the website did an article on their graduate. However, it has now been deleted with an apology after people objected that they were upset or traumatized by the recognition due to Heard’s allegations of abuse.
The now deleted article told the intriguing story of how a young associate out of CUNY became a global sensation as a key member of the defense team. Yarelyn explain “I am a third year associate and am fortunate to have worked a trial so early in my career. Most cases don’t go to trial.” It is an extraordinary story for a woman who came with her family from the Dominican Republic. She proceeded to graduate from CUNY and then received her law degree from Fordham University. That is a quintessential American story of achievement that any institution should relish and highlight. She noted in the interview that “(Law) was the first career that I knew of before I even really understood what it was.”
Apparently, CUNY graduates and students were outraged and unwilling to separate the act of representation from the rivaling abuse allegations in the case. It turned out that neither could the school. The school acknowledged the objections raised to “our newsletter featuring a recent CUNY graduate who worked on Johnny Depp’s legal team.” It then apologized: “We understand the strong negative emotions this article elicited and apologize for publishing the item. We have removed it from our CUNYverse blog. The article was not meant to convey support for Mr. Depp, implicitly or otherwise, or to call into question any allegations that were made by Amber Heard. Domestic violence is a serious issue in our society and we regret any pain this article may have caused.”
The “pain” caused by the article was an account of a graduate doing her job as an advocate. We have gotten to the point that people are incapable of recognizing that everyone is entitled to a rigorous legal defense and that the lawyers are fulfilling essential roles in protecting the rule of law. The only thing that matters is that the lawyer represented someone accused of abuse (even though the jury clearly found that Heard lied with malice in the trial). Even lawyers defending a client must now be cancelled to protect others from the pain of dealing with a trial on spousal abuse.
Meanwhile, the Party of Chaos is about to unleash its “Inflation Reduction Act,” which proposes to spend three quarters of a trillion dollars created from thin air into an economy already hyperventilating on three years of multi-trillion-dollar injections derived from no productive activity. At the same time, the act will raise taxes especially for low-end wage earners and small businesses, completing the regime’s destruction of the middle-class. The cherry-on-top is the provision to double the size of the Internal Revenue Service by hiring 87,000 new employees to harass ordinary American taxpayers. Is that what you voted for in 2020? I thought not.
None of that is going to work as intended. More likely, passage of the act will trigger destruction of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and a stampede out of dollar-denominated investments, which is to say, a very severe financial crisis. Credit will freeze, the distribution and sale of goods will cease, interest will stop being paid on virtually all outstanding debt, the bond market will implode, few will have anything identifiable as money, and there will be little in the way of everyday goods like food and gasoline to buy anyway. You realize, of course, that this is a description of economic collapse. If things roll that way, there will be absolutely no trust left in the US government.
It will be either ignored or opposed. And in places like my own New York, under the tyrannical and titanically incompetent accidental Governor Kathy Hochul, there will be no trust in state government either. Meaning, we’re on our own, community-by-community. This will be a very interesting experiment in the dynamics of emergence — the self-organizing properties of systems in chaos. I doubt that it will resolve in the direction of the globalists’ dreams of transhuman technocracy. Every macro trend now runs against centralization. But the process could conceivably invite an attempted Chinese takeover of the USA, if not militarily, then in a way similar to America’s asset-stripping operations in the collapsed Soviet Union of the 1990s, a looting spree — as seen many other times in history when empires founder. Or else, the rest of the world will just kick back and witness the spectacle of our struggle as the lights of Western Civ flicker out. (Europe will be right in it with us, by the way.) The other nations of the world are tired of us trying to push them around, with increasingly evil intentions. They will enjoy watching our tribulations. They will be convinced we deserve it.
US President Joe Biden is fueling the Ukraine conflict, which is a “huge crime,” Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters said in an interview released on Saturday. Waters sat down with CNN’s Michael Smerconish to discuss, in particular, the political views that the rock legend hasn’t shied away from displaying in his new concert tour ‘This Is Not A Drill’, which features a montage of alleged “war criminals,” including a picture of Joe Biden with the caption “WAR CRIMINAL. Just getting started.” “[Joe Biden] is fueling the fire in Ukraine for start. That’s a huge crime. Why won’t the United States of America encourage [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war, that’s killing [people]?” he asked.
Waters also pushed back against Smerconish’s argument that Ukraine was “invaded” by Russia, noting that the entire crisis should be analyzed in the historical context. “You need to look at the history… This war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do,” he added, recalling the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s talks with the West on the withdrawal of Moscow’s forces from Eastern Europe. Waters said that the conflict over Ukraine started as early as 2008, an apparent reference to the NATO summit in Bucharest at which the intentions of Ukraine and Georgia to eventually become full-fledged members of the alliance were supported.
The interview also saw Pink Floyd’s England-born frontman and Smerconish engage in a heated exchange over the American role in WWII. Waters insisted that the US cannot call itself ‘liberators’, adding that Washington entered the war only because of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941. The CNN journalist, however, said the US would have joined the conflict regardless. Staying on the subject of WWII, the musician argued that the Soviet Union “had already almost won the bloody war” by the time the US entered, adding that “23 million Russians died protecting you and me from the Nazi menace.”
Jim Rickards: “Biden plans to extent the COVID state of emergency. You know, so they can extend the mail-in ballot fraud and drop-box stuffing financed by Mark Zuckerberg. The order will be given just in time for another rigged election.”
The Biden administration is expected to extend the Covid-19 public health emergency once again, ensuring that federal measures expanding access to health coverage, vaccines and treatments remain in place beyond the midterm elections, three people with knowledge of the matter told POLITICO. The planned renewal follows extensive deliberations among Biden officials over the future of the emergency declaration, including some who questioned whether it was time to let the designation lapse. Under the proposed extension, the Department of Health and Human Services would continue the declaration beyond the November elections and potentially into early 2023 — pushing the U.S. into its fourth calendar year under a Covid public health emergency.
“Covid is not over. The pandemic is not over,” one senior Biden official said. “It doesn’t make sense to lift this [declaration] given what we’re seeing on the ground in terms of cases.” An HHS spokesperson declined to comment, and the people with knowledge of the matter cautioned the situation could still change ahead of an Aug. 15 deadline for deciding whether to let the declaration continue. The Biden administration has increasingly pointed to the availability of Covid vaccines and treatments as evidence that Americans who are vaccinated and boosted can live with the virus in relative safety. But even with that new posture, many administration health officials remain wary of the message that ending the public health emergency declaration would send at a time when caseloads are topping 100,000 a day. “It will end whenever the emergency ends,” one senior administration official said, summing up the internal attitude toward the declaration.
During a segment on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, host Brian Stelter discussed Hunter Biden being under federal investigation with his guest Michael LaRosa, the former press secretary for First Lady Jill Biden. The conversation was sparked when Stelter cited a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd urging the president not to run for re-election. He then brought up the Department of Justice looking into Hunter’s alleged tax violations and business dealings. “What about his son?” asked Stelter. “What about Hunter? Hunter under federal investigation, charges can be coming at any time, this is not just a right-wing media story. This is a real problem for the Bidens.”
“Could he decide not to run for re-election given his son?” Stelter asked. “Look, they make decisions as a family and they will make that decision when it’s time,” responded LaRosa. “Do you think they’ve talked about it yet?” Stelter asked. “No. The president’s doing his job, he’s doing his work. He’s not focused on that,” LaRosa responded. Stelter asked if “the press is getting ahead of the family on that.” “Way ahead, way ahead,” LaRosa responded, before reiterating that the president “intends to run” and urging the press to focus on his “substantive wins” in the past week.
In the West, and throughout most of the world, money is an economic good. Money in the West is governed by the philosophy of a return on investment which creates more wealth. Money is used as an intermediation between buyer and seller. In China, according to the geopolitician Peter Zeihan, money is considered by the CCP as a political good. According to Mr. Zeihan “Investment decisions not driven by the concept of returns tend to add up. Conservatively, corporate debt in China is about 150% of GDP. That doesn’t count federal government debt, or provincial government debt, or local government debt. Nor does it involve the bond market, or non-standard borrowing such as LendingTree-like person-to-person programs, or shadow financing designed to evade even China’s hyper-lax financial regulatory authorities.
It doesn’t even include US dollar-denominated debt that cropped up in those rare moments when Beijing took a few baby steps to address the debt issue and so firms sought funds from outside of China. With that sort of attitude towards capital, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that China’s stock markets are in essence gambling dens utterly disconnected from issues of supply and labor and markets and logistics and cashflow (and legality). Simply put, in China, debt levels simply are not perceived as an issue.” In China, money is a political good, and only has value if it can be used to achieve a political goal. That political good is maximum employment.
The concepts of rate of return or profit margins do not exist in China, and therein lies the danger; eventually the law of supply and demand will win out, and the Chinese economy will have to face a correction. The longer it takes to face this economic correction, the greater damage that the inevitable correction will cause to the Chinese economy.
In a not-so-distant future, I am quite convinced that the systematic use of Paracetamol during the COVID pandemic will be considered as one of the biggest failings in public health History, right behind the catastrophic COVID vaccines. Ancients used to consider fever as an indispensable ally in the fight against illness. “Fever is a mighty engine which Nature brings into the world for the conquest of her enemies.”said 17th century physician, Thomas Sydenham, also known as “The English Hippocrates”. Modern-day medicine focused on comfort – over therapeutic reason – has been systematically quashing fever for some time now, particularly during this pandemic.
I understand it can be scary to see one’s child feverish, but as long as it doesn’t become overwhelming (in time or level), fever should be embraced as nature’s defence at work. If evolutionary pecking order is a sign of therapeutic priority, and thus efficacy, fever is much more important than antibodies1. Too many view fever as a useless and painful by-product of the immune reaction, as if Evolution couldn’t have done away with such an incapacitating symptom. Let’s go back to basics here: “Fever-less people have been pruned from the evolutionary tree, only fever-prone people have survived.” Let that kick in… Another randomised controlled trial was held during millenia and fever – despite its painfulness and discomfort – held on and won. In other words, fever has to be an indispensable strategic tool in our fight against disease and suppressing it in a systematic fashion is as idiotic and foolish as suppressing the immune system.
What does fever do that is so important? By raising the temperature of the body and the acidity of the blood stream, fever likely acts as a systemic bomb impeding further infection and destroying all the circulating virions, putting an end to the exponential viral propagation early on. SARS-COV-2 sensitivity to temperature – as other corona viruses – is well documented. So while billions of immune cells go on a door-to-door guerilla, destroying one single infected cell at a time, liberating virions into the tissues and the blood stream, fever sends a systemic blast, similar to an immunity EMP bomb (for those of you who remember Ocean’s 12) that kills all circulating virions. As long as T-cells haven’t destroyed all infected cells, fever is required to stop the never-ending cycle of virus replication in the body.
[..] stopping fever is a recipe for disaster. Most healthy people who state they have had symptoms for 6-8 days (instead of 1 or 2) are people who have taken Paracetamol. Lowering temperature – and consequently acidity – is like tying your immune system’s hands behind its back. Circulating virions are let free for some more time to propagate and infect more healthy cells. Even if T-cells cut short virion production by systematically scuttling infected cells. Any virion left untouched by lowered fever will penetrate new cells and start replicating.
The situation in Ukraine is terribly, painfully simple. Russia has been winning since February 24, and Ukraine has zero chance of turning the odds around. But Zelensky is willing to sacrifice the lives of ever more of his citizens -this now includes people up to 60 years old, and women (men can’t even leave their cities)-. Zelensky’s western backers, meanwhile, keep on promising to send him lethal weapons (remember their words 5 months ago?) and talk about defeating Putin. Zero chance. But a high chance of meatballs.
The only way out of this kerfuffle is the negotiating table. But Zelensky doesn’t like his present position on that table, and NATO doesn’t either. Z wants more BIG guns, to “improve” that position. Zero chance. But a high chance of meatballs. Meanwhile, who’s going to rebuild the country when all the promising young people are gone?
As kind of an aside, I am very much in favor of more women in politics. Less testosterone can’t hurt, one would think. But all the girls we see on the international stage act like they have more testosterone than their male counterparts. I don’t know where they found EU head Ursula von der Leyen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in some secret experimental Fauci-sponsored multinational chain that the Wuhan lab is also part of.
And then there’s this specimen: “German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on July 14 that lifting sanctions will not guarantee the gas supply from Russia but will make Germany even more vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.” The lab leak theory is all mine in this case. And how about Justin Blackface’s right hand?
Canada’s finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, has told Russian officials at a meeting of G20 finance ministers that she held them personally responsible for “war crimes” committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, a western official said. Freeland directly addressed the Russian delegation taking part in the meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, telling them on Friday: “It is not only generals who commit war crimes, it is the economic technocrats who allow the war to happen and to continue,” the official said.
Freeland, whose maternal grandparents were born in Ukraine, told the opening G20 session that the war was the “single biggest threat to the global economy right now”, the official said. A day before the meeting, the US Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, set the tone, calling Russia’s war in Ukraine the “greatest challenge” to the global economy and saying members of Putin’s government “have no place” at the talks.
That’s a finance forum! Not some negotiating table! And if it’s “technocrats who allow the war to happen and to continue”, I could swear she means herself. What do you call a woman with a testosterone imbalance? Britain is having a very exciting (NOT!) competition for the next Tory PM, all of the candidates are running jokes, and one of the frontrunners is Liz Truss, who a few months ago was dismissed by Russian PM Lavrov in no uncertain terms.
Guess she didn’t like that. Then again, maybe all that testosterone spewing out her ears made her miss his comments entirely. Anyway, she’s back for the occasion. Jesus H. C., Lavrov’s spokeswoman is 10x as competent as Truss.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has blasted “Russophobic” remarks by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who promised to “continue to lead the free world” against Moscow and ensure Ukraine’s victory. Truss made the remarks during a campaign event for Tory leadership on Thursday. The aspiring PM candidate, who scored third in Thursday’s ballot, bragged about her ability to “deliver” and make “tough” decisions, listing her staunch support for Kiev as an example of her decision-making abilities.
“I stood up to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin by targeting Russia with the toughest sanctions his regime has ever seen. And I would continue to lead the free world in opposing Putin and making sure that Ukraine prevails,” Truss stated. The remark was not taken lightly in Moscow, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasting her words as “Russophobic”and “invariably steeped in painful aggression and nationalism.”
Amid the ongoing Tory leadership campaign, Truss “has begun spewing threats towards our country and its leadership and wants to achieve a ‘Ukrainian victory’ over Russia,” in an effort to “fulfill her compulsive ambitions,” according to Zakharova.
“[Truss’] ambition alone to ‘lead the free world’, in an effort to resist Russia, speaks volumes. She looks like a second-rate politician afflicted by megalomania. And she is doing all of this instead of addressing the issues at home, which are plenty,” she said in a statement. The proclaimed efforts to somehow “defeat” Russia are likely an attempt to “distract voters”from the real problems the UK has been experiencing, Zakharova said.
“Our response to belligerent outbursts by the British Foreign Secretary, who prefers riding tanks over engaging in serious diplomacy, and her determination to ‘defeat’ Russia, is straightforward – go ahead and try. Many have tried in the centuries-old history of our country. As everyone knows, intelligent people learn from other people’s mistakes. Liz Truss could learn from her own mistakes,” Zakharova concluded.
Yeah, “the toughest sanctions his regime has ever seen”… And that’s why Russia is getting richer faster than ever.
Mikhail Khodarenok provides an overview of what all that western military help would entail. When reading through it, there’s only one possible thought. Yeah, a high chance of meatballs, you’re right.
“Mikhail Khodarenok is a military commentator for RT.com. He is a retired colonel. He served as an officer at the main operational directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.”
But he’s wrong. There is no amount of help that could achieve a Ukraine victory. Only death would win. Once again: for Russia this is an existential issue. For US/NATO, it’s a chance to sell more meatballs weapons. And try to wear down Russia. But you don’t back down from an existential issue just because you’re tired.
Russia could have decided the issue within days, max a few weeks, if they thought like NATO. Thing is, Russia likes Ukraine; but not its politics and nazis and the flirt with NATO. But keep on pumping those weapons into the country and Russia will obliterate them with potentially ever stronger attacks.
In order to gain air supremacy, or at least fight on equal footing with the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Ukrainian Air Force would require at least 124 multifunctional fighters (i.e. three fighter regiments of 42 aircraft each), 36 combat planes (three squadrons of 12 aircraft) and six training fighters (dual control aircraft). It is quite possible that these units will be organized like those of the United States and other NATO countries – squadrons of 24 fighters, with three squadrons combined into a wing.
Among the possible contenders to become Ukraine’s main combat aircraft, the most likely candidate is America’s F-16C /D, which is currently being withdrawn from service in the US Air Force and replaced by the F-35. However, it is not that a concrete decision has yet to be made on this issue – these problems have not even been discussed.
[..] The American F-16s are not integrated in the automated command and control systems of Ukraine’s current fighter aircraft in any way, shape, or form. And, in order to solve this problem, the United States might well have to supply the Ukrainian Air Force with planes like the Hawkeye E-2C/D – a tactical early warning aircraft equipped with long-range radar.
Without such means, it will be simply impossible to effectively control planes during air battles and strikes against ground targets. Now what remains is to calculate when these three fighter aviation regiments will reach ‘initial operational readiness’, as they say in the US. According to the most optimistic forecasts, this won’t happen before the winter.
[..] We see approximately the same picture (but certainly less complicated) with the formation of armored divisions. To give the AFU offensive potential, they will need at least four to five tank brigades (each numbering 120-140 main battle tanks) equipped with M1 Abrams (in this case, there are possible options – the Leopard-2 or Leclerc). Again, Ukrainian tank crews will have to go through all the necessary stages in this case – retraining, obtaining new weapons and equipment, and live-fire exercises. So, it will not be possible to resolve these issues very quickly.
[..] With ground artillery and multiple rocket launchers, things will be easier. The AFU will be able to master them quickly enough. But even here, the processes of obtaining and mastering this hardware will not be simultaneous in any way. It will take many months to form 7-8 artillery brigades with 72 guns each (the APU requires no less) and bring them to the level of combat readiness. But, during this time, the political environment and strategic situation on the front may change significantly, and there is no reason at all to assume that this will be in Ukraine’s favor.
And then when everything fails, you get the predicted role of Hungary and Poland in the conflict. Who want to protect their respective populations inside Ukraine. Southwest: Hungary, northwest: Poland. Yeah, and southeast: Russia. But Hungary and Poland now want to do this under the NATO/US/EU umbrella?! Good luck with that.
Budapest needs to protect ethnic Hungarians living in the western part of the bordering country, FM Peter Szijjarto has said Hungary has military plans on how to protect ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has revealed. Budapest is ready to act in defense of 150,000 people it considers its own, he revealed in an interview on Friday.
“Our country has prepared emergency war scenarios,” the minister told Index news website. He said the Hungarian government wanted to avoid using them, which is why it sought a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, rejected the idea of offering concessions to Russia to secure a ceasefire, and claims his country can defeat Russia with the help of Western backers.
The Hungarian foreign minister commented on the two countries’ objectives, saying his country has different interests than Ukraine. “And what is the Ukrainian interest? To involve as many countries as possible in this conflict, at least through arms shipments. Our interest on the other hand is to stay out of this conflict and minimize the risk of getting dragged into a war,”Szijjarto said.
Look, listen, hear. 5 European governments have fallen so far- if you include Micron having his balls cut off. And there will be many more. Sri Lanka, eat your heart out! Europe will have the Dutch farmers time 100 once people can’t afford to pay their bills anymore, and figure out it’s just because their “leaders” decided not to talk to Russia. Don’t underestimate that.
Solution? Negotiating table. Zelensky and NATO will come in with “everything back to pre-Feb 24”, but that ship sailed on exactly that date. The Donbass is Russian now, whether as official part of the country or independent territory. Zelensky and NATO must negotiate for peace. They have lost. Russia has not, and it won’t in the near future.
Neocons and Kiev can go for “wear Russia down”, but the only thing they can achieve is mayhem in Europe, economic, food, energy, fertilizer, cold, hunger etc. They’re well on their way. Chuckmate, as Elon Musk would phrase it. Russia will be fine. They saw this coming way before US/NATO/EU.
“We” lost. And you will lose your plush goverment seats if you take this into winter. Why not try another lockdown or vaccine mandate? You, know, so people are properly vaxxed when they peruse the empty shelves and can’t feed -or warm- their kids? Sounds like a winner!
Note: I never saw the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, just thought it was a “funny” concept with regards to this conflict.
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“Syria, which refused to get the message too, asked the Russians for help. The Russians helped Syria, and now nobody is afraid of the US any more. Meanwhile, the US became spoiled by all this free money, grew fat, lazy, degenerate and weak and amassed the hugest pile of “debt”…”
The hardest part of living through a time of wrenching change is that nobody particularly bothers to inform you that the times have changed and that nothing will be the same again. Certainly not the talking heads on TV, who are often the last to know. You have to figure it out for yourself if you can. But I am here to help. It all has to do with energy. Not with technology—that’s incidental; not with military superiority—that’s fleeting and largely imaginary; certainly not with any sort of political or cultural self-righteousness—that’s delusional. There is no substitute for energy. If you run low, you can’t switch to running your industrial economy on fiddlesticks. It just shuts down. What’s worse, energy sources are not even particularly substitutable for each other. If you run low on gas, you can’t just switch to coal or to dried dung, even if you are up to your neck in it.
Modern industry runs on oil, natural gas, and coal, in that order, and they can be substituted for each other in very limited ways. Furthermore, energy has to be very cheap. Oil has to be about the cheapest liquid you can buy—cheaper than milk; cheaper even than bottled water. If energy isn’t cheap enough, then all the energy-hungry industry that runs on it becomes unprofitable and shuts down. That’s the stage at which we are now in much of the world. So, what happened? Once upon a time the US produced most of the oil in the world. But then the prolific wells in West Texas ran out and Saudi Arabia took over as the biggest oil producer. But the US wasn’t about to take that sitting down and hatched an ingenuous plan: Saudi Arabia will sell its oil for printed US dollars, then take most of those dollars and give them back to the US by “investing” it in US “debt”.
Everybody else who needed oil had to figure out a way to earn US dollars to buy it, and any US dollars they had left over after buying oil also had to be used to buy up US debt just because: “Nice economy you have there! Now we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to it, would we?” Indeed, a few people didn’t get the message (Saddam of Iraq, Qaddafi of Libya) and got their countries bombed. And a whole lot of other defenseless countries got bombed just to keep the others scared. But then Syria, which refused to get the message too, asked the Russians for help. The Russians helped Syria, and now nobody is afraid of the US any more. Meanwhile, the US became spoiled by all this free money, grew fat, lazy, degenerate and weak and amassed the hugest pile of “debt” (in quotes because there is no question of ever repaying it) in all of human history.
In the meantime Russia, being the largest energy-producing country in the world, decided that it has had enough. Under the old scheme, Russia exported its resources cheaply, spend 1/3 of the revenue on imports and allowed 2/3 to leak out of the country, quite a lot of it also used to buy US “debt”. It couldn’t do anything about this right away, and so it spent the last decade developing its military to a point where now the US/NATO are afraid to go near it and its economy to a point where it doesn’t need much of the imports, at least not for a few years. And then a silly thing happened: the US confiscated Russia’s holdings of US “debt,” making everyone in the world take notice and start dumping it—even the Japanese!—sending the entire financial scheme into a tailspin.
Meanwhile, Russia has started to switch from selling its energy exports for dollars and euros, which then leave the country, where they can be confiscated, to selling them for rubles, which stay inside the country. Do you want to buy some Russian energy? Well, figure out how to earn some rubles! And if your own anti-Russian sanctions prevent you from doing so—well, la-di-da, whose fault is that? Also, given that there is now a worldwide energy shortage, the Russians asked themselves: Why sell lots of oil and gas for a little money when you can sell less of them for more money?
Russian export revenues in June rose by $700m to the $20 billion mark, despite that oil exports fell by 250k b/d m/m to 7.4m b/d, the lowest since August 2021, Bloomberg’s Sherry Su reports citing the IEA’s latest Oil Market Report. Compared to a post-war peak level in April, total Russian oil exports in June were down 530k b/d, Or 7%, but export revenues were up by $2.3 billion, or 13%. Crude oil exports were down by 250k b/d in June to just above 5m b/d, still slightly higher than the pre-war average level according to Su. Shipments to the EU fell below 3m b/d for the first time since November 2020, bringing the EU share of Russian oil exports to 40%, compared to 49% in January-February.
Crude oil loadings to EU destinations fell 190k b/d m/m to 1.8m b/d, partly because of lower offtake on the Druzhba pipeline due to maintenance at a Hungarian refinery in June. Meanwhile, product loadings to the European Union fell by 135k b/d to 1.13m b/d, the IEA said. The fall in crude oil volumes came mostly from lower loadings on the Black Sea, as Rosneft’s 240k b/d Tuapse refinery reportedly came back online in June after a three-month shutdown. Total product exports out of Russia were relatively unchanged in June. Diesel exports increased slightly m/m to 825k b/d, 300k b/d lower than the pre-war average. Diesel Loadings to EU countries ticked up to 650 kb/d, returning to January-February average levels.
Germany will stop importing Russian coal from August 1 and crude oil from December 31, the country’s deputy finance minister, Joerg Kukies said today, as quoted by Reuters. “We will be off Russian coal in a few weeks,” Kukies said at the Sydney Energy Forum, which is taking place this week. “Anyone who knows the history of the Druzhba pipeline, which was already a tool of the Soviet empire over eastern Europe, ridding yourself of that dependence is not a trivial matter, but it is one that we will achieve in a few months,” he added. Kukies admitted, however, that replacing Russian hydrocarbons, not only in Germany, will be no easy task, citing the fact that together, the United States and Qatar could only supply some 30 billion cu m of natural gas equivalent to Europe, which imports more than 150 billion cu m of Russian gas annually.
Despite the challenge, Germany is in a rush to build LNG import terminals so it can replace at least part of Russian gas imports with liquefied gas from abroad. The problem here is, however, tightening supplies, with Freeport LNG in the U.S. offline until at least September, and Shell’s Prelude in Australia shut down amid industrial action. Demand for gas in Germany and Europe as a whole remains strong as governments seek to fill up their gas storage caverns ahead of the next heating season. Germany, specifically, is also on edge after Gazprom stopped the flow of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline this week for regularly scheduled maintenance. Fears are that it will not turn the taps back on once the maintenance is done.
The suspension of coal and oil purchases from Russia is a result of sanctions the EU placed on Moscow earlier this year, providing buyers of the commodities with a temporal cushion of six months for each, so they could stock up on coal and oil before the respective embargos kicked in.
It seems that saner minds are prevailing after ratcheting rhetoric coming from Moscow threateningly elevated Lithuania’s effective blockade of all overland trade and goods to an ‘act of war’ by the West… as the European Union is now refusing to back the full extent of Lithuania’s sanctions enforcement measures. The European Commission issued its legal guidance on the standoff Wednesday, which had over the past month resulted in some one million Russian citizens in the exclave remaining cut off from products brought by rail and road. “The transit of sanctioned goods by road with Russian operators is not allowed under the EU measures. No such similar prohibition exists for rail transport,” the European Union executive said, specifying that Russian goods should continue to be allowed by train.
“The Commission underlines the importance of monitoring the two-way trade flows between Russia and Kaliningrad … to ensure that sanctioned goods cannot enter the EU customs territory,” it added, emphasizing further that the rail exception doesn’t apply to weapons or munitions. The ban on transit still exits for freight brought by road, however. The EU said further this should be done through “targeted, proportionate and effective controls and other appropriate measures.” There was the additional caveat to the ruling that EU trade sanctions would not apply as long as Russia’s transport volumes do not exceed averages of the last three years, according to the “the real demand for essential goods at the destination.” It remains that food and humanitarian goods were reportedly never subject to the sanctions, nor was travel of citizens back-and-forth.
Lithuania’s government soon after the EU legal advice was issued said that it would adhere to it, albeit perhaps grudgingly: “Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday the previous trade rules, which blocked many sanctioned cargos from transport between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, were “more acceptable”. “Kaliningrad transit rules may create an unjustified impression that the transatlantic community is softening its position and sanctions policy towards Russia”, the statement said. On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko during a phone call agreed to a “possible joint response” to the blockade of transit to Kaliningrad by Lithuania. Without elaborating on details, but sounding ominous given threat of near future action, a Kremlin statement said of the call, “Emphasis was placed on the situation relating to the illegal restrictions imposed by Lithuania on the transit of goods to the Kaliningrad Region. In this context, some possible joint steps were discussed.”
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt plan to join BRICS, and their potential membership bids could be discussed and answered at next year’s summit in South Africa, Purnima Anand, the president of the organization, told Russian media on Thursday. “All these countries have shown their interest in joining [BRICS] and are preparing to apply for membership. I believe this is a good step, because expansion is always looked upon favorably; it will definitely bolster BRICS’ global influence,” she told Russian newspaper Izvestia. The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) account for over 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP. The bloc’s stated purposes include promoting peace, security, development, and cooperation globally, and contributing to the development of humanity.
Anand said the issue of expansion was raised during this year’s BRICS summit, which took place in late June in Beijing. The BRICS Forum president said she hopes the accession of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt will not take much time, given that they “are already engaged in the process,” though doubts that all three will join the alliance at the same time. “I hope that these countries will join the BRICS quite shortly, as all the representatives of core members are interested in expansion. So it will come very soon,” Anand added. The news of the three nations’ plans to join BRICS comes after Iran and Argentina officially applied for membership in late June, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh touting the bloc as a “very creative mechanism with broad aspects.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned. Days later, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. A few days passed and both the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, resigned and fled the country. Today, with their ruling governments in a state of turmoil, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have both tendered their resignations. The collapse of each of these national leaders is not necessarily connected; however, the global political system is reverberating with tremors directly connected to the post-pandemic economic turmoil. It would be naïve not to see these governing issues as consequences. The legitimacy of the governing class is slipping; perhaps it would be fair to say, some have ‘lost’ their legitimacy altogether.
Estonia is part of the EU and a member of NATO. Italy is a member of the G7, a part of the EU and a member of NATO. The parliamentary coalitions are fracturing. New alliances are being formed. One recent example that stunned everyone in the EU was the far-right and far-left in the French parliament joining forces to defeat the coalition government of Emmanuel Macron as he tried, and failed, to extend emergency COVID rules. The COVID rules in France are set to expire on July 31st. The first parliamentary goal for President Macron was to extend the COVID emergency and keep his powers. However, the legislative effort was rejected by 219 votes to 195, destroying the goals of Macron. Both populist groups joined forces to defeat the Macron coalition.
Yes, amid all of the economic damage created by western leaders and their Build Back Better efforts, the geopolitical world is having spasms as the rulers are being rejected by the ruled. In the parliamentary systems, the voices of the angry people are rising up. Those shouts are entering the halls of government through the direct representatives closest to the people. The ruling coalitions are no longer able to hold together as the people demand change. That is the connective tissue behind these resignations and departures. Western government leaders like Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern have the audacity to stand atop a two-year mountain of unilateral fiats, rules, regulations and mandates and then decry “autocracy” and threats to the “global order.” All of them have destroyed their own legitimacy by pretending to represent western democracy while carrying out two years of totalitarian power.
French President Emmanuel Macron suffered a humiliating setback in parliament after his vaccine passport scheme was defeated. Macron’s minority government wanted to extend the policy whereby anyone entering France has to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. However, the right-wing populist National Rally (RN), the hard-left La France Insoumise (LFI) and the right-wing Republicains (LR) all united to vote against the policy. Macron’s government lost the vote by a margin of 219 votes to 195. “The bill’s defeat was met with wild cheering and a standing ovation from opposition lawmakers, in footage that was widely circulated on social media,” reports the Telegraph. The bill was one of the first put to parliament by the new minority government, highlighting how Macron will find it incredibly difficult to get new laws passed in the country.
Elisabeth Borne, the French Prime Minister, condemned the vote. “The situation is serious. By joining together to vote against the measures to protect the French against Covid, LFI, LR and RN prevent any border control against the virus. After the disbelief on this vote, I will fight so that the spirit of responsibility wins in the Senate,” she tweeted. As we previously highlighted, the French Minister of Health admitted that vaccine passports are a “disguised” form of mandatory vaccines, despite President Macron claiming vaccine mandates “will not be compulsory.” On the first day the new program was in place, police in Paris were visibly patrolling bars and cafes demanding customers show proof they’ve had the jab. It later emerged that many businesses were refusing to enforce the scheme.
Appearing on CNN’s New Day Thursday morning, Don Lemon once again urged the media to hold Republicans to a different standard than Democrats in their media coverage. The primetime host tied the GOP to the threat of “growing extremism” on the right. He warned journalists to not give a “false equivalence” to both sides, and instead acknowledge Republicans were endangering America. “We sit around and we talk about these things and we want to give this false equivalence to Democrats and Republicans. That is not where we are right now. Republicans are doing something that is very dangerous to our society and we have to acknowledge that. We have to acknowledge that as Americans, we must acknowledge that as journalists because if we don’t, we are not doing our jobs,” Lemon declared.
A Pew survey of nearly 12,000 journalists found that a majority of journalists, 55%, reject the idea that both sides “always deserve equal coverage.” Lemon was referring to Republicans who continue to support former President Trump after the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, as well as the recent Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. “They have to answer for those questions if they come here on CNN, they must answer for that. If they go on MSNBC, they must answer for that. If they go on ABC, they must answer for that. And they cannot expect to be coddled when they go on to a news organization or if they step in front of a crowd of supporters or voters or Americans.” He made a similar plea in June, saying, “we cannot pretend as journalists” that both sides are “equal.”
Lemon referred to an interview he did with a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers saying Republicans had become associated with “extremists.” He rejected any Republican opposition to that belief. “You have the inmates running the asylum basically. You have the extremists because I know there are Republicans sitting out there going, ‘Don Lemon that’s not what we are.’ Maybe it’s not what you are but it’s what party has become and what you have allowed to happen,” he lectured.
Donald Trump was impeached twice, lost the 2020 election by 7,052,770 votes, is entangled in investigations by federal prosecutors (over the Capitol insurrection and over the mishandling of classified White House documents and over election interference) and the District of Columbia attorney general (over financial fraud at the Presidential Inaugural Committee) and the Manhattan district attorney (over financial fraud at the Trump Organization) and the New York State attorney general (over financial fraud at the Trump Organization) and the Westchester County district attorney (over financial fraud at the Trump Organization) and the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney (over criminal election interference in Georgia) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (over rules violations in plans to take his social-media company public through a SPAC) and the House Select Committee on January 6 (whose hearings are the runaway TV-ratings hit of the summer), yet on Monday, July 11, he was in a fantastic mood.
It was a beautiful day in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the former president maintains a golf club and private estate to which he decamps when the Palm Beach humidity and the habits of snowbirds shut down Mar-a-Lago for the Mother’s Day–to–Labor Day summer season, and it had been a beautiful weekend, too, one he said affirmed the choice he had made about his own future, the future of the Republican Party, and — whether he wins this time or if he loses as sorely as before — the future of the American experiment. At a rally in Alaska on Saturday, he told me by phone, his fans were adoring. “More love,” in his words, “than I’ve ever had before.” His voice was humming with excitement. He was still in awe.
After all of this time, after so many rallies, so many crowds, so many winding speeches and chants of “Lock her up” and “USA” and “Build the wall” and the familiar sounds of “Tiny Dancer” and “Memory” (from Cats) and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “YMCA” and that goofy little dance and the delusion and the fervor so great that it built up to an attack on the Capitol and the democratic process at the center of the Republic itself, the novelty of this had not faded. As a technical matter, the Anchorage event was on behalf of Sarah Palin and Kelly Tshibaka, Trump-endorsed candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, respectively, but like all such endeavors, it was for its star a means of discerning through a vibe check what traditional polls could not so reliably or completely tell him.
And what it told him this time, he said, is that his voters — a portion of the electorate that he insists amounts to a majority of the country, though it does not — want to, and will, bring him back to power. “Look,” Trump said, “I feel very confident that, if I decide to run, I’ll win.”
While US snowflakes are all too happy to talk the talk (which remains free, even despite Biden’s hyperinflation), Chinese residents are increasingly walking the walk. First, it was the violent outcry against mandatory covid vaccines that put an end to Beijing’s desire to forcibly innoculate all Beijing residents in just 48 hours – a feat not all of America’s armed militias have been able to achieve, and now it’s a grassroots push for what appears to be a debt jubillee as millions of homeowners suddenly stop paying their mortgages, a shocking move that has sent shockwaves across China’s capital markets and has sparked panic within China’s political leadership circles.
As Bloomberg reports overnight, a rapidly increasing number of “disgruntled Chinese homebuyers” are refusing to pay mortgages for unfinished construction projects, exacerbating the country’s real estate woes and stoking fears that the crisis will spread to the wider financial system as countless mortgages default. According to researcher China Real Estate Information, homebuyers have stopped mortgage payments on at least 100 projects in more than 50 cities as of Wednesday, up from 58 projects on Tuesday and only 28 on Monday, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc. analysts including Shujin Chen. “The names on the list doubled every day in the past three days,” Chen wrote in a note published Thursday.
“The incident would dampen buyer sentiment, especially for presold products offered by private developers given the higher risk on delivery, and weigh on the gradual sales recovery.” What’s behind this grassroot movement to halt mortgage payments altogether? Negative equity: “Analysts believe that a drop in home values may be another driver for the refusal to meet mortgage payments. “Investors are concerned about the spread of mortgage payment snubs to buyers, simply due to lower property prices, and the impact on property sales,” Chen wrote. According to Citi analysts, average selling prices of properties in nearby projects in 2022 were on average 15% lower than purchase costs in the past three years. Meanwhile, it’s only getting worse as China’s home prices fell for a ninth month in May, with June figures set for release Friday.
The June inflation figure of 9.1 percent, up half a percentage point from May and the highest since 1981, doesn’t tell half the story of how expensive life has become for Americans. The overall figure hides the fact that not all prices have risen uniformly and that products that have become especially expensive also happen to be the ones people usually can’t do without, such as food, fuel, and energy, according to Consumer Price Index data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Among foodstuffs, margarine and egg prices hiked the most over the 12 months ending in June, up more than 34 and 33 percent, respectively. Trailing behind were butter (up more than 21 percent), flour (up more than 19 percent), and chicken (up more than 18 percent). Milk and coffee were up about 16 percent.
Regular gasoline hiked more than 60 percent, diesel about 76 percent, and fuel oil, which many Americans use to heat their homes, nearly doubled in price. Natural gas went up more than 38 percent and electricity nearly 14 percent. The White House, through President Joe Biden’s Twitter account, on July 13 called the inflation figures “not acceptable” but “outdated,” noting that the average gasoline price had declined about 40 cents per gallon (about 8 percent) over the past 30 days. The products with the most prominent price hikes tend to also suffer supply issues. Gasoline production is constrained by the policies of the Biden administration and the financial elites more generally as part of their efforts to curb carbon emissions.
Egg production has been constrained by the avian flu outbreak that cut the number of laying hens by about 8 percent in recent months. Grain production has been hit with sky-high fertilizer prices and herbicide shortages. Higher grain prices, in turn, show up not only in bakery goods and flour, but also in the cost of animal feed, which then hits meat and milk prices, too. Normally, consumers respond to higher prices by tightening their belts—consuming less—which in turn leads prices down. But because of the lavish federal spending packages during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand has been artificially boosted. Prices will have to go up relatively steeply for another year or two before the productivity of the economy catches up with all the newly printed money, some economists have predicted.
Some prices, it appears, have already peaked. Beef steaks, for instance, hiked by more than 30 percent between October 2019 and October 2021 but are down about 5 percent since then. Similarly, car and truck rental prices went up more than 70 percent from July 2020 to July 2021 but have since dropped by about 11 percent.
Long lines are back at food banks around the U.S. as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation turn to handouts to help feed their families. With gas prices soaring along with grocery costs, many people are seeking charitable food for the first time, and more are arriving on foot. Inflation in the U.S. is at a 40-year high and gas prices have been surging since April 2020, with the average cost nationwide briefly hitting $5 a gallon in June. Rapidly rising rents and an end to federal COVID-19 relief have also taken a financial toll. The food banks, which had started to see some relief as people returned to work after pandemic shutdowns, are struggling to meet the latest need even as federal programs provide less food to distribute, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far.
[..] The Phoenix food bank’s main distribution center doled out food packages to 4,271 families during the third week in June, a 78% increase over the 2,396 families served during the same week last year, said St. Mary’s spokesman Jerry Brown. More than 900 families line up at the distribution center every weekday for an emergency government food box stuffed with goods such as canned beans, peanut butter and rice, said Brown. St. Mary’s adds products purchased with cash donations, as well as food provided by local supermarkets like bread, carrots and pork chops for a combined package worth about $75.
Distribution by the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Northern California has ticked up since hitting a pandemic low at the beginning of this year, increasing from 890 households served on the third Friday in January to 1,410 households on the third Friday in June, said marketing director Michael Altfest. At the Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the U.S. where food distribution levels earlier in the pandemic briefly peaked at a staggering 1 million pounds a day, an average of 610,000 pounds is now being given out daily. That’s up from about 500,000 pounds a day before the pandemic, said spokeswoman Paula Murphy said.
Murphy said cash donations have not eased, but inflation ensures they don’t go as far. Food bank executives said the sudden surge in demand caught them off guard. “Last year, we had expected a decrease in demand for 2022 because the economy had been doing so well,” said Michael Flood, CEO for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. “This issue with inflation came on pretty suddenly.” “A lot of these are people who are working and did OK during the pandemic and maybe even saw their wages go up,” said Flood. “But they have also seen food prices go up beyond their budgets.”
In a video entitled “The Great Reset: the recurring fabrications,” Nieuwsuur, a program produced by government broadcasters, claims that Bexte travelled to the Netherlands to perpetuate supposed conspiracy theories, saying that the WEF has “absolutely nothing” to do with the “nitrogen crisis” — by which they mean the nitrogen policy to cut emissions by 50% and destroy farmers’ livelihoods. “These bloggers from far-right websites have travelled to the Netherlands especially to see that image confirmed,” the host says before playing a clip of Bexte talking about the WEF’s support for the career-destroying nitrogen policy being protested. “But the WEF has absolutely nothing to do with the nitrogen crisis,” he continues. “It was the highest judge who ordered the Netherlands to comply with the nitrogen standards of the European Union.”
Yes, but where did the “nitrogen standards” of the European Union come from? The nitrogen policy that was introduced is just one of many policies being brought forth by the EU to better align with the UN’s radical Sustainable Development Goals to cut all emissions, which is itself part of the UN’s Agenda 2030. According to the European Commission’s website, “Sustainable development is a core principle of the Treaty on European Union and a priority objective for the Union’s internal and external policies. The United Nations 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to apply universally to all countries.” Moreover, in an EU briefing entitled “European policies on climate and energy towards 2020, 2030 and 2050,” the European Parliament states the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will impact European policy, specifically regarding climate policy:
“Within the framework of the commitments laid down in the Paris Agreement, in November 2018, the European Commission published a new long-term strategy which confirms Europe’s commitment to lead on global climate action and to achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, through a socially fair transition in a cost-efficient manner… The strategy does not intend to launch new policies, nor does the European Commission intend to revise the 2030 targets. It is rather meant to set the direction of transition of EU climate and energy policy, and to frame what the EU considers as its long-term contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement temperature objectives, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will further affect a wider set of EU policies.”
Now, who has been a core contributor in shaping the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals? Why, the World Economic Forum, of course. In 2019, the WEF and UN signed a strategic partnership “to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” “The new Strategic Partnership Framework between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum has great potential to advance our efforts on key global challenges and opportunities, from climate change, health and education to gender equality, digital cooperation and financing for sustainable development,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the time.
So, yes. If the Netherlands is abiding by the EU’s climate policies, and the EU’s climate policies are based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the WEF signed a partnership with the UN to control what these goals are, I think it’s safe to say that the WEF absolutely has something to do with the nitrogen policy being protested right now.
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands in 2020 at the World Economic Forum suggests paying for the salaries of journalists to inform the Dutch on issues like Climate Change.
1) Framing is Everything – i) It is No Longer About Brexit – Contrary to what you will read, the UK leadership race is no longer about Brexit. Brexit is done. It will not be undone. Even Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has told his party that Brexit will not be reversed. This is not to say that Brexit is no longer relevant. It is relevant. It is to say instead that Brexit is not the main impetus for the domestic palace coup that has just unfolded against outgoing PM Boris Johnson.
ii) It is No Longer About Covid – This leadership challenge is also no longer about Covid. The Covid control mechanisms of emergency legislation, supply-chain disruption and the weaponisation of Big Pharma have already served their purpose. As with Brexit, the UK is unlikely to go backwards on Covid policy. Any intervention now from the authorities about Covid will again only serve to keep opponents stuck fighting our last battle, just as the state launches its next psychological war against its own population. This is not to say that Covid policy is no longer relevant. It is relevant. Rather, it is to say again that Covid is not the main impetus for the domestic palace coup that has just unfolded against outgoing PM Boris Johnson.
iii) It is No Longer About War in Ukraine – The UK leadership contest is also not about the war in Ukraine. A keen observer will already notice corporatist media spin turning against deeper involvement, as well as the establishment-liberal US outlets turning sour on Biden. The Ukraine war has served its purpose. Billions have been laundered. Global food and gas shortages have been precipitated. This is not to say that Russia and Ukraine are no longer relevant. They are relevant. This is to say instead that war in Ukraine is not the main impetus for the domestic palace coup that has just unfolded against outgoing PM Boris Johnson. And so what exactly is going on in Britain? Arriving at an answer is only possible if the globalist playbook is understood first.
2) The Global Uprising: Centralisation vs Decentralisation: – Division has been sown after Brexit. Civil norms has been crushed after Covid. The ‘means of production’ have been disrupted after war in Ukraine. What comes next is the purpose they all served: the Great Reset. Combined, these cumulative crises of monumental fiscal suicide, unprecedented supply chain disruption and food and energy shortages are in danger of causing the collapse of the global financial system, sparking truly unprecedented global uprisings. In fact, we are already witnessing this.
[..] The collapse of the global financial system now appears inevitable. It actually collapsed in 2008. What has proceeded since then is merely the execution of a carefully planned, if not vicious, controlled demolition. The demolition is orchestrated by WEF establishment globalists so that their own controlled opposition may steer this global reset towards further centralised tyranny, as opposed to allowing it to enable decentralised democracy. Popular resistance will now be used as a pretext to clamp down and suspend liberty by rolling out militarised forces to subjugate the very conveniently rebelling citizens. [..] This is how the global financial establishment seeks to ride the current global revolution in order to retain their power. We are at the end of a natural generational cycle: a historic turning. We are witnessing the ‘reset’ part of Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset. They have told us what they plan to do. After the reset they will seek to ‘Build Back Better’ in order to create their New World Order.
The calls and text messages are relentless. On the other end are doctors and scientists at the top levels of the NIH, FDA and CDC. They are variously frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies to which they have devoted their careers. “It’s like a horror movie I’m being forced to watch and I can’t close my eyes,” one senior FDA official lamented. “People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.” That particular FDA doctor was referring to two recent developments inside the agency. First, how, with no solid clinical data, the agency authorized Covid vaccines for infants and toddlers, including those who already had Covid. And second, the fact that just months before, the FDA bypassed their external experts to authorize booster shots for young children.
That doctor is hardly alone. At the NIH, doctors and scientists complain to us about low morale and lower staffing: The NIH’s Vaccine Research Center has had many of its senior scientists leave over the last year, including the director, deputy director and chief medical officer. “They have no leadership right now. Suddenly there’s an enormous number of jobs opening up at the highest level positions,” one NIH scientist told us. (The people who spoke to us would only agree to be quoted anonymously, citing fear of professional repercussions.) The CDC has experienced a similar exodus. “There’s been a large amount of turnover. Morale is low,” one high level official at the CDC told us. “Things have become so political, so what are we there for?” Another CDC scientist told us: “I used to be proud to tell people I work at the CDC. Now I’m embarrassed.”
Why are they embarrassed? In short, bad science. The longer answer: that the heads of their agencies are using weak or flawed data to make critically important public health decisions. That such decisions are being driven by what’s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration. And that they have a myopic focus on one virus instead of overall health. Nowhere has this problem been clearer—or the stakes higher—than on official public health policy regarding children and Covid. First, they demanded that young children be masked in schools. On this score, the agencies were wrong. Compelling studies later found schools that masked children had no different rates of transmission. And for social and linguistic development, children need to see the faces of others.
Next came school closures. The agencies were wrong—and catastrophically so. Poor and minority children suffered learning loss with an 11-point drop in math scores alone and a 20% drop in math pass rates. There are dozens of statistics of this kind. Then they ignored natural immunity. Wrong again. The vast majority of children have already had Covid, but this has made no difference in the blanket mandates for childhood vaccines. And now, by mandating vaccines and boosters for young healthy people, with no strong supporting data, these agencies are only further eroding public trust. One CDC scientist told us about her shame and frustration about what happened to American children during the pandemic: “CDC failed to balance the risks of Covid with other risks that come from closing schools,” she said. “Learning loss, mental health exacerbations were obvious early on and those worsened as the guidance insisted on keeping schools virtual. CDC guidance worsened racial equity for generations to come. It failed this generation of children.” An official at the FDA put it this way: “I can’t tell you how many people at the FDA have told me, ‘I don’t like any of this, but I just need to make it to my retirement.’”
Johns Hopkins' Dr. Marty Makary to Tucker Carlson on medical professionals who buck the Covid narrative:
"… they really can't say anything … they know that their jobs are at risk …"
White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will ever be able to take back all of the land it has lost to Russia over the past four months of war, US officials told CNN, even with the heavier and more sophisticated weaponry the US and its allies plan to send. Advisers to President Joe Biden have begun debating internally how and whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should shift his definition of a Ukrainian “victory” — adjusting for the possibility that his country has shrunk irreversibly. US officials emphasized to CNN that this more pessimistic assessment does not mean the US plans to pressure Ukraine into making any formal territorial concessions to Russia in order to end the war.
There is also hope that Ukrainian forces will be able to take back significant chunks of territory in a likely counteroffensive later this year. A congressional aide familiar with the deliberations told CNN that a smaller Ukrainian state is not inevitable. “Whether Ukraine can take back these territories is in large part, if not entirely, a function of how much support we give them,” the aide said. He noted that Ukraine has formally asked the US for a minimum of 48 multiple launch rocket systems, but to date has only been promised eight from the Pentagon. And not everyone in the administration is as worried — some believe Ukrainian forces could again defy expectations, as they did in the early days of the war when they repelled a Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan has remained highly engaged with his Ukrainian counterparts and spent hours on the phone last week discussing Ukrainian efforts to recapture territory with Ukraine’s defense chief and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, officials familiar with the call told CNN. The growing pessimism comes as Biden is meeting with US allies in Europe, where he will try to convey strength and optimism about the trajectory of the war as he rallies leaders to stay committed to arming and supporting Ukraine amid the brutal fight.
While the Biden administration is hoping and praying that someone – anyone – will watch the comical “Jan 6” kangaroo hearsay court taking place in Congress and meant to somehow block Trump from running for president in 2024 while also making hundreds of millions of Americans forget that the current administration could very well be the worst in US history, it is quietly preparing for the worst. As none other than pro-Biden propaganda spinmaster CNN reports, when it comes to what really matters (at least according to Gallup), namely the economy, and specifically galloping gasoline prices, the White House is in a historic shambles.
For an administration that ended last year forecasting a leveling off of 40-year high inflation and eager to tout a historically rapid recovery from the pandemic-driven economic crisis, there is a level of frustration that comes with an acutely perilous moment. Asked by CNN about progress on a seemingly intractable challenge, another senior White House official responded flatly: “Which one?” The suspects behind the historic implosion are well known: “soaring prices, teetering poll numbers and congressional majorities that appear to be on the brink have created no shortage of reasons for unease. Gas prices are hovering at or around $5 per gallon, plastered on signs and billboards across the country as a symbolic daily reminder of the reality — one in which White House officials are extremely aware — that the country’s view of the economy is growing darker and taking Biden’s political future with it.”
“You don’t have to be a very sophisticated person to know how lines of presidential approval and gas prices go historically in the United States,” a senior White House official told CNN. A CNN Poll of Polls average of ratings for Biden’s handling of the presidency finds that 39% of Americans approve of the job he’s doing. His numbers on the economy, gas prices and inflation specifically are even worse in recent polls. What CNN won’t tell you is that Biden is now polling well below Trump at this time in his tenure. The CNN article then goes into a lengthy analysis of what is behind the current gasoline crisis (those with lots of time to kill can read it here) and also tries to explains, without actually saying it, that the only thing that can fix the problem is more supply, but – as we first explained – this can’t and won’t happen because green fanatics and socialist environmentalists will never agree to boosting output.
Which brings us to the punchline: as CNN’s Phil Mattingly writes, “instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modeling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy.” Well, in an article titled “Give us a plan or give us someone to blame”, this seems like both a plan, and someone to blame.
Getting all of the G7 to agree to a price cap still requires getting the rest of Europe as well as Japan, So. Korea and others to agree to that price capt as well. But isn’t Europe supposed to stop buying all Russian oil imports by end of 2022 per previous sanctions they’ve agreed to? Who believes the Europeans can agree to a price cap on Russian oil and implement that cap in three months (July-September)–and then for just three months more (October-December)? Europe can’t do anything in three months, or even six. Maybe the US and EU aren’t all that confident they can implement a full ban on Russian oil exports by December? But even this isn’t the most absurd aspect of the ‘price cap’ proposal.
Assuming Biden could get all the G7 to convince all of Europe’s 27 nations on a super discounted price, there’s still the ‘small problem’ of what Russia’s response might be to all that. The G7’s faulty logic is the deep discounted price Europe is only willing to pay for the oil would be at a price much lower than even the 30% discount that Russia is now selling oil to India, China and elsewhere. The G7 presumably would offer to buy Russian oil only at a 50% discount off current world prices maybe? That would put pressure, as the G7 argument goes, on Russian oil sales to India etc. The Indians would then demand Russia oil prices at the G7 lower 50% discount price. Russia would realize further reduced revenues from oil lower prices to India, China, the rest of the world as well as to G7 and Europe.
This is a proposal so ridiculous it’s almost embarrassing. The problem with the G7 ‘price cap’ idea is there’s no reason why Russia would want to sell any oil whatsoever to Europe at the G7’s deeply discounted price cap level. First, why should it when Europe says it plans to phase out all Russian oil by December anyway? Second, Russia has shown it is not concerned with reducing natural gas export revenues to Europe. It’s already cut cubic gas exports to Europe by one-third as part of its own economic response to Europe’s agreement with US sanctions on Russia and it’s warned Europe of another third soon. Economic warfare cuts both ways. So what’s to stop Russia from just cutting off all oil exports to Europe—and well before December? Third, Russia would have to be pretty dumb to agree to sell oil to Europe at the latter’s ‘price cap’ level which would be well below Russia’s already 30% discount oil price sales to India? It knows the likely knock on effect that would follow. India as a long term oil customer is far more important to Russia than Europe which says it’s ending as a customer in just six months.
Flailing in its effort to lower Russia’s oil profits, the US has put forward an idea for a price cap on Russian oil that is being considered by the G7. But the plan, first floated by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, doesn’t seem feasible as it requires cooperation from Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as China and India. The G7 hasn’t offered any detail on the plan, but the idea would be to limit Russia’s profits without taking its oil off the global market and raising prices. But there’s virtually no chance that Putin would agree to sell Russian oil at a price set by the US. If the West tried to enforce the cap, it’s likely Putin would just stop selling oil to Europe since the EU has agreed on a phased ban of the commodity for most of its members that will take effect by the end of the year.
Despite the Western sanctions, Russia is profiting more from oil now than it did before the war, thanks to an increase in prices and China and India significantly stepping up their purchases. China and India have already been buying Russian oil at a discount and are not likely to agree with any Western plans since they have ignored US pressure to curb their imports from Russia up to this point. In the unlikely event that Russia, China, and India agree to the price cap, it would likely raise global prices anyway. An artificially low price would mean more demand than what Russia could produce, which would lead to shortages of Russian crude.
Despite how unfeasible the plan is, the G7 sounds like it’s seriously considering it. Biden and the other G7 leaders said in a joint communiqué on Tuesday that they are considering a “range of approaches” on Russian oil, including banning its shipment “unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners.”
“I also said that for several years Ukrainians have been killing civilians in the Donbass, and that this is genocide. “And it turns out to be a crime for Germany, so they took 1,600 euro from my bank account and didn’t even tell me about it..”
GERMAN journalist Alina Lipp has said she faces three years in prison in her home country for her reporting from Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. The charges against her relate to coverage from her News from Russia Telegram channel where she shares information with its 175,000 subscribers in both German and Russian. In an interview with the Readonka World website, she explained that she is subject to criminal proceedings by the German federal government after receiving a letter from the prosecutor’s office. She is accused by the German authorities of supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and faces three years in prison under article 140 of the constitution or a monetary fine.
“The letter says that, for example, I say in my Telegram channel that the population of Donbass supports the fact that Russia has launched a special operation. “I also said that for several years Ukrainians have been killing civilians in the Donbass, and that this is genocide. “And it turns out to be a crime for Germany, so they took 1,600 euro from my bank account and didn’t even tell me about it,” Ms Lipp said. German authorities also closed down her father’s bank account without warning, she claimed. Ms Lipp is a former Green Party politician who has been based in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region for six months.
She says she just films what she sees and doesn’t spread “fake information.” Despite the charges against her, she plans to continue reporting from Donetsk, which she said is being shelled daily by the Ukrainian armed forces. Reporting in Ukraine is tightly restricted and those who deviate from the Kiev line do so at serious risk to their safety. Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett, who has also been reporting from the Donbass region, says she has been placed on a government kill list.
The first decade of BRICS saw the member states establish or deepen cooperation in various fields, achieve convergence, and strengthen relations. On the financial front, the BRICS countries established the New Development Bank, providing infrastructure financing for member states and other emerging market and developing economies. [..] The NDB aims to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the BRICS member states as well as other developing countries, and supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for global development, and thus give BRICS a bigger say in global governance.
The “BRICS Plus” mechanism was introduced at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, in 2017. Although the global influence of the BRICS countries has increased significantly, given the trade war and the financial war launched by the United States, it may be a wise choice to turn BRICS into an open platform to forge cooperation across continents. That would be not only beneficial to the economic development of countries, but also help build a better world order, in which emerging market and developing economies can compete and coexist on an equal footing with their developed counterparts.
This year is ideal to talk BRICS’ expansion, because it’s been five years since China proposed to start the expansion process. Although explorations and procedures continue, unofficially the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Argentina and Thailand are among the countries that could join the grouping. All in all, BRICS’ importance to the global economy is noteworthy in terms of population (40 percent), GDP(25 percent nominal), land area (30 percent), world trade (18 percent), and foreign exchange reserves ($4 trillion). And BRICS enlargement will help the grouping more soundly steer global development toward a more fruitful and mutually beneficial new era.
The United States federal bodies responsible for the nation’s healthcare policies keep turning a blind eye to the devastating number of deaths and injuries associated with experimental gene therapeutics against Covid, aka Covid vaccines. All severe reactions to the shots are proclaimed “rare.” Steve Kirsch, California tech entrepreneur and founder of the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation (VSRF), has estimated that the shots have left as many as five million Americans unable to work, 30 million injured, and more than 750,000 dead, as of June 24, 2022. According to the latest survey conducted by Pollfish on behalf of the VSRF, vaccines are associated with a very high number of adverse reactions, including lethal and life-altering ones. That means that the vaccinations should be halted immediately.
Writes Kirsch, Our latest poll is devastating for the official narrative: 1. a 6.6% rate of heart injury, 2. 2.7% are unable to work after being vaccinated (5M people), 3. 6.3% had to be hospitalized, 4. you’re more likely to die from COVID if you’ve taken the vaccine. 5. Almost as many (77.4% to be more exact) households lost someone from the vaccines as from COVID. He went on to remind that, according to the official data, more than one million Americans have died “from COVID,” even though it is unclear whether Covid was the primary cause of death, since Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), admitted in January that 75 percent of Covid deaths occurred in people who had “at least four comorbidities.”
Kirsch continued: This survey indicates that over 750,000 people died from the vaccine…. Surprisingly, the ever-vigilant CDC hasn’t found anyone who has died from the mRNA vaccines. Not a single person. So that’s a gap of 750,000 people. That’s a big gap. Someone isn’t telling you the truth.” Presumably, Kirsch is being sarcastic, calling the CDC “ever-vigilant” in light of last week’s report revealing that the agency has not been analyzing its own database, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), specifically designed to detect safety signals for the vaccines. The other key takeaways from the poll include the following,
• Only 34 percent of Americans will be receiving more than two vaccine doses. That means that some 66 percent of the vaccinated are not listening to the government recommendation to stay “up-to-date” with the vaccination by taking additional doses, aka boosters. • Someone died from Covid in 2.63 percent of the households, as compared to 2.03 percent of the households reporting a vaccine-related death. “This is stunning because it shows that the vaccine has killed almost as many people as the COVID virus has,” concluded Kirsch, adding, “Computed another way, there are 123M households in the US. If 2% of those experienced just one vaccine death, then that is 2.4M deaths. Even if this is overestimated by a factor of 10X, this is devastating for the vaccine narrative.” • Of those over the age of 18 who received the vaccine, 2.7 percent have reported becoming unable to work. Extrapolated to the whole of the country, this translates to more than five million severely injured people.
At the same time, 16.7 percent of respondents believe they have been harmed by vaccines. On a national scale, this means that there are more than 30 million vaccine-injured people. • The survey shows a 6.6-percent rate of heart injuries post-vaccine, or 13.3 million injured Americans. “This is 1,000X higher than the CDC told us.… How could the CDC underestimate this severe adverse event by 3 orders of magnitude?!!?” wondered Kirsch. Then, 3.7 percent reported a person in their household with a heart condition due to the vaccine. Since there are 123 million households, this may represent as many as 4.5 million new heart conditions. • Potentially 18 million people — 9.2 percent of vaccine recipients — required medical attention for injuries. Additionally, 6.3 percent, potentially representing 12 million Americans, had to be hospitalized. • The vaccines are associated with the increased risk of Covid. Vaccinated people appeared to be 17 percent more likely to become infected, and were 72 percent more likely to die after getting the vaccine. “We were told the opposite by the government,” lamented Kirsch.
Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that he is back on Paxlovid, the antiviral medication, to treat COVID-19 after recovering from the virus only to test positive again days later in what is known as a “Paxlovid Rebound.” Fauci appeared virtually during an appearance at the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum and said the symptoms are “much worse.” He said he tested negative for three days before testing positive again. The Hill reported that a “rebound” infection does not mean an individual is “re-infected,” and can be part of the “natural history” of the virus. Fauci, 81, was a candidate for the Paxlovid treatment because of his age. Fauci said the day after he was diagnosed for a second time, he began to feel “really poorly,” and “much worse than in the first go around,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the anti-viral under and Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of “mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children (12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds with a positive test for the virus that causes COVID-19, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, Pfizer said. Paxlovid could reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by 89 percent, UC San Diego Health said. Treatment should be initiated within five days of symptom onset and taken twice daily for five consecutive days. The school recently studied to see if the virus developed any drug resistance after these rebound cases began to emerge, and found that was not the case. The virus was still sensitive to the drug and showed no relevant mutations that would reduce the drug’s effectiveness, the school said.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is no longer in possession of text messages that she exchanged with Pfizer chief Albert Bourla to seal a COVID-19 vaccine deal, the Commission said in a letter published on Wednesday. In an interview in April 2021, von der Leyen revealed she had exchanged texts with Bourla for a month when they were negotiating a massive vaccine contract.But in response to a public access request by a journalist because of the importance of the deal, the Commission did not share the texts, triggering accusations of maladministration by the EU’s ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly.
“The Commission can confirm that the search undertaken by the President’s cabinet for relevant text messages corresponding to the request for access to documents has not yielded any results,” the EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said in the letter to the ombudsman, an EU watchdog. In the letter, the Commission argues that text messages do not need to be registered and stored because they are treated as “short-lived, ephemeral documents.” The same exception to the general registration requirement applies to documents with no important information, the letter said. The deal, negotiated via text messages and calls, according to what von der Leyen herself said in her interview with the New York Times, was the biggest contract ever sealed for COVID-19 vaccines, with the EU committing to buy 900 million Pfizer-BioNTech PFE.N, 22UAy.DE shots, with an option to buy another 900 million.
The January 6 Committee geared up to deliver a potential bombshell on Tuesday with emergency testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to chief of staff Mark Meadows. But like most of the attempts to take down former president Donald Trump — from Russian collusion hoaxes to slimy porn lawyers — Hutchinson’s testimony quickly revealed itself as too good to be true. It quickly became clear that one of Hutchinson’s most shocking claims was either misremembered or an outright lie. She claimed that Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and Bobby Engel, who headed Trump’s security detail, told her that Trump had attempted to grab the steering wheel of a Secret Service vehicle to redirect it to the Capitol on January 6. When agents refused, Trump allegedly assaulted them.
Secret Service sources said that both the driver of the vehicle and Engel had heard this allegation for the first time during Hutchinson’s testimony and were prepared to testify under oath that it was not true. Fox News reported that a source close to Ornato said he was similarly shocked to hear Hutchinson’s account and would also confirm it was not true. A spokesperson for the Secret Service said that the January 6 Committee didn’t even bother to reach out to them to confirm the story before having Hutchinson testify publicly on Tuesday. If Hutchinson was able to get such a major allegation so totally wrong, how are we supposed to trust the rest of her testimony?
The answer, of course, is that we can’t. Hutchinson also testified that she wrote a note offering a potential statement for President Trump to release during the Capitol riot. Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said that was also a lie… because he was the one who wrote the note — and had told the committee so during his own testimony. Nonetheless, the “conservative” clapping seals who are always not-so-secretly rooting for Trump’s demise insisted that Hutchinson’s allegations were disqualifying — if not proof of criminality. A high-resolution photo of Hutchinson being sworn in graced the cover of the Wall Street Journal this morning. Readers weren’t informed that the Secret Service was prepared to reject parts of her testimony until ten paragraphs into the story.
The Washington Examiner editorial board insisted that the testimony proved that Trump was “unfit for power” because he was “unstable” and “unmoored,” repeating uncritically the story of “the president trying to grab the wheel of the car to force it to be driven to the Capitol and then violently reaching for the neck of Secret Service agent Bobby Engel.”
The January 6 Committee’s credibility has plummeted after claims by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that President Trump “lunged” for the steering wheel of his vehicle and demanded to be taken to the site of the riots were contradicted by the lead Secret Service agent. Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, the then-White House deputy chief of staff, told her that Trump said something like, “I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now,” and had “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” before then using “his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” the the presidential driver. Despite the legacy media breathlessly reporting Hutchinson’s claims without much skepticism, the term ‘Amber Heard 2.0’ subsequently trended on Twitter as Hutchinson’s assertions were demolished.
Within hours, Peter Alexander of NBC News revealed that Engel was prepared to testify “under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.” Trump himself also asserted that the incident never happened. Hutchinson appears to be pursuing a personal vendetta against Trump because he “personally turned her request her down” when she tried to get a job at Mar-a-Lago. Hutchinson also apparently told another outright lie during her testimony when she claimed she had written a note of a statement for Trump to release on January 6.
The note was actually penned by Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann. “The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021,” a spokesperson for Herschmann told ABC News Tuesday evening.It remains to be seen whether Hutchinson will face any consequences for apparently lying under oath, although the already dubious credibility of the January 6 Committee has taken a further massive blow. “The January 6 committee clowned itself,” summarized Tim Young.
Waited for 8 hours to give Texas Senate HHS report on safety data. Alarm bells went off Jan 22, 2021. Mouths dropped as the timeline burned into their consciousness and the Senate record FOREVER! Let history record it happened for all to see and hear–injured, disabled, dead. pic.twitter.com/T2SwFwcaKr