Apr 262024
 
 April 26, 2024  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  55 Responses »


Herri met de Bles Landscape with Saint Christopher 1535 – 1545

 

America: Goodbye my Country (Paul Craig Roberts)
Sceptical Supreme Court Could Hand Trump Partial Victory In Immunity Case (ZH)
Court to Decide Trump Contempt Sanction (Turley)
Hillary Clinton and Marc Elias Are Afraid of 2024 Trump Win (Sp.)
Democrats Want Donald Trump ‘Killed,’ Alan Dershowitz Warns (ET)
Pollster: ‘Deep State’ Wanted Trump’s Imprint On Failed Ukraine Policy (Sp.)
Trump Allies Charged In Arizona Election Interference Case (Sp.)
Biden Rushes Aid to Ukraine As US Cost of Living Skyrockets (Miles)
Biden Team Doubts US Aid Will Help Ukraine Win – Politico (RT)
Scott Ritter: US Aid for Ukraine Won’t Hamper Russia’s Strategic Advantage (Sp.)
Russia To Seize $440 Million From JPMorgan (ZH)
Harvey Weinstein Conviction Overturned On Appeal (ZH)
Immanuel Kant Goes To War (Hayes)
Carbon Emissions CANNOT Cause ‘Global Warming’ (Slay)

 

 

 

 

Trump NY

 

 

Pecker
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783587614928368048

 

 

Immunity
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783600215817163214

 

 


Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Tucker racism

 

 

Bannon Rickards

 

 

 

 

“Americans have sat on their butts and allowed the destruction of civility, the rule of law, the Constitution, and their nation.”

America: Goodbye my Country (Paul Craig Roberts)

I would add several more. For example, the independence of doctors requires private practice. Private practice is being destroyed systematically by medical insurance, malpractice insurance, Medicare, Big Pharma, and the US Congress which panders to Big Pharma for campaign contributions. Medical doctors are being forced into becoming employees for HMOs where they have to follow their employer’s protocols or be fired. This means that they must abandon the Hippocratric Oath and follow the profit-enhancing practices of their employer HMOs. Big Pharma provides software for diagnosis and treatment, and doctors have to prescribe according to what Medicare and insurance companies will pay a percentage of the billing amount. Even doctors in private practice find that what they can prescribe and what operations they can perform is limited to insurance and medicare decisions.

During the orchestrated “Covid pandemic,” the entire propaganda operation was geared toward maximizing Big Pharma’s profits from the Covid “vaccine” and to cancelling people’s control over their own health care by imposing “vaccine” mandates. This was the first exercise in the imposition of mass tyranny in the Western World. Individual countries had experienced tyranny, but never before the entire Western world simultaneously. In order to maximize Big Pharma’s profits and impose mass tyranny, it was necessary to prohibit two safe, effective, known preventatives and cures for Covid–hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. Doctors who successfully used these cures and preventatives to protect their patients were subject to persecution by medical authorities and governing boards. Some were fired from their HMO jobs and university medical schools, some were stripped of their licenses, some were prosecuted. In order to mass inject people with an untested “vaccine” under an emergency use order the requirement was that there were no cures.

So, the fact that there were cures had to be suppressed. The utterly corrupt US medical establishment, the whore media and the Western governments suppressed the cures and ridiculed them as “horse medicine.” If the Western peoples were not so insouciant, so gullible, so trusting of “authorities,” so utterly stupid and incapable of thinking for themselves, there would have been no orchestrated “Covid pandemic” and no mass vaccination, which is against all medical protocols in the face of a pandemic. According to all available scientific evidence to date, the “Covid vaccine” has killed and destroyed the health of more people than the Covid virus. The corrupt “authorities” have done their best to cover this up, but as I have reported the coverup has failed. Still nothing is being done about it. Nothing can be done as long as Congress is dependent on campaign contributions from corporations. “Our” representatives are really representatives of those interest groups that fund election campaigns.

Congress reports to them, not to us. The idiot US Supreme Court actually ruled that corporations had a legitimate Constitutional right to purchase the US government. This ruling converted a government that represented the people into one that represented the political campaign contributors. Another addition I would make is the destruction of manners. Try to find today any sign of the manners I grew up with or the civilization that existed. Even when I was in my 20s, when a woman entered the room, the men stood up. Car and restaurant doors were opened for women. Women were helped into their seat at the table. Only when women were seated did men sit down. Men were trained to be gentleman, and ladies to be ladies. No gentleman ever used a four-letter word in a woman’s presence, and no woman ever spoke one. Listen to the barbaric youth today. Even the terms ladies and gentlemen have passed out or have been driven out of use.

[..] Today in the Disunited States we have a government in power that was not elected; instead it used control over the blue cities in swing states and the whore American media to steal the election. Massive amounts of evidence was provided by experts that the election was stolen, but this was strongly denied by the whore media, and experts were prosecuted for making the facts known. Today America is governed by an illegitimate tyrannical regime, and nothing has been done about it. The Republican Party is useless. Only Trump soldiers on with four orchestrated criminal indictments and a number of civil cases arrayed against him. The media, Democrats, and Rino Republicans are all against him. Only the people are for him, and the people are powerless. They don’t even have the vote as the Democrats made clear by stealing the last two elections. Those prosecuting Trump have no concern that they are destroying America’s reputation and reducing the power of all future presidents, making them even more subservient to the deep state.

America’s only representative–Donald Trump–is so overloaded with criminal and civil prosecutions that he has no time to campaign and even as a billionaire is overwhelmed with the legal costs of defending himself from obvious nonsensical charges.The legal profession, the law schools, the bar associations, the Congress, the courts, the media stand aside as if they are not also endangered and as if the weaponization of law isn’t a foundation of tyranny. What we are witnessing most certainly is the transformation of American law into a weapon for subjecting the American population and eliminating anyone who dares to protest or challenge the tyrannical ruling establishment. This is the reason that the United States of America is a totally dead and buried formerly free nation. Americans have sat on their butts and allowed the destruction of civility, the rule of law, the Constitution, and their nation.

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Interesting discussion. To be continued.

Sceptical Supreme Court Could Hand Trump Partial Victory In Immunity Case (ZH)

After two and a half hours, the Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments on whether a former president is immune from criminal prosecution. Reading the tea-leaves of the comments has left most believing that SCOTUS will fail to grant former President Trump the full immunity he is seeking (choosing instead to narrow the protections for former presidents), but are likely to issue a ruling that could further delay his trial on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. That would be a partial win for the former President. As Axios reports, a definitive ruling against Trump – a clear rejection of his theory of immunity that would allow his Jan. 6 trial to promptly resume – seemed to be the least likely outcome. A majority of the justices seemed inclined to rule that former presidents must have at least some protection from criminal charges, but not necessarily the “absolute immunity” Trump is seeking.

The core distinction during oral arguments came down to a president’s official vs. unofficial actions. — and which of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results were official vs. unofficial. The most likely outcome might be for the high court to punt, perhaps kicking the case back to lower courts for more nuanced hearings. That would still be a victory for Trump, as Sam Dorman reports via The Epoch Times that the outcome of this appeal could delay lower court proceedings in President Trump’s Washington trial as well as his cases in Georgia and Florida. It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court, which is expected to release a decision in June, will write an opinion that delays his ongoing criminal “hush money” trial in New York. The bottom-line is that no clear, concise majority opinion emerged this morning. But there may be five justices willing to kick the can down the road – and that’s enough for Trump, at least for now.

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“Only Michael Cohen would portray himself in terms of a witness simply trying to share evidence of a crime..”

Court to Decide Trump Contempt Sanction (Turley)

I will confess that there are at times a level of contempt expressed in my columns. However, today will be the first time that a column becomes a legal matter for contempt. Among the ten postings by former president Donald Trump being raised by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his contempt sanction is the use of a quotation from one of my columns. In a hearing on the gag order Tuesday morning, Judge Juan Merchan reserved any final decision. On April 15, Trump quoted my New York Post column from the day before titled “A serial perjurer will try to prove an old misdemeanor against Trump in an embarrassment for the New York legal system.” Trump posted the title while attaching a link. There is an interesting aspect to this controversy that captures the problem with Judge Merchan’s gag order.

In addition to continually appealing on television to oppose Trump’s election and to discuss his testimony in this case, Cohen has also lashed out against critics and coverage, including my own columns. I have been a critic of Cohen since the time when he was still working as counsel for Trump. Cohen has continued to attack some of us with vulgar postings while posting mocking pictures and attacks on Trump, including running commentary on the trial. In one posting, Cohen posted an insulting attack on myself and others who have raised questions about the Manhattan case while objecting that he is entitled to the protection of the gag order because he is a witness. Only Michael Cohen would portray himself in terms of a witness simply trying to share evidence of a crime.

Cohen has raised money on being the antagonist of Donald Trump. He has cultivated his professional wrestling style as a type of trash-talking, chair-throwing thug to liberal cable programs. Judge Merchan has allowed him to use the gag order to shield him from criticism as he heaps abuse on Trump both as a candidate and a defendant. That includes, like Trump, responding to these very columns, including my own, on the case. I have previously criticized these gag orders on constitutional grounds.

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“.. ‘public servants’ in the United States dole out trillions of unregulated dollars, but can be ‘purchased’ for mere millions of dollars..”

Hillary Clinton and Marc Elias Are Afraid of 2024 Trump Win (Sp.)

Hillary Clinton has once again evoked the specter of “Russian collusion” and warned the audience of Marc Elias’ “Democracy Docket” podcast that Donald Trump’s role model is no one but Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Clinton, the danger of a Trump victory to the US democracy is acute, given that Republicans would do whatever it takes to win the 2024 elections, starting with narrowing the electorate, purging votes, creating confusion at polling stations and even weaponizing artificial intelligence (AI). “Probably can’t even imagine what they’re going to do with artificial intelligence and other cyber-attacks on voters in terms of the messages that they will get, sometimes deliberately, to confuse them. You know, different polling places, different days to vote, different times of voting — I mean, whatever they can do to mess people up,” the former secretary of state claimed.

She went on to say that if Trump wins the presidential election in 2024 he would turn into a full-fledged “authoritarian” or “dictator”, who wants to kill his opposition, suppresses the freedom of speech, takes bribes in pay-to-play schemes, and doesn’t believe in the rule of law. Clinton’s outlandish claims expose her as nothing short of a projectionist, according to Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, who has been examining the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud and pay-to-play scheming for several years. “Hillary Clinton and Marc Elias are both disgraces to the legal profession and mere servants of corrupt donors who plainly understand that ‘public servants’ in the United States dole out trillions of unregulated dollars, but can be ‘purchased’ for mere millions of dollars, often routed via leaky ‘charities,’ or off-market ‘business’ deals and media gigs,” Ortel told Sputnik.

“So far, the known record indicates that Elias, acting for the 2015/16 Clinton campaign and likely working directly with Hillary, rigged the Democratic primaries to favor Hillary and deny Bernie a running shot at winning the Democratic nomination,” the analyst continued. “Then, Elias (likely under direction from Hillary and her corrupt donors) contracted the manufacture of bold lies attempting to link Trump to Russia in the ‘Steele Dossier’ and hyped their deep connections in media and academia to inflate a massive web of deception that hampered the Trump presidency, instigated impeachments of Trump, interfered in the 2020 election, the 2022 election and now in the 2024 election. “If Trump and the GOP win the White House and Congress this year, that could spell serious legal troubles for both Hillary and Marc, the analyst presumed.

Clinton’s claim about Trump’s apparent desire to “kill” his opposition could trigger inconvenient parallels with a string of unexplained deaths around Team Clinton, according to Sputnik’s interlocutor. While Hillary is peddling the idea of the GOP’s forthcoming “election disinformation,” one should recall how she tried to evade scrutiny during the “emailgate” scandal concerning classified government information which ran through her unprotected server, the analyst pointed out. The former secretary of state permanently deleted 33,000 of those emails insisting they were “personal and private”. “Hillary Clinton is an adept liar and mistress of attempting to destroy incriminating evidence,” Ortel said. “In this, she has legions of co-conspirators who have woven fanciful tales of her decades of ‘public service’ without explaining how she managed to convince a major law firm— Williams & Connolly—-to defer collecting millions in legal fees through Bill Clinton’s presidency or how the Clinton family scored millions of dollars in off-market book and speech deals.”

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What is it with Dems and Secret Service protection? Nobody questioned it before..

Democrats Want Donald Trump ‘Killed,’ Alan Dershowitz Warns (ET)

Retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz suggested that Democrat officials want former President Donald Trump to get killed by taking away his Secret Service protection. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) introduced legislation last week that would remove Secret Service protection for people who are convicted of felony or state crimes. The lawmaker mentioned that a “former president” could be an individual whose protection would be terminated if he’s found guilty in four cases. But Mr. Dershowitz, a former constitutional law professor and criminal defense lawyer, asserted in an interview with Newsmax over the weekend that Mr. Thompson’s legislation is “ridiculous” and “means they want him killed because he’s obviously a target.”

“We live in an age where everybody is in danger. Look, Bobby Kennedy ought to be getting Secret Service protection, but certainly Donald Trump needs to get Secret Service protection. He’s not going to jail, but if he goes to jail obviously the law requires Secret Service protection,” Mr. Dershowitz said, referring to President Trump. It comes as President Trump faces a criminal trial in which prosecutors allege that he falsified business records during the 2016 campaign to cover up negative news stories. The trial is scheduled to last around six to eight weeks in total, while opening arguments started Monday. Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case, “is going to bluff, fine and threat, but he’s not going to throw Donald Trump in jail,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “That would be a guaranteed victory … I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

A press release issued by Mr. Thompson’s office said that with President Trump’s cases, there is now an opportunity for Congress to reform the U.S. Secret Service’s protective mission “by automatically terminating Secret Service protection for those who have been sentenced to prison following conviction for a federal or state felony—clarifying that prison authorities would be responsible for the protection of all inmates regardless of previous Secret Service protection.”

“Unfortunately, current law doesn’t anticipate how Secret Service protection would impact the felony prison sentence of a protectee—even a former president. It is regrettable that it has come to this, but this previously unthought-of scenario could become our reality,” Mr. Thompson said, referring to the former president’s 91 state and federal charges. “Therefore, it is necessary for us to be prepared and update the law so the American people can be assured that protective status does not translate into special treatment—and that those who are sentenced to prison will indeed serve the time required of them,” he added in the news release.

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“..Speaker Johnson and many congressional Republicans snubbed their own voters on Ukraine funding for two reasons: ignorance and ideology..”

Pollster: ‘Deep State’ Wanted Trump’s Imprint On Failed Ukraine Policy (Sp.)

Most Americans hold a realistic view of the unfolding Ukraine conflict and want their government to prioritize domestic economic and national security interests, according to Patrick Basham, head of Democracy Institute, a politically independent research organization based in Washington and London. Basham likewise does not rule out that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has been played by the US “deep state” into supporting the unpopular Ukraine aid package. Sputnik: US Congress’ decision to back Joe Biden’s $61 billion aid package for Ukraine to fight its war against Russia has been met with disapproval from US voters on both sides of the political aisle, according to your new poll. Why did Mike Johnson and some of his fellow Republicans in the House decide to snub the GOP’s base on Ukraine?

Patrick Basham: Speaker Johnson and many congressional Republicans snubbed their own voters on Ukraine funding for two reasons: ignorance and ideology. These Republican politicians, along with the majority of American congressmen and senators, are abysmally ignorant about the state of the war in Ukraine. They do not realize that Ukraine has been defeated; many of them even believe Ukraine can still win the military contest with Russia. They are also adherents to a foreign policy ideology that is at odds with the perspective held by the overwhelming majority of conservative and Republican voters in America. The politicians are neoconservatives who divide the world into black and white, good and bad nations.

They believe that American and Western military and economic power can and should remove from power foreign governments that America dislikes – and, crucially, that the removal of these governments will be met with approval from those formerly ruled by them. Although these costly interventions consistently fail, they are advertised as projects to advance democracy, freedom, and prosperity. In striking contrast, most Republican voters (and most Americans) hold a more realistic view of American power. They want Washington to prioritize American interests (especially economic and national security) abroad. As such, they are deeply reluctant to put American soldiers in harm’s way for little, if any, apparent benefit to America, and they are also acutely sensitive to the horrendous economic cost of waging a prolonged overseas war.

Sputnik: Your survey has also indicated that Donald Trump’s support for Speaker Mike Johnson failed to sway the American opposition to funding the Ukrainian conflict. Nonetheless, Sen. Lindsey Graham claimed that Trump’s support helped ram the Ukraine package through Congress. What’s your take on Trump’s role in advocating the provision of Ukraine aid in the form of a loan and backing Johnson’s Ukraine bill? Patrick Basham: Trump’s support for Johnson helped to make the Ukraine bill more palatable to some Republican congressmen. Trump provided political cover for those Republican politicians afraid of attacks from “America First” critics within their own party. I presume that Trump’s principal goal was to shore up Johnson’s overall position within the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives so that during the election campaign Republicans would not experience yet another drawn-out, politically painful exercise to choose a new speaker.

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Raising Arizona.

Trump Allies Charged In Arizona Election Interference Case (Sp.)

Trump allies Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna Ellis are among 18 people charged in an election interference case in the state of Arizona, court documents revealed. “Defendants’ attempts to declare Unindicted Co-conspirator 1 and Pence the winners of the 2020 Presidential Election contrary to voter intent and the law, involved numerous other charged and uncharged co-conspirators,” the filing said on Wednesday. Former President Donald Trump is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the filing. The defendants are accused of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Arizona, the court documents stated.

In February, a US federal appeals court ruled that Trump is not immune from prosecution in his 2020 election interference case, which Trump appealed to the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether Trump is immune from being prosecuted as a former US president on Thursday. In August 2023, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump on 13 felony counts related to his alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Georgia over the 2020 presidential election. Trump faces a total of 91 charges in four criminal cases that Republicans say are an attempt by the Democratic establishment to prevent him from returning to the White House. The most serious charges carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. If the punishment were to be determined by adding up the terms, he could be behind bars for more than 700 years.

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“..the cost now of living in America has risen by about $11,434, give or take, in comparison to when Biden took office.”

Biden Rushes Aid to Ukraine As US Cost of Living Skyrockets (Miles)

American households in 2024 are spending an extra $11,434 annually to maintain a similar standard of living to the one they enjoyed just three years ago. That’s according to a new study by Republican members of the US Senate Joint Economic Committee who examined consumer price data to arrive at an analysis of the impact of inflation from state to state. In some parts of the country the cost of living increase stood at a comparatively modest $8,500 per year, while in states like California and Colorado it approached $15,000. The Biden White House rejected the study as one-sided, pointing to attendant wage increases across the economy. Still, recent polling suggests most Americans don’t feel the increased income makes up for the rise in inflation, and economic issues remain at the forefront of voters’ concerns with November’s presidential election less than seven months away.

Geopolitical consultant and founder of Global Perspective Consulting David Oualaalou pointed to the troubling data during an appearance on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Wednesday, questioning the US president’s focus on foreign policy amidst a grim economic outlook for millions of Americans. “The fact that [the US] keeps sending more money to Ukraine [and] it’s already a failed state, what is it for?” asked the author and global speaker. “We have been taking money out of average Americans that are paying taxes. I hope your listeners understand — and this is a sad reality — that the cost now of living in America has risen by about $11,434, give or take, in comparison to when Biden took office.” “And why? Because we are taking money out of Americans and giving it to the corrupted government in Ukraine.” he insisted. “I saw those images of the incompetent members of Congress waving the Ukrainian flag inside Congress. Well to me it became like, why don’t you go and represent Ukraine?

Shame on our politicians. But, again, until the structure of our system has changed, nothing is going to change fundamentally.” Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously warned Americans about the emergent US military-industrial complex during his farewell address in 1961. What’s less well known is that an earlier draft of the speech referred to a “military-industrial-congressional complex.” Eisenhower reconsidered the term out of fear of offending Washington lawmakers, but the designation makes clear legislators’ key role in what the former leader considered a corrupt and dangerous phenomenon. Military contractors make up one of the largest political lobbies in Washington; recently, a study found lawmakers who voted to pass a recent National Defense Authorization Act received four to five times more in donations from the defense industry than those who did not. The promise of campaign cash creates a powerful incentive for congress members to vote to fund more war.

“We have nothing to show but conflicts,” said Oualaalou. “We do not sell anything to the rest of the world except conflict and weapons. And at some point when the world is shifting, like what we are witnessing right now, most countries are going to say, ‘sorry, we are not interested in buying what you have to sell.'” Recently the African country of Chad has threatened to order US troops stationed in the country to leave. The move comes after the neighboring country of Niger made a similar request. The United States has, so far, refused to comply, having invested significant amounts of money there as a hub for military and surveillance activity in the region.

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It’s not about winning. It’s about fighting.

Biden Team Doubts US Aid Will Help Ukraine Win – Politico (RT)

US officials are not convinced that another $61 billion in American assistance for Ukraine will be enough for it to prevail in the conflict against Russia, Politico has reported. President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion foreign aid package on Wednesday, which also included funding for Israel and Taiwan. The Senate voted on the legislation earlier this week, ending a standoff between the Democrats and the Republicans that had dragged on since the autumn. “Battlefield dynamics [in the Ukraine conflict] have shifted a lot in the last few months,” Politico reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed members of the Biden administration. This happened partially because the stalemate in Congress led to Ukrainian forces running low on weapons and ammunition, the sources suggested.

“The immediate goal is to stop Ukrainian losses and help Ukraine regain momentum and turn the tide on the battlefield. After that, the goal is to help Ukraine begin to regain its territory,” one of the officials said. “Will they have what they need to win? Ultimately, yes. But it’s not a guarantee that they will. Military operations are much more complicated than that.” A senior Democratic Senate aide also told Politico that the question now is whether more US aid can lead to a Ukrainian victory, or if it would just be enough to fend off Russian forces temporarily. “There’s lots of debate about what a winning endgame for Ukraine looks like at this point,” the source said. The outlet argued that there is a difference between Kiev “winning” by getting “most or all of its territory back” and “not losing,” which means that “Ukraine can hold its lines and advance some but fail to claw back what Russia seized.”

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s stance that Kiev should fight until it takes back all of its territory, including Crimea, “commits the US to a much longer conflict with no guarantee Zelensky will achieve his goals,” Politico stressed. Commenting on the $61 billion US military aid package on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that “all these new batches of weapons… will not change the dynamics on the front line.” Earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Moscow’s forces currently hold the initiative everywhere along the front line and are capturing more settlements. He estimated Kiev’s losses at half a million troops since the start of the conflict in February 2022.

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“Russia currently enjoys “military superiority, if not outright supremacy, along the entire line of contact..”

Scott Ritter: US Aid for Ukraine Won’t Hamper Russia’s Strategic Advantage (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden recently signed a long-delayed $95 billion package, including $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, into law. At least $13.8 billion of this sum will be used to deliver weaponry, such as long-range ATACMS missiles and F-16 fighter jets. This is “a lot of money” but it will not turn the tide of the conflict, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter said in an interview with Sputnik. “The $13.8 billion in military assistance that will be provided to Ukraine will be insufficient to basically halt the ongoing Russian advance,” and “to change the outcome on the battlefield,” he stated. The sum will not help the Kiev regime “turn the tide to send Russian forces back to, according to the Zelensky formula, the 1991 borders,” Ritter stressed, recalling that it isn’t just him making this assessment.

“This is the assessment of Ukraine’s Foreign Minister [Dmytro] Kuleba, who has said that at this late stage in the game, there’s no amount of military assistance that can stop the Russian advance. He’s correct,” the Marine Corps intelligence officer underscored. Ritter also cited “talk of magic weapons” for the Zelensky regime, which he said would be of little help. According to him, Russia currently enjoys “military superiority, if not outright supremacy, along the entire line of contact, not just on the front lines, but extending well into the rear areas of the Ukrainian defense areas.” He also explained that after the US weapons are delivered to Ukraine and brought up to the front line, the weaponry “will be subjected to increasing levels of interdiction.”

“Very little of this military assistance will actually make it to the Ukrainian soldiers at the front line, and when it does, this military equipment will be destroyed relatively quickly by the Russians who will be tracking this equipment throughout its entire journey from the West to the front lines,” Ritter pointed out. The former US Marine Corps intelligence officer suggested that Russia would manage to retain its “strategic advantage” on the battlefield “until victory, regardless of the amount of money that the United States, Europe or anybody else pours into Ukraine. Ritter’s remarks come after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov underlined that the situation on the battlefield is “self-explanatory and unambiguous,” and that “all these new batches of weapons, […] will not change the dynamics at the front line.”

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The cost of sanctions.

Russia To Seize $440 Million From JPMorgan (ZH)

Seizing assets? Two can play at that game… Just days after Washington voted to authorize the REPO Act – paving the way for the Biden administration confiscate billions in Russian sovereign assets which sit in US banks – it appears Moscow has a plan of its own (let’s call it the REVERSE REPO Act) as a Russian court has ordered the seizure of $440 million from JPMorgan. The seizure order follows from Kremlin-run lender VTB launching legal action against the largest US bank to recoup money stuck under Washington’s sanctions regime. As The FT reports, the order, published in the Russian court register on Wednesday, targets funds in JPMorgan’s accounts and shares in its Russian subsidiaries, according to the ruling issued by the arbitration court in St Petersburg. The assets had been frozen by authorities in the wake of the western sanctions, and highlights some of the fallout western companies are feeling from the punitive measures against Moscow.

Specifically, The FT notes that the dispute centers on $439mn in funds that VTB held in a JPMorgan account in the US. When Washington imposed sanctions on the Kremlin-run bank, JPMorgan had to move the funds to a separate escrow account. Under the US sanctions regime, neither VTB nor JPMorgan can access the funds. In response, VTB last week filed a lawsuit against the New York-based group to get Russian authorities to freeze the equivalent amount in Russia, warning that JPMorgan was seeking to leave Russia and would refuse to pay any compensation. The following day, JPMorgan filed its own lawsuit against the Russian lender in a US court to prevent a seizure of its assets, arguing that it had no way to reclaim VTB’s stranded US funds to compensate its own potential losses from the Russian lawsuit.

Yesterday’s decision sided with VTB, ordering the seizure of funds in JPMorgan’s Russian accounts and “movable and immovable property,” including its stake of a Russian subsidiary. JPMorgan said it faced “certain and irreparable harm” from VTB’s efforts, exposed to a nearly half-billion-dollar loss, for merely abiding by U.S. sanctions. The order was the latest example of American banks getting caught between the demands of Western sanctions regimes and overseas interests. Last summer, a Russian court froze about $36mn worth of assets owned by Goldman following a lawsuit by state-owned bank Otkritie. A few months later the court ruled that the Wall Street investment bank had to pay the funds to Otkritie. The tit-for-tat continues.

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“..witnesses who said that Weinstein had assaulted them, but whose accusations weren’t part of the charges against him..”

Harvey Weinstein Conviction Overturned On Appeal (ZH)

A New York Court of Appeals has overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crime charges, for which he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. In a 4-3 decision, the court found that the trial judge in the disgraced mogul’s case had made a critical error, allowing prosecutors to call a series of women as witnesses who said that Weinstein had assaulted them, but whose accusations weren’t part of the charges against him, the NYT reports. In 2020, Lauren Young and two other women, Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff, testified about their encounters with Weinstein under a state law that allows testimony about “prior bad acts” to demonstrate a pattern of behavior. But the court in its decision on Thursday said that “under our system of justice, the accused has a right to be held to account only for the crime charged.”

Citing that decision and others it identified as errors, the appeals court determined that Mr. Weinstein, who as a movie producer had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, had not received a fair trial. The four judges in the majority wrote that Mr. Weinstein was not tried solely on the crimes he was charged with, but instead for much of his past behavior. -NYT The decision was determined by one vote on a majority female panel of judges, who in February held a searching public debate over the fairness of the original trial. Weinstein was convicted of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann at a DoubleTree hotel in 2013 when she was 27-years-old, and forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, then 28, at his apartment in 2006.

Now, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who’s currently prosecuting former President Donald Trump, will have to decide whether to seek a retrial of Weinstein – who remains in an upstate prison in Rome, NY at the moment. It’s unclear how the decision will affect his future. In 2022, he was convicted by a California court of raping a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The jury found Weinstein guilty of rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by foreign object involving a woman known as Jane Doe 1.

The 2022 jury acquitted Weinstein of a sexual battery charge made by a massage therapist who treated him at a hotel in 2010, and was unable to reach a decision on two allegations, including rape, involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom. She was known as Jane Doe 4 in the trial, and had testified to being raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2005. Weinstein was convicted of sexually abusing over 100 women – and was convicted of assaulting two of them in the New York case. “That is unfair to survivors,” said actress Ashley Judd, the first actress to come forward with allegations against Weinstein, the NYT’s Jodi Kantor reports. “We still live in our truth. And we know what happened.”

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“..Though he is as undeniably German as the Nord Stream pipeline, Putin (and anyone else anywhere) has a right to quote him morning, noon and night..”

Immanuel Kant Goes To War (Hayes)

First off, a hat tip to Russia Today (and to the VPN, which allows me access to it) for telling me that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin for quoting iconic German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Because Putin cited the philosopher at an event marking the 300th anniversary of Kant’s birth, Scholz accused Putin of trying to “poach” the great thinker as well as misrepresenting his ideas.n bThe story, at first glance, is so ridiculously funny that I had to google to ensure I was not being taken in by that mercurial NATO chameleon dubbed “Russian disinformation.” Sure enough, as plenty of Western sources later verified the story, we can proceed. Die Zeit cites Scholz at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences ranting that “Putin doesn’t have the slightest right to quote Kant, yet Putin’s regime remains committed to poaching Kant and his work at almost any cost”.

Let’s just stop the reel there. Kant was born in 1724 in Koenigsberg (present-day Kaliningrad), which belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia before later becoming part of the Russian Empire. The philosopher, famous for his work on ethics, aesthetics and philosophical ontology, is rightly considered one of the pillars of German classical philosophy. Though he is as undeniably German as the Nord Stream pipeline, Putin (and anyone else anywhere) has a right to quote him morning, noon and night. Though Kant is as German as Tolstoy, who regarded himself as a philosopher and not a writer, is Russian, their brilliance belongs to the world. Scholz, in other words, is free to quote Tolstoy, once, of course, he first learns to read. As Putin delivered his talk in Kant’s famous birth place, it was, of course, entirely appropriate that Putin should quote the great philosopher and Scholz, if he was not an ignoramus, should have used that to his advantage, rather than coming across as the obvious baboon that he is.

Putin, as it happens, spent much of his working life in Germany and he speaks the language of Kant, Schiller and Goethe at least as fluently as Scholz which is, admittedly, a low bar. Not only that but Putin has been praising and quoting Kant for decades and has even gone so far as saying that the philosopher should be made an official symbol of Kaliningrad Region. Germany and Germans like Kant have had a profound and often benign effect on Russia since even before Vasili III, Grand Prince of Moscow, established Moscow’s German Quarter in the fifteenth century. Catherine the Great, who was actually born in Prussia, and the German speaking and Kant admiring Putin have carried on those links into more modern times. And, though Catherine the Great, sadly, is no longer with us, Putin is, and his remarks that Kant is “one of the greatest thinkers of both his time and ours,” is not only worthy of consideration but it is one more cultured German leaders than Scholz would have leveraged to their advantage.

Scholz, who fancies himself as something of a bar room philosopher, is having none of that. He believes Russia’s role in the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine contradicts Kant’s fundamental teachings on the interference of states in the affairs of other nations, and he defended Kiev’s decision not to engage in peace talks with Moscow, unless they are on NATO’s terms of unconditional Russian surrender. Scholz, with no sense of irony or self awareness regarding the aborted Minsk Accords, said Kant believed that forced treaties were not the way to reach ‘perpetual peace’ – a direct reference to Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, one of Kant’s major and most influential works.

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“..past 400 ppm, “the CO2 concentration can no longer cause any increase in temperature.”

Carbon Emissions CANNOT Cause ‘Global Warming’ (Slay)

A bombshell new peer-reviewed study has provided conclusive scientific evidence proving that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Earth’s atmosphere cannot cause “global warming.” Dr. Jan Kubicki led a group of world-renowned Polish scientists to study the impact of increases in CO2 emissions on the Earth’s global temperatures. However, not only did they find that higher levels of CO2 made no difference, but they also proved that it simply isn’t possible for increases in carbon dioxide to cause temperatures to rise. Kubicki and his team recently published three papers which all conclude that Earth’s atmosphere is already “saturated” with carbon dioxide. This saturation means that, even at greatly increased levels of CO2, the “greenhouse gas” will not cause temperatures to rise. Kubicki et al. summarize their evidence by noting that as a result of saturation, “emitted CO2 does not directly cause an increase in global temperature.”

Current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are around 418 parts per million (ppm) but the scientists state that past 400 ppm, “the CO2 concentration can no longer cause any increase in temperature.” The saturation of CO2 in the atmosphere is the hypothesis that dares not speak its name in mainstream media, politics, and across much of climate science. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Net Zero” collectivism agenda is doomed without the constant fearmongering of a so-called “climate crisis.” One of the key propaganda messages behind this “green agenda” is that humans are responsible for the ever-warming climate by burning hydrocarbons and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. The saturation hypothesis is complex, but in simple terms, it can be described by the example of loft insulation in a house.

After a certain point, doubling the lagging will have little effect since most of the heat trying to escape through the roof has already been trapped. Carbon dioxide traps heat only within narrow bands of the infrared spectrum. Levels of the gas have been up to 20 times higher in the past without any sign of runaway “global warming.” At current levels, the Polish scientists suggest that there is “currently multiple exceedances of the saturation mass for carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.” The latest study is published in the prestigious Elsevier’s Science Direct peer-reviewed journal. Many other scientists are attracted to the saturation hypothesis because it provides more plausible explanations to fit past changes in the climate.

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Trump pizza

 

 

Roadster

 

 

Saba

 

 

Lay Down Your Tomato Plants

 

 

Mwinzi

 

 

Donkeys
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783156462681739671

 

 

Cutting

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 072018
 


Vasily Polenov Christ among the teachers (doctors) 1896

 

This morning I woke up, looked around me, and saw a world sinking into a quagmire of voluntary censorship, a world willing to let someone far away choose what it can and cannot see of itself, and about itself. A world that no longer appears to recognize, or care, that this goes directly against its founding principles of liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of the press.

I can think of many reasons why someone would want to ban Infowars and Alex Jones, and I don’t even know them other than from incidental tweets and comments. But I also acknowledge that that is not the point. Just because you would like to ban a person or organization, just because you don’t agree with them, doesn’t mean you can, or should be able to.

And if Facebook, Google, Apple, Spotify and Pinterest -all within hours of each other-, think it’s a good idea to ban Jones regardless, they had better do a lot better than saying something about violating their ‘community standards’. They should identify specific instances where these alleged violations take place, and identify them publicly.

You can’t ban anyone on vague ‘standards’ from media that cover half the planet. Because that’s a danger to the entire planet, and to all of mankind. As Facebook and Google are very busy lobbying Washington, Brussels et al to drop any anti-trust charges against them, and let them continue to be private enterprises, they are shirking ever close to the various intelligence communities.

Politicians and secret agents alike have long recognized the potential Big Tech offers for controlling their populations. Long before those populations themselves have recognized the danger embedded in this potential. The treatment of Julian Assange and Infowars, 180º different as they are, puts all this in very sharp perspective.

How are you going to be informed, and stay informed, of what’s happening in the world, of what your government does and plans, if your media, both old and new, conspire to let you know only what they want you to, and to present a version of the world, of reality, that they invented in order to safeguard their future and that of their sponsors? Who’s going to tell you what happens behind the infinite layers of curtains?

What is most important here is not who Alex Jones is, or what he’s done and said. What’s most important is that he stands up for Julian Assange as the media, across the board, is either silent or actively smearing Assange with impunity. So for once, go to Infowars and sign the petition to Trump to Free Assange.. If anyone can get through to Trump, it’s Alex Jones, and they’re trying to prevent him from doing just that.

 

You’re being sold out, your rights and freedoms are being sold out, while you’re busy looking at pictures of what your friends had for dinner last night. And if that’s your thing, fine, but not before and until you’ve checked what is happening to your life and liberty, and that of your children, while you’re watching the next photo of a creme brulée or some cute kitten 1000 miles away.

We all know these things. And we’re all overloaded on info, so we’re all tired and developing headaches in echo chambers, and cute kittens are so much easier to deal with than petitions. But pretty soon, if you’re not careful, kittens will be the only thing you’re allowed to look at. Kittens and ‘news’ about evil Russians allegedly plotting to do to you exactly what your own governments already, and actually, do right now.

In one word: you’re being brainwashed. Brainwashed into handing over the liberties your ancestors fought very hard, and often lost their lives, to obtain and guarantee in your constitution. You can’t just give those things away, you have no right to. You owe it to them to protect what they fought for. If and when your government, your House and Senate, refuse to do that, then you will have to do it.

And that starts with protecting and standing up for Julian Assange. You don’t get to pick and choose which part of freedom you would like to protect, you either protect the entire concept or you do not. Freedom doesn’t mean you get to chop freedom into bits and pieces. And if you fail to stand up for the part you don’t like, you also fail to protect what you do like.

 

You don’t get to cherrypick, And neither should Google, Apple, and Facebook. Check your constitution for that one. Sure, we get it, it’s hard to stand up for Alex Jones. But if he can get chucked out for violating opaque ‘community standards’ of some private enterprise, then so can you. Well, unless you only look at kittens and desserts. But is that what you want your life to look like going forward?

This is about a principle engraved in the Constitution, and not just the American one. And of course there would always be people trying to get rid of that principle, because it got in the way of their personal power and interests. But that’s exactly why it’s in the Constitution. So it can’t just be eradicated at whim.

New media, social media, have taken the world by storm, and everyone has to scramble to keep up and think about what this means. What it should never ever mean, though, is that some parties get to use the confusion in order to trample on the Constitution. But that is what’s happening today.

We’ll resolve this eventually. You can’t let companies that have half the world as their clients continue as private enterprises; there’s far too much in the way of monopoly and anti-trust law to allow that to continue. But as long as this is not solved, Google and Facebook will be used as political tools, even while their legal status, and that of their policies, will be increasingly questionable.

So, you know, standing up for Alex Jones today equals standing up for the Constitution. That is harder for people to understand than it is that calling for Julian Assange to be protected and freed is. But it is the same thing. This is proven more than anything by the fact that Jones gets shut down at the very moment he seeks to protect Assange.

Swallow your pride and your disapproval of Alex Jones. Sign the petition to Trump to Free Assange.. It’s much bigger than your pride, or whatever you happen to like or dislike. This is about your future. And the people in the past who gave their lives to make it what it is. Don’t give it away. Prove Orwell wrong.

That we must defend Alex Jones just to stand up for Julian Assange should be all you need to know. You can’t defend Assange without also defending Infowars’ right to speak. And if they say things that go against the Constitution, a bunch of geeks in Silicon Valley should never be the judges of that.

 

 

Aug 042018
 


John French Sloan Spring rain 1912

 

The Everything Bubble Has Found Its Pin. The Pin’s Name is Jerome Powell. (PC)
The Fed Accelerates its QE Unwind (WS)
US Gains Only 157,000 Jobs In July As Unemployment Falls To 3.9% (MW)
US Government Has No Idea How Many Gig Workers There Are (MW)
Mark Carney Says Risk Of A No-Deal Brexit Is ‘Uncomfortably High’ (G.)
The Conservatives Are In Crisis Over Austerity, Not Just Brexit (NS)
US Secret Service And The Guardian Face Off Over ‘Russian Spy’ (RT)
Russia Seeks US Help To Rebuild Syria (R.)
Judge Calls US Efforts To Reunite Deported Parents ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)
US Court Orders Trump Administration To Fully Reinstate DACA Program (R.)
Trump Administration Lifts GMO Crop Ban For US Wildlife Refuges (R.)

 

 

Error? Powell obviously wants a strong dollar. And yes, that has consequences.

The Everything Bubble Has Found Its Pin. The Pin’s Name is Jerome Powell. (PC)

The Powell Fed is playing with matches next to over $60 trillion in $USD-denominated debt. The $USD is the reserve currency of the world. As such it is the currency of choice if you are going to issue debt. As a result of this, entities around the globe, whether they be corporations or countries, will often choose to issue debt denominated in the $USD, even if the $USD is not a currency used in their economy. When you borrow money in the $USD… you are effectively SHORTING the $USD. You are betting/hopingthat the $USD will weaken, making your debt servicing/ future debt repayment, cheaper on a relative basis. In this environment, when the $USD strengthens, it becomes MORE DIFFICULT to service your debt.

This is true even for the US itself. The $20 trillion we owe in public debt is effectively one gigantic $20 trillion $USD short. Enter Jerome Powell. For whatever reason, the Powell Fed has decided to embark on the most aggressively hawkish monetary policy in Fed history. And the currency markets have taken note. The $USD is breaking out of downtrends in Every. Single. Currency. Pair. The day Jerome Powell became Fed chair is annotated buy the vertical blue line. Assuming Jerome Powell DOESN’T want to blow up the $60 trillion $USD-denominated debt bubble… the above chart SCREAMS “policy error.”

I’m not being dramatic here… the last time the $USD rallied like this against every major currency was in 2014. At that time the entire commodity complex imploded by over 60% and the Emerging Market came within a hair’s breadth of systemic collapse. Again, I’m not being dramatic here… within six months of the $USD’s rally in 2014, Brazil’s stock market was down nearly 70%. China’s was down nearly 50%. Emerging Markets across the board dropped over 30%. Oil fell from $105 to $30 and change. Etc. I don’t see any indication Powell is aware of this… which means… BUCKLE UP. THE EVERYTHING BUBBLE HAS FOUND ITS PIN. AND THE PIN’S NAME IS JEROME POWELL.

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And Powell is very clear on “balance sheet normalization” too.

The Fed Accelerates its QE Unwind (WS)

The Fed’s QE Unwind – “balance sheet normalization,” as it calls this – is accelerating toward cruising speed. The first 12 months of the QE unwind, which started in October 2017, are the ramp-up period – just like there was the “Taper” during the final 12 months of QE. The plan calls for shedding up to $420 billion in securities in 2018 and up to $600 billion a year in each of the following years until the balance sheet is sufficiently “normalized” – or until something big breaks. In July, the QE Unwind accelerated sharply. According to the plan, the Fed was supposed to shed up to $24 billion in Treasury Securities in July, up from $18 billion a month in the prior three months. And? The Fed released its weekly balance sheet Thursday afternoon. Over the four weeks ending August 1, the balance of Treasury securities fell by $23.5 billion to $2,337 billion, the lowest since April 16, 2014.

Since the beginning of the QE-Unwind, the Fed has shed $129 billion in Treasuries. The step-pattern in the chart is a result of how the Fed sheds Treasury securities. It doesn’t sell them outright but allows them to “roll off” when they mature. Treasuries only mature mid-month or at the end of the month. Hence the stair-steps. In mid-July, no Treasuries matured. But on July 31, $28.4 billion matured. The Fed replaced about $4 billion of them with new Treasury securities directly via its arrangement with the Treasury Department that cuts out Walls Street (its “primary dealers”) with which the Fed normally does business. Those $4 billion in securities, to use the jargon, were “rolled over.” But it did not replace about $24 billion of maturing Treasuries. They “rolled off.”

Total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet for the four weeks ending August 1 dropped by $34.1 billion. This brought the drop since October, when the QE unwind began, to $205 billion. At $4,256 billion, total assets are now at the lowest level since April 9, 2014, during the middle of the “taper.” It took the Fed about six years to pile on these securities, and now it’s going to take years to shed them:

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Trend is towards lower paid jobs.

US Gains Only 157,000 Jobs In July As Unemployment Falls To 3.9% (MW)

The U.S. posted another solid spurt in hiring in July, showing that companies are still able to find enough workers to meet the growing needs of a rapidly expanding U.S. economy. Some 157,000 new jobs were created last month despite widespread complaints among businesses about a shortage of skilled labor, the Labor Department said Friday. The increase in hiring fell below the 195,000 MarketWatch forecast, but job gains in May and June was stronger than previously reported. The smaller gain in employment was also a result of governments cutting jobs in education during the summer break and the closure of Toys R Us. Otherwise hiring may have topped 200,000.

Unemployment, meanwhile, slipped below 4% again, to 3.9%, as more people found work.The jobless rate is at a nearly two-decade low. Far-flung complaints about how hard it is to find good workers still aren’t inducing companies to jack up salaries and wages, however. Hourly pay rose 7 cents in July to $25.07, but the 12-month rate of wage gains was unchanged at 2.7%. And even those increases have been largely eaten up by rising inflation. Wages usually rise 3% to 4% a year when the labor market is as tight as it is now.

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Much more interesting than the jobs report. 75 million gig workers? And they’re all counted as ’employed’?

US Government Has No Idea How Many Gig Workers There Are (MW)

The BLS does not have an explicit definition for a gig worker, or a formal way of tracking them. It comes closest in a survey called the Contingent Worker Supplement, which studies “contingent workers” in temporary working arrangements that they don’t expect to last more than a year. But prior to last month, the BLS had not released the Contingent Worker Supplement since 2005 due in large part to a lack of funding. The most recent report found that 5.9 million people or 3.8% of all workers are contingent workers. “It’s not that the BLS doesn’t care about secondary work, they do,” said Demetra Nightingale at the Urban Institute, a think tank. But without adequate funding it is difficult for the BLS to study those workers, she said.

These workers come in many forms. They include side hustlers with regular jobs and freelancers who take on extra clients on their off-hours, according to Freelancing in America, a 2017 survey conducted in part by Freelancers Union. That survey estimated that 57.3 million Americans are freelancing, or 36% of the workforce. Other estimates say the gig economy is even larger than that. The Federal Reserve has a very broad definition of people working in the gig economy. The Fed says gig workers could be anyone from a babysitter to an Uber driver. According to that definition, there are as many as 75 million gig workers.

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My first thought when reading this: he’s trying to get himself fired. Brexit Britain doesn’t need some Canadian opinion.

Mark Carney Says Risk Of A No-Deal Brexit Is ‘Uncomfortably High’ (G.)

Mark Carney has warned that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is “uncomfortably high” and will lead to higher prices, as Theresa May prepares to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for talks. The Bank of England governor said both the UK and EU should “do all things to avoid” a no-deal scenario. He added that the banks had done the “stockpiling” and the country’s financial system was in a position to be able to withstand a shock that could result from the UK leaving the EU without an agreement. His remarks led to sterling falling sharply to just under $1.30. Carney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think the possibility of a no-deal is uncomfortably high at this point.” Asked if no deal would be a disaster, he said: “It is highly undesirable. Parties should do all things to avoid it.”

Pushed on what no deal would mean, he said “disruption to trade as we know it”, before adding: “As a consequence of that, a disruption to the level of economic activity, higher prices for a period of time. “Our job at the Bank of England is to make sure those issues don’t happen in the financial system, so that people will have things to worry about in a no-deal Brexit, which is still a relatively unlikely possibility but it is a possibility, but what we don’t want to have is people worrying about their money in the bank, whether or not they can get a loan from the bank – whether for a mortgage or for a business idea – and we have put the banks through the wringer well in advance of this to make sure they have the capital.”

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An already completely gutted society. More to come. Local councils are being cut to the bone.

The Conservatives Are In Crisis Over Austerity, Not Just Brexit (NS)

The Conservative party is engaged in the bloodiest incarnation yet of its 30-year Europe war. After Theresa May’s Chequers deal succeeded in alienating almost everyone, Remainers are backing a “people’s vote”, while Leavers are embracing no deal. There is no obvious means by which the parliamentary deadlock can be broken. But the Brexit crisis is masking another one: over austerity. The Leave vote in 2016 and the loss of the Tories’ majority in 2017 were symptoms of voter discontent over spending cuts (a new study published this week suggested that austerity may have directly caused Brexit). As the New Statesman’s Crumbling Britain series has charted, eight years of austerity have enfeebled the public realm.

Rough sleeping, which fell by three-quarters under the last Labour government, has risen by 169 per cent since 2010. The NHS has been forced to cancel operations and even urgent surgery as it struggles to meet ever greater demand. Relative child poverty has increased for three consecutive years and now stands at 4.1 million, or 30 per cent of children. Nearly 1,000 Sure Start children’s centres and 478 libraries are estimated to have closed since 2010. Potholed roads and uncollected bins are evidence of the scale of austerity borne by councils (real-terms funding for local authorities has been cut by 49 per cent since David Cameron took office as prime minister). Northamptonshire Council, a Conservative flagship, has declared itself effectively bankrupt – and others may follow.

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The Guardian is up to some strange things.

US Secret Service And The Guardian Face Off Over ‘Russian Spy’ (RT)

US Secret Service has scolded the Guardian for “irresponsible and inaccurate” reporting on an alleged Russian spy at the US embassy in Moscow. Unfazed, the newspaper continued to spin the story calling it the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The British newspaper, never one to pass up a good Russia scare story, published a fresh one on Friday, citing multiple intelligence analysts to reinforce the idea that its own anonymously-sourced revelations of a suspected spy with high-level security clearance having been embedded for a decade in the US embassy in Moscow,”could be just the tip of the iceberg.” The Secret Service, meanwhile, has been issuing repeated rebuttals to the Guardian’s reporting.

The security officials were quite emphatic in bashing the article as “wrought with irresponsible and inaccurate reporting based on the claims of “anonymous sources’.” In its press release on Thursday, the Secret Service specifically points out that before the publication came out, it had provided the Guardian with background to the story “clearly refuting unfounded information” in its statement to the editor. The Guardian did mention the agency’s response, bundling it in the middle of its article, while citing its unnamed “intelligence source” profusely, claiming that the Russian woman, the suspected mole, “had access to the most damaging database, which is the US Secret Service official mail system.”

This allegedly included “schedules of the president – current and past, vice-president and their spouses, including Hillary Clinton.” According to the Secret Service, the allegations that a mysterious foreign ‘femme fatale’ could have access to such sensitive information, are unfounded. “FSNs [Foreign Service Nationals] working under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service have never been provided or placed in a position to obtain, secret or classified information as erroneously reported.”

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You break it, you bought it.

Russia Seeks US Help To Rebuild Syria (R.)

Russia has used a closely guarded communications channel with America’s top general to propose the two former Cold War foes cooperate to rebuild Syria and repatriate refugees to the war-torn country, according to a U.S. government memo. The proposal was sent in a July 19 letter by Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, to U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the memo which was seen by Reuters. The Russian plan, which has not been previously reported, has received an icy reception in Washington. The memo said the U.S. policy was only to support such efforts if there were a political solution to end Syria’s seven-year-old civil war, including steps like U.N.-supervised elections.

The proposal illustrates how Russia, having helped turn the tide of the war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, is now pressing Washington and others to aid the reconstruction of areas under his control. Such an effort would likely further cement Assad’s hold on power. “The proposal argues that the Syrian regime lacks the equipment, fuel, other material, and funding needed to rebuild the country in order to accept refugee returns,” according to the memo, which specified that the proposal related to Syrian government-held areas of the country. The United States in 2011 adopted a policy that Assad must leave power but then watched as his forces, backed by Iran and then Russia, clawed back territory and secure Assad’s position. The United States has drawn a line on reconstruction assistance, saying it should be tied to a process that includes U.N.-supervised elections and a political transition in Syria. It blames Assad for Syria’s devastation.

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But what can Sabraw do?

Judge Calls US Efforts To Reunite Deported Parents ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)

A federal judge on Friday described as “unacceptable” the U.S. government’s progress in reuniting immigrant children in the United States with deported parents and ordered the government to appoint a person to take charge of its efforts. “This is going to be a significant undertaking and it’s clear there has to be one person in charge,” said U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw at a hearing in San Diego. Sabraw in June ordered the government to begin reuniting some 2,500 children that officials separated from their parents after they crossed the U.S.-Mexican border. The families were separated as part of a “zero tolerance” U.S. government policy toward illegal immigration that began in early May.

Many of them had crossed the border illegally, while others had sought asylum. About 1,900 children have since been reconnected with their parents or a sponsor. On Thursday, the government proposed that non-profit groups should take the lead in locating as many as 500 parents deported or removed from the United States without their children. At Friday’s hearing, Sabraw said it was it was “100 percent the responsibility of the administration” to reunite those families. Sabraw also noted that as few as 12 of the 500 parents in question have been located. “That is just unacceptable at this point,” he said. “The reality is that for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child.”

The government’s lawyer, Scott Stewart, said that the agencies involved would consider appointing a point person or persons. Stewart said the government had proposed a plan with non-profit groups in a prominent role because it believed that was the quickest way to locate parents.

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Different judge. Legal opinions are sorely need in the US.

US Court Orders Trump Administration To Fully Reinstate DACA Program (R.)

A federal judge on Friday ruled that the Trump administration must fully restore a program that protects from deportation some young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, including accepting new applications for the program. U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C., said he would stay Friday’s order, however, until August 23 to give the administration time to decide whether to appeal. Bates first issued a ruling in April ordering the federal government to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, including taking applications. He stayed that ruling for 90 days to give the government time to better explain why the program should be ended.

On Friday Bates, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, a Republican, said he would not revise his previous ruling because the arguments of President Donald Trump’s administration did not override his concerns. Under DACA, roughly 700,000 young adults, often referred to as “Dreamers”, were protected from deportation and given work permits for two-year periods, after which they must re-apply to the program.

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Better put this before a judge as well. But no surprise that Monsanto is powerful stateside.

Trump Administration Lifts GMO Crop Ban For US Wildlife Refuges (R.)

The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted. Environmentalists, who had sued to bring about the 2-year-old ban, said on Friday that lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects and other sensitive creatures relying on toxic-free habitats afforded by wildlife refuges. “Industrial agriculture has no place on refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation and protection of some of the most vital and vulnerable species,” said Jenny Keating, federal lands policy analyst for the group Defenders of Wildlife.

Limited agricultural activity is authorized on some refuges by law, including cooperative agreements in which farmers are permitted to grow certain crops to produce more food or improve habitat for the wildlife there. The rollback, spelled out in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo, ends a policy that had prohibited farmers on refuges from planting biotech crops – such as soybeans and corn – engineered to resist insect pests and weed-controlling herbicides. That policy also had barred the use on wildlife refuges of neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, in conjunction with GMO crops. Neonics are a class of insecticides tied by research to declining populations of wild bees and other pollinating insects around the world.

Rather than continuing to impose a blanket ban on GMO crops and neonics on refuges, Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Greg Sheehan said in Thursday’s memo that decisions about their use would be made on a case-by-case basis.

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