Apr 072022
 


Edward Hopper The Sheridan Theatre 1937

 

US Is Using Intel To Fight An Info War With Russia (NBC)
Video Appears To Show Ukrainian Soldiers Executing Russian Soldiers – NY Times (BI)
UK Delays Tariffs On Russian Whitefish (Pol.eu)
America’s Largest Farm Cooperative Warns Sanctions May Spark Fertilizer Shortages (ZH)
US Warns India Faces Significant Long-Term Costs If It Aligns With Russia (ZH)
Whistleblower To Release 450 GB Of Deleted Files From Hunter’s Laptop (DM)
Psaki Says Joe Biden And His Son Hunter ‘Were Not Office Mates’ (Fox)
President Macron Says He is “Opposed to Self-Defense” (SN)
‘Pushed to the Brink of Collapse’: Chaos Behind Shanghai Lockdown Measures (ET)
WHO Will Assume Total Control Of Future Pandemics (Kirsch)
‘Mandatory Vaccination’ For All Germans Over 60 Expected To Pass (ZH)
The Teen Girls Aren’t Going to Forget (Suzy Weiss)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter was banned from Twitter yesterday, and then reinstated.

Ukraine War Could Have Been Avoided, but Here’s Why Putin Will Achieve His Goals

 

 

US intel is very sophisticated and very credible.

US Is Using Intel To Fight An Info War With Russia (NBC)

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance.

Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn’t betray sources and methods. Observers of all stripes have called it a bold and so far successful strategy — although not one without risks. “It’s the most amazing display of intelligence as an instrument of state power that I have seen or that I’ve heard of since the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Tim Weiner, the author of a 2006 history of the CIA and 2020’s “The Folly and the Glory,” a look at the U.S.-Russia rivalry over decades. “It has certainly blunted and defused the disinformation weaponry of the Kremlin.”

Four days before the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the U.S. publicized spy plane photos to show the Soviet Union had deployed nuclear missiles not far from Florida’s coast. The Biden administration began releasing reams of intelligence about what it said were Putin’s plans and intentions even before the invasion of Ukraine began. Just this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan stood at the White House podium and read out what officials said was more declassified intelligence, asserting that Russia’s pullout from areas around Kyiv wasn’t a retreat but a strategic redeployment that signals a significant assault on eastern and southern Ukraine, one that U.S. officials believe could be a protracted and bloody fight. The idea is to pre-empt and disrupt the Kremlin’s tactics, complicate its military campaign, “undermine Moscow’s propaganda and prevent Russia from defining how the war is perceived in the world,” said a Western government official familiar with the strategy.

Multiple U.S. officials acknowledged that the U.S. has used information as a weapon even when confidence in the accuracy of the information wasn’t high. Sometimes it has used low-confidence intelligence for deterrent effect, as with chemical agents, and other times, as an official put it, the U.S. is just “trying to get inside Putin’s head.” Some officials believe, however, that trying to get into Putin’s head is a meaningless exercise, because he will do what he wants regardless. After this story was published, a U.S. official told NBC News that “the U.S. government’s effort to strategically downgrade intelligence to share with allies and the public is underpinned by a rigorous review process by the National Security Council and the Intelligence Community to validate the quality of the information and protect sources and methods.” The official added that “we only approve the release of intelligence if we are confident those two requirements are met.”

US intel

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”Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it was “precise work” by Ukrainian troops.”

Video Appears To Show Ukrainian Soldiers Executing Russian Soldiers – NY Times (BI)

Video posted on Telegram Monday appears to show Ukrainian soldiers killing captured Russian troops in a village near Kyiv, according to a report from The New York Times. The video was verified by The Times, however, the outlet decided not to publish it due to its graphic nature. Per The Times it shows a Ukrainian soldier shooting a Russian soldier three times while another man says “he’s still alive. Film these marauders. Look, he’s still alive. He’s gasping.” The video, The Times reported, also shows at least three other Russian soldiers dead near the victim — identified by white armbands commonly worn by Russian troops. One of the soldiers has an obvious head wound and his hands are tied behind his back, according to the report from The Times.

The soldiers are surrounded by equipment and are laying on the road near a BMD-2 — an infantry vehicle used by Russia’s airborne units, according to military scholar Rob Lee. In the video, which was not independently verified by Insider, Ukrainian soldiers are identifiable by their blue armbands and repeat “glory to Ukraine” but their unit is unclear. A Ukrainian news agency said the ambush was the work of the “Georgian Legion” a group of Georgian volunteers that formed in 2014 to fight for Ukraine, according to The Times report.

The video was filmed north of the village of Dmytrivka, about seven miles southwest of Bucha, according to the Times report. Earlier this week, graphic videos emerged of at least 300 civilians killed in Bucha during Russia’s occupation of the city. Ukrainian officials say they were attacked as Russian troops were retreating. Ukrainian forces ambushed Russian troops around March 30, according to the Times report. In a tweet, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it was “precise work” by Ukrainian troops.

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What the sanctions are really worth.

UK Delays Tariffs On Russian Whitefish (Pol.eu)

Plans to impose sanctions on Russian whitefish have been postponed by the U.K. government amid fears over the impact on Britain’s seafood industry. Whitefish was among the Russian exports set to be slapped with a 35 percent tariff by the U.K. in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. A U.K. government official said the sanctions have been “delayed while we sort some technicalities,” but stressed that “we are totally committed to them.” Any suggestion the plans had been dropped entirely was “totally untrue,” the official added. Roughly 30 percent of the U.K.’s whitefish originates from Russia, which controls between 40 to 45 percent of the global supply, according to industry body Seafish.


When the measure was first announced, Britain’s seafood processing industry and struggling fish and chip shops, which rely on the supply of Russian whitefish including cod, said they feared price rises as a result of the sanctions could squeeze their businesses. Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said: “I think government wants more time to investigate the impact of sanctions on whitefish so have just held off for the time being. “We of course support any measures they deem suitable to bring the conflict to a speedier conclusion.” The whitefish sanctions were announced on March 15. However, unlike other Russian products targeted including cereal, cement and fertilizer, the tariffs were not imposed on whitefish when they came into force on March 24, according to Seafish, a public body that supports the U.K.’s seafood industry.

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It’s already done. Planting season is now.

America’s Largest Farm Cooperative Warns Sanctions May Spark Fertilizer Shortages (ZH)

America’s largest farmer cooperative sounded the alarm Wednesday about possible disruptions of fertilizer supplies from Russia due to Western sanctions on Moscow. CHS Inc., the largest agricultural cooperative in the US, said in an SEC filing that it’s concerned about obtaining Russian fertilizer because of sanctions making it “more expensive and difficult to do business with Russia.” CHS warned that sanctions could “cause delays with respect to, or prevent, shipments of fertilizer to us, cause inflationary pressures on and impact our ability to purchase fertilizer, disrupt the execution of banking transactions with certain Russian financial institutions and result in volatility in foreign exchange rates and interest rates, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.”

The cooperative said it holds no operations in Russia. However, it has $30 million in grain inventories sitting in silos in Ukraine and will have to take an “impairment charge” because of its inability to access those stockpiles. CHS warns there’s a risk the conflict in Ukraine “could lead to a much larger conflict and/or additional sanctions imposed by the United States government and other governments that restrict business with specific persons, organizations or countries or with respect to certain products or services.” And said if such an event did occur, it would wreck more global supply chains and “could materially adversely affect our business operations and financial performance.” For some context, Russia is one of the world’s largest fertilizer exports. Countries already afflicted by food insecurity, such as emerging market economies, will experience some of the first fertilizer and food shortages first. By the way, violent inflation protests are already beginning in Peru.

Famine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1511921482275999754

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The US is blind to its loss of power. Russia, India, the UAE, Brazil and Indonesia, China, that’s way more people than the US can strong-arm in 2022.

US Warns India Faces Significant Long-Term Costs If It Aligns With Russia (ZH)

Given that a handful of countries that rank among the top largest economies in the world have thus far been reluctant to firmly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this could prove the significant monkey wrench in US-EU plans to severely isolate and wreak havoc on global Russian exports. Among these include the obvious – China, but also there’s India, the UAE, Brazil and Indonesia. India for example – standing just behind the UK as the 6th largest economy – remains the the single largest buyer of Russian weapons. India is also reportedly seeking more discounted Russian oil, in what looks to be a potential move away from Saudi crude. In early March, The New York Times noted that India was among those countries dependent on many Russian imports that’s attempting to “stay above the fray”.

“When India abstained from a United Nations vote and the chorus of Western condemnation against the Ukraine invasion, it appeared to be taking sides: offering tacit support for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia,” the Times emphasized previously. And now Washington is putting New Delhi on notice that it faces ‘significant costs’ should it become aligned with Russia, and as a major export destination allowing Putin to side-step sanctions effects. The Biden administraiton’s Director of the National Economic Council of the United States Brian Deese has said the US remains “disappointed” with aspects of the Indian government’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis. “There are certainly areas where we have been disappointed by both China and India’s decisions, in the context of the invasion,” he said a Wednesday event in D.C.

He was cited as saying in Bloomberg: The US has told India that the consequences of a “more explicit strategic alignment” with Moscow would be “significant and long-term,” he said. India has so far rejected falling in line with the West’s anti-Russia sanctions, instead continuing to import Russian oil, which remains at an estimated 2% of its total oil imports.

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‘Very dear friends of mine, the sharp tip of the spear, were making welfare calls to me every day, basically to see if I was still alive.’

Whistleblower To Release 450 GB Of Deleted Files From Hunter’s Laptop (DM)

The source who distributed Hunter Biden’s laptop to congressmen and media has fled the US to Switzerland, saying he fears retaliation from the Biden administration. Jack Maxey gave DailyMail.com a copy of the hard drive from Hunter’s abandoned laptop in the spring of 2021. He also gave copies and material from it to the Washington Post, New York Times, and Senator Chuck Grassley in his role as ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee – but he claims they all sat on it for months. For the past two weeks, Maxey has been in hiding in Zurich, working with IT experts to dig out more data from the ‘laptop from hell’. Maxey, a former co-host of ex-Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s podcast the War Room, claims he and his colleagues have found ‘450 gigabytes of deleted material’ including 80,000 images and videos and more than 120,000 archived emails.

He said he intends to post them all online in a searchable database in the coming weeks. Hunter abandoned his laptop at a Delaware computer store in 2019. The owner, John Mac Isaac, gave a copy to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who passed it on to Maxey. ‘I came here so that we could do a forensic examination of Hunter’s laptop safely in a country that still respects human liberty and the ideals of liberal democratic principles,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘I do not believe this would have been possible inside the United States. We had numerous attempts on us from trying to do things like this there.’ Maxey said that after contacting DailyMail.com about the laptop last year, black suburban SUVs appeared outside his house, and former US intelligence officer friends he shared copies with told him they received strange calls.

‘I showed this to a friend of mine in desperation in February [2021] because nobody would listen to me. No news organizations would take it. In fact, the very first major news organization to take it was the Daily Mail,’ he said. ‘Very dear friends of mine, the sharp tip of the spear, were making welfare calls to me every day, basically to see if I was still alive.’

Darryl Cooper

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She’s openly calling Hunter a liar now. Shouldn’t Joe stand up for “the smartest man I know”?

And also:

“In the email, Hunter Biden also requests keys for Gongwen Dong, whom he describes as an “emissary” for Ye Jianming — the chairman of CEFC Chinese Energy Co.”

Psaki Says Joe Biden And His Son Hunter ‘Were Not Office Mates’ (Fox)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied on Wednesday previous reports that claimed Hunter Biden and his father, President Biden, were “office mates.” Asked by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy about “evidence that the president, at one point, was office mates with Hunter and his brother Jim here in D.C.,” Psaki said the reports were “not accurate.” Hunter Biden requested in 2017 that keys be made for his new “office mates,” listing his father, Jill Biden, and his uncle Jim Biden, for space he planned to share with an “emissary” for a chairman of a Chinese energy company, according to an email obtained by Fox News.


A Sept. 20, 2017 email obtained by Fox News shows Hunter requesting keys for Joe and Jill Biden, along with Jim Biden, for space he planned to share with an “emissary” for a chairman of a Chinese energy company. The email was sent to the general manager, Cecilia Browning, at the House of Sweden — a building in Washington, D.C., that contains multiple office suites and a number of embassies. “Please have keys made available for new office mates: Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Jim Biden,” said the email, with the subject “507.” In the email, Hunter Biden also requests keys for Gongwen Dong, whom he describes as an “emissary” for Ye Jianming — the chairman of CEFC Chinese Energy Co.

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“..because otherwise the country becomes the Wild West..”

Actually, that is what it is without self-defense…

Idiot.

President Macron Says He is “Opposed to Self-Defense” (SN)

After a farmer was charged with murder for shooting a man after four burglars broke into his home, French President Emmanuel Macron said people should not have the right to self-defense. Yes, really. “According to the initial investigation, the farmer fired twice with a large caliber rifle at a group of four burglars, killing one of them. The self-defense shooting took place last Friday, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., and the man was alone with his 3-year-old daughter at the time,” reports Remix News. However, Macron responded to the story by asserting that the 35-year-old farmer had no right to defend himself or his daughter in such a manner. “Everyone must be safe, and the public authorities have to ensure it,” Macron told Europe 1.


“But I am opposed to self-defense. It’s very clear and undisputable because otherwise the country becomes the Wild West. And I don’t want a country where weapons proliferate and where we consider that it’s up to the citizens to defend themselves,” said Macron. Presumably, the farmer should have just allowed the four burglars to ransack his home and potentially harm his young daughter without doing anything to intervene. Macron insisted that the farmer should have called the police, who in many areas of France are already stretched to the limit thanks to criminal gangs of migrants youths being in a perpetual state of war with them. “I’m not going to judge this news. I convey the rules,” said Macron, whose weak record on security and crime is under scrutiny.

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“Let me reiterate, do not bother checking your health cloud, it’s all a negative result. Only we will notify you when you have tested positive.” The caller responded, “So what we see is all fake?” She said, “That’s right.”

‘Pushed to the Brink of Collapse’: Chaos Behind Shanghai Lockdown Measures (ET)

While Shanghai continues its lockdown and massive PCR testing campaign as COVID-19 surges through the city, a CDC expert’s complaint about chaotic PCR test reports that have confused people was recently exposed online. Shanghai CDC issued a notice demanding staff answer public inquiries “in line with the policy.” There have been complaints about the conflicting PCR test results on Chinese social media because people receive a negative test result on their cell phones but then receive a positive test result from the CDC. Shanghai adopted the Healthcare Cloud app as its integrated Internet and Healthcare services platform. Locals register through the app for a PCR test and receive the test result on their cell phones.

However, many people received a negative test notice via the app but still were then notified by CDC that they had tested positive and were thus subject to quarantine. Complaints have flooded the Shanghai CDC hotline. A recently leaked recording of a CDC expert responding to a caller revealed how the app has been problematic, how overloaded health workers have been stymied by a lack of transparency in pandemic prevention, and how the pandemic has become a political issue. In the recording, the expert said, “We have received hundreds of calls every day, but our jobs are epidemiological investigations. We can’t solve your problem.” She said, “Let me tell you the facts: There’s no ward, the quarantine sites are filled, and there’s no ambulance.”

A male was heard complaining, “But we have no way to address our issue, even Weibo is blocked.” The expert said, “I have brought this up too many times; as an expert, I have suggested that the mild to no symptom patients stay at home. Does anyone listen? No!” She continued, “Let me reiterate, do not bother checking your health cloud, it’s all a negative result. Only we will notify you when you have tested positive.” The caller responded, “So what we see is all fake?” She said, “That’s right.”

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No, they won’t. Wanna bet?

WHO Will Assume Total Control Of Future Pandemics (Kirsch)

Thanks to Mike Yeadon for alerting me to this. Here’s Mike’s message to me (excerpt): “Steve, I’ve heard about this from half a dozen sources & I’m sorry to say that the concerns expressed are wholly justified. It’s a mad idea, but since certain individuals & nations have pretty much taken over the WHO, I think it’s a certainty that, if this new treaty gets signed, within a few years at most, a “public health emergency of International concern” will be declared, and all currently sovereign nations will become controlled subsidiaries of WHO. … No government should even have the power to throw their country over to a third party. If that happened, they’d never give it back. U.K. parliament signed up to emergency powers on the occasion of the first lockdown over two years ago. That temporary bill has never been repealed. We have no rights whatsoever if they decide we don’t. This is the main reason we emigrated.

Here’s the best practical reason not to sign such a treaty, aside from its anti-democratic central problem: Imagine there’s a new pathogen spreading across the world. Nobody, anywhere, knows what the best response should be. By definition it’s not known. History teaches us that we alight most rapidly upon probable best courses of action, not from modeling, but from empirical evidence. Running a large number of experiments, based on the smartest public health, medical & scientific brains, will quickly tell us what kinds of responses are helpful & which are not. Maintaining very good communication makes sure lessons learned are shared quickly. The worst conceivable response would be to place the decision making power in the hands of a single body. They’ll likely run one experiment. We’ll never learn the counterfactual. On this basis, I don’t even understand why anyone would fall for the idiotic notion that letting WHO have the controls would be a great idea. Even if they were honest & competent.

Please let me know if I can help in any way.

Best wishes

Mike

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Mandatory adverse effects.

‘Mandatory Vaccination’ For All Germans Over 60 Expected To Pass (ZH)

The COVID pandemic has largely subsided in Europe (although health authorities have warned about an uptick in cases caused by subvariants and hybrid variants of the omicron strain). But this hasn’t stopped German lawmakers from pushing for a new law that would legally require people age 60 and older to be vaccinated. But that’s not all. The deal struck by members of Germany’s ruling “stop sign” coalition, which includes Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the ‘classical liberal’ Free Democrats, also includes an option for making COVID shots mandatory for everybody age 18 and older. That second provision will depend on how the next wave of the pandemic develops during the fall, according to Bloomberg, which cited a local report.


According to other provisions in the proposed law, the government would initially try to “encourage” the unvaccinated to voluntary submit to inoculation (Germany still has millions of unvaccinated citizens, not unlike the US). Fortunately, even if the proposal becomes a law (it’s due for a vote on Thursday), it will also include provisions that would reverse the situation if enough people receive their COVID shots voluntarily before the summer. Lawmakers told Bloomberg that the goal of the proposal is “effective prevention.” “We are united by the goal of effective prevention through the highest possible level of basic immunity for all adults for the fall, because in this way we can prevent the health system from being overwhelmed,” they added. Germany is still recording more than 200,000 cases and more than 300 deaths from the virus on most days. But with more than 75% of its population vaccinated, the pressure on the country’s health-care system has significantly lessened since the depths of the pandemic.

UK jab effectiveness

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“it’s like a sci-fi show where people went to sleep and woke up two years later, and the world has moved on but they haven’t.”

The Teen Girls Aren’t Going to Forget (Suzy Weiss)

Lily May Holland, 16, remembers the long, lonely days during lockdown when her parents, both doctors, were at work. She’d watch “Gilmore Girls” and “Gossip Girl” and “Grey’s Anatomy” over and over. She stopped eating and started doing Chloe Ting workouts. “I’d have gum and a smoothie all day,” she said. They lived in the sticks north of Charlottesville, Virginia, on a dirt road between farms and trailer parks and the occasional Baptist church, and she didn’t have a license, so she couldn’t go anywhere or meet any friends. Teachers would post assignments online, but it was like—who cared? Everything happened in isolation, like they were atoms. “I would’ve gone to parties, and me and my friends were planning to go to concerts, and homecoming,” Lily said. “I had crushes freshman year. But all that fell away.”

Teenagers need a social life. Every single study and report and piece of data tells us so. But we don’t need studies to tell us what we all already know. Ask yourself: What would it have been like if you had spent your thirteenth year in solitude? It was more than a year, actually. Millions of American kids had gone a year-and-a-half mostly alone. And every single girl I spoke to said the same thing about the experience: They felt like they were sinking, or being swallowed up. So it almost seemed like an understatement when, in December 2021, the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, said the effect of the lockdowns had been “devastating” for young people’s mental health. “Usually, kids would be learning to disobey their parents and stay out late and figure out the consequences, but there was just none of that,” said Regine Galanti, a clinical psychologist in New York who specializes in adolescents with anxiety disorders.

The impact of all that emptiness—the zig-zagging from one hazy, blue-ish screen to another and then to another—was starting to come into focus, and it was scary. Lily said that, at some point mid-lockdown, she got sick of communicating with other human beings via iPhone. So then she stopped communicating at all. Galanti said, “It’s almost like a volcano that we set ourselves up for.”It was an unprecedented volcano. In the past, Earth-shaking events—the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam—had forced kids to grow up. Teenagers got jobs or were deployed overseas, and when they came back they settled down and had kids or left home and fled to the big city. The point is that they started their lives.

Covid did the opposite. Instead of nudging young people out the door, it anchored them to their parents, to their bedrooms and to their screens. And now that the madness is finally ebbing, they’re unsure how to proceed. Galanti said, “it’s like a sci-fi show where people went to sleep and woke up two years later, and the world has moved on but they haven’t.”

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Tsernigov

 

 

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Mar 042021
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

It’s Time for Major Wealth Redistribution (Lee Camp)
Joe Biden Just Yanked Away Stimulus Checks From 17 Million Americans (Week)
COVID Relief Showers States With 600% Of Lost Tax Revs (ZH)
Durham File: A Documentary Roadmap To Special Counsel Probe (JTN)
Trump Eyes 2024 Run Without Mike Pence (ZH)
A Change in the Water (Ben Hunt)
When Does This Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Finally Implode? (CHS)
No Shots Fired By Rioters, No Firearms Recovered During Siege On Capitol (JTN)
Biden Bans Export Of Defense Articles To Russia, Which Got None Since WWII (RT)
Delusions of Self-Defense: Biden Bombs Syria (OffG.)

 

 

So many articles today, I’ll put up a separate Covid Rattle shortly here: Covid Rattle March 4 2021.

 

 

“Tucker every once in a while has a segment that just completely knocks it out of the park.This is one of those times.”
Tucker Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

 

Excess savings, sure, but only among the rich. Who don’t spend it.

 

 

“..the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality has grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018..”

It’s Time for Major Wealth Redistribution (Lee Camp)

[..] we desperately need wealth redistribution. And before anyone starts yelling something about Joseph Stalin, here’s the part that’s going to blow your mind — in the United States we’ve already had wealth redistribution for decades. Fifty trillion dollars has been redistributed from the poorest Americans to the top one percent over the past several decades. That’s right, a new study shows the richest people in the world have stolen trillions from average Americans. To put this in easier to access terms — you know how mad you get when someone takes the last donut? Well, imagine that multiplied by 50 trillion. (Quick reminder: If you make $40,000 a year, it would take you 1.25 Billion years to make $50 trillion.)

The new study reveals, “…that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality has grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. At a recent pace of about $2.5 trillion a year, that number we estimate crossed the $50 trillion mark by early 2020.” And to be clear, this money has been stolen from nearly every American. Had income distribution and buying power remained the same as it was from the end of World War II to 1975, ” . . . the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is … enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year.”

The richest people in America are pilfering over $1,100 from you personally and everyone you know every single month of every single year. Just imagine what each living soul in America could do with an extra $13,700 per year — how many people that would feed, how much less stressful their lives would be, how many fewer foreclosures there would be, and how many more people would get the healthcare they need. Yet every time the most modest tax increases are proposed on the richest Americans, or every time someone so much as mumbles about putting in a public jungle gym or putting in filters to take the metal chunks out of the water or fixing the holes in our bridges that are bigger than the ones in Maria Bartiromo’s head — every time someone brings up these common sense solutions, the elites of our society (who own the media outlets and the levers of the state and the law enforcement and the courts) start screaming from their wine-soaked ski resort orgy balconies, “That’s wealth redistribution! That’s class war!”

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Sure they’ll all vote for him again.

Joe Biden Just Yanked Away Stimulus Checks From 17 Million Americans (Week)

During the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. After they did, the administration argued that $2,000 really meant $1,400 in addition to the $600 that had already gone out in the December rescue package. Whether that is true or not, now Biden is inarguably breaking his promise. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. In the previous packages, the amount started phasing out at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and vanished entirely at $100,000 and $200,000 respectively (as of 2019). Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples.


The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. But now singles making between $80,000-100,000 and couples making between $160,000-200,000 will get nothing. The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reports that roughly 17 million people who previously got checks now will not. The supposed justification here is that moderates want the aid to be more “targeted.” In fact this formula is horribly inaccurate, because the income data the IRS uses is from the year before the pandemic (unless people have already filed their taxes — and by the way, if your income decreased in 2020, you should do that immediately). This formula is therefore doubly wrong — there are no doubt millions of people who have lost jobs and should qualify but won’t, and a smaller number that have gotten raises and shouldn’t qualify but will. And this change will only save a pitiful $12 billion.

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So the states get what their citizens can’t.

COVID Relief Showers States With 600% Of Lost Tax Revs (ZH)

Joe Biden is giving so much money to states as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that they’re set to receive approximately six times more money than estimated tax revenue shortfalls across the country, according to Bloomberg. While the package carves out nearly $200 billion for state governments, the cumulative tax revenues which have disappeared in the current fiscal year are just $31 billion. “In other words, that money could make up for that loss and be plowed back into states’ economies, such as their own version of relief checks, infrastructure projects and more, depending on the federal guidelines around the aid.”

In short – states, assuming they don’t squander the funds (who are we kidding?), could play a pivotal role in accelerating the recovery – assuming the money actually stimulates jobs and/or ends up in the hands of consumers. The funds would also allow for the unwinding of various budgetary cuts which began last March, and are responsible for the elimination of more than 1.3 million state and local government jobs – which Bloomberg notes is “nearly twice as many as were lost after the last recession.” Republicans, however, argue that some of the stimulus should be cut or shifted to other priorities which could have a more immediate impact than essentially giving states their own giant slush funds.

“If the whole point of this bill is to stimulate economic activity, the federal government has ways of doing that, that may be more efficient than sending checks to state and local governments,” said Moody’s director of public sector research, which estimates that $56 billion is the actual price tag states need to cover shortfalls through 2022 after previously allocated aid is taken into account. Bloomberg also notes that “the financial impact overall has been far smaller than initially feared when Covid last year sent the US economy into the deepest recession since World War II, which left governors nationwide braving for the gravest fiscal crisis of modern times.”

Deficits on that scale were averted after the federal government pushed through stimulus plans in March and again late last year, driving stocks to record highs and promising to increase collections of capital gains taxes. The magnitude of the shortfalls also reflects the unusually uneven nature of the recession: While lower paid service industry employees were thrown out of work, the highest earners who pay far more in state taxes were less affected because they were able to work from home.

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A lot of information here.

Durham File: A Documentary Roadmap To Special Counsel Probe (JTN)

Freed from his double duty as Connecticut’s chief federal prosecutor, Special Counsel John Durham is zeroing in on the final phase of his far-reaching investigation into whether FBI officials or others committed crimes while conducting the Russia collusion probe, such as misleading federal judges or Congress. All expectations were that Durham would wrap up his probe with final indictments and/or a report last fall after a plea deal was reached with former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted he falsified a document submitted to substantiate an application for a surveillance warrant targeting the Trump campaign.

But FBI Director Chris Wray revealed Tuesday that the entire process — including the bureau’s ability to discipline agents involved in the Russia case — was slowed down at Durham’s request because of continuing concerns about potential criminality. “Because we are cooperating fully with Mr. Durham’s investigation, at his request we had slowed that process down to allow his criminal investigation to proceed,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “So at the moment, that process is still underway in order to make sure we are being appropriately sensitive to the criminal investigation.” Wray’s comments signaling additional crimes are being investigated are consistent with what former Attorney General William Barr said late last year when he upgraded Durham from a U.S. attorney to a special counsel and expanded his investigative staff.

Interviews with a half dozen sources who have had interactions with Durham’s team say he is focused on whether FBI executives knowingly and unlawfully misled the FISA court and Congress by withholding exculpatory evidence, extending an investigation without justification and creating the illusion there was evidence of Russia collusion when most had been debunked or dismissed. The sources said one former senior FBI official has provided invaluable cooperation and context to what decisions FBI leadership and field agents were making in the probe on such consequential matters as what to tell Congress, the courts and Justice Department lawyers about the flaws, political origins and falsehoods in the Russia collusion narrative.

Most of the evidence that supports those concerns is now in the public domain after a series of declassifications that began last year and ended when former President Donald Trump declassified hundreds of pages of the most sensitive evidence during his last 24 hours in office in January. .

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May be he should let Biden’s blunders grab the spotlight for a while.

Trump Eyes 2024 Run Without Mike Pence (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump is telling allies he’s seriously considering a run for president in 2024, but may do so without former Vice President Mike Pence on his ticket, according to Bloomberg, citing ‘people familiar with the discussions.’ On Sunday, Trump all but announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he was running again – while privately, according to two of Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, he’s discussed “alternatives to Pence as he takes stock of who he believes stood with him at the end of his term and who didn’t.” Trump’s advisers have discussed identifying a Black or female running mate for his next run, and three of the people familiar with the matter said Pence likely won’t be on the ticket.

That said, given Trump’s history of choosing the ‘best person for the job’ regardless of color or sex, and notwithstanding obvious establishment picks, we imagine that last bit may be a non-starter for Trump. According to the report, Trump is considering South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem – who Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle are hosting a Friday fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. Meanwhile, Trump publicly endorsed South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s re-election. Scott is the only black Republican in the Senate.Following the 2020 election, Trump was livid after Pence didn’t “do the right thing” and reject Electoral College votes for Joe Biden from several contested states. In response, Trump tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.”

Pence rejected his boss’s appeals to unilaterally overturn Trump’s re-election defeat when he presided over the congressional count of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. The event turned into an insurrection by Trump’s supporters, who invaded the Capitol, disrupted the count and forced the vice president and members of Congress to flee. Five people died in the melee. The two men didn’t speak for days afterward. Pence hasn’t said whether he’d be interested in running with Trump again, according to person familiar with the situation, who believes it’s doubtful Pence would. -Bloomberg. “President Trump hasn’t made any decisions regarding a potential 2024 run, but the buried lede here is that the media can’t stop talking about him,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. According to the report “there’s been no serious consideration of future vice presidential candidates yet,” and if Trump runs, he won’t likely make a formal announcement until summer 2023, according to the anonymous sources.

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Inflation?!

A Change in the Water (Ben Hunt)

Every morning, we take the previous day’s financial news – all of it – and run it through the Narrative Machine to see if any interesting clusters pop out as a topic for us to write about in one of these quick Zeitgeist notes. And when I say clusters, I literally mean clusters – the building blocks of a graphical representation of linguistic connectivity. But when I say clusters, what I really mean is patterns. I really mean changes in the narrative structure. We’re not doing this to learn new facts. We’re not really interested in the specifics of what people are saying. We are very interested, though, in how people are saying it. We’re looking for changes in how we talk about what is important in markets and investing. We’re looking for changes in the water in which we swim.

That water is changing today. It’s changing a lot. Increasingly, the common knowledge of our investment world – what everyone knows that everyone knows – is that inflation is a problem and you should be focused on it. For example, today in a popular financial news media aggregator, RealClearMarkets.com, of the 21 articles highlighted on their frontpage aggregator, 6 of them were about inflation … is it here? is it coming? what does it mean for your portfolio? does Bitcoin fix this? etc. etc. Again, I have zero interest in the specifics or the facts or the message or the sentiment of these selected articles (even though one of them was yesterday’s Epsilon Theory note).


What interests me a lot, though, is the CHOICE made by the editors and algorithms of RealClearMarkets.com to select these articles over all of the other financial news stories available to them. What interests me a lot is the recursive ENGAGEMENT that these articles and their shared linguistic structures trigger in readers, such that they will look for more articles on this topic, which means that more articles on this topic will be written. This is how common knowledge happens. This is how the water in which we swim changes.

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“Wall Street and its vast army of apologists, lackeys, toadies, schemers, scammers, con-artists and profiteers will have us believe that the Everything Bubble is permanent..”

When Does This Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Finally Implode? (CHS)

The mutually reinforcing crises aren’t in the future, they’re here now, and Jay Powell’s shuck-and-jive has lost its magical powers to cloak the rot with speculative bubbles. How many more times do we have to watch Jay Powell claim his speculative bubble isn’t a bubble, and that his massive expansion of billionaires’ fortunes will magically create jobs for all those living in the real world he’s created of stagnation, social depression and inequality? In other words, when will this travesty of a mockery of a sham finally implode? When will the Universe tire of the lies, fraud, embezzlement and corruption and bring the whole rotten charade down? When will we tire of the stale tale of reflation, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

We all know the Status Quo’s response to the global financial meltdown of 2008 has been a travesty of a mockery of a sham–smoke and mirrors, phony facades of “recovery”, simulacrum “reforms,” serial bubble-blowing and politically expedient can-kicking, all based on borrowing and printing trillions of dollars, yen, euros and yuan, quatloos, etc. and funneling them to financiers, corporations, monopolies, cronies and billionaires. When will the travesty of a mockery of a sham finally come to an end? How many more “saves” does the Ponzi Scheme of central banking possess? Wall Street and its vast army of apologists, lackeys, toadies, schemers, scammers, con-artists and profiteers will have us believe that the Everything Bubble is permanent and its continued expansion will hide all the systemic rot hollowing out America.

On the other hand, maybe manipulation, lies and artifice can no longer keep the Everything Bubble from popping. The chart I prepared back in 2008 (below) give us a flavor of the confluence of crises that are no longer in the future–they’re here now. Cycles are not laws of Nature, of course; they are only records of previous periods of growth/excess/depletion/collapse, not predictions per se. Nonetheless their repetition reflects the systemic dynamic of growth, crisis and collapse, and so the study of cycles is instructive even though we stipulate they are not predictive.

Since each mechanism that burns out or implodes tends to be replaced with some other mechanism, this creates the recurring cycle of expansion / excess / depletion / collapse. Four long-wave cycles are plotted in the chart:

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“No one has been charged with a firearms violation.”

No Shots Fired By Rioters, No Firearms Recovered During Siege On Capitol (JTN)

No firearms were recovered on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 during the riot, and no shots were fired by the demonstrators, an FBI official on Wednesday told Congress.”To my knowledge we have not recovered any [firearms] on that day from any of the arrests at the scene at this point,” said Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “No one has been charged with a firearms violation.” Sanborn made her comments during a joint oversight hearing in the Senate to examine the breach of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to Sanborn, witnesses included the commander of the Washington, D.C. National Guard, and civilian officials from the Pentagon.

During testimony, Sanborn responded to questions from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who asked whether firearms were present or used during the siege. “How many shots were fired that we know of?” Johnson asked. “The only shots fired were the ones that resulted in the death of the one lady,” Sanborn said, referencing Ashli Babbitt, a protester who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer during heightened tension inside the building. Other testimony examined the timeline of when the National Guard was dispatched to help an overwhelmed civilian police force during the siege on the Capitol.

The National Guard was dispatched to the riot more than three hours after Capitol Police made a desperate call for help with a “dire emergency,” a two-star general testified Wednesday before Congress. Major Gen. William Walker, who commands the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the 1:49 p.m. call for help from the guard on Jan. 6 was approved in a message that reached him after 5 p.m. At that point, troops who were waiting on buses sped to the Capitol, and helped to secure a perimeter, Walker said. Walker made his comments during a hearing to examine the breach of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to Walker, civilian officials from the Pentagon and the FBI are scheduled to testify.

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“More US sanctions were announced yesterday against our country. In this particular case, with regard to arms exports, they cause bewilderment…”

Biden Bans Export Of Defense Articles To Russia, Which Got None Since WWII (RT)

Russia’s Service of Military-Technical Cooperation has noted its “bewilderment” after Washington imposed an export ban on “defense articles and defense services” to the country, despite Russia not receiving any US arms since 1945. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled new sanctions against Moscow after the alleged poisoning and “attempted assassination of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.” “The US government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia’s use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences,” a press statement from Blinken said. As part of the restrictions, Russia has been included in Section 126.1 of the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which essentially means that any requests from Moscow to buy defense-related items would be flatly rejected.

“More US sanctions were announced yesterday against our country. In this particular case, with regard to arms exports, they cause bewilderment,” the federal service noted. “Arms supplies from the United States to Russia are not carried out and, of course, are not planned.” The government body also noted that the last time any military equipment was delivered to Russia from the US was through the lend-lease program during WWII, which ended on August 21, 1945. Speaking to Moscow daily RBK, Russian International Affairs Council expert Andrey Frolov noted that the new sanctions are likely to be toothless and do not pose any threat to the military-industrial complex, which does not rely on American supplies.

Another expert, Ruslan Pukhov from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies think tank, revealed that restrictions won’t actually prevent any export contracts if the US wants to implement them. In particular, he cited the example of Rosoboronexport, which was removed from the sanctions list to sign a contract to supply the Afghan Army with helicopters, and was put back on the list straight after.

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Defying credulity, the spokesman suggested that the US had “acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”

Delusions of Self-Defense: Biden Bombs Syria (OffG.)

Every power worth its portion of salt in the Levant these days seems to be doing it. On February 25, President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against Syria. The premise for the attacks was implausible. “These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq,” claimed Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “and to ongoing threats to those personnel.” More specifically, the strikes were in retaliation for rocket attacks in northern Iraq on the airport of Erbil that left a Filipino contractor working for the US military dead and six others injured, including a Louisiana National Guard soldier. The targets in Syria were facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack left up to 22 people dead.

The Biden administration has resorted to tactics long embraced by US presidents. To be noticed, you need to bomb a country. The measure, more a sign of raging impotence than stark virility, is always larded with jargon and bureaucratic platitudes.“We said a number of times that we will respond on our timeline,” explained Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to reporters keeping him company on a flight from California to Washington. “We wanted to be sure of the connectivity and we wanted to be sure about the right targets.” He was convinced “that the target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the [February 15] strikes.”

Seven 500-pound bombs were used in the operation, though Stars and Stripes initially reported that “the type of weaponry used” was not disclosed. The Pentagon had been keen to push a larger range of targets, but Biden was being presidential in restraint, approving, as the New York Times puts it, “a less aggressive option”. Kirby insisted the operation had been the sensible outcome of discussions with coalition partners. “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel.” Defying credulity, the spokesman suggested that the US had “acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”

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