Feb 032024
 
 February 3, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Gustave Courbet The bathers 1853

 

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)
EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)
Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)
Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)
Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)
Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)
Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)
Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)
China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)
Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)
Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)
Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)
Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)
War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)
Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

 

 


• South Korea has the world’s lowest birth rate and it has become a national emergency.
• China’s population drops for second year, with record low birth rate
• U.S. birth rate declined 30% in 15 years
• Canada’s fertility rate lowest on record
• France’s birth rates are the lowest since 1946
• Ukraine, Romania, Belarus and Moldova are among the top 10 countries in the world with the biggest population decline.
• Japan is also staring at a population crisis. Its birth rate declined for the seventh consecutive year.

 

 

Dr. Drew

 

 

Ron Paul

 

 

“MINUTE ORDER as to DONALD J. TRUMP:…the March 4, 2024 trial set by the court’s 39 Pretrial Order, as amended, is hereby VACATED. The court will set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/2/2024. (zjd) (Entered: 02/02/2024)”

 

 

SNL

 

 

 

 

NYFlorida

 

 

Sheriff

 

 

 

 

“..The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’..”

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)

“The Iranians have a strategy, and we don’t”, a former senior U.S. Defence Department official told Al-Monitor: “We’re getting bogged down in tactical weeds – of whom to target and how – and nobody’s thinking strategically”. The former Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar has coined the term ‘swarming’ to describe this process of non-state actors miring the U.S. in the tactical attrition – from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. ‘Swarming’ has been associated more recently with a radical evolution in modern warfare (most evident in Ukraine), where the use of autonomous swarming drones, continuously communicating with each other via AI, select and direct the attack to targets identified by the swarm.In the Ukraine, Russia has pursued a patient, calibrated attrition to drive hard-Right ultranationalists from the field of battle (in central and eastern Ukraine), together with their western NATO facilitators.

NATO attempts at deterrence towards Russia (that recently have veered off into ‘terrorist’ attacks inside Russia – i.e. on Belgorod) notably have failed to produce results. Rather, Biden’s close embrace of Kiev has left him exposed politically, as U.S. and European zeal for the project implodes. The war has bogged down the U.S., without any electorally acceptable exit – and all can see it. Moscow drew-in Biden to an elaborate attritional web. He should ‘get out’ quick – but the 2024 campaign binds him.So, Iran has been setting a very similar strategy throughout the Gulf, maybe taking its cue from the Ukraine conflict.Less than a day after the attack on Tower 22, the military base ambiguously perched on the membrane between Jordan and the illegal U.S. al-Tanaf base in Syria, Biden promised that the U.S. would provide a quick and determined response to the attacks against it in Iraq and Syria (by what he calls ‘Iran-linked’ militia).

Simultaneously however, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated that the U.S. doesn’t want to expand military operations opposite Iran. Just as in Ukraine, where the White House has been loath to provoke Moscow into all-out war versus NATO, so too in the region, Biden is (rightly) wary of out-right war with Iran. Biden’s political considerations in this election-year will be uppermost. And that, at least partly, will depend on the fine calibration by the Pentagon of just how exposed to missile and drone attacks U.S. forces are in Iraq and Syria. The bases there are ‘sitting ducks’; a fact that would be an embarrassing admission. But a hurried evacuation (with overtones of the last flights from Kabul) would be worse; it could be electorally disastrous. The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’, yet without perhaps doing real damage – i.e. it is a form of ‘militarised psychotherapy’, rather than hard politics.

Risks remain: bomb too much, and the wider regional war will ignite to a new level. Bomb too little, and the swarm just rolls on, ‘swarming’ the U.S. on multiple fronts until it finally caves – and finally exits the Levant. Biden thus finds himself in an exhausting, ongoing secondary war with groups and militias rather than states (whom the Axis seeks to shield). In spite of its militia character, however the war has been causing major damage to the economies of states in the region. They have fathomed that American deterrence has not been showing results (i.e., with Ansarallah in the Red Sea). Some of those countries – including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – have initiated ‘private’ steps that were not coordinated with the U.S. They are not only speaking with these militia and movements, but also directly with Iran. The strategy to ‘swarm’ the U.S. on multiple fronts was plainly stated at the recent ‘Astana Format’ meeting between Russia, Iran, and Turkey on 24-25 January. The latter triumvirate are busy preparing the endgame in Syria (and ultimately, in the Region as a whole).

The joint statement after the Astana Format meeting in Kazakhstan, MK Bhadrakumar has noted: “is a remarkable document predicated almost entirely on an end to the U.S. occupation of Syria. It indirectly urges Washington to give up its support of terrorist groups and their affiliates “operating under different names in various parts of Syria” as part of attempts to create new realities on the ground, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives under the pretext of ‘combating terrorism.’ It demands an end to the U.S.’ illegal seizure and transfer of oil resources “that should belong to Syria””.

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“..polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine..”

EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)

Finally, the European Union’s threats, blackmail, and arm-twisting have paid off to push through a giant €50 billion aid package to the hopelessly corrupt Kiev regime. This is while European farmers revolt against the EU leadership over higher energy costs and cheap imports from Ukraine that are putting them out of business and wiping out their livelihoods. The EU leaders are committing the entire bloc of 500 million people to political suicide. The reckless cavalier attitude is something to behold. Bring on the pitchforks, Merci! The 27 leaders of the European Union met in an emergency summit this week not to deal with the bloc’s mounting internal political, economic, and social problems but rather to lavish mountains of more aid on non-member Ukraine.

When the leaders held their last summit in December, it was a spectacle of back-biting and sordid wrangling. At that gathering, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the allocation of more funds to the Ukrainian regime amid bitter recrimination and bickering. This time around, however, Hungary caved in to the intense pressure to agree on the package. Days before the summit in Brussels this week, it was reported by the Financial Times that the European Council had drawn up plans to sabotage the Hungarian economy if Budapest persisted in not signing up for the massive aid plan. That speaks volumes about the perverse mindset at the apex of the EU bureaucracy. It demonstrates the undemocratic character of the bloc despite pretentious claims to the contrary.

Brussels had already frozen up to €10 billion in central funding for Hungary and there were reported threats to remove Budapest’s voting rights in the bloc’s decision-making which would have been a blatant violation of the EU’s declared principle of unanimity. The allocation of €50 billion to a non-member state is astounding. Even more bewildering is that the latest largesse is only a fraction of the total aid that the EU leadership has pumped into Ukraine since the proxy war against Russia erupted in February 2022. Over the past two years, the European Union has given the Kiev regime an estimated €100 billion.The United States and other Western allies have also plied Ukraine with another €100 billion. About half of this goes on weapons, while the other half pays for state financing.

As we have noted here previously, the cumulative funding by the West to Ukraine has far exceeded the historic Marshall Fund that the U.S. allocated to all of Europe for reconstruction following World War Two (about €170 billion in today’s money).There is simply no precedent or justifiable rationale for this mobilization of financial support for Ukraine. This has all been done as a fait accompli by an elite class with no democratic mandate. No referenda have been conducted to consult the public about the inordinate expenditure. Indeed, polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine.

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“..EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels..”

Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)

“Agreement! The European Council delivered on our priorities. Supporting Ukraine…. A good day for Europe,” tweeted unelected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, as EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels, where a reported 1,300 tractors gathered in protest. Surely it must have been in anticipation of this “great day for Europe” that Brussels rolled out the barbed wire to keep the bloc’s own struggling farmers at bay while its leaders cut yet another check for Ukraine — after threatening the one anticipated holdout with national economic “blackmail,” as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban qualified it. It’s hard to believe that this meeting actually took place in Brussels. These officials are so disconnected from reality that it may as well have been held on a whole other planet.

Unlike the Ukrainian products making their way onto Western European dinner plates to stick it to Russian President Vladimir Putin (because turtlenecks and short, cold showers apparently failed to do the job), this crisis is certifiably EU-made. No one knows this better than the farmers, who also realize that it makes more sense to blockade the streets of Brussels than the national highways of their home countries, which they’ve been doing with overwhelming public support – from nine out of every ten citizens in the case of France, according to a recent Odoxa poll. It was the EU with its climate change obsession that imposed a Common Agricultural Policy on farmers across the entire bloc, managed by bureaucrats divorced from the reality on the ground. Pencil pushers use EU Copernicus satellite images to spy and crack down on farmers whose paperwork doesn’t match – even if any discrepancies can be chalked up to uncontrollable but temporary conditions like the weather.

It was also the EU that piled on regulations under the pretext of ensuring the quality of farm products, while at the same time flooding the bloc with grain, poultry, and other imports from Ukraine. Does “Chernobyl chicken” mass-produced by workers who are paid a pittance represent a threat to the physical health of citizens and economic health of farmers? If not, then why can’t Brussels take its jackboot off the necks of its own farmers so they can compete on a level playing field? The EU has also suddenly decided to ease up on some pesticide bans, angering greens. Paris is promoting the idea that ideologically-driven bans need to end, which seems like a tacit admission of their uselessness. So what should we be more worried about now – ideologically-driven authoritarianism under the guise of health consciousness, or an actual health threat?

And what about that Ukrainian grain that EU officials demanded Russia unblock to feed the poor in developing countries? It turns out that Turkey and Russia were right when they raised the alarm about it just being dumped right next door in Europe, and it sounds like Russian President Vladimir Putin was effectively a bigger defender of EU farmers’ interests than Brussels was. But who’s even surprised anymore by Brussels’ misplaced priorities, given the image that has now emerged of another €50 billion ($54 billion) going out the door to Kiev, in support of a country that’s undercutting the EU’s own farmers without even being in the EU itself?

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“..over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions..”

Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)

For much of the Merkel era, Germany stood as an island of economic and political stability amid Europe’s perennially stormy waters. Those days, however, seem like a distant memory. Europe is still in crisis — but now Germany is the epicentre. It is, once again, the sick man of Europe. Anti-government demonstrations are rare in Germany. So when hundreds of angry farmers and their tractors descended on Berlin in mid-December, to protest a planned cut to diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles as part of a new wave of austerity measures, it was clear that something was afoot. The government, evidently concerned, immediately backtracked, announcing that the discount would remain in place, and that the diesel subsidy would be phased out over several years instead of being abolished immediately. The farmers, however, said it wasn’t enough — and threatened to step up the protests unless the government completely reserved its plans.

They were true to their word: in the weeks that followed, thousands of farmers staged massive protests, not just in Berlin but in several cities, even blocking the arterial autobahns, and effectively bringing the country to a standstill. The government, in turn, resorted to one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the political playbook: claiming the far-Right were behind the protests in an attempt to delegitimise the farmers and scare people away. Except that, this time, it didn’t work. Not only did the protests continue, they grew, and even attracted workers from other industries — fishing, logistics, hospitality, road transport, supermarkets — as well as ordinary citizens. As a result, what started as a protest over diesel subsidies has evolved into a much wider revolt against the German government. One of the most common slogans at the demonstrations is: “The traffic light must go!”, a reference to the governing coalition of the Social Democrats, the Free Democrats and Greens. And, much like the Gilets Jaunes in 2018, whose own protests were triggered by fuel prices, the farmers have given voice to a much greater pool of political anger.

As one told the Washington Post: “Originally, we had hoped that the cuts to the agriculture subsidies would be overturned. But… I think it’s clear that this protest is about a lot more. Not only us farmers are unhappy, but other areas, too. Because what’s coming out of Berlin is damaging our county — especially the economy.” Even this approaches euphemism: soaring living costs, plummeting real wages, massive layoffs and a burgeoning housing crisis have sent approval ratings for Scholz’s government to record lows — and Germans are getting restless. Aside from the farmers’ protests, over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Further industrial action is expected in the coming weeks. This is particularly astonishing considering that Germany has long prided itself on its non-conflictual model of industrial relations, which has historically emphasised co-operation between trade unions and employers’ federations.

The problem is that Germany’s social peace was premised on an economic model — the once-hailed Modell Deutschland — that is all but bust. Its economic success in the 21st century was founded on two pillars: cheap imports of raw materials and energy (especially from Russia) and high demand in the rest of the world. Over the past few years, though, thanks to a global slowdown and the Ukraine war, both have been tumbled away. Germany was the worst-performing major economy in the world last year according to the IMF, and the country is now teetering on the brink of recession. Industrial production has fallen five months in a row: as Hans-Jürgen Völz (chief economist for the BVMV, which lobbies on behalf of small- and medium-sized businesses) said last July: “One sometimes hears about ‘creeping deindustrialisation’ — well, it’s not just creeping anymore.”

What’s striking is that the German leadership has largely brought this crisis on itself. First, it leapt on the anti-Russian bandwagon and decoupled from its main source of energy; and then it compounded the crisis via two of the German establishment’s favourite obsessions, green policies and austerity. The proposal to scrap fuel subsidies is a perfect case in point. It emerged from a court ruling that the government’s attempt to bypass its own fiscal rules by turning €60 billion originally earmarked for Covid aid towards measures aimed at combating climate change was unconstitutional. The decision to cut the subsidies was thus presented by the government as the only way to meet both its fiscal and climate targets. The message was one that we’ve become accustomed to: “es gibt keine Alternative [There is no alternative].” But of course, both of those targets are self-imposed. They are the result of political decisions, not laws of nature — something ordinary Germans are more than aware of.

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“..Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it..”

Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)

Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to the All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow on Thursday. “They are now destroying their auto industry. They need to be helped somehow,” Putin stated in response to reports about Russia’s contribution to the emergence of the automobile industry in Germany. When asked whether the current decline is related to Russian consumers increasingly opting for Chinese over German cars, Putin stated “not only that,” without elaborating further. German industry – and its automotive sector in particular – has been plagued by mounting problems over the past year and a half. The competitiveness of German manufacturers has been damaged by higher energy prices after the country lost cheap gas supplies from Russia.

Hildegard Muller, president of the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA), warned last year that soaring energy costs are contributing to a “dramatic loss in international competitiveness,” as many companies are considering relocating their businesses elsewhere. According to VDA data, while output from German automobile plants did manage to rise by 18% year-on-year to 4.1 million cars in 2023, this was still 12% below the pre-Covid year of 2019. Meanwhile, orders received by German manufacturers fell by 5%, with domestic orders plunging by 18%. In March 2022, amid Western sanctions on Moscow in light of the Ukraine conflict, many German car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Daimler Truck, suspended trade with Russia and later exited the country, losing a lucrative market. The void left by German carmakers was quickly filled, however, by Chinese brands, which accounted for more than 90% of all Russian car imports in 2023.

In recent years, China has made a push to gain market share in the global automobile sector. It has now moved into second place behind Japan as the globe’s top car exporter and has been gradually either crowding out European carmakers or buying shares in their businesses. Geely, a major automotive brand based in China, acquired Swedish carmaker Volvo back in 2010, while in 2018 its founder, Li Shufu, became the largest shareholder of German automaker Daimler, the parent of Mercedes Benz. Maksim Oreshkin, Putin’s top economic adviser, earlier warned that “companies like Mercedes and BMW may fade into history in ten years” as they now have “neither the market nor the technological advantage that they had five to ten years ago.”

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“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question..”

Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)

South Africa has accused Israel of disregarding a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to prevent civilian deaths in its war in Gaza against the Palestinian militant group Hamas. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday that the Israeli government has killed hundreds more people in Gaza, just days after the UN’s top court ruling last week. The ICJ ruled on January 26 that Israel must take all necessary precautions to prevent genocide and destruction in the Palestinian territories. While the court stopped short of demanding a ceasefire, it did order West Jerusalem to punish members of its military who commit genocide, as well as government officials who advocate for massacre. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the World Court’s decision as “outrageous” and declared that no Israeli soldiers would be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli forces continued to battle militants in the northern part of the enclave on Wednesday. The attacks killed over 150 people and injured 313 more. Nearly 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October, Palestinian health officials have said.The conflict started when Hamas fighters launched attacks against Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages. The UN says around 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, and 570,000 people there are starving.“I can’t be dishonest. I believe the rulings of the court have been ignored. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister said.

Pandor warned of the dangers of the world doing nothing to stop the civilian casualties in Gaza. She said that similar inaction contributed to Rwanda’s horrific death toll in 1994 when more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in an ethnically motivated genocide. South Africa filed a separate case against Netanyahu at the ICC last November, accusing him of war crimes and demanding his arrest.On Wednesday, Pandor stated that she had met with the ICC prosecutor to discuss the case and that it appeared to be handled differently than the allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. Last year, The Hague court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes, including the removal of children from Ukraine.

“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still underway,” the South African official said. She said Pretoria would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” to stop Israel from killing civilians amid its war in Gaza.

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Sure.

Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Russia’s assets frozen by the West won’t be enough to cover the damage Ukraine has sustained due to Russia’s military operation, the Ukrainian president’s top economic adviser, Oleg Ustenko, said on Friday during a national telethon, as cited by RBK news outlet. “We are not talking about the figure of $300–350 billion of their gold and foreign exchange reserves. According to estimates made in Kiev, we are talking about $750 billion in direct losses. If we add indirect losses, this could raise the figure to $1 trillion,” Ustenko was cited as saying. In mid-2022, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal already named the amount that would be required to restore Ukraine, estimating it at $750 billion and saying at the time that the key source for the funds should come from the “confiscated assets that belong to Russia and Russian oligarchs.”

President Vladimir Zelensky later noted that the necessary reparations were estimated at $600–$800 billion. In late 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice ruled out the possibility of concluding a peace deal with Russia without receiving reparations for the damages sustained from the conflict. Kiev and its Western allies have long been mulling ways to use Russian assets blocked abroad to restore Ukraine. On January 30, EU member states reached an agreement allowing Brussels to transfer the income generated by Russia’s frozen central bank reserves to Kiev, but have so far stopped short of tapping the assets themselves. It’s estimated that Belgium’s Euroclear, the bloc’s central security depository, holds €196.6 billion (nearly $220 billion) worth of Russian assets, the vast majority of which belong to the country’s central bank.

In its financial results for 2023 published on Thursday, Euroclear revealed that it accrued almost $5 billion in profit from frozen Russian assets last year. It is assumed that Euroclear’s profits will not be paid to the owners of the assets but will later be transferred to a special EU fund to support Ukraine. In total, the EU has frozen €207 billion (just over $231 billion) of Russian assets and reserves since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Moscow has repeatedly warned that any actions related to its assets by the US and its allies would amount to “theft,” stressing that seizure of the funds or any similar move would violate international law and lead to a tit-for-tat response from Russia. Several Western officials, including European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, have also warned that tapping frozen Russian funds would undermine trust in Western currencies and the economic system.

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“..while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry…”

Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)

Russia’s modern weapons are more effective than the arms used by NATO countries, which have provided extensive military assistance to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has claimed. Speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in the city of Tula not far from Moscow, Putin praised the country’s defense industry, saying it plays an important role in the conflict with Ukraine and in the country’s economy as it provides jobs for millions. The Russian leader acknowledged that while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry.

It is clear that [these arms] are superior… I mean both missiles, armored vehicles, everything that is being used on the battlefield. He added that for the army to be successful, it should be able to swiftly react to the developments on the battlefield, suppressing the adversary’s artillery and reconnaissance assets. The military should also have its own such assets which should be more effective, Putin said. “Whoever does it faster will win,” he concluded. Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the country’s defense industry had significantly ramped up production of military hardware and materiel. This has also been true for the manufacturing of artillery shells which had been increased several times over, he said at the time.

Pilger Putin

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”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances..”

Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have turned into a terrorist organization that intentionally attacks ambulances, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in Tula on Friday. He was commenting on attacks carried out by the Ukrainian military on residential areas of Russian cities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which have led to a number of civilian casualties. In one such attack on January 20, a paramedic working in the city of Gorlovka was wounded while trying to provide assistance to victims following a previous round of shelling. On January 12, another paramedic was also killed during a Ukrainian attack on an ambulance brigade in the same city.

”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances,” Putin said. The president recalled a story he heard last year about how Russian forces intercepted communications between two Ukrainian tank operators who were trying to enter Donetsk. One of the servicemen had just killed a man who had stepped out of his house, Putin said, when the other officer asked him “Why did you do that? He was just some guy wearing a tracksuit. He had a family, you can hear his children running around in the house.” The response, according to Putin, was “They’re all terrorists here.” “What is this if not neo-Nazism? That’s not to mention the rounds of applause for actual SS officers in the Canadian parliament and the blatant attacks on medical workers and ambulance vehicles,” added the president.

Russia knows of the tremendous strain put on medical personnel working in the territory of the DPR and other regions, he added, vowing to continue support for them. Work would be done to provide hazard pay to ambulance drivers, the president said. Earlier this week, Putin claimed there is a need to create a larger “demilitarized zone” in Ukraine that would ensure that peaceful Russian cities would no longer be targeted by Kiev’s foreign-made, long-range weapons.

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“..China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.”

China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)

Beijing has demanded that Ukraine immediately removes all 14 Chinese companies from a list of businesses that Kiev has branded “international sponsors of war,” Reuters has reported. The demand comes after Beijing’s ambassador to Kiev told senior Ukrainian government officials last month that the presence of Chinese firms on the list could hurt bilateral ties, according to the news agency. “China firmly opposes the inclusion of Chinese enterprises [on the list]… and demands that Ukraine immediately correct its mistakes and eliminate negative impacts,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.Of the 48 international companies on the Ukrainian blacklist, 14 are from China, the most of any other country.

“The ambassador said that [the blacklist] could have a negative impact on our relations,” a senior Ukrainian source told the news agency, adding that Beijing has not yet outlined any specific consequences.Kiev’s ‘International Sponsors of War’ project lists companies that still do business with Russia. While the list does not have legal implications, it aims to damage the reputation of businesses and push them into cutting ties with Russia, thus reducing Moscow’s “financial and technological ability.” In November, Kiev added Swiss food giant Nestle and German building materials giant Knauf to the blacklist for continuing to operate in Russia and pay taxes into the federal budget.

Last month, Lithuanian seafood company Viciunai Group was also included on the list. Alibaba and Chinese energy giants China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are some of the largest companies listed.China has not condemned Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, nor has it joined sanctions against Moscow. Beijing’s defense minister, Dong Jun, stated on Thursday that China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.” Russia and China consider themselves strategic partners, and two-way trade hit a record $240 billion in 2023 as economic ties continue to grow.

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“..they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families..”

Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)

Polish farmers plan a complete blockade of the Poland-Ukraine border crossing, including highways, during an industrial action on February 9 to lambast the EU’s agricultural policy, according to the Solidarity trade union. “The position of Brussels from January 2024 cannot be accepted by our farming community. Moreover, the inaction of the Polish authorities and plans to cooperate with the European Commission and respect all its decisions regarding the import of agricultural products and food from Ukraine leave us no choice but to announce a general strike,” the protesters said in a statement.

The trade union has appealed to their fellow citizens to cooperate and show understanding regarding the ensuing situation as they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families. The planned protests by farmers in Poland come on the heels of the escalating farmer protests in several European Union member countries. The agitating farmers list reasons like EU markets being flooded with cheap and tax-free agricultural products from Ukraine, agricultural subsidy cutbacks, etc. The EU’s deal with Kiev to extend the facilitated trade regime has triggered farmer fury within the bloc, especially in Brussels.

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“FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister..”

Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)

Close associates of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban are reportedly responsible for organizing the farmers’ protests in Brussels over the past week, the Financial Times reported on Friday. The Hungarian leader personally met with protesters in the Belgian capital on Wednesday ahead of an EU summit on Ukraine aid, expressing support for what he described as “the voice of the people.” The farmers, thousands of whom have descended on Brussels, have been picketing the EU Parliament building, where they have burned pallets and piles of manure, and hurled eggs, stones and fireworks. They have also blockaded the Belgian capital using around 1,300 tractors. Similar demonstrations have also been seen in other EU states including France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

The farmers have been protesting against the EU’s agriculture policies, environmental standards, and rising fuel prices, and have highlighted the threat to their livelihoods posed by cheap Ukrainian imports. The Financial Times claims that Orban has been linked to a number of nationalist movements across the EU, as well as the recent farmers’ protests. The outlet claims that France’s National Rally party previously received a loan from a Hungarian bank run by Orban associates. Budapest also allegedly funded anti-immigration adverts on YouTube in Poland ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections in the country. FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister, apparently referring to the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) – a Budapest-based college whose chairman is Balazs Orban (no relation) who has served as political director to the Hungarian prime minister.

The MCC has a Belgian-based offshoot, MCC Brussels, whose director Frank Furedi had previously claimed in an op-ed for Politico in 2022 that the purpose of the think tank was to “provide an alternative” for Europe’s “polarized cultural landscape.” Orban, who has repeatedly found himself at odds with other EU leaders, also stated in December that he did not wish for Hungary to leave the EU behind, but instead intends to “take Brussels” when Budapest assumes the rotating presidency of the EU Council from Belgium later this year. During the presidency, Orban said he hopes to convince as many member states as possible that Hungary’s insistence on standing by its ideals and values is the “right” way to do things. Nevertheless, on Thursday, the Hungarian leader lifted his veto on the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) package of economic aid to Ukraine, claiming that he had been “blackmailed” by Brussels into accepting the deal after months of resistance. Orban has described Ukraine as “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” and opposed giving it any money out of the EU budget without oversight. Brussels, however, threatened to launch a financial blockade against Hungary if it did not back the deal, Orban explained.

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“..Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth..”

Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)

Hunter Biden is comparable to children in Japanese internment camps, to undocumented immigrants, to the murdered descendants of the Tsar. At least that’s what he argues in a new court filing in his federal gun case, which presents Hunter as one of the most tragic figures since the fall of Troy. Literally. The brief starts by asking the court to ignore Hunter’s own admissions as to his use of drugs during the period of his gun ownership. As discussed in earlier columns, Hunter faces a serious problem in proving a prior defense by his counsel Abbe Lowell. Last October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 when he indicated he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics: “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering.” The problem is that Hunter discussed his roaring addiction in his book, Beautiful Things: A Memoir, which he has used to excuse years of alleged influence peddling and an array of possible crimes from drug use to sex trafficking to tax offenses.

The narrative was pushed by his counsel and picked up by the media which showered him with praise for his courage. Now, however, counsel wants the Court to forget the admissions such as Hunter admitted that he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” He describes his addiction as running up to the announcement of his father for presidential election. The book is not his only problem. Recently, the government has revealed that, when it recovered the gun after its was discarded near a school, the gun pouch was coated in cocaine. Lowell expressed outrage that the government would cite his client’s own words or cite the fact that his gun pouch looked like it came from the desk of Tony Montana. Calling the use of his client’s words “despicable,” Lowell suggests that the prosecutors “should visit an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meeting.”

If that was not bizarre enough, he then describes Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth. While Hunter repeatedly used that connection for appointments and influence peddling, it is also apparently his curse. Indeed, he suggests that it is a protected “immutable characteristic,” a term used often in cases protecting minorities from racial discrimination. Somehow his prosecution for a gun violation would raise constitutional concerns since “the First Amendment … protects the freedom of association among family members—particularly as the parent-child relationship is an immutable characteristic.” He shares how he carries the same burden as other accursed children. In a brief that borders on delusional, Biden’s lawyers say the son of the president who burned through millions from influence peddling is comparable to all those unfortunate and destitute souls.

While the media has endlessly covered how Donald Trump’s arguments are over-the-top in issues such as immunity, there appears to be comparably little interest in the president’s son’s self-aggrandizing demand for dismissal of his criminal charges. One of the filing’s main arguments is that Hunter Biden is being selectively prosecuted because of his father. Hunter profited massively from the Biden name, but now, his lawyer Abbe Lowell argues, he’s suffering from the “burden” of parentage.To back up this argument, Lowell cites Plyler v. Doe, a case involving the providing of free education to the children of illegal immigrants, to say that the Constitution, “prevents the government from inflicting harm on children for the conduct of their parents.” That’s right, Joe Biden is like an undocumented migrant father who carried his kid over the border for a better life. One can only imagine the press response to any comparison of the Trump children to migrant children.

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“There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.”

Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)

“I live in frustration … To be almost 70 years old, this isn’t what I expected.” Those words from Justice Sonia Sotomayor appear to resonate with some liberals, but not in the way intended by the jurist. Some activists and journalists are beginning to nudge Sotomayor to leave the Court in order to be replaced by a younger jurist, much as was done to Justice Stephen Breyer in 2021 and 2022. On CNN, journalist Josh Barro bluntly wondered why Sotomayor remains on the bench when younger jurists could be brought on to guarantee a liberal vote for years to come. He indicated that many liberals are frustrated with her for not stepping down: “I find it a little bit surprising, given what Justice Sotomayor describes there about the stakes of what is happening before the Supreme Court, that she’s not retired. She’s 69 years old, she’s been on the court for 15 years.”

Sotomayor gave her frank assessment of being “tired” and “frustrated” during an appearance at University of California’s, Berkeley. She suggested that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority contributes to her daily burden. It was a notable interview not only for its content but for its moderator, UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky previously shocked many in the legal community by denouncing Sotomayor’s six conservative colleagues as “partisan hacks.” In response to Chemerinsky’s probing, Sotomayor took an implied swipe at her colleagues and declared: “I live in frustration. Every loss truly traumatizes me in my stomach and in my heart. But I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting.”She added that the workload is overwhelming: “There used to be a time when we had a good chunk of the summer break. Not anymore. The emergency calendar is busy almost on a weekly basis.”

Many clearly would like to see her lessen that load by following the pattern of former liberal colleague, Justice Breyer, who retired in 2022. Demand Justice, a liberal group that has pushed court–packing as a solution to the Court’s conservative majority, drove a billboard truck through the streets of Washington with slogans like “Breyer, retire. Don’t risk your legacy.” At 69, Sotomayor shows no signs of mental decline. She has been a highly effective justice, stepping into the vacuum created by the death in 2020 of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course, few ever questioned the “Notorious RBG” in her decision to stay on the Court, despite her much older age and longer tenure. While some of us noted that Ginsburg was taking a huge risk in not allowing then-President Barack Obama to pick a successor, she remained on the Court in spite of medical problems and ultimately was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Ginsburg, however, was almost 20 years older than Sotomayor. There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.

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“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.” — Jeffrey (“the Dude”) Lebowski.

War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)

The world may be a disaster these days, but the White House is a bigger disaster. Can you name the White House chief of staff? Betcha can’t. Know why? He never, ever comes out and speaks to that mob in the press room. He might have to answer some difficult questions, such as: if the president’s brain is switched off more than half the time, who decides what to do with that ‘nuclear football’ they carry around with him. Is it. . . you? By the way, the chief of staff’s name is Jeff Zients. Ever heard of him? Of course not. [..] The question then: should “Joe Biden” just go ahead and nuke Texas? “JB” is thinking: What good is the place with that Putin wannabe running it? Buncha cattle and those ridiculous hats! The official head-gear of white supremacy! Probably millions of them down there, clutching their beloved guns! I’ve got news for you. Wanna play hardball? We’ve got F-16s.

Try shooting one of those Vipers down with your 30-ought-6 when it’s coming in low over Plano on after-burners at eleven hundred miles an hour, bristling with Sidewinder missiles. Anyway, for a nice strip steak, go to Kansas City. Fuggedabowt Texas. Kaboom! Not a joke! As for Iran. . . another $6-billion could keep them quiet for a while. Turns out that mullahs really like money. Do you know how many virgins you can buy for $6-billion here on Planet Earth? Why blow yourself up for them? Especially since you don’t know for a hundred percent sure that there is a place called heaven, or that it’s mainly a seraglio? By the way, why does our country (that’d be the USA) have all these little military outposts scattered around the desert wastelands of Jordan, Syria, and other lands of the Middle East? Did the one called Tower Two that got blown up a few days ago have a target painted on it?

Might as well have. You think the “other side” doesn’t have satellite imagery of the terrain? Kind of looks like we’re asking for trouble. And, also by the way, how come two of the three US soldiers killed there were girls? Is that how we do war these days? With a girlie army? Who actually thinks that’s going to work? Apparently, “Joe Biden.” Be advised: there is chatter coming out of this mysterious White House about bringing back the military draft. Remember what that is, Boomers? Remember Country Joe and the Fish singing: “Be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box.” That was back in the Vietnam days. Fifty-thousand-plus KIA. Only now we’ll be drafting girls (and probably some boys who want to be girls). I guess we’ll figure out now how gung-ho Gen Z really is.

You didn’t ask, but things are not going so well in our remote-control war in Ukraine against Russia (Putinland). Our Zelensky team (we own it) got completely rope-a-doped, punched itself out, its knees are buckling. Victoria Nuland, the renowned State Department girlie war-hawk, says she’s confident that Congress will pass the new $61 billion aid package for the Z-team, according to Radio Free Europe, the blob’s official propaganda outlet. The blob wants you to think that Putin wants to turn all of Europe into Putinland. I’m sure. Tori Nuland probably thinks we can save Ukraine with the fabulous girlie army and some snazzy new drones from McDonnell Douglas. Hey, it’s war, war, war. Bomb them all — Iran, Russia, Texas — and let God sort them out.

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“Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue..”

Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

US podcast king Joe Rogan has signed a contract renewal with Spotify that essentially allows him to have his cake and eat it, too – reportedly earning as much as $250 million from the streaming service and gaining the freedom to distribute his show on other platforms. Spotify confirmed the new multiyear agreement on Friday, saying it will continue to stream ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ and will allow it to be carried by rival distributors. That means a show already rated as the most-watched podcast in the world while being streamed exclusively on Spotify will soon be opened up to listeners of such services as Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and YouTube.

Rogan’s controversial show has ruffled feathers at Spotify since he joined the platform in 2020 in a deal valued at around $200 million. Elderly rock musician Neil Young removed his songs from the streaming service in 2022 and urged Spotify employees to quit after CEO Daniel Ek refused to cancel Rogan’s show for spreading “deadly misinformation” on Covid-19 vaccines. Angry Spotify staffers also accused Rogan of being “transphobic,” but his show was reportedly making the platform too much money to be torpedoed. The podcast boasts an audience estimated at about 11 million people per episode, and Rogan has credited media pearl-clutching over his controversial content for attracting about 2 million of his subscribers.

Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue. Rogan’s compensation will include a base fee and a share of advertising revenue. Spotify said it will work with Rogan to “continue to maximize the audience of the show across platforms.” There was media speculation that Rogan would move to another platform when his Spotify contract expired. He turned down a $100 million, censorship-free offer to join Rumble in early 2022.

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Tucker pharma

 

 

Elon net worth

 

 

Elon equity plan

 

 

Tesla

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1753342498054058143

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 062023
 


Dorothea Lange One nation indivisible. San Francisco 1942

 

Putin Calls for Ceasefire, Ukraine Rejects, Biden Pushes for More War (Celente)
White House Rejects Putin’s Christmas Truce As But A “Cynical Ploy” (ZH)
Ukraine Warns Germany Of ‘Russians Outside Berlin’ (RT)
US Won’t Fulfill Ukrainian Request – WaPo (RT)
2022: The World As We Knew It Ended. Decades Of Conflict Lie Ahead (Timofeev)
Russian “New Mobilization Process” For Major Offensive Imminent? (ZH)
Arrest Of Russian Outlet’s Journalist Is Blow To Press Freedom – Moscow (RT)
The Coup We Never Knew (Hanson)
The Ginni Thomas Investigation Ends Without a Mention in J6 Report (Turley)
Trump Announces Plan To Destroy The Drug Cartels With The US Military (PM)
Sotomayor Felt “Sense of Despair” Because Babies Would be Protected (LN)
These Doctors Pushed Masking, Lockdowns on Twitter. But They Don’t Exist (SFS)
Swiss Organization To Provide Safe Blood Transfusions From Unvaxxed (NN)
What Caused Damar Hamlin’s Cardiac Arrest? Experts Weigh In (CHD)

 

 

 

 

Have the vaccines saved lives?

 

 

 

 

 

 

EV

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the West wants to destroy Russia, so it provided Ukraine with more weapons than it could ever imagine and Zelensky’s goals grew..”

Putin Calls for Ceasefire, Ukraine Rejects, Biden Pushes for More War (Celente)

Ukraine rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a unilateral, 36-hour ceasefire to mark the celebration of Orthodox Christmas, calling Putin “hypocritical” for even suggesting laying down arms, albeit briefly. Mikhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top adviser, took to Twitter and said Russian troops must withdraw from all occupied territories, and only then will they have a “temporary truce.” “Keep hypocrisy to yourself,” he concluded. Reuters reported that the Kremlin released the statement from Putin calling for the truce after a conversation with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Proceeding from the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of hostilities, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on Christmas Day,” Putin said, according to the report. Needless to say, Washington continued to promote war. President Joe Biden said the ceasefire was an effort by Putin to find breathing room. “He was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches” on 25 December and on New Year’s Day. I think he’s trying to find some oxygen,” he said. Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, said if Putin was sincere with his peace goals, he would withdraw troops. “A so-called ceasefire brings neither freedom nor security to people living in daily fear under Russian occupation,” Baerbock tweeted, according to Al Jazeera.

Ukraine’s position has been clear since the outbreak of war: all Russian troops must leave the country before any negotiated settlement can occur. But the West wants to destroy Russia, so it provided Ukraine with more weapons than it could ever imagine and Zelensky’s goals grew. Kyiv now wants Crimea and said it will not negotiate until Russian leaders face war-crime trials, which will never happen. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, spoke with Putin on the phone Thursday and called for the ceasefire. He said “calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral ceasefire and a vision for a fair solution.” Putin, again, indicated that he is willing to negotiate for peace, but he will not part with any new territory.

Zelensky, meanwhile, warned that he expects a major Russian offensive after Putin mobilized hundreds of thousands of troops. “We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can muster to try to turn the tide of the war and at least postpone their defeat,” Zelensky said. “We have to disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for this. The terrorists must lose.”

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NATO wants to keep up the fight.

White House Rejects Putin’s Christmas Truce As But A “Cynical Ploy” (ZH)

Update(1553ET): The White House has rejected Putin’s call for a Christmas truce in Ukraine. The Russian leader earlier in the day ordered a unilateral 36-hour ceasefire for his forces starting Friday, which will still apparently be in effect despite Ukraine rejecting it. Presumably Russian forces have been told to cease firing along the line of contact starting on Orthodox Christmas Eve day (Friday), unless they are fired upon from the Ukrainian side. The Biden administration cast it as a “cynical ploy” in order for Russian forces to regroup. Biden himself said the ceasefire proposal isn’t “serious” – as The Hill cites of the president’s words: President Biden said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a temporary, Christmas ceasefire is an effort to “find some oxygen,” dismissing that the Kremlin is serious about finding an off ramp for its assault against Ukraine.

The president said he was “reluctant to respond to anything Putin says,” but characterized the Kremlin as cynically attacking civilians over the December holidays. “He was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and church’s on the 25th and New Years — I mean, I think he’s trying to find some oxygen,” Biden added. At the State Department, spokesman Ned Price called Putin’s Christmas truce declaration a “cynical ploy… to rest, to refit, to regroup, and ultimately to re-attack, to re-attack with potentially even more vengeance, even more brutality, even more lethality, if they had their way.”

The majority of the populations in both countries are adherents of the Orthodox Church, with Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians traditionally celebrating Christmas on Jan. 7th. Germany was earlier in the day among the first Western countries to reject Putin’s announcement as inauthentic. And yet, ironically enough, calls have rang out from the West for months since the start of the conflict for Russian troops to cease fighting. One would think that any pause in fighting, however temporary, would be welcomed by the West – but alas not.

Update (1109ET): Within a mere hour after President Putin declared there would be a 36-hour ceasefire for all Russian forces along the line of contact in observation of Orthodox Christmas, Zelensky’s office has issued a firm rejection, calling it “hypocrisy” and demanding that all Russian troops must leave occupied territory immediately. Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak announced on Twitter, that Russian forces… must leave the occupied territories – only then will it have a “temporary truce”. Keep hypocrisy to yourself. He had earlier responded to Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill by calling the proposed Christmas ceasefire “a trap”. Ukrainian officials are also calling this a ploy for Russian forces to regroup and to take the momentum out of the Ukrainian army counteroffensive, which has been making some gains of late.

Update (1015ET): Shortly after Erdogan spoke with Putin this morning, the Russian leader has ordered a temporary cease-fire in Ukraine Friday and Saturday to mark Orthodox Christmas. The statement from the Kremlin cites earlier appeal from Patriarch Kirill for ceasefire over the holiday. Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill had previously said in a statement posted to the church’s official website: “I, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and of all Rus, appeal to all parties involved in the internecine conflict with a call to cease fire and establish a Christmas truce from 12:00 on January 6 to 00:00 on January 7 so that Orthodox people can attend services on Christmas Eve and on the day of the Nativity of Christ.” [..] Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7th, and is a major holiday just as in the West during December (the Orthodox Church’s Julian calendar December 25 falls on January 7 on the West’s Gregorian calendar).

Bloomberg has meanwhile hinted at a negative response from Ukrainian leaders, given their initial reaction to Patriarch Kirill’s Christmas truce call: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to cease fighting in Ukraine for 36 hours starting Friday at noon, Moscow time, in what appeared to be a rare sign of conciliation in an invasion that’s heading for its second year. The Kremlin said Putin gave the order Thursday for Russian Orthodox Christmas. It follows an appeal by the patriarch of that church, which has close ties to the Kremlin. Ukrainian officials denounced that as a trap. Kyiv has demanded Russia remove its troops from Ukraine as a condition for any ceasefire.

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Almost funny.

Ukraine Warns Germany Of ‘Russians Outside Berlin’ (RT)

Should Germany fail to provide Ukraine with tanks, it will soon have to use them to defend its own capital from advancing Russian troops, Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, warned on Wednesday. Speaking to Ukrainian TV, Danilov took a swipe at Germany’s leadership, particularly at Chancellor Olaf Scholz, criticizing him for refusing to send Kiev modern Leopard 2 battle tanks. If Scholz “wants the Germans to deploy German tanks to fight off the Russians outside of Berlin and Stuttgart, he could continue this game, conducting sociological surveys on whether they need to give us tanks or not,” he said. The official also highlighted the significance of the Ukraine conflict for Europe, adding that it poses “huge challenges” to the region.

“Those countries that understand that help us at 150% capacity. Those countries that are slowly wising up about the need to tackle this issue, they also started to act,” Danilov stated. While Berlin has been providing Kiev with large amounts of weaponry, it has been reluctant to supply it with modern Leopard 2 battle tanks. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had earlier explained that because no other country had made equivalent weaponry available to Ukraine, Berlin should not be the first one to do so. A December YouGov poll also showed that 45% of Germans do not want to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, with another 33% saying they were in favor of such a step. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly voiced discontent over Germany’s stance on the matter, with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba saying last month that Kiev does not understand why Germany is sending artillery but not heavy armor.

On Monday, Michael Mueller, who sits on the Bundestag’s Foreign Policy Committee, told the German media that Berlin would continue to refrain from any “ill-considered unilateral moves,” especially in the context of arms shipments. Such deliveries are possible only “in coordination with our NATO partners,” he said, adding that the US-led military bloc wants to avoid becoming a direct party to the Ukraine conflict. Moscow has long warned Kiev backers against sending weapons to Ukraine, arguing that it would only prolong the hostilities. President Vladimir Putin also accused the West of turning Ukraine into “a colony,” and using its people as “cannon fodder, a battering ram against Russia.”

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M1 Abrams main battle tank is scrap metal: “..tanks’ heavy fuel consumption and propensity to break down make them unsuitable for the Ukrainian military.”

US Won’t Fulfill Ukrainian Request – WaPo (RT)

The US will not send M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing officials. Despite repeated requests from the Ukrainian government, no NATO power has donated Western-designed battle tanks thus far. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said that the Abrams tanks’ heavy fuel consumption and propensity to break down make them unsuitable for the Ukrainian military. One of the heaviest main battle tanks in service worldwide, the M1 Abrams weighs in at 60 tons, with the latest M1A2 variant increasing this heft to more than 73 tons. An M1 Abrams tank costs more than $450 per mile in fuel and repairs, according to a 1991 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report adjusted for inflation.

The Abrams’ poor reliability was noted by the GAO. After a decade in service with the US military, the report stated that the average M1 Abrams needs its track replaced after as little as 710 miles, with engines typically suffering catastrophic “blowouts” after 350 hours of operation. However, the US Army insists that the latest M1A2 variant, which rolled off production lines in 2020, “is the most reliable Abrams tank ever produced.” Ukraine has repeatedly requested delivery of the American-made behemoths, portraying them as crucial to its war effort. Mikhail Podoliak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, put them on his “Christmas wishlist” in a social media post last month, while Zelensky has himself repeatedly asked the US and its allies for tanks since March.

Zelensky and his officials have singled out Germany in particular, asking Berlin for Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard main battle tanks on multiple occasions. Germany has thus far rebuffed these requests, with lawmaker and Bundestag Foreign Policy Committee member Michael Mueller telling reporters this week that sending the tanks could trigger “an escalation that none of us want to imagine.” France on Wednesday became the first NATO member to announce the transfer of Western-made “light tanks” to Ukraine, although the vehicles in question – six-wheeled AMX-10 units – are outdated, and technically closer to armored fighting vehicles than tanks such as the Abrams or Leopard.

The French AMX-10s are similar in weight to the US-made Bradley Fighting Vehicle, with both coming in at less than 30 tons. US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the transfer of an unspecified number of Bradleys is currently being discussed in the White House. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against arming Kiev, saying that doing so will only serve to prolong the conflict, and risks making Western nations de-facto participants.

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“..It remains to be seen if the next cycle will not be the last for mankind..”

2022: The World As We Knew It Ended. Decades Of Conflict Lie Ahead (Timofeev)

In 2022, the remnants of the ‘end of history’ era finally became a thing of the past. However, there has not been a return to the Cold War either. Russian policy is mainly concerned about security interests. It is not derived from ideology, although it does include components of the identity of ‘the Russian world’, as well as historical motives for opposing Nazism. Russia does not offer a global ideological alternative comparable to liberalism – nor has China yet taken such initiatives. The end of the ‘end of history’ is notable for several other details. Firstly, a major power has risked giving up the benefits of the ‘global world’ overnight. Historians will argue about whether Moscow anticipated such harsh sanctions and the departure of hundreds of foreign companies so quickly. However, it is clear that Russia is vigorously adapting to the new realities and is in no hurry to return to US-centric globalization.

Secondly, Western countries have embarked on a very tough ‘purge’ of Russian assets abroad. Overnight, their jurisdictions ceased to be ‘safe havens’ where the ‘rule of law’ is followed. Now it is politics that calls the shots and Russia is the only harbor to which its citizens can return to relative peace. Stereotypes about the ‘stability and security’ of the West are breaking down. Of course, they are unlikely to begin a similar purge of other assets there. But looking at the Russians, outside investors are wondering whether they should hedge their risks. Thirdly, it turned out that in the West, they might face not only asset stripping, but outright discrimination on the grounds of nationality. Thousands of Russians ‘fleeing’ the ‘bloody regime’ have suddenly faced rejection and contempt. Others trying to prove that they are even bigger ‘Russophobes’ than their host partners are running ahead of the anti-Russian propaganda train. However, this does not guarantee that the stubborn dogmatists will embrace them.

The conflict between Russia and the West is likely to drag on for decades, regardless of how the conflict in Ukraine ends. In Europe, Russia will play the role of North Korea, while possessing much greater capabilities. Whether Ukraine has the strength, the will, and resources to become a European South Korea is a big question. Conflict between Russia and the West will lead to a strengthening of China’s role as an alternative financial center and source of modernization. A stronger China will only accelerate its rivalry with the US and its allies. The ‘end of history’ has ended with a return to its usual course. One of these is the collapse of the world order as a result of large-scale conflicts between centers of power. It remains to be seen if the next cycle will not be the last for mankind, given the risks of an open military clash between the great powers with a subsequent escalation into full-scale nuclear conflict.

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Ukraine makes up stories and the west duly repeats them.

Russian “New Mobilization Process” For Major Offensive Imminent? (ZH)

Ukraine says it’s bracing for a major new Russian offensive, which will involve a large influx of new ground forces at a time Russian forces are under pressure and reportedly lacking enough manpower to maintain front lines, but did not give a timeline for the expected push. In fresh statements widely circulated Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is planning a major “new offensive” which will involve a planned “new mobilization processes.” He suggested the new mobilization is imminent given recent Russian battlefield losses in the east, which includes the devastating strike on a barracks in the city of Makiivka, resulting an a huge Russian troop death toll.

“We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can muster to try to turn the tide of the war and at least postpone their defeat,” Zelensky said. “We have to disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for this. The terrorists must lose.” Kiev had begun issuing these warnings of a major escalation by Moscow shortly after last month Putin referred to the Ukraine special operation as a “war” for the first time. As the The Hill also details: Some Ukrainian officials also warned last month about a potential new Russian offensive in January or February, including Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, a top commander in the Ukrainian army who told The Economist that Russia is preparing some 200,000 troops and could have another go at Kyiv.

Previously, Ukraine’s defense minister Oleksii Reznikov also issued a New Year message, and in it appealed to the Russian people, warning that Putin his about to declare martial law and close borders to men, in preparation for a new wave of mobilization. Reznikov called for Russians to resist these efforts and stand for peace in the video address… Within Russia, public opinion appears increasingly divided on how military and Kremlin leadership is executing the war, particularly in the wake of the Makiivka barracks attack, which left up to hundreds of Russian conscripts killed. Hawks within Russia in the meantime have continued pushing for a more muscular escalation in order to achieve the military objectives laid out since the start of the invasion. Others are calling for both sides to implement a Christmas truce this weekend in observation of Orthodox Christmas (Jan.7 according to the Julian calendar).

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“Just last month, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia protested French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to offer Russia security guarantees..”

Arrest Of Russian Outlet’s Journalist Is Blow To Press Freedom – Moscow (RT)

The arrest of Sputnik Lithuania’s editor-in-chief is a violation of international norms of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. She called on international organizations to react appropriately to Latvia’s “overreach” in arresting Marat Kasem. “Riga has once again demonstrated that for it such values of a democratic society as media pluralism and the rights of journalists are nothing more than empty phrases,” Zakharova said in a statement. Earlier, the spokeswoman shared a video on her Telegram channel of Kasem speaking about the problems he was facing, noting that he had complained for years about pressure and mistreatment at the hands of governments in the Baltic states.

All the international organizations concerned with freedom of speech, who spent years ignoring Kasem’s safety concerns, should “finally justify their existence” and intervene, Zakharova argued. “It is not just a duty, but an obligation of the international community to do everything so these overreaching regimes would return to following the law,” she said. Kasem is a Latvian citizen, but has lived and worked in Moscow for the past several years. He returned to Latvia on family business just before New Year’s Eve. On Thursday, the authorities in Riga ordered his arrest and charged him with espionage and violating EU sanctions against Russia. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years behind bars. His lawyer has not yet been given the case files, and her request to release Kasem on bail has been denied. He is currently being held in Riga’s Central jail.

Moscow has complained about the ongoing persecution of several journalists in Baltic states back in 2021, prior to the conflict in Ukraine escalating. Kasem had been detained in Vilnius and deported from Lithuania as a “threat to national security” in 2019. His colleague Valentin Rozentsov, editor-in-chief of Sputnik Latvia, was detained and interrogated in Riga in 2018. The former Soviet republics have adopted a hardline stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Just last month, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia protested French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to offer Russia security guarantees, and demanded no exemptions on the ban on Russian fertilizer exports, despite EU concerns about potential famine in Africa.

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Lots of things changed and somehow became normal.

The Coup We Never Knew (Hanson)

Did someone or something seize control of the United States? What happened to the U.S. border? Where did it go? Who erased it? Why and how did 5 million people enter our country illegally? Did Congress secretly repeal our immigration laws? Did Joe Biden issue an executive order allowing foreign nationals to walk across the border and reside in the United States as they pleased? Since when did money not have to be paid back? Who insisted that the more dollars the federal government printed, the more prosperity would follow? When did America embrace zero interest? Why do we believe $30 trillion in debt is no big deal? When did clean-burning, cheap, and abundant natural gas become the equivalent to dirty coal?

How did prized natural gas that had granted America’s wishes of energy self-sufficiency, reduced pollution, and inexpensive electricity become almost overnight a pariah fuel whose extraction was a war against nature? Which lawmakers, which laws, which votes of the people declared natural gas development and pipelines near criminal? Was it not against federal law to swarm the homes of Supreme Court justices, to picket and to intimidate their households in efforts to affect their rulings? How then with impunity did bullies surround the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas—furious over a court decision on abortion? How could these mobs so easily throng our justices’ homes, with placards declaring “Off with their d—s”?

Since when did Americans create a government Ministry of Truth? And on whose orders did the FBI contract private news organizations to censor stories it did not like and writers whom it feared? How did we wake up one morning to new customs of impeaching a president over a phone call? Of the speaker of the House tearing up the State of the Union address on national television? Of barring congressional members from serving on their assigned congressional committees? When did we assume the FBI had the right to subvert the campaign of a candidate it disliked? Was it legal suddenly for one presidential candidate to hire a foreign ex-spy to subvert the campaign of her rival?

Was some state or federal law passed that allowed biological males to compete in female sports? Did Congress enact such a law? Did the Supreme Court guarantee that biological male students could shower in gym locker rooms with biological women? Were women ever asked to redefine the very sports they had championed? When did the government pass a law depriving Americans of their freedom during a pandemic? In America can health officials simply cancel rental contracts or declare loan payments in suspension? How could it become illegal for mom-and-pop stores to sell flowers or shoes during a quarantine but not so for Walmart or Target?

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The emptiness expands.

The Ginni Thomas Investigation Ends Without a Mention in J6 Report (Turley)

The Jan. 6 committee issued its long-awaited report at 2022’s end, with the expected breathless punditry. Spoiler alert: It turns out the culprit of this “whodunit” was … wait for it … Donald Trump. What’s more interesting is the dog that did not bark. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “Silver Blaze,” the local inspector asks Sherlock Holmes, “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes responds, “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” When the inspector objects, “The dog did nothing in the night-time,” Holmes replies, “That was the curious incident.” In the 895-page report, the “curious incident” is the lack of any reference to Ginni Thomas, Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife.

For months, members, the media and an army of pundits hammered away at the “smoking gun” texts Thomas sent to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and others calling the election stolen and demanding challenges to certifying the electoral votes. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was the first member of Congress to call for Justice Thomas to be impeached over his wife’s 29 messages. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) called for Thomas to resign immediately as a “corrupt jurist.” Former Sen. Barbara Boxer and others joined these calls. (Boxer was particularly ironic since she used the same underlying federal law to challenge the certification of George W. Bush’s election.) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) demanded an investigation. On the committee itself, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) fueled the frenzy and demanded subpoenas for both Thomases.

The media also went into hyperbolic overload. Liberal sites demanded Thomas be impeached, citing “watchdogs” who turned out to be the same crowd that has long denounced the justice. MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan tweeted, “I have a question for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats: Why haven’t you impeached Clarence Thomas yet?” CNN and MSNBC commentator Tristan Snell tweeted that the couple had to be subpoenaed: “At best, they are material fact witnesses. At worst, they are co-conspirators to be charged with seditious conspiracy.” Professor Laurence Tribe (who declared Trump should be charged with attempted murder) also demanded the justice and his wife be subpoenaed. MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem declared in June that the scandal “keeps getting worse” but “the silver lining is that it will likely intensify calls for overhauling the high court, and help strip more people of the illusion that the Supreme Court is an apolitical branch of government and a neutral arbiter of the law.”

Activists like Sarah Lipton-Lubet, Take Back the Court Action Fund executive director, declared that “there’s much more to the story of Ginni Thomas’ participation in the January 6 attack that the House Select Committee and the American public deserve to know.” Yet it turns out what we knew was largely all we needed to know. There was not “much more to the story.” The entire Ginni Thomas scandal merited nary a mention in the massive report. Indeed, it doesn’t appear the committee had anything more than what we knew when the controversy began. The texts were never denied, and they weren’t surprising since Ginni Thomas was publicly supporting Trump and his claims. She was willing, moreover, to answer the committee’s questions voluntarily.

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Something’s not going right.

Trump Announces Plan To Destroy The Drug Cartels With The US Military (PM)

Former President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would order the US military to declare cartels as enemy combatants if he were to be reelected president. Trump said that he would deploy the Navy and Special Forces to defend the security of the Western hemisphere. Trump made the announcement as President Joe Biden prepares to make his first trip to the southern border, after having previously said that there were “more important” things to deal with. “The drug cartels are waging war on America—and it’s now time for America to wage war on the cartels,” President Trump said in his announcement. “The drug cartels and their allies in the Biden administration have the blood of countless millions on their hands. Millions and millions of families and people are being destroyed. When I am back in the White House, the drug kingpins and vicious traffickers will never sleep soundly again.”

A statement from Trump lays out an action plan that he says will “destroy the drug cartels,” which includes steps such as:
• “Restore all Trump border policies and fully secure the border”
• “Deploy all necessary military assets, including the US Navy, to impose a full naval embargo on the cartels, to ensure they cannot use our region’s waters to traffic illicit drugs to the US”
• “Order the Department of Defense to make appropriate use of special forces, cyber warfare, and other covert and overt actions to inflict maximum damage on cartel leadership, infrastructure, and operations”
• “Designate the major drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations”
• “Cut off the cartels’ access to the global financial system”
• “Get full cooperation of neighboring governments to dismantle the cartels, or else fully expose the bribes and corruption that protect these criminal networks”
• “Ask Congress to ensure drug smugglers and traffickers can receive the Death Penalty”

“Joe Biden has spent the last two years dismantling the southern border,” the statement says. “Biden’s Open Borders policies are killing innocent Americans, ravaging American communities, enriching the cartels, and destabilizing large parts of Mexico and Latin America.” Trump’s statement points out that since Biden took office, 200,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses, with hundreds of thousands of pounds of fentanyl, heroin, meth, cocaine, and other illicit narcotics “pouring across our wide-open border and into American communities.” Enough fentanyl was seized at the border last year to kill every single American. “BOTTOM LINE,” Trump’s statement ends, “Biden has destroyed the border—President Trump will destroy the cartels.”

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From Abortion

Sotomayor Felt “Sense of Despair” Because Babies Would be Protected (LN)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed a “sense of despair” and sadness Wednesday about recent decisions by the conservative-majority court, including the Dobbs v. Jackson abortion case. Sotomayor and two other justices dissented in the historic June ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade and began allowing laws to protect unborn babies from abortion again. Research estimates at least 10,000 unborn babies were saved from abortions just in the first two months. Speaking at the Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting in San Diego, Sotomayor said she feels “deeply sad” about the new direction of the court, according to Reuters. “I did have a sense of despair about the direction my court was going,” the Obama appointee said.

Although she did not mention the Dobbs case specifically, Sotomayor talked about feeling “shell-shocked” and “deeply sad” about recent rulings, adding: “It’s not an option to fall into despair. I have to get up and keep fighting,” Reuters reports. Sotomayor would have upheld Roe and continued to force states to legalize killing unborn babies for any reason up to viability, but she was overruled. Some of her arguments against Dobbs were based on false and misleading claims by the pro-abortion movement and have been debunked by researchers and doctors. The Dobbs decision may have been the most monumental ruling by the Supreme Court in decades. For nearly 50 years under Roe, American abortion laws were among the most extreme and permissive in the world.

Just a few other countries, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions up to birth, as Roe did. As a result, more than 63 million unborn babies were legally aborted in the U.S. Now, because of Dobbs, state and local lawmakers may pass legislation to protect unborn babies again. Already 14 states are enforcing laws that limit or ban abortions and eight more are fighting in court to do the same. In November, voters also elected more pro-life lawmakers to their state legislatures in several states, paving the way for even more protections. Despite her pro-abortion leanings, Sotomayor recently did defend her conservative colleague Justice Clarence Thomas from unfounded leftist attacks, saying she knows he “cares about people.” Thomas joined the majority in Dobbs.

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Whatever.

These Doctors Pushed Masking, Lockdowns on Twitter. But They Don’t Exist (SFS)

Last month, Dr. Robert Honeyman lost their sister to Covid. They wrote about it on Twitter and received dozens of condolences, over 4,000 retweets and 43,000 likes. Exactly one month later, on Dec. 12, Honeyman wrote that another tragedy had befallen their family. “Sad to announce that my husband has entered a coma after being in hospital with Covid. The doctor is unsure if he will come out,” they tweeted. “This year has been the toughest of my life losing my sister to this virus. This is the first time in my life I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel.” Again, the condolences and well-wishes rolled in. But there was a problem: Honeyman wasn’t real.

The transgender “Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies” with a “keen interest in poetry” who used they/them pronouns was, in fact, a stock photo described on DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as “Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait.” Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana. The two fake doctors, whose accounts urged extreme caution about Covid-19, were part of a network of at least four fake accounts that touted their ties to the LGBTQ+ community, vocally advocated for mask-wearing and social distancing, and dished out criticism to those they felt were not taking the pandemic seriously.

The Honeymans could not be reached for comment, as they do not exist. At publication time, Robert Honeyman’s account was no longer active. The fake doctors were uncovered by Joshua Gutterman Tranen, a self-described “gay writer” pursuing a master’s of fine arts at Bennington College. He saw Robert Honeyman’s tweet about their husband being in a coma, noticed people he followed also followed them, and thought that they might be part of the LGBTQ+ academic community. But after 10 minutes of googling, Gutterman Tranen concluded that Robert Honeyman’s photo was a stock image and their biography stretched boundaries of believability: an academic who left no traces on academic websites and had lost two family members to Covid in late 2022, despite masking and distancing.

The character looked like “liberal Mad Libs,” Gutterman Tranen said. “I’m a self-identified leftist, and I understand that people have a lot of different identities, but it felt concocted in the lab about how many identities and horrible experiences can we put on one person,” he said.

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“..Della Pietra has contacted hundreds of clinics all over Europe, all of which still don’t allow people “the human right of free blood choice.”

Swiss Organization To Provide Safe Blood Transfusions From Unvaxxed (NN)

An organization in Switzerland called Safe Blood Donation has been set up to provide people all over the world with safe blood transfusions exclusively from people who remain unvaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). The organization was founded in late 2022 by Swiss naturopath George Della Pietra. According to the group’s website, the group’s goal is to provide people all over the world with a way to receive life-saving blood transfusions while refusing to take the vaccines developed against COVID-19. “Be it an emergency, a scheduled operation or because you need regular transfusions for other medical reasons. This is where Safe Blood Donation comes into play as an intermediary,” reads a statement on the organization’s website.

The group will essentially act as a middleman to connect people all over the world with medical partners who are willing to accept blood donations and provide blood transfusions to people with health needs, but are hesitant to go to hospitals where they will almost certainly receive blood from vaccinated individuals. Della Pietra created his organization due to the release of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines causing disputes all over the world over blood treatments and transfusions. Specifically, people who are skeptical of the benefits that come with taking the experimental vaccines and doesn’t want their body tainted by the unsafe products. [..] Della Pietra has contacted hundreds of clinics all over Europe, all of which still don’t allow people “the human right of free blood choice.”

Furthermore, dozens of clinics he contacted have all refused to become a partner of the new organization. Some of these clinics are sympathetic, but claimed they do not want to be mentioned for fear of reprisals from the mainstream medical community. The founder further noted that his main goal is not to run Safe Blood Donation as a blood bank, noting that “this is not possible at the moment” due to legal concerns, but to act as a quick referral service “to match blood donors and recipients” who are then sent to a medical partner’s clinic where the safe, unvaccinated blood transfusion will be handled. In return for providing people with this service, members are also urged to “make themselves available as blood donors” for other people looking for unvaccinated blood transfusions.

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“..in all cases there has been “airtight privacy” about whether they were vaccinated and what their diagnosis was..”

What Caused Damar Hamlin’s Cardiac Arrest? Experts Weigh In (CHD)

Damar Hamlin’s sudden collapse on live TV during Monday night’s NFL game triggered an avalanche of media coverage, with experts weighing in on what might have caused the 24-year-old player’s cardiac arrest after what appeared to be a routine tackle. Some news outlets quickly concluded Hamlin’s heart attack most likely was caused by commotio cordis, a rare phenomenon that occurs when a small and extremely fast-moving projectile — such as a baseball, hockey puck or lacrosse ball — strikes the chest in a precise location, disrupting the heart’s rhythm. The condition affects about 10-20 people per year, usually teenage boys. Most mainstream media reports rejected the theory that Hamlin’s cardiac arrest might be linked to COVID-19 vaccines, using terms such as “far-right,” “vile,” “anti-vaxxer” and “conspiracy theorists.”

However, Dr. Peter McCullough told “Good Morning CHD” host Aimee Villella McBride why he believes the vaccines can’t be ruled out. McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and leading expert on COVID-19 treatment, explained the possible role of the vaccines in cardiac arrest and other heart injuries among athletes. He explained that any physician watching replays of Hamlin’s collapse immediately starts thinking through a differential diagnosis of what could have caused it. He said: “Let me tell you that I did see head and neck contact with a tackle, which is not uncommon at all in football. Remember that the shoulder pads have a breastbone protector, [a] pretty substantial breastbone [protector], so they take helmets in the chest all the time.”

McCullough acknowledged that when a baseball hits an unprotected breastbone, it can precipitate a cardiac arrest, but said he was not aware of that happening in pro football, leading him to rule out commotio cordis. “And as I watched things unfold it was relatively clear that [Hamlin] was in a primary cardiac arrest,” he said. McCullough believes there is a public health obligation to disclose what happened. He said: “This is a player who is employed by a team, and the team and the league mandated the vaccine very publicly. “So we have a situation where we have a public figure, the public employer mandates the vaccine in a very public manner, there is a disclosure that 95% of the players have taken the vaccine, and the FDA says the vaccine causes myocarditis and the published peer-reviewed literature says that it can be fatal.”

“This is not a time for privacy,” McCullough said. “The public needs to know that diagnosis because he was under one of these mandates and this happened on the national and world stage.” McCullough said numerous athletes have collapsed on the field and been resuscitated, but that in all cases there has been “airtight privacy” about whether they were vaccinated and what their diagnosis was. “I think the Hamlin case is going to break through all this,” he said.

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Cut a tree

 

 

Chinese exercise
https://twitter.com/i/status/1610702098198413313

 

 

1842 farmer

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 092022
 


Giovanni Bellini St. Francis in ecstasy 1480

 

Pandemic Soon Over, De-Escalation In 2-3 Weeks (KTG)
End Mass Jabs And Live With Covid, Says Ex-head Of Vaccine Taskforce (G.)
Omicron May Be 100 Times Less Deadly Than Delta (DM)
Propaganda Institutions Collaborate to Refute “Mass Formation Psychosis” (CTH)
Wendepunkt (eugyppius)
Re: Review of Child Vaccination Programme (DS)
New Symptom Of Omicron In Young Children Revealed (RT)
Does Covid19 Cause Diabetes In Kids? (Prasad)
Federal Vaccine Mandate Enters ‘Major Question’ Land (Turley)
People Injured by COVID-19 Vaccine Are Left in the Dark (ET)
2021 Year in Review: The Rise of Centralized Healthcare (Collum)
Household Expense Data, the Same House for 80 Years (Mish)
The Federal Reserve Keeps Buying Mortgages (Pollock)

 

 

The success story of mass vaccination:

 

 

The pic is not very clear, but the message is: so-called “cases” are spiking, but deaths are falling.

 

 

 

McCullough Needle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Rochelle Walensky @CDCDirector: “the overwhelming number of deaths over 75% occurred in people who had at least 4 comorbidities, so really these are people who were unwell to begin with”

 

 

 

 

Greek Deputy Health Minister Mina (aka Lady) Gaga drops this bombshell (echoing Denmark’s chief epidemiologist) on the same day the government says another 40,000 kid vaccines are ready, and vaccines are to become mandatory for everyone over 50.

Don’t think they coordinated the messages. Why would anyone want a vaccine if the pandemic is basically over?

Yes, hospitals will be busy for a while, but that’s what you get when you ramp up rapid testing and those who test positive seek an opinion (I feel fine, doctor, but I guess I’m sick). For a “disease” that is 100x less deadly than Alpha or Delta, during which 99.97% already survived. Or even less deadly than the flu…

But yeah, keep your mask on says Lady Gaga!

Pandemic Soon Over, De-Escalation In 2-3 Weeks (KTG)

Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga told media on Saturday that the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be over and that people will have to live with it like with a common flu. In an interview with news website iefirmerida.gr, Gaga estimated that things will be better in two to three weeks. however, people should comply with the measures. She predicted a quick de-escalation saying that soon the whole issue will be over. The deputy health minister, who is a medical doctor by profession said that the Omicron variant seems to be now the dominant strain of the virus in Greece, as it concerns up to 90% of new Covid-19 cases. “Internationally – and in our country – with the predominance of Omicron, there is a tendency of stabilization in the so-called hard markers (admissions to ICUs and deaths), which supports the view that this mutation causes a milder disease, especially in the fully vaccinated population,” Gaga told iefimerida.gr.

She stressed that the great contamination caused by Omicron should not be underestimated and that this can affect the proper operation of the health system. With these data, it is still early to predict the end of the pandemic and it is very important to adhere to the measures, namely masks, avoiding crowding and the booster vaccination shot that provides a strong protection, the minister said. “However, I am one of those who believe that we are heading towards the end. We have concluded two years, I think we are close to seeing Covid-19 evolve from now on like the flu. Of course, the virus will still exist, it will not disappear, it will be part of our lives. But we will return to normalcy,” Gaga said adding the whole story will be soon over, it’s a matter of weeks, as long as we have in mind to balance. We are in times of intense transmission, we have to wear mask, keep the measures, be careful.”

[..] Meanwhile, in Cyprus a new variant has been identified, the Deltacron, a mutation with both the strains of Delta and Omicron. According to professor Leontios Kostrikis at the Biological Science Department of the University of Cyprus, the Deltacron mutation has been identified in 25 cases and it seems that the strains have a genetic background of the Delta mutation. The new mutation was detected in 11 hospitalized patients and in 14 people of the general population and its frequency was higher among Covid-patients in hospitalization.

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“Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”

End Mass Jabs And Live With Covid, Says Ex-head Of Vaccine Taskforce (G.)

Covid should now be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass-vaccination after the booster campaign, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said. With health chiefs and senior Tories also lobbying for a post-pandemic plan for a straining NHS, Dr Clive Dix called for a major rethink of the UK’s Covid strategy, in effect reversing the approach of the last two years and returning to a “new normality”. “We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary,” he said. “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”

He said that ministers should urgently back research into Covid immunity beyond antibodies to include B-cells and T-cells (white blood cells), which could be used to create vaccines for vulnerable people specific to Covid variants: “We now need to manage disease, not virus spread. So stopping progression to severe disease in vulnerable groups is the future objective.” His intervention comes as it was revealed more than 150,000 people across the UK have now died from Covid. Official figures published yesterday recorded a further 313 deaths, the highest daily number since February last year when the last peak was receding. It takes the total recorded deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test to 150,057.

Meanwhile, NHS officials are warning that patient safety has been compromised this winter because of a crippling health and social care staff shortage that requires a million additional workers by the next decade. Writing in the Observer, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said that the pandemic had exposed “its weakest links”. “There is a clear, regrettable, impact on quality of care and, in the most pressured parts of the system, a worrying increase in patient safety risk,” he writes. “It is now very clear that the NHS and our social care system do not have sufficient capacity. That asking staff to work harder and harder to address that gap is simply not sustainable. That we need a long-term, fully funded, workforce plan to attract and retain the extra one million health and care staff the Health Foundation estimates will be needed by 2031.”

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“..researchers at Washington University modelling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 per cent fewer people than Delta, in another hint it could be less deadly than flu..”

Omicron May Be 100 Times Less Deadly Than Delta (DM)

Omicron could be even less deadly than flu, scientists believe in a boost to hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over. Some experts have always maintained that the coronavirus would eventually morph into a seasonal cold-like virus as the world develops immunity through vaccines and natural infection. But the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant appears to have sped the process up. MailOnline analysis shows Covid killed one in 33 people who tested positive at the peak of the devastating second wave last January, compared to just one in 670 now. But experts believe the figure could be even lower because of Omicron. The case fatality rate — the proportion of confirmed infections that end in death — for seasonal influenza is 0.1, the equivalent of one in 1,000.

One former Government adviser today said if the trend continues to drop then ‘we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season’. But other experts say coronavirus is much more transmissible than flu, meaning it will inevitably cause more deaths. Meanwhile, researchers at Washington University modelling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 per cent fewer people than Delta, in another hint it could be less deadly than flu. No accurate infection-fatality rate (IFR), which is always just a fraction of the CFR because it reflects deaths among everyone who catches the virus, has yet been published for Delta.

But UK Government advisers estimated the overall figure stood at around 0.25 per cent before Omicron burst onto the scene, down from highs of around 1.5 per cent before the advent of life-saving vaccines. If Omicron is 99 per cent less lethal than Delta, it suggests the current IFR could be as low as 0.0025 per cent, the equivalent of one in 40,000, although experts say this is unlikely. Instead, the Washington modelling estimates the figure actually sits in the region of 0.07 per cent, meaning approximately one in 1,430 people who get infected will succumb to the illness. Leading researchers estimate flu’s IFR to sit between 0.01 and 0.05 per cent but argue comparing rates for the two illnesses is complicated.

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“There is no such thing as mass formation psychosis and the masses who believe otherwise have fallen prey to some type of… you know… mass formation psychosis.”

Propaganda Institutions Collaborate to Refute “Mass Formation Psychosis” (CTH)

Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit… if this ain’t the biggest revealing tell in years. Apparently Big Tech and big propaganda media, Reuters and the Associated Press, have joined together to refute the concept of “Mass Formation Psychosis”, and pushed their collective narrative into the narrative engineering system: The Associated Press and Reuters, quickly rush to the “fact check” typeset to stop people from recognizing what is most likely the cause of their own psychosis. In a world where things are no longer shocking, this is, well, a little shocking, in a weird and seemingly Orwellian kind of way. Yes Alice, the same “experts” and media who are credibly accused of creating/enabling the mass formation psychosis would like to assure us that no such reality exists. This is almost too funny.

(AP) – […] “The concept has no academic credibility,” Stephen Reicher, a social psychology professor at the University of St Andrews in the U.K., wrote in an email to The Associated Press. The term also does not appear in the American Psychological Association’s Dictionary of Psychology. “Psychosis” is a term that refers to conditions that involve some disconnect from reality. According to a National Institutes of Health estimate, about 3% of people experience some form of psychosis at some time in their lives. […] The description of “mass formation psychosis” offered by Malone resembles discredited concepts, such as “mob mentality” and “group mind,” according to John Drury, a social psychologist at the University of Sussex in the U.K. who studies collective behavior.

The ideas suggest that “when people form part of a psychological crowd they lose their identities and their self-control; they become suggestible, and primitive instinctive impulses predominate,” he said in an email. That notion has been discredited by decades of research on crowd behavior, Drury said. “No respectable psychologist agrees with these ideas now,” he said. Multiple experts told the AP that while there is evidence that groups can shape or influence one’s behaviors — and that people can and do believe falsehoods that are put forward by the leader of a group — those concepts do not involve the masses experiencing “psychosis” or “hypnosis.”

Reuters offers this simultaneous rebuttal: (Reuters) – “Mass formation psychosis” is not an academic term recognized in the field of psychology, nor is there evidence of any such phenomenon occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple experts in crowd psychology have told Reuters. […] There is no evidence to suggest a “mass formation psychosis” has occurred during the pandemic, experts told Reuters. The term itself is not recognised among academics, and modern research into crowd psychology has shown that crowds do not behave in mindless or non-individualistic ways. Once a collective group creates an alternate reality of itself, in this case a totalitarian reality based on government needing to create an irrational illusion of fear that becomes part of the accepted national identity, how can anyone call attention to the outcomes without finding themselves in front of the board of inquisition who organizes the collective?

Put another way… if the pod under your bed malfunctioned, but the pods under all the other beds in the city worked, what happens when you awaken and realize you are not one of them, but you must engage in the world of them while looking for others -like yourself- whose pods hopefully malfunctioned? That is the current challenge for anyone trying to communicate on contrary evidence and yet avoid the ire from the collective board of COVID compliance who have successfully brainwashed the audience. As a rather prescient Lewis Carroll shared so brilliantly in his novel of Alice, Through The Looking Glass:

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

McCullough MFP

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“This is the first time since the Floyd riots in America, that major political leaders and public health authorities have said that preventing Corona can no longer be the highest goal of western society.”

Wendepunkt (eugyppius)

“Where’s the vaccine mandate they promised us?” whines Daniel Brössler, reporter for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, disappointed because yesterday’s Corona summit of German minister presidents returned nothing but some adjustments to quarantine and sharpened testing rules. The double vaccinated will now have to submit negative tests if they want to eat at restaurants. Markus Söder, lockdown- and vaccine mandate-loving minister president of Bavaria, criticised even these milquetoast restrictions, with some bluster about how he’d already taken a hard line against bars and discos. This is after leading German Corona astrologer, Christian Drosten, used his state media podcast to suggest that Germany should start tolerating some of degree of SARS-2 transmission, and that breakthrough infections among the vaccinated should be considered normal. Such statements, which almost surely reflect sentiments within the coalition government, destroy most of the rationale for ongoing restrictions and vaccine mandates.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the thrice-vaccinated chancellor Karl Nehammer has tested positive for Corona. The news comes as Austria announces they will delay implementing their vaccine mandate by two months. It will now take effect in April, if at all. Gerald Gartlehner, an epidemiologist and sometime governmental adviser, suggested that mandates (or at least their enforcement) might have to be re-evaluated in light of Omicron and the widespread immunity the new variant will elicit across the Austrian population. There is every reason to think that Austria will be past the peak of the Omicron wave in April, and that a majority of Austrians with have SARS-2 antibodies by then.

In the United States, former Biden advisers have published a series of editorials in the Journal of the American Medical Association, arguing that it is time to normalise containment and begin managing SARS-2 as one of various seasonal respiratory infections. It is obvious that we are at a turning point, even if everyone has yet to realise it – even if France is sharpening vaccine requirements, even if Italy has imposed vaccine mandates for everyone over 50, and even if Canada is for the moment determined to remain a prison state. This is the first time since the Floyd riots in America, that major political leaders and public health authorities have said that preventing Corona can no longer be the highest goal of western society.

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“In an open letter to the Government’s vaccination advisory committee – the JCVI – the MPs including Miriam Cates, Esther McVey and Sir Desmond Swayne and scientists including Professor Allyson Pollock, Dr Roland Salmon and Professor Brent Taylor write that “the risk to benefit ratio for child Covid vaccination has worsened since September”.

Re: Review of Child Vaccination Programme (DS)

January 2021 – To Members of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation, – On September 3rd 2021 the JCVI advised against recommending the mass vaccination of healthy 12-15-year-olds against COVID-19. The principal reason given for this was that, while the known benefits and harms from vaccination to this age group were both very small, the Committee was concerned about the unknown potential harms of the new vaccine, particularly the long-term and possibly serious risks of myocarditis. The JCVI estimated that for every one million 12-15-year-olds vaccinated with two doses, 2.54 ICU admissions would be avoided and up to 51 cases of myocarditis caused. Subsequently, the risk of myocarditis and other adverse events has been shown to be greater than believed by the JCVI at the time.

The Government referred the matter to the CMO, asking him to consider the ‘wider benefits’ to children of vaccination. On September 13th 2021 Professor Chris Whitty recommended that one dose of the vaccine be given to healthy 12-15-year-olds on the basis that it would possibly provide ‘marginal benefits’, specifically in reducing the time spent out of school as a result of Covid infection. This was calculated as a saving of, on average, 15 mins of education per child. (This estimate did not take into account disruption even from short term vaccine side effects and is also based on assumptions about the level of protection one dose of the vaccine gives against infection which have proved to be over-optimistic.)

The risk and benefit calculations made by the JCVI and the CMO were based on less complete data on both the harms and benefits of vaccinating children compared to the evidence now available. Four months later, we are in a very different position, with the virulent Delta variant almost completely replaced by the milder Omicron variant. Additionally, society now has a higher level of robust immunity from natural infection than it had when teenage vaccination was approved. We have seen in recent weeks that Omicron is significantly more infectious than Delta (based on secondary attack rates, it was originally twice as transmissible as Delta, but this has declined to 1.3 times as transmissible as naturally acquired variant-specific immunity to it has risen). Vaccines are also far less effective at stemming the transmission of Omicron, compared to Delta (protection appears to fall to zero, three months after vaccination).

More data have emerged about the frequency of harmful side effects of Covid vaccination. One study found that for males under 40, risk of myocarditis was up to 14 times higher after vaccination than after infection (101 cases after the Moderna second dose, compared to seven cases after infection). It is particularly important to note that the risks of myocarditis in young men and boys seems to increase significantly after a second dose of the vaccine – which is why Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty initially recommended just one dose be given to 12-15 year olds – and yet we are now offering second doses to children, despite the evidence of risk growing.

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A symptom found only in one place?

New Symptom Of Omicron In Young Children Revealed (RT)

American scientists have identified a new symptom of the Omicron variant in children under five; a “barking” cough that may sound frightening when parents hear it. According to Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, some Covid patients in the youngest age group develop “croup-like” coughs which can be identified by a “barking” sound. That happens, Creech told NBC news, because “little kids’ airways are so narrow that it takes far less inflammation to clog them.” The best way to protect the youngest children, who are not yet eligible for the vaccines, is to “cocoon” them around vaccinated people, he said.


Croup, which is an infection of the vocal cords, windpipe, and bronchial tubes, is a well-known and usually easily treatable disease, so doctors are telling parents not to panic. While the croup cough may be “scary to hear,” it does not necessarily mean there are any problems with the lungs, said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

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No, it’s upside down. Diabetic kids are more vulnerable to Covid. Actually, quite a sinister suggestion.

Does Covid19 Cause Diabetes In Kids? (Prasad)

The CDC is back with a new piece of propagan—- I mean, a new publication. It claims that kids (<18) with COVID are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes in the next 30 days than kids without COVID or kids with other pre-pandemic respiratory viruses. It asserts this is a causal effect. COVID causes diabetes in kids. To make this claim, the CDC examines 2 databases: IQVIA and HealthVerity. From IQVIA, they pull out kids <18 with COVID19 diagnosis, and age and sex matched kids without the diagnosis, as well as those with a prior non-covid respiratory infection. From HealthVerity, they pull out kids <18 with COVID19 diagnosis and kids <18 who got tested for COVID19 and were negative*. (we shall return to this).

In all cases, administrative/billing codes for COVID19 and diabetes were used to see who had COVID19 and who developed diabetes within 30 days of the index encounter. Of course, many, many more kids had COVID who are not in the database. Some may not have even had symptoms, and others may not have sought testing. In IQVIA, among kids with COVID19, a whopping 68 out of 80,000+ or 0.08% ended with diabetes; among kids without COVID19, it was 132 out of 400,000+ or 0.03% ended up with diabetes, and among kids with prior respiratory infection it was ~0.06% The absolute risk of diabetes due to COVID (if you believed this is causal) appears to be an increase on par with a swiftly eaten bag of skittles.

Now in the HealthVerity database, the risk of diabetes post COVID19 was 0.25% (a quarter of 1 percent), if you were tested for COVID19 but negative, it was 0.19% (one fifth of 1 percent). Here, COVID appears as risky as a McDonalds supersized soda. The CDC trumpets this finding as “children and teens 18 years & younger who have had #COVID19 are up to 2.5 times more likely to have a #diabetes diagnosis after infection” Is that a fair take away or a fear-mongering distortion? First, the whole analysis hinges on the idea that age-sex matched kids without covid should be comparable to the kids who got covid in terms of risk of diabetes. The only difference between the kids should be that some, unfortunately, had covid. But COVID may be more likely to affect kids of lower socioeconomic status, of certain races, and kids who were already overweight or suffering from medical problems.

Does the CDC attempt to correct for any of these confounders? Not at all. They surely have height and weight, and could adjust for BMI, but do not. I am truly puzzled as to why. Second, they don’t have the true denominator. This is only kids who present and have a COVID19 diagnosis. Seroprevalence is needed to find the real denominator of kids with COVID19. This will lower the absolute risks. COVID19 may be downgraded from a whole bag of skittles to a single, red skittle. Does the CDC adjust for this? Nope. Third, kids who seek medical care for COVID19 may get more blood tests than those without COVID19, and perhaps more than those with other respiratory viruses in yesteryear. This too may capture more diabetes. Does the CDC correct for ascertainment? Not at all.

Joe Rogan AF Neil
https://twitter.com/i/status/1479887329925996547

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Turley on Twitter: “Would quoting Justice Breyer or Sotomayor from the vaccine mandate oral argument get one suspension by Twitter for covid disinformation?”

Federal Vaccine Mandate Enters ‘Major Question’ Land (Turley)

“Major-question-land,” the term coined by Louisiana solicitor general Elizabeth Murrill during Friday’s oral arguments over the Biden vaccine mandates, has an almost Disneyesque sound to it. However, unlike Yesterland or Tomorrowland, major-question-land clearly holds no attraction for the Biden administration or the court’s liberal justices. The defenders of the mandates worked mightily to avoid the fact that it’s the first-ever national vaccine mandate and was decided without the approval of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts, a vital vote needed by the administration, noted that this administration was relying on language passed roughly 50 years ago — closer to the Spanish Flu than the novel coronavirus — and stated ominously, “This is something the federal government has never done before.”

That sounds not just like a question but a major one. The major-questions doctrine maintains that courts should not defer to agency statutory interpretations when the underlying questions concern “vast economic or political significance.” The controversy over the mandates shows the wisdom of the doctrine demanding that Congress not only take action but responsibility, too, for such major decisions. With increasing confusion over changing CDC guidelines and the risk profile associated with the Omicron variant, congressional action could bring both greater legitimacy and clarity to questions swirling around mandates.

Instead, the Supreme Court is grappling with an executive move that was openly discussed not only as an avoidance of Congress but a circumvention of constitutional limitations. It was not a good sign for the administration that the most referenced individual during oral argument was Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, who tweeted that the mandates were “workarounds” of the Constitution. Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and others referred to Klain’s admission as the administration’s lawyers tried to argue that the executive had the constitutional authority to implement a national mandate.

The liberal justices took the “time is of the essence” argument to an almost apocalyptic degree: Justice Stephen Breyer kept mentioning that every second they wait, more people are getting COVID, and he incorrectly stated there were “750 million new cases yesterday.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated as a fact that “Omicron is as deadly as Delta and causes as much serious disease in the unvaccinated as Delta did.” That is not true. Omicron appears to be far more virulent, but less lethal than Delta. Sotomayor also claimed that “we have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition, and many on ventilators.” That is also untrue. For patients, up to 17 years old, the seven-day average for hospitalizations was 797.

Tucker Sotomayor

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Agricultural pilot “was told that his inner ears were ruptured, and fluid inside was leaking inward toward the inside of his skull.”

People Injured by COVID-19 Vaccine Are Left in the Dark (ET)

People injured by the COVID-19 vaccine have no meaningful way to get compensated and have been ignored by the federal government, according to an agricultural pilot who has been seriously injured by taking the COVID-19 vaccine. “At this point, the government has totally abandoned us,” Cody Flint, a vaccine-injured pilot, told NTD’s “The Nation Speaks” program in an interview broadcast on Jan. 1. [..] On Feb. 1, 2021, Flint volunteered to get the vaccine. “Just an exciting day—thought we were gonna put this behind us,” Flint recalled.

But within 30 minutes, he developed an odd headache after receiving the vaccine. Two days later, he took his first flight that year. Immediately after takeoff, he had tunnel vision. Flint tried to push forward to keep his commitment to his client. But he felt like a bomb went off inside his head in the end. He couldn’t remember how he landed the plane back on the runway. “Really by the grace of God that there was not an accident. I went to my family doctor immediately,” Flint said. Later, he was told that his inner ears were ruptured, and fluid inside was leaking inward toward the inside of his skull. Doctors explained that only highly elevated intracranial pressure from things like a car wreck, major head trauma, or things of that nature could make that happen to both of his ears at the same time on the same day.

“Obviously, I had none of those. The only thing that changed in my life was I got the vaccine and developed a severe headache immediately that got worse leading up to that point,” Flint said. Flint went through two surgeries and dozens of doctor visits afterward. His condition improved, but he still has trouble driving. “I don’t know what my next stepping stone in life is going to be. I don’t know,” Flint said, noting that his pilot license was taken away. “I don’t know what to do at this point. I spent every dime I’ve saved my entire life on the surgeries and just trying to survive and feed my family since the incident happened.”

Having been an agricultural pilot for 15 years, Flint said he’s not an anti-vaxxer. “I signed up and got it the first day I could possibly get it. I believed in vaccines,” Flint told The Epoch Times last month. Now Flint is critical of the vaccine mandate. “That’s the Achilles heel of the mandate. This does not fit everyone. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Flint told NTD. “There are thousands and thousands of people around the country. I’ve been in touch with a lot of them that have had absolutely life-altering, career-ending injuries from these vaccines. A lot of them are pilots. It is scary that how many pilots are being injured by this.”

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Dave seems to think we already finished part 1.

2021 Year in Review: The Rise of Centralized Healthcare (Collum)

1/The US and the World appeared to need a vaccine developed and produced. We forked up serious Federal support and threw caution to the wind via Operation Warp Speed. The vaccine policies were coming from the healthcare authorities. In our haste, all safeguards were removed, which led via shoddy methodology to produce a product of questionable efficacy pushed on the public with oppressive tactics. The medium and long-term risks are unknown.

2/ Ivermectin. Early treatment of the disease was completely neglected by policy. Frontline doctors trying to McGyver their way into solutions using Ivermectin and other drugs were shut down completely. Careers were destroyed. The public was duped by a massive media campaign and overt censorship. All this was to ensure that the vaccines and patent-protected antiviral drugs could be developed and sold. There are, however, darker and more sinister interpretations.

3/The lockdowns and social distancing policies came almost exclusively from the medical authorities paying no attention whatsoever to the socioeconomic and other health consequences.

In short, we gave healthcare “authorities” autocratic control over every facet of our society. Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the CDC, went so far as to set policy on apartment evictions. How fucked up is that? We socialized the healthcare costs and privatized the profits. Where have I heard that one before? The Overton Window is now stuck wide open. The FDA and CDC won’t go quiescent, and many of us won’t trust them now. The next crisis will be sooner than you can imagine and be accompanied by calls for further largesse and lockdowns. It will seem so natural to comply. The new normal is in society’s DNA.

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Great data. Since two thirds of the rise is taxation, I would be very careful about calling this inflation.

“My Grandfather was in the same job and same house his entire life. He maintained the same standard of living in all the years I knew him.”

Household Expense Data, the Same House for 80 Years (Mish)

Reader Holly Writes: Dear Mish, Recently I came into possession of the financial records of my grandfather. I plugged a bunch of the numbers into a spreadsheet just for kicks. What is most interesting about these numbers is they start in 1941 when he purchased the home. It was left to my mother, and then to me in 2020 (80 years of finances for the same home!) My Grandfather was in the same job and same house his entire life. He maintained the same standard of living in all the years I knew him. The numbers show that the cost of maintaining a stable standard of living reflects a much higher inflation rate than any of the indexes I have compared it too. After my grandfather passed in 2003 until I acquired the home in 2020 I had to approximate some expenses. I took the records I had from 2020 and 2021 and filled in the missing gaps.


Regards, Holly

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“..24% of all outstanding residential mortgages in this whole big country reside in the central bank..”

There’s neither a housing market nor a mortgage market. Both are cornered.

The Federal Reserve Keeps Buying Mortgages (Pollock)

Runaway house price inflation continues to characterize the U.S. market. House prices across the country rose 15.8% on average in October 2021 from the year before. U.S. house prices are far over their 2006 Bubble peak, and remain over the Bubble peak even after adjustment for consumer price inflation. They will keep on rising at the annual rate of 14–16% for the rest of 2021, according to the AEI Housing Center. Unbelievably, in this situation the Federal Reserve keeps on buying mortgages. It buys a lot of them and continues to be the price-setting marginal buyer or Big Bid in the mortgage market, expanding its mortgage portfolio with one hand, and printing money with the other. It should have stopped before now, but the purchases, financed by newly created fiat money, or monetization, go on.

They proceed at the rate of tens of billions of dollars a month, stoking the house price inflation, making it harder and harder for new families to afford a house. A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece was entitled “How the Fed Rigs the Bond Market”—it rigs the mortgage market, too. The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve has grown to a size that would have amazed previous generations of Federal Reserve governors and economists. Although we have become somewhat accustomed to it, so fast do perceptions adjust, it would also have surprised readers of Housing Finance International of five years ago, and readers of 15 years ago would probably have judged the current reality simply impossible. Over time, we keep discovering how feeble are our judgments of what is possible or impossible.

The total assets of the Federal Reserve reached $8.7 trillion in November 2021. This is just about double the $4.5 trillion of November 2016, five years before—and we thought it was really big then. Today’s Federal Reserve assets are ten times what they were in November 2006, 15 years ago, when they were $861 billion, and none were mortgages. The Federal Reserve now owns on its balance sheet $2.6 trillion in mortgages. That means about 24% of all outstanding residential mortgages in this whole big country reside in the central bank, which has thereby earned the remarkable status of becoming by far the largest savings and loan institution in the world. Like the historical U.S. savings and loans associations, the Federal Reserve owns very long-term mortgages, with their interest rates fixed for 15 to 30 years, and neither marks its investments to market in its financial statements nor hedges its substantial interest rate risk.

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Size comparison between Hubble and JWST (Webb telescope) primary mirror

 

 

 

Tucker Viagra

 

 

Leave me alone!
https://twitter.com/i/status/1479765306675539970

 

 

God save the queen

 

 

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

 

Jan 082022
 
 January 8, 2022  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  85 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Hunters in the snow 1565

 

When That Ol’ Mojo Stops Workin’ (Kunstler)
CDC Director Says US May See ‘Precipitous Decline’ In Omicron Cases (ABC)
Justice Sotomayor Claims 100,000 Children in ‘Serious Condition’ from Covid (Y!)
Top Epidemiologist Harvey Risch Blasts Fauci’s Covid Strategy, CDC Data (JTN)
True Number Of US Covid Deaths Likely Undercounted, Experts Say (G.)
Global Research On Omicron Raises Questions About Unvaccinated Blame Game (JTN)
Victoria Records Huge Spike In Cases (G.)
Scholz Pushes Mandatory Jabs As Resistance Grows In Germany (RFI)
Sajid Javid Directly Challenged On Mandatory Coronavirus Jabs (Sky)
Parents Sue Chicago Teachers Union Over School Closures, ‘Illegal Strike’ (JTN)
Norwegian Conscripts Told To Return Underwear As Covid Hits Supplies (G.)
The Day Jake Tapper Sold His Soul to Pharma (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr)
What the Jan. 6 Panel Won’t Probe (Strassel)
What Kazakhstan Isn’t (Murray)
2022, The Year of The Hangover? (Lacalle)

 

 

 

 

New York has its first official breakdown of what share of people are hospitalized for COVID vs. how many are hospitalized with incidental COVID. In NYC it’s 49% for COVID, everyone else just happened to test positive

 

 

eugyp

 

 

Italy mandatory

 

 

“Lunacy is exhausting.”

When That Ol’ Mojo Stops Workin’ (Kunstler)

You will have to be nimble and resourceful. The Covid lockdowns of the past two years have destroyed many small businesses, but think of that as the tide going out before the blowback of a tsunami that will sweep away the large businesses next. The WalMarts, the automobile industry, the airlines, trucking, Amazon.com, major league sports, the fast-food empires, the oil industry, the mega-banks — all these systems have gone into speed-wobble and most of them will crash hard. It’s an issue of scale. The broken giants will have to be replaced by lower-scaled systems for producing stuff, moving it, and selling it. That includes food, especially, by the way. How are you going to be part of that where you live? What role can you imagine yourself in? What are you good at? What do you dream of being good at? Can you assemble a social network for yourself?

Do you have any ability to look after the public interest? Can you speak coherently? Do you mean what you say? Are you grounded morally in right-and-wrong? Can others depend on you to keep your word? These are the questions that will matter going forward, not whether you were vaccinated, or voted for Mr. Trump, or know the lyrics to God Bless America. It looks like the disorders of economy and community are heading to center stage as the Covid-19 melodrama closes down. Since human nature is perverse, the current mass formation psychosis may transfer its energy onto new hobgoblins. But the mass of Americans — putting aside blue and red insignia for a moment — might simply be tired of lunacy. They may even begin to show some impatience with those who generate it, for instance the cable TV news channels.

Some of the most practiced conveyers of lunacy are heading out the door in the months ahead. Joy Reid of MSNBC is reportedly on her way off-camera (not by choice), and a while back the redoubtably dishonest Rachel Maddow announced her exit for April of this year, probably in anticipation of all her beloved narratives falling apart. Lunacy is exhausting. Soon enough, even the crazed governments of Euroland and Australia will suddenly drop their lockdowns and vaccination tyrannies as reality presses on the bubbles they occupy. In the face of the Omicron fade-out, they’ll turn 180-degrees and try to pretend that the episode of madness never happened. I doubt they will get away with it. Many politicians in these lands will be bum-rushed from office at the first opportunity.

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Yeah, yeah, more studies needed, yada yada, but they easily know enough already to take their hands off the panic button. They don’t.

CDC Director Says US May See ‘Precipitous Decline’ In Omicron Cases (ABC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday there is a good chance that the U.S. will follow the “ice-pick”-shaped curve of South Africa’s omicron surge of the COVID variant, but cautioned that it could roll through different parts of the country at various times, as previous waves have. “I do think in places that we are seeing this really steep incline, that we may well see also a precipitous decline, but we’re also a much bigger country than South Africa,” Walensky said in a briefing with reporters. “And so it may very well be that we see this ice-pick shape, but that is it travels across the country,” she said.

As far as the rapid spread of coronavirus cases contributing to that decline, Walensky said there was not yet conclusive data to say for sure that people who recovered from omicron would be protected against reinfection. The CDC is setting up studies to find out more, Walensky said. There is data to show that previous delta infections do not fully protect against omicron infections, but that lab studies have shown omicron infection may protect against future delta infections, she said. “But we don’t yet have data that has demonstrated, at least clinically, that omicron protects against omicron,” Walensky said. “We are setting up studies to evaluate that, but we don’t have that information quite yet.”

As for the record-breaking high rates of pediatric hospitalizations, Walensky described a culmination of winter bringing higher rates of hospitalizations, many kids testing positive in hospitals when they come in for other issues and the low vaccination rates among kids in the face of the most transmissible variant yet. For the week ending Jan. 1, Walensky said the rate of hospitalization for kids up to age four was 4.3 per 100,000, but that the population over 65 was seeing rates of 14.7 hospitalizations per 100,000. “So, rates are higher in the pediatric populations than we’ve seen previously, but they’re also higher among our other populations and many populations that are also vaccinated,” Walensky said, reflecting how much the virus has spread.

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The SCOTUS justices performed a weird sort of comedy there, showing off their utter ignorance. And THEY get to decide?

Justice Sotomayor Claims 100,000 Children in ‘Serious Condition’ from Covid (Y!)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor falsely claimed that 100,000 children are in “serious condition” from Covid during oral arguments on the Biden administration’s employer vaccine mandate on Friday. “We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators. We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition, and many on ventilators,” Sotomayor claimed. The current number of confirmed pediatric hospitalizations with Covid in the U.S. is 3,342, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services released on Friday. The average number of children admitted to the hospital per day with Covid was 776 as of Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the total number of children hospitalized with Covid from August 2020 through January 4, 2022 is 81,923, the CDC states.


CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement on Friday that “pediatric hospitalizations are at their highest rate compared to any prior point in the pandemic.” However, Walensky also told reporters that CDC data on pediatric Covid hospitalizations included some patients who were admitted to the hospital for a separate issue. Sotomayor’s comments came as the Court heard arguments on the Biden administration’s employer vaccine mandate, which states that businesses with 100 or more employees must require Covid vaccinations for all workers and weekly testing for those workers who do not get vaccinated. Challengers claim that the agency charged with developing and enforcing the mandate, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, does not have the Constitutional authority to do so.

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“Fauci [..] not only isn’t trained in public health but “has interests that do not align with the public health interests of the United States,”

Top Epidemiologist Harvey Risch Blasts Fauci’s Covid Strategy, CDC Data (JTN)

President Biden can claim that COVID-19 remains a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” partly because “the CDC has played fast and loose with a lot of studies and data,” Yale School of Public Health epidemiologist Harvey Risch says. “We have not been careful or objective with our data,” he told the John Solomon Reports podcast Friday. “We don’t even know, for example, the mortality from COVID,” which the CDC pegs at more than 800,000. Risch noted the agency told physicians to put COVID on death certificates regardless of whether they think the infection played a role. Hospitalizations have also conflated admissions “with” and “from” COVID, he said. As a member of a committee advising Connecticut early in the pandemic, Risch urged ignoring case counts and focusing on hospitalizations and deaths.


That advice was largely ignored until the current “sky-high” yet mild Omicron variant wave, but now “finally people are waking up to say that the cases don’t matter,” he said. The U.K. is among countries that more carefully track COVID, according to Risch. Its data show vaccinated adults constitute the majority of cases, “and it’s not a hospitalization of the unvaccinated” either. While vaccines are a “potential and reasonable component” of COVID mitigation, those developed are “somewhat ineffective” and their large-scale deployment has driven an unexpected number of “mutant strains” extending the pandemic and causing higher mortality, Risch said. President Biden’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, not only isn’t trained in public health but “has interests that do not align with the public health interests of the United States,” Risch argued.

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The Guardian manages to draw conclusions from the insurance story that are 180º different. Not one word about vaccine deaths as a possible factor.

True Number Of US Covid Deaths Likely Undercounted, Experts Say (G.)

The true number of deaths from the Covid pandemic in the US are likely being undercounted, due to the long-lasting and little-understood effects of Covid infection and other deadly complications that surged during the past two years. “We are seeing right now the highest death rates we have ever seen in the history of this business,” J Scott Davison, CEO of insurance company OneAmerica, told journalists on 30 December. “Death rates are up 40% over what they were pre-pandemic,” he said, among working-age people between 18 and 64. Deaths among older Americans have also increased, with one in 100 Americans over the age of 65 dying. There have been an estimated 942,431 excess deaths in the US since February 2020, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hispanic, Black and Native American and Alaska Native populations have been disproportionately affected with high death rates, research shows. The pandemic pales in comparison to other previous crises, Davison said. “A one-in-200-year catastrophe would be a 10% increase over pre-pandemic [levels]. So 40% is just unheard of.” Many of the deaths aren’t counted in the official Covid tally, he said, because they happen months after Covid infections. “The deaths that are being reported as Covid deaths greatly understate the actual death losses among working-age people from the pandemic. It may not all be Covid on their death certificates, but deaths are up in just huge, huge numbers.”

[..] “We’re seeing the statistics get written as we go, almost,” Micah Pollak, associate professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, said. And high rates of mortality and disability will only continue as more people get infected, he said. “We really don’t know what the tail of this thing looks like,” Pollak said of long Covid. “The further you get out [from infection], the longer time you have to potentially develop some kind of complications.” The high rates of death haven’t surprised him, Pollak said, given the equally high rates of cases and the unknown effects of a novel virus. “There’s just so much evidence of these long-term effects of Covid that I naturally assumed people realized that, hey, we’re gonna see probably a lot of deaths down the road – not necessarily soon after infection, but indirectly as a result of infection, as well as not just deaths but disability.”

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“..two-dose mRNA vaccines are “not protective against” the new variant, while the booster shot only improves effectiveness to 37% seven or more days later.”

Global Research On Omicron Raises Questions About Unvaccinated Blame Game (JTN)

President Biden’s oft-repeated belief that COVID-19 remains a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is running headlong into global data on the real-world performance of vaccines against the Omicron variant, which the CDC estimates now accounts for 19 in 20 U.S. infections. A new study by Ontario, Canada’s public health agency and health researchers at Canadian universities found that two-dose mRNA vaccines are “not protective against” the new variant, while the booster shot only improves effectiveness to 37% seven or more days later. That’s in stark contrast to the 93% effectiveness against the Delta variant they observed among vaccinated and boosted individuals seven or more days later.

Researchers reviewed provincial data on 3,442 Omicron positives, 9,201 Delta positives and 471,545 “test-negative controls.” There were important differences between the populations testing positive for each variant. Omicron cases were 10 years younger on average, more likely to be male and two-dose vaccinated, and less likely to have “any comorbidities” or a booster, relative to controls. Delta cases were far less likely to be vaccinated at all, relative to controls. Digging further into the preprint, which hasn’t been peer-reviewed, California-based epidemiologist Tracy Hoeg was floored that two-dose vaccination actually reduced protection from reinfection by Omicron 38% four to six months after injection, and 42% by eight months.

“Why mandate?” Hoeg tweeted while acknowledging the Ontario Public Health study didn’t look at vaccine effectiveness against severe COVID infections. The Danish-American citizen highlighted official Denmark data suggesting two-dose vaccine recipients are “equally” protected against ICU admissions as boosted individuals. Their reinfections have surpassed those of the unvaccinated, however, and the boosted are “catching up.”

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The wild success of dictatorship.

And Djokovic had every right to his exemption. But is still locked up.

Australia will have very few politicians left if it does what needs to be done.

Victoria Records Huge Spike In Cases (G.)

Victoria has reported a massive jump in Covid cases, a day after launching its online system allowing people to self-report rapid antigen test results for the first time. New Covid cases surged above 100,000 per day nationally for the first time, with Victoria reporting 51,356 new cases and nine deaths, New South Wales 45,098 cases and nine deaths, Queensland 11,174 cases and two deaths, and South Australia 4,274 cases and five deaths. The Australian Capital Territory recorded 1,305 cases and Tasmania had 2,223 cases. Saturday’s case numbers in Victoria are more than double Friday’s figure, but health authorities say almost half (26,428) the positive cases in the past 24 hours were RAT results, with many of those taken earlier in the week.


Only 5,923 of Saturday’s positive RAT results were from the latest 24-hour reporting period. “We don’t want Victorians to think that the daily transmission has doubled overnight,” the health minister, Martin Foley, said on Saturday. “The reported figure has certainly significantly spiked based on that week’s worth of unreported figures that we are now capturing in the system.” The new RAT reporting system was set up after the PCR testing regime came under extreme pressure, with suspected cases queuing for hours to get tested and results taking several days to come through. Saturday’s figures included a further 24,928 cases identified through PCR lab tests, of which more than 89,000 were conducted.

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No, really, straight faced, and not from the government, but from the opposition:

“..our greatest asset… is and remains our freedom..”

You wouldn’t know freedom if it hit you between the eyes.

Scholz Pushes Mandatory Jabs As Resistance Grows In Germany (RFI)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted Friday that his plan to introduce mandatory coronavirus jabs was on track, despite fierce debate about the controversial move and growing resistance from his own coalition partners. Scholz, who recently took over as chancellor from Angela Merkel, in late November touted compulsory jabs for all adults as the surest way out of the pandemic. The centre-left Social Democrat asked MPs in the lower of house parliament to draft the necessary legislation with the goal of introducing the measure in “late February or early March”. Little progress has been made since then however, and the fast-spreading but less severe Omicron strain has raised fresh doubts about the project, particularly among the pro-business FDP party.

Speaking after a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on tighter coronavirus curbs, Scholz reiterated that “it would be good if we ended up with a general vaccine mandate”. He said all of Germany’s state premiers had declared their backing for the plan. “I feel fully supported” by them, he said. The same cannot be said for the FDP, who along with the Greens make up Scholz’s three-way coalition government. Although coronavirus cases are rising, Germany has so far been spared the steep Omicron surge that has swept other nations — prompting Justice Minister Marco Buschmann from the FDP to call for a wait-and-see approach on a general vaccine mandate.

FDP chief Christian Lindner said new findings “could play a role in the decision”, in a nod to Omicron infecting even the triple jabbed, and studies suggesting a lower hospitalisation rate than with the Delta variant. “Protecting human health and life is highly desirable. But our greatest asset… is and remains our freedom,” he said on Thursday.

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Not everyone is crazy.

“The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it’s probably less. “And for that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine?”

Sajid Javid Directly Challenged On Mandatory Coronavirus Jabs (Sky)

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been directly challenged by an unvaccinated hospital consultant over the government’s policy of compulsory COVID jabs for NHS staff. During a visit to King’s College Hospital in south London, Mr Javid asked staff members on the intensive care unit about their thoughts on new rules requiring vaccination for NHS workers. And Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist who has been treating coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic, told the health secretary about his displeasure. “I’m not happy about that,” he said. “I had COVID at some point, I’ve got antibodies, and I’ve been working on COVID ICU since the beginning.


“I have not had a vaccination, I do not want to have a vaccination. The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it’s probably less. “And for that, I would be dismissed if I don’t have a vaccine? The science isn’t strong enough.” Mr James also revealed another of his colleagues held the same position.

Javid

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“Throughout this entire pandemic, our kids have paid a tremendous price for adults’ mistakes and miscalculations, and now the teachers’ union has hastily and recklessly put them on their political roller coaster again..”

Parents Sue Chicago Teachers Union Over School Closures, ‘Illegal Strike’ (JTN)

Seven parents of Chicago Public Schools students are suing the district’s teachers’ union, calling this week’s closure of schools over union claims they were unsafe an “illegal strike.” The parents are asking the court to rule that the Chicago Teachers Union’s action violates its collective bargaining agreement with CPS and prevent the union from continuing “to authorize its members to stop in-person teaching,” among other demands. “CTU’s resolution calling members to not show up for work in-person is a strike regardless of what CTU calls it and violates both the collective bargaining agreement with CPS and Illinois law,” Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, which is representing the parents, said in a statement. “CTU cannot unilaterally decide what actions should be taken to keep public schools safe, completely silencing parents’ input about what is best for the health, safety, and well-being of their children.”


The CTU voted late Tuesday to urge Chicago Public Schools to switch to fully remote learning because of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, and authorized teachers to refuse to report to work is CPS refused. Schools have been closed since Tuesday with no remote learning options, and CPS on Friday said schools also would be closed Monday as negotiations continue with the union. “Throughout this entire pandemic, our kids have paid a tremendous price for adults’ mistakes and miscalculations, and now the teachers’ union has hastily and recklessly put them on their political roller coaster again,” Laurel Golden, one of the parents named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement. “The science is clear, and so is the desire of parents: Our kids need and deserve to be in school. This illegal strike must be ended immediately, and we must get kids back into the classroom.”

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The crisis hits everywhere!

Norwegian Conscripts Told To Return Underwear As Covid Hits Supplies (G.)

Norwegian conscripts are to return their underwear after completing military service for the next recruits, as the army struggles with dwindling supplies due to Covid. Norway, which guards Nato’s northern borders and shares a border with Russia, calls up about 8,000 young men and women for military service every year and until recently allowed newly discharged conscripts to leave barracks with the underwear they were issued. But the pandemic has seriously strained the flow of supplies with factory shutdowns and transport problems, leading the Norwegian military to ask conscripts to hand over underwear, including bras and socks.


Though originally voluntary, it has now been made mandatory, public broadcaster NRK reported on Friday. “Now that we have chosen to reuse this part of the kit, it helps us. … We don’t have enough in stock,” the defence logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset told NRK. “The textiles are washed, cleaned and checked. What we distribute is in good condition,” he said. A conscripts’ representative, however, criticised recurrent shortcomings, saying they could end up affecting operations. “Severe shortages of equipment and clothing can potentially affect operational readiness and, in the worst case, the safety of the soldier,” Eirik Sjohelle Eiksund told trade publication Forsvarets Forum.

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“..CNN and Tapper provide Pfizer a platform to market its products and allow the drug company — a serial felon — to dictate content on CNN..”

The Day Jake Tapper Sold His Soul to Pharma (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr)

In 1999, in response to exploding epidemics of autism and other neurological disorders, CDC decided to study its vast Vaccine Safety Datalink — the medical and vaccination record of millions of Americans, archived by the top HMOs — to learn whether the dramatic escalation of the vaccine schedule, beginning in 1989, was a culprit. CDC’s in-house epidemiologist, Thomas Verstraeten, led the effort. Verstraeten’s initial data run suggested that mercury-containing hepatitis B vaccines — administered during the first month of life — were associated with a wide range of neurological injuries, including a dramatic 1,135% rise in autism risks among vaccinated children.

[..] Tapper saw an early draft of my Rolling Stone story and proposed that, in exchange for exclusivity, he would do a companion piece for ABC timed to air on the magazine’s publication day. Tapper spent several weeks working on the story with me and a team of enthusiastic ABC reporters and technicians. During his frequent conversations with me over that period, he was on fire with indignation over the Simpsonwood revelations. He acted like a journalist hoping to win an Emmy. The day before the piece was to air, an exasperated Tapper called me to say that ABC’s corporate officials ordered him to pull the story. The network’s pharmaceutical advertisers were threatening to cancel their advertising. “Corporate told us to shut it down,” Tapper fumed. Tapper told me that it was the first time in his career that ABC officials had ordered him to kill a story.

ABC had advertised the Simpsonwood exposé, and its sudden cancellation disappointed an army of vaccine safety advocates and parents of injured children who deluged the network with a maelstrom of angry emails. In response, ABC changed tack and publicly promised to air the piece. Instead, following a one-week delay, the network duplicitously aired a hastily assembled puff piece promoting vaccines and assuring listeners that mercury-laden vaccines were safe. The new “bait and switch” segment precisely followed Pharma’s talking points. “I’m putting my faith in the Institute of Medicine,” ABC’s obsequious medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, declared in closing. Two pharmaceutical advertisements bracketed the story. After that piece aired, I called Jake to complain. He neither answered nor returned my calls.

During the 16 intervening years, Pharma has returned Mr. Tapper’s favor by aggressively promoting his career. Pfizer shamelessly sponsors Tapper’s CNN news show, announcing its ownership of the space — and Mr. Tapper’s indentured servitude — before each episode with the loaded phrase: “Brought to you by Pfizer.” Under the apparent terms of that sponsorship, CNN and Tapper provide Pfizer a platform to market its products and allow the drug company — a serial felon — to dictate content on CNN. This arrangement has transformed CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper into a propaganda vehicle for Pharma and effectively reduced Mr. Tapper to the role of a drug rep — shamelessly promoting fear porn, confusion, and germophobia, and ushering his audience toward high-yield patent pharmaceuticals. Tapper’s main thrust during the pandemic has been to promote levels of public terror sufficient to indemnify all the official lies against critical thinking.

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This one is easy: anything to do with Democrats.

What the Jan. 6 Panel Won’t Probe (Strassel)

Select committees come and go, with varying impact. The growing risk of Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Committee is that it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. A year after the riot, it’s a fair time to evaluate what that committee has and hasn’t accomplished since its summer creation. By its charter, the committee is assigned with investigating “the facts, circumstances and causes” of the event, as well as those “relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police” and other law-enforcement agencies. The country would hugely benefit from a straightforward accounting of that day. Committee members have so far met with some 300 witnesses, received thousands of documents, and subpoenaed some 50 individuals, as well as phone and bank records.

The committee’s leaks, and releases of White House text messages, have provided color, while its litigation and contempt citations have kept the press in gravy. Yet the body’s near-manic focus on Donald Trump’s culpability (the facts of which have been known for a year) has also meant it has produced little that’s new. On “Face the Nation” this week, the committee’s Vice Chairman Elizabeth Cheney waxed about the committee’s “tremendous progress,” yet cited as her only example that it now had “firsthand testimony” that “President Trump was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office, watching on television as the Capitol was assaulted.” “Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol,” was a headline from a Jan. 11, 2021, story in the Washington Post, which reported the president “was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding” to listen to pleas from family and colleagues to intervene.

Thanks to the committee we now know where Mr. Trump lounged, and how many people he ignored. More notable is what the committee has failed to find. Members made no secret they hoped to prove a coup plot run from the White House. Yet in all its 725 prosecutions, the Justice Department hasn’t presented a scintilla of evidence supporting the hypothesis. Neither has the committee—even after 300 witnesses, or texts of the former White House chief of staff. Twisting in the wind are the urgent issues the committee won’t explore. In a memo this week to colleagues, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis—the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Capitol complex—noted that the select committee, a year after the riot, is “no closer to finding out what led to the catastrophic security failure,” even as the security situation has arguably deteriorated because of Capitol Police resignations and poor morale.

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Between 2002 and 2004, Craig Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan.

What Kazakhstan Isn’t (Murray)

When you jump into a taxi in Kazakhstan, getting your suitcase into the boot is often problematic as it will be already full with a large LPG canister. Roof racks are big in Kazakhstan. Most Kazakh vehicles run on LPG, which has traditionally been a subsidised product of the nation’s massive oil and gas industry. Fuel price rises have become, worldwide, a particular trigger of public discontent. The origins of the gilets jaunes movement in France lay in fuel price rises before spreading to other areas of popular greivance. The legacy of fuel protests in the UK have led for years cowardly politicians to submit to annual real reductions in the rate of fuel duty, despite climate change concerns.

The current political crisis in Kazakhstan was spiked by moves to deregulate the LPG market and end subsidy, which led to sharp price increases. These brought people onto the streets. The government quickly backed down and tried to reinstate price controls but not producer subsidies; that would have led gas stations to sell at a loss. The result was fuel shortages that just made protest worse. Kazakhstan is an authoritarian dictatorship with extreme divisions in wealth and power between the ruling class – often still the old Soviet nomenklatura and their families – and everybody else. No political opposition is permitted. Infamously, after a massacre of striking miners, Tony Blair contacted former dictator Nazarbayev offering his PR services to help limit political fallout.

This resulted in a $4 million per year contract for Blair to assist Kazakhstan’s PR, a contract on which BBC favourites Jonathon Powell and Alastair Campbell both worked. One result of the Blairite media management for Kazakhstan was that the Guardian, publishing US leaked diplomatic cables in cooperation with Wikileaks, refused to publish US Embassy reports on corruption in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh dictatorship is also a favourite destination of troughing royals Prince Andrew and Prince Michael of Kent.

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Not sure what the use is supposed to be of a prediction like this.

2022, The Year of The Hangover? (Lacalle)

The global recovery has slowed down significantly since the peak of the re-opening effect in June 2021. What many expected would be a multi-year cycle of above-trend growth is proving to be a more modest bounce. Furthermore, according to Bloomberg Economics, the global economy will likely grow in the next ten years at a slower pace than in the decade prior to the pandemic. The causes of the slowdown are clear. On one hand, China’s real estate bubble is a larger problem than anticipated, and there is no way in which the Chinese authorities can engineer higher growth from other sectors to offset real estate, which accounts for almost 30% of the country’s GDP and was growing at double-digit rates in the past years.


Additionally, Inflation is rising all over the world due to a combination of excessive monetary policy and supply chain challenges brought by the lockdowns. Global food prices reached a new record-high, making it more difficult for the poor to navigate the crisis. Finally, large stimulus plans have delivered no significant multiplier effect. Why would 2022 be the year of the hangover? Because the signs of overheating of the global economy are multiplying. 2021 was a year of massive demand-side policies. To the effect of the re-opening, policy makers added enormous deficit-spending plans, infrastructure and current spending boosts, and a massive monetary stimulus. The triple effect of the largest monetary stimulus in years, the re-opening and enormous government spending programs have overheated the economy. It is evident in inflationary pressures, housing, indebtedness, and twin deficit imbalances in most large economies. And those effects will not be there, or at least be present in the same proportion, in 2022. 2021 was the year of binge spending. 2022 is likely to be a hangover.

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Canadians are blind to their own madness. Here’s how we know:

 

 

 

Sidney Poitier

 

 

Where in the mouth sounds and letters are formed

 

 

 

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